500th Anniversary of the Reformation – Sola Fide (Part 2)


Luther was right to reject the Roman Catholic concept of justification. Catholicism makes no significant difference between justification and sanctification – they are a process which begins at baptism and continues through a person’s life (and even afterward through purgatory and continued sacrifices for a person’s sanctification). For the Catholic justification refers to the free forgiveness of sins and the re-creation of the sinner through the infusion of justifying grace, which can also be called sanctifying grace. This process begins with the sacrament of baptism, which forgives original sin. Luther rejected the belief that justification is a process; instead he argued that it is a one-time action.

The Roman Catholics held the Council of Trent in reaction to the Reformation. Justification was addressed: “If anyone says that the godless are justified by faith alone . . . let him be anathema” (Trent, VI, canon 9). And, “For faith, unless hope and charity are added thereto, neither unites one perfectly with Christ nor makes one a living member of his body” (Trent, VI, ch. 7). Catholics Read more…

500th Anniversary of the Reformation – Sola Fide


Throughout much of the world, people are celebrating the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation. It was 500 years ago on October 31 that Martin Luther nailed his famous 95 Theses on door of the church in Wittenberg (please understand that this was a normal place to post announcements; this was not a disrespectful act). It is important for us, as Baptists, to recognize the role that Luther played in history without bowing to “Reformation Theology.” We can respect the Reformers without revering them.
Over the next few weeks I will examine those areas of the Reformation in which we Baptists can agree, and I will examine those areas of the Reformation in which we Baptists disagree. The Reformation is frequently identified by its 5 “Solas” – Sola Fide, Sola Scriptura, Sola Gratia, Solus Christus, and Soli Deo Gloria. In this post we will look at Sola Fide.
Luther was born into a fairly wealthy family. At the age of 13 he began to attend a school that was operated by the Brethren of the Common Life in Madgeburg, Germany. This Catholic group began in the Netherlands and emphasized the inner life and meditation. One of their goals was to educate Christians and promote the reading of devout literature. While in school Luther became Read more…

Dr. Charles Ryrie – 1925-2016


Dr. Charles Ryrie was promoted to Glory last week. His influence on evangelicalism and fundamentalism was highly significant. He did not claim to be a fundamentalist, but his position on dispensationalism was the common one for most of the fundamentalist movement during that last half of the twentieth century and had an impact on the evangelical movement, as well.

A well-written eulogy can be found at http://www.dts.edu/read/dr-charles-c-ryrie-1925-2016-tribute/. We will not repeat what was written there. We will, however, note one item that was not mentioned. Near the end of the article, written by the editor-in-chief of the Dallas Theological Seminary DTS Magazine, is a short list of his more significant books – his study Bible, The Miracles of our Lord, So Great Salvation, and Balancing the Christian Life. What is significantly missing is Ryrie’s Dispensationalism Today, now in its third edition and renamed Dispensationalism: Revised and Expanded. Read more…

Supreme Court Judgment – The Family


The Supreme Court has declared that gay marriage is now the law of the land. As a sign of postmodern politics, this new law was not voted upon by the people (in fact, where the people had a choice, they overwhelmingly rejected the legality of gay marriage), nor was it enacted by the peoples’ representatives in Congress.

While there has been discussion of protecting the church’s religious beliefs, there has been little discussion of the protection of the individual’s rights or of the family’s rights. Families are going to have to navigate some interesting territory in the coming years. Let me give you some suggestions.

First, the family was God’s first institution, created before the fall of Adam. It is not a Western invention or a concept invented by the Jews or the early church. The family is as old as humanity. Read more…

Supreme Court Judgment – The Church


The Supreme Court has declared that gay marriage is now the law of the land. As a sign of postmodern politics, this new law of the land was not voted upon by the people (in fact, where the people had a choice, they overwhelmingly rejected the legality of gay marriage), nor was it enacted by the peoples’ representatives in Congress. It was simply a power play – and the church needs to remember this. While there is discussion of protecting the church’s religious beliefs, this Supreme Court has demonstrated that it does not care what the Constitution says, it does not concern itself about precedent (how long ago was it that when this Court ruled on the Defense of Marriage Act, it declared that the definition of marriage should be reserved for the States?), and it does not care what the people as a whole think.

So what should a church do? First, we need to remind ourselves that the local church is the pillar and ground of the truth (1 Tim 3:15). Had the churches of America upheld the truth of Scripture as Read more…