Bavinck’s Cultural Moment

Bavinck has of late become the Reformed theologian of the English-speaking world.

Regarding his cultural moment, Bavinck noticed in his era an “aversion to the common, Christian faith.” For this reason, he suggested that “before all else, what strikes us in the modern age is the internal discord that consumes the self.” Denying the fact of humanity’s subordination to God, of our standing as creatures before the... Continue Reading

The Wonderful Works of God

For Bavinck, every endeavor, including the most mundane, is an occasion to praise God’s name.

Bavinck’s life as a theological titan began modestly. Born on December 13, 1854, in Hoogeveen, the Netherlands, he grew up (and remained) a loyal son of the marginalized Reformed community that stemmed from an ecclesiastical separation known as the Afscheiding. Bavinck’s father, the deeply pious Rev. Jan Bavinck, played a prominent role in the dissenting denomination,... Continue Reading

All We Do Is Succeed

The Story Of John Bunyan’s ‘Pilgrim’s Progress’

“Had I been minded to play the coward, I could have escaped,” Bunyan later remembered. But he had no mind for that now. He spoke what closing exhortation he could as the constable forced him from the house, a man with no weapon but his Bible.   On the morning of November 12, 1660, a... Continue Reading

Humility Was His Secret Strength: Charles Simeon (1759–1836)

The secret of Charles Simeon’s perseverance was that he never threw overboard the heavy ballast of his own humiliation for sin.

The remarkable thing about humiliation and adoration in the heart of Charles Simeon is that they were inseparable. Simeon was utterly unlike most of us today who think that we should get rid once and for all of feelings of vileness and unworthiness as soon as we can. For him, adoration only grew in the... Continue Reading

Six Lessons from Luther’s Preaching

Pray much before you preach.

For Luther, sola scriptura was also solo Christo. Since the essence of both the OT and NT is Christ, the truth of Scripture is in what promotes Christ as the soteriological key to interpretation. His belief that Christ as the Word speaks in the words of Scripture led Luther to call the church a “mouth... Continue Reading

Robert Barnes – Early English Reformer

As a young Augustinian prior with a promising career in the academy and the church, Robert Barnes shared the hope and excitement for change.

As a prior, Barnes’s reforms included the introduction in the friars’ curriculum of a course on Paul’s epistles, in an attempt to bring Scriptures back to the center of their education. Another indication of his discomfort with Roman Catholic practices is the fact that, during his priory, the popular request for masses in Rome was... Continue Reading

Ebenezer Erskine – Preaching God’s Grace in Tumultuous Times

It was into the context of poverty and persecution that Ebenezer was born on 22 June 1680 in Dryburgh, Berwickshire.

Ebenezer harbored serious doubts about religion. When, after graduating from the University of Edinburgh, he was licensed to preach and ordained to the small rural parish of Portmoak, he could only do so mechanically and without passion, fixing his eyes on a stone on the wall in front of him. He found mentions of Christ... Continue Reading

The Providence and Promises of God

The life and work of William swan Plumer.

In 1861, the Civil War began in earnest. Most northern cities experienced outburst of enthusiasm for the war. That enthusiasm often took the form of young men—whole neighborhoods of young men at times—enlisting in the Federal Army. Plumer avoided politics entirely in the pulpit and in his writings. Although a native of the North, he... Continue Reading

Saint Augustine on Kanye West

Augustine explains why we rejoice differently at the conversion of a celebrity.

We rejoice at the conversion of a Kanye or any celebrity because it is a particular manifestation of God’s mercy. Hollywood seems impregnable to the gospel. These conversions remind us that it isn’t. Kanye West says he’s a born again Christian. He says he’s going to be spreading the gospel. His Sunday Service concerts feature... Continue Reading

Nikolaus Von Amsdorf

More than a Beer-Drinking Friend

He became a pastor in 1524, when the city of Magdeburg asked him to introduce the Reformation to their citizens. Initially hesitant to take on such a high calling, he finally agreed…and remained in that position for over seventeen years, in spite of constant threats from the local Roman Catholic clerics and other frequent challenges.... Continue Reading