Norma Normata

Creedal statements are an attempt to show a coherent and unified understanding of the whole scope of Scripture.

Protestant community found it necessary, in the light and heat of the controversy of that time, to give definitive statements as to what they believed and how their faith differed from the Roman Catholic Church’s theology. Rome itself added her creedal statements at the Council of Trent in the middle of the sixteenth century as... Continue Reading

Preaching Holiness Without Bashing Heads

To the degree your flock understands the cross, their obedience to His commands will come from a place of love for Him.

If we are compelled by biblical teaching both to preach Christ crucified (Acts10:42) and advance virtue (Phil 4:8) then it necessarily follows that the two are not mutually exclusive, and we must be able to do both. The answer is found in preaching the gospel even as you are promoting biblical virtues. The gospel goes beyond... Continue Reading

Missing My Church Family

I am thankful that we are a church family and that our lives are intertwined together.

It has been challenging to see folks who were just sporadic in their attendance to worship. I was frustrated with these people who shirked from what I saw and still see as a clear duty. But since my time away, now I pray for them. I pray for them differently, not prayers that the Lord... Continue Reading

Emblems of the Infinite King by J. Ryan Lister

Make no mistake – this is a serious book. And serious books have life-changing implications.

Emblems of the Infinite King strikes a biblical balance that celebrates orthodoxy but also warms the heart with imaginative prose and a compelling story. Each chapter describes a particular key that explains a doctrinal reality that ultimately leads to the throne of God. Dr. Lister presents each branch of systematic theology in the framework of the... Continue Reading

Liberal Irish Presbyterians Dismayed by Conservatism

Heavy-handed treatment of same-sex issues harmful to soul of the church.

Very few northern Presbyterian liberals are brave enough to speak out publicly, but everyone is watching for the outcome of this struggle for the soul of the church. Meanwhile the parting words of outgoing moderator Dr Charles McMullan hang heavily over the current controversies. He said in June: “In a rapidly changing and secularising Ireland, we... Continue Reading

A Creedal Christmas – Jesus

This Son born of a virgin is God incarnate to save.

How can Jesus’ birth be a fulfillment of the eighth century B. C. prophecy if He was named Jesus and not Immanuel? The gender checks out. Even being born of a virgin checks out. But does not the prophecy fail because of the wrong name? In this case, we see more than a straight line... Continue Reading

5 Words That Measure the Boldness of Faith

Refocus your faith not on the results but on the One behind them.

“Even. If. He. Does. Not.” Remember this phrase? Three exiled Hebrews said them a long time ago. They spoke them to an angry potentate in the more dire of circumstances. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego stood before the gigantic golden statue the king of the foreign land had erected in his own honor. The law had been... Continue Reading

5 Differences Between a Critical Mind and a Critical Spirit

A critical mind is content; a critical spirit is bitter.

A critical mind does not guarantee unity but a critical spirit guarantees disunity. When people with a critical spirit are united around something, they are typically united around their disdain and their frustration for something they are against. In time, they turn on one another as they only know how to be at war.  ... Continue Reading

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

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