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Thursday, July 19, 2007

The Sins of the Fathers

"...but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea." - Matthew 18:6 ESV

Gabcast! How Shall We Then...Blog (In Audio) #3 - The Sins of the Fathers

My thoughts on the record 660 million dollar settlement by the California Roman Catholic Diocese. Can money atone for the sins and crimes of these men? We can take a look at the call of ministers (bishops, elders, overseers) in scripture and hold it up in contrast to the vatican law...while we are talking mainly about what has recently happened in the Roman Catholic Church, this is something that is to be taken to heart by all churches that claim the name of Jesus Christ. There are some things money just can't buy.

Warning: These next clips from the Documentary, Deliver Us From Evil, contain language and subject matter that may be suitable for all audiences. Viewer discretion is advised.

The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task. Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God's church? He must not be a recent convert, or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil. Moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace, into a snare of the devil. Deacons likewise must be dignified, not double-tongued, not addicted to much wine, not greedy for dishonest gain. They must hold the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience. And let them also be tested first; then let them serve as deacons if they prove themselves blameless. Their wives likewise must be dignified, not slanderers, but sober-minded, faithful in all things. Let deacons each be the husband of one wife, managing their children and their own households well. For those who serve well as deacons gain a good standing for themselves and also great confidence in the faith that is in Christ Jesus. - 1 Timothy 3:1-13 ESV

This is why I left you in Crete, so that you might put what remained into order, and appoint elders in every town as I directed you— if anyone is above reproach, the husband of one wife, and his children are believers and not open to the charge of debauchery or insubordination. For an overseer, as God's steward, must be above reproach. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined. He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it. - Titus 1:5-9 ESV

Soli Deo Gloria,


Friday, July 13, 2007

Say It Ain't So, Joe: The Pope, Peter and The Church

Pope: Jesus formed 'only one church'
Benedict issues statement asserting that Jesus established ‘only one church’
MSNBC News Services
Updated: 8:52 a.m. CT July 10, 2007

LORENZAGO DI CADORE, Italy - Pope Benedict XVI has reasserted the universal primacy of the Roman Catholic Church, approving a document released Tuesday that says Orthodox churches were defective and that other Christian denominations were not true churches.
Benedict approved a document from his old offices at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith that restates church teaching on relations with other Christians. It was the second time in a week the pope has corrected what he says are erroneous interpretations of the Second Vatican Council, the 1962-65 meetings that modernized the church.
On Saturday, Benedict
revisited another key aspect of Vatican II by reviving the old Latin Mass. Traditional Catholics cheered the move, but more liberal ones called it a step back from Vatican II.
Benedict, who attended Vatican II as a young theologian, has long complained about what he considers the erroneous interpretation of the council by liberals, saying it was not a break from the past but rather a renewal of church tradition.
In the latest document — formulated as five questions and answers — the Vatican seeks to set the record straight on Vatican II’s ecumenical intent, saying some contemporary theological interpretation had been “erroneous or ambiguous” and had prompted confusion and doubt.
It restates key sections of a 2000 document the pope wrote when he was prefect of the congregation, “Dominus Iesus,” which set off a firestorm of criticism among Protestant and other Christian denominations because it said they were not true churches but merely ecclesial communities and therefore did not have the “means of salvation.”
In the new document and an accompanying commentary, which were released as the pope vacations here in Italy’s Dolomite mountains, the Vatican repeated that position.
“Christ ‘established here on earth’ only one church,” the document said. The other communities “cannot be called ‘churches’ in the proper sense” because they do not have apostolic succession — the ability to trace their bishops back to Christ’s original apostles...(
full article here)

Gabcast! How Shall We Then...Blog (In Audio) #2 - Say It Ain't So, Joe: The Pope, Peter & The Church

My response to an article in which Pope Benedict declares all other denominations to be 'counterfeit'

Martin Luther on Salvation Outside the Church of Rome

Martin Luther at the Diet of Worms

"On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand; All other ground is sinking sand, All other ground is sinking sand."Edward Mote (1797-1874)

For I want you to know, brothers, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, and all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Christ.
- 1 Corinthians 10:1-4 ESV

Soli Deo Gloria,


Thursday, July 12, 2007

Systematic Mormonism: Last Things (The Beginning of the End)

“Our minds being now enlightened, we began to have the Scripture laid open to our understandings, and the true meaning and intention of the more mysterious passages revealed unto us in a manner which we never could attain to previously . . .” - Joseph Smith

So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. - Romans 10:17 ESV

And he said to me, “These words are trustworthy and true. And the Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, has sent his angel to show his servants what must soon take place.” “And behold, I am coming soon. Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book.” I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I heard and saw them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who showed them to me, but he said to me, “You must not do that! I am a fellow servant with you and your brothers the prophets, and with those who keep the words of this book. Worship God.” And he said to me, “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near. Let the evildoer still do evil, and the filthy still be filthy, and the righteous still do right, and the holy still be holy.” “Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay everyone for what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.” Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life and that they may enter the city by the gates. Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and the sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.
“I, Jesus, have sent my angel to testify to you about these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.” The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price. I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city which are described in this book.
He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!
The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen. - Revelation 22:6-21 ESV

Soli Deo Gloria,

Monday, July 09, 2007

Systematic Mormonism: Church Order and Practices (Ecclesiology)

Moving right along, we now look into the church order and some of the major practices within the Church of LDS. We will see what their ordinances actually mean, where they originate, and where they get their authority.

Mormon Church Order & Practice (1)

Mormon Church Order and Practice (2)

Mormon Church Order and Practice (3)

To view the previous chapter, click here.

Soli Deo Gloria,


Systematic Mormonism: The Way of Salvation (Soteriology)

With the doctrines of Revelation, God, Man, and Jesus Christ being so drastically different from that of the traditional Christian Faith, where does this leave them on the issue of the salvation of souls? The implications of their teachings clearly nullify the idea of the justification by faith in Christ alone--so in what or who does the faithful Mormon put their hope in order that they may acquire eternal life? What must a Mormon do to be saved? The answer will surprise you...

Mormons and Eternal Life

To view the previous chapter, click here.

Soli Deo Gloria,

Systematic Mormonism: The Doctrine of Jesus Christ (Christology)

Here, we will take a look at the person and work of Jesus Christ, according to the writings of Mormonism, in contrast with that of the Holy Bible. While the content of this clip is short, the differences are not hard to point out even if one has an elementary level of biblical knowledge. Everything that we have seen up until now greatly effects this particular doctrine, just as every category that follows after this one will be greatly effected by this teaching as well. Leaves you with the lingering question, "How Christian can Mormonism actually be?"

Jesus Christ According to Mormonism

For previous chapter, click here.

Soli Deo Gloria,


Systematic Mormonism: The Doctrine and Study of Man (Anthropology)

In this section, we will survey the origin of the human species (anthropology) from the doctrines of Mormonism. We will look at some of it claims through historical, scientific, and archaeological evidence (or lack thereof). We will see a short history lesson on the life and character of the man, Joseph Smith, himself.

Mormonism v. Anthropology/Archaeological Evidence (1)

Mormonism v. Anthropology/Archaeological Evidence (2)

A Short History of Joseph Smith

To view the previous chapter, click here.

Soli Deo Gloria,

Systematic Mormonism: God and His Attributes (Theology Proper)

In this section, we will look into the Mormon Doctrine on God. It doesn't take long to realize that Mormonism is not monotheistic, trinitarian God as in biblical Christianity. It is, in fact, a polytheistic religion.

The Mormon Doctrine on God and His Attributes

To see the previous section click here.

Soli Deo Gloria,


Systematic Mormonism: Orgins of Scripture and Revelation (Prolegomena)

“It's a lot more common now for someone to know a Mormon rather than just know of Mormons out in Utah, ... We seem more normal. We're not as exotic.” - Brigham Young

Mormonism (Church of Latter Day Saints - LDS) has gained much attention lately due to certain current events--both positively and negatively. Most recently, it has grabbed much of the media spotlight thanks to the popularity of Republican presidential candidate hopeful, Mitt Romney, the capture of FBI's most wanted, Warren Jeffs, and also the success of the HBO series, Big Love. However, much of Mormonism remains a mystery to the general public. Most know some basic generalities:

-They claim to fall under the umbrella of the Christian faith.
-The founder was a man by the name of Joseph Smith.
-Some may also known of some of their flagship institutions (Brigham Young University, etc.)

But still, very little is known of the particulars of the Mormon Faith. After all, most who are apart of the faith are not very forthcoming when speaking of the origins and heritage of Mormonism and its founder(s).

Recently, the people over at Mormon Research Ministry (http://www.mrm.org/) have released a video series entitled, Search For the Truth: Jesus Christ/Joseph Smith. It serves as a comprehensive look behind the scenes of the LDS church and as a warm-hearted refutation of the doctrines held by Mormonism as it deviates from the truth of the scripture.

I have taken clips from this series and placed them into systematic theological categories to show that these differences are not just mere trivial matters; this is to show that in every way this religion that calls itself "Christian" contradicts and denies the Bible at every given opportunity. So we'll start with the Prolegomena (study of first things) of Mormonism-- The origin of revelation and their "sacred writings" as well as how this effects their interpretation of the Word of God (the Holy Bible).


Origin of Mormonism (Joseph Smith's First Vision)

Joseph Smith's Translation/Revelation Method

More on Smith's Prophecies and Revelations

If you have difficulty viewing clip on this page, click here:

Soli Deo Gloria,


Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Free Indeed: Liberty In Christ

"True liberty consists only in the power of doing what we ought to will, and in not being constrained to do what we ought not to will." - Jonathan Edwards

As I read this statement above earlier this week, it began to dawn on me how often we as humans can seriously misunderstand what true liberty actually entails. We have a great inclination to believe that to be free means to do whatever we will--everything is a matter of choice, right? Especially in considering the United States of America, freedom equates to free will. In other words we can do what we want, so long as we understand, what I like to call, the "Spider-Man principle":

With great freedom comes great responsibility.
(Okay--so it's not exactly what he said, but you get the idea...)

But can this answer really suffice? Is this really just a matter of opinion? Are we scientifically engineered to be autonomously free? These are the tough questions that have been struggled with for centuries. The popular worldview of the day definitely would lend itself towards affirming the notion of free will, but this may be a bit premature. Survey the following statement:

So even in the scientific realm, there is no clear cut answer to the problem of the liberation of the will. However, there was something said that was very important. The speaker found the idea of arbitrary, random acts of the will to be disconcerting. Is there some sort of "glitch in our system"? If we read the statement at the beginning by Edwards correctly, then the answer would have to be a resounding "yes".

A Crack in the Liberty Bell

According to scripture, man is "free" to act as he naturally wills. The only down side is that man is naturally inclined to do what he ought not do. Ours is a tainted freedom. This is something that we all know from our own personal experience. We can all identify with the apostle Paul when he says,

For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. - Romans 7:15-20 ESV

It is because of our inherent sinful nature (Original Sin) that we cannot do the things that we know that we should do--acknowledgement and glorification of God. In turn, this doesn't leave us free at all. In fact, it leaves us desperately enslaved to sin (Genesis 3; John 8:34; Romans 1:18-23, 3:11-18 & 23).

Order from Chaos (Who's choosin' who?!)

So far as we have seen, our choosing will get us nowhere. Our wills are, in fact, in bondage to sin and evil. This has been attested to from both the secular and christian worldview. However, in the majority of Churches and christian institutions, the problem of the will becomes even more confounded by doctrinal inconsistency with the Word of God. Listen to this song performed at Pensacola Christian College:

So, in other words (according to the lyrics of this song), I'm the captain of my fate and the master of my own destiny--even though in my natural state (from the verses referenced above) I am completely incapable of seeking after God. How can these things be? I do believe that their "wonderful gift of choice" is an exercise in futility, not to mention unbiblical:

The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. - John 1:9-13 ESV

"No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day. It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. But there are some of you who do not believe." (For Jesus knew from the beginning who those were who did not believe, and who it was who would betray him.) And he said, "This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father." - John 6:44, 63-65 ESV

You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. - John 15:16 ESV

Nowhere else is this case more firmly driven home than in this particular passage of scripture:

So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy. - Romans 9:16 ESV

Freed to Serve

Our freedom is paid at a very high cost; by the death of Christ. Contrary to popular beliefs that circulate in our day, we are not brought out of the bondage of sin simply to do whatever we wish(1 Corinthians 6:19-20). As Martin Luther stated,

"Saint Augustine writes, that free-will, without God's grace and the Holy Ghost, can do nothing but sin...Hence, we conclude in general, that man, without the Holy Ghost and God's grace, can do nothing but sin; he proceeds therein without intermission, and from one sin falls into another. Now, if man will not suffer wholesome doctrine, but contemns the all-saving Word, and resists the Holy Ghost, then through the effects and strength of his free-will he becomes God's enemy; he blasphemes the Holy Ghost, and follows the lusts and desires of his own heart, as examples in all times clearly show."

So, it is God who grants us grace through the gift of faith in Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:8-9). We are set free from the bonds of sin to be slaves of righteousness. The freedom that is to be found in Christ is not one of independence, but rather total dependence and reliance on the person and work of Jesus Christ and to be tethered to him throughout eternity. It is then (and only then) that we are not only free to do what we want, but also to do what we ought to its chief end (Mark 12:28-31). A country's freedom is dependent on its military to maintain that freedom--and how much more does the liberation of our souls depend upon the grace of God to break us free from the chains of sin and bind us in the chains of Christ!

Derek Webb - "Medication"

"The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed." - John 8:35-36 ESV

"I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing." - John 15:1-5 ESV

For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. But what fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. - Romans 6:20-23 ESV

So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin. - Romans 7:21-25 ESV

Soli Deo Gloria,

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