Higher Christian Living

Once a person converts to follow Jesus, he or she confronts a number of options for living at a higher spiritual pitch. For Protestants the options run the gamut from the second helping of grace that comes with Holy Spirit baptism to the comprehensive alertness that w-w Protestants promote. Often overlooked in the devotional plans that take you from Christianity 1.0 to Genuine Christianity 2.0 is the contribution of converts to Roman Catholicism.

Mark Shea shows the way:

I was raised Nothing-in-Particular (with a cloudy pagan regard for “the spiritual” and a deep disdain of “organized religion”). Then, at the age of 20, I had a sort of classic “born again” experience after an encounter with the living God revealed in Jesus Christ. Looking around me, I found that the people who had introduced me to Jesus were the non-denominational Evangelicals and charismatics on my dorm floor at the University of Washington. Therefore, putting two and two together, I concluded that this was the Christian community God had given me and that it was my task to learn from them, love them, and receive the love of God through them.

So learn from them I did. I became a member of this community (which eventually coalesced into a small church in North Seattle) and I learned the basics of the Christian faith-trust, prayer, love, good works, fellowship, discipleship, Scripture study-in this place. I regard this time with them as my personal “Old Testament”: that period of preparation for the full reception of Christ which was to come when I became a Catholic.

I think the “Old Testament” metaphor for my time as an Evangelical is apt because I don’t believe for a moment that it was an accident God introduced me to his Son through Evangelicalism any more than I believe it an accident that the whole history of Israel was the preparation for the Advent of Christ. Again and again, I found that things in my own Evangelical background anticipated the teaching of the Catholic Church and the Christ who is fully revealed there just as the teaching of the Old Testament anticipated the Incarnation, Death and Resurrection of Christ. So I am deeply grateful for my time as an Evangelical and regard the good things God gave me through that Tradition as very properly Catholic.

No mention here of the sins involved in belonging to a church not in fellowship with the Bishop of Rome or the mortal sin of disobeying the magisterium. Shea was a Christian, had gone from darkness to light, and had found Christ among Protestants.

Why on earth would Rome have ever anathematized Protestants or their teaching?

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34 thoughts on “Higher Christian Living

  1. The Higher Life Movement, truly the tie that binds. It is found everywhere, in every theological tradition and on every corner can be found their beat cop, patrolling making sure others are keeping up to the standards. Some winsome (law light) some strict disciplinarians.

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  2. Well, there are some “Reformed” clergy that are so “high” above any controversy that they would consider any move from being Arminian to being Reformed a form of Galatianism. Ray Ortlund: “When Christians, whatever the label or badge or shibboleth, start pressuring you to come into line with their distinctive, you know something’s wrong. They want to enhance their own significance by your conformity to them: ‘See? We’re better. We’re superior. People are moving our way. They are becoming like us. We’re the buzz.’” https://121youth.wordpress.com/2010/08/25/what-it-means-to-be-truly-reformed-by-ray-ortlund/

    I wonder if one needs to have been “born Reformed” in order to make such arrogant judgments against “cage-stage” Calvinists. How could a person born “evangelical” or “baptist” ever become Reformed without falling into a “Galatianist” second blessing worldview? Some “Reformed” guys will gladly tell you that becoming Reformed was their way of becoming “catholic”. By this they mean to suggest that all baptists are still ignorant of the continuities of church history. And if a baptist should claim to being protesting or rejecting the sacramental past, the baptist will be accused of being sectarian.

    Because the “reformed and catholic” person knows what happens when you are smart enough to read enough of the right books. The trajectory in the right direction always leads a little closer back to Rome.

    Maybe the way to go is to have been pagan before one was converted to Reformed. But almost every convert it seems needs to unlearn being fundamentalist a little more and in that way learn to appreciate mother Rome.

    Carl Truman –“For Roman Catholics, the challenges of our cultural exile are different. Rome has somehow managed to maintain a level of social credibility.”

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  3. Mark, speaking of Trueman, once in a Nicotine Theological Journal article he was was quoted saying:

    “It wasn’t the confessional Presbyterians who told me the gospel; it wasn’t the confessional Lutherans who took the time to teach me the basics of the faith; it was the evangelicals. They cared enough to reach out to me and engage me…I owe everything, almost all my theology, and much of my Christian nurture to such people.”

    Going from unbelief to faith at the hands of the evangies, I might be tempted to join Trueman. But since it was the confessional Protestants who actually made the gospel clear and every other bit of theology that never was, I actually find his words argle-bargly. If he owes so much (all his theology and much of his Christian nurture!), why does he find himself among the confessionalists?

    But I suspect that a sentiment like this is more of a comment on stylistics, as in the evangies are go-getters and confessionalists not so much, which raises questions about the virtues of go-getterism: why is that superior?

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  4. But Zrim, isn’t Trueman’s point another way of saying that the church is more or less visible according to as whether the gospel is preached and the sacraments rightly administered? It might well be the case that the evangelical gospel is less well understood in Confession, but better preached on Sunday in any given church.

    Trueman’s experience mirrors my own, discipled by Dallas dispensationalists as an undergrad to whom I owe a deep appreciation for the primacy of Scripture in faith and practice AND an abiding love of exegesis. Becoming Reformed was just another step along that path, as I asked myself the question whether the Scripture was structured as distinct dispensations OR one overarching story of redemption.

    I’ve often said that I became Reformed because of what I learned amongst the dispies.

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  5. I’m fairly convinced the American evangies have done more harm than good. Vat II RC was dying under it’s own weight. It would have been a smoother transition with less baggage to have gone from nominal RC to confessional reformed. I’m still unlearning evangelical piety. The prayer closet, quiet times and pre-trib, conspiracy rapture scenarios are no worthwhile pit stops along the way. You can have em.

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  6. Zrim, Jeff and Mark,

    The interesting thing about Carl Trueman’s perspective is that while one can appreciate his experience and sentiment the reality is that for every 1 person brought to the Lord Jesus Christ in that setting there are 50-100 or certainly many many others who are won to a false Christ and a different gospel.

    http://www.amazon.com/dp/0851517838/?tag=googhydr-20&hvadid=68688324396&hvpos=1t1&hvexid=&hvnetw=g&hvrand=14568763605906969945&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=b&hvdev=t&ref=pd_sl_3ldsotsr9_b

    I was one of the others (50-100) who despite being around some legit evangelical oracles of grace, was a false conversion, dead in my sins and trespasses. “What we win them with we win them too.”

    Trueman’s experience gets traction amongst the populist, nobody wants to hear the other side of the coin. It’s good I suppose to believe in things like Santa Clause, and once in awhile his experience changes hearts. Meanwhile the rest of us live in the real world.

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  7. E Burns, I also was a professing 5 point “evangelical Calvinist”, sincere but deceived. dead in my sins. That’s why I reject the suggestion by Ortlund that becoming “Reformed” is only having a “faction” or being “Galatianist”.

    If becoming “confessionalist” is nothing but being proud of how smart you are, or how many books you read, then it is not a “second blessing” but a very sectarian trajectory. If you learned the gospel from ‘evangelicals”, why not be “catholic” enough to stay “evangelical”.

    I am not and have never been “evangelical”. But I do believe that God’s effectual calling CONVERTS sinners by the power of the truth of the gospel. Unless “Reformed” folks are playing a “shell-game’ with lost people, why put the “Reformed stuff” into the fine print (Sproul videos in an elective sunday school class)? if we are ourselves comforted by the truth that “died for sinners” really means ‘died for some sinners, died for elect sinners, died for those sinners who believe the gospel”, and the comfort is not in the idea that some are non-elect but in the fact that this means that Christ’s death really accomplishes something, that Christ’s death is the reason that they will believe, if we are truly comforted by this, why leave it out of the gospel? The effect of leaving “the Reformed stuff” out of the “catholic gospel” means that people will simply go on saying, so what? Sure, Jesus died for everybody, and everybody in america knows that, and I don’t deny it, but what does it matter unless I am a good person and go to church?

    Acts 2:39 For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.” As many as God calls are elect. As many of our children as God calls are elect. As many of all who are far off as God calls are elect. Not more, not less. The call of Acts 2:39 is not the external command to all sinners to believe the truth of the gospel, but the effectual call which God the Father by the Holy Spirit with the gospel brings to the elect for whom Christ died. This promise about election and effectual calling is something Peter preaches to everybody in the first “sermon” in the book of Acts.

    http://blog.perspectivesjournal.org/2016/01/30/evangelical-a-busted-brand/

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  8. “For who makes thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?” (1 Corinthians 4:7)

    Did you ever notice how condescending people like.Ortlund are to the “non-Reformed”? Instead of getting into the question of what the gospel is, he pushes past all that in a way that suggests “well, some people just don’t get it and that’s ok with me.” Since he has assumed that any controversy (other than his own thesis) is not about the gospel, he can’t be bothered to get into the details of his more sophistical, less fundamentalist, more catholic experience.

    “People who disagree with me are not only wrong but people who “need other people to be wrong” BUT when I myself judge other people to be” Galatianists” and disagree with them, this is NOT because I need them to be wrong. Nor do I criticize others as Galatianists because I am looking for someone to judge. I don’t do that. I don’t ever need other people to be wrong, so that’s why I can say they are wrong. I don’t ever look for other people to judge, which is why I can so freely accuse other people of being Galatianists”.

    “Now when other people compare themselves to other people, and call them sectarian Galatianism, that’s nothing but a projection of their own self-hatred onto other people, but when I do it, it’s NOT a transfer of MY self-hatred.”

    Mark Mcculley—I hope you see that I am being sarcastic about not only Ortlund but also about all patrionizing “Reformed” folks who compare themselves favorably to “cage-stage Calvinists” or others who have “second blessing experiences”

    II Corinthians 10: 12 “Not that we dare to classify or compare ourselves with some of those who are commending themselves. But when they measure themselves by one another and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding.”

    https://oldlife.org/2010/07/moderation-coalition/

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  9. DG: Why on earth would Rome have ever anathematized Protestants or their teaching?
    Burns: “What we win them with we win them too.”
    Shea: that period of preparation for the full reception of Christ which was to come when I became a Catholic.

    DG: Once a person converts to follow Jesus, he or she confronts a number of options for living at a higher spiritual pitch.

    you mean the option of either by the truth that it is by the work of Christ alone or the falsehood that it is by some work of man?

    1 Corinthians 1:12 Now I mean this, that each one of you is saying, “I am of Paul,” and “I of Apollos,” and “I of Cephas,” and “I of Christ.” 13 Has Christ been divided? Paul was not crucified for you, was he? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?
    1 Corinthians 3: 4 For when one says, “I am of Paul,” and another, “I am of Apollos,” are you not mere men? 5 What then is Apollos? And what is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, even as the Lord gave opportunity to each one. 6 I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth. 7 So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth. 8 Now he who plants and he who waters are one; but each will receive his own reward according to his own labor. 9 For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building.10 According to the grace of God which was given to me, like a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building on it. But each man must be careful how he builds on it. 11 For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 13 each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work. 14 If any man’s work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward. 15 If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.16 Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? 17 If any man destroys the temple of God, God will destroy him, for the temple of God is holy, and that is what you are.18 Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you thinks that he is wise in this age, he must become foolish, so that he may become wise. 19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness before God. For it is written, “He is THE ONE WHO CATCHES THE WISE IN THEIR CRAFTINESS”; 20 and again, “THE LORD KNOWS THE REASONINGS of the wise, THAT THEY ARE USELESS.” 21 So then let no one boast in men. For all things belong to you, 22 whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or things present or things to come; all things belong to you, 23 and you belong to Christ; and Christ belongs to God.

    thinking the Lord seems pretty serious about His temple….
    v17 If any man destroys the temple of God, God will destroy him, for the temple of God is holy, and that is what you are.

