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E$ang %ica%s an& Roman 'a"ho%ics Tog "h r
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'hap" r ) In"ro&*c"ion 'hap" r + Th Wa( o! Sa%$a"ion 'hap" r , Th Wa( o! Worship 'hap" r Th Marks o! "h 'h*rch 'hap" r . Wha" is an E$ang %ica%/

'hap" r 0 1E$ang %ica%s an& 'a"ho%ics Tog "h r1 'hap" r 2 'onc%*&ing R marks Bib%iograph(
Copyright 1995 by Kevin Reed The electronic version of this document has been provided as a convenience for our readers. No part of this publication may be transmitted or distributed in any form or by any means !electronic mechanical photocopying or other"ise# "ithout prior permission of the publisher. $n%uiries may be directed to& 'rotestant (eritage 'ress '.). *o+ 1,-9.. /allas Te+as 05.1, 1.2.3. This publication is available as a printed boo4 in an edition "hich includes a sub5ect inde+ and a scripture inde+. 'lease "rite to the publisher for more details about this title as "ell as our other publications. 2ome of the material in chapter 6 of the present "or4 is adapted from the e+panded treatment of the sub5ect in Biblical Worship by Kevin Reed !/allas& 'resbyterian (eritage 'ublications 1995#.

'hap" r )

In"ro&*c"ion
$n 1997 a group of notable evangelicals and Roman Catholics issued a statement of cooperation entitled 89vangelicals and Catholics Together& The Christian :ission in the Third :illennium.8 The document has provo4ed numerous articles and boo4s assailing the evangelical signatories to the accord. The present author has surveyed many of the responses to ect but he has come a"ay "ith mi+ed feelings. 2o far most of the critics of ect ta4e aim at areas "here Rome is an easy target; but they avoid critical aspects of doctrine and practice "here modern evangelicals e+hibit remar4able similarities to Rome. There can be no %uestion that the ect document represents a colossal compromise "ith Rome on the part of any professing 'rotestant "ho supports it. :oreover the accord and its aftermath reveal much about the present state of evangelicalism. $n particular the situation

6 demonstrates that most evangelicals have departed from the doctrines and practices of the 'rotestant Reformation. <e ta4e this opportunity to focus upon the preeminent issues of the Reformation. The present essay see4s to redirect the focus of readers to the bigger picture providing a frame"or4 for assessing Roman Catholicism contemporary evangelicalism and the ect document. This boo4 illustrates ho" both Romanists and evangelicals have re5ected scriptural teaching about !1.# the essence of the gospel !..# divinely=instituted "orship and !6.# the mar4s of a true church. *y corrupting the gospel "orship and the church evangelicals and Roman Catholics together are ma4ing ship"rec4 of the Christian faith. )ur study "ill mention some of the specious beliefs and practices of both Roman Catholics and evangelicals. <hen confronted "ith the unbiblical practices of Rome 'rotestants often assume that there is a prior misunderstanding of doctrine "hich leads to a corresponding corruption in practice. 'rotestant theology moves from thought to practice so that is the "ay 'rotestants tend to analy>e the religion of others. ?et this reasoning !from anterior belief to posterior practice# does not al"ays apply to Roman Catholicism; and it is increasingly unserviceable "hen dealing "ith evangelicals. The fact is aberrant practices often obtain admission and long usage in religious assemblies before anyone see4s to provide a rationale for them. <hen a practice is subse%uently %uestioned latter=day apologists scurry to devise a 5ustification for their actions. This ex post facto method of building a rationale is "hat leads to some of the bi>arre scripture =t"isting so prevalent in Rome and modern evangelicalism.@1A 3s our analysis proceeds "e "ill critici>e some of the established doctrines and practices of both Romanists and evangelicals. $t is not our desire to create animosity but our commitment to sola scriptura re%uires that "e candidly e+amine the beliefs and practices of all parties in this controversy. The sober reality is that ect is merely the tip of the iceberg. *oth Roman Catholics and evangelicals are ma4ing ship"rec4 of the faith. $f there is going to be a recovery of biblical religion in our land "e must repent and return to the scriptural principles "hich mar4ed the 'rotestant Reformation. #oo"no" s !or 'hap" r ) 1. 2ee the comments by Richard <hately cited by <illiam Cunningham 8The 9rrors of Romanism 8 in Discussions on Church Principles: Popish, Erastian, and Presbyterian !1,B6; rpt. 9dmonton& 2till <aters Revival *oo4s 1991# pp. 15=1,.

Return to Table of Contents. Co to ne+t chapter. Copyright 1995 by Kevin Reed'hap" r +

Th Wa( o! Sa%$a"ion
3t the heart of the controversy bet"een Rome and historic 'rotestants is a dispute over the "ay of salvation. $n spea4ing of salvation "e note that the term 8salvation8 encompasses a "ide range of important topics and it is important to distinguish bet"een various aspects of redemp tion. 2ince the fall of man4ind the human race stands in need of salvation !or deliverance#& deliverance from the guilt of sin and also deliverance from the power of sin. Drom the biblical doctrine of justification, "e learn the divine provision "hereby sinners are delivered from the punishment due to the guilt of their sins. Drom the doctrine of sanctification, "e learn the means "hereby Cod delivers sinners from the reigning power of sin. )f course there are other facets of redemption such as election effectual calling glorifica tion etc. )bviously the sub5ects of redemption are interrelated to one another; but they are not identical and should not be confounded. 9ven though the various aspects of salvation bear a close relationship to one another the scriptures clearly distinguish bet"een them. $n several places "ithin 'aulEs epistles the apostle maintains a clear distinction bet"een 5ustification and sanctification. Dor e+ample& 8*ut ye are "ashed but ye are sanctified but ye are 5ustified in the name of the Ford Gesus and by the 2pirit of our Cod8 !1 Cor. B&11; cf. Rom. ,&6-; 1 Cor. 1&6-#. @1A 3nother closely related topic is the nature of regeneration, or the ne" birth. Those "hom Cod regenerates are given repentance faith and in"ard rene"al so that they strive for godliness. <ith the foregoing considerations in vie" "e "ish to assert several important truths "hich bear on the state of Roman Catholicism and modern evangelicalism.

3*s"i!ica"ion
Centuries ago the patriarch Gob e+claimed 8(o" should man be 5ust "ith CodH Dor he is not a man as $ am that $ should ans"er him and "e should come together in 5udgment. Neither is there any daysman bet"i+t us that might lay his hand upon us both8 !Gob 9&1 6.=66#. 9ven so Gob later e+pressed the sublime confidence of resting in his redeemer& 8Dor $ 4no" that my redeemer liveth and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth; and though after my s4in "orms destroy this body yet in my flesh shall $ see Cod& "hom $ shall see for myself and mine eyes shall behold and not another8 !Gob 19&.5=.0#. The utterances of the patriarch illustrate "ell both the need for and the sufficiency of the "or4 of our redeemer Christ Gesus. <hereas no ordinary man could act as our mediator yet there is good ne"s of redemption& 8there is one Cod and one mediator bet"een Cod

5 and men the man Christ Gesus; "ho gave himself a ransom. Cod "as manifest in the flesh8 !1 Tim. .&5 =B 6&1B#. 3 crucial %uestion every man must ponder is ho" he can be just before Cod. This is a legal %uestion pertaining to our guilt as sinners. <e are all guilty; there can be no denial of that fact. 8There is none righteous no not one8 !Rom. 6&1-#. <e have nothing of merit to bring before Cod to improve our standing for 8"e are all as an unclean thing and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags8 !$sa. B7&B#. $f "e remain in this guilty state "e must suffer the punishment due for our sins "hich is everlasting torment in hell. Truly our case is desperate. :oreover "e need more than forgiveness for the guilt of sins committed. $f "e "ould appear before the holy Ford of glory "e need a positi e righteousness, not 5ust a pardon for our offenses. Thus the case is clear& if "e are to stand 5ust !or righteous# before Cod "e must obtain righteousness from a source outside ourselves. Fet us then give praise unto Cod& through his "ondrous plan of redemption such a righ teousness is found in ChristI $n Christ alone may "e find the righteousness "e inherently lac4. 8Dor he hath made him to be sin for us "ho 4ne" no sin; that "e might be made the righteousness of Cod in him.8 (e 8"as delivered for our offences and "as raised again for our 5ustifica tion8 !. Cor. 5&.1; Rom. 7&.5#. Thus is he called 8The Ford our righteousness8 !Ger. .6&B; 66&1B#. Christ Gesus provides the sole ground of righteousness for redeemed sinners. 8<hen he had by himself purged our sins sat do"n on the right hand of the :a5esty on high8 !(eb. 1&6#. This truth is at the foundation of historic 'rotestant theology; hence the slogan 8 !olus Christus"8 The <estminster 2horter Catechism !J66# summari>es& 8Gustification is an act of CodEs free grace "herein he pardoneth all our sins and accepteth us as righteous in his sight only for the righteousness of Christ imputed to us .8 9ssentially then 5ustification is a forensic !or legal# concept. The sinner is declared righ teous based solely upon the righteousness of another even Christ Gesus. The righteousness of Christ is the ground of salvation.

4*man 5 pra$i"(
<e have already spo4en of the remedy for the guilt of sin. *ut man4ind has another problem as "ell. 2ince the fall of 3dam every human being born by ordinary generation has inherited a corrupt nature, an evil heart. The *ible is absolutely clear about the "ic4ed nature of man4ind. :en are totally unwilling to see4 Cod; their "ills are "holly inclined to evil. 8There is none that see4eth after Cod.8 8The carnal mind is enmity against Cod8 !Rom. 6&11; ,&0#. The human "ill is not free precisely because it is enslaved to evil. <hile men are able to choose from a range of different actions their native po"er to choose righteousness "as lost at the fall.

B :oreover even if men "ere inclined to see4 Cod their understanding is so dar4ened that they cannot grasp the truth of Cod& 8there is none that understandeth.8 8The natural man receiveth not the things of the 2pirit of Cod& for they are foolishness unto him& neither can he 4no" them because they are spiritually discerned8 !Rom. 6&11; 1 Cor. .&17#. :en are inherently incapable of contributing anything favourable to Cod for 8there is none that doeth good no not one8 !Rom. 6&1.#. 8Can the 9thiopian change his s4in or the leopard his spotsH then may ye also do good that are accustomed to do evil. 8 !Ger. 16&.6#. There is a simple e+planation for this total inability on the part of man4ind. Natural men are spiritually dead, 8dead in trespasses and sins8 !9ph. .&1# "holly incapable of the motions of living creatures. They can neither perceive understand nor respond to the spiritual verities "hich surround them. These dead men need life spiritual life; they need to be 8born again8 born spiritually.

R g n ra"ion
9arlier "e mentioned regeneration, or the ne" birth. The e+pression 8born again8 has been bantered about prominently "ithin 8evangelical8 circles in recent years but the terminology is often employed "ithout ade%uate definition. ?et a mista4e regarding the nature of regeneration can be critical resulting in a horrendous distortion of the doctrine of salvation. The 2econd (elvetic Confession describes the ne" birth in the follo"ing manner& 8$n regeneration the understanding is illuminated by the (oly 2pirit that it may understand both the mysteries and "ill of Cod. 3nd the "ill itself is not only changed by the 2pirit but it is also endued "ith faculties that of its o"n accord it may both "ill and do good.8 @.A 3mong the fruits of regeneration are faith and repentance# These graces are the results of CodEs "or4 "ithin the sinner; they are not the cause of the new birth# The inherent state of man4ind is rebellion against Cod enmity ignorance and unbelief. $n order for sinners to e+ercise faith and repentance the 2pirit of Cod must convince us of our sin and misery enlighten our minds in the 4no"ledge of Christ rene" our "ills and persuade and enable us to embrace Gesus Christ as he is freely offered in the gospel.@6A 1nli4e the imputed righteousness of Christ "hich is external to the sinner faith and repentance are the "or4s of Cod within the sinner. Nevertheless these internal "or4s are totally gracious in no "ay flo"ing from the actions merit or the ability of the redeemed sinner. 2cripture teaches that salvation is 8by grace through faith; and that not of yourselves& it is the gift of Cod& not of "or4s lest any man should boast8 !9ph. .&,=9#. Thus e en faith is a gift$ faith is not an action ta4en by the sinner of his o"n innate ability. 2alvation is 8not of him that "illeth nor of him that runneth but of Cod that sho"eth mercy8 !Rom. 9&1B#. The empo"erment is sovereignly granted by the 2pirit of Cod. 8*ut as many as received him to them gave he po"er to become the sons of Cod even to them that believe on his name&

0 "hich "ere born not of blood nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of Cod8 !Gohn 1&1.=16; cf. 6&B=,#.

3*s"i!ica"ion b( #ai"h
<e no" move to the relationship bet"een 5ustification and faith. 2imply stated& faith is CodEs appointed instrument "hereby the sinner receives 5ustification. Daith is not the ground of 5ustifi cation for the only ground of 5ustification is the imputed righteousness of Christ. @7A The <estminster 2horter Catechism !J66# states this doctrine "ell& 8Gustification is an act of CodEs free grace "herein he pardoneth all our sins and accepteth us as righteous in his sight only for the righteousness of Christ imputed to us and recei ed by faith alone# 8 <e can see this principle in the te+t already referenced 8Dor by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of your selves& it is the gift of Cod& not of "or4s lest any man should boast8 !9phesians .&,=9#. :oreover the doctrine is asserted from the e+ample of 3braham 8he believed in the Ford; and he counted it to him for righteousness8 !Cen. 15&B#. 3brahamEs faith is e+pounded by 'aul in Romans 7&.=5& 8$f 3braham "ere 5ustified by "or4s he hath "hereof to glory; but not before Cod. Dor "hat saith the scriptureH 3braham believed Cod and it "as counted unto him for righteousness. No" to him that "or4eth is the re"ard not rec4oned of grace but of debt. *ut to him that "or4eth not but believeth on him that 5ustifieth the ungodly his faith is counted for righteousness.8

Sa$ing #ai"h
<e cannot leave this discussion "ithout considering the nature of saving faith. The term faith needs to be defined by its scriptural use. $n the language of the Ne" Testament the noun form is faith, the verb form is belie e# $n biblical terminology the "ord belie e means much more than mental assent# 2aving faith is more than a bare ac4no"ledgment of a fe" historical facts about Gesus of Na>areth. 3fter all 8the devils also believe and tremble8 !Games .&19#. Theologians have often referred to this belief as historic faith, in order to distinguish it from saving faith. @5A The *ible also describes a temporary faith: an inade%uate belief "hich is illustrated in the parable of the soils. 2ome people hear the "ord of Cod 8"hich "hen they hear receive the "ord "ith 5oy; and these have no root "hich for a "hile believe and in time of temptation fall a"ay8 !Fu4e ,&16#.@BA 3s noted the patriarch 3braham is held forth in scriptures as an e+ample of sa ing faith# 3braham not only believed Cod but he trusted in the promises of Cod resting upon the Ford alone as his redeemer. 3s Gesus declared 8?our father 3braham re5oiced to see my day& and he sa" it and "as glad8 !Gohn ,&5B#.

, (istoric 'rotestants have given a clear testimony about the nature of saving faith. 8Daith in Gesus Christ is a saving grace "hereby "e receive and rest upon him alone as he is offered in the gospel.8@0A This definition preserves the distinctive %uality of trust !8receive and rest upon him alone8# "hich is an essential aspect of genuine faith. Fi4e"ise this description points to another critical aspect of faith& the content of our belief. <e must rely upon the Christ of the scriptures not an imaginary Christ made to suit the fancies of men. $t ma4es little sense to profess belief in Gesus of Na>areth if "e then discard the biblical teaching concerning him. ?et that is precisely "hat multitudes have done throughout the centuries& they embrace heretical notions about Gesus thereby resting in 8cunningly devised fables8 !. 'et. 1&1B# rather than e+ercising true faith in the Christ of the *ible. Dor e+ample GehovahEs <itnesses follo"ing the 3rians of old deny the deity of Christ imagining him to be merely a created being. 2imilarly :ormons by e+alting humanity deny the uni%ueness of ChristEs person by asserting the divinity of all man4ind. These are 8damnable heresies8 !. 'et. .&1# revealing the corrupt 8faith8 of the adherents to these false religions. Regarding his person our Ford himself declared 8$f ye believe not that $ am he ye shall die in your sins. *efore 3braham "as $ am8 !Gohn ,&.7 5,#. *y using the covenant name of Cod !cf. 9+. 6&17# and applying it unto himself in this conte+t Gesus clearly indicates that belief in his deity is a fundamental component of saving faith. $f it is essential for us to rest upon Christ alone 8as he is offered to us in the gospel 8 then it is necessary for us to 4no" and embrace the truths concerning him in the scriptures. Dor 8faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the "ord of Cod.8 !Rom. 1-&10#. (o" is Christ presented in the gospelH Reformation preachers enunciated the biblical teaching that 8Christ as our redeemer e+ecutes the office of a prophet of a priest and of a 4ing.8@,A 3s the consummate prophet Gesus reveals to us the very being of Cod and the "ay of salvation !Gohn 1&1,#. 3s priest Christ 8"as once offered to bear the sins of many 8 8to ma4e reconciliation for the sins of the people8 !(eb. 9&., .&10#. (e is the %ord Gesus Christ and he "ill reign 8till he hath put all enemies under his feet8 !1 Cor. 15&.5#. 3ny presentation "hich neglects distorts or denies these truths regarding Christ is not biblical preaching; it "ill leave hearers in danger of believing in a false Christ.

Th R %a"ionship B "w n #ai"h an& Works


$n defending the doctrine of 5ustification by faith alone "e stated that the sinnerEs faith is the gift of Cod the fruit of regeneration. Fi4e"ise "hen the 2pirit of Cod regenerates a man the manEs inner being is transformed. 8Therefore if any man be in Christ he is a ne" creature& old things are passed a"ay; behold all things are become ne"8 !. Cor. 5&10#. The redeemed sinner is progressively rene"ed after the image of Cod 8in righteousness and

9 true holiness8 !9ph. 7&.7#. Thus the true believer "ill e+hibit a change of heart by his good "or4s. 2aving faith inevitably leads to good "or4s. Note the relationship bet"een faith and "or4s in CodEs redemptive design. 8Dor by grace are ye saved through faith$ and that not of yourselves& it is the gift of Cod& not of "or4s lest any man should boast. &or we are his wor'manship, created in Christ (esus unto good wor's, "hich Cod hath before ordained that "e should "al4 in them8 !9ph. .&,=1-#. 3s noted earlier 5ustification should not be confounded "ith sanctification; but neither should it be divorced from sanctification as if redemption involves one to the e+clusion of the other.@9A The redeemed sinnerEs deliverance from the guilt of sin evo4es a desire to be free from the po"er of sin as "ell. Therefore the genuine believer pursues 8holiness "ithout "hich no man shall see the Ford8 !(eb. 1.&17#.

#a"a% Errors o! Roman 'a"ho%icism


The foregoing presentation is only a cursory reminder of ma5or truths connected "ith the doctrine of salvation. Nevertheless the issues raised provide a basis for evaluating both Roman Catholicism and contemporary evangelicalism. <ith reference to Rome "e may note several fatal deviations from biblical teaching. 1. Rome e+plicitly denies the doctrine of 5ustification by faith alone pronouncing an anath ema upon those "ho hold to this principle. The 9th canon of the Council of Trent says& 8$f any one saith that by faith alone the impious is 5ustified in such "ise as to mean that nothing else is re%uired to cooperate in order to the obtaining the grace of Gustification and that it is not in any "ay necessary that he be prepared and disposed by the movement of his o"n "ill& let him be anathema.8@1-A :any of TrentEs other anathemas are hurled at caricatures of 'rotestants "hile some of the denunciations are directed to"ard heresies "hich 'rotestants themselves abhor. Regardless of the 8stra" men8 that Trent created to serve as a target it is absolutely clear that the council !and thereby the Romish church# re5ected the call of 'rotestants to embrace the biblical doctrine of 5ustification by faith. This fact has been made the sub5ect of so much discussion both historically and recently that "e shall not d"ell on it here.@11A .. Rome has corrupted the gospel by confounding 5ustification and sanctification. Gustification is vie"ed as a process begun at baptism in "hich the sinner becomes righteous through infused grace# 3ccording to Trent 8That 5ustice "hich is called ours because that "e are 5usti fied from its being inherent in us that same is !the 5ustice# of Cod because that it is infused into us of Cod through the merit of Christ.8@1.A $n other "ords the forensic nature of 5ustification is 5ettisoned. The imputed righteousness of Christ is not sought; instead an inherent righteousness is re%uired for the sinner to improve his state of 5ustification.

1Roman Catholics spea4 of faith and grace in relation to 5ustification. To the casual non =Romanist this may sound very similar to the "ords used by 'rotestants. *ut "hen one begins to e+amine ho" the terms are defined and the relationship they bear to one another radical differ ences become apparent.@16A 2ince Romanists vie" 5ustification as a process "ithin a man they go on to assert that Christians 8through the observance of the commandments of Cod and of the Church faith co =operating "ith good "or4s increase in that 5ustice "hich they have received through the grace of Christ and are still further 5ustified.8@17A 1nderlying this Romish vie" of salvation is a faulty vie" of the inherent state of fallen man4ind. <hile Romanists "ill ac4no"ledge that man4ind "as damaged at the fall of 3dam the Romish system of salvation is a practical denial of the inherent inability of men to contribute to their redemption. <e have previously sho"n that the unregenerate man is ignorant un"illing and incapable of contributing to his salvation. ?et to spea4 of manEs 8faith co=operating "ith good "or4s 8 as a factor in 5ustification is to ma4e man a partial saviour of himself. $n practical terms this consti tutes a "or4s righteousness. 8Dor they being ignorant of CodEs righteousness and going about to establish their o"n righteousness have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of Cod8 !Rom. 1-&6#. This perversion of the doctrine of salvation !by Rome# has been "idely documented. <e "ill not d"ell on it here but merely remind our readers of this fatal corruption of the gospel. @15A 6. Rome teaches that grace is obtained through the sacraments& that is the process of 85ustification8 is furthered by performance of the rites of the church. $n the Romish system of salva tion grace is mediated through the Church via the sacraments. (ence the follo"ers of Rome depend upon the rituals of the church in their redemption. The Council of Trent spea4s of 8the most holy sacraments of the church through "hich all true 5ustice either begins or being begun is increased or being lost is repaired.8 @1BA This is the essence of sacerdotalism. *aptismal regeneration is asserted for Trent claims that the merit of Christ 8is applied both to adults and to infants by the sacrament of baptism.8 @10A The assertion is made that through baptism the original sin of 3dam is ta4en a"ay and remission is granted for all sins "hich have been committed prior to baptism. 3fter baptism a man may fall from the state of 5ustification; in that case he may see4 restoration through the sacrament of penance.@1,A $n this sacerdotal system adherents can never really obtain assurance of final salvation or perseverance. Therefore they see4 to increase their 5ustice through the sacrament of the eucharist !the :ass#. *ased on the doctrine of transubstantiation the :ass is held forth as an actual resacrifice of Christ possessing propitiatory merits "hich are dispensed by the church to the living and the dead.@19A

11 Thus "hile Romanists claim that salvation comes from Cod they contend that saving grace is channeled through the rites of the church.The ultimate effect of RomeEs sacerdotalism is to ma4e the institutional church the mediator bet"een Cod and man; the church and her priests usurp the role of Christ. Drom the foregoing discussion it should be clear that Roman Catholicism has e+changed the biblical gospel for another gospel. The Romish Church has denied the forensic nature of 5ustification; it has re5ected the scriptural teaching of 5ustification by faith; it has confounded 5ustification and sanctification; they have sought regeneration by the performance of ecclesiasti cal rites.

#a"a% Errors o! 'on" mporar( E$ang %ica%ism


<eEve noted some of the fatal fla"s of Roman Catholicism. *ut our e+amination of the issues cannot stop "ith Rome; modern evangelicals also subvert the doctrine of salvation by grace. $f Rome is denounced for its doctrine of baptismal regeneration then contemporary evangelicalism must be critici>ed for its practice of decisional regeneration# This error may ta4e t"o prominent forms& !1.# mass meetings "here hearers are as4ed to come for"ard at the 8invitation8 !or altar call# in order to register their decision for Christ !an action often e%uated "ith faith or regeneration#; and !..# the one=on=one method of 'elagian evangelism "here the 8convert8 is told to recite a 8sinnerEs prayer 8 after "hich he is solemnly assured of his salvation and e+horted not to doubt his favourable standing before Cod. !No doctrine of papal absolution "as ever stated "ith more certainty#. *oth of these methods e+hibit a complete misunderstanding of the biblical "ay of salvation. This style of mass evangelism is sometimes called 8*illy Craham 9vangelism 8 because of the most famous modern practitioner of the techni%ue. $t dates bac4 to the 19th=century practices of the heretical 3merican evangelist Charles Dinney. @.-A The one=on=one form of decisionalism has been greatly populari>ed by Campus CrusadeEs &our !piritual %aws, and other programs of lay evangelism such as E angelism Explosion# $f these techni%ues "ere restricted to fringe sects of free="ill baptists our criticisms "ould be %uite limited. ?et it is a sad commentary on the state of modern 3merican religion that these sorts of 8gospel presentations8 are pervasive in 8evangelical8 circles. These practices of evangelism are even tolerated and approved "ithin 8reformed8 denominations. 1. These techni%ues betray an erroneous vie" of the human "ill. The practitioners of these methods inevitably give the impression !and sometimes openly state# that the sinnerEs "ill is determinative in salvation in spite of the biblical declaration that election 8is not of him that "illeth nor of him that runneth but of Cod that sho"eth mercy8 !Rom. 9&1B#. The heresy of free "ill is implicit "ithin the language commonly employed by evangelicals "hen they e+hort men to 8accept Christ as 2aviour.8 This e+pression is not found any place in scripture; it communicates a false notion of the sinner)s so ereignty in conversion and it

1. also helps to confound historic faith "ith sa ing faith. Civen the sinful state of man4ind the pertinent %uestion is not "hether "e 8accept Christ 8 but "hether Cod accepts us. 9vangelicals "ill spea4 of the guilt and effects of sin thereby asserting that man "as dam aged at the fall of 3dam. ?et much li4e Rome contemporary evangelicals deny the inability of fallen man4ind because they elevate the human "ill as the determinative factor in regeneration. The heresy of free "ill has appeared many times in church history. <hen 'elagius espoused free "ill in the fourth century he "as opposed by 3ugustine. 3t the time of the 'rotestant Refor mation the Reformers vigorously opposed the advocates of free "ill. @.1A $n the 10th century the 2ynod of /ordt recogni>ed the association bet"een 'elagianism and the tenets of 3rminianism; the 2ynod condemned the 3rminians for bringing 8again out of hell the 'elagian error8 of free "ill.@..A *ased upon the doctrine of free "ill the evangelistic techni%ues of decisionalism "ere introduced by the 19th century 3merican preacher Charles Dinney. Through DinneyEs influence 8evangelicalism under"ent a ma5or change in meaning. (is 'elagianism subverted the ReformationEs understanding of grace precisely because it denied the ReformationEs vie" of man.8@.6A 3nyone "ho truly believes in free "ill does not understand the fallen condition of man4ind and thus does not affirm the true nature of CodEs grace in salvation. Cod sovereignly dra"s his elect to Christ as Gesus declares 83ll that the Dather giveth me shall come to me8 !Gohn B&60#. *ecause of the native inability of man4ind 8No man can come to me e+cept the Dather dra" him8 !Gohn B&77#. The believing response of some hearers to the preaching of the gospel flo"s strictly from CodEs sovereign grace. 8Dor "ho ma4eth thee to differ from anotherH and "hat hast thou that thou didst not receiveH8 !1 Cor. 7&0#. 83s many as "ere ordained to eternal life be lieved8 !3cts 16&7,#. $t must be sovereign grace or it is not really grace at all. 9vangelicals effectively deny the grace of Cod in salvation inasmuch as they appeal to the sinnerEs "ill as determinative in salvation. <e 4no" that decisionalists often decry sovereign grace claiming it destroys efforts at evangelism. (istorically this is simply not the case. The 'rotestant Reformation "as in essence a vast evangelistic effort "ith a heavy emphasis on preaching. The reformers reali>ed ho"ever that 8"ithout CodEs gracious interposition the preaching of the gospel "ill al"ays be fruitless. CodEs sovereignty undergirds evangelism; it does not undermine it.8 @.7A .. The e+ercise of the sinnerEs "ill ma4ing a decision is e%uated "ith faith. The 8deci sion8 is vie"ed as the means to regeneration; 8faith8 is said to precede or produce regeneration and forgiveness of sins. Daith is seen as the cause of regeneration not the fruit of it& hence our description of this doctrine as decisional regeneration# $ndeed in this scheme of things 8faith8 practically becomes the ground of justification, since converts are told to rest their assurance upon their decision for Christ. Thus "hen evangelicals claim to believe in 5ustification by faith alone they often mean something radically different than the historic 'rotestant doctrine. @.5A

16 6. The nature of conversions is rarely e+amined. :any persons confuse mental assent "ith faith; temporary faith is not distinguished from sa ing faith# )ne result is that many "ho ma4e a profession of faith later fall a"ay and they are then categori>ed as 8carnal Christians.8 @.BA 3t root the scriptural doctrine of saving faith is almost completely absent among modern evangelicals. $t has been replaced by spurious forms of faith "hat Reformation 'rotestants "ould have called historic faith and temporary faith# /ue to the techni%ues of decisionalism spurious professions should be e+pected. The practitioners of these evangelistic methods spend so much time preparing the mood of the audi ence telling anecdotes and pressing for decisions that Christ is rarely preached in the fulness necessary for hearers to ma4e an intelligent profession of faith. The hearers are e+horted to place their 8faith8 in an un4no"n 2aviour a person "hom they 4no" too little about to rest upon for salvation. *y contrast Christ must be preached and 4no"n 8as he is offered in the gospel&8@.0A that is in his offices of prophet priest and 4ing. The confusion in respect to the person of Christ has reached such alarming proportions that a debate has erupted among evangelicals over 8the lordship controversy.8 The puritan preacher Thomas :anton summari>es the root problem& 8:any "ould admit Christ to be their advocate to plead for them but not their 4ing to rule over them.8@.,A 3s "e noted earlier genuine faith not only possesses a right understanding of ChristEs person; it is 5oined "ith other saving graces "hich "ill never be found in these 8carnal Chris tians8 "ho populate the pe"s of modern evangelicalism. $n the *ible 5ustification precedes sanctification and the t"o concepts cannot be divorced as though the one "ill e+ist to the e+clusion of the other.@.9A 7. :any contemporary evangelicals confound 5ustification "ith regeneration; li4e Rome they confuse the legal !e+ternal# nature of 5ustification "ith the in"ard "or4 of Cod in rene"ing the sinner. $n the past t"o decades there has been an enormous emphasis on the necessity of being 8born again.8@6-A This focus has led to an over=emphasis on the experiential aspects of salvation to the virtual e+clusion of the forensic nature of 5ustification. The result is that the doctrine of 5ustification has been eclipsed by a doctrine of 8letting Gesus into your heart.8 That is the e+ternal basis of 5ustification !by ChristEs imputed righteousness# has been replaced by a %uest for the in"ard e+perience of being 8born again.8 @61A $t is significant to note that the older 'rotestant doctrinal formulations placed the discussion of regeneration solidly "ithin the conte+t of the broader scope of redemption. Dor e+ample the <estminster Confession has no separate chapter on regeneration; instead regeneration is covered under the sub5ect of effectual calling and then only by "ay of a description. @6.A Fater as the standards move to the sub5ect of sanctification further reference is made to regeneration& 8They "ho are effectually called and regenerated having a ne" heart and a

17 ne" spirit created in them are further sanctified really and personally through the virtue of ChristEs death and resurrection by his "ord and 2pirit d"elling in them.8@66A *y setting forth regeneration in relation to effectual calling and sanctification the <estminster 2tandards avoid an imbalanced portrayal of the doctrine. )f course most contemporary evangelicals do not embrace the biblical doctrine of regeneration as the sovereign "or4 of Cod. Therefore neither the biblical doctrine of regeneration nor the biblical doctrine of 5ustification have much currency in contemporary evangelical circles. There is %uite a contrast bet"een reformation preaching and modern preaching. Reformed preachers sought to impress hearers "ith their need for deliverance from the guilt of sin; modern preachers try to lure converts "ith the benefits they "ill e+perience by ma4ing a decision for Christ. The former preaching "as Cod=centered and ob5ective in nature; modern preaching is man=centered and sub5ective in focus. Drom the foregoing discussion it should be clear that contemporary evangelicals have e+changed the biblical gospel for another gospel. They have subverted the grace of the gospel by asserting human ability !free "ill# to obtain salvation. They have confounded 5ustification and regeneration; they have sought regeneration by the performance of religious rituals !the alter call the sinnerEs prayer#.

S*mmar(
Thus "e see that both contemporary evangelicals and Roman Catholics subvert the biblical "ay of salvation. *oth oppose the scriptural doctrine of redemption as espoused by the 'rotestant Reformers. The solemn "ords of the apostle apply to both evangelicals and Roman Catholics together& 8*ut though "e or an angel from heaven preach any other gospel unto you than that "hich "e have preached unto you let him be accursed8 !Cal. 1&,#. #oo"no" s !or 'hap" r + 1. 8Wherein do justification and sanctification differ* 3lthough sanctification be inseparably 5oined "ith 5ustification yet they differ in that Cod in 5ustification imputeth the righteousness of Christ; in sanctification his 2pirit infuseth grace and enableth to the e+ercise thereof; in the former sin is pardoned; in the other it is subdued& the one doth e%ually free all believers from the revenging "rath of Cod and that perfectly in this life that they never fall into condemnation; the other is neither e%ual in all nor in this life perfect in any but gro"ing up to perfection.8 <estminster Farger Catechism J00. .. 2econd (elvetic Confession Chapter 9. The 9nglish translation here is ta4en from 'hilip 2chaff +he Creeds of Christendom, Bth edition !1961; rpt. Crand Rapids& *a4er 19,6# vol. 6 p. ,7B. Dor proof of the definition the confession cites Ger. 61&66 9>e4. 6B&.0 Gohn ,&6B 'hil. 1&.9; .&16. 6. Cf. <estminster 2horter Catechism J61.

15 7. Dor an e+cellent discussion on the role of faith see Goel R. *ee4e 8Gustification by Daith 3lone !The Relation of Daith to Gustification# 8 chapter 6 of (ustification by &aith ,lone !edited by /on Kistler; :organ 'a.& 2oli /eo Cloria 1997# pp. 56=1-5. 5. Dor an e+ample of a standard e+position on different 4inds of faith see Thomas :anton 8Daith 8 in , Body of Di inity !1B9.; rpt. 9dinburgh& *anner of Truth 199.# pp. .15=.-. B. There are other forms of inade%uate faith illustrated in scripture such as the superficial belief of people "ho "itnessed miracles ac4no"ledged the supernatural elements they sa" but yet lac4ed a genuine faith in Christ !cf. 3cts ,&16 .1=.6#. 0. <estminster 2horter Catechism J,B. ,. <estminster 2horter Catechism J.6. 9. 2ee note 1 above. 1-. Cited from 2chaff Creeds of Christendom, vol. . p. 11.. 11. /octrinal statements regarding 5ustification can be found in the 'rotestant creeds the "ritings of the reformers and 'uritan sermons. (istoric surveys on 5ustification may be found in Games *uchanan +he Doctrine of (ustification: ,n -utline of .ts /istory in the Church and of .ts Exposition from !cripture !9dinburgh 1,B0# and <illiam Cunningham 8Gustification 8 Chapter .1 of /istorical +heology !1,B.; rpt. 9dinburgh& *anner of Truth 1909# vol. . pp. 1=1.-. Recent treatments of the sub5ect may be found "ithin the follo"ing "or4s& /on Kistler ed. (ustification by &aith ,lone !:organ 'a.& 2oli /eo Cloria 1995#; Gohn :ac3rthur 0ec'less &aith: When the Church %oses .ts Will to Discern !<heaton& Cross"ay *oo4s 1997#. 1.. Council of Trent 8/ecree on Gustification 8 chapter 1B; cited from 2chaff Creeds of Christendom, vol. . pp. 1-,=-9. 16. 8That a sinner may be saved the scriptures declare that he must be both 5ustified and sanctified& the Romanists as if one of those "ere by re%uisite call that E5ustification E "hich in scripture is Esanctification;E and that "hich in scripture is 85ustification 8 they admit not as distinct from inherent righteousness. 8The apostle 'aul "ho most insists upon the doctrine of 5ustification delivers these t"o as distinct things !1 Cor. B&11 and else"here#. (e ascribes 5ustification commonly to the blood of Christ !as in the te+t @Rom. 6&.7A and Rom. 5&,=9#; sanctification to the 2pirit of Christ !Titus 6&5#. 8(o"ever the 'apistsE promiscuous use of "ords might be tolerated if they did not confound the things and contend that "e are formally 5ustified by that "hich is the form and essence of sanctification namely inherent righteousness. The danger is that "hich the apostle "ould have the Ge"s avoid "hen he e+presseth his hearty desire that they might be

1B saved& EDor they being ignorant of CodEs righteousness and going about to establish their o"n righteousness have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of CodE !Rom. 1-&6#.8 /avid Clar4son 8The /octrine of Gustification is /angerously Corrupted in the Roman Church 8 in !elect Wor's of the 0e erend and %earned Da id Clar'son !1B05; Fondon @<ycliffe 2ocietyA 1,7B# p.70.. 17. Council of Trent 8/ecree on Gustification 8 chapter 1-; cited from 2chaff Creeds of Christendom, vol. . p. 99. 15. 2ee notes 11 and 16 above. 1B. Council of Trent 8/ecree on the 2acraments.8 Cited from 2chaff Creeds of Christendom, vol. . p. 11,. 10. Council of Trent 8/ecree on )riginal 2in 8 section 6. Cited from 2chaff Creeds of Christendom, vol. . p. ,B. 1,. 2ee Council of Trent 8/ecree on Gustification 8 sections 6=7 17. $n 2chaff Creeds of Christendom, vol. . p. 9-=91 1-7=-5. 19. 2ee Council of Trent 8/octrine on the 2acrifice of the :ass 8 section . $n 2chaff Creeds of Christendom, vol. . p. 9-=91 109=,-. .-. :ichael (orton ma4es a passing reference to Dinney as he discusses the populari>ation of 'elagian evangelism. $n a footnote he states& ECharles Dinney denied original sin the substitutionary atonement the necessity of supernatural grace in the ne" birth and argued that the doctrine 8of 5ustification by an imputed righteousness is another gospel.8E 2ee (ortonEs essay 8<hat 2till Keeps 1s 3partH8 in Gohn 3rmstrong ed. 0oman Catholicism: E angelicals ,naly1e What Di ides and 2nites 2s !Chicago& :oody 'ress 1997# pp. .B.= B7 p. .BB !note 16#. .1. $t is "orth noting that three of the ma5or reformers "rote boo4=length treatises against free "ill. $n +he Bondage of the Will !15.5# Futher contended against the free="ill teaching of 9rasmus; Calvin "rote a treatise Concerning the Eternal Predestination of 3od !155.# against the free "ill doctrine of 'ighius; Kno+ denies free "ill in his ,nswer to a 3reat 4umber of Blasphemous Ca illations Written by an ,nabaptist, and ,d ersary to 3od)s Eternal Predestination !15B-#. This point of unity among the reformers demonstrates 5ust ho" far modern evangelicals have departed from the doctrines of the 'rotestant Reformation. ... Canons of the 2ynod of /ordt .nd (ead re5ection 6. Cf. 1st (ead 8)f /ivine 'redestination 8 re5ection 7; .nd (ead 8)f the /eath of Christ and the Redemption of :en Thereby 8 re5ection B; 6rd and 7th (eads 8)f the Corruption of :an (is Conversion to Cod and the :anner Thereof 8 article . article 1- re5ection 0 re5ection 9; 5th (ead 8)f the 'erseverance of the 2aints 8 re5ection ..

10 .6. Cerstner Gohn (. 8The Theological *oundaries of 9vangelical Daith 8 in +he E angelicals: What +hey Belie e, Who +hey ,re, Where +hey ,re Changing# 9dited by /avid D. <ells and Gohn /. <oodbridge. !Nashville& 3bingdon 1905# p. .0. Cerstner adds& 8The price "hich has had to be paid is a diminished doctrine of grace. 3lthough contemporary evangelists have recoiled from some of DinneyEs distortions the evangel is still presented as being of divine origin but it is seen as needing human cooperation for its reali>ation. The initiative of Cod in disposing man to receive the gospel is not only seen as unnecessary but some vie" it as pernicious since the freedom of man is thereby violated. The dilemma of relating manEs moral inability to his ethical responsibility is not ne" to this generation of evangelicals nor are some of the solutions that have emerged. *ut it is clear that the vie" common to the 'rotestant Reformers "hich "as held "ith remar4able unanimity has undergone serious modifications8 !p. .,#. .7. Cerstner Gohn (. 8The Theological *oundaries of 9vangelical Daith 8 p. .,. .5. 'art of the confusion over terminology is caused by a belief in universal atonement. 2ince modern evangelicals generally believe that Christ has died and paid the price for all the sins of every man !both elect and reprobate# the substitutionary death of Christ cannot be the determina tive basis of oneEs standing before Cod. Therefore the sinnerEs decision in accepting Christ is made the determining factor in the application of redemption. $n a very real sense then the sinnerEs decision is the effective cause of salvation. .B. Dor a refutation of the 8carnal Christian8 theory see 9rnest C. Reisinger What !hould We +hin' of the Carnal Christian* !9dinburgh& *anner of Truth 190,#. .0. <estminster 2horter Catechism J,B; see also 82aving Daith 8 pp. B=, above. .,. , Body of Di inity !1B9.; rpt. 9dinburgh& *anner of Truth 199.# p. 1,,. (e adds 82ay not as those Ge"s E<e have no 4ing but Caesar E no 4ing but our lusts. 2ubmit to Christ "illingly. 3ll the devils in hell submit to Christ; but it is against their "ill; they are his slaves not his sub5ects. :any "ould have Christ their saviour but not their prince; such as "ill not have Christ to be their 4ing to rule over them shall never have his blood to save them8 !p. 191#. .9. 2ee note 1 above. 6-. This e+hortation could be useful if evangelicals adhered to the scriptural doctrine of regen eration as the sovereign "or4 of CodEs 2pirit. $nstead most evangelicals see the ne" birth as the result of the sinner e+ercising his "ill. 61. Gohn 3rmstrong relates an interesting incident "hich illustrates this point. E$ "ill never forget the first time $ led a young man into a decision not reali>ing then that such evangelistic methodology is more Roman Catholic than genuinely evangelical only to as4 him the so=called follo"=up %uestion 8<here is Christ right no"H8 (e ans"ered happily 8$ have received (im into my heart in prayer "ith you 5ust as $ receive (im into my heart

1, every time $ ta4e the :ass.8 E !3rmstrong 8The 9vangelical :omentH8 Chapter 16 of 0oman Catholicism: E angelicals ,naly1e What Di ides and 2nites 2s pp. 6-B=-0#. 2tating his uneasiness "ith modern evangelism 3rmstrong e+presses many legitimate criticisms. ?et he fails to follo" through "ith the implications of his observations. 3fter all if both Rome and evangelicals have corrupted the gospel "hy should either group be regarded as a true Christian churchH 2ee chapter 7 belo" for a discussion of such issues. 6.. Confession 1-&1; Farger Catechism JB0; 2horter Catechism J61. 66. Confession 16&1. 'hap" r ,

Th Wa( o! Worship
$n the first chapter "e e+amined the biblical doctrine of redemption and "e sa" that both Roman Catholics and evangelicals have departed from the scriptural understanding of the 'rotestant Reformation. $n this chapter "e "ill e+amine scriptural principles of "orship and use them to measure the "orship practices of both Rome and present=day evangelicalism.

Bib%ica% T aching on Worship


$t "as a glorious day in ancient $srael. The tabernacle had recently been built according to the divine blueprint given to :oses by the Ford !9+. .5&,=9#. 3aron and his sons "ere consecrated to their priestly vocation and they offered the prescribed sacrifices unto Cod !Fev. ,=9#. The 8glory of the Ford appeared unto all the people.8 Dire came out from the Ford and lit the offering on the altar consuming the sacrifice 8"hich "hen all the people sa" they shouted and fell on their faces8 !Fev. 9&.6=.7#. <e can only imagine the mi+ture of a"e "onder and 5oy "hich the people e+perienced on this holy and festive occasion. :oments later the scene changed dramatically as a terrible 5udgment fell upon Nadab and 3bihu. $n the midst of their activities 8there "ent out fire from the Ford and devoured them and they died before the Ford8 !Fev. 1-&.#. <hat had they done to provo4e the anger of the FordH The biblical narrative tells us simply that they 8offered strange fire before the Ford "hich he commanded them not8 !Fev. 1-&1#. Nadab and 3bihu had not done something "hich "as e+pressly forbidden. No they merely added a bit of 8strange fire8 "hich the Ford had not commanded. The 5udgment "hich came upon them stands as a perpetual testimony against those "ho presume to "orship Cod by means "hich lac4 divine "arrant. $t is a solemn "arning& 8the Ford spa4e saying $ "ill

19 be sanctified in them that come nigh me and before all the people $ "ill be glorified8 !Fev. 1-&6#. CodEs displeasure "ith synthetic "orship is e+pressed throughout scripture. $n order to gain a better understanding of scriptural principles of "orship "e "ill ma4e a further e+amination of precepts and e+amples from the *ible.

Bib%ica% 6r c p"s
$n the boo4 of /euteronomy :oses e+horts the children of $srael to 4eep the la" of Cod. $n chapter 1. he revie"s scriptural precepts pertaining to "orship. The Ford forbids his people to imitate pagan "ays of "orship; the $sraelites "ere commanded to eradicate the remnants of corrupt "orship from their midst. They "ere commanded to destroy 8all the places8 "herein the heathen served their gods. They "ere instructed to purge the land of all the implements associated "ith false "orship& 8?e shall overthro" their altars and brea4 their pillars and burn their groves "ith fire; and ye shall he" do"n the graven images of their gods.8 9ven the terminology of corrupt "orship "as to be erased& 8/estroy the names of them out of that place8 !/eut. 1.&.=6#. To the modern mind this may sound strangely intolerant. *ut the Ford "arned his people against the danger of imitating the "orship practices of the pagans& 8?e shall not do so unto the Ford your Cod.8 The chapter concludes "ith a further "arning against imitating heathen "orship. 8Ta4e heed to thyself that thou be not snared by follo"ing them after that they be destroyed from before thee; and that thou in%uire not after their gods saying (o" did these nations serve their godsH even so "ill $ do li4e"ise. Thou shalt not do so unto the Ford thy Cod. <hat thing soever $ command you observe to do it& thou shalt not add thereto nor diminish from it8 !/eut. 1.&6-=6.; cf. 7&.#. The sufficiency and authority of scripture are brought to bear upon the content of our "orship. This is the meaning of the scriptural la" of "orship& all forms of "orship must have e+press scriptural "arrant if they are to be admitted as legitimate means of "orship. @1A The biblical pattern of "orship needs no supplements of human devising; indeed such man=made innovations are a snare the very seed of idolatry. <hen "e consider the fallen nature of man4ind "e see "hy the biblical precepts of "or ship are necessary. 2ince the fall of 3dam the nature of man has been thoroughly corrupt. This inherent corruption drives men a"ay from Cod& 8There is none that understandeth there is none that see4eth after Cod8 !Rom. 6&11#. Thus the native tendency of man4ind is to pollute the "orship of Cod e+changing the truth of Cod for a lie "orshipping and serving created things rather than the Creator !Rom. 1&.5#. Gust as men are incapable of forging a method for their o"n salvation so they are incapable of devising proper means to "orship and serve Cod. Therefore the only proper "ay to "orship Cod is through the means established by the Ford himself.

.-

Worship in "h Wi%& rn ss


/uring the "ilderness "anderings the $sraelites had to be schooled in proper principles of "orship. Their native tendency to"ard corrupt "orship "as sho"n early "hile they "aited for :oses to return from :t. 2inai. Cro"ing restless 3aron and the people constructed a golden calf to serve as a visible symbol of deity. Kirtually all e+positors decry the action of the $sraelites as idolatry. <hat is often over loo4ed ho"ever is the manner in "hich the $sraelites 5ustified their action. They did not vie" the calf as a ne"ly=created deity; rather they made the calf as a testimony of their divine deliverance from 9gypt. The calf=image evo4ed a sense of the strength displayed in their deliverance. 8These be thy gods ) $srael "hich brought thee up out of the land of 9gypt. 3nd "hen 3aron sa" it he built an altar before it; and 3aron made proclamation and said Tomorro" is a feast to the Ford8 !9+. 6.&7=5#. $n other "ords the $sraelites did not claim to "orship ne" deities that "ould be blatant idolatry. No they intended the calf to serve as a symbol of deity; and 3aron see4s to honor the sacred name of the Ford through this monstrous invention.@.A No" "hen :oses returned he did not regard this matter lightly. (e did not employ the tactic "hich 'apists have used for centuries !and "hich evangelical churchmen presently en dorse# simply cautioning the $sraelites not to "orship false gods noting that the image itself "as not a deity and then allo"ing the image to remain strictly as a symbol. :oses 8too4 the calf "hich they had made and burnt it in the fire and ground it to po"der and stra"ed it upon the "ater and made the children of $srael drin4 of it. 3nd :oses said unto 3aron <hat did this people unto thee that thou hast brought so great a sin upon themH8 !9+. 6.&.-=.1#. This sin had transpired "hile :oses "as receiving the ten commandments on the mountain. 3nd the decalogue forbids not only the "orship of false Cods but it also condemns the "orship of the true Cod by unsanctioned methods.

Th Scrip"*ra% Law o! Worship


The first commandment declares 8Thou shalt have no other gods before me8 !9+. .-&6#. $t is plain that the Ford Cod is the only proper recipient of "orship. The second commandment continues the focus on "orship by telling us how 3od is to be worshipped# $t does so in a negative sense by forbidding us to "orship Cod "ith human inventions. 8Thou shalt not ma4e unto thee any graven image8 !9+. .-&7#. 3 graven image is not merely a statue of a false deity. $f that "ere the case the second commandment "ould be redundant of the first. $nstead the second commandment plainly forbids ma4ing or revering physical or artistic representations of the true Cod.

.1 <hen the Ford revealed himself to the $sraelites he did so by means of his "ord not by physical images to be imitated or embellished. Therefore he "arned them& 8Ta4e ye therefore good heed unto yourselves; for ye sa" no manner of similitude on the day that the Ford spa4e unto you in (oreb out of the midst of the fire& lest ye corrupt yourselves and ma4e you a graven image the similitude of any figure 8 etc. !/eut. 7&15=1B#.@6A The apostle 'aul instructed the 3thenians 8<e ought not to thin4 that the Codhead is li4e unto gold or silver or stone graven by art and manEs device8 !3cts 10&.9#. 3ny attempt to represent Cod by human devices is an insult to the Ford. (is pronouncement is clear& 8$ am the Ford& that is my name& and my glory "ill $ not give to another neither my praise to graven images8 !$sa. 7.&,#. The prohibition e+pressed in the second commandment reaches beyond "hat "e might call an image in the strictest sense of the term. $n its broader scope this commandment really forbids the use of all man=made devices in "orship. $t directs us to a basic concept& that the only acceptable "ay of "orshipping Cod is to render homage to him according to the instructions given in his "ord. 3ny deviation from his "ord by adopting humanly=devised forms of "orship is de facto a violation of the scriptural la" of "orship. $n other "ords all religious ceremonies and institutions must have clear scriptural "arrant if they are to be admitted as valid e+pressions of "orship. This concept has sometimes been called the regulative principle of "orship. $t is merely an application of the sola scriptura rule of 'rotestant theology.

T mp% Worship
The designation of a central place of "orship did not occur until the $sraelites con%uered and settled the land of Canaan. 3 central site for public "orship had been anticipated since the time of :oses !/eut. 1.&11; cf. 1.&5 17#; but it did not reach fulfillment until the reign of /avid. /uring /avidEs rule the ar4 of the covenant "as moved to Gerusalem thereby establishing the city as the center for the sacrificial ordinances of the Fevitical priesthood. 9ven so the entire program of "orship from the tabernacle to the temple "as directed by divine revelation. Tabernacle "orship "as structured according to the divine blueprint. The $sraelites "ere instructed& 8Fet them ma4e me a sanctuary; that $ may d"ell among them. 3ccording to all that $ she" thee after the pattern of all the instruments thereof even so shall ye ma4e it.8 /escriptions of the tabernacle furnishings reiterated that all things had to be made according to the Cod=given pattern !9+. .5&,=9; cf. .5&7-; .0&,; Num. ,&7; 3cts 0&77; (eb. ,&5#. Fater /avid provided 2olomon "ith the plan for constructing the temple& 8/avid gave to 2olomon his son the pattern of the porch and of the houses thereof and the pattern of all that he had by the spirit also for the courses of the priests and the Fevites. 3ll this said /avid the Ford made me understand in "riting by his hand upon me even all the "or4s of

.. this pattern8 !1 Chron. .,&11=16 19#. Nothing "as left for improvising; everything "as ordered by the divine pattern for "orship. 2olomon built the temple according to the heavenly blueprints left by /avid and Gerusalem remained the seat of public "orship for the entire 4ingdom of $srael. 3fter the death of 2olomon the 4ingdom became divided and the people slid into corruption and apostasy. The northern tribes s"iftly embraced false "orship and never recovered from their apostasy. <ithin the 4ingdom of Gudah there "ere several seasons of reformation amidst other "aves of idolatry. The 4ey to understanding the history of the $sraelites it to note the critical connection bet"een the "orship of the people and CodEs dealings "ith them in relation to their "orship.

Th Apos"as( o! "h 7or"h rn King&om


<hen the northern tribes seceded Geroboam too4 a pragmatic approach to "orship in the northern 4ingdom devising a 8local8 program of "orship suited to his o"n purposes !1 Kings 1.&.,=66#. GeroboamEs actions "ere "holly revolutionary. (e established a ne" center for "orship ne" means for "orship and a ne" priesthood. $t "as not so much that Geroboam encouraged his people to "orship other deities but that he devised ne" methods "hich displaced the biblical means of "orship; GeroboamEs offense "as a4in to 3aronEs sin in ma4ing the original golden calf. 2ubse%uent 4ings in the north such as 3hab blatantly embraced the "orship of *aal. Fater "hen Gehu ruled the northern 4ingdom he e+terminated the house of 3hab and repudiated the *aalism of his predecessors. ?et for all his >eal Gehu retained the 8sins of Geroboam "hich made $srael to sin8 !. Kings 1-&.9=61#. The reign of Gehu indicates that the guilt of $srael came not merely from idolatry in the narro" sense of the term& that is the "orship of false deities. Gehu eradicated the "orship of other deities and claimed to "orship the Ford but he clung to the unhallo"ed methods of "orship instituted by Geroboam. Thus $srael "as charged "ith corrupt "orship for attempting to "orship the true Cod the Ford "ith unsanctioned means. The comparison here bet"een Geroboam and Gehu again illustrates that GeroboamEs original crime "as in establishing alternative forms of "orship from those en5oined in the :osaic la". GeroboamEs initial action too4 $srael to the slippery slope of corrupt "orship. Drom there the nation fre%uently degenerated into further idolatry by "orshipping false gods as "ell. Therefore let it be noted that the first step on the path of idolatry is ta4en "hen men presume to "orship the Ford through means and measures not ordained in the "ord of Cod. The 4ings of northern $srael "ere idolaters; the apostasy of the nation "as thorough; and so the Ford destroyed the northern 4ingdom. 3 chilling account is provided in . Kings 10&7ff. "ith a summary 5udgment in verses .-=.7 of that same chapter.

