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Saturday, August 31, 2013

Baptists and baptism, the new crew view

The Village Church, a Baptist group at Flower Mound, TX (and wherever else they have "campuses") recognizes sprinkling as baptism. That may not be exactly clear on the web page where they say, "If you were baptized as a believer prior to The Village, we don’t require you to be baptized again unless your baptism preceded conversion." But if one doesn't get the hint there, you can get a better picture from their Baptism Booklet: "For those who were sprinkled or immersed at an earlier age, it is important to understand that we should only be baptized once. If you trusted in Christ at that time, your baptism is valid and need not, indeed should not, be repeated. (p. 5)" "While we practice a baptism by immersion at The Village, we do not require the mode of immersion for membership. If a person was sprinkled or immersed (or a possible other mode) after conversion, he or she has met our requirement for membership. (p. 10)" Plainly, sprinkling = baptism IS NOT Baptist doctrine.

[Note: Though this church does not use "Baptist" in their church name, they can be found in the church search at SBC.net. For Southern Baptists, The Village's doctrine and practice is contrary to the SBC's own Baptist Faith and Message, which says, "Christian baptism is the immersion of a believer..."]

Quotes and pithy sayings

"To write with a broken pencil is pointless."

"Acupuncture: a jab well done."

"Even a dead fish can float downstream."

“When the ship is in the ocean, everything’s fine. When the ocean gets into the ship, you’re in trouble.”

A wise man once said there are three types of people in the world:
(1) those who plan to make things happen
(2) those who make things happen
(3) those who wonder "what happened?!"

Friday, August 30, 2013

For-ness and Against-ness

Barnabas Piper wrote, "One of the most telling, and failing, aspects to conservative evangelicalism is the propensity to define ourselves by what we are against." I agree that this propensity is a problem. But after some jabs toward "againstness" Piper states, "Instead, we ought to be defined by an objective and an aim, by what we are for." At that point he has gone too far. You see, we ought to be defined both by what we are for and what we are against. If we're only against and never for, we have no forward vision. But if we're only for and never against, we have not the courage of our convictions.

Paul's exhortations to the Ephesians chapter 4 provide us a fine example of how we ought to join the negative and the positive into a well-rounded version of our vision of faith and practice. We ought to "put off the old man" (negative) and "put on the new man" (positive). Notice:

Don't lie (negative) and do speak the truth (positive).
25 Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another.

Don't steal (negative) and do go to work and give to those in need (positive).
28 Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.

Don't speak haphazardly or corruptly (negative) and do speak good things that will build up (positive).
29 Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.

Go to Him

GO TO HIM was written by R. N. Davis.

“Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.” Matthew 18:15.

“Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.” Matthew 5:23, 24.

The Scriptures quoted above are plain enough that there should be no misunderstanding about what should be done when a brother does a brother wrong. The one wronged is to go to the other alone and tell him his fault. That is clear.

In the second place, the one who does the wrong is to go to the other. This is also clear - no room for any one to misunderstand what to do when wrong has been done by brethren.

IF brethren would do as the Lord says, the one doing the wrong and the one wronged would meet in the way, each going to the other for reconciliation.

The purpose of going on the part of each is made clear. The one wronged is to go to the other and talk to him alone with a prayer and hope that he can gain his brother. In the other case, the one who did the wrong is to be reconciled to his brother. The desire upon the part of each is to win the other. A very important thing to consider is the spirit - the manner - in which brethren are to approach one another. “Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.” Gal. 6:1. There is no question about this. Brethren should approach one another in the spirit of kindness, courtesy, respect and humility - this with the purpose of settling the difference between them.

There are some things we should observe that the Scriptures referred to do not say.

They do not say, “Write a letter to thy brother.” They do not say, “Send him word by another.”  They do not say, “Go to some other and talk to him about the matter.” The Scripture is plain, “Go to the brother himself and talk to him.” Too often brethren talk to everyone except the one concerned. Brethren whisper in the ears of others and pledge them to secrecy, when they should be talking to the brother involved.

The one question is, will we do as our Lord said and reap happy results, or will we do it our way, the way of the human will, and stir up strife, heighten the ill feeling among brethren? Better go according to the Scriptures and do right.

Some brethren act as if they never owe anyone an apology when they do them wrong. They seem to have the idea that their wrongs are different somehow. Some act as if the right way is to “just let it pass.” My brother, when we do a brother wrong, we owe him sincerely offered. It is Christ-like, Christian, and we the part of a Christian unless we do it.

