Helping a Covenant Child Prepare a Testimony

When preparing young people who have grown up in the church to make a public profession of faith, the usual formulaic approach of writing down a testimony usually does not work. Asking them to think of what their life was like before Christ, how they were then converted, and what has happened since then does not fit their experience.

For many teen-aged believers who grew up in a Christian home and attended church regularly do not remember a time when they did not believe in Christ. Though they have known experiences with sin and trusting in Christ through their life, they are hesitant about naming a time of conversion. Forcing them to come up with such a time can be a way of unknowingly sowing harmful seeds into their souls, as they start looking for an experience that creates doubt rather than looking to Christ with simple yet real faith.

Thus, the pastor preparing them to testify of their faith in Christ, so that they can be given the privileges of communicant membership by the elders and come to the Lord’s Supper, needs to approach them a little differently than someone who was converted out of the world as an adult. To that […]


Let Justice Roll Down

It has been a tumultuous week. Of course, in a very unfortunate way that almost seems normal. Turmoil, discord, confusion, and anarchy appear to be the new normal. That’s the society we live in. Recent headlines only confirm it. We have learned this week that the politically elite are not subject to the same laws as the governed, and dishonesty is an excusable offense so long as one is seeking to protect a reputation. We have again been troubled by the graphic and complicated images of those gunned down by police. We hear of the ways in which truth is being suppressed and efforts are being made to mute and silence religious convictions. We have watched again as those who have sworn to maintain peace have been, in a very calculated manner, executed on the street. Turmoil. Discord. Confusion. Anarchy. It leaves the world crying for justice because, in a very real sense, people see that things are not as they should be.

It’s difficult to know what to say in response. Even as I sit here and let my fingers do my thinking my own mind has tossed and turned and my reflections have taken a new direction. To desire […]


A Wedding in the Woods

Only the Lord could take one day of heart-breaking tragedy, combine it with another day of anticipated joy, and transform it into a time of overflowing grace and beauty.

The day of tragic sorrow occurred less than three months ago when we too abruptly lost Jon, the husband of my wife’s sister. The day of expected joy was Saturday, when his daughter, Kimby, was married.

As Kimby and her groom Andre had desired, and Jon and Jennifer had agreed, the wedding took place in the wooded setting of their home. The day was a gorgeous one, with low humidity and the late afternoon sun shining yet shaded by the tall pines overhead, a breeze gently rustling through them. Large tables with round built-on seats, ones that Jon had secured months in advance for this occasion, were set on the various levels of the deck and yard.  Each one was simply yet elegantly decorated with wood slab chargers (Jon’s idea) holding brightly colored cloth napkins; rich bouquets of a variety of orange and peach colored roses and ranunculuses filled the centers of the tables. The sand volleyball court, the scene of innumerable outdoor games, now served as the sanctuary, with tons of fine sand hauled in by Jon’s friends offering a […]


God’s Word is at Work

A brief encouragement for the culturally discouraged or even culturally fearful:

This morning at our local pastors’ meeting, our leader encouraged us to share how God was using His Word in our lives or in the lives of the churches we serve. As we went around the room, pastor after pastor said almost the same thing: “We are preaching in Judges / Numbers / Ephesians / Genesis right now and God is using His Word to equip us for faithfulness in a difficult world.” 


The Letter of Ignatius to the Romans

One theologian spoke thus,

“Just as we become aware of a meteor only when, after traveling silently through space for untold millions of miles, it blazes briefly through the atmosphere before dying in a shower of fire, so it is with Ignatius, bishop of Antioch in Syria.”  Writing sometime between  A.D. 98-117, the good bishop writes the following to the Christians in Rome.  


Preaching to the Mind

Sometimes we preachers fail in the pulpit simply because we forget what we are up against. We think if we are just pleasant enough or clever enough or loud enough, certainly we will be convincing to our hearers. Yet we must never forget that one of the impacts of the noetic effect of sin is that it causes the mind to be at war against the things of God. We can act as if we are training puppies when instead we are wrestling bears.

Fallen man at his fundamental level, at the core of his constituted being, sets his mind on the things of the flesh. In Romans 8:7-8, Paul states it this way: “The mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.” That unconverted man sitting before you in the pew has a mind that dwells on how he can satisfy his own cravings for such things as pleasure, prestige, and power. So deeply do men suppress the truth, so fiercely do they hate God, that in the words of Dr. James Boice men become “morally insane.” […]


Countering the Happiness Project

The Indian state of Madhya Pradesh is to create a new government ministry—the country’s first ministry of happiness. It will be dedicated to “putting a smile on every face”. It also aims to track their smiling citizens’ growth in happiness.

The state’s chief minister, Shivraj Singh Chouhan, said, “The state will be made responsible for happiness and tolerance of its citizens and will rope in psychologists to counsel people on how to be always happy.”

The reason this caught my eye was that I was preparing to preach this Sabbath on “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted”—so happiness had been uppermost in my contemplations this week. I had also been listening to a lecture Carl Trueman gave at our Shaftesbury Square congregation—and he unpacked a further level of significance to the quest for happiness.

Without being overdramatic I believe the pursuit of happiness (or The Great Happiness Project) lies at the root of many of society’s problems—both personal and social. Obviously I have no problem with happiness—I’m all for it—but the pursuit of it is the problem.

Trueman quotes American sociologist Philip Rieff who set out four stages of Western civilization:

‘Political Man’ of classical civilisation—man defined by the city and […]


Browse Worthy: Trinitarianism and Complementarianism (Part 3)

As has been noted by this first list of articles then another post, a fascinating and important debate has been taking place about the doctrine of the Trinity in seeking to find support for complementarianism. The need for the church to be clear regarding the Godhead as revealed as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit cannot be overemphasized (as this post also reminded us).

Some further posts are shared below that help crystallize the issues. There is a world of difference between saying that the eternally generated Son submitted to the Father before the incarnation (resulting in God having more than one will) and saying that in their eternal counsel the Son as man would submit to the Father (the belief that Christ has both a divine and human will). I hope and pray that the truth of who God is and how He has chosen to reveal himself will triumph over desires to support in an unwarranted manner a lesser teaching of Scripture or, worse yet, to protect reputations. For there is no dishonor in being corrected and accepting it.

Sitting at Douglas Kelly’s Feet: Subordination and the Current Debate | Daniel F. Wells (June 26, 2016)
Heresy and Humility — Lessons from a Current Controversy | Al […]


From the RPCNA Synod

Most of the readers of this blog know that the writers are (mostly) pastors in the Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America, which is currently wrapping up their annual meeting of synod at Indiana Wesleyan in Marion, Indiana. Without giving a full update, I thought I might mention a few encouraging blessings God has given this week. 


Gorge Thy Ears

A few audio picks:

The men over at Reformed Forum weigh in on the current Trinitarian debate.
A podcast affiliated with RadioLab has recently launched a new and superb  podcast covering key cases in the Supreme Court. It is called More Perfect. I heartily recommend it.
If you haven’t listened to History on Fire’s first two episodes (The Slave Wars), you’re truly missing out. Some of the content presented there provides insight (in part) into why, say, the apostle Paul didn’t preach against slavery.
Do you enjoy a good debate? I do. So in case you haven’t yet seen it, head over to Intelligence Squared Debates for a host of interesting discussions on a wide range of current topics.