Wednesday, November 05, 2008

"Sola" statements -- continued.

A few more dahlia pics before getting to the blog. The dahlias in the order they appear are: Davenport Honey, Dark Prince, Danun Cupid and Cream Kerkrade.

Five statements that have shaped the church came out of the Reformation. These statements have been referred to as “the five solas.” These five statements sum up the major issues of the Protestant Reformation. The five statements are:
• Sola scriptura
• Sola fide
• Sola gratia
• Solus Christus
• Soli Deo gloria

It is my belief that many (if not all) of the former “mainline” denominations are at the beginning stages of a new reformation. The five “sola” statements are central to those reformations. Today, we will continue our examination of these “sola” statements.

Sola gratia means “by grace alone” – salvation by God’s grace. There is nothing that we can do to merit God’s grace. This statement is rooted in the biblical doctrine that says that humans have a sinful nature. Sin permeates each and every human. Period. End of story.

Too many pastors, churches and Christians no long believe that humans have a sinful nature. You many ask, “What is the big deal about believing that humans are by nature good?” If humans are by nature good, then it would be possible to meet God’s righteousness mandate on our own—without God. That moves us away from the doctrine of sola gratia.

Many have said that the PCUSA has reached the “tipping” point. The PCUSA’s view of scripture is one thing that has brought us to the tipping point. The time has come to move back to sola gratia.

The move to solus Christus will demonstrate how far the church has moved since the Reformation. But here is the problem, the words may remain the same, but the definitions have been changed. Let me take a few paragraphs to explain.

What does a person mean when they use the name “Jesus?” People say they “believe in Jesus” – but which Jesus is it?

The Church Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) “believes” in Jesus. When the Mormon missionaries come to your front door they will talk about their belief in Jesus. They will try to show that they are a part of mainstream Christianity. Are they? The answer is “NO!” The LDS church teaches that Jesus and Lucifer are brothers. Their father, God, was once a person just like you and me. Through his faith and good works he was able to become a God after his death and was given a planet (earth) of which he was to be the God and was to populate with his spirit children. The LDS church believes that God, literally, had sex with Mary. The LDS church ‘believes” in Jesus—it is just a different Jesus.

The Muslim faith believes in Jesus. The Muslim faith teaches that Jesus was a great prophet. The Bible is one of the “holy books” in their faith. And yet, they do not believe that Jesus is God, rose from the dead, died for our sins, and provides the only way for us to be in relationship with God.

The Jehovah’s Witness church believes in Jesus—but not the Jesus of the Bible. The Baha’i Faith believes in Jesus—but not the Jesus of the Bible. The list could go on, and on, and on.

Now, let’s look closer at the PCUSA.

What does a person mean when they say, “I believe in Jesus?” Do they believe in the virgin birth? The bodily resurrection? The miracles? Do they believe that Jesus is the only way to God? Do they believe that we need to be in relationship with Jesus? Do they believe that apart from Jesus a person will “go to hell?”

The number of pastors who have an unbiblical definition of Jesus is astonishing. When a church calls a person to fill a pastoral opening they may be getting a person who has drastically departed from an orthodox view of Jesus—and the church may not know it! It is too bad that we have to dig deep to find out what “definitions” are used for church/Christian terms.

The doctrine of solus Christus is the foundation of the church. Solus Christus means “by Christ alone.” Salvation by Jesus Christ alone—what a concept!! There are pastors in my presbytery that do not believe that salvation is only found in Jesus Christ. There are churches in my presbytery that believe that people can get to God/heaven/eternal life by means other than Jesus Christ. These erroneous views spring from incorrect views about the person of Jesus and the Bible.

Many have said that the PCUSA has reached the “tipping” point. The PCUSA’s view of scripture is one thing that has brought us to the tipping point. The time has come to move back to solus Christus.


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