Reformed Forum (Christ the Center)

Brad Isbell (@ChortlesWeakly) briefly steps away from the General Assembly floor, Twitter, and Presbycast to jump on another podcast mic to speak with Camden Bucey about the PCA General Assembly and the storied histories of naming the OPC and the PCA.

Mr. Isbell is a ruling elder at Covenant PCA in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Along with @Wresbyterian, he hosts Presbycast. He recently wrote, "What's in a Denominational Name?" for the Nicotine Theological Journal. The article has also been published at The Aquila Report.

Direct download: ctc756.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

In the third volume of this new translation of Petrus Van Mastricht’s Theoretical-Practical Theology, Mastricht begins with a discussion of the decrees of God and how they establish His eternal purpose for everything. He then shows how the decrees are carried out in creation and in God’s continual providence. The volume concludes with Mastricht’s treatment of the apostacy of Adam from his original estate and the devastating effects of sin that followed. This is an important volume for learning how God governs all things, even the rebellious actions of those good things He created.

Jeff Waddington, Dan Ragusa, and Camden Bucey speak about several of the unique positions Van Mastricht held, including his somewhat mediating view between infra- and supralapsarianism, his argument against Copernicanism, his view of the third heaven, and his view of angelic and demonic activity.

Direct download: ctc755.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

On this episode, we speak about the ecclesiastical and theological contributions of Dr. Richard B. Gaffin, Jr. This year marks the 50th anniversary of Dr. Gaffin having been elected the chairman of the OPC’s Committee on Foreign Missions. Crossway has also published his latest book, In the Fullness of Time, a revision of his lecture notes from his course, Acts and Paul.

Direct download: ctc754.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

Lane Tipton and Camden Bucey turn to pages 289–296 of Geerhardus Vos’ book, Biblical Theology: Old and New Testaments. In this section, Vos introduces several significant interpretive practices which are critical for a proper understanding of the eschatology of the prophets. These are the principles of (1) finality and consummation, (2) prophetic idiom, and (3) the coming of the Messiah as the "gift of God."

Direct download: ctc753.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

Adam York joins Camden Bucey to speak about the two age construction found throughout Scripture and especially in the Pauline epistles. The Scripture frequently speak of "this age" and "the age to come." These categories have a significant effect upon how Christians should understand their place in the world.

Jesus, the second Adam, has entered into "the age to come." Through union with Christ, believers not only experience the victory in anticipation of Christ's second coming, they also are already raised with him and seated with him in heavenly places (Eph. 2:6).

Adam York is pastor of Hope Orthodox Presbyterian Church in Grayslake, Illinois.

Donate now to receive an invitation to our private chat server. You won't want to miss our Christ the Center recording scheduled for June 2, 2022 at 2:30 pm (EDT).

This is Christ the Center episode 752 (https://www.reformedforum.org/ctc752)

Direct download: ctc752.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

On May 21, 1922, Harry Emerson Fosdick preached a sermon that helped spark the modernist-fundamentalist controversy. Dr. Darryl G. Hart joins Camden Bucey to speak about this infamous sermon and a new course on Machen that Dr. Hart recorded last week for Reformed Academy.

Direct download: ctc751.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

We welcome Dr. Brandon Crowe to the program to discuss the obedience of Christ and the salvation of his people. In his latest book, Dr. Crowe sets out to answer the basic but all-important question: Is perfect obedience necessary for salvation?

Listen as we explore the covenant of works, the atonement, the nature of Christ’s obedience, his resurrection, and the doctrine of justification.

Brandon D. Crowe (PhD, University of Edinburgh) is professor of New Testament at Westminster Theological Seminary and author of The Last Adam and The Hope of Israel.

Direct download: ctc750.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

Jim Cassidy and Camden Bucey discuss the ecclesiology (the doctrine of the church) and the significant ways it informs our daily lives. Dr. Cassidy is studying R. B. Kuiper's The Glorious Body of Christ with his congregation, and we take the opportunity to speak about the nature and limits of church authority, the distinction between the church as organism and the church as organization, and the church's relation to the government and culture.

Direct download: ctc749.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

Carlton Wynne, Lane Tipton, and Camden Bucey open Cornelius Van Til’s book, The Defense of the Faith to pages 43–47. Van Til addresses the unity and diversity within creation before covering the fall into sin and the curse.

Throughout this chapter, Van Til reminds his readers of the categorical difference between God and creation while maintaining creation’s dependence upon God for its very existence. The answers to these fundamental questions distinguish orthodox Christianity from all other philosophies and religions.

Direct download: ctc748.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

Dr. Dominic Aquila joins Camden Bucey to speak about the history of Presbyterian publications. While they focus primarily on the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, Dr. Aquila connects this storied history to the recent past and the dramatic shifts in communication that have come about with the introduction of the Internet and technologies such as social media.

Dominic Aquila is the President of New Geneva Seminary, and editor of The Aquila Report. He has pastored churches in Virginia, California, Colorado, and Florida. Dr. Aquila has served on a number of Committees in the Presbyterian Church in America, including Mission to the World (MTW) and the Standing Judicial Commission.

Direct download: ctc747.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

Lane Tipton, Ryan Noha, Rob McKenzie, and Camden Bucey pull up to a table for the first podcast recording at the new Reformed Forum headquarters in Libertyville, Illinois. We discuss the new facility, the new course we recording in our Fellowship in Reformed Apologetics, and the current interest in natural theology.

Direct download: ctc746.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

Lane Tipton speaks about his new course on Van Til’s doctrine of revelation, which is the third course in our Fellowship in Reformed Apologetics. In this course, Dr. Tipton covers:

  1. The implications of the self-contained and immutable Trinity for a doctrine of revelation in the work of creation and in the special act of providence in covenantal condescension.
  2. The distinctive character of natural revelation and the natural knowledge of God in Reformed theology, set in comparison and contrast to the views of Thomas Aquinas and Karl Barth.
  3. The relation between natural and supernatural, or general and special revelation, giving special attention to Van Til’s key essay, “Nature and Scripture.”
  4. The Vosian doctrine of eschatology as it bears upon the distinction and the relation of God’s revelation in nature and God’s revelation in covenant (and in Scripture).

The course gives sustained attention to a close reading of central primary sources in Van Til’s corpus that bear on his doctrine of the revelation of the self-contained Trinity in nature and in covenant.

Before sharing one of the lectures from the course, Lane and Camden compare and contrast Cornelius Van Til’s theology with that of Thomas Aquinas on the natural knowledge of God as well as man’s religious fellowship with God.

Direct download: ctc745.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

At the invitation of B. B. Warfield (and the suggestion of Geerhardus Vos), Abraham Kuyper delivered the Stone Lectures at Princeton Theological Seminary in 1898. In these lectures, he presented his vision for an international Calvinism. And while many people may be familiar with Kuyper’s famous work, few may know the complicated history of these lectures being written, translated into English, delivered in Princeton, and eventually published.

In this episode, Dr. George Harinck shares with us his thorough research as he speaks about the history of the text of Kuyper’s lectures. Dr. Harinck is the author of numerous books and articles, including the focus of this conversation, “Lost in Translation: The First Text of the Stone Lectures” in Calvinism for a Secular Age: A Twenty-First-Century Reading of Abraham Kuyper’s Stone Lectures edited by Jessica R. Joustra and Robert J. Joustra and published by IVP Academic.

Dr. Harinck is the Director of The Neo-Calvinism Research Institute and Professor of History at the Free University in Amsterdam.

Direct download: ctc744.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

We turn to the mailbag today to answer questions from listeners. We discuss the “organic” unity of the Scriptures, Van Til‘s understanding of the phenomenal world, why the covenant of works and the covenant of grace point to something better than Eden, and vital and formal aspects of covenant membership.

Register for free on-demand video courses through Reformed Academy (https://www.reformedforum.org/academy).

Direct download: ctc743.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

Podcast worlds collide! Today we welcome Brad Isbell, perhaps even better known as Chortles Weakly, to the program to discuss ruling elders and general assemblies within Presbyterianism.

Along with @wresbyterian, Brad hosts Presbycast, a delightful mix of high Presbyterian polity and low brow culture. Listen as we discuss the organization and operation of the PCA General Assembly, comparisons with other Presbyterian and Reformed bodies—most specifically the OPC, and what it means to take seriously the office of ruling elder.

Links

Direct download: ctc742.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

In 1992, Charles G. Dennison published three articles in the Mid-America Journal of Theology. These were based upon a series he delivered at Mid-America Reformed Seminary. Dennison identifies three eras between 1936 and 1962—tragedy, hope, and ambivalence. The era of tragedy is focused on the figure of J. Gresham Machen. Cornelius Van Til and Ned B. Stonehouse represent the eras of hope and ambivalence, respectively.

In this episode, Danny Olinger and Camden Bucey discuss this first article in the series while considering broader questions about the identity of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church and its relation to other Reformed and Presbyterian churches and evangelicalism. Rev. Olinger serves as General Secretary of the Committee on Christian Education for the OPC.

Direct download: ctc741.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

Lane Tipton and Camden Bucey turn to pages 269–286 of Geerhardus Vos’ book, Biblical Theology: Old and New Testaments, to consider social sin in the time of the prophets.

Direct download: ctc740.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

Jeff Waddington and Camden Bucey discuss the value of reading and studying the works of B. B. Warfield. Jeff has written an article in our forthcoming newsletter wherein he identifies Warfield as a theological "renaissance man." With significant works covering topics from New Testament textual criticism to apologetics and the doctrine of salvation, the "lion of Princeton" remains a towering figure in the Reformed and Presbyterian tradition.

Direct download: ctc738.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

Andrés Espinoza and Douglas Clawson speak about Reformed and Presbyterian ministry in the nation of Colombia and specifically, its capital, Bogotá. Rev. Clawson has been visiting and serving in Colombia for more than a decade through OPC foreign missions. Rev. Espinoza serves as pastor of Raah Iglesia Cristiana Biblical in Bogotá. The church is a member of the Iglesia Presbiteriana de la Reforma de Colombia.

This is a unique episode. Not only are we recording from the church in Bogotá, but with the assistance of Cristian Castro, we are also presenting our first entirely bilingual episode.

Direct download: ctc737.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

Dr. R. Carlton Wynne leads us in a study of Jeremiah 31 and the relationship between the Old and New Covenants. In discussing typology and symbolism, Wynne describes the views of John Owen with a view toward understanding better several contemporary views.

Dr. Wynne is Assistant Pastor, Westminster PCA in Atlanta and Adjunct Professor of Systematic Theology, Reformed Theological Seminary (Atlanta).

Direct download: ctc736.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

Dr. David Barry joins us to speak about his book, The Exile of Adam in Romans: The Reversal of the Curse against Adam and Israel in the Substructure of Romans 5 and 8 (Fortress Academic, 2021).

In this book, Barry investigates the “divine son” motif in Romans 5 and 8 through the lens of exile and restoration. Both Adam’s exclusion from Eden and Israel’s exile from Palestine are, for Paul, a divine son falling short of God’s holiness and forfeiting the divine inheritance and presence. The themes of Adam and Israel are complementary examples of sin and separation from God, which Paul argues are reversed in Christ and for believers in union with him. This theme of “divine sons” provides a framework for interpreting Paul’s use of restoration prophecies in Romans 5 and 8.

Dr. Barry is pastor at Midway Presbyterian Church (PCA) in Powder Springs, Georgia and Visiting Lecturer in New Testament at Reformed Theological Seminary in Atlanta. He received his Ph.D. in New Testament from Westminster Theological Seminary (2018). Prior to his doctoral work, he studied at Reformed Theological Seminary in Jackson, MS, (M.Div, 2013), and Clemson University (BS, 2009).

Direct download: ctc735.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

We take the podcast on the road for three episodes to visit Reformed Theological Seminary in Atlanta, Georgia. In our first episode of the road trip, we speak with Dr. Guy Richard about his book Persistent Prayer (P&R, 2021). This book is in P&R’s Blessings of the Faith series. This book will prove useful to pastors, elders, and study groups as it provides encouragement and instruction regarding prayer and its blessings.

Dr. Guy M. Richard is President and Associate Professor of Systematic Theology at Reformed Theological Seminary in Atlanta. He joined us for Christ the Center episode 83 on the theology of Samuel Rutherford.

Direct download: ctc734.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

Danny Olinger, Lane Tipton, and Camden Bucey discuss Geerhardus Vos’s sermon, “A More Excellent Ministry” from 2 Corinthians 3:18. This sermon is included in Grace and Glory: Sermons Preached at Princeton Theological Seminary. In this sermon, Vos proclaims the good news of the consummate and unfading glory of Christ’s new covenant ministry and its implications for the church this side of Christ’s death and resurrection.

Direct download: ctc733.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

Dr. Eric Watkins joins us to speak about missions and evangelism from a Reformed perspective. Dr. Watkins is senior pastor of Harvest Presbyterian Church (OPC) in San Marcos, California as well as Director of the Center for Missions and Evangelism at Mid-America Reformed Seminary.

The Center for Missions and Evangelism is a new initiative at Mid-America Reformed Seminary designed to enhance the current M.Div. program with a great emphasis upon the Great Commission, as well as developing a new set of classes, conferences, cohorts, and internships focused on areas of evangelism, church planting, discipleship, and foreign missions.

Direct download: ctc732.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

It’s that time of year again. Since 2008, we have been taking a beat around New Year’s Day to bring you some of the top moments from the preceding year. We have a bunch of great clips lined up for you today.

Throughout 2021 we continued to develop Reformed Academy, our online learning platform. We doubled our student base from last year to more than 3,800 people in 73 countries. These brothers and sisters are taking our on-demand courses in Reformed theology, and many of their churches are using these resources in study groups and Sunday school courses.

We are committed to having each of our courses translated and subtitled in languages where we have established relationships with Reformed missionaries and indigenous churches.

Over the last two years, we have had many wonderful opportunities but not enough people and time in the day to complete many of these projects. We have grown significantly in terms of our reach, but we need to mature in terms of our ministry’s staff and infrastructure.

Please consider supporting us prayerfully and financially in this efforts. Visit https://www.reformedforum.org/donate

Direct download: ctc731.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

Dr. Christiane Tietz speaks about her tremendous biography, Karl Barth: A Life in Conflict (Oxford University Press, 2021).

Dr. Tietz is Professor for Systematic Theology at the Institute of Hermeneutics and Philosophy of Religion at the University of Zurich. From 2008 until 2013 she was Professor for Systematic Theology and Social Ethics at the University of Mainz. She was visiting lecturer or research scholar in Cambridge, Chicago, Heidelberg, Jerusalem, New York, and Princeton. Dr. Tietz is a judge for the Karl Barth-Prize and a member of the Advisory Board of the Karl Barth-Foundation, Basel.

