The Staunch Calvinist

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

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1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 7: Of God's Covenant - Commentary

...atifies this view of the Covenant of Grace when he describes its four sequences: 1. It was first decreed in past eternity, 2. It was secondly revealed to man after the Fall of Adam and Eve, 3. It was executed and confirmed by Christ in his death and resurrection, 4. It becomes effective for its members when they are joined to Christ through faith. The particularity of this ordo salutis is the distinction between the revelation and the execution of the Covenant of Grace. Those who were saved before Christ were saved because of an oath; those who were saved after Him were saved because of a covenant. The Epistle to the Hebrews makes this distinction when it bases the faith of believers of the Old Covenant on the oath that God made to Abraham (He. 5.17-18). However, the assurance of the believers of the New Covenant rests on a testament that is the achieved work of Christ (He. 7-9).[29]

The Covenant of Grace did not exist as an established covenant under the Old Testament era, but it existed in the form of a promise. The Covenant of Grace/New Covenant being retroactive (influencing or applying to a period prior to enactment) had in it all the faithful before Christ (see for example Heb. 9:15; Rom. 3:25-26 about the retroactive aspect of the New Covenant) or see below. As to questions about covenant membership, people and the like, these things will be discussed under the New Covenant, if the Lord permits.

1689 Federalism vs Westminster Federalism

A very helpful diagram that I found which demonstrates the understanding of Covenant Theology from the perspective of a 1689 Federalist can be found here. The commonalities and differences between 1689 and Westminster Federalism may be illustrated by a helpful diagram which Brandon Adams has made for 1689Federalism.com.

The Noahic Covenant

For many, when asking the question “which is the first covenant that the Bible mentions” the answer is the Noahic Covenant. In a way, this is understandable, since the first mention of the word “covenant” is found in Genesis 6:18, though I have argued for the Covenant of Works being the first covenant established in time above.

God’s Story

After our first parents disobeyed and broke the Lord’s covenant, they were severed from the fellowship of God and all that is good. Though God being merciful and gracious in nature, promised to them salvation in the Offspring from Eve (Gen. 3:15). Now man, being severed from fellowship with His good Creator, has become opposed to Him and to what He represents and has sided with the one who questioned the Lord’s authority in the first place (see chapter 6 on Total Depravity). Man has become totally opposed to God and has become wholly evil by rebelling against their good Creator. About the condition of man, Genesis 6:5 is very negative:

The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.

The Lord was sorry that He made man on the earth and that man had become so wicked. The Lord wanted to blot out mankind which He had created as very good, but which has sought out many wicked and sinful ways away from God (Eccl. 7:29).

Gen. 6:7 So the LORD said, “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, man and animals and creeping things and birds of the heavens, for I am sorry that I have made them.”

The Fall affected much more than Adam and Eve alone. The Fall affected not only the whole human ...


1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 29: Of Baptism - Commentary

...ere united with Christ in His death and they were buried with their Covenantal Head, but also raised together with Him. In contrast to Jewish circumcision of the flesh, Christians still have a circumcision, namely, that of the heart (Deut. 10:16; 30:6; Jer. 4:4; Rom. 2:28-29; Phil. 3:3). Circumcision continues in the New Covenant, yet it is not of the flesh but of the heart, which is regeneration. This passage is often claimed by our Paedobaptist brethren to teach that the sign or seal of the New Covenant is baptism because they see a connection here between circumcision of the foreskin and Christian baptism. But I believe that Paul has an another counterpart to the Old Covenant circumcision. The language of circumcision stays the same, but the object of circumcision and its spiritual significance are changed in the New Covenant. The sign of the Old Covenant was circumcision of the males, but in the New Covenant, there is a “circumcision made without hands” by Christ for every member of the New Covenant, male and female. The Apostle is not equating circumcision and baptism here, but circumcision in the flesh and circumcision in the heart. In the Old Covenant, anyone who did not have the sign thereof did not belong to the covenant. In the New Covenant, anyone who is not circumcised in heart (which is not a sign of the New Covenant, because a sign has to be visible, see below on Signs And Seal), does not belong to the New Covenant. Circumcision functions as the prerequisite for membership in both covenants. Thus, the type and anti-type relationship here is not between Old Covenant circumcision of the foreskin and Christian baptism. Rather, it is between circumcision of the foreskin and circumcision of the heart, which is the regeneration promised to be an essential aspect of the New Covenant (Jer. 31:31-34; Ezek. 36:25-27). The fulfillment and replacement of circumcision of the foreskin in the Old Testament is the circumcision of the heart in the New Testament.

