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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 bessech 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

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Top Ten Ways to Spot a False Gospel of Works

10.  If the minister preaches a full year on the doctrine of sanctification and never mentions justification by faith alone, he might be a false prophet.

  9.  If the minister preaches sermons on God's law, but never mentions that the ability to keep the law is always imperfect and relative in this life, he might be a false prophet.

  8.  If the minister is constantly preaching against antinomianism but never mentions the dangers of works righteousness, he might be a false prophet.

  7.  If the minister has never been accused of antinomianism by anyone in the Arminian camp, he might be a false prophet.

  6.  If the minister is constantly talking about "lordship" salvation but never acknowledges that God's law demands absolute and perfect obedience and the impossibility of keeping God's law perfectly, he might be a false prophet.

  5.  If the minister thinks that the blessings of God can be merited, earned or otherwise deserved on the basis of obedience, he might be a false prophet.

  4.  If the minister makes extravagant promises of material rewards for obedience or the keeping of tithing laws, he might be a false prophet.

  3.  If the minister thinks the deciding factor in salvation is human choice, free will, or responsibility, he might be a false prophet.

  2.  If the minister says that justification is by faith alone but sanctification is necessary for future vindication at the judgment, he might be a false prophet.

  1.  If the minister adds anything whatsoever to Christ's active obedience, sinless life, and suffering on the cross--including sanctification or lordship salvation--he might be a false prophet.

Charlie

--
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

Monday, December 13, 2010

Lecture 5, What About Human Freedom? from The Providence of God Teaching Series by Dr. R.C. Sproul from Ligonier Ministries

Lecture 5, What About Human Freedom? from The Providence of God Teaching Series by Dr. R.C. Sproul from Ligonier Ministries

EV News :: Radio 4 to devote day of reading of King James Bible

EV News :: Radio 4 to devote day of reading of King James Bible

EV News :: Bishops back Christian B&B owners on eve of legal action

EV News :: Bishops back Christian B&B owners on eve of legal action

Quoted from Evangelicals.Org:

Bishops back Christian B&B owners on eve of legal action

In a letter to The Daily Telegraph, the Rt Rev Michael Scott-Joynt, the Bishop of Winchester, and the retired Bishop of Rochester, the Rt Rev Michael Nazir-Ali, expressed their “very great concern” at the legal action being taken against Christian guesthouse owners Peter and Hazelmary Bull:

SIR – We wish to record our great concern that liberty of conscience is being eroded. Next week, two Christian pensioners, Mr and Mrs Bull, will appear in court because the guesthouse that they own and operate in Cornwall has a policy that couples must be married if they wish to occupy a double room (report, December 8). They offer single bedrooms to unmarried couples.

Mr and Mrs Bull’s understanding of marriage is the same as that of English law and the Christian Church. Their guesthouse is also their home. Their policy may seem traditional but, of itself, there is nothing wrong with that.

Surely in the interest of tolerance and diversity, we must accept that people may live by different principles, even if others don’t necessarily agree with them. Yet they are being taken to court by a homosexual couple who were denied a double room at the guesthouse.

Liberty of conscience must not be confined to the mind. It is meaningless unless it includes the freedom to stand by our principles publicly.

Rt Rev Michael Scott-Joynt
, Bishop of Winchester

Rt Rev Michael Nazir-Ali
, Bishop of Rochester, 1994-2009

Click here for Daily Telegraph article

Click here for Christian Institute report: 'Trial of Christian B&B owners has now begun.'

(Sources: The Daily Telegraph 11/12/10, The Christian Institute, 13/12/10)


EV News :: Bishops back Christian B&B owners on eve of legal action

YouTube - How to defeat Calvinism

Thanks to D. Philip Veitch for reminding me of this humorous look at Arminianism. This video is a short and succinct summary of the irrational and illogical arguments used to support the synergist position.




YouTube - How to defeat Calvinism

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Calvinism v. Arminianism Debate • James White v. Michael Brown | New Demonstration

Calvinism v. Arminianism Debate • James White v. Michael Brown | New Demonstration

You will not want to miss this debate between James White, a particular Baptist, and Michael Brown, an Arminian. James White is an experienced debater and knows how to argue the Calvinist position well.


Re-Publication of the Covenant of Works (1) « Heidelblog

Re-Publication of the Covenant of Works (1) « Heidelblog

Retraction: [Reasonable Christian] New comment on Pelagianism Revived? Meredith G. Kline - The Mosa....

If you click on the links below you'll see that I've apparently jumped to conclusions on the Kerux controvery over Meredith Kline and the alleged pelagianism in his typology of Israel and the republication of the covenant of works (See WCF 19:2).  By implication then I have jumped to conclusions about Dr. Michael Horton and Dr. R. Scott Clark and their possible connection to Kline's views. 

Everyone has knots between the ears at times and looks like I made a major goof on this one.  I'll have to read more on the issue before commenting further.

Sincerely yours in Christ

Charlie

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


-------- Original Message --------
Subject: [Reasonable Christian] New comment on Pelagianism Revived? Meredith G. Kline - The Mosa....
Date: Sun, 12 Dec 2010 10:58:14 -0800 (PST)
From: Charlie J. Ray <cranmer1959@hotmail.com>
To: cranmer1959@hotmail.com



See also, Dr. Clark's rebuttal here:

Consider the Source Part 1 Follow the link at the bottom of the page. There are 5 parts to the response.

Also, Dr. Clark says that Caspar Olevianus taught the republication of the covenant of works in the 16th century. Olevianus was co-author of the Heidelberg Catechism, along with Zacharius Ursinus.

Be that as it may, the covenant of works is not taught in the Three Forms of Unity nor is there any mention of a republication of it.

Canons of Dordt. 3rd and 4th Heads of Doctrine: Article 5

In the same light are we to consider the law of the decalogue, delivered by God to His peculiar people the Jews by the hands of Moses. For though it discovers the greatness of sin, and more and more convinces man thereof, yet as it neither points out a remedy nor imparts strength to extricate him from misery, and thus being weak through the flesh leaves the transgressor under the curse, man cannot by this law obtain saving grace.




