Monday, October 23, 2017

Papal Infallibility? (Ex Cathedra)

Papal infallibility is the belief that the Pope is incapable of error when speaking from his position of supreme apostolic authority in defining doctrine concerning faith or morals. This doesn't mean the Pope is sinless (although plenty of Catholics do believe that). Rather, it means that his teaching is perfect whenever he speaks ex cathedra, or from the chair of St. Peter.

The doctrine was defined by the First Vatican Council, presided over by Pope Pius IX. Pius decreed the Immaculate Conception of Mary, the belief that Mary was without sin, even though Jesus said no one is good but God alone (Mark 10:18).

Now, Catholic apologists maintain that the Pope has spoken ex cathedra only one other time, when Pope Pius the XII decreed the assumption of Mary, that she was bodily taken up into heaven. But these are not the only occasions papal infallibility has been exercised.

The Second Vatican declared that even when the Pope is not speaking from the chair, "his supreme magisterium is acknowledged with reverence," and his judgments "are sincerely adhered to, according to his manifest mind and will."

The Roman Catholic Church believes the Pope's word is as good as God's word. It was such teaching that spurred protestant reformer William Tyndale to declare, "I defy the pope and all his laws!" Tyndale translated the Bible into English, so that all could read God's word. The Roman Catholic Church had him burned at the stake.

Tyndale understood what the Pope doesn't, that our only infallible authority is the Bible. All Scripture is breathed out by God (2 Timothy 3:16). Psalm 18:30 says God's way is perfect, and the word of the Lord is without error, when we understand the text.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Justification by Faith Alone?

Romans 4:5 says, "To the one who does not work but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness."

Justification by faith alone is the gospel, the belief that we are forgiven our sins and made innocent before God by the atoning blood of Jesus Christ and His resurrection from the grave. You can do nothing to earn this. It is by the grace of God.
"For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by His grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by His blood, to be received by faith." Romans 3:23-25
Whoever teaches that salvation is a combination of faith and works is teaching a different gospel. The Catholic and Orthodox churches both deny justification by faith alone. Salvation is by faith and the Eucharist, or by faith and baptism. That's a different gospel.
"If anyone saith, that by faith alone the impious is justified; in such wise to mean, that nothing else is required to co-operate in order to the obtaining the grace of Justification... let him be anathema." Council of Trent, Canon 9

"The sacraments of baptism and the Eucharist are decisive to salvation... What is the event at which salvation truly takes hold? Baptism!" Fr. Theodore Stylianopoulos, Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America
Galatians 1:8-9 says that anyone who preaches a different gospel is accursed. Galatians 2:16 says, "We know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified."

Now when a person has been saved, they confirm their faith by obedience. If they do not obey the commands of Christ, they're still dead in their sins. This is what James meant when he said faith without works is a dead faith (James 2:26).
"Whoever says 'I know Him' but does not keep His commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in Him: whoever says he abides in Him ought to walk in the same way in which He walked." 1 John 2:4-6
Someone might say, "Well, what about faith. Isn't that something that I do?" Nope. Because as you study the doctrine you will find that even faith itself is also a gift from God. 
"For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast." Ephesians 2:8-9
As Romans 5:1-2 says, "Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through Him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God," when we understand the text.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Eclipses are Signs of Judgment?

Once again, neither a lunar nor a solar eclipse is a sign of judgment, no matter what these loony false prophets say.
Mark Blitz on the Jim Bakker Show: "Because the Gentiles go by the sun for their calender, a solar eclipse represents judgment coming upon a nation. A lunar eclipse, because Israel goes by the moon, refers to judgment coming upon Israel."
That's not anywhere in the Bible. But what about where it says that the sun will be darkened and the moon turned to blood before the great and awesome day of the Lord? There are references to supernatural signs in the heavens. But eclipses are natural and calculable.

NASA has mapped every eclipse that will occur for the next 1,000 years. They know exactly where they will be visible from down to the mile, and how long their duration will be, down to the second. How are they able to do that? Because they're prophets? No! And neither are these other guys claiming eclipses are signs of judgment.

