Self-Awareness, Love, and Overreaction

We have a propensity to move from one extreme to another in reaction to error.

Both ministers and congregants must adopt a posture of gentleness in our engagement in theological controversy. Gentleness is, of course, not antithetical to a strong refutation of error. It is, rather, the converse of harshness. It is far too easy—as is observable in our day of internet outrage—for us to respond with a sinfully rash... Continue Reading

Demon Screens

Take away the phone until the young people finish their homework, do their chores, shoot some hoops, clean their plates, and read their books.

For adolescents, reading is a negligible activity. They reach for the phone before picking up a book, magazine, or newspaper. According to the American Time Use Survey, conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 15–24-year-olds chalk up only six minutes of “Reading for personal interest” each day.   Here is how bad reading in America has become. According to... Continue Reading

Is the Father Reluctantly Gracious?

A right understanding of the work of Christ leads to a true understanding of the matchless love the Father has for us.

While often dormant in our souls, from time to time the thought will erupt that perhaps the Father himself, in himself, does not love us as the Son does. Such a disposition leads to a Spirit of suspicion, and even of bondage, not one of freedom and joy. Then, when we ask the question, “Who... Continue Reading

The Finished Script

Repent of sinful speech.

How it humbles us to consider all our shameful words: terms too bold or rude, phrases with double-entendre, jokes that are inconvenient, gossip that cause strife, vows made in haste, insults that produce rifts, folly that creates havoc, hatred filled with spite, idle words on Sabbath, criticism of a neighbor, assassination of someone’s character, talk... Continue Reading

Antinomianism is a Serious Error and so is Nomism

Neither understands the law for what it is: God’s holy, unyeilding moral standard, an expression of the divine nature.

We may speak of the moral necessity of obedience as a consequenceof our salvation but not as a condition unto salvation. With these distinctions we have avoided both the errors of the nomist and the antinomian and set ourselves on a path toward the Christian life as understood by the Reformation churches and, we dare say, our Lord... Continue Reading

The Basics of Chalcedonian Christology

The history of early Christological heresy is essentially a history of incorrect answers to the metaphysical question, "What kind of being is Jesus?"

What was the question that elicited Peter’s confession? Jesus had asked His disciples, “Who do you say that I am?” (Matt. 16:15). This is the question that every reader of the Gospels must answer. It is the question with which the early church was forced to wrestle for several centuries. As Christians sought to teach... Continue Reading

The Whole and the Parts

All of Scripture points to the glory of God.

The interpretation of a text is aided by a proper understanding of a set of principles, among them the scope of the passage. Unless proper weight is given to its scope—interpretation cannot produce an accurate result…Biblical texts ripped out of their context can be made to say and teach anything; the same texts understood in... Continue Reading

The Anti-Gospel Message of Joel Osteen

The gospel doesn’t give us our best life now as Osteen promises, but it does give us hope through suffering.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen Osteen without a smile. I am not anti-smile, but I am anti-false teaching because it feeds sugar-coated poison to lost and hungry souls. Preaching the Bible is more than just holding a Bible while you preach and occasionally quoting it to support your ideas—you might be mangling the Bible’s... Continue Reading

A Redemptive-Historical Family Tree

The better part of Jesus’ legal genealogy contains reference to the many figures who structure the narrative of redemptive history in the Old Covenant.

There is a depiction of the way in which God foreshadowed the redemptive incorporation of the Gentiles into His overarching purposes in the story of Boaz and Ruth (Matt. 1:5). Then there is a reflection on the way in which God, in His infinite wisdom, used the murderous and adulterous sin of David in order... Continue Reading

Can Scripture Teach Gen Zs To Be Godly Parents?

Parenting is the godly maturing of the child’s brain, God’s way.

Those who no longer consider God’s Word as authentically relevant and who have placed their faith in their personal moral subjectivism, are saying: “You have no right to tell me what I can or can’t do.” What’s our evangelistic choice?   First in a Series of Four We are living in a post-Christian era, an... Continue Reading

Will We Remember Our Life in Heaven? Even the Trauma?

