The HB began in 2007 as a low-key exposition of the Heidelberg CatechismHeidelberg Catechism and gradually morphed into a discussion of issues surrounding the federal vision and then into a broader discussion of contemporary issues surrounding the recovery of the Reformed confession. The top-ten posts for 2009 are controversial in nature and most of them are focused on the question of defining the adjective “Reformed.” Is the adjective “Reformed,” have a fixed, public, ecclesiastical definition given to it in and by the Reformed confession (i.e., the theology, piety, and practice of the Reformed churches as it has come to expression in the confessional standards) or are there as many definitions as definers?
1. A Gentle Rebuke to Brother John. In this post I sought to raise the issue of the wisdom of exposing thousands of evangelicals to the theology and influence of the de facto leader of the Federal Vision movement. I also wanted to challenge John’s claim that the FV is really nothing but plain, old-fashioned Reformed theology. I also devoted two Heidelcasts to this question.
2. Carl Trueman wrote the second most read post this year, Being Presbyterian in the Church of Scotland, in which he took issue with the response of conservatives in the C of S to the ordination of homosexuals and with the ecclesiology of those evangelicals who have remained in the C of S.
3. In Calvinism Old and New I examined Mark Driscoll’s response to TIME magazine. I challenged the premise on which Driscoll’s response rests, namely that his theology, piety, and practice is genuinely “Calvinist” and second, that “Calvinism” can be reduced to the doctrine of predestination that can be re-contextualized in congregations which are at odds with the Reformed confession.
4. Despite appearing late in the year, my Questions for the CanRC headed toward the top of the charts very quickly. The discussion that ensued was, at points, both encouraging and frustrating. I hope it was enlightening and the beginning of more substantive discussions to follow.
5. Also appearing late in the year was a Post-Thanksgiving Response to a Caricature of my views by James White. This post and the discussion that followed is part of series of posts on the question of the relation broader evangelicals, who sympathize with aspects of the Reformed theology, but who reject Reformed ecclesiology and a Reformed theology and practice of the sacraments, to the Reformed faith.
6. In John’s Latitudinarian Garage I responded to John Frame’s jaundiced review of Mike Horton’s book Christless Christianity. What you need to know about this review is that John ends up siding with Joel Osteen over Mike Horton. That said, after a more recent and even more offensive review, John’s work seems more sweetly reasonable. That says more about the demerits of the former than the virtues of the latter.
7. Number 7, For Those Just Tuning In: What is the Federal Vision? first appeared in 2007 but it persists as a golden oldie primarily because people keep discovering the FV (on the web and elsewhere). The persistence of this post is a reminder that the FV question is not behind us and will not be until the federal visionists face discipline in ecclesiastical assemblies.
8. That most American evangelicals and especially those of the dispensational variety, do not understand Reformed covenant theology is evident by the continued popularity of a 2008 post explaining that Covenant Theology is Not Replacement Theology. Here I tried to show that those who describe covenant theology as “replacement theology” are confusing their categories for ours.
9. It seems quite evident to me that Reformed theology, piety, and practice has always been cessationist but apparently that remains a surprise to a good number of people and thus the need for a brief exploration and explanation of the question whether Reformed Christians Must Be Cessationist?
10. As historically dubious as Reformation Day is (it was 19th-century invention to facilitate merger between German Lutherans and German Reformed churches; beware people are already gearing up for the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation in 2017) it is, nevertheless, a useful opportunity to remind ourselves and others as to what the gospel is. This year that opportunity came by way of a examination of part of a sermon by Doug Wilson where we found him Speaking a Foreign Language.
This has been a good, if busy, year for the HB. I estimate that there have been over 650,000 page views in the last 12 months. This month was our busiest ever. Thanks for making the HB part of your day.