Monday, December 18, 2006

Moved to isaiah816.wordpress.com

I moved to isaiah816.wordpress.com and everything should be mostly set up soon (apologies, I couldn't help myself).

Friday, December 15, 2006

Are You Sure You Like Spurgeon?

I had been looking for this article, and I finally found it.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Why I don't want to be a Southern Baptist At Times

There are times when I don't want to be a Southern Baptist. The post I linked to above is the first in a series of 16 articles (no, I have not read the others). I think he makes some good points. But I think his main point is that we have lost the Gospel in the SBC. The latest blog entry of Dr. Tom Ascol of Founders is the first blog posting I read on this issue and is short but well worth reading.

http://www.founders.org/blog/2006/12/nathan-finn-on-what-ails-sbc.html

Please understand, this is not (necessarily) a Calvinism issue, nor should it be. This is an issue of the Gospel itself and calling sinners to redemption and transformation in Christ. Though I have serious doubts about the future of the SBC, I have strong hopes as well. We have many excellent young men resolved to live lives of obedience and faith to God, and determined to make a difference. We have many older Christian gentlemen who serve us as wise mentors and veteran soldiers in the fight of faith against the deadening effects of sin in our culture. God reserved 7,000 to His name who had not bowed the knee to Baal or kissed him (1 Kings 19:18 and Romans 11:1-5), and they were completely unknown to the greatest prophet Israel had at that time apparently. So there remains hope. But as always that hope must be centered in God and in His Son Jesus Christ.

Monday, December 11, 2006

The Baptism of Disciples Alone

Fred Malone's book "The Baptism of Disciples Alone" would be another fine book to have in a theological library (why is it that I only seem to find these books when they go out of print?). I am of the Credobaptist persuasion, though my friend ManyMarius (whose article I posted in the blog entry previous to this one) leans towards the Paedobaptist position. Needless to say, we don't agree, though I pray we can always express that disagreement in a Christian and gentlemanly manner (somehow somewhere I read a proverb, authored by someone unknown to me, that I really like which said, "Make your words sweet, because you may have to eat them.").

Edit: Perhaps the best place to start researching this issue is here: http://www.monergism.com/thethreshold/articles/topic/babtism.html

Saturday, December 09, 2006

To Reformulate Credobaptism

[Ed: email the author of this blog entry at manymarius@aim.com. I will reserve personal comments on this entry for a future blog posting.]

TO REFORMULATE CREDOBAPTISM

I am proposing that our view of baptism must be reformulated. If we say that we don't baptize infants, only people who have been able to make, and have made, a confession of Christ, then I believe we must reformulate our understanding of baptism.

It does no good to repudiate Paedobaptists because they are baptizing infants who cannot make a confession, and yet allow for the fact that people can be baptized who are not saved themselves. The Credobaptist argument is that only those elected can be baptized, yet we can't say that if we allow for the fact that we CAN, even if by accident, baptize non-elect people.

The reason, I think, is that we are using baptism to be a sign of a prior conversion. How can it be a sign of someone's already having been converted if: A) We can't know that the said person has indeed been born again-for it's an invisible work. B) Someone can lie and say they have and get baptized-yet not having been born again.

It seems to me that under these auspices a Credobaptist has no reason to argue against a Paedobaptist that is baptizing infants that can't make a confession of faith, and therefore have been born again. For if we argue that one can't know if the baby is elect, then the logical rebuttal is that the Credobaptist can never KNOW if the recipient of baptism is truly regenerate either.

So, what did baptism mean in the New Testament, and for us today? I am proposing that it must mean something more than an acquiescence to a creed! What is what I want to work out and formulate. With God's grace I can come up with something that is at least Biblically provable,and hopefully Biblically grounded. So now I set out to reformulate baptism in a way that eliminates the need for infant baptism, and allows for the baptism of only believing people.

I think that one place we must look at is the difference between the "Old Covenant" and "New Covenant." Also, we must find a way in which these two are found to be connected to the Covenant of God to Abraham to bring about "the" seed, Christ. In so doing, I want to formulate a doctrine that allows for continuity between the Old and New testaments within the Abrahamic Covenant of Election through Christ; and one that makes a distinguishing between the Old and New Covenants from the Old to the New Testaments, and the difference that Christ's ascension to his long awaited and prophesied place of Glory and rulership.

Another place we might look at is not only the beginning of God's covenant with Abraham, but also the continuity between the protoevagelion of Genesis 3:15 and the Abrahamic Covenant. This would show that Christ has always been the plan throughout the Bible, from the beginning. And therefore, our understanding of NT baptism can in some way be influenced by the fact that God has always planned to bring about the work of Christ on the earth, and that the elect were chosen in Christ before the foundation of world.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Calvinism

I'm in a Calvinism mood right now (whatever that is).

This Theopedia article on Calvinism is excellent, as is Theopedia itself in general I am sure. Also, check out this page on John Piper stuff at Monergism.com. And finally, don't miss this Spurgeon gem, "A Defense of Calvinism."

So, if you're not a Calvinist, you should be. I can't promise you that you'll be happier, but I can almost guarantee that I will like you more as a result. :) (Of course, please understand this is not a fellowship breaker between Christians, or at least should not be). Though I am completely convinced that Calvinism is true, Christianity is far larger than Calvinism by itself (a subset at best), and greater still is our Lord Jesus Christ, the author and finisher of our faith of Christianity.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

What's Wrong With This Picture?

Well, first off, it's not a picture, but a collection of verbal statements. But that was intentional. What the page actually contains is a list of important "victories" for the American Family Association (AFA) for the year 2006. At first glance, what true Christian would not immediately approve of its message? So I ask again, what's wrong with this picture? Here's a helpful hint: what's missing is truly the more important.

What message is really being communicated here?

Here is what is NOT being communicated here. There are no references to salvation anywhere on this page that I can find. So there are no genuine conversions to Christ and His Lordship mentioned anywhere on here, which should without any argument be supremely important to a Christian organization seeking real change in society. So there are no genuine changes of heart. What do we see instead? We see changes of behavior, surely, but brought about by massive organization of vocal opposition and economic pressure. At best these are hollow victories. But is it wrong to engage in these methods when seeking to make our voices heard and presence felt? No, I do not believe so. But my point is this: such changes are brought about quickly, and disappear just as quickly, because they are not based upon lasting transformations such as proclaiming the Gospel and educating those who are already Christians in the Scriptures, but in socio-economic influence and political muscle which have both proven only as strong as the number of people in your activist collective and their resolve to pursue goals of policy change for the welfare of those affected.

It is not my intention to merely be critical of the American Family Association for the sake of being critical. That is, I'm not simply out to find fault for some ulterior motive, such as making myself feel better about the condition of society I find myself in or out of some secret desire I do not actually possess to put down Christian conservatives. The good people at American Family Association and its associates are my fellow Christians whom I love; I count them as brethren in the Lord and would be honored to claim friendship with any of them. No, I simply intend this missive in the spirit of constructive criticism meant for spiritual help. Proverbs 27:6 (KJV) says, "Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful."

If anyone from AFA ever sees this, please consider these words carefully as they are intended in the spirit of "speaking the truth in love". Social change is not just a good idea. It is a must. But it only comes in a lasting fashion in the form of repentance, in turning from old dead works to living faith in Christ. Put your trust not in the wisdom of man, not in the success of political maneuvers or social and economic pressure, but in the Gospel of Jesus Christ and His sovereign power to redeem lost sinners and transform them into children of God. As Christians our message must once again be, Jesus Christ is Lord!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Sophie's World

Note to self: buy this book on philosophy sometime in the future.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

DataRat Theological Glossary

Love the name. Love the site. Someone was nice enough to inform me of its existence and I'm finally blogging about it on my theological blog.

"Paedobaptism Versus Believer's Baptism" by Hal Brunson

Though currently out of stock, this will make a fine addition to any theological library.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Debating a Paedobaptist

The following article has been thoughtfully submitted for your consideration by a friend of mine named ManyMarius (click on his name to send him email). I am posting its contents verbatim below this paragraph, without necessarily endorsing any viewpoints expressed therein. However, I do value this friend's judgment and thoughts on the matter (though I politely disagree with the paedobaptist position and hold to the credobaptist position personally).

Debating a Paedobaptist

Hello. I hope all are well today. I have been looking over and considering the pro and con infant baptism debate. I am very much inclined to agree with the reformed infant baptism side, but nothing is in stone for me yet. I do not wish to discuss why I think one is true and the other false. Instead, I would like to make a comment or two about how the debate should take place. It seems to me there are some problems when people begin to debate the topic, or any topic. I have listened to the debate by fames white, and read many papers on the pro and the con from people like: Dr. C. Matthew McMahon, Louis Burkoff, James White, etc. I have read more articles from the con position than the pro. And this is what leads to my comments here. In listening to James White, which I admit was the first time I had ever heard a formal debate, I found that he came at the debate wrong. I'm not saying his ideas are invalid, just that he didn't do anything to disprove the infant baptist's view. I want to say this: If you are gonna debate someone else's viewpoint; know it, and disprove it on it's terms. If I come to you and say: "I don't agree with credo baptism.", I had better come up with refutation based on why YOU believe in creedo baptism, not why I believe in infant baptism.
Likewise, if someone comes up to me and tells me: "infant baptism is wrong", that person had better know why I believe it, and show me how, based on my own suppositions, they are wrong. If you come to me with a bunch of scriptures that are your own proof texts, and use that as your refutation, all I have to do is show you mine. This will do nothing more than prove to me I'm right, and prove to yourself that you're right. However, if the person who wants to debate me can start at the point of my suppositions, and debunk THEM, rather than tell me why he believes he is right, then that person may very well change my mind. Remember, both sides believe in the New Testament as authoritative. So my point is this: Don't say someone is wrong because of your assumed right, but prove him wrong on his own rightness.