Martyred for the Gospel

Martyred for the Gospel
The burning of Tharchbishop of Cant. D. Tho. Cranmer in the town dich at Oxford, with his hand first thrust into the fyre, wherwith he subscribed before. [Click on the picture to see Cranmer's last words.]

Collect of the Day

The Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany.
The Collect.

O LORD, we beseech thee to keep thy Church and household continually in thy true religion; that they who do lean only upon the hope of thy heavenly grace may evermore be defended by thy mighty power; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Daily Bible Verse

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Gaspar Olevian Comments on Calvin's Institutes

Method and Arrangement, or Subject of the Whole Work

[From an Epitome of the Institutions, by Gaspar Olevian.]
IV. Since the Holy Spirit does not ingraft all men into Christ, or endue them with faith, and those whom he does so endue he does not ordinarily endue without means, but uses for that purpose the preaching of the Gospel and the dispensation of the Sacraments, together with the administration of all kinds of discipline, the Creed contains the following article, "I believe in the Holy Catholic Church", namely, that Church which, when lying in eternal death, the Father, by gratuitous election, freely reconciled to himself in Christ, and endued with the Holy Spirit, that, being ingrafted into Christ, it might have communion with him as its proper head; whence flow perpetual remission of sins, and full restoration to eternal life.
In other words, Christ saves the elect through the preaching of the Gospel and through the right administration of the two sacraments of baptism and the Lord's supper.  We ought to remember that being members of a local congregation is essential to spiritual well being.  These days finding a church committed to Scripture and the Reformation is hard to do.

The World's Ruined

The World's Ruined

The Anglican Way by Gerald Bray | Reformed Theology Articles at Ligonier.org

The Anglican Way by Gerald Bray | Reformed Theology Articles at Ligonier.org

Thursday, September 16, 2010

EV News :: Pope Protest Statement in Daily Telegraph

EV News :: Pope Protest Statement in Daily Telegraph

The Protestant Truth Society and Church Society are both protesting the pope's visit to the United Kingdom! Good for them! If only we could get them to protest against the Anglo-Catholics here in the Anglican Church in North America!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Meet Imam Rauf’s Partner, Faiz Khan, 9/11 Truther - The Corner - National Review Online

Meet Imam Rauf’s Partner, Faiz Khan, 9/11 Truther - The Corner - National Review Online

Stephen Charnock: The Moral Nature Does Not Necessarily Prepare for Regeneration

Moral nature seems to be a preparation for grace; if it be so, it is not a cause howsoever of grace, for then the most moral person would be soonest gracious, and more eminently gracious after his renewal, and none of the rubbish and dregs of the world would ever be made fit for the heavenly building. There seems to be a fitness in morality for the receiving special grace, because the violence and tumultuousness of sin is in some measure appeased, the flame and sparks of it allayed, and the body of death lies more quiet in them, and the principles cherished by them bear some testimony to the holiness of the precepts. But though it seems to set men at a greater nearness to the kingdom of God, yet with all its own strength it cannot bring the kingdom of God into the heart, unless the Spirit opens the lock. Yea, sometimes it sets a man further from the kingdom of God, as being a great enemy to the righteousness of the gospel, both imputed and inherent, which is the crown of the gospel: to imputed, as standing upon a righteousness of their own, end conceiving no need of any other; to inherent, as acting their seeming holiness neither upon gospel principles, nor for gospel ends, but in self-reflections and self-applauses. What may seem preparations to us in matters of moral life, may in the root be much distant and vastly asunder from grace; as a divine of our own illustrates it, two mountains whose tops seem near together may in the bottom be many miles asunder.  [From:  A Discourse of the Efficient of Regeneration].

biblical studies center ~ Gallant: No Creed But Christ?

biblical studies center ~ Gallant: No Creed But Christ?

O Timothy! Guard what was committed to your trust, avoiding the profane and vain babblings and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge - by professing it, some have strayed concerning the faith. Grace be with you. Amen.

1 Timothy 6:20, 21

One Protestant denomination in North America has the actual motto, "no creed but Christ." "No confession but the Bible." In many contemporary church circles, it is an axiom that doctrine divides. Creeds and confessions are foreign to the spirit of the New Testament, we are told.

The most relevant response to the notion of "no creed but Christ" is that this statement itself is a creed! What is a creed? The word creed comes from the Latin credo, which simply means I believe. Those who proclaim "no creed but Christ" presumably believe the slogan, and thus undercut its intended meaning.

Today, "freedom of religion" means that nobody may tell you what to believe or what to disbelieve. Nobody may forbid you to spread your own brand of Christianity. Supposedly, it is not charitable to shoot down questionable doctrines. The main thing is getting along.

In a spiritual climate such as our own, it is important to ask, and answer biblically, the question: Is doctrine important? As important as unity is, the pages of Scripture are very clear that doctrine is very important. In fact, true unity, although it certainly does not imply uniformity at every minor point, is unity in the truth. Unity is founded upon a sharing of sound doctrine.

What is doctrine? It simply means "teaching." When we speak of "the faith," we are speaking of the body of truth contained in apostolic teaching. The divinity of Christ is doctrine. The Incarnation is doctrine. The atonement is doctrine. The believer's union with Christ is doctrine. All of these doctrines are necessary for true faith. The Christian faith is doctrinal: it is based upon real, objective truth. This truth must be vigorously defended: an elder must be "holding fast the faithful word as he has been taught, that he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and convict those who contradict" (Titus 1:9).

If this is part of the calling of church leadership, we must, at the very least, admit that there are confessional requirements for those who would lead the church.

Some would object that the Bible contains all the doctrine necessary for salvation, and thus further confessions are unnecessary. And although we would agree with the first statement, yet the second does not follow from it. It is altogether true that the Bible is self-sufficient. All that is necessary for life and godliness is disclosed within its pages. However, every pseudo-Christian cult and sect claims to be teaching the Bible. We do not accept a teaching simply because the one who holds it claims to speak for Scripture. Whether our confession is written or not, we, of necessity, judge his confession in terms of our own. Obviously, in such a case we believe our confession to be faithful to Scripture, while his is not. He must demonstrate, doctrinally, that he speaks for Scripture. The only question is, then, whether we will be open and upfront with our confession, stating ahead of time what confession we maintain.

Very early in the history of the Christian church, creeds and confessions of various lengths were formed. Some are quoted in Scripture, especially the pastoral epistles (1 Tim. 3:16; perhaps 1 Tim. 1:15; 2 Tim. 2:11-13). Some were formulated soon after; the so-called Apostles' Creed likely dates back (at least substantially) to the second century. In the centuries that followed, more creeds were written to combat heresy that was creeping into the Church. We think especially of the Nicene Creed, and the Symbol of Chalcedon, which were primarily developed by councils representing virtually all of the Christian Church. These creeds' central purpose was to defend the biblical doctrine of Christ's nature, because Arius and others were teaching heresy under the cover of biblical-sounding language. The Church was serious about her calling which is given in Jude 3: "contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints."

It is precisely because the Bible is our sufficient manual of doctrine, then, that we hold to confessions. A good confession is good precisely because it is normed and formed by Scripture, and forbids heresy, which contradicts or twists that Scripture, confessing it to be outside the one true faith.

Confessions, whether written or no, are inescapable. The question is not, will we use a confession? There is no possibility of not using a confession, any more than there is a possibility of having no theology. That choice is simply not before us. The question is, will our confession echo Scripture, or twist and deny it? Will it be a good confession or a bad confession?

How will we determine the content of our confessional basis? Clearly, the confession must be derived from Scripture. That is the only way it can have any force. The confession needs to be biblical in order to guard the truth of Scripture.

God has given to His Church limited, but very real, authority. The Church is the "pillar and ground of the truth" (1 Tim. 3:15) - a fact which Paul follows up by citing a contemporary confession of that truth (v. 16). This means that confession is not incidental or optional to the Church. It is the nature of the Church to stand upon a confession of God's Word. The Church, as the pillar and ground of God's truth, has responsibility and authority to maintain the authority of Scripture by maintaining confessions that are formulated in terms of that Scripture.

On the other hand, the confessions, while authoritative, are not themselves the Scripture. The Bible stands over the churches; the confessions do not. The confessions possess authority precisely because the churches possess authority; Scripture possesses authority that is self-authenticating: it is the voice of God. The Bible stands over the churches as God's infallible voice, but the confessions proceed from the Church as man's fallible understanding of Scripture. This distinction is necessary to preserve us from embracing an idolatrous approach to the secondary standards. And it is this distinction which introduces the need for a "sympathetic/critical" approach to the confessions of the Church.

The confessions of the Church stand under the Scripture. This means that Scripture has authority to alter the contents of those confessions. However, this should only be done in the context of a sympathetic understanding of the men who wrote these confessions. This is especially true of confessions that are hundreds of years old, which have withstood the test of time and have guarded the churches for centuries. I think, for instance, of the Belgic Confession, which was formulated in the middle of the sixteenth century, and has served the churches on several continents over a period of four hundred years. We do not pretend it is infallible, but surely, it is the height of presumption to seek to change such a document without a good deal of humility and study, and cooperation among knowledgeable, godly church leaders, who can make decisions on behalf of confessionally-bound churches.

We must remember, confessions are: 1) a declaration of God's truth; and 2) a safeguard against error. If we may change them simply upon our own whims, then they provide no safeguard at all. Likewise, we are charging our spiritual fathers with inability to properly defend and declare the Word of God. It seems to me we ought to be extremely careful about such things. No one individual is greater than the Church. It is true, the majority can be wrong, even among those in authority. But the answer is not individualism, which leads to anarchy. Individualism implies that each person is free to formulate and promote his own confession. He may undermine the teaching of the God-ordained authority of the church. This is not the biblical way, the covenantal way.

God has not left it in the hands of individual Christians to develop and promote their own formulations of Christianity. The Church is the pillar and ground of the truth. The covenant body is charged with defending and proclaiming the one apostolic faith. Those who cannot submit to that faith, that apostolic doctrine, do not belong in the Church of Jesus Christ.

If we are serious about a long-term commitment to defending the faith, we must return to confessionally-based unity. We must protect the pulpits and the pews by confessing the truth of Scripture. Failing this, we are inviting a descent into error and doctrinal apostasy. We are promoting relativism rather than the absolute Truth of God's Word.

From: No Creed But Christ?

Obama's Hypocrisy and Double Standard

Those idiots on CNN don't have a clue. If we applied the same standards to Saudi Arabia, our ally in the Middle East, Saudi Arabia would be a "fundamentalist" Islamic nation. Why? Because Christianity is for all practical purposes against the law in Saudi. Try exercising religious freedom there or evangelizing and see where you wind up! Obama and his cronies are hypocrites who have a double standard.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Is President Barack Obama Using the Democratic Principle of Freedom of Religion to Promote Islam and Theological Liberalism?

“We have to make sure that we don't start turning on each other,” Obama said at his first full press conference since May. “And I will do everything that I can as long as I'm president of the United States to remind the American people that we are one nation under God. And we may call that God different names, but we remain one nation.”  President Barack Obama
Looks Mr. Obama thinks that all religions lead to God?  If so, that's religious liberalism.  It is one thing to say that everyone has a right to freedom of religion.  It is quite another thing to say that Muslims, Roman Catholics, Mormons, Buddhists and various other false religions all worship the same God that born again Christians worship.  There is only one God and His name is not Allah.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Re: Ecumenical Liberalism and Religious Hatred

Dear Sarah,

I do not wish to participate in ecumenical liberalism or any idea that all religions lead to God.  Furthermore, it is ironic that the pastor was condemned for exercising his religion freedom while the Islamic fundamentalists are praised and glorified in a monument to their "martyrdom" at the site of ground zero. 

If you really represent peace, then stand against the hate crime committed against the United States on September 11, 2001 and stand against the  mosque being built there.  This response is being posted to my blog to document my objection to this solicitation.

Sincerely yours,


Reasonable Christian Blog Glory be to the Father, and to the Son : and to the Holy Ghost; Answer. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be : world without end. Amen. 1662 Book of Common Prayer

On 9/10/2010 12:23 PM, Cunningham, Sarah wrote:
Hi Charlie,  This is Zondervan author, Sarah Cunningham. A few author and blogger friends and I are putting together a blog campaign to try to spread goodwill via blogs on the anniversary of September 11th (tomorrow). This is to intentionally contrast the hate being spread by some in the name of Jesus. The FBI has issued a nationwide warning for hate crimes suspected on this day. (More info at the link below...)  This page offers links to build an easy post if you can help us. http://www.sarahcunningham.org/uncategorized/join-the-campaign-of-goodwill  Please pass it on. Tension is a great opportunity to speak grace and peace.  Thanks for bringing voice to the faith in our generation.:) Drop me a line anytime! Sarah  Sarah Cunningham Author of Picking Dandelions: A Search for Eden Among Life's Weeds, Dear Church: Letters From a Disillusioned Generation, and contributor to unChristian.  Join us at STORY: www.storychicago.com  

Luther and Justification - For the Life of the World

Luther and Justification - For the Life of the World

The doctrine of justification defines who God is: He is the one who was in Christ reconciling the world; He is the one who justifies through faith in Christ (Rom. 3:26). Therefore any concept of God that denies this and believes in a god who has to be reconciled by what man does is idolatrous, even if it manages to include Christ in its scheme: 'Whoever falls from the doctrine of justification is ignorant of God and is an idolater. Therefore it is all the same whether he then returns to the Law or to the worship of idols; it is all the same whether he is called a monk or a Turk or a Jew or an Anabaptist. For once this doctrine is undermined, nothing more remains but sheer error, hypocrisy, wickedness, and idolatry, regardless of how great the sanctity that appears on the outside.' Therefore the doctrine of justification is rightfully called the articulus stantis et cadentis ecclesiae, the article with which the church stands or falls. This formulation is not Luther's, but he certainly has the content. 'When this article stands, the church stands, when it falls, the church falls.' (WA 40 III, 352, 3).

Southeastern University | Irvin Ziemann

Southeastern University | Irvin Ziemann

Brother Irvin Ziemann was my biblical Greek professor for two years at Southeastern College of the Assemblies of God, now known as Southeastern University, Lakeland, Florida. Brother Ziemann is a truly humble man. He was probably one of two most influential professors in my spiritual formation at Southeastern. The other was my academic advisor and systematic theology professor, Dr. Michael Dusing, who is now the president of Trinity Bible College in Fargo, North Dakota. Although I am no longer Pentecostal, I have fond memories from my experience at Southeastern. In fact, I would credit part of that to Dr. Terris Neuman, who encouraged his students to read the D.R. McConnell book, A Different Gospel. That book forever changed the way I viewed the Charismatic movement and set me on a course toward a firm and solid biblical theology over against experiential theology.

I had been reading the Bible since I was eight years old and I was eager to learn, so naturally I wanted to give my faith a solid grounding and an intellectual foundation. Surprisingly, the intellectual foundations for Pentecostalism were the impetus which pushed me to further study in systematic theology, biblical theology, and confessional theology--all of which directed me toward the Reformed worldview. God is truly Lord of all and is providential in all that happens, including my experience with classical Pentecostal theology at Southeastern College of the Assemblies of God. By the way, one of the required reading textbooks for systematic theology was J. I. Packer's book, Knowing God. What a coincidence? I think not. Knowing that Packer was an Anglican and a Calvinist helped point me to the Anglican Formularies and my conversion to Reformed and Evangelical Anglicanism. Unfortunately, the Anglican Communion at large is mostly apostate for various reasons, but that is another post.

It is odd but I cannot say that I have the same fondness of memory for my experience at Asbury Theological Seminary.

May the peace of God be with you!


Thursday, September 09, 2010

The Good Person Test

The Good Person Test

Judicial Warfare: Christian Reconstruction's Blueprints For Dominion, by Greg Loren Durand

Judicial Warfare: Christian Reconstruction's Blueprints For Dominion, by Greg Loren Durand

Does God Need Us? Taking a Hiatus from Blogging

Our sense of self importance is often over-inflated.  At times God reminds us of our temporal limitations in this world and of our impending mortality.  Those reminders occur when there is a calamity that threatens our financial security, our home, our family or our health.  We tend to forget that God is in control of every single detail of every event in our lives and nothing happens apart from His will.

We believe that the same God, after He had created all things, did not forsake them, or give them up to fortune or chance, but that He rules and governs them according to His holy will,1 so that nothing happens in this world without His appointment;2 nevertheless, God neither is the author of, nor can be charged with, the sins which are committed. For His power and goodness are so great and incomprehensible, that He orders and executes His work in the most excellent and just manner, even then when devils and wicked men act unjustly.3 And as to what He doth surpassing human understanding, we will not curiously inquire into it further than our capacity will admit of; but with the greatest humility and reverence adore the righteous judgments of God which are hid from us,4 contenting ourselves that we are disciples of Christ, to learn only those things which He has revealed to us in His Word without transgressing these limits. 

