Happy New Year from the HRA! This is the sixteenth year of the Heidelblog. You downloaded posts and pages more than 1.4 million times this year. The number of visitors grew by 9%, which means that more visitors came to the Heidelblog this year than ever before. Since 2012 the Heidelblog has had more than 9.8 million views. Thank you to our loyal readers and supporters. If you are just discovering us, welcome!
The Year That Was On The Heidelblog
The top ten posts of 2023 tell us something about the place of confessional Reformed theology, piety, and practice in our time. Three of the top articles posted this year, and one from last year that remains popular, had to do with John MacArthur and Grace Community Church. One essay, by former GCC elder Hohn Cho, deals with the question of how biblically faithful churches should deal with abuse within the church and whether GCC passed that test. The others address the problems associated with the Lordship Salvation theology, but arguably, they are all related since practice flows from theology.
The relationship between Christ and culture is one of the greatest questions before us and that is reflected in three of the top ten essays for the year. How to respond to the more radical phase of the sexual revolution, as represented by the Drag Queen Story Hour movement, is a challenge. Some responses to the sexual revolution have been less helpful, one of which we considered and which made this year’s top ten list. The historic Reformed doctrine of the spirituality of the institutional church is a doctrine that needs to be better understood. That much became clear during the controversy over the PCA’s address to the magistrate regarding the transgender agenda, and is reflected in the essay on the PCA’s letter to the government.
The confessional Reformed world is very small relative to the broader evangelical world. In the early 2000s, there were about 60 million American evangelicals, however that adjective was defined for the survey. In 2023 the evangelical movement is either declining (the majority report) or booming (the minority report). If having a “born again” experience makes one an evangelical, then, says Ryan Burge, there are as many as 138 million evangelicals. In any case, the confessional Reformed world (NAPARC) is tiny (approx. 500,000 members). By contrast, the Southern Baptist Convention represents something like 13 million people, and the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod represents about 1.8 million members. It will be no surprise, then, to read that the relationship between the Reformed confession and other traditions is a matter of continuing interest and significance. This is reflected in three of the most popular new posts for 2023. The most popular post addressed the revival, which has come and gone (as they do) at Asbury and the related phenomena. The ongoing discussion between the Baptist and Reformed traditions continues to generate interest, as seen in my response to Mark Dever’s remarks about the alleged effect of the practice of infant baptism. Finally, under this heading, the movement of some from confessional Reformed churches to confessional Lutheran churches is an opportunity for Reformed churches to reflect on their own practice, to see whether it reflects our own confession.
The Global Reach Of The HRA
The twin goals of the HRA are to help the Reformed churches recover their theology, piety, and practice and to help others discover it. If nothing else, 2023 tells us that we still have work to do, and we are doing it. This year we had listeners and readers from:
- United Kingdom
- South Africa
- New Zealand
These are only the ten countries with the most visitors to the HB. Readers from hundreds of nations visited the HB and listened to the Heidelcast in 2023. We published Spanish, Portuguese, and Turkish translations of HB articles.
Thanks to our listeners, the Heidelcast has become one of the most popular Reformed podcasts and one of the top podcasts worldwide. It continues to be among the .5% of podcasts worldwide.
We produced more podcasts this year than ever before. Thank you, listener, and thanks to Brian the Producer, who hosted his first-ever episode. This year, along with the series on Romans (45 episodes so far), we did more than 80 episodes celebrating the 100th anniversary of Machen’s Christianity and Liberalism, and began doing Q&A episodes during the week. We expect to wrap up our Romans series in the first quarter of 2024 and begin a series on continuing revelation and charismatic theology, piety, and practice.
The HRA continues to grow, but this year we suffered a significant loss. Our Vice Chairman, the Rev Tom Wenger II, went to be with the Lord. That his obituary was one of the most read posts this year says something about how beloved Tom is and how much he is missed by his family, his congregation, his friends, and by us at the HRA. We are dedicated to continuing the work and standing for the gospel of salvation by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, and doing it in a way that would make Tom chuckle.
I am grateful for the prayers and labors of our HRA board members:
- Chairman, Dan Borvan
- Vice-Chairman, Tom Wenger (d. 2023)
- Treasurer, Brad Isbell
- Secretary, Scott McDermand
- Member, Chris Gordon
We have a new project planned for 2024. Stay tuned. We think you will find it helpful as you discover or recover the Reformed confession.
To those who donated to help keep the Heidelblog and Heidelcast going, thank you. Our readership and listenership grew considerably this year. The number of subscribers to the Heidelblog grew by 43% in 2023. For those subscribing via the HB, we produced a daily email with links to that day’s content. Those subscribing via WordPress continue to receive an email with each post. This is the first year of statistics on our new host for the Heidelcast, but listenership is very strong.
The HRA employs several independent contractors: Megan maintains the HB site. Brian produces the podcast. Faith manages editorial operations and helps with administration. Brendan edits copy. Chris manages our social media accounts. And Barbara pays the bills and keeps the books straight. As always, a heartfelt thanks to the Wonderful Wizard of Web who built the Heidelblog and maintained it gratis from 2009 to 2020, and to Joe, who succeeded him.
Help Us Help You!
We took a step toward financial stability. We are not there yet, but we are closer. We need you to consider helping us in 2024. If you benefit from the work of the HRA, won’t you help us? Click on the PayPal donate button or send a check to:
Heidelberg Reformation Association
1637 E. Valley Parkway #391
Escondido CA 92027
The HRA is a 501(c)3 organization. This means that your gifts are tax deductible.
The Most Popular Posts Of 2023 (Published in 2023)
- R. Scott Clark, Embracing The Reformation Doctrine Of Salvation Is Not “Wearying From The Battle”
- R. Scott Clark, Tom Wenger II (1973–2023): Happy Warrior For The Gospel
- R. Scott Clark, “Cases Extraordinary,” The Spirituality Of The Church, And The Trans Crisis
- R. Scott Clark, Did The Reformation Corrupt The Gospel By Baptizing Babies?
- R. Scott Clark, Drag Queen Story Hour And The Pedophilia Spectrum
- R. Scott Clark, Nature, Grace, Sex, And Analogies
- R. Scott Clark, Why Reformed Folk Become Lutheran
- Hohn Cho, A Faithful Elder Stands Up For The Sheep
- R. Scott Clark, The Gospel According To John (MacArthur)—Part 1
- R. Scott Clark, Asbury Is Having A Revival (Again)
Other Popular Posts & Pages in 2023
- The Heidelcast
- The Ten Points Of Marxism
- Trueman: What “Big Eva” Is And Why It Matters To Reformed Churches
- R. Scott Clark, One Major Difference Between The Reformed And The Evangelicals
- R. Scott Clark, Covenant Theology Is Not Replacement Theology
- How To Find A Confessional Presbyterian Or Reformed Congregation
- Heidelblog Resources
- The Gospel According To John (MacArthur)
- Books and Essays
- Mike Abendroth, My Pilgrimage From “Lordship” to Law/Gospel (part 1)
- How To Subscribe To Heidelmedia
- The Heidelblog Resource Page
- Top Ten HB Posts Through The Years
- How to support the Heidelblog: use the donate button below this post or send a check to:Heidelberg Reformation Association
1637 E. Valley Parkway #391
Escondido CA 92027The HRA is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.
- Subscribe To Heidelmedia
- The Heidelblog Resource Page
- Heidelmedia Resources
- The Ecumenical Creeds
- The Reformed Confessions
- The Heidelberg Catechism
- Heidelblog Contributors
- Recovering the Reformed Confession (Phillipsburg: P&R Publishing, 2008).