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THROUGH THE WRY ...
OUT OF CONTROL ?
Foundation, July -August 1999
Church developments and Christian necessities
In October of this year, we read in this issue of Foundation, the Vatican "officially claimed to agree with the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) on the Biblical doctrine of justification by confirming its decision to sign the 'Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification' with the LWF on October 31, 1999." It further notes that this is the only ecumenical document the RC body has officially agreed to sign with any denomination (according to the General Secretary of the World Council of Churches). Let us pursue this development more specifically in this presentation.
This confrontation with Christ on the part of this Lutheran World Body (the less conservative one, in contrast with the Missouri Synod's parallel but very different group of Lutheran churches) is a signal that should shake the most heavily slumbrous.
What makes it yet more intriguing is this: the document (May-June 1988, Foundation, p.10) expressly states in its preamble this little jewel of speech. It is noted that the RC Council of Trent Confession and the Lutheran Confessions issued condemnations which are "still valid today". If Trent is valid, the Gospel is not. If the Bible is to be heeded, then conversations with those affirming what Trent affirms in a setting of fellowship, not rebuke, is forbidden (Romans 16:17, cf. Titus 3:10). MARK them and AVOID them, it declares of those departing from the doctrine's of the Bible, of the apostles (I Cor. 2:9-13, Matthew 5:17ff., Isaiah 8:20). REJECT them. Is it perhaps to AVOID, if one DISCUSSES in DEPTH the heresy in view ? with the party responsible ? after 400 years in which to depart from it, in which it has been rightly condemned ? is it then to reject on the 2nd admonition, to palaver on the nth ?
Yes, if black be white and zero infinity, it is assuredly conceivable. But with words having some residual power to indicate meaning, possible it is not - except of course in rebellion, which this whole affair constitutes before any one word of the accord is written.
Begotten in rebellion, it stains the history of the church, and means ... but what it means we shall further consider after looking at Trent and the Bible for a little. True, this is nothing new: it has been done exquisitely by not a few for centuries; but present need brings present feed.
Introduction to the Development
This development is to be seen in the midst of the Anglican -RC long discussions (A Question of Gifts (AQG), Section VI, Benevolent Brightness or Brothy Bane 85 (BEN), pp. 247ff.), Baptist co-operation with RC bodies , as indeed long practised with the notorious Billy Graham case (AQG, Section VIII, pp. 78-79), and even indoctrination from such a source, Pentecostal twitterings with the songs of Rome (AQG pp. 65ff. including *12, BEN 85, p. 249) and of course the normal Uniting Church uniting attitude to Rome, clear in its WCC membership, where Rome has its place at the Committee level.
There is thus a more and more closely orchestrated drift, like some of the modern astral music, with weird spatial noises disguising the actual state of affairs - towards that inclusivistic authoritarianism which is her current trade-mark. Lutheranism is merely a star addition to the drift. It is accordingly being given star status, and the thing is to be signed, according to the planning in view!
The RC Lutheran talks are of course far from recent in their commencement. It is their result which is recent. As to that, there have of course been stages; but it is what is being staged in this VATICAN SIGNATURE for an agreement on the crux of the divergence - or rather a crux - which is notable. It is in Australia the case that in 1966 two Lutheran Bodies, one the Evangelical Lutheran Church, joined; and in joining each disjoined from, or would not be joined to the international body which reflected its own trend. Thus the Lutheran World Federation does not have a membership from the Australian Lutheran Church, nor does the International Lutheran Council have it on the roll. Only in non-fellowship, non-voting relationship does the Australian church appear here, as observer or associate.
It is instructive to consider what happens when the evangelical necessities are joined to something else. As soon as the clear trumpet call is in any way muted, even in tone, then the insidious alternatives are not far off. Compromise on any part of the Bible is an ecclesiastical parallel to suicide, however long the process. Going beyond the Bible, while not Rome's prerogative, is assuredly her forte: to reverse Paul's point, but maintain its thrust: WHEN I AM STRONG, THEN I AM WEAK! It is enough to hold to every word which proceeds out of the mouth of God. It is necessary not to add (Proverbs 30:6), not to subtract (Matthew 4:4), not to fiddle (cf. II Cor. 4:2).
