Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Carl Trueman's "Reasons ... For Moving Romeward"

No, Carl Trueman isn't moving Romeward, but he has post listing reasons that he thinks people give for leaving (link to post). But the reasons given for leaving was not exactly the question posed to him. The question posed to him was the reasons that people leave for Rome. Trueman listed a lot of salient items, but I think he overlooked a few, and so I offer this as a supplement to his post.

1. Love of Idolatry
Men love idols. We can see this throughout the Old Testament and New Testament. It's especially clear in the Old Testament, in which not only are idols to be found in Lot's possession (and stolen by Rachel)[FN1], but an idol is made by the Israelites as soon as Moses seems to have disappeared [FN2]. The Israelites are repeatedly warned against the dangers of idolatry [FN3], and yet they return to it time and time again [FN4]. This is the case even despite a number of purges of idols, such as under Asa [FN5].

The New Testament likewise describes the pagan fondness for idolatry [FN6]. John's last words in his first catholic epistle are to warn his readers to avoid idolatry [FN7]. Likewise, arguing from the evil example of Israel, Paul exhorts the Corinthians to avoid idolatry [FN8].

It's a huge temptation, and the religion of Rome is rife with it. For example, the bread and wine are worshiped as though they are God [FN9]. The practice of praying before images and presenting gifts during such worship is also viewed as normal [FN10]. Moreover, Rome has endorsed the so-called Seventh Ecumenical Council, which mandated the use of images of Jesus Christ, Mary, angels, and the saints in churches [FN11].

It seems reasonable to conclude that people who join Rome, join it because they love its idolatry. They are not filled with a righteous indignation at this abominable practice, but instead find it alluring.

2. Love of Certainty
I cannot document or prove this item as thoroughly as the first. One thing that I have noticed, however, is that a number of Roman converts point to the issue of certainty. They seem to think that the only way one can have certainty about doctrine is if one has an infallible church. Their typical rationale is that there are thousands of different opinions about Scripture, and consequently they conclude that one cannot be certain about one's conclusions from Scripture, since there are so many who disagree. Two obvious flaws in their thinking are that there is no good reason to suppose that any infallible church exists and that although there may be thousands of opinions about what Scripture teaches, remarkably none of the groups that hold to Scripture alone as their authority arrive at something approximating Roman doctrines.

3. Escondido Movement
Under the topic of flawed ecclesiologies, Trueman rightly points a finger at "Emergent Christianity" and the "Federal Vision" but Trueman omits to address the Escondido movement. This movement reacts strongly to the Emergent phenomenon and to the Federal Vision, but often on quite weak terms (such as an over-reliance on the amended Westminster Confession). It tries to set itself forth as the official voice of "Reformed" even while departing from the Reformers on a number of significant points. There needs to be a response to Rome's flawed ecclesiology, but that response cannot take the form of trying to provide a Reformed "Rome lite" where excommunication is viewed as being an exercise of power rather than a recognition of apostasy, where our amended (!) confessions become a rule of faith, and where Scriptural exegesis in debates over issues that the confession addresses are rare or secondary to the issue.

We need to recover the grammatical-historical hermeneutic more than we need to recover the Reformed confessions. We need to understand the importance of church discipline, and make sure it is properly applied. We need to make sure that the fundamentals of the faith are defended, Scripture is explained from the pulpit, and charity is extended in as many of the non-essentials as we can.

Of course, none of the failures of the Escondido movement would justify a departure to Rome. Rome's ecclesiological problems dwarf anything one can find in any other church. An earthly head of the church who claims to be Christ's vicar? Come on! A church that claims to have the gift of infallibility, and yet can't tell itself which (if either!) of Molinism or Thomism is correct. A move from an Escondido-style church to Rome is not a jump from the frying pan into the fire, it's a move from a cat with slight halitosis to a rabid lion.

Do I echo many of Trueman's concerns? Absolutely. I haven't spent this post repeating his points or patting him on the back. I hope he gets plenty of that already. I'm simply writing to emphasize a few points that he may have overlooked.

-TurretinFan




Footnotes:

1) Genesis 31:19 And Laban went to shear his sheep: and Rachel had stolen the images that were her father's.

2) Exodus 32:23-24 For they said unto me, Make us gods, which shall go before us: for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him. And I said unto them, Whosoever hath any gold, let them break it off. So they gave it me: then I cast it into the fire, and there came out this calf.

3) Leviticus 19:4 Turn ye not unto idols, nor make to yourselves molten gods: I am the LORD your God. | Leviticus 26:1 Ye shall make you no idols nor graven image, neither rear you up a standing image, neither shall ye set up any image of stone in your land, to bow down unto it: for I am the LORD your God.

4) Isaiah 57:5 Enflaming yourselves with idols under every green tree, slaying the children in the valleys under the clifts of the rocks?

