Archives For Theology

packerIf we recognize the covenantal character of the sacrament of Baptism, and follow the teaching of Articles 25 and 27, and go in principle with the first of view of baptismal regeneration that was set out above, we shall see the rite as given by God to focus and confirm faith in Jesus Christ and the gospel, and in the reality of the new covenant that binds God and ourselves to each other. We shall see Baptism as given to symbolize and pictorialize God’s bestowal of the key 7 promised blessings of the gospel (union with Christ in resurrection life in his body, the church; forgiveness of sins, through the cross; and adoption as God’s sons and heirs; as Article 27 states); and to assure believers that these blessings are theirs now. But then, what was said earlier about infant Baptism might seem to need revisiting. Can it really be appropriate, after all, to baptize babies who are not yet capable of faith, and to pray for them as regenerate persons once they have been baptized, as has been standard Anglican practice historically?

Read it all.

 

John 7:37-39, “In the last day, that great [day] of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive.”

(c) David Martin; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

Nothing has rendered the cross of Christ of less effect; nothing has been a greater stumbling-block and rock of offense to weak minds, that a supposition, now current among us, that most of what is contained in the gospel of Jesus Christ, was designed only for our Lord’s first and immediate followers, and consequently calculated but for one or two hundred years. Accordingly, many now read the life, sufferings, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, in the same manner as Caesar’s Commentaries, or the Conquests of Alexander are read: as things rather intended to afford matter for speculation, than to be acted over again in and by us.

As this is true of the doctrines of the gospel in general, so it is of the operation of God’s Spirit upon the hearts of believers in particular; for we no sooner mention the necessity of our receiving the Holy Ghost in these last days, as well as formerly, but we are looked upon by some, as enthusiasts and madmen; and by others, represented as willfully deceiving the people, and undermining the established constitution of the church.

Judge ye then, whether it is not high time for the true ministers of Jesus, who have been made partakers of this heavenly gift, to lift up their voices like a trumpet; and if they would not have those souls perish, for which the Lord Jesus has shed his precious blood, to declare, with all boldness, that the Holy Spirit is the common privilege and portion of all believers in all ages; and that we as well as the first Christians, must receive the Holy Ghost, before we can be truly called the children of God.

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edwardsGod exercises His sovereignty in the eternal salvation of men.

He not only is sovereign, and has a sovereign right to dispose and order in that affair; and He not only might proceed in a sovereign way, if He would, and nobody could charge him with exceeding His right; but He actually does so; he exercises the right which He has. In the following discourse, I propose to show,

I. What is God’s sovereignty.
II. What God’s sovereignty in the salvation of men implies.
III. That God actually doth exercise his sovereignty in this matter.
IV. The reasons for this exercise.

Read it all.

jc_ryle“A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup” (1 Corinthians 11.28)

The words which form the tittle of this paper refer to the subject of vast importance. That subject is the Lord’s Supper.

Perhaps no part of the Christian religion is so thoroughly misunderstood as the Lord’s Supper. On no point have there been so many disputes, strifes, and controversies for almost 1800 years. On no point have mistakes done so much harm. The very ordinance which was meant for our peace and profit has
become the cause of discord and the occasion of sin. These things ought not to be!

I make no excuse for including the Lord’s Supper among the leading points of “practical” Christianity. I firmly believe that ignorant views or false doctrine about this ordinance lie at the root of some of the present divisions of professing Christians. Some neglect it altogether; some completely misunderstand it; some exalt it to a position it was never meant to occupy, and turn it into an idol. If I can throw a little light on it, and clear up the doubts in some minds, I will feel very thankful. It is hopeless, I fear, to expect that the controversy about the Lord’s Supper will ever be finally closed until the Lord comes. But it is not too much to hope that the fog and mystery and obscurity with which it is surrounded in some minds, may be cleared away by plain Bible truth.

In examining the Lord’s Supper I will be content with asking four practical questions, and offering answers to them.

I. Why was the Lord’s Supper ordained?

II. Who ought to go to the Table and be communicants?

III. What may communicants expect from the Lord’s Supper?

IV. Why do many so-called Christians (church-going unbelievers) never go to
the Lord’s Table?

I think it will be impossible to handle these four questions fairly, honestly, and impartially, without seeing the subject of this paper more clearly, and getting some distinct and practical ideas about some leading errors of our day.

Read it all.

A helpful article from Roger Olson on the Word of Faith / Prosperity Gospel world.

Recently I saw a billboard a few blocks from my house on a major thoroughfare. It says “Never sick, always well; never poor, always rich–Guaranteed!” (or something like that–it’s since been removed). It cited a web site so I went there and found that a new Word-Faith church was starting up in a store front near my home. Over the past 25 years this movement has exploded in America and around the world.

