A few days ago, our Sunday school lesson was centered on the first chapter of the Westminster Confession and its emphasis on the necessity of Scripture. In discussing how wonderfully God provided for our need to be certain about Him and about salvation, we also spoke about how often we feel certain but we shouldn’t. Along those lines, I’d like to take a stab at naming and disarming several lies often spoken to us through social media, especially in understanding the world around us. In naming these lies, I’m not necessarily advocating giving up on #facetagramsnaptweeting, but encouraging us to wise, careful and limited use.
Some helpful articles have appeared recently discussing how ministers, churches, and denominations can start the downhill slide down into theological liberalism that destroys evangelical faith, personal holiness, and ecclesiastical integrity. The following posts are helpful mind-sharpeners on this issue.
The Slippery Slope and the Jesus Box | Richard Philips
Dr. Philips tracks a former PCA minister’s (and the congregation he pastors) long descent into endorsing homosexuality and denying Christ’s penal substitution. He points to the first steps down this slope, which he identifies as compromising Biblical authority and accepting women’s ordination.
The Slippery Slope: An Iron Law of Theological Declension? | William Evans
In response to Philips, Dr. Evans questions whether these are truly the first steps and wonders if starting the slide down the slippery slope is not more complicated. He raises the question of whether the competing authority of the culture with Christ and how the Bible is being interpreted are where slides begin.
Double Black Diamonds: Navigating the Slopes | Jay Harvey
In another article interacting with this subject on Reformation21, two particular types of slippery slopes, that of hermeneutical fallacy and the other of fear, are described.
Avoiding Logical Fallacies in Theology | Justin Taylor
In this archived article, Justin Taylor reminds us of how a slippery slope argument […]
I made a comment recently that we should be readers of three books in particular: the book of Scripture, the book of Creation, and the book of Providence.
This was off the back of a holiday which took us across the States and into Canada—so enabling us to enjoy some of the glories of God’s creation, whether it was the mountains around Seattle, the islands off Vancouver, the sheer might of Niagara Falls, or the beauty of sunsets. We saw God’s artistry in a new way. Added to that were many experiences of God’s providence as we travelled—from misplacing tickets and missing a train (which ended up saving us money!) to a stranger offering to carry a suitcase down four flights of stairs (which enabled us to catch a bus to the airport to make a flight) to many, many more—which filled us with a sense of our heavenly Father’s care.
So in preaching I said we should be good students of these three books, and in particular we should note down God’s providences so that we can see the regular care of our Father for us, and learn to marvel at his kindnesses. This way we train ourselves to see his […]
The following piece is the sad companion to one I wrote a number of years ago entitled “Fatherly Grief“.
Lying next to me, I know that
Her restlessness comes most
In the middle of the night.
The pillow beneath her head and her body move
Gently in rhythm with the quiet
And questioning supplications.
Augustine eventually said,
“Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our heart is
Until it finds its rest in thee.”
Did Monica then pray beforehand,
“Thou hast made him through me, O Lord, and my heart will be
Until he finds his rest in thee”?
I witnessed the awe of birth, and its ending;
The cutting of the binding cord that gave
When mother’s blood was child’s own.
But, no matter the number of yearly remembrances,
An unseen tie still remains, wishing
For the child needing another birth.
O, what awful pain some mothers endure when
They stand by a child’s grave! The unnatural
Bringing unbearable grief, unimaginable grief.
Do promise and time truly help? Does knowing a child is
Living though dead help dull the ache, ever
Unending waves of sorrow and loss?
The book of wisdom speaks of a similar
Grief other mothers must bear; of a child living yet
Not caring that earthly pleasure brings endless pain elsewhere.
This maternal distress does not diminish, each passing day
I’ve been thinking a little more on the need to guard against the casual adoption of the language of the PC establishment.
What I have found really helpful in thinking about this question is some recent reading about Martin Luther’s ‘Theology of the Word’. The German Reformer, pointing to biblical texts like Genesis 1.3, Romans 10.17 or 2 Corinthians 4.6, believed that the Word of God, as Carl Truman summarizes, “not only describes reality but also determines reality: all reality,” in ‘Luther and the Christian Life’ (p.80).
From the point of view of the Gospel, it is good to ask the question, why is it necessary and important to resist redefinition? Can I suggest that it would be good to bear in mind some or all of the following reasons?
First, because the chief instrument Satan uses to promote unbelief and undermine the truth, is the lies he tells. One example might be the lie of ‘same-sex marriage.’ In reality there is no such thing. Marriage is between one man and one woman. This linguistic redefinition is a false construction of the PC establishment which bears no relation to reality before God.