.6 The 10th chapter of . Kings also e+plains the origin of the mongrel religion of the 2amaritans. 3fter the 3ssyrians con%uered the northern 4ingdom of $srael the 3ssyrian 4ing deported the $sraelites; he then used the land of $srael as a relocation center for *abylonians and other displaced persons !. Kings 10&.7=71#. These heathen refugees 8feared not the Ford& therefore the Ford sent lions among them "hich sle" some of them8 !. Kings 10&.5#. 3larmed by this development the 4ing of 3ssyria sent bac4 an $sraelite priest to instruct the people ho" to serve the Ford. The people then professed to "orship the Ford Cod but they attempted to render service to the Ford by resorting to their customary idolatry employing their o"n devices and priesthood. 82o they feared the Ford and made unto themselves of the lo"est of them priests of the high places "hich sacrificed for them in the houses of the high places. They feared the Ford and served their o"n gods after the manner of the nations "hom they carried a"ay from thence. 2o these nations feared the Ford and served their graven images both their children and their childrenEs children& as did their fathers so do they unto this day8 !. Kings 10&6.=66 71#. The technical term for such a religious admi+ture is syncretism# Dor centuries it has been the modus operandi of Roman Catholicism. 2adly this 2amaritan approach to "orship is only too prominent among professing 'rotestants and in the church gro"th movement among contempo rary 8evangelicals.8 The trends in popular culture and the deviant "orship of the pluralistic masses are adopted as a "ay to ma4e "orship 8relevant8 and appealing to modern society.

Th King&om o! 3*&ah
3fter the separation of the northern tribes the 4ingdom of Gudah often embraced corrupt "orship beginning "ith the reign of Rehoboam& 8Gudah did evil in the sight of the Ford and they provo4ed him to 5ealousy "ith their sins "hich they had committed above all that their fathers had done. Dor they also built them high places and images and groves on every high hill and under every green tree. 3nd there "ere also sodomites in the land& and they did according to all the abominations of the nations "hich the Ford cast out before the children of $srael8 !1 Kings 17&..=.7#.@7A <hen 3sa became 4ing in Gudah he instituted reform. $n the scriptural account of his reign he is commended for removing corrupt "orship. 83sa did that "hich "as good and right in the eyes of the Ford his Cod& for he too4 a"ay the altars of the strange gods and the high places and bra4e do"n the images and cut do"n the groves& and commanded Gudah to see4 the Ford Cod of their fathers and to do the la" and the commandment. 3lso he too4 a"ay out of all the cities of Gudah the high places and the images& and the 4ingdom "as %uiet before him8 !. Chron. 15&.=5; cf. 1 Kings 15&1.=19#. 3mong the later 4ings there "ere both good and evil rulers. <hat is stri4ing about the biblical narratives is that 4ings are consistently measured by their approach to "orship. Those rulers "ho made an effort to restore biblical "orship are commended; those 4ings "ho resorted to idolatry !or tolerated corrupt "orship# are critici>ed.

.7 /uring the reign of godly King Gehoshaphat the people manifested an attachment to corrupt "orship in spite of efforts by the 4ing to reform the land. 8The people had not prepared their hearts unto the Cod of their fathers.8 :any resorted to sites of corrupt "orship 8for the people offered and burnt incense in the high places 8 and these high places "ere not ta4en a"ay !. Chron. .-&66; 1 Kings ..&76; . Chron. .-&66#. Corrupt "orship reveals a serious problem of the heart. $n conducting unsanctioned "orship the people sho"ed that their hearts "ere not right "ith Cod regardless of "hat their professed motives might have been. $n subse%uent generations the 4ingdom of Gudah degenerated into further idolatry and *aal "orship. 8They left the house of the Ford of their fathers and served groves and idols& and "rath came upon Gudah and Gerusalem for this their trespass8 !. Chron. .7&1,#. Could anything be clearerH The Ford detests corrupt "orship and he punishes this sin. (e>e4iah "as a good 4ing and he issued a call for national repentance; he also established a program of reform !. Kings 1,&5=B; . Chron. 6-#. The passover "as restored. :oreover the people 8arose and too4 a"ay the altars that "ere in Gerusalem and all the altars for incense too4 they a"ay and cast them into the broo4 Kidron all $srael that "ere present "ent out to the cities of Gudah and bra4e the images in pieces and cut do"n the groves and thre" do"n the high places and the altars out of all Gudah and *en5amin in 9phraim also and :anasseh until they had utterly destroyed them all8 !. Chron. 6-&17; 61&1#. 1nder (e>e4iahEs leadership "e see t"o aspects of reform united& the positive "or4 of restoring the biblical pattern of "orship and the negative "or4 of removing the elements of unscriptural "orship. *oth aspects are essential components of thorough reform. 3s a negative facet of reform (e>e4iah 8bra4e the images and cut do"n the groves and bra4e in pieces the brasen serpent that :oses had made& for unto those days the children of $srael did burn incense to it& and he called it Nehushtan @ a piece of brassA8 !. Chron. 1,&7#. The destruction of the brasen serpent is an e+tremely important event for it demonstrates the far=reaching scope of genuine reform. The brasen serpent "as originally made at the command of Cod. $t had not ho"ever been designated as an implement for use in the ordinary "orship of the Ford. Therefore because the brasen serpent had been superstitiously abused it "as necessary to destroy it. Contemporary readers may find it difficult to comprehend this deed. $t is easier to discern "hy (e>e4iah led the people to destroy the high places images and groves dedicated to unsanctioned "orship. *ut truly the brasen serpent "as a hallo"ed symbol of CodEs former deliverance of the $sraelites. <hy destroy itH <hy not simply caution the people against the abuse of a traditional symbolH

.5 (e>e4iah "as "iser than both 'apists and our modern evangelical churchmen "ho "ould no doubt follo" a more 8moderate8 course. The 4ing reali>ed that the serpent had become a snare; it fostered superstition. 3nd (e>e4iah 4ne" that this superstition this corruption of "orship "as sufficient to provo4e the "rath of Cod. Dar better to dispense "ith a sacred relic than leave it as a temptation for present and future generations. 3s noted the brasen serpent "as included in no part of the ordinary "orship of Cod. *y comparison the passover "as an integral part of the stated "orship of Cod; therefore the passover "as rene"ed and restored. *ut since the serpent had no sanctioned role in the stated "orship of Cod it "as better to remove it altogether. 3fter (e>e4iahEs rule the nation again drifted into apostasy. The last reforming 4ing "as Gosiah.@5A $n addition to purging the 4ingdom of corrupt "orship the young 4ing directed repairs of the house of the Ford !. Chron. 67=65; . Kings ..#. 3fter GosiahEs death the 4ingdom of Gudah passed again into apostasy. The nation then fell to the *abylonians and the Ge"ish people "ere carried a"ay into e+ile. 9ventually the Ge"s "ere permitted to return to their homeland and commence rebuilding the temple in Gerusalem. They "ere careful to restore the temple and its services according to the scriptural pattern !9>ra 6&1-#. <hen the construction "as complete 8they set the priests in their divisions and the Fevites in their courses for the service of Cod "hich is at Gerusalem; as it is "ritten in the boo4 of :oses8 !9>ra B&1,#. :oreover the passover "as restored !9>ra 6&1-; B&1, .-=..#.

'hris"8s T aching on Worship


Christ reinforces the )ld Testament commandments "hich restrict the ob5ect of "orship to the Ford Cod alone. <hen assaulted by the suggestion to "orship 2atan Gesus replied 8Cet thee hence 2atan& for it is "ritten Thou shalt "orship the Ford thy Cod and him only shalt thou serve8 !:att. 7&1-#. The 15th chapter of :atthe" records a different 4ind of conflict bet"een Christ and corrupt "orship the confrontation bet"een Christ and Ge"ish religious leaders of his day. $n consider ing this passage "e should recall that the scribes and the 'harisees "ere not heathen idolaters. They did not "orship *aal nor did they bo" before the state god Caesar. They did not ma4e graven images adhering to the strict letter of the la". They had a high regard for the temple in Gerusalem "hich they 4ne" to be the prescribed place for the public ordinances. *ut "as their religion scripturalH No. The scribes and 'harisees held to the traditions of their fathers so >ealously that their traditional practices had in many respects superceded the precepts of the )ld Testament !:att. 15&.#. (ence the apostle 'aul later refers to this traditionalism as 8the Ge"sE religion 8 indicating that apostate Gudaism is not the religion of the *ible !Cal. 1&16=17#. 3 conflict "as created because these Ge"s sought to supplement the biblical precepts "ith practices of their o"n devising. Gesus rebu4es them for substituting man=made duties in the

.B place of Cod=given responsibilities. 8<hy do ye also transgress the commandment of Cod by your traditionH8 !:att. 15&6#. The 2aviour then e+poses the method of subterfuge the 'harisees had invented in order to cover their negligence. They had cloa4ed corrupt practices by claiming a high regard for the temple the focal point of public "orship. ?et their argument "as merely a pretence for neglecting family duties prescribed in the la". 3s a result the divine verdict "as against them& 8This people dra"eth nigh unto me "ith their mouth and honoureth me "ith their lips; but their heart is far from me. *ut in vain do they "orship me teaching for doctrines the commandments of men8 !:att. 15&,=9; cf. $sa. .9&16#. (ere Christ dra"s a connection bet"een the religious service performed by these men and the "orship "hich they offer. Their "orship "as eclipsed by the spurious religious traditions "hich they anne+ed to it. This rebu4e clearly condemns the notion that man4ind !or the church as an institution# has the right to institute ne" modes of "orship and religious service. $f men assert the right to invent ne" forms of religious piety they are usurping the authority "hich belongs to Cod alone. Christ is the King of the church the only la"giver. The 'harisees paid lip service to Cod. <e 4no" they made long prayers fasted t"ice a "ee4 and arranged financial be%uests to the temple. 3s formalists they "ere e+ceedingly concerned about out"ard conformity to man=made regulations. 3t first "e might not lin4 their practices to 8public "orship 8 since many of these activities "ere conducted outside the temple and synagogue services. ?et their traditional observances are accounted by Christ a measure of their "orship. 3nd their "orship is declared to be vain.

Th Ess nc o! Tr* Worship


Christ describes the essence of true "orship during his conversation "ith the "oman at the "ell !Gohn 7&5=.B#. /uring the conversation the "oman propounds to Gesus the preeminent religious controversy "hich e+isted bet"een the Ge"s and the 2amaritans. 2pecifically the dispute "as over "here to "orship. No" it is true that Cod had prescribed Gerusalem as the place for public ordinances although that "ould soon change. )ut"ardly as regards the place for public ordinances the Ge"s "ere right. Cod had prescribed a pattern of "orship "hich "as focused upon Gerusalem. This divine pattern "as designed as a "itness for all man4ind regarding the right "ay of salvation. 82alvation is of the Ge"s8 !Gohn 7&..# for 8unto them "ere committed the oracles of Cod8 !Rom. 6&..#. $n this sense the Ge"s "orshipped "hat they 4ne"& that is they adhered to the 4no"ledge of the la" as it pertained to the place for divine ordinances. !(erein "e are again directed to the importance of revealed religion as given in the la".# The 2amaritans had abandoned the la" and forged their o"n mongrel religion !. Kings 10#.

.0 $n another manner Gesus reiterates the importance of CodEs appointment in religion. 3 great change "as about to occur respecting the out"ard ordinances of "orship. 3t "hose directionH Not by manEs appointment but by the appointment of Cod. (e alone is the la"giver. None may tamper "ith the pattern "hich he has established; yet it is his divine prerogative to ma4e alterations in conformity "ith his purposes. Gesus ne+t summari>es the essence of true "orship "hich includes the inseparable union of both piety and 4no"ledge. True "orshippers shall "orship Cod 8in spirit and in the truth.8 The "orship of true "orshippers is characteri>ed in this manner as an out"or4ing of CodEs saving grace. CodEs sovereignty in salvation e+tends not only to the manner in "hich the elect are saved but also to the purposes for "hich they are redeemed. )ne essential design in the salvation of the elect is that they shall "orship in spirit and truth& 8for the Dather see4eth such to "orship him8 !Gohn 7&.6#. The language is repeated in imperative form. $t is language similar to other imperatives in the teaching of Christ such as the statement recorded in the previous chapter of GohnEs gospel& 8?e must be born again.8 The true "orshippers 8 shall "orship the Dather in spirit and in truth. They that "orship him must "orship him in spirit and in truth8 !Gohn 6&0; 7&.6=.7#. True "orship must be 8in spirit.8 $t involves the inner man demanding sincerity and love. <orship includes more than the mere out"ard forms of devotion. :any times Cod has pronounced a curse against persons "edded to empty forms of religion. The unbelieving Ge"s had hearts far from the Ford even though they "ere in the right place for e+ternal ordinances. True "orship must flo" from hearts of sincerity and love to"ard Cod our 2aviour. Fi4e"ise genuine "orship must be 8in truth.8 That is our "orship must be in conformity to CodEs "ritten revelation. There is indeed an out"ard measure for our "orship. $n the present day it is common to hear comments that the 8heart8 is all that matters& a mista4en concept that sincerity of motive and fervent emotion are the substance of genuine "orship. *ut Christ does not confine the essence of "orship to "orship in spirit; he adds the measure of truth. 3cceptable "orship is more than the gushy effervescence of a fervent heart. <ithout truth such fervor is an offense before Cod; it is >eal 8but not according to 4no"ledge8 !Rom. 1-&.#. @BA ChristEs statements imply a solemn "arning. *y his reference to 8true "orshippers8 !Gohn 7&.6# "e may perceive a distinction "hich sets them apart from other "orshippers. $n other "ords there is a class of "orshippers "ho are false in their "orship. Therefore "e must e+amine our o"n "orship carefully that "e may discern to "hich class "e belong.

Th 7 w Era #o%%owing "h 5 a"h o! 'hris"


3s Christ indicated to the "oman at the "ell a great change "as occurring; it "ould render the dispute bet"een 2amaritans and Ge"s obsolete. <hen Christ died upon the cross he e+claimed 8$t is finished8 !Gohn 19&6-# and the veil of the temple "as torn in t"o 8from

., the top to the bottom8 !:att. .0&51#. This event mar4ed the fulfillment of the Fevitical ordinances of the )ld Testament. Dormerly 8the priests "ent al"ays into the first tabernacle accomplishing the service of Cod8 !(eb. 9&B .7; cf. (eb. ,&.#. No" 8Christ is not entered into the holy places made "ith hands "hich are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself no" to appear in the presence of Cod for us.8 The earthly tabernacle !and temple# had al"ays been a mere 8e+ample and shado" of heavenly things8 !(eb. ,&5; 1-&1; Col. .&10#. No" that the substance is manifest in Christ the types and shado"s give "ay to reality. Through his priestly offering on the cross Gesus 8by himself purged our sins8 and 8sat do"n on the right hand of the :a5esty on high8 !(eb. 1&6#. (aving been declared 8a priest for ever after the order of :elchisedec 8 Christ rendered the Fevitical priesthood obsolete !(eb. 5&B#. This discussion is important on t"o counts& it sho"s the obsolescence of the older ceremonial forms of "orship along "ith the Fevitical priesthood and it indicates the end of sacrifice for sin. <ith 8the priesthood being changed8 !(eb. 0&1.# and the temple ceremonies having ful filled their purpose Gerusalem is no longer the fi+ed locale for the preeminent e+pressions of public "orship. <ith the )ld Testament ceremonies gone "hat remainsH

Apos"o%ic 6rac"ic an& T aching


3lthough temple "orship has reached its conclusion several ordinary elements of "orship continue. These are practices of piety "hich al"ays had been found beyond the precincts of the temple in private "orship family "orship and the synagogues practices such as prayer the reading of scripture and biblical instruction. <e are told that the church 8continued steadfastly in the apostlesE doctrine and fello"ship and in brea4ing bread and prayers8 !3cts .&7.#. 3s ChristEs commissioned messengers the apostles arranged things according to divine directives. They had been ordered to 8observe all things "hatsoever8 Christ commanded !:att. .,&.-#. The church still "as not permitted to "orship and serve Cod according to human "isdom or man=made devices. Therefore the apostlesE doctrine "as not something invented by the apostles; it "as simply the doctrine of Christ the doctrine of the holy scriptures. 1nder the direction of the apostles the reading and e+position of the scriptures "ere regular activities in the public assemblies of the church. These practices "ere ancient 8for :oses of old time hath in every city them that preach him being read in the synagogues every sabbath day8 !3cts 15&.1; cf. . Cor. 6&15#. 2ince the apostles "ere ChristEs appointed messengers apostolic epistles "ere also read publicly as part of the canon of scripture. 'aul commands 8$ charge you by the Ford that this epistle be read unto all the holy brethren8 !1 Thess. 5&.0#. 83nd "hen this epistle is

.9 read among you cause that it be read also in the church of the Faodiceans; and that ye li4e"ise read the epistle from Faodicea8 !Col. 7&1B#. Closely tied to the reading of the scriptures "as the practice of e+pounding the "ord by public preaching and teaching. Gesus routinely e+pounded the "ord of Cod "ithin assemblies for public "orship& 8Gesus "ent about all the cities and villages teaching in their synagogues and preaching the gospel of the 4ingdom8 !:att. 9&65#. Thus it is not surprising to see the apostles adopting the same course& 83nd daily in the temple and in every house they ceased not to teach and preach Gesus Christ8 !3cts 5&7.#. Fater 'aul and *arnabas abode in 3ntioch 8teaching and preaching the "ord of the Ford "ith many others also8 !3cts 15&65#. *efore 'aul departed from Troas 8upon the first day of the "ee4 "hen the disciples came together to brea4 bread 'aul preached unto them8 !3cts .-&0#. 'reaching "as obviously a regular part of public "orship. (ence the apostolic aspirations 8$ am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also8 !Rom. 1&15# and the apostolic admonitions& 8'reach the "ord; be instant in season out of season; reprove rebu4e e+hort "ith all longsuffering and doctrine8 !. Tim. 7&.#.

# %%owship
The reference in 3cts .&7. to fello"ship points to an important truth. 3lthough temple "orship has been discontinued that does not mean that religious duties are no" limited to private and family e+ercises. There yet remains a role for congregational "orship and public ordinances. The public e+ercises of "orship are no longer centered around a particular location !Gerusalem#; nevertheless corporate obligations are e+tensive among the people of Cod. Dor this reason "e find an apostolic admonition to provo4e one another 8unto love and to good "or4s& not forsa4ing the assembling of ourselves together as the manner of some is8 !(eb. 1-&.7=.5#. <herever the gospel "as received gathered congregations "ere formed and organi>ed !cf. 3cts 17&.1=.6#. $t is in the conte+t of the congregation assembled corporately that "e find many e+pressions of public "orship and service. Therefore "e see "hy it "as mentioned as an important factor that the early Christians continued steadfastly in apostolic fello"ship. Corporate "orship is the highest public e+pression of adoration rendered unto Cod.@0A

Th Sacram n"s
3lthough the ceremonies of the temple have reached their fulfillment the church is not left "ithout any out"ard signs or seals of CodEs covenant. Rather the FordEs 2upper and baptism serve as a visible "ord to compliment the "ord preached. The FordEs 2upper "as instituted by Gesus on the night before his crucifi+ion. $t "as a commanded ordinance; the language is plain& 8Ta4e eat. /rin4 ye.8 8This do in remembrance of me8 !:att. .B&.B; Fu4e ..&19=.-; cf. :ar4 17&..=.6#.

