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 Second Sunday in Lent.

The Collect

ALMIGHTY God, who seest that we have no power of ourselves to help ourselves; Keep us both outwardly in our bodies, and inwardly in our souls; that we may be defended from all adversities which may happen to the body, and from all evil thoughts which may assault and hurt the soul; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Collect from the First Day of Lent is to be read every day in Lent after the Collect appointed for the Day.

Daily Bible Verse

Friday, June 08, 2007

The Gospel Without Compromise: Christ Died Specifically for the Elect

I grow increasingly frustrated with Evangelical Christianity in general today. The reasons are many and varied but boiling it all down to one theme I would have to say it is summed up with one word: compromise. For many years I disciplined myself to read the Bible from cover to cover over the period of one year. It was in absorbing the Bible in both its minute details and in its synthetic and cohesiveness as a whole that I became increasingly convinced of the doctrines of grace. I kept noticing over and over again how that popular preaching often directly contradicted the facts and the details of Holy Scripture. Perhaps I should explain myself.

One example of how popular preaching contradicts Holy Scripture is the often stated thesis that God loves everyone and every sinner. On the face of it, this sounds biblical and in accord with the call to salvation and with the mission of Jesus Christ who came to the earth to save sinners. After all, the key verse quoted more often than any other verse is John 3:16. "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life" (John 3:16 NKJV). This is often misinterpreted to mean that God loves everyone so much that He sent Jesus to die for their sins and provide a choice to them between heaven and hell and the choice is left up to man. This all sounds wonderful but is it true?

I for one have to give a resounding no in answer. First of all, God cannot possibly love everyone since the Bible also says that God hates the wicked and that the wrath of God rests upon all who do not believe in Jesus Christ. Should I quote a few verses of Scripture to prove that this is actually the case? Let us first examine the context of John 3:16, a context which is often left out of popular preaching and which gives us a further particularization of verse 16:

16 “For God so loved the world, [1] that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. 19 And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. 20 For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. 21 But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.” (John 3:16-21, ESV).

So we can see that the whole world refers only to a general call to salvation to all who hear the Gospel. Even though the Gospel is not meant to condemn the world but to save it, the Gospel has the opposite effect upon those who refuse to repent and to accept the Good News that Jesus Christ died for the sins of the elect. Even more to the point, verse 36 makes it crystal clear that those who refuse to accept the offer of salvation remain under God's wrath against sinners:

Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him. (John 3:36 ESV).

So the question would be this: "How can God both love the world and at the same time have His wrath remaining on those who refuse to believe in His one and only unique Son, Jesus Christ? So as we can see, John 3:16 cannot be properly understood if it is taken out of the context of chapter 3 as a whole, not to mention the Gospel according to John as a whole. Essentially, a right understanding of Holy Scripture comes from a reading of the whole Bible and interpreting verses and passages of the Bible in the light and understanding of the Bible in both its details and in its entirety.

Does God love the wicked? That can be answered with both a yes and a no, depending on whether we are talking about the elect or the reprobate. In regards to the elect, Jesus Christ died for their sins to justify the wicked by their faith. In Romans 4 we are told:

5 But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. (Romans 4:5 KJV)

When God says that He loves the whole world, that is qualified by election and is not meant to be a general statement applying to all individuals in all places and at all times. It refers to the elect among all classes, tribes, and nations of people. It refers to young and old, rich and poor, male and female, adult and child:

9 And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; (Rev. 5:9 KJV).

27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. (Gal. 3:27-28, KJV).

34 Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: 35 But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him. 36 The word which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ: (he is Lord of all:) (Acts 10:34-36, KJV).

Furthermore, the Scriptures over and over again tell us that all the world is under God's wrath and that God hates the wicked. That would include the wicked elect who have not yet been drawn to him by irresistible grace. Let's look at a few verses indicating that God hates the wicked:

The LORD trieth the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth. (Psalm 11:5, KJV)

The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies. (Psalm 58:3, KJV).

