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Posts Tagged ‘Friendship’

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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Reformed Baptists and the Purity of the Church

December 8, 2015 1 comment

by Tom Chantry

Having opened the week posting on the history of friendly interaction between Presbyterians and Reformed Baptists, I’ve made my way around to writing about a recent article by Westminster in California’s President, W. Robert Godfrey. Godfrey’s essay asks whether or not the Belgic Confession (one of the three confessional standards of the Dutch Reformed churches) indicates that Baptist churches are not churches, and, by implication, that Baptists are not Christians.

Godfrey’s conclusion is that our churches are churches, and our members Christians, even if our doctrine of baptism is imperfect. Far from taking offense at the implication that we are imperfect in this area (which is after all only to say that Godfrey actually subscribes to his church’s standards), I find myself challenged by the manner in which he applies his confessional standards with a spirit of charity.

This raises the question for Reformed Baptists: does our own confession lead us in the same catholic direction, and if so, are also we able to combine doctrinal rigor with a charitable outlook on the rest of Christ’s church?

 

 

 

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Godfrey and the Baptists

by Tom Chantry

This week I have been addressing the matter of friendship and cooperation across denominational boundaries within the broader Reformed world. Yesterday, in writing about the example of cooperation being set by Westminster Seminary California and the Institute for Reformed Baptist Studies, I mentioned a recent article by W. Robert Godfrey, WSC’s president, entitled “The Belgic Confession and the True Church.”

The article is being published in By Common Confession, a festschrift for James Renihan, dean of IRBS, and addresses the question, “Does the Belgic Confession, as some claim, require its subscribers to confess that all Baptist churches are false churches?” What is remarkable in this essay is that Godfrey…..

 

 

 

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The Challenge of Cooperation

November 24, 2015 Leave a comment

By Tom Chantry

Yesterday I wrote about the spirit of friendship and cooperation which has formed at least part of the true history of interaction between Presbyterians and Reformed on the one hand and Reformed Baptists on the other. Fellowship has flourished where there has been mutual appreciation and trust. Yet it seems that recently, distrust is growing. I concluded by asking:

In this context, two questions arise. First, is similar friendship and collaboration sustainable any longer? And second, is such cooperation across denominational and confessional lines even a good idea?

My answer to each of those questions is a resounding “Yes.” First, though, we need to understand why such fellowship is challenged.

The New Calvinism

I am convinced that the main challenge to interdenominational cooperation among serious, confessional churches is posed by the movement which has come to be known as “New Calvinism.” New Calvinism is indeed…….

 

 

 

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Farewell, Dr John Anderson

August 10, 2015 3 comments

by Conrad Mbewe

It is now one week since the remains of my dearest friend, Dr John Anderson, were interred in the graveyard at Newhouse Baptist Church in England. I am now objective enough to reflect on what that man meant to me while the Lord lent him breath. Sorry the post is long!

The beginning of our friendship

Conrad with John Anderson 2007

John sprang into my life in 1991. I was about to make my first overseas visit the following year and, as part of the preparations, I wrote an article about the start of the Reformed Baptist movement in Zambia in the Grace magazine of the UK. John read it with great interest.

The reason John was interested in the story I wrote about the Reformed Baptists in Zambia was because he had been coming out to Zambia to stand in for doctors who were going on furlough at a rural hospital in Katete called St Francis Hospital, some 600 km east of Lusaka.

 

 
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