Friday, September 30, 2011

No Room for Personal Vengeance - Voddie Baucham - Romans 12:19-21

Here's a link to a recent message by Voddie on Romans 12: 19ff. His message centers on the theme of vengeance and how we are not to repay evil for evil, as the attitude of "avenging ourselves" of a wrong-doing ultimately puts us in the place of God. With vengeance, Christ's death was not enough, and we are insisting on adding another death to Christ's. Rahter, our attitude should be one of compassion for our enemy: "if they are hungry, give them something to eat" rather than seeking revenge.

It was interesting to me in the message how Voddie did seem to dodge to topic of how it's apparently ok to defend yourself. So while we shouldn't avenge ourselves, there's nothing wrong with shooting and killing someone who breaking into our home? I've got some issues with that. Voddie made an illustration of the veteran who comes home, unable to sleep with the thoughts of people he killed in foreign lands, so I wonder, how is that any different than killing another person in self-defense? More and more I'm seeing defense as something the magistrate provides, and I think he could have gone further with this message to extend Paul's message in Romans 12, of "overcoming evil with good", to include challenging those who are ready and willing to shoot and kill anyone who breaks into their house. I would have also liked to have heard him extend this message into the topic of Christians serving in the military, and if doing so is consistent with Romans 12, but he'd likely be stepping on a few too many toes with that one...

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


At "Theological word of the day" (one of my favorite sites) the word of the day is paedocommunion, which "describes the practice of allowing infants or small children to the Lord’s communion table."  As someone who personally sees infant baptism as something NOT in Scripture, I've long wondered why Presbyterians and Methodists don't also practice paedocommunion as well, or feeding the elements to babies as well.  It wouldn't be any different than infant sprinkling: the baby has no idea what's going on, has no understanding of the nature of sin, and basically an ordinance is incorrectly applied to someone who doesn't understand what's going on.  So why don't ALL churches that sprinkle babies also feed the communion bread to those "covenant babies" as well?  There's a pretty substantial inconsistency going on there.  As a reformed baptist, I believe that the table, and baptism, are ordinances that should NOT be observed by someone until they are at an age of maturity to understand the true meaning of what Christ established in these ordinances.  Anything else would be heretical.

I've wondered:  If a church practices paedocommunion, what happens with a parent that is exclusive breast-feeding a child?  Would they introduce foods like this when the child is only consuming the mother's milk?  Would they be forced to observe this as part of the "sacrament" of the church?

Monday, September 26, 2011

2010 Fall Anabaptist Identity Conference

I was recently listening to a number of messages from the 2010 Fall Anabaptist Identity Conference, which offers a large number of downloadable MP3s.  The message that I just listened to was Believer's Baptism - A Fundamental in the Separation of Church and State, which prevented a solid Scriptural defense of believer's baptism (although how any paedobapist can profess to defend this practice from Scripture is totally beyond me...)

Anyhow, from the message you see how the Anabaptists draw a strong distinction of church and state (which considering my growing disillusionment with all things political, this is something I'm finding more and more easier to agree with.)  And on the topic of a state church, you can't have a true state church without infant baptism, compromising the requirements of membership in order to just bring more people into the church.  On church and state, the question is asked: if all society is in the church, then where is the world, of which we are to be separate?

The church is to teach of the intention of making disciples.  Who should be baptized?  Disciples.  We are commanded to teach all nations, a command observed everywhere, and our message is not to change until the end of the age.  We should not teach based on assumptions or traditions, but on the Word of God.

Where in Scripture has Christ commanded infant baptism?  He hasn't.  Scripture says to repent and be baptized.  Unless there is genuine repentance, no baptism.  Paedobaptists will sometimes misquote Matt. 19:14, of “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven", saying that Jesus here is allowing children into the kingdom of heaven via infant baptism.  But if this passage is about infant baptism, and the disciples were familiar with this, then why did they object to the children going to Jesus?  There is a distinction between "blessing" and "baptism".  Additionally, how could they be baptized into the kingdom, if according to v.14 the kingdom already belongs to them?

Paedobaptists also misapply Col. 2:11, "In him you were also circumcised, in the putting off of the sinful nature, not with a circumcision done by the hands of men but with the circumcision done by Christ," in drawing an incorrect association with circumcision and baptism.  Water baptism was never intended to replace circumcision, and while circumcision was done by the hands of men, baptism is about internal change, and operation of God alone.  And if this parallel is to be drawn, it is notable that Abraham was circumcised AFTER his faith, not before.  Additionally, appeals to traditions, in addition to being a fallacy of special pleading, run into a difficulty when you find traditions such as described in the Didache.  Are infants really supposed to fast two days prior to baptism?

Believer's baptism is making a covenant before men, and being willing to give up everything (as the early radicals were when they defied the infant baptism traditions of the state church.)  Infant baptism, on the other hand, includes sinners by design.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Studying Theology as a Servant of Jesus by John M. Frame

I received the booklet 'Studying Theology as a Servant of Jesus' by John M. Frame from RTS and thought it was excellent. I thought this part was especially note-worthy:

"If you try to minister to people without a solid knowledge of God’s Word and an ability to apply it to human needs, you are worse than a physician who treats people in medical ignorance. Worse, because the consequences can be eternal.

Thinking as such does not distort or deny the Word of God; sin does. The anti‑intellectual too often focuses on only part of the problem, the depravity of the intellect, minimizing the effects of sin in other areas of life. On the other hand, in doing so he overlooks significant God‑given tools of sanctification and thus loses the full impact of the Word upon him. But one with a fully biblical concept of theology will use all these means to apply the Word to God's people. We should use to the fullest all the tools of learning: linguistics, archaeology, reason, imagination, logic, and so on.

Through such theology we will become more obedient, and through obedience we will become better theologians. If theology is a confrontation with the living God in His Word, then we dare not bring before Him any less than our best. To do so is sinful complacency, arrogant pride."