Saturday, December 12, 2009
I have not been over to James White’s AOMIN site in awhile; so, while sipping my freshly brewed (and ground) Italian roast coffee, I thought I would take a peek.
It comes as no surprise that James is using the “Manhattan Declaration” as a platform for his anti-Catholic polemics. In his 12-10-09 thread, Sproul, Colson, and You, on the Manhattan Declaration, his polemic begins with a sweeping charge leveled at Chuck Colson:
Once again we see that for Charles Colson, the gospel is no longer a part of "the faith" that he refuses to compromise. That is, "the faith" has been boiled down to a skeleton of basic beliefs (Trinity, resurrection) that can unite varied and disparate religious traditions into one big (and politically powerful) group. This Least Common Denominator (LCD) form of "Christianity" is what is needed, evidently, to "revitalize the church in America." I cannot help but shake my head in disbelief as someone promotes a gospel-less Christianity and says this is what the church needs to be "revitalized" today. But it is truly a matter for deep concern that Mr. Colson believes this document is a "form of catechism for the foundational truths of the faith." How can this gospel-less document be a catechism for anything other than cultural Christianity?
IMO, James has completely missed the nature/focus of MD: it is primarily a cultural, societal, political document; yet with that said, this does not make it “gospel-less”. Note the following from St. Paul’s pen (written under inspiration):
But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully; Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine; According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust. (1 Tim. 1:8-11.)
James then made this statement:
Without the gospel, you cannot change hearts and minds.
Amen!!! But what is “the gospel”? My threads on JUSTIFICATION and SOTERIOLOGY raise some serious concerns as to whether or not James really understands what “the gospel” is.
Further, if one grants to James that his understanding of “the gospel” is without error, one then cannot ignore the many questions which have been brought to light in MATTHEW HECKEL’S ESSAY, “Is R.C. Sproul Wrong About About Luther? An Analysis of R.C. Sproul’s Faith Alone: The Evangelical Doctrine of Justification with Respect to Augustine, Luther, Calvin, and Catholic Luther Scholarship.”
And lastly, James’ statement is a bit confusing, for James is a 5-point Calvinist. Is it not the Calvinist teaching that an unregenerate heart cannot accept/respond to “the gospel”; that God regenerates the heart so that one can/will accept/embrace “the gospel”?
Grace and peace,