Jul 8 2015

Time Cup

HolyGrail

“By the imperative, time is formed into a cup, still empty but formed for the special purpose of being filled with the content demanded by the order.”

The Imperative Comes First

Essay by John Barach

As many people have pointed out, in Christian ethics, the indicative precedes the imperative. First God says, “I am Yahweh your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage,” and then he gives the Ten Words (“You shall have no other gods before me…”). First Paul tells us what Christ has done and who we are in Christ, and then he summons us to act accordingly. First comes the good news of what God has done for us and then comes the summons to respond in faith and love and new obedience.

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Jul 7 2015

Cultivation and Representation

TheAmbassadors-Holbein

“In the days when our courts are declaring that good is evil and evil is good, the recovery of baptism as a delegation of divine legal authority rather than a sign of ‘limited Covenantal obligation’ is crucial.”

Every biblical Covenant is a word from heaven designed to bring a response from the earth. When the laws in the Ark of the testimony were given to Israel, the response of a legal oath was required, intended to culminate in the legal witness of Israel to the nations. Thus, every biblical Covenant is also a process which leads to maturity, beginning with cultivation and ending in representation.

A child must be schooled before he can be employed. A man must be a disciple before he can be an apostle. Adam was to be qualified before he could represent God as a just and merciful judge on earth. But the difference between cultivation and representation is the difference between circumcision and baptism, and this facet of the biblical Covenants is something paedobaptists are unable to accept, at least in its full glory.

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Jun 17 2015

Wash Your Sins Away

John and Pharisees-Tissot

“Behold, The Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world!”

“Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 2:38)

James Jordan has observed that Abraham’s “calling on the name of the Lord” was in fact evangelical proclamation of his faith. Abraham’s witness to the Canaanites was something for which they would be held accountable when Israel returned to claim the land. Chris Wooldridge sees this “vocal allegiance” as the key to understanding the meaning of the washing away of sins in the New Testament. Seen in the context of the last days of the Old Covenant, this was not baptismal regeneration but a public identification by the Jewish worshiper with the final sacrificial lamb (Leviticus 1:1-9).

Chris writes:

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Apr 14 2015

Justified in His Sight

adam-and-eve-overdressed

Is our justification a past event or a future one? The debate continues while the answer is, like Adam and Eve, hidden in plain sight.

The problem with most theological discussions concerning our justification is that they are imagined in the courts of men rather than in the court of God. What is the difference between these two courts?

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Apr 11 2015

Because of Transgressions

Doug Wilson’s Imaginary Covenant

donniedarko-S

Wilson: Who’s Harvey?
Miss Kelly: A white rabbit, six feet tall.
Wilson: Six feet?
Elwood P. Dowd: Six feet three and a half inches. Now let’s stick to the facts.
(Harvey, 1950)

It is a pity that this imaginary Covenant-of-obligations cannot be photographed and fingerprinted, let alone identified in the New Testament. Oh wait, it is mentioned in the New Testament. It is called the Law.

The best place to learn about biblical Covenants—what they are, what they look like, and how they operate—is the hallowed halls, past and present, of Reformed Theology. Strangely, this is also the worst place to learn about the New Covenant. It seems somebody did not get the system upgrade.

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Apr 7 2015

For the Life of the World

PJLmono-165px

…all of the Old Covenant sacraments, like the flood, were future tense and testified to the destruction of the flesh.

[A report from our London correspondent, Chris Wooldridge:]

A week ago, I attended two conferences delivered by Peter Leithart on the subject of the Sacraments. The first one was aimed at anyone interested; the second was addressed more to ministers and theological students.

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Mar 8 2015

Rachel Weeping

Massacre-Cogniet-detail

Satan’s desire was always to turn the “pruning” of circumcision into an ax laid at the root of the tree of Israel.

Continuing on the theme of martyrdom, an online friend rightly pointed out a little while back that the handful of treatments of the “massacre of the innocents” which see this bloodshed as the first of the New Covenant’s martyrs miss the point of Matthew’s use of the word “fulfilled,” rendering it as good as meaningless.

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Feb 26 2015

School of the Prophets

or The Spirit of Prophecy – 2

Therns

Baptism is not a Covenant boundary but a staff uniform.

“I have kept for myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal.” (Romans 11:4)

There is much talk today about the dichotomy between the visible Church (those who physically participate) and the invisible Church (those who are truly regenerate). The dichotomy exists because it often seems, as it was in the first century, that “not all Israel is Israel.” But the Bible never makes this distinction.

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Dec 8 2014

Reading Galatians Backwards

Paul-film

or Sacramental Sorcery and the Seed of Abraham

“O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you?”

Having written a (basically word-by-word) commentary on Paul’s epistle to the Galatians, one which demonstrates his use of the biblical pattern of maturity at every point and every level, it amazes me how sacramentalists are not aware that their doctrine makes them the modern targets of Paul’s ire.

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Nov 22 2014

Genesis 46-50 Chiasm

Joseph rules

Chiasms are everywhere in the Bible, yet “chiasm” is a word I had never heard before the age of 40. What’s up with Bible teachers? So, if you’re like I was, and totally unaware of these cool things, a chiasm is an occurrence of literary symmetry. Not only are these the way the entire Bible is constructed, you’ll always find them working at multiple levels. And they are not merely cool: they show us the shape of the work of God.1For an introduction to chiasms in the Bible, see Reading the Bible in 3D.

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References

1. For an introduction to chiasms in the Bible, see Reading the Bible in 3D.