Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Hodge on Faith Never Being Alone (WCF 11)

This last Sunday, in the Adult Sunday School Class at Communion Presbyterian Church we covered Chapter 11 (Of Justification). We ran out of time before we could discuss the idea of faith never being alone in the believer (11.2, "Faith, thus receiving and resting on Christ and His righteousness, is the alone instrument of justification: yet is it not alone in the person justified, but is ever accompanied with all other saving graces, and is no dead faith, but works by love.")

Here is the section from A. A. Hodge's Commentary on the Confession that we didn't have time to discuss. Feel free to discuss it in the comments.

While it is faith alone, unassociated with any other grace, which is the sole instrument of justification, yet it is never alone in the justified person, but when genuine is always accompanied with all other Christian graces. To our doctrine of justification the famous passage in James 2:14 is often objected. But Paul and James are speaking of different things. Paul teaches that faith alone justifies. He is arguing against Pharisees and legalists. James teaches that a faith which is alone-that is, a dead faith-will not justify. He is arguing against nominal Christians, who would hold the truth in unrighteousness. Paul uses the word "justify" in the sense of God's justification of the sinner; to which faith, and not works, is prerequisite. James uses the word to "justify" in the sense of prove true, or real; in which sense faith is justified or proved genuine by works. Consequently, orthodox theologians have always acknowledged that while faith alone justifies, a faith which is alone, or unassociated with other graces and fruitless in good works, will not justify. "Works," says Luther, "are not taken into consideration when the question respects justification. But true faith will no more fail to produce them than the sun can cease to give light."

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Erskine Tenure News

Inside Higher Ed (by no means a neutral news source) is reporting that Dr. Jay Hering has been denied tenure by President David Norman. Now, a "greivance committee" is complaining about this decision by Dr. Norman. .

According to the Inside Higher Ed report, Dr. Norman says that Dr. Hering's denial of tenure has nothing to do with Hering's involvement in last year's lawsuit against the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church. The report states:

Norman denies that Hering's involvement in the legal action is at all tied to the tenure decision. According to the grievance committee report, Norman says he denied tenure to Hering because the tenure process was flawed, and the president would not go into more detail.
I, for one, will take Dr. Norman at his word. The report has other news in it as well, such as the fact that Dr. Michael Bush is no longer at Erskine (well, news to me, at least).

Feel free to read the entire article here, but, again, keep in mind that Inside Higher Ed is no friend of the ARP or of any church oversight of colleges or seminaries.

Also, continue to pray for Dr. Norman and his family, as well as the Board of Erskine. This was, no doubt, a difficult decision for Dr. Norman, and, as can be seen in the article, he is already taking a lot of flack for it. May God continue to strengthen him and continue the reformation of Erskine College and Seminary.

Iron Sharpens Iron: The Band

A good friend and talented musician who plays guitar (and does so much more!) at Communion Presbyterian, has a band named Iron Sharpens Iron. Although he doesn't need my help promoting his band (they are already getting some air time on Christian Radio stations, and have some impressive venues booked for gigs), I thought I would bring them to your attention anyway.

Their single "Beware the Wolves" is available to download for free here (but you can give a donation if you like, and why not? These guys are good men creating some good music!).

Keep up the good work, Chris, Eugene, Josh, Gabe, and Cameron!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Jesus Ate Fish (or, What I Should Have Said on the Radio!)

This past weekend, I was a guest on the Radio Show here in Los Angeles (along with host Lindsay Brooks, staff apologist Sam Welbaum, and fellow guest Douglas Hamp). We were discussing the issue of Creationism (you can hear the whole show here). As I reviewed the show yesterday, I realized that one point Lindsay Brooks made was never really addressed, or at least, not in the best way possible. When speaking of whether or not there was animal death before the Fall, Lindsay made the point: if death is sinful, then why did Jesus eat fish? In other words, we know that Jesus never sinned, but young earth folks say that death is a result of sin, and therefore if Jesus contributed to the death of an animal, such as a fish, by eating it, He was sinning, and young earth folks have a problem. (Lindsay, who I'm sure will read this is free to correct any misrepresentations of his argument, but I believe it was made in the second half-hour of the show).

What should have been said in reply to this was: Death is not sinful, but it is part of the Curse. Sin is defined as a lack of conformity to or transgression of God's Law; whereas, the results of the Curse are death, thorns, pain in childbirth, working by the sweat of your brow, etc. The Curse is not sin, it is the result of sin. Animal death, then, is not sin, and eating fish was not/is not sinful, but it is a part of the Curse. Just as Jesus sweated (Luke 22:44), and just as Jesus felt the pain of thorns (Matt. 27:29), so He also ate dead animals (Mark 14:18 and Luke 21:41-43, for example). None of these things were sin, but they were all things which humanity is subject to as a result of the Curse--a result of Adam's sin.

