Luther was not only right to insert “alone” into Romans, but he should have done it again

It is no secret that a few PCA pastors been scathingly critical of N. T. Wright, the “New Perspective,” and any miscreant who would appreciate those things in the PCA. To hear them tell it, there is absolutely no legitimate reason for this. People are only attracted to the New Perspective because they don’t understand the perfectly satisfactory traditional perspective.

If one wants to understand why the “traditional perspective” has, in certain cases, utterly botched exegesis, one need only look at one example of traditional preaching on Romans 4. Particularly this passage:

13 For the promise to Abraham and his offspring that he would be heir of the world did not come through the law but through the righteousness of faith. 14 For if it is the adherents of the law who are to be the heirs, faith is null and the promise is void. 15 For the law brings wrath, but where there is no law there is no transgression. 16 That is why it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his offspring—not only to the adherent of the law but also to the one who shares the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all.

In a sermon that covers verse 14, a prominant NPP critic and PCA pastor says:

Paul goes on explain how one receives this inheritance. Verse 13: Not through the law, or probably preferably, not through law, but through the righteousness of faith. basically, Paul is claiming that we receive the promise of God by Faith, not obedience.

The pastor goes on like this hitting home how faith itself is not the obedience that constitutes our righteousness, and points out how many think that being good enough is what matters and that Paul is addressing this error to think we must first “purify ourselves enough” of our sins before we have the right to come to God. He goes on:

Paul makes his case in verse 14 arguing that there can only be one way to obtain the promise, not two. “If those who are of the law are heirs, faith is made void and the promise nullified.” Paul is pointing out that the claim that we can justify ourselves by enough good behavior, actually makes God less loving, rather than more loving. I’ve already thrown that out and not answered it, so let me begin to answer that for you. Keep in mind, Paul is addressing people who think that by obeying the law they will gain righteousness. If you keep the law, you will be declared righteous. And they also think that the law provides righteousness, and that those who are pronounced righteous will, through that righteousness, receive the reward, the promise, the inheritance. So it’s quite obvious for them. You receive the promise by being declared righteous and you get declared righteous by obeying the law.

This is lovely theology. One can find it in Ephesians 2.8-10, 1 Timothy 3 and many other places (in the OT as well). But Paul in this text is not addressing the person who thinks he can be righteous by obeying (enough of) the law. That is not who the “adherent of the law” is. (In fact, the ESV stumbled, in my opinion, by adding the word “adherent” to the text. I think that an another word in another place would have been more helpful.)

Paul cannot, in this passage, be speaking of one trying to be righteous before God by obedience to the law because he goes on to say that those very people–“adherents of the law”–are the ones who will be saved along with those who are of the faith of Abraham (v. 16).

Does that sound remotely orthodox? That the great gospel promise is that both those who only believe and those who think we need to “purify ourselves enough” in order to be accepted by God are both the offspring of Abraham?

Of course, none of this is noticed by this NPP critic because v. 16 is reserved for another sermon

There are a lot of cues to lead this pastor to think that Paul must be saying what he wants and expects him to say: grace, wrath, law, faith, are all loci in our systematic theology (and I believe Paul’s too if we frame “law” as the generic obedience that all people owe God). But in following those cues he ends up with people trying to win God’s favor by their obedience who are declared to be Abraham’s offspring. This is the irony: by insisting on a “traditional” message, our NPP critic preaches a sermon that, if followed consistently, would lead readers “away from Geneva and to Rome” to utilize a popular substitute for critical analysis that is in vogue these days.

Paul is not referring to the legalist/moralist versus the one who trusts, but rather the Jew to the exclusion of the Gentile. He is showing that Abrahamic identitiy is for both the Jew and Gentile who trusts according to the Gospel message. Thus in verse 16 we find a restatement of verses 11 and 12:

11 He received the sign of circumcision as a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. The purpose was to make him the father of all who believe without being circumcised, so that righteousness would be counted to them as well, 12 and to make him the father of the circumcised who are not merely circumcised but who also walk in the footsteps of the faith that our father Abraham had before he was circumcised.

16 That is why it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his offspring—not only to the adherent of the law but also to the one who shares the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all

There is a lot in the surrounding context to back up this interpretation, but I will leave that alone right now because it really doesn’t need any backing up. Paul is not talking about people trying to be justified by obedience but he is arguing that God’s salvation cannot be exclusive to the Jews. Thus, it is not “adherents” that is supposed to be assumed in this text, but rather:

13 For the promise to Abraham and his offspring that he would be heir of the world did not come through the law but through the righteousness of faith. 14 For if it is those of the law [only] who are to be the heirs, faith is null and the promise is void. 15 For the law brings wrath, but where there is no law there is no transgression. 16 That is why it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his offspring—not only to the one of the law but also to the one who shares the faith of Abraham [even if a Gentile], who is the father of us all.

