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Archive | Answers

Hebrews 8 and the Credobaptist Objection: A Reply

Paedobaptist: So let me get this straight, one your biggest objections to infant baptism rests on the understanding that the New Covenant is comprised of only the elect/regenerate?

Credo: That’s right. Hebrews 8 (citing Jeremiah 31) makes this plain. Everyone in the New Covenant knows the Lord. That’s what makes it unlike the Mosaic Covenant. The old covenant was more ethnic in nature. It included the children of Jews. As such, it was a covenant that included both the regenerate and unregenerate. This is contrasted with that of the New Covenant. Only genuine believers (the regenerate) make up the New Covenant. This fact is a crucial part of its newness!

Paedobaptist: But surely you grant that not everyone in the church is regenerate, right?

Credo: Of course. There are false believers and apostates. But they aren’t part of the New Covenant.

Paedobaptist: But many of these false believers are baptized, right?

Credo: Yes.

Paedobaptist: So they receive the sign of the covenant but are not part of the covenant community?

Credo: That’s right. Only the elect comprise the New Covenant.

Paedobaptist: But isn’t there an external administration of the covenant? In other words, don’t you believe that they are connected to the New Covenant in some sense?

Credo: They are […]

Help! I Struggle With My Pastor’s Preaching

Call me an old school Presbyterian but in my estimation there is nothing as important as the preaching of God’s Word. I don’t think it was overbold for PT Forsyth to suggest: “With its preaching Christianity stands or falls.” Preaching is not merely an appendix to the many activities of the church, an ancillary support to a pastor’s more important tasks, or a supplement for the spirituality of a congregation. It stands at the center. It is the primary method God uses to give faith (Romans 10:17), to save sinners (1 Corinthians 1:21), and to spiritually strengthen (Romans 16:25). It’s for this reason the Westminster Shorter Catechism says: “The Spirit of God makes the reading, but especially the preaching, of the word, an effectual means of convincing and converting sinners, and of building them up in holiness and comfort, through faith, unto salvation.” That’s why it can be such a spiritual crisis when people struggle with their pastor’s preaching.

I was recently speaking with a friend who was dealing with this problem. For some time he has not felt overly encouraged or built up by the preaching in his local church. It’s not that there’s false doctrine being preached or anything […]

A Few Words For Our Cultural Moment

“Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, ‘if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.’ Do not be overcome by evil, but […]

A Brief Reflection on Apologetics and Epistemology

(This is a follow-up to my post which can be found here)

When confronted with evidence supporting the notion of intelligent design, as demonstrated through the finely-tuned nature of the universe, atheist, Peter Millican, appealed chiefly to two different lines of thinking in order to escape the force of the argument: The possibility of a multiverse and the discovery of a new theory or law of nature that would resolve the tension through a more naturalistic explanation.

Allow me to bullet some thoughts:

How Do I Know What God’s Will Is?

I’ve heard it and you’ve heard it, I’ve used it, and you’ve used it: “I think it’s the will of God that I do such and such.” Who should I marry? What should I study? When should I do this? Where should I work? Why has this happened? But the question behind those questions is: how do I go about discerning God’s will? And, I might add, that’s the question that must be answered before we go any further. If we don’t know how God reveals his will to us it will do little good to ask those particular questions.

A bit anecdotally, I remember beginning my college career at a small Christian liberal arts university in Minnesota. Of course, the whole environment of the university was aimed at trying to get young men and women to find their future spouse during their college years. The conspiracy theory was that this would give a good return to the school because regardless of what the academic experience was–or how much it cost–tales of lore would be told that this was the place where two people fell in love. And it wasn’t uncommon, for instance, for a young man to approach a potential […]

Browse Worthy: Our Sad, Sex-Saturated Society

Some sane thoughts for dealing with this culture in which we live.

On Nude Selfies

One of the Kardashians put up one of these on the internet. Practical Theology for Women discusses how “body part” currency is truly a counterfeit one.

Sex Trumps History

No, this is not about the presidential race. Rather, Carl Trueman finds yet another reason (a surprisingly valid one, I might add) for why people do not know history.

The Modesty Debate

Sam Powell discusses that the common emphasis in the church on women dressing modestly can often be a cover up of the wrong kind.

Openness Unhindered

An insightful and lengthy review over at Reformation 21 of Rosaria Butterfield’s book by this title.

Sex, Sin & Salvation

For training and help in this area, on April 21-23 in Pittsburgh, the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals and the Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary are hosting a conference with this title. Speakers include Rosaria Butterfield, Tim Challies, Peter Jones, Heath Lambert, George Scipione, John Street, and Derek Thomas. Click the link or banner to find out more and register.

Satan’s Awful Idea (Free PDF Book Version)

Forgive my shameless plug, but I’d like to make my book (in PDF form) available for free.

For those who would like to think further about Satan’s fall and God’s peculiar response to the kingdom of darkness (from a distinctly Reformed perspective), I’d encourage you to consider this book.

Here are some questions that emerge and seek to be answered in this work:

What could possibly convince angels to follow Satan in his mutinous designs?  Would a mere expression of pride somehow persuade?
1 John 3:8b says, “The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.”  That is an incredible statement.  What are these works?  And how did Christ destroy them?
Why is sin ironic?  Why does it purchase the opposite of what it promises?
Did Satan know that the cross would undue him?  Did he foresee its effects?
Knowing what terrible things would come to pass, why did God create the angel we now know as Satan?
When were the elect angels confirmed in holiness?

Many other questions are raised and explored.  So if your interest is at all piqued, I’d encourage you to give it a look.  Merely click the image for the PDF.  Or you can download it here.

Do share […]

A Critique Of Tim Keller’s Comments About Homosexuality

In full disclosure, the video I’m about to link occurred many years ago.  I believe it was 2008.  But in that video we have Tim Keller being interviewed by David Eisenbach.  In the noted section, Keller is asked a question about homosexuality.

Now what is concerning to me is not only his answer, but the apparent influence it has had on some people in my circle of acquaintance.  I’ve heard some parrot Keller on this point.  Naturally, this had led to a discussion.

In what is to follow, I’ve pasted a letter I’ve sent to one such friend.  It details my thoughts about Tim Keller’s response.  Given the importance of maintaining anonymity, I’ve changed some details and the name and have left out certain parts.

One more matter.  Tim Keller’s view of homosexuality is not in question.  He does not approve of homosexuality.  This is plain from several sources.  But if I could direct readers to merely one, I would point to his review of Matthew Vines’ book here.

With that said, here is the video.  After that, my letter.

 

————————————-

James,

After reflecting on the matter of Tim Keller’s answer to Professor Eisenbach further, having listened carefully to the video again, I am very concerned. There […]

Why Are Some Reformed People Such Jerks?

Almost ten years ago I read a piece by R. Scott Clark called: “Why (Some) Reformed People Are Such Jerks.” The article was intended to address, as you can probably guess, a common criticism. It has always stuck with me. Admittedly—and somewhat to my own embarrassment—it took a little while for the harsh reality to sink in that I was, indirectly speaking, the subject of that post. Yes, I have been and can be a real jerk. However, I trust that in the years since reading it some of the rougher edges have been smoothed by the work of the Holy Spirit. But I know all too well that the little jerk called “My Sinful Self” is always crouching at the door.

Even though I’m stealing the title (kind of) I don’t want to simply restate what’s already been said–insightful as it is! This is a topic that is worth repeating and a point that is worth remaking because it’s a complaint that’s recurring. The truth is some Reformed folks can be complete jerks. Rather than being the “aroma of Christ” (2 Corinthians 2:15) we can be the stench of arrogance. Rather than “compelling people to come in” (Luke 14:23) we […]