Wednesday, December 16, 2009

How to go to heaven--by Miles McKee and the Bible

The Wednesday Word: What Truths Must We Believe to go to Heaven?


There are many great and wonderful truths taught in the Bible, but which of them do we primarily need to rest in order to receive acquittal before God? Take the ‘Second Coming ’, for example, (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18): that Christ will one day return to this earth in great glory is an excellent truth. In fact, if someone told me that they were a believer, but rejected this truth I would probably question their salvation (1 Jn 3:3). Yet we are not in any sense declared not guilty by believing in the second coming of our Lord.

We believe that Christ ascended into heaven (Eph 4:10) and sat down at the right hand of the majesty on high (Heb 10:12), but wonderful as this truth is, it is not the basis of our justification.
We believe that the Holy Spirit has been sent to earth as the exclusive substitute for Christ (John 14:16-20) and that He is actively calling out a bride for the wonderful Son of God, yet again, believing these things does not cause us to receive right standing before the all-holy and righteous God.

What about the resurrection? Faith looks at the resurrection and sees it as the proof that Christ satisfied the justice of God. Romans 4:25 tells us that He, “...was raised again for our justification.’ Faith sees that the resurrection was, therefore, the visible pledge of a justification already accomplished. However, although the resurrection is the proof of our justification, it is not the ground of our acquittal.

So what then is the belief that we need to have in order to be saved? What we need is faith in Christ Jesus, the God/Man, who was crucified on our behalf. It is not merely enough to assent to the fact that He died; we must be possessed by a faith in His person and death. What we need is a faith that Christ, the man who is God, died as our substitute and our propitiation to remove the righteous wrath of the all-holy God. But more than that, the faith that justifies also grasps that Christ Himself is now our only righteousness (Jeremiah 33:16; Romans 1:16-17). Faith sees that no other righteousness other than Christ’s admits us to heaven. Faith also sees that no other righteousness is either requested or required (Phil 3:9)!
No one will stand in the presence of God who does not have the righteousness of Christ as their very own. His righteousness is the only perfect righteousness in existence (Isa 11:1-5; Ps 40: 7-8;) and it is given to us as a free gift in the gospel (Rom 5;15-18; Heb 10:9-14). The only way of salvation is in Christ plus nothing. If He and His finished work are not your exclusive hope then, regardless of what else you believe in the Bible, you are lost; you are still under sin, guilt, and condemnation.
Faith, although it receives all the great truths of the Word, always brings us back to Christ crucified as the exclusive ground and basis of our justification. Christ plus nothing received by faith plus nothing is where we stand.

There's a marvelous text in 2 Timothy 1:12 where the apostle says "Nevertheless I'm not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I've committed unto him against that day." Many years ago, ‘Rabbi’ Duncan, Professor of Hebrew at New College, Edinburgh, (he was nicknamed Rabbi for he was so steeped in learning), was lecturing in class and they were discussing this particular verse. One of the students cited the text, "I know in whom I have believed and am persuaded." Professor Duncan stopped him and said, "Repeat that text." He said, "I know in whom I have believed," "My dear sir," interrupted Rabbi Duncan, " it's ‘I know whom I have believed;’---- you must never let even a preposition come between you and your Savior."
So let’s say it again, it is Christ plus nothing received by faith plus nothing that is the true gospel ground.
And that’s the Gospel Truth
Miles

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Taking on the “repent and believe” gospel


(Blogger’s note) I wrote the following in response to a letter by a father and son team who call themselves evangelists and essentially approach people on the street telling them various reasons that they need to “repent and believe” in Christ. “Do you know if you died today, whether you would go to heaven or hell?” That type of thing.

In any case, for this father and son team this approach is what passes for “preaching the gospel.” I wrote this to share biblically why their approach is not the biblical gospel—there is no repenting before there is believing (which is the work of the Holy Spirit—our new birth, John 3). In other words, if you have not yet received the gift of faith, you will have no desire to repent:  
But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. (1 Cor. 2:14)

You wrote: We believe that Jesus died ONCE for ALL our sins. When we repent and receive Him, we are SAVED. That's all we do. The reformers called this Sola Fide.

I responded: I must disagree. This is not what the reformers called sola fide because sola fide means “by faith alone” but you say, even without faith in Christ, one has the ability to repent and receive him, as you put it, “That’s all we do.” Repentance comes not before but only after we are given the gift of faith (born again). Otherwise it is a “work” of man. Again, “Without faith it is impossible to please God. Without me you can do nothing…”
1 Peter 1:23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.

24 For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: 25 But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.

1 Cor. 21 For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.

As a former cradle Catholic for more than 40 years, I dare say your father and I sought to confess our sins time and again in true repentance before our priest friends. But, as for me, the first day I knew I was truly forgiven was the day that the Holy Spirit brought me to admit that Christ alone had saved me and I had would never be able to contribute anything to the salvation he alone has won for me.

Then and only then was I truly able to repent of my sins, because, until that time, I had not believed in the true Christ. The Christ I had been taught about was an idol of the pope’s making. He had died only to make me “savable”—not to save me completely. That idol christ—which was no Christ at all—bid me to do many things such as attend daily Mass, receive and pray to him in the form of bread, repent of my sins and rely on priestly mediation to get the worst of my sins forgiven, etc…

What I am saying is that from a practical standpoint, practicing “repentance first” all those years never did a thing for me and your dad as Roman Catholics. What made all the difference was to believe the true Gospel. After I received faith in the true Christ who had totally accomplished my salvation by his death on the cross, I knew I was forgiven, even before I repented, though I did indeed repent in tears of sorrow and joy.

2 Timothy 1:9 …who has saved us and called us to a holy life–not because of anything we have done (repentance) but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time,

Romans 1:17 For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last,[ 1:17 Or is from faith to faith] just as it is written: "The righteous will live by faith."[ 1:17 Hab. 2:4]
Romans 3:22 This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.

What I’m urging you and your father is to preach the true Gospel first and then you will occasionally see the true repentance that comes from belief in a God who did (and does) it all.

And what is that true Gospel?—that Christ alone has won the salvation of all those who come to believe just that—he did it all. That does not mean that we don’t seek the good works he gives us to bring glory to him among men, but that we fully realize those works won’t get us to heaven—Christ alone will. Something he plainly promises: He who believes…has everlasting life. ..I go to prepare a place for you…No one can snatch you out of my hands…

For me, the tract version of that Gospel goes like this: Christ, the Son of God, is Lord, Savior and God in the flesh, who died to rescue those who believe in him from everlasting hell and secured for them everlasting life with him.

If they hear and believe that, by the power of the Holy Spirit, they’ll know they need to repent—and then you can help them more.

However, your gospel, has Christ dying for everyone, those who believe and those who do not ultimately believe, to secure their ability to at least repent and receive. The only problem is that you have no direct biblical basis for this belief.

You make your own case for this “repenting before faith” by insisting that John the Baptist and Christ himself would not have preached “Repent for the Kingdom of heaven is near” unless all people on earth (or at least all the Jews at that time) were able to repent and receive the faith to be saved. You conclude: So clearly man is able to repent, without the need of God needing to supernaturally and individually help man to respond to this divine command. In other words, you admit the basis of your gospel is only “implied” by certain verses such as those from the Baptist and Christ.

This much is clear: Everyone on the face of this earth has the responsibility to repent of their sins. As Paul tells us, they have no excuse. But having a responsibility and the actual power to carry out that responsibility are two entirely different things (Again, without me you can do nothing).

Your premise that Christ didn’t command the impossible is negated throughout the scriptures, where he often commanded the impossible

“Young man, I say to you arise.”


“Little girl, arise.”


“Lazarus, come forth!”


“Therefore you shall be perfect…”


“you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.”

Christ even explained on one occasion that it is, for all practical purposes, impossible for a rich man to get to heaven. His disciples countered with “Who then can be saved?” “With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.”

However, by insisting that man is somehow of him or herself able to repent without the benefit of faith, you are saying that all men are able of themselves to initiate a saving process. Since you insist they are somehow able to do this without the benefit of faith, it’s the same as the so-called fathers of Trent insisting that natural (ungenerated) man can prepare himself to receive saving grace.

“If anyone says that the sinner is justified by faith alone, meaning that nothing else is required to cooperate in order to obtain the grace of justification, and that it is not in any way necessary that he be prepared and disposed by the action of his own will, let him be anathema.” (Canon 9 on Justification, Council of Trent)

Without faith, the repentance you speak of would certainly seem to qualify as an “action of our own will” which means that, no matter how many times we say we are saved by faith alone, we do not truly believe that we are saved solely by faith—by Christ through faith—because we were able to repent of our sins without it (without him!).

All this also reminds me of that Catholic teaching that I used to so cherish that we are somehow born with a “spark” of the divine in us, a spark that we ourselves somehow have the ability and a responsibility to kindle. Taken together, all of this is the reason that Roman Catholics are labeled semi-Pelagians. I know you’ve heard of Pelagius. He, of course, claimed that man could do much more than simply repent. However, since you teach me that my repentance was strictly of me—I too can qualify as a semi-Pelagian.

