Friday, June 06, 2008

Pedobaptist Puritan failure


Phil Johnson, on the Pyromaniac blog, says the following about Puritanism in New England:

The founders of Massachusetts wanted to establish a society of believers governed by righteous laws which were enforced by magistrates who were mature church members, because they believed that would create an earthly paradise and (in the words of Matthew 5:14) a city set on a hill. But the sons and daughters of the original Puritans became so comfortable with the notion that they were keeping society righteous through righteous laws that they neglected to evangelize their own children. (Just like Old Testament Israel.) And within two generations, Puritan society was beset with the very same problems the original Puritans had left England to get away from—not to mention witch trials and religious persecution. Before much more than a century had passed, Unitarianism and Deism became more powerful religious forces in New England than Puritanism was.

This evaluation is rather consistent with our own evaluation of Pedobaptism as a whole, which we have persented on this blog. When you look at the record of history, it seems incontrovertible that Pedobaptism results in ultimate apostasy in some form.

Phil Johnson cites the case in New England. Cite any other case you please, wherever Pedobaptism has prevailed on the populace, apostasy has developed. (See Check-out Dr. Mohler's blog)

The Foolishness of Preaching

We also are impressed by Phil's emphasis on the place of Gospel preaching, to which we give a hearty "Amen!"

Phil says:

There is only one thing that can give a sinner a new heart, and that is spiritual regenerationthe new birth. And the one true instrument of the new birth is the Word of God as it is applied by the Holy Spirit.

According to 1 Peter 1:23, we are "born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever."

Jesus told His disciples in John 15:3, "Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you." Only the Word of God, and specifically the gospel message, has the power to transform unbelieving people's hearts and change them at the very core of who they are.

The gospel "is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth" (Romans 1:16), and that is why the apostle Paul said, "I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ"—even though the gospel seems foolish and naive to those steeped in the wisdom of this world.

So neither society nor individuals can ever be redeemed (or even influenced for good) by worldly wisdom, and Christians are seriously deluded if they think the most important battles for righteousness are being waged in the arenas of politics, education, entertainment, or the arts. Those are the realms of worldly wisdom, and worldly wisdom will never be an instrument for the advancement of Christ's kingdom. According to Luke 10:21, God has "hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes . . . for so it seemed good in [His] sight."

So to sum up: Clever amusements, pep rallies, educational programs, legislative agendas, political strategies, philosophical arguments, and all the Supreme Court rulings in the world will never turn sinners into Christians. All those things epitomize what Paul meant by worldly wisdom. They are the baggage of a carnal and utterly ineffectual strategy that will never reform a society like ours that is in love with sin. And the fact that such things consume so much evangelical energy today is a testimony to our unfaithfulness and the utter failure of the modern and postmodern evangelical movement.

God is pleased to save sinners through the clear proclamation of gospel truth.

And that is what we ought to devote our resources and energy to if we want to have an impact on our culture. We have a clear mandate to proclaim the gospel as clearly, as accurately, as powerfully, and as often as we can. We have no mandate whatsoever to use any other strategy—especially a strategy that attempts to harness aspects of worldly wisdom for influence under the misguided belief that these are more powerful than the gospel itself to transform our culture.

by Phil Johnson


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