I recently received the following words from a former student of mine: "Comprehensive and encouraging, Dr. Witmer's The Shepherd Leader is a key resource for how we shape our youth leaders." - David Plant, Director of Youth Ministries, Redeemer Presbyterian Church of New York City.
Posted August 9, 2011 By
Basic Advice on How to Interpret Luther
Before addressing a particular element of Rob Bell's new book, I want to make sure that anyone reading this understands exactly what I am and am not doing.
First, to avoid the usual indignant reactions from the guardians of conscience in the evangelical world, I want to stress that I am writing at this point solely as an individual historian. I am not here speaking as a representative of my church, my seminary, nor of some nebulous movement known as 'evangelicalism'
Second, life is, as Hobbes said, nasty, brutish and short. Too short, indeed, to waste on controversies that do not immediately affect one's own little world. Rob Bell has, as far as I know, no impact on my tiny world, whether conceived of as that of Westminster Theological Seminary, or as that of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church. Thus, my interest in engaging him here is not theological; rather, it is historical and concerns a specific claim he makes relative to the thought of Martin Luther. This claim, while only a brief passing comment in the book, might yet prove rather mischievous in terms of its wider impact.
Posted March 10, 2011 By
The recent visit from China’s President, Hu Jintao, has caused many, including Christians, to worry. China now claims the world’s second most robust economy, having just surpassed Japan. Only a few years ago China was reclusive, and generally wary of international diplomacy. Today, the country is burgeoning. It has become a significant lender. It brokers agreements along the Pacific Rim. It has a large military. And while Hu did not seize the occasion of his visit to lecture the U.S. nor to plead for greater power for the Yuan, there is no question that China desires to make its presence known around the world
Posted February 7, 2011 By
The Westminster Archivist, Grace Mullen, recently uncovered an interesting artifact. In 1934, a book review was published in The Globe of Toronto regarding a book by Dr. Adolf Keller entitled Karl Barth and Christian Unity. The review sparked a short series of letters to the editor between Walter Bryden, former professor at Knox College in Toronto, Canada, and John Murray, co-founder and professor of Systematic Theology at Westminster Theological Seminary about the theology of Karl Barth. The interaction has been reprinted in its entirety here with a present-day response by Rev. Dr. Carl Trueman.
Posted August 21, 2010 By
"Some years ago I wrote a little article, `What Can Miserable Christians Sing?' I dashed it off in about 30 minutes one afternoon, and yet I have received more positive letters and emails about that one little piece than anything else I have ever written. It seemed to strike a chord...And today (25 May 2010) I find the article has once again returned to my inbox; this time cited by my friend, the well-known British journalist, John Macleod. Who would have thought that a 30 minute editorial would have such an apparently long life?"
Posted May 25, 2010 By
Major catastrophes inevitably stimulate conversations about major matters. Where is God when tsunamis hit and bury entire villages, killing thousands? Where is God when pilots intentionally decimate buildings with their own airplanes and rip mothers from their own children? Where is God when violent earthquakes crush bodies and infrastructures beyond their breaking points? Such tragedies launch transcendent questions.
Why would a loving God allow unthinkable horror? Is He impotent? Do great calamities grant greater evidence of greatest ineptitude?
Posted January 14, 2010 By
Crisis in preaching is as much a crisis in the doctrine of God and of Scripture as it is in confidence in the means of communication; indeed, the crisis in the latter is surely a function of a decline in the former two points.
A sound doctrine of God and a solid doctrine of Scripture are critical. Also, a careful study of the movement of preaching from Moses to the close of the apostolic era is surely a very useful exercise.
Posted November 5, 2009 By
No experience in my life has elicited greater heart-sickness than witnessing the AIDS orphans in South Africa…helpless, unclothed children, walking the dirty hillsides, wandering aimlessly, scrounging for food, living only to die. For the estimated 3.5 million such orphans in South Africa, there exists neither home nor hope...
Posted September 16, 2009 By
Most Reformed people probably do not think of themselves as catholic. Now, there is a sense in which that is correct: if you are a member of the Reformed, then, by definition, you are not a member of the Roman Catholic Church. At least, if you are, and the minister or the priest finds out about it, you are going to be in some considerable trouble. Yet there is also a sense in which Reformed people are catholics. To be catholic, after all, really only means to be part of the one great communion of saints, of all those who call upon Christ for salvation and who are entrusted with the faith once for all delivered to the saints...
Posted June 30, 2009 By
Blogging is not a sin. No, really. It’s not. No commandment says “Thou shalt not blog,” and good and necessary consequence doesn’t place blogging on par with pornography. Real Christians really blog, but sad to say, much of this blogging doesn’t look really Christian. With thanks to technology and the hankering to be heard, blogging has found its place, and is indeed morphing into its own accepted, self-propagating, self-attesting genre of the written word. But by its very nature it’s unique. It has none of the editorial, marketing, and vetting protections of other published formats.
Posted June 5, 2009 By