Thursday, August 06, 2009

Theology Matters

Over the years, I have read or interacted with Roman Catholics that have attempted to blur the distinctions between historic Protestantism and the Roman communion (Remember the Pope's attempt to sound like he might agree with Luther knowing full well he doesn't?). This blurring usually takes place with discussion on the doctrine of Justification. The same may be said on the far side of the Tiber. Many so-called Protestants have abandoned the sinfulness of man. In so doing, their apologetic is not able to withstand Rome's advances in proselytizing Evangelicals.

As I was reading this week's Spurgeon Baptist Newsletter, Richard Smith cited the Baptist Catechism.
Q 36. What is justification?

A. Justification is an act of God’s
free grace, wherein he pardoneth all our sins, and accepteth
us as righteous in his sight, only for the righteousness of
Christ imputed to us, and received by faith alone.
He cites this question and answer because of the mass of Evangelicals that have embraced a Christ who is not sufficient to save by his own power. Smith demonstrates that Jesus is King, not a mere slave of sinners.
We have to work our minds and hearts to fight the modern idea of a weak and almost helpless Jesus in His mildness. No, it is in the great power of a mighty King that He went to the cross and became the Redeemer of souls. But the biblical idea of a Redeemer is one that the King carries out. We looked at some of the Baptist Catechism a few articles ago, but now we want to look at it in a different context. What has to happen to the soul in salvation and what does Christ by His Spirit do to actually accomplish this?
So I ask for clarity on the Q&A above. Can any Roman Catholic agree with the Reformation's distinctive of Grace alone, through faith alone on account of Christ alone, without any work done by us as stated above? Do we help God change our souls or does the mighty King come down to us in the work of His Spirit and bring about regeneration and conversion?

For those Evangelicals, who embrace Rome's view of man, yet believe the above Q&A, do you see your inconsistency if man becomes the cooperating force to allow God's grace to work in our lives.

Theology matters. It determines our apologetic methods and how we evangelize lost sinners. As Pastor Fry has said, "What we win them with is what we win them to."

Here are some other questions from the Baptist Catechism cited in the article that may offer some thoughts to meditate upon.

Q 26. What offices doth Christ execute as our Redeemer?
A. Christ as our Redeemer executeth the offices of a prophet, or a priest, and of king, both in his estate of humiliation and of exaltation.

Q 29. How does Christ execute the office of king?
A. Christ executeth the office of a king, in subduing us to himself, in ruling, and defending us, and in restraining and conquering all his and our enemies.

Q 32. How are we made partakers of the redemption purchased by Christ?
A. We are made partakers of the redemption purchased by Christ, by the effectual application of it to us by his Holy Spirit.

Q 33. How doth the Spirit apply to us the redemption purchased by Christ?
A. The Spirit applieth to us the redemption purchased by Christ, by working faith in us, and thereby uniting us to Christ, in our effectual calling.

Q 34. What is effectual calling?
A. Effectual calling is the work of God’s Spirit, whereby convincing us of our sin and misery, enlightening our minds in the knowledge of Christ, and renewing our wills, he doth persuade and enable us to embrace Jesus Christ freely offered to us in the gospel.

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