Archive for August, 2015

Reformed Baptist Piety

by Bob Gonzales

Reformed Baptist Seminary asked Dr. Michael Haykin to deliver three lectures on the practical piety exemplified in the teaching and practice of early English Baptists of the 17th and 18th centuries. In the first lecture, Dr. Haykin demonstrates how the 17th and 18th century Calvinist Baptists stressed the importance of the “means of grace” for promoting spiritual growth in the church. Baptist theologian Andrew Fuller’s teaching on the spirituality of baptism is the topic of lecture two. Finally, Dr. Haykin focuses on the life and ministry of Samuel Pearce, a contemporary and friend of William Carey and Andrew Fuller. These lectures constitute part of the curriculum for RBS’s course PT 501 Call & Cultivation. If you’d like to audit the lectures of the entire course, click here.

Lecture 1: The Means of Grace in English Baptist Piety, 1660s-1810s

Lecture 2: “A Garden Enclosed”: Spirituality of Baptism in Andrew Fuller

Lecture 3: “A Mind Wholly Given to God”: The Piety of Samuel Pearce

Source [It is Written]

Paul’s Theology of Israel’s Future: A Nonmillennial Interpretation of Romans 11

by Lee Irons

The interpretation of Romans 11 is, of course, a highly controversial subject. Two of the major millennial positions — premillennialism and postmillennialism — go to this text, among others, to find biblical justification for their respective eschatologies. Although they differ as to the timing and character of the glorious, external, earthly phase of Christ’s kingdom, both the premillennial and postmillennial form of chiliasm agree that Romans 11 holds out the hope of a mass conversion of Jews and Gentiles during a long era of righteousness and peace upon the earth. Amillennialists, however, neither expect such a hope nor find it in Romans 11. They — and I include myself among them — take the view that this text does not promise such a massive eschatological harvest of Jews and Gentiles. O Palmer Robertson, in his important paper “Is There a Distinctive Future for Ethnic Israel in Romans 11?”, says,

The eye of man cannot tell whether this number is few or many. But the eye of faith is confident that the “full number” is being realized. For this reason, it is neither necessary nor appropriate to posit some future date in which the “remnant” principle will be superseded by a newly-introduced “fulness” principle.1

This is what I am calling the nonmillennial interpretation of Romans 11. I call it nonmillennial rather than amillennial (though it is certainly that) in order to accent the fact that this interpretation sees neither pre- nor postmillennialism in this passage. Paul does not address the millennial question. The question is not even remotely in the background of his thought (though the passage may contain teaching that would logically imply an answer to that question). thus, I have called my paper a nonmillennial interpretation of Romans 11.




Read entire article here.

Objections to K. Scott Oliphint’s Covenantal Properties Thesis Article

by James Dolezal

Paul Helm has recently offered criticism of certain aspects of K. Scott Oliphint’s book, God With Us (Crossway, 2012), and Reformation21 has published responses by Oliphint and Nate Shannon. (1) It is striking that neither Oliphint nor Shannon offers much discussion of Oliphint’s central thesis and arguably his most innovative proposal, that God relates himself to the world by taking on “covenantal properties” in addition to his essence.(2) Shannon’s article in particular contends that Oliphint advances the Reformed commitment to Scripture by rejecting presumably corrupt elements of the classical Reformed doctrine of God. In my estimation Shannon’s criticism of the tradition is somewhat overwrought and misguided. The question of the Reformed scholastics’ doctrine of God, and especially of divine simplicity, has been settled. They deny that God can add properties to himself. (3) And while the merits or demerits of that position may be debated, the issue at hand is whether or not Oliphint’s own doctrine of covenantal properties is a suitably orthodox alternative to the classical Reformed teaching on God. It is my contention that it is not. In what follows I aim to briefly set forth what I perceive to be the leading difficulties with the covenantal properties thesis. This critique is here stated tersely for the benefit of those just tuning in. (4) My objections are theological in nature and do not require that one adhere to any particular school of philosophy.




Read the entire article here.

The Wednesday Word : Paul and the Great Commandment

“If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema Maranatha” (1 Corinthians 16:22).

Paul is stating that those who do not love the Lord Jesus are devoted to their own destruction. What an extraordinary thing for the great apostle to say if, that is, Jesus is not God. For Paul, Christ was everything. He was his Saviour, Master, Lord, Life and Hope. Jesus was the very centre of his thoughts! But, we must face it, this command to love Jesus, is a violation of the First Commandment if Christ is not God!