That's what I should have said on the show, but hindsight is 20/20. Thank you again to Lindsay Brooks for helping this Iron to be a bit sharper!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Creationism: An In-House Discussion

The audio from the Radio Show I did over the weekend on the topic of the days of creation is now available at Thank you to my friend and host, Lindsay Brooks, for giving me the opportunity to come on and discuss this issue with him. Also, thanks to the other guests, Doug Hamp and Sam Welbaum for a lively discussion.

If you get a chance to listen, please leave a comment and let me know. I am told that things really get interesting in the last half-hour segment (it's a two hour show).

Creationism: An In-House Discussion Audio Link

Friday, May 13, 2011

Radio Show Appearance TONIGHT!

Tonight at midnight (Pacific Time), I will be a guest on the Radio Show, which airs on 99.5 KKLA here in the Los Angeles area. If you happen to be awake at that hour, please tune in. You can also listen live online, via the KKLA website (click on the "Listen Live" button near the top of the page).

The topic tonight will be the days of Genesis. I will, of course, be presenting the 6/24 view.

You can call in during the show with questions and comments: 1-888-LATALKS (1-888-528-2557).

If you happen to be one of those sane folks who are asleep between 12am and 2am, the show will be posted on the site a few days after it airs.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Layman Online: Letter to the Editor

In light of the news coming out of the PCUSA today, I am reprinting a Letter to the Editor of The Layman Online written by my own pastor, Rev. Kent Moorlach. I think it very accurately sums up the issues with the PCUSA and explains why I will still call myself a Presbyterian, despite what the PCUSA says and does.

PCUSA will ultimately be supplanted by a more faithful Presbyterian denomination

Posted Thursday, March 24, 2011

Five years ago, we planted Communion Presbyterian Church (ARP). Just prior to this launch, our core team spent some time discussing whether or not we would actually banner “Presbyterian” in our church name. I still recall one dear saint pleading with our group, “Could we please not use the term Presbyterian? My Christian neighbors are concerned that I attend a Presbyterian church and I constantly tell them that we are not those Presbyterians.”

Who are those Presbyterians?

Those are they that:
  • parade as animals and offer prayers lead by tribal Indian shamans at their General Assemblies;
  • participate fully with the World Council of Churches in Geneva but fudge on Calvin’s doctrines of grace;
  • demand their seminarians use “gender inclusive language” when referring to God but exclude students preaching an historic and conservative theology;
  • condemn national Israel for their politics but condone unbelievers partaking of the Lord’s Supper;
  • require "congregational quotas” for session members but reject the qualifications for elder delineated in Scripture;
  • include the historic confessions of other Reformed bodies in their Book of Confessions yet have the audacity to re-write another communion’s document in order to accommodate denominational agendas;
  • have fraternal relations with the UCC but are unrecognized by NAPARC;
  • claim they are “open to the Spirit” but confuse what the Spirit has finally said in the canon.

There is surely more.

I recognize that no church is perfect. My own denomination has come through over 200 years of debate and continues to seek purity of devotion to the Scriptures – this process is as old as Acts 15 (And yes, even before then).

So why did our church plant include an antiquated Greek word describing a form of government in our church name? Because we knew this day was coming: the day when the “mainline” PCUSA would no longer be the largest Presbyterian denomination. Our church embraces the heritage and convictions of the Westminster Confession of Faith (and Catechisms), and because these documents truly reflect the convictions of the Scriptures and a faithful Presbyterian church, we were convinced that the PCUSA would finally fracture, lose enough churches, and ultimately be supplanted by another, more faithful, Presbyterian denomination – one with whom our church would be pleased to represent our own communion. (Right now, that’s looking like the PCA, and when they are ready to join the ARP, we’ll be ready!)

The PCUSA certainly has the freedom to pursue the course on which it treads. The warnings regarding this day have been clearly posted by Machen and others. Regardless, with a sense of sadness, we mourn the trials of the PCUSA; especially for the many committed believers who wrestle with future affiliations. But a new day is here, and in all humility, we’d like to have the name back!

Rev. Kent Moorlach
Communion Presbyterian Church (ARP), Irvine, Ca.

PCA BCO 14 Amendments Map Update

Two more Presbyteries (Ascension and Northern Illinois) of the PCA voted to rejected the now failed amendments to that denominations Book of Church Order. I've updated the map to reflect these latest votes. Only two presbyteries have not voted on this issue, both of which are Korean Language Presbyteries. If I receive any information concerning their votes, I will, of course update the map again.