Posted by Charlie J. Ray to Reasonable Christian at 1:58 PM

Sometimes One Has to Consider the Source (1) « Heidelblog

Dr. R. Scott Clark pointed me to this rebuttal of the article at Kerux. I will have to do more reading before I can sort all this out. However, it seems to me that if Kline used typology where Scripture does not, then that would essentially be an extrabiblical argument.


Sometimes One Has to Consider the Source (1) « Heidelblog

See also Pelagianism Revived? Meredith Kline--The Mosaic Covenant



Dr. Michael Horton - Difficult Texts of Scripture - Listen to Free Online White Horse Inn Christian Radio Broadcasts

In this broadcast of The White Horse Inn Michael Horton concedes that there are other ways to be "blameless" in the Old Testament and the New Testament besides faith alone. What was he thinking? Even though he says that justification is by faith alone, Horton says there are other ways to be righteous by other standards. This undermines the biblical doctrine of justification by faith alone and lends credibility to the Roman Catholic exegesis of passages that call sinful believers "blameless". One has to wonder if Horton's views are coming from the Meredith Kline theology of the covenants? This sort of confusion is inexcusable, in my opinion. You will notice that the other panelists in the program come unglued. The program was almost a debate.



Dr. Michael Horton - Difficult Texts of Scripture - Listen to Free Online White Horse Inn Christian Radio Broadcasts

The Baxley News-Banner - Earl Dukes McCool

 

 

Folks in the small town of Baxley, Georgia know Earl Dukes McCool well. He has passed away but will not soon be forgotten. Mr. McCool was 100 years old and over his lifetime he literally took thousands and thousands of black and white portrait photos of the residents of Baxley. I still have baby pictures, pictures of my extended family, my father and mother and many more that Mr. McCool took.  The photo above is of my great uncle, Tom Kersey, and my grandfather, Elzie Hand, taken in downtown Baxley, Georgia by Mr. Earl Dukes McCool.

The obituary reads as follows:


Earl Dukes McCool, age 100, died Friday, December 3, 2010 at the Pavilion. Mr. McCool better known as “E.D.” was born in Waynesville on Jan. 10, 1910 to the late Vinson and Maude Dukes McCool. E.D.’s mother died when he was one year old. He was raised by his aunt and uncle, Molly Dukes and Paul Carter in Surrency and graduated from Surrency High School. He was a veteran of the United States Army. McCool spent most of his life as a photographer in Baxley and the surrounding areas. He was preceded in death by his sisters, Ora Lee McCool Dubberly Myers and Fleta McCool Riley.

Survivors include one nephew, Dr. Charles Riley of Dublin; one niece, Reba Dubberly Foster of Sarasota, FL, special friends, Rev. Mike Woodard, Dwain Hutto and the late Warren E. Swain, Jr.

Funeral services were held at 2:00 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 5 in the chapel of Swain Funeral Home with the Rev. Mike Woodard officiating. Eulogy was given by Dr. Charles Riley. Interment was private.

Arrangements were under the direction of Swain Funeral Home.


Read more: The Baxley News-Banner - Earl Dukes McCool


The Baxley News-Banner - Earl Dukes McCool


LIVING WATER: THE DEVIL IS A THIEF





LIVING WATER: THE DEVIL IS A THIEF

Looks like the Roman Catholic Church is utilizing the principle of the "church militant". Convert or else:)






Saturday, December 11, 2010

Calvin's Catechism: How the Righteousness of Good Works and the Righteousness of Faith Fit Together

Calvin's Catechism (1538)

19. How the righteousness of good works and the righteousness of faith fit together.



There is no doubt that good works which proceed from such purity of conscience are acceptable to God. Since he recognizes his righteousness in them, he cannot but approve and commend them. Yet we must beware of becoming so puffed up with vain confidence as to forget we are justified by faith in Christ alone. Surely in the Lord’s sight there is no works-righteousness save what corresponds to his righteousness. Therefore, one who seeks to be justified by works does not do enough by merely performing one work or another, but has need of reaching perfect obedience to the law, from which those who completely surpass all others in keeping the Lord’s law are as yet very far away.



Then, even if it were possible to satisfy God’s righteousness by only one good work, the Lord could not find a single work in his saints to credit with righteousness on its own merit. For even though this fact could seem incredible, it is nonetheless very true: no work at all leaves our hand accomplished with complete perfection, and unmarred by some defect. Accordingly, since we are all sinners and sprinkled with very many traces of vices, we must needs be justified outside ourselves. Namely, we always have need of Christ, by whose perfection our imperfection is covered, by whose purity our uncleanness is cleansed, by whose obedience our inquity is wiped out, finally on account of whose righteousness, righteousness is freely imputed to us, without any reckoning of our works, which are in no way great enough for us to stand up in God’s judgment. But when our spots, which otherwise could have befouled our works in God’s sight, are thus covered, the Lord sees in them nothing but the highest purity and holiness. Accordingly, he honors them with preeminent names. For he both calls and regards them as acts of righteousness, and promises for them the fullest recompense. To sum up, we must conclude that fellowship with Christ has such great power because on its account we are not only freely reckoned righteous, but our works are also imputed to us as righteousness and will be recompensed with an everlasting reward.

From: Merit in the Reformed Confessions



Church Society - Issues - History - Cranmer Intro

Church Society - Issues - History - Cranmer Intro

Thomas Cranmer (1489-1556)

Archbishop of Canterbury

"And as for the Pope, I refuse him, as Christ's enemy, and antichrist, with all his false doctrine."


Church Society - Issues - History - Cranmer Intro


On Precisionism and Latitudinarianism (Again) « Heidelblog

On Precisionism and Latitudinarianism (Again) « Heidelblog

Reformation Anglicanism: Church of England is Protestant, Reformed, & Calvinistic: Toplady, Vol.5 (pp.133-152)

Phil Veitch over at Reformation Anglicanism said:

Church of England is Protestant, Reformed, & Calvinistic: Toplady, Vol.5 (pp.133-152). What is offered below is indicated in the title. Of note, the Rev. Mr. Augustus Montague Toplady argues that England's national ignorance and widespread clerical denial of their subscriptionist oaths to the Anglican formularies had led to a rising sympathy with Romanism and Arminianism. He gives a brief hint here at Deism and "ethical" preaching without the Reformation doctrines, specifically the Calvinistic faith, that had been more largely presented. Years ago, I recollect reading a volume with an observation that the 18th century Bishops had ceased reading "Systematic Theologies." I wish had could remember the source.

