Anti-Reformation


As we approach the 490th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, we need to remember that the heart of the matter was this question: ‘How can a man be made right with a holy and just God?” This is a question that we need to be asking ourselves, our families, and those with whom we come into contact. The doctrine of justification by faith alone is as important, and misunderstood, as it was before the dawn of the Protestant Reformation. May the Lord again send Reformation to His Bride.

Habakkuk 2:4 “Behold, his soul is puffed up; it is not upright within him, but the righteous shall live by his faith.

Romans 1:17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”

“The precious and momentous doctrine of justification by faith alone, when biblically preached and rightly balanced, is not a denominational or sectarian peculiarity. It is not a mere species of Christianity. It is the heart of the evangel, the kernel of the glorious gospel of the blessed triune God, and the key to the kingdom of heaven.

“Justification by faith,” John Murray writes, ” is the jubilee trumpet of the gospel because it proclaims the gospel to the poor and destitute whose only door of hope is to roll themselves in total helplessness upon the grace and power and righteousness of the Redeemer of the lost.” In our decadent and desperate day there is a crying need to reestablish and defend, with prayer and hope, in the power of the Spirit, the scriptural proclamation of this doctrine. The relevance and urgency of this doctrine relate to the identity of the church, the essence of Christian theology, the proclamation of the gospel, as well as to the scriptural-experiential foundations of the Christian faith for every one of us. Not only is justification by faith still, in Luther’s words, “the article by which the church stands or falls” (articulus stantis et cadentis ecclesiae), but by this doctrine each of us shall personally stand of fall before God. Justification by faith alone must be confessed and experienced by you and me; it is a matter of eternal life or eternal death.”
-Dr. Joel Beeke.


It seems that the media has become quite interested in the religious lives of this country’s leaders. I am sure that it is because Americans are quite interested in religion and the media is reflecting that. It always interests me to see how different people view God and His Son, Jesus Christ. It saddens me when people hold error (as I am sure it does for all who love Christ). Here are two stories that I saw in the news today concerning two prominent political leaders:

In a discussion on the article of faith, “He descended into hell” you will find much confusion. The ancients intended this phrase to mean just what it says- Jesus descended into hell after his burial. Most views say that he preached or proclaimed his triumph over sin and death before demons and/or the damned.

Reformed Christians historically deny this interpretation. We have reinterpreted this phrase in our ancient creed to mean that he either entered the place of the dead or he suffered the pains of hell on the cross. My personal belief (which does not find much support in the Reformed and Presbyterian tradition) is that we strike this phrase from our Creed or we place a giant footnote at the bottom of every printing and state that we disagree with the original meaning of the authors of the text.

As far as I see there are three camps in the Reformed tradition here:
1. Those who are revisionists and reinterpret the creed.
2. Those that do not think that it is that important to change or redefine.
3. Those who want to strike the phrase out of our ancient creed.

Of course, all three have consequences. What should be done though? Does a revisionistic interpretation open the door to liberal interpretations of the Scriptures? Does striking the line show disrespect to our ancient heritage?

Three quotes were given in the discussion that shows the confusion that this phrase has made in the evangelical world. These quotes left me astonished that some have gone so far as to redefine Christ’s atoning sacrifice to fit into a creedal system. I see these as the bad fruit of not dealing with this early on in the Protestant Reformation (I understand that the Reformers would not have been able to maintain their claim on catholicity if they began disassembling the creeds of the historic Church):

When Jesus cried, ‘It is finished!’ He was not speaking of the plan of redemption. There were still three days and nights to go through before He went to the throne…Jesus’ death on the cross was only the beginning of the complete work of redemption. -Kenneth Copeland

Do you think that the punishment for our sin was to die on a cross? If that were the case, the two thieves could have paid your price. No, the punishment was to go into hell itself and to serve time in hell separated from God…Satan and all the demons of hell thought that they had Him bound and they threw a net over Jesus and they dragged Him down to the very pit of hell itself to serve our sentence. -Fredrick Price

He [Jesus] tasted spiritual death for every man. And His spirit and inner man went to hell in my place. Can’t you see that? Physical death wouldn’t remove your sins. He’s tasted death for every man. He’s talking about tasting spiritual death. -Kenneth Hagen

There are some really tacky ways to do evangelism. The Jack Chick Track is one of the tackiest. I must confess that I have used these, and maybe will use them again in the future… like for tips at Russ’ Family Restaurant.

