2. ROME AND SCRIPTURE AUTHORITY
When our Lord was among them, the Jews had obscured and disallowed the testimony of the Old Testament Scrip-tures by their vain tradition. Jesus tells them they are guilty of "Making the word of God of none effect through your vain tradition" (Mark 7:13). Moses had been elevated by the Pharisees almost to deity, yet even his writings were not sufficient for them. Their real allegiance was to a continuing, living voice of tradition, the product of apostasy, and so they were unable to see Christ in Moses and the prophets.
"Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. ...Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father: there is one that accuseth you, even Moses, in whom ye trust. For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me. But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words? ...But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name." John 5:39, 45-47; 20:31
The Roman Catholic Church too has so obscured the Scriptures with tradition that Christ is no longer visible. Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274), arguably the most significant of all Roman Catholic theologians, wrote, "no error or un-truth can be found in Scripture". Despite this, the 'living voice' of Christ in the Roman Church is his real final authority. The Council of Trent (1545-63) determined to oppose the revival of Gospel truth and anathematised any thought of sola scriptura, cornerstone of the Reformation. The source of all saving truth and discipline of conduct is said to be
"... contained in written books and in unwritten traditions, which were received by the Apostles from the lips of Christ himself, or, by the same Apostles, at the dictation of the Holy Spirit, and were handed on and have come down to us; following the example of the orthodox Fathers, this Synod receives and ven-erates, with equal pious affection and reverence, all the books both of the New and the Old Testaments, since one God is the author of both, together with the said Traditions ,as well those pertaining to faith as those pertaining to morals, as having been given either from the lips of Christ or by the dictation of the Holy Spirit and preserved by unbroken succession in the Catholic Church... if any one receive not [the books of Old and New Testaments, plus Apocrypha] as they are contained in the old Latin vulgate edition; and knowingly and deliberately contemn the traditions aforesaid; let him be anathema.
...[no one must] presume to interpret the said sacred Scripture contrary to that sense which holy mother church, - whose it is to judge of the true sense and interpretation of the holy Scriptures, - hath held and doth hold; or even contrary to the unanimous consent of the Fathers; even though such interpretations were never to be at any time published." 'On Scripture and Tradition', Session IV, 8th April 1546 [emphasis ours]
The Decrees of the First Vatican Council of 1870 open with the teaching that the church, meaning Rome, is the spouse of Christ and the teacher of truth and morals. In the second chapter the subject is revelation, where it is argued that some things may be known truly by the light of human reason on its own.
"The same holy mother church holds and teaches that God, the beginning and end of all things, may be certainly known by the light of reason, by means of created things; ...but that it pleased his wisdom and bounty to reveal himself, and the eternal decrees of his will, to mankind by another and supernatural way: as the Apostle says, 'God, having spoken...'"
The Roman Catholic church recognises that, using the methodology of Aristotle, by the 'natural light of reason' a proper understanding of 'nature' and some knowledge of God may be acquired; what is then required additionally is the teaching of the church on things supernatural in order to acquire a comprehensive picture of reality. In things 'natural', reason is said to rule. Science and philosophy may uncover truth and knowledge in the natural realm, but their ultimate significance can only be ascertained through the 'living voice' of Christ incarnate in holy mother church!
The Bible teaches that as man came forth from the hand of God, he was possessed of a righteousness that was a natural part of his overall make-up in every part of his being. God made man morally upright and good. When he fell every part of man was affected by it. Body, soul, and spirit were all warped by sin. Contrary to this, Roman theology supposes original righteous-ness to have been supernatural and additional to human nature. Following Greek philosophy, the body is said, even from creation, to be in constant conflict with the unseen spiritual part of man. In order that the flesh should be kept subject to the spirit, God gave original righteousness to keep every-thing under control. This 'original righteousness' was lost to man at the fall. Spirituality was equated with denying the material and physical, the problem was not one of the sins of the heart (cf. Mark 7:15-23). Celibacy and monasticism were seen as ways of denying the demands of the body, escaping the material and physical world which was intrinsically flawed. The Roman Catholic view of sin and salvation is defective and must necess-arily be other than biblical.
The meaning of all this is very straightforward: contrary to the teach-ing of the Bible, Rome maintains that although having this lost original righteousness the image of God in man remains intact, his mind, his will, and inclinations are largely what they were before the fall. Any imperfections are found in his non-rational physical make-up and that is simply the way he was created by God. Man's mind, his will, his heart, remain largely un-affected by the fall. What he does and thinks is therefore not affected by an inherently sinful nature as Scripture teaches, but by a less than perfect physical constitution for which he is not to blame. Sin is said to be only in part rebellion against God, it is also a non-ethical deterioration of natural ability. A man in this condition, were this the true nature of the case, stands in need of no revelation, no Scripture, no illumination of the Holy Spirit, in order to understand himself aright or the world around him. Christian teach-ing is just additional to what he is still able to find out for himself without God. Man's ability to reason, being part of his non-physical make-up, has not been warped by an inherently sinful nature as Scripture teaches, anymore than his ability to do works pleasing to God has been altogether lost. Rome thus agrees with every godless un-believer who relies on his reason and discards Scripture, and it also defends to the last, the filthy rags of homespun righteousness.
For all her formal acknowledge-ment of the inspiration and authority of the Bible, the Roman Catholic church does not, and indeed cannot, call her people to submit to the authority of God's Word.
All within Rome are bound not to the Word of the eternal God, but to the perfidious teachings of an apostate institution. In a chapter dealing with 'Faith and Reason', the Vatican I documents endorse the earlier decrees of Trent, retaining for Rome alone the right to determine and declare the sense of both Scripture and Tradition.
"For the doctrine of faith which God hath revealed has not been proposed, like a philosophical invention, to be perfected by human ingenuity, but has been delivered as a divine deposit to the Spouse of Christ, to be faithfully kept and infallibly declared."
The relationship between faith and reason is not found in submission and trust in the infallible revelation of the sacred Scriptures, but each constitutes in itself an equally valid source of truth. Indeed, by mixing one with the other, the attributes of both are heightened. There is said to be a ...
"...twofold order of knowledge distinct both in principle and also in object; in principle, because our knowledge in the one is by natural reason, and in the other by divine faith; there are proposed to our belief mysteries hidden in God, which, unless divinely revealed, cannot be known.
...And not only can faith and reason never be opposed to one another, but they are of mutual aid one to the other; for right reason demonstrates the foundations of faith, and enlightened by its light cultivates the science of things divine; while faith frees and guards reason from errors, and furnishes it with manifold knowledge." [emphasis ours]
So that we are in no danger of missing any of the infallible declarations of the church, the 'perpetuity of the primacy of blessed Peter in the Roman pontiffs' is added. What we are really left with is a Bible of very watered down authority; indeed, with no real auth-ority left at all. After being filtered through Rome's error, blasphemy, and heretical teaching, the precious Word of our God is set alongside a good mixture of autonomous Christ-hating human reason, but the final insult is that it is replaced as the ultimate word in all matters by a fraudulent successor to the apostle Peter, an impostor, a bogus representative of the Saviour on earth. Tradition, human reason, but crowing all, the pope is declared to be the 'supreme judge of the faithful' with 'supreme jurisdiction over the universal church', possessing 'the supreme power of teaching'. When he speaks ex cathedra, 'when in discharge of the office of pastor and doctor of all Christians, by virtue of his supreme Apostolic authority' his definitions of morals and faith are 'irreformable of themselves, and not from the consent of the church.' When the pope speaks, when the church speaks, the astounding claim is that it is the voice of Christ! What a lie, what sinful arrogance this all is! Unity with Rome? You have got to be joking.
It is often suggested that within the Roman Church since Vatican II (1963-65) there is now a new climate of open-mindedness towards Scripture and protestants. A wind of change is blowing, some wind, some change! We are led to believe there has been a change of heart since Trent. Those who were once heretics have become 'departed brethren'. The softened and beguiling tones call for dialogue. Are there really now more hopeful sounds coming from Rome than was the case in the 16th century? To find the answer we need look no further than the documents of Vatican II. By the confession of her own mouth there has been no change. What can be said on the theological level is that many protestant theologians, in particular those in the neo-orthodox tradition, have joined their Roman Catholic counterparts in opposing the authority of Scripture. On the first day of the Council, 11th October, 1962 pope John made his opening speech and this was hardly encouraging.
"In calling this vast assembly of bishops, the latest and humble successor to the Prince of the Apostles who is addressing you intended to assert once again the magisterium (teaching authority), which is unfailing and perdures until the end of time, in order that this magisterium, taking into account the errors, the requirements, and the opportunities of our time, might be presented in exceptional form to all men throughout the world. ...
