Monday 26 October 2015

The Eternal Generation of the Son: Defending and Upholding this Doctrine

Paul the apostle wrote to the Philippians about his concern for the gospel. He explained that he was committed to the "defence and confirmation of the gospel" (1:7) and that he believed that he was in prison for the "defence of the gospel" (1:16). Gospel truths need constantly defending and to be confirmed in the church by the church.

This is undoubtedly true regarding the doctrine of the Trinity. The trinitarian truth about the Christian God suffers neglect in the Western church for a range of reasons. One of the reasons is the lack of commitment to the historic creeds and confessions of the church. The Nicene Creed is one of the most important creeds for the doctrine of the Trinity. But, how many church members know this creed and ever hear it taught, confessed or explained?

At the heart of this creed is the doctrine of the eternal generation of the Son. The Nicene Creed States:

We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible;
And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Only-begotten, Begotten of the Father before all worlds, Light of Light, Very God of Very God, Begotten, not made; of one essence with the Father, by whom all things were made:
Who for us men, and for our salvation came down from heaven, and was incarnate of the Holy Spirit of the Virgin Mary, and was made man;

The phrases in this Creed, such as we believe in the "only-begotten .. begotten of the Father before all worlds" is the eternal generation of the Son which explains the relationship between the Father and the Son. This truth is faithful to the teaching of Scripture and it has been carefully worked out and defended against Arians and other heretical teachers in the history of the church. However, it appears that there are fresh contemporary evangelical voices who are challenging this doctrine. By doing so, they reveal their lack of historic understanding of the development of the doctrine of the Trinity.

Robert Letham who is one of the foremost Reformed theologians on the Trinity today, explains that this doctrine of the eternal generation of the Son is the "cement" what holds our doctrine of the Trinity together. If we remove the cement what will we be left with? A set of loose bricks or stones which can easily be disregarded, metaphorically speaking. If Bob Letham is right, then the stakes are high with this particular doctrine.
Let me cite the Westminster Confession of Faith on the Trinity on this matter:

"In the unity of the Godhead there be three persons, of one substance, power, and eternity: God
the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit: the Father is of none, neither begotten, not
proceeding; the Son is eternally begotten of the Father; the Holy Spirit eternally proceeding from
the Father and the Son" (WCF 2:3).

Here is the beginning of some biblical proof of this divine mystery:

John 1:14,18 From the New American Standard Version: "And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth ... No one has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him".

I very much appreciate the ESV translation, but on this point they have erred in translating the Greek word in the text here as the "only Son" instead of the "only begotten". This obscures this truth and enforces the need for ministers to be trained in Greek and Hebrew.

There will be some people reading this blog post who have never heard of the doctrine I am talking about. However, the eternal generation of the Son needs to be spoken of again and I hope this blog post can stimulate further discussion. A good book to read on this subject is Kevin Giles "The Eternal Generation of the Son: Maintaining Orthodoxy in Trinitarian Theology" or Robert Letham "The Holy Trinity".

Tuesday 20 October 2015

Some Top 5 books from Evangelical Press

I am a involved with Evangelical Press and they are publishing some excellent books. Here are 5 to consider and maybe for buying as presents for people.

1. J.C. Ryle, Daily Readings from all Four Gospels (Soft Tone Buffalino)

2. Guy Prentiss Waters, Acts Study Commentary

3. Hugh Latimer, Bitesize Biography by Richard M. Hannula

4. Stuart Olyott, Something Must be Known and Felt: A missing Note in Christianity

5. J. Gresham Machen, Bitesize Biography by Sean Michael Lucas.

These can all be obtained online and we use the book distributors called 10 Of Those for our EP books and their website is:

Friday 16 October 2015

Daily Dose of Hebrew

The organisers of the daily dose of Greek have now begun with Hebrew. Here is the link to subscribe:

I have only just subscribed so I cannot vouch for the quality, but I expect that it will be helpful resource for many to keep our Hebrew refreshed, improving and sharpened. Enjoy!

"All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work" 2 Timothy 3:16-17.

Tuesday 13 October 2015

Reformation Christianity for Today 2015

Dear all,

The Summer is past and we are now planning for this upcoming conference. Its aim has always been to be on a personal level to strengthen men who are on a Reformed pilgrimage. It has never been our intention to keep this going just for the sake of it, but this years theme is “Preaching and Preachers: With an especial emphasis on the Book of Jeremiah”. I believe it should be a meaningful time together.

The dates: Friday 6th and Saturday 7th November 2015

The aims are fourfold:

1). To help men who may be considering a call to the ministry of teaching elder
2). To equip men who are on a trajectory already for preaching
3). To build up men who are already ordained ministers, elders or deacons
4). This is also open to men who are wanting to grow in their theology.

