Reformation Day 2019

Today we celebrate Reformation Day. 502 years ago today, Martin Luther nailed the 95 Theses to the Castle Church door in Wittenberg, Germany. Contrary to popular belief, this was not an act of defiance against the church. Luther simply wanted a debate. He had no idea that he was about to spark the Protestant Reformation.

What Luther did not anticipate was that his theses would be translated by some students from Latin, the language of scholars, into German, the language of the people. Once this happened, there was no turning back.

In the 16th Century, Pope Leo X had continued work on St. Peter’s Cathedral that had been started by his predecessor. However, the church was out of money. So the Pope made a deal with Albert of Brandenberg who was seeking another Bishop position in the church. The deal was an indulgence to pay for St. Peter’s and to free souls from purgatory as a result.

John Tetzel was commissioned to sell this indulgences throughout Germany. His famous line was, “As soon as the coin in the coffer rings, a soul from purgatory springs.” It was this background that prompted Luther to call into question the practice of indulgences sparking the Reformation.

The Reformation was a call to action. A call to Scriptural fidelity. A rediscovery of the truth that we are justified by faith alone.

Today, 502 years later, we are desperately in need of another reformation. I spoke about this on Sunday We live in a culture today, and even churches today, that want to bow down to sin. Two at the forefront are LGBT and Abortion, not to mention science. We are told that we are to filter scripture through the lens of these agendas. However, that is not how we are to go about our lives.

As Christians, we are to filter everything through the lens of Scripture and Scripture alone. It’s not supposed to be the other way around. Christians need to take a stand today with the boldness of Martin Luther. Stand on Scripture, not on culture.

Soli Deo Gloria

The (Sad) State of Christianity

I have been witness to things over the years that makes my skin crawl. The state of the church universal, but particularly in the United States and Europe, is appalling. 500 years ago, Martin Luther sparked a Reformation that would forever change the course of church and human history. His courage and steadfastness in his search for truth is inspiring and served the church well. God did, and continues to use Luther in a mighty way.

However, today we are in need of reformation again. The church is falling back into darkness. We see a renewal to have bonds with the Roman Catholic Church that continues in its heresy. We see the rise of LGBT sympathizers in the church defying God and His created order. We see prosperity gospel being preached through the lands. We see the gifts of tongues being abused and falsified.

While all of this is happening we see the church losing the culture. Christianity is no longer an acceptable position in the eyes of the culture. This is nobody’s fault but the church. We have lost our way. We are more worried about appeasing the lost rather than telling the truth to the lost. We cater our church services to the lost which leaves us with shallow theology in the service leading to theological illiteracy in the pew.

Scripture has also lost its place as the source of truth that we are to live by. Science, which changes frequently, has replaced the Bible. Evolution is the mantra of the day despite the fact it goes directly against logic and what the Creator has told us happened. Are we really that wise? No.

Paul tells us in Romans that because we defy God we are left to our own ways. Professing ourselves, the human race, to be wise, we are becoming fools.

Where is the church? Where are the godly leaders? Where is Scripture? Why are we not fighting back? Are we afraid? Or do we just not care?

Church it is time for a new reformation. We must bring back biblical standards and authority. We must bring back rich theology. We must rediscover that the church is to feed the believers so that we can go out and preach to the lost. Stand up church!

Book Review: Reformed Preaching by Joel Beeke

Joel Beeke has come out with a call for reformed preaching. Reformed Preaching discusses what Joel calls Experiential Preaching. This is not to be confused with experimental. 

The book begins with an examination of what experiential preaching is and challenges preachers to look at their methods of preaching to see if they are preaching to the heart and soul of those who hear the message. Beeke then proceeds to explain the elements of Reformed preaching.

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Sola Scriptura: Does It Matter?

Recently, I have been challenged with the question of whether or not Sola Scriptura, Scripture Alone, matters. The answer is, of course, YES! Sola Scriptura is a major issue that was really one of the crucial points of the Reformation.

The question is this, do we get truth from Scripture alone or are there other authorities? The Roman Catholic Church, for example, believes the church is the final authority and can overrule Scripture.

The reason this has come into question recently is because I was corresponding via email with the headquarters of a mainline denomination, I am not ready to mention the denomination yet, last week and asked about their position on ordaining women and how they could hold to that practice despite the blatant prohibitions in Scripture. Their answer terrified me.

In short, they said while Scripture is the primary source, it is not the only source and we must go with experience, logic, and reason as well as tradition. I am sorry, but that is not how it works. If we can throw out the writings of Paul, why not the writings of Peter? And if we can throw out the writings of Peter because they don’t agree with what we feel, then why not throw out the words of Christ? Do you see where this leads?

If Scripture is not the final authority you can replace it with whatever you please. In other words, there are no absolutes. Everything is fair game.

Sola Scriptura is vital.