Seen & Heard

Theological Roots and Moral Fruits of Reformation

The following is taken from an article posted by Dr. Dan Doriani. Dan’s new column at Place for Truth draws from his experience as both a professor and a pastor. This column is titled “Faith at Work,” because, as Dan puts it, “we are saved by faith alone, but saving faith is never alone.” The Reformers knew that the Gospel demands a response; Dan helps us revisit that truth today, particularly as it relates to the our roles in the workplace.  


The leader of a major campus ministry recently said "If forty people approach a campus minister with an objection to Christianity, one worries about Bart Ehrman and his attacks on the authority and reliability of Scripture. The other thirty-nine have moral questions: Why does the Bible have a repressive sex ethic? Why is it silent about abuse of power? Why do evangelical churches support politicians who tolerate racism and misogyny? Why do so many pastors say "God wants you to be rich" and get rich pushing that message? In short, they ask, "Can I look to the church for moral direction?"

The Reformation era had similar questions and they fueled a desire for reform in an era when the church was society's dominant institution. Priests were everywhere and their flaws were clear. For example, Zurich had a population of 5,000 people and about 400 priests – over 20% of the adult male population. They lived beside the people, who saw that most of them had concubines and illegitimate children. At the time, popes like Alexander VI and Julius I had acknowledged children.

We rightly assent to the doctrinal elements of the Reformation, but it began as a moral movement and retained a moral flavor… 
 

Read the rest of Dan’s article over at Place for Truth today!

 

 


The Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals is member supported and operates only by your faithful support. Thank you.

6 Ways to Redeem Thanksgiving

To view Nick Batzig's original post, head over to The Christward Collective.


A number of years ago, I concluded that it is officially an American tradition to have stressful interactions with parents, in-laws, grandparents, siblings, uncles, aunts and cousins on Thanksgiving Day. I have experienced some extremely relationally tense times with family members on Thanksgiving Day. I have a suspicion that I am not alone. Recently, a member of our congregation was telling me how thankful they were that a particular family member would not be with their extended family over Thanksgiving. This sentiment is not foreign to many in our church fellowships--though it is one for which our hearts should grieve. In light of the stress, tensions and discord that often serve to make Thanksgiving a time for which many are not thankful, here are six simple things each of us can seek to implement to help redeem Thanksgiving:

1. Pray in advance. Often the most important thing we can do to redeem Thanksgiving is the last thing that we do. Why would we expect peace, love and joy in our time with extended family if we are not seeking that peace, love and joy from our Father in heaven. As James says in his letter, "You have not because you ask not. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions." (James 4:2-3). We should give ourselves to pray in preparation for the short time that we will be together. Ask God to make you loving and patient, gentle and encouraging, joyful and thoughtful as you plan for this potentially stressful time.

2. Plan a time of collective thanksgiving. No matter what place you hold in the family, you can always encourage the group to have a time of collective thanksgiving. This might include an opening devotional (I usually read a passage like Luke 17:11-19 --i.e. about the ten lepers whom Jesus healed). Then everyone present can take a minute to write down things for which they are thankful to the Lord concerning the events of the past year. Once they have, everyone can share those things with the group. It is amazing to watch how even unbelieving family members appreciate this practice. Finally, you could offer to thank God for those things in prayer or ask someone else to do so for the group. This way, you do not embarrass those who are not believers and who would be highly uncomfortable being asked to pray publicly by encouraging everyone to go around and pray.

3. Encourage a time of singing Thanksgiving hymns. Thanksgiving, like Christmas and Easter, is one time in the year when just about everyone will sing hymns. Plan on bringing some hymns printed out for the group to sing. If you play piano or guitar and have one accessible, you could offer to accompany the time of singing. Otherwise, there is no shortage of hymns on Spotify. There is a beautiful album called, "Thanksgiving Songs and Hymns on Piano" that you can stream on Spotify while the family comes to a time of singing. Here are few of the songs that I love to sing off of that album with family at Thanksgiving: "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing;" "Come Ye Thankful People, Come;" "Now Thank We, O, Our God."

4. Show an interest in others. One of the most straightforward ways to help foster joy and thanksgiving when gathered with family members is to ask them a lot about themselves. Ask about how their year has been. Ask them about their jobs. Ask them about their travels. I realize that some people are very closed off and do not like to open up too much; but, everyone I have ever met loves to talk about themselves and their lives. When you do this, expect that no one will ask you anything about your life. That's the common experience that my wife and I have had when seeking to show an interest in those with whom we get together in just about every setting. Nevertheless, we are called to care about the needs and interests of others.

5. Seek to serve others. Thanksgiving can be a stressful time for some family members because they have taken up the call to help prepare 500 times more food than any rational person would ever think necessary for a group the size of the group with whom you are gathering. Offer to help bring things in advance; offer to help with food preparations; offer to help set the table; and, offer to help with the Turkey cutting. As soon as the Thanksgiving meal is finished, pick up plates and dishes and wash them for the group. This unburdens those who may have been burdened with preparations. One or two people usually get stuck with the clean up at most of the Thanksgiving gatherings at which I have been present. Take the initiative to be that one person--and do so with a joyful heart, not seeking thanks for helping to carry the burdens.

6. Participate in restful activities together. In addition to the above mentioned, I encourage you to play grames, watch football and enjoy doing other restful activities together. Everyone is overworked, underrested and in need of time off. Thanksgiving is a time when we can pull away from the busyness of life and enjoy spending time being refreshed and refueled. 

While there is no sure way to guarantee a peaceful and joyful time with extended family, I do believe that if we seek to implement these things we will help stir up thankful hearts to God and redeem the time for all who are present. May the Lord grant that we have such times as we gather with family in the days ahead.

~ Nick Batzig


The Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals is member supported and operates only by your faithful support. Thank you.

On Friday your support of the Alliance can go even further!

On Friday, November 17th the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals is participating in a special day of extraordinary giving. Visit ExtraGive.org, make a donation to the Alliance, and for every dollar you donate Alliance donors are matching up to $25,000, dollar per dollar. In addition, the Lancaster Foundation and their presenting sponsors will stretch your gift even further with their $500,000 stretch pool.

The world needs a strong voice of sound doctrine. Through your gift to the Alliance you will share the Gospel, proclaim biblical doctrine, engage the culture, and equip the church via this web site, as well as through our broadcasts and events.

Since first joining the Extraordinary Give in 2014, donors like you have yielded tremendous growth. In 2016 an extraordinary $41,860 was raised! This year your participation can more than double your impact. 

Please prayerfully consider partnering with us during the ExtraOrdinary Give


The Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals is member supported and operates only by your faithful support. Thank you.

Conflict, Comfort, and the Cross

To view Adam Parker's original post, head over to reformation21.

Last week, a gunman entered First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas and killed 26 people, wounding 20 others. The massacre was brutal and left what will surely be scars on all of those who survived, many of whom were young children. Usually there is some sort of grieving period that decorum allows in the aftermath of such events, but as civilization abandons any pretense at care or compassion that grieving period is quickly disappearing.

One of the nastiest things about the internet is that it allows angry and grieving people to abstract the people they are writing about from reality. People are able to speak freely even when they know what they have to say is cruel or even evil. It should be no secret in the Christian community that the world thinks that we're foolish. We acknowledge it, but sometimes we see it in ugly ways.

Perhaps the most despicable reactions came from Actor Michael McKean, who mocked the dead on Twitter and attacked those who encouraged prayer for the people in the church: "They had the prayers shot right out of them. Maybe try something else." Wil Wheaton attacked one politician who expressed sympathy and prayers for those who had lost so much: "If prayers did anything, they'd still be alive."

I do not wish to judge these men as human beings. I don't know them in their everyday lives. I don't know what they've been through or what they've seen, but someone who understands the cross would never say these sorts of things. These are the responses of people who do not understand the cross.

The mockery of the unbelieving world assumes a few significant things. It assumes that God would never permit his people to die. It assumes that suffering isn't part of God's plan. It assumes that if prayer "worked" then God's people would just keep on living. And most fundamentally it assumes that God builds his church on power and strength. There's an entire worldview of assumptions that have to be true if their mockery could have any basis, but of course all of these assumptions miss the cross.

The cross was the ultimate and willing display of weakness. When many think of the cross they think, perhaps of an identifying marker, a beautiful piece of jewelry, or some elaborate symbol. But the cross was horrible, ugly, and nonsensical. It was a weapon of death, akin to the rack or the guillotine. At the core of the Christian religion is the conviction that death is the road to life and weakness is the road to strength. That's totally upside down from the rest of the world.

Paul says that "the world did not know God through wisdom" (1 Cor. 1:21). What he means is that if you were trying to dream up a way to rescue people from hell, the conclusion that reason would take you to is a show of power, a demonstration of strength. This is why the religious leaders mocked Jesus as he died: "Let him come down from the cross, and [then] we will believe in him." And in a sense that mockery is echoed in the sentiments of men like Wheaton and McKean. The cross is foolish to these men (1 Cor. 1:18-25). What else would we expect?

You see, the mockers also don't understand that Christians are called by Christ himself to carry the cross, too. If McKean, Wheaton, and their tribe don't understand the cross, then they certainly won't get what Christians are called to carry. What the saints at First Baptist Church were called to carry last week. Jesus spent a huge quantity of his earthly ministry preparing his disciples to suffer and carry the cross.

I do fear, however, that as Christians, we also forget these truths. How often do we prize earthly power, success, cultural authority, and the respect of those outside of the church? Prizing these things is a sign that we've learned to think like the world, too.

Sometimes I fear that as Christians we are far too easily embarrassed by the opinions of the watching world. The base ideas about Christ that the world works with assume the narrative of power and strength. The truth we need to remember is quite the opposite.

The truth that suffering and loss is intrinsic to the Christian religion and to our own lives as believers means that church shootings, religious persecution, and difficulty shouldn't be the exception for Christians. We should understand comfort and ease to be the real exceptions.

~ Adam Parker


The Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals is member supported and operates only by your faithful support. Thank you.

Trinity: The Two Natures of Christ

In this new 8 message set, Trinity: The Two Natures of Christ, Liam Goligher continues his study of the Trinity from the Book of Hebrews. Visit the Trinity web page to learn more about what sparked this sermon series.

If Christians confuse what is true of Jesus Christ as a human being with what is true of the Eternally Divine Son, they make very serious errors indeed. The most obvious is to conflate the exaltation of the Son of God from all eternity with the welcome given by the Father to the God-Man Christ Jesus, who redeemed God’s elect through a sacrificial death. So, in these great teachings, a course correction is long overdue. We must adore Jesus Christ our Lord, both fully Son of Man and fully Son of God.

Messages in this series include:

  • Mary, Did You Know?
  • Better By Design
  • Heirs of Salvation
  • In the Train of His Triumph
  • Lower Than the Angels
  • What If God Was One of Us?
  • The Son and His Family
  • After the Passion

Trinity: The Two Natures of Christ is available from ReformedResources.org on CDs or as MP3 on CD or MP3 downloads.

 


The Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals is member supported and operates only by your faithful support. Thank you.

Alliance Editorial Director Jonathan Master on the Presbycast podcast

Alliance Editorial Director Jonathan Master joins William Castro and G. Vijay Raju on the Presbycast podcast recorded at this year’s Reformation Worship Conference. From Peru to Greenville, from India to... the Alliance – three interesting guests that demonstrate the range of Reformed witness. Jonathan discusses his work here at the Alliance, including discussing his podcast Theology on the Go

Listen here: Presbycast


The Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals is member supported and operates only by your faithful support. Thank you.

Let the Alliance promote your Reformation Sunday event!

Will your church be hosting a Reformation Sunday event during this historic year?

Reformation Sunday is an opportunity to affirm our doctrinal convictions and to praise God for His ongoing reformation of the Church. The Alliance would like to promote your event to our members. We will share this information multiple times in hopes that the protestant church turns out to celebrate the courage it took to be protestant. Visit AllianceNet.org/JoinReformationSunday by October 10 to sign-up, and while you are there, download free resources for you and your church.

If you are looking to attend a Reformation event in your area, we’ve had a number of churches from around the world share their events with us. Visit ReformationSunday.org to see the event list.

We hope you will join us, as we not only commemorate the Reformation, but also as we proclaim biblical doctrine in order to foster a Reformed awakening in today's Church.

Soli Deo gloria.


Links

AllianceNet.org/JoinReformationSunday

ReformationSunday.org


The Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals is member supported and operates only by your faithful support. Thank you.

Why We Are Still Protestant

This year marks the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s nailing of the 95 theses to the door of Castle Church in Wittenburg, Germany.  This act in itself was relatively conventional: he was essentially initiating a debate about the use and abuse of indulgences in the Roman Catholic Church.  But the pastoral concerns of this small-town professor set ablaze Europe with the flames of Reformation.

Within a short time it was clear that Luther’s concerns had implications far beyond indulgences and relics; they went to the heart of the medieval Roman church.  In the years immediately following the publication of his famous theses, Luther had occasion to engage in other highly significant debates on some of these implications.  It was in Heidelberg in 1518 that Luther made it clear that humility was the key to salvation and theology.  In Leipzig, about a year later, Luther declared that the decrees of the pope and of the church deserved close scrutiny; some were indefensible.  

In 1520, Luther wrote treatises challenging the church’s view on the sacraments, on justification and good works, and on the relationship between the civil authorities and the authority of the church.  During the next year, Luther was summoned to appear before the Imperial Diet of Worms in a last-ditch attempt to get him to recant.  He did not.

In further years Luther would turn his attention to the translation of the Bible into German, to the thorny problem of how a congregation freed from the grip of Rome should worship and operate, and to the perennial questions related to Christian work and the Christian family.  

These kinds of questions and many more had to be addressed by Luther and the other early Reformers.  This should remind us that the reform set in motion 500 years ago this October has a number of far reaching implications.  While individual Christians might boil down the core of Protestantism to one or two major points, the reality was and is far more complex.  

Over the next few weeks, across all of the websites of the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals, we’ll be surveying many aspects of the Protestant cause.  Some of the articles will be historical in nature, giving further detail about the specific figures, events, and debates that shaped the early years after the break from Rome.  Some will be theological, bringing clarity to the animating ideas that drove Luther and so many others to pursue the truth of the gospel at great personal cost to themselves.  Some will be polemical, making the case explicitly that what was true then is true today.    

Our hope is that this series will renew your interest in the Reformation and its implications.  But more than renewing interest, we pray that the posts will awaken in you a greater conviction of the importance of this great work of God in the history of the church.  

Sometimes the nature of Reformed theology has been summarized by the so-called five solas of the Reformation.  These five Latin slogans could be translated as: the Bible alone; grace alone; faith alone; in Christ alone; to the glory of God alone.  Ultimately this series of articles, and every article we publish, has one final end in mind: that God would be glorified.  As we look back to God’s great and gracious work 500 years ago, may God be pleased to use this series to bring about a Reformed awaking in today’s church.  


The Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals is member supported and operates only by your faithful support. Thank you.

Just Posted - New Alliance Re:Port

Thanks to the support of our members, we have very exciting news in the fall Alliance Re:Port. Here are some highlights:

Celebrate the Reformed Resources Reboot!

Over the weekend of October 28th and 29th, ReformedResources.org, the Alliance online resource center, will undergo a major reboot! You will be pleased with its new capacity, as well as the thousands of audio, video, and print resources there! To thank you for your support and encouragement, and to celebrate the launch, we have free gifts for you. Read the Re:port to find out more. 

More than Double Your Ministry Impact this November

The Alliance will once again participate in the ExtraOrdinary Give on November 17th. Your support in years past has truly been extraordinary. Last year, members donated over $41,000 in just 24 hours. This year, the Alliance has a matching gift of $25,000 in addition to the $500,000 stretch gift from the Lancaster Foundation. So please prayerfully consider giving at ExtraGive.org on November 17th.

Dr. Boice’s Theologically Rich Daily Devotional Is Back in Print

Come to the Waters, a yearlong devotional from James Boice, has been out of print and unavailable for years. An Alliance supporter has made it available once again. The book selects from the fruit of Dr. Boice’s labor, distilling his teaching into daily readings that take you from Genesis to Revelation. This new edition is a hardcopy, library-quality book that you can enjoy for years to come.

Thank you!

It is by God’s grace that the Alliance has been able to provide excellent, trustworthy teaching for close to 70 years. Your prayers and gifts allow us to share the Gospel, engage the culture, proclaim biblical doctrine, and encourage the Church. We are blessed to partner with you. Thank you. 

Be sure to subscribe to our emails so you don’t miss any upcoming announcements. 


Links

http://www.alliancenet.org/Alliance-report

http://www.alliancenet.org/subscribe

 

The Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals is member supported and operates only by your faithful support. Thank you.

Download Caught Up: 1 Thessalonians 4 and the Truth About the Rapture by Danny Hyde

“We…will be caught up” (1 Thes. 4:17) 

Will you be "left behind?” Evangelical Christianity knows this question well. It has been inundated with the pre-tribulational, pre-millennial, secret rapture of the church for the last century. In fact, just last week Dallas Theological Seminary advertised a free ebook on social media, The Truth and Timing of the Rapture by Mark Hitchcock. In response, the Alliance is pleased to offer the free E-book Caught Up: 1 Thessalonians 4 and the Truth About the Rapture by MeetthePuritans.org editor Danny Hyde.

Tolle Lege! Take up and read!


The Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals is member supported and operates only by your faithful support. Thank you.