5) 1 Kings 15:11-13 And Asa did that which was right in the eyes of the LORD, as did David his father. And he took away the sodomites out of the land, and removed all the idols that his fathers had made. And also Maachah his mother, even her he removed from being queen, because she had made an idol in a grove; and Asa destroyed her idol, and burnt it by the brook Kidron.

6) Acts 17:16 Now while Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was stirred in him, when he saw the city wholly given to idolatry.

7) 1 John 5:21 Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.

8) 1 Corinthians 10:1-14
Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; and were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; and did all eat the same spiritual meat; and did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ. But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness. Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted. Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play [Exodus 32:6]. Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand. Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents. Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer. Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear ihttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gift. Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry.

9) CCC 1378 "Worship of the Eucharist. In the liturgy of the Mass we express our faith in the real presence of Christ under the species of bread and wine by, among other ways, genuflecting or bowing deeply as a sign of adoration of the Lord. 'The Catholic Church has always offered and still offers to the sacrament of the Eucharist the cult of adoration, not only during Mass, but also outside of it, reserving the consecrated hosts with the utmost care, exposing them to the solemn veneration of the faithful, and carrying them in procession.'"

10) "I am pleased to have the opportunity to pray before her image, brhttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifought here specially from Gozo for this occasion. I am also delighted to present a Golden Rose to her, as a sign of our shared filial affection for the Mother of God." (source)

11) "We define the rule with all accuracy and diligence, in a manner not unlike that befitting the shape of the precious and vivifying Cross, that the venerable and holy icons, painted or mosaic, or made of any other suitable material, be placed in the holy churches of God upon sacred vessels and vestments, walls and panels, houses and streets, both of our Lord and God and Savior Jesus Christ, and of our intemerate Lady the holy Theotoke, and also of the precious Angels, and of all Saints." (source)

54 comments:

Dan said...

Even were one to accept your assertions and implyings about the "Escondido movement," it isn't clear to me how you see it as a reason people leave for Rome. In the case of 1 and 2, there is something Rome has (in the case of 2, allegedly has) that people want, so their wanting to satisfy that desire partially explains conversion.

Turretinfan said...

Thanks for your thoughts, Dan!

I assume you feel the same way about Trueman's points about the Emergent Church and the Federal Vision. If so, you are at least consistent.

-TurretinFan

Ron DiGiacomo said...

"...none of the failures of the Escondido movement would justify a departure to Rome..."

Indeed, TF - not in and of themselves. But when one adds to the equation Carl's error that Rome is the default position, his premise along with Escondido's errors pave the way to Rome.

Keep up the good work!

Dan said...

TF,
I hadn't read Trueman's post when I posted. Having read (the relevant portion of) it, it only reinforces my lack of understanding for your inclusion of #3.

Drawing from Trueman, it seems one reason some join Rome is a disappointment with the ecclesiolog(y/ies) (or lack thereof) in evangelicalism; and he mentions Emergentism and Federal Visionism as things that have arisen in response to this problem. So, then, are you saying that the "Escondido Movement" (I refer to it in quotes and in your words because I don't know exactly what you mean by it) is another thing that has arisen in response to this problem? If so, I still don't see how that makes it a reason why people leave for Rome. In the context of what Trueman said, these things are not reasons people leave for Rome, but perspectives people embrace instead of embracing Rome, the reason being disappointment with ecclesiology in evangelicalism.

I see you criticizing the "Escondido Movement," in part for its alleged failure to provide a good enough alternative to Rome, but I don't see how or in what sense you take it to be a reason people leave for Rome.

Wouldn't you admit that the professors at Westminster West have been vigilant in addressing the problems concerning justification (and the NPP and FV) that Trueman addresses in his next paragraph?

Turretinfan said...

The Escondido movement is infinitely better than Rome. But, like the Emerging church and the Federal Vision, it has serious issues related to ecclesiology.

If one is going to pick on two movements, one ought to pick on the the third similar movement.

As for the vigilance of Westminster West professors, perhaps they have tried, but some of them are hamstrung by their approach to handling Scripture and the confessions.

I'd express myself more openly about this, but I fear that it might serve to encourage the Federal Vision crowd.

Pilgrimsarbour said...

Although I don't find Rome alluring, I do sense a lack of "transcendence" within Protestantism. Statues, high-ceilinged cathedrals, stained glass--make a definite statement of His majesty, rightly or wrongly, and at the very least remind us of Someone greater than ourselves. Someone greater and outside ourselves is given little consideration in today's age of self-esteem both without and often within the Church.

For all our doctrinal distinctives regarding the sovereignty of God and the doctrines of grace, I wonder if we Protestants in reality neglect the holiness of God and fail to see Him with the awe, wonder and mystery that we should.

