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The Greatest Inauguration Day Ever

It’s unlikely that anyone reading this post today needs to be reminded that it is Inauguration Day in the United States of America, when the 45th President will be sworn in and assume office. The eyes of the world’s media will be fixed on Washington D.C. as this most controversial of figures begins work. As of today he will, in a sense, hold the lives of countless millions of human beings in his hands.

But I’d like us to think, at least for a few minutes today, about a far more significant ‘Inauguration Day’ – the most momentous one in the history not of the USA but of the whole world. It wasn’t witnessed by millions but just a few handfuls of people, and its significance was largely lost on those who did see it. It didn’t take place in the centre of a national capital but in some of the most inhospitable wilderness territory in the world. It was the baptism of Jesus of Nazareth in the Jordan River. This day for Jesus was like his Inauguration as Messiah. He was the Messiah already, but on this day Jesus was beginning his public ministry, he was officially, formally assuming his […]

Lord of Men and Nations

The following article is a guest post by Brad Johnston, pastor of the Topeka Reformed Presbyterian Church. In sharing this news about a national confession of faith by the country of Poland, we at Gentle Reformation want to be clear that we are not advocating Roman Catholic doctrine, as Brad’s article states several times and this recent post shows. Rather, this rather remarkable situation provides a challenge for the Protestant church to pray greatly for the kingdom of God to be further manifest through nations coming to Christ.

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You may have heard the thought-provoking news that a former Soviet-bloc country in Eastern Europe has confessed the Lord Jesus Christ as King and Lord. This type of confession is what Christians pray for when they recite or sing Psalm 67: “Let the nations be glad and sing for joy, for you judge the peoples with equity and guide the nations upon earth” (Psalm 67:4).

This notable event took place on the 1,050th anniversary of the Baptism of Poland when the Polish prince embraced Christ in the year A.D. 966. A millennium later in the past century, Poland found itself pressed by Nazi Germany on the west and Communist Russia on the […]

Browse Worthy: The Trumpian Landscape

With the election over and the inevitable setting in, people are wondering what factors led to Trump’s victory and what will things look like as he takes over. Here are a few intriguing articles that help provide some answers toward that end.

A New Poverty | Rod Liddle

This article at First Things reviews Hillbilly Elegy and sheds further light on the disenfranchised, white lower class that is being credited for Trump’s victory.

I’m an Adorable Deplorable | David Murray

Dr. Murray hung around a few of the deplorables at a Trump rally for a while and came away with an important spiritual lesson.

Understanding TIME Magazine’s choice for Person of the Year, Donald J. Trump | Al Mohler

This short audio section of The Briefing explains this decision.

The Theology of Donald Trump | Michael Horton

Whose theological beliefs does Trump (and many of his followers) most emulate? Read and find out.

Nine Christians in the Trump Cabinet? | David Murray

Trump appears to be putting around him people of faith. Get the line-up and the low down.

Browse Worthy: Online Bullying

One of the peculiarities of the Digital Age is how quickly mass hysteria can arise against someone. Perhaps the most famous case of this phenomenon is chronicled in The New York Times Magazine article “How One Stupid Tweet Blew Up Justine Sacco’s Life.” Sacco, with a small number of Twitter followers, tweeted a foolish line that was – rightly or wrongly – interpreted as a racial slur before she boarded an international flight. By the time she reached her destination, her tweet was the top trending one and a virtual mob was calling for her head. She lost her job, her life was threatened, and she has become famous for all the wrong reasons.

Yet it is not only unthinking tweets that can bring someone undue attention. People can purposely target someone with whom they disagree, and try to bring a high degree of public shaming on that person. A case in point is that of BuzzFeed‘s article that came out this week entitled “Chip And Joanna Gaines’ Church Is Firmly Against Same-Sex Marriage.” BuzzFeed is a digital media company that delivers news and entertainment over social media. This post on the Gaines, who host the popular HGTV show “Fixer Upper“, seems nothing more than an […]

I believe in the (cryogenic) resurrection of the dead

I just heard on the news this morning that in a landmark ruling a judge in England granted the dying wish of a 14 year old girl with cancer to have her body cryogenically frozen until the day when medical knowledge is sufficiently advanced to revive and cure her. In a letter to the judge she wrote,

‘I am only 14 years old and I don’t want to die but I know I am going to die. I think being cryopreserved gives me a chance to be cured and woken up – even in hundreds of years’ time. I want to live and live longer and I think that in the future they may find a cure for my cancer and wake me up. I want to have this chance.’

Isn’t it tragic that the very thing this girl was longing for was exactly what is being held out in the gospel? Isn’t it tragic that she put her trust in a quasi-scientific fairy tale for her hope of resuscitation life rather than the resurrection life the Lord Jesus Christ achieved when he rose from the dead on the third day? Isn’t it just so unspeakably sad that someone would put their […]

Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.

