Thursday, September 07, 2023

The Price Paid For What We Enjoy

"Therefore, every good gift in this world and the next (including innumerable wonders to enjoy in nature) was purchased by Christ for us at the cost of his life. Therefore, every sight, every sound, every fragrance, every texture, every taste in this world that is not sin is meant to intensify our admiration and love for Jesus (as creator, sustainer, upholder, and redeemer) and move us to 'boast…in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ' (Gal. 6:14). The theater of wonders that we call the natural world is through Christ and for Christ." (John Piper, Providence [Wheaton, Illinois: Crossway, 2020], approximate Kindle location 3561)

Tuesday, September 05, 2023

There Were Many Views Of Baptism Before The Reformation

I've been seeing a lot of comments lately to the effect that every Christian believed in baptismal regeneration before the Reformation, that the church fathers all held a particular view of baptism that contradicts what most Evangelicals believe, etc. Typically, almost always, issues like these are approached as if there was one view of baptism that was held universally or almost universally prior to the Reformation.

Sunday, September 03, 2023

Does baptism save?

Obviously (1 Peter 3:21). It's remarkable that so many Evangelicals deny it or try to avoid saying it. What they ought to do, instead, especially when it's so evident what the people asking them the question are up to, is say something like, "Yes, baptism saves, but in the sense of sanctification, not justification." That's the context in which Peter was writing. The surrounding context is primarily about sanctification, such as "good behavior in Christ" (3:16) and "suffering in the flesh" as Christ did (4:1). There's a reference to a good conscience in 3:16, which is about sanctification, and verse 21 refers to a good conscience, which makes more sense if both passages are addressing sanctification. The context discusses how believers should approach opposition from non-Christians. Baptism involves a public commitment to God that sets the Christian apart in front of the surrounding culture, including those in the culture who are hostile to Christianity. Peter occasionally mentions justification in his letter, much as he occasionally mentions other topics, but he's primarily addressing post-conversion issues. That context favors a non-justificatory interpretation of "saves" (as in Matthew 8:25, 1 Timothy 4:16, Hebrews 5:7, 9:28, 1 Peter 3:20, etc.). Noah was already saved in the sense of justification when the flood occurred. His salvation in the flood context was of a different nature, as Peter's readers were saved through baptism in a non-justificatory manner. The parallel with Noah and the flood is vague under either reading, but makes somewhat more sense if Peter's focus is on sanctification rather than justification.