The Marriage Sacrament

November 28, 2000

"Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish." Ephesians 5:25-27

To continue our discussion of the sola scriptura doctrine, the issue of whether marriage is a sacrament or not is a good example of the puritan thinking that we are trying to overcome. Ignorance is not a bad word, it is merely the Greek word that means not knowing. God's word says that His people are destroyed for lack of knowledge, so let's come together and try to dispel the false notions that have divided us by trying to put away this lack of knowledge and allow the healing to begin. Denominational pride, stubbornness and love withheld from our brothers and sisters are the only things that will prevent any of us from being part of this. Reconciliation will not come without repentance. Unity will come or Jesus would not have prayed for it but it will be a move of God that puts to shame those that resist Him.

My Webster's dictionary defines a sacrament as "A formal Christian rite, as baptism or matrimony, esp. one thought to be instituted by Jesus." The New Century Dictionary (last century) defines sacrament as an oath, a solemn engagement, mystery. Derived from the Latin sacrare, it is to make sacred - something regarded as possessing a sacred character or a mysterious significance; also a sign, token or symbol.

The Greek text of Ephesians 5:32 translates that marriage is "a great mystery (mysterion)" while the Latin Bible translates the verse as "a great sacrament." The sacramental mystery in this sense implies to initiate into the rite. The historical problem was as to what constituted a sacrament and not questioned until the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. Saint Augustine thought there were about 30 sacraments including the Lord's Prayer and the Creed, naming marriage as a sacrament of supreme importance. Tetullian also considered marriage as enjoying the "protection of the Divine grace." St Hugh of Victor in the twelfth century taught that it was a sacrament, Peter Lombard fixed the number at 7 in the fifteenth century, including marriage and it became doctrine from the Council of Trent in the mid-16th century. St. Thomas Aquinas thought that it was not a sacrament in the strict sense but did finally accept the seven sacraments that Lombard had listed. The Orthodox church has no problem with the sacramental quality of marriage, settling the issue hundreds of years earlier.

Is marriage to be held holy and a sacred rite or not? When the sacrament of marriage was done away with by the Protestants, it was upon the authority of the sola scriptura doctrine. Luther found the "sacramental character of matrimony without foundation in Scripture" and the "invention of men in the Church." Communion and baptism were retained as sacraments because they were instituted by Jesus and since marriage was not mentioned as instituted as such in the Bible, the sacramental quality of marriage was put away. Calvin considered matrimony as instituted by God but also denied it as a sacrament.

Jesus' body is divided. Especially divided are the hairs on His head that countless theologians and contentious Bible scholars have split over arguments that should never had been brought up. Here is the question at hand, that of God's grace being conferred in the covenant relationship between man and woman. If this is all a sacrament consisted of, we could limit our discussion but if it also includes sacred rites, mysteries and signs of Christianity, we could list dozens of valid sacraments. Men in the church did not institute the sacraments, God has through His Holy Spirit. In the early church, sacraments had a variety of meanings, to limit our definitions of any doctrinal question to minuscule exclusivistic interpretations will only lead to more disunity and strife. To force sacraments to fit into the narrow confinements of sola scriptura is to say that Jesus does not actively deal with His people since the Bible was completed and He does not have the power to establish doctrine through His own body now, the church.

A.W. Tozer is quoted as writing, "the sacred page is not meant to be the end, but only the means toward the end, which is knowing God himself."

There is a certain holiness inherent in marriage. It is considered to be instituted by God in the garden of Eden when two people became one flesh. Saint Augustine meant a sacrament to be a visible sign of an invisible grace. This divine presence must exist for marriage to be equated with the mystery of Christ and His church for we are the divine sacrament of our union with Him; it arises from the love necessary between the bride and the bridegroom. The Roman church quotes the anathema clause on anyone denying that grace is not conferred in the marriage union. This is division. Listen people, we need all the grace we can get. There are half as many divorces as there are marriages, at least in the U.S. In Indian dharma, marriage is viewed as a sacrament, not just a contract, it is a life-long commitment of one wife and one husband. Should the Hindus put Protestant Christians to shame? They have. To deny the sacramental quality of marriage just because it is not expressly dealt with as such in scripture is to accept the ignorance, quench the spirit and deny the grace from God that is needed for us to overcome in these last days. Adultry, covetousness, pornography, licentiousness, blatant sexual situations in prime time television, movies and advertising are all conspiring to entice us from the grace of God that leads to holiness. It is especially damaging to our children.

I believe that the responses in this edition show more maturity than ever before in our discussions. I can only hope and pray that this wisdom shall increase even more. Please read below and learn from them. Even the few that disagree with putting away sola scriptura are doing it in love and a scholarly way, stimulating us even more.

There is very little disagreement here and only a few issues to answer. First of all, doing away with the sola scriptura doctrine and allowing God and prophetic witness to share in that final authority as well as scripture does not in any way malign the scriptures themselves. The Bible is inspired and teaches its own inspiration. No matter what is said to defend sola scriptura, the truth of the doctrine is the generalizing statement that it is "scripture alone," this is what it means and what it must be judged by. To allow other spiritual influences beside it in defense of the doctrine would negate the term itself. It is true that the Bible is living and active but without the Holy Spirit to teach us, it is a dead letter. To say that sola scriptura is true because scripture thoroughly furnishes the man of God unto all good works is still incomplete by itself. I may need paper to be complete and thoroughly furnished to write a letter but that is not "all" I need, a pen is needed also, not to mention the hand that writes it.