The greatest concern of the Ecumenical Council is this: that the sacred deposit of Christian doctrine should be guarded and taught more efficaciously.
...the renewed, serene, and tranquil adherence to all the teaching of the Church in its entirety and preciseness, as it still shines forth in the Acts of the Council of Trent and First Vatican Council ... The substance of the ancient doctrine of the deposit of faith is one thing, and the way in which it is presented is another. And it is the latter that must be taken into great consideration with patience if necessary, everything being measured in the forms and proportions of a magisterium which is predominantly pastoral in character."
(all quotations from The Documents of Vatican II, ed. Walter M. Abbott, London, 1966)
Given that the teaching magisterium is absolute and therefore above question, it follows that in Roman Catholic terms, it matters little that Scripture and tradition may be two equal sources of revelation, for both are subject to this infallible teaching office. The only changes we find in Rome are those of a shameless chameleon changing its outward appearance to accommodate the changed environment of our age, but essentially the beast is the same. The second chapter of the Vatican II documents deals with the transmission of divine revelation, where we read:
"Sacred tradition and sacred Scripture form one sacred deposit of the word of God which is committed to the Church. The task of authentically interpreting the word of God, whether written or handed on, has been entrusted exclusively to the living teaching office of the Church."
Clearly, no change! It is a reiteration of Trent without the anathemas. In the bosom of the Roman church alone can men hear through the pope or the body of bishops an authentic and infallible interpretation of the mysteries of God. The ends are the same though the means may have changed. The Catholic church now
"...desires to show herself to be the loving mother of all, benign, patient, full of mercy and goodness toward the brethren that are separated from her."
For the time being at least, the Roman church no longer openly anathematises and burns heretics at the stake, instead her siren voice lures them to destruction within herself. As martyrs were not terrified by her threats, no more shall we be deceived by her false charms.
If we read these documents from the Roman church with care, we shall see that she places herself not in submission to the Word of God, but in a very real way above it. She determ-ines what it is that God has to say to men. By contrast, the Bible makes it very clear that it is the Holy Spirit alone who is the infallible guide to the believer reading God's Word. Roman Catholic theology teaches that Christ is so identified with the church in His incarnation that it is actually continued in her, so full is she with the living Christ. There remains an on-going incarnation, an on-going sacrifice, an on-going revelation, a 'living voice' of Christ in the Church. In such a situation the idea of a finished salvation and a finished revelation is impossible. There is no finished hist-ory, no finished revelation, no finished salvation and man has a hand some-where in them all!
To show that she really cannot submit to one, final authoritative revelation requires yet a little more investigation, and this will be something like disentangling a kitten playing with a ball of wool - try not to lose the thread! Again, we must begin with creation. Important to a biblical under-standing of creation is the divide that exists between God and all that He made. There is God and there is all He created. There are all those things God made, all have a beginning; there is God, who had no beginning, but exists in eternity. In becoming man, this divide between God and His creatures was crossed by the Lord Jesus, but this same divide has never been, and can never be crossed in the other direction. It is important to note that the Lord Jesus became fully man whilst at the same time retaining His deity, nor was there any mixture of His divine and human natures. They each remained distinct in one person and this must ever be so. Thomas Aquinas, however, established within Roman Catholic theology a synthesis with Greek philosophy, removing any distinction between the being of God and the created being of men. Being was all one, any difference is thereby made one of degree rather than of kind. The indissoluble distinction between the Creator and His creatures is blurred or completely disappears.
In absorbing this heathen notion, the Roman church seems to have some interesting bed-fellows. The same idea lies at the heart of the mysticism of Meister Eckhart and Jacob Böhme, and the romantic philosophy of Schelling, who in turn influenced Coleridge. It is present in some pentecostal and holiness teaching, and is characteristic of much New Age thinking. Feuerbach, the German philosopher, wrote,
"To predicate the personality of God is nothing else than to declare personality as the absolute essence" (in The Essence of Christianity).
All this is a futile attempt to bring God down to the level of man and elevate man to the level of God. Feuerbach again,
"theology is nothing else than anthro-pology ... the knowledge of God is nothing else than a knowledge of man."
