Thursday, December 24, 2009

Worthy Is the Lamb That Was Slain

In Revelation 5, the One who sits on the throne holds a scroll in His right hand, a very important scroll, sealed with seven seals. This scroll contains His sovereign decrees for the destiny of the world, His plan for judgment and redemption. Who is worthy to open this scroll and to break its seals (and thus put it into effect)? The question goes out to all the universe, and NO ONE is found who is worthy and qualified.

John weeps greatly because no one is found. What would happen to God’s plan and all His promises? Would sin and death and Satan win? Is there any purpose to the suffering that Christians are going through? Is there any ordained end to human history? John had very good reason to weep!

Then John is told to stop weeping? Why? Because the triumphant, ascended Christ now enters onto the scene. He is the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, the rightful one to rule over God's people forever--and He has overcome the enemies of God and His people!

When John turns to see this victorious Lion, He sees Him instead as a Lamb standing as if slain (or slaughtered). But He is no helpless victim. He is all-powerful (7 horns) and all-knowing (7 eyes), sending out His Spirit into all the earth just as He had promised His disciples. Through His sacrifice, He has conquered and rules from heaven above.

And as the worthy One, He takes the scroll from the right hand of the Father--to break its seals and put into effect God's decress for judgment and redemption. And when He takes the scroll, the entire universe breaks out in praise...PRAISE OF THE LAMB.

This praise begins with the new song of the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders, "Worthy are You to take the book and to break its seals; for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation. You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign upon the earth."

This Christmas...let us worship the Lamb that was slain!

Jeff Ryan
Calvary Bible Church
Rogers City, Michigan

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Unholy Trinity

The following link is to John MacArthur's scathing indicment of the health, wealth, and prosperity preachers, who are broadcast on TBN almost 24/7. Unholy Trinity

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Can Baptists be Reformed?

I recently had a discussion on facebook with a friend about whether or not Baptists can rightly claim the adjective reformed. I am sharing our discussion here to get further insight [1]. I do not want a debate about the merits or demerits of reformed theology. Please, stick to the subject at hand in your comments. No off topic comments will be posted.

Seth Miller:I do not understand the phrase "Reformed Baptist". Aside from believing predestination in the Augustinian sense, what is so "Reformed" about you? Most, if not all, Reformers practiced paedobaptism and persecuted those who did not. Most, if not all, Reformers did not believe in religious liberty but rather ruled through synods and councils rejecting the idea of the autonomy of the local church.

Jeremy Lee: I've been thinking about this lately although from a different angle. Some Reformed people think it is inappropriate for Baptists to use the adjective reformed because they reject paedobaptism. My opinion on this is that Baptists who believe as you say in Augustinian predestination are accurately called Reformed. The reason for this is that while there are disagreements between the Reformed and Reformed Baptists, Reformed Baptists are within the Reformed tradition.

The question you are asking is not a new one and seemed to be the question that motivated Baptists in London to write the 1689 London Confession. The 2nd London is based on the Westminster Confession in order to show that these Baptist were not Anabaptists as they were accused of being. They wanted to demonstrate they were in agreement for the most part with Reformed theology. This history suggests that reformed is appropriate to use in reference to Baptists who believe in Augustinian predestination.

Seth Miller: It is interesting to see you appeal to the events surrounding the construction of the LCOF to defend the usage of the phrase "reformed." Seeing that none of the Baptist involved used it. They called themselves Calvinistic or Particular Baptist. It was actually the "Reformed" part THEY WERE trying to distant themselves from. Hence, the removal of paedobaptism and church censures when they referred to the Westminster Confession as basis for LCOF. Both of these doctrines are distinguishing marks of Classical Reformed Theology and very anti-Baptist. How can one claim the name "Reformed" and yet deny two major tenets of it?

Jeremy Lee: I still think the point of the LCOF was to demonstrate agreement more than distance themselves. Although, your point that they did not call themselves reformed is telling.

The question is what is the definition of reformed? Is it defined soteriologically or both soteriologically and ecclesiologically? Since I believe the most important aspect is the gospel, I would define it soteriologically and call myself reformed. I have a friend who suggested that Baptists are truly reformed because they alone took Sola Scriptura to its logical conclusion and rejected paedobaptism.

Seth Miller: I was actually thinking the same thing when I was writing: What is the definition of Reformed? I would say that both soteriology and ecclesiology are crucial to the definition since these were the major issues that the Reformers faced. They challenged the Roman Catholic view of salvation and how church is to be. I would agree to what your friend said in that sense: Baptists finished what the Reformers started.

See also:

Pastor Jeremy Lee
Twining Baptist Church
[1] This is a slightly edited version of our conversation.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Michigan Reformation Society Meeting

Bob Brady, the Executive director of the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals, will join us January 9, 2010, for a meeting of all Michigan Reformation Societies. Bob will be discussing current trends in the church and how local Reformation Societies are a key for reformation in the church. The meeting will be held at Heritage Baptist Church, 1841 Hartwick Pines Rd., Grayling, MI from 1:00 - 3:00pm.

In addition to Bob Brady's message, we will conduct a Reformation Bible study with local pastors. The text for this study is Isaiah 30:8-18. Please, carefully study this passage for the meeting because this type of Bible study involves everyone.

For further information please contact Pastor Jeremy Lee 989-867-4451, or Ken Clouse 989-735-2262,