The Heidelcast

Heidelcast 130: I Am That I Am (8)—Against Social Trinitarianism

In the last few episodes we have been considering the biblical, ecumenical (or creedal) doctrine of the Trinity. The God who is, is one in three persons. The historic doctrine of the Trinity is very clear. It is also great mystery but . . . Continue reading →

Heidelcast 129: I Am That I Am (7)—The Trinity In The New Testament

Augustine of Hippo used to say that what was concealed in the Old Testament is revealed in the New Testament and that is certainly true in case of the biblical doctrine of the Trinity. As we have discussed so far in the . . . Continue reading →

Heidelcast 128: I Am That I Am (6)—The Trinity And The Covenant Of Redemption

I am excited to back behind the Heidelmic again and judging from the discussions I am seeing in print and online it looks like it is none too soon. James Dolezal has published an important new book, All That Is In God: . . . Continue reading →

Heidelcast 127: I Am That I Am (5)—The Trinity

There strong indications in the Hebrew Scriptures that the God of the Bible is not only personal, but that he is multi-personal. In Genesis 1:1, Scripture says that Elohim (God) created the heavens and the earth. In the very next verse, however, . . . Continue reading →

Heidelcast 126: I Am That I Am (4)—The Trinity

Traditionally, at this place in theology, we should address the divine attributes in relation to the divine being/essence. Otto Weber (1902–66) challenged this approach by arguing that because Scripture reveals God first of all as Triune and his attributes in the light . . . Continue reading →

Heidelcast 125: I Am That I Am (3)—More On The Categorical Distinction

So far in this series we have been talking about what I call the categorical distinction, i.e., the Creator/creature distinction. At the 1518 Heidelberg Disputation Martin Luther unveiled what he called his theology of the cross, (theologia crucis) against what he described . . . Continue reading →

Heidelcast 124: I Am That I Am (2)—The Categorical Distinction

The Creator/creature distinction is fundamental to Christian theology. The Ancient Christian church defended it against the pagan doctrine of the eternality of matter. Scripture is very clear: “In the beginning God…”. On this point, the classical, confessional Reformed theologians built their distinction . . . Continue reading →

Heidelcast 123: I Am That I Am (1)—The Categorical Distinction

This is the 1st episode of our series on the doctrine of God, ““I AM That I AM.” In older histories of theology it used to be said of the Reformed that they started with the divine decree and deduced (i.e., drew . . . Continue reading →

Heidelcast 122: Rise, Make For Us Gods (With Chris Gordon)

This past Lord’s Day morning we began the new week by hearing a sermon, an exposition of God’s Word and a proclamation of the law and the gospel. In our congregation we heard a sermon from the first part of Exodus 32. . . . Continue reading →

Heidelcast 121: I Will Be A God To You And To Your Children (15)

This is the 15th and final episode of our series, “I Will Be A God to You And to Your Children.” If you are just finding us, the series starts at episode 105. As we wrap up the series it seemed to . . . Continue reading →

Heidelcast 120: D. G. Hart On H. L. Mencken

Henry Louis Mencken (1880-1956) was one of the most influential writers of the 1st half of the 20th century. He was a skeptic about religion but had a keen eye and a sharp tongue. It was he who described Sister Aimee’s religion . . . Continue reading →

Heidelcast 119: I Will Be A God To You And To Your Children (14)

This series has really been about how to interpret Scripture.  Christians study the same Bible, but we often read it differently. Sometimes we begin with different assumptions about the nature of things and authority. These different methods and starting points lead to . . . Continue reading →

Heidelcast 118: I Will Be A God To You And To Your Children (13)

With this episode now we dive into the question of baptism itself. So far we have been setting the stage because, from the historic, confessional Reformed point of view, the debate about infant baptism is really a debate about how to understand . . . Continue reading →

Heidelcast 117—Calvinist: The Movie With Les Lanphere

We are interrupting our series on covenant and baptism to talk to a special guest, Les Lanphere. He is one half of the Reformed Pubcast and co-moderator of the Reformed Pub on Facebook. He’s also a film maker and he is in . . . Continue reading →

Heidelcast 116: I Will Be A God To You And To Your Children (12)

We are just about ready to immerse ourselves, as it were, in the question of baptism but we have at least one more thing to discuss before we get to baptism and that is this: what is baptism? In the Reformed tradition, . . . Continue reading →

Heidelcast 115: I Will Be A God To You And To Your Children (11)

In this episode we  see that the benefits of the New Covenant are the benefits of the covenant of grace. There are some who see a strong discontinuity between the promises made to Abraham and the new covenant promised Jeremiah 31. There . . . Continue reading →

Heidelcast 114: I Will Be A God To You And To Your Children (10)

In the last episode, in this episode and in the next, we’re looking at what Scripture says about the new covenant. We’ve looked at what Jeremiah 31:31-34 actually says, how Paul interprets it, and now we want to turn our attention to . . . Continue reading →

Heidelcast 113: I Will Be A God To You And To Your Children (9)

Does initiation of covenant children into the visible covenant people expire with the new covenant? Is the new covenant absolutely relatively new? Is it new relative to Abraham or new relative to Moses? These are the topics we’re investigating in this episode of the Heidelcast. Continue reading →

Heidelcast 112: I Will Be A God To You And To Your Children (8)

This is episode 8 of our series: I will be a God to You and to Your Children. Last time we looked at circumcision, about which we saw that, just as with the bloodshed of the sacrifice of pigeons, bulls, goats, and . . . Continue reading →

Heidelcast 111: I Will Be A God To You And To Your Children (7)

This is episode 7 of our series: I will be a God to You and to Your Children. For the last two episodes we have been thinking about what is temporary and what is permanent in the history of redemption. We have . . . Continue reading →

Heidelcast 110: I Will Be A God To You And To Your Children (6)

This is episode 6 of our series: I will be a God to You and to Your Children. Last time we began looking at how types and shadows help us sort out what, in the history of redemption, is temporary and what . . . Continue reading →

Heidelcast 109: I Will Be A God To You And To Your Children (5)

This is part 5 of the series: I Will Be A God To You And To Your Children. Last time we looked at the distinction between the substance of the covenant of grace and its accidents or its outward (external) administration throughout redemptive . . . Continue reading →

Heidelcast 108: I Will Be A God To You And To Your Children (4)

This is part 4 of the series: I Will Be A God To You And To Your Children. Last time we considered whether it’s right to speak of a “covenant of grace.” We saw that, from the very beginning of redemptive history, . . . Continue reading →

Heidelcast 107: I Will Be A God To You And To Your Children (3)

Last time we looked at some of the challenges we face in learning how to interpret Scripture properly and how the Ancient Christian Churches and the Reformed churches read the Scriptures, with Christ at the center. One way to understand this unity . . . Continue reading →

Heidelcast 106: I Will Be A God To You And To Your Children (2)

This is part 2 of the series: I Will Be A God To You And To Your Children. We’re talking about how to read the Scriptures, about what Scripture says about the covenant of grace, its administration, and baptism. One of the . . . Continue reading →

Heidelcast 105: I Will Be A God To You And To Your Children (1)

One of the most frequent topics and questions for discussion on the Heidelblog has been this: Who should be baptized and why? To anticipate an objection: some will say that the Heidelcast should not be addressing this subject because it causes needless . . . Continue reading →

Heidelcast 104: Recovering The Covenant Of Works (4)

Remember our definition of the covenant of works. It was that legal arrangement into which God voluntarily condescended to enter and by which he promised eternal blessedness to Adam, on the condition that Adam by personal, perfect, and perpetual obedience should keep . . . Continue reading →

Heidelcast 103: Recovering The Covenant Of Works (3)

The doctrine of the covenant of works was taught by the Dutch, the Germans, the French, the Swiss, the English, the Scots, and the Irish. It was taught in the 1560s (it was arguably implied in the 1561 Belgic Confession’s phrase “commandment . . . Continue reading →

Heidelcast 102: Recovering The Covenant Of Works (2)

For a doctrine that was almost universally held by Reformed theologians from the 1560s through the 19th century, and confessed explicitly twice in the Westminster Confession of Faith (1648), in the Westminster Larger Catechism, in the Savoy Declaration (1658), as well as . . . Continue reading →

Heidelcast 101: Presbytopia

What’s the big deal about being Presbyterian or Reformed? After all, isn’t it enough to love Jesus? Honestly, no. Of course you should love Jesus but then what? If someone else personally paid for all your legal offenses out of his own . . . Continue reading →

Heidelcast 100: Recovering The Covenant Of Works (1)

In contemporary Reformed Christianity, even in confessional churches, i.e., those churches where they not only formally hold the historic confessions but where they still profess to believe and seek to practice what we confess, two of the most disposable doctrines seem to . . . Continue reading →

Heidelcast 99: The Noah Paradigm

Christians in the USA live in an increasingly confused, confusing time. Hostility to the faith seems to be increasing. We seem to be witnessing a growing hostility even to the very idea that there is such a thing as nature with fixed . . . Continue reading →

Heidelcast 98: Salvation, Good Works, And Conditions

We in the Reformed world are in the midst of another controversy over sanctification, salvation, good works, and conditions in the covenant of grace. Are we justified by grace alone through faith alone but saved by grace, through faith and works? Is . . . Continue reading →

