“No more let sins and sorrows grow, nor thorns infest the ground. He comes to make His blessings flow far as the curse is found”. The hymn writer, Isaac Watts, in his now famous Christmas hymn, Joy to the World makes two Biblical claims. The first is heralding the Advent of the Lord Jesus Christ. The second, is to state that with His final reign, comes the eradication of humanity’s arch enemy sin and death. The world will be held up for judgment. The books will be opened and the verdict will be declared.
In Ottawa 2003 we had the privilege of sponsoring a conference on the Doctrine of Justification. That weekend saw Dr. D.A. Carson, Dr. Rich Ganz and Dr. Pierre Constant address the most serious question any human being can ever ask, What Must I do to be Saved?
In an article published at the Huffington Post, Pope Francis has gone on record to say that all men everywhere are redeemed by the finished work of Christ, even atheists. The Pontiff claims that evidence of redemption are clearly visible whenever and wherever someone performs deeds of goodness and charity. Here is the quote:
This month marks an historic month in the life of the ministry. We just finished our Vancouver Conference on October 19-20, 2012. That is not really remarkable. We have been doing West Coast events for a number of years now. What does make this event remarkable is that we were able to harness the internet and live stream this conference over the internet. Not only were we able to live stream, but Jonathan Hall of Free Grace Baptist Church was able to capture the event in HiRes. As a result we can now offer the conference to viewers on YouTube. This has been a long standing goal of ours and the first is now ready for viewing.
I have provided links below to two documents produced by the Assemblies of God (AOG) USA and the Presbyterian Church in America. Both these significant denominations have upheld the divine nature of Scriptural Revelation and as such have clearly stated that they uphold the original Greek and Hebrew renderings of “Father” in reference to YHWH and “Son” in reference to Jesus Christ.
In a recent CNN blog post famed Texas pastor Joel Osteen once again made the assertion that Republican Presidential candidate, Mitt Romney is in fact a Christian. The relevant portion of that transcript is below:
In 1 Tim. 1, Paul urges Timothy to “charge some that they teach no other doctrine” (v.3). He then indicates the nature of their error in v.7, “desiring to be teachers of the law, understanding neither what they say nor the things which they affirm.” The heretics desired to be “teachers of the law” but distorted the truth. In v.8, Paul makes a statement for our consideration: “But we know that the law is good if one uses it lawfully.” The Reformed confessions of faith summarize the biblical teaching concerning the use of God’s law which is a helpful corrective to the antinomian and legalistic tendencies in the church today, two tendencies which have the same enemy: the law of God.
The first is the civil use. Richard A. Muller defines it as “the political or civil use, according to which the law serves the commonwealth, or body politic, as a force for the restraint of sin.” The LBCF of 1689 teaches that the law written in the heart of man at creation was “delivered by God upon Mount Sinai, in ten commandments” (19:2) and then states that this “moral law doth for ever bind all, as we justified persons as others, to the obedience thereof, and that not only in regard of the matter contained in it, but also in respect of God the Creator, who gave it; neither doth Christ in the Gospel any way dissolve, but much strengthen this obligation.” The law is used by God for the restraint of His creatures.
In Matthew 12:12 Jesus exclaims, “How much more valuable is a man than a sheep.” Now, on one level that is not profound at all. We all instinctively recognize that a human being is more valuable than an animal.
Ignatius of Antioch (ca. 35-ca. 107), one of the so-called “Apostolic Fathers,” is important for our understanding of the shape of early Christian practice. It is said that he was a disciple of the apostle John and thus shares in the “living memory” of our Saviour. Ignatius’ seven letters written on the way to certain death in Rome open a window onto the first century’s view of martyrdom and church governance. On this last matter he also offers a surprise.