Monthly Archives: February 2017

  • Infant Baptism IS Baptism

    If I have heard it once I have heard it a thousand times: so-called reformed Christians tripping over themselves with apology after apology about how poorly the reformed church does evangelism. Related to this is the tried and true self-deprecation: we need to see more adult baptisms. Perhaps the one that turns my stomach the most is when people say things like, “the evangelicals win people to Christ and we disciple them.” Not true. None of it. I’m calling what needs to be called. Here I’m going to challenge the assertion that the reformed church is bad at evangelism by thinking about baptism.

    “the evangelicals win people to Christ and we disciple them.” Not true. None of it.

    It has been my pleasure and privilege to baptize more adult converts into Christ and his church than I ever would have … Read More »

    Posted in: Pastor Brian's Blog
  • The Public Reading of Scripture – Presbyterian Style

    In 2011, the session of the church that I pastor sought to educate and assist the members of the church regarding proposed changes that we had decided to make to an important aspect of our corporate worship services. Prior to these changes, unordained men would regularly lead the congregation in the public reading of Scripture and prayer. Desiring to bring our worship into greater conformity with our doctrinal standards and historic Reformed practice, our Session passed a motion limiting the public reading of Scripture to the minister who is preaching.

    Since we are a congregation in the Presbyterian Church in America, some within the congregation rightfully and insightfully raised the question about the propriety of this change in light of Book of Church Order 50.2. That section reads: “The reading of the Holy Scripture in the congregation is a part of the public worship … Read More »

    Posted in: Pastor Brian's Blog
  • Prayer – Ecclesiastes 11:1 – 12:8

    Historically Christians have used set prayers to learn how to pray and to be guided in this most holy endeavor. Examples of this come from the Bible itself. Jesus famously gave the Lord’s prayer in response to the request of the disciples to teach them to pray. Christians have been following his lead ever since.

    This passage in Ecclesiastes is about living life in the midst of the unknown and uncertain. Rather than being timid, we venture out in generosity, joy, and godliness.

    I have included some of my favorite prayers related to those themes, with the hope that you might find them helpful and useful for your journey in the midst of this vapor of uncertainty we call life.

    For Joy

    O God, who hast made the heaven and the earth and all that is good and lovely therein, and has … Read More »

    Posted in: Pastor Brian's Blog
  • Mark 5:13-16

    When John the Baptist burst onto the scene he did so with a simple and alarming message: Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. Mark and Luke call it the kingdom of God, Matthew the kingdom of heaven. All three refer to the same thing: the reign of God. That is, the fulfillment of the promises of the OT when God would once and for all display his sovereignty in the redemption of his people.

    Like John the Baptist, Jesus, too, makes this his central focus, his singular message. After his baptism and after his temptation in the wilderness he takes his seat on the mount and his first words are, Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. What follows is what we have come to call the beatitudes (5:2-12); kingdom norms that … Read More »