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Five Books on Credobaptism versus Paedobaptism

In Reformed Baptist Fellowship on August 19, 2014 at 1:25 pm

A couple of young people who occasionally drive from Williamsburg to attend our church, recently asked me to recommend some books on a confessional perspective on believer’s baptism by immersion, as they are studying the issue of credobaptism versus paedobaptism.  Here are five suggestions (listed in chronological order by the year published) with a few annotations:

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  1. John L. Dagg, Manual of Church Order (The Southern Baptist Publication Society, 1858; Gano Books, 1990).

This is the companion volume to Dagg’s Manual of Theology(1857).  It provides a classic defense of believers’ baptism by immersion (pp. 13-73).  Special focus is given to the linguistic argument regarding the verb baptizo with references to its uses in ancient Greek.

String Pearls

  1. Fred Malone, A String of Pearls Unstrung (Founders Press, 1998).

This booklet, originally written in 1977, describes the author’s transition from being a Presbyterian to being a Baptist.  It can be read online here.  For a fuller treatment on the subject of baptism you can also read his book, The Baptism of Disciples Alone:  A covenantal argument for credobaptism versus paedobaptism (Founders Press, 2003).

biblical_baptism_samuel_waldron

  1. Samuel E. Waldron, Biblical Baptism:  A Reformed Defense of Believers’ Baptism (Truth for Eternity Ministries, 1998).

This 80 page booklet from a leading contemporary Reformed Baptist systematic theologian provides a careful exegetical, theological, and practical discussion of baptism.

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  1. Hal Brunson, The Rickety Bridge and the Broken Mirror:  Two Parables of Paedobaptism and One Parable of the Death of Christ (iUniverse, 2007).

This self-published book from a former Southern Baptist who considered becoming a Presbyterian but who eventually became a confessional Baptist offers a creative take on the topic by imagining a discussion between the Presbyterian B. B. Warfield, the dispensationalist J. N. Darby, and the confessional Baptist C. H. Spurgeon.

crampton

  1. W. Gary Crampton, From Paedobaptism to Credobaptism:  A Critique of the Westminster Standards on the Subjects of Baptism (Reformed Baptist Academic Press, 2010).

A pastor and scholar describes his transition from the Presbyterian to the confessional Baptist position through a study of the Westminster Standards.  For my written review of this book look here (for the same review in audio look here).

 

Jeffrey T. Riddle, Pastor
Christ Reformed Baptist Church
Charlottesville, Virginia
www.jeffriddle.net
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An Open Letter to the Christian Magistrates in Virginia

In Reformed Baptist Fellowship on August 19, 2014 at 1:07 pm

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To my Christian brethren who occupy positions of authority as magistrates in the Commonwealth of Virginia:

Grace to you and peace in the name of our great God and Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.

I praise God that He has providentially placed you in these positions of authority.  You exist as salt and light in an environment which often resembles Babylon.  Like Daniel, you are now placed in the difficult position of remaining faithful to God while at the same time fulfilling your duties as civil magistrates.  For many of you, your duties include the issuance of marriage licenses.  The Federal courts have decreed that Virginia must issue such licenses to homosexual couples, directly nullifying our State constitution.  By extension, their decree is such that Virginia and all of her political subdivisions must celebrate that which God has called an abomination.

As a brother in Christ and fellow Virginian, I write to you in order to encourage and exhort you.  Your consciences are about to be tested.  You will be required to issue marriage licenses to those who will use them to mock God’s law and His created order (Rom 1:18-27).  For the first time in the history of Virginia, our Commonwealth will officially endorse sexual sin and require everyone to recognize it as valid.  Let these words sink in.  This is the new reality.  There is no neutral ground in this situation.  Those who rule over us now demand the outright denial of Christ’s lordship over the area of marriage.  What shall the righteous do?

Any Christian who is in a position to issue marriage licenses may take only one of two options.  First, a Christian magistrate (for example, a clerk of the court) may choose to resign his office for the sake of conscience.  By doing so, he will not give aid or assistance to the act of desecrating the institution of marriage.  He may humbly remove himself from the situation while losing his job in the process.

Second, a Christian magistrate has the option of openly resisting this wicked decree.  He may use his position of authority to affirm that marriage is only as God has revealed it to be (Matt. 19:4-6).  What does this look like in practice?  Brethren, let me be abundantly clear in what I mean by this.  If a Christian chooses to stay in that position of magisterial authority, then it is his clear and unambiguous duty to deny marriage licenses to any homosexual couple seeking them.  Admittedly, this second option requires much more courage and will result in huge targets painted on the backs of those who pursue it.  By going this route, you will endure attacks of various sorts and you will undoubtedly lose your job in the process.

It is here that your faith will be tested.  It is at this moment that the eyes of the world will see whether Christ is truly Lord over every aspect of your lives.  I do not write these things in a cavalier manner, for I know that this will cost you your jobs and livelihoods.  Yet there are many costs in the Christian life.  Indeed, having Jesus as Lord means that we may suffer great loss–including the loss of our very lives!  All that we have in this life belongs to God and we have it by His grace.  We are obligated to give up what He would have us give up.  We can trust that He will take care of us in our time of need (Matt 6:25-34).  Do you trust Him?

The option you do not have is to capitulate to the demands of this decree.  God’s law trumps the edicts of man every time.  There is no middle ground upon which to rest.  As Christians, our consciences are captive to the Word of God.  If we side with the world against the clear teaching of Scripture, then we have turned our backs on the One who bought us with His own blood.  We’re either on the side of the world or we’re on the side of our Lord.  As James 4:4 communicates clearly, friendship with the world means enmity with God.  As Christians, we are not permitted to bow down to idols or burn incense to Caesar.  Neither are we permitted to endorse sexual immorality.

In the Book of Exodus, the Hebrew midwives were faithful to the Lord by disobeying the evil decree of Pharaoh (Ex. 1:17).  When Peter and the other apostles were ordered to stop preaching the Gospel in Jerusalem, they responded by saying that they will obey God rather than men (Acts 5:29).  There are numerous other instances in Scripture as well as church history in which the people of God are forced to defy the civil state.  Your situation is no exception.  We are never to obey government when they require us to disobey God.

When Paul gives his teaching on civil government in Romans 13:1-7, he’s assuming that the authorities are operating in accordance with God’s ethical standards.  After all, the magistrates are to be a check against those who do evil (vv. 3-4).  They are to restrain wickedness, not promote it.  The civil state did not create the institution of marriage, but rather it is given by God as part of His common grace.  Only the Creator of the universe defines marriage.  Therefore, let us not give unto Caesar that which rightly belongs to God alone.

Finally, brethren, let me exhort you to be strong and of good courage.  Be faithful to God above all else.  Humble yourselves before Him in prayer and ask Him to show you the way in which you should go.  Spend time reading His word.  Know that there are many of us praying for you.  There will come a day when you will be held to account for how you have used your position of civil authority.  As Christian magistrates in the Commonwealth, do all things to the glory of God.  Whatever comes to pass, may the Holy Spirit equip you and sanctify you in the truth.

Your brother in Christ,
Joshua A. Dermer
Reformed Virginian

The Reformed Baptist Trumpet. April-June 2014 RBT.Vol 5. No.2

In Reformed Baptist Fellowship on August 15, 2014 at 1:22 pm

Trumpet-Book-of-Life.

The Reformed Baptist Trumpet. April-June 2014 Vol 5.No 2 is available online – Click here

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Calvin’s Passion for Church Unity

In Reformed Baptist Fellowship on August 13, 2014 at 12:32 pm

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Calvin labored long and hard to promote church unity. His goal was to bring together all true believers into one communion. He once wrote a letter to Archbishop of Canterbury Thomas Cranmer to propose an assembly of the most eminent men of learning from all the various churches that had embraced the pure doctrine of the gospel, in order that they might make careful study of the Word of God and then draw up a true and distinct confession to which all might subscribe.

Unity and unanimity, he said, are necessary if the church wants to persist in this world. Yet spiritual unity does not require uniformity. He understood that the unity Christ wants His people to pursue is first of all a unity in the truth (John 17). Such unity, Calvin believed, was attainable even if some doctrinal differences continued to exist. As he explained:

For not all articles of true doctrine are of the same sort. Some are so necessary to know that they should be certain and unquestioned by all men as the proper principles of religion. Such are: God is one; Christ is God and the Son of God; our salvation rests in God’s mercy, and the like. Among the churches there are other articles of doctrine disputed which still do not break the unity of the faith.… First and foremost, we should agree on all points. But since all men are somewhat beclouded with ignorance, either we must leave no church remaining, or we must condone delusion in those matters which can go unknown without harm to the sum of religion and without loss of salvation.22[1]

 

22 Institutes 4.1.12.

[1] Pronk, Cornelis. “Calvin’s Doctrine of the Church.” Calvin for Today. Ed. Joel R. Beeke. Grand Rapids, MI: Reformation Heritage Books, 2009. 148–149.

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The Testimony of a Raggedy Ann

In Reformed Baptist Fellowship on August 12, 2014 at 9:27 am

RaggedyAnn

A Parable about Biblical Self-image

Now the sons of Eli were worthless men. They did not know the Lord (1 Sam 2.12).

As it is written: “None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one” (Rom 3.10-12).

From oppression and violence he redeems their life, and precious is their blood in his sight (Psa 72.14).

But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows (Matt 10.30-31).

I came into this world as a gift from a loving mother to her infant daughter. My maker remembered that she used to have a Raggedy Ann doll when she was a little girl, and she loved it so well. Now that a precious little girl had been born to her, it only seemed right that she should have one too.

Now my maker’s sewing skills left a little bit to be desired, but she tried the best she could to take some scrap material from around the house and make me like the cherished Raggedy Ann of her childhood memories. In a few weeks, I was done, and I was gently placed in the crib beside her little baby girl.

Daughter did not pay much attention to me in those early days, but within a few months she was clutching me close during her naps. Not long after she learned to crawl, she was dragging me all over the house! It was a little tiring, but I sure liked the attention. Eventually Daughter became a toddler and graduated from a crib to her own little regular bed. Mother came every night to tuck her in and kiss her goodnight, and Daughter insisted that Mother kiss me too, every single time.

On Daughter’s sixth birthday, a rich aunt gave her an expensive porcelain doll, destined to become a collector’s item. At first I was a little jealous, because this doll was so much prettier than me, but I noticed that in no time, she was sitting all by herself on a shelf, while I continued to be loved and carried by Daughter.

You know, all this use can take its toll on a doll like me. Daughter liked to carry me around constantly by my right arm, and one day, it finally pulled off. She cried as if it were the end of the world, but Mother got out her needle and thread and sewed it right back on, as good as new. Another time something kind of bad happened. I know she didn’t mean to do it, but once Daughter left me out in the yard before a thunderstorm. Before she realized what had happened, it began to pour, and did I get soaked! Mother found me there and put me through the washer and dryer. That was an experience I’ll never forget, but when it was all over, though I was showing my age, I was clean and dry again. Once, the family cat got me and scratched off one of my eyes, but in no time Mother sewed another one right back on.

When Daughter was fourteen, Mother became very ill. She was so sick she had to stay in the hospital for a long time. Whenever Daughter came to visit her, she brought me along. Mother always kissed Daughter on the forehead before we left, and according to our long-established custom, I got the last kiss.

Just after we returned home from one visit, Daughter got the news that Mother had gone to heaven. Daughter clutched me to her chest and cried for the longest time. I became damp with her tears. Even though she was such a grown-up teenager, she still took me to bed with her, often crying herself to sleep. I was looking pretty shabby by then, but I knew Daughter loved me more than ever before.

Once as a young married lady, Daughter had a yard sale. She found that pretty porcelain doll in an old chest up in the attic, and she put it out with the other things. A nice lady came and bought it for twenty-five dollars. Then she looked up and saw me sitting in an upstairs bedroom window. “Oh, an old Raggedy Ann!” she exclaimed. “How much do you want for that one?” Daughter just smiled and said, “That one’s not for sale, ma’am. Raggedy Ann and I go back a very long time together, and though she doesn’t look like much, to me she’s priceless.” The window was open a little bit and so I heard this conversation. You can’t imagine how good it made me feel!

I realize that in myself I am really quite worthless, but I also know that I am Daughter’s most prized possession.

D. Scott Meadows, Pastor
Calvary Baptist Church (Reformed)
Exeter, New Hampshire USA
http://cbcexeter.sermonaudio.com

2014 Keach Conference

In Reformed Baptist Fellowship on July 31, 2014 at 11:30 am

Keach2014 (1)

What?  The Keach Conference is an annual theology and ministry conference presented by the Reformed Baptist Fellowship of Virginia (RBF-VA).  It is open to anyone to attend.  There is no cost to attend, but participants are encouraged to pre-register.

When?  Friday evening-Saturday morning, September 26-27, 2014.

Where?  The 2014 Keach Conference will meet at the Covenant Reformed Baptist Church, 7336 Riley Road, Warrenton, VA 20187.

What is the 2014 theme?  We are continuing our ongoing series through the Second London Baptist Confession.  This year we are on Chapter Eight  “Of Christ the Mediator.”

Who are the speakers?  The speakers will be Pastor Jim Savastio of the Reformed Baptist Church of Louisville, Kentucky and Pastor Earl Blackburn of Heritage Baptist Church of Shereveport, Louisiana.

