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

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Are Anglo-Catholics Saved?

One would think this question should not be controversial, particularly if one is an Evangelical Anglican or an Evangelical of any kind whatsoever.  However, that is no longer the case.  The term "Evangelical" for all practical purposes has been hijacked by the liberals and the neo-orthodox so that it has no real meaning anymore.  Many so-called "Evangelicals" will advocate the Gospel as one of many gospels allowed under the tent of Anglicanism or Evangelicalism.  The "broad church" movement or the "broad Evangelical" movement is really a sellout to ecumenicalism since the concern is not being faithful to what the Scriptures teach but rather being faithful to Anglicanism or faithful to a denomination.  

Moreover, the discipline of apologetics often means confronting weak Christians who have little to no understanding of what is essential to the Christian faith and what are merely matters of indifference or "adiaphora."  If Martin Luther, the Lutheran Reformer is correct, however, justification by faith alone is a non-negotiable doctrine which expresses the very Gospel message itself.  The true congregation, the true denomination stands or falls with this doctrine among several others.  By that definition alone then we can say that those professional ministers and official churches which deny sola fide or justification by faith alone through an imputed and legal declaration of righteousness are not saved because they are preaching another gospel.  Paul makes this clear when he says:

 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. 11 For I would have you know, brothers, that the gospel that was preached by me is not man's gospel. 12 For I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ. 13 For you have heard of my former life in Judaism, how I persecuted the church of God violently and tried to destroy it. 14 And I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my own age among my people, so extremely zealous was I for the traditions of my fathers. (Galatians 1:6-14 ESV)
Those who say that there are different acceptable versions of the Gospel are really preaching a form of latitudinarianism.  There is absolutely no compatibility between the Anglo-Catholic gospel and the apostolic Gospel handed down to us in Holy Scripture. 

 ...yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified. 17 But if, in our endeavor to be justified in Christ, we too were found to be sinners, is Christ then a servant of sin? Certainly not! (Galatians 2:16-17 ESV)

 For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, "Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them." 11 Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for "The righteous shall live by faith." 12 But the law is not of faith, rather "The one who does them shall live by them." 13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us--for it is written, "Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree"-- 14 so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith. (Galatians 3:10-14 ESV)


Billy said...

The problem with this entire post is that it assumes Luther's interpretation of Paul is correct. Faith alone is not how these passages are to be interpreted. It's faith first and then the fruits of that faith which justify. For the faith of a man cannot be lively or active without the fruit of his faith.

Faith first and by itself is true doctrine-and if you want by that to mean "faith alone", you're safe. But that's not what Luther meant as evidenced by his inserting "alone" into Romans 3:28 Luther was a heretic on the subject, and anyone who follows him is as well.

This is why we should condemn both Lutheranism on Justification and the Schoolmasters and their followers for not thinking faith needs to proceed good works for them to be beneficial.

Anglo-Catholics are saved so long as they believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior...just as any individual is saved.

Charlie J. Ray said...

Billy, if good works can save anyone then Christ died on the cross in vain. The Anglo-Catholic, Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthdox view is that good works justify the sinner before God. The Scriptures I quoted outweigh the one verse in James. In fact, we interpret James via Paul in Romans, Ephesians, Galatians and the other Pauline epistles.

While a true and lively faith always has good works as the fruit or evidence, the basis or ground of justification is outside of us and is totally objective. It is the cross. On the basis of the active and passive obedience of Christ, God imputes or declares us to be righteous once and for all. At the moment of our regeneration, faith, and conversion we are as justified as we will ever be.

Anglo-Catholics teach another gospel from the Gospel taught by Paul and are therefore as lost as any Muslim or Roman Catholic or Mormon. There is only ONE Gospel. It is the Gospel of grace.

Faith precedes good works and even AFTER faith good works do not justify but merely "testify" that we are saved. Why? Because no amount of good works could pay for even one sin since even one sin is eternally offensive to an absolutely and infinitely holy, just and good God. One sin deserves an eternal punishment forever. Only a divine man could possibly pay such a penalty.

Jesus keeps the law perfectly, which is the just requirement of the Moral Law. No one else has ever lived a sinless life. Since that is God's requirement--which no one is able to meet--God instead sends His one and only Son to live a sinless life in our place and to die on the cross to pay the penalty of our sins.

I don't know of anyone except Jesus who was absolutely without sin. God does not grade on a curve. His requirement is absolute perfection:

"Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. 19 Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:17-20 ESV)

The trouble with Pharisees and Anglo-Catholics is that they "think" they have kept the Law. The fact of the matter is that no one has kept the law perfectly:

as it is written: "None is righteous, no, not one; 11 no one understands; no one seeks for God. 12 All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one." 13 "Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive." "The venom of asps is under their lips." 14 "Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness." 15 "Their feet are swift to shed blood; 16 in their paths are ruin and misery, 17 and the way of peace they have not known." 18 "There is no fear of God before their eyes." 19 Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. 20 For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin. 21 But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it-- 22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, (Romans 3:10-23 ESV)

Charlie J. Ray said...

Article XI

Of the Justification of Man

We are accounted righteous before God, only for the merit of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ by faith, and not for our own works or deservings. Wherefore that we are justified by faith only is a most wholesome doctrine, and very full of comfort; as more largely is expressed in the Homily of Justification.

Article XII

Of Good Works

Albeit that good works, which are the fruits of faith and follow after justification, cannot put away our sins and endure the severity of God's judgement, yet are they pleasing and acceptable to God in Christ, and do spring out necessarily of a true and lively faith, insomuch that by them a lively faith may be as evidently known as a tree discerned by the fruit.

Charlie J. Ray said...

Evidently, Billy, you think Anglicanism is heretical since you disagree with the 39 Articles and with the 1662 Book of Common Prayer.

The Prayer of Humble Access says the same thing:

Then shall the Priest, kneeling down at the Lord's Table, say in the name of all them that shall receive the Communion this Prayer following.

WE do not presume to come to this thy Table, O merciful Lord, trusting in our own righteousness, but in thy manifold and great mercies. We are not worthy so much as to gather up the crumbs under thy Table. But thou art the same Lord, whose property is always to have mercy: Grant us therefore, gracious Lord, so to eat the flesh of thy dear Son Jesus Christ, and to drink his blood, that our sinful bodies may be made clean by his body, and our souls washed through his most precious blood, and that we may evermore dwell in him, and he in us. Amen.

Charlie J. Ray said...

The Latin of Article XI uses the term "sola fide", one of the five solas of the Protestant Reformation:

Article XI

De Hominis Iustificatione

Tantum propter meritum Domini ac Servatoris nostri Jesu Christi, per fidem, non propter opera et merita nostra, iusti coram Deo reputamur. Quare sola fide nos iustificari, doctrina est saluberrima, ac consolationis plenissima; ut in Homilia de Iustificatione hominis Fusius explicatur.

Charlie J. Ray said...

And what does the Homily on Justification say? That homily is mentioned specifically in Article XI. The opening paragraph of the homily says:

A SERMON OF THE salvation of mankind,

by only Christ our Savior from sin and death everlasting.

Because all men be sinners and offenders against GOD, and breakers of his law and commandments, therefore can no man by his own acts, works, & deeds (seem they never so good) be justified, and made righteous before GOD: but every man of necessity is constrained to seek for another righteousness or justification, to be received at GOD'S own hands, that is to say, the forgiveness of his sins and trespasses, in such things as he hath offended. And this justification or righteousness, which we so receive of GOD'S mercy and Christ's merits. embraced by faith, is taken, accepted and allowed of GOD, for our perfect and full justification. For the more full understanding hereof, it is our parts and duties ever to remember the great mercy of GOD, how that (all the world being wrapped in sin by breaking of the Law) GOD sent his only son our Savior Christ into this world, to fulfill the Law for us, and by shedding of his most precious blood, to make a sacrifice and satisfaction, or (as it may be called) amends to his Father for our sins, to assuage his wrath and indignation conceived against us for the same.

Billy said...

Scripture does not "outweigh" scripture. We read them all to understand the fulness of the gospel. Yes, I think the 39 articles make a glaring error in the Article on Justification. Because while you can say that good works "testify" not "justify" you're forced to contradict the plain English of Scripture.
Sola Scriptura and Sola Fide, unfortunately for you, contradict. The truth is the harmony of James and Paul-that Grace through Faith must proceed us if we are to do anything good and that in doing the good works we were created in Christ Jesus to do, we strengthen the original gift of Faith.

Charlie J. Ray said...

Billy, Scripture does interpret Scripture, however. Your "interpretation" is "tradition". And you "think" your tradition is infallible. In effect, you think you have the right to tell Scripture what to say.

But that is not the position taken by the Reformers or the Anglican Formularies or any of the other Reformed Confessions or Lutheran Confessions. Scripture is the final and infallible Word of God and all else is prone to error.

Since the Pauline epistles without exception teach the doctrine of justification by faith alone and only a short verse in James says anything at all about works justifying us, it is clear from the context that James is speaking about our testimony before other men:

But someone will say, "You have faith and I have works." Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. (James 2:18 ESV)

But James also says that breaking one commandment makes us guilty of breaking them all:

For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it. (James 2:10 ESV)

If you say you have no sin, you are a liar:

If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. (1 John 1:8-10 ESV)

Charlie J. Ray said...

Looks like you're finally flushed out in the open, Billy. Now you openly admit you do not believe the 39 Articles or the 1662 Book of Common Prayer. Which means you are not really an Anglican at all.

Your views are actually papist, not Anglican.


Charlie J. Ray said...

Billy said,

It's faith first and then the fruits of that faith which justify. For the faith of a man cannot be lively or active without the fruit of his faith.

This is confused thinking. Your view is that faith plus works justifies. That's precisely what the Lutherans and the Calvinists objected to.

A true and lively faith justifies us before God by faith alone. But the "kind" of faith we have is one that produces good works and is living. That does not contradict the doctrine of justification by faith alone. Faith alone justifies but justifying faith is never alone. It is accompanied by an imperfect sanctification. Sanctification can never meet God's standard of moral law because we fall short, we sin, and we do things in ignorance that are sinful. Therefore, the basis of our justification is Christ's active and passive obedience and not our own.


Support Reasonable Christian Ministries with your generous donation.