Friday, May 27, 2005

hang in there everyone

Hey everyone. My family and I are very busy getting ready to move back to California, so I won't be posting for a little while. But hang in there. Angela is pregnant again! Praise God! My next post will be on how our culture hates children. It will also deal with birth control, etc. See you in a little while!--Josh

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

the last of the xanga posts

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

PAEDOCOMMUNION?

Recently I blogged on infant baptism, making the point that paedobaptism (infant baptism) is unbiblical, and that most paedobaptists (infant baptists) are inconsistent by not giving the Lord's Supper to their baptized children.

But, there is a growing number of paedobaptists who are beginning to become more "epistemologically self-conscious." They are beginning to see that the Scriptures do indeed teach that all who have been baptized have a right to the Lord's Supper, and that those paedobaptists who are merely credo-communionists (believers only Lord's Supper) are very hard-pressed to defend their notion. So what of these "more consistent" paedobaptists: the paedocommunionists?

First, I want to tip my hat to those paedobaptists who are trying to be more consistent. About ten years ago, the Reformed Baptist view was rare and almost unheard of in Reformed circles, with many paedobaptists charging that one cannot truly be Reformed and yet a Baptist. However, over the past decade this has changed, probably because of dialogue. Now it seems that most Reformed paedobaptists recognize Reformed Baptists as fellow Reformed brethren, and heirs of the great legacy of the Reformation. Sacramentology (the study of the sacraments or ordinances) was not given the proper attention that it should have been given in the Reformation, and finally the Reformed churches are beginning to take a hard look at their practices, and the proper subjects of baptism and the Lord's Table. This is a good thing.

However, I believe also that if one has an incorrect starting point, striving toward consistency will only lead to absurdity. Our starting point must be the Word of God. As Van Til himself noted, the only alternative is either man's thoughts or God's thoughts; man's tyrannical law, or the law of God, the law which brings perfect freedom (James 1:25). If we do not start with the Word of God, then we will end up lost. A good illustration of this is the movie "Dumb and Dumber." In the movie, Lloyd wasn't paying attention where he was driving, because he was distracted by the loud snoring of Harry (all the while trying to plug snoring Harry's nose). He thought he was driving toward Colorado, but all the while he was going the opposite direction, because since he wasn't paying attention, he missed the sign to Colorado. He continued for six hours driving in the opposite direction. When Harry wakes up, they make the following observation, looking out into the flat plains: "I expected the Rocky Mountains to be a lot rockier than this." The next thing we know Harry is extremely upset with Lloyd, because now their money planning is destroyed. They no longer have enough money to eat, sleep, arrive at their destination, or even go back where they came from. Lloyd mentions that since they are now in a hole, they will just have to dig themselves out.

The above rather comical story is kind of like those who are embracing paedocommunion. Dr. James Renihan mentioned that we are so busy trying to answer the charges of the paedobaptists, when all we have to do is just look and see what the Bible says about baptism itself. Romans 6 assumes that all who have been baptized are dying to sin. 1 Corinthians 12 assumes that all who have been baptized have been given the Holy Spirit. Galatians 3 assumes that all who have been baptized have been clothed with Christ. But instead of reading the sign, our paedobaptist brothers and sisters were distracted by looking for their argument from the unity of the covenant of grace. When we Baptists came along and started giving them tough arguments, pointing out the inconsistency of not giving the Lord's Supper to their baptized children, many of them figured they were in a hole, and had to dig themselves out. (Even paedobaptist Keith Mathison admits that the paedobaptists who are not paedocommunionists have simply not been able to answer the charges of the paedocommunionists.) Those who realized they were in a hole tried to dig themselves out by embracing paedocommunion.

But I would also liken those who have embraced paedocommunion, trying to dig themselves out of the hole, to what Lloyd did to try to dig himself out of the hole. Lloyd ending up trading the van for a little motor-scooter. Sure, they made it to their destination, but when they made it there, they had no more money, and no shelter, and no food. They ended up having to warm their hands at night to keep warm, and Harry had had enough of Lloyd.

The church is the called out ones, the "ekklesia." She is called out of sin to worship God. The paedocommunionists treat their infants as though they are regenerated (although some would differ on this point). With paedocommunion, you now have a church which is no longer properly disciplined, and no longer made up of saints, but made up of both professing believers and unbelievers. Brothers and sisters, this should not be. This should concern us greatly.