What will it take to make progress in peaceful relationships between people of different racial and ethnic backgrounds? Political commentators are paying close attention to attitudes and the racial breakdown of voters in this week’s United States presidential election. Clearly, some voted for Donald Trump out of fear and frustration that white uneducated Americans are being mocked and marginalized. In response, some immigrants and minorities fear what the future holds for them. We stand at a moment of opportunity. What is the way forward?

There are a lot of answers I don’t have, but I’ll never forget a breakfast I attended over a decade ago. Dr. Herb Lusk, pastor of Greater Exodus Baptist Church in Philadelphia spoke on Shamgar, Israel’s judge who followed Ehud and receives scant attention in the biblical record:

“After him was Shamgar the son of Anath, who killed 600 of the Philistines with an oxgoad, and he also saved Israel” (Judges 3:31).

Judges 5:6 merely recounts that Shamgar lived at a time when “the highways were abandoned, and travelers kept to the byways.”

Lusk may not have drawn out all of the covenantal implications of this judge’s ministry, but he memorably summarized how Shamgar served the Lord by faith and […]

Calamity Brings Clarity

The following is an adapted version of a message I preached during the chapel service at Geneva College, just hours after our nation elected our new President.  In God’s kindness, the message seemed to strengthen some stricken hearts. Whatever your emotional state after an exhausting election season, I hope it’s a blessing to you, too.   It was written to be spoken, but hopefully comes across clearly enough in this format.   Or, click here for an audio link if you like.   

A loss can be very hard to take; but sometimes, so can a win.

We have a new President of the United States.  He won in dramatic fashion, in the early morning hours, and like the campaign season itself, the angst-ridden process left the American public emotionally and physically exhausted, and for so many of us, feeling profoundly sick.  One of the saddest parts of this sick feeling is that had the election gone the opposite way, it likely would have left us feeling much the same, though for different reasons.  Either way this race would have concluded, there was no way for a victory at the top of the ticket which was not also a reason to weep.  We’ve seen so much […]

Casting (Bal)lots

The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the LORD. –Proverbs 16:33

Many have commented how incredible it is that we have come to the point of having these two major presidential candidates before us as a nation. I have heard it expressed that it is like trying to choose whether you would prefer a boisterous, drunken uncle or a conniving, wicked stepmother. As people agonize over how to vote tomorrow, perhaps it is helpful to remember the verse above.

Much like we use dice or choose straws, lots were pebbles or sticks with markings representing different parties. They were cast and one chosen, most likely, by landing in a designated spot. This practice was common in biblical times. Aaron casts lots to see which goat would be the offering and the other the scapegoat on the Day of Atonement. Joshua cast lots to divide the land of Israel among the families of the tribes. In the days of David lots were cast to see which men would serve in the various priestly functions. So common was the practice that lots were cast to figure out that it was Jonah on the ship that had brought about […]

The Trumpet Blasts that Were Never Heard

We live in times where the church is needing to think through her relationship with the state and the rulers over us. This is not the first time in the history of Christianity where we have had to meditate on our doctrine of the magistrate or our relationship to those in authority. This is not the first time that we have had to choose between losing our right hand and losing our left. Where would you turn to read about the relationship between the church and an oppressive government?

Looking for a book on the relationship between the church and a tyrannical government may be useful for the church in the next few decades. Consider the following statements:

* It is not by birth that one can rule over a people; those under him must approve of that rule.
* Those who practice idolatry or are living publicly scandalous lives are not to be placed in public office.
* If a ruler proves to be a tyrant or is willfully disobedient to God’s Word, then not even an oath can keep him in office.
* If people too quickly or without due consideration put someone in office and it is later found that he is […]

Browse Worthy: The Hatmaker Controversy

Recently Jen Hatmaker, a professing Christian author and star of a hit television show “My Big Family Renovation,” created a firestorm over comments she made in an interview regarding homosexuality. Her expressions, along with her husband’s, reflect the muddled reasoning of many Christians. As several have responded to the Hatmakers with helpful clarity, here are some links to sharpen your mind and strengthen your heart regarding this important social matter.

The politics of Jen Hatmaker: Trump, Black Lives Matter, gay marriage and more | Jonathan Merritt

Here you can read the original interview of Hatmaker. Notice that she states that gay relationships can be holy.

The high cost of popular evangelical Jen Hatmaker’s gay marriage comments | Katelyn Beaty

This Washington Post article describes some of the fallout following her interview.

Love Your Neighbor Enough to Speak Truth | Rosaria Butterfield

The author of The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert responds to Hatmaker and explains why her viewpoint is a spiritually dangerous one.

Where I stand on LGBTQ | Brandon Hatmaker

Jen Hatmaker’s husband Brandon explains the process for their change in views.

A Few Brief Thoughts on the Hatmaker Hermeneutic | Kevin DeYoung

Kevin DeYoung, pastor and author of  What Does the Bible Really Teach about Homosexuality?, reveals the nature of his response in the URL […]