RPM, Volume 15, Number 8, February 17 to February 23, 2013

The Ongoing Reformation

Recovering Essential Truths of the Faith

By Doug V. Heck


  1. The Reformation began with Martin Luther's posting of 95 Thesis, on the chapel door of Wittenburg, on October 31st of 1517. Primarily calling all comers to debate the abuse of Tetzel's selling of indulgences. (1) Debates: Heidelberg (1518), Augsburg (1518), Leipzig (1519).
  2. Within a few years the Pope was involved and Luther was excommunicated (1520) and finally summoned before the Diet of Worms (1521), which was to be a debate but actually a set up, where he was told to recant of his heretical teachings.
  3. Your Imperial Majesty and Your Lordships demand a simple answer. Here it is, plain and unvarnished. Unless I am convicted of error by the testimony of Scriptures or (since I put no trust in the unsupported authority of Pope or of councils, since it is plain that they have often erred and often contradicted themselves) by manifest reasoning I stand convicted by the Scriptures to which I have appealed, and my conscience is taken captive by God's word, I cannot and will not recant anything, for to act against our conscience is neither safe for us, nor open to us. On this I take my stand. I can do no other. God help me. Amen.

  4. From this, was launched the Reformation (1517-1563), which was a protest against Rome, to return to the early purity of the Christianity of the New Testament. The Spirit of God used a group of dedicated men to awaken the Church to a number of Biblical distinctives, which today are known as Reformed Theology. Today we want to remind ourselves by way of a quick summary of these major distinctives…

Scripture Alone is Authoritative and Sufficient

Known as the "Formal Cause," or Scripture Alone became the battle cry of the great protest against Rome, which believed in a dual authority: the Bible and tradition. The Reformers believed in other authorities, such as church leaders, civil magistrates, church creeds and confessions, but saw these as subordinate to the authority of God as taught in Scripture.

Psalm 19:7-9 The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether. (KJV)

2 Timothy 3:16-17 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works. (KJV)

2 Peter 1:3-4 According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. (KJV)

[Martin Luther] In the books of St. Augustine one finds many passages which flesh and blood have spoken. And concerning myself I must also confess that when I talk apart from the ministry, at home, at table, or elsewhere, I speak many words that are not God's Word. That is why St. Augustine, in a letter to St. Jerome, has put down a fine axiom - that only Holy Scripture is to be considered inerrant.

2 Timothy 4:1-4 I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. (KJV)

[Walter Keiser, Jr.] It is no secret that Christ's Church is not at all in good health in many places of the world. She has been languishing because she has been fed, as the current line has it, junk food; all kinds of artificial preservatives and all sorts of unnatural substitutes have been served up to her. As a result, theological and Biblical malnutrition has afflicted the very generation that has taken such giant steps to make sure its physical health is not damaged by using foods or products that carcinogenic or otherwise harmful to their physical bodies. Simultaneously a worldwide spiritual famine resulting from the absence of any genuine publication of the Word of God (Amos 8:11) continues to run wild and almost unabated in most quarters of the Church.

[John Stott] It will not be enough to skim through a few verses in daily Bible reading, nor to study a passage only when we have to preach it. No. We must daily soak ourselves in the Scriptures. We must not just study, as through a microscope, the linguistic minutiae of a few verses, but take our telescope and scan the wide expanses of God's Word, assimilating its grand theme of divine sovereignty in the redemption of mankind. "It is blessed," wrote C. H. Spurgeon, "to eat into the very soul of the Bible until, at last, you come to talk in Scriptural language, and your spirit is flavored with the words of the Lord, so that your blood is Bibline and the very essence of the Bible flows from you."

Faith Alone Justifies One Before God

Essential Importance of the Doctrine: Known as the "Material Cause," Fide or Faith Alone, was the central affirmation of the Reformation. As Martin Luther said, this is "the article with and by which the church stands, without which it falls." Or on another occasion: "This doctrine is the head and the cornerstone. It alone begets, nourishes, builds, preserves, and defends the church of God; and without it the church of God cannot exist for one hour."

