Category Archives: Catholicism

The Quotable Round-Up #68

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On this edition of “The Quotable Round-Up”, we commemorate the 500th year of the Reformation. The following quotes are from the book “A Little Book on the Reformation” by Nathan Busenitz. What’s cool is that you can get the book for free just by following this link: https://www.tms.edu/reformation-ebook-giveaway/. But before you download the book, enjoy some snippets from the book:

“Fueled by their study of the Bible, the Reformers proclaimed the truth that salvation is not based on good works. Rather, it is the free gift of God, given to undeserving sinners by grace alone (sola gratia) through faith alone (sola de), on the basis of the nished work of Christ alone (solus Christus). Recognizing that believers can take no credit for their salvation, the Reformers responded to the wonder of redemption by giv ing God all of the glory. Soli Deo gloria summarizes the triumphant cry of sinners who recognize they are saved solely by grace.”

“The Reformers contended that, because Christ is the Head of the church, His Word is the final authority for the church. Papal decrees and church traditions must be subjected to the authority of Scripture alone (sola Scriptura), not the other way around. is commitment to biblical authority led the Reformers to boldly denounce the works-based sacra mental system of medieval Catholicism, recognizing that the true gospel ran contrary to the so-called gospel of the Roman church.”

“Why did Catholic authorities at the Council of Constance condemn John Huss as a heretic? Why did they deem him worthy of death? e answer to those questions revolves around the issue of authority. Based on his study of Scripture, Huss boldly proclaimed that Christ alone is the head of the church, not the pope.”

“It was ignorance of Scripture that made the Reformation necessary. It was the recovery of Scripture that made the Reformation possible. And it was the power of the Scripture that gave the Reformation its enduring impact, as the Holy Spirit brought the truth of His Word to bear on the hearts and minds of individual sinners, transforming them, regenerating them, and giving them eternal life.”

“Tyndale lived at a time when those who dared to translate the Word of God, and thereby unchain it from its Latin coffin, faced the possibility of being burned alive. But the seeds of Protestantism, im planted in English soil a century-and-a-half earlier by John Wycliffe, had come to sprout green shoots that gave fruit in the form of Tyndale’s Bible. For his efforts, the gifted linguist would suffer greatly for the sake of Christ, being thrown into a dungeon and put on trial for his life.”

“There is no part of our life, and no action so minute, that it ought not to be directed to the glory of God.” Those words, penned by John Calvin in his commentary on 1 Corinthians, aptly summarize the life and ministry of this notable Reformer. For Calvin, soli Deo gloria was more than a slogan. It was the primary goal of his life.”

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Book Review: Why We’re Protestant by Nate Pickowicz

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u6zfemtWhen writing reviews, there are lots of thing you can say about a thick book. This is because a bulky volume can cover lots of grounds in a given topic. However in this new book of Nathan Pickowicz it’s not just an introduction to the 5 Solas we affirm. But it’s a mix bag of everything for everyone’s need done in a clear, understandable and orderly manner.  This book is for a.) A believer who is confused with what he believes b.) A Catholic who wants to know the difference doctrinally between a Protestant and Roman Catholic church c.) A believer who wants to know the historic background of the 5 solas d.) A believer who wants a concise biblical response to Roman Catholicism’s beliefs and e.) A seeker who wants to know how to get right with God. That’s why I love reading this short book of because every angle is covered to satisfy different readers.

Reading this as we celebrate the 500th of the Reformation will reinforce the biblical and historical belief that we hold as a Christian. And it’s a gentle reminder for us that we should not compromise what believe. I highly recommend this book.

My verdict:

5 out of 5

The Quotable Round-Up # 67

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Hey people here’s your favorite post. Hot and fresh quotes from the book “Why We’re Protestant” by Nate Pickowicz . If you enjoyed these quotes, please buy the book at your nearest Christian bookstore or on Amazon. Feel free to share this post over your social media. God bless you and enjoy your week!

“One of the most common practices of Catholics is to entreat the help of saints who have passed on, in hopes of obtaining grace through the benefits of their extra works. However, if we understand that “none are righteous” (Rom. 3:10; cf. Isa. 64:6), and the only righteousness available to the believer is the imputed righteousness of Christ, then all the “merit” possessed by the saints of church history is not their own; it all belongs to Christ, because the good deeds done are done in Christ (Eph. 2:10; cf. 1 Cor. 6:19-20).”

“The distinguishing mark of Martin Luther’s theology was what he called “the theology of the cross.” In short, it was a biblical worldview built on the notion that all of life, all of theology, all of existence, all of our knowledge of God, and all of salvation must be viewed through Christ’s work on the cross. Similarly, the apostle Paul declared, “For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified ” (1 Cor. 2:2).”

