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:

Sunday, December 29, 2013

(Rev. Roger Salter, Ch. of Eng.): John 1.1-14

John 1:1 – 14

In this season we contemplate the Wonder that leaves us awestruck.

  On a silent night in Bethlehem of Judea an indescribable wonder occurred.  It is too huge to comprehend.   Human language stammers to give witness to the event.  Our minds are addled and our tongues are tied, so God positioned a special star in the sky and despatched a choir of angels to announce with supernatural emphasis the marvel of what was happening.  Heaven itself heralded the advent on earth of heaven’s Prince and Darling - the Lord Jesus Christ - God’s Son and our Saviour.

  John the apostle, with the aid of the Holy Spirit, reaches out to pluck words sent from heaven to speak of the exceptional birth that we celebrate.  God himself opens the lips of the beloved disciple to express the mystery - the mystery of the Incarnation which tells us that with God all things are possible (it is the seal of this truth) and that all things recorded in Scripture concerning Jesus from nativity to ascension are credible.

  The One ordained to be the expression of God’s self and the embodiment of his power and love is aptly identified as the Word - God’s speech, God displayed in human form to the world of humanity.  The reality is breathtaking.  John tells us of the glory of the Eternal Word in the timeless beginning - the majestic, sovereign, almighty Son of God, and in the brief prologue of his gospel moves on to the unimaginable self-abasement of the Word made flesh, and God made man - not merely to stupify us but to salvage us from ruin.

  John’s thought concerning Jesus is unsurpassably exalted.

  The Word, the Son, hails from forever, before the cosmos was created and the ages began to be counted.  He commenced all that ever was and now is.  He never “clocked in” - for he proceeded eternally from the Everlasting Father, and preceded any notion of chronology.

  Throughout immeasurable eternity past he was beside the Father - the Word was with God, equal in deity and excellence, and the delight of angelic hosts when he deigned to give them being at some point unknown to us.  The Word was God enthroned in dominion with the Father and the Spirit as the agent of God’s creative word, the craftsman of the universe, the shaper of the spheres, the source of living spirits.  John establishes the inestimable dignity of the Son, the supreme loftiness of his person, his status at the acme of all that exists.  This is the Lord Jesus before whom we bow so willingly, and soon shall all creation bow before him when its predetermined duration is spent.  We cannot help but adore.

For more, see:

David Starkey: Music & Monarchy

David Starkey's "Music and Monarchy"

This Christmas, my husband gave me a copy of the DVD set of the BBC's series, "David Starkey's Music & Monarchy", a beautifully produced overview of musical history in England, considering the influence of the monarchy on mostly ceremonial church music.
Starkey begins with Henry V, who even wrote music for parts of the Mass, and ends the series with the coronation of Elizabeth II in 1953. During the four episodes, choirs and ensembles perform great music by well known composers like Thomas Tallis, William Byrd, Orlando Gibbons, Henry Purcell, George Handel, Thomas Arne, Hubert Parry, Charles Villiers Stanford, Edward Elgar, and Ralph Vaughan Williams. Also, there are works by lesser known composers like Thomas Tomkins, William Lawes, Henry Lawes, Pelham Humphrey, William Croft, and Albert, Prince Consort of Queen Victoria. Eton College, King's College, Cambridge, Westminster Abbey, St. Paul's Cathedral, and Canterbury Cathedral are among the venues, while the Choirs of Eton, King's College, Canterbury Cathedral, Westminster Abbey, and St. Paul's Cathedral perform in situ. Fretwork, Alamire, the Academy of Ancient Music, The Parley of Instruments, The Band of the Life Guards, and several soloists also perform.
The musical selections and the performance are uniformly excellent, and Starkey's narration and his interviews with performers, conductors, and music historians are enlightening. The story of English music and monarchy basically follows, from Henry VIII on, the outline of English Reformation history during the Tudor dynasty, with the repercussions of religious division during the Stuart Dynasty, the Interregnum, Restoration, Glorious Revolution, Protestant succession through the House of Hanover, the Victorian and Edwardian eras, and finally, the House of Windsor succeeding. In the latter part of the history, Starkey considers the impact of the Oxford Movement on English church music, but he really does not consider the impact of secularization on English church music.
There were a couple of very great surprises: that Willliam and Mary dissolved the Chapel Royal and ended Henry Purcell's career as a royal composer of religious music--and that Thomas Arne wrote both "Rule, Britannia" and "God Save the King" in the midst of conflict between George II and his estranged son, Frederick the Prince of Wales (who was the father of King George III). Arne wrote "Rule, Britannia" for Frederick as part of a masque honoring King Alfred the Great and supporting the expansion of the British Navy, and then wrote "God Save the King" to support George II.
To me, the most noticeable gap is how little he considers the crucial restoration of Tudor church music during the reign of Mary I--when Tallis and Byrd and others were able to write polyphony again. That gap also means that Starkey does not consider the influence of great Spanish composers like Victoria, de Monte and Guerrero on English polyphony, or the exile of Catholic composers like Peter Philips, John Bull, and others. Starkey would only have had to consult Harry Christophers and The Sixteen to explore that crucial period through their CD The Flowering of Genius. Instead, Starkey skips over that period, perhaps because it does not fit his rather Whiggish narrative of English history.
That issue aside, the musical performances and the venues make this two-disc set a prized possession. As my husband commented, we could watch the first episode over and over again: 
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Update: Mr. (Abp) Akinola, Nigeria, Kidnapped & Released

VOL has just received news that (primate-emeritus), the Most Rev. Peter J. Akinola was kidnapped earlier today along with his driver outside the Peter Akinola Foundation in Abeokuta, Nigeria.

