It’s become very apparent in recent months that the Evangelical Intelligentsia (EI) has chosen their candidate in the 2015 Republican primary, and it’s not an evangelical. We wrote about this earlier in the week in a previous post. There are a number of reasons why the EI does not care for the most conservative evangelical candidate, Senator Ted Cruz.
- The EI is unofficially and arguably led by Russell Moore, who like the Democratic congressman he once worked for, desires amnesty for illegal immigrants. Cruz desires standing federal law to be enforced, understanding the concept of a nation governed by law, and Moore detests him for that particular stance. Cruz, unlike Moore, would never call Jesus an “illegal immigrant.”
- The EI is notoriously socially progressive. Completely capitulating on important issues like homosexuality and abortion in the last two years (Moore, for example, saying he would attend a gay wedding celebration) while still giving an obligatory verbal affirmation of its sinfulness and EI darling Karen Swallow Prior saying that calling abortion murder is “unchristlike,” the EI would probably never endorse the most conservative candidate on the political stage.
- The EI is extremely comfortable with ecumenism, particularly with the Roman Catholic Church. By and large, the EI consists of protestants who have stopped protesting and so EI leaders, like Eric Teetsel, have no problem yoking themselves to Rome, whether in the Manhattan Declaration or in politics. Endorsing a Roman Catholic in a presidential primarily while perfectly stalwart evangelical conservatives are still in the race, hardly even gives them a moment of pause.
Enter Denny Burk. I fully appreciate a great many of Burk’s thoughts and his website used to be on the blog roll of Pulpit & Pen back when it was The Daily Soap Box (back in the old days). I’ve grown increasingly uneasy with the position Burk has taken on homosexuality and celibacy as the only and best option for those struggling with the sin of sodomy (and I believe Jeff will be handling that topic soon), in opposition to Dr. Robert Gagnon and others with what I believe is a more Biblical understanding of regeneration and redemption.
That being said, Burk, who aside from serving as a professor in Southern Seminary’s undergrad Boyce College, also serves as a a research fellow for the ERLC. Burk put up a post entitled, “I’m Marco Rubio and I Approve This Message.” Burk posted the same video we discussed yesterday in which Rubio swoons evangelical voters in Iowa by a description of his faith that sounds evangelicalish to the untrained ear but must be understood in light of this line…
“I am fully, theologically and doctrinally aligned with the Roman Catholic Church … but we retain our relationship with Christ Fellowship and I’ll tell you why: because they preach from the same Bible.“’
The EI, which is soooo much smarter than the rest of us (their brilliant whimsy and nuance prove it) has overlooked a few important things…
- Rubio has attended both an evangelical church and Roman Catholic church at least since his presidential aspirations began (interesting timing, yes?). Anyone with a modicum of common sense should weigh his political ambition when considering that fact.
- Having sat in an evangelical church, while continuing to embrace idolatry, Rubio would obviously be able to convey his faith in an evangelicalish way. Someone like The Company Man™ may be gullible enough to think, “Golly gee, this guy’s faith must be real because even though he’s technically Roman Catholic he explains it like an evangelical” but an intellectual like Denny Burk should be above that kind of naivety. Obviously if he’s been sitting in an evangelical church (which would be pretty smart if you were running for president) he would be able to express his faith in an evangelicalish sort of way.
- Rubio is no ignorant Catholic. He said in this video clip moments before that he “fully understands” Roman Catholicism. He fully understand Roman Catholicism, and that being the case, must understand that evangelicals have been anathematized.
Burk provides commentary for the video…
Marco Rubio recently told a group of Iowa pastors what he believes about the gospel (watch above). It is pretty extraordinary. In fact it sounds like a typical evangelical gospel presentation. It turns out, however, that Rubio’s religious affiliation is a little more complicated. As The Brody File reports, Rubio is a Roman Catholic who also happens to attend a Southern Baptist Church from time to time.
