Archive for the ‘Mark Horne’ Category

What follows are from a couple of posts on my blog.  I hoped to do a series.  If I do follow up, I will probably want to do it here on the BH blog rather than my own.  Feedback welcome:

It is no secret that some have been scathingly critical of N. T. Wright, the “New Perspective,” and anyone who would appreciate those things–all in the name of the Reformed Faith or, worse, “the Gospel.” To hear them tell it, there is absolutely no legitimate reason for this appreciation. People are only attracted to the New Perspective because they don’t understand the perfectly satisfactory traditional perspective.

If one wants to understand why the “traditional perspective” has, in certain cases, utterly botched exegesis, one need only look at one example of traditional preaching on Romans 4. Particularly this passage:


Read Full Post »

Our own Steven thinks that he has the freedom to post BH quality insights on his own blog.  So I’m linking him.  Let us comment here and teach Steven a lesson.  OK?

Read Full Post »

Jeff pointed out that baptism is not Christian circumcision. Looking at the comments, I think it might be helpful to point out that Israel was not the Church.

In the new creation, the idea of an “unbaptized Christian” is either very temporary or an anomaly. Those who came to faith were baptized immediately, together with their children. One does not remain outside the Church as a Christian.

But there were plenty of God-fearing Gentiles in the Old Testament economy who remained uncircumcised and yet whom we will meet at the resurrection in glory. Melchizedek, Potiphera, Reuel/Jethro, Uriah the Hittite, Hiram of Tyre, Naaman, and Nebuchadnezzar are a few, and they are certainly representative of many more.

In the time of Moses, Jesus (aka Yahweh) was quite clear that uncircumcised Gentiles had the same privileges (in almost all cases) as a Jew. Thus we read in Numbers 16:

Thus it shall be done for each bull or ram, or for each lamb or young goat. As many as you offer, so shall you do with each one, as many as there are. Every native Israelite shall do these things in this way, in offering a food offering, with a pleasing aroma to the Lord. And if a stranger is sojourning with you, or anyone is living permanently among you, and he wishes to offer a food offering, with a pleasing aroma to the Lord, he shall do as you do. For the assembly, there shall be one statute for you and for the stranger who sojourns with you, a statute forever throughout your generations. You and the sojourner shall be alike before the Lord. One law and one rule shall be for you and for the stranger who sojourns with you….

If one person sins unintentionally, he shall offer a female goat a year old for a sin offering. And the priest shall make atonement before the Lord for the person who makes a mistake, when he sins unintentionally, to make atonement for him, and he shall be forgiven. You shall have one law for him who does anything unintentionally, for him who is native among the people of Israel and for the stranger who sojourns among them.

These are laws for uncircumcised residents to be treated just like the circumcised natives. Other than Passover, which required circumcision and, therefore, naturalization (“he shall be as a native of the land”–Exodus 12.48).


Read Full Post »

If you are, say, leading a Bible study in Genesis, you might notice that right after the covenant is renewed and circumcision is established (ch 17) that we see Abraham eating and drinking with God (ch 18). After that meal, God makes a point of saying the he should share all his business with Abraham because of their relationship, and informs him of his intentions to judge a culture. Abraham immediately starts lobbying for concessions to spare the culture and wins them.

The story leaves Abraham for a chapter (19) and then comes back where we read God say this: “Now then, return the man’s wife, for he is a prophet, so that he will pray for you, and you shall live.”

This is the first time the word, “prophet” is used in the Bible and it is associated with intercession rather than relaying messages from God. The role description certainly makes sense of what we see Abraham doing in interceding for the nations earlier in chapter 18.


Read Full Post »

First John 5.16, 17:

If anyone sees his brother committing a sin not leading to death, he shall ask, and God will give him life–to those who commit sins that do not lead to death. There is sin that leads to death; I do not say that one should pray for that. All wrongdoing is sin, but there is sin that does not lead to death.    

I think it is a mistake here to assume that the sin or sins leading to death is some version of the “unforgivable sin.”  I remember many years ago reading R. C. Spoul point out that the Chapter 21, paragraph 4, of the Westminster Confession is mistaken in using this passage as a rational for saying that it is forbidden to pray for those “for those of whom it may be known that they have sinned the sin unto death.” He made the obvious point that John does not say that such prayers are forbidden.  But, if one thinks this refers to the “unforgivable sin,” then one can understand why readers would make that mistaken inference.My opinion is that John starts out making a point similar to Paul’s in Romans 14:

Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand.   

Paul doesn’t want busybody lay “pastoring” to destroy the peace of the church and one of his tools of persuasion is to encourage Christians to be optimistic about one another.  Likewise, in encouraging real love for the brethren, John encourages Christians to respond to the sins they see in other Christians not by active intervention but through private prayer.  In such cases, John promises, God will give the person life.  However, when you see something more serious (like a spouse having an extra-marital affair, say), John cannot promise that God will respond to a private prayer by giving life.  That inability to be as positive about the outcome is why John says, “I do not say that one should pray for that.” The point is not that prayer is forbidden, but that he cannot make the same claim for such prayer that he made for lesser sins. Other action must also take place (i.e. Galatians 6.1ff).Thus, the various ways that Christians usually judge one another should not be used for interfering or for gossip, but for prayer.  More serious sins that are ultimately a departure from the Faith, however, require rescue attempts. 

Read Full Post »

The BHrethren might be interested in this post I wrote on my personal blog which disagrees with John Gerstner’s understanding on the Church.  Amid all the discussion of eschatology and hypercalvinism and how the visible church may properly be called the body of Christ, I completely overlooked how Gerstner’s reasoning actually condemns the Westminster definition of the invisible Church as the body of Christ.   He writes,

We will not deny that a person who sincerely and truly makes a sound profession of faith in Christ is a member of His true church, but how do we (or they) know that all who make the profession sincerely believe it? How can they be sure that they are not receiving hypocrites? So long as officers cannot search the hearts of professing believers, they cannot know whether such professors are sincere, true believers or not; nor can they prevent the admittance of some nominal (in name only) believers.

So the rule is: he or she who is not regenerate may not be counted a member of the Church. But by this reasoning, the members of the invisible church also cannot be counted as members of the true church.  After all, according to the Westminster Confession, the invisible church, which is Christ’s body, consists of everyone who will ever be called into final salvation, whether or not they are yet regenerate or even conceived into existence.

The catholic or universal church, which is invisible, consists of the whole number of the elect, that have been, are, or shall be gathered into one, under Christ the Head thereof; and is the spouse, the body, the fullness of him that filleth all in all.

So, by Gerstner’s standards, this definition is in error. Those who are not yet sincere believers must never be defined as members of the body of Christ.

We can rehabilitate Gerstner’s concern by pointing out that the invisible Church is an eschatalogical plan (which, when brought to completion, will be brilliantly visible).  But this goes back to the problem Gerstner seems to have with eschatology, wanting a present invisible realm as an alternative to the problems of the present, rather than a future glory that is realized through those trials.  Death and resurrection is everything.

Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts