Guest Post: Blurring the Lines: If Sola Scriptura is unclear what will come through the gate?

Blurring the Lines

Written by: Nancy A. Almodovar, PhD

If Sola Scriptura is unclear what will come through the gate?

The Apostles Creed drew the first line based upon Scripture which summarized the beliefs which must be held to be called a Christian.

At Nicea the line was drawn to further clarify who was a Christian and who was not in dealing with the Deity of Christ: Jesus is both equally God and Man.

In the days of Athanasius the line was dug even deeper: Jesus is God and Man, co equal, co-eternal, Very God of Very God.

At the Council of Orange that line was placed in permanent ink: This is what you must believe to be a Christian.

In today’s religious world, filled with a mix of enthusiast prophets and their false visions alongside the pseudo-calvinist who prefers to pick and choose what to believe at the schmorgasboard called evangelicalism, there is no longer any line. Gandolf said it best: This far and no farther. How far do those who hold to orthodox Christianity remain silent as the enemy routes the camp and pillages the faithful of their assurance and faith? How long do we permit the blurring of lines?

When the reformation occurred the Lutherans, Dutch, Swiss, French, Hungarian, British and Irish Reformers drew the line in the sand again: This must be believed in order to be a true Christian. Somewhere the guards began to fall asleep. They began to permit those with a history of visions and dreams to help “inspire” them onto a deeper walk with Christ. Slowly the mystical practices of the Romanists like Madam Guyon and Brother Lawrence were taught as ways to holiness and perfection. Then came the decisionalists and their free will which eventually led to a God of their own making who didn’t know the future and was subjected to His creatures. These lines which had marked out the true Church from the false began to be erased. The people clamored for popular preachers and teachers, kings of their own instead of The King of kings. They cried for their stew just like Esau and sold their birthright.

However, some of the old guard stood firm and fast refusing entry into the cities of refuge, the Confessionally reformed churches. So, the deceiver switched tactics. No longer wishing to erase the lines, which always alerted the faithful to defend the walls, they decided to blur them. Why not take on some of the language of the citizens and dress up like them in their books and on their videos. Why not look like them, talk like them, worship in a similar manner with a little more excitement added in. So they took the name of the most famous reformer and clothed themselves in sovereign election, irresistible grace and perseverance and declared themselves citizens of the king but from a far off country. Disarmed the citizens let them in the front gate welcoming them as brothers and sisters of the Reformation but from some long-lost family line. The deception had blurred the lines and they were in.

Over the next few years they spent their time teaching their form of Christianity and placed the Scriptures, formerly the only rule of faith and life, aside for some personal visions and dreams and messages from the King that they could hear in their hearts, for who can judge what is in your heart? After all, only God knows what is there. Slowly, the Book which had guided the citizens of the city of refuge was put away for a more contemplative way of the master. As the pseudo-citizens offered morsels sweet to the taste, some citizens were deceived and ate, forsaking their teachers from the past such as the Heidelberg and Westminster Catechisms. But soon, that which was sweet became bitter. Something was wrong but because they no longer looked to that old dusty book they simply asked for more morsels hoping the sweetness would assuage that bitterness.

Then the time came for these foreigners, now called fellow citizens to exact the fullness of their plan. They began to bring in their pets. But they were not pets they were timber wolves who teeth were set to destroy. They were wolves looking to devour even the elect in the city and tear their assurance to shreds, their teeth sharpened to sink into any defender against them.

But God had not left these citizens. Knowing the attacks would come, there were those who had once lived in the cities outside of the reformed and had been converted, granted citizenship in the City of Light, who were aware of the tactics of the enemy and would know from a single bark whether it was simply a pet or a timber wolf. As the Pseudo-calvinists began to bring in their pets, the Ex-Outsiders recognized the sound, the taste and the smell of that which would attempt to slaughter the citizens. They warned, they fought, they pleaded. No longer would the lines be blurred.

The citizens would be awakened again, their eyes opened to the danger, and the lines redrawn along the ancient paths. God would not have His Bride slaughtered or destroyed. He had promised the very gates of Hell would not prevail and would protect and preserve Her throughout all the ages.

The battle is fierce and each generation must sharpen the line between the true citizen of the Kingdom of Light and those whose father is the father of lies and dwell in the kingdom of darkness. The lines must not be blurred and therefore, each generation must again clear the path so that they may:

“Stand by the roads, and look,

and ask for the ancient paths,

where the good way is; and walk in it,

and find rest for your souls.