No doctrine is more important to evangelical theology than the doctrine of justification by faith alone…Churches and denominations that hold firmly to sola fide remain evangelical. Those willing to yield at this point inevitably capitulate to liberalism, revert to sacradotalism, or embrace even worse forms of apostasy. cf. John MacArthur, article "Long Before Luther: Jesus on the Doctrine of Justification," in Edited by Don Kistler (Soli Deo Gloria, 1996, p. 1)

The doctrine of justification by faith answers the all important question of mankind, as the Psalmist put it: "If You Lord, should mark iniquities…who should stand?" (Ps. 130:3) Roman Catholicism teaches that justification begins at baptism, which is the "instrumental cause" of salvation. By this sacrament the grace of Christ's righteousness is infused into the soul and the baptized person is cleansed of original sin and placed into a state of grace. However, the grace of justification is not permanent as it is killed by mortal sin. Rome also teaches that grace, faith and Christ are all necessary for the sinner's justification. They are necessary conditions but not sufficient conditions, as merit must be added to grace.

Romans 3:23-31 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law. Is he the God of the Jews only? is he not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also: Seeing it is one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith. Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law. (KJV)

James 2:17-26 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified [i.e., dikiao , vindicated; Luke 7:35] by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God. Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only. Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way? For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also. (KJV)

Council of Trent on January 1547, . If anyone says that the sinner is justified by faith alone, meaning that nothing else is required to cooperate in order to obtain the grace of justification let him be anathema. (Council of Trent)

Galatians 1:6-10 I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ. (KJV)

The book of Galatians has been called the Magna Carta of spiritual liberty, the battle cry of the reformation and the Christian declaration of independence. Many church historians maintain that the foundation of the Reformation was laid with the writing of Martin Luther's commentary on Galatians. Luther said, "The epistle to the Galatians is my epistle. To it I am, as it were, in wedlock. Galatians is my Katherine [name of his wife]." The letter is a flashing sword wielded by a burning heart.

In the Scripture itself, we are told that the gospel will precipitate conflict and that the gospel by its very nature is offensive to some and divisive to others…So biblically can it be maintained that Catholics and Evangelicals are part of the body of Christ while disagreeing on the gospel message itself?

Matt 10:21-22 And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death. And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.

Matt 10:34-39 Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man's foes shall be they of his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.

John 15:18-20 If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.

John 17:14 I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.

Rom 9:33 As it is written, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumblingstone and rock of offence: and whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.

Gal 5:11 And I, brethren, if I yet preach circumcision, why do I yet suffer persecution? then is the offence of the cross ceased.

Anyone who thinks Rome has changed her mind on the doctrine of justification in recent years is mistaken. The Church's position has not changed since the middle part of the sixteenth century when the Council of Trent (1545-64) met to establish Church doctrine on several key issues. This council was called by Pope Paul III in direct response to the success of the Protestant movement. Its voting members consisted of bishops, abbots, and the leaders of religious orders from countries including Italy, Spain, France, and Germany. The decrees this council made concerning justification have never been modified, altered or rescinded by Rome. They remain the stand of Roman Catholic theology today. The Catholic Church continues to uphold the resolutions of the Council of Trent and cites them repeatedly in defense of its teaching. (Ankerberg, p. 45)

Evangelicals and Catholics Together: For too long, ecumenism has been left to Left-leaning Catholics and mainline Protestants. For that reason along, Evangelicals should applaud this effort and rejoice in the progress it represents…the document upheld both the authority of Scripture and justification by faith: "Both the formal and the material principles of the Reformation - that is, the infallibility of holy Scripture and justification by faith - are duly affirmed in this statement." (Christianity Today, editorial)

The time has come where we must lay aside minor points of doctrinal differences and focus upon the Lord Jesus Christ. (Pat Robertson)

I believe the document represents the most devastating blow against the gospel in at least 1,000 years. Already the declaration is being "translated into Spanish, Polish, Portuguese and Russian for circulation throughout Latin America and Eastern Europe. Soon it will have a revolutionary impact world wide…Yet the very heart of the gospel which evangelicals affirm is denied by Catholicism in all its creeds, catechisms, canons and decrees and dogmas, and those who dare to affirm it are anathematized…To be saved, a Catholic would have to believe the true gospel and reject Catholicism's false gospel. (David Hunt)

Doctrinal Statement of January 19, 1995 to clarify issues relating to ECT statement that was released on March 29, 1994. (2) Signers were: Charles Colson, J. I. Packer, Bill Bright, John Ankerberg, Michael Horton, John MacArthur, R. C. Sproul, Joseph Stowell, John Walvoord, and D. James Kennedy. Doctrinal Statement written by J. I. Packer.

