All Articles For Vol 95 Issue 19 8/1/2019

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Trivia question Do you know who represented the Protestant Reformed Churches in the Philippines at the 2019 Synod of the PRCA? Answer and more, later in this column. Mission activities From the bulletin of Provident Christian Church in Marikina, the Philippines: “Last Wednesday, the Protestant Reformed Churches in the Philippines Classis approved our request for membership in the PRCP! We rejoice and thank God for His goodness in guiding us to manifest the oneness of the church by joining the communion of Protestant Reformed Churches with their sister churches throughout the world. May the Lord richly bless us as we...

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We often hear about court cases involving challenges to displays of religious symbols on public property, whether it be displays of the Ten Commandments or a cross or some other item of religious significance. The United States Supreme Court recently issued a decision in such a case involving a cross on public property as part of a war memorial, The American Legion v. American Humanist Association.1 This decision is significant, not for its subject matter, but for the legal analysis used by the Court in reaching its decision. Although the news media widely reported simply that the Court had allowed a...

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Previous article in this series: July 2019, p. 429. Some of the interesting highlights of the Guanabara Confession include, first, that this document was written by regular church members, not highly trained and ordained theologians. Understanding their God-given place in the body of Christ and their theological limitations, they answered according to their ability. They admitted this fact when writing about one aspect of the doctrine of marriage in Article 14: “…nevertheless, we will leave the judgment on this matter to ones more knowledgeable in the Holy Scriptures….” Although they humbly admitted that they were not gifted, trained theologians like...

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Previous article in this series: May 15, 2019, p. 375. The Sects We therefore condemn all who have taught con­trary to this, especially Pelagius and all Pelagians, together with the Jovinians who, with the Stoics, re­gard all sins as equal. In this whole matter we agree with St. Augustine who derived and defended his view from Holy Scriptures. Moreover, we condemn Florinus and Blastus, against whom Irenaeus wrote, and all who make God the author of sin. The last several paragraphs of chapter 8 of the Second Helvetic Confession, are concerned with various denials of the doctrine of the fall...

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Works occupy a prominent place in Scripture; in fact, Scripture is from beginning to end a book of works. Scripture attributes works to the triune God, Christ, angels—wicked and holy, and men—wicked and holy. We begin our examination of the good works of the believer by considering the nature of good works and noting five general characteristics of our good works as works. A conscious, acting subject First, works are those deeds consciously and volitionally performed by rational, moral beings. Strictly speaking, a creature like the sky is not capable of performing works. Psalm 19:1 teaches, “The heavens declare the...

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On May 17, 2019 the U.S. House of Representatives under the leadership of Speaker Nancy Pelosi passed, 236-173, H.R. 5, titled the “Equality Act.” This piece of legislation, a priority for Speaker Pelosi and her party, would, if it becomes law, expand protections against discrimination in the USA by amending the Civil Rights Act (1964), which outlaws discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex (gender), or national origin. The “Equality Act,” which, by passing the House (something it was not able to do between 2015 and 2019), has taken one more step toward becoming federal law, would add the words...

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I felt compelled to respond to Rev. Spronk’s article “A moral turning point: Marijuana” because he suggests it might be wise for the church to forbid all cannabis use but also invites consideration of the question, “What do we think of marijuana’s medicinal use, and how is it different from other painkilling drugs?” It is understandable that the terms “marijuana,” and “pot” conjure up lifestyle and attitude that have no place at all in the Christian life. Legalizing the free use of this plant to get high does seem like a moral down turning. Sexuality, food, and wine are also...

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Greeting in Jesus Christ! I’m writing in response to your expression, “Fa­ther God gave His Son to us,” in “Saved to serve: The Christian’s reasonable service” (SB, June 2019, p. 391). Would that be Father God gave Son God, and is that correct? I’ve been in Federal Custody nearly 25 years and have always been suspicious…of the different strains of religion I’ve encountered in these places, all under a “Christian” umbrella. Some use that “Father God” in their prayers almost like a mantra, repeating over and over, speaking faster and faster, punctuating every few words of prayer with a “Father...

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As all our regular readers know, 2018-19 marks the 400th anniversary of the great Synod of Dordrecht. This Synod was a momentous gathering of theologians from many different regions of Switzerland, Germany, England, and Scotland, as well as all the seven provinces of the “United Netherlands.” The importance of the Synod cannot be overstated. The Reformation, not even one hundred years old, was experiencing its most severe threat since the days of Luther and Calvin. The churches of the Netherlands were facing the question— Will the churches be Reformed—in doctrine, church polity, confession, and worship? The doctrine of salvation defended in...

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“For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light: (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;) proving what is acceptable unto the Lord.” Ephesians 5:8-10 Earlier in this chapter the apostle Paul exhorts the church of Ephesus to avoid the abominable sins of the pagan Gentile community. He mentions such sins as fornication, covetousness or greed, and obscene language. The apostle also warns the saints against being deceived with vain words so as to participate in these evils. He cites two reasons for this...

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