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by Matthew Tuininga
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“…The faculty of Westminster Seminary California is not monolithic in its views of cultural engagement, the institution’s president Robert Godfrey himself being a staunch Kuyperian. Suggesting that it makes little sense to describe Kuyperian neo-Calvinism and the two kingdoms perspective as contrary positions, Horton pointed out (as did Godfrey in a presentation several years ago) that on most important points these perspectives are agreed. Among the commonalities he described:
1) Both clearly distinguish the form of cultural and political engagement obligatory on Christians from the model of Old Testament Israel.
2) Both maintain a sharp critique of the militancy and culture war mindset that marks much of the Christian Right, which has its own version of the social gospel.
3) Each perspective affirms basic neo-Calvinist concepts concerning common grace, the antithesis, and sphere sovereignty.
4) Both seek to distinguish the work proper to the institutional church (church as organization) and the way in which believers serve Christ and witness to his kingdom in every area of life (church as organism).
5) Both agree that Christians cannot bring the kingdom of God to earth through their cultural work.
6) Each perspective insists that Scripture has much to say about how Christians should be involved in culture through their vocations.
7) Both agree that the church must proclaim what the word of God says about God’s law to the state, while avoiding false claims to expertise in matters of economics or policy.
8) Both affirm that while the actual objective work of Christians often looks similar to that of unbelievers, in terms of motivation, worldview, and sometimes objective results such work is profoundly different.
9) Both affirm the value of Christian parachurch organizations like colleges and seminaries, while at the same time preserving the liberty of Christians to participate in non-Christian organizations as well.
In their responses to Horton the various Covenant faculty affirmed their basic agreement on these points, expressing in particular their appreciation for the emphasis the two kingdoms doctrine places on the importance of the institutional church…
He noted that while the two kingdoms perspective is often portrayed as a position in conflict with moderate neo-Calvinism, in reality the perspectives are less polar opposites than points on a common spectrum. Once one looks past prominent rhetorical and linguistic differences it can often be difficult to determine what in practice is actually being disputed. And indeed, when it came to the greatest dangers threatening Reformed believers in their cultural and political engagement the members of the panel were in significant agreement.”
Should have posted this yesterday, but just say this good little 6 minute church history vid.
Gary Marble has updated his site - 1689commentary.org A Layman’s Commentary of the 1689/1677 Second London Baptist Confession of Faith
Rev. Dr. Carl Trueman, Paul Wooley Chair of Church History, discusses why the philosophy of “no creed but the Bible” in today’s churches is problematic.
Why Baptize Infants? (A Reformed Perspective) with Dr. R. Scott Clark, Professor of Church History and Historical Theology at Westminster Seminary, Escondido, California
I appreciate that Dr. Clark gets right to the point:
Because God said to Abraham, ‘I’ll be a God to you and to your children after you’ that’s why… Abraham is the pattern of the Covenant of Grace or the Administration of Salvation, that is what we mean. The administration of free, gracious, uncoditional acceptance with God. He’s the pattern of that all throughout scripture. And so it’s articulated in Genesis 17 where you see the institution of the Covenant children in the visible Covenant Community, into the sphere of the Administration of Salvation. You see that in Genesis 17 and everyone, all the male children are to be admitted into the visible Covenant Community.. Abraham is always the pattern.
This is the cornerstone of Reformed Paedobaptism. It is an unquestioned assumption. In this eight minute video Dr. Clark does not provide us with the reasoning behind this assumption. In fact, I haver never read a published work that has answered the “Why Abraham?” question. Every book on paedobaptism answers the question, “Why do we baptise infants?’ with “The Abrahamic Covenant.” but none of the books I have read has ever given a reason why this covenant. At the end of this video Dr. Clark repeats the phrase, “If Abraham is the pattern…” but he has not answered the question, “(Why) Is Abraham the pattern?”. As I’ve stated these are unquestioned assumptions in paedobaptist theology. If you are aware of a published work that answers this please share it with me, I would love to read it. As a Reformed Anti-paedobaptist I would ask, “Is there ‘free, gracious, uncoditional acceptance with God’ before Genesis 17? According to Hebrews I believe there is a Covenant Community before Abraham.
As a Reformed Anti-paedobapist I believe Abraham is not the pattern or prototype. Reformed Biblical Theologians agree that Adam and Eve in Eden are the Pattern/Prototype. I’m thinking here of Ed Clowney, G.K. Beale, Bill Dumbrell, T. Desmond Alexander, and Graeme Goldsworthy, to name a few. Adam and Eve in Eden are the prototype. After the Fall Redemptive History presents us with types such as Abel, Enoch, Noah, and yes, Abraham. Type. Not prototype or pattern. As a Reformed Anti-paedobapist I believe we should point to Redemptive History for our position and not to Jeremiah 31 as is so common among us. I believe the Jeremiah 31 response should only come from Dispensationalists, not Covenantalists.
Here are some verses and other comments Dr. Clark mentioned:
Romans 6 “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. We who died to sin, how shall we any longer live therein? Or are ye ignorant that all we who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him through baptism unto death: that like as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we also might walk in newness of life.”
Can this be true of infants?
Colossians 2:11-12 Take heed lest there shall be any one that maketh spoil of you through his philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ: for in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily, and in him ye are made full, who is the head of all principality and power: in whom ye were also circumcised with a circumcision not made with hands, in the putting off of the body of the flesh, in the circumcision of Christ; having been buried with him in baptism, wherein ye were also raised with him through faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead. And you, being dead through your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, you, I say, did he make alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses; having blotted out the bond written in ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us: and he hath taken it out that way, nailing it to the cross; having despoiled the principalities and the powers, he made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it.
Can this be true of infants?
Circumcision was nothing but a ritual death. And so that was true for Abraham as an adult who was circumcised, it was true for Isaac who was circumcised as an infant. Those were ritual deaths.
Was it true for Ishmael and Esau? What about Zimran, Jokshan, Medan, Midian, Ishbak, and Shuah?
Is it true that infants have died to their old selves and now live to Christ?
Acts 2:38-39 For the promise is to your and to your children And Peter said unto them, Repent ye, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ unto the remission of your sins; and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For to you is the promise, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call unto him.
I don’t understand why Paedobaptists keep bringing this verse up. The phrase “even as many as the Lord our God shall call unto him” qualifies the three groups mentioned.
- As many (of you) as the Lord our God shall call unto him.
- As many (of your children) as the Lord our God shall call unto him.
- As many (that are afar off) as the Lord our God shall call unto him.
Using Paedobaptist logic why shouldn’t we go ahead and baptise the whole world?
On this episode, we welcome Rev. Dr. Carl R. Trueman to discuss the important role of creeds and confessions in the church through his book The Creedal Imperative. Dr. Trueman is the Paul Woolley Professor of Historical Theology and Church History at Westminster Theological Seminary and Pastor of Cornerstone Orthodox Presbyterian Church in Ambler, PA. Dr. Trueman brings his critical thought and historic sensitivity to this important plea to many conservative evangelicals.
Matthew Barrett when asked:
What about the death of Christ have convictional “four-point Calvinists” perhaps failed to adequately consider?
No Compromise Episode 1 is now available [49 minutes].
Phil Johnson, Carl Trueman, Mike Abendroth, and James White in a “elephant room” ;P
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It has to be one of the longest discussions in blog history (following an unbelievably long post, doesn’t Bryan Cross know the difference between a blog and a theological quarterly). The comments totaled over 1,100 though the word count has to be in the millions. Meanwhile, comments kept going for almost 18 months…
We live in a time where there is a proliferation of edifying media available on the web for the Christian, but there isn’t a clear way to aggregate this media into a produced, filtered format. Simply putting everything on the web doesn’t mean everyone will find it. Yes, some people want an à la carte approach with choosing from a multiplicity of podcasts or searching through long lists and that works well for them. Yet others want an always-on streaming approach. As we see it, the Christian community has only just begun to tap the internet’s potential for spreading trustworthy biblical teaching to every nation, tribe, and language on this earth.
It’s for these reasons that we have created Ligonier’s newest outreach: we call it RefNet.
RefNet (Reformation Network) is 24-hour Christian internet radio featuring biblical preaching and teaching
While Christian terrestrial radio continues to be an effective outreach in the United States, we’re pushing to leverage the growth of internet-enabled mobile phones and tablets around the world. RefNet is freely available on your internet connected iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch; on your computer through the RefNet website; or on many other mobile browsers through RefNet’s lite mobile version.
You’ll hear Renewing Your Mind with Dr. R.C. Sproul, plus hundreds of teaching series, messages from our teaching fellows, and more than twenty-five years of conference messages. Ligonier has a digital library of many thousands of hours of solid Bible teaching and preaching, but up until this point we have been limited in ways to provide useful access to it. RefNet enables us to serve you better with unique daily teaching and preaching.
RefNet is pleased to also feature the ministries of other broadcast partners who echo the same great historic truths that have been well-framed by the creedal consensus coming out of the Reformation. RefNet includes broadcasts from Alistair Begg at Truth For Life, John MacArthur at Grace to You, John Piper at Desiring God, Albert Mohler with The Briefing and Thinking in Public, and many others. And you’ll hear daily news briefs from World Magazine and SRN News to help you stay current with that day’s headlines.
In the evening, families can enjoy biblically-based audio drama produced by Lamplighter Theater. We then move throughout the night into a blend of Bible reading, brought to you by our friends at Crossway Books, and pleasant music suitable to background listening.
Many people already connect their computers, smartphones, and tablets to their home audio systems, so this will be one additional way to serve Christians who want a Scripture-saturated home.
Ligonier Ministries’ mission statement includes a phrase that takes my breath away: “reach as many people as possible.” You probably dream big like me, so the number of people we have to reach is staggering, almost 7 billion by last count. What this means is that in order to reach as many of those 7 billion souls as possible, we need to be wise stewards of the technology God, in His grace, has put in front of us. RefNet is another outreach to help us do just that.
We hope you enjoy using RefNet as much as we enjoyed creating it. We’re just getting started and there are more edifying broadcasts to come. Please share RefNet with your family, friends, and churches.