the church not our children

Augustine: The field is the world, and the world is the church. Compel them to come into the covenant!

the persecuted: The earth is the Lord’s, and only the Lord can give life or compel.

Augustine: We bring both wheat and tares into the broad church, and the Lord in the end will show the difference.

the persecuted: The field is the world, and the church is NOT the world.the church is not even our children, unless the Lord who gave us our children by generation gives them to Jesus by regeneration.

Augustine: But original sin is removed, and regeneration given by infant baptism.

the persecuted: We trust neither ourselves nor your baptism.

Augustine: But the church has the power of the keys, to bring you in against your will, and to put you out as God wills.

the persecuted: We do not impute your will as God’s will

I begin with two questions. 1. Is there any ethnic dimension to the old covenants? paedobaptists have trouble conceding this, and obscure it by giving “descendants” three different meanings. 2. Is there any ethnic dimension to the new covenant? Dispensationalists have two parallel covenants, one for ethnic Israel.

The new covenant  denies  anymore ethnic dimension and does not endorse the baptism of  infants. By baptizing the infants of believers, but not infant grandchildren (to a 1000 generations!) of believers, paedobaptists stop halfway between the old and the new covenants. They put the “carnal seed” in the covenant but stop the ethnic inheritance at the second generation, where they wait again for the organic, life-giving power of the Spirit.

I am reminded of Jonathan Edwards refusing the second generation the Lord’s Supper.  The trouble with moderation is knowing when to stop! John Calvin wrote in the Institutes (IV:20:14): “There are some who deny that a commonwealth is duly framed which neglects the political system of Moses and is ruled by the common laws of nations.” Though Calvin kept a Judaized ethnic church with infant baptism to match the circumcision of the old covenant, he refused to order the magistrate by the old covenant standard.

We see how arbitrary people can be about what’s “basic continuity”. Paedobaptists may claim that Abraham has “only one true seed–the spiritual seed”. But they still can’t let go of the fact that Abraham’s “carnal seed” were circumcised. Therefore, they still think that DNA has something to do with water baptism. Those with DNA from Abraham were circumcised in the old covenant, and Paedobaptists say that those (in the first generation only) with DNA from Christian parents are to be baptized as infants.

Of course “biological descent from Abraham is never a sufficient reason for one to expect covenant blessings.” But paedobaptists say that Biological descent IS ONE REASON to expect blessing. WITHOUT biological descent, one had very little reason to expect blessing in the old covenant. I recall for you the rather strong language of Ephesians 2:12–“being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope…” The “new perspective on Paul” wants to read the Pharisee emphasis on physical descent and covenantal conditions (“works”) as simply perversion. “As if it were based on works”, they remind us (Romans 9:32).

The new perspective not only neglects the law aspect of the Mosaic covenant, but also fails to do justice to the “new individualism” of the new covenant. We do not get into the new covenant corporately by the cross, and then stay in individually by our works of faith, as NT Wright (with many others) would have it. Not all of Israel is Israel or ever was Israel. God chooses individuals to be justified at the last day, apart from any consideration either of their works or sins.

Of course serious paedobaptists do “believe in” church discipline. They “abhor a nominal church.” Conservative paedobaptists, as we have observed, only baptize infants of the first generation. Unlike liberal Anglicans like JI Packer who approve indiscriminate infant baptism, conservative presbyteries still attempt to determine if parents are believers before they will baptize their children. In this way, they would avoid a nominal church, even if those now-believing parents were infant baptized by Unitarian Anglicans or Roman Catholics.

The key word paedobaptists use against baptists here is “infallibly”. John Murray: “no organization of men is able infallibly to determine who are regenerate.” Of course. But then again, no presbytery can determine infallibly which parents are regenerate. And no preacher can infallibly preach God’s Word. And no magistrate can infallibly kill enemies. And no writer can infallibly free themselves of prejudice. We all know these things. How does that decide for us if the church includes the children of believers, or only those who profess regeneration?

