On Rome’s Claims

Chris Arnzen (host of the popular Iron Sharpens Iron podcast) writes:

It is truly tiresome to continue hearing over and over and over again the Roman Catholic regurgitation of the claim that they “gave us the Scriptures”, and therefore, we who are heirs of the Protestant Reformation have no right to tell them how those Scriptures are to be interpreted. While I totally reject that claim as being utterly false and historically inaccurate, even if one were to concede that Rome “gave us” the Scriptures, even this would not prove that Rome has not twisted and abandoned much vital truth that God breathed into its pages.

In the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Romans, chapter 3 verses 1 and 2, he informs us that the Jews were entrusted with the very Oracles of God. Does that truth, therefore, draw any Christian to the conclusion that the Jewish leaders of Paul’s day or today have exclusive rights to interpret the Hebrew Scriptures? Did not most of Israel’s leaders condemn Jesus Christ as a false messiah and cry out for His death? Do not even Roman Catholics agree that those very Jews entrusted with the Oracles of God developed unbiblical, rabbinical traditions that often trumped Biblical commands and precepts?

And isn’t it interesting that even though the Apostle Paul clearly reminds us that the Jews were entrusted with the Oracles of God, nowhere in their recorded history did they ever view the Apocryphal or Deuterocanonical Books as a part of their Canon?

Even though their beloved celebration of Chanukah is derived from those books, and the 9-branched Chanukah Menorah has become a chief symbol for the religion of the Jews, they still have never elevated those books to Canonical status. It is fascinating to know that even Jerome, from whom the Church of Rome received the Latin Vulgate, personally opposed the inclusion of those books into the Old Testament Canon, and only relunctantly included them after receiving strict orders to do so from his pope. Rome’s apologists better start developing compelling arguments for the case they are trying to make if they desire to be taken seriously.

And in conclusion, how ironic is it that a church that claims it GAVE us the Scriptures prevented common people from possessing those Scriptures themselves for centuries, and that it took the courage of brave men to wrench those Scriptures out from Rome’s tight clutches, under the threat of a gruesomely tortuous death, to truly GIVE those Scriptures to those outside Rome’s clergy, translated into languages that could finally be read by multitudes in their own native tongue.

Why I am not a Roman Catholic

Article by Michael Horton, the J. Gresham Machen professor of apologetics and systematic theology at Westminster Seminary California (Escondido, California), host of the White Horse Inn, national radio broadcast, and editor-in-chief of Modern Reformation magazine. He is the author of many books, including The Gospel-Driven Life, Christless Christianity, The Christian Faith, Calvin on the Christian Life, and Core Christianity: Finding Yourself in God’s Story. (original source here)

John Calvin felt the sting of the Devil’s taunt to Luther, “Are you alone wise among men?” We are certain of the gospel because it is so clearly revealed in Scripture—in contrast with the teachers of Rome.

I do not dream, however, of a clarity of faith which never errs in discriminating between truth and falsehood, is never deceived, nor do I figure to myself an arrogance which looks down as from a height on the whole human race, waits for no man’s judgment, and makes no distinction between learned and unlearned.

Indeed, it is better to suspend judgment than to rashly criticize and raise dissent. “I only contend that . . . the truth of the word of God is so clear and certain that it cannot be overthrown by either men or angels.” [1]

The Reformed have no controversy at all with the true Catholic church, Calvin contends. [2] “You know, Sadoleto,” he daringly presses, “that our agreement with antiquity is far closer than yours” and that we are only trying to “renew that ancient form of the church” that has been “distorted by illiterate men” and “was afterwards flagitiously mangled and almost destroyed by the Roman Pontiff and his faction.” [3]

Every aspect of the church’s ministry—its doctrine, the sacraments, ceremonies, and discipline—had been profaned by Rome. “Will you obtrude upon me, for the Church, a body which furiously persecutes everything sanctioned by our religion, both as delivered by the oracles of God and embodied in the writings of the Holy Fathers, and approved by ancient Councils?” [4]

Even Calvin’s humanist sympathies were tested by the evangelical emphasis. In many ways, the Dutch humanist Desiderius Erasmus (1466–1536) was a founding father of both the Reformation and the Counter-Reformation. However, behind Erasmus stands the broader influence of the Brethren of the Common Life, also known as the devotio moderna (modern devotion). This is especially worth mentioning because I think contemporary evangelical spirituality bears more in common with this movement than with the Reformation.
Founded in the fourteenth century by Gerard Groote, the Brethren represent a mystical-pietist reform effort. Among their distinguished alumni were cardinals and a pope, as well as Erasmus, Luther, Bullinger, Anabaptist leaders like Balthasar Hubmaier and Hans Denck, and the founder of the Jesuits, Ignatius of Loyola. Everything turned on “the imitation of Christ,” which was the title of the devotional bestseller written by Brethren member Thomas à Kempis.

However, what set the Reformers apart was that they challenged the doctrine of the medieval church. For the most part, the Brethren were not interested in church doctrine and ritual, and they were generally inclined toward more optimistic views of free will and justification as inner transformation.

As he approached the fork in the road, Calvin declared, “I am a pupil of Luther’s.” Addressing Emperor Charles V, he said, “God roused Luther and the others, who carried the torch ahead, in order to recover the way of salvation; and by whose service our churches were founded and established.” [5]

Also like Luther, Calvin thought of justification not as merely one doctrine among many, but as the heart of the dispute with Rome. Of this doctrine he said,

“This is the main hinge on which religion turns . . . . For unless you first of all grasp what your relationship to God is, and the nature of his judgment concerning you, you have neither a foundation on which to establish your salvation nor one on which to build piety toward God.” [6]

All of the other abuses—pilgrimages, merits, satisfactions, penances, purgatory, tyranny, superstitions, and idolatry—flow from this fatal fountain of denying justification.

Calvin, “Reply by John Calvin to Cardinal Sadoleto’s Letter,” in Selected Works of John Calvin, 1:54.
2. 1:37.
3. 1:37.
4. 1:38–39.
5. Calvin, “The Necessity of Reforming the Church,” in Selected Works of John Calvin, 1:125.
6. Calvin, Institutes 3.11.1.

Is Justification Forensic?

Article by Turretinfan: Is Justification Forensic?

Some opponents of reformation theology attempt to deny that the term justification can be used in the context of declaration of righteousness, as opposed to infusion of righteousness. For those folks, the passages that contrast justification with condemnation should help. Surely none of these people will think that condemnation is the infusion of unrighteousness. Rather, they will recognize that condemnation is a judicial declaration of unrighteousness.

By contrast, therefore, it can be seen that justification is a declaration of righteousness. We see this several times in Scripture, both in the English of the KJV, as well as in the Clementine Latin Vulgate, so our Roman Catholic opponents have no room to complain:

1 Kings 8:32
(KJV) Then hear thou in heaven, and do, and judge thy servants, condemning the wicked, to bring his way upon his head; and justifying the righteous, to give him according to his righteousness.
(CLV) tu exaudies in cælo : et facies, et judicabis servos tuos, condemnans impium, et reddens viam suam super caput ejus, justificansque justum, et retribuens ei secundum justitiam suam.
(LXX) καὶ σὺ εἰσακούσει ἐκ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ καὶ ποιήσεις καὶ κρινεῖς τὸν λαόν σου Ισραηλ ἀνομηθῆναι ἄνομον δοῦναι τὴν ὁδὸν αὐτοῦ εἰς κεφαλὴν αὐτοῦ καὶ τοῦ δικαιῶσαι δίκαιον δοῦναι αὐτῷ κατὰ τὴν δικαιοσύνην αὐτοῦ.

Job 9:20
(KJV) If I justify myself, mine own mouth shall condemn me: if I say, I am perfect, it shall also prove me perverse.
(CLV) Si justificare me voluero, os meum condemnabit me ; si innocentem ostendero, pravum me comprobabit.
(LXX) ἐὰν γὰρ ὦ δίκαιος, τὸ στόμα μου ἀσεβήσει· ἐάν τε ὦ ἄμεμπτος, σκολιὸς ἀποβήσομαι.

Proverbs 17:15
(KJV) He that justifieth the wicked, and he that condemneth the just, even they both are abomination to the Lord.
(CLV) Qui justificat impium, et qui condemnat justum, abominabilis est uterque apud Deum.
(LXX) ὃς δίκαιον κρίνει τὸν ἄδικον, ἄδικον δὲ τὸν δίκαιον, ἀκάθαρτος καὶ βδελυκτὸς παρὰ θεῷ.

