1. Establish the Authority of the Word of God.
- Holy Scripture is the very words of God (2 Tim 3:16-17; Jer 23:28-29).
- The words of Christ (Scripture) form the basis of judgment on the last day (Jn 12:48-50).
- To add to, or take away from, or distort the Holy Scriptures is to endanger one’s eternal soul (Rev 22:18-19; 2 Pet 3:16).
- The whole of Scripture was inspired by the Spirit of Christ (1 Pet 1:10-11). (We emphasize in these last three points that the triune Godhead is in complete consensus concerning the identity of the Word of God.)
- It is incredibly dangerous to grant authority to the teachings and traditions of men. According to Jesus, to do so is to undermine the authority of the Holy Scriptures (Is 29:13; Mark 7:5-13).
2. Establish the Sufficiency of Christ’s Person and Work.
- Christ is the only way to God. He is the only Mediator between God and sinful man. He alone can bring us to God (Jn 14:6; 1 Tim 2:5).
- Christ’s atoning sacrifice is all-sufficient for salvation; it is complete and finished (Jn 19:30; Heb 1:3; 7:25; 9:12, 28; 10:14).
- Christ’s atoning sacrifice (propitiation) on Calvary’s cross was between the Father and the Son. It was the Father’s wrath and justice against our sin that Christ fully appeased. At the crucifixion, Christ “offered” Himself to God (Heb 9:14; 7:27; 10:10; Eph 5:2).
- For sinful men (human priests at the Mass) to attempt to assist in, and continue the divine transaction of propitiation is the height of blasphemy, for Christ’s cry from the cross was “It is finished!” Christ offered Himself to God, how can sinners possibly offer Him to God? (Rom 3:23-26; 5:10; 6:23; Col 2:11-14; 1 Jn 4:10).
- The veil in the Temple was torn from top to bottom by God. He did this because the “Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” had been sacrificed (Jn 1:29; Matt 27:51). Christ’s death ended the Levitical priesthood. The only priesthood God recognizes now is the priesthood of every believer (Rev 1:5-6). The only sacrifice any man can make now that is recognized by God is the sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving for Christ’s finished work (Heb 13:15-16).
- Because Christ’s work is complete and finished, the ordinances (Baptism and the Lord’s Supper) are commemorative of the Lord’s work, and of the believer’s union with Christ. They cannot conduct saving grace to sinners. Salvation is by faith in Christ alone, not by any religious work a man might do. Christ alone is the source of saving grace. He personally is thesole distributor of the saving benefits of His life, death, and resurrection, the sole Mediator of the new covenant (Matt 11:27-30; 1 Pet 3:21-22; 2:4-10; Acts 4:11-12; Heb 9:15; 12:24).
3. Establish the Scriptural Definition of the Gospel and Justification.
- Paul reserved his most serious warning for those who accept a “gospel” contrary to the Gospel he preached (Gal 1:6-9).
- Those who are attempting to be saved by human effort, by religious works, and by moral exertion are refusing to submit to the righteousness of God (Rom 10:1-4).
- Scripture says that God justifies, NOT the person “who works,” but the ungodly person who believes upon Christ for salvation (Rom 4:4-5).
- Justification by faith is a gift of God’s grace, never a reward for good works (Gal 2:16; 3:24).
- Justification has been purchased by Christ’s work of redemption (Rom 3:24).
- The righteousness that God looks to when He justifies the sinner is resident in Christ alone, not in the believing sinner (Phil 3:9).
- Christ took fully the believing sinner’s penalty upon Himself. His work as a Substitute was for the purpose of an exchange; that He might bear our sin and that He might give us His righteousness as a gift of His grace (2 Cor 5:21).
4. Establish the Biblical Definition of Saving Faith.
- Saving faith is clearly defined in Scripture (Rom 10:9-10).
- Saving faith itself is a gift of God’s grace (Phil 1:29; Eph 2:8-9).
- Saving faith is the result of the Holy Spirit’s work in convicting the sinner (Jn 16:8-11), incalling the sinner (Rom 8:30), and in regenerating the sinner (Titus 3:4-7).
- Saving faith can only be produced by the Holy Spirit’s power accompanying the message of the Gospel. Faith is the only proper response to Gospel of Jesus Christ (Rom 1:16-17; 10:13-17; Acts 16:30-31; James 1:18; 1 Pet 1:23).
- It is possible to come short of saving faith, even if one knows about the life and work of Christ (Matt 7:22-23). Saving faith is not merely knowing the truth, nor is it merely acceptance of the truth. Saving faith is absolute trust in Christ alone for salvation. All man-made religion refuses to consolidate all trust in Christ alone for salvation. Instead, it places its trust in rituals, practices, human works, and religious dogmas (Titus 3:5-7).
- Saving faith is always joined to repentance (Luke 13:3-5; Acts 20:21). Repentance is both moral and intellectual. The believing sinner repents of all the false ways of salvation he has trusted in before coming to Christ alone (1 Thess 1:9; Phil 3:7-10).
- Faith unites the believing soul to Christ so that all the benefits of Christ’s life, death, and resurrection become the believer’s possession (Rom 6:5-8, 22-23; Eph 1:13-14; Col 1:13-14; 2:10-14).
5. Establish the Truths of Scripture over against the Most Deceptive Errors of Catholicism.
- There is no regional center of Christian worship (Jn 4:21-24). In this Gospel age, the most sacred temple and sanctuary of God is the believer himself. All true Christians comprise the “Temple of God” (Eph 2:21-22; 1 Pet 2:4-10; 1 Cor 6:19-20).
- The Church of Jesus Christ has no universal, fallible, sinful leader. Christ alone is Head of His Church (Eph 5:23-27; 4:15-16; Col 1:18). When Peter rightly confessed that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of God, Christ promised to build His Church on the true foundation of this confession, not upon the man Peter Himself (Matt 16:17-19). (Note that in subsequent addresses, Jesus granted the authority to bind and loose to all the Apostles – Matt 18:17-19; Jn 20:23).
- The events surrounding Peter’s hypocrisy, recorded in the book of Galatians, gives evidence that he was not the leader of the Christian Church (Gal 2:11-14).
- Purgatory is not a biblical doctrine. Belief in purgatory adheres to the erroneous idea that God will accept the sufferings of sinners as a payment and purification for their sins. Closely associated with teachings about purgatory is the notion of indulgences and their purchase (an indulgence is the means of remission of the temporal punishment due to sins; it may be applied to the living or the dead). Belief in this false doctrine amounts to an oblique attack on the perfect sufficiency of Christ’s work on behalf of sinners (Heb 10:10, 12, 14).
- The Scriptures teach that every person will experience one of two unchangeable destinies at the moment of death: 1.) the redeemed will immediately be with Christ forever (2 Cor 5:8; 1 Cor 15:50-57; 1 Thess 4:15-17). 2.) the unsaved will face immediate, and fixed eternal judgment (Heb 9:27; Matt 25:41-46).
- The Virgin Mary, by her own admission, needed a Savior. In her prayer, recorded in Luke 1:46-55, she addresses God as her Savior. God’s work as Savior is to save sinners from their sin.
- “Sainthood” is not earned. It is the status of every true believer in Christ. It is given as a gift of God’s grace at the moment of salvation (1 Cor 1:2). No deceased believer has the power to give us grace or pray for us. Christ alone is the Great High Priest; His prayers of intercession for His people are always all powerful and effectual (Rom 8:27, 33-34; Heb 7:25).