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Saturday, March 17, 2018

Imitating the Godly

“I think my mind has been too intent on things which I look upon as services for the Church. But God will have us know that he has no need of me nor them, and is therefore calling me off them. Help me with your prayers that I may, through the riches of his grace in Christ, be in some measure ready for my account.” John Owen, Letter to Charles Fleetwood

One of the defining differences between the Bible and the purported holy books of other religions, is the fact that the Bible does not seek to paper over the faults of its main characters. From beginning to end, the Bible shows the lives of the protagonists in its narratives with their many virtues, but also with their many warts. Although it calls Abraham the “friend of God” (James 2:23), it also tells of the unbelief that led him to seek to have a child with Hagar (Genesis 16) and to lie about Sarah (Genesis 20). Although it says that David was a “man after God’s own heart” (Acts 13:22), it also tells of his adultery, murder and unbelief (2 Samuel 11). (As an aside, the Qur'an, and Islam in general, considers all its prophets sinless).

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Dead Faith?

“For just as the body without the Spirit is dead, so is faith without works dead being alone” (James 2:26).

One of the great debates within so-called Christendom is just how works and grace interact in the salvation of man. The Roman Catholic church officially stipulates that works are a part of the justification process and that, although grace is necessary to bring about the salvation of the soul, it is not in and of itself sufficient for that purpose. This was perhaps the greatest “bone of contention” between the Reformers (Luther, Calvin, et. al.) and the Roman church. Whereas Rome dogmatically set forth the essential nature of works in contributing to a man’s salvation at the council of Trent—including baptismal regeneration—the Reformers insisted that grace alone, through faith, was the vehicle through which God saved the sinner.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

The Word

One of the cornerstones of the Protestant Reformation was the belief that the Bible and it alone, is the final and infallible rule and authority for life and practice in the church. In the Bible, the Reformers taught, we find the answers to all matters pertaining to doctrinal issues dealing with the salvation of our souls as well as the holy living of the people of God. In contrast to the prevailing Catholic idea that tradition passed down, supposedly from the time of the apostles, held as much authority as the Bible, the Reformers categorically denied that anything was on par with the “God-breathed” Word. “Sola Scriptura” restored the Bible to its rightful place in the life of the church and unleashed a movement the reverberations of which are still being felt today.