Friday, February 29, 2008

Calvin On Infant Baptism Pt. 5

"13. Although, after the resurrection of Christ, the boundaries of the kingdom began to be extended far and wide into all nations indiscriminately, so that, according to the declaration of Christ, believers were collected from all quarters to sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven (Mt. 8:11), still, for many ages before, the Jews had enjoyed this great mercy. And as he had selected them (while passing by all other nations) to be for a time the depositaries of his favour, he designated them as his peculiar purchased people (Exod. 19:5). In attestation of this kindness, he appointed circumcision, by which symbol the Jews were taught that God watched over their safety, and they were thereby raised to the hope of eternal life. For what can ever be wanting to him whom God has once taken under his protection? Wherefore the apostle, to prove that the Gentiles, as well as the Jews, were the children of Abraham, speaks in this way: “Faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness. How was it then reckoned? when he was in circumcision, or in uncircumcision? Not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision. And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised; that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised: that righteousness might be imputed to them also: and the father of circumcision to them who are not of the circumcision only, but who also walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham, which he had yet being uncircumcised” (Rom. 4:9–12). Do we not see that both are made equal in dignity? For, to the time appointed by the divine decree, he was the father of circumcision. But when, as the apostle elsewhere writes (Eph. 2:14), the wall of partition which separated the Gentiles from the Jews was broken down, to them, also, access was given to the kingdom of God, and he became their father, and that without the sign of circumcision, its place being supplied by baptism. In saying expressly that Abraham was not the father of those who were of the circumcision only, his object was to repress the superciliousness of some who, laying aside all regard to godliness, plumed themselves on mere ceremonies. In like manner, we may, in the present day, refute the vanity of those who, in baptism, seek nothing but water.

14. But in opposition to this is produced a passage from the Epistle to the Romans, in which the apostle says, that those who are of the flesh are not the children of Abraham, but that those only who are the children of promise are considered as the seed (Rom. 9:7). For he seems to insinuate, that carnal relationship to Abraham, which we think of some consequence, is nothing. But we must attend carefully to the subject which the apostle is there treating. His object being to show to the Jews that the goodness of God was not restricted to the seed of Abraham, nay, that of itself it contributes nothing, produces, in proof of the fact, the cases of Ishmael and Esau. These being rejected, just as if they had been strangers, although, according to the flesh, they were the genuine offspring of Abraham, the blessing resides in Isaac and Jacob. This proves what he afterwards affirms—viz. that salvation depends on the mercy which God bestows on whomsoever he pleases, but that the Jews have no ground to glory or plume themselves on the name of the covenant, unless they keep the law of the covenant, that is, obey the word. On the other hand, after casting down their vain confidence in their origin, because he was aware that the covenant which had been made with the posterity of Abraham could not properly prove fruitless, he declares, that due honour should still be paid to carnal relationship to Abraham, in consequence of which, the Jews were the primary and native heirs of the gospel, unless in so far as they were, for their ingratitude, rejected as unworthy, and yet rejected so as not to leave their nation utterly destitute of the heavenly blessing. For this reason, though they were contumacious breakers of the covenant, he styles them holy (such respect does he pay to the holy generation which God had honoured with his sacred covenant), while we, in comparison of them, are termed posthumous, or abortive children of Abraham, and that not by nature, but by adoption, just as if a twig were broken from its own tree, and ingrafted on another stock. Therefore, that they might not be defrauded of their privilege, it was necessary that the gospel should first be preached to them. For they are, as it were, the first-born in the family of God. The honour due, on this account, must therefore be paid them, until they have rejected the offer, and, by their ingratitude, caused it to be transferred to the Gentiles. Nor, however great the contumacy with which they persist in warring against the gospel, are we therefore to despise them. We must consider, that in respect of the promise, the blessing of God still resides among them; and, as the apostle testifies, will never entirely depart from them, seeing that “the gifts and calling of God are without repentance” (Rom. 11:29).

15. Such is the value of the promise given to the posterity of Abraham,—such the balance in which it is to be weighed. Hence, though we have no doubt that in distinguishing the children of God from bastards and foreigners, that the election of God reigns freely, we, at the same time, perceive that he was pleased specially to embrace the seed of Abraham with his mercy, and, for the better attestation of it, to seal it by circumcision. The case of the Christian Church is entirely of the same description; for as Paul there declares that the Jews are sanctified by their parents, so he elsewhere says that the children of Christians derive sanctification from their parents. Hence it is inferred, that those who are chargeable with impurity are justly separated from others. Now, who can have any doubt as to the falsehood of their subsequent averment—viz. that the infants who were formerly circumcised only typified the spiritual infancy which is produced by the regeneration of the word of God? When the apostle says, that “Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers” (Rom. 15:8), he does not philosophise subtilely, as if he had said, Since the covenant made with Abraham has respect unto his seed, Christ, in order to perform and discharge the promise made by the Father, came for the salvation of the Jewish nation. Do you see how he considers that, after the resurrection of Christ, the promise is to be fulfilled to the seed of Abraham, not allegorically, but literally, as the words express? To the same effect is the declaration of Peter to the Jews: “The promise is unto you and to your children” (Acts 2:39); and in the next chapter, he calls them the children of the covenant, that is, heirs. Not widely different from this is the other passage of the apostle, above quoted, in which he regards and describes circumcision performed on infants as an attestation to the communion which they have with Christ. And, indeed, if we listen to the absurdities of those men, what will become of the promise by which the Lord, in the second commandment of his law, engages to be gracious to the seed of his servants for a thousand generations? Shall we here have recourse to allegory? This were the merest quibble. Shall we say that it has been abrogated? In this way, we should do away with the law which Christ came not to destroy, but to fulfil, inasmuch as it turns to our everlasting good. Therefore, let it be without controversy, that God is so good and liberal to his people, that he is pleased, as a mark of his favour, to extend their privileges to the children born to them."

John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, Translation of: Institutio Christianae religionis.; Reprint, with new introd. Originally published: Edinburgh : Calvin Translation Society, 1845-1846., IV, xvi, 13 (Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997).

It's Not Easy Being Chocolate!

I could not resist posting this video. Apparently life as a chocolate egg is much harder than originally thought. I think we need to look into starting a support group for these poor souls. Anyway, enjoy, I laughed harder than I have in a couple of weeks.

My favorite is the egg slicer followed closely by the trash can, what are yours?

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Calvin On Infant Baptism Pt. 4

"10. Let us now discuss the arguments by which some furious madmen cease not to assail this holy ordinance of God. And, first, feeling themselves pressed beyond measure by the resemblance between baptism and circumcision, they contend that there is a wide difference between the two signs, that the one has nothing in common with the other. They maintain that the things meant are different, that the covenant is altogether different, and that the persons included under the name of children are different. When they first proceed to the proof, they pretend that circumcision was a figure of mortification, not of baptism. This we willingly concede to them, for it admirably supports our view, in support of which the only proof we use is, that baptism and circumcision are signs of mortification. Hence we conclude that the one was substituted for the other, baptism representing to us the very thing which circumcision signified to the Jews. In asserting a difference of covenant, with what barbarian audacity do they corrupt and destroy Scripture? and that not in one passage only, but so as not to leave any passage safe and entire. The Jews they depict as so carnal as to resemble brutes more than men, representing the covenant which was made with them as reaching no farther than a temporary life, and the promises which were given to them as dwindling down into present and corporeal blessings. If this dogma is received, what remains but that the Jewish nation was overloaded for a time with divine kindness (just as swine are gorged in their sty), that they might at last perish eternally? Whenever we quote circumcision and the promises annexed to it, they answer, that circumcision was a literal sign, and that its promises were carnal.

11. Certainly, if circumcision was a literal sign, the same view must be taken of baptism, since, in the second chapter to the Colossians, the apostle makes the one to be not a whit more spiritual than the other. For he says that in Christ we “are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ.” In explanation of his sentiment he immediately adds, that we are “buried with him in baptism.” What do these words mean, but just that the truth and completion of baptism is the truth and completion of circumcision, since they represent one thing? For his object is to show that baptism is the same thing to Christians that circumcision formerly was to the Jews. Now, since we have already clearly shown that the promises of both signs, and the mysteries which are represented by them, agree, we shall not dwell on the point longer at present. I would only remind believers to reflect, without anything being said by me, whether that is to be regarded as an earthly and literal sign, which has nothing heavenly or spiritual under it. But lest they should blind the simple with their smoke, we shall, in passing, dispose of one objection by which they cloak this most impudent falsehood. It is absolutely certain that the original promises comprehending the covenant which God made with the Israelites under the old dispensation were spiritual, and had reference to eternal life, and were, of course, in like manner spiritually received by the fathers, that they might thence entertain a sure hope of immortality, and aspire to it with their whole soul. Meanwhile, we are far from denying that he testified his kindness to them by carnal and earthly blessings; though we hold that by these the hope of spiritual promises was confirmed. In this manner, when he promised eternal blessedness to his servant Abraham, he, in order to place a manifest indication of favour before his eye, added the promise of possession of the land of Canaan. In the same way we should understand all the terrestrial promises which were given to the Jewish nation, the spiritual promise, as the head to which the others bore reference, always holding the first place. Having handled this subject fully when treating of the difference between the old and the new dispensations, I now only glance at it.

12. Under the appellation of children the difference they observe is this, that the children of Abraham, under the old dispensation, were those who derived their origin from his seed, but that the appellation is now given to those who imitate his faith, and therefore that carnal infancy, which was ingrafted into the fellowship of the covenant by circumcision, typified the spiritual children of the new covenant, who are regenerated by the word of God to immortal life. In these words we indeed discover a small spark of truth, but these giddy spirits err grievously in this, that laying hold of whatever comes first to their hand, when they ought to proceed farther, and compare many things together, they obstinately fasten upon one single word. Hence it cannot but happen that they are every now and then deluded, because they do not exert themselves to obtain a full knowledge of any subject. We certainly admit that the carnal seed of Abraham for a time held the place of the spiritual seed, which is ingrafted into him by faith (Gal. 4:28; Rom. 4:12). For we are called his sons, though we have no natural relationship with him. But if they mean, as they not obscurely show, that the spiritual promise was never made to the carnal seed of Abraham, they are greatly mistaken. We must, therefore, take a better aim, one to which we are directed by the infallible guidance of Scripture. The Lord therefore promises to Abraham that he shall have a seed in whom all the nations of the earth will be blessed, and at the same time assures him that he will be a God both to him and his seed. All who in faith receive Christ as the author of the blessing are the heirs of this promise, and accordingly are called the children of Abraham."

John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, Translation of: Institutio Christianae religionis.; Reprint, with new introd. Originally published: Edinburgh : Calvin Translation Society, 1845-1846., IV, xvi, 10 (Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997).

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Macbook Air

We all want one because of the great commercial that is running 24/7 and I just found the video for that song you can't get out of your head. It's called "New Soul" by Yael Naim, enjoy.

HT: Awaiting Rain

Creeds, What Are They Good For?

Mike Brown over at Pilgrim People has a great post on Creeds. Check it out.

"It is interesting to note that creedal statements often appear in Scripture. For example, in Deuteronomy 6, we read the great Shema: “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.” The Jews recited this creed since the days of Moses. It was a critical creed, because it protected the Israelites from the heresy of polytheism, that is, the belief that there are many gods. When Israel received this creed, they were in the process of being brought out of Egypt where t"hey had lived for over 400 years."
Continue reading.

Calvin On Infant Baptism Pt. 3

"7. Hence our Lord Jesus Christ, to give an example from which the world might learn that he had come to enlarge rather than to limit the grace of the Father, kindly takes the little children in his arms, and rebukes his disciples for attempting to prevent them from, coming (Mt. 19:13), because they were keeping those to whom the kingdom of heaven belonged away from him, through whom alone there is access to heaven. But it will be asked, What resemblance is there between baptism and our Saviour embracing little children? He is not said to have baptised, but to have received, embraced, and blessed them; and, therefore, if we would imitate his example, we must give infants the benefit of our prayers, not baptise them. But let us attend to the act of our Saviour a little more carefully than these men do. For we must not lightly overlook the fact, that our Saviour, in ordering little children to be brought to him, adds the reason, “ of such is the kingdom of heaven.” And he afterwards testifies his good-will by act, when he embraces them, and with prayer and benediction commends them to his Father. If it is right that children should be brought to Christ, why should they not be admitted to baptism, the symbol of our communion and fellowship with Christ? If the kingdom of heaven is theirs, why should they be denied the sign by which access, as it were, is opened to the Church, that being admitted into it they may be enrolled among the heirs of the heavenly kingdom? How unjust were we to drive away those whom Christ invites to himself, to spoil those whom he adorns with his gifts, to exclude those whom he spontaneously admits. But if we insist on discussing the difference between our Saviour’s act and baptism, in how much higher esteem shall we hold baptism (by which we testify that infants are included in the divine covenant), than the taking up, embracing, laying hands on children, and praying over them, acts by which Christ, when present, declares both that they are his, and are sanctified by him. By the other cavils by which the objectors endeavour to evade this passage, they only betray their ignorance: they quibble that, because our Saviour says “Suffer little children to come,” they must have been several years old, and fit to come. But they are called by the Evangelists βπέφη καὶ παιδιά, terms which denote infants still at their mothers’ breasts. The term “come” is used simply for “approach.” See the quibbles to which men are obliged to have recourse when they have hardened themselves against the truth! There is nothing more solid in their allegation, that the kingdom of heaven is not assigned to children, but to those like children, since the expression is, “of such,” not “of themselves.” If this is admitted, what will be the reason which our Saviour employs to show that they are not strangers to him from nonage? When he orders that little children shall be allowed to come to him, nothing is plainer than that mere infancy is meant. Lest this should seem absurd, he adds, “Of such is the kingdom of heaven.” But if infants must necessarily be comprehended, the expression, “of such,” clearly shows that infants themselves, and those like them, are intended.

8. Every one must now see that pædobaptism, which receives such strong support from Scripture, is by no means of human invention. Nor is there anything plausible in the objection, that we nowhere read of even one infant having been baptised by the hands of the apostles. For although this is not expressly narrated by the Evangelists, yet as they are not expressly excluded when mention is made of any baptised family (Acts 16:15, 32), what man of sense will argue from this that they were not baptised? If such kinds of argument were good, it would be necessary, in like manner, to interdict women from the Lord’s Supper, since we do not read that they were ever admitted to it in the days of the apostles. But here we are contented with the rule of faith. For when we reflect on the nature of the ordinance of the Lord’s Supper, we easily judge who the persons are to whom the use of it is to be communicated. The same we observe in the case of baptism. For, attending to the end for which it was instituted, we clearly perceive that it is not less applicable to children than to those of more advanced years, and that, therefore, they cannot be deprived of it without manifest fraud to the will of its divine Author. The assertion which they disseminate among the common people, that a long series of years elapsed after the resurrection of Christ, during which pædobaptism was unknown, is a shameful falsehood, since there is no writer, however ancient, who does not trace its origin to the days of the apostles.

9. It remains briefly to indicate what benefit redounds from the observance, both to believers who bring their children to the church to be baptised, and to the infants themselves, to whom the sacred water is applied, that no one may despise the ordinance as useless or superfluous: though any one who would think of ridiculing baptism under this pretence, would also ridicule the divine ordinance of circumcision: for what can they adduce to impugn the one, that may not be retorted against the other? Thus the Lord punishes the arrogance of those who forthwith condemn whatever their carnal sense cannot comprehend. But God furnishes us with other weapons to repress their stupidity. His holy institution, from which we feel that our faith derives admirable consolation, deserves not to be called superfluous. For the divine symbol communicated to the child, as with the impress of a seal, confirms the promise given to the godly parent, and declares that the Lord will be a God not to him only, but to his seed; not merely visiting him with his grace and goodness, but his posterity also to the thousandth generation. When the infinite goodness of God is thus displayed, it, in the first place, furnishes most ample materials for proclaiming his glory, and fills pious breasts with no ordinary joy, urging them more strongly to love their affectionate Parent, when they see that, on their account, he extends his care to their posterity. I am not moved by the objection, that the promise ought to be sufficient to confirm the salvation of our children. It has seemed otherwise to God, who, seeing our weakness, has herein been pleased to condescend to it. Let those, then, who embrace the promise of mercy to their children, consider it as their duty to offer them to the Church, to be sealed with the symbol of mercy, and animate themselves to surer confidence, on seeing with the bodily eye the covenant of the Lord engraven on the bodies of their children. On the other hand, children derive some benefit from their baptism, when, being ingrafted into the body of the Church, they are made an object of greater interest to the other members. Then when they have grown up, they are thereby strongly urged to an earnest desire of serving God, who has received them as sons by the formal symbol of adoption, before, from nonage, they were able to recognise him as their Father. In fine, we ought to stand greatly in awe of the denunciation, that God will take vengeance on every one who despises to impress the symbol of the covenant on his child (Gen. 17:15), such contempt being a rejection, and, as it were, abjuration of the offered grace."

John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, Translation of: Institutio Christianae religionis.; Reprint, with new introd. Originally published: Edinburgh : Calvin Translation Society, 1845-1846., IV, xvi, 7 (Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997).

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Time For Some Video Levity

It's been awhile since I lightened things up and I found this at A Little Leaven and had to share it.

Calvin On Infant Baptism Pt. 2

"4. There is now no difficulty in seeing wherein the two signs agree, and wherein they differ. The promise, in which we have shown that the power of the signs consists, is one in both—viz. the promise of the paternal favour of God, of forgiveness of sins, and eternal life. And the thing figured is one and the same—viz. regeneration. The foundation on which the completion of these things depends is one in both. Wherefore, there is no difference in the internal meaning, from which the whole power and peculiar nature of the sacrament is to be estimated. The only difference which remains is in the external ceremony, which is the least part of it, the chief part consisting in the promise and the thing signified. Hence we may conclude, that everything applicable to circumcision applies also to baptism, excepting always the difference in the visible ceremony. To this analogy and comparison we are led by that rule of the apostle, in which he enjoins us to bring every interpretation of Scripture to the analogy of faithD127 (Rom. 12:3, 6). And certainly in this matter the truth may almost be felt. For just as circumcision, which was a kind of badge to the Jews, assuring them that they were adopted as the people and family of God, was their first entrance into the Church, while they, in their turn, professed their allegiance to God, so now we are initiated by baptism, so as to be enrolled among his people, and at the same time swear unto his name. Hence it is incontrovertible, that baptism has been substituted for circumcision, and performs the same office.

5. Now, if we are to investigate whether or not baptism is justly given to infants, will we not say that the man trifles, or rather is delirious, who would stop short at the element of water, and the external observance, and not allow his mind to rise to the spiritual mystery? If reason is listened to, it will undoubtedly appear that baptism is properly administered to infants as a thing due to them. The Lord did not anciently bestow circumcision upon them without making them partakers of all the things signified by circumcision. He would have deluded his people with mere imposture, had he quieted them with fallacious symbols: the very idea is shocking. He distinctly declares, that the circumcision of the infant will be instead of a seal of the promise of the covenant. But if the covenant remains firm and fixed, it is no less applicable to the children of Christians in the present day, than to the children of the Jews under the Old Testament. Now, if they are partakers of the thing signified, how can they be denied the sign? If they obtain the reality, how can they be refused the figure? The external sign is so united in the sacrament with the word, that it cannot be separated from it: but if they can be separated, to which of the two shall we attach the greater value? Surely, when we see that the sign is subservient to the word, we shall say that it is subordinate, and assign it the inferior place. Since, then, the word of baptism is destined for infants, why should we deny them the sign, which is an appendage of the word? This one reason, could no other be furnished, would be amply sufficient to refute all gainsayers. The objection, that there was a fixed day for circumcision, is a mere quibble. We admit that we are not now, like the Jews, tied down to certain days; but when the Lord declares, that though he prescribes no day, yet he is pleased that infants shall be formally admitted to his covenant, what more do we ask?

6. Scripture gives us a still clearer knowledge of the truth. For it is most evident that the covenant, which the Lord once made with Abraham, is not less applicable to Christians now than it was anciently to the Jewish people, and therefore that word has no less reference to Christians than to Jews. Unless, indeed, we imagine that Christ, by his advent, diminished, or curtailed the grace of the Father—an idea not free from execrable blasphemy. Wherefore, both the children of the Jews, because, when made heirs of that covenant, they were separated from the heathen, were called a holy seed, and for the same reason the children of Christians, or those who have only one believing parent, are called holy, and, by the testimony of the apostle, differ from the impure seed of idolaters. Then, since the Lord, immediately after the covenant was made with Abraham, ordered it to be sealed in infants by an outward sacrament, how can it be said that Christians are not to attest it in the present day, and seal it in their children? Let it not be objected, that the only symbol by which the Lord ordered his covenant to be confirmed was that of circumcision, which was long ago abrogated. It is easy to answer, that, in accordance with the form of the old dispensation, he appointed circumcision to confirm his covenant, but that it being abrogated, the same reason for confirmation still continues, a reason which we have in common with the Jews. Hence it is always necessary carefully to consider what is common to both, and wherein they differed from us. The covenant is common, and the reason for confirming it is common. The mode of confirming it is so far different, that they had circumcision, instead of which we now have baptism. Otherwise, if the testimony by which the Jews were assured of the salvation of their seed is taken from us, the consequence will be, that, by the advent of Christ, the grace of God, which was formerly given to the Jews, is more obscure and less perfectly attested to us. If this cannot be said without extreme insult to Christ, by whom the infinite goodness of the Father has been more brightly and benignly than ever shed upon the earth, and declared to men, it must be confessed that it cannot be more confined, and less clearly manifested, than under the obscure shadows of the law."

John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, Translation of: Institutio Christianae religionis.; Reprint, with new introd. Originally published: Edinburgh : Calvin Translation Society, 1845-1846., IV, xvi, 4 (Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997).

Monday, February 25, 2008

Calvin On Infant Baptism Pt. 1

"1. But since, in this age, certain frenzied spirits have raised, and even now continue to raise, great disturbance in the Church on account of pædobaptism, I cannot avoid here, by way of appendix, adding something to restrain their fury. Should any one think me more prolix than the subject is worth, let him reflect that, in a matter of the greatest moment, so much is due to the peace and purity of the Church, that we should not fastidiously object to whatever may be conducive to both. I may add, that I will study so to arrange this discussion, that it will tend, in no small degree, still farther to illustrate the subject of baptism.603 The argument by which pædobaptism is assailed is, no doubt, specious—viz. that it is not founded on the institution of God, but was introduced merely by human presumption and depraved curiosity, and afterwards, by a foolish facility, rashly received in practice; whereas a sacrament has not a thread to hang upon, if it rest not on the sure foundation of the word of God. But what if, when the matter is properly attended to, it should be found that a calumny is falsely and unjustly brought against the holy ordinance of the Lord? First, then, let us inquire into its origin. Should it appear to have been devised merely by human rashness, let us abandon it, and regulate the true observance of baptism entirely by the will of the Lord; but should it be proved to be by no means destitute of his sure authority, let us beware of discarding the sacred institutions of God, and thereby insulting their Author.

2. In the first place, then, it is a well-known doctrine, and one as to which all the pious are agreed,—that the right consideration of signs does not lie merely in the outward ceremonies, but depends chiefly on the promise and the spiritual mysteries, to typify which the ceremonies themselves are appointed. He, therefore, who would thoroughly understand the effect of baptism—its object and true character—must not stop short at the element and corporeal object. but look forward to the divine promises which are therein offered to us, and rise to the internal secrets which are therein represented. He who understands these has reached the solid truth, and, so to speak, the whole substance of baptism, and will thence perceive the nature and use of outward sprinkling. On the other hand, he who passes them by in contempt, and keeps his thoughts entirely fixed on the visible ceremony, will neither understand the force, nor the proper nature of baptism, nor comprehend what is meant, or what end is gained by the use of water. This is confirmed by passages of Scripture too numerous and too clear to make it necessary here to discuss them more at length. It remains, therefore, to inquire into the nature and efficacy of baptism, as evinced by the promises therein given. Scripture shows, first, that it points to that cleansing from sin which we obtain by the blood of Christ; and, secondly, to the mortification of the flesh which consists in participation in his death, by which believers are regenerated to newness of life, and thereby to the fellowship of Christ. To these general heads may be referred all that the Scriptures teach concerning baptism, with this addition, that it is also a symbol to testify our religion to men.

3. Now, since prior to the institution of baptism, the people of God had circumcision in its stead, let us see how far these two signs differ, and how far they resemble each other. In this way it will appear what analogy there is between them. When the Lord enjoins Abraham to observe circumcision (Gen. 17:10), he premises that he would be a God unto him and to his seed, adding, that in himself was a perfect sufficiency of all things, and that Abraham might reckon on his hand as a fountain of every blessing. These words include the promise of eternal life, as our Saviour interprets when he employs it to prove the immortality and resurrection of believers: “God,” says he, “is not the God of the dead, but of the living” (Mt. 22:32). Hence, too, Paul, when showing to the Ephesians how great the destruction was from which the Lord had delivered them, seeing that they had not been admitted to the covenant of circumcision, infers that at that time they were aliens from the covenant of promise, without God, and without hope (Eph. 2:12), all these being comprehended in the covenant. Now, the first access to God, the first entrance to immortal life, is the remission of sins. Hence it follows, that this corresponds to the promise of our cleansing in baptism. The Lord afterwards covenants with Abraham, that he is to walk before him in sincerity and innocence of heart: this applies to mortification or regeneration. And lest any should doubt whether circumcision were the sign of mortification, Moses explains more clearly elsewhere when he exhorts the people of Israel to circumcise the foreskin of their heart, because the Lord had chosen them for his own people, out of all the nations of the earth. As the Lord, in choosing the posterity of Abraham for his people, commands them to be circumcised, so Moses declares that they are to be circumcised in heart, thus explaining what is typified by that carnal circumcision. Then, lest any one should attempt this in his own strength, he shows that it is the work of divine grace. All this is so often inculcated by the prophets, that there is no occasion here to collect the passages which everywhere occur. We have, therefore, a spiritual promise given to the fathers in circumcision, similar to that which is given to us in baptism, since it figured to them both the forgiveness of sins and the mortification of the flesh. Besides, as we have shown that Christ, in whom both of these reside, is the foundation of baptism, so must he also be the foundation of circumcision. For he is promised to Abraham, and in him all nations are blessed. To seal this grace, the sign of circumcision is added."

John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, Translation of: Institutio Christianae religionis.; Reprint, with new introd. Originally published: Edinburgh : Calvin Translation Society, 1845-1846., IV, xvi, 1 (Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997).

Calvin On Baptism

"10. It is now clear how false the doctrine is which some long ago taught, and others still persist in, that by baptism we are exempted and set free from original sin, and from the corruption which was propagated by Adam to all his posterity, and that we are restored to the same righteousness and purity of nature which Adam would have had if he had maintained the integrity in which he was created. This class of teachers never understand what is meant by original sin, original righteousness, or the grace of baptism. Now, it has been previously shown (Book 2 chap. 1 sec. 8), that original sin is the depravity and corruption of our nature, which first makes us liable to the wrath of God, and then produces in us works which Scripture terms the works of the flesh (Gal. 5:19). The two things, therefore, must be distinctly observed—viz. that we are vitiated and perverted in all parts of our nature, and then, on account of this corruption, are justly held to be condemned and convicted before God, to whom nothing is acceptable but purity, innocence, and righteousness. And hence, even infants bring their condemnation with them from their mother’s womb; for although they have not yet brought forth the fruits of their unrighteousness, they have its seed included in them. Nay, their whole nature is, as it were, a seed of sin, and, therefore, cannot but be odious and abominable to God. Believers become assured by baptism, that this condemnation is entirely withdrawn from them, since (as has been said) the Lord by this sign promises that a full and entire remission has been made, both of the guilt which was imputed to us, and the penalty incurred by the guilt. They also apprehend righteousness, but such righteousness as the people of God can obtain in this life—viz. by imputation only, God, in his mercy, regarding them as righteous and innocent."

John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, Translation of: Institutio Christianae religionis.; Reprint, with new introd. Originally published: Edinburgh : Calvin Translation Society, 1845-1846., IV, xv, 10 (Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997).

"20. It is here also pertinent to observe, that it is improper for private individuals to take upon themselves the administration of baptism; for it, as well as the dispensation of the Supper, is part of the ministerial office. For Christ did not give command to any men or women whatever to baptise, but to those whom he had appointed apostles. And when, in the administration of the Supper, he ordered his disciples to do what they had seen him do (he having done the part of a legitimate dispenser), he doubtless meant that in this they should imitate his example. The practice which has been in use for many ages, and even almost from the very commencement of the Church, for laics to baptise, in danger of death, when a minister could not be present in time, cannot, it appears to me, be defended on sufficient grounds. Even the early Christians who observed or tolerated this practice were not clear whether it were rightly done. This doubt is expressed by Augustine when he says, “Although a laic have given baptism when compelled by necessity, I know not whether any one can piously say that it ought to be repeated. For if it is done without any necessity compelling it, it is usurpation of another’s office; but if necessity urges, it is either no fault, or a venial one” (August. Cont. Epist. Parmen. Lib. 2 c. 13). With regard to women, it was decreed, without exception, in the Council of Carthage (cap. 100), that they were not to presume to baptise at all. But there is a danger that he who is sick may be deprived of the gift of regeneration if he decease without baptism! By no means. Our children, before they are born, God declares that he adopts for his own when he promises that he will be a God to us, and to our seed after us. In this promise their salvation is included. None will dare to offer such an insult to God as to deny that he is able to give effect to his promise. How much evil has been caused by the dogma, ill expounded, that baptism is necessary to salvation, few perceive, and therefore think caution the less necessary. For when the opinion prevails that all are lost who happen not to be dipped in water, our condition becomes worse than that of God’s ancient people, as if his grace were more restrained than under the Law. In that case, Christ will be thought to have come not to fulfil, but to abolish the promises, since the promise, which was then effectual in itself to confer salvation before the eighth day, would not now be effectual without the help of a sign."

John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, Translation of: Institutio Christianae religionis.; Reprint, with new introd. Originally published: Edinburgh : Calvin Translation Society, 1845-1846., IV, xv, 20 (Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997).

Friday, February 22, 2008

Cyprian On Baptism

"1. Cyprian, and others his colleagues who were present in council, in number sixty-six, to Fidus their brother, greeting. We have read your letter, dearest brother, in which you intimated concerning Victor, formerly a presbyter, that our colleague Therapius, rashly at a too early season, and with over-eager haste, granted peace to him before he had fully repented, and had satisfied the Lord God, against whom he had sinned; which thing rather disturbed us, that it was a departure from the authority of our decree, that peace should be granted to him before the legitimate and full time of satisfaction, and without the request and consciousness of the people—no sickness rendering it urgent, and no necessity compelling it. But the judgment being long weighed among us, it was considered sufficient to rebuke Therapius our colleague for having done this rashly, and to have instructed him that he should not do the like with any other. Yet we did not think that the peace once granted in any wise by a priest of God was to be taken away, and for this reason have allowed Victor to avail himself of the communion granted to him.

2. But in respect of the case of the infants, which you say ought not to be baptized within the second or third day after their birth, and that the law of ancient circumcision should be regarded, so that you think that one who is just born should not be baptized and sanctified within the eighth day, we all thought very differently in our council. For in this course which you thought was to be taken, no one agreed; but we all rather judge that the mercy and grace of God is not to be refused to any one born of man. For as the Lord says in His Gospel, “The Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them,” as far as we Can, We must strive that, if possible, no soul be lost. For what is wanting to him who has once been formed in the womb by the hand of God? To us, indeed, and to our eyes, according to the worldly course of days, they who are born appear to receive an increase. But whatever things are made by God, are completed by the majesty and work of God their Maker.

3. Moreover, belief in divine Scripture declares to us, that among all, whether infants or those who are older, there is the same equality of the divine gift. Elisha, beseeching God, so laid himself upon the infant son of the widow, who was lying dead, that his head was applied to his head, and his face to his face, and the limbs of Elisha were spread over and joined to each of the limbs of the child, and his feet to his feet. If this thing be considered with respect to the inequality of our birth and our body, an infant could not be made equal with a person grown up and mature, nor could its little limbs fit and be equal to the larger limbs of a man. But in that is expressed the divine and spiritual equality, that all men are like and equal, since they have once been made by Cool; and our age may have a difference in the increase of our bodies, according to the world, but not according to God; unless that very grace also which is given to the baptized is given either less or more, according to the age of the receivers, whereas the Holy Spirit is not given with measure, but by the love and mercy of the Father alike to all. For God, as He does not accept the person, so does not accept the age; since He shows Himself Father to all with well-weighed equality for the attainment of heavenly grace.

4. For, with respect to what you say, that the aspect of an infant in the first days after its birth is not pure, so that any one of us would still shudder at kissing it, we do not think that this ought to be alleged as any impediment to heavenly grace. For it is written, “To the pure all things are pure.” Nor ought any of us to shudder at that which God hath condescended to make. For although the infant is still fresh from its birth, yet it is not such that any one should shudder at kissing it in giving grace and in making peace; since in the kiss of an infant every one of us ought for his very religion’s sake, to consider the still recent hands of God themselves, which in some sort we are kissing, in the man lately formed and freshly born, when we are embracing that which God has made. For in respect of the observance of the eighth day in the Jewish circumcision of the flesh, a sacrament was given beforehand in shadow and in usage; but when Christ came, it was fulfilled in truth. For because the eighth day, that is, the first day after the Sabbath, was to be that on which the Lord should rise again, and should quicken us, and give us circumcision of the spirit, the eighth day, that is, the first day after the Sabbath, and the Lord’s day, went before in the figure; which figure ceased when by and by the truth came, and spiritual circumcision was given to us.

5. For which reason we think that no one is to be hindered from obtaining grace by that law which was already ordained, and that spiritual circumcision ought not to be hindered by carnal circumcision, but that absolutely every man is to be admitted to the grace of Christ, since Peter also in the Acts of the Apostles speaks, and says, “The Lord hath said to me that I should call no man common or unclean.” But if anything could hinder men from obtaining grace, their more heinous sins might rather hinder those who are mature and grown up and older. But again, if even to the greatest sinners, and to those who had sinned much against God, when they subsequently believed, remission of sins is granted—and nobody is hindered from baptism and from grace—how much rather ought we to shrink from hindering an infant, who, being lately born, has not sinned, except in that, being born after the flesh according to Adam, he has contracted the contagion of the ancient death at its earliest birth, who approaches the more easily on this very account to the reception of the forgiveness of sins—that to him are remitted, not his own sins, but the sins of another.

6. And therefore, dearest brother, this was our opinion in council, that by us no one ought to he hindered from baptism and from the grace of God, who is merciful and kind and loving to all. Which, since it is to he observed and maintained in respect of all, we think is to be even more observed in respect of infants and newly-born persons, who on this very account deserve more from our help and from the divine mercy, that immediately, on the very beginning of their birth, lamenting and weeping, they do nothing else but entreat. We bid you, dearest brother, ever heartily farewell."

Alexander Roberts, James Donaldson and A. Cleveland Coxe, The Ante-Nicene Fathers Vol. V : Translations of the Writings of the Fathers Down to A.D. 325, Fathers of the Third Century: Hippolytus,Cyprian, Novatian, Appendix., 353 (Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, 1997).

Monday, February 11, 2008

A Brief One

I have been reading other blogs tonight and ran across two similar posts that I thought I should link to. They are about "blog etiquette" and while I have not suffered as these two fellow bloggers have I still would like to have a link back to these post if ever there should come a day when I have as much traffic as them and experience their pain as well. So now I encourage you all to check out the Reformed Gadfly and Pilgrim's Reformation Nation.

Down But Not Out

After taking care of my wife the best I could for a week and getting her off to a business trip to Atlanta I woke up this morning with influenza. I feel horrible, what's new, and do not know how long I will be out but I will not be posting for a bit. Lisa may post from Atlanta, she has a great idea for a post so check back and talk about it when she does.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

I Think He Does Not Like Rick Warren

Coram Deo over at Absolute Dominion got into a dialog with another commenter on a Warren post of mine and one of his comments I felt was worthy of being a post itself.

I want to say to Guy that I respect and admire the work he does as a missionary however I feel he has fallen into the lack of discernment trap most of America has fallen into. Please read this and understand why we are so vociferous about PDL and it's destructive ways.

Coram Deo has put up three additional posts on Warren you can find here, here, and here.

The following is a modified and expanded version of a comment I left over at The Truth in Context blog after an individual calling himself "guymuse" questioned the moral ability of those - such as myself - who dare to question the demonstrably false teaching of the Purpose Driven Protestant Pontiff Rick Warren.

guymuse said: I would suggest that you might be careful making judgment calls against another professing believer.

Yes, you might suggest that, and I would respond that I've been quite careful - and thorough - in both my research and my comments and I stand firmly by each and every one of them.

But still I wonder; why would you suggest that when the "professing believer" in question unrepentantly spouts manifold heresies and teaches scriptural falsehoods and errors?

guymuse said: What I see is that you are the one ascribing judgment--something I clearly believe is an attribute that only God can do.

You're simply confused here. God alone judges who goes to heaven and hell. God can and will certainly save those whose names have been written in the Lamb's Book of Life from the foundation of the world. I'm not passing eternal heaven/hell judgment on Rick Warren, but I absolutely am judging him by his words and his actions and how those words and actions line up with the infallible, inerrant, inspired, plenary Word of God as contained uniquely within the Holy Bible! And by the way, ALL true Christians are commanded to do the same (see Jude 1:3).

guymuse said: What I am trying to say is that I would be careful making judgment calls against a fellow brother in Christ whom the Lord is greatly using to impact the world for the cause of Christ.

Rick Warren is NOT a fellow brother in Christ. Rick Warren is a demonic dupe, a satanic stooge, and a pawn of the prince of the power of the air. He's a wolf in sheep's clothing that is rending Christ's little flock with his pernicious, abominable, damnable heresy and is leading countless myriads of deceived souls toward the very pit of hell with his false teaching.

Either Rick Warren's man-centered 100% works righteousness false gospel god is God, or the One True Living God of the Holy Bible is God. I profess and claim the latter as my God and utterly reject the false gospel of universalism espoused by Rick Warren.

guymuse said: If you (or Alan) truly have concerns about Warren and his ministry, have you done the Biblical thing--ala Matthew 18:15-17, and gone to Rick himself to try and clear up your these perceived "sins?"

If not, I would say the ones out of line biblically, are those making the public accusations of "Gentile" and "tax-gatherer" without having FIRST gone to the brother in question.

Rick Warren's false statements are a matter of public record. If you've spent as much time as you claim studying the NT church then after reading this misapplication of the doctrine of church discipline I'd humbly suggest that you need to go back and hit the textbooks again.

Are you really saying that you believe Matt. 18 is referring to instances where the "professing believer" in question is a major public figure - and is a *total stranger* - who has made public statements which are verifiably Biblically incorrect, and yet another can't publicly speak (or write) about it without first going to said public figure privately?

What silliness!

Clearly the scriptural admonition here is for settling disputes within the local church - the local body of believers!

Do you privately remonstrate in your heart against the Apostle Paul for withstanding Peter to his face without first writing him a note or visiting him privately prior to publicly rebuking him for his gross error? For your sake I certainly hope not.

I'm forced to ask guymuse, within your spiritual worldview and according to your understanding of the scriptures why is it wrong or objectionable for believers to "make judgment calls" when the "professing believer" in question twists, wrests, and denies the very Words of the Lord Whose blood he claims bought him? Why do you object to doctrinal correction and rebuke of gross sin and error?

Have you ever listened to Rick Warren's false gospel?

Have you ever compared Rick Warren's false teaching to the Holy Bible?

Do you realize that based on the very scriptures regarding fruit and works that you cited Rick Warren must be considered to be an apostate and wholly outside the true Body of Christ? For example:

Did you know Rick Warren is an unrepentant liar?

Did you know that Rick Warren stages massive rallies at his mega church Saddleback to bring awareness to global HIV/AIDS, but studiously avoids any such rallies or mentions about the holocaust of global abortion?

Did you know that Rick Warren is OF the world and world loves him for it?

Did you know that Rick Warren openly engages in ecumenical exchange with Islam, and not for the purpose of spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, but for building "common ground" between the "Abrahamic Faiths"?

Did you know that Rick Warren teaches that DISUNITY is Satan's greatest weapon?

Did you know that Rick Warren promotes New Age mysticism and contemplative prayer which are pagan and idolatrous?

Did you realize that heretics of a feather flock together and Rick Warren embraces a veritable Who's Who of apostates, heretics, and blasphemers? Again, IN NONE OF THESE INSTANCES does "Pastor" Rick bother to share the eternal gospel of Jesus Christ so let's not pretend that he's merely "building relationships" so he can slip them a "Gospel Mickey" when they least suspect it. Rick Warren loves rubbing elbows and glad-handing with the power brokers, movers and shakers, and "big names" of this fallen world. The spirit of the age is within Rick Warren and moves him like an unseen hand. Rick Warren, the Purpose Driven Puppet Master is himself a puppet of the evil master puppeteer himself, the enemy Satan.

In all of this Rick Warren demonstrates that he is just like his father the devil.

"By their fruits you shall know them" (Matt. 7:16)

A double minded man is unstable in all his ways. (James 1:8)

Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God. (James 4:4)

You can see and hear the apostate Rick Warren deny the Biblical truth of salvation by grace through faith alone (Sola Fide) and teach a man-centered religion of works righteousness (the law) with your own eyes and ears in this short video.

Is this what the Reformers died for? Did Christian martyrs give their lives so that liars and thieves like Rick Warren could enslave men and lead them back to the damnable doctrines of Rome? Does the evildoer Rick Warren realize that the Pope could happily preach this precise sermon to a Catholic audience and be in full agreement with its content?

Warrenism = Ecumenism = Rome


Unity at all costs.

Unity at the expense of truth.

It would be understandable for the non-discerning to come to Warren's defense and say, "Hey, Pastor Rick just wants unity for the Body of Christ, that's a good thing, that's something God desires and something we ought to be working toward!" Yet the truth is that all regenerate, truly born-again Christians are already in spiritual unity together in Christ; this is the mystery of the true church, the true Bride of Christ!

No my friend, Warren is so obsessed with a false temporal unity obtained at the expense of Biblical truth that he's willing in his capacity as Protestant Pope to excommunicate serious, discerning, Christ-centered brothers and sisters in Lord in order to ensure the absolute, unquestioned authority of his Purpose Driven Pulpit Puppets - those who will undoubtedly soon be known as his "Bishops". Amazingly Warren is so eager to spiritually prostitute himself to his idol god unity that he's signed an open letter to Muslims extolling the common virtues of the Christian and Islamic faiths emphasizing "the absolutely central commonality between both religions: love of God and love of neighbor".

So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. (Revelation 3:16)

Warren's non-gospel of nothingness is in fact the bondage of religious works righteousness. In Warren's upside down spiritual world men are to earn "rewards" from God Almighty based upon their works of righteousness in the flesh. This is so far removed from the truth of Christianity as to make the Gospel According to Pastor Rick another gospel.

The men-in-skirts spiritual sissies that pass for "Christian leaders" in these last days aren't interested in divisive things like taking a stand on scripture, doctrine, or a bunch of dusty old creeds!

"Why be divisive"? This was Rick Warren's actual response when asked about the fact that his pastor-training programs welcome Catholics, Methodists, Mormons, Jews and ordained women.

“I’m not going to get into a debate over the non-essentials. I won’t try to change other denominations. Why be divisive?” he asks.

Egads man! Look, if the gospel itself is a non-essential to Rick Warren - and it is in both word and deed - then nothing else is left to debate.

Nothing else matters.

Elvis has left the building.

I can only give Rick Warren the benefit of the doubt that he actually is an apostate. But I must admit that I'm becoming increasingly convinced that he doesn't even qualify for that ignominious title because I'm not sure he was ever a true Christian believer/pastor/teacher in the first place.

He's providing more and more evidence that he may have always been a cultist.

I wonder how quickly his fawning media coverage would vaporize if he insisted on having rallies in favor of ending abortion at Saddleback instead of a warm and fuzzy conversation about A.I.D.S?

I wonder how suddenly his status as "America's Pastor" would evaporate if he were adamant about organizing every church and every church member to mobilize their resources to run the aborturaries out of their communities?

I wonder how immediately his invitations to appear on prime time television talk shows would disappear if he had dedicated as much time speaking out against the blood of millions of innocents flowing from their mother's wombs as he's spent shilling his social gospel of works righteousness?

May the Lord of Hosts open the eyes of Rick Warren and his itching ears followers, hirelings and hangers-on before it's too late!

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Do I Have To Say This Once Again?

The goal of this blog is to raise the discernment level so woefully lacking in todays church. I am not in the church discipline business, that is for the congregations to do, which I might add is as woeful as the discernment. My job is to warn the sheep about the wolves and Rick Warren is one of the biggest wolves there is.

>Rick Warren signed a document declaring we worship the same god as Muslims

>Rick Warren refuses to discipline a pornographer in his congregation.

>Rick Warren praises a politician who supports abortion AND she speaks in his church.

>Rick Warren endorses "New Age" proponent.

You see I don't have Rick Warren's ear, I am not in his congregation, as a matter of fact I don't consider Rick Warren a brother therefore Biblical discipline is not an issue. I have the ears of a few brothers and I mean to sound the warning of this man's heresy until he repents or goes away. Rick Warren is a heretic. DO NOT LISTEN TO HIM!!!

Friday, February 8, 2008

Romans 9 Part 4

Verses 22-23 have as much controversy surrounding them as any other passage in the Bible. “What if God, although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction? And He did so to make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory,”(NASB Ro. 9:22-23) Whenever someone points to others and says “What about them?”, we must turn it back and say, “What about them?” If God has, with great patience, prepared vessels of destruction to make his great mercy known to us, we should praise him for it. Does this not make our salvation even more precious? To say that the “enduring patience” Paul speaks of is God patiently waiting for those who call down wrath on themselves to repent is, again, bad hermeneutics. The participle here is unclear. It could be a causal force (“because he wanted...”) or a force of concession (“although he wanted...”) but the causal force seems to fit the context of verse 17 better. (Newman S. 188)

I do not know how Paul could make it any clearer. God does the choosing, not man. I came to this realization on my own as a young Christian. A man at my church asked me to a movie, and afterwards, we were walking through the mall and talking about the movie and the Bible. He asked me if I had read Romans 9. I told him I had and he asked me what I thought it meant. I will never forget my answer. As an immature Christian who had no idea what a Calvinist or an Arminian was, I answered honestly. I said, “I think it means what it says.” He looked at me, smiled, and said, “Good luck with that viewpoint.” I had no idea what he meant at the time, but over the years, I have been amazed by how people will try and explain away the simple meaning of a text when it does not line up with their presuppositions. I think when anyone will honestly and humbly consider the passage, this becomes clear.

In verse 23, Paul calls attention to who exactly the vessels of mercy are—those called from the Jews and the Gentiles. In His sovereignty, God chooses people from all nations. This is not at all what the Jews would have considered possible in their understanding of salvation. They thought they were chosen for salvation, and that they attained it by keeping the law. How wrong they turned out to be. Even though the Old Testament has much to say about this: “I WILL CALL THOSE WHO WERE NOT MY PEOPLE” (NASB ROM 9:25), the Israelites did not seem to understand.

Paul gives numerous examples from the Old Testament showing that God has not changed. He has always dealt with sinful man the same way; He always will deal with sinful man the same way. Those in the Old Testament looked forward to the coming Messiah; we now look back to the finished work of the Christ.

In verse 30, Paul is summing up his argument against his fellow Israelites, once again telling them they are no different from the Gentiles. “What shall we say then? That Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, attained righteousness, even the righteousness which is by faith” (NASB Ro. 9:30) Keeping the law does not save anyone; salvation comes by faith in God keeping the law for us. Israel wanted to do something to earn salvation, to get it on their own by keeping the law. Paul tells them the error of their ways and goes on in verse 32-33 to warn what will happen if men continue to try to reach God on their own. “Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as though it were by works. They stumbled over the stumbling stone, just as it is written, 'BEHOLD, I LAY IN ZION A STONE OF STUMBLING AND A ROCK OF OFFENSE, AND HE WHO BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED.'”(NASB Ro. 9:32-33) They will stumble over the stumbling stone. Why is this a stumbling stone? Because men think it too easy, the gospel is God doing the work for us. We tend to think we must do something. Paul makes it abundantly clear, if you try to do anything to contribute to your salvation, you will stumble.

Romans is Paul’s systematic theology. He begins by showing that no one is righteous, Jew or Gentile. All have sinned. All fall short of God’s glory. He goes so far as to say no one even seeks after God. Paul follows this up in chapter three with two little words that mean the world to sinful man: “but now.” With these words, Paul announces that, apart from the law, righteousness from God has come. He goes on to show that salvation in the Old Testament was by faith alone. Using Abraham as an example, he shows us that it is not by works, but by faith. Paul shows us in chapter six that we are free from the condemnation of the law through grace. In chapter seven, Paul uses himself as an example of how the believer will sin and do the very things he does not want to do, and not do what he should, but he follows that up in chapter eight with the promise of deliverance in Christ Jesus. He shows us how God will work in our lives to make His glory known and keep us safe until our sanctification is complete.

In chapter nine we have the culmination of this gospel that Paul proclaims. It is through God’s sovereignty that He brings people into his kingdom. It is a hard doctrine to accept, but we must believe, teach, and preach what the Bible says is true, not what we want the Bible to say is true.



When Calling Someone A Heretic

One gets slings and arrows more often than accolades. Rick Warren is one of the most heinous perpetrators of false religion of our time. He never preaches the gospel, he preaches a social gospel and a man centered gospel that makes his hearers feel good about themselves. When he started Saddleback Church he polled the people in the neighborhood and asked them what they wanted in a church. This is absolutely the last thing one should do when beginning a church. It is not what they want in a church but what they need in a church that will save them. I found this post on Absolute Dominion and it reminded me again how much the alarm needs to be sounded. I don't care how much people get offended or mad at me for this I will not stop sounding the alarm until Rick Warren repents and starts to preach the true gospel of Jesus Christ crucified for sinners and resurrected on the third day.






The dark depths in which "Pastor" Rick is willing to plumb in his unbiblical, demonically inspired, UNITY AT ALL COSTS madness is simply breathtaking.

From a biblical perspective Warren's little talk in the clip below constitutes true "hate speech"!

Friends, it's not kindness or love to tell someone who is deathly ill and in desperate need of strong medicine and immediate surgery that they're doing just fine! On the contrary, it's the worst kind of HATE!

It's not God honoring to tell an audience of unbelievers that God is cheering them on in their carnal, fleshly pursuits - whatever those may be!"

click here to continue reading.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Romans 9 Part 3

Ironside says the debate surrounding verses 11-13 is needless in light of God’s dispensational dealings. (97) But that, too, is a presupposition not everyone holds. If one does not hold to the dispensational viewpoint, the needlessness of the debate falls away.

With his next point, the apostle focuses us on the eternal issues. Paul now anticipates the obvious objection, “What shall we say then? There is no injustice with God, is there? May it never be! For He says to Moses, “I WILL HAVE MERCY ON WHOM I HAVE MERCY, AND I WILL HAVE COMPASSION ON WHOM I HAVE COMPASSION.”” The answer is simple; God is sovereign. God is not unjust. Some receive justice, others receive mercy. Some receive justice, some receive non-justice, but no one receives injustice.

This is not teaching double predestination. Everyone deserves hell because of Adam’s sin. The fact that God in His mercy chooses to save some does not show that he condemns others. (Barnhouse 28) The fact that God’s love is manifested by the sovereign election of some to eternal life does not prove God sends certain people to eternal death.

Sproul says verse 16 should put an end to the debate. (168) Unfortunately, it does not. Reese concludes, in a footnote, “There is legitimate doubt” this passage is about salvation. (388) But he does not expand on what it is about if it is not about salvation. Cottrell is even more condescending when he states this whole chapter is about election for service. (95) However, these issues are both a matter of the authors bringing their own presuppositions to the text. They do not want God to unconditionally elect people, so they do all the linguistic gymnastics they can to make the text say what they want it to say. In hermeneutics, if one can apply the plain meaning of the text, one should. When this verse says it depends on God to do the choosing, it means God does the choosing. Believing something does not make it true; we must believe what is true.

In his “Word Pictures in the New Testament”, A. T. Robertson agrees that these texts are speaking of individual election: “To Pharaoh (τῳ Φαραω [tōi Pharaō]). There is a national election as seen in verses 7–13, but here Paul deals with the election of individuals. He “lays down the principle that God’s grace does not necessarily depend upon anything but God’s will”” (Robertson S. Ro 9:17)

Paul goes on to cite an example of when God chose to pass someone over: “For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “FOR THIS VERY PURPOSE I RAISED YOU UP, TO DEMONSTRATE MY POWER IN YOU, AND THAT MY NAME MIGHT BE PROCLAIMED THROUGHOUT THE WHOLE EARTH.””(NASB Rom 9:17) God bore with Pharaoh patiently to show His glory through the most powerful man alive. Not only does Paul give an example, but also the example explains exactly why God did this—for His glory. John Calvin explains this beautifully when he says Paul “endeavours to make it more fully evident, how God, in rejecting whom he wills, is not only irreprehensible, but also wonderful in his wisdom and justice. (359)

“So then He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires.”(NASB Rom. 9:18) Again, taking the plain meaning of the text, it should be simple enough to understand what this means. We encounter bad hermeneutics when Barrett says that God’s purposes are governed by mercy. (174) God’s purposes are not governed by mercy, God governs them. Whatever God does is good, God does not do only what is good. There is an important distinction there that many people fail to understand. Calvin makes it clear when he says our mind may not like it or be content with the difference between the elect and the reprobate, but we must not enquire of God why. God told us why: it is because of his will, both choices are God’s will, and we may not ask further. (361) Paul does not fail to understand this. In verse 20, he answers the objection. “who are you, O man, who answers back to God?” We think we know so much, and then Paul puts us in our place. God is sovereign. We cannot make God into our image. Many try to do just this, but His holy word warns strongly against this.


Wednesday, February 6, 2008

I Need Help

My wife got a job with Olive Tree Bible Software, they make Bible software for PDA's and Pocket PC's. From what I understand they are the Logos of handheld Bible software. Now there are certain benefits that come with the job and one of the benefits I need a PDA/PC to take advantage of. I know nothing about these devices and am looking for some help. I would like to keep it in the $200-$250 range. Input please.

Logos Upgrade

Logos has just announced an upgrade to their system. The new ND is now available. So if you want the latest software, that is Libronix 3.0e ND, go here and download it, it's free. They did add the TNIV and the NiRV translations to all the bundles that came with the NIV, all but the Original Languages and the Christian Home libraries. I have read some pretty spiteful comments on the newsgroups about the TNIV being released and having to pay for it. Well I ordered the upgrade, free, and it is $4.95 for the media. But the media has the latest copies of all the books included in your library, which will save much download time, and it is just plain a good idea to have the latest disks every now and then. I believe they also have some updated addin stuff but don't hold me to that.

I want to briefly address what I have been seeing conveyed about this translation. I would have to agree with everyone about the gender-neutral issue surrounding this translation and that it is a bad idea. That being said, it is done, it is out there and being out there means it has to be in your library. I think the Message is a horrible version of the Bible but I have to have it in order to know what it says and what makes it bad. I am currently doing a series on Romans 9 taken from a paper I did in undergrad school. While doing research for this I had to consult commentaries with differing theological stances than what I hold to in order to refute what they said. It is a good idea to have a well rounded library in order to be a well rounded Christian. Many volumes in the "Word Biblical Commentary" set are very bad theology but excellent scholarship that I can use and benefit from.

I think I will take this opportunity to also address another issue. The 10% Logos is charging for transfer fees of used Logos software. I do not like it either because it will now cost me more than it used to for used software. However, we are entering a new era, an era where our information is not as tangible as it used to be. There is also a huge group of "Christians" who are dedicating alot of time to pirating Bible software. This has a huge impact on Logos. Every single person who downloads free pirated versions of their software takes hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars out of their pocket. Think about it, Logos has been good to all of us. They produce by far the finest product available to us, and I for one can not wait for version 4, with hopefully another added library to increase my own. Thank God for Logos and let's keep encouraging them as they grow, move, and continue to bless us with more ebooks for our libraries.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Romans 9 Part 2

Barnhouse believes that in verse five, we see one of the strongest attestations of Christ’s divinity in the Scriptures. Some of our modern translations, especially the RSV, make this statement somewhat ambiguous. The RSV inserts a false punctuation almost entirely removing the deity of Jesus: “and of their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ. God who is over all be blessed for ever.”(RSV Rom. 9:5) Whereas the New King James captures the meaning beautifully: “and from whom, according to the flesh, Christ came, who is over all, the eternally blessed God.”(NKJV Rom. 9:5) (19)

In verses six through thirteen, Paul labors to show how men have attempted to bring God, and therefore Christ, down to their level. Paul says God’s word has not failed; the people’s understanding had failed. It was prevalent in Paul’s day to consider oneself saved based on being Jewish alone. Paul makes very clear that this is not so. It was not so then, and it is still not so today. Paul is not only saying that no one is saved based on national origin, “For they are not all Israel who are descended from Israel;” but that they had the wrong idea of the Messiah as well. The Jewish people today are still awaiting their Messiah, but they await a political Messiah who will deliver them in this world only. (MacArthur S. 17)

Paul then turns to the sovereign election of God. He shows through the example of Jacob and Esau, two men born to the same mother and at the same time, that it is fully dependent on God who is saved. He says, “JACOB I LOVED, BUT ESAU I HATED.” To be sure, that quote from Malachi is speaking of the election of nations, but Paul’s application here is not. Reese says, “Whether or not Jacob is saved, that depended on Jacob. Whether of not Esau was damned, that depended on Esau. But whether the Messiah comes through Jacob or Esau, that depended on God!” (Reese 386) These are nice sentiments, but they do not do justice to the text. Paul says these words immediately after saying not all who are descended from Israel are Israel. He is speaking of the eternal salvation of individuals here. To say he changes to nations in mid-thought does an injustice to Paul’s rationality.


Monday, February 4, 2008

Romans 9 Part 1

James Boice calls Romans 9 the most difficult portion of the entire Bible. (1051) The controversy mainly surrounds the interpretation of Paul’s idea of election. Is Paul talking about election to salvation or election to service? It will be my purpose here to show that, based on the scripture at hand, Paul is talking about God sovereignly electing people to salvation. I believe that to interpret this chapter as speaking of election in any other manner does violence to the text, and such an interpretation can only be arrived at through eisegesis, the reading into the scripture of one's own preconceptions.

Paul begins the chapter with a testimony of his truthfulness through the Holy Spirit. “I am telling the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience testifies with me in the Holy Spirit, that I have great sorrow and unceasing grief in my heart.”(New American Standard Bible Ro. 9:1-2) He then speaks of wishing he could himself be condemned to hell on behalf of his fellow Jews. “For I could wish that I myself were accursed, separated from Christ for the sake of my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh, who are Israelites, to whom belongs the adoption as sons, and the glory and the covenants and the giving of the Law and the temple service and the promises, whose are the fathers, and from whom is the Christ according to the flesh, who is over all, God blessed forever. Amen.”(NASB Ro. 9:3-5) This comes on the heels of chapter eight where Paul says: “Who will separate us from the love of Christ?” (NASB Rom. 8:35) He says nothing can separate us, but then wishes for his own separation on behalf of his brothers. This is reminiscent of Moses in Exodus 32 when he cries out to God, “But now, if You will, forgive their sin—and if not, please blot me out from Your book which You have written!”(NASB Ex. 32:32) Both men understood that God would never do this, but the passion they had for their brothers was so strong they would, if they could, sacrifice their own eternal wellbeing for them.

Paul gives us a testimony of Israel and her place in God’s plan:
“But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For they are not all Israel who are descended from Israel; nor are they all children because they are Abraham’s descendants, but: “THROUGH ISAAC YOUR DESCENDANTS WILL BE NAMED.” That is, it is not the children of the flesh who are children of God, but the children of the promise are regarded as descendants. (NASB Ro. 9:6-8)

He tells of all the blessings God has poured out on her, even of the privilege of being the race through whom the Messiah would come. When Paul talks about the promises, he is speaking about the promises God made to Israel. These are promises God made to Abraham and his offspring. The promises of the temple, the covenants, the inheritance—all of these point to the ultimate fulfillment of these promises in Christ and His death on the cross.

See Bibliography

My Story Part 4

One thing I became firmly convinced of early on was that a pastor should be married. I think it is vital to his well being that he have someone who will be there to listen, make suggestions, pray for and with him, and complete the man called by God. In January. 2007, after more than 2 years of praying for her, the Lord provided that person for me in one Lisa Bronson. Now, Lisa Gielczyk and I are preparing for the adventure the Lord has for us together. She is so excited to see where the ministry of the word takes us. The support she has already provided has been invaluable. One thing she encouraged me to do is to start a blog,, where I tell people of the importance of discernment, warn them about false teaching, and provide a wealth of links to other resources that expound the truth.

As I have matured in Christ, I have had many opportunities to perform varied services. I led a Sunday School class on cults; witnessed to Mormons over a three month period and would love a chance to do that again; have led Bible studies on at least four different occasions; served as the secretary of a student led ministry at my undergraduate school, which provided several preaching opportunities; worked in the school library; and went on a mission trip to Kentucky. I believe all of these have contributed toward preparing me for the ministry the Lord has prepared for my wife and me.

I have never been more certain of anything in my life than that the Lord has called me to preach Christ and Him crucified. I discussed this over time with the pastor and elders of Christ Presbyterian Church. On one occasion as one of the elders was taking time to mentor me, I questioned why all of the elders in our church had seminary degrees, yet their vocation was in the secular world. I made the comment, “I cannot see myself doing anything but preach the gospel.” He responded that is one thing they look for in confirming a calling. He said, “If you can see yourself doing something else, you should do something else. I could see myself doing something else, so I did.” I will never forget that conversation. It has helped confirm for me that I have truly been called.

The state of preaching today is in such a mess; sound, historical-redemptive, expository preaching is needed now more than ever. I am forty years old, with a wealth of experiences I know the Lord will use to his glory. It's been nearly four years since I quit drinking, and I have been on a non-stop reading binge ever since. I have read a wide range of theological works, including systematic theology, biblical theology (Vos), homiletics, hermeneutics, apologetics, and commentaries of various theological schools. With about 50 college credits including English Composition, History, Philosophy, Speech, and several Bible classes, along with two decades of life experiences, I believe I am more than fully prepared to enter and complete the MDiv. program at fill in the blank Seminary. I am including a paper I did in undergraduate school as an example of my work. My undergraduate school was a Restoration Movement, Arminian, baptismal regeneration school and I still received an A on this paper. One major reason I would like to be admitted to the degree program is my intention of pursuing doctoral studies at some point in the future. Following the completion of my MDiv., I plan on preaching the gospel until the Lord calls me home, and I pray He gives me many years to do so.

The End, So Far!

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Warfield On Baptism

"THE question of the Subjects of Baptism is one of that class of problems the solution of which hangs upon a previous question. According as is our doctrine of the Church, so will be our doctrine of the Subjects of Baptism. If we believe, with the Church of Rome, that the Church is in such a sense the institute of salvation that none are united to Christ save through the instrumentality of her ordinances, then we shall inevitably determine the proper subjects of her ordinances in one way. If, on the other hand, we believe, with the Protestant bodies, that only those already united to Christ have right within His house and to its privileges, we shall inevitably determine them in another way. All Protestants should easily agree that only Christ’s children have a right to the ordinance of baptism. The cleavage in their ranks enters in only when we inquire how the external Church is to hold itself relatively to the recognition of the children of Christ. If we say that its attitude should be as exclusive as possible, and that it must receive as the children of Christ only those whom it is forced to recognize as such, then we shall inevitably narrow the circle of the subjects of baptism to the lowest limits. If, on the other hand, we say that its attitude should be as inclusive as possible, and that it should receive as the children of Christ all whom, in the judgment of charity, it may fairly recognize as such, then we shall naturally widen the circle of the subjects of baptism to far more ample limits. The former represents, broadly speaking, the Puritan idea of the Church, the latter the general Protestant doctrine. It is on the basis of the Puritan conception of the Church that the Baptists are led to exclude infants from baptism. For, if we are to demand anything like demonstrative evidence of actual participation in Christ before we baptize, no infant, who by reason of years is incapable of affording signs of his union with Christ, can be thought a proper subject of the rite.

The vice of this system, however, is that it attempts the impossible. No man can read the heart. As a consequence, it follows that no one, however rich his manifestation of Christian graces, is baptized on the basis of infallible knowledge of his relation to Christ. All baptism is inevitably administered on the basis not of knowledge but of presumption. And if we must baptize on presumption, the whole principle is yielded; and it would seem that we must baptize all whom we may fairly presume to be members of Christ’s body. In this state of the case, it is surely impracticable to assert that there can be but one ground on which a fair presumption of inclusion in Christ’s body can be erected, namely, personal profession of faith. Assuredly a human profession is no more solid basis to build upon than a divine promise. So soon, therefore, as it is fairly apprehended that we baptize on presumption and not on knowledge, it is inevitable that we shall baptize all those for whom we may, on any
grounds, fairly cherish a good presumption that they belong to God’s people — and this surely includes the infant children of believers, concerning the favor of God to whom there exist many precious promises on which pious parents, Baptists as fully as others, rest in devout faith.

To this solid proof of the rightful inclusion of the infant children of believers among the subjects of baptism, is added the unavoidable implication of the continuity of the Church of God, as it is taught in the Scriptures, from its beginning to its consummation; and of the undeniable inclusion within the bounds of this Church, in its pre-Christian form, as participants of its privileges, inclusive of the parallel rite of circumcision, of the infant children of the flock, with no subsequent hint of their exclusion. To this is added further the historical evidence of the prevalence in the Christian Church of the custom of baptizing the infant children of believers, from the earliest Christian ages down to to-day. The manner in which it is dealt with by Augustine and the Pelagians in their controversy, by Cyprian in his letter to Fidus, by Tertullian in his treatise on baptism, leaves no room for doubt that it was, at the time when each of these writers wrote, as universal and unquestioned a practice among Christians at large as it is to-day — while, wherever it was objected to, the objection seems to have rested on one or the other of two contrary errors, either on an overestimate of the effects of baptism or on an underestimate of the need of salvation for infants.

On such lines as these a convincing positive argument is capable of being set forth for infant baptism, to the support of which whatever obscure allusions to it may be found in the New Testament itself may then be summoned. And on these lines the argument has ordinarily been very successfully conducted, as may be seen by consulting the treatment of the subject in any of our standard works on systematic theology, as for example Dr. Charles Hodge’s. [450] It has occurred to me that additional support might be brought to the conclusions thus positively attained by observing the insufficiency of the case against infant baptism as argued by the best furnished opponents of that practice. There would seem no better way to exhibit this insufficiency than to subject the presentation of the arguments against infant baptism, as set forth by some confessedly important representative of its opponents, to a running analysis. I have selected for the purpose the statement given in Dr. A. H. Strong’s “Systematic Theology.” [451] What that eminently well-informed and judicious writer does not urge against infant baptism may well be believed to be confessedly of small comparative weight as an argument against the doctrine and practice. So that if we do not find the arguments he urges conclusive, we may well be content with the position we already occupy.

Dr. Strong opens the topic, “The Subjects of Baptism,” [452] with the statement that “the proper subjects of baptism are those only who give credible evidence that they have been regenerated by the Holy Spirit, — or, in other words, have entered by faith into the communion of Christ’s death and resurrection” — a statement which if, like the ordinary language of the Scriptures, it is intended to have reference only to the adults to whom it is addressed, would be sufficiently unexceptionable; but which the “only” advertises us to suspect to be more inclusive in its purpose. This statement is followed at once by the organized “proof that only persons giving evidence of being regenerated are proper subjects of baptism.” This proof is derived:

(a) From the command and example of Christ and his apostles, which show: First, that those only are to be baptized who have previously been made disciples… Secondly, that those only are to be baptized who have previously repented and believed…

(b) From the nature of the church — as a company of regenerate persons…

(c) From the symbolism of the ordinance — as declaring a previous spiritual change in him who submits to it.

Each of these items is supported by Scripture texts, though some of them are no doubt sufficiently inapposite. As, for example, when only John 3:5 and Romans 6:13 — neither of which has anything to do with the visible Church — are quoted to prove that the visible Church (of which baptism is an ordinance) is “a company of regenerate persons”; or as when Matthew 28:19 is quoted to prove that baptism took place after the discipling, as if the words ran maqhteu>santev bapti>zete , whereas the passage, actually standing maqhteu>sante bapti>zontev , merely demands that the discipling shall be consummated in, shall be performed by means of baptism; or as when Acts 10:47, where the fact that the extraordinary power of the Holy Spirit had come upon Cornelius is pleaded as reason why baptism should not be withheld from him, [453] and Romans 6:2-5, which only develops the spiritual implication of baptism, are made to serve as proofs that the symbolism of the ordinance declares always and constantly a “previous” spiritual change. Apart from the Scriptural evidence actually brought forward, moreover, the propositions, in the extreme form in which they are stated, cannot be supported by Scripture. The Scriptures do not teach that the external Church is a company of regenerate persons — the parable of the tares for example declares the opposite: though they represent that Church as the company of those who are presumably regenerate. They do not declare that baptism demonstrates a “previous” change — the case of Simon Magus, Acts 8:13, is enough to exhibit the contrary: though they represent the rite as symbolical of the inner cleansing presumed to be already present, and consequently as administered only on profession of faith."

Benjamin B. Warfield, STUDIES IN THEOLOGY (Volume IX) (Joseph Kreifels).

My Story Part 3

I ended up leaving the church and joining Christ Presbyterian Church (PCA) where the biblical doctrines were being taught. I walked into their Sunday School class where they were going through Machen’s “Christianity and Liberalism” and knew immediately I had found a home. When my new pastor did a three-part series on Covenant Theology based on “God of Promise,” I finally had the missing pieces of my beliefs put in place.

A few months before this, I started attending an Arminian, baptismal regeneration college which only solidified my assurance of the Biblical (reformed) faith. I was a four-point Calvinist, if that is really possible, until another non-traditional student, Kelvin, asked me a simple question: “Is unbelief a sin?” From that moment on, I have been firmly entrenched in the reformed faith. As the wife of one of the elders at Christ Presbyterian Church puts it, “He’s so reformed, I love it!”

While attending this school, I became friends with Jason and Kelvin, both non-traditional students like myself, and also reformed. All three of us began attending at the same time, in the middle of the school year, confirming even more my belief in providence. Being older and not afraid of speaking our minds, we were quickly branded the “TULIP Squad,” which we not only did not mind but kind of wore proudly.

Sitting under that teaching was very difficult and frustrating. The linguistic gymnastics Arminians practice boggles the mind. To listen to them say they are “saved purely by grace, all one has to do is accept Jesus”, all the while believing they are not violating the law of non-contradiction, is more frustrating than listening to Atheists. I had one professor, the so-called Greek scholar, tell me that Romans in the NIV was translated by Calvinists. Yes, he really said that. I just calmly reminded him that Romans was written by a Calvinist. I got a C in that class.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Dabney On Baptism

Immersionist Postulate as to Usage of Words.

Being the insomniac I am I was reading through the 1260 hits I received in Libronix for the search term "baptism." Robert Dabney is an old southern Presbyterian whose systematic theology was published in 1871 based on his lectures. I find his style somehow warm for a systematic theologian, enjoy.

"Let it be borne in mind that the thing the Immersionist must prove is no less than this: that βαπτιζω, etc., never can mean, in secular uses, whether in or out of the Scriptures, anything but dip under, plunge; for nothing less will prove that nothing but dipping wholly under is valid baptism, If the words mean frequently plunging, but sometimes wetting or washing without plunging, their cause is lost. For then it is no longer absolutely specific of mode. Let us then examine first the non–ritual or secular usage of the words, both in Hellenistic (Sept. Josephus) Greek, and in the New Testament. We freely admit that βαπτω very often means to dip, and βαπτιζω still more often, nay, usually, but not exclusively.

The Root βαπτω to be Examined.

And first, the trick of Carson is to be exposed, by which he endeavors to evade the examination of the shorter form, βαπτω, on the plea βαπτιζω and its derivatives are the only ones ever used in relation to the sacrament of baptism. True; but by what process shall we more properly discover the meaning of βαπτιζω than by going to that of its root, βαπτω, from which it is formed by the simple addition of ιζω, meaning verbal activity, (the making of anything to be βαπτ). Well, we find the lexicons all defining βαπτω, dip, wash, stain. Suidas, πλυνω, to wash clothes. These definitions are sustained by the well known case, from the classics, of Homer’s lake, βεβαμμενον, tinged with the blood of a dying mouse, which Carson himself gives up. But among the instances from Hellenistic Greek, the more important to our purpose, consult the following: Rev. 19:13, a vesturestained with blood, βεβαμμενον; Luke 16:24; Ex. 12:22; 1 Sam. 14:27; Lev. 4:6, 7; Dan. 4:33. So there are cases of the secular use of the word of βαπτιζω where immersion is not expressed. See the lexicons quoted by Drs. Owen and Rice, in which it is defined, not only to immerse, but also to wash, substantiated by the cases of “the blister baptized with breast milk,” in classic Greek, and of the altar, wood and victim of Elijah baptized by pouring on water in Origen. Hence, the common and secular usage is not uniformly in favor of dipping.

βαπτιζω not always Dip.

But if it were, the question would still be an open one; for it may well be, that when transferred to religious ritual, the word will undergo some such modification as we saw uniformly occurs in all other words transferred thus. We proceed, then, one step nearer, and examine the meaning of the word in the Septuagint and New Testament, when applied to religious rituals, other than the Christian sacrament itself; that is, to Jewish purifications. And here we find that the specific idea of the Jewish religious baptism was not dipping, but an act symbolical of purification, of which the actual mode was, in most cases, by effusion. In 2 Kings 5:14; Naaman baptized himself (εβαπτιζατο) seven times in the Jordan. This may have been dipping, but taking into account the Jewish mode of purification, was more probably by effusion. The Septuagint says: “He that baptizeth himself (of βαπτιζεται) after he toucheth a dead body, if he touch it again, what availed] his washings?” How this baptism was performed, the reader may see in Num. 31:19, 24, and 19:13–20. In Judith 12:7, this chaste maiden is said to have baptized herself at a fountain of water by a vast camp! In Josephus Antiq. Bk. 4, ch. iv., the ashes of the red heifer used in purifying are said to be baptized in spring water.

New Testament Use of the Verb not Always Dip.

In the New Testament there are four instances where the Jewish ritual purifications are described by the term baptize; and in all four cases it was undoubtedly by effusion. Mark 7:4: Luke 11:38; John 2:6; Heb. 9:10; 6:2. (The last may possibly be Christian baptism, though its use in the plural would rather show that it included the Jewish.) Now that all these purifications called here of βαπτιμοι and καθαρισμοι were by effusion, we learn, 1. From the Levitical law, which describes various washings and sprinklings, but not one immersion of a man’s person for purification. 2. From well known antique habits still Prevalent in the East, which limited the washings to the hands and feet, and performed them by affusion. Compare 2 Kings 3:11; Exod. 30:21. 3. From comparison of the two passages, Mark 7:4, and Luke 11:38; with John. 2:6. These water pots were too narrow at the mouth, and too small (holding about two bushels) to receive a person’s body, and were such as were borne on the shoulders of female servants. 4. From the great improbability that Jews would usually immerse all over so often, or that they could. 5. From the fact that they are declared to have practiced, not only these baptisms of their persons, but of their utensils and massive couches. Num. 19:17, 18. It is simply preposterous that these should have been immersed as often as ceremonia]ly defiled. Last, the Levitical law, which these Jews professed to observe with such strictness, rendered an immersion impossible anywhere but in a deep running stream, or living pit of a fountain. For if anything ceremonially unclean went into a vessel of standing water, no matter whether large or small, the water was thereby defiled, and the vessel and all other water put into that vessel, and all persons who got into it. See Lev. 11:32to 36.
It is true that Immersionists pretend to quote Talmudists (of whom I, and probably they, know nothing), saying that these purifications were by immersion; and that Solomon’s “sea” was for the priests to swim in. But the Talmud is 700 years A. D., and excessively absurd.


Now, if the religious baptisms of the Jews were not by dipping, but by effusion; if their specific idea was that of religious purification, and not dipping; and if Christian baptism is borrowed from the Jewish, and called by the same name, without explanation, can any one believe that dipping is its specific and essential form? Immersionists acknowledge the justice of our inference, by attempting to dispute all the premises. Hard task!

Dipping Impracticable Sometimes.

A CONSIDERATION of some probable weight may be drawn from the fact that Christianity is intended to be a universal religion. Remember that it is characterized by fewness and simplicity of rites, that it is rather spiritual than ritual, that its purpose was to make those rites the reverse of burdensome, and that the elements of the other sacraments were chosen from articles common, cheap, and near at hand. Now, in many extensive countries, water is too scarce to make it convenient to accumulate enough for an immersion; in other regions all waters are frozen over during half the year. In many cases infirmity of body renders immersion highly inconvenient and even dangerous. It seems not very probable that, under these circumstances, a dispensation so little formalistic as the Christian, would have made immersion essential to the validity of baptism, for a universal Church, amidst all climes and habits.

Grace Symbolized is Always Shed Forth.

An argument of far greater importance is derived from the obviously correct analogy between the act of effusion and the grace signified and sealed in baptism. It is this which Immersionists seek to evade when they endeavor, contrary to Scripture, to make baptism signify and commemorate primarily

Christ’s burial and resurrection. (Hence the importance of refuting that dream).The student will remember, that the selection of the element is founded, not upon the resemblance of its nature (for of this there can be none, between the material and spiritual), but on the analogy of its use to the graces symbolized. Water is the detergent element of nature. The great meaning of baptism is our cleansing from guilt by expiation (blood), and our cleansing from the depravity of heart by the Holy Spirit. Now, in all Bible language, without a single exception, expiation is symbolized as sprinkled, or effused, or put on; and the renewing Spirit, as descending, or poured, or falling. See all the Jewish usages, and the whole tenor of the promises. Lev. 14:7, 51; 16:14; Num. 8:7; 19:18; Heb. 9:1–22, especially last verse; 9:14; 10:22; Lev. 7:14; Exod. 29:16, 21, etc.; Ps. 14:2; Isa. 44:3; Ps. 21:6; Isa. 32:15; Joel 2:28, 29, quoted in Acts 2.

Isaiah, and other Old Testament Instances.

Nor is the force of this analogy a mere surmise of ours. See Isa. 52:15, where it is declared that the Redeemer, by His mediatorial, and especially His suffering work, “shall sprinkle many nations.” The immediate reference here doubtless is not to water baptism, but to that which it signifies. But when God chooses in His own Word to call those baptismal graces a sprinkling, surely it gives no little authority to the belief that water baptism is by sprinkling! Immersionists feel this so acutely that they have even availed themselves of the infidel glosses of the German Rationalists, who to get rid of the Messianic features of glorious prophecy, render יַזֶה —to cause to start up, “to startle.” The only plea they bring for this unscrupulous departure from established usage of the word is, that in all the other places this verb has as its regimen the element sprinkled and not the object. This objection Dr. J. A. Alexander pronounces frivolous, and denies any Hebrew or Arabic support to the substituted translation. Again: In Ezek. 36:25, are promises which, although addressed primarily to the Jews of the Captivity, are evidently evangelical; and there the sprinkling of clean water symbolizes the gospel blessings of regeneration, remission, and spiritual indwelling. The language is so strikingly favorable to us, that it seems hardly an overstraining of it to suppose it a prediction of the very sacrament of baptism. But this we do not claim.

New Testament Examples of Grace by Affusion.

Our argument is greatly strengthened when we proceed to the New Testament. Collate Matt. 3:11; Acts 1:5; 2:2–4; 2:15–18; 2:33; 10:44,45,48; 11:16,17. Here our argument is two–fold. First: that both John and Christ baptize with water, not in water. This language is wholly appropriate to the application of water to the person, wholly inappropriate to the application of the person to the water. No Immersionist would speak of dipping with water. They do indeed reclaim that the preposition is εν here translated “with,” and should in all fidelity be rendered “in,” according to its admitted use in the large majority of New Testament cases. This we utterly deny; first, because in the mouth of a Hebraistic Greek, εν being the established equivalent and translation of בְּ may naturally and frequently mean “with;” but second and chiefly because the parallel locutions of Luke 3:16; Acts 1:5; 11:16; Eph. 5:26; Heb. 10:22, identify the εν υδαιτ etc., with the instrument. And from the same passages we argue farther, that the mode of the baptism with the Holy Spirit and fire, is fixed most indisputably by the description of the event in Acts 2:2 and 4. The long promised baptism occurred. And what was it? It was the sitting of tongues of fire on each Apostle, and the “descent,” the fall, the “pouring out,” the “shedding forth,” of the spiritual influences. To make the case still stronger, if possible, when the spiritual effusion on Cornelius and his house occurred, which made Peter feel that he divas justified in authorizing their water baptism, he informs his disapproving brethren in Jerusalem (Acts 11:15, 16) that the “falling of the Holy Spirit on them as on us at the beginning,” caused him “to remember” the great promise of a baptism, not with water only, but with the Holy Spirit and with fire. If baptism is never an effusion, how could such a suggestion ever arise?"

Robert L. Dabney, Systematic Theology, Index created by Christian Classics Foundation., electronic ed. based on the Banner of Truth 1985 ed., 672 (Simpsonville SC: Christian Classics Foundation, 1996).