Now the Australian Lutheran major body has done two things. It has agreed to CELEBRATE this RC-LWF 'achievement', to be formalised in October 1999. It is like celebrating a death in the family, in view of the standing accorded to Rome's heretical Trent. It has also accepted it WITH reservations. Reservations however which allow you to celebrate are not of the essence. You do not celebrate your son's failure in year 12 examinations, or your daughter's waywardness. This same Australian body has also made its own agreement from its Dialogue Teams, unbiblically conversing long with Rome.
we consider all the implications, we shall simply look at two parts of
the WLF agreement, at some small parts of Trent and of course, do this
looking from the Bible as base.
TRENT (to 1563) AND THE JOINT DECLARATION (1999)
1) Firstly, we note that Canon XII, 'On Justification', In Ch. XV1, from the SIXTH SESSION, dated Jan. 13, 1547, brings a curse on (anathematises) the following:
"If any one saith, that justifying faith is nothing else but confidence in the divine mercy which remits sins for Christ's sake; or, that this confidence alone is that whereby we are justified: let him be anathema."
Let us consider the first of these blasts. It condemns this: To have confidence in the mercy of God, in terms of which sins are remitted, on the ground that Christ provides, is so certainly NOT a due and true definition of justification by faith, that anyone stating this to be its nature, is recipient of a church curse.
it then on some other grounds that what Christ provides by, in and through
HIMSELF ? Galatians 6:14, Romans 3:25ff. are clear on that. NOTHING ELSE
BUT the cross of Christ must be the subject of glorying. Is the apostle
to be cursed by this Roman body also, then ? Justified apart from works
(Romans 3:28) is the case. It is EXCLUSIVE to Christ and INCLUSIVE to grace.
Hence we are saved "by grace through faith
and that (the total setting - SMR p. 1043)
NOT OF YOURSELVES."
On the contrary,
"it is the gift of God." It is such that one COULD NOT boast. There is such an exclusion notice served on anything which is NOT faith and which is NOT grace, and which IS OF ONE'S SELF in any sense, that it would not be possible to make any rational boast (cf. BEN 85, pp. 249ff.). The ludicrous nature of such a claim if Christ were not the sole ground, grace the designated path and faith the only instrument, is shown in this reference.
HOW, Paul asks in Romans 3:25ff., does God demonstrate His own righteousness in this business of justification of the sinner ? It is through Christ "whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness ... to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. Where is boasting then ? It is excluded."
It is not that boasting OUGHT to be excluded. That is not what is written. It is so, an enforced absentee. The nature of the case precludes it. IF someone ELSE, not oneself, makes the propitiation, provides the redemption, and does it freely; and if it is THIS FACT - with the identity of the eternal Son of God as the donor and victim - which enables just justification which is exclusive of boasting potential, why then, one can only agree. It is ONLY the merits of Christ, it is ONLY the provisions of Christ, it is ONLY through the instrument of faith in such style that it is contradistinct from any works, that one is justified. It is THIS which enables God to justify the ungodly, since the provision is perfect, has no stain of sin, or possibility of imperfection, meets every case and depends on nothing human done by any sinner whatever, in any way whatsoever.
Hence it is Rome who has put forth the accursed doctrine. Are these words too strong ? It is merely a reflection of the Council of Trent, which is declared VALID in the JOINT DECLARATION of 1999, and assuredly, cursed is the correct term when one consults Galatians 1:6ff.. AT THAT TIME, Paul's preaching ALREADY contained the gospel, and only what is the direct opposite of this Roman contention did He proclaim. To preach another gospel, which Trent here implies, is indeed to be cursed with the full authority of the apostle Paul, who was so emphatic on the point that he included even himself in the cursed category, if he should ever preach ANY OTHER GOSPEL. (Bad luck for the Mormons, by the way!)
