Martyn Lloyd-Jones examines “Church and the State”

After returning to the Lord in 2014 after my very long prodigal “season,” the Lord introduced me to some solid Bible teachers, past and present, including D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981). I’ve read several books by and about MLJ and also enjoyed the 2015 documentary, “Logic on Fire,” about the life and ministry of the Doctor.

During the COVID-19 lockdown, I desired to read some more about/from MLJ so I Screenshot 2020-05-19 at 6.59.44 AMdownloaded “Lloyd-Jones on the Christian Life” by Jason Meyer to my Kindle (review to follow). While reading that book, I thought about another resource, the MLJ Trust. I was vaguely aware that Lloyd-Jones’ former ministerial assistant and biographer, Iain H. Murray, had collected the Doctor’s recorded sermons and made them available via the MLJ Trust website. I was curious if MLJ Trust had a smart phone app and, sure enough, they do! I downloaded the free app to my iPhone and, voilà, I now have access to 1600 of the Doctor’s sermons. Wow!

I quickly browsed the list of MLJ’s sermons and stumbled across a series of six sermons on “Church and the State” delivered on successive Friday evenings in January-February, 1967. Friends of this blog know the topic of the church’s relationship to the state is something I am very interested in. Roman Catholicism took its cue from Constantine and the Roman imperial model and continued to fuse together church and state. The early Reformers regrettably continued this error to a degree and when the Pilgrims and Puritans settled in Massachusetts, they established semi-theocracies. The Puritans preached that America was the New Israel and that its citizens were in covenant relationship with God and enjoyed special blessings and prerogatives thereby. That thinking was perpetuated from American pulpits for four-hundred years, although the genuine Gospel preached by the Puritans was gradually replaced over time in mainline denominations by a watered-down, social gospel. The God of the Bible was replaced by the nebulous deity/higher power of American “civil religion.” American civil religion infiltrated the church resulting in national citizenship superceding spiritual citizenship in God’s Kingdom. Americans of all denominations, Protestants and Catholics (and even Jews), could harmoniously join together in singing “God Bless America,” “America the Beautiful,” and “My Country ‘Tis of Thee.”

After Americans became increasingly secularized in the 60s, 70s, and 80’s, Jerry Falwell and his Moral Majority drew a line in the sand and attempted to return America back to “Judeo-Christian” values. Some high-profile ministers like Franklin Graham, Robert Jeffress, and Jerry Falwell, Jr. continue Jerry Sr.’s crusade to “return America back to Jesus.” Regrettably, alliances formed with pseudo-Christian religionists in the cause of shared political and cultural concerns has led many temporal-minded evangelicals to overlook doctrinal differences and compromise the Gospel via ecumenism.

The church has been struggling for two-thousand years to define its proper relationship with the state, but it’s clear from history that the church has erred way too far on the side of church-state alliance. I fully realize that the deeply-rooted concept of America as a “Christian nation” continues to be quite popular amongst American Christians.

Okay, time to step down from my soap box and get to the crux of this post.

In the six sermons below, Martyn Lloyd-Jones thoroughly examines the relationship between church and state including the regrettable historical record and what the Bible teaches. It’s one of the best treatments I’ve ever seen or heard on this topic. Lloyd-Jones has much to say about the Roman Catholic model and the dangers of ecumenism. I’ve provided a link to the MLJ Trust website for each individual sermon. You can also download the MLJ Trust app to your smart phone and search “church and the state” to easily find the six sermons:

Church and The State (1)
Church and state; ecumenism; church and state under Christ’s authority; Constantine; Roman Catholic teaching; Wycliffe; the Reformation; Erastianism; Luther; the Church of England; religious toleration.

https://www.mljtrust.org/search/?q=%233337

Church and The State (2)
Church and state essentially different; common grace; the differences explained; value of history; Luther; Zwingli; Calvin; Belgic Confession on magistrates; Puritans; Presbyterians; Westminster Confession on magistrates; Melville; two kings; two kingdoms.

https://www.mljtrust.org/search/?q=%233338

Church and The State (3)
Pilgrim Fathers and American colonists; Separatists; Cromwell; the ‘Free Church idea’; Roger Williams; the Commonwealth; democracy; the Ejection of 1662; established churches.

https://www.mljtrust.org/search/?q=%233339

Church and The State (4)
Church-state relations unknown in New Testament; Old Testament appealed to; Israel’s position unique; Christ’s kingdom not of this world; confusing the world and the Church.

https://www.mljtrust.org/search/?q=%233340

Church and The State (5)
Summary of teaching; lesson of history; traditionalism; the state cannot Christianize society; parable of the leaven misunderstood; no gradual advance; except in the Church.

https://www.mljtrust.org/search/?q=%233341

Church and The State (6)
The lordship of Christ; tension between the two kingdoms; the Church should lay down principles; freedom; education; the arts; science; law; morality; individual Christians may influence society.

https://www.mljtrust.org/search/?q=%233342

Truth from Arkansas! Sunday sermon series, #32

It’s Two-fer-Tuesday, my friends, which means two new sermons from the brethren down in Arkansas. Thankfully, the technical problems that we had last week have been resolved.

First, we have Pastor Roger Copeland at Northern Hills Baptist Church in Texarkana preaching on Rahab the prostitute mentioned in Hebrews 11:31, who went “From Shame to the Hall of Fame.”

Next, Pastor Cody Andrews at Holly Springs Missionary Baptist Church in Star City preaches on Father God’s love and our destiny. If you haven’t accepted God’s free gift of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ alone then your destiny is to die in your sins and suffer eternal punishment.

Both of these sermons were preached on Sunday, May 3rd.

Pastor Roger Copeland – From Shame to the Hall of Fame

 

 

Pastor Cody Andrews – The Father’s Love and Our Destiny

 

Welcome to the Weekend Roundup! – News & Views – 5/16/20

The ecumenical and interreligious National Day of Prayer (NDP) was commemorated on Thursday, May 7th with religionists of all persuasions, including mainline nominal “Protestants,” Catholics, Mormons, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, and MANY misguided evangelicals, all “joining together in prayer” on behalf of the welfare of the American nation. Several of the speakers that were featured on the “evangelical” NDP National Broadcast are outspoken ecumenists, including Nick Hall, Andrew Palau, Pat Robertson, Billy Wilson, and Rick Warren (see photo above). Looking over the entire line-up, there’s not one speaker I’d be interested in listening to. One of the several reasons my wife and I left the small Southern Baptist Convention church we were attending in 2015 was because the young pastor had involved the church in the local NDP activities.

Speaking of ecumenical and interreligious activities, two days ago on Thursday, May 14th, pope Francis called upon Catholics and religionists of all stripes to join him in a “worldwide day of prayer and fasting” for the end of the coronavirus pandemic. See the Vatican’s official 3-minute video calling for worldwide interreligious prayer here. In stark contrast, nowhere in the entire New Testament is there a record of the apostles of Jesus Christ joining with the pagan religious leaders of that era in joint religious services or initiatives.

We continue to see news articles reporting on the spiraling economic difficulties of the U.S. Catholic church. The church was in severe financial trouble prior to the COVID-19 pandemic with declining membership and the mounting legal claims by the survivors of priest abuse, but the virus lockdown is pushing many parishes and dioceses over the edge. It’s estimated that 12,000 to 13,000 of the 17,000 Catholic parishes in the U.S. applied for Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) payroll loans from the Small Business Administration (SBA) made available as part of pandemic federal relief package, and 9,000 have received the loans to date. But that is a short-term fix that belies the church’s deeper financial troubles. Many parishes and dioceses are in the process of restructuring and laying off staff. Keep in mind that NOT ONE of the 17,000 Catholic parishes in the U.S. teaches the genuine Gospel of salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone.

Few people are aware of the Catholic church’s direct involvement in the operations of the murderous Ustaše fascist movement in Croatia during World War II. The Catholic Ustaše were allies of the German Nazis and were responsible for the slaughter of 350,000 Serbian Orthodox and 30,000 Jewish civilians during the war.

Some Catholic conservatives are claiming the coronavirus is an overhyped “pretext” to deprive the faithful of mass and impose a “New World Order.” These conservative Catholics are charging pope Francis with complicity in the alleged conspiracy. Hmm, this sounds like the conservative Catholic version of the various coronavirus intrigues I’ve been seeing from some conspiracy-minded evangelical bloggers.

Longtime readers of this blog know I’m not an admirer of either Ravi Zacharias or Jim Bakker. Zacharias and like-minded ecumenical evangelical para-church leaders and pastors have done incalculable harm to Gospel outreach to Roman Catholics by embracing the RCC as a Christian entity, while teleshyster Bakker has misled millions with his prosperity-turned-Armageddon-preparation false gospel. Still, I feel sorry for these men for their current health problems.

Hipster mega-church pastors and worship leaders don’t have to worry about sprucing up for the re-opening of in-person church services because duds with holes were already their costume de rigueur prior to the lockdown.

Answering the rebuttals of a Catholic apologist, #24: “Once and For All”

Today, we continue with our series responding to “Meeting the Protestant Challenge: How to Answer 50 Biblical Objections to Catholic Beliefs” (2019), written by Karlo Broussard. With this next chapter, the Catholic apologist continues his section on Sacraments and the specific topic of the sacrifice of the mass as he attempts to counter evangelical Protestants’ arguments that Jesus Christ offered Himself as a sacrifice “Once and For All.”

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The Roman Catholic church claims that during each of its masses, the priest offers Jesus Christ (under the form of bread and wine) as a sacrifice to God the Father for the sins of the congregants and for anyone else who is named, including the pope and the local bishop. It’s estimated that the Catholic church conducts 350,000 Catholic masses each day throughout the world. As Broussard points out, evangelical Protestants object to this repeated sacrifice for sin as un-Biblical and offer Hebrews 7:27 as their proof text:

“He has no need, like those high priests, to offer sacrifices daily, first for his own sins and then for those of the people, since he did this once for all when he offered up himself.”

How can Catholicism reconcile its 128 million masses annually with God’s Word which clearly says Jesus Christ offered Himself as a sacrifice for sin once for all? Broussard offers three rationalizations:

Firstly, Broussard cites the Roman church’s argument that, technically, it’s not repeating Christ’s sacrifice on the cross, but rather re-presenting the same sacrifice in an unbloody manner. Broussard claims the injunction against repeated sacrifice expressed in Hebrews 7:27 pertains to the continual animal sacrifices offered by the Jewish high priests, NOT to the alleged sacrifice re-presented at the mass.

Secondly, Broussard presents three Biblical proof texts, which he alleges support the Catholic claim for Christ’s ongoing sacrificial ministry: Hebrews 7:24-25, Hebrews 8:2-3, and Hebrews 9:23-26.

Lastly, Broussard seeks to diffuse objections to Catholicism’s “unbloody” sacrifices for sin. He points to the examples of the drink and grain offerings that were presented to God by the Israelites as part of the Levitical rituals recorded in the Old Testament.

Okay, let’s now respond to Broussard:

First, the objection by Catholics that they are re-presenting Christ’s sacrifice rather than repeating it is a ham-fisted attempt to circumvent the clear teaching in Hebrews, chapters 7 through 10, regarding the finality of Christ’s sacrifice. God, in His wisdom, included an indisputable refutation of the Catholic position:

“But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God.” – Hebrews 10:12

Where is Jesus? Is He upon Catholic altars being offered 128 million times per year as a sacrifice? Certainly not! He is seated at the right hand of God the Father.

Secondly, in regards to Broussard’s Bible proof texts, which he alleges confirm perpetual sacrifice, let’s take a look at just one:

24 but he holds his priesthood permanently, because he continues forever. 25 Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them. – Hebrews 7:24-25

There is nothing in the above passage that suggests that Jesus is perpetually sacrificing Himself 128 million times per year as the Roman church teaches. As the perfect High Priest, Jesus perpetually makes available the expiatory power of His single sacrifice upon Calvary to all those who trust in Him as Savior by faith alone.