Divine attributes are to be snatched down from the skies to earth again from whence they were supposedly originally stolen, projected heaven-wards onto a heavenly Being before whom man now falls in abject humility. Deity is to be restored to man. The deification of man could only have one outcome: the death of God in Western civilisation and the emergence of the superman in the blasphemous philos-ophy of the German pastor's son, Friedrich Nietzsche, a man condemned by the God he so maligned to tragic and irreversible insanity. Atheism is redefined. No longer is atheism a denial of a God who anyway is long since gone from the scene, but it is a denial of His attributes as now being possessed instead by man. God has gone, and those who deny man has taken His place, they are the atheists now! Feuerbach:
"The true atheist is not the man who denies God, the subject; it is the man for whom the attributes of divinity, such as love, wisdom and justice, are nothing. And denial of the subject is by no means necessarily denial of the attributes."
Other members of this motley band of academic brigands include the Marxist disciple of Feuerbach, Bakunin, who spoke of the 'mirage of God'; and the demythologising theologian, Rudolf Bultmann, who wrote
"I am trying to substitute anthropology for theology, for I am interpreting theological affirmations as assertions about human life." Kerygma and Myth, vol. 1
Quotations from men of similar ilk could easily fill our pages: Tillich, Bonhoeffer, Kierkegaard, and many more.
These men are worse than rank atheists for they would clothe their stinking theological corpses, their godless philosophies, in the garments of biblical language.
Those attributes thought to be the peculiar and distinguishing characteris-tics of deity are now said to be common to all human experience. Professor John Macmurray writes,
"The conception of a deity is the concep-tion of a personal ground of all that we experience. ...Religion is about fellowship and community. ...The task of religion is the maintenance and extension of human community."
Reading these words, it is easy to see why this man is so admired by 'new Labour' prime minister, Blair; and we need to remember this is what he means when speaking of Christianity. We should beware of all those who speak of 'communal experience'. This idea is somewhat reminiscent of a statement in Mao Tse Tung's infamous 'little red book', "Our God is none other than the masses of the Chinese people".
In the Roman Catholic version of these ideas, all being is said to be one, with God having fullness of being. This continuity of being enables man to ascribe to himself attributes and pre-rogatives that in reality belong only to God. When Roman Catholic theology declares that man is free, it means more than simply not being so radically affected by sin as the Bible says he is, it means man actually sharing the same being as God is to some extent ultimate. Man may have tripped, but he has not fallen very far. The will of man is of the same kind as that of God and so he is able to initiate that which is totally new. Men have autonomy and independence of thought and will of the same kind as God. Men can make decisions and generate thoughts that are right, without reference to God. God, therefore, does not have any real control over history as man can also determine what comes to pass. Any act, any thought of man is ultimate in its own right and is not dependent upon God. At first it appears there is an absolute authority in Rome in the figure of the pope. However, his authority is not absolute at all, but relative to the free and autonomous human will, his own and that of every human being. In Roman thinking, whilst the pope may be the highest on a sliding scale of human authorities, the will of every human being can be exercised along-side and outside the purposes of God and as such con-stitutes an independent authority in its own right. As the pope himself will also rely to some extent on his own autonomous mind, it being a source of knowledge of the same kind as that of God, even by his own standards it is not possible for him to speak authoritatively from God. The whole idea of an infallible pope is nonsensical and contradictory gobbledegook.
Roman Catholicism is a humanistic religion, it is also pure, unadulterated mysticism. This makes it one with many other false teachings and turns it effectively into the largest cult there ever was. It is in the nature of mysticism to claim that those initiated into the secrets enjoy direct access to God, effectively bypassing the Scrip-tures. This may be through the offices of a church or sect, or an 'inner light', intuition of some kind, mysterious teaching, experiences, dreams, proph-ecies, or visions. All who deny or limit the definitive once-for-all revelation of the Bible in this way have embraced a false mysticism. There is one faith, once delivered. "Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write to you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints." Jude 3
With the coming of the Son of God to earth, the revelation of God since the beginning was now brought to a climax. The revelation of all previous ages was now complete.
"God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high." Hebrews 1:1-3
Today our Lord is no longer on earth, but is seated at the Father's right hand having finished the work His Father gave Him to do.
"I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work thou gavest me to do." John 17:4
There is no longer any personal, physical revelation of Christ in our midst outside of the Scriptures, nor can there be, for He is seated in heaven (Acts 2:33-36). After our Lord's ascension into heaven and at a time before the canon of Scripture was complete, all who were granted a vision of the risen Christ saw Him reigning not on earth, but in heaven.
"But he [Stephen], being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God. And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God." Acts 7:55-56
All claims to the contrary are bogus. Christ cannot be in more than one place at once in His physical body. Until that day when every eye shall see Him, He will not leave His Father's side to return to earth.
"Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. For there shall arise many false Christs, and false prophets" Matthew 24:23-24
Such as lay claim to a physical revelation of Christ outside the Scriptures are false prophets. This fact alone reduces the Roman Mass to a blasphemous absurdity.
These eyes do not see our Saviour, nor these ears hear His voice. How then can we who are on earth have access to God's final and perfect Word, who is no longer on earth? We need an authoritative Word. Where shall we find a lamp to our feet and a light unto our path? There is one objective, verbal, authoritative revelation of Christ today on earth, one direct line, one voice from heaven: the inspired Scriptures, preserved perfectly by God, and illuminated to our hearts and minds by the Holy Spirit. With this last inscripturation, revelation is completed. Men may cry to heaven for a word from God, they will hear nothing, and see nothing. The work of Christ is complete, God has nothing more to say than He has said in Christ and this we find infallibly recorded in the Bible. How can we possibly think we need more than is to be found in Christ, who is "made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption" (1 Corinthians 1:30)? Shall we exhaust the riches in Christ and then still ask for more?
As all before pointed to a coming Christ, so all afterwards points back to His completed work. Without faith in that finished work there is no way to be saved. There is no blessing God has to give to anyone apart from in Christ. There is nothing that does not stem from our Saviour's once-and-forever sacrifice of Himself. Even the godless experience God's goodness day by day only for our Saviour's sake, they would otherwise not be spared. Having given His Son, God has nothing more to say to anyone than that He has said in Him. What more must God do in demonstration of His love than to give His only begotten Son? To expect more is wicked and insulting.
"He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?" Romans 8:32
Only were the redemptive work of Christ still on-going would we need further information, further revelation.
To say, or even to imply, that the revelation of Scripture on its own is insufficient or incomplete, and that more revelation is needed, is to suppose that the work of the Lord Jesus is also unfinished and continuing and that as a result we stand in need of being kept constantly up-to-date by a new 'word' from God. Those trusting an unfinished salvation are most certainly not trusting Christ and are still in their sins.
Beware dear friend, if you are among those claiming new revelations, be clear what it is you are denying and the danger you are in.
"But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God" Hebrews 10:12
God will add nothing more to Scriptures, nor dare we. Those then who make such claims are liars.
"Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him. Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar" Proverbs 30:5-6
What we are being told is that the Word of God must have something added to it. What is really happening is that men are heaping their own inventions upon what God has given us in Christ. The Scriptures say, "God imputeth righteousness without works" (Romans 4:6). Should our faith embrace Christ plus anything, then we remain lost sinners. There is nothing to be added to what Christ has done on our behalf, there is nothing new to be added to what God has said about what Christ has done.
Martin Luther said that he would rather obey than work miracles. Longing for more than is found in Scriptures is not a sign of spirituality and faith, but of apostasy and unbelief. This is as true of those who demand miracles, signs and wonders as it is of those who expect God to somehow step into our age and do something more than is to be found in the Gospel given in Scripture. There is nothing we can possibly need that is not already ours in Christ.
"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ." Ephesians 1:3
All present blessings stem from what God has already given us in His Son. God has done all there is to do in Christ, and all we need to know about Him is in the Bible!
"An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas: for as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth." Matthew 12:39-40
This is the only sign with power to save, we refuse it at our peril. If we refuse the greatest sign of all, let us expect no other from God. The truth is, if we are not ready to accept what God has already given, shall we respond any differently should He speak again? Clearly, we would not. "If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead" Luke 16:31
Those who ask for more would be no more ready to submit and believe even were God to grant their request. Those who would meet Christ Jesus today will receive no blinding flash from heaven. Would we be led to Christ? We shall meet Him as the Holy Spirit illuminates the pages of Scripture until what we read there becomes our own exper-ience by faith.
