In his most recent post on the topic of the “Law and Gospel”, Daniel Chew – with his self-acclaimed Puritan and Reformed orthodoxy – makes the most heretical statement I have ever read in the blogosphere for a long time.
Let us peruse his very words with theological perspicacity. He wrote:
The Law: It can theoretically save.
Gal. 3:10 allows for the possibility of salvation by the Law if one obeys all of them perfectly … Verse 21 however informs us that the failure of the Law was that it could not give life, otherwise the Law could otherwise suffice for righteousness and salvation, thus showing forth the theoretical potential of the Law to save.
Thus, it can be seen that the Scriptures do teach that the Law have the potentiality for meriting salvation.
Exclusive Evangelicals (and unhappily for Daniel Chew, most if not all neo-orthodox theologians) have always agreed that there is no possibility of salvation or justification apart from Christ, who is the [only] way, the truth, and the life (Jn 14:6).
All Puritans and Reformers of Christendom have always declared that justification is only in Christ Jesus, and that there is no possibility of salvation (or justification) apart from Christ.
But Daniel Chew – with his self-acclaimed Puritan and Reformed orthodoxy – believes otherwise.
Daniel Chew asserts, “that the Scriptures do teach that the Law have the potentiality for meriting salvation,” that “Gal. 3:10 allows for the possibility of salvation by the Law,” and that “[Gal. 3:21 shows] forth the theoretical potential of the Law to save.”
We can derive the following with simple syllogistic reasoning:
A = There is the possibility of salvation by the Law alone.
Which is theologically equivalent to:
A1 = There is the possibility of justification before God by the Law alone.
But if A1, then B1.
B1 = There is the possibility of justification before God by the Law apart from Christ.
B1 is another way of saying, “There is the possibility of salvation apart from Jesus Christ.”
So in essence, Daniel Chew is declaring that, “There is the possibility of salvation apart from Jesus Christ.”
Daniel Chew, who delights in declaring various theologians as heretics e.g. Karl Barth, has now committed one of the most grievous heresies of all time – by deviating from the exclusivist’s doctrine of justification by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone (Eph. 2:8-9).
PuritanReformed’s heresy is joyfully embraced by his newfound bulldog – Joel Tay – when he reaffirms Daniel Chew’s heresy in his comment to Daniel’s post.
Joel exclaimed, “Excellent! Amen to that.”
And Joel Tay had the guts to call Trinity Theological College – where he is a student – liberal.
But I, Antithesis, together with the real Reformers, Puritans, Evangelicals, and the more “liberal” theologians (according to Daniel Chew and Joel Tay) like Bultmann (1), Hubner (2), and Sanders (3) declare that there is no possibility of salvation apart from Christ. Amen?
I do not make void the grace of God: for if righteousness is through the law, then Christ died for nought. (ASV, Gal. 2:21)
1. Rudolf Bultmann, Theology of the New Testament, 2 Vols (New York: Scribner’s. 1952) 1:264.
2. Hans Hubner, Law in Paul’s Thought (Edinburgh: T. and T. Clark, 1984), 119.
3. E. P. Sanders, Paul and Palestinian Judaism: A Comparison of Patterns of Religion (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1977), 442-447, 474-511; idem, Paul, the Law, and the Jewish People (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1983), 17-91.