Let us be clear, the preaching paraphrased above is only mistaken because the mistake goes deep into the tradition. Calvin’s own commentary on Romans makes exactly the same claim by making Paul mean two entirely different things in two successive references to those “of the law.” Of verse 14, Calvin writes,

He takes his argument from what is impossible or absurd, that the favor which Abraham obtained from God, was not promised to him through any legal agreement, or through any regard to works; for if this condition had been interposed — that God would favor those only with adoption who deserved, or who performed the law, no one could have dared to feel confident that it belonged to him: for who is there so conscious of so much perfection that he can feel assured that the inheritance is due to him through the righteousness of the law? Void then would faith be made; for an impossible condition would not only hold the minds of men in suspense and anxiety, but fill them also with fear and trembling: and thus the fulfillment of the promises would be rendered void; for they avail nothing but when received by faith. If our adversaries had ears to hear this one reason, the contest between us might easily be settled.

The Apostle assumes it as a thing indubitable, that the promises would by no means be effectual except they were received with full assurance of mind. But what would be the case if the salvation of men was based on the keeping of the law? consciences would have no certainty, but would be harassed with perpetual inquietude, and at length sink in despair; and the promise itself, the fulfillment of which depended on what is impossible, would also vanish away without producing any fruit. Away then with those who teach the common people to seek salvation for themselves by works, seeing that Paul declares expressly, that the promise is abolished if we depend on works. But it is especially necessary that this should be known, — that when there is a reliance on works, faith is reduced to nothing. And hence we also learn what faith is, and what sort of righteousness ought that of works to be, in which men may safely trust.

The Apostle teaches us, that faith perishes, except the soul rests on the goodness of God….

Then, Calvin says of the same term in verse 16,

Though these words mean in another place those who, being absurd zealots of the law, bind themselves to its yoke, and boast of their confidence in it, yet here they mean simply the Jewish nation, to whom the law of the Lord had been delivered.

Another place? Another place in the same paragraph? Calvin is just wrong here.

So which is it? Do you want to say you handle that Word of God responsibly or do you want to say that you follow whatever Calvin says?

Right now, to read and hear what comes from the anti-NPP movement, one would think that those on the other side had no other purpose in life but to subvert the PCA. Well, if preaching accurately from the Bible is subversive to the PCA, then I think the denomination has bigger problems than those some are currently labeling as enemies of the faith. There are perfectly responsible and theologically orthodox reasons why pastors in the PCA believe it is only responsible to keep up with, consider, and even agree with things that currently go by the name “New Perspective on Paul.” Hiding from it means taking a vibrant tradition of Biblical scholarship and turning into a cult that prefers tradition to Scripture.

Do we want to preach the Bible accurately or not?

31 thoughts on “Luther was not only right to insert “alone” into Romans, but he should have done it again

  1. Matt

    I have said many times, to many friends and other inquirers who think I’m an “NPP person”, that NT Wright and the NPP generally cannot be opposed successfully by anything other than BETTER exegesis. Book-banning, internet anathemas, and fear-mongering denominational study committees will have two effects: to pique the interest of every bright, exegetically-talented seminarian; and to shut the critics into their own prison, so that they can no longer avail themselves of exegetical insights that ought to be free for the taking.

    NT Wright ate Gaffin’s lunch at AAPC 2005 in the interaction sessions. He always had a good answer for the questions posed to him, and Gaffin came out sounding like a man with a very impressive and elaborate theological system which was keeping him from understanding … what St. Paul really said.

  2. Pingback: What’s new in the New Perspective on Paul and how can you claim to still be traditional while substantially aggreeing with it? at Mark Horne

  3. David


    Great post.

    This is also a reminder that good scholarship matters. The ESV’s addition of “adherents” in v. 14 (which is also in the NRSV) is quite misleading. Even worse, in my judgment, is the NIV’s “those who live by law”. “Those who are of the Law” (NKJV, NAU, NASB) is better.

    If any enterprising seminary students are reading this: Paul’s use of genitive constructions is worthy of a few Doctoral dissertations.


  4. G.L.W.Johnson

    There is one major obstacle you have yet to clear in your panegyric NT
    Wright.He catagorically says that the Reformers and their successors
    badly misunderstood the Apostle Paul on Justification, and he makes
    no claims to being even remotely in harmony with the Westminster Standards.
    Now you are certainly free to follow Wright in his take on justification
    and related doctrines, but you cannot have your cake and eat it too by
    claiming that Wright and the WS compliment one another. They most assurely do not, and Wright would be the first one to candidly say so.

  5. mark Post author

    You’re being really vague Gary. What I agree with is that “[one] of the law” means Jew not merit legalist. How is that remotely problematic?

    Are you saying that one must agree with Calvin on Romans 4.14 in order to be confessional and orthodox? Why not deal with the instance I have given, at least briefly?

    Is there some other particular exegesis you would like to address where you think Wright is wrong and a Reformer right?

    As far as what you claim, it seems to me you’re ignoring the fact that Wright and even Dunn of all people have said both that they agree with Luther’s use of Paul against the Roman Catholic doctrine of justification. Here is Dunn’s statement from his Theology of Paul’s Letters to the Galatians (Cambridge University Press; 1993). He quotes from Luther and then writes:

    These extracts are enough to show that Luther had fairly grasped Paul’s principal thrust on the sufficiency of faith. His own experience had taught him thoroughly that any attempt to add conditions to the acceptability of human beings before God is a breach and distortion of the essential truth of the gospel. And his restatement of this insight, not least in his lectures on Galatians, lit a torch which has continued to illuminate western Christianity ever since….

    The corollary of Luther’s restatement, however, was less fortunate. For in understanding “works of the law” as good works done to achieve righteousness his thinking was beginning to run at tangent to Paul’s…. he lost sight of the whole corporate dimension of Paul’s doctrine… The gain which Luther’s emphasis brought to theology is in no doubt and has often been explored. But an interpretation of the theology of Galatians more closely related to the historical situation of the letter itself will want to bring out other aspects too.

    It is important to appreciate that both emphases are rooted in a fundamental assertion of the sufficiency of faith; both protest against any attempt to add or require something more than faith on the human side when computing what makes a person acceptable to God. The difference which became apparent in earlier chapters is that the added factor against which Paul himself was protesting was not individual human effort, but the assumption that ethnic origin and identity is a factor in determining the grace of God and its expression. Ethnic origin and identity is a different way of assessing human worth, but one more fundamental than the question of ability to perform good works. What Paul protested against was even more insidious — the assumption that the way people are constituted by birth rules them in or rules them out from receiving God’s grace. Paul’s protest was not against a high regard for righteousness, against dedicated devotion to God’s law. It was rather against the corollary to such devotion: that failure to share in that devotion meant exclusion from the life of the world to come, and that the majority of peoples in the world were in principle so excluded.

    Are you aware that Wright has even said that if a Reformed view of law and gospel had dominated scholarship, rather than a Lutheran one, that the “reaction” or even “over-reaction” of Sanders might not have been necessary. Here are his exact words:

    I suspect that had the views of Cranfield or Ridderbos or other Reformed writers dominated exegesis, with their positive view of the law of Moses, rather than the negative Lutheran one, there might have been no need for the correction—or perhaps over-correction—offered in the New Perspective offered by Ed Sanders and others.

    Also, since Wright has said he is in submission to the 39 Articles, what is the substantial difference between them and the WS on justification? Where has Wright been so candid as to “say so”?

    Finally, I find Wright siding with the Protestant position all the time, and am not sure where you are getting your summary theological statements about him from.

    While I ask all this, I don’t see why I should care about Wright’s agreement with the Westminster Standards since I know my own. And that is all that matters. I use and find valuable far less orthodox sources than Wright. I’m recently started re-reading Mere Christianity, for example.

  6. David


    I noticed that your congregation holds both the Westminster Confession of Faith and the Second London Confession of Faith for its doctrinal standards. This demonstrates that you understand how people who disagree on something as important as the sacraments, can still labor together while learning from each other. Surely you hope that other Christians will have sufficient charity to not accuse you of compromising basic Reformed convictions, yet unlike Mark, you genuinely are trying work out some sort of practical compromise in this area.

    If you extend the same sort of charity toward Mark, you will have no difficulty seeing how he can learn from, and agree with, Bishop Wright at one point – while remaining critical of other aspects of his teaching.

    Also, to state the obvious, Mark isn’t trying to conform his theology to Bishop Wright but to the Holy Spirit speaking through the Apostle Paul. Isn’t that the goal for all of us? So if you don’t like Mark’s exegesis, please respond with better exegesis.


