The Gospel

The Young Roman Catholic Man Who Clenched His Fist

From The Cripplegate, with permission. By Jordan Standridge

Let me tell you about a gospel conversation I had recently that left an impression on my heart.

Tim was a very polite guy.

He was cordial and respectful. He listened carefully and was obviously raised well by his parents. He was well dressed and was very articulate. Tim was also very religious.

I start off every conversation with the same question I ask everyone, “If it applies, what are two reasons you stopped going to church?” Tim answered that he goes to Catholic mass every week.

So I asked him my second question, “Coming from a Catholic perspective, what would you say the gospel is?” He said it was the Bible. When I asked him what the “good news” of the gospel was, he said that it was the possibility to live a better life and to go to Heaven.

So I asked him a third question, and I let him know that I ask this question in order to really get to the heart of what someone believes about how they are going to Heaven. I asked him, “If you were to die tonight, and were to stand before God, and He were to ask you why should I let you into Heaven? What would you say?” He thought about it for a few seconds and said, “I don’t think I’d say anything. I would expect the Lord to know whether I deserve Heaven or not.”

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Pastor Greg Locke Slams Evangelicals Who Believe There Are Multiple Ways to Heaven

"Two months after the Rev. Shannon Johnson Kershner, leader of the second-largest congregation in the Presbyterian Church USA, declared that Christianity is not the only way to Heaven, popular internet preacher Greg Locke is firing back" CPost

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What’s the Problem With Joel Osteen?

The Thief on the Cross & Purging Purgatory

An Angel Frees the Souls of Purgatory. Ludovico Carracci, c. 1610

By Eric Davis. Reposted, with permission, from The Cripplegate.

For the most part, the problem which moved Martin Luther to post his 95 Theses on October 31, 1517 had to do with indulgences. Much could be said about that issue. But the doctrine of indulgences is inextricably linked to the doctrine of purgatory. The word “purgatory” comes from the Latin word, “purgare,” which has the idea of “make clean,” “purify,” or “purge.” The doctrine refers to the purging of remaining guilt and unrighteousness after death.

Purgatory is not hell, but the place of conditioning and preparation for heaven. It is unsure exactly what purgatory is like or how much time people spend there. It could be thousands upon thousands of years, perhaps.

We could go many places in Scripture to address the Roman Catholic teaching on purgatory. But one of my favorites is the thief on the cross (Luke 23:39-43).

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Saving Faith and Assurance

When considering assurance of salvation, sooner or later we come to the question of saving faith. The ultimate issue concerns the nature of my faith, is it genuine or spurious? If I didn’t have some kind of faith, I wouldn’t be concerned with assurance at all. I wouldn’t even consider it.

However, if I have made a profession of faith in Christ, but am troubled about the reality of that profession, what I want to know is whether my faith is true saving faith, or something less. At some point I thought I believed in Christ, but is my faith now genuine or not?

Many refuse to allow questions about the nature of faith, at least in the heat of evangelistic efforts. Just ask Christ to save you, and if you are sincere, you will be saved. Never doubt it. To doubt that God saved you is to call God a liar, or so we are told. Some go so far as to assure people that “if you ever made this decision before, you don’t need to make it again. But if you have never before made this decision, you need to make it today, and if you do, you will be saved, never doubt it.”

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