by Jerry Shugart
Paul M. Sadler
Pastor Paul Sadler, the President of the Berean Bible Society today, also says that in past dispensations works were required for salvation:
"We should add that the gospel of the circumcision and the gospel of the kingdom are inseparably bound together. Both are based upon a 'performance system.'It is this program and message that James was laboring under when he wrote his epistle...How often James must have heard one of his countrymen say, 'I believe in God.' But James observed that there were no fruits in his life that substantiated his claim, which was essential under the gospel of the circumcision" [emphasis added] (Sadler, "Studies in the Epistle of James", The Berean Searchlight, January, 2006, p.8-9).
Pastor Sadler continues, writing that "According to James, Abraham served as a 'pattern' to the circumcision that faith and works were 'required' for salvation under their program" [emphasis added] (Ibid., p.10).
Despite these clear words that assert that "works" were required for salvation in prior dispensations Pastor Sadler contradicts this idea when he says at another place that those who lived in the previous dispensation were saved when they believed and they could not lose that salvation:
"The Lord said to Nicodemus under this same program, 'That whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life' (John 3:15,16). Those who believe in Him here are said to have eternal life. We know from the record that Nicodemus responded to the Master's words and received eternal life" [emphasis added] (Sadler, "The Life and Letters of the Apostle Peter", The Berean Searchlight, August, 2002, p.10).
Surely Pastor Sadler's words here cannot be misunderstood. He is saying that those who "believe" in Him are said to have eternal life and Nicodemus received eternal life because he responded to the words spoken by the Lord Jesus. Pastor Sadler then says that this same method of obtaining eternal life is also true in regard to those who received the Epistle of James:
"When the Word of the Lord, in conjunction with the conviction of the Spirit, pierced through the darkness of Nicodemus' heart he responded in faith and was wonderfully saved! This was also true of those to whom James was writing, which in their case gave them the privilege of being called the 'first fruits of God's creation'" [emphasis added] (Sadler, "Studies in the Epistle of James", The Berean Searchlight, November, 2005, p.9).
Nicodemus was saved when he responded in faith and that is also true in regard to all those to whom James was writing in his epistle. Pastor Sadler makes it plain that they were saved by the Word of God, writing that "Not only were they saved by the Word of God, they were to make an application of it in their lives" [emphasis added] (Ibid., p.10).
Pastor Sadler refers to those who received the Jewish epistles as "kingdom saints", and he says that once saved they could not lose their salvation:
"While there are those who believe the kingdom saints could lose their salvation, we are not of that number" (Sadler, "The Life and Letters of the Apostle Peter", The Berean Searchlight, August, 2002, p.10).
If words have any meaning then we can understand that Pastor Sadler teaches that once the "kingdom saints" believed the Word of God then at that moment they were saved and they could not lose that salvation. That leaves no place for "works" of any kind contributing to their salvation in any way. That completely contradicts Pastor Sadler's assertion that "faith and works were required for salvation" in regard to the same kingdom saints.