How a 16-Year-Old Girl Explained the Sacraments to a Catholic Interrogator in 1554
In early 1554 Queen Mary I sent John de Feckenham to seek to persuade her 16-year-old Protestant cousin, the Lady Jane Grey, of the truth of the Catholic faith, thereby avoiding execution
“God forbid that I should say that I eat the very natural body and blood of Christ; for then either I should pluck away my redemption, or else there were two bodies, or two Christs. One body was tormented on the cross, and if they did eat another body, then had he two bodies; or... Continue Reading
Dealing With Someone Else’s Sin
Whether I’m preaching about it, counseling through it, praying over it, it seems much of my energies are directed toward this tireless enemy
“Many times we go to others to discuss their sin, we go with a vindictive heart rather than a broken one. We go with the end goal of making someone feel really bad rather than the goal of restoration. And to whatever extent that’s the case, we are not participating in God’s gracious plan for... Continue Reading
Jesus Loves Me, This I Know…
In recent years, myriads of books have been written to seek to convince men --and particularly women-- of the love of Christ. Jesus Calling is one such example.
The quest for a subjective experience of the love of Christ apart from Scripture also often comes in the form of superstitious readings of nature or providence. One sees a rainbow or a beautiful sunset and thinks, “This is a sign of God’s love for me.” Someone narrowly escapes a near-death incident and thinks, “Now... Continue Reading
Older, Restful, and Reforming
We recently saw the 10-year anniversary of Collin Hansen‘s landmark Christianity Today article “Young, Restless, Reformed," which became a book with the same title
“I also think, ten years later, the younger members of our tribe seem less restless than we did when we started. For all the flack the millennials take in the wider culture, the millennials I meet in the gospel-centered tribe seem more mature, more settled.” I never set out to “join a movement.” I... Continue Reading
10 Questions To Ask a Pastoral Search Committee
I have learned several important questions a pastoral candidate should ask
“Ask them about church finances and seek documentation. A financial crisis can devastate your ministry, yet it is one of those topics we tend not to think about when considering a pastoral position. Theology? We think of that. Methodology? Check. What happened to the last pastor? Got that. Finances don’t often rank as a vital... Continue Reading
Does This Mean Black Lives Matter is Fundamentalist?
Children of white privilege who attend elite universities and have little experience with African-American communities are joining the ranks of Black Lives Matter to create a large social movement
“The leaders of Black Lives Matter are telling Americans they have something to do right now. My question: why does Corey worry about fundamentalism and not about Black Lives Matter? His answer might be that Black Lives Matter has a point. But what if fundamentalism has a point? Would that make extremism okay?” Benjamin... Continue Reading
How Pornography Kills Ambition
Porn's isolating emphasis on pleasing myself actually made me less myself
“Pornography is an acid to this kind of holy ambition. The problem is not only that the person addicted to porn spends so much time with it, though that is a problem. A much larger issue is that pornography invites its user to enter into a private world of fantasy, pleasure and power, and it... Continue Reading
Pastoral Advice for Minority Pastors Shepherding White Christians in Predominately Minority Contexts
Ethnic minority pastors should intentionally pursue ways to live out the one new man in Christ
“This complicated history of minority and white relations in the U.S. could make it awkward for those within the white majority when they humbly submit to minority leadership in sacred spaces, voluntarily sacrifice their majority status, and serve in sacred spaces under minority leadership in minority contexts. Their willingness to do so is a beautiful,... Continue Reading
The ancient Psalms are experiencing somewhat of a revival in various places. Why?
Some Christian songs are emotionally stirring, but have little theological content; the heart is engaged, but not the mind. Over-reacting to this, some have composed songs that are full of theological facts, but don’t engage the worshipper’s feelings. They are more like sung sermons. The Psalms strike an inspired balance of doxological theology and theological... Continue Reading
The Necessity of a Divine Mediator
Why is it important for Jesus to be God? Without this being his identity, you would have no Savior.
Finally, our mediator needs to be divine so “that he might…bring [us] to everlasting salvation” (Q&A 38). His divinity has sustained the wrath of God against him because of our sins. His divinity gave infinite value to his work on our behalf. His divinity has satisfied God’s eternal justice against our sins. His divinity has... Continue Reading
Will the Supreme Court Turn against Religious Liberty – Part 1
The disfavoring of religion in court decisions of recent decades is resulting in the exclusion of religion from society
The Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) highlighted the crossroads situation that America faces with respect to religious liberty in two panel discussions at Capitol Hill on September 16. These discussed first the only religious liberty case now accepted by the Supreme Court, Trinity Lutheran Church vs. Pauley, and a second panel concerning the future direction that... Continue Reading
Van Til’s Critique of Barth’s Christology (Part 2)
Barthianism is not simply a different expression of Christianity, but a different religion altogether
Or, to put the matter in the form of a question: is there any way to conceive of Barthianism and (Reformed) Christianity as friends? The answer must be Nein! For this reason, we find the recent dismissals of Van Til’s critique by current evangelical theologians somewhat troubling. What is perhaps even more disturbing is the... Continue Reading
Prey to Being Positive?
At risk of being ‘jaundiced against joy’, I’ve often remarked how the ‘positivity police’ who cry ‘stop being negative’, are often among the most negative people I know.
If I’m now in danger of being too negative, never preach heaven if you do not warn of hell. Never preach blessing unless you threaten curse. Don’t omit wrath when you assure ‘no condemnation’. I hope I’m not guilty of overstating the case. If anything, I think, the opposite is true. The sparkling Gospel diamond... Continue Reading
Regret Will Kill You Unless You Kill It With Promises
The life-giving promises of Scripture are the God-appointed means of renewing our mind when we feel regret
The human mind struggles to grasp these truths. We have no mental framework for this type of response. When someone sins against us, we don’t respond this way. Perhaps, if God is gracious, we are able to forgive the person for the wrong they’ve done. Our offer of forgiveness means that we will not seek... Continue Reading
The Church Here and There (Turretin)
Christ’s church exists in a twofold state: on earth, and in heaven.
In Reformed theology there are various ways to describe Christ’s church. One of the descriptions is to distinguish between the church militant and the church triumphant. This is not to say there are two churches. It is simply a way to explain the state or degree of Christ’s church. Christ’s church exists in a twofold... Continue Reading
The Call to Discipleship: Moving Beyond Reactionary Ethics
The answer, of course, is in the gospel of Christ, and it is only being Christ-centered that Christian ethics can really be truly Christian.
On the other hand, what characterizes modernity’s (and much of contemporary Christianity’s) “naive and confused love” is a failure to grasp “one of the conditions for authentic love”: renunciation and sacrifice. In the gospel, Pinckaers reminds us, “radical self-renunciation is a necessary condition for love of Christ.” And it is that sort of love, a... Continue Reading
Why Every Parent Should Embrace Their Inability
Adapted from Parenting: "The 14 Gospel Principles That Can Radically Change Your Family" by Paul David Tripp.
Here’s the bottom line for every parent: the change that has to happen in each of your children, you can’t create. In fact, nowhere in his Word has God tasked you with the responsibility to create it. Good parenting is about becoming okay with the fact that you are powerless to change your child. In... Continue Reading
Crossway Statement on the ESV Bible Text
Crossway apologizes for saying recently that “the text of the ESV Bible will remain unchanged in all future editions printed and published by Crossway.”
We have become convinced that this decision was a mistake. We apologize for this and for any concern this has caused for readers of the ESV, and we want to explain what we now believe to be the way forward. Our desire, above all, is to do what is right before the Lord. In... Continue Reading
Americans Love God and the Bible, Are Fuzzy on the Details
Most Americans still identify as Christians but they seem to be confused about some of the details of their faith.
More than half of Americans (58 percent) say God is the author of the Bible. About half say the Bible alone is the written Word of God (52 percent). Two-thirds of Americans (64 percent) say the biblical accounts of the physical (bodily) resurrection of Jesus are completely accurate. A quarter (23 percent) disagree. Thirteen percent... Continue Reading
Lloyd-Jones on Van Til on Barth
A review by Martyn Lloyd-Jones on Cornelius Van Til’s “Christianity and Barthianism”
It is difficult to over-estimate the value of this book at the present time. It shows clearly why the Barthian teaching has been so ineffective in the life of the church. It has been an intellectualist movement which has led men to preach about the Word rather than preach the Word. It has been going... Continue Reading
The Age Of Consent In A New Age
The debate once centered upon the age of consent for sex or marriage. Today, the debates are about the age of consent for gender reassignment surgery and life itself.
The advocates of autonomy establish the moral righteousness of providing gender reassignment surgery or euthanasia to a minor who requests it on the argument that the child asked for it. This is an absolute abdication of adult responsibility for the sacred trust of children. It makes you wonder if those who advocate for a child-run... Continue Reading
Why It’s Time to Give Up On Your Desire for Consensus
If you want to kill vision, form a committee. The committee will beat the life out of any innovation you bring to the table.
I don’t know why this is true, but it’s often easier for a team of people to adapt to a bold idea and make it better than it is for a team to come up with a bold idea. This isn’t always the case, but in many instances, I think it is. I dream in... Continue Reading
‘Shut Up, Bigot!’ The Philosophers Argued
Richard Swinburne, the Oxford philosopher and Orthodox Christian, delivered a lecture on Christian sexual ethics at a Midwest Society of Christian Philosophers conference; it offended some in attendance.
Today, when someone is accused of homophobia, the mere fact of accusation allows no effective reply. To defend oneself by saying that homosexual and heterosexual unions are not equal, even if supported by most persuasive arguments, only confirms the charge of homophobia because the charge itself is never a matter of discussion. The only way... Continue Reading
It Is Time For Cultural Apologetics – Pt. 1
Our rising generation desperately needs to be trained in cultural apologetics, the theological analysis of contemporary culture using terminology that speaks to this new, de-christianized situation.
How interesting that via these different terms of “holy” and “holism” we come back to our starting point, the fact of only two religions, Oneism or Twoism. Oneism is a form of spiritual holism where everything is included—including God. Twoism is the very essence of holiness, where things are not confused but have their special,... Continue Reading
Distinguishing Among the Three Persons of the Trinity within Reformed Tradition
I do not think the talk of “roles” is the best way to speak of the eternal distinctions between the Persons of the Trinity
Traditionally, the way in which the Persons of the Godhead have been distinguished—and they are distinct (which suggests three hypostases) not different (which would suggest another ousia)—is not by roles or by eternal relations of authority and submission, but by paternity, filiation, and spiration. To put it another way, the Father is the Father (and... Continue Reading
May A Christian College Administer Communion?
The question is whether it is proper to administer communion (the Lord’s Supper or the Eucharist) outside the visible, institutional church
When private persons, who have not been authorized by Christ nor ordained by his church, take upon themselves the prerogative of administering Christ’s sacraments, they are usurpers. However well-intentioned they may be, they are doing what does not belong to them. The sacraments were to be administered by the true, visible, institutional church. The great... Continue Reading
Toward a Better Reading: Reflections on the Permanent Changes to the Text of Genesis 3:16 in the ESV
We’re concerned that this new rendering repeats the very mistakes that led to the formation of the ESV in the first place
As users of the ESV, we have always known that the translation of the ESV occurred in context of concerns about gendered language. We understood the concern as such: Because Bible translators can read meaning into gendered words based on current sociological agendas, we want to be constrained by the actual words of the text... Continue Reading
Mortification and Vivification
Without the Spirit of God, there would be neither mortification nor vivification in the life of the believer.
Both mortification and vivification are the work of the Holy Spirit in the believer’s life. As Paul states, “If you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live” (Rom. 8:13; see also Rom. 8:4; Gal. 5:16-25;... Continue Reading
Complaining Isn’t Authentic, It’s a Waste of Time
We’ve begun to celebrate complaining as a virtue rather than a vice
Complaints spring from a heart that thinks it deserves better. But in a fallen world people sin against you, families are broken, relationships are hard, work drains you, and suffering is commonplace. Water is wet and life is hard—that’s just the way it is. The sooner I recognize this, the better. Then, when I’m tempted... Continue Reading
History Taken Out Of God’s Hands: Middle Knowledge
"In the theory of middle knowledge, that is precisely the case with God. God looks on, while humans decide."
Not everyone agrees with this view. Some people say that it detracts from human freedom, so they speak of God’s middle knowledge. That is, although God knows all the possibilities of what might happen in the future, his decree depends on man’s choices and actions. In this view, God decreed that which he foresaw would... Continue Reading