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Thread: In Which Aspect of Theology has the ‘Church’ Failed Most?

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    In Which Aspect of Theology has the ‘Church’ Failed Most?

    In the now deceased R.C. (Robert Charles) Sproul’s book Everyone’s A Theologian, chapter 2 on the Scope and Purpose of Theology, he emphasizes the importance of integrating Systematic Theology, Biblical Theology (Old and New Testament), and Historical Theology to correctly understand the comprehensive teachings of the biblical gospel. I do not wish to challenge the accuracy of this teaching, instead, I want to probe deeper. If it is true that deficiency in any one of these 3 primary aspects of theology results in a certain distortion of the other aspects, in which aspect have we been lied to most by the traditional ‘church’?

    The core doctrines of God, the Trinity, Soteriology, the Scriptures, the Final Coming of Christ to Reconcile All Things, and the critical importance of the Ekklesia continuing throughout all history until the end have been affirmed by a significant number of Reformation teachers for centuries--and will continue to be affirmed. However, my assertion is that Historical Theology is where traditional ‘church’ has failed us the most and failed us horribly. Historical revisionism is the worst and most unrepentant sin of Protestant, Nonconformist, Roman Catholic, and Eastern Orthodox theologians.

    I will soon post a list of a lot of major populist doctrines that we have been lied to about century after century. A lot of these are issues I’ve been writing about for a long time. Now, I’m trying to bring together the many parts into an integrated whole of stating where Historical Theology has tragically failed us and most importantly, failed to honor and respect the true gospel of Jesus Christ.

    I would appreciate any insights that anyone has on this. As a starting point, I will cite one of my most respected teachers of history, Dr. John Gill, as nonetheless among the strongest of historical revisionists in his book “The Cause of God and Truth”. Any comments on where Gill (and, of course, hundreds of others) have fallen short in this regard are very welcome.

    Bro. Bob
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    Thanks Brandan. What I addressed in the article you cite was the false and horrific stand on issues in Protestantism that resulted from a revisionist view of historical theology.

    Ultimately, the wrong positions taken due to revisionist historical theology have resulted from a legion of erroneous views of the history of dogma and the 'visible church'. The core 'elephant in the room' in all of this, as pointed out in recent times by many scholars, is a gross ignorance of Eastern Orthodoxy and its 'more credible' claim (a lie, of course) going back much further in history—that of being the only true apostolic succession in the rule of bishops (one-bishop rule in each local assembly). The exaltation of the bishop of Rome over all others occurred over many centuries and was only a small factor until the 6th.

    A very excellent 2018 issue of Modern Reformation magazine (Vol. 27, Issue 1) outlined the whole history, theology, and ecclesiology of Eastern Orthodoxy, in consideration of Hank Hanegraff (the ‘Bible answer’ man) departing from Protestant orthodoxy and joining EO. The new wave of Protestant leadership departures from the Reformation has shifted from the Roman Catholic ‘coming home’ movement (examples: Dave Armstrong and Scott Hahn) to EO. One of the large catalysts in this shift is the legitimization of homosexual abuse of boys by Cardinals and Pontiffs in the Roman Catholic church, with no significant disciplinary action taken in hundreds of cases. So those looking for an ‘apostolic line’ to count on are turning away from the Papacy and looking instead to Orthodoxy as the true ‘church’ sanctioned by apostolic succession.

    The development of post-apostolic ecclesiology to establish ‘church power’ that could not be challenged for all time is documented well in these articles:

    https://www.radicalresurgence.com/onebishop1/
    https://www.radicalresurgence.com/bishop2/
    https://www.radicalresurgence.com/bishop3/#more-214

    NOTE: I do not support the ‘anabaptist’ historical revisionism present in the Radical Resurgence website. I only cite these references as containing the truth on the issue under focus. I have never found much life-changing material on Grace Doctrine in anabaptist confessions or writings, any more than I have found it in the so-called ‘church fathers’. The reason we go to the Reformers rather than the Anabaptists for evidence of the beginnings of Holy Spirit revival of apostolic teaching is very clear. The state-church persecution that took place at various times and places among government authorities in the anti-Papal Reformed movement is due to perverse human sin. There is nonetheless a wealth of Gospel doctrine in Reformed nonconformity that, in contrast, amounts to only a sickly plant in Anabaptist nonconformity. One of the articles in the Modern Reformation issue documents the reason why God never visited Eastern Orthodoxy with a Reformation at all. I see little evidence that Nonconformists opposing the Papacy for generations in the Middle Ages were blessed with a revival of gospel doctrine to counteract their neo-legalism in conjunction with the beginnings of Reformation away from Papist domination and teaching. There were always certain exceptions such as some Waldenses.

    There is an awful tendency among Grace Doctrine believers to shove away any valuable published material that doesn't agree fully with all elements of their position. For instance, if a teacher supports such doctrines as Common Grace, Duty Faith, Infralapsarianism, Westminster style free-will (chapter IX), or other matters nothing published by that teacher is worth studying. All who have read me for a while know that I strongly disagree with this approach. I have learned essential truth from those writing from almost every perspective, including the issue of Modern Reformation mentioned above. It is one of the best presentations on why historical theology has failed us that I have read. In the Reformation tradition, historicists tend to view the apostasy away from the apostolic gospel as mostly Roman Catholic and POST (only after) the 'early/later fathers'. Nothing could be further from the truth. The apostasy as prophesied by Paul swelled immediately after his death and was already working mightily before his death. The correspondence between false dogma and the rise of the one-bishop rule emerging in Orthodoxy (preceding the Papacy by hundreds of years) needs to be clearly understood. None of the published ‘church fathers’ were champions of the apostolic gospel at all, they are the writings promoting Orthodoxy (the rule of bishops and their nauseating compromises of the gospel). This is where ‘church history’ as documented by Protestantism, even our beloved Dr. John Gill in The Cause of God and Truth, has failed us. In a Protestantism that traces the apostasy only through the Papacy, the inception and subsequent growth of Papal Rome starting in the sixth century is viewed as the man of lawlessness prophesied by Paul. Therefore, the so-called ‘church fathers’ are falsely viewed as orthodox in gospel theology due to their defense of the Trinity. Yes—they were orthodox--EASTERN orthodox, in the comprehensive apostate tradition of the one-bishop rule to justify anti-gospel teaching as apostolic.

    More to come as discussion provides opportunity.

    Bro. Bob
    I got four things to live by: don't say nothin' that will hurt anybody; don't give advice--no one will take it anyway; don't complain; don't explain. Walter Scott

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    There is an awful tendency among Grace Doctrine believers to shove away any valuable published material that doesn't agree fully with all elements of their position. For instance, if a teacher supports such doctrines as Common Grace, Duty Faith, Infralapsarianism, Westminster style free-will (chapter IX), or other matters nothing published by that teacher is worth studying.
    This is my tendency now. I’m now pretty much settled in my convictions and I now tend to avoid this material... It’s tough to slog through the garbage and the muck for a few gold nuggets of truth that may or may not be there.
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    Brandan: This is my tendency now. I’m now pretty much settled in my convictions and I now tend to avoid this material... It’s tough to slog through the garbage and the muck for a few gold nuggets of truth that may or may not be there.

    Looking at this and seriously considering it, I would not have learned truth on a hundred different gospel matters that I've published in conviction if this was ever my perspective after taking the gospel seriously! Sorry Brandan.

    Bob
    I got four things to live by: don't say nothin' that will hurt anybody; don't give advice--no one will take it anyway; don't complain; don't explain. Walter Scott

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    Oh Bob, I understand! I just have so much on my plate right now, that serious studies outside of my regular devotions, family worship, work, website maintenance, travel, regular reading, it just seems impossible to me. I’m glad you are doing it. But if I had to slog through the mud and the muck I wouldn’t be getting anything else done! And I’m not saying there isn’t treasure to be found. It’s just that I have such a clear understanding and settled love in the truth, that I’m not currently searching for hidden gems. I’ve got it all already and I’m content to rest and labor in that which the Lord has given me. Maybe after this work that I have is complete will be called into that again, but as for now, I’m wearing my clean shoes figuratively speaking lol. So brother, nothing to be sorry for. And I have learned a lot in the past, but what else is there for me to learn from some infralapsarian hypo-Calvinist dude who’s denying the gospel?
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    Thanks Brandan. Point well taken and understood completely. --Bob
    I got four things to live by: don't say nothin' that will hurt anybody; don't give advice--no one will take it anyway; don't complain; don't explain. Walter Scott