The current Primate of all Nigeria the Most Rev. Nicholas D. Okoh, is calling on Anglicans everywhere to pray for his and his driver's safe and swift release.

The news was released through CANA East Bishop Julian Dobbs.

UPDATE: Bishop Dobbs writes: "Thanks be to Almighty God - - The Most Rev. Peter J. Akinola, who was kidnapped earlier today, has been released."


Governor Amosun rescues kidnapped Primate Akinola By Comrade Godwin Ameh on December 24, 2013

Few hours after some unknown gunmen kidnapped a former primate of the Anglican Church, Peter Akinola, reports reaching our newsdesk indicates that the Ogun State security forces, personally led by Governor Ibikunle Amosun, have rescued him.

The Commissioner of Information of Ogun State, Hon. Yusuph Olaniyonu who made this disclosure on Tuesday evening, said the cleric was rescued unhurt.

It was gathered the cleric and his driver were abducted in front of the main entrance of the Peter Akinola Foundation's Centre for Youth Industrial Training, located along the Abeokuta-Lagos expressway on Tuesday about 3pm.


(Mr. Andy Underhile): Gijsbert Voetius, Defender of Orthodoxy

Gijsbert Voetius: Defender of Orthodoxy
by Mr, Andy Underhile
The Lord has promised the church, purchased with His own blood, that the gates of hell shall never prevail against it. To accomplish this, Christ raises men in the church who are strong and passionate defenders of the faith. These men, qualified by Christ, placed at crucial times in the church, and equipped spiritually for the task, do battle with heresies that threaten the church's welfare. After all, one crucial means, used by Satan to destroy the church, is the introduction of heresy into the church's ministry and teaching.

These men are not always the most liked; indeed, they must often suffer abuse at the hands of their own fellow members in the church. They are not free from sin; God is pleased to use weakest means to fulfill His will. But they are men of courage and faithfulness, and through them Christ preserves the cause of His church in the world.

It is quite amazing that almost as soon as the delegates from the great Synod of Dordrecht said farewell to their fellow delegates and returned to their homes and churches, serious heresies arose in the churches of the Netherlands which threatened her orthodoxy. The echo of the ringing bells in Dordrecht which marked the end of the Synod had not yet died away and errors of almost every conceivable sort entered the universities and pastorates. Only through the courageous battles of some staunch men of God were these errors turned away, -- and then only for a time.

One of the most ardent defenders of the faith was a man by the name of Gijsbertus Voetius; or, if we would abandon his Latinized name, Gijsbert Voet -- the surname being the Dutch word for "foot." Gijs Foot. He was a man who stood head and shoulders above his contemporaries.

Early Life

 Gijsbert Voetius was born of a Dutch Reformed minister in the town of Heusden, the Netherlands. He was born on March 3, 1588 or 1589; biographers are not sure; apparently some mishap clouded the town records. The date of his birth tells us that he lived in some of Holland's most troublous, though prosperous, times.
For the rest, see:

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

2014: "Come, Labor On"

Gerre Hancock (1934-2012), Organist & Master of Choirsters at St. Thomas Church, Fifth Avenue plays "Come, Labor On", a hymn so closely associated with St. Thomas, and improvises the voluntary on his last Sunday at St. Thomas Church, the Feast of Corpus Christi 2004. Recorded by Dr. Allan van Poznak.

Text: Jane Bothwick
Tune: T. Tertius Noble

Come, labor on.
Who dares stand idle on the harvest plain,
while all around us waves the golden grain?
And to each servant does the Master say,
"Go work today."

Come, labor on.
The enemy is watching night and day,
to sow the tares, to snatch the seed away;
while we in sleep our duty have forgot,
he slumbered not.

Come, labor on.
Away with gloomy doubts and faithless fear!
No arm so weak but may do service here:
by feeblest agents may our God fulfill
his righteous will.

Come, labor on.
Claim the high calling angels cannot share--
to young and old the Gospel gladness bear;
redeem the time; its hours too swiftly fly.
The night draws nigh.

Come, labor on.
No time for rest, till glows the western sky,
till the long shadows o'er our pathway lie,
and a glad sound comes with the setting sun.
"Servants, well done."

Titus 2: 1 Award Given to Contra Mundam

Semper Fidelis, Andy!

The Titus 2:1 Award given to Contra Mundum
by Mr. Andy Underhile

Titus 2:1 says, “But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine.”

Jake Griesel, the author of the blog Theologia est doctrina Deo vivendi per Christum (Latin for: Theology is the doctrine of living unto God through Christ – a phrase taken from the works of the Reformed theologian Petrus van Mastricht [1630-1706]) has passed on the Titus 2:1 Award to my blog, Contra Mundum. I wish to thank Jake for the honor. In my estimation, his blog exceeds mine by far, in both scope and quality. I wholeheartedly recommend Jake’s blog. He has an amazing knack for unearthing obscure and otherwise unsung heroes of the Christian faith.  In order to celebrate, he has asked me to answer the following questions:

1. If you could have dinner with any historical Christian figure, who would it be and why?

There are numerous possible candidates, but I would probably go with Herman Witsius (2/12/1636-10/22/1708). Witsius was a Dutch pastor and theologian. He became professor of divinity successively at the University of Franeker in 1675 and then at the University of Utrecht in 1680. In 1698 he went to the University of Leiden. He ended his earthly course here.

