• What does it mean to “work out your salvation with fear and trembling” (Phil. 2:12)? Question and Answer

    The Reformed stress on the sovereignty of God, the action of God, and the initiation by God in salvation might lead someone to conclude that we are utterly passive in the Christian life. It might lead someone to conclude that we do nothing but wait, that we have no responsibility, or that we take no action. You can see throughout the New Testament that this is not a correct application of the doctrine of sovereignty. It’s not the application of the doctrine of sovereignty that the Reformed have made. The Christian life, by the grace of God and the action … View Resource

  • Does God predestine people to hell? Question and Answer

    This is really a question about what we call “double” predestination. It is a serious question and, therefore, should not be answered in any sort of joking way. The easy side of talking about predestination is to talk about the way in which God has elected some sinners to life. God has determined from eternity to give the gift of life and faith to some sinners. The hard part of talking about election is related to this question: Is it also true, then, that God has decided from eternity not to give the gift of faith to some and to … View Resource

  • Some teachers claim the Old Testament is no longer relevant. Is this true? Question and Answer

    That the Old Testament is no longer relevant is a really dangerous position to take. The Old Testament is so full of wisdom. We in the Reformed tradition, particularly, ought to stand against this kind of position, and I think we do. Those of us in the Reformed tradition have always valued greatly the singing of psalms because they bring us to God’s own inspired spirituality. If you held to that kind of position that the Old Testament is no longer relevant, you couldn’t sing psalms. I think one of the great tragedies of the church today is the loss … View Resource

  • When John identifies Jesus as “the Logos,” is he referring to the Logos in Greek philosophy? Question and Answer

    John 1:1

    I think John is writing intentionally to communicate with Jews and Gentiles. Therefore, he knows that as he begins his gospel and says, “In the beginning,” all the Jews will sit up and think, “We’re back in Genesis.” Then he’ll surprise them because he’s taking them back before the beginning of Genesis. Then, when he says Jesus was the Logos, he’s going to capture the attention of at least well-educated Gentiles who know something about logos philosophy in the ancient world. So, I think John is intentionally drawing both groups to himself. The Jews know that it was the Word … View Resource

  • I was baptized before conversion. Should I be baptized again after coming to faith? Question and Answer

    No one is ever required to be baptized again. That’s a point Calvin makes very strongly throughout his writings. Baptism, by its very nature, can only happen once. Now, of course, the people who want to baptize you after you come to faith don’t believe you’ve really been baptized before. They would say that they are not promoting being baptized again; they are promoting being baptized, properly, once. There are some groups who actually do talk about being baptized again, but that is to misunderstand the fundamental nature of baptism. Baptism is a sacrament that speaks of the reality that … View Resource

  • What is your view of Proverbs 22:6? Question and Answer

    Proverbs 22:6

    Often in the Proverbs, and in other places in Scripture as well, statements are made of general principles, or of ordinarily true realities. We sometimes get in trouble if we take a verse like Proverbs 22:6 and say, “This is a guarantee that everyone who trains up a child in the way he will go can be assured that child will follow in that path.” We have the case of many godly parents in the Old Testament who saw some children not turn out well. Of course, you could say that none of us train up our children in the … View Resource

  • Why should Christians study Christology? Question and Answer

    It’s amazing, in a sense, that anyone would have to ask that question. Christians are about Christ. To have to convince Christians that knowing about Christ is important seems like such a counterintuitive reality. What we need to see is that the more we know about Christ, the more profoundly we’ll grasp all that He did for us and all that He is in Himself as God and man come in the flesh. So, Christology is learning more about Jesus so we can love and follow Him better. It should be an earnest desire of every Christian heart. … View Resource

  • Does every person need a specific divine calling to do their job? Question and Answer

    I believe that every person who is a Christian and is seeking to serve God in whatever they are doing is fulfilling a calling in the service of God. The idea of calling relative to the ministry and to other activities of life can sometimes be turned into a very mystic kind of thing. That is, in order to be a minister you have to have some kind of tingly feeling, or experience of a voice, or other sorts of things. That is not what classically Reformed theology has taught, yet there is certainly a teaching that God draws people … View Resource