The other thing that bothers me about all this is that you seem to desperately try to separate grace and faith, to try to prove that faith is somehow not a gift. For by grace we are saved through faith… How can the two be separated if God’s grace is indeed, as his word indicates, delivered or instrumented through faith? The grace of God is this: that we are saved by Christ through faith. The word says “Without faith it is impossible to please God..”, yet you and I would surely agree that repentance is pleasing to God. Christ is the author and finisher of our faith. Surely that is enough to indicate that it is a gift if you choose to discount the clear revelation of Ephesians 2:8-9. If that’s not good enough, try these:

Faith as a gift…

Matthew 16:16-17 Simon Peter answered, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." Jesus replied, " Blessed are you Simon Son of Peter for flesh and blood have not revealed this to you but My Father who is in heaven. (faith is a gift of God)
Romans 12:3 For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.
Acts 3:16 By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus' name and the faith that comes through Him that has given this complete healing to him, as you can all see.
Luke 17:5 The apostles said to the Lord, "Increase our faith!" (faith is a gift)
James 2:5 Listen, my dear brothers: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him?
2 Peter 1:1 Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ have received a faith as precious as gold.

That’s another thing that’s scary about your work on Calvin and your reaction to the verses I sent you. It’s as if you tend to reject or avoid certain bible verses that Calvinists use, simply because they use them. I trust that is not correct and that you embrace every word from God, at least as much as you seem to embrace every word from Ruckerman.

None of this should be taken to mean that we should not preach the Gospel to all. Indeed we should preach it to all. Christ commanded such. But we should certainly ensure that it’s the correct Gospel. Evangelizing techniques (sinners prayers and altar calls, etc…) should not be the basis for Gospel doctrine.

Did Christ truly die for all the world? For everyone? The pope tells me he did. You also listed several verses (in your Calvin article) but you failed to point out the qualifiers in and around them. Such as John 3:16 “whosever believes” What did Christ say? “He who believes in me has everlasting life.” And before he went to his death, he prayed to the Father::

John 17:9 I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine.

Here Christ is preparing for his death on the cross and he refuses to pray for the world, that verse certainly needs to be thrown into the mix in order for you to properly weigh the others. Here’s a few more worthy of inclusion: “Even the Spirit of truth, who the world cannot receive because it seeth him not…” (John 14:7) “…For all men have not faith.” (2 Thess. 3:2)

---Bro. Jim

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Verses for meditation...as we stand watch

ACTS 17:24-25

God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; Neither is worshipped with men's hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things;

JOHN 6:56

He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Cautions against Romanism and the priesthood's proper place

(Short note from Bro. Jim...)

While the late Bishop J.C. Ryle of Liverpool (died 1900) and I may not see exactly eye to eye on the Lord’s Supper (see below), on many matters we are in very real agreement--much of the following included. It's all very worthy of consideration for BibleCatholics. We have much to thank Ryle and others in the old Anglican Church and especially those of the so-called “low church” like Ryle, who are indeed a near dead breed in the days of the ecumenical Roman takeover. Here are some important thoughts Ryle had against the creeping adoption of Roman Catholic errors among Anglican priests and some specific cautions to keep the priesthood itself in proper perspective. (I made a few comments in parenthesis)

Bishop Ryle (pictured at right) wrote:

2. For another thing, I charge you to beware of Anglo-Romanism, and do all you can to resist it.



Resist it in little things. Resist strange dresses, sacrificial garments, the eastward position in consecrating the bread and wine, idolatrous reverence of the consecrated elements, processions, banners, incense, candles on the communion table, turning to the East, crosses and crucifixes in the chancels, and extravagant Church decorations.

Resist it in great things. Oppose with might and main the attempt to re-introduce the Mass and Auricular Confession in our parishes. Send your boy to no school where auricular confession is ever tolerated. Allow no clergymen to draw your wife and daughter to private confession. Oppose sternly, but firmly, the attempt to change the Lord’s Supper at your parish churches, into the Romish sacrifice of the mass. Draw back from the communion in such churches, and go elsewhere. The laity have a great deal of power in this matter, even without going to law. They should tell the clergy their minds. They cannot do without the laity any more than officers in a regiment can do without privates. Let the English laity all over England rise in their might, and say, “We will not have the mass and auricular confession.”

Resist it for Christ’s sake. His Priestly and Mediatorial offices are being injured and dishonoured. They are offices He has never deputed to any order of ordained men.

Resist it for the clergy’s sake. The worst and cruellest thing that can be done is to lift us out of our proper places, and make us lords over your consciences, and mediators between yourselves and God.

Resist it for the laity’s sake. The most degrading position in which laymen could be put, is that of being cringing slaves at the foot of a brother sinner (the priest).

Resist it, not least, for your children’s sake. Do what in you lies to provide that, when you are dead and gone, they shall not be left to the tender mercies of Popery. As ever you would meet your boys and girls in heaven, take care that the Church of England in your day is maintained a Protestant Church, and preserves her Articles and the principles of the Reformation wholly uninjured and undefiled.

--From "What do we owe the reformation" by J.C. Ryle, Bishop of Liverpool

ON THE CHRISTIAN MINISTRY AND SACRAMENTS
(3) I go on to say that Evangelical Religion does not under value the Christian ministry. It is not true to say that we do. We regard it as an honourable office instituted by Christ Himself, and of general necessity for carrying on the work of the Gospel. We look on ministers as preachers of God’s Word, God’s ambassadors, God’s messengers, God’s servants, God’s shepherds, God’s stewards, God’s overseers, and labourers in God’s vineyard.

But we steadily refuse to admit that Christian ministers are in any sense sacrificing priests, mediators between God and man, lords of men’s consciences, or private confessors (and they are certainly not "another Christ" as taught by Roman Catholicism). We refuse it, not only because we cannot see it in the Bible, but also because we have read the lessons of Church history. We find that Sacerdotalism, or priestcraft, has frequently been the curse of Christianity, and the ruin of true religion. And we say boldly that the exaltation of the ministerial office to an unscriptural place and extravagant dignity in the Church of England in the present day, is likely to alienate the affections of the laity, to ruin the Church, and to be the source of every kind of error and superstition.

(4) I go on to say that Evangelical Religion does not undervalue the Sacraments of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper. It is not true to say that we do. We honour them as holy ordinances appointed by Christ Himself, and as blessed means of grace, which in all who use them rightly, worthily, and with faith, “have a wholesome effect or operation.”

But we steadily refuse to admit that Christ’s Sacraments convey grace ex opere operato, (I'm with that) and that in every case where they are administered, good must of necessity be done. We refuse to admit that they are the grand media between Christ and the soul,—above faith, above preaching, and above prayer. We protest against the idea that in baptism the use of water, in the name of the Trinity, is invariably and necessarily accompanied by regeneration. We protest against the practice of encouraging any one to come to the Lord’s Table unless he repents truly of sin, has a lively faith in Christ, and is in charity with all men. We protest against the theory that the Lord’s Supper is a sacrifice, as a theory alike contrary to the Bible, Articles, and Prayer-book. And above all, we protest against the notion of any corporal presence of Christ’s flesh and blood in the Lord’s Supper, under the forms of bread and wine, as an “idolatry to be abhorred of all faithful Christians.”

(I still maintain that we should believe that partaking of the bread and wine is the same as receiving the very body and blood of Christ, as he promised us. "This is my body...this is my blood.." Paul tells us that those who recieve without faith are guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. How can we be "guilty of the body and blood of our Lord" if it is not true?  "...whosoever shall eat this bread and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord." 1 Cor. 11:27. This is not idolatry as long as we keep to his promise in the Lord's Supper--but it most certainly is when we try to take the elements out of the context Christ gave us--as in so-called Eucharistic adoration--which is most definitely idolatry.)

--From “Evangelical Religion” by J.C. Ryle, Bishop of Liverpool

Read more Ryle at http://www.tracts.ukgo.com/john_charles_ryle.htm
Short overview at the following:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Charles_Ryle

Sunday, November 8, 2009

The Mighty Saving Priest

by Miles McKee

Hebrews 7:25, Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.

Christ Jesus saves to the uttermost---He is able, willing and ready to completely, perfectly and utterly save. His ‘uttermost salvation’ means that we have salvation to the fullest extent! Since there is nothing beyond the uttermost, there can be nothing lacking in God’s salvation through Christ! Christ has removed every power and enemy that has attempted to roadblock our salvation. He saves to the uttermost! But, what does it mean to be saved? Simply put, when we are saved we have salvation. But what is salvation? One of the things that salvation means is that we have been rescued and delivered from imminent danger.

One of the earliest expressions of salvation being equated with deliverance from danger is found in Exodus 14. At that time, Moses and the children of Israel were facing the impassible Red Sea; Pharaoh and his blood-baying army were rapidly closing in for the kill. But faithful Moses said to the people, “Fear ye not! Stand still and see the salvation of the Lord which He will show you today.” You know the rest of the story, how that God parted the Red Sea, Israel was delivered and the Egyptians destroyed. At the conclusion of these events we read, “Thus the Lord saved Israel that day, out of the hand of the Egyptians,” Salvation and deliverance from danger, therefore, are one and the same.

Salvation may be looked at in three tenses, past , present and future.

The Past

So what danger have we been delivered from? First of all we were delivered from the wrath of God! Wrath is dangerous! However, we have been utterly saved from it because God’s wrath has been exhausted on Christ! Christ’s blood has already been poured out on Calvary. Our sin has already been punished there. The Law demanded satisfaction for sins, but there was no command which demanded that the sinner provide the needed satisfaction in his own person! Freedom was his if he had a suitable substitute. Today, because of grace alone, we have the satisfactory substitute, the Lord Jesus, who lived and died for us. At the cross, He suffered the whole of divine wrath in our place. There are now, therefore, no charges against us—(Rom 8:1, Rom 4:8). There can, therefore, be no punishment due to us, as Christ has already paid for our crimes in full. He saves to the uttermost!

