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

Wednesday, 27 May 2020 06:28

Do Churches Need Alliances to Say that Churches are Essential? Featured

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imageBrett McCracken tries to rally the gospel allies under the banner of the the notion that church is essential. Of course, as a mild-mannered evangelical, he refuses to to give offense: “I’m not suggesting churches should defy government directives, deeming themselves...
 

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Tuesday, 19 May 2020 07:42

The Wrinkles of Cultural Ministry Featured

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imageL. Roy Taylor’s retirement as stated clerk of the PCA’s General Assembly prompted a few questions about a Reformed church’s understanding of its responsibility to minister to “the culture.” Taylor himself sounded remarkably antithetical about the relationship between...
 

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Wednesday, 13 May 2020 07:17

The Steel Trap of the Liberal Presbyterian Mind Featured

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imageHenry Sloane Coffin was a leading liberal minister in the Presbyterian Church USA during the 1920s. When the General Assembly of 1925 was ready once again to affirm the virgin birth as an essential doctrine of Christianity, Coffin threatened to lead an exodus of liberals (mainly from New York)...

 

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Thursday, 07 May 2020 06:51

A Side of Dutch Calvinists You Don’t See Anymore Featured

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This anonymous interlocutor who reads Rod Dreher’s blog, sells real estate, and sometimes preaches may be a member of a Christian Reformed Church congregation in Canada:

Why would you bring guns to a state legislature in protest?

Because the meritocracy are a bunch of gun hating pussies...

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Monday, 04 May 2020 04:47

Public Health is Harder than Long Division Featured

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imageJames Scott’s book, Seeing Like a State (1998) came up in this fascinating discussion of public policy, health systems, government, expertise, and legitimate political authority. The following is from a review of Scott’s book in The New Republic, May 18, 1998 (“More is...
 

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Thursday, 30 April 2020 07:45

What Value Do Evangelicals Add? Featured

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imageOne more thought about David French’s implicit castigation of Al Mohler for deciding to support Donald Trump. It goes beyond French’s own theology of regeneration and good works to his w-w. If he thinks that faith should inform all he does, if that means especially it should determine...

 

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Tuesday, 28 April 2020 07:36

Pietism and Christian Alliances Featured

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imageIt might seem strange to describe something like the Gospel Coalition as confessional when its affect and substance is so much more pietist:

Pietist historians had narrated how much conflict and violence had been begotten by ecclesial differences. And while their hope for the future was to...

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Monday, 27 April 2020 02:32

How Broad Can Confessional Presbyterians Be? Featured

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imageThe subject of confessionalisminrelation to the Gospel Coalition has again come up, this time with a charitable defense of the organization from Ligon Duncan. The article that elicited this response is not at issue here.  I have not read it nor is that as pertinent as what Duncan says about...

 

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Thursday, 23 April 2020 05:12

Mingling Church and State while Social Distancing Featured

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imageHave a pandemic and all the government response completely undone the temporal-spiritual distinction? One expression of that differentiation is the separation of church and state (or religious disestablishment) that comes with the U.S. Constitution and early modern political liberalism more...

 

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Wednesday, 15 April 2020 05:56

Civil Religion without Turning George Washington into John Piper Featured

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imageOne of the gospel allies is surprised at and disturbed by the depth of American Protestants’ attachment to civil religion. The problem is that he and his allies, whenever they evaluate politics, American or otherwise, by Christian categories, enhance American civil religion.
Here’s why....

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Friday, 10 April 2020 07:05

How Smart are Presbyterians? Featured

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From James Burtchaell’s history of Christian colleges and universities, The Dying of the Light:

Originally Davidson tied its identity to the Presbyterian church and required that the church serve as the guarantor of the college’s fidelity. When that became outdated the college undertook...

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Monday, 06 April 2020 06:51

Proportional Meanness Featured

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imageThis is inspired by trying to calculate the sweepstakes for Christians criticizing Christians. As much as Calvinists may suffer from a reputation for orneriness, some of the folks on the progressive side of evangelicalism have a pretty low threshold for deviation from progressive evangelical...
 

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Monday, 30 March 2020 06:04

Not the Priesthood Jesus Founded Featured

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imageIt does look more and more like the Roman Catholicism that is supposed to be so much like the ancient church (and which needed to be modernized at arguably the worst time to do so –the 1960s) was much more a reaction to the reforms for which Protestants called. From an interview with Clare...

