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基督徒世界观 译介圣经神学

 
 
 

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改革宗神学只有五要点吗?  

2011-07-18 23:11:00|  分类: 改革宗神学 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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诚之按:下面这篇文章说明改革宗信仰不是只有加尔文五要点——不是所有自称承认加尔文五要点的,都是属於“改革宗信仰”,例如反对婴儿洗礼、自称“改革宗浸信会”的人(reformed baptists)。以下仅摘译一小段,特别是与广大的华人福音派有关的,所谓的“与耶稣有个人关系”,会对我们的信仰造成什么危害。全文附于后。

改革宗神学只有五要点吗?


诚之译自:
HOW MANY POINTS? by Richard A. Muller
From the Calvin Theological Journal, Vol. 28 (1993): 425-33


成人洗礼强调必须是“重生”的基督徒,要先“接受基督”,在美国福音派圈子里,是与“和耶稣有个人关系”或认识到耶稣是“个人的救主”这个语言联系在一起的。为了抗议此语言,我知道我会冒犯到一些敬虔人士——虽然我的抗议不是针对敬虔或基督徒经验本身。重点在这个语言本身在内容上不是改革宗的语言,也不适合转移到归正信条的背景当中。首先,这些语词的意义不够明确,偏向一种模糊界定的、感情式的敬虔,往坏处说,它会侵犯改革宗群体的一些基督救恩的标准。我经常对福音派的朋友评注说,“和某人有个人的关系”(having a personal relationship),或私下有交情(knowing someone personally),意思是说我可以和他一起坐下来喝杯茶或是咖啡,我可以和他说话,他会用我听得到的方式回答。但是我无法和耶稣坐下来喝茶或喝咖啡。而如果我对祂说话,祂并不会以我听得到的方式回答,正如天使曾经正确提到的,“祂不在那里;祂已经复活了”,而的确,祂已经升到天上了。改革宗基督论一向坚持,基督的身体不只是复活了,而且基督复活的人性如今在天上(heavenly location),而且是有限的(finitude)。基督如今坐在父神的右边,并且以可见的方式治理得胜的教会(译按:即以外在可见的形式,包括设立牧师、长老、执事、教会管教等,治理教会)。个人关系的语言,顶多是模棱两可的,往坏处说,它减损了基督作王的教义的庄严性。

还不止如此,用这种与耶稣有个人关系的语言,通常会表明实质上失去了传统宗教改革的语言:唯靠恩典,借着信靠基督而称义,且借着神的恩赐,使我们与基督联络,因此被收养成为神的儿女。个人的关系是来自彼此的互动,因为有共同点利益才能成功。它们从来不是、或永远不会根据法庭上的行动,即因信称义,不靠工作的宣判——事实上,个人的关系是依靠对等的工作或行动。问题不是语言的本身,问题在于它会使那些强调它的人忽视宗教改革对称义本质的认识,以及信徒在基督里与神的关系的特质。

这种个人关系的语言,很容易导致一种美国式的对救恩的看法,即救恩是信徒与神合作所达成的。个人的关系,就其本质来说,是一个相互的关系,要依赖双方的活动——行为(works)。此外,用这种阿民念式的、感情式的语言,容易模糊这个事实:改革宗传统有它自己固有的关系和感性的语言,以及敬虔;此外,还有一种与宗教改革唯靠恩典、借着信心的救恩原则紧密结合的敬虔的语言。《海德堡要理问答》给我们的语言是:“无论是生是死,我们唯一的安慰”,“我的身体、灵魂,都不属于我自己,而是属于我信实的救主耶稣基督。”(问答一)“属于基督”,这是充满敬虔和感情的词句,保留了唯独恩典、唯独信心的认信,特别是当人记住要理问答其他语言,在这个更大的背景下的时候,更能显出其敬虔与感情。我们也有管道接触到圣约丰富的神学和敬拜仪式的语言(liturgical language),两者都澄清并温暖我们在基督里与神的关系。

