Heard & Seen

"An Oration in Commemoration of the Independence of The United States of America"

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Enos Hitchcock (1744-1803) was a Harvard graduate (1767) and a chaplain for several brigades in the Colonial militia (seeing battle at Ticonderoga, Saratoga, Valley Forge, and West Point). He also served as chaplain of the Continental Army from 1779-1780. He preached in other New England churches after the Revolutionary War, prior to settling as the pastor of the First Congregational Church in Providence, Rhode Island, from 1783 until his death. During his pastorate, the church grew and built an impressive church in 1794-75 at the corner of Benefit and Benevolent streets. Later his church which was Arminian under his leadership became Unitarian, shortly after his time.

Among his other fiery sermons was a 1780 sermon accusing Benedict Arnold of 'perfidy.' He was involved in various causes, ranging from education to abolition, even purchasing a slave but manumitting him in his will. His diaries were published in 1899 and can be found here

Hitchcock delivered this anniversary sermon seventeen years after the Declaration of Independence in a Baptist church, preaching this on the same day as Samuel Miller's sermon on the anniversary of America's Independence (see link to previous sermon). However, he begins with a passage from the Declaration rather than from Scripture. He believed the providential wonders seen here were also of benefit to all mankind. This sermon celebrated the birth day of a nation, born "when your country was bleeding at every pore, without a friend among the nations of the earth. God alone was her friend! The justice of her cause was registered in the high chancery of heaven. The stars fought in their courses for her; and the event justified a step which had so astonished the world."

This great land bore tremendous promise for industry, agriculture, and development--surely, he preached, the providential blessing of God. To match these natural resources, Hitchcock also noted: "The features of our policy have a strong resemblance to the magnificent and well-proportioned features of our country. No longer do we subscribe to the absurd doctrine of the divine right of kings, no longer bow our necks to the galling yoke of foreign legislation. Independent of these servilities, we enjoy the divine right of governing ourselves." He was a thorough-going republican who detested absolute power, anarchy, and tyranny. He reflected the wisdom of the day: "Every good government must exist somewhere between absolute despotism and absolute democracy. In either of these extremes, neither liberty nor safety can be enjoyed."

He also thought it self-evident that: "The state where the people choose their magistrates for a fixed period, and often assemble to exercise the sovereignty, is a democracy, and is called a republic; such were Athens and Rome, and such are the United States of America." He saw the republicanism of America as a moderate form, which "was most congenial to the rights of man, and the enjoyment of equal liberty--that liberty, which to independence unites security--which to the most ample elective powers, unites strength and energy in government."

Hitchcock also realized the imperfection of governments and the need for virtue among the electors: "The most perfect model of government that imagination can form will be useless, if the state of mankind renders it impracticable." He rendered a quite glowing assessment of the office-holders in all branches as satisfying the high demands of representative government.  He also spied "American genius springing forward in useful arts, projecting great and astonishing enterprizes, tearing down mountains and filling up vallies, and making efforts unknown in those countries where despotism renders everything precarious, and where a tyrant reaps what slaves have sown."

Not every revolution would automatically advance liberty: "Indeed a dark cloud at present vails the fair countenance of liberty in France. Inexperienced in the science of a free government, and unprepared for the enjoyment of it by a previous course of education, of intellectual improvement, and moral discipline, they have tarnished their glory by excesses; and, in the paroxysms of their zeal, have carried excess to outrage."

He preached that "Knowledge and true religion go hand in hand. When the former is obscured, the latter is mutilated, and enveloped in the shades of superstition and bigotry. And whenever the civil power has undertaken to judge and decide concerning truth and error, to oppose the one, while it protected the other, it has invariably supported bigotry, superstition and nonsense."

In contrast to Miller's sermon from last week, this one seldom refers to biblical texts. His sermon concluded:

May we ever show ourselves worthy of the blessings we enjoy, and never tarnish the bright lustre of this day, by any unbecoming excesses. Americans! think of the many privileges which distinguish your condition. Be grateful for your lot; and let your virtue secure what your valour, under God, hath obtained; and transmit to latest posterity the glorious inheritance. May the political edifice erected on the theatre of this new world, afford a practical lesson of liberty to mankind, and become in an eminent degree the model of that glorious temple of universal liberty which is about to be established over the civilized world. 
Posted July 22, 2016 @ 9:51 AM by Robert Brady

Extraordinary Means of Grace by Mark Johnston

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The idea of 'the means of grace' has undergone an encouraging rehabilitation in the life and ministry of many Reformed churches in recent years. This has come as a healthy corrective to pressure from the wider church to embrace ideas and practices that seem more effective vehicles for church growth. However 'effective' these alternative means may have seemed, it has been at the expense of a meaningfully biblical definition of the church. So, the widespread return to emphasising the Word, sacraments, fellowship and prayer (Ac 2.42) as the core components of a faithful and effective church has been welcome. These 'ordinary' means of grace are God's ways of communicating his great salvation in Christ and by his Holy Spirit.

The very fact, however, that the adjective 'ordinary' is applied to these means by which God works implies that they are not the only way he works. They may be normative, but they are not exhaustive.

The men of the Westminster Assembly noted this in their treatment of Effectual Calling in chapter 10 of the Confession of Faith. It deals with the means by which the call of the gospel which is universal is made to be effective in the lives of 'All those whom God hath predestinated unto life' (10.1).

The divines open up what this entails and how it happens as being, 'at his appointed and accepted time' and by means of 'his word and Spirit' in order that they may be actually lifted 'out of that state of sin and death in which they are by nature to grace and salvation by Jesus Christ enlightening their minds spiritually and savingly to understand the things of God, taking away their heart of stone, and giving unto them an heart of flesh; renewing their wills, and, by His almighty power, determining them to that which is good, and effectually drawing them to Jesus Christ: yet so, as they come most freely, being made willing by His grace' (10.1).

They go on in the next section to explain this further: 'This effectual call is of God's free and special grace alone, not from anything at all foreseen in man, who is altogether passive therein, until, being quickened and renewed by the Holy Spirit, he is thereby enabled to answer this call, and to embrace the grace offered and conveyed in it' (10.2).

Here, then, are the normal means God uses to bring the spiritually dead to life, enabling them to turn in repentance and faith towards God as they rest on Christ alone for their salvation. But they are not the only means. The very next section goes on to make this clear in what it says about 'elect infants dying in infancy': 'Elect infants, dying in infancy, are regenerated, and saved by Christ, through the Spirit, who works when, and where, and how He pleases: so also are all other elect persons who are incapable of being outwardly called by the ministry of the Word' (10.3). There are certain circumstances of life in which the 'ordinary means of grace' cannot function.

The Westminster divines reiterate this point in chapter 14, 'Of Saving Faith'. There they state, 'The grace of faith, whereby the elect are enabled to believe to the saving of their souls, is the work of the Spirit of Christ in their hearts, and is ordinarily wrought by the ministry of the Word, by which also, and by the administration of the sacraments, and prayer, it is increased and strengthened' (14.1) [italics added].

There are at least two reasons for drawing attention to the fact God's grace has extraordinary as well as ordinary dimensions.

The first is pastoral. Infant mortality may not be as common in developed countries in the 21st Century as it was in those same countries just a few centuries ago, but the pain of loss and questions about life and destiny it raises are just as real. In some respects they are even more real for Christian parents who believe that 'faith comes from hearing the message and is heard through the word of Christ' (Ro 10.17). Knowing something of God's extraordinary grace for such extraordinary circumstances can only bring comfort.

The fact the scope of this principle goes beyond 'elect infants dying in infancy' to 'all other elect persons who are incapable of being outwardly called by the ministry of the Word' is also pastorally significant. Not least in terms of how the church regards and cares for those who are mentally incapacitated. At a very basic level the questions must be asked, 'Can they be accepted as members of the church?' and 'May they receive the Lord's Supper?' If a church turns 'the ordinary means of grace' into 'the sole means of grace', the answer must be 'No!'.

The other reason for raising this issue relates to the question Jesus was asked en route to Jerusalem: 'Lord, are only a few people going to be saved?' (Lk 13.23). It is the question many have asked throughout the centuries. And it is significant that Jesus does not give a direct answer, but says instead the real issue is making sure we ourselves are in his kingdom (Lk 13.24).

This does not mean the question in itself is wrong, or that it is wrong to ask it. Interestingly it was taken up by several 19th Century Reformed theologians, among them Charles Hodge and W.G.T. Shedd, in their consideration of the so-called 'Larger Hope'.

In his book, Calvinism: Pure and Mixed - A Defence of the Westminster Standards, Shedd deals with this question (following chapters on 'Common and Special Grace', 'God's Love and Credal Proportion' and 'Infant Salvation as Related to Original Sin') in a chapter entitled 'The "Larger Hope"'.[1]

There he discusses this issue in light of the relation between God's glory and the number of the redeemed, but with cognizance of the extra-ordinary dimensions in the operations of grace.

Charles Hodge also addresses the issue, notably in his comments on Romans 5.18-20, where he says,
We have no right to put any limit on these general terms, except what the Bible itself places upon them...All the descendants of Adam, except Christ, are under condemnation; all the descendants of Adam, except those of whom it is expressly revealed that they cannot inherit the kingdom of God, are saved. This appears to be the clear meaning of the apostle, and therefore he does not hesitate to say that where sin abounded, grace has much more abounded, that the benefits of redemption exceed the evils of the fall; that the number of the saved far exceeds the number of the lost.[2]

This issue has had extensive coverage by Roman Catholic, Liberal Protestant and Evangelical Protestant authors from a range of differing perspectives and with correspondingly different conclusions. But all too frequently their concern has been to try to justify, at one end of the spectrum, 'sincere' faith in any religious context, or good works in all contexts as the basis of acceptance with God; or, at the other end, some form of universalism.
It is significant, therefore, that the issue was raised in the way it was by the Reformed theologians cited above and on the theological foundation they build with the inferences they drew from it, but also those they did not.

The questions are real but Scripture is noticeably silent on them. Nevertheless the men of the Westminster Assembly offer a judicious response in what they say in relation to effectual calling. They enable us to focus on what the Bible makes clear - that the church's duty is to 'go and make disciples of all nations' (Mt 28.19-20) - while at the same time acknowledging that 'the Judge of all the Earth' will most certainly do what is right (Ge 18.25).

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[1] Shedd, W.G.T. Calvinism: Pure and Mixed (Banner of Truth; Edinburgh) 1986 [first published 1893] pp. 92-131
[2] Hodge, C. Systematic Theology Vol. 1 (Scribner & Co; New York) 1872 p. 26

Text Links
http://www.placefortruth.org/blog/extraordinary-means-grace
http://www.placefortruth.org/article-subscribe

Originally posted by Mark Johnston on PlaceforTruth.org.
Posted July 7, 2016 @ 4:46 PM by Robert Brady

5 Reasons to Study Old Testament History

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In case you missed it last week, ChristwardCollective.org contributor David Murray gives us 5 Reasons to Study Old Testament History. 

by David Murray

Shakespeare wrote that each person's history is "a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing." The Christian view of personal and world history is quite a contrast; we believe God ordained it, organizes it, and moves it towards a meaningful, definite, and certain purpose.

Many Christians, however, entertain a negative view of Old Testament History; of its usefulness and even of its accuracy. It is often regarded as "far away" and "distant" chronologically, geographically, socially, and theologically. "What can it do for me?" and "Why study it?" are common questions. Here are five reasons to study it and benefit from it:

1. OT History is True History
Israel's neighbors expressed their beliefs through fantastic, elaborate, "out-of-this-world" myths. In contrast, Old Testament narratives about Israel describe real events in real time involving real people and a real God. The reality of Israel's faith rested on the reality of Israel's history.
Similarly, if we lose or give up the truthfulness of the Biblical record, we lose and give up the Truth. We also lose our Christian faith because it is founded not on detached philosophical speculations but on God's acts in human history.

Approaching Old Testament narratives with unshakeable confidence in their accuracy and truthfulness will build up unshakeable faith.

2. OT History is Selective History
No matter how much they deny it, every historian has an agenda. Though often unspoken, that agenda can often be deduced by analyzing his selection, arrangement, and editing of events. Old Testament writers also had an agenda that guided the selection, arrangement, and editing of their accounts. The only difference, and it's a major difference, is that their selectivity was divinely inspired and, therefore, in no ways diminishes their truthfulness.

Therefore, when reading Old Testament history, ask yourself why the author selected these events and that particular angle on them. It will get you much closer to the message he intended to convey to his original audience.

3. OT History is Relevant History
Old Testament preaching often faces the charge of seeming irrelevance. There are vast differences between the world of the Old Testament and the modern world. However, this "relevance gap" cannot be bridged by forgetting Old Testament history. Attempting this may make the sermon relevant but it makes the Scriptures irrelevant.

Rather, a right understanding of Old Testament history enables us to understand the original message to the original audience at the original time and place; and that having done this, the bridge to the present message is far easier and safer to construct.

4. OT History is Purposeful History
Many history books simply relate the what, when, where, and how of each event. Not many attempt to answer the "Why?" question, and those that do usually prove laughably unreliable.
In contrast, biblical history has a clear purpose: it is a progressive revelation of the mind and heart of God for the benefit of needy sinners. God is the subject and the hero of the Bible. Therefore, when we read an Old Testament narrative, we ask three questions:
What does this story reveal about God?
How is this intended to help needy sinners?
What role does this story play in the larger and longer biblical story?

The last question will help prevent us reading the chapters as disconnected dots and unrelated atoms.

5. OT History is Redemptive History
The Old Testament is redemptive history. God actively directs human history for the purpose of redeeming sinners to Himself. The Holy Spirit inspired the writers of the Old Testament to record what would graciously reveal that redemptive purpose, and even the Redeemer Himself (Luke 24:27). The Biblical history, then, is not just facts to teach us theology. These historical facts serve to bring in God's elect. What greater motive do we need to study it than that these Scriptures are able to make us wise unto salvation (2 Tim. 3:15).

Text Link:
http://www.alliancenet.org/christward/5-reasons-to-study-old-testament-history#.V2BRFFfZanc
Posted June 14, 2016 @ 3:38 PM by Robert Brady

The Cambridge Declaration: Alive and Kicking

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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 methods it has come to embrace, and to recover the biblical doctrines of the Reformation. Out of that first meeting came seminars and a book of essays, Here We Stand, which further addressed the points of that call.


20 years later, it's worth asking:
  • Is the Protestant Reformation over?
  • Aren't the five Reformation solas a footnote in religious history with little to no bearing on modern ministry and life?
  • Is the Cambridge Declaration still relevant?

We think it is and we're doing something exciting about it!

We're working on a new book, edited by Michael Johnson, with the following authors:
Michael Horton
James Boice (previously published content)
David Wells
Aimee Byrd
Carl Trueman
(and others)

Sign-up to receive updates. In the coming weeks we will be sharing news on the publisher, additional contributors, release date, and more.

Text Links:
http://www.alliancenet.org/cambridge-declaration
http://reformedresources.org/reformation-sunday/here-we-stand/
http://www.alliancenet.org/CD20
Posted April 12, 2016 @ 5:57 PM by Robert Brady

"God Broke the Law": The Character of God

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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 the clip where Steven Furtick says, "God broke the law for love," I felt I had to respond.

There are so many things about this that make me want to SCREAM! How could anyone give an "Amen" to this? Beware of analogies from our lives in trying to explain the character of the incomprehensible God! Has this guy ever picked up a basic book of Christian theology and worked through it thoughtfully? But I digress. What is really so bad about this is what it says about the character of God and the cross of Christ.
 
"God Broke the Law": The Character of God
To say, "God broke the law for love," confuses people at best about the character of God and destroys the character of God found in Scripture at worst.
 
The Law & God's Righteousness
The way Furtick speaks of the "law" makes it sound like it's just some verbal predication and convention that God can set up, take down, use, or ignore at his whim. It's not! The law is a manifestation of the righteous character of God himself, in which we hear, "And God spoke all these words" (Ex. 20:1). For example, all throughout Romans 1-3 the inspired apostle speaks of the "righteousness of God," meaning, that God "will render to each one according to his works" (Rom. 2:6). If you do good, God will righteously give you eternal life; if you do evil, God will righteously give you eternal death (Rom. 2:6-11). And then right after saying this, Paul speaks of the concrete way in which we know God's righteousness to render according to works: the law. The law is "the embodiment of knowledge and truth" (Rom. 2:20) of God himself. This is why the law is like a mirror, reflecting the righteousness of God and our sins (Rom. 3:20). The law is God's righteousness revealed. (On the justice of God, see also Thomas Watson, A Body of Divinity, pp. 87-93)
 
Is the Law Breakable by God?
Can God break his own law, therefore, that reflects himself to humanity? Wilhelmus à Brakel (1635-1711), a Dutch pastor and theologian of the nadere reformatie (Dutch "puritanism"), put the question like this:
In reference to the avenging justice of God, does God punish sin because it pleases Him, since He could refrain from doing so if He so desired, or is the punishment of sin a necessary consequence of the righteous character of God, so that He cannot but punish sin, that is, He cannot let sin remain unpunished? (The Christian's Reasonable Service, p. 128)
Note that first part: "does God punish sin because it pleases Him, since He could refrain from doing so if He so desired?" Since God is God, he is free and unconstrained. Yet, as à Brakel went on to say, "The freeness with which God exercises His will should not be construed to mean that it is a matter of indifference to Him whether or not He punishes sin" (p. 128). Is God free? Yes. Is he free to break his own law? No. Furtick sounds as if God can change when he says, "God broke the law."
 
The Necessity of God's Righteousness
God's righteousness is neither a constraint nor indifference; instead, it is what we call a "necessary consequence." à Brakel explained this to mean that "God by virtue of His perfect, holy, and righteous character is inclined as the only wise God to punish sin at a time and in a manner suitable to Him" (p. 128). God as the superlatively righteous God must punish sin; he cannot avoid doing this and we cannot avoid experiencing this. For God to withhold righteousness would actually be unjust and completely contrary to who he is. God is righteous; God must punish the unrighteousness of the unrighteous. He cannot set his righteousness aside, as Furtick's words lead one to believe. As Scripture says:
  • "Shall not the Judge of all the earth do what is just?" (Gen. 18:25)
  • "...keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty." (Ex. 34:7)
  • "...you hate all evildoers. You destroy those who speak lies; the Lord abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful man." (Ps. 5:5-6)
  • "The Lord judge the peoples...you who test the minds and hearts, O righteous God." (Ps. 7:9)
  • "The Lord is a jealous and avenging God; the Lord is avenging and wrathful; the Lord takes vengeance on his adversaries and keeps wrath for his enemies. The Lord is slow to anger and great in power, and the Lord will by no means clear the guilty." (Nah. 1:2-3)

"...For Love": The Cross of Christ
To say, "God broke the law...for love," again confuses people at best about the cross of Christ and destroys the character of the cross found in Scripture at worst.
 
The illustration Furtick gives pits law versus love, God's righteousness versus his grace. To this à Brakel once wrote, "You are guilty, however, of distorting the essential meaning of the grace of God by interpreting it to refer to remission of sin and absolution from punishment apart from satisfaction" (p. 129; emphasis mine). Furtick comes off as such as "grace-saturated" preacher and his people are left thinking of God as so, so gracious. But love apart from law is not grace. Again, à Brakel is so good here: "Grace is not incompatible with justice, but confirms it" (p. 129).
 
Why is God's character as righteous so important to emphasize in light of this sermon clip? Because it directly affects the nature of the cross of Christ. God has so loved the world--a world that has done nothing to deserve anything and in fact everything to forfeit!--in giving his Son (John 3:16). And all God people said, "Amen!" But you have to ask what did God give his to do? To die. Jesus was born to die. Why? To demonstrate that God has loved us sinners so much that he would provide the very way his character demands that sin be dealt with. As Paul says, the cross was meant "to show [God's] righteousness" (Rom. 3:25). How? That he might show his justice in punishing our sins and satisfying the righteous demands of God that he might show his grace and love in being the justifier of the one who simply believes (Rom. 3:26). And so on the cross Jesus, who had no sin, became sin for us as our sins were imputed to him, so that we, who were nothing but sin, might become the righteousness of God through Christ's righteousness being imputed to us (2 Cor. 5:21).
 
In response to the sentiment of this sermon, I say this to you, brothers and sisters in Christ: apart from the never-compromising righteousness of God punishing his Son and being satisfied by his Son on the cross there is no salvation for a world of sinners like you, me, and our unsaved friends. This is love. This is grace. As John Newton said so many centuries ago:
Let us love, and sing, and wonder,
Let us praise the Savior's name!
He has hushed the law's loud thunder,
He has quenched Mount Sinai's flame.
 
Let us wonder, grace and justice
Join and point to mercy's store;
When we trust in Christ our fortress,
Justice smiles, and asks no more.

http://www.meetthepuritans.com/blog/god-broke-law-love
http://www.alliancenet.org/mos/1517/is-god-a-law-breaker#.VwgmURMrLy9
Posted April 8, 2016 @ 5:32 PM by Robert Brady

Why These Books and No Others?

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Every year around this time you can no doubt find numerous documentaries on television or articles written about the "Real Jesus" or the "Lost Books of the Bible."  These are often little more than thinly veiled - or not so thinly veiled - arguments against Jesus as Lord and Savior and the New Testament canon.

What was once accepted in academia - Who wrote the New Testament? Who is Jesus? Why these books and no other? - is no more. And as the framework of scholarship has shifted, doubt about the authority and clarity of Scripture has led many in the Church to question. 

The 2016 Philadelphia Conference on Reformed Theology addresses the topic of canon head on. We are greatly blessed to have our pre-conference seminar on the topic of the canon of Scripture, presented by two preeminent New Testament scholars today, Michael Kruger, president of Reformed Theological Seminary (Charlotte) and a leading authority in this field, and by Charles Hill, the John R. Richardson Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity. Attending these sessions is sure to bolster not only your faith that the Bible is God's Word but also how it is God's Word.

We are excited to have PCRT return to Grand Rapids and Bryn Mawr. Our plenary sessions will feature the contributions of some of the most able preachers and scholars of our time, including Derek Thomas, Philip Ryken, and Drs. Kruger and Hill. We hope you will join us. Visit the PCRT web page for more information and to register.

Book Giveaway
InterVarsity Press has graciously sent us a number of copies of Michael Kruger's book The Question of Canon: Challenging the Status Quo in the New Testament Debate to giveaway.  The drawing closes on Thursday, April 21 so sign-up today. You can also order a copy at Reformed Resources.

Text links:
http://www.alliancenet.org/how-firm-a-foundation-the-bibles-authority-sufficiency-and-clarity
http://goo.gl/forms/dDdHgWmA4G
http://www.reformedresources.org/books/the-question-of-canon-challenging-the-status-quo-in-the-new-testament-debate/
Posted March 31, 2016 @ 2:38 PM by Robert Brady

We Are Family!

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How does family relate to the Church and its grander mission (even the Great Commission!)? What constitutes a family, how does it reflect the image of God and ... what about singles? 

Today the Mortification of Spin crew are joined by John McClean, vice president of Christ College in Australia, where he teaches Systematic Theology and Ethics. Dr. McClean discusses family in its biblical nature and purpose.  

Listen for good, helpful advice and great reminders delivered with the customary MoS spirit.

Text link
http://www.mortificationofspin.org/mos

Posted March 30, 2016 @ 10:25 AM by Robert Brady

Meet the Puritans: Concerning Ministerial Qualifications

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Have you visited Meet the Puritans yet? We have assembled a great lineup of pastors and scholars whose passion is to bring old truths of the Puritans to a new generation. Visit the website today to subscribe and never miss an update.

This week Donald John Maclean contributes part 3 of his series on "James Durham on Ministerial Qualifications." We share the post in its entirety below. It includes links to his earlier posts if you would like to get up to speed.


James Durham on Ministerial Qualifications (3)
 by Donald John Maclean

In our first and second posts on James Durham's essay, "Concerning Ministerial Qualifications," we saw that the prerequisites "for the complete qualifying of a Minster" were "Gifts, Learning, and Grace." And we spent some time looking at Durham's understanding of ministerial gifts. This short series continues with Durham's thoughts on the necessity of an educated ministry. In our age of the self-appointed and self-taught internet "theologian," Durham's words are so relevant.
 
What is Learning and Why Does it Matter?
Durham defined learning as an "acquaintance with Scripture and with the divine and heavenly things in it." And by "acquaintance with Scripture" he meant Scripture in its original languages. Unpacking this Durham noted this learning entails "a fitness to reason for Truth and against error, to draw conclusions from premises, to open hard places, to reconcile seemingly contradictory places, and to answer objections etc." Durham also said ministers should be widely and broadly learned, not just in relation to the scriptures and theology.
 
Sufficient learning to "reason against gainsayers and to open the mysteries of the gospel" is, Durham noted, "required in all ministers." Aptness to teach, and the learning that necessitates, is a non-negotiable (1 Tim. 3:2; Titus 1:9). But why is learning necessary? Well, one great purpose of the ministry is to explain those things in Scripture which "are hard and not easily understood, which the unlearned and ignorant are ready to pervert to their destruction" (2 Peter 3:16). So, the ministry has to help the congregation understand difficult and hard things in Scripture. But without learning this will not be possible. Unless ministers themselves have studied these "difficult" and "hard" things they will not be able to help their congregation understand the scriptures and so grow in grace.
 
But, as well as for the congregation, learning is also important for the minister himself. The minister as a "teacher of the law" has to "understand what he is saying" (1 Tim. 1:7). The minister has to "hold fast ... the pattern of sound words" that they have been taught (2 Tim. 1:13). And to do this they need to be learned. But why? Well, yes, so they can help their congregation. Yes, so they can convince doubters. But Durham also noted it is also important so that ministers themselves can avoid "being turned aside foolish unlearned questions" which will only bring "strife" (2 Tim. 2:23). It is by giving heed to doctrine or teaching that the minister saves himself as well as his hearers (1 Tim. 4:16). It is no act of kindness to the minister himself, as well as no act of kindness to the congregation, to allow an uneducated ministry.
 
How is Learning Acquired?
So learning is good. An educated ministry is necessary for the minister himself, and for his congregation. But how do we get a learned ministry? Well, there has to be a basic level of intellectual gifts, there has to be the raw materials given by God to work with.
 
But the duty of the man of God is to "stir up the gift that is in them" (2 Tim. 1:6). Natural gifts have to be cultivated. Hard work has to be put in. A learned ministry does not happen overnight by some "immediate" gifting of God--as Durham noted, the age of the charismata is over. Rather we get a learned ministry by "the way of studying, by reading, and by being brought up by others in knowledge." This may not be glamorous, it may not be in step with the "I want it now" spirit of our age. But if we want a ministry that will build up the church we cannot neglect learning. A few years have to be devoted to the hard yards of intensive study or many years of trouble may follow. As Durham notes, "the many sad fruits of ignorance, error and confusion, which flow from this neglect of study, show the necessity of this."
 
Conclusion
So we need an educated ministry. And therefore we need places that educate ministers. But it is one of the remarkable things in church history that seminaries or universities have so often been the breeding ground for error in the church. As the devil knows their importance, so he has so often attacked them, and brought ruin into the church. So let me ask you to pray for the many seminaries that seek to cultivate a "learned ministry." Pray that they would be kept faithful, and pray that through their work a generation of men would be raised up who would be genuinely "learned" in the Scriptures.

Text Links
http://www.meetthepuritans.com
http://www.meetthepuritans.com/subscribe
http://www.meetthepuritans.com/blog/james-durham-ministerial-qualifications-3
http://www.meetthepuritans.com/blog/james-durham-ministerial-qualifications-1
http://www.meetthepuritans.com/blog/james-durham-ministerial-qualifications-2


Posted March 24, 2016 @ 6:40 PM by Robert Brady

Remembering Jerry Bridges

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As many have reported, Jerry Bridges has been called home by the Lord. He was a much loved speaker at the Alliance's Philadelphia Conference on Reformed Theology. Only in the last decade have we not heard from Jerry due to his health concerns. After a career of campus ministry and a writing career on holiness, he was able to personally connect with Alliance members in a remarkable fashion that has become a standard of Alliance events. We know you will miss his teaching style as much as we will. So we would like to make the following messages available for your edification - and I am sure Jerry would suggest for your holiness!

We share the following seven messages as MP3s for free (use the passcode "holiness" and the discount will be applied at check out.)


If you would like to hear them all you will find these messages in one bundle (remember, use the discount code of "holiness" and the discount will apply at check out.) But download them now, as this offer ends March 31, 2016.

May God bless you as you hear this wonderful teacher. Now with the Lord, but God's word remains!

Text links
http://www.alliancenet.org/how-firm-a-foundation-the-bibles-authority-sufficiency-and-clarity
http://www.reformedresources.org/pcrt-2004/dying-to-forgive-mp3/
http://www.reformedresources.org/pcrt-2004/just-to-forgive-mp3/
http://www.reformedresources.org/pcrt-2007/gods-word-and-christian-discipleship-mp3/
http://www.reformedresources.org/pcrt-2009/the-great-exchange-mp3/
http://www.reformedresources.org/alliance-events/trusting-in-gods-sovereignty-mp3-download/
http://www.reformedresources.org/jerry-bridges/trusting-in-gods-goodness-mp3-download/
http://www.reformedresources.org/digital-audio/trusting-in-gods-wisdom-mp3-download/
http://www.reformedresources.org/jerry-bridges/
Posted March 11, 2016 @ 8:00 AM by Robert Brady

Meet the Puritans, where the dead still speak (Heb. 11:4)

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Meet the Puritans, a partnership between the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals and Rev. Daniel Hyde, pastor of Oceanside United Reformed Church in Carlsbad, California, is now launched! We have assembled a great lineup of pastors and scholars whose passion is to bring old truths to a new generation. Visit the website today to subscribe and never miss an update.

The purpose of Meet the Puritans is to introduce the theology and piety of the seventeenth century English Puritans in particular and of sixteenth-eighteenth century Reformed orthodoxy in general by means of sharing original research, writing theological and devotional commentary upon the writings of the 16th-18th centuries, and recommending helpful print, audio, and video materials for your study of the Puritans and Reformed theology.

Our goals in doing this are instruction concerning "the unsearchable riches of Christ" (Eph. 3:8) found in the writings of the 16th-18th centuries so that a new generation would be filled with love for Christ and His historic Church so that it might serve Him in the world more effectively.

The Meet the Puritans contributors are all active pastors with advanced degrees in the theology of the Puritans -  Dr. Joel Beeke, Dr. Henry Jansma, Dr. Ryan McGraw, Dr. Donald John Maclean, Dr. Bob McKelvey, Rev. D. Patrick Ramsey, and  Rev. Daniel Hyde, editor. 
Be sure to visit the site this week to read posts on Thomas Adams, Puritan preaching, the Westminster Larger Catechism. Don't miss this Friday's post when Joel Beeke will offer advice on "How to Read Thomas Goodwin".

Follow us on Facebook (Meet the Puritans), Twitter (@MeetPuritans), and subscribe today.
 

Text links
http://www.meetthepuritans.com/
http://www.meetthepuritans.com/subscribe
https://www.facebook.com/Meet-the-Puritans-691560354313177/?fref=ts
https://twitter.com/MeetPuritans

Posted February 2, 2016 @ 7:45 PM by Robert Brady

Visit the New Place for Truth

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The Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals is pleased to share with you the new and improved Place for Truth. Be sure to stop by and subscribe. Those already familiar with Place for Truth will immediately notice the improved design. We have made searching for articles and podcasts much easier by including an extensive archive of contributors and topics, and an improved search function has been added.

Two years ago the Alliance launched Place for Truth. As editor Jonathan Master stated in his inaugural post, this online magazine was seen "as a chance to stop and think - to think theologically, to think in terms of our Protestant confessional tradition, to think about the ways and means of engaging in gospel ministry today." 

The mission statement says it well, Place for Truth provides thoughtful yet accessible articles ranging over biblical theology, systematic theology, church history, and practical theology emphasizing the continual need for the church to maintain the gains of the Protestant Reformation.

In 2014 the Theology on the Go podcast was added to the site. On Theology on the Go you will hear pastors and theologians discuss weighty topics with host Jonathan Master in a thoughtful and accessible way showing how theology is relevant today.

This week on Theology on the Go, Jonathan Master is joined by Greg Beale, professor of New Testament and Biblical Theology at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia. Dr. Beale talks with Jonathan about the important topic of "The New Testament's Use of the Old Testament."

The Alliance has several copies of Dr. Beale's book Handbook on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament to give away. This concise guide helps readers understand how to better study the multitude of Old Testament references in the New Testament. Brief enough to be accessible yet thorough enough to be useful, this handbook will be a trusted guide for all students of the Bible. Sign up to be in our drawing.


Text links:
http://www.placefortruth.org/
http://www.placefortruth.org/article-subscribe
http://www.placefortruth.org/content/here-we-stand
http://www.placefortruth.org/columns/theology-go
http://www.placefortruth.org/blog/new-testaments-use-old-testament-podcast
https://docs.google.com/a/alliancenet.org/forms/d/1qpT6liEdFebE5rPyxXaXTWt1Uv_nEymJ-3Jc8exKvMY/viewform

Posted December 15, 2015 @ 4:40 PM by Robert Brady

Standing Fast in the Lord While We Joyfully Await His Return

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reformation21 writer and Philadelphia Conference on Reformed Theology chairman Richard Phillips has a new book we would like to bring to your attention. 1 & 2 Thessalonians, the latest edition to the Reformed Expository Series, is published by P&R Publishing. As with other books in the series, 1 & 2 Thessalonians is an excellent exposition of the Scriptures that is helpful to Christians possessing various levels of biblical and theological training.

Years before writing Romans or Ephesians, Paul sent a pair of letters to a new church in Thessalonica. Three concerns governed Paul's teaching in these letters: What makes a healthy church? How should we view God's Word? What does a Christian life look like? Richard Phillips's commentary considers these foundational issues in a scholarly, pastoral, and practical manner and also explores Paul's end-times teaching--the clearest found in the New Testament. Through these studies, readers will find a refreshingly clear biblical summary of what will happen before, during, and after the Second Coming. Just as importantly, by touring Paul's singular teaching in 1 and 2 Thessalonians, readers will recover a joyful anticipation of Christ's return and receive hope for life in a challenging world.
"The author of this worthy volume is conversant with the extensive literature on 1 and 2 Thessalonians and has given us a commentary informed by his long commitment to Christ-centered reformational theology. But this is not a trudging tome; it was preached viva voce by a busy, caring pastor-scholar to his own flock week by week and is lively, engaging, and wholly relevant. 1 & 2 Thessalonians is sure to be a grace to the church and her shepherds."
--R. Kent Hughes, Professor of Practical Theology, Westminster Theological Seminary

The Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals has several copies of
1 & 2 Thessalonians to give away. Sign up to be in our drawing or purchase your copy today at Reformed Resources.

Our drawing for Why Everything Matters: The Gospel in Ecclesiastes by Every Last Word Bible teacher Philip Ryken is now closed. 

The following people have received a copy:
    Michael R., Hanford, CA
    Ken W., Mobile, AL
    Beth C., Downington, PA
    Richard P., Lawrence, KS
    Barry W., Sikeston, MO
    Randy M., Mullica Hill, NJ

If you would like to purchase a copy you may do so by visiting our online store Reformed Resources. 

Text Links:
http://www.alliancenet.org/how-firm-a-foundation-the-bibles-authority-sufficiency-and-clarity
https://docs.google.com/a/alliancenet.org/forms/d/1CMtRZ0E_17VZiOfMwOUsOzJkC6XOdGlWqoI0rkMI0w4/viewform
http://www.reformedresources.org/richard-phillips-books/1-2-thessalonians-reformed-expository-commentary/
http://www.alliancenet.org/every-last-word
http://www.reformedresources.org/philip-ryken-books/why-everything-matters-the-gospel-in-ecclesiastes/
Posted December 8, 2015 @ 6:18 PM by Robert Brady

The Gospel is preached, doctrine is shared, and truths are defended thanks to you!

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The ExtraOrdinary Day of Giving on November 20th truly was extraordinary thanks to Alliance members. Our goal was a modest increase over last year; your gifts and support far surpassed what we imagined.  Over $21,000 was given on that one day by our members. Because of your generosity we will receive an additional $1025 in matching grant money from the Lancaster County Community Foundation and their presenting sponsors.

The Gospel is preached, doctrine is shared, and truths are defended thanks to you!

As we are most of the way through this budget year and as we reach the end of 2015, we want to both thank you and encourage you. We knowingly set a budget that stretches us by 10%! At my lead, the Board agreed to spend $122,528 beyond what we raised last year. They joined me in knowing how much we are accomplishing and how faithful you have been. On November 20th Alliance members contributed close to 20% of that budget stretch. We praise God for you!

The Alliance labors alongside our members to proclaim and uphold God's inerrant Word and its doctrines. As we approach the new year please consider joining us as a Friend of the Alliance

Alliance Friends are committed and faithful partners in proclaiming the truths of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Your gift of support goes a long way in helping to deliver a wealth of resources from some of today's best teachers to a world that desperately needs to hear. You can join as a Friend with a monthly gift of just $25. Call 215-546-3696 to join.

As we prayerfully consider the work that lies ahead in 2016 it's impossible to overestimate the importance of your prayers and support. When you invest in the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals, you join in the proclamation of the Gospel, the sound preaching of biblical doctrine, and the teaching of Reformed truths.

Thank you!

Text links
http://www.alliancenet.org/join
http://www.alliancenet.org/join-as-a-friend-of-the-alliance

Posted December 3, 2015 @ 5:47 PM by Robert Brady

What Can Your Gifts Do?

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This Friday, November 20, 2015 you can send a pastor to a regional conference so he can be renewed and encouraged to faithfully minister to his congregation. You can ensure that the Gospel message is delivered to thousands through our broadcast ministry on local radio stations. Or you can digitize historic content so that the biblical teaching is available in modern media formats. 
 
How can you do this? On Friday visit ExtraGive.org, make a donation to the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals, and every dollar you donate will be stretched by $300,000 from the Lancaster County Community Foundation and their presenting sponsors. PLUS, there's an additional $50,000 in prizes we can win just from your donation! 
 
Last year, your participation in the Extraordinary Give sent 58 college students to the Philadelphia Conference on Reformed Theology. The Gospel was shared for 32 weeks via an Alliance broadcast like The Bible Study Hour. The Alliance produced two new books that teach sound doctrine. Let's see what your gifts can do this year!
 
Please prayerfully considering joining us by visiting ExtraGive.org and your donation will go even further for the Alliance.

Text link:
https://extragive.org/#npo/alliance-of-confessing-evangelicals

Posted November 18, 2015 @ 5:25 PM by Robert Brady

Watch the Quakertown Conference on Reformed Theology this weekend on the all new AllianceLive!

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"In him you also, when you had heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation,and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit." Ephesians 1:13

This weekend, November 13 and 14, the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals and Grace Bible Fellowship Church, Quakertown are partnering on the 2015 Quakertown Conference on Reformed Theology, The Promised Holy Spirit. it is our great privilege and honor to have as our speakers, Drs. David Murray, Harry Reeder, Derek Thomas, and Scott Oliphint.

If you are not able to attend in person head over to AllianceLive and watch the entire conference for free, live, as it's happening.

Conference Schedule
Friday, November 13, 2015
7:00 p.m. Springs of Living Water, Derek Thomas
8:15 p.m. The Holy Spirit and New Creation, Harry Reeder

Saturday, November 14, 2015
9:00 a.m. The Holy Spirit in the Old Testament, David Murray
10:15 a.m. The Holy Spirit and the 'Last Days', Derek Thomas
1:00 p.m. Workshop
2:45 p.m. The Guarantee of Our Inheritance, Harry Reeder

Register for the free webcast now. 

The Alliance is committed to Sound Doctrine, Boldly Preached from a Reformed perspective. Alliance members partner in many regional conferences. Join the Alliance in your area. Download our Event Strategy and Methods white paper to find out more information on hosting an event in your area.

Posted November 12, 2015 @ 11:36 PM by Robert Brady

Thank You for Providing a Place to Stand

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We all need a place to stand. The Christian's firm foundation is laid upon the inerrancy of Scripture. As the hymn writer said, 

How firm a foundation, 
     Ye saints of the Lord, 
Is laid for your faith 
     In His excellent Word! 

During this season of thanksgiving, the Alliance is thankful for your partnership at this critical time. The culture - both inside and outside the Church - works to erode away that firm foundation.

Because of you, Alliance pastors and scholars provide a wealth of resources. Like you, they know that culture seeks to chip away at the Bible's authority. And with your help, they labor on reformation21 and our other sites Place for Truth, The Christward Collective, and Mortification of Spin to uphold Scripture's inerrancy and equip Christians to do the same. 

The Alliance focuses on these foundational matters.

For the last hundred years the Bible has been attacked directly by modern liberal scholarship. Today a greater danger threatens. It's the danger of an indirect attack in which the Bible is confessed to be the Word of God but in which it is said to contain errors.

This is the lie that seeps into churches. The inerrancy debate is about an absolute truth! A matter no true Christian can take lightly. Only with your prayer and support can we stand together against this lie. It's our mission to prepare Believers to stand.

"The authority of Scripture is a key issue for the Christian of this age 
and every age."  -  Chicago Statement on Inerrancy

You know these things! 

As a vital partner, your prayers and support bring biblical truth. You provide sound scriptural teaching. And you offer true hope to a world that desperately needs to hear the life-changing message of Jesus Christ.

Your tax-deductible donation is desperately needed. You are equipping Christians with the tools needed to stand firm.

I'm sure you will pray for these things. But please prayerfully consider joining us as we continue battling for the firm foundation of inerrancy.

Thank you.

Posted November 6, 2015 @ 7:36 AM by Robert Brady
TOPICS: Inerrancy

Download Your FREE Expositor.FM App now!

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We live in a time where there is a famine for biblically sound teaching. The result of this famine is truth-starved Christians. Thanks to gracious members, the Alliance works diligently to help feed God's people with His inerrant Word. There are many avenues to listen to our broadcasts - on your local radio station, AllianceNet.org and other sites we partner with.

You can now listen on Expositor.FM too! This web site and it's smart phone app were  created by two generous donors like you. Expositor.FM airs eight popular broadcasts 24-hours, seven days a week, including The Bible Study Hour and Dr. Barnhouse & the Bible

By listening to Expositor.FM, you will:
  • Experience in-depth training and instruction from trusted evangelical preachers and teachers, historical and contemporary.
  • Be encouraged by men who have established ministries founded on the Word of God.
  • Be instructed in verse-by-verse exposition for the renewal of your mind and transformation of your life.
Join us as we thank God for the Alliance members who make this possible. Pray for those hearts and minds that might now be impacted by God's Word through this resource. And tune in, tell others in your church and community about this new, easy to use source of biblically sound teaching!

Text links:
http://www.alliancenet.org/broadcast/outlets
http://www.expositor.fm/
http://www.alliancenet.org/the-bible-study-hour
http://www.alliancenet.org/dr-barnhouse-the-bible
http://www.alliancenet.org/join

Posted October 31, 2015 @ 7:38 PM by Robert Brady

Why Everything Matters: The Gospel in Ecclesiastes

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Have you ever had your doubts about God? In the storms of life have you ever wondered if you could truly trust Him and His sovereign plan? Do you have questions for Him that seem to go unanswered? 

Ecclesiastes is for people who have their doubts about God, but can't stop thinking about Him. The author of Ecclesiastes had his doubts too, and these very doubts enabled him to speak to skeptics as well as believers down through the centuries.

Ecclesiastes is a book rich in literary artistry and multi-layered depths of spiritual meaning. In his new book Why Everything Matters: The Gospel in Ecclesiastes, Philip Ryken, Bible teacher on weekly broadcast Every Last Word, explores this wonderful Old Testament book and reminds us again of the need to trust God with the questions even when we do not have all the answers. 

The Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals has several copies of Why Everything Matters: The Gospel in Ecclesiastes to give away. Sign up to be in our drawing or pick up your copy today at Reformed Resources.org.

Text links:
http://www.alliancenet.org/every-last-word
http://www.reformedresources.org/philip-ryken-books/why-everything-matters-the-gospel-in-ecclesiastes/
https://docs.google.com/a/alliancenet.org/forms/d/1KDjKqgP52WaGGWim0XjzAKwaBtWqT-L_p_DT8Fu1KhM/viewform#start=openform


Posted October 27, 2015 @ 6:28 PM by Robert Brady

Reformation Sunday

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Out of love for the truth and the desire to bring it to light...

The Alliance has free Reformation Sunday materials available for you. Visit ReformationSunday.org, there you will find a free MP3 download entitled "Sola Scriptura" a message by James Boice and Semper Reformanda: Why the Reformation Still Matters, a booklet featuring articles by Alliance Contributors Craig Troxel, Gene Veith, Nick Batzig, David Murray, and David Wells. 

Also be sure to check our featured products at our online store ReformedResources.org. This month we are offering many excellent resources on the Reformation including Luther on the Christian Life: Cross and Freedom by Carl Trueman, editor of Mortification of Spin and Going Beyond the Five Points: Pursuing a More Comprehensive Reformation by reformation21 contributor Rob Ventura.

The Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals' mission is to equip the Church in order to foster a Reformed awakening. We can only do this with the generous support of members who are part of this Alliance, enabling us to provide resources to pastors and churchmen, as well as those whomight not otherwise hear the clear, biblical teaching provided. Join us

Posted October 22, 2015 @ 5:03 PM by Robert Brady

The Shepherd Leader: Shepherding to the Chief Shepherd's Glory

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TheShepherdLeader.org, the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals newest web site, is the result of Alliance members who see the need to build up leadership teams that truly shepherd their churches. Be sure to bookmark the website and come back often. Pastor-scholar Tim Witmer will provide regular insight and on-going coaching material for church leaders. His system contextualizes biblical principles for the specific ministry roles and needs found in today's Church.

Dr. Witmer's book, also titled The Shepherd Leader, has been tremendously helpful to pastors and church leaders around the world. Expounding on his leadership-themed books, Tim's blog will provide further instruction and furnish ministry materials to impact those in leadership and to encourage and equip pastors. You will also find a speaking schedule and free resources that will greatly benefit your ministry.

The fundamental responsibility of church leaders is to shepherd God's flock. The aim of TheShepherdLeader.org is to provide a practical guide to shepherding in your church. Subscribe to TheShepherdLeader.org today 

The Shepherd Leader give away is now closed. You may purchase a copy at ReformedResources.org.

Winners of The Shepherd Leader

1. Thomas H, Colorado Springs, CO
2. Matthew P, Blandon, PA
3. Alex S, Apex, NC
4. Scott H, Vermillion, SD
5. James P, Globe, AZ
6. James R, Winona Lake, IN
7. Doug N, Brunswick, GA
8. Mark H, Bentonville, AR

Text links
http://www.theshepherdleader.org/
http://www.alliancenet.org/
http://www.alliancenet.org/join-the-alliance
http://www.reformedresources.org/books/the-shepherd-leader/
http://www.theshepherdleader.org/blog-subscribe


Posted October 7, 2015 @ 9:25 AM by Robert Brady

The Surpassing Worth of Knowing Christ Jesus

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Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ"
Philippians 3:8

Do we live as described by the Apostle Paul above or has our love lost its fervor? As Christians we are commanded to know Jesus. Commanded to do that which is a glorious privilege. And this for our own good, so we may grow in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ to His glory. 

Inspired by J.I. Packer's Knowing God, which had a considerable impact on his life, reformation21.org contributor Mark Jones endeavors to give God's people a glimpse of the person of Christ in his new book, Knowing Christ.  Mark wrote this book "for God's people, not the academy." The goal of this book according to its author "is to look at the person of Christ and give readers - particularly those in the church - a reason to love him more."

The Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals has several copies of Knowing Christ to give away. Sign up to be in a drawing or purchase at ReformedResources.org.

"This is a work that will serve the church permanently in helping readers 'to know', whether much better or for the first time, 'the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge'. I commend it most highly." -Richard Gaffin

Text links:

Posted October 2, 2015 @ 4:29 PM by Robert Brady

Predictable, all too predictable.

New at MortificationofSpin.org, from Carl Trueman:

The return of Tullian Tchividjian to a ministry role is scarcely surprising, though the speed would no doubt make even Jimmy Swaggart green with envy. It is the logical outcome of the culture of celebrity which has been consciously cultivated most disappointingly by some in reformed evangelical circles over the last decade. Those who have decried the critics of celebrity culture as hypocrites because they too are known outside of their local neighbourhood really missed the point. Celebrity is not just about being well known. It is also about developing informal and formal extra-ecclesiastical structures of authority (and thus of accountability, or lack thereof) which focus on specific personalities and subserve the needs of those personalities. Thus, for example, the faux intimacy of twitter helps build a popular, informal base of support.  Twitter followers come to think they really know the individual. They then believe his propaganda, conflate message with messenger, and can ultimately even subordinate message to messenger. This rapidly morphs into an angry bodyguard when the beloved celebrity is threatened...


Text Link:

Posted September 3, 2015 @ 8:39 AM by Robert Brady
TOPICS:

Teaching Our Children the Raw Parts of Scripture

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Sometimes it's difficult to teach our children the more raw parts in scripture. Pastor Nick Batzig covers this sensitive topic in his latest article at The Christward Collective.  

One of the things that I realized the first time that I taught through the book of Genesis is that the patriarchal narratives look far more like something that you would see on Showtime than something that you would hear on Focus on the Family. Whether it is the record of Cain murdering his brother, the sexual sin of the men of Sodom and Gomorrah, Abraham's sin with Hagar, Judah's sin with his prostitute-pretending daughter-in-law, Simeon and Levi's cruel treatment of the men of Shechem, the betrayal of Josephs' brothers or the attempt of Potiphar's wife to lure Joseph into her bed, you don't have to move out of the first book of the Bible to come across what I like to call the "raw parts of Scripture."

As a pastor, I sometimes have parents express concern about that to which their young children are being exposed in church. Whether it is a reference to the Old Covenant sign of circumcision going on the male reproductive organ or some part of a biblical story being discussed in Sunday School--there is no way to avoid exposing our children to the raw portions of Scripture in a biblically faithful church. In fact, I would suggest that we are called to expose them to the reality of these things in the right way. The Bible is far more raw throughout than many of us wish to admit. In the words of Rich Mullins: 

The Bible is not a book for the faint of heart -- it is a book full of all the greed and glory and violence and tenderness and sex and betrayal that benefits mankind. It is not the collection of pretty little anecdotes mouthed by pious little church mice -- it does not so much nibble at our shoe leather as it cuts to the heart and splits the marrow from the bone. It does not give us answers fitted to our small-minded questions, but truth that goes beyond what we even know to ask.1

In fact, the central message of the Bible is the most raw--namely, the murder of the Son of God, who was torturously beaten, scourged and nailed to a tree by men in order to bleed to death for the raw sins of His people. Surely, we are to teach our children that raw truth from their earliest days!  As we consider this extremely difficult (and widely debated) subject, here are three reasons to teach your kids about the depravity of men as it is revealed in Scripture:

1. God Commands it. The Lord commanded the Israelites to diligently teach all of His word to their children. In Deuteronomy 11:18-21 we read:

Therefore you shall lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall teach them to your children, speaking of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. And you shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates, that your days and the days of your children may be multiplied in the land of which the Lord swore to your fathers to give them, like the days of the heavens above the earth.

Certainly this command, in the last book of the Law (i.e. Deuteronomy), includes teaching our children those raw portions of the first book of the Law (i.e. Genesis). Additionally, it includes teaching them those extremely specific laws against sexual sin (e.g. Exodus 22:19; Leviticus 18:6-18; 23; 20:13, 15-16, 17). This does not mean that we need to go into great detail with our very young children. Surely, the better part of wisdom is to teach them the whole counsel by reading through books of the Bible and wait until they ask particular questions about things that they hear. Even though the Bible is raw in its content, there is a measure of discretion in the way in which it speaks about sexual sin. For instance, it uses the euphemism "uncovering the nakedness" as code language for sexual intercourse. It uses the phrase, "He knew her," to describe a husband's sexual intimacy with his wife. Nevertheless, we must come to terms with the fact that God told the Old Covenant church members that they were not allowed to "mate with an animal" (Lev. 18:23). They were to teach their children this as well. 

By never talking about the raw parts of Scripture with our children, we inadvertently suggest that God shouldn't have included it in Scripture. We do not want to fall into the trap of being "more decent" than God. That will only harm our children's faith when they do finally come across these portions of Scripture about which we never had the courage to teach them. When they are faced with these things in the world, they will either not know how to engage sexually perverse unbelievers for the sake of the Gospel (1 Cor. 5:10) or they will be drawn into the perversity of their sin (Lev. 18:24). Ironically, many who think that they are sanctifying their children by not exposing them to the raw portions of Scripture are actually failing to make use of what God has given for our sanctification. God commands us to diligently teach our children the Scripture--including the raw parts--because they are a means to our sanctification (John 17:17) when taught in light of the Gospel. 

2. Culture Necessitates it. A friend and mentor recently said to me, "With the increased accessibility to, and acceptance of, pornography we will see an increase in perverse sexual sin in the church." Sadly--though I don't want it to be--I know that this is true. Far from isolating the Old Covenant church from knowing about gross immorality, the Lord instructed them concerning these things on account of the exposure that they would have to them by virtue of their nearness to pagan nations around them. God told Israel that they needed to avoid these things "for by all these the nations are defiled" (Lev. 18:24). It was precisely because of the actions of those around them that the Lord commanded Israel not to practice these things. So too, in our day--with the culture glorying in sexual immorality--it is incumbent on us to instruct our children about what they are to avoid. Ironically, when parents fail to do so, the result is often the opposite of that which they had intended. Many times, children--who have been isolated from the truth of the depravity in the world and of their own hearts--end up running headlong into the perversion of the world when they reach adulthood. Isolating our children from these things does not change their hearts. Their hearts will only be changed by the truth of the Gospel and the sovereign working of the Holy Spirit to regenerate them. 

Additionally, culture necessitates that we instruct our children for the sake of the defense of the faith. It will severely hurt our effectiveness in witness if we are not conversant with and able to explain the raw portions of Scripture. I have many times been challenged by an unbeliever regarding such things as herem warfare. It is important for us to explain to our children why it was that God commanded Israel to eradicate all the inhabitants (men, women and children) of the Promised Land. Of course, we need to know more than simply that He commanded it--we also need to know why He commanded it, in order to explain it. (Here is my attempt to bring in the importance of the redemptive-historical element). We need to be able to teach our children how to distinguish between the those ceremonial laws in the Old Testament--that were only for Israel until Christ came and fulfilled them in redemptive-history--and the moral laws against sexual sin found in the same books. In his article, "Old Testament Law and the Charge of Inconsistency," Tim Keller has done an excellent job of helping us defend our faith in this regard. Our children need to grow up learning about all that God has revealed in Scripture and how to defend the faith in relation to it. 

3. Our Hearts Need It. I sometimes wonder whether those who are overly cautious and overly zealous to protect their children from being exposed to the truth of depravity in the world--as it is revealed in Scripture--are simply not wanting to face up to and confess their own depravity. Allow me to explain. In legalistic, fundamentalist homes, there is often an attempt to isolate from the knowledge of the depravity of world in the name of holiness, while not owning up to the fact that we cannot isolate from the depravity of our own hearts. The self-righteous heart wants to acknowledge depravity "out there"--and insist that contamination merely comes from nurture--rather than pointing the finger "within"--and insisting that depravity is in all of us on account of the sin nature that we have all inherited from Adam. Without doubt, we want to guard our sinful hearts--and the sinful hearts of our children--from an unnecessary contamination of the depravity "without' (by what we perceive to be an overexposure to it)--but we don't do so by not talking about it. We do so by acknowledging that we have the same nature as those who practice such things, and that our God has taught us about the evil of these things so that we may--by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ in the Gospel--avoid them. 

That being said, I do believe that there is a right way to expose our children to these things. There can be an inappropriate crassness with which these things can be presented to children. In some homes, the pendulum swings the other way. Immature parents (and, yes, there are immature parents in any given church) who joke about perverted things can--and most certainly will--do irreparable harm to their children. Additionally--as I have already noted--when the Bible warns against sexually perverse sin, it does so in very specific ways--but it does so with a measure of verbal propriety. Thankfully, there are many other things in the Bible than these raw parts. This means that our children should be getting a healthy diet of all the different parts of Scripture and truths taught in the Scriptures. The raw parts are necessary parts, but they are not the only parts. They should be taught in proportion to the other truths of Scripture. When we are committed to reading through books of the Bible with our children, this will work itself out for us.  

When a pastor is about to preach through a book of the Bible that contains raw parts (e.g. Genesis, Leviticus or Judges), it would be a good thing for him to help prepare the parents for what their children are about to hear. If a minister is about to preach on Judges 19, it might be wise for him to give the parents of young children some notice--not so that the parents will keep the children out of the service that Sunday, but that they would be prepared to talk with their children about these things if their children ask them questions after the service. As a pastor of a congregation with many young children, I personally do not dwell at length on the raw parts of a text; however, I do not, skip over them since I am obligated by God to diligently teach the whole counsel. By giving the parents a "heads-up" regarding an intensely raw portion of Scripture, a pastor is really coming alongside the parents as they instruct their children in the home. 

There is always a spectrum regarding when--as well as to how much or how little--we expose our young children to biblical teaching on sexual sin, violence, etc. I lean to the side of exposing them for the sake of the reasons set out about. Others, however lean to the side of protecting their minds and hearts from what they deem to be unnecessary exposure. I am certainly not insisting that I have it all figured out. There is an inescapable uncomfortableness in talking about these things because of the shame of sin. I am not suggesting that we should have the "Rated-R Children's Story Bible," but I am suggesting that we do our children a disservice by skipping over the raw parts of the Bible in most of our children's story bibles. After all, we do have to ask the question, 'Where's Drunk, Naked Noah on the Sunday School Felt Board?" Teaching our children the raw portions of the Bible--as challenging as it may be--is a necessary part of the sanctification process for them. May God give us wisdom to do so for the good of their souls. 

To read this article online visit The ChristwardCollective.org

1. An excerpt from Rich Mullin's booklet, The World As Best As I Remember It.

Posted August 29, 2015 @ 5:01 PM by Robert Brady

Historicity of Adam: Read and Listen at Place for Truth

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Place for Truth provides thoughtful yet accessible articles ranging over biblical theology, systematic theology, church history, and practical theology emphasizing the continual need for the church to maintain the gains of the Protestant Reformation. Our hope is that you have been stopping by Place for Truth and benefitting from the truths being shared. Here's a small sample of what you will find this week. 

Dr. William VanDoodewaard stops by to talk with Dr. Jonathan Master about the historical Adam. Dr. VanDoodewaard is Professor of Church History at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He has contributed to and written several books, including his newest, The Quest for the Historical Adam: Genesis, Hermeneutics, and Human Origins. Listen in to the podcast as Jonathan and Bill discuss this very important and weighty topic!
You can subscribe to Theology on the Go on iTunes. 

In his classic book, The City of God, fourth century bishop, Aurelius Augustine, discusses a notable abuse of scripture in his day. He speaks of contemporaries who "allegorize all that concerns Paradise itself," who teach "as if there could not be a real terrestrial Paradise!" (COG, 13.21). 

In our day we face interpretative challenges similar to Augustine's. We have men who use their own sophistication to make what is real in scripture less real in the church. This is especially the case with contemporary challenges to the doctrine of the historical Adam. Continue Reading...

The historicity of the Jesus' resurrection is a non-negotiable of the Christian faith. If a person does not believe that Jesus rose bodily from the dead, then they are not a Christian. The apostle Paul includes the resurrection of Jesus as a matter of first importance to the gospel (1 Cor. 15:1-4). He tells us that if Jesus has not been raised from the dead then our faith is futile and we are in fact still in our sins (1 Cor. 15:17). 

But God's Word also ties this Christ event and the representation that it gives to a historical Adam and the representation that he gave for humanity. While the historicity of Adam is not included in the matters of first importance at one's confession of faith (1 Cor. 15:1-4), Paul nevertheless draws a link between the reality of Christ's resurrection and a real historical Adam. Just as there was a real resurrection, the benefits of that resurrection are patterned after a real Adam and what happened to him. Continue Reading...

Text links
http://www.placefortruth.org/placefortruth/column/theology-on-the-go/theology-on-the-go-historical-adam

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/theology-on-the-go/id939936484?mt=2

http://www.placefortruth.org/placefortruth/column/theology-on-the-go/belief-in-a-historical-adam-a-call-to-courage

http://www.placefortruth.org/placefortruth/column/theology-on-the-go/the-historical-adam-and-jesus-resurrection


Posted July 25, 2015 @ 2:22 PM by Robert Brady

Where Are You Anchored When Storms Come?

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When storms come (and they will), where are you anchored? Do you toss to and fro by the waves, or does your anchor hold? 
Salvation is anchored in grace, rooted in God's favor toward us in his Son, the Lord Christ. reformation21 contributor Jeremy Walker's new book, Anchored in Grace: Fixed Points for Humble Faith, is a celebration of these exceeding riches of God's grace toward sinners in Christ Jesus.

These are realities with which Christians need to be thoroughly acquainted. They are paths to walk so that we do not miss our way to heaven, nor fail to honor the Lord God along the way. They are central truths, humbling truths, saving truths, and comforting truths. Not least, they are God-glorifying truths, for the great end of our salvation is the praise of the glory of God's grace. When God saves sinners, it reveals His wisdom and power, His love and compassion, His justice and truth, as nothing else. In Christ crucified, we are given insights into the gracious heart of God Almighty that can be found nowhere else. There His majesty, might, and mercy are on display, and there we find life everlasting.

When our faith is anchored in this grace, holiness and happiness take root in our hearts. Here sinners are liberated from condemnation, dread, and wrath. Here Christians are relieved of fear, confusion, and pride. Here we may find peace, certainty, purpose, joy, and hope.

Anchored in Grace provides a brief survey of the grace of God in Christ revealed in the Scriptures, tracing the arc of his saving dealings with lost men and women. It is by no means exhaustive, but rather sets out some of the fixed points in which humble faith can rest so as to exalt and enjoy God in all his saving kindnesses in his Son.
"A sure-footed journey through the doctrines of grace - foundational truths for godliness and discipleship - by a trusted guide. Reading this book will both thrill and convict, challenge and confirm. Essential reading for discipleship groups, Adult Sunday School classes, and individuals determined to grow in grace. Warmly recommended."
--Derek W. H. Thomas; Senior Minister, First Presbyterian Church, Columbia SC; The Robert Strong Professor of Systematic and Pastoral Theology, Reformed Theological Seminary, Atlanta
The drawing for Anchored in Grace is now closed, thank you for your participation!

Winners
Sylvia H., Mesa, AZ
Corey S., Mauldin, SC
Persis L., Hampton, VA
Todd G., Morris, CT
Jared C., Frederick, MD
Charles C., Selma, OR
Aaron W., Normal, IL
Breton P., North Cape May, NJ
Debi M., Southfield, MI
Zach B., Knoxville, TN
Posted July 20, 2015 @ 4:44 PM by Robert Brady

Proclaiming the Unifying Hope in Christ

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True unity requires common identity. For Christians, that one unifying factor that binds is the body of Christ, the Church.

The Church is a body that grows. Paul uses the term "body" to describe the unity of the Church. All the parts of the body have a relationship to other parts.

The Church is of one Spirit. While there are many differences within the Body, all are saved by faith through grace alone. No longer man or woman as before. It is the work of the Spirit that unites Christians in Christ.

The Church is the hope - the one hope to which believers are called. Unfortunately the word "hope" today often refers to something unknown or uncertain. It suggests nothing of stability or certainty. And, yet, that's exactly what is involved in the Biblical idea of hope.

And while the future of the Church has and continues to divide believers, Paul points to the one hope that unites. Jesus Christ is going to come back. There will be a resurrection of the body. Jesus is preparing a place in heaven for all who know Him so as to spend eternity with Him.

And this is what The Bible Study Hour share every day with tens of thousands across North American and the world. Alliance broadcasts bring the clear message of the Gospel to people who might never otherwise hear it.

By promoting the unifying truths of the Gospel, Alliance members like you encourage the Church to stand firm in faith. And you encourage us to continue the work. Thank you.

Your tax-deductible gift continues to encourage and equip those in your community and around the globe with the unifying hope of the Gospel.

Continue to praise God for the true unity only Christ Jesus gives! Remind others that our identity stands for all generations, not based on who you are or what you do but is found in your Savior, Jesus Christ. And allow the Alliance to serve you, as you serve the Church.

Text Links:
http://www.alliancenet.org/the-bible-study-hour
https://my.monkdonate.com/48/d/52e844a4
Posted July 2, 2015 @ 5:02 PM by Robert Brady

Pentecost and the Work of the Spirit Today

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Have you ever wondered what happened on Pentecost? What are the implications of what took place on Pentecost for the church today? What expectations ought Christians to have for the work of the Holy Spirit in their own lives and the lives of others? Christians today continue to be divided, sometimes deeply, over the answers to these questions. 

In May the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals held its annual B.B. Warfield Memorial Lecture Series in Oklahoma City, OK. Richard Gaffin, professor emeritus of Biblical and Systematic Theology at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, spoke on Pentecost and the Work of the Spirit Today. For those of you that weren't able to join us we have the audio available. This set is a great gift or study aid for those wanting to learn more about the Holy Spirit and His role in the Christian's life. 

The 3 messages of Pentecost and the Work of the Spirit Today include:
  • "Pentecost and the Gospel"
  • "Pentecost and the Gifts of the Spirit"
  • "Pentecost and the Intercession of the Spirit"

Purchase your set today!

Text links:
http://www.alliancenet.org/events/bb-warfield-memorial-lecture-series
http://www.reformedresources.org/friends/pentecost-and-the-work-of-the-spirit-today-cd-set/
http://www.reformedresources.org/bbw-2015/pentecost-and-the-work-of-the-spirit-today-mp3-set/

Posted June 30, 2015 @ 4:37 PM by Robert Brady

The Christward Collective Highlights

The Christward Collective is an attempt to help introduce the reader to various aspects of theology, together with the experiential benefits that ought to flow from them. Whether systematic, biblical, exegetical, historical, or pastoral theology, we seek to help further equip believers for growth in their relationship with Christ and other believers. We hope you enjoy these highlights from ChristwardCollective.org.

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Many of us have heard the Lord's prayer, but have you heard Jesus' other prayer? The Christward Collective contributor, Tim Brister, writes about Jesus' prayer on the behalf of His disciples. This prayer is commonly called His High Priestly Prayer. This prayer teaches us how Christians are supposed to walk in this world. Continue Reading...

The luxury of the unexamined life is never the luxury of the Christian. Self-examination and preaching of the Gospel to your own heart is the duty of every Christian-always. The times during which Christians find themselves in most trouble are the times when they think that they have arrived at a new plateau of spiritual maturity--where self-examination is no longer necessary (or at least is not viewed as something as necessary as it had been in times past). Continue Reading... 

Forgiveness and the Christian's Piety, by Donny Friederichsen 
Before I was a pastor I served with the college ministry of Campus Crusade for Christ. During my New Staff Training, we had the opportunity to hear from Bill Bright, the founder of Crusade. Our new staff class was actually the last class to be addressed by him before he died. by this time Dr. Bright was suffering from significant respiratory problems and was on oxygen and in a wheelchair. Continue Reading...

Your prayer-life is a measure of your spiritual maturity. Just about any decent book on prayer will tell you so. Your prayer lives exposes you to the reality that what is nearest and dearest to your hearts are those things for which you pray the most. It's an inescapable rule. In this respect, your prayer life may betray the public image which you, in turn, portrayed to others. Continue Reading...

Recommended resource on prayer: Matthew Henry, Method for Prayer. This is the collection par excellence of biblical passages that may rightly be used in prayer. The book covers every conceivable item of prayer and is of profound use to the Christian.


Text links: 
www.christwardcollective.org/christward
www.christwardcollective.org/christward/how-christians-walk-in-the-world
www.christwardcollective.org/christward/the-again-of-freedom-in-christ
www.christwardcollective.org/christward/forgiveness-and-the-christians-piety
www.christwardcollective.org/christward/praying-most-for-what-you-love-the-most
http://reformedresources.org/ligon-duncan-books/a-method-for-prayer/



Posted June 24, 2015 @ 9:28 AM by Robert Brady

Join as a Friend of the Alliance

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The Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals first encourages Christians to act biblically, join a church, and support that local body fully. Only then does the Alliance ask the Faithful to band together for the proclamation of the Gospel, the teaching of confessional doctrine, and the fostering of reformation to the glory of God. 

The Alliance and its members conform to the creeds and confessions of the reformation and wish to herald biblical inerrancy, subscribing to the Chicago Statement of Biblical Inerrancy. Also, the Alliance and those who join it stand on the Cambridge Declaration as a method to minister together. We seek not to reduce our theology but to broadcast it to the world.

Alliance Friends are committed and faithful partners in proclaiming the truths of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Together we share the mission to uphold God's inerrant Word and its doctrines. Friends enable the Alliance to proclaim biblical doctrine in order to foster a Reformed awakening in the church. 

Alliance Friends receive a number of benefits:
Free introductory book: God, Adam, and You
Your choice of monthly audio: The Bible Study Hour audio commentary, Dr. Barnhouse & the Bible audio commentary, or Message of the Month CD or MP3 downloads.
A monthly statement and letter updating you on what's new.
A 20% discount on all Alliance audio resources (when ordering by phone or mail).
Free standard shipping on all orders (placed by phone or mail).
Discounted registration to all Alliance events (including PCRT).

You can join us in working to reform the church of our day 
with a monthly gift of just $25. 

Alliance Friends are the cornerstone of our ministry, providing the faithful prayer and financial support necessary to keep us teaching solid biblical truths. Call 215-546-3696 to join.

Text Links:
http://www.alliancenet.org/creeds-confessions-and-catechisms
http://www.alliancenet.org/the-chicago-statement-on-biblical-inerrancy
http://www.alliancenet.org/cambridge-declaration
http://www.alliancenet.org/join-as-a-friend-of-the-alliance
http://www.reformedresources.org/richard-phillips-books/god-adam-and-you-biblical-creation-defined-and-applied/

Posted June 17, 2015 @ 4:33 PM by Robert Brady

Persuasion of the Mind - Enflaming of the Heart

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You know the importance of sound doctrine preached. Yet in many churches God's Word is no longer preached. Congregations no longer bear fruit.

Secularism seeps into churches, maybe even your church.

Alliance members like you look to the Philadelphia Conference on Reformed Theology for sound doctrine preached! Maybe you are fortunate to be in a church with confessional doctrine, but you see the need for others to have access to the same fruit-bearing teaching.

PCRT brings sound doctrine preached to thousands faithfully.

Pastor Rick Phillips, chair of PCRT, reminds us:

"I can remember my first PCRT and the palpable excitement that attended God's Word.

The packed, hot sanctuary shook as we sang Martin Luther's great hymn, "A Mighty Fortress." In the center, was a beaming, singing, Jim Boice. Dr. Boice was the founder, guiding PCRT to be a cornerstone of the Alliance.

Over that weekend, I was exposed to condensed, clear, "black-coffee" Reformed theology. The result was not merely the persuasion of my mind but the enflaming of my heart with a passion for the truths of God's Word. "

Maybe you have your own PCRT story to tell, a story of hearing God's Word in a meaningful and new way. A story of being changed by the working of the Spirit through the teaching at PCRT. We hear from many people - even people who have attended church all their lives - who discover at PCRT the truths fought for centuries ago.

But it's larger than just PCRT; farther than just Philadelphia!

Alliance members sponsor events throughout the year, bringing proclamatory, expository teaching to more people across the continent.

Even if you are unable attend this year, your support enables pastors and college students to attend at reduced rates. Events can't continue by registration fees alone but require the support of Alliance members like you. Your gifts allow registration rates to remain low and means more people hear God's Word.

We don't labor alone and for that we are grateful. Thank you for standing with us.

Text Links:

http://www.alliancenet.org/philadelphia-conference-on-reformed-theology

http://www.alliancenet.org/events

https://my.monkdonate.com/48/d/52e844a4
Posted June 11, 2015 @ 5:03 PM by Robert Brady
TOPICS: PCRT

The Alliance really wants to hear from members like you!

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You enable the Alliance to advance and foster the Reformed awakening the Church needs today. It is encouraging to read the many letters, notes, posts on social media, and to speak with you by phone. Connecting through face-to-face time is so much more - truly a blessing!

The Alliance will be exhibiting at the PCA General Assembly June 9-June 11. If you are attending, stop by Booth 522 and say hello. We are excited to share how the Alliance is accomplishing its mission, talk about the new web sites and podcasts such as Theology on the Go hosted by Jonathan Master, and many new events

They include partnering with David Hall at Midway PCA, hosting the Reformed Worship Conference this October, as well as Rob Looper of McIlwain PCA to once again host the historic Pensacola Theological Institute in June 2016.

Churches nationwide are partnering with the Alliance to encourage and spread God's Gospel of Grace with Sound Doctrine, Boldly Preached. Join the Alliance in your area. Download our Event Strategy and Methods white paper.

This summer finds me in various areas around the continent. If you would like to schedule a meeting, contact Karen Ciavolella at kciavolella@alliancenet.org to see where, when, and to set up an appointment. I'd love to share the work of your ministry!

Bob Brady
Executive Director


Text links:
https://www.facebook.com/AllianceofConfessingEvangelicals
http://www.placefortruth.org/placefortruth/column/theology-on-the-go/theology-on-the-go-union-with-christ
http://www.alliancenet.org/events
http://www.alliancenet.org/sites/default/files/images/event/allianceeventstrategyandmethods.pdf
Posted June 5, 2015 @ 2:26 PM by Robert Brady
TOPICS:

Did You Miss This Year's PCRT?

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"The Alliance is a tremendous blessing to me! Through the annual PCRT conference in Grand Rapids and the related books, CDs, and videos, I am greatly encouraged in my ministry leaderships, as well as in my own personal spiritual and theological growth. I'm so thankful to have resources like this to help me connect with like-minded brothers and to freshly inspire my heart as I seek to keep growing in my knowledge of the Word and in my commitment to proclaiming it faithfully to others. Thank you for all that you do!" 
~Anonymous Friend 

PCRT 2015 audio is now available for those that missed the conference.
God's gift of sex and marriage are inseparably joined in God's creation design. However, what is the purpose? What is the pattern? Why does it matter so vitally that Christians pursue biblical marriages? 

Were you not able to make it to this year's PCRT? Or perhaps you did, but were blessed with the teaching? Well, the 2015 PCRT audio is now available in MP3 and CD formats! 
Plenary Sessions 6 MP3 messages on 1 CD: $6


Seminar Sessions 5 messages on 5 CDs: $30 




MP3 Anthology 15 MP3 messages on 1 CD: $15
The Gospel and the Song of Songs

Listen as Iain Duguid helps us understand what the Song of Songs is, what it teaches us about living wisely in this world, and how it points us to Christ and the Gospel.
Pre-Conference Sessions 4 messages on 4 CDs: $24


Pre-Conference Sessions 4 MP3 messages on 1 CD: $4


Join the Alliance! You can help make a difference in the Church today. Your support matters! 
Text links:

http://reformedresources.org/pcrt-2015/
http://reformedresources.org/pcrt-2015/holiness-and-honor-a-reformed-view-of-sex-and-marriage-mp3-set/
http://reformedresources.org/friends/holiness-and-honor-a-reformed-view-of-sex-and-marriage-cd-set/
http://reformedresources.org/pcrt-2015/holiness-and-honor-a-reformed-view-of-sex-and-marriage-seminars-mp3-set/
http://reformedresources.org/pcrt-2015/holiness-and-honor-a-reformed-view-of-sex-and-marriage-seminars-cd-set/
http://reformedresources.org/pcrt-2015/holiness-and-honor-a-reformed-view-of-sex-and-marriage-mp3-anthology/
http://reformedresources.org/pcrt-2015/the-gospel-and-the-song-of-songs-mp3-set/
http://reformedresources.org/pcrt-2015/the-gospel-and-the-song-of-songs-cd-set/
http://www.alliancenet.org/join-the-alliance


Posted June 2, 2015 @ 7:45 PM by Robert Brady
TOPICS: audio, PCRT 2015

Have You Noticed a Shift in Christian Doctrine?

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Have you noticed it too? There has been a shift in Christian doctrine in recent years. More and more one sees Christians laying hold of the biblical truth of God's electing love and saving grace in Christ, commonly called 'Calvinism.' The Alliance's own reformation21 contributor, Rob Ventura, dives much deeper than the traditional five-points of Calvinism in his new book, Going Beyond the Five Points: Pursuing a More Comprehensive Reformation. In this anthology you will be instructed concerning the abiding relevance of the Ten Commandments, God-centered worship, the masterful unfolding of God's great plan of redemption through divine covenants, the identity, nature, and work of the church, and the help that confessions of faith lend to our grasp of God's glorious Word. 

The Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals has several copies of Going Beyond the Five Points to give away. Sign up to be in a drawing or purchase at ReformedResources.org.

List Price: $25 
Sale Price: $17

Rob Ventura is one of the pastors of Grace Community Baptist Church of North Providence, Rhode Island. He is an author and blogger for Reformation 21 the online magazine of the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals and has co-authored two books published by Reformation Heritage Books A Portrait of Paul and Spiritual Warfare. He was the general editor of Greg Nichols' book on Covenant Theology published by Solid Ground Christian Books and is a contributor to the Reformation Heritage KJV Study Bible. He and his wife, Vanessa, and family live in Rhode Island.

Text Link: 
http://www.reformedresources.org/rob-ventura-books/going-beyond-the-five-points-pursuing-a-more-comprehensive-reformation/
Posted May 27, 2015 @ 4:20 PM by Robert Brady
TOPICS:

Why Do We Struggle With Grace?

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If grace is preached in our biblically-sound churches, then why does it seem like such a hard concept to grasp? Why do we feel like we still need to work towards God's favor? Why do we sometimes feel like He is disappointed in us? 

James Rich talks about the centrality of grace in the Christian life. He points out that it seems Christians struggle somewhat to understand exactly what it is and how it operates. To demonstrate this misunderstanding, he offers a quick quiz: "True or false; we are saved by faith." Sounds insultingly easy, doesn't it? But if you answered... Continue reading


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This Month on Theology on the Go:
On Theology on the Go, Dr. Jonathan Master is joined by Dr. Jonathan Gibson, co-editor of a recent scholarly work on definite atonement, From Heaven He Came and Sought Her: Definite Atonement in Historical, Biblical, Theological, and Pastoral Perspective. Listen in as they discuss the important topic of definite atonement on Theology on the Go podcast.

More at Place for Truth:
Contributor, Jeffrey Stivason, remembers a  a well-known figure of the Counter-Reformation. He was Pope Clement VIII's personal theologian and in 1930 he was canonized and consequently named a Doctor of the Church. Protestants often reflect on the Reformation as the time in which the doctrine of justification was once again restored to a Biblical foundation. However, according to Bellarmine, the greatest error of Protestantism was not its doctrine of justification...Continue reading

What does it mean to be 'Reformed'? Different things for different people, to be sure! For Arminian Dispensationalists it is an anathema. For some secular observers, it is the religious equivalent of being to the right of Genghis Khan. But even for those who call themselves 'Reformed' there is quite a spectrum of views. Contributor, Mark Johnston, looks at what Calvin has to say about what it means to be Reformed... Continue reading

Contributor David Garner,, talks about an exclusive group of writings that rises to the level of "must read once a year" for him. One of them is Geerhardus Vos' inaugural lecture to his new post as Professor of biblical Theology at Princeton on May 8, 1894. Today's 121st anniversary of that lecture warrants remembering some of Vos' fruitful insights..." Continue reading

Text links:
Rich: http://www.alliancenet.org/placefortruth/column/theology-on-the-go/if-grace-is-so-amazing-then-why-do-we-struggle-with-it
Gibson: http://www.placefortruth.org/placefortruth/column/theology-on-the-go/theology-on-the-go-definite-atonement
Stivason: http://www.placefortruth.org/placefortruth/column/theology-on-the-go/grace-that-instructs
Johnston:http://www.placefortruth.org/placefortruth/column/resident-aliens/the-heartbeat-of-reformed-christianity
Garner: http://www.placefortruth.org/placefortruth/column/sine-qua-non/vos-121
Posted May 21, 2015 @ 6:55 PM by Robert Brady

Is Your Spiritual Life a Battle?

Do you ever feel like life doesn't get any easier? The world is throwing you punches and all you can do is duck and dodge? Do you feel like just living day-to-day is like a climb uphill?


Your spiritual life should be a battle! The writer of Hebrews tells us to "hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering" (10:23 ESV). What (and whom) do we need to meet this challenge? How does simply "holding fast" turn into such a workout of faith? The Alliance's own author, speaker, and blogger, and Mortification of Spin co-host, Aimee Byrd, invites us to join her in some "theological fitness" training as she unpacks our call to perseverance and explores the great metaphor that physical fitness lends to theology. Learn about the "fighting grace" God has given us, and discover how we are equipped to live lives of obedience even amidst the suffering and irritations of ordinary life.

If you feel like you need some extra perseverance in your theological fitness, then this book is for you!   
Order your copy today from Reformed Resources.


"If you think all exercise is drudgery, you're not doing it right. On the other hand, if building strength and stamina exhilarates you, you're more likely to persevere and achieve a greater measure of fitness. That's as true of our souls as it is of our bodies. If the pursuit of theological fitness sounds tedious to you, you're in danger of becoming a spiritual couch potato.

Aimee Byrd is... the very best kind of theological sensei--an enthusiastic encourager, not a dour drill sergeant. She knows the joy of biblical and theological understanding, and it's an infectious delight. She shows how to gain and maintain theological fitness--and how to find great enjoyment in the exercise."  
--Phil Johnson, Executive Director, Grace to You

Posted May 16, 2015 @ 9:23 AM by Robert Brady

Help Equip Believers to Stand Against the Tide...

Alliance members like you advance God's Word across the world through the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals publishing.

Decades ago the Cambridge Declaration pointed to the decline of the evangelical church. That decline continues today and, many would argue, has only gotten worse. Secularism and pragmatism flood into churches and many less informed churchgoers hardly notice. 

But you have not lost hope. Your support publishes resources that equip believers to stand firm against this rising tide of secularism.

PlaceforTruth.org explores the depths of what we believe.
reformation21.org encourages biblical thinking, living, worship, and ministry through constructive cultural and church life engagement. 
ChristwardCollective.org is where doctrine and life meet.
Reforma21.org based in Brazil.

The ease and accessibility of the Internet make the potential impact enormous. No longer limited by the bounds of the clock or geography, your partnership is proclaiming the great Reformed truths all the time, everywhere!

Won't you be part of the hundredfold who see the need for equipping the saints with solid, biblical resources?

Even if you are not tech-savvy or a frequenter of blogs, your help is needed greatly. Faithful members underwrite this work - not just for themselves, but for others who have never heard such clear doctrine. 

Only our members support will limit what we can do together - reaching as many people as possible with sound, biblical doctrine. Alerting those who don't yet see the secularism and pragmatism flooding into their churches.

Your support will continue the spread of the good news and sound, biblical doctrine.

Please prayerfully donate.

Bob Brady
Executive Director


Text links -
AllianceNet.org - http://www.alliancenet.org/
Reforma21.org - http://reforma21.org/
Posted May 5, 2015 @ 8:44 PM by Robert Brady
TOPICS:

Sanctification: The Long Journey Home

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Thoughtful Christians like you are standing up and demanding Biblical doctrine in its most clear fashion, straight-forward tone, with no compromise to the world. If you've ever been to the Texas Hill Country Bible Conference, you have received it in all its God glorifying ways!

Thank you so much for your well done service to the Truth. We were all the beneficiaries. - MM

It's Alliance members like Carla N. and Kay J. (if you've been there, you know them!) that joined the Alliance and called us to the Texas Hill Country to share key doctrines and the full attributes of God with the Church. They saw what the Alliance was doing and wanted to bring it to their region.

I so appreciate all your work in following what I'm sure was the Lord's direction in birthing this conference. I pray it does continue in the years to come. - Carol

We appreciate the wonderful team who's labored for the Lord in this effort since 2012: Trinity Presbyterian Church pastored by Allen Taha; the steering committee including Jane R., Lil R., Cindy M., Brad M., Leo M., Steve C., Carolyn S., Molly L., Gail S., Karen S., Bonnie and Carl F. and Cheryl V; musicians TJ Bazoon, Stephen Carroll and Seth Nelson; and our new venue, St. John Lutheran Church. We appreciate this wonderful partnership!

The conference was awesome!  I learned so much, had so many questions answered, and was challenged to think more deeply about my theology. - Susie



The Christian life is made up of various twists and turns, ups and downs, struggles and battles. The Bible calls this process "Sanctification." It is the shape of holiness both positively and negatively, highs and lows, encouragements and threats. Through several sessions, speakers Derek Thomas and Greg Gilbert highlighted various aspects of sanctification, reflecting how it ought to be and how it often is. We examined questions such as: What function does the law have in sanctification? Is holiness by faith alone? Can Christians fall into a pattern of repetitive sin? Can we ever be sure that we will make it to the end? Is there any hope for the burdened soul that it might get easier? These questions and many more, were answered at the 2015 Texas Hill Country Bible Conference.




More teaching this month includes:

The Bible Study Hour with Dr. James Boice offers basic Bible truths in an exciting study on the Gospel of Matthew. Don't miss this excellent teaching that thinks on what Jesus accomplished.

Theology on the Go podcast hosts Jonathan Gibson on "Limited Atonement."

Mortification of Spin discusses where our rights come from: God or Government? As Christians, how are we using (or should we say misusing) our American liberties?

Philip Ryken on Every Last Word studies the Gospel of Luke  and asks "Is having faith enough to be saved?"

"Go into the world and sow the seeds of the Gospel" - Dr. Barnhouse & the Bible expounds upon the Gospel of Luke, chapters 15-24.



​Text links:







Posted May 1, 2015 @ 12:19 PM by Robert Brady

Visit the all new AllianceNet.org!

The Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals has a long history. Much of its recent history has been on the Internet. The first AllianceNet was built in 1997, reformation21.org in 2005 and PlaceforTruth.orgChristwardCollective.org, and MortificationofSpin.org just last year.

Go now to visit AllianceNet.org - Not just a facelift; it's all new!

It offers:
  • Fast access to all Alliance web pages
  • Updates of the most recent ministry news
  • Every Alliance event on one page
  • Quick access to the many Alliance broadcasts and podcasts
  • Reports of how the Alliance makes a difference in the Church
  • Exclusive Alliance member only resources and more!

Many additional features include:
  • Easier navigation around AllianceNet and all of the Alliance sites
  • Easier to read fonts and layout
  • Automatic formatting that adjusts for mobile devices 
  • Search function that spans all of the new Alliance pages and more!

Be sure to bookmark AllianceNet.org and visit often!

Posted April 21, 2015 @ 8:22 AM by Robert Brady
TOPICS:

A King Like No Other from The Christward Collective


​"​Jesus is still on His throne. Jesus still hears the earnest prayers of His church. Whether in death or deliverance. Jesus will be glorified as sovereign King of a people who gladly put His worth on display through suffering for the sake of His name. Indeed, we have a King like no other...​" The Christward Collecttive contributor, Tim Brister, covers the sovereignty of Christ. He sits on the thrones, He hears us, and He answers us.

Also new from ChristwardCollective.org:

The Hardest Week - Nick Batzig​ ​talks about Christ's hardest week and how He pressed through it for our redemption.​

The Second Commandment, Westminster and Images of Jesus - Brian Cosby​ covers the controversial issue of images of Jesus​.

Every Pastor Needs a Theology Coach - Joe Thorn​ ​shares how every pastor still needs "coaching."

And recent winners of Alliance drawings include:


William H, Ft Worth TX
Eric C, Bloomington IN
Claudie S, El Paso TX
Tianna M, Oostburg WI
Carolyn T, Richfield MN
Joy J, Evansville IN
Cindy C, Leawood KS


Jeff C, Blaine WA
Charles B, Baltimore MD
Bob P, Stowe PA
George W, Greenwood MS
Robert P, Norwood MA

​Text Links:​





Posted April 17, 2015 @ 12:27 PM by Robert Brady

Alliance Member Survey - Bribe included

Thank you for partnering with the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals

Resourcing the Church would not be possible without Alliance Members help. You see both the need in today's culture centric church and the value of Alliance resources. Your support keeps us sharing the Gospel!

As partners in ministry, the Alliance values your opinion and your time.  Please take this brief survey, and let us know what resources you are using and sharing with others. By filling out this survey, you help us understand how to better serve you and the Church. You will also be able to help us discover new ways to tell others about the Alliance. Your opinion and accountability are highly valued.

As a thank you for filling out this survey, the Alliance will send you a free digital download from this year's Philadelphia Conference on Reformed Theology in Grand Rapids. The message by David Garner, is titled "Gender and the Image of God." David is a contributor at PlaceforTruth.org, the Alliance blog that provides thoughtful, yet accessible articles on theology. In order to receive this gift be sure to supply your email address in the survey.

Thank you again for filling out this survey (http://ow.ly/L89a6) and for supporting the work of the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals to foster a Reformed awakening in today's Church. Your generous and faithful support makes the Alliance possible.

Thank you for your continued support!

Text link - http://ow.ly/L89a6
Posted April 15, 2015 @ 9:34 AM by Robert Brady

Standing Firm...

Standing Firm (1).png

" ...The wrong lessons of history are being advanced while the right lessons are being ignored." Reformation 21 contributor Rick Phillips discusses the recent allowance of homosexuals being admitted to church membership in his article The Bible and Homosexuality: Wrong and Right Reasons. Continue...


Also new from reformation21.org...

Rejoicing in the Midst of Suffering - Jason Helopoulos shares how suffering benefits our souls, others, all while ascribing glory to God! Continue...

The Shepherd Who Would Be King - Alliance publishing has just released Rick Phillips book on King David. Well thought of as for personal study, helpful for those looking towards leadership or excellent for a men's book study. Continue...

Mere Believers - A review of Marc Baer's book on "how eight faithful lives changed the course of history." Read on...


Text links -
Reformation21 - www.reformation21.org
Posted March 25, 2015 @ 1:45 PM by Robert Brady

Cairn University's Church Leaders' Conference

Place for Truth editor Jonathan Master reminds us that Mark Johnston, also of Place for Truth, will be the keynote speaker at the Church Leader's Conference. This is a one-day conference offering a message of "Maintaining our Sanity in Ministry."

It's scheduled for March 19th and more information can be found at http://cairn.edu/events/churchleaders/

Keep following the Alliance, Jonathan, and Mark at Place for Truth.
Posted March 16, 2015 @ 6:26 PM by Robert Brady

Book Giveaway! Joy Beyond Agony

The Alliance is pleased to announce the release of a new book from P&R Publishing entitled Joy Beyond Agony: Embracing the Cross of Christ by Jane Roach. Jane Roach assists in organizing the Alliance-sponsored Texas Hill Country Bible Conference. She also served as the Director of Training for Bible Study Fellowship for more than 25 years. She now teaches two Bible studies and directs women's ministries at her church.

Joy Beyond Agony, a devotional commentary ideal for small group discussions, explores twelve different aspects of Jesus' cross through Bible study, application questions, commentary, testimonies, and hymns. The book helps us to learn what the cross shows us about our Savior and the paradoxes of Christian living, and discover the hope and joy it gives us as we face life's struggles and uncertainties.

We would love to offer you a chance to win a copy of Joy Beyond Agony. Enter to win a copy of the book here, and if you don't win (or don't want to wait!) you can order your copy from ReformedResources.org.

Texas Hill Country Bible Conference Audio - http://www.reformedresources.org/thcbc-2015/

Joy Beyond Agony book - http://www.reformedresources.org/books/joy-beyond-agony-embracing-the-cross-of-christ/

Google Form Link -- https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1uc9byqT3T0t9tdV2mD3MpiOhisP9mN3gEGcU69MGu2E/viewform

Posted March 12, 2015 @ 9:50 AM by Robert Brady
TOPICS:

The evidence of Mortification of Spin at Cairn University

Aimee Byrd, Todd Pruitt, and Carl Trueman, hosts of the Alliance's Mortification of Spin podcast, recently sat down with PlaceForTruth.org's Jonathan Master, Dean of Cairn University's School of Divinity, to talk about the podcast. The conversation covered a wide range of topics as the hosts took some time to reflect on their experience with the podcast so far, some of the impetus behind its creation, how it fits in with their broader ministries, and a few of their favorite episodes. 

Our thanks to Cairn University for hosting Mortification of Spin and producing this video.


MoS at Cairn.png

Posted February 27, 2015 @ 11:28 AM by Robert Brady

It Happens Every Year

Again, my mailbox had another letter from what I am sure is a faithful and committed Christian urging me to not wish you or anyone else a merry Christmas. I can't count the number of copies of this letter from many hands I have received over the years. And I have to admit, it causes me to feel bad. I feel bad if I say it and I feel bad if I don't. Now, that might well be my fundamental upbringing, but I want to think it's more related to my personal desire to serve others.

I want others to know of Christ and this is a time that, like it or not, the world is forced to hear His name. Not knowing the worker at the post office, but he offered me the traditional merry Christmas and I returned it, only in a louder voice and to include those standing around him. And I added a mention that I hoped the rain does not slow us from our Christmas Eve services. Now, there was no Gospel presentation there. There was no Evangelism Explosion routine used in that casual encounter. But it allowed us to speak of Christ inside that para-governmental setting in a way that does not happen the other fifty-one weeks of the year.

So, while I know I will get the letters, I want to wish you, our Alliance Members, a most blessed and joyous Christmas!

Bob Brady
Executive Director

P.S. While you are still there, allow me to point you to three other items:

First, Place for Truth's Executive Editor, Jonathan Master reminds us to Reflect Deeply. His post starts with: Christians are frequently reminded to "remember the reason for Christmas," meaning, of course, that we should turn our attention away from the cultural trappings and to the fact that Jesus was born to Mary in Bethlehem.  But this Christmas, perhaps we should fix our attention a little more closely, not just on the details of Jesus' birth, but on the miracle of the incarnation.  In so doing, we join a great cloud of Christian witnesses, who have reflected deeply on this glorious mystery.


Second, OnePlace is an online listening service we use. And starting in January, No Falling Word will be added on Wednesdays. So listen or subscribe to the podcast at http://www.oneplace.com/ministries/alliance-of-confessing-evangelicals/

Finally, we just closed another giveaway at Mortification of Spin. The winners of David VanDrunen's book Living in God's Two Kingdoms are:
Steve D - Loganville, GA
Rebecca M - Wilson, OK
Ben W - Louisville, KY

Be sure to follow Carl Trueman, Aimee Byrd, and Todd Pruitt on MortificationofSpin.org.
Posted December 24, 2014 @ 10:22 AM by Robert Brady
TOPICS:

Don't let the lights fool you

Despite Thanksgiving's passed, the 'holiday music' - scrubbed clean of any references to Christ - with all of it's cheer rings throughout my Starbucks and various grand shopping days are all round us, we at the Alliance are not quite done for the year.

The ministry operates on a very tiny budget - tiny for reaching over a half-million readers, executing more than an event a month, and broadcasting on nearly 500 radio stations and across countless internet outlets - with a small staff. We must be good stewards in order to maximize these things, much less that we're called to (and sworn to as well via the EFCA Standards).

But we need you, our readers and listeners to come alongside. You've heard it before, if each gave just $5, we'd have all we need and be able to do even more. But you know that so many can't or won't, so we need your help all the more!


The Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals is a coalition of pastors, scholars, and churchmen who hold the historic creeds and confessions of the Reformed faith and who proclaim biblical doctrine in order to foster a Reformed awakening in today's Church.

As a coalition, we count on our members to continue our media (The Bible Study Hour with James Boice, Every Last Word with Philip Ryken, No Falling Word with Liam Goligher and Dr. Barnhouse & the Bible), our events (Philadelphia Conference on Reformed Theology, local Reformation Societies, and our many regional events), and our publishing (reformation21.org, PlaceforTruth.org and it's Theology on the Go podcast, ChristwardCollective.org, and Mortification of Spin).

We hear from so many that each of these efforts are worth the effort, serving Christians in many stages of faith and walk, better define the Reformed tradition, operate inside each contributors or speakers confession, and glorifies God! If you believe this too, won't you please support the ministry?

Now, these are not Christmas gifts, but if it makes the winners feel better - sure, we'll call them that! reformation21.org, thanks to P&R Publishing has given away a few copies of Richard Phillips John: REC to the following:
Ryan S of Ottawa KS
Brian L of LaFayette GA, and
Gary H in Centennial CO.

Jonelle Y, Grovetown, GA
Mark S, Albuquerque, NM
Michael O, Youngsville, NC
Jefferee C, Blaine, WA
David G, Cochranton, PA
Andrew K, Kalkaska, MI

Text link - 
Posted December 10, 2014 @ 3:20 PM by Robert Brady
TOPICS:

Alistair Begg in Princeton, on audio and video

The Alliance was pleased to partner once again with the Princeton regional Conference on Reformed Theology. Ian Hamilton and Alistair Begg brought the doctrine of Providence to us in a clear and compelling way. You can download or order copies of the audio recordings from Reformed Resources.

Cairn University, our Philadelphia region university partner, hosted Alistair and has produced this video. It is hosted by Jonathan Master, executive editor of Place for Truth.

The doctrine of providence, far from being an abstract and distant truth, is both a great mystery and a deep comfort. It is unfathomable how God can govern all His creatures to accomplish His ends and yet it provides immense assurance for the Christian to know that events are in God's hands. God is not distant and uninvolved, nor can He be confused with His creation. His relationship to the world is clearly shown in the Bible's teaching on providence. The doctrine of providence helps us understand God's sovereignty and power and, in response to this mystery and comfort, to respond in trust and praise.

The 6 messages of Providence include:

"God's Providence Defined" by Alistair Begg
"God's Providence in the Lives of His servants" by Ian Hamilton
"God's Providence in the Death of Jesus Christ" by Alistair Begg
"God's Providence and Our Worship" by Ian Hamilton
"Providence: Personal Reflections" by Alistair Begg
"Making Sense of the Mysteries of Providence: The Practice of Living Faithfully" by Ian Hamilton


Text Links -
Posted December 8, 2014 @ 5:53 AM by Robert Brady

Move over Black Friday & Cyber Monday - it's Giving Tuesday!

There's Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Now it's time for #GivingTuesday, a global day dedicated to giving back. Today you can join the Alliance in working together to promote biblical doctrine. #GivingTuesday is a special call to action to look beyond the shopping deals and make a lasting impact. Stop by razoo.com/story/Givingtuesday2014-Alliance to make your donation. We're offering great prizes and incentives for those who give including: The Triune God, edited by Ron Kohl, The Life of Moses MP3 anthology by James Boice, two passes to PCRT, the complete PCRT MP3 anthology, and more. Visit AllianceNet.org to see the complete list. Join us in working together with the Alliance. Give today; it's #GivingTuesday.

And those of you who participated in the ExtraGive, thank you. We raised an estimated $7990 in donations. That level of giving provided about  $565 in "stretch dollars" so we'll wind up around $8552. Thank you!

Text link - razoo.com/story/Givingtuesday2014-Alliance
Posted December 1, 2014 @ 4:13 PM by Robert Brady
TOPICS: fundraising

Working Together - Alliance via ExtraordinaryGive

On November 21st, you can support the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals with the Extraordinary Give program. Any donation made online at ExtraGive will be stretched by up to $250,000 from the Lancaster County Community Foundation and their presenting sponsors. Plus, there are $50,000 in prizes we can win instantly as a result of your donation! 

Smartphone savvy? Download the Extraordinary Give app (IPHONE App  and ANDROID App) for a fun, interactive experience, and a chance to win amazing prizes! It's the easiest way to keep tabs on how we are doing and to spread the word on social media (use #Allianceextragive) 

Mark your calendars, tell your friends, give extraordinary! 


Text links -
Posted November 19, 2014 @ 2:21 PM by Robert Brady
TOPICS:

Theology on the Go on iTunes

We're very grateful for the feedback we've already received about Theology on the Go podcast at Place for Truth.  And as an update, I'm pleased to report that you can listen and subscribe to the podcast via itunes or just go to iTunes and search for "Theology on the Go."

For those of you who haven't listened yet, Theology on the Go is a brief conversation - one guest, one topic.  Its tagline is, "A brief conversation about an eternal truth."  It's the perfect length for a short commute, or a break in the day. And the podcast is followed by several articles from several talented young pastors and theologians on topic over the next two weeks.

Please send along this link and post it via social media, so that others can benefit from the insights and teaching of our guests. And thank you for regularly visiting Place for Truth and Theology on the Go podcast!

Text links -
Place for Truth - http://www.placefortruth.org/placefortruth
Posted November 17, 2014 @ 4:00 PM by Robert Brady

Christward Collective's Scott Redd with Dr. Chad Van Dixhoorn

The Alliance has a growing list of scholars and contributors leading our efforts to proclaim historic confessional doctrine for a modern reformation. One of those contributors is Dr. Scott Redd on ChristwardCollective.org.

In order to keep you in the loop about what our contributors are doing, we alert you to an exciting conference next week in DC. Reformed Theological Seminary, where Redd is President, invites you to join the third annual ReForum: Confessing Christianity: Yesterday's Reformation for Today's Public Life.

The event will include a message from Dr. Chad Van Dixhoorn, followed by a panel discussion with Scott Redd and other faculty members. Dr. Van Dixhoorn's recently published Confessing the Faith: A Reader's Guide to the Westminster Confession of Faith will be the springboard for discussion.

The event is Thursday, November 13, 2014, 7pm-9pm at Foley & Lardner LLP, located at 3000 K Street, N.W., Suite 600 Washington, D.C. 20007. If you would like to attend, RSVP to nherndon@rts.edu. This is not an Alliance event, so be sure to interact with RTS.

And if you attend, be sure to stop Scott and let him know you heard about this from the Alliance!
Posted November 7, 2014 @ 10:37 AM by Robert Brady

All New Mortification of Spin Website

The Mortification of Spin podcast has been airing for a year and a half, attracting tens of thousands of listeners each week. And while there are some issues and certain episodes that we are asked to avoid, remove, or apologize for - we've not succumbed to any of that. BTW - the one thing we hear most often is for more. For more of Carl Trueman, Todd Pruitt and Aimee Byrd - but we suspect they really mean more of Aimee.


So while the actual podcast schedule can't change - it will continue to air each and every Wednesday - we can bring you more content from the hosts. The blog content of Carl from reformation21.org, of Aimee from HousewifeTheologian.com and of Todd from his blog known as 1517 will all be combined at Mortification of Spin.


There it will sit alongside the podcast, it's archives, the huge archives of these three prolific writers, and soon, new and fun content extras! So the web address will not change - MortificationofSpin.org and HousewifeTheologian.com - but the causal conversation about things that count will grow!


The Mortification of Spin is a ministry of the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals. The Alliance is a coalition of pastors, scholars, and churchmen who hold the historic creeds and confessions of the Reformed faith and who proclaim biblical doctrine in order to foster a Reformed awakening in today's Church. Learn more about the Alliance at AllianceNet.org.


The Alliance, and all of its ministries, including Motification of Spin is supported only by its readers and gracious Christians like you. Please prayerfully consider supporting Mortification of Spin and the mission of the Alliance. Please donate here.

Posted October 7, 2014 @ 9:46 AM by Robert Brady

Alliance Reformation Societies: One Member Church

The Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals support Reformation Societies. These regional fraternal gatherings of pastors and church leaders join together for the purpose of encouraging reformation. Reformation means standing against the spirit of the age, so pastors and church leaders join together to encourage, equip, and embolden one another in the work. Most importantly, a society brings the Word of God and prayer to bear on the leaders themselves, strengthening them for the work of a faithful shepherd.

Here is the story of one such pastor and the changes the local church has endured. This report should encourage those of us in still faithful, confessional bodies; should embolden us to pray for those that are not; and might lead a few to equip themselves to start a Reformation Society in their region!


Why We Left the Episcopal Church

Holy Trinity was officially established on Pentecost Sunday, May 27, 2007 when the rector and the entire congregation formally aligned with the Convocation of Anglican in North America (CANA). Remaining associated with the Episcopal Church USA became increasingly untenable and decision to disassociate from the Episcopal Church was made. However it was the strong desire of this 253-year-old parish family to continue in the Anglican tradition, but under the leadership of orthodox (meaning not revisionist), godly, leadership.

