Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Print Page Are Catholics Christians?

Many today believe Catholics are Christians. Billy Graham did a lot to yoke Christians with Catholics. Well known Baptist Albert Mohler has also done his part in yoking Christians with Catholics in many ways including signing the Manhattan Declaration.

We will take a look at the Catechism of the Catholic Church. It reveals the official position of the Roman Catholic Church on many topics.

1. Salvation

The most import difference between Biblical Christianity and Catholithism is the doctrine of salvation. Any good Catholic will tell you that faith alone doesn't save. The Bible shows us that Baptism is meant to show us what the cleanings power of Jesus' blood has done in our lives.
2010 Since the initiative belongs to God in the order of grace, no one can merit the initial grace of forgiveness and justification, at the beginning of conversion. Moved by the Holy Spirit and by charity,we can then merit for ourselves and for others the graces needed for our sanctification, for the increase of grace and charity, and for the attainment of eternal life. Even temporal goods like health and friendship can be merited in accordance with God's wisdom. These graces and goods are the object of Christian prayer. Prayer attends to the grace we need for meritorious actions.
To the Catholics though Baptism is what cleanses your sins.
1257 The Lord himself affirms that Baptism is necessary for salvation. He also commands his disciples to proclaim the Gospel to all nations and to baptize them. Baptism is necessary for salvation for those to whom the Gospel has been proclaimed and who have had the possibility of asking for this sacrament. The Church does not know of any means other than Baptism that assures entry into eternal beatitude; this is why she takes care not to neglect the mission she has received from the Lord to see that all who can be baptized are "reborn of water and the Spirit." God has bound salvation to the sacrament of Baptism, but he himself is not bound by his sacraments.
1265 Baptism not only purifies from all sins, but also makes the neophyte "a new creature," an adopted son of God, who has become a "partaker of the divine nature," member of Christ and coheir with him, and a temple of the Holy Spirit
Not only is it Baptism that cleanses our sins but observing the 10 Commandments is something that allows us to obtain salvation according to Catholic beliefs.
2068 The Council of Trent teaches that the Ten Commandments are obligatory for Christians and that the justified man is still bound to keep them; The Second Vatican Council confirms: "The bishops, successors of the apostles, receive from the Lord . . . the mission of teaching all peoples, and of preaching the Gospel to every creature, so that all men may attain salvation through faith, Baptism and the observance of the Commandments."

Catholics can never know for sure if they are saved. They can lose their salvation at anytime if they commit a mortal sin. They have to do works (penance) to get their salvation back.
980 It is through the sacrament of Penance that the baptized can be reconciled with God and with the Church: Penance has rightly been called by the holy Fathers "a laborious kind of baptism." This sacrament of Penance is necessary for salvation for those who have fallen after Baptism, just as Baptism is necessary for salvation for those who have not yet been reborn.
Even if you are one of the lucky ones to be saved there is a good chance you'll have to suffer in purgatory before you truly are saved.
1030 All who die in God's grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation; but after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven.
This is contrary to many passages in the Bible. The Bibles tells us in 1 John 5:13 that we can KNOW we have eternal life. We don't have to live our lives in fear and doubt. The Bible tell us in Isaiah 64:6, Romans 3:12, Ephesians 2:8-9 and other places that works do not play a part in our salvation. Once we die we are present with the Lord just as the thief on the cross was (2 Corinthians 5:8 and Luke 23:43). There is no such thing as purgatory. That was and still is just a way for the Roman Catholic church to bring in money.

2. Mary

Catholics elevate Mary to a level much higher than the Bible. As many are aware Catholics often pray to Mary, treating her as their mediator between them and God.
969 "This motherhood of Mary in the order of grace continues uninterruptedly from the consent which she loyally gave at the Annunciation and which she sustained without wavering beneath the cross, until the eternal fulfillment of all the elect. Taken up to heaven she did not lay aside this saving office but by her manifold intercession continues to bring us the gifts of eternal salvation. . . . Therefore the Blessed Virgin is invoked in the Church under the titles of Advocate, Helper, Benefactress, and Mediatrix."
971 "All generations will call me blessed": "The Church's devotion to the Blessed Virgin is intrinsic to Christian worship." The Church rightly honors "the Blessed Virgin with special devotion. From the most ancient times the Blessed Virgin has been honored with the title of 'Mother of God,' to whose protection the faithful fly in all their dangers and needs. . . . This very special devotion . . . differs essentially from the adoration which is given to the incarnate Word and equally to the Father and the Holy Spirit, and greatly fosters this adoration." The liturgical feasts dedicated to the Mother of God and Marian prayer, such as the rosary, an "epitome of the whole Gospel," express this devotion to the Virgin Mary. 
There is a major problem with this. The Bible in 1 Timothy 2:5 tells us there is ONLY ONE mediator, Jesus. Not only that but Mary doesn't hear anybody's prayers. She is not omniscient or omnipresent.

Another problem with the Catholic view of Mary is that they claim she was without sin and always remained a virgin.
966 "Finally the Immaculate Virgin, preserved free from all stain of original sin, when the course of her earthly life was finished, was taken up body and soul into heavenly glory, and exalted by the Lord as Queen over all things, so that she might be the more fully conformed to her Son, the Lord of lords and conqueror of sin and death." The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin is a singular participation in her Son's Resurrection and an anticipation of the resurrection of other Christians: In giving birth you kept your virginity; in your Dormition you did not leave the world, O Mother of God, but were joined to the source of Life. You conceived the living God and, by your prayers, will deliver our souls from death.
The problem here is that it again goes against what the Bible tells us. As Luke 1:47 shows Mary needed a Savior just as everyone else does. Romans 3:23 tells us that ALL have sinned. Matthew 1:24-25 tells us that Joseph knew Mary AFTER Jesus was born. If Mary remained a virgin she would have been in sin by withholding from her husband as it says in 1 Corinthians 7:5. Luke 8:19-21 and Mark 6:3 also tells us that Jesus had both brothers and sisters.

3. Popes and Priests

Catholics claim that the pope is infallible when it comes to teaching faith and morals.
891 "The Roman Pontiff, head of the college of bishops, enjoys this infallibility in virtue of his office, when, as supreme pastor and teacher of all the faithful - who confirms his brethren in the faith he proclaims by a definitive act a doctrine pertaining to faith or morals. . . . The infallibility promised to the Church is also present in the body of bishops when, together with Peter's successor, they exercise the supreme Magisterium," above all in an Ecumenical Council. When the Church through its supreme Magisterium proposes a doctrine "for belief as being divinely revealed," and as the teaching of Christ, the definitions "must be adhered to with the obedience of faith." This infallibility extends as far as the deposit of divine Revelation itself.
Romans 3:10 tells us no one is righteous. One only needs to look at the lives of corrupt popes such as John XII who slept around with women, including married ones. There was also Benedict IX who sold his papacy. This doesn't include the countless murders that took place due to the various popes throughout time.

 The final thing I'll mention is that the Catholics say that priests have the power to forgive sins.
1495 Only priests who have received the faculty of absolving from the authority of the Church can forgive sins in the name of Christ.
Mark 2:7 tells us that only God can forgive sins. We don't need to go to a priest and confess our sins to a fallen man to get our sins forgiven. As Baptists we ought to understand the priesthood of believers. When Jesus died on the cross the curtain of split show that we no longer needed to go through a priest to get to God. We have direct access to God through Jesus our mediator.

4. Islam

Catholics teachs that Muslims worship the same God and can be saved even though they are Muslims.
841 The Church's relationship with the Muslims. "The plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator, in the first place amongst whom are the Muslims; these profess to hold the faith of Abraham, and together with us they adore the one, merciful God, mankind's judge on the last day."
We know Muslims don't worship the same God because they reject the deity of Jesus. If they say Jesus is not God then their God is different.
Sura 4:171 O People of the Scripture, do not commit excess in your religion or say about Allah except the truth. The Messiah, Jesus, the son of Mary, was but a messenger of Allah and His word which He directed to Mary and a soul [created at a command] from Him. So believe in Allah and His messengers. And do not say, "Three"; desist – it is better for you. Indeed, Allah is but one God. Exalted is He above having a son. To Him belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth. And sufficient is Allah as Disposer of affairs.
In conclusion I would like to state that Catholics are not Christians. If a person in the Catholic church is saved it is despite what their church teaches. It is critical we place our trust in the work of Jesus and that alone. Baptists have no business yoking themselves with Catholics.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Print Page Rick Warren

Rick Warren is a Southern Baptist pastor that has had a vast influence in Baptist churches. His Saddleback Church averages over 20,000 people a week. His book The Purpose Drive Life has sold over more than 30 million copies. Even John Piper has praised his theology. Rick Warren is not a leader that Baptist churches should be following. In this post we'll just scratch the surface on the dangers of following Rick Warren.

Rick Warren has a great distaste for fundamentalists such as myself. Rick Warren says: 
“Now the word "fundamentalist" actually comes from a document in the 1920s called the Five Fundamentals of the Faith. And it is a very legalistic, narrow view of Christianity, and when I say there are very few fundamentalists, I mean in the sense that they are all actually called fundamentalist churches, and those would be quite small. There are no large ones.” (The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, Event Transcript, Myths of the Modern Mega-Church, Monday, May 23, 2005)
So if you follow the Five Fundamentals of the Faith you are legalistic and narrow minded. Warren also predicts that fundamentalism, of all varieties, will be "one of the big enemies of the 21st century." "Muslim fundamentalism, Christian fundamentalism, Jewish fundamentalism, secular fundamentalism - they're all motivated by fear. Fear of each other." (Philadelphia Inquirer, The purpose-driven pastor, Paul Nussbaum, Jan. 08, 2006)

So according to Rick Warren fundamentalists not only are legalistic and narrow minded but they are also one of the big enemies and are motivated by fear. They are no different than Muslim fundamentalists according to Warren. Just so we understand who Rick is talking about let us look at the Five Fundamentals of the Faith.
1. The Deity of our Lord Jesus Christ (John 1:1; John 20:28; Hebrews 1:8-9).

2. The Virgin Birth (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23; Luke 1:27).

3. The Blood Atonement (Acts 20:28; Romans 3:25, 5:9; Ephesians 1:7; Hebrews 9:12-14).

4. The Bodily Resurrection (Luke 24:36-46; 1 Corinthians 15:1-4, 15:14-15).

5. The inerrancy of the scriptures themselves (Psalms 12:6-7; Romans 15:4; 2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:20).
I would say any born again believer would follow this entire list. So in essence Rick Warren is blasting born again believers which makes you wonder where he stands with God on a personal basis.

With Rick Warren's poor grasp of the gospel it is of no surprise that he would sign the Yale Center for Faith and Culture covenant A Common Word Between Us and You. The document states things such as "That this common ground consists in love of God and of neighbor gives hope that deep cooperation between us can be a hallmark of the relations between our two communities." Muslims don't worship the same God as Christians (John 14:6). To them Jesus was just another prophet and to consider Jesus as God is blaspheme (Surah 4:171 and Surah 5:731). Another thing the document states is "That so much common ground exists – common ground in some of the fundamentals of faith – gives hope that undeniable differences and even the very real external pressures that bear down upon us can not overshadow the common ground upon which we stand together." It is ironic that Warren blasts the true fundamentals of Christianity and instead signs on to something like this.

Rick Warren also is in the habit of letting wolves into his church (Matthew 7:15). In 2011 Warren brought in doctors like Mark Hymand and Mehmet Oz into church for his Daniel Plan. His Daniel Plan is to help with the health and wellness of people. If you look though at these doctors it certainly won't help with the spiritual health and wellness of people.

One of the doctors Warren brought into his church, Mehmet Oz, was voted as one of the 500 most influential Muslims. Oz supports what is called integrative medicine which is combining conventional medial treatments with things like hypnosis and energy healing. His wife is a master of Reiki which is a form of energy healing. Another doctor, Mark Hyman, isn't any better. He promotes new age medicine and false religious leaders such as the Dalai Lama.

As I said before this just scratches the surface of the dangers of following Rick Warren. We all need to prove all things and hold fast that which is good (1 Thessalonians 5:21). Like the Bereans we need to search the scriptures daily to see what we are being taught is true (Acts 17:11).

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Print Page Modest Dress

When humans were first created there was no need for clothing (Genesis 2:5) but ever since the fall of man humans have worn clothing (Genesis 3:6-7,21). Modesty is lacking in many Baptist Churches. Often a pastor will not touch the subject in fear of backlash. A pastor is to preach the whole council of God even if his church might not like the message (Acts 20:27). Immodest dress is a very big problem. It can cause a person to lust which is the same as committing adultery (Matthew 5:28). In 1 Timothy 2:9 women are told to dress modestly. This applies both to over doing it by bringing attention to yourself and also showing more of your body than you should.  A woman shouldn't dress like a harlot (Proverbs 7:10) as the woman did in Proverbs 7. Women also should not wear men's clothing (Deuteronomy 22:5) but I will go more into that in a future article.

There are several common excuses for dressing immodest. A common one is that you can't find modest clothing any longer. That is not true. There are several places online that specialize in modest clothing. Even if you buy locally you make sure to combine different accessories to make what you wear modest. Better yet, you can learn to make your own clothing which also save you a buck. Another excuse is that it is the person who is lusting that is the problem. Now it is true that we all need to make sure we avoid having wandering eyes and lustful thoughts, but Romans 14:21 commands us to not cause other Christians to stumble. Proverbs 11:22 also tells women to use discretion.

For women here is a good list of things to avoid:

1. Wearing clothing with a low neck line. (Proverbs 5:19)
2. Wearing transparent clothing.
3. Showing any part of your thigh. (Isaiah 47:2-3)
4. Wearing tight clothing.
5. Showing off any part of your underwear.
6. Showing off your waist.
7. Wearing a dress with an open back.