Evangelism

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.

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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.

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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?

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Every Christian Is a Teacher

The Early Expansion of the Church

What common feature do you find in these excerpts from Acts?

“And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith.” (Acts 6:7)

“But the word of God grew and multiplied.” (Acts 12:24)

“And this continued by the space of two years; so that all they which dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks.” (Acts 19:10)

“So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed.” (Acts 19:20)

These verses highlight a noteworthy phenomenon that Luke recorded about the first century church. Like the ripples from a pebble tossed into a pond, the influence of the Word of God moved out into the world. Luke traces this noteworthy expansion from Jerusalem to as far west as Rome.

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The Quran & "Real Islam"

Our current President is fond suggesting Islam is a religion that promotes peace (as did G. W. Bush). Others, including many in conservative evangelical and biblical fundamentalist circles, insist that “real” Islam, according to the Quran, etc., is inherently violent toward all who do not embrace its belief system.

So what does “real” Islam teach about peace, jihad, and other human-rights topics?

Americans—especially Christians—really ought to stop trying to answer this question. We should also stop making generalizations based on what we believe to be the correct the answer. Here’s why.

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10 Mistakes We Make With the Gospel

1. Referring Rather than Declaring

It’s one thing to say “the gospel is central to all we do.” It’s another thing to declare that Jesus Christ died for sinners and rose again. It’s yet another thing to integrate the gospel into how we look at every part of ministry. Note the difference between these statements:

Statement 1: We have a children’s ministry to further the gospel in the lives of children

Statement 2: We have a children’s ministry because we all come into this world as sinners in need of rescue by a living, sinless Savior. It’s never too soon to start learning this freeing truth (Matt. 19:14, John 8:32).

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Clarifying Terms in Catholic Evangelism (Part 2)

Adapted from VOICE, July/Aug 2015. Used with permission. Read Part 1.

Born Again

If you asked a Roman Catholic per­son if he is “born again,” he might reply, “Yes of course.” But he may mean “I was born again when baptized as an infant.” Support for this as the official Roman Catholic view comes from The Catechism.

The seven sacraments of the Church Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist [The Mass], Penance, Anointing of the Sick, Holy Orders, and Matrimony are “all instituted by Jesus Christ our Lord” (Paragraph 1114). “The ordained priest­hood [ordained by the Roman Catholic Church] guarantees that it really is Christ who acts in the sacraments through the Holy Spirit for the Church” (Paragraph 1120). The sacraments are necessary for salvation (Paragraph 1129). They act ex opere operato—literally, “by the very fact of the actions being performed” (Paragraph 1128). This means independent of any faith on the part of the recipient. And they are efficacious because in them Christ Himself is at work: it is He who baptizes (Paragraph 1128). Furthermore,

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