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". 1999.

Monday, July 23, 2018

The Biblical 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. Scripture does provide a definitive answer to this question, but it does not appeal to many in our culture and to those who preach a watered-down version of the gospel. Nowadays, it is commonly assumed that people are good as they are. People are therefore offended when they are told that they need to change. The reception of the gospel is to be followed by a change of heart from sinful ways to godly living.  

        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 and 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 can be accompanied with godly sorrow and grief, as was the case of the Apostle Peter who denied knowing Jesus Christ (Luke 22:62-64). Consider also how the men of Nineveh 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)

         The response of the people who heard his message was not rejection, but covering themselves with sackcloth and ashes. This was an expression of sorrow for their sins of idolatry, sexual perversion, and godlessness. The Ninevites changed their ways and obtained for themselves mercy from God. Note how Jesus Christ used this event in calling the Pharisees to repentance:

         "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)

          It is clear that Christ Himself viewed repentance as turning from sinful ways. If we define that term to mean a change of mind, then we are at best giving an incomplete definition. Christians have a desire to serve God because their hearts have been changed by the Holy Spirit. They have been given a new nature. The lives of the apostles 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 word order of faith and repentance in the New Testament indicates that both are inseparable (Mark 1:15; Acts 20:21). If there is no repentance from sin, then there can be no forgiveness by God. If repentance is removed or redefined from its original meaning, then the gospel falls apart.

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."

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.


(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."

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."

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 controversy amongst Christians 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 those who stumble into sin are beyond any hope of obtaining forgiveness from God. That statement would be true only in the case of one who dies in a state of unrepentance and persistent rebellion. Scripture elsewhere exhorts us to spiritually assist backsliders in coming to repentance (Galatians 6:1). Exposure to the truth of the gospel does not result in regeneration except if it reaches the heart.

        What may serve as an antidote to this difficult passage of Scripture is the recognition that the audience to which this epistle was originally written was of a Jewish background. It was primarily addressing Jewish Christians who were thinking of reverting to Judaism in the face of upcoming persecution. In summary, the author of Hebrews goes on to demonstrate Christ as being superior to the Old Covenant. He urges 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 of Hebrews 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 useless to us. Jesus established the New Covenant. The Jewish Christians were encouraged to continually remain faithful to the Lord and endure persecution for His sake (Hebrews 10:23-39).

        So, the point of this passage is not to say that God will refuse to forgive the sins of those who humbly turn to Him in repentance. 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. Sacrificial alters have no power to redeem us. The priesthood cannot atone for our iniquity. Jesus Christ has already made full atonement for our sin (Hebrews 10:10-14). We are place our trust in His work 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.

Saturday, July 7, 2018

The Myth That Roman Emperor Constantine Changed The Sabbath

           Seventh-Day Adventists claim that the Roman Catholic Church changed the Jewish Sabbath Day from Saturday to Sunday during the reign of Emperor Constantine in the fourth century. They argue that we must avoid gathering on that day 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. However, any notion of Rome changing the Sabbath Day to Sunday is false. Mandatory Sabbath observance was only meant for Israel. The tradition of gathering on Sundays for worship has been practiced since the first century in correspondence with the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

          The text of Acts 20:7-12 very clearly describes Christians as having fellowship on Sunday. People came together and broke bread. The New Testament records the existence of this tradition elsewhere in passages such as John 20:19-20, 1 Corinthians 16:1-2, and Revelation 1:10. The point is that Christians have always gathered on the first day of the week. Constantine therefore could not have made such a change to the Sabbath, even if he wanted to. The tradition of gathering on Sunday can be found in the earliest existing sources outside of the Bible:

          "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)

          This text speaks of brethren offering pure spiritual sacrifices to God. They were to be done in a state in which people were not at variance with each other. Personal conflicts or grievances were to be resolved, if they existed. Believers set aside time weekly to have fellowship with each other. The "Lord's Day" is a reference to Sunday.  

          "[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)

          The Gentiles are said to be members of God's kingdom, even though they never previously observed Jewish customs or feast days. Converts from that background were described in a continuous sense as not observing the Sabbath. That is not the basis of receiving the inheritance which God promised to our forefathers.

            "[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])

            This text says without qualification that Sabbath observance is not a part of the Christian life and distinguishes that day from the "Lord's Day."

            It is simply invalid to assert that the Roman Emperor Constantine altered this Jewish day of observance from Saturday to Sunday. No one on earth 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 Refute Justification By Faith Alone?

           People who have genuine faith in Christ do good works through the transforming power of the Holy Spirit. God empowers us to do His will. That is how Christians are able to "work out" their salvation. The life of faith is to be lived out in sincerity and tenacity. It requires that a person persistently be in agreement with God's will.

          Holy living is the logical outworking of our justification before God. He is the source of our spiritual growth in Christ. Paul in the next verse tells us that, " is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose." (Philippians 2:13) This is the reason that "salvation" has to be worked out. 

          This theme is also found in Ephesians as Paul said that we are, "created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." (Ephesians 2:10) In other words, God has called us to live a holy life. He works through us in doing good. God's intervention is clearly stated in bringing about His divine plan. It manifests itself in works of holiness and love.

          Philippians 2:12 addresses our growth in the Christian life. Sanctification is an ongoing process that requires human exertion. That is the aspect of salvation touched on in this passage. It is not something in which we are passive. "Salvation" is not only to be received, but also done. This has to do with obedience to God, which results in greater joy to a person of faith.

         The phrase "fear and trembling" indicates the proper mindset that we are to have toward God. It is not one of walking on eggshells but of awe and reverence. It does not denote uncertainty of our standing before God in Christ. Psalm 2:11 says, "Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling." We ought to respect Him because He is holy.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

The Twin Pillars of Christian Life: Pursuing Peace and Holiness

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. 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 its 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 made by Rome have spewed a great deal of controversy among the 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 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.
  • General Absence Of Papal Titles Throughout The New Testament:
          -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), not the pope.
           *Christ is the "head of the church" (1 Corinthians 11:3; Ephesians 1:22-23; 4:15; 5:23-25), not the pope. Roman Catholics believe that the he 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 (Revelation 22:8-9).
  • The Absence Of Papal Office In Contexts Relating To Church Unity:
          -Paul never mentioned the Magisterium of the Roman Catholic Church as being the means of preserving ecclesiastical unity in passages relating to that very topic (Ephesians 4:4-7; Philippians 4:2-3). Jesus Christ does not refer to a Papacy in His prayer to God for unity amongst brethren (John 17). That should make one doubt whether the papal office existed in the first century.
  • 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)
  • Peter Was Sent By Others To Travel And Preach The Gospel:
          -"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)?
  • The Apostle Peter Himself Seemed To Be 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