"Go to Him" by Baptist preacher R. N. Davis was printed in The Baptist Progress February 15, 1951. It is taken here from its publication in The Baptist Waymark, Vol. II, No. 9, April-May 1993, p. 2.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Restoring Church Discipline

RESTORING CHURCH DISCIPLINE
If Baptist churches do not restore church discipline, we will have no testimony left with the world. When a lost person looks at Baptist membership and sees unrepentant adulterers, homosexuals, gamblers, drunkards, gossips, liars, and embezzlers, we have become a laughingstock. We MUST restore church discipline.

Some say they honestly want to practice discipline, but have ignored it so long they don’t know where to start. They feel it unfair to discipline someone now when they have let others get by with the same sort of things in the past. A church must simply resolve to draw a line and say, “We have been wrong and lax heretofore, but, starting from this point, we put that behind and will practice scriptural church discipline.”

FIRST STEP
Once a church has reached by prayer, study, and conviction the point to exercise discipline, what comes next? Acknowledgments. This means admitting sin, repenting of it, and seeking the forgiveness of the church.

First, those who have done nothing should make their acknowledgments. They must acknowledge their guilt and complicity with gross sin and/or doctrinal error in the church by saying nothing to rebuke the guilty and doing nothing to help them.

Second, those involved in gross sin or heresy must acknowledge the error of their ways and seek the forgiveness of the church. This applies only to those who are repentant and trying to turn from sin.

Third, the church must extend forgiveness or exclude from membership. Those who are repentant should be forgiven. Those who are stubborn and unrepentant should be excluded. In some cases a church may need to labour with individuals over a short period of time to bring them into compliance with biblical standards.

These thoughts refer to cases of known public sin (I Cor. 5) and heresy (Titus 3:10). Broken relationships between brethren (Matt. 18:1 5-17) would be initiated differently.

EXCUSES
Many excuses are given for not practicing church discipline, but none are acceptable to God.

(1) “We’re all sinners and we can’t judge someone else because we sin too.” Yes, we all sin; but, hopefully, we are daily seeking God’s forgiveness and are trying to not wallow in sin as a way of life. Exclusion is for that church member who continues to live habitually in sin without remorse or repentance and has no intentions of changing.

(2) “If we excluded so-and-so, their family would leave and it would bust up the church.” If we are only playing church, it would be better “busted up”. Church discipline will not be popular with carnal Christians. Members will sometimes be lost, but a purged church is a stronger church.

(3) “The church has no right to exclude a member.” A church that cannot determine her membership ceases to be a church. When a person joins a church, he or she agrees to come under her discipline, and has no right to complain if he does.

(4) “We love them too much and wouldn’t want to hurt them.” God’s love for his children requires that He discipline us; parents’ love for their children requires disciplining them; a church’s love for her members requires that she discipline them. Fear and failure to discipline does not imply love, but the lack of it (or the lack of strength to apply it). Discipline for discipline’s sake is harsh, but discipline for correction’s sake expresses love.

REMEMBER 
A person is not excluded for sinning, but for refusing to repent of and turn from sin. 
Exclusion is not the goal; restoration is. 
Exclusion is the last resort when other efforts have failed. 
Church discipline must be applied equally. It is the same for the preacher’s son as the lay member’s son; the same for the fifth generation member as the new member; the same for the one whose family are church members as the one whose family are not members. 
Discipline will benefit the individual in its attempt to cure (I Cor. 5:5) and the church in its attempt to prevent (I Cor. 5:6-7).

From The Baptist Waymark, Vol. III No. 4, July-August 1995, p. 3

Linked

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

Childhood Conversion
Conservative professor's response to guy who called him the 'biggest embarrassment to higher education in America
Make the Bible Your Native Tongue
People with this Hair Color have a Higher Risk of Melanoma
Was “The Battle of the Sexes” a fix?

An American Christian is sentenced to 15 years of hard labor in North Korea for alleged "hostile actions".
A senior U.S. envoy will travel to North Korea this week to seek the release of American Kenneth Bae.
George Zimmerman wants the state of Florida to reimburse him for the costs of mounting his defense in the Trayvon Martin shooting case.
Not all countries have the same food supply regulations. 5 particular food products are very vulnerable to contamination.
The Battle of the Sexes is Back: Serena vs. the Men? "So to be honest, Serena against Andy Murray would not work. He would win. And he knows it. She knows it.”

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Who Tithed in the Bible?

Who Tithed in the Bible? by Robin Calamaio is an interesting look at various occupations who paid the tithe under the law of Moses and others who did not. It might surprise you.

Transcript of 'I Have a Dream'

If you've listened to any news or been online today, you already know that today is the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech. A transcript of this speech can be found HERE.

Not nearly as well known, but about 6 years earlier King gave another speech in Washington, D.C. -- Give Us the Ballot on May 17, 1957.

Glory to God, whose sovereign grace

Glory to God, whose sovereign grace
Hath animated senseless stones;
Called us to stand before His face,
And raised us into Abraham’s sons!

The people that in darkness lay,
In sin and error’s deadly shade,
Have seen a glorious gospel day,
In Jesus’ lovely face displayed.

Thou only, Lord, the work hast done,
And bared Thine arm in all our sight;
Hast made the reprobates Thine own,
And claimed the outcasts as Thy right.

Thy single arm, almighty Lord,
To us the great salvation brought,
Thy Word, Thy all-creating Word,
That spake at first the world from naught.

For this the saints lift up their voice,
And ceaseless praise to Thee is giv’n;
For this the hosts above rejoice,
We raise the happiness of Heav’n.

For this, no longer sons of night,
To Thee our thankful hearts we give;
To Thee, who called us into light,
To Thee we die, to Thee we live.

Suffice that for the season past
Hell’s horrid language filled our tongues,
We all Thy words behind us cast,
And lewdly sang the drunkard’s songs.

But, O the power of grace divine!
In hymns we now our voices raise,
Loudly in strange hosannas join,
And blasphemies are turned to praise!

Charles Wesley, Hymns and Sacred Poems, 1740

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Right thinking on emotions

There is a crying need for some common sense answers about emotionalism. Some Baptists write about emotionalism from a radical reaction to the opposite extremes. Their statements are not correctly tempered with truth.

First, let's consider what emotionalism is and is not. Shouting, loud amens, crying, and rejoicing, etc. are not emotionalism. Baptists have been shouting nearly 2000 years. In fact, Baptists are just about the only ones that have anything to shout about. :-)

Emotionalism is the undue indulgence in and display of emotion. It is evidenced in those who deliberately try to incite an emotional response, and see that response as an end in itself. Emotionalism revels in the outward expression while downplaying the inward response. Emotionalism seems to regard the development of an aroused state of feeling (joy, sorrow, etc.) as the chief aspect of worship.

Shouldn’t we oppose emotionalism as a religious schism without opposing all emotional responses? Certainly. Showing emotion is not wrong. We are emotional beings. We laugh & cry, shout & scream. If humans are emotional beings, and if our religion should generate in us a response (it should), then would it be unusual to think our worship should sometimes be expressed in emotional responses? Of course not!

Each person is different. Each has a different emotional makeup. Some laugh easier than others. Some cry quicker. Some shout louder. Some sit quieter. Since each individual differs emotionally, we cannot expect the same emotional responses from all. No doubt you have seen two people respond differently to the same event — one by crying, the other by laughing. Often we tend to judge how others should respond by how we would respond in the same situation. There is no "one response fits all".

Those who decry all emotion are very inconsistent. Some think it alright to be emotional about things other than religion. When we are angered by politics, shout at ball games, cry over the death of a pet, and laugh at stupid jokes, why are we unable to respond emotionally to our God and in our relationship to Him? I am suspicious of the Christian who can get all worked up over a ball game, but is indifferent to a Bible message, a gospel song, or a conversion testimony.

There are specific outward emotional expressions that are often attacked. We must be careful here. Just because something is abused does not mean it should be abandoned. We have heard unscriptural sermons, but should we stop hearing all sermons because of that? Many unscriptural baptisms have been performed; should Baptists stop baptizing? Many unsound songs have been sung; should we stop singing? The acceptance of radical anti-emotionalism drives us to abandon something simply because it has been misused.

Notice two emotional actions I will defend. I do not personally indulge in or particularly care for either one — clapping and raising hands. But these have been unfairly attacked by the radical anti-emotionalists. Clapping is certainly inappropriate at the wrong time and for the wrong reasons, yet the Psalmist says, ‘O claps your hands, all ye people; shout unto God with the voice or triumph.’ (Psalm 47:1). Who can argue with that? Can I honestly condemn one who claps to the time of a song, when I tap my foot or rap my hand on the back of the bench for the same reason? As for raising hands, it seems like an unusual response to which I have never felt compelled — but the Apostle Paul admonishes, ‘I will therefore that men prey everywhere, lifting up holy hands...’ (I Tim. 2:8).

