May 1, 2015 Standard Bearer: Second Helvetic Confession on Holy Scripture – Prof.R.Cammenga

SB-May-1-2015The May 1, 2015 issue of the Standard Bearer, the semi-monthly Reformed magazine published by the RFPA (rfpa.org), is now published and being distributed. This issue too contains a variety of edifying articles – from a meditation on Ps.55:22, to another editorial on “What It Means to Be Reformed”, to matters “all around us” of interest to Christians, to an article on raising children in a covenant home – and an important book review (By Faith Alone).

One of the new series of articles is on the historic Reformed confession, the Second Helvetic (Swiss) Confession. In this issue Prof.R.Cammenga begins to treat the specific articles of this creed, starting with Art.1 on the doctrine of holy Scripture. Today, I take a brief quote from this article to show you how significant a confession this is and why you and I ought to become better acquainted with it.

First, Prof.Cammenga quotes from the first article itself, which reads this way:

We believe and confess the canonical Scriptures of the holy prophets and apostles of both Testaments to be the true Word of God, and to have sufficient authority of themselves, not of men.  For God himself spoke to the fathers, prophets, apostles, and still speaks to us through the Holy Scriptures.

And in this Holy Scripture, the universal Church of Christ has the most complete exposition of all that pertains to a saving faith, and also to the framing of a life acceptable to God; and in this respect it is expressly commanded by God that nothing be either added to or taken from the same.

Then he adds this opening commentary:

The Second Helvetic Confession begins its exposition of the Reformed faith with the doctrine of Scripture.  This is altogether proper.  This is necessary.  Everything depends on one’s view of Scripture.  More than anything else, this is what distinguishes the Reformed faith.  What distinguished the Reformed faith at the time of the Reformation was its view of Scripture. This is what set the Reformed apart from the Roman Catholics, on the one hand, and the Anabaptists and enthusiasts, on the other hand.   Both Rome and the Anabaptists erred in their view of Scripture. That aberrant view of Scripture affected everything.  And as different as they were from each other, both Rome and the Anabaptists were alike in that they denied the sufficiency of Scripture, that in Scripture “the Church of Christ has the most complete exposition of all that pertains to a saving faith, and also to the framing of a life acceptable to God.”  Rome denied the sufficiency of Scripture by adding to Scripture, as an equal authority alongside of Scripture, tradition. That tradition consisted of the writings of the church fathers, the decisions of the church councils, and the Apocrypha.  The Anabaptists denied the sufficiency of Scripture by adding direct revelations and immediate promptings of the Spirit.  The Reformers said, “A plague on both your houses.”  And they affirmed the sole authority and complete sufficiency of Holy Scripture, with appeal to Revelation 22:18 and 19, where “it is expressly commanded by God that nothing be either added to or taken from” the Word of God.

And finally, he makes this application to us today:

Still today, this is the issue and still today this is what distinguishes the Reformed faith, at least the Reformed faith properly understood.  Scripture alone is the arbiter of truth.  Scripture alone is the authority for faith and life.  Scripture alone is determinative in the life of the church, both the local congregation and the broader assemblies.  And Scripture is determinative for the walk of the individual believer in the midst of the world. The method employed by Bullinger in the Second Helvetic Confession of beginning with the doctrine of Scripture is the distinctively Reformed method.  All the truth that we confess and that is summarized in the confession is revealed in Holy Scripture.  The Reformed view of Scripture is that it is “the true Word of God.”  Fundamental to the Reformed faith is its view of Scripture.

To receive a sample of this Reformed magazine, or to subscribe, visit this SB page on the RFPA website.

Luther on the Christian Life: Prayer and the Word – C.Trueman

Luther on Chr Life -TruemanTaken from the new Crossway book written by Carl R.Trueman, Luther on the Christian Life: Cross and Freedom, part of the series “Theologians on the Christian Life”, published by Crossway (Wheaton, IL), 2015.

In this section from which we quote, Trueman is treating Luther’s treatise on prayer (the one prompted by a letter from his barber, Peter Beskendorf), and here he ties together prayer and Scripture:

Throughout the treatise, Scripture is the bedrock on which Luther sees the life of prayer as being built. He speaks of the Decalogue as ‘a school text, song book, penitential book, and prayer book,’ and recommends that the Christian alternate meditation on the commandments with reflection upon a psalm or another chapter of Scripture day by day. For Luther, it is not the desire for reading Scripture that fuels prayer; it is reading Scripture that fuels the desire for prayer. That the Christian may not feel like praying is one of the Devil’s tricks played on weak and sinful flesh; the answer is the discipline of reading and meditation, both corporate and individual.

At this point Trueman draws on a familiar analogy:

One might draw an analogy with marital love: the husband is commanded by God’s Word to love his wife. That command is independent of how the husband feels at any given moment. He is to act in a loving way toward her, and as he does so, his love for her will itself deepen and grow. So it is to be with prayer: reading Scripture shapes people in such a way that their prayer life will deepen and grow as a result.

From there, Trueman makes a summary of Luther’s view of the Christian life based on these simple principles of practicing prayer and Scripture reading:

What is perhaps most noteworthy in all this, of course, is the routine nature of the practice of the Christian life. Nothing Luther proposes is in itself particularly exciting or novel. We live in an age mesmerized both by technique and by the extraordinary. Modern evangelicalism, particularly in America, has been shaped by the kind of revivalism pioneered by Charles Finney in the nineteenth century. Find the right techniques and one will achieve the desired spiritual results; and typically those techniques involve something unusual or impressive. For Luther, this would all have been alien and obnoxious; the Word is powerful in and of itself; and the ways in which the Word works are ordinary and routine. Liturgies with a catechetical structure, a focus on the Word read and the Word preached, and a constant ,meditation upon that Word – those were the major elements of personal spiritual growth and discipleship (122).

Have we also made the Christian life complicated by trying too many new means and methods? Then let Luther’s view of the Christian walk bring us back to God’s simple way.

W.Tyndale: “Grounded in Sovereign Grace” – S.Lawson

Daring Mission-Tyndale-2015Drawn from chapter two (“Grounded in Sovereign Grace”) of Steven J. Lawson’s new book, The Daring Mission of William Tyndale, in the series “A Long Line of Godly Men” (Reformation Trust, 2015):

Hailed as ‘the greatest of the early English Protestants’, William Tyndale was a Reformer in every sense of the word. This certainly included his theology. Undergirding his belief in Reformation truth was his unwavering commitment to the sovereignty of God in the salvation of sinners. It was this deep confidence in the doctrines of grace that gave him staying power in his tireless efforts to translate the Bible into English. Tyndale was convinced that the power of God alone could change the hearts of kings and plowboys alike. The glorious truth that Christ would build His church compelled Tyndale to bring the Scriptures to the English people in their own language, regardless of the dangers he faced (29-30).

And a paragraph later Lawson adds:

Divine sovereignty was the underlying framework that held Tyndale’s life and theology together. He determinedly believed in the absolute sovereignty of God in His reign over all things. Reformed doctrine fueled Tyndale’s implacable drive in life and ministry. At the heart of his theology was the belief that God’s sovereignty extended from the control and order of the created universe to the salvation of undeserving sinners (30-31).

We may be thankful that this Reformer was so “grounded in sovereign grace.” You and I may not be involved in such a “daring mission” as Tyndale’s work of translating the Bible, but is our faith and life also fueled by this foundational truth of the Word of God? How is the truth of God’s sovereignty governing what we belief and do today?

Calvinism’s “Solas” – Prof.B.Gritters, April 15, 2015 “Standard Bearer”

SB-April15-2015In the latest issue of The Standard Bearer (April 15, 2015) Prof.Barry Gritters adds another installment to his series on “What It Means to Be Reformed”, a series begun in the February 15, 2015 issue. This new article lays out “Calvinism’s Solas – the great Latin mottos of the Reformation: sola Scriptura (Scripture alone – to be treated in a later editorial), solus Christus (Christ alone), sola fide (faith alone), sola gratia (grace alone), and soli Deo gloria (to God alone glory).

If you are not familiar with these expressions, or have forgotten why they are important – especially the sola (only or alone) part – then this is a good place to be reminded. For our purposes in this post, we take you to the end of Prof.Gritters’ explanation and defense of these solas. Here he shows why Calvinism’s solas end where they do – with all glory given to God alone.

Soli Deo Gloria

     So that we may always say, “To God alone be the glory!”

