Christian conversation about pastoral ministry often includes the expression “a pastor’s heart,” but what does that expression actually mean? Though Scripture may not use the exact phrase in question, it absolutely answers questions about the nature and the practical proof of pastoral affection. Read more
Posts by Rut Etheridge III
Rob Bell is back, and the critiques of his latest work are coming in. I’ve not yet had the opportunity to read What We Talk About When We Talk About God, but I’m starting to peruse the reviews. Having read and taught concerning his previous work, I know that Bell’s claims about Christianity must be taken seriously and answered seriously. It is precisely that fact which causes me to cringe a bit regarding the reviews of his most recent work. So far, they seem to follow the typical pattern of analysis and refutation, which is well and good. But, similar to the last batch of critiques, they contain an element which subtly but substantially undermines the otherwise helpful work within them. Read more
Were you you when you were converted to Christianity? Or, asking about the same idea from a different angle: Are you you subsequent to your conversion? Every Christian should answer with a resolute “Yes!” and “No!” That’s the Bible’s answer. As such, it is an ancient, unequivocal answer bearing not one iota of influence from postmodern sentiments about truth. So what does this answer mean? How does it make sense? Let’s take our cue from Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians 5:17. Read more
Does the following sentence make sense to you? “I found a BFF on FB with my Droid App; his blog made me LOL so hard I had to Tweet.” If so, you are plugged into the lingo of our digital era. The philosophical trends and technological advances in our day combine to make our words both abbreviated and multiplied. Acronyms abound as many millions of people broadcast terse bits of social or self-referential commentary; at the same time, online journals provide limitless space for linguistic catharsis. The ability to share information with so many people can be used in wonderful ways, but there are also significant dangers associated with ever-expanding mass media. Read more
James tells us in 1:22 that the person who hears God’s word without doing God’s word is engaged in self-deceit. Obviously, self-deceit is subtle. How are we to know when we are self-deceived in our walk with the Lord? According to James, we are successfully lying to ourselves when our lives do not change according to the pattern of the Word we have heard. Read more
The Puritans are derided as legalistic killjoys whose meticulous writings tend to parse the life out of true piety. Even a quick overview of their work will reveal their ability to write exhaustively on a topic and to exhaust the reader in the process! However, the careful, charitable reader of Puritan works will spy in them a faith of studied simplicity, one from which we could benefit in the midst of current battles among believers. Read more
C.S. Lewis opens his brilliant, prophetic series of lectures entitled The Abolition of Man with these words: “I doubt whether we are sufficiently attentive to the importance of elementary text books.” Lewis alerts his audience as to what children in his day were being taught regarding the philosophy and ethics of human knowledge, propaganda which, when uncritically absorbed into the soul, guts our very humanity.
As to how this dehumanizing happens, I’ll not spoil the book for you – please read it if you’ve not already! Suffice it to say, Lewis was right. Read more
Many thanks to Barry York, James Faris and Nathan Eshelman – and by extension to Dr. Joel Beeke! – for your heartfelt articles pertaining to the national elections (forgive me if I missed any authors!). Thanks for being willing to step into the virtual minefield of this volatile topic with the courage of your convictions as well as the kindness and humility which demonstrate your sincere love for Christ and desire to serve Him. Thanks for leading by example in ensuring that Gentle Reformation is able to address fiery topics with the fruit of the Spirit.
Now that the election is over, Read more
Are we to be congratulated for being a “post” society? The word “post” has come to take on a subtle, special significance when used as a prefix in the world of sociology, philosophy and therefore theology.
The term is used in a general way to indicate “afterward.” In history, the phrase “post-Reformation Europe” calls to mind a particular set of years and the ideas which have driven and defined it. But in our culture, the term “post” means not merely a chunk of history and the ideas which animate it. We use “post” as both a description of how things are and a prescription of how things should be. It is a comment on the movement of society, but also a self-congratulatory compliment on the particular direction in which we’re heading. Read more
This past Monday marked the 39th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Roe Vs. Wade decision, a decision heralded by many as a codification of our society’s social progress and a landmark stepping stone for more progress. Our culture’s movement in moral / ethical issues is a kind of progress. It’s the kind of progress one makes on a treadmill. There is the feeling but not the reality of forward movement. Read more
With this entry, I’ll begin a series of meditations upon the meaning and application of essential Calvinistic beliefs. I hope these thoughts will encourage all who read and be a particular encouragement to those grappling with Calvinism or wrestling with the claims of Christianity in general. (Note: Sorry for the formatting issues -I’m still learning!)
Calvinists subscribe to what are popularly called the Doctrines of Grace. These are summarized in five headings and planted in the acronym TULIP. This entry will deal with the T: Total Depravity. Read more
An interlude in the blog series on Calvinism – here are wonderful, heart-felt and heart filling words regarding our Savior’s relationship to the Psalms -
“Here the language of the Bible comes to meet the very thoughts of our hearts before these can even clothe themselves in language and we recognize that we could not have expressed them better than the Spirit has expressed them for us . . . Our Lord himself, who had a perfect religious experience and lived and walked with God in absolute adjustment of his thoughts and desires to the Father’s mind and will, our Lord himself found his inner life portrayed in the Psalter and in some of the highest moments of his ministry borrowed from it the language in which his soul spoke to God, thus recognizing that a more perfect language for communion with God cannot be framed.”
- taken from “Songs from the Soul” preached by Geerhardus Vos in 1902. The sermon can be found in Grace and Glory: Sermons Preached in the Chapel of Princeton Theological Seminary, The Banner of Truth Trust,Carlisle,PA: 1994.