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Posts Tagged ‘Tom Chantry’

The Trinitarian Controversy and the Problem of Shallow Roots

by Tom Chantry

I was looking at the enormous Norway Maple in my backyard the other day, and a question occurred. How deep are its roots? Living as we do in the age of Google, I soon found myself reading this fascinating and instructive article on the question of root depth.

Apparently there has been some dispute over the natural root depth of trees. Back in the 1930s, scientists investigated this question by digging out the root systems of large trees. The answer that they reached is one you may have seen in textbooks when you were a kid: that the root system of trees is as extensive as the branch system. Indeed, reports exist of such trees to this day.

However, this was not the end of the question. Many assumed that trees could not be grown in modern cities because the typical soil composition would not allow for the development of such elaborate root systems. It turns out, though, that those 1930s scientists had understandably chosen trees for their study which were planted in easily dug soil such as loess (sediment deposited by wind). The more diggable soil allowed for careful extraction of a tree’s root system. It turns out, though, that in such soil trees tend to grow deeper roots, but that the same variety of trees may also grow tall with roots stretching out horizontally.

Today, urban arborists often explain that trees don’t require deep soil, and common opinion has turned against the old deep-root theory. The correct conclusion, as expressed by James Urban of the American Society of Landscape Architects is this: “Trees are genetically capable of growing deep roots, but root architecture is strongly influenced by soil and climate conditions.” Specifically, soil which is compacted and has poor drainage creates a poor environment for root depth. This does not mean, however, that trees cannot grow, only that they may grow without deep roots.

Yet all may not be well. A tree may look tall, full, and impressive, but its root system may prove insufficient. A tree with shallow, horizontal……

 

 

 

Read the entire article here.

Remembering June 7, 1966

by Tom Chantry

“…Thus many of us seem to be as men without a country, or as odd individualists in other fellowships. Yet we do not relish the spirit of total independency which is plagued with weakness. Perhaps it is time to begin a Fellowship of like-minded brethren for mutual edification and encouragement…” – Walter J. Chantry, 1966

It is possible to posit a variety of dates for the beginning of the Reformed Baptist movement in America. The first of the modern Reformed Baptist churches was started in 1951. The same church adopted the 1689 Confession in 1958. Ernie Reisinger and Walt Chantry met Al Martin for the first time in 1965. However, if the question is when a movement of churches began, the answer must be fifty years ago today – June 7, 1966.

That day, which in 1966 also fell on a Tuesday, was marked by the opening of the first of the Carlisle Pastors Conferences which were the first attempt to form a more formal communion among those churches which subscribed to the 1689 Confession. The conferences were hosted by Grace Baptist Church of Carlisle, Pennsylvania, of which Chantry was pastor. The reason is expressed in the quote above, drawn from the letter of invitation sent to those Calvinistic Baptists known to the Carlisle church.

 

 

 

Read the entire article here.

Thoughts on Baptism, Communion, and Reformation21

by Tom Chantry

I would probably be a happier, healthier Baptist if I just kept my nose out of the ongoing kerfuffle debate over at Reformation21 over the question of closed communion among Baptists. I just wanted to say that right up front so that you would all realize that I recognize the fact.

However, having been critical of some of the Presbyterian brethren there in the past when their treatment of Baptists – and particularly of Reformed Baptists – left just a bit to be desired, and having once written that both sides should “reign in the bullies,” I don’t know that I have a choice. So here are my thoughts in what is so far an unfinished discussion. I’ll try to keep them brief.

Some History

Obviously “Baptists” are those who believe that true baptism is the immersion of those who have professed faith in Christ. Other baptism, whether of infants who can make no profession or by some other mode than immersion, is not regarded as pure baptism in the New Testament sense. That this is what it means to be “Baptist” is scarcely controversial.

 

 

 

Read the entire article here.

So You Want to Understand Impassibility

ImpassibilityMany of my readers will be aware that during the last few years a theological controversy has arisen over the doctrine of divine impassibility. Impassibility is the teaching that God, being perfect and immutable, cannot be moved. The idea is expressed within many of the Reformed confessions by the assertion that God is “without passions.” The idea is that God, who in his essence is perfectly blessed, can never suffer any loss. Therefore the experience of suffering is contrary to the divine nature; God cannot suffer. It is imprecise to say that God has no emotions; what in us may be called an emotion (such as love) is a virtue in God. However, whereas in us emotion involves fluctuation and change in our disposition, God is changeless. His love is like his power, his wisdom, and indeed his very being; it is infinite, eternal, and unchangeable.

In the Spring of 2014 the question of impassibility became the focus of an open debate within the Association of Reformed Baptist Churches of America when that association’s Theology Committee reported that one of the member churches evidently did not hold to the 1689 Confession’s teaching on impassibility. This was the result of an ongoing process in which the committee had been assigned to investigate the writings of one officer of that church. They had earlier found his writing contrary to the confession at two points (although he and his church had by 2014 come to a mutual agreement with the committee on the proper confessional expression of the other point). Rejection of the confession is grounds for exclusion of a church from ARBCA, and the association found itself at an impasse while some – but not all – argued that associational documents required that this action be taken.

 

 

 

Read the entire article here.

Identity Theft

By Tom Chantry

Todd Pruitt has responded to my post on the MOS blog, and I appreciate the serious engagement. I am somewhat frustrated to be asked questions on a blog that does not accept comments, but I fully understand. Comment threads breed problems, and I have turned them off on some of my own posts. Consequently I’ll put my answer here.

Pruitt spends most of his post arguing that Baptist life is far too complicated to describe easily in an informal conversation such as an MOS podcast. By “Reformed Baptist” they meant Calvinistic Baptists of various stripes. I am certain this was an unintentional error, but it was an error nonetheless. Using “Reformed Baptist” to refer to all Calvinistic Baptists is like using “asparagus” when what you intended to say was “vegetable.”

I know I’ve written about this before, but perhaps someone is actually reading this time, so I’ll go over it again. In the early 1960s, there were various Baptists with somewhat Calvinistic approaches to soteriology…..

 

 

 

Read the entire article here.

A Word of Advice to our Friends at MOS

by Tom Chantry

Hoo, boy! I’m getting tired of blogging on the same subject over and over, but here we go again:

I wanted to be positive about today’s episode of Mortification of Spin. Honestly, I did. Carl Trueman, Todd Pruitt, and Aimee Byrd chatted about the difficulties facing credo-baptists and paedo-baptists who decide to marry, and that is a worthwhile discussion. There was even much to commend in this particular episode:

■Diverging views of baptism do not constitute different faiths, and there is no biblical command against marrying across this particular line. I would add that neither the Westminster Standards or the Second London (Baptist) Confession forbid such marriages.

■Real practical issues are at stake when credo-baptists and paedo-baptists marry; particularly if they are raising children, and those should be thought through and talked through in advance of marriage.

■There should be no presumption of one side needing to always be the one to compromise. I might have put this a bit differently than Trueman, but in principle I agree.

■Pastoral care requires that we address these issues gently and faithfully in premarital counseling.

 

 

 

Read the entire article here.

The Reformed Baptist Myth

by Tom Chantry

I’m writing from Rockford, Illinois, where I am this week attending the General Assembly of ARBCA – the Association of Reformed Baptist Churches of America. ARBCA represents one wing of the Reformed Baptist movement, the confessional associationalists located in North America. By “confessional,” I mean that our churches are defined according to the teachings of the 1689 Confession of Faith in all its particulars, and by “associational,” I mean that we are convinced of our duty to associate formally with one another for mutual help and support. These concepts are closely related, both in that our confession (in chapter 26, paragraphs 14 and 15) requires association, and in that true association requires the confessional subscription in order that we might commend one another and commit ourselves to one another.

 

 

 

Read the entire article here.