Sunday, August 2, 2009

Getting The L Out Of Here. Part 5

Even though I spent many years with Calvinist beliefs it is unclear why Limited Atonement is needed in the mind of a Calvinist in order to have the Gospel. A dyed in the wool Calvinist as I was at one time will argue till the last breath that Jesus did not die for every person but rather only those who would believe. One of the verses that those who believe in Limited Atonement have attempted to hang their hats on is Matthew 25:13. The person will say “See Jesus does not even know the unbeliever!” Well lets paste that verse back into the context and see to whom that verse refers.

Matthew 25:1 “Then the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. 2 Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. 3 For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, 4 but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. 5 As the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and slept. 6 But at midnight there was a cry, ‘Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ 7 Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps. 8 And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ 9 But the wise answered, saying, ‘Since there will not be enough for us and for you, go rather to the dealers and buy for yourselves.’ 10 And while they were going to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was shut. 11 Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open to us.’ 12 But he answered, ‘Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.’ 13 Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.ESV

Notice that all 10 were invited to the wedding. Those who were foolish did not provide for the late arrival of the bridegroom not really believing he would come at any hour. The wise ones came prepared with extra oil for they believed he would come regardless of the hour. So the foolish were representing unbelievers who do not trust the promises of God to do what he says he will do. Placing that verse back into the context we see that it does not teach Limited Atonement at all. Parables are sayings of Jesus which admittedly are not clear at times. So we take clear passages to understand what is meant by the unclear.

We read in Ephesians 2:1 that we are dead in trespasses and sins. Dead not in the way that we are not breathing or moving about. Dead in this sense is being separated from God and his enemies. Those with faith later on in chapter 2:4-7 were made alive in Christ so we are seated in the heavenly places with him. Those who are outside of the faith are not seated with Christ and have no part of him. So the fact that he states he does not know them is explained by the fact of not being in Jesus. Those of us in Jesus are known and loved as sons and daughters of our Father. So yes it refers to those outside of Christ but in no way says they are outside of Jesus because he did not die for them.

So we see once again that Limited Atonement must be cooked up outside of scripture and in this passage once again read down on top of it to make scripture teach it. We should never seek to peer into the eternal decrees of God any further then he has given us scripture. Reason is a wonderful and needful thing to get through this fallen world. But it is a horrible practice to use it to try to figure out how God has ordered things.

By reason of the faith we are given we receive the benefits Jesus earned for us on the cross when he suffered the forsakenness of our Father in heaven for the sin of the world. What a horrible thing that is and so unnecessary for their sins were paid for by Jesus objectively but did not receive it by faith to their subjective justification.

Thank you Holy Spirit for the faith you have given us. Grant true repentance and faith to those we care for and others we do not know who are still outside of Jesus. Amen. †


Anonymous said...

I find this article to be developing several problems. First of all, this person seems to place this "power", for lack of a better term, at the feet of the individual. A clear analysis of the didactic (teaching) passages will not lead to such a overruling presupposition. Formulating a doctrine of synergism from a parable is a little bit of a hermeneutical stretch. I'd also like to state the obvious here - Matt 25 is not a discussion of the Atonement, so how we are arriving at the extent of the Atonement from here is rather hilarious.

Secondly, Ephesians 2 is being, again for lack of a better term, robbed of its meaning. As to how one arrives at spiritual death from Ephesians 2:1 (and for a similar reference, Colossians 2:13) meaning only a separation from God is again a presuppositional reading of the text. While sin does serve to separate us from God (Isaiah 59:2 for instance), I fail to see how this can apply to the word "νεκρους". Further, there are numerous Biblical passages which shed light on the teaching of man's total inability (i.e John 6:44, 65, 8:43-45, 10:24-26 and 12:37-41 to name but a few) so unless a case can be made with harmonizes all the texts, again we see an overruling presupposition rearing its head.

