Saturday, October 6, 2018

Unity and the Christian Church: Part 4 - the Reformed tradition - Thomas Manton vs. Michael Horton


In this 4th installment of my series on unity and the Christian Church, I have chosen Thomas Manton, a respected 17th century Puritan divine, to represent the more moderate position within the Reformed tradition.  Of the many differing positions on the issue of Christian unity that exist within the Reformed paradigm, I believe that Manton's view is one of the most balanced. The following selections will be from Manton's discourse, A Persuasive To Unity In Things Indifferent:

[1.] There may be, and often are, differences of opinion about lesser things in the church; partly because of the different degrees of light. All barks that sail to heaven draw not a like depth of water. And partly because of the remainders of corruption in all. Inordinate selflove is not in all alike broken and mortified, and so their particular interests have an influence upon their opinions. And partly because of the accidental prejudices of education and converse, &c.

[2.] When these differences arise, we should take care they come not to a rupture and open breach. This is the course the apostle taketh here ; he doth not by and by despair of the dissenters, and reject them as heretics, but beareth with them, hoping in charity God will at length reveal their error to them by the ministry of his servants, through the powerful operation of his Spirit, and not suffer them to run on in dividing courses from the rest of his people. So should we do in like cases. Partly because when these differences of opinion breed division and separations, the church is destroyed : Gal. v. 15, 'For if ye bite and devour one another, take heed ye be not consumed one of another.' Backbitings, revilings, and reproaches make way for a total vastation of the whole church, a ruin to both parties. Partly because the whole is scandalised: John xvii. 21, 'That they may all be one, that the world may believe that thou has sent me.' Divisions in the church breed atheism in the world. Partly because there are enemies which watch for our halting, and by our divisions we are laid open to them. Our Lord and Master hath told us with his own mouth, that ' a kingdom divided against itself cannot stand,' Mat. xii. 25. Never was it so well with the people of God, but besides their divisions among themselves, they had common enemies ; and Nazianzen calls them ' Common Reconcilers,' because they should engage God's people to a unanimous opposition to the kingdom of Satan in the world. And partly because then mutual means of edification are hindered. As long as charity and mutual forbearance remaineth, there is hope of doing good to one another ; but when men break out into opposite parties, they are prejudiced against all that light that they should receive one from another, suspecting every point as counsel from an enemy : Gal. iv. 16, 'Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth ?' When men are once engaged in a way of error, whosoever is an enemy to their error is counted an enemy to themselves; yea, they can hardly bear that sound doctrine which doth directly cross their opinions, but are apt to cavil at all that is said by a dissenter. And partly because when men give themselves up to separating and narrow principles, the power of godliness is lost, and all their zeal is laid out upon their petty and private opinions, and so religion is turned into a disputacity. (Pages 68, 69 - bold emphasis mine.)

Manton goes on to delineate the need for "lenity" and "mutual forbearance" to prevent "open rupture" (p. 70). This "lenity" and "mutual forbearance" is "limited"; it does not mean that:

"...all things [are] to be tolerated, even blasphemy and fundamental errors, as if the scriptures were uncertain in all things. No; in things absolutely necessary to salvation, it is clear, open, and plain: 'The law is a lamp, and a light,' Prov. vi. 23, and Ps. cxix. 105. And in such a case we are not to 'bid him God-speed,' 2 Epist. John 10. In such cases of damnable heresy, the law of Christian lenity holdeth not; but if we agree in the principal articles of faith, let us embrace one another with mutual love, though we differ from one another in variety of rites and ceremonies and discipline ecclesiastical. If we agree in the substantials of worship, let us go by the same rule, do the same thing: though in circumstantials there be a difference, these are matters of lesser moment than separation, or the other division of the church." (Page 71.) [Entire discourse available in an online PDF HERE - see pages 68-78.]

Now, let's contrast Manton with Dr. Michael S. Horton. In the May/June 1992 issue of Modern Reformation, a provocative article by Dr. Horton under the title, 'Evangelical Arminians: Option or Oxymoron?' was published. The entire article is available online via the following sites:


In the article, Dr. Horton asks the question: "Is it possible to be an 'evangelical Arminian'?" He then immediately states, "In this article I attempt to defend a negative answer to that important question."

He went on to write:

What is an Evangelical?

One might think that the term "protestant" has been around a lot longer than "evangelical," the latter often associated with the crusade and television evangelism of recent years. However, the term "evangelical" is the older of the two. It appears in medieval manuscripts, describing a qualification of a good preacher: He must be evangelical. Until the Reformation, however, that adjective could mean anything from having a sincere love for Christ to possessing missionary zeal. When Luther arrived on the scene he was eager to employ the time-honored term in the service of gospel recovery. After all, what could be more appropriate as a designation for a man or woman of the Reformation? It was all about a recovery of the evangel itself.

Thus, the term took on a new significance, moving from an adjective to a noun. One was not only "evangelical" in the ambiguous medieval sense of being pious, zealous, and faithful, but an evangelical in the sense that one adhered to the Reformation's tenets. After 1520 an evangelical was a person who was committed to the sufficiency of scripture, the priesthood of all believers, the total lostness of humans, the sole mediation of Christ, the gracious efficacy and finality of God's redemptive work in Christ through election, propitiation, calling and keeping. The linchpin for all of this was the doctrine of justification by grace alone, through faith alone, because of Christ alone. Thus, the believer, declared righteous by virtue of God's satisfaction with Christ's holiness imputed (credited) to us through faith alone, is simul iustus et peccator--"simultaneously justified and sinful."

The evangelicals, therefore, whether Lutheran or Reformed, insisted that this was the gospel. It was not a peripheral area of abstract doctrinal debate on which Christians could "agree to disagree agreeably." It was not merely an implication of the gospel or a part of the gospel: It was the gospel!

Dr. Horton, as the article later demonstrates, does not believe that Arminians are 'evangelicals' in the sense delineated above, and that they teach a heretical gospel.

I truly wonder if Thomas Manton were alive today if he would side with Dr. Horton...


Grace and peace,

David

27 comments:

Ken Temple said...

From Horton's article:

Having said that, it is equally important to realize that this is not a matter of bigotry or denominational pride. We will see non-evangelicals in heaven. As I reflect on views that I used to hold, it is sobering to say the least and it reminds me that the chances are pretty good that I have a good distance to go yet. While we must believe certain essential truths in order to be saved, we are not saved by the amount of doctrine that we know. There will doubtless be Roman Catholics, Arminians, and others in Paradise who were saved by God's grace even if they, like me, did not understand or appreciate that grace as much as they should have.

He was strong against Clark Pinnock (who became sort of an open theist and "wider hope" type Arminian), Karl Barth (neo-Orthodoxy) and John Wesley (adding sanctification onto to justification)

Those examples of bad Arminian theology (Barth, did not seem to be Arminian, but liberal on many things; even though it is claimed he recovered Biblical faith from classical liberalism - in many ways he promoted a lot of liberal theology in what is known as "Neo-Orthodoxy") are not like many other Arminians who hold to justification by faith alone.

Edward Palamar said...

Regular updates to the countdown to the Day of the Lord by the sign of the Son of Man in Heaven at :

http://risen-from-the-dead.forumotion.com/

Edward Palamar said...

Satan took the work of John Wycliffe, the first compiled English Holy Bible in 1378 A.D., and attempted to destroy the church with the printing of the Coverdale Bible of 1535 A.D.

A simple misplaced "vile" from verse twenty to verse twenty-one in chapter eleven was the devils attempt to force later discord when the time of the fulfillment of those verses would come.

The Council of Constance exhumed brother Wycliffe's body years later and desecrated it. Seems like an attack on the word "evangelical" in its various forms, too. Most other Bibles aren't any better in this regard, save for the Douay-Rheims version, to mention another.

David Waltz said...

Good morning Ken,

After publishing the opening post of this thread, I came across another somewhat controversial topic concerning the Reformed paradigm. Note the following:

Reformed Baptist = Oxymoron?

One of the forum's moderators posted the following:

>>Personally, you can call RB's whatever you want. It makes little to no difference to most RB's. We don't seek approval to sit at the Reformed table. A few months ago there was a heated PB thread that centered on some comments by R. Scott Clark, professor at Westminster Seminary, CA. The thread accomplished little more than to warrant a study on global warming because of all the hot air it generated.>>

I could not find that,"heated PB thread that centered on some comments by R. Scott Clark", so I went to Dr. Clark's website and found the following:

On Being Reformed

That led me to Dr. Clark's book:

Recovering the Reformed Confession

I ordered the book yesterday, and should receive it tomorrow afternoon. It looks like a very interesting read.

Ken, were you aware of this issue?


Grace and peace,

David

Ken Temple said...

I was aware that he (R. S. Clark) thinks that Reformed / Calvinistic Baptists are not truly Reformed, but I don't know the details.

That is one area that is really baffling to me - why any one would affirm infant baptism, but I don't make it a dogmatic position as far as the gospel and fellowship with other Christians goes - I love all Protestants who hold to Scripture, Sola Fide, etc. - they are fellow believers and they usually have great local churches.

I understand the arguments, etc. - the debate between R. C. Sproul and John MacArther on that issue was very good; as was Dr. White vs. Bill Shishko, Gregg Strawbridge, and two other Presbyterians ( vs. Robert Strimple and Gary Johnson - I have that CD, but the aomin.org website says it is not longer available. )

White and MacArthur won the Biblical arguments, IMO.

Strander and Louw's book is key as far as the Early Church Fathers are concerned. They are both Padeobaptists, and yet admit that the earliest church did not practice it; and that it was a tradition added later, although I assume that they think it was a good tradition or Biblical.

https://www.amazon.com/Baptism-Early-Church-H-Stander/dp/0952791315

Ken Temple said...

I guess the Strander and Louw book is out of print. Wow - the price of the used ones. Amazing.

Here is a review of the book:

In this book two South Africa paedobaptists survey the writings of the early church and conclude that credo baptism was the common practice of the early church until the fourth century when paedobaptism began to be accepted. Though not as detailed as Everett Ferguson's survey, Stander and Louw do give a good survey of the evidence. They also often provide lengthier quotations of the primary sources than Ferguson does.

Ken Temple said...

about "ex opere operato"

http://www.reformation21.org/confession/2013/07/chapter-273.php

Rory said...

For the sake of wanting to appear to obey Christ, most non-Catholics are forced to soften and distort our Lord's words about unity as found in St. John's Gospel. I was happy to read the words of Thomas Manton because they go to the very heart of what kind of unity is necessary if we will uphold the clear meaning of the Son's prayer to the Father in Jn. 17:21-23:

That they all may be one, as thou, Father, in me, and I in thee; that they also may be one in us; that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou hast given me, I have given to them; that they may be one, as we also are one: I in them, and thou in me; that they may be made perfect in one: and the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast also loved me.

This kind of oneness is not fulfilled because you admit that people with whom you disagree so much that you can't even go to the same church, might still might somehow make it to heaven. Is that the perfect unity for which Jesus prayed? Thomas Manton understood how far it was from the mind of the Lord that his followers would have some kind of superficial interior unity with those they cannot go to church with. That is why Manton said: "Divisions in the church breed atheism in the world."

Most non-Catholics cannot be pondering the words of Jesus Christ to His Father if they are willing to take your position Ken, as the fulfillment of His prayer to the Father for perfect unity. The unity that resembles the very intimacy of the First and Second Persons is to be found by people in the world because they figure out that all these different Protestants who can't go to church together agree about Sola Scriptura, Sola Fide, etc., because they have great local churches? Far from being evangelical, it is a scandal to the world, and it blasphemes Heaven if it presumes to fulfill the perfect unity which exists between Christ and the Father.

Ironically, of the doctrines that "unite" the non-Catholics, which enables them to "fellowship" (in separate churches?), are for the most part what they agree those teachings and practices which separate them from the One Catholic faith! One could say that are perfectly united...against the true and Bride of Jesus Christ, the Catholic Church. But they are so imperfectly united with each other that they have never stopped from their inception to dividing and multiplying the different creeds and codes of more and more separated churches. Without any interior principle of unity, they cannot possibly demonstrate the visible unity that would serve as an evangelical witness to the world.

This is why I took exception with the first essay where the LDS commentator speaks of a "Christendom" that fails to distinguish the polar opposite views of ecclesiastical unity as held by the Catholic Church, versus those who have rejected her plausible claims to demonstrate the four marks of the Church. It is a trick not unworthy of the Evil One when the world considers the Catholic Church as one denomination alongside literally thousands of Protestant sects who agree that the Catholic Church is wrong, and not agreeing on enough else to go to church together.

Rory

David Waltz said...

Hi Ken,

I own a copy of Stander and Lowe's Baptism In the Early Church. It is a small book, 192 pages, large type (14pt.) and 1 1/2 spacing. Everett Ferguson's Baptism In the Early Church (Google Preview), is 953 pages, and a smaller font (12pt.).

IMO, Ferguson's contribution is vastly superior to Stander and Lowe's. My wife and I will be shortly heading out of town for a few days; upon my return (Friday), I may post a comparison between the two...the Lord willing.

Grace and peace,

David

Ken Temple said...

Here is a review of the book:

In this book two South Africa paedobaptists survey the writings of the early church and conclude that credo baptism was the common practice of the early church until the fourth century when paedobaptism began to be accepted. Though not as detailed as Everett Ferguson's survey, Stander and Louw do give a good survey of the evidence. They also often provide lengthier quotations of the primary sources than Ferguson does.

