Monday, January 19, 2015

Just Psalms? How about Ephesians and Colossians?

From time to time, people ask me about why Christians might sing only Psalms in the worship of God. One of the more understandable arguments they sometimes present is an appeal to one or both of these verses:
Ephesians 5:19 Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;
Colossians 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.
My response to them on this is that we need to look at how the terms Paul uses would have been understood to people in a 1st century context. In that context, there was no "Trinity Hymnal" nor any "Praise Song" transparencies or the like. So, Paul wasn't speaking about three different sources, i.e. the Psalter, the Hymnal, and the Praise Songs licensed by CCLI.

What was Paul referring to? He was referring to the Psalter. This may seem surprising, because we have so closely associated the term "Psalm" with the book of Psalms, whereas we have associated the word "Hymn" with songs that aren't in the Psalter.

Nevertheless, the terms translated "psalms," "hymns," and "songs" are three of the four words commonly used in the Septuagint titles of the Psalms. Specifically: ψαλμοσ (Psalm)(66 times), συνεσεοσ/συνοισ (understanding or wisdom)(13 times), υμνοισ (hymn)(6 times), and ωδη/ωδησ (song or ode)(36 times). (see more detailed analysis here)


Saturday, January 17, 2015

Deeper Criticism of Francis' Typo Tweet

"Our Mother Mary is full of beauty because [s]he is full of grace."
- Francis of Rome via Twitter about a year ago.

The typo (corrected with bracketed insertion) was amusing, but there's a bigger problem. Who is more full of grace - Mary or Jesus? Yet of Jesus it is said "he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him" (Isaiah 53:2). Was Mary physically beautiful? No one knows, for there is no authentic tradition about her appearance. All the idols of her are lies, the mere figments of the imaginations of their creators. Little children, keep yourselves from idols.

And as well, in Scripture our mother is the heavenly Jerusalem, not Mary. (Galatians 4:26)

-TurretinFan

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Pope Francis - Liberal or not?

Matthew Bellisario, editor of the Catholic Champion, was kind enough to bring this clip to my attention, and I'm happy to bring it to the attention of Dave Armstrong and others, who think that Francis is just business as usual for the Roman see:
Christopher Ferrara is a traditionalist Roman Catholic, to be sure, but that's kind of the point. He says: "Something is seriously wrong with this pontificate. You can't deny it any longer." (Christopher Ferrara, 11 minutes in)
"I think we just got stuck with a really, really bad decision in Pope Francis, who again I think has to rank among the very worst popes in the history of the papacy." (Michael Matt - 24:45 in)
Mr. Matt goes so far as to say that living under Francis is worse than living under Alexander VI and the (other) Borgia popes (around 26 minutes in).

-TurretinFan

Saturday, December 27, 2014

The Real Turretin on: Christ's Atonement is Both Substitutionary and Exemplary

Tony Stiff at Sets 'n' Service has provided a brief quotation from the real Turretin providing a helpful reminder that the Atonement is not only Substitutionary but also Exemplary
(source). Sometimes in our eagerness to emphasize the distinctives of Reformed Theology, we can lose sight of that fact. The fact that Christ's death is an example is important: and something Paul mentions.

-TurretinFan

Monday, December 08, 2014

Assurance and Baptism - Leithart Should Read 1 John

Peter Leithart should read the First Epistle of John. Peter Leithart writes: "Justification by grace through faith cannot be sustained, either in theology or in our experience, without confidence that God works in the sacraments. We cannot get assurance unless we’re convinced that God declares me His beloved child in the water of baptism. Which means, No baptism, No justification." (link)

But read 1 John. That book's raison d'etre is expressed this way:
(1:4) ... these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full ... (5:13) These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.
John mentions a lot of things that help give us confidence, the primary one being that we have faith in Christ. John never mentions baptism in this epistle.

Leithart should learn from 1 John that Baptism is not what provides us our assurance.

-TurretinFan

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Leithart Asks - on Justification and Baptism

Peter Leithart has a question that every child who has memorized the Westminster Shorter Catechism should be able to answer: "If baptism is not a public declaration of justification, where and when does that public declaration take place?" (link)

Westminster Shorter Catechism #38
Q: What benefits do believers receive from Christ at the resurrection?
A: At the resurrection, believers being raised up in glory,1 shall be openly acknowledged and acquitted in the day of judgment,2 and made perfectly blessed in the full enjoying of God,3 to all eternity.4

[1] 1 Corinthians 15:42-43. So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power.
[2] Matthew 25:33-34. And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
Matthew 10:32. Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.
[3] Psalm 16:11. Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.
1 Corinthians 2:9. But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.
[4] 1 Thessalonians 4:17. Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. [See preceding context.]

