Reformed Forum

In this episode, we approach the critical topic of Reformed global theological education and discipleship. Join us as we explore the unique challenges and incredible opportunities present in various regions around the world, including Hungary, Latvia, Germany, Moldova, and beyond.

We’ll hear insights from Reformed pastors and missionaries, who share their experiences and perspectives on the cultural, linguistic, and practical aspects of providing robust theological training in diverse contexts.

Tune in for a compelling discussion that not only highlights the needs but also presents actionable steps and opportunities for making a significant impact in the global Reformed community. Whether you're a pastor, church leader, or someone passionate about theological education, this episode offers valuable insights and inspiration for contributing to the advancement of Reformed theology worldwide.

00:00:06 Introduction
00:01:44 An Update on Global Theological Education
00:04:31 Recent Travel for Reformed Forum
00:07:33 Summary of Conversations with Pastors and Missionaries
00:24:14 Supporting Global Theological Education
00:30:45 Paul Sanduleac, Moldova
00:37:07 Raul Profire, Romania
00:42:29 Jaroslav, Belarus
00:48:26 Artis Celmins, Latvia
00:53:49 Imre Szöke, Hungary
01:02:47 Peter Szabo, Hungary
01:03:40 Andreas Repp, Germany
01:13:56 Jonathan Master of Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary
01:33:09 Joshua Gielow of TruthXchange
01:39:13 Conclusion

This is Christ the Center episode 860 (https://www.reformedforum.org/ctc860)

Direct download: ctc860.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am CDT

This week on Theology Simply Profound, Rob and Bob discuss Louis Berkhof’s little book, Summary of Christian Doctrine. We begin a discussion of chapter XXV, “The Word of God and the Sacraments in General." In this episode, we start to talk about the means of grace.
Direct download: tsp312.mp3
Category:Theology Simply Profound -- posted at: 10:01am CDT

In Church Membership, Jonathan Landry Cruse emphasizes the biblical and theological necessity of formal church membership. Cruse argues that church membership is not merely a social or optional commitment but a vital and commanded aspect of Christian discipleship. The book contends that being a member of a local church is essential for spiritual growth, accountability, and fulfilling God’s design for communal worship and service.

Jonathan Landry Cruse is pastor of Community Presbyterian Church (Orthodox Presbyterian Church) in Kalamazoo, Michigan. In his writing, Cruse aims to make complex theological concepts accessible to a broader audience. His works often address foundational elements of church life, including worship, preaching, and the sacraments, underscoring the importance of church membership and community.

Direct download: ctc859.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am CDT

This week on Theology Simply Profound, Rob and Bob discuss Louis Berkhof’s little book, Summary of Christian Doctrine. We continue our discussion of chapter XXIV, “The Government and Power of the Church.” In this episode, we talk about church power. What kind of church power or authority does the church of Jesus Christ have?
Direct download: tsp311.mp3
Category:Theology Simply Profound -- posted at: 8:39am CDT

In chapter five of Geerhardus Vos’ Biblical Theology (p. 343ff), the focus is on the various aspects of Jesus’ revelation during His public ministry. Vos argues that the revelation mediated by Jesus is often mistakenly confined to his earthly life, ignoring his pre-existence and post-existence, both of which are integral to the comprehensive scheme of divine revelation. 

Vos outlines that Jesus’ earthly revelation functioned within a specific framework, implying limitations that did not exist in his pre-existent and post-existent states. These limitations were not due to any inadequacy in Jesus’ knowledge or power but were part of a divine scheme that required a progressive unfolding of revelation. Vos emphasizes that Jesus did not intend to reveal the entire volume of divine truth during his earthly ministry but functioned as a pivotal link within the continuum of revelation that includes both the Old and New Testaments.

Direct download: ctc858.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am CDT

Although humanity is dead and lost in sin, with no way to merit favor with God, God is rich in mercy and loves his people with a great love. Those whom God loves are then saved only through the death, resurrection, ascension, and session of Jesus Christ. Believers then, through their union with Christ, are privileged to have died with him, been resurrected with him, and ascended with him to the heavenly places. This glorious news should humble us and lead us to worship and walk in holiness.

Direct download: pc129.mp3
Category:Proclaiming Christ -- posted at: 12:00am CDT

In this episode, we commemorate the centennial of the Auburn Affirmation, exploring its profound impact on the Presbyterian Church (USA) and the broader Christian community. We explore the theological crossroads of the early twentieth century, marked by the rise of modernism and the publication of The Fundamentals. We discuss the significant events that led to the Auburn Affirmation, including Harry Emerson Fosdick’s influential sermon and the subsequent controversies that reshaped American Protestantism.

Reflecting on these historical developments, we consider the ongoing relevance of confessional fidelity and integrity in today’s church. Join us as we examine how the Auburn Affirmation’s call for theological tolerance challenges our understanding of doctrinal adherence, and how we can navigate these waters with a commitment to both truth and unity. This episode offers valuable insights into maintaining the church’s distinct witness and enduring relevance in a pluralistic society.

Direct download: ctc857.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am CDT

In this installment of Van Til Group, we turn to pp. 73–77 of Cornelius Van Til's classic book, The Defense of the Faith. In this section, Van Til critiques both Roman Catholicism and certain strands of Evangelicalism for their approach to human autonomy and the nature of sin.

Van Til argues that Roman Catholicism, as represented by Thomas Aquinas, assigns too much autonomy to human consciousness, even before the Fall, which undermines the Scriptural notion of authority and total depravity. He contends that Aquinas views fallen man as not entirely different from Adam in paradise, thus diminishing the need for grace.

Similarly, Van Til criticizes C.S. Lewis, representing a segment of Evangelical thought, for conflating metaphysical and ethical issues and for not adequately emphasizing human disobedience to God as the root of ethical problems. Both perspectives, according to Van Til, fail to uphold the biblical doctrine that only through faith and complete reliance on the triune God of Scripture can true ethical behavior be achieved.

Direct download: ctc856.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am CDT

Dr. Daniel Borvan traces the tumultuous journey of the French Reformed Church from its formation, through periods of severe persecution, to its current role within the modern Protestant landscape. This session offers a comprehensive look at the church’s theological, cultural, and social contributions over the centuries.

This session was delivered at the Reformed Forum Symposium on the Reformation in the Francophone World (https://reformedforum.org/symposium-on-the-reformation-in-the-francophone-world).

Direct download: 1_borvan.mp3
Category:Special Edition -- posted at: 12:09pm CDT

Camden Bucey provides a preview of our upcoming symposium scheduled for Saturday, May 18, 2024. In this event, we will explore pivotal moments and figures in the history of the Reformed tradition. This event will feature four presentations and related discussions on critical theological developments and historical events that have shaped the Protestant Church, particularly within the French-speaking world. Whether you are a scholar, student, or simply passionate about church history and theology, this symposium offers enriching insights into the enduring legacy and challenges of the Reformed tradition.

Sessions

  • Dan Borvan: The Church Under the Cross: An Overview of the French Reformed Church
  • David Noe: Theodore Beza at the Colloquy of Poissy (1561)
  • Marty Klauber: The Eucharistic Theology of Jean Mestrezat
  • Stephen Davis: The War of the Camisards (1702–1704): Huguenot Resistance Under Louis XIV

Visit https://www.reformedforum.org/francophone for more information.

We also include the first two lessons in Dr. Carlton Wynne’s new course on John Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion, Books 1–2.

Chapters

  • 00:00:07 Introduction
  • 00:02:29 Symposium on the Reformation in the Francophone World
  • 00:06:57 Overview of the French Reformed Church
  • 00:11:30 Beza at the Colloquy of Poissy
  • 00:13:12 The Eucharistic Theology of Jean Mestrezat
  • 00:15:12 The War of the Camisards (1702–1704)
  • 00:18:09 Carlton Wynne’s Course on Calvin’s Institutes, Books 1-2
  • 00:23:38 Introduction to Calvin’s Institutes
  • 00:52:03 John Calvin the Man
  • 01:26:01 Conclusion
Direct download: ctc855.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am CDT

In this episode, we introduce the Gospel of Mark. We also explore how Mark introduces us to the person of Jesus Christ and the Gospel. Of special interest is the redemptive nature of the Gospel. This is shown by Mark's high Christology (Jesus is God), John's baptism, and Jesus' successful resistance of Satan's temptation. 

Direct download: pc128.mp3
Category:Proclaiming Christ -- posted at: 12:00am CDT

This episode addresses the heart of Reformed evangelism, featuring a compelling conversation with the Rev. Paul Murphy, pastor of evangelism at Messiah's Reformed Fellowship in New York, and Dr. Eric Watkins, director of the Center for Missions and Evangelism at Mid-America Reformed Seminary. In this conversation, we explore the unique approach of Reformed theology to evangelism, addressing common stereotypes, and addressing the challenges and opportunities for spreading the gospel in urban settings.

We unpack the misconception that Reformed Christians do not engage in evangelism, shedding light on the historical and theological roots of this stereotype. It also highlights the exciting new opportunities, including church planting and revitalization efforts in Chicago and New York.

Listeners will gain insights into the distinct aspects of Reformed evangelism, as outlined by the Reformed creeds and confessions, and the importance of understanding one's role within the Body of Christ. The discussion emphasizes the need for a culture of evangelism within local congregations and offers practical suggestions for fostering this culture.

Direct download: ctc854.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am CDT

This week on Theology Simply Profound, Rob and Bob discuss Louis Berkhof’s little book, Summary of Christian Doctrine. We continue our discussion of chapter XXIV, “The Government and Power of the Church.” In this episode, we talk about denominations, church as an organization and its structure, and plenty of other odds and ends related to the church.
Direct download: tsp310.mp3
Category:Theology Simply Profound -- posted at: 7:01pm CDT

In this thought-provoking episode, we dive deep into the intriguing account of Jesus’ temptation by Satan in the wilderness. Join us as we explore the profound insights offered by Geerhardus Vos on pages 339–342 in his work Biblical Theology and unpack the ultimate issue at stake in this cosmic confrontation: Who should be God, and whose Messiah would Jesus be?

We grapple with the perplexing questions surrounding Jesus’ temptability and peccability. How could a sinless Jesus be tempted, and what does this imply about his ability to sin? We examine Vos’s argument that the things Satan suggested were not inherently sinful, only wrong due to God’s prohibition, and consider how this differs from modern interpretations that see the temptations as allurements towards a worldly, political messianic role.

Vos’s work invites us to ponder the profound mystery of a fully human Jesus who is intimately united with the Holy Spirit and possesses a divine nature. We consider how these unique aspects of Jesus’ identity make his sinlessness even more unthinkable than Adam’s, and we wrestle with the implications for our understanding of Jesus’ impeccability.

Through a careful analysis of Vos’s insights and a lively discussion of the theological complexities involved, we aim to shed light on this pivotal moment in Jesus’ earthly mission and its significance for our faith. Join us as we explore the depths of Jesus’ commitment to the path of humiliation and suffering, and the ultimate triumph of his messianic glory.

This is Christ the Center episode 853 (https://www.reformedforum.org/ctc853)

Direct download: ctc853.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am CDT

This week on Theology Simply Profound, Rob and Bob discuss Louis Berkhof’s little book, Summary of Christian Doctrine. We continue our discussion of chapter XXIV, “The Government and Power of the Church.” In this episode, we begin a discussion of church government of Christ's church beginning with Christ as head of the church and the church officers.
Direct download: tsp309.mp3
Category:Theology Simply Profound -- posted at: 10:42am CDT

In this episode, we welcome Scott J. Hatch, author of Reformed Forum’s latest publication, Van Til and the Foundation of Christian Ethics: A God-Centered Approach to Moral Philosophy, to consider the profound relationship between theology and ethics as articulated by Cornelius Van Til. In addition to providing an original treatment of the subject, Hatch has also edited a critical edition of Van Til’s Christian-Theistic Ethics, which is included as a lengthy appendix in this volume. This never before been available, and anyone interested in the thought of Cornelius Van Til should surely get a copy for their library.

This insightful conversation illuminates Van Til’s unique approach to Christian ethics, emphasizing a God-centered moral philosophy grounded in the doctrine of the self-contained ontological Trinity. Hatch explores Van Til’s critique of moral relativism and how his theological framework offers a compelling solution to ethical dilemmas, contrasting with the perspectives of other ethicists and theologians.

The episode promises to enrich understanding of Christian ethics through the lens of Reformed theology, challenging believers to consider the foundational role of the Triune God in all moral considerations. Join us for a thought-provoking exploration of how Cornelius Van Til’s groundbreaking work continues to shape contemporary discussions on Christian ethics, offering a robust, God-centered approach that speaks to the challenges of modern moral relativism.

Direct download: ctc852.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am CDT

We welcome Mark Sanders, President of Harvest USA, for an enriching dialogue on confronting and healing from sexual brokenness within the church. As our society grapples with rapidly evolving norms around gender and sexuality, the church is called to respond with both theological depth and compassionate outreach. Harvest USA stands at the forefront of this mission, offering resources, discipleship, and education to equip believers to address these challenges through the lens of Reformed theology.

Throughout this conversation, Camden Bucey and Mark Sanders discuss the significance of understanding our identity in Christ and how it shapes our approach to sexual ethics. They discuss the "Harvest Tree" model—a comprehensive biblical framework employed by Harvest USA to aid individuals and families in navigating sexual brokenness with biblical fidelity. The episode also spotlights new initiatives from Harvest USA, including free courses designed to assist parents in raising sexually faithful children and addressing gender confusion with grace and truth.

Listeners will gain insights into the theological underpinnings that guide Harvest USA's ministry, emphasizing the importance of a proper ecclesiology and a biblically grounded anthropology. This episode not only addresses the pressing issues of our time but also offers hope and direction for the church to minister effectively in a culture of confusion and search for identity.

Join us for an enlightening discussion that bridges deep theological concepts with practical application, illuminating the path toward healing and wholeness in Christ amidst a world of sexual and gender confusion.

Visit harvestusa.org for more resources and information on how you can engage with this important ministry.

00:07 Introduction
04:06 The History and Ministry of Harvest USA
10:04 Reformed Theological Anthropology
25:47 Courses Available through Harvest
30:37 Discipling Your Children
37:35 The Tree Model
44:32 Thoughts from the Front Line
54:10 Additional Resources
57:18 Conclusion

This is Christ the Center episode 851 (https://www.reformedforum.org/ctc851)

Direct download: ctc851.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am CDT

Christ the Center is on the road as Camden Bucey speaks with two guest from the Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary Conference. This episode explores Reformed theology and its profound impact on missions. Camden is joined by Chad Vegas, founding pastor of Sovereign Grace Church and founding board chairman of Radius International, along with Jonathan Master, president of Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary, to explore the vital relationship between theological education and missionary work.

The conversation covers a broad spectrum, from the excitement surrounding the seminary’s annual spring conference to the innovative partnership between Greenville Seminary and Radius International, aimed at equipping the next generation for church planting among unreached language groups. Chad Vegas also shares his personal journey from a dispensationalist background to embracing Reformed theology and the inception of Radius International. This episode sheds light on the challenges and strategies of missionary work, emphasizing the necessity of a solid biblical foundation, cultural sensitivity, and the indispensable role of the local church in sending and supporting missionaries. Join us for an engaging discussion that reaffirms the vital role of Reformed theology in advancing the gospel to the ends of the earth.

