by Fred Chay, Ph.D. and John P. Correia, M.Div., The Faith that Saves: Nature of Faith in the New Testament
It is almost impossible to believe that people are still promoting the horrible theology that Christ can be your savior without being your Lord. Mostly, that theology either comes directly from Dallas Theological Seminary or indirectly, from those who have imbibed from DTS.
In 2008 the two authors above co-wrote the above book. It is no surprise that Chay is a graduate of DTS, the seminary that is most supportive of such nonsense. I’m also a graduate of DTS, but it did not take me long to see through their antinomianism, though when I was there the professors were divided over the issue. One of the things that set me straight was the fact that no one in the whole history of the Church has espoused such an idea, even though those who write for antinomianism try to claim the Reformers. But no one in the theological lineage of the Reformers agrees with their interpretation of them, such as Presbyterianism (Westminster Confession of Faith), Lutheranism (Formula of Concord), Anglicanism (of which I’m a part, 39 Articles), and so on. Of course, another evidence that put the nail in the coffin for me was Holy Scripture. The book I’m reviewing is full of passages and attempted exegesis, but so much of it is wrong.
The idea promoted at DTS was (is?) that all theological problems can be solved by parsing this verb or diagramming that sentence. Before someone objects, I love the exegesis of Holy Scripture more than anything, and I teach both Hebrew and Greek in the seminary where I’m the dean. But the Sola Scriptura doctrine proclaimed by the Protestant Reformers did not mean to them “only the Bible and me,” but the Bible is the only infallible authority, but certainly not the only authority. As our own 39 Articles states,
- Holy Scripture containeth all things necessary to salvation: so that whatsoever is not read therein, nor may be proved thereby, is not to be required of any man, that it should be believed as an article of the Faith, or be thought requisite or necessary for salvation. (Art 6).
- The Church hath power to decree Rites or Ceremonies, and authority in Controversies of Faith: and yet it is not lawful for the Church to ordain anything that is contrary to God’s Word written, neither may it so expound one place of Scripture, that it be repugnant to another. Wherefore, although the Church be a witness and a keeper of Holy Writ, yet, as it ought not to decree anything against the same, so besides the same ought it not to enforce anything to be believed for necessity of Salvation. (Art 20)
- We are accounted righteous before God, only for the merit of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ by Faith, and not for our own works or deservings. Wherefore, that we are justified by Faith only, is a most wholesome Doctrine, and very full of Comfort, as more largely is expressed in the Homily of Justification. (Art 10, emphasis added. Moreover, if one reads the Homily of Justification, or Salvation, as it is called elsewhere, it will be abundantly clear that true faith “necessarily” has works)
Notice that the Articles say that we are justified by faith only. But the 39 Articles also have no problem in saying:
- Albeit that Good Works, which are the fruits of Faith, and follow after Justification, cannot put away sins, and endure the severity of God’s judgment; yet they are pleasing and acceptable to God in Christ, and so spring out necessarily of a true and lively Faith; insomuch that by them a lively Faith may be as evidently known as a tree discerned by the fruit. (Art 12, emphasis added)
Here is the corner they have painted themselves into, and why they always say we must not rely on past theology, only exegesis. Since they cannot find themselves in the history of the Church, they try to negate it. But I’m not willing to grant them that proviso, for each discipline of life builds on the shoulders of its predecessors. Thus, contra the whole history of the church, especially such men as Augustine, Chrysostom, Cappadocian fathers, Thomas Aquinas, Luther, Calvin, no one has taught that faith is only mental assent. Charles Ryrie, former head of theology department at DTS, noted this long ago in his book, Balancing the Christian Life, when he stated that Reformed writers A. W. Pink and J. I. Packer were preaching a false Gospel (p. 169) because they believed that Jesus must be Lord to be Savior. Incredible arrogance.
So we have a very small movement that began in the later 1800s, was codified in dispensationalism in the DTS doctrinal statement, which dispensationalism is basically confined to the USA with some pockets outside the USA. They take the arrogant stand that the whole church has been wrong about saving faith, which, I suppose, means that no one has been a Christian until Scofield and Chafer, and that the majority of Christians today are wrong. At the Last Day judgment, these will not go to heaven: Methodist, Presbyterian, Lutheran, Anglican, Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Pentecostals (some might make it, but given their Arminianism, some would opt for man’s sovereignty to choose, so likewise Church of God and Assemblies of God), etc. If one beings in the mid 1800s (to be charitable) and goes back to the beginning of the apostles, there were no Christians and everyone was wrong. Beginning in the late 1800s (to be more realistic), only a few people who believe that faith is mental assent are Christians. None before the late 1800s and perhaps only ten percent since then. That is either unbelievable arrogance or unbelievable naivety. I would not want to be in the position of being the only one right.
It is telling that no one outside dispensationalism holds that antinomian system, and it only began in the higher life movement, promoted strongly by the two founders of DTS, C. I. Scofield (I’ve been teased for having the same two first initials!) and Lewis Sperry Chafer. Both men taught the higher life view, that there are two kinds of Christians, some who decide to go on with the Lord and have works, and those who are satisfied with their sins. That theology is fossilized in the DTS doctrinal statement where they say that Christians who are once saved are always saved with or without perseverance of the saints, with or without the fruit of good words. That is the problem of having a seminary established by two theologically ignorant men, neither of whom had any formal theological training. Scofield had been an attorney, though not really making a career of it, divorced his wife, and did Bible conferences. Chafer was a musician who drank heavenly, by his own admission, at the fount of Scofield, claiming Scofield as his mentor. (See the frontage of his work, Grace, published in 1922 and dedicated to Scofield.) One should read B. B. Warfield’s sound critique of Chafer’s He That Is Spiritual, also on this blog.
In a book review, I’m not going to try to refute the same old arguments I’ve heard for almost 40 years, but if you want to read the book I wrote, here is the blurb for my Lordship Salvation: The Only Kind There is:
- Rev. Dr. Curtis I. Crenshaw wrote LORDSHIP SALVATION: THE ONLY KIND THERE IS as an answer to Jody Dillow’s REIGN OF SERVANT KINGS. The foreword was written by John H. Gerstner, Ph.D. It is a little over 200 pages of well documented analysis and exegetical details. DON’T MISS THE APPENDIXES: (1) Handling some texts (John 15, “abiding” in John); (2) B. B. Warfield’s critique of Chafer (reprinted); (3) many quotes from the Bible against antinomianism; (4) quotes from the early fathers and the Reformation confessions against antinomianism.