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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.]

Collect of the Day

The Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany.
The Collect.

O LORD, we beseech thee to keep thy Church and household continually in thy true religion; that they who do lean only upon the hope of thy heavenly grace may evermore be defended by thy mighty power; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Daily Bible Verse

Friday, April 30, 2010

Is the Active and Passive Obedience of Christ a Shibboleth? Edith Humphrey Does Not Think So

[Nota Bene:  Looks like the links to the audio have been removed and no longer work.  Sorry about that.  Charlie, 11/28/2012.]


I was listening to this talk by Edith Humphrey at the Wheaton College Conference: A Dialogue with N. T. Wright. Her talk is entitled, "Glimpsing the Glory—Paul's Gospel, Righteousness and the Beautiful Feet of N.T. Wright." About five minutes or so into the talk she mentions a fund raising campaign at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary where Humphrey teaches. Pittsburgh is supposed to be a "conservative" and "evangelical" seminary, or as much as that is possible in the PCUSA at least. During the phone campaign one prospective donor said, "When you can tell me the difference between Christ's active and passive obedience, then I will make a donation." Humphrey goes on to portray herself as more "open and tolerant" than the caller who presented a "shibboleth" or test of fellowship. I suppose Humphrey has no shibboleths of her own? Perhaps "tolerance" and "openness" is a shibboleth of Neo-Evangelicalism?


But knowing something of Humphrey's background I can say that she is from the Salvation Army and her theology is completely Arminian at best. She thinks, as most Arminians do, that those who have not heard the Gospel will be judged by the light they have and maybe they even have an unconscious faith in Jesus? Sounds like universalism or liberalism to me. That Pittsburgh Theological Seminary is supposed to be Reformed yet hires openly Arminian and even liberal scholars cuts against its alleged Presbyterian heritage. The fact is Pittsburgh is for all practical purposes a liberal seminary. That Wheaton College would invite "dialogue" with liberals who are enemies of the Gospel is beyond me, particularly in the case of N. T. Wright.


Clearly the purpose of this conference is to undermine Evangelicalism in general and the classical Reformed position in particular. It is time for Reformed and Evangelical Christians to stop tolerating tolerance and instead preach the Gospel boldly. No compromise is something I learned when I was a classical pentecostal. Let us apply it here as well. Why dialogue with devils and hirelings who have no interest in the biblical Gospel?



Edith Humphrey who is now an Anglican seems to think the test of Christian fellowship is tolerance, not sound doctrine. This is what is wrong with Anglicanism and with broad Evangelicalism. What we need is a return to polemical and dogmatic theology centered on sola Scriptura, not reason exalted above both Scripture and tradition. Scripture is the final shibboleth by which we test doctrine. Therefore, the active and passive obedience of Christ is a doctrinal shibboleth because it is taught in Scripture and is therefore is binding doctrine.



Humphrey's attack on the doctrine of justification by faith alone in this talk is likewise appalling. She creates a strawman caricature of justification by faith alone and calls it fideism and individualism, which ignores the full orbed systematic exposition of the doctrine in the larger Reformed context. Her credibility decreases with every word she utters against Scripture and the Reformed faith.



Glory be to the Father, and to the Son : and to the Holy Ghost;
Answer. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be : world without end. Amen.

Wheaton College Promotes N. T. Wright's New Perspectives in Lecture Series

Unfortunately, in the guise of academic lectures we're seeing N. T. Wright lauded and promoted rather than confronted and challenged. This is the typical approach of Neo-Evangelicalism. Rather than standing firm against heresies which seek to undermine the biblical Gospel new winds of liberalism and compromise are introduced in the form of uncritical theological lectures. One of the speakers is Edith Humphrey, one of my opponents from the past. Of course, Wheaton College is an Arminian school and Arminianism, being a weakling, is unable to stand against the encroachments of man centered attacks on the Gospel. To see and hear the lectures on and by N. T. Wright at Wheaton College click on Wheaton College Conference: Jesus, Paul and the People of God: A Theological Dialogue with N.T. Wright.


Glory be to the Father, and to the Son : and to the Holy Ghost;

Answer. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be : world without end. Amen.

The Westminster Captivity? Further Comments on the Pentecostal/Charismatic Movement

[I no longer believe that Dr. Gordon H. Clark's book, The Incarnation, is an endorsement of the Nestorian view. Charlie J. Ray. 1/5/2014]


The comments over at the official blog for Regent University were closed after I posted a comment there. However, Dale Coulter was generous enough to post my comment. You can see the original article and the comments at Westminster Captivity. However, I would like to briefly respond to the comments made after mine. I will admit first of all that I did over-generalize when I mentioned the link between Christian Science and the charismatic movement's theology of healing. Having spent almost ten years in the Pentecostal/charismatic movement and having been a graduate of an Assemblies of God bible college, as well as at one time having been a member of the Society for Pentecostal Studies, I am well aware of the different historical schools of thought on the origin of the classical Pentecostal movement and its offspring, the modern Charismatic movement.


Donald Dayton, for example, traces the theological roots of Pentecostalism to the Wesleyan holiness movement, a thesis popular among Wesleyan Charismatics and classical Pentecostal denominations which came from the Wesleyan holiness movement. That would include the Church of God, Cleveland, Tennessee and the Pentecostal Holiness Church among others.



Others see a link between the Keswick higher life movement and the outbreak of Pentecostal teaching within the Christian Missionary Alliance churches, which were a mix of both Presbyterian and Arminian churches dedicated to missionary outreach. One of the movement's leaders was A. B. Simpson and his focus on divine healing, etc. The crisis which developed over the baptism of the Holy Spirit as a second work of grace and an empowerment for missionary and evangelistic outreach and the ongoing "practice" of spiritual gifts led to the formation of what is known today as the Assemblies of God. Hence, the similarity between much of the theology within the Christian Missionary Alliance and the Assemblies of God. There are indeed pockets of Reformed theology within both the Christian Missionary Alliance and the Assemblies of God even today. However, both denominations are predominated by Arminian theology. A good example of that is Ravi Zacharias of the CMA.




Of course there were instances of healing movements and teaching prior to the influence of E.W. Kenyon via Kenneth Hagin and others. However, even in these movements the theology of healing has more to do with what the believer does to get healing than with trusting God's absolute providence and will. If you do not do your part, God will not do His part. This is inherently a synergistic and cooperative emphasis on healing from an Arminian perspective at best. At worst, it reduces to the syncretism of Christian Science/New Thought with Pentecostal theology. I observed this strain even in officially approved books from Gospel Publishing House, the official organ of the Assemblies of God. One book on the required reading list from GPH was a book on the spiritual gifts by Harold Horton, a British Pentecostal within the British Assemblies of God. I cannot remember the exact title or the page number of the quote but I clearly remember Horton comparing kittens as little cats, puppies as little dogs, and Christians as "little gods" or little "Jesus'". This is not Christian doctrine but is borrowed from Christian Science. Anyone who studies New Thought and Christian Science will be immediately struck with the similarities, not the differences. Most of the language used in charismatic circles today about "believing" for a miracle, etc., actually has more to do with visualization and other concepts from Christian Science than with biblical theology.


While I do recognize that pentecostals have developed a sophisticated and intellectual defense of their experiential theology, it is alarming to me that in doing so many current Pentecostal scholars are scuttling justification by faith alone, sola Scriptura, confessions of faith, creeds, and other necessary doctrines recovered and restored at the Protestant Reformation. What these scholars fail to see is that both the Wesleyan holiness movement and the Keswick higher life movements were still within the realm of Protestant theology. Both of these movements gave rise to the Pentecostal/charismatic movement. Essentially, the Pentecostal/charismatic movement has moved beyond Evangelicalism, despite their desire to claim that heritage as well, and has moved into radical Anabaptist theology and heterodoxy.


There are several areas where this is observed. One that stands out in my mind is the push for a re-unification between oneness Pentecostals and Trinitarian Pentecostals. In 1916 when the "New Issue" controversy threatened to tear the new fellowship, the Assemblies of God, into division, the A/G decided to guard itself against the charge of heresy. Most of the founding members were from traditional mainline Evangelical churches and understood that sabellian modalism or monarchial modalism was a denial of the biblical doctrine of the tri-unity of God as one Godhead or divine nature and three eternally existent and subsistent persons within that one God. Today, however, that is not seen as an obstacle to fellowship and the Society for Pentecostal Studies does not require belief in the Trinity as a necessary doctrine for membership. This is partly due to the influence of Cecil M. Robeck, Jr. an Assemblies of God scholar, and other Pentecostals from the Trinitarian side reaching across the aisle to the Oneness Pentecostals like David K. Bernard, who is now the General Superintendent of the United Pentecostal Church International.



D. William Faupel, a former A/G member who is now an Episcopalian and is a librarian at Asbury Theological Seminary, has clearly outlined the historical situation within the Assemblies of God over this issue in this quote:

The newly organized Assemblies of God immediately encountered a second theological crisis, which was also set forth in a restorationist context. The second person of the Trinity had been the focal point of the five doctrines restored to the church. Jesus was the Savior, Sanctifier, Baptizer, Healer and Coming King. Furthermore, as Pentecostals looked to the Acts of the Apostles in an effort to follow the apostolic patterns of the early church, they noted that converts were baptized in water in "Jesus' name." As a result, it had been a common practice in the movement's initial years to practice water baptism using either the trinitarian formula found in Matthew or the christological formula noted in Acts. A fresh revelation now came to some that Jesus was not the second person of the Trinity but rather the Name of God, who revealed himself as Father in the Old Testament, as Son in the New Testament, and as Holy Spirit in the church age. The message swept the newly formed fellowship as one leader after another embraced the new teaching, including E. N. Bell, the first general superintendent.


The controversy raged for two years, the final showdown coming in the 1916 General Council, where trinitarians won by a decisive two-thirds vote. J. Roswell Flower, general secretary and managing editor of the Pentecostal Evangel, led the fight for the orthodox position. He charged that the new teaching was a form of modal monarchianism, which had been condemned as heresy by the early church fathers. Patient argument and shrewd political maneuvering paid off, although the cost was heavy. Of 585 ministers, 156 withdrew from the fellowship, taking their churches with them. They would move on to found such "Oneness" denominations as the United Pentecostal Church and the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World.


The decision to exclude the Oneness teaching forever changed the nature of the Assemblies of God. Its leadership adopted a "Statement of Fundamental Truths," established a strong central executive and abandoned the restorationist understanding of church history. [From: The Restoration Vision in Pentecostalism].


Apparently, the modern Charismatic movement has decided that denying the trinity is no longer a heresy. T. D. Jakes is welcomed with open arms and Oneness Pentecostals are even studying in Ph.D. programs at the Regent University School of Divinity. (See Daniel Segraves' profile at his blog, Center for Oneness Research and Education).



Most Evangelicals still view the Oneness Pentecostals as modalists and therefore a cult that is not part of Protestant Christianity. But under the influence of the Pentecostal/Charismatic movement the heresy is now being ignored as if it were not a major issue. This is because Charismatics view their doctrine of the Holy Spirit and the ongoing supernatural gifts as the measure of fellowship and doctrinal orthodoxy over and above the five solas of the Protestant Reformation and the catholic creeds as a proper understanding of what we believe the Holy Scriptures teach. While the Scriptures are the only infallible rule for faith and practice, for Protestants who seek to maintain both Evangelical and catholic orthodoxy, the Reformed confessions and the ecumenical creeds establish what is authoritative doctrine for congregations who wish to be in fellowship on earth and in the invisible communion of saints.


The current trend among Pentecostal/Charismatic scholars is to reject the traditional Wesleyan quadrilateral and the Anglican trilateral and to instead place their ecstatic experience above biblical theology and Holy Scripture. Like the Roman Catholics, Charismatics place their doctrinal tradition above Scripture and use both their experience and their tradition to interpret Scripture rather than seriously drawing out the meaning of the text as it was intended by the original human authors and as the original hearers and readers would have understood it in their own cultural and historical context. In other words, the allegorical approach to hermeneutics trumps the historical-grammatical approach along with a healthy systematic and biblical theology.


What is particularly alarming for Reformed scholars who study the Pentecostal/Charismatic movement is the heterodox and even heretical compromises made in the pragmatic attempt to spread their ecstatic, enthusiastic theology at the expense of biblical truth, confessional commitments to the magisterial Reformation, and Christian orthodoxy as it is expressed in the ecumenical creeds. For this reason one has to question the entire movement.


I strongly disagree with Dale Coulter. There is no Westminster Captivity of Evangelicalism. Rather, there is an attempt by the Reformed denominations to restore the churches and reform the churches to the apostolic doctrines of the New Testament era. The Protestant Reformation was a recovery of Holy Scripture as the final measure, rule of faith, and authority in all ecclesiastical and doctrinal matters. The Pentecostal/Charismatic movement, on the other hand, is determined to reintroduce the radical reformation which questioned all, even going so far as to deny the trinity.


Even more ironic is the fact that most lay persons in Pentecostal denominations see themselves as fundamentalists and even act and operate on that level as they understand things literally from Scripture. In the intellectual and scholarly circles of the Pentecostal/Charismatic movement, however, there is clearly a move toward postmodernism, reader response hermeneutics, neo-orthodoxy, and even liberal theology.


The real problem as I see it is that most Reformed scholars are so busy fighting their own battles against Federal Visionism, the New Perspectives on Paul, Theonomy, the Neo-Nestorianism of Gordon H. Clark and John Robbins, and the creeping in of liberal theology and quasi-Arminianism that they have overlooked a major threat to the Reformation in their own backyard. Even men like Wayne Grudem and John Piper are promoting the ongoing practice of the apostolic signs, wonders and gifts within an essentially Reformed paradigm which for all practical purposes operates as a synergistic theology.



This is particularly true of those who are Anglican and Reformed. Rather than seeing Anglican Charismatics as allies perhaps Evangelical and Reformed Anglicans should reconsider. It might be that Charismatics within the "conservative and orthodox" side of the Anglican Communion might in fact be contributing indirectly to the erosion of biblical theology and propositional truth conveyed through the inerrant and inspired revelation of God in Jesus Christ and Holy Scripture. (Hebrews 1:1-3; 2 Timothy 3:15-17; 2 Peter 1:19-21).


Peace,


Charlie J. Ray, M.Div.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son : and to the Holy Ghost;
Answer. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be : world without end. Amen.

Former Bishop Speaks Out: The Legal Threat to Christianity in the UK

The following is an excerpt from the Telegraph newspaper in the United Kingdom. You can read the entire article by clicking on: The Legal Threat to Our Spiritual Tradition

Recent legislation has not been notable for upholding this long tradition of respect for conscience and I fear that we are entering an absolutist era where there is no room for believers. What we need is a balance between a government's desire (mistaken or justified) to provide rights for one group of people and its duty to provide for the consciences of other groups on whom the granting of such rights might impinge. The most charitable thing to say is that we have not got it quite right yet. But it is not too late, like the Prime Minister, to say sorry and to make amends.

In a situation of fundamental crisis, both financial and political, it is radically mistaken to attempt to remove a nation's moral and spiritual tradition from under its feet; a tradition that can provide the basis for moral and spiritual renewal and which can serve as the basis for a hospitable and just society.

Rt Rev Dr Michael Nazir -Ali is the former Bishop of Rochester and is now President of the Oxford Centre for Training, Research, Advocacy and Dialogue.


Glory be to the Father, and to the Son : and to the Holy Ghost;
Answer. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be : world without end. Amen.


Thursday, April 29, 2010

Evangelical Lutheran Church of America Refuses to Allow Congregation to Leave

The Westminster Captivity of Evangelicalism? Charismatics See the Traditional Reformed View as a Threat

I'm posting this comment on the blog in case the moderator does not post it at his site, Renewal Dynamics.  The original title is, "The Westminster Captivity of Evangelicalism."  I am pleased to see that the charismatics see the biblical view of justification as an imputed righteousness as a challenge to their view of justification as an infusion of the Holy Spirit.    Charlie
 
 
 
Hi Dale,
 
As a former pentecostal/charismatic and a former Arminian I have to disagree with your post. First of all, your emphasis on "healing" borrows its theology mostly from the Word of Faith movement which is essentially a syncretism of Christian Science/New Thought with Pentecostal/Arminian theology. It is a subtle shift between the synergism of Arminianism to a full blown positive confession that changes reality in the matters of health and prosperity.

 
Secondly, arguments for non-cessationism beg the question since there is no direct evidence in Scripture for the ongoing signs, wonders, and miracles of the apostles to continue until the return of Christ. Since the majority of healings and miracles today cannot be documented and/or do not meet the same criteria as the astounding miracles Jesus and the original apostles did, I don't think they are the same at all. This is particularly true when the miracles recorded in Scripture are obligatory to the believer while modern anecdotes are fallible at best.

And lastly, the de-emphasizing of the forensic nature of justification goes beyond what even John Wesley taught in the 52 Standard Sermons. Having studied at Asbury I can tell you that Wesley did teach the doctrine of a forensic justification by faith alone and a penal substitutionary atonement, although modern Methodists are not comfortable with that doctrine. The move away from justification by faith alone by a forensic declaration by God on our behalf is in fact contradictory to Scripture and is a move in the direction of Rome. If salvation is something infused into the heart by the dynamic experience of the Holy Spirit, then what you are really saying is that justification is based on our performance, our keeping of the law, and our sanctification. To confuse justification with sanctification is to commit the error of semi-pelagianism and to deny the very Gospel itself as it was condemned in the canons of the Council of Trent.