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  10. I think this hits onto a good point about what maturation looks like within evangelicalism (by which I mean conservative Protestantism, including things like the OPC and the LCMS).

    Shea’s experience is somewhat similar to my own. I started out in a kind of Rockefeller Republican mainline Protestantism. It provided a solid enough upbringing, at least from a cultural perspective. But it was never much more than a religious enshrining of upper-middle-class values. Sure, on paper, we held to certain orthodox affirmations of Protestantism, but no one knew what these really meant or even seemed to care. Moreover, those who seemed to care were those with some kind of left-wing political axe to grind. So, if you were basically conservative (as I was and still am), you didn’t try to go too far beyond a cocktail-party kind of Christianity.

    I wanted to go deeper, and came across these unknown flavor of Presbyterians who were conservative. I actually stumbled into a PCA church by accident, not even knowing that there was anything Presbyterian besides the PC(USA). Initially, it satisfied me. Finally, I had found a place where I could delve deeper into the Christian faith without surrounding myself with leftists, Marxists, radical feminists, and the like. But that too proved to be an unsatisfying venture, as there were too many questions that were off the table. In my experience, evangelicals were so obsessed with defending against some alleged liberal plot to bring them down that they refrain from asking difficult questions. Instead, the mark maturity by the degree to which one adheres to a rigid program. The nature of that rigid program varies from one corner of evangelicalism to another. But every corner of evangelicalism has it. There are very few places within evangelicalism where one can have serious discourse around hard questions without having to defend oneself from accusations of heresy. There is within evangelicalism a certain obsession with having epistemically certainty that is patently unhealthy. In many ways, it just mirrors the kind of left-wing closed-mindedness that I saw within mainline academic circles.

    This is illustrated well at Wheaton College. Last week, Julie Roys, a Wheaton alumnus who makes her living doing advocacy “journalism” for right-wing Culture Warrior types, wrote a piece where she suggested that Wheaton should subject its faculty members to “worldview” reeducation. Roys played a visible role in the recent ouster of both Larycia Hawkins and Julie Rodgers from Wheaton. So, she’s probably feeling emboldened now. Her message was clear: Wheaton faculty should line up behind the political and theological “worldview” of the Religious Right, or face further scrutiny from “journalists” like her, or from clowns like Eric Teetsel, Rubio’s coordinator for evangelical outreach. This is an all-too-common feature of life within evangelical institutions. I understand why some may disagree with Pete Enns. I disagree with him in many respects. But Westminster is a much less credible institution with him absent. Evangelicalism has so many prophylactic fences that it’s difficult to have a serious discussion around controversial topics. And that’s not a good thing for the growth and health of the movement. Evangelicalism has simply become the mirror image of what it fought against.

    I know a number of evangelicals who have converted to Catholicism. If they’re being honest, few of them did it because they were attracted by Catholicism. Rather, they did it because they were repelled by Protestantism. There is very little space within Protestantism to do conservative-leaning scholarship. There are a few interstices within the mainline where one can still function as a conservative (e.g., Princeton, Yale, Duke), but the welcome mat could be withdrawn at any moment. But aside from Baylor, there’s nothing on the conservative side. Instead, academics in conservative Protestant institutions are expected to line up with right-wing political ideologies or stay silent. Otherwise, people like Julie Roys will pull out their dog whistles and start blowing. In an ironic sense, being a conservative academic at a conservative institution is actually more treacherous than being a conservative academic at a liberal institution. At least the liberal institution believes in academic freedom, and will stand up to the folks who have nothing better to do in life than blow dog whistles. So, people turn to Rome as a safe haven. Yes, Rome is far from perfect. But it offers a welcoming place for those of us who are conservative-leaning, but who are interested in having robust dialogue on issues of faith and life. Or at least it offers arms that are more welcoming than what either mainline Protestantism or conservative Protestantism can offer.

