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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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.

From the Comments Section

Yes, the comments are worth reading, it’s just that I don’t get very many. I figure this is because I do such an excellent job of presenting my arguments, that those who read my blog know there is no where to go. But some comments are worth expanding upon.

Abraham Lincoln Was a … Democrat???

On my blog post about the Democrats always being the party of slavery, Julie related this sad story:

Recently we had a friend help us with painting the interior of the house.
He’s in his mid-fifties and college educated.
For some reason we (Tim, myself, and friend) started conversing about the US Civil War and he made the remark that it was because of Lincoln being a democrat that slavery was abolished.
Tim and I both sputtered at the same time that Lincoln was not a democrat but a republican to which our friend (he is by the way a democrat) said, “No way!”
It still cracks me up when I think about it.
And the deception goes on….sad, sad, sad.

From the “You’re A Bigot” Sector…

Apparently the commenter didn’t like my post: Fincher Clarification, in which I spent some time detailing why Roy Herron wasn’t worth voting for. Here is what the commenter wrote:

I think you meant to say Imam Obama?  An Imam is a leadership position within Islam and IMAN is the model married to David Bowie.  I hate to see a bigot embarrass himself.

Yes, I know. It’s true. I did misspelled the word “Imam.” I’m so ashamed. The commenter had nothing else to add and decided the best argument he/she/it could make against my case was that I was a “bigot.” You know you’ve won the argument when the other side starts calling you names. SG, whoever that is, really dropped the ball on proving their point… whatever it may have been. I guess in SG’s world, to disagree with Obama is to become a bigot. By that definition, I will take the label.

That’s A Good Question!

Alysa of Heart Treasures asked the following:

This is kind of off topic but I’m curious of your opinion (if this is too personal no worries). Hypothetically, during a presidential election would you think it best to vote for a Christian who is very conservative on moral issues and does not have a whole lot of experience elsewhere (such as lack of political experience, no military background, etc.), or a Mormon who is very conservative on moral issues but does have experience in other important areas.

I responded:

That is a tough question and one a lot of people have trouble answering. I think it was Martin Luther that said it is better to be governed by a benevolent Turk than a stupid Christian. The point being, who makes the better leader for the country? I’m assuming you are speaking of Romney. I don’t think the fact that he is a Mormon should disqualify him from running from president. It definitely disqualifies him from leading in worship, or even worshiping with him. But leading the country is outside the realm of the church, and the Kingdom of God.

This last point is why so many get confused on the issue. There are two different realms, the state and the Kingdom of God. Many try to confuse the two, thinking the state has to reflect the Kingdom of God. It doesn’t. Which is good because it is not meant to. The Kingdom of God is focusing on a far broader realm, which includes the church, but also goes outside of the church and many who are part of the Kingdom of God can influence the state and should influence the state. But to confuse the Republican Party with the church, well, you get the idea.

Further notes: This site passed the 10,000 visitor mark on Wednesday. I’ve had this site up since April 18, 2010. So that should average out to about 20,000 a year. Please note that I did remove the post about Miss South Carolina. If you remember that one, it was her trying to answer one of those mundane questions about world peace, and she couldn’t form a sentence. I was getting about 25 hits a month just on that post alone, but decided to show her some mercy and pulled it.

“He shall guide you into all truth.”

I love Charles Spurgeon’s comments on this passage, in which he discusses the role of the Holy Spirit in helping us understand truth.

He writes:

“Have you not been reading or studying the Scripture, but a text came across your mind, and you could not help it; though you even put it down, it was like a cork in the water, and would swim up again to the top of your mind. Well, that good thought was put there by the Spirit; he often guides his people into all truth by suggesting… He does not say a word, perhaps, but he walks into a passage himself, and you follow him: so the Spirit suggests a thought, and your heart follows it up”

“Well can I remember the manner in which I learned the doctrines of grace in a single instant. Born, as all of us are by nature, an Arminian, I still believed the old things I had heard continually from the pulpit, and did not see the grace of God. I remember sitting one day in the house of God and hearing a sermon as dry as possible, and as worthless as all such sermons are, when a thought struck my mind– “How came I to be converted?” “I prayed,” thought I. Then I thought, “How came I to pray?” “I was induced to pray by reading the Scriptures.” “How came I to read the Scriptures?” “Why–I did read them, and what led me to that?” And then, in a moment, I saw that God was at the bottom of all, and the he was the author of faith; and then the whole doctrine opened up to me, from which I have not departed.”

I like this quote for several reasons. First, this is part of Spurgeon’s testimony in how it is that he became such a staunch Calvinist. Yes, I know, many of our Baptist brethren will not like to here this bit of truth, but Spurgeon, the prince of preachers and Baptist hero for decades, was a Calvinist and a very good one. By the Spirit’s leading, he began to see that he really had nothing to do with his own salvation. None of us do. Yes, we do come to the point of belief, but it’s not until the Holy Spirit has already worked in our hearts to show us our deep need for the Savior. He illuminated our dull and dead senses to help us see the benefits of Christ in our lives. Then, and only then, did we move and believe in Him. In fact, I believe that even the faith that we exercised and are still exercising was and is wrought in our hearts by the Holy Spirit. God gets all the credit. We get to praise Him for it, and to take any credit in our salvation at all, is to rob God of His glory.

Secondly, I like this quote because Spurgeon illustrates well how it is that the Holy Spirit illuminates our minds to truth. We study a truth and the Spirit works on us until we believe it. All the intelligence in the world will do us absolutely no good unless the Holy Spirit moves in our hearts and minds to help us understand the most simple truths of the faith. This is why I believe we preach and teach for the glory of God, WITHOUT dumbing down the gospel. The gospel is not dependent upon the intellectual level of the audience, but upon the Spirit.

Third, I love this quote because it shows us the truth about the Arminian position, that it is based upon the carnal notion that somehow, salvation is up to us. This view is completely of the flesh and appeals to our fallen-human nature. It is why the church will never be rid of Arminianist, especially in the church in the U.S. There is such an appeal to the flesh in worship, in the songs we sing, in the sermons that are preached, that it seems like this position rules the day. And it will rule for a time because you can be an Arminian and not truly be saved simply because you made a decision. This decision is on the same level of those who choose to be… atheists, or Hindu, or pagan. They enter into the religion because it is something new and neat, or a family tradition, not because the Spirit has converted their souls. The Spirit rarely moves when those receiving the glory are all men.

May He guide us in understanding all these truths. I’m glad there were men like Spurgeon who held to the truth and proclaimed it so well. May we see more men like him rise up for the benefit of the church, and the glory of God.

Democrats Have Always Been the Party of Slavery

One of my beefs with the Democratic Party is their constant lie on slavery. They always try to pin slavery on Republicans and conservatives, yet, it was the Democratic Party that truly was the party of slavery and the Ku Klux Klan. They were and continue to be the party of slavery, only now, their form of slavery comes in the form of the welfare state and the burden of taxes on the people.

Remember that Obama said he would not allow taxes to increase on the middle class? Yet, come this January our taxes will increase in many ways. Not only did the Dems fail to extend the Bush tax cuts, but taxes on our health insurance will go up, making it more difficult to afford health insurance.

The Democrats also continue to be the party of racism. When there is someone getting racists, it is always those on the left doing so. Just take the case of Alan West, who is running for Congress out of Florida. He is black, conservative and running with the Republicans. Yet, he has been called every thing from Uncle Tom, Oreo, etc., etc. Not by those on the right, but by those on the Left.

Just listen to his own words.

Notice that Alan West doesn’t let it bother him. He is going to press on being conservative, American and Republican regardless of the racial slurs thrown at him by the Left. He also mentions the fact that the Dems are continuing slavery.

As long as the Dems try to get the country dependent upon government, using oppressive legislation like Obamacare to do so, they will continue to be the party of slavery.

Another thought that occurred to me when I first begin reading and thinking about this issue is why the Democrats have never apologized for slavery. Since they are the party of slavery, should they not lead the way in apologizing to blacks across the country? You will hear blacks from time to time demanding an apology from America, but they won’t start with their own party. They seem to imply that it should be Republicans who should apologize first, even though it was a Republican President, known as Lincoln, that brought about freedom for the slaves. It was also Republicans who helped get the Civil Rights bill passed back in the 1960s. The Democrats couldn’t do it without the help of Republicans, because there were too many Dems like Senator Robert “Sheets” Byrd who blocked the legislation (he was a member of the KKK for years.)

But alas, Democrats won’t apologize for slavery because they still believe in the principle of slavery. Only now, we are the slaves working for the Government, or shall we call it: Master? They want us to work and work and work giving our hard-earned money to the government so they can have more power and control over us.

I think Kevin McCullough captures these thoughts well on an article he wrote for Townhall.com.

McCullough writes:

“And they have a right to be impatient about the pace of change. I’m impatient!”

While the American public has far more right to express those words in regards to the President’s policies, it seems this week, President Obama had it backwards. Speaking to a group of voters (barely 3000–remember the days of 100,000 plus with fake roman columns) under the age of 40, the President attempted to make the case that Americans should stick with his party in the November elections.

His attempts to get people to stick with him are truly in vain. The more he speaks, the more desperate he seems.

McCullough continues:

Yes, if he felt he was impatient in seeing change arrive, imagine all the people that feel further away from it than when they voted for him twenty-four months ago.

But it was what he said next that has evoked such curious reaction.

“It took time to free the slaves…”

Directly begging for voters to stick with he and his party in November, his words conjured up loads of emotion.

If one is to properly understand the analogy the parallel to be drawn would be to portray himself as a Lincoln-like, emancipating sort of character in 2010. If one is to be in fierce agreement with what he said one would be forced to analyze who Obama was referring to as slaves, and by necessity who he implied were the slave masters. Lastly, if the statement was to make any sense at all one would have to address the definition of “free.”

McCullough makes the case that Obama doesn’t know what true freedom truly is. He confuses slavery with freedom and vice versa. The expansion of government is costing our freedom every day. Every time he passes new legislation, the government expands and our freedom shrinks. I believe there is a reason theologically. The more that our country looks to government to solve our problems instead of God, the more we are given over to government. God warned the Israelites that this was the nature of government in 1 Samuel 8:10 ff, when the people demanded a king instead of letting God be their king, the king would start taking from the people and demanding things that did not belong to him.

The same is true of our government today. Our government continually demands that which does not belong to it. We have gone so far way from the biblical teaching of government. The purpose of the government it to make sure there is protection from foreign invansion and to carry out the laws passed of a civil society. This has fallen by the wayside because of Liberal Democrats, who deny the existence of God in any political entity, thinking the end all and be all of justice is the government running every thing from our health care to how much fat we consume on a daily basis. This mentality can only lead to tyranny and greater slavery. And that is what the Democrats are all about since their entire purpose in serving and governing is the expansion of government. They have never condemned slavery, because they still believe in slavery.

McCullough is far more gracious and continues:

Obama confuses freedom for slavery.

He has read of others who did free slaves. But he himself comes up short.

For anyone that forcibly coerces so many others into poorly run, horribly inefficient public policies to the degree that their very life depends them–may fancy themselves as historic.

But they are not setting anyone free from anything.

He is instead the new slave owner, operating the ultimate plantation, funded on the broken backs of tax-payers, who are in need of a civil revolt to restore what had belonged to them–self determination.

Link, here. (Hattip: Wintery Knight for the Alan West video).

Living Waters

“If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water (John 7:37-38).

I will add that I have had to hold onto this verse quite a lot lately. Anyone in (teaching) ministry will tell you that often times, when we teach and preach a lot, we feel very empty afterward. There is nothing wrong with being empty after we preach, or even empty before we preach. We must not be empty while we preach. The only hope that any of us have in doing so, is to be filled with His Spirit so that living waters flow forth. That is my prayer when I pray, preach and teach. Let His living waters flow forth and bear much fruit.