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 - Valiant for Truth

It is well known that church planting is an arduous task. The months of preparation, long hours, and immense stress drive many church planters to the brink of burnout. Recognizing this reality, there is a mountain of books, seminars, and other resources being produced to try and help prepare men...

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One of my favorite books is Christianity and Liberalism by J. Gresham Machen. This is one of the twentieth-century’s great theological classics.

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There is a myth about academic life that it is a solitary endeavor. Imagine lonely, stoic figures plodding single-file into a library to sit for hours, hidden behind walled study carrels, isolated and free from social distractions, a hushed silence strictly observed. The reality of the scholarly...

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Monday, 13 March 2017 20:08

A Pastor's Reflections: Serendipity

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Serendipity is one of my favorite words for two reasons. First, it’s not a word you often hear people say and has a unique sound. Say serendipity ten times fast!

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Coming to seminary is intimidating.  In fact, probably better to say jarring.  You thought you knew some theology but now realize you don’t.  You thought you were called to the ministry but halfway through semester one you’re not so sure anymore. 

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When we read the gospel accounts of Christ’s ministry one of the regular features we encounter is Christ’s interaction with demons.

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Wednesday, 01 March 2017 23:00

Life Together: Built Up in Love

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Community can be an elusive thing. It is something that we all long for; something that nourishes us in deep places; yet not something that is guaranteed. Graduate school can be especially challenging for forming community.

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I was in college when I ran across a rep from a credit card company. Money lenders are shrewd. They know that college students don’t always have the money they want or need, and so getting a young financially inexperienced college student to sign on the bottom line is a relatively easy thing...

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Wednesday, 22 February 2017 22:50

Life Together: Creating Lasting Bonds

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The relationships students have with one another are very personal, and due to the small student-body size the campus has sort of a communal feeling to it. It makes learning more enjoyable, and also provides support when one is struggling, whether academically or personally.

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I can remember as a child that my parents had a trash compactor in the kitchen. To me, it was a neat machine. We could stuff all manner of trash into the can, close the door, hit the button, and then listen to the compactor crush and squeeze the trash into a nice package.

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One can imagine how much comfort and relief I felt when I realized that not only did the professors want to take the time to explain to me the concepts and ideas they were teaching, but that the faculty also took an interest in not just my academic growth but my personal and spiritual development.

Au...

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We definitely live in a time when people enjoy many creature comforts. I suppose it’s because I’m quickly aging, but I can remember a time when new cars were not automatically equipped with air conditioning.

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Sitting in the student lounge unseen I watched through the window as two men approached each other. One a retired cop the other once a drug dealer; both faces alight with excitement. They heartily greet each other and turn to walk together toward the library. I am encouraged knowing both these men.

A...

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A pet peeve of mine is when ministers stand in the pulpit and read the Bible and do so with no inflection. It sounds like the pastor is reading entries in a dictionary . . .

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Here at Westminster Seminary California, fellowship takes many forms. There are lunch dates, dinner parties, movie nights, beach outings, coffee houses and more. But my favorite, as you can guess, is fireside chats.

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I can remember sitting in church as a young teenager as my pastor posed a question about the possible links between demon possession and mental illness.

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One of the sweetest privileges we professors have is interacting with students, and with the new housing project around the corner that is only bound to increase.

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I recently received a Christian bookstore catalog in the mail, and so I began to flip through its pages, naturally. One thing I noticed was how large the Bible section was.

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January. There's always a sadness that hangs over our household as we take down our Christmas decorations, cease to play Christmas carols, pluck the Christmas lights out of the landscaping, and pack it all away in boxes. I was contemplating all of this today and came to the conclusion that I...

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In the wake of the death and resurrection of Christ a number of Jesus’ disciples failed to receive word that their Lord and Savior had arisen from the dead. Under the impression that Jesus was dead in his tomb, the disciples walked on the road to Emmaus until a visitor joined them along the...

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If I were to ask my students to give me a list of the top ten theological rock stars, I suspect I know who most of the names that would appear. In many respects, this is understandable.

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Tuesday, 03 January 2017 03:51

A Pastor's Reflections: Defining Success

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We live in an age of celebrity where people become famous for merely being famous—they have little talent or significant skills. They have become adroit at taking selfies and giving people the impression that they’re someone to watch and emulate.

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Tuesday, 27 December 2016 07:04

A Pastor's Reflections: Supplication

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If there’s a part of prayer that few Christians need encouragement to include, it’s supplication. One of the privileges of redemption is our adoption, the fact that our union with Christ grants us the status as God’s sons.

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Tuesday, 20 December 2016 07:04

A Pastor's Reflections: Thanksgiving

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One of the common characteristics we find in the apostle Paul’s letters is the number of times he gives thanks to God in prayer. The opening of Paul’s letter to the Ephesians is an example of this: “I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers” (Eph....

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The familiar phrase, “forgive us our debts,” is probably known to most Christians because it comes from the Lord’s Prayer. When Christ’s disciples asked him how they should pray, Jesus identified the confession of sin as one of the key elements of prayer (Matt. 6:12).

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