Martyred for the Gospel

Martyred for the Gospel
The burning of Tharchbishop of Cant. D. Tho. Cranmer in the town dich at Oxford, with his hand first thrust into the fyre, wherwith he subscribed before. [Click on the picture to see Cranmer's last words.]

Daily Bible Verse

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Lost Soul of Scott Hahn: Another Reconstructionist Converted to Rome

The Lost Soul of Scott Hahn

John W. Robbins

Rome Sweet Home: Our Journey to Catholicism.

Scott and Kimberly Hahn.

San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1993.

Foreword by Peter Kreeft, xiv+182, pictures.

What sorts of people write autobiographies when they are healthy and well at 35? Generally there are three sorts: egotists, egomaniacs, and megalomaniacs. There seems to be no other plausible reason for writing the story of one's life when it has barely begun. But the fawning Peter Kreeft, a confused mind who wrote the Foreword for this book, disagrees. According to Kreeft, Scott and Kimberly Hahn are "one of the beautiful and bright-shining stars in the firmament of hope for our desperate days." The Hahns, writes Kreeft shamelessly, "are simply very bright, clear-thinking and irrefutably reasonable... passionately in love with Truth and with honesty. They are incapable of fudging anything except fudge." Kreeft calls the Hahns "stars" for only one reason: their noisy rejection of Christianity and conversion to Roman Catholicism. They have no other "achievement."

I once knew Scott Hahn. I met him about twelve years ago when he was a Presbyterian minister living in the Washington, D.C. area. (I had spoken to Hahn by phone before that: When he was a student at Gordon-Conwell Seminary, I paid him to record the guest lectures of Gordon Clark at the seminary.) Being an administrative assistant to a Member of Congress at the time, I invited Hahn (and others) to speak to a group of Congressional staffers, and he spoke on his favorite topic, "familism," which is his apotheosis of the family. At the time I had no knowledge of Hahn's real theological views; I was naive enough to think that a Presbyterian minister actually believed Presbyterian doctrine, and Hahn dissembled well enough. He fooled me, and a number of other people as well. In a discussion I had with Hahn after his lecture, it became clear that one of Hahn's preoccupations - in addition to his obsession with the notion of family - was eschatology: He was a postmillennialist who had been heavily influenced by the Reconstructionist movement. In fact, he was the (unordained) pastor of a Reconstructionist church in Fairfax, Virginia.

Romeward Bound

Hahn is one of a few seminary-trained, apparently well-educated Protestant ministers who have joined the Roman Catholic Church over the last few years. The Hahns have gained some notoriety from their speeches and tapes, and now this book, which is based on their speeches, will add to that notoriety. One remark his wife makes in this book suggests that Hahn's desire to be noticed is great: "Scott suffered tremendous loneliness. He was misunderstood and rejected by many Protestant friends who didn't want to talk to him.... He felt that former professors didn't think he was worth pursuing to convince him he was wrong [about Scripture]. And he couldn't understand the nonchalance of a number of [Roman] Catholics at Marquette [University, where Hahn was a student at the time] over his conversion, acting rather hohum over the whole thing, rather than welcoming him for all he had risked and left behind" (109). What good is being a martyr if no one notices you?

Two other men defected to Rome as a result of Hahn's influence: his seminary classmate Gerald Matatics, and Presbyterian Church in America minister William Bales. Other defections, such as that of author Thomas Howard, are apparently unrelated to Hahn's. Why were these men seduced by Rome? The answers to that question are complex. Each man's seduction is probably unique. But there are some features of Hahn's seduction that reveal fatal weaknesses in what passes for contemporary Protestant Christianity. Today Hahn teaches at the Franciscan Seminary of Steubenville (Ohio), a charismatic Roman Catholic institution. His wife, the daughter of a Presbyterian clergyman, is also a graduate of Gordon-Conwell: She wanted to be a pastor, she says.

Liberalism and Arminianism

The first of the reasons for Hahn's conversion to Romanism is liberalism and Arminianism. Hahn tells us that he was "baptized a Presbyterian" and "raised in a nominal Protestant home. Church and religion played a small role in my life and for my family...." As a teenager, he was a drug-using criminal who lied his way out of jail: "Faced with a yearlong sentence to a detention center for a variety of charges, I barely lied my way out of the sentence and into six months of probation instead" (1). In high school Hahn became active in Young Life, an Arminian evangelistic group. There he read Paul Little and C. S. Lewis. He also had some religious experiences: "Before finishing my sophomore year, I experienced the transforming power of God's grace in conversion. Within the next year, I experienced a special outpouring of the Holy Spirit in a personal and life-changing way." Apparently Hahn had both a conversion experience and a charismatic experience in high school. In his senior year, he met the Presbyterian John Gerstner, "one of my favorite theologians" (31). While in high school, Hahn also became enamored of Luther and Calvin, apparently because they appealed to his need for heroes: "I decided the figures in Christian history who most appealed to me...were the great protestant reformers Martin Luther and John Calvin" (5). But the theologies of Luther and Calvin seemed to play relatively small parts in Hahn's thinking; he was fascinated by other things. A guitarist, Hahn liked modern music: "The summer before going off to college, I toured the United States, Scotland, England and Holland, playing guitar in a Christian musical group, the Continentals" (13). Hahn attended the theologically liberal but economically conservative Grove City College, a college affiliated with the mainline Presbyterian church, where he concentrated in theology, philosophy, and economics, and continued his activity in Young Life. While in college, Hahn "discovered that the covenant was really the key for unlocking the whole Bible" (17). Beware the man who thinks he has discovered some sort of "key" for understanding the Bible, whether it is the idea of covenant, a scheme of dispensations (instituted by covenants), or a five-point covenantal model.

