The Catechism of The Catholic Church - Key Points

Statue of Mary at Freiburg Münster, Germany

(Read the series so far.)

Among Roman Catholics, Vatican II, and thus the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC), is interpreted across a spectrum from essential rejection to continuity with the past to rupture.

Essential rejection is the position of extremely traditional Catholics who remain in communion with the Pope but who continue to give or take the Mass in the wafer alone and who gravitate toward the Latin Mass. Their interpretation of CCC has the greatest continuity with pre-Vatican II statements and tends to minimize the discontinuity.

Continuity with the past is the mainstream interpretation of serious Catholics. “Serious” does not include politicos who claim Augustine supported abortion or who have purchased multiple annulments. Pope Benedict XVI, now emeritus, appears to me to be a very conservative proponent of the continuity view, and he is the mind behind the current universal Catechism. This view is represented by Catholic voices like the magazine First Things. Read more about The Catechism of The Catholic Church - Key Points

The Creation Narrative - Genesis 1 & 2 (Part3)

(Read Part 1 & Part 2)

The Spirit & Plurality in the Godhead

What is clear from the second verse of the Bible is that the Spirit of God was superintending the process of creation. The word for “was hovering” or “brooded” (merakhepet, 1:2) implies a determination to act. It strains credulity to think that the Spirit brooded over a glob of matter for billions of years before deciding to do something with it. There is no logic to starting the work of creation by bringing forth matter and then leaving it all in idle suspension. The making of the unformed earth was with the intention of forming it!

As we are but two verses into the Genesis account it would be premature to think that the “Spirit (ruah) of God” can be distinguished from “God” in the first verse. But already the verb “brooded” discloses personality. The “S” should therefore be capitalized. This is no inanimate breath. The same Holy Spirit who would come in to a person and regenerate them, making them “new creatures in Christ” (2 Cor. 5:17), is the power behind the formation of the Cosmos. Read more about The Creation Narrative - Genesis 1 & 2 (Part3)

Portrait of a God-Honoring Church, Part 2

(Read Part 1.)

5 - Jesus Did Good by Preaching the Gospel

How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him., (Acts 10:38)

Some “churches,” some denominations, and many cultural “Christians” seem to think of the Lord Jesus Christ as a Salvation Army employee. His job is to do nice things to make disadvantaged people feel happy, and to foster a sense of well-being and happiness in the community. This is the social Gospel, popularized by the novel In His Steps. It’s a false Gospel, which doesn’t bring peace. Read more about Portrait of a God-Honoring Church, Part 2

Portrait of a God-Honoring Church, Part 1

In Acts 10, the Apostle Peter preached a gospel message to a Gentile named Cornelius, and to his household. Peter’s message was simple, to the point, and devastating in its bluntness and force. It’s a model of what evangelism looks like. If you want to know how to share the gospel, you need to read Peter’s message to Cornelius.

Peter did not care who He offended. He preached the truth and did not avoid hard sayings. Peter told Cornelius the plain, simple and powerful gospel. This Good News is becoming increasingly hard to find in America and the rest of the western world.

This raises the question—what should a local church spend it’s time and energy doing? Read more about Portrait of a God-Honoring Church, Part 1

A Warning for True Believers Who Lack Faith (Part 6)

(From Maranatha Baptist Seminary Journal; used by permission. This installment continues Part 5’s examination of the question of whether the Hebrews 6 warning is aimed at believers or unbelievers.)

Context determines? Compton argues that the wider context argues in favor of the view that those in Hebrews 6:4–5 are unsaved.1 The only parts of the context that Compton uses are those verses that follow 6:4–5.2 He makes three points. First, “fall away” in verse 6 means apostasy. Second, the judgment mentioned in verses 7–8 refers to eternal condemnation of the unsaved. Third, verse 9 can be paraphrased, “In spite of the fact we were talking about things that belonged, not to salvation, but to divine condemnation and judgment, nevertheless, we are confident that you are saved.”3 Read more about A Warning for True Believers Who Lack Faith (Part 6)

Who Defines Love?

I get frustrated when people flip-flop about the meaning of words in the midst of a conversation. This is not usually intentional; we may not even notice. I label these words as “slippery.” They take on multiple meanings or auras in our society, and their definitions are particularly subjective or floating.

For example, when I speak of our church, I am talking about the people, our church family. If I say, “I think we have a wonderful church,” I mean, “We have a wonderful group of people who participate in church life.” But the average person on the street—and many Christians—think I am talking about our church building. Others, who advocate a secular society, define church as “religion,” as in “separation of church and state.”

This confusion intensifies when we talk about emotionally charged words, like “passion,” “worship,” or even “faith.” One particularly slippery word is “love,” the focus of this article. Read more about Who Defines Love?

Three Days that Changed Everything

A man named Jesus hung on a cross. Prior to that point, this man had endured the rejection of his people, arrest on false pretenses, an illegal trial in which he was falsely accused, beaten and abused, and ultimately condemned to die because of the spiritual arrogance of his accusers.

To the eyes of many, this man was a good teacher, perhaps even a prophet; certainly a healer, and a remarkable leader. But he claimed to be something more—much more. And then this—he hung on a cross to die among the lowest of criminals.

His followers abandoned him for fear of their lives. In the end it appeared he died in complete failure. There was no kingdom, no deliverance. To many it appeared he died humiliated, broken, and completely alone. He even cried out to the God he called his father: “My God, My God, why have You forsaken me!?” This Jesus claimed to be the Son of God. But to him belonged the fate of crucifixion. Read more about Three Days that Changed Everything

A Warning for True Believers Who Lack Faith (Part 5)

(From Maranatha Baptist Seminary Journal; used by permission. Read the series so far.)

Interpretation of Hebrews 6:4–8

The interpretation of Hebrews 6:4–8 must address the three issues raised at the beginning of this article. First, are those mentioned in verses 4–5 truly saved or not? Second, what is the exact nature of the “falling away” mentioned in verse 6? Third, what is the judgment described in verses 7–8?

Saved or Not?

There are several descriptive phrases in verses 4–5 used to identify the person who “falls away.” Each of these phrases is evaluated individually first. Then the context of the phrases is discussed to aid in their interpretation. Finally, a conclusion will be offered for the question of whether or not they are truly saved. Read more about A Warning for True Believers Who Lack Faith (Part 5)