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Timothy George (a semi-Protestant)

Originally posted on chantrynotes:

george Timothy George

In my earliest days in the ministry I had the pleasure to attend the Founders National Conference in Birmingham. This excellent conference then met on the campus of Samford University, home to Beeson Divinity School. Initially the meetings were held in Samford’s lovely Reid Chapel. Our host – and the reason the conference had located at Samford – was Beeson’s dean Timothy George.

George was a part of the Calvinism fad before Calvinism was a fad. By that I mean that he recognized the vapidity of evangelical doctrine and espoused a more tenable theology built around a sovereign God, yet he clearly never embraced the heart of reformation theology. In no sense whatsoever can be called “Reformed,” nor even a “Reformed Baptist.”

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The Lenten Brouhaha

Originally posted on chantrynotes:

One of the results of having grown up in a Reformed Baptist home is that while many of my RB brethren understand the insidious nature of certain religious practices, I have no experience of them.  Sometimes I fail to appreciate the spiritual peril from which I was preserved.

Lent is a good example.  It never struck me as anything other than one more silly thing which Catholics do – certainly not as a danger to be avoided.  I’m simply baffled by the idea of Calvinists observing Lent.  Consequently my response has been admittedly silly.

I saw a comment Wednesday about Lent and Christmas which got me thinking: while I celebrate Christmas, the folks who also celebrate Lent are probably the same pImageeople who mouth absurdities about putting Christ back in Christmas – as though He could be excluded from anything!  The result was my admittedly low-brow tweak of Treebeard…

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Brothers, I Implore You: Confessional Subscription and Divine Impassibility, Part 4

Originally posted on chantrynotes:

keyboard What This Week Felt Like

It’s Friday, and I have written for most of a week about the doctrine of divine impassibility. I’ve written about its confessional definition and the need to subscribe not only to the words of a confession, but the meaning those words were intended to convey. I’ve written about the history of this doctrine and how we arrived at the place we stand today. I’ve written about the nature of the discussion in Reformed Baptist circles and how distractions have risen to crowd out the critical doctrinal issues. This is, as far as I know right now, the last I will have to say on the subject for the time being. I want to address myself to Reformed Baptists, particularly those in ARBCA.

It is reasonable to expect, however, that some will ask why I am so passionate (sorry…I know) about this issue. I can only…

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Testimony of the Ages: Confessional Subscription and Divine Impassibility, Part 2

Originally posted on chantrynotes:

aquinas Did Thomas Aquinas invent Divine Impassibility out of thin air?

In my post yesterday I spoke of the confessional doctrine of divine impassibility. Anglicans, Presbyterians, Congregationalists, and Baptists all affirm this doctrine in exactly the same words: the only true God is “without body, parts, or passions.” In order to subscribe to the confessional documents containing those words, we must confess what they meant by those words; otherwise we do not subscribe.

But what is the origin of this doctrine? Many assertions have been made during the last year; among them that the words can be properly interpreted in a number of ways. Another assertion has been that the doctrine of divine impassibility was a novel doctrine of the scholastics, a philosophical group of late medieval teachers including Thomas Aquinas. Is this the origin of this doctrine?

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Words and their Meaning: Confessional Subscription and Divine Impassibility, Part 1

Originally posted on chantrynotes:

pennepack Pennepack Baptist Church of Philadelphia, one of the Earliest 1689 Churches in America

Confessions of faith are intended as tools of doctrinal unity within a church or an association of churches. To “subscribe” to a confession of faith is to claim it as a summary of your own theological convictions. Thus when many people subscribe together to the same confession, they profess that they believe the same things about those matters addressed in their confession. Such subscription is necessary at some level; otherwise we would be forced to cooperate with those who have defined Christ and the faith differently than ourselves.

Various approaches to subscription have been taken. Historically, churches that have attempted a generalized “system” subscription have demonstrated the error of such an approach: when subscription to a confession does not mean subscribing to its particular doctrines, then it means nothing. System subscription has proven to be a highway…

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Spurgeon vs. Spurgeon

Originally posted on chantrynotes:

spurgeon I…don’t…understand.

Back when CRBC was setting up its web page, I was asked whether we should prominently feature the pictures of famous Particular Baptists from history. I was especially urged to include imagery of Charles Spurgeon in our website’s header. Calvinism of a certain sort was booming, Spurgeon’s face was recognizable, and other sites had driven web traffic by associating their message with his.

I have no real objection to that practice, but for our church site I said no. We are not, you see, a Spurgeonist church; we are a Reformed Baptist church. The point is not to separate ourselves from Spurgeon, nor even to suggest that he was not one of us. Instead, I wanted clarity that we took our identity as a church from Christ as He is revealed in Scripture and, secondarily, from our confession of faith. “Reformed Baptist” is a term with a brief history…

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Calvin on Controversy

Originally posted on chantrynotes:

calvin The appearance of an image of Calvin on this Baptist blog is not meant to imply in any sense that Calvin ever was, or ever considered becoming, a Baptist.

Last week I closed my post on Samuel Renihan’s God Without Passionswith a plea to consider the blessing which may come in the midst of doctrinal controversy:

…we are accustomed to assume that doctrinal controversy is a necessary evil; is that so certain as we assume? Certainly controversy presumes the presence of error, and as such it is an indication that evil is present, but is it evil or good to contend for the faith? If, as I suspect, the answer to that question is reasonably clear, then I would add, would we not expect good to come from doctrinal controversy when it is rightly pursued…

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Theologizing in the Sandbox

Originally posted on chantrynotes:

boy No children that I know were pictured in this post.

There is a young boy in my church who has a reputation for mischief. He is a constant source of sermon illustrations, if only I were at liberty to use them. When told to listen to the preaching, he once stretched out in the middle aisle, chin propped on one hand, to get a better view. When asked in catechism class “What is sin?” he did not so much as pause from punching the boy next to him – although he answered flawlessly. He was no doubt sent here to keep his pastor from entirely losing a sense of humor.

There is also a little girl in my church who is very shy. If she chooses not to speak, then she will not speak, and that is the end of the matter. If she does speak, you had best have…

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Review of Samuel Renihan, God Without Passions

Originally posted on chantrynotes:

gwp In accordance with stated principles, I read the entire cover of this book before reviewing it.

In recent years the Reformed and Reformed Baptist worlds have seen the rise of a new and unexpected theological controversy. Many of us who cut our teeth on soteriological and ecclesiological questions may have thought that theology proper – the study of the nature of God Himself – was a settled matter in our conservative circles. Yet it is exactly here that we have recently been forced to question whether our understanding is correct.

Specifically, theologians have begun to question what is called “classical theism,” the high view of God’s perfections which is ensconced within the Reformed confessions. Two questions have been asked. First, and most significant: is classical theism consistent with the biblical revelation concerning God? And second, did classical theism arise out of the philosophy of the scholastic era or is it…

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That is, until RBAP came along…324 years later.

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