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Saturday, June 3, 2017

A Biblical Message For Atheists!

  • "The fool says in his heart, "There is no God." They are corrupt, their deeds are vile; there is no one who does good." (Psalm 14:1)
  • "The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. Corrupt are they, and have done abominable iniquity: there is none that doeth good." (Psalm 53:1)

A Refutation Of The New Perspective On Paul

  • Introduction:
          -In Pauline texts pertaining to justification we oftentimes find faith as the object of salvation to the exclusion of "works" or "works of the law" (i.e. Romans 3-5; Galatians 2:16-21; 3:1-5; Ephesians 2:4-10; etc.). These kinds of passages found in the epistles written by the Apostle Paul are the classical passages used by members of the academic Reformed community to argue against the heresy of meriting eternal salvation through charitable deeds. However, there also exists a modernized, liberal interpretation of the Pauline texts which stands totally contrary to the conventional understanding of the words of the Apostle Paul when he rejects the idea of works being necessary for the salvation of mankind. It is commonly known as "The New Perspective On Paul". This theological development was practically unheard of in most Christian circles until former canon theologian of Westminster Abbey now turned Anglican Bishop of Durham named Tom Wright published a book on the subject titled "What St. Paul Really Said". Consequently, the proliferation of this information on the new interpretation of various Pauline phrases in the New Testament has become a subject of major controversy among professing Christian circles. Not only have many people in the Evangelical community been deceived into defending this completely false version of the gospel, but Roman Catholics have also decided to level this new doctrinal development as an objection to Scripture citations used to demonstrate the concept of Sola Fide, which teaches that good works happen as a result of salvation, not the cause.
  • What Is The New Perspective On Paul?:  
          -This recently developed theological school of thought maintains that the Apostle Paul never argued against depending on the moral aspects of the Mosaic Law for getting right in the sight of God, but rather that he only stood in opposition to observing the dietary and ceremonial parts of the law. In other words, advocates of New Perspectivism believe that Paul argued against circumcision, heeding to the Old Testament food laws, and the observance of Jewish Sabbaths. They assert that conservative Protestant churches have derived their New Testament soteriology on allegedly faulty interpretations of Scripture from the Protestant Reformers Martian Luther and John Calvin. Proponents of the New Perspective on Paul claim that we need to view the phrases "apart from works" and "works of the law" through a completely new lens of scriptural interpretation in order to reach the conclusion that he was only arguing against boundary-markers. These people claim that the Judaism was not legalistic. In short, this school of thought maintains that the Christian church has totally misunderstood Paul's teaching regarding the salvation of mankind for centuries. These people claim that we are saved by the keeping of the Ten Commandments and by other "works of grace". But this article strives to defend the traditional view of the inspired statements which were uttered by the Apostle Paul on the subject of justification. Thus this article strives to defend the biblical perspective that Paul argued against the concept of meriting salvation on the basis of any and all good works.
  • There Is No Biblical Distinction Between Good Works That Contribute To Our Eternal Salvation And Good Works That Do Not Contribute To Our Salvation:
          -What needs to be recognized is that the Jewish Law is God's standard of morality. In other words, the Law is the highest moral standard existing. It is the highest law around. Thus it is understandable to view the works prescribed by this moral standard as being able to save people from eternal condemnation in the flames of hell. However, the law was "weak" because of man's sinful heart (Romans 8:3). We are the reason for the law being considered as "weak". Nobody is able to keep God's law perfectly, which encompasses the Ten Commandments (Romans 7:7; 13:8-9). There is not a single form of good behavior or work of grace that is not covered by the Jewish Law because they are all summed up in the two greatest commandments (Matthew 22:36-40). We are saved by faith in God, apart from the merit of any and all good works.
          -Never do we see the pertinent passages in Scripture to the subject of justification establish a distinction between good works that do not merit eternal salvation and good works that do merit eternal life. In the Bible, we never see the completion of any specific charitable deeds as being prescribed as necessary criteria for the forgiveness of sins by God. There is not even the slightest hint of Paul narrowing specifically in on the ceremonial law throughout his writings. The existence of these two separate categories would indeed be mentioned explicitly in Scripture, if they did indeed exist. Furthermore, the New Testament provides us with only two options for getting justified before God: by faith or by the works of the law (i.e. Galatians 3:1-3; Philippians 3:9; 1 Timothy 1:16; 1 Thessalonians 4:14). There is never a third choice available for us to choose from in Scripture. Thus faith is the only available option for us to choose from because nobody is capable of fulfilling God's Law perfectly. There is no such thing as a distinction between works that save verses good works that do not save. We are not saved by any works of the law. We are not saved by any works, period.
  • Evidence From The Book Of Acts:
          -In the Book of Acts, the Apostle Paul emphatically stated that all who trust in the Lord Jesus Christ as a result of hearing gospel preaching are justified from all things which they could not be justified under the Law of Moses (Acts 13:38-39). In other words, we are justified by faith apart from the merit of all works. We are saved by God's grace through our faith in the work of His Son Jesus Christ (Acts 15:7-11). Our hearts are purified by faith, not by works (Acts 15:9). This is totally inconsistent with New Perspectivism, for there now exists a flat contradiction between scriptural instruction and the beliefs upheld by this incoherent movement.
  • Evidence From The Epistle To The Romans:
          -It would be nonsensical to limit the phrases "works" and "works of the law" in the context of this Pauline epistle to only meaning the exclusion of mere boundary-markers, since the surrounding context is all about obedience to God's will and our transgressions against His law (i.e. Romans 1:5; 17; 2:6-16; 20-22; 3:10-20; 23; 9:11-13). In fact, Romans 4:5-8, the parallel passage to Romans 3:28, tells us that we considered righteous by God through our faith in Him "apart from works". Additionally, there is no room for boasting in this framework of justification (Romans 3:24-28; Romans 4:2-4).
  • Evidence From The Epistle To The Galatians:
          -The phrase "apart from the works of the law" is found in the Pauline epistle to the Galatians mostly in chapters two and three. We know from the context of this epistle that the Apostle Paul dealt with a much broader scope than the ceremonial law, for he said that the Book of the Jewish Law demands complete obedience to all the contents therein, lest the people who claim, yet fail, to be adherents are cursed (Galatians 3:10-11). Galatians 3:10-11 contains a quotation from Deuteronomy 27:26, which is a context pertaining to God's perfect standards of morality (i.e. Deuteronomy 27:15-25). Nobody can be justified by the keeping of the Law because nobody is able to perfectly obey it. 
  • Evidence From Other Pauline Writings:
          -There are other passages in the New Testament writings that outwardly deny "works" as being the basis of salvation, rather than "apart from the works of the law" (Ephesians 2:8-10; 2 Timothy 1:9-10; Titus 3:5-7). The contexts of these Bible verses have nothing to do with the Jewish Law, but rather are about our calling to holiness, God's mercy, and genuine conversion of the heart. Thus we have another solid reason for not embracing the New Perspective on Paul.