Moreover, the elect were at one time also under God's wrath and enemies of God:

1 And you [hath he quickened], who were dead in trespasses and sins; 2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: 3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. (Ephesians 2:1-3 KJV).

8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. 10 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. (Romans 5:8-10 KJV).

I have demonstrated at least one point of compromise in the Evangelical movement as I see it. God does not love everyone. Instead all mankind is an enemy of God until each person comes to saving faith in Jesus Christ. And even this is not possible apart from particular redemption and irresistible grace. Revelation 5:9 clearly says that Christ's blood redeems the elect out of every class of humanity throughout the world. Scripture never says that God will save all persons without exception for there are conditions to salvation, including accepting the sacrifice that Christ made on the cross for our sins. Moreover, the grace to come to know Christ is an irresistible grace given only to the elect (John 6:37, 39, 44, 65; Ephesians 2:8-9; Acts 11:18; Psalm 110:3).

While it is true the God restrains His wrath and makes the sun shine on both the just and the unjust, this merely demonstrates God's general benevolence and not the special love that He has for His people and for His sheep. Not all of the flock has yet been gathered but at some point in time God will regenerate the elect and effectually call them by name into the fold (See John 10:10-16). Against the theological liberal view, those who are not yet in the fold are not those who never hear the Gospel. Rather, they are the elect who have yet to be effectually called into a saving relationship with Jesus Christ.

Perhaps we should investigate other points of compromise within the broader Evangelical tradition? Another point that bothers me to the extreme is the idea that Jesus died for all men without exception. On the face of it, this one seems biblical as well. But let us investigate the context further. There are only two verses in the entire Bible that even remotely suggest that Christ died for the sins of every single individual since creation:

Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time. (1 Timothy 2:6, KJV).

And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for [the sins of] the whole world. (1 John 2:2, KJV).

My immediate response to 1 Timothy 2:6 is that Paul is discussing the general call to salvation. In the verses just above that, Paul says:

1 I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, [and] giving of thanks, be made for all men; 2 For kings, and [for] all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. 3 For this [is] good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; 4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. 5 For [there is] one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; (1 Timothy 2:1-5 KJV).

Again, on the face of it the argument would seem to favor the Arminian/Amyraldian/Lutheran interpretation of these verses. However, this fails to consider that God has both a revealed will and a hidden or secret will that is not accessible to human inspection:

The secret [things belong] unto the LORD our God: but those [things which are] revealed [belong] unto us and to our children for ever, that [we] may do all the words of this law. Deuteronomy 29:29 KJV).

The argument for a universal atonement also ignores the distinction between a general call for salvation and the effectual call for salvation, the latter being only given to the elect. Many are called but few are chosen (Matthew 22:14, Revelation 17:14). Charles Hodge's discussion of the call of God is helpful in understanding this distinction. Hodge first lays out the fact that the Gospel is to be preached to all men indiscriminately and that this is the command of God in the Bible. "In the gospel God commands all men everywhere to repent and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. In the gospel men are not only commanded but exhorted to return unto God in the way of his appointment. ...This call is universal in the sense that it is addressed to all men indiscriminately to whom the gospel is sent." [Hodge, Systematic Theology, Vol. 2, Reprint, (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1995), page 642. However, Hodge refers us to Romans 10 to prove that only those who hear the gospel may actually be saved since faith comes from hearing the gospel through either preaching or reading of the Word of God, the Holy Scriptures:

The call in question is made only through the Word of God, as heard or read. That is, the revelation of the plan of salvation is not made by the works or by the providence of God; nor by the moral constitution of our nature, nor by the intuitions or deductions of reason; nor by direct revelation to all men everywhere and at all times; but only the written Word of God. It is not denied that God may, and in past ages certainly did, convey this saving knowledge by direct revelation without the intervention of any external means of instruction. Such was the fact in the case of the Apostle Paul. And such cases, for all we know, may even now occur. But these are miracles. This is not the ordinary method. For such supernatural revelations of truth after its being made known in the Scriptures and committed to the Church with the command to teach all nations, we have no promise in the Scriptures and no evidence in experience.

