Posts Tagged ‘idolatry’

I think it’s important to know how King James Only defenders “defend” their doctrine of KJV only. The purified seven times defense is a myth pushed forth by many KJV only defenders.  The end result of this “7 X” myth is a faulty mixture of Psalm 12, the history of the English Bible, and circular reasoning to create facts that simply do not exist! The following article is a good example of mixing reality with fiction in order to defend what cannot be defended. -David J

“The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.” (Psalm 12:6)

As any student of English Bible history knows, the Authorized Version of 1611 was not the first Bible to be translated into English. But even though hundreds of complete Bibles, New Testaments, and Scripture portions have been translated into English since 1611, it is obvious that the Authorized Version is the last English Bible; that is, the last English Bible that God “authorized.”

Because the Authorized Version is the “last” English Bible, and because its defenders believe it to contain the very words of God, various schemes have been contrived to make the English Bibles up to and including the Authorized Version fit the description in Psalm 12:6 of the words of the Lord being “purified seven times.” The problem is that the Authorized Version is not the seventh English Bible — it is the tenth one.

Although there were some attempts during the Old and Middle English period to translate portions of the Bible into English, the first complete Bible or New Testament in English did not appear until the fourteenth century.

John Wycliffe (c.1320-1384) is credited with being the first to translate the entire Bible into English. It is to be remembered that no Greek or Hebrew texts, versions, or editions were yet fabricated. Wycliffe did his translating primarily from the only Bible then in use: the Latin Vulgate. He is often called the “Morning Star of the Reformation” for his opposition to ecclesiastical abuses and the Papacy. Wycliffe’s New Testament translation was completed in 1380, and the entire Bible in 1382.

William Tyndale (c. 1494-1536) has the distinction of being the first to translate the New Testament from Greek into English. He early distinguished himself as a scholar both at Cambridge and Oxford, and was fluent in several languages. Tyndale soon advanced both his desire and his demise, as seen in his reply to a critic: “I defy the pope and all his laws; if God spare my life, ere many years I will cause the boy that driveth the plough in England to know more of the Scriptures than thou doest.” The Bible was still forbidden in the vernacular, so after settling in London for several months while attempting to gain approval for his translation efforts, Tyndale concluded: “Not only that there was no room in my lord of Londons palace to translate the New Testament, but also that there was no place to do it in all England, as experience doth now openly declare.”

Accordingly, Tyndale left England in 1524 and completed his translation of the New Testament in Germany. The moving factor in his translation of the New Testament was that he “perceived by experience, how that it was impossible to establish the lay people in any truth, except the scripture were plainly laid before their eyes in their mother tongue, that they might see the process, order and meaning of the text.” The printing of his New Testament was completed in Worms and smuggled into England, where it was an instant success. Tyndale then turned his attention to the Old Testament. He never finished it, however, for on May 21, 1535, Tyndale was treacherously kidnaped and imprisoned in Belgium. On October 6, 1536, he was tried as a heretic and condemned to death. He was strangled and burned, but not before he uttered the immortal prayer of “Lord, open the King of England’s eyes.”

Although Tyndale’s English Bible was the first to be translated directly from the original languages, it was just the New Testament. It was Myles Coverdale (1488-1569) who was the first to publish a complete English Bible. In 1533, King Henry VIII established the Church of England, and, in 1534, the Upper House of Convocation of Canterbury petitioned King Henry to decree “that the holy scripture should be translated into the vulgar English tongue by certain good learned men, to be nominated by His Majesty, and should be delivered to the people for their instruction.” Thomas Cromwell (1485-1540) and Archbishop Cranmer (1489-1556) were likewise convinced of the desirability of having the Bible translated into English. Coverdale’s Bible was printed in October of 1535. He based his work on the Zurich Bible of Zwingli, the Vulgate, the Latin text of Paginius, Luther’s Bible, and the previous work of William Tyndale, especially in the New Testament.

Although Coverdale’s second edition of 1537 contained the license of the king, the first Bible to obtain such license was published earlier the same year. The Matthew Bible was more of a revision than a translation. Thomas Matthew was just a pseudonym for John Rogers (c. 1500-1555), a friend of Tyndale, to whom he had turned over his unpublished manuscripts on the translation of the Old Testament. Rogers used Tyndale’s New Testament and the completed parts of his Old Testament. For the rest of the Bible, he relied on Coverdale. The whole of this material was slightly revised and accompanied by introductions and chapter summaries. Cranmer commented in a letter to Cromwell that he liked it “better than any other translation heretofore made.” And so it happened that Tyndale’s translation, which was proscribed just a few years earlier, was circulating with the King’s permission and authority both in the Coverdale and Matthew Bibles.

Although the Coverdale and Matthew Bibles were “set forth with the King’s most gracious license,” the Great Bible was the first “authorized” Bible. Cromwell delegated to Myles Coverdale the work of revising the Matthew Bible and its controversial notes. In 1538, an injunction by Cromwell directed the clergy to provide “one book of the bible of the largest volume in English, and the same set up in some convenient place within the said church that ye have care of, whereas your parishioners may most commodiously resort to the same and read it.” The completed Bible appeared in April of 1539. Although called the Great Bible because of its large size, it was referred to by several other designations as well. It was called the Cromwell Bible, since he did the most to prepare for its publication. It was also termed the Cranmer Bible, after the often reprinted preface by Cranmer beginning with the 1540 second edition. Several editions were printed by Whitechurch, and hence it was also labeled the Whitechurch Bible. In accordance with Cromwell’s injunction, copies of the Great Bible were placed in every church. This led to it being called the Chained Bible, since it was chained in “some convenient place within the said church.”

At the same time as Coverdale was preparing the Great Bible, Richard Taverner (1505-1577) undertook an independent revision of Matthew’s Bible. It appeared under the title of: “The Most Sacred Bible whiche is the holy scripture, conteyning the old and new testament, translated into English, and newly recognized with great diligence after most faythful exemplars by Rychard Taverner.” He was a competent Greek scholar and made some slight changes in the text and notes of the Matthew Bible. His work was eclipsed by the Great Bible and had but minor influence on later translations.

During the reign of the Catholic queen, Mary Tudor (1553-1558), many English Reformers, among them Myles Coverdale, fled to Geneva. It was here in 1557 that William Whittingham (1524-1579), the brother-in-law of John Calvin, and successor of John Knox at the English church in Geneva, translated the New Testament in what was to become the Geneva Bible. When Elizabeth, the sister of Mary, assumed the throne in 1558, many exiles returned to England. But Whittingham and some others remained in Geneva and continued to work on a more comprehensive and complete revision of the entire Bible that superseded the 1557 New Testament — the Geneva Bible of 1560.

The superiority of the Geneva Bible over the Great Bible was readily apparent. It was the notes, however, that made it unacceptable for official use in England. Archbishop Matthew Parker soon took steps to make a revision of the Great Bible that would replace both it and the Geneva Bible. The Bible was divided into parts and distributed to scholars for revision. Parker served as the editor and most of his revisors were bishops, hence the Bishops’ Bible. The first Bible to be translated by a committee, it was published in 1568.

The Douay-Rheims Bible was the first Roman Catholic translation of the Bible in English. When English Romanists fled England for the Continent under the reign of Elizabeth, many settled in France. In 1568, an English college was established by William Allen (1532-1594) at Douay. The college moved for a time to Rheims in 1578 under Richard Bristow (1538-1581). It was here that Gregory Martin (d. 1582) began translating the Bible into English from the Latin Vulgate. This was precipitated by Allen’s recognition that Catholics had an unfair disadvantage compared with Bible-reading Protestants because of their use of Latin and the fact that “all the English versions are most corrupt.” The Catholic New Testament was finished in 1582, but the complete Old Testament did not appear until 1610.

