Saturday, December 30, 2006

The Mass Accomplishing Nothing

Tiber responds to James White’s Blog post concerning the nature of the Mass (here).
Tiber states:

In my Christmas Eve blog post, I was reflecting on how beautiful it is to receive Christ and I was attempting to make the point that Catholics don’t re-crucify Jesus with every Mass as we are often accused. The Altar of the Mass is where Christ’s sacrifice accomplished once and for all 2000 years ago is re- presented. In the spirit of charity, I do admire his heart for Catholics that he perceives as being in slavery and I appreciate his prayers for me. (we all could use more prayer). You are in my prayers too, brother James!

I don’t think “Brother James” was trying to argue the “recrucify” argument. Instead Dr. White was arguing for the idea that the Mass never actually accomplishes anything. It never actually takes away sin. Tiber seems to believe in experiencing the Mass, yet is not the picture of the treadmill a perfect description of the very Treasury of Merit system that enslaves millions of people? To this day I have never received from him an answer as to how one is saved and has peace with God.

What troubles me the most about Tiber’s post is reflected in this statement, “It's a mystery not easily explainable or "exegeted" but yet experienced by the people of God for two millennia.” Here experience trumps the clear revelation of God and his purpose in Christ to perfectly redeem and save a people. Penal Substitutionary Atonement must be denied. There is no imputation of Christ’s righteousness to the believer. Sin is never forgiven.

Dr. White is right on when he says the Mass is part of a man-centered system that enslaves men, and Tiber never was able to deal with that. He simply can’t. He admits God’s Word may not be “exegeted” to understand the meaning of the atonement. Then again, what should one expect when it is assumed God is not able to speak clearly in His Word to His people.

Joh 1:18 No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained [exegeted] Him.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Unity in Mongrelism

Ergun Caner has recently posted again about the multiple streams issue among Baptists. He speaks of as "a site that is an invaluable resource for those who study the history of Free Church groups such as the Anabaptists and Southern Baptists. Any group that holds to believer’s baptism and congregational polity has a rich history of dissent, against Catholic and Protestants alike. We were not a part of the “Reformation,” but rather went much further, becoming known as the “Radical Reformation.”"

Then later he states, "Doesn’t that sound familiar? The one thing I have learned from being a Baptist for over twenty years is that we are like a mongrel dog– our breeding has been a mix of many different types. We are a mixed breed. Get ten Baptists in a room, the saying goes, and you will find twenty opinions."

Aside from trying to imply that Southern Baptists and Anabaptists are the same thing, aside from the fact he has declared war on Calvinism and that it will not be tolerated at Liberty, doesn't this just sound great? Baptists are just a bunch of confused dogs as if "Free Baptists" and "particular Baptists" should have the ability to just mix together. He goes so far as to link Particular Baptists as being of the radical reformation. I have no doubt that many thought that of the Particular Baptists, but that was due to the fact that Particular Baptists were often accused of being "general Baptists” or as Caner likes to call them, Free Baptists.

There is a huge gulf that exists between Particular Baptists and General Baptists. The General Baptists of England have self imploded on their often heretical views. Their impact on history is becoming less recognized and scholarship (according to an article by James Renihan) is beginning to write more about the Particular Baptists.

Caner is correct that Baptists of differing views have come together. In a personal email, Dr. Renihan explained to me that the New Hampshire Confession, although looking Calvinistic, was worded very carefully so that Arminian Baptists of northern New England would be able to agree together with Calvinistic Baptists on a single Confession. Therefore I agree with Caner that there is a mongrel in Evangelicalism. This is the problem when Creeds unite men without having any substance. Unity in name only is no unity at all.

From the preface Caner quotes:

"We have also in this our Confession of Faith, laboured to avoid the dangerous Rocks of Pelagianism, Antinomianism, Arminianism, and the Remonstrants."
What is ironic is the missing semi-Pelagianism position. So basically lets labor to avoid any extreme while embracing the semi-Pelagianism position. Yet isn't semi-Pelagianism the exact fundamental issue between the Reformers and Roman Catholics? It is a sad state when RC apologists know this only too well and have taken advantage of many ignorant Evangelicals of which Caner remains.

Caner quotes from the Baptist Creed of 1679 Article Ten:


WE do believe, that known unto God are all his Works from Eternity. Therefore he foresaw Adam’s fall, but did not decree it, yet foreseeing it in his eternal Counsel and Wisdom, did Elect and chuse Jesus Christ, and all that do or shall believe in him, out of that fallen Lump of Mankind. And hath manifested his Love and Grace by Jesus Christ, (his Elect, or beloved Son) through the Gospel means, to all; and hath given us his Word and Oath, to assure us that he desires not the death of the Wicked, but rather that they repent, or return to him and live; and if any do perish, their destruction is of themselves.

Here we have a wide open door to Open-Theism. God has not in fact decreed all things. It was not God's purpose for Adam to fall. Adam fell and God only knew about it because He gained knowledge of the future from some external source? God knowing that perhaps Billions of men would reject Him and burn in hell for no purpose decided to create them anyway?

I would love to ask the writers of this Creed if the cross was just a big cosmic accident. Of course they would be glad to give the typical answer of God knew it would happen, therefore God somehow made it happen. I simply do not see how any of this is Scriptural.

My hope and prayer is that Baptist churches would recognize that resorting to vague or ambiguous Creeds is not going to bring unity. The great Particular Baptist Creeds should be recognized again as being able to be specific where necessary and giving liberty where necessary. True unity comes with sound Biblical doctrine.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Christmas in Scott CIty

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas. We didn't get buried by Wednesday's snowstorm, but we did get some ice and a little bit of snow and a whole lot of mess.

Here is a picture of a little town called Healy about 24 miles away from us.

Here is another one in Scott City

Of course, we had to take the kids to see Santa.

Steph holding Jacob who is looking at that big scary guy.

God Bless and Merry Christmas from the Fishers

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Monty Python's Flying Churches

Why everyone is looking to the Bill Hybels of Willow Creek and Rick Warren of Purpose Drivel Life for sound theology is beyond me. For those of you who wonder why I think "Seeker Sensitive" churches are leading Evangelicalism down a path of self destruction, simply read this article.

It's all about worship styles I am often told. It may be true that styles of music perhaps should not be so rigid, but the idea of worship most of the time has no solid theological foundation in the Scriptures. We have all the freedom to do what we want when we think Scripture is silent. In the end, we might just look like Monty Pythons Flying Circus.

Kudos to Pastor Ed for pointing me to this sad state of silliness. Here is a quote from him about a video that could just as easily be said about many other things.

First, it trivializes outreach to the lost for church attendance to the level of a Saturday Night Live sketch. No, I'm not humor impaired. I'm fine with jokes, comedy, and generally cutting up in the right context. Second, it sends an unwitting message to the lost that we have a lack of fear, awe, and reverence for God...and it's okay if they do, too.

May God grant us mercy and repentance.

Monday, December 18, 2006

The Christian Sabbath

So I thought I had it all worked out. The Sabbath is just not for Christians. We are freed from the Law of the Old Covenant. Christ is the substance of things predicted to come. We now have our rest in Christ. Yet consistency just won't go away.

Having rejected Dispensationalism long ago I have come to understand a Covenantal view of theology. Christ has not abolished the Law but has changed how that law is applied in the New Covenant. Christ is Lord, therefore He is able to establish the New Covenant as He sees fit.

What has troubled me over the years prior to my accepting Covenant Theology is the Ten Commandments. How do they fit in the New Covenant? Do we accept the first three? Do we accept the last six? Then on what consistent basis do we reject the fourth, the Sabbath Commandment? As Uncle Paul said, "It is probably the one commandment we consistently break."

After having read some articles in the RBTR on the Sabbath under the Old Covenant I spoke with the author of those articles, Richard Barcellos. He was kind enough to email me some articles that may never see the light of day in the journal, but nevertheless are written well enough that they need to be published.

I took some of the arguments presented in these series of articles and presented them on an e-mail list for discussion. I was amazed at how many rejected the arguments out of hand. At one point I made the statement, "If there is no Christian Sabbath, isn't it at least ironic that Christians all over the world worship on Sunday and have done so since Christ's resurrection." I received no response to such a glaring historical fact. It is as if the Christian Sabbath teaching was waving a flag saying, "Hey, I am right here silly."

In fact, I was overlooking something as plain as day in my own New Hampshire Confession. Read this statement:

15. Of the Christian Sabbath

"We believe that the first day of the week is the Lord's Day, or Christian Sabbath Acts 20:7; Gen. 2:3; Col. 2:16-17; Mark 2:27; John 20:19; 1 Cor. 16:1- 2; and is to be kept sacred to religious purposes Exod. 20:8; Rev. 1:10; Psa. 118:24, by abstaining from all secular labor and sinful recreations Isa. 58:13-14; 56:2-8; by the devout observance of all the means of grace, both private Psa. 119:15 and public Heb. 10:24-25; Acts 11:26; 13:44; Lev. 19:30; Exod. 46:3; Luke 4:16; Acts 17:2, 3; Psa. 26:8; 87:3; and by preparation for that rest that remaineth for the people of God Heb. 4:3-11."

And again in the London Baptist Confession of 1689:

7. As it is of the Law of nature, that in general a proportion of time by Gods appointment, be set a part for the Worship of God; so by his Word in a positive-moral, and perpetual Commandement, binding all men, in all Ages, he hath particularly appointed one day in seven for a (e) Sabbath to be kept holy unto him, which from the beginning of the World to the Resurrection of Christ, was the last day of the week; and from the resurrection of Christ, was changed into the first day of the week (f) which is called the Lords day; and is to be continued to the end of the World, as the Christian Sabbath; the observation of the last day of the week being abolished.

8. The Sabbath is then kept holy unto the Lord, when men after a due preparing of their hearts, and ordering their common affairs aforehand, do not only observe an holy (g) rest all the day, from their own works, words, and thoughts, about their worldly employment, and recreations, but also are taken up the whole time in the publick and private exercises of his worship, and in the duties (h) of necessity and mercy.

And again with the Philadelphia Confession of 1742:

7. As it is the law of nature, that in general a proportion of time, by God's appointment, be set apart for the worship of God, so by his Word, in a positive moral, and perpetual commandment, binding all men, in all ages, he hath particularly appointed one day in seven for a sabbath to be kept holy unto him, which from the beginning of the world to the resurrection of Christ was the last day of the week, and from the resurrection of Christ was changed into the first day of the week, which is called the Lord's day: and is to be continued to the end of the world as the Christian Sabbath, the observation of the last day of the week being abolished.

(Exod. 20:8; 1 Cor. 16:1, 2; Acts 20:7; Rev. 1:10)

8. The sabbath is then kept holy unto the Lord, when men, after a due preparing of their hearts, and ordering their common affairs aforehand, do not only observe an holy rest all day, from their own works, words and thoughts, about their worldly employment and recreations, but are also taken up the whole time in the public and private exercises of his worship, and in the duties of necessity and mercy.

(Isa. 58:13; Neh. 13:15-22; Matt. 12:1-13)

Here it is plainly obvious what our Baptist forebears believed. They believed that the Christian does have a Sabbath to observe. That day is the Lord's Day, a Day of His possession. As Jesus said Himself, He is Lord of the Sabbath.

I would like to give a rough outline of Barcellos' argument for a Christian Sabbath in the next post. For now I would like to leave you with a sermon I just heard the other day. God's Providence could not have been more timely in my thinking about this topic.

Here is Don Fry's sermon on the Lord's Day from Revelation chapter 1.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

A Mere $180 Bucks

Apparently, unborn babies in the Ukraine are only worth $180 bucks. Here I am living in the United States potentially looking to see if it is possible to adopt a baby. It turns out that adopting a child runs in the multiple tens of thousands of dollars, tens of thousands of dollars that I am not in possession. So that idea was dropped. I am not one of those kinds of people that take loans and say, "God will provide." I guess I just don't have that kind of faith.

My wife and I looked into adopting a child from overseas. Perhaps there might be organizations that may make it a little "cheaper", something in my budget. I was wrong again. The costs still run into the tens of thousands of dollars that I just don't have.

However, it turns out if I just had a $180 and a "Dr." in front of my name, I could have talked a Ukrainian woman into selling her fetus (that's baby for those of you who don’t know) to me for slaughter. Apparently, people in the Ukraine believe harvesting Stem Cells will produce “beauty treatments in Russia”. So much for science being scientific when all science shows embryonic stem cells have not produced one thing positively for medicine.

Atleast these women are getting paid for aborting their babies. Here in the states women are desperate enough to pay for it. Now I admit that perhaps a fully mature baby that is birthed normally may be worth a bit more. Surely I could talk these fools down just a little? Perhaps a $200?

Sorry about the sarcasm, but this thinking is what I was referring to in my last post. If we accept as a starting point man's knowledge, then men will follow his foolish thinking to his own destruction. Colossians 2:3-4:

"Christ Himself, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. I say this so that no one will delude you with persuasive argument."

When we start with Christ, we will gain true knowledge of God and ourselves and a true understanding of the world.

(PS, Kudos to Tiber for pointing this out)

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Importance of the Virgin Birth

Every year we have to have the silly debate in the media about the Virgin Birth. The claim is that Christians are not enlightened if they believe in such a silly miracle. So how do Christians often respond? "Well, that isn't necessary to believe to be a Christian." But is this true?

Albert Mohler discusses the question on his Blog:

Must one believe in the Virgin Birth to be a Christian? This is not a hard question to answer. It is conceivable that someone might come to Christ and trust Christ as Savior without yet learning that the Bible teaches that Jesus was born of a virgin. A new believer is not yet aware of the full structure of Christian truth. The real question is this: Can a Christian, once aware of the Bible's teaching, reject the Virgin Birth? The answer must be no.

Mohler is right. If we are to give into the idea that one doesn't have to believe in the Virgin Birth, then we inadvertantly give away the farm. There is far more at stake than just one "little" miracle.

By rejecting the Virgin Birth of Christ the result becomes a rejection of a worldview...a supernatural worldview. It is the surrounding worldviews that Christians are to oppose and in fact convert. As the Scripture says, "The beginning of wisdom is the fear of the Lord."

When we start with a man centered naturalistic, materialistic or atheistic approach to knowledge and the way in which we view the world, by definition we must reject Christ. This kind of thinking only leads to self destruction and as the Scripture says, "Professing to be wise, they became fools." It leads to foolishness.

Some have asked me if God is true, then why are there so many religions to choose from. The answer is quite simple. When man starts with himself, then for every man there will be a new theory or religion or philosophy of the world. Dr. White was correct in his debate against Dr. John Crossan (former Jesus Seminar Scholar) when he said that for every Liberal Scholar, you have a new version of Jesus that often looks like the scholar himself [my own paraphrase].

We as Christians must call a world to repent and believe in a crucified and resurrected Savior. We call men to repent of their their arrogance and self appointed godgood. We must call men to repent of their thinking about themselves and their view of the world. It is simply arrogant of man to start anywhere outside of his Creator for knowledge about the world, himself or most importantly, the Creator.

Monday, December 11, 2006

More On Conception Of Christ

Tiber recently said on his Blog:

"In order for Jesus to be truly human, he had to "inherit" a flesh component that carried the nature of his mother. In order to be divine, he had to "inherit" the divine nature of God the Father through the Holy Spirit. "
This is exactltly what I was talking about. I had not even read his post when I had written mine. I guess great minds think alike.

The problem with the above quote is that it makes no sense at all. He had to inherit His Deity? If anything leads to the error of "mixing" God and man into a new thing it is this kind of thinking. Jesus is now half Mary and half God. So am I to believe God has a genetic makeup that when combined with Mary's you get a Jesus?

Jesus is Deity because His Person has always existed with the Father. He is human not merely because He was born of Mary but because God has chosen to "tabernacle" among us. He has become incarnate in the flesh. He doesn't need our DNA for God to make a new man.

It was the Holy Spirit that conceived Christ in Mary's womb. To say Jesus is half Mary is to be a philosopher (an illogical one at that) rather than to follow what the sacred text explicitly tells us.

BTW: My pastor has also repeated the assertion that sin is inherited through the male. Where this argument comes from is mere speculation as far as I can see. If this were so, could we say that if Adam had not sinned, he could have had children with Eve, and their children would not have inherited a sin nature? I realize that Adam is the Federal Head for all of humanity, but that not only has to do with being inherently sinful at conception in nature but also with the imputation of sin. Are we going to divide actual sin nature and Federal Headship Imputation?

I simply do not see that calling Mary Jesus' mother makes her anymore physically related to Jesus than calling Joseph His father. This is begging the question.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Immaculately Conceived In Protestant Churches

Does Jesus have to be born of a woman Immaculately Conceived? During the early centuries of the church, the attack against Christ and His Deity was the foremost battle for several centuries. Although the attacks have never relented totally, the church has defined its beliefs in the Creeds.

As devotion towards Mary grew over time it is easy to look back and see how the two theological beliefs would converge. Since Christians have recognized that Jesus is born without a sinful nature that is inherent in Adam, what are we to do with a Jesus that is born of a woman who is also a sinner? Today we are told that Jesus’ atoning work was applied to Mary prior to her being born. Therefore Mary was able to live a sinless life and not give Jesus any taint of sin. This sounds nice but the underlying presupposition must be challenged.

That however is not my concern. Many Protestants believe the same problem must be solved. I have heard several times that God merged new DNA with Mary’s to conceive a child in describing the Virgin Birth. So we now have a man mixed with Adam’s DNA through a woman and something else. Does this mean that Jesus is somehow inherently sinful?

This seems to be the presupposition that both groups need to understand. Protestants have come up with different ways to solve this problem. Recently I have heard that sin is only transmitted through the male. Therefore since Jesus had only Mary as His mother and no human father, he is free from sin. Again, the problems with this understanding overlook the many texts that speak of Jesus’ fathers according to the flesh. He is the son of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. He is the son of David. He is also said to be the son of Joseph. Does this mean that since Jesus is born into their household that their sin is imputed to Him just because he is not directly of their DNA? So now Mary's sinfullness is not given Jesus in any way?

Although the many texts that are used by both positions are important, there a couple that are overlooked and have more of a direct bearing on the subject.

Let’s look at Mat 1:20:

But when he had considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, "Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for the Child who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.

Notice the text never says that what is conceived in Mary is of Mary in any way. We simply assume that Jesus must be half Mary and half God as if there is something magical going on between God and Mary. There is simply no textual warrant for such an illogical conclusion. Jesus is conceived of the Holy Spirit. He is from above and conceived into a man that is good and sinless.

The church fathers were right in attempting to protect the teaching that Jesus is fully human by teaching Mary gave birth to God in the flesh. For dogs give birth to dogs. Humans give birth to humans. Therefore Jesus is fully human. But it is a logical leap to say that Jesus must be of Adam or Mary’s DNA.

This leads to the next text that must be more directly dealt with.

1Co 15:45 So also it is written, "The first MAN, Adam, BECAME A LIVING SOUL." The last Adam became a life-giving spirit. However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural; then the spiritual. The first man is from the earth, earthy; the second man is from heaven. As is the earthy, so also are those who are earthy; and as is the heavenly, so also are those who are heavenly. Just as we have borne the image of the earthy, we will also bear the image of the heavenly.

And also

Rom 5:19 For as through the one man's disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous.

In these two texts we see that Jesus is a New Man who is able to represent a new humanity in Himself. He is totally distinct from the first Adam. Yet He is able to live among Adam’s humanity in order to save His Elect perfectly and redeem them from the curse of the law, their sin and death.

Jesus is not some half-breed or a mixture of fallen sinners and perfect righteousness. We do not need to do theological gymnastics to make Mary perfect (as in RCism), nor do we need to conflate Federal Headship doctrines to go farther than the Scripture teaches (as in some Protestant circles).

He is in truth the New Man (Adam) and New Humanity. All those joined to Him by faith possess His perfect life and need never to come under condemnation. He is the only-begotten or unique Son of God.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

He Yelled At Me

Many years ago in the Dover, NH public library I read a book by a Prochoice philosopher. He argued that babies are not "persons", therefore not protected by law. They do not become persons till they become self-conscious of themselves, and he argued that does not happen until they are approximately 2 years of age.

Everyday I come home a little before 5 PM. When I came home on Wednesday of this week, my son let my wife know he was excited. He knew it was me.

When I walked past him and did not pick him up, he screamed a high pitch yell. I think if we had a 4-month-old translator machine it would have said, "Hey, I'm over here silly. Pick me up!" He was clearly communicating to me.

