Sunday, April 26, 2015

Why I am not a Roman Catholic or Eastern Orthodox

Couple of individuals that led me to from being Southern Baptist to being a Reformed Presbyterian went to be Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox.  I understand why they made this change.  Which church should one join?  Look at all the different religious views and practices.  It is all over the place.  The tradition of the Roman Catholic church is attractive to someone who is looking for religious stability.
Think of what seemed to have religious stability in Jesus's and the apostle's time.  Gamaliel in the book of Acts shows someone who was firm in religious convictions.  However, he at least understood that  he might be wrong in those convictions.  He saw the boldness of Peter and the other apostles.  It did make Gamaliel to give the speech that led to letting the apostles go.  He said if it is of men it will fail,  However, if it is of God it cannot be stopped.  The Reformation has seemed to come out of determination that the established religious order is wrong.  Jesus's apostles seemed to have come to go against orthodoxy in their convictions.  Jesus argued that religious order that existed did not honor Moses teaching. Those Pharisees and Scribes did say that they are  in line with Moses and have the proper history and pedigree.  In the same way the Roman Catholic church and Eastern Orthodoxy say they have the proper history and apostolic succession.
When Jesus was confronted about his disciples violating the tradition of the elders  by not washing their hands when they eat bread.  He said these traditions of the elders violated the word of God by saying the one does not owe obligation to his parents if it is given to the religious order. In the belief of the Pharisees and scribes the tradition of the elders was binding on the people of God,  but Jesus shows that this tradition of the elders can violate God's word.  The Roman Catholic church and Eastern Orthodox church say that their tradition is binding obligation.  It should be clear why the Roman Catholic church and Eastern Orthodox church binding tradition looks like the Pharisees and scribes binding tradition.  Jesus makes clear the principle that religious tradition is not by default correct because is established tradition.
Should one join the Roman Catholic church or the Eastern Orthodox church?  They both have historical verified churches that go back to the apostles.    They each say that you have to listen to the church to know and practice the truth.  Do you see the dilemna?  The existence of one cannot account for the existence of the other because their is only one holy catholic and apostlic church with apostlic succession.  There is also the Coptics, Ethopian, and the Aremian churches that have this apostlic succession saying that traditions are binding.  Which Roman Catholic church should one join.   There is the mainline Roman Catholic church holding to Vatican 2.   There are groups that say the the seat of Peter is vacant.   There are groups that say Vatican 2 is not valid inside and outside the mainline Roman Catholic church.  There is a group that says that Vatican 1 is not valid.  There are Catholics that are Arianian in views in who Jesus and God is.  All these would say that one should follow the tradition of the church.  The question is then which church?
Tradition can be a good thing and/or a bad thing.   Church history has shown both things at least by the contradictory views that have been proclaimed throughout time.  Jesus went to scripture to prove his points.  Should we do anything different to know and proclaim the truth?

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

"Five points of Calvinism"

Is anyone ready for a God that demands praise to be sincerely from the heart?  Is anyone ready for a God that has that praise be a part of His eternal plan?  Yes, if God makes one ready to praise Him for His glorious Grace.
 I had a discussion with an unbeliever about sovereign grace.   He said that idea would be great for those who would have the positive benefit from it.  However, it would be really bad for one who is not predestined to heaven.  Obviously, He considered the idea unfair.  Now, before I was talking to him about sovereign grace in particular.  He said he wanted to believe in the Bible God, but he could not.  He thought such a God sounds wonderful.  However,  his tone changed when I started describing the sovereign grace of God.  His idea of the Bible God was a misunderstanding on how God operates and what kind of God that there is.  Once the information about was conveyed the Bible God did not seem so attractive to him.  
The god in our bible belt is not the God of scripture.  My unbelieving friend was so happy with idea if he became a Christian he would be well received in the bible belt.  I told him that we Reformed Presbyterians are not so well received in the "bible belt."    That is particularly true when we discuss certain things like sovereign grace.   They do not say simply that is an interesting idea, but we do not think it is biblical, though.  There is much more emotion tied to the detailed explanation of sovereign grace, usually.  Whether in a church or out of church the gospel is hated even in the bible belt. God must change the heart to believe the truth.