Today, we would call that "moral, therapeutic Deism." Toplady is relevant to our times. As for Anglicanism, doctrinal ignorance, clerical incompetence, and dismissal of Anglicanism's formularies prevail. What do we get? Everything from liberalism to all its wind-blown progeny.





Click here to see the linkReformation Anglicanism: Church of England is Protestant, Reformed, and Calvinistic: Toplady, Vol.5 (pp.133-152)

Why The Law Is Not Gracious… « Sacramental Piety

1. The law promises no good thing to miserable sinners; it promises good only to those who observe it.

2. The law has no force in itself for removing sins; it has force only for punishing.

3. The law cannot be fulfilled by any sinner, as it says in the text, on account of the feebleness of the flesh.

4. If the law could be fulfilled in the future, nevertheless past sins would destroy all hope of receiving a reward from the law. For this cause, the law is called the slaying letter, the ministry of death, and also the ministry of condemnation.

-William Ames, Sketch of the Christian Catechism, p. 28




Quoted from the Sacramental Piety blog, by Jordan Harris: Why The Law Is Not Gracious… « Sacramental Piety



Why American Presbyterians Are Not “Reformed Baptists” by a “Baptist Light” American Presbyterian – A Response to James Jordan « Sacramental Piety

James B. Jordan's theology seems to have more in common with the Federal Visionists than anything else. This is an excellent discussion of what's wrong with Jordan's views from a confessional Presbyterian stance. I believe the owner of the Sacramental Piety blog is Jordan Harris. Click on this to read the article:

Why American Presbyterians Are Not “Reformed Baptists” by a “Baptist Light” American Presbyterian – A Response to James Jordan « Sacramental Piety




Latimer Trust: The True Profession of the Gospel

Latimer Trust: The True Profession of the Gospel

Lee Gatiss has a new book out defending the Anglican Reformed tradition in the Church of England. It is published by Latimer Trust. You will not want to miss this one. As soon as I can get a copy I will be reviewing it for the blog. Charlie.



Friday, December 10, 2010

Religious Freedom Is Vindicated in the UK--For Now



[Click here for the story at Evangelicals.Org:  EV News :: Street preacher awarded damages over wrongful arrest].


At last we see some vindication for the rights of Christians to speak freely about their religious convictions without being threatened with wrongful arrest.  Perhaps the United States should be more alert to these kinds of abuses.  Simply because someone has religious convictions against homosexual behavior does not mean that that constitutes "hate speech".  Moreover, the government does not have the legal authority to coerce politically correct moral positions which are directly opposed to the teaching of Holy Scripture.  This would be a blatant violation of a basic human right to freedom of religion, which democracy is supposed to uphold.  When our government crosses the line in the culture war and begins to use preemptive arrests to censor and silence religious dissidence, as Obama's administration and certain supporters like George Stephanopoulos has demonstrated a willingness to do, the line has been crossed into totalitarianism.

Stephanopoulos put forward a story promoting Supreme Court Justice Steven Breyer's position that religious organizations and churches should not be able to burn the Koran in protest of the building of the mosque at Ground Zero.  (See Justice Stephen Breyer: Is Burning Koran 'Shouting Fire In A Crowded Theater?'). Everyone should be concerned when a Supreme Court justice thinks that censorship is permissible, especially since the case being discussed involved a tiny pastor who really has no influence over world politics other than the free exposure he got from a politically correct posse of reporters seeking to promote their socialist agenda.  It is ironic that the liberal party accused former President George W. Bush of violating the Constitution and undermining individual rights at Guantanamo Bay.  The irony is that they themselves want to do the same thing to silence religious dissidence against their social engineering and cultural attack against traditional Christian teaching and God's moral law revealed in Holy Scripture.

It has been my observation that the moral relativist values of the political and  theological left, together with outright atheistic influences, has enabled them to use the media to create stories which are then used to create a straw man caricature of the dangers of religious freedom.  That straw man is then used to pass legislation to censor religious dissidence which opposes unjust governmental interference into the God-given right to freedom of conscience and freedom of religion.  The view of the political left and the theological left here in the United States is that federal judges and Supreme Court justices get to overturn constitutionally given rights:

For Breyer, that right is not a foregone conclusion.

“It will be answered over time in a series of cases which force people to think carefully.  That’s the virtue of cases,” Breyer told me. “And not just cases. Cases produce briefs, briefs produce thought. Arguments are made. The judges sit back and think. And most importantly, when they decide, they have to write an opinion, and that opinion has to be based on reason.  It isn’t a fake.”  (Ibid.)

The irony here is that Stephanopoulos and others on the liberal left advocate civilian trials for terrorist war criminals while advocating the further erosion of religious freedom in our country.  This threat to the freedom of every Christian and every Christian church to believe and teach what they believe publicly and without fear of arrest is being undermined and threatened.


--
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

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Surprised by Dope: A Reply to All Souls « Johannes Weslianus

Surprised by Dope: A Reply to All Souls « Johannes Weslianus

Legalism, Legalization, and Sanctification


[The following is a comment I posted over at Wes White's blog, Johannes Wesleyanus:  Surprised by Dope:  A Reply to All Souls].

Well said, Wes. I tend to lean more toward the libertarian side of things but then nothing you said is out of step with the whole of the Confession.

My only objection here is that I don’t believe that God will necessarily “bless” the believer who obeys the [moral] Law. After all, Christians still get sick, get divorced, and other tragic things when they might not deserve it from the perspective of their faithfulness to God, to Scripture, the Confession and the Church. Our good works are only acceptable to God after justification and then we do not do anything that is above and beyond the call of duty.  (See Article XIV, Of Works of Superogation).

Even though what you have written is on the mark, I have to agree somewhat with the author of the other article that too many church members are too proud and too judgmental. Should I quote it again?

For who sees anything different in you? What do you have that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if you did not receive it? (1 Corinthians 4:7 ESV)

I’ve been around enough churches over the years to know that no one is as holy in person as they might appear from a distance. Visit your local vestry meeting sometime:)

Someone once said, “A judge is a law student who grades his own examination papers.” We tend to forget that sanctification is always relative in this life. But judging us by the standard of the first use of the law, God does not grade on a curve.

