The Need for Perfect Law-Keeping, Part 1

Posted by on July 24, 2014 in Catholicism, Featured, Gospel, Imputation, Law, Presbyterianism, Protestantism, Reformed Theology, Sola Fide | 639 comments

The Need for Perfect Law-Keeping, Part 1

How does a sinner become right with God? That’s a question Reformed Protestants love to ask, and for good reason, since it’s one of life’s most important questions. But the interesting thing is, the Reformed answer contains a serious flaw, and recognizing this can help explain where their understanding of Justification goes off course and get corrected. This blog post, which is somewhat a continuation of the last blog post, will address the problem and explain the solution. The Reformed answer for how we can “stand before God and be...

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Doing, Being, and the Function of Faith

Posted by on July 13, 2014 in Baptism, Catholicism, Ecclesiology, Featured, Gospel, Law, Presbyterianism, Protestantism, Reformed Theology, Sacraments, Sola Fide | 718 comments

Doing, Being, and the Function of Faith

This is going to sound very strange, but what if I told you that Catholics believe in Justification by faith alone while (Reformed) Protestants are actually the ones who believe in Justification by works? A statement that outrageous surely requires an explanation, so that’s what I want to provide. This post won’t be so much about exegesis as it is about simply helping people to understand where each side is coming from. In the Protestant view, for man to enter Heaven he needs to have kept God’s Law perfectly. This means Salvation for the...

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Invisible Church Discipline

Posted by on June 30, 2014 in Church Discipline, Ecclesiology, Featured, Presbyterianism, Protestantism, Reformed Theology | 599 comments

Invisible Church Discipline

To wrap up the “mini-series” that began with the Reformed view of Infant Baptism and the New Covenant, followed by a look at the Reformed distinction of the Invisible vs Visible Church, I’d like to conclude by taking a brief look at the place of “church discipline” within Reformed ecclesiology. To keep things brief, I will focus specifically on the notion of “excommunication” and whether or not it makes sense within a Reformed framework. The question I want to examine is this: How can the Reformed say...

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On Bodies Visible and Invisible

Posted by on June 16, 2014 in Baptism, Catholicism, Ecclesiology, Exegesis, Featured, Incarnation, Protestantism, Reformed Theology | 367 comments

On Bodies Visible and Invisible

It has become apparent after the post addressing the Reformed dilemma regarding Infant Baptism and the New Covenant that another closely-linked Protestant issue needs to be addressed. That issue is the widespread (even universal) belief among Protestants that there is a “Visible Church” and an “Invisible Church.” According to the Westminster Confession, the Invisible Church “consists of the whole number of the elect,” while the Visible Church “consists of all those throughout the world that profess the true religion” (Chapter...

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Augustine and the Annoying Orange

Posted by on June 9, 2014 in Catholicism, Church History, Early Church Fathers, Featured, Predestination, Protestantism, Reformed Theology | 92 comments

Augustine and the Annoying Orange

Often you’ll hear that the difference between Catholics and Calvinists is about the “doctrine of election.” Not true. Both Catholicism and Calvinism affirm that the reason for election is divine grace. Some Calvinists and Catholics believe that there is some sort of trans-world consideration of possibilities involved (Alvin Plantinga on the Reformed side, Fr. William Most on the Catholic side), but there’s no denial on either side of the necessity of grace in election. The actual difference between Catholics and...

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The New Covenant, Baptism, and Properly-Realized Eschatology

Posted by on June 1, 2014 in Baptism, Covenant Theology, Ecclesiology, Eschatology, Featured, Gospel, Incarnation, Means of Grace, Presbyterianism, Redemptive History, Reformed Theology, Sacraments | 51 comments

The New Covenant, Baptism, and Properly-Realized Eschatology

The question of whether or not to baptize infants has been a very divisive issue throughout the history of Protestantism, dividing Protestantism roughly in half between Lutheran/Reformed and Baptist/Non-Denominational traditions. But instead of writing a post on how Sola Scriptura has been unable to address this “church-dividing issue,” I will instead focus on another issue, specifically the Reformed understanding of infant baptism and why it’s very problematic. I should start off by saying Thanks be to God that so many...

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