The Cultural Ties That Bind, the Sacramental Ones That Don’t

Wes White reports that Perimeter PCA in Atlanta has just hired Chip Sweney as “Next Gen and Community Transformation Pastor.” Concerning his vision for Perimeter to work for cultural transformation alongside non-PCA churches, Sweney writes: “Jesus desires that all who believe in Him be one, just as the Father, Son, and Spirit are one. A primary reason for unity is that the body may be a witness to the world and the world may believe in...

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Homo Liturgicus: Baptized to Death

We saw in the last post in our series on the topic of Homo Liturgicus, Man the Worshiper, that our sacrificial telos—according to which man was created to offer himself to God in self-giving love—is ultimately fulfilled by Christ. His sacrifice of himself upon the cross is the supreme display of worship. Moreover, Jesus’ sacrifice was not offered for his own benefit, but for ours: For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for...

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You Just Gotta Have Faith, Uh-Faith, Uh-Faith-Uh!

Over at Green Baggins, Lane Keister has written a thoughtful post considering Romans 4:9-11 and its bearing on the relationship of faith, baptism, and justification, in which he argues that the error manifested in the Federal Visionist, Lutheran, Anglican, and Catholic doctrines of baptism is in attributing to baptism what should be attributed to faith. In Lane’s words, “the sign/seal does not cause the thing...

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Three Texts (and a Baby)

In the vein of this previous post, I’d like to offer up a few more NT passages that may (or may not) be connected, and ask your thoughts on them. We’ll start with I Corinthians 6:11, which reads: And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. The second passage is Titus 3:5-7: … he saved us, not because of works done by us in...

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Baptism as a Seal of Saving Blessings

There seems to be a lot of confusion of late surrounding baptism, and more specifically, what kind of salvific blessings can be attributed to the sacrament. In the minds of some, if things like union with Christ or forgiveness of sins are the results of faith, then we mustn’t give baptism any of the credit. After all, we’re not Federal Visionists, right? I think the Westminster Confession is helpful here. We read in xxviii.6: The efficacy...

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The Sign and the Thing Signified: Can You Tell Them Apart?

In Reformed debates about baptism (especially when Federal Visionists are involved), the biggest issue that arises is the degree to which we can echo the New Testament’s language concerining the sacrament’s efficacy, and how much qualification we need to offer when we do it. Ironically enough, I was recently accused of sounding like a Federal Visionist because of an article I just wrote for Tabletalk in which I said things like,...

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