Witsius was a leader and distinguished representative of the continuation of the Reformation in Holland, known as the Nadere Reformatie, a period of church history in the Netherlands, following the Reformation, from roughly 1600 until 1750. Witsius’ most significant contributions were in the fields of systematic theology and pastoral practice. His masterpiece, “The Economy of the Covenants Between God and Man,” is a systematic theology presented in true a Covenant theology format.

The reason I would chose Witsius is that his “Economy” had a profound effect on my thinking, perhaps more profound than anyone else, including the Church Fathers, Calvin and the Puritans, in whose works I have lived for at least two decades. Witsius' work, by highlighting the covenantal nature of all God's dealings with His people, helped me clearly see the relationship between all of Sacred History, the relevance of the Old Testament to New Testament exegesis and practice, and the unity of God's people across the centuries. Thanks to his monumental work, I no longer see any portion of Scripture, or any event in biblical history as disjointed or unrelated to the whole – or to any other portion or event.

2. What one burning question would you ask?

Knowing what Witsius wrote in regards to covenantal infant baptism, I would love to hear his assessment of the contemporary Federal Vision heresy. Witsius seemed to foresee and react to things which have come to be at the center of this movement.

3. Where and what would you eat?

Since I have never knowingly eaten Dutch cuisine, I'd let Witsius decide; and since smoked fish was a common food item in Dutch cuisine at the time, I'm sure I'd be very happy with his choices.

4. What was the last Bible verse you read?

Psalm 63:11 - But the king shall rejoice in God; all who swear by him shall exult, for the mouths of liars will be stopped.

 I now, hand off the baton to my esteemed friend and fellow blogger, Donald Philip Veitch. Mr. Veitch’s blog, Reformed and Post-Anglican  has been to me a source of great comfort, encouragement, wisdom, information and sound doctrine. Mr. Veitch is an Anglican who loves the Westminster Standards (and oddity to be sure); he is also a retired Marine and his blog reflects these two facets of his character: strong Book of Common Prayer piety, deep Anglican scholarship, the utmost respect for the work of the Westminster Assembly, ability to spot and flout theological error in a heartbeat – all tied together by the rigorous discipline and fighting spirit of a Marine. With that, I pass the Titus 2:1 award on to the admirable Mr. Veitch at Reformed and Post-Anglican.

Carrie Euler's "Couriers of the Gospel: England and Zurich, 1531-1558"

A friend posted this 24 Dec 2013.  This is a real present for Christmas. Finally, a scholar who gets it, to wit, the "Reformed nature" of the English Reformers.

Online at:

Euler, Carrie. Couriers of the Gospel: England and Zurich, 1531-1558.   No location: Theologisher Verlag Zurich, 2006. 

In a speech before Zurich's city council in 1553, Heinrich Bullinger declared that "the crown of England has entirely the teaching and faith that we also have." These words suggest a more direct and abiding relationship between the English and Zurich Reformations than has been recognized by previous historians. This book deepens our understanding of Swiss and English Protestantism, while simultaneously shedding light on the interactive practices of early modern cultural and intellectual communities and the history of the book. Three aspects of Zurich theology and practice attracted English evangelicals to Zurich's tradition of Reformed Protestantism: rejection of the material aspects of Catholic piety, a strong anti-Anabaptist tradition, and stress on the unity of the religious and secular spheres under the authority of the civil magistrate. Dr Euler illustrates how English reformers adopted these ideas and applied them in England, allowing reformers like Bullinger to point to England as a potential ally and model of success for the Zurich tradition. Carrie Euler received her Ph. D. from Johns Hopkins University in 2004. She has published several articles on the Zurich and English Reformations in various volumes and journals, including the Sixteenth Century Journal. She is currently Assistant Professor of History at Central Michigan University.             

Product Details

Monday, December 23, 2013

Sydney: Mr. (Abp.) Glenn Davies' Christmas Message

(Monergism): Key Quotes by Luther on Bondage of the Will

Key Quotes From Luther's Bondage of the Will

The following are some quotes from Dr. Luther to this end:
"For if man has lost his freedom, and is forced to serve sin, and cannot will good, what conclusion can more justly be drawn concerning him, than that he sins and wills evil necessarily?" Martin Luther BW pg. 149
"...'if thou art willing' is a verb in the subjunctive mood, which asserts nothing...a conditional statement asserts nothing indicatively." "if thou art willing", "if thou hear", "if thou do" declare, not man's ability, but his duty. pg 157
"the commandments are not given inappropriately or pointlessly; but in order that through them the proud, blind man may learn the plague of his impotence, should he try to do as he is commanded." pg. 160
Speaking to Erasmus, "Throughout your treatment you forget that you said that 'free-will' can do nothing without grace, and you prove that 'free-will' can do all things without grace! Your inferences and analogies "For if man has lost his freedom, and is forced to serve sin, and cannot will good, what conclusion can more justly be drawn concerning him, than that he sins and wills evil necessarily?" Martin Luther BW pg. 149
"Even grammarians and schoolboys on street corners know that nothing more is signified by verbs in the imperative mood than what ought to be done, and that what is done or can be done should be expressed by words in the indicative. How is it that you theologians are twice as stupid as schoolboys, in that as soon as you get hold of a single imperative verb you infer an indicative meaning, as though the moment a thing is commanded it is done, or can be done? pg 159
"The passages of Scripture you cite are imperative; and they prove and establish nothing about the ability of man, but only lay down what is and what not to be done." pg 161
"Does it follow from: 'turn ye' that therefore you can turn? Does it follow from "'Love the Lord thy God with all thy heart' (Deut 6.5) that therefore you can love with all your heart? What do arguments of this kind prove, but the 'free-will' does not need the grace of God, but can do all things by its own power...But it does not follow from this that man is converted by his own power, nor do the words say so; they simply say: "if thou wilt turn, telling man what he should do. When he knows it, and sees that he cannot do it, he will ask whence he may find ability to do it..." 164
"By the law is the knowledge of sin' [Rom 3:20], so the word of grace comes only to those who are distressed by a sense of sin and tempted to despair." pg. 168
As to why some are touched by the law and others not, so that some receive and others scorn the offer of grace...[this is the] hidden will of God, Who, according to His own counsel, ordains such persons as He wills to receive and partake of the mercy preached and offered." pg. 169
The "imperative or hypothetical passages, or wishes, by which is signified, not what we can do, or do do...but what we ought to do, and what is required of us, so that our impotence may be made known to us and the knowledge of sin may be given to us." 174
God Incarnate says; 'I would, and thou wouldst not." God Incarnate, I repeat, was sent for this purpose, to will, say, do, suffer and offer to all me, all that is necessary for salvation; albeit He offends many who, being abandoned or hardened by God's secret will of Majesty, do not receive Him thus willing, speaking, doing, and offering. As John says: "The light shineth in the darkness, and the darkness com comprehendeth it not' (John 1.5)
And again: "He came unto his own, and His own received Him not. (v. 11)"The law indicates the impotence of man and the saving power of God..."if any man will come after me': 'he that wills to save his life'; 'if ye love me'; 'if ye shall continue'. In sum, as I have said-let every occurrence of the conjunction 'if', and all imperative verbs, be collected together (so we may help the Diatribe...) [indicating that all commands to believe or follow Christ are conditional, not stating man's ability]
Let all the 'free-will' in the world do all it can with all its strength; it will never give rise to a single instance of ability to avoid being hardened if God does not give the Spirit, or of meriting mercy if it is left to its own strength." p. 202
"omnipotence and foreknowledge of God, I repeat, utterly destroy the doctrine of 'free-will'...doubtless it gives the greatest possible offense to common sense or natural reason, that God, Who is proclaimed as being full of mercy and goodness, and so on, should of His own mere will abandon, harden and damn men, as though He delighted in the sins and great eternal torments of such poor wretches. it seems an iniquitous, cruel, intolerable thought to think of God; and it is this that has been such a stumbling block to so many great men down through the ages. And who would not stumble at it? I have stumbled at it myself more than once, down to the deepest pit of despair, so that I wished I had never been made a man. (That was before I knew how health-giving that despair was, and how close to grace.)" Luther BW pg. 217
" was not of the merits of Jacob or Esau, 'but of Him that Calleth that it was said of Sara: the elder shall serve the younger' Paul is discussing whether they attained to what was spoken of them by the power or merits of 'free-will"; and he proves they they did not, but that Jacob attained what Esau did not solely by the grace of "Him that Calleth"224
Now, since on God's own testimony, men are 'flesh', they can savour of nothing but the flesh; therefore 'free-will can avail only to sin. And if, while the Spirit of God is calling and teaching among them, they go from bad to worse, what could they do when left to themselves, without the Spirit of God? Your [Erasmus] observation that Moses is speaking of the men of that age is not to the point at all. The same is true of all men, for all are 'flesh'; as Christ says, 'That which is born of the flesh is flesh' (john 3:6) How grave a defect this is, He Himself there teaches, when he says: 'Except a man be born again, he cannot enter the kingdom of God (v. 5)...I call a man ungodly if he is without the Spirit of God; for Scripture says that the Spirit is given to justify the ungodly. As Christ distinguished the Spirit from the flesh, saying: "that which is born of the flesh is flesh', and adds that which is born of the flesh cannot enter the kingdom of God', it obviously follows that whatever is flesh is ungodly, under God's wrath, and a stranger to His kingdom. And if it is a stranger to God's kingdom and Spirit, it follows of necessity that it is under the kingdom and spirit of Satan. For there is no middle kingdom between the kingdom of God and the Kingdom of Satan, which are ever at war with each other. 241, 253
"I say that man without the grace of God nonetheless remains the general omnipotence of God who effects, and moves and impels all things in a necessary, infallible course; but the effect of man's being carried along is nothing--that is, avails nothing in God's sight, nor is reckoned to be anything but sin." 265
"the Baptist's word means that man can receive nothing unless given him from above; so that free-will is nothing!"
I say that man, before he is renewed into the new creation of the Spirit's kingdom, does and endeavours nothing to prepare himself for that new creation and kingdom, and when he is re-created has does and endeavors nothing towards his perseverance in that kingdom; but the Spirit alone works both blessings in us, regenerating us, and preserving us when regenerate, without ourselves..." 268
"All the passages in the Holy Scriptures that mention assistance are they that do away with "free-will", and these are countless...For grace is needed, and the help of grace is given, because "free-will" can do nothing."270
"I frankly confess that, for myself, even if it could be, I should not want "free-will" to be given me, nor anything to be left in my own hands to enable me to endeavour after salvation; not merely because in face of so many dangers, and adversities and assaults of devils, I could not stand my ground ; but because even were there no dangers. I should still be forced to labour with no guarantee of success.¦ But now that God has taken my salvation out of the control of my own will, and put it under the control of His, and promised to save me, not according to my working or running, but according to His own grace and mercy, I have the comfortable certainty that He is faithful and will not lie to me, and that He is also great and powerful, so that no devils or opposition can break Him or pluck me from Him. Furthermore, I have the comfortable certainty that I please God, not by reason of the merit of my works, but by reason of His merciful favour promised to me; so that, if I work too little, or badly, He does not impute it to me, but with fatherly compassion pardons me and makes me better. This is the glorying of all the saints in their God." - Martin Luther, The Bondage of the Will (Grand Rapids: Revell, 1957), 313-314.
For the rest, see:

(Mr. Underhile): Gomarus, Arminius, & "Being Nice"

Franciscus Gomarus: Stubborn Champion of God's Glory
by Mr. Andy Underhile

It is a surprising fact of history that oftentimes, in doctrinal controversy, the heretic is a nice man, while the defender of the faith is, from many points of view, a miserable character. Athanasius vs. Arius: Arius the suave, diplomatic, likeable denier of Christ's divinity; Athanasius the stubborn and implacable defender of the Nicene Creed. Cyril vs. Nestorius: Cyril the haughty and cruel defender of the unity of Christ's natures in the one divine person; Nestorius the popular, gifted heretic who insisted that Christ had two persons. Augustine the crabby defender of the sovereignty of grace; Pelagius the urbane and witty defender of freedom of the will. Gottschalk the stern and unfriendly follower of Augustine who rotted in prison for his recalcitrance; Hincmar the learned and powerful archbishop of Rheims. And so the list could go on: Luther vs. Erasmus the humanist; Calvin vs. Bolsec the heretic; Knox vs. Mary Queen of the Scots. And those who know their history can find others, perhaps within their own particular denominational history.

So it was also with Gomarus. Even his friends found him obnoxious at times and barely tolerable. His opponent, Jacobus Arminius, popular with students and ministers, gracious, kind, tolerant, filled with concern for friend and foe alike, presents quite a contrast. But Arminius was the heretic, and Gomarus stood for the truth.

Why does God work this way in the history of the church? Why is the nice guy so often the enemy of the faith, while the old curmudgeon is the champion of the truth of God? I do not think that we can find a complete answer to this question. But part of it is that the truth is not popular and defenders of the truth can sometimes become crabby because of the fierce and unrelenting attacks of opponents. Sometimes the deceit and double-tongued language of heretics who hide their heresy with honey-coated words can only be exposed by sharp and impolitic language. Sometimes the defense of the faith requires a stubborn man who will not budge no matter what the consequences; and he is presented by his enemies as being unreasonable and wickedly stubborn, so that the truth for which he fights may be maligned along with him. But always God uses weakest means to fulfill his will.

There is an important truth here -- a truth to which few pay attention. So many are persuaded of their position by the character of the men involved: the nice guy has got to be right; the nasty fellow cannot possibly be correct. Yet the truth must be decided on other grounds than that of personalities: it must be decided by the Scriptures alone, regardless of any personal likes and dislikes. Without excusing what is sometimes wicked conduct on the part of orthodox men, it is important that the church remember that the truth is determined by God's Word alone. Gomarus, for all his shortcomings, was a champion of the Reformed faith. And one must, for the truth's sake, overlook personal faults.

Early Life And Education

 The family into which Gomarus was born lived in Bruges, a city in the province of Flanders, which was then a part of the Lowlands but is now a part of Belgium. Gomarus was the oldest in the family, born on January 30, 1563. He had two younger brothers and possibly a younger sister. Sometime before 1570, although probably after Gomarus' birth, his family embraced the Reformed faith.

 Gomarus began his studies in Bruges and at an early age learned Latin and Greek. But in 1577, because of the severity of the Spanish persecution in the Lowlands, the family sought refuge in Germany in the Palatinate. Because of the nearness of the family to the city of Strassburg, Gomarus was able to study there under Johann Sturm, a second-generation reformer, in the city where Calvin had lived in the years of his exile from Geneva.

 When Frederick, the Calvinist elector of the Palatinate died, his brother Louis (Ludwig) came to the electorate. He was a Lutheran and hated Calvinism passionately. He drove out of the University of Heidelberg all the Calvinist professors, including Ursinus and Olevianus, the authors of the Heidelberg Catechism. Some of these professors settled in Neustadt, and to Neustadt Gomarus went to study under Ursinus and Zanchius. His studies included Hebrew, Greek, Latin, and philosophy.

 From 1582 to 1584 Gomarus broadened his education by a trip to England where he studied first in Oxford, then in Cambridge. In 1885 Louis died, and his brother, prince Casimir, became elector. He restored to the university in 1584 the professors from Heidelberg who were still living. Gomarus returned there for two years.