I wonder if that moron (I know, I know. Don't call people names.) of a philosopher has any children. Romans 1 plainly teaches, men surppress the truth in unrighteousness. Therefore God hands them over to their perverted minds. A nation that allows the killing of their children is a nation under the wrath and judgment of God.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

The Cross: Historicity & Theology

Alpha and Omega hs announced the plans for next year's cruise. The theme will be "The Cross: Historicity & Theology". This will be an intensive cruise if one sits in on the classes being taught.

My wife wants to go. Therefore I think I know what I am getting her for our 15th. ;-)

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Christmas Lights During the Darkest Days

It is Christmas, and we have put up our lights. Steven's idea was to make a cross and light it up.

Apparently with those Candy Canes, I am going to have to attempt to keep up with those Jones next door. :-)

Torturing Babies Vs. Terrorists

I am a firm believer that if an actual abortion were shown on TV, it would end tomorrow. Think about how "Shocked" Americans were when they were told that Terrorists were being tortured at Guantanamo Prison. Yet the same people, who were so outraged at waterboarding and stacking naked people (something college students do to each other), seem to have no problem with torturing babies.

Citizenlink has reported that the "U.S. House of Representatives did not garner enough votes this afternoon to pass the Unborn Child Pain Awareness Act, H.R. 6099".

The irony is just sickening. The "Hate America First" crowd so desires to kill our own children, they will overlook the obvious contradiction in their own worldview.

Inconsistency is the sign of a failed argument. In this case, inconsistency is the sign of a failed society under the judgment and wrath of God. Without the Rule of Law that restrains men, how else may we interpret Romans 1 and its application today?

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

More On Baptism

Another point about the Baptism debate. I was a little surprised that Bill Shishko used the emotional argument of “What happens to our children?” argument. What if they die in infancy? Are there any promises for Christian parents that their children will be in heaven?

Those are good questions, but I totally fail to see the relevance of them from a Reformed perspective. If one holds to the doctrine of election and original sin as Scripture teaches, what does baptizing infants do? If we are going to parallel them with OT circumcision, did that circumcision save anyone, especially in light of Romans 8 and 9? Is he arguing for an age of accountability and denying original sin?

Then a highly emotional example was used. What about a child that may be severely mentally handicapped? This I thought was great. I really thought Dr. White should have knocked the ball out of the park with this one. The reason is simple. We should baptize every person who is not able to choose Christ with the utmost urgency. Obviously Shisko is supporting some kind of baptismal promise unto salvation theory?

It might be countered that the baptism of a mentally challenged person only counts if the father is converted. So my question is, what do we do with those without parents? This kind of thinking gets quite convoluted. There is simply no end.

White was right when he states that Baptism is not circumcision. Circumcision was pointing forward to the inner work of the Holy Spirit in regeneration. Baptism is a work in which a man that is united by faith in Christ looks back to the finished work of Christ brought about by the applied work of the Spirit circumcising his heart.

If Shishko is going to be consistent in equating who is to be baptized with those who were circumcised under the Old Covenant, then just as children partook of the “Sader” meal in OT times, it should follow that children under the New Covenant should partake of the Lord’s Table. IMHO anyway.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Images and Worship

Tiber Jumper asks an interesting question on his Blog:

What's the difference between a Protestant and a Catholic?

The Protestant puts away his graven images after the holidays are over.

What's my point? Why do Christians put statues of Mary, Jesus, Joseph and the angels around their churches and homes at the Holy Season of Christmas? Because the statues call to mind the people they represent. Do they worship these statues? I don't know, I have often seen Christians standing in front of manger scenes singing Christmas carols at various churches but I don't assume they were worshipping them.
Well, if Tiber doesn’t know if they are worshiping these statues, why bring up the question? The reason is simple. He next cites a portion of the RC catechism in order to support having “graven images” on display and “contemplation of sacred icons, united with meditation on the Word of God and the singing of liturgical hymns, enters into the harmony of the signs of celebration so that the mystery celebrated is imprinted in the heart's memory and is then expressed in the new life of the faithful.”

Is this not an attempt to equate RCisms praying to Mary and the Saints as if that is what Protestants are doing? Are we really going to say that when a Protestant sets up a Christmas display in front of his house or church that that somehow is the same as a RC’s form of worship? Are Protestants really “venerating” anything?

