Reformed Forum (Christ the Center)

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.”


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 (

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

Jeremy Boothby speaks about covenant theology through the biblical-theological lens of the book of Hebrews. In so doing, he compares and contrasts 1689 Federalism and other particular baptist approaches to covenant theology with that of confessional Reformed covenant theology. Following the author of the epistle to the Hebrews, Boothby gets to the heart of the difference between particular baptists and Reformed paedobaptists.

The matter hinges on the present life-setting of the New Covenant Church in the wilderness. The author of Hebrews compares the church, which is presently in the New Covenant, to the first generation of Israelites in the wilderness. They were on their pilgrimage and had not yet entered their promised rest. As such, there was a real possibility of apostasy from the covenant. Likewise, the New Covenant Church has not yet entered the New Heavens and New Earth, to which earthly Canaan pointed. The author encourages covenant members to strive to enter their rest, not to fall away as they follow their forerunner and heavenly high priest, Jesus Christ.

Rev. Boothby is pastor of Christ Covenant OPC in Amarillo, Texas.

Direct download: ctc655.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

Biblical exegetes have long discussed the relationship of justification in James to that of Paul. On the surface, James 2:24 appears even to contradict many of the key Pauline passages that speak clearly of justification as occurring by grace alone through faith alone in Jesus Christ alone and not by works of the law. In this episode, we discuss the different uses of the words "justification" and "justify" in James, specifically, and in the Bible, generally.

Direct download: ctc654.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

We turn to pp. 235–238 of Vos’s book, Biblical Theology, to speak about the Old Testament prophets and varying views of monotheism.

Direct download: ctc653.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

We discuss the doctrine of the covenant of works, including its biblical basis as well as common objections to it. The Reformed tradition has spoken of the relationship between God and Adam as a covenantal relationship. Without the covenant of works, we cannot rightly understand man’s relationship to God in the garden. Neither can we understand the gospel, for the work of our Lord Jesus Christ was a redeeming work necessitated by the Fall into sin.

This is Christ the Center episode 652 (

Direct download: ctc652.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

William Reddinger speaks about strands of resistance theory in the American Revolution, considering Lockean, Continental, and Anglo interpretations of Romans 13. Dr. Reddinger has authored “The American Revolution, Romans 13, and the Anglo Tradition of Reformed Protestant Resistance Theory” in the Summer 2016 issue of American Political Thought.

Some scholars argue that the theology of the American Revolution was fundamentally Lockean and largely incompatible with Christianity, a view that this article calls the Lockean view; more recently, others who advocate what this article calls the Lockean–Reformed view argue that the American Revolution was both Lockean and Reformed and that there is no incompatibility between these sources. This article critiques the Lockean–Reformed view and argues that there were two traditions of resistance theory in early Reformed Protestantism—the Continental tradition and the Anglo tradition. While these two traditions were not monolithic, the distinction is helpful in understanding how the theology of resistance during the American founding was different from the Continental tradition of resistance. It also allows one to be aware of the strengths and weaknesses both of the Lockean view and of the Lockean–Reformed view.

Dr. Reddinger is Associate Professor of Government, History, and Criminal Justice at Regent University. Prior to coming to Regent, he taught political science at Wheaton College in Illinois and at South Texas College. He received his undergraduate degree from Grove City College in Pennsylvania before completing his M.A. and Ph.D. in Political Science at Northern Illinois University, where his studies focused on the history of political philosophy and American political thought.

This is Christ the Center episode 651 (

Direct download: ctc651.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

We turn to pp. 234–235 of Vos’s book, Biblical Theology, to speak about the nature and attributes of God as understand by the Old Testament prophets.

Direct download: ctc650.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

Dr. James N. Anderson speaks about the philosophy of David Hume, one of the foremost thinkers of the Western tradition. Hume is well known for his influential system of philosophical empiricism, skepticism, and naturalism. Throughout his work, Hume developed a naturalistic science of man that examined the psychological basis of human nature.

Dr. Anderson is the Carl W. McMurray Professor of Theology and Philosophy and Academic Dean (Global and New York) of Reformed Theological Seminary. He is the author of David Hume (Great Thinkers) published by P&R Publishing.

Direct download: ctc649.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

Editor, teacher, and translator, Ryan M. Hurd speaks about the theology of Gisbertus Voetius. Hurd has translated a significant disputation of Voetius’ published as “Gisbertus Voetius: God’s Single, Absolutely Simple Essence” in The Confessional Presbyterian Journal (Volume 15, 2019).

Gisbertus Voetius (1589–1676) was a Dutch theologian born in Heusden, Netherlands, and educated at Leiden. He became a professor of theology at the University of Utrecht and wrote several significant works, including Politica ecclesiastica (3 volumes, published 1663–1676) and Selectae disputationes (theologicae) (5 volumes, published 1648–1669).

In his treatment, Voetius mediates between two of the major Medieval schools of thought—Thomistic and Scotistic. Hurd writes,

Yet the early modern period saw the rise of the Socinians and Vorstians, and this was to the dismay of all orthodox regardless of their communion. The emergence of this heterodox movement met with immediate response that would last until the eclipse of Reformed orthodoxy in the darkness of the modern age. In our own context today, we observe similarly that among the Reformed there are likewise those who uphold orthodoxy and affirm divine simplicity, and likewise those who have emerged and put themselves against it. As a historical testimony, Voetius’s disputation underlines several points to both sides.

Watch the episode on Youtube:

Direct download: ctc648.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

Dr. Gregg Allison and Dr. Carl Trueman speak about the theology of Benedict XVI, pope emeritus of the Roman Catholic Church. Allison’s article, “Faith, Hope, and Love” and Trueman’s article, “Is the Pope (Roman) Catholic?,” are published in The Theology of Benedict XVI: A Protestant Appreciation edited by Tim Perry and published by Lexham Press.

Dr. Allison is Professor of Christian Theology at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. He is the author or co-author of several books, including Roman Catholic Theology and Practice: An Evangelical Assessment and The Unfinished Reformation: What Unites and Divides Catholics and Protestants after 500 Years. He appeared on Christ the Center episodes 363 and 461.

Dr. Trueman is Professor of Biblical and Religious Studies at Grove City College in Grove City, Pennsylvania. He hosts the Mortification of Spin podcast with Aimee Byrd and Todd Pruitt. He is also the author of several books, including The Creedal Imperative and Luther on the Christian Life. Dr. Trueman has joined us many times before.

Watch the episode on Youtube:

Direct download: ctc647.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 2:00pm EDT

We turn to page 234 of Vos’s book, Biblical Theology, to speak about the understanding of monotheism which the biblical prophets possessed. On pages 206–211 of the book, Vos dealt with the modernist conception of the issue, adding a footnote that his positive treatment would be saved for later. Now we arrive at that later portion. As we begin to address this new section, we revisit some of the ground we covered in Vos Group #55, while expanding that material.

On pages 206–211, Vos gives us the key conception of the modernist critics:

The prophets, from Amos and Hosea onwards, are credited with the discovery and establishment of the great truth of ethical monotheism, in which the distinctive and permanent value of Old Testament religion is to be found.

To explain this as crisply as possible, Vos is saying that a particular ethical conception of Jehovah gives rise to the monotheism of the later prophets in the 8th century. It is a monotheism of a particular kind–a monotheism of a specific variety. There is a concrete, historical, situated, ethical dilemma that forges an ethical conception of Jehovah that otherwise would not be formed.

In contrast, Vos emphasizes that the prophets are God-centered. They are religious—meaning they find their delight in spiritual (Spirit-wrought) communion with God. The ethical aspect of monotheism is itself subservient to the glory of God and delight in fellowship with God.