Lastly, Broussard’s reference to the grain and drink offerings of the Old Testament Levitical rituals as examples of bloodless sacrifices is spurious. Blood HAD to be shed for the remission of sins:

“Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.” – Hebrews 9:22

The purpose of the Levitical grain and drink offerings was to worship God and acknowledge His provision. They were NOT sacrifices for sin. Broussard’s reference to these offerings as validation of Catholicism’s bloodless sacrifice of the mass is either duplicitous or betrays a complete lack of knowledge of basic Bible hermeneutics. For more information on grain offerings see the article at the very bottom.

The raw truth is that the Catholic mass with its eucharistic sacrifice is the illegitimate perpetuation of the Old Testament sacrificial system, with the Jesus wafer “host” (Latin: victim) replacing the animals. Priests are indispensable mediators in the Catholic salvation system by design and the laity are completely dependent upon them.

Personal note: I recall reading the New Testament for the first time as a Roman Catholic around age 24 and being increasingly disturbed by the differences between God’s Word and Catholic doctrine. Hebrews, chapters 7-10, was the final straw. Every Roman Catholic needs to prayerfully read Hebrews chapters 7-10 to see there is no more need for human priests or sacrifice. Below are several highlights from those chapters:

“He has no need, like those high priests, to offer sacrifices daily, first for his own sins and then for those of the people, since he did this once for all when he offered up himself.” – Hebrews 7:27

“Now the point in what we are saying is this: we have such a high priest, one who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, a minister in the holy places, in the true tent that the Lord set up, not man.” – Hebrews 8:1-2

“But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation) he entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption.” – Hebrews 9:11-12

“For Christ has entered, not into holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true things, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf. Nor was it to offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters the holy places every year with blood not his own, for then he would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.” – Hebrews 9:24-28

“And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. And every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet. For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.” – Hebrews 10:10-14

What is a grain offering?
https://www.gotquestions.org/grain-offering.html

Throwback Thursday: Sorry, no unbaptized babies allowed!

Welcome to this week’s “Throwback Thursday” installment. Today, we’re going to revisit a post that was originally published back on December 17, 2015 and has been substantially revised.

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The Roman Catholic church boasts that it’s Semper eadem, always the same, but even a
casual student of church history knows that Catholic theology has always been evolving. Case in point:

The RCC has taught baptismal regeneration for 1500 years. It was a doctrine of the church that an unbaptized person could not enter into Heaven except in the cases of martyrs and catechumens. This belief extended to infants who had died without being baptized. Although it was never “official” doctrine, it was widely disseminated by the church that the souls of unbaptized babies went to a region in Hell called “Limbo” (Latin: limbus infantium) where there was allegedly no suffering, but neither “supernatural happiness.”

“Limbo: The place where unbaptized infants go.” – The New Saint Joseph Baltimore Catechism (No. 2), 1991 edition, p. 248., – Imprimatur – Francis Cardinal Spellman, Archbishop of New York.

Because of that teaching, Catholic hospital personnel were instructed to go to great lengths to baptize all newborns who were in danger of dying. If babies were not baptized prior to their death, they were not permitted to be buried in Catholic cemeteries.

[Long pause for effect]

You read that right. Babies who were not baptized were refused burial in “blessed” Catholic cemeteries.

“If (the fetus or child is) not baptized, it should be buried in unconsecrated ground, without any religious rites.” – Quizzes on Hospital Ethics (1946), pp. 57-58. See also the Catholic Encyclopedia (1913), pp. 11, 267, Administrative Legislation (1930) p. 87, and Medical Ethics (1949), p. 245.

The 1917 Code of Canon Law strictly forbade the burial of an unbaptized infant in a Catholic cemetery (Can. 1239). It was taught that burial in a “hallowed” Catholic cemetery accorded the deceased greater graces in the attainment of Heaven as well as ensuring that Catholic burial practices were adhered to.

As Catholic theologians and prelates were increasingly influenced by liberal ideas in the 20th century, the church began to relax its teaching on baptismal regeneration, and at the Second Vatican Council the church granted that all religionists – Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Jews, etc. –  could also merit eternal life (Lumen Gentium, para. 16, November 21, 1964).

But what about the infants of Catholic families who died without baptism? The Catholic church gradually changed its teaching on unbaptized babies going to Limbo as well. The church now states that it “hopes” all unbaptized infants will go to Heaven:

“…allow us to hope that there is a way of salvation for children who have died without Baptism…” – CCC 1261.

Regarding the previous cemetery restriction on unbaptized infants, the 1983 revision of the Code of Canon Law lifted the fifteen-century-long ban and allowed for the burial of unbaptized infants in Catholic cemeteries, although the mourning family is still required to obtain the permission of the local bishop.

There is no salvation for any Catholic in the Roman church’s false gospel of salvation by sacramental grace and merit, but I shake my head in sadness for all of the grieving Catholic families over the centuries that were not allowed to bury their dead, unbaptized infants in their cemeteries. Keep in mind that while the Catholic bishops would not allow the burial of unbaptized infants in their cemeteries, they did allow the burial of pedophile priests and notorious members of organized crime. I can also easily imagine that exceptions to the rule were granted in the cases of unbaptized infants of wealthy contributors such as the Kennedys.

“For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.” – Matthew 23:4-5

“Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” – Matthew 19:14

“And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” – Matthew 18:3

Contrary to the complex and ever-changing legalism of the Roman Catholic church, the genuine Gospel of salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone is unchanging and so simple even a child can understand. Accept Jesus Christ as your Savior by faith alone. You cannot merit your way to Heaven.

“Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin. But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.” – Romans 3:20-22

Be like Mike?

Outside of limited trips to the neighborhood grocery store, most of us have largely been stuck at home during the past eight weeks due to the pandemic lockdown. I’m a reader, so to keep myself occupied, I downloaded six ebooks and bought two hard-copy, used books from Amazon third-party sellers. Many people have whiled away the surplus hours by binge-watching movies and series on Netflix, Amazon, or other streaming services. In the midst of this high demand for home entertainment, somebody at ESPN (Entertainment and Sports Programming Network) timed it perfectly with the release of “The Last Dance,” a ten-part documentary, which focuses on Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls basketball team during their heyday in the 1990s. The first two episodes premiered on April 19th followed by the release of two additional episodes each of the next four Sunday nights.

Sports-starved American males (and undoubtedly some females) are captivated by this series. ESPN previously had good success with its “30 for 30” series about interesting sports stories, but “The Last Dance” documentary has to be shattering all kinds of audience records.

Michael Jordan played for the Bulls from 1984 to 1993 and 1995 to 1998, leading the team to six NBA championships in that span, and is arguably one of the top-three sports icons of modern times. That very short short-list also includes Babe Ruth and Muhammad Ali. What made Jordan so good? Not only was he blessed with extraordinary athletic ability, he was also driven to be the very best.

In his push to win championships, Jordan took no prisoners. He even savagely bullied his own teammates. This series provides many unflinching and sometimes even painfully revealing insights into Jordan’s and the Bull’s rise to the top of the National Basketball Association.

A massive advertising campaign once encouraged all of us to “Be like Mike.” The man still enjoys worldwide fame and adulation to a degree that few others have known.

After having watched the latest episodes of “The Last Dance” this past Sunday night, I was doing my morning walk through the neighborhood and listening via earbuds to a sermon from John MacArthur regarding the Sermon on the Mount and the Beatitudes in Matthew 5:3-12:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.

10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11 “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

Argh! It struck me how VASTLY different the teachings and example of Jesus Christ are compared to the values of this world as exemplified by the adulation accorded to Michael Jordan. I’m not privy to Jordan’s spiritual beliefs. The man has kept his religious views, if any, so private despite thirty-six years of media scrutiny that they frustrate any and every google search. However, it doesn’t appear from the many interviews and behind-the-scenes segments in this series that Michael knows and loves the Lord.

