Jonathan Edwards in Northampton…

cover_issue_27_en_USThere is some fascinating reading in the Jonathan Edwards Studies journal from Yale. University of Richmond professor Douglas Winiarski has worked through a mass of documents and detailed the events surrounding Edwards’ dismissal from the church in Northampton. A number of things stand out in the articles, not the least of which is to see congregational polity working in a very presbyterian manner. And, did you know that Edwards was open to and very close to affiliating with the Scots-Irish Presbyterians to set-up a new church in Northampton? The first four of five articles have been published…

New Perspectives on the Northampton Communion Controversy I: David Hall’s Diary & Letter to Edward Billing

New Perspectives on the Northampton Communion Controversy II: Relations, Professions, & Experiences, 1748-1760

New Perspectives on the Northampton Communion Controversy III: Count Vivasor’s Tirade & The Second Council, 1751

New Perspectives on the Northampton Communion Controversy IV: Experience Mayhew’s Dissertation on Edwards’s Humble Inquiry 

 

Oh, the irony…

I have sometimes made use of a very notable place in Peter, concerning Sarah: Sarah had a speech to her husband in Genesis 18:12, she called her husband lord. There was only that one good word in a bad, unbelieving speech; but yet when the Apostle mentions that speech in 1 Peter 3:6, the Holy Ghost leaves all the bad, and commends her for calling her husband ‘lord’, for putting a reverent title upon her husband. Thus how graciously God deals with us! If there is but one good word among a great many ill, what an interpretation God makes!

-Jeremiah Burroughs, The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment

Martin Luther's response to his excommunication by Pope Leo X…

LutherThis time of year we remember the anniversary of Martin Luther’s publishing of the 95 Theses, almost 500 years ago on Oct. 31, 1517. Just a few years after that in 1520, the Roman Catholic Church cast Luther out via Papal Bull (“Exsurge Domine“). Luther, given a gift by God for the use of clear and precise words, issued his own excommunication in his “Against the Execrable Bull of the Antichrist.” Here’s an excerpt…

I have heard that a bull against me has gone through the whole earth before it came to me, because being a daughter of darkness it feared the light of my face. For this reason and also because it condemns manifestly the Christian articles I had my doubts whether it really came from Rome and was not rather the progeny of that man of lies, dissimulation, errors, and heresy, that monster John Eck. The suspicion was further increased when it was said that Eck was the apostle of the bull. Indeed the style and the spittle all point to Eck. True, it is not impossible that where Eck is the apostle there one should find the kingdom of Antichrist. Nevertheless in the meantime I will act as if I thought Leo not responsible, not that I may honor the Roman name, but because I do not consider myself worthy to suffer such high things for the truth of God. For who before God would be happier than Luther if he were condemned from so great and high a source for such manifest truth? But the cause seeks a worthier martyr. I with my sins merit other things. But whoever wrote this bull, he is Antichrist. I protest before God, our Lord Jesus, his sacred angels, and the whole world that with my whole heart I dissent from the damnation of this bull, that I curse and execrate it as sacrilege and blasphemy of Christ, God’s Son and our Lord. This be my recantation, Oh bull, thou daughter of bulls.

Having given my testimony I proceed to take up the bull. Peter said that you should give a reason for the faith that is in you, but this bull condemns me from its own word without any proof from Scripture, whereas I back up all my assertions from the Bible. I ask thee, ignorant Antichrist, dost thou think that with thy naked words thou canst prevail against the armor of Scripture? Hast thou learned this from Cologne and Louvain? If this is all it takes, just to say, “I dissent, I deny,” what fool, what ass, what mole, what log could not condemn? Does not thy meretricious brow blush that with thine inane smoke thou withstandest the lightning of the divine Word? Why do we not believe the Turks? Why do we not admit the Jews? Why do we not honor the heretic if damning is all that it takes? But Luther, who is used to bellum, is not afraid of bullam . I can distinguish between inane paper and the omnipotent Word of God.

They show their ignorance and bad conscience by inventing the adverb “respectively.”   My articles are called “respectively some heretical, some erroneous, some scandalous,” which is as much as to say, “We don’t know which are which.” 0h meticulous ignorance! I wish to be instructed, not respectively, but absolutely and certainly. I demand that they show absolutely, not respectively, distinctly and not confusedly, certainly and not probably, clearly and not obscurely, point by point and not in a lump, just what is heretical. Let them show where I am a heretic, or dry up their spittle. They say that some articles are heretical, some erroneous, some scandalous, some offensive. The implication is that those which are heretical are not erroneous, those which are erroneous are not scandalous, and those which are scandalous are not offensive. What then is this, to say that something is not heretical, not scandalous, not false, but yet is offensive? So then, you impious and insensate papists, write soberly if you want to write. Whether this bull is by Eck or by the pope, it is the sum of all impiety, blasphemy, ignorance, impudence, hypocrisy, lying – in a word, it is Satan and his Antichrist.

