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
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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I arrived on Faculty at Westminster in the summer of 2001. I had only been on campus for a couple of months before a group of students approached me one lunchtime and tried to recruit me to a most sinister and dangerous cult. `What?', I hear you cry, `Are the Moonies, the Children of God, and the...

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Every Christian needs to understand the theology of preaching in Scripture because Christ designed every Christian to sit under sermons. Yet are there ways for all believers to participate in sermons? All Christians, and not the preacher only, should participate actively in the preparation,...

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Wednesday, 06 June 2018 02:10

Always Reforming? (A. Craig Troxel)

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The Latin phrase semper reformanda--usually translated "always reforming"--is the widely known slogan of the Reformed tradition. It has become quite popular. Authors conjure it. Theologians cite it. Trendsetters love it. But I have become suspicious. And my suspicions stem from seeing the phrase...

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As we have recently run a series of post about the importance of theological education and the local church, I wanted to draw our readers attention to a new initiative associated with Reformed Theological Seminary--the Paideia Center. Adopting a regionally based approach to continuing theological...

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Monday, 04 June 2018 03:23

Fences and Fellowship (Nick Kennicott)

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I've tried not to be, but I can't help it...I'm a Baptist. I've read all I could about pedobaptism, I've talked to many friends, I've prayed for wisdom and clarity, and in the end, I've been all the more convinced of Baptist principles (of the 1689 London Baptist Confession variety). The truth is,...

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May 10, 2018 was the most beautiful yet painful day of our lives. Our long-awaited daughter, Dayna Euphemia, safely entered into the world and became part of our family. This is our family's story about the pain, hope, sorrow and joy that have come with the twists and turns in the adventure that is...

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Wednesday, 30 May 2018 00:26

Identifying Our Identity (Jared Nelson)

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At present, two popular--yet antithetical--positions about sexuality and identity exist within the orthodox Christian community. In their recently book Transforming Homosexuality, authors Denny Burk and Heath Lambert identify these as the traditional and neo-traditional positions. Both of these...

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Sunday, 27 May 2018 22:58

God's Special People? (Nick Batzig)

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I attended a highly patriotic Christian school from kindergarten to fifth grade. It would definitely have been categorized as a nationalistic, God-and-country school. We pledged allegiance to the American flag and then to the Christian flag (which seems awfully Charlemagne-esque in hindsight)....

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What is creation? Quite often, when asked that question, everyday Christians would immediately direct attention to what has been made. One might say, "Look at the vast sky above, with its moon and stars, its sun and clouds which give rain from heaven." We might point to the ocean and all its deep...

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In the previous post, we considered the rationale behind a local church model of theological education. In this post, we want to turn our attention to five potential benefits of such a church-based theological education model: In-person instruction, mentoring, and discipleship. There is much to...

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Tuesday, 22 May 2018 23:09

Truth in Minor Keys (Derek Thomas)

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At the risk of being labeled a musical snob, I venture a comment or two on one of the twentieth century's greatest composers, the centenary of whose birth we celebrate this year--Dmitri Shostakovich (1906 - 1975). He is to music what Alexander Solzhenitsyn is to Soviet literature. Finding early...

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Recently, I had the privilege of meeting a new family in our church. They've spent the last several years of their life in Connecticut where they struggled to find Christian fellowship, and by God's providence, they have been able to move down to Charleston. On this past Sunday, our families had...

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I recently wrote about a sermon that Andy Stanley, pastor of one of the largest churches in America, North Point Community Church near Atlanta, GA, preached titled Aftermath, Part 3: Not Difficult (you can watch it here). In the sermon, Stanley argues that Christians should completely unhitch their...

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I've heard it uttered dozens of times. Friends, family members, and strangers have looked at me, a Presbyterian pastor, and said, "Well, you know what the Bible says, 'God helps those who help themselves.'" I politely smile, but inside I've just died a little. If you find that phrase in your Bible,...

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Often, potential exceptions to the Westminster Standards take this form: "If the Confession is saying 'x', then I must state my difference with that section." One particularly common example of this is found in WCF 21.5, which reads, If the "singing of psalms with grace in the heart" means that we...

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Thursday, 10 May 2018 03:52

Ascension Matters (Tim Bertolet)

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Evangelical Christians often spend time considering all the benefits won for us on the cross and in the resurrection but spend little time pondering how the ascension further secures and confirms these salvific benefits. We typically give little thought to the question: How does Christ's ascension...

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Tuesday, 08 May 2018 22:43

The Pulpit Direction (Ryan McGraw)

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Preaching Christ is part of the definition of preaching, but it is not the only task of preachers. Warning every man and teaching every man in order to present every man perfect in Christ (Col. 1:28) requires wise and specific application. What should sermon application look like? If I tell my...

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Theological poverty is rampant in the majority of the Western Church today. North American evangelical/Protestant churches are suffering an endemic deficiency with regard to biblical and theological understanding. This is no new assessment,1 and the consequences to our spiritual health have...

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Moving around often as a child and as an adult, I had the privilege of joining or regularly attending many different American churches in different regions. I've been a member of small (40-80 people), medium (200 members), and large (multi-service) churches. All of these churches have been...

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I was a junior in high school when the Roseanne episode featuring a lesbian kiss aired on network television, and I can remember well the controversy that surrounded that episode. Recent conversations surrounding the presence of a nine-year-old character named Mark on the Roseanne reboot -- a boy...

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Sunday, 29 April 2018 20:22

Imagine There's No Hell (Nick Batzig)

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At the Desiring God 1990 Pastor's Conference, Sinclair Ferguson gave a talk titled, "The Biblical Basis for the Doctrine of Eternal Punishment." It is, without doubt, one of the most significant treatments of the doctrine of hell that I have ever heard. At the outset of that lecture, Ferguson told...

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Thursday, 26 April 2018 22:54

The Exception and the Rule (Nick Batzig)

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Over the years, many have approached me in order to ask what I believe the Bible teaches on some particular theological or ethical subject. In many cases, no sooner have I finished answering them that I'm met with the reply, "But what about...?" All of us are eager to find an exception to the rule....

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We are wrapping the 2018 Philadelphia Conference on Reformed Theology this weekend at Proclamation Presbyterian Church outside Philadelphia. Our theme this year is "Spirit of the Age - Age of the Spirit." As we have been celebrating the exalted Christ's outpouring of the Spirit at Pentecost and its...

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Cornelius Van Til, former professor of Christian apologetics at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, PA, professed to have stood on the shoulders of classic Reformed theological giants such as Abraham Kuyper, Benjamin B. Warfield, and Herman Bavinck.1 While not everyone is agreed on...

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