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Example 3 of the Fifth Rule

September 22, 2015 Leave a comment

Arthur PinkThe Fifth Rule: the value of ascertaining the scope of each passage, and the particular aspect of Truth presented therein.

“Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of Mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: And the rain descended and the floods came, and the wind blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock” (Matthew 7:24, 25).

How many sermons have had read into them from those verses what is not there, and failed sadly to bring out what is in them, through not understanding their scope. Christ was not there engaged in proclaiming the Gospel of the grace of God and revealing the alone ground of a sinner’s acceptance with Him, but was making a practical and searching application of the sermon He was here completing.

The opening “Therefore” at once intimates that He was drawing a conclusion from all He had previously said. In the preceding verses Christ was not describing meritmongers or declaiming against those who trusted in good works and religious performances for their salvation, but was exhorting His hearers to enter in at the strait gate (vv. 13, 14), warning against false prophets (vv. 15-20), denouncing an empty profession. In the verse immediately before (v. 23), so far from presenting Himself as the Redeemer, tenderly wooing sinners, He is seen as the Judge, saying to hypocrites, “Depart from Me, ye that work iniquity.”

In view of what has just been pointed out, it would be, to say the least, a strange place for Christ to introduce the Evangel and announce that His own finished work was the only saving foundation for sinners to rest their souls upon. Not only would that give no meaning to the introductory ‘Therefore,” but it would not cohere with what immediately follows where, instead of pointing out our need of trusting in His atoning blood, Christ showed how indispensable it is that we render obedience to His precepts. True indeed that there is no redemption for any soul except through “faith in His blood” (Romans 3:25), but that is not what He was here treating of. Rather was He insisting that not everyone who said unto Him, “Lord, Lord,” should enter into His kingdom, but “he that doeth the will of My Father which is in heaven” (v. 21). In other words, He was testing profession, demanding reality: that genuine faith produces good works. They who think themselves to be savingly trusting in the blood of the Lamb while disregarding His commandments are fatally deceiving themselves. Christ did not here liken the one who heard and believed His sayings to a wise man who built his house secure on a rock, but instead the one who “heareth and doeth them”—as in verse 26, the builder on the sand is one who hears His sayings “and doeth them not.”

Arthur W. Pink-Interpretation of the Scriptures

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Rehearsing the rules previously explained

September 1, 2015 Leave a comment

Arthur PinkIn enumerating, describing, and illustrating some of the laws or rules which are to govern the interpreter, we have already considered:

First, the need for recognizing and being regulated by the interrelation and mutual dependence of the Old and New Testaments.

Second, the importance and helpfulness of observing how quotations are made from the Old in the New: the manner in which and purposes for which they are cited.

Third, the absolute necessity for strictly conforming all our interpretations to the general Analogy of Faith: that each verse is to be explained in full harmony with that system of Truth which God has made known to us: that any exposition is invalid if it clashes with what is taught elsewhere in the Bible.

Fourth, the necessity of paying close attention to the whole context of any passage under consideration.

Fifth, the value of ascertaining the scope of each passage, and the particular aspect of Truth presented therein.

Arthur W. Pink-Interpretation of the Scriptures

A Critical Evaluation of Paedobaptism

Revision 1.3

By Greg Welty (M.Div, Westminster Theological Seminary; B.A., UCLA)
The first to present his case seems right, till another comes forward and questions him–Proverbs 18:17 A printed version is available from:
Reformed Baptist Publications
2001 W. Oak Avenue
Fullerton, CA 92833-3624
(714) 447-3412 (Office & FAX)

Introduction

As a Baptist student at a Reformed seminary, I encountered many theological pressures — from students and teachers alike — to convert to a paedobaptistic view. After much study, I came out convinced that “Reformed Baptist” was not a contradiction of terms (as my paedobaptist peers admonished me), but a qualification of terms, a subjecting of the traditionally Reformed version of covenant theology to a more careful biblical scrutiny. And so while abundantly grateful for my training in Reformed theology at seminary, for both the piety and the scholarship of my professors, I have concluded that the doctrine of infant baptism is neither a good nor necessary consequence deduced from Scripture (to use the language of the Westminster Confession of Faith, I.vi).

