Why I am not a Roman Catholic #REACH500

This year, 2017, marks the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation that started in Germany in 1517.

There are a couple of things we take for granted in our church services:

  • It is in an understandable language
  • We have Bibles
  • The Bible is read and explained
  • We pray together, sing together and take part in some way
  • The gospel is explained

If we were attending a church 500 years ago in Europe, none of these would have happened.  Europe in Medieval times was a spiritually dark, superstitious place. The Roman Catholic Church (RCC) ruled supreme.  All roads led to Rome where the Pope ruled over all things religious.  The Pope was (and still is) believed to be the spiritual successor to the Apostle Peter and the Vicar of Christ i.e. Christ’s representative on earth.  Without Father Pope there could be no church, without Mother Church there could be no salvation.

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What I learnt at the Generate Conference

The big question the REACH SA Generate Conference sought to answer was,  “How should the church (and how we do church) respond to a changing culture?”

The answer was that we must “make sure we know why we exist and remain faithful to that; and feel free to change the rest.”  

We exist to reach non-Christians and grow Christians with the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. That truth is fundamental and unchangeable.  How we manage the programmes and processes that go towards that great goal are flexible and changeable.

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Why did Jesus die?

Jesus’ death was not a tragic accident.  Jesus’ death was not like the suicide bomber whose vest accidentally explodes.  It was not the case, as many think, “If only Jesus had lived longer, imagine how much more good he could have done.” It was not the case that Jesus found himself caught up in circumstances beyond his control that unfortunately lead to his premature death.

No.

The New Testament says that Jesus died at exactly the right time (Galatians 4:4) according to the definite plan of God (Acts 2:23).

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The Bible and Transgender

The cover of the March 2017 edition of TIME magazine reads, “Beyond he or she – How a new generation is redefining the meaning of gender.” 

The TIME article says,

“A growing number of young people are moving beyond the idea that we live in a world where sexuality and gender come in only two forms.” 

With Bruce Jenner famously having surgery to become Caitlyn Jenner, the notion and novelty of transgender or gender fluidity has gained much more traction.

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The Holy Spirit and stage-diving

 

God has promised to give his Holy Spirit to his people, but there is a lot of confusion about the work of the Holy Spirit. 

When I was a teenager the evidence of possessing the Holy Spirit was falling on the floor and speaking in tongues, the so-called heavenly language.  Then came the Toronto blessing, where you laughed uncontrollably as evidence of possessing the Holy Spirit. 

I was at a meeting recently where we were encouraged to release the Spirit in our “worship” time, and that meant stage-diving.

The Holy Spirit seems to love getting people to do weird and unusual things – so it seems.  

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The Holy Spirit is not The Force (The dangerous gospel of the Jehovah Witnesses)

 

The Jehovah’s Witnesses are on a massive marketing campaign in our area.  Unfortunately, the gospel that they are marketing is a false gospel that cannot save.  It is a gospel that undermines the Person of Jesus and the Person of the Holy Spirit.

The JW’s say that Jesus is not God, but a created being.  Thus, they deny the Lordship of Christ.

Not only that, they also deny the deity of the Holy Spirit.  They teach that the Holy Spirit is simply a force or influence. Therefore, they deny the Trinity that says there is one God made up of three Persons.  Christian people, however, hold to the doctrine of the Trinity, because it is taught in the Bible.

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You must sing at church

People, in general, like to sing.  Whether they are very religious or total atheists, most people like music and song. Ask any football supporter.  From singing, “Who ate all the pies” to the referee or “You’ll never walk alone” to their mates, fans like singing. 

 

Fans pays hundreds of Rands to hear their favourite musician sing, even wave their cell phones and sing along. 

In the morning, you might catch yourself singing in the shower.

Music is an inherent part of every society.  All countries have National Anthems that its citizens sing together to create national unity.

Most people like singing.  We may not be good at it, but we love it.  Since music (and song) is such an important part of life, it should not be surprising that the Bible says much about it.  In fact, the longest book in the Bible is a song book—the book of Psalms.

Often, in the Bible, when God has delivered his people, they sing about it.

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