Packer waters down righteousness by faith only

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Packer waters down righteousness by faith only

Berichtdoor Bert Mulder » 05 Jun 2009, 21:39

This is a (ralatively) old issue, but since someone asked me about it, I will post this article here, obtained from the Standard Bearer.

http://www.prca.org/standard_bearer/vol ... #Editorial

I have emphasized the quotations from Packer that prove the point.

A Defense of the Gospel of Grace Against ECT (5)

The fatal compromise of the gospel of grace by Evangelicals and Catholics Together (ECT) is easily demonstrated. For their cooperation in the culture wars, their working together in evangelism, and their realizing of the unity of Christ's church, ECT needs agreement of evangelicals and Roman Catholics in the faith. Therefore "Evangelicals & Catholics Together: The Christian Mission in the Third Millennium," the document that first identified ECT to the world and described its mission, confesses the oneness of evangelicals and Roman Catholics in the Christian faith itself. The last line of the opening section, "Introduction," reads: "The mission that we embrace together is the necessary consequence of the faith that we affirm together."

Both the evangelicals and the Roman Catholics who are involved in ECT know that the importance of justification for the faith, or gospel, is such that there must be agreement between evangelicals and Roman Catholics on justification. Accordingly, the section that immediately follows, after a short paragraph stating agreement on the Lordship of Jesus, declares that evangelicals and Roman Catholics are one in their belief of justification: "We affirm together that we are justified by grace through faith because of Christ."

These few words are church- and world-shaking.

If the declaration is correct, the 16th century Reformation of the church was a mistake, indeed, the most gigantic mistake made in at least the last 1,000 years of church history. But it was far worse than a huge blunder. It was gross sin: the ripping apart of the blessed body of Christ, just as Rome has always charged.

To a man, the Reformers insisted that the Reformation was not about abuses, whether of immorality on the part of the clergy or of tyranny on the part of popes. Such was the Reformers' regard for the unity of the church that they freely acknowledged that the Reformation could not be justified on the basis of correcting abuses and improving morals. The Reformation, they maintained, was about the gospel, particularly the doctrine of justification-heart of the gospel.

The Reformation was schism!

For, "we affirm together that we are justified by grace through faith because of Christ."

The entire history of Protestantism in general since the Reformation, as of every Protestant church in particular, has been vain, an exercise in futility. All the development of distinctive Protestant theology, all the work, all the struggle, all the sacrifice, all the suffering, all the martyrdom has been for nothing. Write "VANITY!" by all means in capital letters, at the beginning and the end of the church-history book of Protestantism.

For, "we affirm together that we are justified by grace through faith because of Christ."

It is now the solemn duty of all evangelical churches to confess to God and the pope the sin of their separation from Rome and to seek admission into the Roman Catholic Church. They must do so at once. The sin of schism is grievous. It is damning. Evangelicals must not continue in it for a moment. Let all evangelical churches in all the world hold a special synod, or general assembly, or conference as soon as possible. Let them authorize a delegation of leaders, including Billy Graham, Charles Colson, and James I. Packer, to present their confession and supplication to the Vicar of Christ in Rome.

And then, we all troop back. Back to a gospel of Christ and Mary, of grace and free will, of faith and works. Back to uncertainty about final salvation. Back to certainty of hellish agonies at death in purgatory. Back to participation in the sacrificing of Jesus Christ again every day. Back to the worship of a piece of bread. Back to the confessional and its satisfactions. Back to the authority of church and tradition above that of Holy Scripture. Back to an ungracious god of salvation by works of the law.

With our little ones.

For, "we affirm together that we are justified by grace through faith because of Christ."

Only one factor would mitigate somewhat these necessary implications for Protestant churches of ECT's affirmation of evangelical and Roman Catholic oneness in the gospel-truth of justification. This would be that Rome has changed its doctrine of justification since the time and formulations of the Council of Trent.

I challenge ECT to "affirm together" that the Roman Catholic Church has changed her doctrine of justification since Trent.

In fact, ECT's affirmation of the fundamental oneness of present-day evangelicals and Roman Catholics as regards justification is merely that: a description of the agreement of present-day evangelicals and Rome. It does not describe any agreement between the Roman Catholic doctrine of justification and the Reformation's doctrine of justification. ECT's affirmation is evangelical compromise of the Reformation's doctrine of justification.

What is missing from ECT's affirmation?

Only the word that makes all the difference between the truth of the Reformation and the false doctrine of Rome!

Only the word that makes all the difference between the one, only, true gospel of grace and the false gospel of salvation by man's will, works, and worth!

Only the word "only"!

ECT's affirmation, grounding the whole enterprise in the gospel, says, "… we are justified by grace through faith because of Christ."

The confession of the Reformation was, and is: "We are justified by grace only through faith only because of Christ only." This positive confession necessarily included, and includes, the negative, "We reject as false doctrine the teaching that justification is by grace and merit through faith and works because of Christ and the sinner himself."

ECT's affirmation is a compromise, not by Rome but by the evangelicals. As a compromise, it approves the Roman Catholic heresy. The effect is the repudiation of the Reformation doctrine of justification.

James I. Packer, leading evangelical in ECT, openly admits that the statement on justification is deliberate compromise. In his contribution to the book that defends the original ECT document, Packer writes:


Neither evangelicals nor Roman Catholics can stipulate that things they believe, which the other side does not believe, be made foundational to partnership at this point; so ECT lets go Protestant precision on the doctrine of justification … ("Crosscurrents among Evangelicals," in Evangelicals & Catholics Together: Toward a Common Mission, ed. Charles Colson and Richard John Neuhaus, Word, 1995, p. 167; emphasis added; hereafter, TCM).

This is bad enough. Sacrificing "Protestant precision" on justification is the same as sacrificing Athanasian precision on the Trinity, or Chalcedonian precision on the person and natures of Christ, or Dordtian precision on total depravity. It is to let go the gospel, Christ, and God.

But Packer, leading representative of the evangelicals, goes further. He denies the fundamental importance of the doctrine of justification by faith alone as the heart of the gospel of grace. He confronts the criticism that points out that the doctrine of justification by faith alone and the doctrine of justification by faith and works "express two different gospels, one of which is not a true gospel." Packer responds that "evangelicalism seeks to lead people into salvation, and what brings them salvation is not any theory about faith and justification, but trusting Jesus himself as Lord, Master, and divine Savior" (TCM, p. 168).

Of course, it is true that "what brings … salvation is … trusting Jesus himself as Lord, Master, and divine Savior," except that Packer should say, "trusting Jesus himself only." Exactly this is the importance, indeed the necessity, of, not a certain "theory" about faith and justification, but God's own truth about faith and justification.

Proclamation of the gospel-truth that sinners are justified by grace only through faith only because of Christ only is the means by which the Holy Spirit causes elect men and women to trust in Jesus Christ only and thus receive salvation.

On the other hand, proclamation of the lie that sinners are justified by grace and merit through faith and works because of Christ and the sinner himself causes sinners to trust in Jesus and man, whether Mary, some saint, or oneself. All those who trust in someone or something in addition to Jesus Christ will be eternally damned.

As we desire men's salvation, we will uncompromisingly confess and contend for the pure truth of justification by faith alone. As we desire men's salvation, we will uncompromisingly condemn and curse the false doctrine of justification by faith and works.

Packer is defending ECT by advocating doctrinal indifference (at which one who has read his introduction to his and Johnston's translation of Luther's The Bondage of the Will is astonished). This doctrinal indifference characterizes the other evangelicals in ECT as well. Charles Colson expressed it in his book on the church, which was influential in creating ECT. Commenting on the fact that cooperation in opposing abortion has got Roman Catholic priests and Protestant lay people jailed together, Colson wrote: "Many have been arrested, but I doubt that they've sat around in those bleak jail cells debating the Council of Trent" (The Body, Word, 1992, p. 107).

