Monthly Archives: November 2011

  • Homo Liturgicus

    I have said it before: Whether we know it or even like it or not, every church and every service of worship is liturgical. Every church and every service of worship follows a prescribed liturgy. The liturgy may be bad or it may be good. Either way, it is there. James K.A. Smith, professor of philosophy and congregational and ministry studies at Calvin College takes my statements a step further in his Desiring the Kingdom: Worship, Worldview, and Cultural Formation. He extends liturgy to everyone, everywhere. In fact, there are cultural liturgies and religious liturgies. And the reason for this is because, in Smith’s words, we are homo liturgicus, liturgical animals.

    We are what we love, and our love is shaped, primed, and aimed by liturgical practices that take hold of our gut and aim our heart to certain … Read More »

  • The Lord Bless You

    All of our worship services end the same way: The minister lifts his hands and pronounces a benediction upon the people.  Benediction is simply a word that means, “blessing.”  While the benediction may seem foreign and uncomfortably sacerdotal to those from low church traditions, it is nevertheless Biblical.  For example, we find God calling Aaron and his sons to bless the people (Num. 6:24-26; Lev. 9:22), we hear of our resurrected Lord blessing the disciples with uplifted hands (Lk. 24:50) and we find nearly every NT epistle ending with God’s blessing made to rest upon his people (cf. Rom. 16:20-21; 1 Cor. 16:23; 2 Cor. 13:14; Gal. 6:18 to name a few).

    But what exactly is a benediction?  To put it differently, what is happening when the minister blesses the church?  Most simply, through the minister God blesses his church.  The … Read More »

  • Justification, part 2

    You’ve heard it said before—especially those of you who cut your theological teeth on the Scofield Reference Bible—that in the New Testament God saves sinners by grace but in the Old Testament salvation is by works. Ironically, there is some truth to that. Just keep reading for a line or two more. Before the fall in the garden God related to Adam by way of a covenant of works.

    Hence the careful study of the Law, as a covenant of works, is necessary at all times to the right understanding of the Gospel.Buchanan, p. 24

    To him was given the promise of eternal life as the reward for perfect obedience to the laws and commands of God. In this way God’s law was given for the justification of the righteous. God’s law can either justify or condemn. This, of course, is … Read More »

  • Justification, part 1

    With the Reformation fresh in our minds I thought it would be good for us to consider a crucial element of the Reformation, namely the doctrine of justification. We will use Buchanan’s The Doctrine of Justification as our guide if you would like to follow/read along.

    Justification is an act of God’s free grace, wherein he pardons all our sins, and accepts us as righteous in his sight, only for the righteousness of Christ imputed to us, and received by faith alone (WSC 33). Speaking of this, Buchanan noted that this is “surprising, startling, and affecting us strangely, as if it were almost too good to be true (p. 2).

    So important was this that Martin Luther described it as articulus stantis vel cadentis—the article of faith that decides whether the church is standing or falling (p. vii). As J.I. Packer notes, … Read More »