“Enough. No more pearl casting for me, and no more dusty sandals.” –Michael Bauman

   It seems Dr. Bauman has concluded his participation in the thread noted earlier. But his means of doing so has surely left me bewildered. Evidently, charity in accepting a revert’s confession of faith is a good thing, but it seems to leave no charity left for anyone who would dare to ask you biblical and logical questions concerning your position.

Michael Bauman said…

1.) I don’t see the wisdom or untility of continued engagement on the subject of Frank Beckwith’s alleged apostasy from Christianity with folks who do not know the definition of apostasy.

   I am uncertain who Dr. Bauman might have in mind here, to be honest. While some may differ in their definitions, it has been rather clear that the issue revolves around whether a person can confess a Protestant faith and then confess a Roman Catholic faith without committing an act of apostasy. I have challenged Dr. Bauman on this point, insisting that biblically, limiting a “Christian confession” to an orthodoxy theology proper (i.e,. Trinitarian confession) is a sub-biblical definition, and, unless he is going to assume the Judaizers were still to be appropriately identified as “Christians,” though anathematized ones, it does seem that one’s view of the gospel is definitional to one’s confession of faith. Hence, to have once confessed what Rome declares anathema, and then to go back to Rome and confess Rome’s dogmas, would inevitably involve an act of apostasy. I suppose I missed someone in the seventy plus comments who missed the meaning of apostasy, but I sort of doubt it.

2.) I don’t see the wisdom or utility of continued engagement on the subject of Frank Beckwith’s alleged apostasy from Christianity with folks who cannot distinguish between first century Judaizers and modern Roman Catholics.

   Again, it is difficult to know who Dr. Bauman could be referring to. I clearly see the difference: the Judaizers were less heretical. In fact, that has been my point all along: the Judaizers did not have nearly the time Rome has had to come up with all sorts of unique additions to the gospel so as to limit the grace and glory of God and insert the control of man. Those poor fellows were pikers in comparison to Rome! So again, everyone I have seen in the conversation has been able to distinguish between the Judaizers and the Roman Catholics.
   Now, it is just possible that Dr. Bauman does not have a meaningful response to the questions based upon the anathematization of the Judaizers by Paul based upon a soteriological heresy, rather than a strictly theological one. In that case, maybe, just maybe (though we would surely hope this is not the case!), this is a rhetorical shot meant to cover such an inability? Let us hope not.

3.) I do not see the wisdom or utility of continued engagement on the subject of Frank Beckwith’s alleged apostasy from the faith with folks who cannot distinguish between the gospel (faith in Christ, which Frank clearly affirms) and assent to sola fideism (a theory of justification, which Frank does not affirm). Failure to distinguish between them means you do not know the gospel.

   Let me see if I can grasp this: the gospel does not involve anything about the work of Christ, His death, His burial, and His resurrection; it has nothing to do with law, merit, or works or even grace. The gospel is “faith in Christ” and nothing else! Hence, Paul had not the first reason for his actions in Galatia, yes? Such would be the inevitable conclusion one would draw from this radical redefinition of the gospel as being naked faith in Christ—without the slightest element of what Christ did and why.
   But please note, aside from this amazing assertion, we here have an alleged Reformed Evangelical not only defending the authenticity of a Roman Catholic as his “brother in Christ,” but beyond this, if anyone questions that Roman Catholic’s faith in Christ, it is a “serious sin” (as he first said) and now, amazingly, Dr. Bauman has concluded that he can conclude someone “does not know the gospel” if they do not make the same artificial distinction he makes between the Christ who is the object of faith and the Christ who died upon Calvary’s tree (i.e, Person and Work go hand in hand)! Let’s make sure we get this: confess that Marian dogmas are part of the gospel, and that’s OK. You are still a brother in Christ. Confess that there can be those who claim to believe in Christ but who deny Him by their additions to his work, and you do not know the gospel at all! To call this reversal amazing is to confess the limitations of human language, to be sure.
   This kind of rhetoric might be a little more bearable if we had some meaningful answers to the question asked on the basis of the apostolic example of Paul’s dealings with the Judaizers in Galatia. But, those answers, evidently, are not forthcoming. But let us hear clearly the voice of modern American academia: sola fide is a mere theory of justification. Confess it to be a part of the gospel, and you are thereby cut off from the gospel itself!

4). I do not see the wisdom or utility of continued engagement on the topic of Frank Beckwith’s alleged apostasy from faith in Christ if Frank is not allowed to affirm in his own words whether or not he has faith in Christ. His personal testimony to faith in Christ is every bit as full and compelling as any such confession of faith recorded for us in the Gospels or in Acts. At least the Inquisitors let the accused speak for himself before condemning him. Not here.

   What an amazing image to conjure here, given how many saints died at the infallible hands of Mother Rome for their refusal to confess the very same additions Bauman now seeks to make irrelevant to true confession of faith in Christ. I tremble at the thought of those who gave their lives for simple faith in Christ when such language can be used by a modern “heir” of their sacrifice.
   It is ridiculous to say that anyone has refused to “hear” Beckwith’s confession. I can only conclude that Bauman would join the many who, a few years ago, were ushering John Paul II into the heavenly realms on the very same basis. False gospel? No worries. Prayed to Mary for your salvation? That’s cool. All is well. (Of course, if you actually confess sola fide as part of saving faith you are anathema! To the fire with you!).
   So we are now told by this “Reformed” theologian that a Roman Catholic confession of faith is “every bit as full and compelling as any such confession of faith recorded for us in the Gospels or in Acts.” Would that include, or exclude, the confession of faith obviously made by the Judaizers, Dr. Bauman? Oh, I forgot, that question has been dismissed out of hand, no reason given. OK, how about the proto-gnostics at Colossae? No? OK, those who went out from the fellowship in 1 John, but who denied the reality of Christ’s incarnation? Wait, that’s more of that theology stuff, and we really can’t get past just saying “I believe in Jesus” can we? If we start asking “Who is Jesus?” or “What did He do?” that seems to be too much.
   Of course, Bauman is simply making things up when he says Beckwith was condemned before being allowed to speak. I would imagine almost everyone here has listened to Beckwith’s comments in a number of forums—I certainly have. This is just rhetoric without substance at this point.

Enough. No more pearl casting for me, and no more dusty sandals.

   Goodness, I do believe Jesus used that terminology to speak of “swine,” did He not? In fact, both references have to do with separation from unbelievers and the judgment of God. And upon what basis does Bauman aim such strong language at those who does not even identify directly in his comments? Evidently because they dare to ask him questions that reveal that his formulations on the matter of saving faith are muddled and unbiblical, and that he is grossly inconsistent in calling down such condemnations not upon those who have added every kind of falsehood to the gospel under the guise of Rome, but upon those who would dare to identify Rome’s gospel as a false one! If you are left gasping at such incoherence, welcome to the wonderful world of post-evangelicalism. “This isn’t your grandfather’s gospel.” And how.