• The Marian Dogmas Considered

    In this post I will be discussing the 4 Marian dogmas of the Catholic church from a Reformed point of view.

    Even though these dogmas developed over a long period of time, Rome would have you believe they were held by the faithful always, going all the way back to the early church.

    Reformers such as Calvin believed that Mary is an idol in the Roman Church, and she diminishes the centrality and importance of Jesus. Any veneration of Mary is sinful. Calvin stated that Mary cannot be the advocate of the faithful since she needs God’s grace as much as any other human being.

    Mary’s Divine Motherhood

    This dogma asserts that Mary is the Mother of God. I actually have no problem with this teaching. As long as we are clear that Mary is not responsible for Christ’s pre-existent divine nature. Jesus is 100% God and 100% Man. So Mary did give birth to the God Man. Other Reformed theologian such as RC Sproul accept this doctrine.

    Perpetual Virginity

    This dogma asserts that Mary remained a virgin before, during and after Christ’s conception and birth. This is false doctrine. The Bible is clear that Mary and Joseph had other children after the birth of Jesus. They are clearly referenced several times in Scripture. It is also impossible to give birth and to remain a virgin. The hymen will rupture as the baby exits the birth canal. This doctrine is very gnostic. Gnosticism teaches that matter is evil and the spiritual is good. A spurious work called the Protoevangelium of James taught that Mary was dedicated as a lifelong virgin in the temple as a young girl. In this context, if Mary had sex with her husband (which all Jewish couples would have done) it would be viewed as dirty and sinful. The Bible is clear that sex between a husband and his wife is wholesome and good. I’ve seen numerous Catholics have a visceral reaction of repugnance to the notion that Mary and Joseph had sex. There is absolutely zero biblical support for Mary being a virgin after Jesus was born.

    Immaculate Conception

    This dogma asserts that Mary was sinless. She was kept free from the stain of original sin from her moment of conception. This dogma maintains that Mary was sinless and lived a perfect life without even the smallest of sins whether positive or negative. This doctrine is fatuous and refuted by numerous Scriptures which teach that Christ alone was without sin and lived a perfect, sinless life. It also sets up Mary in a elevated position that belongs to Christ alone. So it robs Christ of His rightful glory and uniqueness. This belief is self-refuting. How is it that a sinless Mary could be produced by sinful parents, yet a sinless Jesus couldn’t be produced by a sinful Mary? We Reformed reject this doctrine categorically.

    Assumption of Mary

    This dogma asserts that Mary was taken up to Heaven body and soul. Some Catholic theologians teach it was at the moment of her death. Others teach that she was translated to Heaven while still alive. People have been taken up to Heaven body and soul before, such as the prophet Elijah, yet there is absolutely no evidence in Scripture that this event took place. It is pure conjecture based on spurious and unreliable tradition.

    Co-Mediatrix

    This dogma asserts that Mary is the Mediatrix of all graces between God and man. Scripture clearly refutes this doctrine when it says that Christ is the sole mediator between God and us. In this case, it attributes to Mary a divine attribute. This is wickedly blasphemous. This so-called Fifth Marian dogma has not yet been made part of the Magisterium, although there is widespread support for it among Catholic clergy and laity. I wouldn’t be surprised to see this teaching become dogma within my lifetime.

    Concluding Thoughts

    An entire cultus of Mary has developed in the Catholic church. In this Mariolatry she is venerated, her statues are kissed, hymns are sung to her, statues of her are carried in parades, images of her are kissed, Catholics pray to her, books are written about her, Catholics bow down before her statues, there are several alleged Marian apparitions, Mary is accorded special titles such as Queen of Heaven, Ark of the Covenant, New Eve, etc. She is for all intents and purposes treated as a Co-Redeemer. This is a gross distortion of Scripture. Scripture says very little about Mary. She was certainly a pious Jewish girl, but beyond being the mother of Jesus she is not accorded any special status. She was no more righteous than any devout Christians. And she needed God’s grace just as much as we do. Even in Scripture when people tried to give Mary a special status, Jesus rejects that. Anyone who has spent time around Catholics, or visited Catholic churches, will see the inordinate attention given to Mary. In fact she seems to get more attention than even Christ! This is wrong.

    Let no one eat of the error which has arisen on St. Mary´s account. Even though “˜The tree is lovely´ it is not for food; and even though Mary is all fair, and is holy and held in honor, she is not to be worshiped. . . . They must not say, “˜We honor the queen of heaven.´

    Frank Williams, trans., The Panarion of Epiphanius of Salamis: Book II and III (Sects 47-80, De Fide) 79. Against Collyridians, 7,7; 8,2 (Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1994), p. 627.
  • 1960s Musical Medley

    Scarborough Fair (Canticle) by Simon & Garfunkel

    The first song in this medley I’m sharing with you today is a folk rock classic. It’s based off of an old English ballad.

    Scarborough Fair” is a traditional English ballad about the Yorkshire town of Scarborough. The song relates the tale of a young man who instructs the listener to tell his former love to perform for him a series of impossible tasks, such as making him a shirt without a seam and then washing it in a dry well, adding that if she completes these tasks he will take her back. Often the song is sung as a duet, with the woman then giving her lover a series of equally impossible tasks, promising to give him his seamless shirt once he has finished As the versions of the ballad known under the title “Scarborough Fair” are usually limited to the exchange of these impossible tasks, many suggestions concerning the plot have been proposed, including the hypothesis that it is about the Great Plague of the late Middle Ages. Paul Simon learned the song in London in 1965 from Martin Carthy, who had picked up the tune from the songbook by Ewan MacColl and Peggy Seeger and included it on his eponymous 1965 album. Simon & Garfunkel set it in counterpoint with “Canticle”—a reworking of the lyrics from Simon’s 1963 anti-war song, “The Side of a Hill”, set to a new melody composed mainly by Art Garfunkel.

    This song came out in 1968, Mommy was 17 then, and she raced to the record store to purchase this album. She told me she played it many times. Mommy bought their album Sound of Silence 2 years earlier and she became a huge fan.

    The counterpoint and harmonizing in this song are just great. I feel the song has a haunting quality. The serene images of the traditional ballad are interspersed with ghastly images of war and death. It works as an anti-war song.

