Posts by Grant Van Leuven

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During this month, as the LGBTQ+ community annually parades its banner colors they blasphemously hijack from God’s noahic covenant, [1] Christians will benefit revisiting Genesis 19:1-25 [2] ( as Carl Trueman has recently called for such posts in this World Magazine article ) . Here, God visited...
The fifth through tenth of God’s Ten Commandments focus on preserving and protecting persons. Here, the eighth hones in on safeguarding and maintaining a person’s possessions. In the reiteration of the Decalogue for the second generation of the covenant about to enter the Promised Land, Deuteronomy...
In Matthew 5:9, Jesus preached, Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God, proclaiming that God’s children are shown to be His by extending their Father’s peace to others as something they enjoy, often by exertion. Peacemaking is not keeping the peace at all costs,...
Lately, I’ve been swamped with temporary though important projects consuming my time and attention. Feeling guilty about delaying or limiting focus on more regular needs, I recalled a booklet in a seminary class: Tyranny of the Urgent, by Charles E. Hummel. The primary lesson from this brief...
Legend has it that the great Reformer Martin Luther once threw an ink well at the Devil who had been incessantly accusing him. [1] Whether or not this is true, Luther certainly had remarkable fits and fights with the ancient foe who seeks to work us woe. And often, this involved stinkering at Satan...
Recently, a Reformed brother told me that he was nearly driven by depression to suicide due to years of wrongful, incessant attacks upon him and his wife by other family members teaming up with the government. He confessed if he was an Arminian he likely would have succumbed, but his belief in God’...
Think of a cup being filled to the brim—or inflating a children’s play castle or a basketball to its entire design. The thing being pervaded is what it is, but it is in the process of functioning fully and living up to its potential and peak performance until completely full. Such gets at the sense...
Dr. Wayne Spear writes, “The collection for the relief of famine suffered in Jerusalem occupied Paul’s attention and organizing skills for several years during his third missionary journey. Since the apostle, with his great zeal for evangelism, gave his time and energy to an international and...
“There is a great deal of comfort in skepticism,” writes Gordon H. Clark. “If truth is impossible of attainment, then one need not suffer the pains of searching for it… Skepticism dispenses with all effort… Skepticism is the position that nothing can be demonstrated.” [1] Sadly, rather than...
This Church Discipline series focused on guiding members in need of repentance by formal levels of rebuke. But the hopeful prayer of elders at each point of censure along the way is that it need never go further, especially not to the final act of excommunication. Proverbs 25:11-12 reads, A word...
There are times within a disciplinary process that some in the church must be temporarily postponed from their normal opportunity to take part in the formal fellowship or service of the saints. The status of those so suspended is not revoked (as with excommunication from membership or deposition...
Reformed, confessional theologians often point out that discipline is one of three signs of a true church. [1] Highlighting this distinguishing mark, my seminary professor once rhetorically asked our class, “How many true churches are out there?” The Westminster Confession of Faith (WCF) chapter 30...
Author Jim Belcher illustrates his chapter, “The Struggle Within,” [1] with a compelling psychoanalysis of Robert Lewis Stevenson’s classic novel, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. [2] Dr. Henry Jekyll, a reputable scientist wanting to enjoy being exclusively good without the lure of...
When the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions began over a year ago, our church Session carefully searched the Bible and developed a position which we have continued to practice in our State of California. We published our church presentation in article form for reformation21, “Submit to the Government...
An old spiritual laments, “Nobody knows the troubles I’ve seen, nobody knows my sorrows.” A modern rock song languishes, “You don’t know how it feels to be me!” But Jesus does . In Matthew 26:36-46 , Jesus’s agonizing, lonely prayers in Gethsemane show the hellish human suffering of His soul before...
To understand anger and its peaceful Biblical therapies, we make use of the Puritan John Downame’s book, The Cure of Unjust Anger . [1] Downame focuses on Ephesians 4:26 to frame his discussion: Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath. Downame describes anger as, “…an...
When the great Protestant reformer Dr. Martin Luther famously stood before the Roman Catholic Diet of Worms in Germany in 1521, he had been called upon by the Holy Roman Empire to explain himself—or more specifically, his doctrine. He did so with great capability and earnest humility. What we...
What if you told your wife you only planned to take her on a dinner date once a year during your anniversary so as to make the expression of your marriage relationship extra special? And for that matter, you would also plan to have all other meals separately until that time, so as to enhance the...
Cory Griess, Preparing for Dating and Marriage: A 31-Day Family Devotional (Reformed Free Publishing Association, 2020), 112 pp. When my eldest daughter entered her senior year of high school last Fall, we had a Daddy-daughter brunch date to plan her future together. We enjoyed navigating through...
Studying our little newborn has caused us not only to say, “Aww!” but “Wow!” It is amazing that our son arrived all ready to go. He had perfect little fingers that had begun to grasp his umbilical cord even before birth, practicing to take hold of our own fingers as we caress his cheeks; ears that...
[Originally submitted in December of 2019, but retracted; see footnote number six.] Two weeks ago my wife went to Urgent Care during our morning Sabbath service to get important treatment. When she returned while I was leading our singing of the closing Psalm, she jubilantly waved at me through the...
Paul often calls for turning from a pagan to a Christian “walk”, [1] a metaphor expecting certain companionship and conduct. Yet we should note he emphasizes the indicative (what Christ has done for and in us) before the imperative (what we ought to do for Christ) in Ephesians 5:8 (in the context...
When we study one of the Lord’s attributes we focus on a characteristic that is attributed to His essence or being to tell us what He is like and Who He is. Some attributes are exclusive to God and so referred to as incommunicable. [1] But God shares other of His characteristics with His redeemed...
During his 1789 National Thanksgiving Day Proclamation, George Washington declared: ... it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God … ... both Houses of Congress have … requested me to “recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and...
