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Posts Tagged ‘Apostles’

Whatever happened to the Law and the Gospel?

By Fred Malone

When one looks at the New Testament teachings of Jesus and the writings of the Apostles, one would think that a confession of faith ought to have some explanation of the law of God as well as the gospel of Christ. You cannot read the Sermon on the Mount, Romans, Galatians, James, or 1 John without seeing many references to the law of God or the commandments of God. Yet in the progression of Baptist confessions from England into America we see a decided and obvious reduction of any serious reference to the law of God or the commandments of God.

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Are there still apostles in the church today?

August 10, 2015 3 comments

At the outset, we should note that by “apostles” we do not simply mean “sent ones” in the general sense. Rather, we are speaking of those select individuals directly appointed and authorized by Jesus Christ to be His immediate representatives on earth. In this sense, we are speaking of “capital A” apostles – such as the Twelve and the apostle Paul.

It is these type of “apostles” that Paul speaks of in Ephesians 2:20; 3:5; 4:11 and in 1 Corinthians 12:29–30. This is important because, especially in Ephesians 4 and in 1 Corinthians 12–14, Paul references apostleship within the context of the charismatic gifts. If “apostleship” has ceased, it gives us grounds to consider the possibility that other offices/gifts have ceased as well. If the apostles were unique, and the period in which they ministered was unique, then it follows that the gifts that characterized the apostolic age were also unique.

The question then is an important one, underscoring the basic principle of the cessationist paradigm – namely, the uniqueness of the apostolic age and the subsequent cessation of certain aspects of that age.

 

 

 

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There is no conflict between the testimony of Christ and the Apostles

February 24, 2015 2 comments

Arthur PinkMost certainly there was no conflict between the testimony of the apostles and that of their Master, for He had expressly enjoined them to teach their converts “to observe all things whatsoever I have [not shall!] commanded you” (Matthew 28:20). Nor did the doctrinal system of Paul differ in any wise from that enunciated in the Old Testament. At the very beginning of the first epistle bearing his name he is particular to inform us that the Gospel unto which God had separated him was none other than the one

“He had promised afore by His prophets in the holy scriptures” (Romans 1:1, 2);

and when he stated that the righteousness of God was now revealed apart from the Law, he was careful to add, “being witnessed by the law and the prophets” (3:21). When he vindicated his teaching on justification by faith without the deeds of the Law, he did so by appealing to the case of Abraham and the testimony of David (Romans 4). When he admonished the Corinthians against being lulled into a false sense of security because of the spiritual gifts which had been bestowed upon them, he reminded them of the Israelites who had been highly favored of God, yet that did not keep them from His displeasure when they sinned, even though they “did all eat the same spiritual meat; and did drink the same spiritual drink” (1 Corinthians 10:1-5). And when illustrating important practical truth, he cites the history of Abraham’s two sons (Galatians 4:22-31).

Arthur W. Pink-Interpretation of the Scriptures

A Brief Catechism of Bible Doctrine-20-The Sabbath

The Sabbath

 

1. What is the Sabbath?

It is one day of the week, which God requires to be kept as a day of rest, and holy to Him.

2. What day of the week did the Jews observe?

The seventh, which we commonly call Saturday.

3. What day do Christians keep?

The first day of the week or Sunday.

4. Why do Christians keep Sunday as the Sabbath?

Because it was on that day of the week that Christ rose from the dead.

5. What name is given to it on this account?

The Lord’s Day.

6. Did the Apostles and the Christians of their day observe the first day of the week?

They did, and that is our authority for observing the first instead of the seventh day.

7. What truth was the Sabbath appointed to commemorate?

The completion of God’s work of Creation.

8. What additional truth does the Christian Sabbath teach?

The triumphant completion of the still more glorious work of Redemption.

 

James P. Boyce-A Brief Catechism of Bible Doctrine

The Spirit of Christ seals the doctrine of the written Word on the minds of the godly

calvin.jpg_7MA21605611-0015The temper and error of the Libertines, who take to themselves the name of spiritual, briefly described. Their refutation.

1. The Apostles and all true Christians have embraced the written Word.

This confirmed by a passage in Isaiah; also by the example and words of Paul.

2. The Spirit of Christ seals the doctrine of the written Word on the minds of the godly.

1. Those who, rejecting Scripture, imagine that they have some peculiar way of penetrating to God, are to be deemed not so much under the influence of error as madness. For certain giddy me have lately appeared, who, while they make a great display of the superiority of the Spirit, reject all reading of the Scriptures themselves, and deride the simplicity of those who only delight in what they call the dead and deadly letter. But I wish they would tell me what spirit it is whose inspiration raises them to such a sublime height that they dare despise the doctrine of Scripture as mean and childish. If they answer that it is the Spirit of Christ, their confidence is exceedingly ridiculous; since they will, I presume, admit that the apostles and other believers in the primitive Church were not illuminated by any other Spirit. None of these thereby learned to despise the word of God, but every one was imbued with greater reverence for it, as their writings most clearly testify. And, indeed, it had been so foretold by the mouth of Isaiah. For when he says, “My Spirit that is upon thee, and my words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seed’s seed, saith the Lord, from henceforth and for ever,” he does not tie down the ancient Church to external doctrine, as he were a mere teacher of elements; he rather shows that, under the reign of Christ, the true and full felicity of the new Church will consist in their being ruled not less by the Word than by the Spirit of God. Hence we infer that these miscreants are guilty of fearful sacrilege in tearing asunder what the prophet joins in indissoluble union. Add to this, that Paul, though carried up even to the third heaven, ceased not to profit by the doctrine of the law and the prophets, while, in like manner, he exhorts Timothy, a teacher of singular excellence, to give attention to reading, (1 Timothy 4:13.) And the eulogium which he pronounces on Scripture well deserves to be remembered, viz., that “it is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, and for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfect,” (2 Timothy 3:16.) What an infatuation of the devil, therefore, to fancy that Scripture, which conducts the sons of God to the final goal, is of transient and temporary use? Again, I should like those people to tell me whether they have imbibed any other Spirit than that which Christ promised to his disciples. Though their madness is extreme, it will scarcely carry them the length of making this their boast. But what kind of Spirit did our Savior promise to send? One who should not speak of himself, (John 16:13,) but suggest and instill the truths which he himself had delivered through the word. Hence the office of the Spirit promised to us, is not to form new and unheard-of revelations, or to coin a new form of doctrine, by which we may be led away from the received doctrine of the gospel, but to seal on our minds the very doctrine which the gospel recommends.

John Calvin-Institutes of the Christian Religion-Book I-Chapter 9-Henry Beveridge Translation

The Church’s preservation of the truth and the gospels power to spread during adversity, confirms that scripture is divine revelation

February 19, 2014 3 comments

calvin.jpg_7MA21605611-0015Proofs from Church history.

I. Perpetual consent of the Church in receiving and preserving the truth.

II. The invincible power of the truth itself.

III. Agreement among the godly, not withstanding of their many differences in other respects.

12. Add, moreover, that, for the best of reasons, the consent of the Church is not without its weight. For it is not to be accounted of no consequence, that, from the first publication of Scripture, so many ages have uniformly concurred in yielding obedience to it, and that, notwithstanding of the many extraordinary attempts which Satan and the whole world have made to oppress and overthrow it, or completely efface it from the memory of men, it has flourished like the palm tree and continued invincible. Though in old times there was scarcely a sophist or orator of any note who did not exert his powers against it, their efforts proved unavailing. The powers of the earth armed themselves for its destruction, but all their attempts vanished into smoke. When thus powerfully assailed on every side, how could it have resisted if it had trusted only to human aid? Nay, its divine origin is more completely established by the fact, that when all human wishes were against it, it advanced by its own energy. Add that it was not a single city or a single nation that concurred in receiving and embracing it. Its authority was recognized as far and as wide as the world extends — various nations who had nothing else in common entering for this purpose into a holy league. Moreover, while we ought to attach the greatest weight to the agreement of minds so diversified, and in all other things so much at variance with each other — an agreement which a Divine Providence alone could have produced — it adds no small weight to the whole when we attend to the piety of those who thus agree; not of all of them indeed, but of those in whom as lights God was pleased that his Church should shine.

John Calvin-Institutes of the Christian Religion-Book I-Chapter 8-Henry Beveridge Translation

The harmony of the Gospels and the calling of Paul confirm that scripture is divine revelation

February 12, 2014 5 comments

calvin.jpg_7MA21605611-0015Special proofs from the New Testament.

I. The harmony of the Evangelists, and the sublime simplicity of their writings.

II. The majesty of John, Paul, and Peter.

III. The calling of the Apostles.

IV. The conversion of Paul.

11. When we proceed to the New Testament, how solid are the pillars by which its truth is supported! Three evangelists give a narrative in a mean and humble style. The proud often eye this simplicity with disdain, because they attend not to the principal heads of doctrine; for from these they might easily infer that these evangelists treat of heavenly mysteries beyond the capacity of man. Those who have the least particle of candor must be ashamed of their fastidiousness when they read the first chapter of Luke. Even our Savior’s discourses, of which a summary is given by these three evangelists, ought to prevent every one from treating their writings with contempt. John, again, fulminating in majesty, strikes down more powerfully than any thunderbolt the petulance of those who refuse to submit to the obedience of faith. Let all those acute censors, whose highest pleasure it is to banish a reverential regard of Scripture from their own and other men’s hearts, come forward; let them read the Gospel of John, and, willing or unwilling, they will find a thousand sentences which will at least arouse them from their sloth; nay, which will burn into their consciences as with a hot iron, and check their derision. The same thing may be said of Peter and Paul, whose writings, though the greater part read them blindfold, exhibit a heavenly majesty, which in a manner binds and rivets every reader. But one circumstance, sufficient of itself to exalt their doctrine above the world, is, that Matthew, who was formerly fixed down to his money-table, Peter and John, who were employed with their little boats, being all rude and illiterate, had never learned in any human school that which they delivered to others. Paul, moreover, who had not only been an avowed but a cruel and bloody foe, being changed into a new man, shows, by the sudden and unhoped-for change, that a heavenly power had compelled him to preach the doctrine which once he destroyed. Let those dogs deny that the Holy Spirit descended upon the apostles, or, if not, let them refuse credit to the history, still the very circumstances proclaim that the Holy Spirit must have been the teacher of those who, formerly contemptible among the people, all of a sudden began to discourse so magnificently of heavenly mysteries.

John Calvin-Institutes of the Christian Religion-Book I-Chapter 8-Henry Beveridge Translation