Throwback Thursday: After Darkness, Light

I had wanted to write an original article in celebration of Reformation Day, but I have a cold that robbed me of sleep the past two nights. As a result, blogging is the last thing I want to do today. So please enjoy this reprise of my blog post from the October 31, 2017, written in honor of the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation.

Post Tenebras Lux

Even among Christians who genuinely love God’s Word and have a passion for Him, I feel like a certifiable nerd these days. Hardly anyone outside on my blogging and Twitter associates seems aware that today marks the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. And the few who actually do know don’t show a great deal of concern (let alone excitement) over the matter. That was 500 years ago, they reason. They remind me that not everyone enjoys history as much as I do.

A few longtime friends have (if I correctly understand their Facebook comments) expressed hope that I’m not idolizing theology instead of loving Jesus. Certainly, dead orthodoxy poses a danger to any Christian, and therefore self-examination has a place for those of us who write zealously about the issues involved in the Reformation. I don’t want to exalt anything above the Lord Jesus Christ.

I wonder, however, if people accused Luther, Calvin, Zwingli and the other 16th Century Reformers of idolizing theology.

Actually, they accused them of heresy, even though it was the false teachings of Roman Catholicism that caused the Reformers to go back to Scripture and question the Church’s teachings in the first place. Those men and women stood against the errors in the Roman Catholic Church because they loved Jesus and had a passion for His Word.

In order to appreciate their passion for Biblical theology, it helps to understand the development of the Roman Catholic Church. Outlining that history goes well beyond the scope of today’s essay, but I strongly encourage you to read What is the origin of the Roman Catholic Church? from GotQuestions.org. Suffice it to say that Roman Catholicism kept most people in spiritual darkness for approximately 600 years, withholding Scripture from all but the elite so that Rome could maintain political power.

The Reformers began reading Scripture translated from the original Greek and Hebrew, and consequently saw huge discrepancies between what the Word taught and the teachings of Rome. As I’ve said repeatedly throughout this Tuesday series, they risked their very lives (and many died as martyrs) over the theological differences between them and the Roman Catholic Church.

They rightly took the motto, Post Tenebras Lux (after darkness, light), to describe God’s wonderful work of restoring sound doctrine to His people.  The light of God’s Word had at last dispelled the darkness of Roman Catholicism, and the Reformers preferred persecution and death to compromising their theology. Does that mean they idolized theology over the Lord?

I would argue that the Reformers’ love and passion for Christ emanated from their return to Biblical theology. As they rediscovered the doctrines of grace in the pages of Scripture, the light shone brightly, leading them to know and love the Lord, Who had been in the shadows of Catholic tradition for almost six centuries.  To those Reformers, the theology that shed light on the Lord and His will caused them to rejoice in His remarkable grace. They gave Him all the glory. Indeed,  the appearance of light after darkness fueled their passionate love for Him.

Oh dear 21st Century believers, don’t let people discourage you from loving the theology that leads you to a clear understanding of Who Jesus is and what He teaches. As John said to me yesterday, we can’t really love the Lord apart from right theology. Praise God for the courageous Reformers whom He used to bring His people from darkness into light.

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. ~~1 Peter 2:9 (ESV)

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The Value Of Scripture Now And Then

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Maybe I never said it out loud,  and I certainly wouldn’t have let any of my friends hear me say it, but I wanted more than the Bible seemed to offer. Thus I loved hearing supposed prophecies in   church, devoured books on “Christian” psychology and hungered  for God to speak to me personally.

Truthfully, I don’t believe my unspoken dissatisfaction with the Bible was atypical.

Whether evangelicals admit it or not, many of them want something beyond Scripture to guide their decision making or to help them better experience God. Having spent most of my Christian life in that camp, I very much understand that perspective. People who long for something that feels more personal than Scripture often genuinely love the Lord and want to be close to Him.

I believe, however, that Christians in the 16th Century would struggle to understand Continue reading

The Relevance Of Dry, Dusty History

Medieval MonastaryEveryone raved about Dr. Dill. My friends who majored in history adored him as much as we English Literature majors adored Sister Nicholas — at least as much. So in my Senior year at Dominican University of California,  I signed up for his Medieval History class. After all, history classes with Mr. Squires in high school delighted me so much that I took one just for fun.

Dr. Dill taught by straight lecture. I’d grown used to the more discussion oriented style of my English professors, so I struggled to pay attention to Dill’s  monotone voice. Having a straight lecture class immediately after lunch in an upstairs classroom that stayed warm even in January didn’t help either.

The class bored me. Mr. Squires made me care about the Supreme Court rulings of Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., but poor Dr. Dill simply couldn’t get me excited about Continue reading

Hurt Feelings Can Cripple Our Testimony For The Lord

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Measured by today’s sensibilities, people would probably consider me a victim of childhood bullying. Neighborhood kids constantly called me names like “cripple,” “spaz” and “retard.” Mom intervened on the one occasion when the abuse became physical, but she did her best to teach me that verbal abuse could strengthen my character.

Her strategy probably wouldn’t fly nowadays.

Which explains the hypersensitive atmosphere pervading our culture presently. Just this past weekend, a gentleman on Twitter that I consider to be refreshingly chivalrous lamented the loss of the “women and children first” mentality. Almost immediately, a woman accused him of Continue reading

Five Solas In One Hymn

This coming Thursday marks 502 years since Martin Luther posted his 95 Theses challenging certain practices of the Roman Catholic Church. His simple act officially launched the Protestant Reformation, which restored God’s Word and basic Gospel principles to Christianity.

Five Latin phrases summarize the core values of Reformation theology:

  • Sola Fide, by faith alone.
  • Sola Scriptura, by Scripture alone.
  • Solus Christus, through Christ alone.
  • Sola Gratia, by grace alone.
  • Soli Deo Gloria, glory to God alone.

As evangelicals, we celebrate these precious Five Solas as the foundational principles of Biblical Christianity. So, looking forward to Reformation Day on Thursday, let’s listen to a beautiful modern hymn praising the Lord through these Five Solas.

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Saturday Sampler: October 20 — October 26

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Do you see yourself as a beggar? A writer for the Logos Blog writes What Luther’s Last Words Teach Us about Prayer to remind us of a basic premise in Scripture.

Please take heed of the warning about The Homosexual Tension In the Church Cannot Hold that Stephen McAlpine gives. The same problems he sees in Australia happen throughout western culture, and Christians must face the ramifications. I know it’s an unpleasant topic, but we dare not ignore it.

Whenever Leslie A publishes something in Growing 4 Life, I can pretty much count on being nurtured with good teaching. Read Three Mortal Enemies of Spiritual Growth to see her wise application of Biblical truth to daily life.

Zach Putthoff of Parking Space 23 offers wonderful encouragement in his post On Faith, Works, the Lordship of Christ, and Assurance. Don’t assume from the first few paragraphs that you know where his argument is going. I believe you’ll be pleasantly surprised by his conclusion.

Don’t miss A Restless Evil by The End Time proprietress Elizabeth Prata. And please, apply the Scriptures she shares to your keyboards as well as to your tongues.

In his article for Gentle Reformation, Richard Holdeman uses the opening chapters of Revelation to explain how Your Church is a Lampstand for God’s glory. His view is fascinating, and should help you appreciate your local church.

Thanks to Erin Benziger, Diane Severance’s post entitled Women of the Reformation: Anne Askew in Credo Magazine crossed my desk. Severance wonderfully shows God’s grace and power in standing firm on God’s Word, even though it meant martyrdom. Will we be as faithful to defend Biblical doctrine?

As an alternative to celebrating Halloween this coming Thursday, why not celebrate Reformation Day? Stephen Nichols, writing for Ligonier, answers the question, What Is Reformation Day? If you’re an evangelical, you need to understand this part of your Christian heritage.

As a result of taking his wife on a cruise, Tim Fererra of Discerning Dad comments about things that are More Precious than Gold as a beautiful reminder of where we need to keep our attention.

