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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

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

The Athanasian Creed: Gordon H. Clark on Implicit Faith and the Condemnatory Sentences in the Creed

The so-called Athanasian damnatory clauses can be disposed of briefly, for they contribute nothing to the understanding of the doctrine. Most American Protestants, if there are any who have read this Creed, are flabbergasted at the idea of requiring an understanding of such an abstruse creed for entrance into heaven. But the explanation is simple. The Protestant tradition, both Lutheran and Calvinist, stresses the obligation of all church members to study the Bible. The members are to believe as much as they can understand. Obviously if they do not understand Ezekiel one or Revelation nine, they cannot believe those chapters. The Romanists, on the contrary, speak of an implicit faith. The person professes belief in whatever the Pope teaches, even if he has no idea of what the Pope teaches. This makes these damnatory clauses less ridiculous and less devastating than the uneducated Protestant thinks. He cannot convict the Romanists of making an ignorance of this extremely complicated theology an impassible bar to heaven. But the price the Romanist must pay for this security is the identification of faith with ignorance. Calvin severely condemns such implicit faith as unscriptural nonsense. The Apostle said, faith comes by hearing the word of God.

Gordon H. Clark. The Trinity (Kindle Locations 1152-1162). The Trinity Foundation.
Is at least some understanding of the trinity necessary for saving faith?  I think so.  If not, then the Protestant could not object to the rejection of Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses as unbelievers.  Likewise, at least some understanding of the incarnation of Jesus Christ as both God and man is a necessary and essential proposition of saving faith. As Clark rightly cites Calvin, this idea of implicit faith is "unscriptural nonsense."  (Matthew 28:19; 2 Corinthians 13:14; 2 Peter 1:1; Titus 2:13; Philippians 2:1).

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