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Posts Tagged ‘false doctrine’

The beginning of Pope Francis’ encyclical on climate is this Biblically erroneous statement:

LAUDATO SI’, mi’ Signore” – “Praise be to you, my Lord”. In the words of this beautiful canticle, Saint Francis of Assisi reminds us that our common home is like a sister with whom we share our life and a beautiful mother who opens her arms to embrace us. “Praise be to you, my Lord, through our Sister, Mother Earth, who sustains and governs us, and who produces various fruit with coloured flowers and herbs”.  This sister now cries out to us because of the harm we have inflicted on her by our irresponsible use and abuse of the goods with which God has endowed her.

First, a daughter could have sexual relations with her father and the progeny’s mother  would also be his/her sister.  I think this metaphor by Francis is mystical incest. Further, ‘she’ does not “sustain and govern us”.  If she did, then she is God.  This smacks of idolatry, very much akin to radical feminist theology and again an incestual deity.  

Second, in the Bible, the earth is neither mother nor sister, but God’s good creation as all people and animals, and that is enough reason to be faithful and careful stewards of creation.  The earth, being neither mother nor sister, can not ‘cry out’.  

Third, if the earth is our ‘mother’, it stands to reason that as our ‘mother’ she has begotten us to “embrace us”.  She has not.  My mother begot me, not the earth, as your mother gave you birth. The earth does not birth us. Even a stalwart Roman Catholic, G.K. Chesterton flat out wrote that nature is not our mother as this is pagan.  Yes, he wrote she is our sister insofar as we are in God’s creation together, but I do not want to stretch any non-Biblical metaphor. I think we should be wary of such metaphors. The Pope’s statement is pagan mythology which flies in the face of the summation of Biblical doctrine in the first article of the Creed:  “I believe in God the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth.”  We are made by God, not begotten from neither God nor His earth, only the Son is begotten from God. 

Fourth, “Praise be to you, my Lord, through our Sister, Mother Earth…” (emphasis my own).  God’s good earth, as His Mother the Virgin Mary,  does not intercede and mediate  for us in  heaven. “For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus…” 1 Timothy 2: 5

There is something worse than man-made climate change and that is man-made doctrinal change. Heresy can make life hotter than hell, and it is usually well-intentioned.  For what follows in this encyclical, I have not read, but this is the wrong start and wrong beginnings can lead to bad conclusions. 

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“The glory of God is man fully alive.”

 Bio:  Irenaeus (ca. AD 130-200), believed to be a native of Smyrna (modern Izmir, Turkey), studied in Rome and later became pastor in Lyons, France. Around 177, while Irenaeus was away from Lyons, a fierce persecution of Christians led to the martyrdom of his bishop. Upon Irenaeus’ return, he became Bishop of Lyons. Among his most famous writings is Adversus Haereses (Against Heresies). This work condemned several errors but focused especially on Gnosticism, which denied the goodness of creation. In opposition, Irenaeus confessed that God has redeemed his creation through the incarnation of the Son. Irenaeus also affirmed the teachings of the Scriptures handed down to and through him as being normative for the Church. (From The Treasury of Daily Prayer/CPH)

Reflection:  In the reading selected for this commemoration in  The Treasury of Daily Prayer, St. Irenaeus wrote regarding the heresies of his day and the truth of Scripture:

For error is plausible and bears a resemblance to the truth but requires to be disguised;  while truth is without disguise and, therefore, has been entrusted to children.

The shocking part of that quote is that the truth has “…has been entrusted to children”!  Not to the adults, not to the learned, not to theologians.  This is keeping with our Lord Jesus Christ who said,

At that time Jesus declared, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; 26 yes, Father, for such was your gracious will.    St.Matthew 11

and

2And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them 3and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.   St. Matthew 18

One of my favorite theologians is my wife.  She once commented that adults like to think in terms of “moral grays”, a child does not:  it is either right or wrong.  It is that way with the Gospel:   a child gets it. I have done wrong, God is great, He loved us upon the cross.    Creation is good.  I have done wrong.   We are forgiven. This is truth without disguise.  The Father reveals His love to children not the “learned and the wise”. Jesus Himself entrusts it to children:  even if the child is 100! It is in keeping with Irenaeus and his love of Scripture is the lyrics of the old Sunday School song:

Jesus loves me! This I know,  For the Bible tells me so; Little ones to Him belong, They are weak but He is strong. Yes, Jesus loves me! Yes, Jesus loves me! Yes, Jesus loves me! The Bible tells me so.

Jesus loves me! He who died, Heaven’s gate to open wide; He will wash away my sin, Let His little child come in. Yes, Jesus loves me! Yes, Jesus loves me! Yes, Jesus loves me! The Bible tells me so.

 Yet, the undisguised truth of God’s Word has so much that even the most able minds can not understand it all.  In Irenaeus’ day there were the Gnostics who said creation is evil, spirituality is good. Plausible…except it is not the Scripture:  see Genesis 1! See Jesus Christ:  God became FLESH, His own creation!  It is the heretics, who have a enough of God’s own truth, to disguise and then complicate the truth of God’s own Word, now looking themselves and a ‘superior’ spirituality.  It looks good but it is a wolf disguised in sheep’s clothing (see Matthew 7:15).  Beware,  said faithful pastors like Irenaeus.  Irenaeus also famously said, “The glory of God is man fully alive.”  How?  Answer:  Jesus loves me.  Upon Him, the solid rock, we can grow and be edified, built-up by the Holy Spirit.  A child can get it and it is entrusted to His children of all ages and for all the ages until He comes again.

Almighty God, You upheld your servant Irenaeus, giving him strength to confess the truth against every blast of vain doctrine.   By Your mercy, keep us steadfast in the true faith, that in constancy we may walk in peace on the way that leads to eternal life; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

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And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.

The Word made flesh prays the Word to His Father as only His only begotten Son could.  John 17 is the Lord’s prayer based upon His last sermon in His earthly ministry. :

 In the Transfiguration hymn, “How Good Lord to be here”, we sing

How good, Lord, to be here!
Your glory fills the night;
Your face and garments, like the sun,
Shine with unborrowed light.

The Lord Jesus’ glory is unborrowed glory.  It is not on loan. It is not mortal. His glory is not reflected glory. He is not like the moon.  The Son is like the sun. He is the glory of the only-begotten Son in the love of His Father by whom He has so loved the world. He had this glory as He prayed, “…before the world existed”.   

 Many do not believe the Lord’s prayer that He was before the world existed.  These religions are:

Islam

Mormonism

Jehovah’s Witnesses

Strains of Liberal Protestantism

A heretic of the early Church, Bishop Arius, announced there was a time when Christ was not.  The upshot of all these heresies is that Jesus Christ did not accomplish our salvation once and for all, contrary to today’s Gospel and the entire witness of the Bible, God’s Word.  Note that Islam, Mormonism, and the Jehovah’s Witnesses then conveniently add new ‘scripture’.  The 10 Commandments show us exactly what is needed to do good and before that to be good.  It’s hard to get past the 1st Commandment most days:  No other gods before Me, when my heart is set on everything but the Lord. As St. Augustine forthrightly confessed:  “What am I to myself but a guide to my own self-destruction?”  Look at liberal Protestantism I do not mean numbers of congregants dwindling alone but the dwindling and even the destruction of the sound doctrine of justification by grace through faith..  I use to buy into the liberal lie that the Bible in it’s every Word  is not the Word of God, but it contains the Word of God.  Sounds so pious.  I can dismiss God’s Law as caution and warning, and so it finally means that the reason for our lives  to glory in the blood of Jesus is dismissed. Reformed theologian H. Richard Niebuhr, in the 50s, said it well:  “A God without wratch brought men without sin into a kingdom without judgment through the ministrations of a Christ without a Cross”.  Liberal Protestantism talk and preach much about the grace of God, but as foretold in the Bible, in the book of Jude:  For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality andd eny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.  Grace becomes license and yet you have to do something so the programs of social activism, consciousness raising and the like.  A lot of this is what goes for government.   So the Old Adam cuts down God’s Law to fit its self, write new scriptures so that say, the 5 pillars of Islam, I just do it and I’m good to go.  Tailor made law. Even civil law is not tailor made!  But as we attempt to tailor civil law to fit immorality, then confusion reigns as does division.

Yes, this is legalism and as one pastor, Matt Richards,  put it well:   “Legalists do not dismiss Christ, they trust Him a lot; however, they don’t trust Him alone. They want a comma after Jesus, not a period.”  There is always a comma, an ellipse:  dot dot dot. True prayer ends with a period.  Jesus is putting a period in His prayer to the Father of His work in the lives of the disciples and Israel and the entire world.  The period will be His Cross and the period to sin in His Forgiveness continuing in His resurrection and ascension. The Cross is the Lord’s Amen for us and for our salvation.

 The disciples kept His Word as He kept them safe from the world, the flesh and the devil.  Jesus prayed for His disciples. He interceded, prayed for them all.  He still does. Romans 8: “Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.”   Christ is ascended. He is ascended, indeed, allelulia!  The Lord sent His disciples into the world, but to be of the world. “They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.”  verses 16-17, as Jesus prays for His apostolic Church and the disciples.  The Lord assured the full witness of the Resurrection in the 12 Apostles as the beachhead of the Word of the Gospel into the world.  Jesus is now glorified in the presence of His Father.  It is the glory of love’s pure light.  He shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome nor understood it.  The world seeks it’s own glory to be powerful, Christ’s glory seeks us to find us and others.  Jesus began the prayer of John 17 today after He finished His farewell sermon, the last verse of chapter 16: “In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”  We will have tribulation but take heart in the absolutely pure heart who overcame the world. 

 The Apostle Peter’s encouragement is needed today as it was then:

 Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.

From the Ascension to Pentecost, the Apostles, Mary and women joined together in prayer, not a marathon church council meeting nor a Synod or district assembly.Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.  It is not that in Christ Jesus we are NOT going have anxiety.  We will. It is what it is done with it:  according to God’s Word.  Note:  The Word first says we can cast all your anxieties on Him, for He cares FOR YOU.  Luther wrote that the words FOR YOU are the Gospel, the good news of Jesus. Casting is praying.   He can take it.  He has on the Cross.  All our anxieties take us away from the Lord and each other.  And the devil uses them as such .  The devil knows that anxieties are his segue way into something worse, that is temptation and sin. The devil wants you to always be looking inside and not outside for help, that is, to the Lord.  Anxieties are not the last word:  Jesus Christ and His forgiveness and grace in His Church is the first Word and the last Word.

Be sober-minded; be watchful.

Sober-minded in regards to what is happening in the world. As I read religion articles in the secular news, they are mostly anti-religion articles, especially, anti-Christian, even antichrist articles.  Watchful yes and sober-minded about it all because no one can respond to it all.  Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.

The devil in false doctrine, remembers, does not want you to know that Jesus died and rose for you and your salvation:  period.  He will always be trying to turn that period into a comma and all the while sounding mighty pious and religious and spiritual about the whole thing, again see Islam and Mormonism.

 Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.

Temptation is common to the brotherhood through the world.  In the  wealthy city, of Wenzhou in China,  which has many Christians, the State has ordered all the crosses to be removed from church buildings because of “building codes”, all of a sudden.  In Sudan, a Muslim woman, Meriam Ibrahim,  married to a Christian, Daniel,  herself became a Christian.  She was condemned to death for conversion, accused of “apostasy”.  She was pregnant when arrested and recently she gave birth in prison while her legs were shackled. Even so, she gave birth to her daughter.   In our country too many want to remove all mention of the Cross of Christ from the public square or churches lifting up the cross and the preaching of the Crucified, right out of churches.  The devil devours, he does not take little bites. Steadfast in the faith is steadfast in the doctrine, the sound doctrine as Jesus intercedes, prays,  for us all.

 And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. 11 To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen.

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                                                                           Pride goes before destruction,and a haughty spirit before a fall. Proverbs 16: 18

1oo years ago yesterday  evening, at 11: 40pm, the HMS Titanic struck an iceberg.  Then 100 years ago today, April 15th, the Titanic, the ship considered to be “unsinkable”, with not enough life boats sunk at 2:20am into the icy North Atlantic waters, killing 1,496 people.  The Carpathia saved 712 passengers.

In an excellent article, Titanic Presumptions by Allen C. Guelzo, in the National Review and on NR Online, he begins his piece this way,

  • The Titanic, name and thing, will stand for a monument and warning to human presumption.” That was the judgment of Edward Stuart Talbot, the Anglican bishop of Winchester, in the sermon he preached the Sunday after the fabled Atlantic passenger liner Titanic took nearly 1,500 lives with her as she sank after striking an iceberg in mid-ocean on April 14, 1912. “When has such a mighty lesson against our confidence and trust in power, machinery, and money been shot through the nation?” Talbot could not have known it, but an entire cascade of mighty lessons was about to be visited on human presumption in spades, in the form of two World Wars (Talbot would lose a son at Ypres) and the genocidal sacrifice of millions on the altars of Fascism and Communism.

Mr. Guelzo cites these interpretations of the Sinking of the Titanic:

  1. Nobility: In both Britain and America, it was an example of Ango-Saxon nobility.  People extolled the heroes who had “sacrificed themselves in obedience to the rule” of “women and children first”. “…and quietly ignoring the greater likelihood that those cigar-lighting gentlemen were motivated instead by the bizarre confidence that, as one of them remarked, ‘no matter what we have struck,’ the Titanic “is good for eight or ten hours’”
  2. Governmental:  The next interpretation was to blame a lack of regulation.    “…to pillory the White Star Line for mismanagement, something that played into the hands of progressive politicians such as Senator William Alden Smith of Michigan, who conducted the U.S. Senate’s inquiry into the loss of the Titanic and who called for more of the regulation that had done so little to prevent the disaster in the first place.”
  3. Class Warfare:  “But the most popular narrative to wrap itself around the Titanic has been that of class. The disaster has increasingly become a parable for the evils of callous upper-class wealth, (the ship’s manifest included some of the most famous of the upper class of the time) saving its precious hide while honest and authentic immigrants are locked away in steerage to drown. (There is actually no evidence that anyone was “locked away” in third class, or that the sort of folding metal gates that appear so prominently as the immigrants’ prison bars in recent movie versions of the Titanic were even installed on the ship.) James Cameron, who joked that his bloated Titanic fell “just short of Marxist dogma,” pressed the class-warfare fable to the point of caricature.”

Mr. Guelzo then concludes that the Anglican priest has the correct interpretation.

He also points out that the Master of the Carpathia was one of the stand-out heroes of that “night to remember” because of his quick thinking it was his ship that saved all who were saved, 712 people.  Mr. Guelzo quotes Captain Rostron’s recollections of that cold evening:

“The Carpathia arrived to retrieve the lifeboats just after 4 a.m. Arthur Rostron, standing on the bridge-wing of his ship, his lips moving in silent prayer, was the hero of heroes that night. As the sun rose, he saw that “all around us were dozens and dozens of icebergs, some comparatively close, others far away on the horizon, towering up like cathedral spires.” It made him shudder, and he could “only think that some other Hand than mine was on that helm during the night.'” (emphasis my own)

 I think there is a causal connection between Captain Rostron praying and the people he and his crew were able to save.  I think there is a difference between a talented man, humble to pray and those who built the Titanic who had not prayer.

Just as in Babel, this is a narrative of pride and humility and I think it begs the question:  Why is there such overweening pride in our day and time?  Oh, it’s always been there, from the tree to  East of Eden to the  plains of Shinar, to the base of Mt. Sinai and Golgotha and to the arrogance of our species to think an unsinkable ship was built with the unthinkable lack of lifeboats.  But why has pride taken on such incredibly destructiveness?  One reason:  pride has been couple with overwhelming technologies.  But it has been unfortunate that historically the total lack of inhibition of hubris has been unleashed in such a technological advanced era. It is grim to know that during World War II the Nazis greatly improved the technologies of mass extermination in just a several years.  But why is pride so un-contained?

In 1924, the Nazis promised religious toleration in their party platform.  In paragraph 24 of that platform, before it talks about the German fight against, “…the Jewish -materialistic spirit”, they wrote, “we demand freedom for all religious confessions in the state, so far as they do not endanger its existence or conflict against the ethical and moral feelings of the Germanic race.”  The faithful conservative Lutheran pastor, professor and historian, Hermann Sasse, “…perceptively wrote as early as 1932 that on the basis of section 24 a conflict was inevitable between Christianity and Nazism because the doctrine of original sin and unworthiness of the sinner would offend the ‘ethical and moral feelings’ of the Germanic race.” (Emphasis my own) Later the German-Christians (i.e. the Nazi-front ‘church’) declared, in fulfillment of Sasse’s prophetic statement:  “The (Christian) doctrine of (original) sin and the guilt of mankind is an insult to the Germanic people”, and ” We do not believe we were conceived and born in sin. We do not believe that God became man in Jesus.” Instead of speaking of “fallen mankind”, one should speak of “ascending mankind.” (quoted from Lutherans Against Hitler:  the Untold Story by Lowell C.  Green, CPH Publishing)

 Why is pride so un-contained and unleashed in it’s full Adamic rage?  Answer:  the utter denial of original sin and sin in general.  For instance:  the famous televanglist, Joyce Meyers, who was Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, left the Lutheran Church because she said she became tired of being a “a lost and condemned creature” and all the talk of sin. At one time Lent was about fasting but it’s now about the way to the “purpose-driven” life. The Mormons do not believe in original sin and I think this is what is frightening about their doctrine.  I would dare say that both Governor Romney and President Obama do not believe in original sin.  Then notice the talk is always about the future that someone will deliver to us for our deliverance and the still unbounded faith, yes, religious and spiritual faith in our own abilities to save.  An unsinkable ship.  The Reich to last a 1,000 years.  A Roman Catholic theologian denied the doctrine of original sin but taught his doctrine of “original goodness” (I give credit: that the Vatican booted him) This piece of a poem by Francis Thompson (1859-1907), British poet,  states it well:

…all man’s Babylons strive but to impart
The grandeurs of his Babylonian heart.

The founders of our republic and the especially the framers of the Constitution so wrote our law because of their profound understanding the capabilities and culpabilities of man to utter power.  James Madison in his federalist paper #51 wrote:  “But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature? If men were angels, no government would be necessary.”  President Madison caught well the blessed Reformers understanding of the politicus usus, the political or first use of the Law: restraining our sinful propensities.  Once that is denied, then the lie that we can do everything good is unleashed.  We do not want to build a tower to reach God, we think we are God and the serpent’s lie is now at it’s maximum destructive power:  to be like God.

We must fight and we must resist temptation.  In popular culture, Lord of Rings caught well the temptation of saying we have no sin, thus deceiving our selves (1 John1–2: 2)  and what unbounded good in the hands of a sinner could unleash and the necessity of the fight to do so, even to do good:

The Church has the message of remedy of original sin in our original salvation in the man from heaven:  Jesus Christ.  We must proclaim both law and Gospel.  We know our limitations and in that limitation the true power to serve.

Read:  Matthew 4: 1-17;  Hebrews 4: 14-16;  1 Corinthians 10: 12-13 and pray the Our Father, Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil (or the evil one).

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