Archive for the ‘Sola Deo Gloria’ Category

Piper Answers WSC #1

August 26, 2008

In the following video, Piper both in effect answers the first question to the Westminster Shorter Catechism, and also reminds us that Missions is a means to an end, not an end in itself:

May God bring in a rich harvest of worshipers,

-TurretinFan

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Misconceptions about Roman Catholicism: Works Salvation

February 29, 2008

This post is intended to be part of series on misconceptions about Roman Catholicism. In this post, we address the issue of works salvation. Roman Catholicism, according to the Reformation, teaches works salvation.

What we do not mean:

1) We do not mean that Roman Catholicism teaches that man unassisted by grace merits salvation.
2) We do not mean that Roman Catholicism denies the necessity of grace.
3) We do not mean that Roman Catholicism is fully Pelagian.
4) We do not mean that Roman Catholicism denies a role for grace at every stage of salvation.
5) We do not mean that Roman Catholicism denies any role for Christ’s sacrifice in salvation.

We admit:

1) We admit that Roman Catholicism teaches that grace is necessary for salvation.
2) We admit that Roman Catholicism teaches that grace is involved at every point in salvation.
3) We admit that Roman Catholicism ascribes great importance to grace.
4) We admit that Roman Catholicism condemns Pelagianism.
5) We admit that Roman Catholicism views good works as the product of grace.
6) We admit that Roman Catholicism has a role for the sacrifice of Christ in salvation.

Nevertheless,

We criticize the Roman Catholic position as teaching works-salvation, because of a semi-Peligian error: the ascription of a role for human cooperation in salvation. We view Roman Catholicism as teaching works-salvation because:

1) Roman Catholicism teaches that cooperation with grace is also necessary for salvation. (“by freely assenting to and co-operating with that said grace” – Trent, Session 6, Chapter 5, see also Canons IV and IX on Justification)

2) Roman Catholicism teaches that cooperation with grace is necessary at many points in salvation. (Ibid, chapters 7 (“the Holy Ghost distributes to every one as He wills, and according to each one’s proper disposition and co-operation”) and 10 (“they, through the observance of the commandments of God and of the Church, faith co-operating with good works, increase in that justice which they have received through the grace of Christ, and are still further justified”),

3) Roman Catholicism condemns monergism (“CANON IX.-If any one saith, that by faith alone the impious is justified; in such wise as to mean, that nothing else is required to co-operate in order to the obtaining the grace of Justification, and that it is not in any way necessary, that he be prepared and disposed by the movement of his own will; let him be anathema.” – “CANON IV.-If any one saith, that man’s free will moved and excited by God, by assenting to God exciting and calling, nowise co-operates towards disposing and preparing itself for obtaining the grace of Justification; that it cannot refuse its consent, if it would, but that, as something inanimate, it does nothing whatever and is merely passive; let him be anathema.”).

4) Roman Catholicism teaches the meritorious value of good works performed by mere men (“CANON XXXII.-If any one saith, that the good works of one that is justified are in such manner the gifts of God, as that they are not also the good merits of him that is justified; or, that the said justified, by the good works which he performs through the grace of God and the merit of Jesus Christ, whose living member he is, does not truly merit increase of grace, eternal life, and the attainment of that eternal life,-if so be, however, that he depart in grace,-and also an increase of glory; let him be anathema.”).

5) Roman Catholicism teaches final justification based on actual (infused) righteousness (“For, whereas Jesus Christ Himself continually infuses his virtue into the said justified,-as the head into the members, and the vine into the branches,-and this virtue always precedes and accompanies and follows their good works, which without it could not in any wise be pleasing and meritorious before God” … “Thus, neither is our own justice established as our own as from ourselves; nor is the justice of God ignored or repudiated: for that justice which is called ours, because that we are justified from its being inherent in us, that same is (the justice) of God, because that it is infused into us of God, through the merit of Christ. “).

6) Roman Catholicism teaches that it is possible for human beings to expiate sin through acts of contrition. (Trent, Fourteenth Session, Chapter 5, “For venial sins, whereby we are not excluded from the grace of God, and into which we fall more frequently, although they be rightly and profitably, and without any presumption declared in confession, as the custom of pious persons demonstrates, yet may they be omitted without guilt, and be expiated by many other remedies.”)

7) Roman Catholicism teaches that Purgatory removes the guilt of sin (Trent, Twenty-Fifth Session, Decree Concerning Purgatory: “there is a Purgatory, and that the souls there detained are helped by the suffrages of the faithful, but principally by the acceptable sacrifice of the altar;” “CANON XXX.-If any one saith, that, after the grace of Justification has been received, to every penitent sinner the guilt is remitted, and the debt of eternal punishment is blotted out in such wise, that there remains not any debt of temporal punishment to be discharged either in this world, or in the next in Purgatory, before the entrance to the kingdom of heaven can be opened (to him); let him be anathema.”).

Therefore, for these reasons, we hold that Rome teaches salvation by works, in contravention of the Scriptural doctirnes of sola gratia and sola fide. We criticize the Roman Catholic position as teaching works-salvation, because of a semi-Peligian error: the ascription of a role for human cooperation in salvation. We, of course, do not conflate that particular semi-Pelagian error with historic Semi-Pelagianism in all its minutiae, nor is the label the point. The point is that works salvation is not the gospel and will not save.

We preach a different gospel: a gospel of salvation by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, and

To the glory of God alone,

-Turretinfan

Shorter Catechism Explained – 1

January 12, 2008

Q. What is the chief end of man?

By “chief end” we refer to the highest goal or purpose. When we speak of “man,” of course, we speak of human beings generally.

A. Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.

Two answers are provided, one objective and one subjective. Objectively man’s principle goal is to glorify God. Man will do this. Man will achieve this end, whether man so intends and designs, or not. God sees to it that He himself is glorified. This is the same chief end of all of creation: to glorify God.

But there is something that sets man apart from the lower creation, and that is the subjective goal of man: namely to enjoy God forever. That is the best end for a man, to enjoy God forever. Unlike the objective purpose of man, this subjective purpose is not achieved by all men. No all men will enjoy God forever, even though all will glorify God one way or another.

Before we leave this question, we should note that subjectively as well as objectively, man ought first to seek the glorify of God, even without regard to the end of enjoying God forever. In other words, man ought consciously to seek the glory of God. The glory of God should be behind what we do.

Keeping the glory of God in mind as our principle objective (our “mission statement” to borrow from modern management terminology) can help steer us away from sin. Before we act we ought to think whether our action will glorify God. It’s easy to say (or to write) such instructions, but it is much harder to live them.

God is Great, let us worship Him, forever and ever,

-Turretinfan


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