This is why traditional Reformed theology opposes your pentecostalism. It is because your view is inherently a pelagian one. Despite all the talk in charismatic circles about "sovereign moves of the Holy Spirit" and "miracles" the real truth is you think you have to work up all these things yourself by your "cooperation" with God. This cooperation really amounts to man being sovereign over God and thus God becomes your heavenly bellhop who jumps at your command.

No, I became a Calvinist in 1995 after my experience at Asbury precisely because I saw through all the smoke and saw the Pentecostal/Charismatic/Arminian view for what it really is: Works righteousness and a performance trap.

I would much rather trust in all the promises of God which are in Christ, yea and amen!

For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory. (2 Corinthians 1:20 ESV)
 
 

 Charlie J. Ray says:

April 29, 2010 at 9:41 am
 

I might add that the cage fight mentality exists in the charismatic movement as well. It's really a form of triumphalistic theology that says anyone who dares to disagree is out. Charismatics dare not question their leaders or what they say.
 

  Glory be to the Father, and to the Son : and to the Holy Ghost;
    Answer. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be : world without end. Amen.

1662 Book of Common Prayer

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Doctrines of Grace

Networked Blogs: Reasonable Christian

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Noah's Ark Discovered? Maybe, Maybe Not

N. T. Wright to Retire as Bishop of Durham

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Global South Meeting in Singapore Sounds the Warning

Click on Global South for the full story.

I am pointing out in particular one part of the statement that stands out in my mind as the most important:

16. In contrast, we continue to grieve over the life of The Episcopal Church USA (TEC) and the Anglican Church of Canada and all those churches that have rejected the Way of the Lord as expressed in Holy Scripture. The recent action of TEC in the election and intended consecration of Mary Glasspool, a partnered lesbian, as a bishop in Los Angeles, has demonstrated, yet again, a total disregard for the mind of the Communion. These churches continue in their defiance as they set themselves on a course that contradicts the plain teaching of the Holy Scriptures on matters so fundamental that they affect the very salvation of those involved. Such actions violate the integrity of the Gospel, the Communion and our Christian witness to the rest of the world. In the face of this we dare not remain silent and must respond with appropriate action.
Really, the TEC has demonstrated a total disregard for the mind of God as it is revealed in the very words of Scripture. If there is to be any redemption for the Anglican Communion it will be a return to the Holy Scriptures as the final Word of God in all matters of doctrine, morality, ethics, and fellowship. The best we who are Reformed, Evangelical and Anglican can do is to break fellowship with those who refuse to repent of their immorality and their unbelief.

The peace of God be with you!

Charlie

Monday, April 26, 2010

Correction to Previous Post on A. A. Hodge's Outlines of Theology


I stand corrected on the quote from A. A. Hodge's Outlines of Theology. The quote was pulled out of context from the first edition of the Outlines and not from Charles Hodge's Systematic Theology. The second and expanded edition of The Outlines is quoted in my other post. However, even the full context of the first edition shows that A. A. Hodge was not saying that Nestorianism is not a heresy. What he said was that Nestorius was falsely "charged" with the heresy that Christ was two persons. Nestorius never taught two persons but only taught that Christ was one person. Here is the full quote:


14. If Christ had a reasonable soul how can we escape the conviction that he was a human person ?

It is indeed a great mystery that the unity of personality should remain in the God-man, while there are two centers of consciousness, an infinite knowing on the one hand, and a finite knowing on the other, and two distinct though ever harmonious wills. The fact, however, that a God took, not a man, but a human nature into his eternal personality, is clearly revealed in Scripture. The one person is both God and man. The mystery remains for the exercise of our faith.

15. What were the principle heresies which obtained in the early church concerning the constitution of Christ's person ?

1st. The Manichaean heresy, disseminated by Manes, one of the converted Magi, who, during the third century taught a mixed system of religious philosophy, adapting the historical facts of Christianity to the peculiar principles of the Persian philosophy. He taught that Christ and the Holy Ghost were immediate emanations from the eternal God, superior to all creatures, and that the Christ of history was this spiritual being, who appeared among the Jews in the shadow or appearance of a material body, which existed only in the perception of men. As Manes taught that matter is essentially evil, and that Christ appeared for the very purpose of delivering human souls from their entanglement in matter, he necessarily also taught that Christ's human body was only an appearance assumed for the purpose of making his presence known to man as at present organized.

2d. The Apollinariah heresy, disseminated by Apollinaris the younger, bishop of Laodicea, in the fourth century. He taught the orthodox doctrine concerning the trinity, and further that the Eternal Word, second person of the trinity, became incarnate by taking to himself a true human body. On the other hand he denied that Christ had a human soul, since the place of a soul in his person was occupied by his divinity. In his view, then, the person of Christ embraced (1.) the Eternal Word, (2.) a t/w^, or principle of sensitive animal life ; and (3.) a true human body— but no rational human soul.

3d. The Nestorian heresy, charged upon Nestorius, a Syrian by birth, and bishop of Constantinople, during the fifth century, by his enemy, Cyril, the arrogant bishop of Alexandria. Cyril obtained a judgment against Nestorius in the Council of Ephesus, A. D. 431, to the effect that he separated the two natures of Christ so far as to teach the coexistence in him of two distinct persons, a God and a man, intimately united. But it is now, however, judged most probable by Protestant historians that Nestorius was personally a brave defender of the true faith, and that i the misrepresentations of his enemies were founded only upon his uncompromising opposition to the dangerous habit then prominently introduced of calling the Virgin Mary the mother of God, because she was the mother of the human nature of Christ. [From: First Edition: A. A. Hodge, Outlines of Theology. Ch. XX:14-15].

The expanded and revised edition of A. A. Hodges Outlines reads:

What was the Nestorian Heresy?

This term rather expresses an exaggerated, one–sided tendency of speculation on this subject than a positive definable false doctrine. It is the tendency to so emphasize the distinction of the two complete, unmodified natures in Christ, as to throw into the shade the equally revealed fact of the unity of his Person.

This tendency was most conspicuous in the writings of Theodore of Mopsuestia, the leader of the Antiochian school, and from him it became the general character of that school. The theology of the Eastern Church of the fourth and fifth centuries was divided between the two great rival schools of Alexandria and Antioch. "In the Alexandrian school, an intuitive mode of thought inclining to the mystical; in the Antiochian, a logical reflective bent of the understanding predominated."—Neander, "Hist.," Torrey's Trans., Vol. 2., p. 352.

Nestorius, who had been a monk at Antioch, became patriarch of Constantinople. He disapproved of the phrase, "Mother of God" (theotokos), as applied to the Virgin, maintaining that Mary had given birth to Christ but not to God. Cyril, patriarch of Alexandria, opposed him, and both pronounced anathemas against each other. Nestorius supposed, in accordance with the Antiochian mode of thought, that the divine and the human natures of Christ ought to be distinctly separated, and admitted only a suna>feia (junction) of the one and the other, an ejnoi>khsiv (indwelling) of the Deity. Cyril, on the contrary, was led by the tendencies of the Egyptian (Alexandrian) school, to maintain the perfect union of the two natures (fusikh< e[nwsiv). Nestorius, as the representative of his party, was condemned by the Council of Ephesus, AD. 431.—Hagenbach's "Hist. of Doct.," Vol. 1., § 100.

From: "The Person of Christ" in Outlines of Theology, A. A. Hodge.



Please notice that both editions of A. A. Hodge's Outlines of Theology uphold the doctrine of the hypostatic union in one person of Christ. Also, both editions identify Nestorianism as a heresy.

Charlie

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son : and to the Holy Ghost;

Answer. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be : world without end. Amen.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

John Robbins Versus Charles Hodge


























Actually, if you compare what John Robbins said in the postscript to The Incarnation and what Charles Hodge says about Nestorianism, it becomes even more obvious that Charles Hodge would have said Robbins' and Clark's view was heretical.



Charles Hodge:

The integrity of the two natures in Christ having been thus asserted and declared to be the faith of the Church, the next question which arose concerned the relations of the two natures, the one to the other, in the one person of Christ. Nestorianism is the designation adopted in church history, for the doctrine which either affirms, or implies a twofold personality in our Lord. The divine Logos was represented as dwelling in the man Christ Jesus, so that the union between the two natures was somewhat analogous to the indwelling of the Spirit. The true divinity of Christ was thus endangered. He was distinguished from other men in whom God dwelt, only by the plenitude of the divine presence, and the absolute control of the divine over the human. From: Nestorianism.

Compare that to what Robbins said:

The relationship that obtains between the Logos, the Second Person of the Trinity, and Jesus Christ is unique, unlike that between the Logos and every other man who comes into the world (see John 1:9). The Logos did not merely light the mind of Christ; the Logos Himself is fully in Christ. Christ could therefore say, "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life." No mere prophet could make such an astounding claim. Prophets inspired by God possess some of the divine propositions. Christ, however, possesses them all, as the author of Hebrews argues in his first chapter. All the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are in Christ, for in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. . . . Jesus Christ was and is both God and man, a divine person and a human person. To deny either is to fall into error. Once key terms are defined and clearly understood, the Incarnation is an even more stupendous and awe-inspiring miracle than the Church has hitherto surmised. [The Incarnation, pages 77-78]

In other words, Robbins is saying that what makes Christ unique is that he has "more" of the divine propositions than other men. The fullness of the Godhead dwells in him bodily but not in union with the human person, Jesus Christ. Also, Robbins fails to distinguish between the incommunicable attributes of deity and the communicable attributes. In this case, Clark's definition of "propositions" seems to fail since it confuses the "divine propositions" with the "human propositions." Clearly Robbins is implying that there are two persons in Christ, which is what Clark had already concluded.  This is an example of what A. A. Hodge is talking about in this question:
19. How may all Heresies on this subject be classified?

As they seek relief from the impossibility which reason experiences in the effort fully to comprehend the mutual consistency of all the elements of this doctrine (1) in the denial of the divine element, (2) or in the denial of the human element in its reality and integrity, or (3) in the denial of the unity of the person embracing both natures.


A. A. Hodge has just described perfectly those who place reason above revelation.



Charlie
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son : and to the Holy Ghost;

Answer. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be : world without end. Amen.

The Sixy-seven Articles of Ulrich Zwingli: I-XVI

 

Sixty-seven Articles

The articles and opinions below, I, Ulrich Zwingli, confess to have preached in the worthy city of Zurich as based upon the Scriptures which are called inspired by God, and I offer to protect and conquer with the said articles, and where I have not now correctly understood said Scriptures I shall allow myself to be taught better, but only from said Scriptures.

I. All who say that the Gospel is invalid without the confirmation of the Church err and slander God.

II. The sum and substance of the Gospel is that our Lord Jesus Christ, the true Son of God, has made known to us the will of his heavenly Father, and has with his innocence released us from death and reconciled God.

III. Hence Christ is the only way to salvation for all who ever were, are and shall be.

IV. Who seeks or points out another door errs, yea, he is a murderer of souls and a thief.

V. Hence all who consider other teachings equal to or higher than the Gospel err, and do not know what the Gospel is.

VI. For Jesus Christ is the guide and leader, promised by God to all human beings, which promise was fulfilled.

VII. That he is an eternal salvation and head of all believers, who are his body, but which is dead and can do nothing without him.

VIII. From this follows first that all who dwell in the head are members and children of God, and that is the church or communion of the saints, the bride of Christ, Ecclesia catholica.

IX. Furthermore, that as the members of the body can do nothing without the control of the head, so no one in the body of Christ can do the least without his head, Christ.

X. As that man is mad whose limbs (try to) do something without his head, tearing, wounding, injuring himself; thus when the members of Christ undertake something without their head, Christ, they are mad, and injure and burden themselves with unwise ordinances.

XI. Hence we see in the clerical (so-called) ordinances, concerning their splendor, riches, classes, titles, laws, a cause of all foolishness, for they do not also agree with the head.

XII. Thus they still rage, not on account of the head (for that one is eager to bring forth in these times from the grace of God,) but because one will not let them rage, but tries to compel them to listen to the head.

XIII. Where this (the head) is hearkened to one learns clearly and plainly the will of God, and man is attracted by his spirit to him and changed into him.

XIV. Therefore all Christian people shall use their best diligence that the Gospel of Christ be preached alike everywhere.

XV. For in the faith rests our salvation, and in unbelief our damnation; for all truth is clear in him.

XVI. In the Gospel one learns that human doctrines and decrees do not aid in salvation.

 

 

  Glory be to the Father, and to the Son : and to the Holy Ghost;
    Answer. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be : world without end. Amen.
 
 

Bruce Waltke Resigns from RTS Over Theistic Evolution Issue

Against Heresies: Heresy Never Dies

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Roger Mann's Unposted Comment Regarding Clark's Neo-Nestorian Heresy

The comments were closed at God's Hammer, Crampton on the Incarnation, prior to the following being posted.

Roger Mann said:

Here's my final responses that were never posted:


Speigel wrote,


Everyone should read Sean's quotation of Reymond more carefully as the portion quoted does not give the complete picture as to Reymond's position on Chalcedon.


You took the word's right out of my mouth, Speigel. I was just about to start my own reply to Sean's misrepresentation of Reymond's position when I read your post. Now, I have one simple question for Sean. I only see three options for why you misrepresented Reymond's position here.

1) You failed to read just a few sentences down in the same paragraph and were unaware that Reymond wrote this...

2) You read the section cited by Speigel and were simply unable to comprehend what Reymond was saying...

3) You read the section cited by Speigel and understood what Reymond was saying, but deliberately decided to misrepresent him anyway...

So, which option applies to you, Sean?

Sean wrote,

What do you mean, so what? Does the Ninth Commandment means nothing to you (which, I guess it doesn't as anyone reading your posts can see).

I clearly explained what I meant in the three points that followed my question. Did you not read them? Or were you unable to comprehend what I wrote? Also, in what way have I violated the Ninth Commandment here? I challenge you to provide even a single example (and please don't quote me out of context in order to misrepresent my position, as you did with Reymond). Your "two-person" view of the Incarnation is legitimately labeled "Nestorianism" as it has been historically defined, and is a blatant rejection of the Chalcedonian formulation. Moreover, as Reymond rightly observes, "when one moves beyond the borders of Chalcedon he has decided to choose heresy" (Systematic Theology, p. 621). Thus, I have hardly borne false witness against you.

I have not read through the transcripts [of the Council of Ephesus], but you're off your nut as well if you think Cyril's theology was "absolutely correct." See Bugay above. Cyril's theology got " wacked" at Chalcedon. Ironically, it was Nestorious who was evidently vindicated (something I never suspected)


I'm not sure how you (or Bugay) figure that Cyril's theology got "wacked" or Nestorius' view "vindicated" when Chalcedon explicitly "declared the Cyrillian Council at Ephesus in 431 to be the third ecumenical council and adopted both Cyril's synodical letters against Nestorius as a refutation of Nestoriamism and Leo's Tome as a refutation of Eutychianism" (Reymond, Systematic Theology, p. 607). And just to be clear, I was referring to Cyril's theology in his " letters against Nestorius," and specifically his theology regarding Christ's two natures hypostatically united in one Person, when I said that his theology was "absolutely correct."

In fact, why don't you go and post somewhere else? I think you've said your piece and now you're just repeating yourself.


Ok, if you don't want me to post here anymore, I won't post here anymore. I pray that God will open your eyes and grant you repentance for willingly promoting this heretical view of the Incarnation.

Charlie said:

For those not following, the quote from Robert Reymond reads:

So the Definition should never be used to stifle continuing reflection upon Scripture. But I would insist with Berkouwer that "there is a 'halt' at Chalcedon which will indeed continue to sound against every form of speculation which attempts to penetrate into this mystery [of the divine human Person - Reymond] further than is warranted in the light of revelation."

Said another way, the Definition of Chalcedon does mark the terminal point and legitimately so, of all speculation which would discard either its "one Person" doctrine or its "two natures" doctrine so as to eliminate the supernaturalness of the Incarnation and the incarnate Christ. And history is replete with examples that justify the oft-made declaration that "when one moves beyond the borders of Chalcedon he has decided to choose a heresy." — Robert Reymond, Systematic Theology, page 621.


Glory be to the Father, and to the Son : and to the Holy Ghost;

Answer. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be : world without end. Amen.

More Proof that the Clarkians Are Heretical on the Incarnation

The following quote was e-mailed to me by Hugh McCann, a "clarkian." He seems to think that simply because Hodge says that Nestorius himself was probably not guilty of the heresy that bears his name it does not mean that the heresy itself is not a heresy! This is Gordon H. Clark's excuse for pushing Nestorianism? Nestorianism was not really a heresy after all? That's a convenient argument. Maybe the Sabellian modalists should give that one a try or the Pelagians? Also, lifting what "apparently" supports the Clarkian view out of context is dishonest as a "logical" argument, something Clarkians supposedly pride themselves on. If you will take the time to read Charles Hodge and A.A. Hodge as quoted below you will see that both men condemned Clark's two person view as the Nestorian heresy.

THANKS, SEAN.


This is from A.A. Hodge:

"The Nestorian heresy, charged upon Nestorius, a Syrian by birth, and bishop of Constantinople, during the fifth century, by his enemy Cyril, the arrogant bishop of Alexandria. Cyril obtained a judgment against Nestorius in the Council of Ephesus, A.D. 431, to the effect that he separated the two natures of Christ so far as to teach the coexistence in him of two distinct persons, a God and a man, intimately united. But it is now, however, judged most probable by Protestant historians that Nestorius was personally a brave defender of the true faith, and that the misrepresentations of his enemies were founded only upon his uncompromising opposition to the dangerous habit then prominently introduced of calling the Virgin Mary the mother of God, because she was the mother of the human nature of Christ." (Outlines of Theology, Chapter 20, Question 15, 3rd Answer)



Hugh's comment: Screw Catholic theology, history, and those twits who blindly follow, nose-to-tail.

