Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Church councils

A combined paragraph of my thoughts, the writing of James Madison Pendleton, and Edward Thurston Hiscox.

Councils and presbyteries may be called and convened to give advice in cases of the moment. They are not standing bodies; they are advisory only, and not authoritative. Baptist Churches are independent and autonomous under their Head, Jesus Christ. There is no court of appeal, whose decisions can nullify those of the individual church. Councils are advisory bodies that have unquestioned utility. Biblically-informed brethren are called to give scriptural advice in cases of serious and unresolved difficulties. There is good in hearing and heeding Godly counsel. There is danger if churches assume councils have authority over the churches. There is no higher earthly authority in ecclesiastical affairs, than the individual church. Each church acts under the truth of the Scriptures and leadership of the Holy Spirit, and, ultimately, will answer to her Head.

Monday, October 26, 2020

In other words, agitation and propaganda

  • agitprop, noun. Propaganda; especially, political propaganda promulgated chiefly in literature, drama, music, or art (agitation-propaganda, borrowed from Russian Agitprop).
  • ambitus, noun. The action of seeking to obtain an office or position through underhanded means; esp. the use of bribery to gain electoral support.
  • chicken-pecked, adjective. Designating an adult (esp. a parent) who is ordered about by a child. Compare henpecked.
  • Christophany, noun. An appearance or manifestation of Christ, especially before the incarnation. Also: this appearance or manifestation as a phenomenon.
  • communis opinio, noun. Common opinion; prevailing doctrine, or generally accepted view, often in an academic field (from the Latin).
  • coram Deo (Latin phrase). In the presence of God; in Christian theology summarizes the idea of a Christian one’s life in the presence of, under the authority of, and to the glory of God (coram, before; in the presence of + Deo, God).
  • deleatur, verb (intransitive). ‘Let it be deleted’: used as an instruction to indicate that a word, sentence, etc., should be deleted from a page or text.
  • dictate, verb. To say or read (something) aloud for another person to transcribe or for a machine to record.
  • dictitate, verb. To speak or say repeatedly.
  • dulciloquy, noun. A sweet or pleasing manner of speaking; sweetness of speech. Also: an instance of this.
  • ethnobotany, noun. The traditional knowledge and customs of a people concerning plants; the scientific study or description of this.
  • garboil, noun. Confusion, turmoil; disturbance, tumult; discord, controversy; also: an instance or state of confusion, disturbance, discord, etc.
  • headwark, noun. Pain in the head; a headache.
  • henpecked, adjective. Browbeaten, bullied, or intimidated by one’s wife, girlfriend, etc. Compare chicken-pecked.
  • ovidian, adjective. Belonging to or characteristic of the Latin poet Ovid (Publius Ovidius Naso), born 43 b. c., died a. d 17; resembling the style of Ovid.
  • rooked, adjective. Deprived of money through fraudulent or underhand means; swindled, fleeced.
  • ruderal, adjective. Of a plant: growing on waste ground or among rubbish, esp. as a pioneer.
  • schlep, verb, (transitive). To haul, carry, drag.
  • woodhenge, noun. (The remains of) a prehistoric monument consisting of a circular or elliptical timber structure (usually interpreted as a circle of large free-standing timber posts), typically surviving only as one or more rings of postholes.

The doctrine of creation

“Understanding and believing the doctrine of creation in the book of Genesis is foundational in accepting, listen carefully, that the Holy Bible is to be taken seriously when it speaks to the real world.”
John MacArthur
“It is not accurate to say that the days are God’s days. God ad intra does not have days. Creation is an act proceeding outwardly from God…. Appealing to the eternal Sabbath is also of no avail. Although God’s Sabbath is certainly endless, that cannot be said of the first Sabbath…. The use of the term ‘day’ in Genesis 2:4 is figurative, but in Genesis 1 figurative language is not used. What one must show is another place in Scripture where a first, a second, a third day, etc., are just as sharply separated and and nevertheless describe periods of time. The ‘day of the Lord’ of the prophets refers to a specific day—that is, a day on which the Lord appears for judgment, even though His judgment may last longer than one day.” 
Geerhardus Vos

Sunday, October 25, 2020

My Home Above

The following text is probably found only in Cooper Revision of The Sacred Harp. John Wesley Miller (1862–1931), a singer, composer, and music teacher, wrote both text and tune around 1913, and it was included in The Sacred Harp, Eighth Edition. He was a member of the revision committees of the 1907 and 1909 editions of the Cooper Sacred Harp Book.

The song’s title is My Home Above, and it is found on page 524 of The Sacred Harp, Revised Cooper Edition, 2012. The hymn itself is Long Meter (8,8,8,8), and in the particular style of the song, adds a chorus that is 8s. with 6 lines. When the song was written it was dedicated to fellow singer M. J. Harmon of Tyler, Texas.[i]

The hymn reminds us that this world is not our permanent home, but a place of tenting. Christians do not expect to find rest in this world, but in that home above the skies, where there are no aches, or sobs, or sighs. The blessing of the temporary rest and transitory home is to spend our days for Christ.

1. While tenting here I have no home,
I’ll work and toil ’till death shall come,
For in this world I find no rest,
I’ll seek a home among the blest.

2. My home is not beneath the skies,
Where tempests rage and storms arise;
I have a home that’s built above,
Where all is peace, and joy and love.

3. There in that home above the skies,
They know no aches, or sobs, or sighs;
But all is joy and peace and love,
And Christ shall lead the host above.

O Lord, if I must live this life,
Then let me spend my days for Christ;
Let not my work of life be vain,
Lord help me sing a sweeter strain,
O Lord if I must live this life,
Pray help me spend my days for Christ.

[i] I believe this was Moses Jethro Harmon, who lived in Tyler, but later moved to Fort Worth, Texas.

Saturday, October 24, 2020

Bolo, bogo

BOLO -- Be on (the) look-out

BOGO -- Buy one, get one (free)

FOMO -- Fear of missing out

FUBU -- For us, by us

YOLO -- You only live once

Friday, October 23, 2020

History of the Interpretation of Acts 19:4-5

I have engaged in some recent discussions of John’s baptism and Christian baptism (as in, whether the same or different). There are several ideas about the baptisms in Acts 19:1-7.

4 Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus. 5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.

Several years ago, I read in John Gill’s (1697-1771; Particular Baptist) commentary concerning Acts 19:4-5. He introduced this idea, that those referred to being baptized in verse 5 are not the 12 in Ephesus, but the people who heard John. In other words, no “rebaptism” occurred in Acts 19:1-7. I considered this novel idea unique to Gill – I had never heard it before. I simply dismissed as odd. Recently I have noticed a few others who made this claim. First is the quote from the commentary of Gill.
Verse 4
Then said Paul,.... In reply to their answer, understanding them that they were baptized by John, he takes it up, and gives an account of John’s baptism: showing how agreeable it was, and that it was the same baptism with the baptism of Christ, being administered in his name:

John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance; which required repentance antecedent to it, and was a fruit and effect, and so an evidence of it:

saying unto the people; the people of the Jews, the common people, the multitude that attended on his ministry:

that they should believe on him, which should come after him, that is, on Jesus Christ; so that he preached faith in Christ, as well as repentance towards God; and made the one as well as the other a necessary prerequisite unto baptism; which shows, that his baptism and Christian baptism are the same.

Verse 5
When they heard this,.... That is, the people to whom John preached, his hearers; when they heard of the Messiah, and that Jesus was he, and that it became them to believe in him:

they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus; not the disciples that Paul found at Ephesus, but the hearers of John; for these are the words of the Apostle Paul, giving an account of John’s baptism, and of the success of his ministry, showing, that his baptism was administered in the name of the Lord Jesus; and not the words of Luke the Evangelist, recording what followed upon his account of John’s baptism; for then he would have made mention of the apostle’s name, as he does in the next verse; and have said, when they heard this account, they were baptized by Paul in the name of the Lord Jesus: the historian reports two things, first what Paul said, which lies in Acts 19:4 then what he did, Acts 19:6 where he repeats his name, as was necessary; as that he laid his hands upon them, which was all that was needful to their receiving the extraordinary gifts of the Holy Ghost, having been already baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus: which sense is the more confirmed by the particles μεν and δε, which answer to one another in verses 4 and 5, and show the words to be a continuation of the apostle’s speech, and not the words of the historian, which begin in the next verse. Beza’s ancient copy adds, “for the remission of sins”.
My curiosity became whether there is any history of this interpretation or if this is just someone’s odd claim that a couple of other people followed. I have found the following comments, which you may find interesting.

Horatio Balch Hackett (1808-1875; American Baptist clergyman)
Hackett claims that “older writers” maintained “that Luke records these words as a continuation of Paul’s remarks” in order to “rescue the passage from those who appealed to it, in order to justify rebaptism.” He concluded that, “No one, at present, contends for that interpretation.” (A Commentary on the Original Text of the Acts of the Apostles, H. B. Hackett, Boston, MA: John P. Jewett & Co., 1852, p. 266)
Wilhelmus à Brakel (1635-1711; Dutch Second Reformation):
This misunderstanding is a result of separating the words of verse 4 from those in verse 5, and by acknowledging the words of verse 4 to be the words of Paul, but deeming the words in verse 5 to be those of Luke, the writer of this history—as if he were recounting what followed upon the instruction of Paul. This, however, would have to be proven. These words integrate very well when one conjoins verses 4 and 5, and considers them to be the words of the apostle Paul. He instructed the disciples in verse 4 about the manner in which John baptized and taught, and thereupon declared that all who heard it were obedient and believed John’s preaching, were baptized by him.
Francis Turretin (1623-1687; Reformed):
Acts 19:4-5 does not prove that the Ephesian disciples, who had John’s baptism, were rebaptized by Paul. For the words “when they heard they were baptized” (akousantes de ebaptisthēsan, v. 5) are not the words of Luke narrating what followed Paul’s discourse to them, but rather a confirmation of the Pauline oration to those Ephesians, by which he teaches that those who had received baptism from John, had been baptized in the name of Christ and so had no need of a new baptism.
William Attersoll (English clergyman, died 1640)
For first of all. the words in verse 5, And they which heard it were baptized: are not the words of Luke the writer, but of Paul the speaker, continuing his speach of John’s disciples and hearers, and are not to be understood of the twelve, as appeareth by the two Greek conjunctions, which are used by the makers of that tongue to join and to disjoin, having relation one to the other, and knitting together the parts of the sentence answering fitly each to other, as may be seen in many places, wherefore, Luke speaks not here of Paul’s baptism, but Paul speaks of John’s baptism. He sets down the office of John verse 3, then the prose cuts both the parts of it, mentioning his preaching verse 4. and his baptizing verse 5. Again, these twelve abiding at Ephesus dwelling far from the land of Judæa where John preached and baptized were living about 30. or 40, years after the death of John, could not hear his doctrine from his own mouth, or receive baptism at his hands. Now, whereas they are said to be baptized to John’s baptism, the meaning is, they embraced & professed the same doctrine which John preached by word, and sealed with his baptism.
Joannes Drusius, (1550-1616, Flemish Protestant clergyman, Quaestiones Ebraicae, lib. i. q. 8, 3., 1599)
Du Veil refers to Drusius observing on verse 5 “that this verse is taken, as if they were Luke’s words, which they are not. ‘The apostle Paul,’ saith he, ‘speaks of John’s baptism, which he proved to be the same with Christ’s baptism, partly by his doings, partly by his sayings, as being one that preached Christ to come, and baptized such as believed in him: and this is it which be saith, they were baptized in the name of Jesus; such as, to wit, while John preached, embraced the faith of Christ, of which number those disciples were; but because those believers had not as yet received the gifts of the Holy Ghost, therefore the apostle asks them, by who baptism they were initiated, and when he knew the matter, laid his hands upon them, and immediately the Spirit coming down upon them they began to speak with tongues and to prophecy, even as Luke mentions in the context of this history.” (A Commentary on the Acts of the Apostles, C. M. Du Veil, London: J. Haddon, 1851, p. 406; Charles-Marie Du Veil, ca. 1630-ca. 1690, was a 17th century Jew who converted to Catholicism, then later became a Baptist)
John Calvin (1509-1564; French Protestant Reformer)
Other some deny that baptism was repeated; because they were baptized amiss by some foolish enemy of John. But because their conjecture hath no color; yea, the words of Paul do rather import that they were the true and natural disciples of John, and Luke doth honorably call them disciples of Christ; I do not subscribe to this opinion, and yet deny that the baptism of water was repeated, because the words of Luke import no other thing, save only that they were baptized with the Spirit. (John Calvin’s commentary on Acts)
Arator (6th century Christian poet)
Hillier indicates Arator saw a “rebaptism” here when he discusses that the incident has not relevance to the church’s teaching on rebaptism because these were two baptism of a different nature. (Arator on the Acts of the Apostles: A Baptismal Commentary, Richard Hillier, Oxford: Clarendon press, 1993, p 26).
Cassiodorus (circa AD 490-ca. 583) in Complexiones
(Acts 19:1) And it came to pass, while Apollo was at Corinth, that Paul having passed through the upper coasts, came, etc. While Apollo was at Corinth, it came to pass that Paul, having passed through the upper coasts, came to Ephesus, where, having found certain disciples, he asked if they had received the grace of the Holy Ghost when they were baptized. They declared that they were entirely ignorant of that name, but had been consecrated in John’s baptism. Paul baptized them while invoking the Trinity, and the Holy Ghost came upon them, making them able to prophesize in various tongues. Paul, staying there for three months, preached about the Lord Christ in his customary manner.
John Chrysostom (circa AD 347-407)
I am not sure I understand what Chrysostom is talking about much of the time, but it seems clear that he believes Paul baptized the 12 at Ephesus. (Homily 40 on the Acts of the Apostles)
Others any of you know about?

