Monthly Archives: July 2006

This (the thirde) essay is by R.C.Sproul. I could not find this essay on line.

How was the Canon established? By whose athority?

We have to remember that there was never a time when the Christian church was without Scripture; Paul cited the Old Testament many times. Since many of the early Christians were Jews they understood the covenant relationship between Christ and the church.

The church did not write the Scripture, the church received the Scripture and as early as the writing of 2 Peter it was being acknowledged that the apostolic writings were Scripture.

Some point to Martin Luther (for at least a time, Luther questioned the inclusion of the Book of James in the Canon) to argue that Luther is not believe that Scripture is infallible. This is wrong.

Luther argued repeatedly for the infallibility of Scripture - what he questioned was whether or not the Book of James was Scripture.

Luther never challenged the infallibility of Scripture; he challenged the infallibility of Rome.

So, if not Rome, then who?

It was Christ that the Father gives "all authority on heaven and on earth." After Christ came the apostles (sent ones), Peter, Paul and the rest. Irenaeus understood this and argued that to reject the apostles was to reject the One who sent them; Christ.

From the very beginning the church had a "functional Canon"; you can see it in the writings of the New Testament - Peter refers to Paul's writings as "other Scriptures" and Paul quotes from Luke's Gospel in 1 Timothy.

From the earliest writings of the church fathers, the New Testament was treated as Scripture; although they did not customarily use the word "Scripture", they did treat the apostolic writings with Scriptural authority. Quotations taken from the writings of the New Testament and cited as authoritative are found in the writings of Clement, Ignatius, Polycarp, Papias, Justin Martyr and more.

There were some questions; it is not that the books were not used, only that the inclusion was not universal. ...continue reading

1 Comment

(Second essay in "Sola Scriptura!", edited by Don Kistler; this essay, "Sola Scriptura and the Early Church" is by James White. This essay is NOT on line.)

"In regard to the divine and holy mysteries of the faith, not the least part may be handed on without the Holy Scriptures. Do not be led astray by winning words and clever arguments. Even to me, who tell you these things, do not give ready believe, unless you receive from the Holy Scriptures the proof of the things which I announce. The salvation in which we believe is not proved from clever reasoning, but from the Holy Scripture" (Old English Text is at the bottom of the post)

This essay is "dense" with history and makes the point that where "tradition" is used as the rule of faith, tradition is rarely defined, other than that the Council of Trent tells us that it is unwritten.

So we look to history to see if the early church defined "tradition". Was it unwritten, or is there an infallible source of "tradition"?

In this essay we are shown that the tradition that the early church fathers cited were NOT unwritten beliefs (although some were practices). From the beginning, the church fathers cited Scripture alone as the rule for faith.

Irenaeus, bishop of Lyon (c.130-c.200) writes in his work, "Against Heresies",

"On this account are we bound to avoid them, but to make choice of the things pertaining to the Church with the utmost diligence, and to lay hold of the tradition of the truth...For how should it be if the apostles themselves had not left us the writings? Would it not be necessary [in that case] to follow the course of the tradition which they handed down to whom they did commit the church?"

He also wrote,

"As I have already observed, the Church, having received this preaching and this faith, although scattered throughout the whole world, yet, as if occupying but one house, carefully preserves it...for, although the languages of the world are dissimilar, yet the import of the tradition is one and the same."

If Irenaeus had failed to define "tradition", we would be left to believe that "tradition" is extra-biblical teaching. But Irenaeus DID define what he was writing about:

...continue reading


Here is what Manda wrote on her blog:

I hate yellow squash

Earlier in the summer I was so sure my watermelon plant had died. I was so excited when it started growing back ... after all the time I've spent taking care of it when it came back turns out it was a yellow squash plant. My theory is that it was the squash that killed it in the first place. I never planted the squash but the packet of seeds was sitting out there it must have fallen into the garden area and after lots of rain some seeds might have come out. When the squash started to grow so close to my water melon plant they killed it. That's my theory, I'm just so disappointed that I thought my watermelon was back and really healthy (this plant in the garden is huge) and I turned out that its something disgusting like yellow squash. mom said she would buy me a watermelon for eating and we would grow a new plant in a large pot in the back yard next spring.

She's accusing the yellow squash of killing her watermelon plant!

Unlike the woman on drudge who says her kids are boring...mine are NOT!


"What Do We Mean By Sola Scriptura?" - Dr. W. Robert Godfrey

I bought the book - this essay can be found on line here.

The first order of business is to define what Sola Scriptura is NOT.

Sola Scriptura is NOT the teaching that Scripture is the source of all truth. It is not a science text or a math text. There are sources of learning truth outside of Scripture.

