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Works of God- Providence: Natural Government- Book Third- Chapter 3- Section 3

September 28, 2016 Leave a comment

Book Third

CHAPTER III.

SECTION III.–NATURAL GOVERNMENT.

Among our earliest lesson, we learn that the relation of cause and effect exists, and that events occur because of this relation in an established order of sequence. Were the order of succession not established, or were we ignorant of it, we should be unable to mange the most common concerns of life. If food sometimes nourished, and sometimes poisoned, or if we were incapable of learning whether the nutritive quality belonged to bread, or to arsenic, we should be unable to regulate the process of eating, so necessary to the preservation of life. But our Creator has made us capable of observing the sequences of nature, and of learning the order in which they occur, and the relation of cause and effect, which the parts of the succession sustain to each other. The study of these sequences is the business of philosophy; but philosophy is not confined to the university, or the lecture-room. It is found in every man’s walk, and in the every-day experience of life. The child begins to learn it in the cradle; and without some knowledge of it, men would not know how to shun the flood, the flames, or the precipice.

In all departments of knowledge we classify the things known; and the sequences of nature, classified, become what we call laws of nature. These are only the regular modes in which the sequences of nature occur. In the phrase, law of nature, the term law is used in a transferred sense. When employed in morals, it implies an authority commanding, and a subject bound to obey. But nature is not a being possessing authority; and natural things are not capable of obedience in the proper sense. In morals, laws given may be disobeyed; but the processes of nature always conform to what are called the laws of nature. The laws of nature may be regarded as the modes in which the providence of God operates. His will has determined the relation of cause and effect; and, therefore, the laws of nature are the orders of sequence, in which it is his will, that the changes of natural things should occur.

When we contemplate the order which prevails in the natural world, we behold the exhibition of the wisdom which God’s providence displays. His natural government, as well as his moral, abounds with wisdom. All his reasons for planning the system of things precisely as it is we cannot presume to understand; but the advantage resulting from its order meets us in every experience of life. It would be to no purpose that we have been so made as to be capable of observing the sequences of nature, if these sequences took place without order. If chaos reigned in the succession of events, philosophy would be impossible, and equally impossible the most common arts of life. Reason would be an unavailing gift; and if human life were not filled with perpetual terror, the exemption would arise rather from inability to comprehend its danger, than from the circumstances of its situation.

John L. Dagg- Manual of Theology

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Works of God- Providence: Government in General- Book Third- Chapter 3- Section 2

September 21, 2016 Leave a comment

Book Third

CHAPTER III.

SECTION II.–GOVERNMENT IN GENERAL

ALL CREATED THINGS ARE SO UNDER GOD’S CONTROL, THAT THEIR CHANGES TAKE PLACE ACCORDING TO HIS PURPOSE.[3]

Created things are perpetually operating on each other in the relation of cause and effect. The properties and powers by which they so operate, were given to each of them in their creation, and are continued in the act of preservation. It follows, therefore, that all created things operate on each other, and produce changes in each other, by the will and power of God. If they are dependent for their existence, they must be, for their properties and powers, and, of consequence, for their operations.

God’s control over all events that happen, is abundantly taught in the Scriptures; which represent the wind,[4] the rain,[5] pestilence,[6] plenty,[7] grass,[8] and fowls of the air,[9] and hairs of the head,[10] &c., as objects of his providence.

The Scriptures not only attribute events to the overruling hand of God, but they represent him as ordering them for the accomplishment of some purpose. The grass grows, that it may give food.[11] Pestilence is sent, that men may be punished for their sins.[12] Joseph was sent into Egypt, to preserve much people alive.[13] Nor are there a few events only which are so ordered; but it is said, He worketh all things after the counsel of his own will. The declaration, “All things work together for good, “[14] &c., could not be true, if God’s control were not alike extended to all events, causing them all to co-operate in the fulfilment of his purpose.