But all the while, Harry and Lloyd had a briefcase full of hundreds of thousands of dollars. They didn't know money was inside the briefcase, because they weren't able to open it. It was locked really well. But when it opens after a huge fight between the two of them, they immediately use the money to find shelter and food. They then find the best lodging they could find (meant for those who are rich mainly).

Paedobaptists, and paedocommunionists, need to open up that briefcase full of riches. They approach the Scriptures with a lock-hold on the Scriptures, approaching everything looking for the unity of the covenant of grace. They are not able to unlock them because of this, just like Harry and Lloyd were not able to unlock the briefcase. I believe paedobaptists and paedocommunionists need to do exegesis of texts, which their system does not have a lot of. I believe that if they do, then they will be led to embrace professor's only baptism, and confessor's only Lord's Supper. They will see the beauty of the church being made up of those who are walking in the faith, and the necessity to guard the purity of the church in an even deeper sense. Some would say that I may sound very simplistic. They may say that I need to consider the fact that many, godly men have embraced paedobaptism.

I recognize the above. But I believe that these many, godly men are wrong. I do believe that the sacraments belonging to only those who profess faith is something which the Scriptures are clear on. I think they are clear in how they positively define the sacraments, as well as when we consider the outcome and logical conclusion of infant baptism. I stand by the following statement: Infant baptism leads to household communion.

It will be interesting to see in the future how paedobaptists will become more epistemologically self-conscious. If the paedocommunionists were totally consistent, then they would give communion to any in the household. In fact, I already know of one paedocommunionist church which has members by households, whatever that means. It will indeed be interesting to see what happens.

To my paedobaptist and paedocommunionist brothers and sisters: I did not intend the above to sound offensive. I hope that you had a good laugh at the movie illustration I gave (especially those who have seen the movie). I also hope we can have a good laugh together.

May the Lord continue to lead us all toward that unity of the faith in history (Ephesians 4:11-16). Soli Deo Gloria!

Friday, March 04, 2005

Hello again everyone! My wife and I are looking forward to visiting California for spring break. We are especially looking forward to partaking of the Lord's Supper at our church in California (www.grcbible.org). We haven't enjoyed the Lord's Table for quite a while now. We saw on my last post how the Lord's Supper signifies union with Christ and with each other as the Body of Christ.

For that reason, I have a hard time understanding those churches that practice the Lord's Supper once a year, or once a quarter, or once every two months, or once a month, or even once every other week.

Let me ask a question. How do a husband and a wife demonstrate their unity with one another? That is to say, how do a husband and a wife demonstrate their union with each other? By having union with one another. How often should a husband and wife have union with one another in the physical act? Once a year? Once a quarter? Once every two months? Once a month? What about every other week?

I hope you thought to yourself that, if a married couple have union with one another physically at any of the frequencies mentioned above, that their marriage will suffer. Likewise, if the local church partakes of the Lord's Supper, which represents our union with Christ, in which we feed on Him spiritually by faith, then the local church will likewise suffer. I want to have union with my wife physically at least once a week. I want to feed on Christ's body and blood and seek union with Him at least once a week. In fact, the early church partook of the Supper every time that they met corporately.

May the Lord give us a biblical understanding of His Supper.


Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Greetings once again. I was thinking about the (unbiblical) idea that many Reformed churches have of baptizing infants. The interesting thing is, many of those churches which baptize infants do not give their children the Lord's Supper. This is biblically inconsistent.

1 Corinthians 11 speaks of the Lord's Supper, and considers that all who are a member of the Lord's church are therefore part of His Body. The early church, as well as the biblical notion, of the Lord's Supper considered that all who are in union with Christ (the church) have a right to partake of His body and blood. This is why paedobaptists (infant baptists) who give their children the sacrament of baptism, yet withhold from them the sacrament of the Lord's Supper, are inconsistent. If we ask paedobaptists if their children are members of the church, they will say yes (most all of them--yet much paedobaptist literature is inconsistent on this point as well). However, they fail to realize the deep significance of the Lord's Table. The Lord's Supper is the way the church shows the world that they belong to Christ and are in union with Him, the same way that when I display my wedding ring on my finger, it demonstrates that I proclaim to the world that I belong to my wife.

