In the Year of Our Lord: Reflections on Twenty Centuries of Church History. Sinclair B. Ferguson, 2018, Reformation Trust Publishing, pp 229. Something akin to a family tree, an old photo album, and a memory box, this book seeks to give believers a sense of their place and belonging in God’s kingdom. Like rustling through an... Continue Reading →
The 21: A Journey into the Land of Coptic Martyrs. Martin Mosebach, 2019, Plough Publishing House, pp 272. German author Martin Mosebach has provided a worthy and dignified written legacy of the 20 Coptic Christians and their fellow martyr, Matthew of Ghana who were martyred on a Libyan beach in February 2015. The book, already... Continue Reading →
Having grown up and attending Anglican services for the majority of my childhood and youth, I did not appreciate liturgical forms. When my family left the Anglican church we were attending and started attending a Congregational church (which would describe itself as being free in form regarding worship), liturgy was of course a bad word... Continue Reading →
In the same way that we all have liturgies, and that these liturgies form and shape us, so to do we all have traditions. We cannot avoid this. These traditions also form, and inform us. Not everything that is 'tradition' is necessarily wrong. Indeed, some of our traditions are good heritages! However, there are times... Continue Reading →
Based on the 2nd commandment and other biblical texts and stories, historic Reformed and Presbyterian churches have taught and practiced the Regulative Principle of Worship: we are to worship God in no other way than he has commanded in his word (HC Q/A 96, WLC Q/A 109). There are several different applications and implications of the RPW. Here are a few based on Exodus 32 and some other verses.
1) True worship is not a democratic endeavor. What is right and proper in Christian worship is not based on what a majority of people think is right and proper. Many Israelites approved of the golden calf but it was still blatantly disobedient and offensive to Yahweh.
2) True worship does not cater to the consumer. What people want or are looking for should not determine how Christians’ worship God. True Christian worship isn’t based on what attracts people…
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It is important to understand that Sola Scriptura for the Reformers did not mean that one should interpret Scripture alone, individualistically, and apart from the historic Christian church. Along those lines, I appreciate these words of Kevin Vanhoozer in Is There A Meaning in This Text?
“The church is the community dedicated to discovering the Bible’s meaning and to attesting its continuing significance. It is, above all, the significance of Scripture that cannot be discerned apart from the receiving, believing community. While biblical scholars can write commentaries about ‘what it meant,’ it takes the congregation – a living commentary – to display ‘what it means.’ The interpreting community does therefore have an important hermeneutic role, but…it is not that of producing but witnessing to meaning.”
“The church should be that community of readers whose hearts, minds, and imaginations are open to receive what is there in the text and who…
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God’s mission is theodoxic – it is driven by his plan to reveal (apocalyptic) the fullness (pleromic) of his consummation-producing (metamorphic) glory (doxa) in his creation. Though the first Adam failed, the second Adam brought and is bringing (already/not-yet) this about. In light of this, the glory of God is a tremendous orienting theme of biblical theology, and in his book, Dangerous Calling: Confronting the Unique Challenges of Pastoral Ministry, Paul Tripp speaks to this wonderfully in terms of our awe:
What is the overriding worldview of [Psalm 145]? It is that every human being has been hardwired by God to live in daily awe of him. This means the deepest, most life-shaping, practical daily motivation of every human being was designed to be the awe of God….
Awe of God must dominate my ministry, because one of the central missional…
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Gregg T. Allison, 50 Core Truths of the Christian Faith: A Guide to Understanding and Teaching Theology, Baker Books, Grand Rapids, 2018, pp 448 With such a bold claim as '50 Core Truths of the Christian Faith' it certainly held this reader's attention. With helpful books such as Horton's Core Christianity, and other such works... Continue Reading →
"The Baker Compact Dictionary of Biblical Studies". Tremper Longman III & Mark L. Strauss, Baker Books, 2018, 210 pages. Pocket sized, well fitting in the hand, and attractively published. This was the immediate thoughts that came to mind as I sat enjoying a freshly brewed cup of coffee that Saturday morning the book landed on... Continue Reading →