Doug Wilson on NT Wright

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fredtgreco

Vanilla Westminsterian
Staff member
I am just very curious why a minister who is very strong on issue of masculinity would be find such an effeminate, weasel-worded, non-committal person like Wright to be "extremely helpful."
 

saintandsinner77

Puritan Board Freshman
I wonder who Wilson finds more helpful in his understandings of Jesus and the Gospel- Calvin and Luther or NT Wright?

"For there must be also factions among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you." (1 Corinthians 11:19)
 

CharlieJ

Puritan Board Junior
I wonder if some posters on here are reacting negatively to Wilson because they already dislike Wilson. His assessment is virtually identical to what I received from professors at GPTS. Even people who have written books against Wright (Schreiner, Carson) have praised his work on Jesus and the Gospels.
 

TimV

Puritanboard Botanist
Charlie when he said that NT Wright is confused, or at least confusing about Paul, what's there to like? There's no confusion. The guy's a false teacher as even your denomination has pointed out. Wilson naturally gave the option "or is at least confusing" because that's the FV excuse "you just don't understand what we're saying".
 

fredtgreco

Vanilla Westminsterian
Staff member
I wonder if some posters on here are reacting negatively to Wilson because they already dislike Wilson. His assessment is virtually identical to what I received from professors at GPTS. Even people who have written books against Wright (Schreiner, Carson) have praised his work on Jesus and the Gospels.
I actually have more respect for Wilson than most on the PB. I think he has been very helpful on male/female issues. He is close friends with some close friends of mine.

But at the same time, I have no time for Wright. I think that people should quit trying to seem "gracious" to him and call him for what he is - a hyper-nuancing, vaciliating fool. (If you doubt that, watch the video where he denies the reality of hell) Ok, so he tangles with the Jesus Seminar. But really, is that where the threat to the gospel comes from? Does anyone listen to the Jesus Seminar anymore? Isn't it far more damaging to hear the "hero of the Gospels and Jesus" say that inerrancy is "an unimportant American question" or that "the Final Judgment view of the 'West' is not Biblical."
 

CharlieJ

Puritan Board Junior
Well, I don't agree with Wright's teaching. I also don't think that if someone believes what Wright believes he or she isn't a Christian. Wilson said he's "confused, muddled" and that he agrees more with Wright's critics than with Wright. When John Piper wrote The Future of Justification, he too said that Wright wasn't denying the gospel, but was confusing. I don't think that the FV has anything to do with this.
 

saintandsinner77

Puritan Board Freshman
I wonder if some posters on here are reacting negatively to Wilson because they already dislike Wilson. His assessment is virtually identical to what I received from professors at GPTS. Even people who have written books against Wright (Schreiner, Carson) have praised his work on Jesus and the Gospels.
My reaction has nothing to do with Wilson's personality- I don't know him, nor have I ever met him, so I don't know how he is like as a person- for all I know, he may be a great guy, a wonderful friend, and good father and husband. All that is besides the point- the point is that nothing NT Wright says will improved on what our reformed forefathers have already wrote and preached on concerning our Lord and the gospels. So, why do professors and Wilson heap praises on NT Wright and feel that his work is so groundbreaking (considering all the controversy involved) as though there were something new under the sun with regards to understanding the gospels? Were the reformed theologians of the 16th, 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries not as enlightened as NT Wright on the gospels? What did our reformed forefathers miss that NT Wright gets right on the gospels?
 

CIT

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Reading Pipers' The Future of Justification is confusing. :lol:

Wright reminds me of DMX (bet you did not see that comparison coming). DMX has come out with a Gospel album, but that does not mean that I need to go buy his discography. Just because Wright might say some interesting things at times does not mean that we need to buy everything he wrote and see what other goodies he has.
 

Contra_Mundum

Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
I think we can say this: NTW is a brilliant man, but he has no one around him. He is not a tree in a forest, but a lone tree on a hill. He occupies the strange place where he fits neither the liberal crowd, nor the confessional. He is something of a conservative, as the evangelicals all slide toward liberalism. Hence, he appeals to quite a few of them, while maintaining cred with the liberalized academy.

There are new points to be made/discovered in theology over time. Probably not "totally new" but newly helpful. NTW probably has found a few of them, as brilliant men will.

But I haven't seen anyone in the "conservative" crowd who has really been able to convince him of any actual errors, or need to rethink any of his "insights." He reads Scripture in a vacuum. He sees many things that the liberals have missed, but often speaks as though no one ever saw anything like what he's seen before. He's admitted to virtually no acquaintance with historic Confessional theology. So, he acts as though no one saw anything like his insights until now. He accepts a version of Reformed theology as mediated through his liberal acquaintances and professors. He gets into no "conversations" with scholars of the past or present who might actually have thought long in his field, and avoided pitfalls of denying vital Articles of Faith.

Will he ever need a book of "retractions" like Augustin? Not if he never has to reevaluate in the meanwhile.
 

Jack K

Puritan Board Professor
Okay, I watched the video. It seemed to me that Wilson was being rightly critical of Wright ("confused and confusing about Paul") while trying to still be gracious and appreciative where possible (helpful insights about the gospels). I'm glad Wilson seems to disagree with the New Perspective, as he should. And I won't blame him for being gracious and appreciative where possible. This would be a charitable thing even when commenting on a completely godless writer.

I think Charlie is onto something. If we were to see this video and not know it came from Wilson, we might not be so inclined to criticize it. In fact, if someone were to stick a camera in my face and ask me about Wright, I might say something similar. We need to be careful to limit our criticisms to the particular points that deserve criticism (and yes, there are plenty here), and not look for fault everywhere just because a certain person's name comes up.
 

saintandsinner77

Puritan Board Freshman
For my brothers here who believe the work of NT Wright should be treated with civility and respect, perhaps you need to reread NT Wright's "brilliant," "groundbreaking," "new points" which actually redefine what the Bible, Calvin, and Luther teach concerning justification:

“‘Justification’ in the first century was not about how someone might establish a relationship with God. It was about God’s eschatological definition, both future and present, of who was, in fact, a member of his people. In Sanders’ terms, it was not so much about ‘getting in,’ or indeed about ‘staying in,’ as about ‘how you could tell who was in.’ In standard Christian theological language, it wasn’t so much about soteriology as about ecclesiology; not so much about salvation as about the church.” Wright, N.T. What Saint Paul Really Said. Was Paul of Tarsus the Real founder of Christianity? (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1997), p. 119.

“Despite a long tradition to the contrary, the problem Paul addresses in Galatians is not the question of how precisely someone becomes a Christian, or attains to a relationship with God ... On anyone’s reading, but especially within its first-century context, it [i.e., the problem] has to do quite obviously with the question of how you define the people of God: are they to be defined by the badges of Jewish race, or in some other way?" (p.120)

“What Paul means by justification, in this context, should therefore be clear. It is not ‘how you become a Christian,’ so much as ‘how you can tell who is a member of the covenant family.’” (p.122)
 

saintandsinner77

Puritan Board Freshman
A lot of reformed folks respect the good bishop who plays games with the doctrine that many of our ancestors suffered and died for...wow...scholarship often bedazzles...

Q. 33. What is justification?
A. Justification is an act of God’s free grace,[91] wherein he pardoneth all our sins,[92] and accepteth us as righteous in His sight,[93] only for the righteousness of Christ imputed to us,[94] and received by faith alone.[95]

[91] Romans 3:24. Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.

[93] 2 Corinthians 5:21. For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

[93] 2 Corinthians 5:21. For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

[94] Romans 4:6, 11. Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works.... And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised: that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed unto them also: Romans 5:19. For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.

[95] Galatians 2:16. Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.
 

jogri17

Puritan Board Junior
I have read Wright. And He is wrong on justification. Hands down. But he is not 100% wrong on everything he has written on. In any case, you can call him an heretic, wrong, a false teacher, etc... fine. But saying ''effeminate, weasel-worded, non-committal person'' is over the stop in my opinion. I do hope you choose your own words more carefully.
 

TimV

Puritanboard Botanist
But he is not 100% wrong on everything he has written on.
Neither was Buddha or Mohammad. But that's kind of beside the point, nor does it make much sense. I can only guess you haven't read him broadly. I spent a month on a "What Wright Said" forum and I read reams of things he has written on everything, and after the 200th "the rainforests are being cut down for the needs of Empire" and "yes, a few people like Hitler of their own free will can lose the Imago Dei" then I can tell you that any educated Calvinist who actually has read Wright would end up finding Pastor G's assessment correct.
 

jayce475

Puritan Board Freshman
I have read Wright. And He is wrong on justification. Hands down. But he is not 100% wrong on everything he has written on. In any case, you can call him an heretic, wrong, a false teacher, etc... fine. But saying ''effeminate, weasel-worded, non-committal person'' is over the stop in my opinion. I do hope you choose your own words more carefully.
Being effeminate, weasel-worded and non-committal is worse than being a heretic? I get what you're saying, but I think a typical Christian would detest being called a heretic at least a wee bit more.
 

saintandsinner77

Puritan Board Freshman
Is that how Paul treated people who denied justification- "Well I think you are wrong on justification, but you did get some things right." No, he said,

Gal.1
[8] But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.

You can find a jewel in a garbage dump, but that doesn't make the dump a jewelry store- sure NT Wright is right about Jesus' Deity and Resurrection and some other things, but if he denies justification by faith alone as taught in the NT, he is a false teacher and a heretic and should be called such, not praised for getting some things right.

The reason there aren't stronger, more passionate polemics against NT Wrights perversion of justification is that people do not love the truth as they should- may God give us more Luthers who aren't afraid to passionately defend the truth and rebuke false teachers!
 

Philip

Puritan Board Graduate
but if he denies justification by faith alone as taught in the NT, he is a false teacher and a heretic and should be called such
What Christological error has Wright committed that he deserves to be called "heretic" given that the term only properly applies to individuals like Arius or Dioscorus, or Appolinarius, who taught false doctrines concerning the incarnation and the trinity?

Heterodox? Mistaken? Yes, but then so are many others who I find useful, such as Thomas Aquinas, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, or C.S. Lewis. Indeed, all of the great Church fathers made errors concerning justification and even (more fundamentally) atonement. The trouble with Wright is his inability to see the consequence of his Christology: why did God have to become man? What is Jesus accomplishing? All that Anselm and Luther do is to flesh out the Christology which the early church developed in its reflection on the New Testament and the significance of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.

Part of the trouble I have with Wright's work on Paul (and, sad to say, the Reformed response to it) is that he really leaves Jesus out of it, whereas Paul is trying to get the church to see Jesus better. Paul himself would have scratched his head, saying, "why all the emphasis on me? This is about Jesus."
 

saintandsinner77

Puritan Board Freshman
but if he denies justification by faith alone as taught in the NT, he is a false teacher and a heretic and should be called such
What Christological error has Wright committed that he deserves to be called "heretic" given that the term only properly applies to individuals like Arius or Dioscorus, or Appolinarius, who taught false doctrines concerning the incarnation and the trinity?

Heterodox? Mistaken? Yes, but then so are many others who I find useful, such as Thomas Aquinas, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, or C.S. Lewis. Indeed, all of the great Church fathers made errors concerning justification and even (more fundamentally) atonement. The trouble with Wright is his inability to see the consequence of his Christology: why did God have to become man? What is Jesus accomplishing? All that Anselm and Luther do is to flesh out the Christology which the early church developed in its reflection on the New Testament and the significance of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.

Part of the trouble I have with Wright's work on Paul (and, sad to say, the Reformed response to it) is that he really leaves Jesus out of it, whereas Paul is trying to get the church to see Jesus better. Paul himself would have scratched his head, saying, "why all the emphasis on me? This is about Jesus."
Philip,

I did not say that NT Wright is making Christological errors per se, but rather he is making a serious error on justification. Roman Catholics get Jesus' Deity right, but they clearly deny justification by faith alone. They anathematized the reformers due to their Scriptural understanding of justification. You don't have to deny the Deity of Christ to be a heretic- a person is a heretic if they deny ANY of the essentials of the Christian faith, which includes justification. Reread the quotes above of NT Wright and compare with the Westminster Shorter Catehism with Scriptural proofs on justification- NT Wright contradicts the NT and also Jesus. Jesus spoke of the man who went down to his house justified, declared righteous, as he confessed his guilt and sin and cried out for mercy, only trusting in the Lord. That was individual salvation- the sinful Galatians were individually justified by faith alone just as every other individual believer throughout time.

Do you not believe that justification is the doctrine is essential to the Christian faith or do you consider it a secondary issue? Our spiritual ancestors considered it a damnable heresy (as Paul did) to distort and pervert justification and so should we.

"Justification is the main hinge on which salvation turns." -John Calvin

"Any church which puts in the place of justification by faith in Christ another method of salvation is a harlot church." -Charles Spurgeon

"Whoever departs from the article of justification does not know God and is an idolater . . . For when this article has been taken away, nothing remains but error, hypocrisy, godlessness, and idolatry, although it may seem to be the height of truth, worship of God, holiness, etc." -Luther

"If the article of justification is lost, all Christian doctrine is lost at the same time. And all the people in the world who do not hold to this justification are either Jews or Turks or papists or heretics; for there is no middle ground between these two righteousness: the active one of the Law and the passive one which comes from Christ. Therefore the man who strays from Christian righteousness must relapse into the active one, that is, since he has lost Christ, he must put his confidence in his own works."-Luther
 

Peairtach

Puritan Board Doctor
Reformed folks have got insights before from men like Barth. But it doesn't change the fact that they should be identified as dangerously heterodox.

These men can be more dangerous than ones from whom no good or useful thing can be gleaned, especially depending on the individual who is reading/studying their work.
 

Philip

Puritan Board Graduate
I did not say that NT Wright is making Christological errors per se
Then he's not a heretic because he's within the bounds of the creeds. He may be inconsistent and heterodox, but he's not a heretic. The gospel is not the doctrine of faith alone, but the doctrine of Jesus, the God-man, crucified for sin and resurrected and now either to be accepted or rejected.

That said, unless justification is by grace alone through faith alone, the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ has no point except moral influence, which will (if followed consistently) lead to the denial of those doctrines as well as doubt about the person of Christ (indeed, this was Anselm's reasoning in Cur Deus Homo) so you're half-right that if Wright, RCs, etc were to follow their own reasoning consistently, they would end up as full-blown heretics. Thankfully, we believe in a God who is able to save us even from consistency.

Do you not believe that justification is the doctrine is essential to the Christian faith
No, I would say that the doctrine of Christ as the God-man who died and was raised. Further, I would say that the doctrine of atonement is far more fundamental than that of sola fide, indeed justification by faith alone would be meaningless without those I have mentioned. Indeed, Paul talks far more about the atonement and the incarnation than he does about justification by faith alone. That's not to downplay the importance of the doctrine, just to point out that sola fide is the logical outworking of these two doctrines, and is therefore less fundamental. Indeed, I have known some (mostly RCs) who, while outwardly denying the doctrine, actually practiced it.

Indeed, the RCC and others like them may well be harlot churches, but let us also remember that those are exactly the sorts of people that God loves to return to himself. If I think for a moment that I have all my theological ducks in order and that that somehow makes me all right, how am I any better than the pharisees? The pharisees loved good, proper, orthodox doctrine. When I read the stories of Jesus and the pharisees, I realize that I'm the pharisee. I need to go down on my knees and repent, saying, "Lord, NT Wright doesn't have it right, but then again neither do I. Thank you for redeeming me in spite of all the ways in which I have misinterpreted your word." Remember that what the doctrine of faith alone means is that no one was ever saved by believing sola fide: you are saved by believing in Christ. If, in your analysis of NTW, you aren't constantly pointing back to the cross and the fact that Jesus, who was God and man, died to save sinners.

And this is precisely where NTW goes wrong: he fails to apply his own very good theology regarding the death and resurrection of Christ the God-man to the subject of justification. It's no lack of orthodoxy, but a lack of orthodoxy consistently applied, an accusation that condemns all of us, Catholic and Protestant alike.

Thankfully we serve a savior who died to save us from our own lack of consistent orthodoxy.
 

saintandsinner77

Puritan Board Freshman
Philip,

So, you say NT Wright is in the bounds of the creeds as you understand them, but he is not within the bounds of the teaching on justification by faith alone as taught by Jesus and Paul. Creeds are subject and subordinate to the Bible. You cannot affirm the creeds, but then turn around and deny justification by faith alone in Christ alone and escape the charge of heretic. You seem to want to separate the gospel from how the gospel is applied (by grace alone through faith alone).

The Bible does not give us the freedom to speak of Christ, the God-Man dying for sinners, being raised form the dead, but come up with our own ways as far as how that gospel is applied. It is applied in one way alone- by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone- if a person doesn't come to God through that way, he/she will end up in the lake of fire.

The New Testament places Christ and justification in the same context- interesting, how it occurs in the book wherein people were perverting justification:

Gal.5
[4] Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.

Gal.3
[24] Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.

Gal.2
[16] Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.

No one is claiming to have all their theological ducks in order on everything, but a person better have them in order when it comes to how a person is saved from their sins. Interesting you mention the pharisees- for it is the pharisees who actually blended faith and works in their attempts to be justified, and Jesus said that it was the sinner who by faith alone cried out to God for mercy is the one who went home justified. The choice I see is Jesus, Paul, and the Reformers on the side or the Roman Catholic church, NT Wright, and the Federal Vision on the other.

Luke 18
[10] Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.
[11] The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.
[12] I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.
[13] And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.
[14] I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.
 

Philip

Puritan Board Graduate
It is applied in one way alone- by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone- if a person doesn't come to God through that way, he/she will end up in the lake of fire.
Fair enough---that doesn't necessarily mean that this person believed in sola fide. We are saved by believing in Christ. We are not saved by believing in sola fide.

You cannot affirm the creeds, but then turn around and deny justification by faith alone in Christ alone and escape the charge of heretic. You seem to want to separate the gospel from how the gospel is applied (by grace alone through faith alone).
So were Athanasius, Cyril, and Gregory of Nazianzus heretics then? I don't think they would even have recognized the question you're asking.

Look, I'm not even suggesting that the reformers are wrong on this point. Obviously we are saved by faith. However, let's also not go throwing the "heretic" label around in such a cavalier manner. The debate should be clear enough without the rhetoric. If the Reformed view on Paul is correct (and we both know that it is) then a plain reading of the text in its original context should reveal it. We need to expose Wright's double standard in reading the Gospels one way and Paul another. Nail him down, make him clear up his own muddle, but don't go throwing around labels---it just serves to make the issues foggy.

I realize that Luther uses quite a bit of rhetoric, but that's no excuse for us to be uncivil. If we are to offend, let it be with the Gospel, not in playing the "heretic" card at every turn.

No one is claiming to have all their theological ducks in order on everything, but a person better have them in order when it comes to how a person is saved from their sins.
A person is saved from sin by Christ who delivered us and defeated sin, death, and the devil in His death and resurrection. That's the answer of the early church and it's our answer too.
 

saintandsinner77

Puritan Board Freshman
Philip,

True, we are not saved by believing in sola fide, but a person who does trust in Christ alone for salvation, will not reject sola fide. It would be inconceivable that a regenerate person who was convicted about their sin, knowing that they were completely bankrupt, then cried out to the Lord for mercy and forgiveness, knowing that they brought nothing to God and in no way could be made right with God because of their covenant membership, baptism, good works, etc only to turn around and say, "well I don't really believe that I was right with God simply by trusting in Christ alone."

Church fathers do not determine whether the doctrine of sola fide is true or not, the Bible does. But since you brought up the church fathers, I'll give a couple quotes:

Clement (80-140 A.D.): So all of them received honor and greatness, not through themselves or their own deeds or the right things they did, but through his will. And we, therefore, who by his will have been called in Jesus Christ, are not justified of ourselves or by our wisdom or insight of religious devotion or the holy deeds we have done from the heart, but by that faith by which almighty God has justified all men from the very beginning. To him be glory forever and ever. Amen. (Clement, Clement's First Letter, 32.3-4)

Justin Martyr (100-65 A.D.): No longer by the blood of goats and of sheep, or by the ashes of a heifer . . . are sins purged, but by faith, through the blood of Christ and his death, who died on this very account.

Does calling people "heretic" show incivility? Then why does the apostle Paul seem to have no problem naming names and using the word 'heretic?'

Titus 3:
[10] A man that is a heretic after the first and second admonition reject (For Titus to reject a false teacher, he has to be able to identify him as a heretic)

1 Timothy
[19] Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck:
[20] Of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme.

What? The apostle Paul openly writing about someone making shipwreck of the faith and they have been delivered to Satan?

You say we are saved from sin by Christ brother- well and good- but Roman Catholics believe that too which begets the question- how is it accomplished? By grace alone through faith alone? By grace alone through "covenant faithfulness?" By grace alone through faith and obedience to the RCC?
 

Jack K

Puritan Board Professor
For my brothers here who believe the work of NT Wright should be treated with civility and respect, perhaps you need to reread NT Wright's "brilliant," "groundbreaking," "new points" which actually redefine what the Bible, Calvin, and Luther teach concerning justification:
I don't think you meant it this way. But let me say how this comes off sounding to me. Maybe that'll help you see my point.

Your comment sounds to me like you're saying the Christian way to conduct debate with those who are wrong is to make sure we do it in a manner that is uncivil and disrespectful. It sounds like you're saying that if a person is wrong, then it is good for us to be uncivil toward them. When we debate them, we ought to also openly disrespect them.

Really? I'm inclined to say the Christian approach should be just the opposite. I'd say we're able to debate important points forcefully because our tone is civil and respectful. The issue of justification is very important. This is exactly why we need to take extra care that we never let that issue get lost because we've sloppily attacked the person instead. As much as possible, we should strive to be civil and respectful toward all men, as fellow image-bearers of God, so that we may sharply defend the truth without getting sidetracked or having our message lost in a disrespectful tone.

This is not a defense of Wright. It's plea for respect and civility. Is it really your position that respect and civility are bad?
 

Scott1

Puritanboard Commissioner
Reformed folks have got insights before from men like Barth. But it doesn't change the fact that they should be identified as dangerously heterodox.

These men can be more dangerous than ones from whom no good or useful thing can be gleaned, especially depending on the individual who is reading/studying their work.
Yes.

The difficulty is that both men have become highly visible representatives of serious error.

They may be right on some things, even helpful on some things, yet in reformed theology, we know that major doctrines relate to other doctrines. They affect them.

It is harmful to Christ's body, the church, to have serious error promoted by those who would profess to be its leaders- and who remain openly defiant toward church authority, and the accountability God has placed, that speaks to their error.
 

Philip

Puritan Board Graduate
It would be inconceivable that a regenerate person who was convicted about their sin, knowing that they were completely bankrupt, then cried out to the Lord for mercy and forgiveness, knowing that they brought nothing to God and in no way could be made right with God because of their covenant membership, baptism, good works, etc only to turn around and say, "well I don't really believe that I was right with God simply by trusting in Christ alone."
Funny, I can conceive of it. Remember that we're all at different stages of sanctification, none of us is all right yet. Part of the confusion could be the classic confusion over the ordo salutis where sanctification gets lumped in with justification. What can be particularly confusing are when Paul says things like "for us who are being saved" or "that the man of God may be perfect." These verses, if not properly balanced with Paul's other teachings, could lead one to lump the two together.

Does calling people "heretic" show incivility? Then why does the apostle Paul seem to have no problem naming names and using the word 'heretic?'
Are you the apostle Paul?

You say we are saved from sin by Christ brother- well and good- but Roman Catholics believe that too which begets the question- how is it accomplished?
Through His death on the cross and His resurrection. Your question has to do not with how justification is accomplished, but how we receive it. And again, if it is accomplished by Christ in His sacrifice, then its reception by faith alone follows naturally. Any account of soteriology that does not begin with Christology is in danger. And this is an error that the RCC has certainly made, but protestants are also susceptible to it. Again, the problem is not heresy but inconsistent orthodoxy. The reformed view of soteriology is not, as some would have it, merely Pauline: it is Christological. Christology is the foundation upon which all of our doctrine should be built.
 

saintandsinner77

Puritan Board Freshman
Philip,

You stated, "Remember that we're all at different stages of sanctification, none of us is all right yet." But we are speaking about justification and how one is made a child of God, how one becomes a member of the kingdom of God and the Bible is clear that the only way in which salvation is received is by faith alone. If a person gets that wrong, they get salvation wrong. To allude to the already/not yet distinction is irrelevant when speaking of justification- there is no "final justification" although there is a final vindication. "Initial justification," is a Roman Catholic. "Having been justified (past tense) by faith, we have peace with God," Paul wrote.

No, I am not the apostle Paul, but Paul said, "follow me as I follow Christ" (1 Corinthians 11:1). I have an unbelieving brother who is Eastern Orthodox and whenever I quote something Jesus or Paul said, I am told, "well you can't say that because you are not Jesus or Paul." So then, even though we are supposed to be imitators of Christ and Paul, we are not supposed to speak out against false teachers as they did? So follow them in the way they lived, but don't say things they said?

You also said, "Your question has to do not with how justification is accomplished, but how we receive it. And again, if it is accomplished by Christ in His sacrifice, then its reception by faith alone follows naturally. Any account of soteriology that does not begin with Christology is in danger."

Yes, I agree with this, so then, if it folllows naturally, why would be be civil towards a view that is unnatural like that of NT Wright, which flatly denies the Biblical teaching. Should we apologize for the Reformation? So did all of those believers who made a fuss about justification by faith alone in Christ alone and who underwent persecution and anathemas by the RCC do so in vain? Should they have had the opinon of "well we are all at different levels of sanctification so none of us are going to be totally right on justification- we shouldn't be so hard against the RCC since they are baptized and have an orthodox Christology."

Yes, Christ is the beginning, the center, and the goal, it is not I, but Christ- so if we have a reverence for our Lord and Savior and would always begin with Him, why would we then not love his teaching on justification (Luke 18) and hate the teaching that perverts it? Does it do honor to Christ to teach another way of justification other than by grace alone through faith alone?
 
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