We are Confessional Calvinists and a Prayer Book Church-people. In 2012, we remembered the 350th anniversary of the 1662 Book of Common Prayer; we also remembered the 450th anniversary of Mr. (Bp., Salisbury) John Jewel's sober, scholarly, and Reformed defense, An Apology of the Church of England. In 2013, we remembered the publication of the "Heidelberg Catechism" and the influence of Reformed theologians in England, including Heinrich Bullinger's Decades. Our book for October 2014 is Francis Turretin's 3-volume "Institutes of Elenctic Theology" at: http://www.amazon.com/Institutes-Elenctic-Theology-vol-set/dp/0875524567/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1412273572&sr=8-1&keywords=turretin+elenctic. Our book for November 2014 is Calvin's magnum opus, the "Institutes of Christian Religion" at: http://www.amazon.com/Calvin-Institutes-Christian-Religion-Volume/dp/0664220282/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1415127336&sr=8-2&keywords=calvin%27s+institutes. Our book for December 2014 is Alan Jacob's "Book of Common Prayer" at: http://www.amazon.com/Book-Common-Prayer-Biography-Religious/dp/0691154813/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1417814005&sr=8-1&keywords=jacobs+book+of+common+prayer
Sunday, March 14, 2010
TBN. Matthew 3 and Joseph Addison Alexander’s “The Gospel according to Matthew,” Chapter 3, 46-75
(Guido Reni to the left, a bit much, but offered in the interests of art history. This scribe does not approve of images of Christ. However, learning of art history is important.)
1. Some observations on Matthew 3 and Joseph Addison Alexander’s “The Gospel according to Matthew” (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1980), 46-75.
2. The Gospel shifts from Jesus’ infancy narratives, Mt.1-2, to his baptism by John the Baptist, from Nazareth to Jordan, from almost thirty years of silence, to the thundering and heavenly affirmation and proclamation of Christ’s Messianic dignity and identity.
3. The ancient hopes of Israel centre and emerge in this event. We read of widespread response of Israel, coming from all parts therein and the surrounding region in John’s public, but also international ministry.
4. We read of the effects on the people, repenting and being baptized. John’s message required steadfastness and earnestness in opposing indifference, sin and rebellion, native to the human constitution.
5. John warns against false confidence, e.g. “we’re sons of Abraham.”
6. John speaks of impending judgment, e.g. the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Undoubtedly, the shift from the old to the new administration of the gracious covenant was major. Many genetic Jews would reject Christ, e.g. John 1.1-13, while the Abrahamic Gospel (Gal.3.6-8; 3.26-29) would go to the nations, as ratified by “foreign tongues” (Acts 1.8; 2.5ff; 8; 10; 19; by John’s “world” passages; by Luke’s governing hermeneutic in Acts, from Jerusalem to Rome, the centre of civilization).
7. John, as every Pastor and Churchman must, defines his relationship to the Messiah, to wit, “I am not worthy to untie His sandal-straps.” The centrality, identity, and dignity of Jesus must inform every Christian, Church, sermon, hymn, and all doctrine, worship and piety. Application: TBN, Pentecostalists with their ego-centric “experiences,” Emergents, Megachurchers, Papists…yeah all, including ourselves as Confessional Churchmen.
8. Jesus’ identification with His sheep and people, by leadership and vicariousness, is baptized. Though not a sinner Himself, He represents and bears our sins in this rite of baptism. From birth to death, He was born under the law and bore the curse of the law for us. Gal.3.13. This is something Joel Osteen cannot and does not preach. He is NOT IN THE WORD NOR OF THE WORD.
9. The divine annunciation from heaven was visible and audible. A dove and a voice from heaven. “This is my Son in whom I am well-pleased.” In the great atonement at the cross love was expressed and legal justice satisfied. In the justification of sinners, that great act of acquittal, the Triune God declares that sinners are beloved by virtue of this justification. They are “adopted” as children into God’s family. For my attorney friends reading this, you'll appreciate it. You client is declared "free from judgment." Jesus paid it all, all to Him we owe. Sin left it's crimson stain, but Jesus paid it all. What else can there be but gratitude and obedience as a result?
10. That Matthew is Christ-centered in His message is obvious. Let this observation rule all discussions about every preacher with whom we come into contact, notably, for our on-going investigations into TBN.