    By the way, this song is super relaxing! While laying in bed listening, my heart rate fell from a resting rate of 75 bpm down to 61 bpm!

    Lyrics

    Are you going to Scarborough Fair:
    Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme.
    Remember me to one who lives there.
    She once was a true love of mine.

    On the side of a hill in the deep forest green.
    Tracing of sparrow on snow-crested brown.
    Blankets and bedclothes the child of the mountain
    Sleeps unaware of the clarion call.

    Tell her to make me a cambric shirt:
    Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme;
    Without no seams nor needle work,
    Then she’ll be a true love of mine.

    On the side of a hill in the sprinkling of leaves.
    Washes the grave with silvery tears.
    A soldier cleans and polishes a gun.
    Sleeps unaware of the clarion call.

    Tell her to find me an acre of land:
    Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme;
    Between the salt water and the sea strands,
    Then she’ll be a true love of mine.

    War bellows blazing in scarlet battalions.
    Generals order their soldiers to kill.
    And to fight for a cause they have long ago forgotten.

    Tell her to reap it with a sickle of leather:
    Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme;
    And gather it all in a bunch of heather,
    Then she’ll be a true love of mine.

    Are you going to Scarborough Fair:
    Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme.
    Remember me to one who lives there.
    She once was a true love of mine.

    House of the Rising Son by the Animals

    This second song is very interesting. It’s a blues song, based on a traditional folk song, yet I read that when it was released in 1964 it caused quite a stir. This song shot to number one on the charts in the UK, US, and France.

    The song is of anonymous authorship. “House of the Rising Sun” is a tale of sin, sexual ruin and a tortured soul in New Orleans. The song has been recorded by various artists including Bob Dylan and Dolly Parton. Many debate the true meaning of the title, arguing that it could be a euphemism for a whorehouse, a jail, a slave plantation or a specific establishment in the French Quarter. The most famous version of the song was by the British-Invasion-era band The Animals, who maintained it was an old English folk song emigrants brought to America (originally it was a Soho brothel instead of a New Orleans one). Thanks to Eric Burdon’s chilling howls, the Animals’ adaptation would become a classic in its own right and would make Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Songs of All-Time, at #122.

    • Eric Burdon – vocals
    • Alan Price – keyboards
    • Hilton Valentine – guitar
    • Chas Chandler – bass
    • John Steel – drums

    Lyrics

    There is a house in New Orleans
    They call the Rising Sun
    And it’s been the ruin of many a poor boy
    And God, I know I’m one

    My mother was a tailor
    She sewed my new blue jeans
    My father was a gamblin’ man
    Down in New Orleans

    Now the only thing a gambler needs
    Is a suitcase and a trunk
    And the only time he’s satisfied
    Is when he’s all drunk

    [Organ Solo]

    Oh mother, tell your children
    Not to do what I have done
    Spend your lives in sin and misery
    In the House of the Rising Sun

    Well, I got one foot on the platform
    The other foot on the train
    I’m goin’ back to New Orleans
    To wear that ball and chain

    Well, there is a house in New Orleans
    They call the Rising Sun
    And it’s been the ruin of many a poor boy
    And God, I know I’m one

    Strawberry Fields Forever by the Beatles

    The third song, by the Beatles, is the most famous of the 3 songs I featured. It was released in 1967. Many believe it is a song about drugs, and to be fair the song does have a psychedelic and hallucinogenic vibe, however when interviewed John Lennon insisted the song was not about drugs. It was a very personal song to him about his childhood. There was a strawberry field near his childhood home in Liverpool. His mother’s premature death strongly affected Lennon, and I can hear a longing in the song. As Daddy informed me John Lennon was going through an identity crisis when this song was composed and released. So the lyrics are extremely interesting. I really like this song. It’s a weird song by any metric, yet it is a very Beatles song and was revolutionary in several respects.

    I was different all my life. The second verse goes, “No one I think is in my tree.” Well, I was too shy and self-doubting. Nobody seems to be as hip as me is what I was saying. Therefore, I must be crazy or a genius – “I mean it must be high or low”

    John Lennon, 1980

    Lyrics

    Let me take you down, ’cause I’m going to Strawberry Fields
    Nothing is real and nothing to get hung about
    Strawberry Fields forever

    Living is easy with eyes closed
    Misunderstanding all you see
    It’s getting hard to be someone but it all works out
    It doesn’t matter much to me
    Let me take you down, cause I’m going to Strawberry Fields
    Nothing is real and nothing to get hung about
    Strawberry Fields forever

    No one I think is in my tree
    I mean it must be high or low
    That is you can’t you know tune in but it’s all right
    That is I think it’s not too bad
    Let me take you down, cause I’m going to Strawberry Fields
    Nothing is real and nothing to get hung about
    Strawberry Fields forever

    Always know, sometimes think it’s me
    But you know, I know when it’s a dream
    I think a “No,” I mean a “Yes”
    But it’s all wrong
    That is, I think I disagree

    Let me take you down, cause I’m going to Strawberry Fields
    Nothing is real and nothing to get hung about
    Strawberry Fields forever
    Strawberry Fields forever
    Strawberry Fields forever

  • Truth Matters conference

    This week Grace Community Church, where Dr. John MacArthur pastors, hosted the Truth Matters conference. It was live streamed for free via YouTube. I highly recommend watching these videos from each day of the conference. You will certainly be edified!

    Wednesday, May 18

    9:30 a.m.General Session #1  John MacArthur
    1:30 p.m.General Session #2  Ken Ham
    3:15 p.m.General Session #3  Q&A w/ John MacArthur, Ken Ham, and Mike Riccardi
    6:30 p.m.General Session #4  Don Green

    Thursday, May 19

    10:00 a.m.General Session #5  Phil Johnson
    1:30 p.m.General Session #6  Jeff Williams
    3:15 p.m.General Session #7  Q&A w/ John MacArthur, Owen Strachan, and Darrell Harrison
    6:00 p.m.General Session #8  Mike Riccardi

    Friday, May 20

    10:00 a.m.General Session #9  Owen Strachan
    1:30 p.m.General Session #10  Justin Peters
    3:15 p.m.General Session #11  Q&A w/ John MacArthur, Don Green, and Justin Peters
    6:30 p.m.General Session #12  John MacArthur
  • Corporal Punishment: YAY or NAY?

