Ad Gloriam Dei

"Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God." - 1 Corintians 10:31

"Let us pursue the things which make for peace and those by which one may edify another"- Romans 14:19

"As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend." - Proverbs 27:17

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Original Baptists were Exclusive Psalmists

We worshipped with Emmanuel Church (Evangelical and Reformed) in Salisbury, a Calvinistic Baptist Church (1689 SLBCF) on our holidays, who are one of a few English churches that are Exclusive Psalmist (unaccompanied). We spent a pleasant Sabbath afternoon with Malcolm Watts, the pastor, and his wife, who graciously granted us hospitality.

In conversation with Mr Watts, he told me that many Baptists consider Salisbury to be almost semi-Presbyterian, but he pointed out that they were ignorant of original Baptist belief. The original Baptists were Exclusive Psalmist and the first Baptist to introduce man-made hymns was Benjamin Keach (in 1685, I think). (By the way, when he tried to introduce hymns, his congregation first of all overruled him and then later split.)

He also pointed out that consistent adherents of the 1689 SLBCF must be Exclusive Psalmists, just like consistent adherents of the WCF, as they were all Exclusive Psalmists at the time (apart from benjamin Keach, clearly). Note, however, that the 1689 uses the phrase "teaching and admonishing one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing with grace in our hearts to the Lord", where the WCF says, "singing of psalms with grace in the heart". Note that the 1689 has chosen to use a more Scriptural phrase. As Mr Watts pointed out, the argument wasn't over psalms-only versus man-made hymns, but whether the Psalms should be sung at all because metrical versions have to deviate slightly from the best prose translation.

I asked about John Bunyan. It turns out that he, like some 19th Century Presbyterians, produced Christian songs as poetry and never used them in worship as such.

By the way, as I understand it, 1820 was the year that a Baptist church first used musical instruments in worship. (See posts here and here.)


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Conservative Anglican GAFCON Jerusalem Declaration

As some of you may know the latest episode in the long-overdue use of discipline in the Anglican Church has been the Global Anglican Future Conference in Jerusalem. The Church Council (which it effectively is) has issued its final statement in which they not only declare an Evangelical Anglican statement of faith, but declare the following, amongst others:

1. A form of independence from the authority of the Archbishop of Canterbury (which they say has always existed, although theory and practice are different): "While acknowledging the nature of Canterbury as an historic see, we do not accept that Anglican identity is determined necessarily through recognition by the Archbishop of Canterbury."

2. The formation of a new ecclesiastical organisation, "Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans" (now being referred to as "FoCA"), with a new Primates' Council (seemingly as an alternative to the current Primates' Meeting at Lambeth, etc.) within the Anglican communion.

3. Rejection of Liberal teaching as "heterodox" and a "false gospel".

4. Rejection of "the authority of those churches and leaders who have denied the orthodox faith in word or deed."

4. Encouragement of the ongoing excommuication of Liberals, including the formation of a new Anglican province in North America by the GAFCON Primates' Council.

5. Belief that the Anglican Church will continue to be "reformed around the biblical gospel and mandate to go into all the world and present Christ to the nations."

6. Continued rejection of homosexuality.

We rejoice that Evangelical Anglicans are at last beginning to seek reformation in their church through starting to use discipline and uniting around godly confessions such as this. May God bless this attempt by our dear brethren to glorify His name!

One hopes that this a purely Evangelical movement, but questions arise such as :

a) What is an Evangelical?

b) What will GAFCON adherents mean by the Evangelical-sounding phrases in the GAFCON Jerusalem Declaration?

c) Why is there a lack of statements excluding salvation by works or sacramentalism? (Although how an Anglo-Catholic could adhere to the Jerusalem Declaration is hard to see, but anyone familiar with Anglo-Catholics and "Evangelical" Romanists have seen this done before.) They may argue that the 1662 BCP excludes Sacramentalism, but does it really? The 1662 BCP is an ambiguous document at several points, and is in serious need of revision even to align it with Evangelical Anglicanism.

d) Are Evangelical Anglicans also separating from Anglo-Catholic Traditionalists/ Conservatives, who also preach another gospel? (E.g. Jensen's statement about "the sleeping giant that is evangelical Anglicanism and orthodox Anglicanism", i.e. not Evangelical Anglicanism, or Evangelical and Orthodox Anglicanism, but "evangelical Anglicanism" and "orthodox Anglicanism" as if one can be Orthodox but not Evangelical. Also, Stephen Noll's definition of Anglican Orthodoxy in which he states that it consists of both Evangelicals and Anglo-Catholics.)

The sad fact is that Anglicanism as a Traditionalist system that does not adhere to the Regulative Priniciple is disobedient to God and has the seeds of its own destruction within it. (Just as when so-called Presbyterians slide from Biblical Presbyterianism into Committeeism, etc.)

God grant that He may enlighten us all as to our defects and sins, and in particular that He might be merciful to our Anglican brethren so this might be a Third Reformation for the Anglican Church leading them back to the attainments of the Second Puritan) Reformation (esp. the Westminster Confession of Faith) and beyond, so that they may adopt a Biblical Church government, doctrine, worship, evangelism, etc.

God grant that our Anglican brethren may see that their previous tolerance of and communion with heretics, and lack of discipline has led to the whole homosexual fracas, and that they may repent completely of it by rejecting Anglo-Catholics, etc., as heretics also.

God grant that 'Evangelical' Anglicans may see that the ordination of women and Ecumenism, etc., are as much departures from Holy Scripture as homosexuality. God grant that they may also reject Arminianism and Charismaticism.

God grant reformation to the Reformed Churches throughout the World as well, so that we might be more Biblical (holy) in all aspects of our living and ecclesiastical organisation.

God grant that Evangelicals within unorthodox, so-called Presbyterian, Reformed and Baptist denominations may also separate themselves from Liberals and heretics, and commit themselves to true, Biblical communion.

For full details see here and here.


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