Sunday, February 12, 2006

"Out of Their Minds" Sidebar
...for your comments

The issues:

1. "The Shambles of an Ecumenical Mind"
Mark Noll is leaving Wheaton College to go to Notre Dame
-2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1

2. Fallout From Pat Robertson?
Chavez forces out NTM missionaries -2 Timothy 1:6-9

3. Purpose Driven Catholics
Warren's PDL ecumenism knows no boundaries
-Galatians 1:6-10


Puritan Belief said...

Purpose driven catholics?????

Oh no

SJ Camp said...

It is the unfortunate evolution of Mr. Warren's liquid faith and doctrinal uncertainties that allow Romanism to find a new evangelical friend.

Gal. 1:6-9

Chuck said...

Noll has been on that rode for some time now. It's a shame; his book "The Search for Christian America" (with George Marsden and Nathan Hatch) was a paradigm buster for me my sophomore year of college.

Chuck said...

Noll has been on that rode for some time now. It's a shame; his book "The Search for Christian America" (with George Marsden and Nathan Hatch) was a paradigm buster for me my sophomore year of college.

Shawn L said...

Yes these are all shocking.

Scribe said...

Noll's decision is no surprise to those who have read his deprecating remarks about Puritanism, and its resurgence in the middle of the last century via the ministry of the Banner of Truth Trust. I can still remember his ugly review of Iain Murray's "Revival and Revivalism" in Christianity Today (which I cancelled).

Warren merely wants to be America's next pastor. An inch deep and mile wide.

I really appreciate your blog, Steve. Thanks.

Joel said...

Since Noll was axed from Wheaton for becoming Catholic, I don't think it's all that odd that Notre Dame picked him up. It's sad that Notre Dame is so hurting for orthodoxy that Noll's Protestant influence will actually be beneficial. Of course, Steubenville is so overloaded with ex-Protestants that maybe Notre Dame is simplly gaining froomm the overflow.

Bhedr said...

There is no doubt that Rome is a false church with a false gospel and is seeking to seduce the saints into harlotry.

Rome is the big game and we are commanded to torment her as she has tormented the saints.

If there was a big game or a Super Bowl that we must play in it is here and against Rome.

Everyone is falling to her delecacies. A couple of years ago Bob Jones the IV attended Notre Dame.

vegemitechristian said...

Let's talk about this. Couldn't some have a calling to "dialogue" with the RC church? Take that sermon that one of the cardinals preached to the current pope (you can find it linked at if not here) - I mean, that was a good thing, right? Whether that cardinal is saved or not - it was good for truth to be preached.

Moving on from there then, must we always have an antagonist attitude to the RC? I mean, is so that's fine with me - it rather appeals to my flesh to have a punching bag anytime I feel like having a bash - however, I'm not certain it's the right way(!)

Compromise with unscriptural doctrine? No! But is there a place for dialogue? And if so - could God call some people to dialogue with them? I don't know! But I do know that there have been times when christians with reformed soteriology have been part of different dialogue movements.

Your thoughts?

vegemitechristian said...

Campi - are you suggesting that a christian scholar, for example, ought not attend a secular university for (say) their PhD?


vegemitechristian said...

In fact, I read the article you linked to:

.....and am left with the thought, "he's got a point" Okay, maybe not with dumbing down sermons etc. (if that's truly what he does). But the stuff on social action etc. Is that not what distinguished your beloved puritans? That they sought to "bring God" into every aspect of life?

SJ Camp said...


Excellent questions here... I will try to answer them but I may fall short.

1. Not a problem with any Christian carrying on a dialogue with any nonbeliever on any issue and then introducing the biblical worldview to them in the context of the gospel... I call that witnessing (1 Peter 3:15). BUT, he just isn't dialoguing with them; he is their employee. And it is not just any employer, but a Romanist who will have a say in what and how he teaches. He is in a real sense "unequally-yoked" (he has surrendered his spiritual autonomy and placed himself and ministry under the authority of nonbelievers.)

2. A Christian can receive their education from a number of institutions; it is not necessary for one to get a PHD from only a Christian place of learning. BUT, if it is in the field of ministry, BIble training, etc. why would a believer want to get his primary and upper levels of education from nonbelievers in the furtherance of that calling? Very deadly indeed. The ministry is just not a matter of academics or scholarship is it... it is being called of God as Aaron was.

3. Being salt and light to the culture is obeying Scripture (Matt. 5:12-23). Dr. Noll, in order to be "salt and light" in this case (if even that is his motive) again, has to give up his authority and surrender it to those who propagate another gospel. Why would he? unless he is moving toward a Roman belief system similar to Peter Kreeft? (I say that not as a judgment against him, but a burden for him.)

Here is the $64,000 question: is there any biblical example where someone was instructed to, commanded by the Lord or the Apostles to receive their training for service to Him from nonbelievers; and then, to partner with nonbelievers in the use of that training for the purpose of forwarding a biblical worldview on any aspect of culture, church, society, etc.?

The burden is on Dr. Noll at this point.

Enjoying this,
Col. 1:9-14

SJ Camp said...

One more quick thought:

If a Christian communicator, educator, theologian, pastor, speaker, etc. were to be invited to go to a school like Notre Dame to speak, he would be there for one reason: to proclaim the gospel of sola fide and call the Romanists to repentance from their dead works righteousness and to follow Jesus Christ as Lord in repentance abandoning their semi-Pelagian hellish gospel of faith+works; grace+merit; and Christ+ infused righteousness.

What say ye?

Your yokefellow in Christ,
2 Peter 1:4-12

vegemitechristian said...


Good answers - and appreciated! It's hard to say anything against your answer #1. With #2, I see what you're saying, but in relation to your question of, "why would a believer want to get from nonbelievers" I have in mind the following article by Wallace (I think it says anything I could way better)
Now, I'm no scholar myself - but in my own 'informal' theological training, I hope to be a "3.b" learner. No. 2 is appealing and easy to slip into. For example, if I'm learning about creation, I'm only going to listen to christian scholars (and reformed ones at that!) that affirm my already held view of a young or old universe. I don't want to be like that. When I came to faith, it seemed as though I'd found, "Truth" (and I had!) - as in, I finally had the answer, I finally knew the way etc. I never want to let go of that.

That's why I appreciate so much reformed theology - because of the 'always reforming' emphasis. My task, (as I see it) as a christian who wants to grow in sound doctrine (as well as personal holiness), is to come to the bible, discover and understand what it says, look at my life, and if I find a belief in me (or a practice for that matter, but lets stick to belief) that butts head with the belief I am finding in the bible, one has to win - and that had better be the bible! That's why I love reading systematic theology - it's like, I can't help but have my own little comfortable areas of belief (theology) challenged! Let me take a harmless example to show how I try and guage whether I am being "honest" in my pursuit of truth. I'll use baptism as an example. Let's say that, through study, I have decided that the "Baptist" view of baptism is correct. My "honesty meter" says that to be able to say that with any conviction, I had BETTER be able to put forth the strongest argument FOR paedo-baptism (and then obviously state why I find it weaker than the baptist argument).

But I fear I am waffling and going off topic! Never mind! :-)

Your #3 makes sense.

In regard to your comments under "$64000 question", I'd like you to confirm (maybe this would be better as a new blog topic) what you are actually saying in relation to "partnering" with non-believers. I think you might have some views here that might challenge mine (which is why I invite it). Take business for example: believers may partner with unbelievers in business, yes/no? I am assuming you are saying no, based on your reasons for leaving CCM, but I might have my assumptions (of your point of view) incorrect in the first place - so feel free to speak (blog!) on this topic! (I'm actually looking forward at some stage to put your theses against the principles in Grudem's Business book and see how I go!).

Regarding your "one more quick thought" - I would answer in 2 ways.
Firstly, although you didn't mention "as a student", if you had, I would disagree that he is only there for "one reason" - he may well be there to learn! (See Wallace's article).
Having said that - yes, I agree that the pastor/communicator etc. is there to spread the gospel and call them to repentance, but not necessarily "all in one go" - especially if he is going to have an ongoing relationship.

In christian music, one tends to see (much like any itinerant ministry) a "hit and run" as part and parcel of the ministry. Therefore there can be a tendency to see "preaching the gospel" as something you do in 15 minutes, and you do it EVERY TIME you go somewhere ('cos it's always somewhere different!) I wonder if this has influenced you at all? (I'm not being mean, I'm just thinking out loud!). Whereas, where I work (at a mine with a bunch of hardened blokes!) I see them day in and day out. My gospel preaching is therefore day in and day out as well, in what I say and also in (gulp!) what I do! Pray for me brother!
So, in my life, the gospel rarely (though it does if I get the opportunity) comes out full bore in one go, if you see what I mean?