But they said, ‘We will not walk in it.’

Jeremiah 6:16

Time to dig in and draw the line to the ancient path of God’s Word truly being the sole, unique, and only revelation of His will for our lives. It is time, brothers and sisters, to once again clarify what we believe and where that line is. Time to stand up and say, while defending the line: This far and no farther. I pray, God grant His children the strength and grace to hold the line and that He will give sight to those He wills. His children may take solace that He will send faithful guards who will hold the line and not blur it for His children.

Trust His promise to: establish you and guard you against the evil one. 2 Thessalonians 3:3 (ESV)

Sarah Flashing To Interview Christine Pack re: One Thousand Gifts & Mystical Christian Panentheism

You may or may not be following a recent occurrence concerning a review posted by Mr. Tim Challies regarding Ann VosKamp’s wildly popular, One Thousand Gifts.  After Mr. Challies posted his review, which I was grateful to have him express some of the same concerns I and many others have with the book as well as all the other books circulating in Christian circles these days that are promoting clearly anti-Christian views of panentheism and mysticism, Mr. Challies, wrote another article expressing his regret over his tone in the review and asking Ms. Voskamp for forgiveness.  I certainly appreciate his sensitivity to the issue and desire to be gracious as he reviews various books, however, I am concerned that it has now sent a confusing message regarding the very serious issues promoted by Ms. VosKamp and the very serious dangers they present to the sheep of Jesus Christ.   Cathy Blackerby Matthews of Sola Sisters blog, wrote a timely open letter to Mr. Challies, regarding her desire to also meet with him for dinner and help him understand just how vital it is that we sound the alarm about the dangers of the ideas and teachings being circulated in books such as Ms. VosKamp’s.

Sara Flashing, director of The Center for Women of Faith in Culture, will interview Ms. Christine Pack also of the Sola Sisters blog, this afternoon this afternoon May 30, 2012,  at 2:00pm central/3:00pm eastern here.  I encourage you to tune in and listen as Ms. Pack discusses these events an her concerns for the church at large with regard to mysticism and panentheism.

Thoughts From My Reformed Self: Links to Review of The Divine Conspiracy by Dallas Willard

The final computer-generated Yoda as seen in t...
Since I really messed up that intro post let’s just start again.  Here are the links to all the review articles my friend, Cindy, has written thus far on Dallas Willard’s Divine Conspiracy.  Enjoy. 🙂

“The Divine Conspiracy” by Dallas Willard: A Chapter by Chapter Review — Introduction

What Happens When Philosophy Professors Write Theology Books

“The Divine Conspiracy” – Review Part 2 – When All Else Fails, Redefine Your Terms

“The Divine Conspiracy” by Dallas Willard — Review of Chapter 2: Gospels of Sin Management

A Primer on Pagan Theology as Preface to the Review of Chapter 3 of Dallas Willard’s “The Divine Conspiracy”

Panentheism meets Neo-Platonism With a Dash of Yoda – Part 2 of Chapter 3 Review: “The Divine Conspiracy” by Dallas Willard

And the rest to be continued this summer….stay tuned.

Contemplative Prayer by Gary Gilley

Spiritual formation seeks to lure evangelicals into ancient Catholic and Orthodox contemplative practices in order to draw closer to God, experience His presence, and hear His voice apart from Scripture. In order to embrace this mystical form of spirituality, contemplatives are willing to compromise at virtually every turn. Central doctrines such as sola fide and sola Scriptura are shrugged off as secondary. Methods never found in the Bible as the true means of spiritual growth and of knowing God, are emphasized. And complete heretics such as Thomas Merton are seen as reliable spiritual guides to spirituality. The contemplatives have sold out to Catholic mysticism and abandoned the clear teaching of Scripture. Sadly, in the process many undiscerning evangelicals will follow suit.      Gary Gilley

Gary Gilley of Southern View Chapel is spending the entire year of 2012 reviewing the Spiritual Formation movement. I strongly encourage everyone to read his articles as well as several great book reviews of those involved in this movement. He has recently reviewed contemplative prayer. I also recommend his article on the wildly popular Ann VosKamp book, One Thousand Gifts.