August 6, 2010

Grace Abounding: Summer Grace Produce

Here is a list of summer fruits of grace that God my Father has mercifully abounded toward me, a chief of sinners among those saved by grace.

1). First of all, my third evangelism trip to Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, was the most fruitful and rewarding of all, having been built upon each past evangelism trip there. It was blessed with closer relationships with the folks from the Biblical Church of the Lord Jesus (www.ibsj.org), and the wonderful opportunity of meeting and training so many fellow Christians in evangelism. I met people again who I had witnessed to in the past, and even have been keeping in touch with David, who I met in the park while preaching under a tree as it rained. David has blessed my heart with his zeal and eagerness to learn the gospel.

I am also truly amazed at how far a little blogging has taken me. Rita Martínez and I met through blogging two years ago, and now, not only have we been able to work together in the fields of evangelism together with our churches, but we are engaged to be joined together in holy matrimony as well. This is God's gracious gift to us and the answer to many prayers for a godly partner. If it is His will, we will live to marry and labor by His grace together in our Christian calling in life.

2). After two years of vigorous study, I have pretty well grasped the Spanish language... my first foreign tongue! I still make a lot of mistakes and still have to practice a lot to pick up and learn more, but by God's grace, my dream of speaking another language has come true.

3). As my interest in languages grows, I have also found the joy of learning to read the New Testament in the language it was originally written... there are some amazing resources on the internet for learning New Testament Greek for free (see links below). If anyone is interested in purchasing learning material for NT Greek, www.christianbook.com or wtsbooks.org has a lot of affordable resources, including Greek New Testaments.

Often I would make use of such resources as concordances, Bible dictionaries and online Bible study tools, in order to find out a little more about an original Greek word used in the New Testament when studying the Bible. But those tools, as good as they may be, do not remove the limitation of not understanding Greek as a language.

One must learn grammar, the structure and order of a language, before one can fully comprehend what is being said. Learning Greek grammar can literally look like a nightmare, since it is more complex than anything I have ever seen. But with the many free online resources, one can learn a lot, as long as ardent desire and dedicated determination continue to flow through one's veins into the brain... for if this inertia stops, all else may very well be hopeless!

1). http://greattreasures.org is a translation website that gives you a lot of essential information about the words of the New Testament. Just select a Koine Greek translation that contains word information or parts of speach, for example, use the Tischendorf (with parts of speech) Greek translation. You can then select parallel translations in any other language, including many good English ones.

2). http://ntgreek.net NT Greek is a free, easy-to-follow beginner's course in New Testament Greek, with lessons.

3). http://www.ibiblio.org Little Greek 101: Learning New Testament Greek is very easy to understand and helpful for anyone interested in NT Greek.

Well, there are many more resources out there, but these are good for anyone seriously interested in learning to read the New Testament in Greek.

~ Penn, a seriously guilty sinner, mercifully saved and justified by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone.

9 comments:

Stephanie said...

Wow, God has certainly been good to you - I'm glad for all these great things happening in your life!

Penn Tomassetti said...

Amen and thanks, Stephanie.

Michael Gormley said...

Is Half of The Story Sufficient For Salvation?

How many sides are there to a story? If you say two, then you are wrong. If you had one side and I had one side that would make two sides. However, there is a third side, the side of truth.

Rule # 1... One half of truth does not a truth make. Neither does one half of a story make the full story. No intelligent person can hear one side of a story and decide which side has the truth.

Both sides have to be heard, then analysed, and then a decision has to be made as to which side (if either) has a valid story, and after that, the right side(s), or truth side, can be determined.

This thinking holds true for discerning what Holy Scripture tells us.

Throughout the Bible there are double standards, yet the fundamentalist thinking shows only one standard, or one side of the story, or only one half of the truth.

Their thinking is in violation of rule # 1. With only one half of truth, you do not have truth. Anything less than the whole truth is error.

In the following examples, side 'A' is the first side, side 'B' is the second, and side 'C' is the right, or truth side.

Example # 1... Sola Scriptura...? Only the Bible. Fundamentalist thinking is that the Bible is sufficient and nothing else is needed for salvation.

First of all, in order to believe in the 'Bible Only' philosophy, you have to show that Scripture says it. Is that not true? The doctrine of 'Sola Scriptura' is not to be found in Scripture.

A. Tradition is condemned in many places in Scripture, such as Job 22:15, Matthew 15:6, Mark 7:3-13, Galatians 1:14, Colossians 2:8, 1Timothy 1:4, Titus 1:14, and 1Peter 1:18. Look at these verses and grasp their meaning.

They all address 'vain' human traditions and are rightly condemned. This is one half of the truth.

B. Tradition is supported in more places in Scripture than it is condemned. Study Isaiah 59:21, Luke 1:2, 2:19,51, Luke 10:16, 2Thessalonians 2:14-15 - "Stand firm and hold the traditions you have learned..", 2Timothy 1:13,2:2, 1Peter 1:25, 1Jn 1:1,2:24, 2Jn 1:12, Revelation 12:17,19:10.

These are different traditions than mentioned in 'A'. These are the Traditions of GOD, or 'Apostolic' Tradition.' Again, this is only half of the truth.

C. The truth is, yes, we do condemn the vain tradition of men, as shown in 'A', and we must keep the Tradition of GOD, as shown in 'B'.

Thus we have half the truth in 'A', and the other half in 'B', and combined we have the full truth.

The false doctrine of Sola Scriptura adds A and B together and puts the total in A, rejecting all of tradition. A+B=C.

Continue>>

Penn Tomassetti said...

Hi Michael,

Welcome to my blog!

