Monday, October 30, 2017

"Error VII" Sunday School Appendage

In the previous post addressing the addition of new ideas into Church worship, I mentioned the Sunday School Movement. In an effort to avoid as much misunderstanding as possible, it seems necessary to expound upon the subject a bit more.

I understand Church Sunday Schools are just a part of the way we do Church these days. I also understand they are enjoyable to the Children that attend and in many cases Children benefit from their participation.

I also understand the debate that exists in Christian circles concerning Sunday Schools. This article is not an attempt to enter into that debate per se. You can visit the NCFIC website and gain much helpful information as well as your own web search on the Sunday School Movement. Your first step will be to educate yourself concerning the subject. In effort to explain my statement in the previous post I would like to state a few facts and observations.

For one, Sunday School is a new addition to Christian Worship, and it is controversial. Therefore its existence has raised concerns for many in our churches, more so in its beginning than now that we have been acclimated to it. One would be wise not to throw such concerns to the way side before examining their cause. Logic would dictate that it is not absolutely necessary, that being demonstrated by the fact the Church went so long without it. We also understand there is a certain liberty the church has to adapt to the needs of the community. If it didn't we would all still be meeting in our homes. But even those liberties are governed by the absolute sufficiency of Scripture.

There are certain key and necessary elements that make up Christian Worship that are dictated in Scripture. These elements govern how and what we do in our Worship as well as instruct us in their meaning and our understanding of them. If the Church (Local Congregation) comes together say for an hour before or after what we would now call the regular service ,as long as that time is governed by those elements, it seems to matter little if we call that Sunday School. But when that time begins to add some element not prescribed, changes or weakens one that is, we then have reason for concern.

Here is what can and has happened in such cases. Scripture gives the responsibility of educating our children concerning the things of God to Fathers. Sunday School can be an aid in that effort, but in most cases today it is not an aid but a replacement. Fathers have given that responsibility over to Sunday School teachers and youth ministers. This weakens or even destroys that essential element of Worship.

I have observed situations in youth ministry where when the children arrived at church they were taken to an age appropriate Sunday School class (which is a concept borrowed from the public school system) apart from the adult study and guidance. Then after the Sunday School Class completed they were then removed to a Children's Church where they were given snacks, watched videos, puppet skits, and given some simple Bible lesson. When they were old enough they were advanced from the Sunday School class to the Teen Class (which for a time I taught). When the teen class completed, they were then allowed  to help and work with the Children in the other building being used for the Children's Church.

This was all done with good intentions, attempting to make Church a very pleasurable experience for the Children. But in case you missed what was happening, the children through young age to teen age were seldom involved in adult worship or in service with their parents. They seldom heard the Pastor's sermon nor developed relationships with the elders of the Church. They were never able to observe Christian Worship demonstrated and see the Church function as it instituted the elements of Worship.

The question would be, how will those children grow up and view Christian Worship? They may have had a good time, but they never saw the Church in operation. Given enough time, as these children take the drivers seat in Church leadership, worship as prescribed by Scripture could be lost entirely. Remember the reformation? This is why extreme caution must be taken when exercising liberty in our order of Worship. If you study the Sunday School movement you will discover it was never intended to evolve into what we now have . Now you understand why I mentioned the Sunday School movement in my comments on new ideas.

May the Grace of God be upon each of you,


Saturday, October 28, 2017

"Error" Part VII

"The means of finding out the true meaning of scripture are: constant prayer, knowledge of the language, examination of originals, consideration of the argument and purposes of the passage, distinction between literal and figurative passages; understanding of causes, circumstances, and consequences; logical analysis, comparison of obscure passages with clear ones, of like with like, and unlike with unlike; and finally, the analogy of faith" ~ Johannes Wollebius

Christians should not be a people just casually walking down the road of life, not considering their destinations end. We should know what our journey is about and have a clear understanding of how to get there.

Dorothy, to find the Wonderful Wizard of Oz, was told to follow the yellow brick road. Sounds simple enough, but she discovered there were distractions and misdirections along the way. It can be the same for us if we are not diligent in our pursuit of sound doctrine. Scripture is the yellow brick road; it is our guide to our destination. I used to associate in Christian circles that suggested finding our destination depended upon our following the Holy Spirit. Being lead of the Spirit was the way to walk in and discover God's purpose for your life and arrive at the your destination's end. I can use my imagination in the picture above and see the well meaning Scare Crow assisting Dorothy in her journey. He could be saying, "Dorothy, I have a word from the Lord for you. I hear the Lord speaking to my spirit, it seems He is saying you should take this road. He has some great blessings waiting for you; He will use you mightily down this road."

Dorothy, truly wanting to follow the will of God and please Him, is now very drawn in that direction. If she expresses some concern, she might be told, "Just go to the Lord in prayer" (which would also involve praying in tongues in her prayer language) and trust Him to reveal this to her as well. She might be told by the Scare Crow that he just feels the Lord has a ministry for her down that road. In her confusion and her desire to please God, she tries to do what the Scare Crow is telling her. This is not uncommon in our churches today, and many people spend and consume their lives following what is nothing less than mysticism. There is no soundness or assurance in this type of instruction. It is not an aid in our Christian walk, but a hindrance.

Paul wrote to Titus 1:9 Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.

Sound doctrine is the communication of faithful words, conveying the meaning accurately. It is teaching that is sound and indisputable. The ERV version renders this verse, "An elder must be faithful to the same true message we teach. Then he will be able to encourage others with teaching that is true and right. And he will be able to show those who are against this teaching that they are wrong."

Truly there is a leading of the Spirit, and truly there is a great need of prayer to find our way and our destination's end. But this leading and prayer is not by the means of mysticism, but sound doctrine.

Rom 6:17  But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.

The thought I want to convey is that there is a faith as Jude declared, that was once delivered to the Saints. (Jud 1:3  Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.)  Understand this faith can be known and understood today through the means of sound doctrine. This is the work of the Holy Spirit, He is presently, actively working in our lives, directing and ordering it according to His will by the means of this doctrine. This doctrine has been expounded and refined by the Church throughout its history. It aids us in our understanding of Scripture and how the Church has understood these doctrines over the centuries. What would this look like as it is applied to our lives? If we were to begin down the yellow brick road, it might look something like this:

Study the Bible, let it be your standard of life and conduct. Keep it ever close and make it your friend. Study it with humble prayer asking help of the Father through the Holy Spirit to reveal His Son to you. Ask Him to let your eyes behold His beauty and Glory, and desire for a heart to long after Him.

As you study and become familiar with this wonderful friend, let the Church help you become grounded and confident. Examine the great creeds and confessions to discover how the Church understood the scriptures over the years. As the Saints lived out and experienced the Christian life, they solidified sound doctrine (teachings) to help us remain faithful to its true meanings. This practice found its beginning in the Apostolic Church and was continued by the early Church fathers, then throughout history and to our day. Here are just a few examples of sound doctrines:

1 Cor. 15:3-7: For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles.

Phil. 2:6-11: who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

1 Tim. 3:16: Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of our religion: He was manifested in the flesh, vindicated in the Spirit, seen by angels, preached among the nations, believed on in the world, taken up in glory.

Then in the early Church:

The Apostles Creed (A.D. 140)

Nicene Creed (A.D. 325)

The Council of Chalcedon (A.D. 452)

Athanasian Creed (A.D. 500)

The Canons of Orange (A.D. 529)

This is Christianity as it was understood and defined in the first 500 years.

We then move into the reformation and the reaffirming of these doctrines.

The Augsburg Confession (A.D. 1530)

The Smalcald Aritcles (A.D. 1537)

The Scottish Confession of Faith  (A.D. 1560)

The Heidelberg Catechism (A.D. 1563)

The Book of Concord (A.D. 1580)

The Canons of Dordt (A.D. 1618)

The Belgic Confession (A.D. 1618)

The Westminster Confession (A.D. 1646)

The London Baptist Confession (A.D. 1689)

When you look at the Church today, a first glimpse may give you the idea it does not know what to believe. Hundreds of denominations and divisions of all sorts can be found.

But when you examine it closer, you discover there is a true Church, and it has a sound doctrine that has been delivered down through the ages. It holds to one faith and rests upon a solid foundation. It knows what it believes and in whom it trusts. It is the Church, it is alive and it is well in the 21st Century. You discover all these confessions from the Apostolic traditions down through the early church to our day are all wonderfully consistent and expound upon the sacred Scripture with unity and conformity. It is one Church holding to and living one faith from beginning to end.

These doctrines must not be taken lightly. Things lightly looked upon have a way of disappearing. For those who take their faith seriously, who are concerned about the truth, correct worship, and a correct view of God, these things are of upmost importance.

You might be one who truly loves God and takes your faith very seriously. Yet, you stand looking at the Christian world today and wondering what church to be a part of. The answer is a Biblical Church. How do you find one? Look at their doctrine. If their faith and practice are in agreement with the great creeds and confessions of the past that are consistent with Scripture, then you have a true Church.

If you are going to a Church that has departed from the sound doctrines and understandings of previous generations and have laid aside the doctrines that have been affirmed and understood by the Church throughout history and in their place have instituted pragmatism, inventions, and private interpretations in effort to promote other doctrines, beware. They may call themselves Church, but they are indeed something else.

What about these new ideas? Some ideas seem to make little difference, others catch traction and become movements. Movements then sometimes form denominations. We must be careful how we handle the Word of God. (2Co 4:2  But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God.)

Many of our Churches are full of new ideas, some seem rather harmless, others more profound. They don't seem new to us because they have been around all our lives. We don't recognize them because we are not familiar with sound doctrine. Take the Sunday School movement for instance, it began in Britain around 1780. It was very controversial at the time and has evolved into what we now experience as accepted Christian Worship. It began for very different reasons than what it serves today. It is an example of a new idea that developed into a new way of worship. Is it wrong to have a Sunday School? That depends on how close to Scripture you want to live. The church knew of no such form of worship from Apostolic times until 1780. The church survived just fine without it for over 1700 years. Stop for a moment and consider how long a 1000 years is (pause). Now add 700 years to that. That's how long the Church conducted worship without Sunday Schools.

Do we have the liberty to introduce new ways of worship other than what is prescribed in Scripture? If so, how far can we go before it does become an incorrect form of worship? You see how careful we must be, one new idea that causes no harm can open the door for others that do. But aren't new ideas a way to test and improve over the old ideas? Yes, else we would still be riding in horse and buggy. But when we apply that reasoning to Scripture we are reaching into another domain. Scripture is the revealed Word of God, we are to add nothing and to take nothing away. It is truly inerrant; dare we consider some new idea to improve upon God's instruction!

What are some examples of other new ideas of Worship?

1. Being slain in the spirit.

2. A prayer language in an unknowable mystical utterance.

3. Prayer tunnels

4. Fallible prophesying

5. Dancing in the spirit, dancing in worship (sometimes referred to as the bunny hop)

6. Modern practice of alter calls

7. Miracle crusades

8. Today's health, wealth, and prosperity teaching

9. Laughing revivals

10. The impartations of Apostolic gifts

And the list goes on. None of these practices and many others can be soundly supported from Scripture. They are all new ideas of worship being introduced within the last 150 years. They show up in none of the great Church confessions or the ancient Church councils and creeds. They are practices unknown to the Church for over 17 centuries. If you are in a Church that practices any of these forms of worship, I suggest you seriously consider why that might be.

May the Grace of God be upon each of you,


Friday, October 6, 2017

"Error" Part VI

"The means of finding out the true meaning of scripture are: constant prayer, knowledge of the language, examination of originals, consideration of the argument and purposes of the passage, distinction between literal and figurative passages; understanding of causes, circumstances, and consequences; logical analysis, comparison of obscure passages with clear ones, of like with like, and unlike with unlike; and finally, the analogy of faith" ~ Johannes Wollebius

Why is sound doctrine so important? Can't we just agree to disagree and love each other? We can when the truth of what God has revealed to us doesn't matter. We can when we put unity over the knowledge of truth. When we do this, it most always deteriorates and eventually separates into factions, then war.

