An insightful article written by R. C. Sproul. Full article can be read from http://www.bible-researcher.com/sproul1.html. It is often very sad to see good people caught under a heresy, which they do not ever see. Worse still when it affects their decision making unconsciously… and yet they believe that they are doing ‘right’ in the Lord’s sight.
Our generation is full of well-meaning people who think that God will accept them because they have done their ‘best’ and with the ‘best intentions’. Why? Because society has always taught us that the world accepts and cannot condemn those who has given ‘their best’, and therefore many equate that as the same for God’s response to our ‘best’. That is a lie. Fallacy, which can easily be seen in God’s response to Cain’s offering. Cain gave ‘his best’ from the works of his hands. But God decried that as not having faith. Faith is never about ‘giving your best’, but to merely ‘submit to God’s decrees’. Obedience is better than sacrifice. Alas, many of our brethrens are more influenced by the world’s standards than God’s…
Which is why Sproul’s article is necessary. It is not new (isn’t everything so?), but timely for us now:
I’ve often wondered if Luther were alive today and came to our culture and looked, not at the liberal church community, but at evangelical churches, what would he have to say? Of course I can’t answer that question with any kind of definitive authority, but my guess is this: If Martin Luther lived today and picked up his pen to write, the book he would write in our time would be entitled The Pelagian Captivity of the Evangelical Church. Luther saw the doctrine of justification as fueled by a deeper theological problem. He writes about this extensively in The Bondage of the Will. When we look at the Reformation and we see the solas of the Reformation — sola Scriptura, sola fide, solus Christus, soli Deo gloria, sola gratia — Luther was convinced that the real issue of the Reformation was the issue of grace; and that underlying the doctrine of solo fide, justification by faith alone, was the prior commitment to sola gratia, the concept of justification by grace alone.
In the Fleming Revell edition of The Bondage of the Will, the translators, J. I. Packer and O. R. Johnston, included a somewhat provocative historical and theological introduction to the book itself. This is from the end of that introduction:
These things need to be pondered by Protestants today. With what right may we call ourselves children of the Reformation? Much modern Protestantism would be neither owned nor even recognised by the pioneer Reformers. The Bondage of the Will fairly sets before us what they believed about the salvation of lost mankind. In the light of it, we are forced to ask whether Protestant Christendom has not tragically sold its birthright between Luther’s day and our own. Has not Protestantism today become more Erasmian than Lutheran? Do we not too often try to minimise and gloss over doctrinal differences for the sake of inter-party peace? Are we innocent of the doctrinal indifferentism with which Luther charged Erasmus? Do we still believe that doctrine matters?