Come, Read the Bible with Me!

Monday, April 18, 2005

To Be Berean

Acts 17:11
"Now the Bereans were of more noble character
than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and
examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true."
(the Old NIV)

Hebrews 13:9
"Do not
be carried away by all kinds of strange teachings. ..."

I was actually looking for the verse that says that such are the ones who enter the house and carry away simple minded women (very loosely paraphrased so that it probably lost any semblemce of meaning).

This is the best I could come up with:

Ephesians 5:6&7
"Let no one deceive you with empty
words for because of such things God's wrath comes on those who are disobedient.
Therefore do not be parners with them."

The publicity of Terri Shiavo's problem has had many immediate and far reaching effects on myself and my family. I have not seen the end of it yet. There have been some unexpected issues spidering out from this event.

With the world's focus on Terri Schiavo and the Pope, there has been much talk lately of Roman Catholicism. There actually seems to be a certain amount of papal envy among certain evangelicals.

"Give us a king," the Isrealites said,
"that we might be like the other nations."

"Oh that we had a Leader,
that we could all sing the same songs, and say the same prayers!"

It has caused me check my pace. I have a fear of being blown about and tossed by the winds of doctrine. God has hedged me about by anchoring my mind and heart on the solid Rock...and yet. Yet I need to always turn to Scripture and pray that God will continue to keep me true to His word and to hide me in the cleft of His rock. "Good and upright is the Lord; therefore He instructs sinners in His Ways. He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them His Way." (Psalm 25:8&9) (God keep me ever close to You! Ephesions 3:14-19 is my prayer.)

At times, the same source will give contradictory messages , it seems to me, on this subject. I am kind of a black and white type of person. (like Feeble Mind in Pilgrim's Progess) If Roman Catholicism is in error because it teaches trust in works and Mary, then it is wrong. If it is wrong about salvation, it doesn't matter that it is right about abortion and righteous zeal in defending the unborn or unwanted.

I have been spending a considerable amount of time reading a certain blog. I was reading it before Terri's predicament became an intense issue in the national spotlight. In this blog, Catholicism became an issue in focus at the end and for some time after Terri died. I began to feel myself very conflicted.

There are some who call on the name of the Lord, who do not belong to the Lord. I know that. Jesus said that at the judgement some will say to Him, "lord, Lord," but He will say to them, "I never knew you." We are told to test the spirits and not to be deceived. This is kind of tricky in the Protestant world. There are some who are very sly in distorting the Scriptures.

I was especially torn by the following exchange between a woman named "Tess" and a reformed pastor (my Pastor):

In Response to: The sounds outside Woodside Hospice...(BaylyBlog:

I'm a Catholic, and I love Mary. Why? Because Jesus did and I'm
going to follow His perfect example.

It deeply saddens me that you see
the Rosary as heresy, especially because you must be aware of its scriptural and
contemplative nature.

I hope one day your heart softens to the mother of
Our Lord and you will know the truth by its fruits.

May God bless you
and keep you.
Posted by Tess at April 3, 2005 03:38 AM

To which Tim Responded:

Dear Tess,

I love Mary too, and have no hesitation
saying so. What a blessed woman so perfectly demonstrating the nature of
biblical womanhood. And how she suffered as she watched her Son live and die!
All Christians through all ages will call her blessed, which I do.

do I believe the rosary is heretical, in and of itself. Heresy is a doctrine
that strikes at the heart of true faith so I'd reserve that charge for the
deepest error I see in Roman Catholicism--her denial of the Biblical doctrine of
salvation. And here I would quite predictably point to the very area of doctrine
where your own Council of Trent anathematized our Protestant fathers--the
doctrine of justification by faith alone, but not faith by itself. Based upon
the teaching of Scripture, I am convinced that the Roman Catholic church
systematically leads the souls under her care to believe and act as if the work
of Christ is insufficient for salvation, and must be completed by our own works

Thank you for the kind and gracious spirit in which you have
sought to rebuke me. May the Holy Spirit do the work in our hearts that will
bring true unity to the Household of Faith, the Church of the Living God which
is the pillar and foundation of truth.

Under His Blood,

Posted by Tim Bayly at April 3, 2005 08:14 AM

And Tess responded:

As a Catholic I know that the only way that I can be saved is
through the suffering and sacrifice of Our Lord. It was His work alone, that
broke open the gates of Heaven, and it is in Him that I put my hope of

I am not worthy to enter Heaven, nothing I can do can ever
earn the infinate salvation of my Beloved. I am merely a breath of dust or a
blade of grass next to His Living Waters.

But I also know that if I
behave as though I don't know my Jesus, that he won't force me to love and obey
Him. And what is the act of love of God, but docile obedience to the will of
Jesus, the Father and the Holy Spirit?

What child could ever earn the
love of her Father? None. Because it is given freely and fully.

Glory to
God in the Highest.

Love Tess
Posted by Tess at April 4,
2005 09:07 AM

(At this point, it appears that there is a discrepancy between what Tess believes, where her faith lies, and what she has been taught. Read on...)

Pastor Tim replies:

Dear Tess, Although I don't understand your comment about God
forcing love (and therefore can't say that I agree with it), I do want to say
publicly that your confession of faith above is very beautiful and a model for
all those who trust only in the Blood of Jesus Christ. You have strengthened my
own faith this day and I thank you for that.
Posted by Tim Bayly
at April 4, 2005 03:51 PM

Tess (revealing much):

God bless you and all your work for Terri. I truly believe that
you are an instrument of Christ.

All I meant about the "force" idea is
that God won't ever take away our free will, if we turn our hearts away from
Him, then He will accept our choice, even though it grieves Him.

It's our choice to either accept Jesus and love Him, or to turn and sin. His arms are
always open wide, it is ours that can close and push Him away.

Good works aren't the ticket to Heaven, we could _never_ earn that holy blessing.
They are just the manifestation of our love and obedience to Jesus Christ, the
Father and the Holy Spirit.

Love Tess
Posted by Tess at
April 5, 2005 07:40 PM

Then, later, provoked by some people's refusal to accept the veneration of Mary, she revealed where her true faith lies by responding thus:

In Response to: As Close as we can get (BaylyBlog)

Oh, my poor lost brothers and sisters in Christ. The Mother of
Christ is at the center of Redemption because she freely accepted God's will to
bear Our Lord. She's no goddess, she's just a woman who was totally passive to
God's will and God's love, as we should all be.

She is the new Eve, but
Christ is the new Adam, and as Adam was the head of his family, so Christ is the
head of the Church. Mary could not surplant Him or "outrank" Him. He is God,
Lord, our Creator, Redeemer, Father, King and our Saviour.

What graces was Mary given as she nursed our little Jesus at her breast, kissed His head,
caressed His little face... She was His _mama_ with all that it entails. Imagine
watching over the Christ Child as He slept, perhaps His little arms wrapped
around some toy He made with His earthly papa that day. Maybe His knees were
grazed by a fall, kissed better by Mary with her tears washing His hurt.

If only we could love Him as Mary could, what a gift to be Christ's
mama! What blessings would flow from that ministration to the Body of Our Lord.

Please, I beg you, open your hearts and feel God's infinite love of the
gift of Himself as a human baby, boy and then man. Don't turn away from the
woman that God chose throughout time and space to love and care for His Body and

Don't say that you don't 'need' Mary, when she was sweet enough
for Our Lord. Please, for the sake of your souls, love Mary as Christ did. Be
humble enough to follow His example.

Please, I _beg_ you, be obedient to
Jesus Christ.

Love Tess
Posted by: Tess at April 7, 2005
09:31 PM

Now I realize that by God's grace, He does save some in the Catholic church. However it would seem that if one were convicted of truth, one would leave a false church, though.

It would not be hard to find, because we know the date of the Pope's death, but I have spent too much time on this already:

It was stated by someone who watched the funeral of Pope John Paul II that his soul was committed repeatedly into the hands of Mary.

Where did his hope lie?

If the issue is, "On what or whom am I trusting for salvation?" then how can Catholicism be called anything but heresy? How can we "stand with our Catholic Brothers in the cause of life" if they are not our Brothers? Would this be "unequally yoked?"

Exactly what do we call freedom, and when do we call it heresy?