A word from Don Helmandollar, the rector of Holy Trinity Anglican Church:

Please allow me to introduce you to the Christian character of the congregation of Holy Trinity Anglican Church and help you understand the exemplary caliber of the congregation, witnessed by their love for God, for each other, and for their church. I sincerely believe that this is a body of believers that you--in particular those of the Anglican communion, will be pleased and blessed to be associated with.

Holy Trinity was officially established on Pentecost Sunday, May 27, 2007 when the rector and the entire congregation formally aligned with the Convocation of Anglican in North America (CANA).  The congregation, historically known as Trinity Church Society of Bristol, Connecticut, was a pre-revolutionary war parish, established in 1747 and had a long and proud history of Anglican worship, ministry and mission in the Bristol area.  Remaining associated with the Episcopal Church USA became increasingly untenable and decision to disassociate from the Episcopal Church was made.  However it was the strong desire of this 253-year-old parish family to continue in the Anglican tradition, but under the leadership of orthodox (meaning not revisionist), godly, leadership.  Hence alignment with CANA.

A question often asked is why was the realignment deemed so important to this congregation?  The Senior Warden, in response to a similar question, offered the short and most succinct answer.  He wrote: "We undertake this move in response to the Diocese of Connecticut and The Episcopal Church abandoning core teachings of the Bible and of the historic Anglican Faith regarding the gospel of Jesus Christ and the authority of Holy Scripture in the ordering of our lives together in the Worldwide Anglican Communion."

A more detailed response is that we, as many throughout the country and, indeed, the world, have observed the continual slide of the Episcopal Church into ungodly belief and practice.  Pleas for repentance and return to the historic faith handed down in the Anglican Communion for centuries were, and continue to be, ignored and even scoffed at.

One example of the depth and destructive nature of revisionist belief and teaching is this:  Many in the Episcopal Church, including the Presiding Bishop, openly and publicly deny the assertion of Jesus, recorded in John 14:6, where he says "I am the way and the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me."  In the Episcopal Church, at the very top of it's clergy leadership and in direct contradiction to Scripture, Jesus is now being presented as one of several ways to reach God. This assertion flies in the face of long-held Christian beliefs and could not be overlooked by this body of Anglican believers.

Yet that is but one of several examples of a church that has abandoned the historic, orthodox faith and was increasingly pressuring everyone to adhere to these ungodly teachings.  Another example--and a particularly insidious one--is the Bible being presented and augured as a man-written book, which can be modified as the church see fit.    Again, from some in that church leadership, we read comments such as "Man wrote the Bible, man can change it."  This is a gross misunderstanding of Holy Scripture and is unacceptable teaching in the Christian belief system.  This congregation, now Holy Trinity Anglican Church, continues to receive the Holy Scriptures as "God-breathed and inspired by God Himself.  Not only do we, this congregation,  make that assertion but our own Articles of Religion state that "Holy Scripture containeth all things necessary to salvation; so that whatsoever is not read therein, nor may be proved thereby, is not to be required of any man, that it should be believed as an article of the Faith, or be thought requisite or necessary to salvation.

Again, from leadership of our congregation, "These two key shifts show that the Diocese of Connecticut and The Episcopal Church have chosen to walk apart from foundational teachings of orthodox Christianity and Anglican tradition.  We at (now Holy Trinity) Trinity Church believe that denying these long-held teachings strikes at the very heart of what we believe as disciples of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  To embrace such false teaching would undermine both our witness to the world as Christians and our integrity as believers of the truth of His gospel message to that world."

Yet this chosen realignment, in order to place ourselves under godly leadership, came about only after several years of struggle and numerous attempts to identify ways we could in good Christian conscience, remain associated with The Episcopal Church USA and more specifically, in the Episcopal Diocese of Connecticut.  It is now a matter of history that  the realignment resulted in much sacrifice by the congregation, perhaps most notably being forced to leave behind a beautiful sanctuary and historic worship space where so many of them, or their parents or grandparents,  had been baptized, worshiped, married, even buried.  The building, as of this writing, stands empty and will soon be put up for sale to used for what purpose only God knows. Remains of family members and loved ones interned in the Rose Garden will be removed.  The place is no longer a sanctuary because there is no congregation to worship there or to call it home.

So yes, there has been struggle and sacrifice by this congregation.  But, nearly to a person they have willingly paid the price to be free from such--what we see as apostasy and religious tyranny. But don't expect despair and gloom when you come into the presence of the people of Holy Trinity Anglican Church.  In our conversations we used to hear comments like "A church is not the stones," or "the church is the people, not the steeple,"  or to quote one Nigerian bishop, "let the bishop have the stones."

Now you will encounter people who have as their personal vision to become Galatians 2:20 Christians who can boldly proclaim " I have been crucified with Christ and I no loner live, but Christ lives in me."  You will encounter people whose mission in life is "To Know God and Make Him Known" to a community and society--even churches--who often don't know God or who He is.  Now you hear proclamations such as  "We were delivered, not evicted," and, "The best (for this body) is yet to come."  With this attitude and devotion to having Christ be the head of our church, this is a body of believers that cannot be defeated. They are building a church, with Jesus Christ at the center--the very core,  that the "gates of hell will not prevail against."

Perhaps this will give you somewhat of a flavor for what to expect in and of Holy Trinity Church. Perhaps these are people that you would like to learn more about and a church you would like to be associated with. We will answer any question to the best of our ability and we will assist you in any way we can. God Bless!
Posted September 25, 2014 @ 5:58 PM by Robert Brady

More Resources on Depression

As a follow up to Todd's post on resources on depression, I wanted to share a few items that the Alliance keeps around on the topic. These and more can be found at ReformedResources.org. And as a reminder, if you are a Friend of the Alliance, your shipping is free; if you are part of our President's Circle, we would be happy to give you these resources for free!

Audio: (available as both CD and MP3)
Alliance collection - "My Portion Forever, Finding God's Joy in our Pain" - http://www.reformedresources.org/audio/my-portion-forever-finding-gods-joy-in-our-pain/

Booklets:

Books: 
David Murray - "Christians Get Depressed Too" - http://www.reformedresources.org/books/christians-get-depressed-too/
Posted August 20, 2014 @ 9:42 AM by Robert Brady

How can one improve Reformation21.org?

I mean, once Trueman refused to give up the black shoes and socks when at the beach of Harvey Cedars NJ, it was clear some things were settled! But there is still hope...

Reformation21.org is the flagship of the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals online flotilla. It is joined by PlaceforTruth.org which offers biblical theology with a large dose of exegete and ChristwardCollective.org parsing out solid biblical doctrine from younger contributors not afraid to stand on the theological shoulders of the Reformers. These great resources are central to the Alliance's mission of proclaiming biblical doctrine in order to foster a Reformed awakening in today's Church.

So it would be very hard to improve those things. But we did improve some of the technical aspects of the site (with a view to rebuild it entirely in early 2015). So look around, try them out, and let us know what you think of:

- Printable pages on the articles, blog posts, and reviews. No longer will those pesky (but I advocate interesting) side bars be printed with the content you are wanting to share.
- Social sharing buttons have long been needed. Now you can share a post with friends through social media or email it to your 'socially challenged' Uncle Bob!
- Better contributor access can be found on the contributor page. This will allow you to fit any and all contributors to r21, and find all of their submissions as well.
- A lot of clean up of those aforementioned side bars. There we removed some dated sections and incorporated it right into the blog. We also right sorted the previous devotions so you can start reading and using them from the top down.
- And we improved the navigation. You can move back and forth between pages in any section easier (who thought a list of prior years and months was a helpful system?). And you can also find across the top common navigation across the entire Alliance, moving from one site to another, and back again.

So, while it's the reformation21 you have trusted and used for years, I hope these small changes will increase its function and encourage its use. And should you have other ideas or needs, we would love to hear from you. Please email me at rbrady@AllianceNet.org and share your ideas and I would also love to hear how r21 has been helpful for you and your Church too!
Posted August 8, 2014 @ 2:05 PM by Robert Brady

Alliance partners in the annual Reformation Worship Conference

The Alliance is partnering with the annual Reformation Worship Conference outside of Atlanta, Oct. 23-26. We are so very happy to join with our friends at Midway Presbyterian Church, outside of Atlanta, who host the annual Reformation Worship Conference (www.reformationworship.org). This annual gathering is designed for all Christians and ministry leaders. A guest faculty, consisting of W. Robert Godfrey, Steven Lawson, Richard Phillips, Terry Johnson, Douglas Kelly, Jon Payne, T. David Gordon, and many others will assemble for a rich weekend of biblical instruction, encouragement, and modeling of robust, reformed worship. 

Please see the entire program at www.reformationworship.org, and a discounted registration price is available through the end of August.  And since the Alliance is a partner in this event, we invite all our friends to join us and stop by our booth at the conference. Please contact Judy Dodd (judy.dodd@midwaypca.org) for more information about group rates or to register. 

Posted August 7, 2014 @ 7:40 PM by Robert Brady

The PC(USA) Inches Closer to Ordination of Homosexuals

From the Charlotte Observer:

In a close vote that reflected deep division, Presbyterian church leaders representing the Charlotte area signaled their support Saturday for ending their denomination's longstanding ban on gays and lesbians becoming pastors and elders.

In past years, the Charlotte Presbytery - the fourth largest in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) - had backed the prohibition. But after a spirited, civil debate in the chapel at Johnson C. Smith University, the presbytery voted 133-124, with one abstention, to reverse itself.

That means that the seven-county Charlotte Presbytery is now on record as backing a proposed amendment to the denomination's constitution that would open the door to - though not automatically guarantee - ordination of homosexuals.

In a bit of irony, the paper quotes a female Assistant Pastor in opposition to the move:

"It was the right thing for the presbytery to do," said the Rev. Tom Tate of Charlotte's Plaza Presbyterian, one of four pastors - two on each side - who addressed the gathering. "While I am glad for those affected, I am sad that the close vote says the church may be so divided."

The proposed amendment weakens "The Fidelity and Chastity" section (G-6.0106b) governing the moral conduct of church officers.  The task force's recommendation, report and rationale are available here.

The revised section deletes the following language:

Those who are called to office in the church are to lead a life in obedience to Scripture and in conformity to the historic confessional standards of the church. Among these standards is the requirement to live either in fidelity within the covenant of marriage between a man and a woman (W-4.9001), or chastity in singleness. Persons refusing to repent of any self acknowledged practice which the confessions call sin shall not be ordained and/or installed as deacons elders, or ministers of the Word and Sacrament.

While retaining the language below:

Those who are called to ordained service in the church, by their assent to the constitutional questions for ordination and installation (W-4.4003), pledge themselves to live lives obedient to Jesus Christ the Head of the Church, striving to follow where he leads through the witness of the Scriptures, and to understand the  Scriptures through the instruction of the Confessions. In so doing, they declare their fidelity to the standards of the Church. Each governing body charged with examination for ordination and/or installation (G-14.0240 and G-14.0450) establishes the candidate's sincere efforts to adhere to these standards.

It's not at all clear to me how an ordained minister can pledge to live a life obedient to Jesus Christ the Head of the Church while simultaneously refusing to acknowledge or repent of extramarital, pre-marital, or homosexual sin. 

But then again, the task force arrived at this recommendation by allowing each individual uninterrupted and unlimited time to state their opinion and desired outcomes.  What emerged, in their opinion, was "a Spirit filled revelation of persons, including a broadly diverse viewpoints and positions, that was received by the group with respect and awe. The very simply process of self declaration without interruption was profound, validated persons and led to an ethos of mutual respect even though those declarations were very different."

A "revelation of persons" that "validated persons" is bound to lead to plain contradictions of the word of God and rebellion against the Head of the Church.

Posted March 2, 2009 @ 5:29 AM by Thabiti Anyabwile
TOPICS: Bible, Gender, PC USA

Resources on Exposition

Colin Adam has assembled a massive list of online resources (written and video) on exposition.  Great stuff to work through here.
Posted December 8, 2008 @ 9:14 AM by Thabiti Anyabwile
TOPICS: Preaching

Powlison on Suffering with the Psalmist

Last week, the Lord granted me the privilege to attend the Worship God '08 conference hosted by Sovereign Grace Ministries and Bob Kauflin.  The conference was wonderfully cross-centered, full of joy, and instructive.  I appreciate those brothers making the time beneficial to music neophytes like myself.  The conference audio is posted here.

And I'd especially like to draw your attention to David Powlison's sermon, "Enduring Hardship with the Psalmist."  I'm familiar with Powlison's very helpful written works, but this was the first time I've heard him speak.  In the very laid back (he effortlessly preached in a Hawaiin shirt and sandals; not even the guy from Cayman could pull that off!), calm, and instructive tone I imagine from his books, he led us through an overview of many psalms and their relation to one another, opened up Psalm 28 in detail, and showed us Christ throughout.  If folks are thinking about suffering, trying to comfort someone who is suffering, or simply want to understand many of the Psalms better, this is a great talk.  Highly recommend it.

Posted August 7, 2008 @ 10:47 AM by Thabiti Anyabwile

Interview with Lane Tipton

Lane Tipton and Jeffrey Waddington discuss Richard B. Gaffin's book, Resurrection and Eschatology, here.
Posted June 20, 2008 @ 4:59 PM by Derek Thomas
TOPICS: Gaffin

Top 5 Commentaries on books of the Bible

Our friends at Ligonier have drawn my attention to Keith Mathison's blog entry on the Ligonier website in which he he posts the first of what looks like five blogs on the best commentaries on Matthew's Gospel. Check it out here. Choosing favorite commentaries is a sure way to start an argument! One preacher's meat is another's poison. Good start Keith. Now if someone can help me with Ezra before I finish preaching on it in a few weeks time! Any thoughts anyone?
Posted June 17, 2008 @ 9:08 PM by Derek Thomas

Shocking News...

...from the Gospel Coalition today. While introducing various council members, Mark Dever, senior pastor of Capitol Hill Baptist Church, revealed that Ligon Duncan was a guest from his own church. He even suggested that this was a long-time coming transition for the former moderator of the PCA. What does this mean??
Posted May 27, 2008 @ 8:12 PM by Sean Lucas
TOPICS:

A Baptist Praises the Lord for the PCA

Recently, I read a lamentable statement from the leader of African-American pastors inside the PCUSA.  It was lamentable because it made the gospel and the spiritual mission of the church secondary to social and political concerns.

This morning I came across this video of African American pastors inside the PCA.  The video highlights the work of these pastors at church planting and spreading the Good News of Christ.  As a Baptist, I rejoice at the faithful labors of these men because we have everything in common and share a spiritual mission and history far more important than social causes and concerns.

One man I respect in the faith was Presbyterian pastor Dr. Frances J. Grimke.  He pastored 15th Street Presbyterian Church in Washington, D.C. for 55 years!  An African American, he was committed to the gospel and the word of God as the inerring truth of God.  One is left to ask: which pastoral fraternity would Grimke join?

Posted May 7, 2008 @ 10:00 AM by Thabiti Anyabwile

Video: Christ the Only Way

Posted February 22, 2008 @ 2:32 PM by Derek Thomas
TOPICS: Christ
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