After the death of Elizabeth in 1603, James I, who was at that time James VI of Scotland, became the king of England. One of the first things done by the new king was the calling of the Hampton Court Conference in January of 1604 “for the hearing, and for the determining, things pretended to be amiss in the church.” Here were assembled bishops, clergyman, and professors, along with four Puritan divines, to consider the complaints of the Puritans. Although Bible revision was not on the agenda, the Puritan president of Corpus Christi College, John Reynolds, “moved his Majesty, that there might be a new translation of the Bible, because those which were allowed in the reigns of Henry the eighth, and Edward the sixth, were corrupt and not answerable to the truth of the Original.”

The next step was the actual selection of the men who were to perform the work. In July of 1604, James wrote to Bishop Bancroft that he had “appointed certain learned men, to the number of four and fifty, for the translating of the Bible.” Although fifty-four men were nominated, only forty-seven were known to have taken part in the work of translation. The completed Bible, known as the King James Version or the Authorized Version, was issued in 1611, and remains the Bible read, preached, believed, and acknowledged as the authority by all Bible believers today.

Wycliffe, Tyndale, Coverdale, Matthew, Great, Taverner, Geneva, Bishops’, Douay-Rheims, and King James — ten English Bibles. As mentioned previously, various schemes have been contrived to make the English Bibles up to and including the Authorized Version fit the description in Psalm 12:6 of the words of the Lord being “purified seven times.” The problem with this noble goal is that it entails the elimination of three versions. But which three? Wycliffe’s Bible is sometimes omitted because it was translated from the Latin instead of the original Hebrew and Greek. Tyndale’s Bible is sometimes omitted because it was not a complete Bible — just a New Testament and portions of the Old Testament. Coverdale’s and Matthew’s Bibles could conceivably be omitted because they rely so much on Tyndale. Taverner’s Bible is sometimes omitted because it was a revision of Matthew’s Bible and had little influence on later English versions. The Geneva Bible could conceivably be omitted because King James considered it to be the worst of the English versions. The Douay-Rheims, because it is a Roman Catholic version, is always omitted from the list.

This leaves the Great Bible, the Bishops’ Bible, and the King James Bible — three out of the ten. It appears that Bible believers have manipulated the history of the English Bible to prove a bogus theory.

Or have they?

The answer is yes and no. As will presently be proved, the theory is not bogus at all — even if some zealous brethren have been careless in the way they went about proving it.

The definitive list of Bibles that makes the Authorized Version the seventh Bible, thus fitting the description in Psalm 12:6 of the words of the Lord being “purified seven times,” is not to be found in the opinions of the many writers on the history of the English Bible. To the contrary, the definitive list is to be found in the often-overlooked details concerning the translating of the Authorized Version.

To begin with, the translators of the Authorized Version did acknowledge that they had a multitude of sources from which to draw from: “Neither did we think much to consult the Translators or Commentators, Chaldee, Hebrew, Syrian, Greek, or Latin, no nor the Spanish, French, Italian, or Dutch.” The Greek editions of Erasmus, Stephanus, and Beza were all accessible, as were the Complutensian and Antwerp Polyglots, and the Latin translations of Pagninus, Tremellius, and Beza. What we want, however, is a reference to English Bibles.

The translators also acknowledged that they had at their disposal all the previous English translations of the sixteenth century: “We are so far off from condemning any of their labors that travailed before us in this kind, either in this land or beyond sea, either in King Henry’s time, or King Edward’s (if there were any translation, or correction of a translation in his time) or Queen Elizabeth’s of everrenowned memory, that we acknowledge them to have been raised up of God, for the building and furnishing of his Church, and that they deserve to be had of us and of posterity in everlasting remembrance.” Although this statement of the translators refers to English Bibles, it is not specific as to exactly which versions.

The information we need is to be found, not in the translators’ “The Epistle Dedicatory” or their “The Translators to the Reader,” but in the “Rules to be Observed in the Translation of the Bible.” These general rules, fifteen in number, were advanced for the guidance of the translators. The first and fourteenth, because they directly relate to the subject at hand, are here given in full: “1. The ordinary Bible read in the Church, commonly called the Bishops Bible, to be followed, and as little altered as the Truth of the original will permit.” “14. These translations to be used when they agree better with the Text than the Bishops Bible: Tindoll’s, Matthews, Coverdale’s, Whitchurch’s, Geneva.”

And thus we have our answer. The seven English versions that make the English Bibles up to and including the Authorized Version fit the description in Psalm 12:6 of the words of the Lord being “purified seven times” are Tyndale’s, Matthew’s, Coverdale’s, the Great Bible (printed by Whitechurch), the Geneva Bible, the Bishops’ Bible, and the King James Bible.

The Wycliffe, Taverner, and Douay-Rheims Bibles, whatever merits any of them may have, are not part of the purified line God “authorized,” of which the King James Authorized Version is God’s last one — purified seven times.

I am using this information as defined under the Fair Use section of US copyright law as described under: Section 107 contains a list of the various purposes for which the reproduction of a particular work may be considered fair, such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. THE AV 1611: Purified Seven Times By Dr. Laurence M. Vance is copyrighted by Vance Publications P.O. Box 11781, Pensacola, FL 32524, USA. Phone: (850) 474-1626. 

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Over the years, I have ran into all sorts of KJVO defense tools. Many times when challenged, KJVOist will point those of us who disagree with King James Onlyism to The Answer Book by Sam Gipp. This book is another example of how KJVO defenders like Gipp will say anything in order to defend their KJV only doctrine.

As you read Aren’t modern English translations easier to understand? keep the following passage in mind…

Ruth 4(KJV)

1Then went Boaz up to the gate, and sat him down there: and, behold, the kinsman of whom Boaz spake came by; unto whom he said, Ho, such a one! turn aside, sit down here. And he turned aside, and sat down.

The Answer Book by Samuel C. Gipp

Aren’t modern English translations easier to understand?

QUESTION #42:

Aren’t modern English translations easier to understand?

ANSWER:

No. Some may seem easier to read, but none are easier to understand.


EXPLANATION:

One of the primary advertising gimmicks used to sell modern English translations is that they will be easier to understand for the potential customers. The customer, having been assured that he/she cannot possibly understand the “old archaic” King James gratefully purchases the modern English Bible and unknowingly condemns themself to a life of biblical ignorance. Modern English translations may be easier to read but they are not easier to understand.

Let’s look at the equation in simple terms. If the “archaic” language and the “thee’s” and “thou’s” of the King James Bible really do hamper the effectiveness of the Holy Spirit in communicating His message to the Christians, then several things should be true of one or all of the raft of modern English translations on the Bible market today.

1. If modern English translations, such as the New American Standard Version, New International Version, New King James Version, and Today’s English Version were easier to understand, then the Holy Spirit’s message to the Christian would flow freer and accomplish greater spiritual victories in the lives of God’s people on an individual basis. Yet it is sadly evident that this is not happening.

In fact it is only too evident to any objective observer that today’s Christians are more worldly and less dedicated to Jesus Christ than their nineteenth or even early twentieth century counterparts who were raised on and read the King James Bible. Surely a Bible that was “easier to understand” would have dramatically increased successes in battling sin, worldliness and carnality, but this JUST HAS NOT HAPPENED.

2. Secondly, if the modern English translations were really easier to understand then I believe God would show a little more gratitude for them by using at least one to spark a major revival in this nation.

It is elementary to see that if the “old archaic” King James Bible has been hampering the desired work of the Holy Spirit, then God should be eager to bless the use of any translation that would be easier for His people to understand.

Again, it is all too obvious that no mass spiritual awakening of any kind has been initiated by any one of today’s modern translations. Today’s modern translations haven’t been able to spark a revival in a Christian school, let alone expected to close a bar.

