My name is Nick Sabato and I am a recipient of the grace of God manifested in the atoning work of Jesus Christ at Calvary, whose once for all sacrifice was sufficient to save a wretch like me apart from the incantations and sacramental sorcery of a Roman Catholic clergyman.
“No peace with Rome” comes from the title of a book by Joseph Hall as well as a phrase made famous by the great Baptist preacher Charles Haddon Spurgeon. It was also the sentiment of multitudes of godly men and women since the Protestant Reformation who were convinced that to the degree that Jesus was the fulfillment of the Christ foretold in Scripture, the papacy was that antichrist likewise prophesied. Five-hundred years after that pivotal event which would become known as the start of the Reformation and in the midst of much “ecumenical dialogue” and compromise, I hope to see this sentiment revived by those who name the name of Christ and repudiate Rome’s false gospel along with all of her other doctrinal departures from the inerrant Word of God.
This is not intended to be a “Catholic bashing” blog. God willing, a number of topics will be addressed here which will not deal directly with Romanism (although in many cases of doctrinal downgrade, the errors are indirectly related to Romish teaching and influence). Epistemology, apologetics and the doctrine of creation are also of great interest to me. And while I do not blame Romanism entirely for what I perceive to be common errors in these fields, it is of interest to note that much of what is written today on these subjects has been infected with Thomistic philosophy.
To be clear, “No peace with Rome” is no more hatred for Roman Catholics than it was for Spurgeon when he used the phrase. It is out of love for Roman Catholics that I want to see the glorious gospel of Christ enlighten them to the sufficiency of Christ and His Word. But since Rome’s gospel continues to be “another gospel which is not another …”, we are compelled to oppose it and affirm instead that there is one Mediator between God and men, the Man Jesus Christ.
Love for the lost means opposition to false hope and deception. Let me emphasize, I love my Roman Catholic friends and family, which means I must openly oppose the false gospel, counterfeit Christ, revisionist history, Marxist economic policy, and ecclesiastical megalomania purported by the Vatican Papal system.
And while there remain many evangelicals who would openly reject Rome’s false gospel, some have embraced Rome’s antibiblical economic and political philosophy, Jesuit eschatology or other Romish deception.
Here I stand
My theological position could best be described as “reformed baptist scripturalist”. Scripturalism (a consistent, biblical presuppositionalism) is the name given to the epistemology, apologetic method and general philosophy of Gordon H. Clark. The term was coined by John W. Robbins.
Gordon H. Clark’s thoroughly biblical and robust Christian philosophy has been summarized in this way:
1. Epistemology: Propositional Revelation (The Bible tells me so.)
2. Soteriology: Justification by faith alone (Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved.)
3. Metaphysics: Trinitarian Theism (In him we live and move and have our being.)
4. Ethics: Divine Law (We ought to obey God rather than men.)
5. Politics: Constitutional Republic (Proclaim liberty throughout the land.)
6. Economics: Laissez-faire capitalism (‘Have I not the right to do what I will with my own?’)
This list is a combination (with slight modification) of the summaries found in John Robbins’ article “An introduction to Gordon H. Clark” and from page nine of his book Freedom and Capitalism (For a fine treatment of Robbins’ book, see Steve Matthews’ review).
Today, Clark’s views are largely ignored, maligned or distorted while “evangelicalism” is awash in relativism, post-modernism, existentialism, emotionalism, experientialism, sacramentalism, synergism, syncretism, empiricism, irrationalism and charismania, all errors which Clark had routinely and thoroughly refuted. A minority of Christians indeed believe that “Gordon H. Clark was the greatest American theologian and philosopher of the twentieth century.” I am among that minority. Where I differ from Clark is that while he held to the Westminster Confession, I would identify with the Second London Baptist Confession of 1689.
W. Gary Crampton upheld the philosophy of Clark but later moved away from Presbyterianism’s defense of, paedobaptism. After speaking with Dr. Crampton, I was reassured that there is no conflict between Clark’s epistemology, scripturalism in general, and the Second London Baptist Confession. We also find the merger of Clark’s scripturalism and 1689 federalism in the work of C.J. Engel, Brandon Adams and Patrick T. McWilliams. So, as impressed as I am with Clark’s consistent adherence to sola scriptura as well as his doctrinal precision and logical consistency, I am fully persuaded that it was the reformed baptists who got it right when it came to church government, covenant theology, and of course, baptism.
I believe that all Christians should affirm the philosophical tenets as summarized by John Robbins. To that list I would add the following:
7. Hermeneutic: Covenantal Baptist (as opposed to Paedobaptist covenant theology or Dispensationalism)
8. Ecclesiology: Independent local church governed by a plurality of elders.
9. Eschatology: Amillennial historicism (NT prophecy unfolds throughout church history and is unveiled in light of that history; the papacy is the antichrist.) [I add this point for clarity and completeness, but Clark likewise affirmed the historic Protestant view of prophecy, and his opposition to Romanism is evident in many of his writings.]
Clark’s epistemology drove his theology and philosophy to their logical conclusions, including his apologetic method. While there are a number of theologians who identify with presuppositionalism,, I hope to show in a future post that Clark’s method has an “unapologetic” consistency lacking in the works of some other prominent presuppositionalists.
Despite claims to the contrary, Clark did not invent something novel to Christianity in the twentieth-century. He held firmly to the Westminster Confession and was never shown to have deviated from its theology. His high view of Scripture and grasp of the doctrine of inerrancy, rigorous attention to definitions and logical precision are what make his philosophy unique in the current climate of compromise, equivocation and praise of all things “paradoxical”. It seems reasonable to attribute the neglect of Clark’s contribution to Christian philosophy to the twentieth and twenty-first centuries’ love affair with paradox and VanTillianism. Economist Thomas Sowell noted that, “too many academics write as if plain English is beneath their dignity and some seem to regard logic as an unconstitutional infringement of their freedom of speech.” The absence of clear thinking and disparagement of deductive reasoning is seen as a virtue by many today. Christian logician Elihu Carranza explains that according to the misologists, “Reasoning stifles creativity. It imposes a rigid, unrealistic template on human activity. It’s like a straight-jacket used to control the free spirit in people.” (Carranza, Sr., E. & Flynch, T., Epistemic Fragments, Inky Publications, Napa, CA, 2015, K277)
Despite the modern mayhem of misology, dialectical tension and Jesuitical doublespeak, the Light still shines in the darkness and Jesus’ proposition is clear, “Thy Word is Truth” (John 17:17). We must return to the plain statements of Scripture and be systematic in our approach to theology, just as our confessional forefathers were. It is my conviction that the biblical epistemology and apologetic methods articulated by Gordon Clark united with the hermeneutic of baptist covenant theology provides us with an antidote to antichrist’s attacks on Scripture, will serve to keep us grounded in a logically consistent theology, and will help us to “earnestly contend for the faith” (Jude 3).
I am quite limited as to the amount of time I can devote to writing and, and your time would be better spent reading the works of others covering these vast subjects. If nothing else hopefully you will discover some excellent books, articles, journals, podcasts and videos via the links and downloads on this site. I encourage you to take a look at the Recommended Resources.