At the heart of these questions lies the concept of memory and what happens to our memory in heaven.

Could we really call it heaven if we experience memories of trauma or grief over loved ones who do not reside with us? Since God does not delight in the death even of the wicked (Ezek 18:23; 33:11) and desires all to be saved (2 Pet 3:9), would we not be right to lament the... Continue Reading

Critical Theory, Dr. Levinson, Dr. Shenvi, and Evangelicalism: Final Thoughts

Some thoughts in response to the recent exchange on Critical Theory.

Since I was implicated in Dr. Levinson and Dr. Shenvi’s recent exchange published on The Aquila Report, I thought I might offer some final thoughts in response. If you have not read either of the pieces, it might be helpful to start there. (“Does Critical Theory Matter for the Evangelical Church to Act for Social Justice?: A... Continue Reading

It is for Professors to Teach and Students to Learn

My antediluvian notion is that professors should teach because students need to learn.

“Welcome to History 101, Western Civilization. This is not high school. You will be here on time and in your seats before I begin lecturing which will be promptly at eight o’clock. Unendurable pain and distress are the only acceptable reasons for leaving class during my lectures. My hours are on my office door located... Continue Reading

Twilight of the Idols

In our day, where pluralism reigns in the culture, there is as much satirical hostility to the idea of one God as there was in Nietzsche’s satire.

In the culture of pluralism, the chief virtue is toleration, which is the notion that all religious views are to be tolerated, all political views are to be tolerated. The only thing that cannot be tolerated is a claim to exclusivity. There is a built-in, inherent antipathy towards all claims of exclusivity. To say that... Continue Reading

Apologetics: Answering Alan Alda – The Evidence for God Is Overwhelming But Sinners Suppress It

“I haven’t come across any evidence for God.”

I wonder what Alda would consider to be admissible and adequate evidence for God? Perhaps first-hand sight of a miracle or a personal experience of hearing God’s audible voice? The reality, however, is that Alda has come across multiple evidence for God in the course of his life. The problem is not a lack of... Continue Reading

How to Pray for Your Pastor

Pray that the joy of the Lord would be his strength all his days.

John the Baptist confessed to the authorities, “I am not the Christ” (John 1:20). John wasn’t the Messiah, and neither is your pastor. Your pastor is just like you: a fellow lost-and-found sheep, a sinner saved by grace, a stranger and exile in this world, a pile of dust animated and sustained by God’s power.... Continue Reading

Our Christian Identity: Anchored and Secured in Christ

The Gospel is at stake in the Revoice controversy

I contend that the Bible is clear that neither Side A or Side B are acceptable to God and should not be declared acceptable in the PCA. There is one clear and certain biblical note that must sound throughout all PCA churches: that professing believers are to find their identity in Christ.   The Presbyterian... Continue Reading

Justification: Paul vs. James?

The key to the Paul-vs.-James difficulty is that each uses the verb “to justify” (dikaio) in different but legitimate ways.

Uniformly, the Reformers noted that the Bible occasionally uses the same word that is translated “to justify” in both a general and a technical sense. The context of James 2:14–26 demands that “to justify” be used in the general sense as opposed to the Pauline technical sense. James is arguing against “dead” faith, which is... Continue Reading

Dr. Lane G. Tipton Appointed as Fellow of Biblical and Systematic Theology

Dr. Tipton’s 15-year tenure at Westminster Seminary has ended; he has been appointed as Fellow of Biblical and Systematic Theology with the Reformed Forum.

On behalf of Reformed Forum, I am pleased to announce that our Board of Directors has appointed Dr. Lane G. Tipton as Fellow of Biblical and Systematic Theology. While he was already a member of our faculty, in this new role, Dr. Tipton will be devoting more of his time to theological writing and teaching... Continue Reading

What Jerusalem Can Do that D.C., Manhattan, and Sacramento Cannot

The church is the embassy to the world.

The last vestiges of old Christendom are fading but the Kingdom of God is still present in the world. The Jerusalem that is above is its capitol. From that city comes hope because Jesus the Messiah is still on his throne. He still uses the gospel to give new life to his people.   David... Continue Reading

4 Reasons Why You Should Never Join a Church that Does Not Practice Church Discipline

A refusal to discipline members and to guard the Lord’s Supper table is one of the greatest tragedies in modern church history.

