16 May 2007

Dealing Biblically with apostasy

by Dan Phillips

[This is the longer (!) post that was promised/threatened HERE. That post is foundational to this; if you haven't read it, please do.]

One of my life-themes is that I keep being surprised by what should no longer surprise me.

When a question is asked and answered, it still surprises me that the answer is not received, if it is disliked. When an issue is clear-cut and the implications huge, folks who don't like it still find ways to cloud it up. The spirit of Elymas still lives.

Take, for instance, Mormonism. With the Presidential candidacy of Mitt Romney, Mormonism continues its march to the spotlight. For years I have been amazed at the many who will sell their reasoning processes to make the "Mormonism is Christian" argument. Goodness, folks, it isn't rocket science. Just to take one point:
Religion A = there is only one true God
Religion B = there are many true gods
Given the fundamental nature of the definition of God, can these possibly be compatible religions? But many of us have friends who are Mormon, and once again, as I discussed last week, sentiment overrules Scripture, and folks end up thinking what they want to think because they want to think it. "A scoffer seeks wisdom and finds none, But knowledge is easy to one who has understanding" (Proverbs 14:6).

Yet we have self-(and-oft)-proclaimed evangelical Hugh Hewitt, who recently denied that Mormonism is a cult, after fabricating his own definition of the word. This isn't terribly surprising, since Hewitt is obviously sadly muddled (for instance) about Roman Catholicism, proclaiming himself an Evangelical Roman Catholic Presbyterian. So Hewitt's addle-headedness on Mormonism cannot be too surprising; what is surprising is that Evangelicals respect his opinion on spiritual matters, and keep buying his books.

On Roman Catholicism, I'm not going to reinvent the wheel here at Pyro. Unlike too many today, we do not functionally pretend that the Reformation never happened. We do not proceed as if it were a mistake. We know why it happened, we celebrate it, and we've learned from it. We're not (as it were) 10/30/1517 Christians. We know that the Biblical doctrine of justification by faith alone through grace alone in Christ alone is (A) central, (B) pivotal, and (C) at irreconcilable with Rome's "gospel."

Our Bibles still have Galatians 1:6-10 and 5:4, and we still believe them.

So what happens when a professed Evangelical such as Dr. Francis Beckwith, whom perhaps we have grown to trust, like, and admire, becomes a Roman Catholic?

If Beckwith had become a Buddhist, a Hindu, or a Mormon, would any hesitate to call it apostasy? But he has now identified himself with an institution who is on-record as opposed to the Biblical Gospel. Is the Gospel no longer an essential issue, if we really like the person who forsakes it?

Suppose the revert were not Beckwith. Suppose it was some obscure nobody, or some disliked figure. Would we so hesitate to use the word in his or her case?

Is it not apostasy, when the person involved is someone we really like?

This has never been merely an academic issue for me. Years ago, I accidentally (=providentially) was sent an email from a dear, Christian friend. This man's intellectual firepower was to mine as that of the Sun is to a wooden match. A wet wooden match.

Not knowing that the email hadn't been meant for me, I read it. To my utter horror, in it my friend expresses the sentiment that he was toying with the idea of becoming a Roman Catholic.

When this friend had earlier left an evangelical church for an Episcopalian church, I had expressed alarm and concern. I had said, sharing my real concern semi-humorously, "First step, Canterbury; next step, Rome; next step, Hell."

"Bud" assured me that no such thing would happen, that this church had deepened his love for God, and his earnestness to spread the Gospel.

And now "Bud" was telling a Roman Catholic that he was thinking of becoming one, himself. That was what had become of his evangelistic zeal.

So how could I respond? Given my deep affection, should I alter reality, "massage" the facts, to accommodate his choices? Would that honor God? Would it help my friend?

I wrote him right away, in deep concern and alarm. This, in part and slightly edited, is what I wrote him:
I'll be blunt, as love would (I think) require: When I hear a Christian say he's considering becoming a Roman Catholic, I hear him saying that he is considering leaving Jesus Christ.

Nor does that arise from ignorance (though every Roman Catholic invariably charges anyone who voices critical thoughts of Rome with ignorance). There may be ignorant, saved Roman Catholics. Still, for someone to have tasted of the fruits of the genuine Gospel, and to turn his back to take on the shackles of such an anti-Christ sect (as Hebrews 6:1-4 describes that tasting and turning)... I can find little comfort to offer, or hold to myself.

So since I've barged on friendship this far, I shall barge yet further.

If you asked me, I'd say, _____, for your sake and your family's, do leave the Episcopalian church. But don't leave it for Rome; leave it for God. Find a church, a little obscure church with 47 people in it, or a large thriving one with 4700 people, but a church that preaches the pure and unvarnished Word of God, without fancy trappings and encrustations. If you want culture, go to the museum twice a month. Buy a CD. But go to church to hear Christ and His Word proclaimed, without fetters or trappings.

There you have my heart for you. If you're angered, I'll be sad, and you should go ahead and hammer away. But my love for you, what, ___ years strong and still going, requires I speak my heart plainly to you.

Again I say, if I can be of any use to you whatever, please don't hesitate to let me know.
We exchanged some further correspondence. He asked me, since I was a Calvinist, what I would make of (say) a woman who had a "verifiable" born-again experience, had attended Bible Study, and basically gave every impression of being a Christian for 15-20 years — and then became a Roman Catholic. Was that person leaving Christ? Did she lose her salvation? How could I square that with my Calvinism? I replied in part:
Calvinism or not, it is the teaching of Christ that none of His sheep ever perish (John 10:28), and I accept that on His authority. But I affirm Hebrews 6:1-4 as well, and find it a terrifying warning. But it is not a warning of losing salvation; it is a warning of being all but saved, of hearing the Word of God repeatedly, of giving outward acquiescence (as unconverted Simon did, in Acts 8) of even participating in the life of the Church outwardly and giving every indication of spiritual reality to the outward eye, and yet of turning out not to have been truly saved at all.

It is well-said in Hebrews 3:14 -- "For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end,...." Note the tense: "We have become [abidingly and at some point in the past; perfect tense] partakers of Christ if we hold...steadfast [at the present moment; aorist subjunctive] until the end." So the indication of past salvation is present reality. The converse would clearly be, "For we have NOT become partakers of Christ if we FAIL TO hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end."

Imaginative lad that you are, you could pummel me with a thousand situational questions. Let's try just to stick with the teaching of the text and the specific situation at hand. What if I knew someone such as you describe, who left Jesus Christ to join himself to the monstrous Roman Catholic church? What would I conclude? I would conclude that it may be that I was mistaken about that person's spiritual reality -- as ELEVEN of the apostles themselves were indeed mistaken about ONE of their number, until he revealed his true colors. I would fear for that person's soul, and abandon all assurance of his or her salvation. I would give a clear and unambiguous call to him or her to repent, to leave off the seductive and ornate rationalizations of heresy, and to cling to Jesus Christ alone.