The “prophetic orientation” does not view God as a means to an end, but rather delighting in God himself, as he has revealed himself as sovereign Judge and condescended Lord and Savior of his covenant people. The prophets delight in the God they proclaim and do not re-conceive him as a means to an end other than the glory of God himself as the chief end and delight of his people.

Direct download: ctc646.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

James Duguid speaks about the doctrine of divine simplicity and its roots in the Old Testament. While the pages of the Old Testament are not typically the first place one would go to build the case for this orthodox doctrine, Duguid demonstrates how the uniqueness of the biblical account establishes a foundation for understanding the Lord who reveals himself through it.

Duguid is the author of "Divine Simplicity, the Ancient Near East, and the Old Testament" in The Lord Is One: Reclaiming Divine Simplicity edited by Joseph Minisch and Onsi A. Kamel and published by The Davenant Press.

Direct download: ctc645.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

Danny Olinger speaks about the theology of Graham Greene, regarded by many as one of the leading English novelists of the twentieth century. Combining literary acclaim with widespread popularity, Greene acquired a reputation early in his lifetime as a major writer of novels so-called "Catholic novels," as well as political and espionage thrillers. Twice, he was shortlisted for the Nobel Prize for Literature. In his works, Greene explored the ambivalent moral and political issues of the modern world, often through a Catholic perspective.

Rev. Olinger is General Secretary for the Committee on Christian Education of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church. He is the author of Geerhardus Vos: Reformed Biblical Theology, Confessional Presbyterian.

Direct download: ctc644.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

After having created Adam in his image and placing him in the Garden of Eden, God entered into a covenant with him (Gen. 2:16–17). In Westminster Confession of Faith 7.1, the divines wrote,

The distance between God and the creature is so great, that although reasonable creatures do owe obedience unto him as their Creator, yet they could never have any fruition of him as their blessedness and reward, but by some voluntary condescension on God's part, which he hath been pleased to express by way of covenant.

There are several important things to note in this passage. First, upon creation and prior to the establishment of the covenant, Adam already knew God and owed him obedience merely from the fact that he was created in God's image. God did not owe Adam anything, and Adam could in no way place God into his debt. Second, the type of fruition that the covenant affords is that of God as "blessedness and reward." Adam already owed God personal, perfect, exact and entire obedience, though God voluntarily condescended to establish the covenant of works by which Adam could consummately come to know God in glory. In other words, he could ascend God's holy hill (Psalm 24) through the gratuitous means God provided.

Westminster Confession of Faith 7.1 is not describing covenant as the means by which God ontologically or metaphysically condescends to creation. God does not assume new properties, attributes, or characteristics to do so. Neither does the confession speak of the covenant as the means by which Adam comes to know God generally—as if Adam would not even know that God existed apart from a covenant. The covenant is the means by which he may come to know God specifically as his blessedness and reward.

Direct download: ctc643.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

In this episode, we continue our discussion of Justin Martyr's account of ancient Christian worship, focusing this time on the Lord's Supper (eucharist) and Lord's Day worship.

Justin Martyr wrote an early account of ancient Christian worship. It was written by a believer for an unbeliever. He does not assume that his intended reader—the Emperor Antoninus Pius (138–161)—knows anything about Christian worship. Second, while Pliny describes the worship practices of the Christians in Pontus, Justin describes the liturgical customs of the church in Rome. Justin lived and worshiped in Rome, but he didn’t convert in Rome. He most likely converted to Christianity in Ephesus around 130 A.D. So he was familiar with the liturgical customs of both Western and Eastern Christians. Third, Justin’s account is descriptive not prescriptive. It’s not a church order (e.g. Didache, Apostolic Tradition). It is simply a description of what Christians were already doing not what Justin thought they ought to do.

Direct download: ctc642.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

In his first apology (ca. 150–155 A.D.), Justin Martyr wrote an early account of ancient Christian worship, describing ancient practices regarding the sacraments and Lord's Day worship. It was written to an unbeliever, and therefore Justin does not assume that his intended reader—the Emperor Antoninus Pius (138–161)—knows anything about Christian worship. Moreover, while Pliny describes the worship practices of the Christians in Pontus, Justin describes the liturgical customs of the church in Rome. Justin lived and worshiped in Rome, but he didn’t convert in Rome. He most likely converted to Christianity in Ephesus around 130 A.D. So he was familiar with the liturgical customs of both Western and Eastern Christians. It is also important to understand that Justin’s account is descriptive not prescriptive. It is not a church order (e.g. Didache, Apostolic Tradition). It is simply a description of what Christians were already doing not what Justin thought they ought to do.

Direct download: ctc641.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

What was worship like in the early church? Did it differ significantly from our present practices? A letter written by a Roman official in 112 AD provides a window into these ancient Christian liturgical practices.

Pliny the Younger was appointed governor of Bithynia in 111 AD by the Emperor Trajan (98–117). Trajan knew that there was social unrest in that province, with a growing number of political factions causing divisions within the city. Among other things, he tasked Pliny with dissolving all associations or clubs in service of keeping the peace. This led him into a quandary regarding the Christians.

In one of the cities, trouble of some kind had arisen regarding the Christians, who were in several cases brought into court and accused of atheism, sexual immorality, incest, and even cannibalism. Pliny the Younger's letter offers a window into the liturgical practices of ancient Christians and how they were often misunderstood by the world.

Suggested Reading

Direct download: ctc640.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

In 1894, B. B. Warfield published an article in which he compared the views of the Westminster divines and the Reformers on the mode of inspiration. According to Warfield, the Reformers argued for a mode of concursus while the Protestant Scholastics argued for dictation. Dr. Jeff Stivason analyzes this characterization, speaking to Warfield's historical context and his understanding of progressive orthodoxy.

Jeff Stivason is pastor of Grace Reformed Presbyterian Church (RPCNA) in Gibsonia, Pennsylvania and professor-elect at Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary in Pittsburgh. His article, "Is Warfield's Claim True that Calvin is Better than Westminster on Inspiration?" is available in the Westminster Theological Journal Vol. 81, No. 2 (Fall 2019), pp. 279–293.

Direct download: ctc639.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

Dr. Bryan Estelle joins us to speak about Echoes of Exodus: Tracing a Biblical Motif (IVP Academic, 2018). Israel’s exodus from Egypt is the Bible’s enduring emblem of deliverance. It is the archetypal anvil on which the scriptural language of deliverance is shaped. More than just an epic moment, the exodus shapes the telling of Israel’s and the church’s gospel. Estelle traces the motif as it unfolds throughout Scripture.

Dr. Estelle is professor of Old Testament at Westminster Seminary California in Escondido, California. He is also the author of Salvation through Judgment and Mercy: The Gospel According to Jonah. He has contributed essays to Covenant, Justification, and Pastoral Ministry: Essays by the Faculty of Westminster Seminary California and The Law Is Not of Faith: Essays on Works and Grace in the Mosaic Covenant.


Direct download: ctc637.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

Dr. S. M. Baugh joins us to speak about his book, The Majesty on High: An Introduction to the Kingdom of God in the New Testament. Beginning with a definition of the kingdom of God based on the new creation, Baugh introduces the reader to the kingdom and its foundational issues.

Dr. Baugh is professor of New Testament at Westminster Seminary California in Escondido, California. He is also the author of Ephesians: Evangelical Exegetical Commentary (EEC).

Direct download: ctc635.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

Shawn Ritenour, Professor of Economics at Grove City College, speaks about the basics of economics and the Christian principles upon which the study must be based. Dr. Ritenour is the author of Foundations of Economics: A Christian View (Wipf & Stock).