Yes, Ferguson's book is more extensive in scope, but it seems, according to that reviewer, that Stander and Louw provide more context on the earliest and primary sources than Ferguson does.

That is significant.

Ken Temple said...

Rory,
Thanks for your response.

One of the problems with David's Quote from Manton is that it is a chapter within a much larger work, which I don't have time or energy to study deeply. Also, the grammatical structure of the way people wrote then is very difficult for me. I get tired easily of trying to read old things that I don't follow what they are trying to say.

If he was a Reformed person, a Puritan, I seriously doubt he would agree that we should all just give up and come under the authority of the Pope and the Roman Catholic Church.

one of the tricks of Roman Catholic Apologetics is constantly referring back to the early catholic (little c) church of the first 400-500 years, and yet none of the dogmas that are the main problem are even in existence then.

Although there are opinions about some kind of purgation after death (Augustine, @ 400-430 AD - per Jacques Le Goff's book, The Birth of Purgatory), but Tertullian (@ 200 AD) called it "refreshment", etc.

Although, those opinions did not become combined with other things until 600 AD onward - things like Purgatory, Indulgences, Transubstantiation, treasury of merit, the dogmas of Trent, making justification a process of sanctification through the 7 sacraments. Then later dogmas such as Immaculate Conception and Sinlessness of Mary (1854), Infallibility of the Pope (1870), Bodily Assumption of Mary(1950), etc. - make it impossible for Roman Catholics to claim they are the same thing as pre-600 AD little c, "catholic church".

John 17 does not mention the Pope or any kind of concept like that (as in David W's argument for the mono-episcopate, etc.) that would keep the unity of the church, of all believers.

Jesus is praying for unity of the disciples and those that will believe in Christ through their word in the future. (v. 8, 20) Jesus also clearly says that He is not praying for "the world" (v. 9)

so, it seems, "that the world may believe" (v. 21, and "so that the world may know" v. 23) - seems to me to about the future believers who will believe through evangelism and missions efforts among all the nations (Revelation 5:9; 7:9; 21:3), not that everyone in the world will believe in Christ or understand Christianity is true because there is a massive unity.

Remember, you cannot just take John 17:20-23 out of the context of 15:18-25 - "don't be surprised when the world hates you".

the visible unity is a localized unity in a local church. Truth around the Word (doctrine) - verse 8, 17 - Thy word is truth" and love (v. 23-26) and Ephesians 4:1-16 speaks of the love, patience, humility, kindness that is also necessary around the truth of the doctrine for a local church to have.

Ken Temple said...

As far as I can tell, this is an accurate article. (while I don't necessary agree with his eschatology theory, Kauffman's citing of early church fathers seems right in context in most of his articles.) This one does not have his eschatology theory in it. His more recent years and articles focus on his eschatology theory in Daniel & Revelation & fourth-fifth century Christianity.

http://www.whitehorseblog.com/2015/03/22/the-visible-apostolicity-of-the-invisibly-shepherded-church-part-1/

When Peter knew that he was about to fold up his earthly tent and go home [2 Peter 1:12-21],, he did not commend the sheep of “Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia” (1 Peter 1:1) to his ‘successor’ in Rome. He commended them to their local congregations [and the written word-2 Peter 3:1; 1:12-21] where they would be fed (1 Peter 5:1-3), and to the Bishop of Souls (1 Peter 2:25), for they were “kept by the power of God,” not by the power of Rome, “through faith unto salvation” (1 Peter 1:5). It was the “chief Shepherd,” Jesus Christ, to Whom the local shepherds would be accountable on the Last Day (1 Peter 5:4). The sheep were to submit to the local shepherds (1 Peter 5:5), knowing that the local shepherds would one day answer to the Chief, “for He careth for you” (1 Peter 5:7). Whatever trials might arise, they were not to be dismayed, for they were not alone — “the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world” (1 Peter 5:9). The sheep were to press on in faith, entrusting “the keeping of their souls” to God, “as unto a faithful Creator” (1 Peter 4:19), for their incorruptible inheritance was “reserved in heaven for you” (1 Peter 1:4), and it was in their local congregations that God would preserve them."

Tim Kauffman, opening paragraph of above linked article. (with my addition in bold and brackets)

Rory said...

Ken Temple
One of the problems with David's Quote from Manton is that it is a chapter within a much larger work, which I don't have time or energy to study deeply. Also, the grammatical structure of the way people wrote then is very difficult for me. I get tired easily of trying to read old things that I don't follow what they are trying to say.

Rory
So maybe, in context, with a true understanding of grammatical structure of the "ancient" English we might understand that "Divisions in the church breed atheism in the world" is supportive of many hundreds and thousands of local churches that have no inter-disciplinary capacity?

