Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Hegemony of the New Testament

Its hard to believe that so many aberrations of historic Reformed theology have developed in the 20th and 21st centuries.

Most of these aberrations can be cured by the application of two principles from the Scripture and from historic Reformed Theology.  These principles are:

1)  The New Testament reveals the hermeneutic for all of Scripture.

Then He said to them, "These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me."  And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures.  Then He said to them, "Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.  And you are witnesses of these things.  Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high."     Luke 24:44-49

2)  The world-view of the New Testament is age-long.

"Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name's sake.  And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another.  Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many.  And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.  But he who endures to the end shall be saved.  And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come. Matthew 24:9-14

If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God.  Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.  For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.  When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.  Colossians 3:1-4 

When these two principles are applied, all sorts of doctrinal distortions fade away.

Most of the aberrations that face Reformed theology rely on a judaizing hermeneutic which forces a foreign understanding upon the New Testament, originating from a false interpretation of the Old.  This, in turn, requires an implicit or explicit denial that the New Testament world-view is age-long.

The implications of these two principles are revolutionary for those caught in a false hermeneutic.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


The word 'guilt' is used several ways.  It may be used to refer to what's real before God, that is, to being actually guilty of a sin, whether there are guilt feelings about that sin or not.  'Guilt' may also be used to refer to feelings commonly associated with being in an objective state of 'guilt,' whether that objective state is accurately assessed or not.  In other words, there can be a disjunction between actual guilt and feelings of guilt.  Persons who are guilty may not feel guilty, and persons who feel guilty may not be guilty.

Feelings of guilt, even among repentant Christians, are not uncommon.  These feelings usually come about because of real or perceived offenses (sins) that they have committed.  But, when the guilt feelings persist too long after reconciliation has been attempted, then we must look for a cause.

Now, if it weren't for the judgment of God upon us that we are "Not Guilty!" in Christ, and if it weren't for Christ's continuing ministry of reconciliation which he performs on our behalf, we would be guilty -- always!  The fact that guilt feelings may continue after forgiveness then has to be explained -- or at least the Scriptural antidote given, since this is an abnormal condition.

First, we have to note that the world, the (that is, our) flesh, and the devil are always on our case, often to tempt to sin, and always to make us feel guilty!  This is one of the prime Satanic works.  He, and his minions, and the world he controls, along with the self-righteousness of our own flesh all conspire together against the free grace of the gospel.  In order to be delivered we must understand the following teaching, seen many places in God's Word, but especially here:

The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.     (1 Cor 15:56-57)

For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law, but under grace(Rom 6:14)

Therefore, my brethren, you also were made to die to the Law through the body of Christ, that you might be joined to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, that we might bear fruit for God. For while we were in the flesh, the sinful passions, which were aroused by the Law, were at work in the members of our body to bear fruit for death. But now we have been released from the Law, having died to that by which we were bound, so that we serve in newness of the Spirit and not in oldness of the letter(Rom 7:4-6)
None of this means that the Law of God is evil.  It means that the Law of God provokes the non-believers to rebel.  And, if believers do not realize that they are not under the Law's curse and bondage, then believers will continue to operate under a load of guilt.  This sense of bondage actually can lead to more sin, even in believers!  Therefore, it is necessary that as repentant believers, we be delivered in all our feelings from past guilt.

When the rooster crowed, Peter was busy denying his Lord.  But, he went on to be the head spokesman and leader of the apostolic band.  Peter implicitly denied the gospel in Galatia by not sharing a table with the non-kosher Gentiles in the church, for which he was rebuked in public by Paul.  Paul, of course, had been a kind of executioner of the church, before his conversion.  King David -- well, we know what he did.  None of these spectacular spiritual recoveries or conversions is any sanction for the practice of sin, but they are sanction for receiving effectual forgiveness in fact and in spirit, in reality and in the feelings, as we move forward in the Christian life.

Our sins -- well, they're canceled before God and the church, because the condemning Law written against us is canceled.

When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross(Col 2:13-14)

Calvin remarks (Inst. XIX.2):

Christian freedom, in my opinion, consists of three parts.
The first: that the consciences of believers, in seeking assurance of their justification before God, should rise above and advance beyond the law, forgetting all law righteousness. For since, as we have elsewhere shown, the law leaves no one righteous, either it excludes us from all hope of justification, or we ought to be freed from it, and in such a way, indeed, that no account is taken of works. For he who thinks that in order to obtain righteousness he ought to bring some trifle of works is incapable of determining their measure and limit but makes himself debtor to the whole law. Removing, then, mention of law, and laying aside all consideration of works, we should, when justification is being discussed, embrace God’s mercy alone, turn our attention from ourselves, and look only to Christ. For there the question is not how we may become righteous but how, being unrighteous and unworthy, we may be reckoned righteous. If consciences wish to attain any certainty in this matter, they ought to give no place to the law.
Nor can any man rightly infer from this that the law is superfluous for believers, since it does not stop teaching and exhorting and urging them to good, even though before God’s judgment seat it has no place in their consciences. For, inasmuch as these two things are very different, we must rightly and conscientiously distinguish them. The whole life of Christians ought to be a sort of practice of godliness, for we have been called to sanctification. Here it is the function of the law, by warning men of their duty, to arouse them to a zeal of holiness and innocence. But where consciences are worried how to render God favorable, what they will reply, and with what assurance they will stand should they be called to his judgment, there we are not to reckon what the law requires, but Christ alone, who surpasses all perfection of the law, must be set forth as righteousness.