Where are you now, most excellent Charles the Emperor, kings, and Christian princes? You were baptized into the name of Christ, and can you suffer these Tartar voices of Antichrist? Where are you, bishops? Where, doctors? Where are you who confess Christ? Woe to all who live in these times.  The wrath of God is coming upon the papists, the enemies Of the cross of Christ, that all men should resist them. You then, Leo X, you cardinals and the rest of you at Rome, I tell you to your faces: “If this bull has come out in your name, then I will use the power which has been given me in baptism whereby I became a son of God and co-heir with Christ, established upon the rock against which the gates of hell cannot prevail. I call upon you to renounce your diabolical blasphemy and audacious impiety, and, if you will not, we shall all hold your seat as possessed and oppressed by Satan, the damned seat of Antichrist; in the name of Jesus Christ, whom you persecute. But my zeal carries me away. I am not yet persuaded that the bull is by the pope but rather by that apostle of impiety, John Eck….

If anyone despises my fraternal warning, I am free from his blood in the last judgment. It is better that I should die a thousand times than that I should retract one syllable of the condemned articles. And as they excommunicated me for the sacrilege of heresy, so I excommunicate them in the name of the sacred truth of God. Christ will judge whose excommunication will stand. Amen.

Gay mirage in SC…

The recent SCOTUS silence has given courage to state judges bending over backwards for sodomy. Charleston County (SC) Probate Judge Irvin Condon issued a marriage license to a relative—Charleston County Councilwoman, Colleen Condon— and her lover. Despite a constitutional amendment passed by 78% of the voters of SC in 2006 defining marriage as marriage, Judge Condon issued this license. We’ll now see whether SC Attorney General Alan Wilson stays true to his word to uphold the will of the people of SC.

Meanwhile, let’s not forget that judges can be impeached. In SC there are three ways:

  • The commission on judicial conduct is authorized to investigate complaints of judicial misconduct and incapacity. Disciplinary counsel appointed by the supreme court evaluates each complaint and either dismisses the complaint or conducts a preliminary investigation. If evidence supports the complaint, a full investigation is authorized. If the investigation supports the filing of formal charges, a hearing is conducted, after which a recommendation is made to the supreme court for sanctions, dismissal, transfer to inactive status, retirement, or removal.
  • Judges may be impeached by a two-thirds vote of the house of representatives and convicted by a two-thirds vote of the senate.
  • Judges may be removed by the governor upon the address of two thirds of each house of the general assembly.

So, write to your state representative, asking him to begin the impeachment process against Judge Condon, and then pray that God would make him courageous enough to stand in the gap. And pray that Alan Wilson will have courage, too.

Update 10/9/14: Attorney General Wilson has petitioned the SC Supreme Court for an injunction: “…a public official may not refuse to follow State law because ‘he thought the law unconstitutional.'”

Update 2 10/9/14: The SC Supreme Court has issued the injunction petitioned for by the AG.

The end justifies the means (our "local" #giftedcommunicator, part 2)…

NewSpringBuildingThe numbers-obsessed evangelical church will do anything to produce results—and those results are understood to be only and always the blessing of God. Stephen Furtick, pastor of Charlotte’s Elevation Church, revealed the magic behind the massive number of “spontaneous” baptisms at his church: put 15 planted people in the audience who quickly rise up just after he gives a call for people to come forward during the service. Here’s the plan of attack, outlined in “Spontaneous Baptisms How-To Guide“:

Screen Shot 2014-09-03 at 8.56.36 AMWhen this came to light was Furtick ashamed or repentant? Of course not. Out came the explanations (denials and indignation)…

When they started talking this week on the news about our baptisms, I got hot. Yes, sir. I got hot. They were saying that we manipulate our baptisms, that we have people planted in the audience who pretend to go get baptized. For the record, we have never planted anybody in our church to pretend to be baptized. I am too scared of God to do something like that. Please. Please. … And to take the fact that we have volunteers who get up and lead the way so that people know where to go and to act as if they were pretending to be baptized and to negate the sincere faith decision of precious people who had one of the most meaningful experiences of their life, that’s just sick.

Essentially what he is saying is that none of the 15 plants were actually baptized. They certainly did make people think they were going forward to get baptized. It’s manipulation and Elevation Church continues to practice and promote it. It results in people having “one of the most meaningful experiences of their life” and so a little dishonesty is not so bad. The end justifies the means.

Then there is this which is worse… Continue reading

Our "local" #giftedcommunicator…

A few months ago, a new advertisement for NewSpring Spartanburg went up. It’s a very simple sign—the name of the church, the address of their website, and the minimalistic logo are accompanied by an arrow pointing toward their new building…

NewSpringSignPrior to a few months ago, it was easy for me to ignore #NewSpring even though she is the “local” evangelical mega-church in town. Now, with their recently opened building near ours, most people arriving at Trinity pass by this sign. If you drive a few yards past the sign, take a right turn (instead of the left the sign is suggesting), you end up at my church. For several months, I’ve mused about placing a sign for Trinity under the NewSpring sign. It would have a similar font, similar layout, similar colors (just enough to distinguish it), an arrow pointing the opposite direction, and a few added hashtags: #nofreecups; #uncool; #notslick; #doctrine; #fleshandbloodpastor; #wcf; #membersnotowners; #webelieveinchurchdiscipline; #webelieveinsanctification; #family; #foolsforchrist; #etc…

At #NewSpring Spartanburg, an image of Perry Noble preaches each week. His image is broadcast from the main “campus” in Anderson, SC, where his body is. #NewSpring’s goal is to have 100,000 members owners in the state of SC at various campuses (already they have set-up shop in Andreson, Boiling Springs, Charleston, Clemson, Columbia, Florence, Greenville, Greenwood, Lexington, Myrtle Beach, and Spartanburg). They’re currently up to 32% of their goal. At each of their campuses they do have a flesh and blood, resident pastor, but, due to the fact that Perry Noble is a #giftedcommunicatorandteacher, they don’t get to preach on Sundays.

So, what is Perry Noble’s preaching like? I watched the first ten or so minutes of Noble’s most recent sermon (“The Best Weekend Ever“) and was thrilled to see that some first-time visitors got fed…by the package of Oreo™ cookies and the box of Krispy Kreme™ donuts that Noble awarded them at the beginning of his sermon.

The first Scripture came along at about the 8-minute mark. Romans 6:23 was printed on the flat-screen TV next to Noble: “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (NIV). A wonderful verse, no? A sobering opportunity to talk about the ravages of sin and the incredible grace of God, no? Well, here’s how Noble got into his exegesis of this passage: Continue reading

Raising our children to be those of whom the world was not worthy (part 2)…

If we believe the coming generation will face more hostility from our pagan culture, how do we switch gears from raising them for worldly success—as we have been doing, let’s be honest—to raising them for warfare, suffering, and loss? (We should have been doing that all along!) Here’s my list (Add others in the comments, please):

1. Discipline your children with the rod and with the Word. Proverbs 22:15, 23:13, 29:15. Love them through discipline (Prov. 13:24). Want them to have a right regard for authority?—one where they know that the ultimate authority is God whose throne is in heaven? Show your children your own fear of God and submission to His will in this task. Rebuke them and train them with the Word. Spank and speak. Give the no and the yes. Punish for sin and go to God’s Word to show them the right path.

Remember, we are no longer training them for success in the world, we are training them for success in battle… Continue reading

No need for a study committee…

Overture-22-Philadelphia-Study-Committee-on-BCO-21-5It’s said that progressives will revisit settled issues until they become unsettled. The Philadelphia Presbytery is using such tactics, hoping to revisit the settled Biblical polity regarding the sex (the Philadelphia Presbytery shows her slip by using the word “gender”) of elders. They desire to find some wiggle room for candidates for ordination who “may come forward who understand Scripture to allow women to be ordained to the office of elder.”

In no way do I mean the next sentence to be flippant. I’ve completed the work for the study committee…

1 Tim. 2:12-15.

This passage does not need study. It only requires faith.

Update (6/17/14):

Happy to see this, though I’m disappointed by that one abstention…

Screen Shot 2014-06-17 at 9.03.21 AM

You CAN have your cake and eat it too…

I know the following thoughts are obtuse, off-topic, and, in a major way, completely missing the point. There are real threats to freedom of religion and freedom of speech at the root of the lawsuits against Christian business owners these days…but…here goes…

I’d be willing to give those fighting for homosexual mirage all the cakes, photographs, and floral arrangements for their faux-ceremonies if Christians would return to thinking of the marriage ceremony as something more than an opportunities to play gay for a day (…fashion, photography, gourmet food, dancing…).

The wedding ceremony was not referred to as the solemnization (i.e. to celebrate with solemnity or to dignify) of matrimony just to sound cool. The wedding ceremony is vow-taking before a Holy God with a church full of witnesses. Well, that is what it used to be… Continue reading

Politics, Fatherhood, Education, Money, Church Leadership, Evangelism, Missions…

My friends at Clearnote Church in Bloomington recorded the following videos last week. I don’t know Pastor Walker, but I was deeply encouraged and challenged by his faith. Set aside an hour and watch the two videos below…

Matthew Walker Part 1 from Clearnote Church.

Matthew Walker Part 2 from Clearnote Church.