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TUESDAY, OCTOBER 16, 200714 years ago
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Idolatry in the Church
AUDIO BROADCAST: Idolatry in the Church
Let the Bible Speak Radio
Dr. Alan Cairns

One of the burning issues of Reformation times was what to do about the vast number of images and relics that the Church of Rome had accumulated over the years. Those images were heathen in origin and practice. Images were supposed to be a help to worshipers but they became objects of worship. The church commanded that the faithful should venerate them and accord to them the reverence that properly belonged to what they supposedly symbolized. In addition, certain relics were supposed to carry in them a special blessing because of their claimed connection with Christ or some real or imaginary saint. Of course, Rome had invented subtle distinctions to denote different kinds of worship. Latria is the worship of God; dulia is the worship accorded to the saints; hyperdulia is higher than dulia but less than latria and is accorded to the Virgin Mary. These are distinctions without differences, as a glance at the prayers Rome offers to the Virgin will make clear. In Reformation times there was absolutely no way in which the common worshipper could distinguish one kind of worship from another. When the people bowed to images they worshiped them. It was rank idolatry.

When people accepted the Reformation and its message they generally recognized that those images had no right at all to be in a place of Christian worship. They thus denounced image worship as idolatry. And for many of them that raised the question of what to do with the idols. Some who feared too much change too quickly favored leaving the images at least for the present. Others believed that they should not compromise with idolatry and set about forcibly removing the images. On occasion, that led to a violent campaign of iconoclasm, which was not helpful to the cause of Christ-the wrath of man, especially when it leads to lawlessness, does not promote the praise of God.

But the images had to be dealt with. They still do. The word of God is absolutely clear. There are to be no images of man's making in the worship of God. Especially, there are to be no representations of God. The second Commandment leaves no room for any exception to this divine rule. Yet Rome filled churches with images of Christ. God limits worship to Himself and yet Rome piled up images of various saints and an endless supply of bogus relics which the people were to worship. So the Reformation had to address the subject of images and idolatry masquerading as Christianity. The result was that in the Reformed churches at least, and those who were of the Anabaptist persuasion followed suit, the form of worship that they adopted was simple and Scriptural and free from images and relics.

Today, Rome still maintains her pre-Reformation addiction to the idolatry of image worship. The tragedy is that many Protestants have lapsed into their own form of idolatry. Here's a question: The Bible commands us to make no likeness of God; we believe that Jesus Christ is God; so why do many professing Bible-believing Christians have such things as cribs with the "Baby Jesus" in them or holy pictures depicting Him in His life, death or ascension? Why did so many Christians promote Mel Gibson's film of Christ (which he intended as an extended commentary of the Romish Mass), in which an ungodly actor portrayed the Son of God, when the law of God commands us to make no kind of likeness of God?

It's time we got back to having a bit of the backbone of our Reforming fathers. Their iconoclasm may have been counterproductive but at least it was a stand against idolatry, a stand we sorely need to have reintroduced in today's Protestant churches.

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MONDAY, OCTOBER 15, 200714 years ago
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Purgatory, the Pope’s Pernicious Invention
AUDIO BROADCAST: Purgatory, the Pope's Pernicious Invention
Let the Bible Speak Radio
Dr. Alan Cairns

For a place that doesn't exist, Purgatory has held more millions of people in dread than almost any other papal dogma and has led them to pay countless billions of dollars to escape its imaginary fires. The tragedy is that while people have been concentrating on escaping this mythological place they usually neglect to make Scriptural preparation to escape the very real sufferings of hell, that place of outer darkness and eternal separation from God.

According to Scripture there are only two places to which people may go after death-only two places in which they may exist eternally. One is heaven and the other is hell. There is no half-way house. Souls either live in the blessedness of heaven or in the bitterness of hell. And there is no way of progressing from one to the other. Once a person enters into heaven or hell, his destiny is fixed forever. In Christ's parable in Luke 16, Abraham speaks from paradise or heaven to the rich man in hell and says, "Between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they that would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass from thence that would come to us." If words mean anything it is abundantly clear that there is no regressing from heaven to hell and there is no progressing from hell to heaven.

