Ref21 Blog

The Fireproof Martin Luther

The sixteenth-century papacy never succeeded in setting fire to Martin Luther, much to its chagrin. Support from a string of Saxon princes and political events in the Holy Roman Empire combined to keep Luther from Rome's grasp until he succumbed,...
Posted February 26, 2015 @ 3:47 PM by Aaron Denlinger

Deuteronomy and the Decalogue

It's a common observation, beloved by Reformed folk, that Deuteronomy reflects ancient near eastern suzerainty treaties--international covenants enacted between a superior suzerain power and inferior vassal state. Such treaties follow what we now think of as standard covenant formulary: a...
Posted February 26, 2015 @ 11:54 AM by Bruce Baugus

The Case of Corinth, or: How to Introduce Dogmatic and Sacramental Disorder in a Few Easy Steps

Is Paul also among the sacramentarians?When the Apostle uses a word six times in five verses, it is probably worthwhile to pay attention and ask what he is up to. This is what he does with the verb βαπτίζειν in...
Posted February 25, 2015 @ 10:15 AM by Eric Hutchinson
TOPICS: baptism

Simul Justus et Peccator Or, What We Talk About When We Talk About Two Kingdoms

The two kingdoms. Few phrases so short could be lobbed with such devastating effect into a parlor conversation at a Reformed theology conference these days--or a few years ago, at any rate, though perhaps new topics have now succeeded it...
Posted February 23, 2015 @ 3:55 PM by Brad Littlejohn

The Ten Commandments as God's Moral Law

Many Christian commenters today are expressing concern about antinomian tendencies in the church.  We are especially seeing attempts to downplay the role of God's law as a guide to Christian living (the so-called third use of the law).  One question...
Posted February 23, 2015 @ 9:25 AM by Rick Phillips
TOPICS:

The Divine Acceptilatio: God Accepts Your Imperfection

Does an infinitely holy and righteous God accept imperfection from his people? Thankfully, he does. This is a central truth of our Christian living, though in some respects either ignored or rejected by some in the church today. Understanding God's...
Posted February 22, 2015 @ 11:27 PM by Mark Jones

"Your thoughts about God are all too human"

So wrote Luther to Erasmus in his Bondage of the Will. Few if any phrases from Luther have been more misunderstood. One regularly sees Luther's words invoked to emphasize the transcendence, the otherness, of God. Luther criticized Erasmus, it is...
Posted February 21, 2015 @ 8:34 PM by Aaron Denlinger

Free grace

Preparing to preach tomorrow, I came across these stirring words in a suprising place:1. All the blessings which God hath bestowed upon man are of his mere grace, bounty, or favour; his free, undeserved favour; favour altogether undeserved; man having...
Posted February 21, 2015 @ 5:55 AM by Jeremy Walker

Lent me your ears

In 1528 Catholic and Protestant theologians met in the city of Berne to debate a series of topics associated with the burgeoning Reform movement in Switzerland. "The Ten Theses of Berne" focused on issues such as the nature of the...
Posted February 20, 2015 @ 4:31 PM by Scott Swain

ISIS and the Imprecatory Psalms

The recent execution of 21 Coptic Christians in Libya by the murderous Islamic group ISIS has prompted appropriate and helpful Christian reflections (see here and here). But one question I have yet to see asked is, "Is it time now...
Posted February 18, 2015 @ 9:56 PM by Carlton Wynne

Disappearing into the sunset of another brave new world

The credits roll. The hero and/or heroine (fling in a plural or two as appropriate) mount their horses, or link their arms, or climb aboard, or do something else redolent of completion, and disappear into the sunset. Some measure of...
Posted February 17, 2015 @ 3:04 PM by Jeremy Walker

Christ's Entrance into Heaven

Have you ever wondered what it must have been like when Christ entered heaven after having ascended? This was a unique moment in redemptive history, and one that we should probably meditate upon a lot more than we do. At...
Posted February 17, 2015 @ 10:14 AM by Mark Jones
TOPICS: Christology

George Whitefield, Principled Calvinist 1: Froward From My Mother's Womb by Thomas Kidd

At the outset of the Anglican baptismal liturgy, an eighteenth-century rector would say "Dearly beloved, for as much as all men are conceived and born in sin. . .I beseech you to call upon God." Ask God, he urged, to...
Posted February 17, 2015 @ 9:23 AM by Robert Brady

Catholicity Reduced to Ashes: A Surrejoinder to James Merrick

I am grateful to James Merrick for his thoughtful and measured response to my piece on Lent and for providing me with an opportunity to address the matter further.  Reading Merrick's response, I suspect one of my ecclesiological assumptions needs...
Posted February 16, 2015 @ 10:15 AM by Carl Trueman
TOPICS:

Catholicism or Consumerism? A Question to Carl Trueman about Ash Wednesday and Lent

It's that time of year again: when we catholic Christians brace ourselves for the blizzard of blog posts by chilly Puritans who hope to warn their flocks against the vices of Ash Wednesday and Lent. I don't have much interest...
Posted February 16, 2015 @ 8:03 AM by Guest blogger
TOPICS:

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