Perverting to Rome

The Rev. Edward Malcolm made these excellent observations in response to Poping the Bible, so I thought it deserved its own post. Here it i:

Hi Roger

There is another aspect to these sorts of cases, where ‘good’ men pervert to Rome, and that is the role of liberalism. Men who themselves think they have no truck with liberal theology nevertheless can find themselves imbibing elements of liberal teaching. Authorship of certain books is denied, thereby relegating them to the status of pious forgeries, The authenticity of words, verses, chapters and whole books is questioned, and as a result some become afraid to refer to them with any authority. Then there is that pernicious aspect which denies inspiration, so that even the acceptable passages are only the thoughts of humans, rather than divinely-directed expressions of eternal truth.

The overall effect is to remove a person’s confidence in Scripture, with the result that preaching becomes uncertain and weak, and the bedrock of the Christian faith is made to move and tremble.

The irony is that the Church of Rome, by imposing its own twisted interpretation on Scripture, does almost exactly the same thing. The only difference is that the faithful son of the Church has merely to trust the Pope and his bishops to have got it right, and he takes no responsibility for the consequences!

Edward

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Poping the Bible

Jason Stellman has resigned from the PCA as member and minister, and is going to Rome, because he has found that he cannot trust himself to rightly interpret scripture, and he cannot trust others either – except for an infallible teaching authority called the Pope.

This highlights a scriptural ineptitude among Pastors that I have often commented on.  Most of them do not spend time in the Bible, because they find it so hard and impenetrable.  Instead, they read books written by men they respect, and regurgitate those books in their sermons, using a scripture verse to parachute themselves into their chosen sermon.

The basic problem is that they cannot read the Bible, and the reason is that they have not discovered its simplicity.  They come to the Bible thinking that it needs interpretation, when, in fact, it is interpretation all the way through.  The cannot see what is staring at them from the page.

Jason Stellman is a man who reads many, many, books.  He reads the Reformation names, and their successors.  he studies the Westminster Confession of Faith, and regards it as a final authority in matters of faith and morals.  Until recently he acknowledged that the WCF bows to scripture, but because he in practice uses the confessions as a de facto supreme authority, his formal submission to scripture is empty.

Many other men are just like him.  They know that they cannot handle scripture properly, and have to rely on other men’s hard work instead.

This is not a new problem.  There always have been very few men with the ability to see what is written on the face of the biblical text.  That was a primary reason for making the BCP 1662 mandatory for all Priests in the CoE in the 17th century.  The quality of the ordained ministry was so poor that there was hardly one good preacher in a county.  So the authorities gave them a service book that told them exactly what to say and do.

Today we are in the same predicament.  Most Pastors are very bad at their jobs.

What can be done?  I believe that they need to be taught to read the Bible again.  It takes training, time, and practice, but it can be done.

Why Bishops?

Looking around at the chaos and spiritual devastation in the Anglican Churches, one has to ask whether bishops are worth having.  Their job description is to provide godly oversight and leadership to the ministers under their care, and to protect the church against anything unbiblical.

In reality they are the vanguard in the assault upon Christianity in a vast majority of churches.  Take the CoE and the TEC for instance, and every other Commonwealth Anglican church.  The only exception is the Sydney Diocese, and they are the only conservative diocese in the Anglo-Saxon world.  Their bishops have consistently stood for the Bible with only one exception about a hundred years ago.

The bishops I have known personally were never up to the theological standard required.  A bishop has to be at the top of his game in terms of his personal ability in the scriptures.  How many are?  I have seen bishops lead an Anglican church away from its heritage towards a bastardised form of American evangelicalism, in the pursuit of large churches and numbers.  In the process its theology was deliberately suppressed in the name of the programme, and it is now a semi-Baptist group in search of an identity.

A presiding bishop I once knew told me that being a bishop was “very pleasing to the flesh”.  Can that ever be a good thing for a minister to be exposed to?  It has been the almost universal experience that an evangelical who is promoted to the episcopacy immediately loses his convictions.   Why is this?  Why does ambition so often erase conviction?

Since the record of failure is so great, doesn’t it make sense to be an Independent or a Presbyterian?  There is nothing in church government per se that will protect the congregation against heresy, but the minister will not be under pressure to conform to the bishop’s agenda at the risk of losing his job.  He will not find himself called to quiet meetings with senior clergy where he will be ordered to stop preaching the doctrines of grace, and have his character assassinated by a whispering campaign amongst the clergy.

Perhaps Independency is the best option for a minister of religion who is dedicated to teaching and preaching the Bible without compromise, and who calls the people of God to repentance.  Perhaps Presbyterianism has the same corporate dangers as Anglicanism, I don’t know, but I suspect that  is the case.  Even so, I know of many Bible believing presbyterian churches, but none here in England.

Did Rome give Protestants the Bible?

They say that they did, but it is an outrageous fib.  The canon was not formulated or compiled by the Pope, but by the universal agreement of the undivided church.  At that time Rome was by no means the leader of all Christians, just of the Italians.  In Britain the church was decidedly not Roman, but Celtic, with its own laws and traditions.  The churches of Alexandria, Antioch, and Constantinople, if anything, had the pre-eminence at that time!

The universal church of that time did not recognize the Pope as the Vicar of Christ, and refused to allow him this title and authority.

During the Middle Ages Rome refused to allow translations of the Bible into the language of the people, insisting upon the Latin translation known as the Vulgate.  In England ordinary people were executed for saying the Lord’s Prayer and Apostle’s Creed in English.  When Tyndale translated the Bible into English he was murdered by Rome and its allies, and every copy that the Bishop of London could get his hands on, he burned in huge piles.  Papists were Bible-burners, not the benevolent Bible-givers that they now present themselves as.

The truth is that we gave the Bible to the church, who had hidden it away as a book too dangerous to be read.  Protestants read it out loud to the people in their own languages in church, over the murderous protests of Rome.  Now the Romans are doing it too, and they are following a Protestant tradition in doing so.

We also gave communion to the people, and that weekly.  In medieval Romanism the people got it once a year, at Easter, and then only half.  To this day they may be denied the wine. Now RCs can have it daily, but only because Protestants blazed the trail.

We also gave congregational worship to the people.  In medieval churches the people were silent spectators, watching the priest and his assistants do everything.  Protestants included the people’s responses into their liturgies, and gave them Psalms and Canticles to sing.  Later what we know as  hymns were written, and in time they became a universal practice.

So when you see Roman Catholics responding during the liturgy, taking Communion regularly, and singing in church, know that they are  being Protestant!

At least they had the good sense eventually to fall into line, even if it was through gritted teeth, and at the cost of much blood and suffering.

The truth is that Rome refused to read the Bible, it prevented people from doing so, and it murdered those who did.

Our Protestants fathers got hold of copies of the Greek NT from Greek scholars fleeing the fall of Constantinople, translated them into the languages of the people, and put it into their hands, ears, hearts, and minds.  Rome did everything in its power to withhold the Bible, but the Reformers would not allow it.

Against the Pope

pope-benedict-saturno-hat1.jpg

Q: How can I know that I am in the true church?

A: The true church is the household of God. By our baptism we are baptised into the name of Jesus Christ – the man whom God has appointed as our ruler under God – in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Thus everyone who is baptised and believes is in the true church, the house of God, an adopted and beloved child of the same, and will be saved.

Q: What is an Antichrist?

A: AN antichrist is someone who attempts to be a world-ruler. The Lord Jesus Christ is the King of Kings and the Lord of lords, so any claim of any other person to the same power makes him a rival, or anti, Christ.

Q: Why is the Bishop of Rome an Antichrist?

A: The Lord Jesus Christ, by his death and resurrection, has been given all authority in heaven and on earth. He has sat down at the Father’s right hand upon the throne of David where he has begun to rule that same empire. His ascension into heaven does not imply a distancing from power over the affairs of the earth, but the exact opposite. The right hand of Power is the most powerful place a man can be. He has begun to wage war against his enemies on earth from there, as it is written, “The LORD said to my Lord, sit at my right hand until I make your enemies your footstool.”

The Pope claims to be excercising Christ’s power upon earth in his absence, hence the title Vicar of Christ (vicarious ruler). He has usurped Christ’s power and office, so he is without doubt an Antichrist.

Q: How are my sins remitted?

A: By grace alone, through the propitiation of the cross alone, and by faith alone, apart from the works of the law. If it is by grace then it is not of works, or grace is no longer grace. If then we are justified apart from the works of the law, being the commandments of God, how much less are we justified by the laws of the Pope?

Nevertheless, Pope Boniface VIII declared in his bull Unam Sanctum of 18 November 1302:

We declare, say, define, and proclaim to every human creature that they by necessity for salvation are entirely subject to the Roman Pontiff.

Luther commented:

Therefore, it is the devil himself who is speaking in the person of the pope and all such papal decrees. For if salvation consists in the observance of the pope’s laws, what need do we have of Christ as our Justifier and Saviour?

We see then that the Church of Rome, far from being the true church, is the home of treason against Christ, denial of the sufficiency of the cross, and it is filled with wicked hubris, pride and arrogance.