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

Meet the Puritans - Apologetic Report
Friday, 13 July 2018 07:41

The 39: The Sacraments (4)

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In our continual series through "The 39" Articles of Religion of the Reformed Church of England, Thomas Cranmer continues the exposition of the sacraments in a more specific study of the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper.
XXVIII—Of the Lord’s Supper
The Supper of the Lord is not...

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Having considered the decrees of God or his eternal purposes in which he foreordains whatever  comes to pass (WSC, Q7), we now look at how God “executes” or carries out these plans “in the works of creation and providence” (WSC,Q8). In connection with decree and...

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Tuesday, 10 July 2018 17:33

The Crook In the Lot

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One of the first people that I hope to meet in heaven is the Scottish theologian Thomas Boston.[1]  I admire the man for the depth of his theology; Jonathan Edwards said that Boston's work on the covenants distinguished him as a "truly great divine."[2]I also admire for the breadth of his...

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Tuesday, 10 July 2018 08:40

Does Jesus Repent for Us?

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Does Jesus repent for us? That question was raised in an online discussion group due to a comment made on social media that asserted that Jesus completely repents for us. It reminded me of the heated debate the Westminster divines had with the so-called antinomians in London during the 1640s. John...

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Tuesday, 26 June 2018 06:56

The Imitation of Christ (2)

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For part 1 of this series, see here.

There are two errors that need to be avoided regarding the doctrine of the imitation of Christ. One error is theological liberalism or moralism, which teaches that Jesus suffered and died merely to set an example for us to follow. This is a serious error and is,...

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Editor's Note: This is the final post in a four-part series on the life and relevance of Samuel Rutherford (1600-1661).  Find previous entries here

Rutherford as a Preacher

There is no getting around the fact that Rutherford was an exceptional preacher. Historian Robert Wodrow even goes...

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Thursday, 21 June 2018 18:00

The 39: The Sacraments (3)

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As we have seen in our study of the preceding articles in the Thirty-Nine Articles, article 25 on the sacraments maintains that they are not only badges and tokens of Christian men’s profession, but “…certain sure witnesses, and effectual signs of grace, and God’s good will...

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Paul T. Nimmo and David A. F. Fergusson, The Cambridge Companion to Reformed Theology (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2016). 345pp. Paperback.
 
What is Reformed Theology? This is a valid and important question. Answering it may be more difficult than appears at first. Unlike Lutheran...

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Editor's Note: This is the third post in a four-part series on the life and relevance of Samuel Rutherford (1600-1661).  Find previous entries here

A Ministry of Sacrifice and Suffering 

Being called to the small, obscure parish of Anwoth did not give Rutherford an opportunity to...

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Thursday, 14 June 2018 18:00

The Puritans on the Lord’s Supper (6)

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Right Reception of the Lord’s Supper

The Lord’s Supper was to be taken seriously, after much preparation, careful self-examination, and Christ-centered participation. Edwards wrote, “’Tis the most solemn confirmation that can be conceived of.... It is more solemn than a mere...

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Having considered God in his essence and attributes then his unity of essence in the diversity of three persons, we will know give attention to his decrees (eternal purposes) according to the Puritans. In the next post, we will then discuss how those decrees are carried out in creation and...

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Monday, 11 June 2018 23:52

The Imitation of Christ (1)

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One of the great fictional adventure stories of all-time is one of the oldest: The Odyssey by Homer. In this book, the main character, Odysseus, along with his crew, are sailing home. During their long journey, they are forced to sail through a narrow strait between two rock peaks.
 
There...

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Editor's Note: This is the second part of a four-part series on the life and relevance of Samuel Rutherford (1600-1661). Read part one here

Rutherford's Conversion

Rutherford received the M.A. degree in 1621 from Edinburgh and, two years later, was appointed Regent of Humanity for the...

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Friday, 08 June 2018 01:19

The 39: The Sacraments (2)

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As we've seen in our ongoing study of "The 39," when the articles discuss essential doctrine, they begin with the general principles of the doctrine before continuing to a more specific examination. Article 25 set out the general principles on the nature of a sacrament. Now article 26 answers the...

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imageMatthew Levering, Was the Reformation a Mistake? Why Catholic Doctrine Is Not Unbiblical. Grand Rapids, MI, 2017. 231pp. Paperback. $16.99.
 
 We allegedly live in an age of tolerance. Yet tolerance often takes on distorted meanings. Contrary to popular misconceptions, tolerance does not mean...

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If you have heard the name of Samuel Rutherford (1600-1661) at all, you have probably heard it in connection with the Westminster Assembly or one of his two best known works, the Letters of Samuel Rutherford or Lex, Rex. You may know that Rutherford is arguably the most important of the Scottish...

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Friday, 01 June 2018 00:02

The Puritans on the Lord’s Supper (5)

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Qualifications for Admission to the Lord’s Supper

Given the awesome potential of communion with Christ within the Supper, the Puritans took the matter of right participation seriously. The awakened conscience cannot consider partaking of such a sacred meal without asking, “What does God...

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Tuesday, 22 May 2018 06:40

Contentment

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Thomas Watson sang the high praises of contentment in his book The Art of Divine Contentment, recently republished by Soli Deo Gloria Publications. He wrote that he didn’t know of any ornament in religion “that doth more bespangle a Christian, or glitter in the eye of God and man, than...

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Thursday, 17 May 2018 18:00

The Puritans on the Lord’s Supper (4)

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Biblical Simplicity in the Lord’s Supper

If the material principle of the Reformation was justification by faith alone, the formal principle was that Scripture alone is the rule of faith and obedience. The Puritans viewed this truth as nothing less than the enthronement of Christ as King...

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Rik Van Nieuwenhove, An Introduction to Medieval Theology (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012). 296pp. Paperback. $25.00.
 
Why review a book on medieval theology on a site devoted to Puritan and Reformed theology? At least two reasons are prominent. One good reason for doing so is...

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Friday, 11 May 2018 00:58

The 39: The Sacraments (1)

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The Thirty-nine Articles continue its narrative as it sets out a biblically faithful theology of God’s ordained means of grace in the sacraments. As we have seen in our study of other essential doctrines, the article begins with the general principles of the doctrine before continuing to a...

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Thursday, 10 May 2018 23:57

Themes in Puritan Theology: Trinity

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We move on from discussing the Puritan view of God to consider the Trinity, the biblical doctrine of one God in three persons. Related to the one God (Q&A 8), the Larger Catechism (Q&A 9), affirms: “There be three persons in the Godhead, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost; and...

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Tuesday, 08 May 2018 06:37

Testing and Tempting

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In his discussion on the sixth petition of the Lord’s Prayer, Thomas Watson notes that God does not lead anyone into temptation in the sense that he doesn’t tempt anyone to sin (James 1:13). God doesn’t entice or encourage his creatures to sin. As Watson says, “He permits...

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imageIn recent decades the evangelical church has seen a resurging interest in the practical aspects of Christian spirituality. Books on spiritual transformation and the spiritual disciplines line our shelves. Many of these are helpful, offering wise instruction on practices such as meditation, prayer,...

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Thursday, 29 March 2018 18:00

Holy Helps for a Godly Life

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imageSpiritual disciplines have now been a regular feature in Evangelical teaching on discipleship for several decades. This has been a good development, to the degree that it has led believers into renewed habits of bible reading, meditation, and prayer. 
 
Many of these books, however,...

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