Chick-Fil-Church?

Because if preaching Christ and Him crucified is not enough to get them in the door, simply offer a $10 gift certificate to Chick-Fil-A to all first time adult visitors. That should bring them in the droves. Do we wonder why the world mocks us in the evangelical world? There is no difference between this and offering a Christmas tree or promising to swallow a goldfish or fill-in-the-blank.

Gimmicks, toys, and emotionalism is the name of the game in many churches just trying to capture one more person to put in the pews. Could you imagine the early New Testament Church offering a gift certificate to the unbelievers in Rome or Jerusalem or Antioch?
Chik-Church

The Insanity Of Transubstantiation

Testimony of a former Roman Catholic priest, Herman Hegger: Magic

“This doctrine of transubstantiation never fascinated me. I felt a certain reluctance to kneel before those external elements. Something in me refused to offer prayers to the Host. A God localized by the forms of bread and wine was against the grain of my deepest religious sentiments. I felt it difficult to lift up my soul to a God Who appeared to me in those dead things. I could not really discover the splendor of the glorified Savior in the Host that I was eating.

“Roman Catholic authors are also aware of this difficulty. They never mention “Jesus who is in my stomach,” but speak of “Jesus who rests on my heart.” Involuntarily they change over in some way to a spiritualization of the formula: “This IS my body!” And indeed, what is the point in transubstantiation? What use is it to me if Jesus ultimately lands in my stomach in the shape of bread and wine?

“The truly great thing is my living communion with the Savior. What good is a bodily presence in those forms? They only divert my attention from the glorious shape of my Redeemer. Jesus appears to me through His Word and Spirit. I rest on Him as He reveals Himself in His Gospel.”

A Harsh Gospel?

There is a troubling trend found more and more within the ranks of Christendom, particularly within the American version. I already know that there are those on both sides of these issues that will disagree with me, some may even do some vehemently. This post is not really an attempt to change everybody’s mind but written with the prayer that the rhetoric will be toned down and that more will realize that while true biblical doctrine divides, principles and practices should not.

There is a huge difference between the ministry of the Old Testament prophets and the work of the early New Testament Church. First and foremost, there should be a clear understanding that the Old Testament national Israel was not, is not, and never will be the same as the New Testament Church. They are two distinct entities and each of them have a special part in the sovereign purposes of God, but they are not the same.

Second, the Old Testament prophets were with very few exceptions sent to proclaim a specific message of judgment to the tribes of Israel. Those messages of judgment were not given to the New Testament Church. So, whether we are looking at Elijah, or Jonah, or Zephaniah, we must be careful that we look at each prophet in the context of their message and the people to who they were called.

OT-Prophet

Strangely, when we arrive at the New Testament era, we find a unique message and ministry started by the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. While He called out the religious rabble with firm words and righteous anger, His approach to unbelievers brought a message of hope, faith, and love.  The hope was found in following the truth that Jesus Christ is God. The faith was that which the Holy Spirit gave ears to hear and that faith was subsequently placed solely on Jesus Christ for salvation. The love was shown ultimately in the way that Christ died on the Cross because God so loved the world. Yes, the sacrifice was given to appease the wrath of God the Father, but there was still love from Christ towards mankind. Even in one of His final sayings on the Cross, we hear Him saying, “Father, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing.”

Zacchaeus found himself in a tree straining to hear Jesus Christ. He was approached by the Messiah with a message of hope that saw the salvation of a hated tax collector.

On several occasions, even the Gentiles came to hear Jesus Christ. Some of them believed the words and placed their faith in the Messiah for their salvation.

While on a walk through the country of the hated Samaritans, Jesus Christ sat beside a well waiting for a woman to approach. In the conversation, there was conviction of sin, hope of being able to worship something that she did not presently have, and ultimately faith was placed in the Savior. This woman then left her pots and went to the city to share the truth that there was a Messiah who could save them.

We could give many more examples, but I use these few to point out a vast difference between the love, gentleness, and compassion found in the New Testament with what I am seeing transpire today.

This post is not written with the intention of trying to stop any ministries from taking place. If you are under the authority of a local church and believe that God has placed a particular burden on your heart, then by all means, fulfill that to the best of your ability. Being part of the local church should help each person to be accountable to the means whereby God has given gifts. Today, there are far too many Lone Rangers who refuse accountability. Their best answer to troubles or questions about their style is normally best answered by simply unfriending the offending individual on Facebook or writing comments in a vitriolic manner all the while spinning strawmen to cover their lack of Biblical principles and Scriptures in defense of what they are doing.

So, what am I referring to? Let me give a few examples.

First, I firmly believe that the Great Commission is the responsibility of every blood-bought child of God to share with others the wonder of who Jesus Christ is and the message of hope that brings no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus. However, I do NOT believe that each person is given the same task of how they go about doing that. Some may knock on doors, while others will pass out tracts at every opportunity they are given. Still others will stand on street corners and proclaim the wonders of the Savior.

None of these are wrong in and of themselves, but it is wrong for me or anybody else to declare that EVERY believer must do it JUST like me. There is NOT one example of the entire early New Testament Church all striving to exhibit their gifts in identical fashion on a Tuesday afternoon in the cities of Ephesus, Rome, or in the churches of Asia Minor. Paul makes it clear that we all have gifts differing one from another.

Second, in our messages, we are not the ones who are called to produce the judgment of God upon sinful creatures. We must be mindful that if it were not for the grace of God that we would each still be trapped in our sins. Ultimately, the only judgment that can be handed out will be from God. However, this does NOT mean we are to refrain from pointing out the COMING judgment to a lost and dying world.

Third, we are in error if we forget that the world is going to act exactly what it is – LOST. This means they will be willing to do, to live, to act, and to speak in every way that alienates them further from a holy and righteous God. Lost people do NOT act like believers. Lost people do NOT believe like Christians. Lost people do NOT care about God. Lost people do NOT care about the law of Jesus Christ.

Fourth, we must remember that our message must be one of compassion. I have seen many ministries through my own years of ministry that have stood on corners, pounded on doors, and screamed at places like abortion clinics for the wickedness that is found within. Sadly, all the yelling and lack of love will only make us look like nutjobs from Westboro Baptist Church holding their picket signs. The world mixes us together when our lives and our words do NOT reflect Jesus Christ.

gospelmessage

The unregenerate person will NEVER like the message we proclaim, but it should be the message they hate and hear that brings them to conviction through the work of the Holy Spirit.

Now with these few thoughts in mind, let me be a little more pointed.

Jesus Christ did NOT stand at the bottom of the tree and scream at Zacchaeus, “You filthy tax collector! You collaborator with those nasty Romans!”

Jesus Christ did NOT sit at the well in Samaria and scream names and nastiness at the woman who came for water and left with living water. He never yelled, “Hey, you adulterer, you two-bit low life!”

Jesus Christ did NOT hang on the Cross and belittle either of the two thieves and murderers who hung on either side of Him with words like, “You two thieves are just the scum of the earth! You deserve to hang there and pay the penalty for your crimes.”

The apostle Paul did not launch a campaign to go and picket Mars Hill. He was invited by divine appointment to stand and share the truth of the gospel. When he was done, some wanted to hear him further, while others left mocking the message. Not once do we find Paul blogging on the Jerusalem net about all the ones who rejected the call to salvation. Paul did not picket the coliseum in any city, and neither are we given any record of anybody else in the early Church doing that. Paul did not offer to take Onesimus back to Colosse and stand on the street corner outside of Philemon’s house railing about the evils of slavery and how Philemon MUST repent or they would never be able to fellowship together.

No, no, and a further resounding NO!

As believers, we are called to share the message of salvation. We are called to love the Lord Jesus with all of our heart, soul, and mind. Further, we are then called to love our neighbor AS OURSELVES. There is no third law to love ourselves. We do a great job of doing that already because of our sinful nature.

However, the message we share must be given with love and compassion. If the best we can do is shout and call names at those who pass us by, we will never accomplish what we have been called to do. We are NOT Lone Rangers, but we are Ambassadors of the Most High. Therefore, we MUST conduct our business for the Master in a way that reflects such love and grace as has been shown to us.

In conclusion, I do not wish for anybody to misunderstand my words today. I am NOT calling on anybody to stop standing outside of abortion clinics. I am NOT calling on street preachers to desist. I am NOT calling on individuals to stop passing out gospel tracts. I am NOT calling on anybody to stop warning about the judgment to come.

What I am calling for is more grace, love, and compassion in the way we minister. You will never be able to witness to the Mormon or the JW or the liar or the adulterer or the woman who had her baby murdered or the drug addict or the drunkard or anybody else when you are not willing to love them for who they are right now. It is not up to us to change them in order for them to become a new believer in Christ. That job belongs to God ALONE.

PS — Remember that we each will give account to God for what we do for Him, not to each other, and certainly not to the faceless comments on Facebook, Twitter, or any other social media. We can each fulfill our ministry by being the part of the body He has called us to be, but that does NOT mean we cannot still fellowship with others who are a different part and who have a different role.

1 Corinthians 13:13, “So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”

 

Big Ol’ Catholic Billboard

billboard2 I took this picture today in Pueblo, Colorado. They also bought the other side of the billboard and it has a different message.

The thing that is just so painfully obvious to me is that Catholics do, in fact, worship Mary. Talking to someone who is dead, and expecting them to be able to help you, seems a lot like worship to me. I realize they don’t think of Mary as God or a god, but they think she can hear millions of prayers at once, and she can at least attempt to persuade her Son to do something.

While it’s obvious to me that they’re attributing abilities to Mary that belong only to God, and that prayer is an act of worship to be reserved for God alone, I’ll just quote a couple of standard Catholic prayers to Mary, and everyone can decide for themselves.

Hail Mary
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; blessed are thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death.
Amen.

Morning Consecration to Mary
My Queen, My Mother, I offer
myself entirely to thee.
And to show my devotion to thee,
I offer thee this day, my eyes,
my ears, my mouth, my heart,
my whole being without reserve.
Wherefore, good Mother,
as I am thine own, keep me,
guard me as thy property and possession.
Amen.

Papal Contradictions and the Roman Child

by Jesse Johnson

In 1497, Pope Alexander had a crisis of his own making that was threatening to undermine his ability to govern the Catholic Church. A romantic rivalry between two of his sons (he had at least six children) had become a source of intrigue around Rome. In fact, this scandal was so lurid, it was appalling even to those accustomed to flagrant immorality from the papacy. 

The two sons in question were Cesare and Juan, and they were both in love with their sister, Lucrezia. The plot thickened, as the Pope refused to let either of his sons marry his daughter, as he was sleeping with her himself. As the famous biographer and historian William Manchester wrote, “Even for those times, this was scandalous.”

When one of the sons, Juan, turned up murdered, suspicion was split between the father and brother. When Lucrezia turned up pregnant, that same divided suspicion remained. Rome had long been accustomed to assassinations, orgies, and public rioting from the Pope’s family. But this scandal involved all three simultaneously, and even the public was beginning to demand change. Alexander decided he needed to marry his daughter off to a powerful Duke, consolidating the Pope’s power, and ending the scandal.

There were numerous problems with this plan. First, Lucrezia was already married (technically speaking…it was a political alliance thing). No problem, that marriage could be annulled by the Pope. But in order for that to happen, the Pope and a Vatican council had to certify that she was a virgin. This would be impossible to do with a straight face, seeing as how she was known to be the Pope’s lover, was six months pregnant, and visibly showing. So the Vatican council acted without the straight face, and when they declared her a virgin, witnesses said that laughter echoed throughout the Vatican. One poet, Jacopo Sannazaro, wrote a poem commemorating the declaration. Translated from the Latin, it reads:

Here lies Lucrezia, who was really a tart,
The daughter, wife, and daughter in-law of Alexander.

In Latin it rhymed. But regardless, the third obstacle was insurmountable, and the marriage was halted when the groom was murdered by Cesare.

This lead to the uncomfortable development that the Pope’s daughter gave birth to a son, Giovanni, and there was no way of knowing if the father was the Pope’s son or the Pope himself. By the time the child was 3 years old, his mother was 21. It became necessary politically for the Pope to marry her off, and the Pope chose the Duke of Ferrara. The new problem was that Canonical Law forbade the Pope from recognizing his own illegitimate children (only if they were fathered while he was Pope, which in this case was obvious; in fact the public labeled Giovanni “the Roman Child”). That difficulty here was notably compounded by they fact that the mother of his son was also his daughter. But…if the Pope recognized Cesare (his other son and her other lover) as Giovanni’s father, then the Duke of Ferrara would likely not marry Lucrezia for fear of losing his title as Duke.

If that is confusing, here it is simply: The Pope was in a Catch-22. Either the Giovanni was his, or his son’s. One option was permissible legally, the other was possible politically. So what would he do?

First, read/remember yesterday’s post on Papal Infallibility.

Here is his solution, in the words of William Manchester:

The Pope, deciding to legitimatize his daughter’s child, issued two extraordinary bulls September 1, 1501. The first, which was made public, identified the three-year-old boy as the offspring of Cesare and an unmarried woman… The second, a secret bull, acknowledged Giovanni to be the son of the pope and the same woman.

In other words, Giovanni had two fathers. And, don’t loose sight of the fact that he was born only three months after the Vatican and Pope had declared his mother a virgin. That is a truly immaculate conception!

The Bad PopesI was alerted to this story by reading E. R. Chamberlin’s book The Bad Popes. Believe me when I say that this affair is not even in the top five as far as radically immoral acts committed by the Popes of that time. In fact, some of the stories were so graphic and stunning that I paused to ask myself why I was even reading them. The answer is two-fold. First, it is a powerful reminder that Luther’s Reformation was not in a vacuum. Theology has consequences, and bad theology destroys lives. In this case, bad theology had the potential to destroy a continent, which it did. The dark ages were so backwards and perverse, in large part because of the rampant immorality of the Popes.

Secondly, it is a reminder that the strongest argument that Catholic Apologists use today-that the Catholic Church has an unbroken chain of tradition stretching back to the Apostles-is pure fabrication. Not only is it fabrication in the historic sense (because the papacy did not being in any recognizable way until the 400’s), but it is fabrication in the ethical sense. Many Popes, Luther said, “have so often contradicted themselves,” and he did not simply mean on the finer points of theology. When Alexander declared his daughter (whom he had been sleeping with) to be a virgin, only to see her give birth 3 months later, Luther was 16 years old. When Alexander issued official Church Bulls declaring that his son had two fathers, Luther was 19 years-old. He entered the monastery four years later.

It would be another twelve years before he posted his thesis on the church door. From that point forward, it is simply no longer feasible to maintain that Catholics and Protestants essentially believe the same things. There are substantive differences, one of which is the concept of papal authority, and another of which is the claim that the Roman Catholic Church has a glorious and unbroken continuity of being Christ’s seat on Earth.

They may have a tradition, but is neither glorious nor unbroken.

Distributed by http://www.worldviewweekend.com

Debate: Mariology – Who is Mary according to Scripture?

When you build a theology on pagan goddess worship, man’s traditions, a dead religion of works, and arguing from silence, you will always lose the debate when faced with God’s Word.

See also: It’s All About Mary?

HT: Cup of Joe