Monthly Archives: January 2008

Random stuff before going into blathering lockdown

Term stolen here.

It is not so much that blogging takes too much time as that reading or being on the web as a blogger wastes too much time. I’m not sure how often I’ll get to post in the near future….

Despite recent accolades for this blog’s popularity (or notoriety), I decided to get rid of the google ads. The problem is that they say I’ve got over forty dollars coming, but I don’t see a penny of it until I reach the $100 mark. Not going to happen in this lifetime. I’m letting it go.

I’ll probably get rid of the Amazon search feature when I think of it and have time. Pretty sure all my readers know how to get there without my help.

January is turning into a really lean month. My “lockdown” is not so much about too much work as too little. Which means every second I do this I’m feeling guilty for not drumming up work.

In terms of health and wellness, January has been the best month in many. I think being forty and thus over the hill makes dieting easier. Before, the main change I noticed was being hungry. Now, the main change is that I’m not as sluggish.

I’ve had heartburn issues that have simply disappeared. Gone. Done. It is like I’ve grown a new intestinal tract or something. It is amazing.

The other day before church, I grabbed a banana because I didn’t want to skip a meal altogether. It tasted like a rich desert. I’ve heard fruit called “God’s candy” before–but assumed it was a lie for controlling children. Taste can be really re-educated, apparently.

I got a hundred-pound weight bag for Christmas, but I haven’t mounted it yet. No, I won’t be putting any faces on it.

My sleep seems to be getting better. This may be because I’m not snoring as hard. But I am still snoring so I’m not sure. In December I started to suspect that I was tired a lot because my breathing was too difficult at night. Not sure what is happening, but I hope it continues.

Two weeks ago I started slowly on this regimen. But I also used the treadmill on alternate days. Hard. Word to the wise, walking on the treadmill while sifting through the fight scenes in Matrix Reloaded can be dangerous. You can’t bend the rules here. I ended up doing nothing the following week. Started again with Simple Fit. Yesterday. Won’t do anything with the treadmill until I’ve got through three weeks. After that I’ll think about it.

This looks like a great resource for connecting with publishers, though the guy’s attitude doesn’t help.

While this is all good, there is still some pretty horrific pressure on Jennifer and me right now. Just got to push through. Covet prayers.

To reiterate, things may get sparse here for awhile.

I’ll try to let you know I’m alive and give hope to the loyal readers.

Pretty sure that’s not how they mean it.

Another great Calvin quotation blogged by Gabe:

Our supposed denial is a fiction of his own mind. Since I’ve already clearly asserted that men are regenerated by baptism just as they are by the word.

I’ve heard contemporary Calvinists say that the sacraments work like the Word.  But I’m pretty sure they didn’t mean it that way.

From Calvin to Turretin a faithful but forgotten legacy of opposing Romanist doctrine

Thus spake John Calvin:

We assert that the whole guilt of sin is taken away in baptism, so that the remains of sin still existing are not imputed […] There is a twofold grace in baptism, for therein both remission of sins and regeneration are offered to us. We teach that full remission is made, but that regeneration is only begun and goes on making progress during the whole of life.

Calvin wrote this in opposition to Trent’s tenth canon on baptism, which stated: “If anyone says that by the sole remembrance and the faith of the baptism received, all sins committed after baptism are either remitted or made venial, let him be anathema.”

So Calvin did not think this was a misleading accusation. He thought that the Roman Catholic Church had anathematized the Biblical doctrine.

Many years later, the great Protestant Scholastic teacher, Francis Turretin took the same ground against Rome.

Does baptism… take away past and present sins only and leave future sins to repentances? Or does it extend itself to sins committed not only before but also after baptism? The former we deny; the latter we affirm against the Romanists.…

II… [T]he Romansists teach… “The virtue of baptism does not reach to future sins, but the sacrament of penitence is necessary for their expiation.” Thus, the Council of Trent expresses it: “If anyone shall say that all the sins which are committed after baptism are either dismissed or made venial by the recollection of faith of the received baptism alone, let him be anathema (session 7, Canon 10, Schroeder, p. 54)….

XII. …However, we maintain that by baptism is sealed to us the remission not only of past and present, but also of future sins; still so that penitence (not a sacramental work and what they invent, but that which is commanded in the gospel) and especially saving faith is not excluded, but is coordinated with baptism as a divinely constituted means of our salvation (Francis Turretin, Institutes of Elenctic Theology, vol. 3).

Baptismal doctrine has, obviously, taken a weird turn since that time. Here is an essay I wrote that attempts to track some of that shift. A great place to read about the doctrine of the Westminster Confession on baptismal efficacy is in David F. Wright’s essay “Baptism at the Westminster Assembly.” It is in available in the first volume of The Westminster Confession into the 20th Century (ed., J. Ligon Duncan III, pp. 168-169). Of course, while the essay is worth the price of the book, you may not want to spend that much on an academic essay. If you want a more accessible, and less controversial book on baptism, consider buying my tract, Why Baptize Bapies: An Introduction to the Theology and Practice of the Reformed Churches.

Life Work stuff

I’ve done well enough at my business to keep going at it. But it has been weird. Of my regular work, there was a hiatus in January that meant I haven’t even been used yet by one client. My local part-time job cut my hours in half.

Yet all this could be good news. Regular work feels secure (until it suddenly vanishes). But it takes up time and usually you settle for a lower pay rate.

Hopefully my regular writing work will return next week. And not having my local part-time job interfering with my days will give me many more solid hours (I only work there two evenings a week now).

Still, it can be nerve wracking.

Vos & Murray on Law and Grace

Here is what Geerhardus Vos said:

It is plain, then, that law-keeping did not figure at that juncture as the meritorious ground of life-inheritance. The latter is based on grace alone, no less emphatically than Paul himself places salvation on that ground. But, while this is so, it might still be objected that law-observance, if not the ground for receiving, is yet made the ground for retention or the privileges inherited. Here it cannot, of course, be denied that a real connection exists. But the Judaizers went wrong in inferring that the connection must be meritorious, that, if Israel keeps the cherished gifts of Jehovah through observance of His law, this must be so, because in strict justice they had earned them. The connection is of a totally different kind. It belongs not to the legal sphere of merit, but to the symbolico-typical sphere of appropriateness of expression (Biblical Theology. Old and New Testaments [Grand Rapids, 1954], p. 143).

John Murray appeals to this quotation in his great essay on law and grace.  Every Reformed believer who wants the Reformed baseline on this issue needs to read this essay.  As I know from researching my chapter in A Faith That Is Never Alone: A Response to Westminster Seminary California, Murray is here simply applying what he learned from the Reformers and Protestant scholastics.

By the way, when you get to the numbered points 1-4, you might notice a curious resemblance to a series of four posts I wrote.