I like the way the 39 Articles put it because it is short and concise:

Article XII

Of Good Works

Albeit that good works, which are the fruits of faith and follow after justification, cannot put away our sins and endure the severity of God’s judgement, yet are they pleasing and acceptable to God in Christ, and do spring out necessarily of a true and lively faith, insomuch that by them a lively faith may be as evidently known as a tree discerned by the fruit.

Maybe I’m a bit sensitive to this since I have been around the Wesleyan Arminian circles before. The emphasis is mostly on outward conformity to cultural standards like don’t smoke; don’t go to theater; don’t wear long hair if you are a man; etc.

It seems to me that particular Baptists and even Presbyterians have missed out on some solid theology in the 1662 Book of Common Prayer because of the rejection of a formal liturgy. The Latin term, lex orandi, lex credendi applies here. What we pray we believe. If we are not told weekly that we have no inherent power to do what is commanded, then we tend to think we’re the ones doing it. We have to be careful not to fall into the synergism trap. Compatibilism and synergism are not the same thing at all.

That’s why after every command in the Decalogue the prayer book says: Lord, have mercy upon us, and incline our hearts to keep this law.

If the fall of Jimmy Swaggart proves anything at all it is that making resolutions and commitments and self-determinations not to sin is no guarantee that someone cannot fall into grievous sins. As proud idolaters and lawbreakers we begin to think that falling is what happens to someone else, not us. I would contend that it can and does happen because we forget that it is God Himself who sanctifies us. It is God who keeps us sanctified and keeps us to the end. Once we lose sight of that fact, legalism and pride are just around the corner.

Ashley Null, the Reformed Anglican scholar has said of Cranmer’s theology of repentance:

For Cranmer, the glory of God is to love the unworthy – that’s his fundamental theological tenet. He understood that medieval theology, despite its clear intellectual breadth and brilliance, had a distinct Achilles’ heel – its insistence that you had to be made personally worthy for salvation before God could accept you.

Cranmer believed that this emphasis on merit produced only two possible alternatives – either you had great pride that you were worthy – or you had great despair that you never could be worthy. Neither one, of course, inspired loving obedience. See Ashley Null.

I might also point out that the daily morning and evening prayer services have a biblical confession of sin that is harsh by modern standards. Most Presbyterian churches are big on damning pot smokers, town drunks, and other “sinners.” But they seem to have forgotten Scripture:

“Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ 13 But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” (Luke 18:10-14 ESV)

Too many folks forget that simply because we have an obligation to strive toward holiness does not mean that we ever attain an acceptable level. We in our sinfulness tend to begin to think we’re a little better than the next person. Unfortunately, that is not the case. What am I saying? Basically, even the most sanctified Christian is no better than the town drunk when measured by the first use of the law. The third use of the law is always imperfect and is never the basis for right standing before God now or at the judgment. The barely sanctified new Christian is just as saved as the 80 year old pillar of the church who has no more youthful temptations. That’s grace.

While I agree that we should discipline those who are in open sin, I disagree with the tone of the majority of the remarks in your other post. Maybe we all need to sing Amazing Grace and go through all 18 stanzas?

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Charlie

WCF 16:6. Notwithstanding, the persons of believers being accepted through Christ, their good works also are accepted in Him;1 not as though they were in this life wholly unblameable and unreprovable in God’s sight;2 but that He, looking upon them in His Son, is pleased to accept and reward that which is sincere, although accompanied with many weaknesses and imperfections.3

——————————————————————————–

1 Eph. 1:6; 1 Pet. 2:5; Exod. 28:38; Gen. 4:4; Heb. 11:4.

2 Job 9:20; Ps. 143:2.

3 Heb. 13:20,21; 2 Cor. 8:12; Heb. 6:10; Matt. 25:21,23.

--
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

Against Heresies: An update on Kezia

Against Heresies: An update on Kezia

Please pray for Kezia Downes, the daughter of Martin Downes, minister of Christ Church Deeside (North Wales), UK. Click on the title to see the update.


A Case Study in Theology and Philosophy: Alvin Plantinga, His Followers, and His Proposals



Now, a few concerns with Plantinga and his followers.

Logical thinking doesn't always mean biblical thinking. While Plantinga's work has largely helped show the problems with classical arguments, he has not - as Van Til did - thoroughly demonstrate the problems with classical apologetics' assumptions - and the main problem with traditional apologetics is not that the arguments are lame, but because the method is not biblical. --James White--





A Case Study in Theology and Philosophy: Alvin Plantinga, His Followers, and His Proposals



Obligated to Mythology: Modern Romanism's Continued Exaltation of Mary in the Face of Biblical Truth and Historical Reality

Obligated to Mythology: Modern Romanism's Continued Exaltation of Mary in the Face of Biblical Truth and Historical Reality

Ok, just let me say that I hate titles with a passion. I particularly hate the Anglo-Catholic and High Church Arminian practice of calling their minister, "father". But I am equally averse to the Baptist and Pentecostal habit of calling someone "brother" or "sister" so and so. It seems to me that it smacks of some sort of spiritual superiority. But with that said, I like what Brother Jimmy White has to say in this article. He's surely right when he calls the Roman Catholic doctrine of the immaculate conception of Mary a "myth". In fact, most of what the Roman Catholics and Anglo-Catholics and Eastern Orthdox teach about Mary is in fact mythological. Although the Eastern Orthodox stop short of the immaculate conception, they still teach the perpetual virginity of Mary and worship her and pray to her. Such idolatry cannot and must not be tolerated in Protestant and Reformed churches, especially Anglo-Reformed churches.

May the peace of God be with you.

[To see James White's article, click here: Obligated to Mythology: Modern Romanism's Continued Exaltation of Mary in the Face of Biblical Truth and Historical Reality]



Wednesday, December 08, 2010

The Continuum: A Layman's Guide to the Thirty-NIne Articles

The Continuum: A Layman's Guide to the Thirty-Nine Articles

Although I do not endorse Mr. Hart and his semi-pelagian views or his high church Anglo-Catholicism, I thought this article by Larry Wells and Bobby Hart was worthy of consideration. You'll find an interesting discussion by Larry discussing seven possible interpretations of Christ's descent into hell, although I have seen combinations of these views at times. Donald Bloesch speculates that there will be a second chance for unrepentant sinners in hell and links that view with Christ's descent into hell to preach to the spirits imprisoned there. However, Bloesch's view is very close to universalism, which shouldn't surprise anyone since Bloesch is a Barthian and not a true Evangelical. At any rate, thanks to Jack Miller for pointing out the article. Isn't it odd they call their blog, The Continuum? Isn't that the place where that character from Star Trek, The Next Generation used to "exist"? His name was Que I believe. Queue?

[Click on the title to see the article at The Continuum].


The Continuum: A Layman's Guide to the Thirty-Nine Articles


Why Do We Confess “He Descended Into Hell”? « Heidelblog

Why Do We Confess “He Descended Into Hell”? « Heidelblog

My main objection to Clark's article here is the idea that the Anglican view is the same as Luther's view on the descent into hell. That is debatable. It seems to me that Clark might be thinking of Anglo-Catholicism since Cranmer's influences were Puritan as well as Lutheran.

Charlie



Knox Theological Seminary: A New Haven for Federal Visionists « Johannes Weslianus

Knox Theological Seminary: A New Haven for Federal Visionists « Johannes Weslianus

How the mighty have fallen . . .

John Piper Confuses Sanctification with Justification

"We pursue sanctification because without it we will not see the Lord. We will not be acceptable. We will not have the infinite, eternal joy of seeing God's beauty in heaven, nor will we have the highest pleasures of this life, namely, seeing the grace of God conquer our rebellion and conform us to the likeness of Christ."  --John Piper
Is it any wonder that the Piperites think salvation is up to them and their obedience.  Piper's Arminianism shines through here since Piper not once mentions the doctrine of justification which IS the Gospel.  All the Protestant Reformers, including Luther and Calvin, say that the ONLY basis for our standing before God in the last judgment is our righteousness in Christ, not our sanctification.  Sanctification is our testimony before men, not the basis of our salvation as Piper here says. [You can read Piper's sermon on sanctification here].

You will also note that not once does Piper mention justification by faith alone in this sermon.  He simply says that the basis of our acceptance before God is our "imperfect sanctification":

Summing up: 1) Sanctification is obedience to our Commander-in-Chief. Not perfection but a growing consistency and fervor of obedience. 2) The way we attain it is by the grace of God. We open ourselves to the power of the Spirit in prayer and we seek to fill ourselves with his word in study. We pray, we pursue, we study, we work, for it is God who is at work in us to will and to do his good pleasure (Phil. 2:12-13). 3) We pursue sanctification because without it we will not see the Lord. We will not be acceptable. We will not have the infinite, eternal joy of seeing God's beauty in heaven, nor will we have the highest pleasures of this life, namely, seeing the grace of God conquer our rebellion and conform us to the likeness of Christ. --John Piper
If that is not Arminianism, I do not know what is.  In fact, it might even go as far as outright Pelagianism.  Any Arminian can say that "sanctification is all of grace".  But do they believe that sanctification is 100% what God does (monergism)?  If not, then I can only conclude that Piper is here preaching a synergistic view of sanctification AND a conditional view of election and perseverance.
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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

Calvin Against Piper: Calvin's Commentary on Philippians 2:12-13

There are, in any action, two principal departments—the inclination, and the power to carry it into effect. Both of these he ascribes wholly to God; what more remains to us as a ground of glorying? Nor is there any reason to doubt that this division has the same force as if Paul had expressed the whole in a single word; for the inclination is the groundwork; the accomplishment of it is the summit of the building brought to a completion. He has also expressed much more than if he had said that God is the Author of the beginning and of the end. For in that case sophists would have alleged, by way of cavil, that something between the two was left to men. But as it is, what will they find that is in any degree peculiar to us? They toil hard in their schools to reconcile with the grace of God free-will—of such a nature, I mean, as they conceive of—which might be capable of turning itself by its own movement, and might have a peculiar and separate power, by which it might co-operate with the grace of God. I do not dispute as to the name, but as to the thing itself. In order, therefore, that free-will may harmonize with grace, they divide in such a manner, that God restores in us a free choice, that we may have it in our power to will aright. Thus they acknowledge to have received from God the power of willing aright, but assign to man a good inclination. Paul, however, declares this to be a work of God, without any reservation. For he does not say that our hearts are simply turned or stirred up, or that the infirmity of a good will is helped, but that a good inclination is wholly the work of God. --John Calvin--


With fear and trembling
. In this way he would have the Philippians testify and approve their obedience—by being submissive and humble. Now the source of humility is this —acknowledging how miserable we are, and devoid of all good. To this he calls them in this statement. For whence comes pride, but from the assurance which blind confidence produces, when we please ourselves, and are more puffed up with confidence in our own virtue, than prepared to rest upon the grace of God. In contrast with this vice is that fear to which he exhorts. Now, although exhortation comes before doctrine, in the connection of the passage, it is in reality after it, in point of arrangement, inasmuch as it is derived from it. I shall begin, accordingly, with doctrine.

————Footnotes————
 [1] "Maintenant donc qu’il est loin d’eux, et qu’il ne les pent plus admonester en presence;" —"Now, therefore, when he is at a distance from them, and can no longer admonish them when present." 

13. It is God that worketh. This is the true engine for bringing down all haughtiness—this the sword for putting an end to all pride, when we are taught that we are utterly nothing, and can do nothing, except through the grace of God alone. I mean supernatural grace, which comes forth from the spirit of regeneration. For, considered as men, we already are, and live and move in God. (Ac 17:28). But Paul reasons here as to a kind of  movement different from that universal one. Let us now observe how much he ascribes to God, and how much he leaves to us.

There are, in any action, two principal departments—the inclination, and the power to carry it into effect. Both of these he ascribes wholly to God; what more remains to us as a ground of glorying? Nor is there any reason to doubt that this division has the same force as if Paul had expressed the whole in a single word; for the inclination is the groundwork; the accomplishment of it is the summit of the building brought to a completion. He has also expressed much more than if he had said that God is the Author of the beginning and of the end. For in that case sophists would have alleged, by way of cavil, that something between the two was left to men. But as it is, what will they find that is in any degree peculiar to us? They toil hard in their schools to reconcile with the grace of God free-will—of such a nature, I mean, as they conceive of—which might be capable of turning itself by its own movement, and might have a peculiar and separate power, by which it might co-operate with the grace of God. I do not dispute as to the name, but as to the thing itself. In order, therefore, that free-will may harmonize with grace, they divide in such a manner, that God restores in us a free choice, that we may have it in our power to will aright. Thus they acknowledge to have received from God the power of willing aright, but assign to man a good inclination. Paul, however, declares this to be a work of God, without any reservation. For he does not say that our hearts are simply turned or stirred up, or that the infirmity of a good will is helped, but that a good inclination is wholly the work of God. [1]

Now, in the calumny brought forward by them against us— that we make men to be like stones, when we teach that they have nothing good, except from pure grace, they act a shameless part. For we acknowledge that we have from nature an inclination, but as it is depraved through the corruption of sin, it begins to be good only when it has been renewed by God. Nor do we say that a man does anything good without willing it, but that it is only when his inclination is regulated by the Spirit of God. Hence, in so far as concerns this department, we see that the entire praise is ascribed to God, and that what sophists teach us is frivolous—that grace is offered to us, and placed, as it were, in the midst of us, that we may embrace it if we choose; for if God did not work in us efficaciously, he could not be said to produce in us a good inclination. As to the second department, we must entertain the same view. "God," says he, "is O energwn to energein  he that worketh in us to do."  [See Philippians 2:13 Tischendorf] He brings, therefore, to perfection those pious dispositions which he has implanted in us, that they may not be unproductive, as he promises by Ezekiel, —

"I will cause them to walk in my commandments."

From this we infer that perseverance, also, is his free gift.

According to his good pleasure. Some explain this to mean—the good intention of the mind. [2] I, on the other hand, take it rather as referring to God, and understand by it his benevolent disposition, which they commonly call beneplacitum, (good pleasure.) For the Greek word eudokia is very frequently employed in this sense; and the context requires it. For Paul has it in view to ascribe everything to God, and to take everything from us. Accordingly, not satisfied with having assigned to God the production both of willing and of doing aright, he ascribes both to his unmerited mercy. By this means he shuts out the contrivance of the sophists as to subsequent grace, which they imagine to be the reward of merit. Hence he teaches, that the whole course of our life, if we live aright, is regulated by God, and that, too, from his unmerited goodness.

With fear and trembling. From this Paul deduces an exhortation—that they must with fear work out their own salvation. He conjoins, as he is accustomed, fear and trembling, for the sake of greater intensity, to denote—serious and anxious fear. He, accordingly, represses drowsiness as well as confidence. By the term work he reproves our indolence, which is always ingenious in seeking advantages. [3]  Now it seems as if it had in the grace of God a sweet occasion of repose; for if He worketh in us, why should we not indulge ourselves at our ease? The Holy Spirit, however, calls us to consider, that he wishes to work upon living organs, but he immediately represses arrogance by recommending fear and trembling.

The inference, also, is to be carefully observed: "You have," says he, "all things from God; therefore be solicitous and humble." For there is nothing that ought to train us more to modesty and fear, than our being taught, that it is by the grace of God alone that we stand, and will instantly fall down, if he even in the slightest degree withdraw his hand. Confidence in ourselves produces carelessness and arrogance. We know from experience, that all who confide in their own strength, grow insolent through presumption, and at the same time, devoid of care, resign themselves to sleep. The remedy for both evils is, when, distrusting ourselves, we depend entirely on God alone. And assuredly, that man has made decided progress in the knowledge, both of the grace of God, and of his own weakness, who, aroused from carelessness, diligently seeks [4] God’s help; while those that are puffed up with confidence in their own strength, must necessarily be at the same time in a state of intoxicated security. Hence it is a shameless calumny that Papists bring against us, — that in extolling the grace of God, and putting down free-will, we make men indolent, shake off the fear of God, and destroy all feeling of concern. It is obvious, however, to every reader, that Paul finds matter of exhortation here —not in the doctrine of Papists, but in what is held by us. "God," says he, "works all things in us; therefore submit to him with fear." I do not, indeed, deny that there are many who, on being told that there is in us nothing that is good, indulge themselves the more freely in their vices; but I deny that this is the fault of the doctrine, which, on the contrary, when received as it ought to be, produces in our hearts a feeling of concern.

Papists, however, pervert this passage so as to shake the assurance of faith, for the man that trembles [5] is in uncertainty. They, accordingly, understand Paul’s words as if they meant that we ought, during our whole life, to waver as to assurance of salvation. If, however, we would not have Paul contradict himself, he does not by any means exhort us to hesitation, inasmuch as he everywhere recommends confidence and (plhroforian) full assurance. The solution, however, is easy, if any one is desirous of attaining the true meaning without any spirit of contention. There are two kinds of fear; the one produces anxiety along with humility; the other hesitation. The former is opposed to fleshly confidence and carelessness, equally as to arrogance; the latter, to assurance of faith. Farther, we must take notice, that, as believers repose with assurance upon the grace of God, so, when they direct their views to their own frailty, they do not by any means resign themselves carelessly to sleep, but are by fear of dangers stirred up to prayer. Yet, so far is this fear from disturbing tranquillity of conscience, and shaking confidence, that it rather confirms it. For distrust of ourselves leads us to lean more confidently upon the mercy of God. And this is what Paul’s words import, for he requires nothing from the Philippians, but that they submit themselves to God with true self-renunciation.

Work out your own salvation. As Pelagians of old, so Papists at this day make a proud boast of this passage, with the view of extolling man’s excellence. Nay more, when the preceding statement is mentioned to them by way of objection, It is God that worketh in us,  etc., they immediately by this shield ward it off (so to speak) — Work out your own salvation. Inasmuch, then, as the work is ascribed to God and man in common, they assign the half to each. In short, from the word work they derive free-will; from the term salvation they derive the merit of eternal life. I answer, that salvation is taken to mean the entire course of our calling, and that this term includes all things, by which God accomplishes that perfection, to which he has predestinated us by his gracious choice. This no one will deny, that is not obstinate and impudent. We are said to perfect it, when, under the regulation of the Spirit, we aspire after a life of blessedness. It is God that calls us, and offers to us salvation; it is our part to embrace by faith what he gives, and by obedience act suitably to his calling; but we have neither from ourselves. Hence we act only when he has prepared us for acting.

The word which he employs properly signifies—to continue until the end; but we must keep in mind what I have said, that Paul does not reason here as to how far our ability extends, but simply teaches that God acts in us in such a manner, that he, at the same time, does not allow us to be inactive, [6] but exercises us diligently, after having stirred us up by a secret influence. [7]

————Footnotes————
 [1] See Institutes, vol. 1, pp. 350, 353.

[2] "Aucuns exposent le mot Grec, bon propos et bon coeur, le rapportans aux hommes;" —"Some explain the Greek word as meaning, a good purpose and a good heart, making it refer to men."

[3] "Ingenieuse a cercher ses auantages, et quelques vaines excuses;" —"Ingenious in seeking its advantages, and some vain pretexts."

[4] "Cerche songneusement et implore;" —"Diligently seeks and implores."

[5] "Car celuy qui tremble, disent-ils;" —"For he that trembles, say they."

[6] "Deuenir paresseux et oisifs;" —"To become idle and indolent."

[7] "Mais apres nous auoir poussez et incitez par vne inspiration secrete et cachee, nous employe et exerce songneusement;" —"But, after having stimulated and incited us by a secret and hidden inspiration, he diligently employs and exercises us."
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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

Reformed Perfectionism?

Recently I debated several followers of John Piper in Facebook who seem to think that Christians after conversion have an inherent power in and of themselves to overcome sin and to sanctify themselves by doing good works. This is why Piper's theology is a mix of heterodoxy. Piper's charismatic theology is inherently Arminian since it, like the Pentecostal/Charismatic movement in general, teaches that Christians have the "baptism" of the Holy Spirit to give them the "victory" over sinful habits. This is clearly a synergistic view of sanctification and not the biblical view or the Reformed view. While it is true that God can and does grant us sanctification and growth in holiness, it is not true that we have any inherent power to do so--not even a second blessing or second work of grace. The Scriptures hold us accountable for our sinful choices but only God can grant us the grace to grow in sanctification. If God so chooses He can and does humble us by allowing us to fall from grace for a time just to show us that we do not keep ourselves saved, much less sanctified! Salvation is all a gift of God from beginning to end and those who brag about how holy and obedient they are simply prove that they think they deserve God's blessing because they are obedient. Spiritual pride in one's level of sanctification is sure proof that the proud person is sinful and not as sanctified as he or she thinks they are.


In fact the Bible clearly says that even the elect who have been regenerated and converted have a corrupt nature that remains along with the new nature. The Westminster divines saw this clearly and included this question in the Westminster Larger Catechism:


78. Whence ariseth the imperfection of sanctification in believers?

Answer: The imperfection of sanctification in believers ariseth from the remnants of sin abiding in every part of them, and the perpetual lustings of the flesh against the spirit; whereby they are often foiled with temptations, and fall into many sins,1 are hindered in all their spiritual services,2 and their best works are imperfect and defiled in the sight of God.3


See also: WCF 13.2

See also: WCF 16.5


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

1 Rom. 7:18,23; Mark 14:66 to end; Gal. 2:11,12

2 Heb. 12:1

3 Isa. 64:6; Exod. 28:38

WCF 16:5. Of Good Works.

We cannot, by our best works, merit pardon of sin, or eternal life, at the hand of God, by reason of the great disproportion that is between them and the glory to come, and the infinite distance that is between us and God, whom by them, we can neither profit nor satisfy for the debt of our former sins;1 but when we have done all we can, we have done but our duty, and are unprofitable servants;2 and because, as they are good, they proceed from His Spirit;3 and as they are wrought by us, they are defiled, and mixed with so much weakness and imperfection, that they cannot endure the severity of God's judgment.4

See also: WLC 78


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

1 Rom. 3:20; Rom. 4:2,4,6; Eph. 2:8,9; Tit. 3:5,6,7; Rom. 8:18; Ps. 16:2; Job. 22:2,3; Job 35:7,8.

2 Luke 17:10.

3 Gal. 5:22,23.

4 Isa. 64:6; Gal. 5:17; Rom. 7:15,18; Ps. 143:2; Ps. 130:3.



Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Now They Want to Euthanize Children | The Weekly Standard

Now They Want to Euthanize Children | The Weekly Standard

John Calvin on the Assurance of Salvation: Justification Not to be Confused with Sanctification


2. Christian liberty seems to me to consist of three parts. First, the consciences of believers, while seeking the assurance of their justification before God, must rise above the law, and think no more of obtaining justification by it. For while the law, as has already been demonstrated (supra, chap. 17, sec. 1), leaves not one man righteous, we are either excluded from all hope of justification, or we must be loosed from the law, and so loosed as that no account at all shall be taken of works. For he who imagines that in order to obtain justification he must bring any degree of works whatever, cannot fix any mode or limit, but makes himself debtor to the whole law. Therefore, laying aside all mention of the law, and all idea of works, we must in the matter of justification have recourse to the mercy of God only; turning away our regard from ourselves, we must look only to Christ. For the question is, not how we may be righteous, but how, though unworthy and unrighteous, we may be regarded as righteous. If consciences would obtain any assurance of this, they must give no place to the law. Still it cannot be rightly inferred from this that believers have no need of the law. It ceases not to teach, exhort, and urge them to good, although it is not recognized by their consciences before the judgment-seat of God. The two things are very different, and should be well and carefully distinguished. The whole lives of Christians ought to be a kind of aspiration after piety, seeing they are called unto holiness (Ephesians 1:4; 1 Thessalonians 4:5). The office of the law is to excite them to the study of purity and holiness, by reminding them of their duty. For when the conscience feels anxious as to how it may have the favor of God, as to the answer it could give, and the confidence it would feel, if brought to his judgment-seat, in such a case the requirements of the law are not to be brought forward, but Christ, who surpasses all the perfection of the law, is alone to be held forth for righteousness.

From:   Institutes III, xix, 2–3.   Calvin, J. (1997). Institutes of the Christian religion. Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

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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

Old Life Theological Society » Blog Archive » How Tim Keller Reasons

Old Life Theological Society » Blog Archive » How Tim Keller Reasons [This might apply to the Sydney Anglicans as well!]

