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Archive | Christian Living

Browse Worthy: Depravity and the Christian

Here’s a question to sharpen your mind before the weekend:  Are Christians totally depraved?   Now trace along the following links to discover the answer.

Tullian Tchividjian – This article on the Gospel Coalition website first raises the question.  To his credit, a careful reading shows that Pastor Tchividjian acknowledges that the answer has both “No” and “Yes” components.  But I believe his development of the “Yes” component basically negates the “No” sense of his answer and leads to trouble, as is well pointed out by…

Rick Phillips – This response on Reformation 21 is superb in both answering the original question accurately and clarifying the problems with Tchividjian’s answer.  He also reminds us that traces of this incorrect theology are found in Tchividjian’s popular new book Jesus + Nothing = Everything, where he also links to a gracious and good review of the book by…

Uprooted: Interview with Rebecca VanDoodewaard

Rebecca VanDoodewaard is the the author of the new book Uprooted: A Guide for Homesick Christians. She is the wife of Bill, Professor of Church History at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary, and mother of three.  Bill and Rebecca blog together at The Christian Pundit.

Uprooted is loaded with practical, spiritual advice on how to handle moving and the life changes it brings.  Rebecca was gracious to answer the following questions to introduce you to the book.  My wife and I have been encouraged by the book as we prepare to be uprooted ourselves next year, so I wanted to draw it to others’ attention.  But beyond that, as part of Bill & Rebecca’s journey led them to worship and live near us for three years, they are dear friends and I can attest to the reality in their lives of the godly faith encouraged in this book.


You explain in the opening pages of the book the life factors that caused you to have to deal with homesickness and led to the writing of Uprooted.  Could you share with our readers here a few of those?

My own homesickness drove me to dig into Scripture and the lives of saints from history who […]

The Goal of Gospel Preaching

Too often the pastor, in writing his sermon for the Lord’s Day, falls into the thinking that the goal of his preparation is just getting the message done.  That’s not the true end of gospel preaching.  Thinking that way will lead to boredom and even death in the pulpit, not life.  He needs to think of what the ultimate goal is to be.

Neither is the goal – and here I tread on far more delicate ground – simply that of conversion.

I know I could be misunderstood in this.  Yet hear me out.  By its very definition, gospel preaching should be evangelistic.  Indeed, the earnest preacher should long for a baptism by fire to be poured out on sinners’ hearts while listening to his message and to see many won to Christ through it. On this side of heaven, can there be any greater joy than hearing the Lord has taken the word you have preached and used it to cause a sinner to repent?  If angels rejoice over this, then helping them to do so should be the pursuit of the minister.

The Last Letter of a Godly Grandfather

Recently my wife’s parents moved out of their home of many years.  In sorting through their files, they came across the typewritten, hand-edited letter in the picture.  This letter was from Miriam’s grandfather, Lubertus “Bert” Hoeksema, who intended them to read it on the day of his funeral.  He went to be with the Lord in 1990, and it is clear from the dates these thoughts were on his mind for many years.  

Reading it made me thankful for the godly family into which I married, and for the faith and prayers of this humble laborer that span generations of time.  I reproduce it here with only slight edits.  


To my dear beloved Children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren,

What thoughts went through your minds today when you have viewed my earthly remains for the last time?  My last prayer in your behalf has been offered.  May they follow you to the end of your days is my last and earnest prayer.  I dearly loved and thanked God for each one of you and so did mother.  My GREATEST REGRET is that I did not display or reveal it more (Eph. 6:4).  Mother’s prayers have followed us, I know. (Heb. 11:4b; Mark 14:8a; Phil. 4:19)  My parting advice is: meditate […]

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.


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.