There is a new page available on RB Daily. I have decided to make some of the sermons I have preached available here. I will continue to add to this page as more preaching opportunities arise. Any feedback is also appreciated, as I endeavor to improve upon my preaching abilities. May you be blessed and may God be glorifed.
As of now, you can access this website through the url: www.reformedbaptistdaily.com. However, I have decided to save a little extra money by not paying to have the url without the “wordpress” portion. In other words, my site url will soon change to: www.reformedbaptistdaily.wordpress.com. That’s it. You’ll just have to start including the “wordpress” part of the url. Nothing major; I just want to make sure people know now. Thank you.
I confess the 1689 Confession because I confess the Bible, and the Confession is a faithful and thorough articulation of the truth of God’s word. I know this partially has to do with the particular ecclesiastical and theological circles I’m within, but it seems like the 1689 Confession, and the theology it espouses, is being talked about all over the place. This is a wonderful thing, and a reason for rejoicing. I would love to see more and more Baptists become familiar with this historic Confession and the churchmen surrounding it, both in time past (e.g. William Collins, Hercules Collins, Nehemiah Coxe, Benjamin Keach, Charles Spurgeon) and in our own time (e.g. James Renihan, Samuel Waldron, Richard Barcellos, Robert Gonzales, James White, Pascal Denault, Tom Nettles, and many, many others). The 2nd London Confession of Faith (1689) is rich in Reformed, congregational, Baptist theology; and the history surrounding it is just as exciting. In hopes of spreading the word on this Confession, I’ve made available here a number of links to various sites that will guide you into a fuller understanding of the 1689 Confession, its history, and Reformed, congregational, and Baptist theology. May you be blessed in your studies, and may God be glorified as His children study the doctrines of the Bible, so neatly laid out and expounded in the Confession.
The following is an ordination address by James Ussher (1581-1656), found as an appendix in his A Body of Divinity [SGCB, 2007. 453]. His words are experienced, passionate, and pointed. Think of this as a philosophy of ministry/preaching. Ministers of our day, whether seasoned, novice, or yet in seminary training, will do well to read and heed Ussher’s instruction:
I. READ and Study the Scriptures carefully, wherein is the best Learning, and only infallible Truth; they can furnish you with the best materials for your Sermons; the only Rules of Faith and Practice; the most powerful motives to persuade and convince the Conscience; and the strongest arguments to confute all Errors, Heresies, and Schisms: Therefore be sure, let all your Sermons be congruous to them; and to this End, it is expedient that you understand them as well in the Originals, as in the Translations.
II. Take not hastily up other men’s Opinions without due Trial, nor vent your own Conceits, but compare them first with the Analogy of Faith, and Rules of Holiness, recorded in the Scriptures, which are the proper Test of all Opinions and Doctrines.
III. Meddle with Controversies and doubtful Points as little as may be in your popular preaching, lest you puzzle your hearers, or engage them in wrangling Disputations, and so hinder their Conversion, which is the main design of Preaching.
IV. Insist most on those Points that tend to effect sound Belief, sincere Love to God, Repentance for Sin, and that may persuade to Holiness of Life: Press these things home to the Conscience of your Hearers, as of absolute necessity, leaving no gap for evasions, but bind them as close as may be to their duty; and as you ought to preach Sound and Orthodox Doctrine, so ought you to deliver God’s Message as near as may be in God’s Words; that is, in such as are plain and intelligible, that the meanest of your Auditors may understand: To which end it is necessary to back all practical Precepts and Doctrines, with apt Proofs from the holy Scriptures; avoiding all Exotic Phrases, Scholastic Terms, unnecessary Quotations of Authors, and forced Rhetorical Figures, since it is not difficult to make easy things appear hard, but to render hard things easy is the hardest part of a good Orator, as well as Preacher.
V. Get your hearts sincerely affected with the things you persuade others to embrace, that so you may preach Experimentally, and your Hearers perceive that you are in good earnest, and press nothing upon them but what may tend to their advantage, and which your self would venture your own Salvation on.
VI. Study and consider well the Subjects you intend to Preach on, before you come into the Pulpit, and then words will readily offer themselves; yet think what you are about to say, before you speak, avoiding all uncouth, fantastical words, or phrases, or nauseous, indecent, or ridiculous expressions, which will quickly bring Preaching into contempt, and make your Sermons and Persons, the subjects of Sport and Merriment.
VII. Dissemble not the Truths of God in any case, nor comply with the Lusts of Men, or give any countenance to Sin by word or deed.
VIII. But above all, you must never forget to order your own Conversation as becomes the Gospel, that so you may teach by Example as well as Precept, and that you may appear a good Divine every where, as well as in the Pulpit; for a Minister’s Life and Conversation is more heeded than his Doctrine.
In his well-acclaimed work, A Body of Divinity (only $5 at Solid Ground Christian Books!), which is formatted as a catechism (Q/A), Archbishop James Ussher (1581-1656) explains the nature of our relationship to our first parent, Adam; or perhaps better put, his relationship to us, his posterity, specifically in regard to our inheriting his (Adam’s) guilt. The topic of original sin – our inheriting a sinful nature from Adam’s Fall, as well as the guilt or condemnation of it – is a hot topic in our day, especially within the Southern Baptist Convention. For this reason, and for the purpose of edification in the truth of God’s word, I make available here Ussher’s comments on this most crucial point (note: I have modified the way in which Ussher’s Scriptural references were written, in order to conform to modern rendering):
What reason is there that all their Posterity should take part with them both in their Fall, and in the woeful effect thereof? It seemeth not to stand with the Justice of God to punish us for the sin that we never did.
Our first Parents were by God’s Appointment to stand or fall in that Trial; not as singular Persons only, but also as the Head and Root of all Mankind; representing the Persons of all that should descend from them by Natural Generation. And therefore for the understanding of the ground of our Participation with Adam’s Fall, two things must be considered.
First, That Adam was not a private Man in this Business, but sustained the Person of all Mankind, as he who had received Strength for himself and all his Posterity, and so lost the same for all. For Adam received the Promise of Life for himself and us, with this condition, if he had stood: But seeing he stood not, he lost the Promise of Life both from himself and from us. And as his Felicity should have been ours, if he had stood in it; so was his Transgression and Misery ours. So that as in the second Covenant, the Righteousness of the second Adam (CHRIST JESUS the Mediator) is reckoned to those that are begotten of him by spiritual Regeneration, (even those that believe in his Name) although they never did it: So in the Covenant, the sin of the first Adam (who herein sustained a common Person) is reckoned to all the Posterity that descend from him by Carnal Generation, because they were in him, and of him, and one with him, Rom. 5:15-19.
Second, That we all who are descended from Adam by Natural Generation, were in his Loins, and a part of him when he fell; and so by the Law of Propagation and Generation sinned in him, [Gen. 5:3] and in him deserved eternal Condemnation therefore. Even as two Nations are said to be in the Womb of Rebekah, Gen. 25:23; and Levi to have paid Tithes to Melchizedek in the Loins of Abraham, Heb. 7:9-10, who was not born some hundred Years after. Thus we see that by the Act of Generation in Leprous Parents, the Parents Leprosy is made the Children’s: And the slavish and villainous Estate of the Parents is communicated unto all their Offspring. For a Man being a Slave, his Progeny unto the hundred Generation, unless they be manumitted [released from slavery or servitude], shall be Slaves: And even so the natural Man, howsoever he thinketh himself free, yet in Truth he is sold under sin, and is the very Servant of Corruption, and in that State shall for ever remain, unless the Son make him free, John 8:33-34, 36; Rom. 6:17, 19-20; 7:14; 2 Pet. 2:19. We see also that great Personages rebelling against the King, do not only thereby hurt and disgrace themselves, but also stain their whole Blood, and lose their Honor and Inheritance from themselves and from their Children. For by our Law, a Man being attainted of High Treason, the attaint of Blood reacheth to his Posterity, and his children, as well as he, lose the Benefit of his Lands and Living for ever: Unless the King in favor restore them again, as God in Mercy hath done unto us. [SGCB, 2007. 126]
In summary, Adam did not act as a private individual, but as our representative or federal head. The same is true of Christ and His children (i.e. the elect). Further, there is the law of natural generation, and this is abundantly evident in the economy of the world.
I went ahead and put together a list of 30 books, with the last 5 devoted to Reformed Baptist theology, that I recommend for Bible students. This list is especially helpful for those who are just starting out in their Bible studies and are seeking to build up their personal library. Please click below for a PDF version of the list.
There’s a new site available, called 1689 Federalism. The purpose of the site is to recover historic Reformed/Particular Baptist Covenant Theology, as articulated in the 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith (a.k.a. 2nd London Confession of Faith). The site consists of a blog, book recommendations, and numerous professional videos on the subject of Covenant Theology. The videos compare/contrast Reformed Baptist Covenant Theology with Westminster Federalism, Dispensationalism, New Covenant Theology, and 20th Century Reformed Baptists. This is just the site that Reformed Baptists of our day need. We must go back to our roots, remember from where we came, and study the 1689 Confession in its historical-theological context. This site has the potential of creating a great revival in Reformed Baptist theology. I am very thankful for this, and I know I will benefit greatly from it. I hope also that our paedobaptist brethren will take the time to study this site and garner a better understanding of the Baptist perspective on Covenant Theology.
The following is a quote from Our Baptist Heritage: Issues Facing Reformed Baptists Today (Reformation Today Trust, 1993) on baptism in relation to the nature of the Church:
The basic issue in the subject of baptism is the nature of Church. Zwingli sought to persuade Blaurock of the validity of infant baptism on the basis of the Abrahamic covenant and circumcision. Baptists, while accepting the doctrine of the covenants (see the 1689 Confession, chapter 7), regard circumcision as symbolic of the need of regeneration. They hold that only those who have a credible profession of faith fulfil the terms of the new covenant. Only those who have the evidence of a new heart and a new spirit qualify for baptism and church membership. Baptists stress both the unity and discontinuity of the covenant administration. They point out that the Scriptures emphasise that the new covenant is different in that it is not national; all without exception are included [in the national model]. ‘It will not be like the covenant I made with their fore-fathers’ (Heb 8:9). Rather the new covenant includes only those who know the Lord, ‘They will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest. For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more’ (Heb 8:12). [p. 17]
This, in a nutshell, is the Reformed Baptist perspective and argument. Perhaps its greatest strength is that it embraces the unity or continuity of the covenants, unlike that of Dispensationalism, while at the same time seeking to understand the New Covenant on its own clearly defined terms (the aspects of discontinuity). For a fuller expression of this argument for believer’s baptism (credo-baptism), please see A Reformed Baptist Manifesto: The New Covenant Constitution of the Church.
Sola Scriptura (Scripture alone) is a foundational doctrine of the Christian faith. Every false sect of Christianity (to include Roman Catholicism, which Staples represents in this debate) denies this fundamental doctrine; and they must, otherwise many of their teachings must be set aside as the tradition of man. What does sola Scriptura mean, and how is it defended? James White does a wonderful job in this debate clarifying the teaching of sola Scriptura, defending it, and pointing out the errors of Roman Catholicism, which rejects this doctrine. The Q/A session is especially exciting. It actually gets quite heated.
I will point out now that Staples misrepresents sola Scriptura (and James’ actual argumentation quite often) and uses a double-standard argument (listen out for this in the debate). Staples also takes a cheap shot by repeatedly associating White with Jehovah’s Witnesses, who deny biblical orthodoxy and repeatedly twist the Scriptures. This is simply ridiculous and childish, as White has repeatedly debated JW’s and is far from being anything like them in his faith and hermeneutic. In the course of the debate Staples affirms that the Church is not a Bible-based Church, but the Bible is a Church-based book. I would ask you to think seriously about the implications of this, and how it meshes with Scripture. Does the word of God come about by the Church or does the Church come about by the word of God? To say that the Bible is a Church-based book is to make the Church authoritative over the Bible.
Thank you James White for your continual defense of the authoritative and sufficient word of God (the Holy Scripture).
I am currently preparing to engage in a lengthy teaching series at my church on the 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith. I say lengthy, because the Confession consists of 32 chapters and 160 paragraphs. I’ll likely make the series teachable in a one year (52 lessons) period, though this is a difficult task, and therefore I may end up having more lessons. So smaller chapters will be taught in one lesson, whereas larger chapters will be taught in multiple lessons. The purpose of this series is to help Reformed Baptists become more acquainted with their Confession, and in turn to become more grounded in the teachings of Scripture. The following is a general outline of the Confession, as I see it. There are six parts to the Confession:
Part I: Foundational Doctrines: Scripture, God, Man & Christ (CH. 1-8)
Chapter 1: Of the Holy Scriptures
Chapter 2: Of God and of the Holy Trinity
Chapter 3: Of God’s Decree
Chapter 4: Of Creation
Chapter 5: Of Divine Providence
Chapter 6: Of the Fall of Man, of Sin, and of the Punishment Thereof
Chapter 7: Of God’s Covenant
Chapter 8: Of Christ the Mediator
Part II: Salvation Applied: God’s Work in His People (CH. 9-18)
Chapter 9: Of Free Will
Chapter 10: Of Effectual Calling
Chapter 11: Of Justification
Chapter 12: Of Adoption
Chapter 13: Of Sanctification
Chapter 14: Of Saving Faith
Chapter 15: Of Repentance unto Life and Salvation
Chapter 16: Of Good Works
Chapter 17: Of the Perseverance of the Saints
Chapter 18: Of the Assurance of Grace and Salvation
Part III: Law & Gospel: The Nature of the Law & the Necessity of the Gospel (CH. 19-20)
Chapter 19: Of the Law of God
Chapter 20: Of the Gospel and of the Extent of the Grace Thereof
Part IV: Religious Principles & Duties: Captive to the Word of God (CH. 21-23)
Chapter 21: Of Christian Liberty and Liberty of Conscience
Chapter 22: Of Religious Worship and the Sabbath Day
Chapter 23: Of Lawful Oaths and Vows
Part V: Sacred Institutions: Society, the Home & the Church (CH. 24-30)
Chapter 24: Of the Civil Magistrate
Chapter 25: Of Marriage
Chapter 26: Of the Church
Chapter 27: Of the Communion of Saints
Chapter 28: Of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper
Chapter 29: Of Baptism
Chapter 30: Of the Lord’s Supper
Part VI: Last Things: The Judgment of the Wicked & the Hope of Believers (CH. 31-32)
Chapter 31: Of the State of Man After Death and of the Resurrection of the Dead
Chapter 32: Of the Last Judgment