One Thing I Did Right in Ministry… [Blog Series | Founders]

Don’t miss these helpful insights from the recent series on the Founders Blog:

One Thing I Did Right in Ministry…

“I started a Book Table”  (Tom Ascol)
“I waited on God” (Jeff Johnson)
“I did Expository Preaching” (Phil Newton)
“I started a Pastoral Internship” (Jeff Robinson)
“I centered on Christ” (Tom Hicks)
“Expository Preaching” (Steve Weaver)
“Kindness” (Fred Malone)
“I didn’t Lead Alone” (Scott Slayton)
“Pastoral Care” (Shawn Merithew)
“I Learned from my Failures” (Joe Thorn)

Founders Journal Issue 106 (Fall 2016) “Decrees” Out Now FREE! [PDF | WEB]

Read online or download [51-page PDF] issue 106 (Fall 2016) of the Founders Journal on God’s “Decrees.”


Introduction: Decrees | Tom Nettles

The Nature of God’s Eternal Decree An exposition of Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Chapter 7 “The Decree of God” From the 1689 London Baptist Confession | Tom Hicks

Predestined to Eternal Life Glory Hidden in the Mystery | Jared Longshore

Reprobation and the Second London Confession “the Second London Confession affirms reprobation, a doctrine which has been and continues to be the subject of much controversy” | Richard Blaylock

Like a Stone? The Perfect Confluence of God’s Providence And Human Freedom | Aaron Matherly

The High Mystery of Predestination An exposition of Paragraph 3 of Chapter 7 “The Decree of God” From the 1689 London Baptist Confession | Fred Malone

Book Review The Gospel Heritage of Georgia Baptists: 1772–1830 by Brandon F. Smith and Kurt M. Smith | Reviewed by Tom Nettles

Get more issues of the Founders Journal.

New “Journal of the Institute of Reformed Baptist Studies, 2016, Vol. 3” [RBAP]

Journal of the Institute of Reformed Baptist Studies 2016 (Vol. 3)

[RBAP: $12 (arrives Dec. 15) | Amz $18/£14.47]


The Journal of the Institute of Reformed Baptist Studies (JIRBS) is published to explain and support the theology of Holy Scripture as it is summarized in the Second London Baptist Confession of Faith. The journal will be published annually.


Paperback: 246 pages
Published: 2016


THE CHRISTIAN MINISTRY IN THE CHURCH: Its Reasons, Duration and Goal, and Practical Effects (Ephesians 4:11-16), with Special Emphasis on verse 12 by Richard C. Barcellos

BRING THEM TO THE WORD, NOT THE WATER: Pastoral Instructions for Fathers in the First and Second Century Church by Ryan Davidson



THE CONSEQUENCES OF POSITIVE LAW: The Particular Baptists’ Use of Inferential Reasoning in Theology by Samuel Renihan

UNITY AND DISTINCTION—One God in Three Persons: Unity of Essence, Distinction of Persons, Implications for Life, A Review Article by Stefan T. Lindblad

THE REGULATIVE PRINCIPLE OF WORSHIP: Contemporary Objections by Samuel E. Waldron

Book Reviews:

Faith, Freedom and the Spirit: The Economic Trinity in Barth, Torrance and Contemporary Theology, Paul D. Molnar reviewed by James E. Dolezal

Covenants Made Simple: Understanding God’s Unfolding Promises to His People, Jonty Rhodes reviewed by Pascal Denault

Guaranteed Pure: The Moody Bible Institute, Business, and the Making of Modern Evangelicalism, Timothy E. W. Gloege reviewed by James M. Renihan

Justification Reconsidered: Rethinking a Pauline Theme, Stephen Westerholm reviewed by Tom Hicks

The Gospel Ministry, Thomas Foxcraft reviewed by Robert E. Cosby, III

The Quest for the Historical Adam: Genesis, Hermeneutics, and Human Origins, William VanDoodewaard reviewed by Terry Clarke

Their Rock is Not Like Our Rock: A Theology of Religions, Daniel Strange reviewed by John A. Divito

The 1689 Baptist Confession on the Role of Civil Government [Tom Hicks]


Pastor Tom Hicks
Pastor Tom Hicks

Historically, American Calvinistic Baptists have been fairly unified on their understanding of the role of civil government. They expressed their views in various confessions but the the Second London Baptist Confession was their mother confession. In Chapter 24, Of the Civil Magistrate, it provides the historic Calvinistic Baptist understanding of the role of civil government. It reads:


