Faith is a Gift (But Not That Kind of Gift!)
Faith is the kind of gift that transforms its recipient into one who deeply values it
In our day, we tend to think of gifts as something we may or may not want, and may or may not actually keep. The assumption that gifts can be refused is so engrained in our modern way of life that we include “gift receipts” with gifts given in order, rather bizarrely, to facilitate their... Continue Reading
WCF 3: Predestined to the Praise of His Glorious Grace
Some decry the doctrine of election, assuming that it will lead to ambivalence, spiritual sloth, or a lack of zeal in evangelism. Nothing could be further from the truth.
A proper and reverential understanding of the doctrine of election provides three practical benefits for those who confess Christ. First, it inspires and encourages believers to obey the will of God, seeking after new obedience (2 Peter 1:5-11). Second, it causes us to praise His glorious grace (Ephesians 1:6, 12). Third, it gives assurance that... Continue Reading
The Devil and The Dunk Tank
Satan devours men with his cunning and his deceptiveness; he appeals our weakness of the flesh urging us to react in sin rather than in the Spirit.
Satan wins when he gets you and me to take our eyes off of Christ and to stop walking in the confidence of Christ’s death, resurrection and power over sin. He cannot destroy the whole Church, so he pulls in the individual Christian who’s forgotten to be watchful and sober. Just like the dunk-tank clown,... Continue Reading
John Knox on Predestination
John Knox’s sustained defense of the sovereignty of God in predestination.
It is, in short, a sustained defence of the sovereignty of God in predestination. Quite what led Knox to focus his only major theological treatise on predestination has been a matter of some dispute. Some have held that Knox was motivated to write it to restore himself to favour with one of his spiritual mentors... Continue Reading
6 Ways the Psalms Sing to Our Fears
When I am struggling with fear, I find meditating on the Psalms a great help and comfort.
At the end of the day, we need to “fear” the Lord, which means we need to have a deep reverence for him, our lives profoundly oriented to him and his ways. Over fifty times in the psalms, the writer calls us to “fear” Yahweh. So a very important aspect of rooting out unhealthy fear... Continue Reading
Strangers And Aliens (23d): You Are Not Alone (1 Peter 5:6–11)
Politicians have often been tempted to declare “Peace in Our Time.”
In our time there has been an almost desperate desire to be approved by the broader culture, even as orthodox Christianity is marginalized. We see this in the compromises made by the mainline denominations. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the liberals and critics demanded that the heretofore culturally acceptable and occasionally influential... Continue Reading
The Beard-Battle That Almost Split Christendom
A fond look back at the time when growing facial hair was an excommunication-worthy offense
Even Baptist minister Charles Spurgeon, in an apparent attempt to win a “most overstated case for anything ever” competition, famously advised his students that growing a beard was “a habit most natural, scriptural, manly, and beneficial.” At first glance, a beard may seem like an unremarkable thing—just a bit of protein, really, sort of... Continue Reading
Singing the Lord’s Song in a Foreign Land
Derek Kidner once remarked of Psalm 137 that “Every line of it is alive with pain.”
“The Psalmist is not only weeping, but he reached to hang up his lyre on the branch of a willow tree somewhere along the Tigris or Euphrates River in this cradle that gave birth to the ancient civilization (137:2). The Babylonians, his captors, wanted to hear him sing a song of Zion. But the Psalmist... Continue Reading
Empathy, Experience, and the Gospel
Greater empathy: not at the expense of orthodoxy but perhaps a better way to "deploy our orthodoxy."
For a society that is so individualistic, we’re driven by a herd mentality. We may even be wired that way. Just watch little kids copy each other’s behavior. The herd’s values vary from one social group to another, but you quickly learn what is accepted/expected and what is not. Given this pressure, it’s hard being... Continue Reading
Holiness Is Our Goal
Scripture tells us that God’s goal for us is that we might be holy, that is sanctified.
It is precisely because we are in relationship with God that we ought to pursue holiness, the two go together well and are in no way opposed to each other. Holiness is relational wholeness with God, relational wholeness with God includes walking in the path of his commands. You shall be holy, for I... Continue Reading