Friday, March 30, 2007

Before I begin answering some of the posts on my blog, I want to be very clear about the tone of my responses. I am sincerely trying to avoid sarcasm and insults, as I hope my conversation with Greg Johnson demonstrates. Everything I’m saying here is said without anger, and only with the intention of offering a respectful reply.

As weary as I am of this topic, Kevin and I feel it is important to answer some points. He is my advisor, and I am also being counseled by a pastor in my responses to the entire Hazen situation.

I chose to answer Dr. Francis Beckwith’s negative comments first, before discussing the Hazen issue. This was done to illustrate a spirit that prevails in the defenders of Craig Hazen and in many cultural apologists. They offer warmth and kindness to Mormons—and sarcasm and condescension to fellow Christians. I applaud kindness and friendship in any evangelistic effort—as long as it does not lead to compromise.

Finally, I tried to accurately and fairly represent the context of Dr. Beckwith’s statements. He was quite kind to me a few years ago via email--it is unfortunate that my disagreement with Craig Hazen provoked a response that was not so kind.

With that said, I will begin my response to the Craig Hazen supporters:

Frank: It is evident that you exhibit all the qualities of someone who fervently believes you are saved by faith alone. For you show no charity, no kindness, and no joy.

Jill: Frank, you have not exactly been the essence of charity, kindness and joy the last few days. Are you saying that if Christians attempt to hold another Christian accountable, they are not kind or loving?

Frank: . . . where is it written that you are the gatekeeper of orthodoxy in the world of Christendom? Dr. Hazen, I believe, attends a conservative Friends church in Placentia, California. Why should he listen to the opinions of a mom-and-pop apologetics outfit that has a blog?

Jill: Let me respectfully remind you of one important thing . . . we are all of equal value in the eyes of God. When you take a shot at me as a “mom-and-pop apologetic outfit” you insult 95% of Christian ministries. Lots of us are little guys. It’s not money or degrees that matter in the eyes of God . . . . The work of a missionary serving God on the streets of New York is as valuable as your work in academia.

As to the “gatekeeper of orthodoxy” remark: Are you suggesting here that there is an academic hierarchy that permits one to be a gatekeeper of orthodoxy—and if you have no place in the hierarchy—you have no voice?

Biblically, it is the responsibility of every Christian to question Christian leaders (James 3:1). Biblically, any Christian can point to sin and seek accountability. I don’t need permission to analyze and comment on compromise in the Church. (If Martin Luther had lived by your precept, where would we be?)

Frank: Walter Martin was a good man. But unless he was an apostle, and the apostolic office is inherited, why should anyone listen to you?

Jill: Apostolic office aside . . . Dr. Craig Hazen, Biola University, listened to me and tried to silence me. Dr. Daniel Peterson, Brigham Young University, listened. Greg Johnson, Standing Together Ministries, listened. Dr. Francis J. Beckwith, Baylor University, listened. You don’t agree with me, but you’re all listening . . . so what is your point?

If you’re saying I’m unimportant again, Frank, you won’t hear any argument from me. I’m just trying to be a good servant of God; I’ll let Him decide my worth.

Frank: What I did was suggest that Jill interpret the public comments of her brothers charitably. I understand that this can be difficult, for I am as guilty as anyone of not abiding by this principle on many occasions.

Jill: Yes, you mentioned my being “charitable”—in a context of condescension—so how was it a positive comment? I have to commend you, though, for being willing to admit you make mistakes. There are some in academia who will never admit to that.

Frank: But if one believes in sola scriptura, the priesthood of all believers, the autonomy of the local church, and private interpretation of Scripture then there really is no reason why anyone, let alone Craig Hazen, Richard Mouw, or Francis Beckwith should pay attention to a woman in Minneapolis with a keyboard, a monitor, a website, and a server.

Jill: I suddenly feel a great deal of sympathy for your female students.

What does the “let alone” part of this mean, Frank? Are Hazen, Mouw and Beckwith on a higher plain?

Every Christian leader is accountable to the Church.

Jesus gives us a lesson in humility. “But he who is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” Matthew 23:11-12

Frank: If Scripture is incapable of giving us direction here--as you seem to admit--then Jill is in precisely the same position as Craig, which means that she is no better than him and thus is not in a position to issue public pronouncements about him.

Jill: These comments to Dwayna Litz are disturbing. She would never say that Scripture is incapable of giving us direction.

2 Corinthians 6:14-17 is ironclad in context: theologically, historically, and culturally.

Frank: It is, of course, possible that Jill's employment of the passages she quotes may be applicable in this case. But if it were that simple, so obvious that anyone with a Bible and the ability to read could see it without assistance or direction, there would be no for Jill to conscript the services of Matthew Henry, a Puritan with an understanding of civil society and the church that goes no deeper than the 16th century.

Jill: If you're implying that Matthew Henry’s Commentary is sixteenth century Puritan and therefore easily dismissed, many theologians and historians would disagree with you. Are you saying we should discount all pre-twentieth century writers as shallow?

As to my being no better than Craig and therefore not in a position to judge him: you disregard biblical precedent for accountability.

