Weekly Thoughts

Possessions and Christian Faith

Thanks to the influence of Professor Tony Lane, I have learned to be leery of making general statements about “Calvinism” or Calvin’s teaching. The old Frenchman’s thought is usually more complex than we suppose. On the other hand, I have also gained an appreciation for the practical dimensions of Calvin’s pastoral ministry. Here is a practical example–possessions and[…]

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Repentance in the Church, Entree to Renewal

Evangelist, church planter, and founder of Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, Dwight L. Moody (1837-1899) had a passion to proclaim the gospel to the masses. Often preaching at the margins of life, Moody stressed the need for repentance and the hope of salvation in Christ Jesus. Ever looking forward to the Second Advent, his life’s desire[…]

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A Cross-Centered, Proclamational Legacy

The story is told that, during the International Congress on World Evangelization at Lausanne in 1974, someone asked Billy Graham, “Who will be the next Billy Graham?” In answer, the nonpareil evangelist motioned to the panorama of Christian leaders around him, saying, “They will.” I agree with Graham. No one person will ever replace him.[…]

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Is the Reformation Still Necessary?

It’s an oft-repeated question: is the Reformation still necessary? During this commemoration of Luther’s protest, it is proper to consider how the Reformation impulse of yesteryear applies to our present moment in history. Central to the Reformation was the fact that God places us before his unbroken gaze. We who were once separated from Christ—strangers[…]

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Divine Beauty

Have you ever looked upon the enchanting  sunbeams of the morning, observed its splendor, and wondered why God made it so? Now that the warmth, colorful flowers, and blue sky of summer have once again greeted Chicagoland, I find myself reflecting on the beauty of God’s creation. It raises the question: is there a relationship between[…]

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A Colorful Life

The author of some 90 books, G. K. Chesterton (1874-1936) was a British writer of unsurpassed popularity in his day. Born into a nominally Anglican family, he slid into agnosticism by the age of 16, but by the turn of the century, he was beginning to speak favorably of the Christian faith. His wife led[…]

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Confronting Idolatry

Protestant Reformer John Calvin (1509 – 1564) was convinced that the human mind is a veritable “factory of idols.” This sinful impulse is alive and well within the Church, which is why we must be about the business of always reforming (semper reformanda) according to God’s Word. In the following quotation from his Institutes of the Christian[…]

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Preaching The Five Solas

In observance of 500-year anniversary of the Reformation, many pastors will dedicate October to preaching The Five Solas (there are five Sundays in October). Yesterday I had the privilege of gathering with a group of such pastors to discuss the series. Following is my contribution: the historical background of the Solas, their particular meaning, and a[…]

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Relishing God, The Good Shepherd

In the opening of his classic book, The Knowledge of the Holy, A. W. Tozer declared the memorable line: “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.” In other words, our thoughts about God inform every level of our being–our hopes, dreams, fears, aspirations, what we despise and[…]

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Augustine on Justification (what you must know)

The most significant patristic source of the Protestant Reformation was Augustine of Hippo. In centuries preceding the sixteenth, interest in Augustine had flowered, spawning a widespread attraction to his theology and the order(s) that bore his name. It’s no accident that Martin Luther was an Augustinian, as was Peter Martyr Vermigli. Moreover, we find in[…]

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