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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

Friday, October 23, 2009

The Dispute Between John Frame and Michael Horton

John Frame reveals many confused ideas about the Scriptures and the Reformed confessions in his diatribe against Michael Horton's new book, Christless Christianity. (See John Frame's book review). Frame constantly confuses law and Gospel, even failing to recognize what even basic Reformed believers understand: the New Testament contains imperatives and commands, which are inherently statements of the moral law. That would include many sayings of Jesus in the sermons on the mount and in the command to "repent" and "believe" the Gospel. That Frame does not get this is indeed alarming.

What is also alarming is the fact that Frame thinks Joel Osteen is just fine. But Frame seems to be totally ignorant of the theological roots of Osteen's teaching. It is a well documented fact that John Osteen, the father of Joel Osteen, was a health and wealth preacher. The theology of the health and wealth movement comes from its father, Kenneth Hagin, and others who followed him. Indeed, the roots of Hagin's teaching comes from Christian Science and New Thought as it was imbibed and distributed in the writings of E.W. Kenyon, a Baptist revivalist of the 1940s. In his book, A Different Gospel, D. R. McConnell documented the outright pelagiarism of Kenyon by Hagin. McConnell traces Kenyon's exposure to Christian Science to Kenyon's training in oratory at Emerson College, Boston Massachusetts. Kenyon imbibed unbiblical doctrines of Christ's person and nature and other ideas like positive confession directly from Christian Science and New Thought, popular at Emerson College. Kenyon then combined this with his Baptist faith and wrote books on the topic. Thus, for Frame to endorse Osteen and his prosperity gospel is to endorse a different gospel (Galatians 1:6-8) and a different Jesus (2 Corinthians 11:3-4).

Furthermore, I think Horton was trying to be conciliatory in the opening remarks of his book, Christless Christianity. In fact, what he is saying is that many churches are preaching a false gospel. This might mean your church as well.

Frame continually confuses sanctification and justification in this review and seems to think that modern psychological terms are rightly read into the Scriptures. I cannot understand why Frame claims that Horton is being divisive when in fact Frame's own views are divisive and unconfessional. Horton is much more confessional and in adherence with Scripture than Frame, though I have problems with Horton's endorsement of common grace and his view of the two kingdoms as an endorsement of that common grace.

I think Frame's critique speaks for itself. In the past, he obviously has not seriously interacted with any of the complaints against himself regarding his endorsement of Norman Shepherd, who was deposed from Westminster Theological Seminary, Philadelphia. Frame's endorsement of triperspectivalism is inherently subjective as R. Scott Clark has pointed out, so it is not surprising that Frame sides with the subjectivists, the legalists, and the outright heretics (Joel Osteen). Frame's inherent irrationalism is obvious to anyone who has studied Gordon H. Clark's presuppositional apologetics and his critique of Frame's mentor, Cornelius Van Til. It is Frame's commitment to irrationalism in fact which leads him to contradict himself over and over again in this critique of Horton who is at least consistently confessional in his approach to the law and Gospel distinction.

Since I'm not worried about offending a popular audience as the folks at the White Horse Inn are, I can openly say that I believe most of the churches teaching the things Horton condemns are indeed "christless" and therefore apostate. I hope John Frame gets the message before it is too late.

Charlie

4 comments:

Jordan Harris said...

Great analysis. I'm not surprised by Frame since he's been progressively moving in this direction for years, but it's certainly disappointing, especially in light of how magnificent Horton's book is.

This is a really great blog. I'm a high-church Calvinist in the PCA with a very strong affinity for my orthodox Anglican brothers. Are you in the REC?

Charlie J. Ray said...

Hi, Jordan...

I was at one time ordained as a deacon with the REC. I resigned over the Anglo-Catholic issue. The REC is no longer Evangelical but has gone over to the Anglo-Catholics/Tractarians. Sad but true.

As for "orthodox" Anglicans, about 2/3s of Anglicans in the UK might be considered "Evangelical." The rest are either liberal or Anglo-Catholic.

I currently am a member of an Evangelical congregation which is officially part of ECUSA here in the Central Florida Diocese. Unfortunately, Central Florida has both liberals and Anglo-Catholics. Our church is the only one in Central Florida I know of that is Evangelical. There are charismatics but those congregations left for AMiA and are now part of the AC-NA which is predominately Anglo-Catholic. Evangelicals are tolerated as long as they do not attack the Tractarian/Anglo-Catholic doctrines which are essentially "papist."

My rector is from the Sydney Diocese in Australia, which is very low church and Evangelical. It's also mostly Amyraldian, which I disagree with. But no church is perfect.

Our bishop here in Central Florida is John Howe. He's supposed to be a charismatic but I suspect he's gone over to the liberals and the charismatics since he's unwilling to stand for the truth.

I'm a bit of a radical/neo-fundamentalist being from the Bible belt and all that. I hope you find my blog informative even if you do not always agree with my critiques.

May the peace of God be with you,

Charlie

Jordan Harris said...

I'm glad to see that you're a witness for the truth of the gospel in a mainline context. Many of my presbyterian friends are still working in the PCUSA encountering similar problems. I'll add your site to my links over at my blog.

In light of your Anglicanism and all, I am wondering, what are the state of affairs over at the Reformed Episcopal Seminary in Philly? What direction have they taken? Nice talking to you. God bless...

Jordan

Charlie J. Ray said...

Hi, Jordan....

Unfortunately, Bishop Leonard Riches, who heads up the REC seminary in Philadelphia, only gives lip service to Calvinism any more. He and the seminary not only tolerates the faith plus works doctrines of the Anglo-Catholics but they are openly in union with Anglo-Catholics not just as co-belligerents but as "brothers" in Christ.

I for one still believe that justification by faith alone is THE dividing line between true Christians and heretics, between a true church and an apostate church.

The only REC bishop I know of that might be against such unions would be the two black bishops in Summerville, South Carolina, Rt. Rev. Al Gadsden and suffran bishop, Rt. Rev. William White and that is only because they are predominately Arminian. But the Arminians seem to be willing to join up with Anglo-Catholics and Roman Catholics as well. Billy Graham has even committed this egregious error.

Royal Grote and the other REC bishops are all openly papist sympathizers. If you do not believe me, I would recommend a careful reading of the following article at the REC website:

True Unity by the Cross

I was defrocked as a deacon because the presbyter I was working with, Rev. Jim Reber, decided that I was an "Anabaptist" because I rejected the Anglo-Catholic doctrine of "apostolic succession." Reber is now the pastor of an Anglican Province in America parish in Kissimmee, Florida. The REC and the APA have open communion and a concordate dating to around 1998. I was unaware of all this when I was ordained or I would have refused to pursue ordination with them in the first place.

(See: Articles of Intercommunion: REC and APA).

As you will also note in the article on the True Unity by the Cross, they name Dr. James Packer as their inspiration for compromising with the papists in the APA. Packer along with many other Anglicans and Presbyterians signed the Evangelicals and Catholics Together compromise with certain Roman Catholics.

This sell out of the Gospel for the sake of a false union with apostates and heretics of various sorts is totally and completely unacceptable.

My advice to you is to avoid Anglican congregations unless you have clear evidence that they are not compromising the doctrines of grace and the English Reformation expressed in the 39 Articles of Religion.


Sincerely yours in Christ,

Charlie

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