The Present

Have you ever noticed, however, that our past often filters into our present? That is dangerous! It can lead to despair and depression. Perhaps you are weighed down by an ongoing sense of your guilt and shame. Old sins are casting long shadows. Is there a possibility that you can escape from this? Yes indeed, for Jesus saves to the uttermost! Your failures and sins have been taken away---do you believe that? Tell yourself that! Preach that to yourself! Here’s the Gospel Truth------No sin which you have committed needs plague you---it cannot shut you out of Heaven; Christ has died for all your sins and has risen to make intercession for you. However damnable your past iniquities, there is present tense deliverance through your high priest, Christ Jesus! The arm of God’s grace is long enough to reach the worst and the vilest thing you have ever done. —Christ Jesus is mighty to save. His blood cleanses us from all sin and clears our conscience. He is saving us to the uttermost!

In salvation, we are also delivered from the control of sin. While rejecting the error of sinless perfection we believe that sin no longer has dominion over us (See Romans 6). We have a living, risen savior/priest, seated in cosmic authority upon His throne of Grace. He is engaged in the work of delivering us from the control of sin. He is saving us to the uttermost! We continue to look to our Priest/King, the crucified Christ to keep breaking the power of sin in our lives.

The Future

There is one final aspect of Salvation which is yet to come. That’s when we will be saved from the very presence of sin when we are ushered into the very presence of God Himself. When the Lord returns, our vile bodies will be transformed to bodies of glory (Phil 3:21)! That’s our future hope! When this happens we will have been fully delivered; fully saved. He saves us to the uttermost. (For these three aspects of salvation see Titus 2:11-13).

We are blessed today because all our sins are forgiven and done away with in Christ. God does not count our sins against us. Instead, He counts us righteous in Christ. We are blessed because the Lord does not and will not impute sin to us (Rom 4:8). We have been saved to the uttermost, are being saved to the uttermost and will be saved to the uttermost because of one man, the God/Man, Jesus the Christ.

And that’s the Gospel Truth

Miles

Miles McKee Ministries

Box 541, Kingston Springs,

TN, 37082, USA

http://www.milesmckee.com/
This came to us through Miles’ weekly Wednesday Word e-mail, you can contact him at milesmckee@comcast.net

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

A church that believes the promises of Christ



Remember the gospel—Jesus the Christ won everlasting life for all who believe in him. This is the gospel, the Good News of Jesus. Those who preach to the contrary are condemned (Galatians 1:8-9)

Whatever the pope’s intentions in recently mentioning that he would make it easy for Anglicans to become Roman Catholics, please let this former Roman Catholic attempt to dissuade you (Anglicans), if you should need some dissuading. I address this particularly to those Anglicans who have avoided allowing women priests into their fold, but I would be glad for others to consider my simple words as well.

I am often told that I will never find the perfect church because many assume that’s what I must be looking for since I am so dissatisfied with what passes for “church” in our time. However, I have often replied that I seek only a church with one real doctrine—and that’s the doctrine which insists that all the promises of Christ are true.

Promises such as “he who believes in me has everlasting life.” Promises such as “this is my body, given for you.” Promises such as, “…and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.” Promises such as, “I go to prepare a place for you..."

That means that such a church would preach the true gospel based on Christ’s promises that:
“…he who believes in me has everlasting life.” (John 6:47) and

“…he who hears my word and believes in him that sent me, has everlasting life and shall not come to condemnation; but is passed from death to life.” (John 5:24) and

“My sheep hear my voice and I know them, and they follow me: And I give them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.” (John 10:27-29)

"I go to prepare a place for you." (John 14:2)

"I will come again and take you to me, so that where I am you may be also." (John 14:3)
This is the Gospel or good news of Jesus the Christ, the Son of the living God and those who believe it are so glad that Christ alone has won heaven for them that they want to do something for him. They want to obey him. They don’t often do a good job of that, but they try.

Instead of “obedience” a better way to put it is they just want to say “thank you” to Jesus with their lives. Again, they often fail miserably at this “thank you” business—this business of loving God and their neighbor--this business of obediance.Yet, as often as they fail, they also confess and ask his forgiveness and remind themselves that it is Christ that they trust for their salvation and not themselves. Yes, they trust that Christ has won heaven for them, something they know they could never do.

Again, they remember Jesus’ promise that he has chosen them and that their ability to believe in him is a sure sign to them that he has given them the gift of faith. "For it is by grace that you are saved through faith; not of your doing, it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast." (Ephesians 2:8-9)

Another promise that Jesus makes is to be with them always and to give them his body and blood. That’s what he promised and that’s what we should believe. "For my body truly is the food, and my blood truly is the drink. He who eats my body and drinks my blood will abide with me, and I with him." (John 6:55)

Read that last line again. Jesus promises us his body and blood and that when we, as believers, partake...we abide with and in him.

"Therefore whosoever shall eat of the Lord's bread and drink of his cup unworthily shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord." (Corinthians 11: 27)

What church preaches this gospel? What church believes all the Lord's promises? BibleCatholics will. --Bro. Jim

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Mitch, Mitch check the meaning of "justified" --quit forcing it to say what you want



(I know it's been a full month since my last post, but here is the third and final installment since we ran the original piece on Mitch Pacwa, Sept. 3, 2009. Photo of Mitch in action.)

Mitch Pacwa and numerous other Roman Catholic apologists use the following verse to support the Roman Catholic teaching that we are saved, not by faith alone, but by faith combined with good works—that is faith plus good works.

James 2:24 : “You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone.”

To hear Mitch and the others explain it (see three installments back), this one verse is all a Christian needs to read to know that the Roman Catholic gospel of free will choice (as Mitch notes, same gospel that Billy Graham preaches) is the true gospel. No matter how many times Christ tells us that he is the chooser (past posts) for the salvation of our souls (see immediately past posts), Mitch and Billy insists, we are the choosers.

Mitch claims that St. James, the individual who wrote the above verse, is telling us that our salvation is not a matter of the gift of faith that Christ alone can give us, but also a matter of our own good works—and both of them (faith plus works) are necessary for our salvation. Of course, in order to do that, Mitch may as well tells us that Jesus himself is a liar, because Jesus is clear on this matter and what he says totally contradicts St. James.

He who believes in me has everlasting life. (John 6:47)

He who hears my word and believes in the One who sent me, has eternal life and will not be condemned. He has passed from death to life. (John 5:24)

Jesus tells us we know we are saved if we believe in him as our only savior, if we have the faith to put all our trust in him for salvation, which is a gift that only he can give. (Ephesians 2:8-9 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. (Romans 6:23 ..the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus.)

The only real difference between Billy Graham’s false gospel and Mitch’s is that Mitch’s church puts its teaching in writing and condemns to hell anyone who believes that are saved by faith or trust alone in Christ:

“If anyone says that the faith which justifies is nothing else but trust in the divine mercy (of God), which pardons sins because of Christ; or that it is that trust alone (faith alone) by which we are justified; let him be anathema (accursed, condemned to hell).” -Council of Trent, session six, “Decree on Justification”, canon 12.

Once again, this teaching contradicts Christ’s own promises by denying that we are indeed saved through the gift of faith that comes only from Christ--the gift of being able to put our trust in him alone for our salvation. In making this a required belief, the pope and his bishops implicitly deny that Christ was the sole reason or basis for our salvation.

Because Mitch Pacwa is a Bible scholar, he should also know that, correctly interpreted, the verse in James 2:24 doesn’t have to contradict Jesus. So what is the correct interpretation of James 2:24 that allows James to uphold what Christ says about salvation? Let’s start by repeating the verse,

“You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone.”

As Mitch knows, the word “justified” can have more than one meaning. In this case the word “justified” is used as a verb in the same way that Jesus used it in Luke 7:25 (“wisdom is justified by all her children”). Here, the word “justified” is used as meaning “proof of a prior claim.” When we apply that meaning to James’ use of the word “justify” in this verse, we find that James was telling us: “works were proof of faith.” And that interpretation fits well with the rest of the Bible. James was merely saying that the good works we do, justify or prove our faith to those who observe us. As Christ told us “…let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16)

You see, it’s not always terribly complex as Mitch would try to have you believe. However, it is a benefit to the Roman church to try to make it seem as complex as possible. That way most people will throw up their hands in either exhaustion or fear and trembling and say, “Okay tell me what to believe and what to do and I trust that you the Roman Church will get me to heaven.”

If you believe what Jesus says about faith or belief in him, you don’t have to be exhausted or in a state of free and trembling. In fact, Jesus invites us to take comfort in him.

(Matthew 11:28-30) “Come unto me, all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and you shall find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Another wonderful promise from the Savior of the souls of all who believe in him. --Bro. Jim

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

A "free willingness" to oppose Christ for a false gospel, part II



To hear Mitch Pacwa emphasize free will as a way to rail against “absolute assurance of salvation” or absolute assurance of heaven, you would think that free will must be pretty important. But that’s not true at all. At issue is not our free will, the real issue is the central act of Jesus for our salvation, our rescue from hell. Christ’s savage death and glorious resurrection means everything for us in this life and the next. Although Mitch is a Bible scholar, his take on the supposed worth of what he calls our “free will” is totally at odds with the words of Christ himself in holy scripture.

