This debate took place over e-mail between Don Samdahl and myself. It involves the newest twist introduced into dispensational doctrine. Don’s position what he believes is summarized in this email. I attempt to answer his points within the following two emails that he sent me. Your questions or points can be posted at the end of this messa
— Forwarded message ———
From: Don Samdahl
Date: Fri, May 26, 2017 at 2:59 PM
Subject: Re: The Great Commission
To: Jerry Parks <firstname.lastname@example.org.
note to reader: I have answered Don’s issues or questions within the text of his emails as (“I say”); his comments back to me are (“You say”).
Thank you for your kind reply. These are my thoughts. I know your objections probably before you make them as I have worked through them nearly 20 years ago. At this stage, I am more convinced than ever that the risen Lord chose Paul (to create a whole new program, the Church, which was a secret. Paul became the agent to reveal everything regarding the Church.
I say: first I need to point out that Jesus had (before Paul was chosen), told Peter that on this rock I will build my Church. Most agree as do I That He was stating “I will build My Church — Peter — on the truth that God revealed to you — “Thou art the Messiah the Son of the living God.” So my understanding based on this from our Lord would take into consideration the elements that the disciples would have felt were needed to be part of the church. Crucial to entrance would be their belief in Jesus as Israel’s Messiah; implied in “belief” is faith and trust that He will bring them along with Him into the Future. He promised that the comforter that he would send would lead them into all truth. At the point of Jesus resurrection None of them would have known more than this. But things happened beyond the resurrection. Paul later argues that it is Abrahams faith that counts. Abraham believed God and it was accounted to him as righteousness. So faith is a key to salvation. Up to this point it is those who believe God who are saved. But the church although a mystery was in fact already in existence as the Ekklessia in the Greek Septugiant (the Greek translation of the Old Testament)– the called out of God. So yes the church would change as a result of the bringing in of the new covenant, but it was not a complete secret.
YOU SAY: From the time of John the B[aptist] to the Council two gospel messages were in play. Paul knew Jews were being saved by the gospel of the kingdom–he was saved under this gospel. Read Acts 9.20. He proclaimed Jesus was the Son of God which was the faith portion of this gospel. He did not proclaim Christ died for his sins and rose from the dead, etc. He did not know this yet.
I say: ok, to him to whom much is given much is required. God required no more from the Disciples or from Paul then what he had revealed to them, so what did these men know? What had been revealed? They had been told that He must die and He did, they knew that He said that he would rise on the third day and He did. They knew that He is the Son of God. They knew that the Son of God possesses the power to forgive sin (Matt 9:2-5). They knew everything that had been revealed from the prophets. Listen these events occurred on the road to Emmaus:
Luke 24:21, 23, 25-27, 31-33, 35 But we were hoping that it was He who was going to redeem Israel. Indeed, besides all this, it is the third day since these things happened. and they did not find His body, they came, saying that they had also seen a vision of angels who said that He was alive. And He said to them, “O foolish men and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to enter into His glory?” Then beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures. Then their eyes were opened and they recognized Him; and He vanished from their sight. They said to one another, “Were not our hearts burning within us while He was speaking to us on the road, while He was explaining the Scriptures to us?” And they got up that very hour and returned to Jerusalem, and found gathered together the eleven and those who were with them, They began to relate their experiences on the road and how He was recognized by them in the breaking of the bread.
Matthew 26:28 for this is My blood of the new covenant which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins. You say that Paul did not know these things yet, but we in fact do not know all that was revealed through Ananias, but these things were no longer hidden from the disciples. They had heard the night before His death that His blood was for the forgiveness of sin.
You have to understand all this was a progressive revelation. The Lord unloaded a lot of information in the 3 years following his [Paul’s] salvation, while he was in the desert and in Damascus, which Paul had to process (he was after all a Pharisee). But Paul wrote he had several revelations from the risen Lord.
I SAY: I do believe in progressive revelation, but Revelation implies that a thing is heretofore unknown. In this case heretofore unknown by Paul, but it is obvious from the above that it was known by the disciples now Apostles. They also spent 3 years with Him. All of the elements of the Gospel– faith in Jesus, His Death, the new covenant of His blood for the forgiveness of sin, His resurrection, His giving of the Holy Spirit (including “you must be born again), all were already revealed. The Holy Spirit brought it back to their remembrance.
YOU SAY: The reason Paul did not state there were 2 gospels is a two-part answer: 1) It is clear there were 2 gospels by the very fact of the Council at Jerusalem. There would have been no need for a Council if the believers in Jerusalem and Paul were proclaiming the same gospel.
I SAY: The council does not in my opinion prove two gospels. The council proves that the keeping of the Mosaic law is not necessary to salvation, or to remain in good standing with God.
