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Godfrey and the Baptists

Originally posted on chantrynotes:

godfrey3 W. Robert Godfrey

This week I have been addressing the matter of friendship and cooperation across denominational boundaries within the broader Reformed world. Yesterday, in writing about the example of cooperation being set by Westminster Seminary California and the Institute for Reformed Baptist Studies, I mentioned a recent article by W. Robert Godfrey, WSC’s president, entitled “The Belgic Confession and the True Church.”

The article is being published in By Common Confession, a festschrift for James Renihan, dean of IRBS, and addresses the question, “Does the Belgic Confession, as some claim, require its subscribers to confess that all Baptist churches are false churches?” What is remarkable in this essay is that Godfrey does not reject confessional rigor as a means of adapting to the ecumenical spirit of the day. Instead he approaches his confession as a true subscriber and endeavors to determine from it whether or not his cooperation…

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The Challenge of Cooperation

Originally posted on chantrynotes:

handshake Oh, we totally trust each other!

Yesterday I wrote about the spirit of friendship and cooperation which has formed at least part of the true history of interaction between Presbyterians and Reformed on the one hand and Reformed Baptists on the other. Fellowship has flourished where there has been mutual appreciation and trust. Yet it seems that recently, distrust is growing. I concluded by asking:

In this context, two questions arise. First, is similar friendship and collaboration sustainable any longer? And second, is such cooperation across denominational and confessional lines even a good idea?

My answer to each of those questions is a resounding “Yes.” First, though, we need to understand why such fellowship is challenged.

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A Response to the Arguments for “Covenant Child Baptism”

Originally posted on chantrynotes:

pope “Schismatics! Every one of you! Repent, already!”

Last week the Aquila Report published an article by Pastor Jason Van Bemmel of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church entitled “15 Arguments in Favor of Covenant Child Baptism.” The article was structured as ten arguments regarding subject (but with an eleventh “bonus” argument), and five more regarding mode.

This helpful list sumarizes every major Presbyterian and Reformed argument on baptism in one place, which is surprisingly rare. Various arguments have been advanced over the years, and not all paedobaptists agree with every argument. A list of arguments is therefore helpful for a number of reasons.

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The Works of William Tyndale

Originally posted on Lee Gatiss:

TyndaleA review of The Works of William Tyndale

The Banner of Truth Trust have blessed us with a two volume edition of The Works of William Tyndale. Inside, these are facsimiles of the 1849 and 1850 Parker Society volumes, and begin with a 76 page biography of Tyndale (1494-1536), who was of course a leading figure in the Protestant Reformation and a courageous and talented biblical translator.

These substantial volumes contain his key works, The Practice of Prelates, A Pathway into Holy Scripture, and The Obedience of a Christian Man (the latter of which was very influential on Henry VIII), a whole raft of his prologues to various books of the Bible (greatly influenced by Luther), and his expositions of the Sermon on the Mount and 1 John.

Tyndale was very much interested in what has become known as covenant theology (“Seek therefore in the scripture, as…

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Book Review of Samuel Renihan, God Without Passions: a Primer

Originally posted on chantrynotes:

passionsDuring the last year I have written a number of times on the doctrine of divine impassibility. This is the doctrine that God, being immutable, does not experience emotional fluctuation as do we. The Scriptures speak of God’s anger burning or of his compassion rising up, but this is analogous to it speaking of his arm or his ear: it is a communication to us of truths about God in human terms which we will understand. Still, God is not a man, and we must not think of him as having “ups” and “downs.”

My interest in this topic of course reflects the conversation which has taken place among Reformed Baptists, particularly within ARBCA, about the nature of God. However, it is a matter of great importance to all Christians. If we think of God wrongly (which almost always means imagining him as being one of us!), then we will…

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“Warmth & Light”

Originally posted on Live Life! God's way:

Is your reading filled with ‘warmth and light?’ John Newton was self-educated and loved to read both the Bible and other books. Reinke writes, “He was drawn to letters by their heartwarming potential. He admits to having more interest in reading personal letters over books, which often have the opposite effect.”

Newton writes,

I get more warmth and light sometimes by a letter from a plain person who loves the Lord Jesus, though perhaps a servant maid, than from some whole volumes put forth by learned doctors. I speak this not out of disrespect either to doctors or learning; but there is a coldness creeping into the churchues, of which I would warn my friends as earnestly as of a fire that was breaking out next door.”

Reinke assesses these comments with the reflection – “Newton felt the winds of a dangerous gospel winter, and he was concerned that…

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An Open Letter to the Abortive Mother

Originally posted on chantrynotes:

babyTo the Abortive Mother:

I’m sure that you, like everyone else in America, recognizes that we may well be in the midst of a sea change on the issue of abortion. A few years ago, when Kermit Gosnell (a rather typical inner city abortionist) was tried and sentenced, the true nature of the abortion industry began to leak out. Now, due to the stunning revelations of the Center for Medical Progress, the truth is front and center. In spite of the desire of the media to shield you and the rest of us from the truth, in spite of two entertaining primary races, and in spite of a dust-up at congress within the President’s party, there is still a great deal of light shining on the behind-the-scenes activities of Planned Parenthood. Both sides are quick to sing the party line, but I’ve been wondering how to talk to you.

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Helpful Apologetic Books for the Eradication of Trolls

Originally posted on hipandthigh:

trollI was thinking recently about compiling a list of some good, basic books I could recommend to Christians in order to help them shore up their apologetic defense and proclamation of the faith.

The idea came to me after witnessing another troll attack on Facebook. The troll left some stupidly ignorant comments under an acquaintance’s post concerning a point of theology. Regrettably, no one following in the comments offered any serious rebuttal. I don’t believe the person who posted the original item under discussion even tried offering a response. That started me pondering: Is that because the people don’t want to or that they just lack the ability?

Now I recognize that Christians engaging in any meaningful discussion in the comment threads on social media with a strident, chest-beating “know-it-all” skeptic can be a rather ridiculous waste of time. Honestly, the better course of action is to just silently move on without any…

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Missing The Point

Originally posted on Live Life! God's way:

I love Bible knowledge quizzes, Bible trivia, Bible games but I fear that Bible knowledge ‘misses the point.’ Knowing the facts about the Bible, being able to win ‘sword drills’ in record time, having a comprehensive knowledge of the Scripture in and of itself does not produce spiritual change. Winning Bible knowledge contests is no guarantee you understand the truth of God’s word.

In Reinke’s “John Newton on the Christian LIfe,” he gives somes helpful direction. Again, I urge you to pick up this book, or at least dig into some of Newton’s writings (sermons, meditations and hymns) which are free and online.

“Newton explains how four elements inform our approach to the Bible–sincerity, diligence, humility and prayer.

1) Sincerity – Newton writes, “I mean a real desire to be instructed by the Scripture, and to submit both our sentiments and our practices to be controlled and directed by what…

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Playing with Matches?

Originally posted on Schreiberspace:

ezgif.com-resizeCommon sense tells us not to play with matches. Most of us develop a healthy respect for fire at a young age. You only need to be burned once to learn not to get too close to an open flame. As the old saying goes, if you play with fire, you are going to get burned (cf. Proverbs 6:27).

Needlessly exposing yourself to the occasion of sin (i.e. that circumstance, place, or person which is likely to tempt you to commit sin) is a lot like playing with matches or pouring gasoline on a fire.  Nothing good will come of it. Thomas Brooks offers some words of wisdom regarding such things:

“He that adventures upon the occasions of sin is as he that would quench the fire with oil, which is fuel to maintain it, and increase it.” (Precious Remedies Against Satan’s Devices, p.68)

So if you are struggling with a particular…

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