Within Non–Catholic Western Christendom one can encounter any number of different ideas about God. For example, some suggest that God saves and when He does so He provides an assurance of salvation, which means that the recipient cannot lose that salvation. Others propose that God saves but that His gift of salvation can be lost. That’s just one example. A complete list of all the differing doctrines that can be found inside Non–Catholic Western Christendom would be too lengthy to fit into just one post.
I respectfully submit that the multitude of different and contradictory doctrines that have been devised and concocted as a direct result of the post–Reformation view that the Bible is a higher authority than the Church and which are currently embraced within Non–Catholic Western Christendom means that everybody who accepts these Non–Catholic Western parameters cannot avoid committing a sin.
Put yourself in the place of one of these Western Christians. Let’s call him Nigel and consider his plight. Let’s assume that Nigel is on the Arminian side of the Reformation. This means that even if Nigel tries to embrace the view of salvation put forward by the Calvinists – a view that not only contradicts his own understanding of the truth of God’s salvation but is also repugnant to him – as being somehow equally as valid as his own, in his heart he’ll be saying, “I’ll accept you Calvinist guys as brothers and sisters but in my heart I believe that I am right and that what I believe about God is true and that you are wrong and that what you believe about God is false.” If Nigel doesn’t murmur that – or something very much like it – he would have to default to the invidious and schizophrenic position of actually believing that the things about God that he had decided to be true were actually false or could well be false.
Nigel’s predicament demonstrates that the Reformation with its rallying cry of Sola Scriptura, which in these latter days has given rise to variations such as SOLO Scriptura and Prima Scriptura, has resulted in the following heartbreaking scenario. If one accepts that the Bible is a higher authority than the Church then one is led directly into sin – either into the sin of religious conceit i.e. considering the beliefs of one’s brothers and sisters to be inferior to one’s own beliefs and simultaneously attributing to oneself the power of infallibility or into the sin of hypocrisy i.e. declaring one’s own beliefs to be true but simultaneously endorsing ideas and beliefs that one knows and believes are false.
Poor Nigel. He represents the predicament of all “Bible–believing Christians” in the West. Tragic, isn’t it?