CPRC Day Reformation conference

A day of blessed teaching by Prof. David J. Engelsma.

  1. Luther-Theologian of the Glory of God

Luther was a theology professor, a teacher of pastors at a seminary in Wittenburg, Germany. His nailing of his 95 protesting theses on the cathedral door was part of his calling to defend the truth of the gospel of grace. He was just obeying his call and this gave him the right to protest (Just as Christ pointed to his lawful calling as a priest by John’s baptism when asked by what authority he cleansed the temple). Teaching that glorifies God and humbles man is invariably correct. Luther’s last words (written) were,”We are beggars, this is the truth.”

God is glorified in his salvation, in granting the means (faith) and in his sovereign predestination of all things.

Two of Luther’s most important works were, “Bondage of the will” and “The Babylonian captivity of the church.”

Sin is coming short of the glory of God hence is it not sin to attend a church that in it’s teaching and practice comes short of that glory by not adhering to the regulative principle of worship, maladministration of the sacraments and lacking good Reformed preaching?

 

2. Luther on James and Paul.

Anyone who believes in salvation by works and faith has no real faith! (JK). Such a person aligns himself with the doctrine man has a free will. The Federal Vision heresy teaches that salvation depends on the faith and the works of all baptized i.e. it is conditional.

Real faith excludes works-it states faith alone! Justification comes before any good works (JK).

Basics of Biblical interpretation:

1. No contradictions in Scripture.

2. Scripture explains scripture, the clear explain the unclear.

From Rom. 3:28, 4:5 and Gal.2:16 we see faith receives Christ and his righteousness leading to assurance.  Paul’s teaching is that the legal declaration by God in heaven AND the subjective assurance in the believer are two sides of one coin (Rom.5:1).

James 2:14 ff are speaking about the public demonstration of one’s faith before others. “Show me thy faith!” (James 2:24)

Note that the final judgment will be on works that either demonstrated faith or unbelief. God’s record of people’s works will demonstrate to all whether they possessed salvation by faith (JK).

I John 2 teaches that good works in the life of a believer confirm assurance.

 

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The Reformation under Josiah

Josiah as King led the Reformation of God’s people in the 7th Century BC.

 

Reformation consisted:

  • The public reading of the word of God (reading and preaching)
  • The consecration of the people to God by a covenant (confessing church membership in a true church)
  • The removal of all practices and places built contrary to God’s word (i.e. idolatry, icons)
  • The institution of pure worship according to the word of God at Passover. (regulative principle)
  • The deposition and excommunication or death of all false teachers (Church discipline)

II Kings 23 gives the details.

How does your church measure up?

Relevant book

Misplaced loyalty!

And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities.” Revelation 18:4-5.

Depart ye, depart ye, go ye out from thence, touch no unclean thing; go ye out of the midst of her; be ye clean, that bear the vessels of the Lord. For ye shall not go out with haste, nor go by flight: for the Lord will go before you; and the God of Israel will be your reward.” Isaiah 52:11-12.

Click on slide to enlarge.

A good read 

 

What is a Protestant?

This article is part three of a series in my church’s Covenant Reformed News.

CR News

What Is a Protestant? (3)

Martin Luther (1517) Start of Reformation and Protestantism.

“As well as the truth that the Bible alone is the Word of God (sola Scriptura), Protestants believe in Christ alone (solus Christus).

The Lord Jesus is both fully God and fully man in one divine Person. He is the eternal and only begotten Son of God, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, incarnate. As Christ, He is God’s anointed One as promised in the Old Testament. As Jesus, He is the only and complete Saviour. As Lord, He the sovereign governor of all.

We Protestants believe Christ’s virgin birth, sinless life, sacrificial death, victorious resurrection, glorious ascension and almighty rule at God’s right hand.

On the cross, our Lord died for all the sins of all His elect people. All our iniquities were “laid on,” imputed or reckoned to Him (Isa. 53:6) and He bore the punishment for them that was due to us. As our only high priest, He continually prays for us, for “he ever liveth to make intercession for” us (Heb. 7:25).

In order for God to save sinners, Christ’s cross and intercession are absolutely necessary. It is entirely sufficient for all our salvation. We do not need the pope, earthly priests, Mary or the saints to bring us to God (John 14:6; Eph. 2:18; Heb. 10:19-22).

The battle of Protestantism with Rome (and others) is essentially the same as that in Acts 4 between the unbelieving Jewish religious leaders and the apostles, who declared concerning Christ, “This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (11-12).

Scripture alone teaches salvation in Christ alone by faith alone (sola fide). Protestantism proclaims that our salvation and perfect righteousness in Jesus Christ is received solely by faith. The forgiveness of sins in Christ’s blood and the imputed righteousness of God (the lifelong and perfect obedience of Jesus) is ours by believing—only by believing! Our justification and legal standing before God, therefore, does not need any supplementation by the works of the the saints, the Lord’s earthly mother, the church or ourselves.

This biblical and Protestant truth is just as necessary today over against Rome as it was in the sixteenth century. Sadly, sola fide is also crucial against much of modern day evangelicalism. Some of those who speak of justification by faith alone actually mean justification by man’s free will alone! They teach that the sinner’s salvation is determined by the decision of his own supposed free will, contrary to the truth of God’s Word (Rom. 3:11; 7:18; 8:7) and the united testimony of the Reformation, including Martin Luther’s great Protestant manifesto, The Bondage of the Will (1525).

Sola fide is vital for the comfort and vitality of the Christian every day. Being justified by faith alone, we have “peace with God” (Rom. 5:1) and blessedness (4:6-9; Ps. 32:1-2)!

To go further, Scripture alone teaches salvation in Christ alone by faith alone through grace alone (sola gratia). Our salvation is a divine gift, an entirely gratuitous or gracious gift, according to the sovereign favour of our merciful God in Jesus Christ, for we were “chosen … in him before the foundation of the world” (Eph. 1:4).

Grace alone, both in time (by the Holy Spirit of Jesus Christ) and in eternity (in election)—this is Protestantism, because this is the teaching of God’s Word: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast” (Eph. 2:8-9). “So then it is not of him that willeth [so much for man’s free will!], nor of him that runneth [i.e., the exertion of man’s works], but of God that sheweth mercy” (Rom. 9:16).

The fifth of the Five Solas is the glory of God alone (soli Deo gloria). The glory is not man’s (even in the tiniest part), whether by his supposed free will or his good works, for all that is truly good in the believer’s works is entirely by God’s grace (John 15:5; Eph. 2:10). The glory is not even partially the church’s, especially not the false church of Rome nor any other false or departing church.

Salvation is wholly of the Father, through the Son and by the Holy Spirit. Therefore, the glory is alone due to the Triune God: the electing Father, the atoning Son and the calling Spirit. Soli Deo gloria is the message of the Reformation, for “our God is in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased” (Ps. 115:3)!

Philip Schaff, the church historian, sums it up well: “Romanism puts the Church first and Christ next; Protestantism reverses the order. Romanism says, Where the Church is (meaning thereby the papal organization), there is Christ; Protestantism says, Where Christ is, there is the Church. Romanism says, Where the Catholic tradition is, there is the Bible and the infallible rule of faith; Protestantism says, Where the Bible is, there is the true tradition and the infallible rule of faith. Romanism says, Where good works are, there are faith and justification; Protestantism says, Where faith is, there are justification and good works. Romanism throws Mary and the saints between Christ and the believer; Protestantism goes directly to the Saviour. Romanism proceeds from the visible Church (the papacy) to the invisible Church; Protestantism from the invisible Church (the true body of Christ) to the visible … Protestantism is a protest against the tyranny of man on the basis of the authority of God. It proclaims the Bible to be the only infallible rule of Christian faith and practice, and teaches justification by grace alone, as apprehended by a living faith. It holds up Christ as all in all, whose word is all-sufficient to teach, whose grace is all-sufficient to save.”  Rev. Stewart

What Reformation means!

untitledBurning bush-emblem of many Reformed churches.