Second, because this blinding power of words is only removed by the […]
I wonder have you noticed a whole new vocabulary has been adopted and spread within our culture by the media and political elite. ‘Same-sex marriage’ is an oxymoron if ever there was one. ‘LGBT community’ presents a cohesive, friendly face. I won’t bore you with a full glossary of terms. Some others may be pertinent, but I’m sure you could cite more.
Changing vocabulary is an age-old tool to brainwash. It was the favorite method of the Babylonian ruling class to safely assimilate immigrants and erase the memory of their own culture, both political and religious. If you struggle to remember what Shadrach’s Hebrew name was, it helps to prove my point and shows the technique had success!
Belteshazzar, as he was known, refused redefinition like the rest. Those who published the Bible were quite right to call his prophecy ‘Daniel’ and not ‘The Book of Babylonian Belteshazzar’. How easy it is to spot assimilation in ancient times. I fear redefinition is more accepted in our own days. If this blog seems a quibble about words, the PC lobby has rightly recognized, words are more powerful than we think.
Take bXXXXXy or sXXXXy as almost unmentionable examples (I never feel comfortable to mouth […]
[The Holy Spirit] comes because of the completed work of Christ for us and He comes to complete the work of Christ in us.  – Joseph Pipa
What is God doing in my life today, you may ask yourself? Take heart, because even today he is completing the work of Jesus Christ in the lives of God’s people.
Jesus has earned our redemption in history. Because he has completed that glorious work for us, the Holy Spirit is now acting and he will not be stopped. Our lives are not spiritually static. Something dynamic is happening within the hearts of his people today.
Today, the Holy Spirit is regenerating people and giving new them new hearts. He is working in us the gifts of faith and repentance. He is assuring us that there is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. He is crying out “Abba! Father” in our hearts so that we will know that we are sons of God and not slaves. He is sanctifying us from sin. He is changing our minds, wills, and emotions. He is spawning new love in us for Jesus and his people. He is lifting our eyes to a new vision […]
No, the guys are not plotting about how they can try to change their wives. They know better than that!
Rather, they look at the growing trend of women studying, discussing, and promoting Reformed theology. For consider the facts. Blogs such as Sheologians and HERmeneutics are popular. Conference speakers such as Aimee Byrd and Rosaria Butterfield have large followings. Female authors are writing books such as No Little Women and Reformation Women. What in the world is going on?
The guys discuss this trend and wrestle a bit with its implications. You will conclude that they cannot quite figure the women out, but they do give it a try!
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Following Rebecca VanDoodewaard’s article “A High View of Marriage Includes Divorce” here on Gentle Reformation, and with the internet abuzz with Australian reporter Julia Baird’s hit piece on the church regarding abuse that has produced such responses as “An Open Letter to Husbands Who Abuse Their Wives” at TGC, a question has been raised. What is the proper response of a Christian wife who finds herself facing a sexually immoral or abusive husband?
Though the types of situations a wife may encounter can vary greatly, meaning there is no simple blanket answer to this question, certain Biblical principles and options can be pursued. My wife, Miriam, helped me to write this post as we reflected on our experiences in pastoral ministry that, sadly, included too many wives dealing with this issue.
What is a Christian wife to do when she discovers explicit texts from another woman on her husband’s phone? When she is shocked by an explosion of anger that creates a bleeding heart or even a bruised body? When she walks in the room unexpectedly and finds her husband watching pornographic videos?
Each of these scenarios can have quite a range of involvement and intensity, and thus influence how a wife […]
Over the last week or two, I’ve been taking some time out to study John’s Gospel in more depth. My particular concern and focus has been to get a better handle on the relationship that exists between Jesus and the Father.
This morning I was looking at John Chapter 7.10-24. This section narrates the doctrinal head-to-head between Jesus and the Jews, both the masses and their masters. The debate took place in the precincts of the Temple. Christ had come in cognito, resisting the pressure of his relatives. Now, constrained by the duties of His office, He stands in God’s House to declare divine doctrine in order to decimate human tradition.
What is apparent, throughout this account, is the commitment of the Son to the glory of His Father. This, in fact, is the thing, above all, that distinguishes Jesus Christ clearly from His Judean teachers and hearers. The central section of the passage is found in the statement recounted by John in Chapter 7 Verse 18:
“He who speaks from himself seeks his own glory; but he who seeks the glory of the one who sent him is true, and no unrighteousness is in him” (NKJV).
This portion of the 4th Gospel raises […]