It has ever been, and still is, the doctrine of the Church universal in almost all its parts, that it is only in and through the Scriptures that the knowledge necessary to salvation is revealed to men. (Hodge, page 646).

So it follows that if only those who hear the gospel may have an opportunity to be saved, then those who have not heard are lost and in need of the gospel.

13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. 14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? 15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! 16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? 17 So then faith [cometh] by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. (Romans 10:13-17 KJV)

So here again we have an apparent contradiction between God's will and reality. The reality shows clearly that those who have not heard the gospel die in their sins and are without excuse (Romans 1:18-21). So if God's revealed will says that He is not willing that any man should perish, clearly that is not in agreement with God's providence and with His secret decrees. If God is God, then truly whatsoever comes to pass is His sovereign will acting through secondary means and the providential outworking of God's secret plans. Therefore, the statement that God is not willing than any should perish cannot mean what the Arminians say it means. Rather it refers to those Christians suffering persecution and tempted to fall away, those to whom Peter's letter is addressed. (See 2 Peter 3:6-9).

So getting back to 1 Timothy 2:1-6. Paul is referring to God's general call to salvation which is clearly to be given to all men. Hodge insists that we are to offer the gospel to every class of men and that anyone's doctrine of predestination which hampers obedience to the command to preach the gospel to all men everywhere is out of touch with Scripture:

If, therefore, any one holds any view of the decrees of God, or of the satisfaction of Christ, or of any other Scriptural doctrine, which hampers him in making this general offer of the gospel, he may be sure that his views or logical processes are wrong. The Apostles were not thus hampered, and we act under the commission given to them. (Hodge, page 643).

But the troublesome verse is verse 6. Paul says that the ransom is for all men:

...who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time. (1 Timothy 2:6 ESV).

Verse 4 tells us that God wants all people to be saved. The logical disconnect for the Arminian, Amyraldian, Lutheran view is that they have failed to disguish between the general call in verse 4 and the particular redemption in verse 6. Of course it is God's revealed will that all men should be saved. We are commanded to go into all the world and to preach the gospel to all people (Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-16; Luke 24:46; Acts 1:8; Acts 10:34-35). But this does not mean that all men will indeed accept the offer of the external call of the gospel. Many turned away from Jesus after initially accepting his preaching (John 6:65-66). In fact they turned away because Jesus was preaching irresistible grace and the drawing of the Father of those whom He had given to Jesus (John 6:37, 44, 65).

Not only so but other Scriptures tell us that Christ is a ransom for "many" and not for all. (See Matthew 20:28; Mark 10:45). Those who insist that "all" always means "all" ignore other passages where "all" in fact means "many," particularly in Romans 5:18-21.

So if God wants all men to be saved, yet the effectual call is given only to the elect, is this a genuine offer of salvation? YES! The culpability lies with the free moral agent, even though he or she is in bondage to the sinful nature and acts freely and in accord with that nature which is incapable of coming to Christ. If Christ wants all men to be saved yet dies only for the elect, how can a genuine offer of salvation be made to all men? This offer is made precisely because we do not know God's secret will nor do we know who belongs to the Lord or who has been given to Jesus by the Father (Deuteronomy 29:29). We do not know for whom Christ has died. However, we do know that his death is sufficient for the sins of the whole world, that whoever comes to believe has had their sins paid for from the foundation of the world.

The logical fallacy of the Arminian, Amyraldian and modern Lutheran position is that they claim to be taking the face value of the Scriptures for what the verses obviously state. All means all in their view. But is this true? "All" does not necessarily mean every single individual without exception. In fact, even the Arminian, Amyraldian and Lutheran will admit that God foreknows who will accept Him and that only those who make a decision for Christ are actually saved. Thus, they limit the atonement to those who will believe and to those whom God foreknows will accept Him. So even by their own reasoning the effects of the atonement are limited only to those who accept Christ in faith. Moreover, if we take the exegetical principle that the plain meaning of "all" must always be interpreted absolutely literally, then what do we do with Romans 5:18?