What does the phrase “by the circumcision of Christ” mean? It can possibly mean a few things: 1) the circumcision which was performed on Christ (Luke 2:21); 2) the circumcision which belongs to Christ; or 3) the circumcision which is performed by Christ. The translation, as given in the ESV, I think, is purposefully vague, because the expression in itself is vague and not altogether clear from first reading. I believe we can quickly discard option one as being invalid. Nowhere is any significance attached to the circumcision performed on Christ in the New Testament in connection with our salvation. The second and third options I take together since they are not mutually exclusive. The circumcision of which Paul is writing is the Christian, New Covenant circumcision and it is the circumcision which Christ performs on believers by His Spirit. This circumcision is what is also known as regeneration in which the Spirit gives us a new heart and a new spirit. The Lord Christ, by the Spirit makes us a new creation and gives us His Spirit to dwell in us (Ezk 36:25-27). Dr. Richard Barcellos, after citing Titus 3:5-6 writes, "Regeneration is by the Holy Spirit and through Jesus Christ and all is connected to the divine trinitarian act in saving us. The Holy Spirit is the effective agent of regeneration; however, he is, nonetheless, the Spirit of Christ and God (i.e., the Father).”[9] By regeneration we have put “off the body of the flesh”, which means the death of the old man and are...


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

...the church gathers to worship) is to be regulated by the Scriptures alone in all its elements of worship. Not all life is to be regulated by this principle, but only the corporate worship of the church. Therefore, Dr. Waldron speaks of “the regulative principle of the church” and says that “God regulates His worship in a way which differs from the way in which He regulates the rest of life.”[4]After writing about the uniqueness of the church gathering of the New Covenant and its connection with the tabernacle and Temple in the Old Covenant, Dr. Waldron says:

God never told Moses precisely how to construct Moses’ tent. God never told Moses precisely how to regulate His family. Those tasks He left to the discretion of Moses because it was Moses’ tent and Moses’ family. But it is for that very reason that God exercises such pervasive control over the tabernacle and its worship. The tabernacle was God’s tent; it ministers to His family. Thus, He rules its worship with a special and detailed set of regulations to which He expects precise obedience.[5]

God is jealous for His worship and He has actually not given man freedom to do as they will in His worship. We shall shortly see how jealous God is concerning His worship and the way He is worshiped, by the measures He deals to those who pervert His worship. John Calvin is considered to be one of the first who advocated for the Regulative Principle of Worship. In a letter to Emperor Charles V of the Holy Roman Empire (24 February 1500 – 21 September 1558), Calvin writes in 1543:

I know how difficult it is to persuade the world that God disapproves of all modes of worship not expressly sanctioned by His Word. The opposite persuasion which cleaves to them, being seated, as it were, in their very bones and marrow, is, that whatever they do has in itself a sufficient sanction, provided it exhibits some kind of zeal for the honor of God. But since God not only regards as fruitless, but also plainly abominates, whatever we undertake from zeal to His worship, if at variance with His command, what do we gain by a contrary course? The words of God are clear and distinct,

“Obedience is better than sacrifice.” “In vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men,” (1 Samuel 15:22; Matthew 15:9.)

Every addition to His word, especially in this matter, is a lie. Mere “will worship” ἐθελοθρησκίᾳ [ethelothreskeia] is vanity. This is the decision, and when once the judge has decided, it is no longer time to debate.[6]

Every addition to God’s Word in the matter of His worship is a lie. It is not, Calvin says, a bad suggestion or a bad idea, rather it is a lie. This is a very serious charge. The reason that such a thing is a lie and sin is that it perverts the true worship of God, which should solely be based on what He has said. In conclusion, the Regulative Principle teaches that:

  • Whatever is commanded concerning worship is to be done;
  • Whatever is forbidden is not to be done;
  • Whatever is not spoken about, is not to be done.

