Silencing the prophetic voice of the church...

CrestwoodSign (Tim, w/thanks to Brian) The Christian Law Association reports: "For years Crestwood Baptist Church has unashamedly declared the Gospel of Christ and the Word of God through the display of Scripture on the marquee in front of their church. Tragically, this common practice for churches has now come under attack. In the days leading up to the Presidential election, Crestwood Baptist Church displayed Proverbs 29:2, '...when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn,' on their marquee...

"Nearly a week after the election, while jogging past the marquee, a nationally syndicated news reporter took notice of the verse, erroneously assumed it was the church’s attempt to slander a particular candidate, and reported his biased opinion on CNN news. This unmerited report sparked animosity towards Crestwood and its pastor, Phil Edge, who have received numerous emails and phone calls demanding an explanation for his alleged attack on the results of this recent Presidential election."

A couple comments: First, confessing Christians must play hardball to protect our nation's First Amendment rights. We'll lose, but we must go down fighting. We don't live in the Roman Empire; it's our Constitution and we are its stewards.

So, for instance, the actions of the IRS in the past decade have been egregious governmental intrusions into the work of the church. Our government has been rattling its saber

threatening (and sometimes carrying out) action against the exercise of the prophetic gift in the pulpit and their abuse of power has resulted in the silencing of many pastors' voices.

It's been a textbook fulfillment of C. S. Lewis' adage, "They'll tell you that you can have your religion in private, and then they'll make sure you're never alone."

During this past election cycle, many pastors have failed to speak biblically concerning the wickedness of the Democratic Party, particularly; but also the Republican Party and both parties' candidates. We have a nation built on the oppression and slaughter of our weakest citizens, a nation whose balance of trade largely depends upon the export of Whore of Babylon immorality, a nation given over to greed and cruelty on an unimaginable scale; but pastors have been reduced to living in mortal dread of jeopardizing our church's 501(c)(3) tax exempt status. The Word of God has been silenced at one of the places its been most needed in our time, but no one will admit it and some even argue this silence is good.

But when has the Church of Jesus Christ been faithful to Her commission and not been seen by the civil authority as a political threat? John the Baptist lost his head for it. Jesus was Crucified for it. The Apostle Paul was the center of civic unrest--there were riots in almost every city he entered and he boldly condemned the civic religion of Athens in the middle of the the Areopagus. What about Peter Waldo, John Hus, Luther, Calvin, Knox, and Edwards? What about the Great Ejection?

In each of these cases, our Lord's servants refused to be intimidated by the civil authority. Instead, they took a prophetic stand on the Word of God, faithfully exercising their calling to preach and write and speak the Word to citizens and the civil authority, alike.

For when Herod had John arrested, he bound him and put him in prison because of Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip. For John had been saying to him, “It is not lawful for you to have her.” Although Herod wanted to put him to death, he feared the crowd, because they regarded John as a prophet. (Matthew 14:3-5)

John the Baptist was beheaded and we tremble at the thought of losing our tax deductions?

If Bonhoeffer and the brothers and sisters of the Confessing Church stood against their nation as it slaughtered Christians, Jews, and other undesirables, what's our excuse for our fear and trembling? The immorality and bloodguilt of our nation easily eclipses that of the Third Reich, but we can't bring ourselves to fulfill our prophetic calling as ministers of the Word and Sacrament.

Second, we should all give thanks for the witness of the Roman Catholic church. If the First Amendment rights of confessing Christians are restored in our nation, and protected, it will largely be thanks to our Roman Catholic friends. Yesterday, 300 of America's Roman Catholic bishops gathered in Baltimore. The Tribune reports:

BALTIMORE - In a direct challenge to President-elect Barack Obama, America's Roman Catholic bishops vowed on Tuesday to accept no compromise for the sake of national unity until there is legal protection for the unborn.

About 300 bishops, gathered in Baltimore for their national meeting, adopted a formal blessing for a child in the womb and advised Chicago's Cardinal Francis George, president of the conference, as he began drafting a statement from the bishops to the incoming Obama administration. That document will call on the administration and Catholics who supported Obama to work to outlaw abortion.

"This is not a matter of political compromise or a matter of finding some way of common ground," said Bishop Daniel Conlon of Steubenville, Ohio. "It's a matter of absolutes."

Imagine Rob Bell, Brian McLaren, or the other false shepherds of the Submergent Church demonstrating such love for their neighbor. It's inconceivable.

Comments

I like this report, too, about the Kentucky SBC.

http://www.courier-journal.com/blogs/faith/2008/11/baptists-wont-move-be...

The Kentucky Baptist Convention passed a resolution today asserting that abortion remains a top priority and rejecting calls to "move beyond" efforts to make it illegal.

The abortion resolution reiterated the convention's longstanding opposition to abortion and says that the "legacy of the abortion culture has grown to include ongoing assaults on human life such as euthanasia, the harvesting of human embryos for the purposes of medical experimentation, and an accelerating move toward human cloning."

It rejects calls by "some religious leaders ... for churches to move beyond the abortion discussion so that the sanctity of unborn human life is reduced to one of a litany of other issues."

As for the Roman Catholics, their unanimity and resolve on this issue are striking. I don't understand why the Protestant church has become so wishy-washy and self-critical over this issue. It's not like RCs are social reactionaries. In fact, they usually carry a lot of moral clout among non-believers. We need to learn some lessons from them, I think.

>>>As for the Roman Catholics, their unanimity and resolve on this issue are striking. I don't understand why the Protestant church has become so wishy-washy and self-critical over this issue.

Roman Catholics don't choose what church they go to - the parishes are not fighting for members, if you are born a Roman Catholic, you will most likely die a Roman Catholic and your money will go to that church. But Protestants are different - we have people denomination and church "hopping" all the time. So now it becomes all about not offending anyone, how little truth we can say and still be called "christian" and not be heretical. All in hopes of boosting our numbers, our budgets, and our pride.

colleen

If Bonhoeffer and the brothers and sisters of the Confessing Church stood against their nation as it slaughtered Christians, Jews, and other undesirables, what's our excuse for our fear and trembling?

There is a painfully ironic lesson to be learned from Bonhoeffer. He wrote:

“Man has learned to cope with all questions of importance without recourse to God....[God] is teaching us that we must live as men who can get along very well without him.”

The pathos of these words is that they were penned in Bonhoeffer's Letters and Papers From Prison. Penned after Hitler's Gestapo, learning to get along very well without God had imprisoned Bonhoeffer, thereby preventing the completion of his book on Ethics and resulting in his hanging in 1945. When the questions of ethics are answered without recourse to God, the following views of the state become inevitable:

1.The State incarnates the Divine Idea upon earth (Hegel)

2.The State is the supreme power, ultimate and beyond repeal, absolutely independent (Fichte)

3.Everything for the State; nothing outside the State; nothing against the State (Mussolini)

4.The State dominates the nation because it alone represents it (Hitler)

5.The State embraces everything, and nothing has value outside the State. The State creates right. (FDR)

Thus Bonhoeffer's assertion represented the very outlook which condoned his immoral execution. The source of moral authority and law within a society will either be theistic or political; when the former is repudiated, the latter allows of no logical barrier from tyrranny.

Taken from Theonomy in Christian Ethics by Greg Bahnsen

I would like to remind everyone here that the Catholics are not homogeneous, nor on our side; they offer indulgences and obscure Christ; and then change the definitions (and boast it proudly); their gospel is another one, and their moral fortitude is a works-righteousness they wear proudly; they are NOT on Christian's side; the RCC and its adherents blind the masses, and pretend in its counterfeit claim to Christ to be true Christianity, rather than a spiritual darkness damning millions as we speak; please stop, for conscience and truth's sake, to pretend we have anything in common.

Christians testify to [absolute] truth for the sake of Christ; Rome does for the sake of [Rome's] Authority, and to make a show that we should all be submitted to [Rome] and the Pope for salvation, not Christ.

Be damned with their pretense (and that's not used as a curse word). Why are protestants pretending to have common ground with them, especially those claiming the Reformed Faith? The Reformers did not pretend this as so; "little" things like justification, grace, Christ, etc...are all mauled and warped by Rome: everything that happens to be at the heart of the gospel.

Remember when John marvelled at the city, and the angel asked why? That's because he was stupid to marvel at something so empty; the message to us is "don't"; that was Rome he marvelled at, by the way, as though Revelation is figurative there, then immediately following the Holy Spirit gives the interpretation.

Forget Rome: you don't need it for a "moral majority": keep separate, in fact, and it'll drive Rome and the world crazy: do it for this, however, and you fail God in your calling: do it for Christ, and Him alone, okay?

- Canktankerous Evangelical (not so-called) Baptistic Reformed Guy (i.e. one of those Despised by Presbyterians).

What are you suggesting John, that we be for abortion because the Catholics are against it? Do you know what co-belligerency is?

There is a painfully ironic lesson to be learned from Bonhoeffer. He wrote:

“Man has learned to cope with all questions of importance without recourse to God....[God] is teaching us that we must live as men who can get along very well without him.”

Wow...great quote from Bahnsen as well. Theonomy in Christian Ethics is on my wishlist.

Mr. Chambers,

I don't speak for John, nor do I know him. I interpreted his post as a reminder that while "an enemy of my enemy is my friend", we also have to know that the RCC is with us only to the degree that they are anti-abortion. That's fine and good, but we all need a good reminder of their doctrinal heresy from time to time. I applaud John for his boldness to speak truth on the matter of the RCC. When the time is right the RCC will stand right along side Babylon and condemn us.

Mr. Baker,

I don't speak for John, nor do I know him.

Precisely, which is I why I would prefer that he speak for himself. The particularly questionable section of his lengthy response is quoted below FYI.

"Why are protestants pretending to have common ground with them, especially those claiming the Reformed Faith?"

I suggest Mr. Baker, that above quote is not only categorically fallacious but also extremely narrow minded and counter productive in the fight for life. In the Catholic resistance to abortion we do indeed have some common ground. And I seriously doubt that the majority of participants at this blog are dull enough to confuse agreement in the struggle against abortion with theological unity.

Mark

And I seriously doubt that the majority of participants at this blog are dull enough to confuse agreement in the struggle against abortion with theological unity.

Right, Mark. I'll even applaud the Mormon cultists for pouring all the money and effort they did into passing Prop 8 in California.

You don't have to be Reformed (or even Christian) to know some things are evil.

When the time is right the RCC will stand right along side Babylon and condemn us.

Perhaps, but probably not before the vast majority of Protestants.

>>The Kentucky Baptist Convention passed a resolution today asserting that abortion remains a top priority and rejecting calls to "move beyond" efforts to make it illegal.

No one here should be surprised to know that Russell Moore chaired the committee that produced this resolution.

The point is we're told not even to greet one who brings to us another gospel: there can be no co-belligerency with what is against, or "in place of" (latin, "vicar") Christ (Gr. "antichrist"). Light has no fellowship with darkness: nor can it stand together.

The world knows what it does is evil: it's convicted already...it cannot argue on any coherent, rational, consistent, or solid grounds that abortion is fine and dandy: and it knows it.

Much has already died in the name of "Co-belligerency"; through ecumenism when men got to rub shoulders they started saying "hey, Father O'neil ain't such a bad guy..."; but yes, he is: Rome means to ROB the Church of its witness, not stand with it: "look at how marvellous we are, with our pomp and stand for good...now submit to the Pope [Note, not 'Christ'], or at least do well to merit heaven [Note, not 'repent and believe in Christ']...you can trust us, we're Christians see! We stand together with others on this". Evangelicals, including the "traditional Evangelicals" think they gain voice and better testimony through numbers...I rather condemn such thinking as contrary to God's word, and counter to the truth that, rather, their witness is most powerful in purity and truth.

This ain't your baptist-vs.-presbyterian type tit-for-tat, but Rome vs. the gospel: there can be no truce with them on any grounds: please, everyone, I don't care how cordial or gentlemanly they are, stop giving them approval by standing in association for anything; maybe if people started being upright and keeping to this it would start striking the nerve of conscience to bear witness to the world what is obvious...Rome is Christ's massive foe: the outright disobedient contender which will fool 2+ billion damned-already unregenerates: nothing we can do about that (God saves who He wills); but we're also warned not to be taken captive...and there's many perhaps sheep who will also be deceived and severely robbed and harmed, and we can't stand for this. You know if we started standing-up to say "Rome does not stand with us, we don't need its [blood] money, it's not Christian: it hates Christ, it boasts itself, not Christ" I thinkg we'd see much blessing...and be brutally persecuted, and ridiculed. But O! to know Christ.

With Love in our Lord, and grace to brothers,

John

Tim Bayly: "Second, we should all give thanks for the witness of the Roman Catholic church. If the First Amendment rights of confessing Christians are restored in our nation, and protected, it will largely be thanks to our Roman Catholic friends."

I would agree. But I was in a blog conversation with an evangelical who wrote the following:

"As a matter of fact, Rome's denial of the gospel, together with her catalogue of extrabiblical superstitions and manmade doctrines that keep untold millions from trusting Christ alone, strike me as far grosser evils than abortion. That's not to minimize the evil of abortion; but hopefully it puts the wickedness of damning false religion in perspective."[Italics added]

(Please read the whole thread for context. This excerpt is from the 8:23am 11/11/08 comment)

Pro-Choice Violence:

"I received the following message on my blog (www.priestsforlife.org/blog) the day after the elections:

Urgent–to Fr. Frank. Says: November 5th, 2008 at 9:49 pm

IMPORTANT MESSAGE FOR FATHER FRANK PAVONE

I am predicting that there will be more anti-abortion terror because of this election. I AM ALSO PREDICTING THAT THIS TIME IT WILL BE ANSWERED IN KIND BY PRO-CHOICE COUNTERTERRORISTS, who will mount similar terrorist attacks against well-known right-to-lifers. FATHER FRANK will be a natural target for pro-choice counterterrorists.

I therefore advise you, Fr Frank, if you read that there has been another abortion-clinic shooting or bombing, get out of town immediately. Take a vacation abroad. Go visit the Vatican. If there is another act of anti-abortion terror, your life will not be safe in the USA.

Good luck."

Let's pray for Fr. Frank, and for all the others who are bravely standing up for the unborn in the face of lethal intimidation and threats.

Thanks John for your response. I know that if one of my loved ones was beaten and robbed and left for dead lying on the street, and after having been intentionally avoided by numerous passersby, when someone finally bent down to lend a hand I would want the first question coming out of their mouth to be “Excuse me, but if you’re a Roman Catholic, thanks but no thanks. I think I’ll wait for a Presbyterian.”

Do you have a problem with Samaritans John? Who is your neighbor?

The Samaritans, according to Jesus telling the woman by the well, didn't even know who they worship (but the Jews did); Jesus's own Apostles tell us not even to greet the one who brings another gospel: that includes Rome.

Don't try to divert attention from that issue: your little situation is ridiculous; there's no doubt you'd help the guy on the street...but nothing further: an obedience Christian can have nothing to do with Rome or its faithful: it effects the greatest and most extravagant abomination the world has ever seen: pretending each sunday as if it had the power to suboordinate the spirit of God to the will of men, its so-called priests, transubstantiate bread and wine into the actual body and blood of Christ, and re-sacrifice Him on their alter, and teach that men must submit to themselves and the Pope in order to receive this salvation to be progressively saved (rather than once and for all by belief in Christ, and not men). There is no other name by which we must be saved, that is, Jesus Christ.

How dare you try to create a diversion by proposing a mute dilemma.

John,

What your invective provides in effulgence of style it lacks in efficacy of substance.

Are all those who call themselves Roman Catholics to be included under the condemnation of Romish error? Why not condemn all Presbyterians under the errors of the PCUSA's liberalism?

There is a difference between individuals and official doctrines. Many members of Presbyterian churches has little knowledge of Reformed doctrine, and I suspect that many members of Roman Catholic churches lack a comprehensive knowledge of the councils and creeds and bulls they are subject to under the leadership of the Pope.

Why then is it a fallacy for a Presbyterian or Baptist to join with a Roman Catholic in speaking out against sin? How does it follow that agreement upon one point admits to agreement on all points, or even fundamental ones? How does the proposition "Abortion is murder, therefore we should end it" lead to the acceptance of Roman Catholic beliefs regard to the sacraments or justification?

John, you are exemplifying nothing more in your argument than guilt by association, which is precisely what Mark's example was intending to point out, although you missed it entirely.

Quoting self: "with Rome OR ITS FAITHFUL" (caps added)

Miss that part?

Quoting you: "guilt by association"

7 For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the antichrist. 8 Watch yourselves, that you do not lose what we have accomplished, but that you may receive a full reward. 9 Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God; the one who abides in the teaching, he has both the Father and the Son. 10 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house, and do not give him a greeting; 11 for the one who gives him a greeting participates in his evil deeds. 1 John.

"partaker of his evil deeds"-->guilt by association sir.

P.S., how often is it that we're helping a poor bleeding "Rome-unaware Catholic" vs. seeing pastors of various groups citing and "standing together" on the "moral issues" with the Roman Minister? THE ONES WHO KNOW VERY WELL ROMES OTHER GOSPEL, AND SUBSCRIBE AND PUSH IT FAITHFULLY.

P.S. again, that's "ROME'S" not "ROMES".

John,

You still haven't responded to the argument.

How does it follow that to agree on one issue is to agree on every issue? You must show how agreement on abortion leads to advocating the whole of Romish doctrine.

Or do you suppose that Christ was compromising himself when he instructed the disciples to be as shrewd as the unbelieving servant who cheated his master?

You won't find many folks more anti-Rome than me, but you won't find me denying the trinity so as to avoid common cause with Rome. I've also been known to walk on my feet, just like every Pope since the Council of Trent!!! As I once said in an interview in which I was speaking against Evangelicals and Catholics Together, I'd stand side by side with Satanists for Life against the evil of abortion. And then, as with Romanists, preach the gospel. Why is this hard to grasp?

The Samaritans, according to Jesus telling the woman by the well, didn't even know who they worship (but the Jews did); Jesus's own Apostles tell us not even to greet the one who brings another gospel: that includes Rome.

You are missing the point John. In the story cited it was the Samaritan, the non covenant mongrel that demonstrated the charity that is consistent with the love that God expects his people to extend to others. Remember the story is immediately subsequent to Jesus’ address of the lawyer who had rightly answered the question put to him. "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself." The lawyer followed up with his own question "And who is my neighbor?" which led to the telling of the parable. So John I’ll ask you the same question, who is your neighbor? I suggest you open your Bible to Luke 10 and revisit the entire chapter.

Don't try to divert attention from that issue: your little situation is ridiculous; there's no doubt you'd help the guy on the street...but nothing further:

The situation is hardly little or ridiculous though I’ll grant your opinion on the matter for the sake of argument as it only lends support to my position. If the story is ridiculous then the opinions you’ve expressed here are no less ridiculous for they are categorically identical. Indeed it is these isolationist, anabaptistic ideas of cultural withdrawal that have led the church in this nation down the road to apostasy. Your exegetical errors are ones of category John. You imagine that working together with your Catholic neighbor (neighbor John, not brother) for the life of the unborn (another neighbor John) is synonymous with accepting the Canons of Trent. This is absurd and the point was made previously when I said that the participants at this blog are not so dull as to confuse agreement in the struggle against abortion with theological unity….the very thing that you are doing John. It appears to me that you are tithing the mint, the dill and the cummin and ignoring the weightier matters of justice, mercy and faithfulness.

an obedience Christian can have nothing to do with Rome or its faithful:

I submit John that the statement above is not only absurd but impossible. What is your vocation John? Your calling? What exactly do you do for a living? The anabaptist draws a line between the secular and the spiritual and imagines himself living in two worlds. This allows him to engage in the economic activities required to support his family while imagining that he has separated himself from those he considers enemies of Christ in the spiritual realm. But there is no separation of realms John and all things, including your thoughts, are to be brought under subjection to Christ. All things, even such basics as eating and drinking are all to be done in his name and for his glory. If you were consistent with your position John, you couldn’t work with a Roman Catholic. If you were a surgeon your supporting staff would exclude all Roman Catholics. After all doing neurosurgery with a Roman Catholic would be accepting and proclaiming the legitimacy of their view of justification. Your employer would have to be Christian. Anyone you hire if you are an employer would have to be Christian. Your groceries, your gasoline, all your purchases, are they bought from Christians only? Do you take the time to research every individual you interact with? If not you’re saying the rosary and taking part in the evening oblations. Do you play bingo as well?

it effects the greatest and most extravagant abomination the world has ever seen:

Maybe but that is quite irrelevant, unless of course you’re willing to bring every single part of your life under that same umbrella. Who made that car you’re driving John?

How dare you try to create a diversion by proposing a mute dilemma.

It’s not a diversion John, it is identical. And the term is moot not mute. And the dilemma is yours, that is unless you’re going to withdraw completely from society, grow your own food, cut off all interaction with non Christians (except to preach your truncated Gospel) and move in with Jack Chick.

I think John would benefit from reading some Dabney and Hodge.

John,

There's another angle on all this that I don't see anyone raising, viz. how you would relate to criteria of doctrinal orthodoxy that you share with Roman Catholics. There are several of these.

If you google "the five fundamentals" you'll get varying lists of what late 19th Century fundamentalists considered the irreducible fundamentals of Christianity. After looking over several lists of these, I note the following appear in all lists:

1. The virgin birth of Christ

2. Jesus' true humanity and full diety (i.e. the Incarnation as classically formulated)

3. The historical and literal reality of Jesus' miracles

4. The Trinity

Roman Catholics confess, preach, and defend all these convictions (at least, their leaders do; Catholics in the pew are a very mixed bag indeed).

Do you confess, preach, and defend these convictions? I trust you do. But, I wonder why you stand beside Roman Catholics in doing so? To read you, it sounds as if Catholic endorsement of an idea or agenda is sufficient for you to reject it as apostate.

Fr. Bill

Dear Brothers,

There's another side to this that can't be said often enough: If the Reformers were alive today, I have little question they would view the contemporary Protestant church as equivalent to the Roman Catholic church in lacking the marks of the Church. The right preaching of the Word of God? The right administration of the Sacraments? The right exercise of church discipline?

This from Luther always goes through my mind in such discussions:

* * *

In regard to doctrine we observe especially this defect that, (m)any now talk only about the forgiveness of sins and say little or nothing about repentance. There neither is forgiveness of sins without repentance nor can forgiveness of sins be understood without repentance. It follows that if we preach the forgiveness of sins without repentance that the people imagine that they have already obtained the forgiveness of sins, becoming thereby secure and without compunction of conscience. This would be a greater error and sin than all the errors hitherto prevailing. Surely we need to be concerned lest, as Christ says in Matthew 12 [: 45] the last state becomes worse than the first.

Therefore we have instructed and admonished pastors that it is their duty to preach the whole gospel and not one portion without the other.

-Martin Luther, "Luther’s Works; Volume 40; Church and Ministry II;" Edited by Conrad Bergendoff; (Philadelphia: Muhlenberg Press, 1958) “Instructions for the Visitors of Parish Pastors”; pp. 274, 275.

* * *

When Luther refers to "all the errors hitherto prevailing," it's the Roman church he's alluding to. No one with the slightest knowledge of the evangelical, let alone the mainline Protestant churches, today can deny that what Luther warned against is now our steady state.

Like RC Jr., I too am about as opposed to the Roman Catholic church as a pastor can be. But it's been my observation for years, now, that when evangelicals (and I'm including most Reformed evangelicals in that) start attending our church, we have to take them back to the foundation, almost starting over again, before they begin to grow. Often they've not been baptized and yet for many years have been communing at the Lord's Table. Often they're opposed to submitting to church officers. Often they see the Church as optional (or even an obstacle) to their own personal growth in piety, and have no doctrine of sanctification at all. The list could go on.

Roman Catholics, on the other hand, come to us knowing they're sinners and fearing God, so it's off to the races with them.

Enough for now...

John,

Do you agree with the proposition uttered by another: "Rome's denial of the gospel, together with her catalogue of extrabiblical superstitions and manmade doctrines that keep untold millions from trusting Christ alone, strike me as far grosser evils than abortion. That's not to minimize the evil of abortion; but hopefully it puts the wickedness of damning false religion in perspective."

If you do, then your comments and viewpoints are entirely consistent.

Regardless of whether I (and others) strongly disagree with you.

I.e., while I disagree with the substance of your argument, I do acknowledge the internal consistency and coherence of your position.

I never said that "to agree on one issue i[s] to agree on every issue"; I said that the co-belligerency with that antichrist system for the sake of temporal things, publicly joining arms with Rome over them, is to become partakers with them: and disobey scripture; I said it was Rome's faithful (not the mixed-bag jack-catholics) we couldn't associate with.

You're reading me, it seems, in the light of some other arguments you perhaps heard, in light of the "anabaptists", perhaps whom you despise, despite that (no offense) "anabaptist" has centuries of baggage of conglomerating any group that was once separatist from certain magisterial state "Churches"; and today seems to be applied to anyone disdained by pure covenental presbyterianism.

I never advocated separation from the world (1 Corinthians say we'd have to go out of the world), but separation from those who bring another Christ, just as we are commanded; I did not mean the "cultural Christian", either, though perhaps the "nominal Christian".

And no, "participants at this blog are not so dull as to confuse agreement in the struggle against abortion with theological unity" IS a grave problem, one because people from mainlines (and the periphery like the PCA etc.) are, over these "non" theological issues (which actually ARE, theological issues: who's image are we made in?) often found to confuse these things with unity...a "Christian" "coalition" of sorts: and so they see a moral unity, but then the disunity among the "Christians", and the Church's witness is brought to scorn...and Rome gains legitimacy as if it were a true church. Furthermoe the co-belligerants so often begin seeing the ones they're joining hands with as "not so bad", then they begin forgetting what divided them, then they're joined; and this is no little problem: I don't care that the people here perhaps are those who have their doctrinal T's crossed...the people watching (either in your own congregations, or any passerby on the internet) may not, and may not be so strong, we must not cause the weak to stumble insofar as it's reasonable to so help them: and yes, it is a constant mix-up in men's minds that people do make, mistaking agreement for a unity of this or that sort: all are not mature...the vast majority are not (I wouldn't claim to be), and so as annoying as it might be, it is not unreasonable to thusly accomodate them, and walk circumspectly before them in example, and to explain those points (even if it is time consuming).

The very groups who're most involved in "co-belligerency" themselves are showing us that this matters, plainly: dying all the more...often the pastors themselves (perhaps no suprise as the general attender also eventually may become one). The PCA isn't excepted from this: and it's something I sorrow over, as I would have been able to find a body to attach to much sooner if it wasn't: but denominationally nobody in there seems to want to pay heed anymore.

Rome does not agree with us on even these fundamentals, either,

1. The virgin birth of Christ

2. Jesus' true humanity and full diety (i.e. the Incarnation as classically formulated)

3. The historical and literal reality of Jesus' miracles

4. The Trinity

go nowhere near being definite of what is "Christian"; the first they read as "THE VIRGIN birth of Christ", the third becomes "of Mary" and the vatican propaganda machine, myths and fables that have developed over 1500+ years, to which billions are given over to; the fourth almost becomes a quad-affair with Mary. The second thing is essentially related to the atonement, and precisely what it was that Christ did, which is why we must explain both together, which Rome cannot do: they deny biblical atonement utterly; this point does not matter without the one, or vice versa: because without the biblical atonement (and no, I don't mean we must use the exact latinate terms of the Reformation for the new believer, however we cannot allow people redefining or substituting things that confront the Bible either, which is why those exact, precise, terms were invoked: to combat assaults on God's Word) there is no gospel, no justification, no redemption, no significance of these things except that the fallen man knows he's doomed...that's all; this is even now under attack in the PCA itself, heavily; in under 30 years the co-belligerency between Presbyterianism among many denominations with Rome has brought them very near to being under Rome's umbrella, as even now some of those churches are: the PCA isn't exempt. The Bayly's are taking-on attacks on biblical roles of the sexes because they're overscrupulous? NO! Because it hammers away at Paul's theology and gospel, which, believe Christian's, is Christ's! (except perhaps elements of the most extreme classical dispensationalists that read it as different from the gospel of the circumcision). I don't know if this will suprise you, but the developments in the PCA in so many areas...looks no different that the unbelief of the neo-evangelicals: and I know them well, was in there for years, in several Churches (family moving), at their conferences, as their events: they teach you nothing, just more myths, more twisting of scripture, no [true] gospel, no accurate preaching of God's word. Who cares about personal holiness if it's just conforming unregenerates to a godly-enough life to be assured in comfort, to find oneself hellbound? The PCA "this is our target demographic" is the same "we don't trust the gospel" attitude one finds among the neo-evangelicals, the one which will draw-in like-people who'll bind together because they're alike, but not for the gospel! I still see that mindset: even found a "Messianic Reformed" PCA Church: gee, now we have a "true-to-our-Jewish-roots" Jew-targetting PCA rather than the presentation of the gospel to all freely? Wonderful: might as well be the ex-pastor of Obama, substitute "Jewish" for "black", and I don't mean in the doctrinal things (Obama's ex-pastor obviously wasn't Reformed), but rather the part that matters is that in Christ there's neither Jew nor Greek: but one flock. End of conversation.

This is the sort of stuff I'm attacking...because it's insidious: because it's dire, fatal.

Rome does not hold to the essentials it does because it needs to...it does because it seeks an appearance of legitimacy. This is, again, why I keep crying "stop making an appearance of unity with Rome...even over things like this"...or perhaps, "look, we both agree on issues of abortion...but we despise their false gospel and they are neither brothers nor the Church". No offense, but I'm shocked at how often it is Presbyterians (from whom I owe much!) despise the anabaptists (which weren't all separatists-from-the-world, I say since so many who don't necessarily qualify as those the term was originally applied to were yet identified with them) rather than the counterfeit institution that boasts itself "Church"!