Thirdly, the bent of this author against the use of "reason" creates unnecessary and unharmonized exegetical problems which Scripture gives us an answer to. Before I proceed, a brief word about the place of reason. The author takes what I can only describe as a deistic perspective on reason. Reason is a creation of God - He gave us that faculty for the express purpose of glorifying Him. Is human reason tainted by the Fall? No debate about it - some of the wisest men happen to be the most evil. However, to make statements such as "it is a horrible practice to use it to try to figure out how God has ordered things" without qualifying that Christians possess the Spirit of God who can make use of reason to the glory of the Triune Godhead is once again reading an anthropological presupposition into the text of the Scriptures. Returning to my intended point, leaving things unharmonized and saying that this is a demonstration of the "high ways of God" is actually saying that God leaves loose ends and purposefully leads his people down the garden path. Also, in the above piece, where is the leading and guiding ministry of the Spirit in the interpretation of the Word here.

Fourth, the writers seems to infer a distinction between an "objective justification" and a "subjective justification". I appreciate that I am not the most learned of kids, but this seems to be begging the question of what is the distinction between objective and subjective justification and more importantly, how is this taught in the pages of Holy Writ? Further, is the author unaware that this point is actually disputed among those who profess to hold such views? Further still, if God has justified all men objectively, are they not justified or does this justification become effacious upon a free and willing receipt of the individual?

Over all, this "disputation" of limited atonement argues from misuse of Scripture, overarching presuppositions regarding the nature of man's inability and the use of terminology which obfuscates rather than clarifies the issue at hand.

Anonymous said...

You might want to read the following article by Dr. R. Scott Clark of Westminster Seminary -- California on this topic.

Anonymous said...

Hey Anonymous

You got all that out of this pretty straightforward comment on Limited Atonement? Rather than bluster about, why not just answer why you think Jesus did not die for you. Or is the atonement unlimited where you are concerned?

Anonymous said...

It is hardly straightforward. In fact, it is diffult to even follow the argument.

Anonymous said...

Hey Anonymous

You either think Jesus atoned for you, or you don't. Are you really making the argument that you've been left out?

Anonymous said...

Your question is innane because that is not the point of the article. The point of the article is to (apparently) argue against Limited Atonement -- though the article is badly wirtten and implores a number of logical fallacies.

Anonymous said...

Hey Anonymous

How much clearer can I be? If you hold to the idea of Limited Atonement, you were either atoned for or you weren't. Which is it, and how do you know you are excluded or included? I'm trying to bring this down to 'rubber meets the road' and get you away from the merely theoretical,to where you can see what the consequences are. So, once again: Prove to me that Christ died for you.

Douglas K. Adu-Boahen said...

Well, as the one who wrote that awfully long first response, let me answer first. I know that Christ's death has been appropriated to me for two very essential reasons.

1. I was a sinner, dead in trespasses and sins, and frankly I was loving every moment of it...until God, by His Spirit, regenerated me, brought me back to spiritual life, showed me the heinousness of my sin and the magnitude of the work of my loving Saviour.

2. On a more objective level, I have the testimony of Scripture that no man has the ability to come to the Son unless the Father draws Him, that drawing being an effectual work of God's Spirit unto His elect. The very fact that I am a Christian today is testimony to the definite nature of Christ's atonement.

Hope that is "rubber-meets-the-road" enough for you...

Anonymous said...

Hey anonymous

By the way, I'm not the author of the article.

So, the way you know, or imagine that you have been atoned for is: you felt something within. Maybe a brush of angel's wings. You're positive you haven't, with your fallen nature, deceived yourself? After all, don't the ones that Christ did not atone for often feel very much that they have been atoned for? How are you different than they? You posit that Jesus did not die for some, but what if you are in that grouping of ultimate goats? That doesn't terrify you? It would me. After all, you are relying on subjective experience.

Anonymous said...

