Friday, October 27, 2006

WCF 26 - Our Wonderful Communion

WCF 26- Our Wonderful Communion

Chapter 26:
Of the Communion of Saints

26:1 All saints that are united to Jesus Christ their Head by His Spirit and by faith, have fellowship with Him in His graces, sufferings, death, resurrection, and glory (Joh_1:16; Rom_6:5, Rom_6:6; Eph_2:5, Eph_2:6; Eph_3:16-19; Phi_3:10; 2Ti_2:12; 1Jo_1:3): and, being united to one another in love, they have communion in each other’s gifts and graces (1Co_3:21-23; 1Co_12:7; Eph_4:15, Eph_4:16; Col_2:19), and are obliged to the performance of such duties, public and private, as do conduce to their mutual good, both in the inward and outward man (Rom_1:11, Rom_1:12, Rom_1:14; Gal_6:10; 1Th_5:11, 1Th_5:14; 1Jo_3:16-18).

26:2 Saints by profession are bound to maintain a holy fellowship and communion in the worship of God; and in performing such other spiritual services as tend to their mutual edification (Isa_2:3; Act_2:42, Act_2:46; 1Co_11:20; Heb_10:24, Heb_10:25); as also in relieving each other in outward things, according to their several abilities, and necessities. Which communion, as God offereth opportunity, is to be extended unto all those who, in every place, call upon the name of the Lord Jesus (Act_2:44, Act_2:45; Act_11:29, Act_11:30; 2 Cor 8:1-9:15; 1Jo_3:17).

26:3 This communion, which the saints have with Christ, doth not make them, in any wise, partakers of the substance of His Godhead; or to be equal with Christ, in any respect: either of which to affirm is impious and blasphemous (Psa_45:7 with Heb_1:8, Heb_1:9; Isa_42:8; 1Co_8:6; Col_1:18, Col_1:19; 1Ti_6:15, 1Ti_6:16). Nor doth their communion one with another, as saints, take away, or infringe the title or propriety which each man hath in his goods and possessions (Exo_20:15; Act_5:4; Eph_4:28).

Summary statements we are taught:

A. Believers Have A Vital Union Wirh Christ In His Work Of Mediation (WCF 26.1)

B. WE Also Have Communion With One Another In The Gifts And Graces (WCF 26.1)

C. This Communion Entails Certain Mutual Duties And Obligations Among Believers (WCF 26.2)

D. We Do Not Become Divine Or Equal With Christ In This Communion (WCF 26.3)

E. The Right Of Private Property Is Upheld And Not Destroyed In Any Manner In This Communion (WCF 26.3)

Thursday, October 26, 2006

WCF 25 – One Church Visible. Invisible

WCF 25 – One Church Visible. Invisible

Chapter 25:
Of the Church

25:1 The catholic or universal Church which is invisible, consists of the whole number of the elect, that have been, are, or shall be gathered into one, under Christ the Head thereof; and is the spouse, the body, the fulness of Him that filleth all in all (Eph_1:10, Eph_1:22, Eph_1:23; Eph_5:23, Eph_5:27, Eph_5:32; Col_1:18).

25:2 The visible Church, which is also catholic or universal under the Gospel (not confined to one nation as before under the law), consists of all those throughout the world that profess the true religion (Psa_2:8; Rom_15:9-12; 1Co_1:2; 1Co_12:12, 1Co_12:13; Rev_7:9); and of their children (Gen_3:15; Gen_17:7; Eze_16:20, Eze_16:21; Act_2:39; Rom_11:16; 1Co_7:14): and is the kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ (Isa_9:7; Mat_13:47), the house and family of God (Eph_2:19; Eph_3:15), out of which there is no ordinary possibility of salvation (Act_2:47).

25:3 Unto this catholic visible Church Christ hath given the ministry, oracles, and ordinances of God, for the gathering and perfecting of the saints, in this life, to the end of the world: and doth by His own presence and Spirit, according to His promise, make them effectual thereunto (Isa_59:21; Mat_28:19, Mat_28:20; 1Co_12:23; Eph_4:11-13).

25:4 This catholic Church hath been sometimes more, sometimes less visible (Rom_11:3, Rom_11:4; Rev_12:6, Rev_12:14). And particular Churches, which are members thereof, are more or less pure, according as the doctrine of the Gospel is taught and embraced, ordinances administered, and public worship performed more or less purely in them (1Co_5:6, 1Co_5:7; Rev 2:1-3:22).

25:5 The purest Churches under heaven are subject both to mixture and error (Mat_13:24-30, Mat_13:47; 1Co_13:12; Rev 2 and Rev 3): and some have so degenerated, as to become no Churches of Christ, but synagogues of Satan (Rom_11:18-22; Rev_18:2). Nevertheless, there shall be always a Church on earth, to worship God according to His will (Psa_72:17; Psa_102:28; Mat_16:18; Mat_28:19, Mat_28:20).

