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With All Your Heart

Dr. A. Craig Troxel speaks about With All Your Heart: Orienting Your Mind, Desires, and Will toward Christ (Crossway, 2020). Whereas contemporary culture identifies the “heart” with feelings and emotions, Craig Troxel speaks about the range of uses of the word “heart” in the Bible. The heart knows, desires, and chooses. This fuller conception of “heart” helps us understand our battle with sin and the redemption that has been wrought by Jesus Christ.

Dr. Troxel is professor of practical theology at Westminster Seminary California. He previously served as pastor of Bethel Orthodox Presbyterian Church in Wheaton, Illinois and Calvary Presbyterian Church (OPC) in Glenside, Pennsylvania.


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Politics after Christendom

David VanDrunen speaks about his forthcoming book, Politics After Christendom (Zondervan Academic), reflecting upon the status and responsibilities of Christians in their contemporary pluralistic political communities. Dr. VanDrunen presents a biblical-theological model of political engagement and exploring themes such as race, religious liberty, justice, authority, and civil resistance.

David VanDrunen is Robert B. Strimple Professor of Systematic Theology and Christian Ethics at Westminster Seminary California. He is the author and editor of several books, including Aquinas Among the Protestants, God’s Glory Alone: The Majestic Heart of Christian Faith and Life, Natural Law and the Two Kingdoms: A Study in the Development of Reformed Social Thought, and Divine Covenants and Moral Order: A Biblical Theology of Natural Law.


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Vos Group Excursus: John 20:1–18 — Rabboni

We take a brief break from our regular schedule in Geerhardus Vos’s book, Biblical Theology: Old and New Testaments, to discuss Vos’s sermon “Rabboni,” on John 20:16. This sermon is found in Grace & Glory, a collection of Vos’s sermons preached at the chapel of Princeton Seminary.

John 20:1–18 (ESV)

Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.” So Peter went out with the other disciple, and they were going toward the tomb. Both of them were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. And stooping to look in, he saw the linen cloths lying there, but he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen cloths lying there, and the face cloth, which had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen cloths but folded up in a place by itself. Then the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; for as yet they did not understand the Scripture, that he must rise from the dead. 10 Then the disciples went back to their homes. 

11 But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept she stooped to look into the tomb. 12 And she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet. 13 They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” 14 Having said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus. 15 Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” 16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned and said to him in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher). 17 Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’ ” 18 Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”—and that he had said these things to her. 


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Abraham Kuyper’s Public Theology

Dr. Jordan J. Ballor, senior research fellow and director of publishing for the Acton Institute, joins us to speak about Abraham Kuyper’s public theology. Dr. Ballor is a general editor of Abraham Kuyper’s Collected Works on Public Theology published by Lexham Press. Kuyper was something of a polymath/renaissance man. Along with being an influential theologian and also a journalist, he served as Prime Minister of the Netherlands between 1901 and 1905. He established the Reformed Churches in the Netherlands, which upon its foundation became the second largest Reformed denomination in the country behind the state-supported Dutch Reformed Church.

Jordan J. Ballor (Dr. theol., University of Zurich; PhD, Calvin Theological Seminary) is a senior research fellow and director of publishing at the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion & Liberty. He is also a postdoctoral researcher in theology and economics at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam as part of the “What Good Markets Are Good For” project. 


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Hebrew Discourse Analysis

Matthew Patton speaks about his book, Basics of Hebrew Discourse: A Guide to Working with Hebrew Prose and Poetry (Zondervan Academic, 2019). Dr. Patton is pastor of Covenant Presbyterian Church (OPC) in Vandalia, Ohio.

This book, written by Matthew H. Patton, Frederic Clarke Putnam, and Miles V. Van Pelt, is a syntax resource for intermediate Hebrew students. This Basics book introduces students to the principles and exegetical benefits of discourse analysis (text linguistics) when applied to biblical Hebrew prose and poetry. Where standard Hebrew reference grammars have traditionally worked to describe the relationship between words and phrases within discrete clauses (micro syntax), discourse analysis works to describe those relationships that exist between clauses and texts (macro syntax).

This resource fills a needed gap for intermediate Hebrew students and gives them the tools to work with Hebrew syntax on the macro level. Professors and pastors working with Hebrew will also find this one-of-a-kind resource highly valuable.

While students of Hebrew will certainly gain from Patton’s work, listeners will gain a deeper understanding of the Bible and tools for studying it in the English language as well.


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The Wonderful Works of God

Carlton Wynne and Charles Williams speak about the new edition of Herman Bavinck’s The Wonderful Works of God published by Westminster Seminary Press. The book was first published in English under the title, Our Reasonable Faith. The new edition is re-typeset and includes an introduction by Dr. Wynne, Bavinck’s original introduction translated by Nathaniel Gray Sutanto, and helpful indices collected by Charles Williams.

Carlton Wynne is assistant professor of systematic theology and apologetics at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, PA.

Charles Williams is pastor of Bethel Orthodox Presbyterian Church in Wheaton, Illinois.


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Vos Group #60 — The Intra-Mental State of the Prophet

We turn to pages 224–229 of Vos’s book, Biblical Theology, to speak about the intra-mental state of the prophet, by which Vos means to inquire into “how the soul felt and reacted under the things shown within the vision” (p. 224).

Far too much attention has been given to what is represented by the Greek term ecstasis. The term served first as a translation of the Hebrew tardemah (cf. Gen. 2:21 with Adam and Genesis 15:12 with Abram). In Adam’s case, there is no visionary state. In Abram’s case, there is such a vision (expound the theology of the theophany). But tardemah does not throw any light on Abram’s state of mind.

Ecstasis, on the other hand, has a very definite conception in Greek consciousness that leads in the direction of error. That conception is that of “insanity or mania” and was applied to the oracular process—the process of receiving visions and the resultant state in which it put the seer-prophet. This led to a close association between the prophet and some feature of instability—some manic tendency that seems inherent to the process of receiving a vision.

Vos points us to God’s inspired, inerrant, and infallible revelation in history, which does not bypass the human mind or allow the recipient to escape his humanity, but elevates him to greater communion with God.


2019 Highlights

Since Christ the Center began nearly twelve years ago, we have taken time to look back on the highlights of the year. Given that we now post highlights from each episode every week we have taken an analytic approach. These are this year’s top ten clips from Christ the Center as determined by YouTube views.

  1. Episode 614 — Bracy Hill, Nimrod, the Mighty Hunter
  2. Episode 600 — Glen Clary, Praying in Tongues
  3. Episode 580 — Camden Bucey, Liberation Theology
  4. Episode 603 — Cornelis Venema, Karl Barth and the Doctrine of Election
  5. Episode 600 — Glen Clary, What Is Cessationism?
  6. Episode 598 — Christopher Watkin, The Problem of the One and Many
  7. Episode 603 — Cornelis Venema, Augustine and Pelagius
  8. Episode 578 — Carl Trueman, Luther and Zwingli at Marburg
  9. Episode 619 — Alan Strange and Brian DeJong, The Orthodox Presbyterian Church and the United Reformed Churches in North America
  10. Episode 613 — Will Wood, Schools of Biblical Criticism

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