Reformed Churchmen

We are Confessional Calvinists and a Prayer Book Church-people. In 2012, we remembered the 350th anniversary of the 1662 Book of Common Prayer; also, we remembered the 450th anniversary of John Jewel's sober, scholarly, and Reformed "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. For 2014: Tyndale's NT translation. For 2015, John Roger, Rowland Taylor and Bishop John Hooper's martyrdom, burned at the stakes. Books of the month. December 2014: Alan Jacob's "Book of Common Prayer" at: January 2015: A.F. Pollard's "Thomas Cranmer and the English Reformation: 1489-1556" at: February 2015: Jaspar Ridley's "Thomas Cranmer" at:

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Cambridge, Oxford, or London

We've had a brief interruption to posting.

Also, inquiries are pending for a possible move to the UK in 4 years. Oxford, Cambridge or London. It's four years out.

From initial feedback, it appears quite possible, finanically speaking.

I have four children that I am putting through university. A budget-breaker. During these four years, I will be paying the house off.

Living in the Camp Lejeune area, our home would rent all day long over many years.

We've already had a few requests from C o E vicars to "come alongside." Perhaps.

It's definitely under consideration. A "Wycliffite ministry" of sorts. A "Lollardy" ministry from the Word of His Majesty.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Thirty-Nine: Article XXVI: Of the Unworthiness of the Ministers, which hinders not the effect of the Sacrament

Thirty-Nine: Article XXVI: Of the Unworthiness of the Ministers, which hinders not the effect of the Sacrament

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Justin Martyr and Biblical Authority/Sola Scriptura
Justin Martyr's Source of Apostolic Information - the Memoirs of the Apostles

Justin Martyr's biography is necessarily a bit uncertain. Nevertheless, according to our best guesses, Justin Martyr was born around the year of our Lord 100, only a few years after the last of the apostles, the Apostle John, died. Thus, one might imagine that Justin Martyr's knowledge of the Apostles' teachings would come primarily from oral sources. However, Justin actually appeals to the apostles' writings rather than an oral tradition when disputing with his Jewish opponent, Trypho.1)

For [Christ] called one of His disciples— previously known by the name of Simon—Peter; since he recognised Him to be Christ the Son of God, by the revelation of His Father: and since we find it recorded in the memoirs of His apostles that He is the Son of God, and since we call Him the Son, we have understood that He proceeded before all creatures from the Father by His power and will (for He is addressed in the writings of the prophets in one way or another as Wisdom, and the Day, and the East, and a Sword, and a Stone, and a Rod, and Jacob, and Israel); and that He became man by the Virgin, in order that the disobedience which proceeded from the serpent might receive its destruction in the same manner in which it derived its origin.- Justin Martyr, Dialogue with Trypho, Chapter 100 (emphasis added, footnotes omitted) 2)

For they that saw Him crucified shook their heads each one of them, and distorted their lips, and twisting their noses to each other, they spake in mockery the words which are recorded in the memoirs of His apostles: ‘He said he was the Son of God: let him come down; let God save him.’- Justin Martyr, Dialogue with Trypho, Chapter 101 (emphasis added, footnotes omitted)3)
For the power of His strong word, by which He always confuted the Pharisees and Scribes, and, in short, all your nation’s teachers that questioned Him, had a cessation like a plentiful and strong spring, the waters of which have been turned off, when He kept silence, and chose to return no answer to any one in the presence of Pilate; as has been declared in the memoirs of His apostles, in order that what is recorded by Isaiah might have efficacious fruit, where it is written, ‘The Lord gives me a tongue, that I may know when I ought to speak.’- Justin Martyr, Dialogue with Trypho, Chapter 102 (emphasis added, footnotes omitted)4)

For this devil, when [Jesus] went up from the river Jordan, at the time when the voice spake to Him, ‘Thou art my Son: this day have I begotten Thee,’ is recorded in the memoirs of the apostles to have come to Him and tempted Him, even so far as to say to Him, ‘Worship me;’ and Christ answered him, ‘Get thee behind me, Satan: thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve.’- Justin Martyr, Dialogue with Trypho, Chapter 103 (emphasis added, footnotes omitted)5)

