Thursday, February 14, 2008

Evangelicals and Catholics Apart

This is very sad. Why, oh why, James did you do it? What got into your head? You of all people! What a betrayal!

On the one hand, in _Evangelicals & Catholics Together: Toward a Common Mission_, you said, “. . . Roman teaching obscures the gospel and indeed distorts it in a tragically anti-spiritual and unpastoral manner . . .”
And, “Rome’s official doctrinal disorders, particularly on justification, merit, and the Mass-sacrifice, so obscure the gospel that were I, as a gesture of unity, invited to mass_which of course as a Protestant I am not, nor shall be_I would not feel free to accept the invitation.”
But then on the other hand, to justify your fellowship with darkness, you downplay the importance of the Justification issue, calling it "domestic differences about salvation". What is this all about? Did Paul have domestic differences with the Judaizers about salvation? No! In Galatians 1:8-9, he anathematized them, twice: "8. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! 9. As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned!" He had no common mission with them.

Then you said, in 1996:
Can conservative Protestants, Eastern Orthodox, and Roman Catholics of mainstream type join together in bearing witness to all that I have spoken of? I urge that we can, despite our known and continuing differences about the specifics of the salvation process and the place of the church in that process. . . . To be sure, fundamentalists within our three traditions are unlikely to join us in this, for it is the way of fundamentalists to follow the path of contentious orthodoxy, as if the mercy of God in Christ automatically rests on persons who are notionally correct and is just as automatically withheld from those who fall short of notional correctness on any point of substance. But this concept of, in effect, justification, not of works, but of words_words, that is, of notional soundness and precision_is near to being a cultic heresy in its own right and need not detain us further now, however much we may regret the fact that some in all our traditions are bogged down in it.

As if true evangelicals only believed in intellectual assent. James, you would criticize the Apostle Paul for being contentious. You would say to him: "Now Paul, let's not get carried away. Can't we just reason with the Judaizers, and find common ground with them? After all, we and they stand against this brutal Roman Empire, so why not stand together and thus be stronger. Let's put aside our domestic differences."

James, what were you thinking?? Why do you call it domestic differences? Haven't you read what Paul said, "Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?" (2 Cor 6:14).

Thank you, Richard Bennett and your website, Berean Beacon (sermon entitled, Apostasy of New Evangelicals), for your faithful witness for the truth.

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