by Gardner Hall

True, but careful with “therefore”

True statement: “We don’t know how far God is going to extend His mercy.”

“Therefore”… (fallacies often follow..)

  • “It is not important to be concerned with having scriptural precedent for our spiritual practices.”
  • “We can judge that others who have serious spiritual transgressions are still going to heaven without repentance.”
  • “We can share with others in spiritual activities even when we think they are unscriptural.”

To draw an unwarranted conclusion from a true statement is to use the non-sequitur fallacy. Perhaps nowhere do we see this fallacy more than when making deductions from the fact that we are saved by God’s grace and mercy. The problem is that the true statement and the common non-sequiturs that follow are in two different realms. The true statement regarding the extension of mercy is in God’s realm. It is His prerogative and His only to determine how far he will extend His mercy. When we make our “therefore” statements, we often are taking upon ourselves a privilege that belongs only to God. It’s as if we think we can decide for God how far He should extend His mercy. That’s dangerous territory!

The primary application that we should draw from the fact that God will extend His mercy to those He wills is that we should not pronounce judgment on the final destiny of others (I Corinthians 4:5). That includes sentencing them to be lost, or to salvation in spite of their indifference regarding fundamental spiritual principles.

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