Institute For Reformed Baptist Studies:
Dr. James Renihan interviews Dr. Fred Malone on the importance of Believer’s Baptism. What is baptism? Who is to be baptised? How are they to be baptised? And what role does baptism play in the church?
It seems that the practice of good churchmanship has fallen by the wayside in modern times. Even within the resurgence of “New Calvinism” of the past decade of so, where there has been a growing recognition of God’s sovereignty in salvation, many have observed that ecclesiology, or the doctrine of the church, has not received the attention it deserves and is therefore not well understood by many young believers.
Since its inception in 2008, BTC has sought to encourage the up-and-coming generation of believers—specifically Reformed Baptists—in their commitment to Christ as demonstrated in part by their commitment to the local church. Promoting the biblical doctrine of the church has always been at the center of BTC’s purpose.
10 years later we are still seeking to reach the next generation of confessional church members with an emphasis on glorifying Christ through service to His Bride. To reaffirm our desire to see young people involved in their local churches and churches built up as a result, the theme of BTC 2017 centers on the importance of the visible church in every generation since it was established by Christ over 2,000 years ago.
The 10th annual Building Tomorrow’s Church conference will be held in Flagstaff, Arizona, June 23-26, on the campus of Northern Arizona University.
We are excited to welcome for the first time three keynote speakers, including Pastor John Giarrizzo from Grace Covenant Church in Gilbert, AZ, Pastor Samuel Renihan from Trinity Reformed Baptist Church in Southern California, and Pastor Earl Blackburn from Heritage Baptist Church in Shreveport, LA.
Here is what the creator of the video (Suhylah Claudio) says about it:
“There’s no overarching title for the series of videos yet, but the focus is the same for all of them:
To share the varying perspectives on race, ethnicity, culture, and nationality from various ethnic backgrounds. The purpose is to dispel myths and stereotypes and expose points of view from those whom we may not feel are “like us” and ultimately to think about what Scripture says about these things. My goal is to help unite us as one race of Christians who are aware of the perceptions and experiences of one another so that we can be more sensitive and loving as brethren in Christ.”
The Heart of the Church, The Character of the Church, and The Life of the Church were written to help Christians and churches continue in or rediscover the priority of the gospel, the nature of the church, and the life of faith lived together.
These are three small and easy to read books that are useful for training in church membership classes, discipleship groups, and elder boards—and even for devotional reading. They are at once theological, practical, and experiential. Readers will not simply be informed, but led to believe in, rejoice in, and be transformed by the truth of God for his gathered people.
To Follow the Lambe Wheresoever He Goeth
The Ecclesial Polity of the English Calvinistic Baptists 1640-1660
by Ian Birch
This book explores the doctrine of the church among English Calvinistic Baptists between 1640 and 1660. It examines the emergence of Calvinistic Baptists against the background of the demise of the Episcopal Church of England, the establishment by Act of Parliament of the Westminster Assembly of Divines, and the attempted foundation of a Presbyterian Church of England. Ecclesiology was one of the most important doctrines under consideration in this phase of English history, and this book is a contribution to understanding alternative forms of ecclesiology outside of the mainstream National Church settlement.
It argues that the development of Calvinistic Baptist ecclesiology was a natural development of one stream of Puritan theology, the tradition associated with Robert Brown, and the English separatist movement. This tradition was refined and made experimental in the work of Henry Jacob, who founded a congregation in London in 1616 from which Calvinistic Baptists emerged. Central to Jacob’s ideology was the belief that a rightly ordered church acknowledged Christ as King over his people. The christological priority of early Calvinistic Baptist ecclesiology will constitute the primary contribution of this study to the investigation of dissenting theology in the period.
Ian Birch is Principal of the Scottish Baptist College where he lectures in Theology and Baptist Studies. He contributed to The Plainly Revealed Word of God? Baptist Hermeneutics in Theory and Practice (2011) and Mirrors and Microscopes (2015). He was winner of the Payne Memorial Essay Prize for “‘The Counsel and Help of One Another’: Origins and Concerns of Early Particular Baptist Churches in Association” in 2012.
Keith Throop, over at Reformed Baptist Blog, writes:
I also highly recommend Jeff’s book The Church: Why Bother? In fact, it is a good book to give to friends or other people in your church.
When we first interviewed Pastor Jeff Johnson he also shared how he was saved from the brink of suicide. You can find that in the first podcast listed above. It is now in video form from the same interviewer in the video above:
On Sunday, November 6, the first meeting of the newly formed regional association, Confessional Baptists of the Southwest (CBS), was held in Gilbert, Arizona. The four charter member churches include Golden Shores Community Baptist Church (Topock, AZ), Grace Covenant Church (Gilbert, AZ), Miller Valley Baptist Church (Prescott, AZ), and Tucson Reformed Baptist Church (Tucson, AZ).
Praise God for bringing these congregations together for the purpose of “holding communion” through mutual encouragement, support, and gospel endeavors.
We cannot take mission seriously unless we take ecclesiology seriously. The two are inseperable. Because God’s strategy for the Great Commission is the Church, having a robust understanding of the doctrine of the Church is vital for faithfulness in mission. This year’s National New Zealand Acts 29 conference seeks to cultivate exactly that – a biblically faithful, historically informed and contextually sensitive understanding of ecclesiology. Join us as James White, Joe Thorn and Jim Renihan consider doctrine, history, apologetics and mission under the rubric of ecclesiology.
For more info check out the website.
Jeff Johnson announced earlier this morning that the new edition of The Church: Why Bother? [also now available as an eBook] is now available for sale on Amazon. If you want bulk discounts, please contact Jeff.
For more on this book check out our two previous interviews with the author:
Pastor Tom Chantry encourages us to draw out the right lesson from Driscoll and Tchividjian controversy:
…What we [Reformed Baptists] have, then, is a distinct system from Presbyterianism, but one which, like Presbyterianism, endeavors to pay heed to the biblical principles by which all churches must be governed, namely: 1) the Headship of the Lord Jesus Christ over the church, 2) the careful application of the authority and power he grants the church through orderly processes, 3) a mutual and prayerful respect between the officers and members of every congregation, and 4) a similarly mutual and prayerful respect between like-minded congregations which serve under the same Head. It is, in other words, a serious polity worthy of serious Christians.
But will it preserve us from a badly mishandled scandal? No, not if we trust in polity alone. Forgive my transgression of theological categories, but right polity cannot save ex opere operato! To avoid scandal, or rather to handle it rightly when it comes, we need grace from on high. For this reason our polity must be pursued carefully and prayerfully by upright and humble men. Otherwise it will fail. We may wish to say that such terrible scandals as Driscoll and Tchividjian have perpetrated could never happen under our polity, but as our Presbyterian friends have discovered, they might! In fact, brothers, I would say that they have, only not so publicly…
The reason, however, is probably not polity. It is far more likely that the problem lies within our hearts. Maybe we do have one of those polities which, to expropriate Adams’ words, is “better fitted for being well administered than others.” Very well, but let us heed Pope also, and administer it well and faithfully.
Biblical Elders and Deacons
by Nehemiah Coxe D. 1688
Christ’s will as revealed in Scripture is the pattern for the church, and Nehemiah Coxe unfolds aspects of that pattern that relate to church leadership. “The edification and beauty of the Church is much concerned in her order, not such an order as superstition will dictate, or litigious nicety contend for, but such as sets her in a conformity with Christ’s will; and particularly the filling up of the offices which He has appointed, with persons duly qualified for the administration of them, and the regular acting both of officers and members in their respective positions.”
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
II. Appointment of Deacons
III. Appointment of Elders
IV. A Pastor’s Duty toward His People
V. The People’s Duty toward Their Pastors
[As far as I know, Dr. Michael A.G. Haykin is the only Reformed Baptist contributing to this book. He wrote chapter one on “Some Historic Roots of Congregationalism”, which can be read here and at the bottom of the post.]