Reformed believers tend to have a mind-set that concentrates on events that happened 500 years ago and led to the churches of which they are a part but at an individual level human beings MUST be reformed or perish! “The awesome truth here is also that He (God) re-formed us—that is what is meant when He forms us for Himself while we were in a devilish form which was realized by Satan–for HIMSELF That is, for His own glory! And by all means take hold of that last part: God forms us for Himself in order that we may show forth His praises. His praise and His desire to receive our praise is behind the work of salvation which He realized in His Son. He established that wonderful covenant for His own praise and glory. There we have the deep purpose of our salvation. It is realized so that we do show forth and are able to show forth His praise. We are saved so that we may sing His praises, want to do so, and can do so! There you have the deepest reason for the covenant which He drew up and signed. There you have the purpose of God’s covenant. He forms us for Himself. He planned and designed our salvation so that He might be praised by us constantly in the New Jerusalem.” John Heys in Standard Bearer.

Full article

Mass versus Once-for-all sacrifice of Christ.

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Two letters protesting the Reformed Protestant position that appeared in Belfast Telegraph October 2016

  1. Michael O’ Cathail is correct (Telegraph Friday 14th) in saying that the Roman Catholic church needs forgiven. Conscientious Protestants should never attend the sacrilegious idolatrous ceremony called the Mass because it denies the once-for-all sacrifice of Christ over 2000 years ago clearly spelled out as a ONCE FOR ALL sacrifice in Hebrews 10 verses 10,12 and 14. That one atoning event is sufficient to save and take to heaven all God’s elect people and never needs repeated much less believing the elements are turned into his body and blood seeing he was BODILY present when he instituted the Lord’s Supper and is BODILY in heaven right now from whence he will come again. The Mass belittles Christ, makes an idol of the wafer and wine, and plainly contradicts the word of God. Avoid it like the plague! Repent and be converted if you still foolishly attend and think your “good works” relating to the RC church will merit for you! They won’t! Grace alone, Faith alone, Christ alone, Scripture alone, To the glory of God alone.
  2. Patrick McCafferty (Writeback October 25th) clearly delineates the true Roman Catholic position. The mass is the “exact same sacrifice that Jesus offered once and for all on the cross!” Can’t he see that this is impossible! What was done “once for all” cannot, and ought never to be, repeated, otherwise you make it worthless. The mass is NOT a holy sacrifice—it is the unholy idolatrous man-made tradition of a false church. Once for all means unrepeatable! Transubstantiation, the belief that the elements are changed into the actual body and blood of Christ, has no basis in science, reality, or more importantly, authoritative Scripture. As I said previously when these elements were first dispensed Christ himself was bodily present and alive. They cannot and do not change magically. They stay bread and wine but they SIGNIFY body and blood.

Much of what Patrick says is actually true but I think his understanding is befuddled. Jesus gives us himself by speaking the word and applying his sacrifice to us by his Holy Spirit who is the one who is with us forever. The word is what changes people and converts them NOT the sacrament (“The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul”-Psalm 19:7). It is the living Christ through the written revelation of Scripture who crucifies our inherited depraved human nature and remakes us into the image of Christ by rebirth (“ Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.”-I Peter 1:23). Sadly it is this word that is not known, not preached and not believed in the Roman Catholic church otherwise it would have been Reformed. The absolutely necessary, God-sent, Reformation initiated by Martin Luther in 1517 is celebrated after 500 years next year! Reformation is still needed in every false church today that disparages and sets at nought what Christ did for his people once for all over 2000 years ago at Calvary, outside Jerusalem, and never to be repeated.

One final thought. When the Lord’s Supper was instituted (Matthew 26:26-29, I Corinthians 11:24-29) Christ said, “Do this in remembrance of me” clearly meaning that it was to remember what he would do ONCE on the cross, that he would then NOT be bodily present till he came again at the end of the world at which time the supper sacrament would become the reality of sitting at the marriage supper of the lamb with him. In the gospel of John 16:7 he also states categorically that he was going away and his presence with them would by the Holy Spirit NOT as the bread and wine. We remember him who in his first coming through the incarnation lived among us till his sacrificial death, then left us to be in heaven till his second coming.