As you can imagine, we’ve received many comments, questions, and exhortations from Reformed people over the last few months. Perhaps the main critique we’ve received is that we need to obey the Bible, or attend a church that is biblically sound, or something along those lines. One of the reasons behind the Reformation was that the Reformers had accused Rome of forsaking God’s Word. So if someone from a Reformed background becomes Catholic, this must involve a lower view of Scripture.
While that’s how it looks from the Reformed end, that isn’t at all what changes in the heart and mind of a convert to Rome. Catholics believe as much as Reformed people do that their beliefs are in accord with God’s holy and authoritative Word. Rome teaches that that Bible is inspired by God, and because of its divine source man must live in submission to its every word. What changes in the heart and mind of a convert rather, and perhaps surprisingly, is one’s amount of faith. It’s not a matter of a higher or lower view of Scripture, it’s a matter of more or less faith. And becoming Catholic requires much more faith than I had as a Reformed person.
The reason for this is simple, and it has to do with sola scriptura. According to sola scriptura, Scripture alone is the infallible authority for our doctrines, worship, and lives as Christians, because Scripture alone has divine authority. The Reformed have a high view of other authorities like the Church, creeds, and confessions, but these are all human authorities. Their words are only a human response to divine speech, so none of them has more right than any other to lay claim to our unquestioning submission.
Rome, however, teaches that the Bible is not alone as a divine authority in the world. She teaches that Jesus Christ granted to His Church not just human authority, but His own divine authority. Because of this, Catholics must submit to the Church in faith. A Catholic accepts the Nicene Creed, for example, not because he’s necessarily convinced from Scripture that every article is true, but because Jesus Christ through the Church has told him that it’s true. As a Reformed person I understood the Church as being loved by Christ, guided by Christ, taught by Christ – but not as having Christ’s authority. I had to judge, then, whether I thought her teachings were biblical. It was an exercise of my judgment, not of my faith. But when you become Catholic, you put your judgment off to the side. It doesn’t matter anymore whether you’re convinced of a certain doctrine or not. Since the Lord Jesus through His Body has told you that it’s true, you believe it. It’s an exercise of faith, not of judgment.
This question of divine authority is the most important question of all. Were the Reformers right in claiming that only Scripture has divine authority? Or does Scripture itself teach us that the Church has it, too? The significance of the issue can’t be understated. If the Church has divine authority, then submitting to her is submitting to Jesus Christ, and rejecting her is rejecting Jesus Christ. If she has this authority, then every Christian on earth has the duty to seek her out and submit to her in obedience and humility.
What I hope to explain here is why I think that Scripture plainly testifies to the divine authority of the Church, and how the great teachers of the early Church confirm it.
Just to make this concrete, here’s a scenario to show the difference between a sola scriptura world and a non-sola scriptura world. Let’s say you’re sitting at the kitchen table with Alphonse, a friend from a different denominational background. You’re arguing about a certain doctrine, a doctrine Alphonse thinks Scripture teaches, and one that he thinks is essential to salvation. You’re convinced that he’s misinterpreting Scripture, and you argue for a different interpretation of the passages in question. This goes back and forth as you wind your way through Scripture, but eventually you both realize you won’t change the other’s mind. You both have explanations for every relevant passage, and you both believe that you have been enlightened by the Holy Spirit to the truth.
That’s how things are in a sola scriptura world. Instead of you and Alphonse you could substitute the Reformed and the Baptists debating baptism, or the Reformed and Lutherans debating the sacraments, or the Federal Vision and Westminster Seminary California debating justification. Or Athanasius and the Arians debating the divinity of Christ, to knock it back a dozen and a half centuries. What you have are different groups of human beings arguing about the meaning of Scripture, with no group having more than human authority. Since there is no divine authority in the world other than Scripture, Scripture is the highest level of appeal. Once you’ve considered all the passages relevant to a given doctrine, if you still haven’t arrived at agreement, there is nothing more that can be done. When the groups disagree, they can call each other heretics, but again, that label can have nothing higher than human authority attached to it.
But let’s say you and Alphonse are not alone at the table – the Lord Jesus is sitting there with you. He listens to the arguments for a while, and then He looks at you and says, “You are wrong. Your doctrine comes from a distortion of the Scriptures, and Alphonse is correct.” What now? Well, clearly you give up your doctrine. Maybe you can’t understand at all from Scripture how Alphonse is right and you aren’t, but that no longer matters. You know now that Alphonse’s doctrine is true not because you understand it, but because Christ, who speaks with the authority of God, has told you it’s true. You know that it’s true by faith, not by the sight of your mind.
You can see how Christ’s authority changes things. This is no longer a sola scriptura world since Scripture is no longer alone as a divine authority. There are now two divine authorities at the table, Scripture and Christ; and Christ can definitively settle any disputes that arise over doctrine. You had no good reason to reject your convictions when Alphonse told you that you were wrong, because he was no more or less fallible than you were. Apart from convincing or threatening each other, nothing could settle the difference. But you have a very good reason to toss aside your own convictions when Christ tells you that you’re wrong, since He’s infallible and you aren’t. This can settle things in a hurry, and with finality.
So the question of whether or not the Church has divine teaching authority is the question of whether or not Christ is seated at the kitchen table with you and Alphonse. We know that this was the case at some point in history: when the Lord Jesus walked the earth. At that time the people of God were blessed with both an infallible text and an infallible Teacher. The gospels show us repeatedly how Christ related to Scripture. He explained what the Scriptures meant, and asserted His explanation over and against all competing ones. To the Pharisees He said, “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me” [Jn.5:39]. To the Sadducees He said, “You are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God” [Mt.22:29]. The Pharisees and the Sadducees were the seminarians of their day, men who had devoted their lives to studying Scripture and committing it to memory. If there was anyone who thought they knew the Scriptures, it was they. Yet all their study had not given them eyes to see what the Scriptures taught. In fact, it only increased the pride that blinded them when Christ declared the truth.
The fact that Christ had divine authority did not diminish in any way the prominence of the written Word. He did not render Scripture unnecessary, nor did He overshadow its authority. His authority was the same divine authority as Scripture’s, only exercised differently. His teachings at once perfectly accorded with Scripture and enlightened men to the true meaning of Scripture.
Because of this, Christ and Scripture could not be separated or opposed to each other. The Pharisees tried to keep the two apart. In John 9 they confronted and interrogated a man whose sight Christ had restored. When the man jokingly suggests that the Pharisees want to become Christ’s disciples, they sneer, “You are his disciple but we are disciples of Moses. We know that God has spoken to Moses, but as for this man, we do not know where he comes from” [Jn.9:28-29]. The Pharisees assumed they could separate Christ from Scripture (Moses), and that the safe bet was sticking with Scripture and keeping their distance from Christ. But this assumption was mistaken. In rejecting Christ they had in fact rejected Scripture. In rejecting the divinely authoritative Teacher, they had rejected the divinely authoritative text. And it was the uneducated blind man who received the Teacher by faith, and thus understood the meaning of the text he hardly knew.
Scripture also shows us that Christ remained at the kitchen table following His ascension. The gospels of Matthew and John both contain “great commissions,” in which Christ instructs the Apostles to continue His ministry. In both cases He makes clear the kind of authority they will have. In the gospel of John, Jesus had spoken of His own authority: “Yet even if I do judge, my judgment is true, for it is not I alone who judge, but I and the Father who sent me” [Jn.8:16]. And then as His ascension draws near, He says to the Apostles: “As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you” [Jn.20:21]. The Apostles then were not going to be alone in their judgments, any more than Christ was alone in His. Their judgments would be true, for they would not judge alone, but they and the Christ who sent them. The Father had sent the Son to minister with His authority, and so the Son in turn sends His Apostles.
This is even more explicit in Matthew 28:18-20:
All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age [Mt.28:18-20].
