The Staunch Calvinist

"Absolute sovereignty is what I love to ascribe to God." - Jonathan Edwards


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1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 1: Of the Holy Scriptures - Commentary

... as the last book in the biblical canon is very significant. What is true of the book of Revelation concerning this curse, is likewise true of the entire Bible. Anyone who adds to the Scriptures or subtracts from them will be punished by God. This is similar to the warning in Deuteronomy to Israel concerning the Law. The difference here is that the consequences are clearly laid out. The one who does such a thing will not inherit eternal life, basically. Furthermore, while the Pentateuch itself acknowledges that there will be prophets (e.g., Deut. 18:15-22), and hence new Scripture, the New Testament does not expect after the time of the apostle anyone to produce new Scripture. While the Charismata of the Spirit are with the church, the Spirit will no longer give Scripture, and all the Charismata are to be tested by the Scripture, the only infallible rule of faith and practice. The 66 books of the Old and New Testament are the highest court of appeal and it is only in them that we have the inerrant, infallible, and authoritative voice of God.

§7 The Perspicuity of the Holy Scripture

  1. All things in Scripture are not alike plain in themselves, 1 nor alike clear unto all; yet those things which are necessary to be known, believed and observed for salvation, are so clearly propounded and opened in some place of Scripture or other, that not only the learned, but the unlearned, in a due use of ordinary means, may attain to a sufficient understanding of them. 3
    1. 2 Peter 3:16
    2. 2 Tim. 3:15-17
    3. 2 Tim. 3:14-17; Ps. 19:7-8; 119:105, 130; 2 Peter 1:19; Prov. 6:22-23; Deut. 30:11-14

Not all things are alike plain in Scripture, nor is it alike clear unto all believers or readers of the Bible. Peter, speaking of the writings of Paul says that “There are some things in them that are hard to understand” (2 Pet. 3:16), how much more we would have difficulty in wholly understand all things in Scripture? But those things which God has deemed necessary to be known, believed and observed for salvation, He has clearly revealed in Scripture. It is solely our problem that we do not perceive or understand their clarity. Not only that, even when these doctrines are spoken of in “difficult places”, yet they are so clearly propounded and opened in some places of Scripture that through the use of ordinary means (learning language, studying, trying to get the meaning of the text from the text, i.e., exegesis), we may understand those things. Something things we will understand more easily than others and that is the case with all things in life. For the “harder” things there is more study necessary. Let us observe our lives and how most of us have had a decent education and have learned enough for school because we had to or because we loved the subjects. Not all things were easy or pleasant. But we did them for the grades or for other goals. How much more should we spend time in the reading and study of Scripture when it concerns our spiritual happiness and well-being? How often do we neglect the Word and feed ourselves with garbage? If we would put so much effort into our education, job, hobbies or whatever else it might be, which are all momentary, how much more should we for our eternal happiness and spiritual health? Let us, therefore, be students of the Word, who are indwelt the Holy Spirit, who seek to love and obey the God of Scripture by the study and reading of His Word.

Perspicuity is a word that means clearness and in this connectio...

1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 17: Of The Perseverance of the Saints - Commentary style="color: #ffa07a;"called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. 

1. Paul starts his letter as he often does with thanksgiving to God for the work done in the believers he’s writing to. He gives thanks because grace was given to the believers and the believers are growing in the knowledge of God. They are maturing and becoming more like Christ everyday. Grace–the unmerited favor of God, was given to the believers in Christ that they escape from the punishment of their sins, yet not only in that way, but grace also to be enriched in Christ.

2. The believers are supplied with the Charismata of the Spirit as they await the blessed hope (Titus 2:13). It is God’s grace which gives them the gifts of the Spirit and thereby sustains them to the end.

3. It is the Lord Jesus, say vv. 7b-8, Who will sustain the believers guiltless. First, let us start with what that does not mean. It obviously does not mean that we will never sin, for if we claim that we deny the truth (1 John 1:8). But rather it means that we will be found guiltless before God, because the penalty of our sin was paid for. We have, through justification by faith, received the perfect righteousness of Christ, so when God looks upon us, He does not see our sin, but Christ’s perfect and sinless righteousness. The word sustain in the Greek is βεβαιόω (bebaioo, G950) which means “to make firm, establish, confirm, make sure” [3] and “to confirm, establish; to render constant and unwavering, 1 Cor. 1:8; to strengthen or establish by arguments or proofs, ratify, Mk. 16:20; to verify, as promises, Rom. 15:8”[4]. It is the Lord Jesus Who will indeed render us constant and unwavering in our faith and righteousness by faith. The Lord Jesus is able to sustain us to the end in the condition which we are now in, namely, in faith and grace, having the gifts of the Spirit and waiting for the blessed hope.