I don’t want to be like Mike, I want to be like Jesus Christ.

Postscript: Featured in one of the episodes is a quip from Larry Bird in a press interview immediately after 23-year-old, Michael Jordan, scored 63 points in a playoff loss to Bird’s Boston Celtics on April 20, 1986. “It’s just God disguised as Michael Jordan,” said the exasperated Bird. Ach. That’s going WAY too far, Larry!

Truth from Arkansas! Sunday sermon series, #31

It’s Two-fer-Tuesday, my friends, which normally means we would have had two new sermons preached by the brethren down in Arkansas. However, due to technical difficulties, the sermons from Northern Hills Baptist Church in Texarkana and from Holly Springs Missionary Baptist Church in Star City for Sunday, April 26th are not available.

Well, folks, as we’ve all seen over the past eight weeks, some circumstances are beyond our control. Even the best-laid plans, and alternate plans, can go awry. However, our God is sovereign and He is faithful!

“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.” – Hebrews 10:23

God willing, I look forward to bringing you Sunday sermons from Pastor Roger Copeland and Pastor Cody Andrews next Tuesday.

Welcome to the Weekend Roundup! – News & Views – 5/9/20

The archdiocese of New Orleans is the 22nd U.S. Catholic diocese to file for bankruptcy. Church officials cite the rising claims of survivors of priest abuse in combination with the sharp decline in contributions due to the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown.

Catholic bishops across the country are gearing up to reopen churches in their dioceses. Alleged “safety guidelines” are being recommended by the head of the USCCB Committee on Divine Worship, which are absolutely UNSAFE. The guidelines amazingly recommend that priests NOT wear gloves out of “respect for the matter and form of the sacraments.” Distributing faux Jesus wafers on the tongue is also permitted. The bottom line is Catholic priests will be placing Jesus wafers on recipients’ tongues, inevitably coming in contact with saliva, and then spreading germs and viruses by placing a contaminated Jesus wafer and their contaminated fingers in the next person’s hand or mouth. This is incredibly unsafe in addition to the fact that Jesus wafer idolatry has nothing to do with the genuine Gospel of salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone.

The Roman Catholic church dictates that its members MUST attend Sunday mass. Failure to comply allegedly incurs a mortal sin, which can only be expiated via confession to a priest. The reality is the vast majority of Catholics routinely flout this obligation under normal circumstances. However, for the past 8 weeks, ALL Catholics have been unable to attend obligatory Sunday mass due to the COVID-19 lockdown. Local bishops have issued “dispensations” to their subjects, allowing them to miss mass throughout this pandemic without incurring mortal sin. Progressive prelates, like archbishop Victor Manuel Fernández mentioned in the article, suggest the lockdown is an excellent opportunity for the RCC to consider “revising” its punitive teaching on mandatory Sunday mass attendance and mandatory yearly confession to align with the undeniable reality of general non-compliance.

Many Catholics and even some pathetically misguided evangelicals are enamored with Catholic mystic, “saint” Catherine of Siena (1347-1380). Catherine gained notoriety by playing a role in the resolution of the Great Schism of the West. She claimed that Jesus visited her many times, eventually taking her as his personal bride and presenting her with his mystical infant prepuce as a wedding ring. She also claimed to have the “stigmata” wounds of Christ and the ability to levitate. The self-mortifying ascetic literally starved herself to death at the age of 33 by restricting her diet to a single Jesus wafer daily.

I try not to comment on politics, BUT I couldn’t ignore the spate of recent headlines involving President Trump’s determined efforts to win the support of Catholic conservatives in the upcoming election.

This story that appears in the progressive Jesuit rag, America, sheds some interesting light on controversial Catholic priest, Leonard Feeney, who attempted to preserve the Catholic doctrine, extra ecclesiam nulla salus (“outside the church there is no salvation”), as modernist theologians steered the church towards Universalism. See my previous post on Feeney here.

Answering the rebuttals of a Catholic apologist, #23: “Do This in Remembrance”

Today, we continue with our series responding to “Meeting the Protestant Challenge: How to Answer 50 Biblical Objections to Catholic Beliefs” (2019), written by Karlo Broussard. With this next chapter, the Catholic apologist continues his section on Sacraments and the specific topic of the Lord’s Supper as he counters evangelical Protestants’ arguments that Jesus Christ instituted communion only as a memorial rather than as a sacrifice when He said, “Do This in Remembrance.”

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First some background: The centerpiece of the Roman Catholic religion is the mass with its celebration of the “eucharist” (Greek: thanksgiving). The Roman church alleges that during the “eucharist” portion of the mass, its priests mysteriously transform bread wafers and wine into the actual body and blood of Jesus Christ (i.e., transubstantiation). The priests then offer the consecrated “host” (Latin: sacrificial victim) to God the Father as a supposedly efficacious sacrifice for the sins of the congregants and any others who are named. The congregants then line up to receive a Jesus wafer from the priest, believing as they are told, that consuming the Jesus wafer endows them with graces enabling them to resist temptation and obey the Ten Commandments (impossible!) in order to possibly merit salvation at the moment of death. Catholics obtain their heterodox views from their church’s erroneous interpretations of John 6 and the Last Supper accounts in the four gospels.

Broussard acknowledges that Protestants strongly object to the Catholic interpretation of the Lord’s Supper. Evangelical Protestants view the Lord’s Supper as a memorial of Christ’s sacrificial offering of His body and blood on the cross. Protestants cite Luke 22:19 as one of their proof texts:

“And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”

Broussard recognizes that Luke 22:19 is a serious challenge to the Catholic interpretation, for Christ Himself refers to the Lord’s Supper as a memorial. Broussard attempts to overcome the evident meaning of “Do this in remembrance of me” with three arguments.

Firstly, Broussard argues that “do this” (Greek: touto poieite, this do) can possibly be translated as “offer this” (i.e., offer this sacrifice). As we’ve seen previously, Broussard is playing fast and loose with his Greek lexicon. It would have been an oxymoron for Jesus to instruct His apostles to offer an actual, efficacious sacrifice only in remembrance. Broussard must overcome the word, remembrance, for his theory to make sense, but what will be his approach?

In his second argument, Broussard suggests that the “remembrance” referred to in Luke 22:19 applies not to the apostles, but to God the Father. He presents Numbers 10:10 as his supporting proof text:

“They (i.e., burnt offerings and fellowship offerings) will be a memorial for you before your God.” (NIV).

Broussard is suggesting that the last sentence of Luke 22:19 should be restated as “Offer this sacrifice as a memorial before God of me.” In other words, God the Father is supposed to do the remembering, not the apostles. This forced interpretation contradicts the clear meaning of the text. Jesus’s command, “Do this,” is a present active imperative directed at the apostles. THE APOSTLES were to eat the bread and wine as a remembrance of Christ’s sacrifice. God the Father does not need to do any remembering of the event.

Lastly, the Catholic apologist attempts to cover all possibilities by suggesting that IF Jesus did in fact intend for the apostles to do the remembering, then the ritual is still much more than a symbolic ordinance as Protestants believe. He argues that the Catholic liturgical celebration of the eucharist is not just a remembrance or a memorial of Christ’s sacrifice, but that it “actually makes present the event remembered” (p.130). Catholics claim that they don’t repeat Jesus’s sacrifice, which Scripture plainly precludes (“But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God” – Hebrews 10:12), but rather they claim to re-present Jesus’s one unique sacrifice. Broussard cites Exodus 13:8,14 and a reference to the “Mishnah Pesachim” of the Jewish Talmud regarding Passover observance laws; that Jews were to forever celebrate the holiday as virtual participants in the liberation from Egypt rather than as mere commemorators. Broussard is grasping at straws once again. Not one single Jew believes the events of the Passover and Exodus are being re-presented at Passover celebration the way Catholics claim the eucharist re-presents Christ’s unique sacrifice on the cross. However, it’s quite ironic that Broussard appeals to unbelieving Jews who observe the Passover feast and yet reject the Messiah Who was symbolized by the sacrificial lamb and its blood that was applied to the Israelites’ door posts. Likewise, Catholics claim to re-present Christ’s sacrifice on the cross and yet reject the Savior and salvation that only comes by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone.

