Leading up to my baptism, and from that day on, I was taught, and teach also, “The Five Steps of Salvation.” These being: “Hear, Believe, Repent, Confess, and Be Baptised.”
In fact, to this day, you might find a Power Point slide at the end of one of my sermons outlining these five steps; with a sixth added saying: “Be Faithful until Death.”
I never thought it strange when this was called, “The Biblical Pattern of Salvation,” and still don’t.
But I do know that “The Five Steps” have its detractors. There are those who accuse the churches of Christ of practising “Pattern Theology.”
My first thought on the suggestion that there is no such thing as “Pattern Theology” is to tell its critics to take that up with the apostle Paul. For it was he who commanded the brethren to follow his “example, and observe those who walk according to the pattern you have in us” (Philippians 3:17). This being, of course, the pattern of faith and conduct taught in the New Testament by Jesus and his apostles and prophets; Paul being one of them.
Your New Testament clearly demonstrates that sinners: “Heard, Believed, Repented, Confessed, and were Baptised. Anyone who denies this is either uninformed or deliberately misrepresenting scripture.
I want you to note the oft preached “Pattern of Sin” that James gives us:
“But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death” (James 1:14-15).
I think that we would all agree that therein is a process that takes a soul from ‘Life to death.’
I find it ironic that James’ “Pattern of sin” is accepted as ‘The Biblical process leading to spiritual death,’ but the New Testament “Pattern of Salvation” is rejected as ‘The Biblical process leading to spiritual life.’