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Studies in The Baptist Catechism: Section One – Authority, Revelation, and Scripture (Q.4)

September 22, 2016 Leave a comment

William F. Leonhart III

Q.4: What is the Word of God?

A. The Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testament are the Word of God, and the only certain rule of faith and obedience.1

12 Timothy 3:16; Ephesians 2:20

In ages past, God revealed Himself in many ways. He spoke through visions, dreams, a burning bush, and even a donkey. At one point, He spoke through a stuttering, stammering prophet. At other points, He spoke directly to people. This same God “in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world,” (Heb. 1:2; NASB). These words of Christ, by the work of His Spirit, were brought to His apostles’ remembrance and written down in His holy word.

 

 

 

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A Proleptic Rest in Genesis 2?

Copyright © 2016 Richard C. Barcellos. All rights reserved.

Some have understood the Creator’s rest as establishing a pattern for man to follow, but not revealed as such until much later in man’s history (Exod. 16 and 20). This view is not new. In the early sixteenth century Bownd acknowledges a form of this view and interacts with it.[1] Likewise, Owen interacts with this view in at least two places in his treatise on a day of sacred rest.[2] Owen recognized that some viewed Genesis 2:3 as “a prolepsis.”[3] The Creator’s rest in Genesis 2:3 represents something to be instituted for man in the future. Between the Creator’s initial rest and that future institution, there is no Sabbath day for anyone (and no seven-day week according to some). One form of the proleptic view Owen addresses sees the sanctification of the seventh day occurring at Sinai. Owen seeks to state this view as follows:

 

 

 

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In His grace and wisdom God has fully provided against our forming misconceptions of any part of His Truth

Arthur PinkIN His grace and wisdom God has fully provided against our forming misconceptions of any part of His Truth, by employing a great variety of synonymous terms and different modes of expression. Just as our varied senses, though each imperfect, are effective in conveying to our minds a real impression of the outside world by means of their joint operation, so the different and supplementary communications of God through the many penmen of Scripture enable us to revise our first impressions and enlarge our views of Divine things, widening the horizon of Truth and permitting us to obtain a more adequate conception of the same. What one writer expresses in figurative language, another sets forth in plain words. While one prophet stresses the goodness and mercy of God, another emphasizes His severity and justice. If one evangelist exhibits the perfections of Christ’s humanity, another make prominent His deity; if one portrays Him as the lowly servant, another reveals Him as the majestic King. Does one apostle dwell upon the efficacy of faith, then another shows the value of love, while a third reminds us that faith and love are but empty words unless they produce spiritual fruit? Thus Scripture requires to be studied as a whole, and one part of it compared with another, if we are to obtain a proper apprehension of Divine revelation. Very much in the New Testament is unintelligible apart from the Old: not a little in the Epistles requires the Gospels and the Acts for its elucidation.

Arthur W. Pink-Interpretation of the Scriptures

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.

 

 

 

 

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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