Defending the Faith

Some really good books on how to defend the faith. Of course, these are presuppositional apologetics books. I am not going to apologize for that. Great beginner book on the Bible’s witness of apologetics. For the more philosophically minded, I would heartily recommend this book. For a great new collection of essays on revelation and reason, this book is fantastic (and one of the editors has a great name, in addition to being a great friend of mine!). On the intersection of apologetics and modern culture, go here, here, and here. The book that is really the starting point for all these other books is this one.

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Some Links For Today

There was an unusually large number of good blog posts today, so I am going to direct your attention to some of them. First up is Andy Webb’s excellent post on who gets to decide how to worship God. Secondly, there is Grudem’s response to Piper’s response to Grudem’s changed position on baptism, and Pastor Shaun’s excellent reflections on the debate. Thirdly, there is a trailer for the new Pilgrim’s Progress movie, courtesy of Mike Ratliff. Check ’em out.

Bride’s Baptism Revisited

The next section is on baptism.

On the one hand, this section is much less problematic than, say, Wilkins’s formulations on baptism. On the other hand, the section raises a lot more questions than it answers. For instance, where from Scripture do they justify using the term Regeneration of the entire eschatological age, which is how they seem to be using the term in the first paragraph? They see Regeneration as “that time when the Son of Man sits upon his glorious throne.” In the Scriptures, I see new creation (2 Cor 5:21), the “already,” or “now” (places much too numerous to mention). The only place I can think of that talks about the universe and new birth is Romans 8, which clearly places it in the “not yet.” It is certainly an odd use of the term.

Secondly, which aspect of the church is associated with baptism? FV’ers are constantly emphasizing the oneness of the church. But baptism is not undifferentiated. Baptism does not mean that one is a member of the church without qualification. It does mark the person as a member of the church in its visible manifestation (WCF 28.1). Notice the change of language. The FV statement states that baptism engrafts one into Christ. The WCF says that baptism is a sign and seal of his engrafting into Christ. Those are not the same thing one bit. The FV statement erases the distinction between sign and thing signified, whereas the WCF statement does not. To be sure, the FV statement denies “baptismal regeneration” in the normally understood sense of the term (and we can be grateful for that, at least). And, furthermore, we can also be thankful that the statement does not view baptism as a human work, but as God’s pronouncement upon the person. So, I am not negative towards all aspects of this section. In my mind, though, it does not clarify everything that needs clarification.

Update: Jason and Davey have alerted me to the use of παλιγγενεσίᾳ in Matthew 19:28, which certainly does seem to point to this use of the word that the FV statement uses. So, I retract my earlier statement with regard to the lack of biblical usage. However, the criticism still remains that baptism does not initiate one into the new creation. What baptism signifies does do so.