But such a doctrine does not sit well with the perverted theology of Rome. Her proposed way of salvation, in open defiance of the plain teaching of God's written word, stipulates that a sinner must actually deserve the place he obtains in heaven. Since almost everyone dies without the necessary personal merit and almost no one has by his suffering and good works expiated the guilt of his sins, according to Rome's theory there must be a place of suffering where the job begun on earth can be completed-hence her invention of Purgatory, a place of hell-like suffering yet a preparation for entering heaven.

Thus Rome organizes Masses for the dead, sacrifices to put away their sins; she encourages prayers for the dead; she issues indulgences that will remit all or part of a person's years in purgatory; she pretends that the she has at her disposal a great reservoir of unused merits that the saints have accumulated over and above what they needed to save themselves and that she can bestow these on deserving souls. Of course, all of this beneficence comes at a price. Masses and prayers cost money.

It was the bogus claim that people could purchase indulgences that would spring the souls of their loved ones out of purgatory that triggered the Protestant Reformation. Today, almost 500 years on, Rome is still at the same old game of deceiving gullible souls, charging them for a way of escape from the invented flames of a non-existent purgatory. Perhaps even worse, she is still deceiving souls with her evil dogma that human works can merit a place in heaven-thereby shutting her people off from  the pure grace of God received by faith alone in the merits of Christ alone.

Despite Rome's unrepentant clinging to such anti-Christian dogmas, there are many so-called Protestants who are working hard for reunion with the papal system. Such a plan should be anathema to anyone who loves the gospel of Christ and has a genuine interest in the salvation of souls who will live forever in heaven or hell. And it should awaken us to carry "the word of the truth of the gospel" to the millions who are being led blindly to a lost eternity by a religious system that imposes the Pope's pernicious inventions on them in the place of the wholesome truth of Christ the all-sufficient Saviour.

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FRIDAY, OCTOBER 12, 200714 years ago
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No Pope Here
AUDIO BROADCAST: No Pope Here
Let the Bible Speak Radio
Dr. Alan Cairns

NO POPE HERE! For years those words were the defiant cry of the Protestants of Northern Ireland as they rejected attempts to suck them out of the United Kingdom into the Republic of Ireland where the bishops of the Roman Catholic Church held almost total ultimate power. Nowadays the bishops in the Irish Republic have lost much of their luster and their chapels are largely forsaken, with hardly any of the nation's young people in attendance. Both the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland are partners in the European Union, the embryonic stage of a European super-state. And in Northern Ireland most of those who continue to shout the slogan "No Pope Here" are godless, secular and openly hostile to everything Christian.

Yet in the mouth of a Christian and stripped of all sectarian hatred NO POPE HERE is still a noble cry. It is obviously a continued rejection of the pretensions of the Roman pontiff. But it is more: it is a statement of Biblical theology that in Scripture there is absolutely no basis for the office of the Pope. I will go further: it is impossible to recognize such an office without betraying the very essence of the gospel of Christ.

Let's get some things clear. Rome claims that Peter was the first Pope. Peter is never termed "Pope" in the New Testament. Peter never claimed Papal authority. Nor did he ever exercise any such authority. Furthermore, when the apostolic church convened a council in Jerusalem, it was not Peter but James who was chairman. According to Rome, Peter reigned as Bishop of Rome from 42-67 A.D. when he was martyred in the city. However, there is not the slightest evidence in the New Testament that Peter was ever in Rome. What Rome propounds as fact is nothing more than legend-which should hardly surprise us! We know that Paul wrote an epistle to the church in Rome at a time when according to the Pope Peter must have been its bishop. Yet Paul makes no mention of him. I would submit that Paul could not have made such an omission had Peter been there. Evidently Peter was not the Bishop of Rome. But even if he had been, he certainly never acted as a Pope. The only primacy he had (and it was a considerable honor) was that he was first to bring the gospel to the Jews and then to the Gentiles. The idea that he was the "father" (as pope means) of the church, or the rock on which it is built, "the Father of Princes and Kings, Ruler of the World, the Vicar of our Saviour Jesus Christ" (all title Rome has given to the Pope) would be repugnant to Peter.