Church Government for an Anti-Institutional Age
Mark Dever (Editor), Jonathan Leeman (Editor), Andrew M. Davis (Contributor), John S. Hammett (Contributor), Michael A. G. Haykin (Contributor), Benjamin L Merkle (Contributor), Thomas R. Schreiner (Contributor), Kirk Wellum (Contributor), Stephen J. Wellum (Contributor), Thomas White (Contributor), Shawn Wright (Contributor)
Ours is an anti-polity age, perhaps more than any other time in the history of the church. Yet polity remains as important now as it was in the New Testament.
What then is a right or biblical polity? The contributors to this volume make an exegetical and theological case for a Baptist polity. Right polity, they argue, is congregationalism, elder leadership, diaconal service, regenerate church membership, church discipline, and a Baptist approach to the ordinances.
Each section explores the pastoral applications of these arguments. How do congregationalism and elder leadership work together? When should a church practice church discipline? How can one church work with another in matters of membership and discipline?
To be read sequentially or used as a reference guide, Baptist Foundations provides a contemporary treatment of Baptist church government and structures, the first of its kind in decades.
Print Length: 432 pages
Publisher: B&H Academic (June 2015)
Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.1 x 9 inches
Text-to-Speech: Enabled [Kindle]
Lending: Enabled [Kindle]
The Portico Church Annual Spring Theology Conference just took place on April 25, 2015. The featured speaker was Earl Blackburn. The subject was the biblical mandate for formal church membership from his book “Jesus Loves The Church And So Should You.”
Earl Blackburn opens the conference informing that he isn’t able to say all that should be said on Ecclesiology (Doctrine of the Church) but he has written on it in the following book and recommends it for those who want to dive deeper into this doctrine:
by Earl M. Blackburn
Earl Blackburn has served the Lord in the Church since December 27th, 1976. He has served seven years in Utah, twenty-two years in California, and now nearly ten years in Louisiana. Over the past several years brother Earl has battled with cancer which has caused him to appreciate the church more than ever. This book is written by a man who has a burning passion for the Church of Christ, and who desires to stir up the hearts of people all over the world to love the Church Christ loved enough to lay down his life for her.
This book has been written to be read by the layperson who has many practical questions about the modern-day Church. This would be a great book for churches to have on their literature rack to give to visitors and to use with New Members Classes as well.
Paperback: 154 pages
Publisher: Solid Ground Christian Books (October 14, 2010)
Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.4 x 8.5 inches
Driscoll has been among the most vociferous and voluble of those sailing under the flag of the New Calvinism. Toward the latter half of 2014, significant concerns and charges began to accumulate around him…
What do we make of all this? There are several things of which we must take account. The New Calvinism is far bigger and often better than Mark Driscoll, although he has epitomised or been connected with some of its biggest dangers, worst excesses and greatest failings as a movement. Visitors to the website are encouraged to make donations to help ‘support the ministry’, hosting and distributing past and promised future Bible teaching and resources, with a non-profit launch assured. But Mr Driscoll, though down, was not out. In December, he launched a new website with a very familiar design (and the Mars Hill name attached), a well-laundered resumé (containing nothing of the recent and well-attested allegations), and the vast majority of his preached and written material, all under the title ‘Pastor Mark Driscoll’.
We should avoid tarring all with the same brush, even if some have been spattered with the muck. None of us — myself included — are in possession of every relevant fact. Most of us are not in possession of many relevant facts. If we are to speak to a matter, we must speak to what is clear and evident, and avoid imputing evil without definite evidence.
Another thing to avoid is the kind of vindictiveness and viciousness that gloats in the downfall of another. No Christian should gleefully revel in someone else’s disgrace, even if you think you saw it coming. There may be a righteous sense of the vindication of God’s honour, but we do better to weep over another’s sin than wallow in our own pride.
So, what principles are enforced and what lessons should be learned from this situation?
- We should learn the value of a robust ecclesiology
- We should learn the importance of maintaining biblical standards for pastoral ministry
- We should learn the necessity of real friends
- We should learn the significance of true repentance
- We should learn the blessing of doctrinal standards
- We should learn the ugliness of celebrification
- We should learn the worth of hearing our critics
- Finally, we should learn the danger of our own circumstances
On episode #35 of our interview podcast we discussed this book with the author: