wallace on the church

“Then I hear another expression, ‘accept Christ as your personal Saviour.’  This is a phrase that the denominations used many years ago to mean not every one may be saved in the same experience.  One person would be saved in one sort of experience and another person would be saved in another kind of experience, and that Christ would become the personal Saviour in a sense that he saved different persons in different ways.  But Ephesians 5 says, ‘He is the Saviour of the body.’  Salvation is in the church, and no one is saved out of it.  Then in the sense that the denominations used it, it is not a mere personal thing.  He is the Saviour of the body and one must be a part of that body to be saved.  One is saved individually, of course, but not apart from the body of Christ and, therefore, it is is collective, not merely a personal experience.  These distinctions ought to be made.”
— Foy E. Wallace, Jr., from the March-April 1966 issue of the Gospel Advocate
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5 responses to “wallace on the church

  1. True in a sense, but still I have questions. I wonder if when Wallace said, “the church,” or “the body” if he didn’t have in mind a network of congregations rather than the Biblical definition, saved individuals. Therefore I wonder if when he referred to salvation “in the church” if he had in mind, salvation in that network of congregations that he knew (and some would argue, tried to control) rather than salvation as a group of blood bought individuals defined by God rather than a religious census.

  2. Seems to me he didn’t understand Acts 2:47. One is saved and added to the church; one isn’t saved by entering the church.

    And, like Gardner, I suspect he had a quasi-denominational view of what the church is.

  3. To state this truth in two other ways: the church is the result of salvation, not the vehicle to it. It isn’t represented by Noah’s ark, but rather by Noah and his family in the ark.

  4. I was wondering what sort of reaction this would get. I just stumbled across it the other day and thought I’d share.

    Anyway, I think you’re right, Gardner, that FEW probably did have in mind a specific network of churches. In his own mind, he likely knew who was in and who was out. (Incidentally, the quotation comes from an article that describes a meeting that Wallace had with a group of preaching students at DLC.)

    To be clear about your ark analogy: if the church is Noah and his family in the ark, what then does the ark represent in that analogy? God’s action in saving them? Or something else?

    *****

    Neither of you, though, spoke to what I thought would get the most attention in posting this: FEW’s critique of the evangelical notion of “accepting” Jesus as one’s “personal Lord and Savior.” Any thoughts on that? What do you make of it?

  5. I think the ark would represent Christ. All in Him are saved.

    I understand his concern about the Calvinist idea of different types of salvation experiences and agree with him that such an idea isn’t scriptural. However, in a sense our salvation, through accepted only one way, through submission to Christ and His teaching, is very “personal” in many ways. We have to go to him personally, repenting personally of our sins and obviously being baptized as individuals. I get his point, but would have stated it much differently.

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