Direct download: ctc730.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

Lane Tipton delivers a plenary address from the annual Reformed Forum Theology Conference, which was hosted October 8–9 at Providence OPC in Pflugerville, Texas. Dr. Tipton's address is titled, "Perichoresis, Endoxation, and the Glory-Spirit: Foundations for Image-Endowment and Covenant Theology in the Work of Meredith G. Kline"

Direct download: ctc729.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

Sandy Finlayson speaks about the life and ministry of Thomas Chalmers. Finlayson is the author of Chief Scottish Man: The Life and Ministry of Thomas Chalmers (Evangelical Press). Thomas Chalmers (1780-1847) was a significant figure in nineteenth-century Scotland. Without his vision, organizational skills, and his ability to mobilize opinion, it is unlikely that the Free Church would have come into existence. This new and updated biography—expanded significantly from Finlayson’s Bitesize Biography—tells the story of visionary thinker, minister, and preacher Thomas Chalmers and the many years of struggle for the spiritual independence of the Church of Scotland.

Mr. Finlayson is director of library services and professor of theological bibliography at Westminster Theological Seminary in Glenside, Pennsylvania.

Direct download: ctc728.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

Carlton Wynne, Lane Tipton, and Camden Bucey open Cornelius Van Til’s book, The Defense of the Faith to pages 40–43, in which Van Til describes the Christian philosophy of reality. While to some degree it is necessary to use categories of God, man, and universe common to unbelievers in order to engage them apologetically and to evangelize, Christians must clearly set forth the distinctly Christian philosophy of reality. Van Til commences that work in chapter two and promptly addresses eternal unity and plurality with regard to the problem of the one and many.

Direct download: ctc727.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

Patrick O’Banion joins us to speak about Girolamo Zanchi and his book, The Spiritual Marriage between Christ and His Church and Every One of the Faithful. O’Banion translated and introduced a new edition of the book published by Reformation Heritage Books. Zanchi was an Italian Reformer, with close ties to Peter Martyr Vermigli.

Developing from Girolama Zanchi’s exegetical labors through Ephesians, Spiritual Marriage draws readers into the rich theological of doctrine of union with Christ. Following the lead of the apostle Paul, Zanchi demonstrates how our earthly marriages fulfill their truest purpose by drawing our attention toward the spiritual marriage between Christ and His Church. By paying attention to the Genesis account of Adam’s marriage to Eve, to pertinent Old Testament laws, and to the teachings of Jesus and His apostles, we begin to understand something of that higher and heavenly union. This new translation helps us better understand the great mystery of Christ and His bride.

Patrick O’Banion is International Trainer at Training Leaders International.

Direct download: ctc726.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

Jim Cassidy delivers a plenary address from the annual Reformed Forum Theology Conference, which was hosted October 8–9 at Providence OPC in Pflugerville, Texas.

Cassidy investigates the ontological assumptions which led Karl Barth to reject the doctrine of the covenant of works. He considers how Barth’s doctrine of God, with its actualistic ontology, is the ground for his rejection of the historic doctrine of classical federal theology. In the process of showing how his novel construction of the doctrine of God leads to his critique, Barth sets up—albeit unwittingly—how own kind of covenant of works whereby man today can ascend into “God’s time for us” to gain the knowledge of God. This is Christ the Center episode 725 (https://www.reformedforum.org/ctc725)

Direct download: ctc725.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

Lane Tipton and Camden Bucey turn to pages 267–269 of Geerhardus Vos’ book, Biblical Theology: Old and New Testaments, to consider the collective sin of the nation during the time of the prophets. Vos addresses several passages in this section, including Amos 5:25, Isaiah 1:10–17, and Hosea 6:6.

Direct download: ctc724.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

Roman Catholicism entered the mainstream of American national life the morning following the November 8, 1960 election when John F. Kennedy won and became the president. While it may seem strange to people who did not grow up in the era, but Protestant voters were wary of a Roman Catholic potentially serving as president of the United States. Yet the Vatican may have been even more wary of “Americanism.” While it did not necessarily inhibit Catholics from being Catholic it also was a form of exceptionalism that potentially risked the expansion of Christendom as understood by Catholics.

In this episode, D. G. Hart explains the historical reasons why the relationship between Roman Catholicism and Americanism changed in the 1960s and how it continued to develop in subsequent decades.

Darryl G. Hart is Distinguished Associate Professor of History at Hillsdale College in Hillsdale, Michigan.

Direct download: ctc723.mp3
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Danny Olinger delivers an address at the 2021 Reformed Forum Theology Conference. The event was held October 8–9, 2021 at Providence OPC in Pflugerville, Texas.

The conference theme was, “The Promise of Life: God’s Plan for His People in the Covenant of Works.” In contrast to Roman Catholic, modernist, and evangelical approaches, we explored a thoroughly Reformed understanding of God’s relationship to Adam as he was created. We learned how Jesus Christ ultimately brings us to the glorious future which God originally offered to Adam in the garden of Eden.

Danny Olinger is General Secretary for the Committee on Christian Education of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church.

Direct download: ctc722.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

The beatific vision (1 John 3:2) is the consummation of God’s relationship with his people. While Christians of all traditions acknowledge this blessed future to some degree, there are significant differences as to how it all works out. The Reformed tradition has understood this future and its genesis in terms of a covenantal relationship between God and Adam. If you have listened much to our podcasts or courses at Reformed Forum, you likely have heard us discuss “the deeper Protestant conception.” This is a phrase first used by Geerhardus Vos in his Reformed Dogmatics. It involves the notion that man originally was created good yet with an eschatological purpose. Even before the fall into sin, Adam was intended to advance to a higher, more glorious, eschatological life with God in heavenly places. Elsewhere, this is captured in the phrase, “eschatology precedes soteriology.” Yet developments in Roman Catholic theology throughout the end of the nineteenth century and into the twentieth century gave rise to a movement that also advocates for eschatology preceding soteriology and a dismantling of the traditional dualistic separation of nature and grace. In this address, Camden Bucey traces the historical developments of Roman Catholic theology in the twentieth century. In so doing, we may deepen our understanding of the already deeper Protestant conception while improving our ability to represent the diversity of Catholic thought leading up to and following the Second Vatican Council. This address was delivered at our 2021 Theology Conference held at Providence OPC in Pflugerville, Texas.

Direct download: ctc721.mp3
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In this episode, several OPC missionaries discuss theological education in foreign mission fields. Douglas Clawson is associate general secretary for the OPC’s Committee on Foreign Missions. Charles Jackson serves as a missionary in Uganda, and Mike serves in East Asia. Each of these ministers speaks about their experience in training officers for the building up of indigenous churches, sharing the joys, struggles, and present needs in various fields.

Direct download: ctc720.mp3
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Dr. Benjamin L. Gladd, Associate Professor of New Testament at Reformed Theological Seminary in Jackson, Mississippi, speaks about his new Handbook on the Gospels. This book is part of a series edited by Dr. Gladd and published by Baker Academic, which covers the entirety of the New Testament in three volumes. Neither becoming preoccupied with the minutiae of the text nor losing sight of the big picture, Gladd’s handbook address the content of the gospels thoroughly yet in an accessible and compelling manner.

Direct download: ctc719.mp3
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Lane Tipton and Camden Bucey turn to pages 264–266 of Geerhardus Vos’ book, Biblical Theology: Old and New Testaments, to consider the collective sin of the nation during the time of the prophets. Vos speaks particularly of the prophet Amos, and his indictment of false worship practices among the people.