即使如此,改革宗关于教会身份的教导,假定的基础是来自神,而不是来自人,也假定了神设立一个信仰社群的工作,包括了教会作为一个社群持续的生命的基础,也就是说,包括了把应许延伸到信徒儿女的身上。伴随着成人洗礼的归信经验(conversion experience),以及把教会认定是一个自发的协会,假定了(附带一些抽象的限定条件)儿童是外邦人,它拒绝去认识神的恩典有效地(而且是不可抗拒地!)在保守立约社群的工作的群体层面。这的确是矛盾的焦点,一方面说恩典是不可抗拒的,神会保守圣徒,然后又假定成人的归信和“决定”之特定现象是必要的。对教会是立约的社群,以及婴儿洗礼的教义缺乏认识,加尔文五要点就是毫无意义的。



原文(转载自http://kimriddlebarger.squarespace.com/how-many-points/):

Richard A. Muller is P. J. Zondervan Professor of Historical Theology (A.B. Queens College, NY, 1969; M.Div., Union Theological Seminary, NY, 1972; Ph.D., Duke University, 1976).

Dr. Muller is the author of The Unaccommodated Calvin, After Calvin: Studies in the Development of a Theological Tradition, Post-Reformation Reformed Dogmatics (four volumes), God, Creation, and Providence in the Thought of Jacob Arminius, Christ and the Decree, Dictionary of Latin and Greek Theological Terms, and The Study of Theology. He has also written numerous articles and reviews.
_______________________________

HOW MANY POINTS?
From the Calvin Theological Journal, Vol. 28 (1993): 425-33
Reprinted with permission from Dr. Muller.
Original pagination retained

相信加尔文五要点,却反对婴儿洗礼?
I once met a minister who introduced himself to me as a "five-point Calvinist." I later learned that, in addition to being a self-confessed five-point Calvinist, he was also an anti-paedobaptist who assumed that the church was a voluntary association of adult believers, that the sacraments were not means of grace but were merely "ordinances" of the church, that there was more than one covenant offering salvation in the time between the Fall and the eschaton, and that the church could expect a thousand-year reign on earth after Christ's Second Coming but before the ultimate end of the world. He recognized no creeds or confessions of the church as binding in any way. I also found out that he regularly preached the "five points" in such a way as to indicate the difficulty of finding assurance of salvation: He often taught his congregation that they had to examine their repentance continually in order to determine whether they had exerted themselves enough in renouncing the world and in "accepting" Christ. This view of Christian life was totally in accord with his conception of the church as a visible, voluntary association of "born again" adults who had "a personal relationship with Jesus."

In retrospect, I recognize that I should not have been terribly surprised at the doctrinal context or at the practical application of the famous five points by this minister — although at the time I was astonished. After all, here was a person, proud to be a five-point Calvinist, whose doctrines would have been repudiated by Calvin. In fact, his doctrines would have gotten him tossed out of Geneva had he arrived there with his brand of "Calvinism" at any time during the late sixteenth or the seventeenth century. Perhaps more to the point, his beliefs stood outside of the theological limits presented by the great confessions

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of the Reformed churches—whether the Second Helvetic Confession of the Swiss Reformed church or the Belgic Confession and Heidelberg Catechism of the Dutch Reformed churches or the Westminster standards of the Presbyterian churches. He was, in short, an American evangelical.

改革宗神学与加尔文主义

I am assuming, of course, that "Calvinist" and "Reformed" are synonyms: Although Calvin was certainly the most famous and, probably the most generally influential of the Reformed theologians of the sixteenth century, his views alone did not constitute either a church or a distinctive theological confession capable of sustaining a church over the course of centuries. His own theology, moreover, was intentionally "churchly" rather than individualistic, particularly in its confessional statements, like the Geneva Catechism. He recognized that there were other theological voices in the Reformed movement of his day, that his personal theology fell within the bounds of this larger movement, and that it remained in dialogue with the theology of other leaders and teachers — notably, Heinrich Bullinger, Peter Martyr Vermigli, and Wolfgang Musculus. Beyond this, the Reformed theology of later confessional documents, such as the Canons of Dort and the Westminster Confession, drew on theological antecedents other than Calvin's Institutes and constituted not a limited Swiss theological movement but an international community of belief.

