Count it all joy when you face various trials. --James the brother of Jesus

Monday, March 30, 2009

John Gill Give Away!!!

I'm giving away a free copy of John Gill's collected works on CD Rom on my other blog. You can sign up here.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Why I Believe in Closed (Close, or Strict) Communion

The first thing that I must address here is terminology. Not all people mean the same thing by "closed communion." Some, when they hear the term assume that it means that only those who are members of a particular church are admitted to partake of communion. I don't believe in this, and I don't think that this is historically what is meant by the term "closed communion." What I believe this historically meant is that baptism is a prerequisite for communion. It's also called "strict communion." It is a practice that Baptists have historically been maligned for because we do not permit those who were so called "baptized" as infants to participate in communion in our churches--though we recognize that they may be genuine Christians. Baptists have been called bigoted for this practice. Even some Baptists have shied away from this practice because we don't want to offend our gospel believing friends. However, I think that if one is convinced that the Bible teaches believer baptism and wants to be consistent in practice, closed communion is the logical position to hold. There are more reasons for this than I care to go into here; however, I will list a few:

1) Everyone practices some type of closed communion. No one would admit unbelievers to the Lord's Table. One has to draw a line at some point, or communion would be a meaningless event.

2) All other denominations have historically seen baptism as a prerequisite for membership. Baptists are actually in agreement with the majority of the Christian tradition in maintaining that Baptism is a prerequisite for communion. I once went to visit an Episcopal church, just to observe, and when it was time for the "Eucharist," the rector invited "all baptized Christians" to partake. In practicing closed communion, Baptists do not practice anything different regarding communion than other denominations--we just disagree about what baptism is.

3) Baptists, by definition, believe that baptism is an ordinance for believers only. This means that when an infant is sprinkled it is NOT baptized at all. If a Baptist is consistent, he will not recognize an infant baptism, or even a sprinkling, a legitimate baptism at all. With this being the case it is not that Baptists are making a judgment about the salvation of those who are so called "baptized" as infants. We are making a judgment about the legitimacy of their baptism. If they are not baptized at all, then according to my reason #2 above, they ought not be admitted to communion in any church.

These are just a few arguments for why I believe in closed communion. This is not an exhaustive list, and I admit that I haven't even begun to make a Scriptural argument yet. The case that I make here is based on history and logic. I admit this, and I am prepared to use Scripture to defend the case that I am making here.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

New Audio: Does Jesus Scare You More than the Storm?

I got a chance to preach tonight at Lebanon Baptist Church in Cleburne, TX. My friend, Todd Peebles, is the pastor there, and he allowed me to come and share. I am very happy that we were able to record it and now I am able to share it. Click here to listen.

This is a message on the story of when Jesus calmed the storm from the account in Matthew 4:35-41. I believe this text teaches that Jesus is one and the same with the God of the Old Testament and that as such he exercises sovereignty over his creation.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

New Recording of My Preaching

I recently had a friend (Todd Peebles) here at the seminary record one of my old sermons to an mp3 file that I had previously only had on tape. The text is Psalm 15, and it was preached back in November or December of 2004. Right click on the phrase "one of my old sermons" above, and click "save target as" to download it. Or just click on it and you can listen to it stream.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Spiritual Disciplines of the Christian Life: Free Audio

Christianaudio.com gives away a free audio book every month. I've been downloading them for a year now and have simply never thought to share it on my blog. I've benefited from several classics, and this month they are giving away Donald Whitney's book Spiritual Disciplines of the Christian Life. I read this book during my first year at Southern Seminary and it is a great overview of practical discipleship. I cannot recommend it highly enough. Here is a link to their site. You will also need to use the coupon code for this month: MAR2009.

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