Scriptural Support

What is the Scriptural support for this doctrine? We will explore a few examples which will serve to prove that we are not to introduce new things to the worship of God and that it is only the prerogative of God to order and regulate His worship. There are a multitude of examples, but we will content ourselves with a few.

Cain And Abel

Gen. 4:3-5 In the course of time Cain brought to the LORD ...


1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 19: Of the Law of God - Commentary

...en and therefore unmistakable revelation of God concerning his will. They sinned without the written law and revelation of God, and therefore they will perish and be judged not based upon the written revelation and law of God. This does not mean that they will not be punished on the basis of the moral law, that is certainly the case, but it means that they will be judged according to the measure of light that they had. In contrast to this the Apostle points to those who have sinned under the law, speaking of the Jews here sinned while knowing the written revelation and law of God which is unmistakable. Unlike the Gentiles, the Lord had chosen the people of Israel to be His Old Covenant people and He has revealed Himself to them especially, unlike anything He had done and unlike any light of knowledge that He had shed upon any other nation. Israel knew who God was. They knew that obedience pleased Him and He greatly abhorred sin, it was clear to them from Holy Scripture. They who sinned while living under the written law, will perish and be judged on the basis on that written law. This means that they will be judged on the basis of the greater light that they had received. The knowledge of the Jew concerning the true God here is much greater than the Gentile, who Paul does say that He knows God (Rom. 1:21), but obviously he did not have as much knowledge of His will as the Jew did. Therefore, this Jew here will be punished more severely because of the greater revelation which he lived under. The heathen will receive a “light beating”, while those who know God’s will and still rebel against Him will receive a “severe beating” (Luke 12:47-48).

3. In both cases the Apostle is not assuming that Gentiles will go to heaven because they did not know the written law of God, or that they would not be judged by the law of God. It is a basic biblical assumption that all people will be judged by the law of God, because the law of God is not something arbitrary that God thought of someday, but it is a reflection of His pure and glorious character. The moral law reflects the Lawgiver. Things are good because they reflect Him and they are evil because they don’t. It is essential to understand that the moral law is a reflection of God’s holy character. He is the standard. There is nothing above God. We will stand before Him and give an account on the Day of Judgment and the standard to be judged by is His perfection, as expressed in the Decalogue/moral law. If you are afraid, you should be, because none of us can live such a perfect life, therefore, flee to Christ the Savior!

4. What does Paul mean to say in v. 13? He present two groups: 1) the hearers of the law which are the Jews, and 2) the doers of the law which are presumably Jews and Gentiles. Is the Apostle here teaching that people can be justified by works despite what his conclusion in chapter 3 on chapters 1-2 says? I don’t think so. Perhaps he is here speaking about the hypothetical justification by the law, by this I mean, that theoretically, it is possible to be justified by the law, but only if you do all what God commands without any disobedience (Gal. 3:10). Oh, and did I mention, that men are born in and prone to sin from the womb (Ps. 51:4-5; Gen. 6:5; 8:21)? Therefore, this is an impossible task for anyone, but the Lord Christ. I don’t have a firm opinion on this passage and I don’t think that its proper understanding is essential to the points I’m trying to making here a...


1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 8: Of Christ the Mediator - Commentary

... unlike the Mosaic Covenant (Heb. 8:6-13). This New Covenant is better because Christ is its Mediator. It is Christ who stands between sinful man and perfectly holy God (1Tim. 2:5). Christ is sinless (Heb. 4:15; 7:26), man is sinful and God is holy, but now Christ can stand between God and man because Christ is fully divine and fully human. In His one person, He shares both the nature of man and of God, and He is, therefore, capable to be the go-between of God and man. 1 Timothy lays the stress on the humanity of Christ when it tells us that He is the only Mediator between God and man (1Tim. 2:5).

His mediation and intercession make the New Covenant superior and better than the Old Covenant. The priests under the Old Covenant were many because they died and had to be replaced. On the other hand, this Mediator of the New Covenant has an indestructible life (Heb. 7:16) and continues forever. Death has no power over Him and thus He is able to finish His work and make perfect atonement and intercession for His people. After arguing thus, the Author of Hebrews tells us –

Heb. 7:25 Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.

