Posts by Jeffrey Waddington

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During the time of the Protestant Reformation, the Reformers came to the conclusion, in the face of defection and departure from biblical orthodoxy, orthopraxy, and doxology within the medieval Roman Catholic Church, that there needed to be a means whereby a true Christian church could be...
For a decade the Westminster Assembly of divines (i.e., theologians) met at Westminster Abbey in London (1643-1653) to produce a Scriptural doctrinal standard and church government. During that time the well-known Confession of Faith was drawn up to explicate the system of doctrine drawn from the...
When you recite the Apostles’ Creed you join with Christians across time and space in affirming the basics of the Christian gospel. First appearing around AD 390 the creed is an apt summation of the history of creation, providence, and redemption and the trinitarian God who stands behind and...
The Presbyterian tradition has had a history of doctrinal slippage. This does not make the various Presbyterian denominations unique. Pretty much all theological traditions within Christendom have fumbled the theological ball at some point in history. This fact does not excuse the church from...
The surging waves of the sexual revolution continue to crash on the shores of our culture and threaten to wash the Christian church, supporting institutions, and believing individuals and their families out to sea. This is not really new. While scholars often point to the 50s and especially the 60s...
I am an avid history reader. I have been since about the age of five. That’s 48 years of history reading. I became an avid church history reader when I came to faith in Christ in 1983. Since then church history, among all sorts of historical works, has been a staple part of my reading diet. As a...
One of the landmark documents of the Westminster Assembly of Divines (1643-1653) is the Confession of Faith. This confession was created to provide a doctrinal basis for unity across the three kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland. Although in God’s inscrutable providence the confession did...
The Westminster Assembly, which met at the behest the English parliament from 1643-1653, while not properly speaking a church court (i.e., a session/consistery, presbytery/classis, or general assembly/synod), did perform functions which we now rightly associate with the presbytery or classis level...
The work of the Westminster Assembly (1643-1653) in London, England involved the furtherance of the gains of the Protestant Reformation in the domains of England, Scotland, and Ireland. Called by Parliament amidst a civil war between parliament and the king (Charles I), the Westminster Assembly was...
John Calvin is widely known as an accomplished Reformer, Bible commentator, theologian, and preacher. He was these things and more. He also had keen insight into the human soul and contributed greatly to our understanding of a Christian epistemology and theological anthropology. In other words,...
As we contemplate the 500th anniversary of the beginning of the Protestant Reformation we are reminded of the glorious truths (and their entailed spiritual experiences) rediscovered and recovered that had been long lost under centuries of encrusted extra-biblical tradition. Clericalism was one such...
Presbyterians put great stock in the celebration of the Lord’s Supper as an ordinary means of grace. In it, believers feed upon Christ by his Holy Spirit to the glory of God the Father. But the Lord’s Supper is not a bare naked, self-interpreting sign. It’s rich meaning and deep significance derive...
The Protestant Reformation declared that the Scriptures displayed four perfections: authority, clarity, necessity, and sufficiency. When we say that the Scriptures are sufficient we mean that God has given us all that we need to know for salvation and life.
Adoptionism is an early Christian heresy regarding the person and work of Jesus Christ. This false teaching advanced the view that God the Father came upon an already-existing man called Jesus of Nazareth and adopted him as his “son” after the fact of his birth and maturation (perhaps adopting him...
Women are not second-class citizens in the Kingdom of God ruled over by Jesus Christ. There are two errors which we can fall into when we consider the role of women’s ministries in the church. We can either ride roughshod over the limits which God in Scripture places on the role of women in the...
In the midst of the final week of our Lord’s earthly ministry in his estate of humiliation, Jesus has an interesting exchange with Peter about his forthcoming denial. Luke 22:31-34 recounts some of the details of this conversation and they are very interesting indeed. We usually focus our attention...
Some Christians resist belief in the doctrine of irresistible grace. These brothers and sisters find the teaching that grace conquers all pushback repugnant. How could an all-loving God run roughshod over the freedom of his human creation? This is a misunderstanding of the doctrine for sure. We...
John 17 contains the wonderful prayer of our Lord Jesus Christ in which he bears his soul to the Father shortly before his death on the cross for elect sinners-soon-to-be-saints. In this prayer Jesus is asking that his manifest glory, which he had from before the world was created, would be his...
The Apostle Paul in Romans 9 addresses God’s sovereignty and uses the illustration of the potter and the clay. The potter, of course, creates out of his pile of clay whatever he or she desires. The clay has no say in the matter. Paul reaches a climax with these words in verse 18: “So then he has...
Did you know that you are an intricate integrated dispositional complex? At least that’s the way God created you in the beginning. When Adam and Eve came from the hands of the Lord they were holy, righteous, and knowledgeable. How do we know this? Paul tells us in Ephesians 4:24 and Colossians 3:10...
In this age when Christians find themselves on the “wrong” side of the arc of history, especially on the losing side of legal disputes, the questions quite naturally arise, what exactly is our relation to the laws of our land and to the promulgators and enforcers of those laws, the state? These are...
The surging waves of the sexual revolution continue to crash on the shores of our culture and threaten to wash the Christian church, supporting institutions, and believing individuals and their families out to sea. This is not really new. While scholars often point to the 50s and especially the 60s...
The Christian doctrine of the Triune Godhead is often thought more in terms of an intellectual puzzle to be solved than a truth to be adored. But the fact of the matter is that the truthfulness of this Scriptural teaching is of immense practical comfort for the child of God. It is the Triune God...
Many of God’s attributes are denied these days by so-called Bible-believing Christians. Among these “questionable” attributes are divine simplicity which has been amply discussed on the Theology on the Go podcast. James Dolezal of Cairn University has been an indefatigable defender of simplicity...
Some years ago, J. Ligon Duncan, chancellor of Reformed Theological Seminary, declared in a sermon at the historic First Presbyterian Church of Jackson, MS that God was “not an undifferentiated monad!” Precisely so. The God of Scripture is Triune: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. He is a Triunity. God...
God cannot learn anything new. Perhaps that is a new idea to you? The church, when it has been sound and orthodox, has always confessed this (see the WCF 2.1). It is an implication of at least two of the Triune God’s incommunicable attributes: simplicity and omniscience. Omniscience simply means “...
I have been having a lot of theological conversations of late. In fact, just last night I spent nearly five hours with a friend discussing the current Trinitarian controversy among Reformed complementarians while enjoying a delightful dinner (we were worried we were overstaying our welcome but no...
Some folk seem to have the misapprehension that holding to a confession and catechisms (as do Presbyterians, the continental Reformed, Reformed Baptists, Lutherans, and Anglicans, just to name a few) thrusts a straightjacket on the theologian or the average Christian precluding freedom to follow...
The chapters on God and his relation to his creation in the Westminster Confession of Faith (I have in mind here chapters 2-7, but in reality the whole confession is about this) reveal to us a Triune God who actively rules this universe and interacts with his creatures. To put it another way, God...
Do you ever wonder how the Westminster divines would defend the Christian faith? I happen to believe that the apologetic method most consistent with the Westminster Confession of Faith (as well as the Larger and Shorter Catechisms) is what is called covenantal apologetics or what has been called...
All the benefits of redemption are found in Jesus Christ. While Phillip Melanchthon, Martin Luther’s colleague and heir apparent, said “To know Christ is to know his benefits.” We could just as rightly say to know Christ’s benefits one must know Christ himself. Adoption is one of those benefits...
We are familiar with the conversation. Satan had entered into the Garden of Eden and inhabited a serpent. This serpent then began to talk with Adam’s wife Eve. The exchange began with the serpent’s seemingly innocuous query, “Did actually say ‘You shall not eat from any tree in the garden?’” What...
Benjamin B. Warfield (1851-1921) served as the professor of didactic and polemic theology at Princeton Theological Seminary from 1887-1921. Warfield is known as the “Lion of Princeton” for his defense of Christian supernaturalism and the verities of the faith, which has come to be known “Old...
Charles Hodge (1797-1878) was the third professor appointed to Princeton Theological Seminary by the general assembly of the Presbyterian Church in the USA. Like his predecessors and professorial colleagues Archibald Alexander and Samuel Miller, Hodge was not only a famous teacher but also a...
Samuel Miller (1769-1850) was the second professor appointed to the theological seminary of the Presbyterian Church in the USA (Princeton Theological Seminary) by the general assembly of the church. Along with his senior colleague Archibald Alexander, Miller set the tone of the school we now know...
Archibald Alexander (1772-1851) was the first and founding professor at Princeton Theological Seminary, which began in 1812. Prior to being appointed to this post Alexander had been president of Hampton-Sydney College in Virginia and he served as pastor of Third Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia...
The Bible has many human authors. It has one divine author. If only the first statement were true we would not be surprised to find disagreements and inconsistencies between authors. But because the second sentence is true we find that the many human writers are in harmony and consistency with one...
Normally we get to the end of the story at...well...the end of the story. Perhaps you are one of those folk who like to read the end of the story before beginning at the beginning? With the Bible there is no real need to do that. Let me explain to you why.
One of the hallmarks of Presbyterian and Reformed churches (including Reformed Baptist congregations) is our approach to corporate public worship. While we affirm the importance of private and family worship, the emphasis has usually fallen on public worship.
No doubt you have heard the expression "killing two birds with one stone." The point of the cliche is that it expresses the desire to achieve two results with one act. It could be understood as a colloquial way of saying "work smarter, not harder." Some years ago I learned the truth of this...
Join me as we give some thought to a nagging perennial question in theological circles. What is the relation of philosophy to theology? Are these antithetical? Are they virtually identical? Or are they kissing cousins? The antithetical perspective is seen in the now proverbial query of the North...
Geerhardus Vos (1862-1949) is widely known as the father of orthodox Reformed confessional biblical theology. Also known as redemptive historical theology, biblical theology is concerned with the progressive unfolding of God's revelation over time in history. Vos himself wrote several seminal books...
The Reformed tradition has had an ongoing discussion about the relation of systematic and biblical theology. In some ways this reflects the discussion in the broader Christian community. The debate in Reformed circles goes back at least as far as the dispute between Gijsbertus Voetius and Johannes...
You may be wondering what a worldview is. Or maybe not. Either way, worldviews are worth pondering. A worldview (sometimes called a "world and life view") is something we all have whether we know it or not. It is like a pair of glasses we wear to see the world around us more clearly. The point is...
I have had the privilege for the last year to be preaching consecutively through the book of Isaiah in the evening services of the congregation where I serve. It has been a joy and a challenge. Isaiah is the Mount Everest of the prophets and to scale its heights is breathtaking. Isaiah himself had...
Every once in a while I run across someone who sings the praises of faith. After all, I am told, we are justified by faith alone. And indeed we are. The Reformers noted that faith is the instrument by which we are justified. Or more accurately faith is the instrument by which we are united to...
Many readers no doubt are aware that union with Christ is a major concern for the apostle Paul. When you look at such passages as Ephesians 2:1-22 and Colossians 2:6-15 and 3:1-17 it becomes clear that to be "in Christ" or "in him" or for Christ to be "in you" is the sum and substance of our...
The Bible represents God's relationship to his human creation in terms of a two covenant structure (nicely summed up in the Westminster Confession of Faith 7.3,5, and 6). God created Adam and Eve within a covenant structure called the covenant of works in which God commanded our first parents to...
There has been a lot of dust raised about the relationship of systematic theology (referred to as dogmatics outside the US) to biblical theology since the latter's introduction into the theological encyclopedia (all the various sub-disciplines of theology such as exegetics, church history, etc) in...