Monday, July 02, 2012

Fighting where the battle rages


"Wherever the battle rages, there the loyalty of the soldier is proved and to be steady on all the battlefield besides is mere flight and disgrace if he flinches at that one point.”                   (Martin Luther, 1483-1546). 
Virtually the whole gamut of biblical revelation has been under attack at one time or another. In the first four centuries of church history the doctrines of God as Trinity and the Person of Christ took a mighty battering. The medieval period might be characterised as a titanic struggle between Augustine's doctrine of grace and the Pelagian error of salvation by works. The stresses and strains of this conflict eventually rent the church asunder at the time of the Reformation. The Reformers stood with Augustine, while Rome championed Semi-Pelagianism. The battle raged fiercely over justification by faith alone or justification by faith plus meritorious good works. It rages still. During and after the time of the Enlightenment, the fight was against rationalistic liberalism. Liberal theology offered a Christianity that was shorn of the supernatural, leaving us with a depersonalised 'ground of all being' in place of the living God, and a merely human Jesus. 

Where is the battle raging today? I suggest that we are guilty of flight and disgrace if we flinch on the following points: 

1) We must fight for the Godness of God. He is the triune Lord of the gospel, both compassionate and commanding. He is Creator we are his creatures, subject to his sovereign rule. We need to resist Open Theism and any other form of theology that renders void the Creator/creature distinction.

2) We must fight for the truth of God. In the face of postmodern scepticism concerning truth claims, we believe that God has revealed himself to us and is therefore knowable. Although our knowledge of him can never be exhaustive, we can nevertheless truly know the Father through the Son by the enlightening work of the Spirit. As revealed truth, Holy Scripture is God's Word, totally reliable and without error.  

3) We must fight for the salvation of God. Against pluralism and syncretism, we are called to boldly proclaim that salvation is  received by the sinner trusting in Jesus Christ as the only Saviour of the world. He is the way, the truth, and the life. Apart from faith in Christ the wicked will die in their sins and face the eternal, conscious punishment that is their due for rebelling against their infinitely glorious Creator.  

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