Tag Archives: justification

Vincent Cheung & Our Loyalty to the Reformation

Below are some select quotes from Vincent Cheung and his loyalty or anti-loyalty to the protestant Reformation. Keep points to remember: the Protestant Reformation did not have a good doctrine on “justification by faith,” nor did they have a good doctrine on the “sufficiency of the Scripture,” or “the formation of Scripture.” Also their “reformation” had much to do with an “outward” reformation and not an inward reformation faith, power and Scripture. They did not have a great doctrine of justification, and this is an important doctrine. A correct doctrine on epistemology is of great importance, and the Reformation failed to have a great doctrinal formation of this. What narrow statements that seemed to be good on the subject, showed them to be just that, very narrow. If the doctrine was truly fleshed out correctly, then the proof would have been an explosion of miracles (i.e. fruit). The Reformation therefore, has no proof or right, to say they have a good doctrine on Scripture or righteousness.  The lack of constant miracles showed pragmatically their doctrines were false and/or compromised doctrines, because if they were, then the “fruit” of miracles would have been produced. The lack of miracles is proof the Reformation was outward and not inward Reformation of the heart and faith. So, both the fruit of their lips and life was not nearly as abundant as fanboys make it out to be.  We owe the reformation no allegiance or loyalty. We should have little concern for it.

I am not saying the Reformation had no good statements etc. but that their statement are not as great as fanboys make it out to be. Their doctrines of the formation of Scripture and its sufficiency are childish and bad. Cessationism shows they did not understand what the authority or sufficiency of Scripture truly is. As for being declared righteous by God, apart from works, it is original to Scripture not the Reformation. And the lack of miracles shows they did not believe what it really meant. There are some single statements, or maybe a few sentences that can be plucked here and there from the Reformation on such topics that I could agree with, but so what? Even a child could do something like this.

I have a few issues, one is that much of their statements was not a positive statement of Scripture, but a reactionary and restriction from Catholic errors. This causes many of their famous doctrines to be only narrowly true, or as half-truths, badly applied to the whole Christian life and misleading. This can be seen in their doctrine of justification by faith, apart from works. The bible presents our being declared righteous, in a positive context for God’s good pleasure for His elect. This context is for us to have the foundation to inherit the gospel of Abraham, that is, the gospel of the Spirit and the gospel of miracles (see Vincent Cheung’s essay “The Edge of Glory,” and my own essay called, “I Am your Exceedingly Great Reward, Righteousness”). A gospel of justification by faith without the baptism of the Spirit and faith for constant miracles, is not a biblical presentation of being declared righteous by God. The statement in itself (declared righteous by grace not works), is a truth, however, considering how the bible presents it, with necessary consequences of the Spirit and miracles, then it ends up being a half-truth (which is what Satan often does to deceive people). It is like talking about fire, and never mentioning there is light, so that when someone sees fire they don’t believe it is fire, because they did not know light came from fire.

The Reformation is not as good on their pet doctrines, such as God’s sovereignty. I like some statements from Martin Luther in Bondage of Will, but even he failed to apply it in spiritual things such as faith and the gifts. Their best doctrines are compromised and amateurishly applied to the Christian daily life. They do have some basic doctrinal statements that I have no issue affirming. The issue is that they are so bad at applying their doctrinal statements, that I do not want to affirm “their” doctrinal statements, unless it looks like I consent to how badly they applied them. It is like some famous guy, Johnny Billy, who affirms 2 + 2 = 4. I have no issue affirming this. However, there are 4,689 instances of Johnny Billy not correctly applying  2 + 2 = 4 in the math book he published. I would not affirm that I affirm “Johnny Billy’s” statement, not because it is false, but because I do not want to be associated with his terrible application of it. Here is the big idea, I do not need to affirm what Johnny Billy says, because  2 + 2 = 4 is not original to him. Thus, I could care less what Johnny affirmed. The same for justification by grace through faith, and God’s absolute sovereignty and etc. It is original to the Scripture. In fact, I formulated my own basic doctrine of God’s absolute sovereignty and even occasionalism, by simply reading the Bible, and not from reading any man or reformer.

I put these quotes together as a reminder that you owe the reformation no loyalty. And not to let anyone bully you with reformation tradition (which is nothing more than peer pressure from the grave) to make you give any loyalty to the reformation or to any man.

As a reminder, I am not with Vincent Cheung in any way, I only read his stuff often. The above were my own thoughts. The emphasis below is mine.

_____________

“Christians revere the Reformation heritage. However, when people do not cling to Jesus Christ with a simple faith, then they will only turn from Catholicism to Pharisaism. But is that the point of all this? Do we turn from idolatry, only to become murderers? What is it then? The religious hypocrites who look to human approval and human authority rather than the Lord Jesus will say to me, “Who are you? Where do you come from? Which man authorized you to do these things? Which institution approved your doctrine?” I will answer, “I am Ananias. I am Vincent Cheung, a disciple of Jesus Christ. Now you and what legion of demons will stop me from following the heavenly vision?””[1]

“The Pharisees considered themselves experts in the word of God, but Jesus said, “You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell?” Indeed, they were the ones who reformed the people of God at that time from idolatry and licentiousness to the law of God, but it was an outward reformation. As in the time of Jeremiah, they had abandoned the spring of living water, and had built for themselves cisterns that could hold no water. You can reform and reform and reform, but unless you reform into faith in the word of God instead of the tradition of men, unless you reform into miracles instead of rituals, and unless you reform into a revelation of truth instead of a mere restriction from error, you will reform yourself straight into hellfire. And if you forbid people from entering into what your tradition regards as falsehood, when it is the evident word of God, even the gospel of Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit, then you practically guarantee your damnation. You claim to protect Scripture with your tradition, but the truth is that you replace Scripture with your tradition. Then you judge and attack others on the basis of your tradition, and not on the basis of Scripture. You do this in the name of Scripture, even when those you criticize are more in line with Scripture. When you are challenged on this, you answer with something about the importance of tradition. I want you to show me how you are even saved. It is futile to come against us with the historic scholars and creeds when we are correct and you are wrong.”[2]

“When you feel so “right,” nothing can stand in your way. When you are so “right,” you cannot conceive of any reason why God would not answer your prayers for success and miracles. You cannot conceive of any reason why a sickness or demon would not depart when you command it to go. You have the “right-ness” of God. This is how God feels about himself, and he wants to share this feeling with you, through Jesus Christ. This is the power of the righteousness of God. It has been untapped for almost two thousand years. As much as the Reformation harped about justification by faith, it had no idea what it is. It did not get anywhere close to what the righteousness of God could mean to Christians, and to the world. God’s righteousness is a thing of horror to Satan, but he is not nervous when it remains only a formal principle in Christian theology, rather than a vital power and a superhuman righteous feeling and confidence in every single believer. The prayer of a righteous man is effective indeed, but it is futile if no one actually feels righteous, or if this righteousness is only a theological principle and not a supernatural reality in man. What do we have in Christ? What Satan says about me is irrelevant, because I am God-centered, and I think about how righteous God is in me. This is the only basis on which I live. When Satan pokes at me with his little wrinkly finger, I slam his head off with the fist of God. Then I clobber his face into the ground over and over again like a madman until he is only a puddle of goo. This is the righteousness that we have in Christ Jesus.”[3]

If anti-faith and anti-miracle ministers and groups were ever useful, they are not useful anymore. God has exploited them for his own purpose. The salt now has no flavor, and it is ready to be thrown out and stepped on by men. They are holding people back, and they should be discarded and forgotten. The church has recovered to a point that we no longer need teachers who refuse to teach the word of God as it is written. It has reformed indeed, and then reformed again. There are those who refuse to continue after the first small step, who after they have rejected Satan, refuse to continue with Christ and welcome him in all his fullness. But there is only one Christ. If you do not receive him — all of him, since he is one — then you reject him. For the church to move forward, it must cast aside these useless people like wet dog poo, and leave them behind to die. If reformation after reformation still leaves so much trash around, then a revolution is in order. Don’t reform, revolt! We shall do this without hesitation or regret. We follow God, not men. And we want to continue with God. We will not be respectful toward worthless scums and their wet dog poo theology. You give yourselves a bunch of degrees and titles, and now you think you can dictate to me what I must or must not obey in God’s commands, and what I can or cannot believe in God’s promises? You wish! Go jump off a cliff. Listen, go put all those certificates and credentials that your stupid friends gave you in a suitcase, tie it around your neck, and jump off a cliff.”[4]

