Wednesday, October 05, 2022
Background for the JW vs. PVK TR debate: Swinburne's argument for the probability of the resurrection
Tuesday, October 04, 2022
Saturday, October 01, 2022
Video & Audio: 2022 Kept Pure in All Ages Conference: Confessional Text Apologetics (July 22-23, 2022 @ Five Solas OPC, Reedsburg, Wisconsin)
Friday, September 30, 2022
Note: This devotion is based on last Sunday's sermon on Matthew 20:1-16.
So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen” (Matthew 20:16).
The Parable of the Labourers in the Vineyard is told by Christ in Matthew 20:1-16. The householder (a figure for God himself) seeks labourers in his vineyard (the world), from daybreak to the eleventh hour, and, in the end, pays each of them the same wages (everlasting life).
Many interpretations of the parable’s meaning have been given. Some have suggested it declares that in the last day all believers will equally receive everlasting life (and there is no hierarchy of rewards). Others have suggested it teaches the same reward (everlasting life) whether one comes to Christ as a child or on his death bed. Still others have said it speaks to the same reward given to both Jewish and Gentiles believers.
In the end, this is really a parable about the God of the Bible, seen in the face of Christ, and how he is constantly going out into the marketplaces (morning, noon, and night) and beckoning men to come into his vineyard. So it is less about the labourers than it is about the diligent “Lord of the vineyard” (v. 8).
He is a sovereign God who does as he wishes with his own. Nebuchadnezzar said of him, “and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth,” adding, “and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?” (Daniel 4:35). In the parable, the master answers the murmurers: “Is it not lawful to do what I will with my own?” (v. 15). Spurgeon said, “As he is King, it is his right to rule” (Matthew, 290).
Truth is that we are all like the eleventh hour labourers, the leftovers, the bottom of the barrel, chosen not because of any merit in us. We were standing idly by with no purpose to direct our lives, and we did nothing adequately to merit what is given us. But he called us to come into symphony with him and promised us a reward, and he made the last to be first.
Will we answer that call, by his grace, and enter into the vineyard, awaiting the award of everlasting life?
Grace and peace, Pastor Jeff Riddle
Note: It was my pleasure to provide an Orientation and Introduction to the 2022 Keach Conference last Saturday (September 24) at the start of our meeting at Grace Baptist Chapel in Hampton, Virginia. Here are my notes:
Dear friends in Christ,
Greetings in the matchless name of the Lord Jesus Christ. I am Jeff Riddle, pastor of CRBC of Louisa. On behalf of the steering committee of the Reformed Baptist Fellowship of Virginia, I want to welcome you to this 2022 Keach Conference, a theology and ministry conference for confessional Reformed Baptist churches in Virginia.
The other members of this committee include Steve Clevenger, of Covenant RBC, Warrenton; Van Loomis, of Redeeming Grace BC, Matthews; and Ryan Davidson, of our host Grace Baptist Chapel, Hampton.
Believe it or not, this is the 21st consecutive fall in which a gathering of this sort has taken place. By God’s grace, I have been able to attend each one of those meetings. I was 36 years old at the first meeting (you can do the math to figure out how old I am). I’m guessing Ryan might have been in Freshman high school Algebra class that year!
At the beginning, this meeting was quite different. It was a small gathering of Calvinistic Baptist pastors who wanted to see reform and renewal in their (mostly SBC) churches, and it was then called the Evangelical Forum.
The first meeting was held in 2002 at the First Baptist Church of Virginia Beach, with then Pastor Jay Smith as our host. Our first speaker was Calvin Frett, a PCA minister and former missionary to Japan, who led (and still leads) a ministry to pastors called “Pastor-in-Residence.” That choice reflected the struggles many were having at that time in efforts to reform their churches.
In the beginning most of those who gathered, me included, were largely unaware of the handful of faithful 1689 churches that already existed in Virginia. As time went on and we learned more, this meeting began to move beyond soteriological Calvinism to a more robust confessionalism.
In 2007 at our sixth consecutive annual meeting, we began a series through the Second London Baptist Confession of Faith (1677, 1689), devoting each annual gathering to a consecutive consideration of one of its 32 chapters. That plan continues today.
Given that we began that pilgrimage 16 years ago, one may wonder why we are only on chapter 15, “Of Repentance Unto Life and Salvation.”
It is not because we skipped a year due to the covid pandemic. We held our 2020 meeting as usual at CRBC, Louisa.
The reason we are on chapter 15, you’ll recall, is that in 2017 we skipped ahead and devoted that year’s meeting to chapter 26, “Of the Church,” given the interest and expertise of our guest speaker, Pastor Poh Boon Sing of the Damansara RBC, Kuala Lampur, Malaysia.
In 2010, in our ninth consecutive meeting, reflecting our further development as self-identified confessional Reformed Baptists and having made firm connections with other already established Reformed Baptists in Virginia, we officially changed the name of this gathering to the Keach Conference, in honor of Benjamin Keach (1640-1704), an early English Particular Baptist pastor and an original signer of our confession. We have met under that banner since then (except for that year 2017 [an odd year indeed] in which we unofficially dubbed it the “Hanserd Knollys” conference, since our speaker had more admiration for Knollys than he did for what he called the “prickly” personality of Keach).
Over these years, we have been blessed to be ministered unto through the preaching and teaching of the Word by many of the Lord’s choice servants.
Here is just a sample: In 2009, Dr. Derek Thomas, then of the Reformed Theological Seminary of Jackson, Mississippi, spoke to us on chapter 3 (“Of God’s Decrees”); in 2014 Pastor Jim Savastio of the RBC of Louisville, spoke to us on chapter 8 (“Of Christ the Mediator”); and last year in 2021 Dr. James Renihan of the IRBS spoke to us on chapter 14 (“Of Saving Faith”). BTW, we are thankful to have Dr. Renihan back as a guest again this year, this time in his role as an ambassador for IRBS.
This year we are blessed to have no less than four gifted ministers from across the state come to us and break open the bread of life.
We hope and trust that this meeting will not only stir our minds, as we consider the precious doctrines exposited in our confession, but also kindle a warm spirit of fellowship or “communion” among like-minded believers from confessional RB churches across our Commonwealth.
We extend our thanks to Pastor Ryan Davidson and to the members of Grace Baptist Chapel for offering welcome and hospitality to us today. With nearly 200 people registered for this meeting it is one of our largest ever (if not the largest in our history).
May the Lord bless this meeting, as he has been so pleased to do in the past, for the furtherance of his glory and for the blessing of his people.
Video and Audio from 2022 Keach Conference (September 24, 2022 @ Grace Baptist Chapel, Hampton, Virginia): Of Repentance Unto Life and Salvation