YOU SAY: What was the content of faith in the gospel of the kingdom? It was certainly not that Christ died for our sins and rose from the dead. We find none of the 12 proclaiming this. Paul had to explain his gospel to the Jerusalem believers. 2) All of Paul’s letters were written after the Council. God would not allow Paul to write Church doctrine until the issue of the gospel was settled. The Council ended with Peter’s declared (Acts 15.11) and this ended the gospel of the kingdom.
I SAY: Don, the gospel of the kingdom (which is the only gospel – it is the gospel that will be preached to all the world) must have included faith in what Jesus did&!. Listen: “He who once persecuted us is now preaching the faith which he once tried to destroy.” (Gal 1:23) These are Paul’s words stated by the Jewish believers about Paul himself and about the situation. Acts 15:1;5&6 outline perfectly the difference in Paul’s teaching and the beliefs of some Jewish believers. That difference was not the kingdom, it was that men cannot be saved without being circumcised and keeping the Law of Moses.
Secondly: I never cease to be amazed that the same theologians who base an opinion upon the absence of a word (e.g. Church in Revelation ) will at the same time reject another opinion that is solidly founded on the presence of a word. In this case, of course, the word is kingdom. Paul’s Gospel, his good news included the kingdom: Acts 20:24&25 specifically places the teaching of the kingdom with his gospel. You imply that the kingdom gospel is only about circumcision and the law of Moses – and no faith (in what Christ did). That’s all you say that was taught in addition to the kingdom itself, but this is unfounded. As you have already pointed out and I have agreed – the message progressed following the resurrection, but the elements of the gospel were fully known by the time of Pentecost, and in these verses there is evidence that it was a faith (in all that Paul had been teaching including the kingdom) message.
YOU SAY: From then on, there was but 1 gospel, Paul’s gospel of grace. Since the issue of the gospel was settled there was no need for Paul to talk about it. The next worry for Paul was not the issue of justification but sanctification. The Judaizers abandoned that one had to be saved by keeping the Law. They took on the task of convincing believers saved under Paul’s gospel that one had to keep the Mosaic Law to be sanctified. One can see how legally bound the believing Jews in Jerusalem were to the Law from James’ statement to Paul in Acts 21.20. This is why Paul wrote Galatians. Paul said, “no.” Believers are sanctified not by keeping the Law but by being under grace through faith and the work of the Holy Spirit.
I SAY: My problem with what you are revealing to me both here and in your blog concerning the “two gospels” is that with progressive revelation the past truth of God is made revokable without explanation. Or said another way the new truth need not be compatible with the old truth. I say this because it need not make even biblical sense. Let me explain. Paul is receiving revelation from God i.e. The Holy Spirit, yet He the Holy Spirit you would say is ok with Paul’s mandating that there is only one Gospel for salvation when you and others say that the kingdom gospel will once again be preached (and that it will yield salvation)? And I say, that God then must have no problem with Paul sending His — God’s Angel appointed to preach the gospel in Revelation to Hell for doing what God sends him out to do. This (teaching of your’s) is God contradicting God. Can’t happen.
Galatians 1:6, 8 I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel; But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! SO THIS IS HOLY SPIRIT REVEALED TRUTH. And who are the we? THEN– Revelation 14:6 And I saw another angel flying in midheaven, having an eternal gospel to preach to those who live on the earth, and to every nation and tribe and tongue and people; AND THIS YOU SAY IS ANOTHER GOSPEL. Sorry but I can’t get past this problem, and your entire (dispensational Pre-Trib) doctrine is based on this 2 gospel; 2 Second Coming theory.
If this gospel preached in Revelation is not the gospel we preach, then God the Holy Spirit had slapped God the Father in the face, and scripture is meaningless.
YOU SAY: So, the bottom line is I am happy to answer questions but will not argue because I know all the arguments and all the objections. I think my articles would answer almost all your questions if you take the time to read them. I wrote them for this specific purpose. Let me also recommend Cornelius Stam’s commentary on Acts. Best ever written and will answer many of your questions. Great man of God. Grace and peace.
I SAY: and please don’t think that I’m thinking that I’m better than you because of what I’m going to say, but Paul wants to be our example and he said that he did not get his teaching from any man — this is really what made him an Apostle. His gospel message came from God and I believe that his point is that it agreed with what God had revealed to the other Apostles appointed by God. I too try to base my doctrine on God’s word, not on someone else’s study. I look at what others say after doing an extensive study of scripture, staying in prayer with my questions. What scripture says is the scale or balance with which I weigh the teachings of others.
FOLLOWING IS MY E-mail that elicited Don’s email response above. (I have edited out the redundant parts.
