Posts by Derek Thomas

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Some find it misguided to praise men. It was, after all, the Corinthian problem that they openly declared their allegiance to men: Apollos, Paul, or Peter. In doing so they caused major divisions in the Corinthian church. But we are not, I think, to conclude from this that we are never to express...
Something is terribly wrong when professing Christians do not identify with the church and love being a part of her. Something is wrong when professing Christians fail to be passionate about every aspect of the church and long to invest themselves in her, taking all that the church represents and...
Ours is the first generation of Christians that has seriously asked the question, how much time can I spend on entertaining myself? In all the reading I have done in the sixteenth and seventeenth century, I have never once come across this question in any serious fashion. It is not that these...
Shortly before college I read Mortimer Adler's little classic How to Read a Book . That may sound like an odd title. After all, how could somebody read the book unless they already knew how to read? And if they did know how to read, then why would they need to read it at all? How to Read a Book...
"Hope springs eternal in the human breast." So wrote the eighteenth century poet, Alexander Pope. Platitude? Yes, but true for all that. I have to confess the lines (from An Essay on Man ) come to mind frequently at dinner when my dog lies at my feet, his gaze fixed on every morsel entering my...
At the risk of being labeled a musical snob, I venture a comment or two on one of the twentieth century's greatest composers, the centenary of whose birth we celebrate this year--Dmitri Shostakovich (1906 - 1975). He is to music what Alexander Solzhenitsyn is to Soviet literature. Finding early...
The opening sentence of John Calvin's The Institutes of the Christian Religion alone is worth a lifetime's contemplation: 'Nearly all the wisdom we possess, that is to say, true and sound wisdom, consists of two parts: the knowledge of God and of ourselves.' What is it about Calvin that so inspires...
Architecturally, Westminster Theological Seminary is a peculiar place. Located north of Philadelphia Pennsylvania on an old estate, at the center of the campus stands an old stone mansion, an homage to bygone days. Wrapped around the mansion--which houses an assortment of dormitories, staff rooms,...
v. The sacraments of the old testament, in regard of the spiritual things thereby signified and exhibited, were, for substance, the same with those of the new. Why end the section on the sacraments with a statement as to the diversity and unity of old and new covenant sacraments? The reason seems...
iv. There be only two sacraments ordained by Christ our Lord in the Gospel; that is to say, baptism, and the Supper of the Lord: neither of which may be dispensed by any, but by a minister of the Word lawfully ordained. There is something both expected and unexpected about this section. First is...
iii. The grace which is exhibited in or by the sacraments rightly used, is not conferred by any power in them; neither doth the efficacy of a sacrament depend upon the piety or intention of him that doth administer it: but upon the work of the Spirit, and the word of institution, which contains,...
ii. There is, in every sacrament, a spiritual relation, or sacramental union, between the sign and the thing signified: whence it comes to pass, that the names and effects of the one are attributed to the other. This section has been called "the sacramental principle" - functioning in a similar way...
i. Sacraments are holy signs and seals of the covenant of grace, immediately instituted by God, to represent Christ, and his benefits; and to confirm our interest in him: as also, to put a visible difference between those that belong unto the church, and the rest of the world; and solemnly to...
viii. This Sabbath is to be kept holy unto the Lord when men, after a due preparing of their hearts, and ordering of their common affairs beforehand, do not only observe an holy rest all the day from their own works, words, and thoughts about their worldly employments and recreations, but also are...
vii. As it is the law of nature, that, in general, a due proportion of time be set apart for the worship of God; so, in His Word, by a positive, moral, and perpetual commandment binding all men in all ages, He has particularly appointed one day in seven, for a Sabbath, to be kept holy unto him:...
vi. Neither prayer, nor any other part of religious worship, is now, under the Gospel, either tied unto, or made more acceptable by any place in which it is performed, or towards which it is directed: but God is to be worshipped everywhere, in spirit and truth; as, in private families daily, and in...
iii. Prayer, with thanksgiving, being one special part of religious worship, is by God required of all men: and, that it may be accepted, it is to be made in the name of the Son, by the help of His Spirit, according to His will, with understanding, reverence, humility, fervency, faith, love and...
