Richard Baxter On Initial And Final Justification Through Faith And Works

The magisterial Protestant churches (i.e., the Lutheran and Reformed) and their theologians did not speak of, teach, or confess a “two-stage” doctrine of justification or even a “two-stage” doctrine of salvation (justification, sanctification, and glorification). Yet, today, one sees leading evangelical and . . . Continue reading →

Principles Of Spiritual Self-Defense

My first interaction with the theology of Norman Shepherd probably came in seminary. He was dismissed from his position as a professor in a Reformed and Presbyterian seminary, where he taught the course on the doctrine of salvation (soteriology) in 1981. I . . . Continue reading →

Pastor: A Plea For The Gospel

The gospel really does become again a strange announcement, totally unexpected to fallen ears—especially when sermons are caught between “evangelical” encouragement and culture wars bellicosity. Anonymous, 2017.

Audio: Luther On The Theologian Of The Cross

Last Sunday I had the pleasure of speaking to the adult class at Christ United Reformed Church in Santee, CA. I was filling in for my friend and colleague, Dr Ryan Glomsrud, a ruling elder at CURC. He has been teaching a . . . Continue reading →

Burying The Lead On Baxter

There is a phrase in journalism called “burying the lead” (or, since about 1979, the cloying variant lede). The lead (lede) is the paragraph in which the most important, salient facts are contained. In the old days (c. 1975), the writer was . . . Continue reading →

Strangers And Aliens (8): A Rock Of Offense And A Cornerstone (1 Peter 2:7–8)

What Martin Luther (1483–1546) expressed as a distinction between the distinction between a theology of glory (theologia gloriae) and the theology of the cross) the Reformed tended to express as a distinction between the Creator and the creature but same set ideas . . . Continue reading →

Heidelberg 114: Between Moralism And Antinomianism (1)

Judged by the mainstream of Reformed theology and particularly by confession of by the Reformed Churches, Richard Baxter (1615–91) was not Reformed. Remarkably, because many are not aware of what Baxter taught about the central issue of the Reformation, the article by . . . Continue reading →

Heidelberg 64: Sanctification By Grace Versus Sanctification By Scolding (1)

Usually, if a boss wants greater efficiency and productivity from her employees, she sets up a system of incentives for her employees. If the boss is of the ordinary, uncreative sort, those incentives are likely to be negative. Fail to meet this goal and x (e.g., loss of pay, demotion etc) shall happen. A more creative boss might set up a series of positive incentives: meet this target and you shall receive y reward (e.g., extra paid vacation, flexible scheduling, company car etc). Whatever the nature of the incentive, the very structure is a covenant of works. Continue reading →