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Moral Relativism : Practical? Liveable? Threatening?

February 7, 2011 3 comments

How important is this issue? After all, it’s just philosophy, and philosophy is just ideas. But ideas have consequences. Sometimes these consequences are as momentous as a holocaust, or a Hiroshima. Sometimes even more momentous. Philosophy is just thought, but sow a thought, reap an act; sow an act, reap a habit; sow a habit, reap a character; sow a character, reap a destiny. This is just as true for societies as it is for individuals.

Moral relativism usually includes three claims: That morality is first of all changeable; secondly, subjective; and third, individual. That it is relative first to changing times; you can’t turn back the clock. Secondly, to what we subjectively think or feel; there is nothing good or bad, but thinking makes it so. And thirdly, to individuals; different strokes for different folks. Moral absolutism claims that there are moral principles that are unchangeable, objective, and universal.

Here, two contributions to this topic are presented, that of Dr Peter Kreeft and the following video by Dr William Lane Craig.

Peter Maurin and Dorothy Day defined a good society as one that makes it easy for you to be good. Correlatively, a free society is one that makes it easy to be free. To be free, and to live freely, is to live spiritually, because only spirit is free—matter is not. To live spiritually is to live morally. The two essential properties of spirit that distinguish it from matter are intellect and will—the capacity for knowledge and moral choice. The ideals of truth and goodness. The most radical threat to living morally today is the loss of moral principles.

Moral practice has always been difficult for fallen humanity, but at least there was always the lighthouse of moral principles, no matter how stormy the sea of moral practice got. But today, with the majority of our mind-molders, in formal education, or informal education—that is, media—the light is gone. Morality is a fog of feelings. That is why to them, as Chesterton said, “Morality is always dreadfully complicated to a man who has lost all his principles.” Principles mean moral absolutes. Unchanging rocks beneath the changing waves of feelings and practices. Moral relativism is a philosophy that denies moral absolutes. That thought to me is the prime suspect—public enemy number one. The philosophy that has extinguished the light in the minds of our teachers, and then their students, and eventually, if not reversed, will extinguish our whole civilization. Therefore, I want not just to present a strong case against moral relativism, but to refute it, to unmask it, to strip it naked, to humiliate it, to shame it, to give it the wallop it deserves, as they say in Texas, America’s good neighbour to the south.

How important is the issue? The issue of moral relativism is merely the single most important issue of our age, for no society in all of human history has ever survived without rejecting the philosophy that I am about to refute. There has never been a society of relativists. Therefore, our society will do one of three things: either disprove one of the most universally established laws of all history; or repent of its relativism and survive; or persist in its relativism and perish.

How important is the issue? C.S. Lewis says, in The Poison of Subjectivism, that relativism “will certainly end our species and damn our souls.” Please remember that Oxonians are not given to exaggeration. Why does he say “damn our souls?” Because Lewis is a Christian, and he does not disagree with the fundamental teaching of his master, Christ, and all the prophets in the Jewish tradition, that salvation presupposes repentance, and repentance presupposes an objectively real moral law. Moral relativism eliminates that law, thus trivializes repentance, thus imperils salvation.

Why does he say, “end our species,” and not just modern Western civilization? Because the entire human species is becoming increasingly Westernized and relativized. It is ironic that America, the primary source of relativism in the world today, is also the world’s most religious nation. This is ironic because religion is to relativism what Dr. Van Helsing is to Count Dracula. Within America, the strongest opposition to relativism comes from the churches. Yet a still further irony, according to the most recent polls, Catholics are as relativistic, both in behavior and in belief, as non-Catholics. Sixty-two percent of Evangelicals say they disbelieve in any absolute or unchanging truths, and American Jews are significantly more relativistic and more secular than Gentiles. Only Orthodox Jews, the Eastern Orthodox, and Fundamentalists seem to be resisting the culture, but not by converting it, but by withdrawing from it. And that includes most Muslims, except for the tiny minority who terrorize it. When Pat Buchanan told us in 1992 that we were in a culture war, all the media laughed, sneered, and barked at him. Today, everyone knows he was right, and the culture war is most essentially about this issue.

See the links below for further detail on this argument against moral relativism.

1. Argument for Relativism:  Psychological
2. Argument for Relativism:  Cultural
3. Argument for Relativism:  Social Conditioning
4. Argument for Relativism:  Freedom
5. Argument for Relativism:  Tolerance
6. Argument for Relativism:  Situations

7. Argument for Absolutism:  Consequences
8. Argument for Absolutism:  Tradition
9. Argument for Absolutism:  Moral Experience
10. Argument for Absolutism:  Ad Hominem
11. Argument for Absolutism:  Moral Language

Postscript: Cause and Cure

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Yoga, Mohler & his Mailbox

October 8, 2010 Leave a comment



Mohler’s title above – he touched on this topic and was quite shocked by the response. Note that stronger criticism starts more in the second interview. Click below to listen, or download MP3 here. The audio is well worth listening to if you have ever wondered about how compatible Yoga is with Biblical faith.

Quote from Mohler’s site:
Well, you never know what a day holds. This morning, Yahoo put the Associated Press story about my article on yoga on its front page. The rest, as they say, is history. My mail servers are exhausted. Messages have been coming in at a rate of about a hundred an hour. The first lesson — count the cost when you talk about yoga. These people get bent out of shape fast.

Today, Dylan Lovan of the Associated Press titled his story, “Southern Baptist Leader on Yoga: Not Christianity.” Well here is the appropriate next headline: “Christian Concerns About Yoga: Not News.” You would think that Christians had never asked the question before. To Lovan’s credit, he framed his story on the controversy that followed my original article, published back on September 20, “The Subtle Body — Should Christians Practice Yoga?.”

Lovan documents the controversy and quotes me as saying: “I’m really surprised by the depth of the commitment to yoga found on the part of many who identify as Christians.” Well, double or triple that now.

Here are the lessons I have learned thus far from the controversy:

1. I have received hundreds of emails and comments against my article from those identifying as Christians. Not one–not a single one–has addressed the theological and biblical issues. There is not even a single protest communication offering a theological argument.

2. Evidently, the statistics reported by the yoga community are right. This is a female dominated field of activity. More than 90 percent of the protest communications come from women.

3. Sadly, almost every protest email makes my point better than I ever could myself. I have heard endless claims that there is no incompatibility between yoga and Christianity because it makes people feel better, it helps spirituality, it is a better way to know God, etc. There is no embarrassment on the part of these hundreds of email writers that they are replacing biblical Christianity with a religion of their own invention.

4. The kind of thinking represented by this avalanche of emails is perfectly illustrated by the comments of Stephanie Dillon, a local yoga instructor here in Louisville who attends the best-known church in our area:

Stephanie Dillon, who has injected Christian themes into her studio in Louisville, said yoga brought her closer to her Christian faith, which had faded after college and service in the Army.

“What I found is that it opened my spirit, it renewed my spirituality,” Dillon said. “That happened first and then I went back to church.” Dillon attends Southeast Christian Church in Louisville and says many evangelical Christians from the church attend her yoga classes.

She said she prayed on the question of whether to mix yoga and Christianity before opening her studio, PM Yoga, where she discusses her relationship with Jesus during classes.

“My objection (to Mohler’s view) personally is that I feel that yoga enhances a person’s spirituality,” Dillon said. “I don’t like to look at religion from a law standpoint but a relationship standpoint, a relationship with Jesus Christ specifically.”

Now, in fairness to Ms. Dillon, she might have said or have meant to say more than is reported here, but taking her comments at face value, we see Exhibit A of the problem. She comments that yoga “renewed my spirituality,” with no reference to anything remotely Christian and Gospel-centered about this renewal. She insists that yoga “enhances a person’s spirituality” without any recognition that this is not what biblical Christianity is all about. But, she prayed before deciding “to mix yoga and Christianity,” so everything must be just fine.