In the scriptures, we see that even Jesus responded emotionally. He was moved with compassion (Matt. 14:14; Mark 1:41), was angered (Mark 3:5; Matt. 21:12), cried (Luke 19:41; John 11:35), etc. Solomon indicates that emotion has its proper place (Eccl. 3:4). Let's not 'kick out of the traces' and allow personal feelings and opinions override scriptural sense.

On the other hand, we must realize that many churches indulge in emotionalism in an unscriptural manner, leading to extremism. A problem with any type of external action or reaction is that it can be duplicated. If we judge only the external, we will be led astray. Anyone can shout, sing, cry, lift up hands, clap, etc., but what good is that if the heart is not right? If outward emotional responses are not of themselves wrong, then the right or wrong is determined by the inner motive of the heart. Was that shout real or worked up? Did you mean that ‘amen’ or just say it for show or because someone else did? Do you truly sorrow or is that crying for attention? Real emotional responses due to the unseen work of God should be neither shunned nor condemned. All put on and show must be completely condemned and absolutely avoided.

Often the chief excuses against emotional responses may come from a desire to not appear "charismatic" or "pentecostal". We should not let others drive us from our shouting ground. Baptists should stand stand firm and say, "I shall not be moved" from the truth, but I will move when the Spirit moves.

Adapted from the original printing in The Baptist Waymark

Them that believe

What do baptismal regenerationists have in baptism that we don't already have by faith? 

According to the Bible "them that believe":
  1. Are given power to become the sons of God, John 1:12.
  2. Have the righteousness of God, Romans 3:22. Cf. Romans 5:1.
  3. Are the seed of Abraham, Romans 4:11.
  4. Are saved, I Corinthians 1:21. Cf. Hebrews 10:39.
  5. Are given the promise, Galatians 3:22. Cf. Rom. 4:13; Acts 2:38-39

Monday, August 26, 2013

The prepared preacher

"As I have forgotten my notes this morning," the minister apologetically began his sermon, "I will have to rely on the Lord for guidance. But tonight I will come better prepared!"

Tony Evans said

"Nothing outside the home should override your priorities in the home." -- Tony Evans

"The idle woman watches 'As the World Turns' as the meal burns." -- Tony Evans

"If everybody else is raising your children, don't be surprised if they look and live like everybody else!" -- Tony Evans

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Come boldly to the throne of grace

Hebrew 4:16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

Come boldly to the throne of grace,
Ye wretched sinners come;
And lay your load at Jesus’ feet,
And plead what he has done.

“How can I come?” Some soul may say,
“I’m lame and cannot walk;
My guilt and sin have stopped my mouth;
I sigh, but dare not talk.”

Come boldly to the throne of grace,
Though lost, and blind, and lame;
Jehovah is the sinner’s Friend,
And ever was the same.

He makes the dead to hear his voice;
He makes the blind to see;
The sinner lost he came to save,
And set the prisoner free.

Come boldly to the throne of grace,
For Jesus fills the throne;
And those he kills he makes alive;
He hears the sigh or groan.

Poor bankrupt souls, who feel and know
The hell of sin within,
Come boldly to the throne of grace;
The Lord will take you in.

Gadsby's Selection, No. 675, by D. Herbert. Originally published in 1818 by Daniel Herbert of Sudbury (1751-1833) in Hymns and Poems: Doctrinal and Experimental, on a variety of Subjects, Volume 1. It is Hymn No. 4, "Freedom of Access to a Throne of Grace," and originally had 12 stanzas.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

