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

Reformation21 - Apologetic Report
By God's grace, the church I shepherd has experienced phenomenal growth over the last 15 years. I am often asked what has brought the growth? I am hesitant to answer that question because only God really knows why He has provided this season of growth. I am also reluctant because numerical growth...

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Of all the sixteenth-century Reformers John Calvin (1506-1564) was the most reluctant to discuss details of his life in works destined for public consumption. As he told Cardinal Jacopo Sadoleto, "I am not eager to speak about myself." He had, as historian Heiko Oberman once aptly put it, a...

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Wednesday, 25 July 2018 22:53

Smells Like Teen Spirit (Nick Batzig)

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I recently wasted four of five minutes of my life watching a clip of a segment of a sermon by a well known mega-church preacher. Over the past five years, this individual has reinvented his preaching style. Once a more relaxed speaker, he now effectively works the crowd over with high energy,...

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Congratulations to the Orthodox Presbyterian Church (OPC) and United Reformed Churches (URCNA) and Great Commission Publications on the new Trinity Psalter Hymnal (2018). I have only had my copy for a couple of weeks or so, but I want to offer a few quick notes and observations...

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The words "it pleased God...to create," in Westminster Confession of Faith 4.1, refer to divine willing, to the decree of God. Creation is due to the will of God. It is not necessary to the divine essence, however. The Triune God is God without creatures and in no absolute sense (or necessary to...

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Wednesday, 18 July 2018 23:07

Only for a Time (Nick Batzig)

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I was interested to see that the cessationism/continuitionism issue is surfacing again--due to Matt Chandler's recent sermon, "A Supernatural Community and a Personal Word." Matt's introductory argument is as follows: Many Christians do not experience the extraordinary gifts of the Spirit...

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Shortly before college I read Mortimer Adler's little classic How to Read a Book. That may sound like an odd title. After all, how could somebody read the book unless they already knew how to read? And if they did know how to read, then why would they need to read it at all? How to Read a Book...

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Our Father in heaven, we rejoice to remember that hidden in the holiness of your Son, you count us holy in your sight. Not only as we pray, but as we live each day, you see us as saints, set apart by our Savior, for our Savior. And yet we live in the hope that what we see by faith, we will one day...

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Tuesday, 10 July 2018 22:21

Low Visibility (Nick Batzig)

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Quite a number of contemporary theologians have made the observation that J. Gesham Machen's Christianity and Liberalism is every bit as relevant today as it was when it was first released in 1923. Machen explained that he had written this work in order "to show that Christianity is not a 'life,'...

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Preachers are weak and imperfectly sanctified men. They hold the treasure of gospel ministry in earthen vessels (2 Cor. 4:7). There is not a just man on earth who does good and does not sin (Eccl. 7:20). Not many should be teachers because we all fail in man things (Jas. 3:1). In light of such...

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There was a recent advertisement on Twitter for a Christian event in Mobile, AL titled, "Shrinking the Divide: A Gathering for Racial Reconciliation" featuring John Perkins and Russell D. Moore. There were some immediate negative responses from numerous professing Christians on Twitter. In summary,...

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Sin is a two-way street. There is the offender and the offended. We may not think of sin in those terms, especially in instances where we are the offended party. But the truth of the matter is that we bear the burden of responding to sin in a Christlike manner whether we play the role of villain or...

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Tuesday, 03 July 2018 01:51

Taking Exceptions (Guy Waters)

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At the 2018 General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA), the Committee on Review of Presbytery Records (CRPR) presented its annual report. The Assembly tasks this committee with reviewing the minutes of each of the PCA's Presbyteries. CRPR relays to the Assembly any constitutional...

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How do we evaluate the importance of Karl Marx (1818‒83) in the world? In May of this year, China commemorated his two-hundredth birthday (May 5) by donating a fourteen-foot statue of Marx to his birthplace, Trier, Germany. Indeed, hundreds of celebrations have been held throughout the world...

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There is something transcendently unifying when a group is engaged together in a singular, heroic cause. For instance, historians have often highlighted the camaraderie and esprit de corps they have found among the members of the Marine Corps. The Marine Corps embodies, perhaps more than anything...

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In recent years, many have enthusiastically welcomed the resurgence of interest in the Marrow Controversy for the simple reason that there is no greater need that any of us have at any given time in our Christian lives than the need to learn to navigate the treacherous waters of legalism...

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I fear that much, if not most, counseling in churches hurts people more than it helps them. Why would I say that? I say it because pastors want to be liked and perceived as caring shepherds. Often, that fact overrules the need to push back against what the person perceives to be their problem in...

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Some years ago, our friend Terry Johnson (senior pastor of Savannah's Independent Presbyterian Church) wrote an article suggesting an opportunity for constructive dialogue in the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA). Terry classified the two main PCA camps in positive terms, seeing some brothers as...

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Wednesday, 20 June 2018 22:15

The Zwinglian Option (Terry L. Johnson)

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You will have heard of the "Benedict Option" for coping with the culture wars. I would like to propose to Reformed Protestants the "Zwinglian Option" for ending the worship wars: eliminate all music from our public services. Zwingli, the outstanding musician among the Reformers, removed all music...

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Over the years it has been my practice, learned from others, to offer up praises and petitions framed by a passage of Scripture. Some of these passages were read in preparation for preaching, others offered material for meditation in daily devotion; still others were plundered specifically for the...

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We are experiencing something of a Psalm-singing resurgence in our day. Resources abound online for people who would like to learn more about psalm singing. Churches are making strategic plans to train their members in singing the psalms. Blogs buzz with excitement over the Psalter. It is...

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With the first verse in the Bible, we are confronted with the necessity of the interpretive priority of theology proper (i.e., answering that and what God is) to account for the economy (i.e., answering that and what God does): "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth"...

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Wednesday, 13 June 2018 07:55

A Historic Day in the PCA (Nick Batzig)

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Today was a historic day for the Presbyterian Church in America, as we elected the Rev. Irwyn Ince to be the moderator of the 46th General Assembly. Irwyn is the first African American to be elected to be the moderator of our Assembly. Irwyn serves as the as the director of Grace DC Institue for...

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Sunday, 10 June 2018 21:19

A Fixed Hope (Gabriel Williams)

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This summer, I have been greatly encouraged through reading the works of John Bunyan. In his work Grace Abounding to the Chief of Sinners, John Bunyan concludes his Preface with the following thought: "My dear children - The milk and honey is beyond this wilderness. God be merciful to you, and...

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One feature of life in the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) is the unveiling of the annual buzz-word for our General Assembly. This year, the word is "welcoming." So far as it goes, this is a fine aspiration for our denomination. We, of course, want our doors to be open not merely to certain...

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