Rather than continue trying to trip over myself to keep it anonymous, my FB brother and Sproul's target were both the Catholic Church. And I bring that up not to start "another Catholic bashing post", but so it makes sense when I say that Sproul was using the language of the Church (the actual Church laws in their Latin titles) in his debate. And to an extent, I said to myself, "All that doing that is accomplishing is making it easier to split hairs." Because, for a true believer, a lot of the Catholic/Protestant debate is no more than that. But I only took it to an extent, and turned off the radio convinced I had just been vindicated in my points to my Brother.
Which I was, but...
When I woke up too early and turned on the radio again, another preacher was discussing Philippians 3:
Php 3:12 Not that I already received or already have been perfected, but I press on, if I also may lay hold, inasmuch as I also was laid hold of by Christ Jesus.
Php 3:13 Brothers, I do not count myself to have laid hold, but one thing I do, forgetting the things behind, and stretching forward to those things before,
Php 3:14 I press on after a mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
Php 3:15 Then as many as are perfect, let us be of this mind; and if you think anything differently, God will also reveal this to you.
This preacher made two points germane to this post. The first was, Paul had now been preaching for thirty years, and admitted HE wasn't where he needed to be, Which took me back to last night and both the debate and the sermon. And that the only way to get there was, like a runner, to focus on what lie ahead- the prize. "When you are a runner, you cannot look down at your feet, lest you trip and fall; nor at the runner on your side, because in doing so, the runner on the other side might overtake you. You have to stay focused straight ahead."
And that's when the ol' "apply it to yourself" instinct kicked in and I saw why I had tuned in to Sproul's broadcast. We are acting like runners looking at the guy next to us, splitting hairs instead of focusing on the prize. And the prize is this:
Rom 10:9 Because if you confess the Lord Jesus with your mouth, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.
And all the rest is "wah wah wah wah wah WAH". Or as one of the other commenters pointed out most excellently:
We as Christians know through the Word that this is accomplished on the Cross by Jesus. Going to the Blessed Mother brings comfort to the troubled Roman Catholic conscience, just as Sola Scripture does for the Confessional Lutheran. In either of these churches, and many others that proclaim the Word and properly administer the Sacraments, we receive forgiveness for our sins and the promise of life eternal. Of what importance is anything else?
The other part with relevance to this post in the passage in Philippians is the last verse. The preacher pointed out that he believed that this was a bit of sarcasm on Paul's part to the Judaizers who thought they had the PERFECT way, that eventually God would show them where they were wrong. Because we're ALL wrong somewhere. Sometimes it is from our limited ability to comprehend. Calvin had his iron view of predestination because, IMHO, he couldn't conceive of a God big enough to stand OUTSIDE of time and space. Unitarians (and others) have a hard time with the Trinity, overlooking the simple concept that a) we are made in God's Image; b) we are body, mind, and spirit; and c) the logical following that God is thus "body, mind, and spirit", in a way we have trouble grasping. I have trouble conceiving the need to pray to Mary, despite my Catholic upbringing, because of my own relationship with Jesus.
When I explain something to KC, I don't explain it the same way I would to Laurie, or Shenan... or you. Why do we limit God by insisting He be explained the same way- or explains HIMSELF the same way- to everyone? As long as the focus remains Romans 10:9, the rest is just "looking at the runner beside you."