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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

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Quadrilateral Thoughts: Happy Reformation Day




Ken Schenck was my Hebrew instructor when I was a new student at Asbury Theological Seminary in 1992.  It looks like the Protestant Reformation wasn't necessary after all.  All there is to object to these days is ministerial celibacy and a few other minor matters.  Nevermind that the doctrine of Sola Scriptura means that the Holy Scriptures are the final authority in all matters of faith, doctrine and practice.

Ken says:

Do we believe in sola fide, "by faith alone"?  We would say we do. Lutherans and Calvinists might say we don't.  We would say we do because works never help a person become justified. They might say we don't because we believe that human will (by God's grace) cooperates with God's will in faith, and because our lack of cooperation with God's will, which leads to sinful deeds, can "unjustify" us. (By the way, Paul is on our side)

I would say that all Christians today believe in sola gratia (by grace alone) and sola Christi (by Christ alone), including the Roman Catholic Church.  This is an area where the RCC has itself reformed its understanding.  It is only by the grace of God that anyone can be saved.  No human could ever have enough merit on his or her own to deserve God's favor.  It is purely a matter of God's grace and anything we do is in response to that grace.  (From:   Quadrilateral Thoughts: Happy Reformation Day
Ah, I did not know that the Roman Catholic Church has actually removed the Canons and Anathemas of the Council of Trent.  That is a new one to me.  Unfortunately, it is an unsubstantiated claim and is in fact patently false to say that Rome teaches justification by grace alone apart from works and by the instrument of faith.  Of course Wesleyan Arminians do not believe in justification by grace alone or by imputed righteousness.  We have it on the good authority of Professor Ken Schenck in his own words above.

On the other hand, the Roman Catholic Church has not moved an iota.  Perhaps it is "Protestants" like the Wesleyan Arminians who have moved toward Rome?  This is another reason why I no longer consider Arminians as genuinely converted Christians.  The vast majority of them, like Ken Schenck, see Roman Catholics as "separated" brethren rather than advocates of false religion, idolatry, and anti-Christian doctrine.  (See CARM, Canons on Justification).

It is ironic that a Wesleyan Arminian confuses infused righteousness (sanctification) with imputed righteousness (justification).  Not even John Wesley made that error.  Wesley confused the two in other ways but for Wesley entire sanctification was one doctrine and justification by faith alone was quite another.  In fact, Wesley did an entire sermon on justification by faith alone in his Fifty-two Standard Sermons.  (See:  Justification by Faith).   Of course, Wesley's error was that he thought justification by faith alone only concerned sins before baptism.  Unfortunately, the Thirty-nine Articles of Religion disagree with him:


Article XV

Of Christ alone without Sin

Christ in the truth of our nature was made like unto us in all things, sin only except, from which He was clearly void, both in His flesh and in His spirit. He came to be the lamb without spot, Who by sacrifice of Himself once made, should take away the sins of the world: and sin, as S. John saith, was not in Him. But all we the rest, although baptized and born again in Christ, yet offend in many things: and if we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.


Article XVI


Of Sin after Baptism

Not every deadly sin willingly committed after Baptism is sin against the Holy Ghost, and unpardonable. Wherefore the grant of repentance is not to be denied to such as fall into sin after Baptism. After we have received the Holy Ghost, we may depart from grace given and fall into sin, and by the grace of God we may arise again and amend our lives. And therefore they are to be condemned, which say, they can no more sin as long as they live here, or deny the place of forgiveness to such as truly repent.  See:  Articles 9-18, 39 Articles of Religion.


Rome, on the other hand, teaches eternal insecurity, as do the Wesleyans:

CHAPTER IX.
Against the vain confidence of Heretics.
But, although it is necessary to believe that sins neither are remitted, nor ever were remitted save gratuitously by the mercy of God for Christ's sake; yet is it not to be said, that sins are forgiven, or have been forgiven, to any one who boasts of his confidence and certainty of the remission of his sins, and rests on that alone; seeing that it may exist, yea does in our day exist, amongst heretics and schismatics; and with great vehemence is this vain confidence, and one alien from all godliness, preached up in opposition to the Catholic Church. But neither [Page 37] is this to be asserted,-that they who are truly justified must needs, without any doubting whatever, settle within themselves that they are justified, and that no one is absolved from sins and justified, but he that believes for certain that he is absolved and justified; and that absolution and justification are effected by this faith alone: as though whoso has not this belief, doubts of the promises of God, and of the efficacy of the death and resurrection of Christ. For even as no pious person ought to doubt of the mercy of God, of the merit of Christ, and of the virtue and efficacy of the sacraments, even so each one, when he regards himself, and his own weakness and indisposition, may have fear and apprehension touching his own grace; seeing that no one can know with a certainty of faith, which cannot be subject to error, that he has obtained the grace of God.  From: Hanover Historical Texts Project, Council of Trent: Canons on Justification, 6th Session, Chapter 9.
See also:

We also see that in recent years the Roman communion has published a new Catholic catechism, which unequivocally reaffirms the doctrines of the Council of Trent, including Trent’s definition of the doctrine of justification (and thus affirms that council’s anathemas against the Reformation doctrine of justification by faith alone). Along with the reaffirmations of Trent have come a clear reaffirmation of the Roman doctrine of purgatory, indulgences, and the treasury of merits.   Is the Reformation Over?  R. C. Sproul, Sr.

14 comments:

Charlie J. Ray said...

Click on the link to Ken Schenck's article to read the comments there. A small discussion is going on.

Mr. Mcgranor said...

We will not successfully be compared to Catholics. Eternal insecurity is a bogus definition. Just like calling Arminius a Pelagian. Did you not know that we Protestants are in common with only each-other?

Charlie J. Ray said...

Ken Schenck said: I would say that all Christians today believe in sola gratia (by grace alone) and sola Christi (by Christ alone), including the Roman Catholic Church. This is an area where the RCC has itself reformed its understanding. It is only by the grace of God that anyone can be saved.

Well, since Ken seems to think that Rome does not teach merits anymore and he says that Rome now teaches justification by faith alone, the burden of proof would lie with him to substantiate that claim. As it stands, the Pelagianism of the Arminians is virtually identical to the Pelagianism of the Papists. For example, Wesleyans claim to believe in the doctrine of depravity. Instead, they advocate the same doctrine of "common grace" that the Papists advocate. Wesley perverted the doctrine of depravity in Article 9 and Cranmer's doctrine of "prevenient" grace (grace provided beforehand or "grace preventing us")in Article 10 to make it universalized.

Cranmer's theology of prevenient grace is nothing short of irresistible grace when you compare Article 9 with Article 17. Article 17 clearly teaches double predestination.

In other words, the 39 Articles teach that prevenient grace is particularized only in the elect, unconditionally chosen before the foundation of the world. Wesley decided, like the Anglo-Catholics, to revise and re-interpret the theology of Cranmer and Hooker as it is expressed in the 39 Articles of Religion.

My charge of pelagianism therefore stands. See Article 9 again:

IX. Of Original or Birth Sin.
ORIGINAL sin standeth not in the following of Adam (as the Pelagians do vainly talk), but it is the fault and corruption of the nature of every man that naturally is engendered of the offspring of Adam, whereby man is very far gone from original righteousness, and is of his own nature inclined to evil, so that the flesh lusteth always contrary to the spirit; and therefore in every person born into this world, it deserveth God's wrath and damnation. . . ."

Mr. Mcgranor said...

You are a Pelagian... Your irresistable grace is bogus. Look at the condition of Calvinist churches. They have fallen like any other.

Charlie J. Ray said...

Ah, I'm glad you mentioned the apostasy of Reformed denominations and seminaries. Yes, they are fallen like any other Arminian denomination. The reason for that is the doctrine of common grace, which is supposed to compromise between Calvinism and Arminianism. The doctrine of common grace leads to rejecting the logical nature of special revelation in Scripture. Soon after that you see Reformed denominations go liberal. They then accept Arminians as separated brethren, theistic evolution, and homosexuality as an "orientation" rather than a sign of total depravity/inability.

When "experience" trumps the logic of Scripture and the propositional truths of the verbal plenary inspiration of Scripture, liberalism is not far behind.

In fact, I graduated from Asbury Seminary in 1995. That seminary is now liberal. It was one of the only "Evangelical" Wesley schools left. How the mighty have fallen! Catholics are not really lost, don't you know?

Mr. Mcgranor said...

Charlie.. your intellectual theory conflicts with spiritual reality.

Charlie J. Ray said...

Heidelblog: Has Rome Really Changed?

Maricka Herrer said...

A few observations concerning your statements on Wesleyan-Arminians:

First of all, you said that Wesleyan-Arminians do not believe in justification by grace alone. However, from John Wesley on, the Wesleyan-Arminian viewpoint is that justification is by grace through faith, and faith alone (Eph. 2:8,9). Justification is based on Christ's atonement, and nothing else. Prevenient grace enables us to have faith, and therefore God is still the initiator of salvation in that He gives man the grace to respond to God's offer of forgiveness through the atonement of Christ.

Furthermore, I was wondering if you could explain how exactly Wesleyan Arminians (and Wesley himself)confuse sanctification and justification.

Also, according to Wesley, justification occurs at the moment of faith, not with baptism. Therefore, justification is for sins before salvation, not baptism.

Also, eternal insecurity is simply not descriptive of the Wesleyan-Arminian view on assurance. We firmly believe that, as 1 John 5:13 said, that we can know that we have eternal life.

Maricka Herrer said...

A few observations concerning your statements on Wesleyan Arminians:

First of all, Wesleyan Arminians do believe in justification by grace through faith alone (Eph. 2:8,9). Faith itself is a gift of grace, because God's prevenient grace enables man to seek Him, and thus makes God still the initiator of salvation.

Furthermore, I was wondering how exactly Wesleyan Arminians, and Wesley himself, confused sanctification with justification.

Also, the term eternal insecurity does simply not describe the Wesleyan Arminian viewpoint on assurance, for we believe that we can know that we have eternal life through our faith in the Son of God (1 John 5:13).

Maricka Herrer said...

A few observations concerning your statements on Wesleyan Arminians:

First of all, Wesleyan Arminians do believe in justification by grace through faith alone (Eph. 2:8,9). Faith itself is a gift of grace, because God's prevenient grace enables man to seek Him, and thus makes God still the initiator of salvation.

Furthermore, I was wondering how exactly Wesleyan Arminians, and Wesley himself, confused sanctification with justification.

Also, the term eternal insecurity does simply not describe the Wesleyan Arminian viewpoint on assurance, for we believe that we can know that we have eternal life through our faith in the Son of God (1 John 5:13).

Charlie J. Ray said...

Wesley's doctrine of prevenient grace allegedly restores "free will". The Bible consistently rejects the doctrine of free will. Secondly, if everyone has free will, then Wesley's doctrine defaults to pelagianism. Do dead men give themselves the gift of faith? Do dead men regenerate themselves?

Also, if you believe in justification by faith alone and you have assurance, how do you know that tomorrow you won't turn your back on Christ? Your assurance is only good for one day. Reminds of a sign in the restaurant: Free Lunch Tomorrow.

I was an Arminian 10 years and graduated from 2 Arminian schools of theology. I can assure you that I know what Arminians believe.

You can have only a contingent assurance but even that is based on lowering God's moral standards so that your definition of sin is "a willful violation of a known moral law." God does not define sin that way. Sin is anything thought, done or left undone that violates God's moral law whether you are aware of it or not. Just as speeding is a ticket whether you were aware of the posted speed or not, God's justice is based on His holiness and His law, not on your subjective interpretations.

Matthew 5:17-20, 48; Romans 3:20, 23.

Charlie J. Ray said...

If God gives everyone the gift of faith, why is that only 1/3 of the world professes to be a Christian of any kind? Surely if God gave everyone the gift of faith everyone would be a believer?

Chris Adams said...

Hey Maricka,
I would definitely agree with what you said. I find it hard to not do it by grace through faith alone. And even moving on to Entire Sanctification, I believe we can find that when it comes down to it we truly are given the grace to do that.

Charlie J. Ray said...

Chris, so is grace particular or general/common? If so, why does grace have no effect in the vast majority of mankind? Such a grace is ineffectual and therefore has no power to change anyone. A grace that does nothing is no grace at all.

for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. (Philippians 2:13 NKJ)

having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, (Ephesians 1:5 NKJ)

But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me. (1 Corinthians 15:10 NKJ)

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