25:6 There is no other head of the Church, but the Lord Jesus Christ (Eph_1:22; Col_1:18); nor can the Pope of Rome, in any sense, be head thereof; but is that Antichrist, that man of sin, and son of perdition, that exalteth himself, in the Church, against Christ and all that is called God (Mat_23:8-10; 2Th_2:3, 2Th_2:4, 2Th_2:8, 2Th_2:9; Rev_13:6).

Summary Statements We Are Taught:

A. The Nature Of The Church From The Divine Point Of View (Wcf 25.1)

B. The Church From The Human Point Of View (WCF 25.2)

C. The Visibility Of The Church Varies (WCF 25.4)

D. Each Particular Church Is To Be Judged By (WCF 25.3):

1. Doctrine

2. Worship

3. Discipline

E. There Is Not A Church That Is Entirely Pure (WCF 25.5)

F. Some Churches Become Apostate (WCF 25.5)

G. There Will Always Be A Church On Earth (WCF 25.5)

H. The Papacy Is Antichristian (WCF 25.6)

Friday, October 20, 2006

Chapter 24: Marriage and Divorce - An Ordinance to be Held By Church a nd State

Chapter 24: Of Marriage and Divorce

24:1 Marriage is to be between one man and one woman: neither is it lawful for any man to have more than one wife, nor for any woman to have more than one husband; at the same time (Gen_2:24; Pro_2:17; Mat_19:5, Mat_19:6).

24:2 Marriage was ordained for the mutual help of husband and wife (Gen_2:18), for the increase of mankind with a legitimate issue, and of the Church with an holy seed (Mal_2:15); and for preventing of uncleanness (1Co_7:2, 1Co_7:9).

24:3 It is lawful for all sorts of people to marry, who are able with judgment to give their consent (Gen_24:57, Gen_24:58; 1Co_7:36-38; 1Ti_4:3; Heb_13:4). Yet it is the duty of Christians to marry only in the Lord (1Co_7:39): and therefore such as profess the true reformed religion should not marry with infidels, papists, or other idolaters: neither should such as are godly be unequally yoked, by marrying with such as are notoriously wicked in their life, or maintain damnable heresies (Gen_34:14; Exo_34:16; Deu_7:3, Deu_7:4; 1Ki_11:4; Neh_13:25-27; Mal_2:11, Mal_2:12; 2Co_6:14).

24:4 Marriage ought not to be within the degrees of consanguinity or affinity forbidden by the Word (Lev 18:1-30; Amo_2:7; 1Co_5:1); nor can such incestuous marriages ever be made lawful by any law of man or consent of parties, so as those persons may live together as man and wife (Lev_18:24-28; Mar_6:18). The man may not marry any of his wife’s kindred nearer in blood than he may of his own; nor the woman of her husband’s kindred nearer in blood than of her own (Lev_20:19-21).

24:5 Adultery or fornication committed after a contract, being detected before marriage, giveth just occasion to the innocent party to dissolve that contract (Mat_1:18-20). In the case of adultery after marriage, it is lawful for the innocent party to sue out a divorce (Mat_5:31, Mat_5:32): and, after the divorce, to marry another, as if the offending party were dead (Mat_19:9; Rom_7:2, Rom_7:3).

24:6 Although the corruption of man be such as is apt to study arguments unduly to put asunder those whom God hath joined together in marriage: yet nothing but adultery, or such willful desertion as can no way be remedied by the Church or civil magistrate, is cause sufficient of dissolving the bond of marriage (Mat_19:6, Mat_19:8, Mat_19:9; 1Co_7:15): wherein, a public and orderly course of proceeding is to be observed; and the persons concerned in it not left to their own wills and discretion, in their own case (Deu_24:1-4).

Summary statements we are taught:

A. God has ordained monogamous marriage (WCF 24.1)

B. Marriage serves various purposes (WCF 24.2):

1. for mutual help of husband and wife
2. for the increase of mankind
3. for the increase of the Church with an holy seed
4. for preventing of uncleanness

C. Celibacy is not to be regarded as holier than marriage (24.3)

D. Christians should not marry unbelievers nor people that hold to dangerous error in doctrine (WCF 24.3)

E. there are certain restrictions regarding whom Christians may marry due to existing relationships (WCF 24.4)

F. there are two possible grounds for proper divorce (WCF 24.5)

1. Adultery and fornication
2. Desertion of a Christian by a non-Christian

G. It is the Duty of Both Church and State to uphold this divine ordinance (WCF 24.6)

Sunday, October 15, 2006

WCF 23- Gods Ministers for Service and Protection

WCF 23- Gods Ministers for Service and Protection

Chapter 23:
Of the Civil Magistrate

23:1 God, the supreme Lord and King of all the world, hath ordained civil magistrates, to be, under Him, over the people, for His own glory, and the public good: and, to this end, hath armed them with the power of the sword, for the defence and encouragement of them that are good, and for the punishment of evil doers (Rom_13:1-4; 1Pe_2:13, 1Pe_2:14).

23:2 It is lawful for Christians to accept and execute the office of a magistrate, when called thereunto (Pro_8:15, Pro_8:16; Rom_13:1, Rom_13:2, Rom_13:4); in the managing whereof, as they ought especially to maintain piety, justice, and peace, according to the wholesome laws of each commonwealth (2Sa_23:3; Psa_2:10-12; Psa_82:3, Psa_82:4; 1Ti_2:2; 1Pe_2:13); so for that end, they may lawfully now, under the New Testament, wage war, upon just and necessary occasion (Mat_8:9, Mat_8:10; Luk_3:14; Act_10:1, Act_10:2; Rom_13:4; Rev_17:14, Rev_17:16).

23:3 The civil magistrate may not assume to himself the administration of the Word and sacraments, or the power of the keys of the kingdom of heaven (2Ch_26:18 with Mat_18:17 and Mat_16:19; Rom_10:15; 1Co_4:1, 1Co_4:2; 1Co_12:28, 1Co_12:29; Eph_4:11, Eph_4:12; Heb_5:4): yet he hath authority, and it is his duty, to take order, that unity and peace be preserved in the Church, that the truth of God be kept pure and entire; that all blasphemies and heresies be suppressed; all corruptions and abuses in worship and discipline prevented or reformed; and all the ordinances of God duly settled, administered, and observed (Lev_24:16; Deu_13:5, Deu_13:6, Deu_13:12; 2Ki_18:4; 23:1-26; 1Ch_13:1-9; 2Ch_15:12, 2Ch_15:13; 2Ch_34:33; Ezr_7:23-28; Psa_122:9; Isa_49:23). For the better effecting whereof, he hath power to call synods, to be present at them, and to provide that whatsoever is transacted in them be according to the mind of God (2Ch_19:8-11; 29:1-30:27; Mat_2:4, Mat_2:5).

23:4 It is the duty of people to pray for the magistrates (1Ti_2:1, 1Ti_2:2), to honour their persons (1Pe_2:17), to pay them tribute and other dues (Rom_13:6, Rom_13:7), to obey their lawful commands, and to be subject to their authority, for conscience’ sake (Rom_13:5; Tit_1:3). Infidelity, or difference in religion, doth not make void the magistrates’ just and legal authority, nor free the people from their due obedience to them (1Pe_2:13, 1Pe_2:14, 1Pe_2:16): from which ecclesiastical persons are not exempted (1Ki_2:35; Act_25:9-11; Rom_13:1; 2Pe_2:1, 2Pe_2:10, 2Pe_2:11; Jud_1:8-11), much less hath the Pope any power or jurisdiction over them in their dominions, or over any of their people; and, least of all, to deprive them of their dominions, or lives, if he shall judge them to be heretics, or upon any other pretence whatsoever (2Th_2:4; Rev_13:15-17).

Summary statements we are taught:

A. G0d Has Ordained The Civil Government On The Earth (WCF 23.1)

B. The Purpose Of Civil Government Is For God’s Glory And Our Good (WCF 23.1)

C. God Has Given The Civil Magistrates The Power Of Execution (WCF 23.2)

D. Christians May Hold The Office And Execute The Power Of The Office Upon Just And Necessary Occasions (WCF 23.2)

E. Civil Magistrates May Not Administer The Sacraments Nor Other Aspects Of The Keys Of The Kingdom (WCF 23.3)

F. We Are To Honor The Office And Those That Serve While Praying And Being Subject To Them (WCF 23.4)

G. The Civil Magistrate Has The Job To See That Peace And Unity Be Preserved Both In Society And In The Church (WCF 23.3)

H. The Pope Of Rome Does Not Have A Right To Civil Power (WCF 23.4)

Thursday, October 12, 2006

WCF 22 - Understanding and Ensuring Commitments

WCF 22 - Understanding and Ensuring Commitments

Chapter 22:
Of Lawful Oaths and Vows

22:1 A lawful oath is part of religious worship (Deu_10:20), wherein, upon just occasion, the person swearing solemnly calleth God to witness what he asserteth, or promiseth; and to judge him according to the truth or falsehood of what he sweareth (Exo_20:7; Lev_19:12; 2Ch_6:22, 2Ch_6:23; 2Co_1:23).

22:2 The name of God only is that by which men ought to swear; and therein it is to be used with all holy fear and reverence (Deu_6:13). Therefore, to swear vainly or rashly, by that glorious and dreadful Name; or, to swear at all by any other thing, is sinful, and to be abhorred (Exo_20:7; Jer_5:7; Mat_5:34, Mat_5:37; Jam_5:12). Yet, as in matters of weight and moment, an oath is warranted by the Word of God, under the New Testament as well as under the Old (Isa_66:16; 2Co_1:23; Heb_6:16); so a lawful oath, being imposed by lawful authority, in such matters ought to be taken (1Ki_8:31; Ezr_10:25; Neh_13:25).

22:3 Whosoever taketh an oath ought duly to consider the weightiness of so solemn an act; and therein to avouch nothing but what he is fully persuaded is the truth (Exo_20:7; Jer_4:2). Neither may any man bind himself by oath to anything but what is good and just, and what he believeth so to be, and what he is able and resolved to perform (Gen_24:2, Gen_24:3, Gen_24:5, Gen_24:6, Gen_24:8, Gen_24:9). Yet it is a sin to refuse an oath touching anything that is good and just, being imposed by lawful authority (Exo_22:7-11; Num_5:19, Num_5:21; Neh_5:12).

22:4 An oath is to be taken in the plain and common sense of the words, without equivocation, or mental reservation (Psa_24:4; Jer_4:2). It cannot oblige to sin: but in anything not sinful, being taken, it binds to performance, although to a man’s own hurt (1Sa_25:22, 1Sa_25:32-34; Psa_15:4). Nor is it to be violated, although made to heretics, or infidels (Jos_9:18, Jos_9:19, with 2Sa_21:1; Eze_17:16, Eze_17:18, Eze_17:19).

22:5 A vow is of the like nature with a promissory oath, and ought to be made with the like religious care, and to be performed with the like faithfulness (Psa_61:8; Psa_66:13, Psa_66:14; Ecc_5:4-6; Isa_19:21).

22:6 It is not to be made to any creature, but to God alone (Psa_76:11; Jer_44:25, Jer_44:26): and, that it may be accepted, it is to be made voluntarily, out of faith, and conscience of duty, in way of thankfulness for mercy received, or for the obtaining of what we want; whereby we more strictly bind ourselves to necessary duties: or to other things, so far and so long as they may fitly conduce thereunto (Gen_28:20-22; Deu_23:21, Deu_23:23; 1Sa_1:11; Psa_50:14; Psa_66:13, Psa_66:14; Psa_132:2-5).

22:7 No man may vow to do any thing forbidden in the Word of God, or what would hinder any duty therein commanded, or which is not in his power, and for the performance whereof he hath no promise of ability from God (Num_30:5, Num_30:8, Num_30:12, Num_30:13; Mar_6:26; Act_23:12, Act_23:14). In which respect Popish monastical vows of perpetual single life, professed poverty, and regular obedience, are so far from being degrees of higher perfection, that they are superstitious and sinful snares, in which no Christian may entangle himself (Mat_19:11, Mat_19:12; 1Co_7:2, 1Co_7:9, 1Co_7:23; Eph_4:28; 1Pe_4:2).

Summary statements we are taught:

A. The Nature Of A Lawful Oath (WCF 22.1)

B. The Only Name In Which We Are Only To Swear (WCF 22.2)

C. The Manner And Duty Of Taking Oaths And Vows Upon Proper Occasions (WCF 22.3)

D. The Sense In Which The Oath Is To Be Interpreted (WCF 22.3)

E. The Extent To Which And The Ground Upon It Has A Binding Obligation (WCF 22.4)

F. A Vow Is Similar To An Oath (WCF 22.5)

G. A Vow Is Made To God Alone (WCF 22.6)

H. A Vow Must Be Made (WCF 22.6)

1. Voluntarily

2. Out Of Faith

3. Out Of Conscience Of Duty

4. By Way Of Thankfulness For Mercy Received

5. For The Obtaining Of What We Want

I. Vows Are To Be Made Only For That Which Is A Cording To The Word Of God (WCF 22.7)
J. Certain Roman Catholic Vows Are Contrary To The Scriptures (WCF 22.7)

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

WCF 21 – For God As Well As For God’s Created Beings

WCF 21 – For God As Well As For God’s Created Beings

Chapter 21:
Of Religious Worship,
and the Sabbath Day

21:1 The light of nature showeth that there is a God, who hath lordship and sovereignty over all, is good, and doth good unto all, and is therefore to be feared, loved, praised, called upon, trusted in, and served, with all the heart, and with all the soul, and with all the might (Jos_24:14; Psa_18:3; Psa_31:23; Psa_62:8; Psa_119:68; Jer_10:7; Mar_12:33; Act_17:24; Rom_1:20; Rom_10:12). But the acceptable way of worshipping the true God is instituted by Himself, and so limited to His own revealed will, that He may not be worshipped according to the imaginations and devices of men, or the suggestions of Satan, under any visible representations, or any other way not prescribed in the holy Scripture (Exo_20:4-6; Deu_4:15-20; Deu_12:32; Mat_4:9, Mat_4:10; Mat_15:9; Act_17:25; Col_2:23).

