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Posts Tagged ‘Confessional Christianity’

Ligon Duncan on Why ‘No Creed But the Bible’ Is a Lousy Creed

Jeff Robinson and Ligon Duncan

What does it mean to be a confessional church? When making our case for a particular doctrine, is it fine to reference our confession of faith, or would it be best to just stick to Scripture? Isn’t the Bible enough for Christians in establishing our doctrine and practice? Should we demand church members subscribe to a particular view of a third-level doctrine?

These are among the practical questions that sit at the heart of confessional Christianity. I put these questions to Ligon Duncan, a longtime confessional Christian and TGC Council member. Duncan, former pastor of the historic First Presbyterian Church in Jackson, Mississippi, now serves as chancellor of Reformed Theological Seminary.

Is it biblical for the church to write and use confessions of faith?

Yes! It is absolutely biblical for a church to use a confession of faith. The famous shema of Deuteronomy 6:4—“Hear, O Israel: the LORD your God, the LORD is one”—is a confession of faith. It affirms the two ideas most basic to the Israel’s religion: that Yahweh exists, and that he is the one true God. In the New Testament, Paul calls these fundamental affirmations “trustworthy sayings.” Such basic statements highlighting the fundamental commitments of God’s people are found throughout Scripture.

What about writing confessions of faith? Again, yes. If you look at the history of creeds and confessions, you’ll see that human-created creeds and confessions arose out of the church’s desire to be faithful to Scripture’s clear teaching. Whenever false teachers were appealing to the Bible and twisting it to suit their own purposes, Christians defended the truth by clearly articulating their scriptural convictions with the most…

 

 

 

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Resources for Studying the Law and the Gospel

September 20, 2016 Leave a comment

by Jon English Lee

A proper understanding of the relationship between the law and the gospel is crucial for any minister hoping to be effective in his preaching and counseling. Indeed, a flawed understanding of the relationship between law and gospel leads to all sorts of problems:

Errors in this doctrine have spawned dispensationalism, theonomy, the New Perspective on Paul, hypercovenantalism, legalism, antinomianism, shallow evangelism, shallower sanctification, worship errors and unbiblical mysticism.[1]

 

 

 

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The Law and the Gospel

September 20, 2016 Leave a comment

Founders Journal · Fall 2004 · pp. 7-12

The Law and the Gospel

Romans 6:14

Fred A. Malone

If I could do one thing to improve the effectiveness of pastoral preaching and pastoral care in the church, it would be to call all pastors to understand the doctrine of the Law and the Gospel in Scripture. When I first went to serve as Ernie Reisinger’s associate in 1977, he required me to study Romans 6:14 on the Law and the Gospel and placed a book in my hand to help: The True Bounds of Christian Freedom by Samuel Bolton. Ernie’s book on The Law and the Gospel contains much of what we talked about in those days.

There is much controversy and ignorance over this doctrine today. Errors in this doctrine have spawned dispensationalism, theonomy, the New Perspective on Paul, hypercovenantalism, legalism, antinomianism, shallow evangelism, shallower sanctification, worship errors and unbiblical mysticism. Yet our Reformed and Baptist forefathers generally did not succumb to such errors before 1900. Why not? I believe it was because they understood the biblical doctrine of the Law and the Gospel. You can see it in their confessions of faith and their writings. [1] I pray that today’s pastors, especially Baptist pastors, will restudy this doctrine and reform their lives and ministries by these truths.

 

 

 

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“Traditional” Baptists Under the Microscope of History

Founders Journal 89 · Summer 2012 · pp. 7–33

“Traditional” Baptists Under the Microscope of History

Tom Nettles

The following is an expanded version of an address delivered at the Founders Fellowship Breakfast on June 19, 2012 at the Southern Baptist Convention in New Orleans, LA.

Recently, a group of anti-Calvinist Baptists claimed that they have exclusive rights to the term “Traditional Baptist.” Calvinists, therefore, should resign themselves to the status of a distinct minority among Southern Baptists and be willing to receive the grace of mere toleration. With that they should be happy, and be content to expect little else. Perhaps a bit of historical perspective can serve to amend this strange perception.

A Doctrinal Profile of Baptist Identity

When Baptists emerged out of seventeenth-century English Separatism, they already were identified with several specific marks inherited from the Reformation. The Theological Orthodoxy of the early church, received by the Reformers, they claimed as their own. Like their fellows Protestants, they revolted from the sacerdotalism that dominated Roman Catholic soteriology and developed a more highly purified evangelicalism than even their Protestant brothers. The confessional stewardship that had thrived in early Christianity and that was renewed in sixteenth-century Protestantism became an important and strategic part of Baptist witness. Confessions operated at three levels for Baptists, as indicated by a confession adopted by the Mt. Nebo Baptist Church in Louisiana. First a confession….

 

 

 

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Consider the 1689

by J. Ryan Davidson

Huddled together in 1644, representatives of 7 churches gathered to summarize their common confession, and to distinguish themselves from the Anabaptists and the Arminians. It was a time of turmoil, and the river of the Reformation had swept across the banks of London. This was one of the first of several non-Anglican groups in that century to put pen to paper and confess their faith. Two years later, the Westminster Assembly would produce its own confession (WCF), and then in 1658, the Congregationalists would follow suit (Savoy Declaration). That original group of 7 churches was the Particular Baptists. Amid persecution, and to show their solidarity and theological agreement in many ways with the Presbyterians and Congregationalists that had since written their own confessions, a larger crop of Baptists would draft the 1677 Baptist Confession with great reliance on the WCF and Savoy, however due to persecution, this document would not be published until 1689, giving it the name that it is known by today: “The 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith”. This Confession was classically theist in its view of God, covenantal in its view of Biblical Theology, “Calvinist” in its soteriology, and would show alignment with the Westminster Confession of Faith on the Ordinary Means of Grace and the Law. I grew up Baptist, became Calvinistic in my soteriology in my teen years, and have found a wonderful home in the confessional roots of Baptist theology as a pastor in my mid-thirties. To me, this Historic Confession, similar to the Westminster Confession of Faith and the Savoy Declaration, is worth considering for at least five reasons:

 

 

 

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Random Thoughts

December 15, 2015 Leave a comment

by Tom Chantry

Thomas Sowell hasn’t sued me yet, so here are some more “random thoughts on the passing scene.”

Everybody loves Owen. Presbyterians and Reformed on both sides of the sanctification debate are trying to claim him. Baptists have loved him for a long time; I wonder exactly how many of us have named sons after him? But when he showed up on a Baptist book cover, objections were raised by – of all people – an Anglican who wanted to claim him! All this would likely amuse the man himself, who was once stripped of his living by Presbyterians and denied preferment by the Church of England when he would not conform. At least the 17th century Baptists didn’t persecute him; herbivores at the bottom of the food chain never persecute anyone.

There are two types of theologians: innovators who present new combinations of thought, and plodders who defend the old paths. In fifty years the innovators will be remembered by many, but only as villains. Meanwhile a remnant will remember the plodders as true fathers in the faith.

 

 

 

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Is God Faithful According To His Character?

By Bill Hier

For I am the LORD, I do not change; Therefore you are not consumed, O sons of Jacob. (Malachi 3:6)

This is one of the texts set forth in the Introduction of CONFESSING THE IMPASSIBLE GOD, The Biblical, Classical, & Confessional Doctrine of Divine Impassibility.

Since I will be mentioning this book and its editors often in the upcoming months, I will not bother to do so at this time (you will hear about these faithful servants of our God enough in future posts).

However, it would be most remiss of me to not mention the author of this Introduction, our esteemed and well used of the Lord brother, James M. Renihan. Although his credentials speak well of him, let our Lord estimate that acquiescence to His glory which our dear brother has been blessed to be used of Him withal.

I am not plugging the book (which I will, and which you MUST read)…..

 

 

 

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