Direct download: ctc628.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

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

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

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

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


Direct download: ctc627.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

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

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

Direct download: ctc626.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

David Woollin of Reformation Heritage Books and Matthew Robinson of Media Gratiae discuss Puritan: All of Life to the Glory of God. Centered around a feature-length film, the full box set includes books, thirty-five Sunday school lessons, and other resources for education.

Direct download: ctc625.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

In this episode, we turn to pages 220–223 of Vos’s book, Biblical Theology, to discuss the reception of divine revelation through showing and seeing. The prophets were given visions and heard the Lord and angelic beings speaking to them audibly. We explore the significance of this fact with regard to our understanding of God's progressive revelation in history.

Direct download: ctc624.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

Karl Rahner book cover

Jeff Waddington, Glen Clary, and Lane Tipton speak with Camden Bucey about his book, Karl Rahner, and contemporary issues regarding Rahner, modern Roman Catholicism, and contemporary theology.

Arguably the most influential Catholic theologian of the twentieth century, Karl Rahner (1904–1984) developed a theology that has influenced much of post-Vatican II Catholicism and its modern inclusivist approach to missions. 

Despite his impact, little has been written on Rahner from a Reformed perspective. In this introduction and critique, Camden Bucey guides readers to an understanding of Rahner’s theology as a whole. Beginning with Rahner’s trinitarian theology, he moves through each of the traditional departments of theology to show how Rahner developed one basic idea from beginning to end.

Rahner set out to explain how God communicates himself to humanity, whom he created specifically for the purpose of fellowship with him. Once we trace this thread, we gain a deeper understanding of his thought and its reach today.

Buy the Book

Endorsements for the Book 

“If you want to understand present-day Roman Catholicism, you must come to terms with Vatican II (1962–65). Everything that Rome now teaches and does is filtered through it. But if you want to understand Vatican II itself, you need to know about Karl Rahner. . . . Part of the confused and naive attitude of contemporary evangelicals toward Rome depends on the lack of awareness of both Vatican II and Karl Rahner. This lucid book is a helpful introduction to this seminal Roman Catholic theologian whose language contains all the key Christian words (e.g., Trinity, Christ, humanity), but whose meaning is significantly different from that of straightforward biblical teaching. It is time that Reformed theologians do their homework in grasping what is at stake with contemporary Roman Catholicism.”

—Leonardo De Chirico, Pastor, Breccia di Roma; Lecturer, Historical Theology, IFED, Padova, Italy; Director, Reformanda Initiative 

“Roman Catholic apologists often boast about their church’s antiquity but seldom mention modern Roman Catholic theology, which often sounds as modern as liberal Protestantism. Karl Rahner, one of the most influential Roman Catholic theologians of the twentieth century, whose prominence was evident at the Second Vatican Council, is one of the best examples of Roman Catholicism’s modernity. Camden Bucey’s fair-minded and careful assessment of Rahner’s theology is valuable in itself, but doubly so for anyone wanting an introduction to modern Roman Catholicism’s own contribution to liberal Christian theology.”

—D. G. Hart, Distinguished Associate Professor of History, Hillsdale College

“Though Karl Rahner is among the most significant Roman Catholic theologians of the twentieth century, he is little known (and seldom read) by evangelical and Reformed theologians. Camden Bucey’s fine study offers an excellent summary of Rahner’s Trinitarian theology that promises to redress this problem. He not only provides a helpful explanation of Rahner’s well-known Trinitarian axiom (‘the “economic” Trinity is the “immanent” Trinity’), but also locates it within the broader context of Rahner’s anthropocentric theology. While Bucey critically engages Rahner’s theology from a Reformed perspective, he does so throughout in a careful, irenic, and constructive fashion.”

—Cornelis P. Venema, President and Professor of Doctrinal Studies, Mid-America Reformed Seminary

Direct download: ctc623.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

James Eglinton, Nathaniel Gray Sutanto, and Cory Brock speak about Herman Bavinck's book, Christian Worldview. Sutanto, Eglinton, and Brock together have translated and edited this work and Crossway has brought it to print for the first time in English.

In the book, Herman Bavinck deals with pastoral concerns that arose within a culture that exchanged modernistic certainty for an appreciation of the unrecognizable and unknowable. Apart from the triune God revealed in Scripture, the culture was grasping for meaning.

Christian Worldview marks a new phase in his theological development. He spent the 1880s and 90s in Kampen wherein his main dialogue partners were liberal Protestants or materialist atheists. In 1900, two years before Bavinck moved to the Free University in Amsterdam, Friedrich Nietzsche died and something of a cult of his ideas developed in the Netherlands. Bavinck sought to address these new theological concerns. He developed a wholistic vision of all things and a wholistic way of living. He situated science and wisdom under a broader category of "worldview."

Nathaniel Gray Sutanto is a teaching elder at Covenant City Church in Jakarta, Indonesia, and an adjunct faculty member at Westminster Theological Seminary. He is the author of God and Knowledge: Herman Bavinck's Theological Epistemology.

James Eglinton is the Meldrum Lecturer in Reformed Theology at New College, University of Edinburgh. He is the author of Trinity and Organism, Herman Bavinck on Preaching and Preachers and Bavinck: A Critical Biography (forthcoming from Baker Academic).

Cory C. Brock serves as minister of young adults and college at First Presbyterian Church in Jackson, Mississippi, and is an adjunct professor of theology at Belhaven University.

Direct download: ctc622.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

Carl Trueman joins us to speak about Socinianism, a non-Trinitarian system of doctrine that arose out of the Radical Reformation and developed in Poland during the 16th and 17th centuries. It was named for the Italian uncle/nephew tandem of Lelio and Fausto Sozzini (Latin: Socinus). While the label is not commonly used in our current historical context, Socinianism developed into contemporary Unitarianism. The Socinian system of doctrine is summarized in The Racovian Catechism.

Dr. Carl Trueman is professor of biblical and religious studies at Grove City College in Grove City, Pennsylvania and the author of numerous books, including The Creedal Imperative. Along with Aimee Byrd and Todd Pruitt, he is a contributor to the Mortification of Spin podcast.

Direct download: ctc621.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

Healthy churches have healthy elders and deacons. When a local congregation is blessed with faithful officers the results are bountiful (Acts 6:7). William Boekestein and Steven Swets speak about ordained ministry in its manifold dimensions. Boekestein and Swets have edited, Faithful and Fruitful: Essays for Elders and Deacons (Reformed Fellowship), which provides current and future church leaders with an exciting opportunity of personal development. 

Like its companion (Called to Serve), this collection of essays offers biblical and practical essays written by seasoned churchmen drawing upon a wealth of leadership knowledge, experience, and wisdom. Engaging study questions for each essay can help readers make the most of the Bible’s instruction and encouragement for those tasked with the responsibility and privilege of leading Christ’s church.

Direct download: ctc620.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

Christianity is based in history. Contrary to the teaching of classic liberalism, without the historical fact of Christ's life, death, and resurrection, Christianity is nothing. Moreover, God has been working in the lives of his people from the very beginning. It is essential that the church would remember God's dealings with the generations that have gone before in order that she would rightly press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus (Phil 3:14). Our shared memories and the lessons of the past shape our ecclesiastical context and guide our present practice. Dr. Alan Strange and Rev. Brian De Jong discuss the role of history in the life of the church.

Dr. Strange is professor of church history at Mid-America Reformed Seminary in Dyer, Indiana. He is the author of The Imputation of the Active Obedience of Christ in the Westminster Standards and The Doctrine of the Spirituality of the Church in the Ecclesiology of Charles Hodge.

Rev. De Jong is pastor of Grace Orthodox Presbyterian Church in Sheboygan, Wisconsin and the author of Honoring the Elderly: A Christian's Duty to Aging Parents.


