Reformation Worship: Liturgies from the Past for the Present

Jonathan Gibson and Mark Earngey speak about Reformation worship. Their new book Reformation Worship: Liturgies from the Past for the Present, is an irenic plea for the Church (and especially her ministers) to engage again in the two-millennia-old question: “How then shall we worship?” Along with chapters on the Scriptural and historical basis for Reformed worship, Gibson and Earngey include twenty-six Reformation era liturgies modernized and newly translated. Dr. Gibson is Assistant Professor of Old Testament and Hebrew, Westminster Theological Seminary. Mr. Earngey is a doctoral candidate in historical theology at Wycliffe Hall, University of Oxford.

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The Nature of Apostasy in Hebrews 6

Hebrews 6 has been a challenging passage to interpret for ages. What does it mean to fall away? What is the specific nature of the apostasy? Do majority interpretations do justice to all the features of the text? In this episode, we present a redemptive-historical interpretation of the text, identifying the apostasy as a desire for New Covenant members to revert to the Old Covenant. In effect, such apostates desire to move from the mediation of Christ back to the mediation of Moses and its attendant forms of worship.

11 About this we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. 12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, 13 for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. 14 But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil. 1 Therefore let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, 2 and of instruction about washings, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. 3 And this we will do if God permits. 4 For it is impossible, in the case of those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, 5 and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, 6 and then have fallen away, to restore them again to repentance, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt. 7 For land that has drunk the rain that often falls on it, and produces a crop useful to those for whose sake it is cultivated, receives a blessing from God. 8 But if it bears thorns and thistles, it is worthless and near to being cursed, and its end is to be burned. 9 Though we speak in this way, yet in your case, beloved, we feel sure of better things—things that belong to salvation. 10 For God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love that you have shown for his name in serving the saints, as you still do. 11 And we desire each one of you to show the same earnestness to have the full assurance of hope until the end, (Hebrews 5:11–6:11, ESV)

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  • Camden Bucey sermon on Hebrews 6:4–8
  • Martin Emmrich, “Hebrews 6: 4–6-again! (A pneumatological inquiry).” Westminster Theological Journal 65, no. 1 (2003): 83–95.

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Lamentations, Habakkuk, and Zephaniah

Camden Bucey and Jim Cassidy discuss Lamentations, Habakkuk, and Zephaniah. The overwhelming message of these books is “strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,” as Thomas O. Chisholm wrote in the hymn “Great Is Thy Faithfulness.” He based his beloved hymn upon Lamentations 3:22–23: “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” Lamentations, Habakkuk, and Zephaniah are rich with God’s truth about our sin and need of redemption as well as his love for us in the savior Jesus Christ. Together, these prophets express the pain and suffering of God’s people as they live in a fallen world. The people suffer at the hands of their enemies, which have been sent by the Lord himself. But they are not without hope, because God uses this form of fatherly discipline to sanctify and restore them.

Camden recently wrote a 12-week study on the books for Crossway’s Knowing the Bible series. For a week beginning April 27, 2018, Westminster Books will be running a sale on books in the series. Visit wtsbooks.com/knowingthebible this week for approximately 20% savings on single volumes and 40% on 5-packs.

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The Spirituality of the Church in the Ecclesiology of Charles Hodge

Alan Strange speaks about the doctrine of the spirituality of the church in the ecclesiology of Charles Hodge and how it was formed in the years leading up to and during the American Civil War. Dr. Strange’s dissertation on the topic has been published in P&R Publishing’s Reformed Academic Dissertations series as The Doctrine of the Spirituality of the Church in the Ecclesiology of Charles Hodge. Dr. Strange previously addressed the topic in episode 443 of Christ the Center, but in this episode, we focus more on the Presbyterian General Assemblies and how they wrestled with the theological and political issues surrounding the war.

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Vos Group #45 — Excursus: Reformed Dogmatics

Vos Group takes an excursus to discuss Vos’s Reformed Dogmatics. In this series, like all of his works, Vos presents the “deeper Protestant conception” of covenantal union and communion with the Triune God. We discuss how the immutable Creator does not change in the freely willed “new relation” to creation—only creation does, and that the Roman Catholic view of the image cannot deliver the “essence” of religion, which is communion with God.

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Reading Van Til, Evangelicals & Catholicism, and African Ontology & Epistemology

In this episode, we answer questions from our listeners and discuss a few things we’ve been contemplating recently. We discuss a proposed reading list for the works of Cornelius Van Til, worshiping on Sunday, Evangelicals and Catholics Together, and African worldview and theology. It’s a wide-ranging conversation and one we hope you enjoy.

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Eden, Canaan, and the Heavenly Temple Dwelling of God

Eden and Canaan are earthly projections that both reveal yet veil the glory of the heavenly dwelling place of God. Had Adam passed probation, he would have been translated into the highest heavens in the presence of God where he would enter Sabbath Rest (Genesis 2/Ez. 28:14 and the mountain of God). When Christ finished his wilderness sojourn, he ascended into that very reality of Sabbath Rest—rest the first Adam did not enter (Heb. 1:3; 8:2, 5; 9:23–24; 10:12; 12:24; 4:9–10). Christ, as ascended, has entered rest—a rest he in the process of conferring on the church in this age (4:3) and will bring to consummation in the age to come (4:9–11).

The whole point of the land of Canaan in Hebrews—the way it relates to this big-picture creational concern—is that it was a place of rest (Psalm 95:7–11 is quoted in Hebrews 3:7–11). Israel was seeking to leave the wilderness and enter into the “rest” of God in Canaan. Canaan was a local, earthly expression of a corresponding heavenly Sabbath Rest (95:11/Genesis 2:2 as the two theme texts in Hebrews 3 and 4).

Canaan was an earthly type of Sabbath Rest, and some in Israel failed to enter the earthly typical land of rest because they lacked faith in the promised Messiah (Heb. 3:19). In a parallel way, the author of Hebrews grounds his exhortation that the church in this age press on to Sabbath Rest by faith in the ascended Messiah, so that none of us fail to enter that Rest.

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Theophany: A Biblical Theology of God’s Appearing

Dr. Vern Poythress speaks with us about his book, Theophany: A Biblical Theology of God’s Appearing, published by Crossway. Each time God appears to his people throughout the Bible—in the form of a thunderstorm, a man, a warrior, a chariot, etc.—he comes to a specific person for a specific purpose. And each of these temporary appearances— called theophanies—helps us to better understand who he is, anticipating his climactic, permanent self-revelation in the incarnation of Christ.

Describing the various accounts of God’s visible presence from Genesis to Revelation, Dr. Poythress helps us consider more deeply what they reveal about who God is and how he dwells with us today.

We also spoke about the upcoming Westminster Conference on Science & Faith to be held April 6–7, 2018 at Proclamation Presbyterian Church in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania (see map). They will explore the relationship between theistic evolution and the Christian faith. Register at wcosaf.com.

Dr. Poythress is Professor of New Testament Interpretation at Westminster Theological Seminary in Glenside, Pennsylvania.

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How the Second Century Shaped the Future of the Church

Michael J. Kruger joins us to speak about his book, Christianity at the Crossroads: How the Second Century Shaped the Future of the Church in which he examines how Christianity took root in the second century, how it battled to stay true to the vision of the apostles, and how it developed in ways that would shape both the church and Western culture over the next two thousand years.

Dr. Kruger is President and Professor of New Testament at Reformed Theological Seminary in Charlotte, North Carolina. He is the author of several books including, Canon Revisited: Establishing the Origins and Authority of the New Testament Books (Crossway, 2012), The Early Text of the New Testament (Oxford, 2012; edited with Charles Hill), and The Question of Canon: Challenging the Status Quo in the New Testament Debate.

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