    I strongly believe in corporal punishment when it comes to children. And further, I believe it is absolutely biblical! I have seen the results of people who were raised without corporal punishment, and I contrast that with the people I know who were raised with corporal punishment. The differences are stark! Spare the rod, spoil the child! My sisters and I were raised with corporal punishment. Looking back I’m thankful our parents loved us enough and had enough wisdom to use it. I didn’t appreciate it at the time I was getting my bottom hit by a leather belt (ouch!), but I thank God for it now as an adult!

    Even though parenting isn’t as good as it was in our grandparents’ or parents’ time still a majority of parents agree with corporal punishment. More than 70% of Americans agreed in 2012 that, “it is sometimes necessary to discipline a child with a good, hard spanking.” (see Smith, Tom W, Peter Marsden, Michael Hout, and Jibum Kim. General Social Surveys, 1972-2012 [machine-readable data file] Principal Investigator, Tom W. Smith; Co-Principal Investigator, Peter V. Marsden; Co-Principal Investigator, Michael Hout; Sponsored by National Science Foundation. NORC ed. Chicago: National Opinion Research Center [producer]; Storrs, CT: The Roper Center for Public Opinion Research, University of Connecticut [distributor], 2013.)

    The Puritans

    The Puritans had much to say when it came to disciplining children. The Puritans proceeded on two assumptions. The first is that children are born evil. Puritanism was a branch of the Reformed faith, which has always taught the doctrine of total depravity. Simplified, this means that everyone is born a sinner, and although some people are worse than others, everyone outside of Christ is alienated from God, unable to please Him, and liable to His judgment. John Robinson said, “There is in all children, though not alike, a stubbornness and stoutness of mind arising from natural pride.It is a natural corruption and root of actual rebellion against God”. Another Puritan put it this way, “The young child which lieth in the cradle is both wayward and full of passions. And, although his body be small, he hath a great heart, that is altogether inclined to evil”.

    This is radically opposed to the sentimental view of children most people hold today-including many Christians. But, whether we like it or not, it’s what the Bible teaches. Do you need the texts? Here they are, Psalm 58:3; Psalm 51:5, “The wicked are estranged from the womb, they come forth, as soon as they are born, speaking lies”. “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me”. Note, the former verse says the wicked are sinful from birth. But, in the second verse, David says, I was too! That pretty well covers it! If the wicked are born wicked-and the good are born wicked, you tell me who isn’t born wicked! When I hear people say kids are innocent, I wonder if they have kids! Or, if they were ever kids themselves!

    There was a seminary student who loved Church History, especially the Church Fathers. He had a son whom he named, Athanasius Augustine (poor kid!). By the time the boy was two years old, the man said, “I should have named him Satan Beelzebub!” The child was more like a Satan than like a saint! Children are born in sin. That’s the first thing the Puritans assumed about them. The second grew out of it: Children cannot be left to themselves-they need both guidance and correction.

    Three quotes, “Children should not be left to themselves, to a loose end, to do as they please”. “Natural corruption and actual rebellion must be destroyed and in no way nourished. Parents must keep down this stubbornness; The children’s willfulness must be restrained And repressed”. “If the evil be suffered to increase, it will rage and burn down the whole house. For we become good, not by birth, but by training. Therefore, parents must be wary and circumspect; they must reprove and sharply reprove their children for doing or saying ill”.

    John Robinson, a Pilgrim preacher wrote, “Surely, there is in all children a stubbornness and stoutness of mind arising from natural pride which must in the first place be broken and beaten down so that the foundation of their education being laid in humility and tractableness, other virtues may in their time be built thereon.”

    This too is politically incorrect. Even serious Christians wince a little when they hear it. But, once again, it is precisely what the Bible teaches. “Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child, but the rod of correction will drive it from him”. “The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother”. “My son, keep your father’s commandment and do not forsake the law of your mother”. “Bring them up in the nurture and the admonition of the Lord”.

    The Puritans were serious about their kids. Serious enough to find out what they were and what they needed. We would do well to follow their example. When it comes to guiding and disciplining your kids, the first thing the Puritans emphasized is this: start early. John Cotton said, “These babes are flexible and easily bowed; it is far more easy to train them up to good things now, than in their youth and riper years”. No parent can deny this. The longer you wait to teach your children, the harder it becomes to do it. Children learn obedience long before the learn the reasons for it. If your kids are little, don’t worry about explaining things to them, just teach them to obey, to pray, and to be kind. Samuel Willard adds, “If you would prevent Satan from corrupting your children, do not delay, but be dropping an instruction as soon as they are able to understand anything”. If Satan were nice, he would start tempting our kids when they turned 18. But he isn’t nice. The devil starts early! Parents should do everything we can to counter his work from the beginning! Would you let a big kid beat your toddler for five minutes before stopping him? If not, why would you allow Satan to beat your child for years before you do anything about it? Kids can be cruel, of course, but nothing like the devil!

    Richard Baxter worried about the power of habit, and how hard it is to break a bad one once it’s had time to develop,“If we have been accustomed to outward wickedness, inward impenitency, hardness of heart, and unbelief, it will be very hard when we come to break off from it”.

    Note carefully what he says: It’s not only actions we have to deal with, but attitudes. People often say, “You can’t read hearts or judge motives”. That may be true of strangers, but in your own kids? Sure you can! Not infallibly, of course, but if you pay attention, you can do it pretty well.

    The longer you wait to break bad habits, the harder it will be to do it-and the more your kids will suffer because of it!

    Start early. If you haven’t done that, start now.

    Puritan Cotton Mather summed up the Puritan view of corporal punishment, “Better whipped than damned”. But having said that, let’s be very clear what role they gave to corporal punishment. It was not the only means of discipline. Samuel Willard says spanking is a last resort, “Know their natural dispositions and use severity as a last means”. Cotton Mather says it should only be used for serious offenses, “I would never give a child a blow except in cases of obstinacy or some gross enormity”. Richard Greenham urged self-control on parents when spanking a child, “They must chasten the mildest means and with the least rigor”. Anne Bradstreet, who was a great Puritan poet and woman of grace, reminded us to not discipline every child alike, but to adapt the punishment to each child, “Diverse children have different natures, those parents are wise that can fit their nurture to their nature”.

