Unusual Baptism Circumstance

Date: Tue, 8 Feb 2005 19:18:26 GMT
From: “Joe Thacker”
Subject: Unusual Baptism Circumstance

Wise Counselors,

Last night our Session was posed with an interesting circumstance. One of our elder’s sons is a missionary in Brazil, and he and his wife will be making a return trip to the USA for a wedding this Spring. Since their move to Brazil, a child has been born to them. Due to the circumstances they are in, the baby is yet to be baptized. The son wondered about having the baby baptized in our chuch while they are back in the States. Though the family is from an ARP church, the Session is all for baptizing the baby — seeing this as an extraordinary circumstance. (Also, the family would be in no position to return to the ARP church they attended in Canada when they were residing in Maine.)

So, it seems pretty clear that the vows to the parents would be pretty standard, but what about vows to the congregation? We will certainly be praying for this family while they are in Brazil, but the standard vows don’t seem to apply since a) they will be thousands of miles away in Brazil; and, b) they do not have membership in our local congregation, or even our denomination (PCA). Any suggestions?

As I already mentioned, the Session was unanimous in their decision to perform the baptism, but is there anything glaringly wrong with that decision?

And let me request permission to share any insights provided with the Session, unless stated otherwise (of course, I can keep advice anonymous).

Thanks in advance,

Joe Thacker
RP Church
Lookout Mt. GA

The Heatonic Observation

Date: Tue, 8 Feb 2005 17:24:44 -0500
From: “John Heaton”
Subject: ad hoc report — MVP — it’s up


This is a hasty reply to the MVP report which I read. Hasty replies are ill-advised in Proverbs but this is BH after all. You’ll understand if I don’t make complete sense. Plus, I don’t have a dog in this hunt.

The MVP report to one *outside* like me who has more in common with rank and file pastors who are unaware of the whole bru-ha-ha, is neither acerbic or offensive. Yes, I KNOW you aren’t happy with it.

However, you who wish to advocate NPP/AAT/FV in the PCA in the name of X and in the interest of theological development must admit an important thing and conform your rhetoric and tactics to this reality: You DO NOT represent the status quo. You DO NOT represent the PCA as they conceive it, and YOU cannot pretend that you’re NOT *dangerous.*

We have the same problem in the REC. Our bishops want to re-Anglicanize the church, which is fine by me. But they can’t pretend that the REC is returning to its roots and its old paths. We all know what the REC is, has been, etc., and, though many believe it *should* be changed, the rhetorial burden of proof is on those who want to change it. In doing so, we can’t pretend that its really nothing more than changing the window dressing. Too many parishes know better.

Thus, avoid seeking the sympathy vote. No one will feel sorry that you’re persecuted (except those of us on BH who are sympathetic to you — but can’t vote). Above all you have to appear that you are being totally HONEST about the implications of what you advocate, rather than simply minimizing the issues under the cover of reformed diversity. It won’t work. I mean, the discussions on this list are animated prescisely BECAUSE the NPP is so provocative and interesting and worth pursuing. These ideas have great consequences and you have to be the first to say it. Clearly identify the tension and fight the battle there.

Those who disagree understand this and are negatively provoked. Thus, I think the MVP report is of great rhetorical value. It is very instructive not because it obscures or reveals the ulterior motives of those who are *out to get you.* They see something very clearly that you had better recognize — they are vanilla, and you are now chocolate. You’ll only win it by persuading the PCA that chocolate is better, not by insisting that chocolate nuggets have always been enjoyed, permitted, or otherwise mixed in the reformed recipe.

My $02.

John Heaton, Headmaster
New Covenant Schools
122 Fleetwood Drive
Lynchburg, VA 24501


Date: Tue, 8 Feb 2005 15:30:10 -0600
From: burke
Subject: Unusual Baptism Circumstance
I didn’t mean that the Reformers used congregational vows (hey, not even the OPC uses them!).

Are you saying that in the OPC, the congregation does not vow to help train up the child in Christ, assisting the parents where needed?


Date: Tue, 8 Feb 2005 16:50:51 -0500
From: “Brian D. Nolder”
Subject: OPC DPW (was Unusual Baptism Circumstance)


It is not in our DPW, though many congregations do make the vow (including ours), and it will likely be the revised DPW that we will (hopefully!) approve this summer.

Brothers, I would ask you to pray about this (but also, remember the confidentiality of this list): the major author of the proposed revision that will likely be coming before our GA is a fan of Jeff’s book, and his own orders of service are explicitly covenant renewal. The OPC may end up with an explicitly covenant renewal model of worship in its DPW.


ad hoc report — MVP — it’s up

Date: Tue, 8 Feb 2005 15:12:01 -0600
From: Jonathan Barlow
Subject: ad hoc report — MVP — it’s up


“Covenantal Grace”

Date: Tue, 8 Feb 2005 14:11:56 -0600
From: “Rich Lusk”
Subject: “covenantal grace”; was responding to the MVP Report

Nobody followed up on my earlier post regarding “covenantal grace,” but I did want to ask a question or two to Joel and anyone else who’s really familiar with the tradition of Reformed scholasticism.

This is what I wrote last night:

Joel’s Response

Date: Tue, 8 Feb 2005 11:04:28 -0600
From: “Jonathan Barlow”
Subject: joel’s response


I enjoyed your response to the MVP. Just a few things:
  1. You say that you’re “adverse” to controversy, but I think you mean “averse”.
  2. “Make my own viewpoints clears” should be “clear”
  3. Don’t forget to add the promised “concluding observations”
  4. I would take out the bit about seeing the points earlier than the public release of them. Just let ’em wonder how your kung fu is that good.

Now, more thoughts:

Rich’s Missional Question

Date: Tue, 8 Feb 2005 09:40:28 -0600
From: Mark Horne
Subject: Rich’s missional question

Grist for the mill:

Goedel’s Incomplete Theology

Date: Tue, 8 Feb 2005 8:26:52 -0600
From: pduggan
Subject: Goedel’s Incomplete Theology

Are we claiming that TULIP and the decree are true statements, but not actually derivable from the Bible as a covenantal document?

It strikes me as odd to say that we can know all about the fact that there is a decree and that TULIP is true, but that we’re kinda “not supposed to think about it too much”.

I think our critics think that knowledge of TULIP and the decree as it applies to the individual is saving beneficial knowledge. So synchronically we experience undifferentiated grace, but synchronically, we can theologize and know that somehow that grace IS differentiated, and that theologizing necessarily affects out subjective experience of that grace, serving to differentiate it.

And we’re saying “don’t do that”. Or are we?

Paul the Diagnostic Questioner

Tim Keller vs. Jim Jordan; Being Missional vs. Being Liturgical

Date: Tue, 8 Feb 2005 02:09:53 -0600
From: “Rich Lusk”
Subject: tim keller vs. jim jordan; being missional vs. being liturgical

Maybe some of you pastors have wrestled with this issue. One thing I’ve wondered about for a long time now is how to balance the church’s call to be missional (to exist for the sake of the world as a servant-priesthood, not just in this or that that aspect of her life, but in *all* that she does) vs. upholding what I think is a biblical (and traditonal) form of liturgical worship in which the church’s *own* culture (her Spirit-wrought heritage) is most determinative and formative. I don’t buy John Farme’s “intelligbility” argument from 1 Cor. 14, nor do I want to confuse “worship” with “evangelism” as you have in the Willow Creek/seeker-friendly model. But if our worship is for the life of the world, it seems a case can be made for “missional” worship.

In Tim Keller’s fine paper on “The Missional Church”, he writes,

Responding to the MVP Report

Date: Tue, 08 Feb 2005 01:13:39 -0000
From: “garver”
Subject: responding to the MVP Report

As far as I can tell, the final report never showed up today on the FPC Jackson website.

Nevertheless, this is what I’ve whipped up so far as some kind of (yet unfinished) response:


I figure I might as well respond publicly now that I’ve been named in the footnotes of the preliminary report.

Besides, I’ve got nothing to lose, since my livelihood is not dependent in any way upon affiliation with the PCA (though if anyone wants me out of the PCA they will have to pry my cold, dead fingers off of my Westminster Confession).

In any case, since whatever I respond will potentially reflect upon a number of you, for good or ill, I don’t plan on making something public without input from you guys.

So any feedback is much appreciated.