It has long struck me how many evangelicals–including some of the most anti-Catholic–actually hold to a Roman Catholic soteriology, though without the sacraments, putting a big emphasis on the role of the will, good works, and moral perfection in salvation. Now some evangelicals are advocating belief in Purgatory. Scott McKnight reviews a book that makes the case for an evangelical doctrine of Purgatory. [Read more…]
Roman Catholic theologian David Cloutier gives a lucid explanation of “gradualism,” that take on moral theology that allows for greater acceptance of same-sex and cohabiting couples without, supposedly, compromising traditional morality. (This is the view that gave us the first report from the Vatican’s synod on the family, though not the final report.) What do you think of this reasoning? (I’ll offer some thoughts after the excerpt after the jump.) [Read more…]
Two Sundays ago, the sermon was on these parables from Matthew 13:
44 “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.
45 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, 46 who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it.
These are usually interpreted as the Kingdom of Heaven being so valuable that we need to do everything to get it, but Pastor Douthwaite pointed out that the Old Testament reading for the day, Deuteronomy 7:6, says that God’s people are His treasure. And that . The one who spent the most valuable thing He had to buy something He wanted was Christ redeeming us (1 Peter 18:20). The ones who are buried and covered are us (Romans 6:4). Therefore, you are the treasure in the field. You are the pearl of great price. Christ has paid everything for you. [Read more…]
Fred Phelps, founder of Westboro Baptist church in Topeka, Kansas, is dead. This congregation of 80 members–most of which are members of the large Phelps family–made a name for itself with its “God hates fags” protest signs and its protests at military funerals with signs reading “Thank God for dead soldiers.”
Read this to learn about the Westboro congregation and its beliefs. Phelps was reportedly excommunicated from his own church recently for advocating “kinder” treatment of fellow members, though this has not been confirmed.
Here we see the dysfunctions of legalism, in which a zeal for righteousness results in unrighteousness, in which the Christian gospel that proclaims “God loves you” is countered by the proclamation that “God hates you.” Isn’t this a pretty clear example of the Devil having his way in the church to undermine its message and to discredit Christianity? [Read more…]
More from our pastor’s sermon last Sunday on Christ’s conversation with Nicodemus (John 3). From Rev. James Douthwaite, St. Athanasius Lutheran Church: Lent 2 Sermon:
Nicodemus is thinking about what man does or can do; Jesus is talking about what God does, and what God has promised. Nicodemus was thinking of how man can get to God; Jesus is talking about God coming to man. Nicodemus is thinking works; Jesus is talking grace, or gift. [Read more…]