In fact, since the arrival of our modern English translations, beginning with the ASV of 1901, America has seen:

1. God and prayer kicked out of our public school

2. Abortion on demand legalized

3. Homosexuality accepted nationally as an “alternate life style”

4, In home pornography via TV and VCR

5. Child kidnapping and pornography running rampant

6. Dope has become an epidemic

7. Satanisrn is on the rise

If this is considered a “revival” then let’s turn back to the King James to STOP it.

In fact, the ONLY scale used to claim success for a new translation is how well it sells. This depraved Madison Avenue sales system should set alarms ringing in the Christian. Instead, deluded by television, they dutifully nod and remark that, “It must be good, everybody’s buying one.”

Is there any “good” coming from modern translations? Surely. The publishing companies are making millions.

Today American Christians are spiritually anemic. They turn instead to their favorite “Bible psychologist” for help rather than Scripture. America as a whole is as morally decayed as Sodom and Gomorrah. (Ezekiel 16:49).

Where is the spiritual help and hope that an “easier to understand” translation should bring’?

Instead, perhaps we are in this desperate condition because of those very translations.

I am using this information as defined under the Fair Use section of US copyright law. The article and images are © 2012 Dr. Sam Gipp | 3166 Wildwood Circle | Massillon, OH 44646 | 330-685-2578

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See also:

Gail, Gipp and Grady: The trio defending Ruckman

This is one of the best examples of how KJVOist use circular reasoning and logical fallacy to defend King James Onlyism. I find it interesting how the guy in this video takes numbers and grammar to some how prove the NIV is Satanic.

“Flee from idolatry!” 1 Corinthians 10:14

The text which heads this page may seem at first sight to be hardly needed in England. In an age of education and intelligence like this, we might almost imagine it is waste of time to tell an Englishman to“flee from idolatry.” I am bold to say that this is a great mistake. I believe that we have come to a time when the subject of idolatry demands a thorough and searching investigation. I believe that idolatry is near us, and about us, and in the midst of us — to a very fearful extent.

The Second Commandment, in one word, is in peril.The plague has begun! Without further preface, I propose in this paper to consider the four following points:

I. The definition of idolatry. What is it?

II. The cause of idolatry. Whence comes it?

III. The form idolatry assumes in the visible Church of Christ. Where is it?

IV. The ultimate abolition of idolatry. What will end it?

I feel that the subject is encompassed with many difficulties. Our lot is cast in an age whentruth is constantly in danger of being sacrificed to toleration, charity, and false. Nevertheless, I cannot forget, as a clergyman, that the Church of England is a Church which has “given no uncertain sound” on the subject of idolatry; and, unless I am greatly mistaken, truth about idolatry is, in the highest sense — truth for our times!

I. Let me, then, first of all, supply a DEFINITION of idolatry.

Let me show what it is.

It is of the utmost importance that we should understand this. Unless I make this clear, I can do nothing with the subject. Vagueness and indistinctness prevail upon this point, as upon almost every other point in religion. The Christian who would not be continually running aground in his spiritual voyage, must have his ship well buoyed, and his mind well stored with clear definitions.

I say, then, that “idolatry is a worship in which the honor due to God, and to Him alone — is given to some of His creatures, or to some invention of His creatures.” It may varyexceedingly. It may assume exceedingly different forms, according to the ignorance or the knowledge, the civilization or the barbarism — of those who offer it. It may be grossly absurd and ludicrous — or it may closely border on truth, and admit of being most speciously defended. But whether in the adoration of the idol of Juggernaut, or in the adoration of the Host in St. Peter’s at Rome, the principle of idolatry is in reality the same. In either case, the honor due to God is turned aside from Him, and bestowed on that which is not God. And whenever this is done, whether in heathen temples or in professedly Christian churches — there is an act of idolatry.

It is not necessary for a man formally to deny God and Christ, in order to be an idolator. Far from it. Professed reverence for the God of the Bible, and actual idolatry, are perfectly compatible! They have often gone side by side — and they still do so!

The children of Israel never thought of renouncing God when they persuaded Aaron to make the golden calf. “These are your gods,” they said (your Elohim), “which brought you up out of the land of Egypt.” And the feast in honor of the calf was kept as “a feast unto the Lord” (Jehovah). (Exodus 32:4, 5.)

Jeroboam, again, never pretended to ask the ten tribes to cast off their allegiance to the God of David and Solomon. When he set up the calves of gold in Dan and Bethel, he only said, “It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem: behold your gods, O Israel (your Elohim), which brought you up out of the land of Egypt.” (1 Kings 12:28.)

In both instances, we should observe, the idol was not set up as a rival to God — but under the pretence of being a help — a stepping-stone to His service. But, in both instances, a great sin was committed. The honor due to God — was given to a visible representation of Him. The majesty of Jehovah was offended. The second commandment was broken. There was, in the eyes of God, a flagrant act of idolatry.

Let us mark this well. It is high time to dismiss from our minds those loose ideas about idolatry, which are common in this day. We must not think, as many do, that there are only two kinds of idolatry — the spiritual idolatry of the man who loves his job, or family, orlusts, or money more than God; and the open, gross idolatry of the man who bows down to an image of wood, or metal, or stone, because he knows no better. We may rest assured that idolatry is a sin which occupies a far wider field than this. It is not merely a thing in India, that we may hear of, and pity at missionary meetings; nor yet is it a thing confined to our own hearts, that we may confess before the Mercy-seat upon our knees. It is a pestilencethat walks in the Church of Christ to a much greater extent than many suppose. It is an evilthat, like the man of sin, “sits in the very temple of God.” (2 Thessalonians 2:4.)

Idolatry is a sin that we all need to watch and pray against continually. It creeps into our religious worship insensibly, and is upon us before we are aware. Those are tremendous words which Isaiah spoke to the formal Jew — not to the worshiper of Baal, remember — but to the man who actually came to the temple! (Isaiah 67:3): “But whoever sacrifices a bull is like one who kills a man, and whoever offers a lamb, like one who breaks a dog’s neck; whoever makes a grain offering is like one who presents pig’s blood, and whoever burns memorial incense, like one who worships an idol!”

Idolatry is that sin which God has especially denounced in His Word. One commandment out of ten is devoted to the prohibition of it. Not one of all the ten contains such a solemn declaration of God’s character, and of His judgments against the disobedient: “I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of those who hate Me,” (Exod. 20:5.) Not one, perhaps, of all the ten is so emphatically repeated and amplified, and especially in the fourth chapter of the book of Deuteronomy.

Idolatry is the sin, of all others, to which the Jews seem to have been most inclined before the destruction of Solomon’s temple. What is the history of Israel under their judges and kings, but a melancholy record of repeated falling away into idolatry? Again and again we read of “high places” and false gods. Again and again we read of captivities andchastisements on account of idolatry. Again and again we read of a return to the old sin. It seems as if the love of idols among the Jews was naturally bone of their bone and flesh of their flesh.

The besetting sin of the Old Testament Church, in one word, was idolatry! In the face of the most elaborate ceremonial ordinances that God ever gave to His people, Israel was incessantly turning aside after idols, and worshiping the work of men’s hands.

This is the sin, of all others, which has brought down the heaviest judgments on the visible Church. It brought on Israel the armies of Egypt, Assyria, and Babylon. It scattered the ten tribes, burned up Jerusalem, and carried Judah and Benjamin into captivity! It brought on the Eastern Churches, in later days, the overwhelming flood of the Saracenic invasion, and turned many a spiritual garden into a wilderness. The desolation which reigns where Cyprian and Augustine once preached, the living death in which the Churches of Asia Minor and Syria are buried — are all attributable to this sin of idolatry. All testify to the same great truth which the Lord proclaims in Isaiah: “I not give My glory will to another!” (Isaiah 42:8.)

Let us gather up these things in our minds, and ponder them well. Idolatry is a subject which, in every Church of Christ that would keep herself pure — should be thoroughly examined, understood, and known. It is not for nothing that Paul lays down the stern command, “Flee from idolatry!”

II. Let me show, in the second place, the CAUSE to which idolatry may be traced.

Whence comes it?

To the man who takes an extravagant and exalted view of human intellect and reason — idolatry may seem absurd. He imagines it too irrational for any but weak minds to be endangered by it. To a mere superficial thinker about Christianity, the peril of idolatry may seem very small. Whatever commandments are broken, such a man will tell us, professing Christians are not very likely to transgress the second.

Now, both of these people manifest a woeful ignorance of human nature. They do not see that there are secret roots of idolatry within us all. The prevalence of idolatry in all ages among the heathen, must necessarily puzzle the one — the warnings of Protestant ministers against idolatry in the Church, must necessarily appear uncalled for to the other. Both are alike blind to its cause.

The cause of all idolatry is the natural corruption of man’s heart. That great family disease, with which all the children of Adam are infected from their birth — shows itself in idolatry, as it does in a thousand other ways. Out of the same fountain from which “proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit,” and the like (Mark 7:21, 22) — out of that same fountain arise false views of God, and false views of the worship due to Him. And therefore, when the Apostle Paul tells the Galatians (Galatians 5:20) what are the “works of the flesh,” he places prominently among them “idolatry.”

A religion of some kind man will have. God has not left Himself without a witness in us all, as fallen as we are. Like old inscriptions hidden under mounds of rubbish — even so there is adim something engraved at the bottom of man’s heart, however faint and half-erased — asomething which makes him feel he must have a religion and a worship of some kind. The proof of this is to be found in the history of voyages and travels in every part of the globe. The exceptions to the rule are so few, if indeed there are any — that they only confirm its truth. Man’s worship in some dark corner of the earth, may rise no higher than a vague fear of an evil spirit, and a desire to propitiate him — but a worship of some kind, man will have.

But then comes in the effect of the fall. Ignorance of God, carnal and low conceptions of His nature and attributes, earthly and sensual notions of the service which is acceptable to Him — all characterize the religion of the natural man. There is a craving in his mind after something he can see, and feel, and touch in his Divinity. He would gladly bring his God down to his own crawling level. He would make his religion a thing of sense and sight. He has no idea of the religion of heart, and faith, and spirit.

In short, just as he is willing to live a fallen and degraded life on God’s earth — so he has no objection to worship after a fashion — but it is always with a fallen worship. In one word,idolatry is a natural product of man’s heart. It is a weed which, like the uncultivated earth — the heart is always ready to bring forth. And now does it surprise us, when we read of the constantly recurring idolatries of the Old Testament Church — of Peor, and Baal, and Moloch, and Chemosh, and Ashtareth — of high places and hill altars, and groves andimages — and this in the full light of the Mosaic Law? Let us cease to be surprised. It can be accounted for. There is a cause.

Does it surprise us when we read in history how idolatry crept in by degrees into the Church of Christ — how little by little it thrust out Gospel truth, until, in Canterbury, men offered more at the shrine of Virgin Mary — than at that of Christ? Let us cease to be surprised. It is all intelligible. There is a cause.

Does it surprise us when we hear of men going over from Protestant Churches to the Church of Rome, in the present day? Do we think it unaccountable, and feel as if we ourselves could never forsake a pure form of worship — for one like that of the Pope? Let us cease to be surprised. There is a solution for the problem. There is a cause. That cause is nothing else but the deep corruption of man’s heart.

There is a natural proneness and tendency in us all — to give God a sensual, carnal worship, and not that which is commanded in His Word. We are ever ready, by reason of our sloth and unbelief, to devise visible helps and stepping-stones in our approaches to Him — and ultimately to give these inventions of our own the honor due to Him.

In fact, idolatry is all natural, downhill, and easy — like the broad way. Spiritual worship is all grace — all uphill, and all against the grain. Any worship whatever is more pleasing to the natural heart, than worshiping God in the way which our Lord Christ describes, “in spirit and in truth.” (John 4:23.)

I, for one, am not surprised at the quantity of idolatry existing, both in the world and in the visible Church. I believe it perfectly possible that we may yet live to see far more of it than some have ever dreamed of. It would never surprise me if some mighty Antichrist were to arise before the end — mighty in intellect, mighty in talents for government, yes, and mighty, perhaps, in miraculous gifts too. It would never surprise me to see such an one as him setting up himself in opposition to Christ, and forming an infidel conspiracy and combination against the Gospel. I believe that many would rejoice to do him honor, who now glory in saying, “We will not have this Christ to reign over us!” I believe that many would make a god of him, and reverence him as an incarnation of truth, and concentrate their idea of hero-worship on his person. I advance it as a possibility, and no more.

But of this at least I am certain — that no man is less safe from danger of idolatry, than the man who now sneers at every form of religion; and that from infidelity to credulity — fromatheism to the grossest idolatry — there is but a single step!

Let us not think, at all events, that idolatry is an old-fashioned sin, into which we are never likely to fall. “Let him that thinks he stands, take heed lest he fall.” We shall do well to look into our own hearts — the seeds of idolatry are all there! We should remember the words of Paul: “Flee from idolatry!”

III. Let me show, in the third place, the FORMS which idolatry has assumed, and does assume, in the visible Church.

Where is it?

I believe there never was a more baseless fabric, than the theory which obtains favor with many — that the promises of perpetuity and preservation from apostasy, belong to the visible Church of Christ. It is a theory supported neither by Scripture nor by facts. The Church against which “the gates of Hell shall never prevail,” is not the visible Church — but the whole body of the elect, the company of true believers out of every nation and people.

The greater part of the visible Church has frequently maintained gross heresies. The particular branches of it are never secure against deadly error — both of faith and practice. A departure from the faith — a falling away — a leaving of first love in any branch of the visible Church, need never surprise a careful reader of the New Testament. That idolatry would arise, seems to have been the expectation of the Apostles, even before the canon of the New Testament was closed. It is remarkable to observe how Paul dwells on this subject in his Epistle to the Corinthians. If any Corinthian called a brother was an idolater, with such a one, the members of the Church “were not to eat.” (1 Corinthians 5:11.) “Neither be idolaters, as were some of our fathers.” (1 Corinthians 10:7.) He says again, in the text which heads this paper, “My dearly beloved, flee from idolatry.” (1 Corinthians 10:14.) When he writes to the Colossians, he warns them against “worshiping of angels.” (Colossians 2:18.) And John closes his first Epistle with the solemn injunction, “Little children, keep yourselves from idols.” (1 John 5:21.)

It is impossible not to feel that all these passages imply an expectation that idolatry would arise, and that soon, among professing Christians. The famous prophecy in the fourth chapter of the first Epistle to Timothy contains a passage which is even more directly to the point: “The Spirit speaks expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils!” (1 Timothy 4:1.)

The last passage I will call attention to, is the conclusion of the ninth chapter of Revelation. We there read, at the twentieth verse: “But the people who did not die in these plagues still refused to repent of their evil deeds and turn to God. They continued to worship demons and idols made of gold, silver, bronze, stone, and wood—idols that can neither see nor hear nor walk!” Now, I am not going to offer any comment on the chapter in which this verse occurs. I know well there is a difference of opinion as to the true interpretation of the plagues predicted in it. I only venture to assert that it is the highest probability these plagues are to fall upon the visible Church of Christ; and the highest improbability that John was here prophesying about the heathen, who never heard the Gospel. And this once conceded, the fact that idolatry is a predicted sin of the visible Church, does seem most conclusively and forever established.

And now, if we turn from the Bible to facts of history — what do we see? I reply unhesitatingly, that there is unmistakable proof that Scripture warnings and predictions were not spoken without cause, and that idolatry has actually arisen in the visible Church of Christ, and does still exist. The rise and progress of the evil in former days, we shall find well summed up in the Homily of the Church of England on “The Peril of Idolatry.” To that Homily I beg to refer all Churchmen, reminding them once for all, that in the judgment of the Thirty-nine Articles, the Book of Homilies “contains a godly and wholesome doctrine, and necessary for these times.”

There we read, how, even in the fourth century, Jerome complains “that the errors of idols have come in, and passed to the Christians from the Gentiles!” And Eusebius says, “We do see that images of Peter and Paul, and of our Savior Himself, are made!” There we may read how “Pontius Paulinus, Bishop of Nola, in the fifth century, caused the walls of the temples to be painted with stories taken out of the Old Testament; that the people beholding and considering these pictures, might the better abstain from too much surfeiting and riot. But from learning by painted stories, it came by little and little to idolatry.” There we may read how Gregory the First, Bishop of Rome, in the beginning of the seventh century, allowedimages in churches. There we may read how Irene, mother of Constantine the Sixth, in the eighth century, assembled a Council at Nicaea, and procured a decree that “images should be put up in all the churches of Greece, and that honor and worship should be given to the said images.” And there we may read the conclusion with which the Homily winds up its historical summary, “that laity and clergy, learned and unlearned, all ages, sorts — have been at once drowned in abominable idolatry, of all other vices most detested of God, and most damnable to man, and that for the space of 800 years and more!”

This is a mournful account — but it is only too true. There can be little doubt the evil began even before the time just mentioned by the Homily writers. No man, I think, need wonder at the rise of idolatry in the Primitive Church, who calmly considers the excessive reverence which it paid, from the very first, to the visible parts of religion. I believe that no impartial man can read the language used by nearly all the Fathers about the Church, the bishops, the ministry, baptism, the Lord’s Supper, the martyrs, the dead saints generally — no man can read it without being struck with the wide difference between their language and the language of Scripture on such subjects. You seem at once to be in a new atmosphere. You feel that you are no longer treading on holy ground. You find that things which in the Bible are evidently of second-rate importance — are here made of first-rateimportance. You find the things of sense and sight — exalted to a position in which Paul, and Peter, and James, and John, speaking by the Holy Spirit — never for a moment placed them. It is not merely the weakness of uninspired writings that you have to complain of; it is something worse — it is a new system of religion!

And what is the explanation of all this? It is, in one word, that you have got into a region where the malaria of idolatry has begun to arise. You perceive the first workings of the mystery of iniquity. You detect the buds of that huge system of idolatry which, as the Homily describes, was afterwards formally acknowledged, and ultimately blossomed so luxuriantly in every part of Christendom.

But let us now turn from the past to the present. Let us examine the question which most concerns ourselves. Let us consider in what form idolatry presents itself to us as a sin of the visible Church of Christ in our own time. I find no difficulty in answering this question. I feel no hesitation in affirming that idolatry never yet assumed a more glaring form, than it does in the Church of Rome at this present day. And here I come to a subject on which it is hard to speak, because of the times we live in. But the whole truth ought to be spoken by ministers of Christ, without respect of times and prejudices. And I could not lie down in peace, after writing on idolatry, if I did not declare my solemn conviction that idolatry is one of the crying sins of which the Church of Rome is guilty!

I say this in all sadness. I say it, acknowledging fully that we have our faults in the Protestant Church; and practically, perhaps, in some quarters, not a little idolatry. But fromformal, recognized, systematic idolatry — I believe we are almost entirely free. While, as for the Church of Rome, if there is not in her worship an enormous quantity of systematic, organized idolatry — I frankly confess I do not know what idolatry is!

(a) To my mind, it is idolatry to have images and pictures of saints in churches, and to give them a reverence for which there is no warrant or precedent in Scripture. And if this is so — I say that there is idolatry in the Church of Rome!

(b) To my mind, it is idolatry to invoke the Virgin Mary and the saints in glory, and to address them in language never addressed in Scripture except to the Holy Trinity. And if this is so — I say that there is idolatry in the Church of Rome!

(c) To my mind, it is idolatry to bow down to relics — mere material things, and attribute to them a power and sanctity far exceeding that attached to the ark or altar of the Old Testament dispensation; and a power and sanctity, too, for which there is not a jot of foundation in the Word of God. And if this is so with the holy coat of Treves, and the wonderfully multiplied wood of the true cross, and a thousand other so-called relics in my mind’s eye — I say that there is idolatry in the Church of Rome!

(d) To my mind, it is idolatry to worship that which man’s hands have made — to call it God, and adore it when lifted up before our eyes. And if this be so, with the notorious doctrine oftransubstantiation, and the elevation of the Host in my recollection — I say that there is idolatry in the Church of Rome!

(e) To my mind, it is idolatry to make ordained men mediators between ourselves and God, robbing, as it were, our Lord Christ of His office, and giving them an honor which even Apostles and angels in Scripture flatly repudiate. And if this be so, with the honor paid toPopes and Priests before my eyes — I say that there is idolatry in the Church of Rome!

I know well that language like this jars the minds of many. Men love to shut their eyes against evils which it is disagreeable to allow. They will not see things which involveunpleasant consequences. That the Church of Rome is an erring Church, they will acknowledge. That she is idolatrous, they will deny. They tell us that the reverence which the Romanish Church gives to saints and images, does not amount to idolatry. They inform us that there are distinctions between the worship of “latria” and “dulia;” between a mediation of redemption, and a mediation of intercession, which clear her of the charge. My answer is, that the Bible knows nothing of such distinctions; and that, in the actual practice of the great bulk of Roman Catholics, they have no existence at all.

They tell us, that it is a mistake to suppose that Roman Catholics really worship the images and pictures, before which they perform acts of adoration; that they only use them as helps to devotion, and in reality look far beyond them. My answer is, that many a heathen could say just as much for his idolatry; that it is notorious, in former days, that they did say so.

But the apology does not avail. The terms of the second commandment are too stringent. It prohibits bowing down, as well as worshiping. And the very concern which the Church of Rome has often displayed to exclude that second commandment from her catechisms, is of itself a great fact which speaks volumes to a candid observer! They tell us that we have no evidence for the assertions we make on this subject; that we found our charges on theabuses which prevail among the ignorant members of the Romish communion; and that it is absurd to say that a Church containing so many wise and learned men, is guilty of idolatry.

My answer is, that the devotional books in common use among Roman Catholics, supply us with unmistakable evidence. Let any one examine that notorious book, “The Garden of the Soul,” if he doubts my assertion, and read the language there addressed to the Virgin Mary. Let him remember that this language is addressed to a woman who, though highly favored, and the mother of our Lord — was yet one of our fellow-sinners — to a woman who actually confesses her need of a Savior for herself. She says, “My spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.” (Luke 1:47.) Let him examine this language in the light of the New Testament, and then let him tell us fairly whether the charge of idolatry is not fully made out.

But I answer, beside this, that we need no better evidence than that which is supplied in the city of Rome itself. What do men and women do under the light of the Pope’s own countenance? What is the religion that prevails around St. Peter’s and under the walls of the Vatican? What is Romanism at Rome, unfettered, unshackled, and free to develop itself in full perfection? Let a man honestly answer these questions, and I ask no more.

Let him read such a book as Seymour’s Pilgrimage to Rome, or Alfred’s Letters, and ask any visitor to Rome if the picture is too highly colored. Let him do this, I say, and I believe he cannot avoid the conclusion that Romanism is a gigantic system of Church-worship, sacrament-worship, Mary-worship, saint-worship, image-worship, relic-worship, and priest-worship! In one word, Romanism is a huge organized idolatry!

I know how painful these things sound to many ears. To me it is no pleasure to dwell on the shortcomings of any who profess and call themselves Christians. I can say truly that I have said what I have said with pain and sorrow. I draw a wide distinction between theaccredited dogmas of the Church of Rome and the private opinions of many of her members. I believe and hope that many a Roman Catholic is in heart inconsistent with his profession, and is better than the Church to which he belongs. I believe that many a poor Catholic at this day is worshiping with an idolatrous worship, simply because he knows no better. He has no Bible to instruct him. He has no faithful minister to teach him. He has the fear of the priest before his eyes, if he dares to think for himself. He has no money to enable him to get away from the bondage he lives under, even if he feels a desire. I remember all this; and I say that the Catholic eminently deserves our sympathy and compassion. But all this must not prevent my saying that the Church of Rome is an idolatrous Church. I would not be faithful if I said less.

The Church of which I am a minister has spoken out most strongly on the subject. The Homily on “The Peril of Idolatry,” and the solemn protest at the end of our Prayer-book Communion Service, which denounces the adoration of the sacramental bread and wine as “idolatry to be abhorred of all faithful Christians,” are plain evidence that I have said no more than the mind of my own Church. And in a day like this — when some are disposed tosecede to the Church of Rome, and many are shutting their eyes to her real character, and wanting us to be reunited to her — in a day like this, my own conscience would rebuke me if I did not warn men plainly that the Church of Rome is an idolatrous Church, and that if they will join her they are “joining themselves to idols.”

But I may not dwell longer on this part of my subject. The main point I wish to impress on men’s minds is this — that idolatry has decidedly manifested itself in the visible Church of Christ — and nowhere so decidedly as in the Church of Rome.

IV. And now let me show, in the last place, the ultimate ABOLITION of all idolatry.

What will end it? I consider that man’s soul must be in an unhealthy state, who does not long for the time when idolatry shall be no more. That heart can hardly be right with God, which can think of the millions who are sunk in heathenism, or honor the false prophetMahomet, or daily offer up prayers to the Virgin Mary, and not cry, “O my God, what shall be the end of these things? How long, O Lord, how long?”

Here, as in other subjects, the sure word of prophecy comes in to our aid. The end of all idolatry shall one day come. Its doom is fixed. Its overthrow is certain. Whether in heathen temples, or in so-called Christian churches — idolatry shall be destroyed at the second coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Then shall be fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah, “The idols He shall utterly abolish!” (Isaiah 2:18.) Then shall be fulfilled the words of Micah 5:13, “I will destroy all your idols and sacred pillars, so you will never again worship the work of your own hands!” Then shall be fulfilled the prophecy of Zephaniah 2:11, “The LORD will terrify them as he destroys all the gods in the land. Then nations around the world will worship the LORD, each in their own land!” Then shall be fulfilled the prophecy of Zechariah 13:2, “It shall come to pass at that day, says the Lord Almighty, that I will cut off the names of theidols out of the land, and they shall no more be remembered.”

In a word, the ninety-seventh Psalm shall then receive its full accomplishment: “The LORD is king! Let the earth rejoice! Let the farthest coastlands be glad. Dark clouds surround him. Righteousness and justice are the foundation of his throne. Fire spreads ahead of him and burns up all his foes. His lightning flashes out across the world. The earth sees and trembles. The mountains melt like wax before the LORD, before the Lord of all the earth. The heavens proclaim his righteousness; every nation sees his glory! Those who worship idols are disgraced—all who brag about their worthless gods—for every god must bow to Him!”

The second coming of our Lord Jesus Christ is that blessed hope which should ever comfort the children of God under the present dispensation. It is the pole-star by which we must journey. It is the one point on which all our expectations should be concentrated. “Yet a little while, and He who shall come will come, and will not tarry.” (Hebrews 10:37.) OurDavid shall no longer dwell in Adullam, followed by a despised few, and rejected by the many. He shall take to Himself His great power, and reign, and cause every knee to bow before Him.

Until then, our redemption is not perfectly enjoyed; as Paul tells the Ephesians, “We are sealed unto the day of redemption.” (Ephesians 4:30.) Until then, our salvation is not completed; as Peter says, “We are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” (1 Peter 1:5.) Until then, our knowledge is still defective; as Paul tells the Corinthians: “Now we see through a glass darkly; but then face to face. Now I know in part; then shall I know even also as I am known.” (1 Corinthians 13:12.)

In short, our best things are yet to come. But in the day of our Lord’s return every desire shall receive its full accomplishment. We shall no more be pressed down and worn out with the sense of constant failure, feebleness, and disappointment. In His presence, we shall find there is a fullness of joy, if nowhere else; and when we awake up after His likeness we shall be satisfied, if we never were before. (Psalm 16:11; 17:15.)

There are many abominations now in the visible Church, over which we can only sigh and cry, like the faithful in Ezekiel’s day. (Ezekiel 9:4.) We cannot remove them. The wheat and the tares will grow together until the harvest. But a day comes when the Lord Jesus shall once more purify His temple, and cast forth everything that defiles. He shall do that work of which the reforms of Hezekiah and Josiah were a faint type long ago. He shall cast forth theimages, and purge out idolatry in every shape.

Who is there now that longs for the conversion of the heathen? You will not see it in its fullness until the Lord’s appearing. Then, and not until then, will that often-misapplied text be fulfilled: “A man shall cast his idols of silver, and his idols of gold, which they made each one for himself to worship, to the moles and to the bats.” (Isaiah 2:20.)

Who is there now that longs for the redemption of Israel? You will never see it in its perfection until the Redeemer comes to Zion. Idolatry in the professing Church of Christ has been one of the mightiest stumbling-blocks in the Jew’s way. When it begins to fall, theveil over the heart of Israel shall begin to be taken away. (Psalm 102:16.)

Who is there now that longs for the fall of Antichrist, and the purification of the Church of Rome? I believe that will never be until the winding up of this dispensation. That vast system of idolatry may be consumed and wasted by the Spirit of the Lord’s mouth — but it shall never be destroyed excepting by the brightness of His coming. (2 Thessalonians 2:8.)

Who is there now that longs for a perfect Church — a Church in which there shall not be the slightest taint of idolatry? You must wait for the Lord’s return. Then, and not until then, shall we see a perfect Church — a Church having neither spot nor wrinkle, nor any such thing (Ephesians 5:27), a Church of which all the members shall be regenerate, and every one a child of God.

If these things are so, men need not wonder that we urge on them the study of prophecy, and that we charge them above all to grasp firmly the glorious doctrine of Christ’s second appearing and kingdom. This is the “light shining in a dark place,” to which we shall do well to take heed. Let others indulge their imagination if they will, with the vision of an imaginary “Church of the future.” Let the children of this world dream of some “coming man,” who is to understand everything, and set everything right. They are only sowing to themselves bitter disappointment. They will awake to find their visions as baseless and empty as a dream. It is to such as these, that the Prophet’s words may be well applied: “But watch out, you who live in your own light and warm yourselves by your own fires. This is the reward you will receive from me: You will soon fall down in great torment!” (Isaiah 50:11.)

But let our eyes look right onward to the day of Christ’s second advent. That is the only day when every abuse shall be rectified, and every corruption and source of sorrow completely purged away. Waiting for that day, let us each work on and serve our generation; not idle, as if nothing could be done to check evil — but not disheartened because we see not yet all things put under our Lord. After all, the night is far spent, and the day is at hand. Let us wait, I say, on the Lord.

If these things are so, men need not wonder that we warn them to beware of all leanings towards the Church of Rome. Surely, when the mind of God about idolatry is so plainly revealed to us in His Word, it seems the height of infatuation in anyone to join a Church so steeped in idolatries, as the Church of Rome. To enter into communion with her, when God is saying, “Come out of her, that you be not partakers of her sins, and receive not of her plagues” (Revelation 18:4) to seek her, when the Lord is warning us to leave her; to become her subjects, when the Lord’s voice is crying, “Escape for your life, flee from the wrath to come!” All this is mental blindness indeed — a blindness like that of him who, though fore-warned, embarks in a sinking ship — a blindness which would be almost incredible, if our own eyes did not see examples of it continually.

We must all be on our guard. We must take nothing for granted. We must not hastily suppose that we are too wise to be ensnared, and say, like Hazael, “Is your servant a dog, that he should do this thing?” Those who preach, must cry aloud and spare not, and allow no false tenderness to make them hold their peace about the heresies of the day. Those whohear, must have their loins girt about with truth, and their minds stored with clear prophetic views of the end to which all idol-worshipers must come.

Let us all try to realize that the latter ends of the world are upon us, and that the abolition of all idolatry is hastening on. Is this a time for a man to draw nearer to Rome? Is it not rather a time to draw further back and stand clear, lest we be involved in her downfall? Is this a time to extenuate and palliate Rome’s manifold corruptions, and refuse to see the reality of her sins? Surely we ought rather to be doubly jealous of everything of a Romish tendency in religion — doubly careful that we do not connive at any treason against our Lord Christ — and doubly ready to protest against unscriptural worship of every description.

Once more, then, I say, let us remember that the destruction of all idolatry is certain, and remembering that, beware of the Church of Rome! The subject I now touch upon is of deep and pressing importance, and demands the serious attention of all Protestant Churchmen. It is vain to deny that a large party of English clergy and laity in the present day, are moving Heaven and earth to reunite the Church of England with the idolatrous Church of Rome. The publication of that monstrous book, Dr. Pusey’s Eirenicon, and the formation of a “Society for Promoting the Union of Christendom,” are plain evidence of what I mean. He who runs may read. The existence of such a movement as this, will not surprise any one who has carefully watched the history of the Church of England during the last forty years. The tendency of Tractarianism and Ritualism has been steadily towards Rome. Hundreds of men and women have fairly honestly left our ranks, and become downright Papists! But many hundreds more have stayed behind, and are yet nominal Churchmen within our pale.

The pompous semi-Romish ceremonial which has been introduced into many churches, has prepared men’s minds for changes. An extravagantly theatrical and idolatrous mode of celebrating the Lord’s Supper has paved the way for transubstantiation. A regular process of unprotestantizing has been long and successfully at work. The poor old Church of England stands on a downward-sloping plane. Her very existence, as a Protestant Church, is in peril. I hold, for one, that this Romish movement ought to be steadily and firmly resisted. Notwithstanding the rank, the learning, and the devotedness of some of its advocates, I regard it as a most mischievous, soul-ruining, and unscriptural movement.

To say that reunion with Rome would be an insult to our martyred Reformers, is a very light thing; it is far more than this: it would be a sin and an offence against God! Rather than be reunited with the idolatrous Church of Rome, I would willingly see my own beloved Church perish and go to pieces. Rather than become Popish once more — she had better die!

Unity in the abstract is no doubt an excellent thing: but unity without truth is useless. Peace and uniformity are beautiful and valuable: but peace without the Gospel — peace not based on a common faith, is a worthless peace, not deserving of the name. When Rome has recanted her false and unscriptural doctrines — when Rome has formally renounced image-worship, Mary-worship, and transubstantiation — then, and not until then, it will be time to talk of reunion with her.

Until then, there is a wide gulf between us which cannot be honestly bridged. Until then, I call on all Churchmen to resist to the death this idea of reunion with Rome. Until then, let our watchwords be, “No peace with Rome! No communion with idolaters!”

Well says the admirable Bishop Jewel, in his Apology, “We do not decline concord and peace with men; but we will not continue in a state of war with God that we might have peace with men! If the Pope does indeed desire we should be reconciled to him — he ought first to reconcile himself to God.” This witness is true! Well would it be for the Church of England, if all her bishops had been like Jewel!

I write these things with sorrow. But the circumstances of the times make it absolutely necessary to speak out. To whatever quarter of the horizon I turn, I see grave reason for alarm. For the true Church of Christ, I have no fears at all. But for the Established Church of England, and for all the Protestant Churches of Great Britain — I have very grave fears indeed. The tide of events seems running strongly against Protestantism, and in favor of Rome. It looks as if God had a controversy with us, as a nation, and was about to punish us for our sins.

I am no prophet. I know not where we are drifting. But at the rate we are going, I think it quite within the verge of possibility that in a few years the Church of England may be reunited to the idolatrous Church of Rome! The Crown of England may be once more on the head of a Papist! Protestantism may be formally repudiated. A Romish Archbishop may once more preside at Lambeth Palace. Mass may be once more said at Westminster Abbey and St. Paul’s. And one result will be, that all Bible-reading Christians must either leave the Church of England — or else sanction idol-worship and become idolaters!

God grant we may never come to this state of things! But at the rate we are going, it seems to me quite possible.

And now it only remains for me to conclude what I have been saying, by mentioning somesafeguards for the souls of all who read this paper. We live in a time when the Church of Rome is walking among us with renewed strength, and loudly boasting that she will soon win back the ground that she has lost. False doctrines of every kind are continually set before us in the most subtle and specious forms. It cannot be thought unseasonable if I offer some practical safeguards against idolatry. What it is, whence it comes, where it is, what will end it — all this we have seen. Let me point out how we may be safe from it, and I will say no more.

(1) Let us arm ourselves, then, for one thing, with a thorough knowledge of the Word of God.

Let us read our Bibles more diligently than ever, and become familiar with every part of them. Let the Word dwell in us richly. Let us beware of anything which would make us give less time, and less heart — to the perusal of its sacred pages. The Bible is the sword of the Spirit — let it never be laid aside. The Bible is the true lantern for a dark and cloudy time — let us beware of traveling without its light.

I strongly suspect, if we did but know the secret history of the numerous secessions from our Church to that of Rome, which we deplore — I strongly suspect that in almost every case one of the most important steps in the downward road would be found to have been a neglected Bible — more attention to forms, sacraments, daily services, and so forth, and diminished attention to the written Word of God. The Bible is the King’s highway. If we once leave that for any by-path, however beautiful, and old, and frequented it may seem — we must never be surprised if we end with worshiping images and relics, and going regularly to a confessional!

(2) Let us arm ourselves, in the second place, with a godly jealousy about the least portion of the Gospel.

Let us beware of sanctioning the slightest attempt to keep back any jot or tittle of it, or to throw any part of it into the shade by exalting subordinate matters in religion. When Peter withdrew himself from eating with the Gentiles, it seemed but a little thing; yet Paul tells the Galatians, “I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed.” (Galatians 2:11.) Let us count nothing little which concerns our souls. Let us be very particular whom we hear, where we go, and what we do — in all the matters of our own particular worship. And let us care nothing for the imputation of squeamishness and excessive scrupulosity.

We live in days when great principles are involved in little acts; and things in religion, which fifty years ago were utterly indifferent, are now by circumstances rendered indifferent no longer. Let us beware of tampering with anything of a Romanizing tendency. It is foolishness to play with fire. I believe that many of our perverts and seceders began with thinking there could be no mighty harm in attaching a little more importance to certain outward things than they once did. But once launched on the downward course, they went on from one thing to another. They provoked God — and He left them to themselves! They were given over to strong delusion, and allowed to believe a lie. (2 Thessalonians 2:11.) They tempted the devil — and he came to them! They started with trifles, as many foolishly call them. They have ended with downright idolatry!

(3) Let us arm ourselves, last of all, with clear sound views of our Lord Jesus Christ, and of the salvation that is in Him.

He is the “image of the invisible God,” — the express “image of His person,” — and the true preservative against all idolatry, when truly known. Let us build ourselves deep down on the strong foundation of His finished work upon the cross. Let us settle it firmly in our minds, that Christ Jesus has done everything needful in order to present us without spot before the throne of God, and that simple childlike faith on our part, is the only thing required to give us a saving interest in the work of Christ. Let us not doubt that, having this faith, we are completely justified in the sight of God — will never be more justified if we live to the age of Methuselah and do the works of the Apostle Paul. We can add nothing to that complete justification by any acts, deeds, words, performances, fastings, prayers, alms-deeds, attendance on ordinances, or anything else of our own.

Above all, let us keep up continual communion with the Lord Jesus! Let us abide in Him daily, feed on Him daily, look to Him daily, lean on Him daily, live upon Him daily, draw from His fullness daily. Let us realize this, and the idea of other mediators, other comforters, other intercessors — will seem utterly absurd. “What need is there?” we shall reply: “I have Christ, and in Him I have all. What have I to do with idols? I have Jesus in my heart, Jesus in the Bible, and Jesus in Heaven — and I want nothing more!”

Once let the Lord Christ have His rightful place in our hearts, and all other things in our religion will soon fall into their right places. Church, ministers, sacraments, ordinances, all will go down, and take the second place. Except Christ sits as Priest and King upon the throne of our hearts — that little kingdom within will be in perpetual confusion. But only let Him be “all in all” there — and all will be well. Before Him every idol, every Dagon shall fall down!

Christ rightly known, Christ truly believed, and Christ heartily loved — is the true preservative against ritualism, Romanism and every form of idolatry!

J.C. Ryle

Blog copied from Apprising Ministries. Please consider supporting Ken Silva and the work that he is doing.

“The heaviest obligation lying upon the Christian Church today is to purify and elevate her concept of God until it is once more worthy of Him”-Tozer, The Knowledge of the Holy

This is not the spirit that needs to be sent to the Muslim world.

In the Europe Conference 2010 (‘Word of Life’ Uppsala, Sweden) Benny Hinn was one of the preachers, and he was surprised by all the Arabs who had come there. – This is prophetic, he said. God will send revival to the whole Arab world, and he will use many of those here.(source)

Matthew 24:24 (New American Standard Bible)

24 “For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect.

Why are so many churches following the purpose driven seeker-sensitive movement? I’ve seen several Southern Baptist churches go down this path as they seek to find ways to draw people into their churches. I’ve attended a few Southern Baptist Churches over the years, and I have family who have been in the SBC for decades. I’m not picking on the SBC only, but I will use it as my foundation (simply because I am familiar with it) to ponder why so many of churches have adopted Rick Warren’s way to grow a church. As I pondered, observed, read, and talked to many people who are involved in churches that have became purpose driven, I realized the true problem lies within the church leadership. These pastors and elders are the ones driving this shift. I believe the bulk of the problem falls upon the pastor because many members are just following his leadership. I’ve talked to many members who have good intentions and they are very sincere in their beliefs. So just to be very clear with everyone reading this blog, my main emphasis in on the church leadership. I do feel members of the church are responsible for speaking out against errors. I’m not giving them the pardon because they should be following the Berean example found in Acts 17:11. I believe many of these people are deceived by the lure of church growth. They buy into the belief of  “the end justifies the means” in order to spread the name of Jesus. With all that being said, I believe the answer to my question is a simple answer that is offensive and blunt because it hits the root of the problem. The answer is money.

Most of the churches that adopt Rick Warren’s methods to grow:

  • Pastors/elders from these churches are worried about money. They worry about how to pay their salaries, benefits, and bills.
  • These churches are centered around numbers. They are obsessed with numbers and memberships. Church growth is all that matters to them because they look at growth as God’s blessing.
  • More people = more tithes (See: Tithing ). Money is the driving force moving these churches toward the purpose driven seeker-sensitive movement.

1 Timothy 6:10 (NASB)

10 For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

I believe many churches fall prey to Rick Warren’s poison because their eyes have fallen away from Jesus. They are being held captive by their own goals now as they gaze upon numbers and tithing instead of sticking to God’s way for growing the Kingdom of the Lord. They look around and compare themselves to these seeker-sensitive self-help centers, envying their numbers each week. This envy leads to making changes from within the church to compete with these new “hip” and “cool” modern day worship centers. The closer these churches draw to mimicking these seeker-sensitive self-help centers, the farther they remove themselves from sound doctrine and sola scriptura. This transition leads to a church that looks and acts just like the world, the only difference being the church adds the name of “Jesus” and “worship” to everything.

Some signs of a purpose driven takeover from within the church:

  • The church starts looking into marketing schemes.
  • The church starts heavily promoting the pastor’s vision vs. simply teaching the whole council of God.
  • The use of non-offensive terminology to replace words like  “sinner,” “Hell deserving,” and “total depravity”  in order not to offend sinners.
  • When your pastor starts talking about “life change” and how “Jesus wants to change your life” will lead to the false life change gospel that depends on yourself rather than Jesus Christ.
  • The formation of life groups as a way to kick start volunteer service and getting people to come to church.
  • Less focus is on Bible study and more focus on reading self-help topical books by Christian authors.
  • When your church starts sending out pamphlets advertising an event or guest speaker vs. promoting true discipleship.
  • When your church goes into debt for a worship leader, new big screen TV’s, spends money on billboards, pays for big name speakers, etc. instead of helping those who are poor and/or in need.
  • When your church starts looking at every body as an investment vs. a child of God.
  • When your pastor starts quoting Rick Warren, Andy Stanley, Mark Driscoll, and other problematic leaders from the pulpits.
  • When your church starts doing sermon series based on relevant issues to help with today’s problem (series that are designed for the un-churched) vs. deep sermons designed to build up the body of Christ.
  • When your church starts programs on financial freedom, yet the church is still in debt and still spending money it does not have.
  • When your church starts placing heavy emphasis on music and worship while down playing deep Bible teaching from the pulpit.
  • When your pastor/elders start speaking against discernment and only wanting to focus on unity and love.
  • When you pastor/elders turn a blind-eye to doctrinal errors taught by many leading Christian authors like Beth Moore, T.D. Jakes, Joel Osteen, etc. all in the name of church growth.

I feel one major problem that causes a church to accept the purpose driven dogma is putting too much emphasis on numbers. No church should be sending memos suggesting that the church needs to grow by “X” members this year and we would like to see “Y” baptisms take place. We should 100% depend on the preaching of the Gospel of Christ while depending on the Holy Spirit to draw people to Himself. We should be content with what the Lord gives us and not play a numbers game. I’m not saying that we should do nothing. On the contrary, I’m saying that we need to do more via the Bible’s outline and not Rick Warren’s business model. When we start looking only at numbers and dollar signs, then we are treading on dangerous grounds.

To avoid the snare of purpose driven seeker-sensitive gimmicks we should:

  • Depend on the preaching of the pure Gospel.
  • Always practice discernment and examine our beliefs with the scriptures.
  • Only use the methods promoted by the Word of God for spreading the Gospel.
  • Make disciples of new Christians and teach them how to spread the Good News.
  • Not worry about our numbers.
  • Understand we are not to be a mirror image of the world with “Jesus” attached to everything under the sun.
  • Not worry about money because the Lord will provide as He sees fit to provide for His people.
  • Not have a church that is in debt because a debtor is a slave to the lender (Proverbs 22:7).

Please feel free to comment and add to this list. I know other reasons are applicable, but I believe that money is the root problem that causes many churches to sale out to the purpose driven false gospel.

Discernment is telling the difference between right and almost right

1 Cor 5:1-13 An unpopular teaching by today’s Christian standards

When does worship become sin?

The Seeker-Sensitive Purpose Driven Church for the Carnal Nature of Mankind