So we see that the Lord's Table signifies both union with each other, as well as union with Christ Himself. This is why the early church partook of the Lord's Supper every time they met for corporate worship. They considered it an essential part of the worship life of the church. If paedobaptists were consistent on this point, they would apply the Lord's Table to their children as well. To give baptism to a church member, yet withhold the Lord's Supper, is the same as saying that they are not members of the church.

But some infant baptists will say, "They are noncommunicant members of the church." But again, they fail to realize that to be a member of the church is to be in communion with one another. In other words, to say "noncommunicant member" is the same as saying "they are members, and they are not members." Such an idea is foreign to the New Testament economy of grace, as well as the nature of the church.

The church is made up of those who are walking in faith. It is those who have been called out of the Egypt of sin to come and worship God in the pilgrimage of this life, to walk in faith and repentance before Him. Every member of the church is entitled to the full privileges of the church: to enjoy all of her sacraments, fellowship, and, most importantly, the preaching of the Word. To deny a member the important means of grace such as the Lord's Supper is to do damage to one's soul.

More on this soon . . .

former Xanga posts

Thursday, April 21, 2005

THE COMPREHENSIVE LORDSHIP OF CHRIST

American Christianity is a fake. It has the form of godliness, but denies its power. Why? Because it thinks that Christ is less than Lord.

What do I mean by this? I mean simply that we fail to apply the lordship of Christ in every area of life and thought. I know we are all guilty of this. In fact, every time we sin, we are failing to apply Jesus' lordship to our lives. But it seems that we are not being transformed by the renewing of our minds.

Right now, I am extremely frustrated with the "Christian" school I work for. We have people on the board who makes rules, but do not follow them. We have compromise all over the place. Why make rules if you won't follow them yourself? Furthermore, there is a tremendous lack of discipline at the school I work for, and especially at the "church" that the school is associated with.

Are we striving to obey in our sanctification? Are we grieved by our sin and our sinfulness? Is sin utterly sinful to us? Do we long to become more holy?

Jesus is Lord over every area of life and thought. We need to strive to be hard workers at our jobs, to be excellent husbands and wives to our spouses, to be wonderful and exemplary fathers and mothers to our children, and to set godly examples.

We need to furthermore be bold when compromise comes. I know we need to balance this with patience and love when it comes to fellow brethren. I know I need to grow in this area. But when compromise is pervasive, when lack of discipline is pervasive, and then when others try to deceive you (and themselves) into thinking that everything is all right--that is when it is time to be bold. "The righteous are as bold as a lion."

We need to rigorously apply the Bible to all of life. There is an antithesis between unbelieving thought, and believing thought. It touches upon every aspect of our being and life. There will always be a clash between the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent.

We should be utterly disturbed by compromise.

May Christ be exalted in our lives, in every area, and in every thought. May we be jealous for His lordship.


Wednesday, April 13, 2005

WHY WE MINIMIZE SIN

Woe to us, because we live in a culture that minimizes sin. It is the prideful human tendency to make sin lighter than it really is. We all do it. But especially here in America.

Especially among evangelical Christians, there is a tendency to look at sin as less serious than it really is. We willingly lie to ourselves and teach ourselves that it is OK, because at least we're not like that other person over there. "Sure, I've stolen, but at least I haven't murdered." Then the murderer says, "Sure, I've murdered, but at least I haven't murdered like a serial-killer." Then the serial killer says, "Sure, I have serially-murdered, but at least I didn't torture them." And then, my friends, Hitler says, "Sure, I killed and tortured six million of them, but at least they were Jews." Where does it all end?!

We need to see sin for what it is. The only way this will happen is if the Word of God is applied to our hearts. We need to read it and study it prayerfully, asking the Holy Spirit to transform us by the renewing of our minds (Romans 12:2). We need to be slain by the Law of God, and transformed by the gospel of Christ. Read Romans 7 and Paul's description of sin. The Law came that sin would become utterly sinful.

Notice, please, that it is the Law that condemns and convicts, through the power of the Holy Spirit. Have you lusted after a woman? Then you've committed adultery with her. Have you hated someone? Then you've murdered them. Have you coveted something? Then you've stolen it. Paul says that the Law is spiritual! Romans 7:13 says that "in order that sin might be recognized as sin, it produced death in me through what was good [the Law], so that through the commandment sin might become utterly sinful."

The holy Law of God displays God's holy character. As we study the Law, we begin to see, by God's grace applied, our utter sinfulness. We begin to see the utter holiness of God. Christianity today has too low a view of God and too high a view of man. We are so trapped in our sinfulness, that our sinfulness permeates to the very core of our being. It takes a miracle of sovereign grace to free us from our sin. And even after we have been freed, regenerated, and born again, we still are slowly being released from the power of sin as we are being transformed more and more into Christ's image.

Let us stop deceiving ourselves. Our sin is wickedly evil and disgusting. It makes a mockery of the holiness of God. It breaks His holy Law. It nailed Christ to the cross.

May God grant us the eyes to see our sinfulness, and to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. Jesus is indeed the true Savior--He saves us not only from sin's penalty, but also from its power in our lives as well!


Wednesday, April 06, 2005

THE ACTIVE OBEDIENCE OF CHRIST A NECESSITY

Brothers and sisters in Christ, is it not extremely hard to believe what is going on in Reformed circles these days? Can you believe that people who are calling themselves "Reformed" are denying the imputation of Christ's righteousness? The imputation of the righteousness of Christ is essential to biblical and Reformed doctrine.

The active obedience of Christ is the fact that Christ perfectly fulfilled the Law of God by obeying it in its every aspect. He did this for His elect. God the Father imputes Christ's Law-keeping to us, and regards us as if we kept the Law of God perfectly. The active obedience was necessary for His passive obedience, which is Christ's death on the cross. So in justification, we are imputed Christ's righteousness and His death on the cross, forgiving our sins.

However, those who are denying active obedience are saying that all justification is is merely the forgiveness of sins. But, as Sproul has rightly said, if that is all justification is, then we would be like Adam in the Garden again. We would be back to square one. But what positive righteousness would we have to commend us before the Father?

Granted, I believe that in justification, much more than just Christ's fulfilling of the Law and His death on the cross is imputed to us. In fact, all of Christ's life, death, and resurrection are imputed to us. In fact, it is the entire work of Christ that is imputed to us. But I still think the active/passive obedience distinction is helpful, because Christ did indeed come to obey the Law. There are several passages which mention this. Scripture mentions that Christ had to be "under the Law" to redeem those under the Law. Our Lord tells John the Baptist that it is proper to baptize Him "so as to fulfill all righteousness."

I believe that those who are denying active obedience are on deadly ground spiritually. They have a low view of their own sinfulness. We need to love the truth in order to be saved. We need to get a glimpse of our utter sinfulness, and the utter holiness of God. When we, by God's grace, see it, then we will cling to justification by faith alone by the imputed righteousness of Christ alone with all of our being.

May the Lord bring to repentance those who are denying the work of Christ. May He open their eyes to the glory of Christ and to the utter beauty of His redemptive work.



Thursday, March 31, 2005

THOUGHTS ON TERRI SCHIAVO

Today, Terri Schiavo has died. It is an extreme tragedy that we have added to our holocaust here in the U.S.A., the land of the oppressed and the home of the cowardly. We have come so far from what our founding fathers' ideal was.

However, something struck me recently. I was talking to a brother in Christ recently. I said to him, "Doesn't this whole Terri Schiavo thing anger you?" I'll never forget his response. He said, "Of course--but it's no different than all the murdering of babies that our nation has done for a long time." In other words, he has a good point. Why are we Christians suddenly becoming outraged and jumping on the frustration bandwagon now, when we should have been outraged and determined to fight injustice ages ago?

Folks, it's not just Terri Schiavo. Every day, thousands of babies are killed. Our nation legalized this thirty years ago. This is a legacy of autonomy. Man suppresses the truth of God's Law, which is written on his heart, and he replaces it with self-law. It is not up to the courts to decide what is right and what is wrong. Ethics reflects God's character. God is the standard of goodness. I know He is outraged with this country. How do I know this? Because He is a God of justice and wrath. Scripture says He by no means clears the guilty, but Has mercy on those who call upon His Name.

