A New Auburn Affirmation

October 2002

In 1924 some clever, avant-garde Presbyterian Elders published an attack on the Word of God and the Gospel called the Auburn Affirmation. Of course, they did not call it an attack; they called it an Affirmation; and they were of the opinion that their new insights into Christian doctrine were correct and much needed for times such as theirs.

In recent years the Auburn Avenue Presbyterian Church in Monroe, Louisiana, a congregation of the Presbyterian Church in America, has been promoting, through its conferences and its monthly newsletter, The Auburn Analecta, new insights into Christian doctrine which it thinks are correct and needed for a time such as this.

For example, the October 1, 2002, issue of The Auburn Analecta carries portions of a lecture by N. T. Wright, a proponent of a new gospel and an enemy of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Wright is a leader in the New Perspective on Paul movement.

In the portion of the lecture published and presumably approved by the Auburners, Wright says, "It is important to stress, as Paul would do himself were he not so muzzled by his interpreters, that when he referred to 'the gospel' he was not talking about a scheme of soteriology."

Read that sentence over again slowly, and ponder its full meaning. The Gospel is not about a "scheme of soteriology."

Wright continues, "Despite the way Protestantism has used the phrase ["the Gospel"] (making it denote, as it never does in Paul, the doctrine of justification by faith),...."

Now read that sentence over again carefully.

Paul's Gospel, according to Wright, is not about a "scheme of soteriology" and it "never" means justification by faith.

Well, if the Gospel is not about redemption, salvation, and justification, as Wright and the Auburners assert, what is it about? Here are Wright's words, as published by the Auburners:

"What the Gentiles needed and longed for, whether they knew it or not, was the Jewish Messiah, who would bring the just and peaceful rule of the true God to bear on the whole world."

That is, Jesus is a political, not a redemptive, figure, and "the gospel" is a political message, a "royal announcement" that "The resurrection has installed Jesus of Nazareth as the Messiah of Israel." Wright asserts:

"Paul's proclamation clearly carried a political message at its heart, not merely as one 'implication' among many."

There you have it, friends: Wright and the Auburners reject the Gospel of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ and substitute another gospel, which is not another. The Gospel, they say, is not about salvation, nor about sin, never about justification, but is "a political message at its heart."

The curse of God – and the Apostle Paul – rests on such false teachers (see Galatians 1:1-9).

John Robbins
The Trinity Foundation
October 19, 2002

For further reading go to the Review Archives page at http://www.trinityfoundation.org