Friday, July 27, 2007

The Pope Has Done Us a Favor

There have been many reports recently about the Pope's reassertion of the primacy of the Roman Catholic Church as the one true church. For example, an article posted at declared:
Pope Benedict XVI has reasserted the universal primacy of the Roman Catholic Church, approving a document released Tuesday that says Orthodox churches were defective and that other Christian denominations were not true churches.

Benedict approved a document from his old offices at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith that restates church teaching on relations with other Christians. It was the second time in a week the pope has corrected what he says are erroneous interpretations of the Second Vatican Council, the 1962-65 meetings that modernized the church.
The document referred to in the Forbes article is called Responses to Some Questions Regarding Certain Aspects of the Doctrine on the Church. It answers five questions regarding the proper interpretation of Vatican II statements regarding the nature of the church. The fifth question is, "Why do the texts of the Council and those of the Magisterium since the Council not use the title of 'Church' with regard to those Christian Communities born out of the Reformation of the sixteenth century?" The document gives the following answer:

According to Catholic doctrine, these Communities do not enjoy apostolic succession in the sacrament of Orders, and are, therefore, deprived of a constitutive element of the Church. These ecclesial Communities which, specifically because of the absence of the sacramental priesthood, have not preserved the genuine and integral substance of the Eucharistic Mystery cannot, according to Catholic doctrine, be called “Churches” in the proper sense.
In my opinion, such clarification by the Pope has done us a favor, and I hope he continues to assert more clearly what has always been the true position of the Roman Catholic Church on such matters. There have been far too many Catholics and Evangelicals who have been led to believe that the differences between them are really not that great after all and have involved themselves in many misguided and misinformed attempts at a unity that is nothing more than a mirage. Perhaps the most prominent such endeavor in recent years has been the astonishingly naive and foolish Evangelicals and Catholics Together document. The only way such documents can come into being and such attempts at "unity" can even be embarked upon in the first place is by either redefining or ignoring altogether what have been the actual doctrinal positions of both groups for centuries. I, for one, am glad that the Pope is clarifying anew what some of these positions are. The lines need to be clearly drawn on both sides so that Protestants can clearly see that the only way to true unity with the Roman Catholic Church is for them to admit and repent of their errors. I am not holding my breath!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

"What is a Reformed Baptist?" Poll

Please scroll down and check out the "What is a Reformed Baptist?" Poll at the bottom of the page.

I am interested in how the Reformed Baptist community might answer this question. I have given four options for answers that I think basically sum up the various groups or individuals that I have found to be using the term.

I would appreciate the blog's readers weighing in and letting me know where they are on this question. Also, if you think I need to add another answer, let me know.

John Piper on the Prosperity Gospel

I saw this over on Steve Camp's blog, Camp On This, and just had to share it here as well. I would only add that I am not entirely sure what I think of Piper's final statement, that "God is most glorified in you when you are satisfied in the midst of loss, not prosperity."

While I think that this is generally true, I wonder about a statement like this from the Apostle Paul:

"I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." (Philippians 4:12-13)

It seems that for Paul it took just as much of the strength of Christ to "abound" as it did to "suffer need." After all, for example, doesn't it require the strength of Christ to overcome the many temptations that times of prosperity can bring? Such as temptations to trust in money rather than God? Or to be satisfied with things other than God?

Perhaps we can say that God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him whether in the midst of loss or in the midst of prosperity. It depends upon whether or not we acknowledge Him as more important than the things we might have in times of prosperity.

As always, I welcome the thoughts of the blogs readers.

Soli Deo Gloria!

Friday, July 06, 2007

Free Internet Filtering

I have tried several internet filtering services, such as BSafe Online, Christian-Net, and the Home & Family Internet Filter.

However, I have found K9 Web Protection to be just as good or better than these other filters... and it is completely free! If you have children who access the internet, or if you want to prevent temptation for yourself as I do, then I highly recommend giving this service a try. Not only does it allow you to set which categories you want to filter, it also keeps a log of all the sites that the computer's users have attempted to visit. These logs can be checked and reset and the settings can be changed only by the one who has the password.