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Horton: Only a subset of Calvinists and Lutherans can be Evangelicals

Reformation Online just re-published this 1992 article authored by Michael Scott Horton of Westminster Seminary in California. Here's the money quote:

Nevertheless, if we are going to still use "evangelical" as a noun to define a body of Christians holding to a certain set of convictions, it is high time we got clear on these matters. An evangelical cannot be an Arminian any more than an evangelical can be a Roman Catholic. The distinctives of evangelicalism were denied by Rome at the Council of Trent, by the Remonstrants in 1610, were confused and challenged by John Wesley in the eighteenth century, and have become either ignored or denied in contemporary "evangelicalism."

(HT: Classical Arminianism)


Comments (39)

Thus saith the Magesterial Authority of the Reformed Church... by which, on the same authority, they are known (with certainty) to possess no such authority.

But it all seriousness, the claim is absurd for, inter alia, it leaves most evangelicals, few of whom give much thought to the supposed errors of Arminius, much less exclude those who positively embrace some of his doctrines, out of Evangelicalism.

So what he's really saying is Evangelicalism is Presbyterianism. Wouldn't it be easier to simply define oneself as belonging the latter and forgetting about the former? After all, at least Presbyterians have an -ism to belong to. What about those poor folks in the E-Free and C&MA? What are they, then, if Horton has his way?

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think his claim is also false to the historical use of the term 'evangelical' to refer to Methodists and other low-church non-conformist groups in England during the 19th century. Many of these would certainly not have been Calvinist in doctrine.

Did anyone else happen to see the exit poll results showing that about 10 percent of Catholic voters consider themselves "Evangelical or Born Again"?

It seems to me that Lydia is correct, and Horton is wrong. Both historically and theologically, one can be an evangelical and reject the relevant Calvinist distinctives. Not only can it be done, it has been done millions of times across the Protestant centuries.

I like and respect Michael Horton, and for many good reasons, but his view on this issue is vigorously disputed even by other Calvinists. That doesn't make Michael wrong, of course, but it ought to make him more humble on the point. The noetic effects of sin becloud us all. In our theologizing, we all endeavor to understand a fallen world with fallen minds, and we read and apply our Bibles (and traditions) under those same fallen conditions. Under those conditions, it is easy to be wrong. Yet theological humility is in short supply. Naturally, this is not an exclusively Protestant phenomenon. Theological arrogance besets other Christians and other traditions too, even if they take recourse to conflicting theories of infallibility -- perhaps especially when they do so.

That's my view, and my view is not without its intelligent detractors.

When I became a Catholic in the mid-nineties and was being interrogated and abused 24/7 I used to tell my hard-core Calvinist friends that if they were really serious about their views they should take the view that most Evangelicals were heretics too. I'm glad somebody out there is saying it even if I think it false. At least it's consistent.

When I became a Catholic in the mid-nineties and was being interrogated and abused 24/7...

It frequently seems that the Protestant-turned-Papist are often the ones who suffer the worse during and especially after conversion.

There are even times when you wonder if it was all worth it.

Heck, there's a former minister I know of that was reduced to a Walmart Greeter after he did the backstroke across the Tiber just to make ends meet as a Catholic!

Why? And for What? Is it REALLY worth it?

Isn't one an Evangelical Christian no matter what?

Aristocles,

I didn't even have that bad a time of it--mostly just the social ugliness. I wasn't a minister so I didn't have to find a new job or anything like that. But even if I had it would all be worth it to be in the Church.

Dave,

You're certainly blessed; if only more of us had the courage of Newman as you seem to have yourself.

As for those ministers mentioned, we can only pray that God continues to help them and their families materially as He has spiritually.

Ari,
You make a good point: Abuse often follows conversion. That's the case no matter which direction one swims across the Tiber.

Well, currently, it appears Dr. Beckwith has become the Prey.

I'm just surprised after what I've read from the Triablogue entitled "Beckwith in Retreat", that Dr. Beckwith hasn't responded at all.

Steve Hays has published a rather scathing condemnation of Dr. Beckwith.