Doctrine does divide, but if it's sound doctrine it separates and unites in truth. There is a dark side to Church History, we may touch on some of it in our journey as we study. These false doctrines that seem so insignificant now, over time have a tendency to reveal just how dangerous they are.

Little by little the Church began to veer of course, this ending in the Roman Catholic Church killing untold numbers of protestants during the reformation. How can a religion of love commit such atrocities in the name of Christ? (John 13:35  By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.)  Wrong teaching leads to wrong believing; wrong believing leads to wrong actions and incorrect worship. Some would say that was just the Roman Catholic Church, but during that time the persecuted became the persecutor. Protestants killed untold numbers of Ana-Baptist fellow Protestants over Baptism mixed with other issues. There is no way to escape the fact that there were among these events regenerate Christ loving Christians killing other regenerate Christ loving Christians. I hope this makes my point in the dangers of false teachings, when mixed with our fallen nature is a very dangerous thing even among regenerate Christ loving Christians.

For those who may be following along with us and are new to Christianity, during the time we have been covering, there were no denominations, no Baptist, no Presbyterian, no Methodist, etc. There was just the Church. All these divisions developed later during and after the reformation. That is not to say all in the Church were in agreement on everything, much debate occurred, but the Church remained as one body. Division into the East and West came later, then the fractures of the Protestant Church broke into many divisions.

I think it would be good for us to take a quick look at how these things began to occur. I think you will be able see a difference between what the Church began to do as compared to what it had been doing so far in our study.

In the Eighth Ecumenical Council of Constantinople IV 869-70 AD, the church made this doctrinal statement:

(Summary. The images of our Lord and of His Blessed Mother and those of the Apostles, prophets, martyrs, and saints shall be duly honored and venerated.
Text. The holy images of our Lord Jesus Christ shall be honored in like manner as the Gospel-book. For, as the words of the Gospel lead us to salvation, so also do the pictures through their colors produce the same effect, and all, learned and unlearned, can derive benefit therefrom. The message that comes to us through the written word, the same is brought home to us through the color of the Picture. Since the honor directed toward the picture reverts in intention to the prototype, it follows, in accordance with right reason and ancient tradition, that pictures must be honored in the same manner as the Gospel-book and the picture of the precious cross. If, therefore, anyone does not now honor the picture of Christ, he shall not see His form when He comes to glorify His saints. Likewise do we design pictures and images of His Blessed Mother and of the angels, as also the Sacred Scriptures picture them for us in words; also of the Apostles, prophets, martyrs, and all the saints .)

I kid you not, that was instituted as a Christian article of faith. Remember we are looking for sound doctrine. Where is the soundness found in this doctrinal statement? We don't find it in any of the other Creeds and councils we have studied. Worse yet, we find no New Testament example or instruction concerning such doctrine. It is error and unsound doctrine to suggest that the color of a picture of Christ, Mary, or any Apostle has the effect upon the soul as the Gospel. Yet, in our own time unsound  erroneous doctrines find their way into our Churches.

In the Twelfth Ecumenical Council, Lateran IV 1215 AD 

(SUMMARY Everyone who has attained the age of reason is bound to confess his sins at least once a year to his own parish pastor with his permission to another, and to receive the Eucharist at least at Easter.)
Where did that come from?

In 1545 AD to 1563 AD the Council of Trent the Church set itself against the attempts of many to bring reform to the errors which had been induced into its doctrine. In Chapter 5 the Church affirms doctrine in opposition to doctrine already established in the Council of Orange in 529 AD. It states as follows:

Chapter V

On the necessity, in adults, of preparation for Justification, and whence it proceeds.
(The Synod furthermore declares, that in adults, the beginning of the said Justification is to be derived from the prevenient grace of God, through Jesus Christ, that is to say, from His vocation, whereby, without any merits existing on their parts, they are called; that so they, who by sins were alienated from God, may be disposed through His quickening and assisting grace, to convert themselves to their own justification, by freely assenting to and co-operating with that said grace: in such sort that, while God touches the heart of man by the illumination of the Holy Ghost, neither is man himself utterly without doing anything while he receives that inspiration, forasmuch as he is also able to reject it; yet is he not able, by his own free will, without the grace of God, to move himself unto justice in His sight. Whence, when it is said in the sacred writings: Turn ye to me, and I will turn to you, we are admonished of our liberty; and when we answer; Convert us, O Lord, to thee, and we shall be converted, we confess that we are prevented by the grace of God.)

Whereas in 529 AD, the Church understood Justification was by faith alone, unaided by man's actions, for he was dead in his sins. God in His mercy, so acted upon man as to turn his will toward God and bring him to faith in Christ. You may remember our discussing the Sovereign Grace of God against the nature of man to control his own destiny.

Here in Trent, the Church affirms the sovereign will of man against the Sovereign Grace of God. This understanding pervades most Churches to this day. They affirm that Christ die for people he cannot save, because their will supersedes His work of Grace. They are not saved of His Grace alone, but only aided by it. His work of Grace must have our free co-operating work of faith added to it, for his Grace alone is not sufficient to bring us to faith. The Scripture says, (Eph 2:8  For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:). But Trent states through this assisting grace, man converts himself to his own justification. He does this by an act of his will, choosing to believe. This act of his faith, when added to Grace brings regeneration. But Orange in 529 AD affirms that this faith is a gift of God and not of ourselves.  Therefore, our Salvation is wholly and completely the work of God. The concept of Grace alone is foreign to most Churches today, it is the doctrine introduced at Trent that prevails. Yet, this article of faith affirmed at Trent is not sound Christian doctrine.

In the first post in this series I mentioned I would appeal to your reason. Let us in conclusion approach these doctrines with some logic. First, Sovereign Grace. If God is Sovereign in His act of Grace, then no one for whom He died will perish. All He has chosen will be saved, because He is Sovereign. (John 6:37  All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.)

Now prevenient grace. Christ died for all, but only those who cooperate with this grace will be saved. This leaves a multitude of people for whom the price has been paid, but because they do not cooperate with it, don't fully understand it, or at lest enough to be persuaded, or are just not ready at a particular time, must all perish. Worse than that, there will be multitudes that would have been saved, but something happened to them and they died before hearing the Gospel.  They would have believed, but God must still cast them in Hell, for this Grace must be aided with man's personal faith.

Even worse than that, there will be whole nations that will perish, because they do not have the Gospel preached to them. Thousands would believe, God knows they would believe, but he must still cast them to hell because they could not aid this prevenient grace. So not only does their Salvation depend upon themselves, but on us for not getting it to them. So God must also cast them to Hell because of our actions, for they would have believed had the Gospel been preached.

It still gets worse, for all eternity, there will be people in Hell who would have been in heaven glorifying God, but they did not hear for some reason or another. God must condemn them. God will exist for all eternity having not accomplished the full measure of his work. God Himself will for ever be under the mark of perfection in Salvation. He died for all, He could not save all.

People tell me the doctrine of Sovereign Grace is harsh and cold. I say the doctrine of prevenient grace is insufficient for both God and man. I say it presents the most horrid acts of judgment to be imagined. It leaves God insufficient in His means and His provisions. It leaves Him an insufficient God. God forbid. For me, the doctrine of Election is a most comforting doctrine. I fall upon an all sufficient Sovereign God. With all my sin and weaknesses, He is my stay and hope of Salvation. My heart longs to love and serve Him, and that is not of myself, it is a gift of God. Praise His Name!

May the Grace of God be with you all,




Thursday, October 5, 2017

"Error" Part V

2Ti 4:3  For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;
2Ti 4:4  And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

Tit 1:9  Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.

Tit 2:1  But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine:

In this post we will dig the foundation a little deeper. This will be a more detailed explanation of the Shield of the Trinity pictured here to the left. You saw it in one of the earlier post. In the Eleventh Council of Toledo in 675 AD which was attended by 17 bishops, a most wonderful description is given as how the Church understood the Trinitarian view of the Godhead.

It has a two fold benefit for us, as it not only gives us this wonderful insight, it re-affirms in 675 AD the Apostles Creed of 140 AD,  Nicene Creed of 325 AD, and the Athanasian Creed of 500 AD.

I hope by looking at this Church Council we can obtain a better understanding of the Scriptures that are listed above in these post. In 2 Timothy the Apostle Paul is speaking of sound doctrine, he is doing it again in Titus. The understanding of the Trinity is sound doctrine, you can follow it as the Church moves through history. It is not a new doctrine, but it is part of what Jude speaks of in Jude 1:3 saying, "Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints." There is a faith that was once delivered to the saints, this faith has crossed the expanse of time and reaches to us in its fullness and glory.

This is important for us to examine, for this is the faith, the Christian faith. I have been exposed to teaching during my life that would contradict this understanding of the Trinity. For a time I was believing an incorrect view of God because of error introduced into what was supposed to be the Christian faith. It went so far as to convince me also to be re-baptized in a non-Trinitarian way. These other doctrines are dangerous and should be avoided. I was taken captive by them because I had not been educated in sound doctrine and I was vulnerable to false teaching. There are Churches among us that call themselves Christian, but hold an entirely different view of God. These Churches are not Christian Churches as defined by sound doctrine. I know it is uncomfortable for us to exclude wonderful friends and family who may be a part of such a Church. But we are commanded by Scripture to hold to and proclaim sound doctrine. We cannot just sit quietly by letting damaging doctrines go unchallenged just because we might offend family or friends.

With that being said, let's look at this wonderful statement of faith from the Church in 675 AD. I will not post its entirety, just what is relevant to our topic here. I would recommend doing a search on the Eleventh Council of Toledo and read it in its entirety.

(The oneness in the Trinity)
(311 [528] This is the way of speaking about the Holy Trinity as it has been handed down: one must not call it or believe it to be threefold, but Trinity. Nor can it properly be said that in the one God there is the Trinity, but the one God is the Trinity. In the relative names of the persons the Father is related to the Son, the Son to the Father, and the Holy Spirit to both. While they are called three persons in view of their relations, we believe in one nature or substance. Although we profess three persons, we do not profess three substances, but one substance and three persons. For the Father is Father not with respect to Himself but to the Son, and the Son is Son not to Himself but in relation to the Father; and likewise the Holy Spirit is not referred to Himself but is related to the Father and the Son, inasmuch as He is called the Spirit of the Father and the Son. So when we say 'God', this does not express a relationship to another, as of the Father to the Son or of the Son to the Father or of the Holy Spirit to the Father and the Son, but 'God' refers to Himself only.

312 [529] For, if we are asked about the single persons, we must confess that each is God. Therefore, we say that the Father is God, the Son is God, the Holy Spirit is God ' each one distinctly; yet there are not three gods, but one God. Similarly, we say that the Father is almighty, the Son is almighty, the Holy Spirit is almighty, each one distinctly; yet there are not three almighty ones, but one Almighty, as we profess one light and one principle. Hence we confess and believe that each person distinctly is fully God, and the three persons together are one God. Theirs is an undivided and equal Godhead, majesty and power, which is neither diminished in the single persons nor increased in the three. For it is not less when each person is called God separately, nor is it greater when all three persons are called one God.

313 [530] This Holy Trinity, which is the one true God, is not without number; yet it is not comprised by number, because in the relationships of the persons there appears number, but in the substance of the Godhead nothing is comprised that could be counted. Therefore they imply number only in so far as they are mutually related, but they lack number in so far as they are by themselves (ad se). For this Holy Trinity has so much one name referring to its nature that it cannot be used in the plural with relation to the three persons. This then is, in our faith, the meaning of the saying in Holy Scripture: "Great is our Lord, abundant in power, and of His wisdom there is no number" (Ps. 147 (146) 5 Vulg.).