Although more consistent paedobaptists practice infant communion, most paedobaptists have “criteria for adult membership”. The difference with baptists is finally not any less subjective claim to “certainty”; the difference is that paedobaptists have TWO kinds of church membership. So I ask you: does the new covenant have two kinds of membership?

It is simply not true that believer baptism encourage many rebaptisms during “crises of assurance.” It is true that believer baptism does advocate that those baptized have assurance of salvation. This assurance is not based on our feelings or works, or on our continuing to meet “covenant conditions”. I

“Feeling that one must match the experiences of others” is not an error isolated to baptists. Believer baptism is no solution to a crisis of assurance: only the death of Christ imputed can give us peace with God. But a crisis of assurance can be a good thing!. It’s not a good thing to “join the church” without ever having a crisis of assurance. But if we follow the advise of Charles Hodges and Horace Bushnell, then our children will always presume themselves to be Christians.

Of course I know many paedobaptists who do not agree with Bushnell and Hodge! Nevertheless they makes any crisis of assurance less likely by putting into the covenant infants who do not profess salvation. Are the children of Christians to think of themselves as Christians from the beginning? How does your local paedobaptist answer this question when he does infants? And for extra credit, ask: Are the infants of paedobaptists Christians in a better position than the infants of credobaptist Christians?

If someone has discovered that they did not become a Christian until after their “baptism”, then they are simply being obedient to God to disregard that previous ritual. You have to be prejudiced to call this “re-baptism”. Paedobaptists who do not practice infant communion shift the “crisis of assurance” to communion. Those who don’t know that they are justified are encouraged “to abstain”, at least in conservative paedobaptist groups.

It would be difficult for them to find this scruple in the old covenant with which they claim continuity. Passover was a family meal, with the children of the covenant included. But then again, the new covenant is different, and most paedobaptists’ practice of the Lord’s Supper shows that. Yet some of them continue to accuse us of “depriving” our infants of baptism. I am not without emotion about our topic: one thing I have attempt to deprive my two children is a distorted view of church and the new covenant.

In Acts of course there is no second generation “born of Christian parents”. From this silence, some even infer that the second generation must have been baptized in their infancy. I am not against inferring but I would like to be rational in doing so.  I  get from this silence that Acts knows nothing of two kinds of baptism.

But Acts is not silent about one important matter: we read the record there of many Jews, who having already received the circumcision symbol of the old covenant, do not rest content with that infant symbol, but are water baptized after they believe. I infer, not from silence but from this clear pattern of events, that water baptism and circumcision are not only different, but also that water baptism is not a substitute for circumcision. Circumcision has ended, not because water baptism has replaced it, but because Jesus has brought a new and life-giving covenant. Those who were circumcised were ALSO WATER BAPTISED.

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22 Comments on “the church not our children”

  1. markmcculley Says:

    from the Northwest Presbytery question to the OPC—Certain views and formulations of the Mosaic covenant… distinguish the Mosaic covenant from the Abrahamic covenant. The former is referred to as a “law covenant”, a “republication of the covenant of works”, or a covenant with a “works principle”; the latter is described as a “promise covenant.” The use of this language is confusing, since it seems to imply that to some degree the nature or substance of the Mosaic covenant differs from the other administrations of the Covenant of Grace (e.g., the Abrahamic covenant).
    Galatians 3: 6 Now the promises were made to Abraham and to his seed… who is Christ. 17 This is what I mean: the law, which came 430 years afterward, does not annul a covenant previously ratified by God, so as to make the promise void.
    mark: That part after “this is what I mean” is confusing, because it seems to say that the added law is not the same as the covenant previously ratified.
    Galatians 4: 21 Tell me, you who desire to be under the law, do you not listen to the law? 22 For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by a slave woman and one by a free woman.
    mark: It is certainly is confusing to tell us that Abraham had two sons. Does this mean that Abraham had two kinds of children? Does this mean that the Abrahamic covenant had more than one promise?

  2. markmcculley Says:

    Charles Hodge—That the Church is a visible society, consisting of the professors of the true religion, as distinguished from the body of true believers, known only to God, is plain, they say, because under the old dispensation it was such a society, embracing all the descendants of Abraham who professed the true religion, and received the sign of circumcision… The Church exists as an external society now as it did then; what once belonged to the commonwealth of Israel, now belongs to the visible Church. As union with the commonwealth of Israel was necessary to salvation then, so union with the visible Church was necessary to salvation now. And as subjection to the priesthood, and especially to the high-priest, was necessary to union with Israel then, so submission to the regular ministry, and especially to the Pope, is necessary to union with the Church now. Such is the favourite argument of Romanists; and such, (striking out illogically the last clause, which requires subjection to prelates, or the Pope) we are sorry to say is the argument of some Protestants, and even of some Presbyterians.

    The fallacy of this whole argument lies in the false assumption, that the external Israel was the true Church… The attributes, promises, prerogatives of the one, were not those of the other. [If this is true] we must admit that the true Church rejected and crucified Christ; for he was rejected by the external Israel, by the Sanhedrin… Paul avoids this fatal conclusion by denying that the external Church is, as such, the true Church, or that the promises made to the latter were made to the former.

    It is to be remembered that there were two covenants made with Abraham. By the one, his natural descendants through Isaac were constituted a commonwealth, an external, visible community. By the other, his spiritual descendants were constituted a Church. The parties to the former covenant were God and the nation; to the other, God and his true people. The promises of the national covenant were national blessings; the promises of the spiritual covenant, (i.e. of the covenant of grace) were spiritual blessings, reconciliation, holiness, and eternal life. The conditions of the one covenant were circumcision and obedience to the law; the condition of the latter was, is, and ever has been, faith in the Messiah as the seed of the woman, the Son of God, and the Savior of the world. There cannot be a greater mistake than to confound the national covenant with the covenant of grace, and the commonwealth founded on the one with the Church founded on the other.

    When Christ came “the commonwealth” was abolished, and there was nothing put in its place. The Church remained. There was no external covenant, nor promises of external blessings, on condition of external rites and subjection. There was a spiritual society with spiritual promises, on the condition of faith in Christ. In no part of the New Testament is any other condition of membership in the Church prescribed than that contained in the answer of Philip to the eunuch who desired baptism: “If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” (Acts viii. 37)

  3. markmcculley Says:

    SOLA ECCLESIA: The Lost Reformation Doctrine
    by Michael J. Glodo
    With which of the following statements are you in greater agreement?

    1. “Every day people are straying away from the church and going back to God.”

    2. “Away from [the church] one cannot hope for any forgiveness of sins or any salvation.”

    For the average evangelical Christian the first statement may lack some balance, but the second sounds downright Romish. If this describes your reaction, then your ecclesiology is closer to the author of the first, Lenny Bruce, than to the author of the second, John Calvin (Institutes 4.1.1). Bruce, satirist of organized religion and nemesis to hypocrisy, a comedian notorious for his vulgarity and impiety, nevertheless expressed a common contemporary assessment of organized religion, while Calvin’s statement seemed to betray his role as one of the primary catalysts of the Protestant Reformation

    There is no invisible baptism,. The person who says, “I’m a member of the Kingdom of God, not organized religion” is inherently contradictory. How do we know that such a person is truly converted? For that matter, how does he or she know? They have refused Christ’s appointed administration of his Kingdom and, thus, stand apart from his kingship. For this reason, one cannot possess assurance of salvation indefinitely if he remains outside of the Church . He may have saving faith, but have none of Christ’s means of assuring him of it. Paul wrote, “But the Jerusalem above is free; she is our mother” (Galatians 4:26, NASV). Hence, Cyprian wrote, “No one has God as his father without the Church as his mother.”
    Ridderbos described that view, “liberal theology asserted that, as a visible gathering of believers with a certain amount of organization, the Church lay entirely outside Jesus’ vision.”