6That these actions "ere meant to be an ongoing observance is clear from both the "ords of the 2aviour and the apostolic commentary provided in 1 Cor. 11& .6=.B& 8Dor $ have received of the Ford that "hich also $ delivered unto you that the Ford Gesus the same night in "hich he "as betrayed too4 bread& and "hen he had given than4s he bra4e it and said Ta4e eat& this is my body "hich is bro4en for you& this do in remembrance of me. 3fter the same manner also he too4 the cup "hen he had supped saying This cup is the ne" testament in my blood& this do ye as oft as ye drin4 it in remembrance of me. Dor as often as ye eat this bread and drin4 this cup ye do sho" the FordEs death till he come.8 The divine "arrant for baptism should be un%uestioned since it is embedded in the "ords of the Creat Commission. 8Co ye therefore and teach all nations bapti>ing them in the name of the Dather and of the 2on and of the (oly Chost& teaching them to observe all things "hatsoever $ have commanded you& and lo $ am "ith you al"ays even unto the end of the "orld. 3men.8 !:att. .,&19=.-#. Numerous baptisms are recorded throughout the boo4 of 3cts. The sacraments are out"ard signs and symbols; through them the gospel is preached through divinely=ordained 8pictures8 of redemption. 8Though fe"er in number and administered "ith more simplicity and less out"ard glory8 than the old ordinances the Ne" Testament sacraments hold forth Christ 8in more fulness evidence and spiritual efficacy to all nations both Ge"s and Centiles.8@,A The )ld Testament ordinances prefigured !in a typical manner# the :essiah "ho "as yet to come; "hereas the Ne" Testament ordinances declare the "or4 of Christ "ho has already come and con%uered sin and death. 2ince these signs are ordained by Cod it should be clear that it is a monstrous presumption for anyone to add ne" sacraments or to supplement the t"o sacraments of Christ "ith other 8images8 of human devising.@9A ?et throughout history men have often corrupted the church "ith liturgical 8aids to "orship8 and ne" ecclesiastical ordinances. )thers have embellished the sacraments by imposing a superstitious manner of observing them such as Romish baptismal rites or 3nglican liturgical forms. These deviations are an insult to Christ because they imply a deficiency in the scriptures as though the sacraments of Christ are insufficient as signs and seals and therefore re%uire humanly=devised supplements to increase their effectiveness.

Prayer
'rayer is a basic element of "orship "hether public or private. Throughout the )ld Testament prayer "as freely offered in a variety of settings beyond the boundaries of the temple. Therefore "e should not be surprised to see Christians constantly resorting to prayer "ithin congregational meetings. There are numerous e+amples of congregational prayer in the boo4 of 3cts !3cts 7&.7=61; B&B=0; 1.&5; 16&6; 17&.6; 1B&16; 1B&.5; .-&6B; .1&5#. 3postolic in5unctions repeatedly en5oin prayer !'hil. 7&B; Col. 7&.; 1Thess. 5&10; 5&.5; . Thess. 6&1; 1 Tim. .&1=. ,#.

O"h r 6rac"ic s o! Worship

61 *ased upon 3cts .&7. "e have briefly noted several basic elements of public "orship found in the Ne" Testament& the reading and preaching of the "ord of Cod the sacraments and prayer. Readers may "onder beyond the sub5ects mentioned in 3cts . are there additional elements of "orship "hich continue from the )ld Testament or "hich have been instituted by Christ or the apostlesH Drom other passages of scripture "e learn that psalm=singing "as a regular practice "ithin the Christian church !1 Cor. 17&.B; :att. .B&6-; :ar4 17&.B; 9ph. 5&19; Col. 6&1B#. The *ible additionally provides a "arrant for fasting as "ell as special times of than4sgiving. @1-A

Apos"o%ic Warning
<e cannot conclude our discussion of the Ne" Testament "ithout loo4ing at 'aulEs "arning to the Colossians. The apostle "arns them not to be beguiled by religious ordinances "hich are merely 8the commandments and doctrines of men8 !Col. .&1,=..#. (e cautions that such ordinances 8have indeed a she" of "isdom in "ill "orship and humility and neglecting of the body not in any honour to the satisfying of the flesh.8 The religious ordinances in %uestion impose a burden upon those "ho practice them re%uiring a degree of 8humility and neglecting of the body.8 This 4ind of religious discipline might seem commendable but it is only a sho". 3 4ey to understanding the root problem "ith these ordinances is in the e+pression 8"ill "orship 8 "hich is some"hat cryptic to modern readers. The Cree4 term here might be rendered 8voluntary "orship8 or 8arbitrary "orship.8@11A The gist is that these ordinances are forms of "orship or religious service chosen by man !according to the "ill of man# not means chosen by Cod. This is the essence of corrupt "orship "hen men see4 to establish their o"n forms of religious service. <e might call it free5will worship, since the advocates of man=made "orship are claiming that men possess the right !or freedom# to institute acceptable means to "orship Cod. This passage "as cited fre%uently by the Reformers in their struggles against the corrupt "orship and burdensome ordinances of Roman Catholicism. The passage "as again employed by 2cottish 'rotestants and 9nglish 'uritans to repel the impositions of the 3nglican liturgy. $ndeed 'aulEs "arning furnishes a s"eeping indictment against all humanly=imposed forms of "orship and religious ordinances. $n the t"entieth century many people act as though idolatry is a remote possibility. ?et "hen "e understand that the biblical condemnation of corrupt "orship e+tends to all man= made forms or "orship "e see the need of the apostolic admonition 8Fittle children 4eep yourselves from idols !1 Gohn 5&.1#.8

S*mmar(

6. *ased upon the teaching of scripture "e derive the follo"ing truths respecting "orship& 1. Cod is the only proper recipient of "orship. .. :an4ind must "orship the Ford only according to the means prescribed by Cod. 6. $t is sinful to amend or alter the "orship prescribed by Cod in his "ord. 7. There is no longer a central place for "orship. The temple ordinances have reached fulfillment. 5. The sacrificial ordinances have reached their conclusion; the finished "or4 of Christ means that sacrificial ordinances are no longer to be conducted as part of stated public "orship. B. There is therefore no need for a ne" sacrificial priesthood. 0. The ordinary elements of "orship no" include& prayer the reading preaching and hearing of CodEs "ord; singing of psalms; and the right administration of the sacraments as "ell as occasional appointments of fasting and than4sgiving.

Th Worship o! Rom
The centerpiece of Romish "orship the :ass is blatant idolatry. Rome holds to the doctrine of transubstantiation contending that the bread and "ine are transformed into the actual body and blood of Christ. The :ass is believed to be an actual sacrifice possessing propitiatory merits. The elements of bread and "ine are uplifted "here they may be adored !"orshipped# by the assembled congregation. The people share only in the "afer for the cup is "ithheld from the laity. This 8sacrifice8 of the :ass "ith its ceremonial priesthood is utter blasphemy against the finished priestly "or4 of Christ. The :ass is a gross corruption of the FordEs 2upper. Romish edifices for "orship are filled "ith graven images& pictures and statues made to depict the Ford :ary the apostles and the saints. Rome claims that these images serve a didactic purpose and that the images may properly be venerated. :oreover popish religious orders and merchants peddle a multitude of religious artifacts "hich promote superstition among the people. Rome has e+panded from t"o to seven the number of sacraments and added a multitude of ecclesiastical rites including clerical attire the ecclesiastical year and symbolic rituals for hosts of religious observations. The "ord of Cod is cro"ded out by liturgy images and ritual. 3dditionally li4e the 'harisees Rome has a multitude of religious ordinances "hich stand as a symbol of her false piety. $mposed clerical celibacy is a prime e+ample of an ecclesiastical ordinance "hich contravenes biblical doctrine.

66 Repeated and regular attendance at the :ass and other Romish rituals is patent disobedience to the scriptural commands for Christians to avoid idolatry. 3nyone "ho 4no"ingly retains a connection "ith this Romish "orship cannot maintain a credible profession of faith for the *ible says& 8<hat agreement hath the temple of Cod "ith idolsH <herefore come out from among them and be ye separate saith the Ford and touch not the unclean thing; and $ "ill receive you.8 !. Cor. B&1B=10#. The issue of RomeEs idolatry "as at the heart of the Reformation. 8Dor @GohnA Calvin the "orship of the medieval church had become Egross idolatry.E The issue of idolatry "as for him as serious as the issue of "or4s=righteousness in 5ustification. *oth represented a pandering to human proclivities rather than desiring to please and obey Cod. Calvin insists that no unity can e+ist in "orship "ith idolaters.8@1.A

Th Worship o! E$ang %ica%ism


<hile evangelicals do not celebrate the :ass !not yet at least# many ta4e comfort in a relative comparison "ith Rome noting that their "orship is not as degenerate as the idolatry of the :ass. *ut relative comparisons are not to be the measure of true religion. The *ible condemns any form of man=made "orship as a species of idolatry; and evangelical churches are full of synthetic "orship. The latest fads include lavish musical performances drama puppet sho"s films sacred dance and heretical hymns to name but a fe" infractions. :uch as "ith Rome the "ord of Cod is cro"ded out in this case by entertainment multi=media presentations and false teaching. 9vangelical edifices and instructional materials are filled "ith graven images of the Ford. $n recent years many evangelicals have promoted 8missionary8 activities through the use of the (esus film "hich is available in multiple languages. 9vangelicals claim that these images serve a didactic purpose especially for teaching children and evangeli>ing the unlearned. Their argument is merely a modern paraphrase of the old popish claim that images serve "ell as 8boo4s for the laity.8@16A )n the contrary 8faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of Cod8 !Rom. 1-&10#. Readers are invited to ta4e a stroll through a typical evangelical boo4store. The shelves are filled "ith religious trin4ets and paraphernalia "hich rival popish merchants and may even e+ceed them for sheer tac4iness. There is also a disturbing trend among evangelicals to be fascinated "ith Romish ritual and liturgy. This trend is not isolated to 8high=church8 communions such as the 3nglican and 8orthodo+8 churches "hich "ere never thoroughly reformed. Rather some 8'rotestant8 churches have begun adopting the trappings of Romish rites and liturgy& ministers don priestly go"ns and begin introducing elements of liturgical "orship. Churches post crosses in prominent places "ithin their buildings and begin follo"ing the ecclesiastical year of Rome. *iblical psalm=singing is noticeably absent throughout evangelicalism. $nstead contemporary evangelicals seem to relish sentimental ditties and heretical hymns. :any

67 "ho never sing the psalms "ill unite in singing 8Daith of )ur Dathers 8 oblivious to the fact that the hymnEs author composed it as a testimony of his o"n conversion to RomeI @17A 'erhaps it is fitting since these modern evangelical choristers are on a parallel pilgrimage. 9vangelicals have also mutilated the sacraments. <hereas Rome corrupts the FordEs 2upper and "ithholds the cup from the laity many evangelical congregations dispense neither element to the people. $n some cases the biblical elements of the FordEs supper have been replaced by grape 5uice and crac4ers !or coffee ca4e#. The idea that a local congregation has the right to change the elements given by the Ford is every bit as pernicious as RomeEs doctrine of church po"er. $t ma4es little difference "hether divine authority is usurped by a priestly hierarchy !Rome# or a locali>ed democracy !evangelicalism#; in either case it is an arrogant presumption against the sola scriptura rule of biblical religion. $n the previous chapter "e mentioned the altar call in connection "ith spurious evangelism. The altar call also impacts the doctrine of "orship because it functions as a sacrament as a public 8sign and seal8 of grace. Fi4e Rome evangelicals have man=made religious ordinances "hich stand as symbols of false piety and "orship.@15A

'onc%*sion
*oth Rome and modern evangelicalism share an underlying assumption that the church has po"er to innovate in "orship. 3 contrast e+ists in out"ard practices because RomeEs innovations flo" from centuries of accumulated traditions; "hereas evangelicals often discard tradition in favour of 8contemporary8 practices in "orship. 3t root ho"ever both groups share the assumption that men have the right to supplement the biblical means of "orship. 3s "e have e+amined the sub5ect of "orship "e have noted many similarities bet"een Rome and evangelicals. $t is a startling to reali>e ho" the "orship of Cod has been corrupted by both evangelicals and Roman Catholics together. #oo"no" s on 'hap" r , 1. 8The acceptable "ay of "orshipping the true Cod is instituted by himself and so limited by his o"n revealed "ill that he may not be "orshipped according to the imaginations and devices of men or the suggestions of 2atan under any visible representation or any other "ay not prescribed in holy scripture8 !<estminster Confession .1&1#. .. 9ven the 3nglican author G.$. 'ac4er e+plains this incident as an attempt by 3aron to "orship the Ford !not other gods# an attempt using unla"ful means. 83aron made a golden calf !that is a bull=image#. $t "as meant as a visible symbol of Gehovah the mighty Cod "ho brought $srael out of 9gypt. No doubt the image "as thought to honor (im as being a fitting symbol of (is great strength. *ut it is not hard to see that such a symbol in fact insults (im& for "hat idea of (is moral character (is righteousness goodness and patience could one gather from loo4ing at a statue of (im as a bullH Thus 3aronEs image hid GehovahEs glory. $n a similar "ay the pathos of the crucifi+ obscures the glory of Christ

65 for it hides the fact of (is deity (is victory on the cross and (is present 4ingdom. $t displays (is human "ea4ness but it conceals (is divine strength; it depicts the reality of (is pain but 4eeps out of our sight the reality of (is 5oy and (is po"er. $n both cases the symbol is un"orthy most of all because of "hat it fails to display. 3nd so are all other visible representations of /eity.8 6nowing 3od !/o"ners Crove& $nterKarsity 'ress 1906# pp. 7-=71. 6. Readers should note that Roman Catholics and Futherans divide the ten commandments dif ferently than ordinary 'rotestants. 'apists and Futherans combine the first t"o commandments into one thus subsuming the second command as a mere appendi+ to the first. They divide the tenth commandment into t"o commands prohibiting different 4inds of covetousness. Thus they still maintain ten in number but the effects on their doctrine of "orship is devastating. $n practice many modern 'rotestants have un"ittingly adopted this same vie"point. The second commandment is e+pounded as a mere e+pansion of the first and restricted in application only to false deities and open homage to images. 3s a result they admit images into churches ostensibly for didactic purposes. This modern interpretation is contrary to the 'rotestant confessions of the Reformation. 2ee (eidelberg Catechism J9B=9, <estminster Confession .1&.=6; <estminster Farger Catechism J1-0=1-9. 7. Today many Roman Catholics and evangelicals decry the sins of abortion and homose+uality as manifestations of our nationEs corruptions !"hich they are#; but these contemporary moralists are generally silent about the heinous sin of corrupt "orship. 5. (e purged 8Gudah and Gerusalem from the high places and the groves and the carved images and the molten images. 3nd they bra4e do"n the altars of *aalim in his presence; and the images that "ere on high above them he cut do"n; and the groves and the carved images and the molten images he bra4e in pieces and made dust of them and stre"ed it upon the graves of them that had sacrificed unto them. 3nd he burnt the bones of the priests upon their altars and cleansed Gudah and Gerusalem. 3nd so did he in the cities of :anasseh and 9phraim and 2imeon even unto Naphtali "ith their mattoc4s round about. 3nd "hen he had bro4en do"n the altars and the groves and had beaten the graven images into po"der and cut do"n all the idols throughout all the land of $srael he returned to Gerusalem8 !.Chron. 67&6=0; cf. . Kings .6&7=17 .7#. B. This defective vie" of "orship may be lin4ed to the tendency among evangelicals to define themselves sub5ectively !in terms of similar religious e+periences# apart from ob5ective commitments !in terms of biblical truth#. 0. 3 puritan "riter /avid Clar4son e+plores this theme in a provocative sermon 8'ublic <orship to be 'referred *efore 'rivate 8 based upon 'salm ,0&.& 8The Ford loveth the gates of Lion more than all the d"ellings of Gacob.8 2ee +he Practical Wor's of Da id Clar'son !1,B5; rpt. 9dinburgh& *anner of Truth 19,,# vol. 6 pp. 1,0=.-9. ,. <estminster Confession of Daith 0&B.

6B 9. 3mong evangelicals "e have often heard it argued that "e need 8pictures of Gesus8 to instruct children and other unlearned people. $f individuals sense the need for visible representations of divine truth "e suggest they study the la"ful administration of the sacraments. $n baptism and the FordEs 2upper !rightly observed# they "ill find divinely= ordained out"ard representations of the essential truths of redemption. 1-. $n the Ne" Testament narratives there are several e+amples of temporary aspects of "orship practices "hich "ere suited to the transitional era of the apostles. 9lse"here $ have noted reasons "hy such apostolic 8signs and "onders8 "ere never e+pected to be permanent elements of "orship. 2ee Kevin Reed Biblical Worship !/allas& 'resbyterian (eritage 1995# , pp. 05=,-. 11. $n the Cree4 Ne" Testament ethelothrees'ia The Ceneva *ible translates the term as 8voluntary religion 8 "ith a note e+plaining it as 8such as men have chosen according to their o"n fantasy.8 Tyndale renders it 8chosen holiness.8 1.. <. Robert Codfrey8<hat Really Caused the Creat /ivideH8 in Gohn 3rmstrong ed. 0oman Catholicism: E angelicals ,naly1e What Di ides and 2nites 2s !Chicago& :oody 'ress 1997# p. 0.. Codfrey ma4es several references to CalvinEs tract on +he 4ecessity of 0eforming the Church !1577#; a ne" edition of this important "or4 by Calvin has been reprinted recently by 'rotestant (eritage 'ress '. ). *o+ 1,-9.. /allas Te+as 05.1,. Dor an important study respecting the reformersE vie"s on "orship see& Carlos :. N. 9ire War ,gainst the .dols: +he 0eformation of Worship from Erasmus to Cal in !Cambridge& Cambridge 1niversity 'ress 19,B#. 9ire demonstrates that the reformersE struggle against idolatry "as a central facet of the 'rotestant Reformation. 16. But may not images be tolerated in the churches, as boo's to the laity* No& for "e must not pretend to be "iser than Cod "ho "ill have his people taught not by dumb images but by the lively preaching of his "ord8 !.Tim. 6&1B; . 'et. 1&19; Ger. 1-&1. etc.; (ab. .&19=19#. (eidelberg Catechism J9,. 17. Drederic4 <. Daber "as ordained in the Church of 9ngland in 1,7.. 1nder the influence of Gohn (enry Ne"man he entered the Roman Catholic church in 1,7B. Three years later Daber published a boo4 (esus and 7ary$ or Catholic /ymns for !inging and 0eading# The third stan>a of this hymn is often altered in evangelical hymnals; the original te+t reads&
Faith of our fathers! Mary's prayers Shall win our country back to thee; And through the truth that comes from God, ngland shall then indeed be free! Faith of our fathers, holy faith! "e would be true to thee till death!