The issue of Rhema and Logos come into the discussion as to what the Word is and we must appeal to the Greek meanings here as well as historical context. First of all, the Logos "Word" did not become the Bible, the Logos became flesh and dwelt among us. This is the Logos reason of God that has existed from the beginning and collected in the Bible as a record. The Bible is not God, it is the Word of God. More on Logos at The Rhema is the spoken word of God and is best understood as the prophetic word. The Bible is the "Word" of God but also as inspired is any true prophet from God who can have a "word" from the Lord. This is the true sword of the spirit. More on Rhema at

There are Protestants with the "we and them" mentalities that decry the immorality in the Catholic Church. The accusations may be true in part but self-serving and hypocritical. Free love and open marriage came to the West and beyond not from the Catholic countries but from Scandinavian, which are Lutheran. There is enough blame to go around but we are not to hurt and make accusations but to heal.

A few have brought up the issue of the canon, but it is not our responsibility here to judge what is inspired writing or not or how many books should be in the completed Bible. God inspires us regardless of biblical inspiration and certainly no differently than He inspired the biblical writers. God has spoken through His prophets throughout history whether it is recorded in a canonical book or not. Much of the Bible is the recorded history of God's dealing with humanity, including the apocrypha. Progressive revelation has not ceased in the hearts of His people except in those that do not have the faith to believe it.

Please read on. Great stuff. I would like to call upon you to get back to me on the things discussed below. What do we say to Protestants and Catholics that will not put away the false notions that have divided us? How do we respond to all of the many competing doctrines and confusion on both sides? What does it take to rid ourselves of the "we and them" mentality?

Children, let us love one another as Christ has loved us.


Jay, Your last e-mail has answered a great need to be able to explain to some people that they had a greater relationship with the Word than with Jesus. They have become very hurtful and judgmental, almost like word police. We need God's word and need to study and preach it but without the relationship with the Author we will be no different from the Pharisees going about to establish our own righteousness.

Thank you so much for these e-mails. I no longer feel alone in the battle for these truths to be known.

I don't have the ability to speak as you do and am lacking in the knowledge to do so but I do have your teachings now which I known were given by the Holy Spirit so I can now be able to educate those that are open with a greater knowledge of the truth. It seems to me there are so many today after knowledge and not after God. I guess we have a lot of praying to do and teaching as the doors open. You and those on the web with you are the real deal.

Thank you so much and my God richly bless all of your efforts.

Please pray for me because I'm in the Ohio State University campus area of Columbus, Ohio in the process of planting a youth church over the next couple of years. I have run into these extremes you talk about and everything else I'm sure you can imagine.
Pastor Steve

The truth and reality is that there is only one Body of Christ. I have read from you of the different labels or schisms that have evolved, Puritan, Catholic, etc. I think the only thing that will unite the Body of Christ is upon the grounds of Orthodoxy. Which means that there is only one truth. So orthodoxy helps identify the major beliefs in which the church should stand. We use the bible as the inerrant and authoritative source in all we believe and teach. Granted there are seemingly silent or gray areas. It would seem that it is not exhaustive, but that is where the Holy Spirit comes in, for those who seek.

I don't know about being labeled a gnostic or a new ager, as you mentioned before, but I believe that revelation from the Almighty continues even unto this very day. It is not something that died out when all the Apostles died. God is very active revealing himself in the world today, all we have to do is but look around us.

Look at the apostle's lives and we see people just like you and me in the beginning of a relationship with God, they were clueless. But as we see their lives progress we see them grow into mighty children of God. We, like them must present ourselves in Spirit and in truth and overcome all else and grow into the likeness of our blessed Lord.

Scripture identifies the major beliefs that the church should stand. The Holy Spirit helps you live those beliefs over and above abundantly. The scripture is authoritative and self authentationating of the Author. Amen!
Thanks, Tim.

I was thinking about the spoken word of God, and thought about something that might be worth mentioning to those who hold that God does not speak outside the Bible. It seems to me, and once again if I am wrong correct me, but it seems to me that the Bible actually contradicts the teaching that God has only spoken through his written word. I mean doesn't Hebrews say that the word of God is living and active, since it is living and active how can it be locked within the pages of a dead book, since that is what the Bible would be if God just decided to stop speaking. The only reason God's promises still stand today is because God's Word is eternal, and is spoken eternally. Obviously I don't know it all, but I do know as you agree that God does speak by the Holy Spirit to and through those he has chosen. And what about, John 1:1 in which the apostle John talks about Jesus being The Word of God. Doesn't that imply that it is the nature of God to speak? Ok, i'm done, i gotta get going, take it easy friend, and God Bless you with rest in Him
Love in Christ

Dear Jay,

I am of the disposition that indeed the word of God is without flaw. However; some struggle with it to their own destruction. this I believe is the strict letter without the sprit. I have always been leery of ministers of the Gospel who have dreams and visions that simulate the spirit and make a comparison to the word extremely difficult. This is the problem: We as sheep are led into doctrines that are not supported or loosely supported by the word. Churches are built with the support of such ministry. Bitterness inevitably arise and the administration allows them to fall by the wayside as they themselves flourish and become and institution with all the appearance of godliness. This is not Sola Scriptura, it is the present administration of the Gospel. The letter with out the spirit is legal and dead except for, as you say, legalism and puritanism and human knowledge. The word is alive and the life is God, and we can know Him through His word and his word though Him. To know God is a confirmation of the word. How is it that we still struggle with the word? He is our guide and can teach us all things.

This is my problem with the walk. I have not found an administration that I really trust. I have questioned myself and doubted my salvation many times but I know that I am blessed or I would have died long ago. I hunger and thirst for the presence of God but I do those thing that are not expedient and I live in much doubt about many things. I do believe but still pray for God to heal my unbelief. I have little concern for the doctrinal disputes of the many administrations but my heart is torn for the many souls that are left along the wayside. The system of the earth and man is timed for replacement and we will see a new city. Without the spirit of God how could one persist in this belief? It is much easier to expect a reincarnation. I fear His judgment because I am a sinner but I long for his rebuke and his strength and his help and His forgiveness.