    mark: like the fundy slippery slope from no head covering to evolution and same-sex marriage, the sacramentalists accuse all who disagree with them of being “liberals”

  4. markmcculley Says:

    Presbyterians not only believe in credobaptism, they practice it; they just don’t believe in exclusive credobaptim. This means that every instance of adult/believer/credobaptism in Scripture fits within both the paedobaptist view and the credobaptist view.” Roman Catholics not only believe in grace but also in faith. They just don’t believe in exclusive grace or exclusive faith. This means that will keep on watering infants even if there is even ione instance of an infant water baptism in Scitpture. And also, once you are in the visible church, we will tolerate your having any and all doctrinal differences with the confession, because who are we to judge the tares if the tares continue to make their finanicial contributions?

  5. markmcculley Says:

    Reviewing Anthony Hoekema (Created in God’s Image) in his Covenant Theology in Reformed Perspective, p328, Karlberg quotes Hoekema:

    “To be sure, all infants are under the condemnation of Adam’s sin as soon as they are born. But the Bible clearly teaches that God will judge everyone according to his or her works. And those who die in infancy are incapable of doing any works, whether good or bad.” p165

    Karlberg comments, “this view appears to be something less than consistent Calvinism. Is not the basis of salvation the sovereign, electing purpose of God in Christ, rather than any consideration of human performance either in the case of adults or infants?”

  6. markmcculley Says:

    Can Bachelors Keep the Covenant?

    “Kingdom mission and Christian hospitality and community are not instrumental. They are not undertaken in order to strengthen and make families happy. The strength and happiness of families is an important thing. But it is a byproduct of service to the kingdom larger than the family, p 163.

    Families at the Crossroads, Rodney Clapp, 1993

  7. markmcculley Says:

    Brandon Adams — historic Presbyterianism was very different than modern Presbyterianism. Modern Presbyterianism will consider a non-communicant member who has reached the “age of discretion” and does not profess saving faith in Christ to be a covenant breaker and thus excommunicated. That was not the historic position. Instead, non-communicant members could remain members of the church without making any credible profession of saving faith. That was only required for communicant membership (access to the Lord’s table). Thus everyone in a nation was required by law to profess the true religion (known as “historic faith”) but they were not required by law to profess saving faith. Therefore the covenanters did not see themselves as judging “the world” with these laws. They were judging the church.

    With which presumption will we start?

    –will we exclude from the new covenant those who were in the Abrahamic covenant, or only “include more” ( now females and unmarried males)

    –will we include the spouse and the slaves and the teenage children of a father, or even the grandchildren of those with parents who were cut off from the covenant?

    All or nothing–if we want to include instead of exclude, why not let’s water everybody (not only infants from some families) , including all the adults who come our way–then we can begin to teach them the commands of the covenant (how could we teach anybody God’s law until after they were in the covenant?) and thus we can teach these included disciples that God has promised all of them them saving faith….less narrow, more generous and capacious

    And all we need for that is a common enemy scapegoat—those who refuse to be magistrates, we can accuse them all of wanting to take over as magistrates—and thus find unity between ourselves by excluding fanatics loyal only to one kingdom.

    every inclusion is also an exclusion

  8. markmcculley Says:

    Piper is not a pacifist but a less consistent two kingdom person than Hart is. While Piper can still believe that “Jesus has nothing to do with it” when he’s talking about being cops and soldiers, he somehow thinks anti-racism is “Christian”. So why does Hart need to translate Piper’s pietism (or other persons’ pacifism) into a category called “the spirituality of the church”? Is the only way Hart can understand another w-v besides his own to make that other w-v use his vocabulary?

    Hart “cherry picks” this one idea of “the spirituality of the church”. To define the jargon, he would have to first define “the church”. But without definition (or even the history of the definition), Hart “frames” the other according to his own narrative.