Thus the apostle apostrophises, marvels at and severely rebukes the Galatians (Ch.3) for STARTING with faith through the spirit and then devising some OTHER way of CONSUMMATING, CONTINUING and proceeding than the way in which they began (cf. News 85, supra, pp. 249ff.).
"O foolish Galatians," he exhorts, "who has betwitched you that you should not obey the truth, before hoe eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed among you as crucified ? This only I want to learn form you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith ? Are you so foolish ? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh ?" CHRIST has been cursed so that we might be redeemed from the curse, He having become a curse for us, he tells the Christians.
This is done so that the "blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith." "For, "he says, "you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus." Not MAY BE, or COULD EVOLVE INTO THIS, or MIGHT BE ECCLESIASTICALLY VALIDATED AFTER MANY WORKS AS THIS; but YOU ARE SONS OF GOD.
This flatly contradicts Trent in its statement: "Let no one herein promise himself any thing as certain with an absolute certainty; though all ought to place and repose a most firm hope in God's help." The topic is persevering to the end. While a self-centred faith, which a man promises himself is vain, whether of himself or a 'church' like Rome, the faith in Christ is such that YOU ARE THE SONS OF GOD THROUGH FAITH, is a general consequence of it. THIS is the nature of justifying faith as propounded by Paul in Galatians 2-4.
The difference is flat contradiction, because the method if flat contradiction, and what is flatly excluded by Paul, is flatly included by Rome; so that Rome sees this sort of faith in Christ, in His finished work and wholly and eternally efficacious redemption and justification, s promising oneself, when in fact God promises. Thus Rome libels God in making it appear that He who has promised, is in fact not so doing, and libels His own, by making it appear that they who accept what He has promised EXCLUSIVELY on the basis of what HE HAS DONE in Christ, are in fact making subjectivistic promises to themselves, not receiving an objective promise from God.
Thus in Galatians 2:16, we learn as so often elsewhere, that am man is NOT justified by the works of the law but by faith in Christ. This is a total exclusion. The act and fact of justification is like a vacuum as far as works are concerned; and like a full cup as far as Christ received by faith as redeemer, is concerned. Indeed, not merely does the apostle Paul indicate that THIS IS THE NATURE of justification, but he adds to it: for THAT REASON we who have believed in Christ have done so with the AIM of being justified by FAITH and NOT by the works of the law. This AIM includes the consummation, as such, and the consummation, as such, excludes works, and its very aim, is of that character, category and exclusion.
Hence when he Galatians did EXACTLY what Rome wants, and starting adding this or that as a complement or improvement or addition or consequence imagined, of grace and faith, as the very condition of its occurrence, Paul explodes into denunciation; nor is it surprising that one must faithfully echo the apostle on this failure in 1999, on the part of a body once famed for its insistence here, as it falls into polluted parley, agreement on folly and acceptance as not requiring doctrinal condemnation, of what condemns Paul, abuses the gospel and turns it into another gospel. It is indeed almost as if what PAUL PROHIBITS is taken by an omission of the negative, to be what he REQUIRES!
2) Nor is this enough. Rome even misuses terms on top of this simplicity, as if to deceive the very elect. Thus in Chapter VIII of the 6th Session, January 13, 1547, it says this:
"We are therefore said to be justified freely, because that none of those things which precede justification - whether faith or works - merit the grace itself of justification. For, if it be a grace, it is not now by works..."
There are 5 errors in this phase. First, the placing of faith and works in a category which is jointly treated, relative to being justified by faith, is to include what is excluded with what is instrumental to the whole exclusion of what is here paired. This is mere confusion of words, a verbal phraseological foozle. It is like saying, Now if you think you are healed, whether by dirt or by medicine...
Secondly, the issue is again confused by bringing a red herring, a straw man, an irrelevancy, as if to cite what no sound Protestant would ever teach, would in some way clarify anything. It is like saying, that since the Pope is not made of pepper, we ... That would be an inane irrelevance.
We know that not to be the case, and to include it in a reasoned discourse is mere adventitious sidetracking of emotion or thought or both. Faith is not said at all to merit justification. It is an instrument. The divergence is not whether we merit justification by a WORK of OURS called faith, as if the apostle were an ignoramus, and were condemning the Roman concept of adding works to faith to be justified in the end, while asserting it. IF we are justified, as he declares, by faith and NOT by works, and our aim is the same, and the Galatians were hideously wrong in imagining that the commencement of faith is divergent from its continuance, relative to works in their salvation relevance: then it follows with necessity that this faith is NOT works. That would be like saying that we earn our living by work and not by idleness, and then allowing an interpretation of idleness which made it work.
Faith is instrumental to salvation and with its abiding in grace as in Ephesians 2, it is as a total cycle and situation, NOT OF WORKS. Neither the salvation is of works, nor the grace, or the faith by grace, nor the gift. It is ALL not of works! How much is needed to bring about an acceptance of what is repetitively explicit in the gospels and epistles!
Thirdly, the concept which precedes in this part of the Trent document, and which this continues to express, is this: "whereas the Apostle saith, that man is justified by faith and freely, those words are to be understood in that sense ...; to wit, that we are therefore said to be justified by faith, because faith is the beginning of human salvation, the foundation, and the root of all Justification..."
And what is the end ? "They, through observance of the commandments of God, and of the Church, faith co-operating with good works, increase in that justice which they have received through the grace of Christ, and are still further justified..." (Ch.IX, loc.cit.). Justice is received through Christ and increase by works, and this makes them MORE justified. This is justification by His grace and our works. THAT is why they feel so unsure; for of a truth, if it did depend, contrary to Paul and Christ (John 10:9,27-28, John 4:14, Matthew 20:28, John 6:51-54, 5:24) on ANYTHING we contribute as of our works, then it would be MORE than uncertain. It would be CERTAIN to fail.
Fourthly, the standard is perfection in spirit, without spot, and the vehicle chosen is the one in whom is the fulness of the Godhead in bodily form (Hebrews 9:14, 7:25-26, Colossians 1:19). Other standards are ludicrous, not crutches for Christ, additives to His grace; for it is BY FAITH THROUGH GRACE that it is obtained, and THAT ? It is NOT OF YOURSELF. Is then something which is done by yourself, not of yourself ? Is your heart not of yourself ? is your understanding or your thought or your hope or your co-operation not of yourself ? The concept is alien, obnoxious and an affront to the Gospel, in the light of Paul's trenchant exposure of just this error to the Galatians.
The thrust in Trent here, is therefore this: that faith introduces but does not obtain justification, and the freedom in "justified freely" (Romans 3:24) is in something which is not justification, but an opportunity for it, a commencement or an access to what may, perhaps, if the church sees it that way, actually lead to it, some day. This is quite undoubtedly what is being said in this way and that, and here as to NON justification by faith, it is explicit.
Thus, fifthly, when then Paul says, HAVING BEEN JUSTIFIED by faith in Romans 5:1, and "having been justified by His grace,' In Titus 3:7, he is wrong if Trent is right. What presumption! How CAN A MAN KNOW "with a certainty of faith, which can not be subject to error, that he has obtained the grace of God" (Trent, Ch.IX, loc.cit.). But Paul knew! Paul attributed just that knowledge to his hearers: they are ALREADY COMPLETE as far as justification is concerned. They are moreover ALREADY IN THE STATE OF FULL ORBED SALVATION BY THE MEANS OF BEING JUSTIFIED BY FAITH THROUGH GRACE.
NOT ONLY is the person justified in the manner noted in Ephesians 2:8, but the result at the time is this: YOU ARE A HAVING BEEN SAVED PERSON. HOW says Rome, could you know ? By faith. Faith, after all, is the assurance of things hoped for, the attestation of things unseen (Hebrews 11:1). Are we to say that what faith IS, is precisely what it CANNOT have! Do we say this, Money is purchasing power, so that you cannot but in presumption imagine that you could purchase anything with it!
It is thus that Paul can exclaim in ringing assurance, as he is seen to do in I Timothy 1:12, and in Romans 8:29ff., where indeed we find that to be justified means to be predestinated and glorified (Romans 8:17,29ff.).
It is then perhaps this blindness to precise pronouncements of the Bible, and normative testimony to the churches that makes it clear that Rome simply does not understand, experience - she is like one who has no ears, and the music is not understood. HOW, says she, CAN you possibly without presumption say that you are hearing music. Lacking ears, she incites our pity; but condemning those who have them by the grace of God, she incurs our exclusion from all fellowship. Not only does she fail to take what is offered, she condemns those who do. And this ? Is it not precisely what the Scribes did - as explained by Jesus the Christ, and recorded in Luke 11:52:
to you lawyers! For you have taken away the key of knowledge. You did not
enter in yourselves, and those ho were entering in you hindered."
In this joint statement we find this: " ... the subscribing Lutheran churches and the Roman Catholic Church are now able to articulate a common understanding of our justification by God's grace through faith in Christ. It does not cover all that either church teaches about justification; it does encompass a consensus on basic truths of the doctrine of justification and shows that the remaining differences in its explication are no longer the occasion for doctrinal condemnations." (Emphasis added.)
the Lutheran bodies accepting or celebrating are celebrating, whether they
realise it or not, what is in this category, the spoliation of the Gospel,
exposed as such for 400 years! Hence fellowship with this church is now
offensive to the Bible. It is not a question in the least degree of condemning
this or that person in this respect: it is just that a body has done a
thing or has actively planned it, which the Bible requires us so to view
that we AVOID them in spiritual matters. THAT of course is not to say they
may not be helped or loved, or if in trouble and seeking expressly from
the Bible, helped to find the truth.
It DOES mean that you cannot simply fellowship as if it were a Christian church (Romans 16:17).
is this sudden! 400 years of testimony, the Anglican testimony from the
start (but by no means to the finish!), the creeds of Protestantism are
quite clear and have been for centuries. No, it is not sudden...
Elements of ROMANS
has much to say on this, and we have often referred to it, as in News 85,
SMR pp. 1042-1088H, 525ff.,
and elsewhere. ( We have considered the integrity of these doctrines in
their total Biblical setting, and in the area of James in particular:
Magnificent Rock - TMR
Ch. 2, Section
- see other refs.
there , esp. pp. 54ff.; TMR 4, Allegory 7; SMR Ch.7, pp. 520-532; The Biblical Workman, Appendix on Faith, Appendix on Love of Righteousness; News 79; Barbs, Arrows and Balms 22; Index Justifying. ) However it might help some to find the delicious absurdity once more in Romans 4:16, when you take it to Trent... for comparison. We shall also look at parts of Romans 3 and 4, 5 and 8.
A. First let us see Romans 4:16 and 3:20-24.
'THEREFORE IT IS OF FAITH THAT IT MIGHT BE ACCORDING TO GRACE, SO THAT THE PROMISE MIGHT BE SURE TO ALL THE SEED, NOT ONLY TO THOSE WHO ARE OF THE LAW, BUT ALSO TO THOSE WHO ARE OF THE FAITH OF ABRAHAM, WHO IS THE FATHER OF US ALL..."
1. It is of faith that it might be by grace: hence faith, so far from contradicting grace, enables it.
2. So far from making the promise unsure, it makes it sure.
This is the first defilement here, of Rome.
4:5 refers to a person who does not work but does believe.
Hence believing is not working.
Not working and believing are co-incident, synthetic categories. They are agreeable and harmonious, the one with the other. To treat believing as an imperfect work, as something involving presumption in its perfection and so forth, is thus a contradiction of Biblical definition of the same, as seen before and again shown here. This is the second defilement of Rome.
C. Romans 3:20-26 refers to being justified freely by grace through redemption. This enables God to declare His righteousness, so that He might be just as well as the justifier of the person who believes.
Now let us see this more intimately.
This is the nature of justification. If the thing may Biblically be called justification, THIS must be its character; for it explicitly states that this ENABLES God BOTH to be just (which He always is - Deuteronomy 32:4) AND the justifier of the sinner, to be so even while justifying those in the category of sinners (as emphatically in Romans 5:5ff.). Indeed, this is a highlighted phase of it. ANY justification therefore, in process or fulfilment, in component or completion, is of this kind. This quality may NEVER be absent: otherwise the name justification is a misnomer, Biblically.
Hence if there is a person who may be said to be justified, the procedure may not violate this provision, or possess any antithetical quality, in part or in whole, in spirit or in truth, or in any way whatsoever.
Now in Romans 5:1, we see such people. Their justification is past, done. This therefore is how it happened. It is impossible to lose this justification commodity (Romans 5:1-11, 8:28ff, with 8:17), for it proceeds from eternity to eternity, is foreknown, and the justification is a part of an explicit cycle which nothing can interrupt or corrupt (Romans 8:28ff.). EVEN if, though impossible, it were, still, this is the ONLY way it could be regained.
NOTHING but faith in conjunction with not working, in the avenue of grace, is available for the sinner to be justified.
Nothing may be added to redemption, as if it had merit, as if it had part or place or function, or co-operation, or survived a condition, lest the be boasting (Ephesians 2, Romans 3).
Nothing may be subtracted from the Cross of Christ -
To change this is to change 'God'; to change the Gospel; which is a work of presumption and pollution, blasphemy and folly; and it also doesn't work.
cross of Christ is unquestionably NOT Rome's offering, which is repetitious,
without suffering, does not shed blood, is not offered by a sinless person,
and does not involve the offeror being the offering, or for that matter,
being One who was in the form of God and became in the form of a man,
yet without sin (Philippians 2)..
The one offering by a sinless ONE
is the only one either permitted or efficacious.
It is not something else you are to glory in, but this, Biblically defined, enacted and prescribed, prophesied and consummated (Hebrews 9:25ff., 10:10,14).
So does Hebrews teach, so is the Bible, such is the criterion.
As to this, it provides eternal redemption (9:12) to faith (Romans 3:25, Hebrews 10:22,10,14), and its effects are for the whole of life, for it sanctifies for ever, just as the redemption in view is eternal; and both of these things are explicitly stated in scripture as cited.
only therefore is faith NOT possibly works, since these things, these two
are contraries, and since one may NOT work, and yet MUST do it by faith
to be justified; but ANYTHING, be it mass or obedience, that is not glorying
in the Cross of Christ (Galatians 6:14) in absolute contradistinction from
anything which either the sinner can
do, or anyone not definitively the One crucified has
done, is a gross heresy.
It is outrageous both in presumption and defilement. It arrests faith and pollutes assurance. It invents a god and evacuates the one who is; for He is what He is, as He says, and not another thing (cf. Exodus 3:14, John 8:58).
is the third defilement of Rome at this point; for here it presumptuously
declares it to be presumption which accepts what in fact God has said as
true, and what He has freely offered as free (Romans 5:15) - it is a
"gift by grace" (Romans 5:15), so that not
merely the gift, but the giving is by grace. Grace has no merits. That
is why it is so sure. It is God's grace and God is perfect. It is a matter
of trusting God who is both clear in promise and perfect in Being, who
has made it perfectly trustworthy in Christ, who has perfectly covered
the case; and none of this perfection is that of the believer , but of
the object of his/her faith. What ? Such an offering became us, for HE
is holy, harmless and higher than the heavens (Hebrews 7:26)! Doubt that
? Doubt the devil any time, but this never.
Let us then reformulate these.
In celebrating this accord, of the joint statement, even with reservations, the Lutheran Church of Australia is therefore celebrating a betrayal of a just cause of the reformation, and in this betraying the Reformation; celebrating toleration of one of the greatest heresies of all time; and hence it is participating in these works of counter-Gospel heresy. To celebrate a murder is not to commit it; but it is to agree with its spirit.
It is to do something so far different from AVOID, the command for this in Romans 16:17, that it constitutes rebellion, as, less monumentally but still surely, does its membership with Rome in two church councils. It is not for Christians to assist in a declared position which is heretical. Repentance is the only way back to fellowship. Words about heresy unrepented and unrevoked, these are forbidden, excluded, sensationally astray, awry from the declared procedures God has provided to His people and His church.
In refusing the Biblical treatment of heresy, to condemn it and depart from association with it - one long exposed by hundreds over hundreds of years, and by multitudes of churches - the Lutheran body has now taken an unapostolic position.
In celebrating accord with heresy (where this is in fact affirmed in its Joint Declaration setting , as 'valid'), it celebrates heretical movement. It thus comes to join with what constitutes its way a division from the long established truths of scripture. It is thus time to step out for Christ. Unless it speedily repents, one must move on, undaunted by falls and losses, where the truth is so prized, that its confusion does not constitute a forbidden area, a mix with folly so profound as to make it a division from the apostolic teaching, one to be AVOIDED (Romans 16:17).
What then of this Lutheran celebration of the folly of fusion and confusion with Rome on the part of the Lutheran World Federation ? In celebrating this, it affirms rebellion in particular as well as in general, and is no more - though it be a grief - open for Christian co-operation in joint fields, except it repent.
the intention, this is the result. Even confusion does not annul an act.
Motivation here is not our business; they have done it for their own reasons, known to God.
is however is observable, may be compared with the Bible, and then has
Biblically expressible results. It is time to call a halt to sleepy acceptance
of betrayal of this and that, going on here and there, as so many changes
accrue in this century (cf. News 87, supra, at
the outset, and the warnings of Jude and Peter there focussed). It is time
to cease implicitly or explicitly allowing and co-operating with this and
that body or church or denomination as it does such things, as if religion
were not quite real. It is time to realise that it is as real as the bodily
resurrection of Christ, the creation of the universe and the judgments
of God. See Separation , Ch. 7 in
Kingdom of Heaven.
And more ? For the non-believer: It is time to repent of sin and to obey, NOT to be saved by obedience, but with it, in the grace of gratitude for HAVING BEEN SAVED. Obedience is a form of faithfulness, a fruit (Galatians 5:22-23); and like other fruit, does not turn into the root (Matthew 15:13). First, get planted as Christ shows. Then grow. Don't try to plant yourself while you grow.
It is time to glory in the Cross of Christ, and rejoice in the certainty of salvation, for as to the Christians, "God has not appointed us to but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him" (I Thess. 5:9-10).
you are a Christian, glory in the Cross of Christ, rejoice in your inheritance
(Ephesians 1:11) which is perfectly sure; and if you are not yet one of
Christ's people, then come to that same Christ in repentance, and through
faith, by His blood, accepting the redemption which HE has obtained, receive
eternal life, so that you may be able to say with Paul,
"Having been justified by faith, we have peace with God" - (Romans 5:1).
And that ? You do not NEED pope or priest to give it - I John 2:27. Once saved (Ephesians 2:8, Titus 3:5):
When you believe in Him, not in your church plus him, or your self plus him, or in civilisation plus Him, or in any other thing plus or minus with Him, you then know, because you are told in His word, that your body will on His return be transformed into the likeness of His (Philippians 3:18-21).
In the meantime, you will know God (Jeremiah 9:23-24).
know that you have eternal life (I John 5:13). Like all things that are
true, what it says, it does.
When you know God, you realise what you did not know, know what - indeed whom you need to know, and are transformed by His might, presence and penetrating, peaceful power (II Corinthians 3:17-18, Philippians 4:4-7, Isaiah 40:26ff., 26:4, I Peter 1:3--5) to live as a child of light (I Thess. 5:5), and as to that, His seed remains in you (I John 3:9).