Archive

Posts Tagged ‘Genesis’

No Creed But the Bible?

November 2, 2015 1 comment

John Piper was asked by a podcast listener if he subscribed to the 1689 Confession of Faith? Here are five points that he made against the Second London Baptist Confession of Faith:

 

 
Now here is the deal with the 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith. I didn’t choose to go that route, even though it is a good, solid, Reformed Baptist version of the Westminster Confession. And there are several reasons why. Here they are:

1) The language is somewhat foreign. Its vocabulary is like reading the King James Version. And I think it is probably a mistake to try to enshrine that today as the one if you expect families to use it without any updated form.

2) While I am able to affirm that Genesis 1 refers to literal 24-hour days, I had a hard time thinking that I should make that a matter of confessional faithfulness to Christianity, and so I stumbled over that section.

3) The understanding of the Sabbath is, perhaps, more rigorous and narrow than my understanding of the implications of Jesus’s teaching about the Sabbath.

4) There are certain historic categories of theology, like the covenant of works and others, that have proved useful, but you might wonder: Shall I make that the structure of the theology I am going to present?

5) This is going to sound so piddly — and yet you can’t be piddly in a confession — little things like saying that bread and wine are prescribed in the Lord’s Supper. Nowhere in the New Testament does it say that wine was used in the Lord’s Supper. That comes as a shock to a lot of people. It doesn’t say that is what was used.

Now I suspect it was. I suspect it was wine, but it always uses the term cup or fruit of the vine and, therefore, if you get into a knock down battle and say we are going to settle this confessionally and you go to the 1689 Confession, it is going to say wine is what you are supposed to use. And I would say: Well, that is just unbiblical, because that is not what the Bible says, even though that is totally legitimate and maybe even preferable, but not at all required.

To read the entire audio transcript, click here.

To download the audio, click here.

 

 

My response to Piper:

1) The language of the1689 Confession is not foreign to the average reader of today. It is fairly simple in its explanation of the doctrines in which it confesses. That is not to say, that the average reader today, doesn’t need to study a little history of the Church because the confession does use certain words that affirm the truth, over and against the errors that tried to creep in during church history. But this is also true of the scriptures contained within Holy Writ. Unless one studies the historical setting of the Bible, then the reader will not grasp certain things in which the Bible states. So if, the average reader of today, struggles with the confession, then it is certain that they haven’t studied any church history and probably hasn’t studied any Biblical history. Of course, there are modern versions of the 1689 Confession, in modern language, and so Piper’s objection right here is absurd and ridiculous.

2) Piper has a hard time thinking that the 24 hours days of Genesis should by a matter of confessional faithfulness to Christianity. But why does he think that? Is he saying that whatever God states in scripture shouldn’t be a matter of confessional faithfulness to Christianity? To deny what God says in scripture is to deny scripture. Many, for the sake of not trying to look like the Bible is outdated or is ignorant concerning creation, have chosen to try and harmonize the scriptures with the obscure data of fallen man’s so-called science. Paul warned Timothy of this in 1 Timothy 6:20, whereby Paul said, “O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called…” So I say, if someone gets Genesis wrong, then they get all of scripture wrong. Genesis lays the foundation for the rest of Biblical revelation. And if you notice several of his remaining objections are points that can be cleared up by studying the book of Genesis.

3) Piper also has a problem with the 1689 on its doctrine concerning the Sabbath. Yet the Sabbath, is part of the Moral law, and is contained within the ten commandments. These ten commandments where given on Mt Sinai, and are the totality of what is contained in the moral law. However, these ten commandments were revealed before Mt Sinai when God wrote these commandments on the heart of man at creation. We see that most of these commandments were broken in Genesis and God judges those who broke them.

4) Piper also seems to have a problem with the covenant of works. Yet, if one does away with the covenant of works, then they do away with Christ’s sacrifice. What law did Christ fulfill? Why did Christ have to die in our place, if no covenant was broken? If you do away with the doctrine of the covenant of works, then you do away with justification.

5) Finally Piper has a problem with the 1689 because it speaks of wine being used in the Lord’s supper. He states that wine is unbiblical and that it was probably only the fruit of the vine which was used at the Lord’s supper. You would think that someone who was a Pastor for as many years as he was, that they would not be so ignorant concerning such a matter as this. The Lord’s supper took place between March and April, seeing that the Passover was a movable feast. The harvesting of grapes took place in late October. Now how does Piper propose that the Jews preserved grape juice for six months? Welch had not yet been born. Once new wine was bottled, it started the fermentation process.

Advertisements

At what time and in what order the angels were created is inexpedient to inquire

calvin.jpg_7MA21605611-0015The angels created by God. At what time and in what order it is inexpedient to inquire. The garrulity of the Pseudo-Dionysius.

4. Angels being the ministers appointed to execute the commands of God, must, of course, be admitted to be his creatures, but to stir up questions concerning the time or order in which they were created, (see Lombard, lib. 2 dist. 2, sqq.,) bespeaks more perverseness than industry. Moses relates that the heavens and the earth were finished, with all their host; what avails it anxiously to inquire at what time other more hidden celestial hosts than the stars and planets also began to be? Not to dwell on this, let us here remember that on the whole subject of religion one rule of modesty and soberness is to be observed, and it is this, in obscure matters not to speak or think, or even long to know, more than the Word of God has delivered. A second rule is, that in reading the Scriptures we should constantly direct our inquiries and meditations to those things which tend to edification, not indulge in curiosity, or in studying things of no use. And since the Lord has been pleased to instruct us, not in frivolous questions, but in solid piety, in the fear of his name, in true faith, and the duties of holiness, let us rest satisfied with such knowledge. Wherefore, if we would be duly wise, we must renounce those vain babblings of idle men, concerning the nature, ranks, and number of angels, without any authority from the Word of God. I know that many fasten on these topics more eagerly, and take greater pleasure in them than in those relating to daily practice. But if we decline not to be the disciples of Christ, let us not decline to follow the method which he has prescribed. In this way, being contented with him for our master, we will not only refrain from, but even feel averse to, superfluous speculations which he discourages. None can deny that Dionysus (whoever he may have been) has many shrewd and subtle disquisitions in his Celestial Hierarchy, but on looking at them more closely, every one must see that they are merely idle talk. The duty of a Theologian, however, is not to tickle the ear, but confirm the conscience, by teaching what is true, certain, and useful. When you read the work of Dionysus, you would think that the man had come down from heaven, and was relating, not what he had learned, but what he had actually seen. Paul, however, though he was carried to the third heaven, so far from delivering any thing of the kind, positively declares, that it was not lawful for man to speak the secrets which he had seen. Bidding adieu, therefore, to that nugatory wisdom, let us endeavor to ascertain from the simple doctrine of Scripture what it is the Lord’s pleasure that we should know concerning angels.

John Calvin-Institutes of the Christian Religion-Book I-Chapter 14-Henry Beveridge Translation

Did Bible Authors Believe in a Literal Genesis?

December 17, 2013 2 comments

By Dr. Terry Mortenson-The New Answers Book 3-Chapter 8

Anyone who has read the Bible very much will recognize that there are different kinds of literature in the Old and New Testaments. There are parables, poetry, prophetic visions, dreams, epistles, proverbs, and historical narrative, with the majority being the latter. So, how should we interpret Genesis 1–11? Is it history? Is it mythology? Is it symbolic poetry? Is it allegory? Is it a parable? Is it a prophetic vision? Is it a mixture of these kinds of literature or some kind of unique genre? And does it really matter anyway?

We will come back to the last question later, but suffice it to say here that the correct conclusion on genre of literature is foundational to the question of the correct interpretation. If we interpret something literally that the author intended to be understood figuratively, then we will misunderstand the text. When Jesus said “I am the door” (John 10:9), He did not mean that He was made of wood with hinges attached to His side. Conversely, if we interpret something figuratively that the author intended to be taken literally, we will err. When Jesus said, “The Son of Man is about to be betrayed into the hands of men, and they will kill Him, and the third day He will be raised up” (Matthew 17:22–23), He clearly meant it just as literally as if I said to my wife, “Margie, I’m going to fill up the gas tank with gas and will be back in a few minutes.”

There are many lines of evidence we could consider to determine the genre of Genesis 1–11, such as the internal evidence within the Book of Genesis and how the Church has viewed these chapters throughout church history. But in this chapter we want to answer the question, “How did the other biblical authors (besides Moses, who wrote Genesis1) and Jesus interpret them?” From my reading and experience it appears that most people who consider the question of how to interpret the early chapters of Genesis have never asked, much less answered, that question.

 

Read the entire article here.

The First Question to one Seeking Ordination

August 10, 2012 2 comments

We come in this book to look at the first stupendous fact in the history of man. If a minister is being examined for ordination, it is almost sufficient to put one question. His answer to that question will determine where he stands on everything else. The question is, “What do you believe about the fall of man? Is this account here in Genesis his starting? Is it an allegory? Is it poetry?”

Our Lord Jesus Christ and the apostles and all the prophets subsequent to Moses treat it as history pure and simple. If it be not history, there is no beginning to the world’s history and there is no explanation of all the subsequent movements of Divine Providence and of the history of man.

B. H. Carroll—Man’s Creation, Fall, and Redemption