Horton is right. Evangelicalism is properly defined as belief in Sola Scriptura, Solus Christus, Sola Gratia, Sola Fide and Sola Deo Gloria. The decrees of Trent show that the Church of Rome and the evangelicals understood each other and disagreed on clearly defined points. Horton doesn't exactly say that only Lutherans, Calvinists and Amyrauldians can consistantly subscribe to the historic understanding of those points: but he would be correct if he did say that. A concise restatement of the five solas can be found at http://www.reformed.org/documents/cambridge.html

I'm not sure I follow Horton's argument. After all, could not we go back to 1462 and ask the question, "How was a Christian defined then?" If it turns out that "Christian" did not include what was later to become the Reformed view, on what grounds could he object to our request that Reformed "Christians" cease using the term "Christian" to describe themselves. (I am, of course, not suggesting that. I'm engaging in a reductio ad absurdum). If Luther and Calvin are capable of reforming Catholicism, then why aren't Wesley and Arminius equally qualified to reform the "Evangelicals"? Why is the 16th century normative for all generation of Protestants that follow it? If Geneva can trump Trent, why not London over Geneva? And why not Westminster Abby over Azusa Street? And finally, why not Rome over Westminster Abby if that happens to be the next in line (as it was for me)?

I don't at all understand why this should be a theological debate at all. To me it seems a question of how the word has been used. And there's absolutely no doubt that 'evangelical' is a word in the English language which has for a very long time now (nigh on three hundred years, at least) been used to include non-Calvinists, including Wesleyans and lots of people who are certainly not Catholic.

I can understand in certain cases going back thirty or so years to make an ideological point by trying to reclaim some older meaning of a perfectly good word that was thrown out by political partisans. The word 'discrimination' comes to mind as a good example here. But I really can't see the point of going back _hundreds_ of years to retro-define the word 'evangelical'. Why not engage in our theological battles qua theological battles rather than making them turn on the bestowal of this particular term as an accolade?

"Why not engage in our theological battles qua theological battles rather than making them turn on the bestowal of this particular term as an accolade?"

Ockham's revenge? :-)

1. If Luther and Calvin are capable of reforming Catholicism, then why aren't Wesley and Arminius equally qualified to reform the "Evangelicals"?

According to Miley, libertarian free will is definitional to Arminianism. The question is this: Is LFW taught in the Bible? If not, then that means Wesley and Arminius can't reform Evangelicals. As LFW goes, so goes Arminianism. Evangelicals, as Horton defines them, are subject first to Scripture. Therefore, they can only be reformed by what is taught in Scripture. So, we should begin not with Luther and Calvin, but with what is taught in Scripture.

By the way, I'll assume you realize that Luther and Calvin represent two different generations of Reformers. The narrative that Calvin is the parent of Calvinism is historically inaccurate. The Reformed Churches, to take the argument further, are not encapsulated in Calvin in the way the Lutherans are represented by Luther.

That said, WSCA is known for historical theology, so to a certain extent, we should expect Horton to invoke historical theology at some point to define who or what is Reformed or Evangelical. Robert Clarke is largely unwilling to include Reformed Baptistery in his list of what is truly Reformed. Many of us take issue with that. Historical theology serves its uses, but sometimes I think WSCA verges on making it our rule of faith. I know many would deny that, but that's something I see coming out of there at times.

Why is the 16th century normative for all generation of Protestants that follow it?

Why is Nicea normative for all generations of Christians that follow it? If we applied this to Catholicism what would the answer be?

Dr. Beckwith, you are drawing an analogy minus the argument, but more importantly, the question is this: Are the Five Soli true or not? If so, then we should follow them.

3. If Geneva can trump Trent, why not London over Geneva?

See 1.

4. And finally, why not Rome over Westminster Abby if that happens to be the next in line (as it was for me)?

Because Rome's official teachings are not true. It's really very simple, Dr. Beckwith.

"Because Rome's official teachings are not true. It's really very simple, Dr. Beckwith."

Because [I say] Rome's official teachings are not true; therefore, it is not.

Bravo, Mr. Logical!

The issue is not what view is true, but what counts as an Evangelical. After all, one can answer the question as to what counts as a Muslim without caring one wit as to whether Islam is true. As a Catholic I can make the judgment that John Calvin was a Protestant, even though I think Calvin was wrong about some things. Suppose someone came along and asked, "Were Ralph Waldo Emerson, John Wesley, and John Henry Newman Protestants?" I would answer "no, yes, for a time." Is the truth of Protestantism relevant to that judgment?" No.

How about this example. Can a Reformed thinker believe that the Five Solas are true and that John Wesley was an Evangelical? Of course, just as St. Thomas Aquinas can believe that Moilina was a Catholic but wrong about middle knowledge. Or better yet, if the Catholic view of justification is true, would you still be able to pick out a Calvinist in a theological line-up?

"The issue is not what view is true, but what counts as an Evangelical."

Bingo. Sidetracking off into the truth or nontruth of Protestant distinctives is unwarranted here. Lydia is right -- the usage of 'evangelical' has been far broader than Horton's strict definition allows, for at least the past 175 years. I'm currently reading "Middlemarch," for example, and Eliot's characters continually refer to the non-conformists and Methodist-leaning folks of the town as 'Evangelicals.'

"Steve Hays has published a rather scathing condemnation of Dr. Beckwith."

The conversion (or reversion) of a prominent Evangelical to Catholicism always brings these Calvinist gadflies out of the swamp. A more uncharitable and closeminded lot you will not find (I'm speaking here of the Triabloggers and that type of Calvinist, not all Calvinists.)

My advice would be to steer clear -- you cannot possibly win an argument with them, not because they're right, but because they've built themselves into a presuppositionalist box with a filter which allows no "foreign" non-Calvinist concepts to enter. It is like debating a Mormon who insists that you accept the truth of the Book of Mormon before agreeing to debate.

Again, this critique does not apply to all Calvinists. I have had perfectly fine, fruitful discussions with Calvinists both online and in person who do not take this belligerent, blinkered approach.

Historic Calvinists are not fidiestst or presuppositionalists. Luther may have had his roots in Medieval nominalists. Calvin, on the other hand, was scholastic. So was Old Princeton, McCosh, Alexander, Hodge, and Warfield et. al., they were all scholastic. Presuppositionalism, with its silly circular reasoning, is a relatively new phenomena in Calvinism.

Calvin was most emphatically not a scholastic. He was a Renaissance humanist who turned from Catholicism to Protestantism, and who maintained his humanist methods in doing so. By "Renaissance humanist" I do not mean "secular humanist." They are radically different things. Renaissance humanism was a curricular movement that rejected the medieval scholastic curriculum and methods in favor of a curriculum that centered on the humanities (hence their name) and whose methods were more historical and more literary than those of the scholastics. That's why, when Calvin started the Geneva Academy, he both employed the new curriculum and made his school trilingual. That's why, in his commentaries, he does grammatical/historical exegesis, not the exegesis of the scholastics. That's why, especially in the final version of the Institutes, his methods of articulation, his argumentation, his analysis, and his content are so radically distanced from, say, Thomas Aquinas. Calvin's method and content are rooted in history and in texts, not in Aristotle, not in nominalism, and not in something in between.

If you don't see Calvin in response to scholasticism, you don't really see Calvin.

Rob G, spot on.

Spock,
Genembridges is not saying that Rome's views are false merely because he says they are. He's not issuing a groundless theological fiat. He has studied the question of Rome's reliablilty and reached a reasoned conclusion. You or I might not agree with him, or we might, but he is not practicing the irrationality you say he is.

Protestants (for reasons specified by Lydia) can keep reserved the label "Evangelical" to refer strictly to themselves; however, I do hope that they, in turn, do not utilize the label "Catholic" for their own usage as well such as by those who call themselves the "Reformed catholic" (anglo-catholics excepted, of course).

Unless, of course, there is such double standard that the latter Protestants can arbitrarily declare the (unjust) usage of "catholic" for their purposes appropriate while Dr. Beckwith, on the other hand, is condemned for likewise doing the same with the word "Evangelical".

Though, I must confess, I find it telling that the early church fathers themselves who comprised the Great Ecumenical Councils as Nicaea would, in the subject framework provided herein by these same detractors, fail to fit the title "Evangelical" in the scheme such Protestants have restrictively defined.

Also critical to Horton's understanding of the gospel is Christ's alien, imputed righteousness to the sinner, thus his rejection of Rome or Orthodoxy's understanding of infused righteousness. The centrality of imputed righteousness is also one of the main reasons that Horton takes issues with someone like N.T. Wright who doesn't define justification in such narrow, reformation-like, terms.

Well, I'm not actually trying to talk about "reserving" the use of 'evangelical' for Protestants. I'm just talking about the history of the term. As an historical matter, the term has been used most commonly to refer to Protestants and not to Roman Catholics, but in the last twenty-thirty or so years there has been a deliberate movement, what you might call a revisionist linguistic movement, to describe set of beliefs or people as "evangelical catholic." By my recollection, Thomas Howard was one of the first to do this. That, I believe, was in the early 80's. Howard was at that time a very high Anglican and subsequently becamse Roman Catholic. I think it's possible for a person to describe himself as an "evangelical Catholic" (or an "evangelical catholic" with a small C) and to make it clear what he means by that. I really have no dog in the fight on these terms except to say that it seems Horton is being a-historical in his definition.

