<aside> 🖨️ Click for printable PDF version.


2a. False teaching that takes away from the gospel

This charge is false. I have thoroughly and clearly explained to the elders my position on good works and salvation, here:

<aside> 💡 The Reformed pedigree of my views


For a much shorter summary that covers the key issues, and is very simple to follow, this article from The Gospel Coalition is helpful:

Is Salvation a Reward or a Gift? Yes.

On this page

David Marshall and Euan Alderton have both examined my document, and agree that there is nothing unorthodox, let alone heretical, about my views. Note that David has a theological degree, and Euan is studying for one. Neither Ryan nor Greg has a degree.

I shared this document with Ryan in October last year, hoping it would persuade him that he was mistaken about me being unorthodox. He never even acknowledged it.

I have not denied the gospel, and my views are fully compatible with our confession. The elders quoting clauses of our confession that I explicitly affirm does not show that my views are incompatible with them. (On final justification, discussed in my article Faith Across Time, our confession does not mention this, and I am not confident that the elders mean the same thing by it that I do.) Citing reports from the PCA and URCNA is a smokescreen. The Federal Vision doctrine which these papers condemn is one I also reject. This is a guilt-by-association tactic using the questionable authority of modern organizations to label me a heretic, rather than doing the honest work of dealing with the ample proof for my actual views that I've given from the Reformers and Scripture. Our elders can't declare a view truthful or untruthful by fiat, regardless of the facts.

<aside> ⁉️ Why has Ryan never even acknowledged the existence of the proof I provide in my Reformed Pedigree document—let alone engaged with it? Why has he ignored the assessment of qualified men that I am orthodox and Reformed? Why does he refuse to acknowledge the authority of our spiritual fathers, and instead cite modern opinions on only semi-related issues, as if that proves anything? Why does he continue to claim that I am a false teacher and a heretic, when he has been shown and told in no uncertain terms that I am not? What would you think in my shoes?


2b. False teaching that adds to the gospel

Sexuality a central, gospel issue

Let me summarize my view that the elders are objecting to. It is this:

<aside> 💡 That God would have us order our lives according to his will, and those who rebel against God's order won't inherit his kingdom.


Is this adding to the gospel? No. I am repeating Scripture, which states this principle clearly. E.g.:

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. (1 Corinthians 6:9-10; cf. Galatians 5:21; Ephesians 5:5; 1 Timothy 1:9; Hebrews 12:14; 13:4; Revelation 21:8; 22:15)

In other words, ordinarily, only those who are sanctified will be saved. Salvation includes sanctification. As Hebrews 12:14 puts it, we must "strive for…the holiness without which no one will see the Lord."

Now, the particular application of this principle that our elders object to, is my view that the Father orders his kingdom through human fathers who represent his authority. I say that since the gospel is frequently described as the gospel of the kingdom, it is quite reasonable to think that an attack on how God orders that kingdom is an attack on the gospel, broadly understood.

Put another way, if someone will not accept the manner in which God rules, nor submit to it, how can we say he has accepted and submitted to the gospel? And if he willfully rebels against how God rules, he is willfully rebelling against the gospel. He will not inherit the kingdom because he has not received the gospel. I argue for this more extensively here:

Servant leadership transforms leadership into subservience - It's Good to be a Man

<aside> ⁉️ Why have our elders done nothing to engage with the reasoning here? They're trying to establish guilt by labeling. This indicates that Ryan himself is not orthodox on the gospel. A trademark of the antinomian error is that it collapses salvation into justification, and so denies that sanctification is necessary to be saved. But Scripture does not describe the gospel as the gospel of justification. It describes it as the gospel of the kingdom, and of its king. Authority, hierarchy, order, and rulership are integral to Scripture's gospel of the kingdom, because they are integral to a kingdom. How God has ordered his kingdom is indeed part of the gospel. The fact that he has placed a man over all things is part of the gospel proclamation (Acts 2 and onward). So how we live out that order—whether we conform to God's design; i.e., sanctification—is integral to our faith.


"Recovering biblical creational norms is more important than preaching justification by faith alone"

This is a comment that I quoted from P. Andrew Sandlin. But did Sandlin say that preaching justification by faith alone is unimportant? No. Here is the complete quote (boldface added):

Contrary to Moore, the church’s great present need is not a revival of preaching on justification by faith alone. This is not the most important doctrine in the Bible, even in soteriology (salvation doctrine). Still, the Reformation was forced to highlight it because the mediaeval church had obscured salvation by grace under a blanket of sacramental works-righteousness. But while that error is not less pernicious today, it is less pervasive, and giving that doctrine the emphasis it had from 1517–1660 is a mistake. The impetus behind that mistake can be either hidebound traditionalism or cultural cowardice — sometimes both.

The great threat today is the attack on creational norms like male and female created in God’s image as distinct kinds of human beings, and the related issue of marriage. That attack comes in the form of same-sex “marriage,” sexual fungibility (interchangeability of the sexes), and the exaltation of singlehood as autonomy. Recovering biblical creational norms is more important than preaching justification by faith alone, not because it’s optional (it isn’t), but because creational norms provide the context in which justification can have any meaning at all.

It’s no idolatry to champion the family and creational norms at the very time they’re under assault both in the culture and the church.

But it might be a tiptoe toward idolatry to slink away from the heat of battle over a misguided traditionalism, a faulty Old Testament-New Testament hermeneutic, or plain old garden-variety timidity. The longing for comfort without controversy and battle might just be the idolatry we have most to fear.