How do I register? Cost: FREE, Web: Register Now!

What is the schedule?  The schedule will be as follows:

Friday evening, September 26 @ 6:30 pm (Session I):

  • Message: The Glory of the Mediator – Jim Savastio
  • Message: “The Exclusivity of Christ” (LBC 8:2) & John 3:22-36 – Earl Blackburn
  • Fellowship and Literature Tables

Saturday morning, September 27 @ 9:30 am (Session II):

  • Message: “The Work of the Holy Spirit in the Life & Ministry of Christ the Mediator” (LBC 8:3)- Earl Blackburn
  • Message:  The Pre-eminence of the Mediator – Jim Savastio
  • Question & Answer Session with the speakers
  • Lunch Break

Conference: Baptists, Confessionalism and the Providence of God

In Reformed Baptist Fellowship on July 31, 2014 at 11:22 am

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November 13 -15th • Indianapolis, IN

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We are thankful and considered blessed to have such gifted men of God gathered together under one roof to discuss the various topics at this conference.  They range from all areas of expertise and knowledge, and personally hold to the doctrines as expressed in the
1689 Baptist Confession. You are sure to have every opportunity to get your questions answered.
1188380_origSam Waldron
Sam is one of the pastors of Grace Reformed Baptist Church in Owensboro, KY.  He also serves as the Academic Dean of and Professor of Systematic Theology at the Midwest Center for Theological Studies.
Sam received a Bachelor of Religious Education from Grand Rapids Baptist College in 1973, completed studies equivalent to a Master of Divinity at Trinity Ministerial Academy in Montville, New Jersey in 1982, and graduated from the Master of Theology program at Grand Rapids Baptist Seminary in 1987.Sam enjoys reading, weight-lifting, walking, and spending time with his wife, children, and grandchildren. 
2343714_origSonny Hernandez
Pastor Sonny is currently the elder/teaching pastor at Sovereign Grace Baptist Church in Elizabethtown, Kentucky.
He has completed all the core requirements for the DMin and is pending completion in August 2014, from Tennessee Temple University. He has also earned a MDiv and a MATS from Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary.Sonny is deeply passionate about Scripture memorization, teaching the doctrines of grace, and studying theology that pertains to the 16th century Reformers, Puritans of early America, and Charles Spurgeon sermon writings.He has served in the Armed Forces since 1997, to include deployments to the United Arab Emirates and Iraq in support of “Operation Iraqi Freedom.” He is currently serving as an Air Force Reserves Chaplain (Captain), and also serves as an adjunct university professor.
4358768_origGordon Taylor
Gordon served two Baptist churches as pastor during his almost 39 years of pastoral ministry. He was pastor of the Calvary Baptist Church in Greene, IA from 1969 to 1975. In May of 1975 he began a thirty-three year ministry at the Sycamore Baptist Church near East Moline, IL.While at Sycamore he led the church through a reformation, which culminated in adopting the 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith in 1987. The church joined RBMS in 1995 and ARBCA in 1998.Gordon was appointed by the churches of ARBCA to serve as Coordinator in 2008.  Gordon and Rayna have four children and fifteen grandchildren.
3609733_origDoug Barger
Doug Barger is a follower of Jesus Christ, a husband of one and a father of two.  Doug received his ordination from the Bible Study Chapel – Independent Baptist (Indpls., IN) in 2005 where he served as an assistant/teaching Pastor under Pastor Cleve Morton.
In 2010 he received the blessing of Pastor Morton and the church to leave and help start
Reformation Baptist Church (Knightstown, IN) where he currently serves in various roles.Doug is the current director of the Indiana Baptist Historical Society and contributes/edits the Baptist Witness Journal, the societies’ flagship publication in addition to operating a masonry construction company and cattle farm.

 

Click here for more information

Southern California Reformed Baptist Pastors’ Conference

In Reformed Baptist Fellowship on July 30, 2014 at 12:28 pm

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The purpose of the SCRBPC is for the edification of confessional Reformed Baptist pastors and other interested men who are in the ministry or training for the ministry. The SCRBPC will function within the theological framework of the Second London Baptist Confession of Faith (2nd LCF) and The Baptist Catechism (BC).

Click here for more information

Does God love us just the way we are?

In Reformed Baptist Fellowship on July 28, 2014 at 4:59 pm

Persecuted Christians and You

In Reformed Baptist Fellowship on July 24, 2014 at 2:34 pm

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Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body.

μιμνῄσκεσθε τῶν δεσμίων, ὡς συνδεδεμένοι· τῶν κακουχουμένων, ὡς καὶ αὐτοὶ ὄντες ἐν σώματι.

Do we care about persecuted Christians around the world? I mean really care—so that we think of them often, feel for them, pray for them, and do what we can to alleviate their suffering. Unquestionably, it is God’s will that we should.

Many in the USA are ignorant and apathetic about international concerns generally. Materialism and narcissism, to name just two perverse aspects of our culture, conspire to rivet our attention to our own physical and psychological needs and desires. We are prone to become terribly selfish and frivolous in our daily routine.

When news of persecuted Christians does occasionally penetrate our protective cocoon, we may wince for a moment, but we find that dwelling on such things is too uncomfortable to indulge for very long. So we quickly dismiss them and return to our private world.

Before the fall of man, Adam and Eve loved one another perfectly. Those two composed the whole human family in those days. They lived as one, joined together in mutual service and concern. He looked out for her best interests, and she, for his. It was the way things ought to be.

After they sinned, their unselfish love was ruined, and malice made its early and disturbing appearance in their sons. Cain rose up and killed his brother Abel. When confronted by God, Cain impudently said, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” as if he had no moral responsibility to promote his brother’s best interests. All Adam and Eve’s children ever since, naturally conceived, have suffered the same depravity.

Enter the gospel of Jesus Christ. When we believe it, we know that God has renewed our hearts and begun transforming us into the brother-lovers we were meant to be. Our capacity and actual practice of love is progressively restored. This is one of the clearest signs of a real Christian. Jesus said, “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another” (John 13.35).

That means we discover true and deep feelings of compassionate concern for the welfare of other people, especially our fellow Christians. This is more than the remnant of natural humanity which is found to some degree even in unbelievers. For the sake of Christ our Lord, and because He loves them, our hearts yearn that sinners might be saved and saints might be blessed. This ethical yearning prompts us to redemptive and compassionate action on their behalf.

No one has a more legitimate claim on our concern than severely-persecuted Christians, wherever they may be found. They are especially precious in the Lord’s sight, and they suffer the greatest injustice. With them in mind, Scripture says the world is not worthy of them (Heb 11.38). And what could be more unjust than violence against others just because they love God and His Son, Jesus Christ? These sheep led to slaughter are treading in the steps of the blessed Savior, the Just One crucified for our sins. They are the excellent ones of the earth.

Consider the counsel of our text about our relationship with them.

Remember Them

“Remember them that are in bonds,” or, “Remember those who are in prison” (ESV). This exhortation stands opposed to our natural forgetfulness.

The context constrains us to understand this as referring especially to persecuted Christians. Both the historical situation of the original readers (i.e., somewhat persecuted, cf. 12.4) and the immediate context (11.1 ff.; cf. 13.1-2, 5-6) justify this interpretation. To “remember” them here is not just to think of them, but to “give careful consideration to,” “care for, be concerned about.”[1] The same Greek word is used in the same way in Gen 30.22 (LXX) and Luke 23.42. It couples loving consideration with practical action, the inevitable fruit of sincere concern (Jas 2.15-16). 1 John 3.14-19 powerfully insists on the linkage between true Christian love and good works.

Sometimes all we can do for some is to pray, but how can we do less than pray? And we should seriously consider what else we might do.[2]

Relate to Them

The rest of Hebrews 13.3 stresses our need for empathy and solidarity with our suffering brethren. Its parallelism helps interpretation. Remember:

them that are in bonds, as bound with them

them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves in the body

They are “in bonds” and thus “suffer adversity.” You are to remember them with the same compassion and concern as if you were right there with them, for, after all, like them, you are “in the body.” The likely idea is that in this life, you are vulnerable to the same kind of suffering, so theirs should be a matter of special concern to you. “Remember those who are in prison as if you were their fellow prisoner, and those who are ill-treated, since you also are liable to bodily sufferings” (ANT). Our remaining sin makes us less concerned for others, so we need to put ourselves, mentally, in their place. When we are deeply touched like this, we will be more faithful to remember our brethren with a compassionate response, and be more like Christ. Amen.

D. Scott Meadows, Pastor
Calvary Baptist Church (Reformed)
Exeter, New Hampshire USA
http://cbcexeter.sermonaudio.com
 
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[1] Arndt, W., Danker, F. W., & Bauer, W. (2000). A Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament and other early Christian literature. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

[2] One helping organization that has won the support of many discerning Christians is “The Voice of the Martyrs” (www.persecution.com).

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