Only when we adhere to the biblical teaching of a self-sufficient, unique, and sovereign God, dependent upon no one, can we call people to confess their sin and submit, repent, and turn in unreserved faith and dependence upon Christ alone for salvation. Only then does the voice of our Creator God come to us in the pages of Scripture with real authority. Because, according to Roman theology, men participate in one ultimate kind of being, man is free not under the sovereign will and plan of God as Scripture teaches, but because his own will is said to be of the same sort as that of God. Man, like God, can determine how history will turn out. So it is that the deeds of men can never in any final sense be subject to the will of God. God cannot even predict what is going to happen. He must wait and see what millions of people will first decide to do, each one able to do that which is entirely new and unpredictable. There can be no infallible final revelation in Scripture in such a situation. God needs to keep adding new information. Rome makes man sovereign in his own realm, and God in His. There is no sovereign grace in the Roman church and man can thwart God's purpose at every turn, in the end he is above God Himself. Only where God has all things in His hands can there be a once-for-all revelation, and a once-for-all act of salvation on behalf of sinners. The biblical view of Scripture strikes at the heart of Roman error. The two stand together. His work is finished, and God has given us a completed interpretation of it in Scripture through the apostles. We have a finished work and a finished revelation in the Bible, a true and certain salvation. Believers submit to Scripture; no tradition, no pope stands between.
It is not surprising that protestant charismatics should link arms with their Roman 'brethren' for both recognise the authority of on-going extra-biblical revelation.
The collateral to the authority in the Roman Catholic church of an apostolic succession is in modern pentecostal churches the contin-uance in this day of 'apostolic gifts',
gifts that in fact passed away with the apostles. These so-called charismatic 'gifts' not only make continued revelation possible but give it apostolic authority. There is no way round this conclusion, despite protestations to the contrary by more moderate pente-costals. The authority of Rome is an 'apostolic' office, whilst 'apostolic' gifts constitute the authority of pentecostalism and the charismatic movement. The only apostolic 'succession' recognised by true believers is the succession of apostolic teaching perfectly preserved for us by God in the Scriptures. A genuine gathering of the Lord's people is very easily recognised.
"Then they that gladly received his word were baptised ...And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers." Acts 2:41-42
What is surprising to observe is the rush of so many evangelicals to 'kiss' the pope; a Judas kiss, if ever there was one. Very recently this has been exemplified in the 'Evangelicals and Catholics Together' movement in which Dr Jim Packer has been so prominent. Whilst it is sad to behold this shameful toadying to Rome, a careful reading of his book Fundamentalism and the Word of God (1958) is enough to demonstrate that the foundation for such a move had already been laid long ago. His views on faith and reason share common elements with Rome.
"We shall, therefore, continue loyal to the evidence both of Scripture and empirical enquiry, resolved to do justice to all the facts from both sources ...The truth is that the facts of nature yield positive help in many ways for interpreting Scripture statements correctly, and the discipline of wrestling with the problem of relating the two sets of facts, natural and biblical, leads to a greatly enriched understanding of both." [emphasis ours]
This is straight from Aristotle, straight from Aquinas! Here are two sets of authoritative 'facts'. One set comes straight from the mouth of God, the other from the observations of a fallen human mind. Indeed, the musings of sinful man about the world in which he lives may help him to understand the Bible better! Unless submitted to Scripture, the thoughts of even the best of men will be as lost as their souls. The truth is that the 'facts' we observe are what the Bible says they are.
Unity with Rome is sought on the basis of teachings supposedly held in common, particularly from the early Christian creeds. As we have already begun to see, whilst the labels may be the same that is where the similarity comes to an end. The Roman Catholic understanding of the incarnation or the atonement, two areas where there is said to be common ground, is far removed from what the Bible itself teaches; as is her understanding, for that matter, of the early Church creeds, particularly since Aquinas brewed his cauldron-mix of theology and philosophy. Roman 'grace' is not the amazing free grace of God reaching out to wretched sinners, it is a heathen fabrication. Wrong in these matters means wrong every-where else. We have nothing in common with these people, we do not even worship the same God!
Click here to go to: ONLY ONE AUTHENTIC WORD (Part ONE):
INTRODUCTION & Part 1. FAITH, REASON, AND THE WORD OF GOD
Click here to go to: ONLY ONE AUTHENTIC WORD (Part THREE)
Part 3. SCIENCE, HISTORY AND SCRIPTURE
Click here to go to: ONLY ONE AUTHENTIC WORD (Part FOUR)
Part 4. PRESERVATION AND SCRIPTURE AUTHORITY