John Foxe – Reformers Are Often Persecuted by the Established Church

John Foxe in the introduction to the 1684 edition to Foxes Book of Martyrs speaks to one of the core issues of reformation: persecution from within the church. It is the repugnance of those present in the church toward those who have a hand in reforming it. Foxe believed that there are always two groups within the visible church – the true church and the false. It is those of the false church, which are participants in it but have not really embraced the gospel who cause problems for those that have.

“And many times, it happeneth, that as between the world and the kingdom of Christ there is a continual repungnance: so between these two parts of this visible church aforesaid oft times growth great Variance and mortal persecution, in so much that sometime the true church of Christ hath no greater enemies, than of their own profession and company, as happened not only in the time of Christ and his Apostles, but also from time to time almost continually, but especially in these later days of the church under the persecution of antichrist and his retinue, as by the reading of this volume more manifestly heareafter may appear.”

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Radio Interview: Kevin Swanson with Scott Brown on “Generations With A Vision”

 

Kevin Swanson introduced the program with this: “The statist attack on the family since the 1800s has been brutal, and it will take generations to recover from it. But the attack on the family from the sphere of the church in the 1400s was similarly devastating. The return of family discipleship, an appreciation for marriage, and fatherhood was precisely what the world needed then – and it came through the powerful ministry work of men like John Calvin. This interview with Scott Brown brings out the comparison of the 16th century with the 21st century, and challenges us to a Sola Scriptura reformation in the sphere of the family.”

Click Here to hear the show

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New Church plant in Dover Delaware – Grace and Truth Community Church

Rick Hensley and Billy Rosano are the founding elders of the new church in Dover Delaware. They both left their pastoral positions at another local church in the area amicably, under the blessing and encouragement of the Elders of that Church.  Grace and Truth Community Church was planted with an interested in influencing the world for Christ through the proclamation of the Gospel, and the discipleship of the saints.

Mission:

“For the glory of God, we proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ and disciple the saints to live for Him.”  Their vision is, by God’s grace, “To build a community of Christ exalting, missions minded Christians, who delight in God’s commands and are passionate to influence the world for Christ and raise a righteous generation.”

Doctrinal persuasions:

“GTCC uses a revised New Hampshire Baptist Confession, of 1853 as their primary doctrinal statement. We also find the Second London Baptist Confession and the 2000 Baptist Faith and Message helpful in clarifying key doctrines of the Bible. GTCC is in friendly association with the Southern Baptist Convention.

Equipping methodology:

“At GTCC we cherish the integration of ages and generations worshiping and learning together corporately. We value the wisdom and unity that is fostered as generations minister to one another biblically. We believe that through age integration parents (especially fathers) are both equipped and empowered to disciple their children daily at home, because this is a priority of the church by teaching and by structure.”

Church government:

“GTCC is elder led.

Music:

“GTCC believes in balance regarding older hymns and newer theologically sound hymns and spiritual songs.”

Please pray for wisdom and guidance for the leadership of GTCC as this Church plant gets started.

The Sunday morning worship service is currently being held at the Old Wyoming United Methodist Church building, in Camden, Delaware, Sundays at 10:30 A.M. Morning worship service is followed by a “Shared Meal” every Sunday, which all guests are also invited to attend. They always plan for extra in case we have some visitors.

The Church is located at 107 Broad Street, Wyoming, DE 19934.

If you would like to contact Rick Hensley, please call him at 302 674 3179.

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Calvin – A Sweetener, a Cataract, Absolutely Chinese

Since today is John Calvin’s 500th Birthday, we have a wonderful opportunity to celebrate a man who reminded us of the majesty of God. Here are some striking statements various theologians have made concerning Calvin.

Cotton Mather was asked why he was reading late into the night during his later years, in contrast to his early years where he did not do it very much. He replied,

“Because I love to sweeten my mouth with a piece of Calvin before I go to sleep.” [1]

Professor John Murray said,

“Calvin was an exegete and biblical theologian of the first rank.

