Reformed Churchmen

We are Protestant, Calvinistic and Reformed Prayer Book Churchmen and Churchwomen. In 2012, we remembered the 350th anniversary of the 1662 Book of Common Prayer; in 2012, we also remembered the 450th anniversary of Mr. (Bp., Salisbury) John Jewel's sober, scholarly, Protestant, and Reformed defense An Apology of the Church of England. In 2013, we remember the publication of the "Heidelberg Catechism" and the influence of Reformed theologians in England, including Heinrich Bullinger's Decades. You will not hear these things in modern outlets for Anglican advertisement. Confessional Churchmen keep the "lights burning in the darkness." Although Post-Anglicans with sorrow (and contempt for many, especially the leaders), we maintain learning, faith, hope and reading. Mr. (Rev. Dr. Prof.) James Packer quipped and applied this specific song for muddler-Manglicans: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qGyPuey-1Jw. Our book of the month, July 2014 is the Rev. Dr. Wayne Pearce's "John Spottiswoode: Jacobean Archbishop and Statesman" at: http://www.lulu.com/shop/a-s-wayne-pearce/john-spottiswoode-jacobean-archbishop-and-statesman/paperback/product-21652023.html. Also, our book of the month for Aug 2014 is Mr. Underhile's "The Church's Favorite Flower: A Patristic Study of the Doctrines of Grace," a handy little volume at: http://www.amazon.com/The-Churchs-Favorite-Flower-Patristic-ebook/dp/B00KUCITIS/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1403315865&sr=8-1-fkmr0&keywords=andy+underhile. We've added Mr. Underhile's anti-Marcionite and Reformed "Comfort in Chaos: A Study in Nahum" as the book of the month for September 2014 at: http://www.amazon.com/Comfort-Chaos-Study-Preserves-People-ebook/dp/B00KQX8JBI/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1407621661&sr=8-1-fkmr0&keywords=andy+underhile+nahum. We're still Prayer Book Churchmen, but we have "articles of faith" paid for by blood.

Monday, September 1, 2014

1 September 2014 A.D. Arthur Schopenhauer: Quotations on Islam from Notable Non-Muslims


1 September 2014 A.D.  Arthur Schopenhauer:  Quotations on Islam from Notable Non-Muslims

For 88 more quotes from other leaders regarding Islamo-Dominionism & Theocratic Reconstructionism, see:  http://reformationanglicanism.blogspot.com/2014/08/25-august-2014-ad-quotations-on-islam_25.html

Here’s one quote by Arthur Schopenhauer.

Arthur Schopenhauer



Arthur Schopenhauer (1788 – 1860) was an influencial German philosopher, known for his pessimism and philosophical clarity. 


“Temples and churches, pagodas and mosques, in all countries and ages, in their splendor and spaciousness, testify to man's need for metaphysics, a need strong and ineradicable, which follows close on the physical. ... Sometimes it lets inself be satisfied with clumsy fables and fairy-tales. If only they are imprinted early enough, they are for man adequate explanations of his existence and supports for his morality. Consider the Koran, for example; this wretched book was sufficient to start a world-religion, to satisfy the metaphysical need of countless millions for twelve hundred years, to become the basis of their morality and of a remarkable contempt for death, and also to inspire them to bloody wars and the most extensive conquests. In this book we find the saddest and poorest form of theism. Much may be lost in translation, but I have not been able to discover in it one single idea of value.[17]

For 88 more quotes from other leaders regarding Islamo-Dominionism & Theocratic Reconstructionism, see:  http://reformationanglicanism.blogspot.com/2014/08/25-august-2014-ad-quotations-on-islam_25.html

For illustrative quotes on Islam from Barack Hussein Obama:

#1 “The future must not belong to those who slander the Prophet of Islam”

#2 “The sweetest sound I know is the Muslim call to prayer”







#3 “We will convey our deep appreciation for the Islamic faith, which has done so much over the centuries to shape the world — including in my own country.”

#4 “As a student of history, I also know civilization’s debt to Islam.”

#5 “Islam has a proud tradition of tolerance.

#6 “Islam has always been part of America”

#7 “we will encourage more Americans to study in Muslim communities

For the rest of Obama’s 40 theological quotes and scholarship, see the URL.

1 September 1995 A.D. Chaplain David Peterson—COL, U.S. Army (ret.)



1 September 1995 A.D.  (Presbyterian) Chaplain David Peterson—COL, U.S. Army (ret.)


 

Myers, David T. “September 1: Chaplain David Peterson.”  This Day in Presbyterian History.  1 Sept 2014.  http://www.thisday.pcahistory.org/2014/09/september-1/.  Accessed 1 Sept 2014.

September 1:  Chaplain David Peterson


Good Providence Sums Up His Calling


Reared outside the prairie town of Lemmon, South Dakota, David Peterson would travel to many war-torn countries around the world before his calling as an Army chaplain would be over.  But that thirty-year career did come to an end on September 1, 1995.  For the next thirteen years, he led the Presbyterian Church in America Mission to North America Chaplain Ministries as its Coordinator.  Currently he is the chairman of the International Association of Evangelical Chaplains, which assists foreign nations in developing and training of chaplains.

A key highlight of an adventure filled life and ministry for this Covenant College and Covenant Theological Seminary graduate was his experience as the Senior Military Chaplain for General Norman Schwarzkopf in the first Gulf War.  He was present in the underground bunker in Saudi Arabia when the first United States bombers were to take off for Baghdad, Iraq around midnight.  The general had gathered his staff together, including Col. Peterson.  Before the order was given to start the war, he asked his chaplain to say a prayer.

Chaplain Peterson prayed the following prayer on that momentous night: “Our Father, on this awesome and humbling occasion, we are grateful for the privilege of turning to you, our Sovereign and Almighty God.  We believe that, in accord with the teaching of your word and revelation, we are on a just and righteous mission.  We pray for a quick and decisive victory. Your Word informs us that men prepare for battle, and we have.  But victory rests with the Lord.  Therefore we commit our ways to you and wait upon the Lord.  In the name of the Prince of Peace, we pray.  Amen.”  Those military men affirmed the words with their response of Amen.

Let it be said that Chaplain Peterson suspected that this would be coming.   He had talked with the General for a time that very night.  Just before going to the bunker, there was a time when this PCA minister was alone by himself, waiting for the general to go to the underground bunker.  At that time, David Peterson composed his spirit and quickly wrote down some Scriptural texts and prayer requests on a three-by-five card.  Thus, when the time to pray came in that war room, he was ready to intercede with the God of war for the souls of the men who would enter into a battle that very night,  to say nothing of the victory over the enemy.

Just a few years later, in 1999, Chaplain Peterson would write:

During a recent missions conference, someone said to me, “As long as our nation is not in a significant war, people are not concerned about the military and therefore not concerned about the chaplaincy.” Reluctantly, I must admit that there is some truth in that statement. There is a tendency for the citizens of our nation to take our freedom for granted. Today, very few American citizens are aware of the historical role the military has played in our society and why it is important to continue having a strong force. Nor do we give much thought to the role and impact our chaplains have in the ministry to our military force and their families.

Words to live by: One of the more comforting doctrines of God’s Word is the doctrine of divine providence.  Sometimes the word providence was used in earlier times as a synonym for God Himself.  But properly used, it simply signifies, as our Westminster Confession of Faith states in Chapter 5 that “God the great Creator of all things does uphold, direct, dispose, and govern all creatures, actions, and things, from the greatest even to the least, by His most wise and holy providence.”  If we could as Christians simply live our lives in the full knowledge of, and trust for, that doctrine, how much we would live more comfortably  in this present world.

1 September 1887 A.D. Otto Eissfeldt Born—OT Documentarian Scholar


1 September 1887 A.D. Otto Eissfeldt Born—OT Documentarian Scholar

Wiki-offerings

Otto Eissfeldt was born on September 1, 1887 in Northeim—OT Scholar.  He died on. April 23, 1973.  He was a German Protestant theologian, known for his work on the Old Testament and comparative near-east religious history. His magisterial 860-page The Old Testament: An Introduction (1934, 1965), giving a detailed literary-critical assessment of the history of the formation of each part of the Old Testament on the basis of the documentary hypothesis, has been called the "best of its kind".[1]

Life

Born in Northeim in Germany, Eissfeldt studied Protestant theology and Oriental languages from 1905 to 1912 at the University of Göttingen and Berlin's Humboldt University. He earned his habilitation in Berlin in 1913 with a thesis on Old Testament, and his PhD in Göttingen in 1916. From 1913 to 1922 he taught in Berlin, before being appointed in 1922 to the chair of Old Testament at the University of Halle-Wittenberg, where he remained professor for the rest of his life, also serving as a visiting professor at the University of Tübingen. He retired in 1957, and died at Halle in 1973.

Work

Eissfeldt was one of the leading representatives of the literary-critical approach in Biblical criticism, following in the school of Julius Wellhausen and Rudolf Smend, with Hermann Gunkel and Wolf Wilhelm Friedrich von Baudissin his teachers in the area of religious history. A prolific writer, his Hexateuchsynopse (Hexateuch synopsis, 1922) and Einleitung in das Alte Testament (Introduction to the Old Testament, 1934, 1956, 1964, 1976) are outstanding examples of his literary-critical research achievements, while his numerous works on Phoenician religion (based in particular on the texts from Ugarit) were leading works in the field of near-east religious history.

He also edited the bible commentary series Handbuch zum Alten Testament (Guide to the Old Testament, 1937–77), and Joseph Aistleitner's Wörterbuch der ugaritischen Sprache (Dictionary of the Ugaritic Language, 1963),[2] as well as the third edition of Biblia Hebraica (1929–37) with Albrecht Alt after the death of Rudolf Kittel.

Philosophy

Eissfeldt's scholarship was influenced particularly by Gabler and Søren Kierkegaard to see an un-crossable chasm between history and faith, with Religionsgeschichte or the History of religions being the prerogative of the former and Biblical Theology being the prerogative of the later. He defined the faith displayed by the Old Testament (and New Testament) as well as necessary of the Christian or Jewish believer, to be only that which is timeless and eternal and which can neither be judged by history and reason, nor judge them. Thus it was only and always from this sort of “faith” that one could pursue or benefit from Biblical Theology. In this respect, he agreed with the absolutism or idealism of Neo-Orthodoxy. He defined history as the enterprise which sought to make known, through historical-critical method, the particulars of Old Testament (and New Testament) religious times and events without accepting any value or truth judgments concerning them. Thus it was only and always from this sort of “historical” inquiry that one could pursue or benefit from Religionsgeschichte. In that respect, he agreed with the scientific positivism of liberal scholarship. In order for Eissfeldt to maintain both positions, it was necessary that they be held perpetually separate and in tension. This was also the only way each one as so defined could achieve its purest expression. His way of resolving the paradox of this separation between history and faith was a relativism that arbitrarily chose the answers from one side over the other when it seemed most beneficial to the objective or was judged to belong to the category of one side and not the other.

References

1. ^ Craig D. Bowman, Eissfeldt, Eichrodt, and von Rad—The German Foundation
2. ^ Otto Eissfeldt, in Richard N. Soulen (ed., 2001), Handbook of Biblical Criticism, p.53.
External links
• Eißfeldt, Otto, wibilex.de (German)
• Friedrich Wilhelm Bautz (1975). "Otto Eissfeldt". In Bautz, Friedrich Wilhelm. Biographisch-Bibliographisches Kirchenlexikon (BBKL) (in German) 1. Hamm: Bautz. cols. 1482–1483. ISBN 3-88309-013-1.

1 September 256 A.D. Cyprian & Numerous Councils: Lapsed Must Be Rebaptized


1 September 256 A.D.  Cyprian & Numerous Councils:  Lapsed Must Be Rebaptized

Graves, Dan. “Carthage Dunking the Rebaptized the Lapsed.”  Christianity.com. Apr 2007.  http://www.christianity.com/church/church-history/timeline/1-300/carthage-dunking-rebaptized-the-lapsed-11629623.html.  Accessed 19 May 2014.


What happens if a Christian is baptized by an unworthy or improperly ordained minister? Is that baptism valid? This question has been faced several times by the church. Under the prodding of the dynamic bishop and martyr Cyprian, the issue was faced in the North African city of Carthage in the third century.


During the Decian Persecutions, which broke out in 250, many Christians poured libations to the emperor rather than suffer torture. Others bribed the authorities to obtain certificates saying they had sacrificed even when they had not. Later some of these, who were called lapsi, or the 'lapsed,' felt remorse for their betrayal of Christ who had suffered torture for them. They asked to be readmitted to the church.


Schism developed over the issue. Led by Novatian, many Christians broke off from Rome, saying no lapsed person should be readmitted. The Novatians ordained their own priests who baptized new Christians. Later some Novatian Christians wanted to unite with the Catholic church. Cyprian said this was only possible if they were rebaptized within the Catholic church by "legitimate" priests. Another group wanted to let the lapsed return on easier terms than Cyprian. They also broke away and elected their own bishop, Cecilianus, who baptized converts.


Believing that church unity was at stake, Cyprian took a tough stand against accepting baptism by schismatics, arguing that no sacrament administered outside the church had validity. Since there can be only one church, he considered the breakaway groups to be without the Holy Spirit. He wrote letters and summoned councils. These councils met in Carthage in 251, 252, 253, 255 and 256 to address the issues raised by the lapsi and Novatians. On this day, September 1, 256, the North African synod voted unanimously with Cyprian. Baptized "heretics" who entered the Catholic fold must be baptized again.


This vote did not stand. Stephen, bishop of Rome, ordered Cyprian to accept the lapsed into the church without a second baptism. Cyprian refused. "[H]ow can he who lacks the spirit confer the spirit?" he asked. For a long time he resisted, but eventually yielded--under threat of excommunication. Rome uses this concession by Cyprian to prove that at that early time the bishop's of Roman word had authority.


Cyprian died a martyr. He had been accused of cowardice for hiding during the Decian Persecutions. In 258 he vindicated himself, boldly testifying to his faith as he went to his beheading. Stephen, too was martyred--a year before Cyprian. The Council of Arles in 314 upheld Stephen's decision. As long as a person was baptized in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, he or she was truly baptized, regardless of who conferred the rite.

Bibliography:

1.      Aland, Kurt. Saints and Sinners; men and ideas in the early church. Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1970.

2.      Benson, Edward. Cyprian; his life, his time, his work. London: macmillan, 1897. Source of the image.

3.      Bowie, Walter Russell. Men of Fire. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1961.

4.      "Carthage Councils" and "Cyprian." The Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton, 1914.

5.      Eerdman's Handbook to the History of Christianity. Editor Tim Dowley. Berkhamsted, Herts, England: Lion Publishing, 1977.

Last updated April, 2007.

1 September. 1662 Book of Common Prayer: Giles, Abbot.


1 September.  Giles, Abbot.  Book of Common Prayer. 

        
The life of St. Giles was compiled by one who collected whatever memorials he could amass together, without discernment, and who confounded the saint with the Abbot of Arles of the same name. See Mabillon, Annal. Ben. t. 3, p. 433 et Sæc. 3, Bened. in Proleg. And especially the learned dissertation and remarks of Stilting the Bollandist, Sept. t. 1, p. 284. Also the Maurist monks, Hist. Littér. de la France, t. 10, p. 60.
About the End of the Seventh Century.

THIS saint, whose name has been held in great veneration for several ages in France and England, is said to have been an Athenian by birth, and of noble extraction. His extraordinary piety and learning drew the admiration of the world upon him in such a manner, that it was impossible for him to enjoy in his own country that obscurity and retirement which was the chief object of his desires on earth; and he dreaded the sunshine of temporal prosperity and the applause of men, as fraught with dangerous poison, which easily insinuates itself into the heart. Therefore, leaving his own country, he sailed to France, and chose an hermitage first in the open deserts near the mouth of the Rhone, afterwards nigh the river Gard, and lastly, in a forest in the diocess of Nismes. He passed many years in this close solitude, using no other subsistence than wild herbs or roots, and water, conversing only with God, and living rather like an angel than a man; so perfectly was he disengaged from earthly cares, and with so great purity of affections, with such constancy and ardour was his soul employed in the exercises of heavenly contemplation. His historian relates, that he was for some time nourished with the milk of a hind in the forest, and that a certain prince discovered him in hunting in those woods, by pursuing the chase of that hind to his hermitage, where the beast had sought for shelter at his feet. The reputation of the sanctity of this holy hermit was much increased by many miracles which he wrought, and which rendered his name famous throughout all France. Some, by mistake, have confounded this saint with one Giles, whom St. Cæsarius made abbot of a monastery near the walls of Arles, and whom he sent to Rome with his secretary, Messianus, in 514, to Pope Symmachus, to obtain of him a confirmation of the privileges of the metropolitan church of Arles. But the Bollandists prove very well, in a long and learned dissertation, that the great St. Giles lived only in the end of the seventh, and beginning of the eighth century, not in the sixth; and that the French were at that time masters of the country about Nismes. Messianus and Stephen, in the second book of the life of St. Cæsarius, inform us, that the French took Arles in 541, the year before the death of St. Cæsarius; after which, the Goths yielded up to them that whole province. St. Giles was highly esteemed by the French king; but could not be prevailed upon to forsake his solitude. He, however, admitted several disciples, and settled excellent discipline in the monastery of which he was the founder, and which, in succeeding ages, became a flourishing abbey of the Benedictin Order, though it has been long since converted into a collegiate church of canons. A considerable town was built about it, called St. Giles’s, which was famous in the wars of the Albigenses. This saint is commemorated in the Martyrologies of Bede, Ado, and others; and is the patron of many churches in France, Germany, Poland, &c.
  Entire constant solitude is a state which few are able to bear with unabated fervour in the uninterrupted exercises of arduous penance and contemplation. A man in solitude, whom sloth often warps, or whose conversation is not always with God and his holy angels, is his own most dangerous tempter and worst company. Aristotle having defined man a social creature, 1 or one born for society, added, that he who lives alone must either be a god or a beast. But that philosopher was unacquainted with the happiness of religious contemplation. The ancient Christian proverb is more exact, that he who lives always alone is either an angel or a devil. This state therefore is not without snares and dangers; nor does an hermitage necessarily make a saint; but when a person, by an extraordinary call, embraces it with fervour, and strenuously applies himself to all the exercises of holy retirement and penance, such a one being disengaged in his affections from all earthly ties, exchanges the society of a vain and sinful world for that of God and holy spirits, and the contagious commerce of foolish toys for the uninterrupted glorious employment of the angels, and has certainly attained the highest degree of happiness under heaven; this state is its novitiate, and in some degree an anticipation of its eternal sweet and noble employ. He who accompanies these most fervent exercises of contemplation and divine love with zealous and undaunted endeavours to conduct others to the same glorious term with himself, shall be truly great in the kingdom of heaven. 2

September 445 B.C. Nehemiah 6.15. Wall Built in 52 Days. Enemies Discouraged


September 445 B.C. Nehemiah 6.15. Wall built in 52 days.  Enemies were discouraged.

Nehemiah 6:15


1599 Geneva Bible (GNV)


15 Notwithstanding the wall was finished on the five and twentieth day of [a]Elul, in two and [b]fifty days.

Footnotes:


  1. Nehemiah 6:15 Which was the sixth month and contained part of August, and part of September.
  2. Nehemiah 6:15 After that I had sent Sanballat his answer.

September-->Oh no, not all that Bible reading again! Ezra & Nehemiah


September-->Oh no, not all that Bible reading again! Ezra and Nehemiah
 
On the first day of Feast Day of Trumpets, Ezra reads the Law to the assembled from the cities from morning till mid-day (Neh. 8.1ff.). 
 
A few notable points: (1) the length of the reading and (2) no one was whining or sniffling about long Bible readings. This is stunning, sobering, and bracing. Try reading just the Bible for several hours to an assemblage of Americans, Canadians, or Brits. You would be howled down. People would vote with their feet. "We'll not be having it!"


In this instance, priests, Levites, gate-keepers, Nethinim and the people gathered for an annual Feast Day. Dt. 31.9-15 prescribed this lectionary feat, this reading Triatholon, for every seventh year. The purpose of the reading to “all Israel:” the purpose was that men, women and children “may hear and that they may learn to fear the LORD and carefully observe all the words of this law.” The assembly is in the “open square” in front of Water Gate. The people were “attentive to the Book of the Law.” Ezra offered a prayer. The people answered with an “Amen.” Also, Ezra had colleagues as readers and teachers: Jeshua, Bani, Sherebiah, Jamia, Akuk, Shebbethai, Hodijah, Maaseah, Kelitia, Azariah, Jozabad, Nahan, Peliah, and the Levites. Nehemiah insists on naming them, that is, to show that a “presbytery” teaches and reads God’s Word, not just the bishops. They “distinctly read from the book” (8). They “gave the sense” of the book. When the people heard it, they wept. Apparently, this grief was like Nehemiah’s when he wept (Neh.1.5ff.). But, it would appear that in our time there is a conspiracy by leaders to dilute the essence of the confession of sin: exhibit A is the loss of the “General Confession” at Morning Prayer. Daniel had his grief and his confession (Dan. 9) which he put in writing for “doctrine, reproof, correction and instruction in righteousness.” Ezra and Nehemiah gave assurance of forgiveness. “Do not sorrow for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” A written, lengthy, corporate, and liturgical prayer follows in Nehemiah 9.

September/Oct. Solomon’s famous prayer in in connection with the Temple consecration

September/Oct. Solomon’s famous prayer in in connection with the Temple consecration. 


This is, among others, an example of a "written prayer," a "form" as it were--something frequently abhorred in the enthusiasts' culture. Of note, Solomon knelt to pray and offered a theologically rich prayer.


See the footnote in the 1599 Geneva Bible, 1 Kings 8.1-2.


1 Kings 8.1-2


(Introductory notes: 8 4 The Ark is borne into the Temple.10 A cloud filleth the Temple.14 The king blesseth the people.)


1 Then King Solomon assembled the Elders of Israel, even all the heads of the tribes, the chief fathers of the children of Israel unto [a]him in Jerusalem, for to [b]bring up the Ark of the covenant of the Lord from the city of David, which is Zion.


2 And all the men of Israel assembled unto King Solomon at the feast in the month of [c]Ethanim, which is the seventh month.


Footnotes:


a. 1 Kings 8:1 Hebrew, Solomon.
b. 1 Kings 8:1 For David brought it from Obed-edom, and placed it in the Tabernacle which he had made for it, 2 Sam. 6:17.
c. 1 Kings 8:2 Containing part of September and part of October in the which month they held three solemn feasts, Num. 29:1.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

The Fugitive, The Truth, And Social Media

The Fugitive, The Truth, And Social Media

29 August 2014 AD. HAPPY BIRTHDAY to the Lad--Robert Montgomery Veitch


Date:  29 August 2014

From:  Donald Philip Veitch

To:  Robert Montgomery Veitch (and Sophia)

Subject: HAPPY BIRTHDAY

1.      I am enclosing this with a copy of the Knowing God by the Rev. Dr. Prof. James Innes Packer, an 87-year old Anglican (Church of England) scholar, theologian and writer.  See below.  If you read everything Jim wrote, all shall be well.  Jim is like yours truly—a Reformed, Calvinistic Prayer Book man.  Jim is an Oxford D.Phil. (=Ph.D.).  Long on 17th century materials, systematics, but a tad short on church history perhaps.  Anyways, a man to be heard.

2.      I have enclosed some dates and articles:  (a) Biography of Jim Packer, (b) A reflection on an OT book, called Haggai, who lived and preached in difficult times for the OT church of date 29 Aug 520 B.C., (c) The 1662 BCP day of remembrance, the “Beheading of John the Baptist,” and (d) An article that I’ll be publishing written by Jim Packer on “Justification by Faith Alone,” dated 15 Sept 2014. 

3.      Of note, relative to your birthday, we remember:  (a)  Haggai’s brief, short and powerful exhortations to the Israelites to “get with God’s program” and (b) the memory of a saint who lived and died in the service of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit—to wit, John the Baptist.

4.      The family will gather today.

5.      It is appropriate that we remember the Prayer of St. Chyrsostom, done at Morning and Evening Prayer, upon which you were raised, to wit:

 

“Almighty God, Thou hast given us grace at this time with one accord to offer our common supplications unto Thee and dost promise that when two are three are gathered together in Thy name, Thou wilt grant their requests;  fulfill now, O LORD, the desires and petitions of Thy servants, as may be most expedient for them, granting us in this world knowledge of Thy truth and in the world to come life everlasting through Jesus Christ our LORD, Amen.”

 

6.      I write these things lest we forget.

Love,

 

Dad and Mum

22 July 1926 A.D.  Birth of the Rev. Dr. Prof. James Innes Packer—Anglican Scholar, Theologian and Pastor of the 1st Order Magnitude

J. I. Packer

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J.I. Packer
Born
(1926-07-22) 22 July 1926 (age 88)
Gloucester, England
Occupation
theologian, author
Religion
Christian (Reformed, Anglican)

 

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James Innell Packer (born 22 July 1926) is a British-born Canadian Christian theologian in the low church Anglican and Reformed traditions. He currently serves as the Board of Governors' Professor of Theology at Regent College in Vancouver, British Columbia. He is considered one of the most influential evangelicals in North America.[1]

Contents 



Biography


Born in Gloucester, England, the son of a clerk for the Great Western Railway, Packer won a scholarship to Oxford University. He was educated at Corpus Christi College, obtaining the degrees of Bachelor of Arts (1948), Master of Arts (1954), and Doctor of Philosophy (1954).

It was as a student at Oxford that he first heard lectures from C. S. Lewis, whose teachings would (though he never knew Lewis personally) become a major influence in his life. In a meeting of the Oxford Inter-Collegiate Christian Union, Packer committed his life to Christian service.

He spent a brief time teaching Greek at Oak Hill Theological College in London, and in 1949 entered Wycliffe Hall, Oxford to study theology. He was ordained a deacon (1952) and priest (1953) in the Church of England, within which he was associated with the Evangelical movement. He was Assistant Curate of Harborne Heath in Birmingham 1952–54 and Lecturer at Tyndale Hall, Bristol 1955–61. He was Librarian of Latimer House, Oxford 1961–62 and Principal 1962–69. In 1970 he became Principal of Tyndale Hall, Bristol, and from 1971 until 1979 he was Associate Principal of Trinity College, Bristol, which had been formed from the amalgamation of Tyndale Hall with Clifton College and Dalton House-St Michael's.

In 1979, Packer moved to Vancouver to take up a position at Regent College, eventually being named the first Sangwoo Youtong Chee Professor of Theology, a title he held until he was named a Regent College Board of Governors' Professor of Theology in 1996. Packer had a huge impact on students during his time at Regent, as evidenced by one of them, author Gary Thomas, dedicating his book "Holy Available," and including a lengthy tribute, in honor of Dr. Packer's 80th birthday.[2] He is a prolific writer and frequent lecturer, but he is best known for his book, "Knowing God". He is a frequent contributor to and an executive editor of Christianity Today.

Packer served as General Editor of the English Standard Version, an Evangelical revision of the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, and Theological Editor of the Study Bible version.

Packer is associated with St. John's Vancouver Anglican Church, which in February 2008 voted to leave the Anglican Church of Canada (ACC) over the issue of same-sex blessings. St. John's joined the Anglican Network in Canada.[3] Packer, on 23 April, handed in his licence from the Bishop of New Westminster.[4] In December 2008 Dr Packer was appointed an honorary Clerical Canon of St Andrew's Cathedral in Sydney in recognition of his long and distinguished ministry as a faithful teacher of Biblical theology.[5]

Theological views


Inerrancy


In 1978, he signed the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy, which affirmed a conservative position on Biblical inerrancy.

Gender roles


Packer is a Complementarian and serves on the advisory board of Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood. He thus subscribes to a traditional view of gender roles – that a husband should lovingly lead, protect and provide for his wife and that a wife should joyfully affirm and submit to her husband's leadership. Complementarians also believe the Bible teaches that men are to bear primary responsibility to lead in the church and that as such only men should be elders.[6] In 1991 Packer set forth his reasons for this in an influential yet controversial article called 'Let's Stop Making Women Presbyters'.[7]

Calvinism


Packer holds to Reformed theology, also known as Calvinism.[8]

Evolution


In 2008 Packer wrote an endorsement for a book called 'Creation or Evolution: Do We have to Choose?' by Denis Alexander. The book advocates theistic evolution and is critical of Intelligent Design. Packer said of the book: 'Surely the best informed, clearest and most judicious treatment of the question in its title that you can find anywhere today.'[9] This perhaps reveals Packer's current position in the evolution/intelligent design debate.

However, he has also expressed caution as to whether the theory of evolution is actually true, 'its only a hypothesis... its only a guess... so as science, in terms of philosophy of science... evolution is by no means proven and as a guess it is very strange and contrary to all analogies...' He also said, 'the biblical narratives of creation... don't obviously say anything that bears one way or another on the question of whether the evolutionary hypothesis might be true or not...'[10]

The most recent information on Packer's position on evolution comes from his foreword to Reclaiming Genesis by Melvin Tinker.[11] Reclaiming Genesis is a 'pro-evolution' book with the subtitle 'The Theatre of God's Glory – Or a Scientific Story?' in it Packer writes "Melvin Tinker is fully on wavelength in this lively and enlivening series of expositions. His book is wise, popular, and powerful. I heartily commend it."

Ecumenism


In recent years, he has supported the ecumenical movement but believes that unity should not come at the expense of abandoning orthodox Protestant doctrine. Nonetheless, his advocacy of ecumenicism has brought sharp criticism from some conservatives, particularly after the publication of the book Evangelicals and Catholics Together: Toward a Common Mission (ed. Charles Colson, Richard J. Neuhaus) in which Packer was one of the contributors. Some conservatives also feel that Packer's views on Mother Teresa are quite liberal.[12]

Packer took the side of evangelical ecumenism in opposition to Martyn Lloyd-Jones in 1966, then co-authored a work with two Anglo-Catholics in 1970 (Growing into Union) that many evangelicals felt conceded too much biblical ground on critical doctrinal issues. The publication of that work led to the formal break between Lloyd-Jones and Packer, bringing an end to the Puritan Conferences.

Works



In the Anglican Agenda series



Collections



Co-authored



Works about[edit]


  • Alister E McGrath, To Know and Serve God: A Life of James I. Packer (1997) ISBN 978-0-340-56571-1
  • Alister E McGrath, J. I. Packer: A Biography (1997) ISBN 978-0-8010-1157-3
  • Roger Steer, Guarding the Holy Fire: The Evangelicalism of John R. W. Stott, J. I. Packer and Alister McGrath (1999) ISBN 978-0-8010-5846-2
  • Don J Payne, The Theology of the Christian Life in J. I. Packer's Thought: Theological Anthropology, Theological Method, and the Doctrine of Sanctification (2006) ISBN 978-1-84227-397-5
  • Timothy F George, J. I. Packer and the Evangelical Future: The Impact of His Life and Thought (2009) ISBN 978-0-8010-3387-2

References


1.       Jump up ^ "The 25 Most Influential Evangelicals in America". TIME. 7 February 2005. Retrieved 2008-07-24. 

2.       Jump up ^ Thomas, Gary (2009). Holy Available. Zondervan. ISBN 9780310866268. 

3.       Jump up ^ Chantal Eustace (14 February 2008). Anglican congregation votes to split over same-sex blessings. The Vancouver Sun. 




7.       Jump up ^ Christianity Today, 11 February 1991

8.       Jump up ^ see, for example, his book 'Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God'

9.       Jump up ^ http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/1854247468/ref=sib_rdr_dp click on the 'look inside' link and view the front cover which is where this statement is found

10.   Jump up ^ http://www.sydneyanglicans.net/media/audio/creation_evolution_problems/ in this talk Packer goes into some detail about his views on evolution and creation, the quote above is found at about 19 minutes through



External links



29 August 520 B.C. Haggai Delivers the Message to Build the Temple--LIFE IN THE EXILE. 
 
See Haggai 1: God’s command to build. It is carefully dated by Haggai himself in Haggai 1.1.

Haggai is one of the shortest book in the Old Testament. (Rev.) Haggai is a fellow minister of the Word alongside the Mr. (Rev.) Zechariah. The two of them, both begin their ministerial labors in 520 B.C.

These Ministers of the Word labored amongst the returnees from the Babylonian Captivity. That Captivity had been effected over a period of 605ish B.C. to 586 B.C. period by several incursions by King Nebuchadnezzar. Ultimately, the Temple was burned, the king dethroned, homes destroyed, and people—especially the royals—were exported to Babylon.

Life hadn’t been easy. The Jews had suffered the predictable, harsh covenantal curses for their manifold sins; their prophets had foretold the Exile. “And I will bring a sword against you and will execute the vengeance of the covenant” (Lev. 26.25). No doubt, they got the memo. No doubt, they had been warned. But, they were “wiser and smarter than God.” That insolence had to be unlearned…and fast. Daniel, in the exile, got the memo.

We read the Kings, Chronicles, Ezra, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel and others. It was ugly. But, the elect, remnant, the believers who lived by faith alone and believed, held fast, even in Exile. If some were foolish, others were not. One reads the heartening and refreshing stories of Daniel in exile—a man of fidelity, courage and honor, upholding the faith in Exile. Old Daniel wasn't selling out either.

However, beyond Daniel, a new day was dawning, a day of renewed hope and encouragement. Some Jews were authorized to return from Babylon in 538 B.C. by permission of an imperial decree. The Persian Emperor, King Cyrus, gave the exiles the right to relocate, repatriate to the homeland and an authorization to re-build the Temple and re-establish themselves as God’s people.

But, upon return, the covenant people ran into internal opposition from within Israel. It came from an insider-source, a Persian source of all things. His name was Tattenai, a “provincial” governor, perhaps a satrap, for the Persian Empire, governing the “Trans-Eurphrates” area. As a result of his irritable sway, the Jews had to cease re-building the Temple.

Things languished for 16-17 years. People lost their central religious focus. The re-establishment of the Temple, the rituals and liturgy of the annual Festivals, and the sacrificial system was forestalled. Leviticus was certainly the heart-beat of the Jewish religion. It taught the gracious, merciful and forgiving nature of a sovereign and holy God by way of expiatory and propitiatory promises—by pictures and shadows. The Abrahamic promises of Moses’ writings were not forgotten. The Davidic promises of Israel’s historians were not forgotten. The Spirit appeared to be blowing and re-establishing the people, but this downturn and set-back was discouraging. 

It has a modern ring to it as one surveys current developments in our time. Opposition from without and within. Church history shows the same--opposition from without. Often, it comes most strongly from within, e.g. Neo-Montanism, Neo-Arianism, and Neo-Gnosticism in our own times.

However, a development occurred that favored God’s people. A new king came to the throne. King Darius (522 B.C.-486 B.C.) is the name. Upon a review of the records, he re-issued his predecessor’s edict of 538 B.C. Tattenai’s was reversed. Sorry, Tattenai, there’s no appellate court for you. Two Persian kings had ruled. There, there Mr. Tattenai, get over it. The Exiles were allowed to re-build and re-establish the worship of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Joseph.


Work began anew and afresh under the faithful ministry of both ministers of the Word: Misters Haggai and Zechariah. Mr. Haggai’s first sermon is date 29 August 520 B.C.

Haggai has four messages with two themes: (1) hearty repentance because of the long, benighted, inglorious past of ignominy and insolence, ignorant contempt for God’s Word (called “shrugging of the shoulders” and “stopping the ears” by Mr. Zechariah in Zechariah 7), and (2) a hearty embrace the divine Abrahamic and Davidic promises of greater blessings. “I will be your God to you and your children.” Our baptism ever-speaks the covenant promises.


Of note, Mr. Haggai draws a close connection between the restored Temple and a future Davidic king, evinced in Zerubbabel, but fulfilled in Messiah Jesus (Mt. 1.1-18).

As an aside, Zerubbabel gets honorable mention in the Davidic line down to Joseph, the earthly father of King David-Jesus (Mt. 1.13, 16). It surely is a point not lost on Matthew the Apostle. Jesus was in the David line on both sides, through Joseph and Mary, but we digress.

The Bible, as Paul instructs Elder Timothy, is “profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction and instruction in righteousness” (2 Tim.3.15-16). 


The people had been a’-slacking some. One might argue extenuating circumstances. But, apparently when the time came to renew the building, there was disinterest and some self-absorption. God’s presence was with them. They heard the call. God stirred their human spirits.

By God’s Word alone and by God’s Spirit alone, the historic Church continued and continues.



For those of us in the Anglican exile, it’s mildly encouraging albeit the modern Tattenais and Captivity. 


We have “Anglican drunks” around, as Mr. Canterbury said last week about the disordered Westerner Anglicans in hot pursuit of buggery and more (cf. http://life.nationalpost.com/2013/08/21/anglican-church-a-drunk-man-staggering-ever-closer-to-the-edge-of-a-cliff-archbishop-says/) . Or, we have a big “vacuum” as created by “Anglican leaders,” as Mr. (Rev. Dr. Prof.) Alister McGrath noted this week
(
http://www.kendallharmon.net/t19/index.php/t19/article/food_for_thought_from_alister_mcgrath--global_anglicanism_has_created_a_the/) . Or, as Dr. James Innes Packer observed in his book on the 39 Articles, the Anglican leadership reflects the old Irish jig: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qGyPuey-1Jw. At least one senses that one is not alone: sensing, seeing, hearing and undergoing the exile. Three modern leaders called it right.

We’ve got liberals, Tractarians, enthusiasts speaking in tongues (including Mr. Canterbury Welby), a lost Prayer Book tradition and no Reformed theology on the horizon other than a few here and there, e.g. Gerald Bray. 

 
But, on the “old Prayer Book,” I call your attention to Mr. (Rev. Dr. Prof.) Carl Trueman’s comments at: http://www.reformation21.org/articles/what-the-hijabi-witnessed-and-what-she-didnt.php and/or http://reformationanglicanism.blogspot.com/2013/08/mr-rev-dr-prof-carl-trueman-discovers.html. A solid Confessional Presbyterian Churchman and Professor of History rendered his excellent comments about our sage Prayer Book. But, it’s largely disappeared. It’s been “squandered” as Mr. Trueman suggests in his volume, The Creedal Imperative. Or, as poor Mr. (Rev. Dr. Prof.) James Packer lamented in his little book on the Thirty-nine Articles, no one has a “Confessional basis” anymore. 

 We’ll stick to the basics, thank you Mr. Haggai. We won’t be listening to the Tattenais. We’ll build as able. We’ll stick to the Messianic promises,  God alone helping, praying for daily fidelity despite appearances. We have your memo, Haggai.

29 August.  1662 Book of Common Prayer:  Beheading of John the Baptist.


Beheading of St. John Baptist. The observation of this Festival is of early date in the Western Church, probably from a desire to carry out, in the case of St. John Baptist, the usual commemoration of martyrdom without trenching on the greater Festival of his Nativity. Why it was fixed to this day does not appear. -- August 29th.

Elaborating a bit further.

The Beheading of John the Baptist is remembered in the Anglican Book of Common Prayer on 29 August.  It remembers the Biblical narrative his martyrdom by beheading on the orders of Herod Antipas by a vengeful request of his begrudged daughter Salome. John had been calling out the immoralities of the royal court.

On August 29, 2012, during a televised public audience at the summer palace of Castel Gandolfo, Mr. Joseph Ratzinger, called Pope Benedict XVI, asserted the discovery of John’s fragmented head.  Additionally, Mr. Ratzinger stated that the relic was now in the Basilica of San Silvestro in Rome; the relic-story, like the others, is a story with long legs and a long history. It’s good marketing and good for business.  That was the view of Frederick the Wise, Luther’s mentor.  A leg here.  A head over there.  A tooth there. And so it goes with relic-mongery. But back to the story.

According to the Synoptic Gospels, Herod, a tetrarch or sub-king of Judea, imprisoned the bold forerunner of Jesus, the son of a loyal priestly line, Zechariah and Elizabeth. From infancy, he was full of the Holy Spirit (Luke 1.15).

He baptized Jesus.

But, John decided to go modern.  He adopted Joel Osteen and Rick Warren’s “seeker sensitive model.”

He openly reproved Herod for divorcing his wife and unlawfully taking Herodias, the wife of his brother, Herod Philip I. Believers respected him, but he offended some in the court.

At a gala event for Herod, Herodias's daughter danced before the king and his guests. We’ll assume it was not to commemorate the Baptist’s exhortations or to review his endorsement of Jesus Christ. We’ll assume it was akin to something one might see on “Dancing with the Idols.” 

The young maiden’s dancing gratified old Herod. In an assumably drunken condition, he promised her anything up to half of his kingdom.  Hmm, she thought. Better ask the Queen Mum. Then, she consulted with her mother.  The verdict?  We want the head of Baptist.

Herod agreed.  John was achieved his “Purpose Driven Life” and “Your Best Life Now.”  He was executed in the prison.

The Jewish historian, Flavius Josephus, in his Antiquities of the Jews, reviewed the event.  Herod took the Baptist’s head "lest the great influence John had over the people might put it into his [John's] power and inclination to raise a rebellion, (for they seemed ready to do anything he should advise)…so he thought it best to put him to death."  The historian further claims that many Jews thought the military disaster that befell Herod at the hands of Aretas, his father-in-law, was God's punishment for his unrighteous behavior. (Cf. Jewish Antiquities, XVIII, v, 2) 

This much, John the Baptist had visibility and significance as the Gospel writers so quickly.  We read these accounts so often; we are refreshed and encouraged by honor, courage, fidelity, and the fear of the LORD in this Elijah and forerunner of the Sovereign Redeemer.

15 September 2014 A.D.  Remembering Justification by Faith Alone—Rev. Dr. Prof. James Innes Packer

Packer, James.  “The Doctrine of Justification Among Puritans.”  Monergism.com.  N.d. http://www.monergism.com/doctrine-justification-among-puritans.  Accessed 19 Aug 2014.

The Doctrine of Justification Among the Puritans


http://www.monergism.com/sites/default/files/content_images/puritans.jpg

by J. I. Packer

“The confession of divine justification touches man’s life at its heart, at the point of its relationship to God; it defines the preaching of the Church, the existence and progress of the life of faith, the root of human security, and man’s perspective for the future.”

So Professor G. C. Berkouwer1 evaluates justification as set forth by Paul and re-apprehended at the Reformation: a truth which all the reforming leaders in Germany, Switzerland, France, and Britain, and all the confessions which they sponsored, were at one in highlighting, and which they all saw as articulus stantis vel cadentis ecclesiae—the point on which depends the standing or falling of the Church.

Luther, the pioneer, predicted, as a sure inference from what he knew of Satanic strategy, that after his death the truth of justification which he had been so instrumental in making known would come under stronger attack, and theology would develop in a way tending to submerge it once more in error and incomprehension. We find Puritan writers voicing a similar sense that the doctrine was very vulnerable, and only grace could keep it from being lost. It is worth setting out their reasons for thinking this.

First, they said, justification is a gospel mystery—a matter, that is, of divine revelation by grace. As such, it is doubly humbling. It humbles pride of intellect, because it could never have been guessed or worked out by unaided religious reason, and it humbles moral pride by assuming that all men are hopeless and helpless in sin. Naturally, people resent this, and, as Robert Traill said with abiding truth in his masterly Vindication of the Protestant Doctrine concerning Justification (1692), “this enmity in men to the wisdom of God, is . . . a temptation to many ministers to patch up and frame a gospel that is more suited to, and taking with, and more easily understood by such men, than the true gospel of Christ is.”2 The mystery of justification is thus threatened constantly by human pride.

Second, justification is a climatic mystery, like the top rung of a ladder which you reach via the other rungs, or the keystone of an arch supporting, and supported by, the bricks that flank it. Wrote Traill: “All the great fundamentals of Christian truth, centre in this of justification. The trinity of persons in the God-head; the incarnation of the only begotten of the Father; the satisfaction paid to the law and justice of God, for the sins of the world, by His obedience, and sacrifice of Himself in that flesh He assumed: and the divine authority of the scriptures, which reveal all this, are all straight lines of truth, that centre in this doctrine of the justification of a sinner by the imputation and application of that satisfaction.”3

Traill’s point, in context, is that to deny justification is to deny these other realities too;4 but the contrary point, that to query them is to lose justification also, is no less true. This has happened in our own day; misbelief about biblical authority, God’s wrath, and the atonement, has removed for many all basis for asserting justification in the biblical sense. Thus heretical theology becomes a second threat to the mystery of justification.

Third, justification is a spiritual mystery, which only the enlightened conscience of the man convicted of sin can appreciate. “The theme of justification hath suffered greatly by this,” complains Traill, “that many have employed their hands and pens, who never had their hearts and consciences exercised about it.”5 In the preface to his classic work, The Doctrine of Justification by Faith (1677), John Owen puts the positive point thus:

It is the practical direction of the consciences of men, in their application unto God by Jesus Christ, for deliverance from the curse due unto the apostate state, and peace with Him, with the influence of the way thereof unto universal gospel obedience, that is alone to be designed in the handling of this doctrine. And therefore, unto him that would treat of it in a due manner, it is required that he weigh every thing he asserts in his own mind and experience, and not dare to propose that unto others which he doth not abide by himself, in the most intimate recesses of his mind, under his nearest approaches unto God, in his surprisals with dangers, in deep afflictions, in his preparations for death, and most humble contemplations of the infinite distance between God and him. Other notions . . . not seasoned with these ingredients . . . are insipid and useless.6


The “light, frothy, trifling temper” of the 1690s seemed to Traill a major hindrance to right thinking about justification. (What would he have said had he lived in our day?) Spiritual frivolity, lacking seriousness and experience in approaching God, thus threatens the mystery of justification from a third angle.


Fourth, justification is a life-giving mystery, the source of all true peace of conscience, hope, love, joy, holiness, and assurance. Therefore the Puritans, like Luther, saw Satanic hostility as a fourth threat to the mystery of justification; for they knew that the adversary of God and God’s people must wish to suppress a truth so productive of glory to God and good to men.

Fifth, justification is a contradicted mystery. Justification by works is the natural religion of mankind, and has been since the Fall, so that, as Traill says, “all the ignorant people that know nothing of either law or gospel,” “all proud secure sinners,” “all formalists,” and “all the zealous devout people in a natural religion” line up together as “utter enemies to the gospel.”7 The Puritans saw that trio of theological relatives, Pelagianism, Arminianism, and Counter-Reformation Romanism, as the bastard offspring of natural religion fertilized by the gospel. So (to take one for many)Traill writes: “The principles of Arminianism are the natural dictates of a carnal mind, which is enmity both to the law of God, and to the gospel of Christ; and, next to the dead sea of Popery (into which also this stream runs), have since Pelagius to this day, been the greatest plague of the Church of Christ.” Again: “There is not a minister that dealeth seriously with the souls of men, but he finds an Arminian scheme of justification in every unrenewed heart.”8 Natural religion is thus a fifth threat to the mystery of justification.

My personal agreement with the Puritans in all this will be clear from the way I have put their position. I believe that in equating the Reformation doctrine of justification with that of the New Testament, and in their analysis of the dangers and conflicts to which it stood exposed, they were profoundly right, and it is from this standpoint that I shall now attempt to trace out ways in which the Reformation doctrine both developed and declined in the Puritan period—that is, for our purposes, from the last quarter of the sixteenth century (the age of Perkins) to the end of the seventeenth (the last publications of Owen, Baxter, Goodwin, and others of their generation). The developments, as we should expect, come from circles where the fires of spiritual vitality burned bright; the decline took place under influences which were rationalistic, naturalistic, and in the long run hostile to evangelical piety, though claiming to operate in its interest. We take the developments first.

The Development of the Doctrine

Luther’s account of justification was not analytical. His concern was to declare the fact that the living God justifies sinners through the cross as the heart of the gospel, and he expounded justification as God’s gracious answer to man’s desperate question, “How may I find a gracious God? What must I do to be saved?” The Puritans, standing at this point in the mainstream of second and third generation Reformed theology, took over Luther’s emphasis and added to it a further interest, namely a concern to grasp accurately the place and work and glory of the Lord Jesus Christ in our salvation. If Luther’s concern was evangelical and a function of preaching, this further concern was doxological and a function of worship. (Both concerns, of course, derive directly from the New Testament, and they are complementary, not contradictory.)

The Reformers’ exposition of justification boiled down to the following seven points:

1. Every man faces the judgment-seat of God, and must answer to God for himself. The Church cannot shield him from this.

2. Every man is a sinner by nature and practice, a nonconformist so far as God’s law is concerned, and therefore can only expect God’s wrath and rejection.

3. Justification is God’s judicial act of pardoning the guilty sinner, accepting him as righteous, and receiving him as a son.

4. The source of justification is grace, not human effort or initiative.

5. The ground of justification is Christ’s vicarious righteousness and blood-shedding, not our own merit.

6. The means of justification, here and now, is faith in Jesus Christ.

7. The fruit of faith, the evidence of its reality, is a manifested repentance and a life of good works.

The occasion of the later Reformed development was controversy with Romanism and Arminianism. This prompted closer reflection on the nature of the saving union between Christ and Christians, and led to development of thought at the following three points:

1. The ground of justification. The Council of Trent had defined justification as inner renewal plus pardon and acceptance, the renewal being the basis of the pardon, and had gone on to affirm that the “sole formal cause” (unica formalis causa) of justification, in both its aspects, was God’s righteousness (iustitia) imparted through baptism as the instrumental cause.9 “Formal cause,” in the language of the schools, denoted that which gave a thing its quality (thus, heat was the formal cause of a thing being hot, or having the quality of hotness). The thesis therefore was that the ground of our being pardoned was the quality of actual divine righteousness infused into us: God declares us righteous, and not liable to punishment for our sins, because we have been made genuinely righteous in ourselves. In the more biblical terminology of Protestantism, this was to make regeneration, or the commencement of sanctification, the ground of justification. In reply, a host of Reformed divines, continental and British, episcopal and nonconformist,10 drew out at length the position already made explicit by Calvin,11 that the “sole formal cause” of justification is not God’s righteousness imparted, but Christ’s righteousness imputed; and to make their meaning more clear they drew a distinction between Christ’s active obedience to God’s law, in keeping its precepts, and his passive obedience to it, in undergoing its penalty, and insisted that our acceptance as righteous depends on the imputing to us of Christ’s obedience in both its aspects. The same point was pressed against the Arminians, who held that faith is “counted for righteousness” because it is in itself actual personal righteousness, being obedience to the gospel viewed as God’s new law. The argument against both Romans and Arminians was that by finding the ground of justification in the believer himself they ministered to human pride on the one hand, and on the other hand robbed the Son of God of the glory which was His due. It is not enough, the Reformed writers held, to say that without Christ our justification would be impossible; one must go on to say that it is on the ground of His obedience, as our representative and substitutionary sin-bearer, and that alone, that righteousness is reckoned to us, and sin cancelled.

Though the phrase “formal cause,” and the distinction between active and passive obedience, do not appear in the statement on justification in the Westminster Confession, nonetheless this statement is a classic indication of the precision and balance of thought, as well as the polemical thrusts that were learned in these exchanges.

Those whom God effectually calleth He also freely justifieth; not by infusing righteousness into them, but by pardoning their sins, and by accounting and accepting their persons as righteous; not for anything wrought in them, or done by them, but for Christ’s sake alone; not by imputing faith itself, the act of believing, or any other evangelical obedience, to them as their righteousness; but by imputing the obedience and satisfaction of Christ unto them, they receiving and resting on Him and His righteousness by faith; which faith they have not of themselves; it is the gift of God.12


2. Regeneration and justification. Roman theologians attacked the Reformers from the first on the grounds that in denying inner renewal and subjective righteousness to be any part of justification they were affirming that justification can exist without regeneration and faith without good works. Roman thinking was evidently ruled by the typical legalist assumption that if good works do not bring salvation, but salvation is given freely without them, then no reason for doing them remains. The Reformers’ reply, that it is the nature of biblical faith, which is a gift of the Holy Spirit, to be active in good works all the time, made little impact: theological understanding and spiritual perception of the Holy Spirit’s work in the believer were alike lacking on the Roman side. The Puritans found themselves facing this same Roman polemic, and with it the Arminian thesis that justifying faith is, in the last analysis, not only man’s act but also his work, an independent achievement of which prevenient grace, though the necessary precondition, is not the effective source. On this basis, of course, no divine guarantee that faith will work by love can exist. Thus the Arminians appeared to Reformed thinkers to be playing into Rome’s hands at this point: Rome complained that justification according to Protestants was divorced from subjective renewal, and Arminianism admitted that faith might fail to produce good works every time.


The Puritans’ response to this situation was twofold. First, they reaffirmed the Reformers’ point, that “faith . . . the alone instrument of justification . . . is . . . not alone in the person justified, but is ever accompanied with all other saving graces, and is no dead faith, but worketh by love.”13 Second, they emphasized that justifying faith is given by God through effectual calling, which includes regeneration—that is, vitalizing union with the risen Christ through the sovereign work of the Spirit, from which, as a work of new creation, flows the sinner’s response to the gospel. (Rightly did George Smeaton describe Puritan divinity as “a theology of regeneration cultivated and expanded as a topic in itself,” a theology of which “it was the prominent peculiarity to bring out the distinction between nature and grace.”14) This emphasis both answered the Romans, by showing that though justification and regeneration are distinct the former cannot take place without the latter, and dealt with the Arminians by showing how completely man’s faith is God’s gift.15

3. The covenant context of justification. The Puritans developed what has been called “covenant theology”; they saw this as the scriptural setting in which the jewel of justification by faith should be exhibited. They defined the gospel as declaring “the Covenant of Grace; whereby (God) freely offereth unto sinners life and salvation by Jesus Christ, requiring of them faith in him, that they may be saved; and promising to give unto all those that are ordained unto life his Holy Spirit, to make them willing and able to believe.”16 They valued this covenant concept, first, because it links God’s promise to save believers with His purpose to bring His elect to faith; second, because it gives justification its place in the “golden chain” of stages in God’s saving purpose (election, redemption, and effectual calling going before; sanctification and glorification coming after); third, because it brings into sharp focus the saving ministry of Christ, as mediator and federal head of His people. The Westminster Confession embodies Puritan covenant theology in its classical form. Its biblical correctness is something which the student of the Scripture proofs adduced by the Confession may safely be left to estimate for himself.

The final element in the Puritan development of the doctrine of justification was to safeguard it against misstatement within the Puritan camp. Chapter 11 of the Westminster Confession wards off two such aberrations. The first is that justification is from eternity, i.e., before faith. William Twisse, first prolocutor of the Assembly, had maintained this as part of his case against Arminianism, but in addition to being unscriptural the idea is pastorally disastrous, for it reduces justifying faith to discovering that one is justified already, and so sets seekers waiting on God for assurance instead of exerting active trust in Christ. The trouble here was the assimilating of justification to election, and the Confession deals with it by drawing the correct distinction: “God did, from all eternity, decree to justify all the elect . . . nevertheless they are not justified until the Holy Spirit doth in due time actually apply Christ unto them.”17

The second misconception was that God takes no notice of the sins of the justified. This was the position called “Antinomian” by the orthodox, which created a major stir in the 1640s.18 In their zeal to magnify the liberty, peace, and joy of the man in Christ, the Antinomians (none of whom were front-rank theologians) had largely lost sight of two distinctions: that between God’s law as a covenant of works and as a rule of life, and that between justification and adoption, or God’s relationship to believers as Judge and as Father. Hence their failure to see, and say, with adequate clarity that the moral law still binds believers, as expressing God’s will for His adopted children, and that the Father-son relationship between Him and them will be spoiled if His will is ignored or defied. The Confession says what is necessary. “God doth continue to forgive the sins of those that are justified: and although they can never fall from the state of justification, yet they may by their sins fall under God’s fatherly displeasure, and not have the light of His countenance restored unto them, until they humble themselves, confess their sins, beg pardon, and renew their faith and repentance.”19

The Decline of the Doctrine

Now we turn to the sadder side of the picture, and trace out those influences which distorted the doctrines of justification in England, and progressively robbed it of its proper influence, even among the Puritans themselves. This part of our story deals with two movements: Arminianism, and the Neonomianism (so-called) of Richard Baxter.

Arminianism, as broached by Jacob Hermandzoon (Arminius) at the turn of the sixteenth century, formulated in the Remonstrance of 1610, and taught by Episcopius, Curcellaeus, and Limborch at the Remonstrant Seminary in Amsterdam, was essentially a denial of some basic Reformed assertions.

The first denial relevant to our theme was that already noticed, namely that man’s act of faith is wholly God’s gift.

The second relevant denial was that there is a direct correlation in God’s plan between the obtaining of redemption by Christ’s obedience, active and passive, and the saving application of redemption by the Holy Spirit—direct, that is, in the sense that the former secures and guarantees the latter. The Arminian alternative was that the atonement made salvation possible for all but not necessarily actual for any. This involved abandoning the concept of the atonement as substitutionary¸ for substitution is, by its very nature, an effective relationship, securing actual immunity from obligation for the person in whose place the substitute acts:

Payment God will not twice demand,

First from my bleeding Surety’s hand

And then again from mine.

Grotius’ famous, or infamous, theory of the atonement as an example of punishment was one of several ways in which the Arminian conception was spelled out.

The third relevant denial was that the covenant of grace is a relationship which God imposes unilaterally and unconditionally, by effectual calling, saying to His elect, “I will . . . and you shall. . . . ” The Arminian alternative was that the covenant of grace is a new law, offering present pardon on condition of present faith and final salvation on condition of sustained faith.

The fourth relevant denial was that faith is essentially fiducial (a matter of trusting another, and what he has done). The Arminian alternative was that faith is essentially volitional (a matter of committing oneself to do something, i.e., live by the new law which Christ procured).

The fifth relevant denial was that the ground of justification is Christ’s righteousness imputed. The Arminian alternative was that faith itself is the ground of justification, being itself righteousness (obedience to the new law) and accepted by God as such. Appeal was made to the references in Romans 4:3, 5, 9 (cf. 11, 13) to faith being reckoned for righteousness, though the absence from Romans of the “new law” idea, the insistence that the Christian’s righteousness is God’s gift (5:15–17), and the repeated emphasis that sinners, though ungodly (4:5, 5:6–8), are justified through Christ’s blood irrespective of their own works, makes this exegesis really impossible.

Arminianism made small inroads into the Puritan ranks: the only Arminian Puritan of ability was John Goodwin, author of Imputatio Fidei (on Romans 4), An Exposition of Romans 9, Redemption Redeemed, and The Banner of Justification Displayed.20 But Caroline Anglicans, Cambridge Platonists, and later Latitudinarians took up with Arminianism, linked to a strong anti-Calvinistic polemic, and after the Restoration the mainstream of English Christianity flowed in this channel. Typical of the later outlook was the (unhappily) influential Bishop Bull, who interpreted Paul by James and understood both as teaching justification by works (faith being, on Bull’s view, “virtually the whole of evangelical obedience,” and thus a work in the fullest sense).21 Arminian doctrine of this kind led inevitably to a new legalism of which the key thought was that the exerting of steady moral effort now is the way to salvation hereafter. The meaning of faith as trust in Christ’s person and work was forgotten; the experiences of conversion and assurance were dismissed as “enthusiasm,” dangerous to the soul; and present justification ceased to be an issue of importance or interest.

One effect of the Arminian controversy on the Continent was to spark off the mediating theology of the “new Methodists” of Saumur seminary. This teaching, pioneered by the Scot John Cameron, who taught at Saumur from 1618 to 1621, was developed by Moise Amyraut and has gone down in history under the name of Amyraldism. A. W. Harrison calls it a “half-way house between Calvinism and Arminianism”;22 it adopts the Arminian view of the covenant of grace and indefinite (universal) redemption, but retains the Calvinistic belief in particular election, effectual calling, and final preservation. Its importance for our story is that Richard Baxter, perhaps the greatest of Puritan writers on Christian practice, advocated a version of it, which as a result of more than forty years’ campaigning by him in its interest became both popular and notorious in England and Scotland at the turn of the seventeenth century. In the 1690s it was referred to as “Baxterianism” and (because of the prominence it gave to the “new law” idea) “Neonomianism.”23

Baxter’s view sprang from natural theology; he thought Bible teaching about God’s kingdom and rule should be assimilated to contemporary political ideas, or, as he put it, that theology should follow a “political method.” God should be thought of as governor, and the gospel as part of His legal code. Our salvation requires a double righteousness: Christ’s, which led to the enacting of God’s new law, and our own, in obeying that new law by genuine faith and repentance. Faith is imputed for righteousness because it is real obedience to the gospel, which is God’s new law. Faith, however, involves a commitment to keep the moral law, which was God’s original code, and every believer, though righteous in terms of the new law, needs pardon every moment for his shortcomings in relation to the old law. Jesus Christ, who procured the new law for mankind by satisfying the prescriptive and penal requirements of the old one, should be thought of as Head of God’s government, enthroned to pardon true believers. Into this “political” frame of concepts, learned mainly from the Arminian Hugo de Groot (Grotius), Baxter fitted the Amyraldean soteriology.

Baxter was convinced that those who held the ground and formal cause of our justification to be the imputing to us of Christ’s own righteousness (i.e., his fulfillment of the precept and penalty of the moral law) were logically committed to Antinomianism, on the “payment-God-will-not-twice-demand” principle. At this point in his thinking (though not elsewhere) Baxter assumed, with his Roman and Socinian contemporaries, that law-keeping has no relevance for God or man save as work done to earn acceptance and salvation, so that if the law has been kept once in our name, no basis remains for requiring us to keep it a second time in our own persons. It is an odd mistake to find him making; but he never got his streak of legalism out of his theological system. Naturally, his conviction on this point (of which he made no secret) led to vigorous debate at several periods in his life, including, sadly, his last months on earth, when by assaulting as Antinomian the reprinted sermons of Tobias Crisp (first in a Pinner’s Hall lecture, and then in The Scripture Gospel Defended) he effectively wrecked the “happy union” between Presbyterians and Independents almost before it had been contracted.

The Crispian controversy produced much heated writing, but the best contribution was the coolest—Robert Traill’s Vindication of the Protestant Doctrine Concerning Justification, and of Its Preachers and Professors, from the Unjust Charge of Antinomianism: In a Letter from the Author, to a Minister in the Country.24 Quietly but effectively Traill made the two points which really scupper Baxter’s scheme. First, the scheme demonstrably fails to come to terms with the representative headship of Christ, the second Adam, as this is set forth in Romans 5:12ff. It is, of course, on this unique federal relationship between Christ and His people that the imputing to them of His righteousness is based. Then, second, the scheme is so artificial as to be spiritually unreal; for a sinner pressed in conscience by the burden of uncleanness and guilt finds relief, not by reminding himself that his faith is evangelical righteousness according to the new law, but by looking to the cross of Christ. “My Savior’s obedience and blood Hides all my transgressions from view.” Talk of one’s faith as one’s righteousness at such a time is at best a frivolity and at worst a snarl.

Nor is this all that needs to be said. Baxter was a great and saintly man; as pastor, evangelist, and devotional writer, no praise for him can be too high; but as a theologian he was, though brilliant, something of a disaster. On his “political” theology, viewed as an attempt to explicate Bible teaching, the following points have to be made:

1. The “political method” is itself rationalistic. To make concepts of monarchy, legislation, and ideal government, borrowed from the world of seventeenth-century political theory, into a straitjacket for the scriptural proclamation of God the King and Christ the Lord, is not merely quaint; it is theologically vicious, and has bad effects all along the line.

2. The “political” idea of sin is of transgression and guilt, analogous to crime. This externalizes sin, so that its indwelling power in the individual, and its demonic corporate influence, are under-stressed.

3. The “political” idea of Christ as Head of God’s government rather than of His people, and of His death as one presupposition of our sins being remitted rather than the procuring cause of it, and of the remission of sins itself as public pardon rather than personal forgiveness, makes the Lord Jesus seem remote to a degree, and more like a Judge than a Savior. It obscures His substitution for us on the cross, and plays down His sympathy for us from the throne.

4. The “political” idea of faith as allegiance and commitment loses sight of the dimension of self-despairing trust: faith appears less as the outstretched empty hand of a spiritual bankrupt than as the signing on of a resolute volunteer, a work of some strength and merit.

5. The “political” idea of God in a real sense loses God. It is important to see this. Baxter follows Grotius in maintaining that when God purposed to glorify Himself by restoring fallen man, He carried out His plan not by satisfying the law, but by changing it. A new law was brought in, which waived the penal requirement of the original law. This assumes that the demand for retribution in the original law was not grounded in the nature of God, but only in the exigencies of government. What is at issue here is the divine holiness. Reformed theology sees both the precept and the penalty of the law of God as a permanent expression of God’s eternal and unchangeable holiness and justice, and argues that God does not save sinners at His law’s expense; rather, He saves them by satisfying His law on their behalf, so that He continues to be just when He becomes their justifier. Baxter’s scheme makes the wrath of God against sin something less than a revelation of His abiding character, and so opens the door to the idea that benevolence is really the whole essence of his moral being: an idea made explicit by the liberalism of a later age.

Thus Baxter, by the initial rationalism of his “political method,” which forced Scripture into an a priori mold, sowed the seeds of moralism with regard to sin, Arianism with regard to Christ, legalism with regard to faith and salvation, and liberalism with regard to God. In his own teaching, steeped as it was in the older affectionate “practical” Puritan tradition, these seeds lay largely dormant, but later Presbyterianism in both England and Scotland reaped the bitter crop. It is sadly fitting that the Richard Baxter Church in Kidderminster today should be—Unitarian. What we see in Baxter is an early stage in the decline, not simply of the doctrine of justification among the Puritans, but of the Puritan insight into the nature of Christianity as a whole.

Conclusion

So, after more than a century of clear gospel light, Arminianism brought darkness back to the minds of conformists and Baxterianism did the same for nonconformists. Natural theology and religious moralism triumphed in England, and, just as Luther had foreseen and Traill feared, the Scripture doctrine of justification was for a time lost to view—until the day when a tremendous voice rang across the country elaborating sermon scripts such as this:

Are any of you depending upon a righteousness of your own? Do any of you here think to save yourselves by your own doings? I say to you . . . your righteousness shall perish with you. Poor miserable creatures! What is there in your tears? What in your prayers? What in your performances, to appease the wrath of an angry God? Away from the trees of the garden; come, ye guilty wretches, come as poor, lost, undone, and wretched creatures, and accept of a better righteousness than your own. As I said before, so I tell you again, the righteousness of Jesus Christ is an everlasting righteousness; it is wrought out for the very chief of sinners. Ho, every one that thirsteth, let him come and drink of this water of life freely. Are any of you wounded by sin? Do any of you feel you have no righteousness of your own? Are any of you perishing for hunger? Are any of you afraid ye will perish for ever? Come, dear souls, in all your rags; come, thou poor man; come, thou poor distressed woman; you, who think God will never forgive you, and that your sins are too great to be forgiven; come, thou doubting creature, who art afraid thou wilt never get comfort; arise, take comfort, the Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of life, the Lord of glory, calls for thee. . . .O let not one poor soul stand at a distance from the Saviour. . . . O Come, come! Now, since it is brought into the world by Christ, so, in the name, in the strength, and by the assistance of the great God, I bring it now to the pulpit; I now offer this righteousness, this free, this imputed, this everlasting righteousness, to all poor sinners who will accept of it. . . . Think, I pray you, therefore, on these things; go home, go home, go home, pray over the text, and say, “Lord God, Thou hast brought an everlasting righteousness into the world by the Lord Jesus Christ; by the blessed Spirit bring it into my heart!” then, die when ye will, ye are safe; if it be tomorrow, ye shall be immediately translated into the presence of the everlasting God; that will be sweet! Happy they who have got this robe on; happy they that can say, “My God hath loved me, and I shall be loved by Him with an everlasting love!” That every one of you may be able to say so, may God grant, for the sake of Jesus Christ, the dear Redeemer; to whom be glory for ever. Amen.25


Whose voice? Why, George Whitefield’s: a man who knew, and could express, what the Scripture gospel of justification by faith is all about. With him a new chapter opened in British Christianity—but that is another story, beyond the scope of this paper.


 

ENDNOTES

1. G. C. Berkouwer, Faith and Justification (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1954), p. 17.

2. Robert Traill, Vindication of the Protestant Doctrine Concerning Justification, in The Works of the Late Reverend Robert Traill, 3 vols. (Glasgow, 1795), 1:313.

3. Traill, Vindication of the Protestant Doctrine, p. 332.

4. “The forsaking of the doctrine of justification by faith in Christ’s righteousness, hath been the first step of apostasy in many, who have not stopped till they revolted from Christianity itself.” Ibid., p. 333.

5. Ibid., p. 332.

6. John Owen, The Doctrine of Justification by Faith (1677), in The Works of John Owen, ed. William H. Goold, 16 vols. (1850; reprint ed., London: Banner of Truth, 1965), 5:4.

7. Traill, Vindication of the Protestant Doctrine, pp. 313–314.

8. Ibid., pp. 321, 329.

9. Decrees of the Council of Trent, 6.7, cf. 5.5. Both are translated in C. F. Allison, The Rise of Moralism: The Proclamation of the Gospel from Hooker to Baxter (London: S.P.C.K., 1966), pp. 213–14. Allison has assembled much thought-provoking material about the doctrine of justification in the seventeenth century.

10. Among the Anglicans were Richard Hooker; Bishops George Downame, John Davenant, James Ussher, Robert Hall, Thomas Barlow, John Bramhall, William Beveridge, and Thomas Tuloly. Among the Presbyterians and later non-conformists were Anthony Burgess, John Owen, and Robert Traill.

11. “It is entirely by the intervention of Christ’s righteousness that we obtain justification before God. This is equivalent to saying that man is not just in himself, but that the righteousness of Christ is communicated to him by imputation, while he is strictly deserving of punishment. Thus vanishes the absurd dogma, that man is justified by faith inasmuch as faith brings him under the influence of the Spirit of God, by whom he is rendered righteous.” John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, 3.11.23. See also Calvin’s discussion of session 6 of the Council of Trent, in his Tracts and Treatises, 3 vols. (1844; reprint ed., Edinburgh: Oliver and Boyd, 1958), 3:108ff., especially pp. 114–21.

12. Westminster Confession of Faith, 11.1.

13. Ibid., 11.2.

14. George Smeaton, The Doctrine of the Holy Spirit, 2d ed. (Edinburgh, 1889), pp. 327–28.

15. In the Westminster Confession, “Of Effectual Calling” (chap. 10) precedes “Of Justification” (chap. 11). The first two sections of chapter 10 read as follows: (1) “All those whom God hath predestinated unto life, and those only, he is pleased, in his appointed and accepted time, effectually to call, by his word and Spirit, out of that state of sin and death in which they are by nature, to grace and salvation by Jesus Christ; enlightening their minds spiritually and savingly to understand the things of God; taking away their heart of stone, and giving unto them an heart of flesh; renewing their wills, and by his almighty power determining them to that which is good; and effectually drawing them to Jesus Christ; yet so as they come most freely, being made willing by his grace.” (2) “This effectual call is of God’s free and special grace alone, not from any thing at all foreseen in man; who is altogether passive therein, until, being quickened and renewed by the Holy Spirit, he is thereby enabled to answer this call, and to embrace the grace offered and conveyed in it.”

16. Westminster Confession of Faith, 7.3.

17. Ibid., 11.4.

18. A clear if unsympathetic summary of Antinomian tenets, viewed as so many deviations from Reformed orthodoxy, is given in James Buchanan, The Doctrine of Justification (Edinburgh, 1867), pp. 171ff. The main Antinomian authors were John Eaton, Henry Denne, Robert Towne, John Saltmarsh, and (in the view of some) Tobias Crisp.

19. Westminster Confession of Faith, 11.5.

20. John Goodwin: Imputatio Fidei (London, 1642); An Exposition of the Ninth Chapter of the Epistle to the Romans (London, 1653); Redemption Redeemed (London, 1840); The Banner of Justification Displayed (London, 1659).

21. George Bull, Harmonia Apostolica, Library of Anglo-Catholic Theology (Oxford, 1842), 1:58; quoted in Allison, The Rise of Moralism, chap. 6, “The Theology of George Bull.”

22. A. W. Harrison, Arminianism (London: Duckworth, 1937), p. 111. Amyraldism is evaluated (under the name “Post-redemptionism”) in B. B. Warfield, The Plan of Salvation, rev. ed. (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1935), pp. 90–96.

23. Cf. Peter Toon, The Emergence of Hyper-Calvinism in English Nonconformity, 1689–1765 (London: Olive Tree, 1967), chap. 3, for details of the story.

24. Robert Traill, Vindication of the Protestant Doctrine Concerning Justification, and of Its Preachers and Professors, from the Unjust Charge of Antinomianism: In a Letter from the Author, to a Minister in the Countrey (London, 1692).

25. George Whitefield, Sermons on Important Subjects: By the Rev. George Whitefield, A.M. (London, 1832), pp. 207ff.