Ref21 Blog

Interpreting Scripture with Scripture

We cannot properly interpret what God does, as He has recorded it for us in Scripture, unless we know something about the God who effects what is recorded for us in Scripture. In other words, there must be a hermeneutical...
Posted August 20, 2018 @ 7:08 AM by Richard C. Barcellos

A Soul-Refreshed Life

On a spring day in 1747, twenty-nine-year-old David Brainerd rode horseback into the yard of a Northampton parsonage. It was the home of eminent New England pastor and theologian, Jonathan Edwards and his wife Sarah. Edwards and Brainerd, prior...
Posted August 17, 2018 @ 6:24 AM by Dustin Benge

The Works of John Flavel: A New Edition

A nonconformist, unifier, husband of three deceased wives, victim of religious persecution, and author of what has been collected into six volumes of reprinted Works, John Flavel (c.1630-1691) of Dartmouth, England not only had an immense following during his own...
Posted August 15, 2018 @ 7:11 AM by Brian Cosby

Human Dignity, Justice and the Death Penalty

Pope Francis' recent and much-publicized change of the Catholic church's position on the death penalty presents a challenge in the realm of theological and ethical reasoning. His rationale for denouncing the death penalty, according to the Vatican statement, is...
Posted August 14, 2018 @ 8:24 AM by Joshua Steely

A Prayer for Persecuted Brethren

Dear Father in heaven, you know all things; you know of the great persecution which your church faces, the scattering of your people in regions of the world, and the lamentations of devout men and women over the loss...
Posted August 13, 2018 @ 6:38 AM by Chad Van Dixhoorn

A Bored Generation?

Ours is the first generation of Christians that has seriously asked the question, how much time can I spend on entertaining myself? In all the reading I have done in the sixteenth and seventeenth century, I have never once...
Posted August 9, 2018 @ 6:16 AM by Derek Thomas

Understanding Opponents

Of the numerous regrets I have in life, not having been more understanding of others ranks high on the list. I have, many times, drawn hasty conclusions about others without having considered all that may factor into their lives. Many...
Posted August 8, 2018 @ 8:05 AM by Nick Batzig

Critiquing Art and Music

In Art and the Bible, Francis Schaeffer offered four necessary categories that we need to consider if we are seeking to adequately critique a work of art. He wrote: "What kind of judgment does one apply, then, to a work of...
Posted August 6, 2018 @ 8:54 AM by Greg Wilbur

Van Mastricht on the Scholastics

While reading through Petrus Van Mastrichts' Theoretical-Practical Theology, I was intrigued to find his thoughts concerning scholastic theology. In his section on "the Nature of Theology," Van Mastricht wrote: "It is asked, must theology be taught according to a certain...
Posted August 2, 2018 @ 10:03 AM by Nick Batzig

A Church Growth Discipline

By God's grace, the church I shepherd has experienced phenomenal growth over the last 15 years. I am often asked what has brought the growth? I am hesitant to answer that question because only God really knows why He...
Posted August 1, 2018 @ 7:26 AM by David Prince

John Calvin's Aversion to Being Remembered

Of all the sixteenth-century Reformers John Calvin (1506-1564) was the most reluctant to discuss details of his life in works destined for public consumption. As he told Cardinal Jacopo Sadoleto, "I am not eager to speak about myself." He...
Posted July 30, 2018 @ 7:08 AM by Michael Haykin

Smells Like Teen Spirit

I recently wasted four of five minutes of my life watching a clip of a segment of a sermon by a well known mega-church preacher. Over the past five years, this individual has reinvented his preaching style. Once a more...
Posted July 26, 2018 @ 7:53 AM by Nick Batzig

The Trinity Psalter Hymnal (2018)

Congratulations to the Orthodox Presbyterian Church (OPC) and United Reformed Churches (URCNA) and Great Commission Publications on the new Trinity Psalter Hymnal (2018). I have only had my copy for a couple of weeks or so, but I want to offer a few...
Posted July 25, 2018 @ 7:17 AM by Ligon Duncan

It Pleased God...to Create

The words "it pleased God...to create," in Westminster Confession of Faith 4.1, refer to divine willing, to the decree of God. Creation is due to the will of God. It is not necessary to the divine essence, however. The...
Posted July 23, 2018 @ 8:52 AM by Richard C. Barcellos

Only for a Time

I was interested to see that the cessationism/continuitionism issue is surfacing again--due to Matt Chandler's recent sermon, "A Supernatural Community and a Personal Word." Matt's introductory argument is as follows: Many Christians do not experience the extraordinary gifts of the...
Posted July 19, 2018 @ 8:07 AM by Nick Batzig

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