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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

Monday, May 25, 2015

Gordon H. Clark: The Gospel Includes the Five Points of Calvinism

Now, what did Paul preach?  He himself says, "I am pure from the blood of all men, for I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God."  This includes the five points of Calvinism, the TULIP, . . .   Dr. Gordon H. Clark

Unwittingly, many Evangelicals and even Calvinists have been duped into thinking that the Gospel can be reduced down to a few pet propositions or verses of the Bible, and that the rest of the Bible is irrelevant in regards to this kernel of truth contained within the Scriptures.  This is the doctrine of Rudolf Bultmann, the neo-orthodox theologian who said that the preaching of the early church could be distinguished from the doctrines of Scripture.  Dr. Gordon H. Clark certainly recognized the distinction between Law and Gospel that both Calvin and Luther taught.  So his point is not to confuse Law and Gospel but to reject a false dichotomy espoused by the theologians of paradox and contradiction.

Clark also rejected the doctrine of the neo-orthodox theologians and Fredrich Schleiermacher that Christianity was more about total dependence on God or a personal relationship with Jesus Christ rather than doctrine.  Christianity is not based on psychology or on some existential personal encounter with God or Jesus Christ that somehow transcends Scripture in a mystical and ineffable encounter.  No, according to Dr. Clark, Christianity is based solely on the knowledge of the propositional doctrines of the Bible that are to be intellectually understood with the mind or heart and believed with the decision of the will.  Saving faith is not personal encounter but propositional knowledge and assent to that knowledge.

In his commentary on Philippians 1:27 Clark says:

The fact that Paul mentions the Gospel twice in this verse, and seven other times in the epistle, warrants some explanation of the term.  In contemporary preaching it is often misused.  I have heard some very conservative Baptists distinguish between the Gospel and church doctrine.  The disciples of Kierkegaard and Barth speak of kerygma, a preaching or announcement, of undetermined length.  Hendricksen expiates on its meaning for a good five pages.  I doubt that a good definition of the Gospel requires five pages, but insistence on the Gospel so defined can stand fifty pages oft repeated.  One might say that the Gospel is what Paul preached.  Now, what did Paul preach?  He himself says, "I am pure from the blood of all men, for I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God."  This includes the five points of Calvinism, the TULIP, and is not restricted to the five points of fundamentalism:  inerrancy, incarnation, miracles, substitutionary death, bodily resurrection.  These latter are an essential and indispensable part of the Gospel, but they are not the whole of it.  The Gospel includes the P of the TULIP, the perseverance of the saints as Philippians just said back in verse six.  [Philippians 1:6].  In fact the Gospel is the entire Bible, from which nothing should be subtracted nor to which nothing should be added.  Although no minister, not even Paul, can preach the whole Gospel in one sermon, a prolonged reluctance to declare it all prevents a minister from being free from the blood of his auditors.

Dr. Gordon H. Clark.  Philippians.  (Hobbs:  Trinity Foundation, 1996).  P. 40.

See also:  Philippians.

Also, see my transcription of a comment made to this same effect by Dr. Clark at the end of his lecture, Predestination in the Old Testament.  Click here:  Is There a Distinction Between Church Doctrine and Kerygma?

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