In my previous post, “Do Roman Catholics have the Gospel of Christ?“, I discussed the main idea in question between Roman Catholicism and Biblical, Apostolic Christianity. At the end of the post, I visually reproduced a short exchange between myself and a person on Twitter, nickname @LettingOutSmoke. That person has graciously accepted the invitation to dialogue/debate between Letting the Smoke Out and Interpreting the Cosmos – and as far as I can tell, that is just the kind of thing that would honor Christ. A search for and exposition of truth is always bound to end up with a closer proximity to Truth, aka the Lord Jesus Christ. I’m game.
Now for our dialogue, a goal and focus would be a good idea – and LOS (as I’ll call him) has already touched on that on his blog – “The path to salvation.” We could hammer out a long, tedious debate over 1,001 different topics, but I believe to keep it as close to that topic as possible will help us keep as brief and readable as possible.
There was a comment on my last post here by Sparki to which I am replying by way of this post – I’d like to be as condensed and readable as possible. To LOS, like you I would also admit to not being a trained apologetic – my degree is in the writing field and my obsession is theology. I was baptized a Roman Catholic in infancy, but beyond that I was rescued from the treadmill of that religion into the glorious invisible Church of Jesus Christ, by God’s grace alone through the gift of faith alone in Jesus Christ alone upon the testimony and authority of Scripture alone and all to the glory of God alone… so let’s give this a shot, Soli Deo Gloria.
God has spoken in the Bible clearly, and with absolute authority as His revelation to man concerning all things about Himself, His work of redemption in history, all matters of proper worship and religion, and things to come in the future. There is no higher authority than the Bible, and men are speaking authoritatively only insofar as they speak in proper alignment with the Word of God. To contradict the doctrines of Scripture is to speak in error against God and His revelation to man, and to do such is at least to be described as dangerous, and should be feared lest we blaspheme and lose our eternal souls.
I assume also that in giving us logic, reason, a spirit, and the witness of the Holy Spirit, that God has meant to be understood in what is written. This is not an esoteric, mysterious book which transcends our ability to interpret meaningfully. The Gnostics, and other cults who seek to gain power over men and women would make that claim so as to have the authority to themselves, but God said to John “Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near.” We are to read and understand the Bible under the assumption that God speaks clearly through it’s pages.
LOS, I understand you would probably word some of this differently, and perhaps outright disagree. I don’t mean to debate these things, but I do want to be clear what my foundational assumptions are so that we aren’t completely talking past one another.
God is the King of the cosmos. He is Sovereign over all of physical and spiritual life – and so is the great Mover upon mankind. We are discussing the path of salvation, so from a biblical premise, we have to begin by acknowledging God as the Prime Cause of creation and redemption. As the Psalmist wrote “We are His people, the sheep of His pasture. It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves.” Psalm 100
I assume we agree there, so I then I will look to an overview of redemptive history next, but before I go there, I want to publish what I have here so far so as to allow LOS to digest it, agree to the set-up, and give me the green light to go forward. Please make any suggestions to help us clarify and simplify, LOS.