Ligon Duncan on the Non-Negotiables of the Gospel

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  • Wednesday, April 30, 2008

    Skeptical of “Unity” at the Expense of Orthodoxy

    "Divisions and separations are most objectionable in religion. They weaken the cause of true Christianity ...But before we blame people for them, we must be careful that we lay the blame where it is deserved. False doctrine and heresy are even worse than schism. If people separate themselves from teaching that is positively false and unscriptural, they ought to be praised rather than reproved. In such cases separation is a virtue and not a sin." - J. C. Ryle

    It has often been suggested that doctrine is a bad thing is a church, because doctrine is divisive. It is a sad case when brothers in Christ reject each other as persons over doctrinal issues, but doctrine itself is what defines the true faith. Doctrine is important, and the Bible says more about sound doctrine than it does about unity. The importance of Doctrine, particularly the infallibility of Scripture, can be seen in the following case.

    In 1936, J. Gresham Machen, along with several other Presbyterian Ministers, were defrocked by the northern Presbyterian church (PCUSA) for opposing the move to modernism (liberal) theology at Princeton. The result was a new denomination, the Orthodox Presbyterian Church. Since the break off, the PCUSA has involved itself in several modern heresies, such as Sophia Worship.

    Now this…

    Presbyterian church court rules on gay unions

    “the Permanent Judicial Council's ruling affirmed the right of same-sex couples to have unions, a ceremony that would theoretically have a distinct liturgy.

    The ambivalent ruling - affirming the rights of gays and lesbians to have their relationships sanctioned by the church but not considering them equal to those of heterosexual couples - is likely to disappoint both sides in the debate.”

    To be clear, I do believe that there are true Christians in the PCUSA, just like there are in the Roman Catholic Church. However, it is obvious that the PCUSA as a whole has moved further from Orthodox Christianity than even Machen could have imagined. Methinks that Machen was right on, and thankfully separated himself from goats.

    1 comment:

    swordbearer said...

    For awhile I did not understand Jesus' words in Luke 12:51 ...

    "Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division."

    With maturity comes understanding of these words, and the necessity of division while in a fallen world.