Elizabeth Prata writes a second essay that warrants mention. The train is still coming down the tracks makes me want to stand up and cheer! For those who complain that we spend far too much time and energy warning people against Beth Moore, this post should be mandatory reading!

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Do I Want A Popular Blog Or A Meaningful Blog?

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This week has been a blogger’s dream come true, thanks to John MacArthur and Beth Moore. Can I admit that I’m glad to have just over 500 followers on WordPress and over 270 followers on Bloglovin? I’m not sure how many people follow The Outspoken TULIP Facebook page, nor do I know how many follow through Twitter.

I do know, however, that every time I write about Beth Moore, my stats skyrocket. If I add John MacArthur to the mix, I can count on perpetual views.  Readers crave articles about these two public figures.

In one respect, I’m glad so many women flock to my posts about Beth Moore. I firmly believe she’s one of the most Continue reading

Throwback Thursday: A Sinful Disagreement

Originally published April 5, 2017:

Open Bible 03A woman speaking at a retreat I attended years ago shocked me by stating: “I don’t agree with Paul concerning the roles of women.” Now, it’s one thing to dislike the gender roles delineated in Paul’s epistles, and I admit to struggling with the prohibition against teaching in terms of this blog. (I don’t know how many men read it, but I try to discourage them from doing so.)

In disagreeing with Paul, this speaker was actually disagreeing with Scripture. Her comment disturbed me then, and it has continued to disturb me throughout the years. The entire Bible, whether we like it or not, is God’s Word. As such, it claims authority over us and leaves no room for dissension.

16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. ~~2 Timothy 3:16-17 (ESV)

If God Himself has breathed out Scripture, then the gender roles it prescribes obviously reflect His intent for men and women. For that matter, the Word of God reflects His intent in regard to a wide variety of issues. When we elevate our opinions over Scripture, daring to disagree with certain parts, we betray our arrogance.

Let me clarify why I call it arrogance. If we don’t believe the Bible to be God’s Word, then we subjectively determine our own moral and ethical standards, thereby making ourselves God. And if we claim to believe the Bible is God’s Word, then any disagreement with its human writers is actually disagreement with God. Either position makes me shudder!

A friend of mine often says, “It’s not about what we think; it’s about what God says.” His maxim doesn’t mean (as some have misinterpreted) that Christians ought to disengage our intellect. On the contrary, studying Scripture and accurately applying its teachings in practical ways (such as a woman blogging about the things of the Lord) requires discernment, and discernment is an intellectual exercise. My friend’s point is that our opinions don’t matter as much as what God clearly says.

Yes, God says many things that I, in my flesh, really don’t like. It would feel good to support gay marriage, indulge in sex outside of marriage, brag about my “accomplishments,” spend money exclusively on myself, and be a woman pastor, but all those pursuits disregard Biblical instruction. How I feel about those matters must bow to the Lord’s wisdom. He is, after all, both Creator and King, having full authority to determine how things should function. How can a Christian possibly disagree?

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It Depends On What You Mean By “The Gospel”

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It jarred me a bit to see Beth Moore described as a minister of the Gospel. It probably shouldn’t have, given the powerful deception that engulfs her followers. As far as they can tell, Moore indeed represents a type of gospel that sounds pretty Biblical.

As I reflect on the idea of Beth Moore being a minister of the Gospel, my initial laughter gives way to sadness and concern. I begin wondering how well evangelicals at large really understand the Gospel. Interestingly, her newly refurbished website offers no actual Gospel presentation beyond a surface level Peace With God page that waters things down considerably. It reminds me of the impotent gospel that Continue reading

Changing Plans And A Steadfast God

TypingLast night I posted on The Outspoken TULIP  Facebook page that I wouldn’t be blogging today because John and I had a family funeral to attend. Circumstances made it necessary for John to stay home today (don’t worry, he’s all right precisely because he opted to stay home and rest), leaving me with time to blog.

So hi. I’m here!

The change in plans initially hurt my pride. After dramatically announcing that I wouldn’t be able Continue reading