Unscriptural Devices to Advance the Movement

Dr, Kennedy on the innovations Arminians brought into worship to advance their gospel:

In connection with unscriptural devices resorted to in order to advance the movement, Dr. Kennedy mentions first excessive hymn-singing as one of these. “The singing of uninspired hymns even in moderation, as part of public worship, no one can prove to be scriptural; but the excess and the misdirection of the singing in this movement were irrational as well. Singing ought to be to the Lord; for singing is worship. But singing the gospel to men has taken the place of singing praise to God…. Many professed to have been converted by the hymns.

“The use of instrumental music was an additional novelty, pleasing to the kind of feeling that finds pleasure in a concert. To introduce what is so gratifying there, into the service of the house of God, is to make the latter palatable to those to whom spiritual worship is an offence. The organ-sounds effectively touch chords which nothing else would thrill….

“And yet it is not difficult to prove that the use of instrumental music, in the worship of God, is unscriptural, and that therefore all, who have subscribed to the [Westminster] Confession of Faith, are under solemn vow against it. There was a thorough change, in the mode of worship, effected by the revolution, which introduced the New Testament dispensation. So thorough is this change, that no part of the old ritual can be a precedent to us. For all parts of the service of the house of God there must be New Testament precept or example. No one will pretend that for instrumental music, in the worship of God, there is any authority in New Testament Scripture. ‘The fruit of the lips’ issuing from hearts that make ‘melody to the Lord,’ is the only form of praise it sanctions….

“But we use the organ only as an aid, it is said. ‘It is right that we should do our best in serving the Lord; and if the vocal music is improved by the instrumental accompaniment, then surely the organ may be used.’ On the same ground you might argue for the use of crucifixes and pictures, and for all the paraphernalia of the Popish ritual. ‘These,’ you might say, ‘make an impression on minds that would not otherwise be at all affected. They vividly present before worshippers the scenes described in Scripture, and if, as aids, they serve to do so, they surely cannot be wrong.’ To this, there are three replies, equally good against the argument for instrumental music. (1) they are not prescribed in New Testament Scripture, and therefore they must not be introduced into New Testament worship. (2) They are incongruous with the spirituality of the New Testament dispensation. (3) These additions but help to excite a state of feeling which militates against, instead of aiding, that which is produced by the Word. An organ may make an impression, but what is it but such as may be made more thoroughly at the opera? It may help to regulate the singing, but does God require this improvement? And whence arises the taste for it? It cannot be from the desire to make the praise more fervent and spiritual, for it only tends to take attention away from the heart, whose melody the Lord requires. It is the craving for pleasurable aesthetics, for the gratification of mere carnal feeling, that desires the thrill of organ sounds, to touch pleasingly the heart, that yields no response to what is spiritual. If the argument, against the use of the organ, in the service of praise, is good, it is, at least equally so against its use in the service of preaching. If anything did ‘vanish away,’ it is surely the use of all such accessories in connection with the exhibition of Christ to men. [Hebrews 8.]

~Rev. William MacLean, M.A., “Arminiamism: Another Gospel”

Source: http://www.truecovenanter.com/gospel/arminianism_another_gospel.html

“Sundays Excepted?”

Via Apologetics Press:

“Sundays Excepted”?

by Dave Miller, Ph.D.

Did the Founders of American civilization believe in the God of the Bible? More specifically, did the vast majority of them embrace the Christian worldview? Even though they advocated freedom of worship, and opposed any persecution instigated against those who sought to practice divergent religious views, did they, themselves, approach life from the perspective of the Christian religion? A mountain of evidence exists to prove that they did. Consider just one.

Though the Founders intentionally omitted an extensive treatment of religion in the federal Constitution, since they intended for the federal government to stay out of the religious arena and leave such matters to the States and local communities, they nevertheless implied their religious orientation in that seminal document. Article 1, Section 7 of the Constitution reads:

If any Bill shall not be returned by the President within ten Days (Sundays excepted) after it shall have been presented to him, the Same shall be a Law, in like Manner as if he had signed it, unless the Congress by their Adjournment prevent its Return, in which Case it shall not be a Law (Constitution of the United…, emp. added).

“Sundays excepted”? Indeed, to this day, the U.S. government shuts down and does not transact business on Sunday? Why? If this provision had been made in respect of Jews, the Constitution would have read “Saturdays excepted.” If provision had been made for Muslims, the Constitution would have read “Fridays excepted.” If the Founders had intended to encourage a day of inactivity for the government without regard to any particular religion, they could have chosen Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday. Instead, the federal Constitution reads “Sundays excepted”—proving that America was Christian in its orientation, that the Framers themselves shared the Christian worldview, and that they were determined to give political recognition to and accommodation of that fact by making allowance for the Christian day of worship. Their decision reflects a respect for Bible teaching on the matter (Acts 20:7; Revelation 1:10).

This respect for the Christian worship of God on Sunday has been perpetuated throughout American history. The vanishing “Blue Laws” verify this fact. For example, in the 1846 South Carolina court case City Council of Charleston v. Benjamin, the court declared:

The Lord’s day, the day of the Resurrection, is to us, who are called Christians, the day of rest after finishing a new creation. It is the day of the first visible triumph over death, hell and the grave! It was the birth day of the believer in Christ, to whom and through whom it opened up the way which, by repentance and faith, leads unto everlasting life and eternal happiness! On that day we rest, and to us it is the Sabbath of the Lord—its decent observance, in a Christian community, is that which ought to be expected (2 Strob. L. 508 [S. C. 1846], emp. added).

Many other examples exist (cf. Miller, 2006). America was founded on Christian principles. The future of the Republic is endangered in direct proportion as those principles are abandoned. “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord” (Psalm 33:12).

REFERENCES

City Council of Charleston v. Benjamin (1846), 2 Strob. L. 508 (S. C. 1846).

Constitution of the United States, [On-line], URL: http://www.archives.gov/national-archives-experience/charters/ constitution.html.

Miller, Dave (2006), “America, Christianity, and the Culture War (Part I),” Reason & Revelation, June 2006 – 26[6]41-47, [On-line], URL: http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/2942.

Original Source: http://www.apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=7&article=2405

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Known to the Whole Christian Church from the Beginning

“If anyone disapproved of the congregation singing, Father would say, “I am sure it is no secret to any Christian that it is a good thing and pleases God to sing spiritual songs.  The prophets and kings in the Old Testament praised God by singing songs to the accompaniment of cymbals and stringed instruments.  Psalm-singing has been known to the whole Christian church from the beginning.”

~Louise A. Vernon, Thunderstorm in Church, page 112

Is Baptizing Children Pointless?

Wilhelmus a Brakel:

Objection #2: Small children are baptized who do not as yet have understanding and are as yet unable to be believingly exercised with their baptism in order to be sealed by it. Baptism either has no efficacy—and is thus administered to them in vain—or by reason of inherent efficacy must beget grace in a natural sense. Since the first concept is absurd, the second is therefore confirmed.

Answer 1) The children in the Old Testament were circumcised and their circumcision was not in vain; it nevertheless had no inherent efficacy to circumcise the heart. It is thus evident that a child‟s reception of a sacrament can be of benefit, even though the sacrament has no inherent efficacy to beget grace. 2) Since baptism functions as a sign and a seal, a child can likewise be sealed. God, the congregation, and thus also the parents, view him as being sealed. The parents derive their comfort from this, and the baptized child, upon coming to the years of discretion, derives from his baptism its sealing efficacy to his comfort and sanctification. (TCRS, vol. 2, p. 502).

Read more on how baptism saves: http://thepresbyteryinn.com/2016/08/12/how-baptism-saves-you/

Wednesday is the New Sunday

Churches are now making up a new Christian Sabbath “day” where God gets a couple hours on a weekday while His ordained day is spent in amusement:

Some churches are even rescheduling their services on weekdays, like those churches in Minnesota that have appointed “Wednesday as the new Sunday,” according to StarTribune
Meanwhile in Minnesota, many families are reportedly abandoning Sunday services to accommodate children’s sports schedules, week-end work shifts or out-of-town travel.

Read more at http://www.christianpost.com/news/why-many-churches-are-dropping-the-11-a-m-sunday-service-and-looking-at-wednesday-as-the-new-sunday-182201/#FL84Lxii1i8XO6bA.99

Why Keep a Christian Sabbath Today?

Why Keep a Christian Sabbath Today

Rev. Ian Goligher

November 26, 2006

Nehemiah 13

Listen to the sermon here: http://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?SID=11280613851

Notes:

  • In Nehemiah’s time, the Sabbath was being openly and flagrantly profaned – the very thing that brought the wrath of God upon the city beforehand and the reason why the Israelites were spending their entire lifetime rebuilding the city

  • What would Nehemiah think of our society today???

1. The Sabbath day still needs defending:

-Against the greed of the ungodly

  • today’s focus is on profit, profit, profit, which is now consuming the Lord’s Day
  • we will never win the argument from economy because people can make more money opening their businesses for 7 rather than 6 days a week

-Equality

  • Another argument we will never win, ie. That everyone should be free to follow their own convictions, way of life, culture, and desires
  • this practice has ruined the church and Canada for many generations, although greed is now taking over as the primary reason given for not keeping a Sabbath
  • note, though, that Nehemiah’s rule was the rule of God and not what unbelievers did

2. We need to contend against false doctrine on the Sabbath:

-It is a “holy” day, not a holiday:

  • Genesis 2 – God sanctified the day, set it apart and made it His day
  • to be used for God’s pleasure, not ours

-Permanency has to be contended for:

  • Dispensationalism teaches no Sabbath any more and has influenced many
  • teaching has only taken root in North America since the 1920’s

  • teaches that you can go to church in the morning and do whatever you want the rest of the day

-10 Commandments still the rule of life for the Christian:

  • Jesus did not cancel any of them out

-Change from the 7th day to the 1st day has to be contended for:

  • Apostles practice was to meet on the 1st day
  • founded on the principle of the resurrection
  • from earliest times, Christians met on the 1st day of the week
  • no controversy about the change in the New Testament
  • church historically has always accepted that we meet on the 1st day of the week
  • change to giving up the whole day is due to liberalism and modernism that has unravelled the inspiration and foundation of the Bible

-Must contend against the dishonor of God’s name

  • Sabbath reminds society of God’s name and glory

  • A society that turns away from the Sabbath also turns away from God

  • the more secular the day is treated, the less people think about God’s name and worship

-Sabbath was to put a difference between the Israelites and the other nations

  • Exodus 31:13 – a sign, a special covenant arrangement

  • remains as a sign for believers today in multifaith societies

-Must contend against the misuse of the Sabbath’s benefits

  • is a place for physical rest but not for sports and recreation

  • benefit of spiritual exercise – to be used to grow in the Lord

  • benefit to congregate in the church – no Sabbath would make churches into drop-in centres; no Sabbath means there be no witness in society; No Sabbath = no church = no witness

  • harm when day is desecrated – no time for Sabbath means no time for God

We have to use our influence where we can to “close the gates” for the Sabbath.

There is a blessing in taking a stand for the Lord’s day even if there is a price to pay for it.

Let Them Have More Of Jesus Christ

Robert Traill (By what Means may Ministers best win Souls), Works 1:247:

It was a sad observation of the fourth century, that it became a matter of learning and ingenuity to be a Christian. The meaning was, that too much weight was laid on notions and matter of opinion, and less regard had unto the soundness of the heart and holiness of the life. In the beginning of the Reformation from Popery, the worthies whom God raised up in several countries, did excellently in retrieving the simplicity of the gospel from the Popish mixtures. But that good work took a stand quickly, and is on the declining greatly. How little of Jesus Christ is there in some pulpits! It is seen, as to success, that whatever the law doth in alarming sinners, it is still the gospel-voice that is the key that opens the heart to Jesus Christ. Would ministers win souls? Let them have more of Jesus Christ in their dealing with men, and less of other things that never profit them that are exercised therein.

Source: https://www.puritanboard.com/threads/the-gospel-voice-opens-the-heart-to-christ.91104/, Comment 1

As in the Heart, So in the Ministry

Robert Traill (By what Means may Ministers best win Souls), Works 1:241-242:

Take heed unto thyself, that thou be a lively, thriving Christian. See that all thy religion run not in the channel of thy employment. It is found by experience, that as it fares with a minister in the frame of his heart and thriving of the work of God in his soul, so doth it fare with his ministry both in its vigour and effects. A carnal frame, a dead heart, and a loose walk, make cold and unprofitable preaching. And how common is it for ministers to neglect their own vineyard? When we read the word, we read it as ministers, to know what we should teach, rather than what we should learn as Christians. Unless there be great heed taken, it will be found that our ministry and labour therein may eat out the life of our Christianity.

https://www.puritanboard.com/threads/be-a-lively-thriving-christian.91098/, Comment 1

We Must Reject All Other Instructors

Calvin on Isaiah 8:20:

Hence we learn that everything which is added to the word must be condemned and rejected. It is the will of the Lord that we shall depend wholly on his word, and that our knowledge shall be confined within its limits; and therefore, if we lend our ears to others, we take a liberty which he has forbidden, and offer to him a gross insult. Everything that is introduced by men on their own authority will be nothing else than a corruption of the word; and consequently, if we wish to obey God, we must reject all other instructors. He likewise warns us that, if we abide by the law of the Lord, we shall be protected against superstitions and wicked modes of worship; for, as Paul calls the word of God “the sword of the Spirit, ” (Ephesians 6:17), so by the word, Satan and all his contrivances are put to flight. We ought therefore to flee to him whenever we shall be attacked by enemies, that, being armed with it, we may contend valiantly, and at length put them to flight.

Source: https://www.puritanboard.com/threads/sola-scriptura.91225/, Comment 1

Either Gross Ignorance or Malignant Opposition

John Murray, “Law and Grace:”

It is symptomatic of a pattern of thought current in many evangelical circles that the idea of keeping the commandments of God is not consonant with the liberty and spontaneity of the Christian man, that keeping the law has its affinities with legalism and with the principle of works rather than with the principle of grace. It is strange indeed that this kind of antipathy to the notion of keeping commandments should be entertained by any believer who is a serious student of the New Testament. Did not our Lord say, ‘If ye love me, ye will keep my commandments’ (John 14:15)? And did he not say, ‘If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love, even as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love’ (John 15:10)? It was John who recorded these sayings of our Lord and it was he, of all the disciples, who was mindful of the Lord’s teaching and example regarding iove, and reproduces that teaching so conspicuously in his first Epistle. We catch something of the tenderness of his entreaty when he writes, ‘Little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue, but in deed and truth’ (I John 3:18), ‘Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God” (I John 4:7). But the message oi John has escaped us if we have failed to note John’s emphasis upon the keeping of the commandments of God. ‘And by this we know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that says, I know him, and does not keep his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keeps his word, in him verily the iove of God is made perfect’ (I John 2:3-5). ‘Beloved, if our heart does not condemn, we have confidence toward God, and whatsoever we ask we receive from him, because we keep his commandments and do those things that are well-pleasing in his sight . . . And he who keeps his commandments abides in him and he in him’ (I John 3:21, 22, 24). ‘For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments’ (I John 5:3). If we are surprised to find this virtual identification of love to God and the keeping of his commandments, it is because we have overlooked the words of our Lord himself which John had remembered and learned well: ‘If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love’ (John 15:10) and ‘He that hath my commandments and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me’ (John 14:21). To say the very least, the witness of our Lord and the testimony of John are to the effect that there is indispensable complementation; love will be operative in the keeping of God’s commandments. It is only myopia that prevents us from seeing this, and when there is a persistent animosity to the notion of keeping commandments the only conclusion is that there is either gross ignorance or malignant opposition to the testimony of Jesus.

~originally a part of  the Payton Lectures delivered by Professor Murray in March of 1955 at Fuller Theological Seminary. The entire lecture series was expanded and reprinted by Wm. B Eerdmans Publishing Co., Grand Rapids, Michigan in 1957 in book form with the title, Principles of Conduct: Aspects of Biblical Ethics by John Murray.

Read more of what John Murray has to say on how the law and the gospel interrelate here: http://www.the-highway.com/lawgrace.html