Candle in the Dark: Robert Copeland on the RPCNA’s Anti-Slavery History

A well-researched, fascinating history of the involvement, accounts, and teachings of Reformed Presbyterian ministers and members in their work to see American chattel slavery overthrown.

The Covenanters mounted a witness against the sin of slavery unlike any other in both North and South. First, their antislavery ideals antedated even the Quaker abolitionist movement; Covenanters were some of the first people in Britain or America to take a public stand against the institution.   In a class in my congregation, we... Continue Reading

Why She Left the Church

Going out to meet some of the eighty-five million Americans who are the unchurched.

Many are like Nicole and they have left the church because they have enough people telling them about what to do and have never heard anyone tell them “It has been done.” They have left the church because the church was too busy giving them more rules to follow instead of preaching to them the gospel... Continue Reading

Are There Good and Bad Kinds of Accountability?

The ultimate aim of any accountability should be to lead us into the presence of the only One who grants grace.

Good accountability draws us into the presence of God in prayer. Why? Because only at the throne of grace before our merciful Father can we plead for escape from temptation, for holiness, and for restoration.   Looking back at my former life as a Roman Catholic in New England, I can almost smell the varnish... Continue Reading

“The Lord Laughed at Me” (Augustine)

He said it was a rebuke of God when he realized his own inadequacy – and it led him to a sorrow that even his friends could not console.

Augustine thought he could handle the difficulties of the ministry, but quickly realized that his own strength and skill were of no value.  By experience he learned that he wasn’t as strong and skillful as he thought: it was as if God was laughing at Augustine for thinking he could do something on his own... Continue Reading

After Darkness, Light: How Calvin Saved the Reformation

The letter was sent to Calvin in Strasbourg, who would take but six days to respond.

The two letters reflect the central issues under debate during the Reformation: the formal principle (sola scriptura) and the material principle (sola fide). Notice, these are the same theological tenets at stake in Luther’s Reformation two decades earlier.   Celebrations of the Reformation typically revolve around the larger-than-life reformer, Martin Luther. On this Reformation Day,... Continue Reading

Cultivating a Culture of Transparency in Your Church

The word transparency isn’t found in the Bible, but numerous Scripture passages exhort Christians to live holy and blameless lives.

Jesus says, “Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness but will have the light of life” (John 8:12). Transparency is living our lives reflecting Jesus’s light as we acknowledge our need for gospel reminders, accountability, and repentance.   “James, would you pray that our church would be willing to have awkward conversations with each other?” “Huh?” Seriously,... Continue Reading

Let No Tribulation in Christ’s Cause Discourage Us (Wyche to Huss)

When the church leaders in Prague burned many of Wycliffe’s books in 1410, Huss and others were excommunicated for not giving up their copies of Wycliffe’s books and for “opposing the Catholic faith.”

There’s more to the story, of course, but one thing worth noting is that an English Lollard (someone who agreed with Wycliffe) named Richard Wyche heard about the incident and wrote a letter of encouragement to Huss – whom he had never met.  I’ll post the letter from Wyche to Huss below.  It is slightly longer than... Continue Reading

Killing an Increasingly Tolerated Sin

One of the prevailing iniquities of our time is the increasing tolerance of pornography.

We’ve gone from scandalous secrecy to open acceptance. The temptation for the Christian is to redefine sexual purity according to the shifting standards of morality. What does it mean to be pure: Monogamy? Not engaging in a physical sexual act? Thankfully, God’s Word is our authority on sexual purity, our unchanging roadmap to joy and... Continue Reading

Why Was the Reformation Necessary?

The great Reformers of the sixteenth century concluded that reform was urgent and necessary in their day.

In pursuing reform for the church, they rejected two extremes. On the one hand, they rejected those who insisted that the church was essentially sound and needed no fundamental changes. On the other hand, they rejected those who believed that they could create a perfect church in every detail. The church needed fundamental reform, but... Continue Reading

A Colossians 3:16 Kind of Singing

“Worship is a response to who God is and what God has done.”

Sometimes we rely on sermons and the worship gatherings alone to get us ready to worship. Friends, we are prone to wander, prone to leave the God we love. True worship is a daily dwelling that Paul is talking about in Colossians. This is a dailyrecognition that what we deserve is death, hell, the wrath... Continue Reading