Frank: Dr. Hazen is a Christian leader too. And so is Greg Johnson. And so is Ravi Zacharias. And so is Richard Mouw. And so am I. Why should I believe you and the unnamed other leaders you did not list? Why should any of us consider them more authoritative on the subject of Mormon/Christian relations than the ones I listed above? Is there a Protestant magisterium the rest of us don't know about?

Jill: No, there is no infallible Protestant council, Frank, as you well know--so I can only attribute this comment to sarcasm.

Are you saying that only Hazen, Johnson, Zacharias, Mouw, and Beckwith are authorities on Mormon/Christian relations? Are you the only ones qualified to judge this situation?
You dismiss thousands of Christian leaders out on the front lines of apologetics and evangelism.

Many went to Craig Hazen and told him they were concerned about his prayer and his endorsement. He ignored them.

To be continued . . .


Jeff said...

John Newton, writing in a letter to a correspondent on controversy (Works of John Newton, 1:268-279):

As to your opponent, I wish, that, before you set pen to paper against him, and during the whole time you are preparing your answer, you may commend him by earnest prayer to the Lord's teaching and blessing. This practice will have a direct tendency to conciliate your heart to love and pity him; and such a disposition will have a good influence upon every page you write.

If you account him a believer, though greatly mistaken in the subject of debate between you, the words of David to Joab, concerning Absalom, are very applicable: "Deal gently with him for my sake." The Lord loves him and bears with him; therefore you must not despise him, or treat him harshly. The Lord bears with you likewise, and expects that you should shew tenderness to others, from a sense of the much forgiveness you need yourself.

In a little while you will meet in heaven; he will then be dearer to you than the nearest friend you have upon earth is to you now. Anticipate that period in your thoughts; and though you may find it necessary to oppose his errors, view him personally as a kindred soul, with whom you are to be happy in Christ for ever.

But if you look upon him as an unconverted person, in a state of enmity against God and his grace, (a supposition which, without good evidence, you should be very unwilling to admit,)
he is a more proper object of your compassion than your anger. Alas! "he knows not what he does." But you know who has made you to differ. If God, in his sovereign good pleasure, had so appointed, you might have been as he is now; and he, instead of you, might have been set for the defence of the Gospel. You were both equally blind by nature. If you attend to this, you will not reproach or hate him, because the Lord has been pleased to open your eyes, and not his.

Source - Between Two Worlds.

7:30 PM  
Ken Silva said...


As one with great respect for your dad and as a pastor if there's anything I can do to help here please don't hesitate to ask.

May our zeal be to defend the faith in the Lord an iota as successfully as Dr. Walter Martin. How the Church needs a voice like his today.

7:33 PM  
Renee said...

I say again....

Did God mumble??

7:43 PM  
Jeff said...

Thanks for your reponse Renee, it speaks volumes.

7:52 PM  
Renee said...

"Your comparison of Frank's statement to Episcopals on homosexuality is reminiscent of what of what we've seen a lot of here - accusations to make one look bad."

No, he said 2 Cor 6 is not ironclad..therefore unclear...same argument used (not something pulled out of air). Sorry if a comparison that is almost verbatim the same argument used to justify other compromise within the church hurts but that tends to happen when confornted with truth.

as I said...did God mumble??

7:52 PM  
Jeff said...

Renee said No, he said 2 Cor 6 is not ironclad

I believe he means in relationship to this situation...or did him mumble?

8:01 PM  
Renee said...

Honeslty, I hope he did mumble, then it would explain why the verse can can not be ironclad (for him)...

this is all reminiscent of another conversation... (who needs the Episcopals when God has given an even CLEARER description :-)...

Gen 3:1-5
The Fall
1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the LORD God had made.He said to the woman, "Did God actually say, 'You shall not eat of any tree in the garden'?" 2 And the woman said to the serpent, "We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, 3 but God said, 'You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.'" 4 But the serpent said to the woman, "You will not surely die. 5 For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil."

Keep up the good fight. It is a blessing to see someone who has not fallen to the gospel of political correctness and tolerance for all and the new emergent mantra of "the bible isn't really clear" (which we see in many variations these days).

Good Night All :-)

8:12 PM  
Dwayna Litz said...

Your dad used to say the church is suffering from a bad case of "non-rock-the-boat-us". Well, your dad would be proud of you, Jill. You are rocking the boat.

8:19 PM  
Jeff said...

I stated my case. I agree with Jill and most of those in Countercult ministry (of which I am a part of and have been since around 1994), that Hazen made a mistake...Mouw was out of line and continues to be out of line as he has shown himself. His poor judgment (from my perspective, other certainly disagree) might have serious negative ramification.

He has been called to repentence. I'm not sure how this effects him being a potential president and why Jill would care, when she already believes (if I'm not mistaken) that Biola is down the tubes. Frankly, if I beleive someone sinned as serious as Jill believes Dr. Hazen has, she has a reponsibility to go to his elders. Perhaps she has.

At the same time I also recognize that there are those in the academic world (Beckwith, Hazen and Mosser, et. al. who have had contact with LDS leadership. Are the "academics" calling LDS leadership to repentance. I don't know, I would hope so. They are obviously not in bed with the LDS, when you read a book like The New Mormon Challenge, which I still think presents some devistating critiques. I am of the opinion that we need to be more bold as Walter was call us to (see my notes from this coming weeks SS class, which should be posted on my blog on Monday).

