The present writer favors the Majority Text–Byzantine Priority school philosophically, though he does not always agree with their methods. The fact remains that between eighty to ninety percent of the MSS usually agree with each other and belong to the Byzantine text-type. While it is true that the Byzantine did not become the majority until the ninth century, never the less, it did have a presence in the fifth century. Another point to be suggested is the fact that if eighty to ninety percent of the MSS do agree with the Byzantine text-type, what is to be said concerning the percentage for the Alexandrian or the Western? Proponents of the Alexandrian or Western texts often suggest that the Majority Text ignores history, though this suggestion seems to betray the very people who purport such a fact; for is it not also an ignorance of history to suggest that for the better part of a millennium God chose to use the Byzantine as the majority text? Also, the proponents of the Alexandrian/Western schools by their suggestion, seem to rule out the Eastern Church and ignore the history of the church. One major half of the Christian church has always used this text-type. This tends to be overlooked by western eyes, especially those of an Alexandrian/Western agenda.
It is suggested that the Majority Text school must do business with internal evidence, and that the only way to accept this line of thinking is to completely rule out internal evidence. For instance, how many internal variants do we have? In 1707 John Mills figured over 30,000 differences. With just around 100 manuscripts. Today the number of manuscripts is over 5,700. It would seem that no one knows how many differences there really are. Wallace suggests that the problems dealt with in the USB apparatus are just the tip of the iceberg. Bart Erhman suggests, “there are more differences than there are words in the NT.” But it must be adamantly insisted that most of these differences are insignificant and make no difference at all. Why does a proponent of the Majority Text have to deal with internal evidence at all? Do the differences change major doctrines? Of course not. If not, then it seems valid to suggest that where the majority of texts agree there is a comfortable security, especially when one considers the providence of God and the history of the church.
Textual criticism is culpable of causing the faith of people to be possibly greatly shaken, when one sees the apparent differences of texts and finds that there is no original autograph, or that we can not know for certain the exact words of Scripture to one hundred percent certainty. This may in fact be the result of the scientific age and rationalism upon the spirituality of the church. After all, observation and hypothesis have their place, but before a specimen can be evaluated it sometimes has to be killed and cut up before it can be placed on the microscope for inspection.
One important fact must not be overestimated that the proponents of the Majority Text school are consistent advocates for the inerrancy of Scripture. This does not suggest that other schools of textual criticism are guilty of denying inspiration, only that the Majority Text school is unabashedly staunch in their insistence of theological priority. An issue that is evident among textual critics is that some scholars deny the inspiration of Scripture using the errors of MSS to “prove” their points. Bart Erhman is one such scholar for example. Moreover, what makes the system of the Majority Text even more admirable is it’s affirmation of theological priority. Consider the words of Pickering: “It is demonstrable that God preserved the New Testament Text, so therefore He must have inspired it! I consider that the preservation of the N.T. Text is a strong argument for its inspiration, and since its inspiration that gives it its authority, the two doctrines go hand in hand.”# The only thing the present author would suggest differently is that the message was preserved, not the exact words. An example of this is seen in the gospels. There are many occurrences in the synoptics which reveal the same meaning but different variations of word order. Moreover, concerning the doctrine of providence, it is true that God could have preserved the original text if he wanted to. The fact that he did not is obviously significant in this light.
All conservative, orthodox Christians hold to the view of inspiration, and ironically, they are backed into the same corner, philosophically, as the Majority Text school, whether they admit it or not. Specifically, when dealing with the plausibility of arguments—say for the existence of God. For, all human knowledge rests on either empirical (sensory) or rational (intellectual) understanding. That which is not attainable through observation, explanation, or verification is rejected by natural, scientific man. Thus, all conservative Christians hold to a third avenue of human knowledge, namely, that of revelation. It does not have to be “proven” either empirically or rationally; it is taken by faith. For ultimately, as Kant proved, even the argument for the existence of God is filled with holes. It is not through rational arguments that mankind is persuaded of the reliability of Scripture. The Majority Text school makes no apologies for its stance on theological priority—and this is precisely why it is more acceptable philosophically than the other schools. At the end of the day, whether a person holds the KJV or the NIV, God’s Word is still presented and believed by those who accept the third avenue of knowledge, which is revelation.