Heidelcast 97: A Secular Faith With Darryl Hart

Evangelical involvement in politics has perhaps never been more intense. The George W. Bush administration had an office of faith-based initiatives. The Obama administration continues to hold prayer breakfasts and regularly invokes the Christian faith when it serves favored policy goals. The . . . Continue reading →

Heidelcast 96: Reformation Then And Now

Confessional Reformed theology, piety, and practice does not seem to be sweeping the field in North America but it is prospering in other parts of the globe. In this episode Dan Borvan joins us to get us up to speed about the . . . Continue reading →

Heidelcast 95: Reformation Happens

As you read this the churches, the theology, piety, and practice represented by confessionally Reformed and Presbyterian Churches is almost statistically invisible. Of the 60 million evangelicals in North America only a tiny fraction actually identify with the confessional Reformed and Presbyterian churches . . . Continue reading →

Heidelcast 94: The LGBT Movement And Free Speech (pt 2)

This is part 2 of our two-part interview with Stella Morabito about an essay she published in The Federalist on the how LGBT movement is seeking to restrict free speech in the United States. Here is part 1. This is not a theoretical issue. Consider this scenario: . . . Continue reading →

Heidelcast 93: The LGBT Movement And Free Speech

We’re interrupting the series Of Nice And Men for a two-part interview with Stella Morabito about an essay she published in The Federalist on the how LGBT movement is seeking to restrict free speech in the United States. This is not a theoretical issue. Consider . . . Continue reading →

Heidelcast 92: Of Nice And Men (1)

With this episode we begin a new series: Of Nice And Men. The argument, the thesis, of the series is that niceness is one thing and Christian virtue is another. Niceness is a pervasive ethos among evangelicals. The dictionary defines ethos as the a spirit . . . Continue reading →

Heidelcast 91: God’s Holy Law (14)—The Tenth Commandment

“You shall not covet your neighbor’s house, you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor’s.” Continue reading →

Heidelcast 90: God’s Holy Law (13): The Ninth Commandment

The ninth commandment, however, also requires that we confess and defend the very existence of truth in an age when the notion that there is truth and that truth is distinct from error is widely doubted. Continue reading →

Heidelcast 89: God’s Holy Law (12)—The Eighth Commandment

The 8th commandment says: “You shall not steal” We are, by and large, a wealthy people. There is no sin in that, but there are dangers in wealth. A recent study has shown that even as the world measures happiness, the wealthy . . . Continue reading →

Heidelcast 88: God’s Holy Law (11)—The Seventh Commandment

In this episode we consider the 7th commandment: “You shall not commit adultery.” Warning: since this episode discusses sexual ethics, it may not be suitable for younger listeners. In the seventh commandment the Lord asserts his authority over our sex life. What . . . Continue reading →

Heidelcast 87: God’s Holy Law (10)—You Shall Not Murder (pt 2)

After the last episode it occurred to me that there is an obvious question that I should have addressed under the 6th commandment: abortion, the termination of a human life in the womb. Since 1973 no fewer than 50 million human beings . . . Continue reading →

Heidelcast 86: You Shall Not Murder—God’s Holy Law (9)

In this episode we consider the sixth commandment: “You shall not murder.” You may have learned this commandment a little differently. Some translations, e.g., the Authorized or King James Version (1611) translate Exodus 20:13 as, “You shall not kill.” The Hebrew verb . . . Continue reading →

Heidelcast 85: The Holy Law Of God (8)—The Fifth Commandment (pt 2)

This is part 2 of a two-part episode on the fifth commandment: “Honor your father and your mother that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God gives you.” In Heidelberg Catechism 104 we interpret this commandment to require . . . Continue reading →

Heidelcast 84: When Marriage Is Decoupled From Nature

With episode 84 we are taking a brief hiatus from our series on the moral law to talk with one of my favorite authors, Stella Morabito, about an article she published in The Federalist, “A Funny Thing Happened On the Way to . . . Continue reading →

Heidelcast 83: The Holy Law Of God (7)—The Fifth Commandment (pt 1)

In this episode we consider the fifth commandment: “Honor your father and your mother that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God gives you.” In Heidelberg Catechism 104 we interpret this commandment to require “that I . . . Continue reading →

Heidelcast 82: The Holy Law Of God (6)—The Fourth Commandment

That there is a Sabbath is evident in the first chapter in God’s Word. According to Scripture, Almighty God “worked” for six days, six mornings and evenings, and rested the seventh. Have you ever stopped to wonder why Scripture says that God “rested”? Was . . . Continue reading →

Heidelcast 81: God’s Holy Law (5)—The Third Commandment

God’s holy law says, “You shall not take the name of the Yahweh your God in vain; for Yahweh will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.” The first thing we need to say about the name of the . . . Continue reading →

