Regulative and Normative

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Samuel Waldron gives us the following in his Exposition of the 1689:

“Mr Anglican must use the materials of the Word of God, but has no blueprint and may use other materials. Mr. Puritan must use only materials of the Word of God and has a blueprint. It takes no special genius to discern which will be more pleasing to God.”

Mr. Anglican represents the Normative Principle of Worship (NPW) and Mr. Puritan represents the Regulative Principle (RPW), but is it accurate? Is there really a set blueprint or pattern that we must follow? Are believers allowed to worship God in ways that are not commanded in scripture? I’ve been thinking a lot about this over the last year and have come to the conclusion both positions are honestly trying to “do things biblically,” but the big difference is how each view allows culture and tradition to influence them.

What’s the Difference

Some RPW proponents are against instruments being used and are Psalms only, others contend instruments are fine and songs used on Sunday do not have to be from the Psalter. Those who allow instruments tend to prefer pianos and other “traditional” instruments. Some NPW proponents believe smoke machines, TV screens and drum solos are God glorifying, others, are strongly against all of it. Some believe it’s important to have drama and lights, turning morning worship into a show and creating an emotional response in the people to bring glory to God.

Both the RPW and the NPW folks believe they are within the biblical bounds of God honouring worship.

No matter what position taken on this issue both are really based on preference and that preference is influenced by culture. Some NPW folks would allow the use electric guitars on Sunday morning. Some might not. Within the groups holding to RPW some would never be caught dead singing anything but the Psalter. What’s the difference between these two groups? I’m guessing it’s personal taste and culture.

The traditional position held before RPW and NPW were expressed during the Reformation accepts the traditions of the past, within the bounds of scriptural commands and prohibitions. Overtime local congregations allowed for some elements of culture to be used within their own worship services and liturgies, some gaining approval and others being discarded. The pre-Reformation view allowed for things such as a church calendar, prayer beads, kneeling when receiving communion, a Lord’s Table set apart, crossing oneself, raised pulpit, etc. to enter into the church and liturgy. Over time these traditions gain approval of God’s Ministers and His people and carrying on for future generations.

Learning from Christ’s Example:

Many RPW folks believe we should not use a church calendar to regulate our seasons of worship because it is not commended in holy scripture so I ask that you consider the example set by Jesus Christ Himself.

We read in John 10:

“And it was at Jerusalem the feast of the dedication, and it was winter. And Jesus walked in the temple in Solomon’s porch.”

As many of my readers know the “Feast of the Dedication” is today called Hanukkah or the “Feast of Lights” and was not given by commend to the Jews but rather grew out of the intertestamental period – the Maccabean Revolt.

1 Maccabees 4:

“52 Early in the morning on the twenty-fifth day of the ninth month, which is the month of Chislev, in the one hundred and forty-eighth year, 53 they rose and offered sacrifice, as the law directs, on the new altar of burnt offering which they had built. 54 At the very season and on the very day that the Gentiles had profaned it, it was dedicated with songs and harps and lutes and cymbals. 55 All the people fell on their faces and worshiped and blessed Heaven, who had prospered them. 56 So they celebrated the dedication of the altar for eight days, and offered burnt offerings with gladness; they offered a sacrifice of deliverance and praise. 57 They decorated the front of the temple with golden crowns and small shields; they restored the gates and the chambers for the priests, and furnished them with doors. 58 There was very great gladness among the people, and the reproach of the Gentiles was removed. 59 Then Judas and his brothers and all the assembly of Israel determined that every year at that season the days of dedication of the altar should be observed with gladness and joy for eight days, beginning with the twenty-fifth day of the month of Chislev.”

According to The Pulpit Commentary, Hanukkah “occupied eight days, was distinguished by illumination of the city and temple and of other places throughout the land, and hence was called the ‘Feast of Lights.'” The prominent Dr. John Gill also recognizes the lack of a positive command when he commented on the verse from John, “there were no annual feasts appointed in commemoration…”

It would seem rather odd that Jesus would attend the Temple during Hanukkah if He had a problem with it. It would also seem odd that if Jesus had a problem with Hanukkah it went unmentioned, but instead we see Jesus in a different passage instructing us:

“The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat: All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not.” Mat 23:2-3

I guess we have to use some common sense on this one, as a “good” Jew of His time Christ would have kept the Feast of Lights or been accused of not following the traditions of the Elders…after all, the very Son of God commanded that, “whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do…”

Confessions of Faith

As I pointed out above I don’t really see a big difference between the two Protestant positions if both are seeking to glorify God.

From the 39 Articles of Religion found in every Book of Common Prayer:

The Church hath power to decree Rites or Ceremonies, and authority- in Controversies of Faith: And yet it is not lawful for the Church to ordain any thing that is contrary to God’s Word written, neither may it so expound one place of Scripture, that it be repugnant to another.”

The 1689 London Baptist Confession reads:

“God concerning all things necessary for his own glory, man’s salvation, faith and life, is either expressly set down or necessarily contained in the Holy Scripture: unto which nothing at any time is to be added”

and the Westminster:

“The whole counsel of God concerning all things necessary for His own glory, man’s salvation, faith and life, is either expressly set down in Scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from Scripture: unto which nothing at any time is to be added, whether by new revelations of the Spirit, or traditions of men.”

Anglicans and Lutherans believe the church should decide how worship is to be conducted using scripture as well as traditions from church history. The Reformed wing of the Reformation uses a sliding scale of degrees when they introduce, “good and necessary consequences…” I’ve never really paid attention to, “good and necessary consequences” in relation to worship before but it seems one could use “good and necessary consequence” to conclude that (1) since Jesus kept a church calendar and (2) God has always regulated the year using feasts and fast, the practice should continue.

Some say, “Psalms only” others claim, “any song on a scriptural theme will do.” Both can be said in a confessionally Reformed church. Whatever one can feel justified in allowing during the Lord’s Day worship service seems to be acceptable. The biggest issue I now have is why have most Protestants ignored 2,000 years of continuous church tradition for a modern culture?

Again, it seems to me, that people reject tradition for the sake of rejecting tradition replacing it with modern cultural trappings in accordance with their own personal tastes. So why not use a Reformed liturgy? Another question to consider is, how do you remain RPW if Jesus kept Hanukkah and Hanukkah isn’t commanded by scripture? As I continue to learn and reform, I’m beginning to see nothing wrong with traditional forms of worship such as liturgy.

Just a few wild theological thoughts and ramblings from an insomniac.

Yours in the Lord,

jm

The Didache & Fasting

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Holy Trinity Church, Chatham Ontario

The Didache or the “Teaching of the Twelve Apostles” is said to have been written between 65 and 80 a.d. The purpose was to instruct gentile Christians on life, death, fasting, etc. Some dispute the early date but it is still useful considering how early in church history the document appears.

I just stumbled upon this quote and thought I would share it.

A quote from the Didache on fasting:

8.1. Let not your fasts be with the hypocrites, for they fast on Mondays and Thursdays, but do you fast on Wednesdays and Fridays.

2. And do not pray as the hypocrites, but as the Lord commanded in his Gospel, pray thus: “Our Father, who art in Heaven, hallowed be thy Name, thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, as in Heaven so also upon earth; give us today our daily bread, and forgive us our debt as we forgive our debtors, and lead us not into trial, but deliver us from the Evil One, for thine is the power and the glory for ever.”

3. Pray thus three times a day.

Cathar Pater Noster

Cathar Pater Noster Prayer

A candidate seeking admission into the Cathar church would knee before the Elder and repeat the Lord’s Pray phrase by phrase following the Elder’s lead.

Our father, which art in Heaven,
Hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come,
Thy will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven.
Give us this day our supersubstantial bread,
And remit our debts as we forgive our debtors.

And keep us from temptation and free us from evil.
Thine is the kingdom, the power and glory for ever and ever.
Amen.

Pater noster qui es in celis,
sanctificetur nomen tuum;
adveniat regnum tuum.
Fiat voluntas tua sicut in celo et in terra.
Panem nostrum supersubstancialem da nobis hodie.
Et dimitte nobis debita nostra sicut et nos dimittimus debitoribus nostris.
Et ne nos inducas in temptationem sed libera nos a malo.
Quoniam tuum est regnum et virtus et gloria in secula.
Amen.

Verse 11. – Give us this day our daily bread τὸν ἄρτον ἡμῶν τὸν ἐπιούσιον δὸς ἡμῖν σήμερον Here begin the petitions for our personal needs. The first is for earthly food, the means of maintaining our earthly life. For “in order to serve God it is first of all necessary that we live” (Godet, on Luke). Give us. The order in the Greek emphasizes not God’s grace in giving, but the thing asked for. This day. Parallel passage: Luke 11:3, “day by day (τὸ καθ ἡμέραν).” The thought suggested there, of continuance in the supply, is seen also in the verb (δίδου). Daily (ἐπιούσιον); and so Luke (compare especially the classical appendix in Bishop Lightfoot’s ‘Revision,’ etc., pp. 195, etc., and Chase, loc. cit.). It will be sufficient to do little more than indicate the chief lines of proposed derivations and interpretations of this ἅπαξ λεγόμενον.

(1) Ἐπὶ οὐσία

(a) physical, “for subsistence,” sufficient or necessary to sustain us;”

(b) spiritual, “for our essential being” (cf. Jerome’s rendering with a literalism that recalls the rabbis, super-substantially.

(2) Ἐπὶ εἰμί “to be,” “bread which is ready at hand or suffices” (similarly Delitzsch, in Thayer, s.v.). The chief and fatal objection to both

(1) and

(2) is that the form would be ἐπούσιος (cf. especially Lightfoot. loc. cit., p. 201).

(3) Ἐπι εϊμι, “to come;”

(a) with direct reference to “bread” – our “successive,” “continual,” “ever-coming” bread (so the Old Syriac, and partly the Egyptian versions), that which comes as each supply is required; the prayer then meaning, “Our bread as it is needed give us to-day” (so apparently Dr. Taylor, ‘Sayings,’ etc., p. 140); (b) derived mediately from ἐπιοῦσα σξ. ἡμέρα (cf. Acts 16:11; 20:15; 21:18), “bread for the coming day,” i.e. the same day, if the prayer be said in the morning; the next day if it be said in the evening (so Bishop Lightfoot). Between (3) (a) and (3) (b) it is very difficult to decide. Against (a) is the fact that it is hard to say why the common form ejpi>onta would not have served; against (b), while the use of the word is perfectly consistent with casting all care upon God for to-morrow (Matthew 6:34), there still remains the fact that there is some tautology in saying, “Our bread for the coming day give us to-day,” or even the formula in the parallel passage in Luke, “Our bread for the coming day give us day by day.” On the whole, perhaps (3) (a) presents the least difficulties. Bread. It is very doubtful if to use this petition of spiritual food is anything more than a legitimate application (made, indeed, as early as the ‘Didache,’ § 10.) of words which in themselves refer only to material food (see further Chase, loc. cit.).

Source

Second Source

Toward a Covenantal Theology

Posted back in 2011 (I believe): It’s probably fair to say that most Calvinistic, Particular or “Reformed” Baptists feel peer pressure to pursue the study of paedobaptist covenantalism. I have been personally told on numerous occasions that I should move toward a “full” covenant theology and embrace the baptism of infants “into the covenant.” In an effort to deal with my Reformed brothers and sisters honestly I have taken the the time to understand the reasons for paedobaptism and still cannot agree with the practice. Over the years I have been blessed by more than a few titles that helped me move toward and define my Baptist covenant theology. In an effort to help others along I decided to create a list of books I consider essential reading on the subject, titles that I own, have read and will continue to re-read for years to come. This is not a definitive list of titles but a list to get you going in the right direction. Some of them I have mentioned before.

