J. C. Ryle writes that if Jesus wasn’t circumcised on the eighth day, he would be “regarded by all Jews as nothing better than an uncircumcised Gentile and an apostate from the faith of the fathers.”
In contrast to Philip Yancey’s three qualities of an “alive” and “healthy” church – diversity, unity and mission – are the three marks of a true church – gospel, sacraments, church discipline – set forth by the Protestant Reformers.
Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, recently weighed in again, this time with a profound thought that “Beatles songs are as likely to explain Christianity as the Bible.” Essentially equating rock bands with the Holy Spirit, he says, “They [rock music] are able to open our imagination to a way of thinking about God that we’ve become deaf to in church language.”
Why ordination? This question might be on the minds of many evangelicals whenever they hear of someone (like myself) being ordained to be a minister or pastor of a church. In this age of anti-intellectualism and anti-authority coupled with a low view of Scripture, creeds, church, and ministers, ordination is looked upon as unusual, unnecessary, and maybe even Roman Catholic.
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.
Non-threatening. Relevance. Love. Coffee shop. Fun and games. These are the code words for today’s evangelical churches. But what about church words like these: Offense of the cross. Sin. God’s wrath. Liturgy. Sacrament. Suffering. None of that irrelevance – the Bible is out, Starbucks (or Purpose-Driven Life) is in.
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.