To which the response might be, "Would these Protestants in bleak jails debate with Jewish anti-abortionists the council of the Sanhedrin that condemned Jesus?" ECT is evangelical compromise with the Roman heresy on justification.

Thus ECT fatally compromises the Reformation and biblical gospel of grace.

It is a commentary on our age that the question must yet be answered, "Does it matter? Is it serious? Is it intolerable?"

(to be concluded)
Mijn enige troost is, dat ik niet mijn, maar Jezus Christus eigen ben, Die voor mijn zonden betaald heeft, en zo bewaart, dat alles tot mijn zaligheid dienen moet; waarom Hij mij ook door Zijn Heilige Geest van eeuwig leven verzekert, en Hem voortaan te leven van harte willig en bereid maakt.

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Re: Packer waters down righteousness by faith only

Berichtdoor Bert Mulder » 05 Jun 2009, 21:46

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Volume 71, Issue 13
All Around Us

By Prof. Robert D. Decker
Prof. Decker is professor of Practical Theology in the Protestant Reformed Seminary.

Why I Signed It

This is the title of a lengthy essay which appeared in the December 12 issue of Christianity Today by James I. Packer. "It" refers to the document, Evangelicals Catholics Together: The Christian Mission in the Third Millennium (ECT), which was signed by a number of Roman Catholics as well as a number of evangelical leaders and theologians and concerning which we reported earlier in these columns. The 25 page document originated with evangelical leader Charles Colson and Richard John Neuhaus, a former Protestant who turned Roman Catholic. This document calls for Catholic and evangelical cooperation on social and cultural issues where both traditions share common goals, one example being the fight against abortion. The document also stresses mutual allegiance to the Apostles' Creed, world evangelism, justification "by grace through faith because of Christ," and encourages "civil" discourse over doctrinal differences.

We are indebted to Dr. Packer, professor of theology at Regent University, Vancouver, Canada, for many of his books: Undersigned, for example, requires his students in Missions to read Packer's excellent book, Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God. Thus when we discovered that Dr. Packer had signed ECT we were very disappointed and dismayed. Our disappointment and dismay increase when we read Packer's defense of his signing the document.

Dr. Packer sees the criticism he has received for signing ECT as motivated in part by evangelical love for isolationism, and rivalry fed by mutual suspicion and inflammatory talk. "So," writes Packer, "I ought to have anticipated that some Protestants would say bleak, skewed, fearful, and fear-driven things." Thus in the essay Packer seeks to set the record straight as to his reasons for signing ECT.

Dr. Packer says,
I could not become a Roman Catholic because of certain basic tenets to which the Roman system, as such, is committed. Rome's claim to be the only institution that can without qualification be called the church of Christ is theologically flawed, for it misconceives the nature of the church as the New Testament explains it. The claim is historically flawed, too, for the papacy, which is supposed to be of the church's essence, was a relatively late development....

Also, developed Roman teaching on the mass and on merit cuts across Paul's doctrine of justification in and through Christ by faith. And all forms of the Mary cult, the invoking of saints and the belief in purgatory, and the disbursing of indulgences (which still goes on) damp down the full assurance to which, according to Scripture, justification should lead through the ministry of the Holy Spirit.

Finally, the infallibility claimed for all concillior and some papal pronouncements, and the insistence that the faithful should take their beliefs from the church as such rather than from the Bible as such, make self-correction, as ordinarily understood, impossible. The assumption that the church is never wrong on basics is very cramping. So I find the Roman communion, as it stands, unacceptable, just as much as more than four-and-a-half centuries of Protestants did before me.

Notice Packer's language. Rome's view of the church is "theologically flawed," and it, "misconceives the nature of the church as the New Testament explains it." Rome's teaching on the mass and merit "cuts across Paul's doctrine of justification in and through Christ by faith." All forms of the Mary cult, the invoking of saints, the belief in purgatory, and the disbursement of indulgences "damp down" the full assurance to which justification should lead. Scripture, the sixteenth century Reformers, and the Reformed Confessions use different language to describe these aberrations: false doctrine, blasphemy, the lie, an accursed idolatry, pernicious ways, anti-christian. What is more, Scripture calls God's people to rebuke false teachers and to turn away from them and have no fellowship with them (cf. II Thess. 3:14-15; Romans 16:17; I Timothy 4:7, 5:20, 6:20-21; Titus 3:10; II Peter 2:1-3; and II Peter 3:17-18).


Packer cites three reasons for his cooperating with Rome: 1. There are Christians in the Roman Catholic Church, 2. "Billy Graham's co-operative evangelism, in which all the churches in an area, of whatever stripe, are invited to share, is well established on today's Christian scene," and 3. "Charismatic get-togethers, some of them one-off, some of them regular, and some of them huge, where the distinction between Protestant and Catholic vanishes in a Christ-centered unity of experience, are well established."

None of these reasons prove anything! All three are beside the point. Reason number 1 is for God alone to judge. Reasons 2 and 3 are denials of true unity in Christ, for how can there be unity except it be unity in the truth of the Word of God?!

Another closely related development took place on January 19. On this date several of the signers of ECT and several evangelical critics of ECT met at D. James Kennedy's Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. We are told that although the sessions were marked by "sharp exchanges," these men were able to agree on a five-point document designed to "elucidate" the stance of evangelicals who signed ECT. Among other things the document declares their belief in justification by faith alone. (The word "alone" is conspicuously absent from the ECT document. And what Roman Catholic will affirm the biblical and Reformation truth of justification by faith alone?)

This is not enough! What these men must do, if they wish to be evangelical, is recant. For as Johri MacArthur, pastor of Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California and one of the critics of ECT, said, "Roman Catholicism is 'another religion.'"

Mijn enige troost is, dat ik niet mijn, maar Jezus Christus eigen ben, Die voor mijn zonden betaald heeft, en zo bewaart, dat alles tot mijn zaligheid dienen moet; waarom Hij mij ook door Zijn Heilige Geest van eeuwig leven verzekert, en Hem voortaan te leven van harte willig en bereid maakt.

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Re: Packer waters down righteousness by faith only

Berichtdoor Bert Mulder » 05 Jun 2009, 21:54

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Volume 73, Issue 20
Editorial

"That They All may be One" or "The Mystery of the Great Whore"?
By Prof. David J. Engelsma

One of the great signs of the coming of Christ is the uniting of the apostate churches as the false church. This is the beast from the earth of Revelation 13 and the great whore of Revelation 17.

One of the great works of Christ in history is the uniting of His people in manifestation of the oneness of His church. This carries out His purpose, "that they all may be one" (John 17:21).

The Reformed Christian and the Reformed church must be aware of these two great events in history. They must be able to distinguish them. They have a calling to be active with regard to them both. The one they must condemn and stand aloof from. The other they must honor and promote.

"That they all may be one" calls the churches to genuine ecumenicity. "The mystery of the great whore" is Satan's counterfeit.
Recent Ecumenical Events

Two ecumenical happenings in recent times demand Reformed attention. One is the decision this summer by four large denominations, including the Reformed Church in America (RCA) and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), to enter into full communion. I intend to examine this significant ecumenical achievement later. The other is an ecumenical conference that was held in Aiken, South Carolina in May, 1995. The participants in this conference were prominent representatives of two large churches and one large theological group: the Roman Catholic church; the Eastern Orthodox Church; and evangelicalism, especially evangelicalism in North America.

This conference is reported, and its ecumenicity is promoted, in the book, Reclaiming the Great Tradition: Evangelicals, Catholics & Orthodox in Dialogue, ed. James S. Cutsinger (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1997).

The question concerning this ecumenical event is, "'That They All may be One', or 'the Mystery of the Great Whore'"?

Let us test this church-uniting activity.

The assumption underlying the conference is that, despite their differences, evangelicals, Roman Catholics, and the Orthodox share a "great tradition." This "great tradition" is thought to be the essence of the Christian faith. Evangelicals, Roman Catholics, and the Orthodox share a common faith. The purpose of the 1995 meeting was
to test whether an ecumenical orthodoxy, solidly based on the classic Christian faith as expressed in the Scriptures and ecumenical councils, could become the foundation for a unified and transformative witness to the present age. Is it possible, we asked ourselves, for those who are deeply committed to differing theological perspectives to help each other in defending and communicating their common faith? And if so, how? How can Protestants, Roman Catholics and Eastern Orthodox Christians talk to each other so as together to speak with Christ's mind to the modern world? (Reclaiming, p. 8).

The theme of the conference was "An Ecumenical Conference of Traditional Christians."

The book that reports and promotes the ecumenicity of the conference consists of the six main conference addresses. Peter Kreeft and Richard John Neuhaus (both, it will be noted, defectors to Rome from Protestantism, the former from the Reformed communion, the latter from Lutheranism) speak for Rome. Harold O. J. Brown and J. I Packer represent evangelicalism. Patrick Henry Reardon and Kallistos Ware are the spokesmen for Eastern Orthodoxy. Each essay is followed by a response from a theologian of one of the other churches or group.
A Common Faith?

All agree that the three bodies represented at the conference do, in fact, have "the great tradition" in common, much as they may differ on non-essentials. This is the error of the book, as it was the error of the conference. The official, creedal Protestant position is that both Rome and Eastern orthodoxy have corrupted the gospel and, thus, abandoned the essence of the Christian faith. They have done this by denying the truth of salvation by sovereign grace alone. Both Rome and Eastern Orthodoxy teach free will; justification by faith and works; universal, ineffectual atonement; general, resistible grace; and conditional predestination. Of course, most of modern evangelicalism is one with Rome and Orthodoxy in this denial of the gospel, but this only means that most of modern evangelicalism has forfeited all right to the name "evangelical." "Evangelical" means "faithful to the gospel," and the gospel is the message—the truth—of salvation by (sovereign) grace alone.
Do such then believe in Jesus the only Savior, who seek their salvation and welfare of saints, of themselves, or anywhere else?

They do not; for though they boast of him in words, yet in deeds they deny Jesus the only deliverer and Savior; for one of these two things must be true, that either Jesus is not a complete Savior; or that they, who by a true faith receive this Savior, must find all things in him necessary to their salvation.

Heid. Cat., Q. 30

This issue receives little attention in the book, as, evidently, it received little attention at the conference. The prominent issue in this quest for church union, and the issue that vexes the seekers most sorely, is the relationship between Scripture and extra-biblical tradition. The question for the evangelicals, as for the Roman Catholics and Orthodox who desire evangelical participation in the ecumenical venture, is, "What can we do with the Reformation's insistence on 'Scripture alone'?" The answer, all across the board, is, "Mute this insistence, and by ambiguous formulas subject Holy Scripture to the authority of Roman and Orthodox church-tradition." The book is worth reading simply for the purpose of discovering what high-powered ecumenicity is doing with the Protestant Reformation's confession of the sole authority of the written Word of God. The title of the book gives the game away. Why is the title not, Reaffirming and Returning to Sola Scriptura ?
Distinguished Orthodox

Far and away the most impressive contributors are the Eastern Orthodox. They pull no punches. Bradley Nassif responds to J. I. Packer's cautious, compromising piece by bluntly asserting that the Orthodox Church is the one, true church, so that "authentic Christian unity" requires ecclesiastical and sacramental oneness with her. He states that the united witness to the gospel that Packer thinks is possible will employ icons, that is, material images of God, Christ, Mary, and the other saints. Unabashedly, the Orthodox zealot urges upon evangelical Packer Orthodoxy's mysticism; monasticism; asceticism; and doctrine of deification (salvation's consisting of man's becoming divine).

Patrick Henry Reardon, another Orthodox theologian, annihilates evangelical Donald Bloesch's astonishing concession to feminism, that "in teaching us to call him Father 'God adopted patriarchal concepts in order to reveal his will and purpose to the human race.'" Such teaching, says Reardon rightly, "is to make a claim about God for which there is no warrant in Holy Scripture.... This is purely private theology. It has nothing to do with either the Bible or the church. There is no theological justification for thus attempting to get beyond the Father. Such an endeavor scarcely differs from Meister Eckhart's (great mystic—DJE) pursuit of a 'God beyond God'" (p. 108).

Orthodox Isaac Melton gets off one of the great lines in the book. Condemning the liberals' perverse explanation of the doctrine of the Incarnation as teaching that "by his incarnation Christ sets his divine seal of approval on the base, the tawdry, the mundane and even the corrupt," Melton tells us, as he told the conference, that
the most extreme but quite revealing example of this I have ever encountered was in a National Public Radio program I heard in 1985. A Roman Catholic priest (who most certainly lacked his bishop's nihil obstat) informed his interviewer and his audience that anonymous homosexual "acts of love" in a San Francisco gay bathhouse were for him the apex of incarnational spiritual experience.

Melton then observes, "The only 'incarnational experience' that took place in the baths was the repeated enfleshing of the AIDS virus in the immune cells of its victims" (p. 96).

Orthodox theologian Kallistos Ware has a brilliant article on the doctrine of the Trinity. One who might buy the book for its ecumenical theme will find himself amply repaid in another coin by this treatment of the Trinity. Totally ignoring the matter of the coming together of the churches, Ware sets forth "the Trinity as shared love and interpersonal koinonia (fellowship)" (p. 134). The address is titled, "The Trinity: Heart of Our Life."
Ignoble Roman Champion

Distressing to me is the presence in the Roman lists of Peter Kreeft. A classmate of mine at Calvin College in the late 1950s, Kreeft has since apostatized from the Reformed faith to Roman Catholicism. He is now one of Rome's chief apologists to Protestants.
"What Doest Thou Here, J. I. Packer?"

More distressing still is the presence, posture, and performance at the conference of renowned evangelical theologian J. I. Packer. Packer tiptoes gingerly through the minefield of evangelical union with the false church of Rome. He affirms that conservative Protestants are able to join together with the Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholics "in bearing witness to" the gospel of salvation in Jesus Christ. With Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism, evangelicals share an "understanding of ruin, redemption, regeneration and the reality of fellowship with our risen Savior."

Packer then lashes out, with uncharacteristic fury and scorn, against those evangelicals who refuse to join him in his unholy alliance:
To be sure, fundamentalists within our three traditions are unlikely to join us in this, for it is the way of fundamentalists to follow the path of contentious orthodoxism, as if the mercy of God in Christ automatically rests on persons who are notionally correct and is just as automatically withheld from those who fall short of notional correctness on any point of substance. But this concept of, in effect, justification, not by works but by words—words, that is, of notional soundness and precision—is near to being a cultic heresy in its own right and need not detain us further, however much we may regret the fact that some in all our traditions are bogged down in it (p. 174).

Ah, Dr. Packer, what has happened to you since you wrote the grand "Historical and Theological Introduction" to your and O. R. Johnston's translation of Luther's The Bondage of the Will (London: James Clarke, 1957)? Remember? You said then that the doctrines of "the helplessness of man in sin and (of) the sovereignty of God in grace" are "the very life-blood of the Christian faith" (p. 58). In those days, you taught the children of the Reformation—Protestants, evangelicals—that Arminianism is "a renunciation of New Testament Christianity in favour of New Testament Judaism" and that Arminianism is "in principle a return to Rome," which meant, of course, that Rome is certainly nothing but "New Testament Judaism." No shared "great tradition" in 1957! And you warned Protestants—evangelicals—at that time, warned them sharply, warned them against the very spirit and conduct that you yourself now display in ecumenical conferences and books:
We are forced to ask whether Protestant Christendom has not tragically sold its birthright between Luther's day and our own. Has not Protestantism today become more Erasmian than Lutheran? Do we not too often try to minimise and gloss over doctrinal differences for the sake of inter-party peace? Are we innocent of the doctrinal indifferentism with which Luther charged Erasmus? Do we still believe that doctrine matters? Or do we now, with Erasmus, rate a deceptive appearance of unity as of more importance than truth? Have we not grown used to an Erasmian brand of teaching from our pulpits—a message that rests on the same shallow synergistic conceptions which Luther refuted, picturing God and man approaching each other almost on equal terms, each having his own contribution to make to man's salvation and each depending on the dutiful co-operation of the other for the attainment of that end?—as if God exists for man's convenience, rather than man for God's glory? (p. 60)

I will run the "Conclusion" of your passionate, powerful article of 1957 immediately following this editorial. Consider that the content of this "Conclusion" is the reason why we Reformed Protestants—the real evangelicals in the world—will not, indeed cannot, join you in your oneness and cooperation with Rome.

To abuse us as "fundamentalists" is unworthy of you. Your fellow conferee chides you: "As the academic world grows ever more hostile to Christianity, anything resembling Christian orthodoxy is now called fundamentalism" (S. M. Hutchens, yet another of the Orthodox participants, "A [Somewhat] Protestant Response to Richard John Neuhaus," in Reclaiming, p. 64).

Packer's essay in Reclaiming indicates the avowed motivation for the effort to unite evangelicals, Orthodox, and Roman Catholics: only out of this "convergence" can there emerge a "contemporary witness to God that is sufficiently strong and significant" (p. 169). The world has become exceedingly worldly. An effective witness to God demands the size and strength of the union of evangelicals, Roman Catholics, and Orthodox.

This motivation ignores the biblical injunction that those cooperating in witnessing to God in an idolatrous, immoral world themselves be one in the truth of God. It also ignores the lesson of history that God does not need, and usually does not choose, size and strength for the witness to Himself: Noah; Elijah; the remnant; the apostles; Athanasius; Luther.
Evangelicalism and C. S. Lewis

Many evangelicals who are dismayed by these ecumenical developments are going to have to re-evaluate the Anglican author, C. S. Lewis, with whom they are carrying on a torrid love affair. Lewis, though dead, spoke loudly at the conference. The introduction to Reclaiming, titled, "Finding the Center," tells us that the conference took its lead from Lewis' well-known book, Mere Christianity. Explicitly in Mere Christianity and implicitly in his other writings, Lewis advocated what the editor of Reclaiming correctly calls "a most important ecumenical principle" (p. 9). The principle is, as Lewis himself described it, that
it is at her center, where her truest children dwell, that each communion is really closest to every other in spirit, if not in doctrine. And this suggests that at the center of each there is something, or a Someone, who against all divergences of belief, all differences of temperament, all memories of mutual persecution, speaks with the same voice (Mere Christianity, cited in Reclaiming, p. 9).

In other words, evangelicals, Orthodox, and Roman Catholics are, in reality, one in God Himself.

But the same C. S. Lewis, it should be noted, taught that all religions are essentially one. In The Last Battle, concluding volume in the Narnia series, Lewis has Aslan, symbol of Christ, inform Emeth (significantly, the Hebrew word for truth), a lifelong worshiper of the heathen god, Tash, and a lifelong hater of Aslan, that "all the service thou hast done to Tash, I account as service done to me." By his noble seeking and honest service of the idol, Emeth is saved at death (The Last Battle, London: The Bodley Head, p. 166). Worshipers of the God of Jesus Christ and worshipers of the Allah of Mohammed alike inherit the new world. Taking Lewis as their ecumenical mentor, those who planned the conference in South Carolina might have invited the noble pagans to participate.
Ecumenicity of the Lie

"'That They All may be One,' or 'the Mystery of the Great Whore'"?

Working for church union while rejecting the truth of the sole authority of Scripture and ignoring the Reformation gospel of salvation by (sovereign) grace alone, the "Ecumenical Conference of Traditional Christians" was further unfolding of the mystery of the great whore.

— DJE
"Conclusion" of the "Historical

and Theological Introduction"

to J.I. Packer and O.R. Johnston's translation of Martin Luther's The Bondage of the Will.

—J.I. Packer

The following is an excerpt from J.I. Packer's "Historical and Theological Introduction" to his and O.R. Johnston's translation of Martin Luther's The Bondage of the Will (London: James Clarke, 1957), pp. 57-61. The section published forms the conclusion of the "Introduction."

It sets forth the message of the Reformation: "sovereign grace."

It demands that this be our witness in the world.

It warns against compromise of this message in the interests of "inter-party peace."

By implication, it insists that this gospel be the basis of all ecumenical union and cooperation.

In all of this, the "Introduction" is right. This was the stand of the Reformers. This is the position of the Reformation creeds. This is the testimony of Scripture.

— Ed.



What is the modern reader to make of The Bondage of the Will? That it is a brilliant and exhilarating performance, a masterpiece of the controversialist's difficult art, he will no doubt readily admit; but now comes the question, is Luther's case any part of God's truth? and, if so, has it a message for Christians to-day? No doubt the reader will find the way by which Luther leads him to be a strange new road, an approach which in all probability he has never considered, a line of thought which he would normally label "Calvinistic" and hastily pass by. This is what Lutheran orthodoxy itself has done; and the present-day Evangelical Christian (who has semi-Pelagianism in his blood) will be inclined to do the same. But both history and Scripture, if allowed to speak, counsel otherwise.

Historically, it is a simple matter of fact that Martin Luther and John Calvin, and, for that matter, Ulrich Zwingli, Martin Bucer, and all the leading Protestant theologians of the first epoch of the Reformation, stood on precisely the same ground here. On other points, they had their differences; but in asserting the helplessness of man in sin, and the sovereignty of God in grace, they were entirely at one. To all of them, these doctrines were the very life-blood of the Christian faith. A modern editor of Luther's great work underscores this fact: "Whoever puts this book down without having realised that evangelical theology stands or falls with the doctrine of bondage of the will has read it in vain." The doctrine of free justification by faith only, which became the storm-centre of so much controversy during the Reformation period, is often regarded as the heart of the Reformers' theology, but this is hardly accurate. The truth is that their thinking was really centred upon the contention of Paul, echoed with varying degrees of adequacy by Augustine, and Gottschalk, and Bradwardine, and Wycliffe, that the sinner's entire salvation is by free and sovereign grace only. The doctrine of justification by faith was important to them because it safeguarded the principle of sovereign grace; but it actually expressed for them only one aspect of this principle, and that not its deepest aspect. The sovereignty of grace found expression in their thinking at a profounder level still, in the doctrine of monergistic regeneration — the doctrine, that is, that the faith which receives Christ for justification is itself the free gift of a sovereign God, bestowed by spiritual regeneration in the act of effectual calling. To the Reformers, the crucial question was not simply, whether God justifies believers without works of law. It was the broader question, whether sinners are wholly helpless in their sin, and whether God is to be thought of as saving them by free, unconditional, invincible grace, not only justifying them for Christ's sake when they come to faith, but also raising them from the death of sin by His quickening Spirit in order to bring them to faith. Here was the crucial issue: whether God is the author, not merely of justification, but also of faith; whether, in the last analysis, Christianity is a religion of utter reliance on God for salvation and all things necessary to it, or of self-reliance and self-effort. "Justification by faith only" is a truth that needs interpretation. The principle of sola fide is not rightly understood till it is seen as anchored in the broader principle of sola gratia. What is the source and status of faith? Is it the God-given means whereby the God-given justification is received, or is it a condition of justification which it is left to man to fulfil? Is it a part of God's gift of salvation, or is it man's own contribution to salvation? Is our salvation wholly of God, or does it ultimately depend on something that we do for ourselves? Those who say the latter (as the Arminians later did) thereby deny man's utter helplessness in sin, and affirm that a form of semi-Pelagianism is true after all. It is no wonder, then, that later Reformed theology condemned Arminianism as being in principle a return to Rome (because in effect it turned faith into a meritorious work) and a betrayal of the Reformation (because it denied the sovereignty of God in saving sinners, which was the deepest religious and theological principle of the Reformers' thought). Arminianism was, indeed, in Reformed eyes a renunciation of New Testament Christianity in favour of New Testament Judaism; for to rely on oneself for faith is no different in principle from relying on oneself for works, and the one is as un-Christian and anti-Christian as the other. In the light of what Luther says to Erasmus, there is no doubt that he would have endorsed this judgment.