Ministry And Professorship

 Gomarus had received a wide and excellent education and had become an expert in languages, including Hebrew. But his education was first of all to be put to use in the pastoral ministry to which he also aspired. He became pastor of a Dutch congregation in Germany in Frankfort-on-the-Main. The church had been established by Marten Micronius and John à Lasco in 1555, two second-generation reformers, the latter of which had played a significant role in the formation of the liturgy of the Dutch Reformed Churches.
For the rest, see:

Mr. (Rev.Dr.Prof.) Robert Gagnon & Duck Dynasty

Mr. (Rev.Dr.Prof.) Robert Gagnon on Duck Dynasty, minutes 1 to about 18.

(Anglicans Ablaze): Tractarians in Anglican Church of North America?

Does unreformed Catholicism have a place in the Anglican Church?

By Robin G. Jordan

Those who champion the recognition and acceptance of Anglo-Catholicism as a legitimate theological strand in Anglicanism make a number of arguments to support their claim. Among these arguments is the assertion that Anglicanism has evolved since the sixteenth century and modern day Anglicans cannot be expected to conform to sixteenth century standards of doctrine and practice. Anglicans have moved on. Anglicans have become broader in what they comprehend.

One of the problems that I have with this argument is that it is the identical argument used by those championing the recognition and acceptance of liberalism as a legitimate theological strand in Anglicanism. It defines the limits of Anglican comprehensiveness in terms of the present state of affairs in the Anglican Church, or perhaps more accurately in terms of what is perceived to be the current state of affairs in the Anglican Church. This perception may not involve the entire global Anglican community but may be confined to a particular segment of that community.

Making this argument is analogous to moving the boundary markers of a parcel of land and then claiming the locations to which the boundary markers have been moved mark the boundaries of that parcel of land. The Scriptures contain a strong warning against moving a neighbor’s property line (Deuteronomy 19:14). While this passage applies to land, the underlying principle has wider application.

If we adopt the logic of this argument and pursue that logic to where it leads, then Anglicanism is no more than whatever each successive generation of Anglicans decide what it is. We can assert as do liberal Anglicans that Anglicanism is a big tent that shelters all kinds of diverse and disparate views. These views do not have to agree with the teaching of the Scriptures and the doctrine of the Anglican formularies. They do not have to be even remotely Christian. They simply have to be recognized and accepted by one part of a particular generation of Anglicans as being, in their estimation, genuinely “Anglican.”

An accompanying argument is that the Thirty-Nine Articles, contrary to what the Global Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans upholds in The Jerusalem Declaration, is not authoritative for Anglicans today. The Articles represent the views of the sixteenth century English Reformers. They do not represent the views of modern day Anglicans. They are not binding upon the consciences or minds of contemporary Anglicans on matters of doctrine and practice.

What this argument is basically asserting is that each generation of Anglicans is its own authority on such matters. They may look to church tradition, the Council of Trent, the Jesus Seminar, the College of Bishops, or a similar authority for guidance but ultimately they are their own authority.
For the rest, see:

Sunday, December 22, 2013

(Mail Online, UK): Duck Dynasty: Sounds Like He's Back

EXCLUSIVE – Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson breaks his silence: Reality show star says he’s 'a lover not a hater' but REFUSES to back down from anti-gay comments

  • Duck Dynasty patriarch Phil Robertson is sticking by controversial comments he made about homosexuality to GQ magazine
  • He told MailOnline that he was simply quoting from the Bible in saying that homosexuality is a sin
  • In the GQ interview, Robertson said: 'Everything is blurred on what’s right and what’s wrong… Sin becomes fine. Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there... Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men'
  • Fans and supporters in his hometown of West Monroe, Louisiana have been vocal in support of Robertson
  • TV network A&E suspended Robertson from the show over the comments
  • A source close to the situation says they have no plans to fire him
  • Cracker Barrel pulled Duck Dynasty items from its shelves but quickly reinstated them after customers complained
  • Duck Dynasty regularly pulls in more than 12 million viewers
By Will Payne In West Monroe, Louisiana
Phil Robertson has spoken out for the first time since his homophobic comments in a magazine interview went public and refused to go back on his controversial remarks, saying: ‘I will not give or back off from my path.’
The Duck Dynasty patriarch led a small Bible study group in his home town church in West Monroe, Louisiana on Sunday, granting MailOnline exclusive access.

And the deeply religious outdoorsman stood by his incendiary statements – which saw him call homosexuality a sin and led to his suspension from the hit reality show by network bosses at A&E.
United: Phil Robertson (center), patriarch of the Duck Dynasty family, leaves church in Louisiana with his family today
United: Phil Robertson (center), patriarch of the Duck Dynasty family, leaves church in Louisiana with his family today
Under fire: Willie Robertson (center) leaves church today with his father (not pictured), who has been suspended from their reality television series for comments he made about homosexuality last week
Under fire: Willie Robertson (center) leaves church today with his father (not pictured), who has been suspended from their reality television series for comments he made about homosexuality last week

Supporter: Howell Henderson of Joplin, Missouri, poses for a picture outside the Duck Commander store in West Monroe, Louisiana Saturday
Supporter: Howell Henderson of Joplin, Missouri, poses for a picture outside the Duck Commander store in West Monroe, Louisiana Saturday

During Sunday’s speech, he defended himself, saying he was simply quoting from the Bible and even went so far as to say Jesus could save gay people.

