Happy Reformation Day! Martin Luther and the Freedom He Brought

I know that many believe this day to be Halloween, but that needs to change. What took place on this day in 1517 in Wittenberg Germany is far more important to us and our essential beliefs than anything given to us by pagan hooligans.

On this day, Martin Luther posted his 95 Theses against the use of indulgences in the church, by the pope and priests because of the fact that these uses neither brought us grace or salvation. Luther was fighting against a heresy that had crept up into the church and were leading millions to eternal damnation. This truth drove him to post the theses even at risked of losing his own life.

In Luther’s day, it was believed that when a person died, they did not have enough grace to make it all the way into heaven, so they needed to spend time in purgatory in order to pay off the rest of the debt of sin. By purchasing indulgences, you could shorten your own stay in purgatory, or the time of one of your relatives.

The money raised by the indulgences was used by the Roman Catholic Church to build St. Peter’s Basilica, which would have appalled Peter had he known that such was done in his name. Remember, he was a common fisherman, not someone high and mighty like the popes of our day. (Funny how God uses the lowly to confound the prideful).

The problem with indulgences and purgatory is that there is no Biblical support for such. Luther preached against their uses and the heart of the 95 Theses condemns the uses of indulgences. He said that if the pope could release people from purgatory, then the pope should do so out of kindness instead of requiring someone purchase an indulgence.

Luther’s words: “Why does not the pope empty purgatory, for the sake of holy love and of the dire need of the souls that are there, if he redeems an infinite number of souls for the sake of miserable money with which to build a Church? The former reasons would be most just; the latter is most trivial.”

The preaching of indulgences was an affront to the gospel itself, and this is the reason that Luther wrote the 95 theses. He saw the need to preach God’s word in the common tongue for the salvation of men and women. To preach indulgences neither brought salvation nor grace to the people.  The money would have been better spent on the poor, and the pulpits where these things were preached would be better served preaching the gospel.

We need a reformation today as well. I think of the thousands who sit and listen to bozos like Joel Osteen week after week, and come no closer to entering heaven than those who sat under the preachers of indulgences in Luther’s day. Osteen is the modern-day Tetzel. He seeks to build an empire around himself, that will perish on the day like all the other wood, hay and stubble men put forth in worthless religion.

(BTW, some might ask how it is that I’m being kind in calling Osteen a bozo. What would you like me to call such a man who preaches to 50,000 people every week, never giving them the true gospel, and putting forth nothing more the damning humanism as if it were from God? What should be done with such a heretic? People are being misled every week by the guy, dying and going to eternal destruction, yet thinking they have found some form of righteousness that is pleasing to God. It truly is the same heinous type preaching the Luther condemned in his day. What should we call such men?)

In view of the fact that today is the 493rd anniversary of the posting of the 95 Theses on the door of Wittenberg church by Martin Luther, here is his 95 Theses. I recommend that you get a cup of coffee, sit down and read it.

Disputation of Doctor Martin Luther
on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences
by Dr. Martin Luther (1517)

Out of love for the truth and the desire to bring it to light, the following propositions will be discussed at Wittenberg, under the presidency of the Reverend Father Martin Luther, Master of Arts and of Sacred Theology, and Lecturer in Ordinary on the same at that place. Wherefore he requests that those who are unable to be present and debate orally with us, may do so by letter.

In the Name our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

    1. Our Lord and Master Jesus Christ, when He said Poenitentiam agite, willed that the whole life of believers should be repentance.

    2. This word cannot be understood to mean sacramental penance, i.e., confession and satisfaction, which is administered by the priests.

    3. Yet it means not inward repentance only; nay, there is no inward repentance which does not outwardly work divers mortifications of the flesh.

    4. The penalty [of sin], therefore, continues so long as hatred of self continues; for this is the true inward repentance, and continues until our entrance into the kingdom of heaven.

    5. The pope does not intend to remit, and cannot remit any penalties other than those which he has imposed either by his own authority or by that of the Canons.

    6. The pope cannot remit any guilt, except by declaring that it has been remitted by God and by assenting to God’s remission; though, to be sure, he may grant remission in cases reserved to his judgment. If his right to grant remission in such cases were despised, the guilt would remain entirely unforgiven.

    7. God remits guilt to no one whom He does not, at the same time, humble in all things and bring into subjection to His vicar, the priest.

    8. The penitential canons are imposed only on the living, and, according to them, nothing should be imposed on the dying.

    9. Therefore the Holy Spirit in the pope is kind to us, because in his decrees he always makes exception of the article of death and of necessity.

    10. Ignorant and wicked are the doings of those priests who, in the case of the dying, reserve canonical penances for purgatory.

    11. This changing of the canonical penalty to the penalty of purgatory is quite evidently one of the tares that were sown while the bishops slept.

    12. In former times the canonical penalties were imposed not after, but before absolution, as tests of true contrition.

    13. The dying are freed by death from all penalties; they are already dead to canonical rules, and have a right to be released from them.

    14. The imperfect health [of soul], that is to say, the imperfect love, of the dying brings with it, of necessity, great fear; and the smaller the love, the greater is the fear.

    15. This fear and horror is sufficient of itself alone (to say nothing of other things) to constitute the penalty of purgatory, since it is very near to the horror of despair.

    16. Hell, purgatory, and heaven seem to differ as do despair, almost-despair, and the assurance of safety.

    17. With souls in purgatory it seems necessary that horror should grow less and love increase.

    18. It seems unproved, either by reason or Scripture, that they are outside the state of merit, that is to say, of increasing love.

    19. Again, it seems unproved that they, or at least that all of them, are certain or assured of their own blessedness, though we may be quite certain of it.

    20. Therefore by “full remission of all penalties” the pope means not actually “of all,” but only of those imposed by himself.

    21. Therefore those preachers of indulgences are in error, who say that by the pope’s indulgences a man is freed from every penalty, and saved;

    22. Whereas he remits to souls in purgatory no penalty which, according to the canons, they would have had to pay in this life.

    23. If it is at all possible to grant to any one the remission of all penalties whatsoever, it is certain that this remission can be granted only to the most perfect, that is, to the very fewest.

    24. It must needs be, therefore, that the greater part of the people are deceived by that indiscriminate and highsounding promise of release from penalty.

    25. The power which the pope has, in a general way, over purgatory, is just like the power which any bishop or curate has, in a special way, within his own diocese or parish.

    26. The pope does well when he grants remission to souls [in purgatory], not by the power of the keys (which he does not possess), but by way of intercession.

    27. They preach man who say that so soon as the penny jingles into the money-box, the soul flies out [of purgatory].

    28. It is certain that when the penny jingles into the money-box, gain and avarice can be increased, but the result of the intercession of the Church is in the power of God alone.

    29. Who knows whether all the souls in purgatory wish to be bought out of it, as in the legend of Sts. Severinus and Paschal.

    30. No one is sure that his own contrition is sincere; much less that he has attained full remission.

    31. Rare as is the man that is truly penitent, so rare is also the man who truly buys indulgences, i.e., such men are most rare.

    32. They will be condemned eternally, together with their teachers, who believe themselves sure of their salvation because they have letters of pardon.

    33. Men must be on their guard against those who say that the pope’s pardons are that inestimable gift of God by which man is reconciled to Him;

    34. For these “graces of pardon” concern only the penalties of sacramental satisfaction, and these are appointed by man.

    35. They preach no Christian doctrine who teach that contrition is not necessary in those who intend to buy souls out of purgatory or to buy confessionalia.

    36. Every truly repentant Christian has a right to full remission of penalty and guilt, even without letters of pardon.

    37. Every true Christian, whether living or dead, has part in all the blessings of Christ and the Church; and this is granted him by God, even without letters of pardon.

    38. Nevertheless, the remission and participation [in the blessings of the Church] which are granted by the pope are in no way to be despised, for they are, as I have said, the declaration of divine remission.

    39. It is most difficult, even for the very keenest theologians, at one and the same time to commend to the people the abundance of pardons and [the need of] true contrition.

    40. True contrition seeks and loves penalties, but liberal pardons only relax penalties and cause them to be hated, or at least, furnish an occasion [for hating them].

    41. Apostolic pardons are to be preached with caution, lest the people may falsely think them preferable to other good works of love.

    42. Christians are to be taught that the pope does not intend the buying of pardons to be compared in any way to works of mercy.

    43. Christians are to be taught that he who gives to the poor or lends to the needy does a better work than buying pardons;

    44. Because love grows by works of love, and man becomes better; but by pardons man does not grow better, only more free from penalty.

    45. 45. Christians are to be taught that he who sees a man in need, and passes him by, and gives [his money] for pardons, purchases not the indulgences of the pope, but the indignation of God.

    46. Christians are to be taught that unless they have more than they need, they are bound to keep back what is necessary for their own families, and by no means to squander it on pardons.

    47. Christians are to be taught that the buying of pardons is a matter of free will, and not of commandment.

    48. Christians are to be taught that the pope, in granting pardons, needs, and therefore desires, their devout prayer for him more than the money they bring.

    49. Christians are to be taught that the pope’s pardons are useful, if they do not put their trust in them; but altogether harmful, if through them they lose their fear of God.

    50. Christians are to be taught that if the pope knew the exactions of the pardon-preachers, he would rather that St. Peter’s church should go to ashes, than that it should be built up with the skin, flesh and bones of his sheep.

    51. Christians are to be taught that it would be the pope’s wish, as it is his duty, to give of his own money to very many of those from whom certain hawkers of pardons cajole money, even though the church of St. Peter might have to be sold.

    52. The assurance of salvation by letters of pardon is vain, even though the commissary, nay, even though the pope himself, were to stake his soul upon it.

    53. They are enemies of Christ and of the pope, who bid the Word of God be altogether silent in some Churches, in order that pardons may be preached in others.

    54. Injury is done the Word of God when, in the same sermon, an equal or a longer time is spent on pardons than on this Word.

    55. It must be the intention of the pope that if pardons, which are a very small thing, are celebrated with one bell, with single processions and ceremonies, then the Gospel, which is the very greatest thing, should be preached with a hundred bells, a hundred processions, a hundred ceremonies.

    56. The “treasures of the Church,” out of which the pope. grants indulgences, are not sufficiently named or known among the people of Christ.

    57. That they are not temporal treasures is certainly evident, for many of the vendors do not pour out such treasures so easily, but only gather them.

    58. Nor are they the merits of Christ and the Saints, for even without the pope, these always work grace for the inner man, and the cross, death, and hell for the outward man.

    59. St. Lawrence said that the treasures of the Church were the Church’s poor, but he spoke according to the usage of the word in his own time.

    60. Without rashness we say that the keys of the Church, given by Christ’s merit, are that treasure;

    61. For it is clear that for the remission of penalties and of reserved cases, the power of the pope is of itself sufficient.

    62. The true treasure of the Church is the Most Holy Gospel of the glory and the grace of God.

    63. But this treasure is naturally most odious, for it makes the first to be last.

    64. On the other hand, the treasure of indulgences is naturally most acceptable, for it makes the last to be first.

    65. Therefore the treasures of the Gospel are nets with which they formerly were wont to fish for men of riches.

    66. The treasures of the indulgences are nets with which they now fish for the riches of men.

    67. The indulgences which the preachers cry as the “greatest graces” are known to be truly such, in so far as they promote gain.

    68. Yet they are in truth the very smallest graces compared with the grace of God and the piety of the Cross.

    69. Bishops and curates are bound to admit the commissaries of apostolic pardons, with all reverence.

    70. But still more are they bound to strain all their eyes and attend with all their ears, lest these men preach their own dreams instead of the commission of the pope.

    71. He who speaks against the truth of apostolic pardons, let him be anathema and accursed!

    72. But he who guards against the lust and license of the pardon-preachers, let him be blessed!

    73. The pope justly thunders against those who, by any art, contrive the injury of the traffic in pardons.

    74. But much more does he intend to thunder against those who use the pretext of pardons to contrive the injury of holy love and truth.

    75. To think the papal pardons so great that they could absolve a man even if he had committed an impossible sin and violated the Mother of God — this is madness.

    76. We say, on the contrary, that the papal pardons are not able to remove the very least of venial sins, so far as its guilt is concerned.

    77. It is said that even St. Peter, if he were now Pope, could not bestow greater graces; this is blasphemy against St. Peter and against the pope.

    78. We say, on the contrary, that even the present pope, and any pope at all, has greater graces at his disposal; to wit, the Gospel, powers, gifts of healing, etc., as it is written in I. Corinthians xii.

    79. To say that the cross, emblazoned with the papal arms, which is set up [by the preachers of indulgences], is of equal worth with the Cross of Christ, is blasphemy.

    80. The bishops, curates and theologians who allow such talk to be spread among the people, will have an account to render.

    81. This unbridled preaching of pardons makes it no easy matter, even for learned men, to rescue the reverence due to the pope from slander, or even from the shrewd questionings of the laity.

    82. To wit: — “Why does not the pope empty purgatory, for the sake of holy love and of the dire need of the souls that are there, if he redeems an infinite number of souls for the sake of miserable money with which to build a Church? The former reasons would be most just; the latter is most trivial.”

    83. Again: — “Why are mortuary and anniversary masses for the dead continued, and why does he not return or permit the withdrawal of the endowments founded on their behalf, since it is wrong to pray for the redeemed?”

    84. Again: — “What is this new piety of God and the pope, that for money they allow a man who is impious and their enemy to buy out of purgatory the pious soul of a friend of God, and do not rather, because of that pious and beloved soul’s own need, free it for pure love’s sake?”

    85. Again: — “Why are the penitential canons long since in actual fact and through disuse abrogated and dead, now satisfied by the granting of indulgences, as though they were still alive and in force?”

    86. Again: — “Why does not the pope, whose wealth is to-day greater than the riches of the richest, build just this one church of St. Peter with his own money, rather than with the money of poor believers?”

    87. Again: — “What is it that the pope remits, and what participation does he grant to those who, by perfect contrition, have a right to full remission and participation?”

    88. Again: — “What greater blessing could come to the Church than if the pope were to do a hundred times a day what he now does once, and bestow on every believer these remissions and participations?”

    89. “Since the pope, by his pardons, seeks the salvation of souls rather than money, why does he suspend the indulgences and pardons granted heretofore, since these have equal efficacy?”

    90. To repress these arguments and scruples of the laity by force alone, and not to resolve them by giving reasons, is to expose the Church and the pope to the ridicule of their enemies, and to make Christians unhappy.

    91. If, therefore, pardons were preached according to the spirit and mind of the pope, all these doubts would be readily resolved; nay, they would not exist.

    92. Away, then, with all those prophets who say to the people of Christ, “Peace, peace,” and there is no peace!

    93. Blessed be all those prophets who say to the people of Christ, “Cross, cross,” and there is no cross!

    94. Christians are to be exhorted that they be diligent in following Christ, their Head, through penalties, deaths, and hell;

    95. And thus be confident of entering into heaven rather through many tribulations, than through the assurance of peace.

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Texas A&M Head Coach Mike Sherman is on the Hot Seat

I know, I said I would not call for the firing of Mike Sherman, the Texas A&M head coach. But there are plenty of people who are beginning to sound the alarm as the his seat begins to heat up. Remember, Sherman was supposed to turn the program around when he was brought in as head-football coach. But alas, mediocrity is still the rule for the day.

The latest to join the call for his tenure to be ended? CNN Commentator Roland Martin, and class of 1991. Here is what he posted on a blog:

“I never was enamored with the pick of Sherman. In fact, it was insulting that the Aggie administration set their sights on Sherman and really didn’t look elsewhere. A proven winner? Really? Where? He was a head coach at Green Bay for five years, and that was the only place he was a head coach. Keep in mind he had future Hall of Famer Brett Favre running the show. That’s how they won the NFC North three times. But did they go any further? Nope.

Sorry, guys, Sherman IS NOT the man to lead A&M. We should have gone after a young, enthusiastic guy with an offensive background. Oh, say Kevin Sumlin!

A&M said they wanted someone who understood the Aggie culture. Sherman and Sumlin were both former A&M assistants.

I have no confidence that Sherman is the guy. NONE. Last week’s game was atrocious. That clearly was a team that was not prepared during the week to face a ranked team AT HOME in the CONFERENCE OPENER!

This team MIGHT reach five wins. That means we will have regressed from last year with the pre-season Big 12 Offensive and Defensive Players of the Year. That is flat out shameful.

But hey, Byrne likely won’t can Sherman, allowing him to return for a fourth season. I have no reason to believe that his 4th season will be any different than the first three.

This display of ineptitude is terribly frustrating for any Aggie graduate.

If Byrne was smart, he would simply tell Sherman bye-bye, go down Highway 6 to 290, tell Sumlin it’s time for him to return to the Big 12, and give him a 5-year contract to get it done.

Yup, I’m not the only one to call for the ouster of Sherman. Hopefully it will grow and he will be gone shortly after we all finish eating our Thanksgiving dinners.

But there is more. From Kevin Zwerneman of the Houston Chronicle:

A&M hasn’t finished in the Associated Press Top 25 since 1999, at a proud school that routinely packs 80,000 fans into Kyle Field. He also is center of a perfect storm of unrest at A&M, after the university this past summer passed on the chance to join the Southeastern Conference.

A&M athletic director Bill Byrne said on the Aggie Hour radio show in late August, “I was concerned with changing conferences that we may not be ready for the level of competition if we decided to leave.”

So far under Sherman, the Aggies have shown they aren’t ready for competition in the Big 12.

I agree. How can we compete in the SEC if we cannot compete in the Big 12. Right now, I would be suspicious of doing well in the WAC (is it still around?). I hope Bill Byrne gets a clue and lets Sherman go. But I’m not calling for him to be fired… just graciously retired.

 

Oklahoma Seeks to Ban Sharia Law

The State of Oklahoma is seeking to ban Sharia Law in the upcoming elections. There is a proposed amendment to the state’s constitution that would forbid state courts from looking to foreign laws or Sharia Law for it’s court rulings. Seems like a decent law, since all it is saying is that the courts must abide by the laws of the state, not some foreign country or foreign religion.

You would think that this wasn’t necessary, but given the fact that our own Supreme Court has looked to foreign law to make a ruling, it is necessary.

As you can imagine, those who are Islamic are crying foul. They are saying that Muslims are being unfairly targeted by this amendment. No they are not. It rules out all foreign laws and simply states that Oklahoma will follow Oklahoma laws. Yes, Sharia Law is included in the bill. To impose Sharia Law or to use it in determining a court case, even involving those who are Islamic, is endorsing a religion which is forbidden in the First Amendment.

You can imagine that the Council on American Islamic Relations would raise a stink about the law. Here is what Maneer Awad said, he is the head of the Oklahoma CAIR chapter: “We take a stand in opposition to the proposed amendment.”

He added that Shariah law taking effect in the United States is constitutionally impossible.

“It’s ridiculous that anyone would suggest it would happen,” he told FoxNews.com “Our Constitution would not allow any religious law to supersede the existing laws.”

OK Mr. Awad, if that is true, and you truly believe that Sharia will not supersede the Constitution in any way, then why are you protesting the Amendment? If this possibility of Sharia Law being imposed is not your intention, then I would imagine you would support the good people of Oklahoma in their endeavors to protect the laws of the land. After all Mr. Awad, if they do not pass this law, then they can use laws other than Sharia to rule upon you as well. This amendment protects you as well.

But I’m sure that point is lost on the representatives of CAIR. They are more interested in crying foul and showing how unfair we are in America. I think the law is a good thing and I hope the people of Oklahoma pass it.

You can read more about this here.

Thomas Sowell on Failed Multiculturalism

Angela Merkal, the Chancellor of Germany was the first to say it out loud: “the king has no clothes.” Only, not in the parable sense. She said:

“Multikulti”, the concept that “we are now living side by side and are happy about it,” does not work, Merkel told a meeting of younger members of her conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party at Potsdam near Berlin.

“This approach has failed, totally,” she said, adding that immigrants should integrate and adopt Germany’s culture and values.

“We feel tied to Christian values. Those who don’t accept them don’t have a place here,” said the chancellor.

And Thomas Sowell has expanded on it, saying the idea of multiculturalism is actually a cult:

Multiculturalism is not just a recognition that different groups have different cultures. We all knew that, long before multiculturalism became a cult that has spawned mindless rhapsodies about “diversity,” without a speck of evidence to substantiate its supposed benefits.

In Germany, as in other countries in Europe, welcoming millions of foreign workers who insist on remaining foreign has created problems so obvious that only the intelligentsia could fail to see them. It takes a high IQ to evade the obvious.

“We kidded ourselves for a while,” Chancellor Merkel said, but now it was clear that the attempt to build a society where people of very different languages and cultures could “live side-by-side” and “enjoy each other” has “failed, utterly failed.”

This is not a lesson for Germany alone. In countries around the world, and over the centuries, peoples with jarring differences in language, cultures and values have been a major problem and, too often, sources of major disasters for the societies in which they co-exist.

Even the tragedies and atrocities associated with racial differences in racist countries have been exceeded by the tragedies and atrocities among people with clashing cultures who are physically indistinguishable from one another, as in the Balkans or Rwanda.

Among the ways that people with different cultures have managed to minimize frictions have been (1) mutual cultural accommodations, even while not amalgamating completely, and (2) living separately in their own enclaves. Both of these approaches are anathema to the multicultural cultists.

And as one can expect, when the government gets involved into trying to solve the problem, it only makes it worse.

Multiculturalists condemn people’s objections to transplanting hoodlums, criminals and dysfunctional families into the midst of people who may have sacrificed for years to be able to escape from living among hoodlums, criminals and dysfunctional families.

The actual direct experience of the people who complain about the consequences of these social experiments is often dismissed as mere biased “perceptions” or “stereotypes,” if not outright “racism.” But some of the strongest complaints have come from middle-class blacks who have fled ghetto life, only to have the government transplant ghetto life back into their midst.

Both Merkal and Sowell are saying what a lot of us have wanted to say for years, multiculturalism is a failure and should be abandoned. I don’t like it because what ends up being the case is that our own culture is often condemned as racists because we don’t adopt the culture of those who come from other countries. Yet what made America great is not having the culture of the United States subverted for other cultures, but those who came here adapted to the culture that was already here. Immigrants learned English and learned to fit in. Yes, there are those that stayed in their own enclaves. If that is what they desire, that is fine to. But don’t try to mingle those cultures by government programs, especially where it is not welcomed. And don’t expect those who want to remain int their cultures to maintain the same standard of living as those who have adapted to the larger culture.

Sowell explains that in his second article on the subject:

There was a reason why employers in the middle of the 19th century had signs that said, “No Irish need apply” — and why employers in the middle of the 20th century no longer had such signs. It was not that employers had changed. The Irish had changed.

He goes on to show the problem of blacks in culture as well:

The history of blacks in the United States has been more complicated. By the end of the 19th century, the small numbers of blacks living in northern cities had, over the generations, assimilated the culture of the surrounding society to the point where they lived and worked among the white population more fully than they would in most of the 20th century.

In New York, Washington, Chicago, Philadelphia and other Northern cities, black ghettos became a 20th century phenomenon. It was after the massive migration of far less acculturated blacks out of the South in the early 20th century when a massive retrogression in black-white relations took place in the Northern cites to which the migrants moved.

The blacks who moved to these cities were of the same race as those who were already there, but they were not the same in their culture, values and behavior. No one complained of this more bitterly than the blacks already living in these cities, who saw the newcomers as harbingers of a worse life for all blacks.

This same process occurred on the west coast decades later, largely during World War II, when the same influx of less acculturated blacks from the South marked a retrogression in race relations in places like San Francisco and Portland.

Cultural differences matter. They have always mattered, however much that may be denied today by the multicultural cult.

 

 

William Tyndale’s Concern

I was reading an article in Modern Reformation by Thomas Wenger, about William Tyndale. Wenger points out that not only did William Tyndale translate the Bible so the people could read it for themselves, but he also had grave concerns that they would interpret it correctly. Tyndale knew that by putting the Bible into the hands of the people, there was a real danger that men would start interpreting it incorrectly.

But he also knew not to translate it and make it available to the people was even more dangerous. What was taking place in the Roman Catholic Church was an abomination. The people needed to know the truth of the gospel. So on the one hand, it’s a danger to give the people a Bible, but an even greater danger not to.

Therefore he went to great extents to show people that when coming to the Scripture, they needed to do so through the lens of law and gospel. This is the view, taken principally from John 1:17 For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

The Reformers understood the Bible based on this principal. Everything in the Bible falls under either the Law, pointing to the covenant of works, or the gospel, pointing to the covenant of Grace. The Law is given to show us our own sinfulness and need for Grace. The Law was not given for us to earn our own righteousness. It utterly condemns us, and points to Christ, who did keep the Law.

Tyndale wrote in prologue of his translation:

Nevertheless, seeing that it hath pleased God to send unto our Englishmen…the scripture in their mother tongue, considering that there be in every place false teachers and blind leaders; that ye should be deceived of no man, I supposed it very necessary to prepare this Pathway into the scripture for you, that ye might walk surely, and ever know the true from the false: and, above all, to put you in remembrance of certain points, which are, that ye well understand what these words mean; the Old Testament; the New Testament; the law, the gospel; Moses, Christ; nature, grace; working and believing; deeds and faith; lest we ascribe to the one that which belongeth to the other, and make of Christ Moses; of the gospel, the law; despise grace, and rob faith.

Tyndale was writing to prevent what we have today, people opening up the Bible without any knowledge, making it into what they want it to be. This is why the Emergent Church has arisen, we live with heresy of modernity, the belief that we are so smart, and well educated, that anyone can open the Scripture and discern the truths found there.

This is so far from the truth it is scary. Not that I don’t believe all should read the Bible daily, but to do so without the gifts given to us by Christ, known as pastors and teachers (Ephesians 4:7-16) is truly dangerous. There is that balance of knowing that all need the Scripture in their own language, but we also need help in understanding the Scripture and God has given us teachers and pastors throughout history to help us understand His word (See Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch in Acts 8:26ff).

Tyndale was one such man. He goes on to write in the introduction of his translation:

Evangelion (that we call the gospel) is a Greek word; and signifieth good, merry, glad and joyful tidings, that maketh a man’s heart glad, and maketh him sing, dance, and leap for joy: as when David had killed Goliath the giant, came glad tidings unto the Jews, that their fearful and cruel enemy was slain, and they delivered out of all danger: for gladness whereof, they sung, danced, and were joyful. In like manner is the Evangelion of God (which we call gospel; and the New Testament) joyful tidings; and, as some say, a good hearing published by the apostles throughout all the world, of Christ the right David; how that he hath fought with sin, with death, and the devil, and overcome them: whereby all men that were in bondage to sin, wounded with death, overcome of the devil, are, without their own merits or deservings, loosed, justified, restored to life and saved, brought to liberty and reconciled unto the favor of God, and set at one with him again: which tidings as many as believe laud, praise, and thank God; are glad, sing and dance for joy….

“The law” (saith the gospel of John in the first chapter) “was given by Moses: but grace and verity by Jesus Christ.” The law (whose minister is Moses) was given to bring us unto the knowledge of ourselves, that we might thereby feel and perceive what we are, of nature. The law condemneth us and all our deeds; and is called of Paul (in 2 Corinthians 3) the ministration of death. For it killeth our consciences, and driveth us to desperation; inasmuch as it requireth of us that which is impossible for our nature to do. It requireth of us the deeds of an whole man. It requireth perfect love, from the low bottom and ground of the heart, as well in all things which we suffer, as in the things which we do. But, saith John in the same place, “grace and verity is given us in Christ:” so that, when the law hath passed upon us, and condemned us to death (which is his nature to do), then we have in Christ grace, that is to say, favor, promises of life, of mercy, of pardon, freely, by the merits of Christ; and in Christ have we verity and truth, in that God for his sake fulfilleth all his promises to them that believe.

Therefore is the Gospel the ministration of life. Paul calleth it, in the fore-rehearsed place of the 2 Corinthians 3 the ministration of the Spirit and of righteousness. In the gospel, when we believe the promises, we receive the spirit of life; and are justified, in the blood of Christ, from all things whereof the law condemned us. And we receive love unto the law, and power to fulfill it, and grow therein daily. Of Christ it is written, in the fore-rehearsed John 1. This is he of whose abundance, or fullness, all we have received grace for grace, or favor for favor. That is to say, For the favor that God hath to his Son Christ, he giveth unto us his favor and good-will, and all gifts of his grace, as a father to his sons. As affirmeth Paul, saying, “Which loved us in his Beloved before the creation of the world.” So that Christ bringeth the love of God unto us, and not our own holy works. Christ is made Lord over all, and is called in scripture God’s mercy-stool: whosoever therefore flieth to Christ, can neither hear nor receive of God any other thing save mercy.

In the Old Testament are many promises, which are nothing else but the Evangelion or gospel, to save those that believed them from the vengeance of the law. And in the New Testament is oft made mention of the law, to condemn them which believe not the promises. Moreover, the law and the gospel may never be separate: for the gospel and promises serve but for troubled consciences, which are brought to desperation, and feel the pains of hell and death under the law, and are in captivity and bondage under the law. In all my deeds I must have the law before me, to condemn mine imperfectness. For all that I do (be I never so perfect) is yet damnable sin, when it is compared to the law, which requireth the ground and bottom of mine heart. I must therefore have always the law in my sight, that I may be meek in the spirit, and give God all the laud and praise, ascribing to him all righteousness, and to myself all unrighteousness and sin. I must also have the promises before mine eyes, that I despair not; in which promises I see the mercy, favor, and good-will of God upon me in the blood of his Son Christ, which hath made satisfaction for mine imperfectness, and fulfilled for me that which I could not do….

The right Christian man consenteth to the law that it is righteous, and justifieth God in the law; for he affirmeth that God is righteous and just, which is author of the law. He believeth the promises of God; and justifieth God, judging him true, and believing that he will fulfill his promises. With the law he condemneth himself, and all his deeds, and giveth all the praise to God. He believeth the promises, and ascribeth all truth to God: thus, everywhere, justifieth he God, and praiseth God….

For when the evangelion is preached, the Spirit of God entereth into them which God hath ordained and appointed unto eternal life; and openeth their inward eyes, and worketh such belief in them. When the woful consciences feel and taste how sweet a thing the bitter death of Christ is, and how merciful and loving God is, through Christ’s purchasing and merits; they begin to love again, and to consent to the law of God, how that it is good and ought so to be, and that God is righteous which made it; and desire to fulfill the law, even as a sick man desireth to be whole, and are an hungered [sic] and thirst after more righteousness, and after more strength, to fulfill the law more perfectly. And in all that they do, or omit and leave undone, they seek God’s honor and his will with meekness, ever condemning the imperfectness of their deeds by the law.

I think with this understanding of Scripture, we are far better off and would avoid so many divisions and heresies that seem to plague the church today. Yes, we do have the Holy Spirit to help us and guide us, but also men given to us by Christ who have helped throughout history in understanding the great doctrines of our faith. Tyndale was one such man.

Now, let me be clear. I am NOT saying that Scripture is not enough for us to know the truth. Scripture is the final authority in all things concerning the faith. I’m not elevating pastors and teachers to that level of authority. What I am saying is that these gifts the church has been given, are aids to us in our understanding. For example, I believe strongly that God used John Calvin in a mighty way in aiding the church to understand Scripture. But I do not believe he, or his writings, to be on the level of Scripture. Scripture is the final authority and where Scripture and Calvin differ, we go with Scripture.

Yet, I do believe that most of what he wrote was biblical and useful to the church. He was a pastor given to the church by God. The Holy Spirit used him to help the body of Christ grow in our understanding of His rich truth.

Emergent Church Blah!

(Originally Published on Aug. 29, 2007. This post originally had a video but it since been lost.).

The more I hear, read and discover about the new emergent church movement, the more I see what a waste of time it is. It is just more anti-authoritarian liberal dogma that you cannot have any real truth when it comes to God. (Please note the contradiction in that sentence!) For these people, what is important is simply accepting one another for whatever psycho-babel theology they may want to produce. In other words, let’s not look at what the Bible says, and believe that. Let’s just believe what we want to believe. But don’t take that from me. Look at the video and you will get a better idea of what I’m talking about.
This movement, and everything they seem to be saying, is nothing more than an attempt to come up with a new way to be Christian. Sorry, that can’t happen. God has given us His rules. They are not there because we came up with them. They are there because He gives them. He requires that we enter into His fellowship through faith in His Son, Jesus Christ (John 6:29). Then He requires that we live obedient lives, obedient to His word, which does require submission to others inside the church. But all that is lost on these people since they are more interested in finding “common” ground and not following the word of our Savior. BTW, even the notion that they are finding “common” ground, as if it were something hard to find, is ridiculous because they already had common ground. They are already sinners dead in their trespasses and sins. They act as though their common ground is something unique to their lives. Not so at all, they are sinners in need of grace. That applies to everyone, not just this so called unique community of emergents.
Motivational posters can be found here.

 

Multi-culturalism Does Not Work

Angela Merkel, the Chancellor of Germany,  is simply stating what many of us already know: multi-culturalism does not work.

BERLIN (AFP) – Germany’s attempt to create a multi-cultural society has failed completely, Chancellor Angela Merkel said at the weekend, calling on the country’s immigrants to learn German and adopt Christian values.

Merkel weighed in for the first time in a blistering debate sparked by a central bank board member saying the country was being made “more stupid” by poorly educated and unproductive Muslim migrants.

“Multikulti”, the concept that “we are now living side by side and are happy about it,” does not work, Merkel told a meeting of younger members of her conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party at Potsdam near Berlin.

“This approach has failed, totally,” she said, adding that immigrants should integrate and adopt Germany’s culture and values.

“We feel tied to Christian values. Those who don’t accept them don’t have a place here,” said the chancellor.

“Subsidising immigrants” isn’t sufficient, Germany has the right to “make demands” on them, she added, such as mastering the language of Goethe and abandoning practices such as forced marriages.

Merkel spoke a week after talks with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in which they pledged to do more to improve the often poor integration record of Germany’s 2.5-million-strong Turkish community.

Maybe we should give up on it as well. The one thing that has always bothered me about this movement is that it the European descendants that end up losing our culture to the cultures of the minorities.

Read the rest here.

Charles Spurgeon on the Holy Spirit

I love what Charles Spurgeon says concerning the Holy Spirit’s work concerning illumination.

“… the best way in which the Holy Ghost leads us into all truth is by illumination. He illuminates the Bible. Now, have any of you an illuminated Bible at home? “No,” says one, “I have a morocco Bible; I have a polyglot Bible; I have a marginal reference Bible.” Ah! That is all very well, but have you an illuminated Bible? “Yes, I have a large family Bible with pictures in it.” There is a picture of John the Baptist baptizing Christ by pouring water on his head, and many other nonsensical things; but that is not what I mean: have you an illuminated Bible? “Yes, I have a Bible with splendid engravings in it.” Yes; I know you may have; but have you an illuminated Bible? “I don’t understand what you mean by an illuminated Bible.” Well, it is the Christian man who has an illuminated Bible. He does not buy it illuminated originally, but when he reads it…

A glory gilds the sacred page, majestic like the sun, which gives a light to every age, — it gives, but borrows none.’

“There is nothing like reading an illuminated Bible, beloved. You may read to all eternity, and never learn anything by it, unless it is illuminated by the Spirit.”[1]

 


[1] C.H. Spurgeon, Sermon: The Holy Ghost, The Great Teacher, No. 50, from Spurgeon’s Sermons on Jesus and the Holy Spirit, Hendricksen Publishers, (Peabody, MA: 2006), p. 430.

Texas Aggie Update & Other College Tidbits

Aggies & Tigers

Yes, it’s that time again to discuss my dearly beloved Texas Aggies, since they are playing the Missouri Tigers tomorrow in football and will lose. I know, there are predictions that this is going to be the signature win for head coach Mike Sherman as he finally gets the team he wants on the field and they don’t throw it away (literally) with half a dozen turnovers.

One such prediction come from the Houston Chronicle:

Mike Sherman is 30 games into his Texas A&M gig, and at this point he’s two wins behind his once-embattled predecessor, Dennis Franchione.

Sherman is 13-17; Franchione was 15-15 through 30. Mediocrity all around — and a greater appreciation in Aggieland for R.C. Slocum and his career record of 123-47-2. Bringing us to Saturday, and the importance of a victory for the Sherman Era, when the 3-2 Aggies play host to unbeaten and No. 21 Missouri at 11 a.m.

The Aggies started last year 3-0 before dropping their next three, prompting a round of “here we go agains” from the A&M faithful. The Aggies started this season 3-0 and have dropped their last two — at Oklahoma State and against Arkansas in Arlington. But it’s how they’ve lost — both times on the game’s last play — that offers fans a ray of hope.

But alas, I don’t like to believe in rays of hope. When it comes to the kingdom of man, rays of hope are nothing more than hype. Sherman will actually have to produce before I believe in this team again. It is true that the Aggies just barely lost to Oklahoma State and Arkansas. But that is the talk of those who are comfortable with mediocrity. I reject it. As that great poet once said, “a loss is a loss, is a loss is a loss.”

In the world of sports, a loss is for losers.

College Traditions

OK, other news the Aggies did make Bleacher Report’s Top 50 College Traditions, twice. The first listing is at position 44 with the Aggie War Hymn.

The Second, and at number 3 on the list, with The 12th Man.

That is the one I love the most. Also, please note, that the phrase “The 12th Man” is copyrighted by Texas A&M University. The Seattle Seahawks tried to use it a couple of years ago, and lo and behold, the Aggies suddenly started receiving donations to the university from the Seahawks after their lawyers spoke to the lawyers of the Seahawks. We’ll take the money any way we can get it.

Fox Sports Top 10 Overrated Teams

Well, there are quite a few, but only one that needs to be noted here: t.u. is on the list at position number 2. Sad that Fox Sports took so long to figure this one out. Aggies have been saying it for years.