“We are beggars; this is true”

The Reformation can be summed up in six words, according to our pastor in his Reformation Day sermon last Sunday.  Not the solas, not some version of “Here I stand,” but the words written down on a scrap of paper that Luther had in his pocket on his deathbed:  “We are beggars; this is true.”  After the jump, read what Pastor Douthwaite says about these words. [Read more…]

When a bishop does not believe the Creed

The land of Gustavus Adolphus, who gave his life defending the Lutheran confessions, has chosen a new archbishop who denies that Christ was born of a virgin, rejects the existence of Hell, says that the Bible is not true, believes all religions are equally valid, but has a soft spot in her heart for Islam, refusing to say whether Jesus or Mohammed best reveals the nature of God.

A cry from the heart by a Swedish Christian after the jump.  But I’m curious.  It would seem that this archbishop cannot say the Apostle’s Creed, at least the part that says “I believe. . .in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary.” When she presides at a service, is she silent when that part of the creed comes up?  Or does she say “I believe” when she doesn’t believe?  I have the same question about other unbelieving ministers and laypeople.  We can see how the liturgy preserves orthodoxy even when those who lead it are not orthodox.  But it would seem that those who reject what the creed affirms and yet join in the confession of the historic church are surely perjuring themselves.   [Read more…]

A great video on baptism, inspired by the Prince

Prince George, the future King of England, was baptized yesterday.  For that occasion, the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, who baptized the prince, made a quite remarkable video about the meaning of baptism.  Read the excerpts and watch the video after the jump.  Note the very end, especially, about the Sacrament signifying that Christ is “for you.”  It sounds pretty Lutheran to me! [Read more…]

Pope Francis as evangelical?

In our continuing effort to try to figure out the new Pope of Rome–is he a liberal? a traditionalist?  a traditionalist acting liberal?–another possibility has presented itself:  Is he evangelical?  (Not “an evangelical,” but evangelical in the sense of stressing the Gospel–grace, Christ, the Word of God–more than the typical Roman Catholic pontiff?) [Read more…]

What Legalism & Licentiousness have in common

An objection being made to Tullian Tchividjian’s op-ed piece in the Washington Post that we blogged about yesterday (and that came up in our discussion too) is that legalism just isn’t the problem in the church today.  Rather, churches are rife with licentiousness.   Too much preaching of grace and forgiveness can encourage people to keep sinning.  We need more preaching of the Law to encourage people to act morally.

Actually, though, both legalism and licentiousness are different forms of self-righteousness.  The legalist thinks to earn God’s favor by his rectitude.  The libertine does whatever he wants with no guilt to hold him back.  Both are antinomian, denying their condemnation under the Law.  Both reject the Gospel because they think they don’t need it.  Neither has faith.  (Since good works are the fruits of faith, if you don’t have good works, you need more faith, which means you need more Gospel.)

That’s the way I see it.  After the jump, read Rev. Tchividjian’s response. [Read more…]

What’s missing in today’s churches

Tullian Tchividjian, Billy Graham’s grandson and the pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church,  has published an op-ed piece in the Washington Post, no less.  The problem with America’s churches today, he argues, is that so many of them have been downplaying the main message of Christianity.

We can give people the impression that Christianity is first and foremost about the sacrifices we make rather than the sacrifice Jesus made for us – our performance rather than his performance for us. The hub of Christianity is not “do something for Jesus.” The hub of Christianity is “Jesus has done everything for you.” And my fear is that too many people, both inside and outside the church, have heard our “do more, try harder” sermons and pleas for intensified devotion and concluded that the focus of the Christian faith is the work that we do instead of the work God has done for us in the person of Jesus.

After the jump, read the whole column. [Read more…]


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