Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Samuel Adams and Discussing Justification

After 16 years I sat down with my brother and had a Samuel Adams. Yes, I liked it. We had our tasty beer while discussing the doctrine of Justification and the Gospel.

I am not writing this post to argue the points of a good beer. I really think alcohol is a non-issue. The discussion at that time was far weightier. Although we agreed on certain points, we disagreed as to what a person needed to know to be Justified. Having a zeal for Jesus seemed to be something that was important. The problem arose as to what that means. As I pointed out in our conversation, even Mormons and Muslims have great Zeal. Both of these groups believe in Jesus (in a name only since there are false versions of Jesus). So I concluded that a certain level of knowledge of who Jesus is and the truth of the Gospel is required.

No one has perfect knowledge, but is that really a point of dispute. Jesus Christ teaches that those who abide in His teaching are saved. How in the world could a Muslim or a Mormon say they are abiding in His teaching when they deny what Jesus teaches about Himself? As Paul says about the Jews which would have included himself prior to his conversion,

Acts 22:3-4 I am verily a man which am a Jew, born in Tarsus, a city in Cilicia, yet brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, and taught according to the perfect manner of the law of the fathers, and was zealous toward God, as ye all are this day. And I persecuted this way unto the death, binding and delivering into prisons both men and women.

and again

Romans 10:2 For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge.

Galatians 1:14 And profited in the Jews' religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers.

It is very clear in Paul that having Zeal without truth is good intentions that paves a road to hell as the old saying goes.

We also discussed Rome's Gospel. I made the point that Rome has rejected the Gospel. Nevertheless, I agree with John Calvin that within Rome is a true church, but Rome is not a true church. She denies the Gospel. I was challenged at one point in our conversation to demonstrate that Rome denies the Gospel, so I will quote Rome.

CANON 9: "If any one saith, that by faith alone the impious is justified; in such wise as to mean, that nothing else is required to co-operate in order to the obtaining the grace of Justification, and that it is not in any way necessary, that he be prepared and disposed by the movement of his own will; let him be anathema."

CANON 12: "If any one shall say that justifying faith is nothing else than confidence in the divine mercy pardoning sins for Christ's sake, or that it is that confidence alone by which we are justified ... let him be accursed"

Canon 14: "If any one saith, that man is truly absolved from his sins and justified, because that he assuredly believed himself absolved and justified; or, that no one is truly justified but he who believes himself justified; and that, by this faith alone, absolution and justification are effected; let him be anathema."

Now unless you are a cafeteria RC, you must as a RC accept this. If you do...fine. But we must agree that if you are going to be RC, then at least believe what she teaches. You must by her own definition deny the teaching of the Reformers that a man is saved through the merits of Christ by Faith Alone. It is Christ's finished work fully and sufficiently imputed to a man by faith...never through faith coupled with works. One should also be willing to pray to Mary and believe she was assumed into heaven, purgatory, indulgences, their view of the Mass and ect..

By the end of our conversation we had each finished our beer. We obviously did not agree on every point. Brothers often disagree. Yet, I do believe the Gospel was discussed in an honorable way, and I pray God was glorified in that conversation.

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