An Audience of One

“Alas, in regard to things spiritual, the foolish of many is this, that they in the secular sense look upon the speaker as the actor, and the listeners as theatergoers who are to pass judgement upon the artist. But the speaker is not the actor – not in the remotest sense. No, the speaker is the prompter. There are no mere theatergoers present, for each listener will be looking into his own heart. The stage is eternity, and the listener, if his is the true listener (and if he is not, he is at fault) stands before God during the talk. The prompter whispers to the actor what he is to say, but the actor’s repetition of it is the main concern – is the solemn charm of the art. The speaker whispers the word to the listeners. But the main concern is earnestness: that the listeners by themselves, with themselves, and to themselves, in the silence before God, may speak with the help of the address. The address is not given for the speaker’s sake, in order that men may praise or blame him. The listener’s repetition of it is what is aimed at. If the speaker has the responsibility for what he whispers, then the listener has an equally great responsibility not to fall short in his task. In the theater, the play is staged before an audience who are called theatergoers; but at the devotional address, God himself is present. In the most earnest sense, God is the critical theatergoer, who looks on to see how the lines are spoken and how they are listened to: hence here the customary audience is wanting. The speaker then is the prompter, and the listener stands openly before God. The listener, if I may say so, is the actor, who in all truth acts before God.” -- Soren Kierkegaard, Purity of Heart is to Will One Thing, (translated by Douglas V. Steere) New York, NY: Harper Torchbook, 1956, pp. 180-81

Friday, August 23, 2013

Next set of links

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

3 Oklahoma teens charged in thrill kill of Aussie baseball player
10 fun firefly facts
God's Rest as Prescriptive
The Gospel is Enough — Spurgeon
The Hill's 50 Wealthiest lawmakers
The next superfood is here and it's called moringa
The Sheer Weightlessness of So Many Sermons—Why Expository Preaching Matters

Junk Food Religion

The appeal of junk food restaurants is similar to the appeal of “junk food” religion. The quality of fast food and prepared food is generally inferior to that we cook at home. Yet we flock to these restaurants. The reasons people go in droves to public eating establishments are the same as the reasons some people go to a particular church.

As some eat at a certain fast food chain because of the playground equipment, so some go to a church for the same reason.

As some eat wherever the children want to eat, so some attend wherever the children want to go to church.

As some agree to eat where everyone else wants to eat, so some worship wherever their friends are going.

As some go to a restaurant because they can get in and out quickly, so some go to a church where they can get in, get through, and get home.

As some choose a place to eat that will have something to suit everyone in the family, so some choose a church that will try to please everyone.

As some eat at a restaurant they perceive to be cheap, so some attend a church where little or nothing is expected of them.

Our choice of a place to eat often has little or nothing to do with the quality and purity of the food; little to well support the main reason we are going there - to eat. Most people do not choose a restaurant because they serve healthy, wholesome, nourishing food.

Why do you go to a particular church? We should attend a church that serves up the whole Word of God, which is milk and meat to our bones. Oh, may we taste and see that the Lord is good!

Oh, taste and see the Lord is good, 
I heard the Psalmist say.
I tasted; oh, what wondrous food!
He's blessed me from that day.

Adapted from The Baptist Waymark

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Quotes re same-sex "marriage" and lifestyle

On same-sex marriage: "One cannot be denied a right to something that doesn't exist." -- Voddie Baucham

"Homosexuals have never been denied the right to marry. They simply haven't had the right to redefine marriage." -- Voddie Baucham

"It is true the marriage statute does not expressly prohibit gay and lesbian persons from marrying; it does, however, require that if they marry, it must be to someone of the opposite sex." -- Iowa Supreme Court

"Since homosexuality has become not only socially accepted but also socially promoted, the number of professing gays has seemed to skyrocket." -- Jon English Lee

"...the sexual revolutionaries and gender revisionists don't really know where they are trying to lead us. Yet they confidently call us and our children forward to follow them over the cliff." -- Denny Burk

“I have suffered more discrimination and intolerance as an ex-gay than I did when I was actually in the [homosexual] lifestyle.” --Grace Harley

“Anti-ex-gay extremists say that I do not exist. Tell that to my wife of seven years. Tell that to my three beautiful children.” -- Christopher Doyle

Methods for Evangelization by J. H. Milburn

DO CHURCHES HAVE A RIGHT TO CHOOSE THEIR OWN MEANS AND METHODS FOR THE EVANGELIZATION OF THE WORLD? by J. H. MILBURN.

The proposition just stated, we would answer most emphatically in the negative, that a church or churches of Christ do not have a divine right to choose either the means or methods with which to evangelize the world unless they choose the means and methods which Christ instituted for that purpose. There is no greater fallacy nor one more mischievous than the idea that a church has a divine right to choose whatever means or methods it wishes, in the propagation of the gospel, and the choice, be as it may, is acceptable to God. Away with such an outrageous idea which would justify the adoption of Catholicism or anything else as a means through which Baptist churches carry on their missionary work, if only they so choose, and some Baptist churches, under the influence of designing men have been, and can be, lead into making any kind of choice. Turn to the Index in this book and find article on matters of choice and expediency, and read the same.
Notice 1. All must agree that Christ had a right to a choice in the evangelization of the world. To deny Christ this right would be at once to nullify the evangelization of the world altogether and convert all missionary work and effort into a mere farce. 
2. Christ was infinitely wise, he knew what the world needed, then and what the world would need through all the coming ages; he wanted the world evangelized, hence he constituted his church and made choice of it as the only organized medium through which the gospel should go to the nations of the earth. 
3. No Apostle nor inspired person ever chose any other organization through which to evangelize the world than the church.
4. The primitive churches themselves never chose any other organization through which to evangelize the world; their choice was simply that of Christ and the Apostles; why should our choice now be otherwise.
5. Baptist churches got along for over seventeen hundred years without choosing any other organization through which to evangelize the world, than the churches of Christ.
6. Christ not only made choice of the church as the organized medium through which the world should be evangelized, but he also commanded the church to “preach the gospel to every creature” to “teach all nations,” and the church cannot evade nor shift the responsibility to humanly invented organizations.
7. To choose any other organization or medium through which to evangelize the world, than the churches, reflects on the wisdom of Christ; such a choice says indirectly that Christ did not choose the best methods, my choice is better than his. The like of this offers an insult to Christ and to the Holy Spirit.
8. From no conceivable point of view is there the least shadow of reason in making any other choice than that which Christ made.
  (1) Christ made choice of the church to evangelize the world.
  (2) Christ commanded the church to “teach all nations.”
  (3) Christ promised the divine presence (the Holy Spirit) to accompany the church. to the end of the age, or world.
  (4) Christ gave to the’ church the ministry; he “set some in the church, first Apostles,”
but ministers set themselves in the Conventions. The ministry belongs to the church.
  (5) All the money which all the Conventions use comes from the churches.
  (6) Were all the Convention blotted out the evangelization of the world would still go on; but should all the churches cease to exist the Conventions would all die within one year, for all those institutions of human origin live off the churches and are dependent upon them.

Copied from The Baptist Waymark Vol. II No. 3 December 1989, originally from his book Missions and Mission Methods, 1909

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Quotes, Old and New

"The Christian world is in a deep sleep. Nothing but a loud shout can awaken them out of it!" -- George Whitefield

“Come live in my heart, and pay no rent.” -- Samuel Lover

"Wisdom is knowledge using its head." -- Copied

"Living by faith is living like God is telling the truth!" -- adapted from Anthony Evans

"Justice is getting what you deserve. Mercy is not getting what you deserve. Grace is getting what you don’t deserve." -- copied

"You got one thing to remember when you're climbing to the top, You'd better know the way back down." -- Michael Stanley

"The family is the first, best and original Department of Health, Education and Welfare." -- Michael Novak

"Paul the apostle was no slithering Chameleon Baptist who changed his colors according to which leaf or limb he lit on." -- R. Vaughn

"When God closes a door in your life...
Get your face out of the way. It won't hurt so badly." -- Sheri Rose Shepherd


Worship and Ministry, God's Way -- 3 principles

"They didn't have it in Bible times." "They didn't do it that way in Bible times." This is how some people attempt to explain their approach to worshiping in God's house and carrying out ministry God's way. This is the way some people caricature those of us who are restricted in our way of worship and work. But "they didn't have it or do it that way in Bible times" IS NOT the guiding principle for deciding how we worship or what "methods" we will use. If not, then what is it?

1. In our worship and work God must be approached and served as He has commanded. 
  a. In the second commandment and many other places we observe that the true approach is defined by God Himself and not by men (Exodus 20:4-5, Gen. 4:3-5; Leviticus 10:2-3; 1 Chron. 13:9-10; 15:2). [In some circles this is called the "regulative principle". Baptist have articulated this principle, though not in those specific words, at least as far back as the 1644 London Confession.]
  b. We are to observe and teach to observe all the things Jesus has commanded (Matthew 28:20). This includes positive statements, approved examples and necessary inferences. Something does not have to be explicitly stated in the form of a command in order to be authoritative for church practice. For example, we Baptists establish our church government after the New Testament pattern even though there is no explicitly worded command in scripture that every church must do this.

