Archive for November, 2009

I was reading the exchange between Dr. James White and Dr. Scott Clark  on being Baptist and Reformed this morning. Mr. White had this exposition by Dr Haykin linked to his response. I think this is interesting……………

 

 

“I was just made aware of a recent exchange between Drs Scott Clark and James White vis-à-vis the esse of being Reformed. I have only read Dr. Clark’s response to Dr. White, in which Dr. Clark emphasizes that being Reformed cannot be limited to the five points of Calvinism. I would wholeheartedly affirm this. He then goes on to state that:

 

“…there wasn’t a single Baptist at the Synod of Dort. Why not? Because no Baptist was eligible to join a Reformed church. Why not? Because the denial of infant baptism wasn’t tolerated in the Reformed churches. …Once more, to state the obvious:  there wasn’t a single Baptist involved in the Westminster Assembly. The Baptists had promulgated their own confession in 1644. There were heated pamphlet wars between the Baptists and the Reformed in that period. Baptists were not recognized as Reformed. Why not? Because paedobaptism was regarded as essential to the Reformed faith.” (“Post-Thanksgiving Cartoons: Reply to James White”; http://heidelblog.wordpress.com/2009/11/27/post-thanksgiving-cartoons-reply-to-james-white/#more-6079).

 It needs noting that Baptists who embraced Calvinistic soteriology did not exist at the time of the Synod of Dort, hence they could not have been there. But the rest of Dr. Clark’s remarks are, of course, all true. There were two Baptists, namely William Kiffin and Samuel Richardson, at the doors of the Jerusalem Chamber in 1646 handing out copies of the The First London Confession (1644; 2nd ed., 1646) to delegates as they went in. But they were not inside and thus not involved in the Westminster Assembly. And there were indeed “heated pamphlet wars” between Baptists and Paedobaptists during the 1640s and 1650s. But these were all seen by the Baptists as battles within a shared faith, as will become clear in what follows.

 And Dr, Clark also points out, à la an article that appeared in Modern Reformation that “the earliest Baptists did not think it necessary to call themselves “Reformed.” They called themselves “General” or “Particular” Baptists”.” This is also true. Particular Baptist or Calvinistic Baptist was the terminology used during the seventeenth and the eighteenth centuries. “Reformed Baptist” is late twentieth-century nomenclature.

 But, this is not the whole story as far as those seventeenth-century Baptists were concerned. After the Restoration of Charles II in 1660, they were a community under the cross, and for twenty-eight years they suffered grievous persecution, with a number of their pastors and elders dying in prisons, like the blessed Abraham Cheare. Of course, the Particular Baptists were not the only ones to suffer during this time of great persecution. All who dissented from the distinguishing rites and practices of the state church of Anglicanism suffered to one degree or another. Read the rest here.

 

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I am working on a series of posts about why “I’m a Southern Baptist” and I came across this article from Bro. Tom Ascol. I thought I’d let this be kind of a intro into my series. Plus I wanted to put it on here before I forgot about it. 🙂

“Over the last several months I have repeatedly been asked why I support the Great Commission Resurgence Task Force (GCRTF) and the broader impetus that led to its formation. A full explanation would include some necessary nuances and caveats that transcend the limits of a blog post, but the main reasons can at least be summarized here. These are, quite obviously, my opinions.”

I believe:

  1. The SBC is unhealthy to the point that if it does not significantly change, it will become irrelevant beyond recovery within a few years.
  2. There are many who share my concerns–some of whom have already checked out of convention life while others are headed that way if things don’t change for the better.
  3. The SBC represents loads of potential for being an instrument of great good in the kingdom of God. It has been such in the past, and still is in some degree at present, but the potential is greater than anything we have seen thus far.
  4. There are some in the SBC whose vision for what the convention should be is theologically naive and missiologically counterproductive.
  5. There are others in the SBC who don’t think about theology and missiology at all.
  6. There are still over 6000 unreached people groups in the world–2000 years after our Lord commissioned His church to make disciples of all peoples.
  7. The leaders who are at the helm of the call for a GCR are trustworthy men. I disagree with them on some doctrinal issues. But I do agree with them on the most important points of doctrine and I believe them to be men of integrity who will not kowtow to political pressure, even if it causes them to stand against men they esteem and love.
  8. The GCRTF could–and should–come back with radical, convention-shocking recommendations that are rooted in a vision to marshal our resources to reach the nations.
  9. The call for a GCR could be the greatest hope of this generation to unite churches around the gospel, under the sovereignty of God, to give our utmost energies to making disciples of the nations .Read the rest of the article here.

Interesting article by Dr. R.C. Sproul on the importance of correctly interpreting the Word of God.

 

images 45In the wake of the translation of the Bible into the common language came the basic principle of private interpretation. That principle of private interpretation was soundly condemned by the Roman Catholic Church in the fourth session of the Council of Trent in the middle of the sixteenth century. But the die was cast, and since that time, the Bible has been translated into thousands of languages, and attempts are afoot to get the Bible translated into every language that can be found anywhere on the face of the earth. The prophetic concerns of Erasmus in many ways have come true with the vast proliferation of denominations, each calling themselves biblical. Yet at the same time, the gospel of salvation in Christ has been made known abroad throughout the world because the Bible has been given in the vernacular and made available to all people. To be sure, private interpretation does not give a license for private distortion. Anyone who presumes to interpret the Bible for himself must assume with that right the awesome responsibility of interpreting it correctly.Read the whole article here

Not that he needed too (in my opinion), but Paul Washer offers an explanation behind his “Shocking Youth Message.”

