Friday, March 2, 2007

Obligation to assume

Challies tries to directly address the issue of how to determine if an orthodox evangelical should treat someone as a Christian, "a brother in Christ". Essentially he cites an interesting criteria,

1) He used Belgic confession to define a true church as "The marks by with the true Church is known are these: If the pure doctrine of the gospel is preaching therein; if she maintains the pure administration of the sacraments as instituted by Christ; if church discipline is exercised in punishing of sin; in short, if all things are managed according to the pure Word of God, all things contrary thereto rejected, and Jesus Christ acknowledged as the only Head of the Church."

2) He defines a profession of faith as going through the entire process, "How we define a credible profession of faith may vary slightly from church to church, but it should definitely contain an affirmation that the person is saved by grace through faith, should affirm many of the doctrines concerning the nature of God and the person should have been identified with the church through baptism or other forms of membership. If a person has professed faith, been baptized and been received into membership his claim to be a believer has a certain level of credibility. Conversely, if he has refused to be baptized and to be received into membership we would have a good reason to be concerned about his profession."

A person then is not assumed to be a Christian then if any of the following:
  1. They have not professed faith
  2. Their profession has been incomplete
  3. They have professed faith within a true church and would be expelled from a true church if they had (see #1)
The Obligation To Assume
Obligation To Assume: Church Discipline .
an earlier piece where he disagrees with the harder fundamentalist line (a single error):
The Ultimate Human Judgment.

While I think Charllies provides a good right wing evangelical definition I'm a bit
concerned. There is an expression in driving, everyone who drives faster than me is a maniac and everyone who drives slower than me is a asshole. I suspect Charllies is falling into the same trap: everyone to the right of me is too strict and everyone too0 the left not strict enough. On the other hand I give him a great deal of credit for laying out objective criteria. Few other writers have been willing to do that. All, told well done!

No comments: