Calvinists often quote Ephesians 2:8-9 in placing the action and responsibility of salvation solely upon God. It is argued that baptism is a work man and thus falls outside the scope of salvation since salvation is by grace alone and through faith alone. Passages such as Acts 2:38, Acts 2:16, Mark 16:16, and 1 peter 3:21 are twisted to mean something other than their clear teaching in order to harmonize with the Calvinist's desired meaning of Ephesians 2:8-9. Through the years I have read many strong and sufficient answers to the Calvinist argument based off of Ephesians 2:8-9, but never have I found an answer as stout as the one issued by W. L. Oliphant in the Oliphant - Rice Debate (p.384). May honest men consider Oliphant's statement in the light of God's Word:
Many Christians today fail to appreciate the benefit the Old Testament can bring to their daily walk. The Old Testament is often looked upon as a collection of interesting stories, and Israel is viewed as a forgotten people. Yet many of the New Testament writers base their teaching on an understanding of the Old Law and its people. To fail to study and appreciate the Old Covenant and people of God is to rob one’s self of important insights into the New Covenant and the New Kingdom. One such insight is provided by God in the parallel He establishes between physical Israel and spiritual Israel (the church).
is an evangelist of the Church of Christ in Arlington, Texas.