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A Deep Sigh

Following the election, a story from one of my mentors has come to mind.

When I was a young man in pastoral training, being dandled about upon the knee of Dr. Roy Blackwood as it were, he would tell me stories of the 17th century Covenanters in the United Societies of Scotland.  Often I heard him describe how these men and women, persecuted, pastor-less, and poor, would have rigorous discussions over Bible texts regarding life matters that were before them.

The Blog to End All Blogs? A Post-Election Plea

Many thanks to Barry York, James Faris and Nathan Eshelman – and by extension to Dr. Joel Beeke! – for your heartfelt articles pertaining to the national elections (forgive me if I missed any authors!).  Thanks for being willing to step into the virtual minefield of this volatile topic with  the courage of your convictions as well as the kindness and humility which demonstrate your sincere love for Christ and desire to serve Him.  Thanks for leading by example in ensuring that Gentle Reformation is able to address fiery topics with the fruit of the Spirit.

Now that the election is over,

An Election Day Prayer

After much rigorous discussion on the election, how about some quiet praying today?  Whether we agree with one another or not about certain matters related to voting, this offering by Dr. Joel Beeke should be an encouragement to all of us as we pray.

Given the seriousness of the matters before us, please let your comments either be silent affirmations or amens.

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Our Father, Lord of heaven and earth, Thou art very great. We praise Thee for Thy name is above all blessing and praise. Thou canst do immeasurably above all that we ask or think. Thou hast made the heavens and all their host, the earth and seas and all that fills them, and the angels of heaven do worship Thee.

Thou hast blessed our nation with an abundance of food and wealth. Thou hast revealed Thy law and gospel in Thy Holy Scriptures. Thou hast sent Thy Son to give His life a ransom for many. Thy servants have testified to our people.

Yet, O God, our land is bathed in the blood of innocents. We have taken Thy gifts, and made them our idols. We have hardened our hearts, and listened not to Thy commandments. We have turned Thy holy […]

Answering That Abortion Question

Once again a pro-life candidate has found himself in a media firestorm for his answer to a question about abortion.  Though it may be too late for this election go-around, how about a little pastoral help from Jesus on how to answer it?

Richard Mourdock, running for U.S. Senate here in Indiana, was asked about abortion at a debate last week.  Though the specific case of conception taking place from a rape was not part of the question, Mourdock, perhaps anticipating that and wanting to clarify his position, answered in part, “Life is a gift from God…and even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen.”  That last phrase was understood by some and certainly twisted by others to portray Mourdock as indicating he believed rape met with divine approval. Though I, as others, do not believe that was the intent of his remark, this one sentence could do irreparable damage to his campaign.  Mourdock himself recognized the remark was unfortunately stated, saying about it as he tries to move on that “you cannot put toothpaste back in the tube.”

So how should pro-lifers answer the question, “Do you believe abortion should be allowed in […]

The Art of Forgiveness

Just as looking through a telescope the wrong way makes big things seem small, so we often look at our sins in this manner.  One way we minimize sin is to place more importance upon the act of our sin rather than the one offended by our sin.

Let’s say I painted a picture of you and displayed it publicly.  If someone came along and drew a mustache on my painting of you, that would only be a slight offense because I am no artist.  Believe me, the painting would not look like you anyway.  Perhaps the mustache would even be an improvement!  Now let’s say someone was able to get through all the security of the Louvre art museum in Paris, lift the bulletproof and light-proof glass, and draw a mustache on the Mona Lisa.  An outcry would rise the world over.  Why?  A master artist and his work would have been insulted.  Though it is the same act, the consequences are much greater.   

How to Keep the Sabbath on a Thursday

A friend of mine once brought to mind a truth that I have seen played out many times in conversation. Upon meeting someone, people in my  generation (good ol’ Generation X) will quickly ask, “What do you do for fun?” People in the generations before me will quickly ask, “What do you do for work?”

 I live in a generation which often defines people by what they do to entertain themselves, yet we live in a world that is intended to define people partially by what they do to employ themselves. 

Why Not Voting is Not an Option

As the political election approaches in America, many Christians boldly proclaim that Jesus is King. Such a statement is often coupled with a declaration that they will not be voting, especially given the apparent choices in the presidential election. For perhaps different reasons, Thabiti Anyabwile writes at The Gospel Coalition: “I’m ‘voting’ by not voting.” But is abstaining the obedience to which the Jesus of Scripture has called us? Does it honor him as the King he shows himself to be?

The Incarnate Word and the Written Word

The doctrine of the Word of God has come on hard times among professing Christians.  This sad state of things is no surprise.  At the very beginning of human history, Satan assaulted the Word of God, which is to insult the character of God.  In so doing, the “father of lies” ushered mankind into spiritual ruin.  Particularly sad in our day, though, is the fact that many professing Christians believe that they are honoring Christ by denying that God’s written Word, the Bible, is everything it claims to be in its self-attestation and self-authentication.

Keeping Covenant with our Youth

Each month the Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary sponsors a “webinar,”which is a new e-term for an internet seminar that people can access via their computer.  A PowerPoint presentation accompanies a 30-40 minute lecture usually done by a professor or pastor on a variety of topics.  From “Facebook and Faith” to “Is Your Church Healthy?” to “Ministry to the Poor” to “Biblical Counseling,” solid, Biblical teaching is offered via the internet to anyone in the world who wants to tune in.  Several of our “GenRef Gents” (as I call our contributors) have done lectures.  For access to past webinars, you can go here.

Today at 3:00 I will be conducting a webinar called “Keeping Covenant with Our Youth: Encouraging Congregations in Educating Children.” So often the focus of a congregation’s efforts can turn to activities for the youth rather than their discipleship.  As this issue has been on my heart for quite some time, I’ll be offering principles congregations can implement to encourage the latter rather than falling into the former.  I taught this at our denomination’s Synod meeting this past summer, and have augmented it to include a section I’m calling “Pursuing the Prodigals.”  I’ll be sharing some of what the Lord […]

Asking Questions Like Jesus

Have you ever sat in awkward silence with strangers wondering what to say next? Or, have you wondered how to grow in your knowledge of the world, of people, or of God? Have you pondered how you might more effectively minister to people? One answer to problems posed in those questions is to ask a good question.

Young children ask “Why?” countless times a day. Some of us struggle to mature beyond that stage. I started my first job at age 13. Soon, I frustrated my boss with constant queries, and he finally asked me to stop asking “Why?” Looking back, he was amazingly patient with my abuse of a good thing.

You see, God created the question. He made us as relational beings, and he brings growth through question and answer. If we are to grow in our relationship with God and men, we need to grow as inquisitive creatures.