iDolatry

First, a disclosure.  I have an iPad and and an iPhone.  These tools are wonderful helps to me.  After a few double or missed bookings because my wife and I were unaware of each other’s calendars, this summer I synchronized them on these devices (after I convinced her to not use the large printed one […]



Carl F. H. Henry Center for Theological Understanding (Three Audio Debates)

Here are some theological debates that might be of interest. Each can be found under “Ministries/Trinity Debate” over at the Carl F.H. Henry Center website. Do Relations of Authority and Submission Exist Eternally Among the Persons of the Godhead?  (Bruce Ware and Wayne Grudem vs. Keith Yandell and Tom McCall)  This is technical debate that […]


Westminster Conference 2014

Another post today to give you yet another conference series!  Listening to the messages in both of these posts could keep you busy for quite a while! The Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary hosted its eleventh annual Westminster Confession Conference this past weekend.  The subject this year was “The Law of God and Its Uses.”  The […]


Rut Etheridge on “Refusing a Lesser Life”

Rut Etheridge, chaplain at Geneva College and fellow Gentle Reformation blogger, recently spoke on the subject of sanctification at the Christian Life Conference of the First Reformed Presbyterian Church of Beaver Falls, PA.  Entitled “Refusing a Lesser Life: The Savior’s Summons to a Full Hearted Faith,” these four messages are insightful, challenging, and a helpful addition (and, […]


The Sound of Faith

What is faith? Sometimes we answer that question with closely associated words. “Faith is trust,” someone may say. Or, “Faith is belief,” says another. The older theologians—whom we would do well to follow—speak of it as a “firm and sure knowledge” and a “confidence.” Generally speaking, it’s agreed that faith is made up of knowledge, […]



Drops of Nectar

At summer’s end, at perfect time,    Hosta shoots reach up high; As the purple cups, hanging down,    Beckon those flying by.   With whirring wings and slender beak,    Colors catching the sun, Humming birds feast as they hover,    Always amazing one.   Yet on this day, the lumbering    Of those inside the cup, […]


Integrity Matters

Last week, musician John Mellencamp welcomed Dr. Robert Heimburger, 97 (pictured, right), at the Indianapolis Riley Hospital for Children to record an interview together for a fundraiser next year. Mellencamp describes this neurosurgeon as “the man who gave me life.” He is responsible for the life-altering surgery performed on the month-old Mellencamp in the fall […]


A Lesson From Natural Evil

It’s reported that while attending a divine service on a wintery day, Sir Isaac Newton left in his study a favorite little dog named Diamond. Apparently a candle had been left lit upon his desk, which was situated near a pile of papers containing many years of scientific labor. When Sir Isaac returned home, he […]




The Power of Memory

With my Uncle Don passing away this week, my mom lost both her brothers within a span of a few months.  Sadly, her dementia makes it impossible for me to relate to her what has taken place. However, just a few weeks ago, Don and Mom spoke on the phone ever so briefly.  I saw […]



Browse Worthy: David Murray’s Student Tech Tips

With school getting into full swing these days, it is important for students to work on their organizational abilities.  In this increasingly technological age, boxes of crayons and notebooks with tabs are being replaced with digital apps and files it seems.  Not only that, but even yesterday’s technology gets replaced in a blink of an eye. […]



Of Angels and Men

The question of Satan’s fall into sin has been an issue of considerable intrigue throughout the centuries. Theologians have burnt oil long into the night pondering the subject, trying to thread together the various strands of biblical data. Here recently, I self-published a book on the subject. A fresh theory is presented and defended in […]


Scar Stories

With her Carolina twang, Mommy told me to go let Daddy know that supper was ready. Heading out the front door of our little house on the dead end of the gravel road, I saw Daddy across the creek that ran through our property. He was clearing brush from the bank. As I headed toward […]




Summer Blueberry Thoughts

Having just returned from vacationing near Lake Michigan, knowing my children will return to school tomorrow, and even seeing some leaves starting to turn because of the cool weather, I am reminded of how quickly the summer is ending.  Though not quite a paper on “What I did on My Summer Vacation,” here are a […]



Is Your Church Restful?

Recently, a reader submitted the following question: I have become increasingly uncomfortable with the amount of hustle and bustle of church business and committee work and clip boards flying around to sign up for this and that. Of course I too have approached people, clipboard in hand, on the Lord’s Day. Would one of you […]



Podcast: Satan’s Awful Idea

Recently our fellow blogger, Austin Brown, self-published a book entitled Satan’s Awful Idea with the subtitle A Biblical Theology of Satan’s Fall and Its Implication on the Unfolding Human Drama.  Combining his knowledge gleaned from years of listening to reformed podcasts on his mail route, his love of reading theological tomes, and his vivid imagination, in this work […]


Libations of Prayer

O loving Father,   When our hope begins to fade   And our strength fails, Again you send Your servants   To come alongside us,   Visible, tangible messengers of Your care.   In prayer we cling to ancient promises   With brokenhearted faith that cries,   Weeping yet once again over loss. Their tears fall […]



A Very Little Thing

From childhood, I remember that Timex watches used to have commercials featuring either “torture tests” or short documentaries on true circumstances where their watches endured extreme conditions but still functioned afterward.  From being strapped to the propeller of a boat motor to being strapped to the belly of a Sumo wrestler, you would see the watch survive then […]






Forgiving Others

When you’re hurt by someone- really wounded- you’re forced to think through the matter of forgiveness afresh. This has been the case in my own life. How ought one to forgive? What if the person is unrepentant? Can you forgive someone if they don’t ask for it? Should forgiveness erase all of the consequences? These […]





Truth In Mendacity

Man is a very confused creature. Merely consider the vast multitude of worldviews and religions, and how humanity understands reality in nearly every imaginable way. Flip open a textbook of comparative religion. Turn the pages of a philosopher’s journal. Journey down the corridors of history. What belief does man not hold? It is all there, […]


Looking Forward to Persevering

“Of course!” “Absolutely!” “Why, certainly!” “Oh, yes!” “Oh, definitely!” The doctrine of the perseverance of the saints rang sweetly in my ears with those exclamations as an eighty-six year old woman joined the congregation that I serve. That doctrine promises that God’s elect, once converted, will persevere in grace to the end (e.g. John 10:27-30). […]


Responding to Gay Marriages

Perhaps it’s largely due to judicial activism. Perhaps it may be a short-lived reality with long-term inevitability, but our county in Indiana saw its first gay marriages solemnized at the courthouse this week. For some of GR’s readership, this has been a reality for some time, for others it is yet in the future. But the […]



God’s Self-Glory

In many places in Scripture, God makes statements that express a desire for His own glory.  For instance, in Exodus 14:4, the Lord says, “I will get glory over Pharaoh and his armies.”  Or in speaking of preserving Israel from His utter wrath, in Isaiah 40:11 the Lord says, “For my own sake, for my […]







The Reflecting Pond

The former owners of our house, a sweet elderly couple, had told us there was once a small pond there, filled in years ago.  Yet it was difficult to believe.  For in the small, triangular area in our yard where they had pointed, the tangle of yuccas, irises, peonies, lilies, and weeds of all varieties made it impossible […]


The Epistle to Diognetus

Considered by Lightfoot to be the “noblest of early Christian writings*,” the Epistle to Diognetus serves as a truly fascinating letter. Composed in the second or third century, the epistle provides a glimpse into the evangelistic and apologetic strategy of one Christian dialoging with an outsider, Diognetus. While there are many quotable passages, I am […]



A Simpler Answer?

As our congregation continues to work through Jesus’ sermon on the mount during our evening services, we come this week the following where Jesus lays the foundation of most of the sermon: Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to […]



Thinking in Worship

In the context of urging true worship, the Apostle Paul stressed the importance of Spirit-filled thinking in the life of the believer. I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.  Do not be conformed to this world, but […]


Audio Picks

A few audio picks for your edification and enjoyment: • Dr. John Piper, former Pastor for Preaching and Vision of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, MN, spoke at the seventh annual Gaffin Lecture on March 12, 2014. Dr. Piper’s lecture was “The New Calvinism and the New Community: The Doctrines of Grace and the Meaning […]



A Time to Speak: The Conclusion of a Series on Emergence Christianity

Note:  As Gentle Reformation made the switch to its new format, the first three blogs in this series were lost.  Many thanks to The Aquila Report for keeping them online!  Here are links to  articles one  two and three   Below is the conclusion…better late than never, I hope!  Though it feels like months have passed, […]


The Bird Watcher

Though neither ornithologist nor true bird watcher, living on the edge of woods at spring time has helped me understand the enthusiasm some have for this hobby.  Especially while praying in the morning or enjoying a quiet Sabbath rest, the flights of a variety of birds through the forest make it – and one’s own heart […]




Life is Winning in Indiana

Last night, Life Centers, a pregnancy resource center here in central Indiana, hosted its thirty-first annual Celebration of Life banquet. The fund-raiser was headlined by keynote speaker Eric Metaxas. Indiana Governor Mike Pence addressed the audience of nearly one-thousand friends of life, and he ceremonially signed new pro-adoption legislation. Testimonies were shared by women who […]



Geneva’s Chapel

Two weeks ago I had the privilege of being present at the chapel service of Geneva College.  I would like to report on my experience there. Each person entering Metheny Fieldhouse was given a program that had the service printed in it.  The theme printed on the front of the program was thoughtfully woven into the […]






Anathema (Letter 6)

(You can find the Introduction here.  Letter one here) I cannot fully express the degree of appreciation I am now feeling.  It is a rare honor for a student, even a student in residency, to be granted permission to read the Christian texts.  Thank you, Dr. Larson, for your letter of recommendation.  I am grateful […]


Paternity, Prepositions and Painful Prayers

Worthless.  Disgusting.  Useless.  What would you think of a father who describes his children with these words?  And what if this father encourages his children to describe themselves and one another the same way, especially when speaking to him?  Such “fatherhood” deserves the deepest contempt and its victims the deepest compassion.  Stunningly, it is this […]



Something Magical

Three things are too wonderful for me; four I do not understand: the way of an eagle in the sky, the way of a serpent on a rock, the way of a ship on the high seas, and the way of a man with a virgin.  Proverbs 30:18-19 First, a quick exposition of this proverbial […]



Anathema (Letter Five)

I can see your point and do certainly embrace it.  Yet I cannot help but think that the line that exists between unlawful belief and state sponsored “religion” could be refined, if ever so slightly, in a few specific instances. Allow a moment to illustrate. If we consider the liberalization of Christianity in the 20th […]





Anathema (Letter Four)

Prayer is a curious bug. I have been examining this phenomenon closely in patient 2H-A for days now, and while it is tempting to express confidence in my having come to a place where I understand this aspect of the delusion more greatly, I’m afraid to say that I am no better off now than […]




Transitions

Having moved eight months ago (Can it be that long?), our family has dealt with many changes.  As I have chronicled before (here, here, here, and here), everything seems like it has been in transition.  Home, job, school, church, children’s marriages, and parental death are some of the major changes we have gone through.   However, it is not […]


Browse Worthy: Worship

In addition to Jared’s post encouraging us to see if our spiritual clothing is appropriate for worship, there have been several other recent articles on the subject of worship that are quite helpful. Last week Carl Trueman shared one of the most popular articles he has written – one that even years later people correspond with […]





Anathema (Letter Three)

Journal Entry One June 14th I have decided to start journaling.  I must confess that the activity feels rather foreign, as I have never been one to scratch out my thoughts on paper, at least not such personal thoughts.  Chronicling facts or one’s ideas might be easy enough, I suppose, but there’s something about a […]




Anathema (Letter Two)

Here is the intro.  Letter One. ——— Letter Two I suppose there is a touch of audacity to our efforts.  Here we find ourselves, after millions of years of mind-shaping evolution, trying to alter nature.  Can we really expect to unravel the effects of such forces in just a few short months?  Indeed layer upon […]


GenRef Podcast: Pastor Dave Long

Let the peoples praise you, O God; let all the peoples praise you! Let the nations be glad and sing for joy, for you judge the peoples with equity and guide the nations upon earth. -Psalm 67:3-4- God is the greatest missionary.  Of that there can be no doubt.  His scope encompasses the globe.  His […]


Audio Picks!

A few audio picks to help warm your soul during the arctic doldrums of January: Lecture series on Paul and his letters, by Ted Donnelly. With scholarly insight and pastoral care, Ted Donnelly explores the letters of Paul, paying particular attention to the occasion of each epistle.  The letter is unpacked as a letter.  In […]


Anathema (Letter One)

[The introduction to this series can be found here] Letter One The patient exhibits classic signs of paranoia: fear of God, belief in original sin, belief in a future judgment… But maybe the most striking conviction is the patient’s belief in a Satan figure; and here I’m not speaking merely of a medieval icon of […]


Anathema

How I came into possession of the letters to follow, which are by all estimations accounts of future events, I dare not share.  Suffice it to say that certain esteemed individuals have passed them along to me, accidental though it was.  When I inquired into their origin and especially how a relic of the future […]