Also, I confess that I don't know what the Escondido Movement is. Would someone send me a link or give a brief description please?

Turretinfan said...

re: Escondido movement

It's a theological movement loosely and informally centered on Escondido California. It is characterized by amillenial eschatology, heavy use of the redemptive historical hermeneutic, an almost(?or altogether?) Lutheran view of the Law/Gospel distinction, and varying degrees of radicality with respect to the distinction between the two kingdoms - although I'm sure there are other aspects that we could identify. It's not organized, and there is no official roster.

Jordan Cooper said...

Escondido movement? Seriously? I'm sorry but I don't picture Michael Horton leading anyone to Rome.

Turretinfan said...

Can you picture him endorsing the book of a Roman apologist on the teachings of the pope?

Turretinfan said...

If you need a testimonial (link).

Jordan Cooper said...

Yes, endorsing it as a good piece of scholarship on a theologian he had done some work with. One does not have to agree with Benedict XVI to say that Scott Hahn's book about his theology is a good book.
If I was ever asked to write an endorsement for say-a book on Karl Barth's hermeneutics-I would not hesitate to do so (if the book was well researched and written). This would not then make me a "Barthian."
If you remember correctly, Horton opposed ECT and endorsed Dr. White's "the Roman Catholic Controversy", and engaged in debate with Robert Sungenis and other Roman Catholic apologists. The fact that he takes Roman Catholic writers seriously as scholars and theologians does not make him one.

Truth Unites... and Divides said...

It's too bad the Escondido movement possesses such corrupting errors.

Oh well.

Their R2K doctrine is what I'm most familiar with.

Turretinfan said...

Who on earth said that Horton is a Roman Catholic writer?

It's amazing to me how emotional people get when their heroes are criticized.

Jordan Cooper said...

What I meant is that it does not make him sympathetic to Rome.

Turretinfan said...

I agree with you, Jordan. It does not prove he is sympathetic with Rome.

Can you find me any place where he describes the pope as the antichrist, where he says that Roman Catholics are not our brothers in Christ, or where he says that Rome teaches "another Gospel" or a "false gospel" (those exact words, if possible). Or any place where he describes them as heretics or says that those following Rome's gospel will go to hell, unless they repent and believe.

Anything like that.

And does his silence prove sympathy? Of course not. There are lots of other explanations.

Nevertheless, his silence on those points (and his endorsement of a book on B16's theology by a Roman apologist) is something that is not helpful for the young people of the church.

He claims to be Reformed, and I don't doubt that he is. I just wish he'd talk like he was Reformed.

BTW - I do appreciate that a number of years ago he endorsed my friend James White's book, and that he was involved in a debate with Sungenis (can you locate that debate? perhaps it has the kind of comments I was asking about above).

I like a lot of things about Horton - and my criticism of him on certain points shouldn't take away from that.

-TurretinFan

Jordan Cooper said...

And isn't a focus on the law-gospel distinction and two kingdom (there is no need to call it radical) theology more opposed to Rome than other Reformed views?

Oh and I'm not afraid to have my "heroes" criticized. I certainly don't agree with Horton on every point-- I'm not even Reformed.

Turretinfan said...

"And isn't a focus on the law-gospel distinction and two kingdom (there is no need to call it radical) theology more opposed to Rome than other Reformed views?"

a) No. It's more Lutheran, perhaps.

b) There is need to point out that it is a departure from the traditional Reformed view found in all the major Reformed confessions. Whether we do that with the word "radical" or some other word, so be it.

-TurretinFan

Jordan Cooper said...

Unfortunately the only copy I have found of the debate is pretty expensive: http://www.surprisedbytruth.com/shop/shopexd.asp?id=96

Is it necessary that one consider Romanists damned heretics to be Reformed? His clear criticisms should be enough to see that he is serious about the theological distinctions.

Turretinfan said...

"Is it necessary that one consider Romanists damned heretics to be Reformed?"

I'm surprised that's even a question. Read the Westminster Confession.

"His clear criticisms should be enough to see that he is serious about the theological distinctions."

He criticizes lots of people. So do I. Do his criticisms of Warren mean that he does not regard Warren as his brother in Christ? What about Douglas Wilson? Horton sharply disagrees with him - but does Horton say that Wilson isn't saved?

-TurretinFan

Dan said...

The Escondido movement is infinitely better than Rome. But, like the Emerging church and the Federal Vision, it has serious issues related to ecclesiology.

How is the "Escondido Movement" a reason that people leave for Rome? It's one thing to identify problems in a theological perspective, and it's another for it to be or constitute or otherwise provide a reason to convert to Roman-Catholicism. At most you've done the former.

If one is going to pick on two movements [such as Emergentism and FV], one ought to pick on the the third similar movement.

