But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. And do not fear their intimidation, and do not be troubled, but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you yet with gentleness and reverence; and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame.  1 Peter 3: 14-16

The Reformed Reader - Apologetic Report
Tuesday, 25 July 2017 02:30

Specific Aspects of Self-Denial (Brakel)

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image Self-denial is a big part of what it means to follow Jesus.  On several occasions, Jesus said, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me” (Mt. 16:24 NIV).   Self-denial is something that doesn’t come easily since even as...

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image One aspect of the doctrines of grace is the insistence that man, by nature, is unable and unwilling to come to Jesus in repentance and faith. Apart from saving grace, a sinner is corrupt in every part of his being and morally incapable of doing good in God’s sight.  Although he...

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Friday, 21 July 2017 06:44

Good That I Was Afflicted? (Newton)

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image Sometimes during a hard and heavy trial there doesn’t seem to be a light at the end of the tunnel.  Just when you think the trial may be going away like a storm passing, just when you think the sun might finally be coming out, another dark cloud blows in and the trial is back –...

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Thursday, 20 July 2017 05:32

Is Predestination Central in Calvinism?

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image There’s much more to Reformed theology than the doctrines of grace (TULIP).  Similarly, there’s more to the doctrines of grace than predestination.  This needs to be said and repeated since some say that the central dogma of Calvinism is predestination, that predestination is...

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Tuesday, 18 July 2017 02:00

Motives at Work in Sexual Sin (Powlison)

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image Last week I mentioned David Powlison’s forthcoming book, Making All Things New.  Today I want to highlight part of it that is quite helpful in thinking of the nuts and bolts of sexual sin, whether it be adultery, pornography, homosexuality, or lust (and so on).  Below are various...

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Sunday, 16 July 2017 23:03

Self-Absorbed in Worship? (Boice)

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image We’ve all heard the contemporary praise song that says “I will” more than a few times.   Phrases like “I will celebrate,” “I will sing to God,” “I will praise God,” are sung and repeated many times in the same song.   Here are Jam...

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image Simon Goulart was a Reformed theologian and pastor from France who served in Geneva in the middle of the 16th century.  His preaching and teaching were solidly biblical, clearly doctrinal, and very applicable.  One example of this is his biblical comfort he gave to Christians on their...

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image Here’s a paragraph I appreciated from David Powlison’s forthcoming book, Making All Things New.

“I’ve heard arguments against the biblical sexual ethic that say, ‘There are only six Bible verses that mention homosexuality,’ and then proponents wiggle the...

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Tuesday, 11 July 2017 22:11

Our Foundation of Grace (Owen)

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image In one part of his exposition of Psalm 130, John Owen discussed receiving forgiveness and being assured of it.  One of his “rules” was this: “Mix not foundation and building-work together.”  By this Owen meant that the Christian’s foundation of forgiveness...

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Monday, 10 July 2017 05:07

Women of the Reformation (VanDoodewaard)

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image The Protestant Reformation wasn’t simply a male movement.  Many Christian women were also heavily involved in the Reformation.  In fact, a new book called Reformation Women gives readers a glimpse into the lives of 12 various women God used to help bring the church back to a...

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image Over the past 15+ years I’ve come to a pretty strong conviction that an understanding of redemptive history is of utmost importance in the pulpit ministry.  Preaching that has no understanding of redemptive history is preaching that lacks.  There are nuances to this discussion of...

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image Many of us are familiar with the biblical truth that God is good, or benevolent, to all.  “He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous” (Mt. 5:45 NASB).  “The Lord is good to all, and His mercies are over all...

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image I’m so thankful to Jesus for his perfect and complete work to save me from my sin and misery.  I’m so thankful that my justification doesn’t depend upon my feelings, emotions, prayers, devotion, or good works.  Although my Christian life is far from perfect, and...

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Tuesday, 04 July 2017 07:02

Serious Limits for Kids’ Screen Time

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image I’ve mentioned this book here before: Boys Should be Boys: 7 Secrets to Raising Healthy Sons. This is not a Christian book, but it does have some decent common grace principles in it, principles I’ve found helpful in raising my own four children  Below are two quotes...

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image A church without a creed is a church to avoid.  Why?  Because a big part of the Christian’s faith includes knowledge of biblical doctrine, factual truth-statements to which faith clings.  Geerhardus Vos said it quite well:

“Faith presupposes knowledge, because it needs a...

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Saturday, 01 July 2017 00:45

When Your Faith Is So Weak (Watson)

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image Sometimes a Christian doesn’t feel strong in the Lord.  Sometimes we know we should be serving Christ with more fervency and seriousness, but since we aren’t we feel like bad Christians – or sometimes we don’t even feel like a Christian at all.  What do we...

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Thursday, 29 June 2017 06:51

Should We Take the Bible Literally?

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image The historic Christian faith is a faith that takes the Bible very seriously.  For example, in Reformed theology, we say God’s Word is sufficient, necessary, clear, and authoritative (among other things).  But should we take the Bible literally?  Well, yes and no.  Yes, we...

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Wednesday, 28 June 2017 06:47

The Promise of Reward (Calvin)

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imageThe 63rd Q/A of the Heidelberg Catechism deals with Scripture’s promise tthat God will reward the good that his people do.  The catechism says “This reward is not earned; it is a gift of grace.”  Here’s Calvin’s similar take on this theme found in his...

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Tuesday, 27 June 2017 05:36

Will the Jews Be Restored to Their Land?

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image Some dispensationalists teach that the Jews will one day return to their land en masse.  They believe that the OT prophecies about Israel in the future must be taken “literally” (e.g. Isaiah 11:11-12, Hosea 3:5, etc.).  It’s not quite that easy or simple, however. ...

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Monday, 26 June 2017 01:38

How We May Strengthen Our Hope

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image Christian hope is one of the greatest blessings because it increases our joy, assures us of our blessed future, gives us patience to bear burdens, and it helps us keep our eyes above, where Christ is.  But how can we strengthen our Christian hope?  William Gurnall gave six directions for...

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Friday, 23 June 2017 06:57

Abandon Facts but Keep Feelings? (Machen)

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image Liberalism is not new.  The liberal seminary magazines I get in the mail are printed in full color and talk about smartphones, laptops, and podcasts, but the liberalism in them pre-dates today’s technology.  The magazine I got in the mail last week doesn’t mention the cross,...

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Thursday, 22 June 2017 07:00

The Danger of Biblicism

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image Biblicism is a problem in the conservative Christian church today.  By “biblicism” I mean an over-rigid adherence to certain Bible texts or teachings at the expense of context and other biblical teachings.  Biblicism is a cousin of legalism since both are often quite rigid,...

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Wednesday, 21 June 2017 06:43

Dear Devil, Go Eat the Dung (Luther)

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image In 1532 Martin Luther preached a sermon at the funeral of Duke John of Saxony.  He preached on 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14.  It’s a good sermon in many ways.  One helpful part of this sermon is where Luther explained how Satan, the accuser, uses the law in a crafty way.  He...

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Sunday, 18 June 2017 23:13

Why Does God Make Us Wait?

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image Quite often waiting is very difficult.  In our instant culture, most of the time we don’t even like waiting one week for a package to come in the mail; we get impatient if our internet is a tiny bit slower than usual or if our data connection isn’t lightning fast.  Waiting...

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Saturday, 17 June 2017 00:48

The Resurrection as Hoax?

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image I read this book last year and really appreciated it: Jesus and the Logic of History by Paul Barnett.  Recently, as I was skimming through it again, I found the following section where Barnett helpfully talks about the resurrection of Christ and the various theories of it (e.g. the disciples...

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