We’re Supposed to Believe Evangelicals Care about Nicea?

While evangelical leaders and some of their critics debate the complexities of Trintarian theology (thanks, mind you, to prior considerations of the relations between the sexes – ahem), please keep in mind two points.

First, evangelical Protestants never — NEH VEH — cared about Nicea. If they knew about Nicea, they certainly didn’t know the Council of Constantinople of 381 (wasn’t that a Muslim city?). Just look at some evangelical statements on the Trinity:

God has revealed himself to be the living and true God, perfect in love and righteous in all his ways, one in essence, existing eternally in the three persons of the Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. (Fuller Seminary, flagship seminary of the neo-evangelical movement)

We believe that there is one God, eternally existent in three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. (National Association of Evangelicals)

By way of comparison:

In the unity of the Godhead there be three persons, of one substance, power, and eternity: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost: the Father is of none, neither begotten, nor proceeding; the Son is eternally begotten of the Father; the Holy Ghost eternally proceeding from the Father and the Son. (OPC Confession of Faith 2.3)

Our Churches, with common consent, do teach that the decree of the Council of Nicaea concerning the Unity of the Divine Essence and concerning the Three Persons, is true and to be believed without any doubting; that is to say, there is one Divine Essence which is called and which is God: eternal, without body, without parts, of infinite power, wisdom, and goodness, the Maker and Preserver of all things, visible and invisible; and yet there are three Persons, of the same essence and power, who also are coeternal, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. And the term “person” they use as the Fathers have used it, to signify, not a part or quality in another, but that which subsists of itself. (Augsburg Confession)

So when Carl Trueman writes:

In light of the last few weeks, the American conservative evangelical movement as a whole has been exposed as theologically thin in its doctrine and historically eccentric in its priorities. As the war of words dies down, the subsequent peace must bring with it ecumenical consequences. It cannot simply involve papering over the obvious cracks in order to return to gospel business as usual.

Does he really mean to say “the last few weeks”? What about the last century does he not appreciate?

The second point to consider is how parachurch this entire debate is. As Jake Meador observes, evangelicals don’t debate well:

And so we continue to go around the maddening how-evangelicals-debate cul de sac: Dr. Trueman has long complained that evangelicalism is driven more by cultural concerns, like complementarianism, and a celebrity pastor complex than by sincere concern with faithful preaching and ministry. In the way he makes these critiques, he has sometimes been excessively aggressive, thereby making it far less likely that people will hear his real concerns or weigh whether or not there is any truth in them at all. He is, instead, easily dismissed as a crank.

One reason is that the means for conducting debate are parachurch institutions, not church assemblies, committees, reports, and debates.

So while evangelicals debate the Trinity — THE TRINITY!! — Orthodox Presbyterians were discussing the doctrine of republication.

Evangelicals really should join a confessional church. The water is warm.

Advertisements

63 thoughts on “We’re Supposed to Believe Evangelicals Care about Nicea?

  1. “the Holy Ghost eternally proceeding from the Father and the Son. (OPC Confession of Faith 2.3)”
    ***Wait, where is that in Nicea-Constantinople (325/81)? I kid, I kid.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. “So while evangelicals debate the Trinity — THE TRINITY!!”

    Semper reformanda. Ad fontes! Nicaea is a tradition of men duh. Augsburg just didn’t shake it off.

    “Evangelicals really should join a confessional church.”

    So they can hear debates about things like FV, then ignore GA rulings that don’t meet their expectation? And you appeal to Augsburg, but reject that confession in many areas. So how should your plea be taken by the befuddled biblicists?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. CvD, a barely passable doctrine of the Trinity is only useful for eeeevangelicals so they have a way to brand JWs and Mormons “cultists.” Beyond that, meh. They’re like Callers that way–in the west there’s Catholics and then everybody else called Protestants, from the Penties to the mainliners to the theonomists. But there’s more to being Protestant than not being Catholic.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. The Trinity debate seemed like one huge mutual backslapping session by Evangelicals eager to show off to the world that Christians can really do scholarship: “Hey man, look at us, we’re doing REAL scholarship here. We’re not all Thomas Kinkade paintings, Veggie Tales, and Left Behind novels.”

    You can be sure that the Gospel Industrial Complex will be holding conferences on the Trinity. Get your tickets early. You don’t want to be Left Behind (pun intended.)

    Like

  5. As an eeee-guy, gotta luv Carl Trueman. His critiques in the Trinity debates, as usual, have been masterful and right on, including his commentary on the largely a-historical nature of evangelicalism.

    Too bad the solution is not to be found (necessarily) in a confessional church, where logo’s are deliberated upon, or where (imho) most of the rank/file pew-sitters haven’t a clue what their confession says, or why, or what the (good) foundation of it is.

    Maybe better if Carl and DGH could team up and do a movie about Nicea-Constantinople 381?

    Like

  6. Petros, you realize you speak like a committed bachelor about marriage–looks good sometimes, but consider the sillier moments and no way. Yes, we confessionalists have our foibles, but better to join and have some cred in your critiques than to stand around in the singles bars of Christianity har-haring.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Zrim, well, maybe to your ears I speak that way. But, there’s enough foolishness in both the confessionalist and eeee-world to go around, so I’m comfortable picking/choosing the best stuff from all cafeterias, all while committed (I’m not a bachelor) to a local faithful eeee-church.

    Like

  8. Petros, but eeeevangelical commitment to a local church doesn’t usually entail serious spiritual implications, i.e. to adhere is to foster salvation and to leave is to cast doubt on it: “The visible church, which is also catholic or universal under the gospel… consists of all those throughout the world that profess the true religion; and of their children: and is the kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ, the house and family of God, out of which there is no ordinary possibility of salvation.”

    “…I’m comfortable picking/choosing the best stuff from all cafeterias, all while committed (I’m not a bachelor) to a local faithful eeee-church” is the way the guy who co-habitats with his girlfriend talks about women. If my daughter’s boyfriend spoke that way, I’d seriously doubt his professed love for her. I’d be sure he felt something, but he’s a long way from adulthood.

    Like

  9. Btw, personally, I’m glad the Trinity debate surfaced in the last couple weeks. Until then, I’ll confess to not being aware that Grudem (a former prof of mine) and Ware held their particular eternal subordination views. But it also seems that they, and many others, have held those views for quite some time. Did it really take Grudem/Ware’s conflation of gender roles with the Trinity to prompt some Nicene-orthodox blowback on them? I’m just wondering why this didn’t get more of a public profile until just now. Anyone know?

    Like

  10. Zrim, your analogy about your daughter’s boyfriend is as apt as Grudem’s reasoning on gender roles and Trinitarian relations.

    Like

  11. Wow, all 428 hymns are of equal quality to the Psalms. Not a single one had any problem as far as the OPC ministers could determine. That’s going to go well for the denomination.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. If there were no more “evangelicals”, there could be still be “historians of evangelicalism”. But these historians could no longer do journalism about “present day evangelicals”. And it takes a lot of discipline to achieve indifference about “evangelicals”.

    Robert Reymond (pastor of an opc congregation when he died) —-The titles ‘Father’ and ‘Son’ must not be freighted respectively with the occidental ideas of source of being and essential superiority on the one hand and of subordination and dependency on the other. Rather, they should be viewed in the biblical sense as denoting, first, sameness of nature and, in Jesus’ case, equality with the Father with respect to his deity…and second, infinite reciprocal affection.” (Systematic Theology 324)

    One of Reymond’s clear intents is to assure the reader of the Son’s own unique self-divinity. Along these lines, Reymond thinks Nicene Fathers went too far in their clarification of different “distinguishing properties.”

    Reymond—“Regardless of their commendable intention to distance the church from Sabellianism by it, suggested the Son’s subordination to the Father not only in modes of operation but also in a kind of essential subordinationism in that he is not God of himself. And this became by and large the doctrine of the church and it went unchallenged for well over a thousand years” (326)

    Though Reymond will eventually affirm that there is no essential subordinationism, Reymond worries that the Nicene Creed leads theology in that direction. His next section though contains a laundry list of quotations about qualifications to this doctrine during the Reformation. Starting with John Calvin, Reymond claims that Calvin shifted the point of emphasis on what the Father “generated” for the Son,

    “What Calvin affirms here is that the Son with reference to himself is God of himself, but in relation to his Father, he derives his hypostatic identity from his relation to the Father…Calvin espoused the doctrine of the Son’s eternal generation as being true with respect to his hypostatic identity, that is, with respect to his Sonship.” (327)

