Sunday, October 30, 2005

The Value of Church History

Listening to: The Story of Calvinism, by Phil Johnson.
Church history is vital to know - to see the errors that have come again and again, and to be drawn again to the truth. I become a Christian as an arminian by default, like Phil Johnson did, before latterly seeing that the Bible teaches a calvinist teaching on God's grace and God's sovereignty... rather than elevation of free will. Calvinism is much misunderstood and much maligned and yet full of life, since it is the teaching of the scriptures. Listen and learn :)

Reading: Five English Reformers, JC Ryle
JC Ryle writes with a strong anti-catholic polemic, but quite rightly draws our attention to the heart of the gospel, and the need to stand for it. I'm struck reading the stories of the martyred reformers that they stood against transubstantiation - that is, that the bread and wine of communion actually become Jesus' body and blood. What's so bad about that? That it turns the thing into a re-sacrificing of Christ... in which case Christ's death was not sufficient, nor obtained solely by faith... and it perverts christian ministry into priesthood. In essence, the gospel is denied. Such things are worth standing against, we must continue to do so.


  1. Yes I've just read Ryle, and he does really draw attention to that doesn't he? I think many RCs today wouldn't 'believe in' transubstantiation; but that doesn't mean that the preaches the truth about it either: so although the modern mindset would often reject transubstantiation, the idea of assurance in Jesus offering himself once-for-all as a sacrifice remains sadly absent from the system/ceremonies/etc. It made me consider: why do I squirm at Ryle's polemic when the thing still holds true? Perhaps relativistic culture and the RC PR machine have done their work in England? (They haven't over here: even young people are still aware to some degree of the differences in doctrine and implications.) What do you think Dave?

  2. Increasingly people seem unaware of the differences, and unhappy to find differences. I wonder if much of that comes from the regular presence of catholic leaders on the front page of AlphaNews, and a widespread respectability for catholic churchmanship...