2. Commands of specificity exclude that which is not commanded. The specification of one thing is the prohibition or exclusion of every other thing. For example, God’s command to Noah, “Make thee an ark of gopher wood,” excludes the use of oak, elm, pine, cedar and every wood other than gopher wood. To use any other kind of wood would have been disobedience of the highest order. When Jesus commanded His disciples to immerse professed believers, the specification of that excluded the sprinkling of professed believers, the immersion of professed unbelievers, and so on. The specificity of the command must be understood properly. For example, Jesus commanded "GO ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature." The command to "GO" excludes us from not going, but does not bind us in how we go -- on foot, by buggy, ship, plane, train or automobile. This can be confirmed in the New Testament as we see the disciples "going" in the various ways available to them. All commands do not inhere the same degree of specificity.

3. Distinctive apostolic practice is normative. Distinctive apostolic practice is the practice of the apostles and early church related to their calling and mission -- rather than the culture of the day. It is the consistent and uniform practice of the New Testament churches regardless of their geographical locations. These distinctive practices are not common culture or meaningless form, but rooted in and consistent with the theology of the New Testament. For example, the New Testament practice of participation of all members of the church corresponds with the New Testament theology of the equality of believers and the local church as a body (1 Corinthians 12:14). It is distinctive from both Jewish and Gentile worship. In contrast, wearing a tunic or robe was not distinct, but a common cultural adaptation engaged in by most everyone. But the apostles did establish distinctive practices and enjoined the churches to follow them in these practices. Cf. 1 Cor. 4:16; 11:1-2,16; 14:33; Phil. 3:17; 4:9; 1 Thess. 1:6-7; 2 Thess. 2:15.

I hope this subject isn't a "hobby horse" to ride into oblivion. Nevertheless, I am deeply concerned that a majority of Baptists have no clear guiding principles whereby to approve and exclude what will be included in worship services of the gathered church and what "methods" of ministry will be employed or rejected. May the above principles spur your thoughts on the subject.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Infant baptism, again

We're enjoying some wonderful time grand-babysitting, so the watching an active 15 month old is prime-time, and computer time takes a back seat. But here are a few more "infant baptism" related thoughts.

Consistent practice
John the Baptist did not baptize any infants.
Jesus or His disciples did not baptize any infants.
The "post-Pentecost" believers did not baptize any infants.
In the New Testament people were baptized after they believed in Jesus.

Precept
The New Testament is a spiritual covenant with a spiritual people. Natural man cannot enter into the New Covenant without a spiritual birth. The Old Testament and it's sign was based on physical birth.

Command
In the Great Commission there is no mention of baptizing infants. The command is to baptize the "made disciples." "He that believeth" is to be baptized. Infants cannot believe or be made disciples. 
In the New Testament people are commanded to "be baptized," a command infants can neither understand nor obey.

Copying and Quoting

"Your strength is seen in what you stand for, your weakness in what you fall for." -- copied

"Don’t blame the ruler if you don’t measure up." -- copied

"In the old days a naughty child was straightened up by being bent over." -- Farmers Almanac

"The function of the New Testament church is best carried out by the New Testament form of the church." -- copied

"Even a fish wouldn't get caught if it kept its mouth closed." -- copied

"We ought to do God's things, God's way." -- copied

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Household baptisms

There are three clear statements of “household baptism” in the New Testament, as well as two that are implied. Paedobaptists have long sought to assert “household baptism” as proof of “infant baptism”. The second does not logically follow the first. Further, contextual statements in each case provide evidence against rather than support for infant baptism. Below is a chart of these biblical occasions.

SUGGESTED HOUSEHOLD BAPTISMS IN THE NEW TESTAMENT

Stated


Household
Book Chapter Verse
Text
Evidence against
Lydia
Acts 16:15
And when she was baptized, and her household, she besought us, saying, If ye have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house, and abide there. And she constrained us.
Household of Lydia consisted of brethren who could be comforted (v. 40)
Philippian jailer
Acts 16:33-34
And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway. And when he had brought them into his house, he set meat before them, and rejoiced, believing in God with all his house.
The household of Cornelius heard the word of the Lord (v. 32) and believed it and rejoiced (v. 34)
Stephanas
1 Corinthians 1:16
And I baptized also the household of Stephanas: besides, I know not whether I baptized any other.
The house of Stephanas was the firstfruits of Achaia, who addicted themselves to the ministry (1 Cor. 16:15)

Implied


Household
Book Chapter Verse
Text
Evidence against
Cornelius
Acts 10:47-48; 11:14
Who shall tell thee words, whereby thou and all thy house shall be saved.
Received the Holy Ghost;
Spoke in tongues; Magnified God
Crispus
Acts 18:8
And Crispus, the chief ruler of the synagogue, believed on the Lord with all his house; and many of the Corinthians hearing believed, and were baptized.
The house members believed on the Lord


Word for today -- doggo

I used to do a "word for today" on a more consistent basis, but I've kind of gotten away from it. Yesterday I learned a new word via my crossword puzzle -- "doggo" or "lie doggo". I didn't know the answer to the clue, but got the word right because it had to be "doggo" to fit with the other clues and answers.

So, not familiar with the term, I went to the dictionary. According to Dictionary.com "doggo" means "in hiding and keeping quiet." It is usually or especially used with "lie" or "lying". To "lie doggo" is "to keep out of sight," or as Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary puts it, "to keep still and hide so that you cannot be found."

I suppose there are thousands upon thousands that I don't know the meaning of and/or have never heard. But I was slightly pleased to find out that this is primarily British Slang.

Can you use "lie doggo" in a sentence? (I just did!)

Friday, August 16, 2013

Linked up X 9

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

Avocados: The World's Most Perfect Food?
Should pastors try to be cool?
Should Pastors Try to be Uncool?
The Invention of Teenagers
The Law that's Driving Record Numbers of Americans to Renounce their Citizenship
The perils of transgender bathrooms
The Surprising Benefit of Having Siblings
7 Helpful Hints for Pastors Who Have Blogs
10 theories that explain why we dream

The First Baptist

Lesson from Matthew 3:1-17

Present day Baptists would do well to be more like the first Baptist. Notice some facts about true Baptist preaching from the first Baptist -- John.

John the Baptist preached repentance (v.2). This is a doctrine little emphasized today. Stress is put on belief with no mention of repentance, and belief is cleverly changed to a mere affirmation of the existence of Christ (which existence even the devils believe). Simply answering yes when asked “Do you believe in Jesus?” is not the same as believing to the saving of the soul. Repentance and belief are inseparable (Acts 20:21). A person must repent in order to believe (Matt. 21:32). Several things are involved in repentance. 
First, there must be recognition of sin which needs repentance. Then there must be a genuine sorrow for sin which causes an inward searching for God (II Cor. 7:10). Next there is turning from sin and turning to God (I Thess. 1:9). There is belief in one's heart that Jesus died for his sins and rose for his justification (Rom. 10:9-10). “Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.” (Luke 13:3)

John the Baptist preached the confession of sins (v. 6). No one has ever been saved who did not acknowledge being a sinner. Confession is an admission of guilt, which must be done in order to obtain mercy (Prov. 28:13; Rom. 10:9-10). The modern man doesn't want to hear about sin, much less confession. But even if you don't know you're a sinner, everyone else does!

John the Baptist preached baptism (v.6). John’s baptism was authorized by God (John 1:6,33; Matt. 21:25). He baptized by immersion, or plunging in water (v.6,16). He only baptized those who were believers (vs.6-9), and he only baptized adults. Those baptized by John went out to him and they confessed their sins
-- infants can do neither! John taught the importance of becoming a baptized disciple in order to be prepared to serve God (v.3).

John the Baptist required a credible profession of faith before he would baptize an individual (vs.7-8). Contemporary Baptist Churches are slacking on this requirement. Many will turn their heads the other way in order to add another name to the church roll. They are filling empty pews with empty people! Playing the numbers game is a very poor reason to make a person “twofold more the child of hell.” Shouldn't a church require evidence of salvation before receiving them? John the Baptist did.

John the Baptist pointed to the Coming Saviour (v.11). While the first Baptist announced Christ’s first coming, present—day Baptists should be proclaiming and looking for His second coming (Acts 1:11). The grandest day of all days will be “the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.”

Lastly, John the Baptist preached Christ, not self (v.11;John 3:30). Jesus Christ should be the center of all preaching, all our church services, and all our lives. We owe our very existence to Him. Let Him increase, while we decrease. The church needs emphasis in an age in which she is roughly pushed aside, but let us always remember the old Baptist adage -- “Blood before water, Christ before the Church.”

The first Baptist preached and taught these important doctrines. If we are deserving of the name Baptist, then so should we!

Adapted from The Baptist Waymark, Vol. I, No. 4, September 1986