Jay, I understand that I am not writing in the same sense as your discussions and directing myself in a real objective manner. I have no fellowship at present. I would love to have a person whom I can communicate with over the internet. If you know someone who would be willing to have discussions with me I would be very happy and blessed.

Grace to You
Jude Bird

Blessings in the name of Christ. The Holy Scriptures are written for our admonition and training. They are written to understand God Himself and many other things. I see that although the Bible as we know it is Truth, there remains an area much closed up and "taboo" for many fundamentalists and legalists. This is known as revelation from God. Read I JOHN 2:27.

27 But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him. 28  ¶And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming.

We are not only taught through the Scriptures, but also by His Spirit. For many years I was under so much legalism and structure, I couldn't even lift up my eyes and hands in worship.

I am neither Protestant nor Catholic, I am free. I have served in both areas, and have now been free for over two years and just listening to His leading and not submitting to man's legalism of how and what should happen in Church! Debates, in my opinion, foster more debate and ungodliness. Scriptures are a witness to themselves. They certainly do not need you and I to "agree" and "make" doctrines. God's doctrine is already established. Unity comes from Truth expressed in love, and not from our "agreement" of Scriptures. Debates are for legalists and theological perfectionists to set their own agendas. The Church has never been unified and never will be. Now, there will be pockets of unity, but not in a universal sense! Whatever for? To impress God? Hardly, my friends. God is not impressed by our legalistic attempts at unity. That's what split up the Church to begin with. The Catholic Regime legalized God!!!! And they created a child of hell worse than themselves. Check out the history.

A soft stance on satan will not help the Church go forward. Satan is a "reactor". He reacts to what we do. If we're going in the right, Godly direction, he reacts. If not, he stands still. Unity is not a nicey-nicey agreement of the Word, but a constant BATTLE with fellow soldiers of the cross to kill the enemy, not to persuade him to join us. Satan will never join us. Kill him!

I hope I have not irritated anyone. I believe in Truth and God's strong message for the Church to AWAKE!!!!

Blessings in Christ,

Dear Latter-rain brethren,

We have some significant passages to start with that show us the deeper truths of the scripture as being a record of the acts of the Father as spoken through His prophets and obeyed by other followers who had eyes to see and ears to hear. One reason that the Dead Sea Scrolls have been hidden for so many years is their contradiction with what traditions and misinterpretations the "christian" church hierarchy has tried to deceive the masses with. There are many books that are missing from the chosen few as "canonized" that would certainly show us a different picture of Christ and probably cause us to have to repent of many false traditions. I feel that we must return to some of the Feasts of the Lord to understand end-time prophecy.

If you believe John's vision as the truth revealed, we see the Word of God emblazoned on the sash of the mighty one who rides upon the white horse. Christ said that we must live by every word that proceeds (continually) from the mouth of YHWH. He proved the difference between a false and true interpretation as he overcame the temptation in the wilderness. Satan and our unsanctified flesh manipulates scriptures out of context or YHWH's timing to try to control our own beliefs and destiny, yet the Son of God spoke it is also written for He only did what the Father showed Him. Our prosperity/apathy messages would certainly reject any sacrifice of humbly going to the cross as a false message. Faith comes by hearing the still small voice that confirms the truth by the anointing of the Spirit. Many misinterpret the words of John about adding to the book in Revelation as never going beyond the pages of "Holy Writ". Christ knew the scriptures but had to interpret them to the disciples when showing them the Father's ways in cases like..."You say an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth but I say bless those who persecute you and pray for those who despitefully use you".. this fulfills the Law of love. He was expounding upon the ways of God in His principle of reaping and sowing. They did not know that they could replant the ground with a positive harvest by overcoming evil with good.

It takes Spiritual discernment to walk in the ways of God. Jesus warned us to not search the scriptures for eternal life. To know the Father is how this is found. This is in abiding fellowship, not correct doctrines or even great giftings. The anointing teaches us all things until we come into the fullness of Me, the hope of Glory. The seventh trumpet is where those who have allowed themselves to be transformed from glory to glory become completed in Him. He's not going to zap us when he comes...we must already be walking in the Spirit. As I was preparing to respond the "Latter-rain" flashed before me as the real message we should be receiving, for when the anointing of the Holy Spirit is so deep and flowing in the earth to bring forth the last days' harvest we will surely see eye to eye and not be in strife over any of these doctrines that tend to stumble us now. That's all I have time for today. Pray for rain in the times of the latter rain for we must be prepared to receive the Lord. He's waiting for us to do what he commanded.

Verily, in Love, Jan

My problem with fundamentalism is not that they claim to believe only in Scripture, but that they don't seem to believe anywhere near enough of the Scripture. If you eliminate the scriptural teaching on the Holy Spirit, you eliminate at least two thirds of the Scripture.

Whenever I have been challenged on things that I teach and things that we do, I tend to make thorough biblical studies of the matters in question. When I got hit with the "eternal security" thing, I did a thorough study throughout the Bible on what is required for ultimate salvation (eternal life). I found that it involved not only being born again, but discipling, entire sanctification, doing the works of Jesus (healing, casting out demons, commanding natural forces), walking in the Spirit (including: praying in the Spirit, exercising the gifts of the Spirit, developing the five-fold ministries), developing a close and continuous relationship with the Lord, growing into the perfection of the Body of Christ, and finally enduring to the end.

When people told me that the Bible is the only Word of God, I made a thorough study of the words logos and rhema in the Bible and discovered that these words rarely refer specifically to the written word. Logos refers basically to the Incarnate Word, Jesus. It also applies to anything God says, to gifts of the Spirit.

Right now, I am up to here in writing a book on the power of God as manifested in the Old Testament, in Jesus, and in the lives of the believers. I seem to be finding out that He can still do (even through us) the same kind of things that He has always been doing. I believe we should stop relegating everything to ages past and start doing the stuff that Jesus through His Holy Spirit teaches us to do here and now.

Ed Stube

It is only the Bible the word of God, no men or institution (Catholic Church or any other), have the right to determine rules for salvation. God established the rules since the foundation of the world, therefore any attempt to change, or modify those rules constitutes a rebellion against God's will.

Only by Faith in the redemption through Christ's blood can man can be saved. Any other doctrine including the Catholic Church doctrine is erroneous. The consensus of following a wrong doctrine could be eternal loss. I wouldn't even think on following any doctrine but the one established by God himself.

I am sorry, but clergy is conformed by men, which are no better than the rest of humans, they are sinners as the Bible says Romans 3:23 and therefore are not suitable to determine rules for salvation. God and only God has the right to establish the truth, which is already set as: The word of God the Bible. Christ is the shepherd and the head of the church, The sheep follow the shepherd. Any sheep that follows whatever Church doctrine or Spiritual leader that contradicts the word of God constitutes an Antichrist.

M R.

Scriptures are the writings which are God-breathed. They are the writings which were recorded with the direct guidance of God. As the writer penned his thoughts, he recorded what God was saying through him and the resulting texts were thoughts from God that still contained the personality of the individual writers.

The Bible is a collection of those inspired writings. For example, if we have a copy of the Psalms, Proverbs and John's gospel in one book it may be referred to as Scripture and still retains its authority but it is not the Bible. The Bible then is the complete collection of writings which are considered Scripture.

The following thoughts about sola scriptura are adapted from James R. White.
"1. Sola scriptura (SOSC from here on) is NOT a claim that the bible contains all knowledge.
2. SOSC is NOT a claim that the Bible is an exhaustive catalogue of all religious knowledge
3. SOSC is NOT a denial of the authority of the church to teach God's truth.
4. SOSC is NOT a denial that the Word of God has, at times, been spoken.
5. SOSC does NOT entail the rejection of every kind or form of tradition.
6. SOSC is NOT a denial of the role of the Holy Spirit in guiding and enlightening the church,

1. The doctrine of SOSC simply put, is that the Scriptures alone are sufficient to function as the infallible rule of faith for the church.
2. ALL that one MUST believe to be a Christian is found in Scripture.
3. That which is NOT found in Scripture-either directly or by necessary implication - is not binding upon the Christian as necessary (for salvation).
4. Scripture CLEARLY reveals those things necessary for salvation.
5. ALL traditions are subject to the higher authority of Scripture." (1996: pp56-62)

That's a brief summary.

Two arguments commonly made AGAINST sola scriptura are that the Bible itself denies it contains a complete record of Jesus' activities and words. And that the Bible itself does not contain a list of those writings which are inspired. We'll visit these two arguments again throughout this post.

We often hear the word "canon" in reference to the Bible. The "canon" is the complete list of books which have been written by a particular author. A canonical book is one that can be authenticated as having been written by a particular author. Let me use an analogy. When you buy a novel, there is often a list inside of other books that author has written. Each of those books are canonical since they were written by that author. Yet the list may not contain the author's canon which is a complete list of all his books.

In fact, the author may well be the only person on earth who knows the complete list of his original works. Is this important? Not really. Why? Well, we don't need to know EVERY book that author has written to know SOME of the books they've written. It is silly to say that because the Bible doesn't contain a list of ALL the books that are God-breathed, we can't know ANY of the God-breathed books.

So, if Protestants rely on a list OUTSIDE of the Bible then they can't believe in sola scriptura. Or in other words, if God-breathed writings aren't self-defining then the Bible is insufficient. But this view makes an unnecessary distinction. It separates canon FROM Scripture. But it is nonsense to speak of the canon of God APART from those books which are canonical (ibid pp92-94). Every book that is canonical belongs to the canon whether or not we know the complete canon.

If all this seems too confusing let me illustrate: I have written books called A,B,C,D,E,F,G and H. All of those books make up my canon. If you read books D,F & G, do you need to know ALL of my books to know I wrote those? Of course not. It is the same with the Bible. We don't need to know ALL the books God inspired to know SOME of the books He inspired.

So the issue is really NOT that we need an infallible authority to tell us the canon but that we need to know which books are canonical and which aren't. If the church tells us a book is canonical, that proclamation does not MAKE the book God-breathed. Rather it tells us that the book was God-breathed from the moment the author began to write it. A book is canonical because God inspired it, not because someone tells us it is inspired. In other words all the church does is RECOGNIZE those books which are Scripture and DENY those books which aren't.

From the writings of biblical and church history we can see certain principles that guided the recognition and collection of Scripture into the Bible. Geisler/Nix present these:
"1. Was the book written by a prophet of God? If it was, then it is the Word of God.
2. Was the writer confirmed by acts of God? eg. Moses, Elijah, Paul performed miracles which authenticated their calling from God.
3. Did the message tell the truth about God? Since God does not contradict Himself, we can be sure any books bearing His inspiration will not contradict each other. "If in doubt, throw it out."
4. Does it come with the power of God? If the book is inspired by God then it contains the living word which is active and forceful. It should have a transforming power for edification and evangelization.
5. Was it accepted by the people of God? The people in the best position to know its inspiration were those who knew the prophet who wrote it. eg Paul and the Thessalonians." Adapted from McDowell (1999: pp21-22).

