Federal Vision, Baptismal Efficacy, and what HE said

Peter Leithart’s views on baptismal efficacy do not accord with the Westminster Standards.  There.  I said it.  I do pray that we in the PCA find our confessional back bone to say so, as well.  We will have the opportunity to say so this summer in Greenville – or to be guilty of confessional double-speak. …

Calvin refutes the (not so) “new” perspectives on Paul

III, 19.3. On this [Christian liberty] almost the whole subject of the Epistle to the Galatians hinges; for it can be proved from express passages that those are absurd interpreters who teach that Paul there contends only for freedom from ceremonies. Of such passages are the following: “Christ has redeemed us from the curse of …

Rehabilitating “Evangelical Obedience”

No, this is not about evangelicals obeying Rick Warren’s purpose-driven popery (whose infallibility is assured not by apostolic succession, but good-old pragmatic results).  “Evangelical obedience” is a grand old phrase, which has sadly faded from use & familiarity in Reformation circles.  It captures the old, Reformed orthodoxy regarding sanctification and its source – not the …

Does regeneration mean we are now able to “keep” God’s Law?

Have you ever heard a Christian say, “Now that we’re regenerated, we can keep God’s Law”?  I have.  Usually this is based on the new covenant promise of Jeremiah 31.   In fact, I’ve heard well-meaning Reformed believers say such.  Is such an idea true / biblical / Reformed?  Well, it all depends on what you …

“Is Your Baby a Born Sinner? Does Your Baby Need Jesus?”

“You baptize babies?  Isn’t that a left-over tradition from Rome?”  Most Presbyterian & Reformed pastors have heard something similar.  Even from folks who attend and appreciate their Reformed worship service.  They appreciate the Christ-centered preaching, the honesty about our sin and the wonder of God’s grace, the order of worship, the riches of Reformed theology.  …

Justification and Sanctification Revisited – A Little Help from Ryle

One of the big blog tussles over the last year concerns the relationship of justification to sanctification.  Some assert the priority of justification in our sanctification.  Others say union with Christ must be prioritized.  The first camp is sometimes accused of being more Lutheran than Reformed.   Of course, I love me my Lutherans, but I …

What I love about the Lutherans (in spite of the Lutherans!)

I love me my Lutherans.  Over the next several posts, I will tell you why.  Of course, this love is entirely a one way street.  If you were to ask a confessional Lutheran to indicate what he loves about the Reformed, his response would be… <crickets>. Lutherans are an odd lot.  Like most sinners.  They …

Effort in Sanctification? What Says Westminster?

“Justification is monergistic.  Sanctification is synergistic.”  Perhaps you’ve heard that explanation of the relationship between justification and sanctification.  What do you think of it?  At first and for a long time, I found it helpful.  I first heard it from RC Sproul (full disclosure:  I love RC Sproul.  I’m Reformed today – and a pastor …

Lutheranism is application; Calvinism seeks to understand

Given that one of our purposes here is to try to get Lutherans and Calvinists to better understand each other, I thought it would be important to try to characterize the differences from a Reformed perspective. Following some others, I believe that the difference between “application” and “understanding” is one of the simplest ways to …