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

Friday, July 26, 2013

Martin Luther: Without Compromise: Justification by Faith Alone

"For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. 30 "Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves. 31 "Therefore watch, and remember that for three years I did not cease to warn everyone night and day with tears. (Acts 20:29-31 NKJ)

Then Jesus said to them, "Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the Sadducees." (Matthew 16:6 NKJ)

I attended a Bible study last night which was hosted by an Evangelical friend who is also ordained as an Episcopal minister or presbyter.  He recently lost his job as a rector of a small Episcopal congregation here in central Florida.  The reason being that the Anglo-Catholics and the Arminians did not like his preaching the law of God.

Unfortunately, they are mostly right because in the four or five years I have attended the church I have not heard him preach even one sermon on justification by faith alone.  Even worse, he despises the Westminster Confession of Faith and any other attempt to systematize the propositional truth claims revealed in Holy Scripture.

There is nothing wrong with teaching doctrinal sermons now and then.  When is the last time you heard a Evangelical minister preach a sermon on the Trinity?

Be that as it may, this pastor "claims" to be a Calvinist of sorts.  Oddly enough, he never says that from the pulpit.  He is in fact an Amyraldian.  Unfortunately, that wee bit of irrationalism concatenates into everything else he believes.  In other words, if your theology is not logically consistent and systematic through and through, you have an out to endorse nonsense and even heresy.  My Evangelical friend thinks that Anglo-Catholics are "Christians" and that the conservative and "orthodox" Anglo-Catholics are saved and that they are good "churchmen".  I strongly and vehemently and adamantly disagree for the following reasons:

1.  Anglo-Catholics deny the doctrine of Sola Scriptura.  Sola Scriptura is the doctrine that Scripture alone is the final authority in all matters and faith and practice.  Like Roman Catholics the Anglo-Catholics and Tractarians equate church tradition with the special and divine revelation of God that we find in Scripture.  For Papists and Tractarians the term "divine revelation" applies to both Scripture and church tradition.  The doctrine of Sola Scriptura is a non-negotiable doctrine of the Protestant Reformation.  Unless Scripture is the final authority the door is wide open to all kinds of revisionism and progressivism, including the aberrations we see in Rome where there are prayers to the saints; Mary is elevated to the place of co-mediator with Christ; and the Pope is seen as the "vicar" or "representative of Christ on earth.  Tractarians evolved in two directions: liberal and conservative.  The conservatives agree with Rome on most issues.  The liberals evolved into the direction that social justice issues are under their control as "representatives" of Christ on earth.  This is how they can justify their inclusiveness views on homosexuality and socialist progressivism.  After all, Scripture is not the final authority for them.  The church is the final authority when tradition is elevated to the level of Scripture.  That much is clear upon observing the practical results in both the Roman Catholic Church and the Anglo-Catholic tradition.

2.  Anglo-Catholics reject the doctrine of justification by faith alone.  For the Anglo-Catholic, like the Papist, justification is by faith plus works or faith plus obedience.  Their perennial attack on the doctrine of justification by faith alone centers on their anthropocentric view of everything.  Theology from below always exalts man above God, the creature above the Creator.  Scripture, however, clearly shows that all men without exception are wicked and sinful (Genesis 6:5; Romans 3:10-23).  God does not lower the standards of the absolute demands of the moral law so that men can pretend to be holy.  The law of contradiction applies here.  Either you are or you are not.  The law of excluded middle applies here as well.  There is no middle ground between justification by faith alone and justification by faith plus works.  This issue is the central issue of the Protestant Reformation.

On those two points alone Anglo-Catholics, like the Papists, are heretics.  Their churches are synagogues of satan every bit as much as any modern day cult like the Mormons, the Jehovah's Witnesses, or some prosperity gospel Charismatic cult.

Therefore, I must strongly castigate anyone--including my Evangelical friend--who willfully and deliberately endorses heresy by suggesting that these wolves are in any way whatsoever "Christian" men.  They are not.  They are deceivers out to mislead God's elect and they are to be avoided and shunned at all cost:

Then Jesus said to them, "Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the Sadducees." (Matthew 16:6 NKJ)

"How is it you do not understand that I did not speak to you concerning bread?-- but to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees." 12 Then they understood that He did not tell them to beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and Sadducees. (Matthew 16:11-12 NKJ)

"Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. 16 "You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? (Matthew 7:15-16 NKJ)

Martin  Luther, the father of the Lutheran side of the Protestant Reformation said that justification by faith alone is the one doctrine by which a true church or congregation stands or falls:

I myself can hardly believe that I was so verbose as this book shows when I publicly expounded this letter of St. Paul to the Galatians. However, I can see that all the thoughts that I find in this treatise are mine, so I must confess that I uttered all of them, or perhaps more than all of them. The one article of faith that I have most at heart is the faith of Christ. All my studies in divinity, by day and night, continually go back and forth from him, by him, and to him. Yet I could not attain anything near the height, breadth, and depth of such high and inestimable wisdom; there appear here only some poor and bare beginnings, fragments, as it were. Therefore, I am ashamed that such a barren and simple commentary should be published on such a worthy apostle and chosen instrument of God.

But then again, I consider the infinite and horrible profanation and abomination that has always raged in the church of God, and still today continues to rage against this one sure foundation, our justification (that is to say, that it is not by ourselves, nor by our works, which are less than ourselves, but by Jesus Christ, the Son of God, that we are redeemed from sin, death, the devil, and are made to share eternal life), and I am compelled to throw away all shame and to be bold above measure.

In paradise, Satan shook this rock of faith (Genesis 3:5) when he persuaded our first ancestors that they could be like God by their own wisdom and power, abandoning true faith in God, who had given them life and promised to continue it. After a while this liar and murderer, true to form, stirred up brother to murder brother, for no other reason than that his godly brother had offered by faith a more excellent sacrifice, and he offered up his own works without faith, which had not pleased God (see Genesis 4).

There followed a most intolerable persecution of Satan against this faith by Cain’s sons, until God had to purge the world by means of the Flood, defending Noah, the preacher of righteousness. Even so, Satan continued his work in Noah’s third son, Ham, and in innumerable others. After this, the whole world grew mad against this faith (as St. Paul says in Acts 14:15–16), inventing an infinite number of idols and strange religions by which people went their own way, trusting in works to please gods and goddesses without Christ’s help and seeking by their own works to redeem themselves from evils and sins. The example and writings of all nations demonstrate this.

Martin Luther, Galatians, Crossway Classic Commentaries (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 1998), 14–16.

The doctrine of justification by faith alone is  not a matter of indifference or adiaphora.  It is non-negotiable, essential doctrine.  Without justification by faith alone there is no salvation.  Therefore for anyone, including my Evangelical pastor friend, to say that Anglo-Catholics are "good Christian men" or good "churchmen" is patently false.  It reveals a confusion on the part of irrationalists who try to smooth over lies as if they were acceptable to any degree at all.  To sell out an entire congregation to the Anglo-Papists simply because you're more faithful to the organization and your concerns for your own severance pay is to compromise the Gospel for selfish reasons.  Those who truly trust God are willing to preach the Gospel no matter the cost! 

I am a sinful man who deserves hell.  But when I realized that the Assemblies of God was an apostate church and a cultic synagogue of satan leading millions of people to hell, I resigned and counted the cost.  When I realized that the Reformed Episcopal Church had sold out to the heresies and the false teachings of the Anglo-Papists, I resigned and counted the cost.  True ministers of the Gospel are willing to sacrifice themselves just as Christ gave himself for the church.  They are not hirelings who are more concerned with supporting themselves financially than they are with preaching the truth to a lost and dying generation.

"For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it-- 29 "lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, 30 "saying,`This man began to build and was not able to finish?' 31 "Or what king, going to make war against another king, does not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? 32 "Or else, while the other is still a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks conditions of peace. 33 "So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple. (Luke 14:28-33 NKJ)

"But a hireling, he who is not the shepherd, one who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them. 13  "The hireling flees because he is a hireling and does not care about the sheep. 14 "I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own. (John 10:12-14 NKJ)

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