Hey anonymous

Let me be perfectly clear. The only way you can objectively know that Jesus meant you when he said such things as, "Father, forgive them... This is my body given for you... etc," is to know that the you in the passage really means you, the one that hears the gospel, or reads the Word, or is baptized into Chrst. And you can't know that by mere subjective experience. Christ has reconciled the world. As part of the world, you have been reconciled; therefore, be reconciled!

Steve Martin said...

Christ certainly did die for the sins of the world (or the cross would have been in vain).

He forgives His murderers at the cross.

This forgiveness is accessed by faith, that is a gift from God, given through the hearing of the Word and in the Sacraments, when and where God wills.

That is Biblical, and I believe it.

Douglas K. Adu-Boahen said...

The assumption that subjective assurance is no assurance is laughable.

Romans 8:14 is one place among a myriad of texts I'd point to - how does one know they are led of the Spirit? There must definitely be a subjective level of assurance, as well as objective.

Anonymous said...


Oh you are going to feel the thin skin wrath of the TULIP religion big time for this one!

You are right to point out the biggest flaw, the Calvinist let the devil's mistress, reason, rule articles of faith which of necessity offend fallen human reason. By use of such reason men become logical gnostics in order to relieve the tension faith must remain in, especially when God appears to be your enemy. Only great faith can fly in the face of that - hence the sacraments are the great treasure. This is why Luther could say and rightly so, "The Sacrament IS the Gospel" and reject the enthusiasts (Rome and Reformed).

You'll get a lot of arguments on this but never forget there is absolutely NO middle ground between Luther and the Calvinist. This was the finding at Marburg and ALL the futility sense then to marry it back up simply refuses to see that its already been addressed. There's a reason Luther refused BUCER (Calvin's influence) the right hand of fellowship, denied his doctrine as Christian and of another spirit. It's why there is no ecumenical worship between the two and can never be, nor ever will be.

I was too once a Calvinist and this is also where they unhinge the sacraments and fling one back INTO one’s self for “am I saved or elect”. Calvinism is really - when all the fat is boiled down and all of the devices of their machine are reduced to fundamentals – nothing more than yet another form of Gnosticism and a monumental theology of glory. A Calvinist will die on the L – hill as long as its not him you are pressing the L against. The like to press the L outside of themselves to “those guys over there”, but they never allow their same theology to press themselves. If you want to catch them you say to them, “Look at that guy over there (point out some guy on the street), why don’t you as a Christian go and tell him, ‘Christ did not die for you’”. Then you expose the folly of their theology or at least open them up to consider what they are really putting their hope in? Is it really Jesus Christ or really that “I believe in Jesus Christ and here are the secondary fruits that prove that faith”. Fundamentally the question is is your assurance “Christ” or that “I believe in Christ” for there is a difference! It’s as simple as Luther saying, “he who baptizes based upon faith is an idolater”. He who places his assurance in “I believe in Christ” is an idolater.

Once you limit the atonement, you have to limit the Gospel and the Sacraments and whether one likes it or not are in fact preaching another gospel, albeit it looks damn like the real gospel and thus most deadly for that very reason.

The irony is that Calvin did not really believe any more in bondage of the will, per Luther, than did Arminious.

Calvinism is heterodoxy for a reason, which is why it warms up to such seemingly opposing groups on the Sacraments such as "pure" Reformed and "Reformed" baptist.


Anonymous said...

hey Anonymous Douglas

I've no quibble with having a reflexive faith, that is, a recognition that one does believe. However, to have faith in our own faith cannot justify us. It is Christ who justifies us. We have his promise, in word and sacrement. Faith is merely the hand that grasps the unalterable promises of the God that cannot lie. He has given himself to us; he has declared it. He has spoken, who can but hear? Our confidence rests in His word, and not in our sense of accomplishment in believing his word.

Behold the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sin of the world. On that word, I can safely know that he was sacrificed for my sin. I need have no doubt. All the screaming devils of hell can accuse me, but that does not change the reality that He died for me. Even in the moments that I entertain doubts in my heart, Jesus still has died for me.

