Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Free Reformation Celebration Download materials

In case you haven't see these yet:

Free E-Book download of Martin Luther by John Piper

Free Calvin E-books at Desiring God!!

Free Audio and Video lectures about Luther and the Reformation by R. C. Sproul  (Only Today)

Monday, October 29, 2012

In the Eye of the Storm...

According to just about every channel on my TV, I'm currently in a storm like no other.  Yes, I'm on the East coast, right in the path of Hurricane Sandy. This should be interesting.

3 Benghazi Scandals? Yes; it sure seems so

Piper on Luther (also Augustine and Calvin)

In the spirit of celebrating the upcoming Protestant Reformation -
John Piper's excellent message/lecture on Martin Luther: "Lessons from his life and labor".

This became one of the chapters in his book, The Legacy of Sovereign Joy, on Augustine, Luther, and Calvin.  This is an excellent book on introducing the main issues with the lives and significance of Augustine, Luther, and Calvin.

see also Piper's lecture on Augustine: The Swan is not Silent.

Piper's lecture/message on John Calvin: The Divine Majesty of the Word.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Comparing Mormonism and theological Liberalism in the Two main candidates Faiths

1.  An excellent summary of the bottom line of the Mormon religion.  It is not Christian, as it at its core denies monotheism and God as the eternal uncaused Creator of all things.

"The Real Issue with Mormonism:  God is an exalted man" by James White

Here is just one excerpt, I encourage everyone to read Dr. White's article and also get his two books on Mormonism, which are mentioned and highlighted in this article at American Vision.

"We will look more at the evidence supporting this view of Mormonism below, but it must first be insisted that on any meaningful analysis of religious faith, Mormonism is far, far removed from Christianity. In fact, if one takes as one’s starting point the belief of a religion relating to God’s nature and God’s relationship to the universe, Mormonism is about as far removed on the theological spectrum from Christianity as any religion could be. Whether a religious movement believes in monotheism or polytheism is the first indicator of its nature and categorization, and on this point, Joseph Smith separated his followers for all time from Christianity when he made the statement, quoted above, “We have imagined and supposed that God was God from all eternity. I will refute that idea, and take away the veil, so that you may see.” In refuting this idea, Smith made it possible for me accurately and forthrightly to say today: Islamic theology of Allah is significantly closer to Christianity in its affirmation of God’s uniqueness, creatorship, and eternality, than Mormonism ever could be. This is a fact known to anyone who takes seriously the teachings of the General Authorities of the LDS Church."  Dr. James White
2.  President Obama's Faith - the article here by Denny Burk, linking to an interview that a journalist did with then Senator Barak Obama, shows he doesn't believe in the Bible or the doctrines that would make his "faith" true faith.  Also, he supports radical abortion and infanticide, same sex marriage, and refuses to call Islamic terrorism what it is.  And the Benghazi/Lybia scandal will eventually become worse than the Watergate/Nixon scandal, I think, given enough time.  Unfortunately, the main stream media is not reporting on this very much, and they and Obama's team seem to be trying to avoid it until after the election.  Among many other bad economic and social and defense policies . . .

"President Obama's Christianity" - By Denny Burk

When Denny uses the term "liberal Christian" to describe President Obama, he means a theological liberal, which means Obama is not a Christian at all, since theological liberalism denies all the essentials of doctrine that make faith in Christ true faith in the real Christ.  J. Greshem Machen wrote a famous book, Christianity and Liberalism, in 1923, where he shows that theological liberalism using Christian words in main line churches, is not Christianity at all.

Denny Burk February 27, 2012 at 6:14 pm #
When I use the term “liberal Christian,” I mean to denote a theological liberal, which is not a synonym for political liberal. A person can have politically liberal views and still have conservative theological beliefs.


In short, though candidate Obama professes to be a Christian, his beliefs are that of a theological liberal. Here’s a summary with some quotes:
  • He believes that “there are many paths to the same place,” and he doesn’t believe that God would “consign four-fifths of the world to hell” for not believing the gospel.
  • When asked about his belief in the afterlife, he says he doesn’t know if there is one.
  • Obama defines “sin” as “being out of alignment with my values.”
  • Obama says that one need not embrace “Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and savior” to avoid judgment.
  • When asked “Who’s Jesus to you,” what Obama didn’t say is as important as what he did say. He confesses Jesus to be a “historical figure” and “wonderful teacher” but says nothing about Jesus being a Savior, Messiah, or Son of God.
  • He confesses that he doesn’t necessarily subscribe to his own church’s “set of doctrines.”

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Guarding Our Speech

"Not many of you should become bloggers, my brothers, for you know that they who blog will be judged with greater strictness."

I came across this nifty little sentence in an article by Mark E. Ross, "Guarding Our Speech"  in the October 2012 edition of Tabletalk. He states,

"Nothing should be posted that is not true, and far too often the criticisms posted of others are without sufficient basis for making public accusations. Even when what is said is true, it may not be appropriate to put out that information to the whole world. Whatever we wish that others do to us, we should do to them, for this is the law and the prophets (Matt. 7:12)." (p.63)

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Reformation Overview: Zwingli and Calvin

I know this is pretty basic stuff, but I learned more about Zwingli here than I did in seminary, of what I recall.  [I still need to read more of James Swan's past articles on Zwingli.] We had to read so much on Luther and Calvin and other issues, that maybe I skipped the pages I was supposed to read on Zwingli.

I thought this was a pretty good overview of Zwingli and Calvin.  I either fell asleep in seminary when they talked about the execution of Felix Manz for his having himself re-baptized, or they spent so much time on Luther and Calvin, and the Arminian Anabaptists, that I did not know about that until I watched this video.

The first time I saw this (within the last 2-3 years), I was shocked that the Zurich city council executed Feliz Manz by drowning, just because he rejected his infant baptism and had himself re-baptized.  That is still amazing to me that they were that extreme back then.  I assume that Manz and the other students of Zwingli were more "Reformed" in their theology, in contrast to the more famous group of Anabaptists, who were very Arminian in theology and pacifists.

I was impressed with Zwingli copying by hand the NT Greek text of Erasmus for himself and his model of expository teaching and preaching (verse by verse, book by book).  It seems Calvin is more famous for that, because Zwingli was killed in the second battle of Kappel in 1531; and Calvin's sermons were all written down and later published.  It seems the other person who was the first to exemplify Expository Preaching was John Chrysostom in the late 300s to early 400s.

The dispute between Luther and Zwingli on the Lord's Supper is famous.  I was disappointed in the abrupt way it ends, without explaining that Luther wrote "this is My body" on the table in chalk, and the need for a little more elaboration on that issue.  Good to know that they agreed on 14 out of 15 points of doctrine against the Roman Catholic Church.

The Calvin overview was bare bones basic.  Since I have sought to study more on Calvin than what is here, I wish they had gone into more details on him, his life, and his theology; and I wish they would have given more context to the Servetus issue and his execution - that Calvin wrote letters to Servetus while he was in prison and Calvin pleaded with him to repent; and Calvin also asked the city council to not burn Servetus, but to execute him in a more swift and merciful way.  They did not listen to Calvin.

Oops; I forgot Part c of Zwingli and Calvin!

From what I have understood, Servetus denied that Jesus was the eternal Son of God, the Deity of Christ, and the Trinity, and had published several books not just denying these doctrines personally, but was spreading these heresies and seeking to win people to his views.  So, it seems Servetus thought Jesus was some kind of creature, "son of God", but not the eternal only unique Son, the Word, who existed from all eternity.

There are other sections of this "Reformation Overview" that was done by Ken Curtis of the Christian History Institute.

There are six parts.  Each part is around 30 minutes, but most of them are broken into 3 parts for the You Tube series, so they will all be around 8-10 minutes each.  Look around for the others there at the side bar of the YouTube site for the others.  It seems like an excellent series for a church for introducing the main historical issues and persons of the Reformation period.

1. John Wycliffe - part 1a - look for parts b and c
2.  Jan Huss - part 2a - look around for parts b and c
3. Martin Luther - part 3a - look around for parts b and c
4. Zwingli and Calvin - part 4a - look for b and c
5. The Anabaptists- part 5a - look for b and c
6. William Tyndale - part 6a - look for b and c

One can order the entire series on one DVD from Vision Video/Gateway Films here. 

Sunday, October 21, 2012

On Luther's Mariology...From Someone Studying For the Roman Priesthood

Last week I received some comments from a man studying to become a Roman Catholic priest. He had come across the comment attributed to Luther,"One should honor Mary as she herself wished and as she expressed it in the Magnificat. She praised God for his deeds. How then can we praise her?, etc."  What was interesting to me is he likewise traced this quote back to William Cole's article “Was Luther a Devotee of Mary?” (Marian Studies Volume XXI, 1970, pages 132-133) and then tried to subsequently find the quote in a primary source. He likewise could not find the quote in question in that primary source.

This is one of those quotes that has become popular in cyberspace because of its usage by Roman Catholic apologists. After a discussion over this quote last year (over on Gene Veith's blog) I put together these subsequent entries:

Luther: Mary does not wish that we come to her, but through her to God

Luther: Mary does not wish that we come to her, but through her to God (Part Two)

William Cole's quote is actually a rather "loose" compilation of multiple Luther quotes, from different treatises, with an emphasis on Luther's exposition of the Magnificat. If you count it all up, Cole provides around 20 references for 7 lines from Luther. 20 references? Something, obviously, doesn't add up. In the second link above, I took the time to track down almost all of those 20 references. That is, I did the work Roman Catholic apologists using this quote should have done in the first place.

While I would probably have significant disagreements with this man studying for the priesthood, one thing we certainly do agree on: check the quotes purported to come from Luther (or anyone for that matter).

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Searching For the Real Martin Luther in the Movies

It's that time of year in which articles trickle out about the Reformation. A recent offering comes from David Steinmetz: Searching For the Real Martin Luther. The article focuses on the three major films about Luther. Most of you  are probably aware of the 1953 movie and the more recent 2003 version with Joseph Fiennes. There is though a third movie from the early 1970's. Steinmetz rightly points out that none of these movies captured the real Luther. In fact, if you were to watch all three back to back, you'd see three different Luther's.

 Of the three movies, the worst (in my opinion) is the early 70's film. For those of you with Netflix, you can stream it online. The movie is based on John Osborne's play. Osborne relied heavily on Erik Erikson's Young Man Luther, so this film (like the earlier play) attempts to capture Erikson's slant on the psychology of Luther. Osborne's play was taken apart some years earlier by Gordon Rupp: "John Osborne and the Historical Luther" (The Expository Times 1962; 73; 147). That article is worth tracking down and reviewing previous to watching the early 70's film. The last time I attempted to watch this film, I shut it off about half way through due to its interpretation of Luther.

The quintessential Luther movie is yet to be made. For those of you who plan on showing any of these movies at your church or youth group, etc. you need to keep in mind that these films are interpretations history. Each has its strengths and weaknesses. I know the 2003 film is shown in churches. I suggest at least taking a peak at these reviews.