Monday, February 22, 2016
Above is a video of an interview of Steve Camp by Jeff Durbin of Apologia Radio. You may also watch it at the Apologia Radio website here, where you may read the comments from Marcus Pitman and some listeners. It is a shame that the interview went as it did, but it nevertheless highlighted some crucial issues regarding how Christians ought to think about their choice for a presidential candidate. I recommend watching the interview and then reading James White's point of view regarding it in an article entitled My Thoughts on the Jeff Durbin/Steve Camp Interview.
I think James sums things up pretty well, but I would like to add that, so far as I can tell, Donald Trump is a wolf in sheep's clothing. He claims to be a Christian and says that the Bible is his favorite book, but there is every reason to believe that he is lying when he makes such claims, whether intentionally -- which I suspect is the case -- or because he is self-deceived. This is where I think Steve Camp really misses the crucial point that Jeff Durbin was trying to make. Jeff was right to point out the lack of credibility in Trump's claims and the fact that this should cause Christians to beware of him (despite the fact that Jeff''s Postmillennial Theonomist views are wrong in my opinion). I cannot understand how so many Christians, represented here by men like Steve Camp, can so willingly ignore the clear evidence in this regard. James White hits the nail on the head when he refers to "Steve’s disconnection of the Christian worldview from the political support of a clearly non-Christian man—who still claims to be Christian even though he is unrepentant about his adultery, fornication, etc. Further, it is clearly relevant to the analysis of Trump as a leader as to what choices he would make regarding SC justices that we look at the consistency of his viewpoints over time."
Wednesday, February 17, 2016
The Teaching of Jesus
Many of the blog's readers will recognize the metaphor of wolves in sheep's clothing as having come from our Lord Jesus himself, who taught that there are some who may profess to be true believers and true teachers of the Word but who in reality are not. They profess and pretend to be sheep, but they are actually wolves. Consider these words from His Sermon on the Mount:
NKJ Matthew 7:15-20 Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? 17 Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Therefore by their fruits you will know them.As a fellow elder has often said, "Our Lord Jesus has called each one of us to be a fruit inspector." We must look for the evil fruit of false teaching and false living in order to see the wolves for who they really are, and the task will not be easy, for such wolves are very often so self-deceived that even they believe their own lies. This is plain in what Jesus goes on to say about such people in the following context:
NKJ Matthew 7:21-23 Not everyone who says to Me, "Lord, Lord," shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, "Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?" 23 And then I will declare to them, "I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!"Such wolves in sheep's clothing are so self-deceived that they will even stand before the Lord Jesus Himself and claim to be genuine. But our Lord assures us that we need not be deceived by them, for we may know them by their fruits. He also warns us that false teaching can be like leaven:
NKJ Matthew 16:6-12 Then Jesus said to them, "Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the Sadducees." 7 And they reasoned among themselves, saying, "It is because we have taken no bread." 8 But Jesus, being aware of it, said to them, "O you of little faith, why do you reason among yourselves because you have brought no bread? 9 Do you not yet understand, or remember the five loaves of the five thousand and how many baskets you took up? 10 Nor the seven loaves of the four thousand and how many large baskets you took up? 11 How is it you do not understand that I did not speak to you concerning bread?-- but to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees." 12 Then they understood that He did not tell them to beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and Sadducees.Thus false teaching -- as the teaching of the Pharisees surely was -- is like leaven, of which even a small amount may have a pervasive impact. Jesus lovingly warned His disciples of such dangers, but He also frequently confronted false teachers in the presence of His disciples so that they could see in Him a model for their own future ministry. Consider, for example, these words of rebuke spoken to the Pharisees:
NKJ Matthew 23:1-15 Then Jesus spoke to the multitudes and to His disciples, 2 saying: "The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat. 3 Therefore whatever they tell you to observe, that observe and do, but do not do according to their works; for they say, and do not do. 4 For they bind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers. 5 But all their works they do to be seen by men. They make their phylacteries broad and enlarge the borders of their garments. 6 They love the best places at feasts, the best seats in the synagogues, 7 greetings in the marketplaces, and to be called by men, 'Rabbi, Rabbi.' 8 But you, do not be called 'Rabbi'; for One is your Teacher, the Christ, and you are all brethren. 9 Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. 10 And do not be called teachers; for One is your Teacher, the Christ. 11 But he who is greatest among you shall be your servant. 12 And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted. 13 But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut up the kingdom of heaven against men; for you neither go in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in. 14 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you devour widows' houses, and for a pretense make long prayers. Therefore you will receive greater condemnation. 15 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel land and sea to win one proselyte, and when he is won, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves."This is only a portion of Jesus' rebuke of the false teaching of the scribes and Pharisees, but I am sure it is enough to make the point! Further examples from His ministry should not be necessary, so we will consider a few example from the ministry of the Apostles.
The Teaching of the Apostles
The Apostle Paul also later set an example for all future pastors to follow when he regularly confronted false teaching. Here are just a couple of passages in which he made this aspect of the pastor's responsibility very clear:
NKJ Acts 20:28-31 Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves. Therefore watch, and remember that for three years I did not cease to warn everyone night and day with tears.Paul clearly commands the elders to watch out for the flock as they shepherd them, especially against the false teachers that will arise, even from among their own ranks. He clearly sees this as one of the reasons the Holy Spirit had appointed them as overseers, and he himself was willing to spend time doing this "day and night."
In fact, Paul even had to protect the Church from false apostles at times, such as those he warned the Corinthian believers about:
NKJ 2 Corinthians 11:12-15 But what I do, I will also continue to do, that I may cut off the opportunity from those who desire an opportunity to be regarded just as we are in the things of which they boast. 13 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. 15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works.Another example from the ministry of Paul can be found in his words to the Colossian Christians:
NKJ Colossians 1:24-29 I now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up in my flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ, for the sake of His body, which is the church, 25 of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God which was given to me for you, to fulfill the word of God, 26 the mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations, but now has been revealed to His saints. 27 To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. 28 Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus. 29 To this end I also labor, striving according to His working which works in me mightily. (Italics mine.)Also, in Titus 1:7-9, Paul lists some of the requirements for elders, and among these requirements he says that an elder must hold fast "the faithful word as he has been taught, that he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and convict those who contradict." And some of the reasons for this requirement are given in the following verses: "For there are many insubordinate, both idle talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision, whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole households, teaching things which they ought not, for the sake of dishonest gain" (vss. 10-11). So, again, it is clear that the elders are responsible for guarding the churches against false doctrine.
I hope all of the blog's readers have been sufficiently reminded of the important role that pastors have to play in protecting the flock of Jesus Christ from wolves in sheep's clothing. This role requires them to be willing to expose false teaching and to confront false teachers whenever and wherever they pose a threat. Evangelical Christians must therefore reject the false notion that pastors who do so are simply being negative or unloving. Instead, they must embrace this role as one of the ways in which our Lord Jesus Christ, the Great shepherd of the sheep, has called pastors to love His people.
Thursday, February 11, 2016
poll on the blog. If you haven't already taken part in the poll, please check out the "What is a Reformed Baptist?" Poll on the right sidebar on this page (the red box with white type). The intention is to run the poll for one year with an interest in how the Reformed Baptist community might answer this question. I have given four options for answers that I think basically sum up the various groups or individuals that I have found to be using the term. Here are the four possible answers:
To regard oneself as a Reformed Baptist, one must ...Thus far surprisingly few of the blog's readers have taken part in the poll. I am not sure why there have not yet been more who have answered, but I have communicated with some who have held off due to a desire to think about it more carefully before answering. I think this is a good thing. Here are the results thus far:
1) adhere at a minimum to a Calvinistic soteriology.
2) adhere at a minimum to a Calvinistic soteriology and to Covenant Theology.
3) adhere substantially to the Baptist Confession of 1689 (e.g. modify regarding Impassibility).
4) adhere strictly to the Baptist Confession of 1689.
11% say that one must adhere at a minimum to a Calvinistic soteriology in order to be regarded a Reformed Baptist.Again, if you haven't yet taken part in the poll, please do so. You may read more about the poll here in order to understand better why it is phrased as it is.
34% say that one must adhere at a minimum to a Calvinistic soteriology and to Covenant Theology in order to be regarded a Reformed Baptist.
31% say that one must adhere substantially to the Baptist Confession of 1689 (e.g. modify regarding Impassibility) in order to be regarded a Reformed Baptist.
25% say that one must adhere strictly to the Baptist Confession of 1689 in order to be regarded a Reformed Baptist.
Wednesday, February 03, 2016
here. Well, now I would like to call your attention to his review of Confessing the Impassible God: The Biblical, Classical, & Confessional Doctrine of Divine Impassibility. In this review Bob manages to put into words what has troubled many of us regarding the current debate over the doctrine of divine impassibility. The review is entitled From Dust to Deity: Some Critical Reflections on a Critical Book, and I highly recommend taking time to read it. And, while you're at it, you might want to take some time to read more of Bob's excellent, thoughtful, balanced and Biblical writing on his It Is Written blog. The slogan under the blog titles says, "Promoting the Supremacy of Scripture," and that is exactly what Bob does, not only on the issue of impassibility but on every issue about which he writes.