    Here are some relevant Scripture verses which address corporal punishment.

    Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him.

    Proverbs 13:24

    Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline drives it far from him.

    Proverbs 22:15

    Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you strike him with a rod, he will not die. If you strike him with the rod, you will save his soul from Sheol.

    Proverbs 23:13-14

    The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother.

    Proverbs 29:15

    Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.

    Proverbs 22:6

    It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline?

    Hebrews 12:7

    On the lips of him who has understanding, wisdom is found, but a rod is for the back of him who lacks sense.

    Proverbs 10:13

    Some notes from my study bible and a commentary:

    Proverbs 13:24 (RSB:ESV2015E): 13:24 rod. Although the word may symbolize any kind of disciplinary correction, there is little doubt that corporal punishment was approved in some situations (10:13; 22:15; 23:13, 14; 29:15). Discipline with love prevents the rod from being destructive (3:11, 12 and notes).

    Proverbs 13:24 (RHKJVSB):

    13:24 spareth. Hebrew, “withhold what is due.” rod. Corporal punishment is to be judiciously and lovingly used in the correction and training of children (22:15; 23:13–14; 29:15). chasteneth him betimes. Disciplines him early, that is, quickly or promptly

    Proverbs 13:24 (MHCCB): Verse 24

    He acts as if he hated his child, who, by false indulgence, permits sinful habits to gather strength, which will bring sorrow here, and misery hereafter.

    Proverbs 13:24 (MHCWB:CUOV): Verse 24

    Note, 1. To the education of children in that which is good there is necessary a due correction of them for what is amiss; every child of ours is a child of Adam, and therefore has that foolishness bound up in its heart which calls for rebuke, more or less, the rod and reproof which give wisdom. Observe, It is his rod that must be used, the rod of a parent, directed by wisdom and love, and designed for good, not the rod of a servant. 2. It is good to begin betimes with the necessary restraints of children from that which is evil, before vicious habits are confirmed. The branch is easily bent when it is tender. 3. Those really hate their children, though they pretend to be fond of them, that do not keep them under a strict discipline, and by all proper methods, severe ones when gentle ones will not serve, make them sensible of their faults and afraid of offending. They abandon them to their worst enemy, to the most dangerous disease, and therefore hate them. Let this reconcile children to the correction their good parents give them; it is from love, and for their good, Heb. 12:7–9.

    Conclusion

    As corporal punishment was phased out of schools in the latter half of the 20th century we have seen school violence, bullying, attacks on teachers, disrespect towards police and other authority figures, and widespread profanity skyrocket!

  • Early Church Fathers and the question of authority

    As I see it, Scripture confers no special status to the so-called Early Church Fathers. As such their theological opinions should be judged against the Scriptures and they should not be given substantial weight when interpreting Scripture. They were closer to the Apostolic age and may well have some insights into certain matters, but their fallible opinions (which are quite varied) are in no way equal to the same God given authority which the Apostles held. The writings of the Early Church Fathers are not canonical! Most Eastern Orthodox and Catholic apologists appeal extensively to the Church Fathers, and much of their churches’ theology can be traced to them. We Reformed believe in Sola Scriptura. Scripture alone is our highest and only infallible authority. We should use our reason and the guidance of the Holy Spirit when we are interpreting Scripture and expounding doctrine for the Church.

    It is sad that so often I encounter Orthodox and Catholics who will dismiss a carefully reasoned piece of exegesis of Scripture with the quip “Well the Church Fathers didn’t teach that!” The Apostle Paul warned us that error and false teaching would soon come into the Church. And it was even present at the time he wrote Scripture under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. We can see many heresies being embraced by the Church Fathers such as infant baptism, apocatastasis or rather universal salvation, purgatory, the necessity of the 7 so-called sacraments, etc.

    Here are some Scriptures by the Apostles Paul and Peter which address false teaching.

    But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.

    2 Peter 2:1

    “…stay there in Ephesus so that you may command certain men not to teach false doctrines any longer nor devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies.  These promote controversies rather than God’s work–which is by faith.  The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.  Some have wandered away from these and turned to meaningless talk.  They want to be teachers of the law, but htey do not know what they are talking about our what they so confidently affirm.”
    (1 Tim. 1:3-7)

    “Some have rejected these [faith and good conscience] and so have shipwrecked their faith.  Among them are Hymanaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan to be taught not to blaspheme.”
    (1 Tim. 1:19b-20)

    Deacons “must keep hold of the deep truths of the faith with a clear conscience.”
    (1 Tim. 3:9)

    “The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.  Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron.”
    (1 Tim. 4:1-2)

    “Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress.  Watch you life and doctrine closely.  Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.”
    (1 Tim. 4:15-16)

    “If anyone teaches false doctrines and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching, he is conceited and understands nothing.  He has an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions and constant friction between men of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain.”
    (1 Tim. 6:3-5)

    “Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.”
    (1 Tim. 6:10b)

    “What you heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus.  Guard the good deposit that was entruted to you–guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us.”
    (2 Tim. 1:13-14)

    “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.  Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly.  Their teaching will spread like gangrene.  Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, who have wandered away from the truth.  They say that the resurrection has already taken place, and they destroy the faith of some.”
    (2 Tim. 2:16-18)

    “Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you  know they produce quarrels.  And the Lord’s servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful.  Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.”
    (2 Tim. 2:23-26)

    “They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over weak-willed women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires, always learning but never able to acknowledge the truth.  Just as Jannes and Jambres oppose the truth–men of depraved minds, who, as fas as the faith is concerned, are rejected.”
    (2 Tim. 3:1-8)

    “In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil men and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.  But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it…”
    (2 Tim. 3:12-14)

    “Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage–with great patience and careful instruction.  For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine.  Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.  They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.  But you, keep you head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.” (2 Tim. 4:2-5)

    Elders “must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it.  For there are many rebellious people, mere talkers and deceivers, especially those of teh circumcision group.  They must be silenced, because they are ruining whole households by teaching things they ought not to teach–and that for the sake of dishonest gain.”
    (Titus 1:11)

    “Rebuke them sharply, so that they may be sound in the faith and will pay no attention to Jewish myths or to the commands of those who reject the truth.” (Titus 1:13-14)

    “You must teach what is in accord with sound doctrine.” (Titus 2:1a)

    Thus, we can see the great importance the Apostles placed on sound doctrine. Our authority must be the Word of God. There is no higher authority to which we may turn to. All the man made traditions we find present the Roman and Orthodox churches can be traced back to the teachings of the Early Church Fathers. They must clearly be categorically rejected. Everything we need to be complete in our faith and ready to live out our faith is found in the Scriptures. There is no extraneous set of authorities we need to submit to when interpreting and understanding Scripture. The Orthodox and Catholic churches have replaced the function of the Holy Spirit with a bunch of men. This is a serious and Satanic error.

    The teachings of the Early Church Fathers may be considered when interpreting Scripture, however they should not be accorded any special weight, the pious opinions of the Reformers and contemporary Reformed authors, pastors and seminary professors should be considered at the same level as we do the Early Church Fathers. In fact I would give more weight to the theology of Reformers such as Luther and Calvin then I would the Early Church Fathers. Because we know the Reformation was a special movement used by God to get His Church back on the path of biblical truth and sound teaching. Personally, I value the theological opinions of the Puritans much more than I do the opinions of the Early Church Fathers! What the Puritans write resonates with me on a deep level. I don’t get that from reading most of the Early Church Fathers. I do with Augustine however, although he had substantial error in his teachings, nevertheless God enabled him to understand the Doctrines of Grace!

    I repeat, we are absolutely not to regard non-apostolic writers of the first century and onward as a doctrinal authority. As we see in the early Church, in the book of Acts, Apostolic doctrine, now contained in the New Testament, is to be our focus; along with the Old testament; the Bible, which is our authority for faith and practice.

    The Early Church Fathers have a diverse range of theological opinions, sometimes embraced heresy, and oftentimes contradict each other. They are no more learned or endowed with understanding of Scripture than godly men of other times in history. No special status should be granted to them. And certainly not the enormous weigh the Orthodox and Catholic churches grant them in defining doctrine.

  • Interpreting the Bible

    Here are 17 principles of hermeneutics (the system we used to interpret Scripture) which I have found helpful. If you have additional principles please mention them in the comments.

    Scripture interprets Scripture

    Often, we find that Scripture interprets itself! In some instances, another biblical writer interprets another biblical passage. So, you should compare Scripture with Scripture. (Matthew 13:1-9, 19-23; Revelation 1:12-20; Daniel 2)

    Context interprets Scripture

    The surrounding verses, chapter and book of the Bible provide immediate context to any Bible verse, as does the historical, cultural, and grammatical/linguistic context of a verse.

    [Authorial] Intent interprets Scripture

    All Scripture has an intended meaning. It is therefore true that a Scripture has one correct interpretation while it may have many correct applications. The ultimate meaning of any passage of Scripture is that which the author intended. We believe the author’s MIT can be discovered through the careful study of the words (semantics), grammar (syntax), and style (genre) that the author used to write his text, as well as through our understanding of the cultural, historical, geographical, and theological contexts that influenced his life.

    The Clear interprets the Obscure

    No verse of Scripture should be interpreted to contradict the overall message of Scripture. When we are faced with an obscure verse, we find a clear verse to help interpret it. There are no contradictions or discontinuities in Scripture.

    Don’t let the Obscure contradict the Plain

    Never let an obscure passage of Scripture contradict a passage which has a plain and apparent meaning.

    Language Matters

    The Bible communicates via human languages; therefore, it must be interpreted
    linguistically.

    Employ Logic

    The Bible communicates God’s thinking; therefore, it must be interpreted logically.

    Go Literal

    When possible employ a literal hermeneutic. I call this contextual literalism. You interpret Scripture in a literal manner unless the context clearly indicates otherwise.

    Hermeneutics has a famous axiom: “If the plain sense makes good sense,
    seek no other sense.” When we speak about the literal meaning of a text, we
    are referring simply to the natural interpretation of the words as they are
    joined together into sentences and paragraphs. The writers were normal,
    rational people who communicated in the same basic ways that we do, only in
    different languages and historical contexts. So, when you are interpreting a
    biblical text, if the plain sense makes good sense, seek no other sense. This
    observation does negate the intriguing issues of sensus plenoir or
    Christological hermeneutics.

    Now, if the literal sense is confusing, you may be encountering figurative
    language. We all do this, because we can say what we want to say more
    vividly and forcefully by figures of speech than we can by saying it directly.
    Figurative language helps make the “abstract concrete.” When a writer
    incorporates figurative language, often he is using the “connotation” of a word
    or words in order to provide a broader understanding of the concept he is
    addressing. The connotation of a word is what it suggests beyond what it
    expresses: its overtones of meaning. Connotation is especially important to
    poets. It allows them to explore and enrich their content, and to do so with an
    economy of words.

    So when Christ says “I am the door” (John 10:7), it shouldn’t be interpreted that He is a literal door made of wood. Whereas when Paul says “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9), he means that literally works play no role in our salvation. Jesus and Paul both used a literal hermeneutic (Genesis 1; Matthew 19:4-6; Romans 5:12ff).

    Scripture is different than other literary works

    The Bible is the inspired, infallible, and inerrant word of God. As such it should be treated with due care and attention when interpreting. Scripture, rather than our personal experiences, must be our starting point in hermeneutics. In other words, we must begin by asking “What does this text mean?” rather than “What does this text mean to me?” We must set aside any presuppositions which would hinder us from hearing the biblical texts as anything but what they are-the very words of God. Our failure to do this will affect our ability to discern the author’s MIT (Main Idea of the Text). We must allow revelation to shape our theology rather than basing our theology on personal opinion. We must approach the Bible with a very clear understanding that it is a unique, divinely-inspired, divinely-preserved book. As a result, we will strive to teach it “correctly,” knowing that it contains “everything required for life and godliness” (2 Pet 1:3).

