Imagine if Tim Read Tim

Would Tim Challies tweak this post on how to lose your zeal for Christ for Tim Keller’s discomfort?

Love the world. “How can we be zealous for heaven when our hearts are wrapped up in earthly civic things? How can we lift our spirits heavenward when our minds are weighed down with the cares of this life the city? How can we be zealous for God when our love is divided between Him and this world global urbanization? Worldly mindedness will starve our zeal.” Jesus promised us that we can serve only one master; our zeal will diminish when our loyalties are torn between God and mammon the metropolis, God and this worldThe Big Apple.

Perhaps the Christian ministry in Toronto or Chattanooga is sufficiently otherworldly to escape Challies’ concern.

Advertisements

75 thoughts on “Imagine if Tim Read Tim

  1. When John writes to not love the world, he is very specific. It involves lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life. Is loving the world in the sense that one wants to help others then violating what John tells us to do or is it a way of following God who so loved the world that He gave His son?

    Now certainly, the parable on the four soils has something to say here too. It is very possible for us to be involved in helping others in ways that distract us from the faith. But even Paul wanted to stay on earth to minister to others.

    The Scriptures are clear in saying that not all ‘loving the world’ is the same so that we neither embrace escapism as a way of reacting to the world nor that we become so entangled that we lose our faith.

    Like

  2. we’re supposed to do something in the world with the world’s stuff, to love in the world though, right?

    Luke 1610 “He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much; and he who is unrighteous in a very little thing is unrighteous also in much. 11 Therefore if you have not been faithful in the use of unrighteous wealth, who will entrust the true riches to you? 12 And if you have not been faithful in the use of that which is another’s, who will give you that which is your own? 13 No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.”

    Like

  3. Imagine if people read Beeke and Jones… (Beeke being one of the authors Challies references.

    Beeke and Jones, in their conclusion to the chapter in ‘A Puritan Theology’ on Covenant Conditions—‘The conditions of the covenant were principally faith in Christ and its fruit of new obedience. The former condition was understood, against the antinomians, as an antecedent condition, so that no blessing procured by Christ could be applied to the believer until he or she exercised faith in Christ. Only then did actual justification take place. Being in covenant with God, the believer is required to believe and keep God’s commandments. Therefore the pursuit of holiness and practice of righteousness are also conditions, but they are consequent to the initial exercise of faith.’ (p.318)

    Thanks to McMark for this quote. I’m not doing so well on this part, “Being in covenant with God, the believer is required to believe and keep God’s commandments.”

    Like

  4. John Piper—“There are other conditions for attaining heaven, but no others for entering a right relationship to God. In fact, one must already be in a right relationship with God by faith alone in order to meet the other conditions.”

    Brad, I agree with you. You are not doing nearly as well as you could and should. You have the ability to do much better, now get busy. Not that it will be ever quite enough.

    http://trsbu.blogspot.com/p/forty-theses-on-perseverance.html

    Like

  5. Get on that hamster wheel of good works and pats on the back.

    I command you!!!

    Worry about this as much as I pretend to do in an blog.

    Like

  6. Mark McCulley,

    the John Piper quote you mentioned is the main reason I ran from most things Reformed. I just couldn’t seem to have the inner peace I was told a Christian would have as they joyfully begin living the Christian life. I found no joy in what I read from these guys since all I felt was despair because I just didn’t feel the same way these people supposedly did.
    In the past ten years I have discovered that the entire reformed world is not imbibing all of the neo calvinist writings but, is that a minority of people or the majority?

    Like

  7. Robin,

    1. Piper is not Reformed and not representative of the Reformed tradition.

    2. For him, things like enough “joy” or enough of something else besides the completed work of Christ is “enough”. But what is that?

    3. In the mid 90s I read lots of Piper material. If I stuck with him, I would have checked out completely.

    4. These are 3 of the more helpful articles I’ve read.

    I’m personally glad to see I’m not alone in having issues with his formulations. We live in a world where it seems like his false views are the default setting. So don’t ever be surprised you are constantly in conflict with the mainstream.

    http://heidelblog.net/2015/09/we-attain-heaven-through-faith-alone/

    http://theworldsruined.blogspot.com/2015/09/piper-salvation-by-faith-alone-and-just.html

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/protestprotest/2015/06/the-importance-of-being-earnest/

    Like

  8. Robin
    Posted September 22, 2015 at 2:54 pm | Permalink
    Mark McCulley,

    the John Piper quote you mentioned is the main reason I ran from most things Reformed. I just couldn’t seem to have the inner peace I was told a Christian would have as they joyfully begin living the Christian life. I found no joy in what I read from these guys since all I felt was despair because I just didn’t feel the same way these people supposedly did.
    In the past ten years I have discovered that the entire reformed world is not imbibing all of the neo calvinist writings but, is that a minority of people or the majority?>>>>>

    I’m obviously not Mark, but this comment caught my eye. Robin, the Reformed movement itself is a very small minority of Christianity. Within that small minority, there are conservative Presbyterians who try to hold to the WCF standards in one way or another.

    Within that small minority of conservative Presbyterians, I would imagine that an even smaller minority read Tim Keller of John Piper.

    So, you are talking about a tiny bump on the body of Christ.

    Maybe you would be blessed by reading and listening to people who are not Reformed at all. She’s a big Church, Robin, and you have barely even gotten your toes wet in the great sea of God’s love shown to us in Chirst.

    See if anyone within your reformed circle can give you an adequate explanation of these two passages. Then check out how the Church has understood them for about 2,000 years. There is a lot of glory that tends to be obscured in Protestant teaching. Think about it.

    Ephesians 4
    4 There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. 7 But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift.

    John 6
    53 So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. 54 Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. 55 For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. 56 Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him.

    Like

  9. Piper’s musings represent the uglier side of the Baptyerian tradition, which giveth the gospel on one hand and taketh with the other hand by undermining assurance.

    Like

  10. D. G. Hart
    Posted September 22, 2015 at 5:17 pm | Permalink
    Brad, and this is the reason (nine years ago today thanks to Tim Challies) why we think of Piper of Reformed.>>>>>>>

    The greatest reformers stayed within the Catholic Church. Examples: St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Athanasius, St. John Chrysostom, St. John of the Cross, and so forth.

    What is the Reformed Protestant movement reduced to? Bickering over how is and who is not Reformed. IOW arguing over a brand name and who has the right to use it.

    There is only one “brand” – One body, one Spirit, one hope, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all, through all and in all.

    Like

  11. kent
    Posted September 22, 2015 at 10:35 am | Permalink
    Get on that hamster wheel of good works and pats on the back.

    I command you!!!

    Do you guys even read this thing?

    31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

    34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

    37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

    40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

    41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

    44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

    45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

    46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

    Like

  12. One says they despise the Reformed because of a quote.

    We say the person isn’t Reformed.

    Then we are accused of doing nothing but nitpicking who is Reformed.

    The lower wing of the nut house on full display here.

    Like

  13. Of course no baptist is “Reformed”. To be “Reformed” one needs to make a distinction between election and “the covenant”.

    Many of the puritans were (and are) “Reformed”.

    John Owen—“A fond conceit has befallen some, that all denunciations of future wrath, even unto believers, is legal, which therefore it does not become the preachers of the gospel to insist upon: so would men make themselves wiser than Jesus Christ and all his apostles, yes, they would disarm the Lord Christ, and expose him to the contempt of his vilest enemies. There is also, we see, a great use in these evangelical threatenings to believers themselves. And they have been observed to have had an effectual ministry, both unto conversion and edification, who have been made wise and dexterous in managing gospel [threats] toward the consciences of their hearers. And those that hear the word may hence learn their duty, when such threatenings are handled and opened to them” (Works, 3:287) http://www.reformation21.org/blog/2015/03/does-the-gospel-threaten.php

    Mark Jones–“Sometimes we need to strongly warn those who are in the church when they indulge in a sin that can send them to hell. Paul warned the Corinthians when they acted wickedly; Christ warned the Laodiceans; and we must warn God’s people when we have a biblical reason to warn them. Our warnings do not mean we jettison the indicatives of the gospel, but in fact the indicatives act as a strong incentive as to why a Christian should not go down the path of ruin.”

    Mike Horton– “To be claimed as part of God’s holy field comes with threats as well as blessings. Covenant members who do not believe are under the covenant curse. How can they fall under the curses of a covenant to which they didn’t belong? If faith is the only way into membership , then why all the warnings to members of the covenant community to persevere in faith to the end? God promises his saving grace in Christ to each person in baptism, whether they embrace this promise or not. Yet they must embrace the promise in faith. Otherwise, they fall under the covenant curse without Christ as their mediator. “

    Like

  14. Matthew 7: 37 “Then THE RIGHTEOUS will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’’

    44 “Then OTHERS will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and DID NOT help you?’

    21: “Not everyone who says to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter the Kingdom of Heaven, but he who does the will of my Father in Heaven.”

    At first verse 21 seems to be saying that the decisive difference between those who are excluded and those who are admitted into the Kingdom is the difference between empty professors and actual doers of the Word. It seems like verse 21 contradict verses such as Acts 16:31: Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved…. and Romans 3:28: Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law; and Ephesians 2:8-9: For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast….

    If Jesus’ point in verse 21 were that faith is not enough, that good works, or covenant faithfulness, or obedience is also necessary in order to attain heaven, then Jesus should have said something like this in verse 22: Many will say to me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, we trusted in you alone, we had faith in you alone’ Instead, Jesus reports that many people will appear before him at the Judgment and will talk about their works, not their faith or correct doctrine. But these people-the ones who present works-will be excluded from the Kingdom of Heaven.

    Some commentators have tried to dismiss the claims of these defendants by suggesting that they will lie, that they really will not have done what they will claim to have done. There is nothing in the text that supports such an accusation. That misinterpretation is a desperate device to evade what Jesus is telling us in this passage. The defendants will make no direct assertions. They will ask questions. They address questions to Jesus, whom they will acknowledge as Lord. They ask the Lord to testify to the truth of their claims. They actually will have done these things on Earth: prophesying, casting out demons, and performing wonders.

    Like

  15. Mark,

    “Of course no baptist is “Reformed”. ”

    Oh, well of course. Hopefully they’ll all get the memo.

    “If Jesus’ point in verse 21 were that faith is not enough, that good works, or covenant faithfulness, or obedience is also necessary in order to attain heaven, then Jesus should have said something like this in verse 22: Many will say to me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, we trusted in you alone, we had faith in you alone’ Instead, Jesus reports that many people will appear before him at the Judgment and will talk about their works, not their faith or correct doctrine. But these people-the ones who present works-will be excluded from the Kingdom of Heaven.”

    Faith is enough, provided it is not opposed to faith in charity, in love. And apply your argument of “then Jesus should have said something like” to James 2:24.

    Like

  16. CVD:

    “Mark,

    “Of course no baptist is “Reformed”. ”

    Oh, well of course. Hopefully they’ll all get the memo.”

    Join me in an ecumenical prayer that they do.

    Like

  17. Hey Kent,

    I didn’t realize I was insane… I don’t think I am but, insane people don’t know that they are insane so maybe you are right. I could very well be a nut.

    I didn’t leave the Reformed world because of one quote either. In fact, now that I have learned that Piper isn’t reformed, I see now that I never was in the reformed world to begin with. I was part of a group in college who was loosely presbyterian but, heavily imbibed Piper and the notion of Christian Hedonism. I apologize for coming out as a nutty internet user. Hopefully, my insanity will subside. Sorry for the offense.

    Like

  18. Mark, perhaps better to say that the denial of paedo-baptism isn’t Reformed? Because it isn’t. Rome and Wittenberg affirm it, but that doesn’t mean they’re Reformed and nobody there boo hoos about it.

    Like

  19. thanks for the correction, Zrim

    Paedobaptism is necessary but not sufficient for being “Reformed”.

    which begs some other questions

    Are paedobaptists who deny that the non-elect are ever in the new covenant “Reformed”?

    If they say, there are “two senses”, so some are both in and also outside the new covenant, does that keep them “Reformed”? No doubt there are many “Reformed” who say that many born in the new covenant “do not attain heaven”

    John Calvin—“Are we independently of water baptism, cleansed by the blood of Christ and regenerated by the Spirit? “—Confession of Faith in the Name of the Reformed Churches of France

    “Since baptism is a treasure which God has placed in His Church. we doubt not that little children born of Christians are of this number, since God has adopted them — as He declares. Indeed, we should defraud them of their right — were we to exclude them from the sign which ratifies the the promise….we deprive them of the sacrament of their salvation. Wherefore, we reprobate all Anabaptist fanatics who will not allow little children to be baptized.”

    “As some trace of the Church is left in the papacy, and the virtue and substance of baptism remain, we confess that those baptized in it do not need a baptism.

    “We believe that God has put the sword into the hands of magistrates to suppress crimes against the First Table”

    Certainly that last opinion does not disqualify anyone from being “Reformed”, even if Zrim does not like it.

    quotations from Calvin, who of course does not define “Reformed” because the confessions do. My Dutch Reformed friends remind me that the WCF also does not define “Reformed”. To Dordt and the HC they go….

    Like

  20. Brad thanks for the links. I have a question. How can one have a right standing with God yet not be heaven bound? I thought the right standing before God and heaven bound went hand in hand. What am I missing here?

    Also, are you now at a place where you have assurance of faith?

    Like

  21. Little Mermaid, you need to swim a little closer to the surface. I NEVER encountered the confusing arguments in ReformationLand that I now encounter in Francis’ SmallWorldAfterAll. To even suggest a superiority complex shows you comically detached. Happy Synod of the Family, after a blessed flipping Vatican II. Such willful denial would be more at home in MormonTempleLand, actually. My fellow Catholics more and more remind me of the LDS. ‘Once the prophet has spoken, the debate is over.’ Embarrassing and absurd.

    Like

  22. Robin,

    “Brad thanks for the links. I have a question. How can one have a right standing with God yet not be heaven bound? I thought the right standing before God and heaven bound went hand in hand. What am I missing here?”

    The right standing before God and heaven bound go hand in hand, and I’m pretty sure that Piper would agree, though parts of that introduction to Schreiner’s book he wrote that are being quoted are confusing in that regard. It just reads to me as poorly written. If one denies that being heaven bound and having a right standing with God go hand in hand, one is by definition not Reformed, or even Protestant for that matter. I’m not even sure Roman Catholicism would deny that being heaven bound and having a right standing go hand in hand. They would just say that you can lose your right standing and thus no longer be heaven bound.

    Jeff Cagle said works are a necessary outcome, not cause. That is exactly right from the Reformed POV.

    Like

  23. Webfoot,

    The greatest reformers stayed within the Catholic Church. Examples: St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Athanasius, St. John Chrysostom, St. John of the Cross, and so forth.

    Pretty easy to stay in the church when you aren’t excommunicated.

    What is the Reformed Protestant movement reduced to? Bickering over how is and who is not Reformed. IOW arguing over a brand name and who has the right to use it.

    Funny, I see the exact same thing among every single theological tradition, Roman Catholics included. Press a conservative RC long enough about all the liberalism, and we get, “Well, they aren’t really RC.” Same thing among Lutherans, the EO, and on and on.

    “There is only one “brand” – One body, one Spirit, one hope, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all, through all and in all.”

    Sure. Which is why the Reformed confessions don’t limit the one church to the first church of the Presbyterian Reformed established 1900, membership of 2.

    Like

  24. Robert
    Posted September 23, 2015 at 12:04 am | Permalink
    Webfoot,

    The greatest reformers stayed within the Catholic Church. Examples: St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Athanasius, St. John Chrysostom, St. John of the Cross, and so forth.

    Robert:
    Pretty easy to stay in the church when you aren’t excommunicated.>>>>>

    Indeed! What’s the excuse now. 😉

    TLM:
    What is the Reformed Protestant movement reduced to? Bickering over how is and who is not Reformed. IOW arguing over a brand name and who has the right to use it.>>>>

    Robert:
    Funny, I see the exact same thing among every single theological tradition, Roman Catholics included. Press a conservative RC long enough about all the liberalism, and we get, “Well, they aren’t really RC.” Same thing among Lutherans, the EO, and on and on.

    TLM:
    “There is only one “brand” – One body, one Spirit, one hope, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all, through all and in all.”

    Robert:
    Sure. Which is why the Reformed confessions don’t limit the one church to the first church of the Presbyterian Reformed established 1900, membership of 2.>>>>>>

    Ah, yes, but how did the Presbyterian Reform established 1900 feel about itself at the time? The faithful remnant? The Reformed confessions do tend to limit the one church to themselves, right? Which Reformed, though? Whose Calvinism is it, anyway?

    See, Robert, what bothers me about the “is Piper really Reformed” talk is that Piper is not a heretic. He preaches the Gospel. He is not a liberal at all. In fact, he is a good man who practices James 2 Christianity. He loves the poor. I confess that Piper never made a whole lot of sense to me. I’m a mermaid with her head under water all the time, after all. However, I know what he stands for and what he does. He practices what he preaches, in other words.

    I get it when Conservative Protestants reject theological liberals and liberalism. That makes sense. Conservative Catholics reject liberal Catholicism as well. Liberals have been hoping that Pope Francis really is a liberal like them. Come to find out he’s Catholic.

    It’s as if he has been reading St. Francis and the Catechism of the Catholic Church or something. He wants people to come to Christ.

    It is the nit picking about who is and who is not Reformed enough that kind of, well, made it easier to leave it all behind. I mean, if Reformed people can’t decide who is and who is not Reformed, then there is nothing to hold me back. Besides, all the good Reformed theology was lifted right out of the teaching magisterium of the Catholic Church. Reformed Christianity is only, what, 500 years old? So, all that went before was chopped liver and all that came after rank heresy?

    I don’t know if Zrim knows where the threefold division of the law of God comes from, but I am sure you know. It didn’t come from sola scriptura.

    Neither did the trinity, the canon of Scripture, the Nicene Creed, the Apostle’s Creed, or so many of the doctrines that you and I hold dear. For 1500 years the Church held to Scripture plus tradition. The Holy Spirit leads the Church through both. Without tradition, Christianity splits into tens of thousands of sects, all claiming to be the real sola scripturaists and, while sorta’ kinda’ accepting that there are true believers in other sects, theirs is really the best.

    All of your confessions and catechisms are tradition. You use your tradition to interpret Scripture. Why do you guys complain when the Catholic Church uses tradition to interpret Scripture? There is huge amounts of overlap in the traditions as well.

    But you know what really got me? It was and is the Eucharist, the sum and summit of the faith. Why did Protestantism feel a need to reject the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist? That makes no sense, especially since that tradition goes, of course, all the way back to Jesus’ words in the Gospel of John especially, and the writing of the early Christians. Why was it changed? The Eastern churches do not reject the Real Presence in the Eucharist. EO members can take communion in a Catholic Church. Protestants can’t. They changed the meaning and thus changed the sacrament.

    Anyway, thanks for the response, Brother Robert. Maybe we’ll talk again. Have a good rest of the evening.

    Like

  25. D. G. Hart
    Posted September 22, 2015 at 8:32 pm | Permalink
    Mermaid, well, near as I can tell, you switched teams to oppose Planned Parenthood. Seriously?>>>>

    Brother Hart, for a clown fish you’re not very funny. 😉

    Like

  26. “Mermaid, well, near as I can tell, you switched teams to oppose Planned Parenthood.”

    Let’s be fair to our marine life – she has also praised their theology of sex. So that’s twice as many reasons.

    Back at the church we voted that the Pope can mill around the coffee pot for ten minutes as long as he leaves before the service. So we have latitudinarians in our midst.

    Like

  27. Ariel, so it’s a test? The three uses of the law is part of the larger Christian tradition that the Reformers inherited and did not repudiate?

    So what? So is baptism, trinitarianism, predestination, etc., etc. Confessional Prots have never portrayed Protestantism as a project cut from whole cloth with even less history than America. That’s eeeevangelicalism. But how does that help make your Erasmanian point, i.e. reform from within? It was tried and thoroughly rejected. But maybe your notion of reform is the same as Francis’s, piously polite but not substantial. Like his idea of humility, a little Fiat but not a renouncing of the arrogant office altogether.

    Like

  28. Zrim
    Posted September 23, 2015 at 10:13 am | Permalink
    Ariel, so it’s a test? The three uses of the law is part of the larger Christian tradition that the Reformers inherited and did not repudiate?

    So what? So is baptism, trinitarianism, predestination, etc., etc. Confessional Prots have never portrayed Protestantism as a project cut from whole cloth with even less history than America. That’s eeeevangelicalism. But how does that help make your Erasmanian point, i.e. reform from within? It was tried and thoroughly rejected. But maybe your notion of reform is the same as Francis’s, piously polite but not substantial. Like his idea of humility, a little Fiat but not a renouncing of the arrogant office altogether.>>>>>

    You Reformed guys have your Scripture plus tradition, but you call it sola scriptura. Your tradition is a truncated version of what Christians always believed for the 1500 years prior to the Reformation.

    You are the ones who are different from the rest of Christianity. The most egregious change for me was the damage done to the Eucharist. The Real Presence of Christ, as clearly taught by St. John, the Apostle, was spiritualized.

    So, you can continue to pretend that you are the real inheritors of the catholic faith, but not everyone is willing to go along with it.

    If you are happy, then be happy. Why so grumpy all the time, though? If someone is looking for the joy of the Lord, maybe this blog is not the place to find it.

    Like

  29. Webfoot,

    Robert:
    Pretty easy to stay in the church when you aren’t excommunicated.>>>>>

    Webfoot: Indeed! What’s the excuse now.

    We haven’t been formally excommunicated, it’s true. But Trent says that what I believe is anathema.

    Ah, yes, but how did the Presbyterian Reform established 1900 feel about itself at the time?

    I’m not sure what you are talking about.

    The faithful remnant? The Reformed confessions do tend to limit the one church to themselves, right?

    It’s safer to say that the Reformed confessions believe the purest churches are Reformed churches, but they don’t limit the one church to themselves. If they did, they would not recognize the baptisms of Lutherans, Baptists, or even Roman Catholics. It’s simply not the case that the Reformed limit the one church to themselves. That is what Rome does. Nobody else but Rome is, at the end of the day, a true church. We would say any church that preaches the gospel, administers the sacraments rightly, and practices church discipline is a true church. Some true churches are purer than others.

    Which Reformed, though? Whose Calvinism is it, anyway?

    There are at least two main families of Reformed confessions: the Westminster Standards and the Three Forms of Unity. Historically, there have been more questions about the Baptist tradition, but that’s no difference than historic questions Rome has had about schools of thought within its own domain.

    See, Robert, what bothers me about the “is Piper really Reformed” talk is that Piper is not a heretic. He preaches the Gospel.

    Actually, I’m pretty sure that according to Trent, Piper and all the other Protestants posting here are heretics.

    He is not a liberal at all. In fact, he is a good man who practices James 2 Christianity. He loves the poor. I confess that Piper never made a whole lot of sense to me. I’m a mermaid with her head under water all the time, after all. However, I know what he stands for and what he does. He practices what he preaches, in other words.

    Sure.

    I get it when Conservative Protestants reject theological liberals and liberalism. That makes sense.

    Sure, but I’m not sure that Piper is being “rejected” here. It depends on what we mean by rejected. Nobody is saying Piper isn’t a Christian. They’re rejecting certain emphases of his. At times, I agree with their criticisms. Sometimes I think they go a bit too far. They’re rejecting him as Reformed according to traditional Reformed practice and piety, which I think is often a fair assessment. It’s not really different than them rejecting Lutherans or Anglicans. This is an old school Presbyterian blog.

    Conservative Catholics reject liberal Catholicism as well. Liberals have been hoping that Pope Francis really is a liberal like them. Come to find out he’s Catholic.

    It’s as if he has been reading St. Francis and the Catechism of the Catholic Church or something. He wants people to come to Christ.

    But if Rome is the one true church, why are there liberals? Kick ’em out. As long as you don’t, I have no good reason to believe what you call liberal is not orthodox Roman Catholicism except by my personal, conservative interpretation of the Roman standards. But once I do that, I’m acting like a Protestant and any advantage Rome has is shown to be false. That’s the issue. Be a good Roman Catholic, but don’t pretend that Rome has some kind of advantage over the bickering Reformed. That is really Darryl’s point.

    It is the nit picking about who is and who is not Reformed enough that kind of, well, made it easier to leave it all behind. I mean, if Reformed people can’t decide who is and who is not Reformed, then there is nothing to hold me back.

    But I see the same bickering in Rome. People split up along conservative and liberal lines. Among the conservatives, there is split among the true conservatives and the moderate conservatives, and on and on. The only difference is that you don’t have as much formal separation because Rome has pretty much convinced its people that the only unforgivable sin is schism. There are some advantages to being unwilling to split, but at the end of the day, if orthodox belief isn’t holding a church together, it’s useless. Rome doesn’t really work that way. It’s all about orthopraxy. As long as the baptisms are done right and the Eucharist is conducted correctly, all is pretty much okay. It’s the difference between being Word-centered and ceremony-centered. Luther et al’s main critique, if you boil it all down to the basics, is that medieval Rome was too much of the latter. And when the Reformation happened, pretty much all of the Word-centered folk left.

    Besides, all the good Reformed theology was lifted right out of the teaching magisterium of the Catholic Church.

    Not exactly. It was lifted out of the catholic tradition as measured against the Scriptures.

    Reformed Christianity is only, what, 500 years old?

    The specific codified Reformed tradition is only 500 years old. The specific codified Tridentine Romanism is also only 500 years old. Both camps can legitimately claim continuity with some but not all of what came before.

    So, all that went before was chopped liver and all that came after rank heresy?

    No, and there is no knowledgeable Protestant that has ever said that. Calvin, for example, referred to the earlier tradition extensively. Reformed Scholasticism made much use of Aquinas. Today, many Reformed theologians interact with RC theologians, particularly on issues such as the Trinity.

    I don’t know if Zrim knows where the threefold division of the law of God comes from, but I am sure you know. It didn’t come from sola scriptura.

    I think you misunderstand sola Scriptura. Nothing “comes” from sola Scriptura. Sola Scriptura just says that no ecclesiastical authority is on par with Scripture and that no ecclesiastical authority can bind consciences absolutely. It doesn’t say non-biblical tradition has no authority or is useless.

    Incidentally, a recent work has argued that the threefold division is part of the warp and woof of Scripture.

    Neither did the trinity, the canon of Scripture, the Nicene Creed, the Apostle’s Creed, or so many of the doctrines that you and I hold dear.

    Yes, it is true that the church’s tradition taught these things alongside Scripture. But no, it is not the church’s tradition that makes them true. It is the fact that they reflect divine revelation. The only question is, where do we find this revelation.

    For 1500 years the Church held to Scripture plus tradition.

    This is unclear. If you mean that the church has always followed both Scripture and tradition, then certainly. It’s true of any church body. All churches have tradition. The question is, what happens when Scripture and tradition conflict or seem to conflict? Rome basically starts off saying it is impossible for this to ever happen. The Apostles don’t seem to share this view.

    The Holy Spirit leads the Church through both.

    When the tradition accurately reflects Scripture, yes. When tradition doesn’t, no it is not the H.S. leading. Rome says that it is impossible for sacred tradition ever to come in conflict with Scripture and that if Rome says there is no conflict, there is no conflict. That’s a presupposition that governs Romanism. It’s actually evidence of blind fideism as some have noted in comparing Rome to the LDS.

    Without tradition, Christianity splits into tens of thousands of sects, all claiming to be the real sola scripturaists and, while sorta’ kinda’ accepting that there are true believers in other sects, theirs is really the best.

    Rome’s view of church tradition caused the Reformation. We had a Reformation because the three-legged stool doesn’t work. One leg always wins. But in any case, what you describe is evident within Romanism. You just don’t tend to form formal church bodies. But the liberals and conservatives form in reality two distinctive churches and different religions even if Rome pretends all are one.

    All of your confessions and catechisms are tradition. You use your tradition to interpret Scripture.

    Agreed. Completely.

