The Staunch Calvinist

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

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1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 26: Of the Church - Commentary

...ties, there ought to be a public excommunication; and that this is to be done by the vote, and with the consent of the whole church, or the major part of it; and that in process of time, when the person thus dealt with has given the church satisfaction as to the truth and genuineness of his repentance, the censure ought to be taken off and he be cordially received into the communion of the church again.[4]

Church is an Organized Body

As we move to consider membership, elders, and Deacons we come to the organizational part of the church. There is order in the church and a way in which things must be done. Concerning this, it is very beneficial to note the following quote and the biblical references from A. H. Strong:

That there was such organization is abundantly shown from (a) its stated meetings, (b) elections, and (c) officers; (d) from the designations of its ministers, together with (e) the recognized authority of the minister and of the church; (f) from its discipline, (g) contributions, (h) letters of commendation, (i) registers of widows, (j) uniform customs, and (k) ordinances; (l) from the order enjoined and observed, (m) the qualifications for membership, and (n) the common work of the whole body.

(a) Acts 20:7—“upon the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread, Paul discoursed with them”; Heb. 10:25—“not forsaking our own assembling together, as the custom of some is, but exhorting one another.”

(b) Acts 1:23-26—the election of Matthias; 6:5, 6—the election of Deacons.

(c) Phil. 1:1—“the saints in Christ Jesus that are at Philippi, with the bishops and Deacons.”

(d) Acts 20:17, 28—“the elders of the church ... the flock, in which the Holy Spirit hath made you bishops[marg.: ‘overseers’].”

(e) Mat. 18:17—“And if he refuse to hear them, tell it unto the church: and if he refuse to hear the church also, let him be unto thee as the Gentile and the publican”; 1 Pet. 5:2—“Tend the flock of God which is among you, exercising the oversight, not of constraint, but willingly, according to the will of God.”

(f) 1 Cor. 5:4, 5, 13—“in the name of our Lord Jesus, ye being gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus, to deliver such a one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.... Put away the wicked man from among yourselves.”

(g) Rom. 15:26—“For it hath been the good pleasure of Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution for the poor among the saints that are at Jerusalem”; 1 Cor. 16:1, 2—“Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I [pg 895]gave order to the churches of Galatia, so also do ye. Upon the first day of the week let each one of you lay by him in store, as he may prosper, that no collection be made when I come.”

(h) Acts 18:27—“And when he was minded to pass over into Achaia, the brethren encouraged him, and wrote to the disciples to receive him”; 2 Cor. 3:1—“Are we beginning again to commend ourselves? or need we, as do some, epistles of commendation to you or from you?”

(i) 1 Tim. 5:9—“Let none be enrolled as a widow under threescore years old”; cf. Acts 6:1—“there arose a murmuring of the Grecian Jews against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration.”

(j) 1 Cor. 11:16—“But if any man seemeth to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God.”

(k) Acts 2:41—“They then that received his word were baptized”; 1 Cor. 11:23-...


1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 22: Of Religious Worship and the Sabbath Day - Commentary

...day, all who live in cities or in the country gather together to one place, and the memoirs of the apostles or the writings of the prophets are read, as long as time permits; then, when the reader has ceased, the president verbally instructs, and exhorts to the imitation of these good things. Then we all rise together and pray, and, as we before said, when our prayer is ended, bread and wine and water are brought, and the president in like manner offers prayers and thanksgivings, according to his ability, and the people assent, saying Amen; and there is a distribution to each, and a participation of that over which thanks have been given, and to those who are absent a portion is sent by the Deacons. And they who are well to do, and willing, give what each thinks fit; and what is collected is deposited with the president, who succours the orphans and widows and those who, through sickness or any other cause, are in want, and those who are in bonds and the strangers sojourning among us, and in a word takes care of all who are in need. But Sunday is the day on which we all hold our common assembly, because it is the first day on which God, having wrought a change in the darkness and matter, made the world; and Jesus Christ our Saviour on the same day rose from the dead. For He was crucified on the day before that of Saturn (Saturday); and on the day after that of Saturn, which is the day of the Sun, having appeared to His apostles and disciples, He taught them these things, which we have submitted to you also for your consideration.[113]

An interesting side-note for myself as an Armenian (not Arminian): the Sunday is called “Kiraki” in the Armenian language, which I, for a long time did not notice that it came from the Greek kyriakē until I read Revelation 1:10 in Armenian. The Greeks likewise still call Sunday kyriakē.

