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

Old Life - Apologetic Report
Friday, 08 November 2019 00:27

The Logic of Comfort Featured

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The folks who like to draw attention to obedience in the Christian life do not seem to consider the source of believer’s comfort. Consider the following:

Since the Bible doesn’t restrict the word “gospel” to a very precise meaning, we shouldn’t either. This is not to...

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Wednesday, 06 November 2019 06:29

Laughing In the Face of Evil Featured

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Malcolm Gladwell’s podcast on chutzpah contended that it was more audacious for Joseph Columbo to form the American Italian Defamation League than it was for Al Ruddy to pitch the idea of Hogan’s Heroes to executives at CBS. The audacity or chutzpah in both cases was huge. Columbo was...

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I was listening to the Quick to Listen interview with Thomas Kidd about his new book, Who is An Evangelical, and heard a startling advertisement. Just about 32 minutes into the discussion, I heard Truett Seminary, the Southern Baptist institution for training ministers at Baylor University, plug...

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Thursday, 31 October 2019 07:18

Still Protestanting Featured

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Heck, we were even kicking and bellyaching back in Rome’s post-Vatican II glory days (from the forum, “We Protest,” a series of reflections on the legacy of John Paul II in the October, 2005 issue of the Nicotine Theological Journal):

The Pastor with the Funny Hat

With the passing...

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Tuesday, 29 October 2019 22:18

Celebrity Bible Teacher Culture Featured

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Some are worried about the culture of Christian patriarchy that allows John MacArthur to disparage Bible teachers like Beth Moore. But as the Christianity Today feature story on the Southern Baptist celebrity teacher indicated, Moore also inhabits a culture that protects her from criticism (not to...

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Thursday, 24 October 2019 06:56

Interpreting the Hebrew Bible at Harvard Divinity School Featured

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Word of Walter Kim’s appointment as the president of the National Association of Evangelicals could have an upside if Dr. Kim studied with Harvard’s Jon Levenson. The pastor at Trinity PCA in Charlottesville completed a Ph.D. in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at Harvard,...

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Wednesday, 23 October 2019 02:54

An End Run Featured

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Imagine you are a Reformedish Protestant around the time of George W. Bush’s election. You have entered the world of Reformed Protestantism by way of the biblical theology (which leaned Federal) of Peter Leithart and James Jordan, you agree with a number of Doug Wilson’s critiques of...

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Monday, 21 October 2019 07:57

When Congregationalists Were Woke (150 years ago) Featured

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Observations about the Boston Council of Congregationalists in 1865:

Even mild and bespectacled Alonzo Quint, who had just returned from service as a Union army chaplain, burst out in protest during a discussion of the civil rights of rebels, declaring them “uncommonly stupid and...

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Friday, 18 October 2019 07:18

On Necessity, Inevitability, and Finding a Basis Featured

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The Belgic Confession (Art. 24) says this about good works:

Therefore, far from making people cold toward living in a pious and holy way, this justifying faith, quite to the contrary, so works within them that apart from it they will never do a thing out of love for God but only out of love for...

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Thursday, 17 October 2019 03:29

That Sound You Heard Was Paul Blanshard’s Head Exploding Featured

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Paul Blanshard, for those born after Richard Nixon defeated George McGovern, was a lapsed Congregationalist (redundant?) who wrote the last best-selling work of anti-Catholicism. American Freedom and Catholic Power was perhaps the last gasp of Protestant bigotry, but it was still sufficiently...

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Monday, 14 October 2019 07:36

The Necessity of Good Works Featured

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Are good works “necessary to the attainment of eternal life,” as A. A. Hodge wrote at one point? Is that simply what the Confession of Faith and Catechisms say?

“Necessary” is actually a word infrequently used in the Westminster Standards. It appears six times in the first...

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Friday, 11 October 2019 04:59

What to Do with Columbus Day Featured

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I wonder if the sovereignty of tribal nations is part of the Democratic Party’s platform. I am curious mainly after looking at presidential proclamations about Columbus Day. In his 2015 speech, President Obama mentioned working harder to establish and protect tribal sovereignty. I had no...

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Thursday, 10 October 2019 07:39

The Politics of Scholarship on Evangelicalism Featured

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John Turner provides relief for those tired of the complaint about evangelical hypocrisy in voting for Donald Trump:

American evangelicals, white and otherwise, are far more interested in charity and evangelism than they are in politics. As Kidd comments, “charitable action is a more constant...

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Feel good moments are not part of the feng shui of Old School Presbyterianism. For that reason, I can empathize with some who viewed the video of Botham Jean’s expression of forgiveness to Amber Guyger as too sentimental and its viral circulation as sappily predictable.

Still, I am having...

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Thursday, 03 October 2019 07:58

Presbyterian Sex Featured

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Decency and order come to mind but I am not sure you want to create a bumper sticker about how Presbyterians have sex.

Reading Emily Suzanne Johnson’s new book, This is Our Message: Women’s Leadership in the New Christian Right (Oxford University Press), took me to quotations from...

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Friday, 27 September 2019 00:40

The Heart is Desperately Wicked, Who Can “Really” Know It? Featured

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For Justin Taylor at a webpage the purports to do “history,” this exchange rises to the level of true knowledge about human motivation — in this case, why American Protestants fought for independence:

“Captain Preston,” he asked, “what made you go to the Concord...

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Wednesday, 25 September 2019 20:26

The Real 1619 Project Featured

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Imagine understanding United States history with this view of human nature front and center (from the Synod of Dort which concluded — go figure — in 1619):

Human beings were originally created in the image of God and were furnished in mind with a true and sound knowledge of the Creator...

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Monday, 23 September 2019 06:19

Big Oil, Little Oil, Big Presbyterians, Tiny Presbyterians Featured

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Darren Dochuk’s new book, Anointed with Oil: How Christianity and Crude Made Modern America, continues his study of American Protestantism’s financial profile. A very simple way of putting his findings is to say that John D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil financed mainline Protestant...

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Wednesday, 18 September 2019 07:19

White Christian Nationalism for Urban Hipster Presbyterians? Featured

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And remember also when critics of President Trump were quick to associate (in a fear-mongering way) the rhetoric of “the West” with white Christian nationalism?

Well, what do you...

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Monday, 16 September 2019 07:12

Constantine as Mr. Rogers Featured

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Remember when Presbyterians used to confess this about the civil magistrate?

The civil magistrate may not assume to himself the administration of the Word and sacraments; or the power of the keys of the kingdom of heaven: yet he hath authority, and it is his duty, to take order, that unity and peace...

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Friday, 13 September 2019 07:40

Big Beer, Local Beer Featured

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My proposal for a sabbatical this fall did not include beer tasting, but a break from the routine in a different location did afford to the opportunity to visit two breweries on Boston’s North Shore, Ipswich Ale Brewery and True New Ale Company. Truth be told, in the IPA sampling, True...

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Friday, 13 September 2019 06:38

John Owen Preached Irrelevantly Featured

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Speaking of liberalism, Benjamin Rush, a Presbyterian, agreed with Thomas Jefferson, that preachers should stay in their own lane and stop trying to do what politicians do. He even recommended John Owen’s sermons:

I agree with you likewise in your wishes to keep religion and government...

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Wednesday, 11 September 2019 22:41

Mencken Day 2019: Minorites in the U.S. Featured

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From Prejudices, Third Series:

Worse, a minority not only has no more inalienable rights in the United States; it is not even lawfully entitled to be heard. This was well established by the case of the Socialists elected to the New York Assembly. What the voters who elected these Socialists asked...

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Wednesday, 11 September 2019 07:18

First Evangelicalism, Now W-w, but Still Hope for U.S.A. Featured

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Thabiti Anyabwile concludes his interaction with agitated Southern Baptists over social justice by making some odd concessions. If race relations started to unravel big eva in 2014, with a major goose from the 2016 election, it now looks like racism is making Neo-Calvinist w-w diagnosis look like...

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Friday, 06 September 2019 05:25

Is God Holding Back Urbanist Presbyterians? Featured

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For those social justicey pastors who labor for the city, what’s wrong with this picture?

Observant Presbyterians are always part of gatherings at Rutgers Presbyterian Church. But much of the time, so are Roman Catholics and Jews, as well as a smattering of people who consider themselves...

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