Happy weekend to you from Orlando! Kate and I have been enjoying the Ligonier National Conference. The central theme of the conference is the celebration of the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. You can find video from talks already given along with the live stream on their Facebook page.
Let me talk a bit about why I’m here in Orlando, and what it is that these people are celebrating. Ligonier’s celebration of the Reformation has not simply been a look back in time, but a look forward. With the Roman Catholic church, and some top Anglican church leaders, calling for more and more ecumenicalism (in attitude, though not in doctrine, it would seem), its important to note that the reason for the Reformation still stands today. The Catholic church organization, along with many other so-called Christian churches throughout the world, are still mired in the darkness of the dark ages. Rome still lives in the dark ages – they still abide by the Council of Trent and Vatican I, though with the attitude of Vatican II, one might say. There’s some irony in this, but you might rightly say that their theology isn’t old enough! For they have forsaken the Bible’s teachings for centuries leading up to the Reformation, and still do so today. This grieves any Christian who reads Francis, or the 1993 catechism, or the pronouncements of Popes for the last few hundred years. Reformation is needed more than ever, and I pray that some of the light spoken from this conference and others throughout this anniversary year will vanquish the darkness of ignorance and pride and superstition that still inhabits many churches today.
Now, perhaps you think that I’m being melodramatic, or over-hyping the importance of these issues. But I think these are issues of vital importance – especially as someone with many close Catholic friends whom I dearly love. I’d challenge you to take a little time travel trip back to the days before Luther.
500 years ago, the church was a sham living in and propagating utter darkness. The one institution supposed to bring hope, joy, and truth to the earth, was preaching superstition and lies to the poor, and acting as a footstool (or worse) for the rich and powerful. Life dramatically changed all over the world for the better thanks to men like Luther, Calvin, Knox and others. How did it happen? They read the Bible. They preached the Bible. They believed the Bible, and they did so over against the opinions of men in the church who had created their own rules – their own doctrines and traditions. These non-sensical traditions and superstitions still reign in the Catholic Church today, and I’d urge anyone who doubts this, to read. Read and discover the sad truth of that situation. But most of all, read the Bible, and discover THE truth.
Where are we today? Doctrinally, nothing has changed in the Catholic Church. They never reformed their waywardness. They never recovered the gospel, and therefore ceased to be much more than a social club long ago.
That’s why we’re here in Orlando. Because theology matters, and we’d like to see truth reign on this earth. If you’d like to listen to a few messages from the conference, then I’d recommend elders and pastors hear some encouragement from Steve Lawson on the preaching of the reformation, and that everyone listen to John MaArthur on the “non-negotiable gospel.”
If you’re of the Catholic Faith, and think that perhaps we ought to find common ground, I’d encourage you to read R.C. Sproul’s book ‘Are We Together?’. This will talk eloquently, fairly, and plainly about the differences between Protestantism and Roman Catholicism. There are significant differences, indeed. Life and death differences.
While we’re on the topic! The Pope himself made some news this week by saying he may allow priests to marry. My first thought was that perhaps the Pope read 1 Corinthians or something, but it seems that the impetus (according to news reports) has more to do with a declining clergy, and the need to expand into the pool of non-celibate folks. Generous of the Pope to (after hundreds of years) consider giving his stamp of approval on something God in his divinely inspired Word already gave approval to. Heck, the next thing he might say is that the God’s Scriptures carry as much authority as his papal pen……..but I’m not holding my breath!
Since we’re sort of on a theology kick here, I want to draw some attention to what John MacArthur said in his sermon at this Ligonier conference last night about N.T. Wright. If you connect these dots, he’s calling Wright a false teacher. He’s not the first to bring up issues with Wright, just the latest. My friend Jack J. reminded me that Dr. Tom Schreiner had written an easy to understand refutation of Wright’s incorrect view on the imputation of Christ’s righteousness which (ironically) was posted on Ligonier’s site a few years back. This is stuff worth considering because of how many people really admire and enjoy Wright’s past teaching.
MORE FOR THE CHURCH: Tim Keller Stepping Down as Redeemer Senior Pastor (h/t Jim B.) This is a pretty big deal, though I think Keller’s literary output is not going to slow down an iota.
Mohler spoke out on the ‘The Shack’ and the lost art of evangelical discernment.
SATIRE: and oh, is this perfect timing: Washed-Up Actor Excited To Begin New Career In Christian Films
CULTURE: And since I have Mohler on my mind, he linked to this little piece worth tumbling around in your cranium: No, Stay At Home Moms Don’t ‘Waste’ Their Education
ART- Thank goodness for Craig’s List? The American Government Is Searching For Its Own Lost Art. The whole time I read this I kept thinking Carl Hanratty would make a surprise appearance.
Wha??? Say it isn’t so! – The Flag Office elevator goes up and down, flying American flags in bulk “over the U.S. Capitol.”
MILITARY: To keep an eye on: US COMMANDER SIGNALS LARGER, LONGER US PRESENCE IN SYRIA…..AND…GENERAL SAYS NO BAD DECISIONS IN YEMEN RAID, PROBE IS OVER. This was in follow up to this disappointing story: Slain SEAL’s dad wants answers: ‘Don’t hide behind my son’s death’
From the department of ‘Put that in your pipe and smoke it’: Trump Tells Planned Parenthood Its Funding Can Stay if Abortion Goes
I know this will shock you: Rapport Between Donald Trump, Barack Obama Crumbles
Somehow I forgot to post this last week, but its just too funny not to: Which Character Are You In The Story Of David And Goliath? Take The Quiz!
That’s it for now – I hope you enjoy your weekend. And if you have any questions or thoughts about my post, or the Reformation, please send me a direct message and we’ll discuss!