The Christian’s Reasonable Service / Vol. 2 - Quotes

G

Puritan Board Senior
I hope this Lord’s Day Morning finds you focusing on the Great Name of our Lord and Savior. I wanted to begin this thread as a place to share some quotations from Wilhelmus A’ Brakel’s The Christian’s Reasonable Service (RHB hardcopy edition). I will begin vol. 2 today. I hope the quotes will also be edifying for the PB viewers as well. I will try to post 1 quote a week.
 

G

Puritan Board Senior
It would seem that A’ Brakel‘s rejection of the distinction of “Invisible & Visible” Church, as he states he thinks it distorts the truth that we have One True Church, would be outside the Westminster view described in Chapter XXV.

Personally I find the distinction helpful and am glad the Westminster uses the terms.

A’ Brakel (Vol. 2, pg. 5 -7):
Clarification of the Invisible/Visible Church Distinction
This one church in its militant state upon earth manifests itself at times more openly in her public assemblies, confession, and holiness. She is then called the visible church. At other times she is more hidden from the eyes of the world by prevailing errors, ungodliness, or persecutions. Then she is referred to as the invisible church (Rev 12:14).
This militant church can be viewed either in her internal, spiritual frame, or in her public gatherings. Her internal, spiritual frame, which consists of faith, a mystical union with Christ, and the spiritual life of the soul, is invisible and cannot be observed with the physical eye. The gatherings where God‟s Word is heard and the sacraments are used, as well as her public profession in times of prosperity, are public and visible. Thus, in some respects the church is visible, and in some respects invisible. However, one may not divide the church into a visible and invisible church. One and the same person is invisible as far as the soul, will, intellect, and affections are concerned, and he is visible as far as his body and motions are concerned. As one person cannot be divided into an invisible and a visible person, one may not divide the church into a visible and invisible church, for then it would seem as if there were two churches, each being a different church.

One may also not divide the church into a visible and invisible church as far as the members themselves are concerned, as if the one had different members from the other. Then all the elect, that is, those who truly have been called and converted, would mentally be separated from all others in the church and constitute the invisible church, whereas converted and unconverted together, gathering in one church, and having only in common the external call, historical faith, confession of the truth, and the external use of the sacraments, would constitute the visible church. This is, in our opinion, an erroneous view, generating many confusing thoughts and expressions concerning the church. When a speaker or writer refers to the church, one will then be in doubt as to whether he is speaking of the so- called invisible or visible church.
We maintain that one may not separate the visible and invisible church in such a manner, for, first, I do not find that the terms visible and invisible church are used in God‟s Word with that connotation, nor do I find the description of such a distinction.
Secondly, this distinction is founded upon a false supposition—as if the unconverted are truly members of the church with equal right, that is, in its external and visible gathering, and therefore have a right to use the sacraments, something which we deny expressly below. If the unconverted are not members of the church, even when she is visible, the aforementioned distinction is of necessity irrelevant.

Thirdly, such a distinction infers the existence of two churches which are essentially different from each other. From a spiritual perspective true believers constitute the church by reason of a true, spiritual, and believing union with Christ and with each other. If the unconverted, together with the converted would constitute a church on the basis of equal rights, this would have to be of an essentially different nature, whereby members of distinctly different natures would constitute one body and one church, even though the unconverted are not spiritually united to Christ and believers. If there are two essential manifestations, there must also be two essentially different bodies and churches, whereas we confess that there is but one church.

Fourthly, if in this respect there were a visible and an invisiblechurch, one consisting only of true believers (due to a spiritual union) and one consisting of converted and unconverted together by way of an external union, then believers would simultaneously belong to two churches, one being invisible and the other visible. They would thus be in one church to which salvation is not promised, and in another to which salvation is promised. To hold such a view is as absurd as to propose the existence of two churches.

Brakel seems to prefer using the terms “invisible & visible” in relation to the Church’s purity being more or less visible.

Westminster Chapter 25:
1. The catholic or universal Church, which is invisible, consists of the whole number of the elect, that have been, are, or shall be gathered into one, under Christ the head thereof; and is the spouse, the body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.a

a. Eph 1:10, 22-23; Eph 5:23, 27, 32; Col 1:18.

2. The visible Church, which is also catholic or universal under the gospel (not confined to one nation as before under the law) consists of all those, throughout the world, that profess the true religion,a and of their children;band is the kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ,c the house and family of God,dout of which there is no ordinary possibility of salvation.e

a. Psa 2:8; Rom 15:9-12; 1 Cor 1:2; 12:12-13; Rev 7:9. • b. Gen 3:15; 17:7; Ezek 16:20-21; Acts 2:39; Rom 11:16; 1 Cor 7:14. • c. Isa 9:7; Mat 13:47. • d. Eph 2:19; 3:15. • e. Acts 2:47.

Feel free to share thoughts. Brakel seems to quote the Belgic Confession Articles 27, 28, and 29 for support. This is odd to me because Article 29 does mention those only externally in the Church. I hope I am not misconstruing Mr. Brakel.
 
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G

Puritan Board Senior
It would seem that A’ Brakel‘s rejection of the distinction of “Invisible & Visible” Church, as he states he thinks it distorts the truth that we have One True Church, would be outside the Westminster view described in Chapter XXV.

Personally I find the distinction helpful and am glad the Westminster uses the terms.

A’ Brakel (Vol. 2, pg. 5 -7):


Brakel seems to prefer using the terms “invisible & visible” in relation to the Church’s purity being more or less visible.

Westminster Chapter 25:


Feel free to share thoughts. Brakel seems to quote the Belgic Confession Articles 27, 28, and 29 for support. This is odd to me because Article 29 does mention those only externally in the Church. I hope I am not misconstruing Mr. Brakel.
I think the below answer A’ Brakel gives later helps clarify what he is really getting at, to which I say Amen! (Pages 12-13):

Objections Answered Concerning Membership in the True Church
Objection #1: It is evident that a large multitude of unconverted persons associate with the church, are accepted as
her members, remain members there, and partake of the sacraments. Therefore they are members of the church indeed.

Answer: (1) It is one thing to associate with the church and to be accepted as members, and another thing to be true members. The latter does not proceed from the first, for the acceptance of men as members is performed by men, who see only what is before their eyes and cannot judge according to the heart, leaving this to Him who knows the hearts. Regeneration or the probability of regeneration has not been established as a rule by which the elders of the church accept members. Rather, they are judged by their confession of the truth and their response to this truth, and by the manifestation of a life which does not contradict their confession. The rest is left to them and to the Lord.

(2) It is one thing to join the church externally, and it is another thing to speak of an external church. Even though they are externally in the church, this does not mean that there is an external church of which they are bonafide members. Membership in an external church to which the promise of salvation is not annexed is not their objective, but rather a church as being a fellowship within which they may be saved. To this church they apply themselves, but only externally, and not in truth with a converted and believing heart. Therefore they are no members, even though men view them as such externally. They are thus within the church as a poisonous fruit which is attached to a good tree with good fruits. They are therefore within the church as strangers, who for some time dwell in a house, but whom no one deems to be family members. Because of this external association with the church there is also an external relationship to the Lord Jesus as King of His church, as well as her true members, and they enjoy the external privileges of the church. Their entrance into the church, and the church‟s acceptance of them does not make them true members of the church. Such can only come about by faith and repentance.

In other words I think I now see that there is no contradiction between Brakel and the Westminster on this point. This is a good lesson when speaking with others on the nature of the Church. We should not assume terms are being defined the same way.
 

RPEphesian

Puritan Board Junior
WLC to assist your meditations on the subject:

Q. 31. With whom was the covenant of grace made?
A. The covenant of grace was made with Christ as the second Adam, and in him with all the elect as his seed.

Q. 61. Are all they saved who hear the gospel, and live in the church?
A. All that hear the gospel, and live in the visible church, are not saved; but they only who are true members of the church invisible.
Q. 62. What is the visible church?
A. The visible church is a society made up of all such as in all ages and places of the world do profess the true religion, and of their children.
Q. 63. What are the special privileges of the visible church?
A. The visible church hath the privilege of being under God’s special care and government; of being protected and preserved in all ages, notwithstanding the opposition of all enemies; and of enjoying the communion of saints, the ordinary means of salvation, and offers of grace by Christ to all the members of it in the ministry of the gospel, testifying, that whosoever believes in him shall be saved, and excluding none that will come unto him.
Q. 64. What is the invisible church?
A. The invisible church is the whole number of the elect that have been, are, or shall be gathered into one under Christ the head.
Q. 65. What special benefits do the members of the invisible church enjoy by Christ?
A. The members of the invisible church by Christ enjoy union and communion with him in grace and glory.
Q. 66. What is that union which the elect have with Christ?
A. The union which the elect have with Christ is the work of God’s grace, whereby they are spiritually and mystically, yet really and inseparably, joined to Christ as their head and husband; which is done in their effectual calling.
 

G

Puritan Board Senior
From pg. 20 - Relevant to using the name "Reformed"-

The True Church Refers to Herself as Reformed To distinguish the true church from all erroneous assemblies, we call ourselves Reformed—not, however, in reference to doctrine, as if we had changed or improved the same. No, according to God‟s Word the truth remains impeccably preserved. We do so, however, in reference to errors which permeated the church. These the church has cast out, departing from Roman Catholic heresy by which she had been so long oppressed, and reforming the church according to the precepts of God‟s Word. Certain parties reproachfully call members of the true Reformed Church Calvinists after Calvin, minister in Geneva, who was one of the first to oppose Roman Catholic error. We say, “among the first,” for neither he nor Luther, but Zwingli, was the first. We acknowledge Calvin as a member of the true church. He has done much to promote the truth, but he is neither the head of the church nor the one who prescribed the rule for life and doctrine. We neither magnify nor lean upon man. We do not follow human inventions nor call ourselves after men. If someone desires to name us after a man, he does so at his own peril. If in doing so he wishes to distinguish us as the true church from the false church, the matter itself is good, but not the manner.

:detective:
 
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G

Puritan Board Senior
From vol. 2, pg. 67. Brakel shows how being absent is very closely related to being divisive for those who choose to neglect attending their church’s public gathering, especially for the reason that the church you are a member of has too many flaws, though it still be a true church:

Even if it does not cause the church to be torn asunder, it is at the least a major step in that direction. The sentiments of the members become divided and collide. Every person has his own faction and clings closely to those who belong to his party, thereby opposing others. The bond of love is severed and the one becomes estranged from the other. The absentees are rendered suspect, are accepted by neither the godly nor by the ungodly, and thus become unprofitable as far as the proper use of their talents. Discussions relative to all this lead to division and discord. The common folk among the godly are offended and grieved, which is a great sin (Matt 18:6, 10), and it grieves faithful ministers to the heart. Those who are without are hindered from entering in, and the enemies are given a cause to slander the church. Those who remain absent live but for themselves and do not seek so much the welfare of their neighbor, but rather exalt their own sensuality above the honor of Christ and the well-being of the church, even though they maintain that such is not their objective. From all this it is evident that absenteeism is schismatic or causes schism, which is a criminal offense. “Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment” (1 Cor 1:10).
 
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G

Puritan Board Senior
From Pg. 50, in laying out the arguments for the Pope to be The antichrist among other lesser antichrist:

Regarding the RC church in general:

Rome places its declarations and traditions next to, and in opposition to, the Word of God. Rome forbids the reading of the Bible, commands that a piece of bread be worshipped as God, has introduced the worship of angels and deceased saints, has erected images and altars, claims authority for itself to forgive sin, promotes the apostasy of the saints, teaches that man is not only able to be perfect but can also perform superfluous works which the pope then keeps in his treasure chest and distributes according to his pleasure. Rome denies that the merits of Christ atone for all sin, original and actual. It teaches that one can and must earn heaven himself. It has fabricated the existence of purgatory, and on behalf of the living and the dead, sacrifices Christ anew in the mass. All Romish errors are too numerous to be mentioned here. These sufficiently demonstrate that Rome and its followers have become apostate concerning the faith.
 

G

Puritan Board Senior
Pg. 50

Any historical help with this? Was there a time when the RCs only used 1 element in their mass?

Yes, the Pope allows himself to be carried about as if he were God, and everyone bows the knee before him. He opposes the God of heaven, establishing religious practices which are contrary to what God has instituted. He has the audacity to maintain that even though Christ has instituted the Lord’s Supper with two signs, bread and wine, that it will be administered with one sign—bread only.
 

Poimen

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Pg. 50

Any historical help with this? Was there a time when the RCs only used 1 element in their mass?

The Council of Constance (1415) forbade the giving of the cup to the laity.

And according to the "Catechism of the Catholic Church" (1994), statement 1390 (page 389): "Since Christ is sacramentally present under each of the species, communion under the species of bread alone makes it possible to receive all the fruit of Eucharistic grace. For pastoral reasons this manner of receiving communion has been legitimately established as the most common form in the Latin rite. But "the sign of communion is more complete when given under both kinds, since in that form the sign of the Eucharistic meal appears more clearly" (emphasis mine). This is the usual form of receiving communion in the Eastern rites." To the best of my knowledge, this practice continues in the Romanist sect.
 
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G

Puritan Board Senior
Oh how we need the Lord’s Supper restored and restored rightly! We by and large have too easily and for too long have let the magistrates tell us NOT to meet. Praise the Lord many again will be meeting & communing this Lords Day. From Pg. 65 - 66:

As it is the objective of the Lord‟s Supper to confess Christ, He is confessed in a most public and powerful manner by all who partake of the Lord‟s Supper. To enter the church with the multitude which will partake of the Lord‟s Supper, to join them in going to the table, to sit at the table with them, and to receive the bread and the wine as signs and seals of the covenant (which are ratified by the death of the Lord Jesus) is a loud declaration in everyone‟s ears, “I esteem and confess the Lord Jesus to be the only true Savior. In Him I seek my salvation, with Him I enter into covenant, on Him I depend, for Him I wish to live and die; the Reformed doctrine is the only true and saving doctrine of Christ, and the Reformed church is the only true church of Jesus Christ upon earth. These truths I confess when I partake of the Lord‟s Supper.”

If someone therefore withdraws himself from the use of the Lord‟s Supper, he abstains from confessing Christ, His doctrine, and His church. Thus, we agree with our Belgic Confession, article 28 [Bel Con 28]:

We believe ... that no person of whatsoever state or condition he may be, ought to withdraw himself to live in a separate state from it; but that all men are in duty bound to join and unite themselves with it; maintaining the unity of the Church. ... And that this may be the more effectually observed, it is the duty of all believers, according to the Word of God, to separate themselves from all those who do not belong to the Church, and to join themselves to this congregation, wheresoever God hath established it, even though magistrates and edicts of princes be against it; yea, though they should suffer death or any other corporal punishment. Therefore all those, who separate themselves from the same or do not join themselves to it, act contrary to the ordinance of God.
 

G

Puritan Board Senior
Pg. 68 - 69 in dealing with those prone to absenting a true church for not being ”pure enough” or abstaining from the Lords Supper because the true church is “too degenerate”:

First Proof: God generally imposes secret judgments upon those who absent themselves. They become proud, opinionated, and despise the judgment of godly persons endowed with wisdom. They hold the congregation of God in contempt. They haughtily speak of great things, and come in a condition where they deem themselves beyond instruction, manifesting a pride against that which David prayed in Ps 19:13.

They will have lost much of that inward spiritual frame which previously adorned the church, engaging themselves more with judgmental reflections than with heart reflections, or with concerning themselves with the soul of another person. What a tragic judgment this is!

I have stated all of this in order that those who, because of our arguments and our response to their arguments, have been convinced concerning their previous misconceptions and errors, would humble themselves concerning this before God, pray for forgiveness, and persevere in asking to be delivered from well-deserved spiritual judgments. May they abstain from the things mentioned above which I have enlarged upon as a warning, and make a new beginning with their original simplicity and sincerity.

These arguments ought to convince a Christian sufficiently that he is not permitted to abstain from partaking of the Lord‟s Supper due to the degeneracy of the church.

P.S. This was a sobering reflection for me personally. Though I have not absented myself from my church meetings nor the Lords Supper, I have sensed times of being consumed with “judgmental reflections” towards Her over and above heart “reflections” about myself.
 
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Reformed Covenanter

Puritanboard Commissioner
Pg. 68 - 69 in dealing with those prone to absenting a true church for not being ”pure enough” or abstaining from the Lords Supper because the true church is “too degenerate”:





P.S. This was a sobering reflection for me personally. Though I have not absented myself from my church meetings nor the Lords Supper, I have sensed times of being consumed with “judgmental reflections” towards Her over heart “reflections” about myself.

There are few things which reveal the deceitfulness of our hearts so much as the "no-one's pure enough mindset" when it comes to the church. Often, it is just a prideful cover for our own sin.
 

G

Puritan Board Senior
There are few things which reveal the deceitfulness of our hearts so much as the "no-one's pure enough mindset" when it comes to the church. Often, it is just a prideful cover for our own sin.
Very true. The most dangerous aspect for me of this mindset, in my opinion, is that it seems to impact me most on the day I least need to be that way....The Lord’s Day.

Brakel is excellent in this section in reminding laymen that it is the job of the session to fence the table and he strongly encourages Christians NOT to abstain from the Lord’s Supper if a session neglects this duty, though it still be a true church. That failing is not on the laymen but on the session.

Daniel, if you liked that quote I think you will really enjoy his reminder from pg. 74-75. Very helpFul for me to remember when I get tempted this way:

Thirdly, it has at all times been God‟s intent to leave the church subject to such degeneracy while in the world. Consider the church from Adam to Christ, and you will observe that the Lord was not pleased with the majority of those belonging to it. At the time of Christ‟s sojourn the Jewish church was terribly corrupted, with multitudes of baptized disciples forsaking Him, thereby manifesting that they had not been truly converted (John 6:66). Paul declared that the congregation of Corinth was carnal (1 Cor 3:3), that fornication was in vogue among them (1 Cor 5:1), that some partook of the Lord‟s Supper while being drunken (1 Cor 11:21), and that some were void of the knowledge of God (1 Cor 15:34). In the congregation of Galatia there were those who should have been excommunicated, but who nevertheless remained within the congregation (Gal 5:12). In Phil 2:21 Paul states the following concerning many in the church, “For all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ‟s.” Read the letter of Jude, and Rev 2 and 3, and you will observe how degenerate those churches were. Indeed, one will find exhortations and directives relative to the church‟s obligation to excommunicate those who lead offensive lives. However, in none of the texts referring to degeneracy within the church are the upright forbidden to partake of the Lord‟s Supper in those churches. We here wish to refer you to our Letters Against the Labadists, our Warning, and our Doctrine and Government (addressed to the Labadists), there being many matters which would shed light upon this for such apprehensive individuals. If they refuse to make the effort, however, they must know that they willingly adhere to error.
He who wishes to hide behind the word church, understanding it to refer to those who are truly godly in the world and not to the congregation in its external manifestation, thereby declaring himself to remain a member of the church, is a person of Labadistic persuasion. For his instruction, he ought to read what we have written concerning the Labadists in Doctrine and Government. Such a person deceives himself and others.
 

Reformed Covenanter

Puritanboard Commissioner
Daniel, if you liked that quote I think you will really enjoy his reminder from pg. 74-75. Very helpFul for me to remember when I get tempted this way:

I read the four-volume of The Christian's Reasonable Service and remember reading these sections with interest at the time. Our forebears' approach to the church in general and schism in particular, appears to be a far cry from what we often encounter today.
 

G

Puritan Board Senior
Skipping Ahead, I saw something in Volume 4 and was hoping to get some insight from those knowledgeable of a footnote given on the last Page of Volume 4:

Pg. 535:

Thus far we have considered the state of the church and God‟s dealings with her from Adam to Abraham, from
Abraham to Sinai, from Sinai to Christ, and from Christ until the Revelation of John. It now remains for us to consider the state of the church, and God‟s dealings with her, from the Revelation of John until the end of the world,
25
as recorded for us in the Revelation of John.

Footnote:
25 à Brakel‟s exposition of the book of Revelation is not included in this four-volume set due to its controversial nature. However, out of respect for àBrakel and for the sake of historicity, it has been decided to publish this exposition as a separate volume at a future date.

Why was Brakel’s commentary on Revelation deemed controversial in nature?

Seems like not the happiest of endings after one makes it through 4 very edifying volumes.
 

Phil D.

Puritan Board Junior
Why was Brakel’s commentary on Revelation deemed controversial in nature?
Your notation of this piqued my interest as well. In this introduction to his commentary on Revelation ("look inside") I found a useful summarization of aBrakel's eschatological view, which was apparently historicist/postmillennial. I suppose some tenants of it may be deemed "too" controversial by some in today's climate of theological egalitarianism.
 

G

Puritan Board Senior
Your notation of this piqued my interest as well. In this introduction to his commentary on Revelation ("look inside") I found a useful summarization of aBrakel's eschatological view, which was apparently historicist/postmillennial. I suppose some tenants of it may be deemed "too" controversial by some in today's climate of theological egalitarianism.
Found this, but I’m still scratching my head some:

v. Bartel Elshout explains why it was omitted. He asserts:

“…à Brakel’s exposition of the Revelation of John has not been included in the English edition. This exposition is by far the weakest and most controversial element of his work –à Brakel was a historical millenialist with postmillenial tendencies– and has therefore never received the abiding recognition and approbation which have been awarded to De RedelijkeGodsdienst itself. The Dutch church historian Ypeij states concerning this exposition: “This volume is the least significant and needs to be used by the common man with prudence and with not too much confidence in the exegesis of the writer.” Los concludes: “The public at large has unconsiously placed its stamp of approval on this unfavorable evaluation concerning Brakel’s exposition of the Revelation of John. For, as renowned as the RedelijkeGodsdienst is, in like manner the exposition which concludes the work has been relegated to oblivion.” This unfavorable evaluation of his exposition of Revelation led to the decision to postpone its translation to a future date...”

 

G

Puritan Board Senior
From same link above:

Rev. Elshout expands further on this in his communications recorded at http://faithbasedworks.wordpress.com/2009/07/13/exposition-on-revelation-by-wilhelmus-a-brakel/ . He seems to indicate there that it is likely he will never seek its English translation in these words: “At this point, I am quite doubtful that it will ever be translated.”

Rev. a Brakel was a postmillennial historicist, which is the position that the Historicism Research Foundation (www.historicism.net) advocates. To the extent that the final section of A Christian’s Reasonable Service was omitted because postmillennial historicism is out of favor, it may be a sadder commentary on our generation than the author’s eschatology. Therefore, the current project of Historicism Research Foundation is to spearhead its translation into English. The reality is that postmillennial historicism is effectively taught in the Westminster Standards. In addition, it is taught in the Dutch States Bible and significantly implied in the Three Forms of Unity, such as the Belgic Confession article 36 (see http://historicism.net/readingmaterials/sixthpoint.pdf ) .
 

G

Puritan Board Senior
Appears to be another example of a translating decision where we just wipe out 200 plus pages of a minister’s work because we deem it “wrong”. The work of Brakel would have been all the sweeter if they included it as he himself intended. Thankfully you can buy it separate, I think!

Oh well, enough of a rabbit trail, back to Vol. II.

P.S. EDIT: Not a reflection on RHB, whom I love, but rather on the opinions and reasonings given in the footnote in Post #16.
 
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NaphtaliPress

Administrator
Staff member
It may be more than just the historicism. RHB was happy to publish Durham's commentary on Revelation. The difference may be the need for translation (more time and cost) and maybe a bigger negative for the Dutch (going on one of the comments in one of the blog links above), and maybe lack of the additional content or nature that commended the Durham above the interpretation of "the mysteries" as Spurgeon put it.
Appears to be another example of a translating decision where we just wipe out 200 plus pages of a minister’s work because we deem it “wrong”. The work of Brakel would have been all the sweeter if they included it as he himself intended. Thankfully you can buy it separate, I think!

Oh well, enough of a rabbit trail, back to Vol. II.
 

G

Puritan Board Senior
Back to Volume II, pg. 109-110:

The pope does not adhere to the doctrine of Peter, but opposes it, as we have demonstrated in nearly every chapter of this book. The pope’s lifestyle is also not identical to Peter’s. Where do we read of Peter having a triple crown beset with diamonds? He said, “Silver and gold have I none” (Acts 3:6). Where do we read of Peter having a purple robe, chariots and horses, a gestatorial chair for vain show, and purple-robed cardinals who carried him? When did he ever allow his feet to be kissed? Which kings did Peter either appoint or depose? To which kings did Peter grant the proprietorship of certain countries? There is therefore no resemblance with Peter at all, unless it would be pertaining to his confession, “I know not the man.” Finally, since the pope is the antichrist, as we have demonstrated in chapter 24, it is evident that the pope is not Peter’s successor.

