Compassion from God

  • December 6, 2021

Augustine’s first literary work as bishop was a two-book reply to certain questions about biblical interpretation. The questions had been sent to him by the successor of Ambrose in Milan, Simplician, who had also previously mentored Augustine during a season of spiritual difficulty. This following extract on divine mercy comes from Augustine’s answer to Simplician (in[…]

Read More

Seven Questions to Ask Ourselves on Reformation Sunday

  • October 30, 2021

1. Ad Fontes. Do we read the Bible as often as we read books about the Bible? 2. Sola Scriptura. Is Scripture the supreme authority to which we direct thoughtful attention each day? 3. The Priesthood of Believers. Do our neighbors and friends see in us a commitment to gospel ministry worked out in a regular routine of service?[…]

Read More

The Reformation’s Legacy of Small Groups

  • September 30, 2021

It may come as a surprise to learn that small groups, that is, men and women gathering to study Scripture and to enjoy fellowship together, played a significant part in the sixteenth-century Reformation. This was true on the peninsula of Italy, as it was in territories north of the Alps. Many people are unaware that southern[…]

Read More

Preaching and Prayer

  • September 15, 2021

Augustine of Hippo (354-430)—famous bishop, pastor, theologian, and philosopher—was a superlative preacher. In On Christian Teaching, he shares with his brother pastors his meditations on the sacred art. This famous pastoral manual remains worthy of sustained study, the fourth chapter containing Augustine’s most developed understanding of preaching. This extract contains words that may find an abiding[…]

Read More

Our Identity in Christ

  • August 12, 2021

“Who are you?” This question seems simple enough, but the answer is hopelessly entangled with our life experiences. If we happen to be singing on a mountaintop, for example, our self-understanding is backlit by a joyful radiance. But if we’re languishing in a valley, weighed down in lament, dark clouds and shadows will fill the[…]

Read More

Developing a “Heart” for God

  • July 22, 2021

In modern parlance, “heart” and “vision” are often distinguished. We tend to associate vision with the mind while the heart is concerned with emotions. However, in the language and logic of Scripture, this is not so. The heart functions as the locus of thought, the place where vision is developed. For example, the Psalmist writes,[…]

Read More

Relishing the Good Shepherd

  • July 13, 2021

In the opening of his classic book, The Knowledge of the Holy, A. W. Tozer memorably declares, “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.” In other words, our thoughts about God inform every level of our being–our hopes, dreams, fears, aspirations, what we despise, and what we[…]

Read More

Why Read Peter Martyr Vermigli?

  • July 7, 2021

Confronted by the persecution, force, and cruelty of this world, Peter Martyr Vermigli (1499–1542, pronounced Vayr-MEEL-yee,) urged Christians to leave the shadows of ignorance and recognize two realities: their identity in Christ and the sure hope of one day seeing God face to face. This, he contends, is “man’s ultimate happiness,” the delight that surpasses[…]

Read More

The Audacity of Preaching

  • June 8, 2021

It happens every week—same time, same place. Just before I preach, I look out upon the congregation. Then I think: How can simple words penetrate the souls of men and women, lift them from the mire of sin, impart hope, and engender heartfelt worship. Audacious. Presumptuous. Ludicrous. Nevertheless, here goes. In those brief moments before I begin to preach, as[…]

Read More

Gathering Together: An Irreplaceable Gift of Grace

  • May 12, 2021

Early Christians saw themselves as the manifestation of Christ in the world. According to sociologist Rodney Stark, this understanding of Christ’s body fueled the church’s growth. Onlookers observed the warm-hearted gatherings of Christian men and women and were drawn to learn more. During pandemics and plagues, as Romans fled their cities and towns, Christians remained[…]

Read More