Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The God-Centered Gospel vs. a Man-Centered Gospel

In the following video, James White interacts with a Roman Catholic and discusses how the Gospel of Roman Catholicism is man-centered. As he himself mentions, though, it's interesting (and actually extremely sad) how much the man-centered gospel of Roman Catholicism sounds like the theology of some evangelicals.

Anyway, I found the video extremely helpful. It was disappointing, in one sense, to see the similarities between Rome and evangelicalism's man-centeredness. But in another sense it was refreshing to hear the Biblical Gospel proclaimed and defended -- one in which the glory of God is the center and the goal. It's worth the 23-minute listen.

I, even I, am the one who wipes out your transgressions
for My own sake.

- Isaiah 43:25 -

For My own sake, for My own sake, I will act;
For how can My name be profaned?
And My glory I will not give to another.
- Isaiah 48:11 -

...I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in th earth.
- Psalm 46:10 -

I am writing to you, little children,
because your sins have been forgiven you
for His name's sake.
- 1 John 2:12 -

In love He predestined us
to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ
to Himself,
according to the kind intention of His will,
to the praise of the glory of His grace,
which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.
- Ephesians 1:5-6 -


Mark D. Twombly said...

This was tremendously helpful. I would have liked to see Dr. White more directly address Mr. Staples' objection to the work of Christ being finished at the cross. Certainly we can say that the salvific work of God in Christ was not complete until the resurrection, but I believe we can say that Christ's work itself was done when He said 'it is finished' (John 19:30). What do I mean? When we look at Romans 6:4 we recognize that 'Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father'. If we look further at Romans 8:11 we recognize the 'Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead'. So I believe what the Scriptures tell us is that, while it was 'impossible for Him to be held in its [death's] power', 'God raised Him up again', meaning that Christ did not raise Himself from the dead, but the Father Himself did that. And so it is with us, as the contexts of the Romans 6 and Romans 8 passages so beautifully point out with regard to our identification with Christ.

Mike Riccardi said...

Hey Mark, thanks for commenting!

Glad you found the video helpful. I know what you mean about wanting James White to go more into that, but it may have been beyond the scope of his rebuttal clip there.

One thing I also thought of as you were tying together the Romans passages -- just a few passages earlier -- was Romans 4:25: "He was delivered over because of our transgressions, and was raised because of our justification." Surely it's unnecessary to pick apart and systematize every piece here, but it seems that the Scriptures talk about (1) Christ's atoning death (His "passive obedience") as that which paid for our sin, and then (2) His righteous life (His "active obedience) as that which provides our righteousness.

So your comment that the salvific work was incomplete at that point is spot on. If Christ stayed dead we would have had our sins forgiven, but no righteousness by which to stand before God. BUT, we still, even at that point, would have had our sins forgiven, because His atoning sacrifice was a perfect propitiation. It indeed was finished at John 19:30. Amen! Man, thanks for coaxing me to think through that! What a blessing! What a Savior!

Incidentally, you (and others) might be interested in a 90-minute radio debate James White did with Tim Staples on The Dividing Line the other day. You can listen for free!