[00:00:07] Introduction
[00:06:35] Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary and a Focus on Missions
[00:08:35] Radius International and Church Planting among Unreached Groups
[00:12:43] Missionary Training and Biblical Foundations
[00:18:13] Historical and Theological Foundations of Missions
[00:23:22] A Personal Journey to Reformed Theology
[00:39:13] Development of Radius International
[00:48:24] Missionary Work and Cultural Engagement
[00:58:46] Evolving Role of Reformed Theology in Modern Missions
[01:10:09] Future Directions for Presbyterian Missions

This is Christ the Center episode 850 (https://www.reformedforum.org/ctc850)

Direct download: ctc850.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am CDT

This week on Theology Simply Profound, Rob and Bob discuss Louis Berkhof’s little book, Summary of Christian Doctrine. We continue our discussion of chapter XXIII, “The Doctrine of the Church and the Means of Grace.” In this episode, we get into various aspects of the church: the visible and invisible distinction, church discipline, and others.
Direct download: tsp308.mp3
Category:Theology Simply Profound -- posted at: 6:46am CDT

In this installment of Vos Group, we turn to p. 336 of Vos’s book Biblical Theology: Old and New Testaments, focusing on the temptations of Jesus Christ. This discussion ventures into the heart of Jesus’s wilderness temptations, offering a rich, theological analysis that challenges and enlightens. We consider the strategic use of Old Testament quotations by Jesus during his confrontation with Satan, underscoring the deep, theological significance of these moments.

This episode not only unpacks the unique messianic nature of Jesus’s temptations but also firmly opposes a moralizing interpretation, instead highlighting the redemptive work accomplished through Christ’s victory over sin. Through a careful examination of Jesus as the obedient Son and true Israel, this episode reveals the layers of meaning in these biblical narratives, connecting them to broader themes of redemption, covenant theology, and the Christian life. As we understand Jesus’s role as the mediator who binds and spoils the strong man, this episode encourages believers to find their identity in Christ, resting in his victorious work on our behalf.

00:07 Introduction
04:44 Jesus' Temptation as a Prime Example of His Earthly Ministry
08:43 The Wilderness Temptation
17:10 The Temple Temptation
23:05 The Mountain Temptation
28:44 The Emphases of Matthew and Luke
38:38 Overcoming in Jesus and Entering Paradise
45:01 Looking Ahead
48:11 Conclusion

Direct download: ctc849.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am CDT

Reformed Forum exhibited at the Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary conference in Greer, SC. This episode offers a deep dive into the Confessional Presbyterian Journal's latest issue, with a special focus on the 50th anniversary of the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) and the historical development of the PCA's Standing Judicial Commission (SJC). Camden Bucey brings together Rev. Zachary Groff, pastor of Antioch Presbyterian Church, and Dr. Scott Cook, visiting professor of apologetics at Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary, both of whom are deeply involved in the Confessional Presbyterian Journal.

The conversation starts with an exploration of the journal itself, highlighting its dedication to addressing pressing issues in the church through a blend of pastoral scholarship and rigorous theological analysis. The latest issue's theme revolves around the PCA's 50th anniversary, offering a collection of articles that reflect on the denomination's history, mission, and theological commitments.

Zachary Groff provides an overview of the journal's contents, emphasizing the significance of the PCA's commitment to the Great Commission and its historical context. He mentions various contributions that examine the PCA's foundation, its growth, and its ongoing theological debates, particularly those concerning the church's mission and the inclusivity of nations in God's plan through Christ.

Dr. Scott Cook focuses on the specific topic of the PCA's Standing Judicial Commission, outlining its origin and evolution. He describes the initial challenges faced by the PCA in maintaining discipline and order within its rapidly growing community. Cook traces the SJC's development back to the 1980s, a period marked by significant debate and eventual compromise within the denomination. He articulates the tension between the desire for a grassroots, decentralized approach to church governance and the practical need for an efficient, centralized judicial body to handle disciplinary cases. This part of the conversation sheds light on the broader issues of polity and ecclesiastical authority within the PCA and offers insights into how the denomination has navigated these challenges over the years.

Throughout the episode, the guests underscore the Confessional Presbyterian Journal's role in fostering informed theological conversation and community engagement within the Reformed tradition. The discussion not only celebrates the PCA's past achievements but also critically examines its struggles and future directions, particularly in the realms of theological fidelity, church discipline, and mission​​.

00:00:07 - Introduction
00:03:38 - Guest Introductions: Rev. Zachary Groff and Dr. Scott Cook
00:07:35 - In-depth Look at the Confessional Presbyterian Journal
00:23:00 - The Formation and Significance of the PCA's Standing Judicial Commission
00:27:06 - Challenges and Future Directions for the PCA
00:56:35 - The Development of the SJC: From Concept to Reality
01:00:20 - The Challenges and Controversies of Implementing the SJC
01:04:26 - Reflecting on Growth and the Future of the PCA
01:12:23 - Reflecting on PCA's Place in the Reformed World

This is Christ the Center episode 848 (https://www.reformedforum.org/ctc848)

Direct download: ctc848.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am CDT

This week on Theology Simply Profound, Rob and Bob discuss Louis Berkhof’s little book, Summary of Christian Doctrine. We begin a discussion of chapter XXIII, "The Doctrine of the Church and the Means of Grace."  We'll spend a few episodes discussing this chapter to dig a little deeper into the nature of the church.
Direct download: tsp307.mp3
Category:Theology Simply Profound -- posted at: 7:14am CDT

In this enlightening episode, we discuss the nuances of conscience and confessional identity during the Reformation. Joined by Dr. Timothy Scheuers, we turn our attention to the transformative period of the 16th century, exploring how conscience acted not only as a catalyst for reform but also as a complex element influencing church unity, confessional standards, and the intricate relationship between church and state.

The core of our discussion centers around Dr. Scheuer’s book, Consciences and the Reformation: Scruples over Oaths and Confessions in the Era of Calvin and His Contemporaries (Oxford University Press), providing a fresh perspective on the role of conscience in driving forward the Reformation’s agenda. We explore the pivotal moments and figures of this era, including Calvin’s return to Geneva and the establishment of the Geneva Academy, to understand how these historical milestones continue to influence contemporary Christian thought and practice.

Through a blend of historical examination and practical application, this episode not only sheds light on the foundational aspects of Reformed theology but also invites listeners to reflect on the relevance of these principles in today’s ecclesiastical landscape. Whether you're a theologian, a pastor, or simply someone interested in Christian history and doctrine, this episode offers valuable insights into the enduring legacy of the Reformation and its significance for the contemporary church.

Rev. Dr. Scheuers is the Associate Pastor of First United Reformed Church of Chino, CA, and an Adjunct Assistant Professor of History at Providence Christian College (Pasadena, CA).

Direct download: ctc847.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am CDT

This week on Theology Simply Profound, Rob and Bob discuss Louis Berkhof’s little book, Summary of Christian Doctrine. We turn to chapter XXII, "Sanctification and Perseverance." After too long of a break from recording, Rob and Bob were able to sit down together to discuss God's work of sanctifying his people, the nature of good works, and how God's people persevere to the end. 
Direct download: tsp306.mp3
Category:Theology Simply Profound -- posted at: 11:48am CDT

In this episode, we speak with William Boekestein, Jonathan Landry Cruse, and Andrew J. Miller, the authors behind a new book, Glorifying and Enjoying God: 52 Devotions through the Westminster Shorter Catechism. These three pastors and theologians share their insights and experiences from their journey through the Westminster Shorter Catechism, offering listeners a unique opportunity to understand the profound theological truths encapsulated in this historic summary of faith.

William Boekestein, serving the Immanuel Fellowship Church in Kalamazoo, Michigan, alongside his wife Amy and their four children, brings a pastoral heart to our discussion. Jonathan Landry Cruse, author of What Happens When We Worship and pastor of Community Presbyterian Church (OPC) in Kalamazoo, where he resides with his wife and three children, offers a perspective enriched by his literary and ministerial endeavors. Andrew J. Miller, the Regional Home Missionary for the Orthodox Presbyterian Church in central Pennsylvania, shares his extensive missionary experiences, living out the catechism’s teachings alongside his wife Rebekah and their five children.

Together, they speak about the motivations behind their collaborative work, the importance of the Westminster Shorter Catechism in today’s Christian walk, and how the book aims to deepen the reader’s love and knowledge of God. Join us as we explore how understanding God leads to a richer relationship with Him, and how the intertwined nature of heart and mind can bring us closer to the glory and enjoyment of God.

Direct download: ctc846.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 1:00am CDT

Dr. James Cassidy speaks at the Reformed Forum pre-conference in advance of the Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary 2024 Spring Theology Conference.
Direct download: 2024_gpts_02_cassidy.mp3
Category:Special Edition -- posted at: 4:54pm CDT

Camden Bucey presents a biblical theology of the nations during the Reformed Forum pre-conference in advance of the Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary 2024 Spring Theology Conference.
Direct download: 2024_gpts_01_bucey.mp3
Category:Special Edition -- posted at: 4:10pm CDT

In this episode, we welcome Aaron Renn, author of Life in the Negative World: Confronting Challenges in an Anti-Christian Culture, to explore the profound shifts in cultural attitudes towards Christianity and the broader implications for faith in the modern era. Renn, with a diverse background ranging from management and technology consulting as a Partner at Accenture, to urban policy as a Senior Fellow at the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, and now a Senior Fellow at American Reformer, brings a unique perspective to the discussion. His extensive work has been featured in globally recognized publications such as The Guardian, The Wall Street Journal, and The Atlantic.

Life in the Negative World considers the dramatic changes in societal views on Christianity, tracing the journey from the mid-twentieth century—when church attendance was at its peak—to the present day, where professing Christian beliefs often results in social demotion within elite circles. Renn examines the transition from a once Christianity-affirming society to one that is, at best, indifferent, and at worst, hostile to Christian morals and teachings. In our conversation, he articulates the lessons learned from over seven decades of Christian cultural engagement, offering insightful strategies for churches, institutions, and individuals to maintain their faithfulness in an increasingly adversarial environment.

This episode is not just a reflection on the challenges faced by modern Christians but also a guide on how to navigate these tumultuous waters with grace, resilience, and a deepened faith. Renn emphasizes the necessity for a diverse array of strategies to engage missionally with a world that often seems at odds with Christian values. Whether you’re a person of faith struggling to find your place in this “negative world,” a church leader seeking direction for your community, or simply interested in the evolving relationship between religion and society, this conversation with Aaron Renn offers valuable insights and hope for the path forward.

Join us as we discuss the implications of living out one’s faith in an era that increasingly marginalizes Christian perspectives, and discover how to embrace the challenges of the negative world with courage and conviction.

Links

Direct download: ctc845.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am CDT

Reformed Forum hosted an online symposium on February 29, 2024, featuring a series of thought-provoking sessions designed to explore the intersections of theology, history, and the contemporary challenges facing the church.

This panel discussion featured Alan Strange’s insightful book, Empowered Witness (Crossway). The session examined Strange's exploration of the spirituality of the church doctrine, a pivotal biblical concept developed in the nineteenth century, and its relevance in today's politically charged environment. Emphasizing the necessity for the church to prioritize its spiritual mission over earthly political and social agendas, Strange's work is a clarion call to refocus on the Great Commission. C. N. Willborn, D. G. Hart, and Timon Cline offered their perspectives on the book. Then, Dr. Strange responded and engage with their insights. This panel was an engaging analysis of the historical and contemporary roles of the church, appealing to both thoughtful laypeople and church leaders.

Watch the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QujQOzuiJR4

Direct download: 2024-02-29_symposium_03_strange.mp3
Category:Special Edition -- posted at: 11:14am CDT

Reformed Forum hosted an online symposium on February 29, 2024, featuring a series of thought-provoking sessions designed to explore the intersections of theology, history, and the contemporary challenges facing the church.

In this session Owen Anderson explored the phenomenon of secularization, particularly focusing on the transformative changes that took place at Princeton Seminary and within Presbyterian education. Following Dr. Anderson's presentation, we entertained questions from viewers who submitted questions in our online chat. This discussion was especially timely in light of a growing educational renaissance, driven by parents increasingly concerned about the radical-leftist tendencies in modern education. There is a compelling opportunity to consider the rich Presbyterian history, which could provide valuable alternatives and insights. This topic is not only relevant to our current cultural context but also deeply rooted in our denominational heritage, offering a unique perspective on the evolving landscape of education.

Watch the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-KIK5SNau5Q

Direct download: 2024-02-29_symposium_02_anderson.mp3
Category:Special Edition -- posted at: 11:12am CDT

Reformed Forum hosted an online symposium on February 29, 2024, featuring a series of thought-provoking sessions designed to explore the intersections of theology, history, and the contemporary challenges facing the church.

In this session, Joseph Minich presented the primary thesis of his book, Bulwarks of Unbelief (Lexham Press), in which he argues that a felt absence of God, as experienced by the modern individual, offers a better explanation for the rise in atheism. Recent technological and cultural shifts in the modern West have produced a perceived challenge to God's existence. As modern technoculture reshapes our awareness of reality and belief in the invisible, it in turn amplifies God's apparent silence. In this new context, atheism is a natural result. And absent of meaning from without, we have turned within.

Watch the video: https://youtube.com/live/bvOPzAyfvdE?feature=share

Direct download: 2024-02-29_symposium_01_minich.mp3
Category:Special Edition -- posted at: 11:03am CDT

In this installment of Van Til Group, we turn to the section of Defense of the Faith (pp. 69–72), which begins the chapter titled “The Christian Philosophy of Behavior.” This section outlines the Christian perspective on ethics, drawing from the Reformed confessions to emphasize that human actions, or behavior, should aim to glorify God. It presents a confessional scheme focusing on three key aspects: the highest good (summum bonum) that humans should strive for, the criterion for achieving this good (which must be based on God’s revealed will in Scripture), and the motivation for pursuing this good, highlighting the necessity of faith and regeneration by the Holy Spirit for genuine ethical action.

The chapter then considers the relationship between ethics and the Christian philosophy of knowledge. It asserts that understanding God’s nature is fundamental to grasping the essence of Christian ethics, with God’s absolute personality serving as the ultimate interpretative category for human existence. This perspective contrasts with non-Christian views by emphasizing that the good is defined by God’s nature and will, rather than existing independently.

The section on “Man as Made in God’s Image” discusses the original moral perfection of humanity, created in the image of the Godhead, and underscores the derivative nature of human moral consciousness. Unlike non-Christian ethics, which may view moral consciousness as the ultimate arbiter of good, Christian ethics sees it as reliant on divine revelation. This foundational difference in epistemology between Christian and non-Christian thought underscores the Christian belief in a receptive rather than creative construction of moral knowledge, with humanity’s moral nature and external revelation jointly guiding ethical understanding.

Direct download: ctc844.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am CDT

Moses brings us to the height of the conflict between Jacob and Esau. We look at the need to preserve the tension in the story while connecting it to the larger narrative. Here we learn how Jacob’s humility leads to a resolution of conflict. We see also the high point of the story — the building of the altar, as Jacob has reconciled with God and man.

Direct download: pc127.mp3
Category:Proclaiming Christ -- posted at: 12:00am CDT

In this episode, we sit down with David Hall, Senior Pastor of Midway Presbyterian Church in Powder Springs, GA, and a prolific author, to discuss his latest book, Irony and the Presbyterian Church in America: The First Fifty Years. Hall’s work, a historical and analytical exploration of the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA), offers a unique perspective on the denomination’s fifty-year journey since its inception in 1973. Through the lens of irony, reminiscent of Greek dramas, Hall examines the PCA’s evolution within the wider context of American Presbyterianism.

David Hall is the author of over 40 books, including influential titles like Savior or Servant? Putting Government in Its Place and The Legacy of John Calvin. As the Founder and Senior Fellow of the Kuyper Institute and a leading figure in the Calvin500 celebration, Hall’s expertise offers a profound look into the PCA’s successes, challenges, and the critical question: can it avoid the decline that other religious communions have faced?

Direct download: ctc843.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am CDT

In this episode, we consider the reality that mankind, apart from God’s glorious grace, is completely and totally lost in sin.  Before Paul moves to extol the riches of God’s grace in Eph 2:4–10, he first digs down deep to expose the reality of sinful man’s helpless estate. The more we understand the depth of our sin, the more we will fall to our knees in wonder of God’s mercy in Christ. We must first reckon with the bad news before we bathe in the good news.

Direct download: pc126.mp3
Category:Proclaiming Christ -- posted at: 12:00am CDT

In this episode, Camden Bucey engages in a thought-provoking discussion with Terry Johnson, Senior Minister of Independent Presbyterian Church in Savannah, Georgia and the author of Understanding Family Worship: Its History, Theology, and Practice (Christian Focus).

This book provides a timely perspective on family worship. Rev. Johnson reflects on his personal journey, starting with the birth of his first child, which sparked a deep commitment to family worship. Johnson emphasizes the need for consistency and the avoidance of lethargy in practicing family worship. He discusses the challenges and strategies for implementing daily family worship, highlighting the importance of a godly home environment for its effectiveness. 

The conversation also covers theological arguments supporting family worship, rooted in Reformed doctrine, and practical aspects like singing, prayer, Scripture reading, and the role of catechesis in family life. The episode concludes with encouragement for families to embrace this historic Christian practice, underscoring its foundational role in imparting faith and nurturing spiritual growth within the family unit.

Direct download: ctc842.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am CDT

This week on Theology Simply Profound, Rob and Bob discuss Louis Berkhof’s little book, Summary of Christian Doctrine. We turn to chapter XXI, “Justification.”

Direct download: tsp305.mp3
Category:Theology Simply Profound -- posted at: 10:53am CDT

In this episode, we explain the meaning of David's profession of righteousness. How can David speak about himself as being without guilt, relative to God's law, when we know he was a sinner? If our salvation is by grace alone, then how can David say that God rewarded him for his righteousness by saving him from his enemies?

Direct download: pc125.mp3
Category:Proclaiming Christ -- posted at: 12:00am CDT

Camden Bucey and Ryan Noha cover a wide range of topics important to our community, including an in-depth review of the Reformed Academy’s progress, what we've accomplished, the valuable lessons we've learned, and what we have planned for the upcoming year, including new ideas and a proposed schedule.

They also dive into our recent and upcoming events and meetups, sharing highlights from our trip to California, details about our visit to Arizona, thoughts about our upcoming symposia, our big pre-conference in Greenville, and our participation in the PCA and OPC General Assemblies.

Additionally, they discuss potential future cities for our meetups and events, ensuring our community remains vibrant and connected. Furthermore, they provide an update on the Reformed Forum Magazine, sharing exciting developments and what readers can look forward to.

Most importantly, this town hall is an opportunity for us to engage directly with you. Camden and Ryan take questions from our livestream listeners, addressing your curiosities, concerns, and suggestions. Whether you’re deeply invested in the Reformed community or simply curious about what we do, this town hall is a meaningful dialogue about our collective journey and future aspirations.

Watch the video at https://youtube.com/live/D_d2Ezs1KwA

Direct download: 2024-02-09_town_hall.mp3
Category:Special Edition -- posted at: 12:00am CDT

In this episode, we welcome Drs. Benjamin Gladd and G. K. Beale, co-editors of The Dictionary of the New Testament Use of the Old Testament (Baker Academic) along with D. A. Carson and Andrew Naselli. We explore various theological and biblical topics, particularly focusing on the intricate relationship between the New Testament and the Old Testament. This conversation includes examining how New Testament writers drew upon and interpreted Old Testament texts, shedding light on the continuity and development of biblical themes across the testaments. The episode illuminates the complex intertextuality present in the Bible, emphasizing the importance of understanding these connections for a more comprehensive grasp of Christian theology.

Additionally, the dialogue touches upon various methods and challenges in biblical scholarship, including the interpretation of biblical allusions and the significance of these allusions in understanding the New Testament’s fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies and typologies. Drs. Gladd and Beale’s expertise provides a rich, nuanced perspective on these subjects, making the episode particularly valuable for those interested in deepening their understanding of biblical theology and the hermeneutical principles underlying the study of Scripture.

Direct download: ctc841.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am CDT

In part two of Paul’s Prayer we return to consider Paul's prayer for the Ephesian believers.  Yes, Paul's burden is that the Ephesian believers would know the Lord. But what specifically does he pray for them?  What specifically, in this passage, does he want them to know?  Join us as we reflect on Paul's — and the Lord's — burden for his people.

Direct download: pc124.mp3
Category:Proclaiming Christ -- posted at: 12:00am CDT

Dr. Cornelis Van Dam joins us to speak about his book In the Beginning: Listening to Genesis 1 and 2, in which he argues that reading Genesis 1 and 2 as history is not only justified but necessary. Van Dam clarifies the different roles that ancient Near Eastern literature and scientific theories should play in our understanding of the Bible as he carefully deals with the exegetical details of the first two chapters of the Bible. He writes:

The focus of this work is therefore not to give an all-around commentary and explanation of every verse in Genesis 1 and 2, but to listen to Scripture in order to find out what God is revealing to us about the historicity of the beginning chapters of Genesis. Concentrating on listening to what Scripture actually says brings with it the realization that the reader of the Word has a relatively modest place. The one who listens to Scripture acknowledges that the Word, not the reader, determines the meaning of the text (p. 9).

Dr. Van Dam is an Old Testament scholar, who has served with distinction as a professor of Old Testament at the Canadian Reformed Theological Seminary from 1981 to 2011. He holds degrees from Wilfrid Laurier University, Canadian Reformed Theological Seminary, Knox College at the University of Toronto, and the Theological University of Kampen. Over his career, he has made significant contributions to Old Testament scholarship, with a special focus on the Pentateuch. He is the author of notable works including In the Beginning: Listening to Genesis 1 and 2The Elder, and The Deacon. These publications reflect his commitment to exploring not merely themes in biblical studies but also their implications for Christian doctrine and practice.

Dr. Van Dam was honored in 2011 with a Festschrift titled Living Waters from Ancient Springs: Essays in Honor of Cornelis Van Dam. This volume, featuring contributions from notable scholars such as Hans Boersma and Al Wolters, is a testament to his significant impact on theological scholarship and his enduring legacy in biblical studies.

Direct download: ctc840.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am CDT

This week on Theology Simply Profound, Rob and Bob discuss Louis Berkhof’s little book, Summary of Christian Doctrine. We turn to chapter XXI, “Justification.”

Direct download: tsp304.mp3
Category:Theology Simply Profound -- posted at: 11:35am CDT

In this installment of our Vos Group, we turn to pp. 335–336 of Biblical Theology: Old and New Testaments to explore the uniquely messianic nature of these temptations, examining how Christ’s experiences differ significantly from human temptations. A key theme of this passage is the comparison of Christ’s temptation with Adam’s, emphasizing Christ’s role as the second Adam and the federal head encountering temptation.

Vos warns against a moralizing interpretation of the temptations, instead focusing on their theocentric character and their relation to true religion. The episode further explores the role of the Holy Spirit in these temptations, particularly in empowering Christ and highlighting the inauguration of the kingdom of God.

The discussion is rich in its exploration of redemptive history, connecting Christ’s temptations to the broader biblical narrative, from Adam’s failure to Israel’s typological sonship, leading to Christ’s successful fulfillment as the obedient Son of God. This comprehensive analysis aims to deepen understanding of Christ’s work and encourages listeners to appreciate the significance of these biblical events in the context of the entire history of salvation​​.

Direct download: ctc839.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am CDT

Join us on this week’s episode as we speak with Fred Greco, pastor of Christ Church in Katy, Texas. He is a trusted authority on parliamentary procedure and church polity and moderator of the PCA’s 50th General Assembly. Born and raised in Buffalo, New York, alongside his wife, Deb, Fred’s academic journey in Classics and History from the University of Buffalo paved the way to a career in law after acquiring his J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School.

As a corporate attorney specializing in commercial finance and real estate law in Cleveland, Ohio, Fred’s life took an interesting turn when he was ordained as a ruling elder in the PCA, sparking his transition from business to the pulpit. The call to ministry led him and his family to the heart of Texas, where he now serves as the Senior Pastor of Christ Church. In this episode, we’ll explore Rev. Greco’s rich life experiences, from his expertise in law to his heart for ministry. We’ll explore the relationship between his legal training and his ecclesiastical service, and how this unique background informs his understanding of governance within the church.

Direct download: ctc838.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am CDT

In part one of Paul’s Prayer, we will examine how the apostle Paul prays for the Spirit to be at work so that Christians can know God more. Paul’s thankfulness for the believers at Ephesus moves him to constant prayer that God would soften their hearts and open their eyes to hear and believe the gospel. This should be our burden in prayer: that we would know God more.

Direct download: pc123.mp3
Category:Proclaiming Christ -- posted at: 12:00am CDT

We welcome David Schrock to discuss his book, The Royal Priesthood and the Glory of God, in which he presents a biblical theology that explores the theme of priesthood throughout the Bible. The book demonstrates that the concept of priesthood, starting with Adam in the Garden of Eden, is central to understanding God’s plan for humanity and the overarching narrative of Scripture. Schrock argues that Adam, as the first priest in the biblical narrative, sets a pattern for priesthood that echoes through the patriarchs and is ultimately fulfilled in Jesus Christ. This priesthood is not limited to a specific lineage or tribe but is a calling for all of God’s people.

The book traces the development of this theme through the Old and New Testaments, showing how the priesthood develops from the Levitical priesthood of the Old Testament to the royal priesthood in Christ, fulfilling God’s purpose for humanity to serve as mediators of his presence and ministers of his covenant. Schrock’s work invites readers to see themselves as part of this royal priesthood, called to serve God and reflect his glory.

David S. Schrock is pastor for preaching and theology at Occoquan Bible Church in Woodbridge, Virginia. He is a founding faculty member at Indianapolis Theological Seminary, where he teaches theology.

Links

Direct download: ctc837.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am CDT

Jacob expects a conflict with Esau but instead ends up wrestling with an unknown assailant, who can clearly best him at any moment. But when that moment comes, Jacob will not release his hold until he receives a blessing. The content of that blessing points to the God who will not forsake Jacob and will fulfill his covenant promises.

Direct download: pc122.mp3
Category:Proclaiming Christ -- posted at: 12:00am CDT

Join us for a compelling conversation with Dr. Matthew S. Harmon, Professor of New Testament studies at Grace College and Theological Seminary. Camden Bucey engages Dr. Harmon in an exploration of his book, The Servant of the Lord and His Servant People, which explores the theme of servanthood across the biblical canon, offering insightful perspectives on this pervasive and significant motif​​.

During the episode, Dr. Harmon surveys several key biblical figures identified as servants of the Lord, including Adam, Moses, Joshua, David, and Jesus. The conversation also touches upon the New Testament, specifically Paul’s self-identification with the servant of the Lord described in Isaiah. Dr. Harmon elucidates how Paul, and by extension, the Christian church, embody this servant role through Christ’s indwelling, thereby continuing the mission of revealing God’s glory to the ends of the earth​​.

This episode promises to offer listeners profound insights into the biblical concept of servanthood and its implications for understanding both the Old and New Testaments, as well as its relevance for the Christian life today.

Links

Direct download: ctc836.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am CDT

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