18 Therefore, as one trespass [5] led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness [6] leads to justification and life for all men. (Romans 5:18 ESV).

According to Romans 5:18 one could argue that salvation is universal and that all men will be saved. However, this is to ignore the immediate context of Romans 5 where Paul also says that "many" will be justified and many will be saved (cf. 5:17-19). Obviously, Scripture must be rightly interpreted in light of other Scriptures (2 Timothy 2:15; 2 Timothy 3:15-17). Clearly, when Paul uses the term "all" he does not always intend that to refer to all without exception but rather to all the elect among all the classes of men, all nations and tribes, and all races, genders, etc.

In 1 John 2:2 the apostle John is making the same point. Christ did not just die for those we know among ourselves as Christians but also for the elect all over the world who have not yet heard the gospel and have not yet come to saving faith. This does not necessarily mean that Christ died for those who never hear the gospel and never come to saving faith. What would be the purpose of Christ dying for those who never receive salvation? Such a substitutionary death is null and void because it is never applied to unbelievers and is worthless to those who refuse to believe. It does not follow that because we are to preach to all men in an external call to salvation that therefore Christ died for all men without exception. Christ died specifically to save those who will believe and ONLY the elect will actually believe because only the elect are regenerated by the Holy Spirit (John 3:3-8). Neither does it follow that because we offer an external call to all men that therefore God calls all men by an internal call. Obviously not all men answer the call of the gospel but many turn away. The internal call of God is efficacious and infallible. It never fails to bring the elect to Jesus for saving faith.

It is truly sad that today men like Billy Graham, who has faithfully preached the gospel to several generations, has compromised on the external call of the gospel. A recent YouTube interview with Dr. Graham on Robert Schuller's Hour of Power had Graham saying that some people may be saved apart from a conscious knowledge of the Gospel or Jesus Christ. He said that whether they know it or not, they are members of the body of Christ:

Robert Schuller: "Tell me, what do you think of the future of Christianity?" Billy Graham: "I think everybody who knows Christ, whether they're conscious of it or not, they're members of the Body of Christ...God's purpose is to call out a people for His name, whether they come from the Muslim world, Buddhist world, the Christian world, or the non-believing world, they are members of the Body of Christ, because they've been called by God. They may not even know the name of Jesus...and I think they are saved, and that they are going to be in heaven with us." Robert Schuller (overjoyed): "What I hear you saying is that it's possible for Jesus Christ to come into human hearts and soul and life even if they've been born into darkness and never had exposure to the Bible. Is that a correct interpretation of what you are saying?" Billy Graham: "Yes it is, because I believe that. I've met people in various parts of the world...that have never seen a Bible or heard about a Bible, and never heard of Jesus, but they've believed in their hearts that there was a God." http://www.jesus-is-savior.com/Wolves/billy_graham_exposed.htm

If there is any doubt that Graham said this, you can view the video at YouTube.com: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=axxlXy6bLH0.

Just as troubling to me is Billy Graham's invitation to Roman Catholic churches and Eastern Orthodox churches to fully participate in his crusades. Those who come forward in answer to the call for salvation are referred to Evangelical churches and to Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthdox churches as if there were no distinction between them on the issues of the Protestant Reformation. Billy Graham has therefore compromised not only the doctrine of salvation only through Jesus Christ and the preaching of the Gospel, but he has also compromised justification by faith alone and several other crucial doctrines of the Bible by recommending those who are "converted" at his crusades to apostate churches which overtly deny that the Scriptures alone are the final word in matters of faith and doctrine and overtly deny that Jesus Christ is the only way of salvation and overtly deny that justification is by faith alone apart from merits or good works on our part.