And if someone insisted, "Oh, I am! I cling to Him by taking to myself all these layers and layers of myth and symbolism and pageantry, and by sacrificing Him again and again in this beautiful Mass, and by loading myself with endless reams of notions never found in, and in fact ruled out by, the Word of God!", then I would be left with a choice, wouldn't I?

My choice would be: do I stand with the Word of God, or do I cast it all aside at my friend's word?

To ask that one is, surely, to answer it. And how could I help my friend if I countenanced his or her apostasy, or pretended that it was but one choice of many possible good choices? How would that be being a friend? How would that be any attempt to carry out Jude 23?
My friend stopped writing me.

My question then is my question now: how do we help anyone by lying to him? Were I a doctor, surely I would rather tell my patient that he has a benign cyst, than a malignant, cancerous tumor. But if I do, he will not know his danger, he will not seek the right cure.

Is it really about him? Or is it about making me feel better about the situation?

Apostasy is apostasy, no matter who commits it. Telling the truth in love is the only Christian option. That, and mourning, humbling ourselves and doubling our self-watch against our own inner apostate, and praying for God's convicting, converting, restoring, saving mercy towards our friend's imperiled soul.

But to hold out false hope and sentimental ameliorations, when what should be expressed is vivid and fearful alarm (cf. Galatians 1:6; 4:19-20; 3:1f.; Hebrews 3:12-13; 10:26-31; Jude 22-23, etc.)?

Ah, there's the crime.

Dan Phillips's signature

100 comments:

WayneDawg said...

I don't know if you heard this the other dau or not, but after the Al Sharpton said that Mitt Romney did not believe in the 'right' God, Romney told reporters that Sharpton was a bigot.

A bigot? If Romney gets elected president, there will be a sense of legitimacy of the Mormon religion being Christian.

donsands said...

" So the indication of past salvation is present reality."

Present reality is where we need to look, not back to a day and time when I said a prayer or walked to a preacher, though that surely could be a fine memory.

This was an excellent teaching. Very edifying. Gracias mi amigo.

Even So... said...

For us to shrink from doing our duty in such matters is to acquiesce to the antichrist...

Tom Chantry said...

Outstanding!

DJP said...

Let me say at the outset that, while I have my pretty definite thoughts about Romney's candidacy, this post is not in any way about (A) that, or (B) the thought of a Mormon being elected president.

Let's please not go down that path.

DJP said...

Let me add this framing comment, at this early stage.

Alert readers will note that I've said nothing about things of which I know nothing. (I commend the same to you.)

I don't read minds, hearts or souls. My own is oft-illegible mystery enough.

I am saying that if Institution A is apostate, and Person B — with full access to centuries of Biblical analysis — declares himself to be in full communion with Institution A, he has willingly identified himself with an apostate organization.

The short way of saying that is that he has committed apostasy.

Saying "I have reservations and my own definitions about this and that," when the institution you've identified yourself with very loudly and vocally insists that you have no right to personal reservations and definitions, in fact PRIDES itself on authoritarian uniformity, is to no good or telling effect.

Hope that helps us stay on-track.

Daryl said...

Your article really brings the disciples words, "Lord, is it I?" home with crushing importance.

I am overwhelmed with the seriousness of the issue and at the same time, His power to keep even me.

Libbie said...

I wrote about my difficulties in a post on my blog about 'Being unable to rejoice' when a friend of mine converted to Roman Catholicism. I caught a lot of flak from that post.

But I tried to remain honest with the friend, and while she didn't accept what I said, she accepted that what I said was with the very best intentions for her, and not because of hate or ignorance.

We remain close friends, and though we differ on a great many things, and have moments where thing remain a little difficult, we both value the relationship because we are totally honest with each other. Both of us sincerely believe the other person to be in error about this issue - but we can still communicate with honesty and friendship.

If we had fudged the issue, then I'm fairly sure we would not still be as good friends, because there would be no basis for honesty. It would have been one of those false nod-and-smile relationships, and what good is that?

jsb said...

I'm glad you're discussing this, Dan. It's an issue I'm still grappling with. Query: Is it possible that even within the Catholic church there is a remnant? I ask based on the following comment by Calvin:

"Still, as in ancient times, there remained among the Jews certain special privileges of a Church, so in the present day we deny not to the Papists those vestiges of a Church which the Lord has allowed to remain among them amid the dissipation....Therefore, while we are unwilling simply to concede the name of Church to the Papists, we do not deny that there are churches among them." (Inst. IV ii)

Again, your thoughts are appreciated.

DJP said...

That, Libbie, plus now you've told her the truth. You don't have on your soul that you held back for personal feelings or convenience. She can't say, "No one ever warned me!"

What God and the other person does with the truth we tell is not ultimately "on us." But telling it, is.

Daryl said...

jsb...

If I may...

James White discusses you question as at various points. He points out that there is a world of difference between being saved while in the Roman church and remaining there; and being saved elsewhere and then seeking out the Roman church.
I would expect that the church within the Roman church did not seek her out, but came to the knowledge of the truth while there, and simply remained for whatever reason.

centuri0n said...

JSB:

That is a GREAT question, and I offer you some place to put a stake in the ground.

I want you to think of three people, relative to the Roman Catholic church:

[1] A person who has never heard the Gospel but has read the book of Matthew which he received in a Bible from a Roman Catholic missionary. This person repents and is baptized, and because there is never another church around, lives and dies as a Roman Catholic.

[2] A person who is born into the Roman Catholic church and never really asks any questions about transsubstantiation or Mary or the Pope, but reads the book of John and repents of sin and seeks Christ. This person never encounters a Protestant because he lives in a region which is 98% Catholic, and dies inside Catholicism.

[3] A person who is, by all accounts, well-educated and informed and is Protestant. He has the ability to view all the facts of the Reformation and the Gospel and the teachings of Rome, and in spite of this, after a long period of consideration, renounces his view that Rome teaches a false Gospel and takes RCIA in order to come into communion with Rome.

In the first two cases, it is possible -- and perhaps likely -- that a person could be like this and have received Christ in spite of the setting in which he received Him. But in the last case, the best, most optimistic thing we can say about this person is that they are in grave error, and are rejecting truth for error, and are placing themselves in dire straits.

To sort of broaden this affirmation of him, even Doug Wilson has said that someone migrating from a sound Protestant denomination to the RCC is doing something with grave consequences -- and it is because this person is rejecting the truth which has been laid out before him. Wilson's view, of course, is that Rome is still a valid church by way of valid, trinitarian baptism -- but they are so full of other cuts at the Gospel, they have placed themselves on the "curse" side of the covenant. I list that here for those who would otherwise say, "well, you don't have to reject Rome as a false church because they still believe in the Triune God".