A valid response to the statement made by Berkhouwer would be fitting to hear from the proponents of the Alexandrian/Western schools: A super naturalistic view of revelation would consider any human ‘research’ puzzling and inconceivable.”#
Saturday, February 25, 2012
Thursday, February 23, 2012
Old King James was a merry old soul and a merry old soul was he…Various rants on New Testament Textual Criticism.
Last fall I went through a course in which I was taught “textual criticism.” I was excited to finally have a chance to use the apparatuses and walk my way through the varying manuscripts and papyri with some degree of competence. Much to my surprise I was very concerned as we began the lectures and work on various manuscripts. What was hardest for me was analyzing texts, I quickly realized that this was not something I thought it was. I will begin a discussion in the next couple of posts to reason both logically and with some rhetoric for the position I finally became convinced of. As a result, I have began using the King James Version. Not because I am an adherent to what is known as “KJV Only-ism,” but because I am reacting against the philosophy behind modern textual criticism. ( consult “The King James Only Controversy” by James White for a good examination of the flawed tendencies of certain people who hold to KJV only-ism).
A qualifier must be made at the outset: I am not against all textual criticism, in fact, that would be an erroneous position because I believe in using the original languages of Scripture. So- what type of criticism am I opposed to? Two answers: (1) Higher Criticism, which is nothing more than unbelief and hostility toward the Lord. (2) The second type I am opposed to is a “pastoral” concern. I am opposed to the type of criticism that leaves doubt in its wake, many people in the pews would really struggle with their confidence in the Bible if they came to find out the issues behind texts like John 8, or Mark 16.
Moving toward the philosophy of textual criticism, one must understand the aim of TC. Certain questions will be posed to help with this: is modern textual criticism helpful? Do we have more certainty about our New Testament now than we did before 200 years ago? What is the church to do with all the evidence she possesses? What is the ultimate goal of textual criticism? Why do we need to have reliable, tangible evidence? Is it right to suggest only the original manuscripts were inspired? What does inspired mean? These questions bring one to the crux of the philosophy. I will try to offer my answers in the following weeks. From these answers, I think it will be possible to get at the philosophy behind TC.
My decision to use the King James Version was not made in the dark. I read various scholars (the best introduction to Textual Criticism I found is “The Text of the New Testament” by Metzger and Ehrman) and learned to “do” textual criticism. My own convictions have fallen on the road less traveled, to say the least. The one question that comes back is why would you go against the grain? My answer lies in the simplicity of God’s word and the answers to the problems stated above in the second paragraph.
For now, let me state again that my choice of the King James is not because I think it is the only “inspired” text, but because of my reaction against the mainline TC and the philosophy behind it.
Monday, February 6, 2012
1. What is divine revelation?
According to the presentation of Scripture, God has removed the veil which covered Him and has exposed Himself to view. In other words, He has in some way communicated knowledge of Himself to man, and has thereby opened the way for man to know Him, and to live in communion with Him. [Pg.23-24]
2. How do natural and supernatural revelation differ?
The great text in the Bible which deals with both aspects of revelation is Psalm 19. “Natural revelation is that revelation which is communicated through the phenomena of nature, including the very constitution of man. It is not a revelation given in words but embodied in facts. ” [Pg. 24]
Supernatural revelation, on the other hand, is a revelation in which God intervenes in the natural course of events, and in which He, even when He uses natural means, such as dreams and oral communications, employs them in a supernatural way.” [Pg.24]
3. Who deny the reality of special revelation?
Specifically, there are two schools of thought who deny the special revelation of God, eighteenth century Deism and present-day liberal theology.
Saturday, February 4, 2012
1. How do many in our day seek to discover the essential nature of religion?
Many in our day “seek an answer to this question by studying the religions of the world and the various manifestations of religion in human life. By a comparative study they would discover the real nature of religion, and insist on discovering a definition sufficiently broad to cover all the forms in which the religious life manifests itself among the nations of the world.” [Pg.15-16]
2. Which is the only way in which we can learn to know this?
The bible only enables us to get a proper conception of the ideal. [Pg. 16]
