What an honor it is to experience the 500th year anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. On such an important day as this, I felt the only blog that could possibly do justice to the many issues that divided us in the 16th century, and still divide us today, is to write my personal confession. Below is a list of theological resolutions which clearly explain the differences between biblical Christianity, and Roman Catholicism.
Many of these doctrines deal directly with the Gospel itself. Our eternity hangs on which of these beliefs we accept. The issues could not be more severe.
We Affirm that the 66 books of the Old and New Testament make up the Sacred Scriptures, commonly referred to as the Holy Bible, and that this Bible is the authoritative Word of God, and is alone infallible, and therefore functions as a sufficient rule of faith for the Church of Jesus Christ.
We Deny that any other rule of faith, whether it be church or tradition, is infallible and operating as a rule of faith for the church.
We Affirm the 66 books of the Old and New Testament are the God-breathed Scriptures.
We Deny the additional books known as Apocryphal (or deutorocanonical) are inspired by God.
We Affirm that Holy Scripture reveals God-ordained authorities such as the church, the civil government, and the family, and that these institutions have authority over us, and assist us in understanding the Scriptures, and are subject to serve the supreme rule of faith, the Bible.
We Deny that the church, the government, or the family are God-breathed, and can function as an infallible rule of faith.
We Affirm that church history is a valuable tool for assisting the Saints in interpreting the Scriptures.
We Deny that church tradition functions as an infallible, oral tradition, serving as a rule of faith over God’s people.
We Affirm that the office of the Papacy is an illegitimate and blasphemous office, which was not established by Christ, His apostles, nor by the Sacred Scriptures.
We Deny that the Bishop of Rome has any authority over the people of God, or over any political office.
We Affirm that the Holy Spirit of God is the Vicar of Christ on earth.
We Deny that the Pope is the Vicar of Christ on earth.
We Affirm that the Church being built by Christ is a now invisible, eschatologically visible, congregation of redeemed saints, made up of both Jews and Gentiles, who are called from every nation, tribe, and tongue.
We Deny the church is an infallible, visible organization, with a temporal location on earth.
We Affirm the Scriptures speak of the Church catholic, the invisible assembly of Christ from every generation, as well as the church local, a visible congregation consisting of professing believers who worship the Lord together.
We Deny that the Church is ever defined in Scripture as an ecclesiastical magysterium with infallible interpretive powers.
We Affirm that a person is saved by grace alone, through faith alone, and that no human works merit favor, justification, or final salvation from God.
We Deny that the works of the Roman Catholic system merit justification or favor with God.
We Affirm that justification is a once for all, forensic, declaration which God performs on behalf of a repentant sinner.
We Deny that justification is a process.
We Affirm that sin is a transgression of God’s holy Law.
We Deny the categorization of sin, commonly referred to as venial and mortal.
We Affirm the cross of Christ sufficiently cleanses us of all guilt due sin through faith.
We Deny that confession to a priest is necessary to expiate guilt.
We Affirm Christ Jesus’ death was substitutionary in nature, that the punishment for sin was altogether absorbed by Him.
We Deny that temporal guilt can remain on the soul of the justified, and thus must be atoned for either in this life or the next.
We Affirm that God disciplines believers for sanctification.
We Deny that a distinction can be made between guilt and temporal punishments.
We Affirm good works are responsive to salvation, wrought in the saint by the Holy Spirit, referred to as Sanctification.
We Deny that works are meritorious.
We Affirm that there is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus.
We Deny the existence of a realm called Purgatory where sins are expiated and a person cleansed prior to final glorification.
We Affirm that the righteousness of Christ, His passive and active obedience, is imputed to a person through faith alone.
We Deny that righteousness is in any way something a person can merit or accomplish.
We Affirm that the death of Christ was a once for all sacrifice, never to be repeated.
We Deny that the Mass, often repeated, is a propitiatory sacrifice, and is in any way related to the death of Christ at Calvary.
We Affirm that the death of Christ was altogether sufficient to save a sinner to the uttermost.
We Deny that a person can still suffer eternal judgment after being cleansed by the blood of Christ.
We Affirm that the often repeated sacrifice of the Mass is blasphemous.
We Deny that people can be forgiven of sins through the Mass.
We Affirm that the elements of the Lord’s table are symbolic in nature, and no substantive change takes place to the elements in communion.
We Deny that the bread and wine are physically and literally transformed in a non-visible, non-bloody way, into the body and soul of Christ Jesus, commonly referred to as transubstantiation.
We Affirm that the Lord’s table is a holy and blessed ordinance of the Church, commanded by Christ and the Apostles to be performed regularly.
We Deny that the Lord’s table merits salvation in any way.
We Affirm that baptism is a holy and blessed ordinance of the Church, commanded by Christ and the apostles to be performed.
We Deny baptism justifies a sinner before God.
We Affirm the Priesthood of all believers.
We Deny the office of the Priest is a separate, ecclesiastical role invested with the authority to forgive sins.
We Affirm the office of deacons and elders (elders being also referred to as pastors, shepherds, or bishops) are the offices in the church prescribed and defined by the New Testament.
We Deny that priests, cardinals, and regional bishops are biblical offices of the church.
We Affirm that Christ Jesus alone is the one mediator between God and man.
We Deny that any person, dead or alive, mediates on behalf of men before God.
We Affirm that God alone is worthy and able to receive prayer.
We Deny the practice of praying to the dead.
We Affirm that all worship and religious service is due to God alone.
We Deny the distinction commonly made between latria and dulia, and that veneration of the Saints is a virtuous christian practice.
We Affirm that idols and graven images of God or men are never to be worshiped.
We Deny the religious veneration of images and relics.
We Affirm that Mary, being a daughter of Eve, was born with original sin, and committed acts of sin during her life-time.
We Deny that Mary was immaculately conceived, free from the stain of original sin, and lived a perfect life.
We Affirm that Jesus had brothers and sisters born to Mary.
We Deny that Mary was a perpetual virgin throughout her life.
We Affirm that Mary died and was buried.
We Deny that there is any historical or biblical warrant for believing she bodily assumed into heaven.
We Affirm that Christ alone mediates salvation, and that He uses no one to mediate His mediation on His behalf.
We Deny that Mary is a Co-Mediatrix with Christ.
We Affirm that Mary, being a faithful believer, is in the presence of the Lord worshiping Christ for all eternity, after playing a vital role in God’s plan of redemption.
We Deny that Mary is the queen of heaven.
We Affirm that Jerusalem above, commonly referred to as the church, is the mother of individual saints.
We Deny that Mary is the mother of the church.
We Affirm the issues that divide us from Roman Catholicism are severe, and that Roman Catholic theology rejects the Gospel of Christ Jesus.
We Deny that any spirit of ecumenism ought to be embraced which causes a disparaging of the severity of these abundant doctrinal differences.