2002 Issue 1 - On Heresy - Counsel of Chalcedon

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<ul><li><p>8/12/2019 2002 Issue 1 - On Heresy - Counsel of Chalcedon</p><p> 1/1</p><p>On Heresy1 Parnell McCarter</p><p>At the 2002 Auburn Avenue Presbyterian</p><p>Pastors o n ~ e r e n c evarious positions wereadvocated, like paedocommunion, which</p><p>directly contradict the Reformed faith and practiceas it is represented in such historic confessions asthe Westminster Standards. Covenant Presbyteryof the RPCUS responded to the Conference byissuing a call for repentance. The Consistory ofMessiah's Congregation, where Rev. Schlissel (oneof the Conference pastors) labors, has issued areply to the charges of Covenant Presbytery; ChristChurch where Rev. Wilson (another Conferencepastor) labors has issued a response; and the sessionof Auburn Avenue Presbyterian Church, whereRev. Wilkins labors, has issued their response.Additionally, Rev. Andrew Sandlin defends theministers of this Conference against the charge of'heresy' in various articles. The responses and Rev.Sandlin's articles are posted on their various websites.</p><p>Before commenting upon the Conferencespeakers and the response of the RPCUS to them, itis important that we have a sound, Biblical definitionof the term "heresy," since the Conference speakersare charged with promoting heresy. Scripturallyspeaking, heresy is an aberration in doctrine andcourse which wrongly causes division in the visiblechurch of Christ is a heresy. This definit ion is perhapsmost clearly seen in I Corinthians 11:18-19: . 1</p><p>hear that there be divisions among you; and I partlybelieve it. For there must be also heresies amongyou, that they which are approved may be mademanifest among you." All heresies involve issuesabout which the Bible does not permit the Churchto compromise. O f course, some heresies are much</p><p>more serious in nature than others. Indeed, someheresies are damnable heresies. ("But there werefalse prophets also among the people, even as thereshall be false teachers among you, who privily shallbring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lordthat bought them, and bring upon themselves swiftdestruction.") But given the import ance of the unityof Christ's body, we should not underestimate theimportance of avoiding heresy of any kind, whetherdamnable or not.</p><p>38 the COUNSELo CH LCEDON</p><p>Rev. Sandlin offers readers a very differentdefinition of 'heresy', however. He writes: I startfrom historic, orthodox Christianity anchored inthe ecumenical Christian creeds ... heresy is almostalways defined in terms of deviation from classicalChristianity." t seems that Rev. Sandlin is denyingthat issues like "justification through faith alone,"</p><p>are matters of heresy, since they weren't dealt within the early church creeds but rather in the confessions of the Reformation. He writes in an article atwww.christianculture.com:</p><p>Doctrines that constitute denominationaldistinctives, like certain ones in Reformationchurches, are not, properly speaking, issuesof heresy or orthodoxy. Take "monergism" insoteriology, for instance. Reformation churchesbelieve that God alone saves sinners, and thatmen do not cooperate with God in salvation.This is and always has been a minority viewin the universal church; but this should notunduly alarm Protestants, because, despite itsimportance, it is not an issue touching Christianorthodoxy. In short, you can be an Arminianand still be an orthodox Christian, albeit a badlymistaken one Protes tants are (on this point)in a distinct minority in our position, but thatdoes not mean we are heretical. However, it alsomeans that for a Protestant (or other) church ordenomination to elevate its own distinctives (like</p><p>this one) to criteria o f Christian orthodoxy andanathematize all that disagree is to impose onthe church an alien definition of orthodoxy-andheresy.</p><p>f Rev. Sandlin's definition were true, then weshould seriously question whether Protestantismitself is legitimate. Since it is wrong to separate froma church which is orthodox in doctrine and practice,then it would be wrong to separate from the RomanCatholic church, given that Rev. Sandlin's definitionsuggests Romanism is orthodox. But Rev. Sandlin's</p><p>definition is quite erroneous in several respects.Chiefly it is in error because it creates false definitionsof both orthodoxy and heresy. It is in fact hereticalto teach any other view of God's role in salvationthan monergism, not because the Church says so butbecause it is contrary to the established orthodoxy ofthe Reformed faith as expressed in the WestminsterConfession, which is believed by Reformed christiansto represent the purest human expression of biblicaltruth. Rev. Sandlin would limit orthodoxy to the early,</p></li></ul>