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    I've had to go back and re-think this... Bob, you wrote: "There is an awful tendency among Grace Doctrine believers to shove away any valuable published material that doesn't agree fully with all elements of their position. For instance, if a teacher supports such doctrines as Common Grace, Duty Faith, Infralapsarianism, Westminster style free-will (chapter IX), or other matters nothing published by that teacher is worth studying."

    And I wrote in response, that this is my tendency now.

    I've had to re-think this, and it's true, I do tend to read a lot from the low-grace calvinists. I dislike infralapsarianism, and common grace, and duty-faith, and offers. But it's also true that these men have some good things to say. Take Spurgeon for example, much of what he is written is true. Much has been pure hogwash. But his devotionals are very comforting to me, and his guidance on how we should be kind and loving to each other is far more solid than what you'll find in many of the high grace writers...

    At any rate, I agree with the sentiment that we can learn from many kinds of writers - even ones that have held opposing views to mine. I've learned a lot from arminian authors over the years as well. I just tend not to seek them out first these days!

    On another note, I think there is sometimes a lack of concern for kindness in some of the high grace writers. Christ tends to be lost in their fight for TULIP. To me anyway, they seem more interested in winning a fight or war (with imagined arminians) than humbly writing of the wonders of Christ and His mercy.
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    Brandan:

    I think I may have misrepresnted you with this quote above: Looking at this and seriously considering it, I would not have learned truth on a hundred different gospel matters that I've published in conviction if this was ever my perspective after taking the gospel seriously! Sorry Brandan. For that I am truly sorry.

    On the matter of the truth of supralapsarian grace, I can only cite the following awful article of R.C. Sproul as the classic example of opposition to it:

    https://www.ligonier.org/learn/artic...redestination/

    I am glad to own the title of 'hypersupralapsarian' as he describes it! That does not resolve all conflict but it does solidify my position and that of many others. Supralapsarianism in a sentence: "The ultimate purposes of God in the outcome of Grace are the logical reverse of His decrees in the progress of history" (Gordon Clark, Robert Reymond). Starting with the ultimate consummation of the kingdom of Grace, the shadow creation and subsequent sin of Adam is the LAST purpose of God in order of time.

    Bob
    Last edited by Bob Higby; 03-30-21 at 07:52 PM. Reason: clarification
    I got four things to live by: don't say nothin' that will hurt anybody; don't give advice--no one will take it anyway; don't complain; don't explain. Walter Scott

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    I have owned RC Sproull’s Study Bible for decades now. You learn to take the good with the bad, and that quote from Mr. Sproul is doubly bad!

    The distortion of double predestination looks like this: There is a symmetry that exists between election and reprobation. God works in the same way and same manner with respect to the elect and to the reprobate. That is to say, from all eternity God decreed some to election and by divine initiative works faith in their hearts and brings them actively to salvation. By the same token, from all eternity God decrees some to sin and damnation (destinare ad peccatum) and actively intervenes to work sin in their lives, bringing them to damnation by divine initiative. In the case of the elect, regeneration is the monergistic work of God. In the case of the reprobate, sin and degeneration are the monergistic work of God. Stated another way, we can establish a parallelism of foreordination and predestination by means of a positive symmetry. We can call this a positive-positive view of predestination. This is, God positively and actively intervenes in the lives of the elect to bring them to salvation. In the same way God positively and actively intervenes in the life of the reprobate to bring him to sin.

    This distortion of positive-positive predestination clearly makes God the author of sin who punishes a person for doing what God monergistically and irresistibly coerces man to do. Such a view is indeed a monstrous assault on the integrity of God. This is not the Reformed view of predestination, but a gross and inexcusable caricature of the doctrine. Such a view may be identified with what is often loosely described as hyper-Calvinism and involves a radical form of supralapsarianism. Such a view of predestination has been virtually universally and monolithically rejected by Reformed thinkers.

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