1. Our para-church cooperation with evangelically committed Roman Catholics for the pursuit of agreed objectives does not imply acceptance of Roman Catholic doctrinal distinctives or endorsement of the Roman Catholic Church system.
2. We understand the statement that "we are justified by grace through faith because of Christ," in terms of the substitutionary atonement and imputed righteousness of Christ, leading to full assurance of eternal salvation; we seek to testify in all circumstances and contexts to this, the historic Protestant understanding of salvation by faith alone (sola fide ).
3. While we view all who profess to be Christian - Protestant and Catholic and Orthodox - with charity and hope, our confidence that anyone is truly a brother or sister in Christ depends not only on the content of his or her confession, but on our perceiving signs of regeneration in his or her life.
4. Though we reject proselytizing as ECT defines it (that is, "sheep-stealing" for denominational aggrandizement), we hold that evangelism and church planting are always legitimate, whatever forms of church life are present already.
5. We think that the further theological discussion that ECT promised should begin as soon as possible.

What is Justification? Forensic justification is, therefore, an act that God does outside of man. It is the judicial pronouncement of God about a sinful man that, as a result of placing faith in Christ, he now stands before God having been given the status of justness. Now, the Roman Catholic Church considers this a type of justification because it involves God calling a person "just" who in and of himself is not just. The question Catholicism raises is, "How can God declare a man to be just when, in fact, he remains a sinner?" This issue has its roots in the dispute stemming from Luther's famous slogan: "at the same time just and a sinner" (simul justus et peccator). What Luther meant was that when God sees that a man truly believes in Christ, he then declares that man justified legally in His sight. But at the same time, the pardoned sinner is still a sinner in and of himself (see Romans 7:19, 23, 25; James 3:2; 1 John 1:8). Catholicism, on the other hand, believes that God only declares a man to be just after a man works in cooperation with God's grace and has actually become just in and of himself. In other words, God will not declare a "smelly ashtray" to be a "beautiful rose." …The Catholic Church believes God declares a person just only after He analyzes the person and finds real righteousness and real justness within the person. cf. John Ankerberg, (Harvest House Publishers, 1995), pp. 22-24.

Justification is the final verdict of God whereby He not only forgives and pardons the sins of the believer, but He also declares him perfectly righteous by imputing the obedience and righteousness of Christ Himself to him through faith. It is on the basis of Christ's life and atonement that God "pronounces believers to have fulfilled all the requirements of the law which pertain to them." Catholic theologians claim that justification is a lifelong process in which an individual increases in personal righteousness.

The Catholic Sacraments: Catholicism teaches that a believer can only achieve and maintain his peace with God through the performance of the sacraments. The seven sacraments are baptism, the Holy Eucharist, penance, matrimony, anointing of the sick, confirmation and Holy Orders. Rome's sevenfold sacramental system was apparently not initiated until the twelfth century and was not made a permanent part of the Catholic faith until as late as the fifteenth century.

This is why the historic position of the Roman Catholic Church has been that there is no salvation outside of the Church and salvation only comes by means of grace dispensed by the priest through the Catholic sacraments. Recently changes in Rome since Vatican II, where Protestants are viewed as "separated brethren" - an apparent attempt to help them return to their "Mother Church."

Council of Trent. If anyone says that the sacraments…are not necessary for salvaiton…and that without the desire for them men obtain God through faith alone the grace of justification…let him be anathema. (Canon 4)

1. Baptism (not repeated) cleanses from original sin, removes other sin and its punishment, provides justification in an initial form, spiritual rebirth (John 3:3) or regeneration, and is "necessary for salvation."