Like Dan, I have no business announcing if someone is "still saved" or not -- I have no way of knowing that kind of thing. But I -- and you -- have ample ability to know the difference between going home and going to a crack house.

Dan's admonition that we cannot let sentimentality rule our theology is spot-on, and it is also gut-wrenching. If you think being this kind of concerned is easy or fun, you have never had to do it yourself.

Hope that helps.

DJP said...

Daryl's thoughts are good ones, JSB; I'd certainly defer to James White's knowledge of the RCC in a heartbeat.

Illustration: I knew for instance of someone who was a pagan, witnessed to by a Christian friend, to no apparent effect. Some time later, she called him and said, "I don't know how to say this, but Jesus is Lord!" He said that was a pretty good way to say it.

Kicker: she'd become a Jehovah's Witness.

Post-kicker: when she was told the truth, she catapulted out of there.

So the Holy Spirit gave her "selective hearing" to what they were saying; what she heard isn't what they meant.

Does that give legitimacy to JWs and their doctrine? In no way.

Can there be an ignorant remnant? Who am I to say?

And then when someone who can make no claim to ignorance makes the decision to forsake the Gospel for Rome, does the hypothetical of an ignorant remnant make his case different or less alarming? Would the loving thing be to make him feel better about his atrocious decision, on the basis of a hypothetical, and in the face of the actual?

Suppose now that (God forbid) Ravi Zacharias or James White — or, to go 'way down the ladder, I — were to become a JW. Would that girl's story mean that they (we) had not committed apostasy? In no way. Different contexts.

I hope that clarifies rather than muddies.

centuri0n said...

In reference to that brief thought by Calvin, btw, what Calvin is saying is not, "I accept Rome as a valid expression of God's church."

Here's the balance of that passage which you cite:

The question we raise only relates to the true and legitimate constitution of the Church, implying communion in sacred rites, which are the signs of profession, and especially in doctrine. Daniel and Paul foretold that Antichrist would sit in the temple of God (Dan. 9:27; 2 Thess. 2:4); we regard the Roman Pontiff as the leader and standard-bearer of that wicked and abominable kingdom. By placing his seat in the temple of God, it is intimated that his kingdom would not be such as to destroy the name either of Christ or of his Church. Hence, then, it is obvious that we do not at all deny that churches remain under his tyranny; churches, however, which by sacrilegious impiety he has profaned, by cruel domination has oppressed, by evil and deadly doctrines like poisoned potions has corrupted and almost slain; churches where Christ lies half-buried, the gospel is suppressed, piety is put to flight, and the worship of God almost abolished; where, in short, all things are in such disorder as to present the appearance of Babylon rather than the holy city of God. In one word, I call them churches, inasmuch as the Lord there wondrously preserves some remains of his people, though miserably torn and scattered, and inasmuch as some symbols of the Church still remain—symbols especially whose efficacy neither the craft of the devil nor human depravity can destroy. But as, on the other hand, those marks to which we ought especially to have respect in this discussion are effaced, I say that the whole body, as well as every single assembly, want the form of a legitimate Church. [emphasis added]

That's a little more radical than one might interpret from the part which you supplied here, JSB.

philness said...

Dan,

What about the Billy Grahams and the Chuck Colsons of the world who stand in the ecumenical camp and exhibit sentimental theology by including Rome’s gospel of that of ours? Would you consider them apostate, even though they are not a Roman Catholic? They sure seem to be supporting Rome’s gospel. Where does one draw this apostasy line?

centuri0n said...

Without speaking for Dan -- and I honestly have to get back to work -- these guys are guilty of the sentimentalization of theology which Dan is really hammering on this week.

My opinion is that Colson and Graham both buckle to sentimentalism regarding Rome -- they have hardly joined to Rome, but they don't care if someone else does.

On the one hand, it's sort of a Mister Rogers approach to cooperation; on the other, it turns a blind eye to critical and necessary points of irreconcilability.

IMO. Dan?

Connie said...

Excellent post! I have grown weary of Christians defending RC family and friends out of "sentimentality"--believing they are being charitable. When in fact our love and compassion for the lost (and deceived) should compel us to lovingly caution and confront--THAT is the most charitable thing to do.

DJP said...

Yep, Frank: the very nicest one can say is mushy, wrongheaded, harmful sentimentalism.

jsb said...

Thanks daryl, Dan and Cent. I appreciate the feedback. I'm not making an argument here, just asking the question. I of course read the whole of Calvin's comment, and do not disagree with his view of the system as a whole; my only query was with regard to individual cases within the system.

Good discussion.

ajlin said...

djp:
Up 'til I read the sentence in the post: "How would that be any attempt to carry out Jude 23?"
I had been thinking, 'DJP should mention Jude 23!' Which, I guess, is no surprise, sense I'm currently reading MacArthur's Truth War.
So thank you Dan for hitting the nail on the head once again with the most relevant (in the true sense of the word) biblical text.

In regards to the counsel you offered your friend when he was in the Episcopal communion: What would you say to someone who decided to primarily attend a Presbyterian congregation, where the doctrines of grace were taught, but the Great Commission was disobeyed, as they were (of course) not immersing those who are made disciples, per Matt. 28:19.

centuri0n:
I thought your scenarios concerning Roman Catholicism were intriguing. They remind me of R.C. Sproul's teaching in regards to vincible vs. invincible ignorance.

Eriol said...

I have a question and it is not meant to be some insidious, baiting criticism of what you've written. I truly appreciate your concern, passion, and heart for people.

My question is this: After his conversion, Paul placed himself under vows and went back to the temple to offer sacrifices upon the fulfillment or completion of the vows. He purified himself (and four others, I think) and then observed seven days following the rite. He was also careful not to allow any Greeks with him to cross into the Courtyard of the Jews, not wanting to offend the Jews.

This, to me, seems to be far more egregious than a believer joining the Catholic Church. I know you would never question Paul's Damascus Road conversion based on his decades-later appearance in the Temple. But doesn't his present-day behavior negate the past experience? What do you do with Paul's behaviors since the embrace both the rituals, teachings, and behaviors of pre-Christ (in the sense of Him being the fulfillment of all the sacrifices) Judaism? Isn't this apostasy as you have defined it? Or am I missing something obvious?

