Saturday, February 19, 2011

Cross-Examination of Daniel: Q8

Q8: The key issue, as you have identified, between Nicea and Trent is that one council was declaring truth and the other error. I like it that you are centered on the issue of justification as the matter at which Trent makes a fatal error. But there’s something you have missed rather broadly in Trent: it anathematizes people for excluding certain books as inspired Scripture.

Here’s my question: if Trent had not delivered the anathemas against the doctrine of justification but only the anthemas [sic] against the Protestant canon of Scripture, would “the Biblical Christian” still be bound to separate from Rome? Asked another way, do the anathemas against the Protestant canon present a doctrinal crisis that can only be resolved by separation?

A8: Yes.

The issue here presented gets at the type and amount of error required for separation — an enquiry which is related to the first mark as we need to consider the content of the truth of the Word of God. They are two different positions on this issue: the confessional maximalist (Reformed) or the confessional minimalist (Evangelical). Historically speaking, both positions will present the same answer to Frank’s question, since one of the proof texts used to support Purgatory (2 Macc. 12:42-45) is in the Apocrypha.

However, if we remove Trent from its historical context and merely ask whether an insistence to add uninspired books to Scripture is reason to separate from a church, then I will not presume to speak for the Confessional Minimalist. As a Confessional Maximalist, I would still say that such necessitate separation because a good and necessary consequence (WCF Chapter 1, Section 6) of the Gospel message means that the grounds of its authority (the Scriptures) is just as important for the Church as the Gospel.

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