If anyone says that in the Roman Church, which is the mother and mistress of all churches, there is not the true doctrine concerning the sacrament of baptism, let him be anathema…If anyone says that baptism is optional, that is, not necessary for salvation, let him be anathema. (Canon, 3, 5)

Baptism permanently relates us to God and is necessary for salvation…The theological virtues of Faith, Hope and Charity are infused with grace into the soul by Baptism. Baptism imprints an indelible character on the soul and can be received only once. (Outlines of the Catholic Faith)

The declares, "Baptism by water is, since the promulgation of the gospel, necessary for all men without exception, for salvation."

2. Confirmation (not repeated) bestows the Holy Spirit in a special sense leading to "an increase of sanctifying grace and the gifts of the Holy Spirit" as well as other spiritual power and a sealing to the Catholic Church. Confirmation gives strength from the Holy Spirit to defend the Catholic faith and to avoid temptation.

3. Penance (or reconciliation) removes the penalty of sins committed after baptism and confirmation. Mortal or "deadly" sins are remitted and the "justification" lost by such sins is restored as a continuing process.

The Catholic Church teaches that after baptism, if a man or woman commits mortal sin, he or she will lose his or her justification. In order to regain justification a person must perform the sacrament of penance. Penance is a particular act or series of acts considered as satisfaction offered to God as a reparation for sin committed. Penance may involve what is known as "mortification" or self-punishment such as wearing an irritating shirt woven of course animal hair, prayer (e.g., the Rosary), or a religious pilgrimage to a shrine of Christ or Mary, or any number of other deeds.

Catholicism teaches the sacrament of penance has three parts: first, "contrition" - a person must be sorry for his sins; second, "confession" - a person must fully confess each one of his mortal sins to a priest; and third, "satisfaction" - a person must do works of satisfaction such as fasting, saying prayers, almsgiving, or doing other works of piety the priest gives him to do.

4. Holy Eucharist. Christ is re-sacrificed or "re-presented" and the benefits of Calvary are continually applied anew to the believer. This occurs at the Mass.

If anyone says that the sacrifice of the Mass is one only of praise and thanksgiving; or that it is a mere commemoration of sacrifice consummated on the cross but not a propitiatory one; or that it profits him only who receives, and ought not to be offered for the living and the dead, for sins, punishment, satisfactions, and other necessities, let him be anathema. (Canons 3, 6, 9)

The Catechism describes the Mass as "the source and summit of the Christian life" "the sum and summary of our faith" and "the Sacrament of sacraments."

Holy Communion…preserves, increases, and renews the life of grace received at Baptism…The Eucharist cannot unite is to Christ without the same time cleansing us from past sins and preserving us from future sins…It wipes away venial sins…And the Eucharist preserves us from future mortal sins. (Catechism of the Catholic Faith)

The doctrine of transubstantiation, that the bread and wine actually become the body and blood of Christ, was codified in its present form by Thomas Aquinas (1225-74).

5. Marriage grace is given to remain in the bonds of matrimony in accordance with the requirements of the Catholic Church.

6. Anointing of the sick (formerly extreme unction) bestows grace on those who are sick, old, or near death and helps in forgiveness of sins and sometimes physical healing of the body.

7. Holy Orders (not repeated) confers special grace and spiritual power upon bishops, priests, and deacons for leadership in the Church as representatives of Christ "for all eternity."

Reformed Theology and TULIP: From the doctrine of or Faith Alone, grew various essential points of doctrine recovered by the Reformers. Actually, a reaction to Reformed theology was championed by Jacob Arminius, who tried to modify Calvinism so that God was not viewed as the author of sin nor man simply controlled by God. He believed in election but thought it was based on the foreknowledge of God, i.e., that God foresaw those that would believe if given the chance and so elected them on that basis. His supporters wrote five objections to Calvinism known as the (1610). At the Synod of Dort (1618) 13 Arminians defended their views before 28 Calvinists, resulting in the Reformed Calvinistic articles of faith, known today under the TULIP.