The one that you see to your left was one that I gave to my wife before she was a Christian. Wow! Fun stuff. Read some of these things at the link. They have the whole tract online.

This one is one of my favorites… I can totally relate to the pain of being lied to about these things!

This is Lydia.

Here is a response that Nathan emailed to World Magazine regarding their recent article on the new Creation Museum. I will post it, because I think it brings up a very good point, and since he is unable to blog, heh, I will do so for him.

Ken Ham focuses on problems in society stemming from evolutionary thoughts and views–and not taking Genesis literally. While I agree with Ken, and appreciate the work he has done and is doing, I pray he also will recognize the importance of the Sabbath Day and the impact of not keeping the Sabbath holy on society. Nathan summed this up in the last paragraph of his letter.

Exd 20:8 “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.”

Isa 58:13If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, [from] doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the LORD, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking [thine own] words.”

———-
Dear Editor,

I just received my latest World Magazine, which is always an anticipated day at the mail box! I was interested in the article, Museum With A Message about the Creation Museum that Mr. Ham has established.

What amazes me most about this museum is that despite the focus on a literal 6 day creation (which is a great purpose for a museum), Mr. Ham seems to have forgotten what occurred on the 7th day! The Museum is in violation of the 4th commandment as they work on the Sabbath and charge fees for entrance on the Sabbath day. A Christian museum that calls itself a ministry should not be open on the Lord’s Day, and especially with fees over $20 per adult. If they want to make an impact on society, they would make a stand on 6 days of creation and one day of Sabbath rest. Hebrews 4:9 says that there remains a Sabbath for the people of God.

There will be no societal impact when the world looks on and says, ‘Its business as usual at the Creation Museum.’ Obedience to the Word is what an unbelieving society needs to see, not obedience to part of it!

Nathan Eshelman

My wife, who brings a lot of theological insight into our home, had this to say to me concerning my former post, “Who cares if we were or were not a Christian nation? What do we have to do to become one now?”

This is a very good question.

She then read a quote to me from Daniel Webster that is worth sharing on the blogosphere.

If religious books are not widely circulated amongst the masses in this country, I do not know what is going to become of us as a nation. If truth be not diffused, error will be; if God and his Word are not known and received, the devil and his works will gain the ascendancy; if the evangelical volume does not reach every hamlet, the pages of a corrupt and licentious literature will; if the power of the Gospel is not felt throughout the length and breadth of the land, anarchy and misrule, degradation and misery, corruption and darkness, will reign without mitigation or end.

The power of the Gospel is the only thing that can reform a nation that is possibly more corrupt than the one from which we declared independence. Man-centered documents, political parties, rights and entitlements; they are unable to do anything in comparison to the power of the Gospel coming to sinners, families, communities, and even nations. Pray that kings of the earth would kiss the Son as they are commanded to do!


The Celtic Church fought for many years to maintain the rule of Saint Patrick against the pressures of Rome. It was not until c. 900 that Rome finally won over the hearts of the Celtic people, thus taking the ideals of Saint Patrick under the authority of a bishop that Patrick never gave homage to. Patrick is to be commemorated by Protestants as the Evangelist to Ireland. The Lord used Patrick mightily for his honor and Ireland’s good.

Thus I give untiring thanks to God who kept me faithful in the day of my temptation, so that today I may confidently offer my soul as a living sacrifice for Christ my Lord; who am I, Lord? or, rather, what is my calling? that you appeared to me in so great a divine quality, so that today among the barbarians I might constantly exalt and magnify your name in whatever place I should be, and not only in good fortune, but even in affliction? So that whatever befalls me, be it good or bad, I should accept it equally, and give thanks always to God who revealed to me that I might trust in him, implicitly and forever,and who will encourage me so that, ignorant, and in the last days, I may dare to undertake so devout and so wonderful a work; so that I might imitate one of those whom, once, long ago, the Lord already pre-ordained to be heralds of his Gospel to witness to all peoples to the ends of the earth. So are we seeing, and so it is fulfilled; behold, we are witnesses because the Gospel has been preached as far as the places beyond which no man lives. -Saint Patrick

Read the Confessio of Saint Patrick here.

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