1divinecovenants) Most Particular Baptists have heard of A. W. Pink but not all Particular Baptists have heard or read his work on the covenants. The Divine Covenants can be read online for free which I how is read it the first time. I ordered a physical copy (so I could mark up and underline) from Pietan Publications via email for under $15 bucks. Solid deal.

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2) The second book on the Baptist shelf isn’t a slam dunk but it is important because the editor included choice articles that deal with patristics, the logic behind paedobaptism and the relationship one covenant has to another. Believer’s Baptism: Sign of the New Covenant in Christ is part of the New American Commentary Studies in Bible & Theology published by B&H Academic.

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3) Baptism in the Early Church by H. F. Stander & J. P. Louw is one of the most interesting I have read. Both Stander and Louw are Reformed and therefore baptize infants. They examine passages often sited as proof for infant baptism from the early church including art work. They arrive at a decidedly credobaptist position.baptism

4) Paedobaptist covenant theology finds its fullest expression in the pronouncements of the Westminster Standards. Dr. Gary Crampton moved From Padeobaptism to Credobaptism as the title of his short work suggests offering a critique of the Westminster Standards in relation to baptism.

coxe5) One of the most important works for Particular Baptists to have been reprinted is Covenant Theology: From Adam To Christ by Nehemiah Coxe and John Owen. Coxe explains the differences of the old and new covenant, the difference between promise and fulfillment, who receives baptism is a give in after all the theological dust settles. For years I had referred to my own understanding of covenant theology as “modified” covenantalism only to find, with great joy, Coxe and Owen expressed the same theology with an emphasis on republication of the covenant of works at Sinai. Awesome read.

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6) Last title on the list will add to your understanding of how covenant theology was expressed by Baptists and some Presbyterians during the 17th century. Many of our Particular Baptist fathers agreed with other non-conformists on the republican of the covenant at Sinai which was latter rejected by the Westminster Assembly. Dr. Beeke has a chapter in A Puritan Theology: Doctrine for Life titled The Minority Report in which he describes the idea of republication as being held by a minority of those in attendance at Westminster. Was it truly a minority view or the minority view held by those in attendance? Pascal Denault’s work titled The Distinctiveness of Baptist Covenant Theology walks you through some important documents pertaining to covenant theology and the issues the church struggled with at the time. This work is key in tying up loose ends.

gillrebound3Honourable Mention: A Complete Body of Doctrinal and Practical Divinity by John Gill. No matter where I go in my theological study I just can’t shake Dr. Voluminous. He is the only man to write a COMPLETE verse-by-verse exposition of the ENTIRE Bible. Others have come close to matching this task but do in fact skip verses, bunch them together or died leaving the jgillwork for others to complete. Dr. John Gill’s work on the covenant differs in places from the work of Nehemiah Coxe and therefore the London Baptist Confession 1689, but you will benefit from reading his works, using his commentaries and taking time to ruminate on these deep truths. At one time Valley Gospel Mission Books in Canada offered the 3 volume paperback set listed for $37.

I pray this post was useful.

Yours in the Lord,

jm

Orthodoxy and Baptism

Orthodoxy and Baptism

Posted in 2015:

A few years back I found an interesting audio posted on a podcast called Orthodixie. The audio is a highlight reel where an Eastern Orthodox Priest plays apart of his discussion on the Scriptures and Tradition while offering commentary in between clips. It’s not a debate but a guy asking questions of the Priest stumps him pretty good. Some of the dialogue was a little choppy but I did my best to transcribe it accurately. At times it may seem as if the sentence structures are off but I’m tried to transcribe the words from the audio exactly how it was spoken. Listen to the full audio here.

Background: The Priests name is Joseph Huneycutt and the topic was about Scripture and Tradition. To give you an idea of how it went down a bunch of people arrived to the discussion with their Bibles prepared to ask questions. The Priest seems kind, generally warmhearted but clueless as to how to answer the questions asked by the audience member though the discussion was about Scripture and Tradition the Priest didn’t bring a Bible and seemed unprepared to answer questions about the Bible. The Priest admits he made a bunch of mistakes and I commend him for his honesty and his willingness to expect it with humility. Fr. Joseph Huneycutt was a former Southern Baptist who relates how he fell in love with God and was exposed to the Bible daily, mentioning how in North Carolina where is from, they even take their Bibles camping with them. He moved from Southern Baptist to Episcopalian, eventually leaving the Episcopal church in search of “truth.” I like how Huneycutt believes the churches teachings should never change to suit the sinner, rather, the sinner must change. I’m assuming this is why he ended up becoming apart of the Eastern Orthodox church, the “Ark of Salvation” as he calls it. Someone from the audience mentions 1 Cor. 11.14 which reads, “Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him?” and asked about the baptism of infants. Huneycutt mentions the common Baptist idea of confessors baptism, makes the claim that the person asking the question doesn’t understand baptism and admits he doesn’t understand baptism either. Since we give our children good things, baptism being good, we give it to our children. Somehow they receive Christ in baptism. It’s a mystery. They become full members in the EOC and can take part in communion. Huneycutt mentions household baptisms but quickly abandons the Bible for tradition. “Holy Tradition, I’d like to say, is basically the Holy Spirit plus time. That’s what Tradition is. Our Lord said he would send us the Paraclete, the Comforter, who would lead us into all truth. So the Holy Spirit plus time is my poor definition of Tradition and what Holy Tradition is.”

My own thoughts on that: He doesn’t understand baptism. It’s not just his problem but a problem within Eastern Orthodoxy itself, the EOC retreats to mystery far too often, and in so doing lack the ability to defend their position. The EO also assume that since they don’t understand the “mystery of baptism” no one else can. If that isn’t arrogance I don’t know what is. His definition of tradition is useful. He picks back up with 1. Cor. 11.14 “What do I make of that verse? I believe in the church. The church in various times has said hair, beard, set you apart, people know that you’re a clergyman. I’m not going to convince you” The guy in the audience tells him, “So this is just another example than of where your tradition is different from the scriptures.”

Huneycutt: “Where our Tradition is different than the scripture…(slight hesitation) We take the scripture as a whole, we don’t pull verses out, we don’t pull verses out and build our church around it. The church gives us the scriptures, and the same church that gives us the scriptures had a bunch of hairy men that voted which books went into the canon of scripture.”

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My own thoughts: The questioner did seem to pull the verse out of context and used it incorrectly. Huneycutt explains in his commentary portion of the audio that Paul was speaking to elaborately adorned hair. I think that makes sense. What is more important is how he answered, not the question itself, but that the EOC doesn’t feel it is bound to scripture in any sense. The scriptures find their authority in the government of the EOC and not the other way around. They are bound by nothing but their Traditions…whatever they may be.

Questioner: “Yes sir, thank you for the opportunity to ask you a question. I would like to revisit the subject of infant baptism. It just seems to me that the statement about households being baptized Acts 16 and other places like that, you’re assuming what is to be proven. You’re assuming infants in those households when you would not find that in scripture. When Jesus taught the disciplines to go forth He taught them to teach and baptize. You teach people (a big disgruntled breath, maybe a yawn into the mic, I’m assuming it’s the Priest lol) then you baptize the people you’re teaching. Jesus also said in Mark 16.16 ‘he who believes and is baptized shall be saved.” In Acts the 8th chapter v. 35 a man confessed Christ and was baptized. In Acts 2.38 the Apostle Peter said “repent and be baptized.” Repentance involves a forsaking of sin, first of all there is no proof that the infant has any sin and if he does how can he forsake it. My point is, how can all of these things; teaching, belief, repentance, confession of Christ all precede baptism in the Bible examples. Now I know you can find things outside the Bible but, is the Bible going to be our standard or not, and I think what you’re doing is ‘saying we’ll set aside the Bible standard and tradition will be our standard’ if that’s not what you’ve taught tonight than I’ve misunderstood and I’m ready to hear clarification.”