Direct download: ctc619.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

Lane Tipton speaks about his recent conference addresses and his newly available video course, Foundations of Covenant Theology. In this conversation, we seek to address the question of the Spiritual character of the law as an administration of the Covenant of Grace in the Old Testament and set the priority for the history of heaven as a frame of reference for understanding covenant theology in general and the law's relationship to the Covenant of Works and Covenant of Grace in particular.

In the beginning in Genesis 1:1, "heavens" is a reference to an archetypal temple-dwelling of God. Before God creates an earthly temple or tabernacle, he makes a heavenly temple dwelling that he fills with the glory of his Spirit and populates with angels. The earth is a replica of these invisible heavens. Prior to a history on earth per se, there is a bona fide history of heaven, which results in the Lord being enthroned in heaven at the end of the creation week. Covenant history now moves forward with the death, resurrection, and ascension of Christ to this throne and his return when he will bring his people into this glory.


Direct download: ctc618.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

Glen Clary and Camden Bucey speak about their addresses at the recent theology conference. Glen covered the topic of ascending the mountain of the Lord and the role of the tabernacle and sacrificial system in the Sinai Covenant. Camden compared Galatians 2–4 with Romans 7–8 in order to address Paul's phrase that "the law is Spiritual" in Romans 7:14.


Direct download: ctc617.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

Dr. Alan Strange discusses the Westminster Assembly and the Westminster Standards and whether they affirmed the imputation of Christ's active obedience as necessary for our justification. Strange has written, The Imputation of the Active Obedience of Christ in the Westminster Standards, which is published by Reformation Heritage Books in their Explorations in Reformed Confessional Theology series.

In the book, Strange gives a survey of church history before and during the Reformation to see how the Assembly relates to the tradition before it. He reflects on the relation of imputation to federal theology, modern challenges to the doctrine, and important rules for interpreting the confessional document.

Dr. Strange is professor of church history at Mid-America Reformed Seminary in Dyer, Indiana.


Strange, "The Imputation of the Active Obedience of Christ"

Direct download: ctc616.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

Todd M. Rester speaks about the theology of Petrus Van Mastricht (1630–1706). Dr. Rester has served as a translator of Mastricht's Theoretical-Practical Theology, which is being published by Reformation Heritage Books and edited by Dr. Joel Beeke. As of this interview, the first two volumes (Prolegomena and Faith in the Triune God) are available. Mastricht presents a theological method particularly instructive for contemporary readers, treating every theological topic according to exegetical, dogmatic, elenctic, and practical concerns.

Dr. Rester is associate professor of church history at Westminster Theological Seminary in Glenside, Pennsylvania. He has served as a post-doctoral research fellow for the EU European Research Council project and at Queen’s University Belfast.

Direct download: ctc615.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

Dr. Bracy V. Hill, senior lecturer in history at Baylor University, speaks about Christian perspectives on sport hunting. While hunting isn't the first thing on the minds of biblical scholars, hunting is mentioned and used in numerous metaphors throughout Scripture. One particularly mysterious account is that of Nimrod in Genesis 10. Moreover, the activity of hunting raises many important theological issues, such as man's relationship to creation, the nature and eschatology of death, and the Christian's directedness away from a wilderness toward a heavenly city.

Dr. Hill is co-editor of God, Nimrod, and the World: Exploring Christian Perspectives on Sport Hunting in which many of these themes are addressed. Dr. Hill is the author of many article and wrote a dissertation titled, “The Language of Dissent: The Defense of Eighteenth-Century English Dissent in the Works and Sermons of James Peirce." He also appeared on the Meateater Podcast to discuss many of these themes but to an audience of hunters.


Direct download: ctc614.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

Will Wood discusses various approaches to higher criticism, including source, form, and redaction criticism.

Direct download: ctc613.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

Mountains appear throughout the Bible as an important symbol of God meeting with man. In this episode, we trace the biblical-theological theme of mountains in an effort to understand more deeply God's plan and purpose in bringing his covenantal people to glory.

Direct download: ctc612.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

In this episode, we turn to pages 216–220 of Vos's book, Biblical Theology, to discuss the reception of divine revelation through speech and hearing. Vos treats this topic because, among other things, it lies at the heart of true religion. If God is not speaking, then we do not know him. If it is merely men who speak, we do not know God and therefore are not in a religious bond of covenantal fellowship with him. It is of the essence of true religion to affirm that God speaks and that prophets hear God speaking and then speak that same Word to the church. You cannot have true religion without such supernatural verbal revelation.

This requires that God speaks to the prophet before the prophet spoke. This is critical, since it utterly destroys the liberal theories that locate the actual words in human agency alone, such as the kernel theory we talked about earlier. The speaking of God is not meant in a figurative way, “but in the literal sense it appears in various ways” (p. 217).

Vos next makes a point that the verbal communication from Jehovah is both external and internal, and that internal (to the soul or audible only to the prophet) does not collapse into the “consciousness theology” and the subjectivism of the liberal concept of “revelation” where revelation simply means a heightened moral consciousness or awareness of nearness to the ethical ideal of the prophetic religion.

Vos urges us not to probe the proportion of internal and external revelation, but to accept that both forms come to the prophets, making them bearers of words that have divine authority.

Direct download: ctc611.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

Doctrine is not optional for the body of Christ. Yet, neither is it to be pursued in abstraction. Christians must speak the truth in love, applying that truth in the changing circumstances of daily life.

Using the biblical metaphors of a shepherd and a pilgrim, Jeff Waddington and Camden Bucey comment on a variety of challenges in the ministry and the importance of presenting every person mature in Christ (Col. 1:28).

Direct download: ctc610.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

Travis Fentiman and James M. Garretson speak about the new book, God, Creation, and Human Rebellion: Lecture Notes of Archibald Alexander from the Hand of Charles Hodge (Reformation Heritage Books). Fentiman discovered the handwritten notes through the Internet Archive and embarked on a crowdsourcing project to transcribe the notes. Dr. Garretson contributed a wonderful introduction.

In this episode we discuss the historical context of American Presbyterianism in the late-eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the unique contribution of Archibald Alexander, and the significance of Princeton Seminary to both American and global presbyterianism.

Direct download: ctc608.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

The New Testament cites the book of Isaiah more than any other Old Testament book. Scripture itself treats the book as a literary work by a single author. In this episode, Will Wood, discusses critical approaches to this prophecy that tend to view the book of Isaiah as a composite work of many different people and even different groups. All the while, we will come to see that the question of authorship is not self-contained; it raises significant issues regarding fundamental matters of the faith.

Will Wood is Assistant Professor of Old Testament at Reformed Theological Seminary in Atlanta, Georgia.

Direct download: ctc607.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

We turn to pages 214–216 of Geerhardus Vos's book, Biblical Theology: Old and New Testaments, to discuss the kernel and divination theories of the reception of prophetic revelation. Critical scholars seek to identify human beings as the origin of the prophetic message. Vos defends the orthodox notion that God reveals himself in objective verbal revelation to the prophets, who delivered that inspired and inerrant message to the people.

Direct download: ctc606.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

Glen Clary leads us in a consideration of the biblical-theological themes in the Cain and Abel narrative of Genesis 4. Much more than a mere commentary on anger and murder, this passage has much to teach us about worship and God's plan of communion with those made in his image.

Direct download: ctc605.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

Daniel Schrock speaks about self-conception in light of the Revoice movement and the Nashville Statement. Looking to the believers' union with Christ in his death and resurrection, Schrock provides a way to answer questions such as, "Is it proper to speak of being gay as a Christian's identity?" The basis of this episode is Schrock's article, "The Gospel and Self-Conception: A Defense of Article 7 of the Nashville Statement."

Direct download: ctc604.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

Dr. Cornelis Venema speaks about the doctrine of election. His book, Chosen in Christ: Revisiting the Contours of Predestination, is available in Mentor's Reformed, Exegetical, and Doctrinal Studies series. Venema addresses the subject from exegetical, historical, contemporary, and pastoral vantage points. In this conversation, he addresses the doctrine of election in the Old and New Testaments, the relationship between covenant and election, the polemical discourse between Augustine and Pelagius, and the revisionist doctrine of Karl Barth.

Dr. Venema is President and Professor of Doctrinal Studies at Mid-America Reformed Seminary in Dyer, Indiana. He is the author of several books, including Promise of the Future, Christ and Covenant Theology, and Children at the Lord's Table? Assessing the Case for Paedocommunion.

Direct download: ctc603.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

Leonardo De Chirico speaks about evangelical responses and assessments of Roman Catholicism post-Vatican II. Vatican II was an ecumenical council of the Roman Catholic Church held from 1962–1965 and widely interpreted as bringing the Catholic Church into a new relationship to the world and other religions.

De Chirico analyzes the several prominent evangelical scholars, including G.C. Berkouwer, Cornelius Van Til, and John Stott, in order to identify various strengths and weaknesses in evangelical perspectives on modern Roman Catholicism. De Chirico concludes that evangelicalism typically misses how two foundational aspects of Catholic theology (the relationship of nature to grace and a Christological ecclesiology) serve to undergird an entire theological system.

Leonardo De Chirico planted and pastored an Evangelical church in Ferrara (northern Italy) from 1997 to 2009. Since 2009 he has been involved in a church planting project in Rome and is now pastor of the church Breccia di Roma. He earned degrees in History (University of Bologna), Theology (ETCW, Bridgend, Wales) and Bioethics (University of Padova). His PhD is from King’s College (London) and it was published as Evangelical Theological Perspectives on Post-Vatican II Roman Catholicism (Bern-Oxford: Peter Lang 2003).


Direct download: ctc602.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

We turn to pages 212–213 of Vos’ book Biblical Theology: Old and New Testaments to discuss the mode of reception of the prophetic revelation. In the fourth section of his book, Vos continues to contrast the modernist conception with that of confessional orthodoxy. He stresses that revelation does not originate naturally but is in its essence, "a real communication" from God to the prophets.

Our study of Vos is focused on biblical theology, or what Vos termed "the history of special revelation." A modernized conception of revelation construes history as natural and mechanical in character. History is encased in patterns of natural cause and effect. It is a closed reality. For the Kantian, the mind of man imposes rational categories onto nature. Others view the mind and discovering natural and immutable laws, which don't exhibit any variation. It is an anti-supernaturalist conception of history. For the modernist, supernatural revelation cannot exist in the sphere of natural history.

Vos, however, is unwavering in his commitment to the self-attesting word of God, which is a supernatural word from the transcendent God, who nevertheless condescends voluntarily to speak to those made in his image.

Direct download: ctc601.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

Glen Clary and Camden Bucey speak about the ministry of the Holy Spirit and cessationism. We discuss how the pouring out of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost is a unique event of redemptive-history just as unrepeatable as the death and resurrection of Christ. As individuals are effectually called and united to Christ by faith, they are incorporated into the Spirit-baptized body of Christ.

Direct download: ctc600.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 8:49pm EDT

Jeffrey S. McDonald speaks about his book, John Gerstner and the Renewal of Presbyterian and Reformed Evangelicalism in Modern America (Wipf & Stock, 2017). It is published in the Princeton Theological Monograph Series.

John Gerstner (1914–96) was a significant leader in the renewal of Presbyterian and Reformed evangelicalism in America during the second half of the twentieth century. Gerstner's work as a church historian sought to shape evangelicalism, but also northern mainline Presbyterianism. He wrote, taught, lectured, debated, and preached widely.

Jeffrey S. McDonald is the pastor of Avery Presbyterian Church in Bellevue, Nebraska and an Affiliate Professor of Church History at Sioux Falls Seminary, Omaha.


Direct download: ctc599.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

Christopher Watkin speaks about his book Thinking through Creation: Genesis 1 and 2 as Tools of Cultural Critique. Watkin looks to the early chapters of Genesis for foundational doctrines about God, the world, and ourselves. In so doing, he advocates for a robust engagement with others about contemporary culture and ideas.

Dr. Watkin completed his Bachelor’s and Doctoral degrees at Cambridge University. He lectured at Cambridge for a couple of years before moving with his family to Australia, where he now works as a lecturer at Monash University in Melbourne. He is the author of a number of academic books in the area of modern European philosophy, including Difficult Atheism (2011) and French Philosophy Today (2016), both with Edinburgh University Press. Over the past few years he has written four books published by P&R Press. Three of them are in the Great Thinkers series: Jacques Derrida (2017), Michel Foucault (2018) and Gilles Deleuze (forthcoming).

Links to Thinking through the Bible

Direct download: ctc598.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

J. V. Fesko has written Reforming Apologetics: Retrieving the Classic Reformed Approach to Defending the Faith (Baker Academic, 2019). In the book, Dr. Fesko criticizes, among others, Cornelius Van Til. In this conversation, we interact with the book and compare its claims with those of Van Til. A central claim of Dr. Fesko's is that Van Til rejects "common notions." He writes:

in the middle of the seventeenth century, philosophers such as John Locke (1632–1704) rejected the idea of common notions. In the twentieth century, this rejection made its way to liberal and conservative Reformed theologians alike, including Karl Barth (1886–1968) and Cornelius Van Til (1895–1987).”[1]

He draws particular attention to Van Til’s discussion of authority and reason on pages 168–169 of Defense of the Faith (3rd edition).[2] On those pages, Van Til makes an important distinction:

A word must now be said about the idea of ‘common notions’ referred to in the quotation given above. The present writer made a distinction between notions that are psychologically and metaphysically, that is revelationally, common to all men, and common notions that are ethically and epistemologically common.[3]

Van Til continues, “All men have common notions about God; all men naturally have knowledge of God.”[4] So, what is Van Til getting at? There are notions common to all men, but there are some things common to believers and others common to unbelievers. Van Til explains what is also common to natural man as a consequence of total depravity:

It is this actual possession of the knowledge of God that is the indispensable presupposition of man’s ethical opposition to God. There could be no absolute ethical antithesis to God on the part of Satan and fallen man unless they are self-consciously against the common notions that are concreated with them. Paul speaks of sinful man as suppressing within him the knowledge of God that he has. . . . It is these notions of human autonomy, or irrational discontinuity and of rationalistic continuity that are the common notions of sinful or apostate mankind.[5]

[1] J. V. Fesko, Reforming Apologetics: Retrieving the Classic Reformed Approach to Defending the Faith (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2019), 24.

Fesko, 24n56.

[3] Cornelius Van Til, Defense of the Faith, 3rd ed. (Philadelphia: P & R Publishing, 1967), 168.

Van Til, 168.

Van Til, 168.

Van Til, 168.

Direct download: ctc596.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

Reformed Forum exists to present every person mature in Christ (Col. 1:28). We do that specifically by supporting the Church in her God-ordained task of accomplishing the Great Commission. In this episode, we discuss our mission and vision and share exciting news about the future of our ministry including Camden Bucey's transition to become our full-time Executive Director.

Reformed Forum is an organization committed to providing
Reformed Christian theological resources to pastors, scholars, and anyone who desires to grow in their understanding of Scripture and the theology that faithfully summarizes its teachings. We are committed to the principles of the Reformation and a redemptive-historical approach to Scripture. We believe these faithfully represent the teachings of the Bible, which is our only standard for faith and practice.

