All Articles For Believing and Confessing

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Previous article in this series: March 15, 2018, p. 279. The Epicureans We therefore condemn the Epicureans who deny the providence of God, and all those who blasphemously say that God is busy with the heavens and neither sees nor cares about us and our affairs. David, the royal prophet, also condemned this when he said: “O Lord, how long shall the wicked exult? They say, ‘The Lord does not see; the God of Jacob does not perceive.’ Understand, O dullest of the people! Fools, when will you be wise? He who planted the ear, does he not hear? He...

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Lord’s Day 38 Question 103. What doth God require in the fourth commandment? Answer. First, that the ministry of the gospel and the schools be maintained; and that I, especially on the sabbath, that is, on the day of rest, diligently frequent the church of God, to hear His word, to use the sacraments, publicly to call upon the Lord, and contribute to the relief of the poor, as becomes a Christian. Secondly, that all the days of my life I cease from my evil works, and yield myself to the Lord, to work by His Holy Spirit in me;...

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Previous article in this series: December 15, 2017, p. 130. Introduction With chapter 6 of the Second Helvetic Confession, Heinrich Bullinger directs our attention to the providence of God. Along with the other Reformers, Bullinger subscribes to a robust doctrine of divine providence. God’s providence includes all things; no one and nothing is outside of the scope of God’s providence. Everything that takes place in time and in history is directed by the providence of God. Interestingly enough, Bullinger treats the truth of providence before the truth of creation and the fall of man into sin. That is not the...

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Lord’s Day 37 Question 101. May we then swear religiously by the name of God? Answer. Yes; either when the magistrates demand it of the subjects; or when necessity requires us thereby to confirm fidelity and truth to the glory of God and the safety of our neighbor; for such an oath is founded on God’s Word, and therefore was justly used by the saints both in the Old and New Testament. Question 102. May we also swear by saints or any other creatures? Answer. No; for a lawful oath is calling upon God, as the only one who knows...

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Previous article in this series: August 2017, p. 443. Introduction As we saw last time, the opening paragraphs of this fifth chapter of the Second Helvetic Confession establish the fundamental biblical truth that God must be worshiped through the only Mediator, our Lord Jesus Christ. They also condemn the worship of the Roman Catholic Church, which raises up other mediators alongside the only Mediator. These other mediators include especially the saints and the Virgin Mary. Over against Rome’s insistence that the faithful “adore, worship, and pray to the saints in heaven,” the SHC maintains that “God and Christ the Mediator...

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Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 36 Q. 99. What is required in the third commandment? A. That we, not only by cursing or perjury, but also by rash swearing, must not profane or abuse the name of God; nor by silence or connivance be partakers of these horrible sins in others; and, briefly, that we use the holy name of God no otherwise than with fear and reverence; so that He may be rightly confessed and worshiped by us, and be glorified in all our words and works. Q. 100. Is then the profaning of God’s name by swearing and cursing...

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Previous article in this series: April 1, 2017, p. 301. Introduction The six paragraphs of the fifth chapter of the Second Helvetic Confession are the Reformation’s trumpet blast against the false worship of the Roman Catholic Church. Rome’s false worship, particularly her veneration of the saints, is exposed and on the basis of Scripture condemned as idolatrous. But the fifth chapter is not only negative; it is also positive. In broad strokes Heinrich Bullinger, the author of the SHC, sets forth the fundamental principles of the true worship of God, the most important of which is that God is to...

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Lord’s Day 35 Question 96. What doth God require in the second commandment? Answer. That we in no wise represent God by images, nor worship Him in any other way than He has commanded in His Word. Question 97. Are images then not at all to be made? Answer. God neither can nor may be represented by any means. But as to creatures, though they may be represented, yet God forbids to make or have any resemblance of them either in order to worship them or to serve God by them. Question 98. But may not images be tolerated in...

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Previous article in this series: March 1, 2017, p. 250. The Scriptures of the Laity Furthermore, wherever we turn our eyes, we see the living and true creatures of God which, if they be observed, as is proper, make a much more vivid impression on the beholders than all the images or vain, motionless, feeble and dead pictures made by men, of which the prophet truly said: “They have eyes, but do not see” (Ps. 115:5). Chapter 4 of the Second Helvetic Confession (SHC) develops the biblical and Reformed objection to the use of images in the worship of God....

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Previous article in this series: November 1, 2016, p. 62. Images of God Since God as Spirit is in essence invisible and immense, he cannot really be expressed by any art or image. For this reason we have no fear pronouncing with Scripture that images of God are mere lies. Therefore we reject not only the idols of the Gentiles, but also the images of Christians. Having set forth the truth concerning who God is, the truth that He is the triune God who is one in being and three in persons, the Second Helvetic Confession (SHC) devotes an entire...

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