Some persons are unwilling to attribute to God the care and management of minute and unimportant events. They consider it beneath his dignity to be concerned about such trivial matters. They believe in a General Providence over the affairs of the world, exercised by general laws; but a Particular Providence, exercised over every particular incident of every man’s life, enters not into their creed. But the Scriptures are plain on this subject. The fall of a sparrow is a very trivial event, yet it is affirmed by the teacher from heaven, to be not without our heavenly Father.[15] If great events happen according to general laws, it is equally true of small ones; and operation of these laws, in the latter case, must be as well understood, and as perfectly controlled, as in the former. Moreover, it often happens, that very important events depend on others that are in themselves trivial and unimportant. The King of Israel was slain,[16] and God’s prophecy concerning him was fulfilled, by an arrow shot at a venture. How many very minute circumstances must have concurred in this act! That the arrow was shot at all–that it was then shot–that is was precisely so directed, and with precisely the necessary force–and that it met no obstacle on its way: all these concurred, and all these must have been under the control of Him, in whose hand was the life of the king. As God’s greatness permitted him to create the minutest of his works, so it permits him to take care of them; and this care is as easy and undistracting to him, as if his whole energy were directed to the care and benefit of a single man or angel.

The objects of God’s Providence are all created things, animate and inanimate, rational and irrational. Some of these, as angels and men, are moral agents. All others, viewed as causing change of any kind, may be classed together as natural agents. With reference to this division of the agencies under his control, the government of God may be divided into natural and moral.

[3] 2 Chron. xx. 6; Ps civ. 4, 7, 10, 13, 14, 19, 32; Prov. xvi. 9; Ps. lxxvi. 10; Dan. iv. 35; Rom. viii. 28; Eph. i. 11.

[4] Johah iv. 8.

[5] Matt. v. 45.

[6] Lev. xxvi. 25.

[7] Gen. xxvii. 28.

[8] Matt. vi. 30.

[9] Matt. vi. 26.

[10] Matt. x. 30.

[11] Ps. civ. 14.

[12] 2 Sam. xxiv. 15.

[13] Gen. xlv. 7.

[14] Rom. viii. 28.

[15] Matt. x. 29.

[16] 1 Kings xxii. 34.

John L. Dagg- Manual of Theology

Confession statement 50

Published in 1646

The Text used: There has been some updating of Old English words but otherwise no changes have been made to the original texts.

CONFESSION OF FAITH of seven congregations or churches of Christ in London. which are commonly, but unjustly, called Anabaptists; published for the vindication of the truth and information of the ignorant; likewise for the taking off those aspersions which are frequently, both in pulpit and print, unjustly cast upon them. Printed in London, Anno 1646.

L IT is lawful for a Christian to be a magistrate or civil officer; and also it is lawful to take an oath, so it be in truth, and in judgment, and in righteousness, for confirmation of truth, and ending of all strife; and that by wrath and vain oaths the Lord is provoked and this land mourns.

Acts 8:38, 10:1,2,35; Rom.16:23; Deut.6:13; Rom.1:9; 2 Cor. 10:11; Jer.4:2; Heb.6:16.

The First London Baptist Confession 1644/46 

Confession statement 35

Published in 1646

The Text used: There has been some updating of Old English words but otherwise no changes have been made to the original texts.

CONFESSION OF FAITH of seven congregations or churches of Christ in London. which are commonly, but unjustly, called Anabaptists; published for the vindication of the truth and information of the ignorant; likewise for the taking off those aspersions which are frequently, both in pulpit and print, unjustly cast upon them. Printed in London, Anno 1646.

XXXV. AND all His servants of all estates (are to acknowledge Him to be their prophet, priest, and king;) and called thither to be enrolled among His household servants, to present their bodies and souls, and to bring their gifts God hath given them, to be under His heavenly conduct and government, to lead their lives in this walled sheepfold, and watered garden, to have communion here with His saints, that they may be assured that they are made meet to be partakers of their inheritance in the kingdom of God; and to supply each others wants, inward and outward; (and although each person hath a propriety in his own estate, yet they are to supply each others wants, according as their necessities shall require, that the name of Jesus Christ may not be blasphemed through the necessity of any in the Church) and also being come, they are here by Himself to be bestowed in their several order, due place, peculiar use, being fitly compact and knit together according to the effectual working of every part, to the edifying of itself in love.

