Tuesday, July 31, 2018

The Lord's Supper Is To Be Understood Symbolically

Verse 22: The head of the household blessing bread and wine was standard for any meal, but later sources suggest that special blessings were used for Passover. Jewish people broke bread rather than sliced it. In Aramaic, one would not distinguish “is” from “represents.” The standard Jewish interpretation of what the household head pronounced over the bread at Passover was not literal: “This is the bread of affliction that our ancestors ate when they left Egypt.” No one assumed that the bread they were eating was 1300 years old, or had been digested by the ancestors; rather, they reenacted those events and participated in them.

23: Probably some time by the end of the first century, Jewish people used four cups at their Passover meal (like Greeks at banquets); scholars have suggested that this is the fourth cup (which followed blessing the bread) or the third. A common cup was passed, using red wine.

24: Sacrificial blood had long been used to ratify biblical covenants (for “blood of the covenant,” see Exodus 24:8). God had redeemed his people from Egypt through the paschal lamb’s blood. “On behalf of many” probably reflects Isaiah 53. Passover ritual interpreted the wine, but not as blood; the law forbade drinking blood.

25: Jewish people often made vows of abstinence (e.g., “I will not eat this or that until a particular thing happens”; similarly, “I will not use this or that …”). Jewish blessings over the wine called it “the fruit of the vine.” Early Jewish sources often view the kingdom as a banquet (cf. Isaiah 25:6-9); endless wine would then be available (Amos 9:13).

26: People usually sang the remaining part of the Hallel (Ps 113 to 118) after the Passover meal and lengthy discussion about the Passover. (Music was common fare at many ancient banquets.) Walking from a home in the Upper City to the Mount of Olives presumably took fifteen minutes or longer.

http://www.craigkeener.com/this-is-my-body-the-lords-supper-mark-1422-26/

Friday, July 27, 2018

Sufficient Proofs For The Word Of God

"Men crave in these days some demonstration from the unseen world. Here is abundance of such evidence—Here is clear proof of an unseen and almighty intelligence presiding over human history, and showing us that He does so by describing beforehand the whole course of its events. What need we any further proof? The order of the visible world is evidence of the invisible to him who reads history in the light of prophecy! He beholds the hand of God in human experience, and watches the development of the Divine plan in the progress of the world. He knows, moreover, what events to expect, for he discerns his own chronological position in the stream of time; and as nine-tenths of the program have already been fulfilled, he doubts not that the remaining tenth will be in its predicted and fast-approaching season. And further, it is clear that if by so many infallible proofs we are convinced that the Bible as a whole is from God, no difficulties as to the mode of its inspiration, no scientific or critical objections, should be suffered to interfere with our hearty and thankful reception of its revelation. If God has spoken, man is responsible to hear, to believe, and to obey. And lastly, may we say, that to study the Christian evidences, whether of this or of any other kind, is merely to examine the foundations of the house. It is well at times to do this. But it is better to enter and abide in the house! It is infinitely better to avail one’s self of its shelter from the stormy blast, to enjoy its rich and spacious accommodation, to dwell in safety and peace under its blessed roof and to gaze on the widespread prospect from its windows."

Henry Grattan Guinness (1835-1910)

Contradictions Between Sexual Revolution And The #MeToo Movement

"There is a deep tension between the premises of the sexual revolution and those of #MeToo. The sexual revolution promises greater availability and enjoyment of sexual pleasure without commitment or guilt. This promise can only be accomplished by the trivialization of the intrinsically personal meaning of sex. It is very difficult to see how we can simultaneously promote the trivialization of sex and treat sexual assault with the seriousness that it deserves.

But a powerful personal drive like sexual desire cannot really be trivialized, and its personal meaning cannot be completely denied. If sex ceases to be about love, it will necessarily be about war. This is evident in the hook-up culture, which pushes the revolution’s core premise—sex without marital commitment, or “free love”—to its logical conclusion by elevating sex without any commitment at all. In the hook-up culture and its #MeToo reaction, we can see how sex without comprehensive commitment necessarily becomes predatory, thus paving the way for sexual assault."

Elizabeth Schlueter and Nathan Schlueter, What #MeToo and Hooking Up Teach Us About The Meaning of Sex

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Sex Needs More Than Just Consent

"Certain moral norms follow from the personal meaning of sex. In the first place, there is a need for consent. Sexual contact without consent is a direct assault against the whole person. It is deeply depersonalizing. But sexual assault is only the most extreme kind of sexual depersonalization. Every time a person is used for sexual gratification, he or she is depersonalized. This fact accounts for the true meaning of sexual modesty (and shame), not puritanical repression. It is our natural defense against the “objectifying” gaze, against being used for someone else’s gratification.

But not just any kind of consent is adequate to the intrinsic and personal language of sex, and thus to the dignity of the person. Because sex is an embodied union of thewhole person, consent to sex without total commitment to the whole person contradicts the meaning and language of the body. It makes an act that speaks love between persons into an act of use of persons.

Sex is thus very different from other human activities. In some contexts, the mutual “use” of persons is morally acceptable. In typical market transactions, for example, the parties “use” one another for their own benefit. When someone purchases bread from the baker, each person is unproblematically looking to his or her own advantage, and (unless the transaction involves force or fraud) neither person feels“used.”

Why is it that “feeling used” is a common experience in sexual intercourse, even when it is consented to? And what conditions for sexual intercourse would prevent that feeling? While “affirmative consent” may at least avoid rape, most people have a sense that consent should be broader, that sex should at least be “a part of a relationship.” But what kind of relationship is sufficient to prevent sex from being depersonalizing? A committed one? How committed? Experience leads us to the following conclusion: Nothing short of comprehensive personal consent—in other words, marriage—is adequate to the intrinsic language of sex or the vulnerability it necessarily entails."

Elizabeth Schlueter and Nathan Schlueter, What #MeToo and Hooking Up Teach Us About The Meaning of Sex

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Commentary On Hebrews 10:7

"Then said I, lo, I come,.... Christ observing that legal sacrifices were not acceptable to God; that there was a body prepared for him; and that it was written of him in the book of God, that he should come; and the time being now come, with a note of attention and admiration, the matter being of great moment and concern, he cheerfully expresses his readiness to come, immediately, without any compulsion, even he himself, and not another.

In the volume of the book it is written of me; in the book of the law, as the, Targum and Kimchi on Psalm 40:7 interpret it; and which may design the Bible in general, the whole book of the Scriptures of the Old Testament: so ספר, "the book", is used for the whole BibleF18, and it is saidF19, all the whole law, that is, all Scripture, is called מגילה, "a volume"; accordingly there are things written of Christ in all the writings of the Old Testament, in the law, and in the prophets, and in the psalms. Jarchi interprets it of the law of Moses, and so it may design the pentateuch, or the five books of Moses; and there are several places therein, in which it is written of Christ, and particularly in Genesis, the first of these books, and in the head, the beginning, the frontal piece, the first part of that book; namely, Genesis 3:15 which may be principally designed. Books were formerly written in rolls of parchment, and hence called volumes; See Gill on Luke 4:17, See Gill on Luke 4:20. The end of his coming is next expressed by him,

to do thy will, O God; which, when he came, he set about with the utmost delight, diligence, and faithfulness, in preaching the Gospel, performing miracles, doing good to the bodies and souls of men, and in finishing the great work of man's redemption, which was the main part of his Father's will he came to do; and which he did, by fulfilling the law in its precept and penalty; by offering himself a sacrifice to God; by suffering death, the death of the cross; by destroying all his and our enemies, and so working out everlasting salvation."

Gill, John. "Commentary on Hebrews 10:7". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/hebrews-10.html. 1999.

Monday, July 23, 2018

The Scriptural Definition Of Repentance

        There is confusion amongst professing Christians as to the definition of repentance, namely whether it consists of a change in mind or a change in ways. The Bible does provide a definitive answer to this question, which is deemed utterly unsatisfactory to the many in our culture and to those who preach a watered-down version of the gospel (2 Timothy 4:3). 

        According to Scripture, the act of repentance is more than a change of mind. It involves turning from sinful ways. It involves entrusting oneself to God who forgives our sins. Repentance is not a work, but a change in heart. It is a change in purpose. It is a change in perspective. Repentance is crying out to God, admitting the futility of remaining in sin. This theme was taught especially in the Book of Ezekiel (Ezekiel 14:6; 18:20-31). The underlying theme of the gospel is repent or perish. Repentance is certainly accompanied with godly sorrow and grief, as was the case of the Apostle Peter who denied knowing Jesus Christ three times in a row (Luke 22:62-64). Consider also how the men of Nehemiah responded to the preaching of Jonah:

          "Then the people of Nineveh believed in God; and they called a fast and put on sackcloth from the greatest to the least of them. When the word reached the king of Nineveh, he arose from his throne, laid aside his robe from him, covered himself with sackcloth and sat on the ashes He issued a proclamation and it said, “In Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles: Do not let man, beast, herd, or flock taste a thing. Do not let them eat or drink water. But both man and beast must be covered with sackcloth; and let men call on God earnestly that each may turn from his wicked way and from the violence which is in his hands. Who knows, God may turn and relent and withdraw His burning anger so that we will not perish.” When God saw their deeds, that they turned from their wicked way, then God relented concerning the calamity which He had declared He would bring upon them. And He did not do it." (Jonah 3:5-10, emphasis added)

          Note how Jesus Christ alludes to this Old Testament event:

          "The men of Nineveh will stand up with this generation at the judgment, and will condemn it because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and behold, something greater than Jonah is here." (Matthew 12:41)

          People who profess the name of Christ have no excuse for not having repented of their sins. They will have a desire to serve God because their hearts have been changed by the Holy Spirit. The lives of the apostles themselves are evidence of this truth. If we truly wish to inherit eternal life, then we must turn to God and seek the forgiveness that He provides. True repentance will inevitably result in a changed lifestyle. An aspect of repentance is the conviction that sin should no longer persist in our lives. We must recognize that we are spiritually bankrupt sinners who are in need of His redemption. The New Testament indicates that faith and repentance are inseparable (Mark 1:15; Luke 24:47; Acts 20:21). If there is no repentance, then there can be no forgiveness of sin by God.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Why The Left Loves And Hates Science

“Why do you hate science?”

That’s the question leftists have taken to asking non-leftists. Leftists claim to love science, insofar as anyone can love a method for testing a hypothesis, and accuse their enemies of hating it. How can anyone love or hate an indifferent set of techniques? And how can an ideology that believes technological civilization is destroying the planet really claim to love the science behind it?

But swap out “science” for “god” and the question, “Why do you hate science” makes perfect sense. So do the constant assertions of love for science. These aren’t scientific assertions, but religious ones.

Actual science doesn’t care whether you love or hate it. That’s not how you engage with the theory of relativity. But religion is measured by love and hate. Either you love a deity or you hate it.

No one loves or hates science. But they do love Scienticism. Scienticism is science without skepticism. It takes the ideas of science and uses them to create an infallible belief system that gives our lives meaning and dictates how we should live those lives.

In other words, a religion.

Its god is Homo Progressivus, born an ape and ascending to singularity synthesis. Its heaven is a social services agency. Its saints died for social progress. And if you want angels, why not try UFOs?

Religion is vanishing in Europe and America is catching up. Morals are as outdated as phrenology. No one believes in the golden future anymore. Least of all the worshipers at the chrome altar of Scientism.

Every crackpot leftist theory from Marxism to Global Warming is cloaked in an inevitable something. The revolution of the working class can’t be stopped. The world is bound to run out of food, oil and sanctimony. The rise of the oceans can’t be stopped (except by electing Democrats). Science says so.

But science is the opposite of infallible. Its strength is its fallibility.

Science offers a crab walk forward, because it’s willing to admit and correct errors. But Scientism never admits it’s wrong. Instead it claims that scientific testing has found it absolutely true. Then it hides its data and tries to pass laws banning anyone from questioning its absurdly premature conclusions.

Scientism strips science of its greatest strength and builds a cargo cult around wearing a lab coat.

The left loathes real science because it hates skepticism. But it loves infallibility. And that is all that’s left of its science. What was once the soul of secularism, a belief system bestriding civilization, now exists solely to offer infallibility to whatever loathsome nonsense the left believes at any given moment."

https://archives.frontpagemag.com/fpm/why-left-loves-and-hates-science-daniel-greenfield/

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Per Fidem Solam: Romans 3:24 In The Würzburg Glosses, 8th Century

.... Very interesting: Per Fidem Solam: Romans 3:24 in the Würzburg Glosses, from an Irish theologian in the 8th Century:

"23 For all have sinned and do need the glory of God. 24 Being justified freely by his grace [that is, by faith alone, i.e. the faith of belief in Jesus Christ], through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, [that is, it is He that has redeemed and it is He also that is the ransom, i.e. by the blood] 25 Whom God had proposed to be a propitiation [that is, it has been set forth in the mysteries of the Godhead, to make atonement for those who believe his liberation would be in the blood], through faith in his blood, [that is, through the faith of every one who believes in his salvation through His blood] to the showing of his justice, for the remission of former sins."

https://beggarsallreformation.blogspot.com/2013/03/per-fidem-solam-romans-324-in-wurzburg.html

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Abortion Is Wrong Even If The Fetus Is Not A Person

"Marquis thinks abortion is wrong even if the fetus is not a person.

Once again, to see the force of this strategy, imagine two people on a sidewalk debating the issue. If someone told you that the two debaters had come to agree that the fetus is not a person, you’d probably form the belief that the “pro-choice” side had won; likely, you’d conclude that the “pro-lifer” had been convinced.

But Marquis’ argument doesn’t rely on the fetus being a person.

Here it is:

(1) What makes killing someone wrong, in most respects, is it deprives them of a future of value.

(2) When a fetus is killed, it suffers the same kind of loss.

Thus,

(3) Abortion is immoral just as killing an adult or a child is immoral.

As Marquis puts it:

When I am killed…I am deprived of all the value of my future. Inflicting this loss on me is ultimately what makes killing me wrong. This being the case, it would seem that what makes killing any adult human being prima facie seriously wrong is the loss of his or her future. …

The future of a standard fetus includes a set of experiences, projects, activities, and such which are identical with the futures of adult human beings and are identical with the futures of young children. Since the reason that is sufficient to explain why it is wrong to kill human beings after the time of birth is a reason that also applies to fetuses, it follows that abortion is prima facie seriously morally wrong.

Notice that Marquis’ argument doesn’t rely on the fetus being a person. Marquis is in essence shoving the question of personhood aside and looking strictly at what it is that makes killing someone wrong.

If it turned out that what makes killing someone wrong crucially relies on personhood, then Marquis wouldn’t have an argument against abortion (using the assumptions he’s relied on). But the wrong-making feature of killing that he’s identified is something adults, children, and fetuses share when each of them are killed. So if the feature that makes killing someone from the first two groups wrong is that it deprives them of a future of value, then it also furnishes us with an argument against abortion, since the fetus, like the child and the adult, has a future of value.

(Interestingly, Marquis’ argument does not provide grounds for seeing euthanasia as wrong, given that in many cases the candidate for euthanasia does not have a future of value.)

Notice that Marquis’ argument is not vulnerable to the familiar “pro-choice” lament that anti-abortionists are “giving full rights to a potential person” or anything like that. The question of personhood is irrelevant.

Marquis’ argument relies on a theory about what makes killing someone wrong, and then noticing that the same effects occur when a fetus is killed — the fetus, like the adult, is wrongly stripped of a future of value. It’s not like, when an adult is killed, someone can plausibly respond “Yes, but, they only had this ‘future of value’ potentially — so there’s no wrongdoing here.” No one would accept this reasoning. That’s because, as Marquis notes, we see this future of value as something an adult possesses in the present. That’s precisely why we’re so scandalized when someone is killed — they are robbed of something — the most precious thing — they possess: their future of value.

That’s what makes abortion seriously immoral."

https://arcdigital.media/abortion-is-wrong-even-if-the-fetus-is-not-a-person-bd7552841366

Friday, July 13, 2018

Presenting A Different Jesus

"The Jesus being presented in many churches today is different because He is not the One we find in the Bible. The popular Jesus being presented is the one who fills churches to the rafters with fans and not disciples. People are following a genie in a bottle that will grant them all of their hopes and dreams. He is a Hallmark card version of Jesus who is willing to overlook sin and just be a good friend to pal around with. He never makes us feel bad or consider ourselves less than number one.

Many of our modern churches focus on self-improvement instead of dying to self. This is works based nonsense and basically, the same thing practiced among many pseudo-Christian cults including Jehovah's Witnesses and Mormonism. The logic is if you work hard enough and be good enough, you can earn eternal life.

Instead of lovingly warning people about fleeing the wrath to come, we decide we know a better approach. We attempt to woo people into the Christian life by presenting its features and benefits much like a good salesman. This isn't the biblical model of how to present the gospel and it is certainly not the way to make disciples.

The local church's main purpose isn't to help people improve their financial planning skills, have a better marriage, or to get them connected into activities galore for the whole family. What people desperately need is to hear the gospel to come to the end of themselves and be truly born again. We don't want to present a different Jesus who is a cosmic genie who caters to our felt needs and desires.

Trouble begins when seeker-sensitive hirelings who are not shepherds water down the gospel. They present a different Jesus and this is a deception plaguing many churches today. These preachers may want to improve their image, popularity, or ministry numbers, so they make coming to Jesus about life enhancement, not dying to oneself.

I feel the uneasy tension when [speaking] to people about heaven, hell, eternity, sin, and repentance. The Lord never promised it would be easy to be His disciple but he promised to be with us always and give us the words to say when we testify about Him. It's my deep desire and prayer for each of us to renew our commitment to speak the truth, with love as the motive and do it with boldness as the Holy Spirit directs us. While many are compromising and presenting a different Jesus, I pray the faithful remnant will continue to make Him known."

https://www.christianpost.com/voice/presenting-a-different-jesus-howard-green.html

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Does Hebrews 6:4-6 Teach That Apostates Cannot Be Forgiven?

        The text of Hebrews 6:4-6 has been a source of brewing controversy among various Christian circles as to its meaning. It certainly is thought-provoking in a solemn sense. In fact, it has put believers into a state of needless panic over it seemingly teaching that people who depart from the truth of the gospel are beyond the reach of obtaining reconciliation with God. Nevertheless, we know beyond a reasonable doubt that Hebrews 6 cannot be enforcing such an idea, considering that Scripture exhorts us to spiritually assist backsliders in coming to repentance (Galatians 6:1).

        What may serve as an antidote to this apparently problematic passage of Scripture is the recognition that the audience to which this epistle was originally dedicated was Jewish. It was primarily addressing Jewish Christians who were thinking of reverting to Old Testament Judaism in the face of upcoming persecution. In short, the author goes on to demonstrate Christ as being superior to the Old Covenant and to urge them to fervently hold fast to the gospel. They were in need of spiritual edification (Hebrews 6:1-3).

        This epistle goes in depth concerning various types, shadows, and how they are fulfilled in the New Testament. It describes Christ as being greater than Moses and the angels. It affirms Him to be our Sabbath and High Priest. The author affirms Christ to be greater than the temple and its sacrifices. He is the fulfillment of the Law, which cannot save us. Its customs are powerless. Jesus established the New Covenant. The Jewish Christians were encouraged to continually remain faithful to the Lord and endure upcoming persecution for His sake (Hebrews 10:23-39).

        So, it is abundantly clear that the author was not trying to say in Hebrews 6:4-6 that God will not forgive the sins of apostates who humbly return to Him. Rather, those who persistently seek the Law as a means of justification are only destining themselves for eternal condemnation. These people are inexcusable because they already know and understand the truth of the gospel. The sacrificial alters have no power to redeem us. The priesthood cannot atone for our iniquity. Jesus Christ already made full atonement for our sin (Hebrews 10:10-14). We are to trust in His work alone for salvation. Those who attempt to reinstate Old Covenant practices are putting Christ to an open shame. They are rejecting the sufficiency of His work. The same can essentially be said of other forms of apostasy, as well. Those who repent of sin, however, can receive mercy from God.

Saturday, July 7, 2018

The Myth That Roman Emperor Constantine Changed The Sabbath

          We usually hear the claim from Seventh-Day Adventists that the Roman Catholic Church changed the Jewish Sabbath Day from Saturday to Sunday during the reign of Emperor Constantine in the fourth century. These Sabbatarians argue that we absolutely must avoid worshiping on Sunday due to participation allegedly being the mark of the Beast. 

          Typical attempts to substantiate their claims involve the citation of various nineteenth century authors, who simply made guesses regarding the methodology of early Christian worship services. On the contrary, any notion of the Church of Rome changing the Sabbath Day to Sunday is as false as false can be. The truth of the matter is that mandatory Sabbath observance was only meant for the Nation of Israel, and that the tradition of gathering on Sundays for worship has been practiced since the first century in correspondence to the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.

          The text of Acts 20:7-12 very clearly describes Christians as having fellowship on Sunday. The New Testament records the existence of this apostolic tradition elsewhere in passages such as John 20:19-20, 1 Corinthians 16:1-2, and Revelation 1:10. If we are going to view the New Testament as a reliable historic document, then the charge that Roman Emperor Constantine changed the Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday is refuted because according to this perspective, Christians had already been worshiping on the first day of the week. The tradition of gathering on Sunday has been observed since the timing of the first century. Now, allow us to view a handful of primitive extra-biblical sources to further vindicate this point:

          "Christian Assembly on the Lord's Day: But every Lord's day do ye gather yourselves together, and break bread, and give thanksgiving after having confessed your transgressions, that your sacrifice may be pure. But let no one that is at variance with his fellow come together with you, until they be reconciled, that your sacrifice may not be profaned. For this is that which was spoken by the Lord: In every place and time offer to me a pure sacrifice; for I am a great King, saith the Lord, and my name is wonderful among the nations." (Didache: The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles, Chapter XIV)

          "We keep the eighth day [Sunday] with joyfulness, the day also on which Jesus rose again from the dead." (Letter of Barnabas 15:6–8 [A.D. 74])

          "[T]he Gentiles, who have believed on Him, and have repented of the sins which they have committed, they shall receive the inheritance along with the patriarchs and the prophets, and the just men who have descended from Jacob, even although they neither keep the Sabbath, nor are circumcised, nor observe the feasts." (Justin Martyr, Dialogue with Trypho, chapter XXVI)

            "[T]hose who were brought up in the ancient order of things [i.e. Jews] have come to the possession of a new hope, no longer observing the Sabbath, but living in the observance of the Lord’s day, on which also our life has sprung up again by him and by his death." (Ignatius of Antioch​​​​​​​, Letter to the Magnesians 8 [A.D. 110])

            It is simply invalid to assert that the Roman Emperor Constantine altered this Jewish day of observance from Saturday to Sunday. Nobody has the power to change the Sabbath because it was originally instituted by God for the Jewish people.

Friday, July 6, 2018

Does Philippians 2:12 Nullify "Faith Alone?"

          Notice that this verse says "work out," not "work for" your salvation. People who have genuine faith in Christ will by definition be doing good works through the transforming power of the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 2:10). Thus, Christians are able to "work out" their salvation. 

         Works are the product, not the cause, of our justification. Philippians 2:12 does not address justification, but rather speaks of sanctification. See also Philippians 2:13. 

         This passage of Scripture is speaking of growth in the Christian walk. Sanctification is an ongoing process that requires human excretion. 

         The phrase "fear and trembling" indicates a mindset of awe and reverence toward God. It does not denote uncertainty of our standing before God in Christ. We ought to respect Him because He is holy.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Commentary On Hebrews 12:14

Our apostle having now finished his exhortation unto patient perseverance in the profession of the gospel under all sufferings and afflictions, he now proceeds to a prescription of practical duties incumbent upon Christians at all times in the daily course of their conversation, two of which are contained in this verse, namely to follow peace and holiness; the former contains our duty to man, the latter, our duty to God.

Here observe, that both duties are enjoined in one and the same precept, and also with one and the same penalty: Without which, that is, without following of both which without pursuing and endeavouring after both, no man shall see the Lord.

Indeed, if a person follows holiness, though he cannot obtain peace, he may see God provided he pursues peace, and the fault is none of his that he doth not find it; but if he does not pursue peace, though he pretends never so much to holiness, he cannot be happy, for a Christian must be of a peaceable as well as of a pious, conversation; peace and holiness, peacableness and purity, are here joined together, and he neither can be happy in this or the next world, that puts them asunder.

Observe farther, The manner how peace and holiness must be followed, namely, with intense endeavours: The original word imports a vehement pursuit, a metaphor taken from huntsmen, who follow the chase, and pursue their game though it flies before them; if peace be had, though it be upon hard terms, we must endeavour to secure it, for it can never be bought too dear, if it be not purchased by sin and baseness.

A frame and disposition of seeking peace with all, is eminently suited unto the doctrine and grace of the gospel. A forward spirit, ready for strife and contention, easily provoked, and retaining long a sense of injuries, is directly contrary to the spirit and temper of the gospel.

Observe likewise, How that holiness towards God must be accompanied with peaceableness towards man. It is evangelical holiness which is here required; which must be an inward holiness, an universal holiness, a sincere and real holiness, an humble and self-denying holiness, a growing and progressive holiness, and such a holiness towards God as is always accompanied with righteousness towards men.

Observe lastly, The absolute necessity of holiness in order to eternal blessedness, Without it no man shall see the Lord. The future sight of God in glory depends peremptorily on our present holiness, not as the meritorious cause of it, but as a necessary qualification and preparation for it, and as it is the indispensable condition of our obtaining of it. The soul is by holiness made meet and fit for the enjoyment of God in happiness, Colossians 1:12.

Burkitt, William. "Commentary on Hebrews 12:14". Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wbc/hebrews-12.html. 1700-1703.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Biblical Evidence Against The Apostle Peter Being The First Pope

  • Defining The Issues: 
          -The Roman Catholic Church teaches that Jesus Christ made the Apostle Peter the first pope and that He had built His church upon him. It is also asserted that Jesus gave Peter a unique position of authority over His church which was supposed to get passed on through "apostolic succession" to present-day popes (thereby establishing the concept of an infallible church). These claims to authority have spewed a great deal of controversy among the Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and Protestant churches.
  • General Absence Of The Papal Office Throughout The New Testament: 
          -The New Testament contains various passages discussing the types of offices, ministers, and qualifications necessary for obtaining such positions in the church (Ephesians 4:11-15; 1 Corinthians 12:28; 2 Corinthians 12:12; 1 Timothy 3:1-13; 1 Timothy 5:1-19; Titus 1:5-9). Yet, the concept of a pope is absent in these contexts. Paul does not distinguish Peter from the other apostles in the lists where that specific role is mentioned. Scripture describes individual congregations as being ruled by pluralities of elders (Acts 14:23; 20:28; 1 Timothy 5:17). Moreover, the New Testament says nothing regarding the establishment or existence of a one-head bishop hierarchical church structure. There is no mention of a single human leader rightly claiming to have been bestowed a gift of infallible teaching authority. The Apostle Paul said that he himself was not inferior even to the greatest apostles in 2 Corinthians 12:11.
  • General Absence Of Papal Titles:
          -Peter was never addressed by titles of exultation such as are used to honor popes of later times. In other words, he was never called "Pope," "Chief Shepard," "Head of the Church," "Holy Father," "Sovereign Pontiff," or any other religious titles used to honor popes today. Instead, he was simply called an "apostle and servant" (1 Peter 1:1; 2 Peter 1:1) and "fellow presbyter" (1 Peter 5:1). Such titles logically place Peter on the same level of authority as any other elder in the church. The Apostle John also referred to himself as an "elder" (2 John 1; 3 John 1), thereby implying that he had the same authority as Peter. 
            +Some may argue that the Apostle Peter avoided these titles because he was humble and modest. But if that is the case, then why do modern popes refuse to follow Peter's example? The truth of the matter is that the Lord Jesus Christ forbade the practice (Matthew 23:8-12).
           +Jesus is the "Chief Shepherd" of the "flock" (John 10:10; 14-16; Hebrews 13:20), not the pope.
          -Christ is the "head of the church" (1 Corinthians 11:3; Ephesians 1:22-23; 4:15; 5:23-25). Roman Catholics believe that the pope is the "visible" head of the church and that Christ is the "invisible" head. However, Scripture reserves no such position for any man. The Kingdom of God is spiritual and so does not require a single earthly leader to guide it.
  • The Apostle Peter Did Not Behave As If He Were A Pope:
          -The Apostle Peter was not a wealthy man as are modern-day popes (Acts 3:6-7). In other words, he did not have a throne, crown, or any other types of riches, as successive popes have enjoyed for centuries.
          -The Apostle Peter did not allow men to bow before him religiously (Acts 10:25-26), but modern popes accept and encourage this kind of behavior. We are not to bow before people to honor their religious office or affiliation (Matthew 4:9-10; Revelation 22:8-9).
  • Scripture Never Tells Us That The "Keys" Of The Kingdom Were Given To The Apostle Peter Alone:
          -All of the apostles were given the authority of the "keys" (Matthew 18:18; John 20:23).
  • The Apostle Peter Was A Married Man:
          -The Apostle Peter was a married man (Matthew 8:14; 1 Corinthians 9:5). However, such is forbidden by the Roman Catholic Church. Thus, the Apostle Peter is automatically disqualified from leading the Papacy!
  • The Apostle Peter Viewed Himself As Having No Supremacy Over The Church:
          -"Therefore, I exhort the elders among you, as your fellow elder and witness of the sufferings of Christ, and a partaker also of the glory that is to be revealed, shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God; and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness; nor yet as lording it over those allotted to your charge, but proving to be examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory. You younger men, likewise, be subject to your elders; and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble." (1 Peter 5:1-5)
  • James, Not Peter, Presided Over The Jerusalem Council:
          -Although the Apostle Peter attended the Jerusalem Council, it was James who issued the final ruling that circumcision was unnecessary for salvation.
  • Peter Was Ordered By Others To Travel:
          -"Now when the apostles who were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the Word of God, they sent Peter and John to them." (Acts 8:14)
  • The Apostle Paul Worked Harder Than Peter: 
          -"But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me did not prove vain; but I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me." (1 Corinthians 15:10).
          -If the Apostle Peter was the first pope, then why did he not write more Scripture?
  • The Apostle Peter Was Only Known As The Apostle To The Jews:
          -If Peter was appointed by Christ to govern the entire Christian church worldwide, then why is it that Paul was the one commissioned to evangelize the Gentiles (Galatians 2:8)? In that same context, the Apostle Peter is only referred to as "one of four pillars," with James being listed as first in order (Galatians 2:9).
  • The Apostle Paul Rebuked Peter As Though He Were His Equal:
          -The text clearly shows that Peter and Paul had equal authority because the former boldly confronted the latter for his sin. Peter is not in an exulted position. Any person courageous enough to publicly repudiate the claims of a Roman bishop in later centuries would most probably get himself or herself executed, if done in the manner as Paul did in the text of Galatians 2:11-14.
  • Paul Never Mentioned Or Greeted "Pope Peter" In His Epistle To The Romans:
          -If the Apostle Peter was the first pope, then why is it that Paul wrote such a theologically rich epistle to the Romans? How come he never bothered to mention such a prominent figure in his greetings (Romans 16)? Where was "Pope Peter" when everybody else had deserted Paul (2 Timothy 1:15; 4:16)?
  • Nobody In Scripture Seems To Recognize That Peter Was Given Special Supremacy:
          -"Now there was also a dispute among them, as to which of them should be considered the greatest. And He said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and those who exercise authority over them are called ‘benefactors.’ But not so among you; on the contrary, he who is greatest among you, let him be as the younger, and he who governs as he who serves." (Luke 22:24-26)
          -The context of this dispute among the disciples regarding who was the greatest in the eyes of Jesus Christ took place on the night of the Last Supper, moments before His arrest. Even on that night, the apostles still did not seem to recognize that Jesus had already made the Apostle Peter their leader. He did not chide them for failing to give Peter due respect, which is precisely what we would expect if the apostle was indeed appointed into a position of supremacy. Moreover, this passage of Scripture emphatically denies that the church is supposed to have an earthly head governing it.
  • The Apostle Peter Himself Seemed Quite Unaware Of Apostolic Succession:
          -"I consider it right, as long as I am in this earthly dwelling, to stir you up by way of reminder." (2 Peter 1:13)
          -"And I will also be diligent that at any time after my departure you will be able to call these things to mind." (2 Peter 1:15)
          -"This is now, beloved, the second letter I am writing to you in which I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder, that you should remember the words spoken beforehand by the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior spoken by your apostles." (2 Peter 3:1-2)
          -How come Peter failed to mention his papal office in the two epistles that he authored?
  • The Apostle Peter Did Not Exclusively Exercise Authority In Church Government:
          -The Apostle Peter was not in charge of the replacement apostle after Judas was dead (Acts 1:23-26). In other words, he did not occupy his supreme authority on this issue of church government like popes would. Instead, all of the apostles nominated two candidates (not Peter alone) and prayed to Christ for an answer (not looking to Peter). Afterwards, they all cast lots to see who the new apostle would be (Peter did not cast any). This passage certainly weakens the Roman Catholic claim that the pope has power over church government.
          -"In Acts 11 Peter is called to answer for his actions in going to Cornelius' house. Does he give evidence of Papal prerogatives here? Does he answer as Innocent III, or Alexander VI? Hardly. There is no mention of his position as Pope. Instead, rather than pleading his position as Vicar of Christ, Peter relates the supernatural vision and direction that had been given to him to proclaim the gospel message to the Gentiles. This no more makes Peter a Pope than Paul's guiding vision in Acts 16." (James R. White, The Roman Catholic Controversy, p. 112)

Ten Reasons To Reject Alter Calls As Unbiblical

1. The altar call is simply and completely absent from the pages of the N.T.

2. The altar call is historically absent until the 19th century, and its use at that time (via Charles Finney) was directly based upon bad theology and a man-centered, manipulative methodology.

3. The altar call very easily confuses the physical act of “coming forward” with the spiritual act of “coming to Christ.” These two can happen simultaneously, but too often people believe that coming to Christ is going forward (and vice-versa).

4. The altar call can easily deceive people about the reality of their spiritual state and the biblical basis for assurance. The Bible never offers us assurance on the ground that we “went forward.”

5. The altar call partially replaces baptism as the means of public profession of faith.

6. The altar call can mislead us to think that salvation (or any official response to God’s Word) happens primarily on Sundays, only at the end of the service, and only “up front.”

7. The altar call can confuse people regarding “sacred” things and “sacred” places, as the name “altar call” suggests.

8. The altar call is not sensitive to our cautious and relational age where most people come to faith over a period of time and often with the interaction of a good friend.

9. The altar call is often seen as “the most important part of the service”, and this de-emphasizes the truly more important parts of corporate worship which God has prescribed (preaching, prayer, fellowship, singing).

10. God is glorified to powerfully bless the things He has prescribed (preaching, prayer, fellowship, singing), not the things we have invented. We should always be leery of adding to God’s prescriptions for His corporate worship.

Reference: Desert Springs Church, Excerpt From A Sermon Delivered By Pastor Ryan Kelly