    Context is King

    The author’s intended meaning is conveyed through the different
    layers of context. The resurgence of expository preaching has resulted in the development of numerous resources to assist with the process of interpretation. Many of these resources emphasize the study of Hebrew and Greek, which is essential for becoming skilled in the practice of hermeneutics, exegesis, and homiletics. However, this emphasis upon the original languages has led some interpreters to place a greater importance upon the individual meanings of Hebrew or Greek words than upon the context in which they are found. Indeed, some pastor-teachers interpret entire texts based upon the meaning of a single word. This type of “word-driven” interpretation is flawed and even dangerous. It is important to understand this principle: the individual words of biblical texts have meaning within sentences, paragraphs, and books. A word’s meaning is determined by its relationship to other words within the context of sentences and paragraphs. The author’s choice and combination of specific words becomes his vehicle for delivering content.

    Discover the Intended Meaning

    The author’s intended meaning in every biblical text is always discovered within its own unique context. When we think about the context of a text, we are focusing our attention upon a number of factors that existed when the author recorded his particular content for a particular audience. Biblical authors did not write in a historical vacuum. They addressed the specific needs of their own day. As a result, understanding the significance of the author’s personal context, as best as we can, is important. Understanding the culture, history, geography, and theology of the writers and their audiences is helpful for discovering the historical particularity of biblical texts.

    Grammar Matters

    The biblical author’s intended meaning in every biblical text is always
    discovered within its own unique grammatical content. Eisegesis is one of the results of poor exegesis. Eisegesis is the practice of reading one’s presuppositions and opinions into a biblical text, rather than allowing the text to reveal its own meaning. Interpreters may fall into this trap for a number of reasons. First, they may lack training. Second, some interpreters may have been exposed to a steady diet of topical preaching.

    This type of preaching often allows personal preference to drive sermon
    development at the expense of the meaning of a biblical text. Third, some
    interpreters may be driven more by personal ideology than biblical theology.
    These interpreters may use individual verses or parts of verses to support
    their pet positions, despite a lack of biblical support. This type of
    interpretation, and the preaching it produces, is damaging both to the
    scriptures and the Church.

    We, on the other hand, want to be interpreters who are committed to “correctly
    teaching the word of truth (2 Tim 2:15).” We are committed to allowing the text
    to reveal the author’s intended meaning by applying the principles of
    hermeneutics to the process of exegesis. For this to happen, we must be
    committed to understanding both the content and the context (near and far) of
    every biblical text.

    When we think about the grammatical content of a passage, we are focusing
    our attention upon the literary elements that the author chose to frame his
    discussion. These elements include the author’s choice of specific words and
    the way he combined them into sentences and paragraphs, as well as the
    literary genre he selected (i.e., prose, poetry, historical narrative, wisdom,
    epistle, apocalyptic). When we consider this, we can see the dangers of lifting
    individual clauses or verses out of their specific literary and grammatical
    construction-it almost insures that the interpreter will misunderstand the
    content of the passage.

    Multiple Passages can inform your interpretation of a Passage

    The author’s intended meaning in a specific biblical text should be
    informed by the writings of other biblical authors on the same concepts.
    As we study the totality of scripture, we will encounter many reoccurring,
    theological concepts. This makes sense when we remember that the Bible is
    a progressive revelation of God’s redemptive purposes in the world. As a
    result, we should expect to encounter these theological concepts as they are
    revealed and developed in the Scriptures. Be prepared to let other biblical
    texts inform our understanding when they share the same theological
    concepts. This is what we mean by inner-canonical. In other words, we begin
    with a presupposition that there is a unity of theological concepts within the
    Scriptures, and we must be prepared to allow our understanding of those
    concepts to influence our interpretation of individual texts. As a result, it is
    important to adopt the following guidelines to help us understand and teach
    theological concepts.

    First, the interpretation of brief texts is always influenced by our interpretation
    of longer texts that share the same theological concept. Sadly, many an error
    in doctrine has resulted from an interpreter who built a whole theology on a
    brief text (often taken out of its context), while ignoring the clear teaching of a
    lengthier text on the same concept.

    Second, interpreters must distinguish between “descriptive” and “prescriptive”
    texts in Scripture. Fee and Stuart state, “Unless Scripture explicitly tells us we
    must do something, what is only narrated or described does not function in a
    normative way-unless it can be demonstrated on other grounds that the
    author intended it to function in this way.”

    Third, the interpretation of obscure biblical texts should be influenced by texts
    on the same subject that are more fully developed.

    The Whole should be used to interpret the Part

    The author’s intended meaning in a specific biblical text may have a
    fuller meaning, but that meaning can only be determined on the basis of
    subsequent biblical revelation and the whole canon.

    As interpreters, we are searching for the author’s intended meaning in every
    Old and New Testament text. Since God’s revelation is progressive, we must
    acknowledge that the Old Testament writers did not have the benefit of New
    Testament revelation. Granted, God allowed certain Old Testament authors
    like Daniel and Isaiah to have glimpses into the future outworking of his
    redemptive plan, but they did not have all of the particulars. Paul describes
    this truth in Ephesians 3:1-7. Paul stated that the mystery of the gospel, and
    its global application, was revealed to him following the ascension of Jesus.
    We cannot of our own accord, therefore, force New Testament revelation
    upon Old Testament texts.

    However, the Bible is one book with one divine author. It does tell one great
    story framed in a “grand redemptive narrative.” All the “little narratives” have
    their place in the “big narrative.” Further, there are Old Testament passages
    that are specifically declared in the New Testament to have some level of
    “fuller meaning.” In the field of Hermeneutics, we refer to this as the sensus
    plenior of the text. Now to be clear: it is not a different meaning but a more full
    meaning with implications and significance the human author did not fully
    know or grasp.

    Second, these fuller meanings are not the result of allegorical interpretation,
    but they are revealed by subsequent revelation. Individual texts must be
    interpreted within the larger context of the entire canon. This is especially true
    when studying the Old Testament. As interpreters, we study the Old
    Testament from a New Testament context. We do not read the Old Testament
    like Jewish rabbis! We read the Bible, all of it, as Christian Scripture. As a
    result, we are able to see a foreshadowing of New Testament teaching and
    theology within the texts of the Old Testament.

