Category Archives: Ecclesiology

An Open Reply to Jemar Tisby and “The Downside of Integration for Black Christians”

Dear Jemar, I recently read your article entitled, “The Downside of Integration for Black Christians” which was posted on the RAAN Network on August 21, 2017 and I’d really like to engage you more on this particular subject. All too … Continue reading

Posted in Ecclesiology, Liberation Theology, Pastoral Theology, PCA, Politics and The Civil Magistate, Race & Ethnicity, The Spirituality of the Church | Tagged , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Some Last Minute Thoughts About Overture 2

Part of my preparation for going to the Presbyterian Church in America’s 45th General Assembly in Greensboro includes attempting to read through all 646 pages of the massive 2017 Commissioners Handbook. And as I was doing that, I was extremely … Continue reading

Posted in Compromise, Current Events, Denominational Differences, Ecclesiology, Homosexual Marriage, Homosexuality, PCA, Politics and The Civil Magistate, Theological Declension | Tagged , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Samuel Miller’s Pastoral Theology

My own first contact with Samuel Miller, Old Princeton’s Professor of Ecclesiastical History and Church Government, came many years ago when I read an essay that had a quote from his “Presbyterianism The Truly Primitive and Apostolical Constitution of the … Continue reading

Posted in Church Planting, Ecclesiology, History, Officer Training, Old School Presbyterian Churches, Ordination, Pastoral Theology, Pastoral Visitation, Seminary Education, Spiritual Declension, Spiritual Gifts, Worship | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

13 Differences Between the PCA and the PCUSA

I was recently asked to outline some of the major differences between the Presbyterian Church in the USA (PCUSA) and my own denomination the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) and I came up with the following 13 point list: 1) … Continue reading

Posted in Denominational Differences, Ecclesiology, Liberalism, PCA, PCUSA | Tagged , , , , , , , | 58 Comments

Church Discipline: Never Popular, But Always Necessary

The Reformed have long held that scripture teaches us that a true church of the Lord Jesus Christ will manifest three definite marks by which all men might know that it is truly a church. The Belgic Confession summed up … Continue reading

Posted in Church Planting, Ecclesiology | 4 Comments

Is a Virtual Church Really a Church?

For almost twenty years a cadre of brave, but largely unheeded, commentators such as David Wells and Udo Middelmann have been striving to alert Christians to the fact that church marketing gurus have fundamentally changed the pattern of evangelical churches. … Continue reading

Posted in Church Discipline, Ecclesiology, The Means of Grace, Virtual Church, Worship | 8 Comments

Reinventing Liberalism, and How to Avoid Doing It

For some time now I’ve been thinking that if I were to write a book on current trends in Reformed and Evangelical theology, it would be entitled Reinventing Liberalism. If one were to trace the course of Evangelicalism as it … Continue reading

Posted in Ecclesiology, Liberalism, Seminary Education | 9 Comments

The Kind of Church Old School Congregations Need to Be

I’m sure most of you already aware of this, but some Old School Presbyterian church planting efforts fail. The church fails to grow, and eventually the effort comes to an end. Obviously we need to acknowledge that even this was … Continue reading

Posted in Church Planting, Ecclesiology, Evangelism and Church Growth, Old School Presbyterian Churches | 12 Comments

The One Lesson We Can Still Learn from the PCUSA

After beginning their 2008 General Assembly by announcing the largest one year drop in their membership since 1981 (57,000 members), the PCUSA has continued a banner year by deciding to also drop the ban on the ordination of practicing homosexuals … Continue reading

Posted in Ecclesiology, Liberalism | 9 Comments

When Should Old Schoolers Leave Their Denomination?

One of the most frequently debated questions amongst pastors in denominations that seem to trending ever more liberal is when they should leave. What is the straw that finally breaks the camel’s back? While some conservative men have been willing … Continue reading

Posted in Church Discipline, Ecclesiology | 13 Comments

On Deciding Whether A Child is Ready to Receive the Lord’s Supper

One of the responsibilities of sessions is determining whether a non-communing child is now ready to receive the Lord’s Supper. Over the years, it has become the custom in many Reformed churches, even Old School Presbyterian (OSP) ones, to assume … Continue reading

Posted in Children, Ecclesiology, Pastoral Theology, Sacraments, The Means of Grace | 8 Comments

Mark Dever Asks a Good Question

If you aren’t familiar with Pastor Mark Dever’s “Nine Marks” organization, you should be. Nine Marks exists to: “cultivate and encourage churches characterized by these nine marks: Expositional Preaching, Biblical Theology, Biblical Understanding of the Good News, Biblical Understanding of … Continue reading

Posted in Ecclesiology, Pastoral Theology | 2 Comments

What Makes a Good Elder

If you aren’t familiar with John Piper, you really should be. Piper is a Baptist Pastor, and Reformed, and he has written some amazingly insightful books. He has quite an ability to draw out and write on the experiential or … Continue reading

Posted in Ecclesiology, Old School Presbyterian Churches, Pastoral Theology | 3 Comments

Should OSP churches have “Term Eldership?”

One of the questions that comes up frequently when Presbyterian churches are getting started or later after they have grown in size is whether or not there should be “rotating” or “term eldership.” Under this system, ruling elders (but interestingly, … Continue reading

Posted in Church Planting, Ecclesiology, Old School Presbyterian Churches | 5 Comments

On Whether to Vote to Ordain

A conversation about a recent presbytery meeting and the ordination examinations that took place at it reminded me of one of the first ordination exams I ever witnessed. After the trials were over I asked some older and wiser Elders … Continue reading

Posted in Ecclesiology, Old School Presbyterian Churches | 6 Comments