This past week I spent some time with friends and family at a local campsite. It was relaxing after a week at ETS. I began talking with a friend about the ministry. He’s a baptist and is very involved in his church. He’s a faithful lover of the Gospel and intentional about discipling his children in the Lord. We talk often about our differences in baptism, communion, etc. This particular time we talked about baptism.
He asked me “Why baptize a baby when you don’t know if they have faith?” These questions are honest questions that are asked by sincere Christians. I want to take time to explain in this post is the answer that I gave him because I’m sure there are many others who have similar questions. I would recommend for further reading on this subject The Case for Covenantal Infant Baptism. (more…)
The question that is asked by some Federal Vision proponents is “Can Union with Christ be lost?” This was the latest to come out on a report from The Aquila Report (It can be found here). I think for the laymen this question needs to be re-stated. What type of relationship do the reprobate/elect have with Christ at baptism? (more…)
Luther on Galatians 6:5 “For each will have to bear his own load”
It is as if Paul were saying: “It is the height of insanity to look for the ground of your boasting in others, not in yourself. For in your death struggle and at the Last Judgment it will not help you at all that others praised you. Others will not bear your load, but you will stand before the judgment seat of Christ (Rom 14:10) and bear your own load alone. There your partisans will not be able to help you at all; for when we die the voices of those who praise us will be stilled ‘On that day, when God judges the secrets of men’ (Rom 2:16), the testimony of your conscience will stand either for you or against you: against you if you have your boast in others; for you if you have it in yourself, that is, if your conscience bears testimony to you that you have carried out the ministry of the Word properly and faithfully, with a concern only for the glory of God and the salvation of souls, in other words, that you have done your duty rightly, in accordance with your calling.” The words “Each mans ill have to bear his own judgement” are forceful enough to frighten us thoroughly, so that we do not yearn for vainglory.
It should also be noted that we are not dealing here with the doctrine of justification, where nothing matters except sheer grace and the forgiveness of sins, which are received by faith alone; there all works, even those that are the best and that have been done in accordance with a divine vocation, are in need of the forgiveness of sins, because we have not done them perfectly.
I have written in the previous two posts about the progression in Geneva in the formulation of their worship. In this post I want to provide the basic outline of Calvin’s Liturgy in Geneva according to Eutaxia; Or the Presbyterian Liturgies Charles Washington Baird then add commentary.
Prior to Calvin, Farel came through and purged all forms of suspicious worship. Calvin initially planned on staying only one night. However, he was talked into staying by Farel to assist in reforming the church in Geneva. “It was his duty before God” according to Farel. If it was up to Calvin, he would have studied somewhere in some obscure location in privacy. Calvin portrays Farel’s most convincing words when he writes:
Then Farel, who was working with incredible zeal to promote the gospel, bent all his efforts to keep me in the city. And when he realized that I was determined to study in privacy in some obscure place, and saw that he gained nothing by entreaty, he descended to cursing, and said that God would surely curse my peace if I held back from giving help at a time of such great need. Terrified by his words, and conscious of my own timidity and cowardice, I gave up my journey and attempted to apply whatever gift I had in defense of my faith. (Church History One Hundred One, William M. Ramsay, 2006, Westminster John Knox Press, p. 57) (more…)