“Catholic” simply means the universal church of Christ Jesus, which consists of all believers in him from every time and place. All people throughout the ages who have placed their faith in Christ Jesus for salvation from sin and death are members of his universal (that is, catholic) church.
When saying the Apostles’ Creed, which is an historical, concise, and biblical summary of the Christian faith, we state that we believe in “the holy catholic church.” What does this mean?
For Christians who are unfamiliar with the Apostles’ Creed, what often comes to mind is the Roman Catholic Church, but this would be an incorrect interpretation of of the meaning of the word “catholic.”
The Heidelberg Catechism, first published in 1563, is a highly regarded summary of the Christian faith. A portion of the Heidelberg Catechism is an explanation of the Apostles’ Creed, which begins each section with the words, “I believe.” In question and answer 54, the Heidelberg Catechism asks what we believe concerning “the holy catholic church”:
Q. What do you believe concerning “the holy catholic church”?
A. I believe that the Son of God through his Spirit and Word, out of the entire human race, from the beginning of the world to its end, gathers, protects, and preserves for himself a community chosen for eternal life and united in true faith. And of this community I am and always will be a living member.”
—The Heidelberg Catechism, Q & A 54.
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By Kyle E. Sims — 2 years ago
Written by Kyle E. Sims |
Saturday, December 25, 2021
Love must be seen in our denominations. Many denominations are going through difficult times. The issues are serious. Some cut to the heart of what we believe and others to disagreements on how best to live out the Bible. As church leaders, we should be setting an example of love in disagreements and conflict.
Love should be a ubiquitous characteristic among Christians. The scriptures are replete in calling for this emphasis on love in the life of every Christian. Jesus answers the Pharisees that love for God and others were the greatest commandments.
And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” – Matthew 22:37–40 (ESV)
The world speaks of love but really they only mean acceptance. Worldly love is predicated on set conditions. In the church, love is much deeper. Love does not just accept people, it works for their best interest. Christian love should be a much greater love. The church is a place where worldly distinctions are melted away by an intense love fired by a common salvation, a shared hope, and the powerful indwelling by the Holy Spirit. It is a love that is active and involved. The early church father Tertullian wrote how the pagans noted the evident love Christians had for each other.
“But it is mainly the deeds of love so noble that lead many to put a brand upon us. See, they say, how they love one another, for they themselves are animated by mutual hatred.”
Love is at the center of Christianity. God’s gracious and merciful love for sinners is at the heart of the gospel. Once experienced, the Gospel brings a genuine love for God and develops a love for all men. Apostle John speaks about this truth in his First Epistle:
We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother. 1 John 4:19–21
Christian, you must be a person of love. Our great enemy knows the power of this love in our hearts, relationships, and churches.
By Samuel Sey — 1 month ago
Sin is sin, on the right or the left. Kinism is just as evil as critical race theory. So Kinists are not our allies. They’re just as opposed to Biblical views on race as critical race theorists.
Just as leftists use America’s history with white supremacy to justify anti-white racism, some “evangelicals” are using critical race theory to justify racism against non-white people.
Pressure from critical race theorists has convinced many evangelical leaders to become ashamed of the gospel and they’ve embraced anti-white racism. In the same way, through bitterness against critical race theorists, some anti-woke evangelicals have become dissatisfied with Biblical theology and they’ve embraced racism against non-white people.
Like Sadducees and Pharisees, despite their opposing views—these two groups have one major thing in common: they’re refusing to submit to Jesus’ authority.
Worldliness isn’t a leftist trait. It’s not just progressive “Christians” who can be deceived by unbiblical views on race. Satan is cunning. If he’s able to deceive Puritans into embracing white supremacy, he’s able to deceive conservative protestants into embracing Kinism.
Kinism is an ideology within some Reformed circles that teaches that a person’s so-called race makes them “kins” or related to people within their racial group. According to Kinists, all white people have a shared ethnicity and culture that should be preserved. Therefore they support racial segregation in communities and families. Meaning, they’re especially opposed to immigration (not just illegal immigration) and “interracial” marriage.
Just as most Big Eva leaders (mainstream evangelical leaders) do not embrace every facet of critical race theory, not all Kinists embrace every facet of Kinism. However, their soft form of Kinism isn’t any less destructive than a soft form of critical race theory.
These Kinists are significantly smaller in number and influence than professing Christians who’ve embraced critical race theory. However, they’re less uncommon than you might think.
Until recently, all the racist words I’ve received since I started writing on race 8 years ago have come from critical race theorists. However, a few months ago—especially after I called out Stephen Wolfe—I received hundreds of racist words from Kinists on social media, especially since I’m a black man married to a white woman.
Stephen Wolfe is one of the most influentual Kinists in evangelical circles. He’s the author of the popular book, The Case For Christian Nationalism. On Twitter last year, he said:
“while intermarriage is not itself wrong (as an individual matter), groups have a collective duty to be separate and marry among themselves…there is a difference between something being sinful absolutely and something being sinful relatively. Interethnic marriage can be sinful relatively and absolutely.”
He’s since deleted those tweets. But his tweets are consistent with his words in The Case For Christian Nationalism:
By Bill Walsh — 3 weeks ago
Many of us completely take for granted our access to Bibles and good books. The purchase of a physical copy of a Bible or a theologically sound book is just a few clicks away, or at most, a short drive to a bookstore. This is not the case for a majority of the world. Many regions suffer from a great lack of biblical resources. Because of this, church leaders and God’s people often fall prey to biblical illiteracy, false teaching, and weak churches.
Six Centuries and Counting
If I were to ask you to name the most important invention of the last thousand years, what would come to mind?
If you are considering our current era, you would probably say the internet. But if you are thinking about the previous era, you might say the internal combustion engine. And other nominations would likely percolate toward the top: electricity, antibiotics, and air travel.
Speaking of inventions, I also asked ChatGPT to give me its top ten inventions list. It told me that the rankings are subjective but still took a stab at it. Its number one choice confirmed my hypothesis: the printing press.
Of course, books existed before the printing press but were tediously limited by hand copying. Then the year 1450 saw a technological explosion. At that time, Johannes Gutenberg broke through the barrier with the introduction of his movable type printing press. It quickly transformed a snail’s pace process into mass production. The impact of this invention has rocked the world, right up to our day.
We are now approaching six centuries since that pivotal moment, and you would be hard-pressed to come up with a more important invention when you consider that all subsequent technological advances have depended on that breakthrough. The resulting rapid dissemination of information paved the way for the democratization of knowledge in the modern world.
In the providential wisdom of God, the printing press arrived on the scene just before the Protestant Reformation. It is hard to imagine the latter without the former. Without copies of the Scriptures, as well as theological books and pamphlets, the Reformation would likely have been relegated to a regional event in history.
By God’s design, the printed word continues to be one of the most effective vehicles for spreading truth geographically as well as historically, down to subsequent generations. Mass-printed books have been crucial to the widespread fulfillment of 2 Timothy 2:15. “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.” Or, as the King James Version translates the first part of this verse, “Study to show thyself approved . . .” (my emphasis).
As Johannes Gutenberg is said to have proclaimed, “It is a press, certainly, but a press from which shall flow inexhaustible streams. Through it, God will spread his Word. A spring of truth shall flow from it: like a new star, it shall scatter the darkness of ignorance, and cause a light heretofore unknown to shine amongst men.”
The Role of Books
Over the years, I’ve collected quotes recognizing the important role of the printed book as it relates to spreading gospel-centered truth. Here are a few: