Source [Digital Puritan]
Of the reception of Members
Quest. What is the Order of receiving Members into the Church, that were no Members any where before?
Answ. 1. The Person must give an account of his Faith; and of the Work of Grace upon his Soul before the Church;46 and also a strict Enquiry must be made about his Life and Conversation:47 but if through Bashfulness the Party can not speak before the Congregation,48 the Elder and two or three more Persons may receive an account of his or her Faith,49 and report it to the Church.50 But if full Satisfaction by the Testimony of good and credible Persons is not given of the Party’s Life and Conversation, he must be put by until Satisfaction is obtained in that respect.51 Moreover, when the Majority are satisfied, and yet one or two Persons are not, the Church and Elder will do well to wait a little time, and endeavour to satisfy such Persons, especially if the Reasons of their difference seem weighty.
Quest. What is to be done when a Person offers himself for Communion from a Church that is corrupt, or erroneous in Principles?
Answ. 1. The Church ought to take an account of his Faith in all Fundamental Points, and of the Work of Grace upon his Heart.
2. And if satisfied, then to send also to that corrupt People, to know whether they have any thing or not against his Life and Conversation: if satisfied in both these respects, the Church may receive him.
Quest. To whom is it Members join themselves? is it to the Elder, or to the Church?
Answ. They are joined to the whole Community of the Church, being incorporated as Members thereof, and thereto abide, tho the Pastor be removed by Death.52
Benjamin Keach- The Glory of a True Church, And its Discipline Displayed (1697)
Stefan T. Lindblad
Pastor, Trinity Reformed Baptist Church (Kirkland, WA); 2002 Graduate of WSC/IRBS
The landscape of twenty-first century Christianity becomes more complex by the day, or so it would seem. One of the major reasons for such complexity (or, better, confusion) is the recent ecclesiastical phenomena known as the emerging church, labeled as such because its adherents profess to be emerging out of the supposedly moribund and modernity-riddled ways of twentieth century evangelicalism. Despite the difficulty of actually defining postmodernism, emerging church pundits contend that, in the wake of postmodernity’s phoenix-esque rise from the ashes of modernity, the church – regardless of theological commitments or denominational boundaries – must be the spiritual equivalent of a butterfly and emerge out of the cocoon of modern ways of communicating the Christian faith (specifically those of fundamentalism and evangelicalism), speaking instead the language of postmodernity in order to reach postmoderns. The church must simultaneously appropriate the apostolic faith and speak this gospel in an “authentic” or “genuine” (read, postmodern) manner to satisfy adequately the spiritual taste-buds of those who live and move and have their being in a postmodern world.
As a minister of a confessional Reformed Baptist Church – and up until this point, little more than a casual observer of this current trend – I have read a few proponents of the emerging church movement only to walk away wondering if they have ever heard of anything other than evangelicalism or fundamentalism. That is, do they believe that their “postmodern” version of Christian spirituality is the only viable alternative to those “modern” forms proffered by evangelicalism? And if so, what happens when postmodernity collapses, or when (not if) postmodernity morphs and becomes something other than what it is at this very moment? Must the church morph as well? If not, what will fill the spiritual and ecclesiastical void that remains? Let me suggest that there is another, better, way than what the emerging church is attempting to offer us: the Reformed faith.
Read the entire article here.
William F. Leonhart III
Q.4: What is the Word of God?
A. The Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testament are the Word of God, and the only certain rule of faith and obedience.1
12 Timothy 3:16; Ephesians 2:20
In ages past, God revealed Himself in many ways. He spoke through visions, dreams, a burning bush, and even a donkey. At one point, He spoke through a stuttering, stammering prophet. At other points, He spoke directly to people. This same God “in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world,” (Heb. 1:2; NASB). These words of Christ, by the work of His Spirit, were brought to His apostles’ remembrance and written down in His holy word.
Read the entire article here.
TO MR. JAMES LOW
BOROUGH, May 2, 1854.
MY DEAR SIR,
I sit down to communicate to you my thoughts and feelings with regard to a public recognition. I am sure I need not request your notice of my sentiments, for your usual good judgment is to me a rock of reliance. I can trust any matter with you, knowing that your kindness and wisdom will decide rightly.
I have a decided objection to any public ordination or recognition. I have, scores of times, most warmly expressed from the pulpit my abhorrence of such things, and have been not a little notorious as the opponent of a custom which has become a kind of iron law in the country. I am willing to retrace my steps if in error; but if I have been right, it will be no very honorable thing to belie my former loud outcries by submitting to it myself.
I object to ordinations and recognitions, as such Because I am a minister, and will never receive authority and commission from man; nor do I like that which has the shadow of such a thing about it. I detest the dogmas of apostolic succession, and dislike the revival of the doctrine by delegating power from minister to minister.
(2) I believe in the glorious principle of Independency. Every church has a right to choose its own minister; and if so, certainly it needs no assistance from others in appointing him to the office. You, yourselves, have chosen me; and what matters it if the whole world dislikes the choice? They cannot invalidate it; nor can they give it more force. It seems to me that other ministers have no more to do with me, as your minister, than the crown of France has with the crown of Britain. We axe allies, but we have no authority in each other’s territories. They axe my superiors in piety, and other personal matters; but, ex officio, no man is my superior. We have no apostles to send Titus to ordain. Prelatic power is gone. All we are brethren.
(3) If there be no authority inferred, what is the meaning of the ceremony? “It is customary.” Granted; rebut we are not all Ecclesiastical Conservatives; and, moreover, I know several instances where there has been none. Rev. W. Robinson, of Cambridge, agrees with me, I believe; and has not endured it himself. Rev. J. Smith had nothing of it, nor had Rev. Burton, of Cambridge, nor Rev. Wooster, of Landbeach, etc., etc.