    That said, many non-academic types who have a center-right disposition will not want to bother with the hassle of joining the RCC. I live and work in a culture that is largely center-right. Most people in that world conduct themselves in a socially conservative way, although they would probably not identify as “social conservatives.” Many of them hold to orthodox Christian beliefs, but not in a rigid way. But most of them today are just walking away from church. They feel like they have to make a Faustian choice between two kinds of unhealthy rigidity. So, they opt out altogether. They connected with the Redeemer movement for a while, but are frustrated with Keller’s refusal to break ranks with rigid ideologues like John Piper and Don Carson. Thus, many of the Redeemer churches, including the mother church, are struggling to see the kind of growth they once experienced. Some may move toward Rome. But most will just stop attending church.

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  11. Jeff, I didn’t pick up anything about sacraments from Trueman’s quote so I’m not quite sure what you mean.

    But I lean Sean-ward on the evangies. I see bankruptcy among them, which calls for more Luther than Erasmus.

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  12. If becoming “confessionalist” is nothing but being proud of how smart you are, or how many books you read, then it is not a “second blessing” but a very sectarian trajectory. If you learned the gospel from ‘evangelicals”, why not be “catholic” enough to stay “evangelical”.

    Mark, what if you learn the gospel from the confessionalists? Then you tolerate the intellectualist sub-culture and bid the eeeevangelicals off the saw dust trail and embrace the gospel. The look on their face alone is worth it.

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  13. Evan773 since you have been so ‘dissatisifed’ along the way and also you seem big on ‘maturity’, I hope you have found it is not ‘all about me’ and that we are each placed in the body also to serve and edify others where we are; that we know only Jesus truly and fully satisfies and we look to Him; and that since the Lord promises to give us shepherds after His own heart, who will feed us on knowledge and understanding, we ever pray to that end.

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  14. Ali, what if your higher pitched Christian living includes giving up Old Life? Some regulars here think of OL as the Calvinist equivalent of porn. Maybe you should read Challies only.

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  15. Bobby, how is WTS more credible with Enns? When an institution talks out of both sides of its mouth, isn’t that like the PCUSA?

    Sure Rome welcomes center-right folks. But it also welcomes Hindus and Buddhists. It’s a big mat and not much discernment. It’s like — wait for it — the PCUSA.

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  16. Darryl,

    Just because non-Catholic Christians (yes I know, redundant for most of your readers), can find Christ within Protestant communities, that does not entail those communities are not in doctrinal error, nor should that dissuade motivation to move to Rome, as Mystici Corporis Christi stated, “those who do not belong to the visible Body of the Catholic Church … have a certain relationship with the Mystical Body of the Redeemer, they still remain deprived of those many heavenly gifts and helps which can only be enjoyed in the Catholic Church.” That’s part of that whole “fullness of faith” thing, as Dominus Iesus stated, “the Second Vatican Council sought to harmonize two doctrinal statements: on the one hand, that the Church of Christ, despite the divisions which exist among Christians, continues to exist fully only in the Catholic Church, and on the other hand, that “outside of her structure, many elements can be found of sanctification and truth”, that is, in those Churches and ecclesial communities which are not yet in full communion with the Catholic Church. But with respect to these, it needs to be stated that “they derive their efficacy from the very fullness of grace and truth entrusted to the Catholic Church””.

    If Arminians can find Christ outside of Calvinist churches, why on earth would Dordt have ever condemned their errors or why on earth would Reformed authors and teachers past and present seek to convert Arminians to Calvinism?

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  17. James Young, that’s exactly what Trent was trying to do, the whole “lack of faith” thing.

    What you call full, I call equivocation. But you have to hand it to Francis, he has run the fullness all the way to believers who don’t profess Christ.

    Way to go!

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  18. Clete,

    If Arminians can find Christ outside of Calvinist churches, why on earth would Dordt have ever condemned their errors or why on earth would Reformed authors and teachers past and present seek to convert Arminians to Calvinism?

    The difference, of course, is that I don’t know of a Calvinist church today, except maybe some hyperCalvinist bodies, that say the Methodists aren’t a true church or that any truth in Methodist circles derives from some connection to another church that they don’t even know that they have.

    If you can find Christ in a Protestant church, then a Protestant church is a true church, and Rome needs to come out and say it was wrong. Good luck with that.

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  19. Robert,

    That’s not the difference. Darryl’s point was why condemn Protestant teachings as in error if Christ can be found within their communities and why should someone convert to Rome if they found Christ in those communities. So by that logic, why did Dordt (and subsequent generations of Reformed writers and teachers to the present) condemn Arminian teachings as in error if Christ can be found within their communities and why should an Arminian convert to a Calvinist church if they found Christ there?

    “If you can find Christ in a Protestant church, then a Protestant church is a true church”

    So Rome is a true church. Since you’ve already said before that Christ can be found in her by her members despite her errors.

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  20. Zrim— What if you learn the gospel from the confessionalists? Then you tolerate the intellectualist sub-culture and bid the eeeevangelicals off the saw dust trail and embrace the gospel. ”

    mcmark–Amen to all that. As I testified, I never had any bridges to burn with evangelicals. And I flushed the Arminian fundamentalism of my youth down the dung-hole, not because I got smarter or read more books or got more precise or more catholic or more “Reformed”. I turned around from my trajectory through tolerance for Arminianism to universalism because repentance from the false gospel was simply the flip side of learrning to fear God so that I submitted to the righteousness of Christ’s death as the only (and complete) satisfaction of God’s law.

    And though I liked the “intellectualist subcutlure” of the Reformed, I learned to hate the distinction they had between “the five points” and the gospel. The problem was not that they said the five points were not enough (sacraments, one covenant with dministrtations) but that they didn’t talk that much about the five points, and when they talked about them, first they apologized and agreed that they were not needed to have gospel.

    http://thechristiancurmudgeonmo.blogspot.com/2011/07/kinder-gentler-calvinism.html

    In the year 2000, I confessed myself to be lost and under God’s wrath. I took sides with God against myself, and repented of thinking I had been a Christian. I called all my works “dead works” done by a dead worker. Instead of seeing it as difficult to understand and accept doctrine, I came to rejoice in the good news of Christ’s death as a propitiation which was only for the elect. I learned that God had only imputed the sins of the elect to Christ.

    What could be good new about Christ’s death being only for the elect? The good news was that Christ’s death (and resurrection) saved the elect. God taught me to fear God. Unless I was going to continue substituting possible interpretations (evangelical options) of the Bible in the place of what was clear (repressing the truth, holding it down, Romans 1), I could no longer believe that God would save everybody. (My “evangelical universalist” experience is most certainly not something we need to talk about.)

    Even though the death of Christ was only for the elect, what was good news was that the death of Christ really did take away the sins of the elect (both guilt and punishment). Does this mean that elect people don’t sin? No. It means that their sins are paid for in advance. I realize that this is not good news for most people who describe themselves as “Christian”. They want a religion that really makes people better than they otherwise would be. The good news for me was that my salvation was not conditional on my becoming “more moral” in this age.

    “There are some who, when they find out that the bus is going the wrong direction, walk toward the higher end of the bus.”

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  21. Seems like a run-of-the-mill Romans 7 vs. Romans 8 distinction going on in this thread. Certainly, Romans 7 shows how utterly condemned and incapable we are without Christ’s redeeming work. But the evangelical tendency also seems to be all about “moving to the next step of holiness” or “victorious living,” whereas what it (Romans 8) is really about is “assurance” for the believer. I think MM nailed it with his humble recounting of his own personal experience.

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  22. “In an ironic sense, being a conservative academic at a conservative institution is actually more treacherous than being a conservative academic at a liberal institution.”

