Ref21 Blog

4 Approaches to a Balanced Complementarianism

I have been following the concerns raised over at the Mortification of Spin with respect to imbalances in the practice and teaching of biblical complementarianism (I think particularly of some of Aimee Byrd's posts - here and here).  I have long...
Posted May 4, 2016 @ 7:58 AM by Richard D. Phillips

Bringing Our Children to Jesus

One of the most important things we will do at Second Presbyterian Church is disciple our children to a living, personal faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. We live in a society that assumes that when children grow up they...
Posted May 3, 2016 @ 8:18 AM by Richard D. Phillips

Moving Prayer to the Center of Ministry

God's people need to be prayed for. They need to led in prayer. They need to be taught how to pray. We all believe that prayer is important. Nevertheless, working our convictions about prayer into our practice of ministry is...
Posted May 2, 2016 @ 8:18 AM by Jay Harvey

The MA & PA Case for De-Christianizing Culture: Marx, White, and all the Rest

Karl Marx didn't write all that much about religion, but what little he did was radical, programmatic, and rather clever. Here is almost his entire commentary on the meaning of religion as a cultural phenomenon: "religion is the sigh of...
Posted April 30, 2016 @ 6:30 AM by Bruce Baugus

Griffith Who???

Griffith John was a contemporary of Hudson Taylor in China. One of theses two men is well known all over the globe--and has been an inspiration to the Christian church ever since--while the other has been all but forgotten.Griffith was brought up...
Posted April 28, 2016 @ 9:31 AM by Paul Levy

John Calvin on the Keys of the Kingdom

Calvin's teaching has never been for shrinking violets, nor is John Calvin himself thought of as "soft."  He uses strong language about those who are enemies of the gospel ("pigs," "dogs"). In discussing church discipline he notes the special responsibilities...
Posted April 25, 2016 @ 3:21 PM by Sinclair Ferguson

A Virtual Reality Check

Just a few weeks ago, the Oculus Rift started shipping out its Kickstarter units. These virtual reality (VR) headsets have been anticipated for years, especially since Facebook bought the parent company in 2014. At the risk of using a...
Posted April 25, 2016 @ 9:18 AM by Caleb Cangelosi

Church Revitalization

Effective Strategy? Biblical Mandate? Both! In 1980 a young Pastor, fresh from seminary, arriving at his first pastorate encountered some startling realities. Thinking he was informed as to the condition of the church, he soon learned just how uninformed he was....
Posted April 21, 2016 @ 6:53 AM by Harry Reeder

Edwards and Interpreting Providence

Like many eighteenth-century Reformed pastors, Jonathan Edwards was confident in his ability to discern God's purposes in earthly events. For example, during a 1736 drought, he explained that God was chastising New Englanders for the "corruption in our hearts." Similarly,...
Posted April 19, 2016 @ 8:24 AM by Thomas Kidd

In Defense of Praying for Aunt Sally's Big Toe

"Pray for the dead bird on the sidewalk!"The six-year-old's words rushed through the church prayer meeting leaving an uneasy silence behind. Our pastor had invited requests, and one little boy--the newly-attending grandson of a church member--was endearingly eager. But his...
Posted April 15, 2016 @ 8:12 AM by Megan Hill
TOPICS: Prayer

Navigating Dangers and Temptations in Ministry

Throughout my twenty-plus years of following Jesus Christ and serving in His church, I have repeatedly seen pastors disqualify themselves for ministry. The moral failures of such ministers have led to confusion, pain, and even a crisis of faith for...
Posted April 13, 2016 @ 6:30 AM by Joe Thorn

The Cambridge Declaration: Alive and Kicking

Twenty years ago, in April 1996, the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals held its first major meeting of evangelical scholars. The Cambridge Declaration, first presented at this meeting, is a call to the evangelical church to turn away from the worldly...
Posted April 12, 2016 @ 5:57 PM by Robert Brady

"God Broke the Law": The Character of God

Meet the Puritans editor Danny Hyde weighs in this week on Steven Furtick."God Broke the Law for Love"Thanks Todd Pruitt! Thanks for "sharing" this on Facebook last week! You ruined my weekend. Okay, that's a bit hyperbolic, but after watching...
Posted April 8, 2016 @ 5:32 PM by Robert Brady

Holy vs Unholy Laughter: Calvin on Gen. 21.1-21

Calvin discovers in Gen. 21, with its record of Isaac's birth and Ishmael's banishment from Abraham's house, a contrast between two kinds of laughter, one "holy and lawful," the other "canine and profane." Holy laughter -- not (of course) to...
Posted April 6, 2016 @ 7:21 AM by Aaron Denlinger

A Dove, An Olive Leaf and Rest in Jesus

The flood narrative of Genesis 6-8 proceeds with remarkable rapidity. Once the preliminaries are done the Lord imprisons Noah in his ark until it was safe for him to emerge. The forty days of universal deluge are described quickly; the...
Posted April 4, 2016 @ 8:46 AM by Iain D Campbell

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