Monday, March 31, 2008

Conversational Apologetics (part 1 of 4)

Here is a wonderful presentation about apologetics. Based on 1 Peter 3:15 (ESV)
15but(W) in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy,(X) always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and(Y) respect,

I hope you enjoy this message and maybe listen to all 4.

Grace and Peace,

Chris Allen

Coram Deo!!!
Conversational Apologetics (part 1 of 4)
by Michael Ramsden
Are Christians “pushy” when sharing their faith? Calm, collected, thoughtful conversation allows people to process their journey. Would you like to be more effective in your outreach? Tune in this week as Ravi’s associate Michael Ramsden helps us reach out with conversational evangelism.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

The Heidelberg Catechism - Lord's Day 24 - Good Works... Because of Gratitutde

I know it has been a while since I've posted. I have re-started my class with Covenant Theological Seminary titled "Humanity, Christ, and Redemption. This class covers all the doctrines from Creation, Man, Sin, and many others. Please pray for me that I can stay on task and keep up with the lectures and the readings. So, far I am really enjoying the lectures and the study.

This part of the Heidelberg Catechism is very timely. I attend a Tuesday morning Bible Study and we have taken a few weeks break to look at a video about Jehovah's Witnesses (JW). And this video uncovers some of the things that have gone on in the Watchtower organization that are really disturbing, and all the people on the video have come out of that. One gentleman in particular was a member for 60 years and involved at the very top level for 9 years. He said that the leadership of the Watchtower organization only talked about managing the organization and never talked about the things of the Bible. This is what started him to question the validity of the entire organization.

It is sad to say though, but I have attended church board meetings at various churches and the same could be said about those churches. So, it would seem that although leadership may excel in the running of the church business, they may, however, set aside the Bible in leading the church from a scriptural / spiritual direction.

Also, as we look at this catechism we see how the JWs go in a meritorious works oriented faith. Meaning their salvation is based on what the individual JW does and not on what Christ has already DONE for them. The Watchtower demands so many more things (burdens) on the members.

I wonder how a JW would would respond to the idea that we are saved by Grace, through Faith, on account of Christ alone. And that our response to this is to do good works out of Gratitude for what Christ has done for us. We do good works because he first loved us.
And Jesus says: For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. Matthew 11:30

So, it seems to me that the whole life of a JW is full of heavy burdens.

Grace and Peace,
Chris Allen
Coram Deo!!!
Lord’s Day 24
62. But why cannot our good works be the whole or part of our righteousness before God?

Because the righteousness which can stand before the judgment seat of God, must be perfect throughout and entirely conformable to the divine law,1 but even our best works in this life are all imperfect and defiled with sin.2

1 Deut 27:26; Gal 3:10; 2 Isa 64:6; Php 3:12; Jas 2:10

63. Do our good works merit nothing, even though it is God’s will to reward them in this life and in that which is to come?

The reward comes not of merit, but of grace.1

1 Mt 5:12; Lk 17:10; Rom 11:6; 2 Tim 4:7-8; Heb 11:6

64. But does not this doctrine make men careless and profane?

No, for it is impossible that those who are implanted into Christ by true faith, should not bring forth fruits of thankfulness.1

1 Mt 7:18; Lk 6:43-45; Jn 15:5; Rom 6:1-2

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

The Heidelberg Catechism - Lord's Day 23 - Justification

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from…the Father.” James 1:17

Justification is at the heart of the Reformation. I don't think I have ever heard an explanation of the word Justification since attending at my current church. I have asked at bible studies and cell groups, "what is Justification?" And not a single person really answered the question. I sometimes wonder if adults aren't finding benefit from memorizing scripture, they at the very least need to understand what the Bible means by what it says. And catechisms can be helpful to teach anybody what the Bible says. We also need to understand what sets us apart from other religions out there. Especially those that have strayed from the faith and those that say they are a "Christian" denomination. To be declared righteous before God, because of what Christ has DONE for us. We should always remember the Solas of the Reformation.
Sola Gratia = Saved by Grace Alone
Sola Fide = Saved by Faith Alone
Solus Christos = Saved by Christ Alone
Sola Scriptura = Scripture Alone
Sola Deo Gloria = Glory to God Alone

We are Save by Grace, through Faith, on account of Christ Alone. We know this from Scripture Alone, and ALL THE GLORY GOES TO GOD...... ALONE!!!

Praise God, from Whom all blessings flow;Praise Him, all creatures here below;Praise Him above, ye heavenly host;Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
Grace and Peace,
Chris Allen
Coram Deo!!!
59. What does it help you now, that you believe all this?
That I am righteous in Christ before God, and an heir of eternal life.1
1 Hab 2:4; Jn 3:36; Rom 1:17, 5:1-2, 8:16; Tit 3:7
60. How are you righteous before God?
Only by true faith in Jesus Christ:1 that is, although my conscience accuses me, that I have grievously sinned against all the commandments of God, and have never kept any of them,2 and am still prone always to all evil;3 yet God, without any merit of mine,4 of mere grace,5 grants and imputes to me the perfect satisfaction,6 righteousness, and holiness of Christ,7 as if I had never committed nor had any sins, and had myself accomplished all the obedience which Christ has fulfilled for me;8 if only I accept such benefit with a believing heart.9
1 Rom 3:21-28; Gal 2:16; Eph 2:8-9; Php 3:8-11; 2 Rom 3:9-10; 3 Rom 7:23; 4 Dt 9:6; Ezek 36:22; Tit 3:4-5; 5 Rom 3:24; Eph 2:8; 6 1 Jn 2:2; 7 Rom 4:3-5; 2 Cor 5:17-19; 1 Jn 2:1; 8 Rom 4:24-25; 2 Cor 5:21; 9 Jn 3:18; Acts 16:30-31; Rom 3:22, 28, 10:10
61. Why do you say that you are righteous by faith only?
Not that I am acceptable to God on account of the worthiness of my faith, but because only the satisfaction, righteousness and holiness of Christ is my righteousness before God;1 and I can receive the same and make it my own in no other way than by faith only.2
1 1 Cor 1:30-31, 2:2; 2 Isa 53:5; Rom 4:16, 10:10; Gal 3:22; 1 Jn 5:10-12