‘I love all men and women. I am a lover of humanity, not a hater,’ he added.

For the rest, see:

More Sermon Ideas for Joel Osteen

A few more sermon tips and questions for Joel Osteen. Or, some questions for an ordination exam. (Did he ever undergo one?) BTW, I am overwhelmed by the utter lack of the Bible in Joel O-Zero-Steen.

1. Joel, a few ideas from Genesis 7ff., how many people died in the Flood?

 2. Gen. 8.21, what does it mean that “the imagination of man’s heart is evil from the youth up?” Will you preach this?

 3. Gen. 9.22, what’s the backstory on Noah’s nakedness and the curse on the offending son? Your thoughts, Joel.

 4. Gen. 11, why was God so upset about Babel? After all, they were pursuing their horizons and pursuing their best life now, for crying out loud.

 5. Gen. 15, what’s the covenant, covenant ceremony, faith, and the Gospel connections? What are you reading? Please submit your bibliography online for national review.

 6. Judges 13, who is the Angel of the LORD? Please elaborate on the doctrine of the Trinity including the Creedal developments on Christ.

 7. Judges 14, was Samson out of line to be marrying a Philistine girl? What’s your view of marriage? Marrying those in the LORD? Have you ever preached on that?  Also, consider Ezra and Nehemiah's views.  Also, explain Marcionism.

 8. 2 Kings 10.17: what’s the story with Jehu polishing off Ahab’s entire dynastic family “according to the Word of the LORD which He spake to Elijah?” Explain your view of Divine Judgments in this life and for the next. Thank you.

 9. 2 Kings 10: killing Baal worshippers? Explain the relationship between the OT theocracy, NT kingdom of God, NT ethics, state and church relations and the Second Coming. Submit your academic credentials in this area of OT and NT.

 10. 2 Kings 10.32: what does it mean when it says, “In those days the LORD began to cut off parts of Israel…?” Does God cut off parts of the church? Joel, hint, hint, think Romans 11 and Revelation 2-3 for prompts to the answer. Offer some examples in church history while you’re at it.  Also, consider John 15.

 11. While we’re at it, please give an overview of the northern kings of Israel from BC c. 930- c.722. In your answer, please pay attention to Azariah, Zechariah, Shallum, Menahem, Pekiah and the context. Explain your theological and homiletical insights and tips. 

 12. 2 Kings 22: provide an overview to the Assyrian invasion in BC 722, that is, their best life before the exile, during the exile, and after in exile.

 13. On a larger note, please explain from the Wisdom literature the meaning and relevance of the “fear of the LORD.” If you fail this question, please submit a 50-page paper as a remedial exercise. Thank you.

 14. Switching to Jeremiah, please explain and preach on: “Look, the false pen of the scribe certainly works falsehood… (Jer. 8.. What and who could he have been identifying? How would you apply that to 2014?

 15. Please comment on Jer. 8.10 and 12: “Everyone is given to covetousness” and “nor do they know how to blush…” How does this inform your sermons and books? Will you preach this on TBN? What else is the prosperity gospel but covetousness?

 16. What, pray tell, was Jeremiah saying with 9.14: “they walk according to the dictates of their hearts…” Explain Law and Gospel in the OT.

 17. What, pray tell, does Jeremiah mean with this in 10.14: “Everyone is dull-hearted…” and “without knowledge.” Joel, if I heard you once, I’ve heard you a dozen times say on national television, “Well, I don’t know too much about that…”  It's thematic with you. What do you mean? Please submit your credentials and working bibliography for systematic theology. Would you accept that from your physician, lawyer or someone on your camera crews?

 18. Joel, explain this text, 10.21: “For the shepherds have become dull-hearted…” Who is he talking about? Why did he say this? What are any current applications that might be preached?

 19. Joel, comment on God’s viewpoint in 11.11ff: “Behold, I will bring calamity on them…though they cry to Me I will not listen” and 11.14: “Do not pray for this people…I will not hear them.”

20. What’s the linen sash in Jer. 13? Does it refer to destroyed pride? (Hint: 13.9, “I will ruin the pride of Judah.”) Does God do that? How does this relate to your new book, Break Out.  (Sounds like a disease.)  Has there been a breakout of humility and fear of the LORD? Of Biblical literacy? Theological literacy?

21. Explain Jer. 14.10: “Thus they have loved to wander…” Is this relevant anymore?

22. Or, 14.12: “Behold I will consume them by sword, by famine, and pestilence…” Explain the Gospel in Jeremiah.

 23. Or, 14.14: “The prophets prophesy lies…in the deceit of their hearts…” Who is he talking about? Is this relevant? Does this still occur?

 24. Does God over-react with Jer. 15.1: “I will cast them out of My sight…I will hand them over to trouble…” Or, 16.4: “They shall die gruesome deaths…” Does God do this? Explain the relation of Jeremiah to Jesus (hint, hint, for starters, Mt. 23-25, Rev. 2-3, or 2 Peter and Jude thanks). Also, again, explain the covenant of grace and the Gospel here.

 25. Explain corrupt leaders and their sons, e.g. Jer. 16.4: “Surely our fathers have inherited lies…”

26. Explain original sin and Jer. 17.9: “The heart is deceitful above all things…” Explain how that unfolds in your sermons. Explain the sacraments too, baptism and the Lord’s Supper and justification by faith alone.