The Roman Convert is an interesting thing Tim brought-up, and I wonder...did they just walk-in, or are they brought-in and really taught the first principles of the gospel (as the evangelicals need); with both, they need begin with fear of the Lord (the beginning of wisdom), yet life begins in Christ, and being born from above (I don't say "again" since the neo-evangelicals have sooo warped that term). Are they off-running because they're accepted, or because they're following Christ wholeheartedly? This interesting experience I was privelaged (? weird to say because I mourn it) is that the evangelicals can very well induce people into running hard with much zeal, and exhortation to holiness, and etc. with skillfull handling of extra-biblical principles massaged gently between scriptures to the point it appears you have a Christian...it doesn't work every time, but it works often enough: until you begin questioning what they believe in.

And yes, Rome is a far greater evil than abortion: but both are condemned already: we must not join hands with the perpetutators of the one thing, in opposition to that which serves only as a distraction: preach the evil of both, and preach to the Roman Faithful their need for utter rejection of its false doctrines (note the "false" part) and their redefinition of terms; do note I say "redefinition", because they say "we subscribe to the same creeds, bible, classical formulations"...but they re-interpret and re-define them by their "tradition" rather than keeping with original intent; you can see the Roman Army marching on even Wikipedia trying to hide its own past and engaging in edit-wars there: don't you guys get that it is that institution that the world sees as "Christianity"!

I hope this clarifies a few things, and gives some decent things to think on.

Grace.

... I hope this clarifies a few things...

Well, ... ummm ... yes, it does. And generously too.

But, I think what it clarifies is different from what you suppose.

Rome does not agree with us on even these fundamentals, either,

1. The virgin birth of Christ

2. Jesus' true humanity and full diety (i.e. the Incarnation as classically formulated)

3. The historical and literal reality of Jesus' miracles

4. The Trinity

Wow, now that is funny.

John: "And yes, Rome is a far greater evil than abortion: but both are condemned already: we must not join hands with the perpetutators of the one thing, in opposition to that which serves only as a distraction: preach the evil of both..."

As I mentioned above, I will acknowledge the internal consistency of your argument against social-cultural-political co-belligerency with Roman Catholics given your belief (which is shared by others) that Catholicism is a far greater evil than abortion.

Perhaps if John can't find Dabney and Hodge he should read the Bayly's recent Bonhoeffer post.

No offense, but given that Bonhoeffer was writing from what, it seems, was the standpoint of a liberal social gospel and Christian existentialism, not Christianity (even denying Christ in its final letters, and becoming the source of many quips just like the comment that God wants us to get well enough along without Him), I'm not impressed with his writings. Today they're interpreted as "Christ bids him to come and die" against the nominal in-it-for-me Christian, but Bonhoeffer's circumstances (and apparent beliefs from his other writings) show he was writing with a mind that was world-center, for all practical purposes unbelieving: the same mindset that killed the mainlines: social gospels.

Reading Bonhoeffer one gets the sense that his "christianity" is one without a living God, a deistic if not a totally atheistic religion, where instead of a faith Christianity becomes a philosophy merely for satisfying the intellect and assigning meaning to the world, rather than being given it by God's choice, not men's assignment; and of course this isn't Christianity...and so very important biblical doctrine is either absent, or redefined in his work. I suggest you case reading it like "bid come and die" (for Christ's cause) and look at what he writes in his entire corpus...and then maybe people will stop citing Bonhoeffer.

A couple things: Rome doesn't agree with us on those fundamentals, either in their whole substance, or in the context of biblical teaching: that's the point I meant; take them in isolation and yes they do...but they don't in whole, nor, I repeat, do they define things the same.

And I think I should clarify from earlier, no, I didn't mean "moot dilemna", "mute" was intended.

Aye. We Catholics have been much proud of many of our bishops this time around. Many of them, indeed, did step up to the plate to speak up against the crime of abortion. 'Twas not always so, and even now, many have been silent, preferring the praise of men. Methinks, however, that it was Obama's absolute fealty to the sacrament of abortion that forced some of our good ones to reckon that the fight is on. Now, finally, all hopes of nicely convincing our opponents are dashed. Let's rock 'n' roll, folks! For we battle not against flesh and blood...

Oh, and John, you weren't invited to my party anyway! :)

And I think I should clarify from earlier, no, I didn't mean "moot dilemna", "mute" was intended.

Two things. Never heard the word mute used in such a way and what exactly is a 'dilemna'?

"Dilemna" is an egregious misspelling. : )

Exactly Rob, not against flesh and blood...such as fighting the spirits who blind men who demand subjugation to themselves or another, such as the pope, rather than the name of Christ alone for salvation.

Add new comment