As we explained in our last blog, Mitch has whittled down the issue to the point that we can see with ease the false gospel of Roman Catholicism that he preaches. It’s a false gospel that explains Christ died for us only to give us a mere “opportunity” to get to heaven someday—to make heaven “possible” for us. This is the key reason free will is so important to Mitch and why he preaches it as so important to others. If our salvation is only a possibility, he reasons we must have the free will choice to choose it.

Mitch’s false gospel proposes that our free will is so important that it actually serves as the tie breaker—deciding which way it will be for us, heaven or hell! But in our last blog, we saw that Christ’s disagreed with that assessment. Jesus’ own words soundly oppose the suggestion that Mitch or Mitch’s friend Billy Graham or anyone can make a free will decision for heaven or hell. Why? Only because Jesus himself insists that he and his Father in heaven make such decisions (see specific Bible verses at last blog). Here’s some more verses from Christ:

“It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you….” (John 15:16)


“Thou has given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou has given him.” (John 17:2)


“All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away.” (John 6:37)

The apostle Paul confirmed all that Jesus said by insisting that we were chosen…
In him, we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will. (Ephesians 1:11)


“For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love, he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will—to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the one he loves.” (Ephesians 1:4-6)


“All who were destined for eternal life came to believe.” (Acts 13:48)
Jesus, the Lord himself and the apostle Paul unmistakably confirm that we were chosen for everlasting life-- and not that we choose everlasting life. So why does Bible scholar Mitch teach to the contrary? Folks, Mitch is a good Jesuit soldier who tells us what his church insists is truth whether that’s what Jesus and the apostles tell us or not. And sadly, and obviously, it is not.

As we mentioned earlier, it is Mitch’s false gospel, the gospel that Mitch explains is held by Roman Catholicism and many Protestants. This false gospel is the real basis for Mitch’s emphasis on something that he can find no where in the Bible, no matter how long he has studied it – free will – it’s just not there folks. You can look until the cows come home.
Despite his extensive educational background, Mitch can't point us to any verses in the whole Bible that indicate that any of us has the free will that Mitch insists is so very important for us to believe in. That’s why, Mitch falls back on the one weak argument that he and other second-hand Roman apologists run to when things get serious—gospel serious—James Chapter 2. There’s one verse there that Roman Catholic apologists seem to cherish more than all the words of Christ. We’ll get to that in part 3 of our blog series.  -- bro. Jim

Friday, September 4, 2009

Responding to the false free will gospel of no assurance, Part I



First, if you think for a second that I don’t like Mitch Pacwa, you’re wrong. It’s hard for me to think of a man who seems more dedicated and longsuffering than Mitch, who has formally studied the scriptures for many years as a Jesuit priest. And that is just more reason that I must love Mitch enough to tell him he’s headed to hell, if he continues to preach this “other” gospel that Paul so soundly condemned. (Galatians 1:8-9)

In attempting to explain why he and other Roman Catholics cannot know for sure whether they are going to heaven, (see Sept. 3, 2009 blog) Mitch shows you that man’s “free will” and not Christ, is at the center of Rome’s twisted gospel of no absolute assurance in Christ’s work as well as no absolute assurance in their own free will, as Mitch put it the other night:

“The only reason we don’t like to say it is “absolute” (assurance) is that…going back to the first thing I mentioned, we do believe in free will. And, because we believe in free will, we as Catholics, believe we chose—matter of fact—many Protestants also believe this now…”

Mitch is certainly correct from the standpoint that Roman Catholics (and some Protestants) are indeed told they cannot believe they have any assurance of salvation, despite the fact that they are taught that Christ died for them. So what is the real worth of Christ’s death on the cross for the Roman Catholic?

Mitch himself has said it before, Christ sacrifice gives him, and those who believe like him, no more than “a chance” to attain heaven through faith and works, based on the “willingness” of their own “free will.”

“Because of him (Jesus), I have a chance of not going to hell and a chance to get to heaven.” (Pacwa, EWTN Threshold of Hope - 9-9-08)

Their “gospel” is that Christ died only for the forgiveness of sins and the mere “possibility” of their salvation and no more. Jesus did no more than make salvation possible. In other words, he didn’t actually save anyone (according to Mitch and company).

And as Mitch indicates in his “explanation” which you can read on my Sept. 3, 2009 blog, there are many Protestant churches that believe the same way.

“…many Protestants also believe this now—they don’t follow Luther or Calvin. And they do…Billy Graham for instance, says ‘Make a decision for Christ.’”

Of course, those who read the Bible find that Jesus repeatedly addresses the matter of who is able to choose him. Jesus clearly tells us NO ONE. So, whether you believe you have a free will or not, you are included among NO ONE who can come to him…unless…

NO ONE can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. (John 6:44)


NO ONE can come to me unless it has been granted him by my Father. (John 6:54)


NO ONE knows who the Father is except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. (Luke 10:22)

Clearly, if, as the Roman Church teaches, everybody has a “free will,” Christ himself is telling us that no one has the ability to use a free will to choose him. Anyone who has read the Bible closely, knows better than to argue such a thing, including Mitch Pacwa.

Mitch himself got sidetrack as he was trying to explain this free will stuff and in doing so he linked it directly to the twisted gospel he preaches.
More on my next blog.—bro. Jim

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Roman Church teaches no assurance of heaven because of our free will. They call Jesus "Lord" but ignore his promises.


A pointed illustration of the sad state of what once was the true church. Now it is no more than a giant monster that doesn't even know the assurance of salvation the Lord purchased for those who believe in him and his completed work on the cross.

This learned Roman Catholic Jesuit scholar, Mitch Pacwa, explains why Roman Catholics do not believe they can know they are going to heaven, in other words, why they do not believe in assurance of salvation or assurance of heaven.

(The following word-for-word transcript comes from the show "Threshhold of Hope" which aired live on EWTN-TV Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2009 at 9 p.m. C.D.T.).

The show begins with Pacwa answering a few questions submitted from viewers at home:

Dear Father Mitch,
On another EWTN show (The Journey Home), someone told a story where he asked the local priest if he was saved and the priest replied “Only God knows who is going to heaven.” What can a Catholic, who believes in Jesus Christ and is living in obedience to God, hope to expect regarding salvation and going to heaven? Richard from California

Pacwa word-for-word answer: Well, here’s one of the things. The Catholic Church says you….we don’t have absolute assurance of our salvation, but we can have moral assurance.

Now, what are we talking about there? Absolute assurance is one that comes in some denominations where they, first of all, have begun the whole process by denying freewill to choose grace.

So, for instance, Luther and Calvin taught that you don’t have free will to choose grace, you have free will to choose which sins you’re going to commit, but you can’t even say “yes” to faith (Pacwa hands lifted in the air quizzically). God makes you say "yes," to faith or… you don’t get grace and you don’t say "yes."

Now, in that kind of understanding, then, if you get the grace of faith, it’s because God gave it to you and made you take it…cause you can’t choose it on your own (hands back up in the air in exasperation).

He (God) made you take it, and since…God won’t take back what he made you take, then you can have complete assurance, and so that would be an absolute kind of assurance. Ok? That would be one position.

The Catholic position is, we know what Christ has taught, including a, a,a, we know some things he didn’t say. He never said you are justified by faith alone, allrighttt?

The only time that the Bible even mentions being justified by faith alone…is once. Once. Now a lot of people say, well, that should be enough. God said it once and that’s enough for me. I, I agree with you and it’s enough for me too, as long as you keep in mind is what it (really) says is: you are NOT justified by faith alone (big smile) in James, chapter two.

So…that would be one thing. You know, not justified by faith alone…but you are justified by faith and you are saved by hope, and unless you eat my body and drink my blood, you cannot have eternal life. And we also see in 1 Peter, chapter 3, aaa around verse 19, “baptism now saves you.”

So, what we know is that our Lord has given us this richness of salvation, and in giving us that richness, he has also given us the ability to say that, well, if I do believe, if I have accepted these gifts he’s offered me, then I can be sure, you know, rrrelatively sure, or morally certain that I am going to go to heaven. And you can accept that that’s where I’m going to go. Of course, most people are aware, I don’t deserve it. Y’know, who deserves to go to heaven? I mean, yyyou can’t go on saying “I believe and therefore I deserve,”…nobody, not, not, Protestants, not Catholics believe that.

It’s not a matter…it’s a free gift, it’s God’s grace. But, you also have a sense of being able to say that “I have done what Christ has asked of me, to the best of my ability and I hand myself, I commend myself to him…and pray like the publican, “Lord have mercy on me a sinner.” And we can trust in his mercy. So we can have that kind of confidence.

The only reason we don’t like to say it is “absolute” is that…going back to the first thing I mentioned, we do believe in free will. And, because we believe in free will, we as Catholics, believe we chose—matter of fact—many Protestants also believe this now—they don’t follow Luther or Calvin. And they do…Billy Graham for instance, says “Make a decision for Christ.” Now, that would be contrary to Luther and Calvin, because they say that you CAN’T make a decision, but many Protestants know, of course, you make a decision for Christ. And they do that, invite Jesus into their life—motivated by grace and moved by grace—just as we (Catholics) believe. But, what we also believe, is that, while we make a decision for Christ, we still have freedom to turn away from him. So we don’t ever claim absolute assurance. As if, “once I am saved, I am always saved.” We gave a sense that, God has given me this grace, and all these many graces, and I want to do everything I can to preserve until the end. And, by preserving, a, a —read Hebrews by the way—chapter 10, beginning right around verse 20 or so. You see that that need for perseverance is essential, so that we stay faithful all the way to the end. - Mitch Pacwa

Quick note from bro. Jim:

Mitch Pacwa is so well educated that it is sad to hear his halting response to a very basic question. It is all the more sad to listen to this error of "free will" and see how it so thoroughly twists the gospel of Roman Catholicism. At the very least, Pacwa's explanation seems to be undermined by a "free willingness" to totally ignore scripture and the centrality of Christ. Please see my series of responses, which I will start posting tomorrow on Sept. 4, 2009.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Why Christian mysticism virtually vanished from the Roman Church following the Council of Trent

(The following is from the late John A. Mackay who headed theology at Princeton from the 1930s to the 1950s--he wrote it as a side comment to a book review in 1959.)

What can only be described as a supreme aberration from Biblical and classical Christianity has resulted in two post-Tridentine manifestations. First, that glorious Christ-centered evangelical mysticism which marked the lives of so many of the medieval saints, Francis of Assisi, Theresa of Avila, John of the Cross, became condemned, was discouraged, and is no more.

The great tradition of direct, uninhibited communion with the Risen Christ, which goes back to St. Paul, disappeared progressively in the Roman communion. It was replaced by a devotional life that in a mediated way became centered in the Eucharist, or that found its supreme popular expression in an unmediated devotion to Mary. In the meantime, that profoundly evangelical Christo-centric mysticism, which marked pre-Tridcntine Catholicism passed into and enriched the devotional life of Protestant Christianity.

Second, visions of the Virgin began to replace visions of Christ, who became increasingly remote and unrelated to the events of history. The Virgin of Guadalupe appeared as an ethnic reality; the Virgin of Lourdes as a therapeutic reality; the Virgin of Fatima as a cosmic, history making reality.

Once again the Hispanic Catholic tradition, which has been under criticism in certain Roman Catholic circles in France and the United States, has provided the needed symbol for the new Mario-centric development of Roman Catholic theology and devotion in our time. For the Virgin of Fatima, in accordance with the symbolism which adorns her shrine on a Portuguese plateau, has been crowned by the Holy Trinity.

Our Lady has been constituted The Executive Director of Deity in everything that relates to humanity. She controls all life and history. Moreover, according to a distinguished Roman Catholic thinker, writing in a book which appeared a few years ago under the title Mary and Modern Man, it is the humanity of Mary and not the humanity of Christ that must be taken as the inspiration and pattern of true human selfhood.

In the new Mariology the "riddle" of Roman Catholicism reaches its highest degree of complexity. It is the potent growth of the Fatima cult, together with the progressive deposition of Jesus Christ from direct relationship to human life, that constitutes the supreme spiritual issue between Roman and non-Roman Christianity today.

By knowledge and by temperament, the distinguished author of The Riddle of Roman Catholicism is unusually fitted to lead the way in shedding light upon the particular phases of the "riddle" which, to the reviewer of his outstanding book, appear to have basic relevance.

John A. Mackay
Chevy Chase, Maryland

Sunday, August 30, 2009

The "lion" sought consolation and got it, but is it good for an eternity?

Ted Kennedy, who was buried yesterday, wrote a letter to the pope some months before his death and got an answer.

If you read it close, it might seem Kennedy's letter is that of a youngster who is seeking some reassurance from his father that he will fare ok in the next life.

As Kennedy puts it, “I know that I have been an imperfect being, but with the help of my faith, I have tried to right my path.”

Yes, sadly, Mr. Kennedy had decided that somehow—he himself could “right his own path.”

Without writing anything that would show remorse, sorrow, or repentance for his stand in favor of abortion, Kennedy instead simply promised the pope that any health care package would include assurances that health care workers would not have to participate in abortions or other procedures that went against their consciences.

Kennedy then offers the pope highlights from his career in the Senate that he obviously expects the pope to appreciate--maybe the things he did to "right his path": “I want you to know, Your Holiness, that in my nearly 50 years of elective office, I have done my best to champion the rights of the poor and open doors of economic opportunity. I've worked to welcome the immigrant, fight discrimination and expand access to health care and education. I have opposed the death penalty and fought to end war…”

And so to the very end, we see that Senator Kennedy, the so-called “Lion of the Senate” thought quite highly of himself—though he still apparently wanted some confirmation from the pope of his work to "right his path."

And, despite Kennedy’s pro-abortion track record, the pope apparently responded with just that, a letter of great consolation that avoided the subject of abortion altogether:

“His Holiness prays that in the days ahead you may be sustained in faith and hope, and granted the precious grace of joyful surrender to the will of God our merciful Father. He invokes upon you the consolation and peace promised by the Risen Savior to all who share in His sufferings and trust in His promise of eternal life.

"The pope then commended Kennedy and his family to “the loving intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Holy Father cordially imparts his Apostolic Blessing as a pledge of wisdom, comfort and strength in the Lord.”

And so another Roman Catholic dies, is buried with great pomp and circumstance, after insisting he did things to help make him right with God. All of which the pope confirms by indicating that was the way that Kennedy shared in Christ’s sufferings, which coupled with trust in Christ, should clear the way to eternal life.

It’s just more evidence that what the pope said last November about faith alone for salvation was no more than talk, and countless Roman Catholics die daily trusting in their own works coupled with some help (perhaps a little mercy) from Christ.

This so-called “gospel” that they preach and use to assure each other, is no gospel at all, because it allows and promotes the addition of our own works to the only work that actually saves true believers—that of Christ’s death on the cross. As long as it mixes our works with Christ’s works for salvation, it is a false gospel, which condemns all who preach it, according to Galatians 1:8-9 and offers no real comfort to those who hear it.

Ted Kennedy went to his grave apparently believing he had done some work that would help him enter heaven. Will you go to your death believing that lie too? Turn now to the true Christ, the true God who alone has saved all who put their trust in him alone! --bro. Jim

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

From the Heidleberg Catechism...

The Lord's Supper...

Question 75. How does the Lord's Supper remind and assure you that you share in the one sacrifice of Christ on the cross and in all his gifts?

Answer. In this way: Christ has commanded me and all believers to eat of this broken bread and to drink of this cup. He has thereby promised: First, as surely as I see with my eyes the bread of the Lord broken for me and the cup shared with me, so surely his body was offered and broken for me and his blood was shed for me. Second, as surely as I receive from the hand of the one who serves and actually taste the bread and the cup of the Lord which are given me as sure signs of the body and blood of Christ, so surely he feeds and nourishes my soul to everlasting life with his crucified body and shed blood.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Paul Exhorts us to an alternative lifestyle

Eph 5:15-20

Brothers and sisters:Watch carefully how you live,not as foolish persons but as wise,making the most of the opportunity,because the days are evil. Therefore, do not continue in ignorance,but try to understand what is the will of the Lord. And do not get drunk on wine, in which lies debauchery,but be filled with the Spirit,addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs,singing and playing to the Lord in your hearts,giving thanks always and for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God the Father.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Marcus C. Grodi Religionist or Rascal

by Miles McKee

Mr. Marcus Grodi, a former Protestant minister who claims to be more of a pastor than a scholar, converted some years ago to Roman Catholicism. One can read his testimony at the ‘Coming Home Network International’.

He’s a genial fellow with a venomous bite who earnestly believes that all Bible believers should convert to Rome. And Mr. Grodi has more than a passing interest in assisting in this conversion process. He, in fact, heads the slick and well funded Coming Home Network which has helped dupe numbers of the ill-informed to join the ranks of the “Mother Church”.

Let’s take a look at the highlights of this tale of woe, this testimony of his and see if any sense can be made of it.His childhood, he says, “was that of the typical American baby-boomer. I was taught to love Jesus and go to church on Sunday.” How excellent to have had these early advantages! Would that he had actually learned to love Jesus, then he would have not betrayed Him in later days! But we must continue with his story. After a season of teenage rebellion he says he, “experienced a radical re-conversion to Jesus Christ and made a recommitment to Christ, accepting him as my Lord and Savior, praying that he would help me fulfill the mission in life he had chosen for me. The more I sought through prayer and study to follow Jesus and confirm my life to his will, the more I felt an aching sense of longing to devote my life entirely to serving him.” -----The ache was not the moving of the Spirit, otherwise he would have not exchanged it for a passion to serve Rome.

Eventually, Mr. Grodi became a Presbyterian minister but he was soon, “faced with a host of confusing theological and administrative questions. There were exegetical dilemmas over how to correctly interpret difficult biblical passages and also liturgical decisions that could easily divide a congregation. My seminary studies had not adequately prepared me to deal with this morass of options”.

Mr. Grodi-was hard done by! He thinks nothing of attacking his former seminary. Of course, I have no way of knowing what studies he pursued, but he is saying that his seminary did not ground him in Scriptures! But, even if this is so, it begs the question as to why, as a “dedicated follower of Jesus” he didn’t have the initiative to search the Scriptures for himself? Could it be that Mr. Grodi has always been the type of man who wants everything explained to him? Everything must have its tidy box? This, perhaps, is his favorite song,
“My church knows the way through the wilderness. All I have to do is follow!”

Lacking consistent answers, he began to view the break from Papal Rome, by the Reformers, as being more an act of anarchy than of freedom. It seems his attraction to Rome is that he supposes they have a system where everyone is uniform. He doesn’t like the fact that there are different ways of looking at things within the Bible believing world. In other words, he sees a danger and weakness in the freedom to think. He wants unvaried and standardized answers for everything. He could, of course, have found that consistency of thought in the Communist party but, since he is a theist, he doubtless found that to be an unsuitable solution.

He says he even found the “how to” books on his shelf didn’t help him! Well slap my back and call me Fred! Is he serious? We must ask, what was a minister of the Gospel doing reading “how to” books? He would have been better occupied searching the Scriptures but then again it was his low view of Scripture that got him into his mess. He even says that the best advice he could get from other ministers was to ‘reinvent the wheel’--whatever that means--and says that this, “reinvent the wheel as often as you need to” mentality--- is at the heart of Protestantism’s pastoral ethos.” To call what he says drivel and poppycock is an understatement. Mr. Grodi would have done well to read and absorb, ‘The Reformed Pastor’ by Richard Baxter or any of the other excellent works on Pastoral Ministry by solid Bible believing writers.

As I read of Mr. Grodi running frantically from this one to that one, I was reminded of the time that John the Baptist stood with two of his disciples and looked at Jesus as he walked. Then John said, “Behold the lamb of God.” Had Mr. Grodi spent more time looking upon Jesus and beholding the lamb, he would have found more help than he got from all his “to-ing and fro-ing.” But then again we learn from this passage that to look upon Jesus we have to stand still. That means all fleshly activity has to stop. It means we must, “not put our trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help” (Psalm 146:3), for our “help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth” (Psalm 121:2). But Mr. Grodi was too busy to stand still!

Mr. Grodi then tells us the next thing that began to breach his Bible believing defenses was that he saw there were many differences amongst Bible believers. He discovered that beliefs held by Calvin, Knox and the Puritans clashed in some respects with those held by Lutherans, Baptists, and Anglicans. Why this should be an earth shattering problem is a mystery. Rule one of human existence—“Not everyone will see things the same way.” Among Bible believers there are varying ideas of Church Government, modes and subjects of baptism and other such matters. But Mr. Grodi fails to mention there is agreement on the essential matters such as salvation being in Christ Alone. There is widespread agreement that justifying righteousness that is imputed, not infused, that Christ is fully God and fully man and many other fundamental doctrines. It is obvious that Mr. Grodi was looking for a well-packaged system that had no room for dissent. His yearning was not for more of Jesus but for someone to tell him what to do.

Mr. Grodi is either naive or dishonest for he implies that Papal Rome is undivided! But is this true? What about Hans Kung and other dissidents? But doubtless Grodi would discount this kind of dissent for the likes of Hans Kung do not set the rules. They are not in power. The rules of Rome come from the top down! And how do we get the appearance of uniformity of belief? Why, that is a simple matter! Enforce the rules. Remove any Bishop who doesn’t play ball and replace him with one who will. It has happened many times! The truth is, there is huge disagreement among the Catholic rank and file over many issues and practices in Rome. Mr. Grodi does not notice this, and if he is being honest with us in what he says, we must conclude him, therefore, to be living in a delusion. Does he actually think, in face of the facts, which state otherwise, that Rome gains uniformity of thought by the work of the Holy Spirit? If that is the case, what need had she for the Inquisition or its present day and active successor, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith?

Mr. Grodi then says, “The true disciple, --- is willing to give up everything, even his own life, if necessary, to follow the Lord.” He then goes on to makes an astonishing and outlandish claim that Protestants are incapable of making good disciples! He says, concerning his former church, “The irony was that my Protestant theology made me impotent to call them to radical discipleship, and it made them impotent to hear and heed the call.” We would be the soul of generosity if we were to say that Mr. Grodi is, at this stage, only one sandwich short of a picnic! So, no Bible believers, if Mr. Grodi is accurate, was ever a committed disciple of Jesus Christ? What about Cranmer? I seem to remember Archbishop Cranmer being burnt at the stake by the servants of the Pope. His crime? Holding to Christ alone as the Savior. He was given an opportunity to recant but said to all assembled, "And as for the Pope, I refuse him, as Christ’s enemy and Antichrist, with all his false doctrine.” After this Cranmer was taken to be burned at the stake. According to Foxe’s Book of martyrs,

“Then was an iron chain tied about Cranmer and fire set unto him. When the wood was kindled and the fire began to burn near him, he stretched forth his right hand, which had signed his recantation, into the flames, and there held it so the people might see it burnt to a coal before his body was touched. In short, he was so patient and constant in the midst of his tortures, that he seemed to move no more than the stake to which he was bound; his eyes were lifted up to heaven, and often he said, so long as his voice would suffer him, "this unworthy right hand!" and often using the words of Stephen, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit," till the fury of the flames putting him to silence, he gave up the ghost. (The Book of Act and Monuments, Book of Martyrs, by John Foxe – 1563)

So no Bible believers can make a good disciple? Mr. Grodi has obviously never heard of Adoniram Judson who sacrificed his entire life to bring the Gospel of Grace to Burma. And what of C.T. Studd who gave away his wealth and dedicated his life for the cause of Christ in Africa? And I suppose he has never heard of Moravians who sold themselves into slavery so that they could get the Gospel to other slaves. And what of David Brainard, Hudson Taylor, David Livingstone, John Patton, William Carey, James Chalmers and a countless host of others who spent and gave their lives for the cause of Jesus? Yet according to Grodi, no Bible believers can make a good disciple for Jesus. Mr. Grodi, Mr. Grodi! Don’t embarrass yourself by saying such silly and outlandish things!

As I read through more of his meandering denial of Biblical truth, I was tempted to feel sorry for this twisting and beleaguered soul —But I, instead, heeded the wisdom of the old hymn which says, “Yield not to temptation for yielding is sin”— So Mr. Grodi gets no sympathy from me. How does one feel sorrow for a dangerous man? But one is almost tempted to do so because, unlike the brash and narcissistic Scott Hahn, this man, Grodi, seems very genuine and mild. But alas, he is lethal in that, on the surface, he’s so plausible. However, look underneath and see that he oozes an insidious and sinister poison which if swallowed will lead away from Christ.

Another thing I noticed when I read and re-read his testimony was that his concept of God is very under-developed and immature. Whereas, Scott Hahn was busy discovering the God who is the head of the family, Grodi, is laboring under a system where God is the examiner. God is, according to Mr. Grodi, as it were, minutely examining each word spoken. Mr. Grodi does not seem to realize that yes, while we should strive for accuracy; there is no one infallible, that is an attribute of God, “let God be true, but every man a liar…”. (Romans 3:4) Mr. Grodi seems, however, to be unaware that God is more concerned with examining the motives of our hearts. Psalm 51:6 says,

“Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom.” When, therefore, we give an account for our ministry the thoughts and the intents of the heart will be revealed.
Don’t get me wrong; we should strive to proclaim the truth which is in Christ Jesus. But Mr. Grodi seems to think that, while God is a God of precision, He requires the same exact precision in every thing we say as ministers. This is a terrible bondage under which to labor, and quite frankly this theory could unhinge those who adhere to it. Is this, in fact, what happened to Mr. Grodi? Imagine the bondage of having to know whether the tenth hour referred to in John’s Gospel 1:39 was 4 PM or 10 AM! It was either one or the other depending on whether the writer is following the Jewish or Roman clock. Is God going to get incensed if we get that one wrong? I say no!

But Mr. Grodi, over sensitive soul that he is, fretted over the lack of mandated denominational guidelines. He didn’t know what to wear in church or what to sing or how much to involve the congregation. Again we must observe, Mr. Grodi, even though a Presbyterian, was tailor made for Rome. He likes the fact that Rome makes the rules and thus the rule makers are the ones responsible to God! If he becomes a Papist, the pressure will be off when it comes to answering to ‘God the School Master’ who is meticulously checking and re-checking his work. How wrong he was!

Mr. Grodi worried about the lack of denominational mandates. He ought rather to have occupied himself with the Bible mandate to “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine” (2 Timothy 4:2). Grodi is at this stage yearning for a religious system to guide him--he is a perfect fit for Rome.

But Mr. Grodi next becomes vexed by theological questions. He says, “I remember standing beside the hospital bed of a man who was near death after suffering a heart attack. His distraught wife asked me, ‘Is my husband going to heaven?’ All I could do was mouth some sort of pious but vague “we-must-trust-in-the-Lord” reassurance about her husband’s salvation. She may have been comforted but I was tormented by her tearful plea. After all, as a Reformed pastor I believed John Calvin’s doctrines of predestination and perseverance of the saints. This man had given his life to Christ, he had been regenerated, and was confident that he was one of God’s elect. But was he?”

This is pitiful! Much as we appreciate and value many of the things John Calvin taught, Calvinism saves no one! The Great Commission was to go into the world and preach that Gospel not Calvinism! If Mr. Grodi knew the Gospel he could have told his parishioners to cast themselves, in simple faith, upon the Lord Jesus Christ and His doing and dying. Mr. Grodi could have told them that in Christ Jesus alone there is washing and cleansing from the filth of sin by His blood. He could have assured them that in Christ alone we are clothed with a righteousness, which allows us to appear before God fully, freely, and forever accepted. He could have declared that the salvation we need is finished, and complete in Christ (Ephesians 1:6; Colossians 2:10), and is received by faith alone. Mr. Grodi should have further warned them not to look to anything within themselves or in any church to help prepare them for death, for salvation is all in Christ.