Is being a Calvinistic Protestant now an evidentiary work testifying to the validity of one's salvation? How much correct doctrine does one have to know and (especially) live up to? If there is a certain "passing grade," I hope it is low because I know boat-loads more than I am able to live out. Should I question my own salvation? How can I know for sure that I am obedient enough to the knowledge I have accumulated - but not fully assimilated - over 32+ years of "being" a Christian (I italicized "being" because maybe I was, maybe I wasn't)?

Again, I do not mean this to be accusatory or (since this is TeamPyro) incendiary.

Thanks ahead of time.

Elizabeth at A Biblical Home said...

"So Hewitt's addle-headedness on Mormonism cannot be too surprising; what is surprising is that Evangelicals respect his opinion on spiritual matters, and keep buying his books."

This might be more surprising if Evangelicals as a group tended to more discerning regarding "Christian" books.

Tom Chantry said...

How much correct doctrine does one have to know and (especially) live up to?

Sorry, but this comment is completely off topic. How many times must the distinction be drawn between accepting biblical doctrine and rejecting it?

Can a person be saved without understanding Sola Fide? Probably. Can a person understand Sola Fide, consciously reject it, choose to place his own works before God as the means, and, frankly, the grounds of his justification and be saved? That's closer to the point. And Dan's answer (in both the post and the comment thread, for those who didn't bother to read the former) was essentially: I can't see the heart, but to reject the true gospel for a false one is foolishly dangerous.

centuri0n said...

eriol:

Let me be honest -- I grapple with Paul's circumcision of Timothy, and with his continuing practice of Jewish rites in his own day.

However, it seems to me to be explain by him in 1 Cor 8-9 when he explains how he becomes a servant to all men, not enslaved to their morals but observing them when he is engaging them. That's what he means when he goes off on "all things to all people" -- not that he enjoys the liberties of each group he encounters, but that he gives up something he may be entitled to when he encounters them in order to (eventually) share in the riches of the Gospel with them.

It's one thing to obey temple ritual in order to be in the temple in order to proclaim the end of the Temple. It is another entirely to say that the Temple is the right practice, the true practice, and the way to get to God in spite of the death and resurrection of Christ.

centuri0n said...

Elizabeth:

No kidding. You can't imagine how hard we try to sell people Piper's Don't Waste your Life here in the graduation season, and instead they'd rather buy a copy of Purpose-Driven Life.

Seriously. It makes me crazy.

centuri0n said...

ajlin:

I was actually paraphrasing James White on this topic, but the Sproul connection is totally legit.

DJP said...

Elizabeth--This might be more surprising if Evangelicals as a group tended to more discerning regarding "Christian" books.

Touché.

LeeC said...

Eriol,

If your comparison had weight, then the Law would have to be evil. Temple worship was instituted by God Himself for the people of Israel.

There are many other valid reasons why it was right for Paul to continue in Temple worship, but they are rooted in the unmentionable '"ispensationalism" *eek!*

LeeC said...

*mutters at this faulty keyboard and his own impatience*
You know what I meant to spell....

;-)

Rhology said...

Eriol,

Going to the Temple... how would that have changed the Gospel, as Rome has?

That's the key thing.

Tom Chantry said...

Ha! I thought you were avoiding the forbidden D-word. It was brilliant! Congratulate your keyboard for its sense of humor.

DJP said...

Lee--...they are rooted in the unmentionable '"ispensationalism" *eek!*

Here we say "rhymes-with-glispensationalism."

Libbie said...

'Ispensationalism'?

Is that really liking Aspen, but saying it in a clipped British accent?

Everyday Mommy said...

"That, and mourning, humbling ourselves and doubling our self-watch against our own inner apostate..."

Amen and amen. Excellent post, Dan.

Eriol said...

Maybe I'm just extremely obtuse - or not "reformed" enough - but other than Frank's response I don't see many answers to my question. Frank is on-target when he adduces Paul's all-things-to-all philosophy of ministry but he also says (I think in the same passage) that all things are lawful (though not all are profitable and none should enslave us). Does this mean that joining the RCC is lawful? (I would certainly not argue that it is profitable, given its aberrant teachings on various doctrines.)

Sorry, Tom, but my question regarding obedience was not "entirely off-topic," as you claim in order not to have to address the question. It is a natural and logical corollary to what Dan has written. It is not central but it is hardly "entirely off-topic."

leec wrote: "If your comparison had weight, then the Law would have to be evil. Temple worship was instituted by God Himself for the people of Israel."

If this is so, then explain the point Hebrews is trying to convey to the Jewish recipients of the letter. What is the point of ch. 10, and especially v. 18:

"Now where there is forgiveness of these things, there is no longer any offering for sin."

All sacrifices at the Temple required a blood or sin offering, including those involved in rites of purification. But Hebrews argues otherwise and issues a severe warning in 10.26-29.

Remember, though, that all of this is intended to be preparatory for the comparison of Paul's Temple behavior and that of a Christian who joins the Catholic church. It is an argument from the greater to the lesser, which, I believe, has biblical precedence.

Thanks, Frank, for your honesty. I'm glad I'm not the only one who hasn't figured it all out.

steve said...

Thanks for not flinching from what needed to be said.

The "glue" of sentimentalism is incapable of patching together two systems that, on the essentials of the gospel, are in opposition to one another.

Doug said...

Here we say "rhymes-with-glispensationalism."

Glispensationalism-Schmispensationalism

Tom Chantry said...

The reason I don't have to address your question is that it has been answered over and over again. There is a distinction between one person knowingly rejecting a central biblical truth and another person being unclear on what that truth is. Thus the question "How much do you have to understand to be saved?" has nothing to do with what is being discussed here.

And that's all I took issue with in your post. The question of Paul at the temple is an intriguing one. More than one line of thought about that has been subsequently developed in this thread.

But in all of that, I don't want this to be missed: Dan specifically clarified that he was talking about the knowing rejection of gospel truth, and he clearly wrote that he cannot see into a persons heart, yet you in your response asked, "Is being a Calvinistic Protestant now an evidentiary work testifying to the validity of one's salvation? How much correct doctrine does one have to know and (especially) live up to?"

What I see in those sentences is a pair of insinuations: first, that Dan endeavored to personally seize the keys of the kingdom and lock out everyone not in his denomination (which he clearly didn't do), and secondly, that "Calvinistic Protestants" have devised a complex doctrinal litmus test which one can fail through mere ignorance of complex doctrines.

Neither is true, and their insinuation can only serve to muddy the waters so much that the point of the original post is missed - namely, that certain things are taught in Scripture as gospel truths, and that to knowingly reject these things is dangerous to the soul.

chris818 said...

Question for you guys...

I have been recently called to an SBC church without a music minister. The church's interim solution involves using a praise team to share the Sunday morning responsibilites. I just found out this week that one of the team is not a church member and on top of that he is Catholic and refuses to join the church. Compounding the problem is that he is the husband of the interim worship coordinator whom the church adores.