    Why do you guys complain when the Catholic Church uses tradition to interpret Scripture?

    We don’t complain that the RCC uses tradition to interpret Scripture. We complain that the RCC uses non-biblically justifiable tradition to interpret Scripture. We’re fine with using tradition to interpret, provided the tradition itself is grounded in Scripture.

    There is huge amounts of overlap in the traditions as well.

    Yes.

    But you know what really got me? It was and is the Eucharist, the sum and summit of the faith. Why did Protestantism feel a need to reject the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist? That makes no sense, especially since that tradition goes, of course, all the way back to Jesus’ words in the Gospel of John especially, and the writing of the early Christians. Why was it changed? The Eastern churches do not reject the Real Presence in the Eucharist. EO members can take communion in a Catholic Church. Protestants can’t. They changed the meaning and thus changed the sacrament.

    We don’t reject real presence. We reject Roman Catholicism’s specific Aristotelian definition of what real presence means. So does the East, or they at least say that Rome shouldn’t be so dogmatic on the definition. They prefer mystery. They’re not too different from the Reformed approach in that regard, actually.

    Rome’ view was not taught for 1500 years. Simply citing a church father that says something like “we partake of the body and blood” of Christ doesn’t prove Rome’s definition.

    And when I was younger, I was permitted to take the Eucharist in my local RCC parish even though I was Protestant. Maybe that’s against canon law or something, but if the priest represents Christ and told me I could take it, who was I as a naive Protestant to do otherwise. This again is the problem. Rome says one thing and practices another, and we’re supposed to see that as superior to Reformed bickering. I don’t see why. At the end of the day, we are doing the same thing, evaluating what the church says and acting according to our conscience. Welcome to Protestantism.

    Anyway, thanks for the response, Brother Robert. Maybe we’ll talk again. Have a good rest of the evening.

    Indeed. And you as well.

    Like

  30. Ariel, say something new or original. But the Reformed DO hold to real presence, not the transubstantive version. We’re “the ones who are different from the rest of Christianity”? Have you met eeeevangelicalism? Happy to have you, but why would you spend so much time with such joy harshers?

    Like

  31. C-Dubs, it’s a miracle. Sixty years from now, those pieces of toast will be credited with healing someone’s smelly leg and shazam, Saint Francis/Bergoglio. Ratzinger will somehow mysteriously still be alive, in the abbey, and praying to be freed from his sin of pride and envy.

    Like

  32. You Reformed guys have your Scripture plus tradition, but you call it sola scriptura. Your tradition is a truncated version of what Christians always believed for the 1500 years prior to the Reformation.

    Of course we have tradition and believe it is authoritative. That’s why it was called the magisterial reformation (as opposed to the radical reformation of the anabaptists). The difference is that we recognize that traditions can err and must be judged according to the scriptures.

    You are the ones who are different from the rest of Christianity. The most egregious change for me was the damage done to the Eucharist. The Real Presence of Christ, as clearly taught by St. John, the Apostle, was spiritualized.

    Are you saying the spirit isn’t real? If the presence is spiritual it is somehow less real is only the physical is real? That’s a quite startling belief for a Christian. I believe the Holy Spirit is present spiritually and absolutely real. I also believe that in the Lord’s supper we feast on Christ spiritually. It is absolutely real. The relatively modern definitions of transubstantiation are a baptized version of Aristotle – who was wrong about basically everything… you’re in good company!

    So, you can continue to pretend that you are the real inheritors of the catholic faith, but not everyone is willing to go along with it.

    The way is wide that leads to destruction, but the way of life is narrow and there are few who find it. So I’m not sure getting big numbers amounts to much. That doesn’t mean small is true of course, but being big doesn’t mean anything either.

    If you are happy, then be happy. Why so grumpy all the time, though? If someone is looking for the joy of the Lord, maybe this blog is not the place to find it.

    Well its certainly not why I’m here. I find the joy of the lord in worship and reading the scriptures. I do a lot of other things though. Not activity has to do everything for you.

    Like

  33. Jeff Cagle
    Posted September 22, 2015 at 8:28 pm | Permalink
    @ Tom:

    How many prison visits are enough? I gotta know because I like, went once in college.

    /parody

    Seriously, works are necessary outcomes, not causes.>>>>>

    See, I get it that Tom is a special object of scorn here at Old Life, but seriously, Jeff? I am a little surprised that you would do a parody on the words of Jesus. He really does mean what He says.

    Note, too, CVD’s comment.

    31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

    34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

    37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

    40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

    41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

    44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

    45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

    46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

    Like

  34. Zrim
    Posted September 23, 2015 at 10:56 am | Permalink
    Ariel, say something new or original. But the Reformed DO hold to real presence, not the transubstantive version. We’re “the ones who are different from the rest of Christianity”? Have you met eeeevangelicalism? Happy to have you, but why would you spend so much time with such joy harshers?>>>>>

    Brother Zrim! Aw. That’s the sweetest thing any Old Lifer has said to me. You’re happy to have me? Aw, shucks. Thanks.

    Why do I spend time with you guys? Good question. I hold out hope that all of Christ’s body will one day realize that we really are one. You know? Like there was only one Noah’s Ark. It must have gotten smelly and nasty, but it was the only way of salvation for all aboard.

    Will we ever come to an agreement on everything? Evidently not, but John 17 is still in the Bible, as is Ephesians 4. Not that you would see it this way, but for me it got to be impossible to justify all the tens of thousands of divisions in Protestantism.

    I get the separation from liberalism, which is a denial of Christ. I don’t get the divisions within those of the same confession. Healthy debate, yes. Division, not so much. Not giving Baptists, Pentecostals, or Evangelicals a place at the table is just odd.

    And of course there’s the Planned Parenthood angle as well. 😉

    Like

  35. I hold out hope that all of Christ’s body will one day realize that we really are one.

    But we are one body (with many parts). You are welcome to our table…so are methodists, baptists, lutherans, anglicans, and charismatics. Your branch should stop standing in the way of unity by denying Christians access to their table and demanding extra-biblical Aristotelian beliefs as a condition for membership.

    Like

  36. sdb
    Posted September 23, 2015 at 2:42 pm | Permalink
    I hold out hope that all of Christ’s body will one day realize that we really are one.

    But we are one body (with many parts). You are welcome to our table…so are methodists, baptists, lutherans, anglicans, and charismatics. Your branch should stop standing in the way of unity by denying Christians access to their table and demanding extra-biblical Aristotelian beliefs as a condition for membership.>>>>

    Ah, yes, but they’re all trashed here at Old Life. Then invited to come to the Communion table?

    You do understand that in the Reformed view of Real Presence, it’s a spiritual reality where Jesus is present spiritually. Heaven and earth get within hailing distance, but don’t really connect in a physical way.

    Transubstantiation is the explanation of how the elements really become the body and blood of Christ. Heaven and earth unite, they don’t just wave at one another in passing.

    The meaning is different, so I cannot partake of Communion in a Protestant church.

