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Dr. Miller. Augustine, and Pelagius, say infant baptism was an apostolic tradition

February 28, 2020 Leave a comment

These men flourished four hundred years after Christ. The word of God says not a word about infant baptism. This however does not disconcert Dr. Miller. Augustine, and Pelagius, say it was an apostolic tradition. And this he says, is “an argument of irresistible force, in favor of the divine authority of infant baptism,” and by which every one “not fast bound in the fetters of invincible prejudice,” must be convinced. But these Fathers also declared that infant communion was an apostolic tradition. This Dr. Miller does not regard as of any importance. Their testimony makes infant baptism scriptural; but it has no such effect upon infant communion! Was Dr. Miller dreaming when he uttered this logic?

Richard Watson says:

“The antiquity of infant baptism,” taken together with the other arguments, establish this practice of the church upon the strongest basis of scripture authority!” In another place he says: “That a practice which can be traced up to the very first periods of the church, and has been till very modern times, its uncontradicted practice, should have a lower authority than apostolic usage, may be pronounced impossible.”[13]

To these I will add the declaration of Mr. Hodges. He says:

“Were there no other testimony but that of Irenaeus alone, it seems to me, every unbiased and conscientious man must hold himself bound to continue infant baptism, were the scriptures even silent on the subject.”[14]

By these and such like arguments, our Pedobaptist brethren essay to prove infant baptism scriptural, not by the scriptures, but by the Fathers. “It is a plain case,” say they, “that there is no express precept respecting infant baptism in our sacred writings;” yet we are assured that the traditions of early times, vouched by the Fathers, “establish the divine authority of infant baptism with irresistible force.” The Fathers say it was practiced in the time of the apostles, and “it was impossible that they should be mistaken!” It is not in the scriptures, but it is undeniably scriptural! And these men who so contradict themselves, and abuse common sense, are Protestants, who proclaim that “The word of God is a perfect rule of faith and practice,” and who clamorously join in the cry, “The Bible, the Bible alone, is the religion of Protestants.” Yet totally aside from the Bible, and by tradition exclusively, they hold infant baptism. Thus they renounce, in this case at least, their professed Protestant principles, and return to the old and exploded dogmatism of Popery. Their position is utterly inconsistent, and cannot be main-tained. They are in truth, compelled either to reject all the traditions, as they do all the teachings of the Fathers, which are not sustained by the word of God, and thus become Baptists; or, as in this instance, they must receive them all irrespective of their biblical character, and thus become avowed Roman Catholics. However this may be, by the confession that the Bible does not in itself teach it, they have surrendered the argument to us, and made the truth still more sure, that Infant baptism is unsupported by the word of God.

R. B. C. Howell- The Evils of Infant Baptism- Chapter 1- Infant Baptism is an evil because its practice is unsupported by the Word of God

O thou who art in the covenant, thou dost not doubt but that God will save thee

February 27, 2020 Leave a comment

And then, last of all, O thou who art in the covenant, thou dost not doubt but that God will save thee, keep thee, bless thee, seeing thou hast believed on Jesus, and art in Jesus, and art quickened into newness of life! Thou darest not doubt if I tell thee one thing more: if your father, if your brother, if your dearest friend had solemnly stated a fact, would you bear for anybody to say that he lied? I know you would be indignant at such a charge; but suppose your father in the most solemn manner had taken an oath, would you for a minute think that he had perjured himself, and had sworn a lie? Now turn to the Word of God, and you will find that God, because he knew that an oath among men is the end of strife, has been pleased to seal the covenant with an oath. “ That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us-” God has lifted his hand to heaven, and sworn that Christ shall have the reward of his passion, that his purchased ones shall be brought under his sway, that having borne sin, and put it away, it never shall be a second time charged on his redeemed.

Charles H. Spurgeon- “The Covenant,” A Sermon Published on Thursday, Aug 3rd, 1911, (Spurgeon had passed away by now, having died in 1892), Another Sermon by C. H. Spurgeon, upon the same text, is No. 2,681 in Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, “Covenant Blessings.”

The Wednesday Word: It´s All About Jesus

February 26, 2020 3 comments

“The gospel of God…….concerning his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 1:1-3).

There was a time when I didn´t know that the gospel was all about Jesus.” I thought that it was all about me,—what I should do, and what I should be. Many of us had similar ideas before grace opened our eyes to the truth.

Before we were saved, we mistook the message of the gospel for the message of the law, thinking its chief purpose was to make us better-behaved people. A grand mistake indeed!

But then, concerning God, the thinking of an unrenewed heart is always wrong. Saul of Tarsus thought that he should do many things contrary to the name of Jesus (Acts 26:9); but he was wrong. He soon discovered his mistake when the Lord suddenly and graciously converted him.

We may as well expect a blind man to appreciate the Mona Lisa or a deaf man to enjoy Mozart, as suppose an unrenewed person can understand the gospel. This is a strong statement, but, nevertheless, it´s true. Neither learning, labour, nor law can give a divine knowledge of that gospel which is God’s sole prerogative to communicate.

But if the gospel is not about us, who is it about? It´s about Jesus (see our text, Romans 1: 1-3).

True, it may have much to say as to both sinners and saints, but the theme and splendid subject-matter of the gospel is Jesus the Son of God. He is the centre, sum and substance of divine revelation. How little, after all, can be said about man? He blotted his copy-book and needed to be rescued! That´s his story in a nutshell. On the other hand, how much may be said of Christ? As John wrote, the world itself could not contain the books that might be written about Him (John 21:25).

When Saul was converted, the very first thing he did was to preach in the synagogue. And what was his subject? His message was that Jesus was the Son of God (Acts 9:20). That was his keynote theme, first preached in Damascus and continued through his ministry. According to Paul, that message is and will be the deepest and richest point of all Christian knowledge. That is why we read that the goal and purpose of the five-fold ministry is Christ centered…see Ephesians 4:11-13) “till we all come to the knowledge of the Son of God.”

Now, don´t get me wrong, the gospel has for its object the salvation of sinners, not their improvement, nor reformation, but their deliverance from their fallen condition to form the Body and Bride of Christ. But salvation is not the gospel. It is the result of the gospel.

Jesus is to be glorified, adored, and worshipped by the multitude who owe Him praise for their salvation. But this praise is not the gospel!

The gospel is all about Jesus, not about anything we do.

The gospel is about the Son of God and what He has done in His finished work in history.

The gospel is about the Blessed Eternal One who became a man to die.

The gospel is about the one who lived and died for the glory of the Father.

The gospel is about the one who was raised from the dead.

The gospel is about the one who when on earth, as man, made the Father known.

The gospel is about the eternal Word made flesh—full of grace and truth; to whom multitudes of needy, diseased, famished, and sinful came.

The gospel is about the one from whose lips flowed words of truth for He was the Truth.

The gospel is about the one who died the Just for the unjust that He might bring us to God (1Peter 3:18).

The gospel is about the one whose word of welcome is ” Come” (Matthew 11:28).

The gospel is about the one whose blood paid the full price of our redemption, and “cleanses from all sin” (1 John 1:7).

What a gospel! What a Saviour!

What wonderful, wonderful grace.

And that´s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee

www.milesmckee.com  

The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination Chapter XXII- That it contradicts the universalistic Scripture passages

February 26, 2020 Leave a comment

The Reformed Doctrine Of Predestination

Chapter XXII

That It CONTRADICTS THE UNIVERSALISTIC SCRIPTURE PASSAGES

4. GENERAL CONSIDERATIONS

Nor does the prophetic invitation, “Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters,” Isaiah 55:1, and other references to the same effect, contradict this view; for the majority of mankind are not thirsty but dead, dead in sin, hopeless and willing servants of Satan, and in no state to hunger and thirst after righteousness. The gracious invitation to come to Christ is rejected, not because there is anything outside their own person which prevents their coming, but because until they are graciously given a new birth through the agency of the Holy Spirit they have neither the will nor the desire to accept. It is God who gives this will and excites this desire in those who are predestined to life, Romans 11:7, 8; 9:18. He that will, may come; but a person who is completely immersed in heathenism, for instance, has no chance to hear the Gospel offer and so cannot possibly come. “Faith cometh by hearing;” and where there is no faith there can be no salvation. Neither can that person come who has heard the Gospel but who is still governed by principles and desires which cause him to hate it. He is a bondservant to sin and acts accordingly. He that will may escape from a burning building while the stairway is safe; hut he that is asleep, or he that does not think the fire serious enough to flee from, hasn’t the will, and perishes in the flames. Says Clark, “Arminians are fond of quoting: ‘whosoever will let him come,’ or ‘Whosoever believeth,’ implying that belief and decision are wholly the acts of man, and that this is an offset to sovereign election. True as these statements are they do not touch the point at issue. Miles deeper down than this lies the vital point; viz., how does a man become willing? If a man is willing he can certainly choose; but the sinful nature averse to God must be made willing, by God’s word, by God’s grace, by God’s Spirit, or by sovereign intervention.” 1 Strictly speaking, these are not divine offers indiscriminately made to all mankind, but are addressed to a chosen people and are incidentally heard by others.