This statement,
Honeslty, I hope he did mumble, then it would explain why the verse can can not be ironclad (for him)... along with you quoting from Gen. and applying it to Bekwith's calling on Jill to explain why this verse fits this particular situation, is just and out of line.

Thanks for your time, I'm about done here.

8:42 PM  
Francis J. Beckwith said...

Just because Jill is convinced that 2 Cor. 6 means what she thinks it means does not mean that her case is convincing.

The liberal Episcopalian analogy is very weak. For their scriptural innovation is the result of denying the Bible's anthropology, its view of the nature of men and women. One cannot, after all, honor one's father or mother unless there are such things as fathers and mothers. There is no ambiguity about Christian anthropology.

The question of the meaning of I Cor. 6 is not the same as the deeper, more profound question, what is the nature men and women and the intimate community of marriage. What's this verse mean? is a much different question than, What are humans for? Disagreeing with Jill over the meaning of I Cor. 6 carries with it far less significance than liberal Episcopalians disagreeing with the entirety of Scripture and church history on the nature of man.

9:46 PM  
Timotheus said...

Dr. Beckwith,
I am concerned with your "Faith-Alone" comment. Are you allowing your Jesuit Education to get in Theologically on this discussion? I mean, "Faith-Alone" is the protestant position, is it not? I worry over the Aquinas centered Apologetics all of the above use. Thomistic thought is based in Rome as well as history, so what is the protestant Apologetic?

yes.....I worry you have been quite influenced to Think Roman that true? I am not picking a fight, just stateing a concern.

7:50 AM  
Renee said...

Excellent questions timotheus,

Dr. Beckwith's,
Could it be that your glowing recommendations for evangelicals to learn from "Pope" John Paul II (as proclaimed in this article here) could explain why you see no reason to correct a brother that is in error. Your article is similar to the error Hazen made in worshiping a false god with the many Mormons being deceived. The same stumbling block is being put not only in front of the lost but in front of new Christians who may have left both of these false teachings (its no secret John Paul believed Muslims and Christians worship the same god and other blasphemies but that's a discussion for another day).

"Reason", "Academia", "philosophy", and "studying culture" have there place but they are not on the same level as the Word of God. Perhaps less time in "academia" and more time in the Word is needed.

Blessing in Christ to you Jill. Stay strong!

Heb 4:12 For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

Sword 6 Out

9:22 AM  
Rhology said...

Dr Beckwith,

That makes 3 commenters who have expressed deep concern over your "faith alone" comment (2 here and myself in a different combox).

Could you please explain it in further detail?


10:57 AM  
John Willis said...

I'm sure Dr. Beckwith can speak for himself. However, it is fairly obvious from the context of his post the "faith alone" comment was giving emphasis to the following sentence about an absence of joy and charity on Mrs. Rische's behalf, without questioning her salvation. (Unfortunately many of Jill's supporters have not been so kind!)

Excuse me for stating the obvious - this comment was not written in a vacuum! It was written with other sentences in response to a charge of blasphemy. (By the way - this practice of interpreting sentences in CONTEXT of other sentences, the author, and the individual situation is a valuable practice for reading scripture too!).

Renee/Alan/Timtheous - I personally don't have a "dog in this fight" to speak. All I am after is the truth. If Jill's on to something here - if she has not only interpreted scripture correctly, but applied it correctly in this particular instance, I would like to understand and accept her view. Jill encourages her readers to write to Craig Hazen's bosses to express our displeasure with his actions. If this is just of recreational interest to you, my questions are not for you. However, if you consider this a serious charge and see it as our responsibility as Christians to think carefully about serious matters, can you please tell me what compelling reasons has Jill given for you to take the position you have?...such that you would even consider writing something to the directors of Biola?

The thrust of Mrs. Rische's assertions is this..."The biblical position on any alliance with Mormons is clear" (ref: Her post Biola, Blasphemy 101)...she then goes onto cite 2 COR 14. Why she believes 2 COR 14 trumps every other verse in the bible given this particular situation and why this particular situation constitutes an "alliance" are mysteries of her mind that I hope she shares with us shortly. However, while she is considering her answer, would any of you like to explain your view?


6:34 PM  
Francis J. Beckwith said...

Of course I believe in sola fide, in the same way Paul and James did. Concerning my "faith alone" comment, Mr. Willis has it right. I was making a point by using ironical language. I was saying, "you must believe in "faith alone" since what you are saying lacks any virtue." It was meant to a humorous play on words.

As for my article on JP II, let me encourage everyone who has not read it to read it. What I suggest in that essay is that JP II's encyclicals on faith and reason (Fides et Ratio) as well as the Gospel of Life (Evangelium Vitae) have much to teach evangelicals.

7:51 PM  
Francis J. Beckwith said...

Renee writes:

""Reason", "Academia", "philosophy", and "studying culture" have there place but they are not on the same level as the Word of God. Perhaps less time in "academia" and more time in the Word is needed."

Renee, your claim is self-stultifying, since you are giving me the reason why you have a certain philosophy as to how one ought to approach studying culture. And then you cite the Bible, a Bible I presume that is the result of the difficult and pain-staking work of translators who were educated in the academy. The English translation you hold in your hands is the result of scholarship. The doctrines in which you believe--from the Trinity to the incarnation--are the tangible consequences of people far wiser than us applying philosophical concepts to the data of Scripture in order to arrive at a coherent understanding of God and Christ. Whether you know it or not, you do not read the Scripture alone. You read it with the church catholic. Learn to love that church and the communion of saints that gave you the concepts and tools to understand the Bible and theology.

Your received an inheritance you think you earned. You sit on the shoulders of greatness and then marvel at your stature.

9:04 PM  
Rhology said...


Yes, I understood the context, but it was an unwise thing to say. As I pointed out, if/since he too holds to sola fide, why could one not just as easily make the same objection back to him?
As a rhetorical device, it was sorely lacking. On top of that, it is an oft-used red herring from opponents of sola fide - "if you hold to sola fide, doesn't that equal antinomianism?" The answer is, of course, no.

--If this is just of recreational interest to you, my questions are not for you.
>>Well, I don't think this is a matter of calling people out as heretics or anythg but I definitely think that we are dealing w/ issues of lack of wisdom and committing acts that are blasphemous in nature (though not necessarily intentionally).

--what compelling reasons has Jill given for you to take the position you have?.
>>She did not need to convince me. A high-profile Christian leader went to a pagan house of worship, participated in an event of a religious nature, **prayed to thank God for the preceding proceedings**, assiduously avoided (and I'm betting that was intentional) calling Jesus "God" in said prayer, and then (allegedly) excitedly proclaimed his willingness to do such annually.
I am appalled. And as I asked Dr Beckwith, I wonder what differences he might point out if the same had occurred on the banks of the Ganges, surrounded by Hindu brahmans.

--she then goes onto cite 2 COR 14
>>2 Cor 6:14-15, yes. Why? B/c, in her view and in mine, this event brought light into uneven yoke with darkness. Why do you say, John, that this was NOT light yoking itself to darkness?

--why this particular situation constitutes an "alliance"
>>B/c Dr Hazen prayed to God to bless the proceedings, was careful not to mention Jesus' divinity, said "Go in peace" to enemies of God, and then wanted to do it again the next year.

I hope that helps, John.

DR BECKWITH: I was saying, "you must believe in "faith alone" since what you are saying lacks any virtue."
RHOLOGY: Again, that fits better in the mouth of a Roman Catholic. I'm not saying you are RC, I'm saying you choose your words poorly here and would do well simply to admit it was a mistake rather than defending them further.

And I had no comment on your JP2 encyclical thing before and none now.


9:12 PM  
John Willis said...


Thank you for your reply. If I assume that this event as described here by Jill is your only knowledge of Craig Hazen, would I be correct?


11:24 PM  
Matthew said...

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2:04 AM  
Matthew said...

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2:34 AM  
Matthew said...

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2:42 AM  
Matthew said...

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3:08 AM  
Greg said...


I don't see that you've yet responded to my sincere apology to you. I hope that you had a chance to see it under your blog response to me. In several comments to your blogs there have been expressed concern for incivility on both sides of this discussion. Perhaps it should be acknowledged that a word of peace was expressed?

In addressing the matter of accountability that you raise with Dr. Frank Beckwith, I do have a concern myself. Using GuideStar, I was attempting to locate your ministry as a legitamate 501c3. GuideStar is a recognized source to find such information, for example anyone can go there and discover that Standing Together is in fact listed with the IRS as a 501c3. I used three different listings, Walter Martin Ministries, Walter Martin InfoNet, and Walter Martin Religious InfoNet and there were no listing of any varified 501c3's with these names. Is your 501c3 under a different listing? Are you in pending status, which would be odd if you began this ministry in the late 90's?

One more matter, you mention a pastor providing you pastoral advice not to attend something or respond to something. Could you provide the name of your local church in Minnesota and the Senior Pastor of that church. I am ordained with the Conservative Baptist of America (CBA) and as an ordained clergy I think those in parachurch ministry are served well when they are connected to and submitted to a local church for accountability purposes.

Finally, does your ministry have a board of directors and are they listed on your website, maybe I'm just not looking in the right place.

I will be looking for your reply.

Rev. Greg Johnson
Standing Together, President

4:43 AM  
Martin James said...

For those of us in the Grand Stands, I think I can say this has been very informative and educational.

Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could all fly to San Diego and spend a day at the beach together for the purpose of just getting to know each other as sinners saved by grace through the blood of the only True God and Savior Jesus Christ?

Matthew and Alan: Thank you for speaking here. Your gifts of articulation speak what I am thinking as I lay in bed at night thinking about this current blog issue.

My prayer is that grace and light would come from all of this. That Jill and her ministry would be stronger and more effective and that Craig Hazen (who has not said a word here) and those who agree with his evangelism methodology would more effective for the only True and Living God.

In other words, I pray that all of this heat would produce wonderful light for the glory of God.

May all of us remember this: People’s eternity rest in the balance. To be a Mormon is to hold to Mormon doctrine, which is to reject the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, which will result in judgment in the Last Day and eternity in the everlasting fire. May God help us to reach them before it is too late!

