Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Censorship at SWBTS

I haven't delved too deeply into SBC politics on my blog, though I do occasionally comment on such issues on the blogs of others. I do find it disconcerting when Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary President Paige Patterson makes the decision to restrict free access to a message delivered in chapel because he has determined that it might harm the churches. I can't imagine such censorship and restriction of information having taken place in my years at the seminary under the presidencies of Drs. Naylor and Dilday. When dissent is silenced and access to opposing viewpoints is restricted, the nature of theological education as inquiry and investigation is supplanted by indoctrination in the "official party line," and woe be to those who would dare criticize their interpretations.


Grosey's Messages said...

Thank you Gary for your comment on Wade's blog. I guess you have not examined the various theological views concerning the progress of sanctification and how they relate to the doctrine of justification by faith.
May I refer you to an examination of RA Torrey's views and FB Meyers's views together with the Keswick Convention views of sanctification. There are many many articles available online and in published works relating these views of sanctification, the progressive work of the Holy Spirit, and their relationships to the doctrine of justification by faith. I do hope that your comment was not designed to obfiscate the issue I raised. Of course, I, as anyone, understands the method the judaisers used. However the reproof goiven by Paul in Galatians 3 has much to do with the reception and continuing ministry of the Holy Spirit:
Gal 3:3 Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now going to be made complete by the flesh?
4 Did you suffer so much for nothing—if in fact it was for nothing?
5 So then, does God supply you with the Spirit and work miracles among you by the works of the law or by hearing with faith?

Paul's reproof incorporates the issue of the reception and continuing ministry of the Spirit in the believer's life. (vis chapters 3 and 5 of Galatians) Pentecostalism's insistence on seeking "more" through works (absolute suurrender, baptism, sinless perfection, yearning, and other preparations) to receive more of the Holy Spirit therefore clearly violate the gospel principle that all that we are and have come from God as a free gift through the redemption which we have in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Thus, pentecostalism's "preparatory acts" to receive the Spirit are viewed as works, contrary to the doctrines associated with justification by faith.

I have chosen to reply to you here rather than on Wade's blog because I do not wish to embarrass you publicly, nor to enter into unfruitful and unhelpful debates.
Every Blessing on your ministry brother,

Gary Snowden said...

In response to Grosey, let me simply say that I have both taught and studied historical theology at the seminary level as a missionary for many years, thus my taking exception to your interpretation of Galatians is not out of ignorance of the different theories and views that exist regarding sanctification and justification by faith. I still strongly question the interpretation that you give to the Galatians passage. A simple reading of the two preceding chapters and that which follows the cited verses in chapter 3 clearly demonstrates that Paul is not dealing with the issue of receiving more of the Holy Spirit, but rather the essential nature of the gospel. Is it by works as the Judaizers claim, or is it on the basis of justification by faith alone? I think we agree on that issue, but I think you're chasing a proverbial rabbit with your attempt to read into the text an argument that Paul is not addressing. Regarding your decision to post your comments here rather than on Wade's blog to avoid publicly embarrassing me, I wouldn't worry about my being embarrassed by the viewpoints I have shared.

Grosey's Messages said...

Well my apologies to you Gary, I did not intentionally mean to treat you in a patronising way, although I don't think I did.
As you have said, we agree on the major issue confronting Paul in Galatia. However, the application of that principle leads to considerable comment on the present pentecostal movement.
I enjoy the work of Leon Morris, who in his IVP commentary on Galatians says " The verb receive (Gal 3:2 I only want to learn this from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law or by hearing with faith?
3 Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now going to be made complete by the flesh? ) points to the truth that the Spirit is given to believers not acquired as the result of some merit they possessed."
That is the point I was making. And, hence, the references to theological views concerning sanctification and the reception of the Spirit.
But who am I to comment, me a mere colonial!