Archives For reformed

R C Sproul jr. has written a wonderful short piece on what it means to be on the Reformed ‘team’. Too often it is easy to identify our walk by the shadow of another man. But all men are sinners, and all are fallen and finite. The only person we should seek to ultimately emulate and aspire to is Jesus Christ.

Calvinists should not be, as Sproul points out, simply followers of Calvin. But rather followers of truth, with the Bible as our guide and Jesus as our Lord. Calvin joins the ranks of others who think like this. We too, join alongside those gone before us in proclaiming the gospel and stand today marked by the same convicitions under the same Lord.

As Sproul also points out, we must never idolise our heroes by making them more than what they are: sinners saved by grace. No one is perfect, save one on this planet, and therin lies the distinction. In the light of that we can look to all the good that has been done by those that have walked before us, and also see the mistakes that have been made.

In closing, let me quote Sproul:

As we this year celebrate the 500th birthday of Calvin, let us not fall into a hagiography that he himself would not approve, turning heroes into sinless saints. Let us not, on the other hand, however, succumb to revisionist history that would turn heroes into monsters. Let us give thanks for that Biblical theology that we sometimes call Calvinism, and give thanks for Calvin.

ESV Study Bible

May 6, 2009 — 5 Comments
ESV Study Bible

The ESV Study Bible

It was a long time ago that I heard that Crossway would be putting out a new Study Bible. The pre-publishing buzz really got me quiet excited. The Bible came out and I thought, “OK, I don’t really need it, I can wait until Christmas.” Christmas came and went and alas, no big hunking book in my stocking.

Then came the good news; The Gospel Coalition were handing them out to those who attended the conference in Chicago. So I counted down the days until the conference and was duly rewarded on the opening day with my not-so-portable Study Bible.

I managed to get the said Bible back to England and now I have the opportunity to enjoy it. To be honest, I’ve already been using a friend’s copy when I was with YWAM in Maui so I knew what I was getting myself into.

So my thoughts so far. The book is big. Bigger than most. And all that excess is in-depth articles and commentary on the text. There are great intros to the books, as well as guides to the literature. There are also some great looking maps and charts. I’ve been going over 1 and 2 Peter quite thoroughly again (as inspired first by Tom Osterhus in my YWAM days, and later Mark Driscoll) and I’ve found the notes incredibly helpful in my understanding of the text.

I don’t feel as if I’m simply reading the footnotes either, as I’m prone to do with some commentaries, but rather that the footnotes keep me in the text and help me to dig deeper in my study. John Piper stressed at the above mentioned conference that we young teachers need to ‘wrestle’ with the Word of God, to really stress over the words used. I’ve found that the ESV Study Bible helps me to do that.

As well as all this, the whole Bible – with notes, articles, maps, charts etc. – is online and open to all who have purchased a copy of the Bible. The book is big, and so if you’re travelling somewhere and don’t fancy lugging it along then you can look things up online. This is much more than a gimmick – it’s a really useful addition that will be of great help.

I’ve found so far that the ESV Study Bible has been greatly helpful to me. I’d recommend it hands down to anyone who a) doesn’t have a Study Bible, b) wants to add another tool to their library, c) anyone with £30 to spare.

The ESV Study Bible is availble for sale on Amazon and all good Christian bookshops.

I’ve just come across this post – Five Myths about Calvinism – and found more food for thought about the benefits of understanding many of Calvin’s principles. At the beginning of the article C. H. Spurgeon is quoted:

“There is no soul living who holds more firmly to the doctrines of grace than I do, and if any man asks me whether I am ashamed to be called a Calvinist, I answer – I wish to be called nothing but a Christian; but if you ask me, do I hold the doctrinal views which were held by John Calvin, I reply, I do in the main hold them, and rejoice to avow it.”

Well said. And with that being said I thought the rest of article addresses several misconceptions of the label ‘Calvinism’ pretty well.

Find the article here.

New Calvinism

March 13, 2009 — 3 Comments

The current edition of Time magazine has yet to published, but already responses are being formed to #3 on their list of What’s Next – New Calvinism.

Mark Driscoll was quick off the mark with an immediate response which was shortly followed up by a lengthier piece.

I appreciate the observation and reaction to a piece which contains both factual accuracy and glaring errors. True, New Calvinism does seem to be gaining momentum and is behind a strong Reformed movement in Christianity which comes at the right time to counter watered-down versions of the gospel. But then we look at what Time actually say about this ‘movement’ we see a tainted view that sees the New Calvinists as nothing more than a rehash of the old movement, which among other things was known for being a little cruel from time to time.

With news media evolving to set trends, rather than merely report on them, it’s important to keep an eye on what comes from these outlets and employ a little critical thinking of our own.

A Christian Manifesto
by Dr. Francis A. Schaeffer
This address was delivered by the late Dr. Schaeffer in 1982 at the Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church, Fort Lauderdale, Florida. It is based on one of his books, which bears the same title.

“Christians, in the last 80 years or so, have only been seeing things as bits and pieces which have gradually begun to trouble them and others, instead of understanding that they are the natural outcome of a change from a Christian World View to a Humanistic one; things such as overpermissiveness, pornography, the problem of the public schools, the breakdown of the family, abortion, infanticide (the killing of newborn babies), increased emphasis upon the euthanasia of the old and many, many other things.”

Click here for the full transcript.

The above is the beginning on the transcript of the late Dr. Francis Schaeffer’s address to Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in 1982. The address was filmed and is now available on DVD, known as A Christian Manifesto.

For more on A Christian Manifesto see Doug Groothuis’ recent post, or see Schaeffer’s book by the same name.


“So it’s not surprising that the world would think that “all we need is love,” and we can do without the doctrine, since the world thinks it can do without Christ. Doctrine is where the religions most obviously part ways. Doctrine is where things get interesting-and dangerous. As the playwright Dorothy Sayers said, doctrine isn’t the dull part of Christianity, rather, “The doctrine is the drama.” Jesus was not revolutionary because he said we should love God and each other. Moses said that first. So did Buddha, Confucius, and countless other religious leaders we’ve never heard of. Madonna, Oprah, Dr. Phil, the Dali Lama, and probably a lot of Christian leaders will tell us that the point of religion is to get us to love each other. “God loves you” doesn’t stir the world’s opposition. However, start talking about God’s absolute authority, holiness, wrath, and righteousness, original sin, Christ’s substitutionary atonement, justification apart from works, the necessity of new birth, repentance, baptism, Communion, and the future judgment, and the mood in the room changes considerably. If postmodernism is simply a revival of modern romanticism (experience as sovereign), then it’s not very postmodern after all.”

Stumbled upon here, quoted originally from here.