During the Modernist-Fundamentalist Controversy of the early twentieth century, E. J. Young wrote to J. Gresham Machen, the founder of Westminster Theological Seminary and key figure in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, which had yet to be formed:

Within the church there should be an organization, entirely independent of the formal church, which would act as leaven. This organization should be composed of ministers, elders and laymen of the new church alone, who not only believe the Westminster Confession but who are on fire with it. The purpose of this organization should be to propagate and to defend the Reformed faith, to point out the errors of modernism, sacerdotalism, premillennialism, Arminianism, Trichotomy, and so much of the anti-Scriptural evangelism of today. Furthermore, this group would seek to propagate Reformed literature, such as your book, Christianity and Liberalism, Boettner’s book and works of that type. It would seek to propagate this literature not only among the clergy but also among the laity. In other words, it would be a missionary agency whose primary field is the church. Further, it would eventually seek to promote truly Reformed Bible Conferences and Evangelistic Campaigns, would seek to start Reformed Bible classes and prayer meetings and would seek to encourage Reformed radio broadcasts, etc.

E. J. Young, letter to J. Gresham Machen, October 2, 1935.

Seventy-three years passed before Reformed Forum was founded and much has changed regarding technology, but providentially we have become such an organization. There is a need today just as there was then, because the theological challenges persist. We are committed to be faithful to Scripture to the end that Christ would be glorified in the fulfillment of the Great Commission.

Direct download: ctc595.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

Many different interpretations have been offered regarding the phrase "all Israel shall be saved" in Romans 11. In this episode, we speak about five different interpretations, focusing on the three that are represented in confessionally Reformed and Presbyterian Churches.


Direct download: ctc594.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

We welcome Richard M. Gamble, Professor of History, Anna Margaret Ross Alexander Chair in History and Politics at Hillsdale College, to speak about Julia Ward Howe's poem, which came to be know as "The Battle Hymn of the Republic." Gamble is the author of A Fiery Gospel: The Battle Hymn of the Republic and the Road to Righteous War (Religion and American Public Life), which discloses the history of the hymn as well as its position within an overall intellectual history of civil religion within the United States.

Other Books by Richard M. Gamble

From the Publisher

Since its composition in Washington's Willard Hotel in 1861, Julia Ward Howe's "Battle Hymn of the Republic" has been used to make America and its wars sacred. Few Americans reflect on its violent and redemptive imagery, drawn freely from prophetic passages of the Old and New Testaments, and fewer still think about the implications of that apocalyptic language for how Americans interpret who they are and what they owe the world.

In A Fiery Gospel, Richard M. Gamble describes how this camp-meeting tune, paired with Howe's evocative lyrics, became one of the most effective instruments of religious nationalism. He takes the reader back to the song's origins during the Civil War, and reveals how those political and military circumstances launched the song's incredible career in American public life. Gamble deftly considers the idea behind the song―humming the tune, reading the music for us―all while reveling in the multiplicity of meanings of and uses to which Howe's lyrics have been put. "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" has been versatile enough to match the needs of Civil Rights activists and conservative nationalists, war hawks and peaceniks, as well as Europeans and Americans. This varied career shows readers much about the shifting shape of American righteousness. Yet it is, argues Gamble, the creator of the song herself―her Abolitionist household, Unitarian theology, and Romantic and nationalist sensibilities―that is the true conductor of this most American of war songs.

A Fiery Gospel depicts most vividly the surprising genealogy of "The Battle Hymn of the Republic," and its sure and certain position as a cultural piece in the uncertain amalgam that was and is American civil religion.

Direct download: ctc593.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

Jim Cassidy speaks about his experience teaching a New Testament survey at South Austin OPC in South Austin, Texas. Surveys of the Old Testament, New Testament, and the entire Bible are useful for provide historical, cultural, geographical, and other forms of context in order to help us deepen and widen our understanding of God's plan and purpose for his covenant people.

Direct download: ctc592.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

In the incarnation, the eternal Son of God assumed a human nature. He did this without giving up his divinity. He retains his immutability, omniscience, omnipresence, and all the attributes according to his eternal, divine, and necessary existence.

In this episode, we discuss how these two natures relate to the person in the hypostatic union. By looking at Scripture, the Council of Chalcedon, and our confessional tradition, we review an orthodox grammar for speaking about these matters.

An error in the doctrine of God or Christology, however minor it may seem, will inevitably compound as other doctrines are developed. We should always seek to maintain confessional orthodoxy by reviewing the basics from which we never graduate.

Direct download: ctc591.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

The sabbath principle is established in Genesis 2:1–3, immediately upon the completion of God's work of creation. This Sabbath rest principle is a function neither of redemption nor theocracy. It is part of God's creation order. We trace this theme through Scripture with particular attention to worship. Glen Clary recently addressed this subject in a conference for the Amarillo Reformed Fellowship.

Direct download: ctc589.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

Will Wood, Assistant Professor of Old Testament at Reformed Theological Seminary in Atlanta, Georgia, joins us to speak about the blessings and promises of the New Covenant as described in Deuteronomy 30:1–10.


Direct download: ctc586.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

What does suffering have to do with the life of the Christian? Is suffering something we just have to endure until that time that we will have the victory in Christ? To address this matter, we turn to a classic article by Richard B. Gaffin, Jr., "The Usefulness of the Cross," The Westminster Theological Journal, Vol. 41 No. 2 Spring 1979, pp. 228–246.


Direct download: ctc585.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

Danny Olinger, author of Geerhardus Vos: Reformed Biblical Theology, Confessional Presbyterian, joins us for a special conversation. We take a brief break from Vos's book Biblical Theology to discuss the influence of Vos upon several other theologians. We then open the floor to questions from people participating in our live webinar.

Direct download: ctc584.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

William Boekestein speaks about eschatology and the life of the Christian. While many limit eschatology merely to the consideration of millennial views, Rev. Boekestein calls all Christians to understand how our view of the future in Christ shapes all of life.

Boekestein is the author of The Future of Everything: Essential Truths about the End Times (Reformation Heritage, 2019).

Direct download: ctc583.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

Dr. Vern Poythress speaks about the hermeneutical issues of interpreting Genesis 1–3 and how biblical interpretation relates to contemporary scientific study.

Dr. Poythress is Distinguished Professor of New Testament and Biblical Interpretation at Westminster Theological Seminary and the author of Interpreting Eden: A Guide to Faithfully Understanding and Reading Genesis 1–3 (Crossway). The publisher writes:

Christians have long discussed and debated the first three chapters of the Bible. How we interpret this crucial section of Scripture has massive implications for how we understand the rest of God’s Word and even history itself. In this important volume, biblical scholar Vern Poythress combines careful exegesis with theological acumen to illuminate the significance of Genesis 1–3. In doing so, he demonstrates the sound interpretive principles that lead to true understanding of the biblical text, while also exploring complex topics such as the nature of time, the proper role of science, interpretive literalism, and more.

Direct download: ctc582.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

In this episode of #VosGroup, we turn to pages 200–201 of Vos’ book Biblical Theology: Old and New Testaments to continue our discussion of critical theories of prophetism.

Direct download: ctc581.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

Jim Cassidy speaks about his recent trip to Colombia to lecture on Van Til's apologetic. Jim, Glen, and Camden also speak about books they are currently reading or have read.


Direct download: ctc580.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

Carl Trueman speaks about the Marburg Colloquy, a meeting called by Philip I of Hesse to unite the Protestant states in a political alliance. To accomplish such a union, he sought theological agreement between Martin Luther and Ulrich Zwingli. While Luther and Zwingli could agree on fourteen theological points laid out at the meeting, they could not come to terms on the real presence of Christ in the Lord’s Supper.

Dr. Trueman is professor of biblical and religious studies at Grove City College.

Direct download: ctc578.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

Dr. Cornelis Van Dam, Emeritus Professor of Old Testament at Canadian Reformed Theological Seminary in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, joins us to speak about the biblical office of deacon and the Church’s responsibility to provide for those in need.

Dr. Van Dam has written The Deacon: Biblical Foundations for Today’s Ministry of Mercy (Reformation Heritage Books, 2016). In this excellent book, Van Dam addresses the office of deacon, including the Old Testament background, New Testament times, the history of ancient, medieval, and Reformation practice, and the current functioning of the office.

Dr. Van Dam has also written The Elder: Today’s Ministry Rooted in All of Scripture (P&R Publishing). His bibliography is available online through the seminary.

Direct download: ctc577.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

Today we provide an introduction to the doctrine of justification with a consideration of several basic categories. We begin with a confessional doctrine of justification from the Westminster Standards. We then consider justification’s relationship to faith. Then we turn to the believer’s relationship to the person and work of Christ and consider how we are united to him. Finally, we speak about the relationship of that union to faith.

Direct download: ctc576.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

As is our annual custom, we’ve selected several clips from the episodes we released over the last year. We spoke with many people and had many fascinating conversations. I hope we’ll pique your interest, and you’ll go back to listen to many of the full conversations represented by these highlights.

Thank you to everyone who visited throughout the year. We are tremendously grateful for your generous support. Be assured that we’re setting the stage for another big year as our board continues to think and pray about our next steps.

We’re looking forward to another full year of Christ the Center. January 25 marked our 10th anniversary. Jeff, Jim, and I recorded that first episode during my first year in seminary—three homes and three children ago. Things have changed over the years, but our goal has stayed the same. Our mission is to present every person mature in Christ (Col. 1:28).


  • 524 — Marcus Mininger, Uncovering the Theme of Revelation in Romans 1:16–3:26
  • 533 — Michael Kruger, How the Second Century Shaped the Future of the Church
  • 540 — The Nature of Apostasy in Hebrews 6
  • 542 — Bill Dennison, Karl Marx
  • 551 — The Impeccability of Jesus Christ
  • 555 — Darryl Hart, Still Protesting
  • 556 — The Deeper Protestant Conception
  • 566 — Glen Clary, The Liturgies of Bucer, Calvin, and Knox
  • 570 — Danny Olinger, Geerhardus Vos: Reformed Biblical Theologian, Confessional Presbyterian
  • 571 — Cory Brock and Nathaniel Gray Sutanto, Bavinck’s Philosophy of Revelation
Direct download: ctc575.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

In this installment of #VosGroup, we turn to pages 198–199 of Vos’ book Biblical Theology: Old and New Testaments to consider critical theories of prophetism. We extend and amplify the material in these pages more than usual by connecting Vos's teaching to the theology of Karl Barth and other modernist approaches.

Broadly, the term can be associated with “instrument of revelation” and this is so important to note. For Vos, contra Barth, there is a direct, organic disclosure of God’s revealed truth in our calendar-time history. It is not in a distinct, third-time dimension that Barth calls Geschichte that “revelation” occurs. For Barth, revelation is Jesus Christ in a distinct time dimension, God’s third time for us, that “revelation” occurs. Revelation is Jesus Christ. The Scriptures, the prophets and calendar time history are not themselves revelation–they only point to revelation. Revelation is a “supra-historical” event in a time dimension altogether different from our calendar time.

But Vos would say this is fundamentally wrong–it is a different religious conception of “revelation” altogether. God speaks directly to Adam in the Garden of Eden in terms of positive, special, verbal revelation. God’s voice can be heard, speaking with inerrant and inescapable authority, in Eden. It is this initial self-revelation from God, in the Garden of Eden, prior to the fall, that supplies us with our conception of revelation. God both acts and speaks in calendar time history, and that special is initially given to Adam under the covenant of works. God’s revelation in nature (image of God) is by divine design subordinate to God’s revelation in positive categories. In other words, Genesis 2:7 (image of God) and Genesis 2:15–17 (Covenant) demand the idea that God reveals himself with absolute authority and clarity directly in history.

Vos says, “But the Reformed have always insisted upon it that at no point shall a recognition of the historical delivery and apprehension of truth be permitted to degenerate into a relativity of truth. The history remains a history of revelation. Its total product agrees absolutely in every respect with the sum of truth as it lies in the eternal mind and purpose of God."

Direct download: ctc574.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

Jeff Waddington speaks about the characteristics of natural and special revelation and their relationship to one another. Jeff recently delivered a lecture at Westminster Theological Seminary on the subject.

Direct download: ctc573.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

William Perkins (1558–1602), often called “the father of Puritanism,” was a master preacher and teacher of Reformed, experiential theology. Greg Salazar speaks about Perkins's works on predestination and his influence upon the Puritan and Reformed tradition. In speaking of predestination, we also cover related topics on Perkins's theology such as his Christology, his understanding of the ordo salutis, and even his views on Christian forms of memory recall.

Dr. Salazar is Assistant Professor of Historical Theology for the PhD program at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Along with Dr. Joel Beeke, he has edited volume six of Perkins's works with Reformation Heritage Books.

Direct download: ctc572.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

Cory Brock and Nathaniel Gray Sutanto speak about Herman Bavinck's Philosophy of Revelation (Hendrickson Publishers). Drs. Brock and Sutanto have edited a new annotated edition of Bavinck's Stone Lectures, which were delivered at Princeton in 1908. Other than his Reformed Dogmatics, this is Bavinck's most important work. We are blessed to welcome new editions and translations of these works. Along with James Eglinton, Brock and Sutanto are also editing Bavinck’s Christian Worldview, scheduled to be published by Crossway next year.

Cory Brock is Minister of Young Adults and College at First Presbyterian Church (PCA) in Jackson, MS. He also serves on the faculty of Belhaven University teaching biblical studies. Nathaniel Gray Sutanto is Assistant Pastor at Covenant City Church in Jakarta, Indonesia.

Direct download: ctc571.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

Danny Olinger speaks about the life and thought of Geerhardus Vos. Richard B. Gaffin, Jr. has identified Vos as the father of Reformed biblical theology and we take the time to speak of his contribution and legacy. Rev. Olinger is General Secretary for the OPC Committee on Christian Education. He has written a tremendous biography of Vos, titled Geerhardus Vos: Reformed Biblical Theologian, Confessional Presbyterian. The book is published by Reformed Forum and available for purchase.

Direct download: ctc570.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

Lane Keister speaks about features of Ezekiel 9–10 that help us understand the identity of the man of linen in the passage. Rev. Keister's article, "The Man in Linen: A New and Old Interpretation of Ezekiel 9–10" is published in issue 14 of the Confessional Presbyterian Journal (2018). Lane Keister is the pastor of Momence OPC in Momence, Illinois and a PhD student at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Direct download: ctc569.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

We continue our #VosGroup series in pages 194–197 of Vos' book Biblical Theology: Old and New Testaments to consider the biblical conception of prophetism. We discuss the Greek and pagan conceptions and their connection to contemporary modernist conceptions.

Vos has in view here a Hellenic, and not New Testament, conception of the prophet. Some would seek to understand prophet as a foreteller, which brings into view predictive prophecy—a telling of a situation in advance of the actual occurrence of the situation. However, it is not proper to take the concept in this direction only. While there is a predictive element present in much of what the prophets communicate, it is better to take them as foretellers in a local sense. This means that prophet is one who speaks an oracle from God. It is a place in time where one speaks on behalf of God.

However, the Greek terms, as it appears in a Hellenic, extra-biblical context, has a different connotation, and this is critical to grasp, that we must reject. That connotation is this: the prophet in this Greek conception is an interpreter of a fundamentally opaque, hidden utterance from god. Pythia (the name of the high priestess of the temple Apollo at Delphi), would be the interpreter of this fundamentally hidden oracle—a dark saying that needed a human interpreter in order to be rendered intelligible.

The Greek prophet does not stand in a direct relation to the deity, as in the Old Testament prophet, who spoke, by inspiration, directly from God, a word from God. Rather than being a mouth-piece of the deity, as is the case with the Nabi, the prophet in the Old Testament sense of the term, the prophet in the Greek, Hellenic sense, is an interpreter of the deity’s oracle. The oracle comes from the Deity but requires interpretation, an interpretive act, from a prophet, to render that message intelligible or clear. The prophet, in this Hellenic conception, is therefore not one who speaks the words of the deity. Rather, he is one who intercepts a supra-rational, intrinsically opaque, communication from a deity. It is precisely this conception of the prophet that Vos sees being appropriated by the liberals of his day.

Direct download: ctc568.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

The Westminster Larger Catechism, Question and Answer 154 describes the ordinary and outwards means of grace as the Word, sacraments, and prayer. We discuss these ordinary means and how they apply to the day-to-day ministry of the local church.

Direct download: ctc567.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

Glen Clary compares and contrasts the Reformation liturgies of Martin Bucer, John Calvin, and John Knox. Studying each of these helps us to understand the significance of worship reformed according to Scripture and focuses our attention upon worship in our present day.

Further Reading

Direct download: ctc566.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

Glen Clary and Camden Bucey discuss the apostle Paul's teaching in Romans 8:28–30. Paul speaks of the purpose of God's foreknowledge and predestination—leading to conformity to the image of Christ.

28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. 29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. (Romans 8:28–30, ESV)

Direct download: ctc565.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

Dominic Legge, O. P. speaks about the deep connection between Thomas's Christology and his trinitarian theology. Dr. Legge is Assistant Professor of Systematic Theology and Director of the Thomistic Institute Pontifical Faculty of the Immaculate Conception at the Dominican House of Studies. He is the author of The Trinitarian Christology of St. Thomas Aquinas (Oxford University Press, 2017).

Direct download: ctc564.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

Dr. Whitney Gamble speaks about antinomianism and the Westminster Assembly. She has written Christ and the Law: Antinomianism at the Westminster Assembly, which is part of the Studies on the Westminster Assembly series published by Reformation Heritage Books.

Dr. Gamble is associate professor of biblical and theological studies at Providence Christian College. She holds a PhD in historical and systematic theology from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, a master of theological studies from Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and a B.A. in biblical studies from Geneva College in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania.

Dr. Gamble is a frequent guest on The White Horse Inn podcast, speaking on issues ranging from the doctrine of justification to the theology of Christmas movies:

Her first book, Christ and the Law: Antinomianism at the Westminster Assembly, is forthcoming with Reformation Heritage Books. Along with seventy other leading scholars from around the world, she is contributing a chapter in the forthcoming multi-volume series, The History of Scottish Theology, published by Oxford University Press.

Direct download: ctc563.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

We continue our #VosGroup series in pages 191–194 of Vos' book Biblical Theology: Old and New Testaments to consider the conception of prophecy in Scripture.

Direct download: ctc562.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

Ken Golden speaks about the Lord's Day throughout redemptive-history and what it means to seek our heavenly rest in Christ. In his book, Entering God's Rest: The Sabbath from Genesis to Revelation (Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals, 2018), Rev. Golden seeks to move beyond a checklist of do's and don'ts to consider the deeper significance of finding our joy in the Lord.

Direct download: ctc561.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

Dr. Lawrence Feingold brings us a Catholic's perspective on Thomas Aquinas and the important connection between his doctrines of the Eucharist and the Beatific Vision.

Direct download: ctc560.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 6:43pm EDT

Jeff Waddington previews his address for the 2018 Theology Conference. He speaks about Pseudo-Dionysius, a key influence upon Thomas Aquinas. Dionysius attempted to integrate neoplatonism with Christianity. The result was a Christianization of the great chain of being. Register for the upcoming conference.

Reading List


Direct download: ctc557.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

We discuss how a return to sola scriptura through confessional Reformed theology spares us from the errors of Roman Catholicism and modernism. Reformed covenant theology, broadly considered, is facing a crisis regarding what constitutes “reformed” theology. The situation currently is one of chaos and confusion. Some claim that the way forward is by way of retrieving the theology of Thomas Aquinas, the angelic doctor of the Roman Catholic church, in the service of a so-called “Reformed” apologetic. The line of this argument is that if you follow the Roman Catholic theology and method of Aquinas, you will arrive at Protestant conclusions. Others enlist Aquinas in conversation with the likes of John Webster and Karl Barth, in the interest of retrieving “catholic” tradition in the development of a reformed theological identity. Still others, outside of our reformed circles, are engaged in ecumenical dialogue between Thomas and Barth (Bruce McCormack and Thomas Joseph White’s Thomas Aquinas and Karl Barth: An Unofficial Dialogue, or Keith Johnson’s Karl Barth and the Analogia Entis, which helpfully to my mind points out the significant points of convergence between the two theologians). It is very much worth pointing out that Van Til virtually predicted this in advance in his sadly neglected but highly important work Confession of 1967, where he says, “If now we live in a dialogical age and if only the church as ecumenical can meet the needs of such an age, then surely the Roman Catholic too must learn to see this fact. As Martin Marty says, “If Protestants and Roman Catholics wish to make possible a creative coexistence, to enrich our pluralistic society, and to profit from each other’s separate histories, they will have to participate in dialogue.…” And what does such “dialogue” look like? Again, Van Til says, “It was Hans Urs von Balthasar who, more than anyone else, has helped Barth to see that Roman Catholicism also begins its theology from the Christ-Event. Roman Catholicism, says von Balthasar, does not believe in direct revelation any more than does Barth. To be sure, Rome does speak of “faith and works,” of “nature and grace,” of “reason and revelation.” But this “and” is not, as Barth thinks, fatal to the idea of the primacy of Christ and of faith in Christ. The whole discussion between Barth and the Roman Catholic position may therefore start from the idea that revelation is revelation in hiddenness. ”The difference between Barth and Roman Catholicism will therefore be not of principle but of degree” (Confession, 119). [embed][/embed]

Direct download: ctc556.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

Darryl G. Hart, Distinguished Associate Professor of History at Hillsdale College, joins us to speak about his book, Still Protesting: Why the Reformation Matters (Reformation Heritage Books). This book addresses the divide between Protestants and Roman Catholics, considering some of the reasons that prompted the Reformation and the Counter-Reformation. It emerges particularly from the context of the increasing number of Protestants who convert to Roman Catholicism, and Hart's aim is to address some of the most frequent reasons given for abandoning Protestantism. [embed][/embed]


Direct download: ctc555.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT

We continue our #VosGroup series in pages 187–190 of Vos' book Biblical Theology: Old and New Testaments to consider the word of God and prophetism. Prophetism is restricted to the word as its instrument. The prophetic ministry was a declarative, spiritual authority of one who speaks and writes in the words of Jehovah himself. There is the closest possible connection, then, between the prophetic office and the declaration of the Word of the Lord, as that Word is given by the superintending agency of the Spirit, who breathes out the prophetic Scriptures (cf. 1 Pet. 1:10–11; 2 Tim. 3:16). The effect of being restricted to the ministry of the Word of God was a heightening of the “spiritualizing” relation between Jehovah and Israel. [embed][/embed]
Direct download: ctc554.mp3
Category:Christ the Center -- posted at: 12:00am EDT