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

The Reformed Reader - Apologetic Report
Monday, 18 September 2017 01:08

Faith Follows Regeneration (Phillips)

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image Here’s a brief but biblical explanation of the truth that faith follows regeneration:

“…It is clear from the Bible that the Spirit’s regenerating work always precedes and causes faith.  Jesus stated this to Nicodemus: ‘Unless one is born again he cannot see the...

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Friday, 15 September 2017 21:22

The Clarity of Scripture (Turretin)

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image (This is a re-blog from April, 2016)

The perspicuity (clarity) of Scripture has been denied by the Roman Catholic Church, the Socinians in the 17th century, and other such groups.  During and after the Reformation, the Reformers had to explain, teach, and defend this doctrine (e.g. WCF...

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Wednesday, 13 September 2017 06:58

Preaching the Law with Love (Bridges)

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image A friend and I were recently discussing several parts of Charles Bridges’The Christian Ministry. One section I have marked and underlined quite a bit has to do on how a preacher should rebuke with love.  This also has to do with preaching the law: it should be done with love.

“The...

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image In evangelical circles, there’s a major emphasis on feelings.  Much popular Christian music is aimed at making us feel good so the lyrics are aimed at the emotions.  Many popular Christian books say so much about experiences and feelings.  Preachers preach with emotion and...

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Monday, 11 September 2017 01:07

Called To Serve (Guinness)

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image I like this book so much: The Call by Os Guinness.  Here’s a section I found this morning while re-reading part of the book.  It has to do with God’s call and gifts:

“In the biblical understanding of giftedness, gifts are never really ours for ourselves.  We have...

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Friday, 08 September 2017 06:03

God Told Me!? (A Critique of Mysticism)

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image What do you do when a friend says, “God told me I needed to go on a diet,” or “The Holy Spirit spoke to me last night and said you should make more friends”?  How do we even begin to respond?  It’s not easy to respond to such comments; it takes patience and...

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image This is a very helpful discussion of effectual calling/regeneration:

If you believe that the natural state of human beings today is that of moral and spiritual neutrality, so that they can do good or bad as they please (the Pelagian view), you will not even feel the need for an effectual call or...

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Wednesday, 06 September 2017 04:24

God Has Called You: On Effectual Calling (Murray)

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image Scripture teaches that a person dead in sin will remain dead in sin unless God graciously gives him or her new life in Christ (Eph. 2:5).  In theological terms, we say God effectually calls his elect and regenerates them by the power of his Spirit and word.  God is the author of this...

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Monday, 04 September 2017 00:33

Death to the Legalist (in Me)!!

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image  “Through the Law I died to the Law, so that I might live to God” (Gal. 2:19 NASB).  “If you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law” (Gal. 5:18 NASB).  In Reformed theology, these words are taken to mean that the believer is not under the law as a...

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Friday, 01 September 2017 05:52

What is Hyper-Calvinism?

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image Hyper-calvinism is just as harmful as legalism and as unbiblical as antinomianism.  But what is hyper-calvinism?  There’s more to it, but the New Dictionary of Theology gives a decent short answer to this question:

Hyper-calvinism is an exaggerated or imbalanced type of Reformed...

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Thursday, 31 August 2017 05:05

The Reformation and Election (Van Dixhoorn)

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image I recently started reading this resource in my Logos library: T&T Clark Companion to Reformation Theology.  One article that stands out is Chad Van Dixhoorn’s work on election.  In this essay, Van Dixhoorn talks about the historical background of election, the definition, the...

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Wednesday, 30 August 2017 07:28

Choice, Truth, Authority (Guinness)

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image In his 2016 publication Impossible People, Os Guinness shares some very helpful insight on our cultural situation as it relates to the historic Christian faith.  This is a very good book; I’m sure I’ll mention it here again.  Right now I want to note the section where...

