Westminster Seminary California advertisement on the White Horse Inn:
==It’s a sad fact that many Christians are confused about crucial matters. Such as, what the gospel is. how sinners are right with God. And what it means to preach Christ. Westminster Seminary California is committed to helping you sort through all the confusion and give you confidence in the good news. Westminster Seminary California 1-888-480-8474 Wscal.edu.==
Chris: The irony of course, is that more likely than not, the seminary graduate (or non-graduate) will come away with a lot more knowledge, but with probably just as much confusion. But even if they do not come away with more confusion and are certainly persuaded by Westminster Seminary California that the gospel is some kind of conditional promise (i.e., a false gospel of salvation conditioned on the sinner), they are still just as confused about the true gospel as before they entered the seminary. The “Reformed tradition” teaches that salvation is conditioned on the faith of the sinner. In striking contrast, the Bible teaches that salvation is conditioned on the perfect law-keeping and propitiatory blood-shedding of Jesus Christ alone. To say that salvation is conditioned on the sinner in any way, shape, or form, is to exhibit a blind and confused zeal that is ignorant of the righteousness of God revealed in the gospel (Romans 10:1-4).
The end or purpose of the law–with its inexorable preceptive and penal demands put forth in Romans 10:5 and Galatians 3:10-12–is to lead those (and only those) for whom Christ died to rest in their Representative and Substitute who would and did meet that perfect two-fold standard of God’s law and justice on their behalf. Those who would object to this by admonishing me to learn to distinguish between Christ meeting all the meritorious conditions while leaving only “instrumental non-meritorious conditions” for the elect sinner to be enabled to fulfill should really think hard about the meaning of Romans 11:6. Then comes the objection that faith isn’t a work. But if this so-called “faith” is something that you are “enabled infallibly to perform”–”upon the which [you] shall be admitted to glory”–then this “faith” is counted as debt (Romans 4:4). Faith is an immediate and inevitable fruit of salvation FREELY given by God only to those for whom Christ died; it is not a condition that supposedly enables a person to indebt God and say like the Pharisee, “I thank thee O God…”
The Pharisees of Jesus’ day were the seminarians, the theologians, the “church” leaders. But they knew not Christ and His gospel. And thus, more often than not, it is the theologians and the seminarians (with all of their doctorates) who are the last to enter into the kingdom of God:
“…Truly I say to you, The tax collectors and the harlots go before you into the kingdom of God. For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him. But the tax-collectors and the harlots believed him. And having seen, you did not repent afterwards to believe him” (Matthew 21:31-32).
Chris: But praise God that He has saw fit to save even a “Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee” (Acts 23:6). So, what of the actual teachers (Professors) at the WSC? Well, if any of the Professors at Westminster Seminary are the children of Machen, then they will do the deeds of Machen. I assume that WSC would laud Machen as one of the most consistent and brilliant defenders of the gospel. They might refer to such books as “Christianity and Liberalism.” I have this book, and am quite familiar with it (as with other works by Machen). Now if you read through this book, please take note of the words (they mean things) Machen uses to describe the beliefs of individual liberals (who of course believe in certain doctrines of LiberalISM, else why call them “liberals”?) Here Machen gives us an apt description of these aforementioned liberals:
“Upon the Christian doctrine of the cross, modern liberals are never weary of pouring out the vials of their hatred and scorn” (Christianity and Liberalism, p. 119).
Chris: On page 109-112 Machen describes how a liberal minister is able to profess that “Jesus is God.” Is this not to be received as a “credible profession of faith”? Machen didn’t think so since what the minister meant by the words “Jesus” and “God” is not what the Bible means. This liberal held to a form of pantheism, so of course he could say “Jesus is God.” Machen also said that:
“Rome may represent a perversion of the Christian religion; but naturalistic liberalism is not Christianity at all” (p. 52).
Chris: And then in this next quote, Machen shows his deadly confusion about the crucial matter of “what the gospel is”, and “how sinners are right with God”:
“The greatest menace to the Christian Church today comes not from the enemies outside, but from the enemies within; it comes from the presence within the Church of a type of faith and practice that is anti-Christian to the core. We are not dealing here with delicate personal questions; we are not presuming to say whether such and such an individual man is a Christian or not. God only can decide such questions; no man can say with assurance whether the attitude of certain individual ‘liberals’ toward Christ is saving faith or not. But one thing is perfectly plain–whether or no liberals are Christians, it is at any rate perfectly clear that liberalism is not Christianity” (Christianity and Liberalism, pp. 159-160).
Chris: Machen and all those who like to make distinctions between the doctrines of demons and those persons who believe and teach said doctrines must adulterate Galatians 1:8-9 to read thusly:
==But even if we, or an angel out of Heaven, should preach a heretical ‘ISM’, let his ‘ISM’ be accursed. As we have said before, and now I say again, if anyone preaches a gospel ‘ISM’ beside what you received, let his ISM be accursed. We are not dealing here with delicate personal questions; we are not presuming to say whether such and such an individual man or angel out of heaven, is a Christian or not. God only can decide such questions; no man can say with assurance whether the attitude of certain individual ‘false-gospelers’ toward Christ is saving faith or not. But one thing is perfectly plain–whether or no ‘false-gospelers’ are Christians, it is at any rate perfectly clear that the ‘false-gospelism’ of Galatians 1:8-9 is not Christianity. http://www.calvinism.us/2015/06/correspondence-with-herman-hanko-of-prc_16.html ==
Chris: Evidently, J. Gresham Machen WAS in a position to deem as “incredible,” a pantheistic liberal profession that was imperfect (but oh, the zeal and devotion and piety!) due to ignorance and confusion about crucial matters. But Machen WAS NOT in a position to judge those liberals and condemn them eternally because they were confused, for whatever reason, about some central things. Machen said that their attitude towards the cross was one of hatred and scorn. But unlike, and in stark contrast to the apostle Paul, he was not willing to say that those who counted the message of the cross as foolishness, were ones who were necessarily perishing (1 Corinthians 1:18, 23).
The following is a fictional scenario meant to put forth the truth of how the apostle Paul deals with those who reject the true Christ and how Machen deals with them. Please keep fresh in your mind, what Machen said in the quotation above, pages 159-160:
Paul: Those who count the cross as foolishness are those who are perishing.
Machen: Now, now Paul. You cannot presume to say that. This is a delicate personal question, and we are to be pastorally sensitive; we must make a charitable judgment and your condemning them eternally to hell because they’re confused is an extreme and harsh attitude, not befitting of charity. You ought to be a Piper Calvinist.
Paul: Calvinism teaches a form of salvation conditioned on the sinner. I believe that salvation is conditioned on the work of Christ ALONE. Thus, I’m no Calvinist, let alone a Piper Calvinist. But will you demonstrate true, charitable, and righteous judgment by commanding them to repent of their false gospel of salvation conditioned on the sinner, and to believe the gospel of salvation conditioned on the atoning blood and imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ alone? Or, will you continue to tell them like the false prophets in Jeremiah’s day, “peace, peace” when there is no peace?
Machen: Well, unlike you Paul, I don’t advocate doctrinal perfectionism. Are you perfect in your theology, Paul? You see, unlike you, I believe in salvation by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. By saying that those who count the cross as foolishness are necessarily lost, you are in fact denying that salvation is even by grace at all!
Paul: Huh? Okay, so…uh…I’m advocating perfection of theological knowledge in Romans 10:1-4; 1 Corinthians 1:18, 23; Galatians 1:8-9; 2 Corinthians 11:4, 13-15; Peter is in 2 Peter 3:15-16; John is in 1 John 5:20-21, 2 John 9-11; and Jesus is in John 8:24? And how about Isaiah in Isaiah 45:20-25 for good measure? How do you think those whom I say are perishing in 1 Corinthians 1:18, 23 and are anathema in Galatians 1:8-9, should be dealt with? Should not those who are perishing be told to repent and believe the gospel? Isn’t that the most loving thing to do?
Machen: First, I must say that we can and should judge the cross-scorning doctrine and/or theological system as a “perishing system” or an “anathematized system.” But that is as far as we can go, I think. Since we ought to be truly humbled by our own doctrinal imperfections, we are not to presume who is a Christian or not, or whether certain cross-scorning attitudes toward Jesus Christ is saving faith or not.
Unlike you Paul, we ARE able to distinguish between the demonic doctrines–of true-Christ-scorning, false-christ-believing, free-grace-hating, efficacious-cross-glory-robbing, self-righteousness-establishing–and those persons who adhere to said doctrines. I realize that nowhere in the whole Bible is that taught–the supposed separation or distinction of the PERSON from the DOCTRINE he holds to, but that is how I attempt to get away with speaking peace to myself and to others, while believing a false gospel salvation conditioned on the sinner.