Huneycutt jumps right in: “As I’ve said tonight at the beginning, I don’t know if you were here, I’m not a Bible scholar. I’m just a sinner. But I will say this, what I just said was that for 500 years before, these were universally accepted by the church, the church was baptizing infants. From the very beginning and those same people baptizing infants saw no problem with the codifying the scriptures that you are quoting from.”

Questioner: “Sir, this is the beginning right here in the book of Acts, this is the beginning of the church and there’s no infant baptism. You know that and so do I. And my question is…

Huneycutt cuts him off: “No I don’t, no, no, no, please.” (Laughter from the audience.)

Questioner: “Ok, I’m sorry.”

Huneycutt: “I don’t know what you know what I know. Ok. I’m not trying to convince anyone of anything I’m saying the same church that gave you that Bible was baptizing infants and you say ‘well I don’t find it written here.’ St. Basil the Great said, ‘Just because you don’t find it in the Bible doesn’t mean that it isn’t an equal part of our Tradition.’”

Questioner: “Well I would agree that it may be apart of the tradition because it’s not found in the Bible, (Huneycutt chuckles into the mic) but my point is that in the book of Acts, which was authoritative long before there was any council, this was written by Luke by 63 / 64ad at the latest. This is early (can’t make it out, Huneycutt jumps in with)

Huneycutt: “How did they get it? Did they download it? Who all had it?”

Questioner: “It was written by Luke…” (cut off again)

Huneycutt: “I know Luke had it how did he get it disseminated?”

Questioner: “In the book of Colossians chapter 4 the Apostle Paul told the church of Colossi to disseminate his letters among the other churches…” (cut off again)

Huneycutt: “How did Luke get his Gospel out to people?”

Questioner: “Well Luke wrote it and then it was copied, and copies were distributed throughout the churches.”

Huneycutt: “Ok.”

Questioner: “I think, I think you and I would agree on that.”

Huneycutt: “Ok.”vantil-bible-authoritative

Questioner: “But my point is this, that the book of Acts is early church practice, and maybe you were unaware and I’m sorry for putting words in your mouth, but, when I read the book of Acts I can find no indication of infant baptism. I find that people before they were baptized were taught, they believed, they repented of their sins and confessed Christ. None of which infants can do and why do we then have tradition that runs contrary to those things we find in the book of Acts [that] preceded baptism”

Huneycutt: “I think the way I read, just to go back to your earlier point, we’re commanded, the Apostles are commanded, to go and make disciples of all nations. And my children were all baptized, and believe me they have been disciplined in a Christian home from the beginning. We teach by our living example, you know there’s nothing stirring within me that says, ‘you know he might be right’ because I believe the church is the authority…the same church that gave us the scripture, the same church that’s been baptizing, at least the way the church believes, from the beginning.” (Questioner cuts in)

Questioner: “But sir, this, the book of Acts wasn’t given by the church it was given by the Holy Spirit through Luke. And, and I know you believe that, I believe that, it didn’t take a church 400 years latter to make it authoritative, this was authoritative from the time it was written. That’s, that’s the nature of inspiration and the writings of the Holy Spirit.” The audio is interrupted by Huneycutt’s commentary on the back and forth. He states, “…I knew this was not going anywhere. In fact arguing, verse by verse, with someone not (emphasis added to not) of the Orthodox faith, is usually fruitless.” Audio picks back up.

Honeycutt: “Well then we’ll just have to disagree. I’m not trying to make a convert of you, and you (emphasis on you) will not make one of me.”