P.S. What does the man-made December holy day and Roman Catholicism have in common?.........Potpourri!:cool:
 
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G

Puritan Board Senior
An excellent section here where Brakel has been dealing with the content and importance of a minister’s internal and external call as well as his commission. He condemns those who seek to start their own house church without a commission. He also COMMENDS what would seem to be a house-group type gathering with some quliaifiucations. A little longer quote I know, but well worth the read:detective: Vol. II pg. 128 -129:

Members must thus be on guard to do nothing whereby the commission of ministers loses its importance. This occurs when the ministry is imitated by someone who, either in his home or in a different location gathers people together, and according to the format of a sermon announces a text, exposits the text, and makes application; or if someone sets forth some touchstones by which (it frightens me to think of it) he declares one to be either spiritually alive or dead. One then runs without being sent, thereby removing the impression concerning the commission of ministers out of the hearts of the people, and thus making the ministry less fruitful. Even if someone is highly talented, being more talented than the best of ministers, and even if it is someone‟s objective to edify, and a person is edified by this, then this does not justify such a practice, which generally will do tenfold more damage than good. Such a practice is generally accompanied by pride and self-promotion, frequently resulting in divided sentiments. Frequently the cause of the ungodly is bolstered, or the hearts of the godly are tossed to and fro, disturbed, and saddened by the imprudent propositions of such preachers. I anticipate that such a practice will cause much confusion in the church. Oh, that the Lord would fill such individuals with terror if they are as yet unconverted. If they are converted, that He would then convince them of their error and cause them to cease such activity!

I am not opposed to special gatherings of church members. Idespise such ministers who keep godly members from the Lord‟s Supper either because they have such special gatherings or because they are opposed to them. I make it my business to encourage members to meet together, since the communion of saints requires this. I am, however, opposed to disorderly assemblies as well as to the practice mentioned. One must not strive for dominance in such assemblies, but each person must have equal input. Such assemblies must be conducted by way of mutual discussions, the reading of a chapter from God‟s Word, a mutual exchange of questions and answers (one person may lead to ask the questions), the singing of psalms and spiritual songs together, the reviewing of a sermon, the encouraging and comforting of each other, and praying together. Upon such gatherings the Lord‟s blessing would rest, and the Lord Jesus would be present according to His promise. Such gatherings should neither be conducted too frequently nor should they last too long, lest one be blamed for being lazy, squandering his time, and neglecting his household. One must actually demonstrate the contrary to be true. It would be more prudent if one were to have such gatherings during the day rather than at night, especially if men and women gather together.
 

Kinghezy

Puritan Board Sophomore
Thanks for these posts. These are a nice break from the cultural discussions that seem to be dominating the board right now.
 

G

Puritan Board Senior
Brakel explains that one of the marks of a Minister is that he must be a man of GRAVITY, oh how we still need this in our own day!

From Vol. II pg.133:

Thirdly, he must be a man of gravity, “... with all gravity” (1 Tim 3:4), “in doctrine shewing ... gravity” (Titus 2:15, in order that “no man despise thee” (Titus 2:15). Job conducted himself as such, “The young men saw me, and hid themselves: and the aged arose, and stood up. The princes refrained talking, and laid their hand on their mouth” (Job 29:8-9).

For me jokes from the pulpit or celebrity/movie quotes seems to almost always detract from the gravity of the preached word. I have not read John Piper in a long long time. However a book that always has stuck with me as I have sought to understand the office of a minister is his book, The Supremacy of God in Preaching. He basically outlines Johnathan Edwards preaching style in the book. One thing I always remember from the book it that in Edwards view, humor to get a laugh from pulpit was in his own view unwise. Edwards certainly had a gravity about his preaching it seemed.
 

G

Puritan Board Senior
Brakel on a Minister’s duties with regards to his congregational prayers, pg. 136-137:

A minister must certainly also pray in secret before he goes to the pulpit, praying for the Spirit of prayer and for the ability to preach. To read a form prayer from a book, or to formulate and memorize one‟s own prayer, and repeat such a prayer time and again, is generally a sign of an intercessor without feeling; and those who pray along with him (or after him) will likewise do so without feeling. I do not object to reflecting ahead of time upon matters which must be brought before the Lord on behalf of the congregation. I also do not object to making notes of some points in order to assist one‟s memory. This must not always be the same, however, but ought to change according to time and occasion. Furthermore, one must be dependent upon the Spirit and bind oneself neither to words nor matters, but follow the Holy Spirit who maketh intercession with groanings which cannot be uttered as far as matters, expressions, and motions are concerned.
 