  • What’s your favorite teaching series from R.C. Sproul? Question and Answer

    That’s sort of overwhelming. R.C. was such a master verbal communicator that, almost every time, the last one I heard was my favorite. The Holiness of God, Chosen by God – those early works of his were foundational for so many people and such a blessing. They were able to draw people into aspects of biblical truth that had been neglected in many American evangelical circles. So I would tend to go back to those foundational works that were so fine. This transcript is from a live Ask Ligonier event with W. Robert Godfrey and has been … View Resource

  • What is a good source for learning Bible study methodology? Question and Answer

    At our seminary in California, Dennis Johnson has published a series of books, one of which is called Walking with Jesus through His Word. It is a wonderful aid to seeing how all the Bible points to Jesus. I think it’s at the heart of Bible study to see how the Bible leads us to Jesus and encourages us to live in Jesus. So there is the work of Dennis Johnson, Walking with Jesus through His Word. He has also done a more abbreviated version of that for people who are just starting out, called Journeys with … View Resource

  • Is God equally active in causing the salvation of the elect and the damnation of the reprobate? Question and Answer

    This question is addressed in the conclusion of the Canons of Dort. The Canons say that there is equal ultimacy in the sense of the decrees. God is sovereign both in the decree of election and in the decree of reprobation, but there is not a symmetry in the exercise of those decrees. They are not exercised in the same manner. Eodem modo is the Latin expression in the conclusion of the Canons of Dort. The Canons want to say that, while God is in charge both of electing the elect and reprobating the reprobate, and while He sovereignly gives … View Resource

  • Is it scriptural for just one elder or pastor to be the overseer of a local congregation? Question and Answer

    Acts 14:23

    I think we have to be careful and realize that churches find themselves in different circumstances, so not every general answer applies to a church in some extreme situation or difficulty. There was a great church order in the latter part of the 16th century drawn up by the Hungarian Reformed churches. That church order covered all the normal things concerning how a church should operate and function. Then the last article said, “And for the brothers living under the Turk, they should do the best they can.” So there are extreme circumstances where we have to do the best … View Resource

  • What’s the best way to help people at your church learn church history? Question and Answer

    I’m not sure why you wouldn’t want to offer a separate class in church history, because it is a distinct discipline. Certainly you can encourage some interest in church history in a sermon, occasionally having an illustration out of church history. When talking about prayer, particularly the prayers of parents for their children, preachers have often talked about Augustine’s mother Monica. When she saw him leave the church and, for a time, really commit himself to an anti-Christian philosophy and lifestyle, she prayed for him and beseeched the Lord to move him. The Lord heard those prayers, and Augustine gave … View Resource

  • If you believe in Arminian doctrine, can you be saved? Question and Answer

    That’s a great question that was asked of William Ames at the Synod of Dort. I’ve written a book on the Synod of Dort in which I talk about William Ames. He was a great English Puritan who had to flee from England because he wouldn’t conform to the Church of England as a Congregationalist. He found a home in the Netherlands among the welcoming Dutch. William Ames was the personal secretary to the president of the Synod of Dort in the early seventeenth century, and someone came to him and said, “Is Arminianism a heresy?” This was meant in … View Resource

  • Why are there so many false doctrines? Question and Answer

    The devil is desperate. His kingdom has been raided by Christ, and he delights in whatever way he can derail us. He doesn’t care how we run amok so long as we run amok. He doesn’t care whether you’re an atheist or whether you embrace some false religion. He’s out there promoting falsehood all the time. Regrettably, those in sin, who have not been regenerated by the Spirit of God, are prone to all sorts of errors and confusion. Sometimes the people who are proudest of being post-Christian, who take pride in being modern, scientific, and growing beyond old-fashioned Christianity, … View Resource