Broussard continues his defense of the Catholic version of the Lord’s Supper in the next two chapters. Next week, we’ll dig deeper into the Roman Catholic church’s sophistry by which it craftily substitutes re-present in place of repeat in regards to its 128 million annual sacrifices of the mass.

Next up: “Once and For All”

Throwback Thursday: Evangelicals and Catholics view justification differently…and it matters

Welcome to this week’s “Throwback Thursday” installment. Today, we’re going to revisit a post that was originally published back on December 22, 2015 and has been revised.

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Faith Alone: The Evangelical Doctrine of Justification
By R.C. Sproul
Baker Books, 1995, 219 pp.

5 Stars

I’ve discussed several times how I accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior back in 1983 and worshiped at an independent fundamental Baptist church until 1991 when I could no longer take the Falwellian hyper-patriotism and anti-homosexual harangues. Well, I walked away from the Lord for 23 years, but finally returned to Him in 2014. Upon my return, I was quite startled at how snug some evangelical pastors and para-church leaders had become with Roman Catholicism in my absence. Even the young pastor at the Southern Baptist church where we began attending frequently expressed his admiration for several Catholic theologians (we stopped attending there in 2015).

I then began reading material on the festering evangelical compromise with Rome, including books and articles on Chuck Colson’s Evangelicals and Catholics Together (ECT) ecumenical project, which released its first joint declaration in 1994. ECT argued that, despite some “secondary” differences, Catholics and evangelicals shared a belief in the primary doctrine of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Christ, so unification was not only possible, but desirable in the face of the mounting opposition to Christian “morality” from an increasingly secularized society. See my review of ECT’s first book here.

There were many prominent evangelicals who vigorously opposed ECT including Reformed theologian, R.C. Sproul. Sproul’s “Faith Alone: The Evangelical Doctrine of Justification” is a thorough rebuttal of ECT’s betrayal of the Gospel and the Reformation. The Catholic church teaches that God initiates salvation by the grace provided through its sacraments, but that it’s then up to Catholics to “cooperate with grace” and do their part to merit their salvation. So Catholics can also say they believe in “salvation by grace through faith,” BUT they can’t and they won’t say they believe in salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith ALONE, in Jesus Christ alone. Catholics believe they must perfectly obey the Ten Commandments to merit Heaven (and go to confession when they fail – repeat cycle). Every born-again believer knows that trying to obey your way into Heaven is a sheer impossibility and denies our sinful depravity and Jesus’ office as Savior.

Sproul gets deep into the theological nitty gritty in this book and dissects both sides with precision and charity. In a nutshell, Catholics believe they must become intrinsically, subjectively holy enough to hopefully merit Heaven. Their justification is their own “righteousness.” In contrast, evangelicals believe we are justified only by the perfect righteousness of Jesus Christ that was imputed to us when we accepted Him as Savior by faith alone. If anyone believes all or part of their justification relies on their own “goodness,” then they have an incorrect (and spiritually moribund) understanding of why Jesus came and what He accomplished through His death and resurrection.

Praise the Lord for R.C. Sproul and the many other evangelicals who raised a red flag when Judas Colson and the other evangelical signers of ECT (Land, Lewis, Packer, Bright, Guinness, Noll, Robertson, etc.) betrayed the Gospel of grace.

Catholics who are interested in learning about the Biblical view of justification, by the imputation of Jesus Christ’s perfect righteousness at the moment a person accepts Him as Savior, would do well to start with this book. Order from Amazon here.

Postscript: R.C. Sproul went home to be with the Lord on December 14, 2017.