Machen Was Doomed, But The PCA Is Not
PCA confessionalists stand on much firmer ground and have far better prospects than did Machen in the first three and half decades of the 20th century.
We can only speculate as to how he [Machen] might view the de facto revisions of the PCA’s confession and catechisms due to the allowances of “good faith subscription.” One thing is for sure—despite the challenges of the day, PCA confessionalists stand on much firmer ground and have far better prospects than did Machen in... Continue Reading
On Fat Ash Thursday: This Is Not About Naming Days.
If more rituals, like Ash Wednesday, are a necessity for the spiritual good of every sheep, how could a pastor fail to urge participation on each and every one?
We need the outwards means that Christ actually uses. Where has he put his promises? How does he give us the benefits of redemption? It is appalling to assert that sanctification by faith urgently needs something other than what Christ has appointed. This is about how is it even possible, and how is it actually... Continue Reading
No Ashes to Ashes: An Anglican History of Ash Wednesday
To the great surprise of many, the Protestant use of ashes for Ash Wednesday services is a modern phenomenon.
This history [of Ash Wednesday] can teach us several things, but chiefly it highlights how traditions can be invented and re-invented—and how quickly and thoroughly this can happen. Certainly most laymen assume that the use of ashes is an ancient and unbroken custom, and many a church website advertises it as such. One suspects the... Continue Reading
Machen vs. Women – A War He Never Fought
Ordained female deacons in the Northern church resulted largely from the receiving into the PCUSA in 1905-1906 of the greater part of the old born-in-revival Cumberland Presbyterian Church, which already had female deacons.
Whether the ordination of women to the offices of deacon, then ruling elder was inevitable and just a symptom of the slide or whether it actually made the slope all the more slippery…well, that’s a subject of debate. Women pastors in the PCUSA did not gain approval until 1956, two decades after Machen’s untimely death.... Continue Reading
What to Do When You Think a Friend Is Considering Suicide
For several reasons, including shame, guilt, and theological issues, suicide has been pushed into the dark recesses of even our churches.
It’s addressing a real problem. Simply, there are a lot of people who struggle with suicide. Suicide is the second leading cause of death for people aged 10–34. Almost 50,000 people die by suicide every year. As staggering as that number is, it doesn’t tell the whole story. According to the CDC, 12.2 million American... Continue Reading
A Band of Brothers
Personal relationships do not determine what is good and righteous, and standing by friends is not the measure of a man's ministry. The pastoral call can be no less demanding than the call of discipleship.
Impartiality is one of the most needed and maybe one of the most neglected aspects of faithful ministry. The closer our relational bonds are the more easily we can be tempted by line drawing, blind loyalty, party spirit, or clouded judgment. These things have no place among those who account themselves servants of Christ —... Continue Reading
PCA Sturm und Drang On The Horizon?
In the spring of the year, the time when presbyters go out to battle...
Well, in the name of unity and progress, presbyters are often exhorted to empathy and imagination…maybe we should coin a new term: empathigination. Empathy is good. Putting oneself in the trendy, white-soled brown leather casual shoes of another can be helpful. For the last couple of decades, it seems empathigination in the PCA is primarily... Continue Reading
The Destruction of the Church As Metaphor
The burning of Washington Street Methodist is a metaphor in America today for the terrible destruction wrought by those who confidently think themselves pure, righteous above all others.
Based on the historical record, there is little doubt that at the time of its destruction Washington Street Methodist had been – for three decades – a powerhouse of gospel-focused labor aimed at improving the prospects for eternity of the enslaved population of South Carolina, and beyond. As Northern victory drew near in 1865,... Continue Reading
Presidential Transition At Covenant College
Dr. J. Derek Halvorson, president of Covenant College, has announced his intention to end his tenure as president on June 30th, 2023.
Dr. Halvorson is the 6th president of the college and has served for 11 years, the third longest serving president in the history of the college. Through his leadership, the college successfully navigated a global pandemic and other external challenges many schools are experiencing in the world of higher education. Dr. J. Derek Halvorson... Continue Reading
Encore: Evangelicalism from 2000–2020
The most significant movement among young evangelicals in North America between the years 2000 and 2020 was the resurgence of Reformed theology.
In November, Christ Over All offered a decade-by-decade engagement with evangelicalism. We would encourage you to go read many of those fine essays. In this two-part “Encore Essay” by Mark Devine, we return to our November theme, Engaging Evangelicalism, because of its many applications for our January theme: Roe v Wade after Dobbs. While Evangelicals should... Continue Reading