Dr. James White references a video clip played by of his opponents in a debate in South Africa that speaks of the Didache. So many falsehoods were propagated as fact that Dr. White felt the need to address them on this Dividing Line program. In doing so, he then took the time to read the Didache its entirety. Today there is a definite need for the Christian to be educated on these matters so as to be ready to defend the faith. The section regarding the Didache begins around the 16:54 mark:
Topic: Baptism & Church Membership: How Do My Unbaptized Children Relate to the New-Covenant Promises?
Interview by John Piper
Ian in Greensboro, as I have explored Reformed theology over the past couple of years, I have learned quite a bit more about the practices of infant baptism and believer’s baptism and why genuine Christians differ theologically. While I am an advocate of believer’s baptism, one accusation I have found troubling is that because we Baptists don’t consider our unconverted children as official participants in the new covenant, we are therefore treating them like pagan children, excluded from the covenant community. As a Baptist, how do you respond to this charge? And further, how should (yet) unsaved children of believers be viewed by the church?”
Before I say something positive about the way we should view our children — “we” meaning we Baptists — let’s make sure that we realize that both Baptists and Reformed paedobaptists — and I am not talking here about those who believe in baptismal regeneration, but just those who are Reformed paedobaptists or others who don’t believe in baptismal new birth — we all have the same basic problem in how to think about our children. And the difference lies in terminology.
They may not like it when I say this, but I’ll say it anyway. In order for Reformed paedobaptists — those who baptize babies — to say that children are members of the covenant community, they must define covenant community so as not to necessarily mean only the elect, called, regenerate, heaven-bound saints. They have to define covenant community so as to allow for the possibility in that covenant community members who are not elect, not born again.
Now, it is just as impossible, therefore, for a paedobaptist parent to be sure that his child is elect as it is for a Baptist parent. Paedobaptists may feel better about themselves by labeling the child a covenant member, but those children have no better standing before God than the children of Baptists, which brings me now to say something positive about what really does make a difference, not labels, but does make a difference in how children stand before God in both groups.
I can imagine a paedobaptist parent feeling good that his child is a member of the covenant with God, but at the same time neglecting to pray for the child, neglecting to feed the child morning, noon, and night on the Word of God, neglecting to model before the child the joy of the Lord. In other words, there is no necessary correlation between calling a child a covenant member and giving a child what the child needs to become a covenant member, a true covenant member, to be born again. And I can imagine a Baptist parent who does not see his child as a covenant member, but pours out his heart to God every day for his child, pours into the child — morning, noon, and night — the Word of God, exults with joy in the Lord before the child and, thus, the Baptist provides gloriously for what the child really needs in order to become a true covenant member.
So, how do we Baptists really think about our children? That is the basic question. Let me make two negative statements that we use about our children and then five positive ones of which we need feel no shame. First, the negative ones:
1) We do not assume that our children are born again until they make a credible profession of faith. We base that on 1 Peter 1:23, that the new birth is through the Word of God.
2) We do not formalize their union with Christ and his people by membership in the church until that credible profession of faith is publicly signified by baptism.
So those are the two “We do not’s,” the negatives.
Here are the five positive statements.
1) We view them as gifts of God, blessings of God, to be loved and served (Psalm 127:3).
2) We view them as responsibilities that we have been given by God to bring up in the teaching and discipline of the Lord. That is, we are to lavish them with the Word of God and with love and with wisdom morning, noon, and night.
3) We view them as objects of daily mercies in prayer in the hope that God would exercise his saving sovereign grace in their lives.
4) We view them as little ones before whom God has charged us to rejoice so that they can see what it is like to taste that the Lord is good.
5) Finally, we view them as little pilgrims in hope on the way to faith, woven into the fabric of relationships in the family and the church. And we have nothing to be ashamed of in this relationship with our children. It is every bit as hopeful for a good outcome of eternal covenant membership as any other way of viewing children.
Jared C. Wilson is the Director of Content Strategy for Midwestern Seminary, managing editor of For The Church, and author of more than ten books, including Gospel Wakefulness, The Pastor’s Justification, and The Prodigal Church.
He writes: A word to my pastor friends, who every week labor in preparing to teach the Bible in the weekend gathering while the dark cloud of the new cultural downgrade hangs over them:
Brothers, don’t go about your weekly sermon preparation and personal discipleship in sackcloth and ashes. Get into the vineyard of God’s Word, get some holy sweat worked up, whistling while you work, lifting your hearts in worship. Get into the kitchen of study and prep and start putting together the banquet. And come Sunday, spread the feast out rich and sumptuous for us, beckoning us to taste and see that the Lord is good. We don’t need your doomsdaying or dimbulbing. Still less do we need your shallow pick-me-ups and spit-polished legalism. Like our brother Wesley, set yourselves on fire with gospel truth that your church family might come watch you burn.
And when you gather Sunday with the flock, shepherd us to repentance and sincerity, reminding us of the holy God who welcomes us with sin-forgetting forgiveness. When we enter the worship gathering, let us not look back to the ruins lest we all become the wrong kind of salt. Let us look forward to the new Jerusalem, where our citizenship is secured even today and evermore. Get your wits about you and take heart, for our Lord has overcome the world. Yesterday, today, Sunday, and forever. Frighten the kings of the world and shake the kingdom of the devil with how resolute you are in abandoning yourselves to the mighty God.
Your churches… need your deep, abiding, all-conquering, sin-despairing gospel joy. This and this alone is the hope of the world.
Dr. Sam Storms introduces the following article on his blog with these words: “This article by Mary Kassian is one of the best treatments of this thorny question as I’ve ever read. I encourage you to study it closely and in its entirety. It is a model of careful and judicious reasoning in an effort to answer questions not explicitly addressed in Scripture.”
Women Teaching Men — How Far Is Too Far? by Mary A. Kassian (original source but not fifteen? Lip kiss but not French kiss? How far is too far?
Well, the Bible doesn’t exactly specify.
Trying to put together a list of rules about permitted behaviors would be both misleading and ridiculous. But we’re not left without a rudder. The Bible does provide a clear boundary. Sexual intercourse prior to marriage crosses the line.
God reveals for us the principle of purity, gives a clear this-goes-over-the-line boundary, and to help us figure out the rest, provides us with the gift of his indwelling Spirit in the community of the saints. And thankfully when we mess up, he stands ready to extend his lavish and costly forgiveness and grace.
Asking the Right Question
Pre-marital sexual intercourse crosses the line. But let me ask you this: Can a couple physically honor the boundary and still violate the principle of purity? Of course they can.
So a woman who only considers the boundary and asks, “How far is too far?” is really asking the wrong question. A better question would be, “Do I love what God loves?” “Do I treasure what he treasures?” “Does what I do with my body indicate that I treasure purity?” And, “How can I best honor Christ in how I physically interact with my boyfriend?”
By now you may be muttering, “I thought she was going to talk about women teaching men in the church.”
I am. But I think the question of how I — as a woman with a spiritual gift of teaching — ought to honor male headship in the church has many similarities with the question of how a young woman ought to honor the principle of purity. In the former situation as well as the latter, God hasn’t given us a detailed how-far-is-too-far list. He’s given us a broad principle, a clear this-goes-over-the-line boundary, and the gift of his indwelling Holy Spirit to help us figure out the rest in the wisdom of community.
Loving What God Loves
God wants us to honor his divine design by honoring the principle of male headship in our homes and church families. The church is God’s family and household (1 Timothy 3:15, Hebrews 3:6, Galatians 6:10). Continue reading
OUR OLD CONFESSION OF FAITH
“The Baptists as a denomination have always regarded the Bible as being amply sufficient for the purposes of faith and practice. But knowing that many persons holding wild and visionary notions about religious subjects, our brethren have felt it important to get up certain briefs, or compendiums of their faith, so that their adoption of the Bible in general terms, might not seem to be a sort of shield for heterodox opinions, and that there might be a oneness of doctrine and practice amongst ourselves. These summaries of faith have generally been taken from the Old Confession, published in England, first in 1643, and subsequently in 1689; adopted in America by the Philadelphia Association of Baptists in 1742 and by the Charleston Association in 1767.
Now it has been a question in our mind why we regular Baptists, throughout this whole country, might not adopt this “Confession”, and by so doing, have the articles of faith in every association exactly alike? For certainly, this venerable little book does contain the doctrines, systematically arranged, which are held by the old-fashioned Calvinistic Baptists the world over. Why may we not, then, have a cheap edition of this most excellent compendium, numerous enough to furnish every family in America with a copy?
That our brethren and friends and the world (for we are not ashamed of our faith) may see that this good old “Confession” is, we propose to give, from time to time the successive chapters, together with such remarks as we may have time and ability to make. After this cause shall have been completed, we hope our brethren will express their views in relation to the above suggestion. We commence with Chapter One, “On the Holy Scriptures’.”
THE CHRISTIAN INDEX
[THE CHRISTIAN INDEX of Georgia was the first state newspaper among Baptists in the South. (It was not until 1845 that Baptists in the South united to become the “Southern Baptist Convention”.) The above article was the first in a series on the 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith. It ran for many months while Jesse Mercer was the Editor. The stated purpose in reprinting the “old Confession” in a handy newspaper format was to promote “oneness of doctrine and practice among ourselves”. Sadly, Baptists in the South and around the world have lost their doctrinal bearings inherited from their founding fathers in the faith. Those wishing to study the history and theology of Baptists should note: Thomas Nettles, BY HIS GRACE AND FOR HIS GLORY (Founders Press); Thomas Nettles, BAPTISTS & THE DOCTRINES OF GRACE (DVD from Founders Ministries); Thomas Nettles and Russ Bush, BAPTISTS AND THE BIBLE (Moody Press); Gregory Wills, DEMOCRATIC RELIGION: Freedom, Authority & Church Discipline in the Baptist South, 1785-1900 (Oxford University Press); and Brandon F. Smith and Kurt M. Smith, THE GOSPEL HERITAGE OF GEORGIA BAPTISTS (1772-1830) (Solid Ground Christian Books).]
Dr James White: The Inerrancy of Scripture (part 1) 06/05/2016 Cape Town
Dr James White: The Inerrancy of Scripture (part 2) 07/05/2016 Cape Town
Dr. James White: Scripture and the LGBT agenda 07/05/2016 Cape Town
Dr. James White: Scripture and Modern Day “Prophets and Apostles”. 7 May 2016 Cape Town
Dr James White: Scripture and the exclusivity of Christ. 07/05/2016 Cape Town
David approached God with confidence knowing that He would answer his cry for help. How and why could he do so? The answer to that question is the glorious inheritance of all God’s people.
Pastor Jim McClarty – A brief response to a recent email he received about the doctrine of predestination and whether it could hinder someone who was willing to come to Christ, but saw predestination as a hindrance:
May 20, 2016: Dr. Michael Brown lays out the basic reasons why he is not a Calvinist:
May 21, 2016: Dr. James White responds – why I am a Calvinist: