Years ago, one of my favorite Rainer Maria Rilke poems gave me a new perspective on the night, and I’m reminded of this at Christmas time whenever we sing “Oh Holy Night,” one of the most beautiful songs that has ever entered my ear. Let me provide the poem first and then explain what I mean.

You, darkness, of whom I am born—


I love you more than the flame

that limits the world

I went to public school. For those of you who did the same, you will know immediately the sort of apologetics you are forced to do, or at least think about doing, at an early age. I distinctly remember a strand of banter echoing through the crowded hallways of my ninth grade school building—the kind of banter you are ashamed of repeating.


This article is the third part of an article called "On the Hermeneutics of Subscription." Read part 1 and part 2

Scotland and Ireland Prior to the Adopting Act


I’m very thankful for the opportunity to contribute a column at Place for Truth, and I pray the Lord will use my contributions for the furthering of His kingdom.

Given the Alliance’s clear emphasis on the subject (coupled with evangelicalism’s increasing murkiness), I can think of no better theme for my first post than this: “All Scripture is breathed out by God” (2 Timothy 3:16). Two texts are particularly helpful for understanding what Paul means by this.

Christians are frequently reminded to “remember the reason for Christmas,” meaning, of course, that we should turn our attention away from the cultural trappings and to the fact that Jesus was born to Mary in Bethlehem.  But this Christmas, perhaps we should fix our attention a little more closely, not just on the details of Jesus’ birth, but on the miracle of the incarnation.  In so doing, we join a great cloud of Christian witnesses, who have reflected deeply on this glorious mystery.

This week on Theology on the Go, Dr. Jonathan Master is joined by Dr. Liam Goligher, pastor of the historic Tenth Presbyterian Church in downtown Philadelphia, PA. As pastor of Tenth Presbyterian, Dr. Goligher has done much thinking and teaching on the topic of missions, and how Christians are to reach the lost. This installment of Theology on the Go gives a glimpse of some of that teaching as Dr. Goligher chats with Jonathan about the doctrine of missions.


The whole counsel of God, concerning all things necessary for His own glory, man's salvation, faith and life, is either expressly set down in Scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from Scripture: unto which nothing at any time is to be added, whether by new revelations of the Spirit, or traditions of men. (WCF 1:6a)

Calvin’s discussion of Romans 13 began by explaining that all civil power originates with the sovereign God—not with man, as later secular schemes suggested. He then discussed the role of civil government and the duty of the Christian to submit to that government except in extreme circumstances. The civil government was given, wrote Calvin, to prevent the damage of human sinfulness. Albeit restraining, it was a gracious institution for society.

Although some theologians claim to see discrepancies between Calvin’s early thought in The Institutes and his later commentaries and sermons on the matter of resistance, a review of his commentary on Daniel 6:21-23 reveals no radical discontinuity. Admittedly, certain events, such as the 1572 St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre,[1] forced development and clarification within the Calvinistic political tradition, but Calvin’s own view about the legitimacy of reforming bad government need not be considered internally inconsistent.


There are many dimensions bound up with what it means to be a Christian. Its roots stretch back into eternity past, its experience is bound up with our existential present and its horizons take us into eternity future. It changes what we are in ourselves as we are united to Christ and, because of that same union; it will ultimately change what we shall be in the world to come, when God’s saving work in us is brought to completion (Php 1.6).

It has been on my mind for quite a while to post an article on ‘sinner theologians’, but I hesitated because of its potential for being misconstrued. However, having just received the latest issue of the Westminster Theological Journal and having read a review article by Professor Donald Macleod, I was persuaded to go ahead and do so.


A Stew Pot

One of the more frequently visited proverbs of my childhood came to me from my mother. “A stew pot never boils,” she would say. I felt what it meant long before I actually understood it. Explanation of the phrase came in its fuller version: “A stew pot never boils when watched.”

Exuberant over an experience, an oh-so-sweet manifestation of divine providence, you delightedly seek to give God praise in telling your story. “It was such a ‘God thing’,” you proclaim. As you see it, God wove together an otherwise inexplicable combination of events to deliver a wonderful—even stunning—outcome. The story nearly tells itself, and the words gush with geyser force. In such times, it is good to credit the Lord for his work. That is what God’s people do.


If all your paperwork rolled like a sea upon your desk, you’d struggle to navigate and prepare your tax returns.  If you blanketed your computer’s desktop with all your digital files, you’d smother the writing of a departmental report.  So is any unorganized library a maze of confusion.

This is why our cabinets, computers, and shelves have filing systems.  And this is why we need systematic theology.

This week on Theology on the Go, our host, Dr. Jonathan Master is joined by Dr. Mark Dalbey, president of Covenant Theological Seminary in St. Louis, MO.  Dr. Dalbey was a pastor and Bible instructor prior to his coming to Covenant Theological Seminary.  He holds an MDiv from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and a DMin from Covenant Theological Seminary.  Though Dr. Dalbey has been with Covenant since 1999, he became president of the seminary in 2013 as the unanimous choice of the board of trustees. Dr.