Thomism and Evidentialism

The second major factor influencing Hahn's conversion to Rome seems to be the official Roman Catholic philosophy of Thomas Aquinas and evidentialism. While at nominally Protestant Grove City College, Hahn "had become enamored with and steeped in the philosophy of Saint Thomas. In spite of my anti-Catholic outlook, I had known a good thing when I found it, and in my mind, no one could compare to Aquinas.... I had devoured his philosophical writings, especially his metaphysics, eventually acquiring the odd and unlikely reputation for being an 'evangelical Thomist' " (101).

During his first years in Gordon-Conwell Seminary, 1979-81, Hahn suffered from a confused mental state: "At this point I would describe my study as a detective story. I was searching Scripture to discover clues as to the whereabouts of real Christianity" (25). Although Hahn does not mention it in the book, his tuition at Gordon-Conwell was paid by a Calvinist Christian businessman who wanted to support a student who understood both free market economics and Christian theology, for the purpose of being able to teach economics to clergymen and Christian theology to economists. Hahn was highly recommended to the businessman by the Chairman of the Economics Department at Grove City. What Hahn learned at Grove City was Thomism, and his interest in economics - which he says he studied only to mollify his "practical" father, not because he was genuinely interested in the subject - has disappeared. Hahn's obsession is to convert Christians to Catholicism, not to educate clergymen about principles of economics or economists about Christian theology. He owes one Christian businessman many thousand dollars and his former economics professor an apology.

Justitication by Works and Norman Shepherd

While he was at Gordon-Conwell being supported by a Calvinist Christian businessman, Hahn adopted the Roman Catholic view of justification: "When Christ formed the New Covenant with us, then, it was much more than a simple contract or legal exchange, where he took our sin and gave us his righteousness, as Luther and Calvin explained it.... In fact, I discovered that nowhere did Saint Paul ever teach that we were justified by faith alone! Sola fide was unscriptural! "I was so excited about this discovery. I shared it with some friends, who were amazed at how much sense it made. Then one friend stopped me and asked if I knew who else was teaching this way on justification. When I responded that I didn't, he told me that Dr. Norman Shepherd, a professor at Westminster Theological Seminary (the strictest Presbyterian Calvinist seminary in America) was about to undergo a heresy trial for teaching the same view of justification that I was expounding. "So I called Professor Shepherd and talked with him. He said he was accused of teaching something contrary to the teachings of Scripture, Luther and Calvin. As I heard him describe what he was teaching, I thought, Hey, that is what I'm saying" (30-31).

As for Kimberly, "At this point [more than halfway through seminary] I was not steeped in Reformation theology, so the change in how I viewed justification did not seem momentous" (42). Please consider the import of that statement. Here are two graduates of a Presbyterian College, two students nearing completion of their studies at reputedly one of the best evangelical Protestant seminaries in the country, two professing Christians - and the meaning of justification is not all that important to them. As we shall soon see, despite - or rather because of - their education, the Hahns - especially Scott - could not defend the Reformation principles of the Bible alone, faith alone, and Christ alone.

Reconstructionism and Theonomy

The fourth major influence on Hahn's conversion to Romanism was the Reconstructionist movement. After attending seminary, Hahn had intended to study theology at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland, where he had been acc.epted, but he changed his mind because of Margaret Thatcher: "Margaret Thatcher made it almost impossible for Americans to have babies at British taxpayers' expense; so we took this as sign for us to look elsewhere for work, delaying doctoral studies for a while" (32). Not having paid for his own education, Hahn apparently did not intend to pay for his children either. The principles of economics seem to have been quite forgotten.

Instead, Hahn was hired as pastor and schoolteacher by a Reconstructionist church in Fairfax, Virginia: "When I candidated for the position at Trinity Presbyterian Church, I shared my views and concerns regarding justification - that I took Dr. Shepherd's position. They understood and said they did, too. So shortly before graduation, I accepted the pastorate at Trinity, as well as a teaching position in their high school, Fairfax Christian School" (33). The Reconstuctionist church was not fooled: They knew quite well that Hahn had defected from the Biblical doctrine of justification by faith, and they wanted him for that reason.