Sola Scriptura is NOT the teaching that the Written Word is the only form of God's Word that has ever been brought to His people

Sola Scriptura is NOT the teaching that the church (and her people) are not valuable in understanding the Word.

"The Protestant position, and my position, is that all things necessary for salvation and concerning faith and life are taught in the Bible clearly enough for the ordinary believer to find it there and understand."

Deuteronomy 31 says,

"Then Moses wrote this law and gave it to the priests...And Moses commanded them...when all Israel comes to appear before the LORD your God at the place that he will choose, you shall read this law before all Israel in their hearing...that they may hear and learn to fear the LORD your God, and be careful to do all the words of this law, and that their children, who have not known it, may hear and learn to fear the LORD your God, as long as you live in the land that you are going over the Jordan to possess."

And the following chapter says,

"And he said to them, "Take to heart all the words by which I am warning you today, that you may command them to your children, that they may be careful to do all the words of this law. For it is no empty word for you, but your very life, and by this word you shall live long in the land that you are going over the Jordan to possess."

In this one continuous "sermon" by Moses, we find that

  1. The Word/Law was written
  2. The people can (and must) listen to it and learn
  3. The Word gives life

Is this reflected in the New Testament? Paul writes in 2 Timothy,

"...and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work."

We find that:

  1. The Word is written (sacred writings)
  2. Timothy listened and learned
  3. The Word brings life (wise for salvation)

The closing paragraph of this essay sums it up:

If we would be faithful children of God, if we would be noble, we must proceed as the Bereans did. We must follow the example of Moses and Paul and our Lord Jesus. Do not rest your confidence on the wisdom of men who claim infallibility. Stand rather with the Apostle Paul who wrote in 1 Corinthians 4:6, "Do not go beyond what is written."

1 Comment

Thirteen Things about our Chicago trip

  1. Chicago dogs
  2. flowers
  3. bonsai
  4. King Tut
  5. the train
  6. traffic
  7. road construction
  8. family
  9. friends
  10. phase 10
  11. rain in the garden
  12. gas prices
  13. coming home

1. (leave your link in comments, I’ll add you here!)

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!


A few weeks ago I asked a friend if he could attend an Arminian church, as long as they didn't "push" the differences; could he worship and learn and teach and fellowship in a congregation that believes so differently than he does?

I got a taste of that question last weekend. I visted a church that is outside my demonination, one with a different understanding of how God works.

The associate pastor was the one who gave the message on Sunday; the text was Ephesians 2. We were dead in trespasses and sin...the speaker consistently used the present tense: "we are dead"

Question: What does this teach us about Christ, and His finished work of redemption on the cross? If those who claim Him are taught that they are still dead, what does that say?

He told a story about some men during the beginning of the civil rights fight. Two of the men were ministers, the other was an atheist (Petey Greene). The atheist ended up asking one of the ministers to sum up Christianity in ten words or less and he did it this way: "we are all illegitimate children, but God loves us anyway."

To make a long story short, the other minister ended up getting shot and killed by a police officer - the first minister "used every word he could think of" to describe how he felt about the man who killed his friend. The athiest asked him about his words about Christianity and the minister had to say about that police officer, "he is an illegitimate child, but God loves him anyway." Going on to ask about the man that was killed, the minister used the same words about his friend (a minister), "he is an illegitimate child, but God loves him anyway."

Stop the tape! I believe that when we are saved, we are adopted through Jesus Christ. If we are in Christ, we are illegitimate no longer!

At what point does the speaker of the sermon last Sunday get to claim God as his Father? When we belong to Christ, we can with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. We are His children; He is our Father.

What does this story tell us about Christ and His finished work on the cross? If those who belong to Him are taught that they have no different standing than those who do not, what does that tell them about Christ?
I have a friend who uses the phrase about those who believe that you can lose your salvation: "You get it by grace, but you keep it by works." After the fact works-based salvation. I kept trying to tell him that isn't the way it is taught...

but then...

Sunday, during Sunday school (the text was 1 John 2), the woman who was presenting the material said very clearly (I wrote it down), "Our assurance does not come from our experience or our feelings; our assurance comes from our actions."

Okay. If "actions" are not "works-based", I don't know what other description to use.

How does this point us to Christ? If we are striving to "behave" in order to have assurance, how are we continually being pointed to Christ?

If it is our behavior that keeps us saved, how "finished" is Christ's work?

The short story is: I won't ask again whether he/I would fit in an Arminian church. If I cling to Christ on the cross as my only assurance, if I see myself as an adopted child, no longer a bastard, if i read Ephesians 2 in the past tense...

No, I couldn't belong