5. I have heard from a myriad of Christians who insist that their practice of yoga involves absolutely no meditation, no spiritual direction, no inward concentration, and no thought element. Well, if so, you are simply not practicing yoga. You may be twisting yourselves into pretzels or grasshoppers, but if there is no meditation or direction of consciousness, you are not practicing yoga, you are simply performing a physical exercise. Don’t call it yoga.

6. We are in worse shape than we thought. I have heard from a myriad of souls who have called me insane, incompetent, stupid, vile, fundamentalist, and perverted. Some others are best left unrepeated. These souls claim to be Christian, but offer no biblical argument nor do they even acknowledge the basic fact that yoga, as a spiritual practice, runs directly counter to the spiritual counsel of the Bible. Instead, I have been treated to arguments like these. From a “devoted Southern Baptist church member who resents your ignorance”: I get much more out of yoga and meditation than I ever get out of a sermon in church. From “a Christian who goes to church every service”: My favorite image I use in yoga is that of Jesus assuming a perfect yoga position in the garden of Gethsemane as he prays. And, to cap it all off: How do we know that the apostles and early Christian guys did not use yoga to commune with Jesus after he left?

My email box is filling back up as we speak. This is going to be a very long day.

Categories: Apostasy, Biblical, Culture, Deception, History Tags:

How saved are we?

September 28, 2010 Leave a comment

We Don’t Need A “Great Awakening” — We Need A Rude Awakening!

Has the Church fallen asleep in the enemy’s lap?

For years we have preached a defective message—and now we have a defective Church. This unsettling book challenges us to ask ourselves what kind of born-again experience we have had if it calls for almost no personal sacrifice, produces virtually no separation from the world, and breeds practically no hatred of sin.

Read this book and find out just how saved we are. It will create in you the desire to live a life truly dedicated to God. It is time for a rude awakening!

The “Anti-Dust Agreement” can be downloaded here.

Categories: Apostasy, Biblical, Culture Tags:

Almost Christian

September 25, 2010 Leave a comment


A large-scale departure from a biblical understanding of what living as a follower of Jesus looks like in the lives of modern adults has brought about an epidemic of young people whose basic concept of religion is centered around a sense of enhancing their own, and others’ emotional well-being, which has almost created a new religion, though its “followers” still outwardly identify with the name of an existing religion. Kenda Creasy Dean, a professor at Princeton’s theological seminary, published a book called  Almost Christian: What the Faith of our Teenagers Is Telling the American Church that explores the emerging ramifications of the lack of passion and faith in God in previous generations.  This book is based on the National Study of Youth and Religion by Christian Smith and Melinda Denton which gave this new religion the name of moralistic therapeutic deism:

As described by Smith and his team, Moralistic Therapeutic Deism consists of beliefs like these:

1. “A god exists who created and ordered the world and watches over human life on earth.”

2. “God wants people to be good, nice, and fair to each other, as taught in the Bible and by most world religions.”

3. “The central goal of life is to be happy and to feel good about oneself.”

4. “God does not need to be particularly involved in one’s life except when God is needed to resolve a problem.”

5. “Good people go to heaven when they die.”

These recent studies testify to the fruit that decades of a consumer-driven, therapy mentality have brought into our churches.  Dr. Michael Brown’s books, How Saved Are We and The End of the American Gospel Enterprise, point to a very similar attitude that was already entrenched in the American Church over twenty years ago:

The American Church at the end of the twentieth century is experiencing a crisis. For years we have preached a cheap gospel and peddled a soft Savior. We have taught salvation without self-denial and the crown without the cross. We have catered to the unsaved and compromised with the world. Now we are paying the price.  (How Saved Are We.)

Our contemporary gospel has bred complacency instead of compassion, success instead of sacrifice, prestige instead of prayer.  We no longer ask what we can do for Him, but rather what He can do for us.  (American Gospel Enterprise.)

Dean says there are four things that deeply religious teenagers, whose faith affects their day to day lives have in common:

Dean says committed Christian teens share four traits: They have a personal story about God they can share, a deep connection to a faith community, a sense of purpose and a sense of hope about their future.