Calvinism or, better. Reformed teaching, as defined by the great Reformed confessions does include the so-called five points. Just as it is improper, however, to identify Calvin as the sole progenitor of Reformed theology, so also is it incorrect to identify the five points or the document from which they have been drawn, the Canons of Dort, as a full confession of the Reformed faith, whole and entire unto itself. In other words, it would be a major error — both historically and doctrinally — if the five points of Calvinism were understood either as the sole or even as the absolutely primary basis for identifying someone as holding the Calvinistic or Reformed faith. In fact, the Canons of Dort contain five points only because the Arminian articles, the Remonstranceof 1610, to which they responded, had five points. The number five, far from being sacrosanct, is the result of a particular historical circumstance and was determined negatively by the number of articles in the Arminian objection to confessional Calvinism.

These historical and theological comments would seldom if ever be disputed by a member of a confessionally Reformed denomination. It is virtually a truism that the Canons of Dort do not stand by themselves as the confession of the church — and that they exist in order to clarify

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disputed points in the church's full confession of faith as represented by the Belgic Confession and the Heidelberg Catechism. It is also the case that the Belgic Confession and the Heidelberg Catechism are substantially in agreement with the confessional standards of other branches of the Reformed church, whether the Geneva Catechism or the First and Second Helvetic Confession of the Swiss Reformation or the Scot’s Confession and the Westminster standards of the British and American Presbyterian and Reformed churches. And beyond the confessional consensus, there is a broad theological agreement that built toward the confessional teaching of the Reformed churches in the sixteenth century and has continued to build upon it since that time — from Calvin's Institutes to Kuyper's Dictaten Dogmatiek and beyond.

Any of these documents, in addition to standing in substantial agreement on the so-called five points — total inability to attain one's own salvation, unconditional grace, limited efficacy of Christ's all-sufficient work of satisfaction, irresistible grace, and the perseverance of the saints — also stand in substantial agreement on the issues of the baptism of infants, the identification of sacraments as means of grace, and the unity of the one covenant of grace from Abraham to the eschaton. They also — all of them — agree on the assumption that our assurance of the salvation, wrought by grace alone through the work of Christ and God's Spirit in us, rests not on our outward deeds or personal claims but on our apprehension of Christ in faith and on our recognition of the inward work of the Spirit in us. Because this assurance is inward and cannot easily or definitively be externalized, all of these documents also agree that the church is both visible and invisible — that it is a covenanted people of God identified not by externalized indications of the work of God in individuals, such as adult conversion experiences but by the preaching of the word of God and the right administration of the sacraments. Finally, they all agree, either explicitly or implicitly, that the "thousand years" of Revelation 20 is the kingdom of grace established by Christ at his first coming that extends until his Second Coming at the end of the world.

There are, therefore, more than five points and — as far as the confessions and the Reformed dogmaticians from Calvin to Kuyper are concerned — there cannot be such a thing as a "five-point Calvinist" or "five-point Reformed Christian" who owns just those five articles taken from the Canons of Dort and who refuses to accept the other "points" made by genuinely Reformed theology. The issue here is more than simple confessional allegiance. The issue is that the confessions and the classical dogmatic systems of Reformed theology are not an arbitrary

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list of more or less biblical ideas — they are carefully embodied patterns of teaching, drawn from Scripture and brought to bear on the life of the church. They are, in short, interpretations of the whole of Christian existence that cohere in all of their points. If some of the less-famous points of Reformed theology, like the baptism of infants, justification by grace alone through faith, the necessity of a thankful obedience consequent upon our faith and justification (the "third use of the law"), the identification of sacraments as means of grace, the so-called amillennial view of the end of the world, and so forth, are stripped away or forgotten, the remaining famous five make very little sense.

