Oh Tony, you keep using that word…, or, in favor of St. James of the McGraths

I haven’t covered this for a while, but I see Tony Breeden is now attacking the Apostle Paul and Jesus by way of James McGrath.

On Tony’s FB page, he writes,
breeden shames himself

He is referring back to this post.

But what is the “basic doctrine of the Christian faith?” Is it really the resurrection?

If there is a litmus test for “true believers” it neither Young Earth Creationism nor the bodily Resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is whether or not you can say “Jesus is Lord.” This is simply stated in 1 Co 12.3.

If we look at 1 Co 15, the resurrection is not the basic doctrine of the Christian faith, but becomes an ancillary doctrine as we continue our journey into salvation. See Paul’s note about “you are also being saved” in 1 Co. 15.2. Paul rarely uses a past tense word for salvation, but focuses rather on the future salvation, being saved and will be saved. It is a process.

No doubt my good friend McGrath understands well the Wesleyan notion of going on to perfection, or a progressive, if you will, Christianity. The “basic doctrine of the Christian” faith, then, is not the resurrection, but to first acknowledge Jesus as Lord. From there, it is all growth. And since it is all growth we are not to judge or ridicule brothers and sisters in Christ (plenty of bible verses for that one).

I would call the Resurrection a Mystery, like the Trinity, as exemplified as the first mystery of the Holy Rosary. I do believe in the Resurrection, for what it is worth. I do not, however, believe in the inquisition Breeden and his ilk regularly put on Christians as if they are the magisterium. I’ll stick with the Apostle Paul on this one.

Enhanced by Zemanta

You Might Also Like

17 Replies to “Oh Tony, you keep using that word…, or, in favor of St. James of the McGraths”

  1. Joel,

    You write, “If we look at 1 Co 15, the resurrection is not the basic doctrine of the Christian faith, but is (sic) becomes an ancillary doctrine as we continue our journey into salvation.”

    You apparently missed verses 12-19 of chapter 15.

    If Christ has not been raised from the dead then our faith is futile. That doesn’t sound like an ancillary doctrine to me.

    1. Nope, saw that, but I disagree was to the focus in that area. Are we not discussing belief v. reality here? If we have to profess Jesus is Lord, that is a basic Christian doctrine, as in 1 Co. 12. But, Paul is arguing for the reality which makes our faith grounded.

        1. But, is this a basic require doctrine to be a Christian or is it the present reality?

          What does it take to be a Christian? Is it a particular knowledge of a doctrine or the profession Jesus is Lord, even if we make it in near absolute ignorance?

          1. Well, many people adhere to Jesus’ lordship in ignorance, and I am sure God honors that. But the claim made in ignorance does not change the fact that Jesus’ lordship is intrinsically tied to his resurrection.

          2. No, I agree, completely, but the ultimate reality v. that reality which we are able to handle in order to be a Christian are at two different levels.

            Like Duke Basketball. There is normative college basketball and then, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way, way down there is Duke Basketball.

    2. I think the point Joel is making is: a) no one has the right to request ‘proof’ of belief/faith from other Christians, b) this type of questioning serves only to dismiss Mcgrath’s view of YEC’ism as non Christian.

  2. Joel,

    Do you really think 1 Cor 12:3 is meant to be an expression of Christianity’s central doctrine? Read in context (and as I have always taken it), it looks like it is nothing more than a litmus test for judging the vocal charisms (esp. prophecy).

    And I would also say that the resurrection is the absolute central doctrine in Christianity — it’s the focus of the apostolic kerygma.

    1. John, to be honest, I’m not sure if we can in any way but anachronistically call anything a central doctrine to Christianity. But, if I had to say that the first litmus test was to declare Jesus is Lord (and as to Mark’s question below yours, well, I don’t know. I know what I think it means, but…)

      From there, we can develop doctrines and other theological paradigms, but the most essential is to acknowledge Jesus is Lord.

  3. The central doctrine of Christianity is that we are created to do the good. Love, mercy, forgiveness, humility, nonviolence, charity etc. When Jesus counselled men to accept him as Lord, he meant accept his life as Lordly, that is, a life devoted to the good. Whether or not the resurrection actually occured, the point of the event in the story of Christ is to confirm his teaching, that good men have nothing to fear in life or death, but the Gospel does not hinge upon the fact of it. The funamental truth of the Gospel is moral, not theological, and theology may be used to justify that moral, but it is not essential. We should do the good because it is good, not because we believe in a resurrection or accept Christ as Lord.

Leave a Reply, Please!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.