Acts 2:41,47; Isa.4:3; 1 Cor.12:6,7, etc.; Ezek.20:37,40; Song of Sol.4:12: Eph.2:19: Rom.12:4,5,6; Col.1:12, 2:5,6,19; Acts 20:32, 5:4, 2:44,45, 4:34.35; Luke 14:26; 1 Tim.6:1; Eph.4:16.

The First London Baptist Confession 1644/46 

Response to comment about Chris Broussard article

A while back I placed an article on my blog entitled “Should Chris Broussard be suspended from ESPN”. I had a commenter comment on this post, who claimed to be a Christian, but in the final outcome he did not view civil laws as being derived from God, but makes the claim that man is autonomous to make his own civil laws as he sees fit. I approved the commenter’s first few comments, but when the commenter began to rail and accuse my responses as being Pharisaical, I then cut the commenter off. Here is the final comment from this individual.

 

“You clearly responded without reading my statement… Your statement represented the puny thinking of a closed mind – not even the willingness to read the statement you’re addressing!
1. I celebrated Chris’ statement and agreed with it based on Romans 1, which I noted.
2. I satiated that I adamantly disagree with homosexuals marriage.
3. Civil rights are derived from being a citizen of the country you live in, based on that country’s laws.
4. Your Pharisee mentality really speaks to the parable of the toothpick in the versus the telephone pole in your own…
Read what was written before you waste time responding to your own issues.”

 

First my comments to this individual were not driven by the puny thinking of a closed mind for reasons that I will state in my next few points.

Secondly, this individual claimed that he celebrated Chris Broussard’s statement by appealing to Romans 1; yet had he believed Romans 1, then he would not declare that civil laws are derived from men whom have an autonomous mind set.

Thirdly, this commenter claimed that he disagreed with homosexual marriage. If this were true then he would not be a liberal concerning civil government.

Fourthly, this individual claims that civil rights are derived from being a citizen of the country in which one lives. It is true that civil rights are given to individuals within the country of which they live, but to make the claim that these countries have the right to make any and all laws that they so choose is to view the world through an autonomous mindset. Men can and have gotten together within the government systems of the countries, of which they live, and have made laws to govern their country. But do these individuals have the right to change the laws of nature, of which God has placed within this universe? This is the question. Men have no more right to change the week to an eight day week, than they do to allow two homosexuals to marry. God established the seven day week pattern from creation and has also established the marital pattern, of one man and one woman being united in holy matrimony, from creation. When these government officials make laws, against the laws of which God has established, then they are acting against God himself and shall be brought into judgment. Remember the nations that forget God shall perish Psalm 9:17.

Fifthly, this individual argues like an atheist. Atheists make the claim that morality is derived from nature. Yet nature is amoral. Since nature is amoral, then morality could not be derived from nature. Other Atheists claim that societies make up their own system of morality and this is where morality comes from. If this were true, then which society has the right system of morality? We see nations governed by Totalitarianism, Socialism, Communism, Democracy, etc… Certainly if morality were derived from society, then we should see a unified system across the globe, which is in place for the good of all individuals. The fact that there is diversity in the governing of countries just shows that there is one moral system, of which men have corrupted and perverted. For instance, no matter where one goes, most people believe that lying, adultery, and theft is wrong. The reason there is a unified concept concerning these things is because morality is something that is not inherent within us, but something that comes from outside us. It is a transcendent law that presses down upon all men. If this were not true, then no one would have the right to call other society’s actions immoral. Matter fact, if this were not true, then no one would have the right to call their neighbor’s actions immoral.

