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No New Thing

Category Articles
Date January 25, 2007

And there is no new thing under the sun. Is there any thing whereof it may be said, See, this is new? it hath been already of old time, which was before us (Ecclesiastes 1:9-10).

The sum and substance of the great charge which the Reformers adduced against the Church of Rome was that … she … perverted the gospel of the grace of God, and endangered the salvation of men’s souls, by setting before them erroneous and unscriptural views of the grounds on which … the blessings that Christ had procured for mankind at large were actually bestowed upon men … This was the subject that may be said to have been discussed between the Reformers and the Romanists under the head of justification … There can be no difference of opinion as to the importance of the general subject which has been indicated; but there have been occasionally discussions in more modern times upon the question whether the errors of the Church of Rome upon this subject are so important and dangerous as they are often represented to be, and whether they were of sufficient magnitude to warrant the views entertained by the Reformers … When more lax and unsound views of the doctrine began to prevail in the Protestant churches, some of their divines lost their sense of the magnitude of the Romish errors upon the subject of justification, and began to make admissions, that the differences between them and the Romanists upon this point were not so vital as the Reformers had supposed them to be; and the Romanists, ever on the watch to take advantage of anything that seems fitted to promote the interests of their church, were not slow to avail themselves of these concessions.

Extracted from William Cunningham, Historical Theology, published by the Trust in 2 volumes in 1960 (now out of print).

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