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Posts Tagged ‘Reformed’

On Being Reformed Or, Why I am neither Evangelical nor Emerging

September 22, 2016 Leave a comment

Stefan T. Lindblad

Pastor, Trinity Reformed Baptist Church (Kirkland, WA); 2002 Graduate of WSC/IRBS

The landscape of twenty-first century Christianity becomes more complex by the day, or so it would seem. One of the major reasons for such complexity (or, better, confusion) is the recent ecclesiastical phenomena known as the emerging church, labeled as such because its adherents profess to be emerging out of the supposedly moribund and modernity-riddled ways of twentieth century evangelicalism. Despite the difficulty of actually defining postmodernism, emerging church pundits contend that, in the wake of postmodernity’s phoenix-esque rise from the ashes of modernity, the church – regardless of theological commitments or denominational boundaries – must be the spiritual equivalent of a butterfly and emerge out of the cocoon of modern ways of communicating the Christian faith (specifically those of fundamentalism and evangelicalism), speaking instead the language of postmodernity in order to reach postmoderns. The church must simultaneously appropriate the apostolic faith and speak this gospel in an “authentic” or “genuine” (read, postmodern) manner to satisfy adequately the spiritual taste-buds of those who live and move and have their being in a postmodern world.

As a minister of a confessional Reformed Baptist Church – and up until this point, little more than a casual observer of this current trend – I have read a few proponents of the emerging church movement only to walk away wondering if they have ever heard of anything other than evangelicalism or fundamentalism. That is, do they believe that their “postmodern” version of Christian spirituality is the only viable alternative to those “modern” forms proffered by evangelicalism? And if so, what happens when postmodernity collapses, or when (not if) postmodernity morphs and becomes something other than what it is at this very moment? Must the church morph as well? If not, what will fill the spiritual and ecclesiastical void that remains? Let me suggest that there is another, better, way than what the emerging church is attempting to offer us: the Reformed faith.

 

 

 

Read the entire article here.

Free Ebook- Why I Believe in the Sabbath

By Erroll Hulse

This 42-page study of what the early and later Reformers and the English Puritans believed is designed to show that the Sabbath is part of creation as well as a moral issue.

I believe the English Puritans were correct in their understanding of the Christian Sabbath. There are two commandments which do not begin with a negative such as, You shall not kill, You shall not commit adultery. One begins with the word Remember and that other begins with the word Honour. The latter, the fifth, has a promise added to it…..

On biblical grounds I believe it is essential to hold the threefold division of the law. The Second London Baptist Confession of Faith of 1689 chapter 19 states it all so well that it is hardly needful for me to repeat it here. However I will state that it is the moral law that we have transgressed. It is that same moral law that our Lord kept perfectly. It is the moral law which defines sin and which caused him to die on the Cross in our place (2 Cor 5:21). The ceremonial law was constructed exactly according to the specification given to Moses by our Lord. So we cannot miss its details and at the same time cannot miss the fact that it is a precise specific entity. Jesus has fulfilled all the typology of that ceremonial law and now we no longer have to observe it. No more sacrifices because he is our sacrifice (Heb 10:14). Civil law is specific too and will always be with us, which is why we have a police force and law courts, lawyers, barristers and magistrates….

 

 

 
Contents:

Sanctifying the Lord’s Day: Reformed and Puritan Attitudes …………… 5

The Reformers and the Sanctification of the Sabbath. …………………… 9

The Puritans and the Sanctification of the Sabbath …………………….. 15

Conclusions …………………………………………………………………………… 24

The moral nature of the fourth commandment ……………………………. 28

The Fourth Commandment in its application to believers and unbelievers …………………………………………………………………………….. 30

The Creation Sabbath recalled, restated and confirmed by the Fourth
Commandment ………………………………………………………………………. 32

The Sabbath as Covenant ……………………………………………………….. 33

The discontinuity of Jewish ceremonial Sabbaths ……………………….. 33

The change of the day from the seventh to the eighth, or first, day of the week ………………………………………………………………………………… 34

A humanized Sabbath …………………………………………………………….. 37

The Sabbath keeping which remains and the sabbaths of heaven … 38

The importance of actual Sabbath observance …………………………… 39

Biblical Theology — putting the progressive Sabbath revelations together …………………………………………………………………………………. 40

 

 
Download the ebook here.

