Hello Dr. This is Josh Scruggs, we have talked in the past and as always its an honor. Mainly I just wanted to share with you something that has happened to me. I preach for the Churches of Christ and  I am writing to you because I believe you will know were I am coming from . Over  the past few weeks I have had a change in my beliefs. After deep study and truly reading the bible with the intent of growing closer to God, I have changed my position.  For the past three years I have studied the bible and talked with scholars and theologians and researched many things.  I studied Church History and the writings of the Church Fathers. But the whole time I was doing all of this studying, I had blinders on. Now I have read the NT so many times I lost count, but I had blinders on it seems.

I believed that a person had to come to Christ and believe in him, confess him, repent, be baptized to have their past sins washed away and then walk in total holiness and obedience to maintain their salvation. If the person was holy and obedient enough at the end, they would make it. I believed a person could use their free will to sin, fall way or stop believing and loose their salvation. Wow! I believed in a works salvation!  I bought a John Macarthur NT commentary and was talking to a preacher who was a former church of Christ. After weeks of really studying God's word and looking at the way John Macarthur believed, it all made since. I started reading the bible in a different light. So after weeks of thinking and reading and studying, I changed my position.

I now believe that you can do and do works all day but until you come to know Jesus Christ in a personal intimate way, it doesn't matter. Christ is everything and my righteousness is filthy rags. With the blinders off I now understand its about knowing God in a personal way. So with that being said, its clear to me now what salvation really is. A person who is truly born again and converted, has died to sin, has Christ living in them, has been made a new creation, will indeed love God and obey him! A truly born again Christian will be holy and obedient. A truly born again Christian will produce fruit and good works! Why? because Christ living in them does it!  Christ gives me the power and ability and desire to live holy and obedient. Its all about Christ!  

True Christians don't continue in sin or sin habitually! True Christian obey God and love him because they have been changed in the heart and born again.  I still believe in free will , but I believe true Christians use their free will to serve God because they love him that much! Most people live a life of religious works but yet never know God! They do not have the personal relationship with him. The reason I obey is because I am saved, not to maintain my salvation. Its all about Christ and not me! I was dead in sin till Christ made me alive and he lives inside me to work and to live his life through me.  So religion is a joke to me now, but knowing Christ in a intimate way is key to salvation.

Thank you, Josh, for your kind words and I am thrilled that you are studying and have the courage to have your beliefs challenged.

Some things I would like you to consider in your study.  How many sins did it take for Satan to lose everything?  How many sins did it take for Adam to lose everything?  Paradise was lost in one act of disbelief or act of faith with no recourse.  Therefore one act of faith regains Paradise again with no recourse.  The issue we have to remember is Christ died to solve the sin problem, not the sins issue.  When He died for you He died for every sin you ever committed or will commit until the day you die.  

My pastor has said that he backslid for 3.5 years before he came back to God. I have had some bad periods in my life as well so it is hard to say that a true Christian will not continue in sin or habitually sin.  Some people practice things because they do not know they are sins or because they have been taught that they are not sins or some things are addictions that they struggle with and may take some time for them to understand their victory in Christ or understand spiritual warfare and be able to use the armor God gives them.  If a person has no guilt over a known sin that is one thing, but an alcholic will stand before you drunk as a skunk and tell you drunkeness is a sin, but he has no means in himself to stop.  Entering into the exchanged life as Hudson Taylor called it may take some years.  One man was pastoring for fifteen years until he finally got it or it got him, whichever.  As you said, you had blinders on your eyes about some doctrines.  Others have blinders about various sins.  

We are born again and like a child we may hold on to some childish habits or ideas until Christ gets us to the place of maturity where we can lay those things down or truly understand the truth about them.  Christ paid for all your sins and saved you knowing the future ones.  

Matt 13:8 But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold. KJV

Note that the good ground still has different levels of crop yields.  Be careful when assessing someone because they may be only a thirtyfold and still be a true Christian.  They may be at a level when you see them that seems less, but at the end of their life they may have growth spurts that will bump them up to the sixtyfold and even hundredfold level.  The true harvest percentages are not known until their life is over.  Only the Lord knows what they will ultimately produce as He pulls weeds in their life and kills palmerworms and locusts or prunes and fertilizes them.

Again, I am glad you are studying to show yourself approved unto God and not to some denomination.  Keep at it and blessings to you!!  


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Dr. Ronald E. Shultz


I am more of a polemicist than an apologist. I especially desire to answer questions concerning discipleship/holiness, "gray areas", etc. If all you wish is an argument then I am not your man. Sincere seekers only need e-mail me.


I have ministered in several states since my conversion in 1975. I participate in many forums and have written two books. I recently changed to Assembly of God, but after 40 years, I can still answer questions about Baptists and doctrinal issues that are common to many sects.

American Association of Christian Counselors since 2009
Texas Navy Association since 2008
Texas Civil Defense since 2008-10
American Legion since 2002
Honorable Order of Kentucky Colonels, since 1994
Life Member NCOA, 1973
Dover AFB Honor Guard, 1971-73

Poem, "Cowboy Up" published in an anthology by American Poets Society, 2004
Author, Jail House Religion, Xulon Press, 2004
Author, The Power of Holy Women, Xulon Press, 2003
Messianic Literary Corner published 45 poems, 2003+
Tract “Which Way To God” published on, 1998
Several poems published on various web pages, 1997,1998,1999
Author, Metamorphosis, copyrighted, partially published collection of poetry, 1968-94
Article, “Why I Prefer Expository Preaching”, published in Canyonview Bible Seminary's Expositor, 1988

Doctor of Theology, Slidell Baptist Seminary, Slidell, LA, 2001, Summa Cum Laude
Master of Theology, Christian Bible College, Rocky Mount, NC, 2000, Summa Cum Laude
Bachelor of Religious Education , Administration minor, Piedmont Baptist College, Winston-Salem, NC, 1982, Cum Laude
Evangelical Teacher Training Association, Teachers Diploma, Winston-Salem, NC, 1982
Other study: Community College of the Air Force, Maxwell AFB, AL - 1975-78
Upper Iowa University, Fayette, IA - 1976-77
Interim Ministry For Today's Churches - 2000

Awards and Honors
Heritage Registry of Who's Who, 2006-2007
Editor's Choice Award, International Library of Poetry, 2003
America's Registry of Outstanding Professionals 2001-2002
Stratmore Who's Who, 2001-2002
Guest Class Speaker Texas A&M, Commerce, 1999
Gubernatorial Commendation by Texas Veterans Commission, 1999
Dallas VA Certificate of Pride in Public Service, 1999
Guest on the Kevin Bullard radio program KPBC AM 770,1997
Who's Who in the South and Southwest, 1996
Editor's Choice Award, National Library of Poetry, 1995
Who's Who in Poetry, 1992
United States Army Achievement Medal, 1990
Personal testimony dramatized for international radio program Unshackled, 1986
Outstanding Young Men of the South, 1981
United States Air Force Commendation Medal, 1978
Two USAF suggestion awards, 1976
NCO of the Quarter, 1975
Freedom Foundation Award, 1975

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