That is a lengthy quote! I think the post you meant to comment on was from June 14, 2010, Grace Abounding: At New York City... with my Fiancé. Because there I quoted a couple of Bible verses relating to Scripture and its sufficiency.

Just to respond to a couple things in the quote you provided, let me say that first, I don't believe that Scripture is the only guide for Christians by itself. I believe the Holy Spirit is absolutely necessary for Christians to understand correctly the Scriptures, and I also believe God has provided pastors and teachers within faithful Christian assemblies, who can help Christians understand and obey the Scriptures.

But I do believe Scripture is the infallible and authoritative revelation of God, and that it is perfectly sufficient in itself for all that Spirit-filled Christians need to understand, believe and obey the will of God.

That said, the quote assumes that Scripture itself does not say it is sufficient in itself, but the passage from 2 Timothy 3:15-17 clearly does state that Scripture is perfectly sufficient in itself for the man of God to live by, apart from oral traditions or anything else for that matter.

One of the reasons this is so important to understand is that Scripture teaches clearly that salvation is not by our human works or efforts or merits, but only by the free grace of God, freely bestowed on all who believe in Christ Jesus (Eph. 2:1-10).

If we hold only to the authority of the Bible, we must come to this conclusion, that salvation is all from God, from start to finish, by His grace, apart from our works (Romans 11:6). It is given to believers because of the finished work of Christ through the cross, resurrection and intercession on our behalf in heaven.

If we believe what Scripture teaches apart from the tradition of men, that must be the conclusion we arrive at concerning our salvation.

Thank you and may God bless you.

Penn

Michael Gormley said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michael Gormley said...

But I do believe Scripture is the infallible and authoritative revelation of God..

Dear Penn,

Did Jesus Christ say that the Bible is the final authority on earth?

No, He did not.

Jesus Christ said the final authority is the Church.

See Matthew 18:15-18. The Church has the final authority to mitigate disputes, and to dispense the truth.

Penn Tomassetti said...

Michael,

Thanks again for commenting.

Matthew 18:15-18 speaks about handling a brother who repeatedly sins against you and does not repent of it. The church has the authority to deal with that brother in a disciplinary manner, but Jesus did not say the church has the final authority over against Scripture. There are many instances where He implies the opposite, including this passage in Matthew 18, where it is this very passage of Scripture that the church derives the authority to deal with a brother in that way. Jesus exalted the authority of Scripture almost every time He spoke, if not directly, then indirectly. Luke chapter 16 is a clear example of that.

Another example is how Jesus even submitted Himself to Scripture. Although He is fully God, yet as the human servant of God, He fully submitted Himself to the authority of Scripture, as when He said:

"For I tell you that this Scripture must be fulfilled in me: 'And he was numbered with the transgressors.' For what is written about me has its fulfillment."
(Luke 22:37 ESV)

Clearly, in Luke 22:37, Jesus appealed to Scripture as the final Word and authority by which He was going to accomplish His work on the cross.

Please allow me to ask you, are you open to listening to what Protestant Christianity has to say about this subject?

Thank you,
Penn

Michael Gormley said...

Dear Penn,

Who Has The Authority?

And who does not!


Authority comes from the "Author of Life", Acts 3:15. All authority comes from GOD, "Let every person be subject to the governing authorities.

For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.

Therefore he who resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment."
(Romans 13:1-2).

Notice that GOD is selective as to just who He gives authority.

The Catholic Church has a form of government called a theocracy and operates as an "Hierarchy".

Like any other form of government, it has to have "authority" to function.

The Church received its authority from its founder, Jesus Christ...

Penn Tomassetti said...

Michael,

I agree with you completely that authority comes from the Author of Life, the Lord Jesus Christ. Each and every justly instituted authority is established by God on earth for the specific purposes that He intends for them. However, when those authorities contradict or impose laws that are against the will of God revealed in Scripture, they are no longer authoritative at that point. That is because all authority falls under the authority of Scripture.

Where the Roman Catholic Church teaches doctrines that contradict the clear teachings of Scripture, it no longer has authority. Christians are clearly taught to obey God's Word rather than men. Those men in authority over the assemblies (called churches) who submit themselves to obeying the Word of God in Scripture have authority only to the point where they do not contradict the teachings of the Bible. If what they do or say contradicts Scripture, it is Scripture that must be obeyed and not the men.

For the Apostle Peter said in Acts 5:29,
"We must obey God rather than men."

And Isaiah boldly reveals the flaw of anyone who speaks contrary to Scripture,
"To the teaching and to the testimony! If they will not speak according to this word, it is because they have no dawn." (I.e., they are in the dark if they speak contrary to the words of the prophet written in Scripture).

And not least, the Apostle Paul exhorts Timothy to live under the sufficient authority of Scripture in 2 Timothy 3:15-17,
"you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work."

Now, it seems to me that you keep asserting the authority of the Roman Catholic Church as the church Jesus has authorized, but no Scripture you quoted supports that belief, especially since that sect of Christianity did not exist at the beginning of the church the Lord established. The passage you cited from Romans 13 is speaking of governmental authorities and has nothing to do with authority in the church.

It also seems to me you are not open to reason about this, but only in expressing your view. I would plead with you, for the sake of your righteousness before God, to listen to the gospel, be humble and follow Scripture even where it contradicts tradition. In regard to righteousness before God, it is by faith in Christ that it is granted and not by works.

Romans 4:6:
"just as David also speaks of the blessing of the one to whom God counts righteousness apart from works"

Romans 10:4:
"For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes."

I urge you, Michael, to look to the gift of righteousness by faith in Christ, rather than by faith in the Roman Catholic Church.