So, how do I deal with this mess?

Daryl said...

eriol...

Is it possible that the primary difference there is that real Christianity is a fulfillment or completion of Judaism while the RCC is a completely new animal from Christianity.
Even in Judaism (real Old Testament Judaism the way God intended it) salvation was by grace through faith, so it seems to me at least possible that Pauls actions fall under that of a different style of worship, while joining the RCC clearly indicates not just a different style of worship but a different gospel altogether.
If Paul was entering into the temple to offer a sin offering, rather an offering related to his vow, that would be another thing.

philness said...

Chris818,

Sounds like you have been called to win this guy to the Lord. So get your RCC learn on and go forth into the SBC fold and do the Lord proud. And try to weed out those Arminian songs along the way every chance you get.

Rhology said...

Eriol,

Did I not ask you specifically how going to the Temple invalidates the Gospel as Rome has done?


Chris818,

Ouch. Sounds like the Methodist church where I grew up - the praise team coordinator is so liberal I would hesitate to call him a Christian at all and the rest of the team (including my brother) are widely involved in immoral living. It's gotta be cleaned up; you might be the guy/girl to do it. Praise God...but it may not be an immediate thing. A good friend is a pastor in a small Okla town and he has bided his time to build up credibility w/ the congregation before, building up a love for the Word there, before moving towards the plurality-of-elders church govt' question and the we're-OK-w/-lukewarm-folk- Christianity question. Sometimes guns a-blazin' isn't as effective as the concealed dagger of the Word.

Tim said...

But, but ... I thought grizzly bears were our friends!

Eriol said...

Tom wrote:

"The reason I don't have to address your question is that it has been answered over and over again."

Sorry, I must have missed it. Can you tell me where in the original post or comments that question was answered? If I have genuinely missed it, I apologize. But if there is an "entrance exam" (testing knowledge of all that has been written here in the past) that one must take and pass before posting here, then I confess I did not see, take, or (apparently) pass it.

Also,

"What I see in those sentences is a pair of insinuations: first, that Dan endeavored to personally seize the keys of the kingdom and lock out everyone not in his denomination (which he clearly didn't do), and secondly, that "Calvinistic Protestants" have devised a complex doctrinal litmus test which one can fail through mere ignorance of complex doctrines."

You apparently are able to judge the motives of my heart despite what I said in my first comment, i.e.,

"I have a question and it is not meant to be some insidious, baiting criticism of what you've written."

and

"Again, I do not mean this to be accusatory or (since this is TeamPyro) incendiary."

The latter was even an attempt at friendly humor.

I think you confuse mirrors and insinuations. I am an iconoclast and routinely examine my own and others' most cherished dogmatisms in the mirror of the Bible. I am doing no more or less here. If I am charged with seeking truth, I plead guilty.

Further, I was not limiting my question to "Calvinistic Protestants," a group of which I am a part. A lot of denominations have shibboleths (sp?) for what constitutes saving faith and what does not. We are no different and deceive ourselves if we don't allow for that possibility.

Finally, the logical conclusion of this post is that Francis Beckwith is not and never was saved. Dan does not say so explicitly but is it not implied? Especially statements like,

"Suppose the revert were not Beckwith. Suppose it was some obscure nobody, or some disliked figure. Would we so hesitate to use the word [apostasy] in his or her case?"

So, Tom, thanks for your response. But I think you have misjudged me. I take no offense, though, since this medium is notorious for communicating vagueness and eisogetical readings of posts and comments alike. Which I have certainly done and, even now, may be doing.

Dan is strangely silent. Has he dismissed me because of a prior "altercation"? If so, I am one dead messenger. Which would be paradoxical since our theologies are so frightfully similar.

DJP said...

chris818—I'll use the luxury of it not being my situation to pound the table and opinionate. (Well, you did ask.)

First, an aside to the masses... why is the music portion so often seen as an exception to everything else? It's supposedly so critical, yet the standards go right out the window.

Wasn't it J. Vernon McGee who said that, when Satan fell out of Heaven, he landed in the choir loft?

But I digress.

Second, can a person who is either an unbeliever or an openly and stubbornly rebellious believer participate in worship, let alone lead it in some way?

Doesn't the answer to that question answer your question?

I am, BTW, UNALTERABLY opposed to the notion of asking an unbeliever or an openly rebellious believer to lead something in church, in the hopes that the experience will "do him some good."

Sharon said...

chris818: . . . one of the team is not a church member and on top of that he is Catholic and refuses to join the church. . . .

Working in music ministry myself (28 years at the same church and still going strong, by God's grace), I have seen examples of this in other church music ministries. There is no question, a non-Christian should never be leading worship! Do a biblical study sometime, and see how many times God warns against offerings given by those who are not His.

The time to deal with this is NOW. The longer you wait, the more difficult and awkward it will be to deal with the issue.

God is more pleased with a cappella singing that He is with a worship leader with an insincere heart. Better to use one pianist with a passion for the Lord, than a whole rock 'n' roll band whose motivation is performance over ministry.

Tom Chantry said...

Well, I don't know why Dan isn't responding. Probably he's busy with his real-world job. But if I were Dan, I wouldn't want to talk with you either.

Dan: Alert readers will note that I've said nothing about things of which I know nothing. (I commend the same to you.)
I don't read minds, hearts or souls. My own is oft-illegible mystery enough.
I am saying that if Institution A is apostate, and Person B — with full access to centuries of Biblical analysis — declares himself to be in full communion with Institution A, he has willingly identified himself with an apostate organization.


Eriol: Finally, the logical conclusion of this post is that Francis Beckwith is not and never was saved. Dan does not say so explicitly but is it not implied?

See, the thing is, when you go around accusing someone of implying something after they explicitly said, "Don't pretend I said that," you shouldn't expect them to engage you in polite discussion. It really doesn't matter how many pleasantries you include in your post. You're still ignoring what he said and slaying the strawman of what he didn't say.

DJP said...

Eriol: simple—

1. I think you've been answered, and answered well. I've nothing to add.

2. If you wanted answers, you're done. If you just want to argue, I don't want to feed it.

DJP said...

BTW, Tom, if I ever need a spokesman, expect a call. You do an EXCELLENT job. Seriously.

And Sharon — we tag-teamed! Posted the same essential thought, the same minute! How cool is that?

chris818 said...

Thanks for the advice and encouragement. It certainly is not that I don't know the right thing... I am just praying for the wisdom and fortitude to do it in a loving way.

Rhology said...

Speaking of Eriol and things not responded to...

Eriol said...

Well, there is no lack of intellectual rigidity here. (You know, the old saw: "some minds are like concrete - all mixed up and permanently set." I, too, am "mixed up" about peripheral things of God but, fortunately, am not "set." I expect to learn something when I get to heaven; perhaps others do not.)

