Friday, December 04, 2009

J.I. Packer and further compromise

Dave Doran (Senior Pastor of Inter-City Baptist Church and the President of Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary) has recently read J.I. Packer's afterword in the second edition of his book Rediscovering Holiness, in which Packer endorses the Roman Catholic Mother Theresa as a true Christian, an action which is very very disappointing to say the least (though not surprising). As he has said,

To cut to the chase, Packer wants to address the “problem of felt abandonment by God, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, within the frame of full commitment to God: in other words, the desolation and seeming desertion of the deeply devoted” (italics original, p. 249), and he believes that Teresa’s struggles can be helpful for all of us—even to the point of thanking God “for Mother Teresa’s example, which points the way ahead for us all” (p. 263). In case you are unaware of her struggles [sic], Packer informs us that “after two decades of constant joyful intimacy with Christ, from 1948 on—that is, for 49 years, during the whole time of her leadership of the Missionaries of Charity — felt abandonment was the essence of her experience. Behind all the cheerful, upbeat, encouraging, Christ-honoring utterances that flowed from her during these years in a steady stream lay the permanently painful sense that, quite simply, God had gone, leaving her in aching loneliness, apparently for all eternity” (p. 250).

Packer bases the entire afterword on the premise that Teresa is a genuine believer, in spite of her devotion to Roman Catholic teachings. Packer tries to explain how she could experience such darkness and begins by explaining away several options:

  • “This was not an experience of doubt …. She was always sure of the historic Christian faith and of the grace that flows from Jesus, particularly as she believed through the Mass; she had no doubt about the administrative procedures of the pre-Vatican II Catholic Church; she had absolute confidence in the love of the Lord Jesus for herself and for everyone else, including the poorest of the Indian poor, whom Hindu society wrote off as valueless; she was totally convinced that she was called to take the love of Christ to them; and she was ever a human dynamo in furthering this project” (p. 261).
  • It was not “passing through the dark night of the soul as Catholic tradition conceives it; for that darkness, however similar while it lasts to Teresa’s, is temporary, leading on to experiential union with God, whereas Teresa by her own testimony had known experiential union with Christ in particular for 20 years before the pain of inner darkness became her permanent condition” (p. 261).
  • “Nor, again, was she undergoing an experience of detection, God sending her pain to alert her to issues of repentance and obedience that she had evaded. Quite apart from the fact that the inner darkness spanned her whole half-century of leadership, it is safe to say that there were no problems of that kind in Teresa’s life” (p. 261).

This is so mind-boggling that I am not sure where to start. How Packer can conclude any of this is beyond my ability to understand—he is prepared to look into her soul and assure us that she had no doubt, that she truly experienced union with God, and that she had no problems with repentance or obedience? I know Packer is much more intelligent than I am, but I don’t think even he can see inside a soul with such clarity.

And his conclusions fly in face of sound theology. How can she not have doubt when her salvation is based on the administration of the Mass rather than the finished work of Christ? I’ve seen no evidence that Teresa believed the gospel of grace and significant evidence from her own words that would suggest that she didn’t. Packer seems to ignore the possibility that her devotion to Jesus was not gospel-based, or that it might not have even been the Jesus of whom Paul preached (cf. 2 Cor 11:4).

Another day of compromise in the world of New Evangelical Latitudinarianism. Is it any wonder that the Church is in such dire straits, when defence of the faith is frowned upon and ungodly ecumenism lauded by Christian leaders? The majority of such leaders would not be tolerated during the Reformation and early Post-Reformation era, not to mention the early apostolic and post-apostolic Church either who fought heresy regularly (as seen in the Christological controversies during that period).

[HT: Christian Research Network]


Daniel said...

Why can't Mother Teresa be a genuine believer? The thief on the cross was a genuine believer, having scarce theology and not much more than faith. Apollos with his incomplete teachings was a genuine believer.

Do only we Calvinists join God in heaven?

Daniel C said...


are you seriously saying that Mother Theresa had a deathbed conversion? If so, who shared with her the Gospel? Since she was steeped in Roman Catholicism, then her confessing the true Gospel must include a repudiation of Rome and her false "gospel" of [faith-and-] works-righteousness.

The examples of the thief and Apollos are not valid. People can be saved with little theology, but nobody can be saved with wrong theology. For the thief who knows little, salvation is easy. For those steeped in error like Roman Catholics, salvation must come with renouncing their [former] errors as the visible manifestation of true faith - in rejecting false religion.

Daniel said...

If a man of a Buddhist background, steeped in Buddhist practices and habits professes faith, but because of his background finds it hard to shake the allure of righteousness by works, is he truly saved?

I believe an incomplete gospel, a "brief" gospel and what you name a "false gospel" are the same. It is ridiculous to imagine that one would need perfect theology in every concievable area to enter heaven. That's what grace is for.

Demanding perfect and complete theology before salvation is a second-level righteousness by works.

I have not renounced all my former errors - I am so weak and blind as to barely be able to see them at all, save by grace. If I must actually deal with all my sinful ways before being fit for God, then I'm sure I'll see you in hell.

I know many professing Catholics who confess that it is by Jesus' blood alone that they are fit for God's presence. They are RC but are not constrained by a gos[el of works. Are they condemned because they are under Rome?

Do you have a laundry list of renouncements for each and every faith that every person must avow before being saved?

Do not be deceived - the RC is no more steeped in error than you or I were before we had Christ. The Muslim, the pagan, the Buddhist, the materialist, hedonist, free thinker, false Christian, satanist, Taoist, and Hindu are all exactly as separated from God as anyone can be.

Daniel C said...

>I believe an incomplete gospel, a "brief" gospel and what you name a "false gospel" are the same.

No, they are not. Otherwise Paul was being inconsistent in accepting that Apollos was saved while condemning the Judaizers in Galatians as being unsaved. Salvation is by faith alone, yes, but faith in what? Which "Christ"?

Nobody is demanding "complete theology before salvation"; that is a strawman. What we are asking for is orthodox theology, which may be incomplete even. When one however embraces an error, then that error would prevent the person from embracing the truth which is assumed by any new believer in Christ.

For example, in proclaiming the Gospel to a tribal people, it is sufficient to say that they are wicked and that Jesus died for their sins and that they will be saved from judgment through belief in Jesus Christ who died to save them from hell. However, when addressing for example a Jehovah's Witness, they cannot affirm the Gospel message because their errant view of who Jesus is prevent them from believing in the true Triune God. For the tribesman, it is sufficient for him to "just believe in Jesus", whereas the Jehovah Witness similarly must believe in Jesus, but he think he is believing in Jesus whereas he is not. He thus must believe in the biblical Jesus who is God, and therefore must renounce the Jehovah Witness' Arian belief.

As for Roman Catholics, there may be those who in the church and yet are saved, for certainly salvation is not determined by where the person is. But they are sinning by staying. Analogously, can a person be a Christian and continue going to a Buddhist temple? Of course! But why should he want to go there in disobedience to God? Likewise, Christians who are saved can continue to go to a RC church, but they are in disobedience to God.

Daniel said...

So, therefore, my first question: why can't Mother Teresa be a genuine believer?

And my other question: where is the laundry list of renoucements? Your stringent definitions of the 'right Jesus' require an actual list of renoucements but yet I see none.

If you are saying a lack of understanding about the truth of works/faith or any other doctrine condemns a man to hell, I would say, no. Our lack of understanding is not the determinant factor in our salvation. God's grace and power is. Prescribing a level of understanding for salvation is in fact salvation by works.

Daniel C said...

>where is the laundry list of renoucements?

Didn't you read my previous comment? There is no such "laundry list" besides the Gospel. The rest of the important doctrines are not lists of things to be believed but list of doctrines that cannot be denied. There is a difference between required to believe, and required NOT to deny. a BIG difference.

Daniel C said...

>Prescribing a level of understanding for salvation is in fact salvation by works.

So are you saying that a person can be saved without understanding the Gospel? Otherwise, aren't we making salvation a matter of works?

Daniel said...

No laundry list, but yet you have mentioned at least one thing that an RC must renounce. Even if they renounce that, I am sure we can think of several more.

Remember grace and God. Salvation is a work of the Spirit. Understanding is never complete. Are we not Calvinists? Only God gives true understanding.

He has not said that we must have the "right Jesus". We came up with that definition. God knows that where there is the Spirit, it is always the right Jesus.

Daniel said...

And therefore, Mother Teresa could in fact be a genuine believer.

Daniel C said...

You are not interacting with the points stated. Until you do, good night.

Daniel said...

Nor did you ever reply to my first question.

Are you writing me off for not agreeing with you?

Daniel C said...

Nope, I am just saying that I see no point in continuing since you are not addressing the topic.

>Nor did you ever reply to my first question.

The answer to your first question is obviously no from my previous answers.

So if you want to continue, please tell me:

So are you saying that a person can be saved without understanding the Gospel? Otherwise, aren't we making salvation a matter of works?

Daniel said...

>So are you saying that a person can be saved without understanding the Gospel? Otherwise, aren't we making salvation a matter of works?

My answer to that was:

Remember grace and God. Salvation is a work of the Spirit. Understanding is never complete. Are we not Calvinists? Only God gives true understanding.

He has not said that we must have the "right Jesus". We came up with that definition. God knows that where there is the Spirit, it is always the right Jesus.

Daniel C said...

So in other words, as long as we "have the Spirit", an understanding of the Gospel is unnecessary? Is that what you are saying?

Daniel said...

>So in other words, as long as we "have the Spirit", an understanding of the Gospel is unnecessary? Is that what you are saying?

Nope, that's not what I'm saying. What I said was:

Remember grace and God. Salvation is a work of the Spirit. Understanding is never complete. Are we not Calvinists? Only God gives true understanding.

He has not said that we must have the "right Jesus". We came up with that definition. God knows that where there is the Spirit, it is always the right Jesus.

Daniel C said...

This is getting ridiculous. I am asking if an understanding of the Gospel is necessary for salvation. You responsded that "where there is the Spirit", then there is the right Jesus. Therefore, by logical deduction, my question can be translated into asking whether "where therei the right Spirit", then an understanding of the Gospel is not necessary for salvation.

OK, tell me what in your opinion is necessary for salvation.

Daniel said...

You missed my first paragraph where it said:

Only God gives true understanding.

That contextualises the next paragraph, which you are taking ubrage with.

Daniel C said...

Of course only God gives true understanding. What has that to do with your point?

Daniel said...

Actually my point was that Mother Teresa could be a genuine believer.

Daniel C said...

I see. I don't see any reason to grant that fact in light of the Scriptures. You are of course entitled to your opinion.

Daniel said...

Well, then don't bring Brother Packer down while you're at it. He is not compromised, merely as opinionated as we are.

Daniel C said...

Have you read Iain H. Murray's book Evangelicalism Divided (Banner of Truth Press)? Did you know that Packer signed the ecumenical ECT (Evangelicals and Catholics Together) accords? I have even read about Packer's involvement with the newly-formed ACNA and the cuddling of the Anglo-Catholics within them. Is that not compromise?

Daniel said...

ECT was signed to acknowledge common goals (strict definition), not to indicate unity of faith.

Daniel said...

Of course, it is regrettable that his signing of ECT may send a hint of compromise, but based on the theology he has espoused, I am more than willing to give him the benefit of the doubt for now.

Daniel C said...

From the first ECT accord: Christian Mission the New Millinium (

"As Christ is one, so the Christian mission is one. That one mission can be and should be advanced in diverse ways. Legitimate diversity, however, should not be confused with existing divisions between Christians that obscure the one Christ and hinder the one mission"

"The one Christ and one mission includes many other Christians, notably the Eastern Orthodox and those Protestants not commonly identified as Evangelical. All Christians are encompassed in the prayer, "May they all be one." Our present statement attends to the specific problems and opportunities in the relationship between Roman Catholics and Evangelical Protestants. "

The ECT I accord is an ecumenical document professing unity of faith no matter how you cut it.

Daniel C said...

It is perfectly possible to believe in the right Gospel (right soteriology) yet compromise on the faith due to a faulty ecclesiology, which is what Packer has done.

Alternatively, a wrong understanding of the "Cultural Mandate" could be the cause.

Daniel said...

It proclaims unity of faith between Christians - which is exactly what so many RC's are. You yourself have said that there are the redeemed in the RC church.

If an RC preaches the gospel, will I hinder him because he is an RC?

We accuse Packer of faulty ecclesiology, but apart from a debatable series of signings, his declared theology is far more well-rounded and mature than ours. We should think it more likely that it is we who have misunderstood him.

Daniel C said...

>It proclaims unity of faith between Christians - which is exactly what so many RC's are. You yourself have said that there are the redeemed in the RC church.

That is a non sequitur. There may be many Christians found in a Buddhist temple, but that does not make Buddhism Christianity!

>If an RC preaches the gospel, will I hinder him because he is an RC?

If a professing RC preaches the true Gospel, then he is under the anathema of his own church c.f. the Canons of the Council of Trent (6th session). If he does so, he would be excommunicated by the RC church and condemned to the fires of hell.

>We accuse Packer of faulty ecclesiology, but apart from a debatable series of signings, his declared theology is far more well-rounded and mature than ours. We should think it more likely that it is we who have misunderstood him.

That is the fallacy of false appeal to authority. For every Packer who signs such treaties, I can easily find 10 RC Sproul/ Michael Horton/ R Scott Clark/ John MacArthur who don't and oppose the signing as compromise. Appeal to authority therefore establishes nothing.

Furthermore, if we are saying that the Bible is so vague that we cannot know the truth such that only the professors and those with PhDs can know the truth, then we are denying the perspicuity of Scripture and the prieshood of all believers. We do not need to read the Bible for ourselves then - just ask the pastors to tell us what is biblical and what they say is correct by fiat. We can just go back to Rome and have the priests to be mediators between God and us.

Daniel said...

I am confused. I only said that all those who are redeemed are of the same faith. Where does Buddhism come in?

Brother! Where is our Christlikeness? Did we not take it to heart when Paul implored us to consider other better than ourselves? And here is a man whose righteousness far surpasses our own, and we make him less than Judas Iscariot without blinking.

Daniel C said...


your reasoning goes as follows:

Some people who attend RC churches are Christians
All RCs can be considered as being united in the Christian faith

Besides being a logical fallacy, I can reason the following way as well if I follow your reasoning process:

Some people who go to Buddhist temples are Christians
All Buddhists can be considered as being united in the Christian faith

Your reasoning is illogical, and I was trying to show you why by reducing it to absurdity. Obviously, it didn't work, so I will just have to elucidate my reasoning process here.

>Brother! Where is our Christlikeness? Did we not take it to heart when Paul implored us to consider other better than ourselves?

What is Christlikeness? If Christlikeness reduced to being "nice"? Is Christlikeness reduced to being "always agreeable"? Who deterines Christlikeness? Christ was crucifed for offending the Pharisees, not for being nice! Are we saying that Christians cannot disagree strongly even? Was Paul Christlike in his denunciation of the Judaizers in the epistle to the Galatians. How about the Apostle John who denounce the proto-Gnostics in the book of 1 John? Or the same Apostle who denounce Diotrephes in 3 John?

>here is a man whose righteousness far surpasses our own

That is wrong. We have no righteousness of our own, for our righteousness is as filthy rags before God (Is. 64:6). All Christians have the same measure of righteousness only by the imputed righteousness of Christ that God credits to our account. Our good works contribute nothing to our righteousness at all. Your righteousness, mine righteousness, Simon's righteousness, or Packer's righteousness are all the same - and none is more righteous than the other.

>we make him less than Judas Iscariot without blinking

That is false. Judas Iscariot betrayed our Lord. Packer compromise the faith through co-operation with unbelievers but this is different from renouncing the faith.

Regardless, are you saying that there are certain untoucheables in the church, who can sin in any manner as long as they were once godly? Remember Eze. 18:24, which states:

But when a righteous person turns away from his righteousness and does injustice and does the same abominations that the wicked person does, shall he live? None of the righteous deeds that he has done shall be remembered; for the treachery of which he is guilty and the sin he has committed, for them he shall die.

Now, before you start, I am not saying that Packer is tha wicked man in Eze. 18:24. Why I am illustrating is that previous good deeds does not mean that the person is infallible and no more liable to serious sin.

Nobody in the Church should be placed on a pedestal, regardless of how "famous" or how godly they are. King Hezekiah was a godly king, yet he was rebuked in his older years for his compromise (2 Ki. 20:12-18). Did Hezekiah reject God? Did he worship an idol? No, he didn't! Yet, what he did was wrong, and Isaiah was Christlike in rebuking him.

Analogously, is Packer infallible and above correction? Is he the peope? I am sure he is not as righteous as King Hezekiah, yet why can he not be rebuked for error if Hezekiah can?

Or how about the incident of King Jehoshaphat in helping King Ahab? This is an even more relevant example. Was Jehu the son of Hanani the seer right in rebuking godly King Jehoshaphat for aiding King Ahab? (2 Chron. 19:2-3)? Substituting Jehoshaphat for Packer, the RCs for King Ahab, how can we say that it is wrong to rebuke the godly like Packer when they sin, when Scripture explicitly teaches the rightness of such an action?

Daniel said...

My reasoning has never been as you have just described. You only wish it were so. If you re-read all my posts, I have never claimed such a thing.

I'll put it bluntly, since you have trouble accepting it when I cajole you towards the possibility: you are being arrogant.

MAYBE you are right - that is still under debate - but even so you are being arrogant. You have neither the standing nor the righteous life nor the ministry nor the testimony of grace nor the shining light of Christlikeness to give any of your judgments the weight that they need.

I tell you this as an encouragement, so that your work here may not be counted as rubbish on the day of judgment, because most of it will burn as chaff if you do not repent. I wish to see your work here be the shining example of a defense of the faith executed by one who LOVES the church. The sheep do not need shepherds who excel only in wolf-hunting. The city does not need watchmen who spoil for a fight.

You have a gift and a ministry, brothers who love you and above this a Saviour whose mode of life and conduct sets a HOLISTIC example for us to follow. Jesus-style condemnation is not to be exercised apart from Jesus-style communion.

I say this again - I love you and let you know these things because I do not want your work and ministry to be fruitless on the day of judgment. Now, please cease to place your confidence in 'being right' and place it instead in our Saviour, Jesus Christ.

Daniel C said...


so the gloves are off? I am sorry to tell you that I do not accept your unfounded accusations. None of your accusations have any scriptural support whatsoever. Impartial observers can notice that I quote Scripture and reason from Scripture, whereas you didn't. Hding behind accusations of "arrogance" while not poving your case is supremely not Christ-like.

As with the rest of your accusations, I will let God and the rest of the believers decide. IMO, your conduct is supremely un-Christlike here, but I will let God and others decide here.

God bless.

Daniel C said...

And just to end this: It is not about "being right", but about "being biblical". I must say I am disappointed that you refuse to see it otherwise, nevermind reasoning from Scripture.

Thanks for the conversation though, and may God bless your ministry in RHC.

You can have the last word here.

Daniel said...

The gloves are off so I can hug you better. Any fool can see that I am reaching out to embrace you, but all you see is an impending attack.

Has the world been so cruel to you that you have trained your mind into this mode? Ask me if I have not suffered ridicule at the hands of others. Ask me if I have not been on the outside, and given a nickname that defines my position on the outside. Ask me if I can give that abuse to the loving arms of Jesus and be free, free, free to live a life fuller than all the logic I have been blessed with.

Joel Tay said...

A Roman Catholic cannot be saved for this simple reason. Salvation is by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone - apart from works.

The Roman Catholic Church(at Trent) anathematizes anyone who believes in salvation by grace alone through faith alone apart from works.

This means that a "true believer", even if he attends a Roman Catholic Church, is not a Roman Catholic, by Trent's very own definition.

Not only is Mother Teresa's theology throughly Roman Catholic (as evident in her speeches and writings), she is also a universalist and believes that all religions lead to the same God. I do not believe she can even be called a Roman Catholic and her view is not even a compromise between works and grace, but pure works. She does not believe that Jesus is the only way to heaven, and for that very reason, she does not believe in evangelism. She therefore devotes herself to the social 'gospel'(not that the social gospel is a gospel at all).

A quotation from her book, "If that individual thinks and believes that this is the only way to God for her or him, this is the way God comes into their life — his life. If he does not know any other way and if he has no doubt so that he does not need to search then this is his way to salvation."

Another quotation, "I’ve always said we should help a Hindu become a better Hindu, a Muslim become a better Muslim, a Catholic become a better Catholic"

When asked in an interview on her work among the hindus, she was asked, “These people are waiting to die. What are you telling them to prepare them for death and eternity?” She replied, “We tell them to pray to their Bhagwan, to their gods.”

By her very own confession, Mother Teresa has denied the gospel. How then can we say that she is saved?

Joel Tay said...

I forgot to mention that I was referring to Tim Challies' excellent post on Mother Teresa.

More quotations from his article,

"Contradictions in her beliefs, then, are apparent. We see similar contradictions in her humanitarian work. The common belief is that Mother Teresa worked with the sick and destitute to lovingly return them to health. An examination of her missions will show that this is far from the case. Mother Teresa believed that there is spiritual value in suffering. Once, when tending to a patient dying of cancer, she said “You are suffering like Christ on the cross. So Jesus must be kissing you.” (Christoper Hitchens - The Missionary Position: Mother Teresa in Theory and Practice, p. 41). For this reason she would not prescribe pain killers in her clinics, choosing instead to allow her patients to experience the suffering that she believed would bring them closer to Christ. Despite the tens of millions of dollars donated to her charity each year, her missions were rudimentary and offered no real health care. Her missions mainly catered to the critically ill and simply afforded them a place to go to die. It is interesting to note that when Mother Teresa became ill she would travel to the finest health care facilities to receive treatment.

Daniel said...


This is an interesting perspective on the woman herself, and new to me. If true, then yes, she is likely unsaved.

My point was more that we cannot write off someone as unsaved just because they are in the RC church.

Joel Tay said...

If a true believer knowingly decides to continue in the Roman Catholic church and practices what the RC church teaches knowing that it is wrong (E.g. Mass, RC Eucharist, prayer for the dead, etc), does that not equate to spiritual adultery similar to Peter's error at Antioch (Gal 2:11), where he adopted the practices of the Judaizers and stood condemned - and where Paul specifically calls it a sin (Gal 2:18)? If that is the case, I would think that these so-called believers, if they are really truly saved, they would still at best deserve a rebuke similar in degree to Paul's rebuke of Peter and the Galatian Church. (And Let us not forget how offensive Paul was towards the Galatians)

Daniel said...

But then the comparison is drawn to Peter, and he was in fact saved. These people simply did not repent of that error, but it is not clear evidence of being unsaved.

Yes, Paul reads harshly, but see how much he loved those people, even those steeped in error! It is clear that he loved them greatly - meeting and teaching and breaking bread and eating and shepherding.

Joel Tay said...

Precisely. Peter was saved and yet because of his accommodation of the false practices, he was given the harshest rebuke recorded in scripture towards a believer.

When dealing with the Galatians s the invectives used are even harsher... with words that areconly used in relation to non-believers e.g. dogs, pigs, morons, etc. That is a condemnation.

Paul asserts, more than once and in more than one way, that
anyone who preaches and/or believes a "gospel" different than the one that he preached to
the Galatians and different than the one that they first accepted is "eternally condemned."

Paul longed for the salvation of the lost. That is right. But he does not cut back on his use on invectives to those who reject the gospel. He tells it as it is - offensive or not.

In Phil 3:18, we read about Paul being burden by those who denied the biblical gospel. Yet in his anguished, he did not mince his words...that their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things (Php 3:19)... and Look out for the dogs, look out for the evildoers, look out for those who mutilate the flesh (Php 3:2).

Extreme language!
"If we read Scripture on its own terms – on God's terms – then we will say that this is an appropriate way to describe the Judaizers and false teachers. If the language seems extreme, it is because the errors that it addresses are so extreme, vile, and evil."

Gal 1:9 As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.
Gal 1:10 For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.

Daniel said...

I was exploring rather whether we immediately perceive those with doctrinal error as unsaved, as some do with Roman Catholics.

I do not believe the presence of doctrinal error is evidence of being unsaved.

I do fully support clear and complete condemnation of the error, with the hope of reconciliation.

Joel Tay said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Joel Tay said...


So how then do you explain Paul's Anathema (declaration that they were eternally condemned) of the Galatians who were in doctrinal error? Wasn't it doctrinal error on justification by faith the very reason why Paul Anathematizes them? How then do you say that "the presence of doctrinal error is (not) evidence of being unsaved" Pls provide scriptural support.

Daniel said...

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9.)

“For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”
(Romans 10:10)

“Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.”
(Acts 2:38)

No mention of doctrine being necessary for salvation.

"Anathema" does not mean eternal condemnation. Paul has no power to condemn people eternally. That idea also goes against scripture. Eternal condemnation is a state, not a proclaimation.

Not all RC's hold to salvation by works. They are not condemned by this.

Daniel said...

My position is well expressed in the Concordia Triglotta (1921):

"As to the condemnations, censures, and rejections of godless doctrines, and especially of that which has arisen concerning the Lord’s Supper, these indeed had to be expressly set forth in this our declaration and thorough explanation and decision of controverted articles, not only that all should guard against these condemned doctrines, but also for certain other reasons could in no way have been passed by. Thus, as it is in no way our design and purpose to condemn those men who err from a certain simplicity of mind, but are not blasphemers against the truth of the heavenly doctrine, much less, indeed, entire churches, which are either under the Roman Empire
of the German nation or elsewhere; nay, rather has it been our intention and disposition in this
manner openly to censure and condemn only the fanatical opinions and their obstinate and
blasphemous teachers, (which, we judge, should in no way be tolerated in our dominions, churches, and schools) because these errors conflict with the express Word of God, and that, too, in such a way that they cannot be reconciled with it. We have undertaken this also for this
reason, viz., that all godly persons might be warned diligently to avoid them."

Joel Tay said...

Heresy is not ignorance of truth, but rejection of truth. The Concordia Triglotta does not deny this but affirms it. A person might not need to know the Trinity in order for him to be saved, but after knowing about it, if he persist in denying it, it is very likely he was never saved.
The Concordia Triglotta makes the distinction between being ignorant (simplicity of mind) and denial with knowledge (condemn only the
blasphemous teachers,... should in no way be tolerated in our dominions, churches, and schools) because these errors conflict with the express Word of God)

Likewise, none of those verses you provide deal with the denial of truth, it merely says that they are saved by grace.

I have already pointed to the council of Trent to show that All Roman Catholics by definition must deny salvation by grace alone. Otherwise, they are not Roman Catholics, but Christians in a Roman Catholic system. A true believer sharing the values of the Roman Catholic system is no different from Peter's compromise in Antioch.

What I meant by eternal condemnation is not that there is no way for that person to come to Christ in faith in the future, but that he has been condemned to eternal destruction if he does not repent. The use of invectives do not condemn, but merely pronounces the state of condemnation that those people are already in, and to warn others. This, scripture commands us to do.

Anathema according to Thayer:
2) a thing devoted to God without hope of being redeemed, and if an animal, to be slain; therefore a person or thing doomed to destruction
2a) a curse
2b) a man accursed, devoted to the direst of woes

Paul certainly condemns false teachers and excommunicated them from the community of faith. He does not only stop at that, he rebukes the believers who were in communion with compromises and false teachers. In so doing, Paul lays down an example for believers to follow him. If he was still seeking to please man, he would not be a servant of God.

Joel Tay said...

Again... just to clarify, when I say, "Paul certainly condemns false teachers" I am using it to mean that Paul is proclaiming the condemnation that is already on the heads of those who reject his teaching.

Daniel said...

Apologies. I did not mean to misinterpret your comment on Paul's condemnation.

Nevertheless, weak, uninformed, undiscipled, misled Christians in the RC church is exactly who I'm talking about. This is why I quoted Concordia Triglotta.

They do not deny the truth. They have scarcely heard the truth. All they hear is this ranting condemnation of themselves just because they are part of the RC church. And because that is all they hear from us, why should they pay heed when we try to point out their error? We do not love them, so we have nothing to teach them.

How many RC's actually have the slightest clue that Trent exists? How many have any idea that the Reformation happened, or what Luther wrote? Or even that they may themselves interpret scripture? Their papa is a master of keeping them in the dark. We must needs teach them first, otherwise our condemnation will fall on deaf ears, or in this case, ears held closed by another.

Mark Farnon (Tartanarmy) said...

Man, how disengenious are some of the comments from Daniel? His attack upon Mr Chew is devlish and reminds me of the kiss of Judas.

Keep up your scriptural defense Mr Chew, as it is a breath of fresh air in this otherwise hypocritical age in which we live.


Daniel C said...


well, I think Daniel Yap is sincerely deluded in his New Evangelicalism. I wouldn't say he is disingenius as much as illogical, and proud of his illogicity as being spiritually-minded.