The idea of hell is unpopular. Modern people, even many modern Christians, think it rather backward to believe in a place of eternal punishment. It’s medieval fearmongering, they say, but unfitting for the loving God we encounter in the Bible. It is true that a certain depiction of hell was popularized in the late Middle … Continue reading The meaning of “hell”
Following the teaching of the Bible, we confess that we are sinners from the very beginning of our lives. It is important to know this because it proves our deep need for a Saviour. We speak of original sin, or inherited sin, because our sinfulness can be traced back to Adam. But this raises the … Continue reading The transmission of sin
The creation narrative in Genesis 1 characterizes human beings as made “in the image” and “after the likeness” of God himself. In our very design and essence, we are closely linked to who God is: a wonderful thought! But what qualities do we have that constitute that image in us? Traditionally, there have been two … Continue reading Understanding the “image of God”
The law should drive us to Jesus Christ as our only hope of salvation. “The law is a kind of mirror,” wrote John Calvin (Inst. 2.7.7). In the light of its perfection we see our sin and failure. The church father Augustine wrote: “If the Spirit of grace is absent, the law is present only … Continue reading The three “uses of the law”
“Contemporary Christians by and large do not appropriate God for themselves in a specifically trinitarian way. Yet both worship and thought remain replete with symbols expressing God as triune—symbols, however, that remain at a certain remove from actual life.” (William J. Hill, The Three-Personed God, p. 251) Reformed Christian do not escape this problem. We … Continue reading The Trinity in the Heidelberg Catechism
The Heidelberg Catechism was not the only catechism written in the time of the Reformation. The method of teaching children through questions and answers was very popular at that time. Many Reformed leaders published catechisms, including Luther, Calvin, and Ursinus. But the Heidelberg Catechism became the most popular of all. One thing that stands out … Continue reading “Your comfort”: The personal approach of the Heidelberg Catechism
In Chatham, ON, there are several “Dutch Reformed” churches. Two of them are the Canadian Reformed Church, called “Eben-Ezer”, and the Free Reformed Church, “Living Hope”. These churches are similar in many respects, but the contact between them is very limited. In my mind, this is a sad state of affairs. I believe that we … Continue reading CanRC and FRC (1): Pursuing our Unity
In the preaching of the gospel, who are addressed and in what way?
We believe that the Bible is the Word of God, and must therefore have a central place in our lives. The Bible is God's revelation, the norm for our faith, and to be interpreted in the community of the confessing church.
This article addresses a focus in preaching that is practised in the Reformed churches, and which I also much utilize in my own sermon-writing.