Call To Die

Then [Jesus] said to them all, "If anyone wants to come with Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of Me will save it. (Luke 9:23-24, HCSB)

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Follower of Christ, husband of Abby, member of Kosmosdale Baptist Church, and tutor/staff member at Sayers Classical Academy.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

The Lord's Prayer in Latin, Marked for Translation

I have the privilege of teaching Latin at Sayers Classical Academy and also teaching Sunday school at Kosmosdale Baptist Church. In God's providence, I am currently able to begin teaching about the Lord's Prayer in both of these settings. For my Latin class, it is necessary for me to be able to fully identify each word of the Lord's Prayer in the Latin text. I pray that this close examination of our Lord's words (I'm looking at the Greek text also) will help in my exegesis and explanation of the prayer in Sunday school as well.

Looking online for helps regarding the Latin text of the Lord's prayer, I could not find any page that had the prayer fully marked for translation. Therefore, I've created my own marked text, seen below. I've marked it in the way that is most useful to me. I certainly welcome any questions/corrections.

Pater noster,

pron.       2sPAI   (in+AblNP)       
qui          es          in caelis,          

 3s PPS          AccNS ^
sanctificetur nomen tuum.
3s PAS     AccNS ^                      
Adveniat regnum tuum. 

3s PPS      NFS      ^
Fiat          voluntas tua,

adv.  (in+AblNS)     conj.     (in+AblSF)
sicut in caelo          et          in terra.

AccMS ^              ^                  2s PAV         
Panem nostrum quotidianum da               

1pDat  adv
nobis hodie,

conj      2s PAV  1pDat AccNP^               
et          dimitte nobis debita nostra

adv. conj. 1pNom   
sicut et    nos         

1p PAI         DMP          ^
dimittimus debitoribus nostris.

conj.      adv.         1pAcc             
Et          ne             nos                 

2s PAS  (in+AccFS)
inducas in tentationem,

conj.        2s PAV       1pAcc.         (a +       AblMS)
sed          libera          nos               a          malo.



Monday, April 25, 2016

Impassibility and the Single Divine Decree

The following is a consideration of an area of systematic theology. I believe that it is spiritually profitable for believers to consider such things. This type of consideration keeps us from forming idols of God according to our own imaginations. For those who love God, this type of consideration is profitable in allowing us to grow in knowledge concerning the One we love.

According to classical orthodoxy—the belief of the church through the ages—God is impassible. “Impassible” indicates “unchanging in one’s emotional state”. God—who is eternal, immutable (meaning: unchangeable), and perfect in His affections—does not change in regard to His emotions. Without exception, this was the univocal view of the Church until quite recently, as Samuel Renihan demonstrates in God Without Passions: A Reader.

If a Christian has not thought through the doctrine of divine impassibility, then an immediate objection may come to his mind.

OBJECTION: Since believers used to be children of wrath, and are not children of wrath as believers, this necessarily implies that God has changed His affectional posture toward believers and gone from a God of wrath from a God of peace in relation to believers. [The position in this objection is sometimes referred to as “relational mutability”.]

The following answers to this objection are from James Dolezal and Samuel Renihan, two contributors to Confessing the Impassible God: The Biblical, Classical, and Confessional Doctrine of Divine Impassibility. At the end of this post, you can view the video from which these answers came.

James Dolezal

God is infinitely perfect in His hatred of my sin. That’s not a state of feeling that comes upon God. God is not a little more angry with sin than He was before. In other words, these are not states of emotion through which God is passing. God is not a little more or a little less angry with sin. It is His nature to detest it. It’s an insult to God’s holiness to say His wrath against sin rises and falls. It is His nature to detest sin.

It is also His nature to love. He is a God full of compassion. When He passes by Moses, He says, “The LORD God, full of compassion, showing mercy to generations and generations.”

Love is His nature. Holiness and justice are His nature. With respect to time, though, God does not manifest Himself or deal with me according to the fullness of His wrath or the fullness of His grace at one and the same moment. He can disclose Himself or administrate His dealings with me according to His wrath at one moment and according to His grace at another. It’s not that something changes in God… God has eternally and unchangeably decreed to deal with me in space and in time….

The change is on the side of revelation/manifestation, not on the side of being and perfection in God. But God is the one who wills that alteration. God wills to frown upon me—that is to say, to deal with me as One who is frowning upon my sin—and in the same act of will, to alter that manifestation—not alter His being, but alter that manifestation—by subsequently smiling upon me as I am united to His Son by faith through the work of His Spirit.

Samuel Renihan 

As God is simple [meaning: “without parts”], so His decree is simple. And His decree is of His will, which is one with His essence. So you have a simple, unchangeable decree with an unfathomable multitude of effects in time and space. So you can’t take those multitude of effects and assume some kind of complexity in the decree, when—in fact—it was simple in a simple God, whose will is one with His essence.

And so this question [the objection that God must undergo changing emotions when people are saved] assumes that:
  1. God has affectional postures;
  2. God is on the roller coaster of time and can change.


Wednesday, April 20, 2016

"That Man of Sin"

In the Summer 2005 edition of Founders Journal, Dr. Sam Waldron published an article arguing that churches should use the 1689 Baptist Confession as their statement of faith. Dr. Waldron argues that the 1689 Baptist Confession is the “best available local church confession.” In making his arguments, Waldron is clear in stating that Scripture alone is infallible, and that—as with all lengthy confessions—some revisions should be considered. One area of the 1689 Baptist Confession that needs “a slight revision,” Waldron argues, is Chapter 26, Paragraph 4: that the Pope of Rome is the Antichrist; the end-times “Man of Sin,” who will be destroyed at Christ’s return. Waldron writes:

[T]his statement ought not to have been made or be part of our confession today. This is one of those places where a slight revision of the 1689 Confession is necessary. In my experience (having become a Reformed Baptist pastor in 1977 and having shepherded two Reformed Baptist churches during that time), Reformed Baptist churches today, when they express their allegiance to the Confession in their constitutions, commonly make an exception of this statement.

Whereas it seems wise to forego identifying the Pope or papacy with a single end-times Antichrist, it is important to note that there are definite reasons that the Particular Baptists who originally adopted the 1689 Confession came to the conclusion that they did. Whether or not the “man of sin” mentioned in 2 Thessalonians 2:3 will hold the Roman Catholic office of “pope,” the papacy is certainly anti-Christ in the broad sense (1 John 2:18). In fact, the papacy is diametrically opposed to all three persons of the trinity. Consider some of the titles that the Pope claims for himself: “Holy Father,” “Pontiff,” and “Vicar of Christ:”
¨    God alone should be called “Holy Father,” as Jesus directly commanded His disciples in Matthew 23:9.
¨    Jesus Christ is the only pontiff. “Pontiff” means “bridge,” or—in religious settings—the high priest mediating between God and Man. Jesus is the only mediator between God and Man (1 Tim 2:5); in the New Covenant era, He is the only High Priest  (Heb 8:1; 10:14).
¨    The Holy Spirit is the only vicar of Christ. (“Vicar” means “substitute.”) See: John 14:16, 26.

[The above observations are adapted from points made by Phillip Jensen at the 2016 Together for the Gospel Conference.]

Conclusion: Confessional Subscription

In light of the Pope’s blasphemous claims, along with Waldron’s concession about the particular wording found in the 26.4, how should churches that subscribe to the 1689 Confession view its statements concerning the papacy? Tom Chantry, in some personal correspondence I had with him a couple of years ago, gave a number of helpful thoughts concerning this matter. Here is part of what he wrote to me. [The following material is consistent with specific statements Chantry has made on his own blog, so I don’t think he’ll mind my sharing these thoughts here.] 

[N]ote that the primary doctrine expressed in 26:4 is the exclusive headship of Christ over the church.  As a secondary doctrine, the confession condemns as blasphemy the pope’s usurpation of Christ’s title.

So what does it mean to subscribe to this doctrine? 

1. A strict subscriptionist [one who seriously takes the doctrines expressed in the 1689 Confession as an accurate summary of biblical teaching] must agree that Christ is the only Head of the Church, and that no man may usurp that title. 

2. A strict subscriptionist must agree that the system of papacy is a manifestation of the spirit of antichrist, and that part of the purpose of God the Holy Spirit in revealing antichrist to us was to prepare us to reject the papacy.  He must agree that God has rejected the papacy, and that Christ will utterly destroy it at the Judgment.

3. A strict subscriptionist must recognize that the papacy was the primary manifestation of the spirit of antichrist - at least during the age and location of the authors of our confession. 

It is important to take Reformed confessions seriously and to understand why they make specific claims concerning the papacy. It is important to resist—and not compromise in resisting—the spirit of the anti-Christ, wherever it might be found. Finally, it is vitally important to glorify Christ alone as the Head of the Church, “in whom—by the appointment of the Father—all power for the calling, institution, order, or government of the Church, is invested in a supreme and sovereign manner.”