     To put these four solas together is not difficult:  Christ alone saves through faith alone for the sake of grace alone, in order that all glory may be given to God alone!  If any of salvation—even the tiniest bit—comes from outside of Christ, or if Christ comes to man through any other instrument than His free gift of faith, or on account of any merit in man, then the glory of that tiniest bit of salvation goes to man and not to God.  Against that “gross blasphemy” Reformed believers fight with all their might.

       Canons [of Dordt] I:7 teaches gracious salvation, beginning in salvation’s source—sovereign election:  “for the demonstration of His mercy, and for the praise of His glorious grace….”  The fathers in this ecumenical synod were looking at Scripture’s call to give all glory, in all things, to God and to God alone.  “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings…in Christ…according to the good pleasure of his will, To the praise of the glory of his grace” (Eph. 1:3-6).  And the book of Romans does nothing if it does not teach that everything revolves around God’s glory.  The heart of the reprobate’s sin is a refusal to give glory to God (1:23).  Sin is a coming “short of the glory of God” (3:23).  Paul teaches that if Abraham’s justification were by works, he would be able to glory in himself (4:2); but Abraham “was strong in faith, giving glory to God” (4:20).   Paul’s conclusion of the doctrinal section of the epistle, where all the doctrines of sovereign grace are taught is, “For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever.  Amen.” (11:36).  And Paul’s own Spirit-inspired exclamation point of the epistle, his very last words before the final “Amen,” are:  “To God only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ for ever” (16:27).

     No one else saves but Christ!  Nothing but grace and faith explain our salvation in Christ!  For none but God may receive the glory!

This is exclusive, for false teachings must be excluded.  This is antithetical, for truth must be defended over against the lie.  This is distinctive, for biblical truth must be known and confessed clearly, sharply, distinctly.  There may be no doubt as to Who is worthy of praise.  All of it.  This is Reformed.

For more on this issue, visit this news item on the PRC website. To start receiving the “SB”, visit the subscription page on the RFPA website.

Book Alert! “Luther on the Christian Life” – C.Trueman

Luther on Chr Life -TruemanCrossway Publishers has just released its seventh volume in its “Theologians on the Christian Life” series (edited by Stephen Nichols and Justin Taylor), and this one focuses on the great Reformer Martin Luther’s view of the Christian life. The title of this book is Luther on the Christian Life: Cross and Freedom, and is penned by Carl R. Trueman, professor of church history at Westminster Seminary in Philadelphia.

At the title link above you will find the best price (WTS – $11) and a video of Trueman explaining his purpose in writing this volume for the series.

I have ordered a copy for the library already (it’s in and processed!) and I requested a review copy from Crossway this week. Today I quote from Trueman’s instructive “Introduction”, which he sub-titles “What Has Geneva to Do with Wittenberg?” (slightly edited) Here he explains why Luther on the Christian life is important to the church, including those who are Reformed:

Given all the caveats necessary when the modern readers approaches Luther, what is unique about this man that makes him particularly useful as a dialgue partner on the Christian life? Obviously, as noted above, he defined many of the terms of Protestant debates about Christianity in general. Yet there is much more to him than this. As a theologian who was also a pastor, he was continually wrestling with how his theological insights connected to the lives and experiences of the people under his care. This gave much of his writing a distinctly pastoral dimension.

Further, he was (for a theologian) unusually forthcoming about his own life and experiences. There was a personal passion to Luther that finds no obvious counterpart in the writings of other significant Reformers. Calvin’s letters contain insights into his private life, but his lectures, commentaries, and treatises offer little or no light on the inner life of the man himself. John Owen outlived all eleven of his children, yet he never once mentioned the personal devastation that this must have brought to his world.

Luther was different: he lived his inner life as a public drama. Unlike many today on chat shows and Twitter and personal blogs, he did not do so in a way that boosted his own prestige; he did it with irony, humor, and occasional pathos. But he did it nonetheless, and this makes him a fascinating study in self-reflection on the Christian life (25-26).

New Titles in the PRC Seminary Library

SemLib12012It is time once more to highlight a few new titles that have come into the PRC Seminary library. I am always amazed at how many good resources are being published and republished – books of great value to the faculty and students here, as well as to our members and visitors. I hope by highlighting a few you will also be able to see the quality of books that enter our library.

Like everyone else, we are on a budget here, so I have to focus on quality, not quantity (although my Thrift store shopping makes that budget go further!). I might add at this point that I am truly grateful for the monies provided the library by the Theological School Committee in its budget (and Synod, which approves that budget each year), as well as for the many gifts we receive throughout the year.

But, on to the books! Here are a few of the significant new books recently purchased and processed:

  • The Works of John Knox, Banner of Truth, 2014 – Six Volumes, hardcover (David Laing Ed., first published in 1846). This is part of the publisher’s note on this important republication:

Unfortunately for many years hardback sets of Knox’s Works have been virtually unobtainable by, and inaccessible to, the general public. Now, to mark the 500th anniversary of his birth (probably in 1514) and the 150th anniversary of the completion of the first definitive edition of the Scottish reformer’s Works (1846-64), these rare volumes have been reprinted. The present republication of the reformer’s writings provides a unique and remarkably affordable opportunity for a new generation of students to rediscover and get to know the real John Knox.

  • Reformed Dogmatics - GVosReformed Dogmatics, Geerhardus Vos, Translated and edited by Richard B. Gaffin, Jr., five volumes (Lexham Press, 2012-14). Logos Bible Software has been adding this work to their digital collection as it is being translated, and now it is also being published in a good hardcover binding, with the first two volumes (theology proper and anthropology) in print. This is a classic work in Reformed theology and it is good to see it made accessible to the public.
  • John Calvin as Sixteenth-Century Prophet, Jon Balserak (Oxford University Press, 2014). This is an important new study on Calvin, focusing especially on his “sense of vocation.” Here’s more on the nature of this book from the publisher:

Beginning with an analysis of the two trajectories of thought existing within Christian discourse on prophecy from the patristic to the Early Modern era, this monograph goes on to find Calvin within a non-mystical, non-apocalyptic prophetic tradition that focused on scriptural interpretation. This study, then, demonstrates how Calvin developed a plan to win France for the gospel; a plan which included the possibility of armed conflict. To pursue his designs, he trained “prophets” who were sent into France to labor intensely to undermine the king’s authority on the grounds that he supported idolatry, convince the French Reformed congregations that they were already in a war with him, and prepare them for a possible military uprising. An additional part of this plan saw Calvin search for a French noble willing to support the evangelical religion, even if it meant initiating a coup. Calvin began ruminating over these ideas in the 1550s or possibly earlier. The war which commenced in 1562 represents, this monograph argues, the culmination of years of preparation by Calvin.

John Wood examines how Abraham Kuyper adapted the Dutch church to its modern social context through a new account of the nature of the church and its social position. The central concern of Kuyper’s ecclesiology was to re-conceive the relationship between the inner aspects of the church—the faith and commitment of the members—and the external forms of the church, such as doctrinal confessions, sacraments, and the relationship of the church to the Dutch people and state. Kuyper’s solution was to make the church less dependent on public entities such as nation and state and more dependent on private support, especially the good will of its members. This ecclesiology de-legitimated the national church and helped Kuyper justify his break with the church, but it had wider effects as well. It precipitated a change in his theology of baptism from a view of the instrumental efficacy of the sacrament to his later doctrine of presumptive regeneration wherein the external sacrament followed, rather than preceded and prepared for, the intenral work grace. This new ecclesiology also gave rise to his well-known public theology; once he achieved the private church he wanted, as the Netherlands’ foremost public figure, he had to figure out how to make Christianity public again.

  • Commentaries. One of the key areas of growth in our library is that of Biblical studies and exposition, including commentaries. These are important tools for the faculty and students, since the professors’ teaching and the seminarians’ learning centers on exegesis, the proper interpretation of God’s Word.
    • Two significant series of commentaries that we have included in our collection are the “Preaching the Word” series (Crossway, edited by R. Kent Hughes) and the “Reformed Expository Commentary” (P&R Publishing, edited by Richard D. Phillips and Philip G. Ryken).
    • 1 PeterWithin these sets we have recently added commentaries on the gospel according to John and on Acts, as well as Ecclesiastes and 1 Peter.

New Book on William Tyndale by Steven Lawson

William Tyndale’s Portrait by Steven Lawson | Ligonier Ministries Blog.

Daring Mission-Tyndale-2015Reformation Trust has just published the latest title in its significant series “A Long Line of Godly Men.” From the pen of Steven Lawson once again, comes this new book on William Tyndale, carrying the title, The Daring Mission of William Tyndale.

This is one you will want to add to your family or personal library for good Reformation history reading. If you have not seen the other volumes in this series, be sure to browse Reformation Trust’s pages (see the link above).

Ligonier recently did a post on this new book, pulling an excerpt from it (visit the link above or here for this). I take a portion of this for my post today.

For context, Lawson is referring to a portrait of Tyndale he has in his study. Concerning its details he writes:

Beneath the Bible, the artist has painted an unfurled banner, seemingly suspended in air. Signifying Tyndale as an Oxford and Cambridge scholar, the writing on the banner is in Latin: Hac ut luce tuas dispergam Roma tenebras sponte extorris ero sponte sacrificium. This means, “To scatter Roman darkness by this light, the loss of land and life I will reckon slight.” This bold message represents the life’s mission of Tyndale. By translating the Bible into English, this brilliant linguist ignited the flame that would banish the spiritual darkness in England. Tyndale’s translation of the Scriptures unveiled the divine light of biblical truth that would shine across the English-speaking world, ushering in the dawning of a new day.

In the background of this portrait, behind Tyndale, are the words Gulielmus Tindilus Martyr. This is the Latin rendering of this scholar’s first and last name, along with the word martyr, which identifies the high cost paid by Tyndale to bring the Scriptures into the language of his countrymen. This heroic figure died a martyr’s death in 1536, strangled to death by an iron chain, after which his corpse was burned and blown up by gunpowder that had been spread around his incinerated body.

New & Noteworthy Books in 2015 – Reformation21

New & Noteworthy Books in 2015 – Reformation21.

Even though this was posted by Mark McDowell in December at “Reformation21″, it is certainly worth our notice because it pertains to books to be published in this year 2015.

I always appreciate lists of books to come such as this, as it helps me plan on what to order for the Seminary library  as well as perhaps add to my own personal library.

And though most of these books are geared toward the theologians among us (but then, as R.C.Sproul is fond of saying, “Everyone’s a theologian.”), there is a variety of titles here to benefit us all – including a new children’s title!

Here are two that McDowell has selected and that I highlight in this post:

Trueman_Luther.jpg

Carl Trueman, Luther on the Christian Life: Cross and Freedom (Crossway, February)
Crossway’s series, Theologians on the Christian Life, has not disappointed. Matching some of the Church’s most beloved saints with some of today’s best evangelical writers, the series puts forth books that both edify and inform. 2015 promises John Bolt on Bavinck, Bray on Augustine, Haykin and Matthew Barrett on Owen, and Trueman on Luther. It’s difficult to pick just one of them, and while I’m giving Trueman on Luther the nod, all four books have to be added to the library. Here’s what Trueman says about his own volume and it’s hard not to get a little bit excited about what’s in store:
‘This is the book I have always wanted to write: a study of Martin Luther’s theology which is connected directly to his life as a Christian and his calling as a pastor. Personally, I owe as much to Luther as to any historical Christian figure. Further, I have become increasingly irritated in recent years with the way his name is bandied about by people who clearly do not know who or what they are talking about. So much of the pop-evangelical Luther is based on the selective reading of a few texts which actually presents a picture of the Reformed which I do not think Dr Martin himself would recognise. Thus, I wanted to correct some of the caricatures of him in evangelical circles and offer him as a model of pastoral ministry and of Christian discipleship to the current generation. Was he perfect and should we follow him in every detail? Absolutely not. His errors, when he made them, were often egregious. But his focus on Word and sacrament is a real antidote to the mega-conference, Top Men and brand-dominated culture which has unfortunately swept across conservative evangelicalism in the last decade’.

deyoung_story.jpg

Kevin DeYoung and Don Clark, The Biggest Story: How the Snake Crusher Brings us Back to the Garden (Crossway, August)
Christian children’s books are legion but good children’s books that captivate as well as educate are rare. Getting a pastor-theologian to take up the challenge is encouraging and I’m eager to see what DeYoung and Clark have in store for us. This is a book that promises a biblical-theological approach, connecting the dots throughout Scripture and showing our young ones the wonderful tapestry of the Bible.
DeYoung tells Ref21: ‘I know authors are always excited for their books to come out, but I’m especially eager for this one to release. The Biggest Story tells the big gospel story of salvation from the Garden of Eden to the final garden in revelation. I tried to tell the familiar story in a way that was theologically rich, but still fun and interesting for kids. It’s longer than board book for small children, but much shorter than a kids Bible. I couldn’t be more pleased with the illustrations. Don Clark has done an amazing job with the pictures–colorful, unique, interesting, and thoughtful. I can’t wait for this book to come out so I can show and tell it to my kids’.

– See more at: http://www.reformation21.org/articles/new-noteworthy-in-2015.php#sthash.qT9WQjoH.dpuf

H.Bullinger and the Second Helvetic Confession – R.Cammenga

SB-Jan1 2015Writing in the January 1, 2015 issue of The Standard Bearer, Prof.R.Cammenga begins a new series on the historic Reformed creed, the Second Helvetic Confession (1566).

At the outset Cammenga explains his intent with this series:

Beginning with this issue of the Standard Bearer, the undersigned has agreed to write a series of articles explaining the Second Helvetic Confession.  These articles will regularly appear in the rubric “Believing and Confessing.”  This first article and the one that is to follow will serve as a general introduction to this new series.  In this article we will focus on the author of the Second Helvetic Confession, Heinrich Bullinger.  In the next article we will take an overview of the confession that he penned.

A bit further on he makes the connection between the Swiss Reformed H.Bullinger and the Second Helvetic Confession, before going into a more detailed description of this godly man and his reforming work in the church of the 16th century:

The Second Helvetic Confession was exclusively the work of Heinrich Bullinger.  It was not commissioned by any particular church or group of churches.  Originally Bullinger intended it to be included with his last will and testament as an abiding testimony to his faith.  However, unforeseen circumstances led Bullinger to share the confession of faith that he had composed.  Those who first examined it immediately saw its value as a Reformed confession, among whom was Frederick III, the pious prince behind the Heidelberg Catechism (1563) and Elector of the Palatinate.  What was intended to be a private confession of faith, therefore, turned out to be one of the most widely adopted confessions of the Reformation era.  Rather than to go into Bullinger’s grave with his remains, the Second Helvetic Confession was disseminated by Reformed believers around the world.

If you are interested in learning more about this significant Reformed confession, you are encouraged to subscribe to the “SB” and follow this interesting and informative series.

What Semper Reformanda Is and Isn’t – Carl R. Trueman

What Semper Reformanda Is and Isn’t by Carl R. Trueman | Reformed Theology Articles at Ligonier.org.

Nov 2014 TTLast week we began looking at this month’s Tabletalk with its Reformation theme of Semper Reformanda. Yesterday I read the second featured article on this, written by Dr.Carl Trueman, professor of church history at Westminster Seminary (Philadelphia). His carries the above title (more fully in the magazine, “What Semper Reformanda is and What It Isn’t”) and it too, like Godfrey’s article, is very instructive.

I pull a brief section of it out for you today and post it here, encouraging you to read all of it at the “TT” link above. At this point in his article Trueman is responding to a “problem” that this motto presents in our contemporary age:

Unfortunately, however, the phrase is somewhat contentless. Within the last decade, it became the rallying cry of groups influenced by the so-called emergent church movement. To them, it meant that the church needed to engage in a fundamental, and generally continual, reformulation of her doctrine and, indeed, of her understanding of what doctrine is and how it is to function. Thus, doctrines such as justification, inerrancy, and even the idea of Scripture alone needed to be rethought in the context of a postmodern mind-set.

We might say that when used this way, the phrase “the reformed church always needs reforming” was less a basic methodological principle and more of an aesthetic. What I mean is this: we live in a world where the idea of truth as fixed and stable is unpopular and even regarded as dangerous and oppressive by many. Instead, people prefer a world where truth is always in flux, where it is negotiable, where, one might say, it ultimately makes no absolute demands on anyone.

Thus, this phrase appeals because it seems to make the truth a matter of continual negotiation and change. The church claims that Jesus is God? Well, that may have been true at Chalcedon in 451, but we need a different model for understanding Him today. The church denies the legitimacy of same-sex marriage? Again, that idea may have operated in a time when homophobia was dominant—indeed, it may have helped to maintain precisely such homophobia—but we need to reform our understanding of marriage and sex in light of contemporary needs and demands. Flux, change, and uncertainty rule, and glossing these with the phrase “the reformed church always needs reforming” gives this very postmodern aesthetic a speciously orthodox sound.

In fact, the phrase is a good one, but only when it is understood as reflecting the basic scriptural principle of the Reformed church.

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