Direct download: ctc718.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

David Nakhla speaks about the work of deacons and how the Orthodox Presbyterian Church is working to assist the diaconate in its labors for Christ’s church. Mr. Nakhla is the administrator for the OPC’s Committee on Diaconal Ministries and the Short-Term Missions and Disaster Response Coordinator.

Direct download: ctc717.mp3
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Ryan Noha and Camden Bucey discuss Reformed Academy and the newest course to launch on the platform, titled Union with Christ: The Benefits of His Suffering and Glory. This latest course is taught by Lane Tipton, and we include the tenth and final lecture toward the end of this episode.

Direct download: ctc716.mp3
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After discussing their trips to Colombia with OPC foreign missions, Jim Cassidy and Camden Bucey explore the influence of modernism upon American Presbyterianism and Roman Catholicism. Modernism led to many changes in American Presbyterianism, including the reorganization of Princeton Seminary and the founding of Westminster Seminary and the Orthodox Presbyterian Church. The mainline church eventually adopted the Confession of 1967, which many have understood as a doctrinal shift toward Barthianism. These large-scale movements roughly parallel the developments in Roman Catholicism, which moved from the anti-modernist oath of 1910 to the sweeping changes of the Second Vatican Council (1962–1965).

Direct download: ctc715.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

On this episode of Vos Group, we turn to pages 263–264 of Vos’s book, Biblical Theology: Old and New Testaments, to consider the sin of Israel and the resulting rupture of their covenant bond with the Lord.

Direct download: ctc714.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

Danny Olinger and John Muether join Camden Bucey to speak about the early history of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church and the forces within the young ecclesiastical body desiring broader influence throughout the culture.

J. Gresham Machen gathered a broad coalition of “fundamentalists” in leading a charge against modernism at Princeton Theological Seminary and then throughout the Presbyterian Church (USA). After many within this coalition were pushed out or left to form what would become the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, different agendas arose. A significant event, involving what would come to be known as the Committee of Nine, at the 1941 and 1942 General Assemblies would set the tone for the future of the young church.

Direct download: ctc713.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

Carlton Wynne, Lane Tipton, and Camden Bucey open Cornelius Van Til’s book, The Defense of the Faith to pages 33–39 wherein Van Til discusses the doctrine of salvation. Van Til is insistent to maintain the incommunicable attributes of God in all aspects of theology, even here in soteriology. Throughout this section, Van Til refuses to admit any form of mutualism or correlativism in the God-man relation. He writes, "If we refuse to mix the eternal and the temporal at the point of creation and at the point of the incarnation we must also refuse to mix them at the point of salvation." If God is omnipotent, for example, and he desires to save, it is not possible for man to frustrate that plan. This carries through in the doctrine of church as well as the doctrine of last things, wherein the absolute sovereignty of God is maintained at every point throughout history.

Direct download: ctc712.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

Jim Cassidy and Camden Bucey discuss their experiences with catechisms among Roman Catholicism, Luthernism, and evangelicalism and then their introduction to the Westminster Shorter Catechism.

Direct download: ctc711.mp3
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We turn to pages 256–263 of Geerhardus Vos’ book, Biblical Theology: Old and New Testaments to discuss the bond between the Lord and Israel. In this chapter, Vos consider revelation during the period of the prophets, but in this section, he specifically considers the unique perspective on covenant (berith) offered by Isaiah and Hosea.

Direct download: ctc710.mp3
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Ryan Noha poses several questions submitted by our listeners and views. Along with Jeff Waddington and Camden Bucey, the panel discusses Thomas and Van Til on the doctrine of God, how the eternal decree relates to the well-meant offer of eschatological life in the covenant of works, aspects of our union with Christ, and several matters of eschatology.

Direct download: ctc709.mp3
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Glen Clary discusses the worship setting of Revelation 4–5 and its significance for the church’s present and future worship.

Direct download: ctc708.mp3
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We preview a forthcoming course on Union with Christ and the Doctrine of Salvation, taught by Lane Tipton.

Direct download: ctc707.mp3
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Jim Cassidy and Camden Bucey discuss the 48th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in America, which recently adjourned in St. Louis, Missouri, and look forward to the 87th General Assembly of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church to be held in Sioux Center, Iowa. They then turn their attention to the covenant of works, which is the subject of our 2021 Fall Theology Conference in Pflugerville, Texas.

Direct download: ctc706.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

Carlton Wynne, Lane Tipton, and Camden Bucey open Cornelius Van Til’s book, The Defense of the Faith to pages 32–33 wherein Van Til discusses the doctrine of Christ. These are the fundamental building blocks of the consistent Christian apologetic.

Direct download: ctc705.mp3
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Rev. John Fikkert speaks about providing specialized care for ministers. Rev. Fikkert is the director of the OPC’s Committee on Ministerial Care, which provides a range services for ministers such as counseling and diaconal aid, financial planning assistance, webinars on a range of topics, and funds for sabbaticals.

Direct download: ctc704.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

Rob McKenzie speaks about the Christian life and a variety of apologetic encounters he has woven into his book Seeker’s Progress. In this novel, McKenzie explores the world that John Bunyan created in his classic book, The Pilgrim’s Progress. There is another man from the City of Destruction who follows after Christian also seeking to find truth. With the help of Evangelist, Seeker follows the King’s road on his way to the Celestial City. Along the way, he visits many of the same places that Christian visited and meets several of the same people that Christian met all the while trying to catch up to his friends, Christian and Faithful. His experiences are very different than his predecessors. His journey takes him to some places that Christian never went, such as the towns of Morality and Fair Speech. Seeker wrestles with the questions, “Don’t all roads lead to the Celestial City?” “If the King loves everyone, wouldn’t He save everyone?”

Rob McKenzie is a ruling elder at Westminster OPC in Indian Head Park and co-host of the podcast, Theology Simply Profound. He is the author of Identifying the Seed: An Examination and Evaluation of the Differences between Dispensationalism and Covenant Theology and its corresponding study guide. You may buy both as a bundle through our online store.

Direct download: ctc703.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

Dr. Stephen J. Nichols speaks about the life and legacy of Dr. R. C. Sproul. Dr. Nichols has written a biography of Dr. Sproul, which has recently been published by Crossway. This biography details R. C.’s family history and early life in Pittsburgh, through his seminary education and early ministry all the way to the end of his life, reflecting on the many institutions Dr. Sproul founded and helped to shape.

Dr. Stephen J. Nichols is president of Reformation Bible College, chief academic officer for Ligonier Ministries, and a Ligonier Ministries teaching fellow. He holds a Ph.D. from Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia. He is host of the podcasts 5 Minutes in Church History and Open Book. He is author of more than twenty books, including Beyond the 95 Theses, a Time for Confidence, and R.C. Sproul: A Life and coeditor of Crossway’s Theologians on the Christian Life series.

Direct download: ctc702.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

We turn to the third sermon in Grace and Glory, a collection of sermons Geerhardus Vos preached at the Miller Chapel of Princeton Theological Seminary. In “Seeking and Saving the Lost,” Vos preaches from Luke 19:10, wherein Jesus describes his ministry to redeem sinners and to bring them into communion with the one true and living God.

Direct download: ctc701.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

Lane Tipton is in the studio with Camden Bucey to discuss the doctrine of salvation and union with Christ from the eschatological perspective of redemption accomplished and applied. On the heels of recording a new course on the topic with Dr. Tipton, they discuss the foundational categories of _historia salutis_ and _ordo salutis_ as well as how Jesus’s resurrection was simultaneously his justification, adoption, sanctification, and glorification. They then connect the death and resurrection of Christ to the application of his work by the Holy Spirit to individual believers in history.

Direct download: ctc700.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

Drs. G. K. Beale and Benjamin Gladd speak about their book The Story Retold: A Biblical-Theological Introduction to the New Testament (IVP Academic) in which they seek to couch every major passage of Scripture within the broad history of redemption, making sense of the New Testament in light of the Old. New Testament introductions typically either emphasize the history behind the text through discussions of authorship, dating, and audience or explore the content of the text itself. This introduction is unique in that it considers the Old Testament background to the New Testament and the overarching narrative of redemption throughout all of redemptive-history.

Dr. G. K. Beale is Professor of New Testament and Biblical Theology at Reformed Theological Seminary in Dallas, Texas.

Dr. Benjamin L. Gladd is Associate Professor of New Testament at Reformed Theological Seminary in Jackson, Mississippi.

Links

Direct download: ctc699.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

We turn to pages 255–256 of Geerhardus Vos, Biblical Theology: Old and New Testaments to consider the ways in which the Old Testament prophets use anthropomorphism to describe God. The “emotional” or “affectional” dispositions of Jehovah’s nature is the next set of attributes. He says, as a guiding principle, “we are here in a sphere full of anthropomorphism” and says that “an anthropomorphism” is never without an “inner core of important truth” that “must be translated into more theological language” where we can “enrich our knowledge of God” (255).

Vos makes an absolutely critical observation here that needs sustained attention to the theological issues he raises here. They are as important in our day as in Vos’ if not more so. Anthropomorphic language ascribes the qualities of the creature to God’s acts in time. But such language is never intended by Reformed theologians to be taken in a univocal way, as though God literally possesses creaturely qualities.

  1. God’s acts in time do not require him to be temporal.
  2. God acts in the contingent historical order of creation do not require him to be contingent and historical.
  3. God’s acts in relation to mutable and passible creatures do not require that he be mutable and passible like the creature.
  4. There is no point of univocity between the Creator and the creature—no mutual sharing in mutability and temporality.
Direct download: ctc698.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

We welcome Dr. Rita Cefalu to speak about the rich biblical-theological themes regarding Christ in Acts 2–3. Dr. Cefalu has written, “The Sufferings and Glory of Jesus the Messiah in Acts 2–3,” which appears in The Seed of Promise: The Sufferings and Glory of the Messiah: Essays in Honor of T. Desmond Alexander (Glossa House), co-edited by Dr. Cefalu and Paul R. Williamson.

This book is a festschrift presented to T. Desmond Alexander on the year of his 65th birthday. In distinction from other volumes of this type, this book is structured around the biblical theological theme of the seed promise of Genesis 3:15, with its sub-theme focused on the sufferings and glory of the Messiah. Accordingly, biblical scholars (both OT and NT), who have in some capacity benefited from Dr. Alexander’s scholarship and are known for their work in particular books of the Bible and/or the discipline of biblical theology, investigate these particular themes in light of their respective books.

Direct download: ctc697.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

Dr. Crawford Gribben speaks about his book, Survival and Resistance: Christian Reconstruction in the Pacific Northwest (Oxford University Press), which describes the migration of conservative evangelicals to the Northwest of the United States, where they hope to resist the impact of secular modernity and to survive the breakdown of society that they anticipate. Discussing the theological and cultural influences of figures such as R. J. Rushdoony, Douglas Wilson, and John Wesley Rawles, Gribben explains their growing influence and impact upon local political and economic life within the larger context of national and global trends.

Dr. Gribben is professor of the School of History, Anthropology, Philosophy and Politics at Queens University, Belfast.

Direct download: ctc696.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

Rev. Dr. Bruce Pass discusses Herman Bavinck as a sytematic theologian and the role Christology plays within his theological system. Throughout his career, Bavinck identified different central dogma but developed his theology around Christology as a “middle point” to which all other doctrines relate.

Dr. Pass holds a doctorate in systematic theology from the University of Edinburgh. His thesis has been modified and published as a The Heart of Dogmatics: Christology and Christocentrism in Herman Bavinck (Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht).

This is Christ the Center episode 695 (https://www.reformedforum.org/ctc695)

Direct download: ctc695.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

The main events of the Diet of Worms relating to Luther took place from 16 to 18 April 1521. This year marks the 500thanniversary of the Diet of Worms, and on this occasion, we welcome Dr. Herman Selderhuis to rehearse the events of the diet and share his thoughts about its enduring significance for the church.

The Diet of Worms of 1521 was a formal deliberative assembly of the Holy Roman Empire called by Emperor Charles V and conducted in the city of Worms. Martin Luther was summoned to the Diet in order to renounce or reaffirm his views in response to a Papal bull of Pope Leo X. Luther defended these views and refused to recant them. At the end of the Diet, the Emperor issued the Edict of Worms, condemning Luther and banning citizensfrom propagating his ideas.

Dr. Herman Selderhuis is Professor of church history and church polity at the Theological University of Apeldoorn and the President of The International Congress on Calvin Research.

Direct download: ctc694.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

We pick up on our conversation from episode 655 with Jeremy Boothy on covenant theology in the book of Hebrews by focusing upon Vos’s Triangle and the heavenly-centered understanding of typology expressed by the author of Hebrews. This leads us to discuss a redemptive-historical hermeneutic as well as the nature of new covenant membership in our present covenant-historical era.

Direct download: ctc693.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

We turn to pages 250–255 of Geerhardus Vos, Biblical Theology: Old and New Testaments to consider God’s righteousness—particularly as it is revealed during the time of the Old Testament prophets.
 
Vos speaks of God’s righteousness as "midway between the transcendental and communicative attributes" (250). God is the righteous judge. In human terms, a judge is righteous because he adheres strictly to the standard or law over him. How does this apply to God, who has no standard or law above him? "Underlying the decisions of Jehovah lies His nature" (251). The law is righteous because it is based upon God's nature, not the other way around.
 
Vos speaks of God's forensic or judicial righteousness branching out in several directions, as a righteousness of cognizance, retribution, vindication, salvation, and benevolence.
Direct download: ctc692.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

All Christian parents are called to raise their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord (Eph. 6:4). In Deuteronomy 6:4–9, the Lord commands his covenant people,

Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

It is non-negotiable for covenant families to raise their children according to the Lord’s commands. However, this education may take different forms amidst different circumstances.

In this episode, Erica Bucey, Director of Development at Westlake Christian Academy in Grayslake, Illinois, speaks about various trends in Christian education given the COVID-19 pandemic, which has uprooted education in America. Families have been influenced to think about education in ways that they have not before.

We speak about different approaches to education, the trade-offs involved in each form, as well as current legislation in Illinois that encourages a form of progressive indoctrination in public schools. We conclude by discussing ways in which churches can support families by talking about these matters and educating them.

Links

Direct download: ctc691.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

Lane Tipton discusses “Van Til’s Trinitarian Theology,” the latest on-demand video course released with Reformed Academy. Designed to equip the student to engage critically central issues in trinitarian theology, this course will focus on the architectonic significance of the Trinity both in Van Til’s theology and apologetics. Special attention will be given to Van Til’s historical and theological context, his theology of triune personhood, the structure and function of the representational principle, the distinctively trinitarian character of the transcendental method, and his rejection of all species of correlativism, ranging from Karl Barth to contemporary expressions of Evangelical mutualism.