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image Here’s a helpful paragraph about God’s sovereignty from Blocher’sEvil and the Cross:

“[Along with secondary causes,] Holy Scripture also includes the decisions of free beings under divine sovereignty.  In point of fact, if such realities were excepted, what would...

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image I always appreciate Os Guinness’ insights and comments on Christianity and culture.  In one part of his book Renaissance Guinness discusses some aspects of the kingdom of God.  One of those aspects he calls “surprising reversals.”  By this, he means that...

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Thursday, 24 August 2017 06:17

The Whole Chain Holdeth (Sibbes)

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image The unbreakable, unchanging love of God for his children is one of the most comforting truths in Christianity.  God’s love for us in Christ is a free love.  This means it is not dependent upon something in us or something we have done or left undone.  He knew we were ungodly...

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Tuesday, 22 August 2017 06:18

God’s Saving Love: Personal or Impersonal?

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image Greg Forster makes a great point about the Calvinist view of God’s love in contrast to other views of God’s love.  Either God’s love is a personal, intimate love that embraces some sinners, as the Calvinist says, or it is an impersonal, abstract love that embraces...

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Sunday, 20 August 2017 22:55

How Far Can We Trust Him? (Machen)

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image When the Christian says “Jesus is God,” he does not mean Jesus is a god, or that Jesus is god like we are all gods.  “Jesus is God” does not mean Jesus is an avatar of some deity, it does not mean that Jesus had the spark of the divine in his bosom.  It means that...

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image (This is a repost from August 2015)

One thing that HermanBavinck did so well was put his finger on the pulse of the radical Anabaptist theology in the post-reformation era.  Here’s one of his many penetrating insights into the Anabaptist dualism.

“Anabaptism proceeded from the...

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Wednesday, 16 August 2017 12:10

Maintaining Christian Freedom (Bolton)

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image (This is a repost from March, 2014)

Near the end of his excellent exposition of Christian liberty, Samuel Bolton (d. 1654) explained how Christians are to stand fast in the liberty which Christ has won for us (cf. Gal. 5:1).  Here’s one helpful paragraph from that section.  I...

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Sunday, 13 August 2017 23:16

Christ Our Brother (Sibbes)

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image In his book A Heavenly Conference, Richard Sibbes has a great section about Christ our “brother” (cf. Mt. 25:40; Heb. 2:11-12; 17).  Sibbes was talking about Christ’s words to Mary in John 20:16-17, where Jesus told her to “go to my brothers” and tell them...

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image Legalism is not a rare thing in Christian circles.  It’s not confined to a certain denomination, age, gender, race, or class.  Legalism is not rare because it’s the default mode of the sinful human heart.  Thomas Boston said it is “engrained in man’s corrupt...

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Thursday, 10 August 2017 05:48

God’s Free Grace Made the Difference (Henry)

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image There’s an old hymn called, “How Sweet and Awesome Is the Place.” When we sang it last Sunday during worship, the following lines stuck out:

Why was I made to hear Your voice, and enter while there’s room, when thousands make a wretched choice, and rather starve than come?

&ls...

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Wednesday, 09 August 2017 06:59

Every Work Excluded (Colquhoun)

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image One of the great themes of the Reformation – and of the Apostle Paul – was that a sinner is justified not by works, but only by faith in Christ.  In other words, a sinner is justified by faith alone in Christ alone, not by any sort of obedience to the law in any way, shape, or...

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Monday, 07 August 2017 23:08

Augustine and Love (Oberman)

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image This is an excellent resource: The Reformation: Roots and Ramifications” by Heiko Oberman.  I just finished reading the chapter that covered mysticism in the medieval church; it was quite helpful.  It’s too detailed to summarize in one blog post, so for now I’ll...

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 image William Cunningham (d. 1861) was a Scottish pastor and also a professor of theology and church history.  Some of his lectures were published after he died, including a series of lectures on the first chapter of the Westminster Confession of Faith.  Here’s a short section from...

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