Category Archives: Spirituality

Is sanctification a duty?

Among Reformed scholars, we hear a great deal of discussion these days about the law and the gospel. Getting this right is important, but it is not as simple as it sounds. In a recent blog post, Paul Helm had some thoughts which I found helpful and I pass them on for your consideration. Helm begins his post with some astute reflections about the intentions of Andrew Fuller when he spoke about faith as a … Continue reading

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What makes us lovely to God, and why do we love him?

The love of God does not find, but creates, that which is pleasing to it. The love of man comes into being through that which is pleasing to it. So wrote Martin Luther, in the last one of the 28 theses that he composed for the disputation on April 26, 1518. Those theses and their proofs became known as “The Heidelberg Disputation,” which is part of The Book of Concord, in which the confessional statements … Continue reading

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How evangelical Christianity has changed during my lifetime

I have spent all my life in a very similar context to the kind of evangelical environment that Roger Olson describes as his experience. My parents were evangelical missionaries; I attended a missionary boarding school for all but one of my years of elementary and high school education; I attended an evangelical Bible College, graduate school and Seminary; I married a young woman who had also grown up in this same evangelical environment; we spent … Continue reading

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Augustine and the way to happiness

Augustine was definitely correct when he wrote in City of God: “It is a certainty that all people want to be happy” (X.1). But people have very different ideas about what happiness is and how we can achieve it. Ryan Hoselton gives us an interesting comparison between the proposal of pop singer Pharrell and the advice of Augustine. The difference is well worth pondering, but I’ll just leave you with the wisdom of Augustine, as … Continue reading

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The conundrum of Roman Catholicism

Reasons for encouragement about God’s work in the Roman Catholic Church I listened to an mp3 conversion of the video from the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast recently, and I enjoyed it very much. You can watch it here: This year’s guest speakers were his Eminence Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston and Robert P. George of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom. This prayer breakfast, now in its 10th year, grew out of the … Continue reading

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Should we forgive the unrepentant?

When we pray the Lord’s prayer, we find it easy at the start. We do want our heavenly Father’s name to be reverenced, and we do want his kingdom to come, which means that his “will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” We are also happy to ask God for our daily bread, because we know that he is the source of all that we have and need (Mt 6:9-11). So far … Continue reading

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Credo-baptists and pedo-baptists at prayer together about their baptismal covenant

I wrote Providence and Prayer because of my keen interest in the way different models of divine providence lead to different prayers of petition and thanksgiving. Last week, as I prayed the prayer appointed for the week, from The Divine Hours: Prayers for Autumn and Wintertime, it occurred to me that it is a good thing that many of our other doctrinal differences have much smaller effects on our prayers. This makes it easier to … Continue reading

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Practising Calvinism

I have been a Calvinist for almost 47 years now, and my reading of Scripture continues to confirm the correctness of that monergist framework. The God I have learned to love with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength is the one who chose me to be one of his adopted children, before he created the world. Everything I am and have is his gift, and the prospect of what lies ahead, when he finally … Continue reading

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The ten commandments viewed with new covenant eyes

For some time now, I have been memorizing the New City Catechism and I am  finding it very beneficial. I’m taking my time at it, but I have now gotten a fair handle on the first 12 questions and answers, so I’m finished the questions on the ten commandments. I very much appreciate the way the meaning of these is unpacked for Christians. Each commandment is seen with the nuance brought to it by the … Continue reading

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On the value and risk of learning

Learning, like riches, may add to usefulness, when sanctified. But, like riches, it exposes to snares and temptations; it is hard to have it without trusting in it. (John Newton) In recent decades there have been numerous expressions of concern about anti-intellectualism among evangelicals these days. Mark Noll’s 1995 book, The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind, is one that comes quickly to mind, but he has not been alone in sounding the alarm. When we … Continue reading

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