Posts by Nick Batzig

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There is almost nothing worse than contending with someone who is so lenient that it seems as though he or she has no personal convictions about anything in life except the conviction about not having strong convictions--unless you are contending with someone so rigid that he or she seems to draw a...
In his outstanding series of talks to young men preparing for ministry , Charles Spurgeon cited a theologian who famously said, "Study yourself to death and then pray yourself alive again." One can take this sentiment, reshape and reform it into a dozen others, in order to encourage young...
Our friends at Independent Presbyterian Church in Savannah, GA are hosting a conference with Rosaria Butterfield this Friday night. The theme of the conference is "Sexual Identity and Union with Christ." There will be a Q&A time after her talk. On Saturday morning, June 19 at 9:00 am, the topic...
As there has been no small debate in recent decades over the doctrine of justification, I was delighted to come across a treatment of the once-for-all nature of justification in Geerhardus Vos' Reformed Dogmatics . Having introduced the subject by explaining that the Roman Catholic church conflates...
Pastoral ministry often feels like a 24/7 calling. A pastor can't leave the care of the people of God at the door of the office when the clock strikes 5 PM. While pastoring in the First World requires considerably less sacrifice than it does in most parts of the Second or Third World, it has its...
Last night, I had the great privilege of delivering the baccalaureate speech to the 2017 graduating class at Veritas Academy in Savannah, GA. While meditating, in recent days, on the multitude of truths that God has given us in the book of Ecclesiastes--especially as it pertains to the unexpected...
Criticism is far and away one of the most difficult features of life in this fallen world. Two things in particular complicate the practice of giving and receiving criticism . Pride revolts when others point out areas of our lives in which change may be needed; and, many who raise criticisms are...
Those who cherish the Reformation have often sought out what, if any, influence Martin Luther may have had on John Calvin. Did the two Reformers ever meet in person? Was Calvin influenced by the writings or ministry of "the Initiator" of the Reformation? Did he ever rely on the writing of Luther in...
I've always had something of an aversion to the "if Christianity is not true what do you lose" sort of apologetical approach--precisely because Scripture is God's word and because it is perfect in all that God reveals in it. To raise the question almost seems to inadvertantly jeopardize the...
The news of Hank Hanegraaff's conversion to the Greek Orthodox faith has--not surprisingly--elicited a variety of responses from individuals online. On Twitter, one controversial progressive pastor welcomed Hanegraaff (quite ironically, I would add) to " a greater tradition than biblicism ."...
At The Masters last weekend, I thought about a lesson that I learned in watching professional golfers play over the years. A number of years ago, I saw Tiger Woods play the second hole at the Augusta National. The particular hole has a strong dogleg. Tiger had laid a shot up in the woods (no pun...
So many of the controversies surrounding the church at present center on concepts related to identity and affinity . Whether these issues are sexual, ethnic, biological or political in nature, one cannot escape the seemingly ubiquitous existential clamor with which we are daily inundated. Bombarded...
I was baptized in the Reformed Episcopal church, spent time in Reformed Presbyterian Churches (mainly PCA and OPC) as a boy, was extremely rebellious and dechurched for over a decade, came to Christ in repentance and faith in my 20's and now pastor a moderately liturgical Reformed Presbyterian (PCA...
The word "liturgy" continues to be a trendy--yet often indeterminate--buzzword among young(er-ish) Christians. This is especially so with regard to those who have recently made the shift away from broad evangelicalism and toward historic worship practices of Christendom. Alongside this phenomenon...
All men share in the common experience of being image bearers of God, in having descended from the same first parents, of being fallen in the same federal representative and in needing the same salvation in Christ. However, no two people have exactly the same experiences or conditionings in their...
"When you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward" (Matt. 6:5). These are some of the most sobering words ever spoken by...
I recently happened across a picture online, in which a group of young adults were linking arms at a well attended Christian Conference. The person who had posted the picture wrote a caption underneath it that said something along the following lines: "I don't just believe in these young men and...
My family moved to St. Simons Island, GA in 1989. I was 12 years old. One of the first things that I distinctly remember about that beautiful, little secluded Island was the fact that we could walk into a store, write our name on a ledger and walk out with just about whatever we wanted in the store...
Preaching at someone's funeral is one of the most difficult aspects of pastoral ministry. It is all the more difficult when it is the funeral service of a loved one or a beloved member of the church. However, the most challenging of all is preaching the funeral of someone who was almost...
Marathons, mud runs, CrossFit, Yoga, diets, non-GMO and gluten-free foods, Christian financial programs, anti-vaccination and homeschooling have--each in their own way--taken over the driver's seat of the lives of so many in the church. While all of these things, in and of themselves, may be good...
The debate that raged last year concerning intertrinitarian relations fueled my desire to go back and revisit Richard Muller's volume on The Triunity of God in his Post-Reformation Reformed Dogmatics (a volume that I cannot commend strongly enough). In doing so, I happened across a brief yet...
Sir Isaac Newton, borrowing a phrase from Bernard of Chartres, once noted, "If I have seen farther, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” This maxim holds just as true in the realm of theology as it does in the sphere of scientific investigation. Anyone who has given himself or...
I've been a member of churches that have had an Inquirer's/New Member class and a member of churches that haven't. The most comprehensive Inquirer's class that I attended was at Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia. When I left Tenth to plant New Covenant , I started one within...
As we continue our series of interviews with notable theologians, we sit down with Dr. Richard B. Gaffin, Jr. Dr. Gaffin is Emeritus Professor of Biblical and Systematic Theology, Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, PA. He is the author of numerous books, including Resurrection and...
"If I had died in the line of duty, I don't think that I would have come to Christ. If I had been shot, I would have worn that as a badge of heroism. But when God gave me cancer, He brought me to a place of weakness in order to show me my need for Christ." These were the precious words of Chatham...
In his book The Bruised Reed , Richard Sibbes famously wrote, "We have this for a foundation truth, that there is more mercy in Christ than sin in us." Here is one of those oft repeated statements of Gospel assurance with which believers love to comfort one another. The context, however, is one...
Nothing serves to strengthen our faith so much as seeing the various patterns which God has woven into the pages of Scriptures in order to form a beautiful tapastry of His redeeming grace in Christ. It is not uncommon for theologians to refer to the meta-narrative, or the story of Scripture, as...
Last year I finished a short sermon series on the book of Ephesians. One of the sections of Ephesians which I approached with a sense of fear and trepidation was that which deals with the relationship between masters and slaves (Eph. 6:5-9). After all, in our racially super-charged culture, how...
What has been termed the most contentious and discouraging Presidential election in my lifetime has finally come to an end. America has spoken. For many Christians, a Trump presidency marks the end of a now fractured Republican Party's fall from unity, integrity, wisdom and stability. For others,...
I have great admiration for non-Christians who have contributed to the improvement of society through their inventions, production, leadership, literature and art. My wife and I were recently reflecting on the remarkable ways in which Steve Jobs' labors helped changed the world in which we live. I...
"We keep our preaching basic because we have so many new believers. If we give them too much doctrine, they won't be able to understand it." I can't remember how many times I've heard church planters and pastors say such things. Sadly, as their ministries begin to grow numerically, mature believers...
Everyone loves a sunny day; and, everyone hates a cloudy day, right? After all, we have a singular medical classification for the negative effects of cloudy days on the human psyche. We tend to speak of the beauty of any given day in relation to how much of the sun and sky we are able to see...
Samuel Miller was the second professor at the Theological Seminary of the Presbyterian Church in Princeton, NJ--what is now Princeton Theological Seminary. He was one of the most prolific and able of 19th Century Reformed theologians . Among the most beneficial of his works are those that focus on...
While preparing talks for a forthcoming Reformation Conference, I happened across Heiko Oberman's outstanding 1961 Theology Today lecture, " Preaching and the Word in the Reformation ," in which he set down what he believed to have been the three most important aspects of the preaching among the...
On April 23, 1962, Karl Barth (the renown 20th Century Swiss-German, neo-orthodox theologian) spoke at Rockefeller Chapel on the campus of the University of Chicago . Many have reported that, during the Q & A time, a student asked Karl Barth, if he could summarize his theology in a single...
There are a number of reasons why I have been following with great interest the debate over the ESV's recent change of translation of Genesis 3:16 (see this and this ). First, it is clear that the complementarianism debate will necessarily push exegetical considerations to the forefront of...
The local church that I have been called to pastor consists largely of young military families with small children and recent empty-nesters/early retirees. This dynamic makes for both constant turnover as well as high travel frequency during the year. At times, our church feels a little less like a...
No one likes change. Change frequently becomes a platform for anxiety in an individual's life. We all like routine. Knowing what to expect makes us feel safe and offers us the comfort of seeming stability. Yet, change is inevitable. We are changing creatures in a changing world. Things are...
I am a child of the technological frontier--the brave new world of exciting potential and seemingly limitless possibility. I learned how to type on a typewriter; but, how to spell on a Speak&Spell . As a young boy, I played video games on Commodore 64 and Atari . It wasn't until I was about 12...
There are certain sins that we tend to tolerate in our own hearts and lives, as well as in the church. They are what Jerry Bridges has called " respectable sins "--gossip, slander, envy, covetousness, pride, etc. We like to single out what we deem to be other, more pronounced sins in...
Our little corner of the internet has been ablaze over the past several months with posts and articles about the Trinity and complementarianism. A number of individuals have raised concerns about certain segments of the church allowing chauvinism ( e.g . sanctified testosterone , soap bubble...
"I am the woman at the well, I am the harlot I am the scattered seed that fell along the path I am the son that ran away And I am the bitter son that stayed My God, my God, why hast Thou accepted me When all my love was vinegar to a thirsty King? My God, my God, why hast Thou accepted me? It's a...
Over the past 150 years or so, there has been a biblical theological development in our understanding of Paul's use of the σαρκ/πνεύμα ( i.e. flesh/Spirit) distinction--specifically in relation to the Person and work of Christ. The most significant passage in this regard is Romans 1:3-4. The "...
When we think of Jesus, we dont tend to think of Him as One who had many possessions. After all, the Scriptures are clear that "though He was rich, yet for our sakes, He became poor that we through His poverity might become rich" (2 Cor. 8:9). At His own admission, we know that the Savior...
There is a profoundly important section titled, "On the Preaching of the Word," in The Directory for the Public Worship of God , in which we find a very short and very wise statement about the minister's responsibility to refute false teaching in the church. What is most captivating about the brief...
One of the more difficult questions to settle--both from a biblical and historico-theological perspective--is that which concerns how we are to view the children of baptized, professing believers. On one hand, we can be quite sure that the children of professing believers are, no less than the...
Antinomianism has certainly received its fair share of just criticism in recent years--predominantly on account of its pernicious presence in the pulpits across our land. While the doctrinal forms of Antinomianism are quite pernicious, its practical forms are sometimes even more dangerous; after...
Preaching through Genesis over the past year and a half has encouraged me to re-open quite a number of significant theological subjects--not least of which is the historical character of the foundational portions of God's revelation. Over the past 150 years, biblical scholars have spilled ink ad...
Without in any way wishing to take away from the ongoing conversation about the dire need for the church in North America to focus on attaining unity among ethnic diversity by means of the Gospel, I have long felt the challenge of fostering Gospel-unity and fellowship among existing diverse...
If there is one area in which young Reformed men preparing for seminary have generally failed to give adequate attention it is to the writings of that period of church history from the Apostles to the Reformation. There are obvious reasons for this. One such reason is that we live on this side of...