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John_C
John_C
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Recent Posts
A study of the Heidelberg Catechism
by Pilgrim. Wed May 23, 2018 6:53 AM
No Water Baptism!
by Tina. Fri May 18, 2018 3:37 PM
RC Sproul Explaining Classical Apologetics
by Pilgrim. Mon May 14, 2018 4:25 PM
Second-Degree Separation
by Pilgrim. Wed May 09, 2018 11:15 AM
Plurality of Elders
by Tom. Tue May 08, 2018 12:14 AM
Wed May 16, 2018 5:10 PM No Water Baptism! [by Tina]
I read something today that I am not familiar with, I was wondering if there is someone who could enlighten me, please?
The following is a comment by a young woman in response to water baptism. As I read it she is saying water baptism is no longer needed!

'Acts 10:47 prohibits it, reading clearly in the original texts, 'Not the water, forbid.'

In ancient Israel, they had something called proselyte baptism if someone wanted to convert to Judaism. They had to submit to three ordinances: circumcision, water baptism, and offering two turtledoves, the prescribed offering for a newborn babe in Israel. The water baptism was called the "new birth" and the person was said to be born anew in the kingdom of God. He was then said to be a new creature or a new man upon the completion of these three rituals. Thus, he was required to turn from his old man and repent, denying self.

John 3:3,5+6 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.

The man born of flesh inherits a fleshly kingdom (physical Israel) but a man born of the spirit inherits a spiritual kingdom (spiritual Israel).

A man is baptized by the one true baptism (Mt. 3:11, Gal. 3:27) Water is not the one true baptism, which could only get a man into literal Israel.

Circumcision is spiritual (Col. 2:11, Dt. 10:16), sacrifice is spiritual (Romans 12:1), and baptism is spiritual (Acts 1:5-8).

Ephesians 4:5 is clear that there is one baptism... Now is that fire or water'?
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Mon May 14, 2018 5:16 AM RC Sproul Explaining Classical Apologetics [by Tom]
RC Sproul Explaining Classical Apologetics
In the following link RC Sproul gives about a 24 minute video on why he favours Classical Apologetics over both Evidential and Presuppositional Apologetics.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a4xyK1t6eyQ

After watching the video, here are some of my reflections. I would not mind some feedback on this.

I believe Sproul explained quite well the difference between Evidential Apologetics and Classical Apologetics. Mainly that Evidential Apologetics it seeks to give a reasonable defence of the Christian faith. Where-as Classical Apologetics doesn’t just seek to give a reasonable defence of the faith. It seeks to give a 100% reasoned defence of the Christian faith, so the person (unlike Evidential Apologetics) is left with no excuse for not believing.
In Sproul’s defence of Classical Apologetics he sounds like he is in agreement with the Presuppositional Apologetics in the fact that as Christians we must presuppose the existence of God. Yet, he does not believe this is a good way to prove the existence of the biblical God to non-Christians. He believes the idea of arguing from autonomy that Presuppositionalists accuse Classicalists of is flawed because all reasoning starts with being made aware of their own thoughts; not God or anyone else’s. He goes onto say that it is impossible to start with any thought that does not come from self; then after that they soon discover they are not autonomous at all. This is what the Classical position tries to show, if you reason the correct way. "God is first in the order of being; but not first in the order of knowing."
My first thoughts are to admit that the whole issue is difficult to wrap my head around. I also agree with RC Sproul that it is an in-house debate among the Reformed Community. I know many in the Reformed community that are not in the Presuppositional camp.
However, the bottom line to me is what apologetic best agrees with Scripture? On that, I do not see any example in Scripture of anyone using the Classical approach as RC Sproul describes. Yet, unless I am missing something, even in Paul’s Mars Hill address he just presupposes God and presents truth in the best way the situation showed itself. I also see in Romans chapter one the fact that the reason people do not believe is because they suppress the truth in unrighteousness and therefore are trying to be autonomous. Back to what Sproul says; he doesn’t deny they suppress the truth in unrighteousness; he just seems to believe that a well formed defence can show people they are not autonomous and therefore are suppressing the truth in unrighteousness.
Examining this, if I understand what Sproul is saying he seems (I don’t want to assume too much) to believe that sound reasoning (rather than Scripture) is sufficient to do this. After all he did explain that Classical as opposed to Evidentialist Apologetics doesn’t just seek for reasonable defence; which gives a very small likelihood of the Christian faith being wrong. It seeks to give 100% sound reasoning for the Christian faith, so they are without excuse. Therefore, rather than saying God said it so it must be true, we must prove it first.
First of all, am I even capable of showing anyone what Classical Apologetics tries to do? Doesn’t Scripture say that the “Gospel is the power of God…”?
Am I missing something?
Tom
4 194 Read More
Wed May 09, 2018 1:53 PM Second-Degree Separation [by John_C]
How does a church practice 'second-degree separation'?

