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 Second Sunday in Lent.

The Collect

ALMIGHTY God, who seest that we have no power of ourselves to help ourselves; Keep us both outwardly in our bodies, and inwardly in our souls; that we may be defended from all adversities which may happen to the body, and from all evil thoughts which may assault and hurt the soul; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Collect from the First Day of Lent is to be read every day in Lent after the Collect appointed for the Day.

Daily Bible Verse

Sunday, September 09, 2012

Roman Catholic Apostasy: Is Certainty a Bad Thing? Certainty, Infallibility, and the Reformed Tradition - Called to Communion

Faith consists in the knowledge of God and Christ ( [John 17:3] ), not in reverence for the Church. And we see what a labyrinth they have formed out of this implicit faith—every thing, sometimes even the most monstrous errors, being received by the ignorant as oracles without any discrimination, provided they are prescribed to them under the name of the Church.  --John Calvin

Roman Catholic Apostasy, by Charlie J. Ray

An allegedly "former" Reformed person who converted to Roman Catholicism said the following:

 He made it quite plain, however, that the office of discerning good from bad belongs exclusively to the ordained ministry.  Those who obey this rule are the elect, those who disobey the reprobate.  Calvin says:

We see that those who have charge of the word of God, their office is to discern what is good in order to approve it and what is bad in order to condemn it.  And when men submit themselves to the doctrine that we preach, we [should] regard them as those in whom God is working [i.e., the elect].  On the contrary, those who draw themselves back, we [must] hold them in derision. [3]

David Anders, the author of this piece over that the Called to Communion page, obviously wants to proof text from Calvin out of context.  Seriously, does he really expect any classical Calvinist to buy into this line of bull?  First of all, Calvin wrote against the Pentecostals of his day who where experts in being "led by the Spirit" and following after extrabiblical dreams, visions, and revelations.  It would be no surprise that Calvin emphasized an educated and ordained ministry to properly preach and rightly divide God's Holy Scriptures.  (2 Timothy 2:15).  Furthermore, an ordained ministry would be needed in order to properly administer the two Gospel sacraments, which are visible signs of the inward grace of faith.  Word and sacrament go together precisely because they build up the saints in their most holy faith.  (Colossians 2:7; Jude 1:20; Ephesians 4:11-14).

Calvin may have recommended the office of an ordained ministry of Word and Sacrament.  But he most certainly did not elevate the ordained minister above God's written Word nor did Calvin reject the doctrine of the priesthood of believers:

But there is still another reason why that institution ought not to be drawn into a precedent. Every one knows that the high priest was a type of Christ; now, the priesthood being transferred, that right must also be transferred. To whom, then, was it transferred? certainly not to the Pope, as he dares impudently to boast when he arrogates this title to himself, but to Christ, who, as he alone holds the office without vicar or successor, does not resign the honour to any other. For this priesthood consists not in doctrine only, but in the propitiation which Christ made by his death, and the intercession which he now makes with the Father ( [Heb. 7:11] ).  Institutes of the Christian Religion, Book 4, Chapter 6, Section 2.  [Cf. 1 Peter 2:9; Revelation 5:10]
The priesthood of believers does not mean that anyone can believe anything they want but that there is a common confession of faith that we all confess together as a church.  The Roman Catholic claim to infallibility of their invented and man-made traditions only creates an additional "revelation" that itself must need an infallible interpretation ad infinitum.  If Scripture is not plain or clear enough for men to understand then we might as well all give up and go home.  But the plow boy who reads and understands the Bible knows more than the pope.

Ironically, Mr. Anders would have us believe that his new synagogue of satan which is headed up by the antichristian pope, somehow offers to us "certainty".  On the contrary, Rome does not even require faith for salvation since it teaches the doctrine of "implicit faith".  How ignorance of the Gospel can lead to saving faith I have no idea.  That is particulary true in light of Acts 4:10-12 and John 14:6.  Regarding implicit faith and being saved in ignorance in the papist church, Calvin said:

3. I indeed deny not (so enveloped are we in ignorance), that to us very many things now are and will continue to be completely involved until we lay aside this weight of flesh, and approach nearer to the presence of God. In such cases the fittest course is to suspend our judgment, and resolve to maintain unity with the Church. But under this pretext, to honor ignorance tempered with humility with the name of faith, is most absurd. Faith consists in the knowledge of God and Christ ( [John 17:3] ), not in reverence for the Church. And we see what a labyrinth they have formed out of this implicit faith—every thing, sometimes even the most monstrous errors, being received by the ignorant as oracles without any discrimination, provided they are prescribed to them under the name of the Church. This inconsiderate facility, though the surest precipice to destruction, is, however, excused on the ground that it believes nothing definitely, but only with the appended condition, if such is the faith of the Church. Thus they pretend to find truth in error, light in darkness, true knowledge in ignorance. Not to dwell longer in refuting these views, we simply advise the reader to compare them with ours. The clearness of truth will itself furnish a sufficient refutation. For the question they raise is not, whether there may be an implicit faith with many remains of ignorance, but they maintain, that persons living and even indulging in a stupid ignorance duly believe, provided, in regard to things unknown, they assent to the authority and judgment of the Church: as if Scripture did not uniformly teach, that with faith understanding is conjoined.  Institutes of the Christian Religion, Book 2, Chapter 3, Section 3.
Calvin's answer to Mr. Anders' alleged "certainty" in an ambiguous and top-heavy church focused on human idolatry is devastating.  Anyone looking for certainty in doctrinal matters need look no further than the self-interpreting Word of God (2 Peter 1:19-21; 2 Timothy 3:15-17).  Anyone looking for certainty of their salvation need look no further than the cross.  Salvation was accomplished outside of us on the cross 2,000 years ago when Christ said, "It is finished."  (John 19:30).  Looking to Rome for certainty of salvation is most certainly foolish since Rome teaches that no one can know they are saved until they have passed through purgatory and actually have entered the pearly gates.

James White of Alpha and Omega Ministries makes an excellent point to refute unlimited atonement.  Those who say that unlimited atonement is necessary for assurance of salvation ignore the fact that most Arminians insist along with Rome that salvation can be "lost".  If such is the case then there can be no certainty whatsoever!  And the reason for this, according to Louis Berkhof, who is quoted by White, is that it is necessary to keep folks in suspense so they will keep coming to the church for forgiveness and thus support the church.  The church, in other words, needs to keep holding the carrot out in front of the jackass to keep him moving in the direction the church wants the jackass to go:

The Council of Trent states: "If any one saith, that he will for certain, of an absolute and infallible certainty, have that great gift of perseverance unto the end,-unless he have learned this by special revelation; let him be anathema." Rome's theologians have no problem considering such a statement a fundamental of Roman Catholic dogma. Reformed theologian Louis Berkhof points out that such uncertainty is necessary for the Roman system:

"[T]he Roman Catholic church makes the forgiveness of sins dependent, not on an immediate divine act of pardon once for all, but on the sacrament of penance that must be repeated after every mortal sin, and on the absolution of the priest. With every new deadly sin the state of grace is lost. It can only be restored by the sacrament of penance, and is lost again whenever a new mortal sin is committed. But this is not the only thing that makes assurance impossible. The confessional itself is hedged about with all kinds of uncertainties. The orders of the functioning priest may not be genuine, and this would make his absolution ineffectual. His intention may be at fault, and this would introduce another element of uncertainty. Then, too, the confessor may be ambiguous, equivocal, or indeterminate. He may overlook some of his sins and fail to mention them to the priest, in which case they would not be forgiven. It is no wonder therefore that, according to the church at Rome, the assurance of salvation is quite out of the question. But the Roman Catholic church even goes a step farther: it regards personal assurance as undesirable. The real reason for this is, in all probability, that the church greatly profits by keeping the souls of the faithful in constant suspense.  [James R. White, Assurance of Salvation, Roman Catholicism, and Calvinism].

This reminds me of the age-old riddle, "How do you keep an idiot in suspense?"  Of course you never answer the riddle, which leaves the other person scratching his head for the answer until the eureka moment hits home and he realizes that he himself is that idiot in suspense!  I cannot help but compare this to the Lordship salvation issue, which James White himself preaches, as just another way of keeping idiots in suspense?  Yes, giving folks an absolute certainty of truth by telling them to believe the plain teaching of Scripture is dangerous.  They might realize that salvation truly is free and the ministers would all be out of a job!  Such false teachers have more in common with Rome than anything else and it is no surprise when some of their followers connect the dots and head for the synagogue of satan across the river.

Charlie J. Ray

Click here to see the article by David Anders:  Is Certainty a Bad Thing? Certainty, Infallibility, and the Reformed Tradition - Called to Communion

No comments:

Support Reasonable Christian Ministries with your generous donation.