An unlimited person hung on the cross, the atonement He achieved is sufficient to take away the sin of the whole world.

David Cochrane said...

Well Anon 1 is an unknown to me but Anon 2 has fessed up to his identity however, I had guessed his identity.

Anon 1 would you do us a favor and reveal your identity. I do not wish to respond to a person point by point who is ashamed of what he or she posts on other people's blogs. If you truly believe teach and confess what you post why be ashamed of it and post anonymously?

Doug, Thank you for responding to this post on Limited Atonement. Yes indeed before being made alive you and I were dead in trespasses and sin. When a person knows a definate time and place where his or her conversion took place then praise God. However, what of those who do not have this wow experience. I know many who were raised in the church and do not remember loving sin for they were taught what Jesus suffered for it. I have heard it said to those type of persons they need a conversion experience to know they have eternal life. Now these people confess on a regular basis that they are still by nature sinful and unclean and hear the Gospel on how that Jesus paid for their sin and for his sake all their sins are forgiven. 1 John 1:8-9.

Over time one can forget many of the surrounding circumstances of a conversion experience. I have heard others in this situation told that if were true conversion he would not forget those items. So there again we have the problem of being turned in on ourselves who are the problem to know if we are in Jesus.

Point 2. Yes indeed scripture. This scripture tells of the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. So yes from the witness of scripture which exists outside us we can know we have eternal life. And yes we cannot by our own reason and strength believe in Jesus our Lord and come to him. However, if Jesus did not take on the wrath of God for every sinner there is no way to tell if the debt is paid for objectively. All one is left with is a looking at his or her behavior, level of trust on a given day or some other item which takes his or her eyes off Jesus. Those eyes cannot be on Jesus if there is no way of knowing whether he was on the cross for this particular sinner.

Romans 8:14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. ESV

Yes! Amen! How objectively does one know he or she is Spirit led?

God's peace Doug. †

David Cochrane said...

St Stephen, Always a pleasure to have you drop by and comment. Word and Sacrament. Amen

St Larry, Yes this will tweak some of my reformed.

Yes reason is a grand gift from God but it is misplaced when used to inform scripture. I like to consider what reason does with the first chapter of Genesis for example. We have no experience in life upon which to base a reasoned argument for the truth of that account of creation. It is true non the less but that comes to us by faith and not our reason.

It is unclear if reason will not lead one to believe Genesis 1 why it would be of any use coming to understand the rest of the doctrines in scripture. I mean come on a sinless Man who was also God? Virgin birth? God dying on a cross when he seen fit to die? Resurrection? Appearing in a locked room? Ascension into heaven yet present with us? Quite unreasonable! But none the less true.

God's peace. †

Anonymous said...

Brother Saints Steve and David,

Be encouraged! Luther’s advice on the troubles of predestination as taught by the enthused, “am I elect”, are always most helpful. Because Luther understood the trial of the devil waging war against the saint. Luther would advise to tell the devil and his doctrine that I don’t care if I am elect or not, you Devil fly up into heaven and find this out, I am baptized. And if I am baptized I have the name and Word of God and the promise of both body and soul of eternal life, forgiveness of sins. Where there is actual forgiveness of sins GIVEN (in baptism, in the LS) there IS in fact eternal life. For eternal death, the second death is nothing less than wrath, hell and the Law ever accusing. The fear of death is death, this is the stinger Christ takes away. Without the stinger, the fear of death due to sin, death has no power whatsoever over the saint. And the stinger remover comes in the sacraments! Who gives one damn bit if men reject the sacrament, they rejected the Lord on the Cross, they will reject the sacraments…let God be true though every man a liar. Luther has the balm of Christ in the sacraments, the sword of the spirit against such flaming arrows from the devil.

Especially when God appears to all reason, logic and sensation to be the enemy, the greatest of anfechtung, trial, temptation and suffering! When this happen Calvin’s doctrine reveals its impotence. For he has no answer for this temptation sense the sacraments do not really and truly impart anything, namely rebirth, the true body and blood of Christ.

Luther recognized that all such inquiries are of Satan, and nothing really different from the first diabolic curse word of “hath God really said” by which the devil enthused (god-within-ness) Adam and Eve to go inward away from the external Word of God! E.g. every time a Baptist speaks against infant baptism it is fundamentally an enthused “hath God really said”, nothing less than the echo of the serpent’s first diabolic word against the external Word. Likewise, every time men deny the real and true presence of Christ’s body and blood in the bread and wine – it fundamentally is nothing different than the first malicious word of “hath God really said”. Because that’s what such is really saying. One says with Christ “this is…”, the other is saying, “did God really say that or rather this”. To this point Luther would say that it is so “by the virtue of the Word’s of institution as Christ spoke (God said). Bucer on the other hand would say “according to the meaning of the Word’s of institution” (hath God said). It’s subtle and sly, but kind of obvious too. Even Mormons approach Scripture that way, they will tell you to the question is the bible the word of God, “Sure, if interpreted correctly”.

Thus you can see how Luther did not divorce the Word from the Spirit but all others [and Luther all others for he included the Pope, the enthusiasts (which encompasses the Reformed) and Islam], do to greater and lesser degrees. Some by ex cathedra (the Pope), others by some inner movement of the “spirit” (many protestants), and yet others to the side or front or back of the word via reason (the more reason oriented folks).

Enthusiasm is often miss understood in our day as just the Pentecostals or more emotion or affection driven folks. But enthusiasm has more than one means. Affections are one way of enthusiasm. Straight out works righteousness is another. And yet another is reason herself whereby enthusiasm manifests itself. All break and tear the Spirit from the Word and Sacrament, or so they think and send one inward (god-inside-ness) to determine salvation. Where in reality the Word and Sacraments pull man out of that body of death.


Dr. Randall T. Phillips said...

I'm not a Calvinist (I'm a minister in the Evangelical Free Church of America), but I have a question?

Let me get this straight... it's FINE for a Lutheran to start "dividing up" Justification statements in the Bible ("this refers to objective Justification, and this refers to subjective Justification"), but for a Calvinist to distinguish between the indiscriminate offer and provision of the Atonement, and its efficacious intent--that's NOT FINE?

A rather double standard if I may say so myself...and I'm not a believer in limited atonement.

Anonymous said...

Part I

I think this may be helpful, because men use terms differently that is what is at issue like subjective versus objective justification. The Christian faith is in reality one tapestry of which if a single thread is altered at length it becomes useless. So it’s simply not enough to speak of the same words and syllables but what is meant behind each one and the whole picture drawn from these words. E.g. If one person defines a man as living, bodily, sentient, and rational and another as living, bodily, sentient we have two different beings being called “man”. So that when both see a man walk down a street and speak the mutually agreeable sentence, “The man walked down the street”, they are really not in agreement even though they say the same exact words. Why? For the key subject of the sentence, man, is not the same for both. Likewise one can have similar definitions for the essence of a thing but invert and/or normalize its concept within the whole to change the ENTIRE concept of a thing. We see this for example a lot in both the Roman and other protestant versions of subjective versus objective justification, and the concept of faith for that matter. E.g. both Calvin and Luther would say faith is required to receive what a sacrament gives. But for Calvin this faith is an otherwise work, for Luther it is given IN the sacrament itself. This is why for Calvin he cannot say that the unbeliever receives the body and blood of Christ. Without delving into that which would require another discussion at length, the principle issue is revealed. All who in some sense or another name and claim the name of “Christian” have grace as a concept within, but the false and heterodox eventually over throw it. Rome, will tell you that you are saved by grace but it is an infused power to eventually serve the Law and the back door entrance to works salvation. Subjective justification, for Luther, is not something one can self generate, it must come from the Gospel and by Gospel we mean a Gospel that comes utterly objective to the man in particular and says, “YOU are forgiven” (hence the Gospel in the sacraments). It’s not an “offer” awaiting your faith, the Gospel has faith attached to it. That’s why in absolution, baptism and the LS forgiveness is given in the particular TO and FOR YOU and not just generically, it is the delivery of the gifts of Christ. Faith against unbelief for Luther is, “Stop not believing YOU ARE forgiven”. And then it “dons” on you, and faith comes ROARING to life ex nihilo out of the Word of God (the Gospel is simply a “let there be light” ex nihilo). And it is necessarily in the particular, the pro me, the for you, otherwise one’s faith is simply historical; “I believe it is true all that Jesus is and did, I’m just not sure it was FOR ME”. Without the critical ‘for me’ there is no Gospel and the ‘for me’ comes in the Word in the particular and in the Sacraments in the particular: I/you hear absolution TO me/you, I/you am/are baptized, I/you eat/drink the body/blood of Jesus FOR the forgiveness/remission of sin. The Gospel IS absolution as Jesus said to the prostitute about to be stoned, “I forgive YOU your all your sins”, the Good News INDEED!

We see this principle of how a word or phrase is used for example in does the law serve the gospel or does the gospel serve the law? That seems simple but these differing arrangements eventually speak not of just a couple of ideas we can agree to disagree about but of two differing religions. There are only two religions in the world when all is said and done. Another example; do men reject Jesus’ real and true death for them, or merely a theoretical word game of an offer? Two different religions.


Anonymous said...

Part II finished:

It really boils down to orthodoxy versus heterodoxy. And orthodoxy being purely of the Cross will necessarily and is indeed commanded to reject and come out of any heterodoxy. Heterodoxies are necessary as Paul points out, heresies will arise from AMONG you to show who is approved. That is just as they say the facts of life.

Calvinist assume there is an indiscriminate offer and provision of the Atonement, and its efficacious intent. They assume, due to human reasoning, that there is a sufficient atonement versus an efficacious one and thus destroy the Gospel and end up with another gospel, good news for some of us. They assume that the sins of the world are not atoned for, although Calvin himself does not say this but the contrary. Calvin himself actually states that the sins of the world, entire world without exception, have been atoned for. He goes as far to say that in order that your sins not to be atoned for by Christ one would have to be removed from the world entirely! That’s probably a shock to most post Calvin “Calvinist”. Calvin in a lot of ways was closer to Luther than Calvinist after him where/are to Calvin himself!

The true bondage of the will lay in the old Adam’s rejection of grace for doing himself. In a nutshell the “doer” cannot and will not be an utter “beggar” or naked truster or receiver. For the “doer” to accept only a naked trust is the death of the “doer”, the old Adam’s crucifixion in Christ. Thus, the Gospel, it’s naked offence in its purest sense is the odor of death to Adam, and indeed it is! Contrary to this to the “naked truster” the Cross is the odor of life! Thus, the old Adam, “the doer”, finds the Gospel statement, “God may cause a man to do NO good works whatsoever to save his soul”, utterly incomprehensible because it is in fact a crucifying Word to him. The Gospel literally stinks to high heaven of death to the old Adam, the doer. And it literally is the sweetest odor of eternal life to the naked truster in Christ! And the naked truster, all that he does is good works as in the old Adam, the doer, all that he does is evil! This is fundamentally different between Luther and Calvinist (and Rome) and can never meet in the middle. Thus, the issues of the sacraments are not non-essential but utterly essential to the faith and what constitutes a true orthodox church versus a heterodox church. If one goes wrong with the sacraments one will necessarily go wrong with the rest of Scripture.


David Cochrane said...

Dr Phillips,

Due to the finite mind of man we do end up with double standards and inconsistant behaviours. The main objection to limited atonement has more to do with the peace that it robs from those who are in Jesus. These dear saint/sinners have nothing to look at to know they are in Jesus except for him crucified and risen.

