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Biblical, Divine Right Church Government, Thomas Witherow, and the Temptation of Jesus
Weekend Newsletter: February 5, 2022
This past week, I published the lecture notes from the second class I have been teaching on Presbyterianism:
In this class, I tried to work through the basic, fundamental building blocks that Presbyterians take from Scripture that form the foundation of the entire system of government. To do this, I worked through the Preface of the BCO, which is filled with Scriptural insights into the way in which our Lord designed his church to function.
Providentially, at the exact same time I was teaching this class, there was a fantastic podcast interview on Presbycast being recorded on this same subject: “Jure Divino Presbyterianism w/Pastor Ben Glaser.” It’s an excellent conversation about (among other things) a critical point: Presbyterians do not believe that church polity is a matter of mere human wisdom, but is established on Christ’s own authority. So, we are not permitted to run the church in any way that we think best. Instead, we must observe the commands that King Jesus has given to govern his kingdom—that is, his church.
If you are looking to learn more about this, I’d recommend a recent republication of an old author:
Right now, this book is on sale at half price ($15) from Reformation Heritage Books, one of my favorite bookstores. It contains four parts:
A pastoral biography of Thomas Witherow (an Irish Presbyterian who served the Lord well, even while he suffered much)
A treatise on church polity
A treatise on baptism
A treatise on the Sabbath
These three issues are central to a thoroughly Presbyterian spirituality, because they center on the biblical means of grace that God has given to his church. I’d strongly commend these to your reading.
From Sermon Notes:
The temptation is Jesus is far more significant than it may appear on the surface. This is not one more story in the life of Jesus, but a critical moment where our Lord confronts his enemy directly— and comes out victorious. The implications of this victory are multifaceted. So, before we work through the temptations themselves, we need to work through some sense of the scope of what Jesus accomplishes in this narrative—personally, publicly, and as a pattern for his people. In summary, the temptation of Jesus shows us that King Jesus came to fulfill all righteousness.
I’d ask for your prayers for Platte Valley Presbytery, which meets today. I have been recovering from Covid this week, so I’m not able to attend, but my heart is with them as they gather. Pray that God will bless their deliberations, and that King Jesus will be glorified and honored in all that they do.
Have a blessed Lord’s Day tomorrow!