Brothers and sisters in Christ: It is the Church that is the glory of the world. God restrains evil primarily through the influence of the Church. But the Church is sitting on her thumbs. She is doing nothing. She is ignoring the Great Commission. But when she seems to obey the Great Commission, she preaches a man-centered gospel of "Jesus can make you happy."

People need to be crushed by the Law of God, so that sin becomes utterly sinful, as Paul says in Romans 7. They need to know that they are under God's holy wrath and displeasure. They need to be told that Christ is their only remedy, not only from the penalty of sin, but also from the power of sin (and ultimately from the presence of sin). They need to be told that Christ is the Only One Who can save them from their willing self-deception. They need to be told to love the truth, so as to be saved.

We need to learn to think God's thoughts after Him, to be transformed through the renewing of our minds, to test and approve what God's good, pleasing, and perfect will is. And we need to teach others repentance, and preach repentance.

I believe that the Bible teaches that the Church will succeed in her task in history--but not until she gets off of her thumbs and preaches the gospel of no compromise. Christ is Lord over every area of life and thought, whether someone is a believer or an unbeliever. This is absolutely true, for everyone, whether believer or unbeliever. The absolute fact is, that the only way of salvation is in Christ alone, by faith alone, and by God's grace alone.

May God open up the Church's eyes to her task, and grant her repentance to perform it.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005


WELCOME TO THE U.S.A.: THE LAND OF THE OPPRESSED AND THE HOME OF THE COWARDLY

I am extremely outraged at what is going on with the Terri Schiavo case. Isn't it obvious that man's standards of good and evil are arbitrary? What makes man the final determiner of what a life is and what isn't?

We live in a society that only cares about itself. To illustrate this, consider the fact that my wife and I have decided to be a "full quiver" family. (That is, we want to have as many children as the Lord gives us, and we do not practice birth control.) My wife has agreed to not have any alcoholic drinks while she is breastfeeding or pregnant. Recently, one of our family members said to her, "So you're not going to have any drinks unless you're not pregnant or breastfeeding?!" He asked the question in a way that just thought that was so tough. Poor her, he seemed to say.

But my wife and I see it differently. It is a small sacrifice to make for the joy of raising children. But our society is cowardly when it comes to having children. They do not see children as the precious gift from the Lord that they are. Scripture tells us that they are a heritage, and that he who has a quiver-full of them is blessed. (A quiver is what holds arrows for an archer. It can hold a lot of arrows!) Scripture also tells us that children are arrows in the hands of a mighty warrior.

DREAMS CHANGE

When I first got married, my dream was to finish seminary, go to Philadelphia to finish my doctorate in theology, and then go to Spain and serve there. But the Bible says, "In a heart a man plots his course, but it is the Lord that determines his steps." God had a different plan. Since then I have grown immensely in my understanding of doctrine and practice, and the Lord has blessed us with two children. He has shown me the need to work hard to support my family.

So we moved to Georgia to teach at a classical Christian school. But our understanding of the vitality of the Lord's Supper and the necessity of a biblical church has grown as well. So we are moving back to California to return to our church.

I will be teaching in another Reformed school in California. For how long? Only the Lord knows. The main thing is that I need to support my family. This may mean I'll only work in the Reformed school world for only a time, or it could mean that I will end up teaching in public schools. I will be going for my credential as well. But the Lord determines my steps.

Through all of this, what have I learned? I'll tell you.

Do you know what my dream is? To love my wife and family and to support them. To serve in the true church of our Lord and enjoy the means of grace. To persevere until the end, along with my family. My dream is to serve the Lord wherever He has me. May He be praised in my life.

welcome to my new blog

Hello everyone, and welcome to my new blog. I think that this blog is a lot better than the one I was using, because this one allows for comments. Anyone is welcome to comment after my posts.

Some of my previous posts from Xanga will now be transferred to here. I will transfer the ones from Xanga which I believe are the most important. So, today, the posts you see will be previous posts from Xanga.

After today, I will have new posts.

Please feel free to respond to any! Click where it says "comments" to respond. (I think you have to have a blogger account, but you can create one for free.)

You can always respond by e-mail as well to
solaschristos@yahoo.com.

Enjoy the Reformed oasis!