An example of this problem — I hesitate to say "a case in point" — is the theological system propounded by the English high (some would say "hyper") Calvinistic Baptist, John Gill, and the way that his system has been read out into the life of some of the so-called Particular Baptist denominations. Gill most certainly affirmed the five points. In fact, he held an intensified version of the third point by arguing that Christ's work was limited in its sufficiency as well as in its efficacy: Christ's satisfaction was not merely, according to Gill, efficient for the elect only, it was also sufficient for the sins of the elect only. With this radical sense of election, Gill could view the entire order of salvation as taking place in eternity — justification and adoption were now eternal acts of God. Since nothing took place in time except for the enactment of the decree, there was no need in Gill's system for a temporal order of grace. Sacraments could be considered simply as ordinances, and baptism could be viewed as a sign administered to adults only, after the eternal decree had been executed in an individual. Those who have followed Gill's theology allow no offers of grace but only a preaching about grace. They have tended to offer no instruction in Christianity for children and they have typically opposed Christian missions — because no human agency is needed in God's elective work. They have also followed Gill and numerous others after him into speculation about the coming millennium when, finally, the career of Satan will be ended and he will no longer be able to roam the world "seeking whom he may devour."

The logic of such a theology is to view God's electing grace as an unmediated bolt from the blue. No one knows where it may strike and no one can find any assurance either through participation in the life of God's covenanting people or on grounds of belief or conduct that he or she will be or, indeed, is now numbered among the elect. Gill held forth an antinomian gospel that could declare in its preaching of grace that no obedience to divine commands was required for salvation

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and no offers of grace ought to be made in the church. On Gill's own terms, membership in his Particular Baptist community could be no sign of salvation and no assurance of its possibility. Grace and salvation could just as easily occur on a desert island.

改革宗神学的教会论

By way of contrast, the Reformed doctrine of grace — the irresistible grace of the five points — not only identifies God's grace as unmerited but also locates the primary working of that grace in the covenanting community of believers where it is presented through the means of word and sacrament. This covenanting community or church, the Belgic Confession tells us, "has been from the beginning of the world and will be to the end thereof . . . supported by God against the rage of the world." Thus, although it remains a terrifying thing that Satan can roam the world seeking whom he may devour, we may be absolutely certain, through the grace of God, that Satan cannot devour either the church or God's elect. And because the Reformed faith is not antinomian, we may expect, under grace, both a continuance of the divine demand of obedience and a presence of the beginnings of that obedience, through regeneration and sanctification in the community of belief. As the Heidelberg Catechism teaches us, this obedience belongs to our thankful response to the divine gift of salvation by grace.

What is more, since this church is "the gathering of those who are saved" no one ought to "withdraw from it" but ought to live as members of this body — indeed, "all people are obliged to join and unite with it," granting that "there is no salvation apart from it" (BC, XXVIII). The church is not, therefore, a "voluntary association" — certainly not in any usual sense of that term. It is the divinely mandated and established covenanting community within which and through the agency of which the Word is preached, the sacraments faithfully administered, and the grace of God mediated to a needy world. Because, moreover, "Christ has shed his blood no less for washing the children of believers than he did for adults," infants as well as adults "ought to be baptized and sealed with the sign of the covenant" (BC, XXXIV).

圣礼是既然是神给信仰群体(教会)的恩典的管道(means of grace),是神给立约群体的应许,所以洗礼就不能限定只给成人,而不给小孩。
The Reformed assumption underlying this doctrine is that sacraments are indeed signs and, therefore, in a sense, means of grace — that the churchly administration of the sacrament holds out the promise of the divine work of grace, "washing, purifying, and cleansing our souls . . . renewing our hearts and filling them with all comfort" (BC, XXXIV). What is more, this assumption concerning the legitimate inclusion of the children of believers in the covenanting community through the sign and seal of baptism stands as the natural adjunct of the five points: Salvation does not arise out of human merit but by grace

