• Baptism: My story

    I wrote last week a post entitled “Why I am not an Anglican” and one of the reasons I wasn’t an Anglican was that I disagreed with Infant baptism.

    The question was posed “How does a person who grew up in an Anglican church and went to an Anglican theological college wind up practicing believers baptism and not infant baptism?” Well as always there is a story behind every belief and my one follows…

    As already stated, when I became a Christian at 14 I went to an Anglican church and needless to say this church baptised children. But they baptised the children of unbelievers and this troubled me. I heard the parent of some children say they were Christians and they would raise this child to know and love Jesus when we all knew they weren’t going to keep these promises. When I asked about this I was told that it is the parent’s choice to make these promises and keep them and that is it a great chance to evangelise the parents by telling them about Jesus in the baptism class. This made me uneasy even though I did see people come to know Jesus through this process.

    I honestly didn’t give baptism much thought until I hit theological college. I was going to an Anglican college where baptism wasn’t mentioned all that much.  When I was in College a decided to make use of the amazing library at the college, I did this by picking a topic (e.g. gender, scripture etc.) and reading for an hour a day on that topic till I came to a position on it. Needless to say one of the topics I investigated was baptism.

    When I read stuff by Baptists I was struck by how much exegesis they did. They seemed to be constrained by the text and then go to theology. When I read people defending infant baptism I saw that they were very shallow on exegesis and then were very heavy on arguing from theology why infant baptism was legit.

    As I hope the next few blogs make clear I found the arguments of infant Baptists unconvincing. I wanted to be a pastor who was on about the text. I wanted who I baptised not be driven by anything but the text and so I found myself convinced that we should baptise Believers and not infants. I also found that my Baptist brothers had better theological arguments as well.

    I want to lay out my theology of baptism and so here is what I will be blogging about over the next few days:

    Blog 1: Baptism: My story

    Blog 2: Baptism: The Gospels

    Blog 3: Baptism: Luke and Acts

    Blog 4: Baptism: The Epistles

    Blog 5: Baptism: The covenant

     

    I hope that we all can get to know what God would have us do as we consider this very important issue.

     

  • Responding to my Anglican brothers and sisters in Christ whom I love

    As you know I put up a blog on Monday outlining why I am not an Anglican and I have had a lot of responses to this blog and from these responses I am realising that I have clarify a few things.

    1. I love my Anglican brothers and sister in Christ. I love the fact that I grew up in an Anglican church under great evangelical expository preaching. I love that I went to Moore College and I love it that my wife has the privilege of going to Moore College! I think that reformed evangelicals from all different denominations preach the gospel and my post was not in any way saying that Evangelical Anglicans in Sydney, Armidale, North West Australia or anywhere else don’t preach the gospel. In fact I know they do and I praise God for this!

    2. I didn’t realise the Synod for the Sydney diocese started the same day I put the blog up. I generally don’t read other peoples blogs and so I thought that synod was starting in a few weeks not on Monday. I totally understand that to some people my blog looked like an attack on the Sydney Anglicanism in the week of Synod. That wasn’t my intention at all and if had realised that Synod was happening this week I wouldn’t have posted my blog.

    3. I had written this blog about 6 months ago and I have been sitting on it since. I write my blogs in response to what I am reading or thinking or sometimes what questions I get asked as a church planter. I have been asked many times about why I am not an Anglican and so I wrote the blog but wanted to sit on it for a while for two reasons. One  to see if I agreed with it in six months time and two to see if people were still asking me why I am not an Anglican. I still agree with the reasons and I still get asked that question and so that is why I posted the blog.

    4. Some of my heroes are Anglican. I love to read JC Ryle, Ridley, Cramner, Packer, Stott, Bauckham, Owen, Morris. Who are or were Anglicans. I have been blessed by so many Anglican preachers. When I was younger and podcasting wasn’t available I listened to tapes of preachers that I loved and all of them were Sydney Anglicans! I owe a great debt to these men who shaped me to love the scriptures and Jesus more because of their preaching and also to love expository preaching!