To make intercession is to entreat the favor of God upon us, not based upon our works, but based upon His finished work (Heb. 7:27) on behalf of His people for whom He purchased all the blessings of God. The Lord Christ does not offer Himself repeatedly, rather in His intercession He points to His finished work as the basis of His appeal for us (Heb. 9:24-26). He is able to save, He is mighty to save—all who have boldness in and through Him to come to the throne of grace (Heb. 4:16). The reason for that is that Jesus intercedes and prays for God's elect that their faith may not fail (Rom. 8:34; Luke 22:32). Their drawing near to Christ is through the work of God in them and does not originate in themselves (John 6:44).

Ministry in Heaven

Heb. 8:1-2 Now the point in what we are saying is this: we have such a high priest, one who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, 2 a minister in the holy places, in the true tent that the Lord set up, not man. 

The Lord's priestly ministry is not on the earth and that would have been unacceptable under the Mosaic Covenant (Heb. 7:13-16; 8:4), but it is in heaven. The Lord Christ did not begin His priestly ministry as a priest in the Herodian Temple, rather His priesthood is a heavenly priesthood. He serves in the true Temple in heaven, not the replica and shadow that stood in Jerusalem under the Mosaic Covenant (Heb. 8:5). The Lord Jesus ministers now in the true tent of God, in the true tabernacle and temple in heaven, where God is. He has entered into the holy places and the most holy place (Heb. 9:11-12, 24) in heaven for our sake. But not only has He entered into the holy places in heaven where God is, but He is seated at the right hand of power. In the Temple or the Tabernacle, where the Most Holy Place was, there were no seats. This was because the high priest had to finish his job quickly and go outside. But we read here that Christ is seated at the right hand of God, i.e., in the Most Holy Place in heaven, pointing to the fact that unlike the Levitical priests and their sacrifices, Christ's once for all time sacrifice cleanses us from all sin and makes perfect atonement for God's people (Heb. 9:24-28; 1:3). He is seated because He ha...


1689 Baptist Confession Chapter 17: Of The Perseverance of the Saints - Commentary

...f Hebrews does, in fact, include passages about our assurance of salvation. The book of Hebrews both warns against apostasy and assures that true believers will not fall. A general word about Hebrews is in order here.

The book of Hebrews does not mention its audience nor the reason for writing as the other epistles often do. There is no definite answer concerning its author, this I think does not carry much weight to its interpretation, because all of Scripture is breathed out by God ultimately (2Tim. 3:16).

The reason that the epistle is called “Hebrews” is because from internal evidence we can see that there is a great stress about the dichotomy between the Old Covenant on the one hand and the New Covenant on the other hand. There is a lot of discussion about Old Testament issues as sacrifices, priests, and the Temple, therefore it is indeed reasonable to conclude as most scholars have done that the epistle was addressed to a congregation mainly made up of Hebrew Christians. These believers were being tempted to go back to the old ways, and the message of the epistle is that there is nothing to go back to. The Old Covenant is done away with. The only way to be the people of God and to have a living relationship with God is through Jesus Christ in the New Covenant. They were probably being persecuted by the unbelieving Jews to come back to the old ways and the Book of Hebrews warns against such things. We know also that the Old Testament practices were still living as the author was writing, for example, from Hebrews 8:4 were it is said that in the temple there are priests who offer sacrifices. He speaks about the Temple in Jerusalem in Hebrews 9:1-5 without any mention that the Temple is not standing (i.e., the book was written pre-70 A.D.). This proves that from the point of view of those who were being tempted to go back, there was something to go back to, namely, the Temple and all its regulations. But the argument of Hebrews is that even if the Temple and its regulations are standing and are continuing, there are made nothing by the New Covenant. They are useless since their function of being shadows has been fulfilled by the coming of the reality in Christ.

The writer of the book of Hebrews is deeply acquainted with the Old Testament Scriptures and practices, quoting a lot of texts from there to make his point about the divinity of Christ (chapter 1), the eternal priesthood of Christ (chapters 5-7), the fact that the New Covenant is superior and better (chapters 8-10) and so on. He knows what is there and He knows that it is consistent with the revelation of God made in the last days through and in His Son (Heb. 1:1-2).

For the purpose of the present chapter, we must notice the fact that Hebrews does not describe people who were regenerate at one time and have become unregenerate later. But Hebrews warns against falling away, without saying that some have actually fallen away and have become unregenerate. It is useless to use the “warning passages” to prove that regenerate believers do fall away and become unregenerate. For we too are aware of the warning passages and contend that they do not describe the actuality of the elect falling away. To prove that some true believers do, in fact, fall away, it must be proven that Scripture speaks and describes those who are regenerate and later become unregenerate. Below, I want to take a look at some passages in Hebrews which lead us to believe that God does indeed pres...


A Review of Jeffrey D. Johnson's The Fatal Flaw

...squo;s house was already a believer in the true God. Obviously there would have been some adult unbelievers who received the sign.
  • Children of Unbelievers – The Westminster position says that the promise is given to believers and their seed. But why? Under the Old Testament it did not matter if the parents had true faith. Their children had to be circumcised and thus receive the sign of the covenant.
  • Different Meaning – Circumcision under the Old Testament had nation and political significance which baptism does not have. Circumcision was the sign for the Abrahamic Covenant which the Jewish males bore in their body. It set them apart as God’s national Old Covenant people.
  • Different Participants – From the above mentioned differences between baptism and circumcision do not have the same participants. Unbelievers had received the sign of the covenant which our Presbyterian brethren would never knowingly do. Furthermore, circumcision under the Old Testament was properly administered to children of unbelievers, but this the Westminster position would not do.
  • There is an analogy between circumcision and baptism, but it is wrong and unbiblical to make them identical.

    The New Testament teaches that circumcision was replaced by circumcision of the heart. We do not believe that the NT teaches that circumcision was replaced by baptism, but rather it was replaced by spiritual circumcision – the circumcision of the heart (e.g. Rom 2:28-29; Col 2:11-12, see this too).

    The Nature of the Old Covenant

    Johnson identifies “continuity” to be the essence of Westminster Covenant Theology. It is the pin holding it all together. The emphasis in Westminster Covenant Theology is upon continuity between the covenants. In Dispensationalism it is upon the discontinuity. The 1689 Baptist position seeks a balanced position between both continuity and discontinuity.

    The majority of Reformed Paedobaptists believe that the Mosaic Covenant was an administration of the Covenant of Grace and thus it was a covenant of grace, rather than of works.

    Johnson begs to differ along with 1689 Federalists and even some Paedobaptists. A lot of assumptions and inferences are drawn by Paedobaptists concerning the New Covenant based upon the Mosaic being an administration of the Covenant of Grace which would be unjustified if it were not a covenant of grace. One thinks of the mixed membership of the covenant. Rom 9:6 says “…For not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel,” therefore our Westminster brethren assume that this continues also in the New Covenant. All who were descended from Israel were in the covenant, or as they would say in the outward administration and received the sign of the Abrahamic Covenant. All who belonged to the covenant participated in the essence and inner administration and truly knew God.

    Johnson goes on to prove that the Mosaic Covenant was not an administration of the Covenant of Grace, but rather was a covenant of works. He demonstrates this by showing its conditionality, curses, the fact that it was broken and also by going to the analogy of Paul in Galatians 4:21-31. Galatians 4 is pretty clear upon the contrast and the vast differences between the Mosaic and the New. I also seek to demonstrate the Mosaic was of works by going to 2Cor 3 here.

    If the Mosaic was truly of works and not based upon grace, then it is wrong to view the New Covenant through the Mosaic.

    Holding on the motif that the old and ...


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

    ...His original people. The Church is known as the heavenly people of God, and Israel the earthly people of God.

    Dispensationalism divides the history of the world in seven dispensations, i.e., periods of time:

    1. Innocence (Gen. 1-3),
    2. Conscience (Gen. 4-8),
    3. Human Government (Gen. 9-11),
    4. Promise (Gen. 12 – Ex. 19),
    5. Law (Ex. 20 – Christ),
    6. Grace (Resurrection of Christ – Rapture),
    7. Kingdom (Rev. 19-20).

    Unlike covenant theologians, both Presbyterian and Reformed Baptist, Dispensationalists see history as divided in periods of time and see a great discontinuity between the Old Covenant and the New Covenant. We 1689 Federalists also see discontinuity between the Old and New covenants, but also a great deal of continuity in the promises of God. Some of the older Dispensationalists taught that there were different ways of salvation in each of these dispensations, but the Dispensationalists of the present reject that heresy.

    A signature doctrine of Dispensationalism is the pre-tribulational rapture. They believe that the seventy weeks of Daniel mentioned in Daniel 9:25-27 are separated as first 69 weeks up to the coming and crucifixion of the Lord of glory and then the last seven years will continue in the future. In a sense, the prophetic clock of the seventy weeks of Daniel stopped ticking at the 69th week and will continue ticking in the future. The seven years or the last half of the seven years are known as the Great Tribulation. It is the general teaching of Dispensationalism that the Church will be raptured just prior to the Great Tribulation and the reign of Antichrist. At this time, Antichrist will make a covenant with Israel after the flesh and there will be a time of peace for her, namely, three and half years, where the Temple will be rebuilt and the old Levitical ceremonial system restored (priests and sacrifices!). But in the second half of the seven years, Antichrist will break his covenant and persecute the Jews. This is known as the Great Tribulation.

    The Rapture is known as the secret return of Christ in which He will not fully return to the earth, but remain in the air to meet the believers whom He will snatch up. This is a secret and an imminent (could happen any moment) coming of Christ. Christ will either remain in the air or go back to Heaven with the raptured saints during the Tribulation, which will last for seven years, the first half apparently good and the second half, worse. The Rapture allows for the removal of the Church from the earth to Heaven and ends what is known as the Church Age or the “parenthesis” within God’s plan, and therefore now God can go back to His original plan with Israel. The Jews will be converted and be brought back to their Promised Land in accordance with Old Testament prophecies. The Old Covenant priesthood, sacrifices, temple worship will all be restored according to the literal interpretations of Old Testament prophecy. Sometimes, the Rapture is called the first phase of the Second Coming and the second phase will come at the end of the Tribulation when Jesus rescues Israel from Antichrist and destroys him. At the Rapture, Christ will come with all dead New Covenant saints giving them resurrection bodies and will transform all living believers of the Church and take them up with Him. The Church is removed from the earth, now the prophetic clock of Daniel’s seventy weeks starts ticking.

    So, after the Rapture comes the last seven years of Daniel’s seventy...


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

    ...r. 14:6, 9, 11, 12, 24, 28
  • Rom. 15:4; Col 3:16
  • The Old Testament in Hebrew (with some small parts in Aramaic) and the New Testament in Greek, those two were immediately inspired by God and then by His care and providence kept pure in all ages. Notice that the inspiration of God has to do with the original languages and manuscripts and not translations. Furthermore, what God inspired and commanded to be written, He then kept pure and preserved and are therefore authentic. Seeing that the Old Testament, mainly containing the Old Covenant, was limited to the Israelites its language was, therefore, Hebrew since that was the native language of the people of God of old. But with the New Testament and Covenant where this ethnic limitation is removed and whereby the Gospel is to go to all nations, the New Testament was written in Greek, which at the time of the writing of the New Testament was most generally known to the nations. Therefore, thanks to all these truths, in whatever controversy, the church is finally to appeal to them. Meaning, the church is to appeal to the Bible in the original languages, for that was immediately and directly inspired by God, with every iota and dot.

    Then comes the necessity of translating the Bible in the languages of the people since these original tongues are not known to all the people of God. We cannot force them to learn the original languages to hear the words of God and as the people of God, they have a right to hear and read the Holy Scriptures. Not only do they have a right, but they are furthermore commanded to read and search them (John 5:39, 46). Therefore, they are to be translated according to the languages of the nations in which the Gospel comes. This is so that God may be worshiped in an acceptable manner, His people knowing His Word and what He desires in worship. Furthermore, this is also so that the Holy Scriptures may give us patience and comfort and thereby that we may have hope (Rom. 15:4).


    See above for the Inspiration of Scripture. What was inspired is not the translations, but only the autographs written by the prophets and Apostles of our Lord.

    The final appeal in matters of religion is to the Word of God, and the Word of God, especially in the original languages. Since the Holy Spirit did not write the Bible in English, therefore, the English translation is not the final authority. Every translation has its problems and imperfections, therefore, the final appeal is to the original Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek of the Bible. The framers of the Confession did not believe that the translation into English was the final authority, rather, the Word of God in the original languages. But it would be wrong to say that we do not have the Word of God in our translations. So long as the translations are faithful to the original languages of the Bible and to the intent of the authors, even in the translation, we have the Word of God in our hands, and we may appeal to them as authority. The Reformers urged the translation of the Bible. The Roman Catholic church withheld the Bible from the common people and that’s why it was able to hold her sway upon them. But as soon as people began to translate the Bible into the vulgar tongues, the Reformation started. The Scriptures are necessary and a great blessing from God. Even the authors of the New Testament in most instances used the Greek translation of the Bible, the LXX, and so it was just as authoritative as the Hebrew B...


    John Owen's Case For Particular Atonement

    ...ugh I have added my own exegesis of the passages above, I have greatly benefited from Owen's insight into the connection between Christ sacrifice and His subsequent intercession. This is, in my opinion, a very powerful argument for Particular Atonement. Even if we take into consideration the work of the High Priest on behalf of Israel, for example, on the Day of Atonement (Lev. 16). It will quickly be replied by our opponents that the High Priest interceded for all of Israel, which included unbelievers, and the sacrifice was likewise made for all of Israel. We will not object to that fact, only to the supposition that the membership of the Mosaic and New covenants are the same. The Old Covenant included in it both believers and unbelievers, while the New Covenant includes only believers. It is made only with them and all of its members have the benefits of the covenant applied to them (Jer. 31:31-34; Heb. 8:6-13). Therefore, the analogy or the type, still stands. The only difference is the people who make up the covenant. On the one hand, the Old Covenant contained both believer and unbeliever alike; while the New Covenant subsists of believers only. The High Priest interceded only for the covenant people of God and not for the heathen and godless. Likewise, our High Priest intercedes not for the world, but for those who are His. Furthermore, we should be able to distinguish between the type (Levitical priesthood) and the antitype (Christ's high priesthood) and keep them distinct.

    The End of Christ's Death

    Now we have began with book II of Owen's monumental work. He begins by returning to the subject in chapter 1 of book I, which concerned the end (i.e. goal) of Christ's death as Scripture declares it (see above).

    The primary, or “supreme and ultimate” end of Christ's death is the glory of God. The glory of God stands at the center in Reformed theology. That is what attracted me at the beginning to Reformed theology. The obsession with the glory of God and trying to do all things to His glory. Everything and anything that God does, He does first of all to and for His glory. Owen cites a few passages to this effect (Prov. 16:4; 2Cor. 4:15; Eph. 1:6, 12; Phil. 1:11; 2:11; Rev. 5:13; I would add Isa. 46:8-11). Owen says:

    The Lord doth necessarily aim at himself in the first place, as the chiefest good, yea, indeed, that alone which is good; that is, absolutely and simply so, and not by virtue of communication from another: and therefore in all his works, especially in this which we have in hand, the chiefest of all, he first intends the manifestation of his own glory; which also he fully accomplisheth in the close, to every point and degree by him intended.[7] (book II, chapter 1)

    The secondary, or the end that is “intermediate and subservient to that last end” of Christ's death, which is “the bringing of us unto God” (book II, chapter 1). The salvation of the elect is “subservient” to the glory of God. Generally, if you would ask an Arminian, or a non-Calvinist, what God's primary purpose or plan is, they would likely answer “redemption.” On the other hand, Reformed theologians see that God's glory is the primary goal and end of everything which God does, including the salvation of the elect, but that in itself is not the primary goal; the glory of God is the primary goal.

    Before enquiring in the Scriptures, Owen lays down the thesis which he is trying to prove:

    “Jesus Christ, according to the counsel and ...