(The Trinity in the oneness)
314 [530] However, though we have said that these three persons are one God, we are not allowed to say that the same one is the Father who is the Son, or that He is the Son who is the Father, or that He who is the Holy Spirit is either the Father or the Son. For He is not the Father who is the Son, nor is the Son He who is the Father, nor is the Holy Spirit He who is the Father or the Son, even though the Father is that which the Son is, the Son that which the Father is, the Father and the Son that which the Holy Spirit is, that is one God by nature. For, when we say: He who is the Father is not the Son, we refer to the distinction of persons; but when we say: the Father is that which the Son is, the Son that which the Father is, and the Holy Spirit that which the Father is and the Son is, this clearly refers to the nature or substance, whereby God exists since in substance they are one; for we distinguish the persons, but we do not divide the Godhead.

[531] Hence, we recognise the Trinity in the distinction of persons and we profess the unity on account of the nature or substance. Thus, the three are one by nature, not as person.

(The undivided Trinity)
315 [531] Nevertheless these three persons are not to be considered separable since, according to our belief, none of them ever existed or acted before another, after another, without another. For they are inseparable both in what they are and in what they do, because, according to our faith, between the Father who generates and the Son who is generated or the Holy Spirit who proceeds, there has not been an interval of time in which the one who generates would precede the one who is generated, or there would be no begotten one to Him who begets, or the Holy Spirit in His proceeding would appear later than Father or Son. For this reason we profess and believe that this Trinity is inseparable and distinct (inconfusa). We say, therefore, of these three persons, as our forefathers defined it, that they should be acknowledged, not separated. For if we listen to what Holy Scripture says about Wisdom: "She is a reflection of eternal light" (Wis. 7.26), we see that, as the reflection belongs inseparably to the light, so too, according to our confession, the Son cannot be separated from the Father. Therefore, neither do we confuse these three persons whose nature is one and inseparable, nor do we preach that they are in any way separable.

316 [532] The Holy Trinity itself has indeed deigned clearly to reveal it to us: in these names by which He wanted the single persons to be known, it is impossible to understand one person without the other; one cannot conceive of the Father without the Son, nor can the Son be found without the Father. Indeed, the very relationship expressed in the personal names forbids us to separate the persons, for, though it does not name them together, it implies them. No one can hear any one of these names without necessarily understanding also the other. While then these Three are One and this One Three, each of the persons retains His own characteristics: The Father has eternity without birth; the Son has eternity with birth; the Holy Spirit has procession without birth with eternity.

May the Grace of God be upon each of you,



"Error" Part IV

2Ti 4:3  For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;
2Ti 4:4  And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

Tit 1:9  Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.

Tit 2:1  But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine:

So far in our previous posts we have looked at the understanding of the Church concerning the nature of God, the Holy Spirit, and the being of Christ, as well as how the church defined Christianity in its proper elements of faith. It has been made clear that God and Christ are not Superman with powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal man. Nor is  the Holy Spirit  some mystical force like X-ray vision and super hearing, but is altogether "Other" than ourselves, infinite in every scope of our imagination. The Council of Chalcedon says it well giving this definition in 451 A.D.

(Therefore, following the holy fathers, we all with one accord teach men to acknowledge one and the same Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, at once complete in Godhead and complete in manhood, truly God and truly man, consisting also of a reasonable soul and body; of one substance with the Father as regards his Godhead, and at the same time of one substance with us as regards his manhood; like us in all respects, apart from sin; as regards his Godhead, begotten of the Father before the ages, but yet as regards his manhood begotten, for us men and for our salvation, of Mary the Virgin, the God-bearer; one and the same Christ, Son, Lord, Only-begotten, recognized in two natures, without confusion, without change, without division, without separation; the distinction of natures being in no way annulled by the union, but rather the characteristics of each nature being preserved and coming together to form one person and subsistence, not as parted or separated into two persons, but one and the same Son and Only-begotten God the Word, Lord Jesus Christ; even as the prophets from earliest times spoke of him, and our Lord Jesus Christ himself taught us, and the creed of the fathers has handed down to us.)

Now we need to take a look and examine how the church understood the scriptures concerning the nature of man. This becomes a bit more controversial, for it is in our nature to think more highly of ourselves than we ought. Therefore, it is difficult for us to acknowledge the scriptures sometimes when they are revealing our state of corruption and the extent of it. We like to think there is some good in us, something pleasing to God; something that would cause him to seek us out. We like to think that there is some spark of righteousness in us, enough that will enable us to desire if we so choose to move toward God and seek him. Somehow we think God is waiting for us to seek him out, being moved by this ever dwindling goodness we possess.

 That is not the way the church conceived the nature of man.

Rom 3:10  As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: 
Rom 3:11  There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.
Rom 3:12  They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.

In 529 AD the church addressed this issue in The Canons of the Council of Orange. We cannot look at all 25 Canons, but I would recommend reading them carefully and prayerfully.

CANON 1. If anyone denies that it is the whole man, that is, both body and soul, that was "changed for the worse" through the offense of Adam's sin, but believes that the freedom of the soul remains unimpaired and that only the body is subject to corruption, he is deceived by the error of Pelagius and contradicts the scripture which says, "The soul that sins shall die" (Ezek. 18:20); and, "Do you not know that if you yield yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are the slaves of the one whom you obey?" (Rom. 6:16); and, "For whatever overcomes a man, to that he is enslaved" (2 Pet. 2:19).

CANON 2. If anyone asserts that Adam's sin affected him alone and not his descendants also, or at least if he declares that it is only the death of the body which is the punishment for sin, and not also that sin, which is the death of the soul, passed through one man to the whole human race, he does injustice to God and contradicts the Apostle, who says, "Therefore as sin came into the world through one man and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all men sinned" (Rom. 5:12).

As you can see from these first two canons, the church understood that the full nature of man has been corrupted leaving him in a compete fallen state. This lends itself to the doctrine known as Total Depravity, the entire man being affected.

CANON 3. If anyone says that the grace of God can be conferred as a result of human prayer, but that it is not grace itself which makes us pray to God, he contradicts the prophet Isaiah, or the Apostle who says the same thing, "I have been found by those who did not seek me; I have shown myself to those who did not ask for me" (Rom 10:20, quoting Isa. 65:1).

CANON 4. If anyone maintains that God awaits our will to be cleansed from sin, but does not confess that even our will to be cleansed comes to us through the infusion and working of the Holy Spirit, he resists the Holy Spirit himself who says through Solomon, "The will is prepared by the Lord" (Prov. 8:35, LXX), and the salutary word of the Apostle, "For God is at work in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure" (Phil. 2:13).

Canons three and four addresses the state of our will in seeking God. Based upon instruction given to us in Scripture, the Church understood that the human will was wholly corrupted and apart from an act of Grace would never of itself move toward or seek after God. The Church understood unregenerate man as dead in his sins with no response toward God. God Himself would have to give life that the will would be revived to seek after God.

CANON 5. If anyone says that not only the increase of faith but also its beginning and the very desire for faith, by which we believe in Him who justifies the ungodly and comes to the regeneration of holy baptism -- if anyone says that this belongs to us by nature and not by a gift of grace, that is, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit amending our will and turning it from unbelief to faith and from godlessness to godliness, it is proof that he is opposed to the teaching of the Apostles, for blessed Paul says, "And I am sure that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ" (Phil. 1:6). And again, "For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God" (Eph. 2:8). For those who state that the faith by which we believe in God is natural make all who are separated from the Church of Christ by definition in some measure believers.

CANON 6. If anyone says that God has mercy upon us when, apart from his grace, we believe, will, desire, strive, labor, pray, watch, study, seek, ask, or knock, but does not confess that it is by the infusion and inspiration of the Holy Spirit within us that we have the faith, the will, or the strength to do all these things as we ought; or if anyone makes the assistance of grace depend on the humility or obedience of man and does not agree that it is a gift of grace itself that we are obedient and humble, he contradicts the Apostle who says, "What have you that you did not receive?" (1 Cor. 4:7), and, "But by the grace of God I am what I am" (1 Cor. 15:10).

CANON 7. If anyone affirms that we can form any right opinion or make any right choice which relates to the salvation of eternal life, as is expedient for us, or that we can be saved, that is, assent to the preaching of the gospel through our natural powers without the illumination and inspiration of the Holy Spirit, who makes all men gladly assent to and believe in the truth, he is led astray by a heretical spirit, and does not understand the voice of God who says in the Gospel, "For apart from me you can do nothing" (John 15:5), and the word of the Apostle, "Not that we are competent of ourselves to claim anything as coming from us; our competence is from God" (2 Cor. 3:5).

Sometimes we sing a song where one stanza says, "I have decided to follow Jesus." Also at times when speaking about converts to Christ we speak of them as having decisions. It is true that people make decisions and decide to follow Jesus. But there is a danger of thinking somehow we were the initiators of that decision.

You can clearly see in the statements above from the Church council in 529 AD, it is understood that any decision we would come to in following Christ would solely be a work of God by the Holy Spirit bringing life to our deadness and turning our will toward Him. This is spoken of in Scripture as Election. It is God's Sovereign Work in saving His people.

CANON 8. If anyone maintains that some are able to come to the grace of baptism by mercy but others through free will, which has manifestly been corrupted in all those who have been born after the transgression of the first man, it is proof that he has no place in the true faith. For he denies that the free will of all men has been weakened through the sin of the first man, or at least holds that it has been affected in such a way that they have still the ability to seek the mystery of eternal salvation by themselves without the revelation of God. The Lord himself shows how contradictory this is by declaring that no one is able to come to him "unless the Father who sent me draws him" (John 6:44), as he also says to Peter, "Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jona! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven" (Matt. 16:17), and as the Apostle says, "No one can say 'Jesus is Lord' except by the Holy Spirit" (1 Cor. 12:3).

At times there is much debate concerning the free will of man, Canon number eight is a clear statement from the Church in 529 AD concerning its understanding of man's free will. The will is corrupted, it is free only in the sense that it chooses as it pleases. But being left in its corruption it will never choose to place faith in Christ. Luther would describe in his writing "Bondage of the Will" the will is bound by its own corruption from the fall. The only way for man to come to Salvation is for God to so act upon his will by His marvelous Grace.  He becomes alive to God and sees his Glory and Beauty. This brings him to an understanding of his need for salvation and so working in the man, that he becomes of a broken spirit. He then is free to righteousness and willingly able to come in faith to receive. This is sometimes referred to as Irresistible Grace. We all should consider, the Church believed if you did not hold these understandings, it was proof that you had no place in the true faith.

They could say that, because to weaken it in any way would place man as Sovereign over his Salvation and not God. It would hand to man a way to Salvation other than by Grace alone. It would make Grace a reward for the man's act of faith in believing, which as the Apostle Paul said, would make Grace no more Grace. Grace would then be reckoned of debt. Some would still attempt to call it Grace, but it would be Grace plus man's one righteous act of human faith. This is the same as the Judaizers who said you must also keep the law of Moses. It was Grace plus Moses; now its Grace plus our decision. There is much resistance to Sovereign Grace in Election.  It's man's nature to want control of his own destiny, but God is Sovereign over all. If you love Him, praise Him for His Mercy and Grace upon you. If you do not believe in Him, pray that He will grant you repentance. For whosoever believeth shall be saved.

We will take another step forward in the next post,

May the Grace of God be upon you,


Wednesday, October 4, 2017

"Error" Part III

2Ti 4:3  For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;
2Ti 4:4  And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

Tit 1:9  Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.

