Demolition of Strongholds

James White writes:

It is only fair to remember that Roman Catholic theologians are always very careful to assert that these concepts of satisfaction, merit, good works, etc., do not in any way detract from the satisfaction, merit, and work of Jesus Christ. This is the Roman claim. Whether it can withstand a Biblical or logical examination is a very different issue. In conclusion, remember that according to the RCC sin is of two kinds: venial and mortal, the first not resulting in eternal punishment, but the second causing eternal separation from God. It should also be emphasized that a sin can be forgiven in Roman theology, yet there might be punishment remaining, even after the sin is forgiven. This will become very important in discussing the atonement of Christ, His work of redemption.” (James R. White, The Fatal Flaw: Do the teachings of Roman Catholicism Deny the Gospel? Crown Publications (1990)

I wonder what the Judaizers whom Paul anathematized could ALSO be “very careful to assert” (cf. Galatians 1:8-9, 5:2-4)?  Could they assert that they were simply adding the “non-meritorious” and “non-detracting” effort of circumcision (Galatians 5:3) to Christ’s work?  Could they NOT assert vehemently that they could NEVER boast or “take any credit” for the addition of circumcision since they carefully prefaced the addition with the pious-sounding phrase, “it’s all of grace”?  Could they not also legitimately dismiss as utterly ridiculous, the notion that Romans 11:6 was written to combat such “‘grace’-prefaced” evasions as theirs?

How does Paul respond to the Judaizers who gave an “inconsistent profession of orthodoxy” concerning the Person and Work of Jesus Christ (cf. Galatians 2:4)?  Galatians 1:8-9 and 5:4 inform us that Paul judged professing Christian men to be unregenerate based on what a certain magnanimously balanced and mature Calvinist might call a “blessedly inconsistent” confession of orthodoxy.

What if these Judaizers — whom Paul “cruelly” anathematized — gave absolutely “no evidence of actually understanding why” they ignorantly affirmed their particular doctrine of circumcision?  Are these Judaizers, “by strict virtue of [this ignorant] denial,” lost?  Or is the question of “understanding why” completely irrelevant when it comes to judging their spiritual state (cf. Romans 10:1-4)?   Do people have to “understand why” they are ignorant of God’s righteousness revealed in the gospel BEFORE Paul (or any believer) can judge them to be unregenerate (Romans 10:1-4)?

Further, is Paul quelling the fruits of the Holy Spirit by this (alleged) impatient, cold, and condemning theological perfectionism?  Is this not an absurdly epic failure on Paul’s part to “recognize that we normally jump to snap conclusions and God works on a much longer timetable than we do”?  Or, do tolerant Calvinists duly consider how 2 Corinthians 4:3-7 demolishes their reasonings that lift themselves up against the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ (cf. 2 Corinthians 10:1-5, 9-12)?

WHY DIDN’T Paul “dare seek to lead [these Judaizers] into a knowledge of the [gospel] by appealing to their love for Christ and His Word, rather than casting them into the flames of perdition”?  Is Paul (in effect) seriously judging these professing Christians as “unregenerate God-haters” because they were converted to Christ within an imperfect fellowship?  Does Paul think he was converted in a perfect fellowship?  Is Paul, therefore, making his OWN understanding and practices an ADDITION to the gospel?  Or, is all of this reasoning simply hypocritical and typical tolerant Calvinist hogwash?

If Roman Catholic theologians, Arminians, and Dr. Michael Brown may carefully assert or explain how their respective doctrines do NOT detract from the work of Jesus Christ, then HOW MUCH MORE could the anathematized Judaizers in Galatia?  Are these Judaizers inconsistently adding one little thing to the work of Jesus Christ?  Are the Roman Catholic theologians tripling or quadrupling the Judaizing effort?  What is Dr. Michael Brown doing?  Is Dr. Brown doubling the Judaizing error?  Is Dr. Brown at least equaling the Judaizing error?

James White wrote:

“As we mentioned in the introduction, Paul anathematized the teachers at Galatia for simply adding what would seem to us to be minor things to the Gospel.” (James R. White, The Fatal Flaw: Do the teachings of Roman Catholicism Deny the Gospel? Crown Publications (1990) [underlining mine–CD]

Did Paul anathematize the teachers at Galatia for simply adding something MUCH MORE SUBTLE and infinitesimal than the following two “minor” things (doctrines)?

(1) Jesus Christ died for everyone without exception.

(2) It is possible for true believers to lose their salvation.

Paul said that false brothers stole in to spy on the freedom Christians have in Christ Jesus.  Paul further said that he (and others) did NOT yield in subjection, “even for an hour,” that the truth of the gospel might continue with them (Galatians 2:4-5).  For a false brother to surreptitiously join a true Christian fellowship, they must have made an adequate profession of orthodoxy (the aforementioned two BLATANTLY HERETICAL beliefs are nowhere near this).  It therefore follows that Paul is anathematizing the teachers at Galatia for something MUCH LESS blatant, and MUCH MORE “minor” than the two heresies noted above.  It also follows that typical tolerant Calvinists like James White ought to call Paul an advocate of the most extreme and pernicious form of “doctrinal perfectionism,” the professing Christian world has ever seen.

Is Dr. Michael Brown (a blessedly inconsistent brother according to James White) simply untaught and unaware, “blanketed by layers of evangelical tradition”?  Or, is Dr. Brown quite bold, deliberate, and doctrinaire in his heretical beliefs?  How is Dr. Brown different from those whom Paul judged unregenerate for what many believe is an infinitesimally trivial thing?  According to Dr. White, is Dr. Brown [1] merely adding a “minor thing” to the gospel?  Does White reflect a desire to emulate Paul’s attitude in judging righteous judgment?  Could James White’s arguments be used to defend the “sufficient orthodoxy” of the anathematized teachers of Galatia?  Could not White’s arguments be used to say that Paul made an uncharitable judgment of dear brethren who are saved by a blessed or felicitous inconsistency?  OF COURSE.

What does a Scriptural application of a fortori logic say about these questions that relate BELIEF IN the gospel, to JUDGMENT BY the gospel?  What does a professed belief in the true gospel have to do with judgment of those who believe in the false gospel?  Is there any necessary connection, or can one truly believe in the true gospel and yet judge others who do NOT believe in the true gospel to be his “blessedly inconsistent” brothers in Christ?  Important questions to consider.  Legion are those who wickedly attempt to immure this simple Biblical concept of gospel belief and gospel judgment in incoherence.

[1]  A quote from Dr. Brown’s book, Go and Sin No More: A Call to Holiness:

“You have been given twenty reasons not to sin.  But just in case you waver, here is reason number twenty-one:  Your sin could cost you your salvation.” (Michael L. Brown, Go and Sin No More,  p. 74)

Dr. Brown quotes Jesus’ words in Matthew 5:29-30, and then admonishes the reader:

“Jesus knew what He was talking about. If I were you, I’d take Him at His word. 7

In the Endnotes section on page 289, Dr. Brown writes the following:

“7 I would encourage those of you who are convinced that it is completely impossible for a true believer to lose his or her salvation to read David Pawson, Once Saved, Always Saved? (London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1996) and, more fully, Robert Shank, Life in the Son (Minneapolis: Bethany, 1961).  There are also some relevant chapters on this subject in my book It’s Time to Rock the Boat (see especially pp. 24-38, 84-96).  See also below, chapter 7, endnote, 8.  For recent defenses of the ‘once saved, always saved’ position, see R.T. Kendall, Once Saved, Always Saved (Chicago: Moody Press, 1983); Charles Stanley, Eternal Security (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1990). [Underlining mine–CD]

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