I responded to a blog on my church’s website. It was about the Pope’s visit to the US, more specifically, the White House. We all know that it seemed that President Obama was provoking the Pope, and probably showing his contempt for the Pope at the same time, by the people he invited. It is obvious that the president was sending a message to the Pope but the Pope didn’t get upset or withdraw from the White House visit. He went and I am sure he was a gentleman. The blog posted explained how it was an opportunity for the Pope to show a Christ-like persona or humility in a situation constructed to upset him.
I commented on the blog post to ask why we are aligning with the Roman Catholic Pope. The Roman Catholic Church (RCC) persecuted the early Reformers, instituted the Inquisition and generally harassed those who opposed the authority of the Roman Catholic Church and the Pope. The RCC also held the Council of Trent from 1545 to 1563 to discuss their response to the Reformation. In the end they decided to denounce all the teachings of the Reformers: faith alone, scripture alone, grace alone, Christ alone and glory to God alone. The RCC did not want to lose the authority and power they have consolidated and assumed in regards to how much access the “common” people should have to the teachings of God.
The RCC wants to keep the RCC relevant in regards to salvation. They teach that salvation in Christ and into heaven can only be achieved by those who are members of the RCC and actively participate in the Roman Catholic sacraments. The Reformation takes that power away from the RCC and teaches that all Christians have access to the scriptures and have access to their Heavenly Father. We receive salvation through faith alone in Christ, not through works. We do not earn grace, it is freely given. Scripture is the infallible and available and is the final authority. Salvation is in Christ alone through faith alone, the church has no part in an individual’s salvation. The RCC teaches that salvation is not possible without the RCC, performing good works and obeying sacraments, basically whatever the RCC deems is necessary is what is needed and must be added to the gospel. The RCC teaches a gospel of salvation plus RCC dogma plus works.
The blogger answered my comment by basically saying that unity on meeting the social needs was more important than doctrine. That is a topic for another blog post because the gospel is much deeper than good works.
The Reformers were correct to seek to reform the teaching of the RCC. Scripture clearly teaches that salvation is in and through Christ alone, faith alone and grace alone. And the faith required to believe the gospel and the ability itself to believe, and the grace received as a result of the faith are gifts given to us from God. Salvation is at no point accomplished or completed by the believer.
John 19:30: When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, 42“It is finished,” and he bowed his head and 43gave up his spirit. This means that Jesus fulfilled the Law and the satisfied the necessary requirements of the Law, namely, a blood sacrifice of the Passover Lamb for the covering of our sins. It is finished.