“Christians are those who are declared righteous by God, although they are not righteous themselves. “Sins remain in us, and God hates them very much,” said Luther. “Because of them it is necessary for us to have the imputation of righ teousness, which comes to us on account of Christ, who is given to us and grasped by our faith.” It is an astounding reality, and it is all of grace.”

“But people say, “That ’s not fair!” or “I don’t like that God chooses who will be saved”—as if it impugns the character of God. Erasmus used to say, “Let God be good.” But Luther replied, “Let God be God!” This doctrine is not from men, otherwise we could mutiny against it. Rather, it’s from the Lord.”

The heart of the battle over sola Scriptura is a battle over the issue of authority. Who has the right to tell people what to believe and what to do? If the Bible is inspired by God, and thereby, inerrant, then it is also authoritative. In other words, the revealed commands of God in Scripture are binding on the believer. When Scripture speaks, God speaks.”

“What was the message of the Reformation? In essence, the main question asked and answered was: How does a person get right with God? This was the central issue. For Rome, sinners are saved by faithfully adhering to the dogma of the Catholic Church. But when the Reformers began to examine the Bible, they saw that salvation came by God Himself through the gospel of Jesus Christ.”

 

Nicholas Sparks and the Grace of God

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When asked by Catholic Digest how faith guides his writings, best-selling author and Catholic Nicholas Sparks replied:

“In many ways. There are certain rules, largely part and parcel of my Catholic upbringing that I don’t cross. I don’t use profanity in my novels, most of my characters are grounded in their faith, and in fact, in certain novels faith plays a tremendously strong role in guiding their morality in things they are willing to do. Certain things I don’t write about, like adultery; while you might think it might be easy in my genre, love stories, it isn’t.” (Catholic Digest, April 2010, Vol. 74, No.6, pg. 41 or you can read the entire interview following this link:http://www.catholicdigest.com/articles/food_fun/books/2010/04-06/faith-family-and-fiction-a-qa-with-best-selling-novelist-nicholas-sparks).

 

This interview made me think that of a friend who shared something to me.

A friend of mine enthusiastically shared a video of a musical group to me. I’ve already watch their videos on Youtube and they were amazing. The video drips with such gift in playing musical instrument that the video garner many views.  My friend really loved it that’s why she suggested checking it out. She adds something that made me thinking.  “Kung Christian lang sana sila ‘no? (If only they where Christians).” I sympathize with my friend. I’m also bother with that thought too. Sometimes us Christians goes to this thought, that we wish great and talented people are in God’s side.  And who wouldn’t want people that made a difference in the world work for God?  Who doesn’t want a great leader like Gandhi or Mandela, a computer genius like Bill Gates or Steve Jobs, or scientist like the ones who discovered DNA to be a Christian, see them someday in heaven and not go to hell? That will be great isn’t? Let’s include those who we see that are sincere, nice and good people for us should be included in God’s family. We hope them to be saved so that their talent or personality will be used for God’s purpose.

 

The doctrine of Common Grace is a gift bestowed by God to both saved and unsaved humanity. Scriptures verifies this doctrine (see Romans 2: 14, 15, 1:24, 26, 28; Luke 6:33, Psalms 145:9, Matthew 5: 44, 45; 1 Timothy 4:10, and Hebrews 6:4-6). This gift includes such vital things like our breathing, food, water, animals, friends, talents, knowledge and resources all from the providential hands of the Lord. It is also a blessing to men by the Holy Spirit to practice moral, civil and religious activities and even apply restrictions without the renewing of the heart and seeking salvation from God. As a gift it is free it can be enjoyed, cultivate and the advancement of himself or for the sake of the world. God gave common grace for humanity as a testimony of His goodness and for the exaltation of His glory. Romans 1: 20 adds that mankind knows through common grace, that there is a God yet, despite the obvious, they deny His existence.

 

Common grace, since it covers the ability to be religious even if a person is not saved, also doesn’t restrict unbelieving people to even acknowledge his talents to his faith, church or God as we have read the interview with Nicholas Sparks by Catholic Digest. His faith may have helped him write great novels but unless the Holy Spirit bestow saving faith, this writer is not glorifying God. Unless he sees the biblical gospel his talents only served him here but not for the life to come. It’s a sobering thought, right? Yes, some of his books influence us readers. It touched our lives. It even inspired us write.  For me it will be a dream to have a chat with him and talk about writing. I would love to learn from this author and I think you would to. Should we not savor this gifted author’s influence to us even if he will not be saved? Should we not deny praises to God to things that benefited us even it’s from an unbeliever? If it’s in line with the biblical and moral principle we uphold why not.  But Christians should know better. All his talents are from God and enjoying it lets keep it in mind how wonderful God towards us. Further, we should ask ourselves if unbelievers became exceptional in their craft, should we not endeavor to aim for the best in terms of our talents and abilities also.

