Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Karlberg's warning about disregarding the creeds and confessions

Famous picture of the Westminster Assembly which produced the "Westminster Confession of Faith". A color replica of this portrait is strategically located near the Redeemer coffee table.

I am holed up in a small condo in immediate eye shot of the Sangre De Cristo mountains for the next three weeks endeavoring to complete a large portion of my doctoral studies. My awesome wife and kids have graciously allowed for me to do this as my sabbatical ends August 9 and I won't have another opportunity for this kind of concentrated reading and writing for another 7 years.

While reading an essay by Mark Karlberg addressing his perception of a recent erosion of the doctrine of Justification by faith alone in American Evangelicalism at large and the Reformed Church in particular, he issues a clear and helpful warning-

"The problem is all about us. Perhaps it is merely indicative of the age in which we live, an age characterized by individualism and by that unrelenting drive toward relativism, the gradual undermining of truth and authority. The great creeds and confessions of Protestant orthodoxy no longer carry the weight and respect they once did. More often than not they are viewed as relics of the past, as historic curiosities. Unchecked, the contemporary disregard for historic Christian dogma will only lead to the further erosion of evangelical witness in our generation."

I think Karlberg is right on. Creeds and confessions have long served to safeguard the Church. Minimizing or rejecting the need for such helpful instruments has left the Church vulnerable to relativism and the revival of various doctrinal errors that were dealt with effectively by the Church already in ages past. Of course such documents should be continually examined by Scripture, but jettisoning them all together has only served to weaken the Church and witness in this country.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

It's too bad Karlberg did not send this message to his mentor: Meridith Kline. Kline critized the writers of the WCF & those who agreed with it.

Pete

Woody Woodward said...

Sounds to me like Karlberg is addressing today’s radical leader of “the emergent church”, Brian McLaren.
Just about the time when we think the erosion of sound Biblical teaching and solid doctrine has given way to the exploding fascination of “the emergent church,” like this liberal agenda is something new, we read about these great men of faith. Men that stood up, made their voice known, refusing to compromise truth at any cost. Praise the Lord for these powerful creeds and confessions from our former, Reformer Fathers.