Paragraph 1. God, the supreme Lord and King of all the world, has ordained civil magistrates to be under him, over the people, for his own glory and the public good; and to this end has armed them with the power of the sword, for defence and encouragement of them that do good, and for the punishment of evil doers.1
1 Rom. 13:1-4

1689 gift editionParagraph 2. It is lawful for Christians to accept and execute the office of a magistrate when called thereunto; in the management whereof, as they ought especially to maintain justice and peace,2 according to the wholesome laws of each kingdom and commonwealth, so for that end they may lawfully now, under the New Testament, wage war upon just and necessary occasions.3
2 2 Sam. 23:3; Ps. 82:3,4
3 Luke 3:14

Paragraph 3. Civil magistrates being set up by God for the ends aforesaid; subjection, in all lawful things commanded by them, ought to be yielded by us in the Lord, not only for wrath, but for conscience’ sake;4 and we ought to make supplications and prayers for kings and all that are in authority, that under them we may live a quiet and peaceable life, in all godliness and honesty.5
4 Rom. 13:5-7; 1 Pet. 2:17
5 1 Tim. 2:1,2

This chapter is divided into 3 sections. Paragraph 1 is on God’s ordination of the civil magistrate. Paragraph 2 is about Christians who hold the office of civil magistrate. Paragraph 3 is about how Christians should submit to the civil magistrate. We’ll look at these one at a time…

Pastor Tom Hicks goes on to explain each of these paragraphs.

Answering Some Objections to Sabbath Observance [Tom Hicks]

reject_sabbathPastor Tom Hicks over at Founders Ministries’ THE BLOG:

In a previous post, I briefly sketched the Bible’s doctrine of the Sabbath day. Like nearly every doctrine of the Christian faith, the doctrine of the Sabbath is controversial among some Christians today. In this post, I’ll try to answer some of the most common objections to Sabbath observance.

1. New Testament Passages. Those who say Christians are not obligated to observe the Sabbath day often point to four key New Testament passages to make their case: Romans 14:1-9, Galatians 4:10, Colossians 2:16, and Hebrews 4:3-10. Though I won’t provide extensive exegesis here, I’d like briefly to consider these one at a time…

2. The Sabbath was a Sign for Israel. Some point out the Sabbath was a sign of the nation of Israel (Ex 31:16-17; Ezek 20:12). They argue that since the Sabbath was a sign of Israel, and since the church is not Israel, the Sabbath is not for the church…

3. Arguments from Silence. Some argue against Sabbath keeping from the silence of the Bible…

Pastor Tom Hicks
Pastor Tom Hicks

4. The Sabbath has been Fulfilled by Christ. Many argue that the Sabbath day has been fulfilled by Christ’s coming, and therefore, we should no longer keep the Sabbath…

5. Every Day is a Day of Worship for the Believer. Some who say that Christ fulfilled the Sabbath argue that “Every day is a day of rest in Christ and worship for the believer.”…

6. The Church Fathers from Ignatius to Augustine Taught that the Sabbath was Abolished. This argument from church history says that the early church fathers explicitly taught that the Sabbath is abolished; therefore, the doctrine of a Christian Sabbath is an innovation that was unknown in the earliest days of the church. But there are some problems here…

Read “Answering Some Objections to Sabbath Observance”.

[If you are looking for some more extensive exegesis on these passages I suggest you check out this Sunday School series.]

Jan. 22-30, 2016 Deep South Founders Conf. “Effectual Calling [1689]” feat. Mbewe, Hicks, Fryer + more @ Laurel, MS.

The 2016 Founders Conference will meet at Bethlehem Baptist Church, in Laurel MS, January 28-30, 2016. We look forward to hearing our key speaker, Conrad Mbewe, proclaim the doctrine of “Effectual calling.” Opening with an Evangelistic sermon Thursday evening, the conference will include a full schedule of speakers including Ken Fryer, Tom Hicks, and Ed Wallen.

deep south founders conf


January 28-30, 2016

Thursday Evening: 6:30 pm

Conrad Mbewe | Evangelistic sermon

Friday Morning: 9:30 am

Ken Fryer | Grace and the Effectual Call

Conrad Mbewe | Effectual Calling and Predestination

Friday Evening: 6:30 pm

Tom Hicks | The Effectual Calling of Persons Incapable of Being Outwardly Called

Conrad Mbewe | The Affect of Effectual Calling on the Mind, Heart, and Will

Saturday Morning: 9:30 am

Ed Wallen | The Effectual Calling and Common Grace

Conrad Mbewe | The Agency of Effectual Calling (Word & Spirit)