In my readings on the subject of baptism, Paul K. Jewett’s Infant Baptism and the Covenant of Grace(2) was a revolutionary treatment of the subject. It was the first full-length book I had seen which actually critiqued the doctrine of infant baptism from the perspective of covenant theology itself. Some may debate as to how faithful Jewett actually is to the details of covenant theology, as those details are spelled out in the Reformed confessions. But his basic identification of the problem as one of biblical theology was quite insightful. Avoiding a blatantly dispensational approach, he applies the Reformed emphasis on unity and progress in redemptive history to the sacraments themselves, thus beating the paedobaptists at their own game of continuity and discontinuity. To those who are familiar with Jewett, it will be clear that I am indebted to him at several points.

This paper was originally written to fill a primary need among the seminary interns and other young men at my church. My own experience has taught me that nondispensational, Calvinistic baptists are perpetually tempted to look over the fence of their small and often divisive camp and covet the ministry opportunities available in conservative Presbyterian circles. Many have made this leap, and often do so because they simply don’t have a deep, Scripturally-based conviction that the baptist view is correct. Rather, they have absorbed their baptistic sentiments culturally and emotionally, and thus often lose them by the same means. Many have not been presented with an extended series of biblical arguments against infant baptism, a set of arguments which is at the same time consistent with their own nondispensational and Calvinistic perspective. So consider the following to be a resource for seminary and Bible students who want a quick, clear, and accessible summary of the leading reasons why Reformed Baptists (and all biblical Christians) ought not to embrace the doctrine of infant baptism.

I. The Fundamental Hermeneutical Error Of Paedobaptists

Paedobaptists, while rightly affirming the fundamental and underlying unity of the covenant of grace in all ages, wrongly press that unity in a way that distorts and suppresses the diversity of the several administrations of that covenant in history. To put it another way, paedobaptists rightly emphasize the inner continuity of the various administrations of the covenant of grace, while wrongly neglecting the various external discontinuities which exist between those administrations. To put it in still a third way, paedobaptists rightly stress the unity of redemptive history, while wrongly ignoring the movement of that redemptive history. Thus their error is fundamentally one of biblical theology, of understanding the progressive unfolding of God’s redemptive purposes in history.

This hermeneutical error, thus stated, inevitably leads to a twofold distortion of the relationship between the two testaments of the Bible. Paedobaptists simultaneously “Christianize” the Old Testament (read the Old Testament as if it were the New(3)) and “Judaize” the New Testament (read the New Testament as if it were the Old). In thus “Christianizing” the Old Testament, paedobaptists restrict the significance of circumcision to purely spiritual promises and blessings, while neglecting its national, earthly, and generational aspect. In thus “Judaizing” the New Testament, paedobaptists import Old Testament concepts of “covenantal holiness,” “external holiness,” “external members of the covenant,” “external union to God,” “covenant children,” etc. into the New Testament, even though these distinctions are entirely abolished by the New Testament and completely foreign to its teaching.

 

 

 

 

Read the entire article here.

Example 5-Of how the Old Testament is cited in the New

April 28, 2015 3 comments

Arthur PinkIn Galatians 4:24, the inspired pen of Paul informs us that certain domestic incidents in the household of Abraham “are in allegory,” that Hagar and Sarah represented “the two covenants,” and that their sons prefigured the kind of worshippers those covenants were fitted to produce. But for that Divine revelation unto and through the apostle we should never have known that in those facts of history God had concealed a prophetic mystery, that those domestic occurrences prophetically shadowed forth vitally important transactions of the future, that they illustrated great doctrinal truths and exemplified the difference in conduct of spiritual slaves and spiritual freemen. Yet such was the case, as the apostle showed by opening to us the occult meaning of those events. They were a parable in action: God so shaped the affairs of Abraham’s family as to typify things of vast magnitude. The two sons were ordained to foreshadow those who should be born from above and those born after the fles —that even Abraham’s natural descendants were but Ishmaelites in spirit, strangers to the promise. While Paul’s example here is certainly no precedent for the expositor to give free rein to his imagination and make Old Testament episodes teach anything he pleases, it does intimate that God so ordered the lives of the patriarchs as to afford lessons of great spiritual value.

We have, above, designedly selected a variety of examples, and from them the diligent student (but not so the hurried reader) will discover some valuable Divine hints and helps on how the Scriptures are to be understood, and the principles by which they are to be interpreted. Let them be reread and carefully pondered.

