Saturday, June 30, 2007

Covenant Theology: From Adam To Christ

I am only half way through the book, but I think Editors Ronald Miller, James Renihan and Francisco Orozco have done the body of Christ in general and Baptists, who desire to learn theology and history, in particular a huge service. This work demonstrates that Baptists may be Reformed and Covenantal while remaining Baptists.

Since most Baptists have no idea who our forebears are, this book starts with a 20 page biography of Nehemiah Coxe written by none other than James Renihan. It is extremely helpful to get an understanding of who Coxe was. At one point I learned that Coxe went to church with John Bunyan, who while in prison wrote one of the most famous books, Pilgrims Progress.

What really has made this book good so far is its readability. Every layman that has some intelligence ought to become familiar with this work, if for no other reason than to gain an understanding of the definition of Covenant and God's covenant dealings with men.

So far I have read the chapters that define what a Covenant is, Adam's covenant of works and the Noahic Covenant. The Covenant of works with Adam may be the most important portion of this work. Lost has become the doctrine of Original sin.

On page 51, under the section The State and Condition of Fallen Man he writes:

2. He not only forfeited his right but also his present relationship to God by this sin. Moreover, he was by this means rendered incapable of true happiness, inasmuch as he was now apostatized from a covenant of friendship to a state of enmity against God and alienation from Him, which is the necessary adjunct of wickedness. He fell under the dominion of sin and that image of God in which he was created was in a manner wholly defaced. He sinned and fell short of the Glory of God (Romans 3:23). And now instead of that original righteousness with which he was first beautified, there was nothing to be found in him but abominable filthiness and horrid deformity. His mind was covered over, even possessed with hellish darkness. Hatred of God reigned in his heart and his affections were no longer subject to right reason but became vile and rebellious. It is evident that in this state he must be utterly incapable of communion with God and of the enjoyment of Him in whom alone true happiness of a reasonable creature consists.

And on page 53 under the same section:

The whole creation of this visible world became liable to destruction with fallen man as an inheritance forfeited by his treason against the Supreme Majesty. By the sin of man the frame of the earth and the heavens made for his service and delight was loosed, and their foundations so shaken as would have issued in an utter ruin had not Christ interposed and upheld their pillars (Psalm 75:3 with Hebrews 1:3).

One thing the Editors do well is even if a difficult word or expression is written by Coxe, they give a footnote at the bottom of the page to explain its meaning.

Since Nehemiah only deals with the Covenants from Adam to Abraham, the second half of the book is John Owen's exegesis of Hebrews 8 and the contrasts between the Old and New Covenants. I haven't got there yet, but knowing John Owen it should be excellent. It also has an article by a friend (I had to just say that) Richard Barcellos. You may read his current series on the Christian Sabbath here to get a flavor of his writing.

Buy the book and enjoy it.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Republicans Bore Me

Mike Huckabee was asked if he believes in a literal creation account. This clip is being discussed on an email list I read. One person thought his answer was good. Several pastors thought his answer was bad. I agree with the latter. Let me explain why.

I should admit that Huckabee was right at some points. The question is being asked of him in an attempt to embarrass him. He obviously has had time to prepare his answer, and this was the best he could come up with?! Talk about a softball. He should have hit this one out of the park, but he was too afraid to let people know what he believes and why he believes it. In other words, he was being a politician and was trying to make everyone like him by answering in the "I don't know how God did it" way. Hillary could have agreed with that.

It is a shame Huckabee's answer wasn't more consistent. Saying I don't know if God meant what He said is like saying, "Well the Bible could be true, but I am not sure." I think I believe what God said, but it is not important."

I wish I had the opportunity to be a fool for Christ in that kind of setting. I would have responded this way.

"Sir, you are obviously trying to embarrass me. It is you who ought to be embarrassed but you are too ignorant to know you should be. You may think this question is of no significance to our public life, but it does in the most serious way. The reason it is important to take the bible literally is that it must be the foundation for Law. There was a time in our country that we recognized God's revelation and what He expects from His creatures.