From: Jerry Parks <email@example.com>
To: Don Samdahl : Friday, May 26, 2017 9:11 AM
Subject: Re: The Great Commission
Brother Don, I fully understand your ending my involvement in the Blog discussion. (This is my response to his email below which in this format follows this response) But I propose to you a [further] discussion through this venue of e-mail, and frankly I don’t even know why I’m suggesting it, because my immediate reaction to your decision was to do the same with you and end the discussion. (To the readers of my blog, I find that what happens on most blogs is that if you don’t agree with me you are kicked off because you make me look bad. So back to my note). But having slept on it I’m not sure that that is the right decision. And I was once told by a very wise dispensational pastor that I sat under and ministered with, that we are a product of our decisions. I don’t know if you have read Nabeel Qureshi’s book “Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus”, but even though Nabeel believed with all his heart that Islam represented the true God, yet he because he wanted to win his Christian roommate in college (I believe a pure motive) over to his faith and of course to prove himself right (not such a good motive) he entered a dialogue with his roommate now his friend that brought him to Jesus and obviously the experience changed both of their lives. That change was brought about through much debate, which I would hope would be more like respectful discussion. It was not easy, and you may not want to engage in such a discussion. After all you have already predetermined me to be “not open to truth”. I would only suggest that scripture does contain truth that probably neither one of us has yet seen or considered. In light of the disunity that exists in the church and that exists between you and I today doctrinally, perhaps such a discussion may somehow prove profitable as it did with Nabeel and David. If we were to enter such an agreement we would both need to be open, prayerful and teachable. I for one do not believe that any one of us possesses all truth. It takes the body. What we should be looking for is the elimination of perceived contradiction within the scriptures teaching. Truth does not reside where it seems to contradict itself. If we undertake this we must recognize that it may prove painful at times as we are challenged by the Holy Spirit’s use of one another. We will set no time limits on getting back to each other. We will pray for each other. If I don’t hear from you in a week or two no problem. If you accept this opportunity the first question that I have for you is an involved one.
In light of the fact that Paul certainly must have known that Jews were being saved before he went to seek council at Jerusalem, how is it that he did not recognize that their salvation in fact came from a different gospel which was only for the Jews. And in light of that fact (that the Jews were being saved by a different gospel as you state it) why (if it were true as you teach it) did he then not teach that separation between Jew and Gentile (instead he seems to have taught only a oneness)? And why did he not recognize and state that there are two gospels (if that is truth) rather than to state that there is only one?
Like I said my question is quite involved, but I believe that it is ligitimate, and that you must have an answer for this question in order to think that you have arrived at truth.
FOLLOWING IS WHAT LED UP TO THE ABOVE FINAL MESSAGE TO ME FROM DON. Should you want to see more of our back and forth, you can go to his WordPress web site doctrine.org.
On Thu, May 25, 2017 at 8:31 PM Don Samdahl < > wrote:
I’m going to end the discussion. It is unprofitable. After reading your response to Bobbi it is clear you are not open to truth . The Scriptures state the gospel was a secret: Ephesians 6.19 (I SAY: Paul was asking for prayer to be able to continue preaching what he had already revealed to them in the earlier part of the letter – that the Gentiles are now one with the saints just when this became part of his revelation is left out.) and Romans 16.25. You reject these Scriptures. ( I say: I only reject your understanding of these scriptures). Paul spoke of several secrets. A secret is something unknown. The 12 knew nothing of the Church, the body of Christ (they never mention it), Salvation by faith alone, that Christ’s death and resurrection solved man’s sin, the pre-Tribulation Rapture, the blinding of Israel, etc. The Scriptures provide no evidence anyone before Paul proclaimed Christ’s death and resurrection for salvation. The reason for the Council at Jerusalem was the Jerusalem believers proclaimed a different gospel from Paul. They were going to Paul’s converts and telling them they were not saved apart from circumcision and keeping the Mosaic Law. Paul declared he “set forth” (ἀνατίθημι) his gospel to them. The Greek word means to communicate, to reveal something not known. If they knew it and were preaching it, why was this necessary? And why did they argue about it for many hours? Peter would not have concluded “we (Jews) have to be saved like Paul’s Gentiles” if they had been saved the same way.
I SAY: Acts 15:11 is a difficult verse for some. Your translation is no where near what has been translated even back into the reformation years when eternal security was not taught as it is today, but I would conclude from this verse that although we have not yet attained our salvation it will come to both groups on the same basis and in the same way through God’s grace.
YOU SAY, The whole Acts 15 passage makes no sense if they were proclaiming the same thing. And are you kidding me? Jews saved like Gentiles? The Jews had nothing to do with Gentiles. And now they had to be saved like Gentiles? They would never have come to this conclusion outside of Peter’s statement. And Peter had forgotten all about until the Holy Spirit prompted him to remember it. The Jew hated Gentiles. Read Acts 22. If Peter knew Paul’s gospel why did he not proclaim it at Pentecost? Did he proclaim a false gospel? For 20 years? He made no mention Christ had died for their sins. Why not? He didn’t know it. This gospel was not revealed until the risen Lord revealed it to Paul (Galatians 1.11-12).
I SAY: I had spoken to this in your final e-mail to me above. But I will address your no sense conclusion. Paul had obviously not been requiring circumcision and the keeping of feast days etc. (the law of Moses) probably because of the revelation he mentions. But he says false believers had come in who tried to require these things, as a result he goes to the earthly authority in Jerusalem. He went as he stated fearing that he may be wrong, but the result was in his favor, and thus his conclusion that the brethren teaching circumcision were false. Not the Apostles who affirmed him.
Galatians 2:2-5 Galatians 1:22-23 It was because of a revelation that I went up; and I submitted to them the gospel which I preach among the Gentiles, but I did so in private to those who were of reputation, for fear that I might be running, or had run, in vain. But not even Titus, who was with me, though he was a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised. But it was because of the false brethren secretly brought in, who had sneaked in to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, in order to bring us into bondage. But we did not yield in subjection to them for even an hour, so that the truth of the gospel would remain with you. I was still unknown by sight to the churches of Judea which were in Christ; but only, they kept hearing, “He who once persecuted us is now preaching the faith which he once tried to destroy.”
Now – once we digest these happenings we see that based on Gal 1:22&23 what Paul had been teaching was the exact same faith that the church in Jerusalem was preaching. The false brethren wanted to add the law back in. Paul was not calling the disciples false brethren.
YOU SAY: Everything the 12 learned about the Church, they learned from Paul. This is what Paul declared in Ephesians 3. The holy apostles and prophets were prophets and apostle associated with Paul, not the Twelve. Do you not think it strange that no one outside of Paul wrote of salvation by faith alone in the death and resurrection of Christ? If Peter knew about the Church why did he only address Jews at Pentecost?
I SAY: I answer this in my book, but the Jews of O.T. Times were known as the EKKLESSIA, and Jesus had commanded to the Jew first. Pauls epistles were written first and were circulated throughout the churches. Paul was chosen I believe because he was the most learned theologian of his day, so why would Peter or James or John attempt in their later epistles to re-teach what Paul had taught. The Holy Spirit was in charge of what they penned and circulated to the churches. Why would the Holy Spirit keep these revealed truths from the very men that Jesus sent Him to so that they would be led into all truth?
YOU SAY: And if the 12 knew about the Church why did they upbraid Peter after he went to Cornelius’ house? And mind you, this was several years after Pentecost. And why is there no mention of Gentile evangelism by the 12?
I SAY: you answered that question earlier. Progressive revelation. Paul makes it clear in Ephesians that the mystery shown him was that the Gentiles were being allowed into the church and are now made one with the saints in Christ. The Jews expected something different much as you teach — that the Gentiles would receive a blessing from the Jews, but not the very same blessing – to be included with them in the church and in the future kingdom.
YOU SAY: You have no answers to these questions because your theology won’t allow answers to them And from what you have written, I do not think you want answers. Your would rather argue.
I SAY: challenging one another is our only way of coming together concerning truth. We are told to be in unity, actually Jesus prayed for our unity. Paul went to Jerusalem to challenge those Jewish brethren who after the fact he calls false. He does no call the Apostles False, although there were some who claimed to be Apostles who were false. Jesus makes this point clear in Revelations message to the churches. I believe that Paul was seeking the truth and did not really know that he was correct by leaving the circumcision and law out of his preaching, because he went up fearing that he may have run in vein. He came away with the blessing of the Apostles chosen by our Lord, and yes they made a decision that day to not require any longer the following of the law for salvation. The Holy Spirit was leading them into all truth, not starting a new religion by the Apostle Paul.
YOU SAY: You are comfortable in your tradition and your theology is more dear than the Scriptures. I have given you Scriptures to reveal these truths. You continue to reject them and put forward unBiblical arguments. The Holy Spirit will use the Scriptures I have provided to open your eyes if you wish it. God will reveal truth to those who wish it but will harden those who reject it. Grace and peace.
I SAY: There must be a lot of hard hearted Christians out there because at age 74, i have found very few brothers in Christ who fully agree on doctrine. But if you can answer just the one question on God contradicting Himself I will give your theory some additional consideration. We are promised to be led into all truth by the Holy Spirit. You say that that promise was only for the Jews, because you believe that none of the writings of the original Apostles were meant for the Gentiles. You say only Paul wrote for our (the church) doctrine. That means that we are not to receive doctrine from any of the Gospel writings either. So you are never promised to be led into all truth. Fortunately I believe that I have been. Contradiction is not, cannot be truth. As for my arguments being unbiblical your focus has not been on my arguments, but on your own. But thanks for allowing me to get this far in this discussion. I know that you are committed to this fairly new as far as I can tell two gospel theory, but I also know that you say that your investment in it is at 20 years. You certainly can’t expect not to be challenged, but still I hope to see you in the kingdom.