    Yes, Piper is nothing if not ambivalent. In his Taste and See (Multnomah,1999, p3 25), Piper explains how Arminians are “Reformed” and how he himself is both Arminian and Reformed. “Christ died for all sinners, so that IF you will repent and believe in Christ, then the death of Jesus will become effective in your case and will take away your sins. ‘Died for you,’ means if you believe, the death of Jesus will cover your sins.”

    But sometimes the word “ambiguity” is just another word for “contradiction”. Two kingdom is another word for sometimes I kill and sometimes I don’t. I kill as an American but not as a Christian. I want those who kill for me to do so not as Christians but as fellow human sinners. And etc.

    When Calvin talked about a “twofold kingdom”, was Calvin talking about “the spirituality of the church” or was Calvin talking about a Christian city state with one involuntary Christian church?

    If you would not kill a person to defend yourself from somebody you provoked, why would you kill a person to defend your wife from somebody she did not provoke? And what does either of these decisions have to do with “the spirituality of the church”?

    If Piper needs to also allow black people to suffer in order to be consistent in his practice of ‘the spirituality of the church”, why are other two kingdom folks allowed to insist on black people’s rights to self-preservation as Americans?

    If preachers should not comment on what other preachers say about guns, why should historians comment on what preachers say about other preachers who call Christians to lay down the cross and take up the sword? Is taking up the cross and putting down the sword acceptable for us who are “spiritual”, but not for other Americans?

    If a Reformed church over time ceases to produce Christian individuals with divided loyalties who become Christian police and Christian soldiers, has that church ceased to be Reformed? If all the persons in that church give unbalanced priority to the kingdom of heaven, without ever feeling called to kill people for the sake of other people, would this mean that they stopped “cherry picking”? if a Reformed person at all times (not only SOMETIMES) acts only in loyalty to their citizenship from heaven, do these persons by their nonviolence set aside the possibility of their still being Reformed?

  9. markmcculley Says:

    Phillip Cary complaining about individual Christians not trusting the church for their salvation.

    Cary—What the sacramental word tells me is not: “You must believe” (a command we must choose to obey) but “Christ died for you” (good news that causes us to believe).

    Cary—It is sufficient to know that Christ’s body is given for me. If I cling to that in faith, all will go well with me. And whenever the devil suggests otherwise, I keep returning to that sacramental Word, and to the “for us” in the creed, where the “us” includes me. Thus precisely the kind of faith that is insufficient to get me admitted to the Reformed sacrament

    Cary—-Mere belief in the truth of the creed and trust in my baptism—is all the faith I have. If Luther is right, it is all the faith I can ever have, and all the faith I need. The Reformed tradition generates pastoral problems that cannot be helped by the sacrament, because neither word nor sacrament can assure me that I have true saving faith.

    Cary—-Some time in the middle ages the term “justification” came to be used to describe the outcome of sacramental penance . This means justification is an event that recurs many times in life, beginning with baptism and repeated every time we truly repent of our sins and are forgiven—in contrast to the classic Protestant doctrine of a single event of justification that is closely connected with, if not identical to, a once-in-a-lifetime conversion.

  10. markmcculley Says:

    DeRouchie—In contrast to previous covenants, the ‘seed’ of the new covenant are not physically born into covenant membership. Even Sarah ultimately experienced labor in pain at Isaacs birth (Isaiah 51:2), but the ‘barren ones’s’ lack of labor and childbearing in 54:1 suggest that spiritual adoption, not physical birth, would characterize the identity of the new children.”

  11. markmcculley Says:

    Since our duty is not based on our ability, the soundbite from Augustine (give what you command, and command what you will) is wrong if it’s understood to say that Christians now CAN obey the law at least enough to make it “congruent” or “fitting” (Jonathan Edwards) for God to bless us.
    The Augustinian soundbite is also wrong if it is used to imply that God in neo-nomian fashion now lowers the standard of the law to the level of what we in the new covenant are now gifted to do IMPERFECTLY. .
    The law is not the gospel, grace is not the law, and the ability to keep the law is not grace. It’s still too late for justified sinners to keep the law in order to sanctified. Those who are already saints are commanded to obey the law.
    Romans 5:20 Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more,
    Freedom from the law by Christ’s death imputed is necessary before we do any good works acceptable to God

  12. markmcculley Says:

    Mark 1:4 4 John came baptizing in the wilderness and preaching a baptism of repentance FOR the forgiveness of sins.

    Does the “FOR ” the remission mean “in order to” or “because of” the remission? Who knows and who cares? The point is that the remission might not take place at the same time as the water. The point is (a second point) is that the remission might not ever take place, at least not if the infant does not die before the ” age in which the table is no longer fenced against those watered at birth”. The point is that in the meanwhile we should presume remission because who knows anything for certain?

    “Repent,” Peter said to them, “and be baptized, each of you, in the name of Jesus Christ FOR the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and for your children without exception because all Israel was always all Israel, and even though some do come by faith alone, there is no need for your children to do so, since they are already called and already near and here, and all they need to do is not leave. Not to deny that some also who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call, also come by faith alone, without Christian magistrates and without Christian parents, but of course not without water by clergy at some point.

    Acts 15 Some men came down from Judea and began to teach the brothers: “Unless you are circumcised according to the custom prescribed by Moses, you cannot be saved!” … 9 God made no distinction between us and them, cleansing their hearts by faith….11 we are saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus in the same way they are.

    Acts 19 Paul came to Ephesus and found some disciples 2 and asked them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” “No,” they told him, “we haven’t even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” 3 “Then what baptism were you baptized with?” Paul asked them. “With John’s baptism,” they replied. 4 Paul said, “John baptized with a baptism of repentance, telling the people that they should believe in the Lord Jesus 5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.

    Nicodemus came a runnin’ hard
    Said “Has anybody here done seen the Lord?
    I want to buy some ‘ligion, but what will it cost
    To get myself to Heaven ‘fore my soul be lost?
    Then my God spoke, He spoke so sweet
    Sounded like the shuffle of angels feet
    He said “Marvel thou man, if you want to be wise
    You got to believe and be baptized”

    Nicodemus said “I don’t understand! I want to know
    How can be born when he’s old?”

  13. markmcculley Says:

    So it’s a sin for me not to kill other sinners in order to act as God (should) to provide for my family? Getting killed instead of killing, why should you more practical folks be offended if people like that want to do that to their families? Should it be against the law not to own a gun?

    don’t tempt God, keep a gun handy, that’s what Jesus taught in the Sermon on the Mount—that’s why Jesus didn’t jump off the temple, when Satan dared Him to—us not having a gun is not leaning on the everlasting arms because it’s “daring God’ to save us when we could save ourselves without God’s help (not ourselves but those we have a paternal responsibility and priesthood to cover and protect)

    Matthew 10: 35 For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. 36 And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household. 37 Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.

    Matthew 12: 46 While he was still speaking to the people, behold, his mother and his brothers stood outside, asking to speak to him. 48 But he replied to the man who told him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” 49 And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers!

    Matthew 19: 29 And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold and will inherit lasting life

    Matthew 5: 43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 in order that you be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have?Do not even the tax collectors DO THE SAME? 47 And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles DO THE SAME?

    anything you do for others not yourselves is “reasonable”
    Dan Berrigan
    I think of the good, decent, peace-loving people I have known by the thousands, and I wonder. How many of them are so afflicted with the wasting disease of normalcy that, even as they declare for the peace, their hands reach out with an instinctive spasm … in the direction of their comforts, their home, their security, their income, their future, their plans— that fifty-year plan of decent life and honorable natural demise.