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alone through the acceptance, by graciously engendered faith, of the sufficient sacrifice of Christ for our sins. Baptism, rightly understood from the human side, signifies the placement of our children into the context where the promised grace of God is surely at work. And who more than an infant, incapable of meritorious works, can indicate to us that this salvation is by grace alone? By way of contrast, the restriction of baptism to adult believers who make a "decision" and who come forward voluntarily to receive a mere ordinance stands against recognition of baptism as a sign of utter graciousness on the part of God: Baptism here is offered only to certain individuals who have passed muster before a human, albeit churchly, court — or to state the problem slightly differently, who have had a particular experience viewed as the necessary prerequisite to baptism by a particular churchly group. If grace and election relate to this post-decision baptism, they can hardly be qualified by the terms "irresistible" and "unconditional." There is an inescapable irony in refusing baptism to children, offering it only to adults, and then telling the adults that they must become as little children in order to inherit the kingdom of heaven.

The emphasis on adult baptism, being "born again," and "accepting Christ" is connected, in American evangelical circles, with language concerning "a personal relationship with Jesus" or knowing Jesus as one's "personal Savior." In protesting against this language, I know that I will be stepping on a few religious toes — although the protest is not at all directed against piety or Christian religious experience as such. The issue is that this language itself is neither Reformed in its content nor suitable for transfer into a Reformed confessional context. In the first place, the terms are unclear and can tend toward an ill-defined, affective piety that, at its worst, can violate certain of the Christological and soteriological norms of the Reformed community. I have often commented to evangelical friends that, for me, having a personal relationship or knowing someone personally means that I can sit down at a table with him and have a cup of coffee, that I can speak to him and he can respond in an audible fashion. But I can't sit at a table and have a cup of coffee with Jesus. And if I speak to him, he does not answer audibly As an angel once rightly noted, "He is not here: for he is risen," and, indeed, ascended into heaven. Reformed Christology has always insisted not only on the resurrection of Christ's body but also on the heavenly location and finitude of Christ's resurrected humanity. Christ now sits at the right hand of God and visibly rules the church triumphant. The language of personal relationship is, at best, equivocal. At worst, it detracts from the majesty of the doctrine of Christ's kingship.

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Even more than this, however, use of the language of personal relationship with Jesus often indicates a qualitative loss of the traditional Reformation language of being justified by grace alone through faith in Christ and being, therefore, adopted as children of God in and through our graciously given union with Christ. Personal relationships come about through mutual interaction and thrive because of common interests. They are never or virtually never grounded on a forensic act such as that indicated in the doctrine of justification by faith apart from works - in fact personal relationships rest on a reciprocity of works or acts. The problem here is not the language itself: The problem is the way in which it can lead those who emphasize it to ignore the Reformation insight into the nature of justification and the character of believer’s relationship with God in Christ.

Such language of personal relationship all too easily lends itself to an Arminian view of salvation as something accomplished largely by the believer in cooperation with God. A personal relationship is, of its very nature, a mutual relation, dependent on the activity – the works – of both parties. In addition, the use of this Arminian, affective language tends to obscure the fact that the Reformed tradition has its own indigenous relational and affective language and piety; a language and piety, moreover, that are bound closely to the Reformation principle of salvation by grace alone through faith alone. The Heidelberg Catechism provides us with a language of our "only comfort in life and in death" – that "I am not my own, but belong – body and soul, in life and death to my faithful Savior, Jesus Christ" (q. 1). "Belonging to Christ,” a phrase filled with piety and affect, retains the confession of grace alone through faith alone, particularly when its larger context in the other language of the catechism is taken to heart. We also have access to a rich theological and liturgical language of covenant to express with both clarity and warmth our relationship to God in Christ.

Even so, the Reformed teaching concerning the identity of the church assumes a divine rather than a human foundation and assumes that the divine work of establishing the community of belief is a work that includes the basis of the ongoing life of the church as a community, which is to say, includes the extension of the promise to children of believers. The conversion experience associated with adult baptism and with the identification of the church as a voluntary association assumes that children are, with a few discrete qualifications, pagan-and it refuses to understand the corporate dimension of divine grace working effectively (irresistibly!) in the perseverance of the covenanting community. It is a contradictory teaching indeed that argues irresistible

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grace and the perseverance of the saints and then assumes both the necessity of a particular phenomenology of adult conversion and "decision." Without the concept of the church as covenanting community and the doctrine of infant baptism, the five points make precious little sense.