So of the New Testament we can confidently say, "There is no pope here." In the church that Christ established we can state with equal certainty, "There is no pope here." In fact, I will go so far as to say that where Christ is there can be no Pope and where the pope is there is no true Christ.

From the pernicious pretensions and usurpations of the papacy God delivered us through the Protestant Reformation. The Reformers rightly saw the papacy as Antichrist. Never let us lose that understanding, especially in these days when Protestantism is being betrayed from within by men who are willing to embrace the Pope as the leader of a united church. We must reiterate, NO POPE HERE! Remember, where Christ is there is no Pope and where the Pope is there is no Christ. The choice is clear. Let us be found faithful to Christ.

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THURSDAY, OCTOBER 11, 200714 years ago
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Papal Indulgences a Scandal and a Scam
AUDIO BROADCAST: Papal Indulgences a Scandal and a Scam
Let the Bible Speak Radio
Dr. Alan Cairns

What brought Martin Luther into the arena of public controversy with the Pope was the sale of indulgences, which were really licenses to sin purchased for money at an established rate, with the proceeds being split up between the Archbishop of Maintz, who still owed the Vatican a large part of the purchase price of his office, and the Pope, who had grand designs for the St. Peter's in Rome. Of course, Rome used high sounding words to define indulgences, anything to hide their real nature. The Latin word indulgentia means "kindness, tenderness" and Rome uses it to convey the notion that in its tender kindness the Church remits the "temporal punishment" of certain sins either in this life or in purgatory, or indeed in both. It would be difficult to imagine a greater travesty of language than Rome's use of "indulgence" to define her practice of fleecing her faithful of countless millions of dollars in exchange for her bogus assurance of earning time off a non-existent purgatory.

Rome's theory is that while Christ's merit removes the guilt of His people's sins, the people themselves must bear the punishment due to their sins. This they do by good works and by suffering. Some Protestants foolishly imagine that Rome has moved away from believing in indulgences, consigning the dogma to the dustbin of history-it was an issue in Reformation time but not today. Nothing could be further from the truth. Pope Paul VI wrote a major exposition of his church's dogma on the subject, Indulgentiarum Doctrina, "The Doctrine of Indulgences." The Catechism of the Catholic Church (1994) quotes extensively from this work as it sets out the Roman Catholic position. So Rome still believes in and hands out indulgences.

The theory is that the Pope and his church have at their disposal a great fund of unused merit, the merit that the saints accumulated by their good works over and above what they needed for their own salvation, and from this they can dole out at their discretion such amounts as they think fit to deserving souls. Here is how Paul VI put it: "They [believers who have imitated Christ in his sufferings] have carried their crosses to make expiation for their own sins and the sins of others." Remember, these are not the words of someone caricaturing Rome's doctrine of indulgences. No, these are the actual words of the Pope himself, defining Roman dogma. This is, according to Rome, an infallible statement of her belief. And in this statement it is clear that Rome's practice of giving out indulgences either for money or for good works or suffering is based on the utterly anti-Christian idea that a sinner progresses "along the path which leads to the heavenly Father" by personally expiating his own sins or by receiving from the Roman church a gift of the superfluous merits of her imagined saints.

It was from this whole iniquitous system of salvation by personal merit that God graciously rescued us through the Protestant Reformation. Christ's merit is the only merit that God imputes to a sinner for his justification and acceptance and the gift of His righteousness is a true indulgence or kindness. We need no other merit; we need no other plea. To substitute or add the imagined merits of fallen men to Christ's is a scandal and a scam.

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WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 10, 200714 years ago
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Christ the Rock, Peter a Sham Rock!
AUDIO BROADCAST: Christ the Rock, Peter a Sham Rock
Let the Bible Speak Radio
Dr. Alan Cairns

I am sure that the Apostle Peter would have been horrified to think that any group of professing Christians would claim that he was the rock on which Christ built His church. Peter knew well what every student of the Bible knows that the term Rock is a description reserved for the Lord as the covenant God of His redeemed people. Again and again in the Old Testament we have the testimony of God's people to their only God and Saviour: "Thou art my Rock." The title carries many shades of thought: the Lord is our defence, our security, our place of refuge and refreshment. And of course it has in it the idea that the Lord is our solid foundation, which can never be moved or overthrown. Given the significance of the term, then, it is easy to understand that the Old Testament uses the word "Rock" as a title for God and applies it to no-one else. Thus when Moses says of the heathen, "Their rock is not as our Rock," he means that their gods are not like Jehovah. The New Testament is no less clear in identifying our Rock. Speaking of the Rock from which water flowed to the Israelites in the wilderness, Paul said: "That Rock was Christ" (1 Corinthians 10:4)

Scripturally, then, there is no room for doubt as to the identity of the Rock on which God's people stand secure and from whom they draw all their spiritual sustenance. It is Christ. Considering the Rock naturally leads us to think of the foundation on which Christ builds His church. Here again Paul is explicit: "Other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ" (1 Corinthians 3:11).

From all of this I will make this proposition: Christ builds His true church on Himself as the Rock. Any church that claims to be built on any other rock is not the church of Christ.

The Church of Rome claims to be the one, true Church of Christ but insists that Peter is the rock on which Christ builds His church. The real reason for this insistence is that Rome sees here the hope of some semblance of Biblical authority for her claims for the papacy. Of course there is no Biblical foundation for papal pretensions. Even if Christ had made Peter the rock there is no way that could ever be construed as establishing the papacy. But when Christ said, "Thou art Peter and on this rock I will build my church," He was referring to what Peter had just confessed: "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God." This is the Rock, not Peter, on which Christ builds His church. Now come back to our proposition and follow the simple logic. Christ builds His church on Himself and no one else; the Church of Rome claims to be built on Peter as its rock; therefore the Church of Rome is not the Church of Christ.

We should thank God that in His great mercy He raised up the Protestant Reformers to clear away the falsehoods that had been increasingly imposed on an uninstructed laity by Rome for many centuries-and best of all for setting Christ before the world as the only one able to bear the weight of our faith and hope. All who trust in Christ alone will never be put to shame for He is truly our Rock; all whose faith rests on any other rock will find out in the end that all other rocks are SHAM ROCKS!

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TUESDAY, OCTOBER 09, 200714 years ago
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Communion Not Cannibalism
AUDIO BROADCAST: Communion Not Cannibalism
Let the Bible Speak Radio
Dr. Alan Cairns

Just before He went to the Cross the Lord Jesus Christ instituted the Lord's Supper, a sacrament that commemorates His once-for-all sacrifice to atone for the sins of His people. He made bread and wine the simple symbols of His body and blood and commanded His disciples to eat and drink in remembrance of him. In its Scriptural simplicity, the Lord's Supper is a thing of beauty. It is an eloquent reminder of the sacrifice that our Saviour made to redeem us to God, of the depths of the humiliation and suffering He endured in making that sacrifice and of our total reliance by faith on what He accomplished for us by His death.

It is hard to see how any system that claims to be Christian could pervert the simple beauty of this feast of remembrance into a never ending sacrifice for sins. But that is just what the Church of Rome has done. In Romanism, the Lord's Table has been converted into an altar and the Lord's Supper has been replaced by the sacrifice of the Mass. The Mass is the central element in Rome's ritualistic system of worship. In Roman dogma, the Mass is distinct from the people's participation in Holy Communion. The theory is that in the Mass the bread and the wine are "transubstantiated" into the actual body and blood of Christ which the priest then offers to God as a "true, proper, and propitiatory sacrifice for the living and the dead." The Second Vatican Council calls it "the most Sacred Mystery of the Eucharist" and the "Eucharistic Sacrifice of His Body and Blood." And it makes the utterly false statement that Christ instituted this sacrifice "to perpetuate the sacrifice of His cross throughout the centuries until He should come." According to Rome, in the Mass the bread and wine are "really and substantially" converted into "the body and blood, together with the soul and divinity, of our Lord Jesus Christ." Thus Vatican II speaks of Christ being "consumed." So according to Rome in the sacrifice of the Mass, Christ is actually sacrificed-immolated, burned up as a victim is their chosen word-and actually eaten. Rome's idea of Holy Communion is in reality a form of cannibalism, the eating of Christ's actual human flesh and the drinking of His actual human blood.

Of course it is all pure invention. The Bible teaches no such thing, as the Protestant Reformers powerfully pointed out. Many of them gave their lives rather than accept the blasphemy of the Mass. For the Mass is just that, a blasphemy. The Thirty-Nine Articles of Episcopalianism condemn Masses as "blasphemous fables and dangerous deceits." And the Westminster Confession of Faith, the sub-standards of Presbyterianism and the basis for the Congregationalist and Baptist Confessions, says, "The Popish Sacrifice of the Mass, as they call it, is most abominably injurious to Christ's one, only sacrifice, the alone propitiation for all the sins of the elect." Such criticism is solidly Scriptural. Peter says that Christ "bore our sins in his own body on the tree." In Hebrews 10:12, Paul says that Christ offered "one sacrifice for sins for ever." For Rome to pervert this one finished sacrifice into an endless stream of sacrifices is as wicked a departure from Bible Christianity as you can imagine. As a Protestant-rather, as a Christian- I pin all my hopes for eternity on Christ's all-sufficient and unrepeatable sacrifice. I repudiate the Mass as iniquity not mystery; as a corruption of divine truth; as cannibalism not Christianity; and as a blasphemy not a blessing. Thank God through the Reformation He delivered us from it.

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MONDAY, OCTOBER 08, 200714 years ago
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Christ Alone—No Room for Mary and the Saints!
AUDIO BROADCAST: Christ Alone, No Room for Mary and the Saints
Let the Bible Speak Radio
Dr. Alan Cairns

According to Scripture, "There is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus" (1 Timothy 2:5). This is one of the foundational truths of Christianity. Indeed, any religious system that repudiates it is by definition not Christian. It is that important. By that standard, the Church of Rome stands condemned as being not a Christian church. In direct opposition to what the inspired Scripture says, Rome teaches the following:

"[Mary] is truly a mediatrix of peace between sinners and God. Sinners receive pardon by ... Mary alone" (The Glories of Mary, pp. 82, 83).

"Mary is our life ... Mary in obtaining this grace for sinners by her intercession, thus restores them to life" (ibid, p. 80).

The Glories of Mary is Rome's most celebrated devotional work dealing with the position to be accorded to Mary. It goes so far as to say that all power in heaven and earth is given to her so that at her command, all obey, even God! According to this work by the celebrated Saint Alphonse de Ligouri, Mary is the advocate of the whole human race, the one under whose domination God has placed the entire Church! And lest these views be dismissed as the aberrations of a medieval mystic, remember that the last Pope, John Paul II, was a devoted follower of Mary. His motto was Totus Tuus, "Wholly Yours," and it was directed to Mary, not Christ! In addition, the documents of the Second Vatican Council and the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the Vatican's latest authoritative statement of Roman Catholic belief, both insist that Mary acts as a mediator.

Rome encourages prayers to Mary and to a host of saints. Of course, she denies that these intermediaries in any way derogate from Christ's position as the sole mediator between God and men. But her claim is a blatant contradiction. You cannot say, "Christ is the one and only mediator between God and men" and then go on to say, "Yet Mary is a mediator and the saints act as mediators or intermediaries between sinners and God." Rome's error is even more fundamental. Her entire system is based on a placing of people other than Christ between the sinner and his God. Rome places her priests between men and God. They are the necessary dispensers of divine grace through a series of sacraments that Rome claims carry the grace of God within them. Then there are the saints with Mary at their head, all of whom are supposed to represent our case before God. It is a monstrous system of human invention that effectively shuts sinners off from the one, true mediator whom God has appointed to represent Him to men and men to Him.

We may thank God that through the Protestant Reformation He once again set before the world the glorious truth of Christ as the sole and all-sufficient mediator between God and men. All we need is in Him. He alone has merit to set before God. God is pledged to hear us for His sake and through His merit and no other. True Christianity allows no mediatorial role for anyone but the Lord Jesus Christ. Anything else is antichristianity.

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FRIDAY, OCTOBER 05, 200714 years ago
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Justification By Faith Alone, Not By Works
AUDIO BROADCAST: Salvation By Faith Alone, Not By Works
Let the Bible Speak Radio
Dr. Alan Cairns

How may sinners receive the grace of God for their eternal salvation? That is a vitally important question, so important that we cannot afford to be wrong. As I pointed out yesterday in describing the five solas of the Protestant Reformation, the Church of Rome teaches that human merit plays an essential role in achieving salvation. Of course, Rome asserts that she proclaims salvation by grace, but not by grace alone. And she asserts that she proclaims justification by faith, but not by faith alone.

According to Rome, when a child is baptized, God in grace infuses justifying righteousness and over his lifetime this justified person  may increase his justification by his good works-or of course he may decrease it, even to the point of losing it altogether, by his lack of good works. No matter how you look at it, Rome's gospel comes down to this: you get what you work for and you receive the grace of final salvation not by faith alone in what Christ has done for you but on the ground of your own performance.

Over against all this, the Apostle Paul emphatically stated; "Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law" (Romans 3:28). It is interesting that when the Council of Trent delivered Rome's official teaching on justification it placed its anathema on anyone who taught what the inspired apostle here teaches. That shows just how far removed from Scripture Rome and her official teaching are. I say "are" because though the Council of Trent met in the 16th century its teaching is still the official position of the Church of Rome. Indeed, in the intervening centuries no Vatican Council, including Vatican II, has ever again sought to define Rome's dogma of justification, Trent's definition being accepted as their final word on the subject.

We must be clear on two things. First, as soon as you introduce works into the way of salvation you destroy it and leave sinners without hope. There is no perfection in anything that any of us can perform and since we need a perfect righteousness to be acceptable to God we have no hope of acceptance while we trust in our works. As we noted yesterday, to make human merit the ground of receiving divine grace is to destroy the entire idea of grace, for as Paul argues in Romans 4 if we work for something it is no longer a matter of grace but of reward. That's Rome's great heresy: it makes salvation a matter of reward. That is blasphemous against God and disastrous to the souls of men. The second thing we must stress is that the truth of justification through faith alone in the merits of Christ alone is the only true foundation for good works in a believer. Faith is the root and good works are the fruit. Our works are not the reason for God saving us; they are the proof that He has done so. Thus Protestants have often said that while we are not saved by good works we will not be saved without them. Justifying faith produces good works, for as Paul said, "Faith worketh by love" and "Love is the fulfilling of the law." There is however a world of difference between saying, "Because God has saved us by free grace received by faith without any works of our own, we now do good works out of love for Him" and "Because we do good works God saves us." This last statement is essentially Rome's gospel. Let us never slacken our grip on justification by grace alone through faith alone in the merits of Christ alone. This alone is the good news of the gospel of God.

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THURSDAY, OCTOBER 04, 200714 years ago
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Salvation By Grace Alone, Not By Personal Merit
AUDIO BROADCAST: Salvation By Grace Alone, Not Personal Merit
Let the Bible Speak Radio
Dr. Alan Cairns

One of the great distinguishing marks of the Protestant Reformation was its insistence on what are called the five solas. These go to the very heart of Christianity and show just how far the Church of Rome had departed from the faith of the gospel­­ -as she indeed continues to do. These five solas are as follows: 

SOLA SCRIPTURA: Scripture alone is the authoritative revelation of God, the sole judge and arbiter in all matters of faith and practice; SOLA GRATIA: Salvation is by grace alone apart from human merit; SOLA FIDE: Salvation by free grace is received by faith alone without works; SOLO CHRISTO: Salvation is found in Christ alone; SOLI DEO GLORIA: Salvation is all for the glory of God alone.

Today we consider SOLA GRATIA, "by grace alone." While professing to proclaim the necessity of grace for salvation, Rome taught and still teaches that human merit plays an essential role in it. In the gospel according to Rome, there are two kinds of human merit. The merit of congruity is what the good works of the unregenerate deserve from God. Rome has decreed that it is "congruous," or fitting, that God should reward the good dispositions or actions that the unregenerate produce without the aid of divine grace. This reward that it is fitting for God to bestow is the infusion of grace into the heart-in other words, grace is given because it is deserved. The second kind of merit Rome teaches is the merit of condignity, by which she means the reward that the good works of the regenerate produced with the aid of divine grace properly deserve. Rome's plan of salvation therefore lays great stress on the role of human merit in gaining salvation.

