Archive for ‘Sunday School’

March 21, 2016

The New Perspective on Paul

NT Wright

N.T. Wright, leading proponent of the New Perspective on Paul. HT: Pastor John Keller Blog

On Sunday, January 31, 2016, Pastor Joe Troutman introduced to the adult Sunday School class the recent theological movement among some modern liberal theologians called the New Perspective on Paul and how it pertains to the doctrine of justification.

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.(Romans 5:1-2 ESV)

Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith–just as Abraham “believed God and it was counted to him as righteousness”? (Galatians 3:5-6)

Westminster Shorter Catechism, Q&A #33:

Q. What is justification?

A. Justification is an act of God’s free grace, wherein he pardoneth all our sins, and accepteth us as righteous in his sight, only for the righteousness of Christ imputed to us, and received by faith alone.

The New Perspective on Paul and the Federal Vision are two theological movements, the former a liberal movement and the latter a conservative movement, which share a few common emphases. Firstly, they share a common emphasis on “justification by faithfulness.” The orthodox Protestant doctrine of justification is that faith is the instrument by which one receives justification which is grounded on the faithfulness (i.e., the perfect righteousness) of the Lord Jesus Christ. Another common emphasis shared by the two movements is a lack of distinction between what the Reformed Confessions and Catechisms call the “visible church,” comprised of all, whether elect or non-elect, who profess faith in Christ and their children, and the “invisible church,” comprised of “the whole number of the elect.” Finally, the idea of “keeping covenant” is another shared emphasis between the heresies of the Federal Vision and the New Perspective on Paul.

The most well-known scholars who developed the New Perspective on Paul are Bishop N.T. Wright, James D.G. Dunn, and E.P Sanders. These assert that the Protestant understanding of Justification by Faith Alone is the result of Martin Luther’s reading his personal experience in sixteenth century Roman Catholicism back into his reading of Second Temple Judaism. They say he did this by projecting Roman Catholic legalism back onto the Jews and the Christian Judaizers in his reading of the books of Romans and Galatians. Sanders, Wright and Dunn counter the great Protestant Reformer’s reading of Romans and Galatians by asserting that Second Temple Judaism held to a view which the scholars have called “Covenantal Nomism.” Their definition of “Covenantal Nomism” is that one demonstrates that he is in the covenant by keeping the law. By this definition, they deny Luther’s application of this idea to soteriology (the doctrine of salvation), asserting that it only applies to ecclesiology (the doctrine of the church).

To learn more about the New Perspective on Paul, please read the Report on Justification, which may be found at the website for the Orthodox Presbyterian Church.

Listen to “The New Perspective on Paul” at mcopc.org.

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April 10, 2015

Israel at Mount Sinai, Part 2 (Exodus 19:7-25)

Chuck Cain Sunday, April 5, 2015–The adult Sunday School lesson this week concluded a study of Exodus 19. After the LORD provided Moses with a statement of covenant renewal, Moses descended the mountain, called the elders of Israel, and set before them all the words that the LORD had commanded him. Upon hearing these words, the people responded positively, and Moses ascended the mountain a second time to report the people’s commitment.

The LORD then tells Moses to go down and consecrate the people before the LORD descends upon the mountain in three days to speak to them. They are to wash their garments, suspend sexual relations with their wives, and Moses is to set limits so that none of the people will touch the mountain when the LORD descends. These preparations point to God’s holiness.

On the appointed day, the LORD descends upon Sinai in a thick cloud accompanied by thunder, lightning, and a very loud trumpet blast. The transcendent God now displays his immanence. (The Bible describes the LORD as both transcendent and immanent. False religions view God as immanent only–such as pantheists–or as transcendent only–such as deists.)

The people tremble with fear at the sight of this theophany. The LORD calls Moses to ascend the mountain a third time whereupon he is told once again to warn the people not to touch the mountain. Moses descends and tells the people.

The chapter ends anticipating the LORD speaking directly to the people his Ten Commandments. – Chuck Cain

Listen to Israel at Mount Sinai, Part 2 (Exodus 19:7-25) .

March 23, 2015

Amalekites Concluded (Exodus 17:8-16), Jethro Advises Moses (Exodus 18:1-27)

Chuck CainOn March 22, 2015, Chuck Cain taught the Adult Sunday School class on the Israelites’ battle with the Amalekites in Exodus 17:8-16. Joshua’s military success due to dependence on the Lord as Aaron and Hur assisted Moses in holding up the staff of God during the fight (Exodus 17:9-13), concluding with Yahweh’s stated intention to one day judge Amalekites for opposing Israel in the wilderness (Exodus 17:14-16). Later, King Saul’s line would lose the kingship of Israel for disobeying the Lord’s command to utterly destroy Amalek (1 Samuel 15:1-35).

Then, in Exodus 18, we learn of Jethro, Moses’ Midianite father-in-law who brings Moses’ wife and children to him (Exodus 18:1-7). Moses declares Yahweh’s deliverance of Israel from the Egyptians to Jethro, who rejoices and offers sacrifice in response, acknowledging Yahweh as greater than all gods, providing a good picture of evangelism (Exodus 18:8-12). Finally, Jethro advises Moses to delegate his judicial responsibilities to others who judge smaller matters among the people, reserving the more difficult issues for Moses, and together they advised the Israelites by the Law of God, and so they were able to endure such a tremendous task under the guidance of God (Exodus 18:13-27). Listen here.

March 16, 2015

Introduction to the Amalekites

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This week’s Study in Exodus with Chuck Cain

Promotes the March 2015 issue of New Horizons in the OPC magazine on the Christian and the Arts. 

Discusses Pi Day and answers a question about biblical numerology.
Introduction to Amalekites as representing the enemies of the LORD and his people as background to understanding the Israelites’ conflict with them in Exodus 17:6-16.
Listen here.