3. What terms define the religious attitude in the Old and the New Testament?
In the Old Testament the term is, the fear of the Lord. Fear in this definition is properly defined as, the feeling of reverent regard for God, tempered with awe, and the fear of disobedience or of the punishment for disobedience. [Pg.16]
In the New Testament the gospel message is prominently in the foreground, and man’s response to the divine revelation assumes a somewhat different form, namely, the form of “faith.” While there are other terms for religion in the New Testament, such as godliness, and godly fear, the word “faith” generally serves to describe the religious attitude of man. [Pg.16-17]
Wednesday, February 1, 2012
Paul and James seem to contradict one another in relation to the doctrine of justification. This issue has long been one of the more controversial issues of evangelicalism in particular and not without its warrant. Many in the church are afraid of cultic tendencies to “earn” righteousness or merit God’s forgiveness. The Jehovah’s Witnesses for example believe in a “works based righteousness,” so do Mormon’s, the Church of Christ, the Catholic Church, and a host of other similar religious groups. What is the Christian to do with such passages as James 2, where it seems to be implicitly contradicting Paul who is arguing for justification by faith alone? Should the church take the position of Martin Luther, that the book of James is “an epistle of straw?” To gather enough evidence for an analysis of this problem, let’s look at the context of a specific group of passages by these two writers.
In the writings of Paul, one does not have to read long before it is evident that no one is righteous, all are doomed to die in sin, and the only hope anyone has is based upon the mercy and grace of God. Justification therefore must be based upon the righteous life of another, who is the Lord Jesus Christ, the perfect Son of God. Romans 3:20, for instance, states: “Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin,” and again in Galatians Paul writes: “We who are Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles, knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified” (Gal 2:15–16). Taking a literal, syntactical approach, three main points are evident:
Justification is not by the deeds of the flesh.
Justification is not by the works of the law.
Justification is by faith in Jesus Christ.
If the above points are true, then it is right to conclude that “justification is by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified.” Such doctrine is consistent throughout the writings of other New Testament authors. This doctrine is to be taken as a summary of the teaching on justification found in the writings of the New Testament. What about James? Do his writings in fact disagree with Paul?
James writes in the second chapter of his epistle: “What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,’ but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead” (James 2:14–17). Moving further into the chapter he says again, “Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect? And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, ‘Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.’ And he was called the friend of God. You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only” (James 2:21–24). From these verses again, a syntactical analysis will be applied, again three main points will be derived:
Faith by itself with no works is dead.
Abraham our father was justified by works.
Works perfect faith.
If the above points are true then it is right to conclude “A man is justified by works and not faith only.” That is what it says, plain and simple.
How is it that reconciling these points is such a problem? It seems as though the reason is not in the interpretation of the syntax itself but in the interpretation of the context and theology. To help with this problem, it is crucial to bring in a technical term which was coined by the reformers, namely, “forensic justification.” This terminology is used when speaking about the believers’ standing before God himself. This is precisely what Paul is writing about in Romans and Galatians. In the days of the reformation, one of the crucial points of departure from Rome was over the concept of justification. Rome believed that people were infused with righteousness; thus, justification was actually earned by their infused righteousness. The reformers understood that an “alien” righteousness had to be applied to a person wholly apart from their own doing; that is, righteousness had to be imparted or imputed in order for God to justify the sinner. So, the whole concept of justification in Paul’s language and terminology is forensic. In contrast to Paul, James is not writing forensically. He is writing practically on an “earthly” level. It could be argued that Paul and James are referring to the same thing while looking through different lenses, because a person who is forensically justified before God will persevere in saving faith and look like those James is referring to. Therefore, ultimately, neither author disagrees with the other and they are both aiming at the same thing.
Tuesday, January 31, 2012
THE MEANING OF ETERNAL LIFE IN JOHN 3:16
When considering the meaning of the phrase “eternal life,” John 3:16 helps us to find the answers to how eternal life is obtained, the motive of God’s purpose in making it possible, who makes it possible, and the scope of its offer; but we are not told the specific meaning of what eternal life actually is. To find the answer of what eternal life actually is we are compelled to look elsewhere in John’s writings to define this stunning and simplistic lexis which is so imperative to the Christian life.
It is necessary to concentrate on the following key words: “know” (ginwvskw) which is used in John 17:3 and 1 John 5:20, “life” (zwh\), and “eternal” (ai)w/nio$). It is interesting to note that in all of John’s writings he uses the word zwh\ a total of eighty two times according to my calculations. Of all the 135 uses of this specific word in the New Testament, John utilizes it sixty one percent of the time, with the adjectival modification of ai)w/nio$ used only sixteen times in the gospel of John and six times in the first epistle. The word “life” is a key word in all of John’s writings, but what is provocative is that he only defines it two times.
The first definition of “eternal life” is, ironically, in the last application of this phrase in John’s gospel. John employs the phrase eternal life in John 17:3, where he quotes Jesus, who says, “Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent” (NIV). There are two specific disclosures found here: the word “know” (ginw/skw) and the subjects of that knowledge. To this helpful bit of information John adds still a further description found in his first epistle, where he states emphatically, “He [Jesus Christ] is the true God and eternal life.”
John builds upon the personal needs of our physical nature showing us that this Word made flesh is our true source of eternal life, water for our thirsting soul, bread for our weary bodies, music to our ears, and reward for our hard toils of labor. In truth, as a person hears the words of life and believes on the Son, through God’s gracious act of love, life is imparted; and this life consists of knowing the Father and the Son, who is the life eternal.
NIV: Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society
Nestle-Aland, Novum Testamentum Graece, 27 th Revised Edition.
Mounce’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words (used only for the total number of zoh\).
PC Study Bible Specialized Electronic Concordance
Monday, January 30, 2012
Higher Criticism denies the authority of the Bible and argues that the Bible is not the inerrant, infallible, revealed Word of God. Advocates of this school of thought label the Bible as a hoax, a book full of “gross errors,” and “myth-filled.” They are men who are “dedicated to the destruction of orthodox Christianity” and the removing of the solid confidence held by Christians for their Bible.
In the past few hundred years, one of the strongest assaults on Christianity has been through Higher Criticism. The success of this stronghold has been the result of the undermining of the Bible. The foundation of this movement came mainly through English Deism. The two major avenues through which this assault was brought, was the social and intellectual movements of the day. Biblical law was replaced with natural law and the Bible was discredited to the point of becoming invalid for the outworking of social issues as well as intellectual issues.
The damage has been done; Higher Criticism no longer posses such a threat to Orthodox Christianity. The issue now is one of repairing the ruins and bringing back to Christianity the confidence in God’s Word that is so vital to the faith of the Church.
The techniques of Higher Criticism are crafty and very subtle. Higher Critics are deceivers and seek to evade the judgment of God all while trying to keep a cloak of a religious experience that can become beneficial to people.
Higher Criticism uses the same techniques as Lower Criticism in determining the authority and validity of texts; however, Higher Criticism takes the techniques to an unwarranted point of no return and denies the reliability of the entire Bible as a revealed “Word of God.” Those who advocate Higher Criticism see the Bible as a kind of novel and apply the techniques of literary criticism of fiction to their study of Scripture; as a result of this, many people all over the world have suffered in their walk of faith.
Another technique of the Higher Critic is to present the Bible as a sham, a hoax, a collection of writings full of “lies and myths,” and thus making it is obvious that God did not fully inspire the Word. We therefore, cannot turn to the Bible and say, this is what we can know about God, or this is the final and absolute truth; it is only a book about what certain people believe about God. This is how the resurrection is dealt with as well as words like creation, fall from Grace, and judgment.
The undermining of the Bible, that is, to remove the Bible as the Word of God and replace it as the thoughts of man, removes man’s accountability to God. With the authority of the Bible out of the way there is no need to face the explicit call to repentance and final judgment. This is in fact the ultimate goal of the advocates of Higher Criticism- to escape the judgment of God.
God’s judgment on man will come based on His ethical system revealed in His Holy Word. The goal of the higher critic is to twist the Bible into a terribly disjointed mess that you cannot make heads or tails from. The critic knows that, in order to escape the judgment, God’s unified ethical system must be obliterated. In their view the Bible is nothing more than another “mythical” or “religious” collection of writings put together by man. The truth is dropped and the collection of something that sounds like yesterdays newspaper is put in its place, with the title “true transcendent ethical unity.”
To prove the Bible to be false and contradictory, the critics sought to re-date major portions of the Old Testament, ascribe certain writings to scribes who had hidden agendas and wanted to forge a false document with the title of Prophecy on it, tear Old Testament Judaism from the New Testament, and last but not least separate ethics from faith. Obviously the consequences were disastrous.
It is interesting to see the connection between higher criticism and evolutionary thought. Both systems came around the same time and the results were anything but righteous. It could even be argued that Nazism had roots in German higher criticism.
Cedar Ridge Fall 2011 Evangelism Class
I. Description of Class
This class will be taught from a distinctly reformed perspective on the subject of evangelism in the two main avenues of life: public and private. The Bible will be used exegetically to build a foundation evangelical living for the glory of God in all of life. Daniel will teach on the subject of private evangelism, Jason will be teaching on the subject of public evangelism.
A. The purpose of this class will be for the students to realize, to a fuller extent, the fourfold goal of Cedar Ridge:
To exalt God’s glory in all areas of life.
To proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ to all people.
To promote the growth of Christ-like character in God’s people.
To live out our faith through works of compassion and ministry.
B. The Westminster Confession of Faith will be utilized on a continual basis.
C. The class will be practical in nature, with a time during each class to discuss evangelism methodology, specifically in the area of personal witnessing.
D. To memorize and recite verses which deal specifically with the subject and various facets of evangelism. A paper will be handed out the first week of class which will be the foundation for these verses.
As a result of this class, the diligent student should be able to:
A. Live more deliberately to the glory of God as a witness to a lost and dying world of the beauty and supremacy of Christ.
B. Have an arsenal of verses ready to be used when needed for various subjects and issues that may be proposed in personal conversations. These verses will be built upon a Biblical and theological foundation. It can not be overstated here: what you believe effects and impacts your evangelism as well as whether or not you will even be engaged in the battle.
C. Become increasingly more active in the ministry of evangelism, both public as well as private, as a result effectiveness will increase.
D. Family Worship will become an everyday occurrence in your home.
E. Personal holiness and piety will result as public, private, and family worship become an integral part of your faith and life.
III. Suggested Requirements
Become involved in the outreach ministry, door to door, jail visitation, etc. Start evangelizing.
Find answers to the 17 Frequently Asked Questions, plus memory verses to help with scriptural refutation of the opposition you will encounter.
If you are not reading your Bible on a daily basis begin to do so immediately!!!
Start becoming actively involved in family and private worship.
Read one or all of the following books:
Kuiper, R.B. God Centered Evangelism; Baker Book House (Banner of Truth Trust ed. 1966,
Calisle, PA. 1966.), 1961.
Metzger, Bruce; Tell the Truth: The Whole Gospel to the Whole Person by Whole People; Inter
Varsity Press, Downers Grove, IL.2002.
Piper, John; Let The Nations Be Glad; Baker Academic, Grand Rapids, MI. 2003.
September 11: Introduction
September 19: The Supremacy of God in all of Life
September 26: The Christian’s Calling to a Mature Faith, Session 1
October 2: The Christian’s Calling to a Mature Faith, Session 2
October 9: Evangelism and Biblical Theology–Pt. 1
October 16: Evangelism and Biblical Theology–Pt. 2
October 23: The Christian’s Calling to Holy Conduct, Session 1
October 30: The Christian’s Calling to Holy Conduct, Session 2
November 6: A Practical Methodology of Evangelism–Pt. 1
November 13: A Practical Methodology of Evangelism–Pt 2
November 20: Exhortation to Worship and Christian Instruction in the Home, Session 1
November 27: Exhortation to Worship and Christian Instruction in the Home, Session 2
December 4: A Practical Methodology of Evangelism–Pt. 3
December 11: A Practical Methodology of Evangelism–Pt. 4
December 18: Practice of Worship and Christian Instruction in the Home, Session 1
January 8: Practice of Worship and Christian Instruction in the Home, Session 2
January 15: Discussion, Review of Verses, Personal Growth.
Saturday, January 28, 2012
“Ishy-Squishy” True love has nothing to do with it!