You see how that works, Paul? To those who are blinded by the god of this age would see my written words as bold, unmincing, and most importantly of all, humble and loving. But to those who have been given eyes to see and ears to hear, they see right through the facade. They see it as an amalgamation of peace, peace when there is no peace, false humility, devilish pride, and my usage of strong language to describe the pantheistic liberals as nothing but billows of bombastic bluster with no backbone. Similar to the phrase in 2 Peter 2:18 which says: “great swelling words of vanity.” That’s me, I guess.
Paul: Correct you are. I, and all true Christians, in obedience to King Jesus will judge the sheep-clothed wolf by his fruits. Which of course you won’t do since it’s a “delicate personal matter” and all. Jesus said that we will know them by their fruits–but in a true display of “Christian humility” and “pastoral sensitivity” you will contradict Christ and make His teaching on judging totally meaningless. You want to judge the fruits all by their lonesome. But you want to be delicate toward the poor confused wolf.
So when God says to judge––and thus to separate from––those of Belial, you just can’t bring yourself to do that (2 Corinthians 6:14-18). Since you do not know what the gospel is–or at least do not believe the gospel and so judge by the gospel–you cannot tell who you are to come out from among, and be separate from, and thus to preach repentance and faith to; nor can you obey the command to assemble together with believers (Hebrews 10:25).
So, John Gresham Machen, how do YOU deal with those who are ignorant of the righteousness of God revealed in the gospel (Romans 10:1-4) and who count the cross as foolishness and a stumbling stone? You refuse to tell them to repent and believe the true gospel (http://www.outsidethecamp.org/gospelseries.htm; http://www.outsidethecamp.org/gospatone.htm), so what do YOU do? If you say that you would tell them to repent of their errors without judging whether they are Christians or not, then obviously you’re not sure if you’re telling believers or unbelievers to “repent of their errors.” Machen, you drain out all content in such passages as Romans 1:16. You are ashamed of the true gospel.
Machen: Your demonstrating an extremely unchristian attitude and are not showing forth the fruits of the spirit you know…you made me lose my train of thought…Anyway, you know that I had said that I will not say whether or not pantheistic, naturalist liberals are Christians or not. You know I said that. I did of course separate from them (perhaps due to a non-credible profession on their parts).
Why else would I separate from them and bring about 136 people with me––unless of course, I was just being schismatic. There might be, however, some who might take a pantheistic profession as credible–after all, I myself DID say that no one can judge whether or not these pantheistic liberals are Christians. Is not that church––I know you would call it a Synagogue of Satan Paul, but I have a more irenic spirit than such a one as yourself. Are not those confused liberals nevertheless a part of the visible church? Again, Paul. I know that you would count those Arminians lost since they deny that the cross of Christ is the dunamis (1 Corinthians 1:18, 24) of God to salvation. And we Calvinists, since many of us started out as Arminians are not so quick to condemn. Of course, I wouldn’t condemn Arminians since I won’t even condemn pantheistic liberals for charity’s sake!
Where was I? Oh, yes. Dunamis. Paul you think that upon regeneration, when God saves the elect that pow!! Dunamis!!! they know and believe that Jesus Christ is the wisdom and power of God and His cross is actually and efficaciously dunamis. Now I find that a bit foolish; not to mention scandalous. Christians need time to grow in grace and knowledge (2 Peter 3:18); they need to grow out of deeming the message of the cross foolishness and a stumbling block, and grow into believing it to be the dunamis of God.
And since I just referenced Peter, perhaps he was being a bit hasty in his castigation of those wonderfully confused yet earnest men (2 Peter 3:16) who just did not have all of their theological i’s dotted and t’s crossed. Now you know that there are vast multitudes of Calvinists who believe Christ died for everyone without exception, but only dunamisly (i.e., efficaciously) for the elect, right? Unlike you Paul, we do NOT believe that the cross of Christ is the DUNAMIS of salvation towards all whom He represented. Some of my fellow Owenist Calvinists might SAY that they believe that the cross of Christ is the dunamis of God towards all whom He represented. But then there’s that “grace” enabling them to meet conditions for salvation, and from what you write in Romans 11:6 that’s not exactly “grace” now is it?
Okay. I’ve blathered long enough. Now, to answer your question of what would I do in the case of pantheistic liberals, Arminians, those who nullify the message of Christ crucified as the DUNAMIS of God with their profession, those who count the cross foolishness, and those earnest men condemned eternally in Galatians 1:8-9 for innocently and ignorantly believing that they were justified by their own righteousness? What to do with or to say about them? Repent and believe the gospel? Yeah, right.