Hi, Charlie!
Hugh, not only is this reference not from A. A. Hodge, it is taken out of context. The quote is actually from Charles Hodge. The full context of Charles Hodge says:

Nestorianism.

The integrity of the two natures in Christ having been thus asserted and declared to be the faith of the Church, the next question which arose concerned the relations of the two natures, the one to the other, in the one person of Christ. Nestorianism is the designation adopted in church history, for the doctrine which either affirms, or implies a twofold personality in our Lord. The divine Logos was represented as dwelling in the man Christ Jesus, so that the union between the two natures was somewhat analogous to the indwelling of the Spirit. The true divinity of Christ was thus endangered. He was distinguished from other men in whom God dwelt, only by the plenitude of the divine presence, and the absolute control of the divine over the human. This was not the avowed or real doctrine of Nestorius, but it was the doctrine charged upon him, and was the conclusion to which his principles were supposed to lead. Nestorius was a man of great excellence and eminence; first a presbyter in Antioch, and afterwards Patriarch of Constantinople. The controversy on this subject arose from his defending one of his presbyters who denied that the Virgin Mary could properly be called the Mother of God. As this designation of the blessed Virgin had already received the sanction of the Church, and was familiar and dear to the people, Nestorius's objection to its use excited general and violent opposition. He was on this account alone accused of heresy. As, however, there is a sense in which Mary was the Mother of God, and a sense in which such a designation is blasphemous, everything depends on the real meaning attached to the terms. What Nestorius meant, according to his own statement, was simply that God, the divine nature, could neither be born nor die. In his third letter to Coelestin, Bishop of Rome, he said, "Ego autem ad hanc quidem vocem, quae est qeoto,koj, nisi secundum Apollinaris et Arii furorem ad confusionem naturarum proferatur, volentibus dicere non resisto; nec tamen ambigo quia haec vox qeoto,koj illi voci cedat, quae est cristoto.koj, tanquam prolatae ab Angelis et evangelistis" What he asserted was, "Non peperit creatura creatorem, sed peperit hominem deitatis instrumentum. . . . Spiritus sanctus . . . Deo Verbo templum fabricatus est, quod habitaret, ex virgine." Nevertheless, he obviously carried the distinction of natures too far, for neither he nor his followers could bring themselves to use the Scriptural language, "The Church of God which he purchased with his blood." The Syriac version used by the Nestorians, reads Cristo,j instead of Qeo,j in Acts xx. 28. The principal opponent of Nestorius was Cyril of Alexandria, who secured his condemnation by violent means in the Synod of Ephesus in A. D. 431. This irregular decision was resisted by the Greek and Syrian bishops, so that the controversy, for a time at least, was a conflict between these two sections of the Church. Ultimately Nestorius was deposed and banished, and died A. D. 440. His followers removed eastward to Persia, and organized themselves into a separate communion, which continues until this day.

First of all, Charles Hodge lists the quote under "Erroneous and Heretical Doctrines on the Person of Christ." It would be odd that Hodge did not view the dividing of Christ into two persons as not being a heresy.



However, A. A. Hodge in the Outlines of Theology says the following:

10. What is the general principle upon which those passages are to be explained which designate the person of Christ from one nature, and predicate attributes to it belonging to the other?

The person of Christ, constituted of two natures, is one person. He may, therefore, indifferently be designated by divine or human titles, and both divine and human attributes may be truly predicated of him. He is still God when he dies, and still man when he raises his people from their graves.

Mediatorial actions pertain to both natures. It must he remembered, however, that while the person is one, the natures are distinct, as such. What belongs to either nature is attributed to the one person to which both belong, but what is peculiar to one nature is never attributed to the other. God, i.e., the divine person who is at once God and man, gave his blood for his church, i.e., died as to his human nature (Acts 20:28). But human attributes or actions are never asserted of Christ's divine nature, nor are divine attributes or actions ever asserted of his human nature.

11. How have theologians defined the ideas of "nature," a "person" as they are involved in this doctrine?

In the doctrine of the Trinity the difficulty is that one spirit exists as three Persons. In the doctrine of the Incarnation the difficulty is that two spirits exist in union as one Person.

"Nature" in this connection has been defined by the terms, "essence," "being,""substance."

"Person" in this connection has been defined as "an individual substance, which is neither part of, nor is sustained by some other thing," or as "an intelligent individual subsistence, per se subsistens." The human nature in Christ never was "per se subsistens," but since it began to be as a germ generated into personal union with the eternal Second Person of the Godhead, so from the beginning "in altero sustentatur."

12. What were the effects of this personal union upon the Divine nature of Christ?

His divine nature being eternal and immutable, and, of course, incapable of addition, remained essentially unchanged by this union. The whole immutable divine essence continued to subsist as the eternal Personal Word, now embracing a perfect human nature in the unity of his person, and as the organ of his will. Yet thereby is the relation of the divine nature changed to the whole creation, since he has become Emmanuel, "God with us," "God manifest in the flesh."

13. What were the effects of that union upon his human nature?

The human nature, being perfect after its kind, began to exist in union with the divine nature, and as one constituent of the divine Person, and as such it ever continues unmixed and essentially unchanged human nature.

The effect of this union upon Christ human nature, therefore, was—

1st. Exaltation of all human excellencies above the standard of human and of creaturely nature.—John 1:14; 3:34; Isaiah 12:2.

2nd. Unparalleled exaltation to dignity and glory, above every name that is named, and a community of honor and worship with the divinity in virtue of its union therewith in the one divine Person.

3rd. As in the union of soul and body in the natural person, the soul although absolutely destitute of extension in itself, is in virtue of its union with the body present at once from the crown of the head to the sole of the foot—that is virtually, if not essentially, present in conscious perception and active volition—so through its personal union with the eternal Word is the human nature of Christ, (a) virtually present (although logically in heaven) with his people in the most distant parts of the earth at the same time, sympathizing with each severally as one who has himself also been tempted, (b) rendered practically inexhaustible in all those draughts made upon its energies by the constant exercise of those mediatorial functions which involve both natures.