For a system of Theology to teach those folk that he or she is unable to look to Jesus, the One lifted like the snake on a stick, robs those of the comfort of knowing they are died for. The only alternative when you have limited atonement is to point them back on themselves for proof. Terrifying indeed for we are the problem and hardly the solution.

Good concerns. God's peace. †

David Cochrane said...

Great post St Larry!

Julie said...

I have one question for you: Do you believe Calvinists are your brethren?

Anonymous said...

This always gets asked and it’s a good question. Before answer and I will answer a Calvinist or Baptist needs to consider in principle what they are really asking by asking themselves the same question in a way that makes THEM think. Because the way one views the sacraments, the Gospel and faith not only affects other doctrines but how one views others naming the name of Christ. That said the question to a Reformed or Baptistic or even Wesleyan would be, “Do you Do you believe Roman Catholics are your brethren?”

That does hit home does it not? As a former Baptist and then former Calvinist I know how that hits the ear and how the needle on the record playing music suddenly scratches across all the grooves making a noise!

The answer is bigger than this but this may help: there’s a difference between false, heretical and antichristic doctrine and teachers, and the believers within. There are certainly true and false Christians in any given group, both heterodox churches (false churches) and orthodox churches (true churches). So, yes I believe there are true brothers and sisters in these false churches, but the doctrine is antichristic such that the situation is this: They belong with us BECAUSE they are true Christians but due to the devil’s confusion and much false teaching many have been tricked. The teaching is condemned that is certain and Scripture speaks plenteously of this and of false teachers, and the same Scripture calls the believers OUT OF not to remain within. Yet many never do come out due to never seeing this issue. But we must for the sake of faith and love bear witness to those in heterodoxy not pretend that our faith (meaning the confessional part) is the same on essential issues like the sacraments. You must first realize that denominations are just another way of saying “confessions”. Once you realize that you realize why orthodoxy cannot mingle with heterodoxy in things of church and worship. And one must realize that when one confesses something it does two things not just one: (1) It positively confesses something as true and (2) It negatively condemns something that is false. There is no half-way or one, the positive only.


Anonymous said...


One example I tell my wife all the time (we were SB before moving to PCA then finally LCMS, and many in my wife’s family are in the SB ministry, so this was a big issue for us and no small deal). We just spoke of this the other night. When we had our children as babies baptized (God baptized them in truth), we were affirming what the God says concerning baptism and, second, condemning believers baptism, not affirming it. And when I say condemn I do mean that it is antichristic. And its not for Law but for the sake of the Gospel. For if we did not speak of this this way, shine the light of truth on it what are we saying to our children and ourselves regarding this sacrament? If we mingled the two doctrines as similar or of no consequences then we say that, “even though we say this is God’s Word, Will and name given you, even though we say it is God’s work and not man’s, even though we say upon baptism GOD called you personally via the pastor’s hand and mouth – it is really small potatoes and hence nothing since we affirm the DOCTRINE of believer’s baptism as equally true.” And thus poison the Gospel well and make it nothing to them and at length ourselves. That’s how the Gospel gets lost in all this, that crucial “for me”. It’s not a matter of Law but of Gospel! So I say plainly to my wife and children, believer’s baptism is antichristic, demonic and doctrine of Satan a “hath God really said”. I do not put a spoon of sugar in deadly poison and say, “Here my beloved family this sugar will help it go down and make it good”. No, I say plainly, “Poison, do not even touch it.” And an honestly godly person can do no less and should not do any less.

We do not attend nor will we ever attend a heterodox church again, not for any reason. Not even if they are the only church within a 1000 miles. For it is better not to and Scripture tells us not to, it tells us to flee from and come out of such.

I commend to you, do a google search its free in PDF form, a paper by Pieper entitled something like Heterodoxy and Orthodoxy or Heterodox Churches versus Orthodox Churches for a much fuller and enlightening explanation of this.

I hope that helps.