I was reading an article by Sinclair Ferguson, and he made mention of running into some Christians who practiced 'second-degree separation'. He never did explained the practice, so what is it? I had never heard of it before.
1 193 Read More
Mon May 07, 2018 5:05 PM Plurality of Elders [by Tom]
What advice if any would you give to a pastor who believes in a plurality of elders and believes that the situation he finds himself in as the only elder is unhealthy.
His delemna is although he has been trying to identify and disciple potential elders in the body to become elders. After several years of doing so, nobody is ready for such a responsibility.
A few years ago, he thought he found one; but unfortunately his trying to push the man to become ready ended up with the man and his family leaving the Church with hard feelings. This is something the pastor admitted he was most responsible for; because he started to become impatient with him.
He is fairly happy with the direction the Church is going otherwise.

Tom
4 311 Read More
Tue May 01, 2018 10:43 AM "The Matter of Christ's Sermon (on the Mount) - William Perkins [by Pilgrim]
Quote
our Savior Christ had now preached two years among the people, and thereby had won many to become His disciples, and among the rest, His twelve apostles, to all whom He promised happiness and life everlasting, if they would continue in the faith and obedience of His Word. Now though they believed in Him, yet they still remained in the same state for outward things, and became more subject to outward miseries than before, so as if they judged of happiness by their present outward estate, they might easily suspect the truth of Christ’s doctrine, and think He had deceived them, because He promised them happiness, and yet for outward things their case was far worse than before they knew Him. This our Savior Christ considering does here go about to remove this false conceit out of their minds.

And for this purpose He delivers this doctrine unto them, in the first general head of His sermon: that true happiness before God is ever joined, yea covered many times, with the cross in this world. Whereby He strikes at the root of their carnal conceit, who placed true happiness in outward things, and looked for outward peace and prosperity upon the receiving of the gospel.

William Perkins (1558–1602), one of the early English Puritans is the author of this month's Article of the Month. The text from which he writes, yes a biblical text vs. pontificating his own personal opinion as is the manner of some, is Matthew 5:3-12 and specifically focusing upon the words of Christ in verse 3 "Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." Providentially, this article is a marvelous companion and complement to the discussion we are having on the Heidelberg Catechism, Lord's Day 2 concerning the believer's comfort. Mr. Perkins first distinguishes between the materially poor and the spiritually poor, although there is sometimes a correlation between the two. He defines what it is to be "poor in spirit", again not from his own opinion but by referencing what Scripture says:

Quote
What is meant by “poor in spirit” is plainly expounded in Isaiah 66:2 where the Lord says, “I will look to him that is poor, and of a contrite spirit, and that trembleth at my words.” Christ’s meaning then is this: that those poor are blessed, who by means of their distress, through want of outward comforts, are brought to see their sins and their miseries thereby, so as finding no goodness in their hearts, they despair in themselves, and fly wholly to the mercy of God in Christ for grace and comfort, as Lazarus did to Dives’ gates for outward release.

After explaining what it is to be poor and who they are who are poor, he expounds on what it is to be blessed. In this part of his whole writing on the Sermon on the Mount, he looks at "blessed" from the perspective of it being "happiness". I think it is no less true and important to see the other perspective of how "blessed" is to be understood and that being "under God's favor"; the dispensation of God's infinite love and grace from which all blessings flow.

Perkins writes from a pastoral heart to be sure and thus his writings are and should be much enjoyed by many. If this is your first exposure to William Perkins then I do hope it will motivate you to seek out more of his writings which are plentiful.

You can read this month's article now by clicking here: The Matter of Christ's Sermon.

And, for later reading along with all past Article of the Month articles, you can visit the Article of the Month Archive.

Comments and/or questions about this article can and should be made in either the Theology forum or Open forum, whichever is more appropriate. grin

In His service and grace,
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