Rome Denies the Bible’s 5 Reformation Principles

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All true revival in both Old and New Testament times has been a return to the absolute authority of God’s written Word.  The absolute authority of God’s written Word was normative for the Old Testament saints.  Likewise, the absolute authority for Christ Jesus and for the apostles was God’s written Word and that alone.

It is of utmost importance to understand that because of mankind’s utterly lost condition, God has deemed it fit to make Himself, His will and purpose known only through His written Word.  While God can be known through general revelation, which is revealed in creation, His nature, character and sovereign purpose in salvation and sanctification are known only through His written Word.

God’s Written Word is Final

The absolute authority for mankind is not to be placed in any subjective interpretation of what God Himself has purportedly said.  Rather such an appeal to and answer purportedly from God Himself as the absolute authority is an attempt, whether through ignorance or through presumption, to break the finality of God’s written Word.   The Bible is full of statements upholding the signal fact that His written Word is the final law for mankind.  It is evidenced by hundreds of references in the Old Testament as, for example, Isaiah 8:20, “To the law and to the testimony:  if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.”  Likewise in the New Testament, it is the written Word of God and it alone to which the Lord Jesus Christ and His apostles refer as final authority.  In the Temptation, Jesus three times repelled Satan saying, “It is written,” as for, example, in Mt. 4:4, “But He answered and said, “It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.”  When refuting the errors of the Sadducees, the Lord said, “Ye do err, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God.”[1]   The Lord’s total acceptance of the authority of the Old Testament is seen in His words in Mt. 5:17-18, “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets:  I am not come to destroy but to fulfill.  For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.”  On the night before He was crucified, Jesus prayed to His Father with the clearest words, “Sanctify them through Thy truth.  Thy word is truth.”[2]

Christ Jesus also said that Scripture could not be broken.[3]  The Bible testifies to its own essential truth, e.g., “The sum of Thy word is truth.”[4]  “Thou art God and Thy words be truth.”[5]  The written Word of God is the “word of truth.”[6]  God says of His written word, “These words are faithful and true.”[7]  The written word of God is infallible and inerrant in all areas, earthly as well as spiritual.[8]  To deny the inherent truth and inerrancy of the Bible is to call God a liar.[9]  Thus to place human reason or any theological system higher than the authority of the Bible is tantamount to calling God a liar.  The believer is told explicitly to submit his mind to God, “bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.”[10]

The Reformers in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries saw that Christ Himself, the Apostles, and the Scriptures all declared that God’s written Word is the absolute authority, not in place of God but rather as the Word itself declares as the expression of the very mind of God.

Evangelicals and Catholics Together Casts Doubt on Sola Scriptura

The seriousness of implicitly denying Sola Scriptura is demonstrated in the ecumenical document “Evangelicals and Catholics Together:  The Christian Mission in the Third Millennium” (ECT).  On page 10 of the original document, ten alternatives are given with the disclaimer, “This account of differences [between Catholics and Evangelicals] is by no means complete.  Nor is the disparity between positions always so sharp as to warrant the ‘or’ in the above formulations.”  Differences No. 3 and No. 4 on the ECT chart are listed as follows, “The sole authority of Scripture (Sola Scriptura) or Scripture as authoritatively interpreted in the church” and  “The soul freedom of the individual Christian or the Magisterium (teaching authority) of the community.”

Since the document has from the outset (p.5) boldly stated, “All who accept Christ as Lord and Savior are brothers and sisters in Christ.  Evangelicals and Catholics are brothers and sisters in Christ,” the Roman Catholic position is implicitly accepted here as a valid alternative to the Biblical position in both issues.  Nevertheless, the Roman Catholic Church (RCC) officially declares her absolute authority to be as follows,

“All that is contained in the written word of God or in tradition, that is, in the deposit of faith entrusted to the [Roman Catholic] Church and also proposed as divinely revealed either by the solemn magisterium of the [Roman Catholic] Church or by its ordinary and universal magisterium, must be believed with divine and catholic faith….”[11]

Canon 750 is further clarified by the official commentary on it which follows, “Those matters to be believed with ‘divine and catholic faith’ are (1) contained in the word of God, written or handed down, and (2) proposed as divinely revealed by teaching authority of the [Roman Catholic] Church, either by solemn judgment or by the ordinary and universal Magisterium….”