Furthermore, Mr. Grodi would have done well to tell his anxious enquirers the same thing that the Rev. Dr Winslow told his. He said, “Cast yourself, in childlike faith, upon that atonement - Christ dying for the ungodly, (Rom. 5:6) - and you are saved! Justification is a poor, law-condemned, self-condemned, self-destroyed sinner, wrapping himself by faith in the righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ, ‘which is unto all, and upon all them that believe,’ (Rom. 3:22). He, then, is justified, and is prepared to die, and he only, who casts from him the garment of his own righteousness, and runs into this blessed ‘City of Refuge’ - the Lord Jesus - and hides himself there from the ‘revenger of blood,’ exclaiming, in the language of triumphant faith, ‘There is NOW NO CONDEMNATION to them that are in Christ Jesus,' (Rom. 8:1).

Look to Jesus, then, for a contrite heart -----look to Jesus for a clean heart-look to Jesus for a believing heart-----look to Jesus for a loving heart-----and Jesus will give you all. -----God is prepared to accept you in His blessed Son, and for His sake He will cast all your sins behind His back, and take you to glory when you die. Never was Jesus known to reject a poor sinner that came to Him empty and, with ‘nothing to pay.' God will glorify His free grace in your salvation, and will therefore save you, just as you are, ‘without money and without price,' (Isa. 65:1). ----- Cast yourself at the feet of Jesus, and if you perish, perish there! Oh no! perish you never will, for He has said, 'Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out,' (John 6:37). 'Come unto ME,' (Matt. 11:28), is His blessed invitation.

Let your reply be, ‘Lord, I come! I come! I come! I entwine my feeble, trembling arms of faith around Thy cross, around Thyself, and if I die, I will die, cleaving, clinging, looking unto Thee!' So act and believe, and you need not fear to die. Looking at the Saviour in the face, you can look at death in the face, exclaiming with good old Simeon, 'Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace; for mine eyes have seen thy salvation,' (Luke 2:29). May we, through rich, free, and sovereign grace, meet in heaven, and unite together in exclaiming, ‘Worthy is the Lamb; for He was slain for us!” (Rev. 5:12). Rev. Dr Winslow (Quoted in, ‘The Blood of Jesus’, by Rev William Reid)

Mr. Grodi seems to have been devoid of Gospel understanding and truth. He never once indicates that at any time he has grasped the Gospel or that the Gospel has grasped him. His whole basis of following Jesus has been based on his subjective commitment and decision and learning a set of Reformed doctrines. Therefore, he eventually decided to stop masquerading as preacher of the Gospel and unmask himself as a Roman Catholic decisionist.
Mr. Grodi, instead of finding his answers in Christ and His Gospel, says:
“I was deeply unsettled by the knowledge that no matter how earnestly he may have thought he was predestined for heaven (it’s interesting that all who preach the doctrine of predestination firmly believe they themselves are one of the elect), and no matter how sincerely those around him believed he was, he may not have gone to heaven.”

Apart from the obvious instruction given by Peter that each one of us are to make our calling and election sure (2 Peter 1:10), it seems that Mr. Grodi made the fatal error of reckoning his acceptance before God to be based upon his doctrine and theological system. He has since traded Reformed doctrines for Roman Catholic ones and somehow thinks that his Justification before God is now complete. He seems to have entirely missed the only one who can save, Jesus the Christ!

He tells us that he now, “found it harder to give clear, confident answers to the “Will my husband go to heaven?” kinds of questions my parishioners asked.” Notice how fast he is becoming like a priest. He feels he must be the one with all the answers. Instead of taking his people to the Scripture to discover the Gospel, Mr. Grodi sees nothing amiss when his people look to him as the arbiter of all truth in this matter of salvation. He then goes on to say,

“Every Protestant pastor I knew had a different set of criteria that he listed as “necessary” for salvation.”

Nonsense! What exaggerated and embellished twaddle! The only Bible believing ministers who are confused about salvation are those, who like Mr. Grodi, have rejected the Bible as their final authority in matters of faith and practice! He then goes on to say,

“As a Calvinist I believed that if one publicly accepts Jesus as his Lord and Savior, one is saved by grace through faith.”
Mr. Grodi, where is the Scripture that says such nonsense? Jesus only saves publicly? Then Mr. Grodi was troubled when he considered the worldly, sinful lifestyles deceased members of his congregation had lived. Of course you know where this is leading. It is leading to the baseless and erroneous charge that Bible Believers are antinomian (against the law). Roman Catholics have always charged Bible believers with careless and unholy living because of holding to justification by grace through faith. But neither Reformed nor non-Reformed believers teach that believers can live like the devil! Mr. Grodi knows this! Mr. Grodi knows that Bible believers believe that good works are seen as a result and evidence of Salvation. In fact Luther’s friend Melanchthon said, “We are saved by faith alone but the faith which saves is never alone.” Roman Catholics on the other hand, are saved, they say, by their works which come from grace. According to their teaching, it is not the grace but the works which come from grace that save them! Thus they make a mock of Ephesians 2:8-9 which plainly states, “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.”

Mr. Grodi then goes into a long discourse called, ‘Consider the sparrows” which climaxes by telling us how he received guidance from a sparrow evacuating its bowels on his head. Isn’t it wonderful to know that he was guided by falling and targeted excrement? I don’t joke he really believes this! When I read this I was reminded of an old Irish saying which goes like this, “Deep down he is very shallow!” Doubtless, Mr. Grodi rejoices that pigs don’t fly in Ohio or wherever it was he was living at the time.

But in spite of the best efforts of the birds of the air, Mr. Grodi still knew his situation was not right. He began to think that what he needed was a bigger church with a bigger budget and a bigger staff. As he says, “Surely, then I’d be happy.”--And by such a written admission we can see what is in this man’s heart! He is living for himself and for his happiness but not for the glory of God. So much for his attack on the poor flawed and fractured Bible Believers who can never have enough commitment to make real disciples for Christ. Here we see that it is Mr. Grodi himself who has the problem with discipleship. It is no wonder that Jesus taught us to ‘judge not’ lest we, as is evident in Mr. Grodi’s case, be found guilty of the very same things we judge others for.

So, now we find Mr. Grodi pastoring a “bigger-is-better” church. “I thought,” he tells us, “(this) would satisfy my restless heart.” But alas, no! The sheep of his pasture were backsliders in heart and his frustrations began to grow. What did he expect? Sheep have an inbuilt capacity to stray and do stupid things. But, Mr. Grodi no doubt felt that Calvin and his followers were responsible for this lack of commitment and spirituality and could lay no blame on indwelling sin which remains in the heart of every one who follows the Lord.

Next he gives us a most confused and illogical story of how certain liberal Bible believers ministers failed to follow the Scripture concerning addressing God as Father and were suggesting the use of “Mother” or some other such nonsense. He describes how he, there and then, became aware of the “anarchistic principle that lies at the center of Protestantism.” He explains:

“These liberals (grievously wrong as they were in their scheme to reduce God to the mere functions of “creator,” “redeemer,” and “sanctifier,” instead of the Persons of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit), were just being good Protestants. They were simply following the course of protest mapped out for them by their theological ancestors Martin Luther, John Calvin, and other Reformers. The Reformation maxim of “I will not abide by a teaching unless I believe it is correct and biblical” was being invoked by these liberal Protestants in favor of their protest against masculine names for God.”

Where did they find anything in the Bible telling them to invoke God as Mother! Come on, Mr. Grodi, your logic is unintelligent and foolish. You say you defended the invocation of God as Father from the Bible----your opponents did not. Yet you say that, by not following the Bible, they were simply following the Bible believing maxim of only following teaching that can be established by the Bible. This is confusion twice confounded!

Furthermore, it is painfully obvious that these men, whom Grodi incorrectly states were following Reformation principles, were anti-Bible liberals. That they happened to be masquerading as Bible believing ministers ought not to call the Reformation into question. It’s incomprehensible! Why, when a bunch of imposters calling themselves Bible believers refuse the authority of Scripture does Mr. Grodi join a church that has little or no regard for the Scriptures? The Church of Rome equal devotion and reverence for Tradition as she has for Scripture, in her own words,

“As a result the [Roman Catholic] Church...does not derive her certainty about all revealed truths from the holy Scriptures alone. Both Scripture and Tradition must be accepted and honored with equal sentiments of devotion and reverence.” Paragraph 82 Catechism of the Catholic Church (1994)

Mr. Grodi would have done well to have obeyed the Bible and have had nothing to do with those Bible deniers who equally love their Tradition. He should have practiced the biblical doctrine of separation. Notice again how he is critical of those who do not take the Bible seriously, yet affords himself the luxury of ignoring the Bible’s admonition:
“Come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.” (2 Corinthians 6:17-18.) Living in such willful disobedience, it is no wonder he was so available to deception!

He then begins to feel convicted about ministering in a denomination, which advocated the murder of the unborn. It’s about time he’s asking himself this question. However, had he but understood ‘Biblical Separation’, he could not, in the first place, have been with any church who advocated the murder of babies.
He then tells us, “I knew I was leaving Presbyterianism but I had no idea which was the “right” denomination.”

The right denomination? He has embraced the error of the one true church. There are so many who claim to be the one true Church that it is tiresome to listen to them. I’d love to hear representatives from Rome, the Orthodox Church, The Church of Christ International and the United Pentecostal Church debate their presuppositions in a room. They all claim to be the one true church and tell us the ‘True Church’ has a geographic center. And, in a way, they are geographically correct. This is not to say that the true church is centered in Rome, or Moscow, or somewhere in the United States; the ‘True Church’ is centered in Jesus Christ. Wherever He is, there is the location of the true church.

But eventually, through Scott Hahn, further studies, and a lot of study, he came to the conclusion that sola scriptura (Scripture alone) and sola fide (justification by faith alone) were on very shaky biblical ground, and he decided to become a follower of the “infallible” Pope and his teaching power called, ‘magisterium’. They had the real truth and consistency of belief.

Of course, he doesn’t seem to consider that if the teaching of the Roman Church is infallible, that must mean that she has never changed her position on any matter. Yet, once upon a time they didn’t hold to the bodily assumption of Mary into heaven but now they do--that’s quite a change for men who always get it right!

Furthermore, if the Pope is infallible, then it stands to reason that all Popes must have been infallible. Yet in church history we discover that at the Sixth Ecumenical Council, held in A.D. 680-681, a Bishop of Rome, Pope Honorius, was condemned for having embraced and promoted heretical teachings. This pope had embraced and promoted the heresy that Christ had only one will, the divine. This error, properly known as montheletism, does violence to the dual nature of Christ in that it totally disregards the fact that, as the divine/human savior, Christ Jesus, had two wills. So did Pope Honorius speak infallibly on matters of faith? He should have done so, if the “successor to Peter” is infallible.

Furthermore, the Council of Trent condemned popes Innocent I and Galacius I. There goes apostolic succession out the window, never mind infallibility. Mr. Grodi’s search for a consistency of belief and a deposit of truth in the Roman communion can be found as easily as a blind man can find a black cat in a dark room.

Surely, if Papal Rome is the guardian of the truth and has such a stalwart record of consistency of belief, we should expect her to have been constant and unswerving in her doctrine of Papal infallibility. However, this nonsensical doctrine was not officially adopted until the First Vatican Counsel of 1870. It was an old idea, which had been resisted by, surprise, surprise, many of the popes. For example Pope “John XXII did not want to hear about his own infallibility, he viewed it an improper restriction of his rights as a sovereign, and in the bull Qui quorundam (1324) condemned the Franciscan doctrine of papal infallibility as the work of the devil.” (How the Pope Became Infallible by Roman Catholic historian Bernard Hasler pages 36 and 37)

Why did such as Pope John XXII resist the idea of infallibility? Because they thought that the idea of papal infallibility could actually limit Papal power! Think about it, if infallibility was introduced, popes could not just run around the place overthrowing what other popes had decreed. And just who originally came up with the brainchild of papal infallibility? Again, surprise, surprise, it was the invention of one Peter Olivi, a Franciscan who was more than once accused of heresy. Olivi liked the idea of papal infallibility because he wanted to ensure that future popes would not overthrow a ruling, favorable to his view of poverty, made by Pope Nicholas III (1277-1280).

Yet Mr. Grodi seems to be beguiled as he appeals to an imaginary tradition of unwavering change.

Mr. Grodi goes on to drool on his great discovery that the Bible believers arguments against the primacy of Peter weren’t Biblical. As usual, this former Protestant glaringly advertises his ignorance of the Bible. He should have known these following scriptural reasons, which show beyond argument that the Primacy of Peter is just another invention in the long and damnable line of Papal fables.

Reason One: Christ taught that all the apostles were equal. Matthew 23:8, 'Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ; and ye are all brethren.” All brethren! That means they were all equal! But of course the disciples, like modern Romanists didn’t get it and actually competed with each other for ascendancy and pre-eminence. But just so that there should be no confusion concerning what he had taught, Jesus stepped in and said, 'Ye know that they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and their great ones exercise authority upon them' ( Mark 10:43). 'But so shall it not be among you; but whosoever will be great among you shall be your minister' (Mark 10:44). How is it that Rome ignores these Scriptures and demands we believe that Peter was supreme?

Reason Two: Peter had every chance to tell us all about how he was the main man. After all, he wrote two epistles and is thought to have dictated Mark’s Gospel. But nowhere in his writings does he mention that he is the chief bishop. In fact, he says just the opposite when he writes, “The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ” (1 Peter 5:1). If Rome is right about him he should have written, “The elders among you I exhort, who am the vicar of Christ and his representative upon the earth.”Reason Three: One does not send a pope to check out a situation! Yet Peter was sent by the other apostles to Samaria: “Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the Word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John.” (Acts 8:14) When is the last time you heard of the Cardinals sending the Pope to check whether or not there had been a move of the Spirit--or anything else for that matter?

Reason Four: A council of the apostles and brethren was held at Jerusalem (Acts 15:6-29) Peter was in attendance and spoke and yet everyone, including Peter, bowed to James’ ruling on that occasion. The thing to further notice is that, when they sent out a reply from the council, Peter again, was not given the Primacy. Note what the Bible says, “And they wrote letters by them after this manner; the apostles and elders and brethren send greeting”(Acts 15:23)If Peter had been the Vicar of Christ, our Lord’s visible substitute on earth, then the whole Council of Jerusalem should have been condemned because (a) Peter was not given his due place and honor in that they followed James’ ruling, and (b) in the subsequent ruling there was no mention of Peter’s superior place. Is it any wonder that Rome refuses to take her doctrine from Scripture alone? She cannot afford to, as it exposes her as fraudulent and deceitful in her telling of history.

Reason Five: The apostle Paul would be very surprised to discover that Peter had somehow managed to usurp him as the apostle to the Gentiles. Paul relates how when, “James, Peter, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision” (Galatians 2:9). Notice how Peter was to minister to the Jews (the circumcision). But Rome was a gentile church in a gentile city. What business, therefore, had Peter exercising supremacy there? None! Furthermore, Paul claims that it is he, not Peter who has the ‘care of all the churches’” (2 Corinthians 11:28); yet Rome claims this role for Peter and his successors. This claim is the kind of error, which happens when the Bible is willfully rejected as the final authority.

Reason Six: Galatians 2:9 says, “James, a pillar, Peter, the foundation and John, another pillar” Woops! Does it really say that? It should do so if Mr. Grodi is correct about the primacy of Peter. But I misquoted that Scripture. Here’s what it actually says, “James, Peter, and John, who seemed to be pillars.” Peter was a pillar, not the foundation. Reason Seven: Paul withstood Peter to the face, because he was to be blamed (Galatians 2:11). Paul dare not have done this if Peter was the actual Vicar of Christ! And if Peter were the Vicar of Christ, he would have done nothing worthy of rebuke!Reason Eight: When Paul lists the ascension gifts which the Lord gave to the Church in Ephesians 4:11, there is no mention of the role, primacy, or supremacy of Peter! Had the Holy Spirit known of the role of the Vicar of Christ, He would surely have mentioned it. If Rome is correct about Peter, Ephesians 4:11 should read, “And he gave the Vicar of Christ, the Bishop of Rome to be first, foremost and chief among you. He is the substitute for the Lord Jesus here on earth. As the prince of Apostles, he is the Holy Father, the way, the truth, and the life, the father of princes and kings and the Great High Priest (Supreme Pontiff) of the Universal Church.”

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Q & A with Brother Mike Gowens, Primitive Baptist Church

Online - http://www.lexpbc.org/

Q: I have been studying Romans 3:22 for a number of weeks, off and on, trying to settle on an answer. I have not had any insight as of yet. My brother is a universalist and this is his crutch verse that all will be saved. The part of the verse is the two “all's” worded "...unto all and upon all them that believe:...". Your thoughts please.

A: The "But now" in the previous verse (v. 21) signals a contrast to those who attempt to be made righteous by keeping the law. It suggests that since Christ came and died, God has "manifested" (this is a key word) his way of making sinners righteous.

If you connect this verse with Rom 1:17, you will note that Paul understands the Gospel of Christ to be the means by which God "reveals" or "manifests" his way of making sinners righteous, i.e. through the redemptive work of the Lord Jesus Christ. God's "revelation" was restricted to the Jewish people under the Old Covenant, "BUT NOW" it is opened up "UNTO ALL
AND UPON ALL THEM THAT BELIEVE, FOR THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE".

The former distinctions between Jew/Gentile are now obsolete. Since God has a people among the Gentiles as well as among the Jews, He has been pleased to make the revelation of redemption known to them as well. In this, the initial promise to Abraham that "In thee shall ALL THE NATIONS [note: not just his own natural descendants] be blessed" is fulfilled (cf. Rom. 4:2ff; Gal. 3).

In other words, the Abrahamic Covenant was intended to be international in scope. When one distinguishes between the FACT of redemption and the REVELATION or manifestation of redemption, as between the objective reality and the subjective awareness, it becomes clear why Paul finds it necessary to emphasize that the former class distinctions between people no longer, i.e.
since Christ, exist. All believers in Jesus Christ, not just Abraham's physical descendants, regardless of ethnicity, socioeconomic status, or gender, may rejoice in the good news that God has made His people righteous by the imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ. So, the passage is not talking about the objective fact of eternal salvation, but the subjective manifestation of that fact in the gospel – a gospel that is available to “all”

God’s children, regardless of their ethnicity. It's not an easy passage, but it is important to grasp the central theme. I hope my ramblings help a little. God bless.