Down below, Andrew said:
“We need to know what we believe more than we need to know why the beliefs of others are false. There is a place for that and polemics are good; but polemics must be balanced and even handed.”
Those of you who know me know that I’m a pretty polemical guy. Especially when it comes to Roman Catholicism. In fact, I think it is “the Big Lie” that has emerged from Christianity. Roman Catholicism is antiChrist. [That is not to say, THE antiChrist. But it definitely, at its core level, functions contra the Gospel].
This is the very conclusion that the Reformers reached some 500 years ago. It’s the message that many of them lived and died for.
What is “the Gospel”? You may or may not think that the doctrinal statements here represent the complete, sum and total of “the Gospel”, but they are a pretty good start:
Lutheran Book of Concord, Augsburg Confession:
Article IV: Of Justification
Also [“our Churches, with common consent”] teach that men cannot be justified before God by their own strength, merits, or works, but are freely justified for Christ’s sake, through faith, when they believe that they are received into favor, and that their sins are forgiven for Christ’s sake, who, by His death, has made satisfaction for our sins. This faith God imputes for righteousness in His sight. Rom. 3 and 4.
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The Belgic Confession:
Article 23: Of Justification
We believe that our salvation consists in the remission of our sins for Jesus Christ’s sake, and that therein our righteousness before God is implied: as David and Paul teach us, declaring this to be the happiness of man, that God imputes righteousness to him without works. And the same apostle saith, that we are justified freely by his grace, through the redemption which is in Jesus Christ. And therefore we always hold fast this foundation, ascribing all the glory to God, humbling ourselves before him, and acknowledging ourselves to be such as we really are, without presuming to trust in any thing in ourselves, or in any merit of ours, relying and resting upon the obedience of Christ crucified alone, which becomes ours, when we believe in him. This is sufficient to cover our iniquities, and to give us confidence in approaching to God; freeing the conscience of fear, terror and dread, without following the example of our first father, Adam, who, trembling, attempted to cover himself with fig-leaves. And verily if we should appear before God, relying on ourselves, or on any other creature, though ever so little, we should, alas! be consumed. And therefore every one must pray with David: O Lord, enter not into judgment with thy servant: for in thy sight shall no man living be justified.
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Anglican 39 Articles: Article XI:
Of the Justification of Man
We are accounted righteous before God, only for the merit of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ by faith, and not for our own works or deservings. Wherefore that we are justified by faith only is a most wholesome doctrine, and very full of comfort; as more largely is expressed in the Homily of Justification.
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To be sure, the Protestant Reformation was, for 100 years or more, a pretty messy business. Everything that man touches becomes messy. On top of that, “official Rome” fought against it mightily, even though there may have been some high-ranking Romans who wanted to get things settled.
However, the Reformers taught a few doctrines with extraordinary consistency over time. Some of the Reformation churches continue to teach these things today. This is the kind of thing we’re going to talk about here. Things that are at the heart of Christ’s Gospel.
It’s the Good News that the Apostles shared, and died for. The kind of thing we’re going to share here.
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