A Call to Thoughtful Vigilance

What can we learn in our day about being vigilant in defending and promoting biblical Christianity?

Paul’s warning was taken very seriously by many churches and ministers in the controversy between fundamentalists and liberals in the 1920s. Fundamentalists seeing their churches and schools deserting historic Christianity viewed liberals as devious, deceptive, even demonic. Dr. J. Gresham Machen, in the most valuable and enduring critique of liberalism written in the 1920s, Christianity and... Continue Reading

Pastor, Let’s Think This Year: John Calvin as Model of Thoughtfulness

For Calvin, learning was continually part of his life.

In some way Calvin’s educational life is unremarkable. Attending schools at a young age and pursuing degrees are somewhat standard fare. Yet, even in the mundane, we learn from Calvin. If pastors would be theologians, they must give themselves to disciplined study, engaged in rigorous programs of thought. Rising early, reading well, writing precisely, and... Continue Reading

God’s Call to Excellence: A Challenge

We all know excellence when we see it.

Too often, we focus primarily on doing and neglect being. But doing is rooted in being! Jesus: asked, “Can a bad tree bear good fruit?” Therefore, in my book on excellence, before turning to specific virtues, I have chapters on holiness and sanctification as well as spirituality.   Today, I want to invite you to think with me... Continue Reading

Pastor Loses Job After Church Sign Stating ‘Homosexuality Is Still A Sin’ Causes Uproar

Pastor Justin Hoke of Trinity Bible Presbyterian Church in Weed, California, lost his job following backlash over language used in a recent church sign.

Hoke said that because “the culture has drawn a line in the sand and dared [Christians] to step over,” he came to the conclusion that the church should accept the challenge — not with hate, but by simply preaching “the gospel.” The pastor also noted that he wasn’t “fired,” but that the church faced a potential... Continue Reading

Love and Anger at the Cross?

Is it unorthodox to believe that, in some sense, the Father was angry with the Son when He hung on the cross in the place of His people to propitiate the wrath of the Father?

That the Father never stopped loving the Son–even when he hung on the cross–is one of the most important Christological truths upon which we can meditate. After all, it was Jesus who said, “Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down my life that I may take it again” (John 10:17). Herman Witsius, the... Continue Reading

The Puritans on the Lord’s Supper (7)

The devil “will be with you at the sacrament to rob you of the comfort and hinder you from that joy that there you might be filled with.”

Reynolds said the Supper was ordained “to exhibit Christ” so as “to increase the mystical union of the church unto Christ their head.” Just as natural food strengthens our bodies by becoming part of them, so we receive “spiritual nourishment” from the Supper in “the vital Spirit of Christ” so that “Christ, being united unto... Continue Reading

Don’t Look Away

As parents, it’s hard to face the reality that these are the kinds of “truths” that filmmakers and book writers, YouTubers and celebrities, teachers and politicians are diligently trying to teach our children.

A video is making its way around the internet that is part of a series called “Kids Meet…” This particular episode is titled “Kids Meet Someone Who’s Had an Abortion.” In the video, Amelia Bonow, the founder of #ShoutYourAbortion, sits down with kids to talk to them about how normal abortion is. She says it’s... Continue Reading

Hell: What Sort of Place?

Hell is terrible beyond words precisely because it is not heaven.

Contrary to the teachings of some Christians, the Bible gives us every reason to believe that hell is a physical place that affects our physical bodies, in addition to its mental and spiritual torments. Jesus said, “Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him... Continue Reading

Whither the Presbyterian Church in America?

As the PCA moves through its 47th year as a denomination we should ask “whither the PCA?”

Denominations do not last forever or remain evangelical forever. I have seen the futility of those who tried to reform the PCUS from within. It became impossible. The PCA appears to be going down all the same paths that led to the demise of the PCUS as an evangelical denomination. On some issues, such as... Continue Reading

‘Crisis of Responsibility’ by David L. Bahnsen: A Review

The main culprit in the decline of modern American as a lack of responsibility on a personal level.

If we do not go beyond the specificity of Reformed doctrine and develop the ability to apply it to our work, then we end up in a closed theological academy without any application to the world in which we live and work.  In our desire to be pure in doctrine, we may become irrelevant.  David... Continue Reading

Canons Of Dort (17): The Offer Of The Gospel Is Genuine But So Is Unbelief

For the Remonstrants, the gospel is that Christ’s death created the possibility, the potential of salvation but by it he did not actually save anyone.

The Psalmist says, “Our God is a God of salvation, and to GOD, the Lord, belong deliverances from death” (Ps 68:20; ESV). Salvation does not belong to us. It is not ours to actuate, if only we will. It is ours to receive with an empty, open hand, which the Spirit of God freely gives... Continue Reading

LGBTQ+ Audit

We must be open to all kinds of people coming to our churches.

The mainstreaming of homosexual perversion into the church is not going away. What is the solution? Unless we evangelize the homosexual, adulterer, fornicator, drunkard, con-artist, liar, thief, and every other kind of sinner; unless God causes them to be born again by the Spirit, then there is no hope for any of them. The answer,... Continue Reading

Christian Liberty

Ever since the fall of man in the garden, natural man has been a slave to sin, but Christ set us free from the bondage of our sin.

There is simply no charity in taxation and government programs. Charity can only be carried out voluntarily through individuals. And will only be carried out to the best it can be through Christians, i.e., through the church. Christians must obediently carry out their obligations to love their neighbor, to care widows and their children, to... Continue Reading

Honoring the Lord’s Day in An Age of Sunday Sports

Ministers and officers who take confessional vows should think twice before publicly commending activities and choices that contradict the teachings of our standards.

Ministers and officers who take confessional vows should think twice before publicly commending activities and choices that contradict the teachings of our standards. No two officers or church members approach the Lord’s Day in exactly same way. No one believes that they keep the day perfectly or maybe even well. But certain actions and words... Continue Reading

Mary Poppins Returns: Echoes of the Gospel?

Mary Poppins Returns has so many (unwitting?) allusions to Scripture, an entire book could be written on it.

As Emily Blunt tells us as the “new” Mary Poppins, “Everything is possible, even the impossible.” Blunt captures the regal looks, facial expressions, voice, and mannerisms of Andrews in a remarkable fashion. But, the strength of this visual masterpiece is not the impeccable acting, whimsical music, nor the outstanding cinematography and CGI. It is the... Continue Reading

Angela Davis and the Rev. Fred L. Shuttlesworth Human Rights Award

The Birmingham Civil Rights Institute revoked its invitation to honor city native Angela Y. Davis at a February gala from receiving the Rev. Fred L. Shuttlesworth Human Rights Award.

Charitably, one might assume that the attention and accolades conveyed on Angela Davis by American academic institutions and narrowly averted by the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute issue from ignorance of her record caused by decades during which the study of history has devolved into fables conceived in self-serving multicultural and diversity polemics. To be ignorant... Continue Reading

Union with Christ: A Neglected Truth

Very often our union with Christ exerts a profound but unexamined influence.

A brief survey of the New Testament will quickly reveal the importance of the idea of union with Christ. This idea is given special emphasis in the writings of Paul, as one finds the Apostle describing virtually every aspect of Christian privilege and experience as “in Christ” or “in Him.”   I was born and... Continue Reading

10 Things You Should Know about the “Jezebel Spirit”

Although the first Jezebel had been dead for over 1,000 years, her spirit had, as it were, found new life in this woman of Thyatira.

“But I have this against you, that you tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess and is teaching and seducing my servants to practice sexual immorality and to eat food sacrificed to idols. I gave her time to repent, but she refuses to repent of her sexual immorality.”   Is there any such... Continue Reading

A Pastor, His Dying Wife, and Their Church—A Group Text

"Would you know what I am doing? I see God; I see Him as He is; not as through a glass darkly, but face to face."

I belong to a What’sApp messaging group with scores (or more) of Brad and Megan’s family, friends, and fellow church members. Brad offers updates, which alternate between the grieving and the inspiring. His friends offer encouragements and prayers. On Wednesday morning—five days after normal ended—Brad shared the following (lightly edited, including removing children and church’s... Continue Reading

Is Saving the Earth More Important than Saving Souls? (The 10 Commandments of Progressive Christianity #10).

We finally come to the tenth and last “commandment” of progressive Christianity and this one is a classic: “Life in This World is More Important than the Afterlife.”

It’s hard to imagine a statement that better captures the ethos of progressive Christianity than this one.  It marks a profound pivot away from matters eternal and toward matters earthly.  Let’s not worry ourselves about what happens after death, we are told, because no one knows anyway.  All that matters is helping the poor, feeding... Continue Reading

Beyond the Numbers Game

Would it feel worth it if only a handful of people responded?

There is a truth that every person in ministry must eventually confront: God may only give you a small audience. He may only grant you a few supporters. He may only bless you with a small team, a short reach, a limited influence. The question for us back then was how would we respond?   “If... Continue Reading

Why Pray for the Media?

Two people who were not seeking the limelight spoke an oft-derided message through the media to the applause of almost everyone.

Both of these figures, on public platforms, testified clearly and boldly to the grace and truth of Jesus Christ. The media honored them greatly. Denhollander and Trent spoke the good news of the gospel to huge numbers of people. Christians too often bemoan that they are shouted out of the public square, but that has... Continue Reading

An Unexpected Friendship

"P.S. Be sure to say your prayers. I do every day."

“Wow, I still can’t believe it. Imagine, of the millions of children that Compassion is sponsoring, I was chosen by the president of America to be his sponsored child from many miles away. He became my sponsor when I was 7 years old and he went by the name of George Walker. Looking back, now... Continue Reading

Holding on to Hope

Even though many of their contemporaries and others who had gone before them lost their appetite for God’s Word, Simeon and Anna clung to it in faith.

There had been four centuries of divine silence in Israel. The God who had progressively revealed his plan and purpose in redemption through the pages of Holy Scripture, had added nothing to his revealed word throughout this time. Even though it was a period marked with major national and international crises that affected God’s people... Continue Reading

Top 10 Stories on The Aquila Report In Each of the Last 10 Years

The Aquila Report presents the top10 articles run for each year of its service.

The Aquila Report is celebrating its 10th anniversary of providing news and information for the Reformed and Evangelical family of churches. We thought it would be interesting to see what the top articles were for each of the years; they are list below. The board and staff of The Aquila Report enjoys offering this news... Continue Reading

Come Away and Rest

The Sabbath rest was a creation command and gift and the Ten Commandments are the moral law for all humanity.

Every seven days Adam and Eve would stop their pleasant work of tending the garden and studying the animal and plant life, to spend the day in meditation on the works and the word of Almighty God. Perhaps, especially on this day, they would commune with their Creator as he walked with them in the... Continue Reading

Dutch Pastors Face Possible Criminal Investigation For Signing The Nashville Statement

Last month, over 250 Dutch pastors and church leaders went public with their endorsement of the Nashville Statement; the statement has been met with fierce opposition in the Netherlands.

I am grateful for these men and their courageous stand for biblical teaching. Pray for these pastors. They did not anticipate this kind of opposition to what is essentially a confessional statement. But now they are being called to stand in the face of severe headwinds from the wider culture. They are also facing a... Continue Reading

5 Ways the Gospel Can Rescue Your Marriage

The good news for marriage is the good news for all of life: the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Human marriage can be a beautiful gift. But Paul talks about marriage in the context of Christ’s gift to the church to teach us that the best human marriages are but shadows of the glorious marriage between Christ and believers (Eph. 5:32–33). In the gospel, Christ gives himself as the new life we need. He... Continue Reading

Can We Trust the New Testament?

As Christians we believe that the original words of the New Testament writers were inspired by God.

In the ancient world, there were (obviously) no laptop computers, spell checks, printing presses, or other modern conveniences to help produce books. If one wanted to write a book, one did it by hand. And if one wanted to see that book “published” and distributed throughout a broad geographical region, copies of that book would... Continue Reading

Idols of a Mother’s Heart

Our identity and meaning aren't meant to be found in motherhood, or fatherhood, but in Christ who has redeemed us.

Unlike so many of the books on parenting that I’ve read, Christina’s book isn’t about smacking you on the head with what you’re doing wrong. Her approach isn’t like Bob Newhart’s counseling skit. She doesn’t simply tell you to “Stop it!” From beginning to end, Christina’s message is gospel-centered and full of grace for us... Continue Reading