There are those in the Anglican low church movement who think that compromise is a good thing since The Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion do not cross every "i" and dot every "t." But this is not necessarily a good thing. When we start ignoring the historic confessions of faith we begin to ignore how the Bible has been historically understood by the Protestant and Reformed divines and theologians. Though these men may and have erred, it is irresponsible to attempt to re-invent the wheel while ignoring the faith, knowledge and understanding of our spiritual forefathers.

Moreover, picking and choosing which parts of the Prayer Book we will believe and which we will not believe is inexcusable, especially the 1662 Book of Common Prayer, which is supposed to be the purest expression of the Anglican Reformers. When we compromise the Scriptures, we compromise the Gospel. When we ignore the secondary forms of authority, like the church and the confessions and creeds, we open ourselves up to the Anabaptist errors of direct illumination, like that which we see in the charismatic/pentecostal movement. Unfortunately we can see this among the Baptists as well, including Billy Graham. While we acknowledge that the Prayer Book is a fallible document, it doesn't follow that we can ignore the rubrics put there by the Reformers as if they were merely up to capricious re-invention.

Furthermore, ignoring the doctrines of grace and particular atonement leads to even more disturbing deviations from the gospel. Evangelicals are being deceived in droves by the likes of Robert Schuller and Clark Pinnock and Gregory Boyd, advocates of themes like God's wider mercy and open theism. It seems that Billy Graham has become enamored by this sort of thinking as well. Billy Graham's Arminian and univeral atonement theology seems to have led him to open fellowship with apostates:

Billy Graham's first great city-wide evangelistic campaign was held in Los Angeles in 1949. At that time he made a public promise that he would never have any theological modernists (theological liberals) on his platform. Dr. Graham's first evangelistic campaign in England was held in the summer of 1954. On that tour he was accompanied by Dr. John Sutherland Bonnell, the pastor of the First Presbyterian Church in New York City. Dr. Bonnell was also the president of the Ministerial Association of New York City, which was dominated by modernist ministers and churches. On Dr. Graham's British tour Bonnell was working to persuade him to hold a campaign in New York in 1956 under the auspices of the liberal Ministerial Association. During that time a group of Bible-believing pastors and laymen sent Dr. Graham in England a telegram asking him to hold an evangelistic series in New York City sponsored by "a committee of twice-born men."

On his return to the States Dr. Graham announced that he would come to New York in 1956 sponsored by the Ministerial Association of New York City. The committee of Bible-believing men sent a delegation to Dr. Graham begging him not to confuse the line between the gospel of grace and the false gospel of the modernist churches represented in the Ministerial Association. Graham turned a deaf ear to them, and came to New York with the requirement that all churches should be invited to participate in the campaign. In that campaign, the Billy Graham Association trained counselors sent from all sorts of churches, including the Roman Catholic Church. The policy was established of directing each inquirer during the campaign to his or her home church. Some Protestants were sent to modernist churches. Roman Catholics were directed back to the priest of the Roman church nearest to their home address. This policy of cooperation with the Roman Church continues to this day. http://www.biblebb.com/files/tonyqa/tc00-105.htm

It is my contention that a wrong understanding of Holy Scripture directly leads to the kinds of compromises we see Billy Graham making. A watering down of particular atonement, irresistible grace, unconditional election, justification by faith alone, and salvation coming through Christ and the Holy Scriptures alone leads inevitably to a loss of the Gospel itself. One has to question if many so-called "Evangelical" churches today are true churches at all? How can the Gospel of justification by faith alone be compromised with the Roman Catholic view of justification by faith plus the merits of good works done after baptism?

Historically, the strongest missionary churches were those who held to the doctrines of grace or Calvinism. If we truly want to see people saved and come to know Jesus Christ, then we must stop compromising the Gospel for the sake of pleasing men. We must instead prophetically challenge the world and the lost to repent and come to Jesus Christ for salvation. Settling for a false conversion and a false fellowship with apostate churches is to settle for a false gospel.

