March 30, 2017

October 25, 2012

Mere Hegelianism Masquerading as Mere Christianity at Fulcrum

Stephen Kuhrt demonstrates, again, how far away from reason, biblical fidelity, and the evangelical “centre” Fulcrum has drifted.

Kuhrt argues that so long as a leader declares himself a believer in Jesus Christ the church is “obliged” to treat him as such without regard to the content of his/her teaching and/or faith.

“At the centre of this doctrine [Justification by Faith], most clearly displayed in Paul’s letter to the Galatians, is the conviction that once someone declares their faith in Jesus as Lord, we are obliged to regard them as a fellow brother or sister.”

This is the sort of thing that makes one wonder whether Stephen Kurht has actually read Paul’s letter to the Galatians. The letter begins with this declaration:

“But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.” (Gal 1:8-9)

Paul writes to the churches in Galatia in response to threat from the Judaizers. According to Acts 15, the Judaizers were people who claimed to follow Jesus as Lord but who taught:

“Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.”(Acts 15:1)

The whole point of Paul’s argument is that false teachers proclaim a gospel that cannot save. Their teaching draws people away from the truth that faith alone in Jesus Christ alone is the means by which God justifies sinners and toward a reliance on some admixture of lawkeeping and belief that proves utterly powerless. Following “another gospel” leaves sinners under God’s wrath.

Were Stephen Kurht writing to Galatia, he would say that the churches there would be “obliged” to receive Judaizing teachers as brothers and (as we’ll see) learn from them since they “profess faith in the Lord Jesus.”

The Apostle Paul, by contrast, says Justification by Faith is denied by the Judaizer so let the Judiazing teacher “be accursed” because he leads people into spiritual death. Dealing decisively with the false teacher protects and preserves the flock of God.

Kurht might not like that Paul refuses to accept the claims of the Judaizers, but the apostle is merely applying Jesus’ own instruction to watch out for wolves in sheep’s clothing, to be careful to identify and cast out false prophets. And “watching out” for wolves in sheep’s clothing cannot be reconciled with Kurht’s suggestion that the church take all sheep’s clothing at face value. 

In addition to the obligation to accept all those who profess faith in Jesus Christ as legitimate members of the Body without regard to the content of their faith…Kurht tells us that we must also “learn from them”:

Fulcrum has simply been maintaining our position that a firm opinion can be combined with the ecclesiological conviction that fellow Christians always possess something that we need to learn from. Which is why dialogue is so crucial. Whilst our overall position may remain broadly the same, genuine dialogue between Christians will always leave both sides not only changed but in a major and significant way. 

Just think of all the lessons we might learn from those who profess faith in Jesus Christ. Marcion might teach us how to identify the sections of the bible authored by evil demiurge who created the material cosmos. We could sit under Arius as he regales us with tales of Jesus, the semi-divine Son who once was not. Then Pelagius might step forward with his pep-talk, calling us to stop whining about free lunches, pull ourselves up by our bootstraps and bare knuckle it into the kingdom. Shooting forward in time we could hang with Joseph Smith and Maroni, and ascend with them to the celestial kingdom, becoming little gods. I’ve always wanted my own planet. In case we forget what Arius taught us we’ve got the teachings of the Watchtower Society to lean on. More happily, the enlightened liberal protestant will teach us that every sexual impulse we don’t choose is “inborn” and therefore “sacred”. And if we’re in for a little exoticism, a ride on the wild side, we might do a little indaba session with Jim Jones. But then again, maybe not. Kurht’ gotten there before us and it looks like he’s already downed all the Kool-aid.

Kurht’s apology for Fulcrum’s substance-free divinization of ecclesial unity is mere Hegelianism masquerading as mere Christianity: two antitheses “moderate conservatism” and “liberalism” must stick together so that a greater synthesis can be realized. The New Testament never goes there. Instead the teachings of the apostles and the prophets are the foundation of the Church, Jesus Christ the chief cornerstone. Christian unity with those who depart from that foundation and reject the Cornerstone is impossible.

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Obviously, being so close the ABC has rubbed off.

[1] Posted by dwstroudmd+ on 10-25-2012 at 10:15 AM · [top]

Matt - thanks so much for posting thus - spot on! I am so tired of hearing the theology of Rodney “Can’t we all just get along” King pass for Christianity in practice.

[2] Posted by Festivus on 10-25-2012 at 02:04 PM · [top]

Matt - Yes it’s Hegelianism - you’ve nailed it.  Fulcrum’s position is determined by synthesis rather than biblical principles as this article shows,  and as the liberals slide further into heresy then Fulcrum will go with it.

It’s unbelievable that someone who describes themselves as an evangelical can describe the ‘centre of this doctrine (of justification by faith) in these terms,  where the core part of the doctrine has been ripped out.  Perhaps it shows how dangerous the ‘New Perspective on Paul’ is.

People who claim to be the moderates sitting between two extremes are in my experience the most dangerous because they give the appearance of reasonableness (and because of this able to get away with demonising others as “loonies”)  whilst often being the most deluded.

So concerning the issue of homosexual practice Stephen Kurht thinks a compromise can be reached and suspects that “the major issue for moderate conservatives is what we are to preserve as the basic norms for society”.  I guess those who say instead that the major issue is that we maintain Biblical teaching that homosexual practice is a sin and we rid the church of any heresy that undermines the gospel by denying this truth, would be classed as ‘extreme’  and ‘loony’.

[3] Posted by Steven Pascoe on 10-25-2012 at 02:26 PM · [top]

Whenever I read or hear some liberal spouting falsehoods who closes with a reminder -  but “I believe in Jesus,” the words of James and Matthew come roaring to mind:

You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe—and shudder!

When he arrived at the other side in the region of the Gadarenes,[c] two demon-possessed men coming from the tombs met him. They were so violent that no one could pass that way. 29 “What do you want with us, Son of God?” they shouted. “Have you come here to torture us before the appointed time?”

[4] Posted by Jackie on 10-25-2012 at 02:32 PM · [top]

Thanks Matt+.  Great analogies with Marcion, Pelagius et al.

[5] Posted by MichaelA on 10-25-2012 at 11:24 PM · [top]

Kuhrt believes that with the Loony left and Loony right there is an equality of error in their respective positions. This reminds me of border crossing and the consecration of openly gay bishops being treated equally. The ABC even referred to the differences between liberals and conservatives as a difference of “styles”. The assumption is that the only viable truth is in the middle. Blending truth and fiction does not lead to a new truth. It leads to confusion and makes truth relative. The man in Norway who committed all of the murders was a self professed Christian. Those in the middle see themselves as reasonable but they are really only apologists for error using unity to justify their compromises.

[6] Posted by Fr. Dale on 10-26-2012 at 07:39 AM · [top]

Good post, Jackie. May I add to that Acts 16:16-18: “...when we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave girl who had a spirit by which she predicted the future. She earned a great deal of money for her owners by fortune-telling. This girl followed Paul and the rest of us, shouting, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved.” She kept this up for many days. Finally Paul became so troubled that he turned around and said to the spirit, “In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!” At that moment the spirit left her.”

Seek to perceive the spirit behind the messenger as well as searching the scriptures for the validity of the message.

[7] Posted by GSP98 on 10-27-2012 at 11:39 PM · [top]

I have posted a critique of Stephen Kuhrt’s position here:

[8] Posted by John Richardson on 10-28-2012 at 01:58 AM · [top]

John Richardson+,
I enjoyed your well reasoned article. This may also be considered an example of failure to discern the body.

[9] Posted by Fr. Dale on 10-28-2012 at 08:34 AM · [top]

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