Our confession of the divine foundation of the covenanting community also directs our attention from the doctrine of the efficacy and irresistibility of grace to the conception of sacraments as means of grace and not mere ordinances. This is not a magical association of a human activity with the beginning of divine activity but rather the simple assumption that God has, in the sacraments as in the preached Word, identified the place where his grace is most surely and freely bestowed. The sacraments are "visible signs ... of something internal and invisible" — and not merely signs but "seals" as well, granting that it is God who has there made available his promise to us and who has irresistibly inaugurated the work of his grace in our lives (cf., BC, XXXIII). Mere ordinances can be omitted or deemphasized as insignificant or "empty," but because the sacraments are signs "by means of which God works in us through the power of the Holy Spirit" they are hardly "empty and hollow" but an integral part of the life of the church that knows its members to be called by grace and justified through faith (ibid.).

A similar point must be made about millennialism. The so-called amillennialism of the Reformed assumes not the absence but the presence of the earthly reign of grace. There is a powerful difference between the faith and the church of those who await a millennium and who hold that now Satan bestrides the earth seeking whom — including members of the voluntarily gathered church — he may devour, and the faith and church of those who hold that the ministry of Christ and his work on the cross bound Satan, who may no longer devour God's people however else he may roam about. The grace of God presently reigning in the covenanting community also supplies the foundation for the church's life in the world as a moral society Once again, the assumption concerning the identity of church as covenanted community and, now, the amillennial understanding both of the eschaton and of the present work of God in Christ, direct us back to the points concerning our total inability, God's irresistible grace for us, and the perseverance of believers. Various forms of millennialism militate against the irresistible grace and the perseverance identified in the five points by placing the church into an interim condition before the fullness of the grace and lordship of Christ is revealed.
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The problem of multiple dispensations of salvation is clearly related to the problem of the millennium. Such a teaching assumes not only that salvation has been administered differently in various ages of the world but, contrary to the Reformed Confessions' understanding of Scripture, also that one church hasnot existed "from the beginning of the world," will not "last until the end," and has not been universally "preserved by God against the rage of the world" (BC, XXVII). Does this approach to salvation indicate anything in relation to the five points? At very least, it implies that the perseverance of the saints and, above all, the understanding of that perseverance as the perseverance of God for his saints, is not a teaching universally applicable to the people of God. And, granting that a multiplication of covenants bars the way to a perseverance of the saints throughout the history of God's people, it must also introduce conditions for the election of the chosen people in past dispensations. Entrance into these other covenantal arrangements rests on obedience or decision — rather than obedience resting on the covenant itself and on the unconditional election that is its foundation. We may not want to speak of a necessary deductive or logical connection between the doctrines of the unity of the covenant of grace in its several temporal administrations, unconditional election, perseverance of the saints, and the amillennial ending of the world, but these concepts do flow together and the absence of each makes difficult the confession of the others.

In conclusion, we can ask again, "How many points?" Surely there are more than five. The Reformed faith includes reference to total inability, unconditional election, limited efficiency of Christ's satisfaction, irresistible grace, and perseverance of the saints, not as the sum total of the church's confession but as elements that can only be understood in the context of a larger body of teaching including the baptism of infants, justification by grace alone through faith, the necessity of a thankful obedience consequent upon our faith and justification, the identification of sacraments as means of grace, the so-called amillennial view of the end of the world. The larger number of points, including but going beyond the five of Dort, is intended, in other words, to construe theologically the entire life of the believing community. And when that larger number of points taught by the Reformed confessions is not respected, the famous five are jeopardized, indeed, dissolved —and the ongoing spiritual health of the church is placed at risk.
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