This isn't the Canterbury Tales. It isn't Old English. If 17th Century English wearies you, one has to wonder how seriously anyone ought to take your attempts to understand Scripture, Patrology, and the debates involving Catholics against Luther, Calvin, and Co.

If Manton is difficult and wearying for you, what should make anyone think that you understand the Council of Trent, or the unity prayed for by Christ for us in John 17?

Rory

Rory said...

Ken Temple
"If he [Manton] was a Reformed person, a Puritan, I seriously doubt he would agree that we should all just give up and come under the authority of the Pope and the Roman Catholic Church."

Rory
Where did that come from? All anyone was saying was that Manton's view of unity in John 17 necessarily involved visible unity and that the absence of it leads souls away from God.

Rory said...

Ken,

The problem you have is that you claim for nearly 2,000 years we have had all of these great local churches, that disagree so much that they aren't able to cooperate with each other, that make the world believe that the Father sent the Son. I rarely use the word ludicrous, but I fear it applies here.

We can show that the local churches believed in distinctly Catholic teachings about baptismal regeneration, Christ's Body and Blood, Souls and Divinity in the Eucharist, and so much more. I am not saying that proves Catholics to be right about the first millenium and a half. But it does not give you the option of saying that the first fifteen hundred years was okay, and then a great change came at Trent.

Since Reformed Baptists can't fellowship with Presbyterians because they are pedo-baptist, how can you claim that you would have visible fellowship with ante-Tridentine Christianity which goes beyond the Presbyterians, claiming baptismal regeneration for babies?

I do appreciate that you don't want to be a Landmark Baptist or a Mormon. But your position is not historically tenable. Go Landmark. Remnant if you must. Or if you can't do that, try to understand Trent. Charles Hodge says it doesn't teach a works salvation. Why should anyone believe you against such a Reformed giant as him?

Rory said...

Ken Temple
one of the tricks of Roman Catholic Apologetics is constantly referring back to the early catholic (little c) church of the first 400-500 years, and yet none of the dogmas that are the main problem are even in existence then.

Rory
No tricks needed. In his sermon for John 6, St John Chrysostom says of the Holy Eucharist: "We fix our teeth in His flesh". Does that sound Reformed? What about this: "We should then arise from that table like lions breathing fire, having become terrible to the devil." Why do you kick against the pricks, Ken? Is that the way these great local churches you talk about speak? Do they refer to fixing their teeth in Christ's flesh? Where are these perfectly united local churches (that don't cooperate with each other), the answer to Christ's prayer to the Father in Jn 17, that talk like St. Chrysostom about the "Lord's Supper", as you call it?

It doesn't mean Catholicism is true, or Chrysostom was right. But it does mean that you are Historically wrong. Its early apostasy or Catholic. If Catholicism is wrong, the apostasy was early, not late. You have to figure out how to find historical continuity with 21st Century Evangelicalism and Tertullian. It is no sin to despair about reconciling that.

I took church history at a Baptist college where the professor for church history got into hot water for talking about people like Ignatius and Augustine who didn't seem very "baptistic" to us students. We wanted to hear about "our bunch". The president of the college concurred. I took the class the very next semester, when we were going to hear about "our bunch". Our beleaguered professor threw up his hands at mid-semester when he was challenged by a disappointed student, who asked when we would learn about Baptists in the early centuries. Our teacher said, "I can't, they aren't there."

I waited another thirteen or fourteen years to join the Catholic Church. I wasn't hasty. If I am wrong about becoming Catholic, I will never disagree with poor Professor Reese who had every reason for finding Baptists, Reformed or otherwise, in history. With good Brother Reese, who will or already has, died a Baptist, I concur, Baptists have no historical continuity.

Rory

Ken Temple said...

Rory wrote:
This isn't the Canterbury Tales. It isn't Old English. If 17th Century English wearies you, one has to wonder how seriously anyone ought to take your attempts to understand Scripture, Patrology, and the debates involving Catholics against Luther, Calvin, and Co.

If Manton is difficult and wearying for you, what should make anyone think that you understand the Council of Trent, or the unity prayed for by Christ for us in John 17?


Rory:
Good point; I am just admitting that the old writings are wearing to me and if they don't "grap" me, I loose interest, because they take lots of effort to understand; though I do try my best. I am no where near the level of David Waltz or you, in your knowledge of church history and historical theology. I am just a plotter and seeking to understand.

Our beleaguered professor threw up his hands at mid-semester when he was challenged by a disappointed student, who asked when we would learn about Baptists in the early centuries. Our teacher said, "I can't, they aren't there."

I waited another thirteen or fourteen years to join the Catholic Church. I wasn't hasty. If I am wrong about becoming Catholic, I will never disagree with poor Professor Reese who had every reason for finding Baptists, Reformed or otherwise, in history. With good Brother Reese, who will or already has, died a Baptist, I concur, Baptists have no historical continuity.


I am not claiming that Baptists as a denomination that developed out of the Reformation is literally in the 2nd - 5th centuries, because it does seem that baptismal regeneration was in some way taught, although, IMO, Tim Kauffman put a lot of holes in the common view that the early church was unanimous on that issue, even William Webster wrote that in his book, "The Church of Rome at the Bar of History". That was one doctrine that seems to be unanimous (for adults at the beginning - Justin Martyr; and only later for infants - as someone said or wrote, "infant baptism was a practice from 3rd century on that was looking for a theology to justify it" - the idea of getting cleansed from original sin - Augutine and onward. ( I think)

I still think the Biblical doctrine is believer's baptism and that baptism follows conversion and is an outward symbol and illustration before witnesses of a commitment to follow the Lord, also a symbol of formal entry into a local church, church membership.

I fail to understand the idea of "all or nothing" that you have. Again, I don't say that the early church is Baptist or Reformed, or Presbyterian, etc. - We can study church history and take it for what it actually was, etc. "The early church is the early church." (James White) They made mistakes - the got somethings wrong. They got the Deity of Christ right; the Trinity right; the canon right; but baptismal regeneration was wrong and infant baptism was wrong. Just because they got some things wrong and many things right, does not mean that they were totally wrong. I still don't think they got it totally wrong until Trent, when they condemned the heart of the gospel - because they did what the Galatians did in the first century.

And things can go wrong quickly.

Paul wrote to the Galatians:

"I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you for a different gospel . . ." Galatians 1:6

6 I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel; 7 which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! 9 As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed!

Can you find the exact quote and reference on Charles Hodge's statement on the Council of Trent?

David Waltz said...

Hi Ken,

Made it back home safely...

I mentioned in my last comment before heading out that, "I may post a comparison between the two"—i.e Stander and Lowe's Baptism In the Early Church and Everett Ferguson's Baptism In the Early Church—but given the last few comments in this thread, I think it best to focus there instead. In your 10-09-18 (10:04 AM) post, you wrote:

== One of the problems with David's Quote from Manton is that it is a chapter within a much larger work, which I don't have time or energy to study deeply. Also, the grammatical structure of the way people wrote then is very difficult for me. I get tired easily of trying to read old things that I don't follow what they are trying to say.==

The excerpt from Manton that I provided was not, "a chapter within a much larger work", but rather, a stand alone discourse within a collection of discourses and sermons by Manton. That discourse is a mere 11 pages in length.

[Entire discourse available in an online PDF HERE - see pages 68-78.]

From the same post, you then wrote:

==If he was a Reformed person, a Puritan, I seriously doubt he would agree that we should all just give up and come under the authority of the Pope and the Roman Catholic Church.==

Manton, without any question, "was a Reformed person", and for sure "a Puritan". As such, I concur with your, "[serious] doubt he would agree that we should all just give up and come under the authority of the Pope and the Roman Catholic Church."

However, with that said, I still am left wondering what Manton would think of the current state of affairs within the Reformed paradigm.

His belief that, "Divisions in the church breed atheism in the world", seems almost prophetic, for as the divisions within the Reformed paradigm continue to multiply (as well as Protestantism as a whole) the percentage of atheists increases.

QUESTION: is there a cure for this increasing fragmentation and the resulting rise of atheism?


Grace and peace,

David

Ken Temple said...

However, with that said, I still am left wondering what Manton would think of the current state of affairs within the Reformed paradigm.

Of course I think all of us are sad over the disunity - the Presbyterian sometimes are referred to as the "Split P's" (some of them split over music vs. A-cappella singing hymns or Psalms only; or Post-Mill vs. A-Mill issues; or 6 day creationism vs. long day (Young Earth vs. Old Earth), etc.

His belief that, "Divisions in the church breed atheism in the world", seems almost prophetic, for as the divisions within the Reformed paradigm continue to multiply (as well as Protestantism as a whole) the percentage of atheists increases.

QUESTION: there a cure for this increasing fragmentation and the resulting rise of atheism?


Is the increase in secularism, skepticism, atheism, a direct result of divisions within Reformed circles?

Many people have been disillusioned with Christianity along time ago with disagreements between Lutherans, Anabaptists, Reformed, Presbyterians, Baptists, Methodists, Church of Christ, Pentecostals, Charismatics, Dispensationalists, etc.

I have no idea about a cure. It bothers me some, but it is not as important to me as sound doctrine in a gospel expository preaching church; more important is sound doctrine and healthy local churches and the unity we have in the gospel, as in www.t4g.org is a good unity; and we have good fellowship with Presbyterians and Baptists and others.
That is enough for me. I don't worry as much as you guys do about the disunity issues; because it seems you constantly imply that have to all come under Rome and the Pope for unity - and that is much worse than all the disunity, IMO.

Ken Temple said...

The quote from Chrysostom was interesting. I don't know what exactly he meant by that, in all honesty. Would he think in terms of Transubstantiation? I doubt it.

Your quote of Chrysostom reminded me of a video I just came across a couple of hours ago, on justification by faith - his comments are interesting and he seems to understand passages in Galatians and Romans in the way that Luther and Calvin did; although, I don't pretend to know how the early church quotes that seem to affirm the Reformers of the 16th Century, harmonized that with their other views on baptism and rituals and penance, and loosing salvation, etc. Maybe they are just human and inconsistent and did not think it all the way through yet.

As Warfield wrote: "The Reformation of the 16 Century, inwardly considered, is the triumph of the theology of grace / salvation of Augustine over his ecclesiology."

Chrysostom on justification by faith:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1VcTrsfc4Mw

Ken Temple said...

Rory wrote:

Since Reformed Baptists can't fellowship with Presbyterians because they are pedo-baptist, . . .

But we do have fellowship with each other in conferences, etc. and sometimes visit each other's churches and speak in them; but we just disagree on that one doctrine and church membership.

not a big deal.

Unity around the gospel among Baptists, Presbyterians, Dispensationalists, "Charismatic" Calvinists, etc.
www.t4g.org

Rory said...

Ken,

Disunity is no big deal?

What will you say to someone who approaches you at these fellowship conferences that include "Baptists, Presbyterians, Dispensationalists, "Charismatic" Calvinists, etc.", about why you all go to different churches with different officers?

What is the answer to the question which is begged by St. Paul's Letter to the Hebrews where every one of the faithful are admonished to "Obey your prelates, and be subject to them. For they watch as being to render an account of your souls; that they may do this with joy, and not with grief." (13:17)

Maybe you haven't agonized about where one finds those officers to whom one is obliged obedience. Does the searcher simply have to make a best guess among all those who agree to disagree at your conferences? When I think back to the prayer of Christ to the Father in Jn. 17, I find it impossible to conceive that the answer to His prayer for unity among the faithful is answered because the people go to different churches with the liberty to obey whatever officer they choose.

"That they all may be one, as thou, Father, in me, and I in thee; that they also may be one in us..."

"I in them, and thou in me; that they may be made perfect in one..."
Jn 17:21a, 23a

About what things did the Son agree to disagree with the Father about? Because of an adamant unwillingness to consider the Catholic faith, non-Catholics are forced into making the absurd claim that the unity prayed for by Christ is fulfilled by scores of different non-Catholic communities that have different officers and doctrines and practices that are so different that they can't go to church together with each other. That is not what it means to be made "perfect in one."

---to be continued

Rory said...

After Bible college, I pastored for seven years where I was confronted with numerous doctrinal questions which made me realize how unfamiliar I was with biblical arguments that emanated from elsewhere than the narrow camp from which I had received my formation. By 1992, I certainly would have become uncomfortable about claiming that I could possibly qualify as God's representative to whom the faithful were obliged to be obedient. I announced my intention to leave the church in 1992. I had gained a measure of respect for all of the people that you seem to "fellowship with" but not go to church with. But which one was true? Which was the one I was supposed to attend with my family?

None of the churches which you seem close with ever seemed willing to say they were the one true church. One could consider this to be a natural modesty, but I find it unbecoming of the one true church. Christ's flock needs to know where His shepherds are that they need to follow. I began to take the Lutherans, Baptists, and Presbyterians at their word, if they wouldn't make a claim on my obedience. They lacked the marks of the one true church.

It seems sad to me now to realize from what you have said above that because of an unwillingness to allow the Catholic Church to define its own beautiful teachings, you are willing to elevate, as you see it, a doctrine which you think is opposed by Rome, and places you in the position of proposing that Christ's prayer to the Father for perfect unity allows for ecclesiastical disunity:

Ken Temple
I don't worry as much as you guys do about the disunity issues; because it seems you constantly imply that have to all come under Rome and the Pope for unity - and that is much worse than all the disunity, IMO.

Me
Instead of trying to understand the Catholic teaching on grace alone, a doctrine which perfectly harmonizes with the "hard sayings" of St. Paul which St. Peter warned the faithful about wrestling with to their own destruction, you choose to teach your faithful that Providence has placed them in a circumstance where they can't have both unity and the Gospel. I am not Catholic because I had to choose between the unity of John 17 and the Good News of salvation in Jesus Christ. God doesn't require that His children choose between the lesser of two evils.

As a Catholic, to use a homely, but apt expression, you have your cake...and eat it too.

God bless,

Rory

Rory said...

Immediately above, I think I should clarify that "the lesser of two evils" might be better understood as "the greater of two goods".

Rory

Ken Temple said...


Rory wrote:
Instead of trying to understand the Catholic teaching on grace alone, a doctrine which perfectly harmonizes with the "hard sayings" of St. Paul which St. Peter warned the faithful about wrestling with to their own destruction, you choose to teach your faithful that Providence has placed them in a circumstance where they can't have both unity and the Gospel.

I hear what you are saying.

but "grace alone" is tied to the sacraments and the church and is a process until one dies and even then, there is satis passio in purgatory.

We have unity and the gospel (cake and eat it too) - but the exhortations to unity are within the context of local churches - as in Ephesians 4:1-16 and 1 Corinthians chapters 1-4 - Paul is exhorting the Corinthians in that one local church to be unified.

Granted, the complicated nature of 1500 years of church history make that unity that John 17 speaks of as much harder.

But, we cannot undo the knots of the things (man made traditions, dogmas, practices, disciplines) that your church developed from 553 AD (Perpetual Virginity of Mary as dogma), prayers to Mary and statues and prayers to other dead saints; 600 AD (development of Purgatory and indulgences during the Crusades 1095-1299; to 800s to 1215 (development of Transubstantiation) to the split of Eastern Orthodoxy ( 1054 - they to this day disagree with you that the Pope is bishop over all other bishops, etc.) to 1545-1563 (Trent - anathematizing of the heart of the gospel, Galatians 1:6-9; 5:4) to 1854 to 1870 to 1950.

Also, the nature of the breakdown of the Medieval Synthesis (that everything was unified under Roman Catholicism - culture, society, governments, military, church, etc. ) after the Reformation - the eventual separation of church and state is part of the complicated nature of the whole discussion.

In order to the unity of the Spirit to take place, you have to repent of all that stuff and then we may can talk. Also, the discipline of requiring priests to be celibate is a "doctrine of demons" - 1 Timothy 4:1-4 - "men who forbid marriage"

Also, an earlier man-made tradition that started in 3rd century - calling "presbyters" (elders) priests (sacerdot) and calling the Eucharist "a sacrifice" was wrong also. There are no NT priests as an office in the church. (except Christ as our high priest; and all Christians are priests - 1 Peter 2:4-10). Get back to plurality of elders / overseers for each church. (Acts 14:23; Titus 1:5-7; Acts 20:17, 28; I Peter 5:1-4) After the apostles died, the office of apostle ceased, therefore the argument of David Waltz about the concept of "mono-episcopate" before the word is used in Ignatius is wrong. Timothy and Titus are like church planting missionaries. James and Peter are equal in Acts 15 - a group of elders and apostles.

Ken Temple said...

After Bible college, I pastored for seven years where I was confronted with numerous doctrinal questions which made me realize how unfamiliar I was with biblical arguments that emanated from elsewhere than the narrow camp from which I had received my formation. By 1992, I certainly would have become uncomfortable about claiming that I could possibly qualify as God's representative to whom the faithful were obliged to be obedient. I announced my intention to leave the church in 1992.

It would be interesting to hear more about that. What Bible College? What denomination? What doctrinal questions, what theological issues, biblical arguments did you find difficult to answer?

Usually, Bible College is not enough, usually seminary gives a more complete training. But even then, the typical Protestant training in church history is not enough. Instead of 3 years, I would propose a fourth year of church history and historical theology and advanced Greek and Hebrew, for those that want.

Ken Temple said...

Instead of 3 years (for the typical M.Div.), I would propose a fourth year of church history and historical theology and advanced Greek and Hebrew, for those that want.

I would at least tailor a specific class in church history, historical theology that specifically answers the whole modern Scott Hahn / Gerry Matatics / Called to Communion (Bryan Cross, etc.) /"Surprised by Truth" series/ and my friend Rod Bennett (author of Four Witnesses) / Dave Armstrong, Steve Ray, etc. - I would created at least one course in apologetics that answers those issues that has tricked Evangelicals into becoming Roman Catholic.