I don’t usually join discussion groups on facebook, but for some reason I chose to join a putatively Reformed Baptist discussion several months ago. Since that time I hadn’t posted anything, but have only read some posts and followed some links given by the group’s members.
This week that changed, however, when I noticed that there were some Roman Catholic spammers posting pictures of the pope, as well as paintings of Mary. Now if you know anything about internet trolls, you should immediately know that when a person who adamantly believes x joins a group that profess to adamantly believe ~x, the person who believes is x is very likely only there to stir the pot.
Wikipedia defines an internet troll as follows:
In Internet slang, a troll (/ˈtroʊl/, /ˈtrɒl/) is a person who sows discord on the Internet by starting arguments or upsetting people, by posting inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community (such as a newsgroup, forum, chat room, or blog) with the deliberate intent of provoking readers into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion. (source)
Having dealt with my own personal Roman Catholic troll, this bothered me. But I kept my discontent to myself. It wasn’t until I was notified of various attacks on the faith made by these trolls, as well as their harassment of my brothers in Christ, that I thought it was time to challenge the trolls. The trolls insisted on getting the Reformed Baptists to call them brothers in Christ, and repeatedly stated that we both (Romanists and Reformed Baptists) believe the same thing regarding the Gospel.
Anyone who has any inkling of an understanding of what Roman Catholics actually believe would know that such a claim is, quite frankly, Bovine Scat. Not only is it not the case that Protestants are considered Christians by the papacy, it is also not the case that we can be their brothers in Christ. Why? Because all who have been born again by the Holy Spirit have been baptized into the body of Christ. But the body of Christ is the body of all who have been justified by faith alone. Therefore, if any man claims to be a Christian and yet denies justification by faith alone, he is spiritually dead and outside of the body of Christ.
This is very plain in Scripture. We who have been justified by faith alone have been born again by the Spirit of God, have been united to Jesus Christ and to one another. Roman Catholics (i.e. those who believe the Roman Catholic Catechism’s teachings on justification by faith and works) do not bear these marks.
Returning back to my original focus, though, the group’s moderator asked me to not say that the Romanists are not my brethren. This, he contended, was not very friendly of me.
And here’s where the title of the blog post today comes in:
If you know what Romanism teaches about justification (not to mention its abominable doctrines concerning Mary, the veneration of saints, and its heresy of transubstantiation), and you claim to have personally come to know Christ as your only source of justifying righteousness (as Scripture teaches), then how on earth can you in good conscience call yourself the Romanist’s brother?
Why even call yourself Reformed, let alone a Reformed Baptist?
We are all sinners, and so I should have expected a professedly Reformed Baptist at some point in time, somewhere, to deny the very confession (i.e. The London Baptist 1689 Confession of Faith) with which they claim to be in agreement. But, again, we are sinners, and sometimes have an over-realized ecclesiology.
I asked the moderator for his reasons for allowing the Romanists to run free and vandalize the discussion group with pictures of the pope, but he didn’t answer. And by this point, I had only negative expectations of this man who claims to be a Reformed Baptist.
Why the Issue Matters
For anyone acquainted with the Roman Catholic institution, it is very well known that the papacy claims for itself infallibility. And, consequently, it cannot change any of its dogmas & doctrines. Thus, when ignorant Christians hear the papacy’s pleas for unity among Catholics and Protestants, and they think that the pope will renounce his idols and heresies, they are only deceiving themselves and being deceived. If the papacy renounces its idols and heresies, then it is not infallible (in its own eyes). It follows, then, that it is the Protestant who will either convert to Romanism or be treated as unbeliever. Point. Blank. Period.
Recently, there have been strong calls to unify with Rome. These calls have come from false brethren and false teachers in the visible body of professing protestants. Here are some examples you should know about:
In addition to these obviously heretical teachers, it is worth remembering that there are movements within the Reformed tradition which are nothing more than thinly disguised Roman Catholic spawns. Consider the following movements:
Federal Vision (Doug Wilson, Steve Schlissel & Others; Also known as the Auburn Avenue Theology)
I mention these movements for the sake of showing that the leaven of Romanism is currently traveling around the body of Christ, even in Reformed circles, and should not be comprised with. Those who hold to Romanism are not brethren in Christ; and those who hold to a doctrine of justification that is identical to Rome’s (i.e. faith and works), no matter how they slice things, are not brethren either.
As for Rome’s failure to even hold together logically, let alone biblically, consider the few things I’ve written:
Contend for the faith once for all delivered to the saints.
Soli Deo Gloria