Sins of our Forefathers, Part 12

The Reformation 

2017 marked the 500th anniversary of the prodistant reformation. But since the council called Vatican II the Catholic church has been once again uniting all faiths together under the guise of peace. There was a statement of faith which over 1500 people signed who were theologians and college professors and prominent people in the church from all over the globe. In this series we have seen a few statements from the Eccumenical Councils of the past, so here are a few statements of faith from the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. 

THE REFORMING CATHOLIC CONFESSION WHAT WE, PROTESTANTS OF DIVERSE CHURCHES AND THEOLOGICAL TRADITIONS, SAY TOGETHER

A “Mere Protestant” Statement of Faith to mark the 500th anniversary of the Reformation

“That the world is divided – by race, class, age, gender, nation, politics, and religion – is as obvious as it is tragic. That Protestants are divided is equally obvious and, given our Lord’s prayer for unity (“that they may be one” – John 17:11), even more grievous. While we regret the divisions that have followed in its wake, we acknowledge the need for the sixteenth-century Reformation, even as we recognize the hopeful possibilities of the present twenty-first century moment. Not every denominational or doctrinal difference is a division, certainly not an insurmountable one. We dare hope that the unity to which the Reformers aspired may be increasingly realized as today’s “mere” Protestants, like Richard Baxter’s and C. S. Lewis’s “mere Christians,” joyfully join together to bear united witness to the gospel of Jesus Christ and to its length, depth, breadth, and width – in a word, its catholicity. We therefore aim to celebrate the catholic impulse that lies at the heart of the earlier Reformation even as we hope and pray for ever greater displays of our substantial unity in years to come.” (You can read it in its entirety at https://reformingcatholicconfession.com/)

HOLY SCRIPTURE

That God has spoken and continues to speak in and through Scripture, the only infallible and sufficiently clear rule and authority for Christian faith, thought, and life (sola scriptura). Scripture is God’s inspired and illuminating Word in the words of his servants (Psa. 119:105), the prophets and apostles, a gracious self-communication of God’s own light and life, a means of grace for growing in knowledge and holiness. The Bible is to be believed in all that it teaches, obeyed in all that it commands, trusted in all that it promises, and revered in all that it reveals (2 Tim 3:16). 

Our refute: And yet we ignore the Hebrew Scriptures and God’s Appointed Times in Leviticus 23  and we nullify that which we chose to nullify like the 7th day Sabbath which was made holy and set apart at creation. All which was changed throughout history and not by Yeshua and His disciples. 2 Timothy 3:16 which they quote tells us, “All Scripture is inspired by God and beneficial for teaching, for rebuke, for correction, for training in righteousness;  so that the man or woman of God may be fully capable, equipped for every good work. Just to remind you, when Paul wrote these words, the only Scriptures were the Hebrew Scriptures.

JESUS CHRIST

That Jesus Christ is the eternal Son of God became human for us and our salvation (John 3:17), the only Mediator (solus Christus) between God and humanity (1 Tim. 2:5), born of the virgin Mary, the Son of David and servant of the house of Israel (Rom. 1:3; 15:8), one person with two natures, truly God and truly man. He lived a fully human life, having entered into the disorder and brokenness of fallen existence, yet without sin, and in his words, deeds, attitude, and suffering embodied the free and loving communication of God’s own light (truth) and life (salvation).

Our Refute: As we saw earlier in this series that Yeshua emptied himself as Philippians 2:5-7 tells us, “Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Messiah Yeshua,  who, as He already existed in the form of God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,  but emptied Himself by taking the form of a bond-servant and being born in the likeness of men.”  Yeshua is God, He said “I and my Father are one,” (John 1:1) yet to be the perfect sacrifice He had to do it as a man, not God. We diminish the sacrifice on His part when we say that He was able to do this because He was God.

Hebrews 2:18, “For since He Himself was tempted in that which He has suffered, He is able to come to the aid of those who are tempted.”

Hebrews 4:15, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin.”

Hebrews 2:7-9 also says this, “We have not yet seen all of this take place,  but we do see Yeshua—who for a while was a little lower than the angels—crowned now by God with glory and honor because He suffered death for us.”

THE PERSON AND WORK OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

That the Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity, the unseen yet active personal presence of God in the world, who unites believers to Christ, regenerating and making them new creatures (Tit. 3:5) with hearts oriented to the light and life of the kingdom of God and to peace and justice on earth. The Spirit indwells those whom he makes alive with Christ, through faith incorporates them into the body of Christ, and conforms them to the image of Christ so that they may glorify him as they grow in knowledge, wisdom, and love into mature sainthood, the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ (Eph. 4:13). The Spirit is the light of truth and fire of love who continues to sanctify the people of God, prompting them to repentance and faith, diversifying their gifts, directing their witness, and empowering their discipleship.

Our Refute:  The subject of the Trinity has gone back for centuries now.  God is not a man that He should be called a person. Numbers 23:19 tells us this, “God is not a man, that He would lie, Nor a son of man, that He would change His mind; Has He said, and will He not do it? Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?”

So He is not three persons in one. God is a Spirit, as Yeshua told the Samaritan woman in John 4:22-24,  “You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, because salvation is from the Jews.  But a time is coming, and even now has arrived, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”

And the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Messiah Yeshua, and Yeshua is the Word, the Logos of God. Remember the Armor of God, in Ephesians 6:17? “The Sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God”

2 Corinthians 3:17a, “Now the Lord is the Spirit,” 

Galatians 4:6, “And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” 1 Peter 1:11,  “Inquiring what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Messiah and the subsequent glories.”

