What is the New Theology, part 10: Is the Gospel Justification Only?
The New Theology artificially limits the gospel to counted justification alone. It understands justification as effectively separate from the question of whether the one justified is experiencing an internal holiness. These hold sanctification, the making-holy of a believer, to be a fruit of the gospel, and not a necessary part of salvation. Now, a few quotations from the wild. First, from Desmond Ford:
Traditionally, Adventists have erroneously placed sanctification within the scope of the Pauline ‘righteousness by faith.’ It is now time for a clear change to be made to correct that error. We should follow the decision made at Palmdale Conference, which I attended in the 1970s and which was written up in the Review as concluding that righteousness by faith meant justification only, though sanctification was always its fruit. This will safeguard the precious doctrine of Christian assurance.1Read more...
What is the New Theology, part 9: Justification and Future Sin
Another earmark of the New Theology is its treatment of the longevity of a forensic declaration. In this line it is generally said that your being justified takes care of all sins you have committed, are committing, or will commit. One put it like this: “Justification occurs when one accepts Jesus as their only hope of salvation, and claims the merits of His blood. At that very moment all sin is cancelled forever, and future sin will not be held against the believer.”
However, the only way justification could cancel all sin forever is if it were a one-time, unconditional declaration. In the final analysis there is little unconditionality in the gospel and the plan of redemption. Conditions are strung through the New Testament. These are to be met through cooperation of the human with the divine agent. Man must exercise his free will to choose and must lay hold of the strength that only God can provide him in order that he be enabled actively to obey.Read more...
What is the New Theology, part 8: Obedience a Condition of Salvation?
Within the denominational fold today are many who through extended exposure to the idea have become concerned about what they call “legalism.” They condemn as unchristian our long-standing emphasis on operational faith, obedience and human cooperation with divinity. They seek to replace it with a virtually unconditional form of salvation.
Their view is emphasized in statements such as, “obedience is our response to the salvation that God gives.” Or, that “if victory and obedience were a condition of salvation, then salvation would be by works,” and “the condition of salvation is faith, not obedience.” The New Theology regards choosing to surrender to Jesus as one kind of (non)-obedience, even while that which comes after the initial moment of salvation arbitrarily is classed as another kind of obedience.
In contrast, here are just some sample statements from inspiration that go the other way:Read more...
What is the New Theology, part 7: What is Justification?
Justification is, in the New Theology, rigidly held to mean counting right, not making right. It is kept to an external declaration made about the individual, rather than to such external declaration along with a work done inside the individual. The error of this position is made more difficult to understand because in many minds, justification and sanctification are rigidly separated, a carry-over from Methodism. Justification was held to count right and sanctification to be an increasing internal growth in holiness. Although the differences were minutely defined, inspiration warns us:
Many commit the error of trying to define minutely the fine points of distinction between justification and sanctification. Into the definitions of these two terms they often bring their own ideas and spe...Read more...
What is the New Theology, part 6: Jesus--Prefall, Postfall, or Synthetic?
The New Theology teaches that Jesus took human flesh but not necessarily that He became a whole, after-the-Fall human person. The New Theology Jesus lacks the most essential aspect. He has not taken a humanity which the great controversy war demands be in solidarity with our own.
In New Theology teachings, Jesus cannot condemn sin in sinful flesh (Romans 8:3, 4) because the flesh He takes is unlike our own right where it counts the most. The New Theology says that the humanity of Christ was “our nature in every sense—except in sinful propensities,” that the humanity He was born with, “was free from any sinful traits or propensities.”
The issue of propensities is whether Jesus experienced temptation like we do or not, whether He became one of us or not, whether He defeated sin in sinful flesh or not, whether He can be our legitimate Substitute and our high Priest and Example, or not.Read more...
Who Wants to Hear that?
The Inconvenience of Hearing God
A few years ago my wife's father gave us a microwave oven. It is very old, one of the earliest models. It takes up most of the counter! The new ones are much smaller, sleeker; I'm sure they work better too. But after getting that I don't see us rushing back to the way life was without it. It is faster. It is more convenient.
One of the questions most of today's Christianity would find difficult to answer would be, Why, if all the other gifts are more or less manifested in your church--pastors and teachers, missionaries, leaders, etc.--why does your church not have prophets?Read more...
I Want to Give My Heart to Jesus, part 7
I Want to Give my Heart to Jesus part 7: Advent Awakening and Rise of the Seventh-day Advent Movement
Today we reach the seventh installment of our series, "I Want to Give My Heart to Jesus." In a world filled with the cheapest of theological substitutes and carefully honed allurements of false salvation plans, some weeks ago we embarked on a foundational study of what it means to give our hearts to Jesus. Surrounded by a multitude of stray theories and undefined words, we've sought for an increased clarity in our understanding of our human nature after the fall, the nature of Christ, the teaching of the Bible on salvation, and last time, a look into 1700 years that intervened between the end of the Bible time and the rise of our movement in the early and mid 1800s. Today we are going to look more closely at this rise of the Great Advent Movement and Seventh-day Adventism.Read more...