Fight the good fight my brothers and sisters, people’s eternity rest in the balance!

6:15 AM  
Martin James said...

One more thing: On that beach in San Diego, I wish we could all pray together. And I hope tears would be in all of our eyes as we beseeched the only True God for help in doing the work he has called us to do until he returns.

6:21 AM  
Matthew said...

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7:41 AM  
Matthew said...

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7:43 AM  
Rhology said...

Briefly, John, no it is not my only knowledge of Dr Hazen though my previous exposure to him is minimal, mostly from "Faith Under Fire."
OTOH, I had heard about this Mormon convention just after it happened and have read a fair amount on it precisely b/c I was so appalled at what went on and what Dr Mouw said. I just didn't know Dr Hazen had been involved in the way he was until this blog post by Jill M-R.
Happy Palm Sunday to all!


8:04 AM  
Francis J. Beckwith said...

Matthew writes: "It wasn't by the will of man that we have the Bible; It wasn't the result of scholarship; God's word has not primarily come to us by translators or scholarship. The word was given to us by the will of the Lord; it is by His will that we have His word. In fact, without God, none of us would exist."

The Bible, from which you quote, is in English. But that is a translation of books that were penned in ancient languages, Hebrew and Greek. In order to accomplish such a daunting task, one must employ people learned enough to succeed. Those people are called scholars, and their expertise is the result of devoting years, sometimes decades, of their lives in honing their skills and talents.

Having said that, you are correct that the Bible is the result of God's will. But that Bible was in Hebrew and Greek. In order to get the text in the shape that would make it possible for you to read, scholars were necessary. Thus, we should show respect, not contempt, for such devotion and faithfulness.

9:59 AM  
JohnD said...

Walter Martin, never mind Jill or me or anybody else... said,

"If all roads lead to God... why preach?"

Why be in ministry, Beckwith / Hazen?

Why bother?

Shouldn't you and others like you be doing something more worth while for a living? If all roads lead to God... LDS is going to make it, Jehovah's Witnesses, Heaven's Gate already made it...

11:21 AM  
cranmer said...

Dr. Beckwith,

You never answered the charge of Jesuit influence. Are you or are you not a Thomist? Are you a 'Natural Theologian" dressed up in protestant garb? Your qualified answer would be appreciated.

Do you believe in faith alone; Christ alone; Scripture alone?

Why not just republish the works of Paley and the other natural theologians instead of resurrecting their arguments and dressing them up in contemperary garb? After all......Hume demolished the arguments.


11:44 AM  
cranmer said...

Dr. Beckwith,

One more question: Where did you get your PHD from, a Roman Catholic school?


11:47 AM  
Dwayna Litz said...

I have now thrown away my CD of Francis Beckwith's teaching and my tapes from Greg K. at Stand to Reason. My video on apologetics by Francis Beckwith will also be thrown away today. I can't listen to them teach about following Jesus anymore or making a stand for His name. The hypocrisy is too much for me. (See former post on Greg Koukle's defense of Hazen's "methodology" with the Mormons on this blog).

12:11 PM  
Matthew said...

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12:15 PM  
Francis J. Beckwith said...

Cranmer: My bio, published works, online essays, etc., can be found on my website My full CV is found on the Baylor website here: Those should give you plenty of fodder for years to come.

Your query about natural theology is peculiar, and is one that I suspect is the result of particular understanding of theology that I do not thin is defensible. I have briefly addressed this in a forthcoming article in the Catholic Social Science Review (I imagine right now that your incense smoke detector is on the verge of exploding. :-) The truth is that I was invited by the editor to offer an Evangelical response to the work of J. Budziszewski.) I reproduce a portion of that article below. I believe it addresses the sort of objection that someone with your views may raise.

Take care,

The second Protestant-Evangelical argument goes like this: the Scriptural passages most often cited in defense of natural law (e.g. Romans 1 and 2, especially 2:15, which speaks of the law “written on our hearts”) do not teach what natural law thinkers think it teaches, namely, that there are moral truths accessible to those with no direct contact with special revelation. For example, Evangelical theologian Carl F. H. Henry writes:

"The dual reference to law of nature and law of God presumably arose from the Apostle Paul's teaching in Romans 1 and 2. John Murray in his volume on Paul's epistle to the Romans in The New International Commentary series argues that the term `law of nature’ is a Christian concept rooted in Scripture, not a secular concept to be grasped independently of a revelatory epistemology. To interpret Romans 1 and 2 in deistic terms of natural religion is unjustifiable."

Although this is not the place to assess Henry’s exegesis, it seems to me that his Scriptural citation is not based on a careful reading or understanding of natural law. For if he had truly grasped the tradition he critiques he would understand that his own point of view--the alleged biblical rejection of natural law theory--is itself dependent on moral notions not derived from special revelation. That is, Henry is affirming and defending a self-refuting position. Let me explain.

By claiming that natural law thinkers have incorrectly interpreted the book of Romans, Henry is presupposing a moral notion that is logically prior to his exegesis of scripture: texts should be interpreted accurately. This, of course, is grounded in more primitive moral notions: to accurately interpret a text one should do so fairly and honestly, and one should pursue the truth while interpreting texts. Both these moral commands are logically prior to, and thus not derived from, scripture itself, for in order to extract truth from scripture, obedience to these moral commands is a necessary condition. This means that Henry, ironically, must rely on a moral law known apart from scripture in exegeting the scripture that he claims does not affirm the knowledge of the moral law apart from Scripture

12:57 PM  
Francis J. Beckwith said...

