8-1-3 The Megiddo Mission
While debates can clarify issues, they can also confuse them. When one of the protagonists does not have a clear answer for a point, they will often seek to distract the audience from seeing the power of a good argument. We often call this " throwing dust in the air."
Accordingly, the rebuttals will be more useful if one keeps in sharp focus the following pertinent facts.
1. Megiddo Mission's foundation ‑ this debate concerns the doctrine that led to the formation of Megiddo Mission as a separate denomination. The teaching was first promulgated by their founder, L.T. Nichols in 1880.
Following is the pertinent section of a biography of Mr. Nichols. Prior to 1880, Mr. Nichols " preached, practiced and enforced a religion of doing, so that the standard of conduct in his ecclesia was always in marked contrast with the more lax behavior [in Megiddo's opinion] of other groups. Yet there was [in Nichols' teaching up to this point the idea that] there was some efficacy in water baptism to wash away past sins; some vague, mysterious [according to Megiddo Mission] virtue in the sacrifice of Calvary, some loophole in the wall of salvation to let in the well intentioned but imperfect believer. If a man believed and was baptized, should Christ come the next day or he die that night, he would be ready, regardless of his past life."
In 1880, Mr. Nichols faced his followers " with a confession of past error and the most stupendous proposition offered to men since the Seventh Century..When Jesus said, 'Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect,' (Nichols) told them, He meant just that and no less: the perfect ordering of every aspect of one's moral life and conduct...No man could be saved apart from knowing and keeping every commandment of God...
" With the great foundation stone laid bare and swept clean, the temple could now grow in an orderly manner. The Reformation had begun!"
This fundamental view came through clearly in Megiddo Mission's opening statement in such phrases as: " the basis of our salvation is indeed our own life of obedience and virtue before God...there is no suggestion of any efficacy to be derived from Christ's literal death...where is any need for the sacrifice of Christ?"
2. Megiddo believes baptism is unnecessary ‑ " we take the position that water baptism is not necessary or commanded for today" is the Megiddo statement in their correspondence course, " Understanding the Bible."
3. We believe a person can fall away from the grace of God through denial of the faith or flagrant misbehavior. This is a prominent element of our first principle teaching and of our exhortations.
4. Figures of speech are founded on reality. That is certainly true in the Bible and is consistently the case in everyday speech. For example, a steamship is spoken of as " sailing" because ships once used sails. A wooden wall will be spoken of as " paper thin" because paper is very thin.
In the Bible, deliverance from the fatal control of sin is spoken of as " redemption," because the Israelitish slaves were redeemed from the fatal control of Egyptian bondage. And sharing in the benefits of Christ's sacrifice is spoken of as " eating his flesh" because the flesh of animal sacrifices was eaten. The existence of figures of speech, therefore, does not negate the fact of an underlying reality.