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

Gentle Reformation - Apologetic Report
Monday, 23 September 2019 23:31

Giving Thanks for Particular Graces, Particularly

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“Father, I thank you for this day. I thank you for … for …."

Have you ever been there? You know the Lord calls you to thankfulness. Perhaps you’ve adopted a prayer model, such as ACTS (Adoration-Confession-Thanksgiving-Supplication), that forces daily time of thankfulness...

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Monday, 23 September 2019 08:12

The Interrelationship of the Marks of the Church

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The historic marks that identify the visible church of Jesus Christ are the pure preaching of God's Word, the right administration of the sacraments, and the faithful practice of church discipline (see here for an explanation as to why these three marks). This trinity of distinguishing traits of...

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Monday, 23 September 2019 07:00

Postcard from Palestine

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Just back from a ramble this morning. My mind turned to one of my favorites. I drooled for a few moments on the delights of Psalm 104.

This is a Psalm which reveals the glory of Christ. The introduction to Hebrews shows it speaks of Creator Jesus.

The description of our now-incarnate, crucified,...

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Saturday, 21 September 2019 05:44

Liar, Liar

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“What is truth?” a jaded and cynical politician once asked.

Sounds current doesn’t it? A couple of weeks ago, broadcaster and television producer, Dorothy Byrne posed the question: “Is it time for us to start using the L word? I believe that we need to start calling...

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Thursday, 19 September 2019 20:21

10 Thoughts in the wake of the Jarrid Wilson Tragedy

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The following is a guest post by fellow Northern Irish Pastor Andrew Roycroft, used with permission from his blog thinkingpastorally.com. It was written on 11 September, in the wake of the news of the suicide of American Pastor Jarrid Wilson. I'm thankful as I re-post it that I have elders and...

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Wednesday, 18 September 2019 19:00

Why Do I Love Thee? Let Me Count the Ways!

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I’ve been thinking a lot about love lately. And you’ll have to excuse me for borrowing and modifying my title based upon Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s famous poem by almost the same name.

My thoughts of love have revolved around why people love each other and then further, why they...

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Tuesday, 17 September 2019 22:00

The Church is a Means of Grace

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Recently we had the joy of seeing our two oldest kids make their profession of faith before the elders and then the congregation. It has been a joy to give God thanks for blessing His Word to their hearts and bringing them to this point. While we give credit to Him alone, both of their testimonies...

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Tuesday, 17 September 2019 04:39

God Says it...That Settles it?

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I'm sure many of us can recall the couple-decade old bumper stickers which read, "God says it, I believe it, that settles it". Or perhaps fewer of us still remember the gospel recordings of 40+ years ago of Christian performers singing some variation of the same slogan. While bumper-sticker...

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Monday, 16 September 2019 21:47

3GT Episode 148: His Name was Malchus

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Remember him? He was the guy who lost an ear to Peter's sword, at least temporarily. After putting his ear back on, the Lord told Peter to put down the sword. In the face of increasing violence in our nation, is that what we should do? Just put down the guns? Is gun control the answer?

The Three...

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Monday, 16 September 2019 07:00

He will not forget your works!

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This is a guest post by David McCullough - Minister of Woodstock R.P.C., Belfast - who penned this reflection on Christian Service while on holiday...

Footprints in the Sand

Strolling back across one of the most beautiful beaches in Ireland recently, I noticed that the footprints I had made on my...

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On September 14-15, the faculty of RPTS spoke on the subject of "The Synod of Dort and the Doctrines of Grace." This year marks the four hundredth year since the conclusion of this famous council, which met from 1618-19. Dort's delegates, from the Netherlands and eight other countries, stood...

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Friday, 13 September 2019 18:33

Testifying on Treadmills...

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Just back from the gym after a 4 kilometer run: I'd planned to slip in and out before many people were up.

It had been a sleepless night - I was pacing the boards from 4 - and after getting back into bed about 5, I woke at 7 pretty washed out.

So, I wasn't at my strongest or my most alert, but I...

