Friday, February 26, 2010

N.T. Wright and Redeemer Church in NYC

Redeemer Church's (pastored by Tim Keller) Center For Faith and Work is hosting a talk to be given by N.T. Wright in April. I find this a disheartening bit of news given the confusion Wright has sown in some as regards the gospel of God's salvation of sinners by His grace through faith in Christ alone. Below is an email I sent to CFW expressing my concerns:

Dear fellow Christians,

I saw the bulletin note regarding the upcoming N.T. Wright speaking engagement that Redeemer is sponsoring. This troubles me, in as much as so many Christians have rightly looked to the ministry of Tim Keller and Redeemer Church. My concern regards what is the subtle change in emphasis and direction of the New Testament gospel message epitomized by Dr. Wright's innovations. I know you must be well aware of the critiques on his NPP and his less than reformed teaching on justification by faith and the righteousness of God. By sponsoring his conference, Redeemer by extension, will be seen as endorsing his errant perspective.

By the way I am a reformed Anglican, a member of one of the continuing Anglican churches in the U.S. My concern can be best highlighted by commenting on this excerpt from your web page advertising Dr. Wright's talk:

It's easy to become preoccupied with who gets into heaven; the real challenge is how we are going to live in the here and now.

Two things:
It seems this statement presents what is a false choice (as Wright oftentimes does) by suggesting that "preoccupation" with who gets to heaven and by extension 'how' - somehow precludes also focusing on how one is "to live in the here and now." The implicit message is 'don't focus on those peripheral personal salvation issues', thus weakening a Biblical teaching that one should be rightly "preoccupied" with their salvation... not in some self-centered pursuit of spirituality but by growing in our trust in Christ's death for our sins, His merit and obedience for our justification, and in a thankful obedience to His commands. Secondly, Dr. Wright's teaching advances the idea that the gospel is not about how one gets saved from sin (by grace through faith in Christ alone), rather refocusing God's purpose on building the kingdom of God here on this earth by righting wrongs and countering injustice in society. Though there are important things to be taught regarding our deeds unto others in this world, this shift in emphasis by Dr. Wright subtly moves the believer away from the gospel as it has been understood and taught by the New Testament writers, by Augustine, by the Reformers, as well as many today in the Anglican, Reformed, and Evangelical denominations.

From N.T. Wright:
"For Paul, what he means by ‘the gospel’ is not, despite some of our current usage, the description of a way of salvation... ‘The gospel’ is not, in particular, identical with the doctrine of justification. ‘The gospel’ is not itself the same thing as the revelation of God’s righteousness; that revelation takes place within the gospel, so that when the gospel is announced God’s righteousness is indeed unveiled; but ‘the gospel’ itself refers to the proclamation that Jesus, the crucified and risen Messiah, is the one, true and only Lord of the world... [Paul] has presented his gospel, not as a message about how individuals get saved from sin and death, though that is of course taken for granted, but as the message about how God has brought Jew and Gentile together into one body."

This is Wright employing (which he frequently does) straw man arguments, in order to redefine the gospel. How?... by undermining the gospel message of justification by faith - that righteousness comes through faith alone. No reformer identified "the righteousness of God" as the same thing as the gospel. As a response to Wright's wrongs - Paul did present his gospel as good news for sinners as to their salvation from sin and death precisely because it does proclaim how God in Christ justly justifies the ungodly... Paul did not take the gospel for granted, for it was constantly under assault. And no reformer presented Paul's gospel as the "message about how God has brought Jew and Gentile together into one body." But once those interpretations are subtly established, one can be moved away from the gospel of God's grace through faith in Christ's merit alone for our salvation as the heart of the Good News.

I doubt you will reconsider this event, though I wish you would. So I hope that, at least, someone will be present during the Q & A to help clarify and rectify the confusion that Dr. Wright is likely to bring with his gospel.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Some thoughts on the Christian life...

Although Christians, trusting in Christ's merit alone for their justification, may sin less than before conversion, yet never are they any less a sinner.

And although Christians, recipients of a regenerate heart through the Holy Spirit, may by His grace in thankful obedience to Christ's commands exhibit the fruit of godliness on many occasions, yet never within themselves do they own inherent godliness.

Godliness and salvation are in Christ alone, received and held through faith in Christ alone by God's efficacious work of grace in our hearts. No work of merit on our part secures them nor maintains them.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Observation for the day...

Re: The Left's growing disillusionment with Obama...

Misguided utopia-seekers will be misguided (and always disappointed) by similarly misguided, cynical utopia-peddling politicians. Eventually reality intrudes (thank God).

Monday, February 8, 2010

Sometimes I Get To Wondering...

My second oldest daughter (I have three) got married in 2001. When her older daughter got married I sang a song to her on her wedding day. It was a partial rewrite of an old Impressions' song. Well, this time around I decided to write an original song. By the way, I wrote and sang an original song for my youngest girl a year later at her wedding. But that's another story.

It is a huge moment to see one's daughter all grown up and getting married (and btw again, they all married great guys). I wanted to seize the moment for each of them; to share something of my heart, my thoughts, and my love through a song that I don't think I could have done otherwise.

I originally recorded the song in the summer of 2004. That version can be found here under the title How I Love You So. So here is a video I recently completed, made up of moments of that event, remembrances through the years, and some shots of me singing to my daughter Christie that evening. Accompanying the video is a new recording with just guitar and vocal, as it was that evening in December 2001:

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Needed words from the past...

It's been said that history often repeats... or at least rhymes. And it is also said that those that fail to learn from history are destined to repeat the mistakes of the past. With that in mind, a hat tip to Ace of Spades HQ for this first inaugural of Ronald Reagan in 1981. Nothing more to say. Just listen, mark, and adjust course as necessary...

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Obamanomics common sense deficit...

Great e-mail from a reader at The Corner.:

Thanks for that post. You hit the nail on the head. As the owner of a 16 year old wholesale computer parts company with about 50 total employees here and in England, I can tell you it’s not about easy loans and tax credits for hiring.

As you say, it is risk aversion. It is the knowledge that my taxes are going to go up and also we just don’t see other businesses willing to take inventory positions right now.

$5000 tax credit to hire someone? That really sounds like a proposal from someone who has never hired a single person in the private sector.

Small business will start to hire when one big thing happens.

Sales Growth. End of story.

It is amazing to me that they don’t get that if they did one thing, cut the corporate tax rate, business growth would happen almost immediately.

The original post referred to above is by Stephen Spruiell.