1 Corinthians 13:1 KJV 1 Corinthians 13:1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.
To the members of Puritan Board:
I want to take this opportunity to say a few things that have been on my heart as of late. Please bear with me as I sift through all the issues.
1) The Puritan Board as a benefit or a stumbling block to the faith and faithful.
For sure this board has been a blessing to me and many others. I have grown greatly in the truth since the boards beginning. No one needs to really go into addressing the positive things in that regard; we all know them. Realistically speaking, the board has the capability of causing one to sin in so many fashions if abused, i.e. pride, anger, sarcasm, even deceit (I’ve personally seen cases of lying). The things that are slung around here on occasion are criminal and I know none of it is of Christ. I have been guilty of some of these things. This is sad, but true. Having said that, I repent of this sin and ask for everyone’s forgiveness. Thinking about it, none of us would act like this if we were speaking in person to the other person. We need to remember that. As the board goes forward, it would behoove everyone to remember who died for the person you are speaking roughly with. You all know the passages about salt, light, savoring your words, and clanging cymbals, so I won’t post them here, but I am sure you get the point.
2) On members that have been banned/suspended:
As has been clearly stated, rules are rules. If I have offended you otherwise, i.e. in manner or speech in fulfilling this role as board owner, forgive me. The job is difficult. I mean this when I ask for your forgiveness.
3) Calvinism and some of it’s obvious deficiencies:
Can you say, Frozen Chosen? May it never be true! Let us reform, but not freeze.
4) In regards to a past thread I want to address:
You must not be reading the same thread as I am. Scott has several times stated (and you have tacitly endorsed) that credobaptists are cut off from the "invisible" and "internal" covenant. He has stated that the elect will obey God's commands, and that those commands include baptizing infants. He has stated (or as much as stated) that those who never obey God's commands (read: baptizing children) are not God's elect. If they are not God's elect, they must not ever have been justified, since the justified can never totally (at any time) nor finally (in the end) fall away/commit apostasy (see WCF 17).
The discussion that I have been having is not an ecclesiastical one. It is a soteriological one - because that is the issue. I have not objected to language which says that the credobaptist is in violation of the visible covenant and is denying his children the privileges of covenantal membership that are rightfully theirs by birth (Gen 15 again, and elsewhere). But to bring the invisible/internal into a discussion about baptism IS Federal Vision. I am not saying that Scott is a FV advocate. I am saying that his confused, unhelpful and unpastorally inflammatory language is Federal Vision-ish and butresses their claims. It must be rejected.
To bring ecclesiology into this (as you are doing) is merely to confuse the issue. These are discussions for another time (and yes, we allow baptists to join since our requirements per the BCO are a credible profession of faith in Christ, not adherance to the Confession; and we practice close, not closed communion, sicne you appear to practice closed communion - only those in your church commune). The direct questions, that deserves a direct answer are:
Can a man be cut off from God in Christ because of his sin of neglecting the baptism of his children? Is a credobaptist cut off from the invisible and internal covenant with God (which must be the Covenant of Grace, per WCF)?
The Confession says clearly "no" in WCF 28.5. More than once, Scott has said "yes" and has dismissed 28.5 by saying, "they could not have been talking about baptists" (see above).
I've been waiting for a clear answer to these questions now for more than a day.
We still believe this. But it has left some nagging questions. Baptism is included in the the sacraments, which, when properly administrated, is a mark of a true church. And the teaching on baptism is an integral part of the confessional ecclesiastical position. It is, in fact, an essential part of the confessional-doctrinal affirmation of the church. At what point does one judge another as outside the covenant bonds? It did not mean that we would be excommunicated, but it did mean that I was no longer eligible for office in the church. Was that right? I believed rather that the church was misunderstanding the teaching of baptism, and had made it a legalistic thing.