“The greatest and best theologian who has most accurately apprehended the meaning of the statements of scripture – who by comparing and combining them, has most fully and correctly brought out the whole mind of God on all the topics on which the scriptures give us information – who classifies and digests the truths of Scripture in the way best fitted to commend to the apprehension and acceptance of men.

“He is always careful to take account of the unity and harmony of Scripture teaching. His expositions are not therefore afflicted with the vice of expounding particular passages without respect to the teaching of scripture elsewhere and without respect to the system of truth set forth in the Word of God.

“Upon our reading of the Institutes, we shall immediately discover the profound sense of the majesty of God, veneration for the Word of God, and the jealous care for faithful exposition and systematization which were marked features of the author…. The Instutes are infused with the warmth of godly fear.” [2]

Michael Haykin says,

“The Reformation was not merely about justification through faith alone but, more importantly, it considered “…whether sinners are wholly helpless in their sin, and whether God is to be thought of as saving them by free, unconditional, invincible grace, not only justifying them for Christ’s sake when they come to faith, but also raising them from the death of sin by His quickening Spirit in order to bring them to faith.”

Even Karl Barth who rejected the authority of Scripture and opposed the entire legacy of John Calvin acknowledged the astonishing stature and contribution of his life.

“Calvin is a cataract, a primeval forest, a demonic power, something directly down from Himalaya, absolutely Chinese, strange, mythological; I lack completely the means, the suction cups, even to assimilate this phenomenon, not to speak of presenting it adequately. What I receive is only a thin little stream and what I can then give out again is only a yet thinner extract of this little stream. I could gladly and profitably set myself down and spend all the rest of my life just with Calvin” [3]

The Protestant reformation reached far beyond the doctrine of justification by faith alone, for it opened up the discussion of biblical truth for all areas of life. We saw this with particular clarity in John Calvin’s experience in Geneva. I have just written a book on the subject, “Family Reformation – The Legacy of Sola Scriptura in Calvin’s Geneva.” The Catholic church had established practices for family life including courtship, engagement, sexual standards, marriage, and family. Calvin challenged them during the reformation and a reformation of family life was the result.


1. From, John Calvin, A heart For Devotion Doctrine and Doxology, Edited by Burk Parsons

2. John Murray, Professor Systematic Theology, Westminster Theological Seminary, Philadelphia Pa

3. Letter to Eduard Thurneysen, June 8, 1922

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John Calvin – Doug Phillips Guest Editorial in the Washington Post

In this editorial, Doug provides a summary statement on Calvin’s impact on American politics. Doug reminds us, “As we celebrate Independence Day, let us remember the 500-year legacy of liberty bequeathed to us by John Calvin, even as we stand with Harvard historian George Bancroft who wisely stated: “He who will not honor the memory and respect the influence of Calvin knows but little of the origin of American liberty.”

As we celebrate the liberties we now possess, we can remember that it is a historical fact that, “It was Founding Father and the second President of the United States, John Adams, who described Calvin as “a vast genius,” a man of “singular eloquence, vast erudition, and polished taste, [who] embraced the cause of Reformation,” adding: “Let not Geneva be forgotten or despised. Religious liberty owes it much respect.”

Read the article HERE.

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New Church Plant in North Carolina


Founding Elders: Steve Breagy and Allen Smith

I am delighted to report that on Sunday July 19, Hope Baptist will be sending elder Steven Breagy out to join with Allen Smith to plant a new church in Moore County, NC. They will be meeting about an hour and a half from us. We are teaming up with Heritage Bible Fellowship in Fayetteville by sending one of our dear elders. Click Here to view their listing in the NCFIC directory.

Here are the details.

 

Name:
Moore Christian Assembly

 

Physical Address:
Southern Pines Train House
482 E. Connecticut Ave.
Southern Pines, NC 28387

 

Mailing Address:
1431 L. Cooper Road
Cameron, NC 28326

 

Telephone:
(919) 426-5763
(910) 309-8494

 

Government:
Plurality of Elders

 

Elders:
Steve Breagy
Allen Smith

 

First Service:
Sunday, July 19th @ 10:30am
Fellowship Meal @ 12:30pm
Additional teaching @ 1:30pm
Close down the building by 3:00pm

 

Statement of Faith: Second London Baptist Confession of 1689

 

Why a church plant: The purpose of the church is to edify and build up the saints in order to equip them for the work of the ministry. There is a great need for churches to fulfill this role across the globe. Our desire is to plant a church in Southern Pines that will do just that and be a shining light in that community. Our desire is to also equip the saints to fulfill both the dominion mandate found in Genesis 1:28 and the Great Commission found in Matthew 28:18-20.

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First Internship Session Report

 



We have now just graduated our first intern class. Our hearts are full of gratitude and it was hard to see them go back home, as they had become dear brothers to us. Over the months we became a unified team with each of us functioning according to our gifts. We hated the idea of being without them and experienced the sorrows of parting with treasured comrades. They are from left to right, Ryan Glick, Joe Froemming, Andrew Gillingham, Micah Ferrill, Andrew Higginbotham.

Here are some of the things these men said about their time with us here:

“I have been broken, encouraged, terrified, humbled and delighted by the Lord, through the freedom and mercy he has given us in his commandments!”

“Two of the biggest things I learned more about during this internship are the holiness of God and the sovereignty of God probably due to the emphasis on John Calvin throughout much of our stay here.”


“The Holiness of God was a major theme through out the internship. I have been given a vision of God and how He would structure our lives in every detail.”

“Church life at Hope Baptist was quite the experience. I don’t think I have even been in a church where the men have a more clear vision of discipling their kids by teaching them the Scripture. They extended hospitality and friendship to us even when they didn’t know us, but now that I have to leave, I see how close I have grown to everyone in that church.”

“It’s become such a part of my life, working with Peter, David, and Mr. Brown—we have been in the trenches together and now they are so close to me it is very hard to say goodbye.”

“I learned new things, and was able to sharpen my skills as far as office life such as audio editing, editing books, writing, people skills on the phone, and such, but for me, most of what I learned was spiritual.”

“I thought I would be ready to just go home, but now I can’t imagine not being here and working in the office everyday—it’s become such a part of my life, working with Peter, David, and Mr. Brown—we have been in the trenches together (as Peter would say), and now they are so close to me it is very hard to say goodbye.”

“Honestly, I already believed in most of the things we have studied together, but I’ve just come to love them even more. For example, the regulative principle. At this point, I really don’t think it should be called “regulative” because it really is so freeing.”

“Probably the most important thing I learned: God’s commands are infinitely liberating.”

They were faithful men and took the principles and duties of our program seriously. They walked in a manner worthy of the Lord.

Local Church Life:
They worked their way into the hearts of the people of Hope Baptist Church by their attentive and contributing presence at our Sunday services, prayer meetings, Bible studies and special events. They never missed a single meeting during their term, unless they were out of town for ministry. Every family in the church had the opportunity to have the interns into their homes for dinner and fellowship giving them dozens of opportunities for friendship and times of family worship with the families in the church.

Discipleship
Our discipleship of these young men happened as we lived life together through normal life in the local church, daily work regimen, personal bible study and also through the daily meetings with Peter Bradrick.
At the end of the internship, we traveled to Mt. Vernon, the home of George Washington to display a picture of biblical manhood—a man that serves, orders his life according to principle, engages in incremental dominion, uses scripture as the final authority, builds a library of great books, practices hospitality, and demonstrates courage in the face of danger and loss.

Theological training
In addition to the preaching and teaching ministry of the church, they took a Spring Semester course at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary on Jonathan Edwards taught by Dr. Andy Davis. They read 5 important books (The Master Plan of Evangelism, by Robert Coleman; The Expository Genius of John Calvin; by Steven Lawson; The Deliberate Church; by Mark Dever; How God Wants Us to Worship Him; by Joe Morecraft, The Father, Son and Holy Spirit; by Bruce Ware) and discussed and wrote books reports on each of them. They also conducted extensive research on various matters of theology.