Enroll for free at https://www.reformedforum.org/courses/van-tils-trinitarian-theology

Direct download: ctc690.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

Dr. Christopher Watkin joins us to speak about his book, Michel Foucault, published by P&R Publishing in the Great Thinkers series. Michel Foucault (1926–1984) was a French philosopher, historian of ideas, writer, political activist, and literary critic. Although he was widely influential during his lifetime, Foucault’s philosophy has come to even greater influence and applicability in recent years within the contemporary cultural and political discourse regarding sexual ethics and identity. Dr. Watkin is a lecturer at Monash University in Melbourne. He is the author of a number of academic books in the area of modern European philosophy. Over the past few years he has written four books published by P&R Publishing, including Thinking through Creation: Genesis 1 and 2 as Tools of Cultural Critique and three books in the Great Thinkers series: Jacques Derrida (2017), Michel Foucault (2018) and Gilles Deleuze (2020).

Direct download: ctc689.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

Danny Olinger, Lane Tipton, and Camden Bucey discuss Geerhardus Vos's sermon, "Hungering and Thirsting after Righteousness" from Matthew 5:6. This sermon is included in Grace and Glory: Sermons Preached at Princeton Theological Seminary.

Direct download: ctc688.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

Benjamin Gladd, associate professor of New Testament at Reformed Theological Seminary, Jackson, Mississippi joins us to speak about his book, From Adam and Israel to the Church: A Biblical Theology of the People of God, which is in the Essential Studies in Biblical Theology series from IVP Academic. Dr. Gladd is also the editor of the series. In this particular book, Dr. Gladd examines the nature of the people of God from Genesis to Revelation through the lens of being in God's "image."

Direct download: ctc687.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

Dr. William Dennison, pastor of Emmanuel OPC in Kent, Washington, speaks about J. Gresham Machen’s theological method as disclosed through his radio addresses just a few years prior to his death. Machen understood that the modern world and the church were in a state of emergency. While many of Machen’s listeners would have thought about the economic volatility of the depression or perhaps the political unrest of fascism and communism. Moreover, many of these listeners would have expected Machen to discuss solutions to these ailments along the lines of those advocated by progressive modernists. Yet, Machen called his listeners to the Christ and his kingdom, which transcends this visible world.

"Machen speaks often about the benefits of reason, experience, and common sense. In these radio addresses, however, he states clearly that all these elements are to be viewed in subordination to the truth of God’s Word. Specifically, they function in the manner that God, the Creator and Ruler over all things has created them to function. We know this from the Bible." — Dennison, “J. Gresham Machen’s Theological Method”

Machen rejected a general appeal to categories such as reason, experience, empirical facts, common sense, and rhetoric as a means of establishing common ground because of his deep understanding of the effects of sin upon all of man’s faculties. Dennison connects this aspect of Machen’s theology to that of his colleague at Westminster Seminary, Cornelius Van Til.

As a man whose theology appears to still be under development, Machen was neither blindly following the evidentialist tradition of Old Princeton leaning upon Thomas Reid and Scottish Common Sense Realism nor that later mature apologetic system of Van Til.

This is Christ the Center episode 686 (https://www.reformedforum.org/ctc686)

Direct download: ctc686.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

Jonathan Landry Cruse speaks about worship. Cruse has written What Happens When We Worship (Reformation Heritage Books). Many churchgoers assume that worship is inherently boring, something we need to make exciting. But Cruse seeks to demonstrate that churchgoing only seems monotonous and mundane because our eyes are blinded to the supernatural wonder that is taking place all around us. In this conversation, we discuss the significance of worship and the elements that comprise it.

This is Christ the Center episode 685 (https://www.reformedforum.org/ctc685)

Direct download: ctc685.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

On pages 29–34 of The Defense of the Faith, Cornelius Van Til continues to describe the basic Reformed doctrines that lay the foundation for his apologetic. It is evident even in this introductory material how he considers his project. He is neither seeking to be idiosyncratic nor original (in the sense of developing something foreign or external to confessional Reformed theology). Rather, he is developing a method of apologetics that is thoroughly consistent with the Reformed creeds and confessions.

Having addressed the doctrine of God, and particularly the doctrine of the Trinity, Van Til continues to the doctrine of man before moving to Christology and the rest of the traditional theological loci. In his introductory treatment of anthropology, Van Til focuses on the God-man relation, man’s creatureliness, the aspects of the image of God, the doctrine of sin, and how each of these relate to Roman Catholic, Arminian, and Lutheran theology, and the discipline of apologetics.

Direct download: ctc684.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

Rev. Dr. David Noe joins us to speak about John Calvin, God or Baal: Two Letters on the Reformation of Worship and Pastoral Service (Reformation Heritage Books), which includes translations of two letters.

Dr. Noe is Professor of Classics at Calvin University in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He has also published a translation of Franciscus Junius’ (1545–1602) De Theologia Vera (Reformation Heritage Books) and a translation of Theodore Beza’s (1519–1605) Plana et Perspicua Tractatio De Coena Domini (Reformation Heritage Books).

Direct download: ctc683.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

Matthew Vogan speaks about David Dickson's Sermons on Jeremiah's Lamentations (Naphtali Press Special Editions & Reformation Heritage Books). Mr. Vogan is General Manager of Reformation Scotland, a charitable trust whose aim is to promote the restoration of the Christian Church in Scotland by informing, educating and promoting understanding of our reformed heritage through film, print and other media.

Direct download: ctc682.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

We turn to pages 245–250 of Geerhardus Vos’s book Biblical Theology: Old and New Testaments to discuss the prophet’s view of God’s holiness. Vos contrasts the concept of holiness found in pagan religions with that of the biblical prophets. The concept of holiness is Scripture is God-centered. It begins with the Lord, his transcendence, and then radiates outward to creation as he is revealed. This is how we must consider holiness when it is applied to creation—whether to man made in his image, to places, or to consecrated objects used in worship.

The liberal theologians Vos often addresses have no issue acknowledging the “holiness” of man understood as moral goodness. But for Vos, ethical goodness requires the comparison and relation to a holy God. In this sense, it is not possible to de-spiritualize Scripture and retain the Bible’s concept of holiness.

Direct download: ctc681.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

C. N. Willborn speaks about the spirituality of the church, the doctrine which affirms that the Church is a spiritual institution with spiritual aims that is not administered according to the kingdom of this world.

Rev. Dr. Willborn is pastor of Covenant Presbyterian Church in Oak Ridge, Tennessee and adjunct professor of Historical Theology at Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary. He is the author of many works on history and theology, including the focus of this conversation, “The Soul of the Church: The Church’s Spiritual Mission” in The Confessional Presbyterian, volume 16 (2020): 201–209.

Direct download: ctc680.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

Since Christ the Center began nearly thirteen years ago, we have taken time to look back on the highlights of the year. Continuing the update to our tradition from last year, here this year’s top ten clips from Christ the Center as determined by YouTube views.

