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Great Commission Baptists?

By Tim Butler | Posted at 1:29

Travis Loller reports:

A panel for the Southern Baptist Convention recommended Monday that its leadership endorse a new, add-on description for the denomination - “Great Commission Baptists” - stopping short of a complete name change.

I think shedding the SBC's regional and related baggage is a good idea. Still, I get uncomfortable with names like the proposed one, since it suggests there are the “Great Commission Baptists” in the SBC and non-Great Commission Baptists everywhere else.

Maybe that's just me.

Hymn Du Jour

By Tim Butler | Posted at 1:06

From William Sleeper:

Out of unrest and arrogant pride,
Jesus, I come; Jesus, I come.
Into Thy blessed will to abide,
Jesus, I come to Thee.
Out of myself to dwell in Thy love,
Out of despair into raptures above,
Upward forever on wings like a dove,
Jesus, I come to Thee.

All Theology, Rightly Formed, is Practical

By Tim Butler | Posted at 1:01

On Facebook, a few minutes ago I posted a status concerning Martin Bucer's on the True Care of Souls:

Today, I read Martin Bucer's on the True Care of Souls. Bucer's pastoral theology is superb, which is unsurprising, since his ecumenical (and, as a consequence, his eucharistic) theology was driven by his constant pastoral concern and determination to achieve the “peace and purity of the church.”

What strikes me as I mull over this is that Bucer would be appalled at our current distinction between “Biblical,” “Practical,” “Historical” and “Systematic” theology. In this work, as in de Regno Christi and his other writings, he constantly blurs disciplines. He, along with his friend and fellow laborer Philipp Melanchthon, probably knew the Fathers better than any of their opponents, for example, and Bucer's familiarity with many of the sources of theology shows strongly in this handbook to pastoral theology.

The four-fold categorization of theology is unhelpful because it encourages us to compartmentalize and think that some theology is inherently practical whilst other theology is something else. But, as Dr. Douglass likes to remind his students at Covenant frequently, orthodoxy leads to orthopraxy. Each theological discipline, when thought through properly, should flow into applications within the Church.

If only more of the “Christian living” works that were authored followed the great Reformers' examples.

RPW

By Tim Butler | Posted at 0:45

If you stick around Presbyterian circles for a season, you will probably hear us make reference to the Regulative Principle of Worship (RPW) at some point. If I may be anachronistic by less than a century, Martin Bucer defines the principle well in his book, de Regno Christi:

“The first [property of the Kingdom of Christ] is that whatever is done in the churches should pertain to the ministry and contribute to the gaining of men's salvation in such a way that, cleansed from sins and reconciled to God through Christ, they may worship and glorify God in Christ the Lord in all piety and righteousness.

“Whatever does not contribute to this end, and nothing can do so which has not been ordained for this purpose by the Son of God and so commended to us, should be rejected and abolished by those who wish the Kingdom of God restored among them.”

Thanks

By Tim Butler | Posted at 0:57

Thanks, everyone, for your prayers. To understate it, it was a surreal day in a very good way.

Prayer Request

By Tim Butler | Posted at 0:34

I have an interesting day tomorrow (Tuesday, 1/17). For now, I'll leave it at that, but I'd appreciate your prayers.

What do you mean when you say, "I believe in the communion of the saints?"

By Tim Butler | Posted at 0:49

The Westminster Confession of Faith (26.1-2) answers that question in a very helpful manner that shows how the good news of being made a part of this body leads us to respond by caring for the same:

All Saints, that are united to Jesus Christ, their head, by his Spirit and by faith, and have fellowship with him in his grace, suffering, death, resurrection, and glory. United to one another in love, God's people have fellowship in each other's gifts and grace and are obliged to perform those public and private duties which nourish their mutual good, both spiritually and physically.

By their profession of faith God's people are bound to maintain a holy fellowship and communion with each other in the worship of God and in the performance of other spiritual services for their mutual edification. They are also bound to help each other in material things according to their different abilities and needs. This fellowship is to be offered, as God gives the opportunity, to everyone in every place who calls on the name of the Lord Jesus.

Happy Christmas

By Tim Butler | Posted at 2:00

I have never liked going to bed on Christmas day. There is a certain wonder in Christmas night and I'm never quite ready for it to end. But, that is one reason that I often have taken to this blog and urged folks to observe the 12 days of Christmas.

Even the Christian radio station — which I am still annoyed at for taking over the airwaves that were once St. Louis's classical music station — shut off the Christmas music at midnight. (There is surely some irony tied to how we play songs such as “the Twelve Days of Christmas” and “We Three Kings” but often set them aside for another year before the twelve days have passed.)

Why do we move on so quickly after Christmas? In this darkest part of the year, what can be better than celebrating the Light who came into the world? And while Advent serves that purpose to a point, the 12 days between Christmas and Epiphany offer a chance to reflect on the joyous news in a less hectic way than most of our pre-Christmas schedules permit.

So, without a further ado, on to the Second Day of Christmas…

Calvin on Luther

By Tim Butler | Posted at 1:42

If he were to call me a devil, I should still regard him an outstanding servant of God.

So quoth John Calvin, while reflecting on Luther, in a letter to Bullinger.

Paved Paradise

By Tim Butler | Posted at 23:48

Too often we don't know what we've got until it is gone. How often is it that we look at what God has given us and say, “that's not good enough”? It may be an inevitable part of this life, though one that we need to actively combat.

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