By In Family and Children, Theology, Wisdom, Worship

Epiphany and Purpose

God’s people are a missionary people, and this is not true only of the New Testament church. God called Abraham to bless the Gentiles through him, and one of Israel’s recurring sins was her failure to carry out this mission. Israel was supposed to evoke praise from the Gentiles, but instead , er idolatries and sins caused the Lord’s name to be blasphemed. (more…)

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By In Theology

The Word Makes History

St. John begins his Gospel with “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” a

The Word as “Logos”

His use of “word” is often explained with its connection with the Greek “λόγος.” b The Scripture explains that God is Word, and this is associated with the Son in Jesus, the second Person of the Trinity. While there may be additional philosophical and theological meanings for “word,” my core idea here is of God coming to us through the medium of language.  (more…)

  1. John 1:1 NKJV  (back)
  2. Strongs 3056: Logos is a word as embodying an idea, a statement, a speech  (back)

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By In Podcast, Worship

Episode 24: On Music Making Culture

In this episode of the Kuyperian Commentary Podcast Jarrod Richey and Derek Hale discuss music making in our culture.

The Desert of Musical Literacy

Jarrod begins with the observation, “Everybody in the world has music around them all the time, and yet, no one can make it. Everybody has a device, everybody has access to the world’s greatest music (and the world’s worst music) at the touch of a button or the click of an app. And yet, very few people have formal music training, have the ability to make music, or to be what we would call literate in music.” (more…)

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By In Culture, Film, Interviews, Politics, Theology, Worship

Top Ten KC Posts for 2017

Here is a list of the most popular articles from Kuyperian Commentary in 2017.

We will begin with a few honorable mentions that we thought were important to our vision.

In June, there was a broad discussion on how to teach Christian Worldview that Dustin Messer was part of. He wrote A Few Cheers for Worldview Education interacting with a number of bloggers on the issue and in particular Rod Dreher’s critique. There were two posts in this series with Dustin defending the purpose and goal of worldview discussions. Here is the second part which lists out several of the key bloggers in the discussion.

A second honorable mention goes to David Koyzis. He joined the Kuyperian team this year and he had a series in August on Abraham Kuyper and Pluralism: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and  Part 4. In these pieces, he sketches the pluralism we find in our world and suggests a way forward by looking at how Kuyper would view this issue.

Now to the countdown:

10 Uri Brito, our founder, wrote a post titled 10 Ways to Keep Easter this Easter Season. Lots of good practical ideas here for that season of the year.

9 Steve Macias wrote a post about The Prayer of Humble Access. This is a discussion on one of the prayers for communion that is found in the Book of Common Prayer.

8 Steve had another popular post on The Unlikely Ascension of Jesus. This article unpacks the significance of this moment in Jesus’ life and how the message of the gospel is that Jesus is seated as king right now.

7 Steve also took a swing at Feminism arguing that it is a Self-Defeating Movement. Feminists have sought to throw off submission to particular men and have looked to the state to give them this freedom. The result is that they now find themselves in subjection to “The Man”.

6 Dustin Messer wrote a piece connecting the Disney musical from this year and Revelation: Beauty and the Mark of the Beast. In this piece, he argues that the movie emphasizes the importance of waiting on redemption just as the Beast lets Belle go even though she is his last hope.

5 Uri was back with a post on Musical Segregation. In this post, he makes the claim: “Churches that segregate musically are bound to segregate corporately.”

(more…)

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By In Theology

God’s Chief End For Man: Glorification

What is God’s chief end for man? To glorify man and enjoy him forever. This is not quite the catechism question we are used to hearing, but it is just as true as the one with which we are familiar. God created man for glory, and he himself would bestow that glory on the man. In the incarnation of the eternal Word we see God’s intention for man realized: glorified flesh. John tells us that “the Word was made flesh and tabernacled among us, and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten, full of grace and truth.” (Jn 1.14) We behold the glory of God in flesh, the flesh of man.

The Hebrew word for “glory” speaks about something that is weighty. Glory is heavy. Glory is the regal robe and crown of the king that sits heavy on his body making him a sight to behold while also reminding him of the weightiness of his responsibility. Glory is the vestments of the high priest in Israel by which he reflects the beauty of God and his people while also carrying the tremendous responsibility to God and for his people. Wherever God adds weight to our lives through privilege and responsibility, he is glorifying us. (more…)

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By In Culture, Humor, Scribblings, Wisdom

Wise Laughter

Author Remy Wilkins teaches at Geneva Academy
His first novel is available from Canon Press

We are made to be happy. Created to enter into the eternal joy of God, our whole being inclines to that end, but the fallen world has put forth barriers and by our own sin we bar ourselves from that endless delight, and death blinds us to that reality. Yet laughter breaks through.

This tendency for all things to bend to joy is seen in memory. Nobody in recalling an injury feels its pain again, but at the slightest invocation of a joyous event laughter spills out. Pain is forgotten yet joy soars on, achieving greater heights at each remembrance. Faith and hope join hands in laughter, for it is a bold declaration that though this world is fraught with terror, evil and ills yet we can delight in it because we know its comedic end.

Laughter is a powerful weapon. It is a divine act and a powerful contrast between Yahweh and Allah, who does not laugh. But for all that is praiseworthy in laughter there is the laughter of fools that should give us pause. What is the difference between foolish laughter and the laughter of the wise? (more…)

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By In Culture, Politics, Theology

What’s in a Name? Fundamentalism, Evangelicalism and the Fickleness of Labels

A good friend of mine in graduate school was an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church (USA). A confessionally Reformed Christian, he admitted to me that he sometimes liked to call himself a fundamentalist just to see how others would respond. Though we were on the same page in so many ways, I personally didn’t think I could go quite that far.

