PMW 2021-007 Guest article by W. Robert Godfrey (Westminster Theological Seminary, California)
Imagine a Christian gathering in Alexandria on the night before Easter, 173. A young man who has heard the Gospel message of Jesus Christ is ready to be baptized. He has received some instruction in the faith and has brought his life into conformity with Christian ethics. He stands clothed in white with others near the water for baptism. The bishop and presbyters approach and ask him what he believes. He recites a brief summary of the faith that he has memorized. Others about to be baptized recite the same summary. This summary used by those about to be baptized was written by the bishop himself some years earlier to help prepare new believers for baptism. Continue reading
PMW 2021-006 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr., Th.D.
Though they are not on a par with Scripture itself, the ecumenical creeds are important instruments for securing, promoting, and defending the Christian faith. They are designed to secure the faith by outlining the broad doctrinal borders of true Christianity by defining the basics of what historic Christianity believes. They promote the faith by succinctly summarizing it so that the whole Bible does not have to be read and explained in order to present the gospel of salvation to unbelievers. They defend the Christian faith by exposing corruption entering into some of its basic biblical doctrines by means of confusion or heresy.
On a smaller scale, church confessions (such as the Westminster Confession of Faith) secure, promote, and defend the basics of Presbyterianism. Church confessions outline the distinctives of a particular body of Christians, whereas the ecumencial creeds outline the distinctives of the Christian faith as a particular worldview among men. Continue reading
PMT 2016-069 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.
On Facebook I recently posted a cartoon exposing the error of Arminianism. Ever since posting that cartoon which contained a (cartoon) representation of Christ, I have been inundated with FB Comments and email challenges.
Some FB friends get frustrated because I don’t engage in FB debates. I don’t do so because they are unending and my day isn’t. I am quite busy. My time on FB looks more ample than it is: I see or think of something that I think is interesting, then quickly go on FB and toss it on my FB page, then leave. Though every now and then I will occasionally reply once or twice.
But for those interested in this particular issue, I will be providing a lengthy article combining my thoughts on defending pictorial representations of Christ. This will be useful in the future when I need to point someone to one source.
My interest in this matter is not because I like pictures of Christ. In fact, I don’t have any hanging in my house, I prefer hanging my wife’s cross-stitched, framed Bible verses in my house. Nor do I think some artist knows what he really looked like. No one does, but neither do they know what Abraham and Paul looked like, though folks accept pictures of them in educational contexts. Nor do I think pictures of Christ are helpful to one’s devotion to him. In fact, I believe quite the opposite: if someone is spiritually encouraged by a picture of Jesus, they are looking in the wrong direction for encouragement. It should come from reading God’s word, not looking at pictures men have painted. Continue reading
PMT 2013-041b by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.
A reader responded to our blog article “Why Must We Join the Church?” (PMT 2013-036b Dr. Jeffrey K. Boer). In that he had an extensive interaction on a significant issue, I thought it might be a good idea to respond to him briefly. I will do so in two articles. Continue reading