If the words of 1 Timothy 2:4, that God “would have all men to be saved, and come to the knowledge of the truth,” be taken in the Arminian sense it follows either that God is disappointed in His wishes, or that all men without exception are saved. Furthermore, the doctrine which imputes disappointment to Deity contradicts that class of Scripture passages which teach the sovereignty of God. His will in this respect has been the same through the centuries. And if He had willed that the Gentiles should be saved, why was it that He confined the knowledge of the way of salvation to the narrow limits of Judea? Surely no one will deny that He might as easily have made known His Gospel to the Gentiles as to the Jews. Where He has not provided the means we may be sure that He has not designed the ends. The reply of Augustine to those who advanced this objection in his day is worth quoting: “when our Lord complains that though he wished to gather the children of Jerusalem as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, but she would not, are we to consider that the will of God was overpowered by a number of weak men, so that He who was Almighty God could not do what He wished or willed to do? If so, what is to become of that omnipotence by which He did whatsoever pleased Him in Heaven and in? Moreover, who will be found so unreasonable as to say that God cannot convert the evil wills of men, which He pleases, when He pleases, and as He pleases, to good? Now, when He does this, He does it in mercy; and when He doeth it not, in judgment He doeth it not.” Verses such as 1 Timothy 2:4 it seems are best understood not to refer to men individually but as teaching the general truth that God is benevolent and that He does not delight in the sufferings and death of His creatures. It may be further remarked that if the universalistic passages are taken in an evangelical sense and applied as widely as the Arminians wish to apply them, they will prove universal salvation, — a result which is contradicted by Scripture, and which in fact is not held by Arminians themselves.

As was stated in the chapter on Limited Atonement there is a sense in which Christ did die for mankind in general. No distinction is made as to age or country, character or condition. The race fell in Adam and the race taken in the collective sense is redeemed in Christ. The work of Christ arrested the immediate execution of the penalty of sin as it related to the whole race. His work also brings many temporal and physical blessings to mankind in general, and lays the foundation for the offer of the Gospel to all who hear it. These are admitted to be the results of His work and to apply to all mankind. Yet this does not mean that He died equally and with the same design for all.

It is true that some verses taken in themselves do seem to imply the Arminian position. This, however, would reduce the Bible to a mass of contradictions; for there are other verses which teach Predestination, Inability, Election, Perseverance, etc., and which cannot by any legitimate means be interpreted in harmony with Arminianism. Hence in these cases the meaning of the sacred writer can be determined only by the analogy of Scripture. Since the Bible is the word of God it is self-consistent. Consequently if we find a passage which in itself is capable of two interpretations, one of which harmonizes with the rest of the Scriptures while the other does not, we are duty bound to accept the former. It is a recognized principle of interpretation that the more obscure passages are to be interpreted in the light of clearer passages, and not vice versa. We have shown that the evidence which is brought forward in defense of Arminianism, and which at first sight appears to possess considerable plausibility, can legitimately be given an interpretation which harmonizes with Calvinism. In view of the many Calvinistic passages, and the absence of any genuine Arminian passages, we unhesitatingly assert that the Calvinistic system is the true system.

This is the true universalism of the Scriptures — the universal Christianization of the world and the complete defeat of the forces of spiritual wickedness. ‘This, of course, does not mean that every individual will be saved, for many are unquestionably lost. Just as in the salvation of the individual much possible service to Christ is lost and many sins are committed through the period of incomplete salvation, so it is in the salvation of the world. A considerable number are lost; yet the process of salvation is to end in a great triumph, and our eyes are yet to behold “the glorious spectacle of a saved world.” The words of Dr. Warfield are very appropriate here: “The human race attains the goal for which it was created, and sin does not snatch it out of God’s hands; the primal purpose of God with it is fulfilled; and through Christ, the race of man, though fallen into sin, is recovered to God and fulfills its original destiny.” 2

So while Arminianism offers us a spurious universalism, which is at best a universalism of opportunity, Calvinism offers us the true universalism in the salvation of the race. And only the Calvinist, with his emphasis on the doctrines of sovereign Election and Efficacious Grace, can look to the future confidently expecting to see a redeemed world.

Loraine Boettner- The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination

“By the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation”

February 25, 2020 Leave a comment

By the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation” (Rom. 5:18). In the day that Adam fell, the frown of God came upon all His children. The holy nature of God abhorred the apostate race. The curse of the broken law descended upon all Adam’s posterity. It is only thus we can account for the universality of depravity and suffering. The corruption which we inherit from our parents is a great evil, for it is the source of all our personal sins. For God to allow this transmission of depravity is to inflict a punishment. But how could God punish all, unless all were guilty? The fact that all do share in this common punishment proves that all sinned and fell in Adam. Our depravity and misery are not, as such, the appointment of the Creator, but are instead the retribution of the judge.

Arthur W. Pink- The Divine Covenants-Part Two-The Adamic Covenant

This was an event most astonishing to men

February 24, 2020 Leave a comment

Then in the next place, this was an event most astonishing to men Ananias lifted up both his hands in amazement. “O my Lord, I should have thought anybody would pray but that man! Is it possible!” I do not know how it is with other ministers, but sometimes I look upon such-and-such individuals in the congregation, and I say, “Well, they are very hopeful; I think I shall have them. I trust there is a work going on, and hope soon to hear them tell what the Lord has done for their souls.” Soon, perhaps, I see nothing of them, and miss them altogether; but instead thereof, my good Master sends me one of whom I had no hope-an outcast, a drunkard, a reprobate, to the praise of the glory of his grace. Then I lift up my hands in astonishment, thinking, “I should have thought of anybody rather than you.” I remember a circumstance which occurred a little while ago. There was a poor man about sixty years old; he had been a rough sailor, one of the worst men in the village; it was his custom to drink, and he seemed to be delighted when he was cursing and swearing. He came into the chapel, however, one Sabbath day, when one nearly related to me was preaching from the text concerning Jesus weeping over Jerusalem. And the poor man thought, “What! Did Jesus Christ ever weep over such a wretch as I am?” He thought he was too bad for Christ to care for him. At last he came to the minister, and said, “Sir, sixty years have I been sailing under the colors of the devil; it is time I should have a new owner; I want to scuttle the old ship and sink her altogether; then I shall have a new one, and I shall sail under the colors of Prince Immanuel.” Ever since that moment that man has been a praying character, walking before God in all sincerity. Yet he was the very last man you would have thought of. Somehow God does choose the last men, he does not care for the diamond, but he picks up the pebble stones for he is able, out of “stones, to raise up children unto Abraham.” God is more wise than the chemist: he not only refines gold, but he transmutes base metal into precious jewels; he takes the filthiest and the vilest, and fashions them into glorious beings, makes them saints, whereas they have been sinners, and sanctifies them, whereas they have been unholy.

Charles H. Spurgeon- “Paul’s First Prayer,” A Sermon delivered on Sabbath Morning, March 25th, 1855

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This is the method. It is by tradition, vouched by the Fathers, that Protestant Pedobaptists discover that the word of God teaches ordinances which are confessedly not in the word of God!

February 21, 2020 2 comments

This is the method. It is by tradition, vouched by the Fathers, that Protestant Pedobaptists discover that the word of God teaches ordinances which are confessedly not in the word of God! These Protestants will not allow the papists to prove, in the same way, the divine authority for the invocation of saints, prayers for the dead, the use of holy water, and such like institutions,” which they can do, readily and fully. They are Popish. But this is Protestant. If, therefore, the Fathers say, this was an apostolic tradition, it was an apostolic tradition! And more; in this matter, these same Fathers were not liable to mistake!” Their authority therefore, though entirely worthless when in favor of the Catholics, is when infant baptism is to be proved scriptural, as good at least, as that of the apostles, since of them no more can be said than that they were not liable to mistake! Who would have supposed that theological professors could have been guilty of reasoning so absurdly? The argument, it would seem, needs not a word of refutation. I would not stop to consider it, if Dr. Woods alone, relied upon such testimonies. But it is a common Pedobaptist resort. I will offer two or three examples.

Dr. Miller deposes thus regarding tradition:

“The history of the Christian church from the apostolic age, furnishes an argument of irresistible force, in favor of the divine authority of infant baptism.”

He proceeds:

“Can the most incredulous reader who is not fast bound in the fetters of invincible prejudice, hesitate to admit, first, that Augustine, and Pelagius, verily believed that infant baptism had been the universal practice of the church from the days of the apostles; and secondly, that situated, and informed as they were, it was impossible that they should be mistaken “[12]

R. B. C. Howell- The Evils of Infant Baptism- Chapter 1- Infant Baptism is an evil because its practice is unsupported by the Word of God