 Genesis 1:2,26a, “ And the earth was a formless and desolate emptiness, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters.  Then God said, “Let Us make mankind in Our image, according to Our likeness.”

Yeshua said I and the Father are one (John 10:30). The Spirit of God, the Spirit of Messiah,  Messiah and the Father they are all one God.  Yeshua never said, I am one of three.

THE CHURCH

That the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church is God’s new society, the first fruit of the new creation, the whole company of the redeemed through the ages, of which Christ is Lord and head. The truth that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God, is the church’s firm foundation (Matt. 16:16-18; 1 Cor. 3:11). The local church is both embassy and parable of the kingdom of heaven, an earthly place where His will is done and He is now present, existing visibly everywhere two or three gather in his name to proclaim and spread the gospel in word and works of love, and by obeying the Lord’s command to baptize disciples (Matt. 28:19) and celebrate the Lord’s Supper (Luke 22:19).

Our Refute: The Catholic Church is far from the Apostolic Church. First of all, John 14: 6, says this, Yeshua said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father except through Me.” Because Yeshua said that He was the way…His followers called themselves the ‘Way,’ as Acts 19:23 tells us “About that time a major disturbance occurred in regard to the Way.” In Acts 11:25-26 was  the first time the term Chrisitans was used . “ Then Barnabas left for Tarsus to look for Saul,  and when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. For a whole year they met together with Messiah’s community and taught a large number. Now it was in Antioch that the disciples were first called “Christianoi.” Which is the combination of  Christos, which means the “anointed one” with the word follower. This term was only used a few times, here in Acts 11:26 and 26:28 and like  1 Peter 4:16 in the New Living TranslationBut it is no shame to suffer for being a Christian.” The word (Chrisitan) is applied where it was assumed, but it is not in the original manuscripts. It is believed by some that the word Chrisitan was coined by the Bishop Ignatius of Antioch. Second, the Apostolic church was in Jerusalem, not Rome, and when the Apostle traveled to spread the Salvation message they knew that Jerusalem was the main, should we say, Headquarters. When Yeshua and His disciples gathered there was no church. Those who came after them met in the synagogue for worship, and  in homes or at Solomon’s Portico for teachings and fellowship. The church is not the kingdom of heaven, for everywhere the Spirit of the Lord is there is the kingdom. Luke 17:20-21, “Now He was questioned by the Pharisees as to when the kingdom of God was coming, and He answered them and said, “The kingdom of God is not coming with signs that can be observed;  nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or, ‘There it is!’ For behold, the kingdom of God is in your midst.”

Before there was such a thing as a church of believers, Yeshua said this in Matthew 4:17,  “From that time Yeshua began to preach and say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Not only Yeshua, but John the Baptist, and the disciple, all preached the same thing. In fact when you gather in prayer in your home that also becomes part of the kingdom. 

BAPTISM AND LORD’S SUPPER

That these two ordinances, baptism and the Lord’s Supper, which some among us call “The Sacraments,” and that they are found in God’s  Word, and by the Spirit, they are proclaiming the promise of the gospel, to those who enter into them . Baptism and the Lord’s Supper communicate life in Christ to the faithful, confirming them in their assurance that Christ, the gift of God for the people of God, is indeed “for us and our salvation” and nurturing them in their faith. Baptism and the Lord’s Supper are physical focal points for key Reformation insights: the gifts of God (sola gratia) and the faith that grasps their promise (sola fide). They are tangible expressions of the gospel insofar as they vividly depict our dying, rising, and incorporation into Jesus’ body (“one bread … one body” –       1Cor. 10:16-17), truly presenting Christ and the reconciliation He achieved on the cross. Baptism and the Lord’s Supper strengthen the faithful by visibly recalling, proclaiming, and sealing the gracious promise of forgiveness of sins and communion with God and one another through the peace-making blood of Christ (1 Cor. 11:26; Col. 1:20).

Our Refute:  Matthew 28:19-20 says, “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit,  teaching them to follow all that I commanded you; and behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” So would Yeshua tell His disciples to baptize? The word baptize comes from the Greek and it means to immerse. The origin is from Judaism. The ritual of immersion was basically a purification ritual going back to the Tent of Meeting and then to the Temple itself.  God told the people to build a laver. It was for the priests to cleanse themselves before entering into the work of the Tabernacle. Later, as “God-fearers” or “righteous” Gentiles expressed their desire to convert to Judaism, priests broadened the rite’s meaning, and along with circumcision, performed an immersion into a mikvah “baptism” as a sign of the covenant given to Abraham. This is what Paul called the Works of the Law. The Mikvah was a pool of water that was free flowing, like a river would be. But when Yeshua was so called baptized, He was immersed by John, who was immersing people as a “sign of repentance.” Water is regarded in the  Hebrew Scriptures as signifying cleansing, ritual purity, and a renewal of life from defilement. Water is also associated with the Holy Spirit, and thus that is why a dove appeared above Yeshua’s head. But immersion was never for salvation or even the forgiveness of sin, but just as a sign. Many Jewish people will enter a mikvah before their wedding, or before they began a new ministry. So Yeshua would never say, Go and baptize in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, because He would have considered it entering into the mikvah, and He knew that He and the Father are one, and so He would never have said to immerse in the Father, Son and Holy  Spirit, because God is One, Plus all of it is very unJewish in thinking. But for those who were pushing the doctrine of the Trinity, they would have added this on along with the concept of their Sacrament of Baptism. Yeshua would have told His disciple to go and make disciples of all the nations,  not converts, teaching them to follow all that He commanded; and that He was with them  to the end of the age.” 

As far as the Lord’s Supper we already refuted this thinking in Part 10

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