Arthur W. Pink-Interpretation of the Scriptures

Example 4-Of how the Old Testament is cited in the New

April 21, 2015 2 comments

Arthur PinkIn Romans 10:18, more than a hint is given of the profound depths of God’s Word and the wide breadth of its application. “But I say, Have they not heard [the Gospel, though they obeyed it not—v. 16]? Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world”—quoted from Psalm 19:4. The publication of the Gospel was not restricted (Colossians 1:5, 6), but was as general and free as the Divine declarations of the heavens (Psalm 19:1). “The universal revelation of God in nature was a providential prediction of the universal proclamation of the Gospel. If the former was not gratuitous, but founded in the nature of God, so must the latter be. The manifestation of God in nature is for all His creatures to whom it is made, in pledge of their participation in the clearer and higher revelations” (Hengstenberg). Not only did Old Testament prophecy announce that the Gospel should be given to the whole world, but the heavens mystically declared the same thing. The heavens speak not to one nation only, but the whole human race! If men did not believe it was not because they had not heard. Another example of the mystical signification of certain scriptures is found in 1 Corinthians 9:9, 10.

Arthur W. Pink-Interpretation of the Scriptures

Example 3-Of how the Old Testament is cited in the New

April 14, 2015 2 comments

Arthur PinkIn Romans 4:11-18, we have a remarkable example of apostolic reasoning from two short passages in Genesis, wherein God made promise unto Abraham that he should be a father of many nations (17:5) and that in his seed should all the nations of the earth be blessed (22:18). Since these assurances were given to the patriarch simply as a believer, before the Divine appointment of circumcision, Paul drew the logical conclusion that they pertained to Jews and Gentiles alike, providing they believed as he did and thereby had imputed to them the righteousness of Christ, that the good of those promises belonged unto all who “walk in the steps of his faith.” Therein we are plainly taught that the “seed” of blessing mentioned in those ancient prophecies was essentially of a spiritual kind (cf. Galatians 3:7-9; 14:29), including all the members of the household of faith, wherever they be found. As Stifler pertinently remarked, “Abraham is called father neither in a physical sense nor a spiritual: he is father in that he is head of the faith clan, and so the normal type.” In Romans 9:6-13, the apostle was equally express in excluding from the good of those promises the merely natural descendants of Abraham. Romans 10:5-9, supplies a striking illustration of this principle in the way that the apostle “opened” Deuteronomy 30:11-14. His design was to draw off the Jews from regarding obedience to the Law as necessary unto justification (Romans 10:2, 3). He did so by producing an argument from the writings of Moses, wherein a distinction was drawn between the righteousness of the Law and the righteousness of faith. The Jews had rejected Christ because He came not to them in the way of their carnal expectations, and therefore refused the grace tendered by Him. They considered the Messiah was far off, when in fact He was “nigh” them. There was no need, then, for them to ascend to heaven, for Christ had come down from thence; nor to descend into the deep, for He had risen from the dead. The apostle was not merely accommodating to his purpose the language of Deuteronomy 30, but showing its evangelical drift. As Manton said, “The whole of that chapter is a sermon of evangelical repentance” (see vv. 1, 2). It obviously looked forward to a time after Christ’s ascension when Israel would be dispersed among the nations, so that the words of Moses there were strictly applicable to this Gospel dispensation. The substance of verses 11-14 is that the knowledge of God’s will is freely accessible, so that none are required to do the impossible.

Arthur W. Pink-Interpretation of the Scriptures

Example 2-Of how the Old Testament is cited in the New

Arthur PinkConsider next how Christ used the Old Testament to refute the materialists of His day. The Sadducees held the notion that the soul and body are so closely allied that if one perishes the other must (Acts23:8). They saw the body die, and therefrom concluded that the soul had also. Very striking indeed is it to behold incarnate wisdom reasoning with them on their own ground. This He did by quoting from Exodus 3, where Jehovah had said unto Moses, “I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” But wherein were those words to the point? What was there in them which exposed the error of the Sadducees? Nothing explicitly, but much implicitly. From them Christ drew the conclusion that “God is not the God of the dead, but of the living” (Matthew 22:32). It was not that He had been their “God,” but that He was so still—“I am their God,” therefore they still lived. Since their spirits and souls were yet alive, their bodies must be raised in due course, for being their “God” guaranteed that He would be to them and do for them all that such a relation called for, and not leave a part of their nature to be a prey of corruption. Therein Christ established the important principle of interpretation that we may draw any clear and necessary inference from a passage, provided it clashes not with any definite statement of Holy Writ.

Arthur W. Pink-Interpretation of the Scriptures