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November 3 2009 at 12:26 AM
John Waddey  (Login Donnie.Cruz)
from IP address


Now you may never have heard of the "Five-Finger Exercise," but that is only because you have not heard or read the message of the change agents at work among us. It is one of their favorite points of ridicule when they are trying to discredit those churches of Christ that are not willing to march in their parade.

They are referring to an illustration or way of teaching first used by Walter Scott and by many other preachers since his day. It was in 1827 that young Walter Scott was sent forth by the churches of the Mahoning Association to evangelize in the Western Reserve. Without funds for paid advertising of his meetings, Scott would visit school houses and ask permission to speak to the children. To get his message safely home to their parents, he would have them hold up their hands and repeat after him. He promised he would teach folks about faith, repentance, baptism, remission of sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit. Each finger would represent one of these five steps of salvation. So effective was Scott's preaching and his simple method that thousands of other men have use some variation of it ever since. It is impossible to calculate the thousands who have been saved after seeing this illustration in their time of instruction.

Now a new generation of preachers has arisen who have scanty bible knowledge and are abysmally ignorant and unappreciative of our past history. Desirous of being looked upon and accepted as respectable denominationalists, they ridicule Scott's simple illustration and make light of those who believe and teach that Christ has set forth five conditions of salvation.

Because the Bible declares it, we believe and teach that (1). Without faith it is impossible to be well pleasing unto God (Heb. 11:6); (2). That faith comes from hearing the word of Christ (Rom. 10:17); (3). That God commands all men every where to repent (Acts 17:30); (4). That to be saved we must confess Christ (Matt. 10:32); (5). That baptism is prerequisite to receiving remission of sins (Acts 2:38). After attending denominational seminaries or filling their minds with denominational literature, change agents have been persuaded that such simple biblical teachings are old fashioned and unsuited for theologians such as themselves and sophisticated postmoderns. They prefer the doctrines of Luther and Calvin that offer salvation by grace through faith, before baptism. Some wonder if baptism is really a necessary factor in man's salvation? How can they introduce their new gospel and new ideas about salvation to an audience that long ago learned and still believes that Christ ordained those five basic steps to salvation? They try to shake their belief by poking fun at and ridiculing the illustration. They scorn those they sneeringly call "Five Steppers." They imply that all who hold this view of salvation or use this method of teaching are really ignorant and outdated for our postmodern world.

The fact is, those change agents who ridicule Scott's illustration will not win in their life time the number of souls the famous evangelist won in a year. Using his homely illustration he was winning and baptizing up to 1,000 souls per year. He planted scores of new congregations made up of those he won to Christ. For the simple message of salvation revealed in the New Testament, change agents would substitute a human doctrine which proposes but a part of what Christ's apostles taught about the matter. "By grace have ye been saved through faith" is certainly a true statement (Eph. 2:8-9), but it is not the sum of what the Holy Spirit has said on the subject of salvation!

We do not say that Bro. Scott's five finger illustration is inspired, but the truth it conveyed is. You can still use it in explaining to your neighbor what God expects him to do to be saved. You can use the faulty message of the change agents and leave your neighbor unprepared to meet God.

John Waddey, Editor
Christianity: Then and Now


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(no login)

That Silly Five-Finger Exercise

December 1 2009, 8:08 AM 

Intersting article. Could you please provide quotations (with references) from those who are ridiculing these five steps. I would like to read their quotes in context.

Thank you.

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Dr. Bill Crump
(no login)

Re: That Silly Five-Finger Exercise

December 3 2009, 1:22 PM 

Just go to, click on the forums, then go to the "Discussion and Debate" forum. Post a thread asking about the steps to salvation and see the types of replies you'll get that ridicule those steps. Better yet at that same site, click on the threads titled "What Are Christ's Requirements for Salvation?" They have been posted five times in as many months. Read the remarks that ridicule what Christ has commanded for salvation.

However, doesn't "Christopher1965" also post at FaithSite? If so, then he should already know about those FaithSite posters who ridicule Christ's requirements/steps to salvation.

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(no login)

Re: That Silly Five-Finger Exercise

December 11 2009, 4:49 PM 


Waddey's attack on those who disagree with him is directed at members of the churches of Christ. The site and posts you referenced are not members of the churches of Christ.

That omission by you not withstanding, the fact remains that the 5 steps referenced by Waddey are NOT what Brother Scott taught, but in fact are a corruption of both what Scott taught and of the Scriptures.

Scott and the Scriptures taught and teach that God gives three things to man - forgiveness of sins, eternal life, and the Holy Spirit. Man responds to this gift with three responses - putting their faith in what God has done, repentance, and baptism in the name of Jesus.

The 6 steps taught by Scott were from the scriptures.

The five steps taught today neither follow Scott nor the scriptures.

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Ken Sublett
(no login)

Re: That Silly Five-Finger Exercise in Romans 10

December 12 2009, 8:59 PM 

The Five Steps to salvation was to contrast the Calvinist five step TULIP plan and the peoplel LOVED IT.

Three steps of human action:
1. Faith to change the heart. A deep trust
2. Repentance to change the life.
3. Baptism to change the state
Two steps are from God AFTER we have been baptized.

4. Remission of sins to cleanse the guilt.
5. The gift of the Holy Spirit to make one a participant in the Divine Nature.

Scott defined "the gift of the holy spirit" as OUR spirit which is A holy spirit after "our sins have been washed away." Peter calls this A good conscience.

Rom 10:8 But what saith it?
......The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth,
......and in thy heart: that is,
......the word of FAITH,
......which we PREACH;

Rom 10:9 That if thou
......shalt CONFESS with thy mouth the Lord Jesus,
......and shalt BELIEVE in thine heart
......that God hath RAISED him from the DEAD,
......thou shalt be saved.

Rom 10:10 For with the heart believeth unto righteousness; and
......with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

Faith makes a God fearing person have the right standing: not ceremonially impure
But, Confession is unto salvation. Faith only would not save you says this verse.

belief, call upon the name, must believe, must hear, preachers must be sent:
Rom 10:11 For the scripture saith,
...... Whosoever BELIEVETH on him
......shall NOT be ASHAMED.
Now, NOT ASHAMED is not the opposite of BEING SAVED (by faith only).

Rom 10:12 For there is NO DIFFERENCE between the Jew and the Greek:
Rom 10:13 for the SAME Lord over all is rich unto all THAT CALL UPON HIM.
......For whosoever shall CALL upon the NAME of the Lord shall be saved.

Peter preached this in Acts 2: God calls us and we call upon the name of the Lord to be saved. When they asked what must WE DO to be saved, Peter commanded them to repent AND be baptized FOR or in order to the remission of sins.


......Example One. Acts 2:38 baptism is into the NAME or calling upon the name.
......Example Two. Acts 22:16 Baptism washes away sins because it CALLS upon the Name.
......Example Three: 1 Pe 3:21 Baptism saves because it ASKS for A good conscience or A holy spirit.

How then shall they call on him in whom
...... they have not BELIEVED? and

...... how shall they believe in him of whom they have not HEARD? and
...... how shall they hear without a PREACHER (Kerusso Herald)? Rom 10:14


Rom 10:15 And how shall they preach (Go and herald),
...... except they be sent? as it is written,
...... How beautiful are the FEET of them that
...... preach the gospel of peace, and BRING glad tidings of good things

But they have
......not all OBEYED the GOSPEL. For Esaias saith, Lord,
...... who hath BELIEVED our report? Rom 10:16
So then FAITH cometh by HEARING, and hearing by the WORD of God. Rom 10:17
But I say, Have they not heard?
......Yes verily, their sound WENT INTO all the earth,
......and their words unto the ends of the world. Rom 10:18
But I say, Did not Israel know? First Moses saith, I will provoke you to jealousy by them that are no people, and by a foolish nation I will anger you. Rom 10:19
But Esaias is very bold, and saith, I was found of them that sought me not; I was MADE MANIFEST unto them that asked not after me. Rom 10:20
But to Israel he saith,
......All day long I have stretched forth my HANDS
......unto a DISOBEDIENT and GAINSAYING people. Rom 10:21

You are an APISTOS or believeth not which means treacherous if you do not believe that
He that believeth and is baptized SHALL BE saved.

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(no login)

Re: That silly Five-Finger Exercise

December 15 2009, 3:53 PM 

Dr. Bill Crump,

Thank you for your suggestion about visiting the discussion and debate forum at However, I am familiar with the site and do not feel that your suggestion offers me the quotations (with references) that I was seeking from the individual who posted the initial article in this thread.

The author of this article stated that a new generation of preachers ridicule Scotts simple illustration and make light of those who believe and teach that Christ has set forth five conditions of salvation. I would like to read the comments or listen to the sermons that the author is obviously referring, as I believe context often reveals a different story than is sometimes reported.

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Jimmy Wren
(no login)

Yes! Scott is accredited with the 5 finger exercise

December 26 2009, 9:16 PM 

The early Disciples were New Testament restorationists who espoused frontier ecumenism, eschewed creedal tests and practiced congregational polity. Arminian, post millennial and revivalistic, most forwarded the "five finger" plan of salvation (faith, repentance, confession [of faith], baptism and the gift of the Holy Spirit) introduced by an associate of the Campbells, Walter Scott. (from Dictionary of Christianity in America, edited by Daniel G. Reid, Robert D. Linder, Bruce L. Shelley and Harry S. Stout. © 1990 by InterVarsity Christian Fellowship/USA; published by InterVarsity Press. All rights reserved.)

In Christ,

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Dr. Bill Crump
(no login)

Re: That silly Five-Finger Exercise

December 28 2009, 9:05 AM 

Well, at this point, even if you wanted to do so, it would be useless to visit the discussion and debate forum at FaithSite, because that and all the other forums there were removed on December 26.

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Dr. Bill Crump
(no login)


December 28 2009, 9:24 AM 

When I said that FaithSite's discussion and debate board had been removed, I forgot to mention that you can still view the old board by going to the main site and clicking on "Message Boards." Even though the wording "No forums available for this site" will appear, click on "Select Forum" and then click on "Discussion and Debate." The old board will appear and you can review all previous threads that are still in the files. You won't be able to post any new threads, however.

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Dr. Bill Crump
(no login)

Re: FaithSite

December 30 2009, 12:14 AM 

And speaking of FaithSite, shortly before the boards went down, wavemaker (Tom Brite) had posted a thread that asked if there would be a prize for the last person who posted. Well, I wasn't the last person to post a message, but I was the last person to post a topic thread. It was titled "For SFH [ServantforHim]." You can go to the old board and read all about it if you have any interest.

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(no login)

Re: FaithSite

September 10 2010, 11:35 AM

Walt made the last post at FaithSite. Like him or not, we should all give him a virtual "high five" for his prize.

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WIlliam At It Again

September 11 2010, 10:15 PM 

William Crump's intention wasn't to bring attention to the person who posted last, or the prize, etc. His intention all along was to bring attention to his topic thread.
Remember too that William Crump was a pathologist, not a psychologist. He really didn't care about who posted the last thread, he just needed ANYTHING, any topic to bring the subject around to his thread. Why not just tie it in with the weather? It would have made as much sense.

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Dr. Bill Crump
(no login)

Re: William At It Again

September 12 2010, 11:33 AM 

Talk about intentions: Dave's response on September 11, 2010, was in regard to a post that was dated nearly nine months ago on December 30, 2009. Dave's intention was to resurrect the long-dead subject of FaithSite and, once again, smear someone with whom he persistently disagrees. But that's typical of Dave. Nothing new under the sun there. happy.gif

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