The Abstract of Principles – Part 4

In 1858, The Abstract of Principles, developed by James P. Boyce and Basil Manly, Jr., was adopted as the official statement of faith of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

XVI. The Lord’s Supper

The Lord’s Supper is an ordinance of Jesus Christ, to be administered with the elements of bread and wine, and to be observed by His churches till the end of the world. It is in no sense a sacrifice, but is designed to commemorate His death, to confirm the faith and other graces of Christians, and to be a bond, pledge and renewal of their communion with Him, and of their church fellowship.

XVII. The Lord’s Day

The Lord’s Day is a Christian institution for regular observance, and should be employed in exercises of worship and spiritual devotion, both public and private, resting from worldly employments and amusements, works of necessity and mercy only excepted.

XVIII. Liberty of Conscience

God alone is Lord of the conscience; and He hath left it free from the doctrines and commandments of men, which are in anything contrary to His word, or not contained in it. Civil magistrates being ordained of God, subjection in all lawful things commanded by them ought to be yielded by us in the Lord, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake.

XIX. The Resurrection

The bodies of men after death return to dust, but their spirits return immediately to God-the righteous to rest with Him; the wicked, to be reserved under darkness to the judgment. At the last day, the bodies of all the dead, both just and unjust, will be raised.

XX. The Judgment

God hath appointed a day, wherein He will judge the world by Jesus Christ, when every one shall receive according to his deeds; the wicked shall go into everlasting punishment; the righteous, into everlasting life.

The Abstract of Principles – Part 3

In 1858, The Abstract of Principles, developed by James P. Boyce and Basil Manly, Jr., was adopted as the official statement of faith of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

XI. Justification

Justification is God’s gracious and full acquittal of sinners, who believe in Christ, from all sin, through the satisfaction that Christ has made; not for anything wrought in them or done by them; but on account of the obedience and satisfaction of Christ, they receiving and resting on Him and His righteousness by faith.

XII. Sanctification

Those who have been regenerated are also sanctified by God’s word and Spirit dwelling in them. This sanctification is progressive through the supply of Divine strength, which all saints seek to obtain, pressing after a heavenly life in cordial obedience to all Christ’s commands.

XIII. Perseverance of the Saints

Those whom God hath accepted in the Beloved, and sanctified by His Spirit, will never totally nor finally fall away from the state of grace, but shall certainly persevere to the end; and though they may fall through neglect and temptation, into sin, whereby they grieve the Spirit, impair their graces and comforts, bring reproach on the Church, and temporal judgments on themselves, yet they shall be renewed again unto repentance, and be kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.

XIV. The Church

The Lord Jesus is the head of the Church, which is composed of all His true disciples, and in Him is invested supremely all power for its government. According to His commandment, Christians are to associate themselves into particular societies or churches; and to each of these churches He hath given needful authority for administering that order, discipline and worship which He hath appointed. The regular officers of a Church are Bishops or Elders, and Deacons.

XV. Baptism

Baptism is an ordinance of the Lord Jesus, obligatory upon every believer, wherein he is immersed in water in the name of the Father, and the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, as a sign of his fellowship with the death and resurrection of Christ, of remission of sins, and of giving himself up to God, to live and walk in newness of life. It is prerequisite to church fellowship, and to participation in the Lord’s Supper.

The Abstract of Principles – Part 2

In 1858, The Abstract of Principles, developed by James P. Boyce and Basil Manly, Jr., was adopted as the official statement of faith of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

VI. The Fall of Man

God originally created Man in His own image, and free from sin; but, through the temptation of Satan, he transgressed the command of God, and fell from his original holiness and righteousness; whereby his posterity inherit a nature corrupt and wholly opposed to God and His law, are under condemnation, and as soon as they are capable of moral action, become actual transgressors.

VII. The Mediator

Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, is the divinely appointed mediator between God and man. Having taken upon Himself human nature, yet without sin, He perfectly fulfilled the law; suffered and died upon the cross for the salvation of sinners. He was buried, and rose again the third day, and ascended to His Father, at whose right hand He ever liveth to make intercession for His people. He is the only Mediator, the Prophet, Priest and King of the Church, and Sovereign of the Universe.

VIII. Regeneration

Regeneration is a change of heart, wrought by the Holy Spirit, who quickeneth the dead in trespasses and sins enlightening their minds spiritually and savingly to understand the Word of God, and renewing their whole nature, so that they love and practice holiness. It is a work of God’s free and special grace alone.

IX. Repentance

Repentance is an evangelical grace, wherein a person being by the Holy Spirit, made sensible of the manifold evil of his sin, humbleth himself for it, with godly sorrow, detestation of it, and self-abhorrence, with a purpose and endeavor to walk before God so as to please Him in all things.

X. Faith

Saving faith is the belief, on God’s authority, of whatsoever is revealed in His Word concerning Christ; accepting and resting upon Him alone for justification and eternal life. It is wrought in the heart by the Holy Spirit, and is accompanied by all other saving graces, and leads to a life of holiness.

The Abstract of Principles – Part 1

In 1858, The Abstract of Principles, developed by James P. Boyce and Basil Manly, Jr., was adopted as the official statement of faith of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

I. The Scriptures

The Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments were given by inspiration of God, and are the only sufficient, certain and authoritative rule of all saving knowledge, faith and obedience.

II. God

There is but one God, the Maker, Preserver and Ruler of all things, having in and of Himself, all perfections, and being infinite in them all; and to Him all creatures owe the highest love, reverence and obedience.

III. The Trinity

God is revealed to us as Father, Son and Holy Spirit each with distinct personal attributes, but without division of nature, essence or being.

IV. Providence

God from eternity, decrees or permits all things that come to pass, and perpetually upholds, directs and governs all creatures and all events; yet so as not in any wise to be the author or approver of sin nor to destroy the free will and responsibility of intelligent creatures.

V. Election

Election is God’s eternal choice of some persons unto everlasting life – not because of foreseen merit in them, but of His mere mercy in Christ – in consequence of which choice they are called, justified and glorified.

On Being Brought from Africa to America

Pastor John Piper posted a fascinating article today on Phillis Wheatley, a young African woman living as a slave in Boston, who was the first black person in history to publish a book of poetry in English. This remarkable young woman was sold into slavery at eight years of age in 1761 and died at the age of 31 on December 5, 1784.

’Twas mercy brought me from my Pagan land,
Taught my benighted soul to understand
That there’s a God, that there’s a Saviour too:
Once I redemption neither sought nor knew.
Some view our sable race with scornful eye,
“Their colour is a diabolic die.”
Remember, Christians, Negros, black as Cain,
May be refin’d and join th’ angelic train.

—Phillis Wheatley
Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral

Via: Desiring God Blog

I Am A Man

I Am A Man

This moving photo was included in an article titled “Racial Justice and the Godness of God” that was posted today by Dr. Russell Moore.

On a wall in my study hangs one of my favorite pictures. It’s a photograph of a line of civil rights workers—in the heat of the Jim Crow era. They’re standing shoulder-to-shoulder, all of them bearing a sandwich-board-type sign. The sign reads, simply: “I Am a Man.”

I love that picture because it sums up precisely the issue at that time, and at every time. The struggle for civil rights for African-Americans in this country wasn’t simply a “political” question. It wasn’t merely the question of, as Martin Luther King Jr. put it from before the Lincoln Memorial, the unfulfilled promises of the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution (although it was nothing less than that). At its root, Jim Crow (and the spirit of Jim Crow, still alive and sinister) is about theology. It’s about the question of the “Godness” of God and the humanness of humanity.

White supremacy was, like all iniquity from the Garden insurrection on, cruelly cunning. Those with power were able to keep certain questions from being asked by keeping poor and working-class white people sure that they were superior to someone: to the descendants of the slaves around them. The idea of the special dignity of the white “race” gave something of a feeling of aristocracy to those who were otherwise far from privilege, while fueling the fallen human passions of wrath, jealousy, and pride.

In so doing, Jim Crow repeated the old strategies of the reptilian powers of the air: to convince human beings simultaneously and paradoxically that they are gods and animals. In the Garden, after all, the snake approached God’s image-bearer, directing her as though he had dominion over her (when it was, in fact, the other way around). He treated her as an animal, and she didn’t even see it. At the same time, the old dragon appealed to her to transcend the limits of her dignity. If she would reach for the forbidden, she would be “like God, knowing good and evil.” He suggested that she was more than a human; she was a goddess.

That’s why the words “I Am a Man” were more than a political slogan. They were a theological manifesto. Those bravely wearing those signs were declaring that they’d decided not to believe the rhetoric used against them. They refused to believe the propaganda that they were a “lesser race,” or even just a different race. They refused to believe the propaganda (sometimes propped up by twisted Bible verses) that they and their ancestors were bestial, animal-like, unworthy of personhood.

The words affirmed the thing that frightened the racist establishment more than anything. Those behind the signs were indeed persons. They bore a dignity that could not be extinguished by custom or legislation. I am a man.