We must come to the sobering reality that what many people call a church in our day is simply a country club in the name of Jesus rather than a local church. It may seem very strange to modern Christians, but the church should guard the front door of membership and put a high fence... Continue Reading

The Reward of Eternal Life

Our good works don’t even come close to deserving eternal life, and therefore the reward God promises to bestow upon them is due to his grace and kindness.

We are first given the right to eternal life by faith and then we are given “the crown of life in the possession thereof (Rutherford)” by means of good works.  This distinction is crucial, as is the order. We aren’t justified by our good works because they do not play a role in the granting... Continue Reading

3 Ways Jesus’ Death Matters for Your Life

Through faith in Christ, together with Christ, we become conquers waiting for the final victory of the resurrection.

If you trust in Jesus, God looks at you as one who has already died, as one whose sin has already been punished, as one whose life is seen as the perfection that Christ attained. God sees you this way because he sees Jesus in your place. Jesus lived as a substitute for sinners. He... Continue Reading

Mikael Agricola and the Reformation in Finland

Agricola is mostly remembered as the father of Finnish orthography and literature.

In introducing the Reformation to Finland, Agricola followed Luther’s example of moderation, aiming at explaining the changes rather than forcing them on the population. For example, he included in his Prayer Book the Ave Maria, but only as angelic salutation and song of praise about what God had done. He emphasized this with a strong... Continue Reading

Disassociating Paul from Jesus

The desire to set Jesus and Paul at odds will inevitably backfire on those who believe they are helping others embrace a more tolerant brand of Christianity in the church.

At the turn of the twentieth century, the church faced a form of theological liberalism in which theologians sought to disassociate Jesus and Paul. Although the driving factors in the theological liberalism of the twentieth century were somewhat different from our current ecclesiastical controversies, the method and desired end were strikingly similar. Attacks on the... Continue Reading

The Essence of Evil: Sex with Children Has Become Big Business in America

Children, young girls—some as young as 9 years old—are being bought and sold for sex in America, with the average age now 13 years old.

It is estimated that at least 100,000 children—girls and boys—are bought and sold for sex in the U.S. every year, with as many as 300,000 children in danger of being trafficked each year. Some of these children are forcefully abducted, others are runaways, and still others are sold into the system by relatives and acquaintances.... Continue Reading

Waiting for the Pruning to Work

Together we walked through the barrenness the shears had brought us, only I had the capacity to wonder for the both of us if we would ever be fruitful again.

I spent all of last year studying and teaching the Gospel of John, and I still can’t get John’s Gospel out of my head. (I may have even cried when our final bible study met, if that’s any sign of how much I loved studying the book). It dogs my days in a good way,... Continue Reading

Christian Singing: Its Necessity, History, Didactic Nature, and Teleology

Paul’s charge for the Christians at Ephesus to sing “psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs” comes after his exhortation that they be filled with the Spirit, rather than be drunk with wine.

There are two general ways to understand Paul’s phrase “psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs.” The first is that Paul is directly referring to the book of Psalms with all three references. The second is that it also includes uninspired songs. As we will see later, Calvin generally adopted the former in practice. But even he wrote, “What may be the... Continue Reading

The Ten Commandments: The Third

When we see that we are not to treat God’s name in vain, we are not to disregard it as having little value.

God’s name is YHWH. He is the “I AM WHO I AM” (Ex. 3:14). His name is his identity; it describes His character. In the ancient world, names were not merely identifiers or labels. They were descriptive of character. God’s name is good (Ps. 52:9; 54:6). It is not to be taken for granted or invoked... Continue Reading

Jot and Tittle

Did Jesus come to to destroy the law or the prophets? No, He came to fulfill them.

Our Lord is emphasizing His high view of Scripture and its authority as the inspired Word of God in this passage. Those who reject it as such are those whose righteousness does not exceed that of the scribes and Pharisees and they shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven. Think of the... Continue Reading

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