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Sola Fide and Assault

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By Pastor Sam Powell - Posted at My Only Comfort:

In the past few weeks there have been two streams of stories that have dominated Christian circles. The first is the debate concerning Sola Fide and the second is the #metoo campaign in light of the fall of serial rapist, Harvey Weinstein. As women around the world told their stories of assault, we saw that sexual assault and rape are not just something happening “out there” but right in the middle of our churches. More often than not, church leadership purposefully and ignorantly looks the other way. You can read a small sampling here, remembering that these are only the tip of the iceberg.

As I read these stories from Christian women, I see a connection. The connection is subtle and hard to glimpse at first, but it is there.

If you are unfamiliar with the debate concerning Sola Fide, you might want to take a few minutes to get up to speed. The historic doctrine of the reformation is summarized simply and beautifully in the Heidelberg C…

China: 'Pastor, missionary faces persecution before National Party Congress'

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Posted at ChinaAid:

(Wenzhou, Zhejiang—Oct. 20, 2017) As Chinese officials cracked down on religion and dissent ahead of the 19th National Party Congress of the Communist Party of China, a missionary and pastor issued a prayer letter on Oct. 13, crying out against the constant harassment he and his family have experienced.

Even though missionary and pastor Yan Xiaojie has maintained a low profile since being released in February 2016, he wrote a letter on Oct. 13 asking for prayer due to continuous government persecution. In the letter, he writes, “What kind of crime did I commit? In this period, Wenzhou authorities keep harassing me, asking me to report to the police station every day and coming to my home daily. They seriously disturb my family’s life—especially that of my two elderly [parents]—my life, and my work.”

He also wrote,
“In the end, I don’t know why [they harass me]? … [In 2015], they captured me for no reason, and I was shut for half a year in a small, black room. Insid…

A PROPOSED OCTOBER, 2017 MEETING: DEAR MARK JONES, WILL YOU PLEASE MEET JOHN LEWIS?

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By Chris Gordon - Posted at The Gordian Knot:

What a great online fight over salvation and good works at the moment, isn’t it? And it’s really not that difficult. It all should be so clear for everyone. We all should know better. There are a plethora of conditions for final salvation. Where have you been? A pastor as eminent as John Piper has said it. When you stand at the last judgment, you should know by now, there are conditions you need to meet. There had better be fruit, there had better be good works, or else, for you cannot be saved without them, and these are causes of your salvation.

Mark Jones has made this all the more clear for us; good works are necessary for your salvation. As Dr. Jones says, Zanchius said it, Mastricht said it, Goodwin said it, Owen said it, Twisse said it, and Ursinus said it. This is not difficult, if you are going to take issue with John Piper, you “need to spend some time getting theological training and then, after that, publish via peer-reviewed …

Calif. OKs third gender, protects religious liberty

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By David Roach - Posted at Baptist Press:

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (BP) -- Pro-family advocates are lamenting California Gov. Jerry Brown's approval Oct. 15 of a bill expanding rights for individuals identifying as transgender but celebrating his veto the same day of a measure that threatened religious liberty.

Brown, a Democrat, signed Senate Bill 179, which adds a third gender option on official state identification documents for those who reject the designation of male or female and opt instead to be considered "nonbinary." Among his vetoes, meanwhile, was Assembly Bill 569, which would have made it illegal for religious organizations to prohibit their employees from having abortions or engaging in sex outside marriage.

SB 179 will make California the first U.S. state allowing residents to identify their gender as "nonbinary" on birth certificates and state identification documents. The bill also will ease requirements for California natives to change the gender i…

Random thoughts on Sola Fide

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By Sam Powell - Posted at My Only Comfort:

In no particular order – just wanted to get these down somewhere.
From my conception to my last breath I will never do one work that can stand before the judgment throne of God.If I was given a glass of water that only had a little poison in it, I would still refuse it. There is no such thing as “sort of pure”. If there is even one drop of sin in what I do, it isn’t holy. Holy is clean, pure, with no admixture of uncleanness. All that I do, though, is mixed with sin. If I reject that, then my works are also mixed with pride. God hates pride.Think about this (not directions on how to live, but what it says about Christ: 25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her;
26 that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word,
27 that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she should be holy and bl…

Why the Reformation Still Matters

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By Michael Reeves - Posted at Tabletalk Magazine:

None of the goodness or relevance of the Reformation’s insights have faded over the last five hundred years.
Last year, on October 31, Pope Francis announced that after five hundred years, Protestants and Catholics now “have the opportunity to mend a critical moment of our history by moving beyond the controversies and disagreements that have often prevented us from understanding one another.” From that, it sounds as if the Reformation was an unfortunate and unnecessary squabble over trifles, a childish outburst that we can all put behind us now that we have grown up.

But tell that to Martin Luther, who felt such liberation and joy at his rediscovery of justification by faith alone that he wrote, “I felt that I was altogether born again and had entered paradise itself through open gates.” Tell that to William Tyndale, who found it such “merry, glad and joyful tidings” that it made him “sing, dance, and leap for joy.” Tell it to Thomas …

Is The Lid About To Come Off?

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By Andrew Kerr - Posted at Gentle Reformation:

The last thing I want to do is let ‘the devil have all the good music!’ I certainly have no wish ‘to throw the baby out with the bathwater’! Nor do I desire to parade these comments in Pharisaic self-righteousness. Yet if, at last, the lid comes off the rock music industry, maybe it will shock us and rebuke us, into being a little more discerning and ever-increasingly disgusted. The last week has seen a progressively deepening crisis in Hollywood on both sides of the Atlantic. Celebrities, stars and Oscar Nominations Committees have disowned Harvey Weinstein with an air of disbelief and disgust. Prosecutions may follow for this most successful producer.

Now, today, on the BBC’s ‘Victoria Derbyshire’ program, new allegations, concerning the UK music industry have emerged. Sarah Bowden, a music manager, has spoken about a scale of endemic sexual harassment, abuse and rape which is “as bad if not worse” as anything Hollywood has to offer.

Perh…

Air Force punishes colonel over marriage views

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By Bonnie Pritchett - Posted at Baptist Press:

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (BP) -- U.S. Air Force officials have suspended a decorated officer and revoked his recommendation for promotion to brigadier general because he would not sign an unofficial document affirming a retiring subordinate's same-sex marriage.

Col. Leland B.H. Bohannon, Air Force Inspection Agency commander at Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque, N.M., signed all the requisite documents for a senior noncommissioned service member's May retirement ceremony except for one: a letter of "spousal appreciation" for the gay serviceman's partner.

Read more here.

Would We Actually Want Reformation Today?

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Posted at Reformation Scotland:

We have now entered Reformation month, the climax of the 500th anniversary. In the midst of the commemoration it is possible to take such a long look back that we then forget to look forward. In other words, we may be inclined to think of Reformation as an event in the past rather than a present imperative. This milestone is a point to reflect on where we are in relation to Reformation and what still remains to be achieved as individuals, Churches and communities. How do our lives, families and congregations match up to God’s requirements in His Word? Reformation is a difficult and unsettling activity. It challenges our complacency and expectations. Would we have the appetite for it we think we would?

The Word of God is the only rule for reformation. Yet what do we mean by that? Anthony Burgess (1600-1663) explains how the Word of God has a supreme role in the work of reformation. Burgess lived during a time of reformation and was a member of the Westmins…

In By Grace, Stay In By Faithfulness?

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By Dr. R. Scott Clark - Posted at The Heidelblog:

We’re coming up on Reformation Day again this seems like a good time to cover the basics again. The medieval church came to teach that we enter a state of grace through baptism. According to the medieval church, we remain in a state of grace by the exercise of our free will, which we were said to have retained after the fall, in cooperation with grace. This consensus was confirmed at the Council of Trent and became Roman Catholic dogma.

It remains Roman dogma:

§1989The first work of the grace of the Holy Spirit is conversion, effecting justification in accordance with Jesus’ proclamation at the beginning of the Gospel: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Moved by grace, man turns toward God and away from sin, thus accepting forgiveness and righteousness from on high. “Justification is not only the remission of sins, but also the sanctification and renewal of the interior man (Catechism of the Catholic Church)
For Rome, accept…