Careful reading shows that the official commentary lumps together “word of God, written or handed down,” thereby introducing the fatal syncretism condemned by the Lord Jesus Christ.  Added to that mixture is what is “propose as divinely revealed by the teaching authority of the [Roman Catholic] Church.”  Thus according to Canon 750 there are three sources of authority:  1) the Scripture, 2) tradition, and 3) what is “proposed as divinely revealed” by the Roman Catholic teaching authorities.  These sources, however, are not equal and therefore not cohesive as claimed.  When it comes to how the tradition is lived out, therefore, it is not necessarily according to old Greek and Latin fathers nor to the Council of the RCC in times past, but according to the decision and power of the present pope as he sits as so-called supreme pastor and teacher.

New Authority Base Requires New Power to Uphold

What has been stated is the official Roman Catholic authority base.  This new, syncretic authority base must now be shown in practice to be the authority that the Roman system says it is.  Since the authority base is new, what new power is required to uphold (enforce) the official statements?  The Roman Church declares again in Vatican Council II:  “infallibility is co-extensive with the deposit of revelation [i.e., Scripture and tradition],”

“This infallibility, however, with which the divine redeemer wished to endow his Church in defining doctrine pertaining to faith and morals, is co-extensive with the deposit of revelation, which must be religiously guarded and loyally and courageously expounded.  The Roman Pontiff, head of the college of bishops, enjoys this infallibility in virtue of his office, when as supreme pastor and teacher of all the faithful–who confirms his brethren in the faith (cf. Lk. 22:32)–he proclaims in an absolute decision a doctrine pertaining to faith or morals.  For that reason his definitions are rightly said to be irreformable by their very nature and not by reason of the Church . . .”[12]

The Roman Magisterium does not stop here, however, in laying out the nature of papal authority.  Canon 333, Sect. 1  “The Roman Pontiff, by virtue of his office, not only has power in the universal [Roman Catholic] Church but also possesses a primacy of ordinary power over all particular churches and groupings of churches….”  Canon Sect. 3  “There is neither appeal nor recourse against a decision or decree of the Roman Pontiff.”

Thus tradition as it is lived out in the Roman Church is the living voice of one man who is the Roman Catholic’s absolute authority.  The Pope claims supreme legislative, executive, and judicial power.  For the Roman Catholic, he is the ultimate authority.  Nor does the Roman decree stop there, for Canon 1404 states,  “The First See [Rome] is judged by no one.”  Unequivocally, by their declaration, the Pope is the absolute authority in the RCC system.  According to Roman Catholic dictates, no one, not even the Lord, or His word, judges the Pope.  Rome claims for her pope what is in fact a divine attribute, applicable only to God and His written Word.

By claiming infallibility in its teaching authority, the Roman Church seeks to insert herself between the written Word of God and the people by means of controlling the individual’s knowledge of the truth about God and about himself.  Such domination seeks to keep people dependent on the Roman Church and not on God through Jesus Christ.

Evangelicals and Catholics Together Sets up False Antithesis

A careful reading of Differences No. 3 and No. 4 in ECT (p. 10 above) shows that the ECT authors have set up a false antithesis.  The false antithesis is that the issue of absolute authority can be resolved either in favor of a group, here designated as the Magisterium of the RCC, or in favor of an individual, here designated as “the soul freedom of the individual.”  Rather had the Evangelicals who helped to write ECT insisted on being Biblical, the alternative should have combined Differences No. 3 and No. 4 to read

“The sole authority of Scripture (Sola Scriptura) or the Magisterium (teaching authority) of the Roman Catholic Church.”

Such a straightforward expression would have stated truthfully the actual antithesis between God’s written Word and man’s subjective word, but to do so would not have advanced the cause of ecumenicity, which Colson, Neuhaus, and others so greatly desire.

Dispensationalism and Sola Scriptura

A most serious assault on Sola Scriptura comes also from a system that quite often boasts about holding to that principle.  The assault here spoken of comes from those who hold to the presuppositions of dispensationalism.  Dispensationalism in general holds for seven dispensations, the fifth of which is the dispensation of the law, from Mt. Sinai to the cross of Christ and the sixth of which is the dispensation of grace, from the cross of Christ to the Second Advent.  Numerous charts print these dispensations.

A first major presupposition in dispensationalism is, therefore, the antithesis between law and grace.  The dispensationalist interpretation of the Bible sets up an antithesis, which says that the dispensation of grace, in which we live, is antithetical to the dispensation of law.  The underlying implication is that we are not now under God’s law but rather under His grace.

Old Testament Saints Saved by Grace Alone (Sola Gratia)

Salvation by grace alone is evidenced right through the Old Testament.  Genesis 6:8 states,

“Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.”  The same grace is now greatly magnified in the New Testament, “Know ye therefore that those who are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham.  And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached beforehand the Gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed.  So then, those who are of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham.[13]  Paul writes in Romans, “For what saith the Scripture?  Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.  Now to him that worketh, his reward is reckoned not according to grace, but according to debt.  But to him that worketh not, but believeth in Him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.”[14]

This same righteousness in God only was that on which the Old Testament saints trusted as, for example, Isaiah writes, “In the Lord, have I righteousness and strength”[15] and as the psalmist declares, “I will go in the strength of the Lord God; I will make mention of Thy righteousness even of Thine only,”[16] or as Jeremiah writes, “the Lord, our righteousness.”[17]  Unequivocally, these passages and many others show that these OT saints were counting on Who God is in His righteousness rather than on anything that they themselves did in their sacrificial system or in keeping the law.  Their writing shows that it was because of God’s grace and in God’s grace that they could cry out “my God,” “my rock,” “my salvation,” “my high tower,” “the One in Whom I trust,” as the Psalms continually say.  A result of wrongheaded understanding of the Bible re law and grace is seen in numerous tracts and sermons, which declare loudly, “God loves you and has a plan for your life.”  Seen from the perspective of the dispensational presupposition with its seriously flawed understanding of law and grace, the basis for Christ’s death on the cross quite easily becomes God’s love for all of humanity.  But the stated reason in the Bible is in Romans 3:26, “that He [God] might be just and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.”  This is often missing in the tracts and sermons of those who follow the dispensational theological system.

The presuppositions of the system itself are rarely measured according to God’s Word.  Thus to those who espouse it, the theological system itself and its presuppositions easily becomes the absolute authority.  It must be noted, however, that not all dispensationalists live out dispensationalism as the system itself is written and there is a wide variety among dispensationalists.  Nevertheless, what is said here generally applies.

To correct the presupposition that the present time is the dispensation of grace over and against the time from Mt. Sinai to the cross, it must be stated Biblically that the Law of God always stands as normative and absolute in the Bible from Genesis through Revelation.  In fact, the Law is a synonym for the whole written word of God in many places (e.g., Ps. 1 and 119).  Sin, in the Bible, from cover to cover, “is the transgression of the Law” (I Jn. 3:4).  Every departure from God’s written word, whether great or small, known or unknown, intended or accidental, is sin.  “I had not known sin, but by the Law:  for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet” (Rom. 7:7).  For “Christians” to declare the death of Christ solely as an exhibition of God’s love to mankind is to hold a theological system as normative rather than God’s law which is His written Word, as normative.

Before God’s law, sin and sins must be paid for to meet the demands of God’s perfect holiness and justice.  So it was that Christ Jesus was “made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law.”  According to the perfection of His character portrayed in Scripture, God will not and cannot save one sinner outside of fulfilling the Law.  What Paul keeps proclaiming in his Biblical teaching needs to be understood:  the cross is first and foremost to declare “His righteousness for the remission of sins”  (Rom. 3:25).  “To declare, I say, at this time His righteousness that He might be just and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus” (Rom. 3:26).