So Burk has parroted many others in the EI to say how “extraordinary” Rubio’s testimony is and that it “sounds like a typical evangelical gospel presentation.” But Burk stopped short of declaring Rubio a Christian…there. But he did in the comments section.
Let me ask you, friends, do you think someone who says they are “fully theologically and doctrinally aligned with the Roman Catholic Church” and “fully understands [Roman Catholicism]” has “a clear understanding of the Gospel,” as Burk suggests?
Burk says he has no reason to not trust Rubio’s words (other than he’s trying to win over evangelical voters at an evangelical voters’ summit in a hotly contest presidential campaign, amiright?), and that he believes Rubio’s claims that he trusts in Christ alone, then Rubio “is a brother in Christ.” Again, one must ask how someone who “fully understands” Roman Catholicism and is “fully, theologically and doctrinally aligned” with the Harlot church would trust in Christ alone for salvation. That’s a mystery I don’t believe Burk is prepared to answer.
Whereas Burk says we shouldn’t vote for a candidate solely based on their recitation of the plan of salvation (I agree) and that he didn’t post that to endorse Rubio (**wink wink**), one wonders why he didn’t post Cruz’ epic answer (which he gave in stellar cessationist zeal) to the question of hearing God speak – and not to an evangelical value voters summit, but on national television in a primary debate. I mean, here’s a long-time evangelical who regularly shares his testimony about the saving power of Jesus Christ and he’s all but disdained by the Evangelical Intelligentsia, but to the EI, Rubio’s speech embracing Roman harlotry is called “extraordinary?” Pffft.
Meanwhile, Burk attempts to keep his Evangelical Industrial Complex street cred by saying that Roman Catholicism “departs from Biblical truth in some fundamental ways.” No, Denny. The Campbellites depart from Biblical truth in some fundamental ways. The Roman Catholic Church stands as the antithesis of Biblical truth. They don’t have “some problems.” They are an entirely different religion.
A concerned person wrote to P&P regarding Burk’s comments and reminded us of the words of RC Sproul Jr on this topic at the ligonier website…
What would you say to a Christian who is thinking of converting to Roman Catholicism?
[Truncated] I typically direct these folks to the sixth session of the Council of Trent. Trent was convened to deal with issues arising out of the Reformation. It is, as even Vatican II and the current Roman Catechism affirm, unchangeable dogma not just for the church, but for all within its pale. And it, the sixth session, says that those who affirm that a man is justified apart from the works of the law should be damned. I have yet to meet a potential or actual convert to Rome who is willing to agree with this bald damning of the Biblical doctrine of how we have peace with God. And yet, by joining Rome they formally confess the truth of this damnable doctrine. In short, even if Rome beats the evangelical church hands down in principled activism, in intellectual and aesthetic fruitfulness, in unity of mind and purpose, so do the Shriners. The evangelical church is that place where the good news of Jesus Christ is not damned, but preached. With Rome it is exactly the opposite.
Finally, with my friends who have made the jump I seek to make sure they live with the consequences. That is, though they don’t believe the sixth session of the Council of Trent, I make them live with it. That means that if they are right, they must not treat me as a brother, for I hold to damnable doctrine. If they are wrong, I must not treat them as a brother, for they hold to damnable doctrine. There is no option where we can both be right. My friends know that if they should repent, if they should return to the one true church, the evangelical church, if they should publicly and formally affirm their dependence on the finished work of Christ alone, I will rejoice with them. Until they do, however, we are not united in Him.
If Rubio belongs to the Roman Catholic Church and is aligned with it as he says, he is anathema. His confession damns him to hell. Likewise, if he belongs to the Roman Catholic Church and is aligned with it as he says, in his view, we are anathema and damned to hell.
Now explain to me why Denny Burk assumes this man is a brother in Christ.
Vote for whoever you want, but don’t jack with the gospel to do it. As I’ve repeatedly said, “The only thing a Roman Catholic has to do to be considered saved by Southern Baptists is run for President.”
Folks, that ought not be.
[Contributed by JD Hall]
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