But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. And do not fear their intimidation, and do not be troubled, but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you yet with gentleness and reverence; and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame.  1 Peter 3: 14-16

Apologetic Report - The Reformed Reader
Tuesday, 21 March 2017 01:00

Pastors Staying Put (Miller)

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image I’ve come to appreciate this wise advice Samuel Miller gave to a young pastor laboring in a town called Frederick in 1854.  I’ve taken the word “Frederick” out of the quote and left it blank so fellow pastors can apply it to their own location:

I was especially...

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Monday, 20 March 2017 06:12

No Condemnation (Hodge)

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image Here’s a nice excerpt from a sermon Charles Hodge gave on Romans 8:1 (Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. NASB):

Behold, O Christian the deed of thy inheritance.  …Jesus Christ came down from heaven to seek and save his people, to accomplish...

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Friday, 17 March 2017 23:39

The Simplicity of Reformed Worship

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image Historic Reformed churches worship the Lord in simplicity.  That is, Reformed churches do not include ceremonies, festivals, crucifixes, processions, incense, relics, images, vestments, altars, and so forth in their worship services.  Reformed worship simply consists of the Word (read,...

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Thursday, 16 March 2017 07:00

Calvin’s Company of Pastors

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image I’m very much looking forward to reading this book after finishing the introduction.  Here’s an edited snippet from the intro:

The reader will encounter three important themes wending their way through the chapters of this book:

First, the ministers of Geneva cannot be understood...

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Wednesday, 15 March 2017 01:07

Israel, the Church, and Replacement Theology

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image I appreciate and agree with Iain Duguid’s discussion of “replacement theology” in his commentary on Numbers 24:

Some Christians believe that Old Testament promises that speak of “Israel” are only intended for ethnic Israel and not for the church. For them,...

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Tuesday, 14 March 2017 04:23

The Right to Choose?

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image We’re all aware of the pro-choice rhetoric about the “right to choose.”  Those who defend abortion say a woman has the right to choose whether to have the baby or terminate it in the womb.  However, this “right to choose” rhetoric is not at all...

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Monday, 13 March 2017 06:58

Faith Seeking Understanding (Anselm)

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image Over the years, I’ve enjoyed Bengt Hagglund’s History of Theology.  Here’s a section from chapter 17, specifically on Anselm.

“Anselm, like Augustine before him, represented that position with respect to faith and reason which was customarily characterized by the...

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Friday, 10 March 2017 23:49

Imitating Christ: Good, but not Gospel

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image God’s people should seek to be like Christ.  As Paul said, “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ” (1 Cor. 11:1, NIV).  But our imitating Christ is not the gospel.  J. G. Machen explained this well:

“It seems never to have occurred to the...

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image Hypercalvinism is a serious distortion of the gospel and the grace of God.  In hypercalvinist circles you’ll hear sermons on election and reprobation, but you’ll rarely hear calls to faith and repentance.  Hypercalvinists don’t want to sound Arminian so they usually...

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Thursday, 09 March 2017 05:10

God Crowns Grace with Grace (Sibbes)

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image I’m finally reading Richard Sibbes’ Josiah’s Reformation – a book which was originally a four-part sermon series on 2 Chronicles 34:26-28.  So far so good!  Today I came across this great paragraph on how God crowns his grace with grace:

God hath set down this...

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image Here’s a great Reformation treatment on the purposes (or uses) of God’s law.

“What purposes does the Law then serve?”

First, the Law helps to control violent outbursts of sin and keeps order in the world (a curb).

Second, the Law accuses us and shows us our sin (a mirror)....

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Tuesday, 07 March 2017 01:04

Balaam: Wizard or Prophet?

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image Numbers 22-24 contains a very interesting part of Israel’s history right before they entered the Promised Land.  In these chapters, we learn about Balaam and his talking donkey (she-ass).  Opinions about Balaam vary; some say he was God’s prophet who stumbled, others say he...

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Sunday, 05 March 2017 23:45

A Treasury of Quotes (Blanchard)

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image I don’t have many books of quotations, but one that I do have and use from time to time is Gathered Gold compiled by John Blanchard.  Many of the quotes in this book are from various Puritans (Thomas Watson, Thomas Brooks, Matthew Henry, etc.) or other Reformed leaders (B. B. Warfield,...

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Friday, 03 March 2017 21:27

God Behind The Curtains (Calvin)

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God is able to make grass grow without sun and rain. He is able to heal without the hand of a doctor. It is possible for him to keep his people nourished without food or drink. However, in his providence, God has chosen to use means and instruments to accomplish his purposes. Rain and sun help...

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Wednesday, 01 March 2017 22:23

Affliction’s Benefits (Watson)

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image Though affliction, trials, suffering, and sorrow are difficult to bear in this life, they are not meaningless for the Christian.  In fact, as Paul says, God uses affliction for our good (Rom 8).  Thomas Watson, in All Things for Good, lists several ways how affliction works for the...

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Tuesday, 28 February 2017 01:56

Learning How to Read Scripture from Jesus

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image Dennis Johnson has done some excellent work in the areas of Christ-centered preaching and Bible interpretation.  In one of his more recent books, Walking with Jesus through His Word (2015), he takes the time and space to explain how the central story line of Scripture is all about...

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Sunday, 26 February 2017 20:29

God’s Sovereignty, Our Suffering (Bridges)

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image This is one of the better books I’ve read on suffering and the sovereignty of God: Is God Really in Control by Jerry Bridges.  This book is outstanding because it is very biblical, pastoral, and practical.  You won’t find a detailed philosophical discussion of theodicy in...

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Thursday, 23 February 2017 01:40

Grace in Affliction

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image In the Christian life, trials make us cry hard and pray harder.  They make us numb, dumbfounded, and broken-hearted.  Thankfully God in his sovereignty uses the trials, pain, and affliction in our lives in ways that are mind-boggling and unexpected.  As someone else said, God...

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Tuesday, 21 February 2017 22:25

The Original Homeland of Man

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image The following paragraph from Kingdom Prologue is one that I’ve appreciated for a long time:

The original homeland of man might well have been named Immanuel.  God was with man, man’s dwelling-place was God’s dwelling-place.  That was the greatest glory of paradise and...

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Monday, 20 February 2017 22:55

Our Children, God’s Children

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image In Reformed theology, children of believers are part of God’s covenant community and are regarded as such.  We do, of course, teach our kids about the mighty acts of God, the redemption that is found only in Christ, and the need for personal repentance, faith, and godliness.  But...

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Saturday, 18 February 2017 07:35

The Pastor and Feeding Christ’s Sheep (Bucer)

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image Martin Bucer’s (d.1551) pastoral theology book Concerning the True Care of Souls is a wonderful resource.  I recently came across this section that I had marked up – it’s a good reminder for those of our readers who are pastors!

When St. Peter is asked for the third...

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Friday, 17 February 2017 12:38

Wonder, Love, and Praise (Simeon)

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image I appreciated this commentary and application by Charles Simeon as he discussed the story of the fiery snakes in Numbers 21 – the story Jesus referred to in his discussion with Nicodemus (John 3:14-15):

O how are we indebted to God for the light of his blessed Gospel! Little did the...

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Thursday, 16 February 2017 13:53

Regret or Repentance? (Poirier)

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image The Apostle talks about the difference between regret (worldly sorrow) and repentance (godly sorrow) in 2 Corinthians 7:9-10.  He doesn’t give a lot of detail there, but thinking of Paul’s words, other Scripture, and life’s experiences, more can be said about regret versus...

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image I’ve read parts of Augustine’s City of God before, but I’ve recently resolved to finally finish it.  As I sit here in the library of my alma mater – Westminster Seminary in California – I want to share a helpful section of City of God.  It...

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Monday, 13 February 2017 07:10

The Tension of Unbelief (Guinness)

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imageFool’s Talk by Os Guinness is an excellent resource for thoughtful Christian apologetics.  I’ve mentioned it here before so I won’t go into details.  But there is a section I was recently reading again – a section which is well worth posting here.  It’s...

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