Against all this the Protestant Reformers raised a strong biblical argument that salvation in all its parts is all of grace. It was grace that planned the whole way of salvation; it was grace that send God's Son into the world to save sinners, not to help them save themselves; it was grace that paid the full price for our salvation in the obedience unto death of the Lord Jesus Christ; it is grace that regenerates a sinner who is naturally dead in his sins; it is grace that justifies him-pardons all his sin and accepts him as righteous in God's sight on the ground of Christ's imputed righteousness. The only merit in our salvation is Christ's merit. In God's gracious plan of salvation, He "made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us (who knew no righteousness) that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him" (2 Corinthians 5:21).

We need to be clear in this age of ecumenical dialog with Rome, when even evangelicals are proposing that we recognize Roman Catholic teaching as Christian and acceptable. Rome's theology is a fundamental denial of the most essential features of God's way of salvation. It strikes at the all sufficiency of Christ's meritorious work for us and by introducing human merit it effectively shuts sinners off from receiving God's free salvation. "Not by works of righteousness that we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us" (Titus 3:5). This is God's word. But it is not Rome's word. Hers is a fundamentally false gospel. So SOLA GRATIA is as important today as ever before. Let us hold fast to it; our souls depend on it.

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WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 03, 200714 years ago
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The Bible, the Bible Only, the Religion of Protestants
AUDIO BROADCAST: The Bible, Not Tradition
Let the Bible Speak Radio
Dr. Alan Cairns

The fault line of all the differences between Protestantism and Romanism is the issue of authority in the church. According to the confessions of the Protestant churches, the Bible is the sole authority in all matters of faith and practice. Only the Bible can establish Christian doctrine or ethics. Only the Bible can bind the conscience of a Christian. This belief was summed up in the famous words of Chillingworth: "The Bible, the Bible only, the religion of Protestants." In other words, Protestants are not willing to accept as inspired truth anything that cannot be established either from the explicit statements of Scripture or by a good and necessary consequence of such statements. Furthermore, they reject as antichristian any dogma that is in opposition to what is plainly taught in Scripture.

When you consider these propositions, it is amazing that anyone who claims to be a Christian should ever question them. Both Rome and Protestantism have historically maintained the inspiration of Scripture. In other words, both sides have stated that they believe that the Bible is the word of God. But having made that avowal, Rome goes on to say that it is not in Scripture alone that God has revealed His saving truth. In other words, there are things that we are bound to believe and there are things that we are duty bound to do that are not to be found in Scripture. According to Rome they belong to the tradition of the Church. Rome claims that her beliefs and practices that are not to be found in Scripture are part of an oral apostolic tradition that has been preserved by the Holy Spirit in the Church. On this ground she justifies such dogmas as the immaculate conception of the Virgin Mary and her bodily Assumption into heaven.

Of course, in Rome's scheme, the power to establish what traditions are truly apostolic lies with the Church, which means with the Pope and his magisterium. In the final analysis, Rome places the church above both Scripture and tradition. She has no alternative, unless she were to repent of her deep apostasy and jettison most of her most characteristic positions. The fact is that there is not a single dogmatic position peculiar to the Church of Rome that can be fairly established from Scripture.

Protestants have long replied to Rome's claims to possess apostolic tradition in two ways: First, if you can show that the tradition you claim to be apostolic is actually from the apostles, we will gladly receive it. But we will not accept it on the mere assertion of the Pope or Roman Catholic apologists. Second, any tradition that contradicts a clear statement or teaching of Scripture cannot by definition be apostolic-and this is sufficient to overthrow many of Rome's cherished dogmas.

The Scripture teaches us to appeal "to the law and to the testimony." Christ validated all His claims and statements by an appeal to Scripture. So did His apostles. Paul Peter says that Scripture is more sure than even the sight of our eyes or the hearing of our ears (2 Peter 1:16). Paul says, "All Scripture is God-breathed and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction in righteousness, that the man of God may be throughly furnished unto all good works." If Scripture fully furnishes us for the Christian life there is no authoritative role left for tradition. Let's be good Protestants! Let's stick to the word!

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