All Articles For Kuiper, Douglas J

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The American Puritans, by Dustin Benge and Nate Pickowicz. Grand Rapids: Reformation Heritage Books, 2020. Pp xvi + 208. Paperback. $18.00. Reviewed by Douglas J. Kuiper. This book is not about Puritan theology but about seventeenth-century American church history. Each chapter sketches the life story of one prominent figure in early American Protestantism. Featured are two colonial governors (William Bradford and John Winthrop), six pastors (John Cotton, Thomas Hooker, Thomas Shepard, John Eliot, Samuel Willard, and Cotton Mather), and the poetess Anne Bradstreet. Anyone of high school age and older who is interested in church history during the American Colonial...

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The first ecumenical council met in Nicea in AD 325 to respond to Arianism, which taught that Christ was not eternal and therefore not God. The Council declared that Christ is indeed God, of the same essence (being) as God. It expressed this position in the Nicene Creed— that is, in the first version of the Nicene Creed. (The Nicene Creed as we have it today is the version that was revised at the Council of Constantinople in AD 381.) Pause a moment: a creed was revised. Creedal revi­sions may not happen lightly or at whim. No mere individual may...

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The first ecumenical council of the Christian church was held in A.D. 325 in Nicea, a city that today is known as Iznik, Turkey. A council is a meeting of church leaders from various congregations in different localities, at which the leaders address problems that are common to the churches. As the early Christian church expanded, the need for councils became obvious: in a council the church would agree on matters of doctrine and practice, and respond with one voice to men who taught error or pro­moted evil. Regional councils, attended by representa­tives of churches in a geographic region, had...

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In the Nicene Creed (the first ecumenical creed), the Council of Nicea asserted that Christ was truly God, having a divine essence. The Council also made other noteworthy decisions, expressed in twenty canons.1 This article summarizes those other decisions. The Melitian clergy During the reign of Emperor Diocletian (284-305), Christians were sorely persecuted, and many renounced the Christian faith. Some of these desired to rejoin the church when Emperor Constantine ended the persecution. The church had to face questions: Should these be readmitted? If so, should they be rebaptized? Might they be clergy? The bishop of Alexandria, Egypt was ready to...

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The last article stated that Arius had asserted that Christ was not eternal and, therefore, not God. Alexander insisted He was. In 324, Emperor Constantine, not understanding the theological issue, chided these men for discussing such subtle and unprofitable questions, and asked them to forgive each other.1 When this plea did not have its desired effect, Constantine called the Council of Nicea. Perhaps his motivation was political: he desired a unified empire, and thought that a unified church would promote a unified empire. So in 325, from late May to late July, about 300 bish­ops met in Nicea. Most of...

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The last two articles in this rubric demonstrated from Scripture and the Reformed Confessions that the elders’ work has three basic aspects: rule and oversight, being pastor and shepherd, and teaching. Future articles will develop the aspects of the work at length. The first of these three, the elders’ work of oversight, is itself broad. It includes the oversight of the congre­gation’s worship and congregational life, of the spiritual lives of the members of the congregation, and of all of the officebearers. The first in this list, the elders over­sight of the congregation’s worship, is the topic of this article....

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The New Testament Canon, by Michael Kruger. Sanford, FL: Ligonier Ministries, 2019. DVD, 138 minutes. $30.00. Reviewed by Douglas J. Kuiper. How do we know that God intended the New Testament to have only 27 books? Did God intend the church to have these 27 books, or did men foist them on the church? Might these books be forgeries? Should other books that are not currently in the New Testament be added? If these questions serve to remind us that God’s revelation is complete and that God has providential­ly preserved His revelation for the church of all ages, we can...

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In His incarnation, the eternal Son of God took to Himself our human nature. The incarnation of Jesus Christ assumes that He is truly God and, therefore, is eternal. Early in the fourth century, Arius, a priest in Alex­andria, Egypt, denied that the Son of God was truly God and eternal. Arius taught that God created Christ as the first creature. God did so in eternity, in order that God might create everything else in time by Christ, the Word. Still, even though Christ was created before time, He was a creature and not God, nor eternal. In Arius’ words,...

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Previous article in this series: October 15, 2019, p. 40. In our last article we surveyed the work of the office of elder as prescribed by various articles of our Church Order, the “Form of Ordination of Elders and Deacons,” and Article 30 of the Belgic Confession. Our goal was to demonstrate that imbedded in these confessions, if not explicitly stated, is the idea that the work of the office of elder has three basic aspects: rule or oversight, being a pastor or shepherd, and teaching. In this article we will demonstrate this point from Scripture. In doing so, we...

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The settlement known today as Zurich, Switzerland, has a long history. Decades before Christ’s birth, the Romans conquered the area of Germany and Switzerland. On the northwest shore of Lake Zurich, by the Limmat River, they found a settlement of barbarians, uncultured people. These were pagans, of course; Christ had not yet been born, so Christianity had not yet come to that region. Within three centuries of Christ’s resurrection, mis­sionaries brought Christianity to the area. One of Zu­rich’s claims to fame is that it is the site of the martyr­dom of missionaries Felix and Regula, about the year 286. The...

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