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Posts Tagged ‘Calvinism’

The Content of the Noble New Hampshire Confession (Part 2)

by Tom Nettles

In the last entry, we saw how the New Hampshire Confession describes God’s operations of grace in the present so that our corruptions are overcome in his granting us salvation. This entry begins with the Confession’s statement on the location of these present operations in the divine purpose established in eternity.

The article entitled “Of God’s purpose of Grace” continues the robust affirmation of divine prerogative and power while also insisting on the immediate responsibility of man, or free agency, of man. The confession states, “We believe that election is the eternal purpose of God,” [not just his perfect foreknowledge of all things that will happen], “according to which he graciously regenerates, sanctifies, and saves sinners [God’s eternal purpose governs all the necessary operations by which he saves those he has elected], “that being perfectly consistent with the free agency of man, it comprehends all the means in connection with the end”……

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The Content of the Noble New Hampshire Confession (Part 1)

by Tom Nettles

In our last entry, we examined the complex context in which the New Hampshire Confession of Faith was written—the anti-mission-society movement, the Free Will Baptist movement, and the phenomenon of Charles Finney’s impact on Baptist ideas. In this entry we begin an examination of its content.

These challenges prompted the New Hampshire Baptist Convention to appoint a committee in 1830 to present a confession of faith that would summarize the views of the churches of the Convention. After several revisions both by individuals and other committees, it was finally presented in 1833 by the Board of the Convention and recommended to the churches for Adoption. In 1853, J. Newton Brown added two articles, “Repentance and Faith” and Sanctification,” and published the confession in a book he put together entitled The Baptist Church Manual.

 

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The Noble New Hampshire Confession

by Tom Nettles

Every confession of faith has its own historic context and yields a more accurate understanding when its words are seen in light of that context. This rather obvious truism, however, is particularly relevant to understanding the New Hampshire Confession of Faith. Given the normative status of the Second London Confession for Baptists from New England to the deep South, several rather intense doctrinal challenges to early 19thcentury Baptists made a confessional response necessary for Calvinistic missionary Baptists.

 

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Did the Early Church Believe the Doctrines of Grace?

There are a number of websites (some quite terrible, others a bit scholarly, yet equally terrible) that attempt to dissuade investigative readers to believe that, except for Augustine, or at least until the “time of Augustine”, that the early church did not believe in the depravity of man, in unconditional election and/or a sovereign predestination, a limited atonement in extent of Jesus Christ, grace that is irresistible, and the final perseverance of the saints. This is a tragedy. Why? With a hearty consulting of primary sources, readers can certainly find the “infant stages” of all these Gospel doctrines throughout the writings of the early church. And not only these can be found in “infant stages” but they can be found quite specifically in many of the early writers.

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Why Stay in the SBC?

By Tom Ascol

“Why should we stay in the SBC?” I’ve had that question put to me from pastors, elders, deacons, and whole congregations over the last 30 years. The questioners are always serious about the gospel and biblical church order and most of them would describe themselves as reformed or “reformedish.” The questions increase on the heels of some unfortunate, public pronouncement by a respected Southern Baptist pastor or denominational servant.

“There is not a nickel’s worth of difference between liberalism, five-point Calvinism and dead orthodoxy.”

“Calvinism is worse than Islam.”

“Calvinism makes automotons of people.”

“[Calvinism] is a dagger to the heart of evangelism.”

I could go on, but you get the idea. A Southern Baptist Calvinist could get the impression that he is not welcomed in the SBC and, as another prominent SBC…

 

 

 

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Fuller and the Atonement (Part 4): Limited Atonement and Free Offer

Tom Nettles

Editorial note: This is the seventh post in a series on Andrew Fuller’s theology. Here is the series so far: Fuller the Non-Calvinist? (Part 1), Fullerite: Doctrine of Inability (Part 2), Fuller and Irresistible Grace (Part 3), Fuller and the Atonement – 1/4 (Part 4), Fuller and the Atonement – 2/4 (Part 5), Fuller and the Atonement – 3/4 (Part 6), and Fuller and the Atonement 4/4 (Part 7).

Fuller’s rejection of the commercial understanding of moral justice was two-fold (at least). One, such a limitation, that is, forgiveness dependent on the enumeration of sins and their commensurate guilt, was impossible by the very nature of Christ’s infinite excellence. Christ’ infinite fullness of worthiness necessarily offered to the Father a complete satisfaction, rendering salvation, especially forgiveness as an intrinsic necessity of salvation, a matter of divine sovereignty, eternally determined, in its application. So, the reason for Christ’s incarnation and his fulfillment of the office of priest as a ransom, reconciliation, propitiation,…..

