Monday, October 23, 2006

the Emblem

In light of recent discussions with various people (Catholics, Mormons, secular humanists, and others) I have been so thankful for the all-sufficient word of God. All other religions have their arguments for this or that relating to how they view the world, but true biblical Christianity is the only system (if you can call it that) by definition, implication, and commandment that is devoid of human works making any contribution to salvation.

In light of those thoughts, I created an emblem to try and capture what are the driving forces in my life.

The center of the emblem is, by design, a cross. I chose the cross of nails because I have always been more quickly drawn to the suffering and death of Christ (and therefore drawn to the reasons that brought that about - God's wrath at my sin). It is the center of the emblem, and it is my continuing goal to make the reality of what He accomplished on the cross to be the center of my reality, my life, my ministry, and last of all - my blog.

Shaping or framing the emblem are the statements of the reformation:

  • Soli Deo Gloria - "To God alone be the glory" - self explanitory

  • Solus Christus - "Christ alone" - There is no other way! (John 14:6)

  • Sola Fide - "Faith alone" - Faith is the vehicle that God has ordained to use to effect the salvation of His people. Romans 3-6, Ephesians 2, and Hebrews 11 (among other passages) make that so clear. The right view of works is that they testify to the validity of our faith, but the do get one saved (baptism), they do not keep one saved (good works), nor can you lose your salvation (mortal sin). Someone who is truly born from above (or born again) will live like it. And when they sin - when their actions do not testify of having been washed in the blood of Christ and declared righteous before God and able to call Him "Father", they will, as Paul did, cry out to God and declare their sin for the wretched filth that it is.

  • Sola Gratia - "Grace alone" - If salvation is not the result or merit of anything that I can claim for myself, then it is based solely on the grace of God that He planned any method of salvation for sinful humanity.

  • Sola Scriptura - "Scripture alone" - God's word is sufficient for all things pertaining to salvation and the gospel. No other source of revelation - not future revelation, past revelation, or present experience or revelation - match the Bible for its authority. It is the single and final authority for all things.

Tere are also 4 pictures that are inside of this emblem, and all of these men bear a special place in my heart for their defense of the gospel throughout the ages.
  • Athanasius - located in the bottom left hand corner - The main reason why he is displayed here is for his ardent defense of the Trinity against the Arian heresy of his day. It was the council at Nicea that was able to articulate the doctrine of the Trinity in such a clear way in the first of many different defenses of this important doctrine. Later at the council of Chalcedon, which was defending the biblical teaching of the Trinity, it was further defended and articulated. I have a passion for defending the Triune nature of God against all detractors who are "inside" Christianity. The Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, and the Oneness-Pentecostals (to name a few) believe in and preach a non-Triune God and deny the eternal Person of Jesus Christ the Son of God, and therefore are condemned. "Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father; the one who confesses the Son has the Father also." (1 John 2:23)

  • Augustine of Hippo - located in the bottom right corner - Of the many things that he did, the main reason why I have him on this emblem is his defense of the doctrine of original sin against Palgius and his followers. I have a passion for proclaiming the truth about man's condition as completely and totally dead in sin. In a very true sense, it is upon this basis that the true message of the gospel rests. For if we are dead in sin, we can truly and utterly do nothing for our salvation. "For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 6:23)

  • Martin Luther - located in the upper left hand corner - It was upon his personal discovery of the doctrine of Justification by faith alone that eventually sparked the reformation. He made a defense of his claims on scripture with the following saying (or close to it), "Unless I am convinced by Scripture and by plain reason, I cannot and I will not recant. Here I stand. I can do no other." "All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;" (2 Timothy 3:16)

  • Charles Haddon Spurgeon - located in the upper right hand side - He was a baptist preacher, probably the greatest Baptist preacher that has yet lived. He was such a powerful and unabashed preacher of the gospel in his day, and I truly hope and pray that men, in this generation and for generations to come, will be raised up by God to boldly proclaim the gospel in all of its glory! "How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher? How will they preach unless they are sent?" (Romans 10:14-15)


St. Michael the Archangel said...

I find it humorous that you have two Catholics on your emblem and then two Prots up on top!

EJ said...

Why is that humorous? I explained why each was present - and I have never made the claim that all persons ever associated with the Roman Catholic Church were in opposition to the true gospel. The fact that Athanasius and Augustine were part of the RCC and defended the true doctrines tells me that for a time, the RCC did preach, teach, and defend the true gospel. The controversy between Palageus and Augustine, you may or may not know, focused (somewhat) on what Augstine meant when he said, "Give what thou commandest and command what thou wilt." (Confessions) The idea there was that he knew and affirmed the fact that no one can choose God or to follow God's command to repent on his own. It is only by a means of grace and a particular work (choosing) in him that anything could be accomplished.

Jeff said...

I am a fan of St. Athanasius and St. Augustine as well. At least we can agree on that. I am reading Augustine's 'Confessions' currently and plan to read his 'City of God' and Athanasius' 'On the Incarnation'.

We disagree on whether or not the Catholic Church as it exists today conflicts with these two holy teachers (I don't think that it does), but that's ok. Most of the Protestants I knew growing up have never even heard of these saints, so I'm glad we can both read and enjoy them.

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