Hence the church doctrine concerning the "communicatio idiomatum vel proprietatum " of the two natures of Christ. It is affirmed in the concrete in respect to the person, but denied in the abstract in respect to the natures; it is affirmed utrius naturoe ad personam, but denied utrius naturoe ad naturam.

14. To what extent is the human nature of Christ included in the worship due to him?

We must distinguish between the object and the grounds of worship. There can be no proper ground of worship, except the possession of divine attributes. The object of worship is not the divine excellence in the abstract, but the divine person Of whom that excellence is an attribute. The God–man, consisting of two natures, is to be worshipped in the perfection of his entire person, because only of his divine attributes.

15. State the analogy presented in the union of two natures in the persons of men.

1st. Every human person comprehends two distinct natures, (a) a conscious, self–acting, self–determined spirit absolutely without extension in space, and (b) an extended highly organized body composed of passive matter.

2nd. These constitute but one person. The body is part of the person.

3rd. These natures remain distinct, the attributes of the spirit never being made common to the material body, nor the attributes of the body to the spirit, but the attributes of both body and spirit are common to the one person. The person is often designated by a title proper to one nature while the predicate is proper to the other nature.

4th. The spirit is the person. When the spirit leaves the body the latter is buried as a corpse, while the former goes to judgment. At the resurrection the spirit will resume the corpse into the person.

5th. While in union the person possesses and exercises the attributes of both natures. And in virtue of the union the unextended spirit is present virtually wherever the extended body is, and the inert insensible matter of the nerve tissues thrill with feeling and throb with will as organs of the feeling and willing soul.

*****

17. How can it be shown that the doctrine of the incarnation is a fundamental doctrine of the Gospel?

1st. This doctrine, and all the elements thereof; is set forth in the Scriptures with preeminent clearness and prominence.

2nd. Its truth is essentially involved in every other doctrine of the entire system of faith; in every mediatorial act of Christ, as prophet, priest and king; in the whole history of his estate of humiliation, and in every aspect of his estate of exaltation; and, above all, in the significance and value of that vicarious sacrifice which is the heart of the gospel. If Christ is not in the same person both God and man, he either could not die, or his death could not avail. If he be not man, his whole history is a myth; if he be not God, to worship him is idolatry, yet not to worship him is to disobey the Father.—John 5:23.

3rd. Scripture expressly declares that this doctrine is essential.—1 John 4:2,3.

18. In what Creeds and by what Councils has this doctrine been most accurately defined?

1st. The Creed of the Council of Nice, amended by the Council of Constantinople, and the Athanasian Creed, and the Creed of the Council of Chalcedon, are accurate and authoritative statements of the whole church as to this doctrine. They are all to be found above, Chapter 7.

2nd. The decision of the Council of Ephesus, AD. 431, condemning the Nestorians, and affirming the unity of the Person; the decision of the Council of Chalcedon (451) against Eutyches, affirming the distinction of natures; and the decision of the Council of Constantinople (681) against the Monothelites, affirming that Christ's human nature retains in its unimpaired integrity a separate will as well as intelligence, closed the gradually perfected definition of the church doctrine as to the Person of Christ, and have been accepted by all Protestants.

19. How may all Heresies on this subject be classified?

As they seek relief from the impossibility which reason experiences in the effort fully to comprehend the mutual consistency of all the elements of this doctrine (1) in the denial of the divine element, (2) or in the denial of the human element in its reality and integrity, or (3) in the denial of the unity of the person embracing both natures.

****

22. State the Apollinarian Heresy.

Apollinaris, bishop of Laodicea, circum. 370, of general repute for orthodoxy and learning, taught that as man naturally consists of a body, swma, and an animal soul, psyuch, and a rational soul, pneuma, all comprehended in one person, so in Christ the divine logos takes the place of the human pneuma, and his one person consists of the divine pneuma, or reasonable soul, and the human animal soul and body. He thus gets rid of the difficulty attending the coexistence of two rational, self–conscious, self–determining spirits in one person, and at the same time destroys the revealed fact that Christ is at once very man and very God. This was condemned by the Council of Constantinople, AD. 381.

23. What was the Nestorian Heresy?

This term rather expresses an exaggerated, one–sided tendency of speculation on this subject than a positive definable false doctrine. It is the tendency to so emphasize the distinction of the two complete, unmodified natures in Christ, as to throw into the shade the equally revealed fact of the unity of his Person.

This tendency was most conspicuous in the writings of Theodore of Mopsuestia, the leader of the Antiochian school, and from him it became the general character of that school. The theology of the Eastern Church of the fourth and fifth centuries was divided between the two great rival schools of Alexandria and Antioch. "In the Alexandrian school, an intuitive mode of thought inclining to the mystical; in the Antiochian, a logical reflective bent of the understanding predominated."—Neander, "Hist.," Torrey's Trans., Vol. 2., p. 352.

Nestorius, who had been a monk at Antioch, became patriarch of Constantinople. He disapproved of the phrase, "Mother of God" (qeo>tokov), as applied to the Virgin, maintaining that Mary had given birth to Christ but not to God. Cyril, patriarch of Alexandria, opposed him, and both pronounced anathemas against each other. Nestorius supposed, in accordance with the Antiochian mode of thought, that the divine and the human natures of Christ ought to be distinctly separated, and admitted only a sunafeia (junction) of the one and the other, an ephnoikesnv (indwelling) of the Deity. Cyril, on the contrary, was led by the tendencies of the Egyptian (Alexandrian) school, to maintain the perfect union of the two natures (phusikh< e[nwsiv). Nestorius, as the representative of his party, was condemned by the Council of Ephesus, AD. 431.—Hagenbach's "Hist. of Doct.," Vol. 1., § 100.

From A. A. Hodge Outlines of Theology, The Person of Christ



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