Table of Contents

To help readers new to GraceConversation, we’ve listed the substantive posts below in logical order.

The original conversationalists were Greg Tidwell and Phil Sanders, conservatives, and Jay Guin and Todd Deaver, progressives. Greg had to drop out, and his place was taken by conservative Mac Deaver, who is Todd’s father.

I’ve indicated conservative posts in bold and progressive posts in italics.

A brief biography of each of the four original participants may be found here and Mac’s biography is here.

Stipulations by all Participants

As We Begin, by Greg Tidwell

Conservative Statement of Position and Defense by Conservative Authors

Proposition One: Doctrinal error can lead to eternal damnation, by Phil Sanders

Are All Doctrinal Errors Fatal? by Todd Deaver

Catching Up, by Phil Sanders

Clarifying Our Discussion, by Greg Tidwell

Defining the Question, Jay Guin

Check Lists, by Greg Tidwell

Not a Man-made List But a Scriptural Rationale, by Jay Guin

The Lord Will Judge His People, by Greg Tidwell

God Always Tells the Truth, by Greg Tidwell

You Must be Born of Water and the Spirit, by Greg Tidwell

In Reply to Greg’s Posts, by Jay Guin

Some Answers, by Greg Tidwell

Talking Past Each Other, by Greg Tidwell

Proposition One Response from Phil, by Phil Sanders

Getting to the Real Issue, by Todd Deaver

Proceeding According to Plan, by Todd Deaver

Apostasy Lists by Leaders Among Conservative Churches of Christ, by Jay Guin

Phil’s and Greg’s Position on Apostasy, by Todd Deaver

Aren’t Some Errors Covered by Grace?, by Todd Deaver

Exegesis of Texts Cited in “Proposition One Response from Phil”, Part 1, by Jay Guin

Exegesis of Texts Cited in “Proposition One Response from Phil”, Part 2, by Jay Guin

Exegesis of Texts Cited in “Proposition One Response from Phil”, Part 3, by Jay Guin

The Repentance Requirement, by Todd Deaver

The Two Questions On The Repentance Requirement, by Mac Deaver

In Reply to Mac Regarding Repentance, by Jay Guin

Salvation Submissiveness Is Obedience, by Mac Deaver

Summary of Conservative Position and Challenge by Progressive Authors

Where Things Stand, by Jay Guin

Response to Mac’s View of Repentance, by Jay Guin and Todd Deaver

Questions for Mac and Phil, by Jay Guin and Todd Deaver

Mac’s Response To Todd’s And Jay’s Answers: Part 1, by Mac Deaver

Mac’s Response To Todd’s And Jay’s Answers, Part 2, by Mac Deaver

Mac’s Response To Todd’s And Jay’s Answers, Part 3, by Mac Deaver

Mac’s Response To Todd’s And Jay’s Answers, Part 4, by Mac Deaver

The Incoherence of the Conservative Position, Part 1, by Jay Guin and Todd Deaver

The Incoherence of the Conservative Position, Part 2, by Jay Guin

Progressive Statement of Position and Defense of First Two Propositions (Falling Away Due to Lack of Faith or Penitence) by Progressive Authors

A Progressive Position: Introduction, by Jay Guin

A Progressive Position: Statement of Position on Apostasy, by Jay Guin

A Progressive Position: Faith and Repentance, by Jay Guin

What the Bible actually says about apostasy: Introduction, by Jay Guin

What the Bible actually says about apostasy: 1 John and Walking in the Light, Chapters 1 – 2, by Jay Guin

What the Bible actually says about apostasy: 1 John and Walking in the Light, Chapters 3 – 5, by Jay Guin

What the Bible actually says about apostasy: Hebrews, Penitence, and Rebellion, by Jay Guin

What the Bible actually says about apostasy: Hebrews 11, by Jay Guin

What the Bible actually says about apostasy: The Spirit’s work in the Christian, by Jay Guin

What the Bible actually says about apostasy: Romans and the Salvation of the Mature, by Jay Guin

What the Bible actually says about apostasy: Conclusion, by Jay Guin

Imperfect Obedience and Disobedience, by Todd Deaver

Faith, Works, and Obedience, by Todd Deaver

And so, in conclusion… (with a new footnote), by Jay Guin

In re Dialogue, by Mac Deaver

In Response to Mac’s Final Post, by Jay Guin

Epicycles and the Conservative Churches of Christ, by Jay Guin

The Mortal Sin Problem, Part 1, by Jay Guin

The Mortal Sin Problem, Part 2, by Jay Guin

A Parable on Faith, Works, and Adoption, by Jay Guin

Defense of Third Proposition (Falling from Grace under Gal 5:4) by Progressive Authors

