200 Words: Why I’m Not Roman Catholic

Just read this over at the cripplegate and couldn’t agree more:

If someone were to ask me why I’m not Roman Catholic, this would be my answer in 200 words or less:

I believe the Roman Catholic church has seriously erred in three fundamental areas: in its approach to God, the Bible, and salvation.

1) In its approach to God, Roman Catholicism approves the veneration of (i.e. bowing down before) images and relics, encourages praying to the saints, and promotes Mary to a semi-divine status. All of these constitute varying forms of idolatry, which Scripture condemns (cf.Ex. 20:4–5Lev. 26:1Acts 10:25–26Rev. 22:8–9).

2) In its approach to the Bible, Roman Catholicism elevates church tradition to a place of authority equal to (and in practice higher than) Scripture. The Lord Jesus condemned first-century Judaism as apostate because it likewise elevated the traditions of men above the Word of God (Mark 7:6–8).

3) In its approach to salvation, Roman Catholicism adds various sacramental works to the gospel of grace. In a similar way, the apostle Paul condemned the Judaizers because they added self-righteous works to the gospel (cf. Acts 15:1–11Rom. 11:6Gal. 1:6–9).

These fundamental issues, in addition to a host of other doctrinal problems (e.g. purgatory, the papacy, priestly celibacy, indulgences, the Apocrypha, etc.) lead me to reject Roman Catholicism.

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We Absorb What We Admire

The dynamics of personal transformation in 2 Corinthians 3:18 assume that we are changed into what we admire and fix our attention on. ‘Beholding the glory of the Lord, [we] are being transformed into the same image.’ We know this is so from experience. Long looking with admiration produces change. From your heroes you pick up mannerisms and phrases and tones of voice and facial expressions and habits and demeanors and convictions and beliefs. The more admirable the hero is and the more intense your admiration is, the more profound will be your transformation. In the case of Jesus, he is infinitely admirable, and our admiration rises to the most absolute worship. Therefore, when we behold him as we should, the change is profound. Of course, there is more to it than that. The reflexes of imitation are not the whole story of how we change. Part of what we pick up in looking at Jesus in the gospel is a way of viewing the whole world. That worldview informs all our values and deeply shapes our thinking and decision-making. Another part of what we absorb is greater confidence in Jesus’ counsel and his promises. this has its own powerful effect on what we fear and desire and choose. Another part of what we take up from beholding the glory of Christ is greater delight in his fellowship and deeper longing to see him in heaven. This has its own liberating effect from the temptations of this world. All these have their own peculiar way of changing us into the likeness of Christ. Therefore, we should not think that pursuing likeness to Christ has no other components than just looking at Jesus. Looking at Jesus produces holiness along many different paths.

– John Piper from God is the Gospel

God’s Grace in the Deepest Pain

“Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.” – Romans 5:3-4

Suffering is an undeniable part of being human. Our natural response is at best to survive it and at worst to complain and develop angry and bitter hearts. However as Christians who have been justified through faith in Jesus Christ we not only rejoice in the hope of the glory of God when with glorified bodies we will dwell in the unveiled majesty and splendor of God but we can also rejoice in our sufferings. This is not natural but supernatural grace in which all Christians live and move and have their being. If you have 12 minutes please watch this video below. It is the story of Matthew and Sarah Harms experience of learning to trust God’s goodness and faithfulness through a DEEPLY painful loss. I warn you in advance, you will need a box of tissues, at first to grieve with them but by the end to wipe away tears of hope and joy in God who truly is faithful. Please watch and be encouraged at the hope, grace and strength which God supernaturally provides to all who are trusting his son, the risen Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Substitute Savior (2 Kings 17:1-23)

If all of theology could be described in one sentence it would be, “There is no god but the LORD.”

This theme begins with the Bible’s opening declaration that “in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1).

This truth is reemphasized in the Ten commandments in Exodus 20:3-5 and again in Deuteronomy 6:4-5.

