Alpha & Omega Ministries Apologetics Blog
More on Machen via Mr. Johnson
01/29/2004 - James White
The redoubtable Kevin Johnson, in
response to the Machen citation below, has now accused me of mis-quoting both Calvin and Machen. Perhaps Mr. Johnson should look up the meaning of "mis-quoting" in an English lexicon, just as looking up pseudadelphoi in a Greek lexicon would have assisted him as well? He cannot show where the citation is inaccurate or in error: so, he confuses disagreeing with him on its meaning with a mis-quotation. The fact is Machen interprets Galatians 2 the same way I do. He said, "thus a false brother is a man who claims to be a Christian or is thought to be a Christian and yet is not." Those are his words, not mine. Now, the really sad thing (and this should concern everyone who seeks to proclaim the gospel of grace to those who have been given a false hope within Roman Catholicism), Mr. Johnson then says:
Dr. White has also failed to deal with the fact that even if we agree for the sake of argument that false brothers are indeed not Christians (and never were), that still doesn't prove that Roman Catholics should be considered as such. His argument remains unproven and will until he seriously deals with these and other objections.
There was a time when Kevin knew why Rome's gospel was false. But evidently monocovenantalism and a dash of NPism has removed that knowledge, or at least, that conviction, and now Trinitarian baptism is sufficient to overthrow Rome's denial of the sufficiency of the once-for-all sacrifice of Christ upon the cross. Baptism trumps sacerdotal forgiveness by priests. Baptism covers over the blasphemous sacrilege of the Mass, when the priest, the alter Christus, commands Christ to come down, and Christ bows in obedience! Trinitarian baptism covers over purgatory, satispassio, prayers to saints and Mary...all of this is now rendered secondary by the all-powerful act of Trinitarian baptism! The Judaizers in Galatia never dreamed of the perversions of the gospel of grace promulgated by Rome. Mr. Johnson had better take care. One more step backward and he will find himself neck deep in the Tiber River. Throwing exegesis to the wind has a way of leading folks that direction.
The Plain Meaning
01/29/2004 - James White
The Gobbler (don't ask, we won't tell) pointed out to me today the ironic words of J. Gresham Machen in his notes on Galatians...ironic because they appear under the subtitle "Plain Meaning" as I recall. Please don't ask me where Machen absorbed these radical Anabaptistic, post-modern, discrete, separated from the space-time continuum propositions, but it is truly tragic, isn't it? :-)
Paul here calls the Judaizers "false brethren," and the meaning of that term is clear. 'Brother' in Paul's epistles means 'fellow-Christian,' and thus a false brother is a man who claims to be a Christian or is thought to be a Christian and yet is not, or does not show himself by his present actions to be a Christian at all. It is not a pleasant term, but the reason why it is not a pleasant term is that the thing that is designated is not a pleasant thing. These Judaizers might have seemed to a superficial observer to be true disciples, but in their heart of hearts, Paul seems to mean, they were Pharisees rather than disciples of Jesus Christ. They were depending on their own works for salvation, and according to the apostle Paul a man cannot possibly do that if he is to be saved. So, Paul calls them false brethren. Unlike the leaders of the modern Church the apostle Paul believed in calling things by their true name. Machen's Notes on Galatians, John Skilton, Editor. p. 106.
I know, I know, I promised, so here is a paragraph from the discussion of 2 Thessalonians 2:15 in the upcoming book:
The burden lies squarely on the shoulders of the one who would insist that Paul communicated to the Thessalonians beliefs and doctrines nowhere found in Scripture. If the Roman Catholic wishes to use this passage, then he must show us how the Thessalonians were taught such things as purgatory, the Papacy, and the Immaculate Conception and Bodily Assumption of Mary, all dogmas without sound exegetical basis in Scripture. Yet it is clearly obvious that these were much later developments, beliefs utterly unknown to the Thessalonians (or anyone else in the Apostolic period for that matter). If a Latter-day Saint wishes to find in such a passage a basis for temple ceremonies and priesthoods and exaltation, the same burden of evidence must be met.
Alastair Replies for TGE
01/16/2004 - James White
I do not have any idea who "Alastair" is outside of his being a big fan of NT Wright, NPism (wait...another connection between AAPC and NPism?) and the author of a very poor "review" of J. Ligon Duncan's article in response to NPism. But he has decided to take up the cause for TGE, and in the process has given us much to think about regarding the wide differences that exist between us. Unfortunately, not an iota of exegesis is offered by Alastair in fulfillment of the challenge to deal with the text of the New Testament. This is, sadly, the commonality of this movement: when challenged to get beyond sophistic formulations and get down to the vital matter of dealing with the text, these folks just fall apart. If these wonderful sounding axioms and credos are so divinely wonderful, why do they cripple their users when it comes to handling the text?
More to come. This could be useful to a lot of folks, and as time
allows today, I'll try to add some more commentary.