Soteriology

A Response to Scot McKnight and Matthew Bates

"Most of my remarks here will be directed toward Scot McKnight’s article, since it makes a more substantive argument, though I’ll mention Matthew Bates’s as well here and there. There are three main areas I’d like to address. First, has my view of the gospel shifted from 'soterian' to 'a King Jesus Gospel?'" - Greg Gilbert

(Related: https://sharperiron.org/filings/041620/37773)

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New series at Reformation 21: "takes us back to the old perspective on Paul’s view of justification"

"...the good old doctrine of justification has been opposed for about thirty years now. Its primary contender is the New Perspective on Paul or the New Perspective on first century Judaism, whichever moniker you prefer ....advocates of the New Perspective believe that Luther and Calvin (not to mention those in their wake) committed the hermeneutical error of eisegesis." - Ref 21

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Why Christians Say “You Were Never a True Christian”

By Jordan Standridge. Reposted from The Cripplegate.

Rhett and Link, former CRU missionaries who have become famous through YouTube, have recently joined the chorus of “former Christians” who feel the need to share their “faith deconstruction” stories for all to hear. They are now agnostic.

As part of their healing process, they are all told to declare to the world their reasons for why being a Christian is wrong. As a result, they are surprised and hurt by Christians who promptly said that they never truly were of us (1 John 2:19).

Their response has been very interesting; they have lamented this by retorting something like “if there ever was a Christian, I was”. Some describe the hurt that it has caused them and they then, in Philippians 3:4-6 style, describe, like a pre-converted pharisaical Paul, all the reasons why they were actually Christians. They described their Christian lives like, “I prayed, I shared the Gospel, I went to church, I read my Bible, I believed the Bible, but then as I met LGBT folks and as I studied evolution, I discovered that the Bible could not possibly be true and therefore Christianity is false.”

This grieves my heart. And perhaps the main reason for this is the fact that most of these “former Christians” love declaring that they were true Christians. This leads thousands of young people questioning their faith and wondering if their heroes could be right. Can I simply stop being a Christian?

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From the Archives – The Importance of Justification

From Faith Pulpit, Summer 2012. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

How is a person justified before God? That was the question that ignited the Reformation. Beyond that foundational question, theologians have debated additional questions, such as “What is the importance of justification in relation to the other benefits of salvation?” and “Where does justification fit logically in relation to saving faith?” In this article Dr. Myron Houghton, senior professor and chair of the Systematic Theology Department at Faith Baptist Theological Seminary, guides us in an in-depth consideration of these significant questions.

To answer these questions about justification, we must first explore the exact nature of justification. Theologians have held two main positions: infusion and imputation.

Roman Catholic Position: Infusion

At the time of the Reformation, Catholics and Protestants differed greatly in their understanding of justification and grace. The Catholic position defined justification to include all of the benefits of salvation, making it a process. Grace was understood as a God-given ability to do good works which was infused into the person. This Catholic view is sometimes described by the words, “Christ IN us.”

The Council of Trent, the Catholic council that dealt with Reformation issues, stated in its canons on justification:

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The Gospel Way: Theologically Rooted Evangelism (Part 2)

By Sam Horn. Read Part 1.

4. We must celebrate the accomplishment of the gospel.

The gospel is also the record of God fulfilling His purposes and promises in four specific ways. By means of the gospel, God has fulfilled an ancient promise made to our first parents in the presence of their mortal enemy, Satan. Though this enemy bruised the heel of Jesus at the cross, the resurrection was the cosmic proclamation of Christ’s victory over our ancient foe.

The gospel is also the means by which God is in the process of reversing the ancient curse whose mark is death. In vanquishing death and defeating the grave, Jesus announced that eternal life is now the present possession and future hope of every dying believer. Death has lost both its power and its sting (1 Cor. 15:50–57). By means of the gospel, God has transformed death from a prison to a door by removing any cause for fear (Heb. 2:15).

Though active in this present age, Satan has been defeated and will soon be crushed under our feet (Rom. 16:20), and God will deliver His people of all ages and dispensations from the suffering, pain, and death that is our common lot in this present, evil, passing-away world (1 John 2:17). This is the good news of the gospel!

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