While I do not say that Arminians, Amyraldians and Lutherans are lost, I would contend that they are opening the door to a false view of the gospel which can lead to the compromises we see happening right before our eyes. And would anyone dispute the fact that the Episcopal Church USA and other provinces of the Anglican Communion today are almost completely apostate?

Seeking a broader consensus or ecumenism is not the answer. Apparently, Anglicanism is a total failure, despite its prideful claim to be more ecumenical than any other communion. Homosexual priests and you name it have taken over because of liberal and modernist theology.

Evangelicalism is becoming increasingly influenced and enamored with modernist theology coming through the back door. One pastor who claims to be conservative and Evangelical and "Reformed" didn't even know the history of the Amyraldian view which he himself holds. Burying our heads in the sand and pretending that our own views are strictly our own and strictly biblical is to ignore church history and in fact lends no more weight to the argument than the facts merit.

How do we know that Christ died only for His Elect? We know it from Holy Scripture by faith and by a proper interpretation of Scripture:

10 Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him;he has put him to grief; [7]when his soul makes [8] an offering for guilt, he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days; 12 Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many, [10]and he shall divide the spoil with the strong, [11]because he poured out his soul to death and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many,and makes intercession for the transgressors. (Isaiah 53:10, 12. ESV).

Revelation 5:9 particularizes the atonement as well:

9 And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, ...(Rev. 5:9, ESV).

Furthermore, Jesus came to save His people from their sins and this is only possible through the atonement:

She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:21, ESV).

Clearly, Jesus did not die for every single individual but only for "his people." I would contend that his people are the elect given to him by the Father (John 10:29).

Those who wish to see Reformed Anglicanism and low church Evangelicalism regenerated within the Anglican communion should commit themselves to preaching the gospel without compromise. This would mean preaching the doctrines of grace without compromise and being unfraid to preach the details of the law and the Gospel. It would mean preaching the truth that Christ died particularly, specifically and unconditionally for the elect and the elect only.

It would also mean refusing to compromise with so-called "conservative" Anglo-Catholics in the American Anglican Council (see http://aacblog.classicalanglican.net/) and the Anglican Communion Network (see http://www.acn-us.org/). These "conservatives" attack the very gospel that the apostles gave their lives to preach. They attack the very same gospel for which the Anglican Reformers were martyred and died. It is a fact that they are preaching a different gospel from the gospel that Jesus and Paul preached because they are in fact preaching a gospel of merits and works rather than the doctrines of grace. Paul makes it clear that we are not to enter into fellowship with such men:

6 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— 7 not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. 9 As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed. 10 For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ. (Galatians 1:6-10 ESV).

While it is admirable that so many Episcopalians are up in arms against the modernist and liberal theology rampant in the Episcopal Church USA, joining forces with conservative Anglo-Catholics is no better option. It is merely changing from one form of apostasy to another. When will men be willing to lay down their lives for the true gospel once more? When will men stop seeking to please themselves and other men rather than counting the pleasures of this world as nothing? (See Hebrews 11:24-26; Philippians 3:8).

I call all likeminded Anglican churchman to repent and to return to the doctrines of grace as they were preached and understood by the great Anglican Reformers and the Anglican Evangelicals. Men like Thomas Cranmer, Hugh Latimer, Richard Hooker, Nicholas Ridley were martyred for their faith in the gospel and the doctrines of grace. Anglican Evangelicals like J.C. Ryle never compromised the gospel or particular atonement yet they were successful in their ministries and won many converts to Christ. So why do Anglicans feel that unity should be sought at all cost? Clearly, truth is more important than ecumenical unity. May we all stop compromising doctrine for the sake of a false unity and seek rather a unity with God and His Word!

May God have mercy!


1 comment:

Charlie said...

I will comment later but thanks for your feedback and your interest:)



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