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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 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

Friday, September 05, 2008

Sola Fide: The Doctrine by Which the Church Stands or Falls



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)


[From:Luther and Justification, by the Reverend Roland F. Ziegler. The Reverend Roland F. Ziegler is an Assistant Professor of Systematic Theology at Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Indiana.]


I will make this brief. However, regarding the emphasis of Luther and the other Reformers on justification by faith alone, which includes Richard Hooker, the great Anglican theology, I have to wonder how Evangelical Anglicans can seriously call Anglo-Catholics and various other heretics "good Christian men"? Clearly our justification is an imputed righteousness and a declared righteousness and to confuse the biblical doctrine with an ungodly view of infused righteousness and a gospel of merits is to destroy the very Gospel itself.


While it is important to fight immorality, it is equally important to fight against false religions and heresy! Those who advocate good works and good morals are no better than Muslims or Buddhists or various other world religious which teach that being good will earn you a justification before God in the final judgment. Such a view makes the cross of Jesus Christ completely and totally irrelevant and unnecessary!


It is the very height of hypocrisy to claim to be an "Evangelical" Anglican or Christian of any denomination while at the same time agreeing with papists, tractarians, and various other "christians" who claim that good works will merit your salvation before God in the judgment! There is only one Gospel and those who teach another gospel are in effect workers of iniquity and idolatry since it places man and not God at the center of their theology. Luther had it right when he said that theology should begin and end with Jesus Christ and not with ourselves or with the law.


There is only one way to obtain the peace of God which passes all understanding:


" Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God." (Romans 5:1-2, ESV) [1]


The Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion are equally clear that justification is by faith alone and nothing we do can merit anything for us:





Of the Justification of Man


We are accounted righteous before God, only for the merit of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ by faith, and not for our own works or deservings. Wherefore that we are justified by faith only is a most wholesome doctrine, and very full of comfort; as more largely is expressed in the Homily of Justification.


De Hominis Iustificatione


Tantum propter meritum Domini ac Servatoris nostri Jesu Christi, per fidem, non propter opera et merita nostra, iusti coram Deo reputamur. Quare sola fide nos iustificari, doctrina est saluberrima, ac consolationis plenissima; ut in Homilia de Iustificatione hominis Fusius explicatur.


Provenance








May the peace of God be with you!



[1] The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001. Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.




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