The Christmas season of 1887 was a dark one for Charles Spurgeon. Earlier that year, Spurgeon had published two articles on what he called “The Down Grade,” the infiltration of liberal theology into the Baptist Union. Later that summer, he wrote and published three more articles lamenting the decline of orthodox theology among Baptist and other Dissenting churches. He hoped that these articles would spark a conversation at the October meeting of the Baptist Union, but to his disappointment, the leadership refused to address the issue. This culminated in Spurgeon’s withdrawal from the Union on October 28, 1887, setting off a massive public debate. During this period, Spurgeon saw many of his former allies turn on him, including some of the pastors he had trained. And things would only get worse in the New Year. Continue reading “Spurgeon and the Church’s Fight for the Truth”
This may be not only the most unglamorous topic to write about, but perhaps even a bit insensitive at this time of year, when eating and drinking a lot are part of everyone’s weekly plans. Perhaps seeing a Puritan name in the same sentence as the “g” word raises even more hairs on the back of your neck. But just as the stereotype of the Puritans as killjoys is incorrect, so is nervousness surrounding the topic of gluttony. God doesn’t give us instructions about how to live in order to do away with our celebrations, but to help us celebrate in the best way—with concern for others above concern for ourselves. Continue reading “Baxter on Gluttony: Choosing Selflessness Over Selfishness this Christmas”
Questions fill the air at Christmas: What’s on your list? Where is the party? What’s the greatest Christmas movie ever? (It’s a Wonderful Life.) What’s the worst? (A Christmas Story.)
But there’s another question that we should reflect upon during this season:
“Who do you say that I am?” Continue reading “Christ, Christmas, and Chalcedon”
On July 10, 1909, the four-hundredth anniversary of the birth of John Calvin, B.B. Warfield declared Calvin as, “pre-eminently the theologian of the Holy Spirit.” How could Calvin, a theologian and pastor whose commitment to Scripture was as precise as a surgeon’s knife, be the preeminent example of a theologian of the untamable Spirit God? Was Warfield being far-fetched on a day of fanfare? If not, how did Calvin maintain unfettered commitment to the Holy Spirit and the Word of God in his writing, teaching, and preaching? Continue reading “John Calvin on God’s Spirit and God’s Word”
On November 22, 1963, the first Catholic president of the United States received the last rites at Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas, Texas. Until that afternoon, the young president had championed a balance of open personal faith kept safely isolated from public and foreign policy.
Three years earlier, candidate Kennedy had faced widespread evangelical criticism based on this same faith. On September 12, 1960, the then-Senator reassured an audience of evangelical and protestant leaders of his stance: Continue reading “The Faith and Politics of John F. Kennedy”
The story is familiar: A bright young theologian agrees to pastor a church torn by factions and needing reform. Before long, he is plunged into controversy and conflict as he seeks to implement change. The congregation appreciates his preaching at times, but his call to discipleship seems too zealous, even extreme. His attempts to re-organize the church for better pastoral care are met with opposition. Theological controversy arises as he responds to false teaching harshly, raising concern from the other leaders. In the second year, the young pastor pushes for the right to practice church discipline and this proves to be too much for the church. The young pastor is fired, and the church is left worse off than before.
Is this the story of some young, restless, and reformed pastor? Perhaps a fresh seminary graduate who came across some 9Marks materials and sought to implement them in his church?
Actually, this is the story of John Calvin. Continue reading “The Time Calvin Was Fired and the Need for Pastoral Mentoring”
Worried about why so many un-reached people groups are Islamic, or are you bothered that no one seems to have compassion for Muslim refugees fleeing civil wars in their homeland? Modern day people of faith often struggle to understand other religions, but this is not a new problem. The wall of fear between Christians and Muslims was built long ago – sometimes on bloodstained battlefields and sometimes in the library. Continue reading “Did Medieval Christians Believe Muslims Worshiped Satan?”