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62 Responses

  1. Michael says:

    Sproul was probably more responsible for the revival of Reformed theology than anyone.

    He leaves a worthwhile legacy.

  2. The fact that R.C. once golfed with Alice Cooper pretty much sealed the deal for me. R.C. was OK.

  3. bob1 says:

    I have a friend who attended one of the what I think was called a “Philadelphia Conference on Reformed Theology,” I think back in the 80s.

    He said he looked down his row, and there was Alice Cooper!

    I wonder if he’s a 5-pointer.

  4. John 20:29 says:

    Another strong teacher of the Faith called home … It is getting lonely down here…

  5. John 20:29 says:

    Question for the theologians who may happen by…
    Do we have any record of Jesus’ 12 disciples being baptised?
    Not looking for debate, just fact gathering for my own edification…

  6. Michael says:

    There is no biblical record of their baptisms…or conversions.
    We assume both. 🙂

  7. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    We assume so as they were out baptizing others.
    Also, there is no reason to not believe that John the B wasn’t the generator of those baptism.

  8. John 20:29 says:

    Thank you, Michael and you, too, MLD
    only thing I can add is, “never assume – never, never assume” – that is,however, human wisdom – which wisdom God’s wisdom transcends

  9. Eric says:

    In Australia we’ve seen the end of a 5-year-long Royal Commission into institutional response to child sexual abuse. All this century we’ve been aware of many historical and recent cases of abuse in churches, but this long investigation was specifically on how the institutions (particularly church orgs) responded.

    Well over half of the cases they looked at were in churches, and over half of those were in the Catholic church. In my generation the Church has usually taken this problem seriously, but our failure in the past means we are in disgrace.

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-12-15/royal-commission-recommendations-you-should-know-about/9262758

  10. CM says:

    Regarding RC Sproul,

    I agree with Michael’s #2.

    Sproul very much reminded me of the theologians of the Reformation, skilled and knowledgeable in many things, theology, rhetoric, logic, philosophy, art, culture, and the like.
    Equally at ease teaching about the Holiness of God to discussing Steeler football.

  11. CM says:

    As a follow-up,

    If Brian May of Queen can get a PhD in Astrophysics, then one should be not be surprised by other polymaths…..

    http://www.springer.com/us/book/9780387777054

  12. I heard R.C. Sproul speak live twice. First in 1984 at the National Youthworkers Convention in Portland. First time I ever heard of him.

    Second time was at a conference at the Masters College around 2002. The conference was a bit heavy and overly serious, save for Sproul who brought levity and buoyancy each time he presented. He could laugh at himself. He was such a contrast to all the uptightness.

  13. Steve says:

    I learned more about my faith from RC Sproul than any other. His legacy will be sure to endure.

  14. Dan from Georgia says:

    Since it’s Open Blogging…check out this video. Provides a bit of hope in race relations:

    http://www.cnn.com/2017/12/15/us/charlottesville-klansman-black-man-meeting/index.html

  15. Dan from Georgia says:

    CM,

    I was never really into RC Sproul, but have never heard anything bad about the guy. I was more into Queen growing up, so I’ve always been familiar with Brian May and his many talents.

    Polymath.

    Thanks for the new word! Always love expanding my vocabulary!

  16. The New Victor says:

    If Judas was baptized it certainly didn’t save him.

  17. JD says:

    IMO infant baptism makes about as much sense as infant marriage.

  18. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    The New Victor,
    We don’t know that Judas was baptized but I assume he was. God saves through baptism because God said he does. I believe that when you are saved that you cannot lose your salvation – you cannot sin your way out of salvation or displease God enough for him to toss you out on your ear.
    On the other hand, you can let your faith get weak and starve it to death by turning away from God and not do the things God has set in place to keep your faith alive.
    Obviously Judas probably had this issue.

    About infant baptism – why is that different than adult baptism. If God does the saving, why can’t he save babies? Were you saved because you knew something a baby didn’t know? Were you saved by your own volition to believe? Whatever faith God gave to you, why do you think he does not communicate the same to babies? Look at John the B when he first met Jesus in the womb – sounds like he had the holy spirit even then – how did that happen?

