CALVIN ON POSTURE IN WORSHIP

Source: The Calvinist International

SITTING ON THE PROMISES? Portrait of John Calvin

Two of the more common gestural accompaniments of prayer and worship in Scripture are kneeling and the lifting of one’s hands.

In several places in the Institutes and his commentaries, John Calvin reflects on the usefulness of such practices for Christian prayer and sketches an outline of what it is that God intends them to do; or, rather, what God intends to do by them (and the notion of instrumentality will emerge as clearly having been of great significance for Calvin).

We tend, I think, in the Reformed world particularly, to assume that posture has very little to do with prayer, for a variety of reasons (e.g., an allergy to certain traditions with which we’d rather not be associated; an intellectualizing and cerebral impulse in worship that has as a frequent corollary, though not as a necessary consequence, a perhaps too easy alliance with forms that fall within our collective comfort zones; 1etc.). Others perhaps move in the opposition direction, believing that certain actions must be done at certain times, and that a failure to perform these actions makes prayer less, well, prayerful.

For Calvin, both positions are errors because both misjudge the nature of externals and their relation to the worship of the heart–the former too easily dispensing with them and therefore too quickly leaving them to one side, the latter giving them more weight than is due to them. Worship of God without the heart is useless; but, at the same time, what we do with our bodies is closely bound up with what we do with our hearts, and not in a symbolic way merely. The posture of the body ought to be emblematic of the posture of the heart, yes. But, ideally, the posture of the body serves to form the posture of the heart as well: posture, that is, has what we might call, in syntactical terms, both an indicative and a hortatory function. Kneeling is not just a sign of submission; kneeling aids in producing submission.

To approach more closely to what should be involved in thinking about this issue, let us look at some excerpts from Calvin, beginning with the Institutes. (END QUOTE)

For the rest of the article please visit The Calvinist International

Yours in the Lord,

jm

Maundy Thursday

“Today is Maundy Thursday…” no it’s not, stop it!

“I love it when you call me big Papa..” – Pope Francis

papa

“…the acceptable way of worshipping the true God, is instituted by himself, and so limited by his own revealed will, that he may not be worshipped according to the imagination and devices of men, nor the suggestions of Satan, under any visible representations, or any other way not prescribed in the Holy Scriptures.”

( Jeremiah 10:7; Mark 12:33; Deuteronomy 12:32; Exodus 20:4-6 )

Freemasons and the Presbyterian Church

Interesting read.

Source

Masons Have Played Prominent Roles In The Presbyterian Church

The small Reformed Church finally took an official stand against Freemasonry in 1942. The one Presbyterian denomination prior to that time that took a clear stand against Freemasonry was the Associate Presbyterian Church which following the 1757 Secession tradition had forbidden Masonic membership.

In writing this part concerning the Presbyterians, I have taken the liberty to lump the various groups together in the same section—however, they can in no way be lumped together in their response to Freemasonry and the One-World-Power.

Examples of Presbyterian Masons working on the functional church level are Robert W. Cretney (33°, deacon Presbyterian church), Morton P. Steyer (KT, 32°, Shriner, York Rite College, Royal Order of Scotland, and elder Presbyterian Church), and Hugh I. Evans (33°, KT, National Head of the Presbyterian Church, USA.)

33rd degree Mason Hugh I. Evans (1887-1958) deserves some note here. He represented the U.S. at the meeting of the World Council of Churches in Holland in 1948. He was the National Head of the Presbyterian Church, U.S.A. in 1950-51. In 1955, he became the director of the Foundation of the Presbyterian Church at NYC. and he served for a while as the President of the Board of National Missions.

The Newsletter Free The Masons (Aug. 1990) says “On the other end of that, however, is the church on whose Board sit Lodge members, or whose Deacons or Elders share Masonic secrets. These secrets reflect their higher allegiance to the Lodge, and seem to produce an aloofness from the rest of the Church body. These are ‘good’ men who attend regularly and are often the financial backbone of many small congregations.

“One Pastor wrote of his frustration in a rural church. He put it this way, “As faithful as these men are, I always feel at board meetings that there is a second agenda which is not open to me. It’s like they get their marching orders from the Lodge on how to conduct the business of the church. They are good men, but they seem to operate with some ‘higher’ knowledge than the rest of us. There is no submission to the authority of the church and its members.” ”

Sometimes Masonic literature shows its true colors almost to the point of being embarrasing. The book Standard Freemasonry states that Presbyterians are bad material [for the lodge] until they go against their church.6 The Proceedings of the Grand Lodge of Oregon, 1870, p. 209 states that the world is a good place when the Presbyterian church shares its pulpit with a Jewish rabbi in Salem, OR.

