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Luther on unity at the cost of Truth in non essentials.

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  • Deejay
    Since this subject has come up lately, thought to post this. Though its not intended against anyone. ~Deejay Just as in the days of the Apostles, so at this
    Message 1 of 4 , Mar 19, 2008
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      Since this subject has come up lately, thought to post this.  Though its not intended against anyone.

       

      ~Deejay

       

      Just as in the days of the Apostles, so at this day we are forced to hear from certain denominations that we (by our obstinacy to adhere to the truth) do offend against love and unity in the churches, because we reject their doctrine. It would be better (they say) that we should let it pass, especially since the doctrine in dispute is what they call ‘non-essential’, and, therefore (they say) to stir up so great a discord and contention in the church over one or two doctrines (and those not the most important ones) is ‘unfruitful’ and ‘unnecessary’. To this I reply: Cursed be that love and unity which cannot be preserved except at the peril of the word of God.   [Martin Luther]

       

    • Tim Cunningham
      ... to hear from certain denominations that we (by our obstinacy to adhere to the truth) do offend against love and unity in the churches, because we reject
      Message 2 of 4 , Mar 20, 2008
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        --- In covenantedreformationclub@yahoogroups.com, "Deejay" <deejay-
        forums@...> wrote:
        >
        > Just as in the days of the Apostles, so at this day we are forced
        to hear from certain denominations that we (by our obstinacy to
        adhere to the truth) do offend against love and unity in the
        churches, because we reject their doctrine. It would be better (they
        say) that we should let it pass, especially since the doctrine in
        dispute is what they call 'non-essential', and, therefore (they say)
        to stir up so great a discord and contention in the church over one
        or two doctrines (and those not the most important ones)
        is 'unfruitful' and 'unnecessary'. To this I reply: Cursed be that
        love and unity which cannot be preserved except at the peril of the
        word of God.
        > [Martin Luther]
        >
        Tim-There are times when separation from professing believers is
        justifiable and times when it is not. The only times such separation
        is justified is when some pb's add, to the doctrines of the church,
        and insist that their additions are essential, a doctrine or
        doctrines which are either flatly unscriptural or which although
        perhaps possible, cannot be proved from Scripture or by good and
        necessary consequence deductions from Scripture. If, after
        admonisment, a group making such addition will not hear the evidence
        to the contrary, then the orthodox must depart from them.

        In Luther's situation he recognized that the Roman Catholic church
        had added flatly unscriptural doctrines to their list of essentials
        and had refused to hear the Scriptural case against those additions.
        Therefore separation from Rome was and remains justified.

        Any one separating from Protestant believers must make sure that such
        separations are justified. Against modern liberal counterfeits of the
        faith such demonstration is simple; however, when Protestants divide
        over issues like infant/credo baptism, presby/congregational
        government, EP/non-EP and continuing charismatic gifts we need to
        take a serious look at whether our forefathers have committed schism.

        For none of these issues is plainly settled by Scripture nor can we
        prove that the valid inferences leading to one option against another
        are in fact necessary consequences from the Scritural data. We are
        able to identify possible alternatives but we simply cannot identify
        which is correct. Therefore we must recognize that these matters are
        non essential. Although we may organize churches and even fellowships
        of churches around differences in these points, we must never make
        them a cause for breaking fellowship with those who hold the other
        views.

        Those of us who come after the breaches are in a different positon
        from those who caused it. We find divisions in place and are
        responsible before God for joining that group of Christians we find
        most biblical. But we must recognize which of the distinctives that
        divide us from other groups is biblical and necessary and which are
        schismatic and ulitmately unnecessary, preserving the former sort and
        learning how to transcend the latter in a way that glorifies God.

        For a fuller statement of the problem we face, I commend Martyn Lloyd-
        Jones' excellent papers: "John Owen on Schism" found in "The
        Puritans: Their Origins and Successors" Banner of Truth, 1987 and
        most especially "Evangelical Unity: an Appeal" found in "Knowing the
        Times" BOT 1989. Two background papers for EU:aA are also found in
        this latter volume "The Basis of Christian Unity" and "Consider your
        Ways: the Outline of a New Strategy". In these papers MLJ cogently
        argues that Protestants today are tending to try to transcend
        distinctions that are legitimate and must be preserved, while
        preserving distinctions that need to be transcended.

        Blessings
        Tim
      • Deejay
        Hi Tim, I would like to point out that its far from always the case that people who hold to additions are the ones who choose to or cause separation, but its
        Message 3 of 4 , Mar 20, 2008
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          Hi Tim,

           

          I would like to point out that its far from always the case that people who hold to “additions” are the ones who choose to or cause separation, but its often those who deny, refute and think those “additions”  legalistic,  and accursed, rather than seeing the RPW can never be legalistic or it is  tearing itself down that choose to separate.  Its always presented the other way around, yet its not always the case at all.

           

          I would not agree too, but don’t intend to get into a discussion about it, that those things you list are not clearly settled by Scripture. 

           

          ~Deejay

           

          From: covenantedreformationclub@yahoogroups.com [mailto:covenantedreformationclub@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Tim Cunningham
          Sent: 20 March 2008 16:28
          To: covenantedreformationclub@yahoogroups.com
          Subject: [Covenanted Reformation] Re: Luther on unity at the cost of Truth in non essentials.

           

          --- In covenantedreformationclub@yahoogroups.com, "Deejay" <deejay-
          forums@...> wrote:

          >
          > Just as in the days of the Apostles, so at this day we are forced
          to hear from certain denominations that we (by our obstinacy to
          adhere to the truth) do offend against love and unity in the
          churches, because we reject their doctrine. It would be better (they
          say) that we should let it pass, especially since the doctrine in
          dispute is what they call 'non-essential', and, therefore (they say)
          to stir up so great a discord and contention in the church over one
          or two doctrines (and those not the most important ones)
          is 'unfruitful' and 'unnecessary'. To this I reply: Cursed be that
          love and unity which cannot be preserved except at the peril of the
          word of God.
          > [Martin Luther]
          >
          Tim-There are times when separation from professing believers is
          justifiable and times when it is not. The only times such separation
          is justified is when some pb's add, to the doctrines of the church,
          and insist that their additions are essential, a doctrine or
          doctrines which are either flatly unscriptural or which although
          perhaps possible, cannot be proved from Scripture or by good and
          necessary consequence deductions from Scripture. If, after
          admonisment, a group making such addition will not hear the evidence
          to the contrary, then the orthodox must depart from them.


          Any one separating from Protestant believers must make sure that such
          separations are justified. Against modern liberal counterfeits of the
          faith such demonstration is simple; however, when Protestants divide
          over issues like infant/credo baptism, presby/congregational
          government, EP/non-EP and continuing charismatic gifts we need to
          take a serious look at whether our forefathers have committed schism.

          For none of these issues is plainly settled by Scripture nor can we
          prove that the valid inferences leading to one option against another
          are in fact necessary consequences from the Scritural data. We are
          able to identify possible alternatives but we simply cannot identify
          which is correct. Therefore we must recognize that these matters are
          non essential. Although we may organize churches and even fellowships
          of churches around differences in these points, we must never make
          them a cause for breaking fellowship with those who hold the other
          views.


        • benhartmail
          Dear Tim (and Martin Luther :D), There have been many times in which I ve gotten myself in the mood to believe something like what you ve said below. However,
          Message 4 of 4 , Mar 21, 2008
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            Dear Tim (and Martin Luther :D),

            There have been many times in which I've gotten myself in the mood to
            believe something like what you've said below. However, one problem
            you run into is undermining your own beliefs. You say that we can't
            necessarily infer that credo/paedobaptism is Scriptural. Is it
            therefore not a justified belief? What if I think the one is more
            probable than the other-should I suspend belief? I think your
            position runs the risk of skepticism on disputed questions amongst
            protestants. If so, would you think that's a good consequence?

            Additionally, on the issue of fundamentals. Just what is a
            fundamental? Gillespie and Rutherford seemed to disagree on what
            they are. For instance, Gillespie (in Misc Q's IX) argues that
            fundamentals can't be whatever is necessary to be known for the
            possibility of salvation, since making such an adjudication is
            inscrutible. A lot of people make something like the trinity a
            necessary belief--if so, the people in Acts who'd neither heard of
            nor received the Holy Ghost would be condemned as would those prior
            to the formulation of the doctrine. For this reason, Gillespie says
            that fundamentals are the sorts of truths you'll find in all of the
            Reformed creeds, catechisims and confessions. These aren't necessary
            for salvation, but they provide a benchmark for doctrines around
            which Xians can unify. I tend to agree with Gillespie that it's
            unclear just what gets into the set of truths that
            are "fundamental". For that reason, I don't know how helpful
            the "fundamentals view" is going to help when it comes to unifying
            the church.

