Monthly Archives: July 2011

  • Christianity and Liberalism

    For many in our church, J. Gresham Machen (1881-1937) needs no introduction. He was, after all, the founder of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, our previous denomination. In addition to that he was a professor of NT at Princeton Theological Seminary, a NT scholar, founder of Westminster Seminary, and a libertarian litigant on the issue of jay walking—which is to say that he thought it silly that crossing the street would be relegated by a law and not common sense. Practically speaking, if he came to a red light and there was no one around he would say go through it. Best known, though, Machen was a contrarian and controversialist especially when it came to the insidious liberalism that was sweeping across the church of his day. His most important work was related to that specific topic and is entitled simply, … Read More »

  • Marriage as a Covenant

    Agreement about the nature of marriage is hard to find, even in the church. What’s more, even those who would espouse a particular view of the nature of marriage often belie that view by their practices. If marriage is going to be reformed we need to start by understanding the nature of it designed by God.

    Traditionally there have been three major views about marriage. To those three I will add a fourth. First, the Roman Catholic Church suggests that marriage is a sacrament and thus a means by which God mystically dispenses divine grace. Secularists obviously reject marriage as a sacrament and instead insist that marriage is a contract entered into, maintained, and, if necessary, dissolved by two consenting individuals. Related to this is what I will call the, “it’s-time-to-grow-up-so-I-need-to-get-married-because-that-is-what-grown-up-people-do” view of marriage. Though obviously related to the contract view … Read More »

  • Covenant of Works

    In an effort to provide classification and clarification to the teachings of Scripture, Reformed theology has recognized in Scripture three distinct covenants which offer the needed categories for rightly dividing the word of truth. Those three form the heart of Reformed theology and are referred to as the covenant of redemption (pactum salutis), the covenant of works (foederus naturae), and the covenant of grace (foederus gratiae). It’s to the second of those that we turn our attention this morning because it is highlighted in the text before us.

    When Adam sinned and rebelled he plunged the entire human race into a state of disobedience.

    The covenant of works has variously been called the covenant of creation, nature and law. All of these are appropriate and emphasize different aspects of the covenant. The covenant of works was the initial covenant God made … Read More »

  • Lord’s Day or Christian Sabbath

    Sunday has been alternatively referred to by Christians, and particularly reformed Christians, as either The Lord’s Day or The Christian Sabbath. Both are acceptable and each one emphasizes something that we do well to take note of. The phrase “The Lord’s Day” (literally “the day belonging to the Lord”) only appears one time in the NT (Rev. 1:10) and emphasizes the change between OT practice and NT practice, and specifically the change between worship on the last day of the week to the first day of the week to sing and celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. The phrase “The Christian Sabbath” appears no where in the Bible but seeks to emphasize the continuing validity of the Sabbath command (Ex. 20:8ff) under the new covenant while at the same time affirming

    The Sabbath is not something that was instituted with Israel … Read More »

  • Catechesis, part 7

    In chapter 5 of Grounded in The Gospel: Building Believers the Old-Fashioned Way, the emphasis was upon the gospel as the core of our catechetical ministry. In chapter 6, desiring to fully keep with the resolution to “proclaim Christ” (Col. 1:28) the authors explore some of the other dimensions of Christ proclamation (p. 117). It’s in this light that Parrett and Packer suggest that “our proclamation must have a comprehensiveness of concern—that is, it must address individuals and congregations holistically, attending to the various aspects of our humanity” (p. 130). This chapter takes up the “what” of the comprehensiveness of the teaching.

    The first section deals with the gospel as the “plumb line” for our “thinking, speaking, teaching, and living” (p. 118). They suggest that “When the church teaches doctrines or permits patterns of living that are

    Related to the gospel, … Read More »