Why I am not a (Capital C) Catholic

I am a catholic because the church is universal. The Reformed Protestants are not the only believers professing Christ, which is the only basis for salvation. I am not a Catholic for the Vatican teaches salvation by works. Luther, Calvin, and the myriad of reformers correctly saw the need for gospel revival and reformation within Rome. Christ did not preach that he came to give grace infused with the keys of the kingdom (which Rome teaches are given to the church), nor is salvation given through the sacraments. Christ builds the church, not us. The bride grows in grace by Christ’s grace alone.

M. Horton offers advice to those who would consider leaving the protestant realm (traditionally evangelical) to Rome (traditionally not evangelical)
Here’s how I would counsel such a person: Start with the gospel. The gospel creates and sustains the church, not the other way around. If the Evangelicalism familiar to you has been a constant stream of imperatives—moral exhortation, whether in rigid and legalistic or warm and friendly versions—the antidote is not to follow different rules for attaining justification, but a constant, life-long, unremitting immersion in the good news that Jesus Christ’s obedient life, death, and resurrection are sufficient even to save miserable Christians.

That is what the Reformation was all about, and it is why we need another one, even in Protestantism as much as in any other tradition. If our salvation depends on anything done by us or even within us by the Spirit, then our situation is hopeless.

[Between Two Worlds]


Around the web this weekend.

-- the new edition of Reformation21 is now up
(Phil Ryken on justification and our union with Christ; Trueman on the priorities in ministry; and sweet book reviews.)

-- watching sports for the glory of God
[Irish Calvinist]

-- the value of hanging out
[Between 2 Worlds]

-- Tim Keller being at the Evangelist Conference in Britain

-- John Frame on Christ and Culture


We watched this in World Religions this week to explain some random Daoism concept. And it has nothing to do with Daoism, but everything to do with communication and critique of today's culture.


Books, devotions, epistemology, and God speaking

Yesterday I received a box of books from Amazon. Due to Sam's recommendation awhile back I bought Missionary Methods: Pauls or Ours?, I also got a book for leadership development, and finally Let's Study Hebrews by Hywel Jones.

I am currently reading Hebrews for my devotions and I do better, well I learn more about the message and text when I have an older saint next to me, who I can listen to at my own pace. Hebrews is a great book and I look forward to delving into the the message of how Christ is my apostle, my high priest, and the one who I must continue to put my trust in. (think endurance).
Recently the subject of epistemology is on my mind. Scattered throughout the days the question of, "How do I know this?" springs to my mind. And in the introduction of Hebrews is a beginning of an answer, and it is awesome.

"In these last days, He has spoken to us by his son...."

The idea that God has spoken to us, and still speaks to us through Christ is awesome and daunting. The Scriptures are where God put forth His word to be written down for our edification and growth to be more like Him. It is awesome, because in one sense we still think in enlightenment categories and terms. That God, who is up there (transcendent) speaks to us down here. While God is transcendent, He is also immanent. Scripture conveys the teaching that He is omnipresent and is among us. It is a beautiful truth that needs more thought and consideration.

if anyone has thoughts on epistemology let me know or sermons and lectures that I can listen to


A student at Grove City, Nate Mucha, will have his art on display now till November 10th. He is the author of Four Seasons and the Seven Deadly Sins (of which I am a fan). If you are unfamiliar with his work, you can check out his website here.

He studied under Dr. Joshua Drake, who is married to a native of Scotland. Has a sweet dog named Hector, and loves theology over a cup of tea. He is my kind of guy.

Hope you enjoy the show


Sons of Korah

For years I have been a fan of a few Aussie Brothers, The Sons of Korah.

PS they sing psalms


Unity vs. Uniformity, and the Question of a Rich Heritage

Many weeks ago I stumbled upon an article arguing that the rp church is losing her identity as she becomes more and more diverse. The author's basic premise preaches that because new people are coming into the fold, she is losing her heritage. Because former baptists realize the truth of psalmody, they come to our churches and bring with them their unique perspectives that they gained while at 'First Baptist.'

I beg your patience as I comment. O the beauty of this! (unique people bringing their unique perspective to a unique congregation) The author, Bill Chellis clearly argues that unity and uniformity are not the same. But he longs for uniformity. He says that, one could travel to such and such an rp church and find a very different environment than one wishes to find. We do not know what to expect. We are losing our rp culture. I must say, thank goodness.

Churches are to reflect the culture of the city they are in, if not the city then the little bureau or township in rural Kansas. Pittsburgh is immensely different than Grove City, or Seattle for that matter. Unless one has a missional focus and approach for a certain city, there will be minimal impact.

Chellis argues that one loses their heritage once you renig on your ancestor's practices and dogma. I say this, and only this. I am a child of God and I have a great family. Yes, Samuel Rutherford and Richard Cameron were and are my brothers, but so was Polycarp and Jerome, Paul and Calvin, Luther and Brother Andrew, Zwingli and Spurgeon... need the list go on? But is the qualification for familial ties doctrinal belief?

The Bible says and offers a "no" shouted through a megaphone.


Precious Remedies

Every Sunday Night Hillcrest PCA sponsors a bible study for the GCC college students... Well a book study. This year Pastor Hughes is reading through the Puritan work Precious Remdies Against Satan's Devices. We are over 1/2 through (as he started it last year) and tonight's topic was How Satan causes Christians to doubt their salvation, caused by meditating on our sins more than Christ and His beautiful person and work.