This doctrine affords us unspeakable consolation, since we are taught thereby that nothing can befall us by chance, but by the direction of our most gracious and heavenly Father, who watches over us with a paternal care, keeping all creatures so under His power5 that not a hair of our head (for they are all numbered), nor a sparrow, can fall to the ground, without the will of our Father,6 in whom we do entirely trust; being persuaded that He so restrains the devil and all our enemies that, without His will and permission, they cannot hurt us. And therefore we reject that damnable error of the Epicureans, who say that God regards nothing, but leaves all things to chance. [Belgic Confession:  Article 13, Of the Providence of God.]

1 John 5:17; Heb. 1:3; Prov. 16:4; Ps. 104:9, etc.; Ps. 139:2, etc.
2 Jas. 4:15; Job 1:21; 1 Kings 22:20; Acts 4:28; 1 Sam. 2:25; Ps. 115:3; 45:7; Amos 3:6; Deut. 19:5; Prov. 21:1; Ps. 105:25; Isa. 10:5-7; 2 Thes. 2:11; Ezek. 14:9; Rom. 1:28; Gen. 45:8; 1:20; 2 Sam. 16:10; Gen. 27:20; Ps. 75:7-8; Isa. 45:7; Prov. 16:4; Lam. 3:37-38; 1 Kings 22:34,38; Ex. 21:13
3 Matt. 8:31,32; John 3:8
4 Rom. 11:33-34
5 Matt. 8:31; Job 1:12; 2:6
6 Matt. 10:29-30
Modern Evangelicals tend toward Arminianism and even semi-pelagianism.  But they do not realize that their views on divine providence, that God allegedly leaves many things up to fallen man and to chance, is really deism or epicureanism rather than biblical doctrine.  But the fact is God is in control of every choice we make through secondary means.  In other words, He does not violate our will but yet the choice we make is absolutely certain.  How could God know the future if He is unsure of what choices we will make?  (Romans 1:10, 15:32; 1 Peter 4:19; James 4:12-16).  God even knows every hair on our head and when the sparrow will fall to the ground in death (Matthew 10:29-30).

When unemployment or sickness strikes we ought to continue to trust God even when things seem more difficult than we can bear.  God will never leave nor forsake His people, those chosen from before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4-5, 11; Matthew 1:21; Hebrews 13:5; Joshua 1:5; Psalm 37:25; 2 Corinthians 4:9).  Even famines and natural disasters and wars and terrorist attacks are in God's sovereign control (Isaiah 45:7; Amos 3:6; Ezekiel 23:4, 9;  Deuteronomy 28:49-52).

The LORD your God has been around much longer than you or I have been around.  He does not need you or me to accomplish His will.  He did  quite well before you or I was born and He will do just as well without us.  To say that the Creator is in need of a mere creature to accomplish His will is arrogant and downright dangerous.  On the other hand, God does use us as instruments to accomplish His divine plan.  He works providentially through His appointed means, including the church, the preaching of the word and the adminstration of His two sacraments.  But let us not become arrogant and boastful as if God cannot accomplish His plan without us.  He could cut us off at any moment and be perfectly just in doing so (Romans 11:22; James 4:14; Job 7:7; Psalm 102:3).

You and I need not worry that God will fail simply because He has taken us off the front lines of the battle.  His Word will not return unto Him void but will accomplish that to which He sent it to do:

. . . so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it. (Isaiah 55:11 ESV)
I will be posting only occasionally for a time since my new job will have me out of town and on the road.  This is not to say that I am giving up on my blog ministry but only that I am trusting God to allow me time to post via hot spots and other means.

May God continue to bless the reformation movement in the Anglican Communion.  By this I mean a continuing move toward the theology of Holy Scripture and the Magisterial Protestant Reformation of the 16th century.  Let every Anglican profess the doctrines in the faith confessed by the Thirty-nine Articles of Religion and the 1662 Book of Common Prayer.  May God bless the Heritage Anglican movement in the United States and may His glory be exalted to Him alone!

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Martin Luther on Standing Against the Pope

"Daily I feel how difficult it is to divest oneself of scruples long entertained. Oh! The pain it has cost me, though with the Scriptures before me, to justify myself to myself, for daring singly to set myself up against the Pope, and hold him as Antichrist! What tribulations have I not suffered! How often have I not addressed to myself in bitterness of the spirit the arguments of the Papists: 'Art thou alone wise? Are all others in error? Can they have been so many years deceived? What if thou deceivest thyself, and draggest along with thee in thy error so many souls to everlasting damnation?' Thus I used to argue within myself until Jesus Christ with His own, His infallible Word, fortified me, and strengthened my soul against such arguments, as a rock raised above the waves laughs their fury to scorn." (Letters, Vol. 2, p. 107.)
From:  Let Luther Speak for Himself.

What Every Catholic Should Know - Main

What Every Catholic Should Know

Trinity School for Ministry - Dr. Ashley Null

Trinity School for Ministry - Dr. Ashley Null: The Classical Anglican Understanding of Salvation

The Real Agenda of Islam: Shari'a Law

Ashley Null Speaks About Pelagianism

Ashley Null: The Constant Danger of Pelagianism

How might we better help people get in touch with their history when very little history is really taught in schools these days?

Well, I suppose one place to start is to help the Church better ...understand the Reformation so that we can tell our story to people more accurately.

The whole point of the Reformation is that the Church shouldn’t put on people burdens that they cannot bear. After all, just because you know something is right, that doesn’t mean you can do it. Apart for  [sic]  (from) the working of the Holy Spirit, our wills are bound to the deceitful devices and desires of our hearts.

Therefore, biblical preaching must always guard against an incipient Pelagianism which would turn God’s promise to renew us into tasks we must perform in order to please him. The Bible clearly states many dos and don’ts for human behaviour. However, just because our minds may understand how a Christian should live, that doesn’t mean that our wills can automatically fall in line.

As I said earlier, reason is not king in human beings, the heart is. Therefore, to change your actions, you must change your desires. But your desires will change, only if the Holy Spirit who wrote the Bible also writes his laws on your heart. Of course, biblical preaching must expound the dos and don’ts faithfully. Yet, if we hold up a standard, but do not make clear the means God has provided by which that standard may be met, we discourage people rather than being bearers of good news.

As we preach, we must constantly remind people that a new way of living is something God has promised to work in us, even as he continues to forgives [sic] (forgive) us our many short-comings along the way. As we preach, we must constantly remind people to turn in Christ through his Word and Sacraments, so that he can make the changes in them that they cannot make on their own. After all, true holiness is actually ever-increasing active dependence on God and his promises.

This Pelagian tendency is the reason why many people find Cranmer’s prayer book off putting. Pelagianism says that repentance is the work you must do to please God. When you abase yourself enough, when you feel guilty enough, when you have changed your ways enough, then God will decide you are worthy of being forgiven, then God will permit you to be called his child. When an Anglican Church preaches Pelagianism from the pulpit, people will hear it echoed in the penitential ethos of Cranmer’s liturgy.

So when the Confession asks people to acknowledge that they are ‘miserable sinners’, they hear, ‘If I grovel enough in self-loathing, then maybe God will accept me’. No wonder some people think that Cranmer’s God wants to make people miserable!

Sadly, that is the exact opposite of what Cranmer intended people to hear. He would want people to understand that repentance is a divine gift which God is pleased to work in them, not their work by which they make themselves pleasing to God. Indeed, they are already miserable because of their sins, but by coming to God they can experience real freedom.

Their sins may have put them under divine judgement and enslaved them to destructive habits which do not satisfy, but God has promised to rescue them. He will do for them what they cannot do for themselves. Because of Jesus, God will pardon them from their sin’s guilt and deliver them from its power. He will draw them into a new way of living, and he will make something beautiful out of the brokenness of their lives. Cranmer’s liturgy focusses  [sic] (focuses) on repentance, because this divine gift is truly good news.

Today our whole culture talks about addictions and how to break their power. The Church, however, often fails to realise that sin is the ultimate addiction, slowly destroying people, even as it draws them further and further away from God and their true selves. Cranmer and his fellow Reformers made no such mistake. They could face up to the gravity of sin, because they realised the superior power of God’s grace.

Human beings may be instinctively addicted to always having to prove their worth, but the cross of Christ shatters that lie. Human beings may fear they can never make the changes in their lives that are expected of Christians, but the Resurrection of Christ conclusively testifies to his power to make all things new. Human beings may feel rootless and estranged, but Christ has promised to prepare an eternal home for his people, even as he prepares them for it.

I think if the Church preaches these Reformations truths, people will hear good news indeed.

Monday, September 06, 2010

Thursday, September 02, 2010

What Is Legalism? by John Robbins

What Is Legalism?

John W. Robbins

Legalism is the notion that a sinner can, by his own efforts, or by the power of the Holy Spirit in his life, do some work to obtain or retain his salvation. Some legalists think man has free will and can perform good works if he just sets his mind to it, thereby obtaining the favor of God. This type of legalist thinks that a sinner can believe the Gospel on his own steam. Other legalists think that a sinner does not have free will, that any good he does is done by the power of the Holy Spirit dwelling in him, and it is these good deeds done by the power of the Holy Spirit that obtain or help obtain, retain or help retain, his salvation. Both types of legalists, but especially the latter, may acknowledge that Christ's work of obedience is necessary for salvation, but both deny that Christ's work is sufficient for salvation. Both types of legalists assert that to Christ's work must be added the works of the sinner, done either under his own steam, or by the power of the Holy Spirit. That is what makes them legalists: their shared belief in the incompleteness or insufficiency of the work of Christ outside of them. They may differ on what constitutes good works; they may differ on whether only God's law or church law as well is to be obeyed; but they agree that the work of Christ alone is insufficient for their final salvation.

Against The World. The Trinity Review, 1978-1988. [What Is Faith, John W. Robbins, pg. 121-122] John W. Robbins, Editor. The Trinity Foundation, P.O. Box 68, Unicoi, Tennessee 37692. (423) 743-0199 - FAX (423) 743-2005

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

"Common Grace Considered": The Teaching of "The Well-meant Offer" of Salvation" (42)

"Common Grace Considered": The Teaching of "The Well-meant Offer" of Salvation (42)

Stand Firm | [Bumped For Obvious Reasons] Anglicanism Upside Down Down Under? Understanding Lay Administration

Stand Firm | [Bumped For Obvious Reasons] Anglicanism Upside Down Down Under? Understanding Lay Administration

Looks like Anglo-Catholics are happy as long as the tide is running their way. And Sydney is happy to get along with everyone as long as everyone lets Sydney do their own thing. Of course, Sydney has knifed the Heritage Anglicans in America in the back. Unfortunately sacrificing the Americans has not appeased the almighty and majestic Anglo-Catholics who think they are literally the vicars of Christ on earth.

It's probably unchristian of me to say so, but Mark Thompson, "I told you so!" Although I see nothing wrong with lay presidency over the sacraments from a biblical perspective, it does go against even Evangelical and Reformed tradition to authorize lay persons to do this. Even the 18th and 19th century Methodists had circuit riders for this very reason.

No Wonder the Ugley Vicar is Mixed Up: He's Anglo-Catholic, Sydney Anglican and Evangelical All in One--Is that Possible??

Harmony with Belial? Can Conservative Evangelicals and Traditional Anglo-Catholics really work together?

Personal background

Can a Conservative Evangelical, then, feel any sympathy for or make any conciliatory gestures towards Anglo-Catholicism? At this point, a bit of personal background is relevant.

My own upbringing was orthodox Anglo-Catholic. And although my home church of St Luke’s Charlton has since shifted in a decidedly Liberal direction, I was brought up by people who, when they said the Creeds, believed what they were saying, without reserve or compromise.

My conversion to Christianity took place at the beginning of my final year at University, through the influence of the Christian Union, but I never felt the need to reject my early upbringing, which taught me much of what I needed to know.

Subsequently, my Christian path led through the Charismatic movement in the seventies and eighties and finally settled as Conservative Evangelical in the mid eighties.

And the seal was put on all this when I was able to spend a year at Moore Theological College in 1993, studying for a post-graduate diploma in theology. This not only gave me a much deeper (and, incidentally, broader) theological education but gave me first hand experience of Sydney Anglicanism.

The above is from John Richardson, owner of The Ugley Vicar blog.

YouTube - Alice Cooper on The Hour with George Stroumboulopoulos

YouTube - Alice Cooper on The Hour with George Stroumboulopoulos

YouTube - R.C. Sproul and Alice Cooper

YouTube - R.C. Sproul and Alice Cooper

YouTube - Alice Cooper on being a Christian

YouTube - Alice Cooper on being a Christian

While Alice Cooper's background seems to be Arminian, it does seem that he has a credible testimony to conversion. As I have said many times before, we ought not to follow celebrities. Christians can and do fail. We should follow Christ who lived a sinless life for us and died for our sins on the cross. The good thing about this is Alice says, "I'm not going to become a car salesman." I think Alice Cooper is probably one of the most solid celebrity Christians I have heard. This is a must hear testimony.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Old Life Theological Society » Blog Archive » Desert Island Texts

Old Life Theological Society » Blog Archive » Desert Island Texts

Church Society - Churchman - Recovering Confessional Anglicanism

Church Society - Churchman - Recovering Confessional Anglicanism

Excerpt from Mike Horton's Interview with Roman Catholic Apologist Robert Sungenis

[To read the entire article you have to sign up for a 30 day free trial of Modern Reformation magazine.  I'm not allowed to post the entire article here due to copyrights.  Click on Modern Reformation to view the site where the article may be accessed.  Horton's questions are in bold and Sungenis' responses are in plain text.]

What is the classic formulation of the Roman Catholic doctrine of justification today?

If you say "classic," then that would be from the Tridentine doctrine, and that was the last dogmatic council we had on justification. Vatican II and its aftermath doesn't claim to have any dogmatic statement on justification. All it does is reiterate what the Council of Trent said, and you can tell that by the footnotes in the Catechism when you read it.

Could you summarize that understanding of justification for us?

There are 32 canons in the Council of Trent. On the one hand, as I said, the first canon says that by no works of the law or any work done by man in his moral disposition can he attain justification. Justification is given by the grace of God. Faith is the beginning of the justification, and that's in chapter eight of Trent. That is, that's the root of all justification. That's where it starts. In order to get into the grace of God, you have to have faith in God. Once you have the faith-and the Roman Catholic Church says that's a gift of the Holy Spirit as well-it's not something that you alone generate by yourself; it's you cooperating with God that allows you to have faith. That is, you have faith and works that are under God's grace, and both of those are looked at by God as things that he requires you to do, and he blesses those. As long as you remain in the faith and keep doing the works, then you remain in the justification. The Catholic church also believes that if you do not do the works, that is, you sin, then you can lose your justification. And you can regain your justification if you repent of your sin and come back into the grace of God.
So, would that hold for individual sins? If I committed a sin at one o'clock, would I be unjustified until I had opportunity to confess it to a priest?

Depends on the seriousness of the sin. I like to use the example that Paul uses in Romans 4 where he talks about David. He says that David was a man who was justified by his faith without doing works, but if you look at the life of David, what we find is that David was a man of God long before he had committed the sin of adultery with Bathsheba and murder with Uriah the Hittite. So if David is saying that he repented of his sin, and thereby was justified at that point in time, that means he had been justified prior to that and lost his justification, and now because he's repented of his sins (murder and adultery), he has regained his justification. So, in your example, the sin at one o'clock would be David's sins of adultery and murder, and then as he repents, he gets his justification restored to him.

What is the state of the debate these days in Roman Catholic circles in interpreting justification in the Greek, dikaioo/dikaiosis, and the Latin, iustificare? I'm thinking here of Joseph Fitzmyer, who says that clearly this is a legal, forensic term in the Greek, and the Latin, iustificar-, "to make righteous" is actually a misunderstanding and mistranslation of the Greek "to declare righteous." Where is the debate now in biblical scholarship in Catholic circles?

We cover that in Appendix 2 of the book, starting on page 615. We deal with Fitzmyer's assertion. Basically, Fitzmyer doesn't speak for the Catholic Church because there's been no official statement from the Catholic Church despite opinions from what we would call liberal theologians in the Catholic Church, and Fitzmyer would be one of them. Raymond Brown would be another, and there is a whole cadre of these individuals.

Is it your view, then, that the word always means "to make upright" rather than "to declare upright"?

Yes, we can prove that. We do it by a proof of, say, James 2, when James is quoting Genesis 15:6 where it says that Abraham believed and God justified him. He's quoting the same passage that St. Paul is quoting in Romans 4:3, so that means that James and Paul have to have the same understanding of the Greek word dikaiosune, because they're quoting from the same passage, Genesis 15:6. And here's where the Protestants try to change the meaning of dikaiosune—or dikaioo in James 2—because they say it means "demonstrated to be righteous" as opposed to "declaring to be righteous." So they have a dichotomy in their own thinking on the definitions of these words. And we go through it meticulously in chapter two of the book to show that it is impossible to arrive at that position where you make a dichotomy between "demonstrated" righteousness and "declared" righteousness on the one hand, and we also show in the book that the preponderant use of dikaioo in the Greek is not a declared righteousness—and the same would be true for the Greek word logizomai which is used in the King James Bible, for example, when it translates as "imputation." We show that the Greek word logizomai preponderantly means in the Greek that there is a reality to the thing that someone is viewing; it's not a fiction. It's not something that we label, not a label that we put on something, even though we know that the label is not saying that this thing is a reality of the label. We show that the Greek word logizomai actually means in the Greek that the label means what it is signifying. We go through all the uses of logizomai in the New Testament to show that.
So dikaioo and that word group never means "to declare righteous"?

No, there's no passage we can point to that says definitively that the only meaning that can be applied here is "declared righteous." There's no passage we have found in the New Testament that teaches that.

So it's always a "making" righteous?

Always, yes.

As in Romans 3:4, when God is said to be "justified" when he speaks?

Well, when we're talking about a soteriological context, then we're talking about that. We're not talking about passages that apply the word dikaioo to God himself.
OK, so the word itself, then, is more elastic than "to make righteous."

Yes, but it's not elastic in its soteriological sense. That's what I would say.

That would be a dogmatic claim, though, not a linguistic claim, right?

No, that would be both.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

The Standard Bearer: Common Grace Leads to Theistic Evolution

The Standard Bearer

Iustitia Imputata Christi: Alien or Proper to Luther's Doctrine of Justification? by R. Scott Clark

Iustitia Imputata Christi: Alien or Proper to Luther's Doctrine of Justification? By R. Scott Clark. Vol. 70:3/4, July/October 2006, Concordia Theological Quarterly.


THE NEW PERSPECTIVE ON CALVIN: RESPONDING TO RECENT CALVIN INTERPRETATIONS, by Thomas L. Wenger. Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society. JETS 50/2 (June 2007) 311–28.

The Blueprint for the Gospel? - by Todd Wilken

The Blueprint for the Gospel? - by Todd Wilken

The apostle says: "No one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ." 24 The JDDJ has laid a foundation other than Jesus Christ. By defining Justification, grace and faith in contradictory ways, and thereby leaving the door open for human cooperation in and contribution to Justification, the JDDJ obscures the work of Jesus Christ for sinners. If my Justification depends on my moral improvement throughout life, if grace is a power God gives me to cooperate in my salvation, if faith includes my works, then the work of Jesus Christ is insufficient to save me. The Lutheran reformers wrote:

"This teaching about the righteousness of faith dare not be neglected in the church of Christ; without it the work of Christ cannot be understood, and what is left of the doctrine of Justification is nothing more than the teaching of the law." 25

It's this simple: if you get Justification wrong, you get the Gospel wrong. And a wrong Gospel can't save sinners. This was the whole reason for the Reformation.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Clark Pinnock Dies at Age 73; Was God Surprised? « Heidelblog

Clark Pinnock Dies at Age 73; Was God Surprised? « Heidelblog

R. Scott Clark rightly points out that the recently deceased Clark Pinnock should not be remembered as contributing anything useful to Christian theology. Rather Pinnock should be seen as a relativist who shifted with every wind of doctrine, including the Mormon doctrine that God has a body. Clark's eulogy is not approving of Pinnock's legacy and I agree. Particularly heretical was Pinnock's doctrine of Open Theism which essentially anthropomorphized God to the point of making God less than God. Reminds me of the song, "What If God Were One of Us?"

See also: Christianity Today: Clark Pinnock Dies at 73.

Tertullian: A Lecture by Gerald Bray


Thursday, August 26, 2010

‘African bishops say Anglicans in West strayed from God’ : Anglican Church League, Sydney, Australia

‘African bishops say Anglicans in West strayed from God’ : Anglican Church League, Sydney, Australia

Facebook Shutting Down Conservatives? Identities Being Deleted Without Notice

Facebook Shutting Down Conservatives? Identities Being Deleted Without Notice

Bear Grylls Christian campaign draws inquiries | News stories | Sydneyanglicans.net

Bear Grylls Christian campaign draws inquiries | News stories | Sydneyanglicans.net

Looks like celebrity gimmicks rather than confronting people with the Law of God and the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the focus of the Sydney Anglicans. Amyraldianism, like Arminianism, has more in common with theology from below than with God's revelation of Himself in Jesus Christ and the Holy Scriptures. Why would the church need to resort to celebrity appeal to get sinners interested in the Gospel? (Romans 3:20; Romans 7:7; Romans 3:1-8)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Johannes Weslianus: Letter to the Friends of the Reformed Faith concerning the Errors of Norman Shepherd

Johannes Weslianus: Letter to the Friends of the Reformed Faith concerning the Errors of Norman Shepherd

YouTube - R. Scott Clark's Attack On Reformed Theology

YouTube - R. Scott Clark's Attack On Reformed Theology

In this video Monty Collier points out a problem with R. Scott Clark's over-emphasis on the ordinary means of grace, being of course administered through the local church. Although there are only two sacraments (Mark 16:16; Matthew 28:18-20; , the Reformed position places the preaching of the Gospel at the center of the service, not the administration of the Lord's Supper. That would include Reformed Anglican theology since Archbishop Thomas Cranmer emphasized the reading of Scripture as a means of grace. (See Ashley Null comments on Archbishop Thomas Cranmer's contribution to the English Reformation). While I agree with Collier that Scott is over-stating the case, it is true that Reformed churches and congregations are marked by church discipline. God can and does work outside the ordinary means of grace in saving the elect. However, if we go too far in the other direction, there is the problem raised by universalism. If God does not use the means of grace to effectually call the elect (John 6:37-39, 44, 65), then it follows that we do not need to send out missionaries to the unconverted people groups all around the globe (Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 1:8).

I ran across this position in reading Zwingli's article on eternal election. Some theologians like the late Philip Schaff and the still living Roger Nicole have said that God saves the elect apart from the means of grace such as unbaptized infants of non-Christian parents around the world. Others, like Billy Graham, have proposed that some individuals believe in Jesus Christ in some unconscious capacity and are therefore "saved" by Arminian standards. There are examples in Scripture such as Abraham where God does save His elect by a direct call. But the appointed means of grace today is revealed through Holy Scripture, of which Abraham had no access. (See 2 Timothy 3:15-17; 1 Corinthians 1:18; Romans 1:16-17).

In this case I have to agree with R. Scott Clark that the ordinary or appointed means of grace are mediated through the local congregation. Otherwise we wind up with lay persons who go solo and invent their own doctrinal standards, often leading to the formation of cults. Sola Scriptura does not mean that Christians are free to roam about without joining a local church.

On the other hand, I agree with Monty Collier's point as well. What does one do when there is no local church with which one can in good conscience join in mission? Frequently local churches do not properly administer the two sacraments, follow a Reformed confession of faith, preach the doctrines of grace faithfully, or properly distinguish between law and Gospel. In such cases the Reformed believer is left in a quandary.

The Reformed Anglican position is that the preaching of the Gospel is the normative way God effectually calls and saves His elect:

Article XVIII

Of obtaining eternal salvation only by the name of Christ

They also are to be had accursed that presume to say that every man shall be saved by the law or sect which he professeth, so that he be diligent to frame his life according to that law and the light of nature. For Holy Scripture doth set out to us only the name of Jesus Christ, whereby men must be saved.

We ought to remember that the majority of the Reformed confessions do uphold the idea that the local congregation is the means or instrument through which God mediates His graces to His elect:

Article XIX

Of the Church

The visible Church of Christ is a congregation of faithful men, in the which the pure word of God is preached and the sacraments be duly ministered according to Christ's ordinance in all those things that of necessity are requisite to the same. As the Church of Jerusalem, Alexandria, and Antioch have erred: so also the Church of Rome hath erred, not only in their living and manner of ceremonies, but also in matters of faith.

The Westminster Confession and the Belgic Confession have similar articles: WCF, Chapter 25, Of the Church. BC, Article 27, Of the Catholic Church. The short answer is that Monty Collier makes a valid point that God is not limited to the ordinary means of grace. However, Collier seems to misrepresent R. Scott Clark by taking his comments out of the context of the Reformed confessions.

Collier is a Clarkian in his Reformed theology and apologetics and therefore places less emphasis on faithfulness to the secondary authority of the Westminster Confession of Faith.  Gordon H. Clark has been accused of denying the doctrine of the one person of Christ in his final book, The Incarnation. Ironically, Clark's Scripturalism has been misused as a form of anti-intellectualism and irrationalism among his modern day followers, a fact that probably would have appalled Clark himself. While The Trinity Foundation makes many valid criticisms of modern Reformed theology, Trinity itself is promoting a rebellion against the Reformed confessions on the point of the incarnation since all of them uphold the Definition of Chalcedon 451 A.D.

I should add that Collier seems to be ignorant of the Dutch Reformed confession of faith called the Belgic Confession.  Article 28, Of the Communion of the Saints in the True Church says:

We believe, since this holy assembly and congregation is the assembly of the redeemed and there is no salvation outside of it,[1] that no one ought to withdraw from it, content to be by himself, no matter what his status or standing may be. But all and everyone are obliged to join it and unite with it,[2] maintaining the unity of the church. They must submit themselves to its instruction and discipline,[3] bend their necks under the yoke of Jesus Christ,[4] and serve the edification of the brothers and sisters,[5] according to the talents which God has given them as members of the same body.[6]
To observe this more effectively, it is the duty of all believers, according to the Word of God, to separate from those who do not belong to the church[7] and to join this assembly[8] wherever God has established it. They should do so even though the rulers and edicts of princes were against it, and death or physical punishment might follow.[9]
All therefore who draw away from the church or fail to join it act contrary to the ordinance of God.

[1] Mt 16:18, 19; Acts 2:47; Gal 4:26; Eph 5:25-27; Heb 2:11, 12; Heb 12:23. [2] 2 Chron 30:8; Jn 17:21; Col 3:15. [3] Heb 13:17. [4] Mt 11:28-30. [5] Eph 4:12. [6] 1 Cor 12:7, 27; Eph 4:16. [7] Num 16:23-26; Is 52:11, 12; Acts 2:40; Rom 16:17; Rev 18:4. [8] Ps 122:1; Is 2:3; Heb 10:25. [9] Acts 4:19, 20.

The short of it is that Monty Collier seems to be ignorant of Reformed theology in the bigger picture.  The Westminster Confession of Faith says the same thing as the Belgic Confession:

The visible Church, which is also catholic or universal under the Gospel (not confined to one nation, as before under the law), consists of all those throughout the world that profess the true religion; and of their children: and is the kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ, the house and family of God, out of which there is no ordinary possibility of salvation. (WCF 25:2 WCS)

May the peace of God be with all who confess faith in Jesus Christ as He is revealed in Holy Scripture.

 The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. (Romans 16:20 ESV)

[R. Scott Clark is not advocating Roman Catholic doctrine when he says that salvation only comes through the local church that is true to the Gospel.  The Roman doctrine is that Rome is the only true church and that Rome is the seat of authority over all the Roman Catholic churches and is the only universal and true church.  Obviously that is wrong.]

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