Furthermore, I have seldom heard of an ordination service in which there was not something objectionable. There are dinners, and toasts, and things in that line. There is foolish and needless advice, or, if wise advice, unfit for public mention. I am ready to be advised by anyone, on any subject, in private; but I do not know how I could sit in public to be told:, as Mr. C. was told by Mr. S., that I must not spend more than my income; and (if married), that I must be a good husband, and not let the wife say that being a minister had lessened my affection, with all the absurd remarks on family and household matters. I do not know what sort of a homily I should get; but if I am to have it, let it be in my study; or if it be not a very, good one, I cannot promise to sit and hear it.
I trust, my dear Sir, that you will not imagine that I write warmly, for I am willing to submit; but it will be submission. I shall endure it as a selfmortification, in order that you may all be pleased. I would rather please you than myself; but still, I would have it understood by all the church that I endure it as a penance for their sake. I find the friends do not care much about it, and others have, like myself, a decided aversion. I am your servant; and whatever is for the good of the church, let it be done. My knowledge is little; I simply express my feelings, and leave it entirely with you.
A tea-meeting of members, with handbills, and notices in the papers, will be a real recognition; and if my God will make me useful, I am not afraid of being recognized by all good men. I write now to you as a kind and wise friend. You can use my communication as you think best; and believe me to be —
Yours, with the proroundest respect,
C. H. SPURGEON.
A Reformed Baptist Perspective on Public Theology: The Pauline Epistles, Part III – Romans 12, 14-16
theroadofgrace/William F. Leonhart III
You can read earlier posts in this series by clicking on the links below:
As we observed in our last two articles, Paul’s desire to preach the gospel to the church at Rome provided him the necessary motivation to write his letter to the Romans. In fact, Paul’s mention of his desire in Romans 1:15-17 functions as the thesis statement of the letter:
“So, for my part, I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome.
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, ‘But the righteous man shall live by faith,’” (Romans 1:15-17; NASB).
In the first two articles on Romans, we considered four themes found in this thesis statement: the gospel preached to the church, the gospel as the power of God unto salvation, God’s salvation to all without distinction and, in this way, God will save all His chosen people. These four major themes help us to understand why Paul spends the first eight chapters of Romans explaining the gospel of Jesus Christ and the following three chapters describing the relationship between Israel and the church. Since the thesis statement of Romans 1:15-17 sets the framework for all that follows, we are in our present study using it as the lens through which we examine the rest of the book of Romans. In this offering, we will focus on principles found in these verses that help us to understand why Paul teaches what he teaches in chapters 12, and 14-16.
Read the entire article here.
Hebrews 1:3, “Who by Himself purged our sins.”
What a stunning statement. Jesus, our High Priest, purged our sins. In other words, He removed them! That’s the kind of High Priest we need. Let any other religious leaders try to do this and their efforts will come to nothing. Buddha could not take away the sins of his people. Mohammed didn’t eradicate the sins of his followers. But, Christ Jesus, our High Priest, by Himself, purged our sins.
When Jesus purged the sins of His people, it was the fulfillment of that which had been pre-figured in the Day of Atonement (Leviticus 16:30). On that day, Israel was temporarily cleansed from her sins. Now, fast forward to Calvary. There, Jesus, by Himself, permanently purged our sins. He is the fulfilment and the reality of the great Day of Atonement.
But, how did He purge our sins? By His teaching? No! By His Doctrine? No! By His Spirit? No! He purged our sins, “By Himself.” What an excellent word! “Himself.” Some Bible versions leave it out, but it is Gospel Truth. Take these verses, for example. “Who His own self bore our sins in His own body on the tree” (1 Peter 2:22). “By His own blood, He entered in once into the Holy Place, having obtained eternal redemption for us (Hebrews 9:12). “…..how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, purge your conscience (Hebrews 9:14)?”
By Himself, He purged our sins. All that He had and all that He was, He gave as our ransom.
By Himself, He purged our sins. What power! Think about it, He purged our sins before we had ever committed them. Before we had ever sinned, he fully exercised His ministry of purging. What authority, ability and grace! What a Saviour!
There’s an ancient fable that tells of how Hercules cleaned out the Augean stable. But, think about it,… that was an easy task compared to the purging of our sins. The stench of our sins was fouler than the most putrid of dunghills, Yet Jesus purged our sins, by Himself.
Who was this man, this Priest, who purged our sins? He is the heir of all things. He is the brightness of the Father’s glory and the express image of his person (Hebrews 1:2-3). He is the eternal God made flesh (1 Timothy 3:16). He is the one who was and is uniquely God and Man. He is not only our High Priest but also our Prophet and King. He offered Himself. The entire Christ was offered by Christ Himself!
He was High Priest, the Lamb, the Altar and the Sacrifice. It was His blood, His life, which was poured out. Because of that purging of our sins, by Jesus, our High Priest, both God and the believer can righteously approach each other and meet face to face. The distance between us has been destroyed. It has disappeared.
The sins are gone.
The guilt has gone.
The condemnation has gone.
The separation has gone.
The one sacrifice has been made and accepted. Christ, by Himself, purged our sins. It is finished!
Our approach to God is now secure. The High Priest has purged our sins. The door to eternity is open. The High Priest has purged our sins. The veil is torn from the top to the bottom. The High Priest has purged our sins. The dread of God has been removed, the hiding is over, because our priest, by Himself has purged our sins.
And that’s the Gospel Truth!