Norm had a crazy show on Sunday, and discussed so much that I want to comment on.
The first thing deals with the thief on the cross
I have never heard this theory before, but Norm posited that the thief wasn’t saved on the cross, but was saved before – that he was a disciple of Jesus. It is an interesting theory, but I think that the burden of proof lies with Norm on this.
Norm gave the following reasons for his argument:
A. The thief called Jesus “Lord”. He mentioned that the only reason he would have done this, is if he had already gotten into the habit of calling Jesus “Lord”, while following him.
B. He asks Jesus to remember him when Jesus comes into his kingdom. Only someone who had been following Jesus and listening to his teachings would understand the concept of Jesus, a man dying on a cross, having a kingdom.
I found a link (http://www.bible.ca/ef/expository-luke-23-32-43.htm) that goes into these arguments in more detail.
The main issue I have with this is Mark 15:32, which pretty much stops that argument completely. That passage says “they that were crucified with him reviled him.”
So, if the second thief was already saved, why would he revile him, and then turn around and remember that Jesus was his Lord? It seems more likely that the thief, watching Jesus suffering and forgiving, had an epiphany while on the cross, and was truly experiencing repentance and forgiveness from Jesus. He had the opportunity, as the religious leaders were mocking Jesus with it. In fact, in Luke 23:39, the other thief mocked Jesus about being the Christ.
The Church of Christ pastors always harp on others for making scripture say what they want it to say, and I think that they are guilty of doing that with this. In fact, I’d say that this is a great example of Norm expositing a verse while ignoring other passages – which is a great way to make scripture say what you want it to say.
More to come…