60 Cited from& <illiam Gensen Reynolds /ymns of -ur &aith !Nashville& *roadman 19B7# pp. 76 .,9. 15. 3nother e+ample "hich has "aned in popularity in the broader evangelical community is the "ay some fundamentalists measure a manEs piety by "hether he totally abstains from all alco holic beverages.

Return to Table of Contents. Co to ne+t chapter. Copyright 'hap" r -

Th Marks o! "h 'h*rch


The protestant Reformation presented people "ith many serious issues. <e have loo4ed at the chief %uestions& !1.# <hat is the right "ay of salvation and !..# <hat is the right "ay to "orship CodH There "as yet another %uery "hich follo"s upon the heels of these %uestions& <hich is the true churchH @1A *oth Rome and 'rotestants claimed to be the true church each denouncing the other as a false church. 3dditionally there "ere 3nabaptists and other sects "hich condemned both Rome and 'rotestant congregations as false churches. Today the problem is e+acerbated by a myriad of religious assemblies all claiming the title of ChristEs church. (o" should a man sift through these conflicting claimsH (o" can he 4no" "hich church he should 5oinH The reformers "ere sensitive to this dilemma and the creedal formulations of 'rotestants addressed the issue in a strongly pastoral manner. The creeds hear4en bac4 to those basic issues "e have already e+amined& the "ay of "orship and the "ay of salvation. Drom scripture the reformers concluded that "e should loo4 for three basic mar4s to identify the true church& !1.# the preaching of the gospel !..# the proper administration of the sacraments !6.# the right e+ercise of church discipline.@.A <here these three mar4s are clearly present "e may rest assured "e have found the church of the Ford Gesus Christ.@6A $n a most practical manner these mar4s provide the believer "ith a measure by "hich to evaluate a local congregation before 5oining it. $f the mar4s are conspicuous "e may 5oin "ith a clear conscience 4no"ing it to be a genuine Christian congregation. $f these three mar4s are not plainly manifest "e should loo4 else"here; "e are not obligated to 5oin an assembly "hich does not e+hibit the mar4s of a true church. Durther if it is obvious that the opposite mar4s are present such as a false gospel corruption of the sacraments and "orship and gross abuse or neglect of church discipline

6, then it is our duty to avoid such an assembly and admonish others to do li4e"ise. 2uch openly corrupt assemblies are synagogues of 2atan. $t is not our purpose to enter into a detailed discussion of each of the individual mar4s. 3s a summary "e note the follo"ing facts. 8Daith cometh by hearing and hearing by the "ord of Cod8 !Rom. 1-&10#. $f a religious assembly has not the gospel of Christ it is not "orthy to be called a church. <ithout the gospel there can be no true Christians; "ithout true Christians there can be no real church. The administration of the sacraments is an indicator of a congregationEs practices in "or ship. $f an assembly substitutes man=made forms of "orship in place of the sacraments it is not "orthy to be regarded as a true church. 3nd "hen a congregation adopts a multitude of humanly =devised 8aids to "orship 8 as supplements to the biblical ordinances the leaven of idolatry is already present. Christians must avoid corrupt "orship 8for "hat agreement hath the temple of Cod "ith idolsH8 !. Cor. B&1B#. Church discipline is designed to maintain the glory of Cod and preserve the health of the church. $f a person ma4es a profession of faith but e+hibits a life of moral corruption men regard his profession as hypocrisy. 2imilarly if an assembly claims the title of a church "hile tolerating notorious heresies and scandals in its midst it has degenerated so as to become no church of Christ but a 8synagogue of 2atan8 !Rev. .&9; 6&9#. <e stress that the mar4s of the church are used to ans"er a %uestion about the legitimacy of religious assemblies in their collecti e capacity. /oes the congregation corporately bear the character of a genuine church of ChristH The failure of a congregation 5ointly to measure up to these standards does not in itself consign every individual there to flames of perdition. (aving said that "e must assert the obligation of every Christian to see4 out a true congregation. *elievers are admonished not to forsa4e 8the assembling of ourselves together as the manner of some is8 !(eb. 1-&.5#. The Reformers too4 this duty seriously noting 8that it is important to discern "ith care and prudence "hich is the true church for this title has been much abused.8@7A 8$t is the duty of all believers according to the "ord of Cod to separate themselves from all those "ho do not belong to the church and to 5oin themselves to this congregation @the true churchA "heresoever Cod hath established it. Therefore all those "ho separate themselves from the same or do not 5oin themselves to it act contrary to the ordinance of Cod.8@5A $t is the office of every believer to discern bet"een true and false shepherds. Christ 8putteth forth his o"n sheep he goeth before them and the sheep follo" him& for they 4no" his voice. ,nd a stranger they will not follow, but "ill flee from him& for they 4no" not the voice of strangers8 !Gohn 1-&7=5#. 2ince the preaching of an assembly reveals its doctrine of the gospel the believer must evaluate the teaching ministry of the congregation. $s this church faithfully proclaiming the "ord of ChristH The discernment of the believer is tested in this regard and by his decision respecting church membership. <ill he follo" the voice of Christ or "ill he entertain the voice of a stranger by 5oining a corrupt churchH

69 These principles have great relevance to the present interaction bet"een 'rotestants evangelicals and Roman Catholics. ?et the imperative nature of proper church membership is studiously avoided in contemporary literature on inter=denominational relations. <e contend that a proper approach to church membership is mandatory for those "ho are faithful to the Ford and his "ord. The mar4s of a true church "ill dictate t"o crucial matters& !1.# "hat church "e "ill 5oin; !.# and "hether "e should recogni>e a particular communion as a legitimate church and account its membership out"ardly as brethren in the Ford.

Roman 'a"ho%icism an& "h Marks o! "h 'h*rch


(aving considered the mar4s of a true church in light of our earlier e+amination of the gospel and true "orship "e must conclude that Roman Catholicism is a false church. 3t the Council of Trent Rome officially repudiated the biblical doctrine of 5ustification institutionally cutting itself off from the true gospel. The popish corruption of the gospel and the sacraments and RomeEs blatant practices of idolatry openly display its character as a synagogue of 2atan.@BA There obviously is no biblical discipline because the heresies and corruptions of Rome go unchec4ed "hile anathemas are hurled against those "ho profess the scriptural gospel. )ne recent "riter <illiam <ebster ma4es an appeal to Roman Catholics to 8come out from among them and be separate8 !. Cor. B&10#. 8<hy do $ say thatH8 he as4s. 83m $ being impolitic in this counsel especially "hen many evangelicals are saying "e should not call upon Catholics to leave their communionH8 (e goes on to say 8The issues that separate 'rotestants and Roman Catholics are not minor. They are ma5or. They have to do "ith the eternal destinies of men and "omen.8@0A These comments spea4 volumes at a time "hen many evangelical churchmen have lost sight of the pastoral urgency of calling men to repentance.

E$ang %ica%ism an& "h Marks o! "h 'h*rch


*ut again "e must not stop "ith Rome. 3s "e have seen many modern evangelical churches have embraced the false gospel of decisionalism and adopted man=made "orship. :oreover great heresies and scandals remain unremedied "ithin evangelical congregations; because church discipline is so unpopular among the people it is generally avoided. $n short if the mar4s of the church are telling against Rome they are e%ually telling against evangelicalism. $n a recent evangelical boo4 on Roman Catholicism /onald *loesch flatly denies the historic distinction bet"een true and false churches.@,A 3nother author in the same boo4 :ichael (orton ma4es a passing reference to the mar4s of the church !leaving out the third mar4 on discipline# stating that Rome is 8not a true visible church.8@9A Fater in the same essay (orton critici>es evangelicals for 'elagian evangelism& 89ntire denominations that "ere committed confessionally to the doctrine of 5ustification @by grace alone through faith aloneA have ended up adopting in actual practice a 'elagian message. <hen evangelicals deny human depravity and inability affirm that human beings cooperate in their o"n

7conversion by the use of their free "ill and vie" salvation as a pro5ect of moral improvement !especially "hen that affirms a notion of entire sanctification# they are further afield from the gospel than Rome has ever been.8@1-A )ne might e+pect the author to state the implications of his observations and discuss the mar4s of the church as they relate to evangelicals. *ut the essay comes to an abrupt halt "ithout follo"ing through on such important ramifications. 9arlier in the same boo4 Robert Codfrey correctly summari>es Gohn CalvinEs analysis of the chief disputes bet"een Rome and the 'rotestants& namely the conflicts respecting the gospel and true "orship. 3fter his historical overvie" Codfrey as4s 8<ere Calvin to evaluate Rome today "hat "ould he concludeH8 (e rightly ans"ers that Calvin 8"ould surely conclude that Rome is "orse off today than it "as in the si+teenth century.8 Codfrey then reminds us of RomeEs 8syncretistic8 "orship doctrine of 5ustification that 8still rests on human cooperation 8 and administration of the sacraments 8in an idolatrous and magical manner.8 Curiously Codfrey adds 8Calvin "ould no doubt e%ually lament the sad state of much of 'rotestantism today.8 Considering that CodfreyEs essay is included in a boo4 styling its authors as 8evangelical 'rotestants 8 his definition of 'rotestantism must include the evangelicals of our time. 2o "hy does Codfrey let evangelicals off "ith only a mild criti%ue in comparison to his pointed criticisms of RomeH 2urely "hat is good for the 'opish goose should be good for the evangelical gander. <hy not apply the same historic measures to both Rome and evangelicalismH@11A )ne suspects that contemporary evangelical "riters are reticent to press the issue more forcefully because of the embarrassing implications. 3 due regard for the mar4s of the church "ould not only unchurch Rome but a ma5or part of modern evangelicalism. That prospect is so startling that even the most conservative and 8reformed8 theologians in our day cannot bring themselves to consider the idea. (orton spea4s "ith hope of a ne" reformation "ithin 'rotestantism.@1.A *ut if there is to be a ne" reformation "e need to come clean on the depth of the problem among evangelicals and summon them to repent believe the true gospel and depart from their idols in "orship. !3nything less is simply beating around the bush.# 3nd until evangelicals bring forth such fruits meet for repentance historic 'rotestants "ill have no choice but to regard the bul4 of evangelical churches as no more legitimate than Rome. )nce again "e see that evangelicals and Roman Catholics together are ma4ing ship"rec4 of the faith. #oo"no" s !or 'hap" r 1. $n the follo"ing discussion our comments are narro"ly focused upon the identity of the true church in an institutional sense. *ecause the believerEs connection to the institutional church comes "ithin the conte+t of the local congregation that is the focal point of our in%uiry.

71 $n an enlarged discussion of related themes "e could e+plore the differences bet"een the visible church and the invisible church. The scriptures clearly ma4e a distinction bet"een the uni ersal church of all ages the elect 8the heavenly Gerusalem the general assembly and church of the firstborn "hich are "ritten in heaven8 !(eb. 1.&..=.6# and the local congregations "hich are composed of those in out"ard communion "ith the assemblies of Christ. Thus the historic 'rotestant creeds distinguish bet"een the isible church and the in isible church !cf. <estminster Confession !1B7B# chapter .5; the 2cottish Confession of Daith !15B-# chapters 1B and 1,#. )bviously our discussion pertains mainly to the visible church regarding its proper identification& that is ho" it may be discerned among local congregations. .. The mar4s of the church are treated in The Confession of the 9nglish Congregation at Ceneva !155B# the Drench Confession of Daith !1559# articles .B=.,; the 2cottish Confession of Daith !15B-# chapters 1B and 1, and the *elgic Confession of Daith !15B1# articles .0=.9; 2econd (elvetic Confession !15BB# chapter 10. 6. The <estminster Confession elaborates on the doctrine of the church "hen it says 8The purest churches under heaven are sub5ect both to mi+ture and error; and some have so degenerated as to become no churches of Christ but synagogues of 2atan8 !.5&5#.This statement does not purport to tell us ho" "e may 8rate8 churches in a dubious condition nor does the Confession commend believers to 8less pure8 churches "hich have not yet fully degenerated into synagogues of 2atan. Rather the <estminster Confession lets stand the previous creedal doctrine that calls upon men to see4 out a true church one clearly discerned by the right mar4s. These comments "ould seem to be unnecessary "ere it not for modern 'resbyterians "ho have sought to pit the <estminster Confession against the previous 'rotestant creeds in order to lessen the role of the mar4s of the church. $t should be noted that it "as the Church of 2cotland "hich ratified the <estminster 2tandards giving the standards their ecclesiastical approval. ?et no"here in the acts of ratification did the 2cottish church repudiate its former creedal testimony. $t is "orth noting that the 2cottish Ceneral 3ssembly had previously ratified !among others# all each of the follo"ing creeds& The Confession of the 9nglish Congregation at Ceneva the Drench Confession and the 2cottish Confession of 15B-; and all of these creeds affirm the mar4s of the true church. 7.. Drench Confession of Daith !1559# article .0. The *elgic Confession !15B1# says 8<e believe that "e ought diligently and circumspectly to discern from the <ord of Cod "hich is the true Church since all the sects "hich are in the "orld assume to themselves the name of the Church8 !article .9#. The 2cottish Confession says 8*ecause that 2atan from the beginning has laboured to dec4 his pestilent synagogue "ith the title of the 4ir4 of Cod and has inflamed the hearts of cruel murderers to persecute trouble and molest the true 4ir4 and members thereof it is a thing most re%uisite that the true 4ir4 be discerned from the filthy synagogue by clear and perfect notes lest "e being deceived receive and embrace to our o"n condemnation the one for the other8 !chapter 1,#. 5. *elgic Confession article .,. $n some cases there may not be a pree+isting true congregation near a believerEs home. 2till the imperative to separate from false churches

7. remains. $n such irregular circumstances "here there is not an acceptable pree+isting church the believer"ould be encouraged to help form one or perhaps move to a location near a true congregation. /uring the Reformation 'rotestants formed numerous 8house churches8 sometimes called pri y congregations, and often held 8underground8 meetings. !2ee 2econd (elvetic Confession chapter 10.# The present author has discussed ecclesiastical polity in more detail else"here. 2ee& Kevin Reed Biblical Church 3o ernment !/allas& 'resbyterian (eritage 19,6 1997 e+panded edition#; also Presbyterian 3o ernment in Extraordinary +imes !/allas& privately published @loose=leafA 1996#. B. 8Therefore "e condemn the papal assemblies as the pure "ord of Cod is banished from them their sacraments are corrupted or falsified or destroyed and all superstitions and idolatries are in them. <e hold then that all "ho ta4e part in these acts and commune in that church separate and cut themselves off from the body of Christ.8 !Drench Confession article .,# 83s for the false church she ascribes more po"er and authority to herself and her ordinances than to the "ord of Cod and "ill not submit herself to the yo4e of Christ. Neither does she administer the sacraments as appointed by Christ in his "ord but adds to and ta4es from them as she thin4s proper; she relieth more upon men than upon Christ; and persecutes those "ho live holily according to the "ord of Cod and rebu4e her for her errors covetousness and idolatry8 !*elgic Confession article .9#. The Confession of the 9nglish Congregation spea4s of 8idolaters and heretics as 'apists 3nabaptists "ith suchli4e limbs of 3ntichrist.8 2tatus& R) 0. <illiam <ebster 8/id $ Really Feave the (oly Catholic ChurchH8 in 0oman Catholicism: E angelical Protestants ,naly1e What Di ides and 2nites 2s !edited by Gohn 3rmstrong; Chicago& :oody 'ress 1997# p. .,B .,,. <ebster adds& 8$ believe that a Roman Catholic "ho is sincerely committed to follo"ing truth "ill eventually leave the Roman Catholic Church reali>ing as the Reformers taught that it is not the historic biblical holy catholic church8 !p. .,B#. ,. 8$t has been fashionable in evangelical 'rotestantism to regard the Reformation church as the true church of Christ and the Roman Catholic church as a false church. 3 more biblical stance is to see one holy and apostolic church irremediably fractured by the Reformation.8 /onald *loesch 8$s 2pirituality 9noughH8 in 0oman Catholicism: E angelical Protestants ,naly1e What Di ides and 2nites 2s !edited by Gohn 3rmstrong; Chicago& :oody 'ress 1997# p. 15.. 9. :ichael (orton 8<hat 2till Keeps 1s 3partH8 in 0oman Catholicism: E angelical Protestants ,naly1e What Di ides and 2nites 2s !edited by Gohn 3rmstrong; Chicago& :oody 'ress 1997# p. .70; .5,. 1-. :ichael (orton 8<hat 2till Keeps 1s 3partH8 p. .B6. 11. <. Robert Codfrey 8<hat Really Caused the Creat /ivideH8 in 0oman Catholicism: E angelical Protestants ,naly1e What Di ides and 2nites 2s !edited by Gohn 3rmstrong; Chicago& :oody 'ress 1997# p. 09.

76 1.. :icha'hap" r .