  1. This is not depravity, i.e., that man is as bad as he can be, although Dennis Rodman perhaps comes pretty close, nor that men are equally bad, as some are obviously worse than others, but in the sense that sin effects every aspect of our being: the body (it weakens it and leads to death), the soul (it pollutes it into pervertedness), the mind (it twists it), the will (it ensalves it), etc. The total person is corrupted by sin!

The Total Inability of Man Arises from a Perverted Moral Nature…

Romans 3:9-20 What then? are we better than they ? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin; As it is written, [Psalm 14:1-3; 53:1-3; Eccl. 7:20] There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. Their throat is an open sepulchre; [Psalm 5:9] with their tongues they have used deceit; [Psalm 140:3] the poison of asps is under their lips: [Psalm 10:7] Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: [Isaiah 59:7-8] Their feet are swift to shed blood: Destruction and misery are in their ways: And the way of peace have they not known: [Psalm 36:1] There is no fear of God before their eyes. Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. (KJV)

Romans 1:18-25 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. (KJV)

Ephesians 2:1-4 And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, (KJV)

[Westminster Confession of Faith, 1643] Man, by his fall into a state of sin, hath wholly lost all ability of will to any spiritual good accompanying salvation; so as, a natural man, being altogether averse from that good, and dead in sin, is not able, by his own strength, to convert himself, or to prepare himself thereunto.

[Luther] Free-will is an empty term, whose reality is lost. And a lost liberty, according to my grammar, is no liberty at all. [Loraine Boettner] In matters pertaining to his salvation, the unregenerate man is not at liberty to choose between good and evil, but only to choose between greater and lesser evil, which is not properly free will…As a bird with a broken wing is "free" to fly but not able, so the natural man is free to come to God but not able. How can he repent of his sin when he loves it? How can he come to God when he hates Him? This is the inability of the will under which man labours.

John 3:19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. (KJV)

John 5:40 And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life. (KJV)

Romans 8:7-8 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. They that are in the flesh cannot please God. (KJV)

Jeremiah 13:23 Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil. (KJV)

Psalm 51:5 Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me. (KJV)

The Total Inability of Man Arises not Merely from a Perverted Moral Nature but from the Bondage of the Will…

To assume that because man has ability to love he therefore has the ability to love God, is about as wise as to assume that since water has the ability to flow, it therefore has the ability to flow up hill; or to reason that because a man has power to cast himself from the top of a precipice to the bottom, he therefore has equal power to transport himself from the bottom to the top.

Job 15:16 How much more abominable and filthy is man, which drinketh iniquity like water? (KJV)

[Jonathan Edwards] The will always chooses according to its strongest inclination at the moment. [R. C. Sproul] To say that we always choose according to our strongest inclination at the moment is to say that we always choose what we want. At every point of choice we are free and self-determined...we choose out of our desires. A wicked desire produces wicked choices and wicked actions

1 Corinthians 2:14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. (KJV)

As well might one attempt to pump a leaking ship while the leak is still unmended, as to reform the unregenerate without this inward change. or as well might the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots, as he who is accustomed to do evil correct his ways. (Lorraine Boettner)

Proverbs 16:9 A man's heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps. (KJV)

Jeremiah 10:23 O LORD, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps. (KJV)

The Total Inability of Man Arises not Merely from a Perverted Moral Nature and the Bondage of the Will, but From Mental Ignorance…

Ephesians 4:17-18 This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: (KJV)

1 Corinthians 1:18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. (KJV)

2 Corinthians 4:3-4 But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. (KJV)

Matthew 11:25-27 At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes. Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight. All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him. (KJV)

2 Timothy 2:24-26 And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will. (KJV)

2. Building on the Biblical doctrine of radical corruption, the Reformers determined that the New Testament clearly teaches that God elected some to salvation before the foundation of the world, not conditioned on anything foreseen in the elect. There are different kinds of election: 1. i.e., God chooses to bless some nations and peoples above others (e.g., Jewish, Amos 3:2; Ps. 147:20; Deut. 7:6-8; 10:15; Europe or America vs. China, India, Africa, etc.). 2. i.e., God chooses to bless in special ways some people and not others (e.g., wealth, honor, intelligence, strength, ability vs poverty, dishonor, ignorance, weakness, commonness; one born in Christian home another in pagan home; vocational opportunity, etc.). Spiritual Election, i.e., God chooses to bless spiritually some people and not others, with the gift of repentance, faith, and eternal life. , , mentioned 48 times in the NT.