 

I don’t know what’s in Nicholas Sparks’s heart. I can only speculate and give an opinion. If he received Christ as Lord and personal Savior (I don’t know if he is claiming it or not) he is indeed saved, no question about it. But as you can see, he is in a religion that rejects the biblical salvation. That’s a hint of where he is banking his salvation. I believe if you’re truly saved you will get out of that religion that contradicts Scripture and follow Christ. It will do you no good, won’t be useful for the Kingdom of God and it will cast doubt on your salvation if you remain in error.  Nicholas Sparks will face God’s judgment. But as long as he is alive he has hope. The gospel is still open for him to accept it.  Except God opens Sparks spiritual eyes to the biblical salvation, he is just another human being enjoying God’s common grace bound to hell.

 

With that in mind we don’t know who are yet to be saved. We don’t know yet whom God’s elected. Only God knows. That’s why we are given the Great Commission. We are commanded by God to reach those people with the gospel no matter who they are. Whether it’s Nicholas Sparks or your next door neighbor we are obliged to tell them the love of Christ. Isn’t it an incentive for us to know God goodness to all men through His common grace then for us Christians act to secure them to look beyond it and be saved by sharing the gospel? Isn’t  the unbelievers impact to the world is done by making use of the gift of common grace, therefore should we not use it also to reach them? By knowing the doctrine of common grace may we excel as witnesses for Christ and offer unrepentant sinners the gift of salvation by grace.

Source:

http://www.theopedia.com/Common_grace

http://www.gotquestions.org/common-grace.html

 

For Further Study:

Divine Compassion in Common Grace by John MacArthur Jr.

http://www.gty.org/resources/sermons/42-117/divine-compassion-in-common-grace

Did the Death of Jesus Accomplish Anything for the Non-Elect? by John Piper

http://www.desiringgod.org/resource-library/ask-pastor-john/did-the-death-of-jesus-accomplish-anything-for-the-non-elect

James Montgomery Boice on Christian Love

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In chapter 13 of his book “Two Cities, Two Loves”, the late James Montgomery Boice writes about love:

We understand the preeminence of love if we see it in reference to the other marks

of the church. What happens when you take love away from them? Suppose you

subtract love from joy. What do you have? You have hedonism, an exuberance in

life and its pleasures, but without the sanctifying joy found in relationship to the

Lord Jesus Christ.

Subtract love from holiness. What do you find then? You find self- righteousness,

the kind of sinful self-contentment that characterized the Pharisees of Christ’s day.

By the standards of the day the Pharisees lived very holy lives, but they did not

love others and thus were quite ready to kill Jesus when he challenged their

standards.

Take love from truth and you have a bitter orthodoxy. The teaching may be right,

but it does not win anyone to Christ or to godliness. Take love from mission and

you have imperialism. It is colonialism in ecclesiastical garb.

Take love from unity and you soon have tyranny. Tyranny develops in a

hierarchical church where there is no compassion for people or desire to involve

them in the decision-making process, only determination to force everyone into

the same denomination or to get them to back the “program.”

Now express love and what do you find? All the other marks of the church follow.

What does love for God the Father lead to? Joy. We rejoice in God and in what he

has done for us. What does love for the Lord Jesus Christ lead to? Holiness. We

know that we will see him one day and will be like him. “Everyone who has this

hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure” (I Jn 3:3). What does love for the

Word of God lead to? Truth. If we love the Word, we will study and therefore

inevitably grow into a fuller appreciation of God’s truth. What does love for the

world lead to? Mission. We have a message to take to the world. Where does love

for our Christian brothers and sisters lead? To unity. By love we discern that we

are bound together in the bundle of life that God has created within the Christian

community.

 

In what ways can you show Christian love? Please post it on the comments.

5 Vital Verses Catholics Should Read from the Catholic Bible

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 I have a copy of “St. Joseph Pocket Edition of The New American Bible (Revised Edition)” published by Catholic Book Publishing Co. This revised edition’s purpose is “to provide a version suitable for liturgical proclamation, for private reading and for purpose of study” (pg. 12-13). It also states that, “The New American Bible is a Roman Catholic translation” (pg. 18, though not all translators are Catholics, pg. 7). There is an online version of this Bible, click here to read it. Now without further delay, here are 5 verses every Catholic should check from this (or any) Catholic Bible.

1.  Ephesians 2: 8-9 “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not from you it is a gift of God; it is not from works, so no one may boast.”  (See also Titus 3:5, 2Timothy 1:9; Romans 1:17, 3:28,11:6; Acts 15:11, 16:31, Galatians 2:16, 3:11, 3:24;  Philippians 3;9, Hebrews 11, ) Are you trying to get God approval by being a good? How many good deeds do you have to do in order to be right with God? Have you thought that doing those things undermines God’s saviorship? Salvation is by grace of God by putting our faith in Jesus alone. It is a gift, so if we have to earn and to get it, it isn’t a gift anymore. That’s why no one can boast to God that he was saved by going to church, having the sacraments, being a good citizen and doing charity. So where does good works fit in? Read verse 10. You’ll be surprise.

2. Mark 7:8 “You disregard God’s commandment but cling to human tradition.”  (To get the full meaning of this verse read the whole chapter of Mark 7). Have you set aside the clear statements of the Bible for the church traditions? Can we find those traditions in the Bible? We should remember that traditions are not at all bad BUT it should come from the apostles (see 2 Thessalonians 2:15). If it undermines the Scriptures by adding, replacing or subtracting its authority over the church and Christians then we should check traditions if it’s truly biblical.

3. John 10:28-29”I gave them eternal life, and they shall never perish. No one can take them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one can take them out of the Father’s hand”  (See also John  10:9, 3:15-21; Romans 10:9) Eternal security is given to His sheep (v. 27). It’s not by holding on to Christ (through religious and good works) but Christ and God the Father holding to us double grip that makes us eternally secured. Do you have this promise?

4. I John 5: 13 “I write these things to you so that you may know that you have eternal life, you who believe in the name of the Son of God” (See also Acts 4:12). In the 1994 Catholic Catechism, claiming that you are saved is considered “sin of presumption”. But what do you make with this verse that straightforwardly tells us those who believe in Jesus are saved and can be sure of it?

5. Romans: 5: 1 “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,” Does an average Catholic have peace? Peace meaning not only if he dies he will go to heaven, but does he have everlasting peace with God and His anger over sin is not upon him? Do you have peace knowing that God loves you? This verse says we can have peace with God not by following a religion or good works but being justified by faith. Are you longing to have peace in God? Are you trying in vain to have this? Then cry out for mercy to God. Repent and believe the gospel!

Any more Bible verses from the Catholic Bible you might add? Please post it on the comments.

Book Review: The Attributes of God: A Journey into the Father’s Hear Vol. 1 t by A.W. Tozer

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It’s such a blessing to be able to read great books. I got two of them last week at PCBS (Philippine Christian Bookstore). One is “The Attributes of God” by A.W. Tozer and the other is the much anticipated book by John Piper simply titled “Think”. I’ll post a book review on Pipers book by next week, but for now, let’s put “The Attributes of God” into the fray.

When books about doctrine comes to our minds we dismiss it as an avalanche of cold theological jargons ready to make rampage which those made of steel theologians on ivory towers will appreciate. But not with this book by Tozer. Leaping out of the beginning pages are his joy over these attributes. I think Tozer, when delivering these series of sermon (for which this book came), is enthusiastically ecstatic over the pulpit. It’s a surprise for me to find how joy on these subjects from the early chapters of this book. Christian Hedonism anyone?

While the subject of attributes is something hard for us to grasp, Tozer puts forth his fatherly pastoral care in painstakingly letting you comprehend it not just by mind but by your heart. He is gladly serving solid scriptural food but he carefully “mashes” it up for you to easily digest it, without losing its vital “nutrients” essential for the Christian. Being spoon feed by Tozer of these subjects doesn’t let you stay dependent on letting him feed you all the way rather makes you want to grab the spoon and feast on the spiritual meal yourself.

Tozer doesn’t just put forth his fatherly love over this book but still maintain the “20th century prophet” mark in every page. He reproves the church that need to know more about God and be sensitive over Him. Also sprinkled with solid biblical teaching that will reinforce subjects like salvation and many others. Such a sweet blend of these styles of conveying doctrine makes your read a delight for the mind and heart.

Just a reminder though, like any journey there are some uphill climb and rugged terrain for readers. As you walk to chapters you’ll find some of it. However, in the end of it all, a bright horizon awaits everyone who makes patience a virtue. Half of the book is a study guide prepared by David Fessenden.

Notable Quotes:

“Justice is not something that God has. Justice is something that God is.”

“Mercy, however, is God’s goodness confronting human guilt, whereas grace is God’s goodness confronting human demerit.”

“When the grace of God becomes operative through faith in Jesus Christ then there is the new birth.”

“The judgment of God is God’s justice confronting moral inequity and iniquity.”

“The goodness of God is the only valid reason for existence, the only reason underlying all things.”

“If God was willing, it was the happy willingness of God.”

“Christianity is a gateway into God.”

I commend OMF for putting out this book because this kind of truth is badly needed for the church today. We need to know Him more than anything to draw near to Him and find everlasting joy. Available at National Bookstores and Philippine Christian Bookstores for P 250.00 get your copies now.