  7. G.L.W.Johnson

    Mark and David
    I made the valid observation that Wright is on record declaring the Reformers
    misread the Apostle Paul. Did he not say so? The both of you are free to agree with him.
    But you are not free to say that Wright and the WS(and on the issue of justification
    the Second London follows the WFC down the line) agree with one another
    or that somehow Wright ‘compliments’ the WS. This is not an issue about ‘exegesis’
    it is a confessional fideity. If Mark, as a PCA minister who took ordainal vows
    to subscribe to the system of doctrine contained in the WS, chooses to follow NT Wriht in his understanding of justification(which is something significantly different to
    that taught by the Westminster divines) he has a duty bound obligation to make this known to his presbytery. I think both of you would agree that if a PCA minister became infatuated
    with the ‘exegetical’case that a Greg Bloyd or a Clark Pinnock made for open theism
    and yet maintain that he could still subscribe to the WS and be a ‘modified’
    open theist, you would both , hopefully, strenuously object. I personally fail to see how Wright’s views on justification can be shoehorned into the WS.

  8. mark Post author

    Gary, I just made the case in this post as to what Calvin misread about Paul and that Wright and others would have right. The text is Romans 4.14-16.

    Do you think Calvin was right that Paul is speaking of the person trying to be justified by his obedience? Do you think that both those attempting to be justified in this way, and those who are of the faith of Abraham (v. 16), are his true desendants?

    If a person said he was a “modified open theist” in that he believed that God had total knowledge of the future and that God unconditionally fore-ordained from eternity whatsoever comes to pass, and that God monergistically saved those and those only whom he chose, then he would be orthodox.

    Finally, I not only have asserted my orthodoxy, but been examined and confirmed on this point. All my teachings, written and verbal, are open and available with many witnesses.

  9. Jeff Meyers


    NTW has made it perfectly clear that he thinks some of the Reformers misread various passages of Paul. But he has also confessed that the substance of their teaching on the Gospel was right on.

    What’s the problem? Must we submit to the exegesis of Calvin or Luther at every point? I’m am 100% convinced that they got “the righteousness of God” in Rom. 1:17 wrong. Why can’t we learn and correct their exegesis? What is this incipient Reformed Romanism that cannot bear to criticize our beloved “tradition” and Reformation “saints”?

    Mark has shown pretty carefully, I believe, that our tradition has not got Rom. 4:14 right in many cases. All he is doing is being faithful to our commitment to sola scriptura.

    Constantly sniping about historical theology or confessional violations without dealing with biblical arguments is getting really old.

  10. G.L.W.Johnson

    I would contend that open theism ,as argued by its leading proponents(Boyd,
    Sanders, Pinnock) is incompatiable with Reformed theology,especially as expressed
    in the WS and they any PCA or OPC minster who embraced a ‘modified’ form of open
    theism would be in violation of his ministerial vows. Likewise to embrace NT Wright
    understanding of justification and all its particulars, puts one outside the system of doctrine taught in the WS. Of course, you are free to take an ‘exception’ to the
    WS on this point, but this would do major damage to that system of doctrine and
    render the confession practically useless. What next, PCA ministers taking ‘exception
    to the doctrine of the Divine decrees or the doctrine of the Trinity? The question
    is: Are the views of Wright on justification those of the WS? The answer is NO-
    and as I have already stated, the Bishop would be the first to say so- and any Prsebyterian body that historically has failed to enforce its confessional idenity has eventually
    gone off into the ditch.

  11. David


    I have criticized various NPP formulations of Justification, including N.T. Wright’s, both in lectures and in writing. I can’t, for the life of me, see how this means I must disagree with everything he says. Yet, you seem to be assuming that since Mark agrees with Wright’s exegesis at this one point – that he must agree with Wright everywhere. Of course, you know better than this.

    You write: “This is not an issue about ‘exegesis’ it is a(bout) confessional fidelity.” I don’t know Mark, but I hold, without any equivocation, to the WCF teaching on Justification. How does Mark’s exegesis of Romans 4:14 call this into question?

    Your comment regarding someone becoming “infatuated with the ‘exegetical’ case that a Greg Boyd or a Clark Pinnock made for open theism” strikes me, quite frankly, as odd. Wouldn’t you point out that such exegesis is wrong? I don’t subscribe to the WCF because it is the Reformed position, I subscribe to the WCF because it reflects the teaching of Scripture. If you are claiming that Mark’s exegesis is not confessional, please show how it is not confessional. If you are claiming that it is wrong, please show us better exegesis. But if Mark’s exegesis is neither confessional nor wrong – what’s the problem?

    I thought my reference to the Second London Confession was obvious, but perhaps it isn’t. While the WCF and Second London Confession teach the same doctrine of Justification – they teach fundamentally different doctrines of covenant membership and baptism. Since you are a reformed scholar, you have a pretty good idea of what the Reformers thought of those who would deny infant baptism to their children. Yet, while you make this actual move away from the practice and convictions of the Reformers – Mark (to the best of my knowledge) actually holds and teaches what the Westminster Confession says on the doctrine of Justification – that is, he is fully Confessional on Justification – and he is still being criticized for his views.

    That doesn’t make any sense.


  12. mark Post author

    “Mark, I would contend that open theism ,as argued by its leading proponents(Boyd, Sanders, Pinnock) is incompatiable with Reformed theology,especially as expressed in the WS and they any PCA or OPC minster who embraced a ‘modified’ form of open theism would be in violation of his ministerial vows.”

    Then you are ignoring the word “modified” in your statement. If their views are modified you are obligated to find and set out what their views are, as opposed to those of Boyd, Sanders, and Pinnock. By definition, “modified” means, “not identical to.”

    But all this is based on the false claim that Wright’s views are to the orthdox doctrine of justificaiton as are those of “free will theism” to “classical theism.” That is itself a false claim and one you have asserted without evidence. I’ve played along to point out that my views are at issue, not Wright’s.

    But, again, for the third time, I have given above a specific instance where traditional exegesis is obviously wrong and misleading and where we should all thank God for the “new perspective.”

    Are you or are you not a believer in Calvin’s exegesis on this point and will you defend it here? And will you explain how my alternative, “new perspective” reading is hostile to the theology of the Westminster Standards?

    If you are here just to repeat key phrases about my orthodoxy no matter what I say, then there is no point in multiplying comments.

  13. David


    Of course I meant to say: “But if Mark’s exegesis is neither un-confessional nor wrong – what’s the problem?”

  14. Barb

    I have to say, this attack by G.L.W.Johnson is one of the most bizarre things I’ve seen. Mark posts an exegesis of a small passage of Scripture, and Gary Johnson rides in with guns blazing claiming that Mark follows NTW on the doctrine of justification. Total non sequitur!

    I think these irrational attacks must be born of fear. If one admits that a sacred cow might really be a horse, then the whole barnyard comes tumbling down – or so it’s thought. But I see no need to give up the WCF’s definition of justification based upon this short exegetical point.

  15. Pingback: How is monotheism part of Paul’s argument? at Mark Horne

  16. G.L.W.Johnson

    Goodness gracious, Barb you are paranoid! How do you construe my posts as an ‘attack’ on Mark or anyone else? Isn’t there room here for disagreement without these shrill responses?
    I understand that the atomosphere surrounding these issues in both the PCA and the OPC have made tempers run a little high, but this kind of ‘defense mechanism’ to anyone who raises questions about NT Wright’s views on justification borders on some kind of phobia.
    Jeff, how is my defense of the WS akin to ‘Romanism? This is strange indee. Wright openly admits that his take on justification could help heal the breech between Protestants and Rome ( something that Norman Shepherd has also hinted at), we have a number of recent converts to Rome celebrating the role of the both the NPP and the FV in getting people to start down the road home to Rome-and yet You point the accusing finger at my ‘Old School’ approach to the WS as somehow being ‘Romanish’. Go figure.

  17. Jeff Meyers


    It’s really quite simple. Mark does some careful exegesis and you come back with “that ain’t traditional.” It’s not hard to compare Rome’s veneration of tradition with the recent hardening of many Reformed people against anything new or different from our venerated 400-year-old Westminster tradition. Westminster is tradition. Good, helpful tradition, but human tradition nonetheless.

    If anyone suggests a new way of putting things or even suggests that we need to add insights to what we already accept, then inquisitions are set up. I’ve talked about this here. This is all so very un-Protestant and anti-Reformed (according to the Scripture).

  18. G.L.W.Johnson

    P&R is scheduled to release the book I edited on BB Warfield this week.
    You should get a copy and read my chapter on ‘Warfield and Briggs: Their
    Polemics and Legacy’. You sound like an echo of Charles Briggs ( actually I hope you read the whole book).

  19. mark Post author

    Gary, Warfield actually did careful exegetical study and used it in argumentation. He would have never qualified to be professor of anything if he displayed the method of your contribution to these comments.

    I have said straight up that Calvin was wrong. Do you agree with me and Wright or Calvin regarding Romans 4.14. What if any implications do you think this should have for the Westminster Standards?

  20. Jeff Meyers

    So, let me get this straight. We ask legitimate questions about the relative importance of tradition and Scripture. Mark makes an exegetical argument that our tradition gets the interpretation of Rom. 4:14 wrong. I simply repeat what our Reformed forefathers have said about the danger of venerating human tradition. We ask you what you think of all this. And you respond with likening me/us to Charles Briggs. Amazing.

    Again, this is so like Luther’s and Calvin’s Roman opponents it’s not even funny. Roman theologians couldn’t deal with their scriptural arguments, so they resorted to identifying the Reformers with various historical heretics. It was all about historical theology. It always is with traditionalists. Tradition, whether Reformed or Roman, is all-important. And tradition has already given us the final word on the interpretation of Scripture. Anything that violates our precious tradition’s authority must be silenced.

  21. mark Post author

    It is always an honor to deal with scholars Gary. I can only hope the intellectual quality of discourse is higher than what you have displayed here. Grapple with the issues someday soon, please.

  22. G.L.W.Johnson

    Gee, now you two have gone and hurt my feelings. And to think I was going to send both of you ‘signed’ copies of the Warfield book. But since it does have any pictures you guys would get bored pretty quick.

  23. Todd

    Gary, several of us would really love to see you attempt to deal with Mark’s exegetical arguments. Please?

  24. G.L.W.Johnson

    It wouldn’t phase you, Mark, Jeff or anyone else in the FV in the least if the Apostle Paul himself appeared suddenly to debunk the FV. He would immediately be labeled
    ‘biased’, a ‘TR’ and most definely ‘not scholarly’. I have tried to dialogue with you guys and do so in a good-natured fashion- but I get insulted, called names and accused of havig sinister motives if I raise questions about NT Wright. Forget it.

  25. Todd

    No. Gary. You have not tried to dialogue here at all. Look up at your first post.

    Why not talk to these guys about Romans?

  26. mark Post author

    Gary, you seemed almost friendly when you started this. I was proud of you for not trolling for once. (And I am embarrassed that I surprised you by responding in kind.) But then you refused to interact with anything I said. Rather you kept repeating to say unsubstantiated vague generalities about Wright and then repeatedly tell me what I must “really” believe (Wright thinks the Reformers were wrong and therefore you must really disagree with the Westminster Standards).

    I don’t understand why you simply didn’t address the issue of Romans 4.14, 16. Why just more preposterous character slurs about how I don’t care about the Apostle Paul?

    The bottom line is you came here not to dialogue but to repeatedly type in my comments certain key accusations against me. You ignored everything and kept making the same claim. No argument. No discussion of Paul in Romans.

  27. Glenn

    I’m shocked. Is there any chance that this could be someone posing as Gary Johnson? I just can’t believe that he didn’t interact at all with what you guys were saying. This is simply unbelievable, as Jeff said.

    On a similar note, but not related personally to Gary Johnson, is it a common theme that any of these ex-Reformed guys that converted to Rome were very adamant about the Westminster Confession (i.e. – strict) until they started to see Shepherd and others questioning things. Then, once they saw an alternate route, they never changed their presuppositions about extra-Biblical authority and when they found the RC church, they simply swapped one extra-Biblical authority for another? A vivid example of this would be Scott Hahn and his wife in Rome Sweet Home. I picked it up off the shelf for a moment last week at Books-a-Million and started reading one of the chapters on his process of converting and my above analysis seemed to be his basic path – from a strict traditional presbyterian to that of a strict traditional roman catholic.

    I’d be interested to know if anyone else has written about such a trend. It’s also interesting that Shepherd and others who have been the big names to question the tradition and point to Scripture have never even considered converting to Rome.

    The point being that you guys (Mark, David, Jeff), Shepherd, and others have always held to a presupposition of Scripture over any and all traditions of men (as the Reformers did). Whereas the others who have converted to Rome never really had that view in their heart. It wouldn’t surprise me if someone like Gary started seeing validity in other’s arguments against traditional protestantism and ended up converting to RCism because they always have to have an extra-Biblical authority to survive in their Christianity.

    What do you all think? I could be totally wrong. I just wanted to get some thoughts and comments/corrections. Thanks!


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