Who were these Waldensians who, with their small numbers and poverty, defied powerful Rome for five centuries with their firm and clear message of living the Christian faith only according to God’s Word? Who were these faithful believers who would put today’s evangelicals, with their gospel of prosperity and happy-clappy worship, to horrible shame?
After the American forces defeated the Spanish colonialists in the Philippines in 1898, Presbyterian, Baptist and Methodist leaders met in New York to discuss how to evangelize the new colony. The leaders signed a comity agreement “to unite all the evangelical forces in the Philippine Islands for the purpose of securing comity and effectiveness in their missionary operations.”
The current discussion in this blog about the recent PCUSA General Assembly has led to some other threads of thought, including the Westminster Standards and early Presbyterianism in the Philippines, especially with regards to the founding of the Iglesia Evangelica Unida de Cristo (Unida Evangelical Church).
“What the liberal theologian has retained after abandoning to the enemy one Christian doctrine after another is not Christianity at all, but a religion which is so entirely different from Christianity as to be long in a distinct category…. It is at any rate perfectly clear that liberalism is not Christianity.”
Dr. R. Scott Clark, Professor of Historical Theology at Westminster Seminary California, has quite a challenging post about musical instruments in worship: “Could Instruments Be Idols?” He points out two major problems with the use of musical instruments in worship.
The first time I talked to a Christian friend about the doctrine of “limited” atonement, the reaction was immediate shock and indignation: “That’s so wrong!” “That can’t be true!” Out of the notable “five points of Calvinism,” two usually generate heated conversations: “unconditional election” and “limited atonement.” Both doctrines evoke images of a whimsical divine puppetmaster who amuses himself by toying with his created beings.
Evangelicals have no knowledge as to what the church’s worship and music was like only a few decades ago. They have no connectedness to the past, and will surely be disconnected from the future.
What is Reformed worship? It’s none other than worship recovered by the 16th century Reformers such as Luther, Calvin and Bucer, after they realized that the medieval church had strayed far from Biblical worship.
What did Calvin teach about public worship? If you see in your own church a lack of God-centered, Christ- centered, Word-and-Sacrament-centered worship, then ask yourself, â€œIs our church an heir of the 16th century Protestant Reformation, or is our church in need of another sweeping 21st century Reformation?”
Does the Roman church exhibit any of these three marks? Maybe some, maybe sometimes. For sure, the true gospel of justification by faith alone in Christ alone by grace alone is not preached. Does the Roman church properly administer the sacraments in believing the doctrine of transubstantiation and baptismal regeneration? No. Does the Roman church exercise discipline among its clergy and people? We know it certainly does not.