Canmer, you may not know this, but Walter R. Martin produced a series of tapes called "To Everyone An Answer." On the existence of God tape he offers several arguments for God's existence and specifically cites Thomas Aquinas. (In fact, if I remember correctly, Martin uses Aquinas' analogy of a chain with links to explain the nature of contingency in the Thomistic cosmological argument. It's been years since I've listened to that tape).

1:48 PM  
Jeff said...

For a reponse to Budziszewski and Natural Law, one may want to check out the chaper Situation and Norm from John Frame's forthcoming book. Also his chapter on the Sufficiency of Scripture will be of interest.

2:07 PM  
Renee said...

Who needs the "Holy Spirit"...we have Dr. Beckwith and all the smart..."scholars" to tell what the word of God says ...;-)

I wonder what all those believers around the world who don't have such "smart" scholars (and never had in the past) do? Could it be? Someone tells them the Good News and the Holy Spirit reveals the truth to them (as it written in the word of God)? God forbid, say it ain't so...not without a scholar present ;-).

(tongue in cheek and all sarcasm intended)

"Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ."

Looking forward to your next installment in the follies of man promoting his wisdom in dialogging his way thru the Gospel :-)

Sword 6 Out :-)

2:19 PM  
Rhology said...

Just for the record:

Renee, Cranmer, and JohnD are going way farther than I would, or would advise them to. Also I don't think throwing away Dr B's stuff or Greg K's stuff is called for - their materials are (as far as I've seen) excellent. I love _Relativism_ and base my apologetics teaching at church partly off of Greg K's STR Ambassador curriculum. I think you 4 have gone, to varying degrees, too far.

And Dr Beckwith has still not answered my question about the Hindu get-together, and I'm not very comfy w/ his answer on the "sola fide" comment, but I think it's less relevant to the discussion than my Hindu question.
And I don't for a moment doubt Dr B's salvation or anything related thereto; I just think he's wrong in this discussion.


2:53 PM  
Renee said...

I don't doubt Dr. Beckwith's salvation, that is not for me to doubt (or anyone for that matter). I am sorry if my responses seemed to say that, as that is not my intention. My intention has been to point out where Dr. Beckwith may be in error and that examination may be in order (as we are all told to do). His comments and actions do however point to where he may be in error, i.e recommendations of learning from Pope John Paul II (to much error here to cover in this post and it is not the focus), condescending tone to Jill and others pointing out error either on his part or of his "scholarly brother" Hazen, lets see... reverting to childish behavior in in calling someones claims "stupid" when something questionable is brought to his attention (that's just a few things). Dr. Beckwith has contributed a lot to apologetics and I am sure many are thankful for that, as am I, however we all must be aware of relying to much on men and placing man's wisdom above that of Christ (which some of the answers in this thread point to, whether intentional or not). He has shown an arrogance (whether intentional or not) that only the Lord can correct (or will bring the right person in to show Dr. Beckwith, he's not as smart as he thinks)...Just as the Lord does to all of His children :-) (for this is something I know that I am guilty of at times and am very thankful the Lord sends people to correct me, as we all should be).

Since those who choose to not see the seriousness of what Jill has brought up in this topic (Hazen and others worshiping in a temple of Satan), do not want to address the error in light of scripture, there is no further need to comment on this topic.

May the Lord show us that we are not above correction (me included).

3:30 PM  
John Willis said...

Renee wrote: "..... we all must be aware of relying to much on men and placing man's wisdom above that of Christ"

Renee - I happen to agree with this statement of yours very strongly.

And as His Children we also can't deny the fact that God gave us more scripture then just 2 COR 6.

In His infinite Grace and Mercy, He poured out His love in the person of Christ Jesus and because He loves us more then we can even imagine in our most reflective and humble moments, He gave us His Word. He is our Heavenly Father who not only sent His son to pay our debt (as if that wouldn't have been enough) but then labors through Godly men and women to further reveal His absolutely true moral will and desire for His children through the bible.

He has written through men 66 Love Letters to serve as a lamp for our feet. Jill has quoted three verses from thousands in support of a very serious charge against Craig Hazen. The Apostle Paul...the same one who penned 2 Cor 6 with the Lord's inspiration...also instructs us to "be transformed by the renewing of our minds so that (we) may prove what [is] good and acceptable and perfect will of God." (Ref: Rom 12:1)

Further, God invites us as His children to reason with Him in Isaiah 1:18 and that we should bring a legally reasoned case against His actions to which He will respond. (Ecclesiastes 6:10 and Jeremiah 12:1, 20:12) (HT to J.P. Moreland for these examples.)

