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« Licona on Erhman | Main | How to Test for Intelligent Design »

March 31, 2011

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It's possible to be so biblical that we're unbiblical.

I'm referring to pastors, churches, and Christians who say, "we're sticking to the Bible, and we don't even need to study anything but the Bible." The great men and women of the Bible didn't just preach in support of God's truth. They knew the lies that were current in their cultures, they named those lies—with very contemporary examples—and they exposed what was false about them. So those who only study the Bible are failing to follow its example!

We don't need only to learn God's truths. We also need to un-learn the lies we've taken into ourselves from the world, the flesh, and the devil. It's the flip side of what you said:in order to learn what not to believe, we have to be well aware of the falsehoods we already believe (or that we might be led or tempted to believe). Some of that un-learning happens along the way, as a matter of course, as we study the truth; but some of the lies we're afflicted by are so ingrained, so much a part of us, that it takes real focused attention to discover where they reside inside of us, and to sort out what's wrong and what might still be right.

This applies to each of us individually. In a parallel way it applies to our encounters with culture. We need to know our culture's falsehoods, not to participate in them but to be able to name them and to contrast them with God's truth. Our friends and neighbors have a lot of un-learning to do, too, and we need to be equipped to help them—winsomely and effectively—so they can better grasp and follow God's truth.

Wonderful post and follow up by Thomas. One need not go any further than asking someone the following question: “Do you believe that people of other religions are wrong in their beliefs?” Such a simple question yet many in the church can’t properly answer it.

Setting aside his theology, one of the things I loved about the way Adrian Rogers preached, was that he always talked about ‘what not to believe’….”don’t believe it for a second friend”….I can hear him say. “They want you to believe that…but don’t you believe it for a second.”


Is a person who splits off from their 'Church' and starts a new one the heretic - or is it those 'left behind'? What's the point of starting a new 'church', if not error? Ego?

Who are the heretics in Protestantism? Those who don't agree with me?

Isn't Harold OJ Brown (RIP, and although a great defender of life), still just giving us his opinion of who he considers heretics? How is he an authority? Who gives him that authority? The fact he gets published or was prominent in the pro-life cause?

In my books on heretics, Protestantism is one: the whole lot which constitute the set.

What I'm taught not to follow is Protestantism - because it's a mindset. An Anglo-Catholic can believe exactly the same as a Catholic, but is still in schism, and so is not in communion with the Church.

The 'charism' or 'spirit' of Protestantism is Schism, and that's why it's not to be followed.

This is a serious set of questions, because, apart from being drawn to the Eucharist, it was the first big, and unresolvable, dilemma I had which set me on the path to Rome, and no Protestant was able to give me a reasonable enough reason to stay Protestant, apart from a negative one. The only argument against Catholicism was that it was the one thing I was told NOT to believe.

But, in Catholicism, our Lord Jesus Christ was someone I could fall in love with, and there was only one 'teaching', which was His own Self, in His real and substantial presence in the Church and the Eucharist. It is not doctrine, but a person: it's sacramental.

Catholicism's based in the primacy of being and radically personalistic - 'Father', 'Mother Church', etc., and only secondarily, epistemology.

Protestantism is very dualistic, and often portrays a radical rejection of the body/mind and the human for the sake of 'spiritual' realities, which skews everything into terms of epistemology - what one believes - rather than who one is becoming through the sacraments.

I think it was Bertrand Russell who said something like, 'If you can argue a man into a position, you can just as easily argue him out.' And that's the problem with the Protestant mindset.

It's not just about apologetics, persuasion or knock-down arguments.

Intellectual conversion alone is insufficient, and so the premise of the pastor, although sensible in epistemological terms, isn't outside his rather humanistic concerns and worldview.

Who said it was only about apologetics and knock down arguments? Easy believism is rampant in the West - are you saying people shouldn't even know why they believe what they do? The Church is under attack from atheists, Muslims, and mainstream secular society; should we not know how to defend the faith?

I would love to hear how we could use sacraments to carry out Peter's commandment in 1 Pet 3:15-16.

"Who said it was only about apologetics and knock down arguments?" I didn't.

'Easy believism' is called 'faith alone'. For you, the attack is mostly from within: your internal dog-fights and schisms.

Where's 'the faith' to be defended if there are 35,000+ (and growing) denominations who believe they hold it uniquely (or else they'd merge)?

The problem is - who's the heretic in an organisation that's heretical itself? Or positively, which ones are orthodox?

So, Eric:
Which denomination has THE truth Peter's talking about in that Epistle, and are you a member of it?

If you say that it's all of you, then you rapidly dissolve into incoherence. If you say it's some of you - where are the Criteria objectively listed, and why can I find no official condemnation of their error?

The trouble is that this issue is the elephant in the room, and the whole thing relies on a mutual denial of its existence. A sort of denominational cartel where you all agree not to mention it if no-one else does.

Only telling people what to believe is the easy way out, because, hey, if that's your bag, I ain't gonna kick it. It's when you point out error and speak against worldly patriotism and culture that the stones start to fly. Usually it's the church people that throw first.

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