The Synod Of Dort Opposed Funeral Sermons

Where funeral sermons are not held, they shall not be introduced; and where they already have been accepted, diligence shall be exercised to do away with them by the most appropriate means.   —Church Order of the Synod of Dort (1619).

Heidelberg 96–98: Worshiping The True God Truly (2)

regulative-principle-of-worship

The regulative principle of worship, however, does distinguish confession Reformed and Presbyterian churches from the broad evangelical traditions, many of whom are descended from the Pietists and the Anabaptists. The confessional Lutheran churches, the Anglican church, and the Romanists all operate on the normative principle. That principle works for many things in daily life. May one cross this street? Yes, certainly. It is not forbidden. The regulative principle, however, does not work for daily life. “Must I cross this street?” It was never intended to applied to daily life, outside of public worship. In the same way, the normative principle does not work for public worship. Continue reading →

The Shepherd Of Hermas Is A Dull Novel

Dr. Bunsen calls it “a good but dull novel,” and reminds us of a saying of Niebuhr (Bunsen’s master), that “he pitied the Athenian3 Christians for being obliged to hear it read in their assemblies.”   —F. Crombie, “Introductory Note to the . . . Continue reading →

Heidelberg 96–98: Worshiping The True God Truly (1)

Directory of Publick Worship

Few topics are more incendiary in the church than that of public worship. Yet no topic is more important to the Christian faith and life than public worship. This is a recipe for a crisis, which is where we find ourselves. Feelings . . . Continue reading →

Bloom Was More Right Than He Knew

In 1987, who could have envisioned the two-year nadir of 2009‒10, when not only the Democrats, but indeed, the very caricatured and politically correct academia of Bloom’s nightmares, would come to control the entire government of the United States: both houses of . . . Continue reading →

Heidelberg 94 and 95: What Does God Require In The First Commandment?

idols

On one level it’s easy to tell the difference between idols and the God who is. We did not fabricate him and we cannot change or kill him. He just is (Gen 1:1; Exodus 3:14). Idols, on the other hand, are not necessarily. An idol might exist or it might not exist. Its existence, as such, is contingent upon the will of its human creator. Of course, we confess with the Apostle Paul that “an idol has no real existence” (1 Cor 8:4). Whether we fabricate them with our hands, in our minds, or in our hearts, idols change. They come and go. When they disappoint us, we chuck them and make another hoping for a better outcome. Continue reading →

Heidelberg 93: How Is The Decalogue Organized?

law

In Exodus 34:27 Scripture says that Yahweh spoke directly to Moses to say, “Write these words, for in accordance with these words I have made a covenant with you and with Israel” (ESV). Thus, whatever follows was an essential part of the . . . Continue reading →

Heidelberg 92: What Is The Law Of God? (3)

Ten Commandments

There is a way of life, i.e., there is a way that believers live. There is a way of salvation, a path that believers walk toward eternal life, in the grace of Christ, in union with Christ. It is essential to distinguish, however, between is and through or because. The moralist wants to turn is into through or because. We are not saved through obedience. That is Romanism. We are not saved because of our obedience. That is sheer Pelagianism. Nevertheless, it is the case that those to whom God has sovereignly given new life, to whom he has given the grace of faith and through it union with Christ, will and shall seek to live, sola gratia, sola fide according to God’s moral law. Continue reading →