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Like Eden’s Cooling Breeze

As I look ahead, these next weeks weigh heavily upon me. They will be filled with travel. Yes, I will see dear people that I love. But there will be meetings. Debates. And more meetings. Concerns about church and care for sheep burden me. Then a long, long flight to follow. Messages to preach.

I confess I lack the strength for it all. My body, along with my dear wife, has been telling me for a while that I am weary. A lab report concurred. Anemia? Me? Finally, I stopped resisting and agree. Extra rest, quiet walks with my love by my side, and vitamins have already helped.

I am thankful too for this gentlest of summer Sabbath morns. The whir of hummingbird wings near my porch chair contrasts distinctly with the pileated’s thumping on the old oak up front. The dawn’s soft rays make the woods appear to come slowly to life, as if preparing to obey the psalmist and sing for joy. Indeed, they do, as cardinal and titmouse and robin and chickadee and wren harmonize from their branches. Like Eden’s cooling breeze, the morning air refreshes my face.

Yet that little cup that is my mind overflows with thoughts and, […]

3GT Episode 42: The Glories of Ecclesiology

It’s summertime, and that means one thing. The ecclesiastical courts are in session! Across the country, various denominations are gathering for their annual meetings. A visitor to another assembly, Barry describes what it was like to be a little RP minnow in the big PCA pond. Kyle leads the guys in a discussion on the types of church governance, and explains why we should not roll our eyes about this topic. Aaron explains how he appreciates the representative nature of being a Presbyterian. The 3GTers go on and do more than just offer the biblical and practical necessities of presbyterianism – they glory in it and invite you to so as well!

Listen and learn with the guys as they seek to bring life to what many view as a dry topic!

https://threeguystheologizing.files.wordpress.com/2017/06/3gt-episode-42.mp3

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The Gospel Reformation Network

Last week I had the pleasure of attending the Presbyterian Church in America‘s General Assembly in Greensboro, NC. Held in the spacious accommodations of the Khoury Convention Center, the week had a feel of a reunion to it. PCA ministers and elders greeted one another warmly and enjoyed extended fellowship with one another. Many of the men brought their families with them, and the wives and children would mill about as they waited on their dad to rejoin them after a meeting. As a guest, I was made to feel welcome throughout the week.

The deliberations and events surrounding the gathering of this nation’s largest conservative Presbyterian denomination were quite remarkable. Observing meetings and debates held in an assembly that is three times the size of the House of Representatives was quite an experience. Walking down hallways and regularly seeing leading Christian teachers and authors such as Tim Keller, Bryan Chapell, or Kevin DeYoung made me realize again just how “resource rich” the PCA truly is. Over a hundred exhibitors of Christian ministries filled a ballroom and spilled over into other hallways with booths offering literature, products for sale, or little freebies (the RUF tin can mints was the best give-away item […]

The Good Life

The following article is a guest post from Emily Moore, co-founder of Psalter Project, a community resource for singing the psalms with fresh arrangements of faithful translations. Emily and her brother, Pastor Derek Moore, desire to see the broader church know and sing the psalms. Their latest album The Good Life is now available – just click the link.

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Who doesn’t want to be happy?  “The pursuit of happiness” is such a basic aspect of human nature that it is considered an inalienable right in the U.S. Constitution.  So when we think of “the good life,” what typically comes to mind are some key ingredients to a pleasure-filled life: health, wealth, and popularity.

However, the psalms give us a radically different picture of what a truly good life looks like.  It’s not just a different means to an end; the goal itself is redefined.  Contrary to our natural instinct, the good life is not essentially found in happiness.  God is the fountain of life (Ps 36:9) and the source of pleasure that will last forever (Ps 16:11).  Our good depends on God’s nearness (Ps 73:28).

Psalm 103 puts it this way: God is the one “who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your […]

3GT Episode 41: Reformed Popery

No, we are not introducing a new tulip-scented home fragrance. Rather, in light of recent downfalls by many men carrying the Reformed banner, the guys discuss pastors who abuse their authority in the church and act like mini-popes. The 3GTers discuss the importance of examining pastor wannabes carefully for character before ordaining them. They offer reminders for how the church should be structured Biblically to best keep authority in check. And for those who are in places where men are strutting around like they are wearing the papal mitre, suggestions are offered to congregants on what they might do.

It’s another freewheeling discussion on 3GT you won’t want to miss!

https://threeguystheologizing.files.wordpress.com/2017/05/3gt-episode-41.mp3

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Love and Hell

Hell is not mentioned much these days, except when used as a curse word. It is a topic that many consider outdated and a place that few believe actually exists. And in these days of hyper-tolerance, which quickly becomes intolerance when anyone sounds the least bit doctrinaire, speaking of hell is seen as a strange, brutish thing to do.

So why do it?

In a word, it’s all about love.

For you see, hell does exist. Mocking it, ignoring it, forgetting it – none of that changes its reality. Jesus Christ preached about it repeatedly, warning his listeners of its danger. He taught that it is a real location where those who do not live as the Bible commands will be punished consciously forever. Not to believe in hell is to distrust the very words of Christ. The Westminster Confession of Faith, speaking about the final judgment, uses Biblical language as it describes hell in this manner: “The wicked, who know not God, and obey not the Gospel of Jesus Christ, shall be cast into eternal torments, and be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord.”

So what does speaking of hell have to do with love?

If someone is about to […]

A Banner Day or Two

From Tuesday afternoon until later today I am at the Banner of Truth’s 2017 US Minister’s Conference. This conference is a refreshing time for pastors, elders, and ministerial students in so many ways. Here are a few highlights to share with you.

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The Banner offered scholarships to seminary students, so I had the joy of traveling out with three men training with us at the Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary. Having extended time like that with the guys outside the classroom is a blessing. On the way, we stopped for lunch at a rest area. The other American and I quickly ordered our burgers and sat down, only to find our two Asian friends had brought their own zongzi for lunch. They shared with us the zongzi, a leaf-wrapped meal containing a special, sweetish rice with peanuts, beans, and a date, and told us it was in honor of “Dragon Boat Day” in Asia, an annual holiday with a fascinating story behind it. The learning started before I even arrived at the conference.

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Over 300 are in attendance at the Banner conference this year, held on the beautiful, accommodating campus of Elizabethtown College. The theme is “The […]

3GT Episode 40: Cate-schisms?

Tim Keller has the 3GTers thinking! The parishionier has read a number of catechisms, including the New City Catechism (NCC), and questions arise about these question and answer tools. Just what is a catechism? Should we use the (g)old standards, like the Westminster Shorter Catechism, or use newer versions like the NCC? With so many available, which one should we use? How are catechisms to be used? And does Kyle really make his kids say “executeth”?

Be sure to listen to this important discussion! And even hear the guys talk about a catechism of the catechism!

https://threeguystheologizing.files.wordpress.com/2017/05/3gt-episode-40.mp3

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Neither Jew nor Gentile: The Musings of a Modern Covenanter on Racial Reconciliation

This past Friday I had the privilege of conversing with Ligon Duncan, Chancellor and CEO of Reformed Theological Seminary. In that short exchange, Dr. Duncan expressed similar sentiments to ones he later posted the next day on Facebook, which read in part: “Just as a little historical tip for those interested, no Presbyterian and/or Reformed denomination in America has a better record for taking a biblical stand on slavery and racism than the Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America. The Covenanters were right on this long before the rest of us caught on.” You can see the rest of his comments here. 

His remarks sparked me to share the following article by Michael LeFebvre, Pastor of Christ Church in Brownsburg, Indiana, and Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary Board President. As you can see, Dr. LeFebvre recounts this history, not for the sake of any prideful boasting, but to encourage greater modern applications of the history where racial divides still exist. This article originally appeared in Reformed Presbyterian Theological Journal, Spring 2017 (Vol. 3, Issue 2). Used by permission.

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Introduction

Several months ago, I was at a large Christian university. I was there for a conference, and a campus tour was offered during an afternoon break. On […]

3GT Episode 39: The Lord’s Presence in His Supper

Aaron wants to know. He quotes from the Westminster Confession of Faith and (after being warned about trespassing on Kyle’s other podcast) asks, “How is Christ present in communion?” After defining the four different views and giving Aaron an A on his test of them, a vigorous discussion on Christ’s human nature ensues. Where is his physical body now? How do we “eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood” as Jesus said in John 6:53? How do we “really and indeed” feed upon him as the Confession says? The guys chew upon this perplexing mystery, and offer up a slice of the Reformed answer to it!

https://threeguystheologizing.files.wordpress.com/2017/05/3gt-episode-39.mp3

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References Cited

Keith Mathison, Given for You: Reclaiming Calvin’s Doctrine of the Lord’s Supper

Peter Martyr Vermigli, The Oxford Treatise and Disputation

Martin Chemnitz, The Two Natures in Christ

Thomas Houston, The Lord’s Supper: Its Nature, Ends, and Obligations

John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion