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The Puritan Family

by Oliver Allmand-Smith

Samuel Sewall lived with his family in Puritan America between 1652 and 1730, and he suffered in ways unimaginable to us today. Over a period of 24 years, he and his wife Hannah had 14 children: his first son John died aged 17 months; his third son Hull died aged 23 months; his fourth son Henry died aged two weeks; his fifth son Stephen died aged 6 months; his third daughter Judith died aged 6 weeks; his fourth daughter Mary died following childbirth aged just 19 years; his fifth daughter Jane died at 5 weeks; his sixth daughter, Sarah, after just five weeks of life, was laid in the family tomb, and his seventh son never saw the world alive, being stillborn.

Of their 14 children, one was stillborn and seven died before they reached the age of three. Out of the 6 who survived to adulthood, only three outlived their father meaning that Samuel Sewall buried 11 out of his 14 children. In the years 1685, 1686 and 1687 Samuel buried three sons, Henry, Hull, and Steven.

In Samuel’s diary, we read of a nightmare he experienced. In it, he woke up and all of his children were dead – his nightmare nearly came true.

We also read that when his children were not actually dying, they battled with smallpox, measles, the flux, ague, colds and numerous…

Read the entire article at Reformation21.

What is a Reformed Baptist Church?

“Reformed Baptist” is a term not particularly well-known in evangelical circles. The name indicates both historical roots and distinct theological characteristics.

Historically, a Reformed Baptist identifies with a tradition that emerged directly from the Reformed Protestant movement. During the Reformation in 16th -17th century England there was a group of churchmen called the Puritans. The Puritans were believers who desired to see the church fully reform beyond any vestiges of Roman Catholicism or any other false teaching. There were three primary groups that made up the Puritans: Presbyterians, Independents, and Particular Baptists, which today are referred to as “Reformed Baptists.” They all shared common beliefs in the gospel and reformational doctrines, but the Baptists were set apart by a few beliefs. They believed in a church independent from state control that was governed congregationally and overseen in each local congregation by a group of elders. Also, they rejected the doctrine of paedobaptism (infant baptism). The summation of their beliefs were written down in the 2nd London Baptist Confession of 1689. Adhering to this historic reformed confession of faith is the primary distinctive of a Reformed Baptist. It shares themes and most….

Read the entire article at Gracechapel.

Joy Because of Justification

by Erroll Hulse

WE have seen that humiliation because of sin is the first experience of Christianity and without it there can be no salvation. The good news of the Gospel is for sinners only. The self-righteous cannot be saved because they trust in themselves and their own works. The degree to which sinners will experience conviction and feel their guilt varies. After conversion the experience of humiliation because of sin can be intense as is seen in many examples — Job, Isaiah, Peter and Paul. The depth of humiliation has a profound effect upon the believer, particularly with reference to understanding and practising the doctrines of grace. Spurgeon put it this way:

Hardly a glimmer of the humbling truth of our natural depravity dawns on the dull apprehension of the worldly-wise, though souls taught from above know it and are appalled by it. In divers ways the discovery comes to those whom the Lord ordains to save. . . . There is a vital connection between soul-distress and sound doctrine. Sovereign grace is dear to those who have groaned deeply because they see what grievous sinners they are. Witness Joseph Hart and John Newton whose hymns you have often sung, or David Brainerd and Jonathan Edwards, whose biographies many of you have read.1

Also we have observed that the new birth takes place after, before or during conviction, i.e. in some cases it might precede, in other cases it might follow. That the new birth precedes saving faith and saving repentance is fundamental to the Reformed faith, but, again as we have seen, it has always been a matter of debate as to how much conviction or preparation goes on in a sinner before the new birth is wrought by the Holy Spirit. Some believe in more preparatory work prior to the new birth than others. Jonathan Edwards in his writings……

Read the entire article here.

Justification and Imputation

by Persis Lorenti

On October 31, 2017, many Christians celebrated the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. My church held a service where several pastors spoke on the theological importance of this historical event, namely the recovery of the doctrine of justification by faith alone through grace alone in Christ alone for God’s glory alone. This indeed is a wonderful truth that is the ground of the gospel. What then is the ground of justification? The doctrine of imputation.

Apart from God’s intervention, Romans 3:23 is true for every man, woman, and child. We have fallen short of the glory of God, and we have fallen in two respects. We are guilty of breaking the law, which is a capital offense. (Gen. 2:16-17) God cannot sweep our sin under the rug and maintain His holiness. Therefore, sin must be punished. (Ps. 5:4-6, Heb. 10:26-31) We are also guilty of not keeping the law. (Deut. 5:29-33) God our Creator rightfully demands perfect obedience, but our best efforts are filthy rags. (Is. 64:6) Therefore, these two mammoth obstacles must be dealt with in order for us….

