Over at Ligonier, Keith Mathison has begun a series of articles in which he will be detailing the top five books written on each of the Five Solas of the Reformation. Keep you eye out for the rest.
A few years ago, I ran across a comic strip in which one of the figures says, “Those who don’t study history are doomed to repeat it. Yet those who do study history are doomed to stand by helplessly while everyone else repeats it.” This comic is a humorous, albeit somewhat cynical, play on the well-known quote by the American philosopher George Santayana (1863–1952), who wrote: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” It is a well-known and widely used quote because there is much truth in it.
The truth that Santayana grasped is abundantly illustrated in the history of the modern evangelical church. We are a people who have forgotten our roots, and in many cases we really don’t seem to care. The church exists in a world of rapidly changing technology, a world in which almost everyone has been assimilated into the incessant chatter of social media and real-time updates on everything from world politics to what your friend had for breakfast this morning. If we are to be relevant, we too must be a people of the new and the now. Or so we think. Read more…
This morning, Rick Patrick posted an article on SBC Today entitled “The Rise of Soteriological Traditionalism.” In this article, he explains how the Traditionalist Statement was a natural product of a necessary movement in the SBC to balance its soteriology. Have I mentioned I hate the way Christians often over-use the word balance? It’s sooo imbalanced! But I digress. Having read the aforementioned article, I can’t help but think that Nettles’ article below might have perhaps been written, at least partially, in reaction to it.
The pivotal question of how one concedes authoritative force to a creedal, or confessional, proposition holds paramount importance in their use in pedagogical and disciplinary ways. If churches, associations, or denominations as a whole are to use their creeds as instruments of ordination, church instruction, and discipline, then some method of demonstrating the biblical character of their propositions must be clearly conceived. Phillip Schaff rightly reminds Christians, that “the Bible has, therefore, a divine and absolute, the Confession only an ecclesiastical and relative, authority.” Additionally, he warns that “any higher view of the authority of symbols is unprotestant and essentially Romanizing.” Having issued that caveat, he proposed, “Confessions, in due subordination to the Bible, are of great value and use.” He called them “summaries of the doctrines of the Bible, aids to its sound understanding, bonds of union among their professors, public standards and guards against false doctrine and practice” (Philip Schaff, Creeds of Christendom, 3 volumes, 1:7, 8.)
Confidence in the biblical authenticity of a creed’s content comes by familiarity with its historical and doctrinal context compared with the way each party interpreted Scripture. Creeds and confessions help us in consolidating the exegetical options that have characterized disagreements in the history of Christianity. They set forth propositions that are the summation of a particular group’s understanding of what Scripture teaches. The confessional propositions make possible close investigation as to their biblical fidelity and acceptance or rejection on that basis. If the creedal proposition is accepted as an accurate synthesis of biblical truth, that proposition becomes an element of an interpreter’s exegetical principles. Keep reading…
The following video was originally published by The Confessing Baptist. While attending the Founders Conference Southwest in Mansfield, TX., we made it our goal to speak with as many of the pastors / speakers as we could. When it came to speaking with Pastors David Dykstra and Larry Vincent about the history of the modern Reformed Baptist movement in America, none of us felt as though we had adequate knowledge of the subject matter to facilitate the discussion. Almost at random, I was chosen to facilitate it. I was and still am greatly honored that I was chosen to do so. However, during the preliminary discussions, it came to light that we would be encroaching upon some sensitive subject matter. Jokingly, I turned to the other guys and asked them, “Am I unwittingly making enemies by participating in this?”
Already, it has been brought to my attention that some who remember these events differently have voiced their opposition to the video, though not publicly. Suffice it to say that I haven’t made full inquiry into the history of the issues discussed in this piece, so this video should be taken as the testimony from one side of a very sensitive issue. CredoCovenant neither fully endorses nor denies the claims made in this video. Rather, our posting of it is meant to bring to the fore some of the background issues surrounding the emergence of the Association of Reformed Baptist Churches in America (ARBCA). We appreciate Pastors Vincent and Dykstra for their willingness and candidness, and we look forward to learning more about this subject from all sides.