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Category Archive for: ‘Theology’

The Circumcision of Christ (Col 2)

Colossians 2

For I want you to know how great a struggle I have for you and for those at Laodicea and for all who have not seen me face to face, that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. I say this in order that no one may delude you with plausible arguments. For though I am absent in body, yet I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good order and the firmness of your faith in Christ.…

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Christian Liberty and Liberty of Conscience

From a teaching series on Worship, this lesson explored the notions of Sphere Sovereignty and the limits of authority that God has placed upon certain institutions. It then explored the notion of Liberty of Conscience and how it affects our understanding of corporate Worship.

The lesson notes can be downloaded here: Christian Liberty and Liberty of Conscience

Westminster Confession of Faith, Chapter XX
Of Christian Liberty, and Liberty of Conscience

I. The liberty which Christ hath purchased for believers under the gospel consists in their freedom from the guilt of sin, the condemning wrath of God, the curse of the moral law;[1] and, in their being delivered from this present evil world, bondage to Satan, and dominion of sin;[2] from the evil of afflictions, the sting of death, the victory of the grave, and everlasting damnation;[3] as also, in their free access to God,[4] and their yielding obedience unto him, not out of slavish fear, but a childlike love and willing mind.[5] All which were common also to believers under the law.[6] But, under the new testament, the liberty of Christians is further enlarged, in their freedom from the yoke of the ceremonial law, to which the Jewish church was subjected;[7] and in greater boldness of access to the throne of grace,[8] and in fuller communications of the free Spirit of God, than believers under the law did ordinarily partake of.[9]

1.…

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Who Deceives Whom with Baptism?

A discussion recently ensued when a Baptist brother claimed the following:

Another point I want to make is that every parent eveywhere is responsible for raising their children up in the LORD. It matters not if they are regenerate or not. We are all going to be held accountable for how we all discipled our children. It doesn’t take some kind of doctrinal Covenant inclusion to do this. In fact I think it is rather deceptive to teach a child they are in a New Covenant relationship with God when they may be strangers to the covenant. It neglects the nature of what the new Covenant is. A Covenant made based upon the forgiveness of sin and knowing the Lord. Not like the one that the early church fathers could break.

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Why the Regulative Principle of Worship?

The Regulative Principle of Worship (RPW) simply defined is this: Whatever God has not specifically commanded in worship is forbidden.

The Old Testament is full of either implicit or explicit condemnation of Judah and the Israelites on the basis of false worship. It is the fundamental reason for their downfall. In fact, if you read the 1st Chapter of Romans you can see that man either worships God as He is and is thankful to Him as Creator or he turns to idolatry. Idolatry leads to a “giving over” to folly, which, in turn, leads to depraved actions – a downward spiral of unrighteousness. But it all begins with false worship.

To ask “Where has God told us not to worship Him except as He has commanded?” Try Exodus and Leviticus for starters.…

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On Douglas Wilson and Covenant Children

In a discussion about Covenant Children, Rev. Winzer wrote:

Believing parents are given a prime opportunity to be the means of their children’s conversion. Children of believers are more culpable for their unbelief because they have sinned against means. Believing parents become culpable for their children’s unbelief if they do not provide the means for their children’s repentance.

Concise and elegant as usual.

As critical as I’ve been of Wilson, it is not because I am unfamiliar with his work on the Christian family. I have read a number of his works, even used portions for studies on marriage and child-rearing. It is not all bad and there is some practical wisdom found therein.

Even before I thought Wilson was going in the wrong direction theologically, I would have warned a person to read him with a grain of salt and not completely drink the Koolaid in his writings.…

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The Gospel and the Sacraments Direct our Faith to the Same Object

I do so appreciate the opportunity to interact with Rev. Winzer on the Puritanboard. I learned long ago not to bristle when he challenges me on a statment I make. He challenged me today on my use of some sloppy terminology with respect to the sacraments and caused me to delve back into the Confession and the Heidelberg to determine the meaning of the Sacraments.

From Rev. Winzer:

Rich, thus far we have the gospel indiscriminately preached to all, whilst sacraments are administered to those in the visible church. We also have faith in the gospel essential to salvation whilst sacramental participation is not essential to salvation. The third and final point I am fairly sure you will concur with is that the gospel offers salvation as a present need, whereas sacraments are administered on the basis that salvation is a reality.

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The Children of Israel: Who Are They?

The Children of Israel

Exodus 3:10

Come, I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring my people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.


Notice that the whole of God’s people was that of Jacob’s Children (Children of Israel). At the end of chapter 2 we read, ““¦and God remembered his covenant he made with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.“ We know that Jacob’s name was changed to Israel. Thus, we conclude, according to the precedent set so far in Scripture, that God is dealing with the Hebrew people covenantally. It is interesting to note that God doesn’t make a distinction bewteen the righteous children of Jacob and the unrighteous children. Rather, he refers to all of Jacob’s descendants.

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Barlow Responds to my Post – My Response

Mr. Barlow was kind enough to respond to my article. His response was on his comment section of his blog but I wanted to include it here for full disclosure:

Rich,

Thanks for taking the time to interact with the discussion. Sorry for the rude remarks directed your way by some here. You characterized my critique this way:

“Pastor Phillips wants to try and convict Pastor Wilkins for not being a strict subscriptionist to only ONE confessional use of the terms election and perseverance. Pastor Wilkins does not deny election or perseverance in the way that the WCF use them and wholeheartedly agrees with them BUT merely denotes that the terms are used in a broader sense.”

That’s close, but not exactly what I hoped to have said in my paper.

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Critics of the Critics of the Federal Vision are So Unfair!

I recently read a blog entry at Barlow Farms: A Response to Richard Phillips’s Comments, Part One.

In the words of Mubatu from Zoolander: “I feel like I’m taking crazy pills!”

If we ever hope to understand each other then I want to make sure I break down what I believe Pastor Phillips clearly articulated because it is my estimation that this “response” doesn’t even enter into the same neighborhood as the criticism. I ask those who have read both to make sure I’m not stating this improperly.

Here is the substance of the response from Barlow (I’m summarizing):

Pastor Phillips wants to try and convict Pastor Wilkins for not being a strict subscriptionist to only ONE confessional use of the terms election and perseverance.…

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An Open Letter to the Federal Vision

I’ve decided to post this here to formulate more clearly a thought that has been slowly developing over time given the controversy.

I readily admit that I have dear friends who are sympathetic to the Federal Vision and take great umbrage, at times, that I have criticized those who are most visible in the movement.

I was reading the comments on Dr. Clarks blog post here.

The consistent refrain from Pastor Wilson and others who defend him is this: Critics of the FV are slanderous. The FV believes in all the right Reformed stuff, we’re told. I have to admit that I become concerned that some might be guilty of mischaracterization. I wonder, after almost 5 years, why nobody can get it right!…

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