    Like

  37. Ariel, but in his discourse on the Supper (that thing that “really gets you”), Paul seems to think there is a legitimate place for divisions “in order that those who are genuine among you may be recognized.” Sure, divisions are also a thing to lament for him, but he gives it space because it’s necessary in the age of the visible and militant church. Even you say you can’t partake at a Prot church. You divide yourself from those who get it wrong, so why do we receive so much flak when we do the same?

    Like

  38. “Ah, yes, but they’re all trashed here at Old Life. Then invited to come to the Communion table?”
    I’ve not seen anyone “trashed”. Pointed disagreement perhaps and gentle poking perhaps. To be sure there are serious excesses in various branches of Christianity that deserve strong condemnation. That being said, OldLife isn’t a ecclesial body that has the authority to fence a table.

    “You do understand that in the Reformed view of Real Presence, it’s a spiritual reality”
    I do! It really is a real presence. It is also spiritual because the Son is physically in heaven and will return bodily someday (Lord come quickly!), but hasn’t done so yet. While he is in heaven preparing a place for his people, he has sent his spirit as our comforter and guide. Furthermore, when we celebrate the Lord’s Supper, we really truly feast on Christ spiritually and are nourished. Jeff provided a pretty detailed grammatical breakdown of John 6 and demonstrated a few threads back why that text cannot be coherently read literally. I would be very interested in your rebuttal of his work.

    “Heaven and earth get within hailing distance, but don’t really connect in a physical way.”
    Yep. That’s why we wait for the resurrection in eager anticipation.

    “Transubstantiation is the explanation of how the elements really become the body and blood of Christ. Heaven and earth unite, they don’t just wave at one another in passing.”
    Well I certainly don’t think that feasting on Christ spiritually should be denigrated as waving at one another in passing. That communion is real and to blaspheme it is really quite dangerous. Further, transubstantiation is not “the” explanation, it is one explanation of a physical presence in light of Aristotelian metaphysics. All that bit about substances and accidents is unique to Rome. Both our Lutheran and Orthodox friends hold to a real presence sans the metaphysics.

    “The meaning is different, so I cannot partake of Communion in a Protestant church.”
    Yep. Rome insists on Aristotelianism and creates division in the body of Christ, but you are always welcome to our table…

    Like

  39. D. G. Hart
    Posted September 22, 2015 at 8:33 pm | Permalink
    vd, t, and so why don’t you go to confession and mass?

    I don’t discuss personal things in fora like this, Dr. Hart. That you do rather shows your inability to hold your own in your own “theological society” without playing dirty.

    The Little Mermaid
    Posted September 23, 2015 at 1:04 am | Permalink
    D. G. Hart
    Posted September 22, 2015 at 8:32 pm | Permalink
    Mermaid, well, near as I can tell, you switched teams to oppose Planned Parenthood. Seriously?>>>>

    Brother Hart, for a clown fish you’re not very funny.

    Heh.

    The Little Mermaid
    Posted September 23, 2015 at 1:33 pm | Permalink
    Jeff Cagle
    Posted September 22, 2015 at 8:28 pm | Permalink
    @ Tom:

    How many prison visits are enough? I gotta know because I like, went once in college.

    /parody

    Seriously, works are necessary outcomes, not causes.>>>>>

    See, I get it that Tom is a special object of scorn here at Old Life, but seriously, Jeff? I am a little surprised that you would do a parody on the words of Jesus. He really does mean what He says.

    Mocking the Bible? I don’t get it, Dr. Hart. This is what you have wrought. Nice.

    Jesus himself rebukes your theology. Theology ain’t squat. Theology will not save you.

    31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

    34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

    37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

    40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

    41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

    44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

    45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

    46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

    Like

  40. vd, t, so you distinguish the public from the private with the best of the liberals.

    You’re mass observance is your business.

    But your Christian morality is everyone else’s.

    Huh?

    If your religion is private, why are you so public about religion?

    Like

  41. D. G. Hart
    Posted September 23, 2015 at 5:02 pm | Permalink
    vd, t, so you distinguish the public from the private with the best of the liberals.

    You’re mass observance is your business.

    But your Christian morality is everyone else’s.

    Huh?

    If your religion is private, why are you so public about religion?

    Because of people like you.

    Like

  42. Mermaid:

    Parody Jesus? Me genoito.

    But you may have noticed my parody was prefaced with an address.

    Tom:

    That’s a pretty strong context clue as to who is being parodied.

    I will cheerfully parody those who would take the words of our Lord and twist them into salvation by works.

    Like

  43. I’m so glad to be freed from the chains…..I used to really be so paranoid and fearful about posts like Challies. Only the Lord can bring one to the place of Rest from being so caught up with checking boxes/lists/man-made mantras. And you will have the desire to seek and find a church of like-minded believers (in as much as possible) led by a truly Reformed-Confessionally-minded Pastor and Session/Consistory who subscribe to 2K, don’t have ‘small groups’, and hold to the Regulative principle of worship among the basics. I do take the warnings of scripture earnestly and seriously, but I am bedrocked by our Lord’s promise that He who has begun a good work in me will complete it.

    Like

  44. Jeff Cagle
    Posted September 23, 2015 at 7:46 pm | Permalink
    Mermaid:

    Parody Jesus? Me genoito.

    But you may have noticed my parody was prefaced with an address.

    Tom:

    That’s a pretty strong context clue as to who is being parodied.

    I will cheerfully parody those who would take the words of our Lord and twist them into salvation by works.

    Who cut the holes in your Bible? Twist your way out of this. We’re waiting.

    Jesus himself rebukes your theology. Theology ain’t squat. Theology will not save you.

    31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

    34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

    37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

    40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

    41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

    44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

    45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

    46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

    Like

  45. Why do Mermaid and Tom, who have less than nothing to say to us about spiritual matters, feel they can post 1000 word wastes of time in here?

    Don’t they have anything to do with their life?

    Like

  46. D. G. Hart
    Posted September 23, 2015 at 9:45 pm | Permalink
    vd, t, so you are public about your private parts when it suits you. No principle here. All convenience.

    Whenever you’re losing a discussion, Dr. Hart, y’all get personal. Like now.

    Justify away.

    41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

    Like

  47. Oh Tom, you’re such a crybaby/faux victim. You come into a guy’s bar, insult all the regulars, complain about the drinks, pee all over the toilet seat, and complain when no one hits on your girlfriend. There’s a great fake Irish pub down the street. Get thee to O’Malley’s.

    Like

  48. Tom,

    Are you suggesting that Jesus *does* teach salvation by works? If so, then you need to confer with your fellow Catholics, who have been busy telling us that Catholicism does not teach salvatiom by worls.

    If not, then I have no twisting to offer you. I accept Jesus’ words above. I reject salvation by works. Full stop.

    Like

  49. Do you agree with this, Jeff? This is what started it.


    kent
    Posted September 22, 2015 at 10:35 am | Permalink
    Get on that hamster wheel of good works and pats on the back.

    I command you!!!

    Good works is far more than a hamster wheel, at least that’s what the book says. I don’t see how y’all are so convinced of your own salvation.

    41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

    44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

    45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

    46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

    Like

  50. kent
    Posted September 23, 2015 at 10:25 pm | Permalink
    Kevin an Michael have useful things to say about the Catholic faith on here.,/i>

    Don’t try to play them against me, pal. You got your own problems. It ain’t about hamsters, it’s about sheep and goats.

    Like

  51. Robert,

    [mwf:]The greatest reformers stayed within the Catholic Church. Examples: St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Athanasius, St. John Chrysostom, St. John of the Cross, and so forth.

    [Robert:] Pretty easy to stay in the church when you aren’t excommunicated.

    Athanasius was excommunicated (once) and exiled five times.

    Chrysostom was formally condemned (possibly excommunicated) and exiled to Thrace.

    Aquinas’s work was formally condemned, by proxy (he was not named).

    John of the Cross was ‘considered excommunicated’ and jailed by his laxist religious superiors (although he subscribed to a reformed rule – he was “Discalced,” meaning he didn’t wear sandals, unlike the Calced):

    John, a member of the new reform which was not yet completely free of Calced authority, was considered to be both disobedient and rebellious in the eyes of his captors […]

    They considered him excommunicated and they began to punish him in accordance with existing Carmelite constitutions dealing with cases of rebellion. Refused the privilege of celebrating the Mass, or participation in any sacraments, during the entire term of imprisonment, he was continually ordered to recant of the reformed Rule.

    More recently, Lefebvre was declared excommunicated for irregular episcopal consecrations, and yet was referred to by Benedict as a “great man of the universal Church.”

    The specific codified Tridentine Romanism is also only 500 years old.

    If you want to take that approach, why not date the RCC from Vatican II? Not even the Bologna School (Vatican II-as-a-good-discontinuity) does that, but it would give you 450 years on us. Who’s to stop you?

    But if Rome is the one true church, why are there liberals? Kick ’em out.

    Send a note to your local Bishop, Francis, and the committee on Reformed – Catholic dialogue. You’ll get replies. I’d truly love to see them.

    As long as you don’t, I have no good reason to believe what you call liberal is not orthodox Roman Catholicism except by my personal, conservative interpretation of the Roman standards.

    Have you ever read the Syllabus of Errors? Clarity has been lamentably hard to come by more recently (I can take it tragically or pragmatically), but older clear teachings hold; and even the lack of clarity in newer teachings is exaggerated. http://www.ewtn.com/library/PAPALDOC/P9SYLL.HTM

    But the liberals and conservatives form in reality two distinctive churches and different religions even if Rome pretends all are one.

    I’m aware of the problems and aware of those who would agree with you; and yet your statement does not connect with reality or theology.

    And when I was younger, I was permitted to take the Eucharist in my local RCC parish even though I was Protestant. Maybe that’s against canon law or something,

    I expect it is. Were your parents asked permission? In any case, all the baptised are considered to be in communion with the RCC until they’ve explicitly rejected it in thought or deed (e.g., through expressing animosity towards the RCC, or stating rejection of its teachings without making an attempt to understand them). The issue seems to me more one of honoring the rights of parents and a questionable decision on the part of a priest than of theological difficulties.

    Like

  52. Worldliness works both ways:

    Similar to the voting behavior of Catholic citizens, simply identifying as a Catholic now has no predictive power on how a politician will operate. In this case, party affiliation is a much better indicator than Catholicism.

    It’s a far cry from the relative uniformity of the first half of the 20th century, when “Catholic political identity” was a meaningful term, and the positions of Catholic politicians tended to line up with the moral teachings of their bishops.

    Now, there is a chasm that artificially separates core components of Catholic social teaching in American politics. Issues of social justice — itself a dubious term, given that all social matters should inherently be characterized by justice — are in the domain of the Democrats, while Republicans champion causes labeled pro-life and pro-family. There is little to no overlap, an indication that there are next to no Catholic politicians who embrace the entirety of the Church’s social teaching and use it as a starting point for all policy considerations.

    As evidence of this, consider that in the 2014 election Democrats for Life was only able to find five Democrat candidates pro-life enough to endorse.

    There are a number of factors that may have contributed to the declining Catholicism of Catholic politicians, even as there are more and more of them in the halls of power.

    In fact, both the increase in Catholic elected officials and these same politicians’ relatively less Catholic approach to politics may be in some part influenced by the same factor: cultural assimilation.

    “The Catholic politician has become indistinguishable,” explained Stephen White, a fellow in the Catholic Studies Program at the Ethics in Public Policy Center. “As Catholics have come into their own in American public life, they’ve become very much like everyone else.”

    Patrick Deneen, a political theorist at the University of Notre Dame, says our elected officials merely reflect the “deep pathologies of Americanized Catholicism.”

    Like

  53. Imagine if Mark Jones read your blog and comments there! But somebody seems to have told Jones about people complaining about “obedient faith” —-I’ve been told that some folk are taking issue with John Piper’s Foreword to Thomas Schreiner’s book on justification. According to Piper, who agrees with Schreiner, we are “right with God by faith alone” but we do not “attain heaven by faith alone.” He adds that “there are other conditions for attaining heaven.”

    Based on what I believe is a charitable and straight-forward reading of Piper, there is not a single word in his Foreword that seems out of place in terms of the basic Reformed approach to justification, salvation, and conditionality.

    Piper affirms strongly and clearly that works do not contribute to the acquisition of salvation. But Piper also wants to affirm that good works should be considered necessary for the obtaining of salvation. I fail to understand how this idea isn’t present in literally dozens of Reformed luminaries from the Early Modern period. As Francis Turretin says:

    “This very thing is no less expressly delivered concerning future glory. For since good works have the relation of the means to the end (Jn. 3:5, 16; Mt. 5:8); of the ‘way’ to the goal (Eph. 2:10; Phil 3:14); of the ‘sowing’ to the harvest (Gal. 6:7,8)…of labor to the reward (Mt. 20:1); of the ‘contest’ to the crown (2 Tim. 2:5; 4:8), everyone sees that there is the highest and an indispensable necessity of good works for obtaining glory. It is so great that it cannot be reached without them (Heb. 12:14; Rev. 21:27).”

    Again, Piper says we do “not attain heaven by faith alone” and Turretin speaks of the “indispensable necessity of good works for obtaining glory”. I don’t see why we can’t agree that they are saying essentially the same thing; and, indeed, if they are, what is the problem?

    For those who have trouble grasping how Piper can affirm that justification is by faith alone, but that entering glory is not by faith alone, we must keep in mind the well-known distinction between the right to life versus the possession of life.

    Herman Witsius makes a distinction between the right to life (i.e., acquisition) and the possession of life. The former is “assigned to the obedience of Christ, that all the value of our holiness may be entirely excluded.” However, regarding the latter, “our works…which the Spirit of Christ works in us, and by us, contribute something to the latter.”

    Similarly, Petrus van Mastricht once wrote: “in so far as God, whose law we attain just now through the merit alone of Christ, does not want to grant possession of eternal life, unless [it is] beyond faith with good works previously performed. We received once before the right unto eternal life through the merit of Christ alone. But God does not want to grant the possession of eternal life, unless there are, next to faith, also good works which precede this possession, Heb. 12:14; Matt. 7:21; 25:34-36; Rom. 2:7, 10.”

    Is there anything in Piper’s Foreword that could not have come from the pen of Witsius or Turretin or Boston or Ball (see Patrick Ramsey’s post here) or Owen or Rutherford or Mastricht? I’m having trouble understanding what the problem is both biblically and historically. In fact, I can point to works by authors in the Reformed tradition who have stated the matter perhaps a little more strongly than Piper does (e.g., Mastricht, Davenant).

    It seems one would have to have a built-in bias against Piper – perhaps because of his relationship to Daniel Fuller or perhaps for some other reason – to raise questions about the orthodoxy of his Foreword. And, let’s be honest, it is a serious thing to raise questions about the orthodoxy of someone on this point. It isn’t like we’re talking about complementarianism.

    Piper speaks of good works as necessary for attaining heaven. Reformed theologians have spoken of good works as necessary for possessing heaven. In my mind, that’s the same thing. And, quite frankly, I think that’s the better approach rather than causing unnecessary division where there really doesn’t need to be any.

    In sum, as Piper says, “there are other conditions for attaining heaven”. Or, by someone else:

    “The New Testament lays before us a vast array of conditions for final salvation. Not only initial repentance and faith, but perseverance in both, demonstrated in love toward God and neighbor…Holiness, which is defined by love of God and neighbor…is the indispensable condition of our glorification: no one will be seated at the heavenly banquet who has not begun, however imperfectly, in new obedience.”

    And if you don’t like that last quote, you can take it up with Michael Horton. But I happen to agree with it completely.
    – See more at: http://www.reformation21.org/blog/2015/09/in-defense-of-piper.php#sthash.1RDVZBX9.dpuf

    Like

  54. So for the 300th time I get to note how it is impossible to exhaustively define salvation and justification and sanctification to satisfy everyone.

    And those who give Piper the benefit of the doubt think everything he says is perfect and those who don’t will fail to find anything in Piper that is increasing their grasp of faith.

    Like

  55. Daniel Fuller: “I would say that Moses was justified by the work, or obedience, of faith….. There are many passages in Scripture in which good works are made the instrumental cause of justification.” (A Response on the Subjects of Works and Grace, Presbuterion: A Journal for the Eldership, Volume IX, Numbers 1-2, Spring-Fall 1983, 76

    https://dennyburk.wordpress.com/2004/12/03/review-of-daniel-p-fullers-gospel-law-contrast-or-continuum/

    Like

  56. Calvin (Inst. III.11.6): “This faith, however, you cannot apprehend without at the same time apprehending sanctification; for Christ “is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption,” (1 Cor. 1:30). Christ, therefore, justifies no man without also sanctifying him. These blessings are conjoined by a perpetual and inseparable tie. Those whom he enlightens by his wisdom he redeems; whom he redeems he justifies; whom he justifies he sanctifies. But as the question relates only to justification and sanctification, to them let us confine ourselves. Though we distinguish between them, they are both inseparably comprehended in Christ. Would ye then obtain justification in Christ? You must previously possess Christ. But you cannot possess him without being made a partaker of his sanctification: for Christ cannot be divided. Since the Lord, therefore, does not grant us the enjoyment of these blessings without bestowing himself, he bestows both at once but never the one without the other. Thus it appears how true it is that we are justified not without, and yet not by works, since in the participation of Christ, by which we are justified, is contained not less sanctification than justification.”

    Paul Helm: “Calvin makes plain that both justification (‘being reconciled to God through Christ’s blamelessness) and sanctification (the cultivation ‘of blamelessness and purity of life’) are two aspect of the one gift of Christ. (Inst. III.11.1) In his debate with Andreas Osiander he says that ‘as Christ cannot be torn into parts, so these two which we perceive in him together and conjointly are inseparable – namely, righteousness and sanctification’ (Inst. III.11.6) … This way of coupling justification and sanctification, as a double gift of the Saviour, is a stroke of genius, the genius of insight. In one bold move, grounded in the Pauline teaching of union with Christ in Romans 6, Ephesians 4, Philippians 3, and especially I Corinthians 1.30, Calvin sees that justification and sanctification are the one gift of the King, a gift with two aspects, a two-fold grace. Justification does not cause sanctification. Sanctification does not follow in time after justification. Justification is not sanctification. Sanctification is not justification. Each is given directly by the King. One is a status-matter, the other is a matter of subjective renewal. Yet they are inseparable gifts, two gifts wrapped together. In fact, one gift with two inseparable halves.”

    McGrath: “The two consequences of the believer’s incorporation into Christ are iustificatio and sanctificatio, which are distinct and inseparable. … Justification and sanctification are aspects of the believer’s new life in Christ, and just as one receives the whole Christ, and not part of him, through faith, so any separation of these two soteriological elements—which Calvin refers to as les deux principales grâces is inconceivable. … Calvin understands both justification and sanctification to be the chief beneficia Christi, bestowed simultaneously and inseparably upon believers as a consequence of their insitio in Christum. Sanctification is not the effect of justification; both justification and sanctification are effects of union with Christ.”

    Like

  57. D. G. Hart
    Posted September 24, 2015 at 6:10 am | Permalink
    vd, t, so you don’t have a response to your selective use of religion. Cool.

    Nice try, Butch, but you’re the one with no response to anything except personal attacks. You’re the one with a hole in your Bible, not me.

    Good works is far more than a hamster wheel, at least that’s what the book says. I don’t see how y’all are so convinced of your own salvation.

    41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

    44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

    45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

    46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

    Like

  58. Kevin,

    I tried to reply earlier to everything you said, but it didn’t go through it seems.

    When I took the Eucharist, I was a college student who had a higher view of Rome than I do today but still believed it was wrong on a great many things. The priest knew this, and told me I could partake anyway. This is a major issue, is it not? If I can’t trust the priest implicitly but have to measure him by my understanding of what Rome teaches, I don’t see how that is any less problematic than Protestants measuring the church against their understanding of what the Bible teaches.

    Like

  59. Robert
    Posted September 24, 2015 at 10:22 pm | Permalink
    Kevin,

    I tried to reply earlier to everything you said, but it didn’t go through it seems.

    When I took the Eucharist, I was a college student who had a higher view of Rome than I do today but still believed it was wrong on a great many things. The priest knew this, and told me I could partake anyway. This is a major issue, is it not? If I can’t trust the priest implicitly but have to measure him by my understanding of what Rome teaches, I don’t see how that is any less problematic than Protestants measuring the church against their understanding of what the Bible teaches.

    Maybe he gave you a shot. Maybe he thought you were sincere, and you’d let the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist change your life.

    Who’s the fool here, brother? The priest? Christ?

    Like

  60. Robert,

    Based on what you’ve said, the priest was in the wrong according to the standards he is bound to maintain. Imagine if a NAPARC congregation chose a priest as minister.

    That’s not an intrinsic fault of the RCC, though. His Bishop likely would (and clearly should) have told him to stop (I’d be interested to know what diocese and year this was). Certainly the Vatican doesn’t permit this, out of fairness to all concerned.

    The Eucharist brings grace, but we can resist it, or not be prepared to receive it. Had he heard your confession and received a profession of faith (both necessary), that’s a different story, although Confirmation is required by the RCC as well for adults.

    Potentially sensitive issues, of course, but that’s part of what the blog is about, no?

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s