Moreover, the statement, ‘All my bones are poured and dispersed like water; my heart has become like wax, melting in the midst of my belly,’ was a prediction of that which happened to Him on that night when men came out against Him to the Mount of Olives to seize Him. For in the memoirs which I say were drawn up by His apostles and those who followed them, [it is recorded] that His sweat fell down like drops of blood while He was praying, and saying, ‘If it be possible, let this cup pass:’ His heart and also His bones trembling; His heart being like wax melting in His belly: in order that we may perceive that the Father wished His Son really to undergo such sufferings for our sakes, and may not say that He, being the Son of God, did not feel what was happening to Him and inflicted on Him.- Justin Martyr, Dialogue with Trypho, Chapter 103 (emphasis added, footnotes omitted) 6)

And the statement, ‘Thou hast brought me into the dust of death; for many dogs have surrounded me: the assembly of the wicked have beset me round. They pierced my hands and my feet. They did tell all my bones. They did look and stare upon me. They parted my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture,’—was a prediction, as I said before, of the death to which the synagogue of the wicked would condemn Him, whom He calls both dogs and hunters, declaring that those who hunted Him were both gathered together and assiduously striving to condemn Him. And this is recorded to have happened in the memoirs of His apostles. And I have shown that, after His crucifixion, they who crucified Him parted His garments among them.- Justin Martyr, Dialogue with Trypho, Chapter 104 (emphasis added, footnotes omitted)7)

For I have already proved that He was the only-begotten of the Father of all things, being begotten in a peculiar manner Word and Power by Him, and having afterwards become man through the Virgin, as we have learned from the memoirs.- Justin Martyr, Dialogue with Trypho, Chapter 105 (emphasis added, footnotes omitted)8)

The remainder of the Psalm makes it manifest that He knew His Father would grant to Him all things which He asked, and would raise Him from the dead; and that He urged all who fear God to praise Him because He had compassion on all races of believing men, through the mystery of Him who was crucified; and that He stood in the midst of His brethren the apostles (who repented of their flight from Him when He was crucified, after He rose from the dead, and after they were persuaded by Himself that, before His passion He had mentioned to them that He must suffer these things, and that they were announced beforehand by the prophets), and when living with them sang praises to God, as is made evident in the memoirs of the apostles.- Justin Martyr, Dialogue with Trypho, Chapter 106 (emphasis added, footnotes omitted) 9)

And that He would rise again on the third day after the crucifixion, it is written in the memoirs that some of your nation, questioning Him, said, ‘Show us a sign;’ and He replied to them, ‘An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and no sign shall be given them, save the sign of Jonah.’- Justin Martyr, Dialogue with Trypho, Chapter 107 (emphasis added, footnotes omitted)

As you can see from the nine examples above, Justin was not shy about appealing to the gospels, even when dialoguing with a non-Christian. Furthermore, note especially item (7) above, where Justin indicates that he learned this information from the memoirs. Notice that he doesn't say, "as the older Christians remember," but instead indicates that the Gospels themselves are his source of knowledge on this subject.

This is not surprising when we read, in Justin First Apology, about the weekly worship in Justin's church:

And on the day called Sunday, all who live in cities or in the country gather together to one place, and the memoirs of the apostles or the writings of the prophets are read, as long as time permits; then, when the reader has ceased, the president verbally instructs, and exhorts to the imitation of these good things.- Justin Martyr, First Apology, Chapter 57 (emphasis added, footnotes omitted)

Finally, note that Justin actually indicates that the specific way that the Apostles delivered the tradition of the Eucharist was in the memoirs composed by them:

For the apostles, in the memoirs composed by them, which are called Gospels, have thus delivered unto us what was enjoined upon them; that Jesus took bread, and when He had given thanks, said, “This do ye in remembrance of Me, this is My body;” and that, after the same manner, having taken the cup and given thanks, He said, “This is My blood;” and gave it to them alone.- Justin Martyr, First Apology, Chapter 66 (emphasis added, footnotes omitted)-


Thirty-Nine: Article XXV: Of the Sacraments

Thirty-Nine: Article XXV: Of the Sacraments

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Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Calvin's Institutes. 4.7.21: Cyprian, Gregory 1, and 12-Steps

Calvin’s Institutes, IV.7.19-22: “Later Papal claims contrary to principles of Gregory 1 and Bernard, 19-22”

IV.4.7.21: “Gregory condemned what popes now affirm”


1. Cyprian, d.258: “None of us says he is the bishop of bishops, or by tyrannical terror compels his colleagues to obey him.”

2. Gregory the Great: “Peter was the chief member in the body; John, Andrew, and James were heads of particular groups of people. Yet all members of the church are under one Head. Indeed, the saints before the law, the saints under the law, the saints in grace, all perfecting the body of the Lord, have been constituted as its members. And no one every wished himself to be called ‘universal.’”