Heidelcast 80: God’s Holy Law (4)—The Second Commandment

All the commandments are challenging to us sinners. In the first commandment we saw that God will not share his glory with another. In the 2nd commandment we read and hear that we must worship the true God truly. We do not . . . Continue reading →

Heidelcast 79: The Holy Law of God (3)—You Shall Have No Other Gods

The first commandment says: “You shalt have no other gods before me.” The Hebrew text says literally, “You shall not have any other Elohim before my face.” Elohim is the generic word for God in the Hebrew Bible. When Genesis 1:1 says, . . . Continue reading →

Heidelcast 78: God’s Holy Law (2)

This is part 2 of the series God’s Holy Law. In order to use the law rightly we need to make some important distinctions. One of the most important of these is the distinction between law and gospel. Historically, confessional Reformed theologians . . . Continue reading →

Heidelcast 77: God’s Holy Law (1)

With this episode we begin a new series: God’s Holy Law. In this episode we consider what the law is, how the moral law is distinguished from the civil and ceremonial aspects of the law, the universality of the law, its expression . . . Continue reading →

Heidelcast 76: Was The Marrow Antinomian?

This is 13th and final part of the our series, nomism, antinomianism and The Marrow of Modern Divinity. If you’re just joining us, you can start at the beginning with episode 58. Why this series? Because The Marrow was an important classic . . . Continue reading →

Heidelcast 75: The Psalms In Worship And Living

What worship is and how it should be done is one of the most difficult questions with which confessional Reformed and Presbyterian churches are presently faced. Few things will cause trouble in a congregation more quickly than making changes in a worship . . . Continue reading →

Heidelcast 74: Nomism And Antinomianism (12)

Before I began this series my intent was to do a series of episodes on the Reformed understanding of the Christian use of the moral law as the norm or rule of the Christian life. Confessional Protestants (Reformed and Lutheran) call it . . . Continue reading →

Heidelcast 73: Nomism And Antinomianism (11)

Last time we considered what some folk mean by the expression “the law of Christ” and, in contrast, what the Bible means by it. It’s neither a new covenant of works, as if we could obey our way into acceptance with God . . . Continue reading →

Heidelcast 72: The Covenant Of Grace And Race

If you’ve been near social media or a television recently you probably know about the troubles in Ferguson, Missouri. It’s a predominantly African-American suburb of St Louis where, around Noon on Saturday August 9, 2014 a Mike Brown, a young, 18-year old, . . . Continue reading →

Heidelcast 71: Nomism And Antinomianism (10)

We’ve come to the 3rd part of the Marrow, “Of the law of Christ.” This is a phrase that occurs frequently in this discussion. Neither the antinomian nor the neonomian are satisfied with the law of Christ the way it is. The . . . Continue reading →

Heidelcast 70: Nomism And Antinomianism (9)

The issue before this week is this: The nomist (i.e., the legalist) will frequently deny that he is a legalist. We can even get the nomist to profess orthodox things about the doctrine of justification but here’s an acid test—by the way . . . Continue reading →

Heidelcast 69: Stella Morabito On Political Correctness

The Heidelcast is a broadcast about history and theology and recovering the Reformed confession but one of my great concerns in recent years has been the potential and actual loss of religious and other civil liberties. It’s not unusual for Reformed ministers . . . Continue reading →

Heidelcast 68: Science! (pt 2)

It’s widely thought that science, the modern study of nature, is the product of the rejection of Christianity, as if science and Christianity are naturally at odds. As part of this narrative it is said that Christianity was anti-intellectual and disinterested in . . . Continue reading →

Heidelcast 67: Recovering Mother Kirk

Before there was Recovering the Reformed Confession, there was Recovering Mother Kirk a seminal book for all Reformed confessionalists who are looking for a way between revivalism and fundamentalism or between QIRC and QIRE. Darryl Hart published Recovering Mother Kirk just over . . . Continue reading →

Heidelcast 66: Nomism And Antinomianism (8)—The Third Use Of The Law

We’re resuming the series on antinomianism and we’re talking with Nick Batzig, pastor of New Covenant Presbyterian Church (PCA) in the Savannah area. Nick blogs at Feeding On Christ. He’s also on Twitter. He recently wrote a provocative essay on the third . . . Continue reading →

Heidelcast 65: Science!

We’re talking a break from the series on nomism and antinomianism to talk about science. Not long ago there was a debate between Bill Nye the Science Guy and Ken Ham the Creationist Guy that garnered a considerable amount of attention. Why did . . . Continue reading →

Heidelcast 64: Nomism And Antinomianism (7)

The nomist wants to know whether the works he did before coming to faith are of any value. He asks, “why then, sir, it would seem that all my seeking to please God by my good works, all my strict walking according . . . Continue reading →

Heidelcast 63: Nomism And Antinomianism (6)

The Heidelcast is working through The Marrow of Modern Divinity (1645). Last time we began looking at the doctrine of the covenant of grace. We saw that the principle of the covenant of grace is fundamentally different from that of the covenant of works. . . . Continue reading →

Heidelcast 62: Nomism And Antinomianism (5)

The Heidelcast is working through The Marrow of Modern Divinity (1645) as a model for how to account for justification and sanctification, how to keep them together, without losing either and without confusing them. The circumstances in which The Marrow first appeared were . . . Continue reading →

Heidelcast 61: Nomism And Antinomianism (4)

The first major section of the Marrow of Modern Divinity was a defense of the covenant of works. It is fascinating to see how, already in the 1640s, the covenant of works came under criticism from the nomists (legalists, moralists). Nothing really . . . Continue reading →

Heidelcast 60: Nomism And Antinomianism (3)

With this episode I had intended to begin a survey of The Marrow of Modern Divinity but Chris Gordon, my friend, colleague, and pastor at Escondido URC put in my hands a terrific little volume from 1831, which was an assessment of the Marrow . . . Continue reading →

Heidelcast 59: Nomism And Antinomianism (2)

The Reformed confess that we were justified in order that we might be progressively sanctified, i.e., gradually and graciously conformed to the image of Christ. The same Spirit who raised Christ from the dead, who united us to him through faith, is . . . Continue reading →

Heidelcast 58: Nomism And Antinomianism (1)

With this episode we begin a series on the proper understanding and use of the law in the Christian life. We’ll be talking about both two of our least favorite relatives, uncle nomism and antinomianism. In contrast to these two errors we’ll . . . Continue reading →

Heidelcast 57: Why We Can’t Move On (3)

Revisionism isn’t always a bad thing. I am a revisionist myself. I’ve been trying to help people see the history of Reformed theology rather differently from the way it was often presented from the middle of the 19th century through the 1970s. . . . Continue reading →

Heidelcast 56: Why We Can’t Move On (2)

Sometimes it might have seemed that we haven’t had to contend for the gospel but the historical reality is that we were kidding ourselves. In every case where the gospel has been seriously challenged, whether by Pelagius, medieval semi-Pelagianism, Trent in the . . . Continue reading →

Heidelcast 55: Why We Can’t Move On (1)

There is a certain amount of pressure within the NAPARC world to “move on” from the Federal Vision. In the next three episodes we’re going to consider why that is and how Reformed folk, particularly ministers and elders (but laity too), should . . . Continue reading →

Heidelcast 54: The Story Of The Meyers Case (Pt 2)

For those who are outside the Reformed churches, the so-called (and self-named) Federal Vision movement probably seems like a tempest in a teapot. For those of us, however, who worship in Reformed churches, the FV is no theoretical discussion. There have been . . . Continue reading →

Heidelcast 53: The Story Of The Meyers Case And State Of The FV Controversy (Pt 1)

The self-described and so-called Federal Vision movement has been troubling the confessional (NAPARC) Reformed and Presbyterian denominations since before it had a cool name. It presents itself as Reformed theology but is only Reformed in the way that Arminius was Reformed. He . . . Continue reading →

Heidelcast 52: Images Of Christ Don’t Affirm His Humanity, They Deny It

In some Reformed quarters to it is considered clever to argue that to reject images is to deny the humanity of Christ. That Reformed writers should make such an argument would shock our Reformed forefathers, who were convinced that images of Christ . . . Continue reading →

Heidelcast 51: Happy Thanksgiving From The Heidelcast

According to the Heidelberg Catechism there are three great heads of the Christian faith: guilt, grace, and gratitude. There may be other motivations to godliness but the catechism isn’t structured by them. It is structured by gratitude. Yet, there are those who . . . Continue reading →

Heidelcast 50: Making Some Sense Of The Republication Debate Pt 3: With Chris Gordon

Beginning at least in the 1560s, it was non-controversial for Reformed theologians to teach that God, before the fall, entered into a legal, probationary covenant with Adam, who was the representative of the whole human race, the condition of which was perfect . . . Continue reading →

Heidelcast 49: Making Some Sense of The Republication Debate Pt 2: With Chris Gordon

Parts of the confessional Reformed world in North America are in the midst of a controversy over whether it is biblical, confessional, and historically Reformed to teach that the Mosaic covenant was, in some sense, a republication of the covenant of works. . . . Continue reading →