Recently I had been thinking about how to minister to several members of our congregation because of what God is calling them to go through again which will surely tax their energy and emotions. I had also been pondering what we are all going through in the present state of pandemic uncertainty. So...
About one year ago while lying in bed I whispered to God in desperation: “ I am so afraid.” It was the most heightened sense of dread I had ever experienced (and I and my household had already made it through some pretty horrific times over the last half decade). Then the voices of children from a...
During this uncertain coronavirus pandemic confining most of us to our homes, I hear of people complaining about being bored with all the extra time on their hands. But how often have they previously complained, “I just don’t have the time!” Well now you do. How will you make good use of it?...
A few weeks ago, due to the present coronavirus pandemic, our Session decided to postpone face-to-face assemblies of worship at the church building electing (for a time) to serve Christ and our covenanted saints through online Lord’s Day webcasts. [1] This decision was not unanimous but we moved...
Every year a late night talk show host encourages parents to prank their kids with a faux profession that they devoured all their little pumpkins’ Halloween candy. [1] The show features videos sent in of children throwing monstrous fits of rage and heartache until the parents reveal they are “just...
I’m not a morning person: I struggle to sit up, let alone stand up—and to think, let alone thank. My wife is similar. She jokes that she was known in college (due to long days and nights studying) to grumble back at “Good morning!” with, “Good morning for you , not for me !” I too often roll out of...
When I see the Ten Commandments summarized artistically and framed for purchase to hang on the walls of a Christian home, I often wonder if the Fourth Commandment, Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy (Exodus 20:8), ought not to be chiseled out. Christians will for the most part acknowledge...
Contemplating the question, “If you could preach only one sermon, what would it be?” the thought that keeps returning is, “Love God.” Perhaps this focus of proclamation comes to mind because our church’s men’s study is going through Jonathan Edwards’ Charity and Its Fruits based on 1 Corinthians 13...
What season did we recently enter? Spring. What comes next? Summer. Then what? Fall. Then what? Winter. And then? Spring. And so on until Christ’s Second Coming. The year’s seasons are cyclical—and somewhat predictable. So the seasons of our years should not surprise us but rather inspire our...
During the ancient Apostles’ Creed’s [1] development over time into one of the Church’s first sanctioned statements of faith some of its phrases were inserted along the way into the completion of its final form; yet the belief of “the forgiveness of sins” was an initial part of this earliest...
Discussing the three marks of a true church during a seminary class (preaching the Word, administering the sacraments, and disciplining members), our professor emphasized the third by rhetorically asking, “How many true churches are there today?” His implication was, where are authentic churches to...
A fashion designer goes about creating clothes for people with a keen sense of how the parts and the whole will best fit together. The designer does not just throw fabric, thread, and needles into the wind but carefully draws patterns and then every stitch brings the pieces together. So ... God is...
We often pray the fifth petition of the Lord’s Prayer after sinning. We should learn to pray the sixth petition before similarly sinning again, remembering, ye have not because ye ask not (James 4:2). The essence of the sixth petition, And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil (...
If all your paperwork rolled like a sea over 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...
In her book, The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert , [1] Dr. Rosaria Butterfield compares her Christian conversion experience to "an alien abduction or a train wreck." As she shares about her very public Christian "coming out" while a tenured university English professor specializing in "Queer...
To guide God’s saints in readying themselves for the reception of His preached Word each Lord’s Day, this earthen vessel shares his own weekly preparation to proclaim it to them as a model to modify and use. Prepare through Prayer With an intense sense of the responsibility of the task and a desire...
Jennifer Marie, my dear wife, died on the fourteenth of September last year. [1] She was thirty-eight. We had barely made it to our eighteenth wedding celebration the month before. Our four young covenant children prepared and served us a special meal that she could eat. We dined together beneath...
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...
Let us meditate on what Jesus said to the thief next to Him on the cross, as recorded in Luke 23:43: “Verily … Today shalt thou be with me in Paradise”. [1] In union with Christ by faith, we will go immediately to a blissful place upon our death. We will leave this world of sin and misery behind us...
In her book, The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert , [1] Dr. Rosaria Butterfield compares her Christian conversion experience to "an alien abduction or a train wreck." As she shares about her very public Christian "coming out" while a tenured university English professor specializing in "Queer...
Several people have told me they were first truly converted Christians upon becoming Calvinists. Finally, the Bible made sense when the Spirit enlightened them to see, caress, and smell TULIP’s five lovely petals of God’s sovereign embrace from regeneration to glorification. [1] Thus, as the...
My seminary professor of missions emphasized what is often glossed over when discussing and doing mission work: the Bible not only presents a message but a method of its delivery. [1] Similarly, the Bible has its own method of apologetics (self-defense) to which we must defer: it presents itself as...
Just as bottles of distilled water offer drink that is free of poisonous chemicals and clogging minerals, so the Church’s confessions provide boiled-down, condensed, purified orthodoxy for healthy Body life systems. For instance, a seminary student being examined on the floor of Presbytery with...
It is not uncommon for our church to receive protests for being careful adherents to the historic Westminster Standards; thus, I have developed a confessional apologetic that boils down to these modern proverbs: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!”; and, “Don’t try and reinvent the wheel!” B. B...
In the context of conforming more consistently to the Westminster Confession of Faith , our Session revisited re-baptism while studying sections 27:3 and 28:6-7, especially pondering these closing words: “The sacrament of baptism is but once to be administered unto any person.” This led us to...
I have the privilege of ministering mainly to saints in their golden years. So as I preach through Leviticus 19, I am eager to reach verse 32 and lead my fellow greener brethren in reverencing our senior saints with these words: Thou shalt rise up before the hoary head, and honour the face of the...