Trueman didn't pick on either of these two movements in his remark about ecclesiology. He gave them as examples of perspectives that people have embraced as a reaction to impoverished evangelical ecclesiology. He did make (or imply) a critical remark about the FV, but that was in the context of justification; with respect to which you did not criticize the "Escondido Movement" (directly).

Further, maybe Trueman doesn't agree with you that the "Escondido Movement" is similar (in any relevant way) with these two. And perhaps almost no one (comparatively speaking) knows what the "Escondido movement" even is.

Dan said...

Jordan: Escondido movement? Seriously? I'm sorry but I don't picture Michael Horton leading anyone to Rome.

TF:Can you picture him endorsing the book of a Roman apologist on the teachings of the pope?

TF: If you need a testimonial (link).


It seems the link was supposed to be to a testimonial to the effect that Horton led someone to Rome (either that or to the mentioned book review). It's not. It's a CTC comment expressing disapproval of Horton (and others). (Hardly a reliable source upon which to form beliefs about the quality of Horton's work, incidentally.)

Ron DiGiacomo said...

Jordan,

Should a book by the Satan that was well written with clever arguments be endorsed? So why a book by an apologist who is on the same side? If MH had a better appreciation of what was at stake, he wouldn't endorse such works in the name of "scholarship". Carl Trueman is guilty in the same way. Maybe folks should get out of their offices a bit more, if not only for a breath of fresh air but to witness to some held captive by the charms of Romanism.

Dan said...

I agree with you, Jordan. It does not prove he is sympathetic with Rome.

Can you find me any place where he describes the pope as the antichrist, where he says that Roman Catholics are not our brothers in Christ, or where he says that Rome teaches "another Gospel" or a "false gospel" (those exact words, if possible). Or any place where he describes them as heretics or says that those following Rome's gospel will go to hell, unless they repent and believe.

Anything like that.


When you throw out these suggestions about someone, the burden is on you to back them up; not on others to falsify them. As for the book review, a positive review of a book about someone's theology is not a positive review of that person's theology.

He claims to be Reformed, and I don't doubt that he is. I just wish he'd talk like he was Reformed.

Horton is one of the most outspoken and prolific ambassadors for Reformed theology on the planet. He is incessantly talking "like he was Reformed."

Pilgrimsarbour said...

Should a book by the Satan that was well written with clever arguments be endorsed?

The answer is "yes." And that's because, as Carl has told me, "...we need to be careful to accuse Catholicism of sins it does commit rather than those we merely think it commits."

There's no better way to deal with flawed and serious error-riddled theologies than to go to the source. And the best sources are generally not lay people but rather top apologists working in an official capacity.

Having said that, as the librarian at my church, I do not see it as my purpose to provide opposing theological viewpoints to that of the OPC. The seminary, of course, is a different matter, and the best source materials from all the various denominations, cults, sects and unorthodox/heretical teachings must be made available for study. Therefore the endorsement that a heretical book is the best source for study of a particular system is not necessarily to be taken as an endorsement of the truthfulness of the book's teachings.

I consider it a calumny to accuse Horton (or Trueman) of being "soft on Romanism," especially when one considers that it is the job of these folks to deal honestly and forthrightly with systematic error in a Christ-like manner.

Coram Deo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Coram Deo said...

It seems that the clearest reason that folks depart for Rome is summed up in 1 John 2:19:

They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us.

In Christ,
CD

Turretinfan said...

"I consider it a calumny to accuse Horton (or Trueman) of being "soft on Romanism," especially when one considers that it is the job of these folks to deal honestly and forthrightly with systematic error in a Christ-like manner. "

I certainly haven't accused Trueman of being soft on Romanism.

Being tough on Romanism and being honest are two different categories. Hopefully, people will be in both categories. And challenging Horton's boldness with respect to Rome is not challenging Horton's honesty.

-TurretinFan

Turretinfan said...

"When you throw out these suggestions about someone, the burden is on you to back them up; not on others to falsify them."

That's what I thought. I ask for evidence to contradict the evidence I set forth, and I'm told that I'm the only one that has to provide evidence. Given that my claim is that Horton doesn't adequately address Romanism, I'm positing that there won't be any writings from Horton that say those things I've identified. I offer as evidence Horton's recent systematic theology book, which fails to state any of those things (from what I've seen -- it's a large book, perhaps I overlooked something).

"As for the book review, a positive review of a book about someone's theology is not a positive review of that person's theology."

No one said otherwise. Nevertheless, Horton's review will lead people in Reformed churches to (at best) waste their time reading Hahn's explanation of Benedict XVI's theology, or (as seems to be the point in soliciting the review) be led astray by the book. Hahn is, after all, a Roman apologist. His goal in getting Horton's endorsement should be pretty obvious.

