I wonder if anything other than Christ can give hope to people in places like this. I was amazed at all that is contained in this brief article. It’s worth reading, rejoicing over, and praying over.
Archive for November, 2009
The sacraments do not originate faith but presuppose it, and are administered where faith is assumed.
This is an interesting article. They say the problem is with how people think, and shouldn’t be addressed by pills. Not that I’d necessarily agree with the type of therapy they receive (I don’t think they would have the gospel as a starting point), but it is at least a step in the right direction to look beyond treating symptoms with pills and getting to the root issue.
I’ve read most of Baptism: Three Views now (I don’t think I’m going to read the section by Tony Lane arguing for a mixed practice. Unless you redefine baptism for infants it won’t work. If it was redefined, I don’t know that I’d have a problem with infant baptism). Here are a few thoughts on it, in conjunction also with listening to this defence of baptism by my friend James Dolezal.
It is with certain fear and trepidation that I say the following things. If there is any contemporary preacher/writing that I have benefited from (and continue to) it is Sinclair Ferguson. That being said, I find a number of problems with infant baptism. Also, as important as baptism is, it is secondary, as Paul says in 1 Corinthians 1 – God did not send him to baptise, but to preach the gospel.
To start, I thought Bruce Ware’s chapter was fantastic. Between the two (Sinclair Feguson writing on infant baptism) it seemed more reliant and tied to the text of scripture. He deals fairly extensively with the challenge of house baptisms (principally looking at Bryan Chapell’s wee booklet on infant baptism by P & R), which I found helpful and quite compelling.
If infant baptisers redefined baptism I don’t know that I’d have a problem with it. Ferguson writes, “It is a symbol of regeneration, cleansing, and repentance in Christ (e.g., Acts 2.38; 22.16; Eph 5.26; Col 2.12; Tit 3.5-7; Heb 10.22).” He states on the next page, “Baptism is a sign and seal of the union with Christ and fellowship with the Father given by the Spirit and received by us through faith.” Now I know most paedobaptists don’t think this is much of an argument, but how in the world can those explanations of what baptism is be true in regards to infants? The only response I’ve seen, which Ferguson also gives, is that the “efficacy of baptism is not tied to the moment of its administration.” He also spends some time explaining that it is not a sign and seal OF faith, but a sign and seal TO faith (and this in the context of a discussion on Rom 4.11 which speaks, in Abraham’s case, of it being a sign and seal OF faith).
There is also an inconsistency in understanding household baptisms, along with Acts 2.39. Even if you grant household baptisms, it would not only involve infants, but adults (who, presumably, did not have faith). Also, Acts 2.39 is leaned upon quite heavily (though it says nothing about baptism, just promise). It does say “for you and for your children” which the paedobaptist uses to endorse infant baptism, but what about the next phrase “and for all who are far off”? If we are consistent this would not prohibit baptism from anyone. Indeed, shouldn’t everyone be baptised then?
One aspect that was completely absent from Ferguson’s chapter, but quite central in James argument, is that of typology. Some people rashly say that a credobaptist has a different covenant theology than a paedobaptist. This is unhelpful and untrue (listen to James and read Ferguson if you want an example). It is an issue of continuity with the old covenant. It seems that aspects of the type and shadow are being retained when the reality has come and the shadow disappeared.
Well, much more could be said, and said much better than I have, but I’ll cut things off here for now.
Saturday night we had the wonderful privilege of having Trace Bundy do a concert at Carrubbers. If you have not heard of Trace Bundy, check him out on YouTube. He is an acoustic fingerstyle guitarist. But even within that genre of music he is unique. He has a few DVD concerts that you can get (in addition to a number of cds), or if he is playing near where you stay you should definitely check him out. He is also a christian, who is seeking to honour God with the talents he has blessed him with. He has talent oozing out of his fingers, but is a very humble man who does not see himself as better than others. The entire evening was a thrill. He is hoping to come back to the UK in June 2010. Here are some pics from last night (thanks to Anna Lamber for the pics!).
Recently I’ve tried at two different places to get a price match on a particular product (both websites boastfully saying that they will do that to get your business) and the response of both was an apologetic, “I’m sorry but we can’t do that.” I just had to laugh. I guess I’ll have to stick with the place that has the lowest price.
It’s been a while and I know my myriad of readers are pining for a new post. Here’s a smorgasbord of things from the past week or so.
Bruce Ware gives a talk on a philosophy of teaching, particularly related to teaching your children. Personally, I think this would be helpful for anyone to listen to, not just parents. As I listened to it, I kept thinking to myself, “Everyone should hear this.” One thing he said in talking about trying to get from the head to the heart was that people don’t do what they know, they do what they love. It’s not enough to know the truth, you must love it. He also had a brief rant about The Shack and the reason it is so popular is because it presents God as we’d like him to be, not the way he truly is.
My good friend James Dolezal defends the credobaptist position. I haven’t listened to it yet (hope to this week), but I’m sure to be stimulated and helped. I’ll be teaching on baptism in a few weeks and am also planning on going through the new three views book on baptistm, with Sinclair Ferguson defending paedobaptism.
If you are in the UK, the BBC is showing a 6 part series on the history of Christianity by Diarmaid MacCulloch. You can watch the episodes on the BBC iPlayer. This has also been released as a book by MacCulloch, which if his book on Cranmer or the Reformation are anything to go by, it will be excellent.
Tim Keller’s book Counterfeit Gods is one of the best things on idolatry that I have read. The chapter on success was particularly convicting. Read it.
Trace Bundy (check him out on youtube) will be playing a concert at Carrubbers this Saturday night. If you are near Edinburgh it would be well worth your time to come to it. He’ll do things on the guitar they you’d never imagine or believe. Good stuff.
Just when you thought you were safe, something else comes your way.
Lastly, a quote from D A Carson, “Perhaps the greatest benefit of democracy is that it provides a peaceful way of turning blighters out every few years, and selecting others.”
While we’re thinking about music, this year is the 10th anniversary of Andrew Peterson’s Behold the Lamb of God. In celebration there is a 10th anniversary 2-disc edition being released which has a live disc and a remastered disc with an new song on it as well. You get an immediate digital download of the live album when you purchase the 2-disc set.
If you have not heard this album, you should. It tells the story of Christmas, but more than that it tells the story of the whole scriptures. A biblical theology set to music, masterfully told, and beautifully played/sung. We got the DVD last year, and watching it will be a Luehrmann Christmas tradition for years to come. Depending on the size of your church and music resources, you can buy a full musical score with everything needed to produce it at your church. For the hackers like me, there is a song book (which also includes mandolin and hammered dulcimer parts too!). I’m not sure how early you start listening to Christmas music, but we find some of the most Christ-focused songs in this genre. So, get started today! Be blessed as you listen to the story of Christ, the Lamb of God.
Steven Curtis Chapman’s new album Beauty Will Rise was released today. The songs are described as personal psalms, all written over the last year and a half after his daughter Maria died. I grew up on Chapman, but haven’t really listened to him in the last 12 years or so, but I thought I’d revisit him with this album, and I’m glad I did. The album is intensely personal and is laced with hope and trust in the midst of confusion, doubt, and difficult circumstances. It was a blessing to listen to walking through Edinburgh today. HERE is a great interview about the album.