Renee - we should not fear using our intellect in serving God. Our only fear should be when that intellect comes unhinged from His Word. All of us are capable of this so to think that Jill is speaking for God here, is curiously enough the exact definition of Blasphemy. Now, I'm not the one leveling that charge. She is against Craig Hazen. I'm just pointing out, that without a reasoned case and (3) verses thrown on the blogosphere the implication is...."I'm speaking for God here...if you disagree, you're arguing with God"

Renee - you also wrote..."Since those who choose to not see the seriousness of what Jill has brought up in this topic..." That is just it my friend - this is extremely serious! And instead of providing any reasonable justification for the scripture cited Jill continues to hide behind (3) verses and a thinly veiled charge that this is blasphemy because "...the Biblical position on any alliance with Mormon's is clear" (Ref: Jill's post "Blasphemy 101")

Again - Jill has much work to do, if she really takes this charge seriously herself. We should not - especially with the whole world watching - fight without reason and our best arguments as God commands us to. Let us use the scriptures God gave us, because they are absolutely true and useful in correction and teaching. But we must make our case why we are using them correctly. Jill has not done this. I hope and pray Jill addresses this, however, I fear there is way too much of an emotional investment in this issue for her to circumspectly view this on more rational and objective grounds. I pray that her pastoral council is willing and courageous enough to confront her and tell her more then just what she wants to hear.

My question for you Renee....I am curious why you have assumed Jill's position against a fellow brother, who is just as loved and forgiven in God's eyes as Jill is without so much as a reasoned case why the scripture cited applies; how Craig's actions constitute and alliance with LDS leadership; and how other scripture comes to bear on this matter?

I look forward to your reply.


2:04 PM  
truthster said...


You were not a good student in theology. You were mentored to succeed in philosophy and law, but were dim when it came to the Word of God. You succeeded because of a charismatic personality and a fun wife, which never should have been the criteria by Christian leadership.

With all your books and accomplishments, you still don't understand the Gospel, which is the fault of Evangelicalism no longer truly preaching it, and your fault for not truly seeking Him and truth.

With all your skills, all your logic and debate and rhetorical abilities, and charms, none of that morphed into truth and correct doctrine. You have a different Gospel now, and God is calling you to repent.

Jill's responses show Christian love, and how everyday Christians can have God speaking the truth through them. Your responses show you are unable to love, which is the result of being without Christ. You are deluding yourself that you have Christ and what He has done, when you have so re-defined Him, contrary to His very Scriptures.

Just because you are good in some areas, does not mean you therefore understand Christian doctrine. In fact, now those areas which you thought you were good at, should now to be re-examined through the eyes that the author doesn't really understand the Christian message. THAT should effect your philosophical, ethical, and legal views.

See if you can spend some major time with Rod Rosenblatt. Or Craig Hawkins. Let them show you where your doctrinal mistakes are. Or just basic Christians like myself, but who have not abandoned The Faith once for all delivered to the saints, which can be proved by the objective, external, written Word of God.

You have made a big mistake. God must give you repentance, and faith, and it comes through hearing the Word that salvation is solely through believing that you have NO merit, but that all of salvation is attributable to Jesus Christ's death and resurrection for you, and received solely because of His grace as you believe. Satan has deceived you, but God has provided His objective truth in the Word. You and Frankie need to turn to Him again.

My prayers are with you,

3:16 PM  
truthster said...

You do not "believe in sola fide the same way James and Paul did." You believe the interpretation of James and Paul by the Magisterium, which is contrary to the belief and content of James and Paul.

So now you are committing the sin of lying to try to justify your false doctrine. You do not believe the correct Protestant (historic) interpretation of those books/authors/subjects, because you do not know/understand them.

If you did accurately understand, then you are lying to the RCC to join them, because you believe--as you claim here-- contrary to their views on James and Paul.

5:43 PM  
truthster said...

You point to the history and hard work of Biblical translators, emphasizing the Body of Christ [you emphasizing more that they are greater than we are; rather there are varying gifts, but no partiality in Christ]

You said, "You read it with the church catholic. Learn to love that church"

On paper you get the concept of "catholic", making a small c, but in real life you fallaciously mixed the categories--you are attributing virtue to the capital C, Catholic church, which is in opposite contradistinction.

You are claiming love for the Catholic church by joining it, while telling others to learn to love the small c catholic. That is fallaciously mixing the categories, wanting to love the Church, yet joining a group which teaches contrary doctrines TO the true Church of believers.

The universal Body of Christ holds to certain basic doctrines as revealed in Holy Scripture. IT is breathed-out by God and inspired. We can interpret it correctly, or wrongly, believe it, or not. Christianity has held for 2000 years that what the RCC has are wrong interpretations.

You need to "learn to love the church catholic" and hear what IT is saying to you in its accurate proclamations of Scripture.

6:07 PM  
truthster said...


Woe unto you!! You offer your intellect to tell a reader which of Walter Martin's tapes to listen to regarding Aquinas, or for an athiest, yet you have no salvation to offer!

Woe unto you!! What good is it when you can remember facts to pass tests to get degrees, to get status, to get paychecks, to get published by non-discerning companies, elevated to positions by non-discerning Societies, when you do not have the Gospel of Christ to offer?

You have in the RCC the different Gospel Paul speaks about in Galatians 1.

You have a choice now, to either want to learn the true Gospel of Jesus Christ as revealed in the Word of God, or to continue trying to be a voice when your foundation is built on sand.

I hear there are jobs Americans don't want to would be better for you to be doing those to support your family than to continue pretending you understand the message of Jesus Christ, when you don't. His salvation was a gift, was external to us, objective, is received solely through His works, received not through the Law, but the promise, through faith alone, not faith plus something I do to cooperate. We are unable to cooperate. We cannot save ourselves. He comes to us with an external salvation, and He gets all the glory.

Stop receiving pay, stop trying to influence others about Christianity when you do not understand the very, very basics of it!!

I'm not even saying this with a mean attitude...Most of American Christianity is wrong on some very basic Scriptural doctrines, and then perpetuates it to us. We shouldn't have to wait until graduate school to learn these things. But even then, you didn't learn them, because you got side-tracked, a work of the Enemy to take you off into anything other than the truth of Scripture.

The Gospel of Christianity is not the message of the RCC, and you need to repent, because you are sinning against God, rejecting what He has stated He has done for you, rejecting the only religion on earth where salvation is a free gift not based on my merits, but solely upon Christ, solely received because of His grace, solely clung to through faith in Him, solely revealed in Scripture.

Just as RCC calls Christian teaching anathema, So Paul calls RCC's false doctrines, anathema.

6:34 PM  
truthster said...


An example of your sounding knowledgable, but missing the key point is here: You stated
"The liberal Episcopalian analogy is very weak. For their scriptural innovation is the result of denying the Bible's anthropology, its view of the nature of men and women."

To back my claim of your being dim in your theological studies, had you truly studied and understood even your Master's apologetics courses, you would remember your professor Dr. Harold Lindsell and the Battle for the Bible. You would know and understand that the Episcopalian "result" is because of their liberal interpretations of Scripture, and ultimate rejection of the inerrancy and inspiration of Scripture.

You have combined two separate categories. You use the phrase "denying the Bible" but you do not mean that, but should mean exactly that. Their denial of anthropology is wrong, because they have rejected Scripture, God's authority, and that is the key issue. It is not your circular reasoning that they are wrong in anthropology because they are denying Biblical anthropology.

So in the same way, you wrongly now hold to the RCC issues. You did not learn the meaning of the inspiration and inerrancy of Scripture, the teaching of Scripture on sola fide, so you are now combining all your rationale thinking you are finding truth, when you are instead rejecting truth, because you are rejecting the clear Word of God on these subjects.

I think it started with your fascination with Geisler, who is fascinated with Aquinas. None of you, as shown by your fruits, are fascinated by the Real Gospel of Jesus Christ.

You need to repent of following man, rather than Scripture, repent of your pride, ask Him to open your eyes and ears and conscience. Scripture is inspired, and He will teach you.

I say all of these posts out of love for you, grieving for you, now knowing why God would bring you to mind all these years: I was to be praying for you, and failed. I saw your lack of doctrinal understanding, and did not hold you up to the Father; I did not try to help and disciple you, and so I have sinned.
I was angry at those promoting you when you did not have the appropriate skills...angry at the good ol' boy network, when I should have been praying for God to open your eyes to Scripture, for Him to keep you from false doctrine, etc. Please forgive me. I will be praying for you.

7:08 PM  
truthster said...

Some general comments now to Frank, to Jill and other readers;

It is technically (doctrinally) inaccurate to state "there are believers in the RCC", because this goes against the Scriptural verses which say that there will be false doctrines and division in order that we may recognize the true from the false; The errors are allowed there for a purpose by God: so that we can see what the Gospel is NOT. And once we see it, we are to not associate with such.

There may be people who are true believers who are unaware of the actual distinctions of the RCC teachings. But that is a different category than implying that it is possible to learn and know the true Gospel through the means of the RCC.

The initial RCIA catechization processes deceitfully sounds practically Protestant, with the classes so watered down from the actual, higher-authority anathemas of Rome against the Biblical Gospel. It does not sound too offensive, in order to get you into the Church, as they dishonestly do not accurately represent all the contrary views they continue to hold 500 years after the Reformation.

Protestants are guilty of not understanding the Biblical truths, those rediscovered at that time, which are still just as true today. And we tend to cave into the societal wussification of "can't we all just get along" ... Toleration of sin, lack of discernment, unwillingness to make proper judgments place most Protestants in the same boat with Rome, not relying on the Bible as their supreme authority, but on their feelings, or their reasonings.

If you accept that Jesus rose from the dead proving His Divinity, and that He held Scripture as our final authority, you reject the false teachings in any church, because Scripture says to do so.

You also don't claim there are genuine believers in all churches, as if all churches have enough of the true Gospel being taught, or as if the Holy Spirit somehow uses anti-Gospel messages to produce Gospel. Nowhere in Scripture does He claim that. When someone becomes a genuine believer, it is not through the means of false teaching.

When by grace we are truly saved, we are Biblically commanded at that point to not associate with those who hold to the non-Biblical, false views. If they refuse to do that, refuse to obey their Lord in Scripture, are they genuine believers? No, for they do not yet have a true understanding of the Gospel of Christ, which will produce the fruit of genuine repentance, turning away from the false teaching/teachers, and not associating with them, nor giving these churches some glory, when they have none.

A student of the beloved Dr. Martin.

11:59 PM  

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