Thursday, March 27, 2008

A Characteristic to Avoid When Looking for a Seminary or Church

Jud 1:4 For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.

In Six Characteristics to Look for in a Seminary Michael Patton says:


2. Balanced Theology Department: One of the biggest problems with many seminaries is that they don’t have balance in their presentation of theology. Their agenda is to make you a particular type of theologian. I don’t have too much of a problem with a seminary having a confession or reputation of holding to a particular tradition or sub-tradition (e.g. Reformed, Baptist, Dispensational). The problem arises when their passions for this tradition cause them to skew the theological landscape to their favor. This type of intellectual dishonesty has no place in the training of leaders. The theology department must be confident enough to give people a balanced perspective, representing all relevant views with the clarity of its adherents. By doing so the seminary creates an atmosphere where true learning and true conviction can take place. It also keeps its graduates from becoming unnecessarily divisive over non-essential issues, keeping the focus on the Gospel. The Holy Spirit will create the convictions for his purpose when truth is taught with balance. The seminary needs to trust him enough to do so.

I love that: teaching equally truth AND error equals "balance". Can't be dogmatic--be unsure, uncertain and above all "irenic". Teach the error, offer the poison, and then let the Holy Spirit work? God destroyed the leaders of Israel for teaching error. Are the seminaries any better than them? God condemned error being taught in the New Testament too (1John, Co. 1-2---clearly they were dealing with gnostic hereies and we don't see John or Paul teaching "both sides").

Scripture isn't, in that line of thinking, "balanced" simply because it is ONLY teaching Truth. Its decidedly ONE SIDED. Its BIASED. And if we are students of Scripture, we ought to be also.

Psa 1:1 Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; 2 but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night.

Col 2:8 See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.

Ecc 10:1 Dead flies make the perfumer's ointment give off a stench; so a little folly outweighs wisdom and honor.

2Co 10:5 We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ,

See that? We are to destroy every arguement and opinion that is against Truth--not wallow in it, not play with it and bounce it around to see how fun it might be, not try it out for size, not consider how it might help the cause of Truth. NO! 1John 2:21 says NO LIE is of the Truth.

2Ti 2:23 Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels.

2 Tim. 2: 16 Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly. 17 Their teaching will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, 18 who have wandered away from the truth. They say that the resurrection has already taken place, and they destroy the faith of some.

Patton and his crew would have you think its ok to indulge in the error and that there is benefit in it. This is contrary to the above passage of Scripture. Indulging in error will promote it and cause many to wander from the Truth--as these men and women exemplify. Moreover, the necessary fruit of handling and considering error is ungodliness.

1Ti 4:7 Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness;

How I wish RTM would listen and believe Scripture, and hear the wisdom of Shindler and Spurgeon who dealt with the same issues over 100 years ago!

From the April 1887 Sword and Trowel: Downgrade Contraversy editor Robert Shindler wrote:

Among the Independents the leaven worked. In the colleges, or academies, as they were then called, the mischief first came to a head. Doctor Doddridge was as sound as he was amiable; but perhaps he was not always judicious; or more probably still, he was too judicious, and not sufficiently bold and decided. As the pastor of an influential church, and as the head of an academy which ranked higher than any other, his amiable disposition permitted him to do what men made of sterner stuff would not have done. He sometimes mingled in a fraternal manner, even exchanging pulpits, with men whose orthodoxy was called in question. It had its effect on many of the younger men, and served to lessen in the estimate of the people generally the growing, divergence of sentiment.

Dr. Joseph Priestley, the great champion of Socinianism among NonconformistsHe says:—"In my time the academy was in a state peculiarly favorable to the serious pursuit of truth, as the students were about equally divided upon every question of much importance, such as liberty, necessity, the sleep of the soul, and all the articles of theological orthodoxy and heresy; in consequence of which, all these topics were the subject of continual discussion. Our tutors, also, were of different opinions, Dr. Ashworth taking the orthodox side of every question, and Mr. Clark, the sub-tutor, that of heresy, though always with the greatest modesty. Both of our tutors being young, at least as tutors, and some of the senior students excelling more than they could pretend to do in several branches of study, they indulged us in the greatest freedoms. The general plan of our studies, which may be seen in Dr. Doddridge's published lectures, was exceedingly favorable to free enquiry, as we were referred to authors on both sides of every question.

In this situation I saw reason to embrace what is generally called the heterodox side of every question."But in too many cases sceptical daring seems to have taken the place of evangelical zeal, and the husks of theological speculations are preferred to the wholesome bread of gospel truth. With some the endeavor seems to be not how steadily and faithfully they can walk in the truth, but how far they can get from it. To them divine truth is like a lion or a tiger, and they give it "a wide berth." Our counsel is—Do not go too near the precipice; you may slip or fall over. Keep where the ground is firm; do not venture on the rotten ice.

So we venture to say to any venturesome spirit who wants to follow the Will-with- a-wisp of modern thought, "Don't try it; there are dangerous bogs near, where you may soon lose yourself and all that is dear to you." If anyone wishes to know where the tadpole of Darwinism was hatched, we could point him to the pew of the old chapel in High Street, Shrewsbury, where Mr. Darwin, his father, and we believe his father's father, received their religious training. The chapel was built for Mr. Talents, an ejected minister; but for very many years full-blown Socinianism has been taught there, as also in the old chapel at Chester, where Matthew Henry used to minister, and where a copy of his Commentary, of the original edition, is kept for public use, the only witness, we fear, to the truths he taught there.

The first step astray is a want of adequate faith in the divine inspiration of the sacred Scriptures. All the while a man bows to the authority of God's Word, he will not entertain any sentiment contrary to its teaching. "To the law and to the testimony," is his appeal concerning every doctrine. He esteems that holy Book, concerning all things, to be right, and therefore he hates every false way. But let a man question, or entertain low views of the inspiration and authority of the Bible, and he is without chart to guide him, and without anchor to hold him. But when, on the other hand, reason has been exalted above revelation, and made the exponent of revelation, all kinds of errors and mischiefs have been the result.


... human reason is exalted to a higher office, and what is not comprehensible by its grasp, is not readily received. The mind of the Socinian feels still less veneration for the Word of God; for, according to his sentiments, some parts of it are not inspired; mistakes occur in the reasoning of the apostles; not a few passages are unauthentic, and what remains is interpreted with a latitude as to the expressions and language of Scripture, which would not be tolerated in expounding the sense of any other writer." ("History of Dissenters," by Bogue and Bennet.)They run in 'the course of this world,' follow every fashionable folly, and family and personal godliness seems in general to be lost among them. There is scarcely any appearance of life and zeal in the cause of religion, which demands and deserves the greatest.

When the Holy Spirit is the teacher of the infallible, inerrant, technically precise Word of God, people will see the fruit:

Act 4:13 Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus.

2Co 11:3 But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ.

Sadly those in Reclaiming the Mind have studied themselves away from the Truth and promote the error they "studied" so they could be "balanced". Pity.

3 comments:

C. Michael Patton said...

Is there anything good at all about RMM? :)

NWProdigal said...

I appreciate your discernment regarding Renweing the Mind, Michael Patton, and Biola University, in general. These guys are very sneaky about how they bring meditation, and the heretical Catholic mystics and desert fathers into the mix. I remember listening to some of Ken Boa's stuff, and enjoying it until I realized that he was lauding and recommending these mystics writings for evangelical Christians to read and learn meditation from. That gave me pause and thankfully I, as a new Christian was lead away from such nonsense, thank the Lord.

Denise said...

Michael,

Since you asked, no.

Put another way, is there any "good" in poisoned water?

No.
It still destroys.