i. The light of nature shows that there is a God, who has lordship and sovereignty over all, is good, and does good unto all, and is therefore to be feared, loved, praised, called upon, trusted in, and served, with all the heart, and with all the soul, and with all the might. But the acceptable way...
v.The will of man is made perfectly and immutably free to do good alone in the state of glory only. According to the Augustinian/Bostonian grammar of sin and grace, heaven is a condition of non posse peccare (not able to sin). Unlike Eden, a condition of probation, in which it was possible to sin...
iv. When God converts a sinner, and translates him into the state of grace, He frees him from his natural bondage under sin; and, by His grace alone, enables him freely to will and to do that which is spiritually good; yet so, as that by reason of his remaining corruption, he does not perfectly, or...
iii. Man, by his fall into a state of sin, has wholly lost all ability of will to any spiritual good accompanying salvation: so as, a natural man, being altogether averse from that good, and dead in sin, is not able, by his own strength, to convert himself, or to prepare himself thereunto. Can the...
ii. Man, in his state of innocency, had freedom, and power to will and to do that which was good and well pleasing to God; but yet, mutably, so that he might fall from it. Along with the trivial sense of free will - what today we term free agency - Adam also possessed free will in the important...
i. God has endued the will of man with that natural liberty, that is neither forced, nor, by any absolute necessity of nature, determined good, or evil There is something of interest about the location of this chapter within the Confession. It falls immediately after a chapter describing all that...
iii. In the unity of the Godhead there be three persons, of one substance, power, and eternity; God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost. The Father is of none, neither begotten, nor proceeding; the Son is eternally begotten of the Father; the Holy Ghost eternally proceeding from the...
iii. In the unity of the Godhead there be three persons, of one substance, power, and eternity; God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost. The Father is of none, neither begotten, nor proceeding; the Son is eternally begotten of the Father; the Holy Ghost eternally proceeding from the...
ii. God hath all life, glory, goodness, blessedness, in and of Himself; and is alone in and unto Himself all-sufficient, not standing in need of any creatures which He hath made, not deriving any glory from them, but only manifesting His own glory in, by, unto, and upon them: He is the alone...
i. There is but one only living and true God, who is infinite in being and perfection, a most pure spirit, invisible, without body, parts, or passions; immutable, immense, eternal, incomprehensible, almighty, most wise, most holy, most free, most absolute, working all things according to the...
i. There is but one only living and true God, who is infinite in being and perfection, a most pure spirit, invisible, without body, parts, or passions; immutable, immense, eternal, incomprehensible, almighty, most wise, most holy, most free, most absolute, working all things according to the...
Reformation Heritage Publications have just published Jeremy Walker's The Broken-Hearted Evangelist (see here http://www.heritagebooks.org/products/The-Brokenhearted-Evangelist.html ). One of the best books on passionate evangelism I know. Should be required reading for every Christian with Jesus-...
A passing comment about "asking Jesus into my heart" had Paul Helm's brain in contortions. See his comment here .
More books emerge than I have time to keep up with, but our friend Rob Ventura can help us here with sample chapters from forthcoming titles from Reformed Heritage Press (see his blog, http://books2look4.wordpress.com/ ). I've just finished reading Peter Enns' new book, The Evolution of Adam: What...
It was forty years ago today (December 28, 1971) that I became a Christian. My conversion was Saul-like: sudden, unexpected, and decisive. I was eighteen, a freshman at university studying physics and math at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth. I was not raised in a religious home. My memory...
Zeal for Godliness Devotional Meditations from Calvin's Institutes (Evangelical Press) The year-long series of blog entries taken from Calvin's Institutes on Ref21 during 2009 is now available as a book. With contributions from Sinclair Ferguson, Ligon Duncan, Carl Trueman, Phil Ryken, Guy Waters,...