The essence of the movement is this: God promises that if you have positive faith and truly believe AND speak that faith with your mouth in positive affirmations (e.g., “God is my source of healing and prosperity; I am well and rich”) God is obligated to heal you and give you financial blessings beyond your wildest dreams. It isn’t always stated that baldly, but that’s the essence of it–especially as it is HEARD by its many adherents. There are, of course, degrees of it. Oral Roberts’ version was called “Seed Faith.” It was mild compared to some of the chapel speakers’ messages. But the essential message is that God will give you abundance, meaning well-being in every sense, if you exercise faith in him for that abundance by speaking it into existence.

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From Sam Storms (our New Wine 2016 speaker):

In 2002, the synod of the Anglican Diocese of New Westminster

authorized its bishop to produce a service for blessing same-sex unions, to be used in any parish of the diocese that requests it. A number of synod members walked out to protest the decision. They declared themselves out of communion with the bishop and the synod, and they appealed to the Archbishop of Canterbury and other Anglican primates and bishops for help.

Packer was one of those who walked out.

When asked why he walked out, he answered, “Because this decision, taken in its context, falsifies the gospel of Christ, abandons the authority of Scripture, jeopardizes the salvation of fellow human beings, and betrays the church in its God-appointed role as the bastion and bulwark of divine truth.” In other words, it was Packer’s confidence in the functional, life-directing authority of Scripture that led to this decision.

“My primary authority,” wrote Packer, “is a Bible writer named Paul. For many decades now, I have asked myself at every turn of my theological road: Would Paul be with me in this? What would he say if he were in my shoes? I have never dared to offer a view on anything that I did not have good reason to think he would endorse.”

Here we see that, for Packer, affirming biblical authority is meant not merely to provoke a debate but to give ethical direction to life. Regardless of what personal preferences one might have, irrespective of the cultural trends in play at the time, the Bible is the ethical standard by which Christians such as Packer judge their responsibility.

What’s Really at Stake

Packer then proceeds to exegete Paul’s thought in 1 Corinthians 6:9–11 as justification for his decision to lodge this protest. There are only two ways in which we might miss Paul’s point and his directives. One is to embrace an artificial interpretation of the text in which Paul is conceived as speaking of something other than same-sex union.

The second approach, notes Packer, “is to let experience judge the Bible.” Experience suggests that homosexual behavior is fulfilling to some; therefore, the Bible’s prohibition of it is wrong. But the appropriate response is that “the Bible is meant to judge our experience rather than the other way around,” and “feelings of sexual arousal and attraction, generating a sense of huge significance and need for release in action as they do, cannot be trusted as either a path to wise living or a guide to biblical interpretation.”

What is at stake in such a debate is the nature of the Bible itself. There are, notes Packer, fundamentally two positions that challenge each other . . .

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Read it here.

Worth the read:

For forty days, the sign out front has read, “Christ is risen. Alleluia!” Now it’s time to change it, and the other day I was wondering if there was something “Ascensiony” to put there. My first fleeting thought turned out to be inappropriate: “Christ is gone. Alleluia!”

Yet isn’t that the way we treat the Ascension? Christ is gone, so we can live as we please.

Christ is gone, and so His Word can be ignored.

Christ is gone, and we must make our own way.

Christ is gone, but He has left us rules. -OR- Christ is gone, but He taught us to throw away all rules.

But then also, Christ is gone, and so we have no comfort. Christ is gone, and we are left with ourselves – our brokenness, our misery, our failures. Christ is gone, and we have replaced him with constitutions and bylaws, synods and programs, social causes and feel-good music. Yet it all fails, and we are left empty, and finally, alone.

And there is something horrible about being alone . . . 

Read the rest.

Iain-photoA thoughtful article – and well worth the read – from The Rev’d Iain Boyd.  Iain is an old friend – personally and of St. Andrew’s.  I met him while he was a cadet at the Citadel and I’ve enjoyed watching him go from college to seminary to parish leadership.  Iain is a priest in the Diocese of South Carolina where he serves as the rector at Trinity, Myrtle Beach – and he is one of the finest men I know.  

“Are they even Anglican?” “We aren’t Baptists, we’re Episcopalians.” “He’s just a Presbyterian with robes on.” As a Reformation Anglican, you would think I would get used to hearing these kinds of statements. I have to admit, even after over a decade of active leadership in Anglican and Episcopal ministries, it still surprises me when I hear people articulate a monolithic understanding of what Anglicanism is. For this reason, it’s important that we ask the question “What does it mean to be authentically Anglican?” While this question seems straightforward at first, through Anglicanism’s 450 plus years some very different answers have been offered. This series of posts will examine some of the main ways Anglicans have identified themselves through the years.

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An excellent offering from Chris Rosebrough at Pirate Christian Radio.

Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, the public bulletin board of his day. In like manner, we post these 95 theses on the door of the internet. Like the original theses, these are debatable, for we believe that it is through vigorous debate that the spirits are tested and truth is revealed.

In publishing these theses, we do not intend to foment division, but to expose those who are creating division within the body of Christ. We invite all who love the Gospel of Jesus Christ to engage in this debate. We do so in the spirit of the great Reformer, Martin Luther, as we implore the mercies of God upon His Church, for the sake of Jesus Christ, the Lord of the Church and shepherd of our souls. 

Read through them here.

What do you think?