    “Of course, let us have the peace,” we cry, “but at the same time let us have normalcy, let us lose nothing, let our lives stand intact, let us not know disruption of ties.” And because we must protect that, and because at all costs—at all costs—our hopes must march on schedule, and because it is unheard of that that good men should suffer injustice or families be sundered or good repute be lost—because of this we cry peace and cry peace, and there is no peace. There is no peace because there are no peacemakers. There are no makers of peace because the making of peace is at least as costly as the making of war at least as disruptive, at least as liable to bring disgrace

  14. markmcculley Says:

    Can temporary residents submit to Putin and honor Putin, without being either a citizen of his regime or a rebel against his evil regime?

    I Peter 2: 7 So honor will come to you who believe, but for the unbelieving,
    The stone that the builders rejected—
    this One has become the cornerstone,
    8 and A stone to stumble over,
    and a rock to trip over.
    They stumble because they disobey the message.They were destined for this.

    9 But you are a chosen a chosen people
    in order to proclaim the praises
    of the One who called you OUT of darkness
    into His marvelous light.
    10 You were not born a people,
    BUT NOW you are God’s people;
    you HAD NOT received mercy,
    but NOW you have received mercy.

    I urge you as strangers and temporary residents to abstain from fleshly desires that war against you. Conduct yourselves honorably among the Americans and the Russians and the Turks and all other pagans so that in a case where they speak against you as those who do what is evil, they will, by observing your good works, glorify God on the day of visitation.

    Honor everyone. Love the brothers. Fear God. Honor the Emperor. 18 Household slaves, submit with all fear to your masters, not only to the good and gentle but also to the cruel

  15. markmcculley Says:

    2 Thessalonians 2:10 They perish because they did not accept the love of the truth in order to be saved. 11 For this reason God sends them a strong delusion so that they will believe what is false, 12 so that all will be condemned—those who did not believe the truth but enjoyed unrighteousness. 13 But we must always thank God for you, brothers loved by the Lord, because from the beginning God has chosen you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and through belief in the truth. 14 He called you to this through our gospel

  16. markmcculley Says:

    P1 God promises to save the elect children born of Christian parents.
    P2 God promises to save the elect children not born of Christian parents
    (John 1:13; Gal 3:7-9; Rom 9:7-8, 11, 24-26; 10:11-13; 11:17; Eph 1:4-10,)
    C1 Physical heritage is irrelevant to God’s promise to save the elect.
    P3 Physical heritage is irrelevant to God’s promise to save the elect.
    P4 God’s covenantal faithfulness is determined by His promise to save the elect.
    C2 Physical heritage is irrelevant to God’s covenantal faithfulness. Brandon Adams, they are equivocating on what the promise is, precisely. Is it to the elect, or is it to all our children generally?
    P4 God’s covenantal faithfulness is determined by His promise to save those who he has promised to save.
    P5 God has promised to (among others) save the children of believers.
    C God shows His faithfulness (among other ways) when He saves (among others) the children of believers.
    In which case, there is nothing unique about the salvation of the children of believers since God’s faithfulness is also demonstrated (“among other ways”) when he saves the children of non-believers

  17. markmcculley Says:

    The task to which Augustine set himself was far from easy. The New Testament was stilI in men’s hands, with its blueprints of a church that ignores all existing boundaries as it draws its own. A way had to be found around this difficulty. if the dream of an empire-church were to come true. Augustine sought to escape the dilemma in which he found himself by the device of a church in two senses — a little church folded away in the tissues of a big church. Augustine thought that by means of this device he would be able to preserve the believers’ church of the New Testament as he constructed the empire-wide church. However, there was a further difficulty. If the “little church” were held to be discernible, serious-minded people would so concentrate on it as to make them lose all interest in that massive thing now also called church. So Augustine seized upon the very biblical idea of predestination, the idea of election. By this means Augustine was able to make Corpus Christi an entity that was by definition indiscernible to the human eye, and it was this invisibility that kept it — as an idea — from cancelling out the large and very visible church of the masses.

