By Michael J. Kruger - Posted at Canon Fodder: “What is Reformed theology?” This is the question I get asked all the time. Especially since I teach at a school called Reformed Theological Seminary! While there are many ways to answer that question, I have found that the 5 Solas of the Reformation provide one of the best summaries of what it means to be Reformed: sola scriptura (Scripture alone), solus Christus (Christ alone), sola fide (faith alone), sola gratia (grace alone), and soli Deo gloria (glory to God alone). Since the 5 Solas are borne out of the Protestant Reformation, then it would not be surprising to know that, in many ways, they reflect the circumstances of the time period in which they were formulated. Each of the solas are a response to what the Reformers saw as problematic in the Roman Catholic church of their day. As an example, sola scriptura —the affirmation that the Scriptures are the highest and only infallible authority—is an obvious response to the Roma
By Pastor Andrew Webb - Posted at Building Old School Churches: From A Speech that was to have been delivered to the members of the Warfield List March 10, 2004 In a letter to Charles Haddon Spurgeon, the great 19th century Scottish Presbyterian Pastor and Theologian John “Rabbi” Duncan wrote, regarding the concept of baptismal regeneration, “Horrible as the doctrine of baptismal regeneration is, it would be still more so if combined with those scriptural principles which are usually called Calvinism.”  Over a hundred years after he penned that solemn warning, it seems that exactly that horror has taken hold in a portion of the Reformed community. For instance, Norman Shepherd in his book The Call of Grace , published by P&R (2002), had this to say: “Baptism is the moment when we see the transition from death to life and a person is saved…This covenant sign and seal marks his conversion and his entrance into the church as the body of Christ. From the perspective of the covenant
By R. Andrew Myers - Posted at Log College Press : The names of Alexander Craighead (1707-1766) — “the spiritual father of the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence” — and David Caldwell (1725-1824) — of the Caldwell Log College are well known to both North Carolinians and to students of Presbyterian church history. Less well-known, but of great significance to civil and ecclesiastical history, is a woman with ties to both men: Rachel Brown Craighead Caldwell (1742-1825), daughter of Alexander and wife of David. Alexander was a firebrand Presbyterian — the first Covenanter minister in America — of Scots-Irish descent. He and his family moved from Pennsylvania to Virginia (he was a founding member of Hanover Presbytery) to North Carolina. Rachel was born in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania just a year before her father renewed the Scottish covenants at Middle Octorara in 1743. Later, Rachel would sometimes speak of her experience growing up in western Virginia during the French an
Listen here: https://www.sermonaudio.com/solo/gpts/sermons/2721627474416/ Description: Podcast host Zack Groff welcomes GPTS student Zach Dotson into the studio to discuss the Federal Vision heresy. You might call this a "Zack/h Attack." Tune in for an overview, critique, and current appraisal of the Federal Vision movement and its influence in Reformed churches today.
By Jeffrey Stivason - Posted at Place for Truth: The Federal Vision speaks a lot about the objectivity of the covenant. What does that mean? Doug Wilson puts it somewhat crassly when he says, “It can be photographed and fingerprinted.”  For Wilson, the fingerprint is baptism.  Baptism, though an external sign, is like that of circumcision. It demonstrates membership. Now, the question everyone ought to be asking is the obvious. Is baptism the access point? In other words, does Wilson hold to baptismal regeneration? The answer is yes and no. We should not be surprised. What is more, this won’t be the last time we see this kind of language game being played by Wilson. So, what does Wilson mean? Well, he does not mean that the baptismal font is like a big syringe filled with water that has been zapped from on high. Wilson is clear on this. He says, “We deny any ex opere operato efficacy to the waters of baptism.”  And yet, one wonders how he can say, “Contrary to Warfi
By Simonetta Carr - Posted at Place for Truth : The saying is well-known: “Behind a great man there is a great woman.” In the case of Chinese pastor and theologian Wang Mingdao, someone suggested that eighty percent of Wang’s achievement was due to his wife. Was it an exaggeration? A Mature Young Lady Liu Jingwen born in Dinghai, Zhejiang on March 29, 1909 into a pastor’s family. She met Wang Mingdao when he visited their home in Hangzhou in 1925. But initially Wang paid no attention to her. She was just a child, he thought. Besides, he had no intention to marry. He thought he could do more for the Lord by remaining single. But when a friend convinced him of the contrary, he started to look around and pray for a proper companion. It was at a convention where he had been invited to speak that Liu Jingwen first caught his eye. She had been asked to play the organ instead of the ordinary pianist, who was busy on that day. As he watched her playing, he realized that she was qu
By Simonetta Carr - Posted at Place for Truth : When the Roman authorities hung Blandina to a pole and exposed her to a crowd of blood-thirsty spectators, they thought they could frighten anyone who rebelled to their rules. What they didn’t know is that they were holding her up as an example that gave new strength and courage to other Christians. The Persecution at Lyons Contrary to popular opinion, the Romans were not in the habit of killing Christians. Many disliked them and distrusted them, particularly in the beginning, when their teachings seemed too new and strange. But only a few emperors launched a sustained program against them – most famously Diocletian, who in 303 AD started a persecution that lasted eight years. Some violent persecutions came from crowds who looked for a reason for their calamities. This is what happened in the region of Vienne and Lyons (ancient Lugdunum), in what is now southern France. Continue here...
Rightly Approaching the Lord in Prayer By Pastor Benjamin Glaser - Posted at Thoughts from Parson Farms: In the Lord’s mercy as we come before Him in prayer it is important for us to remember who it is we are speaking to in that moment. Just as we would faint not to approach the queen of England with a slap on the back and a bro-hug we should never make our way to the throne of grace without humbling ourselves before the One who has made the Heavens and the Earth. That’s really what our Catechism lesson is about today. When Jesus is teaching the disciples about prayer He first uses the negative example of the arrogance of the Pharisees and then paints a picture of a person who does all things in secret and without public approbation. Why is this the case? It is because remembering the lesson of the first answer of the catechism: We are to Glorify God and Enjoy Him Forever is what enables us to successfully lift up our needs to the Lord. The Old Testament is littered with examples of
By Grant Van Leuven - Posted at Place for Truth: With the recent epidemic of weekly, if not daily, lethal shootings across the country, does your heart not cry out, “Is God paying attention?” Do terrorist bombings, corrupt business and politics, death inducing dictatorships, and human trafficking around the world go unnoticed? Will the silent screams of millions of babies snuffed out in their mother’s wombs reach God’s ears? Will the martyrs ever have their cry responded to, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? ( Revelation 6:9-10 ). Ecclesiastes 5:8 assures us that these yearnings for justice do not evaporate into the atmosphere: If thou seest the oppression of the poor, and violent perverting of judgment and justice in a province, marvel not at the matter: for he that is higher than the highest regardeth; and there be higher than they. The preacher acknowledges your heart’s cry over all the injustices plagu
"The law of his God is in his heart; none of his steps shall slide" — Psalm 37:31 Put the law into the heart, and the whole man is right. This is where the law should be; for then it lies, like the tables of stone in the ark, in the place appointed for it. In the head it puzzles, on the back it burdens, in the heart it upholds. What a choice word is here used, "the law of his God"! When we know the LORD as our own God His law becomes liberty to us. God with us in covenant makes us eager to obey His will and walk in His commands. Is the precept my Father's precept? Then I delight in it. We are here guaranteed that obedient-hearted man shall be sustained in every step that he takes. He will do that which is right, and he shall therefore do that which is wise. Holy action is always the most prudent, though it may not at the time seem to be so. We are moving along the great highroad of God's providence and grace when we keep to the way of His law. The Word of G
By Nahum Hosea Sennitt - Posted at Fjørds of Jøy : “If I have found favour in the sight of the king … If I have found favour in your sight, oh king, and if it pleases the king … if I have found favour in his sight, and if the thing seems right before the king and I am pleasing in his eyes …” – Esther 5:8, 7:3, 8:5. In recent times, I have commenced the M’Cheyne Bible reading plan and have passed through the Book of Esther. One striking feature of Esther is not only how that young woman of Judah became a bride to the most powerful king Ahasuerus on earth at the time, but how she approaches him with both boldness and reverence to have requests answers. These two attributes of boldness and reverence seem at odds with one another, but they work effectively well at once. Esther acknowledges that merely approaching her husband king ‘cold turkey’ comes with the risk of death (4:11, 16). This is an avid risk, but to us moderns it strikes us as eccentric given the warping of our minds as
By Jacob Tanner - Posted at Place for Truth : History is replete with the stories of despots and tyrants who wielded unbridled power with cataclysmic results. Everyone knows the horrors of the Hitlers of the world. Shakespeare famously wrote about a man who committed atrocious acts of paranoid murder to keep power in Macbeth . In both history and fiction, the adage “Absolute power corrupts absolutely” has proved true, time and again. Indeed, unchecked power often leads one down the downward spiral of destruction. Scripture itself speaks of such accounts, with the story of King Saul of Israel standing tall as a surprising example of how power may corrupt a man. Thus, when we speak of the sovereign power of God, there are generally a few questions that people raise about God and His power. Those varied questions generally fall under one of two categories: 1. Just how far does God’s power extend? 2. Can we trust God’s power? Read more here.