Dear Pilgrim; I will respond here to your post to me and want to thank you for your time and the link to the J.I. Packer article. None of that is exactly new information to me but the comparison he makes is excellent. I can say that I couldn't agree with Packer more and he draws the distinction brilliantly. (But then he is J.I. Packer!)
As far as the CCC question I think I would make this point. We are talking about an organization whose basic function is to introduce the most elementary Christian concepts to people who don't know Christ. In light of that I would ask this question. When you came to Christ did you understand the distinction that J.I. Packer draws so well? Did you first understand election and predestination and then in light of that understanding accept Christ? The distinctions Packer draws are very important. But when are they important. They are important to believing Christians who are trying to understand their relationship to God. Prior to a belief in God and acceptance of Christ, I think they are quite beyond comprehension.
I just wonder how much anyone reformed or otherwise, really gets from these ideas in the initial stages of evangelism. Mustn’t we approach every person as if they are elect. Who are we to judge or know. Would you decide not to tell someone about Christ because you don't feel they are regenerate enough? The seemingly objectionable 4 Laws begin with the "God loves you..." which is certainly overly broad from a reformed viewpoint but not overly broad from a personal one as I said above. Would you begin with "God loves you, if you happen to be elect,..."!
Perhaps, as I came to Christ in a PCA church and am surrounded by people here at CCC that are members of that church and elders in that church I may be a bit naive myself. On the other hand I think we need to keep the context of CCC in perspective. It isn't a Church. It isn't an organization whose purpose is to promote a specific theology. It is an organization that exists to spread the Gospel. Yes, theology does matter in that context as well but not to the extent I think it does in a church setting. I have not run into situations here at CCC where the distinctions raised by Packer come into play. Perhaps I should look more closely.
If he/she can affirm the apostles creed, that’s all we need to know
I'd like to make a comment on the use of the Apostle's Creed. It certainly contains fundamental truths of our faith! It excludes such worldviews as Gnosticism, naturalism, and outright pluralism. And yet I don't think that, just because one can affirm this creed, it necessarily means they are conservatives or even orthodox. Consider the following: http://www.abpnews.com/news/news_detail.cfm?NEWS_ID=107
Pilgrim has said in another thread, in response to a question about why the Apostle's Creed does not address justification by faith alone:
The historic evangelical Creeds did not "ignore" the doctrine of justification by faith. It was not their intention to address it. One of the basic differences between a Creed and a Confession is that a Creed was generally written in response to a heresy that was then being brought against or even into the Church. Thus, Creeds are very narrow/specific as to their subject. A Confession, on the other hand, is more of a summary of doctrines which address a wide variety of subjects.
So, it is very possible for someone to affirm one or more of the major Creeds and yet deny the doctrine of justification by faith alone. This individual thus perverts the Gospel of free grace and is preaching "another gospel".
True godliness is a sincere feeling which loves God as Father as much as it fears and reverences Him as Lord, embraces His righteousness, and dreads offending Him worse than death~ Calvin
I heartily agree with Bill's post. I would add however one note. bill said:
"As far as the CCC question I think I would make this point. We are talking about an organization whose basic function is to introduce the most elementary Christian concepts to people who don't know Christ."
I would add that increasingly the audience is not just those who don't know Christ but those who have no idea what the Christian faith is, having no background in it at all.
Thank you Bill for your on point comments. And also for adjusting your approach in a discussion that got started off on the wrong foot.
Eldridge: Lots of good content, needs to be read discerningly.
While in my initial post I would agree with you that, “This type of partnership might just help CCC grow spiritually. So let's look at it from a positive perspective,” I also see many problems that still need to be overcome with CCC. One such problem is seen in your statement above. IMHO, presenting half-truths (Eldredge) does not equate to the Gospel. To say one needs to read his material discerningly is an understatement.
Eldredge’s books are about as far from Reformed orthodoxy as I can imagine (at least the two I have read). Let’ look at his book the Wild at Heart for an example:
Eldredge, while inviting men to "know and live from" their deep hearts, seems to have forgotten that the heart is deceitfully wicked (Jer 17:9; Mark 7:20f,). Eldredge does not stop here. He continues by saying, "Too many Christians today are living back in the old covenant. They've had Jeremiah 17:9 drilled into them and they walk around believing my heart is deceitfully wicked. Not anymore it's not." Eldredge's insight into the human heart is bad theology.
In describing Adam's relationship with God, Eldredge gives us his personal commentary: "Before the moment of Adam's greatest trial God provided no step-by-step plan, gave no formula for how he was to handle the whole mess. That was not abandonment; that was the way God honored Adam. You are a man; you don't need Me to hold you by the hand through this. You have what it takes." Eldredge does have an imagination—which has a stench of humanism and heresy. Eldredge says, "God is a person who takes immense risks" (p 30). "He did not make Adam and Eve obey Him. He took a risk. A staggering risk, with staggering consequences. He let others into his story, and he lets their choices shape it profoundly" (p 31).