Hey! I know! Rather than to tell the aforementioned “earnest believers”–I do say that of Arminians but as you saw above, I cannot say one way or the other with regard to pantheistic liberals–to repent and believe God’s promise to save His people conditioned on the atoning blood and imputed righteousness of Christ alone, I will just send those ignorant and confused ones (e.g. Romans 10:1-4) to WSC. And while they are there, those whom that big meanie Paul judged as lost in 1 Corinthians 1:18 will be met by that Professor whose teaching position is prefaced with my name. We know Paul would certainly judge them lost–and he is mean. But here, listen to what the J. Gresham Machen Professor of Theology and Apologetics (hey, I like the sound of that!) had to say about the enemies of the apostle Paul:
==”Let us lovingly confront our brothers and sisters in a spirit of boldness, but humility, as we undertake to bring ourselves and our fellow Christians into greater conformity to ‘the faith once and for all delivered to the saints’” (Jude 24). Michael Horton, Evangelical Arminians: Option or Oxymoron?==
Paul: Jesus said that the blind leading the blind, both shall fall into a ditch.
Machen: Big meanie.
Chris: And so it is that Westminster Seminary California confusedly thinks that true Christians are confused about how to distinguish the true Christ from the false christ whom the apostles have not proclaimed:
“I would that you endured me a little in foolishness, but, indeed, endure me. For I am jealous over you with a jealousy of God. For I have promised you to one Man, to present you a pure virgin to Christ. But I fear lest by any means, as the serpent deceived Eve in his craftiness, so your thoughts should be corrupted from the purity which is due to Christ. For if, indeed, the one coming proclaims another Jesus, whom we have not proclaimed, or if you receive another spirit which you have not received, or another gospel which you never accepted, you might well endure these” (2 Corinthians 11:1-4).
Chris: The word “these” is in italics, meaning that it is not in the original Greek. In the context (verse 5) it is clear that it is Paul that they “might well endure…For I.” But if that does not convince, then John 10:5 ought to. John 10:5 teaches that a true Christian cannot follow a false shepherd; that they will FLEE from him. Clearly, Paul is not saying that a true Christian might well endure, and so follow, a false shepherd. Context is king and “these” is not in the original Greek.
To reiterate, John 10:5 obliterates any teaching that asserts that true Christians can be confused about the gospel; this Hammer of God smashes to smithereens, the LIE of WSC that at least some of His sheep could be ignorant or confused about how they are made right with God by the efficacious work of their Shepherd who established an everlasting righteousness for them. Let God true and the WSC ad, a liar.
Westminster Seminary California must also confusedly think that at least some of Israel according to the flesh––who are ignorant (and confused) of the ground by which God declares one righteous––need NOT repent and believe the gospel but rather “grow into” or be transformed into “apostles of Christ”:
“But what I do, I also will do, that I may cut off the occasion of those desiring an occasion, so that in that which they boast, they be found also as we. For such ones are false apostles, deceitful workers transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And did not Satan marvelously transform himself into an angel of light? It is not a great thing, then, if also his ministers transform themselves as ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works” (2 Corinthians 11:12-15).
Chris: To say that a person is ignorant of how sinners are made right with God is to say that this person is ignorant of the righteousness of God and who thus going about to establish his own righteousness (Romans 10:1-4). Paul prayed for the salvation of these kinds of people. He preached the gospel to these kinds of people because he knew them to be lost. WSC is blind, blind, blind to say that some true and earnest believers might fall into this category of deadly ignorance of the righteousness of God.
As seen in my Machen/Apostle Paul scenario above, Machen would strongly encourage pantheistic liberals who poured out vials of scorn upon the cross, to enroll in WSC so that they can be lovingly confronted as question marks, or as brothers and sisters in a spirit of “humble boldness” as at least some in the WSC faculty undertake to bring themselves and their fellow false christians into greater conformity to Satan, who transforms himself into an angel of light. Angel of light, he may glow in the night; but he only brings darkness and spiritual blindness to their souls.
“Brothers, truly my heart’s pleasure and supplication to God on behalf of Israel is for it to be saved. For I testify to them that they have zeal to God, but not according to knowledge. For being ignorant of the righteousness of God, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, they did not submit to the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of Law for righteousness to everyone that believes” (Romans 10:1-4).
Chris: Contrary to the Westminster Seminary California advertisement (and those who would be duped by it), it is the unbelievers for whom Paul is praying that are “confused about crucial matters,” and not true Christians. Amen.