  19. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    JD,
    “…makes about as much sense…”
    Is that your criteria for truth — that it makes sense to you?
    This is an issue we discussed here a couple of weeks ago – people putting their own reason above the word of God.

    How about these for not making sense? A virgin giving birth? that makes no sense. A dead man rising from that death? that makes no sense? You know where I am going, I could list a dozen but I need to get ready for church. 🙂

  20. JD says:

    God says Come let us reason together, not Come let Us reason together. You like to play Holy Spirit so I prefer not to put my own reason above His word, just yours.Thank God He gave me enough sense to leave the Lutheran Church over 40 years ago. Even they don’t marry babies, do they? You believe one thing, I simply beg to differ. I really hope you learn the truth and are happy there, I certainly found it otherwise.

  21. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    JD, You can reason away the baptism saves verses – you are not the first, but your reasoning is weaker than weak.
    When my grandson was baptized at 10 on his confession of faith at his bapticostal church, (which is probably similar to yours) are you saying that he is now qualified for a church wedding also?
    So your church marries the young, just not the infants?

  22. John 20:29 says:

    seems like a good time for a little of R.C.Sproul here… (Michael, feel free to remove if not appropriate)
    “THE NATURE AND ROLE OF SAVING FAITH”
    “When we speak of justification by or through faith, we mean that faith is the instrumental cause of justification, not its ground. Justification is per fidem (by or through faith) but never propter fidem (on account of or on the ground of faith). Again we view justification as being propter Christum (on account of Christ). Sola fide (justification by faith alone) is theological shorthand for justification by Christ alone. We are justified by grace alone through faith alone because of Christ alone.
    The faith that links us to Christ is not a meritorious work. Indeed, saving faith is itself a gift of God wrought in us by the Holy Spirit.
    During the Reformation, the Reformers were frequently accused of easy-believism and even antinomianism with charges that the apostle James makes it clear that faith without works is dead and therefore faith can be barren or dead and by itself cannot justify anyone. This made it necessary for the Reformers to carefully define the nature of saving f aith.
    Luther argued that saving faith or true faith is a fides viva, a vital or living faith. Such faith was seen as consisting of three distinct but connected aspects or elements. This threefold definition of saving faith consisted of the constituent elements of notitia, assensus, and fiducia. These distinctions were designed to capture the major ways in which the New Testament speaks of faith.
    1. Notitia. The aspect of faith termed notitia (or notae) refers to the content of faith that is apprehended by the mind. Though faith is not identical with knowledge, it is by no means devoid of knowledge. Faith does not operate in a vacuum. When we “believe,” there must be something that we believe. To be saved one must believe some basic information. Proclaiming the gospel includes more than imparting information, but by no means less. There is a basic content to the gospel, which includes information about God, man, the person and work of Christ, and how his benefits are appropriated, which we must have some awareness of in order to exercise saving faith.
    2. Assensus. The aspect of faith termed assensus refers to intellectual assent to the truth of the data or content of the gospel. To believe that George Washington was the first president of the United States means that we affirm the truth of that proposition. We cannot have saving faith if we do not believe that the gospel is t rue.
    It is important to note that at the level of assensus faith is not a matter of volition. I cannot “decide” to believe something if my mind is not convinced that it is true. I can “hope” that something questionable is true and act according to that hope. I can exercise what Augustine called provisional faith, that is, take steps according to a provisional hypothesis. What I can- not do is actually be convinced of a truth by a mere decision. “Faith” without genuine assent is no more than credulity or superstition.
    3. Fiducia. This third element of saving faith involves personal trust. This is usually understood as involving something in addition to the cognitive or purely intellectual element. It involves the volitional and affective elements of human response. It includes an awareness (which is also intellectual and cognitive) of the sweetness and excellence of Christ. It involves a change in us wrought by regeneration, which change includes a change in affection, disposition, inclination, and volition. We now choose Christ. We embrace Christ. We gladly receive Christ. Indeed, we flee to Christ. Reformation theology (especially sola gratia) insists that the regeneration that changes the heart of the sinner must precede faith.
    Francis Turretin defined fiducia as follows:
    ‘The third act is fiducial and practical assent or a persuasion of the practical intellect by which we judge the gospel to be not only true, but also good and therefore most worthy of our love and desire; also the promises of grace to be most certain concerning the remission of sins and the bestowal of salvation upon all believers and penitents and so also upon me if I shall believe and repent.’ (Institutes of Elenctic Theology, trans. George Musgrace, ed. James T. Dennison, Jr. [Phillipsburg, N.J.: Presbyterian and Reformed, 1994], p. 5 62)
    The three elements of saving faith—notitia, assensus, and fiducia—separately and individually fall short of being a sufficient condition for justification. But added together, they constitute the essence of saving faith and are the solely sufficient condition by which God’s declaration of justification is applied to believing persons.”
    pg’s 47-50 of chapter titled: “Justified by Faith Alone”

  23. JD says:

    Like I said, you can believe what you want, but so can I. Trying to twist what I said makes you look silly.

  24. JD says:

    Question: How many here have shed their blood resisting evil? Feel free to answer. I’ll be waiting.

  25. Jean says:

    Or there is the Savior:

    “Now they were bringing even infants to him that he might touch them. And when the disciples saw it, they rebuked them. But Jesus called them to him, saying, ‘Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.’ ”
    Luke 18:15‭-‬17 ESV

  26. JD says:

    They brought the children to Jesus, not John the Baptist. Jesus baptized no one. So? Anyone on this blog shed blood resisting evil?

  27. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    JD, “shed blood resisting evil?”

    I have. Have you never been in a bar fight because someone insulted your wife?
    I got bloodied, but I think I won.

  28. JD says:

    I’ve learned to stay out of bars, hope you did too.

  29. Jean says:

    Hi JD,

    My #26 was not responding to anything you wrote. It was a counterpoint to #23.

    I am curious, though, why you would say that Jesus baptized no one. What is the point of saying that? We would all agree, I hope, that Jesus commanded that disciples be made by baptism and teaching. Therefore, the fact that Jesus didn’t physically baptize anyone is irrelevant to the topic of baptism.

    On the other hand, Jesus does baptize everyone who is baptized. It is called “baptized into Christ” because baptism unites us to His death and resurrection. It is the birth from above. It is the Word of God at work in Baptism, working through an ordinary man and ordinary water.

  30. JD says:

    The parents brought their children so he would touch them. There’s no holy water magical saving going on. Having been baptized as a baby never saved me, I was hopelessly lost. I was lost in spite of being baptized in the Lutheran Church. I’ll venture I was kicking and screaming, certainly not a willing, cognizant participant.
    Also would babies not baptized be looked upon as lost? Read my lips:”phooey,”
    In case you don’t know it, most churchgoing Lutherans don’t know or believe this rubbish, any more than Catholics obey the Pope, or Mormons and JWs understand their own fairy tales.
    I respect your right to believe what you want, but I don’t swallow everything said hook, line, and sinker. I vomited out that hardware years before I was even saved.

  31. Duane Arnold says:

    Not wanting to enter the fray over the issue of baptism, I do want to say that both faith and reason are God given and are not mutually exclusive.

    Additionally, people of good heart and faith can approach such issues and draw different conclusions without either “side” being assigned to perdition.

  32. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Duane, “without either “side” being assigned to perdition.”

    You keep bringing this up when no one has even attempted to do so.

  33. Jean says:

    JD,

    Thank you for being candid. I won’t argue with you. Actually your #31 makes me very sad. And Duane’s enabling #32 only multiplies my sadness.

    JD, in your religion, does God do anything supernatural, or is salvation activated by your cognition?

    Duane,

    “I do want to say that both faith and reason are God given and are not mutually exclusive.” Maybe for PhDs, but here in the small town Midwest, we subordinate our reason to the Word of God.

  34. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    JD,
    ” I was hopelessly lost. I was lost in spite of being baptized in the Lutheran Church.” How do you know? How do you know that you weren’t just rebelling within your baptismal regeneration? You were fighting and kicking and God was hanging on to you. What you are saying is once you decided to do it “right” then you act of salvation was superior to God’s.

