For some reason l0g0s hopped back on the “rip and shred on Reformed folks” bandwagon today (I haven’t the foggiest what prompted it this time—perhaps the fractal below looks too…Calvinistic or something? Maybe it is “promote your local Anglican Day”?). In any case, he launched off: 

The reason I ask is because C.S. Lewis–that master writer and theologian among the Anglicans–believed in purgatory and prayers for the dead! That obviously means he denied at least one or two of the sacrosanct solas! Sola gratia no more! Anyone who prays for the dead is obviously outside the bounds of Reformed orthodoxy! 

Now, I don’t know, but do those sound like the words of one who finds sola gratia and sola fide to be a passionate expression of the truth? I could see reading that kind of sarcasm on Dave Armstrong’s blog, I suppose…but then again, this is the same blog that still quotes Chesterton and de Sales, so I guess it fits. I’m sorry, but I find both concepts deeply offensive. I do not find such things to be worthy material for such humor. I will explain more below, for l0g0s’ continued comments lay a great foundation: 

I guess this means all of his books go on the Alpha & Omega Ministries Banned Books List–a list that from beginning to end is filled with heretical turned-to-and-fro wind of doctrine wishy-washyness (don’t forget to include the relevant videos as well!). I mean, after all, if we can’t see some idea of sola gratia in Roman Catholic doctrine (even though Benjamin Warfield had no problem seeing it) we certainly can’t see it in these clear statements by C.S. Lewis: 

Before we bring Lewis’ comments to the bar of God’s Word, I can only assume that by demonstrating de Sales’ hatred of the truth that we have, by default, created this fictional index prohibitorum. Outside of that past discussion, I cannot imagine the context of this odd statement. But I am quite thankful A&O is known for speaking clearly on matters of truth, and for standing firmly for the only meaningful definition of sola gratia one can produce, one that rejects the admixture of human merit and sacerdotalism (to use Warfield’s term). Speaking of that, the link l0g0s inserted was the one that prompted the full refutation linked above regarding Warfield. Now, what did Lewis say that l0g0s finds so wonderful and insightful? 

Our souls demand Purgatory, don’t they? Would it not break the heart if God said to us, “It is true, my son, that your breath smells and your rags drip with mud and slime, but we are charitable here and no one will upbraid you with these things, nor draw away from you. Enter into the joy”? Should we not reply, “With submission, sir, and if there is no objection, I’d rather be cleaned first.” “It may hurt, you know”–“Even so, sir.”

I assume that the process of purification will normally involve suffering. Partly from tradition; partly because most real good that has been done in this life has involved it. But I don’t think suffering is the purpose of the purgation. I can well believe that people neither much worse nor much better than I will suffer less than I or more. “No nonsense about merit.” The treatment given will be the one required, whether it hurts little or much. (C.S. Lewis, Letters to Malcolm, Chiefly on Prayer, pp. 108-109) 

Do our souls demand purgatory? If you deny the imputation of the righteousness of Christ so that we stand in a righteousness of our own making, yes, of course it does. That’s why Rome teaches it. And I suppose if you don’t believe in that kind of thing anymore, then you would have no problem with such words, especially when they are clothed in the greatness of a name like Lewis. But, if by some chance, your heart beats for that truth because you have had that soul-shattering experience of realizing your utter bankruptcy, your utter corruption, and the impossibility that anything you do could ever be added to what Christ has done, then you cannot help but recoil at such doctrines as purgatory and its associated beliefs. Evidently Lewis did not understand his standing before God and its perfect ground; perhaps he did not understand Hebrews chapter ten and its glorious proclamation that Christ, by His offering, wrought perfection. That is a shame. We surely do not want to follow him in such an error, one you could hope came from ignorance and tradition. It is nice to note Lewis rejected the concept of merit (Rome, however, does not….but she still believes in sola gratia, right? Hardly!); but that only slightly ameliorates the fundamental error in his thinking. 

Of course, one is once again left wondering why anyone who would even bother to use the term “Reformed” of themselves in any fashion would delight in such doctrines of purgatory or prayers for the dead, or even make reference to such beliefs as evidence of how “broad” one is in one’s ecumenism. I wonder, would l0g0s likewise show this broad spirit in embracing T.D. Jakes’ modalism? If not, why not? What makes Trinitarian theology sacrosanct while the gospel is placed on the “negotiables” list? Is there any logical or rational reason why someone who can find purgatory so unoffensive so as to quote the above from Lewis could not likewise rejoice at seeing Pinnock’s openness to Mormon scholarship on the doctrine of God as well? Let’s all be so open minded!

In days like these, it is good to be reminded…. 

The elder to the chosen lady and her children, whom I love in truth; and not only I, but also all who know the truth, for the sake of the truth which abides in us and will be with us forever: (2 John 1-2) 

I rejoice in God’s promise: His people will always have His truth with them, even when that truth comes under attack from all sides.

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