"The Article on Which the Church Stands or Falls" 

To sum up with one word what the topic was, it was justification.

The text read was Galations 1:6-10:
I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace
of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed. 
 For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ.
Roughly, the points made were:

1: All doctrines are not equally important. They are certainly all important, but some have greater bearing on salvation than others. Dr. Sproul quoted Martin Luther on justification, saying it is "our only protection", "the master, the priest, the ruler, and the judge over all other doctrines", and "in it, all the other articles of our faith are comprehended". It is either Christ's righteousness that saves us, or our own. There is no middle ground. (I really like that phraseology...)

Dr. Sproul also quoted John Calvin as saying, "[justification is] the hinge on which everything turns", and it is "the foundation on which our salvation is laid". J.I. Packard calls it, "the fine print of the gospel".

2: The Roman Catholic Church believes that our salvation requires faith in Jesus Christ plus works. Sproul really stressed the fact that Roman Catholisism does teach faith in Christ and that often Protestants seem to ignore that and oversimplify the Roman position. On the other hand, he noted that the traditional Protestant teaching is salvation by faith in Christ alone. Christ's righteousness is imputed to us (which the Roman Church denies while keeping the imputation of our sin to Christ). {Here Dr. Sproul made a little joke with the Latin, saying that there is no tershim quid [ignore the probable faulty spelling please]...this of course means, there is no thrid position, but he pulled our legs by at first saying that it was a fish! (Having studied Latin, I knew that wasn't referring to a fish, but I am rusty, so I was glad that he did eventually translate.) I had no idea Dr. Sproul was a comic...but he certainly has some funny one-liners!}

3: Justification by faith alone is non-negotiable. Period. End of story. We CANNOT be justified any other way than by the forensic declaration of God.
 


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