All Articles For Vol 91 Issue 01 10/1/2014

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A Change…. A significant piece of current news is that the Standard Bearer News Editor, Mr. Ben Wigger, who has served for the last twenty-eight years, has stepped aside after his column in the September 15 issue. Twenty-eight years means a great number of deadlines met, and many, many dedicated readers. A sincere “Thank You” Ben, for all your work and enjoyable articles! Any readers who have opportunity to thank Ben personally, please be sure to do that. Congregational Activities The congregation of Heritage PRC in Sioux Falls, SD invited the other four Siouxland area congregations (Calvary, Doon, Edgerton and...

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Broken Minds: Hope for Healing When You Feel Like You’re Losing It, Steve and Robyn Bloem. Kregel Publications: Grand Rapids, Michigan, 2005. Paperback, pp. 301. [Reviewed by Rev. Martyn McGeown.] How do people—especially church people—react to depression? The Bloems, both of whom have suffered from clinical depression, argue that the church has failed to minister properly to the mentally ill. One of the main reasons for this is the church’s refusal to view depression and other mental illnesses as anything other than a disease of the soul, a spiritual disorder, which modern medicine cannot help. Thus a stigma has developed...

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Previous article in this series: August 2014, p. 443. We have acknowledged that we are called to warfare and that we must be conscious of this warfare. We have demonstrated this calling from Scripture, and therefore find it in our Psalter, Three Forms of Unity, and doctrinal terminology. By “war” in this series we are referring to our ongoing spiritual hostility towards all that is opposed to God and His kingdom. There is war between God and Satan—the kingdom of light and the kingdom of darkness—and by virtue of our union with Christ the head of God’s covenant and King...

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The Supreme Court recently handed down its decision in the case of Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., which involved a challenge to certain provisions of the Affordable Care Act based on religious grounds. This case provides insights into the future of religious freedom jurisprudence, as well as a look at the factors that aid in establishing a claim of impingement on religious freedom. Background To understand fully the implications of the Supreme Court’s decision in the Hobby Lobby case, one must look first at the history leading up to the decision. The First Amendment to the Constitution provides that...

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Some might frown upon associating blessed with happy. To speak of a happy birthday or new year, much less a happy Christian might seem sensual and common, perhaps even profane, since happy is derived from the word hap, meaning fortune or chance. Besides, happy may not seem to describe accurately our life of continual death in this valley of tears. Therefore, if we are to speak of happiness in this life, isn’t the word blessed more spiritual and appropriate? Happy is a perfectly good, biblical word. Scripture declares happy the man who fears the Lord (Ps. 128:1), who has mercy...

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Previous article in this series: August 2014, p. 446. Studying the qualifications of elders in Christ’s church, we have already examined those qualifications regarding his gender (he must be male), his blamelessness (the fundamental spiritual qualification), and his relationship to his wife and children. Several of the qualifications mentioned in I Timothy 3 and Titus 1 regard the elder’s relationship to others, both within and outside of the church. Both passages emphasize that he must be a hospitable man: I Timothy 3:2 says he must be “given to hospitality,” and Titus 1:8 says he must be “a lover of hospitality”—which...

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Previous article in this series: September 1, 2014, p. 465. Introduction Over the last century or so, there have been scholars who argued that Scripture is “inspired” in the sense that it contains an inspiring message and is a book that can inspire us. But this is a fundamental shift from what the church historically has taught about Scripture. This is in fact a denial of the historic teaching of the Christian church regarding Scripture’s inspiration. The Greek word theopneustos is the word used by the apostle Paul in II Timothy 3:16, where he says that all Scripture is given...

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Previous article in this series: September 15, 2014, p. 484. We continue our response to Dr. John Bolt’s essay entitled “Herman Hoeksema Was Right (On the Three Points That Really Matter)”—referring of course to what became known as the common grace controversy, or just ‘1924.’ And, by implication, Bolt means that the broader assemblies of the CRC—both the 1924 Synod and Classis Grand Rapids East in the year that followed—got it wrong. The “Three Points That Really Matter” referred to by Bolt are the formulation of common grace as drawn up by the 1924 Synod first of all, and then the...

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Welcome to volume 91 of the Standard Bearer! The new volume year brings some significant changes to the magazine. First, not so significant, there will be a small increase in our subscription price. The last increase was seven years ago, so we are not surprised or disappointed that this is necessary. We hope you agree that the magazine is worth the $2 increase to $23 per year. Thank you for your subscription and support of the Standard Bearer. As reported last issue, Mr. Ben Wigger will no longer be our news editor. Again, and from all of us, Thank you...

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I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing. II Timothy 4:7-8 Even in the darkest hours, when the battle has been raging the fiercest, as soldiers of the cross, we are able to sing: “Christ shall have dominion over land and sea, Earth’s remotest regions shall His empire be.” That confidence of victory in the...

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