Read the entire article at Reformation21.

Justification and the Old Perspective

by Jeffrey Stivason

Charles Spurgeon’s famous quip goes something like this, “I love to proclaim these strong old doctrines, that are called by nickname Calvinism, but which are surely and verily the revealed truth of God as it is in Christ Jesus.” We might say something similar about justification. We may describe it as the Reformed perspective or Protestant perspective on justification but it is nothing other than the truth of God revealed in Scripture. In this article, I simply want to point out the constituent elements of the doctrine of justification and make reference to their Biblical support.

First, we must affirm that man is fallen in Adam……

Read the entire article at Reformation21.

Justification and the New Perspective

Jeffrey Stivason

The New Perspective now feels old. Or to say it differently, it has gained stability in the academy and in the church. Tom Wright, its leading salesperson, is as intelligent as he is winsome. He also has the instincts of a pastor. Hence the Everyone’s Commentary, which has quickly become a staple in the church, is reaching, well, everyone! The New Perspective is leaching into the pews at an accessible rate. So, as we think about justification I think it’s a good idea that we address the New Perspective on Paul (NPP).

Let me begin by saying that Robert Cara, Provost, Chief Academic Officer and Hugh and Sallie Reaves Professor of New Testament at Reformed Theological Seminary, has gifted the church with a book titled, Cracking the Foundations of the New Perspective. It is a text meant to equip pastors who are ill-equipped to answer arguments rooted in Second Temple Judaism made by advocates…..

Read the entire article at Reformation21 

Why Evangelicals Must Engage Roman Catholicism

As I speak to different audiences and at various conferences, the question comes back over and over again: why should Evangelicals bother engaging Roman Catholicism? Let me suggest four reasons.

It’s a Global Issue

Wherever you go in the world – North and South, East and West – you will find people who call themselves Roman Catholics and with whom all of us will interact in one way or another on matters of faith. You will also encounter the Roman Catholic Church through its institutions and agencies: parishes, schools, hospitals, charities, movements, etc. According to the 2020 edition of the Pontifical Yearbook, Catholics around the world amount….

Read the entire article here

Justification and the Remonstrants

by John Hartley

“An error in justification is dangerous, like a crack in the foundation,” said Thomas Watson.

The problem with a crack is two-fold. First, trouble easily passes through, such as swelling ground water, bringing deleterious effects upon the foundation and everything meant to be guarded by it. Second, a little crack does not heal itself. It is soon not so little.

For these reasons we now set our sights on the error concerning justification which emerged among the Remonstrants.

In 1610, followers of Jacobus Arminius, who died in 1609, presented a “Remonstrance,” an official state protest, to the civil government of Holland and Friesland. They were seeking political toleration to continue as ministers in Dutch churches. In five theological articles their protest outlined substantial divergence from the far more commonly held Calvinistic beliefs found in the Belgic Confession (1561).

Soon enough the matter came before the Synod of Dort (1618-1619), an international assembly of approximately 100 leaders including ministers, ruling elders and academic theologians…..

Read the entire article at Reformation 21  

Justification and Roman Catholicism

by Stephen Unthank

It shouldn’t surprise Protestant readers that our Roman Catholic friends (or maybe they’re not your friends) really do believe that God justifies sinners. When they read Romans 3:19-26 they also say “Amen!” But of course, it’s what is meant by the term justify that needs careful clarification. In fact, it’s that very definition which makes the difference between calling our Roman Catholic neighbors merely a friend or a brother.[1]

The history of Rome’s understanding is itself variegated and in no way lends itself to an easy retelling, at least not in a short article like this. There’s a story about an argument over justification by faith, held during the two-decade deliberation of the Council of Trent, where “the Bishop of La Cava wrenched the beard of the Cretan Bishop of Chironissa, who had commented that he was either a knave or a fool for sounding a bit like Martin Luther on justification.”[2] And yet, you could turn to many of Thomas Aquinas’ statements on justification and easily conclude that he sounds exactly like Martin Luther. That is to say, there is not a clearly defined doctrine of justification which is easily traceable throughout the history of the Catholic Church. This is partly why there could be such a vague document like the Evangelicals and Catholics Together, which plays on how close Catholics and Protestants can seemingly come. Yet, being close is not the same thing as being faithful and when it comes to the Gospel, faithful is essential whereas being close is still an eternally distant “close.”

It is not quite right to say that the Roman Catholic church opposes salvation by grace through faith. Their own Catechism explicitly states that a person is made right with God by God’s grace, and that grace is accepted by faith. “The first work of the grace of the Holy Spirit….

Read the entire article over at Reformation21  

On Being Reformed Or, Why I am neither Evangelical nor Emerging

September 22, 2016 Leave a comment

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.