Posts by Nick Batzig

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Quite a number of contemporary theologians have made the observation that J. Gesham Machen's Christianity and Liberalism is every bit as relevant today as it was when it was first released in 1923. Machen explained that he had written this work in order "to show that Christianity is not a 'life,'...
In recent years, many have enthusiastically welcomed the resurgence of interest in the Marrow Controversy for the simple reason that there is no greater need that any of us have at any given time in our Christian lives than the need to learn to navigate the treacherous waters of legalism and...
I was baptized in the Reformed Episcopal church. I grew up in Reformed and Presbyterian churches. My father diligently taught my sister and I the distinctives of a Reformed covenant theology from our earliest days. He repeatedly reminded us that God had promised to be a covenant God to us and to...
Today was a historic day for the Presbyterian Church in America, as we elected the Rev. Irwyn Ince to be the moderator of the 46th General Assembly. Irwyn is the first African American to be elected to be the moderator of our Assembly. Irwyn serves as the as the director of Grace DC Institue for...
Did Jesus perform miracles, cast out demons and prophesy by the working of his divine nature or by the power of the Holy Spirit? The answer to this question might surprise many in modern Evangelical and Reformed circles. For years, I responded to that question by saying something like, "Of...
As we have recently run a series of post about the importance of theological education and the local church, I wanted to draw our readers attention to a new initiative associated with Reformed Theological Seminary-- the Paideia Center . Adopting a regionally based approach to continuing theological...
I attended a highly patriotic Christian school from kindergarten to fifth grade. It would definitely have been categorized as a nationalistic, God-and-country school. We pledged allegiance to the American flag and then to the Christian flag (which seems awfully Charlemagne-esque in hindsight). At...
I have several friends who share the same anecdote with me over and over again. Sometimes, I lovingly remind them that they have already told me whatever it is they've shared ten times. Sometimes I just listen to them so as not to take away the joy they seem to be experiencing when conveying...
At the Desiring God 1990 Pastor's Conference , Sinclair Ferguson gave a talk titled, " The Biblical Basis for the Doctrine of Eternal Punishment ." It is, without doubt, one of the most significant treatments of the doctrine of hell that I have ever heard. At the outset of that lecture, Ferguson...
Over the years, many have approached me in order to ask what I believe the Bible teaches on some particular theological or ethical subject. In many cases, no sooner have I finished answering them that I'm met with the reply, "But what about...?" All of us are eager to find an exception to the rule...
God calls His people to be truth-loving and truth-speaking people--which is why it's disheartening to see many self-professed Calvinistic and Reformed ministers downplay doctrinal teaching, preaching and transparency. Many years ago, a pastor of an Evangelical and Reformed Presbyterian Church...
Recently, it has come to light that William Lane Craig, professor of philosophy at Talbot School of Theology, propagates an unorthodox view of Christology. Craig has explicitly stated that "the soul of the human nature of Christ is the second person of the Trinity, the Logos. The human nature of...
Among the many grievous situations in which a believer may find himself or herself, having a spouse who is either unbelieving or unwilling to join a biblical church can be one of the most burdensome. The Scriptures teach us the importance of belonging to a local congregation, being under the...
Through much of middle and high school, I woke up every morning and had my quiet time watching Craig Kilborn on ESPN's Sportscenter . I could tell you every stat about every baseball, basketball and football player. I knew the language of just about every major sport. When I would watch sports with...
On the night he was betrayed, Jesus set before his disciples three symbolic acts that pointed forward to what he would accomplish on the cross. First, there was the Passover/Lord's Supper; second, there was the foot washing in the Upper Room; and, third, there was the cup in the Garden. In all...
In addition to the many rich theological insights one will glean from working through Herman Bavinck's Reformed Dogmatics , there are equally profound sociological observations from which we could benefit today. When he came to tackle the question of crime and punishment in a society that has cast...
When God gives us children, He entrusts to our care little eternal beings. Each one of them will spend eternity in either heaven or in hell. There is an unparalleled sobriety that rightly accompanies such delegated responsibility. We often fail to properly prioritize our responsibilities. Our jobs...
Somewhat surprisingly, there has been a resurgence of interest in Norman Vincent Peale's power of positive thinking in our day. The Reformed Church in America minister--famous for giving people a panacea to protect themselves from all undesirable thoughts and actions--carved out a place for himself...
There is a functional perfectionism that can subtly creep into the minds and hearts of even those who adamantly reject any idea of instantaneous sanctification in a believer's life. On one hand, it is altogether possible for us to convince ourselves that we have out-sinned the grace of God or that...
When the Lord first redeemed me, I had a little bookshelf in my room with about 20 theological works on it. I carried around those 20 or so books throughout all the years of my rebellion. My parents had given them to me--hoping that I would read them--long before I was converted. After I was...
Recently, I was having a discussion with a friend (who happens to be in pastoral ministry) about the gender debates that are raging in our culture and in our churches. In the course of our conversation, my friend said, "I think that part of the difficulty with this discussion is that far too many...
Last night, I preached a sermon on Psalm 7 --one of the lamentation Psalms of David, which he presumably wrote while hiding from Saul in the caves of Adullam. A good portion of the Psalm is taken up with David crying out to the Judge of all the earth. The Psalmist calls on the Lord to come and...
I was recently reading John Murray's profoundly enriching sermon, " The Father's Love "--in the newly released volume of his sermon, O Death, Where is Thy Sting? --and was struck afresh with the wonder of the mystery of the commingling of the Father's love and wrath in His dealings with the Son on...
In 1869, the German physiologist, Friedrich Goltz, published a series of conclusions from tests he performed on frogs. In his book, Beitrage zur Lehre von den Functionen der Nervencentren des Frosches ( Contributions to the Theory of the Functions of the Nerve Centers of the Frog ) , Golz revealed...
This past Sunday evening, a young woman in our congregation asked if I knew of a book or sermon series to help her work through portions of the book of Job. She was, like any who have spent time studying Job--especially chapters 3-37--wrestling with how to understand the many difficult things said...
One of my close friends was telling me about a recent interaction he had at a Reformed seminary with a student who was preparing to go into college ministry. In the course of their conversation, my friend and this seminarian entered in on the subject of sexual sin. This young man insisted that...
A friend of mine was recently speaking to a pastor of a large congregation about how things were going in ministry. This particular pastor proceeded to tell my friend that a prominent public figure was coming to speak at the church he pastored. He then went on to boast about the large turnout that...
It should sadden us to learn that the church of our day has neglected one of the greatest treasures God has given her to worship Him--namely, the Psalter. The living God has breathed out an entire book of truth for us to sing back to Him whenever we gather together in corporate worship. Perhaps...
We all love new beginnings. When we enter a new year, most of us tend to think back on the past year--we look back at the accomplishments and failures and wonder if the forthcoming year will yield more progress and a better sense of achievement. When we make New Year's resolutions, we are reacting...
Too often, ministers foolishly embrace the ecclesiastical advice of those who know absolutely nothing about the specific arrangement of the local church they pastor. A pastor is animated by an article in which today's latest "church expert" insists that he or she has the corner on...
On October 27, 1994, President Bill Clinton, while addressing the Knesset ( i.e. the legislative assembly in Israel) cited one of his former pastors when he said, "If you abandon Israel, God will never forgive you...it is God's will that Israel, the biblical home of the people of Israel, continue...
The late professor John Murray captured the essence of the incarnation when he said, "The Son of God became in time what He eternally was not. He did not cease to be what He eternally was, but He began to be what He was not."1 On a prima facie reading of this statement, one might be tempted to draw...
We recently asked Dawain Atkinson if he would be willing to answer a few questions for our Reformation21 audience about his podcast, the B.A.R. podcast , and about the usefulness of podcasting in general. Here is our brief interview with him: Dawain, when my friend, Joe Thorn, introduced me to the...
A number of years ago, I concluded that it is officially an American tradition to have stressful interactions with parents, in-laws, grandparents, siblings, uncles, aunts and cousins on Thanksgiving Day. I have experienced some extremely relationally tense times with family members on Thanksgiving...
As more women bring to light the heinous sexual misconduct of male celebrities and politicians, it would do us good to remember two all-important truths: First, God's word testifies to the pervasive depravity of all men and women (Rom. 3:10-18); and, second, Scripture holds out the universal remedy...
I have often taken comfort in the fact that the Apostle Peter said that Apostle Paul wrote "some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures" (2 Peter 3:15 -16). I don't take comfort in this as a license...
In that first great prophecy of biblical revelation, God promised to send a Redeemer who would crush the head of the serpent (Gen. 3:15). In keeping with the fulfillment of this promise, Jesus faced off--at the beginning of his public ministry--with the devil in the wilderness (Luke 4:1-13). After...
Biblical studies have undergone something of a seismic shift over the past three decades. Noted scholars such as James D.G. Dunn, E.P. Sander and N.T. Wright have questioned whether the theologians of the Reformation have properly understood the theological arguments of the Apostle Paul. This is...
In doctrinally serious churches, welcoming the children of believers to the Lord's Supper is one of the most important elements of the life of the church; it is also one of the most difficult and widely debated matters. On one side of the debate are those who believe that our children should be...
"I am more afraid of my own heart than of the pope and all his cardinals. I have within me the great pope, self." Martin Luther almost certainly never made this statement (though many have falsely attributed it to him). It is, however, an accurate and quite helpful statement, as far as it goes. We...
One of the downsides of living in the technological age is that we are constantly overwhelmed with what we allow to stream into our minds and hearts from our newsfeeds, social media debates, conversations about world affairs, social agendas, personal opinions and every sort of religious and...
With each cultural crisis or natural disaster, our minds are freshly flooded with a litany of images and calls to come to the aid of our neighbors who have been the victims of an injustice or who have suffered loss. One of the downsides of living in a media-connected age is that we can't escape the...
Over the past week, I've seen more appeals to the second half of Matthew 22:39 than I've seen artist postcards in a hipster coffee shop. "Love your neighbor as yourself" (which is the second greatest command, according to Jesus) is now apparently the favorite verse of atheists, agnostics and...
As more and more is being written about ethnicity, I thought that I'd point our readers to the B.A.R. Podcast (Biblical And Reformed), hosted by my friend, Dawain Atkinson. Dawain has had some the most noted pastors and theologians on the show ( e.g. Derek Thomas , Mark Dever and H.B. Charles, Jr...
We live in what has to be the most frenetic society in all of human history. It seems as though things are just getting faster and faster, and the pressure to fill our schedules with non-essential activities is becoming more and more demanding. The impact of such a dynamic is not easy to measure;...
Yesterday, Kevin DeYoung kicked the proverbial hornet's nest when he wrote a post titled, " I Don't Understand Christians Watching Game of Thrones ." That post was swiftly met with a tirade of social media attacks, such as, "The Bible has many, many more violent and lewd scenes than Game of Thrones...
A number of years ago, Sinclair Ferguson made the observation that "the Puritan movement of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries...underlines for us the significance of spiritual brotherhood in the movements of the Holy Spirit." The more we study the writings of the great pastors/...
As we make our way through the Gospel records, we quickly discover that Jesus needed the Holy Spirit at every step and in every stage of His life and ministry. While the human nature of Jesus was inseparably united to the Divine nature of the second Person of the Godhead, Jesus needed to live a...
Augustine once said, “God has promised forgiveness to the repentant, but He has not promised tomorrow to those who delay repentance.” This is a sobering truth--a much needed reminder that we are called to repent of our sin as soon as God has convicted us of it. It is also a sobering...
The Scriptures declare that the Lord fills the heavens and the earth (Jer. 23:24); and, that He who made the vast expanses of the starry sky gives to all men "life and breath and all things" (Acts 17:25). Since "all that borrows life from Him are ever in His care," all that we have and possess (...

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