    Revelation is progressive, and so we find that the New Testament informs the
    Old Testament and reveals legitimate instances of sensus plenior. However,
    we also recognize that the Old Testament informs the New Testament,
    something some expositors miss or neglect too often. Bryan Chapell provides
    helpful insight for us. He states, “Christ-centered preaching rightly understood
    does not seek to discover where Christ is mentioned in every text but to
    disclose where every text stands in relation to Christ.”

    Author will not contradict himself or the rest of Scripture

    The author’s intended meaning in a specific biblical text will never be
    in contradiction to his own writings or the rest of the canon.
    Despite the individual nature of the parts, we affirm that the Scriptures
    comprise a single whole that can never contradict itself. At the core of this
    conviction is an even greater conviction about God, who is the ultimate
    “Author” of the canon. Because God is the ultimate Author of scripture, we can
    expect to find unity in the immediate, sectional, book and canonical contexts
    as well.

    See the Purpose

    The author’s intended meaning in every biblical text has a
    theocentric/Christological purpose, and as a result, it has significance
    for all people, in all places, at all times.

    Once the interpreter has discovered both the content and the context of a
    biblical text, his final task is to verbalize his understanding of the author’s
    intended meaning. This is the goal of hermeneutics and the moment of truth in
    exegesis. The author’s intended meaning will always be theocentric-it will
    reflect the great truths about God and His Christ. After all, the Bible is first and
    foremost a record of God’s redemptive plan for the world, through Messiah
    Jesus.

    In recent years, the Church has experienced a significant increase in man-
    centered preaching. This type of preaching, which places its primary
    emphasis upon the “felt needs” of the listener, often substitutes psychology for
    exposition. Greidanus states, “In contrast to anthropocentric interpretation,
    therefore, theocentric interpretation would emphasize that the Bible’s purpose
    is first of all to tell the story of God. In relating that story, the Bible naturally
    also depicts human characters-not, however, for their own sake but for the
    sake of showing what God is doing for, in, and through them.” Our awareness
    of the theocentric nature of Scripture will help ensure that our interpretation
    and preaching are God-centered with a Christological focus (cf. John 5:39).
    These ten principles serve as the foundation for our exegesis. It is important
    to keep them in the forefront of our thinking when we study the Bible.

  • Reformed vs Catholic: determining doctrine

    “The Bible claims to be the sole and sufficient infallible rule of faith for the Christian church. The Scriptures are not in need of any supplement; their authority comes from their nature as God-breathed revelation; their authority is not dependent upon man, church, or council. The Scriptures are self-consistent, self-interpreting, and self-authenticating. The Christian church looks to the Scriptures as the only infallible and sufficient rule of faith, and the church is always subject to the Word, and is constantly reformed thereby.”

    James R. White, Sola Scriptura.

    The Reformed faith is truly the thinking man’s religion! We have the freedom to study to show ourselves approved, to apply our intellects to the issues of theology and use reason and the Holy Spirit’s guidance to arrive at correct doctrine. Whereas the Catholic is locked into a body of doctrine which they cannot change. And not only that, but the Catholic must adopt ALL of Rome’s vast body of doctrine as defined by the Magisterium or else they are reckoned as apostates. There is no picking and choosing which doctrine/dogma one is personally convinced of. Further, even if a Catholic gets a clear understanding from God through studying Scripture, they must relent and adopt the Roman view, even if they passionately disagree with it. This is a theological straight jacket they eagerly accept.

    What is the likelihood that a Catholic, studying on their own, would arrive at precisely the same set of doctrine/dogma as Rome. Out of 1.3 billion Catholics (90% of which use birth control contrary to Catholic teaching, and 70% who deny the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist according to polling) I doubt even a single one would arrive at precisely the same set of doctrine/dogma as Rome. So it’s a given that a Catholic will be forced to accept some dogma/doctrine which they personally disagree with! This is sheer madness!

    After numerous online discussions with Catholics I’ve noticed approximately 90% mindlessly regurgitate Rome’s talking points. The other 10% mindfully engages their set of beliefs, which they agreed to accept upon their entrance into the Catholic church. However even though they may be able to contrast the Roman view with the Reformed view, and even thought they may be able to both skillfully articulate Roman doctrine/dogma and adeptly defend it, they are still locked into a theology which forbids them from engaging in private/personal interpretation (and no, contrary to what some Catholic apologists assert, private interpretation is not forbidden by Scripture).

    So, the Roman Catholic Magisterium (which they problematically see as infallible) is the supreme source of doctrine/dogma and a Catholic cannot disagree on even a single point, lest they be anathematized and deemed as an apostate. The Magisterium is what Catholics choose to give the most weight to in terms of textual interpretation. The Magisterium is the overall teaching authority of Rome. It is comprised of the teachings of various popes, ecumenical councils, the opinions of the Church Fathers, etc. When you boil it down, the differences between Catholics and Reformed is that they choose to give extreme weight to the opinions of a select group of people, whereas we Reformed give weight to Scripture Alone primarily and secondarily to select teachers, authors, pastors, councils, and yes even select opinions of Church Fathers. Oh, and due to Newman’s much ballyhooed “development of doctrine” (a way for Rome to weakly justify beliefs clearly not supported by Scripture) the poor Catholic also must agree to accept any new doctrine which may develop in the present or future. This was C.S. Lewis’ main point of contention with Rome. Here is an excellent article by an Anglican critiquing Newman’s development of doctrine.

    This problem is not unique to just Rome. The Eastern Orthodox church also has a set of predetermined doctrine which those joining the church must accept. On some matters they are allowed discretion such as whether to use birth control, but most theological doctrine is ancient. They are locked into it for good or worse.

    As a Reformed Christian I believe God wishes us to engage our minds to the study of Scripture and our understanding and interpretation of it. I further believe that as Scripture says the Holy Spirit will guide us into all truth. Out of the 3 major Christian denominations: Reformed/Protestant, Catholic & Orthodox – it is the Reformed/Protestant faith which gives us the freedom to arrive at our own understanding of Scripture, and to be wholly convinced of theology taught in Scripture. For us Reformed, Scripture Alone (Sola Scriptura) is the highest authority.

    Contrary to what some non-Reformed/Protestant say, no, this isn’t us being our own pope, nor is it just a case of a “me and my Bible” bubble. Many things inform our interpretation and understanding of Scripture:

    • How closely we are listening to the voice of the Holy Spirit.
    • How much time and hard work we’re spending each day to read and fully comprehend God’s Word.
    • What our pastor teaches.
    • What our elders believe.
    • The consensus of what Reformed authors (whether contemporary or more ancient) believe.
    • What select Reformed pastors, whom we aren’t a member of their church, believe.
    • What Reformed theological books we’ve read and what we’ve gleaned from them.
    • Discussions we’ve had whether in person or online between the brethren to sharpen us like iron, and hone our understanding to be razor sharp.
    • The consensus of the Magisterial Reformers of the 16th and 17th centuries, such as Luther and Calvin.
    • The writings of the Magisterial Reformers.
    • What hermeneutic we use. I personally use a hermeneutic of contextual literalism. I accept the literal plain meaning of Scripture, unless the context indicates otherwise.

    These are just some of the factors which influence our interpretation and understanding of Scripture.

    The Reformed believer can rest easy, knowing they are being guided into all truth by the Holy Spirit, and that they alone possess the fullness of the Christian faith. We rest on the authority of Scripture, not the mere opinions of men. Such man made doctrine is prevalent in the Catholic and Orthodox churches. They use Scripture, to various degrees, yet they give equal weight to tradition. I am confident that I am exactly where God wants me, and that I am being fed solid spiritual meat by sound Reformed teachers both contemporary and in the past! Soli Deo Gloria!

  • Julie Roys admits error in her coverage of John MacArthur

    In a shocking and bizarre turn of events, liberal Christian journalist Julie Roys has recently confessed to speaking in error in her extensive coverage of pastor John MacArthur. Further she says that she regrets her actions. Yet she didn’t come to full repentance which is very sad. Repentance is taking full acceptance of wrongdoing, admitting you grievously sinned, and resolving to stop doing said sin.

    I covered this in one of my earlier blog posts, which you can read here. Here is a great article by Protestia, debunking Julie Roys’ assertion that MacArthur knew Paul Guay, a former pastor at MacArthur’s church, was molesting his own daughter and did nothing about it. Here is another article by Protestia on Julie Roys’ coverage of MacArthur.

    I’m so relieved that the truth surrounding John MacArthur has finally come out. And we can trust in MacArthur as an example of a wise and godly man of God who has faithfully served the Lord for over 50 years! What a faithful witness. MacArthur’s expositional preaching is the best you’ll find in the modern era. You have to go back to Spurgeon in the 19th century, or the Puritans in the 18th and 17th centuries to find better preaching!

    It is my fervent desire that Julie Roys will stop wasting time in attacking Grace Community Church and pastor John MacArthur!

  • John MacArthur vs Julie Roys

    This latest report is really shocking! I know we all make mistakes, but as a John MacArthur supporter, I really hope he’ll speak up and admit that he didn’t handle this case well. I don’t want Dr. MacArthur to be demonized. I still find him to be an amazing expository preacher and a godly man. I know we’re only hearing one side of the story, so I hope Dr. MacArthur will publicly address this issue and not just ignore it.

    This latest report is new evidence in a string of accusations against Dr. MacArthur and Grace Community Church in how they deal with staff accused and/or convicted of child sexual abuse. The previous report focused on pedophile David Gray. The latest accusations involve former Grace Community Church pastor Paul Guay who sexually abused his own daughter and other children over the course of many years. John MacArthur allegedly was fully informed about the abuse, and did nothing. He didn’t contact the police, and Paul Guay continued as pastor at MacArthur’s church for 3 more years.

    Let’s be real. These allegations are deeply disturbing and scandalous! If John MacArthur deliberately covered up child sexual abuse (in this case incest) and failed to report it to the police, that is a major sin.

    Due to the cult of personality, and the unhealthy celebrity culture we live in, we in the Church have a tendency to idolize certain pastors and teachers. They become rock star “super pastors”. By any metric you choose, John MacArthur is a rock star in the Reformed church. We tend to filter out any criticism (even if it’s legitimate) and negative reports and ignore them. I hope we the Reformed church do not do that in this case.

    The best thing Dr. MacArthur and Grace Community Church can do is be 100% transparent and honest, even if it makes them look less than favorable, and apologize if in fact they have sinned. The worst thing possible would be for them to attack the victim, ignore the severity of this case or attempt to rationalize Dr. MacArthur’s actions (or rather his lack of action).

    The church in America, has a HORRIBLE history of handling sexual abuse! Coverups, intimidating victims, refusing to believe victims, not reporting cases of abuse to the police, enabling abusers, etc.. The Reformed church is no different, sadly, when it comes to sexual abuse, especially child sexual abuse. We need to do better!!!

  • An Easter Meditation

    I rose today
    And thanked God
    Like any other day

    But today is special you see
    For it commemorates that day long ago
    When we, in Christ, got the victory

    Two millennia ago in David’s city
    Our Savior Christ was put on trial
    He willingly gave up His security

    He was beaten, scourged, and mocked
    Christ endured it all out of love for us
    It was for our sins that He was yoked

    Pontius Pilate could find in Christ no sin
    But the bloodthirsty crowd yelled “Crucify Him!”
    So He was sentenced to death, to be our propitiation

    Jesus hung on the cross for 6 hours in all
    He felt abandoned, yet the Godhead was still One
    The sky darkened and over the earth fell a great pall

    Christ said “It is finished!” and gave up His spirit
    Our redemption was won
    We are saved by grace through faith alone, not our merit

    On the third day He rose
    Death, sin and Satan were defeated
    The grave was empty, Christ no longer laid in repose

    So today we rejoice
    And marvel at what Jesus did for us
    Let us praise Him with one resounding voice

    To spend eternity with the Lamb
    You must repent earnestly, and believe the gospel
    He is the only way, you won’t find salvation in any stratagem

    He is the Truth, the Life, and the Way
    So put your trust in Christ alone
    I implore you to listen to what, in this poem, I say