Matthew 12:37
(KJV) For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.
(CLV) Ex verbis enim tuis justificaberis et ex verbis tuis condemnaberis.
(NA28) ἐκ γὰρ τῶν λόγων σου δικαιωθήσῃ, καὶ ἐκ τῶν λόγων σου καταδικασθήσῃ.

Romans 5:16
(KJV) And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification.
(CLV) Et non sicut per unum peccatum, ita et donum. Nam judicium quidem ex uno in condemnationem : gratia autem ex multis delictis in justificationem.
(NA28) καὶ οὐχ ὡς δι’ ἑνὸς ἁμαρτήσαντος τὸ δώρημα· τὸ μὲν γὰρ κρίμα ἐξ ἑνὸς εἰς κατάκριμα, τὸ δὲ χάρισμα ἐκ πολλῶν παραπτωμάτων εἰς δικαίωμα.

Romans 5:18
(KJV) Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.
(CLV) Igitur sicut per unius delictum in omnes homines in condemnationem : sic et per unius justitiam in omnes homines in justificationem vitæ.
(NA28) Ἄρα οὖν ὡς δι’ ἑνὸς παραπτώματος εἰς πάντας ἀνθρώπους εἰς κατάκριμα, οὕτως καὶ δι’ ἑνὸς δικαιώματος εἰς πάντας ἀνθρώπους εἰς δικαίωσιν ζωῆς·

John 6 for Roman Catholics

A live walk through the 6th chapter of John based upon the original language text. Roman Catholicism teaches that Jesus taught transubstantiation in this chapter, but a fair reading of the text reveals otherwise.

Dr. James White writes, “while one cannot help but deal with the central issues of the gospel in 6:35-45, we continue on to make application and demonstrate that Jesus’ words concerning eating His flesh and drinking His blood, contextually, has nothing to do with Aristotelian philosophy and categories of being. Was Jesus really teaching transubstantiation a thousand years before the term came into usage? And did the disciples walk away because of that teaching? Or was it something else, something made plain in the text, if one is but willing to listen?”

This is a program we hope will be shared with many Roman Catholics.

2017 and Rome

James-White23“2017 will clarify for many why they are not Roman Catholics, and how they will relate to Rome. For many, the walls will fall, and they will swim the Tiber. For others, they will be confirmed in their bigotry and their rejection of Rome based upon bad arguments, false history, and their own form of overpowering tradition. But for many of the truly faithful, the issues will be seen with clarity, and their rejection of Rome will be accompanied not only by a new found fervor for the truths of sola scriptura, soli Deo gloria, sola fide, etc., but that fervor will be joined with a deep desire to see Roman Catholics come to know the gospel that actually saves and gives peace. If your opposition to Rome does not result in your reaching out in love and truth to them, longing to see them come to know the grace that truly saves, then your opposition is a clanging cymbal, and it means nothing.” – Dr. James White

Why is the Reformation Still Important?

Dr. James White:

Why is the Reformation still important? Why is it proper for us to focus upon it this year in celebration of 500 years? Why do I pray that by the end of 2017 more and more of God’s people will embrace the Reformation, and Reformed theology as a whole? Well, here is a tweet from the current Pope. He encourages Roman Catholics to “entrust the new year to Mary.” Doing this, evidently, will result in “peace and mercy” growing throughout the world. And here I thought that could only happen as men and women bow the knee not to Mary, but to the Lord Jesus, in repentance and faith, trusting in His once-for-all work upon the cross as the perfect Savior. Rome’s departure from the Gospel remains complete, and defiant. She continues to blaspheme the cross every time a man-made “priest” pretends to “re-present” the once-for-all sacrifice of Calvary upon a Roman altar. And she continues to enslave men with her endless gospel of sacraments and penances, which can never bring them peace. And in this tweet the Pope demonstrates once again the grossly idolatrous nature of modern Roman teaching concerning Mary.

How many non-Roman Catholics today understand why they do not bow the knee to Rome? In what is loosely called Evangelicalism, very few. One either has the wild-eyed bigotry of the Jack Chick variety anti-Catholicism, or the luke-warm “it’s just a matter of taste” variety of synergistic Tiber-paddling that is so common today. May the number of those who knowingly, and out of a true commitment to sound biblical doctrine, reject Rome’s pretensions, grow in this the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.