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Defends the Gospel of Jesus Christ and confessional Reformed Anglicanism. The term "Reformed" refers to the five solas of the Reformation and the five points of Calvinism. The Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion, 1662 Book of Common Prayer, and the Ordinal constitute the Anglican Formularies, the doctrinal standards of Anglicanism. The Lambeth Articles 1595 and Irish Articles 1615 are Reformed confessions. Isa 1:18,Rom 12:1, 2
I wrote this review some time ago. Although I have been accused of not being fair to Horton, I think I've been more than generous. I...
I’ve been reluctant to respond to Professor Frame’s The Escondido Theology, published recently by Whitefield Media. Since the book focuses its critique on Westminster Seminary California, where I teach, I’d encourage readers to visit the Seminary website for a brief response from our president, W. Robert Godfrey. It would be of no edifying value to anyone to go into the details of John Frame’s departure from WSC. Suffice it to say that there are two sides to every story and if you’ve read The Escondido Theology, you have only heard one side whose details many of us would dispute. None of this matters in any case for the general good of the church and the Great Commission, so I will not raise it here.
There are a lot of criticisms in the book directed at my writing, so I’ll say a brief word about it. Having read the book recently, my reluctance is due primarily to the fact that I don’t know quite where to begin and to respond point by point may not contribute much to the cause.
The bottom line for me is this. Whether intentionally misleading or merely sloppy, this book represents a new low in intra-Reformed polemics. I’m encouraged to hear that various Reformed companies declined to publish the book. It is so replete with caricatures, misrepresentations, and straw opponents that a healthy debate on important issues is aborted at the outset. If I held some of the views John attributes to me, I would be alarmed as well. Old grudges appear to cloud his judgment, even to the point of defending Joel Osteen, for example, against my critique (which, again, he caricatures). I hope readers of John’s book will also consult the books that he attacks rather than take his word for it that they say what he claims.
But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, 5 not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, 6 whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. (Titus 3:4-7 NKJ)
The fundamental declarations of the Anglican Church in North America, the doctrinal provisions of its canons, its Ordinal, and the two reports of its Prayerbook and Common Liturgy Taskforce clearly show that the Anglican Church in North America is following in the footsteps of the Episcopal Church. As I noted in my last article in the series on the ACNA theological lens and the guiding principles behind its proposed Prayer Book, the Anglican Church in North America may be described as an alternative Episcopal Church in which two groups are putting their ideas of ecclesiastical governance, church order, worship, and the like into practice.
These two groups represent two movements that influenced Episcopalianism in the twentieth century. The first movement is the Anglo-Catholic movement. Its origin may be traced to the Tractarian and Ritualist movements of the nineteenth century. The second movement is the Ancient-Future, or Convergence, movement. . . .
“THE PROBLEM THAT IS POSED for us today (in the relation of theology and politics) comes from the fact that theology does not appear to be comprehensive any longer. Starting with theology it becomes difficult to construct any theory of society whatever.”1 The remark with which Laënnec Hurbon introduces his study of the work of Ernst Bloch has immediate appeal. Has not Christian theology limited itself to a private religion of personal devotion? What meaning can such religion have for a world sweeping to destruction in a flood of catastrophic social and environmental problems?
Perhaps that rhetorical question might receive a surprising answer from places where the flood has struck. Personal religion gains new meaning in the Gulag Archipelago.
In his new book, John Frame argues that two-kingdom theologians represent a novel development in the history of Reformed theology. In his introduction, he goes out of his way to explain that Escondido theologians reject Christendom. But this rejection creates a problem for 2k because the theologians of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries taught that the magistrate had a duty to enforce the entire Decalague [sic]. “The two kingdoms view,” Frame writes, “goes beyond the Reformation theology in important ways. Indeed, except for the law/gospel dichotomy, its distinctive positions are American, not European.” (Frame also acknowledges that the roots of two kingdom theology are in Augustine’s City of God and Luther’s On Civil Authority. Go figure.) In fact, Frame goes out of his way to locate Meredith Kline as the source of these views.
The first is that though Scripture provides guidance for thinking and acting in all areas of life, for most academic subjects Scripture provides only general guidance. The Bible sets certain parameters for approaching the various disciplines, but it does not give us specific or exhaustive information about, say, chemistry or literature or economics. To delve deeply into these subjects requires investigation of the world around us (natural revelation) and a measure of wisdom and good judgment. I imagine that Dordt College professors would agree with this claim, and implement it in their classrooms all the time. My writing on education is not a screed against Christian education, as Zylstra suggests, but wrestles with the implications of facts like this. It is something that every Christian teacher and scholar must take into account.
Article II, Of the Word, or Son of God, which was made very man
The Son, which is the Word of the Father, begotten from everlasting of the Father, the very and eternal God, and of one substance with the Father, took man's nature in the womb of the blessed Virgin, of her substance: so that two whole and perfect natures, that is to say, the Godhead and manhood, were joined together in one person, never to be divided, whereof is one Christ, very God and very man, who truly suffered, was crucified, dead, and buried, to reconcile His Father to us, and to be a sacrifice, not only for original guilt, but also for all actual sins of men.
The Reformed answer of Luther, Calvin, the Westminster Divines, and others also denies proposition 3, but on different grounds. They argue that although it would not have been logically impossible for God to create only moral creatures that would never sin, He in fact created a moral world with creatures whose evil He foreordained for His own good purposes—to display His justice in punishing some (Prov. 16:4) and His grace in redeeming and pardoning others (Eph. 1:5–6; 2:7).Does this mean God justifies His means by His ends? Yes. Is that wicked? No. An end-justifies-the-means ethic is fallacious and therefore wicked for finite men (who can neither control nor know all the results of their choices), but it is perfectly fitting for the infinite God (who both controls and knows all the results of His choices)–and, after all, God being supreme need not justify His choices to anyone:So then He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires. You will say to me then, “Why does He still find fault? For who resists His will?” On the contrary, who are you, O man, who answers back to God? The thing molded will not say to the molder, “Why did you make me like this,” will it? Or does not the potter have a right over the clay, to make from the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for common use? (Rom. 9:15–21).Does the reality of evil make the existence of the Christian God impossible? No. For good reasons, God created a world that contained evil. For those same reasons, as we have seen, the Christian position does not self-contradict.
Definition of Christianity
It is essential therefore to define Christianity more exactly by a specific doctrinal system. Romanism is not what is meant. By Christianity we shall mean, to use common names, what is called Calvinism. Or, to be most specific, the definition of Christianity shall be the articles of the Westminster Confession. With such a definite basis, it will no longer be necessary to spin dizzily in a whirlpool of equivocal disputation. Now we can look at what we are talking about. ["Is Christianity a Religion? in Christian Philosophy, volume 4, The Works of Gordon Haddon Clark, (Unicoi: Trinity Foundation, 2004), p. 122.]
|Rev. Charles Pettit McIlvaine, Born Again Episcopalian.|