21:2 Religious worship is to be given to God, the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; and to Him alone (Mat_4:10 with Joh_5:23 and 2Co_13:14; not to angels, saints, or any other creature (Rom_1:25; Col_2:18; Rev_19:10): and, since the fall, not without a Mediator; nor in the mediation of any other but of Christ alone (Joh_14:6; Eph_2:18; Col_3:17; 1Ti_2:5).

21:3 Prayer, with thanksgiving, being one special part of religious worship (Phi_4:6), is by God required of all men(Psa_65:2): and that it may be accepted, it is to be made in the name of the Son (Joh_14:13, Joh_14:14; 1Pe_2:5), by the help of His Spirit (Rom_8:26), according to His will (1Jo_5:14), with understanding, reverence, humility, fervency, faith, love, and perseverance (Gen_18:27; Psa_47:7; Ecc_5:1, Ecc_5:2; Mat_6:12, Mat_6:14, Mat_6:15; Mar_11:24; Eph_6:18; Col_4:2; Heb_12:28; Jam_1:6, Jam_1:7; Jam_5:16); and, if vocal, in a known tongue (1Co_14:14).

21:4 Prayer is to be made for things lawful (1Jo_5:14), and for all sorts of men living, or that shall live hereafter (Rth_4:12; 2Sa_7:29; Joh_17:20; 1Ti_2:1, 1Ti_2:2): but not for the dead (2Sa_12:21-23 with Luk_16:25, Luk_16:26; Rev_14:13), nor for those of whom it may be known that they have sinned the sin unto death (1Jo_5:16).

21:5 The reading of the Scriptures with godly fear (Act_15:21; Rev 1;3); the sound preaching (2Ti_4:2) and conscionable hearing of the Word, in obedience unto God, with understanding, faith, and reverence (Isa_66:2; Mat_13:19; Act_10:33; Heb_4:2; Jam_1:22); singing of psalms with grace in the heart (Eph_5:19; Col_3:16; Jam_5:13); as also, the due administration and worthy receiving of the sacraments instituted by Christ; are all parts of the ordinary religious worship of God (Mat_28:19; Act_2:42; 1Co_11:23-29): besides religious oaths (Deu_6:13 with Neh_10:29), vows Isa_19:21 with Eccl 5;4, 5), solemn fastings (Est_4:16; Joe_2:12; Mat_9:15; 1Co_7:5), and thanksgivings, upon several occasions (Est_9:22; Psalm 107:1-43), which are, in their several times and seasons, to be used in a holy and religious manner (Heb_12:28).

21:6 Neither prayer, nor any other part of religious worship, is, now under the Gospel either tied unto, or made more acceptable by any place in which it is performed, or towards which it is directed (Joh_4:21): but God is to be worshipped everywhere (Mal_1:11; 1Ti_2:8), in spirit and truth (Joh_4:23, Joh_4:24); as in private families (Deu_6:6, Deu_6:7; 2Sa_6:18, 2Sa_6:20; Job_1:5; Jer_10:25; Act_10:2; 1Pe_3:7) daily (Mat_6:11), and in secret each one by himself (Mat_6:6; Eph_6:18); so, more solemnly, in the public assemblies, which are not carelessly or willfully to be neglected, or forsaken, when God, by His Word or providence, calleth thereunto (Isa_56:7; Pro_1:20, Pro_1:21, Pro_1:24; Pro_8:34; Luk_4:16; Act_2:42; Act_13:42; Heb_10:25).

21:7 As it is the law of nature, that, in general, a due proportion of time be set apart for the worship of God; so, in His Word, by a positive, moral, and perpetual commandment, binding all men, in all ages, He hath particularly appointed one day in seven, for a Sabbath, to be kept holy unto Him (Exo_20:8, Exo_20:10, Exo_20:11; Isa_56:2, Isa_56:4, Isa_56:6, Isa_56:7): which, from the beginning of the world to the resurrection of Christ, was the last day of the week; and, from the resurrection of Christ, was changed into the first day of the week (Gen_2:2, Gen_2:3; Act_20:7; 1Co_16:1, 1Co_16:2), which, in Scripture, is called the Lord’s Day (Rev_1:10), and is to be continued to the end of the world, as the Christian Sabbath (Exo_20:8, Exo_20:10, with Mat_5:17, Mat_5:18).