God created the sun and the moon for signs and seasons. Signs in this context meaning memorial or holy days. So since they mark time, they run like, well, clockwork. Psalm 8:3 says, "I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place." Psalm 104:19 says, "He made the moon to mark the seasons; the sun knows its time for setting."

Eclipses are not signs of judgment. They are a wonderous spectacle of God's created order. John 3:19 says that the appearing of Christ is the sign of judgment. So repent and worship Him before He appears a second time to judge mankind. But if the Lord tarries, expect the next eclipse to happen on time, as God has ordained it, when we understand the text.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

An Eclipse is a Sign from God?

An eclipse has never been a sign of any prophecy. You will not find eclipses as signs of judgment anywhere in the Bible. False prophet Jonathan Cahn, bestselling author of the Harbinger, loves pointing to signs in the sky, but even he admits they have no prophetic significance.
"The solar eclipse. Can God do something? Yes. Does God have to do something? No. These things can be signs of judgments or other things, but they can also be just a regular day, so be ready either way."
But if that's the case, he loses credibility. So in the same video, he goes back to saying these things do mean something and he's got a book coming out about them.
"The Bible says the stars, these things are signs, but what are they signs of? The Paradigm is going to be released. This is the most explosive book I've ever written. It's very much like The Harbinger. The Master Blueprint of what's happening now. It touches everything."
The people came to Jesus and said, "What sign do you do, that we may see and believe you? Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, 'He gave them bread from heaven to eat.'"

Jesus said, "I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. But you have seen me and do not believe. All the Father gives me will come to me, and I will never cast them out. For I have come from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of Him who sent me."

"This is the will of my Father that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in Him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day." (John 6:30, 35-38, 40) Jesus is the sign from heaven! Look to Him, when we understand the text!

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

West Wing Bible Lesson?

President Josiah Bartlet on the television show The West Wing, from season 2, episode 3: "I like how you call homosexuality an abomination [Leviticus 18:22]. I wanted to ask you a couple of questions while I have you here. I'm interested in selling my youngest daughter into slavery as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. She's a Georgetown sophomore, speaks fluent Italian, always cleared the table when it was her turn. What would a good price for her be?

"While thinking about that, can I ask another? My chief of staff Leo McGarry insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly says he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself, or is it okay to call the police? Here's one that's really important, because we've got a lot of sports fans in this town. Touching the skin of a dead pig makes one unclean, Leviticus 11:7. If they promise to wear gloves, can the Washington Redskins still play football? Can Notre Dame? Can West Point?

"Does the whole town really have to be together to stone my brother John for planting different crops side by side? Can I burn my mother in a small family gathering for wearing garments made from two different threads [according to Deuteronomy 22:9-11]?"

The God-fearing, Bible-believing Christian knows better than to get a Bible lesson from a fake president on a scripted TV show. Notice that all these arguments come from the Pentateuch, so writer Aaron Sorkin, with an agenda, ignores context and the entire biblical narrative.

The reference to slavery in Exodus 21:7 is not like American Civil War era slavery. It's protecting a woman from poverty and exploitation and giving her work. The Sabbath laws were fulfilled in Christ, the Lord of the Sabbath (Matthew 12:8, Mark 2:28).

Footballs are made of cowhide, not pigskin. Google it. Leviticus 11 applied to ceremonial laws, and Jesus declared all foods clean (Mark 7:19) repeated by Peter and Paul (Acts 10:9-16, Romans 14:13-23, Colossians 2:16-17, 1 Timothy 4:1-4). A sentence of death wasn't given for planting different crops or wearing two different materials. The Israelites were to reflect holiness in all practice and life as the chosen people of God.

All the Law points to Jesus Christ, who kept the law perfectly, and lovingly gave His own life as an atoning sacrifice. Those who break God's law will still perish on the day of judgment. But those who believe in Jesus will be forgiven their sins, including the sin of homosexuality, still an abomination (1 Corinthians 6:9-11), when we understand the text.