Thursday, October 11, 2012

"The Real Catholics" - R. Scott Clark and Perkins

R. Scott Clark has posted a series (so far two, I'm not sure if more are in the works) drawn from the works of William Perkins (1558–1602) discussing what constitutes true Catholicity. (part 1)(part 2)

In general, both Clark's and Perkins' comments are excellent. Clark notes, "Vatican II changed none of the doctrines against which the Reformation reacted." I would caveat that with "almost none" or "none of the major." Of course, on these points, a "conservative" Roman Catholic might argue that the points of change were never doctrinal issues, despite the fact that things like the use of Latin to the exclusion of the common tongue, forced celibacy of deacons, and rigid rules for orders were defended by Rome's advocates on doctrinal grounds.

And Rome has worsened her doctrines in several ways, in addition to what Clark mentions, Rome has subsequently made the Bodily Assumption and Papal infallibility dogma. Moreover, the exclusivity of Rome has certainly be downplayed to the point where inclusivism is rampant throughout the Roman hierarchy.

Clark states: "Perkins was concerned about a false ecumenism then and we have just as much right to be concerned about it now." Just as much, and perhaps even more. Rome is approaching ecumenism more winsomely today than she did back when she was having the Reformers imprisoned and burnt at the stake.


UPDATE: Part 3 is up (link).

Dr. Adam Francisco - Understanding Islam

Modern Reformation has posted a couple of videos from Dr. Adam Francisco on "Understanding Islam." (Part 1)(Part 2). It is fairly rudimentary material, but it may be a useful introduction for folks who think they probably have a good sense of what Islam is, from watching the news.


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Does the Bible Have a Rule about That?

Mob rule brings out the worst in Americans every four years.  Sadly, that's also true of Christians.  At this time of year, especially every four years, we get all sorts of appeals from our friends and brethren who are eager to have us join and/or financially support their mob, which will hopefully outnumber, outspend or otherwise defeat some one or more of the other mobs.

Some of these Christian friends and brethren will attempt to bolster their persuasive argument with appeals to Scripture.  And, of course, it is true that the Scriptures are our rule not only of faith, but also of life.  The Bible is not just a book that describes "religious things."  The Scriptures do speak to issues of how countries are to be governed, and they do address many issues that are  highly politicized.  It's good and proper for Christians to appeal to Scripture to decide legislative and political questions.  Those who suggest that the Bible is silent about such issues are wrong (and they are outside the boundaries of the Reformed confessions as well).

That said, just because the Bible has many things to say about legislation, politics, and so on, does not mean that the Bible speaks to every issue with the same level of clarity and does not mean that the Bible answers every question we may have.  As others have pointed out, while the Bible speaks to all of life, the Bible does not provide the order of steps needed to rebuild a motorcycle engine.

So, when we are confronted with appeals to Scripture on these questions or any question where people are telling us that there is a divine rule, one question we should ask ourselves is "Does the Bible have a rule about that?"  If the Bible does not have a rule, then we have Christian liberty to act within the broader and more general rules that the Scriptures provide.

So, for example, if someone claims that we must not vote for a Mormon or must not vote for someone who holds to black liberation theology, we may reply that the Bible has no such rule.  I would probably disagree with aspects of what John MacArthur says (see what he says here), but he's right in saying that to an extent the question of selecting an elected official is a question of selecting an employee to perform a job.

Everything being equal, we would prefer to select a pair of employees that includes at least one Christian over pairs that respectively include a former Muslim and a liberal Roman Catholic or a Mormon and a conservative Roman Catholic.  But not everything is equal.

The point of this post is not actually to persuade you, the reader, to join the mob I would like you to join.  My goal is to encourage you to think clearly about the question of elections, to set aside scruples that lack actual Biblical basis, but to do so without forgetting that our acts as citizens must be in accordance with the rule of faith and  life, the Holy Scriptures.

May the best mob win, but God's purposes will be accomplished regardless of men's machinations - political or otherwise.