Posts by Grant Van Leuven

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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 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 confession...
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...
The essence of the sixth petition, And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil (Matthew 6:13), is seen in how our Lord Himself prays in John 17:15 for us to be kept in the world but out of its evil (James 1:27 calls this real religion). Following both our Lord’s Prayers, we too should...
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.
Let us recognize in witnessing the Gospel to people who identify themselves within the LGBT community that a major part of our conversation should deal with one’s deep commitment to an identity, not only of his or her person, but also being part of a people. We see its manifestation also in...
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.
Females are unmistakably and wonderfully not masculine. They exude more feeling in a manner that feels like more. They smell different. They sound different. They move differently. They look unique and look at things uniquely. Their ears and hearts have nuanced sensitivities that round out their...
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.
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”. 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, 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.
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. Similarly, the Bible has its own method of apologetics (self-defense) to which we must defer: it presents itself as God...
For instance, a seminary student being examined on the floor of Presbytery with which he is under care can best keep a clear head and communicate clearly about complex doctrines by deferring to the carefully and concisely constructed sieve of the Westminster Standards. During such a time, quoting...
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!”
During the May 1845 General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church the subject of not acknowledging Roman Catholic baptisms as valid and thus the need to re-baptize Catholic converts was raised. In his article “The General Assembly” for the Princeton Review of that year, Dr. Hodge lamented this novel...
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...
Just as it revives the Body of Christ when schooled in the classic theology and pious character of the good old Puritans, so we may be renewed by “going old school” with The Log College. Considering that the prominent eighteenth century evangelist George Whitfield referred to what would later be...
In church, do you swagger with solemnity? Does a heavy countenance fall like a cloud over your pew? Are you so austere in worship that the children and babes in Christ near you know they best keep their mouths shut?
I once saw a sobering reminder of our mortality and need for the Son of David. A missionary shared his video of a dead Jamaican man lying in a simple wooden box in a walk-in freezer. Another man hammered nails into the box’s top as casually as one might prepare freight for shipping.
The subject of a picture is determined by how it is cropped. So Systematic Theology guides the minister's eye in preaching Christ through the Scriptures. And for a Presbyterian, the Westminster Standards are the thematic writings that aid his thinking through the presentation of the Bible to his...
In Colossians 2:8, Paul warns Christians to, Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. Does this command preclude philosophizing? That is, does God forbid "the love of wisdom"? Hardly!
When a character keeps popping up from cover to cover, you know that by his recurring presence the author is binding the whole book together. So the Holy Spirit shows Adam's real historical existence as really important to the true story of sin and salvation by his protagonist role throughout...
How should you listen to a sermon? First, realize that you are responsible to actively (and thus, actually) listen. Like anything, you get personal benefit out of the preaching by what you put of yourself into the listening.