 

In case you’ve never heard the whole sermon I’ll post it here and encourage you to listen to it.

I read the book “9 Marks of a Healthy Church” (Mark Dever) a couple of years ago and it totally changed my view of how the church should function. I thought I’d post those 9 marks here today to support my previous post on church functions and to give you all an idea of what I think are essentials in the church today. For more info check out 9 Marks.org

 

 

1.  Expositional Preaching
This is preaching which expounds what Scripture says in a particular passage, carefully explaining its meaning and applying it to the congregation. It is a commitment to hearing God’s Word and to recovering the centrality of it in our worship.

2.  Biblical Theology
Paul charges Titus to “teach what is in accord with sound doctrine” (Titus 2:1). Our concern should be not only with how we are taught, but with what we are taught. Biblical theology is a commitment to know the God of the Bible as He has revealed Himself in Scripture.

3.  Biblical Understanding of the Good News
The gospel is the heart of Christianity.  But the good news is not that God wants to meet people’s felt needs or help them develop a healthier self-image. We have sinfully rebelled against our Creator and Judge.  Yet He has graciously sent His Son to die the death we deserved for our sin, and He has credited Christ’s acquittal to those who repent of their sins and believe in Jesus’ death and resurrection. That is the good news.

4.  Biblical Understanding of Conversion
The spiritual change each person needs is so radical, so near the root of us, that only God can do it. We need God to convert us. Conversion need not be an emotionally heated experience, but it must evidence itself in godly fruit if it is to be what the Bible regards as a true conversion.

5.  Biblical Understanding of Evangelism
How someone shares the gospel is closely related to how he understands the gospel. To present it as an additive that gives non-Christians something they naturally want (i.e. joy or peace) is to present a half-truth, which elicits false conversions. The whole truth is that our deepest need is spiritual life, and that new life only comes by repenting of our sins and believing in Jesus. We present the gospel openly, and leave the converting to God.

6.  Biblical Understanding of Membership 
Membership should reflect a living commitment to a local church in attendance, giving, prayer and service; otherwise it is meaningless, worthless, and even dangerous. We should not allow people to keep their membership in our churches for sentimental reasons or lack of attention. To be a member is knowingly to be traveling together as aliens and strangers in this world as we head to our heavenly home. 

7.  Biblical Church Discipline
Church discipline gives parameters to church membership. The idea seems negative to people today – “didn’t our Lord forbid judging?” But if we cannot say how a Christian should not live, how can we say how he or she should live? Each local church actually has a biblical responsibility to judge the life and teaching of its leaders, and even of its members, particularly insofar as either could compromise the church’s witness to the gospel. 

8.  Promotion of Christian Discipleship and Growth
A pervasive concern with church growth exists today – not simply with growing numbers, but with growing members. Though many Christians measure other things, the only certain observable sign of growth is a life of increasing holiness, rooted in Christian self-denial. These concepts are nearly extinct in the modern church. Recovering true discipleship for today would build the church and promote a clearer witness to the world.

9.  Biblical Understanding of Leadership
What eighteenth-century Baptists and Presbyterians often agreed upon was that there should be a plurality of elders in each local church. This plurality of elders is not only biblical, but practical — it has the immense benefit of rounding out the pastor’s gifts to ensure the proper shepherding of God’s church.

 

In identifying and promoting these nine marks, we are not intending to lay down an exhaustive or authoritative list.  There are other significant marks of healthy churches, like prayer and fellowship.  We want to pursue those ourselves as well, and we want you to pursue them with us.  But these nine are the ones we think are most neglected in most local churches today, with the most damaging ramifications.  Join us in cultivating churches that reflect the character of God.

2362272020029688058AtcyJq_thOK, I have debated about posting this as a blog topic, but since I cannot seem to figure it out on my own, I’m going to ask for your help. It is commonly recognized that there are 5 main functions of the church. For the purpose of this particular post I’m going to add preaching as a separate function, instead of lumping it in with something else. These are 1) Worship 2)Discipleship 3)Evangelism 4)Fellowship 5)Ministry 6)Preaching.

The reason I’m wanting to do this is because I have many friends that at one time or another were faithful in attending church, but for whatever reason they’re not right now……… O.k. here comes the controversy: The main reason, when ask why, is because of something that happened in their previous church experience (almost 100%) I know that sounds like a weak excuse, but there has to be something to this and whether or not it’s a legitimate excuse, it is a problem………I have heard the arguments on this from both sides (Pastor’s and people affected) and I realize the answer is somewhere in the middle. (Not to mention that our local Pastor’s have discussed the fact that most of the time when they get new members, it’s people who have left another local church and just moved they’re membership.)

Personal confession: My family and I have been members of 3 local churches. Our experiences are not unique to others. We have fallen into certain traps as well, so as I write this I’m doing so with some personal experience. And I will say that we have yet to find, and I doubt there is one out there,that is perfect in all the functions mentioned.

So having said that, what I’m going to need from you, is participation in the poll question and honest comments. I want to know, when looking for a church what is the MOST IMPORTANT function for you and your family. After you vote please leave a comment on why that is and maybe even list in order of importance the rest. I would also love to hear some personal testimonies on some good or bad experiences you have had.

Some side notes:

1)I am very happy at my current church home

2)I do not want to start a war here so feel free to comment anonymously

3)Pastor’s comments are welcome and needed (although I doubt any will read this)

4)To keep it simple “worship” in this poll will reflect the music aspect only

Thank you in advance,

   Bill