The Apostles were to continue the ministry of Christ and establish a community of disciples formed by His teachings; that is, to establish Christ’s Church. But this command is book-ended by two related truths: Christ has been given an authority that encompasses all that exists, and His authoritative presence will go with His Church to the end of history. Only with this kind of authority could the Church bind and loose in heaven and on earth [Mt.16:19]. Only with this kind of authority could the Church speak wisdom to the heavenly places [Ep.3:10]. Only with this kind of authority could the Church judge angels and the cosmos [1Cor.6:2-3]. The Church from the beginning was never going to be a merely human institution exercising merely human authority. Christ Himself would be in her midst, and Christ’s authority would be exercised through her.
As a result, the Apostles made clear in their ministry that they did not come with human authority alone. They expected their words to be received not as their own, but as having the authority of Christ:
And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers. [1Th.2:13]
Paul praises the Thessalonians for recognizing the divine authority that lay behind his message. On the other hand, he rebukes those who don’t recognize that authority. The church in Galatia had been troubled by two competing versions of the gospel. There was the gospel Paul had brought, but then there was the gospel the Judaizers had introduced. In order to demonstrate which gospel was the true one, Paul appeals at length to his apostleship [Ga.1:11-2:10]. It was he, and not the Judaizers, who could declare his gospel to be more than just a human message. Paul’s gospel was the true gospel because Paul spoke with the authority of Jesus Christ [Ga.2:8].
But Christ hadn’t promised that His authoritative presence would go with His Apostles and no further. He didn’t get up and leave the kitchen table after the last Apostle died. He had promised His authoritative presence to the Church always, to the close of the age. Scripture goes on to show us that not only the Apostles but also the Church Christ established through them would speak with His authority.
In Acts 15, Luke describes for us the first ecumenical council of the Church. Normally, historians give the Council of Nicaea in 325 AD that title, but it’s really this Jerusalem Council that deserves it. The council had been called to address the question of whether or not Christians ought to be circumcised. The teachers promoting this doctrine had derived it from Scripture: “Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved” [Ac.15:1]. The “custom of Moses” was found in the Old Testament. It’s not hard to see how they arrived at their conclusions, either, as Genesis 17:13 says that circumcision is “in your flesh an everlasting covenant”; and there’s no text in the Old Testament that mentions the end of circumcision. It’s understandable how this teaching looked scriptural, and how it caused confusion in the Church.
Paul and Barnabas initially counter these teachers “with no small dissension and debate” [15:2]. No doubt Paul would have argued from the Old Testament as much as they did, and would have appealed to the gospel entrusted to him, too. But for the Church at the time, this was insufficient to settle the matter. After all this arguing, “Paul and Barnabas and some of the others were appointed to go up to Jerusalem to the apostles and the elders about this question” [15:2]. There was yet a further appeal to be made.
The council meets, discusses the question, and decides against the Pharisee party (as they are called in Acts 15:5). There are two details about this decision that are significant to the question of ongoing divine authority. The first is who was involved in making the decision. Every time Luke refers to those who were assembled at the council, he refers to “the apostles and the elders.” This was not merely the Apostles exercising their authority. The elders, those whom the Apostles had discipled [Mt.28:19-20], were as much involved in the decision as the Apostles themselves. At one point Luke also mentions, “The apostles, the elders, and the whole church” [Ac.15:22]. The decision of the council, then, rested on the authority of Apostles, elders, and the whole Church – not on the authority of the Apostles alone.
The second detail is that the council did not understand itself to be exercising merely human authority. In its letter to the churches, the council stated, “For it has seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay on you no further requirements than these…” [Ac.15:28]. The decision of the men assembled there was at the same time the decision of the Holy Spirit.
Putting this together, we have not only the Apostles, but also the elders and the whole Church with them speaking with the voice of Jesus Christ. At this council Jesus Himself was sitting at the kitchen table with His Church saying, “This doctrine is correct, and that one is a corruption of my Word.” So if you’d been rooting for the Pharisee party going into the council, you were now required to abandon your beliefs regardless of what you thought Scripture taught and instead observe the doctrine you’d initially believed was false. From this point on, you had to read Scripture through the decision of the council.
In Acts 16:4 Luke writes, “As [Paul and co.] went on their way through the cities, they delivered to them for observance the decisions that had been reached by the apostles and elders who were in Jerusalem.” The churches weren’t asked what they thought about the decisions. The decisions were dropped into their laps as a thing to be unquestioningly obeyed, a thing to be received by faith. This was an exercise of divine authority that was distinct from Scripture and distinct from merely apostolic authority. It was an exercise of divine authority by the Church.
