Blog

How the Catholic Church Became Roman

“I will build my church,” Jesus declared (Matthew 16:18). And what a magnificent and agonizing process has unfolded for two millennia. Essential to this work is the formation of living stones — men and women drawn from the quarry of sin, whose lives now testify to gospel grace. But how does Christ construct his church? One answer[…]

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Reconciling Athens & Jerusalem

I recently listened to a lecture addressing Tertullian’s enduring question, “What does Jerusalem have to do with Athens?” In other words, how does the divinely revealed gospel relate to pagan philosophy? Most people, at least in the church, will answer the question with recourse to Colossians 2:8-10. What they say about it, however, differs greatly. Here[…]

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Building by Example

Evangelical in his doctrine and steadfast in his convictions, J. C. Ryle (1816-1900) was a prolific writer and faithful pastor. In 1880 he became the first Bishop of Liverpool at the age of 64. Regarded as the leader of the Evangelical group in the Church of England, he was noted both for the robust advocacy[…]

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Logic on Fire

Called from a most promising career in medicine, Martyn Lloyd-Jones became a preacher of great renown. For thirty years, he served as pastor of Westminster Chapel in London. Raised a Welsh “Calvinistic Methodist,” he combined the Reformers’ zeal for doctrine and the spirit of the 18th century English revivals under Wesley and Whitefield. In this[…]

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The Crooked Road to Calvary

The road to Calvary is seldom straight, a fact we’ll see on Sunday as we accompany Israel through the Red Sea (in the penultimate exposition of our Exodus series). A host of detours, excursions, and u-turns often attends our steps before God brings us to the Cross. Such unexpected factors add color and texture to[…]

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The Certainty of Salvation

An important difference between the Roman Catholic and Reformation positions on salvation pertains to assurance, that is, how certain we can be that we possess a saving relationship with God. Catholics resist the idea that we can ever know whether we will indeed remain faithful to the end of our life.[i] It is only with[…]

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What Divides Catholics and Protestants on Justification?

What divides Catholics and Protestants on the doctrine of justification? This is the subject of a new Davenant Digest, which I had the privilege of authoring. As with all the Digests, this resource seeks to bring the church’s past into clearer focus, and shed light on some challenges of the church’s present. It is a[…]

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When the Spirit Comes

We recently enjoyed hearing a sermon at NCC by our friend Dave McDowell, chaplain of the Wheaton Graduate School. Prior to ministry in the Midwest, David was senior pastor at College Church, Northampton MA, the town in which Jonathan Edwards (1703 – 1758) served nearly 300 years ago. You may recall that it was in[…]

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Justification and Sanctification

In his book, Justification by Faith in Catholic-Protestant Dialogue, Professor Tony Lane distinguishes the Reformation doctrines of justification and sanctification: Justification refers to my status; sanctification to my state. Justification is about God’s attitude to me changing; sanctification is about God changing me. Justification is about how God looks on me; sanctification is about what he[…]

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Seeds of Spiritual Renewal

A specialist on prayer and revival, Leonard Ravenhill (1907-1994) wrote books and conducted meetings exhorting Christians to seek spiritual refreshing from God. His first book, Why Revival Tarries, sold hundreds of thousands of copies and sounded a prophetic call for awakening in the twentieth century. A follow-up book, Meat for Men, was published in 1961. It challenged[…]

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