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Topic Archives: History & Biography

In the video below, Pastor Mark Johnston details why the writings of the Puritans are so impactful even today. ‘Part of the genius of Puritan literature is that they were so taken up with God, and his grace, and the provision that was made for sinners through the Lord Jesus Christ, that they opened not […]

Category Announcements
Date September 28, 2018
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It’s impossible to measure the influence of Richard Baxter over four centuries. His works remain in print and are widely read, which shouldn’t surprise us. J. I. Packer considers him ‘the most outstanding pastor, evangelist, and writer on practical and devotional themes that Puritanism produced,’ listing Baxter’s The Reformed Pastor (1656) as one of the top five books that have influenced him […]

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Date August 6, 2018
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For many years before entering vocational ministry, I worked as a journalist in the dog-eat-dog world of secular media. While working as a reporter for a metropolitan daily newspaper in Georgia, one of my more progressive colleagues teased me good-naturedly about being a ‘conservative boy’ from a small town in the sticks of North Georgia. […]

Category Articles
Date July 30, 2018
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‘I will build my church,’ Jesus declared (Matthew 16:18). And what a magnificent and agonizing process has unfolded for two millennia. Essential to this work is the formation of living stones — men and women drawn from the quarry of sin, whose lives now testify to gospel grace. But how does Christ construct his church? […]

Category Articles
Date July 18, 2018
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Today, July 10, 2018, is the 509th anniversary of John Calvin’s birth. He was a French theologian and pastor of Geneva, as well as one of the principal 16th-century Reformers. * * * Let us notice three things about the Genevan Reformer particularly today, July 10, the anniversary of his birth. First, Calvin was a humble […]

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Category Articles
Date July 10, 2018
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During my first seven years in the pastoral ministry (1980-1987), I felt very green — inexperienced, and in some ways unprepared. Before coming to Bethlehem Baptist Church at the age of 34, I had never been a pastor. I was in school full time till I was 28 and then taught college Bible courses until […]

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Category Articles
Date June 1, 2018
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After nearly three decades, John Bolt is approaching his impending retirement from Calvin Theological Seminary with admitted ambivalence, grateful to be liberated from long faculty meetings and other academic tedium but wistful about closing a long and lively chapter of engaging students with a bracing seminars on Reformed dogmatics. ‘I feel incredibly privileged when I […]

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Category Articles
Date May 25, 2018
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In John 10:17–18, Jesus teaches the relation between God’s eternal decree to save and Christ’s work on earth: ‘For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority to lay […]

Category Announcements
Date March 30, 2018
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Audio Transcript Parents ask me, ‘What was the idea behind biographies for toddlers?’ It’s a different concept, and there aren’t many out there — but there are dozens of little people in my family. One day a brother-in-law commented, ‘Wouldn’t it be amazing to have something for small kids that introduced them to church history; […]

Category Articles
Date March 20, 2018
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Around 245 years ago, something significant happened in Exeter, New Hampshire, USA. A large granite stone marks the spot where the event took place. Sad to say, people walk by this historical marker every day without knowing its significance. They do not know that God did something special in their town on September 29, 1770: […]

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Category Articles
Date March 19, 2018
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Among the ‘Notes’ in C. H. Spurgeon’s periodical, The Sword and the Trowel, for July 1890, is an item about the state of the Free Church of Scotland at that time. It looks back to the General Assembly of that year, when two divinity professors, Marcus Dods of New College, Edinburgh, and A.B. Bruce of the […]

Category Articles
Date February 19, 2018
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I returned to the countryside of Shropshire on Sunday, January 7. Just as a year earlier, I was to preach for the congregation at Lordshill Baptist Church near Minsterly, at Snailbeah, pastored by my friend Stephen Ford. We were hoping that we could use the old building but the heavy rain had turned the pathway […]

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Category Articles
Date February 7, 2018
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There was always my dear cousin Bobi. Being an only child, my cousins were important to me and none more so than Bobi who was nine years older than me. He would become my best man on my wedding day in 1964 and we would live more than five decades together in the same small […]

