Friday, December 25, 2009

In A Theological Daze And Confusion About Days of Thanksgiving

Or More Befuddlements, Old and New on Reformed Worship from the Rev. S. Schlissel
[updated 1/31/10]

There are any number of things that can be said about Steven Schlissel’s two and a half page pastoral letter “Thanksgiving Reflections” posted Dec. 1, ‘09 at his Just Another Blog in the Wheel site as anybody might have guessed that is familiar with his point of view. Schlissel's latest not only opposes the historic doctrine of reformed worship, otherwise known as the Regulative Principle of Worship (RPW), but is also in favor of celebrating the annual national Day of Thanksgiving in America as it is now observed.

Worse than his disagreement with the RPW though, is that he still cannot - or will not - define it properly. He  continues to restrict the RPW to only what is explicitly commanded in Scripture  and denies that there are any commands implied as  good and necessary consequences of the approved examples of  worship in the Bible.

Schlissel's Misrepresentation Develops into Judaizing
But that is not enough nor is Mr. Schlissel content to rest on his laurels in only repeating himself. His suppression of the truth about the RPW, only leads to his  further expression of error in arguing  for Thanksgiving on the basis  of the Old Testament ceremonial  feastdays.  But this is to turn the whole idea of an example of approved worship in Scripture inside out and on its head. Unfortunately Mr. Schlissel appears to be entirely clueless that these OT holydays are completely  abolished in the NT as categorically fulfilled in Christ. Neither the days themselves or  any post NT Christian imitations are permissable.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Addendum on the Free Offer

[revised 2/22/09]

As per the previous post, what is at issue in the disagreement over the free offer of the gospel, is whether God "desires" the salvation of the reprobate in any other than a preceptive sense. In other words, if God really desired all men to repent and believe in Christ, it would be a done deal. What God desires must come to pass, for God has no unfulfilled desires or intentions. But such is not the case. So what is the explanation? While it pleases God that men repent and believe the gospel, his secret will or decree is not that the salvation of all men comes to pass. Nevertheless the gospel is to be preached -offered- to all men and salvation promised to all who believe on Christ.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

The Free Offer of the Gospel - Dr. William Young

[While the OPC Minority Report on Songs in Worship (1946) written by John Murray and Wm. Young advocating psalmody is well known in P&R circles, what might not be so well known is that Wm. Young also wrote the OPC Minority Report on the Free Offer of the Gospel (1948) to Murray and Stonehouse's OPC Majority Report, both found here. What follows below is a further analysis and critique of the free offer theology according to the OPC Majority Report (updated 1/11/09).]

The Free Offer of the Gospel

In some Calvinistic circles there is an identification of the free offer of the gospel with an alleged desire that all who are called externally should be saved. Those who fail to find Scripture warrant for such a claim are sometimes regarded as denying the gospel offer and even the gospel itself. It should be pointed out that there are ambiguities in the claim itself. Some who are well-instructed Calvinists may use the word "desire" to mean nothing other than the revealed will of God in the commands, promises and invitations of the gospel. Others appear literally to suppose a frustrated desire as an emotion in God in tension with the decree to save the elect. This article seeks to show that the second of these understandings is unwarranted in the teaching of Scripture and contrary to the understanding of the revealed Word in the Westminster Confession.

The "War Against Christmas" on Thursday, December 25, 1551 in Geneva a day when both the West and Christianity are under attack in various ways and under various guises, such as multi-culturalism or political correctness, it might be well to remember, that all that glitters is not gold. In other words, not all that passes for Christianity is exactly that. We think this applies to what some call "The War Against Christmas" in certain conservative, nominally Christian or even evangelical circles. To that end, an excerpt from  a sermon  preached on Micah 5:7-14 by the great Reformer of Geneva, John Calvin on December 25th, 1551.
. . . Now I see here today more people than I am accustomed to having at the sermon. Why is that? It is Christmas day. And who told you this? You poor beasts. That is a fitting euphemism for all of you who have come here today to honor Noel. Did you think you would be honoring God? Consider what sort of obedience to God your coming displays. In your mind, you are celebrating a holiday for God, or turning today into one. But so much for that. In truth, as you have often been admonished, it is good to set aside one day out of the year in which we are reminded of all the good that has occurred because of Christ's birth in the world, and in which we hear the story of his birth retold, which will be done Sunday. But if you think that Jesus Christ was born today, you are as crazed as wild beasts. For when you elevate one day alone for the purpose of worshiping God, you have just turned it into an idol. True, you insist that you have done so for the honor of God, but is more for the honor of the Devil.