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1. John Earnest assented to and articulated a Christian theology of personal salvation with a degree of clarity that should make us squirm. In his letter, he refers to various biblical doctrines, for example:
2. The covenant of redemption: “Beyond the scope of time the Father and the Son made a covenant in eternity—that the Son would bring a people to Him that He may be glorified through them.”
3. Doctrine of election: “I did not choose to be a Christian. The Father chose me. The Son saved me. And the Spirit keeps me. Why me? I do not know.”
4. Justification by faith apart from works: “Nobody save Christ can merit heaven based on his own works.”
5. Perseverance and eternal security: “Know that you are saved in Christ and nothing—not death, nor torture, nor sin—can steal your soul away from God.”
6. The problem is that what he believed about personal salvation, according to our tradition, could have been enough for him to be saved, but it wasn’t enough to save him from embracing antisemitic and white supremacist beliefs and perpetrating hateful violence and murder.
7. We must correct this enduring, fatal disjunct between “the gospel” and the second great commandment; between the first tablet and the second; between dogmatics and ethics; between “baptizing them” and “teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.”
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