Falling from Grace: The Meaning of “Faith”, by Jay Guin

Falling from Grace: The Paradox of Romans 14 and Galatians, by Jay Guin

Falling from Grace: Why the Different Result in Galatians?, by Jay Guin

Falling from Grace: The Galatian Heresy, by Jay Guin

Falling from Grace: Exegesis of Gal 5, by Jay Guin

Falling from Grace: Understanding Faith, Love, and the Spirit, by Jay Guin

Falling from Grace: Seeking to be Justified Other Than by Faith, by Jay Guin

Falling from Grace: Why Legalism Can Damn, by Jay Guin

Conclusion, by Jay Guin

Explanation of the Bible’s Teachings on Church Disciplines by Progressive Authors

Discipline: Introduction, by Jay Guin

Discipline: The member who is struggling to repent, by Jay Guin

Discipline: Those no longer penitent, by Jay Guin

Discipline: Those without faith in Jesus, by Jay Guin

Discipline: Those who teach a hope based on works, by Jay Guin

Discipline: Holy division, by Jay Guin

Discipline: Conclusions, by Jay Guin

Concluding Remarks

The End, by Todd Deaver

Thanks, by Jay Guin

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16 Comments on “Table of Contents”

  1. Royce Says:

    Mac Deaver quit the conversation with not so brotherly accusations much of which is questionable to say it in the most generous way. If your “Index” is accurate, and I believe it is, Phil Sanders quit long ago, in April I believe.

    I believe Mac Deaver and Phil Sanders are representative of church of Christ conservatives (I believe “traditionalists” is a more correct word to describe them) and they were clearly unable to defend what they supposedly believe. An indefensible position cannot be defended though can it?

    In fairness to Phil and Mac, part of the problem might have been Jay’s superhuman ability to produce tons of well thought out, clearly logical, and easy to understand material. Perhaps they were just simply overwhelmed.

    Thanks to all of the participants including those who commented, for making all of us think, (a somewhat rare exercise in some quarters), and to challenge what we believe personally.


  2. Jay Guin Says:


    I should point out that Mac’s last post, before the one where he quit, was 7,443 words — which would be equal in length to 5 or more posts of mine. Mac got his fair share of licks in.

  3. laymond Says:

    I wonder if the angels in heaven were cheering, when one side or the other scored a point. “yea, hooray, that ought to be worth another star in that crown.
    No, I doubt that happened. ;(

    Maybe we should have an event called sinner bashing, in the Olympics, and be rewarded by how many we convince to join the muddy battle of the CoC.

    There is no joy in mudville, the mighty Christian has struck out. (both benches) sad so sad.

  4. Royce Says:

    Laymond, What do you think of Paul who said of those who added circumcision to faith in Christ for salvation “I wish those who unsettle you would emasculate themselves!”?

  5. Jerry Starling Says:


    Laymond is right in saying there is no heavenly joy in this conversation, any more than there was heavenly joy when Jesus was hanging on the cross. This does not mean the conversation is not important. It is – as long as it can clarify the truth of the gospel. If people honestly differ, but can still treat each others as brothers, more clarity can come.

    I wonder if Mac was more emotionally involved simply because one of the participants on the “other side” is his own son. When your own flesh and blood rejects your cherished beliefs and exhibits his rejection to the world in a way you cannot rebut, it becomes humiliating. I do not think Jay and Todd set out to humiliate him – but, nevertheless, that is what happened, and he lashed out – not as a representative of the conservative church, but as a wounded father. I have compassion for him even as I see his inconsistencies.

  6. laymond Says:

    Jerry, I suppose both sides can find comfort in saying “well we tried, it’s not my fault they are stupid”. Actually neither side tried to see where the other was coming from, and why they believe what they believe. They just dismissed each other and proceeded to tell them how wrong they were, and nobody likes to be told they are ignorant. and it is hard for a dad to realize his own son has turned against his teachings, and accuse him in a public forum of teaching his children and wife falsely, But Jesus said he did not come to bring peace but to place Son against father. no it was a doomed effort from the beginning. Like I said nobody won here but both sides lost, each side lost something, respect, trust, and just plain believability. I think I will continue to leave it to Jesus to decide when a Christian looses their place in line. I spend way to much time trying to clean up my own act, to be accusing others. I do spend time asking why, someone believes what they do, but I can’t remember when I told a person they were going to “hell” if they don’t believe the way I do, and I never will.

  7. nick gill Says:

    I almost wholly disagree with this line of thinking.

    1) Jay and Todd, along with almost every “progressive” that has commented, came out of the “conservative” group — they *know* the arguments because they used to *use* the arguments.

    2) There is GREAT joy in heaven when brethren in Christ strive to agree! How can you possibly believe that our Father and his angels don’t rejoice that his people are striving to fulfill his desire for visible unity?

    Your cynicism in believing that neither side cares about the other, but only about their own rightness, is neither profitable nor worthy of emulation.

  8. laymond Says:

    Nick, Heb: 13:1: Let brotherly love continue.

  9. Bob Brandon Says:

    For what it’s worth, the past few months here have been an enormously helpful forensic assessment of the traditionalist mindset: these have all the makings of a nice book.

  10. Jay Guin Says:


    You make good points. I know many former conservatives who’ve become progressive. I can’t think of a single progressive who’s become conservative. There probably are a few, but not many.

    I’m third generation in the Churches of Christ. My best friends growing up were the sons of Church preachers — non-institutional and institutional. I grew up conservative, and was thoroughly trained in conservative theology at church and at Lipscomb.

    I know the conservative arguments as well as they — better than most. (And Todd knows them better than I do.) But I doubt that I could have argued the case better than Greg, Phil, and Mac. As Todd showed in Facing Our Failure, their position has inherent problems that no one has gotten around in over 100 years of debate.

    I’ve always taught that you can’t reach a solid conclusion unless you’ve studied both sides — and I studied both sides in detail before coming to my position. I doubt that many conservatives can make the same statement.

    And have you noticed that of all the conservative comments on this site, not a one has challenged our exegesis of the key texts? In a theological discussion, when one side seeks to move the conversation away from scripture, they’ve very nearly conceded.

    It would have been my preference for the conservatives (both the 2 principals and those making comments) to have spent their energies delving more deeply into the scriptures — because the only path to unity is through a deeper study of the word. And so we were trying to push the conversation toward exegesis. And I’m deeply disappointed that Phil and Mac preferred to quit.

    And it is still my desire that those who remain unpersuaded use the comment feature of this blog to discuss 1 John, Hebrews, and Romans. After all, whatever the true doctrine is, it’ll only be found in the scriptures.

  11. Jay Guin Says:

    From an email —

    Just wanted to express a few words of appreciation for the posts offered that have followed the halting of the discussion. You both have presented a cogent case that makes sense. Finally, something that for a long time has seemingly escaped me makes sense.

    Thank you men!

  12. Paul Woodhouse Says:

    Jay and Todd,

    I have been one of those silent readers of your exchanges. Several years ago I engaged at least two of your participants on the conservative side in discussions on the old RM-Bible listserver. You guys articulated your position with clarity and I found that, without your help (lol), arrived at these positions long ago. I guess I just got tired of the endless discussions that never seemed to get anywhere. You got somewhere! Not that they quit the discussion but that you pinpointed the inherent contradictions of the conservative/legalist position and they were unable to answer you except to attack the usual rhetorical strawmen they erect. Thanks, again.

  13. […] than grace (i.e. works). You can read a summary of their view by clicking here and by using this table of contents you can read about their position in more detail (look for the sections listed as […]

  14. Alabama John Says:

    I know I’m old fashioned, but I think and feel strongly that Todd disagreeing with his father was very disrespectful. I’m ashamed of him for that.

    I am with Mac and would of pulled out too in order to not have a disagreement with my son.

    I respect him for that.

  15. Jay Guin Says:

    Alabama John,

    The GraceConversation began with Phil Sanders and Greg Tidwell arguing one position and with Todd Deaver and I arguing another. Well into the proceedings, Greg had to drop out, and Mac was invited in.

    Mac entered a discussion that Todd had been part of for months. He didn’t drop out to avoid a conflict with his son.

  16. Alabama John Says:


    I would of.
    As a trained in debating lawyer you know how putting a son on the stand against his father could backfire against the case and son with the jury members. I am one of those jurors.
    it is made even worse to side with a very smart, trained debator and scripture expert like yourself against his father.You could and did make him look pretty bad. Is Todd proud of that?
    When and ever how his father got involved, Todd should of gracefully bowed out and let you and others continue rather than him disagree with his father. That would be the honorable thing to do and folks would respect him for doing so.I know I would.Far more at stake here than who is right or wrong on any question.
    Way too much of a bad example set for his children if he has any.
    This going against your father in a disagreement can be brought up later when he disiplines his children and it probably will.
    Think what it must of been like at their dinner table with all present, including children and grandchildren.
    I still say it was wrong to do and poor judgment.

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