[R. C. Sproul] From all eternity God decided to save some members of the human race and to let the rest of the human race perish. God made the choice - he chose some individuals to be saved unto everlasting blessedness in heaven, and he chose others to pass over, allowing them to suffer the consequences of their sins, eternal punishment in hell.

Ephesians 1:3-5 Blessed

Romans 8:28-30

Romans 9:10-24; but when Rebecca also had conceived by one, As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated. What shall we say then? , and whom he will he hardeneth. Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will? , Why hast thou made me thus? Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour? What And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory, Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles? (KJV)

[on Romans 9] Paul does not drag God from His throne and set Him before our human reason to be questioned and examined. These secret counsels are His, which even the angels adore with trembling and desire to look into, are left unexplained, except that they are said to be according to His good pleasure. (Lorraine Boettner)

Isaiah 64:6-8 But we are all as an unclean, and all our righteousnesses And

Jeremiah 18:3-16. Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying, O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? saith the LORD. Behold, as the clay; If that nation, against whom I have pronounced, turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil that I thought to do unto them. And; If it do evil in my sight, that it obey not my voice, then I will repent of the good, wherewith I said I would benefit them. Now therefore go to, speak to the men of Judah, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, saying, Thus saith the LORD; Behold, I frame evil against you, and devise a device against you: return ye now every one from his evil way, and make your ways and your doings good. And they said, There is no hope: but we will walk after our own devices, and we will every one do the imagination of his evil heart. Therefore thus saith the LORD; Ask ye now among the heathen, who hath heard such things: the virgin of Israel hath done a very horrible thing. Will

[Westminster Confession] By the decree of God, for the manifestation of His glory, some men and angels are predestined unto everlasting life; and others foreordained to everlasting death. These angels and men, thus predestined, and foreordained, are particularly and unchageably designed, and their number so certain and definite, that it cannot be either increased or diminished. Those of mankind that are predestined unto life, God, before the foundation of the world was laid, according to His eternal and ummutable purpose, and the secret counsel and good pleasure of His will, hath chosen, in Christ, unto everlasting glory, out of His mere free grace and love, without any foresight of faith, or good works, or perseverance in either of them, or any other thing in the creature, as conditions, or causes moving Him thereunto: and all to the praise of His glorious grace.

2 Thessalonians 2:13 But we are bound to give thanks always to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: (KJV)

Matthew 24:24

Matthew 24:31

1 Thessalonians 1:4-6

2 Timothy 2:10

Titus 1:1 Paul, a servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, [two central purposes of his apostolic ministry] according to the faith of God's elect, and the acknowledging of the truth which is after godliness; (KJV)

Acts 13:48

John 6:37

John 6:65

John 15:16

This doctrine of eternal and unconditional election has sometimes been called the "heart" of the Reformed Faith. It emphasizes the sovereignty and grace of God in salvation, while the Arminian view emphasizes the work of faith and obedience in the man who decides to accept the offered grace. (Lorraine Boettner)

May not the Sovereign Lord on high, Dispense His favors as He will;

3. Probably the most disputed of the five essential points of Calvinistic reformed doctrine, limited atonement seeks to answer the question: Did Christ die to atone for the sins of every human being or did he die for the sins of the elect only? Did Christ offer Himself to make salvation of all men possible or to render certain the salvation of those who had been given to Him by the Father?

[Lorraine Boettner] Did Christ offer up Himself a sacrifice for the whole human race, for every individual without distinction or exception; or did His death have special reference to the elect?…It will be seen at once that this doctrine necessarily follows from the doctrine of election. If from eternity God has planned to save one portion of the human race and not another, it seems to be a contradiction to say that His work has equal reference to both portions, or that he sent His Son to die for those whom He had predetermined not to save, as truly as, and in the same sense that he was sent to die for those whom he had chosen for salvation. These two doctrines must stand or fall together. We cannot logically accept one and reject the other.

