A Plea & A Sketch of an Argument on Icons

There are many reasons people find themselves attracted to Eastern Orthodoxy, but one of them is the presence and veneration of icons. Entering a sanctuary full of religious art can seem visually stunning and feel refreshingly spiritual compared to kitschy banners or television screens or hospital-blank walls. For the westerner, icons suggest a certain “eastern”…

Testing the Spirit of Sola Scriptura

One aspect of the doctrine of Sola Scriptura that sometimes seems problematic is what the Protestant tradition has called “the internal testimony of the Spirit.” Is this the Protestant version of the Mormon “burning in the bosom?” Is this the catch all excuse-maker justifying all manner of iniquity? I cannot submit to my elders because…

God the Potter

At the end of Paul’s closing arguments about what God is up to in the world in Romans 9-11, he breaks into doxology. He bursts out: “Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! For who has known the mind of…

The Sovereignty of Joy

Introduction We are “Reformed” Christians which means that we understand our place on the family tree of Christendom as a branch descended from the Protestant Reformation and specifically, an English strand of the Reformation represented by the Westminster Confession of Faith. One of the most central, distinguishing features of the Reformed faith is our celebration…

Bainton on Marriage, Divorce, and Remarriage in the Reformation

Just finished Roland Bainton’s classic work The Reformation of the Sixteenth Century. Bainton’s is an evenhanded treatment of the complexities of the Reformation scene, allowing for the messiness of sin and politics while reading the principle players sympathetically. There were a number of fun little gems, but just one this morning. In his chapter on…

The Reformation was an Exodus

The Reformation was an Exodus: Luther, Bucer, Calvin, Knox and their sidekicks were the Moses and Aaron and Joshua and Caleb of the 16th century, and they led a great mixed multitude out of an Egypt that had arisen in the very Church of God. The Pope had become a tyrannical pharaoh, and his bishops…

Christmas Means We’re All Calvinists After All

Isaiah says that when God restores Israel, He will go before them and behind them (Is. 52:12). The first Advent of God was the incarnation, when God went before us, leading us out of the dungeon of sin and death. The final Advent of God at the end of history is when God comes up…

Preemptive Evil

Speaking of Pharaoh’s wisdom/cunning to reduce the Israelite “threat” Calvin writes: “But this is a wicked kind of cunning, (however it may be varnished over with the specious name of foresight,) unjustly to molest others for our own security. I fear this or that person, because he both has the means of injuring me, and…

Jesus, Paul, and the People of God

I just listened to Kevin Vanhoozer’s talk from the recent Wheaton conference, a dialog with N.T. Wright, and I recommend it to you. If you have the slightest interest in N.T. Wright and the conversation/controversy surrounding his reformulation of the doctrine of justification and how that should be received and evaluated by those of us…

Calvin and Music

James Jordan’s recent lecture on Calvin and Music is now available on the New St. Andrews College website, as well as a round table discussion with Peter Leithart and Douglas Wilson.