We are forced to conclude that one ought not to take baptism lightly. I think that, if we were honest with ourselves, that we knew this going into the discussions four or five years ago, when the PuritanBoard first started up with the intent of engaging upon this discussion: the two views were doctrinally exclusive of each other. Hence, what Scott and Matt are saying, in part, is only naturally and intrinsically part of the discussion, that the paedo view regards the credo view as a breaking of the baptismal instruction of the Word, and that the credo view regards the paedo view as a breaking of the baptismal instruction of the Word.
But that seems to be as far as we can go with this. To be excluding the other view from the covenant, when it is clear that God has also illumined and blessed the other with the same knowledge of the salvation of Christ, is to judge where God has not judged. What I mean is that I recognize the Spirit of God in my Baptist brothers, even though I know that they have transgressed the commands of God in regard to baptism. It seems that, either God has not blessed me with the knowledge that they may have, or that God has not blessed them with the knowledge that I have. And that is how I must address the issue with my Baptist brothers. In regards to the confessional stance of the church, they have broken the regulation; but in regards to their confessional stance I have broken the regulation.
I have to agree that my church believes that the Baptist who refuses to baptize his children disregards God's promises, and disobeys the clear teaching of Scripture. Yet it is also true that I must appear so to them. It is also true that God has not refused covenant membership to them or to me, for surely God has blessed them just as he has blessed me, and that they too share in the same knowledge of salvation that God has granted me. That means that, though they have shown disobedience in the promises of faith, that God has not therefore excluded them, according the what we can see of their life and doctrine, and not just in regards to baptism alone. We ought not to exclude those whom God has not excluded, using the church to do so, for that is a misuse of the church.
John, I agree with this line of thinking.
I have read every post. I'm trying to follow up on the thought of this view being tied to the FV. I'm interacting with the fact that you just said that the justified will place the sign on their children. I understand that you are trying to distinguish between soteriological and covenantal issues. Just trying to see if you collapse them back together at points.
I would rather you just dialog with the question with the simple yes or no and then qualify your answer as much as you like.
You are completely ignoring the "they are cut off from the invisible covenant" statements that Scott keeps making. No one here is saying that by sinning we are not breaking covenant with God. The difference is not in eternal/time distinctions, but in "breaking" (present, and not final) and "cut off" (final and declarative).
No believer can ever be "cut off" from the invisible covenant. No believer can ever "break" the invisible covenant. That is our doctrine of the perseverance of the saints. It is because *God* keeps them in covenant. It is about what God does to keep covenant, not us.
Scott has made baptism soteriological by applying to the invisible covenant and the nature of whether one is elect. he has said several times that the justified/elect will baptize their children. The immediate and obvious implication, which I can't believe you aren't getting, is that a man who professes faith in Christ, lives a life of spiritual fruit (cf. Gal 5-6), but does not baptize his children and dies is not elect and not justified. There is no other way around that statement.
WCF 28.5 clearly places baptism as the kind of sin that does not affect one's justification before God. There is no other way to take that. All the obfuscation in the world does not stop that.
Isn't teaching that someone can be "cut off" from the invisible covenant tantamount to Arminianism?
It was and is……I blew it here.
Fred, et. al.
You were right on here. I was flatly erring here. The effects by breaking this command of God can be felt at the visible level only; at least in regards to the references I made. I was speaking ecclesiastically and as Chris Rhoades pointed out, collapsing the ideas. Whatever it’s worth, to be honest with everyone, I am not that intelligent to ‘collapse’ intentionally. I was just confusing the two ideas.
5) Thoughts on Jus Divinum:
And then as well state in a thread posed by Peter Grey:
"........though succession is not the esse of the church is it of the esse of ordination?
Matt McMahon says:
"If it is, then there is no one ordained today, anywhere, or for that matter, since the 5th century."
Fred G.'s response to peters question was:
"The problem with this is the line of Anti-Popes and those they ordained. Another problem is those bishops that were ordained in England by Papist sympathizers, who were later defrocked, but those that they had ordained were not.