Since the rise of the theory of Evolution, many law schools have followed a philosophy of Might Makes Right. Today it is called "moral relativism". Have you noticed the Ninth Kangaroo Circus Court of Appeals? Have you noticed that different courts are constantly overruling other courts? Are you aware that the Supreme Court has become the 'National School Board'? Are you aware that the Supreme Court overrules itself regularly?"

The Rule of Law is based upon whoever is in charge at the moment. In other words, there is no rule of Law.

We must return to a system that is rational, coherent and consistent. The only way to do that is to return to what the Creator has revealed to us. But you sir hate God and His law, and you mock the beliefs of the majority of Americans according to your owns polls. You are in fact, what the Bible calls a fool."

It is a shame Huckabee's answer wasn't more consistent. I realize that no politician would speak in such a tone, but most Americans are not fond of CNN. He would quickly have gained the "Religious Right" if he had done such a thing.

Are there any Conservatives that want to be President? ANYONE?!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Why Christianity Is More Than a Relationship

Here is a short clip from the White Horse Inn radio broadcast. The context is a discussion on how Christians often view their own religion. Is it objective and true for all men or is it merely experiential (Remember the hymn: “You ask me how I know he lives. He lives within my heart.")?

Rod Rosenbladt explains in this clip the importance of catechizing our children in proper doctrine. I have heard often pastors lamenting that children have head knowledge instead of heart knowledge. I’d like to know where these children are.

Some have questioned why I used to teach the Sunday Morning High School the class way I did. The answer is simple. Giving children a feel good religion or attempting to lead them via a Finneyite methodology will simply not last. Perhaps teaching Christianity as if it were a religion of self help or morality is often confusing to them.

High Schoolers generally graduate and go to college. This is where their rebellious nature breaks forth. College Professors will tear apart any vestige of Christianity that may remain. Teachers of the church are to teach Law and Gospel according to Scripture in order to equip them with what they need.

Let me offer a real life example. Pastor John Warring (former pastor in Scott City) once asked me if I would abandon the faith if it could be proved beyond any shadow of a doubt that evolution is true. My answer was simple. Yes, I would.

He response was simply incredulous. “You would give up Christ and the faith?!”

“Of course.” I said.

You simply cannot divorce Christianity from history and evidence. God made this world. God has a purpose for this world. God made time and all events for a purpose. All of this is to glorify God.

The moment the Christian believes Christianity is true for private inner reasons he has lost all to the secularist of this generation. So much of Evangelism is about “Experiencing God”. The Apostolic preaching is quite different. They went about and preached an historical event that had theological consequences. They demonstrated that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God in power. “What power” you ask? Read this portion of Acts:

Act 26:24 While Paul was saying this in his defense, Festus *said in a loud voice, "Paul, you are out of your mind! Your great learning is driving you mad."

Act 26:25 But Paul *said, "I am not out of my mind, most excellent Festus, but I utter words of sober truth.

Act 26:26 "For the king knows about these matters, and I speak to him also with confidence, since I am persuaded that none of these things escape his notice; for this has not been done in a corner.

The events of Christ and the coming of His Kingdom, Christ’s work of salvation on the cross, the unbeliever’s involvement in His work (remember Pilate is in the Creeds!), all of the events of the Gospels were not done in a corner! God invaded history. Paul appeals to truth based squarely in historical fact. Notice even Festus could not escape Paul's preaching, for he knew these things were historically true!

I am not attempting to abandon the experiential side of the faith, but faith and one’s experience should be a result of the objective and truthful proclamation of God’s Word. Anything less is non-Christian.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Prophets, When Do We Listen?

Sam Waldron’s To Be Continued: Are the miraculous Gifts For Today? is a book I am now half way through. He basically argues via a cascading argument for the cessation of the miraculous gifts. By demonstrating that the Apostolic office has ceased he then demonstrates how the others that pertain to that era have ceased as well.

I may attempt to discuss the book at a later date when I have finished. For now I wanted to raise a point I thought was very applicable in today’s climate of weak theology.