21:8 This Sabbath is then kept holy unto the Lord, when men, after a due preparing of their hearts, and ordering of their common affairs beforehand, do not only observe an holy rest, all the day, from their own works, words, and thoughts about their worldly employments, and recreations (Exo_20:8; Exo_16:23, Exo_16:25, Exo_16:26, Exo_16:29, Exo_16:30; Exo_31:15-17; Neh_13:15-22; Isa_58:13), but also are taken up the whole time in the public and private exercises of His worship, and in the duties of necessity and mercy (Isa_58:13; Mat_12:1-13).

Summary statements we are taught:

A. Natural Revenbation Is Sufficient To Inform Men That They Are Obligated To Worship God (WCF 21.1)

B. Natual Revelation Does Not Tell Me How To Worship (WCF 21.1)

C. The Acceptable Way Of Worshipping God Is Instituted By God Himself And Is Limited By His Revealed Will In The Word. (WCF 21.1)

D. God Cannot Be Worshipped By The Imaginations Or Devises Of Men (WCF 21.1)

E. The Way To Worship God Is Prescribed In Scripture (WCF 21.1)

F. God Is The Proper Object Of True Worship (WCF 2.2)

G. God Can Only Be Worshipped Through The Mediation Of Christ (WCF 21.2)

H. Prayer And Thanksgiving Are Prescribed As Part Of True Worship (WCF 21.3)

I. Prayer And Thanksgiving Are To Be Made Through The Mediator Jesus Christ (WCF 21.3)

J. Worship Is Accomplished Through The Help Of The Holy Spirit And The Rule Of Holy Scripture (WCF 21.3)

K. Worship Is To Be Made In A Common Language (WCF 21.4)

L. Other Divinely Prescribed Components (Elements) Of Worship Are:

Ordinary (WCF 21.5)

1. Preaching Of The Word

2. Singing Of Psalms And Songs

3. Administration Of The Sacraments

Occasional (WCF 21.5)

1. Oaths

2. Vows

3. Thanksgiving Times

4. Fasting

M. True Worship Is Not Attached To Any Special Place (WCF 21.6)

N. Truth Is The Essence Of True Worship (WCF 21.6)

O. Worship Is Not To Be Neglected Nor Forsaken And Is To Be Carried Out (WCF 21.6):

1. Publicly

2. Personally

3. Familial

P. God Has Bound All Men To Observe The Sabbath (WCF 21.7)

Q. The Weekly Sabbath Was The Seventh Day From Creation To The Resurrection Of Christ (WCF 21.7)

R. The Weekly Sabbath Is Not The First Day Of The Week Since The Resurrection Of Christ (WCF 21.7)

S. The Sabbath Is To Be Kept Holy By (WCF 21.8):

1. A Preparation For It

2. By Resting From Worldly Employment And Recreations

3. By Private And Public Exercising Of Worship

4. By Performing Works Of True Religion, Mercy And Necessity

Friday, October 06, 2006

My Testimony and a "Frame Response"

My Testimony and a "Frame Response"

My Open Testimony

I post my testimony here in the open in order for people to see the validity of my salvation or “to criticize" my salvation since some seems to think something was just not correct in God’s saving me in this manner. I do not seek to explain what God did on the day in 1977 that I was regenerated. The message I heard was that Jesus was light and I could be brought out of darkness. That night I repented of sin, and believed. I asked for forgiveness. I also in my prayer (no one helping me pray) said, "God whomever you are I believe you. Whatever you have done I believe it. Change my life or else I die".

The next day I went looking for someone to teach me - which I now know is called being discipled. I never denied the resurrection, or the Bible to be the word of God nor anything else. I was quite ignorant about Christianity. I did not know anything at that time so I had to learn.

That night I believed that God is and that he would help (reward me) and that is what He has done. I was blind but then I saw. Amazing Grace was granted to me that evening. As a child of God the Father I began to be taught as His son. Praise His Holy name. Now again that is all I know.

A Person, the Holy Spirit, worked with me as a person in my circumstance where I was at that time. I never did nor do I now deny the centrality of the resurrection nor the cross nor the precious bloods redeeming power. I had to learn about it. It took months of physical and spiritual training to remove the drug abuse issues and the false teaching I had received and believed in public education. Deprogramming me was not easy. I did not take things, nor do I usually take what someone says at face value. I read and look at things from all angles. As my wife says, "Steve you move slow and with focus reading way too much". In all of this God was with me and teaching me even through my being ignorant and steeped in false evolutionistic teaching.

I did not disagree with God nor what people said about what the Bible was teaching. I just did not know where total truth was so I had to look at all sides. My Father was kind and gentle and eventually I learned that all the Bible says is true spiritually and historically for it is written by God Himself, being God breathed.