 27. What was Jeremiah’s best life in Jeremiah 18? “Come, let us devise plans against Jeremiah…let us not give heed to his words…” Also, felonious assault by Pashtur, 20.2: “The Pashtur struck Jeremiah…” Or, Jeremiah’s complaint: “I am in derision daily…” (20.7) Explain the Gospel and Good Tidings to Jeremiah. 

 28. Switching gears to Hosea: explain the social, religious, economic and political decline during the reigns of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah of the south and, of the north, the six kings. In particular, address the issue of religious syncretism, e.g. Baalism, and relevant applications for today? Greed, sexual corruptions, divorce, and more. What Gospel did Hosea believe? Would God really say, “Lo-ammi, for you are not My people..." (1.8). Does God prune the church from time to time to get rid of dead branches? John 15, or are these idle claims? What is the role of the demonic in false doctrines?

 29. Switching to Matthew, a few questions. What does Mt. 10.17 mean: “But, beware of men…for they will scourge you in the synagogues…” Explain your answer using the Acts of the Apostles, imprisonment, shipwrecks, beatings, and more. How did this figure in your recent book? Or, previous books? Have you ever read Acts? What is that best life now?  Explain your current sufferings.

 30. Mt. 10.28, what pray tell is this: “Fear God who is able to destroy both body and soul in hell…” Should we fear God or is this a bit backward? Body and soul in hell? What’s that? What is hell? Have you ever preached on this? If not, why not?

 31. What did Jesus mean, “I did not come to bring peace, but a sword…” (Mt. 10.34)? 

32. Mt. 11.20-24: What does Jesus mean by judging Chorazin and Bethesaida? Or, informing them that in the day of judgment it will be more tolerable for Sodom than for them? What Day of Judgment?

 33. Mt. 11.27: Explain election, “No one knows the Father unless the Son reveals Him…” Have your taught election and predestination at Lakeside?

 34. Did Jesus really say the following? “Brood of vipers…how can you, being evil, speak good things…”? (Mt. 12.34).  Explain any current applications to our time.

35. Mt. 13: How does the Devil function in the Parable of the Sower of the Seed? Have you ever considered that the absence of the Word of God in your work, books, and sermons is an act of theft?  Or, horrors, worse?!?! Does this Parable not terrify you? Provide a list of your expository sermons on the Bible, thank you.

 36. Provide a summary of Jesus’ comments at Mt. 13.14:

"14 Indeed, in their case the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled that says:
“You will indeed hear but never understand,
and you will indeed see but never perceive.”
15 For this people's heart has grown dull,
and with their ears they can barely hear,
and their eyes they have closed,
lest they should see with their eyes
and hear with their ears
and understand with their heart
and turn, and I would heal them.’”

37. What’s the “weeping and gnashing of teeth” in Mt. 13.50? Rhetorical flourish?

 38. Why was John the Baptist beheaded in Mt. 14? Did he compromise his best life now?

 39. What’s the leaven of the Pharisees and Scribes in Mt. 16.1-12? When Jesus said “Beware,” was this a suggestion? If a command, what does that mean? Whom should we avoid today?

 40. Who gave Peter faith in Mt. 16.13ff? Who gives anyone faith and repentance?  Explain.

 41. Why is Jesus so negative with “O faithless and perverse generation…?” (Mt. 17.17)? Should we edit this out of the text?

 42. Explain church discipline and excommunication in Mt. 18.15-20. After that, explain, without compromising pastoral communications, situations—in general—where this has occurred at Lakeside. 

 43. What is Jesus’ view of marriage and divorce, Mt. 19? What is your church’s position?

 44. Galatians 6.7: “What a man sows he reaps…” Joel, you often claim you don’t know very much. Are you reaping what you’ve sown? And, are you sowing the same seed of your own ignorance? Are you attracting people who are like you? Ignorant? Or, does that matter? Do we really need 66 canonical books after all?

 45. Eph.1.3-14: explain election, redemption, vicarious and penal satisfaction, forgiveness, predestination and the sealing of the Holy Spirit.

 46. Eph. 2.1: explain what “dead in your sins and trespasses” means to Paul and for your own preaching.

 47. Eph. 4.3: “the unity of the Spirit and the bond of peace…” What are you a sectarian? What connection does Lakeside have with historic, Creedal and Confessional Christianity? Do you have one? 

48. Eph. 4.14: “every wind of doctrine by the trickery of men in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting…” What is this? Where does this occur? Give names, dates and circumstances during Paul’s life, an overview of church history, and some insights to our times. Or, is Paul just a tad-bit agitated and over-worked?

 49. Eph. 4.18-19, explain these terms: “understanding darkened…to work uncleanness with greediness…” Is there any greediness at TBN? Is it unclean? If so, what are the plans for a clean-up?

 50. Joel, what are we to do with Rev. 9.20-21? Explain the Second Coming. Also, does your ministry end up worshipping gold, silver, bronze, wood and other things? Hare you addressed sexual immorality from the pulpit?

“20 The rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands nor give up worshiping demons and idols of gold and silver and bronze and stone and wood, which cannot see or hear or walk, 21 nor did they repent of their murders or their sorceries or their sexual immorality or their thefts.”

51. What are the “woes” here for that best life now? Rev. 12.12?

"12 Therefore, rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them! But woe to you, O earth and sea, for the devil has come down to you in great wrath, because he knows that his time is short!”