There are many ways by which our hearts can be led astray. The diligent man or woman will acknowledge their propensity toward deviance and rely upon the revelation of God to aid and equip them for a life of godliness. God reveals Himself to us by means of words. In the use of words we gain a knowledge from which we are grounded to venture into His world and live before His face. One of the most helpful revelations God has given to us in His word, is the revelation of His unity. The unity of God reveals His uniqueness over against all created beings or things. While the universe reveals much about its creator, only special revelation is sufficient enough for us, who bear His image to rely upon. And in relying upon such truths as the unity of God we are, as was stated above, given a place from which to begin our own process of becoming united. This happens in all realms of societal connectedness. That is, through the breakdown of our own multi-complexities we are freed from the entangling web of sinful and destructive behaviors. Through unity, marriages can experience peace and blessing. Through unity the Church can function orderly and obediently to her Lord. There are numerous practical implications to unity in the life of a believer. But it must never be forgotten that unity is rooted and defined with God at the center of one’s life. When Jesus reveals to us the fact that God is one and that we are to love God and our neighbor, he is leading us into a unified life guided by a unified heart. No “split heart” can glorify God. In fact a split heart is evidence of a double-minded man, who is unstable in all his ways. We must be ever vigilant in the fight for practical living to never lose sight of the necessity of a unified heart toward God and our neighbor. To love our neighbor is to be unified with God’s way, this translates into: our death for the life of our brother or sister. Humility is another way of putting it. From this, it is also possible to notice that one reason God reveals over and over again that He is one, is for the simple fact that human hearts tend to be idolatrous. When God lays down the first commandment He tells us: I am not going to compete.
From this fact flows the second commandment, built upon God’s unity which functions as a wall so-to-speak to protect us against idolatry. The use of images is wrong and ought to be avoided for two reasons: God never revealed any likeness (Deut.4:15) and we are called to worship God is Spirit and in truth. From this fact also follows the truth that we are not to worship God in any one location but can take our worship of Him anywhere. The bronze serpent is a picture of idolatry which we are all prone to. In the end the serpent was destroyed because it was used wrongly. In discussion concerning God, one must always be careful not to “define” him. For in defining Him we are prone to miss something and end up with a lie. It is conceivable to build a conceptual understanding of His being from one doctrine to another. That is to say, his omnipresence leads to his justice and his justice leads to his mercy and so forth. God’s attributes are ways in which we can look at him from differing angles, somewhat like a diamond, but we must not run to the error of putting him into a box! To use a logical argument built on only four attributes about God for instance is not right, for there are many more attributes which ought to be remembered. The doctrine of Spirit is taught throughout the Scriptures and is referred to each of the members of the Trinity. Noah worshipped God in Spirit and in truth. Just as all the men and women mentioned in Hebrews 11. God’s people have always worshipped Him in Spirit and truth. Though the revelation of Christ helps not only the Samaritan woman but also those who read her story.
Psalm 139:7 leads to the doctrine that not only is God Spirit, but he is also omnipresent. It may be that the greatest sin of the church is the neglect of the reality of the omnipresence of God. The practical outworking of God’s omnipresence ought to cause us to trust God more. To build on this doctrine we are blessed with peace, comfort, and hope. The promise of Romans, that God will work all things out for the good of those who love him, makes no sense without the doctrine of His omnipresence. Under his powerful hand nothing escapes his notice. The history of the church is an important subject. We see throughout her pages that she has tottered back and forth on the pendulum of transcendency and immanence. God’s faithfulness to his bride shines forth brightly as the red chord of His covenant love is the road she follows though ever wavering back and forth being kept on the track only by His grace. She has not been lost and she has been sanctified. This is true in our own personal lives as well. God was gracious with us ten years ago, and he is gracious with us today. His grace is given to help us be thankful to those who were forbearing with us in our weaknesses then. God’s love is not some westernized romanticism, but giving. The best way to conceptualize the meaning of love or what it does is John 3:16: For God so LOVED the world that He GAVE…
Friday, January 27, 2012
Luther declared justification to be the cardinal doctrine of the Church’s creed.
The meaning is to be declared righteous or made righteous in the forensic sense; and that the act of justification does not change the moral state, but only declares, in the forum of heaven, the legal state of the sinner.
The Holy Ghost, then, by justification, intends a forensic act, and not a moral change.
There is no other justification than that which Romanists describe as the initiation thereof, which is a complete and absolute act; done for the believer once for all, perfect and complete in all, needing and admitting no increment; and above all, that God is not moved in any sort, to bestow this grace of justification by the congruous merit of our inwrought holiness; but that this latter is, on the contrary, one of the fruits of our justification. We utterly exclude our own inherent holiness.
The catechism defines justification as a pardoning of all our sins, and an acceptance of us as righteous in God’s sight. It is more than remission, bestowing also a title to God’s favor, and adoption to that grace and glory which would have been won had we perfectly kept the Covenant of Works.