The Very Heart of the Reformation

R.C.Sproul: At the very heart of the controversy in the sixteenth century was the question of the ground by which God declares anyone righteous in His sight. The psalmist asked, “If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand?” (Ps. 130:3). In other words, if we have to stand before God and face His perfect justice and perfect judgment of our performance, none of us would be able to pass review. We all would fall, because as Paul reiterates, all of us have fallen short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23). So, the pressing question of justification is how can an unjust person ever be justified in the presence of a righteous and holy God? The Roman Catholic view is known as analytical justification. This means that God will declare a person just only when, under His perfect analysis, He finds that he is just, that righteousness is inherent in him. The person cannot have that righteousness

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Protestant and Catholic: What’s the Difference?

Kevin DeYoung: Ask a serious Protestant today what is the biggest threat to orthodox Christianity today, and he might mention cultural hostilities, the sexual revolution, or nominalism in our churches. But if you would have asked a Protestant the same question a hundred years ago, he would have almost certainly mentioned the Roman Catholic Church. Until fairly recently, Protestants and Catholics in this country were, if not enemies, then certainly players on opposing teams. Today, much of that animosity has melted away. And to a large extent, the thaw between Protestants and Catholics has been a good thing. Sincere Protestants and Catholics often find themselves to be co-belligerents, defending the unborn, upholding traditional marriage, and standing up for religious liberty. And in an age that discounts doctrine, evangelical Protestants often share more in common theologically with a devout Roman Catholic steeped in historic orthodoxy than they do with liberal members of their own denominations. I personally have benefited over the years

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The danger of ‘how-to’ sermons

Timothy Raymond: Several years ago a very dedicated church member pulled me aside. I could tell he had some important words for me, words that had been on his heart for quite some time. In a hushed, sober tone he said, “I’m concerned you’re being too hard on the Roman Catholics in your preaching and teaching. From time to time, you’ve specifically called-out Catholics as being wrong for this or that reason. But, frankly, when it comes right down to it, what Roman Catholics believe and what we believe is basically the same.” At the time, I had nothing to say. I was so dumbfounded that I simply nodded my head and furrowed my brow and (to my shame) tried to change the subject. But in retrospect I concluded that this sincere man misunderstood what Roman Catholics believe, misunderstood what we evangelicals believe, or, most likely, misunderstood both. And to make matters worse, I really don’t think he viewed that

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The Rise of the Papacy

By David Wells: There are one billion Roman Catholics worldwide, one billion people who are subject to the Pope’s authority. How, one might ask, did all of this happen? The answer, I believe, is far more complex and untidy than Catholics have argued. First, I will give a brief explanation of what the Catholic position is, and then, second, I will suggest what I think actually took place. The Catholic Explanation The traditional Catholic understanding is that Jesus said that it was upon Peter the church was to be built (Matt. 16:18−19; see also John 21:15−17; Luke 22:32). Following this, Peter spent a quarter of a century in Rome as its founder and bishop, and his authority was recognized among the earliest churches; this authority was handed down to his successors. Indeed, the Second Vatican Council (1962–65) re-affirmed this understanding. Apostolic authority has been handed on to the apostles’ successors even as Peter’s supreme apostolic power has been handed on to each of his

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