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Posts Tagged ‘Reformed Theology’

Was Richard Baxter Orthodox on Justification?

November 19, 2015 2 comments

Baxter-300x284By Tom Hicks

Richard Baxter seems to be largely known today for his works of practical theology, including, The Christian Directory, which has been used in some quarters as a manual of Christian counseling, and The Reformed Pastor, which is often commended as a useful paradigm of pastoral ministry among Reformed men. But Baxter is less known for his doctrinal theology, particularly for his doctrine of justification. Baxter first wrote on the doctrine of justification in Aphorisms of Justification, published in 1649. In that work, he reacted against the antinomian spirit he discovered among the soldiers of Cromwell’s army, while he served as a chaplain. Baxter believed the doctrine of justification by faith alone on the basis of of Christ’s righteousness was the root error among the antinomian soldiers, and he wrote Aphorisms of Justification, partly to correct that error. In response to scathing criticisms from the Reformed orthodox, Baxter wrote Of Justification in 1658, which contained four disputations on justification. Consider the following quotations from Baxter’s second disputation.

 

 

 

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A Tribute to R.C. Sproul

September 21, 2015 2 comments

rcsproul.jpgMy comment: R. C. Sproul has been one of the primary factors in the resurgence of Reformed Theology in American Evangelicalism. I personally cut my teeth on Reformed Theology through the ministry of R. C. Sproul and can truly identify with much in this article. That being the case, I figured I would reblog this post, in order to pay tribute to R. C. Sproul.

 

by Nicholas T. Batzig

When I was a young boy, I distinctly remember sitting in the living rooms of various families of the churches we attended–watching VHS tapes of Dr. R.C. Sproul. At this time, that was an innovative way to be fed spiritually–to say the least. To have one of the great theologians of the 20th Century on your television in your living room was a big deal back then. Dr. Sproul was one of the first Reformed ministers to use VHS tapes when they were still somewhat untested and experimental mediums. Add to this the numerous R.C. Sproul cassette tapes that lay around our home. R.C. Sproul’s name and ministry was far from foreign in our family in the late 70’s and early 80’s. Tabletalk Magazine was also a common sight in the Batzig home. I would frequently see my mom carrying out her morning devotions with a Bible, Tabletalk Magazine and a cup of coffee. These are some of the early memories of the formative influence that R.C. Sproul had on me as a young boy.

 

 

 

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What is a Reformed Baptist Church?

Substance of a Sermon preached
by Pastor Wm. Payne
Burlington, Ontario, Canada

If I were to be asked, “What kind of a church are you?” I would not hesitate to reply, “We are a Baptist church.” We hold to those truths which have sometimes been referred to as “Baptist Distinctives.”

I would also reply that we are a “Reformed Church” inasmuch as we hold to the great doctrines of the Reformation in the areas concerning the salvation of men. In this sense, I am not at all averse to our church being referred to as a “Reformed Baptist Church,” and I want to speak on the subject “What is a Reformed Baptist Church?”

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Sola Fide: Justification by Faith Alone (Sermon: London Baptist Confession)

Justification by Faith Alone

(The Relation of Faith to Justification)

Dr. Joel R. Beeke

Justification by faith alone was Martin Luther’s great spiritual and theological breakthrough. It did not come easily. He had tried everything from sleeping on hard floors and fasting to climbing a staircase in Rome while kneeling in prayer. Monasteries, disciplines, confessions, masses, absolutions, good works-all proved fruitless. Peace with God eluded him. The thought of the righteousness of God pursued him. He hated the very word “righteousness,” which he believed provided a divine mandate to condemn him.

Light finally dawned for Luther as he meditated on Romans 1:17, “For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.” He saw for the first time that the righteousness Paul had here in mind was not a punitive justice which condemns sinners but a perfect righteousness which God freely grants to sinners on the basis of Christ’s merits, and which sinners receive by faith. Luther saw that the doctrine of justification by grace alone (sola gratia) through faith alone (per solam fidem) because of Christ alone (solus Christus) was the heart of the gospel and became for him “an open door into paradise…. a gate to heaven.”

The phrase “justification by faith alone” was the key which unlocked the Bible for Luther.1 Each of these four words he came to understand in relation to the others by the light of Scripture and the Spirit. Elsewhere this volume deals with three words of Luther’s four-word rediscovery: justification, faith, alone. My task of expounding “by” may appear at first glance to be elementary, but around this deceptively simple preposition the heart of the Romanist-Protestant debate has raged. Let’s ask and answer several pertinent questions with regard to this critical preposition which will serve to highlight the relationship of faith to justification. We will consider the preposition “by” from four perspectives: first, scripturally, by considering the basic teaching of justification by faith, together with exegetical and etymological implications of the preposition; second, theologically, by grappling with the issue of faith as a possible “condition” of justification; third, experientially, by addressing how a sinner appropriates Christ by faith; fourth, polemically, by defending the Protestant View of justification, “by” faith against the views of Roman Catholicism, Arminianism, and Antinomianism.

 

 

 

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Justification-Salvation is by Grace Through Faith

April 30, 2015 2 comments

by J.I. Packer

Clearly no one is justified before God by the law, because, “The righteous will live by faith.” GALATIANS 3:11

The doctrine of justification, the storm center of the Reformation, was a major concern of the apostle Paul. For him it was the heart of the gospel (Rom. 1:17; 3:21-5:21; Gal. 2:15-5:1) shaping both his message (Acts 13:38-39) and his devotion and spiritual life (2 Cor. 5:13-21; Phil. 3:4-14). Though other New Testament writers affirm the same doctrine in substance, the terms in which Protestants have affirmed and defended it for almost five centuries are drawn primarily from Paul.

Justification is a judicial act of God pardoning sinners (wicked and ungodly persons, Rom. 4:5; 3:9-24), accepting them as just, and so putting permanently right their previously estranged relationship with himself. This justifying sentence is God’s gift of righteousness (Rom. 5:15-17), his bestowal of a status of acceptance for Jesus’ sake (2 Cor. 5:21).

God’s justifying judgment seems strange, for pronouncing sinners righteous may appear to be precisely the unjust action on the judge’s part that God’s own law forbade (Deut. 25:1; Prov. 17:15). Yet it is in fact a just judgment, for its basis is the righteousness of Jesus Christ who as “the last Adam” (1 Cor. 15:45), our representative head acting on our behalf, obeyed the law that bound us and endured the retribution for lawlessness that was our due and so (to use a medieval technical term) “merited” our justification. So we are justified justly, on the basis of justice done (Rom. 3:25-26) and Christ’s righteousness reckoned to our account (Rom. 5:18-19).

God’s justifying decision is the judgment of the Last Day, declaring where we shall spend eternity, brought forward into the present and pronounced here and now. It is the last judgment that will ever be passed on our destiny; God will never go back on it, however much Satan may appeal against God’s verdict (Zech. 3:1; Rev. 12:10; Rom. 8:33-34). To be justified is to be eternally secure (Rom. 5:1-5; 8:30).

The necessary means, or instrumental cause, of justification is personal faith in Jesus Christ as crucified Savior and risen Lord (Rom. 4:23-25; 10:8-13). This is because the meritorious ground of our justification is entirely in Christ. As we give ourselves in faith to Jesus, Jesus gives us his gift of righteousness, so that in the very act of “closing with Christ,” as older Reformed teachers put it, we receive divine pardon and acceptance which we could not otherwise have (Gal. 2:15-16; 3:24).

 

 

 

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Justification by Faith Alone: Nothing in My Hand I Bring

The Diet of Worms convened on April 18, 1521 to deal with one of the most pressing issues in the Holy Roman Empire: to deliberate what to do with a troublesome monk named Martin Luther. It had only been 3 ½ years since Luther had nailed his 95 theses to the church-door in Wittenburg. In that short time, he had sparked a great controversy within the Roman Catholic Church. Some of the most controversial of Luther’s theses were those in which he asserted that God justifies sinners based upon the merits of Jesus Christ alone and received by faith alone.

Martin Luther vs The Church of Rome

In contrast to Luther, the Roman Catholic Church taught that a sinner’s justification was not based upon another’s righteousness, but that it was based upon the inherent righteousness of the sinner. The Church essentially taught a salvation which was based upon works. And they refused to be corrected by Luther. Therefore, after administering much political pressure on the Emperor, Charles V, a diet was called to determine what to do with this controversial monk named Martin Luther.

 

 

 

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Federal Vision, New Perspective & Justification [Audio]

April 29, 2015 2 comments

Why is Denying Justification such a Serious Error?

April 28, 2015 5 comments

Posted on February 19th, 2015, by Tom Hicks

The doctrine of justification by faith alone on the ground of Christ’s imputed righteousness remains under direct attack in various quarters. As someone who wrote his PhD dissertation on the doctrines of justification in Richard Baxter and Benjamin Keach, I am convinced that modifying the biblical doctrine is a serious theological error. As a pastor of a local church, I have observed how the doctrine of justification humbles the proud, strengthens the fainthearted, gives assurance to the fearful, encourages vulnerable and motivates self-sacrificing love. To deny this doctrine is to deny the very heart and power of the gospel. May the Lord bring theological clarity on this doctrine for the sake of His own glory and for the good of His beloved bride.

 

 

 

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A Critique of the New Perspective: Eight Audio Lectures

April 28, 2015 3 comments