Kinghezy

Puritan Board Sophomore
Brakel explains that one of the marks of a Minister is that he must be a man of GRAVITY, oh how we still need this in our own day!

From Vol. II pg.133:



For me jokes from the pulpit or celebrity/movie quotes seems to almost always detract from the gravity of the preached word. I have not read John Piper in a long long time. However a book that always has stuck with me as I have sought to understand the office of a minister is his book, The Supremacy of God in Preaching. He basically outlines Johnathan Edwards preaching style in the book. One thing I always remember from the book it that in Edwards view, humor to get a laugh from pulpit was in his own view unwise. Edwards certainly had a gravity about his preaching it seemed.

It's been a while since I heard one of John Piper's sermons, but my recollection is he has the scripture read and then immediately jumps into the exegesis. There's not the "here's some story that I will tell to ease you into scripture". I really appreciate just jumping right into the text, without the windup. I have the typical concerns of his theology that others probably do, but I really appreciate how serious he is about preaching
 

G

Puritan Board Senior
It's been a while since I heard one of John Piper's sermons, but my recollection is he has the scripture read and then immediately jumps into the exegesis. There's not the "here's some story that I will tell to ease you into scripture". I really appreciate just jumping right into the text, without the windup. I have the typical concerns of his theology that others probably do, but I really appreciate how serious he is about preaching
Me too! To be honest I always internally cringe when I hear, ”movie quote” or “one time I had a flat tire on the way to the dog salon”.

The cookie cutter seems to be read text, story quote, 3 points then end. I have never really read that structure in our reformed forefathers, I wonder if it is taught in some seminaries or something. I really enjoy when a Pastor makes me feel the weight of the text, the sense that he buries us in it, show us our sin, and then pulls us through to Christ.
 
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Kinghezy

Puritan Board Sophomore
wonder if it is taught in some seminaries or something

Maybe. It would be interesting to hear from pastors. I saw this in broadly evangelical churches and PCA. So maybe it's just the style everyone hears from each other, and they emulate (I am not going to use the tired metaphor of fish swimming in water that everyone has probably heard).



have never really read that structure in our reformed forefathers

I should make a point to listen to Joel Beeke. If anyone is going to structure his sermons to fit the Puritan model, he would be my guess.
 

G

Puritan Board Senior
Brakel in dealing with one of the duties of a Minister regarding use of the keys. May this serve as a challenge and encouragement to all ministers. We (church men and women) need you to use the keys when required! Vol. II, pg. 142

The minister may and must also make specific use of the key of the Word in reference to ungodly members, making application to specific individuals. He must declare that they are unconverted, have no part in Christ, and will go lost—all this upon the condition that they do not repent. As a minister must use this key by making specific application, he must likewise do so publicly from the pulpit. He must first of all give a clear analysis of who true believers are, so that every one may perceive what his own condition is; he must then proclaim to such the forgiveness of sins. On the other hand, he must clearly and forcefully uncover the condition of the unconverted, proclaiming unto them that they are still objects of the wrath of God and must anticipate condemnation if they remain unconverted. The minister must use this key faithfully with much tenderness of heart, without respect of persons, and with boldness, upon the authority given him by Christ, to promote the building up of His kingdom. He must therefore give heed to the manner in which he uses this key. If he leaves this key unused, he is unfaithful to Christ and His church. If he thereby grieves the godly and hardens the ungodly, he ought to fear for the judgment of God. “Because with lies ye have made the heart of the righteous sad, whom I have not made sad; and strengthened the hands of the wicked, that he should not return from his wicked way, by promising him life” (Ezek 13:22). The second key, Christian discipline, is not to be used independently by him, but he must use it as a member of the consistory. We shall discuss this a bit later in this chapter.

P.S. On to the office of Elder and Deacon next and will likely post 1-2 more quotes today.
 
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