His chapter on Old Testament Prophets and the nature of their prophecy is quite enlightening. It could easily fit into a book on the nature of Scripture. Explaining the nature of the Old Testament Canon he cites portions of Deuteronomy 13 and 18.

Deu 13:1 "If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among you and gives you a sign or a wonder,
Deu 13:2 and the sign or the wonder comes true, concerning which he spoke to you, saying, 'Let us go after other gods (whom you have not known) and let us serve them,'
Deu 13:3 you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams; for the LORD your God is testing you to find out if you love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.
Deu 13:4 "You shall follow the LORD your God and fear Him; and you shall keep His commandments, listen to His voice, serve Him, and cling to Him.
Deu 13:5 "But that prophet or that dreamer of dreams shall be put to death, because he has counseled rebellion against the LORD your God who brought you from the land of Egypt and redeemed you from the house of slavery, to seduce you from the way in which the LORD your God commanded you to walk. So you shall purge the evil from among you.

Deu 18:15 "The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your countrymen, you shall listen to him.
Deu 18:16 "This is according to all that you asked of the LORD your God in Horeb on the day of the assembly, saying, 'Let me not hear again the voice of the LORD my God, let me not see this great fire anymore, or I will die.'
Deu 18:17 "The LORD said to me, 'They have spoken well.
Deu 18:18 'I will raise up a prophet from among their countrymen like you, and I will put My words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him.
Deu 18:19 'It shall come about that whoever will not listen to My words which he shall speak in My name, I Myself will require it of him.
Deu 18:20 'But the prophet who speaks a word presumptuously in My name which I have not commanded him to speak, or which he speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet shall die.'
Deu 18:21 "You may say in your heart, 'How will we know the word which the LORD has not spoken?'
Deu 18:22 "When a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the thing does not come about or come true, that is the thing which the LORD has not spoken. The prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him.

Notice chapter 13 verse 4. The people under the Old Covenant were to listen to the voice of God. Chapter 18 verse 19 commands that we are to obey a prophet’s words as if they are God’s own.

The obvious question arises. How can an average Protestant understand this? The Roman Catholic apologist says it is not possible to know what is canonical without Mother-Church. Yet if a true prophet of God speaks we must listen and obey. By definition, what a prophet says at any time is canonical. This command was given centuries prior to Jesus.

Therefore, those who say the people of God cannot recognize God’s voice without an infallible teaching magesterium are in error. God commanded us to obey the prophets. There is no need for a prophet to appeal to another authority.

The Apostles have the authority of Christ. Their words are Christ’s words. The logical conclusion should be obvious to all. Whether there is an infallible magesterium or not, they are to be heard and obeyed as if Christ were speaking, even today.

It might be argued that the Apostolic office is still being passed down. If you are willing to concede that Scripture may still be written by those, who possess this office (Mormons anyone), then we may have a further discussion.

Monday, June 18, 2007

It's Just a Bible Study

The final question on Tiber's recent post is "So who is this Catholic Stealth Evangelist? I can't say, otherwise, I'd blow his cover!" This is in the context of a RC who sits in an "evangelical Bible study and "his goal is to always be able to "provide a answer for the hope that is within him." He doesn't advertise to the group that he is a Catholic believer but doesn't hide it either. Instead he just enjoys being able to give a more Catholic interpretation to Scripture in the hopes that others will see the beauty and truth of Catholic exegesis."

What is ironic is that now we have a RCs speaking about offering an interpretation of Scripture. Yet how many passages has Rome dogmatically defined? Since most of Scripture has not been infallibly interpreted, by definition he must read his particular understanding of Roman Catholicism into Scripture. Anyone who has discussed Transubstantiation and John 6 knows this all too well.

"So who is this Catholic Stealth Evangelist? I can't say, otherwise, I'd blow his cover!"

This sounds like the saying of Christ, "Wolves in sheep's clothing." In a day when most Evangelicals cannot define Sola Scriptura properly as we have seen Tiber do time and again, is it surprising that people who call themselves Christian, who use Christian terminology, who even use Protestant terminology while redefining terms, would be able to deceive so easily? Evangelicals are to the brink of thinking Mormonism is just another Christian denomination! Why are we surprised that the marked differences between RCism and Evangelicalism go unnoticed?

"In Haiti, when I was on a medical mission with folks from my previous church, a chat about the importance of works in our salvation based on James and Matt 25 was heartily accepted by 9/10 members on the team. Truth is Truth regardless of where it comes from, but seems easier to embrace when it's from a source that we are not knowingly opposed to."

This statement is a great example. Here are former Protestants actually trying to say that Protestants and Rome are saying the same thing. This is so shallow. Yet Protestants are shallow, therefore....

But hey it is just a simple Bible study...right? Where are the pastors!

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Which Unity?

Tiber quotes Catholidoxies about his dilemma as to which church he should convert to. He is a Protestant who obviously is about to apostatize from the faith. Reading his Blog however shows great confusion as to what Protestantism is or at least historically why it came about. Anyway he is quoted as saying:

The big philosophical question: how does one leaving Protestantism decide between Orthodoxy and Catholicism, when a major reason for one's frustration with Protestantism is the necessity and difficulty of having to decide, based on one's own reading of Scripture, what to believe and what confession/denomination/church to belong to?"

What a great question. Many RCs point out that Protestantism is only 400 years old (give or take). Since RCism claims to go back to Peter through the Popes, therefore she is the true church. Although many churches claim that today, the Orthodox churches certainly have as much claim to this as Rome. Yet the Orthodox churches claim they have never recognized the Pope in the way Rome does. Therefore this has much weight against Rome’s Papal position.

What is interesting about the above quote however is that it (unlike RC reverts) recognizes there is a private “reading of Scripture” that must guide one’s decision. Ultimately, you must decide what the claims are, interpret them yourself, weigh them and come to a conclusion. Yet one cannot do that infallibly. So where should Catholidoxies go?

Is Rome faithful to the text of Scripture, only if you accept Rome’s final and ultimate authority over scripture? Is the Orthodox Church faithful to the Scripture? How will you know if Scripture is not your ultimate authority?

What is your starting point? Is God able to speak clearly? Are there other God-breathed sources equal to Scripture?

After perusing Catholidoxies’ Blog, he seems to lament the lack of physical unity. He seems to think Traditions and Liturgies are something that brings about unity. I have no doubt they do. Men will unite over just about anything. The Word of God alone seems to divide. So which unity will it be, Rome or the Orthodox?

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Sorry, No Pictures

Busy week and wish I had my camera ready. Monday night (I think it was Monday) Steven got to pitch for his baseball team for the first time. Last night we had a flash flood in Scott City. We took out my four wheel drive truck and did stupid things like crashing through walls and rivers of water. The kids in the truck simply had a blast.

Times like these need a camera but....

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Shallow Water

This morning I had the privilege to speak to God's people gathered in a small town in Shallow Water, Kansas. I spoke on Matthew chapter 3. Yes, if you are a critic, you will find a couple of major flaws. Perhaps writing out sermons in manuscript form is better. I just can't seem to do that and find the time to do it right.

The people seemed to be blessed and encouraged. While their pastor is away on a missions trip in Mississippi/Louisiana that may be the most important thing. Next week they shall have their pastor home ministering to them. I pray he comes home to a people that survived me and looking forward to his ministry to them.

Here is the sermon.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Fisk and Owen

In appendix D Fisk recognizes that Reformed writers, such as J. I. Packer, have claimed there has never been a refutation of John Owen’s, The Death of Death in the Death of Christ. Fisk claims that such is not the case. He refers us to works such as Robert P. Lightners, The Death Christ Died, A Case For Unlimited Atonement as being sufficient to refute Owen’s argumentation.

I don’t have a problem with referring readers to other works for more in depth study, yet it would have been nice to read an example of how Owen was wrong. Does he deal with Owen’s very strong case of Christ’s office as High Priest or Mediator or Substitutionary sacrifice? Not at all!

Instead Fisk challenges Owen’s argument against Universal Atonement without Universal Effect Because of Unbelief [my own title of that argument]. Owen argues basically in the Death of Death, that if Christ died for all sin then all must go to heaven. But the Arminian will say that men go to hell for only unbelief. Therefore Christ’s death did not atone for all sin if unbelief is a sin, or unbelief is not a sin that sends men to hell.

Here is Fisk’s counter argument:

“In answer to this argument, the sin of unbelief is always associated with the completed work of Christ and thus assumes a specific quality and is treated in a particular way in Scripture. Owen’s argument may be reversed and the problem stated this way: If Christ’s death apart from any other considerations included the sin of unbelief, why does God ask men to believe since they would not be lost for not believing? A request from God for faith to apply the benefits of the cross becomes redundant. Why should God ask men to believe if that is not the sole condition of salvation?”

This is pure Semi-Pelagianism. It rings of the Pelagian controversy in that Pelagian himself argued that God would not command men to obey the law if man could not do it. Basically, Fisk wants man to be morally neutral or have God remove man’s sinful and inability to obey before God may truly judge a man in his sin! Or in other words, it is the “It’s not fair” argument.

Fisk does not seem to realize that the Penal Substitutionary Atonement belief taught in scripture is a Reformed doctrine. It is not a belief held historically by those who are not Reformed! Dr. White writes in The Potter’s Freedom:

Historic Arminians saw that believing in the idea of substitutionary atonement would not fit with their system of theology. Even though Arminians today may use this terminology, it does not strictly “belong” to them. Arminian scholar J. Kenneth Grider asserts that the idea of ‘substitutionary atonement’ is foreign to Arminian thinking:

A spillover from Calvinism into Arminianism has occurred in recent decades. Thus many Arminians whose theology is not very precise say that Christ paid the penalty of our sins. Yet such a view is foreign to Arminianism, which teaches instead that Christ suffered for us. Arminians teach that what Christ did He did for every person; therefore what He did could not have been to pay the penalty, since no one would then ever go into eternall perdition. Arminianism teaches that Christ suffered for everyone so that the Father could forgive the ones who repent and believe; His death is such that all will see that forgiveness is costly and will strive to cease from anarchy in the world God governs. This view is called the Governmental theory of the atonement.

Fisk goes on to assert in his argumentation that “The sin of unbelief is a problem for the limited redemptionists, for if his view be carried through consistently it would mean the elect would not even be born in sin and thus would not be subject to the wrath and condemnation of God before they believe, nor would they ever need to be forgiven…”

I first heard this argument from a local pastor at the First Christian church here in Scott City. It seems that Fisk and many others see Calvinism as being equal to “Eternal Justification”. In other words, they see Calvinism as making the elect of God already forgiven at the cross; therefore there is no need to apply the work of Christ since they are already saved.

I conclude that these men do not understand Calvinism nor do they understand the Penal Substitutionary Atoning work of Christ. They also must deny God’s eternal decree and how it is worked out in time. They reject Christ’s perfect atoning work, His perfect mediatorial work, and His perfect intercession on behalf of His people. He must deny Christ, as the Great High Priest, who is able to perfectly secure those for whom He died.

If Fisk is going to be consistent, then he must recognize that man is not a slave of sin. He is not enslaved to Original Sin, a doctrine that he must now repudiate. Is this not what we see in much of Evangelicalism? Does not Caner’s interaction with White last year demonstrate this?

The Penal Substitutionary Atonement is a Reformed Doctrine. It is only consistent in a reformed understanding. After several centuries, Owen’s work still stands unrefuted.

Fisk On Calvin and Spurgeon

For the next few posts I would like to interact somewhat with Samuel Fisk’s book, Election & Predestination: Keys To a Clearer Understanding. I will not be giving a thorough review of the book since I did not read all of it. My time is certainly limited. Therefore in interacting with a few points made throughout the book, I thought might give a taste of the argumentation provided.

After reading the first few chapters and perusing the rest of the book, it is plainly obvious Fisk is so blinded by his Traditions that he is simply not able to understand Calvinism. At the every end of the book he cites what appears to be contradictory passages from John Calvin as well as spending an entire chapter on Spurgeon. Let me offer the example from Calvin so that it may be seen why he is not able to interact with Calvinism.

John Calvin:

1 John 2:2: And He is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.

“Here a question may be raised, how have the sins of the whole world been expiated? I pass by the dotages of the fanatics, who under this pretence extend salvation to all the reprobate and therefore to Satan himself. Such a monstrous thing deserves no refutation”

Last Will and Testament:

“I testify also and declare, that I suppliantly beg of Him, that He may be pleased so to wash and purify me in the blood of which my sovereign redeemer has shed for the sins of the human race…”

The implication being drawn from these quotes is that Calvin contradicted himself. Yet anyone who reads Reformed literature will see this kind of language all throughout its pages. Why you might ask, because the writers of Scripture do as well.

The problem is not the language but our presuppositions and definitions. When we allow the Scripture to define its own terms we see terms such as “all” and “world” and “humanity” being used in ways that appear to be universalistic when in fact they are being used in a general sense. Dave Hewitt does a terrific job in demonstrating this earlier this year. I could not possibly write as well or as clearly as he has done. So if you’d like to see a Reformed understanding of these terms that show Spurgeon and Calvin are consistent in their thinking and writing then read this.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Ultimate Authority Is Not Rome But Scripture

Tiber's second point makes an interesting statement.

"...the Gospel is given to us in Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition which together constitute a single divine deposit of faith transmitted authentically and authoritatively by the Bishops in full communion with the Bishop of Rome. We must surrender our private judgments in all matters of faith and morals to the sacred teaching authority of the Church’s Magisterium if we are to receive the whole Gospel."
Here is another great example of how Protestants and many former Protestants (such as Tiber) have no concept of the nature of Inspiration and Canonization. It is simply assumed that someone or some group somewhere has the infallible ability to define the canon of Scripture. Yet Rome did not officially define her canon until Trent. So for centuries Christians could not know what the canon was dogmatically?

What strikes me odd is that we must put aside all private judgment and submit to Rome's authority. How does one do this? Do I make a blind leap of empty faith? This is the presupposition of Roman apologists. According to them, you must accept Rome as the self authenticating ultimate authority. Yet if I do that for God's Word that is just mere private judgment. We are to blindly accept Rome's judgment.

Allow me to offer in part a different perspective on how I, as a Reformed person, would see the nature of Scripture. Let us jump back into the time of Jesus' ministry. If you were standing in the crowd, would Jesus need a church to declare that He is the Son of God? Would His His teachings need to be validated by some infallible Council before you would know with any degree of certainty that they were in fact God's Word? Would you be accountable to His teaching in the last day? The answer should be obvious. Jesus is self authenticating. He does demonstrate who He is and His authority, but He does not prove it by some higher authority.

The Protestant approaches the Scriptures in the same manner. The Scripture is God's Word, and in the Gospels and rest of the NT is also Christ's teaching inscripturated. In the proclamation of God's Word, Men and women everywhere are accountable without any council or local church. It is God's Word that gives birth to the church, not the other way around.

We must surrender all private judgments to the clear teaching of God's Word. To follow after any other ultimate authority is to deny to God His ability to speak to man and his most urgent need.

Faith That Justifies?

Here is a great example of Reverts back to Rome from Protestantism is so confusing. Tiber says:

"4. Through Word and Sacrament we are drawn by grace into a transforming union with the Lord Jesus, and having been justified by faith we are called to sanctification and equipped by the Holy Spirit for the good works of the new creation. We must, therefore, learn to live as faithful disciples and to reject whatever is contrary to the Gospel, which is the Good News of the Father’s mercy and love revealed in the life, death, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ."

Since so many Protestants do not understand the Reformed or historic Protestant faith such as Sola Scriptura (something Tiber misunderstands as has been demonstrated time and again) or Sola Fide, we have Protestants converting out of Protestantism left and right. Some are going to Mormonism as can be seen by the articles printed in Christianity Today's interaction with Millet. While others are converting back to Rome for various reasons.