Darryl G. Hart: "And to honor your Reformed convictions, you don’t cooperate in ministries with Arminians. You can’t have the five points of Dort and the four points of the Remonstrants. You can’t ordain men only and have deaconesses. Sometimes the truths you profess require a choice."

[I might add you can't be a Calvinist and an Amyraldian or one point Arminian. The two do not go together. Charlie]



James T. Dennison, Jr.: Excerpt from a Critique of Meredith Kline's Neo-Pelagian Doctrine of the Sinaitic Covenant

". . . hence any notion of human ability to act on the condition, apart from the regenerating grace of God, is nonsense or Pelagianism masking as Reformed theology."

Calvin interprets the conditionality of the Mosaic covenant in terms of the Augustinian paradigm. God, who demands the condition, must supply the grace to fulfill the condition. He commands us to perform the condition that we might further see our need for grace—that we might cast ourselves upon him and his unmerited mercy so as to supply what is necessary for us to obey him.


This is not only how Reformed Augustinians interpret the conditional obedience required in the Mosaic covenant, it is also how Reformed Augustinians interpret the conditional obedience required in the new covenant: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved”—the God who makes the condition must perform the condition; hence any notion of human ability to act on the condition, apart from the regenerating grace of God, is nonsense or Pelagianism masking as Reformed theology. This is the fundamental Pauline-Augustinian-Calvinistic-Reformed doctrine that so many do not understand today. They reason like Pelagius who see divine mandates and consequent promises of blessing for meritorious obedience. They suggest that demand of the condition augurs an ability in the sinners obliged to perform the condition; and having performed the condition, to merit or earn blessings on the ground of their obedience.

[The above is an article published by Kerux: The Theological Journal of Northwest Theological Seminary.  "Merit or ‘Entitlement’ in Reformed Covenant Theology: A Review," by James T. Dennison, Jr., Scott F. Sanborn, Benjamin W. Swinburnson.  The article appears online but is published in K:NWTS 24/3 (Dec 2009) 3-152.  Visit their website at Kerux.com.]
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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

Monday, December 06, 2010

We All Have It Comin'



Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned-- (Romans 5:12 ESV)

Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come. (Romans 5:14 ESV)

for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, (Romans 3:23 ESV)

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23 ESV)



Martin Luther's Commentary on Galatians

Chapter 1


The Occasion of the Letter



Paul had planted the pure teaching of the Gospel among the Galatians, and with it the righteousness of faith. But after he left, certain false teachers crept in who overthrew all that he had taught. The devil cannot but argue furiously against the true teaching and cannot rest as long as he sees any spark of it remaining. We too, simply because we preach the Gospel, suffer from the world, the devil, and his ministers all the mischief they can work against us on every hand.

The Gospel is a doctrine that teaches a far higher matter than the wisdom, righteousness, and religion of the world; it teaches free forgiveness of sins through Christ. But the world prefers its own things instead of the Creator and tries to get rid of sin, be delivered from death, and earn everlasting life in its own way. The Gospel condemns this. On the other hand, the world cannot abide things being condemned when it values them highly and likes them best; and therefore it claims that the Gospel is a seditious doctrine, full of errors, that it overthrows governments, countries, and empires, and therefore offends against God and the emperor, that it abolishes laws, corrupts good manners, and sets everybody free to do what they want. Therefore, with what appears to be holy and righteous zeal, the world persecutes this doctrine and abhors its teachers and adherents as the greatest plague on earth.

Moreover, preaching true doctrine overthrows the devil, destroys his kingdom, and wrests out of his hand the law, sin, and death (by which he has subjugated all mankind). In short, the devil’s prisoners are transferred from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light and liberty. Will the devil permit all this? Will the father of lies not use all his force and ingenuity to obscure, corrupt, and utterly root out this doctrine of salvation and eternal life? Indeed, St. Paul complains in this and all his other letters that the devil shows himself skillful at this.

The Gospel is a doctrine that condemns all sorts of human righteousness and preaches the sole righteousness of Christ. To those who accept this, it brings peace of conscience and all good things; yet the world hates and persecutes it bitterly.

I have already said that the reason Paul wrote this letter was that after he left, false teachers among the Galatians destroyed what he had built with much hard work. These false apostles were Pharisees—men of authority, highly esteemed—who boasted that they belonged to the chosen people, that they were Abraham’s descendants (see Romans 9:4–6), that they had the promises and the fathers, and, finally, that they were ministers of Christ and scholars of the apostles, with whom they had been conversant and whose miracles they had seen. Perhaps they had even performed some miracles themselves, for Christ says that the wicked do perform miracles (see Matthew 7:22).

Moreover, these false apostles defaced St. Paul’s authority, saying, “Why do you rate Paul so highly? Why do you have him in such great reverence? He was merely the last of all those who were converted to Christ. But we are the disciples of the apostles; we knew them well. We saw Christ performing miracles and heard him preach. Paul came after us and is inferior to us. It would be impossible for God to allow us to go wrong when we belong to his holy people, are the ministers of Christ, and have received the Holy Spirit. Further, there are many of us, and Paul is on his own and neither knows the apostles nor has seen Christ. Indeed, for a long time he persecuted the church of Christ. Do you think God would allow so many churches to be deceived, just for Paul’s sake?”

When such persuasive men come into a country or city, people soon admire them, and those men deceive not only the simple but also the learned with their apparent godliness. They even deceive people who seem to be pretty well established in the faith. Thus Paul lost his authority among the Galatians, and his doctrine was brought under suspicion.

Against this boasting of the false apostles, Paul firmly asserts his apostolic authority. Although he does not do anything like it elsewhere, he will not give way to anyone, even to the apostles themselves, much less to any of their followers. To stop these men’s pharisaical pride and shameless boldness, he mentions what happened at Antioch, where he withstood Peter himself. He ignores any possible offense and plainly states that he was so bold as to accuse and reprove Peter, the chief of the apostles, who had seen Christ and knew him really well. “I am an apostle,” he says in effect, “and was not afraid to chide the pillar of all the rest.”


Luther, M. (1998). Galatians. The Crossway classic commentaries (24–26). Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway Books.


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