In Judges, idolatry is blamed for Israel’s periodic descents into defeat and oppression (Judges 2:10-23).

Virtually all the prophets condemn idol worship, with some ridiculing the practice (Isaiah 46:6-23, for example).

The book of Kings drives home this theme of “There is no god but the LORD” emphatically.

  • Idolatry is blamed for the nation’s division after Solomon’s death (1 Kings 11:9-13).
  • Without exception the kings of Israel and Judah are judged not by whether they have a large army or treasury but by whether they promoted, curtailed, or eradicated idolatry in the land, especially the “high places.”
  • Jeroboam starts a new religion, one that serves his own interests rather than those of God. Instead of rejecting idols, he has two golden calves made, then teaches the nation that these gods delivered Israel from Egypt (1 Kings 12:28-30). Additionally, knowing it is not politically expedient to allow his people to travel to Jerusalem to worship, he builds two local shrines where the new bovine gods can be honored (1 Kings. 12:29-31).
  • Ahab and Jezebel promoted and supported Baalism in Israel.
    • Ahab built Baal a temple (1 Kings 16:32-33)
    • Jezebel employed 450 prophets of Baal (1 Kings 18:22) and threatened the lives of God’s prophets (1 Kings 18:1-6; 19:1-2).
  • Idolatry is blamed for Israel’s exile. 2 Kings 17:7 reads, “And this occurred because the people of Israel had sinned against the LORD their God, who had brought them up out of the land of Egypt from under the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and had feared other gods.”
    • No sociological or political reasons for their demise…simply theological…Yahweh alone is God, deal with it…or else!

Faithfulness to God is always the crucial, and in some sense, the sole demand for Israel.

Unfortunately, faithfulness to God is a rare commodity in Israel and unfaithfulness is as common as dust.

Anything but rely and trust on God.

Israel is always looking for substitutes.

Interestingly enough, “Hoshea” means “Savior” and is related to the names of Joshua and Jesus.

But Hoshea is no Joshua or Jesus!

Though 2 Kings 17:2 hints at something of a “reform”, he is a poor substitute for a savior.

His reign begins with conspiracy and ends in exile(see 2 Kings 15:30 and 2 Kings 17:1-6).

Hoshea, Israel’s substitute savior, despite his best efforts, could not redeem them from Assyria.

He was powerless to save and so were all the other “substitute saviors’’ listed in 2 Kings 17:1-23.

May this passage be a strong reminder to us that there is only one God and Savior, Jesus Christ, and that far from trying to substitute him, we  need to treasure his substitution in our place for our sinfulness on the cross!

1 Peter 2:24: “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed”

1 Peter 3:18: “For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit”

Just as God delivered Israel out of bondage to slavery in Egypt with a mighty arm, so Jesus has delivered all who believe in him from bondage to sin.

Do you believe, or are you still looking for other saviors?

There is no god but the LORD and there is no other way to him but through Jesus Christ!

Stop looking for other saviors and bow down to THE Savior Jesus Christ of whom we read that “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21).

Best Way to Evangelize

 

It’s not by handing out tracts, street preaching, or putting up revival tents. It has to do with what Jesus told His followers would attract the world to Him.

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

– John 13:34-35

Read more thoughts about his here.

Anger and the Gospel

 

By David Paul Dorr:

All of us get angry.  Anger is the emotional reaction that flows from the obstruction of our will. Just as we feel pain when you jam our toe against a wall, we feel anger when our will is obstructed.  Anger is not a sin, but provides plenty of emotional fuel for temptation.

And that temptation is bitterness.  Bitterness is the constipation of anger.  Bitterness sits in our heart with no place to go and it saps our energy.  But what is the source of bitterness?

Read the rest here!

Latest Sermon Uploaded: “The Death of Death” Part 3

 

This morning I continued our study of 1 Corinthians 15:20-28. Most of the sermon I actually focused on v. 22 – “For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.” What a life changing verse!

Click below to listen or read:

Sermon Audio

 

Sermon Manuscript