[John Owen] First, if the full debt of all paid to the utmost extent of the obligation, how comes it to pass that so many are shut up in prison to eternity, never freed from their debts? Secondly, if the Lord, as a just creditor, ought to cancel all obligations and surcease all suits against such as have their debts so paid, whence is it that his wrath smokes against some to all eternity? Let none tell me that it is because they walk not worthy of the benefit bestowed; for that not walking worthy is part of the debt which is fully paid, for (as it is in the third inference) the debt so paid is all our sins. Thirdly, is it probable that God calls any to a second payment, and requires satisfaction of them for whom, by his own acknowledgment, Christ hath made that which is full and sufficient?

Matthew 20:28

[Lorraine Boettner on Matt. 20:28] Notice this verse does not say that He gave His life a ransom for all, but for many. The nature of a ransom is such that when paid and accepted it automatically frees the person for whom it was intended. Otherwise it would not be a true ransom. Justice demands that those for whom it is paid shall be freed from any further obligation. If the suffering and death of Christ was a ransom for all men rather than for the elect only, then the merits of His work must be communicated to all alike, and the penalty of eternal punishment cannot be justly inflicted on any. God would be unjust if he demanded this extreme penalty twice over, first from the substitute and then from the persons themselves.

John 10:14-15, and am known of mine. As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep. (KJV)

Matthew 1:21

Ephesians 5:25

John 17:6-10 I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word. Now they have known that all things whatsoever thou hast given me are of thee. For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me. I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine. And all mine are thine, and thine are mine; and I am glorified in them. (KJV)

John 15:13

[Lorraine Boettner] …let it be said that Calvinists do not deny that mankind in general receive some important benefits from Christ's atonement. Calvinists admit that it arrests the penalty which would have been afflicted upon the whole race because of Adam's sin; that it forms a basis for the preaching of the Gospel and thus introduces many uplifting moral influences into the world and restrains many evil influences. Paul could say to the heathen people of Lystra that God "left not Himself without witness, in that He did good and gave you from heaven rains and fruitful seasons, filling your hearts with food and gladness," Acts 14:17. God makes His son to shine on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the just and the unjust. Many temporal blessings are thus secured for all men, although these fall short of being sufficient to insure salvation.

Objections to Limited Atonement or Particular Redemption.
The terms "will" and "all."

1 Timothy 2:3-4

Ezekiel 33:11

2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. (KJV)

The word "will" is used in different sense in Scripture and in every day conversation. It is sometimes used in the sense of decree and sometimes in the sense of desire or wish. A righteous judge does not will (i.e., desire) that anyone should be sentenced to death, yet at the same time he wills (decrees or pronounces sentence) that the guilty person shall be thus punished. A man may will to have a limb removed or an eye taken out, even though he certainly doesn't desire it. Also the term "all" or "every" are often used in a limited way. e.g., Mark 1:5; Acts 4:21; Luke 21:28; John 12:32, etc. Usually, the term is used to refer to both Jews and Gentiles.

The term "world."

John 3:16

1 John 2:1-2 My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for

The term could be used in the sense of both Jews and Gentiles or in a limited sense. If these universal passages are applied as the Arminians teach, they cannot escape the doctrine of universalism.

Question: does God love everyone?

In a sense He loves everyone but has a special love for the elect.

4.This refers to the regenerating work of God, in bringing us to spiritual life so that we are able to sin our sins for what they are, understand Christ and His substitutionary atonement for sin, and have a thorough impression of my responsibility to turn from sin, trust the Savior and surrender my life to His Lordship. This doctrine follows if man's total depravity or radical inability is true.

One of the errors of historic dispensationalism was to follow Charles Finney in teaching that faith comes before regeneration, or that a person is regenerated because of his/her faith instead of the Reformed view that God actually regenerates a person before they are able to exercise faith. This is the central reason why some dispensational teachers failed to recognize that regeneration was not really a change of a person's nature, making Christ's Lordship and progressive sanctification options. No, Finney was wrong. God generates new life in a spiritually dead person, changing the very nature of their soul, giving them a new heart, before they have any capacity to realize the enormity of their sin and exercise faith. Regenerating or the Spirit's efficacious calling comes before faith!