    Reymond summarizes Hodge as, “Declaring that exception must be taken, not to the facts themselves of both the subordination of the Son and the Holy Spirit to the Father and the nature of the Son’s eternal generation, but to the Niecene Fathers’ explanations of them.” (329)

    Reymond quotes Hodge as saying “the fathers who framed [the Nicene] creed, and those by whom it was defended, did go beyond.. With this in hand, Reymond quotes B.B. Warfield reflecting on Calvin and the creedal tradition,

    “It has been found necessary…from time to time, vigorously to reassert the principle of equalization, over against a tendency unduly to emphasize the elements o fsubordinationism which still hold a place this in the traditional language in which the church states its doctrine of the Trinity.” (331; Warfield, “The Biblical Doctrine of the Trinity,” Works, II:170) Warfield–“Calvin was ready not only to subordinate, but even to sacrifice, if need be, the entire body of Nicene speculation” ( Warfield, “Calvin’s Doctrine of the Trinity,” Works, V:257).

    Reymond here quotes John Murray, “Calvin was too much of a student of Scripture to be content to follow the lines of what had been regarded as Nicene orthodoxy on this particular issue. He was too jealous for the implications of the homoousion clause…Hence the indictments leveled against him.” (335; Murray, “Systematc Theology,” Collected Writings, 4:8) In conclusion, Reymond sees in the Reformed tradition a concern that Nicene theology subverts the full expressed deity of Jesus Christ. Though not discarding the concept of “eternal generation,” he works with John Calvin to redefine the meaning in a way that affirms “no essential subordination of the Son to the Father within the Godhead” (335).

    http://torreygazette.com/blog/2016/6/15/robert-reymond-on-the-eternal-generation-of-the-so

    Like

  13. “One reason is that the means for conducting debate are parachurch institutions, not church assemblies, committees, reports, and debates.”

    weelll, thank the Lord for ‘parachurches’, and that some have the will to obey the Lord and act against prolonged, divisive, confessional doctrinal deviation contaminating the ‘airwaves’, which ‘church assembly’ and ‘denomination’ never did.

    Like

  14. James Young, at least our pastors won’t survive abusing children. I should send them to your priests and the bishops who cover for them?

    Your bluster is not only unbecoming. It’s astonishing.

    Like

  15. “Too bad the solution is not to be found (necessarily) in a confessional church, where logo’s are deliberated upon, or where (imho) most of the rank/file pew-sitters haven’t a clue what their confession says, or why, or what the (good) foundation of it is.”

    What basis do you have for concluding that “rank and file pew-sitters haven’t a clue what their confession says, or why, or what the (good) foundation of it is.”? In every PCA and ARP church I’ve been apart of reference to the confession/catechism was a typical part of the worship service. A big part of our children’s program (in our mid-sized southern PCA church) is memorization of the catechism (and scripture). The CRC church I attended in grad school worked through the Heidelberg catechism on Sunday nights. I find it very hard to believe that a pew-sitter would not have a clue about what our confession says. Perhaps the CRC, PCA, and ARP churches I’ve attended in VA, SC, TN, AZ, IN, and TX are all atypical? I find that pretty hard to believe, but perhaps you have evidence to the contrary? But then again, I’m just a pew-sitter.

    Like

  16. sdb, it’s because Pteros relies on the eeeevangelical chestnut about creedal Christians. But if ignorance of the pew is the point, he should watch for that rake to boomerang.

    Like

  17. the next time you are tempted to comment on “evangelicals”, try resistance by reading
    Wendell Berry http://home.btconnect.com/tipiglen/resist.html

    The committee, consisting of five of the OPC’s most learned ministers, labored for the past two years and produced a detailed report. The committee explains that the key section of the standards is Westminster Confession of Faith chapter 7. The Confession teaches thatthere is one covenant of grace that “was administered differently in the time of the law and in the time of the gospel” (WCF VII.5). There are not “two covenants of grace, differing in substance, but one and the same, under various dispensations” (WCF VII.6) Having completed work on this detailed theological report, the commissioners were encouraged by the arrival of the dinner break. The assembly regathered after the meal and sang “Jerusalem the Golden.”

    Like

  18. @SDB, very happy to hear about the erudite, well-catechized people in your churches.

    @Zrim, yeah, if pew ignorance is the topic, there’s no shortage of rakes everywhere, that’s for sure. I just can’t see a discernible diff on that score between confessional, and non-confessional, churches. But then, I’ve not been in any of SDB’s churches, either.

    Like

  19. Petros, but what you said was that most confessional members are ignorant of their church’s teaching. If there’s no discernible difference between confessional and eeeevangelical rank and file then the same is true over there (most are ignorant). I’m scratching my head over your initial point then. But your latter point is that there’s ignorance among laity in both groups? Seems obvious.

    But the more interesting point is in the difference between low church (eeeevangelical) and high church (confessional), where what drives the former tends to be more cultural than doctrinal. The only reason eeevangelicals (and those confesionalists influenced by them) care about a highly doctrinal question over the Trinity is that it says something about a cultural concern over sex. But if it helps, the high church curmudgeon lays blame at CVD’s feet:

    This is Van Til’s fault as he taught that everything is related to God the Holy Trinity. So, if the subjects are man and woman, male and female, headship and subordination, the right understanding is to be found by relating the subjects to the Trinity.

    But I ask, Couldn’t you leave the doctrine of the Trinity out of this discussion about the sexes? Couldn’t those who want to argue about the sexes exegete and debate the texts? The doctrine of the Trinity is not going to settle the disagreements about man and woman, leadership and submission.

    https://justacurmudgeon.blogspot.com/2016/06/blame-it-on-van-til.html

    Like

  20. Petros, that’s a fairly incredible statement. Even if you’re talking about e-free churches or conservative southern Baptists, the doctrinal ignorance in the evangelical world is light years worse than anything I’ve observed in PCA churches. Now, there’s a number of PCA churches listing evanjellyfish but the chasm from here to there is wide. The closest I’ve seen are the Redeemer plants who purposely diminish the confession in favor of inclusive or postmodern vocabulary, which is a set of problems all it’s own, but even then there seems to be a baseline of confessional or historical orthodoxy that I’ve never, and I mean never, seen in my travels in the broadly evangelical world. If your church is an exception then that’s exactly what it is, the exception to the rule.

    Like

  21. Zrim, kinda hard to discern the P&R alleged focus on doctrine, when you’re having vigorous denominational debates about adiaphora logo’s and cultural race relations.

    Like

  22. Petros, the way it’s hard to take a married couple seriously on their sober vows when they’re spatting over the toothpaste cap? Yeah, adults can behave silly sometimes but that’s not a good reason to remain adolescent.

    Like

  23. Meanwhile, Justin Taylor strains after the gnat of Terry Johnson while the Council of Constantinople threatens to explode the Gospel Coalition and its New Calvinist branches:

    What’s unfortunate here—besides the author apparently misrepresenting his brothers and sisters in Christ in public—is that he undermined his own integrity, distracting his readers from what might have been a legitimate critique. If he had simply bothered to quote the decision of the seminary, he would have served his readers and the seminary and himself well, and put his critique on firmer ground.

    It’s easier to see this problem in others, and harder to practice it ourselves. I know from my own experience that I am often eager to score points in a debate before demonstrating that I understand what is being said.

    When will Archbishops Keller, Piper, and Carson resolve evangelicalism’s current debate?

    Like

  24. “very happy to hear about the erudite, well-catechized people in your churches.”
    I’m not so sure I would call our kids erudite, but there is a lot of distance between being theologically erudite and “where (imho) most of the rank/file pew-sitters haven’t a clue what their confession says”. Indeed, I’m still curious which churches you have attended where you have engaged the average pew-sitters sufficiently to discern a “diff [in pew ignorance] between confessional, and non-confessional, churches.” I’m not saying you are lying – the confessional churches I have been part of have could be outliers or perhaps you just overstated your position. I’m just curious what your evidence is for this accusation.

    “kinda hard to discern the P&R alleged focus on doctrine, when you’re having vigorous denominational debates about adiaphora logo’s and cultural race relations.”
    This is a strange statement too. The fact that something is a “focus” does not entail that it is all-encompassing. Wouldn’t you have to know what else they spend their time on to know their focus. You might be able to determine the focus of various news organizations and blogs based on what they report about P&R organizations, but the fact such writers focus on logos and cultural debates does not imply that P&R organizations have that focus.

    Like

  25. @sdb, honestly, if your churches have a high degree of Biblical and confessional literacy, I’m all for it, and I hope it’s more normative than my anecdotal experience has been. I’m not claiming that ALL you guys do is focus on logo’s and cultural race relations, but as Zrim concedes and as DGH writes, it paints a silly picture at times, doesn’t it. Just like the eeee-world.

    Like

  26. A personal anecdote (which should surely be enough to silence the eeees): over a year ago, I visited a particular PCA church in SC (in fact, one that does not have a very high OL rating) and the college Sunday School class was critiquing Ware’s view of the Godhead. I think Ware and Grudem are the main guys who are under fire for being novel in this controversy. It’s almost like the church cared about the doctrine and not just about contributing the to latest hot issue.

    Like

  27. @Walton, I’m not easily impressed, but fair enough, I’m impressed. (Unless this was Columbia with a class full of seminarians).

    @DGH, you keep forgetting that to eeee-vangies, we prioritize the gospel, and TKNY is an effective communicator. Love him for that, and happy to wink at his baptismal practices and participation in logo debates.

    Like

  28. Peter, so like confessional Presbyterians and Reformed Protestants get the gospel wrong? Come on, admit it. You’re swayed by that urban feng shui and shaved head. So image conscious.

    That’s a shame.

    Like

  29. Petros, evangies prioritize gospelese–that’s different from the gospel. But if you’re so serious about it then repent and become a baptized and communicant member of the church already. Water’s still warm.

    Like

  30. Petros, “I don’t need no stinking piece of paper–we’re married in our hearts.” So you don’t believe in the holy catholic and apostolic church? Why not sync up your invisible and triumphant membership with the visible and militant one?

    Like

  31. @zrim
    That’s an interesting connection. I wonder how much of the anti-formalism and rejection of institutions generally in our culture is connected to the rise of independent churches in the ecclesiastical realm and the weakening of marriage more broadly.

    Like

  32. sdb, like I said to Petros above, it’s just an analogy. I’m not willing to do with ecclesial membership what some in the current Trinity brouhaha do and draw strained direct lines from theological outlook to general life–too worldviewish. I’be content to just say that anti-institutionalism afflicts everywhere.

    Like

  33. Petros, as long as you’re happy. But is the church where the gospel is or wherever two or more are gathered in his name? Those who prioritize the gospel should know.

    Like

  34. Petros says: @sdb, honestly, if your churches have a high degree of Biblical and confessional literacy, I’m all for it, and I hope it’s more normative than my anecdotal experience has been.
    sdb says: @zrim I wonder how much of the anti-formalism and rejection of institutions generally in our culture is connected to the rise of independent churches in the ecclesiastical realm and the weakening of marriage more broadly.

    I thought the point was that everyone shares in the trends and everyone ought share in the concern…
    bottom line, though US is ‘a Christian nation’ [ 70% identifying so], moral decay is increasing, commitment is declining [nones]; understanding is diminishing (only 35% of ‘Christians’ consider themselves born-again) ,etc.
    Having some head knowledge and ‘knowing about’ the gospel is different than knowing and receiving the gospel and Jesus (apparently)

    http://www.pewforum.org/2015/05/12/americas-changing-religious-landscape/
    “Between 2007 and 2014, the overall size of the U.S. adult population grew by about 18 million people, to nearly 245 million. But the share of adults who identify as Christians fell to just under 71%, or approximately 173 million Americans, a net decline of about 5 million.”

    “The number of religiously unaffiliated adults has increased by roughly 19 million since 2007,now second in size. Generational replacement is by no means the only reason that religious “nones” are growing and Christians are declining. In addition, people in older generations are increasingly disavowing association with organized religion. Nearly 23% of all U.S. adults now say they are religiously unaffiliated, up from about 16% in 2007. While most of the unaffiliated describe themselves as having “no particular religion, a growing share say they are atheists or agnostics.”

    “Another way to identify evangelicals is to ask people whether they consider themselves evangelical or born-again Christians. The Religious Landscape Study includes a question asking Christians: “Would you describe yourself as a born-again or evangelical Christian, or not?” In response to this question, half of Christians (35% of all U.S. adults) say yes, they do consider themselves born-again or evangelical Christians.”

