Jonathan Edwards the Pastor

Rather than relying on outward signs of success, Edwards sought to cultivate—through prayer, Bible study, and meditation—dependence on God alone.

Edwards was only twenty-three when he became the assistant pastor of First Church of Northampton, Mass., a Congregational church led by his maternal grandfather, the venerable Solomon Stoddard. Just two years later, Stoddard died, leaving Edwards to shepherd the church alone. He would remain pastor of First Church until July 1, 1750. They were years... Continue Reading

Defender of the Faith: Irenaeus

As an inheritor of a great spiritual ancestry, Irenaeus carried on a continuum of Christian discipleship and a legacy of personal investment.

Scholars place Irenaeus’ birth anywhere from 120 to 140 AD. In 177, eleven years after the martyrdom of Polycarp, Irenaeus went to Gaul and became the Bishop of Lugdunum in Gaul, which is today Lyons, France. One French church historian, Gregory of Tours, in his History of the French Church tells us that Irenaeus’ preaching... Continue Reading

Claudius of Turin – an Iconoclast Bishop

“Everyone opened his mouth to curse me and, had not God helped me, they might have swallowed me alive.”

 In 817, Louis the Pious appointed Claudius bishop of Turin, Italy. That’s when he came in contact with Italian idolatry, which seemed to know no bounds. There was, during his time, a lot of talk about religious images, especially in the Byzantine church, where some emperors banned them and empresses reinstated them. Claudius didn’t spend... Continue Reading

Army Chaplain Squires Cleared of all Charges

Squires had been charged with unlawful discrimination and dereliction of duty, and could have faced confinement in a military prison.

In early 2018, Squires told a soldier that he could not perform a marriage retreat for the soldier and the soldier’s same-sex partner, and Squires provided an alternative by rescheduling the event so that another chaplain could conduct the retreat. An Army investigating officer initially determined that Squires had discriminated against the soldier and recommended... Continue Reading

Robert Murray McCheyne in Larbert – Lessons From A Young Minister In The 19th Century

A substance of a talk given where McCheyne began his ministry. It is not just of historical interest – there are lessons to learn from McCheyne in his ‘assistantship period’ for today.

He also learned quickly when it came to preaching. There were five preaching stations around Larbert and so McCheyne preached three times on Sunday and several times during the week at Bible classes and meetings. Wheras Bonar preached for one and a half hours, McCheyne usually preached only ‘only’ 35 minutes because he thought the... Continue Reading

Ratramnus of Corbie and His Book on the Lord’s Supper

Nearly forgotten for the first 200 years, misattributed for the next 600 and condemned until the 20th century, Ratramnus’s book is today still obscure.

In some ways, Ratramnus is like Augustine: both Roman Catholics and Protestants claim him as their own. In reality, his book stands in church history more as a question mark than a period. It has contributed to raise important inquiries, and has proven that the history of Christian thought is not as black and white... Continue Reading

The Morning Star of the Reformation

Now we see why the medieval Roman Church wanted to make a statement against Wycliffe.

John Wycliffe has often been called “the Morning Star of the Reformation.” Jan Hus, another pre-Reformation reformer, felt obliged to express his supreme debt to Wycliffe. And though he lived long after Wycliffe’s death, Martin Luther, too, felt an obligation to recognize the pioneering reforms of John Wycliffe. Luther stood on the shoulders of Hus,... Continue Reading

Machen’s Letter To His Mother Or What To Do With Dead Sinners?

How should Reformed confessionalists respond to the fact that Machen wrote an ugly, racist letter to his mother?

He was a man of his time and place but, given that Warfield, who was just as Southern as Machen and born before the Civil War and therefore even more closely tied to the Old South, was able to overcome his culture and see that the sort of segregation held by the Old Princeton faculty... Continue Reading

He Killed His Sin with Love

John Owen (1616–1683)

In the preface to his book The Death of Death in the Death of Christ, Owen does what no good marketing agent would allow today. He begins like this: “READER, . . . If thou art, as many in this pretending age, a sign or title gazer, and comest into books as Cato into the theatre, to... Continue Reading

This Day in History: The Death of John Owen

By 1642 Owen was convinced that the final source of authority in religion was the Holy Scriptures and moreover, that the doctrines of orthodox Calvinism were biblical Christianity.

The preacher took as his text that morning Matthew 8:26: “Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith?” It proved to be a message that Owen needed to hear and embrace. Through the words of a preacher whose identity is unknown, God spoke to Owen and removed once and for all his doubts and... Continue Reading