Faith and the Present Economy
A Trial of Allegiance
Our whole government, spurred on by many private actors, gives its efforts to material prosperity, and by this concern with prosperity above all else has conditioned the citizenry to have similar priorities. And that concern makes remorseless war upon the life of the Spirit. “You cannot serve both God and money.” Luke 16:13 When our... Continue Reading
Calvin’s Political Theology Revisited
Honest Reformation Scholarship Leads to an Unmistakable Conclusion
Calvin’s Political Theology, authored by Matthew J. Tuininga, currently Associate Professor of Christian Ethics and the History of Christianity at Calvin Theological Seminary. Tuininga makes his objective clear from the beginning: “[Calvin’s political theological perspective] offers us the theological resources to reject the ideal of Christendom, in which all citizens are expected to worship and... Continue Reading
Cremation or Burial: Why I’m Not Convinced It Matters Nearly as Much as Some Think
The Old Covenant people were specifically concerned with being buried in the land. They were buried in Israel just as we are buried into Christ, the true Israel.
In the end, the bottom line here is this: if the Lord was especially concerned about this I am confident he would have given us a clear and definite instruction somewhere in his Word. That he hasn’t tells me we are likely to be making a bigger deal out of the means than God does,... Continue Reading
Cremation or Burial: Does Our Choice Matter?
Christians have almost universally practiced burial until recently.
My goal isn’t to condemn or shame anyone who has chosen cremation for others (much less those who’ve simply carried out their departed loved ones’ directives). My desire is forward-looking, to give us something to think about as we make decisions about our funerals and as we discuss plans with our friends and loved ones,... Continue Reading
The First Amendment vs. The First Commandment
Americanism is the name I have given to a new dominant religion in our beloved nation.
The religion of Americanism teaches us that God’s law is not valid outside of the church; maybe the last six of the Ten Commandments are valid (and even that is considered debatable), but certainly not the first four. Modern theologians like to divide the ten commandments into parts, as if God has two minds. We... Continue Reading
Charles Hodge, Protestant Nationalist
Christianity and the State in America
We could with justice call Hodge a Protestant Nationalist. Hodge explains the way in which God’s moral law must be the foundation of American political life like this: The people of this country being rational, moral, and religious beings, the government must be administered on the principles of reason, morality, and religion. By a like... Continue Reading
No, Evangelicals Are Not Selling Their Souls for Israel
A Reflection Occasioned by Jim Fitzgerald’s Recent Article
We do not say that Israel is wholly right in its tactics or generally, nor that [Fitzgerald] is obligated to support her, only that his opposition to her ought to be more honest and careful in its sources, and that he not be so quick to suggest those who might support her are derelict in... Continue Reading
GRACE Report and Tenth Presbyterian Church
GRACE suggests that the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper may be withheld from the penitent as a form of ongoing consequences for past sins.
If GRACE operated according to biblical precepts, they would not be as quick and confident to meddle with the peace and administrative functions of the church, or make inquiries that can become the occasion for the vulnerable and unlearned to violate the Ninth Commandment. I found the GRACE report to be an abomination. It... Continue Reading
Dear Retired Pastor: Off with the Slippers, On with the Boots
Abraham was “looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God” (Heb. 11:10). This life isn’t a stroll but a hike, and a long one at that.
As retired pastors, we have years of experience and wisdom to share with others. Take inventory of what you’ve learned. Don’t think for one moment your ministry is over. Some of your best years have just begun. You’re in new territory with seasoned wisdom ready to be delivered to those coming behind you. Anyone... Continue Reading
How to Properly Wrestle a Church Opossum
And other lessons learned in rural ministry.
It was early and no one would be at church for another hour or so. Since I was alone, I jumped down the last two steps, belting out the wrong words to one of the hymns we were going to sing later that morning. As I landed on the sanctuary floor, there was a large... Continue Reading