Reformed Baptist Fellowship

Down with the Traditional Church!

In Reformed Baptist Fellowship on July 21, 2016 at 6:21 pm

building

This new direction is, needless to say, carried on side by side with an attack on the traditional church. This attack has become incessant from the church marketers, as indeed it has also from emergents, and it is, on its face, quite curious.

It is true that some traditional churches are desultory, dispirited, boring, dull, lifeless, inept, small, disheartened, or otherwise dying. One does wonder, though, why such a dead dog keeps getting kicked, sometimes quite viciously, by the church marketers. “If you have found church to be as painful as a trip to the dentist and twice as boring …” begins a typical attack that is also a solicitation of interest in this new breed of church-doing. Another advertisement for a megachurch, with the traditional church in mind, says church “is about avoiding hell … not sitting through it every week.”

But if the traditional church is so inept, so out-of-it, so not-withit, so passé, so completely washed up, so painful, and so boring, why not let it die peacefully? Why keep on kicking it?

Because the real target is not the traditional church but the traditional theology it lives by. This belief system is at the heart of the traditional church’s life that seeker-sensitives are after. It is not that they want to deny it or reject it, but it is something of an embarrassment to them. At least in their own churches, they want to conceal it. They want it hidden, kept in the background, made to disappear from what they are doing. It is rather like a family secret. Family secrets are true, but they should be kept private. They should not be divulged.

(Wells, David. The Courage to Be Protestant: Truth-Lovers, Marketers, and Emergents in the Postmodern World.)

“My kingdom is not of this world.… Now my kingdom is from another place” (John 18:36)

In Reformed Baptist Fellowship on July 15, 2016 at 11:15 am

J.C.-Ryle_1-256x300

We would do well to remember this in all our attempts to extend the kingdom of true religion. It is not to be propagated by violence, or by bodily strength. “The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world” (2 Corinthians 10:4). “ ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the LORD Almighty” (Zechariah 4:6). The cause of truth does not need force to maintain it. False religions, like Islam, have often been spread by the sword. False Christianity, like that of the Roman church, has often been enforced on people by bloody persecutions. But the real Gospel of Christ requires no such aids as these. It stands by the power of the Holy Spirit. It grows by the hidden influence of the Holy Spirit on people’s hearts and consciences. There is no clearer sign of a bad cause in religion than a readiness to appeal to the sword. – J.C. Ryle

For so highly does the Lord esteem the communion of his Church

In Reformed Baptist Fellowship on July 12, 2016 at 2:23 pm

Institutes

We have stated that the marks by which the Church is to be distinguished, are, the preaching of the word, and the administration of the sacraments. For these can no where exist without bringing forth fruit, and being prospered with the blessing of God. I assert not that wherever the word is preached, the good effects of it immediately appear; but that it is never received so as to obtain a permanent establishment, except in order that it may be efficacious. However this may be, where the word is heard with reverence, and the sacraments are not neglected, there we discover, while that is the case, an appearance of the Church, which is liable to no suspicion or uncertainty, of which no one can safely despise the authority, or reject the admonitions, or resist the counsels, or slight the censures, much less separate from it and break up its unity. For so highly does the Lord esteem the communion of his Church, that he considers every one as a traitor and apostate from religion, who perversely withdraws himself from any Christian society which preserves the true ministry of the word and sacraments. He commends the authority of the Church, in such a manner as to account every violation of it an infringement of his own. For it is not a trivial circumstance, that the Church is called “the house of God, the pillar and ground of truth.” For in these words Paul signifies that in order to keep the truth of God from being lost in the world, the Church is its faithful guardian; because it has been the will of God, by the ministry of the Church, to preserve the pure preaching of his word, and to manifest himself as our affectionate Father, while he nourishes us with spiritual food, and provides all things conducive to our salvation. Nor is it small praise, that the Church is chosen and separated by Christ to be his spouse, “not having spot or wrinkle,” to be “his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.” Hence it follows, that a departure from the Church is a renunciation of God and Christ. And such a criminal dissention is so much the more to be avoided; because while we endeavour, as far as lies in our power, to destroy the truth of God, we deserve to be crushed with the most powerful thunders of his wrath. Nor is it possible to imagine a more atrocious crime, than that sacrilegious perfidy, which violates the conjugal relation that the only begotten Son of God has condescended to form with us.

(Calvin, John, Institutes of the Christian Religion. Book IV, Chapter 1, Section 10)

%d bloggers like this: