New Life in Christ Weekender
A short reminder of events happening this weekend
[Scroll down for a list of events this weekend.]
The Pope’s Visit
By Pastor Sean
Have you heard the news? The pope came to visit Washington DC this week. Who could miss it? It’s all over the news and some of you were directly affected by his visit in increased traffic and some of you even got extra telecommuting days.
In light of his visit to the United States and his unprecedented visit before a joint session of Congress, how should we think about the pope?
While there are many social causes that we find convictional agreement with the pope (pro-life causes is one that comes to mind), we have genuine Biblical problems with the papacy.
The primary cause of the Reformation of the 16th century centered on the pope as the Reformers recognized that the centralized authority of the entire papacy was unbiblical. They recognized that this unbiblical doctrine had been the soil for wickedness, control, and manipulation. In rejecting the papal system, the Reformers sought to restore the church to pattern what God had established in His Word. As a result, the church would refocus on its mission, grow in its dedication to live as disciples and reach the world with the gospel (Matthew 28:19-20).
Here are four truths that come to my mind in light of the pope coming to the US:
First, Jesus Christ is the Head of the Church. “And [God] put all things under [Christ’s] feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all“ (Ephesians 1:22-23). The Roman Catholic Church teaches that the pope is the head of the church when the Bible communicates that Jesus is the head of the church. The Bible shows Jesus is the leader of the church. He provides the direction and the marching orders for the church to follow. Unlike the pope, who has made errors, Jesus is the perfect head of the church.
Second, Jesus Christ alone offers forgiveness. “And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved”“ (Acts 4:12). The pope is called the “vicar” of Christ meaning that he stands in Jesus’ place to offer forgiveness. This has appeared in the headlines as the pope recently announced easier guidelines of divorced and remarried people to find absolution. Besides the doctrinal problem of holding marriage as a sacrament (which is a doctrine that has caused much grief to the church), the belief that the pope vicariously dispenses God’s grace is unbiblical. A number of popes used this false doctrine to take advantage of the fears of common people, most memorably through the sale of indulgences that led Martin Luther to post his 95 theses. The Roman Catholic Church teaching on forgiveness compromises the gospel, introducing works as a basis of salvation, rather than purely upon the free grace of God in Jesus Christ. “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9).
Third, the Word of God is our sole authority for doctrine and practice. “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work“ (2 Timothy 3:16-17). The Roman Catholic Church doctrine teaches that the words of the pope spoken “ex cathedra” have the same authority as the Bible. To Roman Catholics, the Bible and tradition have equal authority. Over time, the Roman Catholic Church has added a number of errors like Purgatory and Penance that has led many people astray from truth. Only the word of God has authority over life and practice. Men are prone to error. The Bible, breathed out by the mouth of God, is the standard for our life and beliefs. All of our beliefs and all of our practices should be tested through the Word of God.
Fourth, the church of Jesus Christ, as seen upon the earth, has both wheat and tares. We heard about this as Pastor Doug preached in Matthew 13 last week.
This week, Pope Francis is the first religious leader ever to speak to a joint session of congress. He does so as a “head of state” of the Vatican (another problem with the papacy), but the media is fully aware of his status as the leader of the Roman Catholic denomination. Much of the world considers that the pope accurately represents the Christian faith, the church, and Jesus Christ. The secular world associates his faith with ours, as if they are the same. Often it is hard to separate what is true and false with Roman Catholic doctrine. Truth and error grows up together.
Our problem with the pope is not personal, it is theological. He appears to be a good man, devout and sincere. As I mentioned earlier, he shares many of our concerns in our secular age. We can be thankful for many of these things.
Theologically, however, we acknowledge that only Jesus is the Head of the Church and that salvation is only found through him. The doctrines that ignited the Protestant Reformation are still a concern to us today.
Deacons Corner (October 2015)
By Craig Cuddy
We will be having our fall work day on October 17. This is a great time not only to make improvements on our wonderful facility, but to have fellowship with church members. We try to match talents with jobs needed to be done. The deacons supply the materials needed, we just need your participation. We find it to be really helpful if we know in advance how many people plan to help so that we can have the proper supplies. Some of the projects we are considering are remodeling the boys’ and girls’ bathrooms, cleaning the gutters, landscaping and painting. We will have sign-up sheets a week ahead of time.
Christopher Dale will once again be in charge of the Thanksgiving Ministry. This has always been a wonderful outreach to the community. Every year we deliver about 500 meals to those who would not normally have a Thanksgiving meal. We need people to donate food, cook, serve and deliver. If you would like to participate or would like more details, please talk to Christopher.
The deacons have been exploring new ways for giving, paying for things such as books, and registration for various programs the church may be having. In the future we will be able to accept credit and debit cards for payment. More details will follow.
We received three requests for assistance with moving in the last month. We don’t currently have a very efficient method of getting the word out for help, so we are exploring new ways of communicating with church members.
The leaks in the roof have been an ongoing issue. We have had some professional roofers look at it, and we are considering the various options they are suggesting.
God has truly blessed us with a wonderful church building and grounds. We are also blessed with many talented and willing people who put forth much effort to care for the property. See you on the church workday!
- Help with food for the Horn Memorial Service
- Register for Women’s Bible Study
- Needed Supplies for the Manse can be found here
- Sign up to Fold Bulletins
- Sign up to help with kitchen clean up here
What I’m Reading
- Book: Age of Opportunity: A Biblical Guide to Parenting Teens by Paul Tripp – Chapter 4 focuses on the role of the family as a learning community. “There is no more consistent, effective learning community than the family.”
- Book: Amazing Grace: William Wilberforce and the Heroic Campaign to End Slavery by Eric Metaxas. I read this book a while ago, and am mining it to better understand the impact of Wilberforce’s life and how he ended up there. “But so successful would Wilberforce and these other Christians be at bringing concern for the poor and a social conscience into the society at large that by the next century, during the Victorian era, this attitude would become culturally mainstream.” (65)
- Junior High Retreat – Meet at church at 4 pm. Youth should return around 7:30 Saturday evening.
- Christmas Cantata Rehearsals (9 am – Choir/Noon – Orchestra)
- 9:00 am – Sunday School for Children and Adults. Find out more about adult classes online here.
- 10:00 am – AM Worship Service – Pastor Doug will continue his sermon series on the book of Matthew.
- 6:00 pm – Evening Service – Pastor Doug Speaking; Zarina Capitano will share about her summer missions trip to India.
- 7:00 pm – Senior High Youth Discipleship (youth room) / Junior High Youth (room 217)
- 7 pm – Elder-led Prayer Time – Dan Deaconson Leading