Weekly Thoughts

The Salvation of Advent

As a teenager working in the mall during Christmas, I was the guy who ran products from the warehouse to the store clerks. This cavernous stockroom was 6,000 square feet and filled wall-to-wall with boxes. On one occasion, I found myself at the rear side of the windowless warehouse opposite the door when someone turned[…]

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The Texture of Advent

It was among the best pieces of advice I’ve ever received. Following an exposition of Matthew 2, in which I explained the typological significance of Jesus’ flight to Egypt against the background of salvation history, an old Bible teacher put his arm around me and asked if he could offer some feedback. “Please,” I replied.[…]

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Journey to the Manger, 2016 Advent Devotional

This year Advent begins on Sunday, November 27th. I would like to recommend a terrific online devotional which is available to you free, to guide your reflection through the upcoming days. Devotionals have a long history for God’s people. Ancient Israelites established a yearly calendar in response to special feast days. Lectionaries were developed—selected Scriptures[…]

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God-Centered Thanksgiving

The 1965 film classic, Shenandoah, features a memorable and outlandish prayer. With his eight children seated for dinner, the father, played by James Stewart observes, “Now, your mother wanted all of you raised as good Christians. And I might not be able to do that thorny job as well as she could, but I can[…]

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Calvin on Civil Order

John Calvin’s influence upon Western culture in general, and theology in particular, is enormous. He was central to the sixteenth-century Protestant Reformation in continental Europe. His Institutes of the Christian Religion and biblical commentaries are classics. The following selection is from Calvin’s commentary on the book of Romans, where Paul discusses civil government—“for it is[…]

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God’s Word Alone: The Authority of Scripture

It was Martin Luther who said, “Let the man who wishes to hear God speak read Holy Scriptures.” Such reading, unfortunately, has not come easily. From the beginning, the enemy has sought to undermine God’s word: “Did God really say,” hissed the serpent of old. Given this hostility to God’s authority, humanity through the ages[…]

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Significance of the Reformation for Families and Churches

With only a few months until the fifth centenary of Luther’s Ninety-Five Theses, Christians everywhere are preparing to commemorate the Protestant Reformation. Reflection upon the significance of Luther’s protest, and the larger movement it spawned, will take various shapes and sizes. For example, in the coming days Pope Francis will visit Lund, Sweden to make a pronouncement among members of[…]

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Serving Your Roman Catholic Community

Determining whether your community is predominantly Catholic was once fairly simple. You’d see multiple parishes with names like “Saint Petronille” and “Holy Family.” Your local hardware would sell Saint Joseph statues (burying St. Joe upside-down in the yard is thought to help the process of selling a house). You’d notice ashen foreheads during Lent and[…]

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Something to Remember This Election Year

You need not be especially political to feel anxiety in this moment. Unless you live in a cave, you are confronted by the rapacious onslaught of attack ads, one uglier than the next, intended to instill fear and somehow win your allegiance. Amidst the unrelenting cacophony, the words of Henry Adams come to mind when he called politics[…]

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Justification: The Basic Difference Between Catholics & Protestants

Over the coming months, the doctrine of justification will be subject to a great deal of scrutiny. The 500-year commemoration of Luther’s Ninety-Five Theses is seizing public attention, and, more than any other subject, justification is in the limelight. Whereas recent years have tended to focus on diverse interpretations in biblical studies (e.g. new readings of[…]

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