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Posts Tagged ‘History’

Does Calvinism Discourage Evangelism?

April 21, 2015 2 comments

by Nathan Busenitz

Seven years ago, a group of fifteen Southern Baptist evangelists met together to bemoan the growth of Calvinism within SBC circles.

When asked about his concerns, Jerry Drace (the evangelist who initiated the meeting) explained that some Baptist pastors are so Calvinistic “that they almost laugh at evangelism. It’s almost to the extent that they believe they don’t have to do it. So [Calvinism] gives them an excuse not to do evangelism.”

Drace’s comments raise an important question. Does an affirmation of God’s sovereign election in salvation (commonly called “Calvinism”) discourage people from faithfulness in evangelism?

 

 

 

Read the entire article here.

AUDIO from “Baptists: Rooted in Covenant Grace” Conf. feat. James Renihan now online [5 MP3s]

March 24, 2015 1 comment

AUDIO:

Session 1 “Genealogy Baptist Style” [MP3]

Session 2 “How Christians Have Put the Bible Together”[MP3]

Session 3 “How Christians Have Put the Bible Together (Part 2)”[MP3]

Session 4 “How Early Baptists Put the Bible Together”[MP3]

Lord’s Day Worship Service – “Haggai 2:10-19 The Nature of True Religion”[MP3]

 

 

Source [Confessingbaptist.com]

Defining “Reformed Baptist” (again)

March 23, 2015 1 comment

by Tom Chantry

Do Reformed Baptists exist?

That’s a question I’ve seen again recently – this time from a self-proclaimed Federal Visionist. Consider that: here is someone who denies sola fide yet worries that churches like mine which don’t baptize babies might self-identify as “Reformed Somethings.” We live in a strange world, don’t we! It is one thing to hear a strictly confessional Presbyterian or Reformed pastor arguing that we are outside the proper definition of “Reformed,” but it is quite another to hear it from those who – by any sane definition – are much further outside that circle.

Before we can answer whether Reformed Baptists exist, we must first identify what that designation means. “Reformed Baptist” is a term – albeit a compound term – with a definition and a history. Understanding that history is necessary if anyone is going to understand what the first word in the term means. While a number of useful brief definitions exist, I intend to address the question from the standpoint of history.

 

 

 

Read the entire article here.

God was pleased to provide us with a history of creation

March 18, 2015 4 comments

calvin.jpg_7MA21605611-0015The mere fact of creation should lead us to acknowledge God, but to prevent our falling away to Gentile fictions, God has been pleased to furnish a history of the creation. An impious objection, Why the world was not created sooner? Answer to it. Shrewd saying of an old man.

1. Although Isaiah justly charges the worshipers of false gods with stupidity, in not learning from the foundations of the earth, and the circle of the heavens, who the true God is (Isaiah 40:21;) yet so sluggish and groveling is our intellect, that it was necessary he should be more clearly depicted, in order that the faithful might not fall away to Gentile fictions. the idea that God is the soul of the world, though the most tolerable that philosophers have suggested, is absurd; and, therefore, it was of importance to furnish us with a more intimate knowledge in order that we might not wander to and fro in uncertainty. Hence God was pleased that a history of the creation should exist — a history on which the faith of the Church might lean without seeking any other God than Him whom Moses sets forth as the Creator and Architect of the world. First, in that history, the period of time is marked so as to enable the faithful to ascend by an unbroken succession of years to the first origin of their race and of all things. This knowledge is of the highest use not only as an antidote to the monstrous fables which anciently prevailed both in Egypt and the other regions of the world, but also as a means of giving a clearer manifestation of the eternity of God as contrasted with the birth of creation, and thereby inspiring us with higher admiration. We must not be moved by the profane jeer, that it is strange how it did not sooner occur to the Deity to create the heavens and the earth, instead of idly allowing an infinite period to pass away, during which thousands of generations might have existed, while the present world is drawing to a close before it has completed its six thousandth year. Why God delayed so long it is neither fit nor lawful to inquire. Should the human mind presume to do it, it could only fail in the attempt, nor would it be useful for us to know what God, as a trial of the modesty of our faith, has been pleased purposely to conceal. It was a shrewd saying of a good old man, who when some one pertly asked in derision what God did before the world was created, answered he made a hell for the inquisitive, (August. Confess., lib. 11 c. 12.) This reproof, not less weighty than severe, should repress the tickling wantonness which urges many to indulge in vicious and hurtful speculation.

