Saturday, December 22, 2007
Keep up the good work, fellow traveler!
And This statue of Hera
are totally unlike
So, while it is fair game to say that Greeks worshipped statues, do not suggest that the same is true of Catholics.
Of course, I speak tongue in cheek.
The Apostle John had simple instructions: Little children, keep yourselves from idols.
Moses had simple instructions: Thou shalt not make unto thyself any graven image.
Has the point been made? Do you see where this use of idols came from? Do you see that it's wrong? Does my pointing this out, make you angry with me? I'm not that concerned about whether you will be angry with me or not, if you will turn from your idols to worship the living and true God in spirit and in truth.
We preach to you a gospel different from that which is preached by the man in third picture above. He labels his message "Christ Our Hope" - but he preaches a different Christ than the Christ that the Apostle Paul and we preach. The message of the man pictured above is dangerous for it encourages many souls to trust in religion and religiosity for salvation, rather than in Christ.
If there is a difference between the gospel of Rome and the gospel of the Reformation, to whom will you turn to resolve the matter? To your bishops? To our elders?
The only answer can be that we must turn to the Scriptures to see which group of men have the same gospel that Paul preached. Anyone can use the label "Christ our hope" (taken from 1 Timothy 1:1), but it is important to know the true Christ.
You may realize that simply reading the Scriptures will not be enough to ensure you get it right, for many before you have read the Scriptures and arrived at differing conclusions. What's missing, then, from my advice? Prayer. Pray to God to send His Holy Spirit upon you to give you wisdom to understand whether the religion of Rome or of the Reformation is true. Seek wisdom earnestly, for only a fool thinks he already knows all.
Many will say, "Lord, Lord," but will not enter into the kingdom. Do not be one of them. Take heed to your souls!
Friday, December 21, 2007
I thought I'd switch over, for a post, to his son, Archibald Alexander Hodge. Neither Hodge requires any introduction in Reformed circles, so I'll get right to the meat, with these quotations from his commentary on the Westminster Confession of Faith:
Chapter 8, Section 6, Numbered Paragraph 2:
Christ thus has, in strict rigor, fully satisfied all the demands of divine justice upon those whom he represents. Jesus Christ has met the divine demand that the original covenant of works be fulfilled through the sorrow of His life and death, and he has met the divine demand for essential justice in the punishment of sin through the obedience unto death. Christ suffered as the representative of sinners. Our sins were laid upon him. He, "hath redeemed us from the curse of the law by being made a curse for us." He died, "the just for the unjust." "He is the propitiation (expiation) for our sins." He "gave his life a ransom for many." We are "bought with a price." (Gal. 3:13; 1 Pet. 3:18; 1 John 2:2; Matt. 20:28; 1 Cor. 6:20.) Christ suffered only in his single human soul and body, and only for a time. Nevertheless, his person was the infinite and transcendently glorious person of the eternal Son of God. Consequently his sufferings were precisely, both in kind and in degree, what the infinitely righteous wisdom of God saw to be in strict rigor a full equivalent, in respect to the demands of legal justice, for the eternal sufferings of all for whom he suffered. This is the doctrine of the whole Christian Church. The Thirty-nine Articles of the Church of England, say, Art. 31: "The offering of Christ, once made, is that perfect redemption, propitiation, and satisfaction, for all the sins of the whole world, both original and actual."
Chapter 8, Section 6, Numbered Paragraph 3:
This proves, therefore-(1) That Christ did not die simply to make the salvation of those for whom he died possible-i.e., to remove legal obstructions to their salvation-but that he died with the design and effect of actually securing their salvation and of endowing them gratuitously with an inalienable title to heaven. (2) It proves, in the second place, that the vicarious sufferings of Christ must have been, in design and effect, personal and definite as to their object. Salvation must be applied to all those for whom it was purchased. Since not the possibility or opportunity for reconciliation, but actual reconciliation itself was purchased; since not only reconciliation, but a title to an eternal inheritance was purchased, it follows (a) That "to all those for whom Christ hath purchased redemption, he doth certainly and effectually apply and communicate the same." (Conf. Faith, ch. 8. s. 8.) And (b) That he who never receives the inheritance, and to whom the purchased grace is never applied, is not one of the persons for whom it was purchased.
Chapter 8, Section 8, Numbered Paragraph 3:
Our Standards, it will be observed, very explicitly teach that Christ, as mediatorial Priest, made expiation and purchased salvation for certain definite persons. Thus, in chap. 3. s. 6, it is said: "As God has appointed the elect unto glory, so has he by the eternal and most free purpose of his will, foreordained all the means thereunto. Wherefore they who are elected being fallen in Adam, are redeemed by Christ. . . . Neither are any other redeemed by Christ, . . . but the elect only." Here it is expressly affirmed (1) That Christ died upon the cross on purpose to carry out the eternal purpose of God in the election of certain individuals to eternal life. (2) That Christ died for the purpose of saving no other than the elect.
(source) (for all quotations above)
This is, of course, the same thing being said by Hodge's father, and by Shedd and many other Reformed authors as well. Compare, for example, the similar remarks by Robert Shaw (link).
May God be praised,
No doctrine of the Bible, relating to the plan of salvation, is more plainly taught or more wide reaching than that which concerns the union between Christ and his people. That union in one aspect, was from eternity, we were in Him before the foundation of the world; given to Him of the Father, to redeem from the estate of sin and misery, into which it was foreseen our race would by transgression fall. It was for the accomplishment of this purpose of mercy that He assumed our nature, was born of a woman, and did and suffered all that He was called upon to do and to endure in working out our salvation.
He did not, therefore, come into the world for Himself. It was not to work out a righteousness of his own to entitle Him to the exaltation and power which in our nature He now enjoys. In virtue of the Godhead of his personality, He was of necessity infinitely exalted above all creatures. He came for us. He came as a representative. He came in the same relation to his people, which Adam, in the original covenant, bore to the whole race. He came to take their place; to be their substitute, to do for them, and in their name, what they could not do for themselves.
All He did, therefore, was vicarious; his obedience and his sufferings. The parallel between Adam and Christ, the two great representatives of man, the two federal heads, the one of all his natural descendants, the other of all given Him by the Father, is carried out into its details in Romans v. 12-21. It is assumed or implied, however, everywhere else in the sacred volume. What Adam did, in his federal capacity, was in law and justice regarded as done by all whom he represented. And so all that Christ did and suffered as a federal head, was in law and justice done or suffered by his people.
Therefore, as we were condemned for the disobedience of Adam, so we are justified for the obedience of Christ. As in Adam all died, so in Christ are all made alive. Hence Christ’s death is said to be our death, and we are said to rise with Him, to live with Him, and to be exalted, in our measure, in his exaltation. He is the head and we are the body. The acts of the head, are the acts of the whole mystical person.
The ideas, therefore, of legal substitution, of vicarious obedience and punishment, of the satisfaction of justice by one for all, underlie and pervade the whole scheme of redemption. They can no more be separated from that scheme than the warp can be separated from the woof without destroying the whole texture.
You can imagine how someone could read "the satisfaction by one for all" and think that Hodge held to a view that Christ died for the reprobate. Hopefully the remainder of the paragraph makes it clear that he and I do not think that, but instead hold that Christ came, died, and rose again for the purpose of saving his people (those for whom he is the federal head - those whom he represented on the cross) from their sins.
May God be Glorified!
P.S. Incidentally, this week has been a bit hectic. I hope to provide for the atonement debate a brief argument (my original draft got quite long and ungainly) as to why Hebrews 10 is talking about the same group Hodge is talking about in the paragraphs above.
For those interested in textual criticism, who are really interested in tracking down the attestation of the Ethiopic/Aetheopic (or other spellings) translation of the Bible (which was apparently fairly early, and which apparently had little contact with Rome over the years), this is an essential resource. If there is a better work on the subject in any language (even in Amharic), I'm unaware of it.
For most everyone else, they will probably just chuckle at my excitement.
May God be glorified, and His people (whatever language they speak) be edified.
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
G. Believer: Welcome, Arthur. Why have you agreed to come on the show?
A. Legalist: Well, I want to talk to you about a real problem I've noticed.
GB: What's that?
AL: It's really the worst sin of our time. It has destroyed many lives.
GB: What's that? Non-Christianity, Murder, Idolatry, Adultery, Profanity/Blasphemy, Covetousness, Theft, Disobedience to Parents, Sabbath-breaking, or Lying?
AL: No, not exactly.
GB: Failure to Love God or our neighbor?
GB: What then?
AL: It's the scourge of [omitted].
GB: Interesting. The folks who led me to Christ taught me that our rule of faith and life is Scripture - but I don't know Scripture that well.
GB: So, pardon my ignorance, but where does the Bible condemn [omitted].
AL: Well, it doesn't explicitly do so, at least not in so many words. The Bible doesn't say "Thou shalt not [omitted]." But the only biblical position that Christians today can have is one of total avoidance of [omitted].
GB: Didn't Paul sort of encourage [omitted]?
AL: Yes. That's true, but it's been abused.
GB: I'm not that sage, but does the Bible say that if something is abused it must be prohibited?
AL: Not in so many words.
GB: So, whose rule is this?
AL: Well, it's mine - but its the only sensible and proper thing. We Christians are called to be wise, and this is the wise thing to do.
GB: Again, I'm not such a seasoned Christian as you are, but perhaps a better solution would be to curb the abuse of [omitted].
AL: NO! WE MUST STOP [omitted] NOW! And if you don't agree, I'm going to see to it that trouble comes your way.
Now, consider for yourself what was omitted from that dialog.
It's a very dangerous thing to start accreting rules of life that are not Scriptural.
May God be thanked for all that He gives,
Keywords: Cosmetics, Jewelry, Meat, Caffeine, Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, Carbs, Fat, Sugar, Sugar-Substitutes, Motorcycling, Slavery, Tatoos, Rational Thought, Time at Work, Time with your Family
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Here is a man who will openly state that "I do not believe God to be the absolute predestinarian of Augustine, Calvin, Beza, and Bañez." Amidst various blasphemies Kimel writes: "The God and Father of Jesus Christ intends the eternal salvation of every human being he has made and will make, without exception."
There are only two ways to go from there:
1) Universalism; and
2) Calling God a failure.
If Kimel's claim is true, God either will save all mankind or God is unable to achieve what he intends. The former is an utterly useless doctrine. If it is true, we do not need it, and if it is false, we do not want it. The latter denies God's essential attribute of omnipotence.
Kimel's condemnation, as things stand, is just. He even admits: "I know that I traduce the vast theological work of St Augustine."
He states: "I do not fear the God who is Holy Trinity. I fear my own freedom to turn from this God, to hide myself in an impenetrable egotism and despair which will forever close me to the roar of his love." Kimel's position is the consistent position of the semi-Pelagian who elevates himself to the determinative cause of his own salvation. He lacks fear of the Judge, he fears himself. He ought to fear God and God's judgment, and that ought to push him to renounce his own freedom as the source of his salvation. If you fear yourself, it would seem that you are trusting in yourself.
Kimel states that "to this Jesus I entrust my future; to his Father I commend my spirit" but he does so without knowing who Jesus is. He does not know the Logos, the Word made flesh, the omnipotent God the Son. The problem with Kimel's confession of faith is not that he got the names wrong. It is in the Holy Trinity that we must trust.
The problem with Kimel's confession of faith is the disclaimer, the fact that Kimel still fails to know the love of God. It is not his faith in Christ that assures him of God's love, but a sub-omnipotent view of divine omnicordiality. But for the Christian, this is not so.
Our love for God demonstrates to us that he loved us first. Our awareness of our transformation from God-haters and blasphemers to lovers of God makes us aware that God has begun a good work in us. Our knowledge that God is omnipotent to finish what he started gives us assurance that we will be saved from judgment.
There is still time for Kimel, that he will repent and turn to Christ. Many have done so before him, from Augustine to Luther, and so on. But he must turn to the Christ of the Gospel, not to the myth of Christ presented by the Vatican. He must turn to Christ and trust in Christ alone for salvation: not to the mediatorial work of the Mother of Christ or passed-on saints, not to a treasury of merit, not merely on a belief in the general mercy of God (though God is merciful).
Kimel has the law, he knows he is a sinner, and he confesses the same. He is aware of his sins, and he is afraid of judgment, no matter how stiff an upper lip he may put on. Kimel needs a savior: someone to take his place. There is only one available: Christ Jesus, God Almighty made man. He is the one mediator - the one advocate. If anyone believes on him for salvation, they will not be ashamed on judgment day. Let us pray that Kimel will be blessed with God's grace, to embrace the God who has mercy on whom He will have mercy and hardens whom He will.
May God be Magnified!