 

 

Erroll Hulse
Erroll Hulse, a South African by birth, was born in 1931. He is of a Reformed Baptist persuasion, one of the co-founders of the Banner of Truth Trust and a fine author of many good articles.

Where’d All These Calvinists Come From?

November 10, 2015 2 comments

By Mark Dever

Two events served to bring to the front of my mind the growing prominence of reformed theology among the young in the American evangelical scene.

1. I was having dinner in Manhattan a couple of years ago, seated between a couple of older prominent evangelical Anglicans. They were discussing the drought of good preaching that they had been surviving through for the last couple of decades. I said only a little to them (said that wasn’t my impression), but it made me notice the veritable garden that it seems to me in the circles I run in that God is growing up.

2.At Together for the Gospel, April 2006, at one point I asked people to stand by ages. Out of 3,000 we had a few senior citizens. Some guys in their 50’s. A lot in their 40’s. A TON in their 30’s. And even MORE in their 20’s. Now, there could be a lot of reasons for that, but let me simply say that when Collin Hansen came out with his interesting article about “Young, Restless and Reformed” in the fall of 2006, I had already observed the phenomenon and agreed with the premise of his article–that there does seem to be something of a reformed revival among those born in the 1970s & 1980s.

 

 

 

Read the entire article here.

The Regulative Principle of the Church 18: Its Contemporary Objections (Part 3)

A third common objection nowadays to the regulative principle is this.

(3) It involves the acceptance of extreme practices like exclusive psalmody and non-instrumentalism.

The implication is often present in materials that argue for the rejection of the regulative principle to the acceptance of extreme practices like exclusive psalmody and non-instrumentalism.1 It cannot be denied that these practices have frequently been associated with the regulative principle in history. Neither can it be denied that those who hold these views are disposed to press the regulative principle in support of their views. Nevertheless, it appears to me that several cogent responses can be made to this argument.

First, it is guilty of a logical fallacy. The frequent association of two ideas does not prove that they are logically related by good and necessary consequence. For instance, the doctrine of original sin is closely associated with the doctrine of infant baptism historically, but this does not prove (at least to any Reformed Baptists) nor should it prove that the doctrine of original sin leads to infant baptism.

 

 

Read the entire article here.

 

This is the final installment to this series and all the links to this series can be found here. They were put up by our friend Jason Deligo over at Confessingbaptist.com

The Regulative Principle of the Church 17: Its Contemporary Objections (Part 2)

The second contemporary objection to the regulative principle which I have isolated is as follows:

(2) It implies a different hermeneutic for the church than for other areas of life.

This objection and my answer to it constitutes a kind of footnote to the first issue. I am uncertain who first opined that the regulative principle provides a different hermeneutic for worship than for the rest of life. In my search online I found several persons using this terminology. They said things like:

“Author/evangelist Mark Driscoll did a series of sermons on the topic of “Religion Saves and 9 Other Misconceptions.” The last sermon in that series had to do with the Regulative Principle, the hermeneutical approach that says that unless Scripture specifically authorizes something, that thing is prohibited.”

 

 

Read the entire article here.

The Regulative Principle of the Church 16: Its Contemporary Objections (Part 1)

After considerable thought I have isolated ten such objections and questions. The first of these is perhaps the most important and is the subject of this blog post.

(1) It implies a counterintuitive regulation of worship (or the church) different from the rest of human life.

As noted previously, one of the major directions in which John Frame re-interprets the regulative principle is by arguing that it applies to all of life. So understanding it, he is able to adopt it verbally, though not, I would argue, substantially in its historical form. In a key statement of this re-orientation of the principle, he says:

“I therefore reject the limitation of the regulative principle to official worship services. In my view, the regulative principle in Scripture is not about church power and officially sanctioned worship services. It is a doctrine about worship, about all forms of worship. It governs all worship, whether formal or informal, individual or corporate, public or private, family or church, broad or narrow. Limiting the doctrine to officially sanctioned worship robs it of its biblical force.1”

 
Read the entire article here.

The Regulative Principle of the Church 15: Its Specific Application (Part 4)

Not only does the regulative principle of the church apply to its government, tasks, and worship, it also applies to its doctrine. The church may neither add to nor subtract from the doctrines of the Bible. It must confess (in its identity as the pillar and support of the truth—1 Tim. 3:15) all that the Bible says and only what the Bible says. Surely the Westminster Confession is correct when it makes this point at chapter 20 and paragraph 2:

“God alone is Lord of the conscience, and hath left it free from the doctrines and commandments of men, which are, in anything, contrary to his Word; or beside it, if matters of faith, or worship. So that, to believe such doctrines, or to obey such commands, out of conscience, is to betray true liberty of conscience: and the requiring of an implicit faith, and an absolute and blind obedience, is to destroy liberty of conscience, and reason also.”

I regret to say that the 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith changed this admirable, clear, and helpful statement to read as follows: “God alone is Lord of the conscience, and hath left it free from the doctrines and commandments of men which are in anything contrary to his word, or not contained in it.” This revision obscures the crucial distinction implied in the Westminster between how God is the Lord of the conscience the rest of life (where the commands of legitimate human authorities have an important and necessary role to play) and matters of faith and worship where they do not.

 

 

Read the entire article here.

The Regulative Principle of the Church 14: Its Specific Application (Part 3)

Having dealt with the application of the regulative principle to the government and tasks of the church, here I touch on its application …

III. For the Worship of the Church

The regulative principle of worship is often seen as repressive and negative. In actuality it is positive and liberating. It requires that the great elements of gospel worship ordained in the Word of God have the central place in the worship of the church. It is often when churches feel that their worship is dull and lifeless and traditional that they begin to search for some new ceremony, program, or innovation to liven things up. What a sad testimony this is to the carnality and ignorance of such churches!

My brethren, the way to life and power and reality in the worship of God is not the way of innovation and novelty. It is the way back to the great, central requirements of gospel worship. If people and churches languish and die under those ordinances, then they ought to die; and nothing else will be sufficient to resurrect them to spiritual life.

 

 

Read the entire article here.

The Regulative Principle of the Church 13: Its Specific Application (Part 2)

In my previous blog post I dealt with the application of the regulative principle to the government of the church. Here we take up a second important application.

II. For the Tasks of the Church

I remind you again that fundamental to the regulative principle of the church was its peculiar identity as the house or temple of God. The church is subject to the special regulation of the Word of God precisely because of its unique identity in human society. Neither the family, nor even the state is subject to anything akin to the regulative principle. The unique identity of the church directly leads us to the unique identity of its functions or tasks in the world.

Now it is not my purpose to expound in detail here the subject of the tasks of the church. Neither is it my purpose to deal in any kind of thorough way with the sphere sovereignty of the church, the family, and the state as the three major institutions which by divine ordination compose and regulate human society. I do think it is obvious to anyone with an appreciation of the development of the doctrine of sphere sovereignty in the Reformed tradition that God has given distinct tasks to the family, the state, and the church. This is both the general teaching of the Bible and the plain implication of the regulative principle itself. This suggests to me three plain and closely related duties of the church.

 
Read the entire article here.

The Regulative Principle of the Church 12: Its Specific Application (Part 1)

A clear understanding of and a thorough commitment to the regulative principle of the church is, I am convinced, absolutely crucial if biblical church reformation is ever to become a reality in our churches. The regulative principle is intended, as we have seen, to govern the whole of the church’s life both as an institution and as an assembly. Let me trace out its significance for four areas of church life in this and following blogs.

I. For the Government of the Church

Puritans who held the regulative principle have historically been committed to the jus divinum. In other words, they have been committed to the concept that there is a divinely ordained form of church government given us in the Bible. Historically, Anglicans (beginning with Hooker’s treatise on the government of the Church of England) and many others since then have argued that God has left the church free within very general principles to construct its own government. Richard Hooker in his work, Of the Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity, expressly denies the regulative principle of the Puritans. One writer says, “Its object is to assert the right of a broad liberty on the basis of Scripture and reason.”1

 

Read the entire article here.