Ministry trips
They attended the Ligonier conference on the “Holiness of God’ in Orlando, the Indiana Leadership meeting with Kevin Swanson, Doug Phillips and Voddie Baucham. We took them to Louisana to serve at the covenant wedding celebration of Phillip Bradrick and Katie Valenti where they were able to observe and participate.

Conference ministry
They assisted us in hosting numerous conferences including, “The Marriages and the Marriages of our Son’s and Daughters,” Reforming Church and Family” the “Memorial Day Celebration” on the Brown’s property, and the Hope Baptist “Father Daughter Retreat.”
They also helped to lay the ground work for our upcoming Sufficiency of Scripture conference Dec 10-12. They negotiated hotel rates, put up the conference information and many other functions.

Web site build out:
Together we built a new web site and added dozens of new articles, audio files and video clips.

Publications:
We wrote three books during the period. Each of the interns had a hand in research, editing and refining these books. We completed, “Family Reformation, The Legacy of Sola Scriptura in Calvin’s Geneva,” “Preparing For Marriage – The Premarital Counsel of John Calvin,” and “It Can Be Done,” which is a collection of inspiring poems for visionary manhood. They also conducted preparatory research for two other books we hope to publish before the end of 2009.

In every way these young men were a significant blessing to the ministry of the NCFIC and we rejoice in the Lord for the opportunity the Lord gave us to walk beside them, to invest in them, and to share the past five months in kingdom work together. They have labored hard and effectively to promote the message of the NCFIC far and wide.

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Celebrating the Reformation in Boston

We just returned from the Reformation 500 Celebration and boy, what a celebration it was. Doug Phillips engineered this event which was marked by joy, friendship, scholarship and practical, experiential, heartfelt Christianity. It was also a three day hard charging training center where young and old were learning of the great doctrines upon which we stand and studying the long line of godly men and women who have maintained them throughout history. The conviction ran high and it was such a pleasure to be part of it. Thank you Doug and Vision Forum for doing this. May your tribe increase.

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Is it a Sin to Send Our Kids to Public Schools?

We now have government indoctrination centers that have systematically secured the corruption of entire generations. How serious is this issue? David d’Escoto shows just how insidious this influence is, and answers the question, “is it sin to send our children there?”

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Nehemiah’s Nursery

I am often asked how to explain the phrase in Nehemiah 8:2, “So Ezra the priest brought the Law before the assembly of men and women and all who could hear with understanding.” The question typically comes from people who want to use this text to prove us wrong on the issue of age segregated Sunday school. The idea is, “see, the children were not included in this meeting, therefore, the legitimacy of age segregated Sunday schools are proven conclusively.” Here is Dr. Voddie Baucham on the matter. Click Here

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Paul Butler’s Radio Clip on the Power of Father’s Investment

 

 

Paul Butler has done it again. Click HERE to listen to an encouraging audio clip from Moody Radio with Paul Butler interviewing Lyndon Ascuna, myself, and others.

Paul says:

As you read through the book of Proverbs there are many chapters which begin with phrases like: “Hear my children, the instruction of a father” or “My son, pay attention to my wisdom, lend your ear to my understanding…” The words of a father to his children can have incredible impact. This piece highlights the power of a father’s words…

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Dennis Rainey On The Need For a Family Reformation

A defining moment in my life came in the year 2000 when I was listening to Dennis Rainey at a conference in Dallas Texas. He said,

 

“The family is God’s smallest unit in the battle for the soul of any nation. He designed the family as the birthplace and residence of Christianity. It is the place where the knowledge, fear, and love of the Lord are taught by parents and learned by children… If the soul of America is to be restored, it will be done one home, one family at a time, and in the church, we assist that by proclaiming God’s truth for the family. We need a ‘family reformation.’ Just as the Protestant Reformation restored vibrant faith to the soul, so a family reformation can restore spiritual vitality in our homes, communities, and nation…”
–Building Strong Families. Dennis Rainey, Crossway Books, 2002, p16-17

 

I was convinced that he was right and that the reformation must start with pastors and with fathers. Since God has made elders spiritual heads of churches and fathers the spiritual heads of households, without a radical reformation in their practices there will be no reformation.

Further, unless fathers rise up to play their biblical roles, there will never be sustainable reformation of any kind. When fathers do not adequately teach their children, reforms only last one generation and then everyone goes back to doing what is right in their own eyes. This is a systemic problem with many reformations in the church. When Deuteronomy 11:9 is not heeded and the children of the reformers are not taught, reformation dies with the leaders. (See also: Judges 8:32-35)

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Announcing: Family Reformation-The Legacy of Sola Scriptura in John Calvin’s Geneva

 

 

 

My prayer is that this book will help fan the flames of reformation for pastors, fathers, mothers, and children, calling them back to the historic doctrine of the sufficiency of Scripture for the family.

The burning questions are being asked everywhere. “How do we insure our children will not abandon the faith?” “What do we do to reverse the destructive influence of the world, the culture, and even the church in our children’s lives?” Gratefully, something significant is happening in almost every denomination and every part of the country. Parents and pastors are finally abandoning psychology and current statistical analysis and turning back to the word of God to answer these questions. Regretfully, it has taken the loss of an entire generation to wake us up to our great need for God’s answers for the family. We need a family reformation.

As I studied the Scripture for answers, I wanted to know what our reformation fathers had learned and taught on this subject. Was this a new problem? Did the reformers exposit the scriptures on the Family? What I found led me to publish Family Reformation. I discovered a rich treasure trove of historical teaching on the family, pioneered by John Calvin, but carried out and honed through the reformation. Our present crisis is not singular and pastors and fathers crying out to God for answers for their family is not new.

In this book, you will find John Calvin’s expositions, commentary, and teaching on the various key elements of Christian family life and discover again the amazing truth that the Word of God is “living, active, and sharper than any two edged sword…” and just as applicable, convicting, and transformational today as it was in John Calvin’s Geneva.

Copies of Family Reformation: The Legacy of Sola Scriptura in John Calvin’s Geneva will be available at the Reformation 500 Celebration in Boston at the end of the month or online after July 5th. You can also go to Amazon.com to pre-order a copy HERE.

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Presidential Proclamation

 

 

During his first 100 days, our president has already proven he is no friend of the church or the family. During this period we have been observers of what seems to be the gutting of the moral capital of America. Now, in an absolutely unprecedented Presidential Proclamation, Barack Obama has officially named this month in honor of sodomites.

“NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim June 2009 as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month. I call upon the people of the United States to turn back discrimination and prejudice everywhere it exists.”

He also states his pleasure in promoting sodomites in the White House.

“I am proud to be the first President to appoint openly LGBT candidates to Senate-confirmed positions in the first 100 days of an Administration. These individuals embody the best qualities we seek in public servants, and across my Administration — in both the White House and the Federal agencies — openly LGBT employees are doing their jobs with distinction and professionalism.”

Romans chapter one addresses this phenomenon in devastatingly descriptive detail.

18. For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;

21. Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.

22. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,

24. Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:

25. Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.

26. For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:

27. And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another ; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.

28. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;

32. Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.

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Missionary Martyr on Revealed Patterns for Church Life

 

“The pivot point hangs on whether or not God has revealed a universal pattern for the church in the New Testament. If He has not, then anything will do so long as it works.  But I am convinced that nothing so dear to the heart of Christ as His Bride should be left without explicit instructions as to her corporate conduct. I am further convinced that the 20th century has in no way simulated this pattern in its method of  ‘churching’ a community… it is incumbent upon me, if God has a pattern for the church, to find and establish that pattern, at all costs.”
–Jim Elliot

 

Elizabeth Elliot, Shadow of The Almighty:  Life and Testimony of Jim Elliot (San Francisco, CA:  Harper & Row, 1989), 138-139.

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