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

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Former Reformed Believers Commit Apostasy: The "Called to Communion" Deception

I should not be surprised when I hear of those who have departed from the faith that comes from our Lord Jesus Christ and have worshipped idols and prayed to dead saints. But then it is surprising when those who once knew the truth suddenly endorse paganism and superstition posing as biblical Christianity. Actually, I should not say "biblical" because Roman Catholicism places all of its authority in itself as the final authority. Rome claims the power to infallibly rule in doctrinal matters and therefore has the authority to tell its followers what "tradition" teaches--even if what they say cannot be found except in extremely "implicit" form. Rome also claims to have the infallible power to interpret Scripture. In other words, the Bible is irrelevant and you must listen to Rome, the pope and the Roman Catholic Church. What am I talking about? I'm speaking about the Called to Communion: Reformation Meets Rome blog.

What is typical of cults and drug dealers is the same approach used by the former Evangelicals and Calvinists who have converted to Roman Catholicism. Their basic argument is, "You should be open." Now that is interesting. I wonder if these former Evangelicals think that we should be "open" to Buddhism or Mormonism? Should we be "open" to joining the Universalist Church? Of course not. But that is what they want Evangelicals to do regarding Roman Catholicism. Why would a Bible believing Evangelical want to be "open" to a church that teaches another gospel, superstitious prayers to dead saints, and veneration of bread and wine as if the elements were the virtual body and blood of Christ and other heresies?

Heresy is always subtle and deceptive. A case in point is the title of their blog, which implies that the Protestant Reformation has something in common with Rome, which is far from the case. The other implication is that Protestants are "called to communion" with Rome. Again, that is far from true as well. What do I mean? First of all, joining with any church does not and never will save anyone whatsoever. Salvation is completely of the Lord, end of story. (See Psalm 37:39 KJV).

A favorite tactic of cults is to pretend they are a Christian organization. The naive are then led in by deception. The same tactic is used by former Evangelicals in the Roman Catholic Church. They will redefine terms used by Evangelicals and Reformed churches to make it seem as if they believe the same things we do as Bible believers. Once a rapport is established the wolf will lead the naive sheep further and further from the safety of the flock until it is isolated. At this point the wolves proceed to devour the helpless sheep. This is exactly the tactic being employed at the Called to Communion blog.

For example, Roman Catholics will often say that they believe in justification by faith. Anglo-Catholics and Tractarians likewise make this claim. But this is a subtle trick I call "bait and switch." There is just enough truth in the claim that on the surface it appears to be true. But just as rat poison is 95% real food and 5% poison it is the 5% of deception that destroys the genuine Gospel and replaces it with another gospel that is no gospel at all. (Galatians 1:6-8; 2 Corinthians 11:3-4).

Just what is the biblical doctrine of justification by faith alone? Stated simply, it comes down to this. "God commands us to do what we are unable to do." What do I mean? First of all, God requires absolute obedience without any deviation, rebellion, omission, or ignorance. Adam failed to obey God and the consequences of his disobedience affected all of his descendants from that point in time on. Since the fall of Adam everyone is born a sinful rebel who sins from the time we are able to make willful choices. (Psalm 58:3; Psalm 51:4-5; Romans 3:10-23). And even before that we are charged with Adam's original sin because Adam is our federal head who represented all of us. (Romans 5:12-21). In fact, Scripture affirms our own accountability for our sins that we willfully choose to do but Scripture also affirms that sin is passed down through heredity, example, and a corrupt nature (See Genesis 6:5; Exodus 34:7; Leviticus 26:39; Isaiah 14:20; Jeremiah 3:25; Lamentations 5:7). So when God commands us to be absolutely obedient we are unable to do so because we are born in slavery to sin. (John 8:30-34, 44; Romans 6:6).

Since it is therefore impossible for us to meet God's absolute command to perfection (Deuteronomy 27:26; Galatians 3:10-12; Galatians 5:4; Ezekiel 18:4; Matthew 5:17-20, 48), God Himself decreed to make another way of salvation (John 14:6). That way is not working or meriting our own righteousness but fully trusting in Christ and Christ alone to save us. We do not go about establishing our own righteousness (Romans 10:1-4). Rather we are credited with a foreign righteousness that is not our own. God as our Judge declares us righteous based on the active obedience of Christ in our place and on His taking the penalty of the law in our place. This is called the active and passive obedience of Christ (Romans 5:1-2). (See Active and Passive Obedience). Moreover, God justifies His elect by regenerating them (John 3:3-8, by giving them the gift of faith (Ephesians 2:8-9), and by imputing to them the righteousness or justification which is by faith alone (Romans 4:1-8). In fact, God does not justify "godly" people but those who are "ungodly"!

And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness, (Romans 4:5 ESV) (Compare: Romans 3:10-12; Romans 20-24; Romans 1:16; Luke 5:31-32).

Pelagians have a hard time explaining why everyone sins if everyone has grace to choose not to sin. Why do all humans grow up to become active sinners if they are not born corrupt? (Genesis 6:5-7). Roman Catholicism teaches what we know as the semi-pelagian view. That is, those who sin sin by choice and they are not totally corrupt after all. But the Bible teaches that all of the human race is born corrupt and apart from God's mercy all deserve God's judgment (Romans 3:23; Romans 9:18-25).

So it is clear that good works do not justify us before we come to faith or afterwards because our sanctification, which is inside us and subjective is always imperfect. If our level of sanctification or personal piety and holiness saves and justifies us, then we are essentially saved or justified by our own righteousness and not the righteousness of Christ (Romans 10:1-4). If that is true, then we are in terrible shape because God will not lower His standards whatsoever (James 1:17; James 2:10-11). Therefore, the righteousness which justifies and saves us is not subjective or in our hearts. It is a righteousness that is outside of us and is absolutely objective (2 Corinthians 5:21).  Basically, Christ takes our sin upon Himself and bears the penalty for us on the tree (1 Peter 2:22-24) We change places. Jesus becomes our substitute by living a perfect life for us and by dying for our sins for us. We are then credited with His sinless life and His righteousness is credited to us as if it were ours. The father of the Protestant Reformation gave this illustration. Although we are still sinners and have an inward corruption, we are also saints who are sanctified by the blood of Jesus Christ. We are like a pile of manure covered over by a fresh layer of pure white snow. We are completely justified and sanctified by the blood of Jesus Christ. See Hebrews 9:12-14; Revelation 7:14). The very moment we are regenerated and drawn to believe by the Holy Spirit we are saved, justified and sanctified (Romans 8:28-30; Ephesians 2:8-9; Romans 5:1-2; Romans 8:1-2; Romans 8:33; 1 Corinthians 6:11; Titus 3:5-7). We do not earn our righteous at any point in time but we "inherit" it by faith in Jesus Christ.

Which leads me back again to the deception perpetuated by Roman Catholics. They will assert that Rome does not deny justification by faith. Anglo-Catholics make the same assertions. But what exactly do the papists and Tractarians mean by their term "justification by faith"? Generally, what they mean is to be understood by the word we Evangelicals call "sanctification." In other words, the Roman Catholic doctrine of justification is essentially the same thing we would call "sanctification" as in the process of being made holy on a more subjective and individual basis. They confuse the doctrine of justification with sanctification. In other words, Rome teaches that justification is not an imputed righteousness that is declared to us by a legal decree of God but rather that justification is an infusion of holiness or righteousness into the heart.  But modern Roman Catholics will protest that Rome does not deny "justification by faith" and the proof is in canons I-III in the anathemas on Justification:

CANON I.-If any one saith, that man may be justified before God by his own works, whether done through the teaching of human nature, or that of the law, without the grace of God through Jesus Christ; let him be anathema.

CANON II.-If any one saith, that the grace of God, through Jesus Christ, is given only for this, that man may be able more easily to live justly, and to merit eternal life, as if, by free will without grace, he were able to do both, though hardly indeed and with difficulty; let him be anathema.

CANON III.-If any one saith, that without the prevenient inspiration of the Holy Ghost, and without his help, man can believe, hope, love, or be penitent as he ought, so as that the grace of Justification may be bestowed upon him; let him be anathema.  [From:  Council of Trent:  Sixth Session on Justification].

Now the first three canons pronouncing the anathemas sound good.  But the trouble is alluded to already and becomes even more apparent in Canon IV.   Above we can see that the Catholic Church does teach "justification by faith."  But what it does not teach is justification by faith "alone".  And why is that?  It is because the Roman Catholic Church has a low view of man's depravity and the effects of original sin and the fall upon the human race that is descended from Adam.  What we see above is a synergistic model  of converion where man cooperates with God in his own salvation, a doctrine typical of most Arminians these days as well.  But notice that Canon I specifically denies that man can be saved by his own works, a position that Reformed and Evangelical Christians typically raise again Rome.   And the response by Catholics is, "See?  We do not believe in salvation by works after all!!!"  But this is a blatant lie as we shall see below.

[Page 45] CANON IV.-If any one saith, that man's free will moved and excited by God, by assenting to God exciting and calling, nowise co-operates towards disposing and preparing itself for obtaining the grace of Justification; that it cannot refuse its consent, if it would, but that, as something inanimate, it does nothing whatever and is merely passive; let him be anathema.

CANON V.-If any one saith, that, since Adam's sin, the free will of man is lost and extinguished; or, that it is a thing with only a name, yea a name without a reality, a figment, in fine, introduced into the Church by Satan; let him be anathema. 

CANON VI.-If any one saith, that it is not in man's power to make his ways evil, but that the works that are evil God worketh as well as those that are good, not permissively only, but properly, and of Himself, in such wise that the treason of Judas is no less His own proper work than the vocation of Paul; let him be anathema. 

CANON VII.-If any one saith, that all works done before Justification, in whatsoever way they be done, are truly sins, or merit the hatred of God; or that the more earnestly one strives to dispose himself for grace, the more grievously he sins: let him be anathema. 

CANON VIII.-If any one saith, that the fear of hell,-whereby, by grieving for our sins, we flee unto the mercy of God, or refrain from sinning,-is a sin, or makes sinners worse; let him be anathema.  [Sixth Session].
OK, here goes.  Beginning with Canon IV we can begin to see that Protestant doctrines, along with anyone who publicly preaches those doctrines, are condemned.  So in Canon IV we see Article IX of the Thirty-nine Articles of Religion denied.  So technically the Anglican Communion would be anathema based just on Canon IV:

Article IX

Of Original or Birth Sin

Original sin standeth not in the following of Adam (as the Pelagians do vainly talk), but it is the fault and corruption of the nature of every man that naturally is engendered of the offspring of Adam, whereby man is very far gone from original righteousness, and is of his own nature inclined to evil, so that the flesh lusteth always contrary to the spirit; and therefore in every person born into this world, it deserveth God's wrath and damnation. And this infection of nature doth remain, yea, in them that are regenerated, whereby the lust of the flesh, called in Greek phronema sarkos (which some do expound the wisdom, some sensuality, some the affection, some the desire of the flesh), is not subject to the law of God. And although there is no condemnation for them that believe and are baptized, yet the Apostle doth confess that concupiscence and lust hath itself the nature of sin.

Article X

Of Free Will

The condition of man after the fall of Adam is such, that he cannot turn and prepare himself, by his own natural strength and good works, to faith and calling upon God. Wherefore we have no power to do good works pleasant and acceptable to God, without the grace of God by Christ preventing us that we may have a good will, and working with us when we have that good will.

Now, obviously the Thirty-nine Articles of Religion directly contradict Canons I-VIII! How does this fair with what the canons say on justification by faith alone? Here I will only quote those appropriate canons that condemn the doctrine of justification by faith alone. Be that as it may there are many of the canons that condemn the doctrines of sovereign grace as well. But I will leave those anthemas for another day. The canons anathematizing the Gospel of justification by faith alone are:

CANON IX.-If any one saith, that by faith alone the impious is justified; in such wise as to mean, that nothing else is required to co-operate in order to the obtaining the grace of Justification, and that it is not in any way necessary, that he be prepared and disposed by the movement of his own will; let him be anathema.

CANON XIV.-If any one saith, that man is truly absolved from his sins and justified, because that he assuredly believed himself absolved and justified; or, that no one is truly justified but he who believes himself justified; and that, by this faith alone, absolution and justification are effected; let him be anathema.

CANON XXIX.-If any one saith, that he, who has fallen after baptism, is not able by the grace of God to rise again; or, that he is able indeed to recover the justice which he has lost, but by faith alone without the sacrament of Penance, contrary to what the holy Roman and universal Church-instructed by Christ and his Apostles-has hitherto professed, observed, and taugh[t]; let him be anathema.  [Sixth Session].
So we can see that those who say that Protestants and those who teach Protestant doctrines are not cursed or anathematized by the Roman Catholic Church are clearly lying.  In fact, the consequences for disobeying Rome in those days was death by burning at the stake.  Although that is no longer true today, it is still true that Rome teaches that those who knowingly deny the teachings of Rome are not saved because they are not part of the Roman Catholic Church and are therefore lost.

The Roman Catholic Catechism says:

845 To reunite all his children, scattered and led astray by sin, the Father willed to call the whole of humanity together into his Son's Church. The Church is the place where humanity must rediscover its unity and salvation. The Church is "the world reconciled." She is that bark which "in the full sail of the Lord's cross, by the breath of the Holy Spirit, navigates safely in this world." According to another image dear to the Church Fathers, she is prefigured by Noah's ark, which alone saves from the flood.334

"Outside the Church there is no salvation"

846 How are we to understand this affirmation, often repeated by the Church Fathers?335 Re-formulated positively, it means that all salvation comes from Christ the Head through the Church which is his Body:

Basing itself on Scripture and Tradition, the Council teaches that the Church, a pilgrim now on earth, is necessary for salvation: the one Christ is the mediator and the way of salvation; he is present to us in his body which is the Church. He himself explicitly asserted the necessity of faith and Baptism, and thereby affirmed at the same time the necessity of the Church which men enter through Baptism as through a door. Hence they could not be saved who, knowing that the Catholic Church was founded as necessary by God through Christ, would refuse either to enter it or to remain in it.336
847 This affirmation is not aimed at those who, through no fault of their own, do not know Christ and his Church:

Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience - those too may achieve eternal salvation.337 
[From: The Catechism of the Roman Catholic Church].
Obviously, Rome claims that all religious adherents must come to Rome to be saved.  That much is obvious if you read numbers 811 through 870 in the catechism.  Also, it should be pointed out that Cranmer and the Anglicans responded to the Council of Trent with the Thirty-nine Articles of Religion.  Cranmer deliberately contradicted Rome by upholding justification by faith alone:

XI. 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.
And in contradiction to Canon XXIX, the Thirty-nine Articles specifically say that sins committed after baptism require only repentance and nowhere say that the false sacrament of penance is necessary for forgiveness:

XVI. Of Sin after Baptism.
NOT every deadly sin willingly committed after Baptism is sin against the Holy Ghost, and unpardonable. Wherefore the grant of repentance is not to be denied to such as fall into sin after Baptism. After we have received the Holy Ghost, we may depart from grace given and fall into sin, and by the grace of God we may arise again and amend our lives. And therefore they are to be condemned, which say they can no more sin as long as they live here, or deny the place of forgiveness to such as truly repent.

This is far from the Roman Catholic doctrine of infused righteousness and the sacrament of penance.  And according to the modern Roman Catholic Catechism, anyone who knowingly and not in ignorance denies the doctrines of Rome, as I am doing in this article, is deprived of salvation and placed under an anathema.  If civil penalties were still in place, I might even be jailed for this.  So much for Roman Catholic "tolerance".   I could go on but I think I have done enough to demonstrate the duplicity of Roman Catholic apologists at the Called to Communion site, which is really designed to deceive Protestants.


Charlie J. Ray said...

Turns out that Spencer Hall is a Roman Catholic after all:

Spencer Hall


Anonymous said...

I do not write for Called to Communion, but I do think your charge of "duplicity" based on theological differences and interpretation of biblical passages that many *non-Catholics* would disagree with you about is overly strident.

Because you disagree with the way theological concepts are understood and defined you imply that Catholic converts are attempting to trick Evangelical Protestants into thinking that they believe something they do not. I in no way see that being the case--the dispute is precisely over what "justification by faith" means and over the nature of man's corruption (as "total corruption" is a decidedly extrabiblical term). A rejection of "sola fide" as promulgated by the reformers is not itself a rejection of "justification by faith."

The Reformed apologist often takes his own understanding of those things and makes them the plumb line against which all else is measured, without leaving room for any meaningful distinction between his understanding of Scripture and Scripture itself.

Regarding who is and is not anathema, and the Church's tolerance or lack thereof, God's judgment on those who preach a false Gospel is real and we are warned about it repeatedly. It is that serious and the only reason modern Christians "tolerate" such is because all of Christendom has been thrown into a state of mass confusion with everyone more or less doing and believing what is right in their own eyes.

Charlie J. Ray said...

The standard for doctrine is the Scriptures, not the church. Churches do formulate secondary "confessions" of faith or systematic expositions of the essential teachings of the Scriptures. But the final authority is always God's Holy Scriptures, which alone are the inspired, inerrant word of God. If anyone is causing divisions, it is the Roman Catholic Church. Rome officially condemned the Gospel in the canons of the Council of Trent and everyone who deliberately rejects the teaching of the RCC--people like myself. I understand what your synagogue of satan teaches and I vocally, rationally, and explicitly reject it. In fact, I would say that any denomination that is not Reformed (Calvinist) or Lutheran and faithful to the Scriptures, as they were exposited by the Reformation, is questionable and most likely heretical. Arminians are likewise under the anathema of the Reformed confessions and Scripture itself, being condemned at the Syndod of Dort 1618-19.

Your traditions are not infallible nor are they revelation from God. Only the written words of God in Holy Scripture are the infallible, inerrant and fully inspired Word of God. 2 Timothy 3:15-17; 2 Peter 1:19-21. Scripture is sufficient in and of itself for salvation and the Scriptures are self-authenticating and self-interpreting because Scripture is so plain that even a child can understand the Scriptures and be saved. Where any difficult passage is hard to understand, more plain passages of Scripture are used to interpret. All believers are prophets, priests and kings. (Romans 12:6; 1 Peter 2:9; Revelation 5:10)

Charlie J. Ray said...

Justification by faith is a faith that is alone, not faith plus works or merits or obedience. Only after being justified by means of the cross and through faith in Christ's meritorious life and death can any believer be saved. Romans 3:20-25; Romans 4:1-8

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