In fine, let us remember that that invisible God, whose wisdom, power, and justice, are incomprehensible, is set before us in the history of Moses as in a mirror, in which his living image is reflected. For as an eye, either dimmed by age or weakened by any other cause, sees nothing distinctly without the aid of glasses, so (such is our imbecility) if Scripture does not direct us in our inquiries after God, we immediately turn vain in our imaginations. Those who now indulge their petulance, and refuse to take warning, will learn, when too late, how much better it had been reverently to regard the secret counsels of God, than to belch forth blasphemies which pollute the face of heaven. Justly does Augustine complain that God is insulted whenever any higher reason than his will is demanded. (Lib. de Gent.) He also in another place wisely reminds us that it is just as improper to raise questions about infinite periods of time as about infinite space. (De Civit. Dei.) However wide the circuit of the heavens may be, it is of some definite extent. But should any one expostulate with God that vacant space remains exceeding creation by a hundred-fold, must not every pious mind detest the presumption? Similar is the madness of those who charge God with idleness in not having pleased them by creating the world countless ages sooner than he did create it. In their cupidity they affect to go beyond the world, as if the ample circumference of heaven and earth did not contain objects numerous and resplendent enough to absorb all our senses; as if, in the period of six thousand years, God had not furnished facts enough to exercise our minds in ceaseless meditation. Therefore, let us willingly remain hedged in by those boundaries within which God has been pleased to confine our persons, and, as it were, enclose our minds, so as to prevent them from losing themselves by wandering unrestrained.

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

The Historical Reality of Adam

Guy Waters

Guy Waters

“In Adam’s fall, we sinned all.” So begins the New England Primer, which taught generations of early Americans to read. In introducing our forefathers to the letter A, the primer was also administering a generous dose of biblical theology. As Paul puts it crisply in 1 Corinthians 15:22, “For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.” Through Adam, sin and death entered into the world. By Christ, sin and death were conquered. Adam forfeited life by his disobedience. Christ achieved life by His obedience. These simple, basic truths, Paul tells the Corinthians, are the very structure and content of the gospel.

In the modern world, skeptics have long questioned or denied the historicity of Adam. Neo-orthodox theologians added their voices to this chorus in the last century. More recently, and under the pressure of evolutionary theory, some prominent evangelical voices have as well. One prominent evangelical Old Testament scholar has argued that “it is not necessary that Adam be a historical individual for [Genesis 1–2] to be without error in what it intends to teach.” Another well-known evangelical Old Testament scholar denies that “a literal Adam [was] the first man and cause of sin and death.” Even so, he continues, we may retain “three core elements of the gospel,” namely, “the universal and self-evident problem of death; the universal and self-evident problem of sin; the historical event of the death and resurrection of Christ.”

It may help to pause and review what the issues in this particular debate are and what they are not. The issues do not concern the age of the earth and of the universe. Neither do they concern how we are to understand the days of Genesis 1. Reformed evangelicals have disagreed on these issues for generations, all the while affirming their common belief that Adam was a historical person.

We may frame the issue in the form of two related questions. First, does the Bible require us to believe that Adam was a historical person? Second, would anything be lost in the gospel if we were to deny Adam’s historicity?

In answer to the first question, yes, the Bible requires us to believe that Adam was a historical person. Some of the clearest testimony about Adam comes from the New Testament. When explaining Genesis 2, Jesus clearly speaks of the first man and the first woman in historical terms, and of the institution of marriage in historical terms (Matt. 19:4–6). The Apostle Paul, in referring to Genesis 2, speaks of Adam and Eve in terms equally historical (1 Tim. 2:12–14).

In 1 Corinthians 15 and Romans 5, Paul places Adam and Jesus in parallel relationship. Paul calls Jesus the “Second Adam”—there is none between Adam and Jesus (1 Cor. 15:47). He also calls Jesus the “Last Adam”—there is none after Jesus (v. 45).

This relationship requires Adam to be a historical person. Paul compares Adam and Christ in terms of what each man did. Paul speaks of Adam’s one trespass in eating the forbidden fruit, and of Christ’s obedience unto death and resurrection unto life. For the comparison to hold, Adam’s actions must be as fully historical as Christ’s actions are historical, and Adam must be as historical a person as Christ was and remains.

So then, the Bible requires us to believe that Adam was a historical person. Now, taking up our second question, what are we to make of the argument that nothing in the gospel would be lost if we were to deny Adam’s historicity? May we uphold universal sin and death while discounting the way in which the Scripture says sin and death entered the world? The answer is no. The Bible does not give us that option. It clearly teaches that sin entered the world through the one action of one historical man, Adam (Rom. 5:12). If we reject the Bible’s account of a historical point of entry for sin into human existence, then, as Richard Gaffin has rightly observed, sin is no longer a matter of “human fallenness.” It is a matter of “human givenness.” It is just the way that human beings are.

This understanding of our plight upends the gospel. Absent a historical fall, the Bible’s account of redemption through the Second and Last Adam, Jesus Christ, makes no sense at all. How can it at all be meaningful to say with the Bible that God, in His sovereign and infinite mercy, has recovered and restored what was lost in the fall? To deny the historicity of Adam is no trivial matter. It has radical implications for the way in which we look at human nature, evil, and redemption.

The second lesson of the New England Primer, teaching the letter B, is “Thy life to mend / this Book [the Bible] attend.” Having clarified our human problem in biblical terms with its lesson on the letter A, the primer then articulates the solution in equally biblical terms with its lesson on the letter B. Wise counsel indeed. And what God has joined together, let no man put asunder.

 

Source [Ligonier Ministries]

Merry Christmas 2013

December 25, 2013 3 comments

Reformedontheweb would like to wish everyone a merry Christmas.

 

“Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.” — Matthew 2:2.

 

THE incarnation of the Son of God was one of the greatest events in the history of the universe. Its actual occurrence was not, however, known to all mankind, but was specially revealed to the shepherds of Bethlehem and to certain wise men of the east. To shepherds — the illiterate, men little versed in human learning — the angels in choral song made known the birth of the Savior, Christ the Lord, and they hastened to Bethlehem to see the great sight; while the Scribes, the writers of the law and expounders of it, knew nothing concerning the long-promised birth of the Messias. No angelic bands entered the assembly of the Sanhedrim and proclaimed that the Christ was born; and when the chief priests and Pharisees were met together, though they gathered around copies of the law to consider where Christ should be born, yet it was not known to them that he was actually come, nor do they seem to have taken more than a passing interest in the matter, though they might have known that then was the time spoken of by the prophets when the great Messiah should come. How mysterious are the dispensations of grace; the base things are chosen and the eminent are passed by! The advent of the Redeemer is revealed to the shepherds who kept their flocks of sheep by night, but not to the shepherds whose benighted sheep were left to stray. Admire therein the sovereignty of God.

Charles H. Spurgeon-The Sages, The Star, And The Saviour; Delivered on Lord’s Day Morning, December 25th, 1870

The Chief Way to Attain Wisdom

The chief means for attaining wisdom, and suitable gifts for the ministry, are the holy Scriptures, and prayer. The one is the fountain of living water, the other the bucket with which we are to draw. And I believe you will find, by observation, that the man who is most frequent and fervent in prayer, and most devoted to the word of God, will shine and flourish above his fellows. Next to these, and derived from them, is meditation. By this, I do not mean a stated exercise upon some one particular subject, so much as a disposition of mind to observe carefully what passes within us and around us, what we see, hear, and feel, and to apply all for the illustration and confirmation of the written word to us. In the use of these means, and an humble dependence upon the Lord in all the changing dispensations we pass through our spiritual experience will enlarge: and this experience is the proper fund of our ministerial capacity, so far as it may be considered inherent in us: Pro_16:23; Mat_13:52; 1Jo_66 1:3.

These means are of universal importance. The wisest can do nothing without them, the weakest shall not use them in vain. There are likewise subordinate means, which may be healthful, and should in general be attended to: yet they ought not, I apprehend, to be considered as a sine qua non in a minister’s call and fitness. The first preachers had them not, and some in the present day are enabled to do well without them. Under this head, I principally intend all that comes under the usual denomination of literature. A competent acquaintance with the learned languages, history, natural philosophy, &c. is very desirable. If these things are held in a proper subservience, if they do not engross too much of our time, nor add fuel to the fire of that self-importance which is our great snare; they may contribute to increase and enlarge our ideas, and facilitate our expressing ourselves with propriety. But these attainments (like riches) are attended with their peculiar temptations; and unless they are under the regulation of a sound judgment, and a spiritual frame of mind, will prove (like Saul’s armor to David) rather cumbersome than useful in preaching. The sermons of preachers thus qualified are often more ingenious than edifying, and rather set off the man, than commend the Gospel of Christ.

As you desire my advice with respect to your future studies, I shall comply without hesitation or ceremony. The original Scriptures well deserve your pains, and will richly repay them. There is doubtless a beauty, fulness, and spirit, in the originals, which the best translations do not always express. When a word or phrase admits of various senses, the translators can only preserve one; and it is not to be supposed, unless they were perfectly under the influence of the same infallible Spirit, that they should always prefer the best. Only be upon your guard lest you should be tempted to think, that, because you are master of the grammatical construction, and can tell the several acceptation’s of the words in the best authors, you are therefore and thereby master of the spiritual sense likewise. This you must derive from your experimental knowledge, and the influence and teaching of the Spirit of God.

Another thing which will much assist you, in composing and speaking properly and acceptably, is logic. This will teach you what properly belongs to your subject, and what may be best suppressed; and likewise, to explain, divide, enumerate, and range your ideas to advantage. A lax, immethodical, disproportionate manner, is to be avoided. Yet beware of the contrary extreme. An affected starchiness and over-accuracy will fetter you, will make your discourses lean and dry, preclude an useful variety, and savor more of the school-lamp, than of that heavenly fire which alone can make our meditations efficacious, and profitable either to ourselves or our hearers. The proper medium can hardly be taught by rule; experience, observation, and prayer, are the best guides.

John Newton-Letter 2 Extract of a Letter to a Student in Divinity.