Online registration is now open:

  • Early Registration: (Before December 1, 2015) $30
  • Regular Registration: (Before January 1, 2016) $35
  • Late Registration: (After January 1, 2016) $40

No Proof of Paedobaptism: An Evaluation of Jared Oliphint’s post “Not Your Average Paedobaptism”

Over at Founders Ministries’ THE BLOG, Pastor Tom Hicks writes:

Pastor Tom Hicks
Pastor Tom Hicks

Jared Oliphint recently wrote an article for the Gospel Coalition in which he made a case for infant baptism on the basis of the distinction between the internal and external aspects of the covenant (Berkhof calls this the “dual aspect” of the covenant of grace). Oliphint argues that the new covenant is breakable, and that understanding the allegedly breakable nature of the new covenant helps make sense of infant baptism. I’m going to show you why Oliphint’s argument is unconvincing to this Reformed Baptist.

1. Oliphint says the new covenant is a mixed body.

The bulk of Oliphint’s case for infant baptism rests on the argument that the new covenant is a mixed body of believers and unbelievers. He makes this argument from Hebrews 10:26-30 and John 15:1-6…

2. I say the new covenant is a pure believers covenant.

Though theoretically a Reformed Baptist might grant Oliphint’s point about the mixed nature of the new covenant, that is not my position, nor is it the historic Baptist position. The reason is purely exegetical. Let’s look a little more closely at the two passages Oliphint provides in support of his position…

[K]ey to Oliphint’s argument for a mixed new covenant of believers and unbelievers is found in Hebrews 10:29, “How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has trampled underfoot the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified and has outraged the Spirit of grace.” Oliphint argues that this describes someone who was truly in the new covenant, sanctified by its blood, but who later fell away from the covenant, rejected Christ and came under His wrath

infant paedo baptismThere are two serious problems with Oliphint’s interpretation:

1. It proves too much. Does Oliphint really believe that all baptized infants and unbelievers in the covenant are “sanctified” (v. 29) by the blood of the covenant? What about the Reformed doctrine of definite/effectual atonement? Does Christ’s blood sanctify unbelievers? Is Oliphint advocating a kind of limited Arminianism? What about the teaching in the book of Hebrews, just one chapter earlier, that Christ’s blood is effectual to save? It says that Jesus died, “securing an eternal redemption” (Heb 9:12). His blood “secures” or renders certain, an “eternal,” permanent, “redemption” by which Christ has bought liberty for all His covenant people. Hebrews also says, “A death has occurred that redeems” (Heb 9:15). This doesn’t say His blood potentially redeems, or makes redemption possible. It says that Christ’s blood actually redeems! Hebrews tells us that Jesus “sat down” in the courts of heaven because there is no more work for Him to do! His blood made complete “purification for sins” (Heb 1:3), securing perfect redemption. Oliphint’s exegesis seems to entail a weakening of the nature of the atonement and a broadening of the extent of the atonement.

2. It assumes too much…

3. The lack of a case for infant baptism

Read “No Proof of Paedobaptism: An Evaluation of Jared Oliphint’s post “Not Your Average Paedobaptism”.

You may also be interested in Brandon Adams’ response to the same post.

The comfort of the Covenant of Redemption amidst the rising specter of persecution [Tom Hicks]

Tom Hicks:

Pastor Tom Hicks
Pastor Tom Hicks

…As Christians consider the future, some feel fearful. They fear for the future and growth of Christianity itself. They wonder what the culture around them will look like when Christ is more and more openly ridiculed. They look warily at the rising specter of persecution. Some may even worry about whether they will be able to remain faithful to Christ in the face of such cultural hostility.

But the culture cannot crush true Christianity because true Christianity doesn’t depend upon the faithfulness of Christians or the tolerance of non-Christians. True Christianity depends upon an eternal covenant, established among the persons of the Trinity before the foundation of the world. That eternal covenant, sometimes called the counsel of peace, or the covenant of redemption, is the greatest hope and comfort for all believers. It is the reason we can have absolute confidence that God will save men and women from every tribe and tongue, that He will keep His own to the end, that Satan and his kingdom cannot win, and that one day, the Lord Jesus will return to make all things new.

1. Biblical evidence for the covenant of redemption

2. Christ’s work in the covenant of redemption

3. The comforts of the covenant of redemption

Read “Culture, Covenant, and Comfort”.