Remember Paul’s history! No man had ever despised the name of Jesus more intensely; no one had ever devoted himself so passionately to the extermination of that lovely name. But from the moment of Paul’s salvation, the Lord Jesus had become his all-in-all.

Consider how Paul is very sweeping in this warning, “If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be anathema.” … “If any man!” That means not one of us is exempt! As you remember, “Anathema” means “accursed.” The Bible is, therefore, very plain on this matter: it curses anyone who does not love the Lord Jesus! This is strong language and we should pause a little to consider it’s teaching.

In Paul’s divinely enlightened understanding, to not love the Lord Jesus was to not love God. Indeed, this scripture makes it impossible for us to say we love God, but Jesus, we’re not so sure about! If we say this sort of thing, we have invented a God of our own making and are, therefore, guilty of idolatry.

God’s self-revelation is in His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. He refuses to be accessed any other way because there is no other way (John 14:6)! In the heart of the Almighty, from all eternity, was the crucified Lamb who would mediate God to men.

Meanwhile, let’s consider the other side of the coin. If Jesus is not God and we love Him above all, we again make ourselves violators of the First Commandment. It’s that simple. As we take a hard look at it, we realize that the only way this scripture is prevented from contradicting the rest of the Bible is to embrace the truth that Jesus is actually God. If He is not God, then it is entirely incorrect to love Him in the way the Scriptures instruct us to do! Moreover, if Jesus is not God, then the Bible, by telling us to love Jesus, actually puts us, and Christ, into direct conflict with the One true and living God!

In conclusion, one more thing needs to be noted. If Christ Jesus is not God in human flesh then his death and sufferings were the best thing that could have ever happened to Him. He got what He deserved!

He was brought before the court of the Sanhedrin, charged with blasphemy, and it was upon that charge they condemned him to die. No lawyer could have successfully defended Him. The evidence against Him was damning and daunting. He had made himself equal with God, not once, not twice but continually throughout His ministry. If Christ Jesus was not God, His condemnation for blasphemy was, therefore, well deserved and just. In fact, not only was His crucifixion justly deserved, it was an act of righteousness on the part of Chiapas and the rest of Christ’s enemies.

However, as Spurgeon says;

“It is his being truly God that frees him from the charge of blasphemy; it is the fact that he is God, and that his Godhead is not to be denied, that makes his death an unrighteous decision at the hand of apostate man, and renders it, an acceptable sacrifice for the sins of all the people whom he redeemed with his precious blood. But if he was not God, I do repeat, that there is no reason whatever, why we should have had a New Testament written; for there would be then nothing in the sublime central-fact of that New Testament but the righteous execution of one, who certainly deserved to die.”

CHS: Sermon # 258: His Name the Mighty God

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee 

The immortality of the soul proved

calvin.jpg_7MA21605611-0015The immortality of the soul proved from,

The testimony of conscience.
The knowledge of God.
The noble faculties with which it is endued.
Its activity and wondrous fancies in sleep.
Innumerable passages of Scripture.

2. Moreover, there can be no question that man consists of a body and a soul; meaning by soul, an immortal though created essence, which is his nobler part. Sometimes he is called a spirit. But though the two terms, while they are used together differ in their meaning, still, when spirit is used by itself it is equivalent to soul, as when Solomon speaking of death says, that the spirit returns to God who gave it, (Ecclesiastes 12:7.) And Christ, in commending his spirit to the Father, and Stephen his to Christ, simply mean, that when the soul is freed from the prison-house of the body, God becomes its perpetual keeper. Those who imagine that the soul is called a spirit because it is a breath or energy divinely infused into bodies, but devoid of essence, err too grossly, as is shown both by the nature of the thing, and the whole tenor of Scripture. It is true, indeed, that men cleaving too much to the earth are dull of apprehension, nay, being alienated from the Father of Lights, are so immersed in darkness as to imagine that they will not survive the grave; still the light is not so completely quenched in darkness that all sense of immortality is lost. Conscience, which, distinguishing, between good and evil, responds to the judgment of God, is an undoubted sign of an immortal spirit. How could motion devoid of essence penetrate to the judgment-seat of God, and under a sense of guilt strike itself with terror? The body cannot be affected by any fear of spiritual punishment. This is competent only to the soul, which must therefore be endued with essence. Then the mere knowledge of a God sufficiently proves that souls which rise higher than the world must be immortal, it being impossible that any evanescent vigor could reach the very fountain of life. In fine, while the many noble faculties with which the human mind is endued proclaim that something divine is engraven on it, they are so many evidences of an immortal essence. For such sense as the lower animals possess goes not beyond the body, or at least not beyond the objects actually presented to it. But the swiftness with which the human mind glances from heaven to earth, scans the secrets of nature, and, after it has embraced all ages, with intellect and memory digests each in its proper order, and reads the future in the past, clearly demonstrates that there lurks in man a something separated from the body. We have intellect by which we are able to conceive of the invisible God and angels — a thing of which body is altogether incapable. We have ideas of rectitude, justice, and honesty — ideas which the bodily senses cannot reach. The seat of these ideas must therefore be a spirit. Nay, sleep itself, which stupefying the man, seems even to deprive him of life, is no obscure evidence of immortality; not only suggesting thoughts of things which never existed, but foreboding future events. I briefly touch on topics which even profane writers describe with a more splendid eloquence. For pious readers, a simple reference is sufficient. Were not the soul some kind of essence separated from the body, Scripture would not teach that we dwell in houses of clay, and at death remove from a tabernacle of flesh; that we put off that which is corruptible, in order that, at the last day, we may finally receive according to the deeds done in the body. These, and similar passages which everywhere occur, not only clearly distinguish the soul from the body, but by giving it the name of man, intimate that it is his principal part. Again, when Paul exhorts believers to cleanse themselves from all filthiness of the flesh and the spirit, he shows that there are two parts in which the taint of sin resides. Peter, also, in calling Christ the Shepherd and Bishop of souls, would have spoken absurdly if there were no souls towards which he might discharge such an office. Nor would there be any ground for what he says concerning the eternal salvation of souls, or for his injunction to purify our souls, or for his assertion that fleshly lusts war against the soul; neither could the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews say, that pastors watch as those who must give an account for our souls, if souls were devoid of essence. To the same effect Paul calls God to witness upon his soul, which could not be brought to trial before God if incapable of suffering punishment. This is still more clearly expressed by our Savior, when he bids us fear him who, after he has killed the body, is able also to cast into hell fire. Again when the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews distinguishes the fathers of our flesh from God, who alone is the Father of our spirits, he could not have asserted the essence of the soul in clearer terms. Moreover, did not the soul, when freed from the fetters of the body, continue to exist, our Savior would not have represented the soul of Lazarus as enjoying blessedness in Abraham s bosom, while, on the contrary, that of Dives was suffering dreadful torments. Paul assures us of the same thing when he says, that so long as we are present in the body, we are absent from the Lord. Not to dwell on a matter as to which there is little obscurity, I will only add, that Luke mentions among the errors of the Sadducees that they believed neither angel nor spirit.

John Calvin-Institutes of the Christian Religion-Book I-Chapter 15-Henry Beveridge Translation

I Blame Us, Part 3: The Rejection

Anybody for a game of “Who’s the Pharisee”?

Yesterday I laid out the traditional Christian ethical system, having already quoted the chapter on the law from the 1689 Baptist Confession. Of course this system seems like a radical departure to any contemporary Christian who has been raised on the conviction that biblical law is a useless relic from an earlier dispensation. It is, however, the consistent teaching of Protestantism. In a nutshell, that system may be summarized like this:

1.All biblical law is derived from the character of God, and is thus by definition good.

2.Some laws served a temporary purpose, and God himself abrogated those laws.

3.Biblical law also includes that which is permanent and universal, and this is clearly identified in the Ten Commandments.

4.No one keeps this law perfectly, and thus no one is saved by keeping it.

5.The moral law is nevertheless very useful, and therefore ought to be preached.

6.The preaching and teaching of the moral law is entirely consistent with the gospel.




Read the entire article here.

When ‘Discernment’ Leads to Disaster

by R. Albert Mohler Jr.

The historic First Baptist Church of Greenville, South Carolina, announced in May that it would declare itself be “open and welcoming” to all people and that it would allow same-sex marriage and ordain openly homosexual ministers.

The move came after the church had undergone a “discernment” process under the leadership of a “LGBT Discernment Team.” That team brought a report to the church’s deacons, who then forwarded it to the congregation. The church then approved the statement by standing vote.




Read the entire article here.