First Witch: Where hast thou been, Sister? Second Witch: Killing Swine Shakespeare, Macbeth (Act 1, Scene 3) One of the pleasures of my day job is reading older texts with young people. In my course on the Old Testament, we quickly bump into questions related to how we ought to interpret the Bible in light […]
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At first, I didn’t believe there would be much appeal to a book of this sort. As Christians navigate the churning waters of our culture, it is all too easy to drift toward a cold rationalism on the one side or the bland mysticism on the other. What space is there for a book on […]
Lead Us Not Into Temptation
In order to get a proper understanding of this or any of the petitions contained in "Lord's Prayer" it is necessary to understand the context in which Jesus is offering these prayer instructions. From the very outset of his instruction Jesus uses the medium of contrast in outlining our relationships with God. Therefore, we see […]
This Present Paranoia
"This world is not my home, I'm just a' passing through, my treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue," goes the refrain of a popular American hymn. Whether aware of it or not, evangelicals are engaged in a war with modern American culture. The world is understood to be a very evil place, and […]
We all know someone who tells us, "I don't need to go to church. I worship God in my own way." In this issue of Modern Reformation, we will explore the idea of the church as it is instituted by God and understood in the modern world. But we must begin at the beginning, with […]
Growth Mentality That Is Biblical
Church growth as it is described in Scripture might be best explained by a three-tiered formula. (1) It begins with spiritual vitality, which then leads to functional effectiveness, which in turn often leads to statistical increases. Statistical increase is the result of functional effectiveness and functional effectiveness is the result of spiritual vitality. The goal […]
Industrial or Pastoral?: The Techniques of Church Growth
When the Apostle Peter wrote of his desire for the Church to "grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ" (2 Pet. 3:18), did he have in mind a bevy of megachurches, filled with American suburbanites, providing spiritual resources for every aspect of middle-class life, from Christo-centric ceramics classes to […]
Where Have All the Spiritual Gifts Gone?
Cessationism is a term that carries a lot of baggage. By itself it's negative, suggesting what no longer exists or, in current debate about the gifts of the Holy Spirit, what one is against. So at the outset, certain misconceptions about the "cessationist" viewpoint need to be addressed. It's not that today God's Spirit is […]
Spiritual Discplines and Means of Grace: Contrast or Continuum?
MR: Would you give us a little background as to how you came to see the importance of spiritual disciplines? Your theological journey?DW: My desire to be an effective minister or just preacher, as a very young man, led me to intensive prayer, and to make that effective I was driven in turn to lengthy […]
Christ in the Psalms
Many evangelical churches today have lost the distinctive doctrines of the Reformation. But why now? What accounts for this loss in churches where Reformation faith was heralded for generations? Why is the faith once delivered now being abandoned? It is because we have lost the reformer's God. Behind the church's current theological crisis is a […]
Peculiar Truth:Postmodern Preaching
In one of his aphorisms, Nietzsche, father of all things postmodern, asks, "What if truth were a woman?" The question sounds sexist, but my Christ-conditioned ears hear more. What if truth was not detached, objective, free-standing, unconditional, and everything else that modern, Western folk have been taught to think of it? What if truth were […]
Can We Ever Be Holy Enough?
MR: In a recent article in the journal First Things, you defended the notion that Christians need the doctrine of purgatory. Can you briefly explain why you believe the doctrine of purgatory is necessary for Christians? JW: Well, the doctrine of purgatory addresses an issue that any theological system must face, namely, how does God […]