Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Heresy always brings loss

Other gospels always promise benefits. They are after all alternatives to the apostolic good news. But since they will always be found wanting in their conformity to Scripture, and will always be rooted out and refuted by good exegesis and theology, whatever benefits they promise will in the end prove to be unreal. They will always leave untouched the deepest problems of sin. They will always fail to present God and his great salvation on his terms. And because they do that they leave us with empty alternatives. Heresy is "make believe" theology. It is the proclamation of a thin alternative God.

Now, it never presents itself in those terms. Far from it. Heresy is always decked out in fine clothes. It perpetually comes to us bearing gifts. The advocates of heresy want us to taste and see how good it is, how much better it is for us than orthodoxy.

The following extract from John Owen's Communion With God was posted by Dan Phillips at the Pyromaniacs blog. From the time that I first read this work by Owen I was struck by the grandeur of the gospel when it is properly viewed through a Covenantal Trinitarian lens. I have an allergic reaction to superficiality. Owen's work is so solid, substantial and real, it really comes as no surprise that his writings are nurturing souls centuries after his death.

Anything else is not only wrong, it is robbery. Beware imitations, they are always sub-standard.

"And on this ground it is that if all the world should (if I may so say) set themselves to drink free grace, mercy, and pardon, drawing [Cant. v. 1; Isa. lv. 1; Rev. xxii. 17; John vii. 37, 38] water continually from the wells of salvation; if they should set themselves to draw from one single promise, an angel standing by and crying, “Drink, O my friends, yea, drink abundantly, take so much grace and pardon as shall be abundantly sufficient for the world of sin which is in every one of you;” — they would not be able to sink the grace of the promise one hair’s breadth. There is enough for millions of worlds, if they were; because it flows into it from an infinite, bottomless fountain. “Fear not, O worm Jacob, I am God, and not man,” is the bottom of sinners’ consolation.

This infiniteness of grace, in respect of its spring and fountain, will answer all objections that might hinder our souls from drawing nigh to communion with him, and from a free embracing of him. Will not this suit us in all our distresses? What is our finite guilt before it? Show me the sinner that can spread his iniquities to the dimensions (if I may so say) of this grace. Here is mercy enough for the greatest, the oldest, the stubbornest transgressor, — “Why will ye die, O house of Israel?”

Take heed of them who would rob you of the Deity of Christ. If there were no more grace for me than what can be treasured up in a mere man, I should rejoice [if] my portion might be under rocks and mountains".

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