“First and foremost, evangelicals must affirm that the doctrine of justification by faith alone is an essential, because that is the very definition of the gospel itself, and there is nothing more core, central and essential than the gospel. The reformers were absolutely right in saying that any understanding of justification – even the understanding that justification is by faith and something else — is another gospel, is anathema to the gospel of Jesus Christ,” Mohler said. “The only way of understanding salvation by grace alone through faith alone is defining justification as the Scripture defines it, and that is justification by faith alone.”
Please tell me if I’m missing something here (I mean that sincerely) but the logic seems to be this:
The core of the gospel is justification by faith alone.
If you don’t believe that then you are believing a “false gospel.”
Is that what he’s saying? If so, I have a question about this logic. Isn’t the insistence that I must believe in the doctrine of “justification by faith alone” to be a faithful Christian a contradiction?
It sounds to me like Mohler is doing the exact thing he is accusing Catholics of doing. Isn’t he basically saying that “Justification is by faith alone AND your belief that justification is by faith alone”? In that case, neither the Catholics nor Mohler are saying that justification is by faith alone.
So, to sum up:
If the Catholic Church says the core of the gospel is faith + works, it’s heresy.
If Mohler says the core of the gospel is faith + correct beliefs about faith, it’s orthodoxy.