Eldredge denies the omnipotence of Christ. In commenting on spiritual oppression (Luke 8:26-33), Eldredge writes, " . . . when [Jesus] encounters the guy who lives out in the Gerasenes tombs, tormented by a legion of spirits, the first rebuke by Jesus doesn't work. He had to get more information, really take them on . . . "
When CCC endorses tracts by Eldredge and others of questionable origins they do not embrace a full Gospel presentation. They also incite others to read other materials by these same authors which can be devastating to a proper understanding of the Gospel. Hopefully your presence and responsible handling of such matters from a Reformed perspective will have some impact on the organization as a whole.
BillT asks: When you came to Christ did you understand the distinction that J.I. Packer draws so well? Did you first understand election and predestination and then in light of that understanding accept Christ?
No, I did not first understand election and predestination. But that is not what Packer's emphasis is when contrasting the "old Gospel" with that of the "new gospel". His point is that the "new gospel" obviates and that deliberately, the fundamental truth(s) that man by nature is at enmity with God. He is controlled by a corrupt and wicked nature which prevents him from having even an interest in God, Christ and salvation. Natural man is in love with self and sin and is in desperate need of a radical transformation of the soul. This is something which one rarely if ever hears from church pulpits or from self-appointed "soul winners". It is also something which CCC "officially" rejects theologically. Whether it is naivety or a turning of a blind eye, the fact is that CCC does have a theology which is holds and promotes. It can be seen in its literature, etc. It is a combination of pragmatism, humanism and semi-Pelagianism.
What do "I" believe should be included in a proper biblical presentation of the true Gospel? Funny you should ask! <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/rofl.gif" alt="" /> Go here: A Gospel Summary.
You also asked: Mustn’t we approach every person as if they are elect. Who are we to judge or know. Would you decide not to tell someone about Christ because you don't feel they are regenerate enough? . . . Would you begin with "God loves you, if you happen to be elect,..."!
No, we must not and have no warrant to "approach every person as if they are elect". Discerning one's election is not relevant to preaching the Gospel. We must approach every person knowing what God says about them; i.e., they are children of wrath and under God's judgment. They are enemies of God, rebellious, wicked, worthy of eternal punishment, and are in dire need of God's saving grace in Christ. Thus, we speak the truth in love and tell them of their true condition. We speak of the law of God and how they are lawbreakers and bondservants of sin. We speak of judgment and how they will be held accountable for every thought, word and deed. We also speak of the great salvation in Christ; remission of sins, reconciliation with God, adoption as sons, the power to overcome sin, peace that passes all understanding, communion with the Almighty Lord of the universe and a life of eternal worship and joy in the age to come. See the article at the link above for a full summary of what the Gospel is.
The Scripture reserves God's "love" for His elect. And since we are unable to know who the elect are, we have no warrant to presume that God loves one who is unregenerate. We have warrant to speak of God's love in general terms and we should, e.g., that God is a merciful and loving God Who determined not to let the entire human race suffer eternal hell. But He sent forth His only begotten Son to redeem a part of mankind, which redemption is offered to all who will come in repentance and faith in Christ, etc. This whole idea to telling people "God loves you" is not found in the Bible, but rather it is a marketing ploy meant to make people interested in asking Jesus into their hearts, which also is not to be found in the Scriptures. The entire presentation of the "Four Spiritual Laws" is a counterfeit and man-made technique designed to produce results. Unfortunately, it does produce results, but of what? Even Billy Graham admits that in his estimation only 4% of those who come forward to "receive Christ" at his Crusades are actually saved. Personally, I think Graham is guilty of over-estimating the actual number of true converts. And the devastation such counterfeit gospels produces is immeasurable. For it serves only to deceive people into a false assurance and hardens their hearts against the truth of God's saving grace in Christ.
Lastly you asked: On the other hand I think we need to keep the context of CCC in perspective. It isn't a Church. It isn't an organization whose purpose is to promote a specific theology. It is an organization that exists to spread the Gospel. Yes, theology does matter in that context as well but not to the extent I think it does in a church setting.
But brother, CCC DOES PROMOTE A SPECIFIC THEOLOGY... it is semi-Pelagianism, wrapped in pragmatism and humanism. Further its "gospel" is a counterfeit and not the true Gospel found in the inspired biblical record. It is a man-made "gospel" meant to deceive and has no power to save. Let me ask you this: "What does a counterfeit $20 bill look like?" Would you accept a $20 bill that was purple with yellow polka dots and which displayed a picture of Mickey Mouse on the front? I would hardly think you would. And why not? Because it would be more than obvious that it was not real money. However, counterfeit money looks, feels, and even smells like the real thing. It is meant to deceive by appearing to be just like real money. We are warned many times in the Scriptures about false prophets, false teachers, and those who would bring "another Gospel", preaching another Jesus and another Spirit. (cf. 2Cor 11:3, 4; Gal 1:6-9; 2Tim 3:1-7; 4:3, 4; 2Pet 2:1-3; et al)
In all due respect, you are mischaracterizing CCC. You said:
"But brother, CCC DOES PROMOTE A SPECIFIC THEOLOGY... it is semi-Pelagianism, wrapped in pragmatism and humanism. Further its "gospel" is a counterfeit and not the true Gospel found in the inspired biblical record. It is a man-made "gospel" meant to deceive and has no power to save."
Your other overstatement is "The entire presentation of the "Four Spiritual Laws" is a counterfeit and man-made technique designed to produce results."
That is nearly slander. But, I'll not argue with you. We'll just have to disagree.
Wrongfully claiming somebody 'nearly committed slander' can also be viewed as slanderous.......especially when the claim isn't validated somehow. Perhaps you could show us how CCC does not offer a different gospel? Or possible how the 4 spiritual laws is Biblical? Thanks.
It's not a "different Gospel" because it clearly states that man is sinful, separated from God, and the only answer is acknolwledging that fact and trusting Christ as your Savior.
That is the gospel pure & simple. And that is what the 4 Laws presents. The only point in question should be the statement "God Loves you..." Law 1. Otherwise, I can't imagine how anyone can conclude the 4 Laws booklet is totally some sort of "different gospel".
In all due respect, you are mischaracterizing CCC.
In all due respect you are mischaracterizing Pilgrim's post. Then you take this cheap shot saying, "That is nearly slander." What is slanderdous is taking the Gospel and reducing it to the likes of Eldredge much less the Sandamanian gospel presentation of the 4-SL. <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/igiveup.gif" alt="" />
I shouldn't be barging in on this, but why are we letting CCC rile us so much. There is much good within CCC as well as some bad. But, are they different from any conservative evangelical perspective outside of the Reformed. What makes CCC the whipping boy? From these postings we see that CCC includes the Reformed, even welcomes as the original post in the thread indicated, in their ministry. What makes them more dangerous than say the NAVS or denominations such as the SBC. They don't kick out any paedos out of ministry, non pre-mills, or 5-pointers. We may counteract by saying they suppress Reformed thought, and that is probably true in some instances, but not in others. Only the Reformed within CCC have a good gauge in what may not be tolerated in terms of theology, and they all probably have different takes on it.
CCC is probably more friendly to Reformed thought within its organization than most other para church groups and denominations.
I'm coming from someone who has had some background with CCC staffers, albeit they were all Reformed, a couple became PCA Pastors later. My gripes with the CCC lie in that they allow staffers into the ministry too quickly, a fast train approach to their training. There are several parachurch groups that I would recommend someone to be a participant before CCC, but CCC is not on my off list.
Last edited by John_C; Wed Jul 07, 20045:57 PM.
"having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith . . ."Colossians 2:7
John C, have you read all the posts in this thread? If so, then you know the answers already.
First, there is clearly ignorance of dissimulation on the part of those who profess to be Reformed yet openly use CCC literature which is antithetical to the doctrines of the Reformed Faith. The people in CCC are not the "whipping boy" as you so cordially put it. Marie and myself have already commented on the integrity of many within CCC. So, the issue is not that CCC is a "whipping boy," but that there is undeniably a disparity between what some people profess to believe and their practice. Please read the posts.
Second, I would ask you if you endorse any sort of false Gospel to be propagated to the lost? Indeed not, you would most certainly reply! What Marie, Pilgrim, myself, and others have shown is that CCC does not present “the Gospel.” When an organization propagates such things as the 4-SLs, Eldredge, and the like they are to be called into account for it. If they continue to maintain that a false Gospel is a true Gospel, then they are not Reformed in practice (maybe in word, but not in deed). Clearly, it has been shown that the “deeds” and “doctrines” of CCC are semi-Pelgian at best and when pushing Eldredge—heresy at worse. In summay, the methodologies used by CCC are antithetical to that which the Scripture and the Reformed Faith (at least classical Calvinism), would condone or even allow.
Third, whether a missionary, para-church organization, et. al. are friendly to the Reformed camp makes no difference if the Reformed in question make no stand for the true Gospel and defend semi-Pelgianism. Even a Mormon church is friendly to us Reformed folk as long as we keep our mouths shut (p.s.: I am not equating CCC w/Mormonism).
Lastly, you mentioned suppressing Reformed thought. If you believed that Reformed thought is the very thoughts of Scripture then you would you need to say CCC suppresses the Gospel, the Scriptures, etc. Now, is this a true Gospel—if the Gospel itself is suppressed?