Friday, May 23, 2014

Avoiding schism at all costs

The Southern Baptist Convention has for some years been troubled by internal strife between Arminians who want to kick Calvinists out of it, justifying themselves with stupid arguments (like "Calvinists don't evangelise") (and yet I'm a Calvinist), and Calvinists who ultimately waste time by saying stuff like "But the guys who set up the institutions that later became the SBC were mostly Calvinists" (instead of sticking with "But the Bible says your soteriology is wrong. Let's debate it")

There are those who are pretty invested in trying to keep this tension from developing into full-blown fracture and schism. Politicians. Their intentions may be laudable, to keep men they truly regard as brothers from doing what they ought not do - cause division among brethren. But in staring at the Calvinism question, it is all too easy to ignore other more problematic signs of Downgrade.

Take, for example, Ronnie Floyd. He of the confetti cannon baptistry. This kind of stuff also happens on his watch. And yet Dr Al Mohler has all but ensured that Floyd will be the next President of the SBC. Why? Probably because he'll be more or less acceptable by both Arminians SoBaps and Calvinist SoBaps, so the tension can remain to be dealt with another day. Meanwhile, we get another big-shot megachurch pastor in a position to be put on a pedestal and imitated by those who think the favor of God is evidenced by lots of butts in pews.

Some costs are too high.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

That a Christian Assembly or Congregation has the Right and Power to Judge all Teaching and to Call, Appoint, and Dismiss Teachers, Established and Proven by Scripture

First, it is necessary to know where and what the Christian congregation is, so that men do not engage in human affairs (as the non-Christians were accustomed to do) in the name of the Christian congregation. The sure mark by which the Christian congregation can be recognized is that the pure gospel is preached there. For just as the banner of an army is the sure sign by which one can know what kind of lord and army have taken to the field, so, too, the gospel is the sure sign by which one knows where Christ and his army are encamped. We have the sure promise of this from God in Isaiah 55[:10–11], "My word" (says God) "that goes forth from my mouth shall not return empty to me; rather, as the rain falls from heaven to earth, making it fruitful, so shall my word also accomplish everything for which I sent it." Thus we are certain that there must be Christians wherever the gospel is, no matter how few and how sinful and weak they may be. Likewise, where the gospel is absent and human teachings rule, there no Christians live but only pagans, no matter how numerous they are and how holy and upright their life may be.

Thus it undeniably follows that bishops, religious foundations, monasteries, and all who are associated with them have long since ceased to be Christians or Christian congregations, even though they have claimed they are more entitled to this name than anyone else. For whoever recognizes the gospel sees, hears, and understands that even today they insist on their human teachings, have driven the gospel far away from themselves, and are still driving it away. That is why one should consider pagan and worldly what these people do and pretend.

Monday, May 19, 2014

AHA Blog: Loving the Church - An Initial Reply to Justin Edwards

If the past is any indication, this will engender some whining on Facebook and zero substantive responses.

This kind of thing can just slip right by

From here, writing in reference to CS Lewis, Murphy says:

Not to mention that he wasn’t a Pastor or holding some office requiring Christians to really heed his words, he was an entirely different category.

What are we, Roman Catholics? Yikes. Neither John Piper nor anyone else is a member of some sort of Magisterium.
Let this be a brief reminder that we need to examine carefully our wording, and these days it's really important not to put elders and such on a pedestal like that.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Lemme talk to your elders!

I'd like to call attention to a pattern that I've seen for a while among many in Reformedigelical circles. I've indirectly alluded to it before, such as in my review of Tony Miano's Should She Preach?.
Many in Reformed circles these days default to some variation of "Are you a member of a church? What do your elders think of what you just said?" in Internet encounters, and at times the questioner even demands the name and contact information of the interlocutor's elders so as to circumvent the issue under debate, to contact the elders directly, rather than dealing with the interlocutor himself. This turn of events is quite unhelpful, is intellectually dishonest, and displays a very unhealthy view of elder authority. Let me provide two examples of what I mean below the fold.

Evangélisation en France