[Westminster Confession] All those whom God has predestinated unto life, and those only, He is pleased, in His appointed and accepted time, effectually to call, by His Word and Spirit, out of that state of death, in which they are by nature, to grace and salvation by Jesus Christ; enlightening their minds spiritually and savingly, to understand the things of God; taking away their heart of stone, and giving them a heart of flesh; renewing their wills, and by His almighty power determining them to that which is good; and effectually drawing them to Jesus Christ, yet so as they come most freely, being made willing by His grace.

Jeremiah 31:28-34

Ezekiel 36:25-27 Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do. (KJV)

John 2:23-3:8 Now when he was in Jerusalem at the Passover, in the feast, many believed in his name, when they saw the miracles which he did. But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all, And needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man. There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him. Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born? Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and

Titus 3:3-5

1 Peter 2:9

John 5:24

Colossians 2:13 And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; (KJV)

John 17:2

John 5:21; even so the Son quickeneth whom he will. (KJV)

[R. C.Sproul] Irresistible grace is not irresistible in the sense that sinners are incapable of resisting it. Though the sinner is spiritually dead, he remains biologically alive and kicking. As Scripture suggests, the sinner always resists the Holy Spirit...Irresistible grace means that the sinner's resistence to the grace of regeneration cannot thwart the Spirit's purpose. The grace of regeneration is irresistible in the sense that it is invincible... We are passive with respect to our regeneration as Lazarus was to his resurrection, and as the universe was to its creation. We were not cooperating agents in our original biological conception or generation, nor are we active agents in our regeneration.

5. This refers to the fact that God will complete what He became and by the power of His Spirit preserve genuine believers in their faith. Their salvation cannot be lost, as Roman Catholicism believes.

[Westminster Confession of Faith] Although hypocrites and other unregenerate men may vainly deceive themselves with false hopes and carnal presumptions of being in the favour of God, and estate of salvation (which hope of theirs shall perish): yet such as truly believe in the Lord Jesus, and love Him in sincerity, endeavouring to walk in all good conscience before Him, may, in this life, be certainly assured that they are in the state of grace, and may rejoice in the hope of the glory of God, which hope shall never make them ashamed.

[Westminster Confession] They whom God hath accepted in His Beloved, effectually called and sanctified by His Spirit, can neither totally nor finally fall away from the state of grace; but shall certainly persevere therein to the end, and be eternally saved.

1 John 2:18-19 Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us. (KJV)

Romans 8:31-36 What shall we then say to these things? If God...

Philippians 1:3-6 I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy, For your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now; Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform)

2 Peter 1:10-15, and be established in the present truth. Yea, I think it meet, as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up by putting

2 Peter 1:3-9 And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. (KJV)

1. Luther didn't actually reject the selling and purchase of indulgences but the secularizing of the practice. Tetzel claimed that repentance was not necessary for the buyer of an indulgence and that the indulgence gave complete forgiveness of all sin. The Dominican Tetzel sought to silence the Augustinian Luther. The 95 Theses call for debate on the subject of biblical repentance.

2. Evangelicals and Catholics Together: The Christian Mission in the Third Millennium (ECT), signed by 40 Evangelicals and Roman Catholics. The document states: "Evangelicals and Catholics are brothers and sisters in Christ…We recognize that we are called by God to a fuller realization of our unity in the body of Christ…We are called and we are therefore resolved to explore patterns of working and witnessing together in order to advance the one mission of Christ. We promise one another that we will work to deepen, build upon, and expand this pattern of convergence and cooperation…The mission that we embrace together is the necessary consequence of the faith that we affirm together." Anyone who attempts to evaluate modern Roman Catholicism can do so only by evaluating what is on the books - the Council of Trent, Vatican I and II, papal decrees, authoritative texts, etc. These tell us what Roman Catholicism believes and teaches.

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