Tit 2:1  But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine:

It would be desirous to follow all the church's creeds, councils, and confessions throughout history with you. Doing so would give us a firm and solid understanding of what the Church considered Christianity throughout its history. We would see the Church re-affirming its understanding and defining its positions more precisely and accurately, see where the Church began to move from its previous doctrines to different views, and observe error being induced and the Church being led astray into damaging heresies. Nevertheless, the path remains clear as we test these doctrines with scripture and previous statements. All of that is too large of a project for these short blog posts. But we can still make some visits to a few doctrinal statements down through history and glean much understanding and bring stability to our walk.

Around 500 AD we have another statement of faith made by the Church called the Athanasian Creed. It re-affirmed and supported the Nicene Creed from around 325 AD. The Athanasian Creed further defined in a more precise matter the nature of Christ which had come under scrutiny because of the Arian controversy.

It states in part, (Whosoever will be saved, before all things it is necessary that he hold the catholic faith.  Which faith except everyone do keep whole and undefiled, without doubt he shall perish everlastingly.  And the catholic faith is this: That we worship one God in Trinity, and Trinity in Unity, neither confounding the persons, nor dividing the substance.)

Our salvation rest upon a correct view of God. A. W. Tozer once said, “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.” The Christian God is a triune being.  If your Church is not worshiping a triune God, it is not worshiping God. So you need to know how your Church defines God. For how it defines God, determines who Christ is and His relationship to the Father and the Holy Spirit.

The Creed continues, (For there is one Person of the Father, another of the Son, and another of the Holy Spirit.  But the godhead of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, is all one, the glory equal, the majesty co-eternal.

Such as the Father is, such is the Son, and such is the Holy Spirit.  The Father uncreated, the Son uncreated, and the Holy Spirit uncreated.  The Father incomprehensible, the Son incomprehensible, and the Holy Spirit incomprehensible.

The Father eternal, the Son eternal, and the Holy Spirit eternal.  And yet they are not three eternals, but one Eternal.)

 A Christian Church will understand that Christ is eternal, as the Nicene Creed of around 325 AD would state, of the same essence. It would be understood that God was on the cross being the same essence as the Father and the Holy Spirit. If your Church does not understand Christ as eternal and uncreated, of the same essence as the Father and Holy Spirit, then it is not a Christian Church. [1 John 5:7]

The Athanasian Creed would continue in part saying, (For as we are compelled by the Christian verity to acknowledge each Person by Himself to be both God and Lord, so we are also forbidden by the catholic religion to say that there are three gods or three lords.

The Father is made of none, neither created, nor begotten. The Son is of the Father alone, not made, nor created, but begotten.  The Holy Spirit is of the Father, neither made, nor created, nor begotten, but proceeding.) It will also give us the understanding stating, (And in the Trinity none is before or after another; none is greater or less than another, but all three Persons are co-eternal together and co-equal. So that in all things, as is aforesaid, the Unity in Trinity and the Trinity in Unity is to be worshiped. He therefore that will be saved must think thus of the Trinity.)

As you can see, doctrine does matter.  Salvation depends upon it. We do not have the privilege of thinking of God as we choose. He has defined who He is for us in scripture and these creeds and confessions help us in our understanding of orthodoxy or right thinking.

The Athanasian Creed would continue to define the incarnation in such a way as our salvation depends upon it stating: (Furthermore, it is necessary to everlasting salvation that he also believe rightly the Incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ.

For the right faith is, that we believe and confess, that our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is God and man; God, of the substance of the Father, begotten before the worlds; and man of the substance of his mother, born in the world; perfect God and perfect man, of a rational soul and human flesh subsisting. Equal to the Father, as touching His godhead; and inferior to the Father, as touching His manhood; who, although He is God and man, yet he is not two, but one Christ; one, not by conversion of the godhead into flesh but by taking of the manhood into God; one altogether; not by confusion of substance, but by unity of person.

For as the rational soul and flesh is one man, so God and man is one Christ; who suffered for our salvation, descended into hell, rose again the third day from the dead.  He ascended into heaven, He sits at the right hand of the Father, God Almighty, from whence He will come to judge the quick and the dead.  At His coming all men will rise again with their bodies and shall give account for their own works.  And they that have done good shall go into life everlasting; and they that have done evil into everlasting fire.

This is the catholic faith, which except a man believe faithfully, he cannot be saved.)

Where the catholic faith is here in reference, it is speaking of the one universal church in which the visible church is seen. It is not in reference to Roman Catholic as we know it today.   Now we have a slightly better understanding of some fundamental doctrines that are necessary ingredients for a church to be a Christian Church. Without these ingredients it ceases to be Christian and becomes something else altogether.

In our next post we will move a little further down the doctrinal road.

May the Grace of God be with each of you,


Tuesday, October 3, 2017

"Error" Part II

2Ti 4:3  For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;
2Ti 4:4  And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

Tit 1:9  Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.

Tit 2:1  But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine:

I have asked individuals and ministries before what their statement of faith was, I often received in response very similar answers. Sometimes it was something like, "We just believe the Bible" or "The Bible is our only creed and rule of faith." It really does sound good and spiritual, the problem is, it doesn't tell me very much. Likewise, I have heard preachers begin their sermon by saying, "I don't preach that doctrine stuff, I just preach Jesus." When I have heard that done, most always the congregation would give numerous "Amen" responses and sometimes an applause. The problem is, all that does is show our ignorance concerning spiritual things. On the surface they sound good and make us feel spiritual and above controversy.  In reality none of these statements have any roots below the surface.

What I need to know is what you believe about the Bible and what you believe about Jesus. That is called doctrine, and if you don't preach doctrine then you don't have anything to say about Jesus.