Recapturing a passionate, articulate faith in teenagers and young people requires not simply a new “method” to reach them, but rather a revitalization of faith and devotion in the day-to-day living of adults.  According to Dean,

Since the religious and spiritual choices of American teenagers echo, with astonishing clarity, the religious and spiritual choices of the adults who love them, lackadaisical faith is not young people’s issues, but yours… So we must assume that solution lies…in modeling the kind of mature, passionate faith we say we want young people to have… We have successfully convinced teenagers that religious participation is important for moral formation and for making nice people… Yet these young people possess no real commitment to or excitement about religious faith.

What is the one thing that truly differentiates faith from religion?  Dean says this:

Faith is a matter of desire, a desire for God and and a desire to love others in Christ’s name…Love gives Christianity its purpose and meaning.  Religion functions as an organized expression of belief… Yet Christianity has always been more of a trust-walk than a belief system…Faith depends on who we follow, and that depends on who we love.

John Wesley, whom Dean quotes, experienced in his own life a time when he called himself “almost a Christian,” while living with the same kind of approach many do today:

I did…good to all men; constantly and carefully using all the public and all the private means of grace…and…doing all this in sincerity… Yet my own conscience beareth me witness in the Holy Ghost, that all this time I was but almost a Christian... The great question of all, then, still remains.  Is the love of God shed abroad in your heart?  Can you cry out, “My God, and my All”?… Is he your glory, your delight, your crown of rejoicing?

Another crucial question is this: how can we experience this passionate love of God if we have not seen the man Jesus tortured, bleeding, dying, and abandoned because of the depths of sin in our own hearts?  The only true knowledge of the incredible love of God that evokes such devotion can come through a changed heart which has been wrung by a deep conviction of sin and repentance, and has seen the cost God afflicted on Himself in order to rescue us from the power of sin and bring us into fellowship with Himself.

Dr. Michael Brown reviewed the first few chapters of Almost Christian on his Line of Fire Radio show, and here is a quote from his closing remarks:

We are fundamentally off: with much of our preaching, with much of our emphasis…we’ve been in the wrong direction for years. We have soft-peddled the gospel, we have by-passed the cross.  We haven’t preached a faith which is glorious and wonderful, and a savior who is so extraordinary, who delivers us from a wrath which is so terrible, that we JOYFULLY give up everything to have Him!

Changed hearts in the church as a whole is the only way to see the transformation that so many adults in the church have said they desire to see in their children, as Dr. Brown stated in The Jesus Manifesto:

The dawning of the 21st century finds the church of America in a moral and spiritual crisis. Decades of self-centered living and worldliness have taken their toll. Years of compromise and toothless gospel preaching have had their effect. And now we have reached the moment of truth: Either we wake up, stand up, speak up, and act up, or we run the risk of becoming a mere historic curiosity, an irrelevant religious sideshow, an entertaining, harmless spectacle. Something must change, and it must change now. There is no other choice.

Original review here.

Categories: Apostasy, Biblical, Culture, Deception Tags:

Vatican : “Priest pedophilia not linked to celibacy”

April 27, 2010 Leave a comment

(Reuters) – It is homosexuality, not celibacy, that is linked to pedophilia, the Vatican’s Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone said on Monday, seeking to defuse the sex scandal that has battered the Roman Catholic Church.

On a visit to Chile, Bertone, dubbed the Deputy Pope, also said Pope Benedict would soon take more surprising initiatives regarding the sex abuse scandal but did not elaborate.

“Many psychologists and psychiatrists have shown that there is no link between celibacy and pedophilia but many others have shown, I have recently been told, that there is a relationship between homosexuality and pedophilia,” he told a news conference in Santiago.

“This pathology is one that touches all categories of people, and priests to a lesser degree in percentage terms,” he said. “The behavior of the priests in this case, the negative behavior, is very serious, is scandalous.”

Bertone’s visit to Chile comes as the Catholic Church has been buffeted by scandals concerning sexual abuse of children — most of them boys — by priests. There also have been allegations of cover-ups and even that the Pope mishandled cases when he was a bishop in Germany and a Vatican official before his election in 2005.

Original article at Reuters.

Categories: Apostasy, News Tags: ,

Jehova’s Witnesses : A spotlight on the “Watchtower”

April 11, 2010 Leave a comment


“Until the release of the ‘New World Translation’, Jehovah’s Witnesses in English-speaking countries generally used the King James Version or American Standard Version of the Bible. In the literature they have produced, Jehovah’s Witnesses have quoted liberally from the King James Version and many other translations over the years.” – Wikipedia.

A key verse modified in the NWT, mentioned above, is John 1:1. Note the exegetical analysis of the Greek (words should be read in the order of the numbers shown to understand the Greek word order). The NWT contains an inserted “a” in “…the Word was a God”. Many translations also shown below to illustrate the error.

Introduction – Watchtower Theology…

Doctrinal Comparison Chart

Doctrine/Belief JW Support Christian Response
Only the Watchtower Society can interpret the Bible.  Individuals cannot. “…the Bible is an organizational book and belongs to the Christian congregation as an organization, not to individuals, regardless or how sincerely they may believe that they can interpret the Bible…the Bible cannot be properly understood without Jehovah’s visible organization in mind” (Watchtower, October 1, 1997, p. 587). Ephesians 1:17, 18 states that the Spirit will provide wisdom and illumination to the revelation of God in the Bible.  According to the belief espoused by JW’s, all people that lived until the JWs were Founded by Charles Russell must have been doomed to failure, not being able interpret the Bible.
The New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures (the JW Bible version) is the best translation of the Bible, and should be used over any other version. “Outstanding among Bibles is the New World Translation of the Christian Greek Scriptures…Accuracy, uniformity, clarity, and up-to-date language mark this excellent work.  Bible study aids without equal make this an indispensable help to sincere searching students of God’s Word” (What Has Religion Done For Mankind, 1951, p. 351. The JW Bible actually is plagued with errors.  Greek scholar Bruce Metzger said that “the Jehovah’s Witnesses have incorporated in their translation of the New Testament several quite erroneous renderings of the Greek.” (“Jehovah’s Witnesses and Jesus Christ,” Theology Today, April, 1953).
The Trinity does not exist, and is an evil doctrine that teaches the existence of 3 gods. “Never was there a more deceptive doctrine advanced than that of the trinity” (Reconciliation, 1928 ) “…sincere persons who want to know the true God and serve him find it a bit difficult to love and worship a complicated, freakish-looking, three-headed God” (Let God Be True, 1946)

“Satan is the originator of the trinity doctrine” (Ibid.)