In short, the evidence from Scripture does not support the fact that Scripture is alone as a divine authority in the world. On the contrary, when the message of the New Testament is taken as a whole, it shows that Christ gave His authority to the Apostles, and through them has given it to His Church. If you line up all the verses in the New Testament that speak about the universal Church, she is not a body that speaks with a merely human authority, because she is not a body that speaks only on earth. Her voice is the voice of Jesus Christ; her authority that of the Holy Spirit. Just as when God walked the earth in the flesh, the exercise of the Spirit’s authority through the Church does not diminish God’s Word, but rather enlightens all men to its riches. We cannot understand Scripture apart from the Holy Spirit [1Cor.2:14], and the Holy Spirit shows us the way through the teachings of the Church. Whoever listens to her listens to Christ [Lu.10:16].
The evidence from the early Church also demonstrates that the Church understood herself to have this authority. The model of the Jerusalem Council was followed later when heresies threatened the Church. Just as the Pharisee Party had appealed to Scripture for their doctrines, and just as the devil himself had appealed to Scripture in his attempt to triumph over Christ, so the heretics of the early Church appealed to Scripture to support their teachings. The fifth-century Church Father, Vincent of Lerins, writes the following:
Here, possibly, some one may ask, Do heretics also appeal to Scripture? They do indeed, and with a vengeance; for you may see them scamper through every single book of Holy Scripture, —through the books of Moses, the books of Kings, the Psalms, the Epistles, the Gospels, the Prophets. Whether among their own people, or among strangers, in private or in public, in speaking or in writing, at convivial meetings, or in the streets, hardly ever do they bring forward anything of their own which they do not endeavour to shelter under words of Scripture. Read the works of Paul of Samosata, of Priscillian, of Eunomius, of Jovinian, and the rest of those pests, and you will see an infinite heap of instances, hardly a single page, which does not bristle with plausible quotations from the New Testament or the Old.
When some of these heresies became pervasive enough, the Church assembled in ecumenical councils to the settle the questions. Although Vincent doesn’t list them here, Arius, Nestorius, and Eutyches were three of the most influential heretics of the early Church. They were influential precisely because they had such convincing scriptural arguments. Arius taught that Christ was exalted, divine, and a king – He just wasn’t divine in the same way that the Father was divine. After all, Scripture doesn’t say in as many words that Christ is of one substance with the Father, but there are passages that seem to suggest that He isn’t [Mt.24:36, for example]. Arius’ arguments were so convincing that there was a point in the fourth century where it seemed the bishops of the Church were wholesale converting to Arianism – and believed they were obeying Scripture in doing so.
The three hundred and eighteen bishops who assembled at Nicaea in 325 decided almost unanimously against Arius, and the decision was reaffirmed by the Council of Constantinople in 381. The Council of Ephesus in 431 decided against Nestorius, and the Council of Chalcedon in 451 against Eutyches. According to the Church Fathers, these conciliar decisions were not mere human decisions. Athanasius writes, “But the word of the Lord, which came through the ecumenical synod at Nicaea, abides forever.” And Basil of Caesarea: “[T]hat you should confess the faith put forth by our Fathers once assembled at Nicaea, that you should not omit any one of its propositions, but bear in mind that the three hundred and eighteen who met together without strife did not speak without the operation of the Holy Ghost.” The Fathers received the decision of Nicaea as being from the Holy Spirit Himself. This is merely echoing what Acts 15:28, “For it has seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us…” teaches about Church authority. The decisions of the ecumenical councils were to be received not by judging whether you thought they were scriptural, but by faith. If you were a convinced Arian, you had to to abandon your beliefs regardless of what you thought Scripture taught and instead observe the doctrine you’d initially believed was false. You had to read Scripture through the decision of the council on pain of apostasy.
This is also evident from the teachings the Fathers derived from Scripture. They did not judge the teachings of the Church through their reading of Scripture; rather, they read Scripture through the teachings of the Church. For example, the Church Father, Cyril of Jerusalem, wrote the following:
For concerning the divine and holy mysteries of the Faith, not even a casual statement must be delivered without the Holy Scriptures; nor must we be drawn aside by mere plausibility and artifices of speech. Even to me, who tell thee these things, give not absolute credence, unless thou receive the proof of the things which I announce from the Divine Scriptures. For this salvation which we believe depends not on ingenious reasoning, but on demonstration of the Holy Scriptures.
That sounds a lot like sola scriptura, and has often been quoted as evidence that Cyril held to the Reformed doctrine of Scripture. Yet in those same lectures, Cyril teaches that baptism itself washes away sins; he teaches that the Holy Spirit changes the bread and wine of the Eucharist into the body and blood of Christ; he speaks of the Eucharist as a “sacrifice of propitiation”; and he argues for the importance of offering prayers for the dead. Cyril believed that these teachings one and all were derived from the Scriptures. The Reformers rejected them one and all as unbiblical, idolatrous, and representative of a false gospel.
Augustine, too, made similar comments about Scripture. Yet Augustine believed in the efficacy and veneration of relics. He believed that the bread of the Eucharist ought to be adored as the very flesh of Jesus Christ. He believed in apostolic succession, in the primacy of the papacy, and in the intercession of the saints in heaven. He believed that baptism regenerates us, and he believed that we merit eternal life through Spirit-wrought works. Again, all part and parcel of the alleged satanic pollution rejected by the Reformers, but all teachings that Augustine believed were consistent with Scripture.
This is because the Fathers read Scripture through the faith they had received through the Church. They didn’t sit in judgment over that faith, deciding which of its contents were corruptions and which were scripturally sound according to their reading of Scripture. Rather, the faith they received from the Church was the lens through which they read Scripture. Time and time again the Church Fathers identify heretics not as men who are teaching apart from Scripture, but as men who are teaching apart from the Church. The only way to read the Bible properly was to accept by faith the teachings of the Church. And the only justification for putting that kind of faith in the Church was if she had more than human authority.
Statements like Cyril’s, then, have to be read in light of what the Fathers also affirmed about the authority of the Church. They believed that the Spirit-inspired Scriptures could only be understood within the Spirit-guided Church, and the two could be separated or opposed as much as Scripture and Christ could have been separated or opposed. When the Pharisees tried to stick with Moses over and against Christ, they lost both. And although the blind man didn’t know Moses like the Pharisees did, in accepting Christ he received both. So, too, the Fathers taught, to stick with Scripture over and against the Church is to lose both, while accepting the Church in faith is at the same time accepting the truth of Scripture.
I got the title for this post from a statement of Michael Horton’s in his magazine, Modern Reformation. The magazine published a sola scriptura edition six years ago, which includes a dialogue between Horton and Bryan Cross, a convert from Presbyterianism to Catholicism. At one point Horton calls Cross’s decision to become Catholic, “A radical surrender of one’s fate to ecclesial authority.” This follows from the Reformed rejection of the Church’s divine authority.
But because I believe that this rejection is false, “a radical surrender of fate” perfectly describes my decision to become Catholic. From the outside looking in, that’s what faith is. Later in that dialogue, Horton refers to “the massive library of deliverances from councils, counter-councils, counter-counter-councils, popes, counter-popes, and so forth” as evidence against Rome’s claims to divine authority. Certainly, two thousand years of teaching and conflict over teaching has resulted in a mountain of information. I don’t pretend for a moment to have a grasp on it all. But as I mentioned in my previous post, and the one before that, too, understanding is something that follows from faith, not vice versa. Where others see in Scripture only an eclectic collection of conflicting and confusing histories, poems, prophecies, letters, visions, and biographies written over fifteen hundred years, a person who has radically surrendered his fate to the Bible sees a remarkable unity of truth, even where he still does not understand. That’s because he believes that all of Scripture comes from God.
So, too, the person who believes in the divine authority of the Church. For him it doesn’t matter if he’s convinced by the scriptural support for a given doctrine, or if he understands the relation between this conciliar pronouncement and that papal document, or if he has a history-wide view of the flowering of the deposit of faith over time. Since he sees Jesus Christ in the authority of the Church, he simply rests in her truths and prays for understanding where he yet lacks it. From the outside, this appears naïve and foolish. And so it is. God has chosen not academic degrees, or critical acclaim, or persuasive speech and arguments as the means to arrive at His truth and His salvation. He has chosen the simple attitude of a child toward his father and mother, especially when others give that child ten thousand reasons not to trust them. Faith is not first demanding that Jesus Christ explain Himself, and only then deciding whether He makes enough sense for you to follow Him. If so, you will never follow Him. So, too, with the Church that speaks with His authority. Faith is not first demanding that she explain herself to you. Faith is putting your understanding off to the side and following her with the trusting love of a child following his mother, even if that means walking through a crowd of people calling her a witch and a whore.
I haven’t explained in this post why I believe Rome is the rightful claimant to divine authority (I will in a subsequent post). But that’s because asking who has this authority can only be asked if it actually exists. According to the sola of sola scriptura, this authority does not exist, since if it did Scripture would not be alone. But I’m convinced that when we look to Scripture, even Scripture alone, we find a different answer. The Apostles simply do not teach that their writings will be the sole divine authority in their absence. On the contrary, Scripture gives us straightforward evidence to conclude otherwise. We have Christ declaring that His authority will always go with His Church; and in Acts 15 we have a concrete example of the Church being appealed to for the truth and exercising divine authority in response. And I think the more you search the Scriptures with this particular question in mind, looking at the Apostles’ reasons for writing, or looking through the text at the situation behind it, it becomes even more clear that Christ never intended His Apostles’ writings alone to bear His authority.
It’s for this reason that to find the Church of Christ is to find Christ Himself. When our Lord confronted Saul on the road to Damascus, He did not ask, “Why do you persecute my Church?” He asked, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” [Ac.9:4]. This is how closely Christ the Head identifies with His Body. Rejecting her is rejecting Him. Loving her is loving Him. Therefore I believe that submitting in trust and love to the authority of the Church is at the same time submitting in trust and love to the One whose fullness she is. And I believe that it’s the duty of every Christian on earth to seek out this authority, and to submit with the heart of a child to everything Christ through His Church has declared to be true.
 Vincent of Lerins, Commonitory, 25.64, http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/3506.htm
 Athanasius, Ad Afros Epistola Synodica 2. http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/2819.htm
 Basil of Caesarea, Letter 114, To Cyriacus, http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/3202114.htm
 Cyril of Jerusalem, Catechetical Lectures 4.17. http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/310104.htm
 Cyril, 20.6-7. http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/310120.htm
 Cyril, 21.3; 23.7. http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/310121.htm
 Cyril, 23.8. http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/310123.htm
 Cyril, 23.10. http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/310123.htm
 Augustine, City of God, 22.8. http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/120122.htm
 Augustine, Exposition of Psalm 99, 8. http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/1801099.htm
 Augustine, Letter 53, 2. http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/1102053.htm
 Augustine, Against the Epistle of Manichaeus called Fundamental, 4.5. http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/1405.htm
 Augustine, Reply to Faustus the Manichaean, 20.21. http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/140620.htm
 Augustine, City of God, 20.6 par.2. http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/120120.htm
 Augustine, On Grace and Free Will, 18-21. http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/1510.htm
 See for example, Origen, Fundamental Doctrines, Preface 2. http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/04120.htm; Cyprian, Letters 75.3. http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/050675.htm; Athanasius, Ad Afros Epistola Synodica 6. http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/2819.htm; Vincent of Lerins, Commonitory 2.5. http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/3506.htm
 Michael Horton, “Sola Scriptura: A Dialogue between Michael Horton and Bryan Cross,” Modern Reformation 19, no.6, November/December 2010, p.47. Bryan Cross is one of the more prominent authors at the blog, Called to Communion, which was very influential in my decision to become Catholic. They are all converts to Catholicism from the Reformed faith, and they address pretty much every objection that a Reformed person will have, doing so in a way that brings out the richness of Scripture and Church history and the glorious expanse of the salvation Christ purchased for us.
 Horton, p.48.