Archive for February 2nd, 2010

I really want to believe that the church is one. I really want to believe that we are on the side of Jesus.

We’re one, but we’re not the same
We get to
Carry each other
Carry each other
One

But we don’t carry each other; I don’t think we do. Bono merely echoes the words of the apostle:

1I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, 2with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, 3eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— 5one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. 7But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift. (Ephesians 4:1-7 ESV)

I preface my comments by noting that we are one.

A friend of mine gave me a copy of the newest episode of Tabletalk which is the mouthpiece devotional guide published monthly by Ligonier Ministries and R.C. Sproul. The first half of this latest issue is devoted to slinging mud at N.T. Wright. The editor, Burk Parsons, assures readers, in a quote from John Piper’s pastoral assistant David Mathis, that “Wright is not under the curse of Galatians 1″ but that “his portrayal of the Gospel–and of justification in particular–is so disfigured that it becomes difficult to recognize as biblically faithful.” He further states, continuing the quote from Mathis, that “what he has written will lead to a kind of preaching that will not announce clearly what makes the lordship of Christ good news for guilty sinners, or show those who are overwhelmed with sin how they may stand righteous in the presence of God.”

Huh? Frankly, I’m not certain either of these gentlemen have taken the time to actually read a single dot on an ‘i’ of Wright to make, and agree, with this assessment. I think they are angry because Wright has the credentials and, pardon me, sack to take on Piper and their continued misguided and mis-characterization of his work.

Still, can you imagine having the nerve to say that about someone like Wright who is a bishop, pastor, scholar, and brother in Christ?

“In quoting N.T. Wright directly and providing concise responses from some of the world’s most trusted churchmen, it is our sincere prayer that this issue will serve to equip the church the know and defend that precious doctrine upon which each individual stands or falls before the face of God, by faith alone and for His glory alone.” (from Parsons’ editorial, 2)

Yet N.T. Wright concludes his book Justification with these words:

“The Risen Son is the fixed point in whose orbit we now move, the one who holds his people by his power and sustains them by his love, the one to whom, with Father and Spirit, be all love all glory in this age and in the age to come.” (252)

We are one in the Spirit, we are One in the Lord. Indeed.

Sproul wrote the first expose of the heretical work of that crazy English Anglican. In his short expose ‘Tilting at Scarecrows‘ Sproul makes every effort to show that the only way Wright’s argument works is if, in fact, Wright has set up a strawman. I’m not buying what Sproul is selling though. You should read the entire article, but here’s the relevant passage at the very end that concerns me the most:

Closely related to this is the hotly disputed issue of the grounds of our justification before God. Here is where the biblical concept of imputation is so important. Those who deny imputation as the grounds of our justification declare it to be a legal fiction, a miscarriage of justice, or even a manifestation of cosmic child abuse. Yet at the same time, it is the biblical explanation for the ground of our redemption. No biblical text more clearly teaches this concept of transfer or imputation than that of Isaiah 53, which the New Testament church singled out as a crucial prophetic explanation of the drama of redemption. The New Testament declares Christ to be our righteousness, and it is precisely our confidence in the righteousness of Christ as the grounds for our justification that is the focus of the doctrine of justification by faith. We understand that believing the doctrine of sola fide will save no one. Faith in a doctrine is not enough to save. However, though we cannot be saved by believing in the doctrine of justification, the denial of that same doctrine can indeed be fatal because to deny the doctrine of justification by faith alone as the apostle Paul indicated in Galatians is to reject the gospel and substitute something else for it, which would result in what Paul declares to be anathema. The gospel is too important to be dismissed by tilting at scarecrows.

Now I have a couple of questions and/or observations that will hopefully stimulate the conversation. Here I should note that I am interested mostly in deciphering Sproul’s rambling because I really do not understand it or, rather, I do understand it and wish to be corrected if I have missed something.

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