It doesn't seem possible to have a civil discourse about something, with the goal of learning or thinking outside our theological (not Scriptural - the former is errant, the latter is not) boxes. If iron sharpens iron, there are a lot of dull blades here. Or maybe some can only bring a knife to a sword fight.

If I am to be vilified or silenced, I can stamp the dogmatic dust off my feet and get on down the road where people want to know God more and understand Him more deeply. That doesn't seem to be the case with some (but not all) of you here.

A system of theology that cannot withstand scrutiny is not worth having. But small minds (I was going to say "anal retentive," but that has a negative connotation - even though it is accurate in this case) demand answers and cannot tolerate questions.

Again, thank you, Frank, for trying to interact rationally. You may toss me out with the rest of the "apostates" and "heretics" but at least you made a sincere effort to interact peacefully. I wish you well.

I'll let the rest of you get back to talking to yourselves.

And, Dan, it would be nice to see you fight your own battles. But we all do what we can, eh?

Sorry for the intrusion.

Sharon said...

Dan: Sharon — we tag-teamed! Posted the same essential thought, the same minute! How cool is that?

Amazing "coincidence," isn't it?
;-)

Chris818: I am just praying for the wisdom and fortitude to do it in a loving way.

My prayers will be with you as you deal with this difficult but critical issue. Remember, God is glorified when He is obeyed!

Tom Chantry said...

Boy, that's right out of the playbook, isn't it? Having ignored the important caveats in the post and the thread, and having implied things which were explicitly denied, and having broadly insinuated that any degree of doctrinal certitude is a sign of spiritual arrogance ("intellectual rigidity" anyone?), Eriol bows out with a complaint that Dan won't take him seriously.

Self-inflicted martyrdom abounds in our day.

DJP said...

chris818—well, a tactful way to approach it might be the way I commend approaching the communion issue.

I've introduced communion by saying words to this effect: "If you are here and you do not know Christ, you may think that eating these elements might help you in some way. The truth is that they would not help you right now. In fact, they would hurt you. These are reserved for people who already have a relationship with Jesus Christ by saving faith. So we invite you to Jesus, and would love to help you find him. But for now, please refrain"

So I might go along those lines. Something like, "You understand, as a church we are constrained to operate according to our Biblical convictions, and by those convictions, we believe it is actually harmful for you to be in a position of leading worship. But we'd love to be of any service we could to you in beginning a relationship with Jesus."

Is there any germ of an idea in there that you can use?

steve said...

Eriol wrote: It doesn't seem possible to have a civil discourse about something, with the goal of learning or thinking outside our theological (not Scriptural - the former is errant, the latter is not) boxes.

Eriol, the fact you've completely ignored a couple key points Dan made in his post--and that Tom took the time to clarify what you overlooked--is what has made civil discourse impossible. You say we should be willing to learn or think outside our theological boxes. That's fine, but such discourse becomes impossible when you insist on putthing Dan in a box he was never in to begin with.

Rhology said...

Eriol says:
You are incapable of civil discourse.

[Snort]
Show me one uncivil comment towards you.

threegirldad said...

Eriol said:
[rant snipped]

[sigh] Next up on the blogging software wish list (after the Reading Comprehension test): a counterpart to the UNIX newsgroup kill file...

centuri0n said...

eriol:

No, I don't think joining the Catholic church is "lawful". There's no question that Paul, with no spoon full of sugar to help the medicine go down, rejected the idea that in order to accept Christ one ought to become a Jew by circumcision. We can't really say (for the sake of the homeschool moms) what his full-throated response was to that except by the euphamism that he wished they'd just keep cutting until the job was done.

That's pretty serious: you don't join something which is corrupting the Gospel in order to spread the Gospel. period.

But in that, He was already himself a Jew. You know: the Reformers did not start the Reformation by writing the WCF or the Second Belgic confession: they wrote those things after Rome had tossed them out with the anathemas of Trent. When Rome did that, it sealed its own fate.

Think about this: even if we table the chatter over whether Rome has capitulated on sola Fide and sola Gratia, any decent Protestant is anathema if he advocates for 66 books in the Bible, denies that Mary was assumed into Heaven bodily, or rejects that the Pope has ever been or is now infallible.

Those anathemas have not been taken back. That means that the number of books in the Bible is, for the Catholic, as essential a matter as the resurrection of Christ. It means that, for the Catholic, belief in the infallibility of the Pope -- as impossible as that doctrine is to either define or explain -- is as essential as the resurrection of Christ. It means that anyone who thinks Mary is not bodily in Heaven today with Christ, interceding for the sake of the church, has rejected a truth as essential as the resurrection of Christ.

This is not a small thing. This is not a minor disagreement. I find it hard to fathom those who would make it so -- or paint Paul as somehow wobbly on the matter of adding to the Gospel.

Gator1995 said...

Dan-

I began teaching on Foundations of the Christian Faith a while back. We started comparing Mormonism with the Fundamentals of the Christian Faith and how they do not fit. One of the members has a Mormon sister- and what you and other have said- mixing "I Thinkism" with 'their' Christianity.

The bottom line that I come back to- "It doesn't matter what I or you think. What does the Bible say?" But some refuse to accept it and continue on calling them 'Christians'.

We cannot serve God and Mammon. Ecumenicalism is Mammon. Can't serve both.

When we compare the non-negotiables of the Christian Faith and compare them with any 'faith', it is clear that Mormons cannot agree on the most basic tenents (if they are honest with their faith)

Catholics as well have a hard time agreeing with some of these basics as well, for example they cannot honestly affirm Sola Scriptura: they have 'Triune Scriptura', (one of which is the infallability of the Pope's decrees and edicts)

It may seem 'Intolerant', but the "Narrow Gate" is pretty Intolerant as well.

chris818 said...

Dan -

I know you are very busy, so I am greatly appreciative of your time and advice.

Yes, that is indeed helpful. I guess I am dreading the inevitiable fallout which is causing me to hesitate.

He actually professes to be a believer. He just does not see the need to be baptized and join the church (which he finds no evidence for in the NT... the church membership part that is).

Anyway, I guess it is time to stop whining and do what needs to be done.

DJP said...

Well, then, he doesn't need to be leading worship (or anything else) in your church.

Otherwise, it's just performing.

Trinian said...

You know, a well-struck match can wield far more power than any star, especially since the "stars" in our world always seem to be way out in space somewhere.
This article has given me a lot to think about. Thank you.

DJP said...

Let me just compliment you guys. The post touches on a number of controversial areas, very hijackable; yet you've kept the flow of comments "within the lines," and I appreciate it.