This is my testimony and I am thankful for the salvation given me.For those that want to tell me God could not work in me this way I say, “Respectively, if you were not there you simply just do not know what God did in this situation.”

Respectfully, Your brother in Christ


Now some have questioned whether I was saved during this time. I say, hold and proclaim that I was. Some have said I was probably regenerated but salvation probably did not come to me until I understood the resurrection. Perhaps, I certainly do not think so since massive progressive sanctification was taking place and massive massacring sin was about to kill me. I was even persecuted during this time since I wanted to tell everyone that God had so changed my life. But, perhaps some may be closer to how God worked with me that I am. If so, so be it and God bless them!

I however do believe Dr. Frame has explained this possibility of my salvation better than I could have ever put it together myself. I am just to close to all that happened! Here is some of Dr. Frames comments regarding salvation without fully understanding the resurrection.

From Dr. Frame,
Q. Is it possible to be saved without knowing about the Resurrection of Christ?

A. “Sure. There were lots of Jewish believers in the first century who needed to be informed of the Resurrection by the apostolic proclamation. (Think of the people who "knew only the baptism of John.") I've no reason to believe that they were all unregenerate before they knew that Jesus was risen. So today, there may be people in whose hearts God is working, who haven't been taught the full truth about Christ. They may even profess that Christ is Lord, without knowing that the Resurrection is specifically physical. But when told in a godly way, they will eventually accept the truth."

A fuller comment on this subject by Dr. Frame:

“……..if I were publishing a comment on this issue, I would want to make more qualifications.
The point is that regeneration and salvation did not begin with the coming of Jesus. There were regenerate believers before the incarnation—Abraham, David, Simeon, Elizabeth, Anna, et al. Now although the Resurrection of Jesus is implicit in OT prophecy, it is not explicit. Did Abraham know in advance that Jesus of Nazareth would be killed and raised again? Certainly he believed in a God who was able to raise the dead, and his experience in Gen. 22 certainly confirmed that. But I don’t think Abraham had explicit faith that Jesus would be raised from the dead.

Now after the Resurrection, it was not the case that all old covenant believers suddenly became fully self-conscious new covenant believers. It took some time for the message of the Resurrection to get around. If an old covenant believer (say, in India) died before he heard of Jesus’ resurrection, was he thereby condemned to Hell? I doubt it.

How do I reconcile this with Rom. 10:9? Paul is writing to believers, assuring them that they are saved because they have confessed that Jesus is Lord and believed that God has raised him from the dead. He is not commenting on the kinds of people I mentioned above. Certainly you cannot derive from this statement that, say, Abraham, is not saved because he did not confess Jesus as Lord and believe that God had (would) raise him from the dead.

I also believe (with the Westminster Confession 10.3) that infant children can be regenerated and saved apart from any explicit confession. Rom. 10:9 is not talking about them. Nor is it talking about those the Confession calls “other elect persons who are incapable of being outwardly called by the ministry of the Word.”

So explicit confession is not a general rule for everyone. But Paul certainly is saying that if you do make an explicit confession of Christ and the Resurrection you will be saved.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

WCF 20 – Liberty, The Fruit of Forgiveness and Caring

WCF 20 – Liberty, The Fruit of Forgiveness and Caring

Chapter 20:
Of Christian Liberty,
Liberty of Conscience

20:1 The liberty which Christ hath purchased for believers under the Gospel consists in their freedom from the guilt of sin; the condemning wrath of God, the curse of the moral law (Gal_3:13; 1Th_1:10; Tit_2:14); and, in their being delivered from this present evil world, bondage to Satan, and dominion of sin (Act_26:18; Rom_6:14; Gal_1:4; Col_1:13), from the evil of afflictions, the sting of death, the victory of the grave, and everlasting damnation (Psa_119:71; Rom_8:1, Rom_8:28; 1Co_15:54-57); as also, in their free access to God (Rom_5:1, Rom_5:2), and their yielding obedience unto Him, not out of slavish fear, but a child-like love and willing mind (Rom_8:14, Rom_8:15; 1Jo_4:18). All which were common also to believers under the law (Gal_3:9, Gal_3:14). But under the new testament, the liberty of Christians is further enlarged, in their freedom from the yoke of the ceremonial law, to which the Jewish Church was subjected (Act_15:10, Act_15:11; Gal_4:1-3, Gal_4:6, Gal_4:7; Gal_5:1); and in greater boldness of access to the throne of grace (Heb_4:14, Heb_4:16; Heb_10:19-22), and in fuller communications of the free Spirit of God, than believers under the law did ordinarily partake of (Joh_7:38, Joh_7:39; 2Co_3:13, 2Co_3:17, 2Co_3:18).

20:2 God alone is Lord of the conscience (Rom_14:4; Jam_4:12), and hath left it free from the doctrines and commandments of men, which are in any thing contrary to His Word; or beside it, if matters of faith or worship (Mat_15:9; Mat_23:8-10; Act_4:19; Act_5:29; 1Co_7:23). So that, to believe such doctrines, or to obey such commands, out of conscience, is to betray true liberty of conscience (Psa_5:1; Gal_1:10; Gal_2:4, Gal_2:5; Gal_5:1; Col_2:20-23): and the requiring of an implicit faith, and an absolute and blind obedience is to destroy liberty of conscience, and reason also (Isa_8:20; Jer_8:9; Hos_5:11; Joh_4:22; Act_17:11; Rom_10:17; Rom_14:23; Rev_13:12, Rev_13:16, Rev_13:17).

20:3 They who, upon pretence of Christian liberty, do practise any sin, or cherish any lust, do thereby destroy the end of Christian liberty, which is, that being delivered out of the hands of our enemies, we might serve the Lord, without fear, in holiness and righteousness before Him, all the days of our life Luk_1:74, Luk_1:75; Joh_8:34; Gal_5:13; 1Pe_2:16; 2Pe_2:19).

20:4 And because the power which God hath ordained, and the liberty which Christ hath purchased, are not intended by God to destroy, but mutually to uphold and preserve one another; they who, upon pretence of Christian liberty, shall oppose any lawful power, or the lawful exercise of it, whether it be civil or ecclesiastical, resist the ordinance of God (Mat_12:25; Rom_13:1-8; Heb_13:17; 1Pe_2:13, 1Pe_2:14, 1Pe_2:16). And, for their publishing of such opinions, or maintaining of such practices, as are contrary to the light of nature, or to the known principles of Christianity, whether concerning faith, worship, or conversation; or, to the power of godliness; or, such erroneous opinions or practices, as either in their own nature, or in the manner of publishing or maintaining them, are destructive to the external peace and order which Christ hath established in the Church, they may lawfully be called to account, and proceeded against by the censures of the Church (Rom_1:32 with 1Co_5:1, 1Co_5:5, 1Co_5:11, 1Co_5:13; 2Jo_1:5:10, 11; and 2Th_3:14, and 1Ti_6:3-5, and Tit_1:10, Tit_1:11, Tit_1:13, and Tit_3:10, with Mat_18:15-17; 1Ti_1:19, 1Ti_1:20; Rev_2:2, Rev_2:14, Rev_2:15, Rev_2:20; Rev_3:9), and by the power of the civil magistrate (Deu_13:6-12; Rom_13:3, Rom_13:4, with 2Jo_1:10, 2Jo_1:11; 2Ki_23:5, 2Ki_23:6, 2Ki_23:9, 2Ki_23:20, 2Ki_23:21; 2Ch_34:33; 2Ch_15:12, 2Ch_15:13, 2Ch_15:16; Ezr_7:23-28; Neh_13:15, Neh_13:17, Neh_13:21, Neh_13:22, Neh_13:25, Neh_13:30; Isa_49:23; Dan_3:29; Zec_13:2, Zec_13:3; 1Ti_2:2; Rev_17:12, Rev_17:16, Rev_17:17).

Summary statements we are taught:

A. Christ Has Purchased Liberty For The Believer (WCF 20.1)

B. The Liberty Consists Of (WCF 20.1):

a. Freedom From Guilt

b. Freedom From God’s Wrath And Curse

c. Freedom From A Love Of The World

d. Freedom From Bondage To Satan

e. Freedom From The Dominion Of Sin

f. Freedom From The Evil Of Afflictions

g. Freedom From The Sting Of Death

h. Freedom From Eternal Punishment

i. Etc.

C. The Liberty The Old Testament And The New Testament Is Different In Only That Of Kind And Not One Of Degree (WCF 20.1)

D. God Is The Person That Has Legitimate Authority Over The Conscience (WCF 20.2)

E. God’s Word Alone Is To Rule The Conscience (WCF 20.2)

F. The “Doctrines And Commandments Of Men” Which Are Contrary To Or Additionalo To The Bible Have No Authority To Bind The Conscience (WCF 20.3)

G. To Permit The Conscience To Be Bound By Such Is To Sin. (WCF 20.3)

H. Liberty Os Conscience Must Be Distinguished From Antinomianism Or “Freedom To Sin” (WCF 20.3)

I. God Has Ordained Authority In The Church And State Which Are To Be Obeyed As Part Of Our Duty To God (WCF 20.4)

J. The Leaders In The Church Are To Enforce Such Authority In Its Own Sphere (WCF 20.4)