Repent and believe the Gospel is the message of the New Testament, “Repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 20:21).  Repentance acknowledges the final authority of God’s law and acknowledges that God’s law must be fulfilled.  No individual is saved by repentance; rather, it is by bringing the words of the Law to bear on an individual that the Holy Spirit convicts him of his sin, of the righteousness of Christ Jesus, and of the judgment of God (John 16).  A major reason why there is so little conviction of sin in the modern world of Evangelicals is that many have accepted a system of interpretation of the Bible that in fact sets up grace in antithesis to the Law in a false antithesis.  Romans 3:31 states, “Do we then make void the law through faith?  God forbid.  Yea, we establish the law.”  The whole law–all that justice requires of each individual—is fulfilled in Christ.  “Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth” (Romans 10:4).  If a system is accepted that does void the law, it must be rejected as implicitly denying Sola Scriptura.  Generally speaking, in Dispensationalism the presupposition of the antithesis between law and grace nullifies the authority of the Bible.

Identity of Israel and Church Unscriptural

A second major presupposition of Dispensationalism is that there is an absolute difference between Israel and the church.  Dispensationalism holds that the essence of the message in the Old Testament and in the Gospels is that the earthly kingdom was offered only to Israel.  According to this interpretation of Scripture, when the offer was rejected by Israel, the dispensation of grace came in as a parenthesis until the kingdom of Israel is finally to be brought in the second coming of the Lord. The presupposition on which this system is based is that God has two peoples with two separate destinies, Israel (earthly) and the church (heavenly).  Biblically, such a presupposition is groundless.  The Israel of God (Galatians 6:16) is in Christ Jesus where “neither circumcision nor uncircumcision availeth”; rather, the new creature is in Him (Galatians 6:15).  The believers allare Christ’s.  These are the heirs of the Old Testament promise.  This doctrine is clearly taught in Paul’s letter to the Galatians,

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female; for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.  And if ye be Christ’s, then ye are Abraham’s seed and heirs according to the promise.[18]

The Judaizers of Paul’s time claimed special recognition for those who were physically Jews by circumcision.  Paul answered them when he writes,

Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision.  For we are the Circumcision who worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.[19]

In a similar way, he answers those boasting of being Jews when he writes,

He is not a Jew which is one outwardly, neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh.  But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.[20]

In Romans Chapter Three, the same question arises.  Paul, as a Jew, asks, “Are we better than they?”  He then goes on to show that there is no difference (v. 22) between Jew and Gentile before God’s Holy law, that all have sinned, both Jew and Gentile (v. 23).  The good news of the propitiation through faith in Christ Jesus’ blood (v.24) is to Jew and to Gentile alike.  It is the same Gospel to both.

The central message of Ephesians Chapter Two is that both Jew and Gentile are saved by grace through faith, that both are one new man in Christ (v. 15) for the partition that separated Jew and Gentile has been broken down,

But now, in Christ Jesus, ye who sometime were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.  For He is our peace, Who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us.[21]

In the same way, Peter answered the Judaizers when the Apostles and elders came together to discuss circumcision and the Law of Moses at Jerusalem.

Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the Gospel, and believe.  And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as He did unto us; and put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.  Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?  But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they.[22]

Further, when Christ spoke to the Jews as recorded in John 6:29, He informed them, “This is the work of God:  that ye believe in Him Whom He has sent.”  Likewise to the Jews, Christ said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth My word, and believeth on Him that       sent Me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.”[23]  Everlasting life is not an everlasting earthly kingdom but rather to be with Him as He is with the Father.