3. Gregory the Great in response to Eulogius, bp. of Alexandria, who asked to be commanded by Gregory the Great. “Remove, I beg of you, this word ‘command’ from my hearing; for I know who I am and who your are: in degree you are my brothers; in moral character, my fathers. Therefore, I have not commanded but have taken care to indicate what things seemed useful.”

4. Calvin says the current bishop of Rome does a “grave and frightful injury not only to the other bishops but also to the several churches. For in this way he mangles and slashes them so that he may build up his see from the ruin of theirs.”

5. Calvin: “He exempts himself from all judgments and wishes to rule in such a tyrannical fashion that he regards his own whim as law—such conduct is surely so unbecoming and so foreign to the ecclesiastical order that it can in no way be borne. For it is utterly abhorrent not only to a sense of piety but also humanity.”


1. Tertullian-Cyprian-Novatian-Donatus connection. Cyrpian’s response to Pope Stephen 1. Cyprian rebukes the bishop of Rome.

2. Re: the efficacy of baptism conducted by pagans or unbelievers. Cyprian held that such a baptism was invalid. “The majority of the North African bishops sided with Cyprian; and in the East he had a powerful ally in Firmilian, bishop of Caesarea. But the position of Stephen came to find general acceptance. Stephen in his letters used the claim of superiority of the Roman See over all bishoprics of the Church. To this claim Cyprian answered that the authority of the Roman bishop was coordinate with, not superior to, his own.”

3. Hildebrand (1020-1085, Pope, 1073-1085): “The papal claim of infallibility is strongly asserted in the Dictatus Papae, a papal document usually attributed to Hildebrand, but possibly to be dated a few years later than his death (1085).”

4. Hildebrand, the theocrat: “One of the great reforming popes, he is perhaps best known for the part he played in the Investiture Controversy with Henry IV, Holy Roman Emperor affirming the primacy of the papal authority and the new canon law governing the election of the pope by the college of cardinals. He was at the forefront of both evolutionary developments in the relationship between the Emperor and the papacy during the years before becoming pope…. Gregory was during his own reign despised by many for his expansive use of papal powers. Joseph McCabe describes Gregory VII as a `rough and violent peasant, enlisting his brute strength in the service of the monastic ideal which he embraced.’”

5. Hildebrand, the theocrat: “His life-work was based on his conviction that the Church was founded by God and entrusted with the task of embracing all mankind in a single society in which divine will is the only law; that, in her capacity as a divine institution, she is supreme over all human structures, especially the secular state; and that the pope, in his role as head of the Church, is the vice-regent of God on earth, so that disobedience to him implies disobedience to God: or, in other words, a defection from Christianity.”


Calvin continues to draw the contrast between the humbler, smaller, and less developed papay and the arrogant, larger, and evolved papacy—the groundwork is being laid to demonstrate that Rome is Antichrist.


1. Consider the silence in Confessional and wider evangelical circles. Do not separate from Trent's doctrines.

2. Consider the worldwide implications of this silence and ignorance, e.g. Third World and Southern Cone countries.

3. Consider the impact on a solitary Roman believer, the evangelistic necessity of the True Gospel and also the apologetics in informing a Romanist he’s accepted fictions and that these fictions are grammatico-political, not grammtico-historical exegeses of Scripture.

4. Pull—as should be done for the obstinate and unteachable—the integrity card. They’ve had centuries to get “rehab” and into a “detox” program.

5. A twelve-step program.

Dr. James Innes Packer

Patriarch - Dr. J. I. Packer
In his ninth decade, J.I. Packer still points a distracted evangelicalism toward the right path

by Warren Cole Smith
December 1, 2009

When theologian, teacher, and writer Dr. J.I. Packer reached his 80th birthday on July 22, 2006, his home church in Vancouver, British Columbia-St. John's Shaughnessy Anglican Church-honored him with a special celebration.

One after the other, friends from church and colleagues from nearby Regent College, where he has taught for three decades, spoke of Packer's impact on the evangelical movement and themselves. Several, referring to the great mentor in J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, called Packer their own Gandalf.

But Packer, when it came his time to speak, gently protested. "I am no Gandalf," he said, his normally strong and clear voice choked with emotion. "I'm much closer to the lowly Sam."

It was noble, humble Samwise Gamgee who kept Frodo on the right path despite distractions and dangers. Sam never sought to be the hero but spoke and acted with clarity and decisiveness when everyone else was confused. He made the hero's way passable.

So has James Innell Packer for evangelicals over the past 50 years, showing them the right theological path in 60-plus books, including the influential Knowing God. These books, and his long tenures as a teacher and active churchman, have given Packer a unique status in evangelicalism: He was the only academic and theologian named to Time's 2005 list of the most influential evangelicals in America.

Michael Cromartie of the Ethics and Public Policy Center says that Knowing God provides a "sturdy, solid, orthodox understanding of basic Christian doctrine. God's character, His holiness, His justice, His wrath but also His mercy and His love-all explained with a pastoral warmth and in a clear style that we have come to admire in Dr. Packer. It is the kind of book that is foundational and it is worth repaying a visit almost every year. At least I know I do."

He is not alone. The book, first published in 1973 and now translated into at least seven languages, has sold more than 2 million copies, an astounding number for what is essentially a textbook in basic theology. "It was a surprise," he told me: "I wrote the first draft as a series of articles. It was essentially intended as a catechesis-a teaching book. At first I just hoped that it would go into a second printing."

As the book's sales and impact exploded, Packer helped evangelicals fight back against liberal theologians who assaulted the authority of Scripture. Packer was instrumental in the 1978 creation of the "Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy," a defining moment for which he is still thankful: "We carried our points, which were and remain the total trustworthiness and God-givenness of Scripture." Packer's signing of the 1994 ecumenical document, "Evangelicals and Catholics Together," indicated to many Protestants that the controversial statement was doctrinally "safe."

In 1979 Packer and his wife Kit surprised some of his colleagues by moving from his native England to Vancouver to take a position at tiny Regent College. For Packer it was a strategic move that involved him in North American evangelical activities-and his renown helped Regent to attract students from the United States (now 40 percent of the student body) and Asia (20 percent). Recently, he has bulwarked Americans and Canadians frustrated by the theological liberalism of U.S. Episcopalian and Anglican Church of Canada hierarchs. He recently handed back his British ministerial license and became a priest of the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone of America: Anglicanism in the southern hemisphere still tends to be biblically orthodox and evangelical.

"What has happened to the Anglican Church of Canada makes me sick," Packer said. "Our diocese had enmeshed itself in heresy. Homosexual partnerships were not just tolerated but celebrated. And that was just one of several important issues." Nevertheless, Packer is upbeat about the future of evangelicalism in North America: "Evangelical seminaries are full. Liberal seminaries are half-empty. That steady flow of evangelical clergy is getting stronger. Of course, the secular culture is getting stronger as well, and everything that evangelicals do to further the gospel is opposed by Satan. Sometimes that gets the attention of the media. So even with Satan and secular culture aligned against us, when I see what God is doing in the lives of many of the young people I teach, I have much reason to hope."

Packer's hope goes with his upbeat nature and his steady work habits. His day typically begins at 5 a.m. or even earlier, with a cup of tea. He walks briskly almost everywhere he goes. Though officially retired from Regent, he still teaches classes there, maintains an office on campus, and keeps a teaching assistant busy with his projects. Two of his favorite pastimes are listening to jazz music-especially seminal pre--World War II masters such as Jelly Roll Morton-and reading mystery novels. Dorothy Sayers, John Dickson Carr, Colin Dexter, and Agatha Christie are among the authors often on his nightstand. A mild stroke, or TIA, in late October temporarily limited his travels, but he has continued to preach.

He is maintaining literary productivity as he gets older, sometimes taking on collaborators. Packer served as general editor for the English Standard Version of the Bible, first published in 2001, and it is supplanting both the New International Version and the New American Standard Version as the p­referred text for many evangelicals. Meanwhile, one of his books, Concise Theology: A Guide to Historic Christian Beliefs, is quietly becoming a standard text both at many seminaries and among serious lay readers of theology.

He also remains an active churchman. Packer now works closely with the Anglican Mission in America (AMiA), a group of theologically conservative Anglicans that has separated from the Episcopal Church. Recently, AMiA joined with other biblically orthodox Anglican groups to form the Anglican Church of North America. One of the leaders of that movement, Bishop Chuck Murphy, studied under Packer in England in the early 1970s, and Packer has been instrumental in the creation of ordination standards and other theological statements for this new group.

But one book is missing from the Packer canon: a systematic theology. He has been teaching systematic theology at Regent for years, so he certainly has done heavy lifting for such a book. Will one be forthcoming? "I have a plan," he said. "But I may not have the time. I would like to leave the world theology that was both catechetical and definitive. But we shall have to see what God has in store."