Questioner: “Well I’d like to.” (laughter from the audience)

Honeycutt: “I know you would.” A quick commentary by the Priest. When the audio picks back up he is relating his own journey toward the EOC. Another break for a quick comment from Honeycutt and then…

Questioner: “‘For laying aside the commandment of God you hold the tradition of men. As the washing of pots and cups and many other such things you do and he said to them full well you reject the commandment of God that you may keep your own tradition making the word of God of none effect through your tradition.’ So in those cases where your tradition differs Jesus condemned people in the past.”

Huneycutt: “I don’t think that taking one verse out and comparing it to the witness of 2,000 years of the church, it doesn’t enter my mind to do that. I can understand it, but we just don’t do that in Orthodoxy. Ah, Jesus did not condemn the Pharisees merely for having traditions he rejected the false traditions that the Pharisees practiced. And condemned them for making the observance of certain legitimate traditions more important than following the teachings of God’s word. The Pharisees were obsessed with observing external observances and meticulous detail, while at the same time negating God’s commandments. Jesus taught his disciples to keep legitimate traditions but to avoid being hypocritical as the Pharisees were. This is exactly the position of the Orthodox church. The Orthodox church rejects traditions that are at variance with the scripture, the way we understand it (placed emphasis on ‘the way we understand it’), and practices only those which are proper expressions of the Christian faith. The Orthodox faithful are warned in the services of the church not to fall into same errors as the Pharisees did.”

My Own Thoughts: The last few minutes were spent with the Priest claiming he wasn’t trying to convert anyone or make any religious arguments. The Questioner is confused because he thought the Priest was a religious teacher and the audience was instructed to ask challenging questions of he speaking. I get the impression Honeycutt was in over his head and tried to get out of further discussion with the Questioner.

That’s just my opinion have a listen for yourself.

Yours in the Lord,

jm

Sacramental Controversy

“Sacraments had provoked controversy among Christians ever since Paul rebuked the church at Corinth for irregularities at the Lord’s Supper (1 Cor. 11:20-34). The rudiments of medieval baptismal doctrine emerged in the course of contention between Augustine and covenantthe Donatists in the early fifth century. Roman eucharistic doctrine was shaped by the ninth-century that erupted when Radbertus of Cobie in France affirmed a sacramental transmutation producing the natural body and blood of Christ in the Lord’s Supper. In the Fourth Lateran Council of 1215 the Church decided officially that the substance of the bread and wine was transmuted into the body and blood of Christ, but neither this definition of transubstantiation nor explanations of the seven sacraments at the Council of Florence in 1439 could put an end to controversy. Fifteenth-century theologians continued earlier disputes between the Dominicans, who argued that sacraments themselves contained and conveyed grace, and the Franciscans, who said that God conferred grace directly whenever the sacraments were administered. Sacramental controversy was no innovation of the sixteenth-century reformers.” E. Brooks Holifield, The Covenant Sealed: The Development of Puritan Sacramental Theology in Old and New England, 1570-1720

The Westminster Assembly Debates Credopaedobaptism

Worth a read.

Petty France

In the seventeenth-century polemics of paedobaptism and credobaptism, one of the common arguments asserted by the English Particular Baptists was that their paedobaptist brothers agreed that a profession of faith was a necessary prerequisite for baptism. To make their point, Particular Baptists like Andrew Ritor, Benjamin Coxe, William Kiffin, Hanserd Knollys, and Thomas Patient appealed to the catechism of the Church of England, which was appended to the Book of Common Prayer. The catechism specifically required a profession of faith and repentance before admission to baptism. Here is the portion to which they referred:Church of England Catechism in Book of Common Prayer

The Particular Baptists viewed this as inconsistent credobaptism, or perhaps we could call it “credopaedobaptism.” If actual repentance and faith were necessary, how could these be promised by parents or godparents? Given their strong Calvinism, the idea of promising actual faith and repentance (which could only be given by God) for another was an absurdity. To the Particular Baptists…

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