Horton would have been better advised not to endorse the book. After all, what good comes from his endorsement?

-TurretinFan

Turretinfan said...

"It seems the link was supposed to be to a testimonial to the effect that Horton led someone to Rome (either that or to the mentioned book review). It's not. It's a CTC comment expressing disapproval of Horton (and others). (Hardly a reliable source upon which to form beliefs about the quality of Horton's work, incidentally.)"

Yes. It's not about the book review. It's about an example of Roman converts identifying their dissatisfaction with Escondido as an aspect of their thought process in heading Rome-ward.

Obviously, they are untrustworthy critics of Horton, particularly since they themselves are apostates. I hope no one would take my pointing them out as an endorsement of their points.

-TurretinFan

Turretinfan said...

"Further, maybe Trueman doesn't agree with you that the "Escondido Movement" is similar (in any relevant way) with these two. And perhaps almost no one (comparatively speaking) knows what the "Escondido movement" even is. "

Maybe so! All the more need for that part of my post.

-TurretinFan

Turretinfan said...

I find it interesting that nearly all of the attention given to this post so far has been on the least significant point. Nevertheless, I appreciate the attention.

Pilgrimsarbour said...

So TF,

You think Horton got "played" by Hahn for the book endorsement? Have you asked him about it? Has anyone here asked Horton if he thinks he got played by Hahn? Or what was his intent in giving the endorsement? It's difficult for me to believe Horton was stupid and foolish in this regard, but the only other possibility leaves Horton's Reformed street cred now in question?

Inquiring minds want to know...

Turretinfan said...

You wrote: You think Horton got "played" by Hahn for the book endorsement? Have you asked him about it? Has anyone here asked Horton if he thinks he got played by Hahn? Or what was his intent in giving the endorsement? It's difficult for me to believe Horton was stupid and foolish in this regard, but the only other possibility leaves Horton's Reformed street cred now in question?

He's been asked about it (here for example) and he's provided some comments in response to the questions he was asked (link pointing to link).

BTW - He has demonstrated his opposition to Rome in a recent Modern Reformation interaction with Romanist Bryan Cross.

It's not as though Horton is suggesting people should go to Rome. Horton is Reformed, as far as I know!

Dan said...

(An earlier message I had written on the book-endorsement/evidence/phrases-in-Horton was lost.) As far as the book endorsement, reading about the Pope’s theology is not a waste of time; and second, I’m inclined to agree that Horton should not have endorsed the book. I just don’t think it calls into question the integrity or sincerity of his Reformed convictions and beliefs; including beliefs such as that the Roman-Catholic church is a false church with a false gospel that cannot save. I can, however, understand why one might get an alternative impression, if they aren’t aware of his extensive and public record of defending Reformed thought (both in written and oral form). But such a person, being ignorant of who he is, should not be expected to ascribe special value to his endorsement (much less to the theology described in the book, much less to the peculiarly Catholic parts of the theology described therein).

I believe Horton has said numerous times (such as on the WHI) that at Trent the Roman-Catholic church apostatized, “unchurched” itself (because of its, in effect, anathemizing the real gospel; falling under the Galatians condemnation). I emphasize however that I’m working from very fallible memory here. He clearly thinks the marks of a true church are not found in Rome. See, e.g., the last two paragraphs of his article located at http://www.modernreformation.org/default.php?page=articledisplay&var1=ArtRead&var2=753&var3=authorbio&var4=AutRes&var5=1

Dan said...

Yes. It's not about the book review. It's about an example of Roman converts identifying their dissatisfaction with Escondido as an aspect of their thought process in heading Rome-ward.

If you say so. The linked comment doesn’t indicate this.

Dan said...

I find it interesting that nearly all of the attention given to this post so far has been on the least significant point. Nevertheless, I appreciate the attention.

Perhaps it is because it is the least clear of the points (as well as the one that sounds the most controversial, as well as the one that involves an institution and people). Which brings me back to my question which you still haven’t answered. How is the “Escondido Movement” a reason people leave for Rome? You gave two plausible reasons people leave for Rome, followed by a series of criticisms of the “Escondido Movement,” mainly but not exclusively concerning their ecclesiology; ostensibly organized under the heading of a third reason people leave for Rome. It isn’t clear why such criticisms don’t belong in another thread entirely. You emphasize that one shouldn’t leave the “Escondido Movement” for Rome, but of course one shouldn’t abandon any Christian theological perspective for Rome. And the alleged connection between the “Escondido Movement” and the Emergent Church and Federal Vision doesn’t explain anything, since Trueman did not identify them or their ecclesiologies as reasons people give for leaving for Rome.

Dan said...

BTW - He has demonstrated his opposition to Rome in a recent Modern Reformation interaction with Romanist Bryan Cross.

And of course, he is also the editor-in-chief of Modern Reformation, which might suggest an opposition to Rome.

It's not as though Horton is suggesting people should go to Rome. Horton is Reformed, as far as I know!

As far as you know? =)

Dan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
natamllc said...

I would cryptically say in response to the weighted focus that has been on Horton and not on Truman, this way, agreeing parenthetically, that, in my view, it was unwise of Horton to give his endorsement to Hahn's book and by so doing, raise slight doubts about his theological and philosophical positions. For me, it tends towards being a bit ecumenical and inclusive, maybe wanting to be a sort of peacemaker between the various disciplines?:

when washing the baby, certainly we only want to wash off the dirty material and throw that away thus making a distinction, not for the sake of the baby, seeing the baby makes no distinction about their dirty condition, but, for the sake of those who need to be able to distinguish between what is dirty material, i.e., applied baby powder and oils after having been washed up and clothed with infant or toddler robes of righteousness before and before and before, and what is a clean robe now.

Rev 22:14 Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life and that they may enter the city by the gates.
Rev 22:15 Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and the sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.



Jesus did say of "maturing" babies and young Christian toddler disciples and of men too, this about being continually washed and cleansed:

Joh 13:6 He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, "Lord, do you wash my feet?"
Joh 13:7 Jesus answered him, "What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand."
Joh 13:8 Peter said to him, "You shall never wash my feet." Jesus answered him, "If I do not wash you, you have no share with me."
Joh 13:9 Simon Peter said to him, "Lord, not my feet only but also my hands and my head!"
Joh 13:10 Jesus said to him, "The one who has bathed does not need to wash, except for his feet, but is completely clean. And you are clean, but not every one of you."
Joh 13:11 For he knew who was to betray him; that was why he said, "Not all of you are clean."
Joh 13:12 When he had washed their feet and put on his outer garments and resumed his place, he said to them, "Do you understand what I have done to you?
Joh 13:13 You call me Teacher and Lord, and you are right, for so I am.
Joh 13:14 If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet.


I would think, also, in light of the next verses, one would want to make things much clearer knowing full well Christ's disciples in this world are in varying stages of development:::>

Joh 21:5 Jesus said to them, "Children, do you have any fish?" They answered him, "No."

...


Joh 21:15 When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?" He said to him, "Yes, Lord; you know that I love you." He said to him, "Feed my lambs."
Joh 21:16 He said to him a second time, "Simon, son of John, do you love me?" He said to him, "Yes, Lord; you know that I love you." He said to him, "Tend my sheep."
Joh 21:17 He said to him the third time, "Simon, son of John, do you love me?" Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, "Do you love me?" and he said to him, "Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you." Jesus said to him, "Feed my sheep.


Just consider, at the beginning of breakfast and what a breakfast that must have been, Jesus addresses these full grown men as children?

I would think it incumbent on men of Michael Horton's stature to be a bit more perspicacious than he is.

Frankly, I am in doubt as to just where he stands with regard to Reformed persuasions, whether or not he is leaning more towards Lutheranism?

Dan said...
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Dan said...
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Turretinfan said...

Dan: (working backwards)

"As far as you know? =) "

:)


Your organizational point about the lack of parallelism may be correct. As I pointed out already, it was included based on its fit with the article, rather than based on my own organizational ideas.

Regarding what Horton said, he comes awefully close in those paragraphs you identified, doesn't he?

But look carefully at what he says: "If they are not in a true visible church, where the Word is rightly preached and sacraments rightly administered, they must be encouraged to join one, but this is true also for "Evangelical" churches where these marks are not present."

That would apply to Reformed Baptists, would it not? After all, they don't rightly administer the sacraments.

I would have picked this comment by Horton as stronger: Once more, it has never been denied by Protestantism that there is a shared catholic heritage, but this consensus must not be regarded as a sufficient basis for regarding Rome as a true visible church while it denies what is also essential to Christianity--namely, the Gospel of free justification.

Or this: We do not believe that salvation depends on how well one can articulate the doctrine of salvation in technical terms, but we do insist as essential for salvation that there be some recognition that God alone saves by Christ alone and that however little knowledge of doctrine is necessary, the essential features of the evangelical doctrine must not be persistently or directly denied.

Turretinfan said...

By the way, posting links triggers the spam filter. I think some of your comments may have suffered. Hang on, and I'll try to free them.

Dan said...

That would apply to Reformed Baptists, would it not? After all, they don't rightly administer the sacraments.

