Concluding the Baptist Larger Catechism

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About 10 months ago, I embarked on a project of completing a Baptist Larger Catechism, which was intended to be a Particular Baptist version of the Westminster Larger Catechism, in which a thorough discussion of credobaptist distinctives have been given in catechetical form. On last week, I’ve finished the last questions of this catechism regarding the Lord’s Prayer.

I want to thank everyone who took the time to read through the catechism and to offer suggestions, criticisms, and edits. The final form of the Baptist Larger Catechism can be found on this PDF link. The next goal for this project is to format it in e-book form and distribute it to those who would be interested in using it for their own growth. I will also add a page to this blog in the future for those who like to access the catechism online

Communion Meditation 28: The Wedding Feast of the Lamb

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An important aspect of the doctrine of the Lord’s Supper focuses on typology. In particular, the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper is a foretaste of the wedding feast of the Lamb. This typology can be drawn from numerous passages in the Scripture, but the Song of Solomon gives us language to express the intimate communion associated with the Supper. In the Song of Solomon, we have the intimate relationship of the bride and the bridegroom as a picture of the intimate union of Christ with the Church. Consider Song of Solomon 2:14-17:

“O my dove, in the clefts of the rock,
in the covert of the cliff,
let me see your face,
let me hear your voice,
for your voice is sweet,
and your face is comely.
Catch us the foxes,
the little foxes,
that spoil the vineyards,
for our vineyards are in blossom.”
My beloved is mine and I am his,
he pastures his flock among the lilies.
Until the day breathes and the shadows flee,
turn, my beloved, be like a gazelle,
or a young stag upon rugged mountains.

The dove, following the Christian interpretation, represents the Church. The dove is an appropriate figure for the Church because of its innocence and humility. Just as in a marriage husband and wife are united in a covenant in which they share all things with each other, so God’s people are members of the Church share all things together. There is a sharing between Christ and the Church, God’s people. There is a communion between Christ and the Christian. This is at heart of what the sacrament is all about: “My beloved is mine and I am His.”

In particular, there is a community of gifts and graces between Christ and the Christian. The gifts of God are given to us by the hand of Christ. We receive them because we are in Christ. He is a fountain of blessings full and overflowing. Even more, the blessings we receive are a pledge of even greater blessings. Christ is for us the source of all spiritual gifts, that out of His fullness we might all receive grace upon grace. This picture of communion is ultimately fulfilled in the wedding feast of the Lamb in Revelation 21:5-7

And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” And He said, “Write, for these words are faithful and true.” Then He said to me, “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give to the one who thirsts from the spring of the water of life without cost. He who overcomes will inherit these things, and will be His God and He will be My Son.”

The larger context of these verses is the final consummation of the Kingdom of God and the appearance of Christ triumphant over all His foes. This is the most joyful of all occasions, when the bride is at last united to the Bridegroom. This passage encourages all who have a thirst for the presence of God to come to the Lord’s Table. If we have a hunger for true faith and if we have a thirst for God’s love, then we are welcome at His Table. Often there are many who at one time or another sensed God’s loving presence, but somehow they had lost that sense. Such people may suppose that they are disqualified from the Supper. However, these individuals are especially welcome to the Table. Commenting on this passage, Samuel Rutherford says

If ever there was a blythe meeting betwixt two, it must be betwixt the Bridegroom and the bride in the marriage-day… Let me now tell you weak ones who are Christ’s companions, and who it is shall drink with Him, and get their hearts and heads full of the water of life- even the tender Christians who are aye seeking.

At the Lord’s Table, we must remember that it is those who hunger and thirst who shall be filled. At the Lord’s Table, our union and communion with Christ is further confirmed. We are reminded that we are joint-heirs with Christ. As Jesus promised to His disciples, as the Father had appointed for Him a kingdom, so Christ will appoint a kingdom for us, that we might eat and drink at His table in His kingdom (cf. Luke 22:29).