I was reading through Gordon Clark’s Johannine Logos the other day and came across this quote:
The Rev. Albert N. Martin, pastor of Trinity Church, North Caldwell, New Jersey, one of the best Puritan preachers of our day – and that means one of the best preachers of our day – in a pamphlet titled, “What’s Wrong with Preaching Today,” after making many wise and sobering remarks, says,
“We must never forget… that faith was something more than an ‘assensus,’ a mere nodding of the head to the body of truth presented by the church as ‘the faith.’ … a mere nodding assent to the doctrines they are exposed to is not the essence of saving faith.”
Mr. Martin is indubitably correct when he insists that “saving faith involved… a trust and commitment involving the whole man…” But he seems to have misunderstood the nature of assensus. Assent is by no means “a mere nodding of the head.” The Roman Church may be a synagogue of Satan; the pope may be the Antichrist; but Roman Catholicism, which Mr. Martin contrasts with the Reformers on the point in question, never held what he says it held…..
The point of the quote is not to dive into Clark’s definition of faith (you can read about that here: Clark on Saving Faith), but instead to note that he believed one of the fathers of the modern Reformed Baptist movement to be one of the best preachers of his day. If you’ve never heard Al Martin, you can find his sermons on Sermonaudio.com