He then says:

“Nothing in the Catechism says Catholics should worship graven images. But it does explain that the Incarnation "changed the economy" so that we are not forbidden to use holy images to bring our hearts heavenward.”
This is a common RC argument for praying to Mary and the Saints. This is something, which Protestants have rejected since the Reformation. To equate the Incarnation of Christ as a unique event in all of history with anything else is nothing short of Blasphemy. Jesus’ incarnation did not all of a sudden change the laws against idolatry. Tiber then makes an argument to deflect this when he says, “The Jewish temple had many statues of heavenly creatures and Moses was told to place a serpent's image on a brazen cross and compel the people to look upon it.”

Here is an example I once heard to help you think through this issue.

What if Moses were to come into a tent and find a man praying to Abraham. Moses says according to the Law you must die. The man responds by saying, that he wasn’t worshiping Abraham but only “venerating” him. Would Moses say, “Oh, ok. Never mind.”?
Let’s say Tiber is correct though. Let’s say Protestants have “moved away from iconoclasm and towards the display of sacred art and images” in their worship. Does that mean they are correct for doing so? There are many Protestants who argue against the use of images on Biblical grounds. Equivocating terms and practices is something the Theological Liberals and Cults do. I am sad to see a conservative religious man, who once professed the faith do the same.

I will close with this. Would Moses allow this prayer to be said? Would the Apostles have prayed this prayer?:

O Mother of Perpetual Help, thou art the dispenser of every grace that God grants us in our misery; it is for this cause that He hath made thee so powerful, so rich, so kind, that thou mightest assist us in our miseries. Thou art the advocate of the most wretched and abandoned sinners, if they but come unto thee; come once more to my assistance, for I commend myself to thee. In thy hands I place my eternal salvation; to thee I entrust my soul. Enroll me among thy most faithful servants; take me under thy protection and it is enough for me: yes, for if thou protect me, I shall fear nothing; not my sins, for thou wilt obtain for me their pardon and remission; not the evil spirits, for thou art mightier than all the powers of hell; not even Jesus, my Judge, for He is appeased by a single prayer from thee. I fear only that through my own negligence I may forget to recommend myself to thee and so I shall be lost. My dear Lady, obtain for me the forgiveness of my sins, love for Jesus, final perseverance and the grace to have recourse to thee at all times, O Mother of Perpetual Help.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Baptism Debate

Today while driving the countryside, I finally had the opportunity to listen to the Bill Shishko/James White debate on the subject of credo-baptism verses paedo-baptism. Shishko defended the paedo position by appealing to the standard household baptism as found in the Book of Acts. What I found a little different about his argument in this particular debate is his paralleling the NT era of household baptism with Noah and his belief saving his family through baptism.

The parallel is striking. God saw Noah as a righteous man. God commanded Noah to build an Ark. Through the faith of Noah the Ark was built, and as a result his family was saved. On the surface, I was impressed.

Thinking about that argument though has caused me to ask some questions. Did his children believe or disbelieve the faith of Noah? In other words, was Noah’s faith theirs as well, or did they just go along for the ride?

The Scriptures say that it took a hundred years to build the Ark. Did Noah’s sons assist Noah in building it? I assume that would have been the case. Now would they have built it if they were unbelievers? Were they morally neutral? And saying to themselves, “Well dad may have been called to build the Ark or he may not have been, but we’ll help because he is our dad.”

The Scriptural facts are, they were all saved from perishing in the flood. Even if they had babies on board, the children would have been saved. Is this really a parallel to the NT? If I baptize my baby, he is certain to be saved from the judgment? Or is there more going on?

Then I thought of Lot. Now Lot was considered by God as a righteous man. God sent messengers to Lot and told him to leave the city of Sodom. His sons-in-law did not believe Lot’s faith. And as they were leaving Lot’s wife disobeyed and was turned into a Pillar of Salt. Was Lot’s faith insufficient? Or did his household not believe and receive the faith of the head of the household?

The debate is very provocative. It will cause you to think through issues you may have not thought of before, such as the New Covenant, Particular Redemption, Election and ect.. It will drive you to be consistent in your approach to Scripture and in your theology. You can get them here.

Soli Deo Gloria