“Christians should have been the ones leading the charge to save lives in the name of Jesus, and do it with a divine power that others cannot replicate unless they join us in the faith. After more than 1500 years of apostasy in this most basic of the gospel ministries, and after reformations upon reformations, revivals upon revivals, when we have had multiple opportunities to examine our doctrines and practice over and over again, most Christians still have not awaken to righteousness. Now unbelievers are leading the charge to save lives. They do not give up even though their measly science fails again and again. They do not give up even though research proves to be expensive, and the process arduous. They keep marching forward even though some of their comrades perish in the way. And with all their fumbling efforts and blasphemous theories, they have saved countless “Christian” lives. As these so-called Christians boast about how “the will of God” has made them sick, and how all the promises of miracle healing in their infallible Scripture have lost all relevance, the wicked evolutionists shake their heads and save their lives anyway. This is not common grace, but common wrath. Both groups despise the precious promises of God, secured by the blood of Jesus for all those who would have faith in him. Neither camp can escape the outpouring of divine judgment.”[5]

“John the Baptist was also speaking to the Pharisees and Sadducees when he said, “Produce fruit in keeping with repentance” (Matthew 3:8, 10). He told them to stop saying, “We have Abraham as our father.” Now people say they have Augustine, or Calvin, or this or that theologian as their father in the faith. So what? God can raise up ten thousand of them from a bunch of rocks. But was Calvin correct about everything? And what does that have to do with you, when you are wrong about everything? Why should I care about your Reformation heritage, or Methodist heritage, or some other heritage? Why would I be impressed, when it produced someone like you? Jesus was speaking against those who criticized him. They attacked his ministry of healing and miracles (Matthew 12:24), and he replied, “Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and its fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by its fruit. You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks” (Matthew 12:33-34). He said, “A tree is recognized by its fruit.” The teaching that we must judge the “fruit” is often used to attack charismatics, televangelists, and prosperity preachers, but Jesus directed it against the traditionalists and the religious establishment. It mainly applies to the cessationists, the theologians, and the heresy hunters — the self-appointed defenders of the faith.” [6]

“Cessationism is founded on the traditional defective account of the divine inspiration of Scripture. Although we make the usually harmless generalization that the apostles and prophets wrote the Bible, significant portions were not written by them, or not known to be written by them. To address this, Christians invent the principle that these documents were nevertheless written by those who were closely associated with the apostles and prophets. However, they arbitrarily dictate this principle without warrant, and they also arbitrarily decide how closely associated with the apostles and prophets these other authors needed to be. In addition, the relationships of these authors to the apostles, and the scribes to the prophets, are often uncertain, and offer a weak foundation for something as weighty as divine inspiration. The entire difficulty is self-inflicted due to the false assumption that every word in the Bible must be written or approved by apostles and prophets…

The traditional theory of inspiration is fatally fallacious. It is theologically amateurish, and curiously incompetent. This is the doctrine of historic orthodoxy and the creeds. It begins with the exaltation of the apostles. Maintaining this idolatry as non-negotiable, it adjusts everything else to accommodate it. As a result, it paints itself into a corner and leads to the destruction of the doctrine of biblical inspiration, the very doctrine that it claims it wishes to protect. The error is so obvious and avoidable, it is amazing that centuries of scholars and creeds have committed themselves to something so outright stupid. Perhaps it is not so amazing, but what we ought to expect from man-made traditions. Religious bias against biblical teaching makes people stupid. They were stupid to have invented this doctrine. They pretended to secure the divine inspiration of Scripture, but in reality they conspired to enforce a false narrative concerning the cessation of the powers of faith and of the Spirit.

When we discard the historic orthodox idolatry that places the Bible on men, but instead place the Bible on God, and God alone, the difficulties disappear. Divine inspiration applies to all of the Bible, not because the whole thing was written or approved by apostles and prophets, but because the whole thing was written by God. All Scripture was written by God, even breathed out directly by him (2 Timothy 3:16)….”[7]

“The cessationist makes at least three attacks against Scripture in this one argument that supposedly defends Scripture. First, contrary to the Bible’s own claim, he declares that the Bible was never sufficient until completion. Second, because the Bible indeed declares itself sufficient before completion, but the cessationist claims that anything that is beyond sufficient is unnecessary, and not in the same class as biblical prophecy, he declares that all portions of Scripture produced after what Timothy had in his infancy are unnecessary and uninspired. Third, because he claims that prophecy that repeats the information contained in Scripture as in a different or lower class than the prophecy of Scripture, or even not prophecy at all, he declares that all portions of Scripture that repeat the words or ideas that were already contained in previous portions of Scripture are unnecessary and uninspired. Any one of these offenses, if made clear to a cessationist, and if he refuses to repent, is a sufficient basis for excommunication.”[8]

“The scribes were the teachers of the people. They were supposed to study and explain God’s word, and so spread his wisdom throughout the land. However, instead of promoting God’s agenda and message, they had their own agenda, and so they mishandled his message and advanced their own ideas.

Theologians commit this same error when they allow the sinful desires of their own hearts and the traditions of their groups to control their interpretation of God’s word. Instead of God’s commands, they relate distorted versions of his holy requirements in order to excuse themselves. Suddenly, what the Bible explicitly condemns becomes something that God heartily approves. And instead of God’s doctrines, they teach the creeds and traditions of their organization. But these often do not fit, so they take the Bible and twist some ideas here, impose several strange principles there, add a few epochs and a bunch of covenants, then divide his revelation as it fits them and force the whole thing into schemes that they invented.

This happens not because theologians as such are incompetent and dishonest, although many of them are, but because all men are by nature incompetent and dishonest.” [Vincent Cheung. “The Lying Pen of the Scribes.” Web 2012.]

“When we have a disagreement with the WCF — such as with its cessationist heresy, passive reprobation, covenant of works, liberty and contingency of second causes, mysticism in baptism and communion, and so on…
The framers were prepared for idolaters like you. Even if the statement was not mainly intended as a kill switch, it can function as one when people make the creed a rule instead of a mere tool, since it declares that the Westminster council could be wrong. Of course, even if there were never any kill switch, the Bible grants us the authority to shut down the whole thing. Repent, and return to God. Return to the gospel of Jesus Christ. If the creed has become an idol, flip the switch. If you do not, I can always flip it for you.”
[ “The Westminster Kill Switch.” Fulcrum. 2017. Pg 54-54. ]

“On the other hand, I have no such loyalty to the WCF, not even a little bit. I could not care less if I contradict Westminster, or Dort, or Calvin, or whoever or whatever. I find the very idea that I should care to be puzzling to me, and everyone who presses me to side with a tradition always seems like a pathetic loser, just a rubbish believer. There are people who consider this attitude sacrilegious, but this is because their orthodoxy is human tradition, and it is this kind of attitude that crucified Jesus Christ. Human religious tradition, when it grows strong, becomes the spirit of slander, and when it grows stronger, becomes the spirit of murder — not always the physical act of killing, but a hatred that wishes to get rid of someone, often by dishonest means. We see this with every Christian tradition, and it is strong in the Reformed. There is something alarmingly wrong, defective, and broken in the person who insists that we ought to subscribe to a human tradition such that we must submit our conscience to it and then judge other people by it. When he does this, he becomes anti-Christ.

This is why, although I would admit that much of my theology agree with the Reformed, I do not call myself Reformed. On many things, the Reformed are not unique, so when I agree with the Reformed, I also agree with many others. Agreeing on these things would not make me Reformed. Then, on other things, I clearly contradict them. Some people call me Reformed and then attack me for not fully agreeing with the Reformed, but this is a strawman, because I prefer to do without the label, and have said so. This tactic is absurd and desperate. In fact, given what I have seen in the Reformed, including their doctrines, attitudes, and actions, I would be ashamed to be identified with the Reformed. Given how awful some of these people are, both intellectually and ethically, I am embarrassed that some people would think that I am one of them. Although I sometimes appear to accept this label in my writings — if I have done so, it was not done eagerly, but grudgingly for the sake of convenience — in all the years of my life and ministry, I have never introduced myself as Reformed. I also do not introduce myself as a Calvinist.” [ Vincent Cheung. Half-way Catholic. web. 2015]

——-Endnote——-

[1] Vincent Cheung. I Am Ananias. From the ebook, “Sermonettes Vol. 7.” 2012 Pg. 51.

[2] Vincent Cheung. Jargonized Theology. From the ebook “Trace.” 2018. Pg. 58.

[3] Vincent Cheung. The Christian and the Self. From the ebook “Contract.” 2020. Pg. 34.

[4] Vincent Cheung. The Primacy of Healing Ministry. From the ebook, “Contract.” 2020. Pg. 88.

[5] Vincent Cheung. A Matter of Public Health. From the ebook, “Contract.” 2020. Pg. 67-68.

[6] Vincent Cheung. By Their Fruit You will Know Them. From the ebook “Backstage.” 2016. Pg. 44-45

[7] Vincent Cheung. Prehistoric Orthodoxy. From the ebook, “Contract.” 2020. Pg 94.

[8] Vincent Cheung. “Scripture: Sufficient Against Cessationism.” From the ebook, Fulcrum. 2017. Pg. 15