Sola Scriptura, the Canon, and Rome

Do we need an infallible church to tell us what is in the Canon of Scripture? Is Scripture alone a sufficient final authority in matters of life and faith? Is sola scriptura even biblical, or do we need to give equal weight to authoritative church tradition? These questions are tackled in an unmissable discussion between Dr. James White and Dr. Michael Kruger, President and Professor of New Testament at Reformed Theological Seminary, North Carolina. Dr. White writes:

Our visit was prompted by a phone call made by a Lutheran to Catholic Answers Live back on 10/31/13. We played the entire call before the program started, and we played the heart of the call, where the Roman Catholic priest made the key assertions about canon and scriptural authority, during the interview with Dr. Kruger. We covered a wide variety of topics relevant to the canon issue. Truly one of the most useful programs we’ve ever done! Enjoy and learn!

Audio and video of the discussion are available on the Alpha and Omega Ministries website. Dr. Kruger’s introduction to the discussion on his Canon Fodder website is also well worth reading.

Two Religions (Genesis 4:1–16 Sermon Audio and Transcript)

This is the audio and approximate transcript (based on my speaking notes) from a sermon I preached yesterday evening from the Genesis 4:1–16 account of Cain and Abel. The highlight is towards the end, when we see how Abel points us to Christ and His work for us.

(My apologies for the occasionally variable audio quality – there were some drop-outs with the radio mic and I had to splice from my own iPad recording at a few points.)

Preface

When I last spoke earlier in the year, we looked at Genesis chapters 2 and 3. We saw the deception of Eve by the Serpent in the Garden, and the deliberate and wilful disobedience of Adam. Sin entered the world through Adam, and death through sin. We noted how in the first recorded Gospel, God promised a Seed. We saw that this seed was the Lord Jesus Christ, who would destroy all the works of the evil one, wash away the sins of his people with His blood, and clothe them with the royal robes of His perfect righteousness.

This evening, we shall see the corruption of sin and death being outworked in the lives of Cain and Abel, Adam’s sons. And we shall see again how the Old Testament scriptures testify of Jesus and His work.

Genesis 4:1–16

1 Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, and said, “I have acquired a man from the Lord.” 2 Then she bore again, this time his brother Abel. Now Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. 3 And in the process of time it came to pass that Cain brought an offering of the fruit of the ground to the Lord. 4 Abel also brought of the firstborn of his flock and of their fat. And the Lord respected Abel and his offering, 5 but He did not respect Cain and his offering. And Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell.

6 So the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? 7 If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it.”

8 Now Cain talked with Abel his brother; and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him.

9 Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?”

He said, “I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?”

10 And He said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood cries out to Me from the ground. 11 So now you are cursed from the earth, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. 12 When you till the ground, it shall no longer yield its strength to you. A fugitive and a vagabond you shall be on the earth.”

13 And Cain said to the Lord, “My punishment is greater than I can bear! 14 Surely You have driven me out this day from the face of the ground; I shall be hidden from Your face; I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond on the earth, and it will happen that anyone who finds me will kill me.”

15 And the Lord said to him, “Therefore, whoever kills Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold.” And the Lord set a mark on Cain, lest anyone finding him should kill him.

16 Then Cain went out from the presence of the Lord and dwelt in the land of Nod on the east of Eden.

Amen.

Introduction

Our text presents two distinct religions, two utterly different ways of approaching God and living before Him. One is a religion of works; the other of faith.

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He Gave Them New Clothes (Genesis 2:4–3:24 Sermon Audio)

I was recently asked to preach at relatively short notice, so what to do? I dusted off my He Gave Them New Clothes post and added an introduction to turn it into a sermon proper. This is the result:

The sermon itself starts at 13 minutes 20 seconds into the recording. It is preceded by two Bible readings – a few verses from Luke 24, and then the main text from Genesis 2:4–3:24.

Gay Christianity Refuted: James White’s Full Response to Matthew Vines

On 8 March 2012, 21 year old Matthew Vines gave an emotionally charged presentation entitled The Bible and Homosexuality. He attempted to argue the case that ‘loving’ homosexual relationships were compatible with biblical Christianity. Many found it persuasive.

Photo: Alpha & Omega Ministries

Over several recent episodes of his webcast, The Dividing Line, Dr. James White, director of Alpha & Omega Ministries and author of The Same Sex Controversy, has responded systematically to Vines’ entire presentation. Now available as a single five-hour long programme, White’s rebuttal is essential listening for anyone wishing to understand the true biblical position on homosexuality. Download it for free from the Alpha & Omega Ministries website.

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The Gospel for Those Broken by the Church

My friend Jason Coyle reminded me in a recent comment of what he called ‘Dr. Rod Rosenbladt’s…brilliant address, “The Gospel for Those Broken by the Church”’.

In this superb talk, Dr. Rosenbladt explains why so many people end up leaving our churches not just disillusioned, but angry. He goes on to present the undiluted Gospel as the antidote.

You can listen to (or watch) this address for free on Dr. Rosenbladt’s New Reformation Press website:

The challenge: give a talk on the birth of Christ as the fulfilment of prophecy. Oh, and keep it to 5 minutes

I was asked to talk on this topic for a carol service at the local sheltered housing complex just before Christmas. What a great subject! But, how to do it justice in ‘about 5 minutes’? Give me an hour, and no problem. But a mere 300 seconds? That’s hard!

And how in that short time do I weave in not just the good news of Christ crucified for sinners and raised from the dead, but also the reason for that gospel — our failure to keep God’s law? After all, there’s no sense in talking about the Saviour unless you first explain what we all need to be saved from — the just wrath of a holy and righteous God that we each have earned by our sin.

Combative, opinionated, and highly recommended – the Fighting for the Faith radio programme

I consider Fighting for the Faith to be essential listening. Chris Rosebrough, the show’s host, examines the trends and fads of today’s church, comparing what people say in God’s name with what is taught by Scripture.

Although entertainingly polemical, Chris doesn’t just poke holes. Rather, he equips his listeners to defend against error. He gives clear correction from the Bible and always directs us towards the true Gospel of Christ crucified for sinners. He faithfully handles the Word of God, properly understanding and explaining the critical distinction between Law and Gospel. He uses the law to crush us, and calls us to repentance, but never neglects to offer the forgiveness of sin through trusting in Christ’s death on the cross.

A highlight of most programmes is the sermon review — after listening to Fighting for the Faith for a few weeks, you’ll perhaps never listen to a sermon in the same way again.

As with Issues, Etc (mentioned in my previous post), Chris is coming from a Confessional Lutheran background. Don’t let that put you off, even if you (like me) are from a different tradition. There is gold here.

If you find yourself listening to Fighting for the Faith regularly, don’t forget to support the work by joining the Pirate Christian Radio crew or making a donation!

‘The Calvin I Never Knew’ seminars by Dr Frank A. James III (audio)

I’d like to share with you another gem on iTunes U from the Reformed Theological Seminary. Dr Frank A. James III gives a refreshing, and perhaps unexpected, perspective on John Calvin. If you have iTunes installed, you can find the seminars here. Give them a try — you’ll be captivated.