Catholic Infant Baptism

22 02 2021

Listen to the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

Holy Baptism is the basis of the whole Christian life, the gateway to life in the Spirit (vitae spiritualis ianua), and the door which gives access to the other sacraments. Through Baptism we are freed from sin and reborn as sons of God; we become members of Christ, are incorporated into the Church and made sharers in her mission: “Baptism is the sacrament of regeneration through water in the word.”

Let’s take the errors line by line. The catechism starts off by saying that baptism is the basis or foundation of the whole Christian life. Paul tells us that Christ is the foundation or basis of the Christian life (1 Corinthians 3:11). In Matthew 16:18 we see that the basis for entering the Christian life is profession of faith not baptism.

Rome claims baptism is the gateway to life in the Spirit. What does Scripture say of this? In Romans 8:9 we are told that those who do not have the Spirit are not His children,

What is the gateway to life in the Spirit? Let’s look back to the Scriptures for the answer.

In Acts 10 we see Peter take the Gospel to Cornelius. He and his household believed the Gospel and in verse 44 we see them receive the Spirit.

While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word.”

Did they enter life in the Spirit through baptism? No, it was through hearing and believing the Gospel. It was by faith not of works as we see expressed in Ephesians 2:8-9.

In fact it mentions that they were baptized after receiving the Spirit. Not only did they not receive the Spirit through baptism but receiving the Spirit was the basis for baptism.

Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?” (Acts 10:47)

The catechism claims that through baptism we are freed from sin. Scripture says that it is through our obedience to the Gospel that we are freed from sin.

But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.” (Romans 6:17-18)

The catechism claims that through baptism we are reborn as children of God. Does Scripture agree with this claim? Hardly, it actually opposes it.

Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.” (1 Peter 1:23)

Here we see that we are reborn not through baptism but the word of the Lord. What is the word of the Lord? Look a little further in this same chapter.

But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.” (Vs. 25)

So the word of God is the Gospel. Look at John 1:12 and you will find the difference between Roman Catholicism and Biblical Christianity.

But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.”

We become children of God by believing on His name. Not by baptism, a system of penance, or the mass. Those who receive Him are born again.

The catechism claims that through baptism we are incorporated into Christ’s Church. We need to understand that they are referring to the universal body of believers not the local church. Let’s look again away from Rome and towards the Scriptures. At his sermon on Pentecost Peter preached Christ. We see the result in Acts 2:41.

Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.”

So the souls of those who believed the Gospel were added to the small group of believers. They were baptized but the focus on the verse is on them receiving their word not their baptism.

The catechism says that through baptism we are incorporated into Christ. What does the Bible teach?

Hebrews 3:14 says that we are partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence to the end. In other words if we continue in faith. Listen to Peter in 2 Peter 1:4.

Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.”

We are partakers of the divine nature by faith. How do I know this? Because the promises he mentions here are for “us” who is the “us”? Listen to verse 1.

Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.”

The promise of partaking in the divine nature is to those who have received faith. We know that faith is a gift of grace according to Ephesians 2:8-9. A gift cannot be earned or merited. It can only be received.

Rome does not deny salvation is by grace they simply deny the sufficiency of grace. They deny that grace alone saves. In fact the Council of Trent condemned with anathema those who believed salvation was by faith alone.

Turn to Romans 4:2-9.

For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God. For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin. Cometh this blessedness then upon the circumcision only, or upon the uncircumcision also? for we say that faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness.”

The catechism calls it regeneration through water in the word. This quote is almost Biblical. It comes from Ephesians 5 where Paul is talking about Christ and His church.

That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word.” (Vs. 26)

This is not in regards to the unsaved but the church and it’s not in regards to initial salvation but sanctification. He wants to present to Himself a glorious church without spot or wrinkle. He sanctifies His church through the washing of water.

Is this actual, literal water? No, it is the water of the Word. He uses His Word as a purifying and cleansing agent.

They lean heavily upon John 3 to justify baptism as a means of salvation. Let’s look at the passage in question to see what it says. (Turn)

Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” (John 3:5)

What they are doing is using a proof text. They do this by pulling a single verse out of a chapter to prove their point. We need to put the verse in context to see what it is actually saying. In verse 3 Jesus simply tells him that he must be born again. This confuses Nicodemus.

Nicodemus responds by asking how someone can be born a second time. He asks if he must enter his mother’s womb again and be born. Then in verse 5 Jesus draws the distinction. He says you must be born of water (physical birth) and of the Spirit (second birth).

Continue into the next verse, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” He clearly explains the birth of water is the physical birth and the birth of Spirit is the second birth. He closes His explanation in verse 7, “Marvel not that I said unto thee, ye must be born again.” He explained that the command to be born again was referring to the spiritual not the physical.





Prayer Letter (April-June 2020)

21 08 2020

Greetings:
We greet you in the name of the Lord and hope this letter finds you well. We are still on lock down. The prisons are still closed so I have been finding other ways to minister the Gospel. The good news is that people are out and moving around more so that creates more opportunity to get them the Gospel. Our family is doing well and the kids are growing. Dale starts Kindergarten this year which is an exciting new step in his life. Sky is working on some preschool materials to help her prepare for next year when she starts Kindergarten.

Street Ministry:
We don’t want to waste this time of societal change. We want to redeem the time and keep busy in Kingdom work. We have continued our ministry at the bus station. It seems to be business as usual there. The Courthouse has been put on hold due to less in-person court hearings. We have moved to include some neighborhood outreach. We are giving away tracts and Scripture house to house. With more people staying home we figure it’s time to take the Gospel to them.

We preached 5 open air sermons, gave away 427 tracts and 520 copies of John/Romans booklets.

Prison Ministry:
Not being able to go into the prison hasn’t stopped me from ministering in other ways. I have been ministering by letters to 4 men and I sent 2 Christian books to an inmate requesting them as well. Pray for the men as their ability to attend services has been greatly hampered. I was blessed to hear that on one yard the men were using their 2 hour yard time each day to gather in worship.

Please pray with me that the prisons will reopen and that God is using this time to prepare hearts for a great revival in there. I believe that this is all within God’s plan and that we need only trust Him.

Please consider supporting us financially as well as with your prayers. You can give a tax deductible donation.

Giving Instructions:

Give online by clicking above
To give by check simply make the check out to Revival USA with Lighthouse Gospel Ministries in the memo section. You can mail it to us at:

Lighthouse Gospel Ministries
400 McKee Road
Bakersfield, Ca. 93307

“If sinners be damned, at least let them leap to Hell over our dead bodies. And if they perish, let them perish with our arms wrapped about their knees, imploring them to stay. If Hell must be filled, let it be filled in the teeth of our exertions, and let not one go unwarned and unprayed for.” C.H. Spurgeon





You Have No Right to Your Rights

30 04 2020

Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword. Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be?” (Matthew 26:52-54)

One of the biggest hindrances to American Christianity is politics. We have so merged the two that to be a conservative republican is to be a Christian. I see Christians everywhere demanding their rights. This is not in and of itself evil. We are guaranteed certain rights and it’s not wrong to want those rights.

What tends to happen is a mean spirit seems to fester and before too long Christians are name calling and angrily demanding their rights. I have seen Christians get into arguments with police officers over their rights while street preaching. Often it is unnecessary and seldom Christ honoring.

In the text above Jesus makes a clear statement that as the Son of God He had certain rights and yet to fulfill the will of God He had no claim to those rights. In other words all of our rights stop at the cross which is the ultimate place of submission to God. Our right to live the life we desire stops at the cross.

Our right to vengeance dies at the cross, our right to self exaltation dies at the cross, our right to our reputation dies at the cross, our right to anything comes to an end at the cross. The cross is the end of self. While the heathen (Republican and Democrat) scream for their rights, believers know that we don’t have a rightful claim on all of our rights.

When I’m taking the Gospel door to door I often leave a tract on a house that says “no soliciting.” The reason is that I know that religious free speech is protected by the 1st Amendment and is not covered under soliciting laws. The problem is that the average person doesn’t understand that. Too often I have seen Christians in shouting matches with people over their right to leave a tract.

While I agree in the right to do it I also have to admit that it may be better to forego that right as a witness to that lost person. I’m not a good testimony when I scream my rights at them. Many point to Paul using his Roman rights while in captivity. True, he did as far as it benefited the Gospel, but he also at times he laid aside his rights in order to further the Gospel.

If we have sown unto you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we shall reap your carnal things? If others be partakers of this power over you, are not we rather? Nevertheless we have not used this power; but suffer all things, lest we should hinder the gospel of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 9:11-12)

Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel. But I have used none of these things: neither have I written these things, that it should be so done unto me: for it were better for me to die, than that any man should make my glorying void.” (1 Corinthians 9:14-15)

We as believers find the will of God to be our ultimate authority. All other rights whether political or even Biblical must be held only in the light of their value to the will of God.





Jesus Came to Bring Violence — but What Does That Mean for Us?

29 04 2020

A good episode of Ask Pastor John with John Piper of Bethlehem Baptist Church and Desiring God. If you don’t listen to this podcast I wholeheartedly recommend it.

 





2019 Year End Update

21 04 2020

I guess I forgot to post my last ministry update for 2019 so here it is. Sorry it’s so late and thank your for your prayers.

Greetings:
We greet you in the name of the Lord and hope this letter finds you well. We were blessed to finalize our adoption in November. We welcomed Dale Michael Garland and Skyeisha Grace Garland to our family. The Lord’s hand was evident both in how quickly we got them as well as in how fast the process took. Many families struggle for years to adopt and we were blessed to be able to complete the process in just over a year.

Street Ministry:
We have had good crowds on the streets and many people showing an interest in the Word of God. I was able to preach at the PAC 12 Championship game in Santa Clara for third straight year. I gave out 100 tracts and got to preach to hundreds more.

Prison Ministry:
The Lord allowed me to preach the Christmas banquets in Lancaster which was a blessing. The sermons led to two or three divine appointments with men struggling with the truth of the Gospel. I gave out a Bible and New Testament, 111 tracts and 9 Christian books to the men. I was able to preach to 149 men over the last two months.

2019 Year in Review:
I almost hate to make summaries since ministry is far more than mere numbers but I do think it’s helpful to look at what has been accomplished while giving thanks to the Lord.

Bibles: 147
New Testaments: 7
John/Romans: 112
Gospel of Johns: 1
Tracts: 1,813
Books to inmates: 31
Professions of faith: 13
Prayer requests received: 938
Men attended preaching: 969
Letter ministry: 8
Food ministry: 111
Clothing given out: 100

Praise the Lord for a fruitful 2019 and may He increase the field of labor in 2020!
Please consider supporting us financially as well as with your prayers. You can give a tax deductible donation.

Giving Instructions:
Give online by clicking “Donate” at the top of the page. All gifts are tax deductible.

To give by check simply make the check out to Revival USA with Lighthouse Gospel Ministries in the memo section. You can mail it to us at:

Lighthouse Gospel Ministries
400 McKee Road
Bakersfield, Ca. 93307

“If sinners be damned, at least let them leap to Hell over our dead bodies. And if they perish, let them perish with our arms wrapped about their knees, imploring them to stay. If Hell must be filled, let it be filled in the teeth of our exertions, and let not one go unwarned and unprayed for.” C.H. Spurgeon





Resolutions

31 12 2019

This is a sermon I preached at McKee Road Baptist Church in Bakersfield, Ca. on 12-29-19.

 





Rick Preaching at PAC 12 Championship

22 12 2019





Prayer Letter: August/September 2019

4 10 2019

Greetings:
We greet you in the name of the Lord and hope this letter finds you well. I apologize for getting this letter out so late but September was an extremely busy month.

Street Ministry:
We had a hot summer in our street ministry. I can’t complain I suppose because the Lord blessed us with a short summer. Our hot months typically stretch from May to October but this year they only lasted from June to August with a few warm days in September.

Our usual spots are the Courthouse, the bus station and the Planned Parenthood abortion clinic. We were able to proclaim the Gospel at all of them over the summer.

Prison Ministry:
The Lord has been stirring the hearts of men in both prisons. The men in Lancaster are seeing tremendous answers to prayer including several of the brothers having life sentences reduced. A few men have been released and are serving the Lord with their families now.

The men in North Kern are being stirred with a particular desire for holiness and a desire to share the Gospel on the yard. I was able to minister to a man at our county prison over the summer as well. I hope he continues to seek the Lord.

Prayer Requests:

*Financial support
*A home repair financial need of $3,200 to be met
*Upcoming outreaches in December: PAC 12 Championship outreach; Fiesta Bowl Outreach; Christmas revival at Lancaster prison
Please consider supporting us financially as well as with your prayers. You can give a tax deductible donation.

Giving Instructions:
Give online at http://www.gospelbeacon.org

To give by check simply make the check out to Revival USA with Lighthouse Gospel Ministries in the memo section. You can mail it to us at:

Lighthouse Gospel Ministries
400 McKee Road
Bakersfield, Ca. 93307

“If sinners be damned, at least let them leap to Hell over our dead bodies. And if they perish, let them perish with our arms wrapped about their knees, imploring them to stay. If Hell must be filled, let it be filled in the teeth of our exertions, and let not one go unwarned and unprayed for.” C.H. Spurgeon





Prayer Letter (May-June 2019)

10 07 2019

Greetings:
We greet you in the name of the Lord and hope this letter finds you well. We were blessed with a cool start to the summer this year. It usually reaches the 90’s by May and the 100’s by June but we had rain and cold through most of May and the month of June was pretty moderate with only a few hot days. This is a blessing because the temperature in the chapels can reach 105 to 110 with very little air circulation when it’s hot outside.

Street Ministry:
We are getting involved with some outreach at our local abortion clinic. I was able to be out there a few times over the last 2 months. The Lord allowed us to give out 92 tracts as well as preach to several good listening crowds.

Prison Ministry:
The Lord has been stirring the hearts of men in both prisons. The men in Lancaster are seeing tremendous answers to prayer and the men in North Kern are being stirred with a particular desire for holiness and nearness to the Lord. I find this so encouraging.

North Kern has been plagued by lock downs the warm weather tends to have more violent outbursts and problems between inmates. Pray that this subsides for the rest of the summer. I gave away 20 Bibles, 20 John/Romans, and 140 tracts. I have been able to preach to 70 men with 3 calling on the Lord for salvation. I was able to minister by letter with 8 men.

Please consider supporting us financially as well as with your prayers as we desire to serve the Lord full time in the Gospel ministry. There are so many people who need to hear the Gospel and so little time to labor and serve the Lord in this life.

You can give a tax deductible donation online by clicking the tab above or to give by check simply make the check out to Revival USA with Lighthouse Gospel Ministries in the memo section. You can mail it to us at:

Lighthouse Gospel Ministries
400 McKee Road
Bakersfield, Ca. 93307

“If sinners be damned, at least let them leap to Hell over our dead bodies. And if they perish, let them perish with our arms wrapped about their knees, imploring them to stay. If Hell must be filled, let it be filled in the teeth of our exertions, and let not one go unwarned and unprayed for.” C.H. Spurgeon





Prayer Letter March/April 2019

17 05 2019

Greetings:
We greet you in the name of the Lord and hope this letter finds you well. I mentioned in our last letter that our foster son needed surgery. We made it all the way to prep when they realized there was an error on the court paperwork. We had to postpone and are still waiting for another date.

We have seen major improvements in our foster son and even though both kids are dealing with a lot of trauma we have been able to phase him out of therapy which is a blessing. We have our yearly home inspection in a few weeks for our foster care license so please be in prayer. We have a new social worker so we don’t know what to expect.

They changed some rules which forced us to erect a fence around our above ground pool. It was about $350 we really couldn’t afford but the blessing is that it could have been $300 more. The Lord allowed us to save money by buying a used one and the seller delivered, painted and installed it. Keep praying that we can adopt the kids in the coming months.

Street Ministry:
We have been blessed with cooler weather which is a great blessing when ministering on the streets. We are getting involved with some outreach at our local abortion clinic. I am praying a door opens to do that on a regular basis. Over the last 2 months the Lord allowed us to give out 112 tracts on the streets as well as have several good conversations with people about the Gospel.

We are going to Fresno (about 2 hours away) quarterly to reach out to the large homeless population there. We were there March and gave away 40 Bibles as well as provided a meal for 111 people. We were able to engage some about their souls as well.

Prison Ministry:
I was contacted about a man in our county jail on attempted murder charges. I was able to visit and share the Gospel with him as well as send him some books to help him. Pray for Luis and I will try and keep contact with him to keep sharing the Gospel. In Lancaster we are seeing great answers to prayer among the men and a great desire among the men to share the Gospel. One yard has even arranged a weekly outreach time.

North Kern has been plagued by lock downs but in those times they have been open God has worked in the men’s hearts. I gave away 43 Bibles, 40 John/Romans, and 431 tracts. I have been able to preach to 158 men with 7 calling on the Lord for salvation. I have sent 4 Christian books to men requesting Christian materials.

Please consider supporting us financially as well as with your prayers as we desire to serve the Lord full time in the Gospel ministry. There are so many people who need to hear the Gospel and so little time to labor and serve the Lord in this life.

You can give a tax deductible donation by clicking the “donate” tab above or to give by check simply make the check out to Revival USA with Lighthouse Gospel Ministries in the memo section. You can mail it to us at:

Lighthouse Gospel Ministries
400 McKee Road
Bakersfield, Ca. 93307

“If sinners be damned, at least let them leap to Hell over our dead bodies. And if they perish, let them perish with our arms wrapped about their knees, imploring them to stay. If Hell must be filled, let it be filled in the teeth of our exertions, and let not one go unwarned and unprayed for.” C.H. Spurgeon








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