Thursday, December 27, 2007

The Pope's Alleged Heresies

This website (link) catalogues 101 alleged heresies of Benedict XVI. Now, obviously, the RCC does not teach that popes are perfect. I wonder, though, whether any supporter of Ben16 has taken the time to debunk the list above, which - at first glance - appears to be documented with evidence from various sources.

The list is something of a catch 22.

-If the list is true and accurate, Ben16 is more of a liberal protestant than one might think.

-If the list is accurate as the left column (Ben16's views) but inaccurate as to the right column (RCC dogma) and if Ben16's views are the view of the RCC, then all sorts of new issues are raised.

-If the list is accurate as to the right column but not the left column, and if Ben16's views are the view of the RCC, then a different set of new issues are raised.

In any event, regardless of the answers, it would handy to have a continuationalist (as opposed to a sedavacantist) RCer "debunk" or confirm the list. I don't think it's been done, but I admit my fallibility.


The World Religions Guessing Game ...

Try to guess the religion of this assassin (link). There is one group that thinks it will benefit from killing the opposition leaders in Pakistan (and particularly, killing a woman), and that is not the ruling party, but the purist Muslims.

But there is one group that will actually benefit, even from these horrific crimes, and that is the elect. All things work together for the good of them that are the called. I don't pretend to know how this works to the good of the elect, but I'm sure it does. Even though they mean it for evil, good will come from it.

I'm not encouraging Al-Quaeda, I'm discouraging them. All their work to promote Islam will ultimately fail. God will prevail, He always does. We may grieve with the prophets of old, at the cruelty of the wicked, but we know that God's will will be done. As their own words testify, God is Great!

There is no God but the Triune, and the false prophet of Islam, the father of murderers, is no prophet of God,


Now I get why Osteen says Mormons are Christians ...

It is, as they say, all about the Benjamins* (link).

That just confirms to me that Osteen is not a Christian teacher at all, no matter what he may call himself. If someone can locate a copy of Turretin's Institutes in their local Mormon bookstore, I'll eat my hat (figuratively speaking).


* For those unfamiliar with urban lingo, Benjamins = money

UPDATE: JohnMark at Beggars All Reformation is less suspicious of Osteen - and simply sees this as confirming the vacuity of Osteen's writing (link).

Is Christimas a Catholic Holiday?

In a recent discussion with Centuri0n (the wise Turk), he noted with apparent surprise my curious insistence, as a Puritan, that Christmas is a vestige of Catholicism, and is primarily objectionable for that reason, not for its more ancient connection with paganism.

Let's be clear about one thing: just because one celebrates the birth of Christ does not make one a crypto-Catholic, and Centuri0n has the honor of having his photo posted in a popular Catholic apologist's "Anti-Catholics" web page. Indeed, the Bible gives us the freedom, individually, to celebrate holy days according to our choosing.

Furthermore, let's be clear that giving gifts, spending time with family, eating figgy pudding and honey-glazed ham, and drinking spiced cider, eggnog, or (if your conscience permits) a little brandy, is perfectly fine - whether the occasion is the birthday of Her Majesty, Elizabeth II (may God save the Queen!), Independence Day, Bastille Day, International Women's Day, or a day you have set aside to remember Christ's incarnation. Those things are not religious activities. For most folks, even etymologically questionable things like mistletoe and a conifer have lost their original druidic connotation, and are essentially just winter seasonal decorations. Bereft of original pagan significance, these two can be enjoyed as God's gifts.

But Christmas was a Catholic holiday. While misguided modern evangelicals are busy trying to put the "Christ" back in "Christmas," they are joined in that task by Catholics who are anxious to put not only the "Christ" back in, but the "mass" back in as well. Why? Because it was their holiday first.

One perfectly acceptable reason for an evangelical not to celebrate the Birth of Christ on December 25 each year is to say to the world: "My religion is not Catholicism. I do not honor their holy days, and I do not follow their traditions. The Scripture alone is my rule of faith and life."

Now, I realize there is a counter-argument that we can Evangelical-ize Christmas, just as Catholics Christianized Christmas away from the pagans in the first place. I hate to be a sourpuss on this, but It's not going to work. Too many false gospels with their false Christs are willing to be a part of almost every American child's favorite holiday, and Catholicism is right there, leading the way, and pointing out that they came up with the idea of celebrating a mass to honor Christ's birth.

Furthermore, in order to outnumber those who make Christmas a holy day of obligation, we'd practically have to make it obligatory on the people of our churches as well. Doing so would violate God's law by unlawfully binding the consciences of men to a human invention.

Sorry, Centuri0n - it is a Catholic holiday, it is associated with Catholicism, and its only the influence of secularism/paganism that is likely to decatholicize it. We see that happening in America today, where the holiday is largely "secular" and humanist, despite Congressional attempts to declare it a Christian holiday (which, as you may have heard, got a surprising 9 votes against!). Feel free to celebrate it if you like, but don't insist that we join you.

I have freedom in Christ to treat the day, for religious purposes, like any other, and I plan to exercise that freedom, without stepping on your freedom to set it aside as a holy day for yourself.

May God Incarnate be glorified,


Wednesday, December 26, 2007

A Purtian's Mind - in Portuguese

I'd encourage those who read my blog but are more comfortable with Portuguese, to check it out (link). Thanks to Albert for correcting me from Spanish to Portuguese.

Boar's Head Tavern Quotes TurretinFan without Attribution

John Halton, over at BHT, has quoted a comment of mine without providing attribution (here). So does Michael Spencer as well (here). Comments on the posts are closed, but I hope this post will spark Halton and Spencer to at least identify the person they quote.


Monday, December 24, 2007

Field on RCC Baptism

I found this short note by David Field on the validity of Roman Catholic baptism interesting (link). I suspect that he is omitting from the Reformed camp the "Reformed Baptists" who would presumably have rejected most RCC baptisms as invalid. If I'm wrong about that, I'd be delighted to see the evidence of an early "Reformed Baptist" that accepted RCC baptism as valid.


Tell-Tale Signs of False Teachers

1. Joel Osteen endorses Mormonism as Christianity, thereby demonstrating that he is at best unfamiliar with Mormonism (link). I suspect the problem is a bit deeper, given his rationale for accepting Mormonism as Christian. UPDATE: Jame White has more in-depth response here (link).
2. Doug Pagitt says that the way that God is going to interact with all of humanity in the same way, regardless of what you believe, and denying the existence of hell (link) (link). Pagitt even goes so far as to accuse Todd Friel of Platonism. For shame!


Why the ARP Sings Psalms Only

The Virginia Hugenot alerted me to this article, originally published 107 years ago, explaining why the ARP at that time only sang Psalms. Much of what was written then would still apply today. I'd encourage folks to consider whether it might make sense to adopt the reasoning set forth in the article. Yes, you'd have to give up singing "Joy to the World," and "God bless ye Merry Gentlemen," but then we're not commanded (not by Scripture, anyhow) to celebrate Christ's birth ever, let alone annually. (link)

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Hebrews 10:14 - Is "them that are sanctified" the entire group?

A few folks objected to my argument from Hebrews 10 (in the Atonement debate over at Contend Earnestly), on the basis that “them that are sanctified” in Hebrews 10:14, “For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified,” might (according to the objectors) refer to something less than the entire intended beneficiaries of the sacrifice.

1. That it means all for whom the sacrifice was made, can be seen first from the parallel to verse 1.

In verse 1, it is written, Hebrews 10:1, “For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect.”

This verse provides the basis of comparison against which Christ’s sacrifice is observed to be better. But it appears that προσερχομενους (the comers) is the entire group for whom sacrifices were offered. As you will recall, the person for whom the priest offers the sacrifice is the person who came to the priest and brought the victim to be sacrificed.

Consider, for example:

Leviticus 15:14-15

14And on the eighth day he shall take to him two turtledoves, or two young pigeons, and come before the LORD unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and give them unto the priest: 15And the priest shall offer them, the one for a sin offering, and the other for a burnt offering; and the priest shall make an atonement for him before the LORD for his issue.

It is the comers to the animal sacrifices that were the group for whom the animal sacrifices were made, but they were not made perfect by those sacrifices. In contrast, those for whom the sacrifice of Christ is made are made perfect by that sacrifice. Furthermore, this perfection is already once for all accomplished. The elect will be (and have been) justified in time, but the judicial reconciliation was accomplished on the cross.

2. We also see it in the parallels to other passages:

A. Hebrews 5:7-9

7Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared; 8Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; 9And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;

Christ was made perfect as a priest so that he might perfect the intended beneficiaries of his sacrifice: namely those that obey him (aka the elect). This reemphasizes the point above that the single purpose of Christ’s sacrificial work was to save the elect.

B. Hebrews 7:19

19For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God.

It is here written that the law (that is, the animal sacrifice system) did not make anyone perfect, which is contrasted with the sacrifice of Christ, which did, and by which we can approach God. This reemphasizes that the difference between the old and new sacrifice is that the former did not make its intended beneficiaries perfect, whereas the new does.

C. Hebrews 9:7-12

7But into the second went the high priest alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the errors of the people: 8The Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing: 9Which was a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience; 10Which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation. 11But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; 12Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.

Here again we see the glorious perfection of Christ compared and contrasted to the impotent animal sacrifices. Christ did not have to offer for his own sins, and when he came into the holy place he came with his own blood, having obtained eternal redemption for us. This reemphasizes the point above that the reconciliation is already bought – already paid for – and that the execution of that reconciliation is now a matter of justice as between Christ as advocate and the godhead. That is to say, Christ has obtained eternal redemption for the elect, and consequently the elect will not perish.

3. The opposite hypothesis (i.e. that “them which are sanctified” is a subgroup of the intended beneficiaries of the sacrifice) is without support in the text.

That is to say, the text gives no hint that there is some other group that is intended to benefit, but that is not perfected by the sacrifice. Furthermore, if such were the case, it would break down the parallel to the Old Testament above. For the old sacrifices contain no parallel to such a bifurcation in the intent of the sacrifice’s benefits.

4. The warning passage in verses 26-29 cannot resuscitate a multiple intention view – instead, it fully undermines it.

Hebrews 10:26-29

26For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, 27But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries. 28He that despised Moses' law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: 29Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?

The reason it cannot help the multiple intention view is that in order to press this warning into service, they must state that Christ was sacrificed (vs. 26) for this hypothetical man who was judged, and that consequently he was “sanctified” (vs. 29). This, of course, reinforces the point above, that those for whom the sacrifice was made are equivalent to the sanctified group. The same word for “sanctified” is even used in both cases. Yet, we learn from verse 14 that Christ perfected them that are sanctified. Accordingly, we see that any objection from verses 26-29 just reinforces the original point.

Well, that concludes the short form of the argument. Seth, I've posted this here since I realize that you may be busy over the holiday weekend. If you want to repost it to your blog to keep things in one place, that's fine by me.

May our perfect High Priest be praised!


The Real Turretin on the Will of God in Salvation

Here are comments from the real Turretin on the Will of God in Salvation, graciously provided by Ismael Hilerio (link to first syndication) (link to second syndication). Comments such as those provided on Mr. Hilerio's blog demonstrate that, of course, the real Turretin and I agree on the atonement.