(Thanks for posting the trapped message.) It would seem so, at least in part. Rightness in the three areas can be a matter of degree; and the difference between Horton and Baptists on the administration of sacraments is relatively small (over the subjects of baptism); arguably less of a difference than exists between "Escondido" and the FV. Horton could make a principled distinction between Baptists and Rome both in terms of the degree of rightness and by bringing in the first mark (on which Rome utterly fails, due to its condemnation of and hence inability to preach the gospel). In any case, functionally speaking it's clear Horton sees a fundamental difference between Baptists and Rome. Witness the WHI talkers, and the fact that Westminster West houses an "Institute for Reformed Baptist Studies" (I may be getting the name wrong); not to mention has members of the institute give seminary chapel talks.

Turretinfan said...

"arguably less of a difference than exists between "Escondido" and the FV."

The FV holds to paedocommunion. I would agree that's a bigger difference than paedobaptism (vis-a-vis the Reformed Baptists).

"Horton could make a principled distinction between Baptists and Rome both in terms of the degree of rightness and by bringing in the first mark (on which Rome utterly fails, due to its condemnation of and hence inability to preach the gospel). In any case, functionally speaking it's clear Horton sees a fundamental difference between Baptists and Rome. Witness the WHI talkers, and the fact that Westminster West houses an "Institute for Reformed Baptist Studies" (I may be getting the name wrong); not to mention has members of the institute give seminary chapel talks."

With the additional point that there is no "Institute for Roman Catholic Studies," and Roman priests or apologists don't give seminary chapel talks, right? But then again the Federal Visionists don't have an Institute or give chapel talks. The Emergents don't have an institute or give talks. Yet, Horton is willing to accept a speaking invitation at Rick Warren's church, and is willing to endorse a Roman Catholic study book.

Is it just a matter of degree? Does Horton view the Federal Visionists as heretics because of their paedocommunion? I would find that hard to believe.

-TurretinFan

Dan said...

With the additional point that there is no "Institute for Roman Catholic Studies," and Roman priests or apologists don't give seminary chapel talks, right? But then again the Federal Visionists don't have an Institute or give chapel talks. The Emergents don't have an institute or give talks. Yet, Horton is willing to accept a speaking invitation at Rick Warren's church, and is willing to endorse a Roman Catholic study book.

I'm not clear on the point you're making with 'Yet' and what follows. I mentioned the fact of the Reformed Baptist Institute and the chapel talks as evidence of WSC's ecumenical spirit with respect to Baptists, of how they are part of the seminary community. I didn't mean to imply that the absence of an institute for, and regular chapel talks by representatives of, perspective P implies something about the seminary's stance on P.

Is it just a matter of degree? Does Horton view the Federal Visionists as heretics because of their paedocommunion? I would find that hard to believe.

It seems clear that a church can possess the marks of a true church to lesser or greater degrees. Assuming a credobaptist and a paedobaptist each agree that a true church is one that satisfies the mentioned marks, and that each one grants that the church of the other is a true church, it seems they each have to think that the church of the other satisfies at least one of the marks to a lesser degree/extent than does his own church.

Whether satisfying the marks is a matter of degree is a distinct issue from whether being a true/false church is a matter of degree. Perhaps being a true church is a property that comes in degrees as well, or perhaps it doesn't, in which case one would presumably need to think that there is some threshold in satisfying the marks; such that churches below that threshold are false and ones above it true. Someone who thinks paedocommunion is unbiblical but not heretical might think that such churches don't administer the sacraments rightly, but that the degree to which they fail in this regard is not high enough so as to put them under the threshold.

Turretinfan said...

The marks are either a red herring or not. If the issue is the marks, and if neither Roman, nor Reformed Baptist, nor FV have them, why can we have "Reformed and Reformed Baptist together" and not "Reformed and Romanist together" ecumenicity?

I think the answer is that the marks issue is a red herring. It's not the real issue.

The real issue is the gospel.

Dan said...

The marks are either a red herring or not.

I hyperlinked a Horton article, then you drew attention to a portion where he mentioned the marks of a true church, then raised the issue of whether Reformed Baptists would fail the marks just as Rome does. My response has been: no, for satisfying the marks can be a matter of degree. This should block the inference that, in speaking of the faithfulness of a church in terms of its fidelity to the marks of rightly preaching the word and administering the sacraments, Horton is somehow lumping together Rome and Baptists.

If the issue is the marks, and if neither Roman, nor Reformed Baptist, nor FV have them, why can we have "Reformed and Reformed Baptist together" and not "Reformed and Romanist together" ecumenicity?

I would agree that the fundamental aswer to this is the gospel; but this isn't mutually exclusive with a marks answer, since rightly preaching the word is the first mark. If someone said to me out of the blue, "Describe the relevant differences between Reformed Baptist churches and Rome," I wouldn't start talking about their comparative performance with respect to the three marks. That would obscure the heart of the matter. But in the context of assessing the faithfulness of churches more generally, the marks are relevant; unless one wants to claim that level of faithfulness can be determined solely on the basis of what the church says about the gospel.

Turretinfan said...

As to your first comment, right. You pointed to the article as an example of Horton being stern with Rome. But saying that Rome doesn't have the marks isn't really saying anything particularly strong.

A lot of Horton's criticism of Rome falls in that category: it is the same sort of criticism he might level at Reformed Baptists or Federal Visionists.

As for the second point, if the real issue is the gospel, the real issue isn't the larger category of which the gospel is one part. I certainly didn't say that the marks are mutually exclusive with the gospel, such that one can have the marks but not the gospel.

-TurretinFan

Dan said...

As to your first comment, right. You pointed to the article as an example of Horton being stern with Rome. But saying that Rome doesn't have the marks isn't really saying anything particularly strong.

The mentioned marks are marks of a true church, implying that failure to have them makes for a false church; an allegation which I don't consider to be particularly weak. You've raised the issue of whether Reformed Baptists are just like Rome in this regard. If this were so, I'd agree that accusing a church of lacking the marks would not be particularly strong. But it isn't so, and I think Reformed Baptists would take offense at the idea that it is so =).

And you've already pointed out that his criticisms in the article include more than the charge that Rome lacks the marks, so even were this particular charge a relatively weak one, it would seem to be a moot point; unless there is some reason to be concerned that his criticisms are not all equally severe.

A lot of Horton's criticism of Rome [in the article?] falls in that category: it is the same sort of criticism he might level at Reformed Baptists or Federal Visionists.

And alot of it isn't.

As for the second point, if the real issue is the gospel, the real issue isn't the larger category of which the gospel is one part. I certainly didn't say that the marks are mutually exclusive with the gospel, such that one can have the marks but not the gospel.

You said the marks were a red herring and that the real issue was the gospel; this suggested that preaching the gospel is distinct from having the marks. There hasn't been just one issue in view. There's the issue of whether Baptists are like Rome with respect to the marks, and there's the issue of the common ground between Reformed and Reformed Baptists that doesn't obtain between Reformed and Rome. My remarks about the marks in general pertained to the former, and I'm agreeing with you with respect to the latter that a part of the first mark (the gospel) is the fundamental issue.

Turretinfan said...

"unless there is some reason to be concerned that his criticisms are not all equally severe."

No, the concern is that the severe criticisms are hard to find. I tried to pick out what I thought were his strongest criticisms above.

-TurretinFan

Ken said...

re: Escondido movement

It's a theological movement loosely and informally centered on Escondido California.
Why not just say, “Westminster (Reformed Presbyterian) Seminary, West, in Escondido, California?”

It is characterized by amillenial eschatology,

How is that a problem of people being dissatisfied with Presbyterianism/Reformed churches and converting to Rome?

Anders wrote about “how John Calvin made me Catholic”. I don’t remember specifics about these issues that you raise, though I read it a few weeks back.

And how is that a problem with the Westminster Confession of Faith?


heavy use of the redemptive historical hermeneutic,

What is the problem with that as relates to converting to Rome?

an almost(?or altogether?) Lutheran view of the Law/Gospel distinction,

How does that relate to dis-satisfaction and converting to Rome?

and varying degrees of radicality with respect to the distinction between the two kingdoms

How does that relate to dis-satifaction and converting to Rome?

Turretinfan said...

Ken:

I'm not sure I follow your questions. I don't say the seminary itself because (a) there are professors there who are not part of the movement and (b) the movement goes beyond the walls of the seminary. T. David Gordon, for example, would probably be associated with the movement, but isn't a professor at Westminster West (as far as I know).

I think my concerns about Escondido theology as it relates to Romeward movement are already expressed in the article - an article that doesn't mention the RHH, amillenialism, or the L/G distinction.

-TurretinFan

Ken said...

Thanks for clarification on the seminary itself.

Interesting.

I will need a fleshing out of the other issues in order to really understand how those issues you raise, relate to the dis-satisfaction with Protestant/Reformed/Presbyterian churches. (like the Called to Communion crowd, Matatics, Sungenis, etc.)

That would be an interesting set of articles to connect the dots more and flesh it out more with specifices with Amill; RHH, and R2K and Lutheran view of Law and Grace.

I guess, since I am a baptist (believer's baptism; Reformed/doctrines of grace; but not dogmatic on eschatology; although I see a lot of exegetical warrant and truth in the partial-Preterist position of Gentry and DeMar, (which may lead to Post-mill sympathies) - I don't understand the deeper connections with their dis-satisfaction with Presb. Reformed churches in those issues you name (A-mill; HRR; R2K, Law and Grace Lutheran issue.

I think you are right on in that men love their idols, but they would never admit that is idolatry.

they are deceived.

the combination of all the articles connected with this issue is helpful.