Does the Bible teach baptism is necessary for salvation? Tom Hicks answers

Pastor Tom Hicks interacts with the proof texts that are used by those who believe that baptism causes salvation:

Pastor Tom Hicks
Pastor Tom Hicks

A number of groups teach that baptism is necessary for salvation.  Roman Catholics, the Churches of Christ, Anglicans, and proponents of the Federal Vision, all say that the water-rite of baptism is necessary and effectual for salvation. Consider the six main passages these groups use to support their position.

[Mark 16:16 | Acts 2:38 | Acts 22:16 | Romans 6:3-7 | Galatians 3:27 | 1 Peter 3:21]

Read his two to three paragraph response to each of these.

Why is Denying Justification such a Serious Error? Tom Hicks Answers

Pastor Tom Hicks
Pastor Tom Hicks

Tom Hicks:

The doctrine of justification by faith alone on the ground of Christ’s imputed righteousness remains under direct attack in various quarters. As someone who wrote his PhD dissertation on the doctrines of justification in Richard Baxter and Benjamin Keach, I am convinced that modifying the biblical doctrine is a serious theological error. As a pastor of a local church, I have observed how the doctrine of justification humbles the proud, strengthens the fainthearted, gives assurance to the fearful, encourages vulnerable and motivates self-sacrificing love. To deny this doctrine is to deny the very heart and power of the gospel. May the Lord bring theological clarity on this doctrine for the sake of His own glory and for the good of His beloved bride.

Scriptural Reasons Denying Justification is a Serious Error

1. To deny justification is to deny the heart of the gospel…

2. To deny justification is to stumble…

3. To deny justification is to receive the Bible’s curse…

4. To deny justification is an offense that warrants church discipline…

sola_fide…In spite of all the passages cited above, some believe that justification by faith alone is a secondary or tertiary doctrine. They say, “We may be justified by faith alone, but we’re not justified by believing justification by faith alone.” Using that rationale, they go on to say a person may be saved without believing this crucial doctrine. But consider three points in response to that assertion.

1. Paul says no such thing when dealing with those who were denying the biblical doctrine of justification…

2. To believe in justification by faith alone is to believe that Christ alone saves…

3. Such an assertion undermines the faith itself when applied to any other central doctrine of Christianity…

Read “Why is Denying Justification such a Serious Error?”

How Can We Know If Our Children Are Christians? Tom Hicks Answers

Tom Hicks
Tom Hicks

Reformed Baptist Fellowship:

Christian parents want our children to know Christ because we want what is best for them. Many parents, however, struggle with how to know whether their children have come to a saving knowledge of Christ. While there’s no way to give a complete answer in a short blog post like this, I’ll try to offer you a handful of basic principles. No child gives evidence of salvation in a vacuum. These are things a child has to learn from faithful parents who teach him the Word of God. And these are lessons of the heart that only the Holy Spirit can truly teach. A child may certainly be saved before his parents can see it, but there are some evidences that point to our child’s salvation.

  1. Growing awareness of God’s goodness.
  2. Increasing sense of personal sin.
  3. Leaning on Jesus for forgiveness and salvation.
  4. Growing desire to know the Bible and pray.
  5. Faithful repentance of sin and increasing obedience to Christ’s commands.

Read the explanation of each point.

No child (or adult for that matter!) does any of these things perfectly. But if your child has a pattern of these evidences of salvation, you should bring him to the pastors of your church for baptism and church membership.

Out Now: ‘Recovering a Covenantal Heritage: Essays in Baptist Covenant Theology’ [RBAP]

Recovering Covenantal Heritage

$27.29 | £22.98 ]

Per Richard Barcellos, RBAP should be getting their copies around the 10th and will be selling them for around $10 less.

Here is the Table of Contents: 

Preface – Richard C. Barcellos, Ph.D.

Introduction – James M. Renihan, Ph.D.



 1. A Brief Overview of Seventeenth-Century Reformed Orthodox Federalism – Richard C. Barcellos, Ph.D.

2. Covenant Theology in the First and Second London Confessions of Faith – James M. Renihan, Ph.D.

3. By Farther Steps: A Seventeenth-Century Particular Baptist Covenant Theology – Pascal Denault, Th.M.

4. The Puritan Argument for the Immersion of Believers: How Seventeenth-Century Baptists Utilized the Regulative Principle of Worship – G. Stephen Weaver, Jr., Ph. D.

5. The Antipaedobaptism of John Tombes – Michael T. Renihan, Ph.D.

6. The Abrahamic Covenant in the Thought of John Tombes – Michael T. Renihan, Ph.D.

7. John Owen on the Mosaic Covenant – Thomas E. Hicks, Jr., Ph.D.

8. A ‘Novel’ Approach to Credobaptist and Paedobaptist Polemics – Jeffrey A. Massey



 9. The Fatal Flaw of Infant Baptism: The Dichotomous Nature of the Abrahamic Covenant – Jeffrey D. Johnson

10. The Difference Between the Old and New Covenants: John Owen on Hebrews 8:6 –  John Owen

11. The Newness of the New Covenant (Part 1) – James R. White, Th.D.

12. The Newness of the New Covenant (Part 2) – James R. White, Th.D.

13. Acts 2:39 in its Context: An Exegetical Summary of Acts 2:39 and Paedobaptism (Part 1) – Jamin Hübner

14. Acts 2:39 in its Context: Case Studies in Paedobaptist Interpretations of Acts 2:39 (Part 2) – Jamin Hübner

15. An Exegetical Appraisal of Colossians 2:11-12 – Richard C. Barcellos, Ph.D.



 16. Reformed Baptist Covenant Theology and Biblical Theology – Micah and Samuel Renihan


Scripture Index

Name and Subject Index

Samples: Preface |  Intro | Chapter 1 | Chapter 10

Paperback: 532 pages

A Response to Mark Jones’ post: A Plea for Realism [Tom Hicks]

Tom Hicks
Tom Hicks


Mark Jones recently wrote an article about whether Baptist ecclesiology acknowledges Presbyterians as “Christians” to which Michael Haykin responded. Jones then wrote a reply to Haykin today. I’d like to weigh in briefly on this discussion…


I only have two remarks in response to Jones’ recent post.


  1. Don’t PCA Presbyterians do the same thing closed/close communion Baptists do?…
  2. Aren’t Baptists also seeking an embodied catholicity?

infant paedo baptismHe concludes:

With great respect, I submit that by denying Presbyterians bodily communion who have not been bodily baptized (when baptism is defined as Baptists define the term: immersed as believers), close and closed communion Baptists are actually seeking embodied communion. Rather than accepting communion with those who merely have the same Spirit with us, we’re also seeking communion with those who participate in the same bodily baptism (Eph 4:5). Instead of dividing Spirit and body, Baptists believe, like our Presbyterian brothers, in keeping body and Spirit together.


If we’re going to chase the body/Spirit question, I would also gently ask our beloved Presbyterian brothers whether their ecclesiology divides body from Spirit more than ours does. They accept into church union with themselves the bodies of their children, whether their children have the Spirit of Christ or not. We Baptists believe that the church ought to be composed of people who have body and Spirit together. Baptists, like Mark Jones, desire “a catholicity that is spirit and body.”


Finally, I wish to state that I want to have communion at every level with my Presbyterian brothers. I love them and deeply want to commune with them at the Lord’s Supper in my church. I also want them to receive God’s good gift of baptism. I would humbly submit that the real question in this discussion isn’t who is more “ecclesiologically catholic” or who has a more “embodied ecclesiology,” but the real question, as I think Mark Jones would ultimately agree, is who is correctly interpreting the Scriptures. We Baptists may be the ones who are wrong, or it may be that our Presbyterian friends are wrong. I believe in a catholicity that surrenders neither the Spirit of brotherly unity nor the fidelity of ecclesiological conviction. I’m fairly certain Mark Jones would agree with that too.


I welcome feedback from my Presbyterian brothers.

Read “A Response to Mark Jones’ post: A Plea for Realism”.

What is a Pastoral Preacher? Tom Hicks answers

preach1Tom Hicks:

There has been a good deal said and written about “expository preaching,” “Christ-centered preaching,” “redemptive-historical preaching,” etc., but very little has been said about “pastoral preaching.” Pastoral preaching is certainly expository, Christ-centered, and it always takes redemptive history into account, but it goes much further. Pastoral preaching is intensely personal and directed to a particular local church. It requires Christlike holiness of the preacher and aims to shepherd a church in the same. Consider some of the following qualities of a pastoral preacher.


Shepherd and Sheep Pastor Flock Header


1. The pastoral preacher’s sanctification is his main task in sermon preparation. 


2. The pastoral preacher’s first responsibility during sermon delivery is his own personal holiness.


3. The pastoral preacher trusts that the effectiveness of preaching depends on God’s sovereign grace alone. 


4. The pastoral preacher preaches to the particular local church in front of him. 

Read [6 min. readout].