When We Should Not Answer the Heretics

While I no longer am a member of the PC(USA) many of my friends, relatives, and colleagues still reside there so I from time to time check into the latest news concerning my former denomination. Recently I came across an article that notes a recent lecture series given at Union Theological Seminary and PSCE in Richmond, VA that tries to say that the …”use of the cross to symbolize God’s love was a latecomer to church history.” Claiming instead that the breast of the Virgin Mary (whom I presume the lecturer does not believe was actually a virgin but that is another discussion for another time) was “…An earlier and presumably more persuasive symbol of God’s love”. Now I cannot imagine that this is true and with a .24-second search on Google one can find it is not true and the only people who do hold to this view are radical Feminist theologians at urban or suburban seminaries. Now this in and of itself does not discredit the theory but what does is basic biblical research. The Apostle Paul in 1 Cor 15 squarely places the cross and love in communion with each other. Now the radical Feminists will say Paul hates women. So next we go to the Apostle Peter in Acts 2:14-39 and surprisingly enough Peter makes the same argument. Though the radical Feminists will say all I am doing is quoting men and of course men would say violent acts are loving. So I guess we’ll go to Anna in Luke 2:36-38. Looks like she is saying the same thing as Paul and Peter. Well I guess Anna must have been brainwashed by Phanuel. So I guess then we’ll go to Jesus in John 15:13. How soon do I forget though that John 15:13 is disputed by the Jesus Seminar. So I guess if we do away with all of that I guess the author of the original article may have a point.

That is of course unless you discount nearly all of the early Church.

All this is to ask the question should we be actively concerned when unbelievers act like unbelievers? When unbelievers are not even average scholars and not even really worthy of sharing the name “heretic” with giants of heretical faith like Pelagius, Marcion, Arius, Schleiermacher, Spinoza, etc…? Do we give them too much credence and legitimacy by confronting them and giving them a larger audience for their views? Dealing with this kind of lousy scholarship and rabid unbelief and giving far too much energy (emotional and physical) personally to engaging with them in seminary I have found it quite relaxing to dealing with authors like this much in the same way I deal with people who clamor like Anti-Government anarchists or like those who claim that Elvis lives with Jim Morrison and John Kennedy on a tropical island in the South Pacific. Prov. 10:7-10 speaks quite clearly and succinctly about what I think concerning this.

Pray for them? Of course. Share with them about the Gospel? Absolutely.

Pay any attention to their ideas and give them any sense of respectability among serious scholarship?

No Thanks.

Thursday Reading, Day 1

“In answer to [those doubting the historicity of the Patriarchs] various constructions we must first of all emphasize that the historicity of the patriarchs can never be, to us, a matter of small importance.” — Biblical Theology, pg. 67 Geerhardus Vos

Repost: Cowardice Or Prudence?

From 16 September 2007

The simple definition of these words are generally the same thing. I of course do not mean prudence in the classical Platonic sense for that concept has been dead for centuries, what I mean by prudence is the measure of action being so that the requisite or desired effect is accomplished in the proper, preordained time. I have often heard the term prudence given to the time the Church finds itself in today. Just wait, be prudent, do not cause disruption or disharmony. Well I have come to the conclusion that what is necessary for this day is not prudence for that in my mind is cowardice.

Martin Luther as he stood in front of the Diet of Worms is quoted as saying, “My conscience is captive to the Word of God. To go against conscious is neither right nor safe.” We sit in our comfortable positions as inquirers and candidates awaiting to leap over the hurdles that have been placed before us giving very little to no thought as to the task we are about to undertake. As people being called to the pulpit to preach the Word of God we might want to take a second and think about what a mighty weight that has been placed upon us. If we preach against that which we have sworn in front of God to preach how then can we have integrity with our congregations? If we preach against that which we have promised before God in our Ordination vows to preach how then can we go before God and offer the Sacraments to his people? As Ministers of the Word And Sacrament we are not bystanders in the life of the people of our congregation but are the authority to which they call out in agony. Our congregations plead for the truth of Christ and we give them nothing but moralistic tales and worthless chatter. Be convicted by the plethora of people who will burn in Hell because we are unwilling to preach the full gospel of Jesus Christ. The Lord our God is a Jealous God who will partake of his vengeance upon those who blaspheme his Word and offer comfort to the demons that placate the ungodly. We deny the holiness and righteousness of Christ when we preach a gospel other than what is given to us in Holy Scripture. Our time is fleeting. We are but sinners in the hand of an angry God who demands perfect righteousness from those that rebel against his holy commands. No longer can we sit on the sidelines and offer up to God our platitudes and defenses. We must lay ourselves prostrate at the foot of the cross and seek forgiveness for our allowance of the lies and demonic words of those who preach a different gospel than Christ’s! We must not sit and wait for someone else to come along and do the work for us we have been charged by Scripture to preach an unfettered gospel, go from town to town teaching of the Mercy of Christ and shaking the dust off our feet in the towns that disregard the gospel. For as Christ says their fate shall be worse than Sodom’s.

Choose you know whom you will serve. Will you serve Christ or Satan? Will you eat of the manna of Christ or the moldy bread the world provides? As for me and my household we shall serve the Lord our God.

So think to yourself. Are you a coward or are you a Christian?

A Word From John Calvin On This Issue

Seeing as the issue of me calling the Pope a/the Anti-Christ has caused quite the consternation for some folks I thought I would let John Calvin have a word. I also commend the whole of Book IV, Chapters 2, 18, and 19 concerning this topic.

Institutes of the Christian Religion
by John Calvin

BOOK IV CHAPTER 2 SECTION 12

Daniel and Paul foretold that Antichrist would sit in the temple of God (Dan. 9:27; 2 Thess. 2:4); we regard the Roman Pontiff as the leader and standard-bearer of that wicked and abominable kingdom. By placing his seat in the temple of God, it is intimated that his kingdom would not be such as to destroy the name either of Christ or of his Church. Hence, then, it is obvious that we do not at all deny that churches remain under his tyranny; churches, however, which by sacrilegious impiety he has profaned, by cruel domination has oppressed, by evil and deadly doctrines like poisoned potions has corrupted and almost slain; churches where Christ lies half-buried, the gospel is suppressed, piety is put to flight, and the worship of God almost abolished; where, in short, all things are in such disorder as to present the appearance of Babylon rather than the holy city of God. In one word, I call them churches, inasmuch as the Lord there wondrously preserves some remains of his people, though miserably torn and scattered, and inasmuch as some symbols of the Church still remain—symbols especially whose efficacy neither the craft of the devil nor human depravity can destroy.

BOOK IV CHAPTER 18 SECTION 1

1. By these and similar inventions, Satan has attempted to adulterate and envelop the sacred Supper of Christ as with thick darkness, that its purity might not be preserved in the Church. But the head of this horrid abomination was, when he raised a sign by which it was not only obscured and perverted, but altogether obliterated and abolished, vanished away and disappeared from the memory of man—namely, when, with most pestilential error, he blinded almost the whole world into the belief that the Mass was a sacrifice and oblation for obtaining the remission of sins. I say nothing as to the way in which the sounder Schoolmen at first received this dogma. leave them with their puzzling subtleties, which, however they may be defended by cavilling, are to be repudiated by all good men, because, all they do is to envelop the brightness of the Supper in great darkness. Bidding adieu to them, therefore, let my readers understand that I am here combating that opinion with which the Roman Antichrist and his prophets have imbued the whole world— viz. that the mass is a work by which the priest who offers Christ, and the others who in the oblation receive him, gain merit with God, or that it is an expiatory victim by which they regain the favour of God. And this is not merely the common opinion of the vulgar, but the very act has been so arranged as to be a kind of propitiation, by which satisfaction is made to God for the living and the dead. This is also expressed by the words employed, and the same thing may be inferred from daily practice. I am aware how deeply this plague has struck its roots; under what a semblance of good it conceals its true character, bearing the name of Christ before it, and making many believe that under the single name of Mass is comprehended the whole sum of faith. But when it shall have been most clearly proved by the word of God, that this mass, however glossed and splendid, offers the greatest insult to Christ, suppresses and buries his cross, consigns his death to oblivion, takes away the benefit which it was designed to convey, enervates and dissipates the sacrament, by which the remembrance of his death was retained, will its roots be so deep that this most powerful axe, the word of God, will not cut it down and destroy it? Will any semblance be so specious that this light will not expose the lurking evil?

Update: Found a couple more good readings on the subject by others.

Francis Turretin, “7th Disputation: On Whether it Can be Proven that the Pope of the Rome is the Anti-Christ”

William Whitaker, “The Roman Pontiff is the Anti-Christ Whose Presence Scripture Prophesied”