Nevertheless, I was raised in what might well be regarded as the first fundamentalist denomination, the Orthodox Presbyterian Church. Established in 1936 by John Gresham Machen and others, it grew out of the controversies of the 1920s and ’30s in the former Presbyterian Church in the United States of America. Confessional liberals, who elevated personal experience and rationalism above both the Bible and the Westminster Standards, gradually moved into the ascendancy, with the more conservative elements increasingly on the defensive. These trends had already begun in the post-Civil War era, gaining speed around the turn of the 20th century and achieving dominance after the end of the Great War.

As a result, a concerted effort was begun to forge an alliance among confessional Christians in several protestant denominations, culminating in the publication between 1910 and 1915 of The Fundamentals: A Testimony to the Truth, consisting of 90 essays bound together in several volumes. The 64 authors were a diverse lot, including B. B. Warfield of Princeton Seminary; C. I. Scofield, whose Scofield Reference Bible disseminated dispensationalism far beyond its original home in the Plymouth Brethren; the Rev. William Caven of Knox College, Toronto; the Rev. James Orr of the United Free Church College in Glasgow; Canon G. Osborne Troop of what was then called the Church of England in the Dominion of Canada; and many more besides.

The project was edited by A. C. Dixon, Louis Meyer and Reuben Archer Torrey, a close associate of evangelist Dwight L. Moody, with financial backing coming from oil tycoon Lyman Stewart, who also co-founded the Bible Institute of Los Angeles, later Biola University.

While the term fundamentalism is nowadays almost always used in a negative sense to dismiss a particular group as narrow and ingrown, the original fundamentalist movement was a broad effort to defend the fundamentals of the faith, such as the Virgin Birth, the Deity of Christ, the inspiration of the Bible, and the unity of Scripture against the fragmenting onslaughts of historical criticism. Any movement bringing together Anglicans, Episcopalians, Reformed Episcopalians, confessional Presbyterians and dispensationalists can scarcely be labelled narrow and exclusive. In fact, the original fundamentalist movement, like its neo-evangelical successor after the Second World War, would be better characterized by this well-known maxim: “in essentials, unity; in doubtful matters, liberty; in all things, charity.” Over the decades many people were in the habit of describing a congregation or denomination as “fundamental” if it adhered to these fundamentals of the faith shared by all Christians throughout the centuries.

This effort to build a broad coalition of believers from a variety of traditions generally avoided such potentially divisive doctrines as baptism, the Lord’s Supper, predestination, free will and the millennial views (Revelation 20). These were judged less significant than the need of the hour, which was to confront head on the growing secularism in the churches. This makes it somewhat ironic that, a century later, the word fundamentalism is associated with a variety of unlikable groups, including outright terrorists.

Then came the evangelicals. After the Scopes trial of 1925, fundamentalism came to be associated with obscurantism, though a few groups jealously held on to the label, including the independent Baptist congregation where my mother came to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ in her late teens. Carl F. H. Henry and the Rev. Billy Graham were associated with this new movement, and Christianity Today became its flagship publication. So powerful was this evangelicalism after 1945 that it would eventually come to supplant the rapidly fading mainline protestant denominations four decades later. Evangelicalism as a label had the virtue of plugging into more than one historic movement, including the 18th-century evangelical revivals in the Church of England, the Wesleyan Methodist movement, continental European pietism and, of course, the Reformation of the 16th century. However, its chief defects were its lack of a robust ecclesiology and its emphasis on personal experience, which, while otherwise laudable, would eventually erode the lines between evangelicalism and liberalism, especially after the turn of the 21st century.

Many of us were proud to claim the evangelical label, because of the obvious reference to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (As Gus Portokalos would tell us, evangelion is a Greek word!) However, increasing numbers of Christians are now coming to reject the evangelical label, because of its association with a certain political commitment. Indeed, those still willing to wear the label are troubled that so many of their co-religionists seem to rank political ideology above the obvious ethical implications of their own faith. Whether these are genuine evangelicals or merely “court evangelicals” is subject to dispute. Wherever the truth lies, some high profile Christians have decided they can no longer describe themselves as evangelical.

It is true, of course, that some labels have been discredited through their abuse, making it virtually impossible for right-thinking people to wear them. (How many good and respectable people were sympathetic to national socialism before 1933?) However, I myself have become wary of discarding an otherwise perfectly good label for fear of association with those people, whoever they might be. Given that we are all sinners standing in need of God’s grace, we might do better to look into our own hearts to determine whether we are worthy to be called by the name of Jesus Christ and his gospel of salvation. On our own strength we are not worthy, of course. That is precisely why we flee to Christ to find our true identity. It cannot be found in political parties or ethnic subcultures. It cannot be found in our own desires and aspirations, which, however legitimate they might otherwise be, are always caught up in the cosmic struggle between sin and redemption.

Labelling is a fickle enterprise. People often label others to discredit them. We label ourselves and expect people to respect those labels, which, of course, they may not. Often the labels do not endure for the long term, eventually being replaced by others that will serve for a time but probably not forever. I am personally willing to call myself a fundamentalist in the original sense, an evangelical, a Reformed Christian or even—tongue-in-cheek of course—a Byzantine-Rite Calvinist. But above all I am a follower of Jesus Christ, and it is by his name over all other names that I wish at last to be called, “for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).

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