    “Hindus, Muslims and Jews are the three religious traditions that retain the largest shares of the adherents raised within their group.”

    Like

  35. Zrim says: But is the church where the gospel is or wherever two or more are gathered in his name?

    Both?

    that satire blog is hilarious and clever and convicting Zrim, however sometimes I do say, weelll, Mr. babyonbee, there should be a few qualifications made, so as not to mislead too much

    … eg, in that case, Matt 18:19-20 has its specific important context and as well, don’t you think the Lord gives a very important principle; also the ‘two or three witness’ thing is significant to Him. I mean, are we going to call the Lord a liar?
    Also, the church is a body. A body does not have/cannot function with a single part (I think even a single cell creature would be said to have many parts?); therefore the body is not one member, but many. (1 Cor 12:14)

    Like

  36. Paul Helm–Those churches who recite the Nicene Creed in their liturgy, as the Church of England does in her communion service, cannot hope that history is a way of achieving further understanding. History tells us what happened and (more uncertainly) why. Perhaps the inclusion of the word ‘begotten’, said of the Son, was to match neo-Platonism. Interesting. But that does not help worshippers today. What is needed for understanding is meaning, in order to mitigate the puzzlement as the congregation recite the phrases, ‘begotten of the Father before all time’, ‘begotten not created’.

    http://paulhelmsdeep.blogspot.com/2016/07/what-are-creeds-and-confessions.html

    Like

  37. While the people on the Nicene side of things tell us that there are not three or two wills (some subordinate) in God the Trinity, many of them also tell us that, since we can’t know God’s will, we can and should also say that God wills the salvation of the non-elect

    Scott Clark—It is not that God has two wills, but that, given the archetypal/ectypal distinction, there is a distinction to be made in our understanding of his will….Because of this tension between God as he is in himself (in se) and as he is toward us (erga nos)…. http://rscottclark.org/2012/09/the-free-offer-of-the-gospel/

    mcmark–But there is no tension between God’s will as command and God’s will as what God has decreed and predestined. That’s merely a matter of definition and distinction. The contradiction comes when you begin to speak of a “common grace” alongside of a “saving grace” and when you insist that this “common grace” includes God’s will to save the non-elect

    Like

  38. @Zrim “I’m not willing to…draw strained direct lines from theological outlook to general life”.
    Yeah, that would be a mistake. I doubt a simple causal connection. But that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a connection (beyond analogy).

    Like

  39. Ali, so it turns out that a lot of those people that walked an aisle and made a profession turned out to be spurious in their profession. America may just turn out to be one big burnt over district. You’d have a hard time placing the blame for that at the feet of confessionalists. You might want to look at the religionists who wear their religion on their sleeve for the cause of the decline or never were, as it may be. Maybe the conversion narrative was an unhelpful course to take. Maybe it did more harm than good, in spite of the alleged intentions. Maybe American evangelicalism was never much more than a fad, and like all fads, they come and go.

    Like

  40. Dear sean,

    1)please reread above: “I thought the point was that everyone shares in the trends and everyone ought share in the concern…”; but sean says: ‘the conversion narrative was an unhelpful course to take” .You’re kidding, right?

    2) Application Question (for us all): Think of a recent relational conflict that you were a part of. How would humility on your part have affected the outcome? https://bible.org/seriespage/lesson-78-true-humility-romans-123

    3) Happy 4th holiday. Great time to remember how the Lord has blessed His people here with such freedom and favor and the gratitude to Him we should have always.
    [Russian news yesterday:..”the measure would stiffen punishments for acts deemed terrorism or “mass unrest” and for failing to report such crimes. “Justification” of acts deemed “extremism,” including online posts, could result in prison terms of up to seven years.”

    Have a good one.

    Like

  41. Ali, and how about the Christians who don’t live in America and are even persecuted to death? What should they be grateful for? America is a great place to live, I’m not sure it’s made me a more faithful Christian though.

    Like

  42. Ali, no, I’m sincere in my observation. Sealing the deal, walking an aisle, fomenting mob hysteria, tent revivals, playing ‘come as you are’ on the synthesizer-organ until only the sociopaths were unmoved, confusing patriotic zeal with religious zeal, may have all been a really bad idea as regards making disciples of Christ.

    Like

  43. mrbfree says: Ali, and how about the Christians who don’t live in America and are even persecuted to death? What should they be grateful for? America is a great place to live, I’m not sure it’s made me a more faithful Christian though.

    All Christians are grateful mrbfree. (easy for us to say here). Please read the Bibl or I mean creeds. Christian joy is not circumstance-dependent; they know, believe, trust that no faithfulness is in vain – as sorrowful yet always rejoicing, as poor yet making many rich, as having nothing yet possessing all things (2 Cor 6:10) – momentary, light affliction producing for them an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison. (2 Cor 4:17). We should pray for their (and all our) steadfastness, which the Lord will give.

    Yes, America is a great place to live because of God. We should thank Him. And, I agree, I always think- what a dilemma for the Lord- He knows He blesses, especially materially, we forget Him.

    mrbfree says: ” the Lord will hold each one accountable for his own scriptural doctrines” My hope is in Christ only. So unfortunately, I can’t agree with you here.

    that, and all that goes with it, is scriptural doctrine, mrbfree

    sean says: Ali, no, I’m sincere in my observation. Sealing the deal, walking an aisle, fomenting mob hysteria, tent revivals, playing ‘come as you are’ on the synthesizer-organ until only the sociopaths were unmoved, confusing patriotic zeal with religious zeal, may have all been a really bad idea as regards making disciples of Christ.

    And I’m serious sean”; humility would not have you exaggerate so much, point fingers exclusively out and not back at ya; and I am also serious that I hope you’re kidding about sean says: ‘the conversion narrative was an unhelpful course to take”. The ‘conversion narrative’ is our only hope.

    take care guys.

    Like

  44. Gospel Coalition sees no connection between Trinity and complementarianism.

    We believe in one God, eternally existing in three equally divine Persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, who know, love, and glorify one another. This one true and living God is infinitely perfect both in his love and in his holiness. He is the Creator of all things, visible and invisible, and is therefore worthy to receive all glory and adoration. Immortal and eternal, he perfectly and exhaustively knows the end from the beginning, sustains and sovereignly rules over all things, and providentially brings about his eternal good purposes to redeem a people for himself and restore his fallen creation, to the praise of his glorious grace.

    Regarding sex, the church should avoid both the secular society’s idolization of sex and traditional society’s fear of it. It is a community which so loves and cares practically for its members that biblical chastity makes sense. It teaches its members to conform their bodily being to the shape of the gospel—abstinence outside of heterosexual marriage and fidelity and joy within. Regarding the family, the church should affirm the goodness of marriage between a man and a woman, calling them to serve God by reflecting his covenant love in life–long loyalty, and by teaching his ways to their children. But it also affirms the goodness of serving Christ as singles, whether for a time or for a life. The church should surround all persons suffering from the fallenness of our human sexuality with a compassionate community and family. Regarding money, the church’s members should engage in radical economic sharing with one another—so “there are no needy among them” (Acts 4:34). Such sharing also promotes a radically generous commitment of time, money, relationships, and living space to social justice and the needs of the poor, the oppressed, the immigrant, and the economically and physically weak. Regarding power, it is visibly committed to power–sharing and relationship–building among races, classes, and generations that are alienated outside of the Body of Christ. The practical evidence of this is that our local churches increasingly welcome and embrace people of all races and cultures. Each church should seek to reflect the diversity of its local geographical community, both in the congregation at large and in its leadership.

    Like

  45. Most of the Reformed people in the current Trinity debate are careful never to talk about election. Perhaps they elected themselves to be “Reformed”.

    The Holy Spirit has no bearing on the nature of election. Nor does the Holy Spirit impute Christ’s righteousness to the elect Nor does the Holy Spirit justify sinners. There is an economic subordination of the Holy Spirit to Christ in the history of redemption. There is also a subordination of the Holy Spirit to Christ in the application of redemption to the elect sinner. The Holy Spirit does not impute righteousness to the sinner. The imputation of righteousness to sinners is not conditioned on the work of Spirit in the sinner. The Father’s effectual call is also the Father’s imputation of Christ’s righteousness to the sinner.

    The Holy Spirit does not give Christ, but Christ gives the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit does not baptize (not water) into Christ, but Christ baptized (not water) with the Spirit.

    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