In my last post (it’s been a while, I know) I documented that Bruxy Cavey embraces the idea that there are people in this world who will die with no knowledge of Christ whatsoever and yet be justified in the sight of God. Bruxy appeals to Matthew 25:31-46 to justify this, claiming that the sheep Jesus ushers into eternal life are those who worshipped Jesus although they knew nothing about him. Their service to the poor and less fortunate is received by Jesus as worship. I pointed out that not only is this not what Matthew 25 is teaching, but that Bruxy’s view amounts to justification by works for these sheep.
Well, after my post, Bruxy preached this view yet again at The Meeting House, and wrote a follow-up blog post over at his blog. In Bruxy’s post he doubles-down on his unbiblical view of Matthew 25:31-46, and attempts to explain how his view is not one of works salvation. Let’s examine what he has to say.
But hold on a minute. Is this judgement of the nations in the story of the Sheep and the Goats a kind of salvation by works instead of grace? Not even close. Jesus doesn’t say the sheep are saved because they served the poor, but because they served him. This is still a picture of salvation through Christ. And it is pure grace that Jesus should receive this beautiful love of others as faithful service to himself, and still, apparently, wipe away their sin and welcome them into the kingdom of heaven. The sheep did not earn their salvation. This is grace, received by the faith, that James the brother of Jesus describes: Quotes James 2:14-18 (which is mistakenly cited as James 1:14-18 in the blog post)
In the original language of the New Testament, the words “faith” and “faithfulness” are rendered by the same Greek word (pistis), which would have helped the earliest readers hold the two concepts together as one reality, two sides of the very same coin. According to the Bible, our faith in God is tied to our faithfulness to God.
In Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis taught that a non-Christian might place his or her faith in Christ through their faithfulness to Christ, even if they are unaware of it. – Self Transcendence, C.S. Lewis, & The Sheep – Bruxy.com
In short, Bruxy is claiming that these ignorant sheep in Matthew 25:31-46 are actually serving Jesus in ignorance which is accepted as true worship of Jesus and is actually a form of saving faith as described in James 2:14-18.
Service is a Work
Despite his protest to the contrary, Bruxy is still teaching salvation by works! The Scriptural teaching is that anyone who is saved is saved by grace through faith. Scripturally speaking, saving faith is not a work for one very important reason – it is a gift from God which does not depend on anything a person does (Ephesians 2:8,9). Faith is not something that is worked up from within by the creature of God, it is given graciously by God himself to his people. On Bruxy’s view, in order for this service offered to not be works he would have to say that their service was a gift of God, not the result of anything these people have done – a concept totally foreign to the Scriptures. Their service remains a work, the product of their own volition.
As such, when Bruxy claims these ignorant sheep are saved by Jesus by grace because they served him, he is saying that the grace they receive is because of something they did, something that came from within themselves that Jesus found pleasing. Paul speaks of this idea of grace that is given based on works when he says “But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace.” (Romans 11:6). Grace that is based on anything a person does simply ceases to be grace.
Bruxy’s assertion that these ignorant sheep who served Jesus are saved by grace because they served him by serving others flies in the face of the biblical categories of works and grace.
The Faith that James Describes
Of course, Bruxy is claiming that the sheep do have faith. He says that this is the type of faith James writes about in James 2:14-18.
I’ll start out by saying that there is a lot of truth in what Bruxy says about faith and faithfulness as quoted above. The question, though, is not whether that statement is true in general, but how does it apply specifically to what we find in James 2:14-18 and Matthew 25:31-46?
Briefly, I would like to point out that Bruxy’s assertion about faith and faithfulness being inextricably linked destroys his own argument. He wants to say that faithfulness demonstrates faith. This is true, but does that not mean that faithfulness also requires faith? It does. And there is no biblical evidence that true faith is possible without knowledge of it’s object (as argued in my original post). This is the foundational blunder in Bruxy’s reasoning here.
Now, in examining Bruxy’s appeal to James 2:14-18, we have to ask an important question – what would that text have to affirm to support his view? It would have to affirm that good works are possibly the result of saving faith that has no knowledge of it’s object whatsoever. Is that what it says? Read James 2:14-26. James is addressing the issue of people who say they have faith, who say they are Christians, and yet their works do not demonstrate it. He is saying that true faith in Christ is accompanied by good works, it does not simply claim faith yet live contrary to the will of God. Those who possess true faith will both profess that faith and behave in a way befitting their profession.
Sure, James says “Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.” (v18), but are we to believe that James is saying that he doesn’t profess faith in Christ but that he has works? This is an absurdity. There is nothing in the text that would cause us to think he is writing about some secret faith that a person doesn’t know they have in a person they are utterly ignorant of as Bruxy would have us believe.
Looking closer we see that James is talking about those who “say they have faith” (v 14), and he defines faith as “believing God” like Abraham (v 23). According to Bruxy’s interpretation of the sheep and goats in Matthew 25 this cannot be said of the sheep who Bruxy says do not profess faith and do not even have any knowledge of Christ whatsoever. So, James 2:14-18 (or 26) has no value whatsoever as far as backing up Bruxy’s false interpretation of Matthew 25:31-46 and the confusion about faith that he introduces.
Saved by Grace Through Faith
Bruxy’s insistance that these ignorant sheep are still saved by grace also ignores the biblical testimony of how the saving grace of God operates in believers. Titus 2:11-14 tells us exactly what the grace of God does:
For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people,training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works. (Titus 2:11-14)
So, saving grace accomplishes many things in God’s people, one being that it causes it’s recipient to “wait for the glorious appearing of their God and Saviour, Jesus Christ”. Can someone who has no knowledge of Jesus Christ whatsoever do such a thing? Again we see that God’s saving grace results in faith, and faith requires knowledge of it’s object.
Bruxy’s teaching on Matthew 25:31-46 is one that amounts to certain people being saved due to their service to Christ outside of faith in him. In articulating his view and defending it, Bruxy demonstrates that he has an unbiblical view of faith, works, and grace. Furthermore, he demonstrates a willingness to mishandle Scripture when he rips James 2:14-18 from it’s context and ignores what is contained even in the verses he cites in order to defend his unbiblical view.
This issue is a far bigger one than a couple of blog posts can treat thoroughly, we have only scratched the surface when it comes to demonstrating how utterly unbiblical Bruxy’s teaching is here. We could discuss the biblical teaching on adoption, indwelling of the Spirit, federal headship, election, depravity, and on, and on.
The evidence that there is a wolf among us is adding up. Avoid Bruxy Cavey and The Meeting House.