Part Two: Genuine Pluralism & Reformed Christology
- Thursday, May 12, 2005
Of course, when one asserts that Scripture contradicts Scripture, then one has rejected the authority of Scripture. Those who would affirm Scripture's authority would also affirm that Scripture cannot contradict itself. In a sense, the debate must end here. It cannot go any further (on a non-presuppositional approach) as the Christian and non-Christian argue from different sources of authority.
Those who reject the authority of Scripture and affirm that Scripture contradicts itself must indeed be deemed non-Christians. The evidence lies in Melcher's own gross misinterpretations of Scripture cited above. But she continues.
Melcher argues that Reformed theologians, and PC USA theologians in particular, fail to use the Hebrew Bible. In so doing they misunderstand God's way of salvation. She asks, "If the Hebrew Bible suffers neglect in some of the individual churches, how will readers and listeners be confronted by the idea that God saves--in passages that lack an explicit reference to Jesus Christ?"
In response, indeed God does save. But, who is God and to whom does the Old Testament refer? Consider the words of our Lord Jesus Christ Himself: "O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory? And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself (Lk. 24:25-27)."
Referring to the Hebrew Bible, Jesus said, "You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me (Jn. 5:39)." Ironically, in that text, the Lord Jesus is refuting religious leaders who deny His claim, even as Melcher does. The Hebrew Bible speaks of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Consider Gal. 3:8: "And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, in thee shall all nations be blessed." Further, "By faith Moses, when he became of age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter, choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin, esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he looked to the reward (Heb. 11:24-26)." Moses esteemed the reproach of Christ as greater riches. Melcher's argument falls to the ground as she demonstrates her lack of understanding of the Scriptures as a whole.
Christ is found on every page, declared to be the Creator, equated with God the Father throughout the New Testament, and affirmed as the sole, sufficient Savior for both Jews and Gentiles. It was Jesus who said, "before Abraham was, I am (Jn. 8:58)."
Incredibly, she next moves to pit the "rule of faith" against the "rule of love." Again, she opines, "While the doctrine that salvation comes only through Christ follows the principle of Scriptural interpretation called "The Rule of Faith" (which means that one should be guided by the doctrinal consensus of the church), does the doctrine as it is currently formulated, understood, and taught adhere to "The Rule of Love?" Is it loving to focus on those passages of Scripture that confirm our sense of religious superiority, when there are passages that offer a broader point of view? Is it loving to hold on to theologies that reinforce barriers between the Reformed churches and people of other faiths?"
The more appropriate question would be: "is it loving not to warn someone of the coming wrath? Is it loving to leave someone dead in their sins for the sake of a shallow union?" The fact that Christ is the exclusive way of salvation does not mean that Christians affirm religious superiority in a pejorative way. Christians view themselves as beggars telling other beggars where to find bread. Any other attitude is sub-Christian. It is Melcher who feels religiously superior by virtue of the so-called wideness in her mercy. The problem lies in the fact that affirming ways of salvation apart from Christ is not merciful at all.
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