The puritan Thomas Brooks offers help:

//1) consider that Jesus has not freed me from the presence of sin, but instead He freed me from the damnatory power of sin.
//2) That though Christ has not freed me from the vexing power of sin, He has freed me from her reign.
//3) Keep on eye on the promises of remission of sin, and the other eye on the inward operations of sin
//4) to look upon my sins as charged upon the account of Christ, as debts which the Lord Jesus has fully satisfied
//5) of the reasons why the Lord is pleased to have his people troubled, exercised, and vexed with sins operations (to be humble, to seek Christ, to long for Christ, to rely on God through the disciplines)
//6) that believers must repent of their discouraged by their sins. For this springs from one's ignorance of the person and work of Christ


That the world may know

Francis Schaeffer is one of the most solid writers I have ever read. While his pieces are pithy and quick, they hammer home and convict the soul. This past Sabbath I spent the time reading The Mark of the Christian. The entire book is a sermon on John 13:33-35 and John 17:21. Christ answering the question what is the greatest commandment, takes a turn and replies, "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."

Schaeffer comments:

The Church is to be a loving church to a dying culture. How then, is the dying culture to consider us? In the midst of the world, in the midst of a dying culture, Jesus is giving a right to the culture. Upon his authority he gives the world the right to judge whether you and I are born again Christians on the basis of this observable love toward all Christians.
Later there is a final apologetic on Christ's high priestly prayer, "that they may be one, just as you, father are in me and I in you, that they may also be in us, so that the world may believe that you sent me."

he notes:
Now comes the sobering part. Jesus goes on in this 21st verse to say something that always causes me to cringe. If as Christians we do not cringe, it seems to me we are not very sensitive or very honest, because Jesus here gives us the final apologetic. What is the final apologetic? "That all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me." This is the final apologetic.

In John 13 the point was that, if an individual Christian does not show love toward other true Christians, the world has a right to judge that he is not a Christian. Here Jesus is stating something else which is much more cutting, much more profound: We cannot expect the world to believe that the Father sent the Son, that Jesus' claims are true, and that Christianity is true, unless the world sees some reality of the oneness of true Christians.


T4G Road Trip (Youtube Wednesday)

April 15th-17th, 2008
Louisville, Kentucky
Speakers: John Piper, Albert Mohler, Ligon Duncan, Mark Dever, John MacArthur, RC Sproul, CJ Mahaney, Thabiti Anyabwile

with some really sweet guys and a hip prof from Grove City College

yes i am drooling


Schaeffer on Community and Hospitality

I must confess that it is a great irritant to my person when the church does not fulfill her mission, her calling. We, as the bride of Christ are called to be the salt in the world, the city on a hill, the light amongst darkness. But there aren't many denominations merely proclaim a Jesus that mimics culture, not transformation or counter-cultural. It is a sad fact that many reformed congregations do not apply irresistible grace to our everyday living, we are not hospitable or transforming culture.

One of my favorite writers (who i need to read a lot more) Francis Schaeffer deals rather harshly with this, and offers excellent counsel to me as I deal with this.

Don't start with a big program. Don't suddenly think you can add to your church budget and begin. Start personally and start in your home. I dare you. I dare you in the name of Jesus Christ. Do what I am going to suggest. Begin by opening your home for community…

How many times in the past year have you risked having a drunk vomit on your carpeted floor? How in the world, then, can you talk about compassion and about community - about the church's job in the inner city?

L'Abri is costly. If you think what God has done here is easy, you don't understand. It's a costly business to have a sense of community. L'Abri cannot be explained merely by the clear doctrine that is preached; it cannot be explained by the fact that God has here been giving intellectual answers to intellectual questions. I think those two things are important, but L'Abri cannot be explained if you remove the third. And that is there has been some community here. And it has been costly.

In about the first three years of L'Abri all our wedding presents were wiped out. Our sheets were torn. Holes were burned in our rugs. Indeed once a whole curtain almost burned up from somebody smoking in our living room. Blacks came to our table. Orientals came to our table. Everybody came to our table. It couldn't happen any other way. Drugs came to our place. People vomited in our rooms, in the rooms of Chalet Les Melezes which was our home, and now in the rest of the chalets of L'Abri.

How many times has this happened to you? You see, you don't need a big program. You don't have to convince your session or board. All you have to do is open your home and begin. And there is no place in God's world where there are no people who will come and share a home as long as it is a real home." [quote from here]

All you have to do is open your home and begin. Schaeffer takes Christ's counsel of our plank before other's speck literally here. We need to focus on ourselves, not others.


marks of an unhealthy church?

6 Marks of an unhealthy church (play on 9 marks)

1) Little or no adult baptisms. That tells you A LOT about who the church is NOT engaging. (Acts 18:10) Fellas, did you know that there are actually Christians who don't think it is odd that their church hardly ever has adult baptisms. Some don't even bat at an eye at that. Shouldn't that be kind'a embarrassing? The most I've ever personally been involved with, as a church employee, was when I worked at Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philly). It was an amazing number.

(2) It's mono-ethnic( except for rural churches). If the church is in or near a major city and the church represents a segregated mono-culture (by race and/or class) in leadership and membership you are right to think that is kind'a odd. It's 2007 not 1907. And, sadly, church leaders and members avoid living in the epicenter of major cities. (Rev. 5:8-14; Eph. 4)

(3) The church has no social witness. Members and regular attenders are not personally involved in local, state, or national social issues (wherever the curse is found) at any level. It's not a regular part of their family life. (James 1:27)

(4) Infrequent practice of the sacraments.

(5) Non-Christians are not involved in the life of the church, the personal lives of church goers, or attending worship (Lev. 19:33-34).

(6) The preaching, teaching, programs, aesthetics, music, etc. primarily appeal to 40-something women and their children. The men may be physically present but are bored and/or dead.

[Anthony Bradley]