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Friday, 13 September 2019 09:38

Suicide and Christian Truth

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I was in junior high when our guidance counselor ushered me and my classmates into the band room. He shared with us the sad news that one of our peers had to rush home because his grandpa had died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. That was, as best as my memory serves, my first exposure to...

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Wednesday, 11 September 2019 21:00

"After Further Review ..."

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I'm humbled and honored to share the first in-depth review of my recently published book, God Breathed:  Connecting through Scripture to God, Others, the Natural World, and Yourself(Pittsburgh: Crown and Covenant). This review comes from Laura Cerbus, a fellow teacher and a writer on...

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Wednesday, 11 September 2019 07:02

What Is A Girl Worth?

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“What is a girl worth?” That's the question Rachael Denhollander asked at the sentencing hearing of Larry Nassar. Nassar, the gold standard of sports doctors for gymnasts, was accused and pled guilty to child pornography and sexual assault charges affecting hundreds of women and...

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Wednesday, 11 September 2019 01:53

A Young Man's Vision

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What follows is a short excerpt from a letter written by the late Roy Blackwood to Miss Margaret Graham who would later become his wife. In this 1948 letter, the 23 year-old Roy shared his growing vision for the church with the woman with whom he wanted to share his life. The summer was winding...

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Tuesday, 10 September 2019 02:00

Why We Started Back An Evening Service

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In 2015 after a long hard summer in our church, we made the regrettable decision to end our regular evening worship service. Part of the reason was that attendance had dropped off to abysmal levels. We had also started a new Wednesday Family Night program, and it was doing well. It was reaching our...

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Monday, 09 September 2019 02:57

The Poker Table

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The table sat in the back corner of my parents' large family room, surrounded by the paneled walls and sitting on the shag carpet so prevalent in the seventies. Seated on a wood base, the octagonal top had a vinyl pad with felt underneath to protect the wood. Four low-set wooden chairs, with...

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Saturday, 07 September 2019 03:22

Self-Examination

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As I get ready for communion I've just penned a few thoughts about how to self-examine...

A Testing Question

Paul tells the communion church that they have to examine self. What sort of examination is required of Christ’s communicants?

Spiritual Examination

This exercise is not designed to...

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Thursday, 05 September 2019 14:01

Wine Juxtaposed with Wine

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The use of wine is seen both positively and negatively in the Scriptures and two paintings by Jan Steen at the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena, California illustrate these two sides.

The faces of joy and laughter, celebration and dance are easily seen in the 1676 Jan Steen oil painting The Marriage...

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Wednesday, 04 September 2019 19:00

Common Does Not Mean OK!

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“No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man” - 1 Corinthians 10:13 (emphasis mine).
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The verse above reminds us that as we face temptations, we do so as part of the fallen condition of sinful man. I’d like to think today about a common pattern of sin that is very...

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Tuesday, 03 September 2019 22:00

God's Genius in Communion

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Many are familiar with 1 Corinthians 11:23-26, where Paul lays out how Jesus' instructions for the Lord's Supper. In fact, you may have heard it so many times you could quote it by heart. But how many know the context of those important verses? It's in the context where we see how beautifully God...

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Have you ever had one of those “aha!” moments where one statement brings clarity to so many past experiences?  For me, one of these statements came from the lips of a dear mentor and friend: “Rachel, women feel threatened by differences.”  These few words have...

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Monday, 02 September 2019 01:10

A Letter to a Reader about the Battle against Sin

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Recently a regular reader of Gentle Reformationwrote me asking some questions about sin in the life of the believer. In particular, he asked in so many words, "How can someone know if they are a legitimate Christian struggling with sin versus an unbeliever in sin? And what should a Christian...

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Saturday, 31 August 2019 12:47

Loving Discipline

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Proverbs 12:1 – "Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates correction is stupid."

I remember it well; my very first Presbytery meeting—not because it was my first—but because a pastor was under discipline and in the process of being stripped of his credentials due...

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