Category Archives: Word/Sacrament

Christ is not annexed

My good friend, Toby Sumpter, writes concisely about the relationship between Christ and other means: Jesus is not annexed by any of His gifts. He can and does meet His people in those places, but apart from the powerful working … Continue reading

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Mercersburg Theology with Brad Littlejohn

Mercersburg Theology with Brad Littlejohn   Mercersburg Theology:  Download

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Some Praise for Charles Hodge

Mark Noll writes in the foreword: The debate on the proper understanding of the Lord’s Supper that Nevin carried on with his former teacher, Charles Hodge of Princeton Theological Seminary, is one example of high-level theological reasoning on both sides. If, … Continue reading

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Mercersberg Theology Summarized

Brad Littlejohn offers this concise definition: …but if we may attempt to capture it in a nutshell, we might describe it thus: the Mercersburg Theology was a distinctively American yet cosmopolitan nineteenth-century theology— catholic, sacramental, both modern and ancient, Romantic and … Continue reading

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The Mystical Presence And The Doctrine of the Reformed Church on the Lord’s Supper

In this work, Nevin’s original text is preserved “while providing extensive introductions, annotations, and bibliography to orient the modern reader and facilitate further scholarship.”  In a day when so many neglect sacramental theology, Nevin restores a Calvinian view of the … Continue reading

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A Brief Argument for Weekly Communion

Many of us who practice weekly communion experience the immense joys and communal benefits of this practice. At the same time, I am aware that the vast majority of evangelicals–especially here in the South–view this practice with a certain skepticism … Continue reading

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Introduction to Covenant Theology

Is Covenant Theology merely theologizing, or are there practical implications to this doctrine? How does God deal with history, and how does he relate to his people? These and other questions are discussed in this series by Gregg Strawbridge. This … Continue reading

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Baptismal Exhortation: Not an Accidental Picture

The Bible is a sacramental book. It is filled with strange occurrences to be sure; but it is also filled with the common. The Bible speaks about hair, love, axes, sickness, marriage, and wine. The Bible is anti-gnostic. And if … Continue reading

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N.T. Wright: Baptism and Exodus in Romans

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Paedocommunion vs. Rome

As a minister in the CREC, I advocate the practice of paedocommunion. Paedocommunion means that baptized children of at least one Christian parent is able to participate in the holy feast of the Church, the Lord’s Supper. Many Protestants have … Continue reading

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Babette’s Feast: A Movie Review

Babette’s Feast is Robert Capon on screen. It is a delicious blend of humor and smells; sights and music. It is virtually impossible to contemplate the movie without considering its vastly religious and sacramental implications. The 1987 movie is based … Continue reading

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Weekly Communion

This past week–last Sunday of the Church Year–I offered a case for weekly communion. This is not an exhaustive treatment, since it is a sermon; but it covers some historical biblical thoughts concluding with a few applications on how we … Continue reading

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The Lord’s Supper is the World

Peter Leithart begins his delightful Blessed are the Hungry by observing that “the Lord’s Supper is the world in miniature…within it we find clues to the meaning of all creation and all history, to the nature of God and the … Continue reading

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The Sacraments and Union with Christ

According to Mathison, Calvin believed that “baptism is connected with the believer’s initiation into mystical union with Christ. The Lord’s Supper is connected with the believer’s ongoing continuation in this union (19).”

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Given For You

I spent a semester with Keith Mathison in Orlando doing an independent study on Luther and Calvin’s sacramental views. I read and re-read his fine book. Almost five years later I have picked it up again only to be refreshed … Continue reading

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Calvin and the Sacraments

My former professor Keith Mathison’s work Given For You is undoubtedly the best work on Calvin’s view of the Sacraments. The book argues that Calvin avoided the pit-falls of the Roman Church and the symbolic memorialism of the Zwinglians. Rather, Calvin … Continue reading

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Baptismal Exhortation: From Darkness to God’s Splendor/Light

“The promise,” Peter says, “is to you, and your children, and to those who are far off.” The promise of baptism is one grounded in the purposes of God in all of creation. In the beginning, God created a world … Continue reading

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Calvin, the Nuanced Scholar and Ecumenical Genius

There is high nuance in Calvin’s language. It is true that he can be quite direct at times. For instance, his sermons on Deuteronomy are highly theocratic. His commentaries–depending on what lenses you use–may bring a different picture. I have … Continue reading

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In Eating and Drinking

If division characterizes anyone who partakes of body and blood of Christ, then Paul’s warnings of death are quite clear. You can either eat and mature or you can be eaten in death.

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Baptismal Exhortation: I Bind Unto Myself Today

One sure sign that we are growing as a church is how often we sing St. Patrick’s Breastplate. By God’s grace, we have sung it quite a few times this year. It is Providence’s chosen hymn for baptisms and adding … Continue reading

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Calvin on Weekly Communion

“The Eucharist in the Reformation by Lee Palmer Wandel Wandel asserts the centrality of frequent communion in Calvin’s theology: “Perhaps most important of all, however, was Calvin’s insistence on frequency.  Most evangelicals condemned the medieval requirement of annual communion as nonscriptural.  Luther condemned it … Continue reading

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Eating with the Hobbits

We need more Tolkien in our society. Christians should read him constantly. An interesting side to Tolkien’s famed Trilogy was brought to my attention in a fascinating article by Matthew Dickerson entitled Food and the Culture of Hobbits. Dickerson observes … Continue reading

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Assurance, Examination, and Community

There was a period in my life when I wondered quite frequently whether I was a Christian or not. Thankfully that period is gone. It is not that I don’t examine myself, but that the examination does not take on … Continue reading

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What is the Biblical Case for Ordained Ministers Ordinarily Serving at the Table?

Note: I have updated this article to include a few additional arguments. At the outset, I want to make clear that my case is for the ordinary administration of the Table by an ordained minister. It is also important to … Continue reading

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Psalm 8:3 and Silencing Foes

What does Psalm 8:3 teach? Verse 3 can be divided in this manner: The infant voices (musical/war-like tools) are sufficient to 1) establish strength and 2) silence/still foe and avenger. Hence, Psalm 8 teaches that the music of God is composed … Continue reading

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Baptism Random Notes

A theology of Bridal maturation would not dichotomize, but rather strengthen the spiritual and fleshly nature of the covenant under a new creation. Also, covenant theology is also expansion theology. By making limitations to the New Creation one is decreasing … Continue reading

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Peter Leithart on the Belgic Confession’s View of Baptism

Leithart concludes: If the baptized turns away, he turns away not from a faceless unknown God, but from the Father who claimed him.

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Baptistic Conclusions

Doug Wilson observes: “Many Christians have come to baptistic conclusions because they simply took a Bible and a concordance, and then looked up every incident of baptism in the New Testament. This is objectionable, not because they studied these pasages … Continue reading

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What the Liturgy does…

Liturgy transports worshipers into the eschaton. The corporate expression of God’s people on the Lord’s Day is an eschatological experience. In worship, the Spirit pulls us from earth to experience a taste of the world to come in heaven. When … Continue reading

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From Bread to Wine

Jim Jordan observes: “Biblical liturgies, and for us this means the Lord’s Supper, encapsulate the sequence of biography and history. Because we have rejected God, we have also rejected the life He has planned for us, both individually and as … Continue reading

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