Monthly Archives: January 2017

The Impossibility of Classic Protestantism

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Earlier this year R.C. Sproul’s Ligonier Ministries released the results of their survey of the views of Americans on God, sin, salvation, heaven and hell, and the Bible, with the tagline “A Poll of Eternal Significance.” The not so subtle implication is that the answers given to the survey questions indicate that most of the participants are in peril of eternal damnation because they are not affirming the correct propositions about the matters above. There is nothing particularly surprising about Ligonier’s tone in the survey since they take pride in identifying themselves as defenders and promoters of the theology of the Protestant Reformers, a theology that rests on the conviction that ultimately orthodoxy (correct teaching or belief) rather than orthopraxy (correct living) is what determines one’s standing before God. Granted, it is a bit more nuanced than that, but, for instance, in classic Protestant theology it is of critical importance that a proper distinction be made between “faith” (a passive confidence in the sufficiency of Jesus’ work rightly understood) and “works” (righteous living). Any understanding of the message of Jesus and the Apostles that departs from the Reformed Protestant definitions is a false gospel, and those who preach it, along with those who believe it, stand condemned according to their reading of Paul’s Letter to the Galatians (1:9 – 10). In effect, the eternal destiny of human beings rests on whether or not they sincerely affirm the right ideas. A number of considerations make this a rather dubious proposition. Read more