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Category Articles
Date December 18, 2017
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Many of us can recall the intense light and surprising warmth conveyed to our hearts when we first read the exemplary history of the Reformers and the Reformation Martyrs, along with their expositions of Scripture. Their brave and strong standing fast in the faith (1 Cor. 16:13) reached across the centuries and led us to new heights in serving […]

Category Articles
Date November 29, 2017
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In the mid-twentieth century, those Christians who were willing to call themselves ‘Reformed’ or ‘Calvinistic’ were relatively few in number. Liberalism had done its work in the large  mainline denominations to discredit ‘Reformation’ doctrine. Evangelicalism had fallen so low that many dismissed theology altogether by saying that doctrine only divides. ‘Calvinist’ was a slur to denigrate a Christian and to advise […]

Category Articles
Date November 27, 2017
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In 2012, a new five volume edition of the minutes and papers of the Westminster Assembly (1643-52) was published (Oxford University Press). This was the fruit of years of work by Rev. Chad Van Dixhoorn. This monumental work will probably form the basis for study o the Westminster Assembly for the remainder of this century […]

Category Book Reviews
Date November 13, 2017
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Robert Cecil Rayner, a beloved deacon and member at Salem Chapel, Braintree, Essex, for twenty-six years, passed peacefully away on February 9th, 2017, aged 73 years. After a severe illness he wrote the following, dated November 2014. The heading was this: ‘Toiling with Rowing on the Sea of Life’. * * * My first recollections […]

Category Articles
Date November 8, 2017
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I finally paid my first visit to the new location of the London Evangelical Library. It used to be in Chiltern Street, above the original location of the Banner of Truth but now it is to be found on a little industrial estate in the north of the city, just off the north circular road. […]

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Date November 6, 2017
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This month marks 500 years since the day which is conventionally identified as the beginning of the Reformation. On 31 October 1517, Martin Luther, a monk and theological professor in Wittenberg University, nailed to the church door a set of 95 theses, statements intended for debate. They were provoked by the unscrupulous sale of indulgences […]

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Category Articles
Date November 3, 2017
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500 years ago, the Church in Western Europe was awash with influences calling for much-needed reform. Most of these influences flowed from the Renaissance, whose Christian scholars were weighing the contemporary Church against what they found in the Bible and the writings of the early Church fathers. Their greatest figure, Erasmus of Rotterdam, had in […]

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Category Articles
Date November 1, 2017
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Tomorrow, on the 31st October 2017, we commemorate what was the beginning of the Reformation under Martin Luther. One of the features of his life and work was the central place that the Scriptures played in the spiritual revival that brought about the Reformation. Luther did not think of himself as a Reformer; the reformation […]

Category Articles
Date October 30, 2017
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This is the second half of a two part article on the character and writings of William Williams. Part one may be found here. * * * Like all those touched by the eighteenth century awakening, Williams Pantycelyn was led to see that the vital matter is grace. Williams’ characterisation of the years immediately before […]

Category Articles
Date October 27, 2017
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The author previously published an article on William Williams of Pantycelyn’s life. The three sections can be found here: Part One , Part Two , Part Three * * * Having traced a little of the life and experience of William Williams, it is now time to look to his character and his theology. Williams […]

Category Articles
Date October 25, 2017
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This is the second half of a two part article. The first part can be found here. Semi-Pelagianism Yet the death of Pelagius was not the end of his speculation; not only were there still those who followed him, but there were those who tried to develop a ‘middle way’ between the strict Biblical teaching […]

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Date October 20, 2017
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Pelagianism can be regarded as the last of the ‘Great Heresies’; after Pelagius, heretics have, for the most part, been either reworking old heresies, or have been very limited in their influence. Pelagius, on the other hand, created a false teaching that challenged the Church to consider issues that had previously been taken for granted, […]

Category Articles
Date October 18, 2017
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