Thursday, May 12, 2005

Reformed Ecumenical Madness

Closely connected with what has just been said, is the last and most important point to be presented. I mean, the bearing of this view of Church History on the great work of Christian Union - Schaff. What is Church History? Pg. 122

This was a bold prediction made by Philip Schaff in one of his early writings about Historical and Theological Development. Charles Hodge warned at the time that this would make people see every innovation "the growth of orthodox dogma, never a possible devolution from the Christian gospel." Hodge was proven a prophet indeed. For Schaff’s statement helped merge the old RCUS with the Evangelical Lutherans to become the Evangelical Reformed Church and then later the United Church of Christ. This current controversy over the Federal Vision is a revival of Mercersburg Theology, and has brought with it Scahff’s view of history, and consequently his view of Christian Union. This can be clearly seen in two areas:

First the view on Christian union appears in their demands for denominations to accept divergent positions on justification, sacraments, and even the use of creeds and confessions as part of the Reformed Heritage. They want to co-exist despite these major differences, even claiming that such things should fall under the the liberty of conscience.

Second, it can be seen in the leaders of this movement accepting with open arms modern evangelical trends. John Armstrong shows this in his treatment of the Emergent Church movement, Pentecostal ideals, and even borderline Name and Claim it messages like that ofJoel Osteen, where he declares that he formerly would have joined people like Michael Horton in critiquing the bad theology, but now appreciates all things. Andrew Sandlin is not much different and has a habit of calling Roman Catholics his Christian brothers and sisters. An increase in appreciation for non-Reformed and non-Protestant traditions can be seen all throughout the internet, as the followers of these principles put into practice the logical result of the Federal Vision, Reformed Catholicism, Shepherdism, a revival of Mercersburg Theology, or whatever one wants to call it.

It seems to me that the Reformed community will have to deal with these movements one way or another. The principle ‘Always Reforming’ must be upheld, but it does not mean ‘Always evolving’ as some claim, but rather it means 'Always remaining re-formed according to God’s Word’, lest we devolve back into a salvation by works.


Stuart said...

"A chorus of voices keeps harping the unity tune. What they are saying is, 'Christians of all doctrinal
shades and beliefs must come together in one visible organization, regardless.... Unite, unite!' Such teaching is false, reckless, and dangerous. Truth alone must determine our alignments. Truth comes before unity. Unity without truth is hazardous. Our Lord's prayer in John 17 must be read in its full context. Only those sanctified through the Word can be one in Christ. To teach otherwise is to betray the gospel".
-- Charles Haddon Spurgeon

This Baptist was more reformed than some people who call themselves Reformed today.