Of course, I know the day is young....

(c;

Daryl said...

Trinian,

Just curious, would a match made in heaven be a Calvinistic match?

Carrie said...

Dan,

I left a comment saying "excellent post" but Frank must have deleted it.

So I will try again. Great post.

Daryl said...

Guys (all of you Pyromaniacs),

It's posts like this that have not only kept me reading your blog but have really helped to drive me back to Scripture.

Thanks for being faithful.

DJP said...

CarrieI left a comment saying "excellent post" but Frank must have deleted it.

He does that a lot. Thanks for persevering.

(c;

Sewing said...

Amen to what Daryl wrote. I'm still not sure if I'm a five-point, five-sola kind of guy (having only recently been reborn in Christ and still working on the essentials before worrying about the exact mechanism by which God saved me), but even if I'm off by one or two points or think that one sola might be a prima, I thank the Holy Spirit that through the three of you, the Lord has given us such spiritual and intellectual nourishment—nay, sustenance—day after day.

lawrence said...

very good post...it's very easy to call random Stranger who you don't know apostate...it's totally different when Stranger is someone's close friend...very convicting post.

Kevin Rhyne said...

Frank,

Like Dan, I have no business announcing if someone is "still saved" or not -- I have no way of knowing that kind of thing. But I -- and you -- have ample ability to know the difference between going home and going to a crack house.

I think that sums up this post in a nutshell.

Sewing said...

...Or the difference between reading a book and watching the Hollywood production of the book?

Sewing said...

So putting it all together, Frank and Dan have a vendetta against Arminian animal-lovers who want to dress comfortably. Have I got that right?

And what's with the picture of the duck? Diving in? Crossing a bridge?

Sewing said...

Ah. That's a bridge over the Tiber River, isn't it? (Last frivolous comment.)

DJP said...

Pause your mouse over the picture of the duck.

Sewing said...

Heh...too subtle for me! I just figured you'd mentioned a Mr. Webb or Ms. Duckworth in the article, and I had somehow missed the reference.

The Medieval Dog said...

What a good and timely article. Thanks for the non-compromising stance of Pyromaniacs and all your 'hot commentary'. I came across this site about six months ago and it is a weekly boost to my faith!

Steve
Missionary in Asia

donsands said...

'Steve
Missionary in Asia'

God bless you brother. Keep on.

Paul D said...

I don't mean to be argumentative at this late a date (16 hours late!).

I think the discussion on apostasy is one of the clearest I've seen. So thank you for that. I also can appreciate the difference of being a Roman Catholic that is saved in the RCC and those that forsake the lessons of the reformation to realign themselves with the RCC. My parents were both saved out of the RCC, so I know the issues.

But much of the criticism expressed here has been centered on the RCC and it is assuming that the RCC is actually homogeneous in doctrine and practice. But this is perhaps a naive understanding. Just as there are some local churches within the PCUSA who are not for homosexual marriage, there are some in the RCC that aren't so keen on much of what the RCC is. I know a catholic monsignor who is about as evangelistic as you could like. He was saved through the Catholic church and still ministers to and through them. I worked with many from his parish who were true brothers and sisters, understanding the issues of the RCC but still holding hope for change.

~Mark said...

As much as I am blessed by visiting this blog, I'm really going to have to limit myself to a couple of visits per week. Every time I come here I get challenged about something and I have to pray for strength to step forward in that challenge in whatever way He wishes!

I'd say thank you but right now you're (you PyroManiacs) are like the big brother who, everytime I think I'm so close, shows me that it's a little farther and dares me to go the distance.

;)

DJP said...

Paul D — thanks for a fine question. Here are my thoughts:

Do we accept the proposition that organizations stand for things? And that membership in those organizations indicates support for those things?

Now, I warn you, my example will be offensive. Feel offended if you like, but please do think about it.

Might there be members of NAMBLA who are not, themselves, pederasts? Does that make membership in NAMBLA morally insignificant?

It isn't as if a president of the ETS has not had endless opportunity to be aware of the Biblical issues involved.

Besides, let me add this (which I stressed earlier): the RCC itself prides itself on uniformity. We know that's nonsense, but that (they imagine) is one of their big selling-points. You've heard it: there are 498,206,169 Protestant denominations, while there's just one glorious big happy RCC.

Now, they can't have it both ways. They can't say, "Come to Rome, we're all unified!", and then when their official and institutional apostasy is pointed out, say, "Come to Rome, you can think whatever you want!"

Cindy said...

How can you hold any hope to change in the Roman Catholic Church when it is Satan's domain as it says in Rev 17?

Yes, God has been merciful and gracious to save some out of that corrupt and evil system and I am sure He will continue to do so, but the core of catholicism is evil because it is Satan's counterfeit and it is FOOLS GOLD!

DJP said...

Friendly reminders to trolls and others:

1. Read the blog rules
2. Keep the blog rules
3. Read the post you're going to comment on, as well as the comments. That will help prevent you from making a fool of yourself by laying something down that has already been dealt with.

(I'm having to do more deleting than I'd rather.)

Cindy said...

djp you are more than welcome to delete my comment.......I am just sorry you can not accept the TRUTH.

DJP said...

Huh?

Paul D said...

djb,
I understand your point...and I'm not saying that the official position of an organization matters...it does. Even if individual members do not support that official position, they wear that position around along with their membership regardless. I just find it a grace of God that these dissonant individuals exist and we can call them true brother and sister since they love Jesus and believe that it is by faith and not works and not be praying to Mary or any of the other truly brutal theological positions the official RCC holds

I find this reality as a grace from God and we can take joy in it even as we see the greater body of RCC as apostate.

Rebecca said...

So what are some resources on what all is wrong with the Catholic Church? In reading the original post, I could have thought Dan's friend and mine were one in the same. Providentially, I guess it's possible that his situation was to help me later down the road in mine.

What is so wrong with the Catholic Church. In my heart, I know that it is wrong. I have about a year until I will be faced with this person regularly, and he is a dear dear friend. I do not want to think of him being an apostate. But I tremble as it appears to be the case. He is very skilled in debate, and I need to figure out now why I believe RCC is quite possibly the whore of babylon. I knew it more at one point. Please help me refresh.

Thank you in advance!!

DJP said...

Rebecca, a friend recommends James White's Roman Catholic Controversy and Mary: Another Redeemer. I'm told R. C. Sproul has a good one, but I don't know the title.

David said...

Here are a few helpful books on this topic.

Is the Reformation Over? Phil Johnson tackles this question head on...

YnottonY said...

Hi Dan (DJP) and Tom Chantry,

I've appreciated both of your posts. Some terrific comments and important distinctions have been made. I thought that maybe both of you might be interested in checking out the following posts.