As you can see from the opening statements, the scripture speaks much of sound doctrine. One might ask what is sound doctrine? It might be stated as statements of faith that are solid, beliefs that have been affirmed and re-affirmed by good authoritative and original sources. This is what we are looking for in Christian doctrine. Sound doctrine is our guard against error and keeps us in the right paths. In our day and time, doctrine is a word that seems to be avoided. When it is spoken, it is usually a statement about how doctrine divides and how we should avoid it. For a congregation that has been avoiding it, it probably will divide.  However, if it is sound doctrine, its greatest strength is that it unites around the truth.

What would be an example of sound doctrine? One example is The Apostles' Creed. It is a statement of faith dated around 140 AD. It sets for us a basic foundation for our faith. It provides a confession from the early church revealing what the scriptures informed them concerning these elements of faith. It is a statement of faith that has been held throughout history within the Church, it is very sound doctrine.

I believe in God, the Father Almighty,
    the Maker of heaven and earth,
    and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord:
Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost,
    born of the virgin Mary,
    suffered under Pontius Pilate,
    was crucified, dead, and buried;
He descended into hell.
The third day He arose again from the dead;
He ascended into heaven,
    and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty;
    from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Ghost;
    the holy catholic church;
    the communion of saints;
    the forgiveness of sins;
    the resurrection of the body;
    and the life everlasting.

If your Church does not believe in God the Father, that Jesus Christ was his Son, that He was conceived in the womb of a virgin named Mary by the Holy Spirit, that this Jesus was crucified, buried,  rose again, then ascended into heaven and will be the judge of the living and dead in that day of judgment, if you don't believe in the third person of the trinity, the Holy Spirit and one holy catholic Church, and if you don't love communion of the saints and trust in the forgiveness of sins and a resurrection of the body to eternal life, then you are not a Christian and the Church you attend is not a Christian Church. That is how important sound doctrine is. Understanding sound doctrine can make the difference between salvation and judgment. It is imperative that we take a serious look at what we believe. It is of great necessity that we expend the energy to search out sound doctrine through our history, compare it to scripture, and judge by it what we believe. This is what happened in the reformation, this is what must happen in our lives. We must continue to be reformed to more accurate understanding of scripture. In our next post we will take another step forward.

May the Grace of God be upon each of you,


Monday, October 2, 2017


Christianity in America is as common as apple pie, thus herein is the analogy which I attempt to draw. When considering error you discover a conundrum in trying to assign it to others, when you become aware of your own weakness in understanding truth in its perfections. You enter a realm where you are just another voice crying along with the multitude, "Hey!, we have the truth over here!" It is then you notice the look of confusion on the face of those to whom you are calling.

Here I begin a feeble attempt to step outside that notorious realm of confusion and address the issue of error in the Christian faith. You will notice in the apple pie pictured above, it has some pecans in it. But you still recognize it as an apple pie, it just has some preference in taste added to it. Churches are like that to a great degree, according to taste and preferences they do have differences but they are recognizably Christian Churches.

It may be true that the original apple pie recipe did not have pecans, but this slight preference does not change the fact it is an apple pie. There are of course variations even in the core ingredients, more or less sugar, fruit, and crust thickness. This is simply an application of emphasis being placed more heavily upon one ingredient than the other. This occurs also in our Christian Churches, some churches place more emphasis upon some doctrinal ingredients than others and this in turn gives it a slightly different feel to the worship, but all the correct doctrinal ingredients are still there that make it a Christian Church. Now I'm not implying that these preferences and the applications of emphasis should exist, it is just a fact of life in our imperfections that they do. And as long as they are retained from their extremities they remain recognizable as Christian Churches.

Caution and prudence has to be applied in these subtle changes for there comes a point somewhere out there that it can become something else other than what it is.

An apple cobbler has some core ingredients that are similar to the apple pie, but it is not an apple pie. There is a point in Christian doctrine where it may still appear Christian, feel Christian, taste and smell Christian, but when you look at the doctrinal ingredients you discover it is not. It may have changed so slowly over time you never noticed when it ceased to be Christian and became something else. The exact point where this change occurs is sometimes difficult to pin point, so we must be diligent in our personal study of scripture and extremely cautious in our preferences. 

In this series of blog posts I want to look at these subtle differences among us and hopefully bring some clarity and caution to our lives. My appeal will be to your reason; my source will be drawn from scripture, history, and personal experience by the way Providence has brought me. My hope will be in God, that He will enable me to convey my thoughts accurately and purposely. May He also use this to bring us all into a more stable understanding of who He is and the truth He has communicated to us in His Word.

As we draw the sword, understand it is in offense to that error that brings damage to the Faith that was once delivered to the saints, (Jude 1:3). It is not an attack upon you, though it may very well be levied upon some doctrine you hold. If it is, it is my hope you will consider the spirit in which I speak and examine it carefully.

We all believe the things we do for many reasons. Many times our experiences bring us certain understandings. Our friends and family influence us as people we trust. Our culture cultivates for us acceptance for things we bring into our lives. The list goes on from education to an enumerable list of factors that place us where we are in our understanding of God, life, and the beliefs we hold. All of these things are subjective, therefore they need be judged and examined by surer measures. Experiences can help us, but they can lead us astray. Friend and family can be trusted as they love us, but they are as weak and frail as ourselves. Culture can aid us, it can also destroy us. Education is a must in our understanding, but for lack of wisdom it can leave us defenseless.

At times even the very container of truth itself from which we drink can become corrupted. Even it must be examined from time to time against its original design. I know this sounds extreme, but it is said to make us think, to look beyond what we think we know. Even if all the church seems to believe something to be so, it still must be examined. There was a time in church history where a belief called Arianism so pervaded the church, it appeared to be almost entirely Arian. If you were a Christian at that time, the church next door most likely held Arian beliefs. A man named Athanasius was one who challenged the Church on these doctrines, thus we have the term coined, "Athanasius against the world" because so many were taken by this erroneous doctrine. Even now there are elements of this grave error still being proclaimed as truth today.  

So let us pick up the sword, venture into the shadows.  Over the next few weeks, let us slay the elements of error at the root. May the light of God's Word be our guide and a sure footing on which to stand.

May the Grace of God be upon each of you,