Where did the five-step plan of salvation come from?


I was in Bible study on Wednesday night and my minister was teaching the class. He brought up that the 5-step plan of salvation was started by Walter Scott during the time of Stone and Campbell. He stated that is how it got started. But I disagree with him. Can you help clarify this? The plan of salvation came way before that time.


Yes, people often attribute the "five-step plan of salvation" to Walter Scott, but that isn't what Scott taught. Scott wanted a way to help people understand what the Bible taught about salvation, so he came up with a list of three things that men are required to do to be saved (faith, repentance, and baptism) and three things that God provides to save men (remission of sin, the gift of the Holy Spirit, and eternal life). I don't know who modified it from three points to five. Five was chosen because you could use the fingers on a hand to help with the memorization.

However, there are more than just five points related to salvation in the Bible. See What Saves a Person? The typical five points give a person something to start the discussion but it should be kept in mind that it is not the whole of what the Bible teaches.

I would treat it as no different than some of the lists found in the Bible (Proverbs 6:16; 30:18,21,24,29). None of these lists are meant to be a complete listing of the subjects being discussed, but the number makes the list more easily memorized. The big difference is that the lists in Proverbs came through inspiration and the steps of salvation are a man's attempt to do something similar with another topic.


This is great. Thank you!

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