Heidelcast 48: Making Some Sense Of The Republication Debate Pt 1: History

Parts of the confessional Reformed world in North America are in the midst of a controversy over whether it is biblical, confessional, and historically Reformed to teach that the Mosaic covenant was, in some sense, a republication of the covenant of works. . . . Continue reading →

Heidelcast 47: Heidelcast: Conditions And The Covenant Of Grace (pt 2)

On today’s Heidelcast, part 2 of our discussion about conditions in the covenant of grace. In episode 46 I tried to establish a distinction between two kinds of conditions in the covenant of grace: antecedent and consequent. An antecedent condition is a work, . . . Continue reading →

Heidelcast 46: Conditions And The Covenant Of Grace (Pt 1)

In Reformed theology we speak of three covenants, the pre-temporal covenant of redemption, the covenant of works, and the covenant of grace. In the covenant of redemption there are two aspects, works for the Son and grace for the elect. The Son was . . . Continue reading →

Heidelcast 45: What’s New About The New Covenant? (Pt 2)

In this episode, part 2 of 2, we look specifically at what is new in the new covenant. Here’s part 1. Jeremiah 31:31–34 looks forward to four future blessings in the new covenant. The New Testament takes up those categories and elaborates . . . Continue reading →

Heidelcast 44: What’s New About The New Covenant? (Pt 1)

We speak often about the old and new covenants or Old and New Testaments but what are they and especially what is the Old Testament or the old covenant? What is the relationship between the Old and New Testaments and what is . . . Continue reading →

Heidelcast 43: See Something, Say Something

Denial is the refusal to believe what our senses are telling us, of seeking an alternate explanation. Thomas wanted didn’t trust his eyes. One of the earliest heresies faced by the apostolic church was the claim that Jesus humanity was only apparent . . . Continue reading →

Heidelcast 42: Fiona’s Crisis

The Heidelcast considers the case of Fiona, who was raised in a broadly evangelical congregation. In that tradition, the emphasis was on unity over diversity. The congregation tolerated different approaches to the sacraments and to the doctrine of salvation. What bound them . . . Continue reading →

Heidelcast 41: Reformation Worship Conference

David Hall and the good folks at Midway Presbyterian Church (PCA) in Powder Springs, GA are hosting the fifth annual Reformation Worship Conference next month (Oct 17-20, 2013). David joined me by phone this afternoon to talk about the conference and about . . . Continue reading →

Heidelcast 40: Christ, Culture, And Confession

We confess that Christ is Lord but what does that entail for the way Christians relate to the broader culture? Are we Christians because the culture is Christian? Do Christians separate themselves completely from the culture? Are we called to transform the . . . Continue reading →

Heidelcast 39: Confessional Church Planting In Cincinnati

An important part of recovering the Reformed confession is calling the churches back to our theology, piety, and practice. Church planting is a part of that practice. We’ve always been “missional.” We were missional before there was a cool word for it. . . . Continue reading →

Heidelcast 38: The Prevalence Of Prevarication

The law of God is always relevant but the ninth commandment seems particularly relevant right now. We live in a time when truth seems to be out of fashion. I can’t remember a time when there has seemed to be so little . . . Continue reading →

Heidelcast 37: Around The Horn And The Globe With NAPARC

The Heidelcast answers a phone call asking about NAPARC and what distinguishes the various confessional Reformed denominations and federations from each other. Thanks to the Rev Dr David Hall, Sr Pastor of Midway Presbyterian Church, (PCA) in Powder Springs, GA, the Rev Mr . . . Continue reading →

Heidelcast 35: Zeke Takes Us Behind The Scenes As The World Ends (Updated)

If you’ve been following the HB, the Heidelcast has been in re-runs for several months. Today, however, the Heidelcast is back with a brand new episode. Earlier this week I talked with Zeke Piestrup about his new documentary, “Apocalypse Later: Harold Camping . . . Continue reading →

Heidelcast 34: Jesus On A Pizza

Alleged manifestations of our Lord have been claimed for a long time since the close of the apostolic period. It is even more common for artists to represent what they imagine his likeness to have been in paintings. So widely accepted are . . . Continue reading →

Heidelcast 33: Muether On Van Til

Cornelius Van Til is one of the more important figures in modern Reformed history. He was much influenced by Abraham Kuyper but he also had other influences and he has influenced generations of American (and other) Reformed pastors and teachers. He is . . . Continue reading →

Heidelcast 32: D. G. Hart On Union With Christ

The doctrine of union with Christ has been a controversial issue in Reformed circles for several years. On the surface, judging by the older Reformed writers and by the Reformed confessions, it is difficult to see exactly why the doctrine of union . . . Continue reading →

Heidelcast 31: Bringing Reformation To the Congregation

The Reformation is not only a doctrine and a piety. It is those two things but it is also a practice. It entails change in the life of the congregation, not for its own sake but for the sake of bringing that . . . Continue reading →

Heidelcast 30: Taking the Reformation Back To Germany

The Reformation is closely identified with what we think of as Germany. The Lutheran Reformation certain originated there and the Reformed Reformation had strong roots there too. Heidelberg was one of the great centers of Reformation theology in the late 16th century. . . . Continue reading →

Heidelcast 29: The Imputation of Christ’s Active Obedience (pt 2)

Lane Keister joins the Heidelcast again for part 2 of our discussion of the imputation of the active obedience of Christ. Did Jesus obey only to qualify himself to be a Savior, did he obey for only himself and suffer only for . . . Continue reading →

Heidelcast 28 With Lane Keister: Does The Federal Vision Theology Lead To Rome?

Thanks to the Wonderful Wizard of Web, who has been cleaning up the HB, we have found an orphaned episode of the Heidelcast from March, 2010. This was part 4 of a series with PCA pastor the Rev. Mr. Lane Keister, who . . . Continue reading →

Heidelcast 27: With Lane Keister on the Imputation of Christ’s Active Obedience

HB reader Nick writes to ask about the imputation of Christ’s active obedience. Is it true that the Westminster divines, Twisse, Vines, and Gataker opposed the imputation of the active obedience of Christ and that the phrase, “the whole obedience of Christ” . . . Continue reading →

Heidelcast 26: With Lane Keister On The Federal Vision (2)

The time warp continues as we flash back to 2010 when the Leithart case was first addressed by the PCA’s Standing Judicial Commission (which acts on behalf of the General Assembly). Back then the SJC erred that Leithart’s presbytery erred in not . . . Continue reading →

Heidelcast 25: With Lane Keister On The Federal Vision In The PCA

Here’s a flashback to the Federal Vision controversy, in the PCA, as it was 2010. The is the first of five episodes with Lane on the FV and related questions. It’s interesting to time travel, as it were, and listen to the . . . Continue reading →

Heidelcast 24: Give It A Rest—What Christians Can Learn From Chick-Fil-A

Your Creator wants you to take a break. I’m a Chick-Fil-A fan. Love the peach shakes. It’s one of the few places in this area where I can find real sweet tea. There’s another reason to like Chick-Fil-A. They love their employees . . . Continue reading →

Heidelcast 23: Ecstasy is Not Christianity

Concern about dead formalism or ritualism is legitimate but we should not think that because a religious service is emotionally or psychologically satisfying or that because one has a certain kind of ecstasy that one has escaped dead formalism. There is a . . . Continue reading →

Heidelcast 22: On The Relation Of The Kingdom To The Church

Steven writes to ask whether the Kingdom of God is synonymous with the visible church or whether it is broader than the visible church? These questions have been particularly a matter of discussion since the rise of the Dutch neo-Calvinist movement in . . . Continue reading →

Heidelcast 21: What is the Order of Regeneration and Faith?

Today’s Heidelcast answers mail on the question of whether it is to the living or to the dead that God gives faith. Dan writes to ask “I believe, at least inferentially, that the Canons of Dort teach that regeneration logically precedes faith. . . . Continue reading →

Heidelcast 20: Evangelism or Manipulation?

Many years ago a fellow I knew used to practice what he called “evangelism” by asking people, “Do you know the way to [the local amusement park]?” Nice, irrepressibly helpful Midwesterners they were, folk would always stop to give directions. Then, our . . . Continue reading →

Heidelcast 19: The Church of Steel vs A Cross of Wood

The Church of Steel vs A Cross of Wood In downtown San Diego there is a storefront on Broadway which advertises itself as the “Church of Steel.” I found an interview with the proprietor (minister?) of this “church” and it is enlightening. . . . Continue reading →

Heidelcast 18: Is It Okay To Steal (If The Minister Says It Is?)

A correspondent writes to about an Anglican minister who advised the poor, who are starving, who’ve somehow fallen through the extensive British social safety net, among his congregation, to shoplift rather than commit burglary. He asked them not to steal from small . . . Continue reading →

Heidelcast 17: Legalism and Antinomianism

What’s the difference between legalism and antinomianism? The latter is the denial of the abiding validity of God’s moral law for the life of the believer. The church has been afflicted with antinomianism throughout its history. All the Gnostics of the 2nd . . . Continue reading →

Heidelcast 16: Being Relevant is Harder Than It Looks

This episode of the Heidelcast, from January, 2010, takes a look at Chicago radio legend Steve Dahl’s reaction to being forced to go to church for Christmas. It’s useful to hear how silly Christians appear to unbelievers when we try to be . . . Continue reading →

Heidelcast 15: Belgic Confession 36 on the Civil Magistrate and the Advance of the Gospel

What is the role of the civil magistrate in advancing the ministry of the church? The HC had mail from Jason about Belgic Confession Art 36 on the civil magistrate. At first reading it seems to teach that the magistrate needs to . . . Continue reading →

Heidelcast 14: Reforming Worship and the Basis for Marriage

The Heidelcast answers mail from Sam about how to pursue the reformation of worship in a congregation and about how much doctrinal agreement is necessary for a marriage.

Heidelcast 13: Why the Focus on the Confessions?

Both Nancy and William Twisse (and the latter is particularly remarkable since, as the first prolocutor of the Westminster Assembly, he’s been dead for centuries) both wrote to the HB sometime back to ask how Reformed confessionalists relate the doctrine of sola . . . Continue reading →

Heidelcast 12: Worship, Baptism, And Romanism

David writes with a question on worship, which we may paraphrase thus: If we can do something in worship on a Wednesday night Bible study or in personal devotions why can’t we do it in a Sunday morning service? Ken asks whether . . . Continue reading →

Heidelcast 11b: Reforming Worship, Confession, And Marriage

Rummaging around the old hard drive I found a lost episode of the Heidelcast from December 2009. Sam wrote to ask about whether and how to approach his church about reforming their worship service. He also asked about the degree to which . . . Continue reading →

Heidelcast 11a: The Secret of Knowing God’s Will (Pt 4)

We like the idea of direct, special revelation that speaks to our particular circumstances. Most of us don’t relish the idea of struggling in prayer, of dealing with doubt, of making a decision in the midst of uncertainty. God could clear things . . . Continue reading →

Heidelcast 10: The Secret of Knowing God’s Will (Pt 3)

Modern evangelicals often assume that the line between canonical and post-canonical life is blurry or non-existent. Making that distinction, however, is essential to knowing God’s will. This isn’t the most popular way of thinking about God’s will, however. After all, why listen to . . . Continue reading →

Heidelcast 9: The Secret of Knowing God’s Will (Pt 2)

According to Deuteronomy 29:29 believers are to trust in, rely upon, listen to, and obey that which God has revealed rather than seeking what God has not revealed. In the history of redemptive history the practice of seeking God’s will where he . . . Continue reading →

Heidelcast 8: The Secret of Knowing God’s Will (1)

The single most pressing question I hear is: “How can I know God’s will?” Prospective seminary students want to know whether they should attend seminary. Couples want to know whether they should get married. Ministers want to know whether to take a . . . Continue reading →

Heidelcast 7: What About Bible Translations? (Pt 2)

Here’s part 1. We live in an uncertain age. At the same time there has been an explosion of modern English-language Bible translations. This development has created some uncertainty about how to think about Bible translation. Some have responded to both by . . . Continue reading →

Heidelcast Episode 6: What About Bible Translations? (Pt 1)

Recently Mike Pohlman at the Gospel Coalition posted a link to a WSJ piece on fundamentalism including reference to the “King James Only” movement. Here are some thoughts on how we should think about Bible translations. Heidelcast Episode 6: What About Bible . . . Continue reading →

Heidelcast 5: What Does “World” Mean in John 3:16?

Without a doubt, one of the Reformed doctrines which evangelical and fundamentalist Christians find most scandalous is the doctrine of definite, personal or limited atonement. This rejection happens, in part, because the Reformed teaching is not always well understood. Sometimes the misunderstandings . . . Continue reading →

Heidelcast 4: What Do We Mean By “Comfort”?

Reformed theology and piety has been frequently caricatured as “dry” by which I take it critics mean to suggest that it is overly academic, overly intellectual and unconcerned about the interior, spiritual life of the believer. That this is a caricature is . . . Continue reading →

Heidelcast Episode 3b: Follow Up to DGM (Part 2)

Heidelcast episode #3: A Gentle Rebuke to Brother John (pt 2)

Heidelcast 3a: A Gentle Rebuke to Brother John (UPDATED)

UPDATE: added to the two Heidelcast episodes audio clips from the video linked below. § These episodes grew out of the decision Desiring God Ministries to invite the de facto leader of the self-described Federal Vision movement to speak at the 2009 DGM . . . Continue reading →

Heidelcast 2: A Follow-Up to the DGM Conference

Heidelcast episode #2: A Gentle Rebuke to Brother John (pt 1)

Heidelcast 1: BBQ And The Kingdom Of God

I’ve spent part of the Christmas vacation lightly editing and re-posting the old Heidelcast episodes. So, I thought I would re-post them here one at a time. It’s been interesting to listen to them develop. Don’t judge the whole series on the . . . Continue reading →