            On the other hand, there is something to be said for the concerns you
            raised regarding the difficulty in ascertaining what is and isn't
            necessarily inferred by the Scripture. I think it is an important
            question to determine the epistemic limitations we're operating with
            and let that qualify our disagreements. Accordingly, the objection I
            raised above about skepticism may be a consequence we have to live
            with. Some doctrines are inscrutible, at least as it regards what
            groups of Xians can reasonably be expected to agree upon. But the
            trick is to determine, non-arbitrarily, what those doctrines are. If
            that were possible, then the skepticism would be as innocuous as my
            inability to perceive a small object from a long distance.

            Thanks again for your email and thoughtful comments.

            Regards,
            Ben

            --- In covenantedreformationclub@yahoogroups.com, "Tim Cunningham"
            <timmopussycat@...> wrote:
            >
            > --- In covenantedreformationclub@yahoogroups.com, "Deejay" <deejay-
            > forums@> wrote:
            > >
            > > Just as in the days of the Apostles, so at this day we are forced
            > to hear from certain denominations that we (by our obstinacy to
            > adhere to the truth) do offend against love and unity in the
            > churches, because we reject their doctrine. It would be better
            (they
            > say) that we should let it pass, especially since the doctrine in
            > dispute is what they call 'non-essential', and, therefore (they
            say)
            > to stir up so great a discord and contention in the church over one
            > or two doctrines (and those not the most important ones)
            > is 'unfruitful' and 'unnecessary'. To this I reply: Cursed be that
            > love and unity which cannot be preserved except at the peril of the
            > word of God.
            > > [Martin Luther]
            > >
            > Tim-There are times when separation from professing believers is
            > justifiable and times when it is not. The only times such
            separation
            > is justified is when some pb's add, to the doctrines of the church,
            > and insist that their additions are essential, a doctrine or
            > doctrines which are either flatly unscriptural or which although
            > perhaps possible, cannot be proved from Scripture or by good and
            > necessary consequence deductions from Scripture. If, after
            > admonisment, a group making such addition will not hear the
            evidence
            > to the contrary, then the orthodox must depart from them.
            >
            > In Luther's situation he recognized that the Roman Catholic church
            > had added flatly unscriptural doctrines to their list of essentials
            > and had refused to hear the Scriptural case against those
            additions.
            > Therefore separation from Rome was and remains justified.
            >
            > Any one separating from Protestant believers must make sure that
            such
            > separations are justified. Against modern liberal counterfeits of
            the
            > faith such demonstration is simple; however, when Protestants
            divide
            > over issues like infant/credo baptism, presby/congregational
            > government, EP/non-EP and continuing charismatic gifts we need to
            > take a serious look at whether our forefathers have committed
            schism.
            >
            > For none of these issues is plainly settled by Scripture nor can we
            > prove that the valid inferences leading to one option against
            another
            > are in fact necessary consequences from the Scritural data. We are
            > able to identify possible alternatives but we simply cannot
            identify
            > which is correct. Therefore we must recognize that these matters
            are
            > non essential. Although we may organize churches and even
            fellowships
            > of churches around differences in these points, we must never make
            > them a cause for breaking fellowship with those who hold the other
            > views.
            >
            > Those of us who come after the breaches are in a different positon
            > from those who caused it. We find divisions in place and are
            > responsible before God for joining that group of Christians we find
            > most biblical. But we must recognize which of the distinctives that
            > divide us from other groups is biblical and necessary and which are
            > schismatic and ulitmately unnecessary, preserving the former sort
            and
            > learning how to transcend the latter in a way that glorifies God.
            >
            > For a fuller statement of the problem we face, I commend Martyn
            Lloyd-
            > Jones' excellent papers: "John Owen on Schism" found in "The
            > Puritans: Their Origins and Successors" Banner of Truth, 1987 and
            > most especially "Evangelical Unity: an Appeal" found in "Knowing
            the
            > Times" BOT 1989. Two background papers for EU:aA are also found in
            > this latter volume "The Basis of Christian Unity" and "Consider
            your
            > Ways: the Outline of a New Strategy". In these papers MLJ cogently
            > argues that Protestants today are tending to try to transcend
            > distinctions that are legitimate and must be preserved, while
            > preserving distinctions that need to be transcended.
            >
            > Blessings
            > Tim
            >
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