The Best Presbyterian Ever

“Presbyterians like to point out (and I actually agree with them on this, being a presbyterian), that the first century Jewish system of polity and governance was a representative and presbyterian one. That makes Jesus a presbyterian. But after the warm glow has worn off, we then realize that this means that the Lord was condemned by the General Assembly—moved, seconded, and spanged right into the minutes.”

The Auburn Avenue Chronicles, pp. 199-200

Out of Conformity

“As a confessional Reformed minister who has honestly subscribed to the Westminster Confession of Faith, I am also convinced that many of the ‘distinctive’ I am accused of promulgating are not distinctives at all, but are in fact the teaching and doctrine of the Confession. And so this means I believe our adversaries are actually out of conformity with the teaching of the Confession at a number of points.”

The Auburn Avenue Chronicles, p. 195

An Obedient Israel

“If the history of the Old Testament can be summed up as ‘Israel screws up,’ then the story of Christ is summed up as ‘Israel does it right.’ . . . The reason I can be an Israelite and not be destroyed is Israel is now obedient. And whose obedience was this? How did it happen? The active obedience of Christ began with His miraculous brith, and His exile in Egypt, and His restoration from Egypt. Out of Egypt God called His Son. And when God called His Son, we came too.”

The Auburn Avenue Chronicles, pp. 190-191

To, Not By

“Of course we are not saved by good works (Eph. 2:8-9). But we are saved to good works (Eph. 2:10), which God prepared beforehand for us to do. Not only so, but we are told expressly that the testing ground of true faith is true works. Show your faith by your works, man. Not mere affirmation of good works with the lips, either, but genuine, honest-to-God good works. Not good works redefined to fit comfortably into some humanist’s social agenda, but good works defined biblically, and structured biblically on the foundation of real faith in the revealed will of God.”

The Auburn Avenue Chronicles, p. 186

Sacramental Calvinism

“If the Confession gives a detailed description of a sacramental union between water baptism and converting graces (which it plainly and unambiguously does) then what do you call it when guardians of the Confession just wave their hands over it, and pronounce (ex cathedra) that it doesn’t mean what it says? When this kind of inversion happens, then only one thing can follow it—accusations must be brought against those who still hold to the original meaning of the Confession at this point. And that is what is happening. The rabbis are cracking down lest the original sacramental Calvinism of the Confession break free from the talmudic layers of revivalism that have been imposed on it.”

The Auburn Avenue Chronicles, p. 182

To Pummel the Point

“To pummel the point (if I may), I have taught (in very clear and divers ways) that the grace given to the decretally elect at the point of the effectual call is grace that is qualitatively different than the common operations of the Spirit enjoyed (for a season) by the unregenerate covenant member. I have heaped this point up in a rumpled pile and have danced around it, gesticulating with enthusiasm. I have made a big building out of this point and put a blinking neon sign on top of it. If this point were an overpass, I have spray-painted my agreement with it in bright green letters at least eighteen inches high. With my white chef’s hat on, I have wheeled this point out of the kitchen on a cart, poured brandy all over it, and set it on fire. If the point were a pudding, I would have added three eggs beyond what the recipe called for. To summarize briefly, this is not something I have somehow neglected to say.”

The Auburn Avenue Chronicles, pp. 155