Archive by Author

Browse Worthy: Culture Battles

Delighting in Death? – Though no one can truly comprehend the inanity of a woman smiling while wearing a “I Had an Abortion” T-Shirt, Carl Trueman does give some insight here.

The Seed of Divorce – Let Tim Challies help you uproot, by God’s Spirit, this seed that lies in every marriage.

What Does the Bible Really Teach about Homosexuality? – This question is not only a title of the post but the new book Kevin DeYoung has written.  You can read about the book, get a sample of it, and listen as Kevin address this topic in a video-recorded message.

This is How Religious Liberty Dies — The New Rules of the Secular Left – Al Mohler offers insightful commentary on how religious liberty is being limited more and more so as to leave the church with no cultural voice or influence.

Watch Daniel Macarthur’s “Faith Under Fire” Message – The “Bakery Battles” are not limited to the USA.  See the testimony of this general manager of a baking company in Northern Ireland. David Murray also adds some helpful lessons that can be drawn from this situation and others like it.

Pastoral Care Statement to a Congregation

What if you had a brochure, membership class lesson, or church webpage that explained to people the type of pastoral care they could expect to receive when attending your congregation?  Here is my attempt at what such an explanation by a Presbyterian congregation might contain.

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Our congregation wants to provide pastoral care for you, whether this is your first visit with us or you are a longtime member of the church.  What do we mean by “pastoral care?”

Pastoral Care Defined

When one hears the word “pastoral,” they often think of the minister of the church.  Though the idea of pastoral care includes the work of the minister, we mean more by this term than only what the pastor does.  The word pastor comes from French and Latin words for shepherd and shepherding.  In English, we use the word “pasture” similarly.  Just as sheep (a common Biblical metaphor for Christians) are protected and fed by shepherds, so the people of God are to be watched over and nurtured.  The chief Shepherd of the church is the Lord Jesus Christ (Psalm 23; John 10:11; Hebrews 13:20), who calls upon spiritual leaders in each generation to care for His people by teaching them the Word of […]

The RPTJ is Now Available!

Recently the faculty of the Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary published the first edition of a new journal. The Reformed Presbyterian Theological Journal will be an online publication in order to make it more readily available.  The plan is to publish two issues per year, and will be found on the resource page of the seminary’s website.

For a further explanation, read the opening column of the journal entitled “From Rutherford Hall” by our president.

As I write this column, I am sitting in my office in Rutherford Hall, the grand, former Horne Mansion situated on the small campus of the Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary (RPTS) in the East End of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. By God’s grace, the Seminary has a long and noble history like the building itself, dating back to its establishment in 1810. Given Rutherford Hall is the location where so much of the life of RPTS takes place – classes, chapel services, conferences, meals, fellowship – that is the name given to this column. We anticipate this feature being a regular part of this new journal being launched by RPTS. The journal, to no one’s surprise, will be called the Reformed Presbyterian Theological Journal.

I believe you will find the Reformed Presbyterian Theological […]

That Last Old Testament Verse

Often home schooling advocates and family ministry speakers quote the last verse of the Old Testament.  Malachi 4:6 brings the Old Testament to its conclusion with this promise about life in the age of Christ: “He will restore the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers.” Clearly, calling people to claim a Scriptural promise that Christ’s ministry will restore healthy relationships between parents and children is a beautiful hope to offer them.

However, though that might be a possible application of this verse, it is not the proper interpretation of it.

In their classic commentary on the Old Testament, Keil & Delitsch state the following:

The meaning of this is not that he will settle disputes in families, or restore peace between parents and children; for the leading sin of the nation at the time of our prophet was not family quarrels, but estrangement from God. The fathers are rather the ancestors of the Israelite(ish) nation, the patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac and Jacob), and generally the pious forefathers, such as David and the godly men of his time. The sons or children are the degenerate descendants of Malachi’s own time and the succeeding ages.”

They go on to explain that […]

J.G. Vos’ Work of Theological Renewal in the RPCNA

Recently Gentle Reformation writers did a series on J.G. Vos for the Reformed Presbyterian Witness magazine.  The following article was my contribution.  In the article I referred to a tract that Vos and another minister wrote, and have received inquiries to its availability.  To my knowledge the tract was only in printed form, so I have scanned it for easy reference.  Click “Are Women Elders Scriptural?” to read it.

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In the flow of denominational history, periods occur where the church can be threatened and even overrun by liberalism.  Indeed, a look at the ecclesiastical landscape today would make one think there is never much of an ebb and flow but only irreversible tidal waves!

The RPCNA has been no exception to such concerns.  In an article he wrote regarding the history of the RPCNA, Tom Reid recounts the state of the denomination in the first half of the twentieth century.  “Over time, the RPCNA’s interest in bringing reform to society gradually was deformed into something approaching social gospel liberalism.” However, in our ongoing look at the influence of J.G. Vos on the RPCNA, we want to highlight how the Lord raised him up to stem the tide of modernism by bringing theological renewal.  His influence […]

Putting Boots on Our Predestination

Recently in a class I took on leadership by Terry Walling, we were encouraged to look at our lives and heritage more carefully using a Post-It Note Timeline to consider all the events, circumstances, and people the Lord has used to shape us.  Dr. Walling had us identify how God as the Potter uses many influences to form us into the people we are. He led us through exercises that helped us recognize people whom God has used to mold us thus far.

As we prayerfully reflected on our lives with Dr. Walling’s guidance, each of us began to see that the Lord uses a myriad of people in lesser and greater ways to prepare and direct us in our service to Him.  Indeed, as we become more aware of God’s shaping hand through others, we begin to see lessons and patterns the Lord uses uniquely in our own lives to guide us further into His ways.

For example, in my own life I saw God has often used “spanks” through the hands of others to shape me. One of my very first memories is crying as a toddler after my father had truly spanked me (with many repeats through my childhood!) which helped put […]

Mercy and the Westminster Publick Directory of Worship

In teaching on mercy ministry in Reformed settings, I often use the Regulative Principle of Worship (RPW) to make a point. The RPW teaches that we are only to worship God as He commands us to do so in Scripture. In considering matters of worship, many Reformed Christians, rightly so, insist on regulating carefully by the Word of God what takes place in the church’s worship of God.

So as I address mercy and worship, I like to say there is another RPW.  Not only must we be careful to regulate our worship according to God’s Word, but we must also be diligent to insure that God’s Word is regulating us, especially in the area of mercy. Repeatedly, God’s Word emphasizes as we come into His presence that He is examining us to see if we are caring for the poor, the stranger, the widow, and the orphan as we ought.  Just two samples among dozens that could be given:

God takes His stand in His own congregation; He judges in the midst of the rulers. How long will you judge unjustly and show partiality to the wicked? Vindicate the weak and fatherless; do justice to the afflicted and destitute.  Rescue the weak and needy; […]

Drinking and Christian Liberty

For over a century, the denomination in which I serve was heavily involved in the temperance movement.  Indeed, up until our recent history, ministers had to promise not to use alcoholic beverages as part of their ordination vows.  Having witnessed the removal of what was known as “the abstinence vow” in ecclesiastical committees and courts, the character and conduct of the church’s leaders following this change can use ongoing encouragements toward holiness.  From my observations in this particular situation, I thought I would offer three key Scriptural cautions regarding how we practice a Christian liberty.

Enjoy your liberty yet do not glory in it.  Psalm 104 tells us that as God provides sustenance for all His creatures, He has also given “wine which makes man’s heart glad” (Ps. 104:15).  Just as Jesus’ first miracle provided wine at a wedding so the joy of the day could continue, so drink, as other pleasures, has been given to man to use for enjoyment.

Yet it is one thing to use these gifts from the Lord in a moderated enjoyment of them, and another thing entirely to glory in them.  By this I mean that one can become so enthralled with a Christian liberty that it becomes his glory rather than Christ. […]

A Garden Afar

Over vales and fields,

lies a garden afar.

The beauty of its three flowers

call to me.

So I travel winding road 

for a day to gaze upon,

to joy in,

and to learn from them.

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The first, a bright crocus, 

puts springtime delight 

in a heart shivering over 

her wintry surroundings.

As I bow to smell 

her playful fragrance,

and feel chubby, little petals against my cheek,

I wonder how one so small

- and too far away -

can put such great love

in a grandfather’s heart?

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My next flower is a bold tulip -

how colorful, grace-filled, and statuesque she stands!

The snows melt away

before her charming aroma,

her radiant joy,

and the musical glory of springtime

she sends forth heavenward.

The father longs for the times

his tulip was in garden near;

yet gives thanks that Another

cares for her so well.

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The last flower, a fading red rose,

has drooping head

and slowly dropping petals.

The cruel winter

has been so […]

The Quest for the Historical Adam

Our friend, Dr. William VanDoodewaard of Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary and The Christian Pundit, has just published a work entitled The Quest for the Historical Adam.  In this day of increasing attacks on the Bible’s authority, Adam is now portrayed as a mythological figure even by those calling themselves evangelicals. Bill has done meticulous historical and theological research that validates the orthodox teaching regarding Adam and explains why anyone believing in the gospel of Jesus Christ must also believe in the reality of Adam.

Listen to Bill’s further explanation for the book in the video below, and then read Al Mohler’s forward that follows.  To pre-order the book at a discounted rate, go here.

Al Mohler’s Forward

Each generation of Christians faces its own set of theological challenges. For this generation of evangelicals, the question of beginnings is taking on a new urgency. In fact, this question is now a matter of gospel urgency. How are we to understand the Bible’s story if we can have no confidence that we know how it even begins?

In terms of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the most urgent question related to beginnings has to do with the existence of Adam and Eve as the first parents to all humanity and […]