 

 

 

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Fuller and the Atonement (Part 3): Until You Have Paid the Last Penney

Tom Nettles

Editorial note: This is the sixth post in a series on Andrew Fuller’s theology. Here is the series so far: Fuller the Non-Calvinist? (Part 1), Fullerite: Doctrine of Inability (Part 2), Fuller and Irresistible Grace (Part 3), Fuller and the Atonement – 1/4 (Part 4), Fuller and the Atonement – 2/4 (Part 5), Fuller and the Atonement – 3/4 (Part 6), and Fuller and the Atonement 4/4 (Part 7).

Though Andrew Fuller asserted that Calvinists in general held the covenantal application view of particular redemption, historically that which he called the “commercial” view has co-existed with it. That view, defended among the Baptists by John Spilsbury [1] (as far as we can discern the first Particular Baptist pastor), Abraham Booth [2], and John L. Dagg [3], contends that the suffering of Christ is a matter of actual measurable justice. The propitiatory wrath set forth by the Father must be commensurate with the degree of susceptibility to punishment for all those that the Father gave to the Son. For them in particular Jesus sanctified himself….

 

 

 

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Fuller and the Atonement (Part 2): A Way Out or a Way In?

Tom Nettles

Editorial note: This is the fifth post in a series on Andrew Fuller’s theology. Here is the series so far: Fuller the Non-Calvinist? (Part 1), Fullerite: Doctrine of Inability (Part 2), Fuller and Irresistible Grace (Part 3), Fuller and the Atonement – 1/4 (Part 4), Fuller and the Atonement – 2/4 (Part 5), Fuller and the Atonement – 3/4 (Part 6), and Fuller and the Atonement 4/4 (Part 7).

In the second edition of GWAA, Fuller chose not to defend the “principle of pecuniary satisfaction” as consistent with general invitations to reconciliation. He concentrated on the position taken by the synod of Dort, and that of ”all the old Calvinists” [2:710]. He had begun this refinement process in Reply to Philanthropos and in The Reality and Efficacy of Divine Grace.

The core of the argument is that the intrinsic value of Christ’s suffering, given the infinite dignity of his person, is sufficient for the forgiveness…..

 

 

 

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Fuller and the Atonement (Part 1): “It is Enough that Jesus Died”

by Tom Nettles

Editorial note: This is the fourth post in a series on Andrew Fuller’s theology. Here is the series so far: Fuller the Non-Calvinist? (Part 1), Fullerite: Doctrine of Inability (Part 2), Fuller and Irresistible Grace (Part 3), Fuller and the Atonement – 1/4 (Part 4), Fuller and the Atonement – 2/4 (Part 5), Fuller and the Atonement – 3/4 (Part 6), and Fuller and the Atonement 4/4 (Part 7).

Fuller“The Son of God appeared—took our nature, obeyed the law, and endured the curse, and hereby made full and proper atonement for the sins of his own elect.” So confessed Fuller in 1783 at his installment as pastor at Kettering. In Fuller’s discussion of the atonement in 1785 in the first edition of The Gospel Worthy, subheaded as “Concerning Particular Redemption,” Fuller pointed to an objection based on the supposed absurdity that “God can have made it the duty of any man to believe in Christ for the salvation of his soul, or that he can have promised salvation to him on his so believing, when all the while his salvation was not the end for which he died.”i The Table of Contents described his argument in these words: “If faith were a believing Chirst [sic] died for me in particular, this objection would be unanswerable.” The second statement of the summary asserted, “No necessity for the party knowing his particular interest in Christ’s death in order to believe in him, or for his having any such interest to render it his duty.” Fuller’s basic argument in the first edition is that, at the time….

 

 

 

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Churches, Get a Calvinist Pastor!

March 28, 2017 2 comments

Tom Nettles

Southern Baptists inherited the most compelling aspects of all the Baptist Calvinists that preceded them. James P. Boyce summarized this well. He encouraged every preacher to get theological education in some way, even if it could not be at the Seminary in Greenville, South Carolina. If no other means were available, he advised, “work at it yourself.” The fathers of the convention did this, Boyce claimed; “They familiarized themselves with the Bible, and Gill and Andrew Fuller, and they made good and effective preachers. God is able to raise up others like them.”1 The irony of Boyce’s appeal to the grassroots for support of theological education was this: the seminary would not interrupt, but would perpetuate, the work of pastoral ministry, preaching and theology consistent with the Gill/Fuller tradition.

But this is the very difficulty that we face at this moment in Southern Baptist history. God indeed is raising up others like them, that is,….

 

 

 

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