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Shadows of Divine Things

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Location: Texas, United States

This site is devoted to theological and philosophical investigations of the spiritual meanings of life, current events, music, spiritual growth, nature, and learning to be attuned to listening to the 'language of God.' The name of this blog comes from one of Jonathan Edwards's journals which he called 'Shadows of Divine Things,' and later renamed 'Images of Divine Things.' As a Christian I am continously on a spiritual journey to grow more into the image of Christ, to understand what it means to be crucified with Christ. To seek the truths of the Christian Faith is of upmost importance, and to know that any truths that are found outside of Christianity are present there because they ultimately point to God. I have an M.A. in theology and apologetics and I completed one year of graduate studies in Philosophy at Marquette University.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Is This Really The Gospel?

I found this at a particular blog (which I'll refrain from naming). I was not surprised to see this post given the blog and its owner. While I think these are certainly Reformed tenets, I'm not convinced that these, as a collection or individually, make up the gospel message. Moreover, if this is truly the gospel, actually it did not exist until the 15th century, so whatever did we do prior to that time frame? While I am not necessarily declaring that I disagree with any one or groups of these tenets, I just do not think they encapsulate the gospel message. What are your thoughts on this? Do you agree with me? Why or why not?
(Here is what the post read):

This is the gospel of Jesus Christ: salvation is by sola fide--through faith alone; sola gratia--by grace alone; solus Christus--in Christ alone; sola scriptura--according to the Word alone; soli Deo gloria -- to the glory of God alone (Rom. 3:21-26; Rom. 10:9-10; Luke 24:46-49). This is the only good news; the narrow way that leads to eternal life. Anything less, no matter how sincere, is just a cheap watered down substitute.


Blogger Dave said...

I can interpret each of these phrases in a way that I can endorse them, with the exception of sola scriptura; I think the most we should say about the Bible when talking about salvation is that it is one of the church's witnesses of God's revelation of salvation in Jesus.

My problem with this definition of salvation is the way it uses divisive, non-catholic slogans to define the essence of salvation. This language is meant specifically to exclude all non-partisans. These phrases are always best used to teach and explicate, never to function as a litmus test of faith.

5:55 PM, November 30, 2006  
Blogger Steve Scott said...

T.B., you've raised a wonderful question. Please ponder it for the next decade or so. Five years ago I would have agreed with this post. But it's not the gospel. Gospel is good news, and the news is that Christ came to die for sinners, and was raised again.

The post, as true as its points may be, is simply an outline of doctrinal distinctives that were the core arguments of Protestants against the medieval Roman church. Many Reformed people distill it down further to say that "justification by faith alone" is the central message of the NT. The medieval Roman church doesn't even exist anymore and our culture doesn't even have a clue as to what they did believe in. Yet, every Sunday we still protest against them. And we wonder why nobody is being saved as a result of our message. It's the equivalent of somebody running for office using the slogan, "no taxation without representation." The culture around us sees no reason to join us in protesting against 400 year old dead guys that lived on another continent. Unvelievers in our culture don't have much in common with ancient Romanists.

The Reformation was a blip on the radar screen of history, yet we've performed a screen capture on that blip and blown it up in PhotoShop so that everybody can see the blur of individual pixels.

3:28 AM, December 01, 2006  
Blogger T.B. Vick said...


I agree with your statement, "I can interpret each of these phrases in a way that I can endorse them, with the exception of sola scriptura." I would also add that I think sola Fide needs further qualification as well.

Steve Scott,

You state, "Five years ago I would have agreed with this post."

That comment rings true for me as well. And I have, so far, pondered my reconsideration of these things for at least three years now.

I am not convinced that these Reformed declarations are "the gospel" per se and agree with you in that they are responses to the midieval Roman Catholic Church.

10:05 AM, December 01, 2006  

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