    We cannot segregate the evil in suffering from the good in suffering. We must be patient in waiting for the violence of God to do the segregation.

    “John Cotton argued that heretics are stubborn, prideful people who, even though they know better, rebel on purpose. If these sinners refuse to change their ways, they should be punished, either by the church excommunication or, if they corrupt others, then by the “Civil Sword” of the state.. Otherwise, these sinners would expose others in society to “a dangerous and damnable infection” Roger Williams responded that that the field represents the world , not the church, and not Cotton’s hypocritical sinners within the church. The wheat plants are “children of the kingdom” who must co-exist in society with the followers of Satan until the end of the age. .

    Martin Luther– “What raging and furious people we have been these many years, in that we desired to force others to believe; the Turks with the sword, heretics with fire, the Jews with death, and thus to out root the tares by our own power, as if we were the ones who could reign over hearts and spirits, and make them pious and right, which God’s Word alone must do. By this murder we separate the people from the Word, so that the Word cannot possibly work upon them and afterwards say we did God a service by our actions, and wish to merit something special.”

    Augustine–“They who today are tares, may tomorrow be wheat.”

    Augustine is not exactly saying that that non-sheep can become sheep. . But Augustine is saying that everybody in Christendom is one of Christ’s sheep.

  18. markmcculley Says:

    Leithart–You might say, “I know I’m justified because I believe the gospel.” You know you’re justified because you’re confident that you have fulfilled the condition of justification, which is faith. That sounds a lot like putting faith in your faith, which is putting faith in something you’ve done, which is the opposite of what a Protestant should say.

    You might protest, “But faith is a gift. I’m not putting faith in my own belief, but in God’s gift of faith.” Fair enough, but you’ll notice that you’re still focusing on what’s happening in you. Instead of getting assurance by turning outward to God, you’re assured by turning inward. Which, again, seems like the opposite of what a Protestant should be doing. That inward turn was one of the main things Luther was trying to escape.

    If baptism is not a public declaration of justification, where and when does that public declaration take place? Is it ever heard on earth? Is it ever spoken to me in particular? Can I hear it anywhere except in my heart? If I only hear the declaration of justification in my heart, how can I be sure I’m not hearing things? To be sure we’re right with God, we need some sign from Him, and it has to be a sign to me. We might wish for some other sign, but the sign that Paul talks about is water.

    John Henry Newman charged that Luther delivered men from the tyranny of works only to place them under the tyranny of feelings. That’s unfair, and an inaccurate claim about Luther. But if we say that justification is a legal declaration, but then immediately say that this legal declaration is inaudible except to my inner ear, we are very much in danger of doing just what Newman worried about. We should worry too.

    This leads us back to Cary’s conclusion: Justification by grace through faith cannot be sustained, either in theology or in our experience, without confidence that God works in the sacraments. We cannot get assurance unless we’re convinced that God declares me His beloved child in the water of baptism.

    Which means, No baptism, No justification. And that implies, No sacraments, No Protestantism.

    The election of Isaac instead of Ishmael God shows that physical descent from Abraham does not guarantee that one will be a beneficiary of the covenant made with Abraham and his seed . But the covenant blessings for which Isaac is freely chosen (before his birth) and from which Ishmael is excluded from Abraham) do not include individual lasting life in the age to come. Isaac is not promised the life to come, and Ishmael is not excluded from the promise to as many as believe the gospel (even though they are not children of Abraham or Isaac)

    Romans 9: 3 For I could almost wish to be cursed and cut off from the Messiah for the benefit of my brothers, my own flesh and blood. 4 They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory,the covenants, the giving of the law, the temple service, and the promises. 5 The ancestors are theirs, and from them, by physical descent, came the Messiah

    Romans 11: 28 Regarding the gospel, they are enemies for your advantage, but regarding election, they are loved because of the patriarchs, 29 since God’s gracious gifts and calling are irrevocable.

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