The venue will be Hill Top Chapel, Attercliffe Common (Don Valley), Sheffield, S9 2AA (the home of Sheffield Presbyterian Church). Please feel free to forward this to men who may be interested also and please email me if you would like to come.

If you need local accommodation there are two good priced hotels nearby:

There will be a nominal cost for the conference to cover the meals and there will be an excellent book table to buy new books at very good prices.

More information will follow but please let me know your intentions if you are coming, spread the word and let people know. David Gilbert will be most instructive for us I believe with his preparation on the Book of Jeremiah.

Warmly and in the gospel,

Kevin Bidwell
07954 546487

RCT 2015 Programme
Reformation Christianity for Today 2015 Programme

Theme: “Preaching and Preachers (with an emphasis on the Book of

Friday 6th November

9.45am Arrival: Tea/Coffee
10.15am: Introduction
10.30am: The three ingredients for preaching: Kevin Bidwell
11.00am: Jeremiah’s Call: David Gilbert
12.15pm: Sermon
12.45pm Lunch
2.30pm: TBC
4.00pm Tea/Coffee
4.30-5.30: The Book of Jeremiah: The use of questions, metaphors and illustrations
6.00 Evening Meal at a restaurant or carvery
7.30-9.00pm Jeremiah’s Message (David Gilbert)
9.00-9.30pm: Ben Hutton sermon

Saturday 7th November

8.30 Breakfast
9.30am Sermon: TBC
10.00am: Jeremiah’s Preaching: David Gilbert
11.15am Tea/coffee
11.45am A sermon feedback discussion using preaching feedback forms
12.15: Closing sermon
12.45pm Lunch

(Some items may be subject to change).

Rev David Gilbert is the minister of Grace Presbyterian Church, Douglasville,

Monday 5 October 2015

Walking through "every wind of doctrine"

Ephesians 4:13-14 "Until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes".

The presence of "winds of doctrine" blowing across the church and the lives of individuals is a given, as Paul writes. The question for us is; will we respond like children or with mature manhood? There are certain structural elements to every wind of doctrine as taught by Paul the apostle.

1. They toss the spiritually immature (children) to and fro by the waves. Having lived on a ship for two years I am keenly aware how strong winds stir up waves on the surface of the ocean. Likewise, winds of doctrine do the same, they stir up waves, but eventually calm is restored and the wind and waves pass.

2. The winds of doctrine are various kinds of unstable and false teachings, always based on the Bible, though they are not sound doctrine. They are devised by human cunning. Man is sinful to his core and sinful man in his sinful cunning devises false doctrines which de-stablilise the spiritually weak and immature.

3. Winds of doctrine are craftiness in deceitful schemes. I doubt that any Christian can say that they have never been carried away by deceitful schemes. Winds of doctrine may come in a guise of godliness and zeal, but they simply disturb the peace of the church.

What is the answer then as to how we respond to winds of doctrine?

Ephesians 4:1-3 "I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, 3 eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace".

Sound doctrine urges us to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which we have been called ...

With all humility
With patience
Bearing with one another in love
Eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

Sin makes us ever so prone to be unbalanced and the devil exploits this weakness. The devil seeks to isolate us from walking in committed fellowship with the church and other Christians. Are you ensnared with winds of doctrine? Do you seek out internet teachings at the expense of solid food provided by local ministers? Are you anchored in a local congregation with other stable and mature Christians, so that when the winds of doctrine blow, you can walk through them together?

The answer to every wind of doctrine is to keep walking after the Lord Jesus, sticking to the ancient paths and the winds will cease at some stage. That is, until the next wind of doctrine blows, but by then, you will hopefully have learned how to keep on your feet, spiritually speaking that is.

Saturday 3 October 2015

Crisis Pregnancy Advice Centre (Sheffield)

A Crisis Pregnancy Advice Centre (CPAC) is being established in Sheffield. This is to minimise regret among women by giving women vital information and a Christian worldview to prevent abortion. There are currently around 200,000 abortions in the UK each year and it is growing. That means 1,000,000 human beings are being killed every 5 years and almost all of them are for social reasons not medical reasons. This is a shocking 550 abortions per day (around 23 every hour) in the UK. Something must be done about this!

On Saturday 17th October we have our first fund-raising dinner which will give vital information of this future work. The details are on the CPAC website. If you would like to come to this then the deadline is to inform us by Friday 9th October 2015. Please visit the website also:

Please email us if you would like to come to the fund raising dinner or if you would like to know more information for prayer or support.

The email is:

Psalm 139:13-16 "For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them".