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Answering a Question I Get, and other links

The posting of links does not constitute an endorsement of the sites linked, and not necessarily even agreement with the specific posts linked.

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Boomtown Pandemic, and other links

The posting of links does not constitute an endorsement of the sites linked, and not necessarily even agreement with the specific posts linked.

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Who Baptized the Apostles?

Q. Who baptized the apostles?

A. The Bible does not provide a specific answer, so that one can quote “John baptized X.” Nevertheless, it provides information to lead to a reasonable conclusion. Consider the following biblical evidence. The Bible is not explicit that John the Baptist baptized the 12 apostles, yet there is more reason to believe that he did than to believe he did not. The reason to believe that he did not is based on silence (i.e., saying that we cannot find a passage in the Bible that explicitly says “John baptized X”). The reasons to believe that he did are from putting together the implications of scripture.

John was a prophet sent from God (John 1:6; Luke 7:28). John was not operating in a priestly role under the Jewish law, but came with a new message authorized by God. John came to make ready a people prepared for the Lord (Luke 1:16-18). He preached the kingdom of God and baptized disciples. Those who obeyed John’s message received John’s baptism. He was the voice of one crying in the wilderness (Isaiah 40:3-6; Matthew 3:1-6; Mark 1:1-5; Luke 3:3-4, 21) and those who received his message were baptized. Apparently, the apostles and other early disciples of Jesus received John’s message. The other option would be that they rejected John’s message, yet followed Jesus anyway (which is not plausible).

John’s baptism was from heaven (Mark 11:29-31). Submitting to John’s baptism “justified God” – probably signifying that they acknowledged God’s truth by submitting to the baptism of the man that God sent. John Gill says, “they expressed their sentiments by their obedience.” They declared God was right by receiving baptism. Luke 7:29-30 And all the people that heard him, and the publicans, justified God, being baptized with the baptism of John. But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the counsel of God against themselves, being not baptized of him. It seems true that (1) the disciples were there among those that heard him, and (2) that those whom Jesus called to follow him had not rejected the counsel of God against themselves!

John’s baptism divided the people into two classes – those that “justified God, being baptized with the baptism of John” and those that “rejected the counsel of God against themselves, being not baptized of him.” Those that justified God were numerous. Luke writes, “Now when all the people were baptized, it came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized…” (Luke 3: 21). Those who rejected the counsel of God were usually the religious leaders and teachers. It makes nonsense of the Bible to conclude that Jesus’s disciples rejected the baptism of John (see Luke 7:30).

Two of John’s disciples followed Jesus after John identified Jesus as the Lamb of God. One of these was Andrew, an apostle. John 1:35-37, 40 Again the next day after John stood, and two of his disciples; and looking upon Jesus as he walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God! And the two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus…One of the two which heard John speak, and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. John baptized Andrew. Following the first chapter of John leads further to the implication that 

Even after the disciples of Jesus began to baptize (under his authority) John continued to baptize. His commission to baptize continued until his death. John fulfilled his course (Acts 13:23-25). John 3:22-23 After these things came Jesus and his disciples into the land of Judæa; and there he tarried with them, and baptized. And John also was baptizing in Ænon near to Salim, because there was much water there: and they came, and were baptized. John 4:1-3 When therefore the Lord knew how the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John, (though Jesus himself baptized not, but his disciples,) he left Judæa, and departed again into Galilee.

An apostle to replace Judas was chosen from those who had been with them from the time of John’s baptism. Acts 1:21-23 Wherefore of these men which have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection. The phrase “baptism of John” (βάπτισμα Ἰωάννου/ βάπτισμα τὸ Ἰωάννου) is never used to refer only to the baptism of Jesus by John, but to the baptizing that John did (Matthew 21:25; Mark 11:30; Luke 7:29; Luke 20:4; Acts 18:25).

The apostle John affirms of himself and the other apostles (us) that they saw and heard things “from the beginning.” Mark characterizes the beginning with the proclamation of John the Baptist, which he styles ‘The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God” (Mark 1: 1; see also Luke 1:1-2). 1 John 1: 1-3. That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; 2 (for the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;) 3 that which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.

John baptized his disciples, and John’s disciples followed Christ. It is difficult – to the point of deliberate – to reject this as the scriptural conclusion of the matter.