1) In this post, I make some distinctions regarding Affirmation and Denial with respect to essential doctrines.

2) In this post, I interact with a graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary on the Beckwith situation, the essential status of Sola Fide doctrine and how it must not be DENIED.

I'm particularly interested in what you both think with regard to the second post above. I think many people have been trapped into thinking that one must affirm sola fide in order to be saved. If that's the case, then that may incline one to condemn many in the early church. So, instead of condemning early church fathers, they just drop sola fide down to a non-essential status and pave the way, I think, to inclusivism. On the other hand, some who adhere to the essential status of sola fide turn to Landmarkist type views.

I think the right path is to 1) affirm sola fide as an essential doctrine but 2) say that it is of the sort that must not be denied. For that reason, it is right to say that those who abandon it are apostate.

YnottonY said...

I meant to also add that saying that sola fide must not be denied allows one to accept a man like Augustine as being authentically Christian. While he did teach things contrary to sola fide, he was not in rebellious denial of it like those who adhere to Trent. I think Carl Trueman was correct when he said:

“The problem with tackling pre-Reformation views of justification is, of course, that the church strictly speaking had no view: the Reformation crisis itself precipitates the first elaborate formulation of justification by the Catholic Church at the Council of Trent, a decree which then imposed order on the Catholic Church’s dogmas in this area.”

DJP said...

Rebecca, I'd stick with White, Sproul, Johnson.

In these spoiled, stuffed, lukewarm times, too many professed Evangelicals are starry-eyed, muddle-headed, and jelly-spined when it comes to the monstrous apostate abomination that is Rome today. Rome's a good fooler, and many are fooled.

YnottonY said...

As a former Roman Catholic, one of the things that most disturbs me is the manifest idolatry of the mass. On a few other blogs, I put these words:

"I hope he (Beckwith) has adequately considered the fact that when he is kneeling down in the mass during the event of transubstantiation, he is to worship and adore the bread/host as if it were Christ himself standing before him."

That's what Rome teaches and this is the idolatry I am talking about.

I also added:

"I also wonder if he has considered what seems to be entailed by the doctrine of concomitance. If the bread and the wine are both the BODY, blood, soul and divinity of Christ, then Christ has two bodies, at least. Moreover, if Christ is bodily present as the mass takes place all over the world, then I guess his body is ubiquitous. How does Trent, in that regard, comport with the Chalcedonian Formula? Hmm"

Not only are there serious and deadly problems between Roman doctrine and the biblical teaching with respect to sola gratia/sola fide, but they also have serious Christological problems.

Rome has a blasphemous and idolatrous system. For that reason, I think anyone indwelt by the Spirit should be disgusted and heartbroken by his decision.

John's warning is just as relevant today as it was in his day:

NKJ 1 John 5:21 Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.

If there was anything that made God especially furious with Israel in the OT, it was their idolatry. Worshipping a piece of bread (which is why they kneel in the mass at this point) as if it were Christ himself is idolatry, no matter how many sophisticated Aristotelean categories are employed to argue for the so called "transubstantiation."

Rebecca said...

It always strikes me regarding "veneration" and prayers to Mary, that Jeremiah 44 could so easily be talking about RCC. They make offerings and cakes, submitting prayers up to the queen of heaven. This same scenario may be seen repeated in many Latin American countries where they offer up prayers and bake cakes/burn incense for Mary. They even refer to her as the Queen of Heaven. (which I guess they defend by Revelation with the woman with the crown.) Anyway, seems awful close to me.

jake said...

Well, I am thankful for blogs like this that reminds me of the ignorance that still exists in fundamentalist Christianity. You see, the groups I usually converse with have actually read the formal Catholic documents and have engaged in lengthy discussions with Catholics on the notion of justification. Heck, a whole denomination named after one of the fathers of the reformation (that would be Lutheranism, and the father would be - you guessed it, Luther) actually sat down and had a substantial talk with the Catholics and came to the Joint Declaration on Justification (a document I'm sure has been read numerous times by the current blogger - right). Wait, wait...maybe I'm being harsh - maybe it's true that when someone says they want to be a Catholic that have left Jesus Christ (that was what was said, right?). It's shame to come to that conclusion, since I really enjoyed Irenaeus, Tertullian, Augustine, Nyssa, Nazianzus, Chrysostom, Maximus, Aquinas, yatta, yatta, yatta - it's a shame they ain't Christian. BUT, at least MacAurthur is, and so is Pyro. The church is in good hands (that is, if you are also a pre-millienial dispensationalist - which, if I'm correct, no Reformer was).

I'm being a bit cheeky, yes, but so is Pyro. Let's see if he'll let fire mix with fire.

Coram Deo said...

Excellent, honest and true.

Thanks for this hard-hitting and no-nonsense post, djp!

DJP said...

Jake, perhaps it would be a kindness to you if I did delete your comment.

Anyone who — unlike you, apparently — actually did thoughtfully read the post you're supposed to be commenting on and the 90+ comments preceding it, would realize two things.

Your objections either:

1. Were already anticipated and/or answered in the post and comments; or

2. Are based on nothing found in the post or comments themselves.

jake said...

DJP -

I apologize for my ignorance and oversight on these things. Seems I was reading a post that connected the Catholic Church to Mormonism, obviously not yours that, judging from your recent comments, must so intelligently and throughly engage the Catholic sources themselves so that we don't have to just assume the Catholic Church is what you would like us to believe it is, but we see first hand. So, if you would be so kind, remind me where I can find the Catholic Documents you reference in your post? Where do you engage them so that it's evident you're not setting up a straw-man? They seem to have eluded me. And where again were those comments toward the Joint Declaration to help us understand how everyone that has something to do with that Declaration is wrong, but Pyro is right? Maybe I'm just reading the wrong post. And if you would, show me also where there's reference to the many ECT statements that have come out - of course none of which MacArthur has had anything to do with (surprise, surprise - that would mean co-operating on a real level with non dispensational, pre-millennial folk). If you would do these things for me, maybe then - and just maybe - I will actually believe you know an inkling of what you are talking about.

James F. said...

The last time I checked, catholics believe

a) Jesus is God
b) Jesus died on the cross
c)Jesus was resurrected
d) those who confess Jesus as Lord, who follow him and persist in their faith will be saved
e)There is only one God who exists eternally in three persons.

Catholics have faults, some of them major in their theology, but so do you. Their are many things they get right that you do not. You need to chill.

donsands said...

jamesf, "Catholics have faults, some of them major in their theology, but so do you."

The major fault in theology that Catholics have is a Gospel of works + faith.
So if I would declare the same fault as the Catholic Church, then let me, and whoever else, even an angel, be accursed.

Galatians 1:8-9