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“A Sovereign Protector I Have”

A lesser known contribution from Augustus Toplady is my poem of the week this week. It is a wonderful reflection on the comfort and assurance of the fact that in Christ the Almighty is our Protector. The bedrock truth of God’s sovereign care over his people rooted in his covenant love is ever the foundation […]

James Stalker’s Beautiful Portrait of Pastoral Ministry

This past week Justin Wainscott sent to me and several others the following excerpt from James Stalker, which is a beautiful, powerful portrait of pastoral ministry. If you have read Eugene Peterson on pastoral ministry you will have seen him echoing many of these images from Stalker. There is so much good here:   the […]

Packer on the Doctrine of Adoption

“Behold what manner of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are”- 1 John 3:1 If you want to judge how well a person understands Christianity, find out how much he makes of the thought of being God’s child, and having God as his Father. […]

Luther’s Hymn, “In Devil’s Dungeon Chained I Lay”

In his classic biography of Martin Luther, Here I Stand, Roland Bainton records Luther’s hymn, “In Devil’s Dungeon Chained I Lay.” What a beautiful, poetic proclamation of the gospel! How I need to be reminded that God “turned to me his father heart” and then to hear the Lord Jesus say, “Hold thou to me, […]

Church Plays in the 14th Century

Barbara Tuchman’s A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous 14th Century is an impressive, compelling work with amazing breadth and detail. Though this is not its intended aim, it is very valuable for anyone studying the Reformation because it tells so well the story of life in Europe leading up to the Reformation. Tuchman tells of the […]

Luther and the Care of Souls

I have previously written on the pastoral impulse of the Reformation, the fact that this renewal of the church arose primarily from the earnest desire to care for souls, to see that they be taught the gospel and shown the way to peace with God and eternal life. This is a crucial point. Just recently […]

The Holiness of the Church in Baptist Thought

The most recent issue of the Journal of Baptist Studies is devoted to Baptist thought on the four historic marks of the church- One, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic. Chris Morgan wrote on unity, Matt Emerson and Luke Stamps on catholicity, Jim Patterson on apostolicity, and I wrote on holiness (making this a Cal Baptist and Union […]

“Christian Hearts in Love United”

As I teach through John’s letters at church we are singing this hymn at each meeting. I only recently came across this hymn, but it captures much of what John says so it is wonderful to sing it together a we begin each study (we’re singing it to the tune, “Beach Spring,” rather thant he […]

Othello, Jesus and the Gospel

I just finished reading Shakespeare’s Othello with my sons for school and was once again reminded why Shakespeare is regarded as a genius. He not only had a way with words but he deeply understood the human condition. Othello is a moving portrayal of the terrible power of slander, suspicion and jealousy. It was painful […]