Again, if it is of the esse of ordination, then we wind up in the same place - no Church. If the Church has no ministers she has no proper preaching, no proper sacraments, she becomes no Church. All making succession of the esse of ordination does for you is give you one more step to obliterating the Church and going against the uniform witness of the Church."
"the mess is not due to the Independents, but schism. Why? Because if there were one Church, even one Presbyterian Church, we could simply go by pronouncements. Instead we are left to apply the marks.
What does that mean? For my part (and the historical pattern) it is that if a church proclaims the gospel, and it has not been declared apostate, it is a true (albeit flawed) church. An Independent local body cannot "de-church" a church.
The key, as always, is the gospel and the marks of the Church, not any visible, tangible line of succession."
6) My conclusions in regard to the above discussion:
Quoting Matt McMahon summarizes this:
"If, however, we define any of the external marks of the church as part of the well being of the church, and it’s well ordering, then that is another discussion altogether. For example, as a Reformed Presbyterian, I can comfortably say that an Independent congregation is neither Reformed or Presbyterian in its external organization or in the fundamentals of its doctrine surrounding ecclesiology. Being “Reformed” and being “Presbyterian” in ecclesiological markers meant something specific to church history and to theological formulations. I can say, as a Reformed Presbyterian, that a Congregational church that rejects these things is not those things. They are something else. But I cannot call them a “false church” or “not a church” simply because their organizational or ecclesiological markers are not present as they should be for its well being. I must, then, concede that all churches who “profess the true religion” are in fact “true churches.” This does not, in any way, discount Ministerial Succession, lawful ordination, or church government as God so revives them throughout the centuries. Such things are for the well being of the church. Without them, the Church is invariably sick."
1. For every high priest, etc. He compares Christ with the Levitical priests, and he teaches us what is the likeness and the difference between them; and the object of the whole discourse is, to show what Christ's office really is, and also to prove that whatever was ordained under the law was ordained on his account. Hence the Apostle passes on at last to show that the ancient priesthood was abolished.
He first says that the priests were taken from among men; secondly, that they did not act a private part but for the whole people; thirdly, that they were not to come empty to appease God, but furnished with sacrifices; fourthly, that they were not to be exempt from human infirmities, that they might more readily succor the distressed; and lastly, that they were not presumptuously to rush into this office, and that then only was the honor legitimate when they were chosen and approved by God. We shall consider briefly each of these points.
We must first, however, expose the ignorance of those who apply these things to our time, as though there was at this day the same need of priests to offer sacrifices; at the same time there is no necessity for a long refutation. For what can be more evident than that the reality found in Christ is compared with its types, which, being prior in time, have now ceased? But this will appear more fully from the context. How extremely ridiculous then are they who seek by this passage to establish and support the sacrifice of the mass! I now return to the words of the Apostle.
Taken from among men, etc. This he says of the priests. It hence follows that it was necessary for Christ to be a real man; for as we are very far from God, we stand in a manner before him in the person of our priest, which could not be, were he not one of us. Hence, that the Son of God has a nature in common with us, does not diminish his dignity, but commends it the more to us; for he is fitted to reconcile us to God, because he is man. Therefore Paul, in order to prove that he is a Mediator, expressly calls him man; for had he been taken from among angels or any other beings, we could not by him be united to God, as he could not react down to us.
For men, etc. This is the second clause; the priest was not privately a minister for himself, but was appointed for the common good of the people. But it is of great consequence to notice this, so that we may know that the salvation of us all is connected with and revolves on the priesthood of Christ. The benefit is expressed in these words, ordains those things which pertain to God. They may, indeed, be explained in two ways, as the verb kaqi>statai has a passive as well as an active sense. They who take it passively give this version, "is ordained in those things," etc.; and thus they would have the preposition in to be understood; I approve more of the other rendering, that the high priest takes care of or ordains the things pertaining to God; for the construction flows better, and the sense is fuller.1 But still in either way, what the Apostle had in view is the same, namely, that we have no intercourse with God, except there be a priest; for, as we are unholy, what have we to do with holy things? We are in a word alienated from God and his service until a priest interposes and undertakes our cause.
That he may offer both gifts, etc. The third thing he mentions respecting a priest is the offering of gifts. There are however here two things, gifts and sacrifices; the first word includes, as I think, various kinds of sacrifices, and is therefore a general term; but the second denotes especially the sacrifices of expiation. Still the meaning is, that the priest without a sacrifice is no peacemaker between God and man, for without a sacrifice sins are not atoned for, nor is the wrath of God pacified. Hence, whenever reconciliation between God and man takes place, this pledge must ever necessarily precede. Thus we see that angels are by no means capable of obtaining for us God's favor, because they have no sacrifice. The same must be thought of Prophets and Apostles. Christ alone then is he, who having taken away sins by his own sacrifice, can reconcile God to us.
2. Who can, etc. This fourth point has some affinity to the first, and yet it may be distinguished from it; for the Apostle before taught us that mankind are united to God in the person of one man, as all men partake of the same flesh and nature; but now he refers to another thing, and that is, that the priest ought to be kind and gentle to sinners, because he partakes of their infirmities. The word which the Apostle uses, metriopaqei~n is differently explained both by Greek and Latin interpreters.2 I, however, think that it simply means one capable of sympathy. All the things which are here said of the Levitical priests do not indeed apply to Christ; for Christ we know was exempt from every contagion of sin; he therefore differed from others in this respect, that he had no necessity of offering a sacrifice for himself. But it is enough for us to know that he bare our infirmities, though free from sin and undefiled. Then, as to the ancient and Levitical priests, the Apostle says, that they were subject to human infirmity, and that they made atonement also for their own sins, that they might not only be kind to others when gone astray, but also condole or sympathize with them. This part ought to be so far applied to Christ as to include that exception which he mentioned before, that is, that he bare our infirmities, being yet without sin. At the same time, though ever free from sin, yet that experience of infirmities before described is alone abundantly sufficient to incline him to help us, to make him merciful and ready to pardon, to render him solicitous for us in our miseries. The sum of what is said is, that Christ is a brother to us, not only on account of unity as to flesh and nature, but also by becoming a partaker of our infirmities, so that he is led, and as it were formed, to show forbearance and kindness. The participle, duna>menov is more forcible than in our common tongue, qui possit, "who can," for it expresses aptness or fitness. The ignorant and those out of the way, or erring, he has named instead of sinners, according to what is done in Hebrew; for hggs , shegage, means every kind of error or offense, as I shall have presently an occasion to explain.
4. And no man, etc. There is to be noticed in this verse partly a likeness and partly a difference. What makes an office lawful is the call of God; so that no one can rightly and orderly perform it without being made fit for it by God. Christ and Aaron had this in common, that God called them both; but they differed in this, that Christ succeeded by a new and different way and was made a perpetual priest. It is hence evident that Aaron's priesthood was temporary, for it was to cease. We see the object of the Apostle; it was to defend the right of Christ's priesthood; and he did this by showing that God was its author. But this would not have been sufficient, unless it was made evident that an end was to be put to the old in order that a room might be obtained for this. And this point he proves by directing our attention to the terms on which Aaron was appointed, for we are not to extend them further than God's decree; and he will presently make it evident how long God had designed this order to continue. Christ then is a lawful priest, for he was appointed by God's authority. What is to be said of Aaron and his successors? That they had as much right as was granted them by the Lord, but not so much as men according to their own fancy concede to them.
But though this has been said with reference to what is here handled, yet we may hence draw a general truth, -- that no government is to be set up in the Church by the will of men, but that we are to wait for the command of God, and also that we ought to follow a certain rule in electing ministers, so that no one may intrude according to his own humor. Both these things ought to be distinctly noticed for the Apostle here speaks not of persons only, but also of the office itself; nay, he denies that the office which men appoint without God's command is lawful and divine. For as it appertains to God only to rule his Church, so he claims this right as his own, that is, to prescribe the way and manner of administration. I hence deem it as indisputable, that the Papal priesthood is spurious; for it has been framed in the workshop of men. God nowhere commands a sacrifice to be offered now to him for the expiation of sins; nowhere does he command priests to be appointed for such a purpose. While then the Pope ordains his priests for the purpose of sacrificing, the Apostle denies that they are to be counted lawful priests; they cannot therefore be such, except by some new privilege they exalt themselves above Christ, for he dared not of himself to take upon him this honor, but waited for the command of the Father.
This also ought to be held good as to persons, that no individual is of himself to seize on this honor without public authority. I speak now of offices divinely appointed. At the same time it may sometimes be, that one, not called by God, is yet to be tolerated, however little he may be approved, provided the office itself be divine and approved by God; for many often creep in through ambition or some bad motives, whose call has no evidence; and yet they are not to be immediately rejected, especially when this cannot be done by the public decision of the Church. For during two hundred years before the coming of Christ the foulest corruptions prevailed with respect to the priesthood, yet the right of honor, proceeding from the calling of God, still continued as to the office itself; and the men themselves were tolerated, because the freedom of the Church was subverted. It hence appears that the greatest defect is the character of the office itself, that is, when men of themselves invent what God has never commanded. The less endurable then are those Romish sacrificers, who prattle of nothing but their own titles, that they may be counted sacred, while yet they have chosen themselves without any authority from God.
5. Thou art my Son, etc. This passage may seem to be far¬fetched; for though Christ was begotten of God the Father, he was not on this account made also a priest. But if we consider the end for which Christ was manifested to the world, it will plainly appear that this character necessarily belongs to him. We must however bear especially in mind what we said on the first chapter; that the begetting of Christ, of which the Psalmist speaks, was a testimony which the Father rendered to him before men. Therefore the mutual relation between the Father and the Son is not what is here intended; but regard is rather had to men to whom he was manifested. Now, what sort of Son did God manifest to us? One indued with no honor, with no power? Nay, one who was to be a Mediator between himself and man; his begetting then included his priesthood.3
6. As he saith in another place, or, elsewhere, etc. Here is expressed more clearly what the Apostle intended. This is a remarkable passage, and indeed the whole Psalm from which it is taken; for there is scarcely anywhere a clearer prophecy respecting Christ's eternal priesthood and his kingdom. And yet the Jews try all means to evade it, in order that they might obscure the glory of Christ; but they cannot succeed. They apply it to David, as though he was the person whom God bade to sit on his right hand; but this is an instance of extreme effrontery; for we know that it was not lawful for kings to exercise the priesthood. On this account, Uzziah, that is, for the sole crime of intermeddling with an office that did not belong to him, so provoked God that he was smitten with leprosy. (2 Chronicles 26:18.) It is therefore certain that neither David nor any one of the kings is intended here.
If they raise this objection and say, that princes are sometimes called Mynhk cohenim, priests, I indeed allow it, but I deny that the word can be so understood here. For the comparison here made leaves nothing doubtful: Melchisedec was God's priest; and the Psalmist testifies that that king whom God has set on his right hand would be a |kohen| according to the order of Melchisedec. Who does not see that this is to be understood of the priesthood? For as it was a rare and almost a singular thing for the same person to be a priest and a king, at least an unusual thing among God's people, hence he sets forth Melchisedec as the type of the Messiah, as though he had said, "The royal dignity will not prevent him to exercise the priesthood also, for a type of such a thing has been already presented in Melchisedec." And indeed all among the Jews, possessed of any modesty, have conceded that the Messiah is the person here spoken of, and that his priesthood is what is commended.
What is in Greek, kata< ta>xin according to the order, is in Hebrew, ytrbdale ol-deberti, and means the same, and may be rendered, "according to the way" or manner: and hereby is confirmed what I have already said, that as it was an unusual thing among the people of God for the same person to bear the office of a king and of a priest, an ancient example was brought forward, by which the Messiah was represented. The rest the Apostle himself will more minutely set forth in what follows.
Apostolic successionsism would be optimal, but practically impossible; hence, successionsim is of the benne esse and not the esse of the church. Men fit for the ministry must be rightly called by Gods mouthpieces, i.e. presently serving elders whom validate this call. Feeling that one is called outside of this validating process in my opinion is self deception.
7) In regards to Phillip Way and all the other credo Baptists brethren:
I contacted Phillip recently. Here is my email to him. I only present this email publicly because I am repenting publicly and it directly affects the rest of my credo brethren.
I will begin this letter to you by stating that I am saddened greatly by the recent events connected with Christ’s Church which you pastored. I have had that on my heart for weeks since hearing of it. I am praying for you and your wife. As well, I want to beg you for your forgiveness for sinning against you and all the other credo baptists connected with you and the board. I have done much sole searching as of late and am in a shipwrecked state to a degree. It is good that God has dealt with me in this manner as it has refined me; I am begging Him even now to rejuvenate the first love I once had for Him. In the next weeks, I will keep you abreast as things develop. There are many things I need to repent of and repent to personally. I am so sad by the disgusting nature of certain things I held to. Please keep me in prayer as thing unwind.
Job 6:14 14 To him that is afflicted pity should be shewed from his friend; but he forsaketh the fear of the Almighty.
In all the love I can muster, in light of the anger you should hold against me,
So, to all my Baptist brethren, I seek your forgiveness. I repent for bruising you and causing sinful division.
Proverbs 6:16-19 16 There are six things which the LORD hates, Yes, seven which are an abomination to Him: 17 Haughty eyes, a lying tongue, And hands that shed innocent blood, 18 A heart that devises wicked plans, Feet that run rapidly to evil, 19 A false witness who utters lies, And one who spreads strife among brothers.
8) On the issue of Anabaptism:
Anabaptism is heresy; I don’t know of ever meeting a Anabaptist. Some contemporary groups may subscribe to a few items the Anabaptists held to but this does not necessarily make them Anabaptists.
9) On the issue of Arminianism:
Arminianism is heresy and those holding to it will perish. I don’t know of ever meeting an Arminian. Some contemporary groups may subscribe to a few items the Arminians held to but this does not necessarily make them Arminians like the historic Arminians.
10) On Romes baptism and the sacrament/ordinances:
I believe the RCC’s baptism as valid; The church of Rome is apostate and heretical. Baptism is dependant upon Christ baptizing, not the minister applying. Formula! Hence, in regards to the second sacrament/ordinance, it would follow that Christ is the one making efficacious whatever He intends to convey in the supper, not the minister or the misunderstanding of persons receiving it. I disagree with those who hold the view: “It’s a sacrament, not a memorial- all views other than this are error. This error renders the 2nd mark of being a true church as false. Hence, anyone holding to the view that the supper is a ‘memorial’, or a church holding to such a view, is not a true church”.
11) In regards to the RPW and EP:
Not claiming to know it all, as I have said many times, I believe EP to be the most sound, most prudent biblical example following the RPW; in other words, it is possibly the safest example. I admit, I am not ready to condemn every other idea as heresy or error. God has not shown me that.
12) On Presumptive Regeneration:
I believe that Presumptive election to be the most consistent discipline w/ the scriptures. So, I recant the PR position previously held to. *Bruce, I knew we recently discussed this, however, after looking at it, as of recent, I see it as the most biblical position; going beyond this could be dangerous. It's probably a doctrien we should avoid discussion as I have never seen any fruit or light come from it, just arguments.
I love the Lord so! As I mentioned, and as you all know, I am not seminary trained; looking in from the outside, I am embarrassed for myself. Trying to look seminary trained when one isn’t is at best silly. I am a scrapper and as Bruce once put it, I have a very strong personality; This has always been my shortcoming. May God give me grace in the coming years as I age and draw closer, physically even, to Him. I know some of the above has some flaws in it; I am flawed. I can’t help that. Take it for it’s face value and who it’s coming from.
I repent of my obsession of trying to be right always; I repent of my obsession of determining who are Gods people and who are not Gods people; that is for God and not for me and will never do it again. I repent of the amount of time I have used here on this board when I should have been rightly ministering to my wife and daughter- they have suffered greatly for it. It was selfish of me and in my opinion, sinful. If any of you are guilty of this, heed my warning. I repent of my obsession of calling Gods people heretics when I don’t have all the facts. I repent of my sarcasm and facetiousness. As previously mentioned, it is criminal. May Christ forgive me and may you be granted the grace as well to see to forgive me for some of the above things. May God be glorified.
End thoughts from Calvin:
"They exclaim that it is impossible to tolerate the vice which everywhere stalks abroad like a pestilence. What if the apostle's sentiment applies here also? Among the Corinthians it was not a few that erred, but almost the whole body had become tainted; there was not one species of sin merely, but a multitude, and those not trivial errors but some of them execrable crimes. There was not only corruption in manners, but also in doctrine. What course was taken by the holy apostle, in other words, by the organ of the heavenly Spirit, by whose testimony the Church stands and falls? Does he seek separation from them? Does he discard them from the kingdom of Christ? Does he strike them with the thunder of a final anathema? He not only does none of these things, but he acknowledges and heralds them as a Church of Christ, and a society of saints. If the Church remains among the Corinthians, where envyings, divisions, and contentions rage; where quarrels, lawsuits and avarice prevail; where a crime, which even the gentiles would execrate, is openly approved; where the name of Paul, whom they ought to have honoured as a father, is petulantly assailed; where some hold the resurrection of the dead in derision, though with it the whole gospel must fall; where the gifts of God are made subservient to ambition, not to charity; where many things are done neither decently nor in order. If there the Church still remains, simply because the ministration of word and sacrament is not rejected, who will presume to deny the title of church to those to whom a tenth part of these crimes cannot be imputed? How, I ask, would those who act so morosely against present churches have acted to the Galatians, who had done all but abandon the gospel, (Gal. 1: 2,) and yet among them the same apostle found churches?"
"As to their charge of heresy and schism, because we preach a different doctrine, and submit not to their laws, and meet apart from them for Prayer, Baptism, the administration of the Supper, and other sacred rites, it is indeed a very serious accusation, but one which needs not a long and laboured defence. The name of heretics and schismatics is applied to those who, by dissenting from the Church, destroy its communion. This communion is held together by two chainsviz. consent in sound doctrine and brotherly charity. Hence the distinction which Augustine makes between heretics and schismatics is, that the former corrupt the purity of the faith by false dogmas, whereas the latter sometimes, even while holding the same faith, break the bond of union (August. Lib. QuÃ¦st. in Evang. Mt.). But the thing to be observed is, that this union of charity so depends on unity of faith, as to have in it its beginning, its end, in fine, its only rule. Let us therefore remember, that whenever ecclesiastical unity is commended to us, the thing required is, that while our minds consent in Christ, our wills also be united together by mutual good-will in Christ. Accordingly Paul, when he exhorts us to it, takes for his fundamental principle that there is one God, one faith, one baptism (Eph. 4:5). Nay, when he tells us to be of one accord, of one mind, he immediately adds, Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus (Phil. 2:2, 5); intimating, that where the word of the Lord is not, it is not a union of believers, but a faction of the ungodly. Institutes, IV, ii, 5."
"Still, however, even the good are sometimes affected by this inconsiderate zeal for righteousness, though we shall find that this excessive moroseness is more the result of pride and a false idea of sanctity, than genuine sanctity itself, and true zeal for it. Accordingly, those who are the most forward, and, as it were, leaders in producing revolt from the Church, have, for the most part, no other motive than to display their own superiority by despising all other men. Well and wisely, therefore, does Augustine say, Seeing that pious reason and the mode of ecclesiastical discipline ought specially to regard the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace, which the Apostle enjoins us to keep, by bearing with one another (for if we keep it not, the application of medicine is not only superfluous, but pernicious, and therefore proves to be no medicine); those bad sons who, not from hatred of other mens iniquities, but zeal for their own contentions, attempt altogether to draw away, or at least to divide, weak brethren ensnared by the glare of their name, while swollen with pride, stuffed with petulance, insidiously calumnious, and turbulently seditious, use the cloak of a rigorous severity, that they may not seem devoid of the light of truth, and pervert to sacrilegious schism, and purposes of excision, those things which are enjoined in the Holy Scriptures (due regard being had to sincere love, and the unity of peace), to correct a brothers faults by the appliance of a moderate cure (August. Cont. Parmen. cap. 1). To the pious and placid his advice is, mercifully to correct what they can, and to bear patiently with what they cannot correct, in love lamenting and mourning until God either reform or correct, or at the harvest root up the tares, and scatter the chaff (Ibid. cap. 2). Let all the godly study to provide themselves with these weapons, lest, while they deem themselves strenuous and ardent defenders of righteousness, they revolt from the kingdom of heaven, which is the only kingdom of righteousness. For as God has been pleased that the communion of his Church shall be maintained in this external society, any one who, from hatred of the ungodly, violates the bond of this society, enters on a downward course, in which he incurs great danger of cutting himself off from the communion of saints. Let them reflect, that in a numerous body there are several who may escape their notice, and yet are truly righteous and innocent in the eyes of the Lord. Let them reflect, that of those who seem diseased, there are many who are far from taking pleasure or flattering themselves in their faults, and who, ever and anon aroused by a serious fear of the Lord, aspire to greater integrity. Let them reflect, that they have no right to pass judgment on a man for one act, since the holiest sometimes make the most grievous fall. Let them reflect, that in the ministry of the word and participation of the sacraments, the power to collect the Church is too great to be deprived of all its efficacy, by the fault of some ungodly men. Lastly, let them reflect, that in estimating the Church, divine is of more force than human judgment. Institutes, IV, i, 16."
Some questions are better off not asked. And maybe better still, not answered, just diplomatically diverted. We'll get along fine, as long as some questions are just left on the floor, not picked up at thrown in the other guy's face. In the mean time, we each skip along within our respective communions, the people we serve are either happy, or not. And we get to have fellowship with other men who we at least respect enough to treat with grace, despite differences minor or major.
Here’s where I am at:
I officially take leave of the Puritan Board and relinquish any ownership here. Matt will be sole owner hence forth. I will not be back so please keep me and my family in prayer as we seek God and His will for us. I do this not out of emotion but out of my desire for Christ, His church and my family; This board has become for me an idol of sorts. Apparently, I have reached the end of the internet and have essentially over surfed and there are no waves left. I’ll add, my health has not been great. My job is extremely stressful and I have not been sleeping for about 2 months. It is taking it’s toll on me physically; I am beginning to feel my age. I feel as if I could collapse from time to time.
Tina and I see the need to seek again, our first love. All the typing, typing, typing has gotten the better of us. I was supposed to start studying again in advancing my nursing career as of January 1st and have not started; in this, I have broke a personal goal and a promise to my wife. Shame on me. If your priorities are not straight people, get them straightened out. This is the internet, not life. Someone metioned addiction to the web.....it can be a real problem.
Having said everything that I have, we bid all here, adieu.
I want to personally thank, Fred and Phillip Way as they were instrumental from the beginning of this board. All my mods and most recently, Rich. The board is blessed by the level of excellent council it has. God has been gracious in that regard. In that vein, keep your eyes peeled, your ears open, people.
Philippians 4:1-8 Philippians 4:1 Therefore, my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved. 2 I beseech Euodias, and beseech Syntyche, that they be of the same mind in the Lord. 3 And I intreat thee also, true yokefellow, help those women which laboured with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and with other my fellowlabourers, whose names are in the book of life. 4 Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice. 5 Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. 6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. 7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. 8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.