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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

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Arminianism: A Response to Sydney

Re: Arminianism: A form of the Pelagian heresy.
Mark,


Anglo-Catholics have right behavior and they are headed for hell.  I could include any number of false religions in that.  Behavior is not what saves the Christian.  It is doctrine.  You can be very good and never offend your neighbor but if you have trusted in your own good works rather than Christ, then you are headed for hell.


The thief on the cross is proof enough that good works do not save.  (Luke 23:40-43).


When the emphasis is not on the cross then you're claiming part of the glory for yourself rather than giving all the glory to God.  In fact, even if you live what appears to be a moral and holy life your salvation is still based in Christ and not your own righteousness.  

In fact, if you say that those teaching a false Gospel are saved, it betrays you as having more in common with the papists than with the Gospel.

It seems to me that I made the right decision in breaking with David Knox since his view is that Anglo-Catholics are "good Christian men."  What they are is in fact false prophets like the Pharisees.  They are leading people to hell instead of pointing them to Christ.  It is His active and passive obedience which makes us righteous.  It is a forensic declaration of imputation.  Transformation is imperfect and cannot save anyone.  If so, then the Muslim and Buddhist must be headed to heaven since they have good behavior and good ethics.

No, sanctification is what shows others we are Christians.  It is imperfect and therefore can never be the basis for our justification in the judgment.

The passages dealing with man's accountability are law.  Doing does not make us right with God (Romans 3:20).  It is the duty of all men and even if all men lived as morally as Christians they would still be lost unless and until they accept Christ.  Even one sin makes one guilty and deserving of hell.  Couple active and willful sins with the original corruption and original sin of Adam and that makes us all doubly worthy of hell.


Only Christ can justify a sinner, not the sinner's inherent "righteousness" or "holiness."  Even our best efforts fall short of the mark of absolute perfection.



But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. (Galatians 6:14 ESV)




I would suggest that you review Articles 9-18 again.  Clearly other sects cannot lead anyone to heaven (Article 18).  Good works are pleasing to God only after justification and even then they are of such an imperfect nature as to fall short of the mark of making us righteous or just.  Only faith can justify anyone according to Scripture and this is upheld in Article 11.



Grace does not make sense to Pharisees and the self-righteous.  John Newton realized that there was nothing he could do to make restitution for his sins, hence the hymn Amazing Grace.


If you say that papists who trust in their own good works and their "infused" righteousness are "Christians," then you are in fact denying the doctrine of justification by faith alone.  Either we are justified by faith alone OR we are justified by faith plus works.  Anyone approving of those teaching a false gospel is as guilty as those preaching self-righteousness and faith plus works as the means of justification before God.   A papist is as a papist does. 




Charlie



Sent: Saturday, May 29, 2010 5:58 PM
Subject: Re: Arminianism: A form of the Pelagian heresy.

Charlie,



You have to take seriously all the Bible, not just part of it. Jesus railed against those who could say 'Lord, Lord' but whose lives showed nothing of the doctrine it appeared they professed. Paul's letters, even Galatians where justification by faith is so clearly and unambiguously taught, insist upon behavioural change. And then there is James!



Not everyone who makes call for repentance and godly living is denying justification by faith alone. They might be, if they were insisting that this is what will set you right with God or this is what guarantees your salvation. All our deeds, even the Christian side of our justification are compromised by lingering sin and imperfection. Nothing puts us into the right with God but the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ to which we are now united by faith through the Spirit. 



So you are entirely right when you say: 'Before justification good works count for nothing. After justification they please God but can never be the basis for our salvation since they are imperfect.' 



However, you overstate the case when you say 'Doctrine is what makes a Christian, not behaviour.' It is not correct doctrine that makes a Christian (there will, I expect, be lots of shame-faced theologians on the last day, embarrassed by the mistakes they made and taught). Nor is it behaviour. Strictly speaking it is God's gift of faith in Christ that makes a Christian, and that faith will have us turn to the  Scriptures to have our thinking and our behaviour transformed by the truth which God himself has revealed.



I hope this helps.



Mark


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