    Maybe at a very conservative seminary, but on the undergrad level, no way. And why wouldn’t seminaries of all places expect their faculty to closely toe the line, since their job is passing on the particulars of the faith based on their confessional loyalties? As for Rome being a safe place for conservatives, tell that to people who can’t find or lose jobs at Catholic institutions because of basic but unpopular conservative positions like objecting to homosexuality or disputing the idea we are all children of God.

    As for “most will just stop attending church,” this holds true for Catholics as well as Evangelicals. What and tares, same everywhere.

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  23. Clete,

    Because Reformed thought is more consistently biblical than Arminianism. Rome wasn’t saying at Trent that Rome is more consistently biblical/Apostolic. It was saying that Luther et al were flat out wrong and if you believe in JBFA you are anathema. And if you are anathema, you’re going to hell, at least as far as the church can tell.

    You can try and sugar coat this, but you don’t anathematize someone who has Christ but maybe not in the best or most biblically accurate way. I don’t recall where Reformed people today are anathematizing all Arminians. Meanwhile, Trent still anathematizes ME.

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  24. Robert,

    So Arminians are in error and should convert to Calvinism, even if they find Christ in Arminian churches. Yup.

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  25. Evan: At least the liberal institution believes in academic freedom, and will stand up to the folks who have nothing better to do in life than blow dog whistles.

    Really? Why are there more theological liberals at Baylor or Wheaton than there are theological conservatives at Princeton Seminary or Union?

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  26. “Really? Why are there more theological liberals at Baylor or Wheaton than there are theological conservatives at Princeton Seminary or Union?”
    Mostly this is because of the imbalance between theological and political cons versus libs. Why the imbalance? Fosse, Gross, et al. argue (compellingly to my mind) thay this is driven by self selection (high school kids percieve the academy as unfriendly and find plenty of confirmation at university) thus they select out of grad school. Socialization also matters at the margin… Finally there is pretty good evidence of out and out discrimination, though outside of some social science subfields, this is not sufficient to account for all of the disparity (anecdotes do send confirmation to cons that they aren’t welcome…exacerbating the self selection effect). The Higher level of productivity among conservative lawy profs is consistent with a story that cons are discriminated against at the margin thus high achievers are selected and over represented.

    The suggestion that academic freedom really exists is living in a fantasy world. The reality is that your research program is carried along by the nose by grant agencies and industry. Given the rise of post-tenure review processes at public universities most faculty do not feel free to rock the boat and take true intellectual risks.

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  27. James Young, because a Methodist becoming a Presbyterian is not conversion. But a heretic who becomes a (separated) brother — wait for it — is a miracle that only popes and bishops can perform. They’ll all be saints (except for the sex scandal).

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  28. Jeff,

    I’m not aware of any theological liberals at Wheaton. Of those I know at Baylor, all are conservatives. Yale, Princeton, and Duke all have a number of conservatives. Miroslav Volf, Bruce McCormick, and Stanley Haurwas come to mind.

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  29. Evan,

    While you were mainly referencing the academic world I think your comments here are also very good, valid and applicable to the general Sunday Day school movement and the Higher life movement found there as well. One could argue that where the Higher Life movement was born and where it flourishes is indeed in Sunday School.

    “Instead, the mark maturity by the degree to which one adheres to a rigid program. The nature of that rigid program varies from one corner of evangelicalism to another. But every corner of evangelicalism has it. There are very few places within evangelicalism where one can have serious discourse around hard questions without having to defend oneself from accusations of heresy. There is within evangelicalism a certain obsession with having epistemically certainty that is patently unhealthy.”””

    Again, very applicable to many a Sunday school movements where one after being blessed by the ordinary means worship service is then subjected to this Neonmian ethos…….”you are not doing enough in our rigid program we have on tap for you”….. Leader> “Do xyz and then and only then will you be on sanctifications path.” All good as long as Biblically prescribed, but funny how sanctifications path is often said leaders hobby horse hot button, etc This is so sadly common in not just evangelical, but also Reformed churches.

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