    5. I am really sorry that my blog hurt some people and made other people’s lives difficult, that was never my intention. I understand people were upset by my blog and if my words were rash and insensitive I sincerely apologise. I also realise that my name is linked with some other Christian organisations and these organisations have been copping some heat. I apologise to these brothers in Christ and I need to say that my views on my blog are my views and no one else is responsible for these views other than me.

    6. I pray for the Anglican Church and all denominations and theological colleges regularly. I want to see every church in Sydney preaching the gospel and being overrun with new people coming to Jesus. I don’t really care if the churches that are experiencing revival are Anglican, Baptist, charismatic, independent or whatever. I just want the gospel to be preached and people to come to know Jesus.

    7. I believe my Anglican brothers and sisters and I are united in the gospel. Part of what this unity gives us is to be free to disagree about non essentials. To be open and say that you disagree on baptism or ecclesiology or whatever. Being strong and united in the gospel allows us to eyeball each other in love and say “I totally disagree with you on this point but I love you and I know you preach the gospel.”  I am not sure Aussies are really comfortable with this kind of blunt, open and loving discussion. Or maybe this kind of discussion is a reflection of my personality.  Either way the blog was written because I believe I have unity in the gospel with my Anglican brothers and sisters it wasn’t written to create disunity.

    I hope I am clear that I love my Anglican brothers and sister in Christ and that I really didn’t intend any harm to come of my blog.

     

  • Why I am not an Anglican

    I get asked all the time “Why aren’t you an Anglican?” The questions could be posed as “Why aren’t you insert denomination of your choice here?” Because Resolved is an independent church. But the reason I get asked why I am not an Anglican is because I grew up in an Anglican church, I have been a member of five Anglican churches and I went to an Anglican theological college.  So it is a good and right question to ask.

    But before I get to the reasons why I am not an Anglican I want to say I am so thankful for my heritage. I am thankful I went to the churches I went to as I learnt a lot from each one of them. I am thankful that I went to Moore College. I wouldn’t change the experiences I have had in Anglicanism for the world. They have shaped me in a profound ways.

    But that being said, like a good sermon, I have three points as to why I am not an Anglican.

    1. Evangelical Anglicans are compromised because of their affiliations
    2. Infant Baptism
    3. Church government

    Evangelical Anglicans are compromised because of their affiliations

    Yes it is a very provocative statement. But if we have a look around the Anglican communion you have people that are flat out denying crucial aspects of Christianity. The Resurrection is denied, penal substitution is attacked, people argue against the reliability of the scriptures. These people aren’t on the outer wings of Anglicanism they are the leaders of various branches of the church. Now the main argument for staying an Anglican is that that evangelical Anglicans are changing Anglicanism from the inside. But is this true? In 1966 Martin Lloyd Jones at the National Assembly of Evangelicals organised by the Evangelical Alliance issued a call for evangelicals to come out from within denominations that had both Liberal and Evangelical congregations. John Sotto used his position as the chairman to publicly rebuke Lloyd Jones and say Anglicans were staying in effect to make a concerted effort to turn the ship of Anglicanism around. But has this happened? Is the Anglican ship turning around? Have we made any progress in the last 40 years? I think the answer is no, therefore, I think we need to be very careful at being in the same communion with people who are obviously not Christians.  I do not want to be in communion with people who are arguing against the gospel therefore I am not going to be Anglican.

    Infant Baptism

    I came into college believing in baptising children. But I studied the scriptures and other arguments and I have not found a convincing biblical or theological argument for infant baptism. If I was an Anglican I would have baptise infants which I think is unbiblical therefore I not going to be Anglican.

    Church Government

    When I look at the Bible I think church government is clear. There are elders who are pastors of the church and who lovingly lead the church (Acts 20:17,28-31, 1 Timothy 3, Titus 2 etc. ). There is not just one elder but a clear plurality of elders. So when I see Anglicans with a parish council/ warden/ Priest system of church government I see this as denying what I the plain teaching of the Bible and therefore I am not going to be an Anglican.

    These are the three main reasons I am not an Anglican I hope you can see that they are biblical/theological in nature. But I want to say very strongly that I consider Anglicans who are evangelicals as brothers in Christ who do preach the gospel ad for that I am very thankful.  I will also work with my Anglican brothers and sisters in the gospel because we have unity in the gospel.

    What do you think? Are my reasons legit?