Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Bryan--we're praying for you

Bryan--we're praying for you and your family.

Just in case you read this.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Just updating some links

Not sure when I'll blog again.
I do have some ideas though.
So if anybody actually reads this--I might just start up again.

But in the meantime I just updated some links--I removed a couple of blogs that aren't around anymore, but left a few that haven't posted in a while, updated the name of one. and added a new one.

I still use this page myself to look up the links, so if nothing else this update will help me out.

But if you're not me and checking out this page-check out the links.

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Thursday, February 21, 2008

Here You go Dave

So are you happy now?

(Especially since you may be the only one reading this?)

Oh, and if you're not Dave-see this and scroll down.

Or see this.

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Monday, October 15, 2007

Presbyterian Paedobaptism and Roman Catholic Paedobaptism Part 1

Once upon a time, in the comments of a post, a Roman Catholic asked me the difference between the Presbyterian and RC views on paedo-baptism (baptizing infants/children.) Both baptize infants. Are the views that different? Sometimes I see critiques of paedobaptism that only deal with one view, yet the writer acts as if they have vanquished all paedobaptists. There are four broad categories of paedobaptism I am aware of-Presbyterian/Reformed, Roman Catholic, Anglican, and Lutheran. (Possibly Eastern Orthodox should be included as a separate category. I would include the Methodist view as a subset of the Anglican. Anglicans also have some differences among themselves.) These posts will only be dealing with the first two. I may address the others later.

These posts are also not intended as a defense for paedobaptism itself, nor are they intended as an examination of the credobaptist (Believer only) view. What they are intended to be is an overview of the differences between the Presbyterian/Reformed view and the Roman Catholic view. Undoubtedly, I may miss some of the finer nuances in doing this. So I welcome comments if anybody feels I miss anything, or misrepresent either view. If such comments are left I may interact with them in the comments section or in a new post. I may not interact with them here, but I will not ignore them. Which response I give will depend on the comments’ relevancy and on my time. Of course, it’s possible no comments will be left as well.

I will be presenting the two views primarily from the Roman Catholic Church’s most recent catechismCatechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) and the Westminster Confession of Faith (WCF). These documents are seen as having validity for Roman Catholicism and Presbyterianism. (If anybody wants to jump in with the Heidelberg Catechism, which is the Reformed denominations’ counterpart to the WCF, please go ahead.)

Both Roman Catholics and Presbyterians refer to baptism as a sacrament and a means of grace, but they mean different things by this. Using the same terminology can certainly lead to confusion. I have seen more than one Baptist assuming we mean the same thing, and so “disproving” the Presbyterian view. In Roman Catholicism baptism is a means of grace as it wipes the slate clean and provides the recipient with grace with which they can co-operate to gain merit. The Presbyterian view is tied to the idea that baptism is tied to God’s covenant with His people and the promises and blessings of that Covenant. It is a means of grace in that sense. Both these descriptions are only scratching the surface, but it does show there are distinct differences.

In the CCC sacraments are described this way-
1131 The sacraments are efficacious signs of grace, instituted by Christ and entrusted to the Church, by which divine life is dispensed to us. The visible rites by which the sacraments are celebrated signify and make present the graces proper to each sacrament. They bear fruit in those who receive them with the required dispositions.

1132 The Church celebrates the sacraments as a priestly community structured by the baptismal priesthood and the priesthood of ordained ministers.

1133 The Holy Spirit prepares the faithful for the sacraments by the Word of God and the faith which welcomes that word in well-disposed hearts. Thus the sacraments strengthen faith and express it.

1134 The fruit of sacramental life is both personal and ecclesial. For every one of the faithful an the one hand, this fruit is life for God in Christ Jesus; for the Church, on the other, it is an increase in charity and in her mission of witness.

Chapter 27 of the WCF describes sacraments this way-
1. Sacraments are holy signs and seals of the covenant of grace, immediately instituted by God, to represent Christ and His benefits; and to confirm our interest in Him: as also, to put a visible difference between those that belong unto the Church and the rest of the world; and solemnly to engage them to the service of God in Christ, according to His Word.

2. There is, in every sacrament, a spiritual relation, or sacramental union, between the sign and the thing signified: whence it comes to pass, that the names and effects of the one are attributed to the other.

3. The grace which is exhibited in or by the sacraments rightly used, is not conferred by any power in them; neither doth the efficacy of a sacrament depend upon the piety or intention of him that doth administer it: but upon the work of the Spirit, and the word of institution, which contains, together with a precept authorizing the use thereof, a promise of benefit to worthy receivers.

4. There be only two sacraments ordained by Christ our Lord in the Gospel; that is to say, Baptism, and the Supper of the Lord: neither of which may be dispensed by any, but by a minister of the Word lawfully ordained.

5. The sacraments of the old testament in regard of the spiritual things thereby signified and exhibited, were, for substance, the same with those of the new.

While there is some similar language used, when you read these you see the different emphases of each. The corresponding sections on baptism show the differences more clearly. I'll take a look at those in part 2.

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Thursday, October 11, 2007

“Faith is rest, not toil.”

Horatius Bonar wrote sermons, books, and hymns. He was gifted by God in these things. The blog, Of First Importance, consists of quotes from the writings of godly men of the past. They've posted this quote from Horatius Bonar--go check it out-
“Faith is rest, not toil.”

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Book Recommendation-Discovering God’s Will by Sinclair Ferguson

I don’t normally take a lot of notes when reading a book, but with this one I took a lot. The topic is an important one for believers. How can we know God’s will? Sinclair Ferguson puts forth the idea that God’s will is shaped by the big picture-God’s ultimate purposes for us and creation.

Early on he advises us, “In the first place, we need to recognise that we do not find God’s guidance for our lives by reading a book on guidance!” What he is trying to say is, there is no easy answer. He warns us, “There is no avoiding and no substitute for, the sometimes long, arduous experience of discovering the will of God in our own lives.” This does not deny absolutes, but is stated for any who may be looking for simple formulas to apply. “We learn about guidance primarily by learning about the Guide.” (italics in original.)

Once he introduces the topic, Ferguson starts to look at God’s ultimate purpose. He advises us that the idea God guides us implies God has laid down a path for us, our lives have purpose now, and destiny for the future. He then breaks these points down and looks at them biblically. In speaking of God’s purpose, Sinclair tells us, “There is, in fact, no more basic question for us to ask than this: Will this course of action tend to further the glory of God?” (italics in original) From here he digs into what it really means to imitate Jesus.

Then the book looks at guidelines. He warns us against the illusion that God’s will can be learned overnight. I have come across many believers who want just that—to know exactly and to know now. But it doesn’t work that way. So Ferguson looks to the Bible and tells us how three ways scripture provides us with what we need to know about God’s character and wisdom. He looks into scripture himself and gives examples. He also outlines how scripture helps us

After that come warnings about the heart, and our need to guard ours. Our motives may be suspect for starters. Ferguson addresses the conditions in the heart, particularly what we need to have.

The book continues in this vein through our lifestyles, conduct, calling marriage, and waiting. He addresses the reader who may have been hoping this book would tell would provide all the answers and do it now. What can that reader do now that it is apparent this is not a self-help book or a simple list of “what to do.”

I always seem to enjoy and profit from reading Sinclair Ferguson. He communicates clearly, and biblically. This is a breath of fresh air given a lot of what is written by contemporary authors. It is tempting to merely post a multi-part series summarizing this book, but instead I will recommend you get yourself a copy and devour it for yourself. I think you’ll learn more that way.

Discovering God's Will is published by Banner of Truth.

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Coming Soon

Once again I've been working on a post I mentioned long ago. I was asked in a comment about the difference between the Roman Catholic and Presbyterian/Reformed forms of paedo-baptism. I hope to post something on that next week. It's been through a few drafts in my head and a couple written down. Computer problems have hampered the progress of that, but Lord willing, you can read at least the start of it next week. It may not interest credo-baptists who may just retort, "They're both wrong!" but I would hope they could learn from it as well. So check back next week. I also have a couple of posts that should be up soon.


Monday, October 08, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

Yes, Thanksgiving is in October--at least in Canada it is.
So Happy Thanksgiving to all my Canadian readers, and any American readers who want to save that until next month.


Tuesday, September 25, 2007

I love This Video

This is a little bit of a departure for me, but watch this.

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