Traditions Or the Bible

Just as Rome sets up her Magisterium over and above the authority of the Bible, it appears that Dispensationalism has placed ultimate authority in its own magisterium, declaring a separation of Israel from the church and a gospel of the kingdom for one set of people with the gospel of grace for others.  To leave believers open to revival in our own day, as at the time of the Reformation, Roman Catholicism must be seen Biblically to be doing what the Pharisees did in the Lord’s own time.  It must be equally and clearly denounced as did the Lord the Pharisees and their tradition.  Likewise, Dispensationalism and its presuppositions must be strictly analyzed to the absolute measure of God’s written Word and not visa versa.  Both systems are making their traditions superior to the absolute authority of the Bible.

Salvation in Christ Jesus Alone (Solo Christo)

Biblically, the believer’s salvation is in Christ, as was stated above.  All the blessings of the believer follow on where his justification is, not in himself but rather in Christ (e.g., Ephesians 1:1ff).  The Reformers proclaimed the long lost Pauline teaching that justification is through the righteousness of Christ Jesus alone being imputed to the individual by Holy God the Judge.  It is a legal, objective, judicial act of the sovereign Holy God at Whose right hand His Son Jesus Christ sits.  As a result of the Biblical teaching by the men of the Reformation, there arose a widespread departure from religious subjectivism by which the Roman Catholic Church had held Western Europe, England, and Scotland in thrall for centuries.

Evangelicals and Catholics Together Compromises With Idolatry

The Bible is likewise abundantly clear that He in whom the believer is saved is the one Mediator,” For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus.”[24]

Nevertheless, Rome posits other mediators such as Mary and their so-called saints.  Over this egregious fact, however, many Evangelicals today seem simply to pass without comment, as if this well-known RCC practice were an alternative form of the Christian faith rather than the straight idolatry that it is.  Thus No. 9 of ECT in the list of ten differences between Evangelicals and Catholics reads, “Remembrance of Mary and the saints or devotion to Mary and the saints.”

Rome argues that the veneration [worship] of Mary and the RCC so-called saints implies their intercession in heaven to Jesus Christ on behalf of those baptized into the RCC and for the whole world. To justify worship of the deceased saints and purportedly to invoke their subsequent intercession in heaven on the worshiper’s behalf, Rome will cite such texts as Hebrews 12:1 and Matthew 25:21, as the new Catechism does,

#2683  “The witnesses who have preceded us into the kingdom (Heb. 12:1), especially those whom the [Roman Catholic] Church recognizes as saints, share in the living tradition of prayer by the example of their lives, the transmission of their writings, and their prayer today.  They contemplate God, praise him and constantly care for those whom they have left on earth.  When they entered into the joy of their Master, they were ‘put in charge of many things (Mt. 25:21).’  Their intercession is their most exalted service to God’s plan.  We can and should ask them to intercede for us and for the whole world.”

Para. 2683 of the 1994 Catholic Catechism, flatly contradicting the written Word of God,   explicitly teaches Roman Catholics to practice necromancy.  Nevertheless, regarding those who are deceased, the Bible is abundantly clear:  “Neither have they any more portion forever in anything that is done under the sun.”[25]  Calling up the dead, i.e., necromancy is strictly forbidden in the Bible.  In Deuteronomy 18:9-11 it is called an abomination before the Lord.

The clearest refutation of this abominable practice is found in Paul’s letter to the Colossians.  Judaizing Gnostics were infesting the Colossian church with the theory that the saving work of Christ must be supplemented by (1) the intercession of some super-angelic beings and (2) by the practice of asceticism.  The Apostle Paul cuts through this error by laying down again the indisputable Gospel principle.  Christ, the eternal Son of God, has made already the perfect sacrifice in His blood.  His perfect sacrifice is complete, securing for the believer full justification before the Holy God by an actual transaction in legal terms of His own righteousness being imputed irrevocably by Holy God the Judge to the believer.

To rid the Christian community of any pretended need of heavenly intercessors, God’s written word states,

“For it pleased the Father that in Him should all fullness dwell, and having made peace through the blood of His cross, by Him to reconcile all things unto Himself–by Him, I say, whether they be things in earth or things in heaven.  And you, who were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath He reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy and unblamable and unreprovable in His sight.”[26]

Jesus Christ, Who is the one Mediator for believers, is “the image of the invisible God” (v. 15).  Instead of the proposed intercessors guiding Him, He governs them (v. 16).  The Divine Christ, who Himself is every believer’s Mediator, has “all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (vv. 3-10).  Anything approachable, tender, or kind that had been in the saints was there because of Him who has all.  The believer is complete in Him who has all principality and power as Head (v. 6).  Christ so completely satisfies the demands of intercessory work that no room is left for any other intercessor—just as His righteousness so satisfies the claims of the law that there is no room for any ascetic righteousness.

Mary is Source of Holiness According to New Catholic Catechism

The importance of the principle of In Christ alone to true Reformation and revival cannot be overestimated, especially in light of the new Catechism of the Catholic Church (1994).  It states,

Para. 2030  “From the Church, he [the baptized Catholic] receives the grace of the sacraments that sustains him on the ‘way.’  From the [Roman Catholic] Church he learns the example of holiness and recognizes its model and source in the all-holy Virgin Mary.”

The believer’s salvation is as stated in the Bible in Christ only where He sits at the right hand of God.[27]

Further, God alone is the model and source of all Holiness.  Worshipping Mary and the so-called saints is from beginning to end idolatrous, and the blessings sought through them only God can bestow.  The divine attributes of omniscience and omnipresence, which belong only to God, are assumed to belong to these so-called intercessors.  Without the principle of In Christ alone, a person can easily end up in the polytheism of Rome’s Mary and the system’s so-called saints.

To God Alone Be the Glory (Soli Dei Gloria)

The fifth principle of Reformation and revival follows logically from the first four.  Because salvation is by grace only through God’s gift of faith only and only in Christ on the written authority of His Word, to God only be the glory!  This principle, to God only be the glory, is the believer’s proper and overwhelming response.  The believer has been by God predestined “to the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein He hath made us accepted in the Beloved.”[28]

“To God Alone Be the Glory” Summarizes the Second Commandment

The Second Commandment given by God is summarized in the words “to God only be the glory.”  Nevertheless the making and use of images in the Roman Catholic Church, in the Eastern Orthodox and Greek Orthodox Churches, in Lutheranism, and in the present day Evangelical world is tolerated because of a lack of clear understanding of these five essential Biblical principles of the Reformation and revival.

In the history of the Christian Church, this principle was taken most seriously.  There were very few images in the church before the sixth century.  The debate hit center stage, so to speak, in the “Iconoclastic controversy” of the eighth century, resulting in the Second Council of Nicea which approved pictures, kissed and honored in churches (787 A.D.).  The Roman Catholic Council of Trent (1563) reaffirmed this and went further by approving statues.  All of these are again reaffirmed in the Catechism of the Catholic Church (1994).  Most of the Reformation leaders held firmly to the principle of disallowing the use of images.  Luther, however, wavered and allowed the use of images in certain instances.

What is forbidden in the Second Commandment is the making of any similitude of God.  Moses reminds the children of Israel in Deuteronomy 4:12, “And the Lord spake unto you out of the midst of the fire:  ye heard the voice of the words, but saw no similitude; only ye heard a voice.”  It is the attempt to make any similitude or likeness of what is divine that is forbidden by the Second Commandment.

Most seriously rejected because of this by the Reformers was any depiction of the Father or of the Son.  From the time of the Reformation in the Bible believing world until our own times, there were very, very few depictions of the Father or of Christ Jesus.  In the last 180 years during which the watering down of these five Reformation principles has occurred, there has arisen a general acceptance of illustrated Bibles, Sunday School materials showing Christ, with reproductions sometimes of paintings of Michelangelo, DaVinci, and Raphael, along with black Jesus pictures, Oriental Christs, etc.  Besides illustrated children’s books in which the Second Commandment is broken, the creation scene by Michelangelo from the Sistine Chapel in Rome is often reproduced in Evangelical literature.

Catholic Catechism (1994) Teaches Idolatry

To rationalize as do the Roman Catholics in their new Catechism that the incarnation of Christ brought in “a new economy of images” (Para. 2131), or that now it is permissible to have drawings, statues, and images of Christ is to put human rationalization on a higher plane than God’s written Word.  The reason given by Rome in Para 2132 is that “the honor rendered to the image passes on to the prototype.”  Such oiled terminology is crassly humanistic in its darkened understanding, for what is presupposed here is that all being is the same–as in the philosophy of Plato.  The very point in the Bible is that Holy God’s being is utterly different than His creatures; therefore, no similitude is to be made or used.

Evangelicals Breaking Second Commandment

Few Evangelicals defend crucifixes; yet, in fact, the crucifixes are not different than the images of Jesus in Bibles or Sunday School books.  If one can rationalize that Christ Jesus can be depicted in Bibles and books without breaking the Second Commandment, one must agree also that, logically, depiction of His time on the cross does not break the Commandment.  Nevertheless, Exodus 20:23 states, “Ye shall not make with Me gods of silver, neither shall ye make unto you gods of gold.”

In Exodus 20:5, God calls those who break this commandment “those who hate Me” and those who keep it (v. 6) “those who love Me.”  Punishment for iniquity is promised to those who break the Commandment while promises of blessing are for those who keep it.  (Check world maps at different stages of history to see how this has in fact been fulfilled.)

Both Evangelicals and Catholics advertise and use the video, “Jesus of Nazareth” and the Jesus video produced by Campus Crusade.  The Jesus video so widely used by Evangelicals is as forbidden by God’s written Word as the Roman Catholic crucifix is, yet it seems that few dare to call it the idolatry that it is.  Videos, statues, and pictures are the books of the illiterate.  To present Christ in image form is deceive millions.  God’s written Word calls such an image “a teacher of lies.” Paul was stirred to righteous anger against the use of images (Acts 17:16).  Many of the major men of revival in the Bible: Moses, Elijah, Josiah, and Hezekiah were image breakers.  Isaiah[29] and Elijah sarcastically mock images and those who make and use them.  Continually in the written Word, God commanded the Jews to destroy graven images.  It is the Lord’s final commandment in I John 5:21, “Little children, keep yourselves from idols.”

Summary

In summary, the five Biblical principles of the Reformation are what the Lord has always used to bring in revival.  If believers genuinely pray for revival, they ought to stand firm on each principle and to God alone be the glory.  Amen.


[1]  Matthew 22:29

[2]  John 17:17

[3]  John 10:35

[4]  Psalm 119: 160

[5]  II Samuel 7:28

[6]  Psalms 119:43; II Corinthians 6:7

[7]  Revelation 21:5

[8]  John 3:12

[9]  I John 5:12

[10]  II Corinthians 10:5; Proverbs 3:5

[11] Canon 750, The Code of Canon Law:  A Text and Commentary (Paulist Press, 1985).  All canons are taken from this volume unless otherwise stated.  Bolding within any quotation indicates emphasis added by this author.

[12]  No. 28, “Lumen Gentium”, 21 Nov. 1964, Vatican Council II:  The Conciliar and Post Conciliar Documents (Wm. b. Eerdmans Publ. Co., 1975) Vol. I, Sect. 25, p. 380.

[13]  Galatians 3:8

[14]  Romans 4:3-4

[15]  Isaiah 45:24

[16]  Psalm 71:16

[17]  Jeremiah 23:6

[18]  Galatians 3:28-29

[19]  Philippians 3:3

[20]  Romans 2:28-29

[21]  Ephesians 2:13-14

[22]  Acts 15:7-11

[23]  John 5:24

[24]  I Timothy 2:5

[25]  Job 3:17

[26]  Colossians 1:19-22

[27]  Colossians. 2:6-3:3; Ephesians 1:6 and other places

[28]  Ephesians 1:6

[29]  Isaiah Chapters 40, 42, 46, 48