If the Apostle John wanted to speak of the Jewish Sabbath, the seventh day, he could have simply said: “I was in the Spirit on the Sabbath day.” But that was not his design, rather, he wanted to mention that the revelation of the Lord Jesus came to Him on the Lord’s Day, the Sunday. From his passing reference, we may deduce that the reference to the Lord’s Day was expected to be clear to the Gentile churches to which he was writing. It was known to them. John did not coin the term, but it was already in usage for the first day of the week by the Christians in honor of Christ’s resurrection. We have already seen that it was the custom of Christians to gather corporately on the first day of the week in honor of Christ’s resurrection (e.g. John 20:19, 26; Acts 2:1; 20:7; 1Cor. 16:2). Christ was raised on the first day of the week and that’s why it is specially called the Lord’s day.

This designation of the Sunday destroys the idea that “all days are holy” or “all days are the Lord’s,” since John only attributes a single day with that honor. The New Covenant does have a high and holy day—the Lord’s Day. I agree with J.C. Ryle about ‘why we are told so pointedly about the “first day of the week” and “the Lord’s Day,” if the Apostles kept no one day more holy than another, is to my mind whole inexplicable… I am convinced that, taking human nature as it is, the attempt to regard every day as a Lord’s Day would result in having no Lord’s Day at all.’[55] “The Lord’s Day” is the God-sanctioned name for the Christian and New Covenant Sabbath day. It is the day which peculiarly belongs to the Risen Lord Christ and wh...


1689 Second Baptist Confession of Faith Highlighted

... Cor. 2:6-8
  1. A particular church, gathered and completely organized according to the mind of Christ, consists of officers and members; and the officers appointed by Christ to be chosen and set apart by the church (so called and gathered), for the peculiar administration of ordinances, and execution of power or duty, which he intrusts them with, or calls them to, to be continued to the end of the world, are bishops or elders, and Deacons.
    1. Phil. 1:1, 1 Tim 3:1-13; Acts 20:17, 28; Titus 1:5-7; 1 Peter 5:2
  1. The way appointed by Christ for the calling of any person, fitted and gifted by the Holy Spirit, unto the office of bishop or elder in a church, is, that he be chosen thereunto by the common suffrage of the church itself; and solemnly set apart by fasting and prayer, with imposition of hands of the eldership of the church, if there be any before constituted therein; and of a deacon that he be chosen by the like suffrage, and set apart by prayer, and the like imposition of hands.
    1. Eph. 4:11; 1 Tim 3:1-13
    2. Acts 6:1-7; 14:23; with Matt. 18:17-20; 1 Cor. 5:1-13
    3. 1 Tim 4:14, 5:22
    4. Acts 6:1-7
  1. The work of pastors being constantly to attend the service of Christ, in his churches, in the ministry of the word and prayer, with watching for their souls, as they that must give an account to Him; it is incumbent on the churches to whom they minister, not only to give them all due respect, but also to communicate to them of all their good things according to their ability, so as they may have a comfortable supply, without being themselves entangled in secular affairs; and may also be capable of exercising hospitality towards others; and this is required by the law of nature, and by the express order of our Lord Jesus, who hath ordained that they that preach the Gospel should live of the Gospel.
    1. Acts 6:4; 1 Tim. 3:2; 5:17; Heb. 13:17
    2. 1 Tim. 5:17-18; 1 Cor. 9:14; Gal. 6:6-7
    3. 2 Tim. 2:4
    4. 1 Tim. 3:2
    5. 1 Cor. 9:6-14; 1 Tim. 5:18
  1. Although it be incumbent on the bishops or pastors of the churches, to be instant in preaching the word, by way of office, yet the work of preaching the word is not so peculiarly confined to them but that others also gifted and fitted by the Holy Spirit for it, and approved and called by the church, may and ought to perform it.
    1. Acts 8:5; 11:19-21; 1 Peter 4:10-11
  1. As all believers are bound to join themselves to particular churches, when and where they have opportunity so to do; so all that are admitted unto the privileges of a church, are also under the censures and government thereof, according to the rule of Christ.
    1. 1 Thess. 5:14; 2 Thess 3:6, 14-15; 1 Cor. 5:9-13; Heb. 13:17
  1. No church members, upon any offence taken by them, having performed their duty required of them towards the person they are offended at, ought to disturb any church-order, or absent themselves from the assemblies of the church, or administration of any ordinances, upon the account of such offence at any of their fellow members, but to wait upon Christ, in the further proceeding of the church.
    1. Matt. 18:15-17; Eph. 4:2-3; Col. 3:12-15; 1 John 2:7-11, 18-19; 28:15-17; Eph. 4:2-3; Matt. 28:20
  1. As each church, and all the members of it, are bound to pray continually for the good and prosperity of all the churches of Christ, in all places, and upon all occasions to further every one within the bounds of th...

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

...

In 1 Timothy 6:14, Paul charges Timothy to keep all that Paul has commanded him in the letter (the commandment) “unstained and free from reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ [τῆς ἐπιφανείας τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ, tēs epiphaneias tou Kyriou hēmōn Iēsou Christou]”. Timothy should continue following Paul’s commands concerning elders, Deacons, “fighting the good fight” and so on, until the coming of Christ. In 2 Timothy 4:1 Paul charges Timothy under oath in the presence of God and Christ “who is to judge the living and the dead” and “by his appearing [τὴν ἐπιφάνειαν αὐτοῦ, tēn epiphaneian autou] and his kingdom”. His appearing will also bring the appearing and consummation of His kingdom. Paul charges Timothy by 1) God, 2) Christ, 3) Christ’s Second Advent, and 4) Christ’s Kingdom. In 2 Timothy 4:8 Paul says that “the Lord, the righteous judge” will reward him on “that Day” the “crown of righteousness”, but the Lord will not only reward Paul, but “all who have loved his appearing [τὴν ἐπιφάνειαν αὐτοῦ, tēn epiphaneian autou].” At first reading this may indicate that this appearing is about the first appearing, but consulting v. 1 and seeing that the descriptions of both passage fit together. For example, in both verses Jesus is described as Judge and also the use of the word appearing (epiphaneia). Paul is speaking about those who desire and love His Second Coming already! They are eagerly awaiting His Second Coming when His people will be vindicated, their enemies crushed, God glorified and them rewarded. Finally, Titus 2:13 speaks to Christians about fighting against sin and worldliness as we await for “our blessed hope” which is “the appearing of the glory [ἐπιφάνειαν τῆς δόξης, epiphaneian tēs doxēs] of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ”. Jesus Christ is described both as our Savior and as our God, and the day when He will come, He will come as such with the all the glory which belongs to Him. This is the blessed hope as then our striving against sin and the persecution against us will stop. We will be granted relief, and all sin will be destroyed in our life. We will be perfectly free from sin. Our enemies and the enemies of God will receive their due punishment.

The only use of epiphaneia which is not in reference to His Second Advent is in 2 Timothy 1:10. Paul teaches that the eternal electing gift of God has now been manifested through “the appearing [τῆς ἐπιφανείας, tēs epiphaneias] of our Savior Christ Jesus”. This could not be understood to be speaking of the Second Advent, but it could be easily understood to be speaking of the Logos becoming flesh (John 1:1, 14). Christ is in the same verse described as the one “who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel”. We have passed from death to life and we have eternal life (John 5:24; 1John 5:13). All these things were accomplished by the Lord Christ and will be fully consummated at His Second Advent. At the present, although we physically die, yet our death serves as the “train ticket” into God’s presence. Death is an enemy which has been forced to serve for the good of God’s people.

The epiphaneia of Christ is the blessed hope of Christians, which is His Second Coming, revelation, and appearing. On that day the Christians will receive a “crown of righteousness” when their “righteous Judge” will come. Until His appearing, Christians should follow God’s commandments and keep them unstained.

The Day Of...