A Root-for-the-Home-Team Point

Dr. Hart invokes John 4 to describe his attendance of Mass while in Rome.  You needn’t worry about him swimming the Tiber any time soon, though.

I couldn’t help but think that U.S. Roman Catholics who worship in Rome must feel a tad underwhelmed when they return to their home parish. Rome simply has more stuff than Lansing, Michigan. In fact, place seems to matter for Roman Catholicism in ways that rival Judaism and Islam — certain locales are holy and function as the spiritual capital for the faith. 

In comparison, I can return to the States (in a week or so) after worshiping with Presbyterians in Dublin and Edinburgh and not think twice about missing the liturgical bling — and I can say that even while admitting Presbyterianism’s debt to the Scots, and to the charms of what might qualify as Presbyterianism’s capital city — Edinburgh. For Presbyterians, worship doesn’t depend on the tie between the minister and another church official, nor does it include relics or objects that point to holy persons who inhabited that space. The services in Dublin and Edinburgh were not any more special or meaningful because they were closer to Presbyterianism’s original space. 

That would seem to confirm Jesus’ point to the Samaritan woman at the well that Christian worship depends not on place or space but on word and Spirit. Sure, that’s a root-for-the-home-team point. But it does account for the lack of liturgical envy among New World Presbyterians. On the other side of the Atlantic, the Spirit and the word are just as much a part of worship as in the Presbyterian heartland.

Preach the Word!

As an alumnus of THE San Diego State University, I keep tabs as best I can on their athletic programs from North Carolina.  It caught my attention that Adam Muema would be in the NFL combine.  I did not get to see him play much (if at all) before moving from San Diego, but his dominance in the bowl game this year gave me hope of another Aztec in the pros.

Instead, the nation was treated to headlines about how God told told Muema he would play for the Seattle Seahawks if he left the combine early.  He then disappeared for three days until reappearing today having spent the time in the Ft. Lauderdale airport.  Muema was still in the uniform he wore in the combine.

Muema has been open about his Christian faith, but it is hard to call this a good demonstration of the Gospel working in someone’s life.  Comments on some news articles have suggested a mental illness may be involved, and I would not rule it out.  However, Muema had to have heard preaching in support of direct, special revelation from God from somewhere first.

I hope he can receive some solid, biblical counseling from an older believer, and that Adam Muema will find himself in a Sola Scriptura affirming church.

God has revealed Himself in His Word, and Jesus states that whoever has seen Jesus has seen the Father (John 14:8-9).  In the opening to Hebrews, the author makes it explicitly clear that Jesus is the climax of revelation from God to which all Scripture attests.

It is imperative for preachers in pulpits to preach the supremacy of Jesus Christ in the life life of Christians, and the sufficiency of the revelation revealed in Scripture for all of faith and life.  All special revelation given in Scripture is binding on ALL Christians, coming from the very mouth of God.  With the death of the apostles, such revelation has now ceased and is fully contained within Scripture.  The Holy Spirit works in the faithful to enlighten believers to the truth contained within.

May our pulpits overflow with the fresh, pure water through the clear proclamation of Scripture by ministers to the church. As Paul declared, faith comes by hearing and hearing through the Word of Christ.

Your Testimony Is Not the Gospel

God makes no promise that He will use my story as His power unto salvation. The gospel is not about me. The gospel is about Jesus. It is the proclamation of the person and work of Christ, and of how a person can appropriate the benefits of the work of Christ by faith alone.  

 We see this from our passage in John’s Gospel. The healed man could say, “I once was blind, but now I see,” and that was a wonderful testimony. But it was not the gospel. The man could not tell the Pharisees about Jesus’ saving work and about how they could be delivered from their sins by faith in Him. So we need to learn not only our testimonies but the concrete elements and content of the biblical gospel. Evangelism takes place when the evangel is proclaimed and announced to people—that is the gospel.

 – “Your Testimony Is Not the Gospel” by RC Sproul