The words also implied a fiery rebuke. The white supremacists believed they could deny human dignity to those they deemed lesser. They had no right to do so. They believed themselves to be gods and not creatures, able to decree whatever they willed with no thought to natural rights, or to nature’s God. The signs pointed out what that those who made unjust laws, and who unleashed the water-hoses and pit-bull dogs, were only human, and, as such, would face judgment.

The civil rights movement succeeded not simply because the arc of history bends toward justice but because, embedded in our common humanity, we know that Someone is bending it toward a Judgment Seat.

“I Am a Man,” the sign said, with all the dignity that truth carries with it. And, the sign implied, “You Are Just a Man.” If that’s so, then, as Odetta would sing, “God’s Gonna Cut You Down.” The truth there is deeper than the struggles of the last couple of centuries. It gets to the root problem of fallen human existence, and it’s the reason white supremacy was of the spirit of Antichrist.

Behind the horror of Jim Crow is the horror of satanized humanity, always kicking against its own creatureliness, always challenging the right of God to be God. However often this spirit emerges, with all its pride and brutality, the Word of God still stands: “You are but a man, and no god” (Ezek. 28:2).

The gospel that reconciles the sons of slaveholders with the sons of slaves is the same gospel that reconciled the sons of Amalek with the sons of Abraham. It is a gospel that reclaims the dignity of humanity and the lordship of God. It is a gospel that presents us with a brother who puts the lie to any claim to racial superiority as he takes on the glory and limits of our common humanity in Adam. Jim Crow is put to flight ultimately because Jesus Christ steps forward out of history and announces, with us, “I Am a Man.”

—Dr. Russell D. Moore
Racial Justice and the Godness of God

Racial Justice and the Godness of God

Please take the time to visit Dr. Moore’s site.

The Gettysburg Address

On November 19, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln delivered the 272 word Gettysburg Address at the dedication ceremony of the Soldiers’ National Cemetery at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.

Fourscore and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field as a final resting-place for those who here gave their lives, that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate – we cannot consecrate – we cannot hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us – that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion – that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain – that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

—Abraham Lincoln

The following audio file contains a reading of the Gettysburg Address by Mr. Sam Waterston as it was broadcast on NPR’s Morning Edition on November 19, 2003.

What Is a Presbyterian?

What is a Presbyterian? What comes to mind when you hear that word (other than a name that is difficult to spell!)? It might surprise you to know that it is a word that is both biblical and historical in nature.

Presbyterian is biblical in that it refers to a form of church government in which the overseeing (or the “shepherding”) is done by elders. In fact, “Presbyterian” comes from a Greek work that simply means “elder.” When the Council of Jerusalem is called in Acts 15, those who attend are apostles and elders (Acts 15:6). After spending considerable time in the city, Paul delivers a farewell address to the elders in Ephesus, warning them to watch over their flock, the church (Acts 20:17-31). Titus is instructed to appoint elders where there are churches (Titus 1:5). And Timothy was ordained to the ministry by a group of elders (literally, a “presbytery” or “body of elders”; see 1 Timothy 4:14). These elders are godly men who watch over the church and are concerned with the spiritual needs of the members, committing themselves to prayer and the word in order to lead God’s people. The name “Presbyterian” simply reflects the way God has established, through His word, the way He desires for His people to be watched, guarded, and feed.

Presbyterian is also an historical term. It is most closely associated with John Knox, the great Scottish Reformer. Knox was greatly influenced by John Calvin, including the theology which brought about the Protestant Reformation – the recovery of the gospel (“good news”) of salvation by God’s grace alone through faith alone in Jesus Christ alone. When Knox returned to Scotland in 1559, he brought with him a biblical form of church government (which was dubbed “Presbyterianism”) derived from the teachings of Calvin. In 1560, with the adoption of the Scottish Confession of Faith, Presbyterianism became the official church (or “kirk”) of Scotland. Presbyterianism was further solidified nearly a century later with the Westminster Confession of Faith, completed in 1648. Presbyterians were among those who traveled to the New World and helped colonize what would become the United States. In fact, the Associated Reformed Presbyterian Church dates back to the beginning of the United States, having been established in 1782, after the end of the Revolutionary War.

So the next time someone asks you about Presbyterianism, be sure to tell them it is both biblical and historical. While it is important that a Christian denomination has its roots in history, it is even more important that it has its origin in the word of God. And Presbyterianism is the best of both worlds.

—Pastor Tim Phillips

Via: Tim Phillips