On Wednesday and Thursday of this week, Cumberland Valley Bible Book Service have their annual book sale. I am informed of an additional 10% off already discounted prices. Thus, David Murray's new book "How Sermons Work" is $4.50 instead of $9.99. See here: http://www.cvbbs.com/sale.html
Reformation & Liberation Rediscovering the Legacy of the Reformers A Banner of Truth Reformation Day Conference Friday, October 28, 2011 6.30pm - 9.30pm Proclamation Presbyterian Church 278 South Bryn Mawr Avenue Bryn Mawr, PA Speakers: Rev. Dr. Liam Goligher Rev. Mark G. Johnston From...
Drawn Into Controversie: Reformed Theological Diversity and Debates Within Seventeenth-Century British Puritanism Edited A. G. Haykin and Mark Jones (Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2011) A terrific book, the kind that lights my fire, encompassing seventeenth century issues furthering the cause of the...
Further to my blog (below) about the Vitco's CD on the Children's Shorter Catechism, I have now been given a URL to a site where the CD will cost around $7 less . Sorry to those who have already purchased one. See, here .
Teach Them the Faith CD by Dan and Karen Vitco Dan and Karen Vitco of Matthews, North Carolina, have produced this wonderful CD for young children based on the Shorter Catechism. With music that complements the text and some memorable melodies, this CD is bound to aid parents in the all-important...
Del informs me that Trotter has been "rapping" again. This time, on the Trinity. He's teamed up with Colin Buchanan , the Australian musician and lover of Reformed doctrine on a CD called "God Rock". Rumor has it that the two of them are hoping to make millions from the "movie rights." You can...
A lengthy obituary of John Stott has appeared in the British newspaper, The Daily Telegraph . See here .
"Any theology which cannot be communicated as gospel is of minimal value." So wrote John Stott ( Culture and the Bible [IVP, 1981], 38). And as I now think about the massive contribution he made to twentieth century evangelicalism, it is his communication of the gospel that comes to mind. His...
I have just learned of the death of John Stott. He was ninety years old. I will reflect on this tomorrow, but the fact that I have been walking with Christ for the past forty years is entirely due (from a human point of view) to John Stott. It was through reading his book Basic Christianity in 1971...
It's summer madness. No, Not the umpteen requests to join Google+ (please, what is this?). It's a record burning bits of the Bible. I blame it on the heat, except this is North Wales and one Rector Geraint ap Iorwerth has been burning pages of the King James Bible in its 400th anniversary year...
I guess it was always coming: a Bible with Carl Trueman's name on it. After all, what else would you expect from someone who has systematically trashed all claims to fame and notoriety? The ultimate in self-effacing, Jesus-like kenosis... here . Complete with Lord-of-the-Rings edging, I see. My...
Just as my ego is in the ascendancy, I come across John Calvin's comment on Psalm 84:10, "I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness": 'He would rather be cast into a common and unhonored place, provided he were among the people of God, than exalted...
Trotter, sleuth of News International, is under investigation for hacking into my Twitter account only to discover my non-celebrity status at an all time low. What? I have no followers, not even one? Not even my wife? Or Jake (my dog)? Today, I find I have over two thousand -- Lemmings one and all...
Clearly, Levy is a man of poor discernment (see the video tour of his library below). But now that I am on the topic of libraries, my recent move has required that I re-shelve my books. It is surprising what emerges when this happens. I discovered, for example, tattered copies of two addresses...
Having been silent for a while (a move to South Carolina, "God's Country" as it is known in these parts, rendered me comatose for a season) I have been reflecting on the issue of rebellion against authority. I am, of course, a Celt and rebellion is genetic. The reason for this diversion of though...
I've been undercover for too long -- life having taken a sudden detour a couple of months ago when I decidedly recall saying "no" only to find that what I really meant was"yes". As most folk may know (at least those whose Facebook friends includes yours truly, -- everyone except Carl, that is), I...
Michael Haykin's latest book (just out, Crossway), Rediscovering the Church Fathers , is very welcome indeed. Some will recall Ligon Duncan's masterful address at the last T4G Conference (and the blog frenzy that followed it) in which he not only addressed the value of Patristic study, but also...

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