Many religions have difficulty with an infinite God, and try to put Him in a box – to define Him in terms they can understand.  While the word “trinity” does not appear in the Bible as a description of God, the scriptures definitely indicate one God with a triune nature – existing in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Jesus Christ was Michael the Archangel before becoming a man. “…the Son of God was known as Michael before he came to earth” (Reasoning from the Scriptures, p. 218). There is no basis for this anywhere in the Bible.
After Jesus died, he was resurrected with His original identity as Michael the Archangel. “Read carefully the following Bible account: ‘War broke out in heaven: Michael [who is the resurrected Jesus Christ] and his angels battled with the dragon'” (You Can Live Forever in Paradise on Earth, 1982, p. 21). Michael, on his own, could not rebuke Satan (Jude 1:9), yet in Mark 9:25 Jesus Himself rebukes Satan.  Hebrews 2:5 says an angel can’t rule the world, but Luke 1:32-33 and Revelation 19:16 show Jesus Christ to be the one who will reign.  Therefore, Jesus and Michael can’t be one and the same.
Jesus is “a god”, and lesser than Jehovah God. In the JW version of the Bible, John 1:1 says, “In the beginning was the Word.  The Word was with God, and the Word was a god.” [emphasis added]  “…that is the Word was a powerful godlike one.  Clearly, Jesus is not Almighty God.”  (Ibid., p. 40). The JW Bible did not provide an accurate or legitimate translation of this verse.
Salvation must be earned through works “To get one’s name written in that book of life will depend on one’s works, whether they are in fulfillment of God’s will and approved by his Judge and King.” (Watchtower, August 15, 1972). “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.”  (Ephesians 2:8-9, NIV) (Emphasis added).
There are two classes of Christians: A “little flock” who are born-again children of God, and the “great crowd” or “other sheep”, who will live in “Paradise” on earth after the destruction of the unbelievers.  Only the “little flock” will go to heaven. “The Bible shows that only a limited number of persons, a ‘little flock,’ will go to heaven…The rest of faithful humankind will live on earth as the subjects of these rulers” (Watchtower, February 15, 1984) There is not a caste system in Christianity.  All are one in Christ (Galatians 3:28).  The “other sheep” Jesus referred to are Gentile believers who will one day join Jewish believers to form one body of Christians.
We will be gods when we join Christ in heaven. “…we are begotten of a divine nature…Jehovah is thus our father…we are divine beings – hence all such are Gods…Now we appear like men, and all die naturally as men, but in the resurrection we will rise in our true character as Gods” (Watchtower, December 1881, 1919 repr.). This obviously flies in the face of the JW claim that they are monotheistic.  Isaiah 43:10 and 1 Timothy 2:5 are but two of many verses that confirm there is only One God.  To claim we will become gods is blasphemy.
There is no eternal hell for the wicked.  All “unbelievers” will be annihilated, and simply cease to exist. “The fiendish concepts associated with a hell of torment slander God and originate with the chief slanderer of God (the Devil)” (Reasoning from the Scriptures, 1985). Oops!  The “fiendish” concept of hell actually comes from the Bible, not from a slanderer. (Matthew 25:46, Revelations 14:11, 19:20, and 20:10).
JW’s are forbidden from saluting the flag or engaging in political activities “..we view the flag salute as an act of worship” (School and Jehovah’s Witnesses, 1983) “…Jehovah’s Witnesses take no part whatsoever in political activities” (United in Worship of the Only True God, 1983). There is nothing in the Bible to keep us from being politically active or saluting our flag.  In fact, the Bible commands us to have respect and reverence for the government because it is an authority that God has allowed to be placed over us (Romans 13, 1 Peter 2:13-14)
Blood transfusions are strictly prohibited. Reasoning from the Scriptures, 1985, and Blood, Medicine and the Law of God, 1961, claim Acts 15:29 as a prohibition against receiving blood transfusions. Acts 15:28-29 addresses EATING blood – not having blood transfused into your body to replenish your life-sustaining fluids.
Christ returned invisibly in 1914 and began setting up His Kingdom.  World War I was a sign He’d arrived. “…Bible evidence shows that in the year 1914 C.E. God’s time arrived for Christ to return and begin ruling…Christ’s return invisible…Christ himself gave a visible ‘sign’ by which we may know that he is invisibly present…’NATION WILL RISE AGAINST NATION’…Surely you have seen this part of the ‘sign’ being fulfilled since 1914!  In that year World War I began” (You Can Live Forever In Paradise on Earth ) Revelations 1:7 makes it clear that when Jesus returns, we’ll know it!!  He won’t do so invisibly.   This is one of many false prophecies the JW organization has had regarding the end of the world/2nd coming of Christ.

Regarding Jehovah’s Witnesses

Issues and Answers

Problems in the Watchtower Organization

Jehovah’s Witness attacks on Jesus

Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Bible

Bible Verses Examined

Interesting Quotes from Watchtower Literature

Documentation from Jehovah’s Witness Literature

Evangelism Tracts

Other websites on the Jehovah’s Witnesses

Debate

Information included & adapted (where deemed necessary) from CARM & Contender Ministries.
Categories: Apostasy Tags:

Why did the ‘Protestant Reformation’ happen?

April 10, 2010 3 comments

How many people know or care about this today? Ignorance in this is likely to, and does today, lead to ecumenical error that just reintroduces many of the Roman Catholic doctrinal problems back into Protestantism.

Note the great city, on seven hills, with clear influence over the rulers of the earth (more clearly in past, but also still today), and the controlling role she (the city) plays:
“The woman which thou sawest is that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth. … Here is the mind which hath wisdom: The seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman sitteth” (Revelation 17:18,9).
…see ‘The Seven hills of Rome’, also, the Catholic Encyclopedia states: “It is within the city of Rome, called the city of seven hills, that the entire area of Vatican State proper is now confined” (The Catholic Encyclopedia, Thomas Nelson, 1976)

In accepting Roman Catholic doctrine today, you should consider why more people were willing to die (Rev 17:6 And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus) rather than subject to the will and heresies of the Roman Church (the ‘Inquisitions‘ Roman, Medieval, and Spanish – in Spain alone more than 3 million were killed) and this is why the ‘Protestant Reformation’ was necessary. Is the ‘new’ Roman Catholic Church different than it was back then? Not really – the ‘objectionable fundamentals’ remained as can be verified by the ‘anathemas‘ of the Second Vatican Council.

Several severe problems can be highlighted in the core Roman Catholic belief system e.g. the eucharist, purgatory and indulgences. Some lesser known examples:

  • “The infallibility of the Pope” which each Catholic has to believe in but is denied by some of the popes themselves for example Pope Adrian VI, 1523: ” It is beyond question that the pope can err even in matters touching the faith. He does this when he teaches heresy by his own judgement or decretal. In truth, many Roman Pontiffs (popes) were heretics.”
  • “Apostolic Succession”. This claims biblical succession from Peter in the Bible to the current pope, where, in reality no record of a pope in Rome can be found in the first few centuries. The Vatican offers a list of popes from Peter, but the list has been disproven a few times resulting in a few ‘official lists’ that now conflict with each other.

Protestant Reformation

See also: History of Protestantism

The Protestant Reformation was a movement in the 16th century to reform the Catholic Church in Western Europe.

Many western Christians were troubled by what they saw as “false doctrines” and malpractices within the Catholic Church, particularly involving the teaching and sale of indulgences . Another major contention was the tremendous corruption within Church’s hierarchy, all the way up to the Bishop of Rome, who appointed individuals to various positions within the Church (bishop, cardinal, etc.) on the basis of financial contributions.

In 1517, Martin Luther published his 95 Theses On the Power of Indulgences criticizing the Church, including its practice of selling indulgences. Church beliefs and practices under attack by Protestant reformers included purgatory, particular judgment, devotion to Mary , the intercession of the saints, most of the sacraments, and the authority of the Pope.

The Protestant zeal for translating the Bible and getting it into the hands of the laity was empowered by the invention of movable type which advanced the culture of Biblical literacy.

The most important traditions to emerge directly from the reformation were the Lutheran tradition, the Reformed/Calvinist/Presbyterian tradition, and the Anabaptist tradition. The Protestant Reformation is also referred to as the “Protestant Revolution”, “Protestant Revolt”, and “Lutheran Reformation.”

Sola scriptura

Sola scriptura (Latin ablative, “by scripture alone”) is the assertion that the Bible as God’s written word is self-authenticating, clear (perspicuous) to the rational reader, its own interpreter (“Scripture interprets Scripture”), and sufficient of itself to be the only source of Christian doctrine.

Sola scriptura was a foundational doctrinal principle of the Protestant Reformation held by the reformer Martin Luther and is a definitive principle of Protestants today (see Five solas)

Sola scriptura may be contrasted with Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox teaching, in which the Bible must be interpreted by church teaching, by considering the Bible in the context of Sacred Tradition.

Although Martin Luther did not break with all of the doctrinal problems present in the original Roman Catholic Church, most of which are still present today (see indulgences still offered by Pope and related news coverage), he triggered the reformation that purged itself from many problems through the ‘ Sola scriptura’ principle.

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