Again - I'm going off on a tangent!

Enjoying this way heaps too!
Phil 4:4

Joel said...

My mistake earlier; I was confusing Mark Noll with Joshua Hochschild. If Noll really is moving Romeward, alas, Notre Dame probably isn't the best place for him to come home through.

T.B. Vick said...

Hey Camp, with all due respect, your "proof-text" for Mark Noll has nothing to do with his teaching at Notre Dame . . .talk about taking passages out of context. I hope you do not make a habit of this.

It is one thing to disagree with his teaching at Notre Dame (for whatever reasons you seem to have -your anti-Catholic stance), and quite another to try and force a passge of Scripture to a situation/circumstance which has nothing to do with those passages, don't you think?

SJ Camp said...


What proof-texts are you referring to?

vegemitechristian said...

Correct me TB if wrong, but I think he means:
1. "The Shambles of an Ecumenical Mind"
Mark Noll is leaving Wheaton College to go to Notre Dame

-2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1

vegemitechristian said...


Off topic note (sorry): have you ever put online all the concerts you've ever played? Do you have that info?

T.B. Vick said...

I am refering to:

1. "The Shambles of an Ecumenical Mind" Mark Noll is leaving Wheaton College to go to Notre Dame
-2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1
I am assuming that the verse you provided is a referent to the topic of Mark Noll leaving Wheaton to go to Notre Dame. (yes, you are correct "vege").

SJ Camp said...

That's right.

The Greek word heterozugontes means to harness together for a common enterprise. Paul warns against being unequally yoked with nonbelievers in any spiritual ministry or enterprise.

Dr. Noll is a Christian theologian. For him to partner with nonbelievers in a spiritual ministry or enterprise of theology is uncalled for.

He can be a witness to them; dialogue with them; engage them in debate; etc.; be he cannot be "yoked with them." He has surrendered his authority and autonomy to nonbelievers which directly effect his "ministry." This is forbidden biblically.

Scholarship is no excuse for violating this much overlooked and important passage of Scripture.

2 Cor. 4:5

SJ Camp said...

Here are a few further points of clarification on this great truth of "being unequally yoked" that I wrote for the 107 THESES in 1997. (The THESES were approved by Dr. MacArthur, R.C. Sproul, and several others before they were printed for public use.)

I hope this will encourage you further on this passage of Scripture and the important principles to be taken from it. Surely this is a great need

75. We cannot partner with the unbelieving world in a common spiritual enterprise or ministry. To harness unbelievers and believers in a Christ-centered endeavor is to be unequally yoked. (2 Corinthians 6:14-16)

76. We must be separate from non-Christians in positions of ownership, authority or influence in the advancement of the gospel. (Ibid.)

77. The kingdom of light and the kingdom of darkness are two mutually exclusive worlds; two opposing societies; two converse communities that are incompatible and incongruous with each other in regards to the faith. (Ibid.)

78. One is characterized by righteousness, light, Christ, believers and the temple of God. Lawlessness, darkness, Belial, unbelievers and the temple of idols distinguish the other. One is based on God's truth-the other on Lucifer's lies. In matters of Christian faith and belief no partnership does or really can exist between these two realms. (Ibid.)

79. "To the pure all things are pure, but to those who are defiled and unbelieving nothing is pure; but even their mind and conscience are defiled. They profess to know God, but in works they deny Him, being detestable, disobedient, and disqualified for every good work." (Titus 1:15-16)

80. God is our Father and we, as His children, must disavow all praetorian religious and spiritual alliances with sin and Satan or we will forfeit the joy and blessing that flow from obedient fellowship in the Lord Jesus Christ. (2 Corinthians 6:17-18)

81. Satan's number one assault on the church is to infiltrate with error. He doesn't want to fight the church-he wants to join it. (John 8:44; 2 Corinthians 11:12-15; 1 Timothy 4:1)

82. Undiscerning believers think it a profound ministry strategy to join forces with unregenerate people in forwarding the gospel. Unwittingly, they harness Jesus Christ, the Worthy One, with Belial or Satan, the worthless one, in an unholy alliance-the very essence of being unequally yoked. (2 Corinthians 6:15)

83. "Ephraim is joined to idols. Let him alone." (Hosea 4:17)

84. We are not, however, called to isolationism. We are called to be salt and light in the world. We are to be faithful witnesses of God's mercy, love and grace to the lost and dying. We are to cultivate personal relationships with unbelievers, love our neighbor and our enemy, serve them and share our faith with them. (Matthew 5:13-16; 40-44)

85. We are to be in the world…but not of it-and this is our greatest challenge. Separation is not being divorced from contact with the world, but from complicity with and conformity to it. (1 John 2:15-17)

86. For instance, it is not unBiblical to consult non-Christian experts in matters of business, craft or trade (though whenever possible, Christian experts respected in these fields are preferable because of a shared integrity), but we can never engage in intimate binding-indissoluble relationships, alliances or partnerships that result in shared responsibility or authority for ministry purposes. (Deuteronomy 22:9-11; Philippians 2:14-15))

87. The promise of increased financial resources, wider distribution and a larger audience is not a justification for the surrender of our spiritual autonomy. (Luke 4:4-12; Ephesians 5:8-12)

88. It is impossible for God to fully bless and use His children who are in compromise with non-believers. (Romans 8:7-8)

89. "Adulterers and adulteresses. Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God." (James 4:4)

T.B. Vick said...

I figured you would interpret this text in that fashion. The Greek word is heterozugountes it is a nominative verb used only once in the entire Bible. Paul is using it here in a very Jewish context, but his audience is predominantly converted pagans.

Paul’s plea, in this context, was for the Corinthians to be a pure congregation divorced from the sins of society, whether in the lives of pagans about them (which many in the Corinthian Church were participating in Pagan worship) or in the professing believers in their fellowship.

If you notice Paul refers back to the Hebrew exile from Egypt (vs. 16-18), he also sites the Levitical law (vs. 16 refers to Lev. 26:12). Paul is telling his readers (or listeners – the letter was probably read aloud in the church) that their practices of going to pagan idol worship is wrong – stop it! Thus his admonition “What agreement has the temple of God with idols?” (v.16)

In all of Corinth, this group was the only Christian group. Therefore, according to your translation none of them would have been able to have a job. The entire city of Corinth was seeped in pagan practice. It was the “Mecca” of religious plurality in all of the Mediterranean. You declare, “Paul warns against being unequally yoked with nonbelievers in any spiritual ministry or enterprise.” I am assuming that when you mean “enterprise” you mean business venture or work, correct?

If that’s the case, then I hope your readers are not employed by unbelievers (or do not work for a “non-Christian company”) because if they do, according to your interpretation of this text, they are in grave sinful error, and should quit their jobs immediately since they are “unequally yoked with nonbelievers in any spiritual ministry or enterprise.” This is not what Paul means by that passage.

In Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians he instructs them to cease fellowship between sincere believers and hypocritical “Christians.” Real disciples should keep no company with a person who was a called a “brother”, and yet practiced fornication or who was covetous, an idolater, a railer (if you will), drunkard, and the list goes on (1Cor. 5:11) This is why, in 2 Cor. 6:14-18 Paul rhetorically declares, “What portion does a believer share with an unbeliever?”

Paul is not referring to jobs, or work environments in these passages, he is referring to “practices” of pagan idolatry (thus the use of Belial – a Pagan Greek god), practices that genuine believers should not participate in. Translated your way, we would all, as Christians, have to work for Christians, work at places owned by Christians, etc. and this is, practically speaking, impossible. Therefore, it does not apply to Mark Noll when he takes a position at Notre Dame.

Moreover, your translation is built around the premise that if someone is Roman Catholic, ipso facto they are unbelievers, and this is wrong various ways.

SJ Camp said...

Thank you for adding the "u" in the spelling of heterozugountes. Typo on my part.

Your interpretation is somewhat correct 2 Cor. 6:14-7:1; but not limited to only a Jewish context or only referring to the practice of pagan idolatry. He includes that, but goes much farther than that--and rightly so.

1. Of course I do not mean work or job related issues--i.e., working for nonbelievers. The Scriptures do not prohibit believers from working for unbelievers. However, with one caveat: a Christian should not mutually own or be partners with a nonbeliever in anything... business included. Marriage being the ultimate partnership (1 Cor. 7:35).

2. Paul's concern here is not just pagan idolatry--but purity for the church in all areas of their lives--not just formal worship.

3. Paul concludes this section of teaching in 7:1 when saying, "Since we have these promises, beloved, jlet us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God."

This is personal living... not just worship corporately.

Col. 1:9-14

SJ Camp said...

JFB say,
"Be not — Greek, “Become not.” unequally yoked — “yoked with one alien in spirit.” The image is from the symbolical precept of the law (Leviticus 19:19), “Thou shalt not let thy cattle gender with a diverse kind”; or the precept (Deuteronomy 22:10), “Thou shalt not plough with an ox and an ass together.”

Compare Deuteronomy 7:3, forbidding marriages with the heathen; also 1 Corinthians 7:39. The believer and unbeliever are utterly heterogeneous. Too close intercourse with unbelievers in other relations also is included (2 Corinthians 6:16; 1 Corinthians 8:10; 10:14).

fellowship — literally, “share,” or “participation.” righteousness — the state of the believer, justified by faith. unrighteousness — rather, as always translated elsewhere, “iniquity”; the state of the unbeliever, the fruit of unbelief. light — of which believers are the children (1 Thessalonians 5:5).

SJ Camp said...


In the first of the two previous comments, the reference was incomplete: should have been 1 Corinthians 7:35-39.

Also, from JFB:

6:15. Belial — Hebrew, “worthlessness, unprofitableness, wickedness.” As Satan is opposed to God, and Antichrist to Christ; Belial being here opposed to Christ, must denounce all manner of Antichristian uncleanness [BENGEL]. he that believeth with an infidel — Translate, “a believer with an unbeliever.”

6:16. agreement — accordance of sentiments (compare 1 Kings 18:21; Ephesians 5:7, 11). the temple of God — that is, you believers (1 Corinthians 3:16; 6:19). with idols — Compare Dagon before the ark (1 Samuel 5:2-4). as — ”even as God said.” Quotation from Leviticus 26:12; Jeremiah 31:33; 32:38; Ezekiel 37:26, 27; compare Matthew 28:20; John 14:23.

walk in them — rather, “among them.” As “dwell” implies the divine presence, so “walk,” the divine operation. God’s dwelling in the body and soul of saints may be illustrated by its opposite, demoniacal possession of body and soul. my people — rather, “they shall be to me a people.”

6:17. Quoted from Isaiah 52:11, with the freedom of one inspired, who gives variations sanctioned by the Holy Spirit. be ye separate — “be separated” (Hosea 4:17). touch not the unclean thing — rather, “anything unclean” (2 Corinthians 7:1; Micah 2:10).

Touching is more polluting, as implying participation, than seeing. receive you — The Greek implies, “to myself”; as persons heretofore out of doors, but now admitted within (2 Corinthians 5:1-10).

With this accords the clause, “Come out from among them,” namely, so as to be received to me. So Ezekiel 20:41, “I will accept you”; and Zephaniah 3:19, “gather her that was driven out.” “The intercourse of believers with the world should resemble that of angels, who, when they have been sent a message from heaven, discharge their office with the utmost promptness, and joyfully fly back home to the presence of God” (1 Corinthians 7:31; 5:9, 10).

6:18. Translate, “I will be to you in the relation of a Father, and ye shall be to me in the relation of sons and daughters.” This is a still more endearing relation than (2 Corinthians 6:16), “I will be their God, and they . . .

My people.” Compare the promise to Solomon (1 Chronicles 28:6; Isaiah 43:6; Revelation 21:3, 7; Jeremiah 31:1, 9). Lord Almighty — The Lord the Universal Ruler: nowhere else found but in Revelation. The greatness of the Promiser enhances the greatness of the promises.

7:1. cleanse ourselves — This is the conclusion of the exhortation (2 Corinthians 6:1, 14; 1 John 3:3; Revelation 22:11). filthiness — “the unclean thing” (2 Corinthians 6:17). of the flesh — for instance, fornication, prevalent at Corinth (1 Corinthians 6:15-18). and spirit — for instance, idolatry, direct or indirect (1 Corinthians 6:9; 8:1, 7; 10:7, 21, 22).

The spirit (Psalms 32:2) receives pollution through the flesh, the instrument of uncleanness. perfecting holiness — The cleansing away impurity is a positive step towards holiness (2 Corinthians 6:17). It is not enough to begin; the end crowns the work (Galatians 3:3; 5:7; Philippians 1:6). fear of God — often conjoined with the consideration of the most glorious promises (2 Corinthians 5:11; Hebrews 4:1). Privilege and promise go hand in hand.

2 Cor. 3:5

T.B. Vick said...

Well Steve, I guess you missed the point then . . . because I stated:

"Paul’s plea, in this context, was for the Corinthians to be a pure congregation divorced from the sins of society, whether in the lives of pagans about them (which many in the Corinthian Church were participating in Pagan worship) or in the professing believers in their fellowship."

The above certainly illustrates your comments: "2. Paul's concern here is not just pagan idolatry--but purity for the church in all areas of their lives--not just formal worship."

I agree, however and have said such above. You conclude by saying this is personal living not just corporate worship . . . I have already stated that in my response to you.

The issue I have is that you are applying these verses to Mark Noll's situation of moving to Notre Dame - this assumes that since he is moving to a school, founded by Roman Catholics (being employed by them) that he is wrong and unjust for doing so.

That is why I declared that your translation is built around the premise that if someone (or some thing like an institution) is Roman Catholic, ipso facto they are unbelievers. Thus, your not liking or approving of Noll's move to Notre Dame because it is a Catholic school is, in your demonstration of using the passages from 2 Cor., a type of "proof-text" that he should not do such a thing.

All I'm saying is that's not what those verses are communicating.

SJ Camp said...


You did say that--forgive me. I do agree.

Here is the issue: Romanism is a false religion (idolatry); it is not representative of biblical Christianity; it preaches a false gospel. The Roman system is pagan at its core Tridentine doctrines and beliefs.

Dr. Noll is partnering with pagans in a spiritual ministry or enterprise. He should go to Notre Dame only to call them to repentance--not seek their employ.

2 Cor. 6:14-7:1

vegemitechristian said...


What you and T.B. are talking about does impact the like of people like me. Where I work, I am in spiritual ministry - and yet unbelievers pay me. This is wrong according to what you're saying. To be in line with what you're saying, I only have two choices:
(a) Leave, and look for a christian employer
(b) Stay, and not call my life and my work here as spiritual ministry.

I think you would prefer it to be (b). You seem to be (possibly unwittingly) creating a dichotomy between work such as I do (laity), and work such as you, Sproul etc. do (clergy). Frankly, I find that disparaging, as the whole foundation upon which I felt the Lord admonish me to be a better worker etc. was based upon Col. 3:22-25 and the similar passage in Eph. 6:5-8 The whole thing that struck me about these passages was not that I was simply to be salt and light here to hopefully win some, but that my actual work, as in, the data entry, the filing etc. itself was an acceptable offering to God, if done with enthusiasm and wholeheartedly - and that my reward (both the end of month pay, and future reward) comes from the Lord, not the company.
This is my whole basis for feeling rightly convicted when I slacken off, and what has motivated me to try and change - it's not only that I'm breaking a command of God to "do the right thing by my employer" (rightly or wrongly I don't quite find that anywhere near as motivating to change); but that I'm breaking a command of God if I am not diligently working for Him!

Anyway - that was a lengthy and drawn out way of explaining it! But I enjoyed sharing anyway! I like this blog. I'm not big into blogs, but this seems one both worth reading and commenting on. As it seems we're all trying to shape our lives with biblical values.

SJ Camp said...

To "Veg"
What do you do and who do you work for?

I appreciate your words and thoughts here very much. I don't think, from what you said, that you're in an "unequally yoked" situation.

Could you provide me, even if off forum, a more specific picture of what your situation really is?

Col. 1:9-14

vegemitechristian said...

Oh sure! I just work in admin. (payroll etc) at a mine (a very old industry that you can even see in the book of Job I believe). Because I have felt at times that the work is "beneath me", and at other times have struggled due to sheer laziness, it was refreshing to discover those passages as God speaking to me where I am at.

And my point was merely that if I separate the 'spirituality' of my hum-drum job from what I would rather be doing (getting back into music and/or studying bible college to become a pastor or teacher), then I lose all the wonderful admonision and encouragement from those passages: that whether a preacher, an office worker, or a street cleaner - I really can do my work for Christ (unless I have read those passages wrong). And not just in the sense of "go to work to be a light for Christ to others", but (and as well as that), to actually do the work bit for God as well. As in, the pile of timesheets I just processed, with some Casting Crowns playing in the background and a cup of coffee on my desk (I live in luxury really!): those timesheets are my work for Christ so far today. And He's pleased when I do them. And He's not too pleased when I just sit around and 'pretend' to be working just for appearance sake (as a 'people pleaser' and not to the Lord).

I love what you've written in your posts. But the possible implications of what you have written in some parts (with regard to partnering with unbelievers in ministry), got me to wondering how that applied to 'normal' workers - because our work is spiritual ministry too.

Having said that, I also realise that there is a distinction that we mustn't throw out: that there is in fact a biblical distinction between leaders and others in the church. So, in the light of that I can appreciate it.

I am looking forward to sourcing and reading, "God at work" by Veith - which I believe is a book about bringing God into all the parts of our lives, something I understand was very dear to the puritans(?)

vegemitechristian said...

And before anyone feels like being a smartie (we wouldn't have any of them here, right?) - yes, I am allowed the use of the internet at work to catch up on COT every now and then :-)

Joel said...

Here is the issue: Romanism is a false religion (idolatry); it is not representative of biblical Christianity; it preaches a false gospel. The Roman system is pagan at its core Tridentine doctrines and beliefs.

Trent is not our core, Steve. If any council could be said to be, it's either Jerusalem or Nicea. But the real core of Catholic teaching is the Bible.

The Gospel we preach is Christ and Him crucified. You have different doctrines about Him from ours, but He is still the center of the Gospel.

Dr. Noll is partnering with pagans in a spiritual ministry or enterprise. He should go to Notre Dame only to call them to repentance--not seek their employ.

See, this is where the "unequally yoked" passage doesn't apply. You can dispute our soteriology, but there can be no question but that we're believers in Christ. We're not unbelievers; the most you can say is that we're heretical. (And since we say the same of you, I can't complain if you do.) But we believe in the same Christ who was born of Mary, died on the cross, and rose from the dead. Noll may be unwise in working for a college some of whose doctrines he disagrees with, but he's still working with believers.

vegemitechristian said...

But Joel:

Being a believer in Jesus means what? I can work with demons if I want to work with those who believe in Christ.

You seem to make soteriology a small issue, as if we should be overlooking that?

My understanding (and you are more than free to correct me), is that you don't believe that Christ's sacrifice was sufficient to cover my sins? In that, I need to add my being good to that as well. Is that right? I'll await confirmation or correction before commenting further....

vegemitechristian said...

Just a side comment joel:

Although you may not have meant it this way, your comment logically flows into us being able to say, "we're working with the mormons. They do differ with us on certain things, but we're still working with believers"

How does your comment not lead to that conclusion?

Joel said...

My understanding (and you are more than free to correct me), is that you don't believe that Christ's sacrifice was sufficient to cover my sins? In that, I need to add my being good to that as well. Is that right? I'll await confirmation or correction before commenting further....

No, I believe that Christ's sacrifice was sufficient. You don't have to add either correct behavior or correct doctrine to be saved. (You CAN forfeit your salvation by deliberate, unrepentant sin, but that's not the point I'm trying to make.)

Salvation is not dependent on having perfect doctrine or belief. There are a great many things in the Bible that admit of more than one interpretation, and if having the right answer to each one of them is the prerequisite for heaven, then none of us are going there.

As for the Mormons, that's a really good point. The question of how much heresy is enough to render you "not a Christian" is one that I don't have enough knowledge to answer out of my own wisdom, but the teaching of the Catholic Church is that in order for an individual to be called a Christian, he must be baptized in trinitarian form. Because they deny the Trinity (at least the orthodox Trinity as defined at Nicea), the Mormons do not qualify. Protestants do believe in an orthodox Trinity, which is why they can be in rebellion against Christ's Church and still be considered brethren.

vegemitechristian said...

Cool reply, thanks Joel. I agree that one does not need perfect doctrine to be christian - or none of us would be one! To be a christian, I believe, one requires (ultimately), God to save him!

How this happens is by regeneration of the heart by the Holy Spirit (being 'born form above'), leading us to repent and trust in Christ as our saviour. We then share in the gift of the Spirit. This (the Spirit) then leads us to be led into truth as we go through life: for example, he convinces the heart of the believer the truth of the bible, the necessity of baptism, participation in the church, the desire & ability to obey what we learn in the bible etc.

The central problem with (for example), the mormon 'christian' as far as I see it (aside from other issues) - is that they do not believe, trust and follow the Jesus Christ of the bible! They believe in somone else they call Jesus.

The christian, protestant, catholic, orthodox, charismatic, presbyterian, baptist, pentecostal etc. - if they know Christ, they will obey his commandments.

A christian who is a teacher (leader etc) - or someone who simply wants to consider themselves mature as a christian etc. will need to have a good grasp of the doctrine, in the tradition of the apostles teaching, written for us in the New Testament.

We have "pure" and "less pure" churches largely, I think, because of the variety of leadership that actually has existed in the history of the church. When the RC church denies justifcation by faith (note - you personally may not, praise God, but the RC church does) - they are being unbiblical.

"If any one shall say that justifying faith is nothing else than confidence in the divine mercy pardoning sins for Christ's sake, or that it is that confidence alone by which we are justified ... let him be accursed," (Canon 12, Council of Trent).

In contrast with the bible:
"Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law," (Rom. 3:28).
"For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness," (Rom. 4:3).
"But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is reckoned as righteousness," (Rom. 4:5).
"Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ," (Rom. 5:1).
"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God," (Eph. 2:8).

Catechism of the Catholic Church says in paragraph, 1992, that "...justification is conferred in Baptism, the sacrament of faith."

This means that faith is not the instrument of obtaining justification; instead, it is an ordinance performed by a priest in the Roman Catholic Church.
Furthermore, baptism is only the initial grace along the road of justification. The Roman Catholic is to then maintain his position before God by his efforts.

"No one can MERIT the initial grace which is at the origin of conversion. Moved by the Holy Spirit, we can MERIT for ourselves and for others all the graces needed to attain eternal life, as well as necessary temporal goods," (Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC), par. 2027).

The problem here is that the RCC is teaching us to "merit for ourselves and for others all the graces need to attain eternal life." You cannot merit grace. Grace is unmerited favor.

An unbiblical (or more likely no) view on justification is what you might expect from a new christian - but not something a church should get away with teaching without being called, 'heretical'.

Anyway...sorry, if I've gone off topic!

Joel said...

Vegemite, you haven't gone too far off topic, I think, but you're using some terminology in ways that we wouldn't, which is the source of some confusion. There's a lot to address in what you wrote, but the easiest to start with is your quote from the Couuncil of Trent. It's extremely common for Protestants to cite the anathemas of Trent, but I have yet to see somebody use the quote you posted who has actually READ the documents of Trent. The anathemas are just a summary of the full document, and what's being condemned in that canon isn't the same as what you call "justification by faith." I can give you a URL for the whole thing if you're interested.

Aside from that, there's a bigger picture involved, in that we don't think of justification as being as crucial to the Gospel as you do. It's a factor, but to us, it's merely a point of doctrine, and we simply don't regard doctrine as being the whole shebang. I think it's because we place a stronger emphasis on the tangible, such as the sacraments and the visible Church. In contrast, Protestants place a heavy importance on the intellectual, which is why an assumption of "sola doctrina" is so easy to slip into.

This gives me a good chance to shift back to the topic of Mark Noll. I see he's been hired as a professor of Christian Thought, which may be the best position a Protestant (with their emphasis on the intellectual) can hold at a Catholic university. In the same vein, Wheaton just fired its professor of Medieval Christianity for becoming Catholic (despite his acquiescence to the statement of faith), which makes it very unlikely that they'll be able to replace him adequately. There just isn't much specialization in the medieval among sects that weren't around in the Middle Ages. :)

Joel said...

The central problem with (for example), the mormon 'christian' as far as I see it (aside from other issues) - is that they do not believe, trust and follow the Jesus Christ of the bible! They believe in somone else they call Jesus.

Vegemite, this warrants a separate answer, because I've seen it before, and the logic is problematic. Let's try an analogy:

I was really happy to see Steve had started blogging, because I've been a Camp fan for a long time. I have one or two of his albums from the 80s, but I particularly like the version of "Amazing Grace" he recorded in 1978 with Sweet Comfort Band.

What? He didn't do that? Does that mean I don't know Steve, or that I'm commenting on the blog of a false Campi?

No, it merely means I have my facts wrong about him. The Mormons, likewise, have their facts screwy about Jesus, and I don't dispute that their heterodoxy in this area is enough to put them outside the Christian umbrella. But that doesn't mean that when they refer to Jesus, they don't mean the Son of God, who was born of the virgin, died for our sins, etc. Jesus is an objectively real person, whose earthly ministry happened at a definite time and place; He's not just a construct of doctrine. So we can say that they're wrong about Him, but not that when they speak of Him, they actually mean somebody else.