Church Discipline: the Correction of a Believer or the Excommunication of an Unbeliever? (Part 3)

Harmonizing Matthew 18:15–17, 1 Corinthians 5:1–13, and 2 Thessalonians 3:6–15

(From Detroit Baptist Seminary Journal (DBSJ), Volume 20: 2015. Used with permission. Read the series.)

2 Thessalonians 3:6–15

Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from every brother who leads an unruly life and not according to the tradition which you received from us. For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example, because we did not act in an undisciplined manner among you, nor did we eat anyone’s bread without paying for it, but with labor and hardship we kept working night and day so that we would not be a burden to any of you; not because we do not have the right to this, but in order to offer ourselves as a model for you, so that you would follow our example. For even when we were with you, we used to give you this order: if anyone is not willing to work, then he is not to eat, either. For we hear that some among you are leading an undisciplined life, doing no work at all, but acting like busybodies. Now such persons we command and exhort in the Lord Jesus Christ to work in quiet fashion and eat their own bread. But as for you, brethren, do not grow weary of doing good. If anyone does not obey our instruction in this letter, take special note of that person and do not associate with him, so that he will be put to shame. Yet do not regard him as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother.

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“Good and Necessary Consequences” (Part 13a)

(Read the series so far.)

We all seek to apply Scripture to our lives. Those applications should be both biblical and logical. We have seen1 that at least some applications ought to be thought of as particular to each believer. This means that sometimes, at least, my application, even if it is really biblical, logical, and God-intended, is still only my application, and might not be God-intended for my friend.

But are all applications particular, or are some universal? Are there “good and necessary” applications that we all must make? And if so, what impact do these have on the matter of applications that shape and train our consciences?

The phrase “good and necessary consequences” (hereafter, “GNC”) comes from the Westminster Confession of Faith2 (WCF): Read more about “Good and Necessary Consequences” (Part 13a)

The Mixed Blessing of C. S. Lewis (Part 2)

(Read Part 1.)

As far back as 1963 Martyn Lloyd-Jones warned that C. S. Lewis had a defective view of salvation—and with good reason. Let’s take a look at several soteriological errors in Lewis’ theology.

The Substitutionary Atonement

In Mere Christianity Lewis was clear that he rejected the substitutionary atonement:

Now before I became a Christian I was under the impression that the first thing Christians had to believe was one particular theory as to what the point of this dying [Christ’s] was. According to that theory God wanted to punish men for having deserted and joined the Great Rebel, but Christ volunteered to be punished instead, and so God let us off. Now I admit that even this theory does not seem to me quite so immoral and so silly as it used to…. Theories about Christ’s death are not Christianity: they are explanations about how it works.11

Read more about The Mixed Blessing of C. S. Lewis (Part 2)

The Mixed Blessing of C. S. Lewis (Part 1)

There is probably no Christian in modern times better known or more influential than Clive Staples Lewis. Born in Belfast in the year 1899, Lewis would write dozens of books on a variety of topics before his death on November 22, 1963 (on the very day of the deaths of John Kennedy and Aldous Huxley).

At the time of his death his popularity was starting to wane but shortly thereafter there was a revival of interest in Lewis and, arguably, today he is more deeply admired than ever. He is considered by many to be the greatest apologist for the Christian faith to have ever lived.

Whether you agree with this assessment or not, there is no doubt that Lewis was in a league almost by himself in his ability to write great truths in ways that spoke to our hearts and opened our eyes. For this reason, even those who are troubled with much of Lewis’ theology can hardly resist quoting him. There is a danger, however, of all-but-canonizing Lewis, giving more weight to his imaginative explorations and philosophical reasonings than to Scripture. Ruth Tucker writes, “Among Protestants there is only one pope of apologetics…. If C. S. Lewis said it, it must be true. In many circles it seems that the voice of C. S. Lewis is second only to the voice of God.”1 Read more about The Mixed Blessing of C. S. Lewis (Part 1)

Eddyism, Commonly Called “Christian Science”

(About this series)

CHAPTER IX - EDDYISM, COMMONLY CALLED “CHRISTIAN SCIENCE”

BY. REV. MAURICE E. WILSON, D. D., DAYTON, OHIO

One of the keenest observers of America has made the remark that “the reason so many new isms are constantly springing up is because the old Gospel is so hard to live.” People are looking for a comfortable life here, and an easy way to heaven. They are scanning earth and sky for a royal road. The fight with sin which the Gospel demands is a fierce and bitter fight; and many men and women are anxiously searching for a way of escape, desiring to be “carried to the skies on flowery beds of ease.”

This desire lies at the basis of Eddyism. Its fundamental principle is that sin and sickness have no real existence. They may be banished by a process of thought. There is no matter; mind is everything. And, in proportion to the progress of the individual in this creed, all disagreeable and unpleasant things vanish. Read more about Eddyism, Commonly Called “Christian Science”

The Fantasy of the Non-Politician President

Political conservatives in the US may be more deeply divided than at any point in my lifetime. Ugly infighting over who should be the nominee is nothing new. The desire to overturn the status quo by means of a non-conformist, anti-establishment candidate isn’t all that new either.

What seems to be new is a combination of factors:

  1. Much higher levels of disappointment and frustration with “the establishment”
  2. Much lower awareness of the weaknesses of populist political thought
  3. A famously contrarian (to put it nicely) TV celebrity working the populist angle
  4. High polling numbers for a strikingly long period of time, fueling the feeling of inevitability

It’s probably obvious who I’m talking about, even without looking at the photo. Read more about The Fantasy of the Non-Politician President

Church Discipline: the Correction of a Believer or the Excommunication of an Unbeliever? (Part 2)

Harmonizing Matthew 18:15–17, 1 Corinthians 5:1–13, and 2 Thessalonians 3:6–15

From Detroit Baptist Seminary Journal (DBSJ), Volume 20: 2015. Used with permission. Read the series so far.

1 Corinthians 5:1–13

It is actually reported that there is immorality among you, and immorality of such a kind as does not exist even among the Gentiles, that someone has his father’s wife. You have become arrogant and have not mourned instead, so that the one who had done this deed would be removed from your midst. For I, on my part, though absent in body but present in spirit, have already judged him who has so committed this, as though I were present. In the name of our Lord Jesus, when you are assembled, and I with you in spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus, I have decided to deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of his flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough? Clean out the old leaven so that you may be a new lump, just as you are in fact unleavened. For Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed. Therefore let us celebrate the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. I wrote you in my letter not to associate with immoral people; I did not at all mean with the immoral people of this world, or with the covetous and swindlers, or with idolaters, for then you would have to go out of the world. But actually, I wrote to you not to associate with any so-called brother if he is an immoral person, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a swindler—not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Do you not judge those who are within the church? But those who are outside, God judges. Remove the wicked man from among yourselves.

Read more about Church Discipline: the Correction of a Believer or the Excommunication of an Unbeliever? (Part 2)

Scientism & Naturalism

(A follow up to Scientism Isn’t Science)

Naturalism is defined by Stewart Goetz & Charles Taliaferro in this way:

Naturalism—very roughly—may be defined as the philosophy that everything that exists is a part of nature and that there is no reality beyond or outside of nature. (Naturalism, 6)

Something being “a part of nature” is here meant to exclude the supernatural. Naturalism then is opposed to supernaturalism. It is seeing all things as natural and nothing as being supernatural. It is this view of the world which informs scientism, and it is this same view which informs modern scientific procedure. Although it is important to say that the procedure does not lead every scientist to embrace scientism (the belief that all questions about reality can be scientifically determined), scientism certainly needs the procedure. This procedure is what is called “methodological naturalism” (MN). Read more about Scientism & Naturalism