While pastoring the Reconstructionist church, Hahn "began to see how important liturgy was for the covenant.... Liturgy represented the way God fathered the covenant family..." (43). "My parishioners grew excited. The elders even asked me to revise our liturgy." While teaching his ideas at the school, his Roman Catholicism was so obvious that several of his students told him he would join the Roman Catholic church. (Someone should write a book about Reconstructionist churches and their affinity for Roman Catholic and Orthodox liturgy and doctrine.) Hahn was also invited to teach at Dominion Theological Institute (which later merged with Chesapeake Theological Seminary). During this period he became convinced of the Roman doctrine that Jesus Christ was physically present in the bread and the wine. Thus, when one participates in mass, one is eating the physical body and drinking the physical blood of Christ. The proper name for the practice - if Catholics were actually doing what they dogmatically assert that they are doing - is ritual cannibalism.

Hahn was also teaching his seminary students - contrary to what the seminary itself believed, contrary to what he was being paid to teach, and without informing the leadership of the seminary - that justification by faith alone was false. The fact that he was denying the Christian doctrine of justification while being paid to teach it does not seem to bother him. Oddly, Hahn opens his book with this story designed to illustrate his lifelong honesty: "I recall the last time I ever attended our family's church. The minister was preaching all about his doubts regarding the Virgin Birth of Jesus and his bodily Resurrection. I just stood up in the middle of his sermon and walked out. I remember thinking, I'm not sure what I believe, but at least I'm honest enough not to stand up and attack the things I'm supposed to teach" (1). But that is exactly what Hahn did when he taught seminary classes, and that is exactly what he did when he accepted money for seminary tuition under false pretenses. After Hahn attacked sola fide in his seminary classes in Virginia, one of the students challenged him to defend sola scriptura. He could not (51-52). After seven years in "Protestant" educational institutions, and now a Presbyterian minister, Hahn, who by all accounts was an excellent student, could not defend the major principles of the Protestant Reformation.

Messages from God and Mary

The Hahns left Virginia and moved back to Grove City, where Scott took a job as assistant to the college president and instructor in theology, of all things. Liberalism, Arminianism, Thomism, evidentialism, and Reconstructionism had persuaded Hahn of the truth of Catholicism, and now Mary clinched the argument: Hahn began feeling that God was "calling me into the [Roman] Catholic Church" (60). Scott and Kimberly got "feelings," "leadings," "nudges," "peace," "impressions," and "callings," - alleged messages from God and his mother, Mary. While teaching theology at Grove City College, Hahn drove down to Duquesne University in Pittsburgh for theology classes. There he was "the only student defending Pope John Paul II!" (66), and there he first became involved with Opus Dei (67). After someone mailed him a Rosary, Hahn decided to perform an experiment by praying to Mary about an "impossible situation." Hahn prayed, and the impossible situation resolved itself within three months. In Hahn's irrational mind, praying the Rosary obviously worked. As a result, Hahn now prays to Mary daily.

That, of course, is how all superstitions begin: committing the logical fallacy post hoc, ergo propter hoc. Leaving Grove City, Hahn decided to continue his studies at Marquette University. While in Milwaukee he learned that his seminary classmate, Gerald Matatics, was going to be absorbed into the Roman Catholic church two weeks later at Easter, 1986. Hahn, who had talked Matatics into Roman Catholicism, could not stand to have him go first, yet Hahn had promised his wife that he would not become a Roman Catholic until 1990. He asked her to pray about releasing him from his promise, and she did so. Hahn and Matatics were both absorbed by the Roman Catholic Church in 1986. Hahn says that he "had fallen head over heels in love with our Lord in the Eucharist!" (88).

Kimberly was jealous of Scott's long walks and talks with Mary. During Christmas 1986 Kimberly, who was pregnant, got a "word from the Lord" concerning her baby (115). When the baby was baptized a Roman Catholic, Kimberly "was astounded at the beauty of the liturgy" (117). Kimberly "came to appreciate that [baby] Hannah had become a child of God through baptism, being born again by water and the Spirit. As I studied baptism, it connected with what I had already done on justification. As with Scott, my study in seminary had led me to reject as unscriptural the Protestant teaching of justification by faith alone" (137). Note well: "As with Scott, my study in seminary had led me to reject as unscriptural the Protestant teaching of justification by faith alone."

When Hahn was confirmed, he chose Francis de Sales as his "patron saint," because "de Sales happened to be the Bishop of Geneva, Switzerland, while John Calvin was leading the people farther away from the Catholic Faith.... [He] was such an effective preacher and apologist that, through his sermons and pamphlets, over forty thousand Calvinists were brought back into the Church" (133).

John Gerstner and Robert Knudsen

Before defecting to Rome, Hahn and Matatics had met with John Gerstner, the evidentialist Presbyterian theologian who was unable to persuade them of the errors of Roman Catholicism. After his conversion, Hahn debated with Robert Knudsen, the Dooyeweerdian and Van Tilian professor of apologetics at Westminster Seminary, about sola fide and sola scriptura. Hahn writes: "I never dreamed of such a positive outcome. Not only did the Westminster Seminary students in attendance express their surprise and excitement at the end," his wife was impressed too. I have listened to that debate on cassette tape, and Apologetics Professor Knudsen's performance is embarrassing and incompetent.

Meeting the Pope

In January 1992, Dr. Jerry Kirk, Hahn's father-in-law, a Presbyterian minister in Cincinnati, invited Hahn to accompany him to Rome to meet the pope. There he met the "Holy Father" for a few seconds and the next day went to a chapel for mass with the pope. He embraced the pope, giving him a personal letter and a check. "As I left the presence of Pope John Paul II - the one anointed by my heavenly Father and eldest Brother to shepherd the covenant family of God on earth - I had a strong sense that God was saying, 'Scott, the best is yet to come' " (172). Hahn does not explain this dark, oracular saying: Does it mean that he will be elected the first American pope? Appointed cardinal? Invited to Rome to join the Vatican lowerarchy? Named Grand Inquisitor? We are not told.

The State of Contemporary "Protestantism"

Hahn's defection is one of several similar defections. They are occurring, not because Rome is a true church, but because of the apostasy of "Protestantism." The largest American Protestant denominations are either unbelieving or unknowing, priding themselves on their rejection of Scripture, their vacuous faith, or their limited knowledge. Many smaller denominations and independent churches are in little better condition. They are largely Arminian - which is semi-Romanist already, believing in man's free will; revivalist - which is informed by Roman Catholic experientialism; or charismatic - which continues Rome's theology of miracles and gifts. American "Protestantism" is mostly Roman Catholic already. Some of the more conservative churches have been led astray by Reconstructionism, by religiously cooperative efforts in the anti-abortion movement, by programs of social and political reform. Just when the preaching of the Gospel is most urgently needed, it is rarely heard in "Protestant" pulpits. It is doubtful that most graduates of theological schools could give a clear and accurate summary of the Gospel. The Roman Catholic church is by far the largest ecclesiastical organization in America with about 58 million subjects; it operates tens of thousands of churches, thousands of schools, and hundreds of colleges. Worldwide, it claims more than 950 million subjects. Its loyal American subjects are becoming more and more militant in every area. Hahn's own zeal for the pope is reflected not only in this book, but in the scores of tapes he and his wife have produced and which have been distributed by the hundreds of thousands. Only the grace of God can save us from another Dark Age and the church that Luther recognized as the slaughterhouse of souls.

May God send forth his light and his truth.

March 1994

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The First Sunday of Advent..
The Collect.
ALMIGHTY God, give us grace that we may cast away the works of darkness, and put upon us the armour of light, now in the time of this mortal life in which thy Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious majesty to judge both the quick and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal; through him who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

The Second Sunday in Advent.

The Collect.
BLESSED Lord, who hast caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning; Grant that we may in such wise hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that by patience and comfort of thy holy Word, we may embrace, and ever hold fast, the blessed hope of everlasting life, which thou hast given us in our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.


John said...

What exactly is Rome's theology of miracles? Is this in opposition to your theology of no miracles?

Charlie J. Ray said...

For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me. 47 But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words? (John 5:46-47 KJV)

Miracles are unnecessary since the miracles of the Bible merely confirm what Jesus and the Apostles were doing. The focus of Scripture is on doctrine, not miracles.

This is not to say that God does not do miracles today. He can and does. The distinction is that we do not follow miracles to affirm what we believe. We test everything by Scripture, including doctrine and miracles.

Anonymous said...

Right after the ascension of our Lord Jesus, did the apostles used the bible to proclaim the Gospel to evangalize? I know they reference the Old testament but certainly not the new testament because it hasn't been written yet. So, I don't know if "sola scriptura" is indeed scriptural. There's no doubt it's the infallible word of God. But there has to be an authority to rightfully interpret this. Much like our the US constitution that anybody can access and read or even interpret BUT only the Supreme Court has the authority to rightfully interpret it. What more the Bible? Now the question is who is the authority? In letter to Timothy, it says "The Church is the pillar of truth...". Now it fallows that if the bible is true word of God, the Church is it's pillar, right? Now the question goes back to which Church? Forty thousand churches seems like a lot of authority.

Charlie J. Ray said...

The Reformed churches have an authority in addition to Scripture. They have written catechisms and confessions of faith. Only Scripture is infallible and inerrant, however.

So you say that your church is equal to Scripture? That reveals right off the bat that you haven't a clue. First off, all interpretations of Scripture are fallible. That would include yours. Secondly, even if you add Tradition or infallibility of your interpretation to Scripture that still leaves me as an individual as a fallible person. I have no way to know if your church is infalllible or not:) If I am to doubt God's Word, I am to doubt your antichristian church even more:)

Furthermore, Jesus and the Apostles emphasized Scripture, meaning the Old Testament, many times over. Since only Jesus and His eyewitnessing apostles had the authority to speak God's very words or write Holy Scripture (i.e. Paul, and the other New Testament writers), it follows that we should follow the OT and the NT apostolic teachings, not the teachings of men who lived long after the apostles had passed away.

1 Corinthians 4:6; 2 Peter 3:15-16; John 5:39; 2 Timothy 3:15-17; 2 Peter 1:19-21

Anonymous said...

Do you think the Supreme Court is the same as the Constitution? I hope not :). First of all, Trinitarian doctrine is an interpretation of the scriptiure. I really can't fathom that you would deny the Holy Trinity. So, it's really hard to say that all interpretations are fallible. I know my interpretations are fallible and I say that with pride :). But I'd be willing to listen to the actual "apostles of the apostles"... read the church fathers. Ignatius, Polycarp, Clement... etc. The are the same men who spent time with the apostles themselves.

"..it follows that we should follow the OT and the NT apostolic teachings, not the teachings of men who lived long after the apostles had passed away", I absolutely agree with the first half of that statement but not with the latter part. When the apostles passed away , there was obviously an apostolic succession (Timothy 1:6 and 4:14) and many others. God Bless!

Charlie J. Ray said...

Of course I wouldn't deny the Trinity. It is taught in the Scriptures and can be logically deduced from the Scriptures. The Supreme Court is fallible and has reversed itself many times. But remember that both the Supreme Court and the Constitution are fallible. The Supreme Court is a fallible interpreter of a fallible document.

Scripture, on the other hand, never errs and is sufficient in and of itself for the knowledge of saving faith and that is true of the Old Testament alone (2 Timothy 3:15). Scripture is perspicuous such that even a child can read the Old Testament and be saved. How much more true is that of the New Testament.

But you're still avoiding my point. If I cannot understand the infallible Scriptures then how am I to understand an infallible "interpretation" of the infallible Scriptures? You've just added something else that I can't understand. Right?

Which in the end leads to total skepticism. On the other hand, I can start with the self-evident axiom that Scripture is the very words of God, fully inspired, inerrant, and in written form for all to see and read.

You're wasting your time if you think your weak arguments mean anything here. I've already been through these arguments many times over. If you don't believe the Bible you won't believe the allegedly infallible intepretation either:)

The Reformed confessions are authoritative interpreters of Scripture but in the end the creeds and confessions are true not because any church says so but because they draw their most certain warrant from Holy Scripture.

Article VIII

Charlie J. Ray said...

"Abraham said to him,`They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.' 30 "And he said,`No, father Abraham; but if one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.' 31 "But he said to him,`If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.'" (Luke 16:29-31 NKJ)
Then He said to them, "These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me." (Luke 24:44 NKJ)
So when they had appointed him a day, many came to him at his lodging, to whom he explained and solemnly testified of the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus from both the Law of Moses and the Prophets, from morning till evening. (Acts 28:23 NKJ)

Charlie J. Ray said...

6. The whole counsel of God concerning all things necessary for His own glory, man’s salvation, faith and life, is either expressly set down in Scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from Scripture: unto which nothing at any time is to be added, whether by new revelations of the Spirit or traditions of men. (2 Tim. 3:15–17, Gal. 1:8–9, 2 Thess. 2:2) Nevertheless, we acknowledge the inward illumination of the Spirit of God to be necessary for the saving understanding of such things as are revealed in the Word: (John 6:45, 1 Cor 2:9–12) and that there are some circumstances concerning the worship of God, and government of the Church, common to human actions and societies, which are to be ordered by the light of nature, and Christian prudence, according to the general rules of the Word, which are always to be observed. (1 Cor. 11:13–14, 1 Cor. 14:26, 40)

The Westminster Confession of Faith, Chapter 1:6, (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1996).

Charlie J. Ray said...

The church fathers are likewise fallible. Not one of them wrote any Scriptures in the New Testament and none of them were eyewitnesses of the ministry, life and death and resurrection of Christ:

"Therefore, of these men who have accompanied us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, 22 "beginning from the baptism of John to that day when He was taken up from us, one of these must become a witness with us of His resurrection." 23 And they proposed two: Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias. 24 And they prayed and said, "You, O Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which of these two You have chosen 25 "to take part in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place." 26 And they cast their lots, and the lot fell on Matthias. And he was numbered with the eleven apostles. (Acts 1:21-26 NKJ)

I might add that the Protestant Reformers all argued from the Scriptures and from the church fathers that the Latin Vulgate was a corrupt translation and the source of much false "tradition" in the Roman Catholic Church.

Archbishop Thomas Cranmer proved that transubstantiation and real presence were not taught either in Scripture or in the church fathers. Cranmer was the leader of the English Reformation and the primary editor of the 1552 Book of Common Prayer and the 42 Articles of Religion.


Charlie J. Ray said...

BTW, the only miracles that anyone is obligated to believe are those recorded in the infallible and inerrant Scriptures. Christ and His apostles have already confirmed the message by their miracles.

Anonymous said...

".It is taught in Scriptures and can be logically deduced from the Scriptures", this is not as simple as you think. It took the "Church" centuries to get this simple deduction :). And these are the same people that got the Bible for you. Think about that? :).

"The Supreme Court is fallible and has reversed itself many times. But remember that both the Supreme Court and the Constitution are fallible". The Supreme Court is indeed fallible because it's composed of fallible men. But to say the Constitution is fallible by itself is severely misguided. It's true to what it was original intent was, the people behind it are fallable not the document itself.

"...scripture is perspicuous such that even a child can read the Old Testament and be saved.". I really hope this was true. But the fact is the reason so many scholars have debated countless times just about anything on the Bible prove the contrary.

"But you're still avoiding my point. If I cannot understand the infallible Scriptures then how am I to understand an infallible "interpretation" of the infallible Scriptures? You've just added something else that I can't understand. Right?", this is the whole point! How can a limited finite man can even begin to interpret an infallible Word of God. You simply can't. Unless, it was revealed to him by God. The same way, when Peter confessed to Jesus He was the Christ (Matthew 16:17), which I know you're pretty familiar with.

"...You're wasting your time if you think your weak arguments mean anything here. I've already been through these arguments many times over. If you don't believe the Bible you won't believe the allegedly infallible interpretation either...", I'm sorry you think this way. It seems the "weak" arguments are coming from you. All interpretations are infallible? A child can understand the scripture? simple deduction? You would have not said those things if you have indeed went through these arguments many times over.

God Bless!

Charlie J. Ray said...

Your idea that the Bible is merely a human book that men put together by traditions from a church on earth is where you depart from the faith into rationalism.

The Bible is not merely a human book. It is a divinely inspired book, literally breathed out by God Himself. Your low view of Scripture is a problem for those of you who do theology from below.

My theology comes from above. God Almighty gave the Word, not the church or even an apostle.

There is no need for some special revelation from God to understand the Bible. The Bible itself is THE special revelation and it is logically revealed in propositional truth statements. The fact that you think the Bible is irrational is another indicaation of your skepticism instead of faith. You seem to be drawing on the modern liberalism of the neo-orthodox theologians at this point.

If the scholars get it wrong, so can your church:) But God never gets it wrong. That's why we begin with the axiom, the self-evident proof that the Bible IS God's Word. It is not irrational. It never contradicts itself. And it is so clear that a child can understand it.

I know you are hopelessly lost in an irrational and implicit faith that you can't even begin to fathom or understand. That's because the faith you have is merely an empty mysticism of personal experience. Roman Catholicism is just a high church version of Pentecostalism. If experience is the test of truth, then I suppose the Buddhist or the Muslim or the Mormon can have a heartwarming experience as well?

Reason does not lead to faith. But faith seeking understanding can presuppose the basic axiom that Scripture is God's Word. Every form of knowledge begins with an axiom of some sort. Heck, even the Declaration of Independence begins with an axiom! "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal..." The axiom for Reformed and Evangelical believers is, "Scripture is the Word of God." I would add that Scripture ALONE is the Word of God.

Charlie J. Ray said...

>>>>"The Supreme Court is fallible and has reversed itself many times. But remember that both the Supreme Court and the Constitution are fallible". The Supreme Court is indeed fallible because it's composed of fallible men. But to say the Constitution is fallible by itself is severely misguided. It's true to what it was original intent was, the people behind it are fallable not the document itself.<<<

You're saying the Constitution is divinely inspired? Please:)

Anonymous said...

:). Sorry to burst your bubble. The Bible is NOT literally breathed out by God himself. It's written by people with the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. That's why it's divinely inspired not "Literally breathed out". I agree with you it's the greatest collection of books and the infallible repository of redemptive revelation.

If you honestly believe that scripture alone is the Word of God. Can you tell me in the bible where it says that? I know you can't because it's not there. The is the reason Scott Hahn came home :).

Anyway, this was good, this was good discussion.

God Bless!

Charlie J. Ray said...

I hate to burst your bubble, but the Bible is not "merely" a human book. It is written by men but that writing was supernaturally inspired--literally God-breathed. The Greek word in 2 Timothy 3:16 is theopneustos. This is not mechanical dictation yet every single word is exactly the words God intended and at the same time the words used by each individual writer.

Now, if I had said that the Bible was only written by God and only breathed out by God, then you might have scored a point. But as it stands your reading comprehension needs a bit of improvement and your knowledge of the topic at hand is in need of improvement.

I refer you to Alexander Hodge and B. B. Warfield's excellent article on the doctrine of inspiration: Inspiration

THE word Inspiration, as applied to the Holy Scriptures, has gradually acquired a specific technical meaning, independent of its etymology. At first this word, in the sense of God-breathed, was used to express the entire agency of God in producing that divine element which distinguishes Scripture from all other writings. It was used in a sense comprehensive of supernatural revelation, while the immense range of providential and gracious divine activities concerned in the genesis of the Word of God in human language was practically overlooked. But Christian scholars have come to see that this divine element, which penetrates and glorifies Scripture at every point, has entered and become incorporated with it in various ways, natural, supernatural, and gracious, through long courses of providential leading, as well as by direct suggestion, through the spontaneous action of the souls of the sacred writers, as well as by controlling influence from without. It is important that distinguishable ideas should be connoted by distinct terms, and that the terms themselves should be fixed in a definite sense. Thus we have come to distinguish sharply between Revelation, which is the frequent, and Inspiration, which is the constant attribute of all the thoughts and statements of Scripture, and between the problem of the genesis of Scripture on the one hand, which includes historic processes and the concurrence of natural and supernatural forces, and must account for all the phenomena of Scripture; and the mere fact of Inspiration on the other hand, or the superintendence by God of the writers in the entire process of their writing, which accounts for nothing whatever but the absolute infallibility of the record in which the revelation, once generated, appears in the original autograph.

Charlie J. Ray said...

The reason Scott Hahn committed apostasy is that he never fully believed God's written Word. He was looking for something more, and he was hopeless confused by irrational arguments that proved nothing. Mysticism and irrationalism always lead to Rome. The theology of Cornelius Van Til is paradoxical and confusing. Hence, Scott Hahn's addiction to theonomy and Van Til's theology of paradox caused him to go off the deep end.

Anonymous said...

Anyway, I hope and pray that you open your mind and give people like Scott Hahn the benefit of the doubt and not persecute him ;). He was on your side for decades who like Paul who persecuted Christians but was forced to make a u-turn because it was revealed to him by God. He was like you, thought knows the Scripture pretty well and had the zeal to obey God, taught by Gamaliel, Paul was a brilliant man who had the scriptures to support his acts but was severely misguided. Paul and his Scripture (Old Testament) wasn't enough, he had to have a revealation to really understand the Scripture. This is by the way, the same Old Testament you and I read. Cheers and God Bless!

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry If I have said something that offended you. I'm truly sorry. I thought I was doing service to God - which I believe we both serve. But, in doing so i was so blinded that I was trying to remove a speck in someone else's eyes but I had a beam on mine.

I hope you can forgive me. God Bless my brother.

Charlie J. Ray said...

Ihope, I don't know why you post anonymously? I have my name out front on the blog.

I am not offended by your arguments or questions. However, I hardly believe that we believe in the same religion. While the we do agree on the ecumenical creeds, the trinity, and deity of Christ, there is much more that we strongly disagree upon. The fact is the Roman Catholic Church has officially condemned the Gospel of grace in the canons of the Council of Trent. Furthermore, Rome teaches justification is by faith plus merits when any sin is committed after baptism. Also, the idolatries of transubstantiation, the veneration of saints and icons, prayers to the saints and Mary, papal supremacy, tradition as a revelation of God on the same level as Scripture, etc., etc., makes Rome an apostate church.

Unless and until Rome moves back in a more biblical and apostolic doctrinal direction there can be no unity or fellowship between Roman Catholics and Reformed Protestants. In fact, I would say that anyone who stands against the Gospel of sovereign grace is no brother or sister in Christ.

Sincerely yours,



If Rome continues to uphold the Decrees and Canons of the Council of Trent, all individual members of that body who follow those decrees (which, in Roman Catholic ecclesiology must include every faithful son or daughter) continue to stand in opposition to the unchanging Gospel of Christ. If they stray from the official teaching of Rome, either from ignorance or in opposition to those statements, they may be regarded as brothers and sisters in Christ. Nevertheless, that does not require or allow institutional unity based on a common ecclesial mission. If our mission is to confront the moral, political, and social influences of secularism, then surely there is a sufficient basis for common cause. But is this the mission of the church? If the mission of the church as the church is to preach the Word correctly and rightly administer the sacraments, the question must be raised as to whether there is a sufficient agreement in these areas to warrant--in fact, to demand--common witness.

Mike Horton, Modern Reformation: Evangelicals and Catholics Together: A Critical Review
Christian Mission In the Third Millennium

Charlie J. Ray said...

I don' believe disagreeing with Rome and critiquing Scott Hahn's apostasy is "persecution". It is simply pointing out the obvious.

IrishEddieOHara said...

I am a bit surprised that you would post this ill-tempered piece of screed. Mr. Robbins, who is now in a state of higher enlightenment regarding his vile accusations against Catholics and the Catholic faith, appears to be someone of whom I am glad I never met when I was a PCA Calvinist. His attacks are more of the pejorative and ad hominum variety than having anything of substance, and he takes the rather traditional stance that if anyone converts away from Calvinism, they were A.) unlearned B.) stupid C.) deceived and D.) of low moral character (as show by his slanderous attack on Scott Hahn's forays into sin. One wonders if Mr. Robbins would say the same thing of the Calvinist hero, St. Augustine, who led a very debauched life before his own conversion.

It is not pointing out the obvious to deny history. There is no evidence of any kind of Protestant theological or soteriological teaching existing in the first 15 centuries of Christianity. What is sad about Protestantism in general is the utter lack of historical knowledge of the Christian faith, combined with a rather loose-handed handling of the Greek in the Bible to "prove" the doctrine of "imputed righteousness," aka forensic justification.

Despite the attacks to the contrary, many of us who managed to wade through this miasma of false historic teaching and isogesis, conveniently hidden from us by pastors who realized that to bring us the truth would cause unwanted questions to arise - "Pastor Marx, if the first century Christians believed in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, why don't we?" - many of us took the time to actually read and study these great issues. What we found was appalling, or in the case of a Catholic convert who was a Methodist minister, duly trained, a utter lack of any connection between the first Christians and first pastors of the Church and the things which we were being taught.

In my case, as with Scott Hahn, it was the study of the Covenant of God, which I learned in the PCA. The seminal book for this is THAT YOU MAY PROSPER by the Dominion Reconstructionist bishop Ray Sutton. While Sutton's book is an excellent presentation of the five working principles of a covenant - principles which, BTW, are violated by both Evangelicalism and Calvinism - his application of them in the Calvinist framework of a contract is appalling, to say the least. I sent him a copy of the book I wrote debunking his thoughts, but he has not had the grace to even write me and tell me to drop dead, unlike Mr. Robbins, who is (or was) a shrill voice of intolerance and, quite frankly, bigoted ignorance.

And if that last sentence seems inappropriate, I would remind you of what you said in one of your responses. It is simply pointing out the obvious.

Charlie J. Ray said...

I guess if you reject the Scriptures it would seem to be true to you that Protestant soteriology didn't exist until the 16th century. But stupid me:) I read the Bible and justification by faith alone is taught throughout the Old Testament and the New Testament. But I guess if you don't accept logic it would follow that the Bible says nothing at all.

Charlie J. Ray said...

Ray Sutton is a high church Anglo-Papist, not a Calvinist. He's one of yours.

Charlie J. Ray said...

I did 7 years of training in Pentecostal and Wesleyan theology. I also have studied church history in depth. The Roman Catholic doctrines have evolved to a worse and worse state over the centuries. Transubstantiation is a rather late development and so is papal supremacy. You really should study your church history closer.

Charlie J. Ray said...

Rome is a synagogue of satan and the pope is an antichrist.

Summa Theologicæ said...

It didn't take me long when I started reading your article that is filled with anger and resentment. Surprisingly enough, I just started learning about Luther. To be fair, I think I understand his resentment for the RCC, since it was going through a tough time of scandal and corruption, that he wanted to change things. His teachings contradict each other. His claims are only supported by a a verse or two of the Bible, not the whole book. The protestant church has been divided into THOUSANDS of different denominations, making it easier for a Christian to go "church shopping" to see which one says what they want to hear and not the Word and be challenged by it. Everything the RCC teaches is Bible based, a Bible that the RCC put together and someone (ahem) removed some books and changed a couple of words here and there. Our dogmas, doctrines and Traditions have kept us as ONE Church since Jesus said to Peter (the first pope) "upon this rock (Peter) I will build my church". There is plenty of proof of apostolic succession. So what is your point about denying the pope and your false claims that the pope plays "God"? I think your absurdity is based on anger and personal issues. I have been a Catholic my whole life and I have NEVER been thought that the pope is God, or to worship statues, or worship Mary and so on. And yes, the transubstantiation is real. Is as real as can be and the works of hell will never bring down the RCC because we are the true church and the true doctrines. Oh one more thing. You don't sound like a Christian at all. This is how you slam and calumniate your fellow Christians? How about being more like Christ? Oh, I forgot... works are not worthy of salvation... so why are you proclaiming the Word? Why do you pray? Why do you go to work to support a family if none of it counts for salvation? Acting how you wish would be ok then? That's what I get from Sola Fide... Sola Scriptura... "If you hate your mother, father, children and everyone you can be my disciple" do you follow that Sola Scriptura? Should I go on? Get real people.

Charlie J. Ray said...

The article was written by the late Dr. John Robbins. As for the Roman Catholic Church, I do hate false religion and idolatry. If the pope is a Christian, so is the devil.

The Bible alone is the word of God. You continue to follow the teachings of men and I will continue to believe the propositions recorded in the Bible.

Charlie J. Ray said...

I didn't post the slanderous quotes that are falsely attributed to Luther because Luther never said any such thing.

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