Lydia,

I guess the bewilderment expressed in my recent comment is simply this:

Protestants these days have referred to themselves as "Reformed catholic" and even "Evangelical catholic"; why is it that Dr. Beckwith can't do the same as "evangelical Catholic"?

(Personally, I don't particularly care for the latter phrasing given, as you say, the historical matter.)

However, if Protestants can arbitrarily use the very term "catholic" for their own use, I don't see why Beckwith can't as well with "evangelical".

I think I would agree, Aristocles, that there are as many historical objections to the use of 'catholic' for at least certain types of Protestant as there are to 'evangelical' for Roman Catholics. The term 'Anglo-Catholic', as you imply, has been around for a while. But the "Reformed Catholic" stuff seems to me a frankly bizarre innovation and just plain confusing.

Lydia,

But the "Reformed Catholic" stuff seems to me a frankly bizarre innovation and just plain confusing.

You and Me Both!

“The conversion (or reversion) of a prominent Evangelical to Catholicism always brings these Calvinist gadflies out of the swamp. A more uncharitable and closeminded lot you will not find (I'm speaking here of the Triabloggers and that type of Calvinist, not all Calvinists. Again, this critique does not apply to all Calvinists. I have had perfectly fine, fruitful discussions with Calvinists both online and in person who do not take this belligerent, blinkered approach.”

http://www.whatswrongwiththeworld.net/2008/11/horton_only_a_subset_of_calvin.html#comment-41167

Notice that Rob’s own characterization is 10 parts ad hominem invective to 0 parts substance. It’s always funny to see people exempt themselves from the standards they try to impose on others.

“My advice would be to steer clear -- you cannot possibly win an argument with them, not because they're right, but because they've built themselves into a presuppositionalist box with a filter which allows no ‘foreign’ non-Calvinist concepts to enter. It is like debating a Mormon who insists that you accept the truth of the Book of Mormon before agreeing to debate.”

Demonstrably false. My review of Beckwith’s book wasn’t predicated on presuppositionalism or Calvinist concepts. Rather, I evaluated his book on his own grounds.

I challenge Rob to demonstrate that my review was predicated on presuppositionalist or Calvinist concepts.

The “steer clear” advice is just the transparent evasive maneuvering of someone who can’t must a single counterargument.

Notice that Rob’s own characterization is 10 parts ad hominem invective to 0 parts substance. It’s always funny to see people exempt themselves from the standards they try to impose on others.

Are you looking in the mirror?

Were you conscious when you wrote the subject condemnation of Beckwith or are you naturally a dullard?

In other words, if you would like to see an example of ad hominems, I would suggest you take a look at what you actually wrote.

Let me count the ways! "Libel" comes to mind, in fact.

(What's ironic -- and Lydia can attest to this -- is that I would be the last person on this blog to stand up for Dr. Beckwith given our history here.)


...transparent evasive maneuvering of someone who can’t must a single counterargument.

This coming from a person who conflates an autobiographical account of a journey with an explicit attack on Protestantism:

"[W]hat is the purpose of his book? To justify his reversion to Rome. It’s an apologetic for Roman Catholicism. He may deny that, but, if so, he must go out of his way to deny the obvious, which merely draws attention to the obvious. Fine. Apologetics is a two-way street. If you attack my faith, I reserve the right to counterattack. Did Beckwith really think that he could attack the Protestant faith with impunity?"

Further to the above, did I mention there was, without question, "0" substance in that piece you wrote on Beckwith, Steve?

Too bad, too, since I so wanted an actual book review of Beckwith's book from an unbiased Protestant source.

(Although, I would still greatly appreciate one from Dr. Bauman and/or Lydia, if possible.)

“Are you looking in the mirror? Were you conscious when you wrote the subject condemnation of Beckwith or are you naturally a dullard? In other words, if you would like to see an example of ad hominems, I would suggest you take a look at what you actually wrote.”

http://www.whatswrongwiththeworld.net/2008/11/horton_only_a_subset_of_calvin.html#comment-41203

And I’d suggest that you master basic logical reasoning skills. Did I take a personal position on whether ad hominem invective is good or bad? No.

I was merely answering Rob on his own grounds. He employed ad hominem invective in the very exercise of condemning ad hominem invective.

I don’t have to agree with his standards to point out his failure to abide by his own standards. So I’d suggest you avoid the epithet of dullard lest it return to the sender.

“This coming from a person who conflates an autobiographical account of a journey with an explicit attack on Protestantism.”

False dichotomy. One can do both. Beckwith is using the autobiographical genre to justify his reversion to Rome. In the course of that he presents arguments for Catholicism as well as arguments against Protestantism. It’s easy to cite specific examples from the book.

“Further to the above, did I mention there was, without question, '0' substance in that piece you wrote on Beckwith, Steve?”

http://www.whatswrongwiththeworld.net/2008/11/horton_only_a_subset_of_calvin.html#comment-41204

That’s an assertion bereft of a supporting argument. I’m waiting for you and Rob to back up your sweeping claims with commensurate documentary evidence.

And I’d suggest that you master basic logical reasoning skills. Did I take a personal position on whether ad hominem invective is good or bad? No.

Are you this dense? I was merely stating the observation that you had criticized Rob for comments of being supposedly largely consisting of mostly ad hominems with "0" substance and, yet, your comments concerning Beckwith, in my opinion, were likewise.

Now, did I take a personal position myself on whether or not ad hominem invective was good or bad?

Only that the subject comments by your person was replete with such with no substantive whatsoever.

That’s an assertion bereft of a supporting argument.

Polemic, heal thineself!

aristocles, thank you for your comments.

If I may come to your defense at this point, I think I can offer a substantive example of what you mean. Here is something from Mr. Hay's post

And, of course, we could say that Beckwith let his own emotion get the best of him: “my return to the Catholic Church had as much to do with a yearning for a deeper spiritual life as it did with theological reasoning” (129).

That quote from my book was lifted out of context and comes at the end after three chapters in which I explain the core of my journey to Catholicism.  It is the part of the book in which I talk about my life now. Here's what it states (with the quoted portion highlighted):

At the end of the day, I am an Evangelical Catholic because I believe in the Evangel, the Gospel, the Good News, and that it is a gift of God that ought to be embraced and lived by everyone. As an Evangelical, indeed as a Christian, I have an obligation to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ. I am Catholic insofar as I believe that the Church is universal and that its continuity is maintained through history by the whole of its membership, the Body of Christ, and not merely as a collection of isolated individuals in personal relationship with Jesus. I also believe that this Catholic Church is under the direction of the Holy Spirit working through the Church’s Magisterium, the Apostles’ successors.

Nevertheless, I also believe, as the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches, that “‘many elements of sanctification and of truth’ are found outside the visible confines of the Catholic Church: ‘the written Word of God; the life of grace; faith, hope, and charity,with the other interior gifts of the Holy Spirit, as well as visible elements.’”  “Christ’s Spirit,” the Catechism instructs us, “uses these Churches and ecclesial communities as means of salvation, whose power derives from the fullness of grace and truth that Christ has entrusted to the Catholic Church. All these blessings come from Christ and lead to him, and are in themselves calls to ‘Catholic unity.’ ” For this reason I am convinced that if not for the Holy Spirit working through the many gifted and devoted Christian scholars and teachers in Evangelical Protestantism, some of whom I have had the privilege to know, love, and study under, my present faith would be significantly diminished. Their tenacious defense and practice of Christian orthodoxy is what has sustained and nourished so many of us who have found our way back to the Church of our youth.

Although it may be difficult to detect from much of what I have written in this book, my return to the Catholic Church had as much to do with a yearning for a deeper spiritual life as it did with theological reasoning. Since becoming Catholic, I have become much more prayerful, I read the Bible far more often, and I am increasingly more aware and appreciative of the grace God has given me to live a virtuous life. I sometimes find myself silently praying a “Hail Mary” or an “Our Father” while driving or working out. I am not averse to asking particular saints to pray for me, or to recite the prayers of some of my favorite saints, such as Thomas Aquinas. When doing this I gain a greater sense of that which I am a part, the wonderful Body of Christ that transcends time, space, and death itself. Since becoming Catholic I have participated in such practices as praying the rosary and praying the Stations of the Cross. These practices are rich and good, but the sacrament of reconciliation (or confession) has been the most liberating aspect of my Catholic experience so far. Although many Catholics acquire a deeper walk with God through the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, I have found confession to be the place in which I experience the gratuitous charity of our Lord at its fullest.

