Children at the Lord’s Table?

Frequently I am asked by seminary students or pastors about the question of children and the Lord’s Supper. Several years ago, after some members asked questions about the teaching dubbed “paedocommunion” (the practice of allowing baptized children to come to the Lord’s Table without a necessary profession of faith), I sought to find help from others on the subject.  I encountered an abundance of materials by those promoting paedocommunion, with titles such as Feed My Lambs or the even more emotively-labeled Daddy, Why Was I Excommunicated?  Often those producing and promoting these books and messages were associated with the aberrant teachings of the Auburn Avenue Conferences and Federal Vision Theology.

At the time, all I found on the historic, Reformed practice of requiring profession of faith before admission to the Lord’s Table were a few passing references in the confessions and theological books, and a helpful though somewhat poorly recorded tape series by Kenneth Gentry.  Thankfully, Dr. Cornelius Venema’s scholarly yet accessible work Children at the Lord’s Table? Assessing the Case for Paedocommunion does much to stand in the gap, providing a Biblically-grounded and confession-honoring answer to those who espouse a hyper-covenantal theology that promotes this practice.

In this book Dr. Venema poses and answers this question: “Does […]

A Matter of Inches

Last spring I was working at home when I received a call from a number that I did not recognize. I let it go to voice mail. The same number called again so I decided it might be important and answered. On the other end of the line I heard a strange female voice asking me if I had a daughter, who was an Indiana University student. When I answered in the affirmative, the voice told me that my daughter had been run over by a car while walking on campus and that she was going to the hospital in an ambulance.

Life in Twenty Year Stages

“For some, life’s years are seventy; perhaps the strong may eighty see” Moses wrote in Psalm 90. We should daily remember the brevity of life in order to “count our days and set our hearts on wisdom’s ways.”

How do we count our days that usually amount to seventy or eighty years? One of many ways is to count by twenty year increments. These time blocks give us a general roadmap and help to order our expectations and sense of responsibility in life as we walk before the Lord and ask him to establish the work of our hands here on earth. Of course, we must remember that our value is not ultimately found in what we do but in what Christ has already done for us; we are called to abide in him all of our days. In real life, the division of life’s stages are not this clean; each person’s experience will be different. Take these for what they are – broad generalities. I stand at year forty – halfway; no doubt, others could write more helpfully on the last forty years of life. The basic outline I took from a sermon (I have forgotten the source) some years ago […]

Satan’s Awful Idea (Free PDF Book Version)

Forgive my shameless plug, but I’d like to make my book (in PDF form) available for free.

For those who would like to think further about Satan’s fall and God’s peculiar response to the kingdom of darkness (from a distinctly Reformed perspective), I’d encourage you to consider this book.

Here are some questions that emerge and seek to be answered in this work:

What could possibly convince angels to follow Satan in his mutinous designs?  Would a mere expression of pride somehow persuade?
1 John 3:8b says, “The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.”  That is an incredible statement.  What are these works?  And how did Christ destroy them?
Why is sin ironic?  Why does it purchase the opposite of what it promises?
Did Satan know that the cross would undue him?  Did he foresee its effects?
Knowing what terrible things would come to pass, why did God create the angel we now know as Satan?
When were the elect angels confirmed in holiness?

Many other questions are raised and explored.  So if your interest is at all piqued, I’d encourage you to give it a look.  Merely click the image for the PDF.  Or you can download it here.

Do share […]

3GT Episode 10: Boldly Ordinary

Two main topics in this episode.  In the first segment, we ask whether Satan, when he offered the kingdoms of the world to Christ, could in fact do just that- offer the kingdoms.  Was a big fat lie?  Or was it a genuine offer?  In the second segment, we discuss the matter of the ordinary Christian life.  What shall we say about those Christians who lead a quiet life and don’t conquer nations with one hand tied behind their back?  Are they failing in some significant way?  Are they falling short of the glory of radical?

For more information, go to www.3GT.FM


Harvest Eyes

I grew up surrounded by the cornfields of Minnesota and now I live encompassed by the ones in Kansas. Truth be told, they’re my favorite landscape. I know some people prefer the mountains of Colorado or the seacoast beaches. I’ve even met some people whose preference lies in cityscapes—I still can’t figure that out. As for me, I love the rolling green hills blanketed by a sea of golden tassels trembling on stalks of corn. And as summer slowly yields to autumn the silks, shucks, and stalks begin to turn varying degrees of brown as the dry out. To the unknowing eye it may seem the corn is simply dying. But to those who have harvest eyes it’s a good indication that the corn is ripe for the picking.

It’s remarkable to me that this is the way the greatest evangelist who ever lived saw people. I’m not writing about Wesley or Whitefield, Moody or Graham, but of Jesus. Everywhere Jesus went he saw a field that was ripe for the harvest. It didn’t matter where he was. Jesus evangelized in the high-population urban centers of government, commerce, education, and religion. He also spent time in those tiny out-of-the-way villages—a great […]

Prayer Societies

Encouraging God’s people to pray is one of the pastor’s most trying jobs. Three reasons exist for why this is so.

First, pastors often approach this difficulty mechanically. We find a passage on praying, talk about how God desires us to be praying, then tell people to get to praying. Then we get discouraged over the lack of response. We need to recognize the problem is not in making known the duty. Every Christian knows he should pray. Simply urging the church to pray more usually results in condemnation about our prayer life rather than consecration in this holy duty.

Another great struggle in praying, as one of my mentors regularly reminds me, is scheduling it. We simply do not make it the priority it should be. Sadly, the church does not always help its folks in this regard. Often the church has one weekly, corporate prayer meeting that can conflict with the full schedules of its members.

A third obstacle to prayer is that the motivation to sacrifice our own interests to pray is usually lacking. Note how when crisis strikes, people more naturally pray. Yet in seasons of congregational comfort, prayer usually lags in intensity. E.M. Bounds says, “Prayer is the oral expression of […]

More than a Sermon (The Means of Grace #2)

Have you thought any of these coming to church?

I can’t wait to hear what the sermon is on today
I’m really enjoying this series on …………
I hope the minister is on form today
I hope he’s not too long
Great, it’s so and so preaching today
I hope the tunes are decent, hope the singing is good
I wonder if so and so will be out

When the Westminster Confession speaks of the Word of God being a means of grace it has in mind the public ministry of the Word—I take that to mean the whole of the worship service where the word is central, being sung and read, as well as preached.

It’s easy to see ‘worship’ as the prelude to the main event—the sermon—but it is way more important than that. And it’s easy to see the sermon as a source of information, challenge, encouragement etc. and to miss that the whole service is one of God’s appointed channels for his generous grace to flow into our lives.

We need to be convinced of the priority of public worship—that God loves to meet with his people gathered together, and to bless them there. It is a means of grace in a way that our own […]

Lord, Save Us From Some of These Christian Politicians

It makes me so sad to see Evangelicals heaping praise upon Donald Trump and abusing the Bible to do so.  “You will know them by their fruits” (Matthew 7) has to be one of the most misused texts of Scripture in our day.   Politicians and their supporters use it to tell Christians to look past the commandment-breaking past of their choice for President, as if Jesus taught that doing some benevolent things was sufficient proof of authentic faith. 

Seeking His Spirit

Lately I have been reflecting on the prophets’ visions of revival. Many of the wondrous things they see in the days of Christ and promises they extend have to do with fuller manifestations of the Spirit of God. For three familiar examples:

Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, Thus says the Lord God: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they may live.” So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived and stood on their feet, an exceedingly great army…And you shall know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves, and raise you from your graves, O my people. And I will put my Spirit within you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land. Then you shall know that I am the Lord; I have spoken, and I will do it, declares the Lord.” (Ezekiel 37:9-10, 13-14)

For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour my Spirit upon your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants. They shall spring up among the […]