Listen to God\’s Voice

Words of wisdom for today

WHY THE PROTESTANT REFORMATION CANNOT BE UNDONE

from apprising ministries

By Ken Silva pastor-teacher on Apr 2, 2009 in AM Missives, Current Issues, Devotions, Features

I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel; which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ.

But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed! (Galatians 1:6-9, NASB)

The Protestant Reformation Was About The Very Heart of The Gospel Of Jesus Christ Itself

As you can see above, not even a gifted communicator of Emergence Christianity like Rob Bell, can remove those verses from Galatians; they are still in the Bible. Nor can Purpose Driven Pope Rick Warren and his powerful Saddleback censors have them pulled either. Reformers like Luther and Calvin clearly called the Roman Catholic Church apostate (and worse), so Biblically we would really have to refer to ecumenical preachers like Bell and Warren as being double-minded when it comes to apostate Roman Catholicism.

You see, to Rome if you claim Jesus Christ you are either “Catholic,” as in Roman Catholic, or…um, well; you are not. Seriously though, the reason why the Protestant Reformation cannot be undone is because it revolves around the doctrine of justification, which is the very heart of the Gospel of Jesus Christ itself. In his article History of the Doctrine of Justification Dr. John Gerstner begins:

“The doctrine by which the church stands or falls.” So said Martin Luther about justification by faith alone. John Calvin agreed, calling justification by faith the “hinge” of the Reformation.

Dr. Gerstner then correctly informs us:

It was not until the Council of Trent (1545-1563) that justification was officially confirmed as a process based on human merit derived through divine grace. This was the article in Session VI, Canon 7 of the Council of Trent which led the Roman Catholic Church away from the orthodox teaching on justification. (Online source)

The doctrine of justification speaks to what happens because Christ Jesus rescues from death and Hell all sinners who will believe in Him. Let me give you a little working knowledge as we get set to wrap up this short message. Here is a good brief definition for what the historic orthodox Christian Church means by justification. Dr. Charles Hodge (1797-1878), the esteemed professor of theology at Princeton Theological Seminary, before the Cult of Liberal Theology swallowed it whole, writes:

Justification is defined in the Westminster Catechism, “An act of God’s free grace, wherein He pardoned all our sins, and accepteth us as righteous in His sight, only for the righteousness of Christ imputed to us, and received by faith alone” (Systematic Theology, Vol. III, 114).

As simply as it can be stated—the Bible teaches that justification happens the nanosecond a human being, by God’s grace alone, truly places his complete trust in Christ alone, by faith alone. And it is the act whereby God as the righteous Judge declares a guilty sinner instantaneously absolved of his sins by crediting the merit of perfect life of Jesus Christ of Nazareth to the believer. But this proper Biblical Gospel preached by Christ’s Apostles is quite literally cursed by the Roman Catholic Church.

Evangelical scholar Dr. Ron Rhodes tells us in his book Reasoning from the Scriptures with Catholics, “One of the greater challenges in engaging in discussions with Roman Catholics involves the issue of salvation.” He then goes on to explain, “Certainly Catholics deny that their Church teaches a works salvation.” It should be clear now that Rhodes believes the Roman Catholic Church preaches another gospel just the same as did Luther and Calvin of the Protestant Reformation.

Dr. Rhodes then continues:

[Roman Catholics] will talk about how their salvation is impossible apart from the grace of God. But though things start out by grace in the Roman Catholic system of salvation,…works do indeed get mixed into the picture. By virtue of the fact that a life of meritorious works is necessary to gain final salvation, it is clear that in reality the Roman Catholic view of salvation is works-oriented. (121, emphasis mine)

The Roman Catholic Church Many Evangelicals Now Embrace Condemned The Gospel

And this is exactly what Reformers like Luther and Calvin correctly rejected as a false gospel, another gospel, while they were following the leading of God the Holy Spirit in appealing to the Bible as their final source of authority because He wrote it. Dr. R. C. Sproul now puts this all into proper perspective for us on The John Ankerberg Show, which concerned the Evangelicals And Catholics Together document, when he stated:

the Catholic Church understood in the 16th century, and Trent and Rome placed its unambiguous anathema on the Protestant doctrine of “Justification by faith alone” and has never, in any magisterial sense removed that anathema. The Roman Catholic Church condemns “sola fide! (L.)” Now if, please understand this, if “sola fide (L.)” is the gospel, then the Roman Catholic Church has condemned the gospel of Jesus Christ. Now, nobody who went to the Council of Trent, as a delegate, went there with the intention of condemning the gospel.

The theologians of Rome really believed that they were defending the gospel and that the Protestants had in fact committed apostasy. And I admire the Church, the Roman communion of the 16th century for at least understanding what apparently people don’t understand today, and that is what is at stake here. That they understood that somebody is under the anathema of God! And we can be as nice, and as pleasant, and as gentle, and as loving, and as charitable, and tolerant as we can possibly be, but it’s not going to change that folks. Somebody is preaching a different gospel!

And when Rome condemned the Protestant declaration of “Justification by faith alone” I believe, Rome, when placing the anathema on “sola fide (L.),” placed the anathema of God upon themselves. I agree with his [John MacArthur] assessment, that the institution [Roman Catholic Church] is apostate! (Online source)

See also:

HAS THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH REALLY CHANGED?

THE HOLY AND CATHOLIC CHURCH IS NOT THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH

ROMAN CATHOLICISM: ANOTHER GOSPEL OF BAPTISM AND SACRAMENTS

THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH CONDEMNS PROTESTANT EVANGELICALS—EVEN RICK WARREN

THE DECEIVERS OF ROMAN CATHOLICISM

ROMAN CATHOLICISM: A FALSE HOPE IS NO HOPE AT ALL

THINK YOU’RE A ROMAN CATHOLIC IF YOU DISAGREE WITH THE POPE; BETTER THINK AGAIN

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Written by tfheringer

April 5, 2009 at 3:48 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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  1. Have you seen the new Calvin resources at http://www.calvin500.com? Logos Bible Software has begun a massive digitization project of almost 100 books by and about Calvin—46 volumes of commentaries, 5 editions of the Institutes, 4 volumes of letters, dozens of tracts and treatises, 10 biographies, and 20 volumes on the history of Calvinism. I thought you might be interested!

    Kent

    April 21, 2009 at 8:59 pm


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