  1. Ep. 633 – What Is Christendom? with David VanDrunen
  2. Ep. 655 – 1689 Federalism and Reformed Covenant Theology with Jeremy Boothby
  3. Ep. 638 – John Frame and Two Divine Existences with James Dolezal
  4. Ep. 659 – Why Study Karl Barth? with Jim Cassidy
  5. Ep. 633 – The Noahic Covenant with David VanDrunen
  6. Ep. 630 – The Importance of Discourse Analysis with Matthew Patton
  7. Ep. 641 – The Ancient Understanding of Baptism as Washing and Regeneration with Glen Clary
  8. Ep. 629 – Abridged Bavinck with Carlton Wynne and Charles Williams
  9. Ep. 666 – John Nelson Darby and Dispensationalism with Michael Glodo
  10. Ep. 631 – What Is Public Theology? with Jordan Ballor
Direct download: ctc679.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

One of the highlights of the Christmas season is singing the Christmas hymns. Singing songs about the nativity of Jesus is one of the oldest traditions in the Christian church, and dates to the beginning of the New Testament church—even to the birth of Christ himself. Luke includes four such songs: Mary’s (1:46–55), Zechariah’s (1:68–79), Simeon’s (2:29–32), and the Angels’ (2:14).

In this episode, Glen Clary seeks to explain the redemptive-historical significance of the songs with reference to the temple cultus. These nativity canticles register a transition in the temple cultus from shadow to reality (type to antitype) in that they proclaim the arrival of the high priest of the heaven, who will bring the earthly temple cultus to its consummate fulfillment. They serve as a liturgical bridge between the old covenant and the new covenant and set the stage for the message of Luke, introducing significant theological themes developed in Luke-Acts.

Direct download: ctc678.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

Harrison Perkins discusses the theology and historical context of James Ussher with particular attention to the development of the confessional understanding of the covenant of works. Ussher was the Church of Ireland Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland between 1625 and 1656. He was a prolific scholar and significant church leader.

Perkins is the author of Catholicity and the Covenant of Works: James Ussher and the Reformed Tradition (Oxford University Press). In this book, he demonstrates how Ussher used the covenant of works to inform many of the most important features of his theology. While the covenant of works is most closely identified with the Reformed tradition, Perkins makes the case that when the interconnectedness of the various doctrines is explained, there is a deep catholicity undergirding it. Ussher constructed his understanding of the covenant from traditional teachings that he appropriated from the ancient and medieval church.

Perkins is pastor of London City Presbyterian Church in London and lecturer at Edinburgh Seminary in Edinburgh, Scotland.

This is Christ the Center episode 677 (https://www.reformedforum.org/ctc677)

Direct download: ctc677.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

Cory Brock describes how Herman Bavinck interacted with and appropriated the theology of Friedrich Schleiermacher throughout his academic career. There is a significant shift toward a more pronounced and direct use of Schleiermacher later in his life. Schleiermacher (1768–1834) is recognized as the father of modern liberal theology. It would appear that any incorporation of Schleiermacher's theology or philosophy would compromise Bavinck's Calvinist orthodoxy. Indeed, this manner of reading Bavinck gave rise to a so-called "two Bavincks hypothesis." Brock builds a case for the relation of these two aspects in Bavinck in his book, Orthodox yet Modern: Herman Bavinck's Use of Friedrich Schleiermacher (Lexham Press). Cory Brock serves as pastor of college and career at First Presbyterian Church (PCA), Jackson, Mississippi.

This is Christ the Center episode 676 (https://www.reformedforum.org/ctc676)

Direct download: ctc676.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

Irony is used throughout Scripture, though it is not merely a literary device employed in the recording of historical events. God ordains dramatic reversals that often confound the wisdom and expectations of this world in order to bring glory to himself. G. K. Beale discusses the use of irony in Scripture, introducing many of the themes he covers in his book, Redemptive Reversals and the Ironic Overturning of Human Wisdom: The Ironic Patterns of Biblical Theology: How God Overturns Human Wisdom (Crossway).

Direct download: ctc675.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

Dr. Robert Cara, Provost and Chief Academic Officer of Reformed Theological Seminary and Hugh and Sallie Reaves Professor of New Testament at RTS Charlotte, discusses the covenant theology evident in the letter to the Hebrews. God has one plan and purpose for his people throughout history, and he mediates this relationship through successive covenants, ultimately finding eschatological fulfillment in the New Covenant instituted by Jesus Christ.

This is Christ the Center episode 674 (https://www.reformedforum.org/ctc674)

Direct download: ctc674.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

In this episode of Vos Group, we turn to Vos's sermon, "The Wonderful Tree," in the collection of his sermons, Grace and Glory. Preaching on Hosea 14:8, Vos describes the nature of religion itself, consisting of what God is for man and of what man is for God. Hosea features what God is for man in the metaphor of an evergreen cypress, offering life-giving sustenance and shade in all seasons. This sermon is the longest of Vos's that we possess, and it demonstrates several surprising features, which Danny Olinger, Lane Tipton, and Camden Bucey discuss.

This is Christ the Center episode 673 (https://www.reformedforum.org/ctc673)

Direct download: ctc673.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

Dr. Bradley J. Bitner, associate professor of New Testament at Westminster Seminary California, speaks about constitution and covenant in ancient Corinth and how these inform Paul’s argument to the Corinthians. Dr. Bitner is the author of Paul’s Political Strategy in 1 Corinthians 1–4: Constitution and Covenant (Cambridge University Press).

In 1 Corinthians 1:1–4:6, we witness a collision of constitutions. This clash is the result of Paul contending for a specifically ecclesial politeia with reference to the larger colonial politeia. Birthed from Caesar’s unsystematic and privately composed memoranda, the lex coloniae provides an indispensable frame of reference for understanding life in early Roman Corinth, the colony named in his honor. For this reason, it is also crucial for the interpretation of the Pauline epistle known as 1 Corinthians.

Dr. Bitner served as a pastor for three years before pursuing doctoral studies. He completed his Ph.D. in New Testament and Early Christianity in 2013 at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia. He has two other book projects in progress on the biblical theology of Geerhardus Vos and Paul’s paradigm for building up the church in 1 Corinthians.

Direct download: ctc672.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

Lane Tipton, Carlton Wynne, and Camden Bucey discuss pages 25–29 of Cornelius Van Til's book, The Defense of the Faith. In this section, Van Til details the doctrine of God that structures his apologetic thought. A Reformed apologetic seeks first to understand the nature of the God it seeks to set forth and defend. In Van Til’s estimate, we must ask “what kind” of a God we believe in before we can proceed in any meaningful way to set for the arguments for the existence and revelation of this God.

Direct download: ctc671.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

Dr. Carl R. Trueman joins us to speak about his significant new book, The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self: Cultural Amnesia, Expressive Individualism, and the Road to Sexual Revolution (Crossway), in which he addresses the factors undergirding modern culture’s obsession with identity. Sexual identity in particular has dominated public discourse since the landmark Obergefell v. Hodges Supreme Court decision in 2015. Tracing influential thought from Augustine to Marx and beyond, Trueman explains the historical and intellectual phenomenon of the modern conception selfhood. Trueman writes,

"My aim is to explain how and why a certain notion of the self has come to dominate the culture of the West, why this self finds its most obvious manifestation in the transformation of sexual mores, and what the wider implications of this transformation are and may well be in the future."

Dr. Trueman is professor of biblical and religious studies at Grove City College. He is an esteemed church historian and previously served as the William E. Simon Fellow in Religion and Public Life at Princeton University. Trueman has authored or edited more than a dozen books, including The Creedal Imperative, Luther on the Christian Life, and Histories and Fallacies. Trueman is a minister in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church.

Direct download: ctc670.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

Dr. John Bower speaks about constructing a critical edition of the Westminster Confession of Faith using four historical authoritative texts. Bower has done a tremendous service to the church and the academy. Both with benefit greatly from his careful scholarship.

Direct download: ctc669.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

We turn to pages 243–244 of Geerhardus Vos's book Biblical Theology to discuss the prophet's view of God's relation to time and space.

In terms of God's relation to time and space, two relations occur. What we have to affirm first of all is that God is everywhere present in all of his fullness. But Vos speaks of a special relation to Zion (on earth) and heaven itself as the temple dwelling of God. Two things help us grasp the significance of this: the notion of covenant and the location of the fellowship.

Direct download: ctc668.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

Dr. James Eglinton speaks about the life and thought of Herman Bavinck. Eglinton has written a superb critical biography of Bavinck that has been published by Baker Academic.

Direct download: ctc667.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

Rev. Michael J. Glodo, Associate Professor of Pastoral Theology and Dean of the Chapel at Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando, Florida, speaks about dispensationalism and its development in light of several historical, sociological, and theological contexts. Rev. Glodo is the author of “Dispensationalism” in Covenant Theology: Biblical, Theological, and Historical Perspectives edited by Guy Prentiss Waters, J. Nicholas Reid, and John R. Muether.

John Nelson Darby (1800–1882) introduced dispensationalism as a theological system, which bears several key characteristics, including an insistence upon a “literal” hermeneutic or “plain reading” of the biblical text in addition to separate divine purposes for Israel and the church. Yet several features of “classic dispensationalism” have since been modified or altogether eliminated. Glodo remarks that “from its beginnings until the middle of the twentieth century, dispensationalism grew rapidly in popularity and underwent several refinements.”

Links

Direct download: ctc666.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

C. N. Willborn describes the importance of a faithful and active diaconal ministry within the church. Building upon contribution from Thomas Chalmers and other insightful theologians, Willborn describes a ministry “proportioned in number,” or segmented in order that the diaconate may faithfully carry out its duties both to the brotherhood and the neighborhood. Willborn argues “for a thoroughly active office, defined, designed, and dispatched along Biblical lines.”

Rev. Dr. Willborn is pastor of Covenant Presbyterian Church in Oak Ridge, Tennessee and adjunct professor of Historical Theology at Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary. He is the author of many works on history and theology, including the focus of this conversation, “The Gospel Work of the Diaconate: A Ministry ‘Proportioned in Number’” in The Confessional Presbyterian, volume 10 (2014): 23–32.

Direct download: ctc665.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

Dr. Brandon Crowe speaks about the centrality of the resurrection in the book of Acts. Dr. Crowe has written The Hope of Israel: The Resurrection of Christ in the Acts of the Apostles (Baker Academic, 2020) in which he explores the historical, theological, and canonical implications of Jesus's resurrection in early Christianity and helps readers more clearly understand the purpose of Acts in the context of the New Testament canon.

Direct download: ctc664.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

John Witherspoon (1723–1794) was an eighteenth-century Scottish-American Presbyterian minister and signer of the United States Declaration of Independence. In this episode, we speak with Robert S. Null about Witherspoon’s theology and understanding of history through four unstudied manuscripts of his lectures at the College of New Jersey (later Princeton University).

In his dissertation, John Witherspoon’s Forgotten “Lectures on History and Chronology”: Recognizing the Important Role of History in the Development of His Thought and Theology for Navigating Eighteenth-Century Late Protestant Scholasticism, Revivalism, and Enlightenment, Null writes:

Witherspoon had to contend with the legacy of late seventeenth century Protestant scholasticism, newer forms of revivalism, and more rationalistic developments in eighteenth century enlightenment thought. A detailed but fading emphasis on the decrees, preparation for grace, and the application of redemption merged with a more secular emphasis on free thought involving induction, empiricism, idealism, and common sense philosophy, as well as challenges from new theological movements in holiness, revivalism, and pietism. Revolutions in politics, science, logic, and theological priorities were frequent and significant. Changes in both the worlds of theology and philosophy would continue throughout the eighteenth century.

The relationship of history to theology became foundational for Witherspoon not simply as an extension of late Protestant scholasticism, an expression of Christian piety, or an excessive reliance on, or aversion toward, a specific enlightenment philosophy. In his writings, theology itself was undergoing change, and specifically in Witherspoon’s case, toward integrating an important awareness of history. This awareness demonstrates the importance of history very early in the rise of Princeton theology.

Direct download: ctc663.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

In the spirit of our Vos Group episodes, we begin a concurrent venture into Cornelius Van Til's book, The Defense of the Faith. Carlton Wynne joins Lane Tipton and Camden Bucey to discuss the theology and apologetics of this significant twenty-first century Reformed apologist.

Direct download: ctc662.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

Will Wood, Assistant Professor of Old Testament at RTS Atlanta. discusses the shaping of the book of the twelve, the canonical collection of the minor prophets (Hosea through Malachi). The Book of the Twelve is a grouping of twelve individual prophets into a single intertextually related and thematically integrated work that spans the course of a few centuries and can be appropriately called a “book.” How did this book take shape? What was the historical process by which it came to the canonical form we have today?

Direct download: ctc661.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

In 1922, Reformed Press published six sermons by Geerhardus Vos in a volume titled Grace and Glory. In 1994, Banner of Truth published the same collection with ten additional sermons discovered and edited by James Dennison. Banner has now brought this full collection back into print with a new edition: Grace and Glory: Sermons Preached at Princeton Seminary.

Danny Olinger, author of Geerhardus Vos: Reformed Biblical Theologian, Confessional Presbyterian, joins us to speak about Vos’s sermons in their biblical context as well as the historical context in which they were written and delivered. Rev. Olinger is General Secretary for the Committee on Christian Education of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church.

Direct download: ctc660.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

Jim Cassidy speaks about Karl Barth and his relationship with idealism. On the heels of Lane Tipton's recent course, Introduction to the Theology and Apologetics of Cornelius Van Til, the panel compares and contrasts Barth's ontology and doctrine of revelation in the Christ-event with Van Til's critique of idealism and warnings of correlativism.

Direct download: ctc659.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

We turn to pp. 238– of Vos’s book, Biblical Theology, to speak about the Old Testament prophets and their understanding of the nature and attributes of God. Vos affirms that God is Spirit. This brings into view not that God is immaterial per se, as Vo

Direct download: ctc658.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

Glen Clary speaks about the biblical basis and covenantal context of the call to worship and benediction. These elements of worship are rooted in Christ's work on behalf of his covenant people.

In the call to worship, God calls his people to have covenant communion with him in his heavenly temple. He calls us to enter his house—to draw near to him—to have communion with him.

The benediction is the bestowal of the covenant blessing by the successful probationer. Had Adam obeyed, he would have received for himself and for all his posterity the covenant blessing. The covenant blessing would be given to those whom he represented in the covenant of works on the basis of his obedience. Now, Christ as redeemer and mediator of the covenant, the obedient federal head (successful probationer) receives and bestows the blessings of the covenant.

Direct download: ctc657.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

In this episode, we discuss a new online course wherein Dr. Lane G. Tipton teaches a thorough introduction to the theology and innovative apologetic method of Cornelius Van Til (1895–1987), a pioneer in a distinctly Reformed approach to defending the faith.

This course investigates the context, structure, and significance of Van Til’s theology and apologetics. It is designed to introduce students to the main influences and fundamental concerns of Van Til’s theological approach to apologetics. Topics include a general introduction, Trinity, image of God, covenant, revelation, worldview, antithesis, common grace, and idealism. Special attention is given to the programmatic deep structures of Van Til’s thought, distinguishing his views from Roman Catholicism, Barth, and Evangelical approaches to theology and apologetics.

This is Christ the Center episode 656 (https://www.reformedforum.org/ctc656)

Direct download: ctc656.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT