What I Read Online – 10/22/2013 (a.m.)

22 Oct
    • I come as a Christian theologian to speak explicitly and respectfully as a Christian—a Christian who defines Christianity only within the historic creeds and confessions of the Christian church and who comes as one committed to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to the ancient and eternal Trinitarian faith of the Christian church. I have not come as less, and you know whom you have invited. I come knowing who you are—to an institution that stands as the most powerful intellectual center of the Latter-Day Saints, the most visible academic institution of Mormonism. You know who I am and what I believe. I know who you are and what you believe. It has been my great privilege to know friendship and share conversation with leaders of the LDS church, such as Elder Tom Perry, Elder Quentin Cook, and Elder Todd Christofferson. I am thankful for the collegiality extended by President Cecil Samuelson at this great university. We do not enjoy such friendship and constructive conversation in spite of our theological differences, but in light of them. This does not eliminate the possibility of conversation. To the contrary, this kind of convictional difference at the deepest level makes for the most important kind of conversation. This is why I am so thankful for your gracious invitation.
    • In the midst of today’s revived interest in Calvinism, prospective seminarians would salivate at the opportunity to study under the Westminster faculty of the early 1960s.  Van Til taught apologetics.  Ned Stonehouse and for a time Leon Morris taught the New Testament, while E.J. Young and a young Meredith Kline handled the Old.  Edmund Clowney taught homiletics.  And of course systematic theology was the domain of John Murray.  Yet Atwell and others scoured the country looking for students willing to study under these men – and at no cost; Westminster did not yet need to charge tuition.
    • Chantry found himself soon among a group of Baptist students – most notably Welshman Geoffrey Thomas.
    • By the mid-1960s Banner of Truth was curious about Carlisle, an otherwise unheard-of town which was buying more Banner books than the rest of North America.  Contact was made, and in time Banner made Puritan its exclusive distributer for North America.  Reisinger became Banner’s first American trustee, and in 1973 Puritan was absorbed into Banner of Truth, with James Eshelman, a member of Grace Baptist, becoming its first North American manager.
    • First, they had observed the nature of genuine confessionalism. 
    • Second, they had seen that strict confessionalism does not spell the end of evangelistic fervor.
    • Third, they had learned that fellowship across denominational lines is not threatened by confessionalism.
    • We are mistaken if ever we equate gospel friendship with ecclesiastical alignment.  The idea that he who disagrees with me is outside the kingdom of God is the legacy of fundamentalism, not of confessionalism.  The confessional Baptists and Presbyterians of this era shared a broad catholicity of spirit within the gospel.  They worshiped together, studied together, prayed together, and published books together.  However, that catholicity did not mean that the lines of ecclesiastical demarcation were erased.
    • And fourth, they had rejected the extreme congregationalism of American Fundamentalism.
    • By no means, then, had the Reformed Baptists in Carlisle become closet Presbyterians.  Their commitment to Baptist ecclesiology was clear.  However, they understood that historic Baptist independency was not to be understood through the prism of fundamentalism.  Rather, they had begun the quest for a confessional association.
    • Nevertheless, by the end of the 1950s, a remarkable transformation had taken place.  In 1958 the decision was made to consciously adopt Baptist polity and to change the name of the congregation from Grace Chapel to Grace Baptist Church.  Early the following year the church formally adopted the Second London Confession.
    • With the adoption of the 1689 Confession in Carlisle, the modern American Reformed Baptist movement had been launched, but it was not born without a struggle.
    • A biblically Reformed understanding of doctrine is approached through a series of difficult and humbling transitions.  We would do well to remember that those who made this journey before us did so at great cost
    • Particularly in the early stages of confessionalism it is common for men to express appreciation for a confession without knowing its full implications.  Confusion then follows as different minds interpret the confessional data differently. 
    • The best defense against the shifting sands of doctrinal change has always been a robust confessionalism. 
    • There is a deep-seated and virtually ineradicable sense in every person that suffering and evil are not “normal.”
    • The reason, then, that there is so much suffering and evil in the world is because there is so much transgression of God’s holiness in the world.
    • The second thing that we should remember, and help others to see, is that the appropriate response to suffering and to evil is repulsion.
    • God has not stood idly by as His creation groans, as we groan, as the Spirit groans in intercession. But He suffered, He died.
    • Groaning is the proper response to suffering and evil. It is horrendous, it is abnormal, it is an affront to the holy glory of God. It is so despicable we can lose words to describe it. So, with creation, we groan. But it was only in the groaning of the Son that the groaning will one day cease. There can be no other adequate response to our groaning. There can be no higher, no more mysterious, no more transcendent response than this: that the Son of God groaned as the Father forsook Him, and spared Him not, that the Father would spare us the groaning of being eternally forsaken by Him. The problem of evil is the glorious groan of the gospel. Outside of that gospel, nothing remains but the prospect of groaning eternally.
    • Secondly, Desiring God suffers from the non-confessionalism of the entire “New Calvinist” movement.  Where there is no established doctrinal standard beyond a one-page recitation of orthodoxy, there can be no consistency from one generation to the next.  Today’s leaders may espouse a mild charismaticism joined with Reformed literature and ethos, but today’s leaders must retire from the scene, and when they do, who can say what is coming?  This is precisely why Reformed churches have always been confessional.  When pastors are bound by confessional oath to uphold such statements as “The Holy Scripture is the only sufficient, certain, and infallible rule of all saving knowledge, faith, and obedience…” (Second London Confession, i:1) each generation has a solid defense against the encroaching fads of its day.
    • Dagg recognizes that too many Christians ignore the sufficiency of Scripture in ecclesiology.
    • The idea of the universal church receives extended discussion through Dagg’s Baptist lenses (100-143). All believers “do not meet in one assembly on earth, [yet] they belong to the assembly above, and are on their way to join it” (118). Local church membership is appropriate because believers thereby reflect their spiritual membership in the universal church (121).
    • The fourth mark of the effective personal evangelist is consistency.

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

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Posted by on 22/10/2013 in Current Issues


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