Thus, the deeper spiritual life I spoke of in the book is connected to the theological views that  I would eventually come to hold. There is no "spirituality" trumps "theology" meme here. It was a package deal, an organic whole, and one would understand it that way if one read and understood the over 100 pages that preceded the above paragraphs. Apparently, the one who lifted the quote did not read the book with charity or clarity. 

Remember, this is my life. And thus I share in this book what is in fact a life, one that celebrates so much of what I have gained as a Protestant and what I bring to the Catholic Church.  It is written with respect and care, never once disparaging or belittling those views I no longer hold. I, of course, explain why I do not hold them, but with an acknowledgment of the explanatory power of those views and why so many of my smart friends still retain them.  

I'm at Notre Dame working on several projects including a book on the Supreme Court and religion. So, I really don't have the time to reply to every single comment that appears online on some blog or bulletin board. I suspect, however, that over the next couple of months several standard critiques will be repeated by people who I respect and admire. At that time, I will consider responding to such critiques, though I suppose others may do so before I have a chance.

Blessings.

FJB

I am speaking about the Triablogger crew from personal experience, as I have blogged on there from time to time under a different name, and have witnessed first hand the type of 'debate' that appears on that site. My purpose was not to answer Steve's critique of Frank's book, but to warn the unwary away from a nasty tar baby of Godzilla-esque proportions. For that purpose, no 'substance' was necessary.

Steve apparently can't tell the difference between an argument and an alarm bell.

Remember, this is my life. And thus I share in this book what is in fact a life, one that celebrates so much of what I have gained as a Protestant and what I bring to the Catholic Church. It is written with respect and care, never once disparaging or belittling those views I no longer hold. I, of course, explain why I do not hold them, but with an acknowledgment of the explanatory power of those views and why so many of my smart friends still retain them.

Thanks, Frank.

Actually, although J.P. Moreland is a respectable giant in my book, it was primarily Dr. Bauman's endorsement of your book that was telling.

After my experience with him on this blog that almost repeated a re-enactment of the Reformation itself, in all that, Dr. Bauman strikes me as the type who would rather suffer death than compromise his Protestant faith & beliefs.

If anything in your book even slightly attacked the Protestant faith he holds ever so dear (as I do my Catholic faith, which is perhaps why I've come to respect him -- actually, that and the fact that he, like Lydia, seem like genuinely good Protestant folk), I doubt that he would've endorsed your book as he so graciously did; instead, he would've, like Luther before the Diet of Worms, stood up against it.

Heck, you were so cheap, you didn't even buy the guy lunch as the least you could do, for goodness sakes and, yet, Dr. Bauman still endorsed your book! ;^)

(Note: That still doesn't negate my original request of a book review, though! Hey, given the economic chaos of present times, I take especial care these days on what to purchase and decide firstly if they're worth purchasing.)

In his book Arminian Theology, Roger olson said that Horton, through personal conversation with Olson, disavowed this 1992 quote some time in the early 2,000's (cf. Olson, Arminian Theology, IVP, 2006, p.82, n.7).

Perhaps Horton's retraction (if Olson isn't lying, and I have no reason to believe he is; but perhaps I can email Mike myself) should be included above. All this picking on him is rather like me publishing a quote from the pre-Catholic Bekwith (btw, I appreciate your books on abortion) and holding his Catholic feet to the fire on it.

-Paul

P.S. It would also pay to look at the work on 'evangelical' by Hart, Marsden, Noll, Wells, &c.

The link to the original reformationonline site is now broken.
Professor Horton may have retracted this specific statement but he does not seem to have changed his mind. On March 28th, at a recent Philadelphia Conference on Reformed Theology [Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals] in Grand Rapids, Dr. Horton made it clear that he believes that; justification by grace alone through faith alone because of Christ alone, is the article of faith by which the Church stands or falls. He did not retreat from the belief that the proper understanding of justification is Christ's righteousness imputed to His people as the only possible satisfaction of God's perfect justice. Horton reaffirmed his belief that one could not call himself an evangelical who did not reject the idea that their was any merit to be found in man that is related to justification. Horton made it clear that a Church that teaches infused not imputed grace, or that otherwise denies sola fide, cannot be recognized as an evangelical Church.

The question remains can anyone other then one who agrees with the reformation fathers on soteriology, be properly called an Evangelical. I think Dr. Horton was right, it is not proper to call those who have deviated from the reformation understanding in sola fide an Evangelical.

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