Wha" is an E$ang %ica%/


*efore going any further "e need to address a problem of nomenclature& <hat is an evangelicalH 3fter all "hen people call themselves Catholics they generally mean that they are members of the Romish communion 5oined to the papacy. *ut "hen people call themselves evangelicals the designation does not denote affiliation "ith any particular denomination or creedal formula. 2o "hat is an evangelicalH (o" should "e define the "ordH 8The "ord evangelicalism derives from the Cree4 euangellismos# The evangel is the good ne"s or gospel and throughout the Ne" Testament it designates the message of salvation. 'aul "as not ashamed of this gospel and throughout the Ne" Testament it designates the message of salvation. 'aul "as not ashamed of this gospel for Eit is the po"er of Cod for salvation to every one "ho has faith to the Ge" first and also to the Cree4E !Rom. 1&1B#. *ecause it "as the mes sage the indispensable message of salvation the 3postle pronounced the curse of Cod upon those "ho preached any other evangel "hether himself or an angel from heaven !Cal. 1&,#.8@1A (istorically the term e angelical "as used to designate a personEs association "ith specific vie"s about the e angel, the gospel. /uring the reformation the term identified those "ho held to the evangelical proclamation of the reformers& that is the term referred to 'rotestants.@.A The popish detractors of 'rotestants sometimes called them 8gospellers8 another term "hich points to the content of the 'rotestant faith.@6A No" as "e have already sho"n the theology of the reformation "as based upon the gospel of CodEs sovereign grace in saving sinners. :an4ind is dead in trespasses& men bear the guilt of sin and are dominated by the po"er of sin; they are totally incapable of contributing to their o"n deliverance from either the guilt or po"er of sin. Gustification comes by grace based upon ChristEs merit alone received by faith alone. 2anctification follo"s as a separate but related process "hereby the redeemed sinner progressively gro"s in practical godliness. 2ince reformation doctrine is simply a statement of the biblical evangel; and since contemporary evangelicalism generally re5ects this doctrine of sovereign grace; then it follo"s that modern evangelicalism isnEt really e angelical at all according to this historic usage of the term. Gohn Cerstner summari>es the historical progression of the term& 83s used in the *ible then the term euangellismos refers to the "ay of salvation and "as so understood subse%uently. 3t the Reformation it came into prominent usage precisely because the Roman Church seemed to 'rotestants to have lost the gospel "ay of salvation. $n the reformersE formulation and "ell into the nineteenth century evangelism "as CodEs "ay of

77 salvation not only in the offering of it to men but in the applying of it to their hearts as "ell. Fast century ho"ever the evangel began to be seen more as the divine offer of grace and not so much as the divine application of grace.8@7A The term e angelical has undergone a further shift in usage in that it is no" commonly used to describe a shared experience, instead of a common commitment to a body of doctrine. $n previous centuries the term pointed ob5ectively to a set of beliefs a body of truth concerning redemption held by 'rotestants. :ost 8conservative8 'rotestants no longer hold these doctrines; but large numbers of these 8conservative8 non=Catholics have had an emotional religious e+perience; further they possess a >eal for sharing their e+perience "ith others.@5A The common denominator of e+perience becomes the bond of unity and it cuts across denominational boundaries ma4ing creedal differences largely irrelevant to those "ho share a similar religious e+perience.@BA Thus the term e angelical has shifted from an objecti e focus to a purely subjecti e one. The problem of definition is clouded by modern "riters li4e Keith Dournier "ho "ish to e+tend the term e angelical even further to include Roman Catholics. Dournier "rites in a congenial manner. (e uses lingo popular among evangelicals.@0A Nevertheless he candidly states 8$ am a Roman Catholic not by accident or mista4e but by heartfelt conviction.8@,A DournierEs theological convictions become apparent as he ta4es the reader through a meandering description of his personal e+periences. /uring his narrative he endorses many of Roman CatholicismEs distinctive doctrines and practices& 5ustification as a process transubstantiation and the sacrifice of the :ass baptismal regeneration praying before images free "ill and denial of human inability charismatic e+periences the rosary and devotion to :ary. <hen Dournier recounts preachers and scholars of the past he 5umps from medieval figures to later figures such as <esley Dinney Foyola C.2. Fe"is and *illy Craham. DournierEs omission of the 'rotestant reformers from his list of great men of the faith is %uite telling. 9arly in his boo4 Dournier mentions reading some of the "ritings of the reformers. *ut he reserves his praise for others especially papal mystics and heretical 8'rotestants8 !such as Dinney <esley Craham Fe"is#. DournierEs agenda is clearly popish. (is ecumenism does not e+tend to participation in non =Romish administration of the sacraments. 3t one point he states& 83s a Catholic Christian $ believe the 9ucharist is the sacrament of unity. 3nd because the church is divided $ embrace my churchEs position that $ cannot participate in the 9ucharist "ith Christians of other traditions. <e are not one. <e must long to be one and it should grieve our hearts that "e cannot go to a common table.<e cannot pretend there arenEt differences in our understandings of the 9ucharist or the FordEs 2upper. There are differences and they are real and important.8 9arlier in the boo4 he says 8$ believe it "ould be ingenuine for believers "ho do not agree on the real presence of Christ in the 9ucharist to 5oin this sacrament of unity. $ long for the day "hen it "ill be possible for all Christians to share this sacred meal either here or in the "edding feast of heaven "hich it symboli>es.8@9A Thus the eventual unity envisioned by Dournier "ill only be achieved if evangelicals accept RomeEs terms of surrender and 5oin in the corrupt "orship of popery.

75 Throughout his "ritings Dournier uses a tactic that most evangelicals "ill find disarming. (e employs the lingo of evangelicals and uses language calculated to soften the contrast bet"een 'rotestants and Romanists. 3s "e shall see in the ne+t chapter this tactic is also e+hibited in the document 89vangelicals and Catholics Together.8 Readers should not be fooled by such an approach. <illiam Cunningham the eminent 19th =century 2cottish theologian has remar4ed& 8There are t"o different and opposite lines of policy "hich Romish controversialists have pursued upon this sub5ect @5ustificationA according as seemed to be most e+pedient for their interests at the time. 2ometimes they have represented the doctrine of the Reformers upon the sub5ect of 5ustification as something hideous and monstrous as overturning the foundations of all morality and fitted only to produce universal "ic4edness and profligacy; and at other times they have affected a "illingness to listen to the grounds on "hich 'rotestants defend themselves from this charge to admit that these grounds are not altogether destitute of "eight and that conse%uently there is not so great a difference bet"een their doctrine in substance and that of the Church of Rome. They then enlarge upon the important influence "hich the alleged errors of the Church of Rome on the sub5ect of 5ustification had in producing the Reformation %uote some of the passages "hich sho" the paramount importance "hich the first Reformers attached to this sub5ect and proceed to dra" the inference that the Reformation "as founded upon misrepresentation and calumny since it appears and has been admitted even by learned 'rotestants that the errors of the Church of Rome even if they "ere to admit for the sa4e of argument that she had erred are not nearly so important as the Reformers had represented them to be.8@1-A The appropriation of the term evangelical by religious special=interest groups has further e+acerbated the problem of definition.@11A (as the term lost all connection to its historical usageH 2o it seems. The result is that the term e angelical is utterly meaningless unless an author clearly indicates ho" he is using the "ord.@1.A The present author has "restled "ith the problem of definition "hile preparing this essay and $ have generally restricted my criticisms to self=styled evangelicals. <hile some criticisms "ill not apply to all individuals "ho regard themselves as evangelicals there is abundant evi dence to illustrate the sad factors "hich are sin4ing the ship of contemporary evangelicalism. #oo"no" s on 'hap" r . 1. Gohn (. Cerstner 8The Theological *oundaries of 9vangelical Daith 8 in +he E angelicals: What +hey Belie e, Who +hey ,re, Where +hey ,re Changing !3bingdon& Nashville 1905# p. ... The a.v. renders Rom. 1&1B 8it is the po"er of Cod unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Ge" first and also to the Cree4.8 .. E/espite the dominant usage of euangellismos in the Ne" Testament its derivative evangelical "as not "idely or controversially employed until the Reformation period. Then it came into prominence "ith :artin Futher precisely because he reasserted 'aulEs teaching on the euangellismos as the indispensable message of salvation. $ts light he

7B argued "as hidden under a bushel of ecclesiastical authority tradition and liturgy. The essence of the saving message for Futher "as 5ustifi cation by faith alone the article by "hich not only the church stands or falls but each individual as "ell. 9rasmus Thomas :ore and Gohannes 9c4 denigrated those "ho accepted this vie" and referred to them as 8evangelicals.8 E Gohn (. Cerstner 8The Theological *oundaries of 9vangelical Daith 8 p. .6. 6. The term Protestant itself is derived from the Fatin "ord protestari, "hich means to witness, confess or testify# The idea is one of giving a public testimony to the truths of the Christian faith. )nce again "e see the 'rotestant reformers "ere described by a term "hich points to their content of their faith. 7. Gohn (. Cerstner 8The Theological *oundaries of 9vangelical Daith 8 p. 65. 2ee chapter 1 above. 3lso note CerstnerEs statement regarding .-th=century evangelicalism. $t has 8lost some important aspects of its Reformation heritage especially as these relate to the doctrines of grace the depth of human depravity and the indispensable need of CodEs saving initiative not only in sending his 2on Gesus Christ to accomplish salvation but also in inclining sinners to accept it8 !p. 61#. 5. The e+perience is often said to be that of the ne" birth or conversion. The 8testimonies8 of these evangelicals usually revolve around the pivotal moment of their 8decision 8 regardless of "hether the decision "as made at a mass rally in a one=on=one conversation or as a result of some other provocative event !or events#. 3s "e have noted earlier the modern conception of conversion is radically different from the biblical position of the 'rotestant reformers. <e firmly hold to the necessity of the ne" birth and re5oice in the ne"s of a sinnerEs true conversion to Cod. *ut the momentous conversion of a sinner genuinely occurs only by the sovereign operations of CodEs 2pirit in connection "ith the true gospel. B. Cerstner says 8)thers may imagine that anyone "ho sho"s religious earnestness regardless of his vie"s or "ho engages in evangelism regardless of the evangel "hich he preaches can be called an evangelical. Those "ho have self=consciously assumed this title ho"ever insist that they have done so on account of their theology.8 Gohn (. Cerstner 8The Theological *oundaries of 9vangelical Daith 8 p. 66 The present "riter is not convinced of CerstnerEs last assertion. 3s "e contend in portions of this chapter evangelicals often see themselves more in the subjecti e terms of their religious e+perience than in the objecti e terms of their theology. The attitude Cerstner rebuts has become all too much the norm. 3nyone "ith religious >eal even if he preaches an heretical evangel is "armly accepted as an evangelical by other evangelicals. 0. Dournier spea4s of conversion using the e+pression Einviting 8?eshua 8 Gesus CodEs 2on into my heart to be my 2avior.E E angelical Catholics !Nashville& Thomas Nelson 199-# pp. 66=67; cf. p. 71. 9ven here he doesnEt mean e+actly the same thing as most evangelicals since Dournier vie"s conversion as an ongoing process !see p. 15# "hereas evangelicals employ the term to describe a one=time event.

70 ,. E angelical Catholics p. 59. 9. E angelical Catholics pp. 1B1 10. 1-. <illiam Cunningham /istorical +heology, !1,B.; rpt. 9dinburgh& *anner of Truth 1909# vol. . pp. 7=5. 11. 83s evangelicalism has continued to gro" numerically it has seeped through its older structures and no" spills out in all directions producing a family of hybrids "hose theological connections are %uite baffling& evangelical Catholics evangelicals "ho are Catholic evangelical liberationists evangelical feminists evangelical ecumenists ecumenists "ho are evangelical young evangelicals orthodo+ evangelicals radical evangelicals liberal evangelicals Fiberals "ho are evangelical and charismatic evangelicals. The "ord e angelical, precisely because it has lost its confessional dimension has become descriptively anemic. To say that someone is an evangelical says little about "hat they are li4ely to believe !although it says more if they are older and less if they are younger#. 3nd so the term is forced to compensate for its theological "ea4ness by borro"ing meaning from ad5ectives the very presence of "hich signals the fragmentation and disintegration of the movement. <hat is no" primary is not "hat is evangelical but "hat is ad5ectivally distinctive "hether Catholic liberationist feminist ecumenist young orthodo+ radical liberal or charismatic. $t is $ believe the dar4 prelude to death "hen parasites have finally succeeded in bringing do"n their host. 3mid the clamor of all these ne" models of evangelical faith there is the sound of a death rattle.8 /avid D. <ells 4o Place for +ruth, or, Whate er /appened to E angelical +heology !Crand Rapids& 9erdmans 1996# p. 167. 1.. ?ale historian 2ydney 3hlstrom has noted there is no 8uniformity of usage for this sacred and solemn term.8 (e states that no single usage has been normative so that 8historians "ho sail these seas have been as helplessly caught in the currents of popular usage as the humblest fisherman.8 $n a footnote 3hlstrom illustrates the 8difficulties of definition8 "ith a brief summary of contemporary evangelical authors& E@*ernardA Ramm praises 2cholastic )rthodo+y tends to re5ect modern thought and yet spea4s of 65 to 7million evangelicals located almost every"here. *loesch calls evangelicalism a 8mood 8 yet names nine hallmar4s and then undoes that sign of precision by thro"ing out do>ens of names from 2t. Theresa of 3vila to *onhoeffer. 2helley as an historian of the National 3ssociation of 9vangelicals is more inclusive than Ramm less eclectic than *loesch and more inclined to stress 8a true decision for Christ.8 *loesch some"hat confusingly spea4s of a ne" evangelicalism replacing the old 8Neo=9vangelicalism of the forties and fifties. 3ll three distance themselves to varying degrees from fundamentalism but do not e+clude it.E 2ydney 3hlstrom 8Drom 'uritanism to 9vangelicalism& 3 Critical 'erspective 8 in +he E angelicals: What +hey Belie e, Who +hey ,re, Where +hey ,re Changing !3bingdon& Nashville 1905# pp. .B9=0- .,, !note 1#.

Return to Table of Contents.

7, 'hap" r 0

1E$ang %ica%s an& 'a"ho%ics Tog "h r1


<e come no" to a brief consideration of the document entitled 89vangelicals and Catholics Together8 !9CT#.@1A The largest section of the document under the heading of 8<e Contend Together 8 urges cooperation bet"een Romanists and evangelicals on a "ide range of social and political issues dealing "ith religious freedom abortion @.A pornography parental choice in education a mar4et economy and appreciation of <estern culture. Collaboration on these issues is obviously "hat has built support for the document among both Roman Catholics and evangelicals. $nter"oven "ith the social and political issues ho"ever the 9CT document contains false theological presuppositions and blatant compromises "ith Romish doctrine. 'rotestants "ho sign this document for political purposes "ill find that they have given a"ay the store.

9osp % Iss* s
The introduction of 9CT enunciates a basic premise underlying the document& 83s Christ is one so the Christian mission is one. That one mission can be and should be advanced in diverse "ays.8 Fater the authors assert 8<e are called and "e are therefore resolved to e+plore patterns of "or4ing and "itnessing together in order to advance the mission of Christ.8@6A Can 'rotestants have a common mission "ith Romanists "hen they are still disagreed over the content of the gospelH The issue of 5ustification by faith has not been resolved !something ac4no"ledged "ithin the 9CT document itself#. :oreover there are a myriad of other issues related to the gospel such as the nature of faith and divine sovereignty in the conversion of sinners. $f these are not spelled out clearly ho" can there be any tal4 of a common effort in fulfilling the great commissionH $n this case the allusion to 8diverse "ays8 seems to be a veiled reference to diverse gospels. The attitude is %uite different from that of the apostle 'aul in Calatians 1.@7A The document affirms 8that "e are 5ustified by grace through faith because of Christ.8@5A The important term that is missing in that sentence is the "ord alone, as in the historic 'rotestant affirmation of 5ustification by faith alone. $n fact "hen the document later provides a lists of unresolved issues bet"een Romanists and evangelicals the sub5ect of 5ustification is made conspicuous precisely because it is absent from that list. 2pea4ing of missionary >eal the document ma4es one of its rare allusions to scripture 8(o" shall they hear "ithout a preacherH 3nd ho" shall they preach e+cept they are sentH8 !Rom. 1-&17=15#. $n the case of 9CT "e are constrained to as4 further 83nd what "ill they believe if a 'apist is sentH8 The authors state 83ll "ho accept Christ as Ford and 2aviour are brothers and sisters in Christ.8@BA <rongI 9vangelicals often use such lingo saying that someone has 8accepted

79 Christ as 2aviour;8 but biblical language is more precise. )ne suspects that the term accept "as employed here precisely because of its "idespread currency in evangelical circles; and because it is language acceptable to 'apists.@0A The "ord accept here smac4s of 'elagian evangelism "here a manEs destiny is thought to rest "ith his o"n free "ill if he "ill only 8accept Christ.8 *y contrast the scriptures spea4 of sa ing faith as trusting in Christ alone as he is offered in the gospel.@,A No" having provided a faulty description of faith, the 9CT document uses this fla"ed premise to arrive at its definition of 8brothers and sisters in Christ.8@9A 9CT says 83s 9vangelicals and Catholics "e dare not by needless and loveless conflict bet"een ourselves give aid and comfort to enemies of the cause of Christ.8@1-A That remar4 overloo4s the fact that 'apistry is an enemy to the cause of Christ and must be opposed. This truth "as a fundamental principle of the Reformation and evangelicals "ho sign a peace pact "ith Rome are aiding and abetting the Romish enemy of Christ. The document e+presses dismay over conflicts bet"een evangelicals and Romanists in Fatin 3merican and 9astern 9urope.@11A <hat is often the case ho"ever is that people in these regions are leaving 'opery for other church affiliations; and that action might be a positive step if they are doing so out of an e+pression of genuine faith and repentance.

Worship Iss* s
The sub5ect of "orship finds its "ay into the document only through the bac4 door. 9CT lists differences that are 8fre%uently thought to divide us.8@1.A The list includes the follo"ing points& 82acraments and ordinances as symbols of grace or as means of grace 8 8the FordEs 2upper as eucharistic sacrifice or memorial meal 8 8remembrance of :ary and the saints or devotion to :ary and the saints 8 and 8baptism as sacrament of regeneration or testimony to regeneration.8@16A (ere are clear allusions to Romish sacerdotalism superstition and the blasphemy of the :ass. Nevertheless the presence of idolatry in Romish "orship does not prevent the evangelical signatories from o"ning Rome as a true church and Romish idolaters as brethren. *y contrast historic 'rotestants regularly e+posed the corruptions and superstition of Romish "orship calling upon the practitioners of such idolatry to repent.@17A $ndeed in vie" of the length of the 9CT document the sub5ect of "orship receives short shrift. 'erhaps thatEs because evangelicals and Romanists are both attached to numerous man =made forms of "orship. 2ince they share common presuppositions about the la"fulness of human innovations in "orship their dispute is merely over "hich out"ard forms of "ill "orship are preferred. $n other "ords this is one area "here the dispute really is a family feud. (istoric 'rotestants find any form of e+tra=biblical "orship unacceptable regardless of "hether it emanates from Rome or from 3merican democratic impulses.

'h*rch Iss* s

5The language of 9CT is clear; its signatories regard evangelicals and Roman Catholics as 8broth ers and sisters in Christ.8 They 8affirm that opportunity and means for gro"th in Christian discipleship are available in our several communities.8@15A They go further& 8The one Christ and one mission includes many other Christians notably the 9astern )rthodo+ and those 'rotestants not commonly identified as 9vangelical.8@1BA 3re they tal4ing about liberal 'rotestants hereH $f so this is about the broadest definition of the church !and Christianity# one could devise. There is no discrimination bet"een true and false churches 5ust as there is no discrimination bet"een true and false gospels. 3ll "ho merely profess some breed of nominal Trinitarianism are included in this ecumenical vision. This concept is made painfully apparent by the inclusion of the 3postlesE Creed as the only confessional formulation broad enough to encompass everyone they have invited to the ecumenical party.@10A $t is true that during the Reformation both 'rotestants and Romanists affirmed their acceptance of the 3postlesE Creed. ?et "riters on both sides contended over the proper meaning of the creed !for e+ample the e+pression 8the holy catholic church8# 5ust as they did so many other issues.@1,A To include this creed "ith no further e+planation is to render its use virtually meaningless.@19A Thirty years ago this 4ind of broad=church ecumenism "ould have been cried do"n among evangelicals as gross liberalism. The ecumenical refrain builds as the document says 89+isting patterns of distrustful polemic and conflict are not the "ay @to unityA. <e do 4no" that Cod "ho has brought us into communion "ith himself through Christ intends that "e also be in communion "ith one another.8@.-A <ell of course it follo"s that if 'apists are in communion "ith Cod and ought to be in communion "ith 'rotestants there is an inescapable conclusion& "hy bother to evangeli>e Roman CatholicsH <ouldnEt that be a "aste of timeH@.1A )f course it "ould& 8it is neither theologically legitimate nor a prudent use of resources for one Christian community to proselyti>e among active adherents of another Christian community.8@..A 9+tending this line of thin4ing the document espouses a doctrine of individual sovereignty "hich serves as a further barrier against legitimate evangelism. 8Those converted "hether understood as having received the ne" birth for the first time or as having e+perienced the rea"a4ening of the ne" birth originally besto"ed in the sacrament of baptism must be given full freedom and respect as they discern and decide the community in "hich they "ill live their ne" life in Christ. $n such discernment and decision they are ultimately responsible to Cod and "e dare not interfere "ith the e+ercise of that responsibility.8@.6A Drom the vie"point of the 9CT signatories calling a Romanist to repentance "ould have to be considered undue interfer ence.@.7A 3fter %uoting from . Corinthians 5&19 the document asserts& 8To proclaim this Cospel and to sustain the community of the faith "orship and discipleship that is gathered by this Cospel is the first and chief responsibility of the church.8@.5A *ut this assertion begs the %uestion& <hich gospel "ill be preachedH <hich community of faithH <hich means of "orshipH

51 The document lists among the unresolved differences bet"een evangelicals and Roman Catholics 8the church as visible communion or invisible fello"ship of true believers.8@.BA This is an interesting dilemma. The Reformers spo4e of the church both in terms of a body not al"ays visible to the eyes of men !i.e. the elect# as "ell as the true visible church; they made necessary distinctions "hen describing the relationships bet"een these t"o perspectives. *ut in the 9CT document "e are given a choice of one or the other. )f course 'apists have often held that the identity of the church is e%uivalent to the institutional church of Rome; and perhaps some evangelicals !out of 3nabaptist roots# see the church only in terms of an invisible spiritual body. *ut "e stand firm "ith the formulations of the 'rotestant creeds and confessions !"hich mirror scriptures# sometimes spea4ing of the church as obscure to the eyes of men !the body of the elect# but at other times referring to the church in its institutional sense as an out"ard community of those professing the true religion !and their children#. 3mong the list of unresolved differences bet"een evangelicals and Romanists is 8the sole authority of 2cripture !sola scriptura# or 2cripture as authoritatively interpreted in the church.8@.0A This disagreement is the most fundamental issue of authority. <ithout agreement on this principle all the tal4 of evangelistic >eal for the Christian mission is hollo". 9CT spea4s of the obligation to contend 8against all that opposes Christ and his cause.8@.,A 2houldnEt that duty include contending against Roman Catholicism since Rome promulgates a false gospel and idolatryH $f 8earnestly contending for the faith8 means anything !cf. Gude 6# surely it means that true believers must oppose those "ho corrupt the gospel and "orship.

E$ang %ica% : a%/


No"here in the document is the term evangelical defined. <e are told ho"ever that 8the t"o communities in "orld Christianity that are most evangelistically assertive and most rapidly gro"ing are 9vangelicals and Catholics.8@.9A 3pparently itEs the asserti eness thatEs the essence of the evangelical spirit in vie" because here again "e are not told "hich evangel is being promulgated. $ndeed it doesnEt seem to matter "hich gospel is preached as long as it is done earnestly. The apostle 'aul has "arned us that there is 8a >eal of Cod but not according to 4no"ledge8 !Rom. 1-&.#. *ased on the 9CT document one may easily perceive that there are both evangelicals and Roman Catholics "ho possess this unholy >eal. 7o" s !or 'hap" r 0 1. This document has been reproduced in numerous places. $n our %uotations from 9CT refer ences to the document include the section title follo"ed by se%uential numbering of paragraphs "ithin the section.

5. .. 9vangelicals are right to denounce abortion as murder and to call abortionists to repentance. 2ince pro=life evangelicals oppose those "ho murder the body "hy do they not e%ually abhor those "ho see4 to murder the soul !such as the e+ponents of popish religion#H 6. 8$ntroduction 8 6rd and 1-th paragraphs. 7. $n a schi>ophrenic moment the authors say 8The achievement of good "ill and cooperation bet"een 9vangelicals and Catholics must not be at the price of the urgency and clarity of the Christian "itness to the gospel8 !8<e <itness Together 8 paragraph 1#. Keep in mind that the authors previously provided a list of unresolved differences bet"een Romanists and 9vangelicals and the list touched some very significant issues& differences pertaining to sola scriptura, the nature of the church "orship and baptismal regeneration. $n spite of these unresolved differences they press on "ith the assertion that their alliance to 8"itness together8 must not come at the price of the 8urgency and clarity of the Christian "itness to the gospel.8 2uch rec4less statements are mind boggling !or mind numbing# "hen one begins to reflect on their ramifications. 3pparently the authors do not believe that such issues as scriptural authority "orship and regeneration form the essence of the unalterable gospel of Christ. 5. 8<e 3ffirm Together 8 .nd paragraph. B. 8<e 3ffirm Together 8 6rd paragraph. 0. The language also provides comfort for nominal church=goers "ho consider historic faith sufficient unto salvation. ,. 2ee chapter 1 above. 9. 8<e 3ffirm Together 8 6rd paragraph; 8<e Contend Together 8 7th paragraph. 1-. 8$ntroduction 8 9th paragraph. 11. 8$ntroduction 8 Bth paragraph. 1.. <ith this 4ind of language perhaps the authors really believe that the Reformation "as simply one giant misunderstanding# 3fter all are the issues enunciated really substantiveH 3re they issues that actually do divide or are they simply issues merely thought to divideH 'erhaps the Reformers "ere mista4en "hen they thought 'apists "ere corrupting the gospel and resorting to idolatry etc. 16. 8<e 2earch Together 8 6rd paragraph. 17. 2ee chapter 6 above. 15. 8<e 3ffirm Together 8 6rd paragraph; 8<e Contend Together 8 7th paragraph; 8<e <itness Together 5th paragraph.

56 1B. 8$ntroduction 8 7th paragraph. 10. 8<e 3ffirm Together 8 7th paragraph. 1,. Dor e+ample Calvin follo"s the order of the 3postlesE Creed in the .nstitutes; and the Confession of the 9nglish congregation at Ceneva is structured upon the articles of the creed. *oth Calvin and the Confession e+plain the creed as a means of e+posing RomeEs departure from the ancient faith of the church. 19. <illiam Cunningham illustrates the inade%uacy of the 3postlesE Creed to serve as a sufficient guard against heresy; see /istorical +heology !1,B.; rpt. 9dinburgh& *anner of Truth 1909# vol. 1 pp. 09=96.The 9CT document is not itself a creed !or confession# in the classic sense of the term. 3 creed is an e+pression of doctrinal propositions generally used to bear testimony to the truth "hile e+cluding contrary doctrines and heretics from the community of the faithful. Creeds are founded upon the e+position of scripture. The 9CT document studiously avoids ma4ing overt doctrinal statements and does not even attempt any 4ind of systematic e+position of scripture from "hich to derive doctrinal propositions. 3fter all e+pounding the *ible might prove too divisive for their ecumenical efforts. There are a fe" scattered citations from scripture along "ith the reference to the 3postlesE Creed and %uotations from the pope. <hile %uotations by the pope may suffice for Romanists it hardly commends the document to 'rotestants. Regarding 9CTEs use of the scriptures and the 3postlesE Creed perhaps 9CT signatories hope to use them as a 4ind of incantation "hich if merely recited !"ithout e+planation# "ill mystically produce a grand reunion. .-. 8<e (ope Together 8 7th paragraph. .1. /id our 'rotestant forefathers really "aste a lot of time and effort and some spill their blood trying to reach 9urope for ChristH The 9CT document condemns the practice of proselyti>ing or 8sheep=stealing 8 "hich is defined as 8recruiting people from another community for purposes of denominational or institutional aggrandi>ement8 !8<e <itness Together 8 7th paragraph#. $t doesnEt seem to occur to the authors that sectarian bias is not the only motivation for trying to persuade people to sever their ecclesiastical ties. $t is a Christian duty to call men to repentance e+horting them for the sa4e of the gospel to leave corrupt ecclesiastical communions. ... 3 fe" lines later the document adds& 83lso to be re5ected is the practice of comparing the strengths and ideals of one community "ith the "ea4nesses and failures of another8 !8<e <itness Together 8 5th and Bth paragraphs#. $n a related vein the document says 8The decision of the committed Christian "ith respect to his communal allegiance and participation must be assiduously respected8!8<e <itness Together 5th paragraph#. .6. 8<e <itness Together 8 ,th paragraph.

57 .7. 9arlier the document states 8the decision of the committed Christian "ith respect to his communal allegiance must be assiduously respected.8 83ny form of coercion physical psychological legal economic corrupts Christian "itness and is to be un%ualifiedly re5ected8 !8<e <itness Together 8 5th and Bth paragraphs#. This is an interesting statement since the Roman Catholic church has historically utili>ed the physical and legal persecution of 'rotestants a trend "hich continues to this day in countries dominated by 'opery. <e are also curious& <ould it be considered inappropriate to spea4 of hell "hen e+horting a Romanist to repent or "ould that fall under the prohibition against psychological manipulationH .5. 8<e Contend Together 8 .nd paragraph. .B. 8<e 2earch Together 8 6rd paragraph. .0. 8<e 2earch Together 8 6rd paragraph. The 9CT affirmation of the inspiration and infallibility of the scriptures is disingenuous since Romanists and evangelicals do not hold to the same canon of scripture !8<e 3ffirm together 7th paragraph#. .,. 8<e Contend Together 8 1st paragraph. .9. 8$ntroduction 8 Bth paragraph.

el (orton 8<hat 2till Keeps 1s 3partH8 p. .B7. 'hap" r 2

'onc%*&ing R marks
Fet us return for a moment to the early days of the apostolic church. The church "as faced "ith controversy on account of the doctrine of the Gudai>ers. The Gudai>ers held to an orthodo+ Christology; they believed in the inspiration and authority of the scriptures; they asserted the abiding validity of the moral la" of Cod. :oreover professing Christians "ere greatly outnumbered living in a pagan society "ith a government that "as hostile to biblical values. *ased upon the "orldly "isdom of 9CT the apostle 'aul should have displayed unity "ith the Gudai>ers in order to 8Christiani>e8 the Roman 9mpire. $nstead the apostle vehemently opposed the Gudai>ers. <hyH The Gudai>ers upheld )ld Testament ordinances saying 89+cept ye be circumcised after the manner of :oses ye cannot be saved8 !3cts 15&1#. *y ma4ing the ordinances into a "or4 performed to obtain salvation the Gudai>ers subverted the doctrine of salvation by grace. Dor that reason the

55 apostle e+claimed 8*ehold $ 'aul say unto you that if ye be circumcised Christ shall profit you nothing. Dor $ testify again to every man that is circumcised that he is a debtor to do the "hole la". Christ is become of no effect unto you "hosoever of you are 5ustified by the la"; ye are fallen from grace8 !Cal. 5&.=7#. $n a parallel fashion Catholicism has told its follo"ers that 89+cept ye 4eep the doctrine and sacraments after the manner of Rome ye cannot be saved.8 There is one notable difference& the Gudai>ers based their claim upon an erroneous understanding of scriptural ordinances "hereas Rome teaches its follo"ers to rely upon a multitude of beliefs and practices "hich are nothing but 8commandments and doctrines of men8 !Col. .&..; cf. :att. 15&9; :ar4 0&0#. Thus to Roman Catholics "ho may read this publication "e call upon you to repent from any reliance upon Romish ordinances; for Christ "ill become of no effect to you if you resort to these ordinances as a basis for salvation. True salvation comes through resting in Christ alone; it is all of grace or not at all. 82alvation is of the Ford8 !Gonah .&9#. The true people of Cod forsa4e all hope of salvation in any source but Christ alone. Christians are also commanded to forsa4e idolatry. That is a principal reason "hy repentant sinners must leave Rome. The "orship of Roman Catholicism is in large measure institutionali>ed superstition and idolatry; and believers must flee from the presence of such corrupt "orship. 8<hat concord hath Christ "ith *elialH or "hat part hath he that believeth "ith an infidelH 3nd "hat agreement hath the temple of Cod "ith idolsH for ye are the temple of the living Cod; as Cod hath said $ "ill d"ell in them and "al4 in them; and $ "ill be their Cod and they shall be my people. <herefore come out from among them and be ye separate saith the Ford and touch not the unclean thing; and $ "ill receive you and "ill be a Dather unto you and ye shall be my sons and daughters saith the Ford 3lmighty8 !. Cor. B&15=1,#. To evangelicals "ho read this boo4let "e offer a solemn "arning. ?ou may hold to an orthodo+ Christology the inspiration of the scriptures a biblical morality& and yet even "ith all these convictions you still may be in need of salvation. $f you are resting your assurance of salvation upon your 8decision;8 if you thin4 that your 8free "ill8 or 8accepting Christ8 produced the ne" birth "ithin you; then you are deceived you are no better off than a Gudai>er or a Romanist. ?ou have made your 8decision8 into a "or4 and subverted the doctrine of salvation by grace. <e sho"ed earlier that faith is merely the instrument not the ground of salvation. 2adly "e have seen multitudes among evangelicals "ho have distorted the role of faith or redefined the term faith so as to nullify its biblical meaning. To any "ho are sub5ect to such 8evangelical8 delusions regarding faith "e cry again 8Repent.8 Come to Christ in genuine faith resting in him alone as he is offered in the gospel. 8(im hath Cod e+alted "ith his right hand to be a 'rince and a 2aviour for to give repentance to $srael and forgiveness of sins8 !3cts 5&61#.

5B To any evangelicals "ho have signed or supported the 9CT accord "e have but one thing to say& RepentI The 9CT document "as bad enough. *ut %uite fran4ly "e find some of the rationale offered for its support as troubling !or more so# than the accord itself.@1A The apostle 'aul is emphatic 8Though "e or an angel from heaven preach any other gospel unto you than that "hich "e have preached unto you let him be accursed.8 (eyI in case you missed the point the apostle repeats it again in the ne+t verse& 83s "e said before so say $ no" again $f any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received let him be accursed8 !Cal. 1&,=9#. $n light of the apostleEs admonition and in vie" of RomeEs perversion of the gospel it is absolutely ine+cusable for any professing 'rotestant to lend support to the 9CT document "hich spea4s of a common mission "ith Rome. Those "ho are leaders among the people bear a special responsibility in this regard& 8:y brethren be not many masters 4no"ing that "e shall receive the greater condemnation @judgmentA8 !Games 6&1#.@.A <e have a particular concern for those "ho profess to be Reformed in their theology. Dor too long the Reformed community has "in4ed at the heresies of the broader evangelical community; no" the 9CT accord has presented a ne" level of toleration. The apostleEs rebu4e to the Corinthians is entirely appropriate for the present climate of toleration in Reformed churches& 8*ut $ fear lest by any means as the serpent beguiled 9ve through his subtilty so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. Dor if he that cometh preacheth another Gesus "hom "e have not preached or if ye receive another spirit "hich ye have not received or another gospel "hich ye have not accepted ye might "ell bear "ith him8 !. Cor. 11&6=7#. $t is past time for Reformed 'rotestants to face up to the sin of ungodly toleration. <e have tolerated the false gospels the false Christs and the false "orship of the broader evangelical community. 2ome 8Reformed8 denominations have openly embraced the 'elagian evangelistic methodology and the "ill="orship of evangelicalism. 8Remember therefore from "hence thou art fallen and repent and do the first "or4s& or else $ "ill come unto thee %uic4ly and "ill remove thy candlestic4 out of his place e+cept thou repent8 !Rev. .&5#. Fiving in an era of religious pluralism "e are too apt to forget that heresy is a form of moral corruption$ it is classed among 8"or4s of the flesh8 along "ith adultery fornication uncleanness idolatry "itchcraft murder and drun4enness !Cal. 5&19=.1#. ThatEs ho" the Ford vie"s heresy. 3nd thus heresy is dangerous to our souls; there are heresies "hich are 8damnable8 in their nature !. 'et. .&1#. The issues "hich fostered the 'rotestant Reformation are not simply matters for academic debate. They are great and eternal matters respecting the "ay of salvation and the proper "orship of Cod. #oo"no" s !or 'hap" r 2

50 1. Dor e+ample see G. $. 'ac4erEs defensive article 8<hy $ 2igned $t 8 Christianity +oday, /ecember 1. 1997 !vol. 6, no. 17# pp. 67=60. 'ac4er has the audacity to say that 8differences about salvation and the church should not hinder them @evangelicals and Roman CatholicsA from 5oint action to re=Christiani>e the North 3merican milieu.8 Muite fran4ly "e are s4eptical that society can be truly 8Christiani>ed8 apart from a proper vie" of salvation and the church. 'ac4er goes on to laud 5oint 8mission ventures that involve evangelicals and Catholics side by side.8 (e cites e+amples including 8*illy CrahamEs cooperative evangelism in "hich all the churches in an area of "hatever stripe are invited to share.8 (e also mentions 8charismatic get=togethers some of them one=off some of them regular and some of them huge "here the distinction bet"een 'rotestant and Catholic vanish in a Christ=centered unity of e+perience.8 These items "hich 'ac4er vie"s as positive developments "e regard as ominous signs of the apostasy of our times. $n chapter . above "e noted the heretical nature of CrahamEs decisionalism; and the participation of Roman Catholics in the 8follo"= up8 to a Craham crusade only confirms our opinion that these rallies are fatally fla"ed. 2pace does not permit us to provide an analysis of the charismatic movement; but "e emphatically deny that the emotional atmosphere of these 8get=togethers8 should be labelled a 8Christ=centered unity of e+perience.8 .. Church leaders "ho signed the 9CT document should not be e+empt from criticism regardless of their stature as churchmen. 3fter all the apostle 'aul says 8Them that sin rebu4e before all that others also may fear8 !1Tim. 5&.-#. )ne of the biggest supporters of 9CT is Charles Colson. Dor a succinct analysis of ColsonEs theology see 8The Counterfeit Daith of Charles Colson 8 by Gohn <. Robbins; published in +he +rinity 0e iew Ganuary and Debruary 1997 !'.). *o+ 1BBB (obbs N.:. ,,.7-#.