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Friday, May 19, 2006

Sproul Speaks 2

Having already covered Sproul's more controversial (yet thoroughly accurate) comments, I thought I'd offer you these gems from his panel discussion:

(I'll occasionally provide context in italics.)

On confusion between the usage of justification and salvation among evangelicals. The word sozo, "to save," is used in every tense of the Greek language. There is a sense that we were saved since the foundation of the world. We were being saved. We are saved. We are being saved. We shall be saved. And so the complete work of redemption is described generically under the rubric of that broad term "salvation."

On the danger of confusing justification as the same as salvation. So works that proceed from our justification (sanctification) are very much a part of our total salvation. The point is they contribute any merit to our justification. When we make this confusion, the first casuality is the importance of obedience, and we end up with an incipient antinomianism (lawlessness.

What are a lot of evangelical pastors saying is the gospel? Having a personal relationship with Jesus. Having a purpose driven life. Having a God who loves them and has a wonderful plan for their life. A belief that God loves them unconditionally. All of those are clear manifest substitutions for the gospel. The gospel is an objective thing, the person and work of Christ, which is subjectively appropriated by faith, and by faith alone.

People who want so much, who have a real passion for evangelism, in their desire for evangelism, forget the evangel.

Al Mohler, on his concern with the phrase, "Ask Jesus into your heart." But what unfortunately that gets reduced to is an emotional experience of mere affection. And the problem is, there is no suggestion in Scripture that we are justified by our affection for Christ. That is not saving faith, nor is it a substitute...and we need to be pastorally sensitive and that's why it is easy to get in trouble speaking of this. But I listen to a lot of well-intentioned pastors, who as RC said, really want to be evangelistic, they really want to see persons come to faith in Christ, but they have no understanding that in their presentation of the gospel, in so far as that is what they are talking about, they often reduce the gospel to its most emotional and affective dimensions, leaving aside the objective reality of what justifying faith really is.

Back to quotes from RC. I think that the second most wide spread doctrine of justification in our culture and in the church is justification by works. We've not communicated the gospel to our own people. They still are trusting in what they do, and in what they acheive to get them into heaven. That's the second, it's not the most common doctrine of justification. The biggest doctrine of justification out there is what I call justification by death. All you have to do to be justified is to die, because everybody who dies goes to heaven. That's what we run into out there. So justification by faith alone and what it means content, objectively, has been woefully obscurred.

On an address he gave at a Christian Book Publishers meeting. Everybody keeps asking us, "Are you saved?" "Are you saved?" My question is, "Saved from what?" And I gave the answer to that, and the answer was, "We're saved from God." And you would have thought I gave them the most radically novel idea these people had ever heard...We're saved from the wrath that is to come. Who's wrath is it?...We're saved by God, from God. But when you have preachers telling everybody that God loves you unconditionally, who's afraid of the wrath of God? What does the unbeliever hear when you say, "God loves you unconditionally?" What does he hear? "So, I can do whatever I want! I don't have to repent. I don't have to flee to the foot of the cross. God loves me unconditionally, there are no conditions."

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