The problem with the above quote is that a Protestant could agree wholeheartedly. This is precisely the problem with Reverts. They use Protestant language while mixing the terms with Rome's definitions. It is almost impossible to have a conversation with people like this (remember the long string with Theo in which he did the same thing. He said he believed in Justification alone while admitting later he didn't.).

What really bothers me about this deception is Roman Catholics didn't use to speak this way. (Using terms like justification knowing full well Prots mean something entirely different.) With the Ecumenical movement sprinting forward, it is a wonder if there are any pastors left to challenge these claims. All one has to do is ask, "What does being Justified mean?" Or ask, "How is one truly justified?"

Notice he says in the Tract post that one is born through Baptism. In other words, saving grace is dispensed through the sacramental act of Baptism. This is not faith alone in the finished work of Christ alone.

Tiber says at one point, "One could go to Mass for a lifetime and never fully understand and appreciate all the mystery and grace that is there for us."

The reason is simple. The Mass never actually takes away sin. A person may repeat this act in faith hourly till the day he dies and never have peace with God.

Tiber has apostacized the faith which he probably never understood being in a Schick type church. Romans 5:1 is sufficient for me.

"Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God."

This is something Tiber does not possesses by faith.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Tiber Vs Schick: Both Lose

Tracts are written to convey an idea or belief persuasively in a short amount of space. Christians often use tracts as a means of evangelism. Over the years I have seen some pretty dumb tracts by Protestants. This, however, comes close to Jack Schick mentality only in reverse.

Tiber, who has been nominated one the Best Catholic Blog Awards, has taken a Jack Schick tract and rewritten it against Protestants. What I find interesting about it is that it is so postmodern in its thinking I wonder if perhaps Mormons will be in heaven too. You see, the Gospel is never definitional as to whether a person is a Christian while claiming that Prots and RCs have the same Gospel. How do we know they have the same Gospel? We are not told.

The Protestant couple in the tract claims the main character (a Roman Catholic) has believed in a false Gospel to which he replies, "Catholics believe the same Gospel that Jesus preached. Unless you are born again (thru baptism), you won't see the Kingdom of God." Notice the Protestant lingo is used right back at the Protestants. Definitions are useless at this point since the plane begins to crash (right along with this form of evangelism). At this point, would even a modern Mormon object?

After the plane crashes and everyone is in heaven, we find (according to this RC's viewpoint) Jerry Falwell playing golf with Pope John Paul. This conclusion is arrived at because Jesus tells us we are not to be judgmental. Therefore everyone who names the name of Jesus is Christian. Again, I have to ask, "What is the basis for anyone getting to heaven?" Apparently, if you have a good heart then you are in.

The conclusion of the tract is also a direct attack against the clarity and perspicuity of Scripture. It was asked, "Could our understanding of salvation be wrong?" Since no one can know for certain anything, since the Gospel is not clear, since we can't judge wisely according to the clear teachings of Scripture because there are no clear teachings of Scripture, we really have no idea who is getting into heaven. It will be one big "surprise"!

This is where RCism must derail from its own history. Would a RC of even 60 years ago have thought this way? Of course not. With Anathemas from Trent condemning Protestants to hell, it is hard to imagine how anyone from that era of Rome's history siding with the ecumenism of today's Popes.

Another problem that has been pointed out by others is the mischaracterizations of Protestants who oppose the false gospel of Rome. Simply because those of us who have pointed out the errors of Rome (along with other groups) does not make us anti-catholic. Should I , based on this tract, call Tiber anti-Schick or anti-Protestant and anti-true Gospel or anti-Reformed Baptist? The very brush he hates being painted with as a Catholic is used by him against Protestants. The hypocrisy is indeed glaring.

The tract is not about how one is saved or what is the true Gospel. James Swan has demonstrated this time and again. The evangelism of Rome's apologists is to get someone to mother-church. The evangelism of reformed Protestants is to bring someone to Christ. The difference should be apparent to all.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Steven And I Play Catch

We decided it was too dark to go outside and play catch. Jacob seemed to be the next best toy.