This is the same for civil laws. Government has been established by God as a means to thwart evil. Romans 13 states, that those in government positions are there as ministers of God for the purpose of thwarting evil. But just because certain governments don’t hold to the Bible, as its guide, does not mean that they are not accountable to establish laws that thwart evil. As I mentioned above, the laws of morality transcend us and are pressing down upon us. The laws that are established by government should be established for the betterment of society, not for the destroying of it. Therefore laws that allow two people of the same sex to marry and adopt children, not only destroys the foundation of society, but is an act of defiance to God, who established foundational laws that should govern society.

Finally, this blog views the world through what could be called a Biblical World view. In other words, this blog interprets all things through what God has declared. Anyone who does not see the world through the lens of the Bible has taken an anti-God and anti-Biblical approach to natural things. The Biblical approach to the universe is not the mindset of a Pharisee, but should be the mindset of all of God’s chosen elect. We are never to accept what God says concerning how to run the church, but then reject what he says about how men are to behave themselves within a societal setting. We are to accept what God has stated concerning both areas in question. God alone knows what is best. This is why he gave men commands, of which to obey, within the realm of this world. One man and one woman, united together in holy matrimony, shall keep diseases at bay, and also reproduces in order that society can continue. Without these foundational principles in place, no society will last long. Two men and two women cannot reproduce offspring. Two homosexuals that come together and adopt children cannot raise those children in the same way that a heterosexual couple could. The process going on within our legal arena in this country will have drastic and irreparable consequences. 

There are two main ordinances to be observed in our churches

March 29, 2013 7 comments

broadusIt may be well to state briefly what I understand to be the leading distinctive views of the Baptist churches. The fact that certain of these are more or less shared by others will be remarked upon afterward.

3. We hold that the officers, government, and ceremonies of a Christian society, or church, ought to be such, and such only, as the New Testament directs. As to ceremonies, it enjoins the very minimum of ceremony; for there are but two, and both are very simple in nature and in meaning. We insist that baptism ought to be simply what Christ practiced and commanded. We care nothing for the mode of baptism, the manner of baptizing, if only there is a real baptism according to the plain indications of Scripture.

As to the significance of the ceremony, we understand it to involve three things: The element employed represents purification; the action performed represents burial and resurrection, picturing the burial and resurrection of Christ, and symbolizing the believer’s death to sin through faith in Christ and his resurrection to walk in newness of life; and performing the ceremony in the name of the Lord Jesus, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost, makes it like an oath of allegiance, a vow of devotion, to Jesus Christ, to the Triune God. The early Roman Christians had a good word for this idea if Only the word could have remained unchanged in use: they called it a sacramentum, a military oath. As the Roman soldier in his oath bound himself to obey his general absolutely, so in baptism we solemnly vow devotion and obedience. But, alas! the word “sacrament,” like many another word in Christian history has come to be employed in senses quite foreign to its original use.

As to the second Christian ceremony, we hold that not the bread, but the cup also should be given, urging, as all Protestants do, and Baptists are Protestants in one sense, though in another sense distinct from Protestants, that our Lord commanded us to do both, and no one has a right to modify commands. And the significance of the bread and wine is understood by us to be, not transubstantiation, nor consubstantiation, nor real presence in any sense, nor even according to Calvinian view that a special spiritual blessing is by divine pointment attached to the believing reception of these element but simply according to the Zwinglian view that these are mementoes, remembrancers of Christ, and that, taking them in remembrances of him, we may hope to have the natural effects such remembrance blessed to our spiritual good. As to the order of the two ceremonies, we believe the New Testament to indicate that the second should be observed by those who have previously observed the first and are walking orderly. This is in itself not a distinctive view of the Baptists for they share it with almost the entire Christian world in ages. The combination of this general Christian opinion, the New Testament requires baptism to precede the Lord’s Supper, with our Baptist opinion as to what constitutes baptism leads to a practical restriction which many regard as the marked of all our distinctive views; while for us it is only incidental, though logically inevitable, result of that principle which we share with nearly all of those from whom it ceremonially separates us.

John A. Broadus-The Duty of Baptists to Teach Their Distinctive Views

Note: As a Reformed Baptist I do not hold to the Zwingli view of the Lord’s Supper. I do not believe it to be merely symbolic. I believe that Christ is present in the Lord’s Supper, as did Calvin, in his deity. For Christ stated that where two or three are gathered together in my name, there I am in the midst.

Chapter XXVI : Of the Church

September 26, 2012 Leave a comment

1. The Catholick or universal Church, which (with respect to the internal work of the Spirit, and truth of grace) may be called invisible, consists of the whole (a) number of the Elect, that have been, are, or shall be gathered into one, under Christ the head thereof; and is the spouse, the body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.

a Heb. 12.23. Col. 1.18. Eph. 1.10,22.23. & ch. 5.23,27,32.

2. All persons throughout the world, professing the faith of the Gospel, and obedience unto God by Christ, according unto it; not destroying their own profession by any Errors everting the foundation, or unholyness of conversation, (b) are and may be called visible Saints; (c) and of such ought all particular Congregations to be constituted.

b 1 Cor. 1 2. Act. 11.26.

c Rom. 1.7. Eph. 1.20,21,22.

3. The purest Churches under heaven are subject (d) to mixture, and error; and som have so degenerated as to become (e) no Churches of Christ, but Synagogues of Satan; nevertheless Christ always hath had, and ever shall have a (f) Kingdome in this world, to the end thereof, of such as believe in him, and make profession of his Name.

d 1 Cor. 15. Rev. 2. & ch. 3. [Most modern editions cite 1 Corinthians 5 rather than 1 Corinthians 15 here.]

e Rev. 18.2. 2 Thes. 2.11,12.

f  Mat. 16.18. Ps. 72.17. & Ps. 102.28. Rev. 12.17.

4. The Lord Jesus Christ is the Head of the Church, in whom by the appointment of the Father, (g) all power for the calling, institution, order, or Government of the Church, is invested in a supream & soveraigne manner, neither can the Pope of Rome in any sense be head thereof, but is (h) that Antichrist, that Man of sin, and Son of perdition, that exalteth himself in the Church against Christ, and all that is called God; whom the Lord shall destroy with the brightness of his coming.

Col. 1.18. Mat. 28.18,19.20. Eph. 4.11,12.

h 2 Thes. 2.3-9.

5. In the execution of this power wherewith he is so intrusted, the Lord Jesus calleth out of the World unto himself, through the Ministry of his word, by his Spirit, (i) those that are given unto him by his Father; that they may walk before him in all the (k) ways of obedience, which he prescribeth to them in his Word. Those thus called he commandeth to walk together in particular societies, or (l) Churches, for their mutual edification; and the due performance of that publick worship, which he requireth of them in the World.

i Joh 10.16. chap. 12,32.

k Mat. 28.20.

l Mat. 18.15-20.

6. The Members of these Churches are (m) Saints by calling, visibly manifesting and evidencing (in and by their profession and walking) their obedience unto that call of Christ; and do willingly consent to walk together according to the appointment of Christ, giving up themselves, to the Lord & one to another by the will of God, (n) in professed subjection to the Ordinances of the Gospel.

Rom. 1.7. 1 Cor. 1.2.

n Act. 2.41,42. ch. 5.13.14. 2 Cor. 9.13.

7. To each of these Churches thus gathered, according to his mind, declared in his word, he hath given all that (o) power and authority, which is any way needfull, for their carrying on that order in worship, and discipline, which he hath instituted for them to observe; with commands, and rules, for the due and right exerting, and executing of that power.

o Mat. 18.17,18. 1 Cor. 5.4,5. with v.13. 2 Cor. 2.6,7,8.

8. A particular Church gathered, and compleatly Organized, according to the mind of Christ, consists of Officers, and Members; And the Officers appointed by Christ to be chosen and set apart by the Church (so called and gathered) for the peculiar Administration of Ordinances, and Execution of Power, or Duty, which he intrusts them with, or calls them to, to be continued to the end of the World are (p) Bishops or Elders and Deacons.

p Act_20:17, with v.28. Phil. 1.1.

9. The way appointed by Christ for the Calling of any person, fitted, and gifted by the Holy Spirit, unto the Office of Bishop, or Elder, in a Church, is, that he be chosen thereunto by the common (q) suffrage of the Church it self; and Solemnly set apart by Fasting and Prayer, with imposition of hands of the (r) Eldership of the Church, if there be any before Constituted therein; And of a Deacon (s) that he be chosen by the like suffrage, and set apart by Prayer, and the like Imposition of hands.

q Act. 14.23: See the original.

r 1 Tim. 4.14.

s Act. 6.3.5.6.

10. The work of Pastors being constantly to attend the Service of Christ, in his Churches, in the Ministry of the Word, and Prayer, (t) with watching for their Souls, as they that must give an account to him; it is incumbent on the Churches to whom they Minister, not only to give them all due respect, (u) but also to communicate to them of all their good things according to their ability, so as they may have a comfortable supply, without being themselves (x) entangled in Secular Affairs; and may also be capable of exercising (y) Hospitality toward others; and this is required by the (z) Law of Nature, and by the Express order of our Lord Jesus, who hath ordained that they that preach the Gospel, should live of the Gospel.

t Act. 6.4. Heb. 13.17:

u 1 Tim. 5.17,18. Gal. 6.6,7.

x 2 Tim. 2.4.

y 1 Tim. 3.2.

z 1 Cor. 9.6.-14.

11. Although it be incumbent on the Bishops or Pastors of the Churches to be instant in Preaching the Word, by way of Office; yet the work of Preaching the Word, is not so peculiarly confined to them; but that others also (a) gifted, and fitted by the Holy Spirit for it, and approved, and called by the Church, may and ought to perform it.

a Act. 11.19,20,21. 1 Pet. 4.10.11.

12. As all Believers are bound to joyn themselves to particular Churches, when and where they have opportunity so to do; So all that are admitted unto the priviledges of a Church, are also (b) under the Censures and Government thereof, according to the Rule of Christ.

b 1 Thes. 5.14. 2 Thes 3.6.14,15.

13. No Church-members upon any offence taken by them, having performed their Duty required of them towards the person they are offended at, ought to disturb any Church order, or absent themselves from the Assemblies of the Church, or Administration of any Ordinances, upon the account of such offence at any of their fellow-members; but to wait upon Christ, (c) in the further proceeding of the Church.

c Mat. 18.15.16,17. Eph. 4 2,3.

14. As each Church, and all the Members of it are bound to (d) pray continually, for the good and prosperity of all the Churches of Christ, in all places; and upon all occasions to further it (every one within the bounds of their places, and callings, in the Exercise of their Gifts and Graces) so the Churches (when planted by the providence of God so as they may injoy opportunity and advantage for it) ought to hold (e) communion amongst themselves for their peace, increase of love, and mutual edification.

d Eph. 6.18. Ps. 122.6.

Rom. 16.1,2. 3 Joh. 8,9,10.

15. In cases of difficulties or differences, either in point of Doctrine, or Administration; wherein either the Churches in general are concerned, or any one Church in their peace, union, and edification; or any member, or members, of any Church are injured, in or by any proceedings in censures not agreeable to truth, and order: it is according to the mind of Christ, that many Churches holding communion together, do by their messengers meet to consider, (f) and give their advice, in or about that matter in difference, to be reported to all the Churches concerned; howbeit these messengers assembled are not entrusted with any Church-power properly so called; or with any jurisdiction over the Churches themselves, to exercise any censures either over any Churches, or Persons: or (g) to impose their determination on the Churches, or Officers.

f Act. 15.2,4,6. & 22,23.25.

g 2 Cor. 1.24. 1 Joh. 4.1

The 1677/89 London Baptist Confession of Faith