These things need to be pondered by Protestants to-day. With what right may we call ourselves children of the Reformation? Much modern Protestantism would be neither owned nor even recognised by the pioneer Reformers. The Bondage of the Will fairly sets before us what they believed about the salvation of lost mankind. In the light of it, we are forced to ask whether Protestant Christendom has not tragically sold its birthright between Luther's day and our own. Has not Protestantism to-day become more Erasmian than Lutheran? Do we not too often try to minimise and gloss over doctrinal differences for the sake of inter-party peace? Are we innocent of the doctrinal indifferentism with which Luther charged Erasmus? Do we still believe that doctrine matters? Or do we now, with Erasmus, rate a deceptive appearance of unity as of more importance than truth? Have we not grown used to an Erasmian brand of teaching from our pulpits—a message that rests on the same shallow synergistic conceptions which Luther refuted, picturing God and man approaching each other almost on equal terms, each having his own contribution to make to man's salvation and each depending on the dutiful co-operation of the other for the attainment of that end?—as if God exists for man's convenience, rather than man for God's glory? Is it not true, conversely, that it is rare to-day to hear proclaimed the diagnosis of our predicament which Luther—and Scripture—put forward: that man is hopeless and helpless in sin, fast bound in Satan's slavery, at enmity with God, blind and dead to the things of the Spirit? And hence, how rarely do we hear faith spoken of as Scripture depicts it—as it is expressed in the cry of self-committal with which the contrite heart, humbled to see its need and made conscious of its own utter helplessness even to trust, casts itself in the God-given confidence of self-despair upon the mercy of Christ Jesus—"Lord, I believe; help Thou my unbelief!" Can we deny the essential rightness of Luther's exegesis of the texts? And if not, dare we ignore the implications of his exposition?

To accept the principles which Martin Luther vindicates in The Bondage of the Will would certainly involve a mental and spiritual revolution for many Christians at the present time. It would involve a radically different approach to preaching and the practice of evangelism, and to most other departments of theology and pastoral work as well. God-centered thinking is out of fashion to-day, and its recovery will involve something of a Copernican revolution in our outlook on many matters. But ought we to shrink from this? Do we not stand in urgent need of such teaching as Luther here gives us—teaching which humbles man, strengthens faith, and glorifies God—and is not the contemporary Church weak for the lack of it? The issue is clear. We are compelled to ask ourselves: If the Almighty God of the Bible is to be our God, if the New Testament gospel is to be our message, if Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, to-day and for ever—is any other position than Luther's possible? Are we not in all honesty bound to stand with him in ascribing all might, and majesty, and dominion, and power, and all the glory of our salvation to God alone? Surely no more important or far-reaching question confronts the Church today.

Sola fide

Sola gratia

SOLI DEO GLORIA.
Mijn enige troost is, dat ik niet mijn, maar Jezus Christus eigen ben, Die voor mijn zonden betaald heeft, en zo bewaart, dat alles tot mijn zaligheid dienen moet; waarom Hij mij ook door Zijn Heilige Geest van eeuwig leven verzekert, en Hem voortaan te leven van harte willig en bereid maakt.

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Re: Packer waters down righteousness by faith only

Berichtdoor Bert Mulder » 05 Jun 2009, 22:03

This one is more to do with the assurance of faith:

http://sb.rfpa.org/index.cfm?mode=narro ... t_search=0

Volume 80, Issue 9
Editorial

Assurance for All the Children
By Prof. David J. Engelsma

God wills the salvation of all His elect children. He also wills that all His children have the assurance of their salvation. He wills that they have the assurance of their salvation as soon as they are saved and that they continue to have this certainty to their dying breath. The assurance of salvation is an integral part of salvation itself.

The will of God that all His children enjoy the assurance of their salvation is an aspect of His Fatherly love in Christ for all of them.

This will of God is not absolute and unqualified, so as never to allow for the interruption of this assurance, for example, when the children of God suffer what the Canons of Dordt call "melancholy falls" into sin (Canons, 5/6). Neither does this will of God rule out times when the experience of assurance is weaker. Nor does this will of God prevent the devil from afflicting God's children with the fiery darts of doubt, even on their deathbed. To these struggles of the believer with doubt, we return later in this series on assurance.

But these instances of uncertainty are the exceptions, not the rule. They are abnormalities in the spiritual life of the saints, not the normal experience. They are grievous injuries inflicted by the enemies of faith—sin and Satan—not faith's own way of life.

God wills that, amidst all the uncertainties of earthly life, we are certain of our salvation. He wills this certainty for all His children, not only for a select, favored few. He wills assurance for the newly saved, as well as for the veterans in the Christian life. He wills assurance for the weak Christian, as well as for the strong. He wills assurance for those of little faith, as well as for those of great faith. He wills assurance for the one who is least sanctified, as well as for the holiest of the saints. He wills assurance for the covenant child in her childhood and youth, at the very beginning of the pilgrimage, as well as for her old grandparents, who see the heavenly fatherland only a little way off.


"Only His Best and Dearest Friends"

The truth that God desires all His children to have assurance of salvation condemns the teaching about assurance that prevails in Reformed churches heavily influenced by Puritanism and pietism. This is the teaching, referred to in the previous editorials, that only a few of God's children ever arrive at "full assurance," that is, certainty, of their salvation. In addition, this teaching holds that even the few who do arrive at certainty must struggle with doubt for many years until finally they achieve certainty.

According to this doctrine, many Reformed people believe the gospel and by their faith are assured that the Bible is the Word of God and that Christ is the Savior. They even trust in Him for salvation. Nevertheless, they lack assurance. They doubt. They doubt their salvation. They doubt Christ's death for them. They doubt that God loves them. They doubt that they will go to heaven when they die. The explanation, according to their churches, is that assurance is only for a few Christians. And even these favored few acquire assurance only by working for it for a long time.

Describing the Puritan view, which Packer himself embraces and which has influenced Calvinistic ministers and churches in the Netherlands, Great Britain, and North America, J. I. Packer has written:

"Full assurance" is a rare blessing, even among [believing] adults it is a great and precious privilege, not indiscriminately bestowed. "Assurance is a mercy too good for most men's hearts ... God will only give it to his best and dearest friends."

After faith and conversion, according to these Puritans and their modern disciples, the convert does not have assurance. He ought not expect to have assurance. The Spirit has to give assurance, and "till the Spirit does so ... [the believer] lacks assurance; which, said the Puritans, seems to be the case of most Christian people (J. I. Packer, "The Witness of the Spirit: The Puritan Teaching," in Puritan Papers, vol. 1 [P&R, 2000], pp. 20, 21; emphasis added).

This conception of the Christian life and experience passes for great spirituality in some quarters.

On the basis of the gospel and the Reformed confessions, I judge this conception of assurance to be pernicious error. It is dishonoring to God, who is a tender Father to all His children, not only to a favored few. It is destructive of the comfort of many of God's people, who languish in black doubt on account of this teaching. It creates Reformed and Presbyterian churches that differ not a whit from the Roman Catholic Church and the Arminian assemblies, for all alike are full of members who profess to believe the Bible and to trust in Christ, but who cannot be sure of their salvation.

The teaching that only a few believers have assurance divides the congregation as effectively and disastrously as does the doctrine of two baptisms. Here, close to God—at the table of the Lord—are the spiritual elite, God's "best and dearest friends." Over there, far from God, are the rest—the majority—not merely less dear friends, but for all they know His enemies.

This doctrine of assurance sends many to hell, for the doubt of God's promise that the doctrine instills, nourishes, and encourages is unbelief. And unbelief damns.

However this doctrine of assurance may have found entrance into Reformed churches, it is an alien element in the body of Reformed truth. It may be a Puritan doctrine. It is not Reformed doctrine. The Reformed faith does not tolerate—for years, lifetimes, and generations!—much less promote, doubt. The Reformed faith gives comfort, certainty, assurance. A Reformed church is not a congregation of doubters. It is a congregation of believers and their covenant children, who by virtue of the Spirit of Jesus Christ—no sceptic! no doubter!—can confess that they possess the comfort of belonging to Jesus Christ (Heid. Cat., Q. & A. 1).
Assurance as Fatherly Will

According to the Puritan doctrine of assurance, God wants most of His children to live much, if not all, of their life in doubt of their salvation. That is, He desires that they live in doubt of His Fatherly love for them. This is a dreadful spiritual condition, for it is the terror of God's hatred.

This doctrine casts aspersions on the Fatherhood of God.

It is the will of God, as the good heavenly Father, that all His children know His love for them. From the Fatherhood of God in Jesus Christ come not only the blessing of the children's salvation, but also the benefit of the children's assurance of salvation.

Is there an earthly father, especially a Christian father, who likes to have most of his children go through much of their life doubting whether he is a father to them? Are there Christian parents who want most of their children to live their life long in fear that their parents hate them and are bent on their destruction? Are there Reformed parents whose pleasure is that most of their children are so paralyzed by fear that they dare not even take supper with their parents?

Is it not rather the case that more than anything else we earthly fathers want all our children to be perfectly sure that they are our children, loved by us with a father's love and welcomed into our fellowship? Do we not work at this from their very birth?

Is God less a Father than we?

Are we really to suppose that the heavenly Father demonstrates such extreme partiality as to give to only a few of His favorite children the fundamental blessing of knowing His love for them? Are we really to suppose that He leaves the rest to tremble in doubt, whether He hates them and likely will damn them?

How senseless of God to accomplish the work of salvation for all His children, but then to leave many, or even most, of us in constant doubt of this, our salvation! God does not simply will our salvation. He wills also that we be assured of our salvation, so that our salvation does us some good and so that, knowing our salvation, we will love Him, thank Him, serve Him, and glorify Him.

God has made known in Scripture that assurance of His love, and therefore certainty of their salvation, is His Fatherly will for all His children. He puts on the lips of every one of His children, that is, every one who by His grace believes on Him in Jesus Christ, a prayer that begins, "Our Father which art in heaven" (Matt. 6:9). Implied by this address of God is that the one who prays knows God as his Father for the sake of Jesus Christ. This is assurance of one's sonship and salvation. One cannot know God as his Father without knowing himself as God's child.

If someone is doubtful about his salvation, he doubts that God is his heavenly Father. And if he doubts that God is his Father, he cannot pray. For him to go through the motions of prayer would be hypocrisy. Confidence that God is our Father in Christ, that is, assurance that we are saved, is the very foundation of prayer (Heid. Cat., Q. & A. 120). Only that prayer is acceptable to God, and heard by Him, in which the one who prays has the firm confidence (German: "festen grund") that, notwithstanding his own unworthiness, God will certainly hear his prayer (Heid. Cat., Q. & A. 117).

To every one who fears Him—weak and strong, young and old, child and graybeard—God gives Psalm 23 as his or her own confession: "The Lord is my shepherd." To say this, from the heart of course, is to have certainty of salvation.

Concerning all the elect, quickened, believing members of the church, at any stage of their spiritual development, the apostle says in Ephesians 3:12: "In [Christ Jesus our Lord] we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him." The apostle includes the covenant children and young people, whom he will recognize as members of the church in chapter 6:1-3, as well as their parents.

It was by no means the least serious aspect of the grievous error of the Puritans regarding assurance, as it is not the least serious aspect of the teaching of their modern disciples, that, as the rule, they reserved, and reserve, assurance for old people. Assurance comes only with age, usually old age. The children and young people of the church are taught to live in doubt of their salvation. As a result they do live in doubt, terrifying doubt.

What a daring assault on God's Fatherhood and contradiction of His covenant Word!

The covenant Father says, in the gospel and in the baptism of the children, "I am the God in Jesus Christ of believers and of their children." The Puritan ministers said to the children, "God is not your God, at least while you are children, and very likely not until you become old men and old women. If He is your God, you cannot know Him as your God. You must therefore live in terror of Him."

This was not only false doctrine about assurance. It was also sin against the covenant. Denying assurance to the children of believers is connected with the false doctrine of the covenant that views the baptized, covenant children of believers as unsaved until such a time as they receive a "conversion experience."

According to Hebrews 10:19, every man, woman, and child who trusts alone in the one sacrifice of Christ, renouncing the Old Testament ceremonies and every human work, has boldness to enter the holiest. This is some boldness, for the holiest is where the holy God dwells. Every one who trusts alone in Jesus Christ is exhorted, not to have full assurance of faith, but to draw near to God in the full assurance that every one of them has. Every one of them has this boldness and assurance by virtue of his faith in Jesus Christ and by virtue of this faith alone: "in full assurance of faith."

In Hebrews 10:19ff., the apostle is not speaking to a select few in the congregation, perhaps some of the old men and old women who have struggled with doubt for fifty or sixty years and worked hard all that time to attain to certainty. But he speaks to all who profess Christ and the Christian faith with a true heart.

There is no need to belabor what is perfectly plain in the entire Bible: God's will for all His children is that they enjoy assurance of their salvation. The very purpose of I John is that all who believe on Jesus Christ may know their salvation. "These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God" (I John 5:13).

God wills that we know that we are saved, that we have eternal life.

Who may and must know this? Only God's "best and dearest friends"? Only a favored few of God's elect, redeemed, and regenerated sons and daughters?

The God of I John is far more Fatherly and gracious than the Puritan preachers and their modern disciples.

"You that believe on the name of the Son of God"! Every one who believes on the name of the Son of God!

Do you believe on Jesus Christ as He is presented in the gospel of the Scriptures? You have eternal life! Know it! Be assured of it! Be absolutely certain of it!

Do not let anyone rob you of this knowledge. Let them steal your possessions, your freedom, your reputation, anything and everything earthly, if need be! But not the knowledge that God is your Father for Christ's sake and that you are His beloved, saved son or daughter!

Do not let Satan rob you of assurance.

Nor your Reformed minister.

And not the theology of the Puritans.

— DJE
Mijn enige troost is, dat ik niet mijn, maar Jezus Christus eigen ben, Die voor mijn zonden betaald heeft, en zo bewaart, dat alles tot mijn zaligheid dienen moet; waarom Hij mij ook door Zijn Heilige Geest van eeuwig leven verzekert, en Hem voortaan te leven van harte willig en bereid maakt.

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Re: Packer waters down righteousness by faith only

Berichtdoor Bert Mulder » 05 Jun 2009, 22:23

http://www.angelfire.com/ky/dodone/Packer.html

http://www.rapidnet.com/~jbeard/bdm/exp ... eneral.htm

However unloved and worthless we once felt, and however much self-hate and condemnation we once nursed, we must now see that by loving us enough to redeem us God gave us value, and by forgiving us completely He obligated us to forgive ourselves and made it sin for us not to" (Eternity, April 1988). (Emphases added.)

"Protestant and Catholic charismatic teaching on the Christian life is to all intents and purposes identical."

In a press release dated 9/24/92, Witness Inc., a major countercult ministry in Clayton, CA, announced that it and 34 other leading countercult organizations had taken a united stand against the doctrine of the resurrection as taught by Harris (the number in the coalition had increased to 156 as of 1/96), saying that it is not "orthodox" but "akin to the doctrine of the JW cult." Nevertheless, Dr. Kenneth Meyer, president of Trinity at the time, along with Dr. Harris in a 13-page letter, asked all E-Free Churches "to respect and support" Trinity's judgment on Harris. Apparently, EFCA leadership wanted their people to believe it is "orthodox" to hold that Jesus does not now have a body of physical "flesh and bones"; that at the time of each person's death, the believer's physical body will be "replaced" by a form that is not essentially material; and that it is "orthodox" to hold that the body that dies remains forever in the grave, having been "replaced" by an immaterial/invisible "spiritual" form. And, apparently, so does J.I. Packer! He writes:

"The whole church benefits from the necessity laid on Professor Harris to prove his orthodoxy in the matter of resurrection -- Christ's and ours. This is a clear, warm-hearted book [From Grave to Glory], impeccable in scholarship and inspiring to read. Resurrection questions are not easy, and not all readers will agree with Professor Harris on every detail, but Harris is undoubtedly in the main stream of resurrection faith, and there is no more thorough treatment of the questions currently in print" (11/30/92, Christian News -- from the back jacket of From Grave to Glory). (Emphases added.)

Packer, in a 4/5/93 Christianity Today article (pp. 64-65), also mentions the teachings of Origen as support for Harris. What Packer doesn't say is that Origen's view of the resurrection was condemned by Church Councils as deviations from Biblical truth. (In fact, with the exception of Origen, there was not a single major church father that denied that Jesus was raised in His same material body of flesh!) Yet Packer maintains, "The nature of the resurrection bodies is so mysterious, being right outside our present experience, that any theories about it must be tentative at best" (p. 64). For J.I. Packer then, the belief in a resurrected Jesus of "flesh and bones" is merely belief in a "tentative" theory! [The 6/17/93 issue of Christianity Today, after receiving much mail in protest over Packer's statement, claimed that two of the most controversial paragraphs in the 4/5/93 Packer article were written by a mystery writer, and that, by a "straightforward clerical error," must have become "accidentally snagged by a paper clip" and, thusly, drug into Packer's piece! Incredible!]

The 2/88 issue of the Catholic charismatic magazine New Covenant carried a series of interviews with leaders from various parts of Christendom. The same question was asked of each of these leaders: "Where is renewal happening in the Catholic Church?" J.I. Packer was among those interviewed and his reply was significant:

"I see two streams of renewal flowing. ... One is a renewal of true godliness. This stream runs mainly, though not exclusively, in charismatic channels. ... The second stream is a renewal of authentic supernaturalism... Though I do not enthuse about the papacy and the Curia as institutions, pronouncements from both sources since John Paul II took over have seemed to me, not indeed infallible, but bracing expressions of this convictional renewal. ... It is as these two streams of renewal continue to flow, and hopefully converge, that the Catholic Church will give most to the rest of Christendom and to the benighted pagan world of our time."
Mijn enige troost is, dat ik niet mijn, maar Jezus Christus eigen ben, Die voor mijn zonden betaald heeft, en zo bewaart, dat alles tot mijn zaligheid dienen moet; waarom Hij mij ook door Zijn Heilige Geest van eeuwig leven verzekert, en Hem voortaan te leven van harte willig en bereid maakt.

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Re: Packer waters down righteousness by faith only

Berichtdoor Bert Mulder » 05 Jun 2009, 22:29

Mijn enige troost is, dat ik niet mijn, maar Jezus Christus eigen ben, Die voor mijn zonden betaald heeft, en zo bewaart, dat alles tot mijn zaligheid dienen moet; waarom Hij mij ook door Zijn Heilige Geest van eeuwig leven verzekert, en Hem voortaan te leven van harte willig en bereid maakt.

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Re: Packer waters down righteousness by faith only

Berichtdoor Avi » 06 Jun 2009, 11:46

IK denk dat je één ding over het hoofd ziet Bert.
Toen Bill C. president werd, zagen veel christenen dit als een voorteken van een nieuwe fase van het openbare leven. Een fase van extreme verwereldlijking.
Deze christenen zagen daardoor de samenwerking tussen evangelicalen en roomsen als heel belangrijk! Packer kon met C.S Lewis instemmen dat er, als alles gestreden is over de verdeeldheid van het Christendom, er door Gods barmhartigheid een heel groot gemeenschappelijk terrein overblijft!
Packer wist ook wel dat veel katholieken, die niet in konden stemmen met de leer van de Reformatie, toch de Heere Jezus liefhebben en vertrouwen. En, dat vind ik heel belangrijk: de scheidslijn ligt veel meer tussen orthodox en vrijzinnig. De roomse kerk hield nog onverkort vast aan veel klassieke dogma's :huhu
Packer heeft gezegd dat hij nooit Rooms zou kunnen worden.
Het waren niet de spijkers die Jezus aan het kruis vastgenageld hielden, maar Zijn liefde voor ons.

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Re: Packer waters down righteousness by faith only

Berichtdoor Bert Mulder » 08 Jun 2009, 17:36

Avi schreef:IK denk dat je één ding over het hoofd ziet Bert.
Toen Bill C. president werd, zagen veel christenen dit als een voorteken van een nieuwe fase van het openbare leven. Een fase van extreme verwereldlijking.
Deze christenen zagen daardoor de samenwerking tussen evangelicalen en roomsen als heel belangrijk! Packer kon met C.S Lewis instemmen dat er, als alles gestreden is over de verdeeldheid van het Christendom, er door Gods barmhartigheid een heel groot gemeenschappelijk terrein overblijft!
Packer wist ook wel dat veel katholieken, die niet in konden stemmen met de leer van de Reformatie, toch de Heere Jezus liefhebben en vertrouwen. En, dat vind ik heel belangrijk: de scheidslijn ligt veel meer tussen orthodox en vrijzinnig. De roomse kerk hield nog onverkort vast aan veel klassieke dogma's :huhu
Packer heeft gezegd dat hij nooit Rooms zou kunnen worden.


Maar niet rechtvaardigmaking door het geloof ALLEEN.
Mijn enige troost is, dat ik niet mijn, maar Jezus Christus eigen ben, Die voor mijn zonden betaald heeft, en zo bewaart, dat alles tot mijn zaligheid dienen moet; waarom Hij mij ook door Zijn Heilige Geest van eeuwig leven verzekert, en Hem voortaan te leven van harte willig en bereid maakt.

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Re: Packer waters down righteousness by faith only

Berichtdoor Avi » 08 Jun 2009, 18:59

Bert Mulder schreef:
Avi schreef:IK denk dat je één ding over het hoofd ziet Bert.
Toen Bill C. president werd, zagen veel christenen dit als een voorteken van een nieuwe fase van het openbare leven. Een fase van extreme verwereldlijking.
Deze christenen zagen daardoor de samenwerking tussen evangelicalen en roomsen als heel belangrijk! Packer kon met C.S Lewis instemmen dat er, als alles gestreden is over de verdeeldheid van het Christendom, er door Gods barmhartigheid een heel groot gemeenschappelijk terrein overblijft!
Packer wist ook wel dat veel katholieken, die niet in konden stemmen met de leer van de Reformatie, toch de Heere Jezus liefhebben en vertrouwen. En, dat vind ik heel belangrijk: de scheidslijn ligt veel meer tussen orthodox en vrijzinnig. De roomse kerk hield nog onverkort vast aan veel klassieke dogma's :huhu
Packer heeft gezegd dat hij nooit Rooms zou kunnen worden.


Maar niet rechtvaardigmaking door het geloof ALLEEN.


Ik kan die tekst niet vinden, waar hij zegt dat er nog iets bij het geloof moet.
:livre
Het waren niet de spijkers die Jezus aan het kruis vastgenageld hielden, maar Zijn liefde voor ons.

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Re: Packer waters down righteousness by faith only

Berichtdoor Bert Mulder » 08 Jun 2009, 19:04

Avi schreef:
Bert Mulder schreef:
Avi schreef:IK denk dat je één ding over het hoofd ziet Bert.
Toen Bill C. president werd, zagen veel christenen dit als een voorteken van een nieuwe fase van het openbare leven. Een fase van extreme verwereldlijking.
Deze christenen zagen daardoor de samenwerking tussen evangelicalen en roomsen als heel belangrijk! Packer kon met C.S Lewis instemmen dat er, als alles gestreden is over de verdeeldheid van het Christendom, er door Gods barmhartigheid een heel groot gemeenschappelijk terrein overblijft!
Packer wist ook wel dat veel katholieken, die niet in konden stemmen met de leer van de Reformatie, toch de Heere Jezus liefhebben en vertrouwen. En, dat vind ik heel belangrijk: de scheidslijn ligt veel meer tussen orthodox en vrijzinnig. De roomse kerk hield nog onverkort vast aan veel klassieke dogma's :huhu
Packer heeft gezegd dat hij nooit Rooms zou kunnen worden.


Maar niet rechtvaardigmaking door het geloof ALLEEN.


Ik kan die tekst niet vinden, waar hij zegt dat er nog iets bij het geloof moet.
:livre


Avi, ik zei dat op antwoord van je stelling dat "de roomse kerk hield nog onverkort vast aan veel klassieke dogma's'

Mijn stelling is dat Packer heel wat water bij de wijn gedaan heeft, en niet recht doet, door zijn samenwerking met Rome, aan de hoofdstelling van de reformatie: "rechtvaardigmaking door het geloof alleen'. Door dat woordje alleen te vergeten.
Mijn enige troost is, dat ik niet mijn, maar Jezus Christus eigen ben, Die voor mijn zonden betaald heeft, en zo bewaart, dat alles tot mijn zaligheid dienen moet; waarom Hij mij ook door Zijn Heilige Geest van eeuwig leven verzekert, en Hem voortaan te leven van harte willig en bereid maakt.

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memento
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Re: Packer waters down righteousness by faith only

Berichtdoor memento » 09 Jun 2009, 01:39

De vraag, of wat Packer doet, gerechtvaardigd is, hangt af van je visie op de scheiding tussen kerk en staat, tussen kerk en politiek. Hanteer je een scheiding tussen kerk en staat, zoals in onze kringen breed geaccepteerd is, ook door bv de SGP, dan hou je het erop dat je bezigheden in de staat primair doel-gericht zijn, in plaats van verkondigings-gericht. Wie zijn doel kan realiseren, door samen te werken met de RK of met moslims, ligt principieel niets in de weg.

Wie echter principieel tégen een scheiding van kerk en staat is, zal problemen hebben met een samenwerking met Rome. M.i. terecht.

Helaas hebben veel mensen dit niet zuiver, waardoor ze enerzijds vol overtuiging SGP kunnen stemmen - een partij die scheiding kerk en staat niet problematisch vindt -, en anderzijds hebben ze moeite als een publieke partij samenwerkt met Rome.

De vraag is: Maakt het uit, als je je tegen abortus en euthanasie verzet, dat je medestanders niet in het sola fide geloven. Wie op die vraag ja zegt, krijgt in een seculiere maatschappij niets van de grond, en kan alleen nog maar evangeliseren...

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Bert Mulder
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Re: Packer waters down righteousness by faith only

Berichtdoor Bert Mulder » 09 Jun 2009, 14:54

However, Packer's work with ECT had NOTHING to do with anything of the state. It was (is) all about working together of churches, specifically Evangelicals together with Rome.

By the way, I am a proponent of the separation of church and state.

The SGP, however, is NOT a proponent for separation of church and state, as evidenced by the existence of the political party itself. They do, believe, however, that the state may not infringe on the sphere of the church, while they also believe that the state has to promote true religion, and that the church may advise the state, and 'interfere' as such with the state.
Mijn enige troost is, dat ik niet mijn, maar Jezus Christus eigen ben, Die voor mijn zonden betaald heeft, en zo bewaart, dat alles tot mijn zaligheid dienen moet; waarom Hij mij ook door Zijn Heilige Geest van eeuwig leven verzekert, en Hem voortaan te leven van harte willig en bereid maakt.

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memento
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Re: Packer waters down righteousness by faith only

Berichtdoor memento » 09 Jun 2009, 15:05

Bert Mulder schreef:However, Packer's work with ECT had NOTHING to do with anything of the state. It was (is) all about working together of churches, specifically Evangelicals together with Rome.

I thought the whole idea of that alliance was to form a barrier against secularisation...

Acting in the public domain has everything to do with the seperation of church and state. If you are a proponent of the separation of church and state, you accept that there is a common, neutral ground, the public domain, which is called in a broad term "state". In that common, neutral ground, where religious arguments don't matter, you can join with whoever has the same goals as you do, no matter what they belief. You act on neutral ground, on which the goals (flowing from specific religious beliefs) matter.

In my opinion you cannot have a separation of church and state, without acting belief-neutral on the common, neutral ground.

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Re: Packer waters down righteousness by faith only

Berichtdoor Bert Mulder » 09 Jun 2009, 17:41

memento schreef:
Bert Mulder schreef:However, Packer's work with ECT had NOTHING to do with anything of the state. It was (is) all about working together of churches, specifically Evangelicals together with Rome.

I thought the whole idea of that alliance was to form a barrier against secularisation...

Acting in the public domain has everything to do with the seperation of church and state. If you are a proponent of the separation of church and state, you accept that there is a common, neutral ground, the public domain, which is called in a broad term "state". In that common, neutral ground, where religious arguments don't matter, you can join with whoever has the same goals as you do, no matter what they belief. You act on neutral ground, on which the goals (flowing from specific religious beliefs) matter.

In my opinion you cannot have a separation of church and state, without acting belief-neutral on the common, neutral ground.


Seems that we have different concept of the separation of church and state.

What I mean by the terminology, is that both the church and the state have sovereignty in their own area of responsibility. The state may not interfere with matters of the church (inclusive of what happened in 1618 when the state ordered/allowed the church to hold a national synod). The church may not interfere with matters of state. This does not take away from the state the responsibility to obey BOTH tables of the law, as also that law applies to each individual person.

In that sense too, we have to live in the world, without being of the world. That does not mean that likeminded people may not form a party of the likeminded. That does mean, however, that a 'theocracy' is not a concept to be striving for.
Mijn enige troost is, dat ik niet mijn, maar Jezus Christus eigen ben, Die voor mijn zonden betaald heeft, en zo bewaart, dat alles tot mijn zaligheid dienen moet; waarom Hij mij ook door Zijn Heilige Geest van eeuwig leven verzekert, en Hem voortaan te leven van harte willig en bereid maakt.


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