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

Saturday, October 04, 2008

The Federal Vision Heresy and Creative Imagination

It strikes me as absurd that we need a new “gnosticism” to interpret the Bible for us. The idea that something should be accepted at face value just because it is new is ridiculous. Furthermore, not one of the church fathers even remotely suggests any of Wright’s ideas. That alone ought to make it suspect. The Reformed tradition instead believes that its theology is rooted and grounded in apostolic doctrine, i.e. doctrine that is there from the beginning and handed down by oral tradition until it was recorded in the Bible. Secondary sources such as the church fathers are fallible sources which sometimes confirm and sometimes challenge a biblical understanding of justification by faith alone. However, as any Reformed believer knows, practically all of the Protestant Reformers were favorable toward the Augustinian side of the theological developments in the Roman Catholic Church. I.E., they were against the pelagian and semi-pelagian theology of Rome.

The very fact that Wright’s theology attacks Augustinian theology and is a “new” innovation shows that it is in fact not “apostolic” in origin but rather a product of liberal theology, which has absolutely no commitment to Reformed confessions of faith or catholic creeds. Now, if Wright could establish that his theology is indeed apostolic and is the same Gospel from the beginning and passed on to the church fathers and then to the Protestant Reformers, I might be inclined to give it a look.

However, from all indications, Wright’s theology is something similar to John Dominic Crossan where a vivid imagination and creativity seems to predominate over actual facts and historical grounding. The short of it is that N.T.Wright is basing his work on Sanders and Dunham’s previous work and there is absolutely no basis for it in church history. If we accept the liberal theological presupposition that theology is basically man’s creative innovation, then Wright is a genius. However, if we accept the fundamentals of the Christian faith, such as Carl F. H. Henry’s view that revelation consists of propositional truth given to us in understandable and written form, then Wright’s theology makes little to no sense at all. Wright’s tactic, like that of all liberal theologians, is to re-interpret the Bible to fit his new innovation.

However we might dislike it, the Reformed view of theology is that of the perspicuity of Holy Scripture and that of private interpretation. That is, we do not need an intellectual gnosticism or a Roman Catholic magisterium to tell us what the Bible means. Every believer can read and understand the Bible precisely because God has plainly revealed Himself there. Yes, it is true that Reformed churches practice Sola Scriptura and not any hyper-individualism. We interpret the Bible by right of private interpretation but we are also committed to a confessional and dogmatic theology where we read the Bible together as a church, composed of both lay persons and clergy, and we come to a sustained agreement as to what the Bible teaches doctrinally and for practical living.

We should not be surprised that the church has often committed apostasy and fallen away into idolatry and heresy. If we read the Old Testament, the nation of Israel was often challenged by worship of other gods, idolatry, heresy, and national infidelity. The fact that even the Reformed churches have fallen into theological liberalism, Amyraldianism, Arminianism, and now the Federal Vision heresy should not surprise us at all. Mainline denominations within the Reformed tradition are now so liberal as to be completely unrecognizeable as “Reformed” churches and the majority of them no longer even look at their confessions of faith or attempt to live by them. While it might take awhile to play out, the Federal Vision/New Perspectives of Paul is, as its own proponents admit, a frontal assault against “Evangelical” and “Reformed” theology. As Paul said, you are preaching another gospel and not the Gospel that Jesus and Paul preached. The end result can only be further apostasy and idolatry.

The primary concern of the FV and NPP is in fact to destroy any idea of the absolute holiness of God or any accounting to God for a violation of His holiness and His moral law. Any fool can see where this is leading. In my opinion, any church which refuses to enforce discipline against those who preach another gospel is doomed to apostasy in the end. Not only so, but church discipline is one of the marks of a true church.

It is indeed telling that this heresy originates with those who have little regard for Reformed theology or confessional commitments to what Scripture actually teaches. Call me a prophet but I foresee that the consequences of Federal Vision and its agenda will be further decay and corruption of the churches.

Soli Gloria Deo!

Charlie J. Ray, M.Div.


jhunter4500 said...

i could not agree more. compating the sultity of this in my local chruch is difficult. please offer comment and suggestions or any recommennded reading

Charlie J. Ray said...

Hi, jhuntern4500. Monergism.com has a good resource for Reformed discussions in mp3 format. You need to click on the far right side of the bar where the title is and then download the mp3 file to hear the audio. The one by Ligon Duncan is particularly good and has lots of recommended reading.

Here is the link: http://www.monergism.com/directory/link_category/Audio-and-Multimedia/New-Perspective-on-Paul/

Charlie J. Ray said...

This one is from the Sermon Audio website and has a whole series of discussions on the Federal Vision/New Perspectives of Paul controversy: http://www.sermonaudio.com/search.asp?SpeakerOnly=true&currSection=sermonsspeaker&keyword=Guy%5EPrentiss%5EWaters

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