 

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Monday, 30 March 2020 05:45

Reading Machen in a Crisis Featured

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imageJ. Gresham Machen did live through the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918. Heck, he even lived through World War I, the Great one, in which he mixed hot chocolate and sold cigarettes, under the auspices of the YMCA. At the front in France, he also led Bible studies for American soldiers. Could Machen...

 

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Friday, 27 March 2020 05:38

Chloro(Men)cken for COVID-19 Featured

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imageTeaching Mencken during a pandemic is downright riveting. Imagine reading these observations while quarantined (with cats or not):

The suicide rate, so I am told by an intellgient mortician, is going up. It is good news to his profession, which has been badly used of late by the progress of...

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Wednesday, 25 March 2020 07:17

The Nation’s Math Crisis Featured

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imageLots of people are throwing around statistics about COVID-19, cases, deaths, ICUs, ventilators, even percentages, a challenge for those who forgot long division. And then there are the software/programming types and computer models that project what yesterday’s and today’s numbers will...
 

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Monday, 23 March 2020 07:43

Stats May Lie but What about the Words? Featured

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imageSome think Aaron Ginn’s article that debunks the projections for COVID-19’s rates of transmission, infection, and mortality are off. In an era of big data, from Wall Street to Major League Baseball, occupying the lane alone as the only interpreter of statistics looks a tad risky. But...
 

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Friday, 20 March 2020 04:03

Too Small to Succeed (the Health Care System) Featured

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imageAmericans may distrust big institutions, and journalists may take most of what Donald Trump says as brummagem, but why aren’t Americans suspicious of the people running the health care system? After all, most times the phrase — flattening the curve — is not about saving lives (as...

 

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Tuesday, 17 March 2020 06:07

The Old Testament Church and Plague(s) Featured

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imageDuring the blizzard-like conditions of COVID-19’s spread, Christian writers have been thinking about ways to minister during a plague. Some appeal to Luther. Some about the ongoing urgency of preaching the gospel. Some discuss the tension among commitments to love neighbors, serve God, and...
 

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Monday, 16 March 2020 07:25

Two Kingdom Theology and Same Sex Attraction Featured

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imageRemember when two-kingdom theology was the easy and quick explanation for Reformed churches friendly to homosexuality? Steven Wedgeworth clarifies what everyone knew when anti-two kingdom folks were using Meredith Kline as the whipping boy for moral relativism. The folks at Memorial Presbyterian...
 

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Thursday, 12 March 2020 05:40

Do Senior Christian Market Church Leaders Talk? Featured

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imageWith the appeal of Donald Trump in 2016 and Bernie Sanders in 2020 (which may turn out to be the political equivalent of Dave and Busters), some political commentators have observed that Democratic and Republican leaders have not served the American voters well. Party elites continued to play by...

 

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Friday, 06 March 2020 06:18

Have Senior Christian Market Pastors Served the PCA Well? Featured

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imageIf Tim Keller is someone to read for political philosophy, what about urban design and planning? It turns out that much Christian reflection on the city is similar to Christian thought about government and society — it is pietistically utilitarian. The city or politics are ways to...

 

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Wednesday, 04 March 2020 05:46

What the Coronavirus Reveals about Protestant Piety Featured

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imageFor Lutherans, the question is what do you do?

What precautions should my church take?

  1. Buy large supplies of hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes. Masks too if you feel like it, but masks are not as essential as disinfectant materials.

  2. Establish a single, controlled point of entry to your church...

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Tuesday, 03 March 2020 06:48

The PCA’s Strategic Plan Was So “Sleep” Featured

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imageIt can be a cliche to say that the church’s task remains the same, yesterday, today, and tomorrow. But more Presbyterians may be tempted to adopt that somewhat stodgy outlook if you look at what has become of the PCA’s Strategic Plan from a decade ago. Finding it on-line is a challenge,...

 

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Wednesday, 26 February 2020 06:06

What Historians Do Featured

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imageSean Wilentz, the George Henry Davis 1886 Professor of American History at Princeton University, is not a conservative. His ethic background is both Jewish and Irish, so chances are he is not a Reformed Protestant and so does not have a Christian w-w. He’s a Democrat, an egalitarian, and...

 

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