Columns

Grand Rapids, 1840. Freida heaves water up from a deep well to carry home for cooking, cleaning, and drinking. A long line of others wait for their turn.

The village Alderman catches up with her as she begins her long walk home and asks her: “What do you think about the new well, Freida?”

“It’s fantastic,” she responds, “The winch is much smoother, the bucket is much bigger, the whole process is much quicker, and the water is much safer.”

“Wow, that’s an amazing improvement!”

As I sit in Starbucks, Bible open, commentaries next to me, trying to focus on the rich theological contours of the Tabernacle--the world is bustling all around me. Music (pretty good jazz) is playing, people are talking, business is constant and noise is unrelenting. Among the flurry of the world within this building, there is one thing that I have repeatedly observed--namely, the numerous middle aged men checking out the women as they walk in and order their coffee. Their first reaction when an woman walks in is to look her up and down.

Hrotsvit of Gandersheim and Her Christian Plays

            Anyone who is familiar with the works of the Roman playwright Terence (185-159 BC) knows that they are an interesting depiction of the realities of his day. They are comedies, and generally end with a marriage or reconciliation. They could easily find their way into our movie theaters, if some of their ethics didn’t rub against the grain of most viewers – even in our permissive society.

John Bradford and the Comfort of God’s Sovereign Choice

From Treasurer to Preacher

            A native of Manchester, John Bradford (c. 1510-1555) started his career as vice-treasurer of the English army in France. An accusation of fraud (which he strongly contested) became the catalyst for a departure from a career for which he already felt unsuited. In 1547, he enrolled at the Inner Temple School of Law in London.

     Theological error and heresy constantly plagued the church during the life of the Apostle Paul, so it is no surprise that his final instructions to Timothy contain essential counsel on the right way to address error and heresy

If a believer, perhaps a pastor, has a conversation with someone who suspects they are transgender or experiences gender dysphoria, our first response should be compassion. Imagine waking up daily and thinking, “I have the wrong body.” If we are in a position to give counsel or advice, we should be “quick to listen, slow to speak” as James 1 says

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 Lord’s Prayer is, without question, the best-known prayer of all time. Embedded at the very heart of the prayer life of God’s family, but also shared and treasured by those nations and empires through the ages that have espoused the Christian faith as their official faith – albeit nominally. Yet, for all its familiarity, there is a depth and richness to its wording that never ceases to both thrill and probe the souls of God’s people at one and the same time.

The day of Christ’s return will be the day he will ‘judge the living and the dead’. Christians have confessed this in the words of the Apostles’ Creed for centuries; but, as so often is the case, we can rehearse these words without feeling their weight. More than that, it can be all too easy for those who are already Christians to so gravitate towards the blessing of that day for ourselves, that we do not stop to consider and shudder at what it will mean for those who are outside of Christ.

Argument from Culture

There is an argument, not exactly new, that has been making its way through the church today. The argument from culture, let’s call it the argumentam ad culturam, is an attempt to undermine the legitimacy and primacy of Scripture for Christian living, while claiming to honor the Scripture for what “it really says.” It is the basic hermeneutical assumption of the culturalists.

I love to see families walking through the doors of the auditorium on Lord's Day morning.  I see each of them as a living stone coming together to form a living temple in order to worship the living God.  They were once like the dry bones of Ezekiel's vision scattered about in the valley of the shadow of death.  But now, by God's sovereign grace, they have spiritual muscle, saintly sinew, and a renewed and healthy heart beats within each breast.  These belong to Christ and they are glorious to behold.

How Then Shall We Feel?

In the house today is Dr. Keith Plummer. He’s a professor of a variety of topics related to pastoral ministry, apologetics, and spiritual formation at Cairn University. The topic of our conversation is the place that feelings or emotions have in the life of a Christian. How are our feelings to be shaped? Can emotional responses be right or wrong? If so, can they be directed? Keep listening for the answers.

 

Grace Worth Fighting For

To celebrate the 400th anniversary of the Canons of Dort, Daniel Hyde has written Grace Worth Fighting For: Recapturing the Vision of God’s Grace in the Canons of Dort. Hyde’s work is a reminder for us to protect and proclaim the Gospel of grace.

One issue that is periodically debated in Reformed circles concerns the relationship repentance has with justification, and more particularly with forgiveness.  The Bible clearly states that repentance is necessary for forgiveness (Isa.

This in the first in a multi-part series. Stay tuned over the next few months to read more on how the Puritans teach us to live in the world!