4. The end is defined to be “the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.” This is the last day, the day of judgment when God will judge the world in righteousness and manifest who is guilty and who is guiltless. The Lord Jesus is, therefore, able not only to sustain us to the end, but to sustain is blameless and without guilt before the Father. He has the ability and willingness for all who are His. We do not have to fear that day because we will be found blameless, and we know from other Scriptures that our righteousness was not originated with us, but was actually given to us by grace through faith. The word ἀνέγκλητος (anegkletos, G410means “that cannot be called into to account, unreproveable, unaccused, blameless”[3] and denotes the fact that God will not be able to find a cause of damnation in us, because of Christ’s perfect work. This is the condition that God is able to keep the believer in. How does this fit with “falling away” and actually not being sustained to the end blameless? 

5. In this passage, we hear John 6:39-40. The same concept of the Son being responsible to keep the elect is present here. He is given the responsibility to raise them up in John 6, but here it is expressed in being kept guiltless until the day of resurrection. Therefore, to claim that some of those who were given to Christ will not be kept blameless until the day of Jesus Christ, is to claim that the Son fails in His work, which should not even be thought of!

6. This passage is in many ways parallel to 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24, the same ideas are present there as are here. What...

1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 31: Of the State of Man after Death and Of the Resurrection of the Dead - Commentary

... Lord is at the Parousia of Christ.

1 Corinthians 1:7-8

1 Cor. 1:7-8 so that you are not lacking in any gift, as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ, 8 who will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ

The word apokalupsis is likewise connected with the Day of the Lord in 1 Corinthians 1:7-8. Paul thanks God for the grace that was given to the Corinthians (1 Cor. 1:4) because God has blessed them in every way (1 Cor. 1:5) even in them not lacking any Charismata until the apokalupsis of the Lord Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 1:7), who has the power and the willingness to keep His people pure and guiltless “in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Cor. 1:8). As they wait for the Second Advent of our Lord, Christians will be kept pure and blameless until the day of the Lord, which indicates that the Day of the Lord is a day of judgment and reward, in which Christians will not be condemned or judged negatively to damnation. Paul connects the apokalupsis or “the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ” with “the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Notice also the similarity of the expressions, which indicates that Paul is trying to connect the Second Advent of Christ with the Day of Christ. The revealing of Jesus Christ does not happen any other time that the Day of the Lord.

We have tried to argue above that the Parousia happens on the Day of the Lord, but we see here that the apokalupsis is likewise connected to the Day of the Lord. Therefore, we conclude that both the Parousia and the Apokalupsis refer to the same Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Summary Table Of The Day Of The Lord

This is a table which I made when I was reading Dean Davis’s book. Basically, it points out when the essential things of eschatology happen, even things that we have not yet discussed.

Verse Scripture
Judgment of the wicked
Matt. 7:22-23 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord…I never knew you; depart from me…
John 12:48 …the word that I have spoken will judge him on the last day.
2 Pet. 3:10 But the day of the Lord…heavens will pass away…and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.
Mk 8:38 …ashamed of me…the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes…
General Judgment and Reward
Rom. 2:5-6, 16 day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed…He will render to each one according to his works:…on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus.
1 Cor. 3:13 each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done.
Matt. 13:30 Let both grow together until the harvest, and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, Gather the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn.’”
Matt. 13:49 …at the end of the age…separate the evil from the righteous.
Matt. 25:32, 46 Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another…And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
Matt. 13:47-50 …sorted the good into containers but threw away the bad. So it will be at the end of the age… angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous…
2 Cor. 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for wh...

Review of Sam Waldron's To Be Continued?

To Be Continued?

Are The Miraculous Gifts For Today?

Dr. Waldron is a respectful and good Christian scholar, but this work was not written for the big scholars, but was written for the lay Christian who is interested in topic of the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

I liked the book and I thought that it was a pretty good case for cessationism. He tried to interact for example with Grudem on some points.

The Argument

The argument is basically:

1. There are no apostles
2. Therefore there are no prophets
3. Therefore there are no tongue-speaks
4. Therefore there are no miracle-workers

1. Apostles

First of all, by the use of Ephesians 4:9-11 he spends a paragraph or two to say that the apostolate was a gift. The word for gift in verse 9 is not the usual χάρισμα (charisma). He does not interact with those who do not accept that the apostolate was a (spiritual) gift, but rather a ministry or an office. This in my opinion is the biggest flaw in his argument. 

The Cascade Argument is built around and based upon the point that the greatest "gift" – the apostolate has ceased in the first century. He in fact makes a good case on the cessation of the apostolate, but does not make a convincing case that it was a spiritual gift like those mentioned in 1Cor 12:7-10 for example. Therefore, his Cascading Argument becomes weak. This is a point that Matt Slick also brought in the back-and-forth in their debate.

The argument basically starts with, if the greatest gift has ceased, it is therefore possible that the other "miraculous" gifts have also ceased. I don't believe that the NT makes such a distinction between the gifts as the “ordinary” and “extraordinary”, or “non-miraculous” and “miraculous.” I have not been able to find this distinction yet in the text of Scripture. 

2. Prophets

He demonstrates from the OT that a prophet was simply the mouth of God to the people (Ex 4:10-17; 7:1-2).  Also, what the prophets said had to be 100% accurate according to the regulations of Deuteronomy 13:1-5 and 18:15-22. Therefore he proceeds to the New Testament with the same definition of prophecy and this is understandable.

He first considers few passages used in support of continuationism including Ephesians 4:11-13; 1 Cor 13:8-13 and the case of Agabus (Acts 21:10-11).

On Ephesians 4 he says that if we maintain that everything in verse 11 is needed for our maturity and unity in the faith then we are proving too much. If we follow that, then we must also say that the apostolate must continue, but we have proven that it in fact did not continue. Therefore, he says that the apostles must refer to the writings and teaching of the apostles that we have in the New Testament and prophets or prophecy refers to the book of Revelation. He does not dispute if we have prophecy (i.e. the book of Revelation), rather if we have ongoing or new prophecy.

I don't think that the putting of Revelation under the category of "prophets" is right. John was not writing as a prophet, but was writing with the authority of an Apostle, that is the case for every NT book. It was either written by an apostle or an associate. I know of no NT book whose author was an prophet. 

Therefore, I do indeed agree that we have the Apostles in their writings, but I know of nothing that we have from prophets, therefore, it would seem that they would be necessary for the building up and achieving the unity of faith. (I don't know how this practically looks, but ...

Review of Walter J. Chantry's Signs Of the Apostles

Signs of the Apostles

Observations On Pentecostalism Old And New[1]

My feelings are mixed concerning this small volume. I believe that his case for cessationism did not stand. I believe that he misused some passages to make his case. Here are a few things that raised my eyebrows.

First, he argues that miracles were given for attestation from the narrative of Moses (Ex 4:5) and NT. No one disagrees, but he makes attestation the primary purpose of miracles. And not simple attestation, rather attestation for prophetic ministry. Miracles were connected with the prophets as he tries to argue from Ex 4:5 and Deut 34:10-11 (later from Elijah's example in 1Kings 18:36). But then he raises the anticipated objection about the miracles of Samson or the other prophets, his answer is not satisfying. He basically says that the "history is incomplete" (p. 11), i.e. we do not have everything that they did, therefore, they must have done some prophetic stuff as leaders of God's people. That is unsatisfactory.

Second, he uses Psalm 74:9 to say that "This is a striking endorsement of the principle that only prophets work miracles. Where miracles are performed we should expect to hear the inspired Word of God spoken. When there is no prophet, there are no signs." (p. 12)

Here pastor Chantry understands the signs to refer to the miracles of the prophets. But I believe what is a more proper sense of the verse is to speak of the Temple. The enemies of Israel as they are described in verse 4 "have roared in the midst of your [God's] meeting place; they set up their own signs for signs." The enemies of Israel have set up their own things in the Temple of God as signs. But now destitute of the Temple (in the time of the exile), the Israelites do not have their signs, i.e. the ark, the sacrifices, the temple which pictured to the people the presence of God among them.

Whatever the sense of the text, this does not have bearing upon the miracles when we come to the NT as on Pentecost when they were to be poured out on all people (Acts 2:17ff).

Third, he uses Galatians 3:5 to say "Paul appealed to his miracle-working power as evidence that he, rather than the Judaizers, ought to be believed." (p. 15) Where does Paul fit into the text? The text reads "Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith— ". Can it be that this is based upon the assumption that only the apostles can work miracles while the verse doesn't say a word about such a thing?

Fourth, he limits the scope of Hebrews 2:3-4 to the apostles though he does not explicitly say that (pp. 15-16). But the text does not reject the present work of God among the Hebrews, it simply highlights God's work among the Apostles.

Fifth, he anticipates the objection of non-apostles doing miracles and he raises the case of Philip in Acts 8:4-15. Then there's some weird comment about the people to whom Philip had preached that "[c]ertainly the true converts among them already had God's Spirit in their hearts, for [citation of Rom 8:9]" (p. 17). This was a first time for me, usually people explain it in terms of the foundational period of Acts and the primacy of Apostles that the believers did not receive the Spirit.

He accepts that Philip did actually perform miraculous deeds as the Bible obviously says (Acts 8:6-7), but then objects that it was the Apostles and not Philip who had the prerogative of ministering the mira...