So we see we can know and trust those books which are known as Scripture, without having to know EVERY canonical book. Now what does the Bible itself say about this issue. Two of the most important passages are John 20:30-31 and 2.Tim.3:16-17

"Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. (31) But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name." - John 20:30-31.(NIV)

John assures us that even though he DIDN'T include an exhaustive list of Jesus' words and activities he has written SUFFICIENT to provoke saving faith in Christ. If we only had access to John's gospel it would contain enough of God's message to lead us to a sufficient knowledge of salvation.

"All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, (17) so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." - 2.Tim.3:16-17

That which is God-breathed is Scripture. Scripture contains sufficient that the man of God may be THOROUGHLY (not lacking anything) equipped for EVERY good work (there are none it cannot equip us for).

So sola scriptura does NOT say everything Jesus did or said, or every act of God is included in Scripture. What is says is that Scripture is sufficient to gain a knowledge of saving faith, and that Scripture contains everything we need to know to be equipped for every good work that might be expected of a Christian in their life.

Where does this leave the Holy Spirit? Well, it was the Spirit who inspired the writers of Scripture. We can safely conclude that God will not contradict Himself. Therefore any extra-biblical teaching/revelation which contradicts the scriptures, or which adds or subtracts from the gospel, should be rejected.

Both Mohammed and Joseph Smith claimed to have received 'new' light from angels who brought fresh words of God. In both cases they add to the gospel and as Paul said in Gal.1. if any, whether man or angel, comes preaching a different gospel let them be anathema. They are both obviously extreme examples, but the same holds true for those who bring 'prophetic' revelation to the Church. A teaching may not be found explicitly in Scripture (eg. the triune Godhead is nowhere to be found as a definitive statement but is in scripture alluded everywhere) but any teaching or revelation that is inspired by God will align with the written Word implicitly or explicitly.

Thus when I bring prophetic words I am always careful to test them against Scripture to find precedents or alignment. If I think that a word is coming out of my flesh I will not share it.


Reference List.

1. McDowell. J. The New Evidence that Demands a Verdict Rev. edn (Nashville, USA: Thomas Nelson, 1999)
2. White, J.R. The Roman Catholic Controversy (Minneapolis, USA: Bethany House, 1996)

I believe this quote from Richard Wurmbrand's "Tortured for Christ" speaks volumes into the importance of this conflict in Christendom:

"God is The Truth.
The Bible is the "truth about The Truth"
Theology is the "truth about the truth about The Truth"
Fundamentalism is the "truth about the truth about the truth about The Truth"

Christian people live in these many "truths about The Truth" and because of them, have not "The Truth". Hungry, beaten and doped (in prison) we had forgotten theology and the Bible. We had forgotten the "truths about The Truth", therefore we lived in "The Truth". It is written, "The Son of Man will come in the hour when you do not think and on a day you do not know". We could not think anymore. In our darkest hours of torture, the Son of Man came to us, making the prison walls shine like diamonds and filling the cells with Light. Somewhere, far away were the torturers below us in the sphere of the body, but the spirit rejoiced in the Lord. We would not have given up this joy for any kind of kingly palaces."

Richard Wurmbrand, Tortured for Christ

May we all come to Christ Jesus Himself, to have Life, rather than remain 'on the surface' of the relationship, spending all our time in the various degrees of "truth about HIM".

Love in Christ Jesus, Linda


I sincerely believe that God is laughing these days. He's not laughing at our failure to grasp the concept of His purpose; nor is He laughing at our frivolity in stubbornly holding on to what we perceive as truth, refusing to accept another's point of view or even another for that matter. No my brother. God is laughing at the utter shock we will receive when we finally shed all flesh and worldly doctrine of man-made subjectivity; for it is then, and only then, will we conceptualize, realize, and spiritualize the height of all simplicity - God is love. Sola Scriptura is not a testament of this, nor are the time-worn attitudes of those who refuse to accept the fact that God is a Spirit, and not only must we pray to Him in the Spirit as Jesus says, but we must read His word in the Spirit as well. A literal interpretation of the bible and a structured existence based on some principals derived from some imperfection within a mere man's experiences or mentality are not the embodiment of our God, whose love is as soft as sexual satisfaction, and as chastising or correcting as the tough love that teaches wisdom over intelligence. Our God laughs!

I visit your website often, Jay. There is a lot of love for you flowing through many of the responses, and I am very happy to see that! Man, you've touched so many of us with this discourse that I can't tell you how God is using your talents and gifts to do His work - you should be pleased. And for some reason, I cannot help but here again, in the "Sola Scriptura" message that you are working with, inject the Manifest Sons of God. It is very important for everyone to understand that each of these messages that you're sending out is interrelated, and I wish you would make the connection because that teaching is so incredible. Each of the gifts ordained upon the Manifest Sons is Spiritual - not literal, not a lifestyle, not anything that is tangible to the physicality of our beings. That's where "Sola Scriptura" gets blown out of the water - let's just dismiss the whole concept and get on with the next discussion.

Bill Caraway

Dear Jay, Everytime I read the Bible it's a different book. I think it's alive. Therefore, I never get tired of reading it and always learn something new ...fascinating, I don't know how He opens my eyes to see something new. The Holy Spirit must guide me when I read the Word.

Marilyn Grandon

Hope you are feeling better.

Hi Jay! Thanks for including me on the list. I don't know how long the Lord will have me stay. Its hard to keep up with all I have now.

I live in Melbourne, FL with my husband, a Christian trucker who hauls mail around FL, and my 27 year old son, Levi, who is going through a trial with autism and epilepsy. I am the sole care giver of my son. We have received several prophesies that all confirm each other from people who don't know him personally that he will travel around the world preaching and sharing his testimony. The words say that he has several gifts of the Holy Spirit and that he would confound the wise by the words that will come forth from the Lord through him while he is still in this state. Many have received visions and dreams of Levi preaching at the pulpit and many feel there is an anointing on the few words that he says now. He loves praise and worship and the Word of God. My husband adopted Levi when he was 21 and many say they are like Paul and Timothy because of the love between them. The Lord brought us together through Levi.

I love to worship the Lord in prophetic dance and intercession. I have a calling of intercessory worship and I have been pressing in for the roar of the Lion to come forth through God's people for over 7 yrs. I have experienced this "roar" in the Spirit and it is a mighty anointing. In my heart I knew it was God's heart cry for the lost and that it repels the powers of darkness away from them so that they can respond to His love and be brought into His kingdom. I know it will come when God's people are where they need to be in the area of worship, intimacy with God, and unity. I wrote a book, still in the process of getting it in shape for publishing, on catching the vision of the simplicity of pressing in for revival through worship. I love to get quiet and still before the Lord, at His feet, to write the thoughts of God. This gift was activated in me through a Gifts of the Holy Spirit class and I have been writing ever since. I used to write about God as a small child and also when I was searching to know God I wrote inspirational thoughts about knowing the Creator. Well, I better stop now. I'm writing too much! Lord bless you, Yolanda

When Jesus died on the cross he ripped the veil that separated the common people and the priesthood, In the old testament the priest had to make the atonement for sin. Here you can see the error of eli and hopni. The father was the prophet of God, not the sons. God in his wisdom tore down the priesthood. What was hidden from the common people was now seen by everyone else. We can now enter the holy of holy and our priestly garment is the putting on of christ. God will not destroy us because we are now covered with Christ, to destroy us would be to destroy his own son. As long as there are earthly priests, attempting to do the job of christ we will lose the battle. Come unto me all ye that are tired and heavily laden and "I" will give you rest. If we do not move unto the new covenant then why did Jesus die and why did the Father reveal the holy of holiest to us. No, my brother, what is untrue is untrue. And you don't offend you reveal once we saw in a fog but know we see eye to eye. God has revealed to us his plan of salvation and it is through Jesus, He is our high priest and no man or woman goes to the Father but by him. It is not through a Minister, a Reverend. a Priest or through any organization, but through his son saith the Lord. Anything else is blasphemy against the lord. Thank you for this opportunity to share.


As we draw nearer toward Christ's return, I believe that he through the growing diversity of spiritual opinion, concerning the Bible and Religion is actually opening the door for greater simplicity. He is sending the message to all who would receive it, that we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when that which is perfect is come, that which is part shall be done away. For now we see though a glass, darkly but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known! Jesus Christ is Lord and is the only way to Salvation. On that point I refuse to deviate for All good things stem from him and without his sacrifice all that is good could not be salvaged. Yet, I gotta say that apart from that, I'm pretty open. Christ transcends the religions that worship him in truth, he transcends the bible which reveals him, he transcends the religions who claim to worship him but don't. Religion is a question of cultural /personal preference but belief in Jesus is a mandate of existential necessity. Everyone has some trait, some attribute that reflects his beauty, Everyone is worth saving. Given that, I thank God for this Prophet, who wars against spirits of myopia and doubt. Praise the Lord for him. In all things I endeavor to remain open minded, as a child at the feet of the EVER LIVING GOD!!


Hi Jay I found your article most encouraging. As you so rightly say scripture without the guidance of the Holy Spirit can lead people to interpret scriptures in strange ways. Only this last week or so I have been in correspondence with a professor who has a website on Biblical astronomy which proclaims geocentricism (the sun goes round the earth) and claims this is what the scriptures teach. When I read the verses he gave me I could not agree with his interpretation and after praying about it I believe the Holy Spirit showed me the true meaning of those verses. God has given us plenty of good common sense and minds that can comprehend the creation. I do not believe God would want us to abandon these when interpreting scriptures. Jesus promised that the Holy Spirit - the Spirit of Truth would lead us to the truth. For me this promise has been fulfilled several times in my Christian walk.


( Jay said: )
" To make the word of God the final authority instead of God Himself is the same as serving the letter instead of the spirit, it is tantamount to worshipping the creation instead of the Creator. "

This statement is totally false, and constitutes a dissection of the Word which results in the fracturing of the Trinity ( Father, Son and Holy Spirit ). It is a demonstration of a misconception, and misunderstanding, of what the Word of God really IS.
A) First of all, the Word of God IS ALIVE.
B) Secondly, the Word of God IS Jesus Christ!
1) John 1:1 tells us that the Word has existed from the Beginning, that it was WITH God, and the Word WAS God.
2) John 1:14 further tells us that the Word was MADE FLESH and DWELT among us.

There is to be no separation of God, His Word, and His Holy Spirit. They cannot BE separated. 'Making the Word of God the final authority, is NOT serving the 'letter instead of the Spirit' , because the Word is NOT 'the creation'!

It goes without saying that the Word is to be interpreted BY and THROUGH the Holy Spirit. Any interpretation by any person, who is NOT filled with, led by, and taught by, the Holy Spirit, is open to Human error, Satanic Delusion, or both. This is clearly demonstrated by the example of Puritan Doctrine you mentioned. They were locking in on a Truth, by declaring the Authority of the Holy Scriptures, but WHY did this fact become degraded into the rigid Legalism of Puritan Doctrine? Because they were NOT led by and taught by the Holy Spirit, who shall lead us into all Truth. Having a 'form of Godliness, but denying the Power thereof'. They also dissected the Word, and fractured the Trinity.