As Matthew Henry puts it:

4. Shall they be openly acknowledged in the day of judgment? Yes: Him will I confess before my Father which is in heaven, Matt. 10:32. Will God own them as his own? Yes: They shall be mine, saith the Lord, in that day when I make up my jewels, Mal. 3:17. And will that be their honour? Yes: If any man serve me, him will my Father honour, John 12:26. Shall they be openly acquitted? Yes: for their sins shall be blotted out when the times of refreshing come, Acts 3:19.

Westminster Larger Catechism

Q. 90. What shall be done to the righteous at the day of judgment?

A. At the day of judgment, the righteous, being caught up to Christ in the clouds,[389] shall be set on his right hand, and there openly acknowledged and acquitted,[390] shall join with him in the judging of reprobate angels and men,[391] and shall be received into heaven,[392] where they shall be fully and forever freed from all sin and misery;[393] filled with inconceivable joys,[394] made perfectly holy and happy both in body and soul, in the company of innumerable saints and holy angels,[395] but especially in the immediate vision and fruition of God the Father, of our Lord Jesus Christ, and of the Holy Spirit, to all eternity.[396] And this is the perfect and full communion, which the members of the invisible church shall enjoy with Christ in glory, at the resurrection and day of judgment.

[390] Matthew 25:33. And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. Matthew 10:32. Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.

[391] 1 Corinthians 6:2-3. Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters? Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life?

[392] Matthew 25:34, 46. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.... And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.

[393] Ephesians 5:27. That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. Revelation 14:13. And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.

[394] Psalm 16:11. Thou wilt show me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.

[395] Hebrews 12:22-23. But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect.

[396] 1 John 3:2. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. 1 Corinthians 13:12. For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. 1 Thessalonians 4:17-18. Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

David King - Justification and The Auburn Avenue Controversy

I know that my friend, David King, would probably prefer for me not to post this, but since it has already been posted by Alpha & Omega Ministries, I wanted to present it for the listeners' edification:
-TurretinFan

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Capital Punishment - Absolutely Condemned or Commanded? Francis of Rome vs. Scripture

According to the Vatican Information Service, on October 23, 2014, referring to Francis of Rome: "He reiterated the primacy of the life and dignity of the human person, reaffirming the absolute condemnation of the death penalty, the use of which is rejected by Christians." By contrast, Biblical Christians affirm the death penalty for a wide range of serious "second table" crimes, especially murder, as it is written:

Murder
Genesis 9:6 Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.

Exodus 21:12 He that smiteth a man, so that he die, shall be surely put to death.

Leviticus 24:17 And he that killeth any man shall surely be put to death.

Leviticus 24:21 And he that killeth a beast, he shall restore it: and he that killeth a man, he shall be put to death.

Numbers 35:16 And if he smite him with an instrument of iron, so that he die, he is a murderer: the murderer shall surely be put to death.
Numbers 35:17 And if he smite him with throwing a stone, wherewith he may die, and he die, he is a murderer: the murderer shall surely be put to death.
Numbers 35:18 Or if he smite him with an hand weapon of wood, wherewith he may die, and he die, he is a murderer: the murderer shall surely be put to death.

Numbers 35:21 Or in enmity smite him with his hand, that he die: he that smote him shall surely be put to death; for he is a murderer: the revenger of blood shall slay the murderer, when he meeteth him.

Numbers 35:30 Whoso killeth any person, the murderer shall be put to death by the mouth of witnesses: but one witness shall not testify against any person to cause him to die.

Failure to Control Known Dangerous Animal who Kills
Exodus 21:29 But if the ox were wont to push with his horn in time past, and it hath been testified to his owner, and he hath not kept him in, but that he hath killed a man or a woman; the ox shall be stoned, and his owner also shall be put to death.

Battery of Parents
Exodus 21:15 And he that smiteth his father, or his mother, shall be surely put to death.

Cursing of Parents
Exodus 21:17 And he that curseth his father, or his mother, shall surely be put to death.

Leviticus 20:9 For every one that curseth his father or his mother shall be surely put to death: he hath cursed his father or his mother; his blood shall be upon him.

Kidnap/Enslavement
Exodus 21:16 And he that stealeth a man, and selleth him, or if he be found in his hand, he shall surely be put to death.

Sex Crimes
- Bestiality
Exodus 22:19 Whosoever lieth with a beast shall surely be put to death.

Leviticus 20:15 And if a man lie with a beast, he shall surely be put to death: and ye shall slay the beast.
Leviticus 20:16 And if a woman approach unto any beast, and lie down thereto, thou shalt kill the woman, and the beast: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.

- Adultery
Leviticus 20:10 And the man that committeth adultery with another man's wife, even he that committeth adultery with his neighbour's wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.

- Incest
Leviticus 20:11 And the man that lieth with his father's wife hath uncovered his father's nakedness: both of them shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.

Leviticus 20:12 And if a man lie with his daughter in law, both of them shall surely be put to death: they have wrought confusion; their blood shall be upon them.

- Homosexual Acts
Leviticus 20:13 If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.

That doesn't even include the list of "first table" or religion-related crimes, such as witchcraft (Leviticus 20:27), blasphemy (Leviticus 24:16), sabbath-breaking (Exodus 31:14-15 and 35:2), and so on.  I don't omit them to hide them, but simply to note that even if one limited the modern state to enforcing "second table" crimes, there is abundant guidance in Scripture that the state ought to punish serious external violations of the 5th, 6th, and 7th commandments with death.

Oh, and for my brethren who think that we should just ignore the Old Testament's teaching regarding the state, Paul himself reaffirms the power of the state to take life:
Romans 13:1-7
Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God's ministers, attending continually upon this very thing. Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour.
He bears the sword to execute wrath - not using the flat of the blade to spank, but the edge of the blade to kill.  That's the state's mandate as God's minister, according to both the Old and New Testaments.  Not all nations faithfully obey this mandate - and we should obey even if our state does not have the death penalty for the crimes that Scripture identifies, for conscience sake.

-TurretinFan

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Justification by Faith Alone on Apologia Radio

Jeff Durbin was kind enough to have me on Apologia Radio to discuss Justification by Faith Alone (link to page for episode - direct link to mp3 of episode). I'm in the second radio hour of the podcast, after the discussion of Christian films. I hope it is edifying!

-TurretinFan

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Ultimate Destination Isn't Only Purpose

Some people think that "God created the reprobate just to torture them in Hell for all eternity," is an accurate picture of one aspect of Calvinism. I've heard it used a number of times as an attempt to criticize Calvinism. What's a good answer when someone asks you if that's what you believe - or claims that it's what's implied by your belief.

1. The Short Answer - the Tulips

One short answer is that it's like saying you buy your wife flowers, just to throw them in the trash. That's where they end up, right? But isn't it absurd to suppose that their whole purpose is summed up by their destination? The real purpose of the tulips is to beautify the house for a short time. Yes, they are going to end up in the trash or compost heap, but that's not their primary purpose. It's equally as absurd to suppose that the primary purpose of the reprobate is their destination in the lake of fire. There is more to their lives than that, more to their existence than that, and God uses them in other ways than that.

2. The Longer Answer - Your Ancestors and the Tulip Revisisted

We don't know all the purposes of God, or all the reasons he has for doing the things he does. Many of your and my ancestors were reprobates, but God used them to give birth to people who gave birth to people who ... gave birth to us. Without them, we would not even exist. I don't think that's the only purpose God had for them, but it's a purpose. They played other vital roles too. You are not an island, and neither were your ancestors. You and many of them were protected, served, nurtured, and supported by people who were reprobates. So, the role of reprobates in your own life and very existence is enormous - probably beyond anything you can directly comprehend.

But let's go back to a tulip. If you look at an individual tulip cell under a microscope, it may be hard to see it's purpose. Maybe the particular one you see has a particular pigment to it, which helps to provide the beautiful color of the flower - but many of the cells don't have that pigment. There are a lot of cells in the stalk or the leaves. If you are looking at them under the microscope, you can miss the bigger picture of their role within the tulip plant as a whole. The same can be true of an individual human.

Each human is not the be-all and end-all of the universe of Creation. The individual is like a tile of a much larger mosaic. Unlike a mosaic, though, God has crafted each tile. The tile is not just found and put into place opportunistically, but is specially designed for the purposes it serves in the vast drama of history.

So, the question is wrong because it is both myopic and narcissistic.

-TurretinFan