    I would say God hung on to you until you became comfortable in your salvation – it just happened to be at a different church.

    “In case you don’t know it, most churchgoing Lutherans don’t know or believe this rubbish,” – How do you know? did you contract out a Pew study to find these results?

    The fact that you call God saving who he says he will save “rubbish” tells me a lot.

  35. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    JD – “I’ve learned to stay out of bars, hope you did too.”
    Well where do you do your drinking?

  36. John 20:29 says:

    I think – dunno – that those who hold that water baptism saves the soul would also agree that the heart is involved… the question is – IHO – can the dark and rebellious heart be neutralized by the act of baptuzing? Setting aside the innocent by age or mental incapacity, does anyone believe that going thru the motions of baptizing is sufficient?

  37. John 20:29 says:

    Resisting to the shedding of blood… Regardless of MLD’s humor, is a sobering challenge… It brings to mind the recent scenario seen in TV of the Egyptian, orthodox, I presume, martyrs lined up on their knees waiting execution for their Faith

  38. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Jean,
    JD said @ 24 “Like I said, you can believe what you want, but so can I.” And he is 100% correct – we all can believe what we want. But… we must distinguish the difference of what we believe – and that distinction comes down to distinguishing between the law and the gospel.
    While we may believe that baptism is a means of receiving God’s grace – salvation and the forgiveness of sin (gospel) others reject that and see baptism solely as the believers first step of Christian obedience (law) – nothing received from God, but a load delivered up to God.

    The scriptures say that in this baptism we are buried with Jesus and we are raised to new life – the scripture also says that in this baptism we put on Christ and we are clothed with Christ. Those who take a law stance on baptism have never answered the question I pose about these scriptures. If baptism is not required for salvation and if someone does not get baptized does that mean they are not buried and raised with Jesus and that they have not put on or are not clothed in Jesus?

    This law view of baptism is strange to me.

  39. Jean says:

    Well MLD,

    So as not to use the “g” word and get in trouble, it appears from many of the comments here that some people think getting saved is based on knowledge and how we employ it. Instead of Him coming down to us, we must obtain the right knowledge to ascend to him.

    The physicality of the faith has been abandoned: no baptism; no Eucharist; no pastor-delivered absolution. Now it’s just about knowledge and how you feel.

  40. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Jean,
    “some people think getting saved is based on knowledge and how we employ it” This is why so many of the modern church buildings are set up to resemble a lecture hall. The motivation is just as you have suggested – “if I give them just one more piece of information, then they will see clearly to act on the message.”

    The idea of God acting through physical means has become repulsive in today’s church.

  41. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    It is the reason that the sermon has been replaced by a lecture and the Bible.

  42. JD says:

    Your view skews everything else amiss, that’s what error does. Like I said, you can teach whatever you want, the whole of scripture would indicate otherwise. No wonder the Lutheran Church teaches what it does. Your own people don’t even believe that stuff. If you’re so confused, how can you teach anyone else?
    By the way, I quit drinking over 30 years ago, resulting in a different way of seeing things. There’s a book called Understanding Alcohol which might explain some of it to you, but it’s up to you to read it and decide for yourself.

  43. John 20:29 says:

    Jean and MLD… Feelings are never ever what effects redemption… they may (and should), however, appreciate the gift, the cost, the love of God
    Happy as blessed

  44. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    JD,
    Lashing out doesn’t wear well on you. Why don’t you answer any questions?
    “Your own people don’t even believe that stuff.” How do you know this? I sat with a Lutheran congregation today that has no issue believing what I have stated.

    You have already said early on that you only believe those scriptures that make sense to you and now you are projecting your experience and beliefs with a Lutheran church onto all LCMS believers. Don’t you feel a little odd doing so?

  45. dusty says:

    JD, what’s wrong? you seem out of sorts tonight. 🙁

  46. JD says:

    Sounds like the alcohol talking. They must have been asleep during the service. By the way, you only believe what makes sense to you, or you believe nonsense.Which you obviously don’t realize because your brain chemistry has been altered by drinking. Read the book, it’s a real eye opener. You can’t quote me accurately, much less teach others faithfully. Your teaching comes with a disclaimer, how embarassing for you.

  47. Duane Arnold says:

    Jean,

    To state what you have in #34 is unjust and untrue… as you know. I would truly expect better of you.

  48. Duane Arnold says:

    While there are inferences in the NT canon concerning infant baptism, there are also passages that seem to indicate believer’s baptism. By the use of reason we have to weigh the evidence. Moving on to the post-apostolic Church witnesses, we find evidence, in both literature and archaeology to support the practice of infant baptism, but again, this tradition has to be evaluated by reason and its correspondence to Scripture. It is not one or the other. It is in the nexus of Scripture, Tradition and Reason that we find the best argument. Shouting our particular stance at one another does little to enlighten, much less convince others of the truth of our particular position.

  49. dusty says:

    seems like a lot of contention today…. makes me sad. 🙁

  50. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    JD,
    So, do you think Jesus said crazy things like the way to make disciples is through baptism because his brain was whacked out because he was a drinker?

  51. JD says:

    So now you know what I think, why, you must be Jesus himself! 😕

  52. JD says:

    Read the book, maybe it will do you some good.

  53. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    JD – I would suggest you try reading THE BOOK and see if it could help you out. 🙂

  54. Michael says:

    Enough.
    As Duane pointed out both baptismal positions are within orthodoxy.
    All the orthodox views have theological and historical support.
    Thus, respect will be given to all.

    Some of us here drink, some don’t.

    It’s not a topic I’ll abide here.

  55. John 20:29 says:

    Amen to Michael’s 55… It is one thing to discuss the Faith, defending conclusions and debating Truths… one thing to say, ” I can’t see the evidence adding up the same way you’ve concluded”…
    but I think our Lord has warned us against calling another Believer a fool… not even sure we can say, “Your conclusion is idiotic” … well. not very often… sometimes maybe… But it is dangerous, thin ice to stand on…
    I pray for wounded, God loving, sincere hearts here tonight
    God keep all close 🙏

  56. I attended a RCC baptismo (in Spanish even :^) yesterday, the kids’ cousin. Naturally, D5 and S7 asked questions. I said that they didn’t need to be rebaptized since they had been in the RCC at 1. My ex, who flirted with Buddhism and rebelled against her RCC upbringing, said that they needed to get baptized older, and said the usual anabaptist–like evangelical reasons. She was converted and rebaptized in the largest mega church in our area after she left me.

    The priest was a new one. I only picked up bits and pieces, my pathetic Spanish, but she said she liked his spiel as it was stressing God’s love for us rather than the usual guilt, a common complaint which drives many to be RCC in name only or to “convert” to be born again Christians or to join protestant churches.

  57. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Well my only objective was to dispute JD’s #18 “IMO infant baptism makes about as much sense as infant marriage.”

    I agreed with JD’s #24 “Like I said, you can believe what you want, but so can I.” – with my #39 saying “And he is 100% correct – we all can believe what we want. But… we must distinguish the difference of what we believe…” which is what I attempted to do.

    I don’t see them as equal orthodox views – I am not even sure it is an orthodox Christian view to hold that God only saves those who make a choice for Jesus, weakens the doctrine of original sin and creates a doctrine that supports the position that some people are accountable for their sin and some are not.

    Because some can come up with a position does not make it orthodox.

  58. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Em @ 56 – If you want to know how Jesus thought false teaching in the church should be handled read his instruction to the church Rev 2 &3.

  59. descended says:

    Late to the party, but ask I can say is

    Michael missed a perfect opportunity:

    “Some of us here drink, some don’t.

    It’s not a topic I’ll imbibe here.”

  60. John 20:29 says:

    MLD, false teaching in the church is not the same as discussing the Faith among Believers… but such discussions can lead to identifying false teachers who may be corrupting a body of Believers, when a house cleaning is necessary
    on the other hand, when one is a teacher, one is enabling and it is pretty easy to spot a teacher who is leading one astray… Jesus is pretty clear what those things are in the letters you’ve referred to … and what He’ll do to remedy the problem, if we don’t

  61. Dan from Georgia says:

    descended (60),

    I caught that one too!

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