EVERY Doctrine, and EVERY Tradition of Man, has come from this very same dissection of the Word, and fracturing of the Trinity. Every Individual or Group Interpretation of the Word, lacking the specific, ongoing, direct teaching, and the direct leading of the Holy Spirit, moment by moment, is wide open to error and delusion. Past, Present or Future.


Thank you Jay for the more in depth History Lesson on what Sola Scriptura is and where it got its name.... The Bible alone... One Scripture...

I have been called a Sola Scriptura believer many times in Chat and I wonder if the people really knew the meaning of the term or just used it as a straw man taunt.

Jay there is obviously allot of chasms that have been opened over the years and wedges that have driven the sides apart further... but may I point out what one wedge is?

For the most part True Sola Scriptura is not near as common as many Catholics believe. They have been Duped into a false belief that we (Protestants) are as Puritan as Amish or Mennonite believers...??? (and therefore living total Hypocritical lives)

That is to say they are supposing that we still follow the Bible totally at the exclusion of outside scripture... ???

Not so. If that were the case the Christian Bookstores would go Broke from lack of Book sales.

And we would not be here reading your Column or reading your library either...

We do read outside of the Bible. But we also try to be very careful what we call "SCRIPTURE" Remember also that the bible says in Ecclesiastes 12:11-12 "The words of the wise are like goads, their collected sayings like firmly embedded nails, given by one Shepherd. Be Warned my son of anything in addition to them. Of making of books there is no end, and much study wearies the body.

To call something scripture is to say that God breathed Life into it.

John 1:1 In the Beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. He was with God in the Beginning. That is a pretty radical statement to say about most pieces of literature... Some pieces of literature outside the bible do seam to have life... like Romeo and Juliet... But does it mean that God wrote it or inspired it?

We should always be careful of what we include in our doctrine. Is it compatible with what Jesus taught? What the Apostles taught?

Also...Just because the Bible does not directly address a thing does not mean the Bible is silent about it either. The Holy Spirit certainly is not.

A thing to remember is that like most Catholics, the majority of Protestants have never been to a full seminary. Only Pastors usually go that far. The rest of the peoples' education usually comes from secular schools just like your Catholic congregations generally send their kids to. In the seminaries Pastors are taught to do all manor of things like word studies in the original language texts and what books to use to check Professional Linguists works and writings on the individual verses. Many of these books also make references to outside literature like Josephus and Hillel and even things like Archeological finds that pertain to the work being studied.

We don't believe in including the Apocrypha in our cannon... But that's another issue. I don't think that by itself means we are Sola Scriptura... if so then we need to redefine the term.

I am wondering at this point.... Do we need to defend our use of the Bible as the One document that interprets how we view all others? We know the Bible is the Bíblia Sagrada... Therefore it has become the Witness Stone... (Boundary Stone) The Marker by which all other lines are checked... Do not Catholics also claim to use the Bible in the same way?

Grace and Peace all

In Christ


The Prayer of Jesus "May They be One" still motivates many- but a subtle prejudice threatens.

Catholic Way - "I am a Christian. I am a Catholic Christian. I am an evangelical Catholic Christian."

With those words I began my first full - length book entitled "Evangelical Catholics" (Thomas Nelson, 1990); and threw down the gauntlet in a life and a career that has sought to heal the wounds and divisions among Christians.

It has been over a decade since I wrote that book. Even though others have followed, including the equally controversial "A House United: Evangelicals and Catholics Together", it is still the subject of hostility, vitriol, and apocalyptic nonsense on the World Wide Web. Out of print for sometime, it was recently released in Poland, the home of many great Christian heroes including Karol Woltyla, Pope John Paul II.

Even that great evangelical "statesman", Chuck Colson, who was courageous enough to write the forward to the book, still suffers at the pen (keyboard) of those who seek to keep the wounds of division open between Christians. What disturbs me most is that by so doing, they undermine the very Gospel they purport to be protecting and promoting.

In many respects, my life is not unique. I was raised in a Catholic home. During my formative adolescent years our family faith grew cold. Like many "boomers" I suffered from existential angst and searched for that elusive "truth" This is the impulse that birthed the "counter-culture" of the sixties and seventies. I was a part of it.

I had a sincere "conversion" back to the Christian faith, which was influenced by evangelical Protestants. I continued my search for the fullness of Christianity once I had come back to faith. That search led me through Church history, the early Church fathers, and in the furnace of my intellectual inquiry and genuine reflection, I re-embraced my Catholic Christian faith.

However, what is unique is that for almost three decades since that decision I have been "the Catholic guy" among many evangelical, charismatic and various "types" of Protestant Christians. Through experience, study and calling, I am comfortable with evangelical Protestants. I know how to speak their language (one of the great challenges of authentic ecumenical work) and I share their true fervor for a personal relationship with the Lord. I am also able to explain the Catholic distinctive in a manner that seems to help bridge the gulf between us as Christians.

I have been on the forefront of seeking to bring evangelical (and charismatic) Protestants, Catholic, and Orthodox Christians, to co-operation. I have been driven by a passionate conviction that the "High Priestly Prayer" of Jesus, recorded in St. John's Gospel (chapter 17) "Father, may they be one… so that the world may believe" must be answered. I have worked on the front line and come to call "friend" some very influential evangelical Protestant leaders.

However, what I did not expect when all of this began was just how deep the divisions and how serious the suspicion truly has become, on all sides of the Christian divide. I now grow weary and am tempted more than ever to give up. I have fallen in the waters of hostility now too many times and I have been hurt.

Oh, I have seen progress. The open animosity between us has at least subsided. However, it has been replaced by something that may even be more corrupting and dangerous, the subtlety of anti-Catholic prejudice that runs at a deeper unspoken level.

In the early days of my work, I grew used to the condescension (e.g. "he's a saved Catholic") and used it to my advantage. I tried to break the stereotypes concerning Catholic Christians that existed in certain evangelical and charismatic Protestant circles.

My placement in the broad and increasingly popular renewal and pro-life movements greatly assisted my sincere efforts. It also led to career opportunities and changes. It was during those experiences that the real subtlety of this deeper anti-Catholic prejudice became clear.

I am a lawyer by choice and training. I have sought for twenty years to blend what I have called my "two professions", the profession of faith and the profession of law. Thomas More has been my hero and model. In 1991,at the invitation of a prominent evangelical Protestant leader I spent years building a legal effort that still does wonderful pro-life, pro-family and religious freedom work.

It was also during those years of building that legal effort that I accepted the invitation to ordination as a permanent deacon in my Church. That turn of events would forever change my life.

This popular evangelical leader, whom I still respect, attended my ordination. I would later discover that the experience was more than he expected.

Deacons in the Catholic Church are members of the clergy and the ordination service is beautiful and rich with ancient liturgical expressions. My friends' comment, expressed to me later in a private moment, revealed a lot. After I asked him about the experience he looked at me and said-"brother, why do you need all that stuff."

I explained that "that stuff" was at the heart of my Christian faith and life. After that experience, I tried to explain my deep convictions about the Church, the Sacraments, and my Catholic faith. It was a mixed experience.

Soon, I found myself "outside the circle" both relationally and professionally. This was attributed to my having "lost my focus" but I knew it was because I was honest about my views on the Catholic faith and, in particular, the Eucharist.

The message was subtle, but clear, it was "O.K. to be a Catholic- but don't go too far". Well, being Catholic is not an "add on". It is the foundation of an entire way of being Christian.

I would later leave the law firm (a "mutual agreement")and retreat for a while after that experience. I spent almost three years doing public policy work, helping a presidential candidate and furthering my theological education.

However, I was lured back into what I have come to call "risky ecumenism" by an invitation to be "the Catholic guy" in a bold ecumenical business endeavor. Ironically it came from the same leader.

Still eager for the fulfillment of the prayer of Jesus, "May they be one" and willing to risk again, I jumped in on the ground floor of a "start up". I did so only after hearing the explanation of the business plan which aimed to use the World Wide Web as a platform to represent the fullness of Christian life, faith and expression-including Catholics! This would be done through a market-oriented venture that sought to web enable Christian ministries, churches and communities. The entrepreneur and the evangelist in me could not resist the invitation!

Unfortunately, less than a year later, when the precarious nature of the "new economy" hit his new business venture, the commitment to this "fullness" of Christian expression was the first part of the business plan to hit the skids. The Catholic, Messianic and other "non-evangelical Protestant" versions of Christian expression, included in the original content plan, became expendable.

Since then, in my opinion, the culture of the venture has become the popular "evangelical" subculture so foreign to Catholic Christians. I still support what is good and co-operate. But the dream has died and along with it, so has a part of my heart.

I do not want to be misunderstood. I have experienced the Catholic suspicion of, and prejudice toward some evangelical Protestants as well. I have fought it with equal fervor.

However, as I have grown older I understand it more. That truly concerns me. The reason is that I have come to see how subtle anti-Catholic prejudice truly has become. It is now "O.K" to be Catholic in many evangelical Protestant circles, but not "too" Catholic.

I have grown tired of the anti-Catholic culture, language and atmosphere all too often present in some segments of the contemporary popular evangelical Protestant subculture.

With the graying of my hair I have come to embrace what I call the "popeye principle". Those familiar with the character remember his famous line- "I am what I am and that's all that I am." I am a Catholic Christian-period. End of story. I love the Catholic faith and I love the Catholic Church. I know the "warts" and the difficulties in her history. However, when you discover that the Church is a mother, you never reject her.

I still respect all sincere efforts to proclaim the truth of the invitation of Jesus Christ to all men and women. I also admire the evangelical protestant communities initiative and their boldness in proclaiming the Gospel to an age that so desperately needs to hear it.

After all of this I have decided that maybe I will just return to the "normal" full time practice of law, practice my Catholic faith, raise my family and grow old with my wonderful and patient wife.

But I still believe those words I wrote in that controversial book. "I am a Christian, I am a Catholic Christian, I am an evangelical Catholic Christian", and I still hear that Prayer…

"May they be one?"


Rev. Mr. Keith A. Fournier is a constitutional lawyer and a public policy activist. A Deacon of the Catholic Church, he served as the first Executive Director of the "American Center for Law and Justice", is a founder of "Catholic Alliance", the founder of "The Common Good Foundation" and a graduate of the John Paul II Institute, a Pontifical Academy of the Lateran University.

Copyright © 2000 Deacon Keith A. Fournier, Third Millennium, LLC

Latter Rain Discussion Archives

The Lord has given us the grace to reconcile the children to their Fathers

As One Body

  • We prepare for the Marriage Supper of the Lamb
  • Harvest the Fruit of the Latter Rain
  • Follow Him as the Army of the Lord into His Glory

Help To Prepare A Holy Bride!

Issue Oriented Discussion Newsletter

Index | Search This Site | Aristide.Org | The Latter Rain | Babylon the Great | The Kingdom | The Nicolaitans | Jezebel
The Baptism With the Holy Ghost | The Grand Delusion | World Trade Org | Liberation Theology | Jay Atkinson | Alphabetical Index