The Alabama Grand Lodge reported in 1889 that out of its 7,950 Freemasons in the state 483 were Christian ministers.7 The New York Grand Lodge report of 1890 gives us the breakdown of the 703 Christian clergymen that were N.Y. Masonic members: Methodist(288), Episcopalian(146), Baptist(112), Presbyterian(59), Universalist(31), Congregationalist(21), Dutch Reformed(13), Christian(13), Lutheran(11), Jewish(7), Unitarian(l), Reform Jew(1).8

THE NEW AGE & THE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCHES

The United Presbyterian Church put out a “Report on Occult and Psychic Activities” in 1976 that gave a positive report to various occult activities. It encourages the study of the occult “within the churches” (p.3). The medium Olga Worrall’s book The Gift of Healing gets a favorable review. One of the seven on the task force that wrote up the report was Mrs. Margueritte Harmon Bro who was a medium and the cofounder of SFF.

Another example of the New Age in the Presbyterian church is Pastor H. Richard Neff, of the Christian Community Presbyterian Church of Bowie, Maryland. He authored the book Psychic Phenomena and Religion. He states in his book, “Occult practices…may be beneficial and helpful for many people.” (p. 166)

Presbyterian Pastor Neff believes that only fraudulent mediums are bad, and he advocates mediumism for others. (cf. pp.166-7, 130-1, etc.)

Notes

1. Latourette, Kenneth Scott. A History of Christianity, Vol. II. NY: Harper & Row, 1975, p. 1231.

3. Holmes, Arthur F. The Idea of a Christian College. Grand Rapids, Ml: William B. Eerdmans, 1975, p. 19.

4. Numerous books refer to Anderson. Two references may suffice here, Ferguson, Charles W. 50 Million Brothers, and Jack Harris’ Freemasonry: The Invisible Cult, p. 113.

5. 1982 Yearbook of American and Canadian Churches as quoted in the World Almanac 1983, p. 353.

6. Standard Freemasonry, p. 40.

7. Proceedings…Grand Lodge of…California, 1889, p.5

8. Proceedings…Grand Lodge of…New York, 1890, p.37

Reaffirming the Faith

Theological positions: Independent Particular Baptist, Predestinarian.trinitarian bible003

Soteriological Position: What theologians call “Calvinistic” (Supralapsarian)

Eschatological Position: Amillennial Historicist

Covenantal Position: 1689 Federalism

Creeds and Confessions: London Baptist Confession of 1689

(Some questions I had to fill out on a forum that I thought I would include.)

Are some men elected to salvation?

Yes.

Are some men elected to damnation?

Yes.

Is salvation by works?

No.

Jesus died for all men?

No.

God loves all men?

No.

Christ experienced sin in His person?

No.

Was sin imputed or imparted to Christ?

Imputed.

Is righteousness imputed or imparted to believers?

Imputed.

God predestines all things, including sin?

Yes.

God wanted Adam to fall into sin?

Yes, it was decreed.

God has how many wills?

One. (His decretive will of purpose is His will of pleasure)

Do you believe in Justification from Eternity?

Yes.

What point in time is righteousness imputed to the elect based upon?

The entire life of Christ culminating in His death.

Baptism is required for salvation?

No.

Baptism is the sign of the new covenant?
No.

THE CARTER LANE DECLARATION OF 1757 with some adjustments

(Those words in red have been added or indicate change to the DECLARATION in light of personal belief and for clarity of position. The plural “we” and “our”, etc has been changed to reflect a singular statement of belief.)

  1. I believe, That the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are the Words of God, and the only rule of faith and practice. The Holy Scriptures, composed of the thirty-nine books of the Old Testament and the twenty-seven books of the New Testament, are the verbally inspired Word and Revelation of God. The Bible is inerrant and infallible. Divine inspiration of the original autographs extends to the divine preservation of a pure text to this day. The preserved Word of God is found in the Hebrew Masoretic Text and the Greek Textus Receptus.
  1. I believe, That there is but one only living and true God; that there three Persons in the Godhead, the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost, Who are equal in nature, power, and glory; and that the Son and the Holy Ghost are as truly and properly God as the Father. These three Divine Persons are distinguished from each other by peculiar relative properties. The distinguishing character and relative property of the First Person is begetting; He has begotten a Son of the same nature with Him, and Who is the express image of His Person; and therefore is with great propriety called the Father. The distinguishing character and relative property of the Second Person is that He is begotten, and He is called the Only Begotten of the Father, and His own proper Son; not a Son by creation as angels and men are, nor by adoption as saints are, nor by office as civil magistrates are, but by nature, by the Father’s eternal generation of Him in the divine nature; and therefore He is truly called the Son. The distinguishing character and relative property of the third person is to be breathed by the Father and the Son, and to proceed from Both, and is very properly called the Spirit or Breath of both. These three distinct Divine Persons, we profess to reverence, serve and worship as the one true God.
  1. I believe, That before the world began, God did elect a certain number of men unto everlasting salvation leaving other men in their sin; those whom He did predestinate to the adoption of children by Jesus Christ of His own free grace, and according to the good pleasure of His will; and that in pursuance of this gracious design by means of secondary and direct causes that work to accomplish His eternal plan and purpose, He did contrive and make a covenant of grace and peace with His son Jesus Christ, on behalf of those persons, with all their grace and glory, were put into the hands of Christ, and made His care and charge.
  1. I believe, That God created the first man Adam, after His image, and in His likeness, an upright, holy, innocent creature, capable of serving and glorifying Him, but he sinning, all his posterity sinned in him, and came short of the glory of God; the guilt of whose sin is imputed; and a corrupt nature derived to all his off-spring descending from him by ordinary and natural generation; that they are by their first birth carnal and unclean; averse to all that is good, incapable of doing any in the sight of God, and prone to every sin; and are also by nature children of wrath and under sentence of condemnation, and so are subject, not only to a corporal death, and involved in a moral one, commonly called spiritual, but are also liable to an eternal death, as considered in the first Adam, fallen and sinners; from all which there is no deliverance, but by Christ the second Adam.
  1. I believe, That the Lord Jesus Christ, being set up from everlasting as mediator of the covenant, and He having engaged to be surety of His people did in the fullness of time really assume human nature, and not before neither in whole nor in part; His human soul being a creature, existed not from eternity, but was created and formed in His body by Him that formed the spirit of man within Him, when He was conceived in the womb of the virgin; and so His human nature consists of a true body and a reasonable soul, both which, together, and at once the Son of God assumed into union with His Divine Person, when made of a woman and not before, in which He really suffered and died as the substitute of His people, in their room and stead; whereby He made all that satisfaction for their sins which the law and justice of God could require, as well as made way for all those blessings which are needful for them both for time and eternity.
  1. I believe, That the eternal Redemption which Christ has obtained by the shedding of His blood is special and particular, that is to say that it was only intentionally designed for the Elect of God, and Sheep of Christ, who only share the special and peculiar blessings of it.
  1. I believe, That the justification of God’s Elect is only by the righteousness of Christ imputed to them, without the consideration of any works of righteousness done by them;and that the full and free pardon of all their sins and transgressions, past, present and to come, is only through the blood of Christ according to the riches of his grace.
  1. I believe, That the work of regeneration, conversion, sanctification and faith is not an act of man’s free will and power, but of the mighty, efficacious and irresistiblegrace of God.
  1. I believe, That all those who are chosen by the Father, redeemed by the Son, and sanctified by the Spirit are sealed unto the day of redemption, these shall certainly persevere, so that not one of them shall ever perish but shall have everlasting life.
  1. I believe, in the true, literal reign of Christ mentioned in Revelation 20. It is a literal reign, but the 1000 years mentioned are symbolic of the entire period of time between Christ’s first and His second coming.
  1. I believe, That Baptism and the Lord’s Supper are ordinances of Christ, to be continued until His second coming; and that the former is absolutely requisite to the latter; that is to say, that those only are admitted into the communion of the church, and to participate of all the ordinances in it, who upon profession of their faith, have been baptised by immersion, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.
  1. I believe, That singing of Psalms, Hymns and Spiritual Songs vocally is an ordinance of the Gospel to be performed by believers, but that as to time, place, and manner, everyone ought to be left to their liberty in using it.

Yours in the Lord,

jm

A Romans 14 Christmas?

Posted in 2015

Does Romans 14 give us a defense for keeping Christmas? I’ve seen v.5 cited often as a general defense for the keeping of holy days.

It reads;

One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.

Well folks, I don’t believe it applies to Christmas, just read the passage in context. The passage is speaking to the church at Rome made up of Jewish converts and Gentiles. Some wanted to keep old Mosaic holy days while other did not.

Gill explains this passage is;

“not to be understood of days appointed by the Christian churches for fasting, or abstinence from certain meats, either once a year, as the “Quadragesima”, or Lent; or twice a week, as Wednesdays and Fridays; for these are things of much later observation, and which had never been introduced into the church of Rome in the apostle’s time; nor were there any disputes about them: much less of days of Heathenish observation, as lucky or unlucky, or festivals in honour of their gods; for the apostle would never say, that a man who regarded such a day, regarded it to the Lord; nor would have advised to a coalition and Christian conversation with such a man, but rather to exclude him from all society and communion:”

If Paul isn’t defending Christian liberty to make up and keep holy days what is his point?

“it must be understood of Jewish days, or of such as were appointed to be observed by the Jews under the former dispensation, and which some thought were still to be regarded; wherefore they esteemed some days in the year above others, as the days of unleavened bread, or the passover; particularly the first night, which was a night to be observed throughout their generations; and in their service for it to this day”

Ahh, that makes sense. Gill continues;

“but let it be observed, that the man that did so was one that was weak in faith; the same man that ate herbs, because he would not be guilty of violating those laws, which ordered a distinction of meats to be observed, the same weak man esteemed one day above another, imagining the laws concerning the distinction of days were still obligatory, not rightly understanding the doctrine of Christian liberty, or freedom from the yoke of the ceremonial law”

The context of Romans 14 doesn’t support the introduction of unbiblical holy days. It just doesn’t.

Yours in the Lord,

jm

More than half of them pick up a King James Version

Older article worth reading.

The Most Popular and Fastest Growing Bible Translation Isn’t What You Think It Is

NIV vs. KJV: Surveys and searches suggest the translation that most Americans are reading is actually not the bookstore bestseller.
The Most Popular and Fastest Growing Bible Translation Isn't What You Think It IsPaul Keller/Flickr

When Americans reach for their Bibles, more than half of them pick up a King James Version (KJV), according to a new study advised by respected historian Mark Noll.

The 55 percent who read the KJV easily outnumber the 19 percent who read the New International Version (NIV). And the percentages drop into the single digits for competitors such as the New Revised Standard Version, New America Bible, and the Living Bible.

So concludes “The Bible in American Life,” a lengthy report by the Center for the Study of Religion and American Culture at Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI). Funded by the Lilly Foundation, researchers asked questions on what David Briggs of the ARDA, which first reported the results, calls “two of the most highly respected data sources for American religion”—the General Social Survey and the National Congregations Study.

The numbers are surprising, given the strong sales of NIV translations in bookstores. The NIV has topped the CBA’s bestselling Bible translation list for decades, and continued to sell robustly in 2013.

The high numbers of KJV readers confirm the findings of last year’s American Bible Society (ABS) State of the Bible report. On behalf of ABS, Barna Group found that 52 percent of Americans read the King James or the New King James Version, compared with 11 percent who read the NIV.

The KJV also received almost 45 percent of the Bible translation-related searches on Google, compared with almost 24 percent for the NIV, according to Bible Gateway’s Stephen Smith.

In fact, searches for the KJV seem to be rising distinctly since 2005, while most other English translations are staying flat or are declining, according to Smith’s Google research.

Smith, whose research on how technology is shaping Bible use is profiled in this month’s CT cover story, blended data from Google Trends and the Google Keyword Tool to see how English Bible translations compare in search terms. Bible translation searches may not necessarily be an indicator of Bible transation usage—a Bible Gateway study earlier this year found dramatic differences between the cities most likely to search for Bible verses and the American Bible Society’s list of top “Bible-minded” cities.

Nevertheless, other studies also indicate that the KJV remains the translation powerhouse. A 2011 Lifeway study, for example, found that 62 percent of Americans—and 82 percent of Americans who regularly read the Bible—own a copy of the KJV.

“Although the bookstores are now crowded with alternative versions, and although several different translations are now widely used in church services and for preaching, the large presence of the KJV testifies to the extraordinary power of this one classic English text,” Noll commented in the IUPUI report. “It also raises most interesting questions about the role of religious and linguistic tradition in the makeup of contemporary American culture.”

Noll, a leading evangelical scholar, wrote a cover story for CT on where the world would be without the KJV.

The study from IUPUI in some ways paints a more religious picture of Americans than the ABS/Barna study, recording that 78 percent read their Bibles monthly, compared with the 41 percent found by Barna and the 53 percent found by Lifeway.

But IUPUI also found that fewer Americans read their Bibles every day—just 9 percent, less than the 13 percent recorded by Barna and half of the 18 percent found by Lifeway.

IUPUI also noted several main tells: You’re more likely to read the Bible if you’re female (56 percent compared with 39 percent of men), African American (70 percent read at least once a year, compared with 46 percent of Hispanics and 44 percent of whites), and older (56 percent of those over 70 years old, compared with 44 percent of those between 18 and 29). You’re also more likely to read the Bible if you live in the South (61 percent) rather than the Northeast (36 percent).

While IUPUI found that readers name Psalm 23 as their favorite scripture, followed by John 3:16, Barna found that more people liked John 3:16 the best, followed by Psalm 23. (CT covered the 10 most-searched Bible verses of 2013.)

CT has reported on ABS’s State of the Bible reports, including how the Bible gained 6 million new antagonists in 2013.

CT’s previous coverage of the KJV includes a history of the translation, its influence, and how the KJV compares to other translations.

CT’s previous coverage of the NIV includes the Southern Baptist Convention’s rejection of the 2011 version for avoiding male pronouns where both genders are intended and responses from Lifeway and CT.

(Photo courtesy of Paul Keller/Flickr)

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POSTED:March 13, 2014 at 11:17AM
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