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Thoughts on the 4th Commandment (Keeping the Sabbath Holy)

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Chantry SabbathIn his book, Call the Sabbath a Delight, Walter Chantry makes a simple statement that should go without saying, but actually serves as a much-needed and timely reminder in our day:

“Whether or not people keep the Sabbath holy is not an incidental or insignificant matter.” (p.12)

How do we know this to be true? Simply because it is included in the 10 commandments! (It is in God’s top 10, so to speak.) The 10 commandments contain a summary of God’s moral law (Westminster Shorter Catechism Q.41), so remembering the Sabbath to keep it holy is still just as much our moral duty before God as any of the other nine commandments. And the fact that the 4th commandment is located in the first table of the law (as commandments 1-4 are often referred to) means that it has to do particularly with love for God. In other words, remembering the Sabbath to keep…

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Represent!

Working out Salvation with Fear and Trembling

Two recent events have made me think a bit about how we represent our ideals or our beliefs or ultimately our God in the world around us.

Ryan Lochte’s recent fabrication of a robbery while in Rio for the Olympics but a black mark not only on his corporate sponsors (many of which have dropped supporting him) but on the nation he represents; the United States of America. A certain decorum and behavior is expected of America’s athletes. So, when a late night party with great consumption of alcohol leads you to accuse your host nation of robbery, you don’t just make yourself look bad, you make your home nation of America look bad. 

Closer to home for us Christians, Tony Perkins, director of the Family Research Council, presumed to speak for God in the past that natural disaster in the US was judgment of God for our acceptance of…

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Eternal Subordination of the Son and CBMW

A Daughter of the Reformation

Continuing the series on books and resources where ESS/EFS/ERAS appear, this article focuses on the Council for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW). In a recent article, CBMW’s new president, Denny Burk, attempts to distance himself and CBMW from the Trinity debate. While I appreciate the effort, the evidence shows that ESS/EFS/ERAS has been embraced and taught by many who represent CBMW from the beginning. To date there has been no statement by CBMW to reject ESS/EFS/ERAS.

John Piper and Wayne Grudem’s Recovering Biblical  Manhood and Womanhood was published in 1991 for CBMW as a collection of essays explaining their view of biblical manhood and womanhood. ESS appears in a couple of essays.

In Raymond Ortlund’s essay “Male-Female Equality and Male Headship Genesis 1-3,” he gives a more orthodox explanation of authority and submission in the Trinity, but the focus is still there:

After all, God exists as one Godhead…

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Nehemiah Coxe: Cordwainer and Confession-maker

Particular Voices

If you’d like to know a little more about Nehemiah Coxe and the probability of his involvement in the editing of the 1677 confession, the following data will be of interest to you.
The first two entries are from Thomas Pottenger, an English Baptist minister, published in the May, 1845 edition of “The Church.”

The Church, Thomas Pottinger, pdf pg 182

The Church, Thomas Pottinger, pdf pg 182 (2)

Pottenger is almost certainly reproducing the earlier work (1823) of Joseph Ivimey who, speaking of Nehemiah Coxe and his co-pastor William Collins, said:

Joseph Ivimey, Vol. III, 332

For curious readers, the background image of this blog is the Petty France church book opened to the page containing that entry.

With no other viable theory as to the identity of the editor(s) of the confession, this material provides a “strong possibility” that Coxe and Collins were indeed the co-editors of the confession. Comparison of the confession with the works of Coxe as well as Collins’ relation to the catechism bolster this…

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Assertions Are Not Arguments

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lindblad Pastor Stefan Lindblad

A Guest Post from Stefan Lindblad*

An assertion is not an argument. Obvious, right? Sadly, much of the current internet imbroglio over the doctrine of the Trinity and the novel doctrine of the eternal functional subordination of the Son (henceforth EFS, and oh yes it is novel!) belies the obviousness of this basic distinction.

I realize this is a broad generalization, but let’s be honest: the battle lines have been drawn largely on twitter, a medium that is necessarily incapable of providing the space requisite for substantial analysis and argumentation. The medium is the message; and this medium provides the platform for a lot of messengers, many of them ready to assert rather than analyze and argue (biblically, theologically, and logically, of course). There is plenty of arguing; much less argumentation. But I digress.

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Confessional Orthodoxy and Evangelical Union

Particular Voices

Anon, A Brief History of Presbytery

Evangelicalism has often been criticized for its lack of creeds and confessions. Yet there has been a consistent assumption, and perhaps assertion, that since evangelicals share a common subjective commitment to the Bible they must share a common commitment to the objective deposit of doctrine and the pattern of sound words in the Bible.

In the recent controversy relating to the triunity of God, one wing of evangelicalism is now holding another wing doctrinally accountable, in brotherly love. But it is becoming clear that the common doctrinal foundation that was assumed to be shared, is not in fact shared. As a result, those being held accountable resent and oppose the accountability as an imposition of a foreign standard to which they have made no commitment. But the standard by which they are being measured is the faith of the church throughout the ages, and this on the doctrine of God…

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The Trinity-Subordinationism Debate and the Opportunity Before Us

opportunitiesIn an insightful recent post, Christopher Cleveland explains “Why the Trinitarian Controversy Was Inevitable.” Cleveland’s diagnosis is perceptive, and I would like to extend it somewhat further and also suggest a way forward in terms of the opportunities our situation presents.

Cleveland points to the neglect, and in some quarters the rejection, of properly theological work which lasted decades. This neglect was fueled by distrust of the categories and doctrines of traditional dogmatics, which more and more frequently were run through the filter of modern reconstructive (in fact destructive) criticism. No doctrine emerged from the filter unscathed; everything was reconsidered and the commitments belonging to a new and better “orthodoxy” was up for grabs.

In reaction to these developments within liberalism, conservatives predictably and importantly pushed hard on the doctrine of Scripture itself. Alongside an arguably antinomian and conversion-type model of “salvation by grace,” evangelicalism became, in essence, a position taken on the…

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The Church Needs More Ephesian Children

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Ten_commandments_monument_destroyed_in_O_2164660000_9321496_ver1.0_640_480The following is a republished post from my old Blogger blog.

One of the more controversial positions of Confessional Reformed churches is our conviction that the Ten Commandments ought to be preached as an ethical code for Christians to follow.

It seems strange that there would be any contention on this point; ours has been the standard Christian understanding of the law for centuries. However, on one extreme fringe of Christianity are those who argue that it is contrary to the gospel to preach any ethical standard. Nearer to the center is a great mass of Evangelicals trained by the dispensational hermeneutic to reject robotically any ethical standard found in the Old Testament. Even among non-dispensational Calvinists a large number of football fans may be found who will allow the dispensational hermeneutic to reclassify the Ten Commandments if it will allow them to leave church early to catch the Packers…

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The Trinitarian Controversy and the Problem of Shallow Roots

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Norway This isn’t my Norway Maple. (How did I come on vacation without a picture?) But look how majestic that tree is!

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.

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Remembering June 7, 1966

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