History

In his Confessions, Augustine (354-430) describes mankind’s universal sinful bent as “concupiscence.” The Greek word epithumia (ἐπιθυμία) occurs 38 times in the New Testament. It describes the utter enfeebling of mankind’s freedom of will through the bondage of sin. It is the fallen nature’s inclination to wickedness, desire for immorality, and passion for iniquity, that […]

Poet, literary critic, and novelist, Arthur Quiller-Couch, was best known for his incomparable anthology, The Oxford Book of English Verse. As a lecturer at Oxford beginning in 1886 and a professor at Cambridge from 1912-1944, he taught an entire generation of English writers how to write. Exceedingly prolific himself, he wrote in almost every conceivable […]

Haarlem is a beautiful little Dutch town on the River Spaarne, fifteen minutes by train from Amsterdam. Founded sometime in the 10th century, in 1245 it was granted city status or stadsrechten and was made the capital of the province of North Holland. By the 14th century, it had become a mercantile hub as a […]

The years leading up to the Scottish Disruption and those immediately afterward produced some of the most remarkable servants of God in the history of the church.  Andrew Alexander Bonar (1810-1892) was a member of that galaxy of brilliant, Reformed Scots preachers, writers, and missionaries which included his brothers John, James, and Horatius, as well […]

The horrific ruthlessness of ISIS, the brazen cruelty of Boko Haram, the obsessive repression of the North Korean Juche, the vicious terrorism of Al-Qaeda: I confess that when faced with the gleeful persecution of my Christian brothers and sisters around the world in recent days, I am shocked. But, I know I shouldn’t be. Long […]

Every year new words and phrases find their way into our vocabulary.  Sometimes these neologisms are the result of political turns of events, like Brexit, alt-right, or newsjacking. Sometimes it is technology and digital media that introduce new words like hashtag, emoji, or listicle. Other times, it is trends in pop culture that manufactures new […]

In his classic book, The Holiness of God, R.C. Sproul bemoans the absence from our vocabulary of certain, once-familiar, King James Version words. It wasn’t so much the loss of antiquated verb forms like walketh and talketh, or sayest and mayest that bothered him. It wasn’t obsolete pronouns like thou and thee, or thy and […]

“And thus was he called Ichabod, for the glory of the Lord had departed.”  1 Samuel 4:21 The rising tide of heresy in the latter half of the fourth century very nearly engulfed the entire church.  Most of the Nicean fathers had either passed into glory or were constrained by dotage.  Even the seemingly ageless […]

In 1821, Dr. John Rippon, pastor of the New Park Street Chapel in Southwark, London, began a ministry to the homeless poor. A complex of almshouses was erected on a property adjacent to the church and the monumental task of rehabilitation was begun. Rippon wrote, “Christian compassion is driven by a holy and zealous compulsion […]

A doxology is a short chorus of praise to the Lord, often sung as a stand-alone piece or as a coda at the conclusion of psalms, hymns, or canticles. The word comes from the Greek doxa, meaning “appearance” or “glory,” and logia, meaning “study” or “declaration.” Common doxologies include the Gloria in Excelsis Deo and […]

“In questions of power, then, let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution.” – Thomas Jefferson “I confess that there are several parts of this Constitution which I do not at present approve, but I am not sure I shall never approve […]

Humbug is an old word of indeterminate etymology meaning “spectacle” or “hoax” or “jest,” often referring to some unjustified reputation or publicity. Of course, the word is most often associated with Ebenezer Scrooge, a character created by Charles Dickens in The Christmas Carol.  He famously dismissed Christmas declaring, “Bah! Humbug!” Interestingly, variations of the term […]

“The most practical and important thing about a man is his view of the universe. The question is not whether the theory of the cosmos affects matters, but whether, in the long run, anything else affects them.” G.K. Chesterton “Worldview is the most important thing that we can know about a man. Ideas have consequences. […]

By the 16th century virtually no one disagreed on the fact that the West needed to be reformed. What they disagreed on was what that reform should entail and how it was to be effected. In frustrated tension, dozens of competing factions, sects, schisms, rifts, rebellions, and divisions roiled just beneath the surface of the […]

Culture is simply a worldview made evident. It is basic beliefs worked out into habits of life. It is theology translated into sociology. Culture is a very practical expression of the common faith of a community or a people or a nation. Culture is, in other words, religion externalized. What a person thinks, what he […]


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