Rank #1: Vos Group #33 — The Tabernacle
The tabernacle is a premier symbol and type in the Old Testament. It demonstrates God's dwelling with his people. Lane Tipton and Camden Bucey turn to Vos's discussion and consider the redemptive-historical significance of the tabernacle. Read along on pp. 148–150.
Feb 14 2017
Rank #2: The Nature of Apostasy in Hebrews 6
Hebrews 6 has been a challenging passage to interpret for ages. What does it mean to fall away? What is the specific nature of the apostasy? Do majority interpretations do justice to all the features of the text?
May 02 2018
Rank #3: The Second Commandment
Several traditions within the Christian church have understood the second commandment differently. Some have understood it is a prohibition against statues. Others understand the commandment to prohibit images of God in worship. Still others argue it is a prohibition against all images as representations of God. We discuss the duties required and reasons annexed to the second commandment as well as the liturgical theology inherent to the issue.Westminster Confession of Faith, Chapter 21: Of Religious Worship, and the Sabbath Day
1. The light of nature showeth that there is a God, who hath lordship and sovereignty over all, is good, and doth good unto all, and is therefore to be feared, loved, praised, called upon, trusted in, and served, with all the heart, and with all the soul, and with all the might. But the acceptable way of worshiping the true God is instituted by himself, and so limited by his own revealed will, that he may not be worshiped according to the imaginations and devices of men, or the suggestions of Satan, under any visible representation, or any other way not prescribed in the Holy Scripture.Westminster Larger Catechism
Q. 107. Which is the second commandment? A. The second commandment is, Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; and shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.
Q. 108. What are the duties required in the second commandment? A. The duties required in the second commandment are, the receiving, observing, and keeping pure and entire, all such religious worship and ordinances as God hath instituted in his word; particularly prayer and thanksgiving in the name of Christ; the reading, preaching, and hearing of the word; the administration and receiving of the sacraments; church government and discipline; the ministry and maintenance thereof; religious fasting; swearing by the name of God, and vowing unto him: as also the disapproving, detesting, opposing, all false worship; and, according to each one's place and calling, removing it, and all monuments of idolatry.
Q. 109. What sins are forbidden in the second commandment? A. The sins forbidden in the second commandment are, all devising, counseling, commanding, using, and any wise approving, any religious worship not instituted by God himself; the making any representation of God, of all or of any of the three persons, either inwardly in our mind, or outwardly in any kind of image or likeness of any creature whatsoever; all worshiping of it, or God in it or by it; the making of any representation of feigned deities, and all worship of them, or service belonging to them; all superstitious devices, corrupting the worship of God, adding to it, or taking from it, whether invented and taken up of ourselves, or received by tradition from others, though under the title of antiquity, custom, devotion, good intent, or any other pretense whatsoever; simony; sacrilege; all neglect, contempt, hindering, and opposing the worship and ordinances which God hath appointed.
Q. 110. What are the reasons annexed to the second commandment, the more to enforce it? A. The reasons annexed to the second commandment, the more to enforce it, contained in these words, For I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; and shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments; are, besides God's sovereignty over us, and propriety in us, his fervent zeal for his own worship, and his revengeful indignation against all false worship, as being a spiritual whoredom; accounting the breakers of this commandment such as hate him, and threatening to punish them unto divers generations; and esteeming the observers of it such as love him and keep his commandments, and promising mercy to them unto many generations.Westminster Shorter Catechism
Q. 49. Which is the second commandment? A. The second commandment is, Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; and showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.
Q. 50. What is required in the second commandment? A. The second commandment requireth the receiving, observing, and keeping pure and entire, all such religious worship and ordinances as God hath appointed in his word.
Q. 51. What is forbidden in the second commandment? A. The second commandment forbiddeth the worshiping of God by images, or any other way not appointed in his word.
Q. 52. What are the reasons annexed to the second commandment?
A. The reasons annexed to the second commandment are, God's sovereignty over us, his propriety in us, and the zeal he hath to his own worship.
Oct 07 2016
Rank #4: Nature and the Means of Grace
Lane Tipton, Glen Clary, Jim Cassidy, and Camden Bucey speak
about nature-grace dualism and the means of grace. This was a live
panel discussion held during our Austin Theology Conference at
Providence OPC in Pflugerville, Texas, April 30, 2016.
May 02 2016
Rank #5: Presbytopia: What it Means to be Presbyterian
Attending a Reformed church for the first time can be a daunting task. Joining one may seem even more challenging. Ken Golden has written an excellent book to help, and he joins us today to speak about it. Presbytopia: What it Means to be Presbyterian (Christian Focus) is an accessible yet uncompromising introduction to Christian essentials, Reformed distinctives, and the means of grace. Ken Golden is pastor of Sovereign Grace Orthodox Presbyterian Church in Davenport, Iowa.
Apr 13 2016
Rank #6: Cessationism
Glen Clary and Camden Bucey speak about the ministry of the Holy Spirit and cessationism. We discuss how the pouring out of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost is a unique event of redemptive-history just as unrepeatable as the death and resurrection of Christ. As individuals are effectually called and united to Christ by faith, they are incorporated into the Spirit-baptized body of Christ.
Jun 27 2019
Rank #7: Karl Marx
Bill Dennison speaks about Karl Marx, leading us through his biography, influences, and his intellectual effects upon social and political history.
May 17 2018
Rank #8: The Liturgies of Bucer, Calvin, and Knox
Glen Clary compares and contrasts the Reformation liturgies of Martin Bucer, John Calvin, and John Knox. Studying each of these helps us to understand the significance of worship reformed according to Scripture and focuses our attention upon worship in our present day.Further Reading
- Knox Liturgy
- Genevan Liturgy
- Catholic Describes Communion Service in Calvin's Church
- John Knox and Public Prayer
Nov 02 2018
Rank #9: Theophany: A Biblical Theology of God's Appearing
Dr. Vern Poythress speaks with us about his book, Theophany: A Biblical Theology of God's Appearing, published by Crossway. Each time God appears to his people throughout the Bible—in the form of a thunderstorm, a man, a warrior, a chariot, etc.—he comes to a specific person for a specific purpose. And each of these temporary appearances— called theophanies—helps us to better understand who he is, anticipating his climactic, permanent self-revelation in the incarnation of Christ.
Describing the various accounts of God’s visible presence from Genesis to Revelation, Dr. Poythress helps us consider more deeply what they reveal about who God is and how he dwells with us today.
We also spoke about the upcoming Westminster Conference on Science & Faith to be held April 6–7, 2018 at Proclamation Presbyterian Church in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania (see map). They will explore the relationship between theistic evolution and the Christian faith. Register at wcosaf.com.
Dr. Poythress is Professor of New Testament Interpretation at Westminster Theological Seminary in Glenside, Pennsylvania.
Mar 22 2018
Rank #10: The Creator-creature Distinction in the Hypostatic Union
In the incarnation, the eternal Son of God assumed a human nature. He did this without giving up his divinity. He retains his immutability, omniscience, omnipresence, and all the attributes according to his eternal, divine, and necessary existence.
In this episode, we discuss how these two natures relate to the person in the hypostatic union. By looking at Scripture, the Council of Chalcedon, and our confessional tradition, we review an orthodox grammar for speaking about these matters.
An error in the doctrine of God or Christology, however minor it may seem, will inevitably compound as other doctrines are developed. We should always seek to maintain confessional orthodoxy by reviewing the basics from which we never graduate.
Apr 26 2019
Rank #12: Pilgrims in a Foreign Land
The people of God presently live in between grace and glory. We look back upon the finished work of Jesus Christ while also looking forward to his return, our resurrection, and the consummation of the New Heavens and New Earth. Speaking of the faithful, the author of the epistle to the Hebrews writes, "These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth" (Heb 11:13). While we labor in the world, we do not ultimately belong in this world. We are citizens of heaven. In this episode, we explore the biblical pilgrim motif and its application for the Christian life.
Jul 27 2016
Rank #13: Reformed Apologetics
J. V. Fesko has written Reforming Apologetics: Retrieving the Classic Reformed Approach to Defending the Faith (Baker Academic, 2019). In the book, Dr. Fesko criticizes, among others, Cornelius Van Til. In this conversation, we interact with the book and compare its claims with those of Van Til. A central claim of Dr. Fesko's is that Van Til rejects "common notions." He writes:
in the middle of the seventeenth century, philosophers such as John Locke (1632–1704) rejected the idea of common notions. In the twentieth century, this rejection made its way to liberal and conservative Reformed theologians alike, including Karl Barth (1886–1968) and Cornelius Van Til (1895–1987).”
He draws particular attention to Van Til’s discussion of authority and reason on pages 168–169 of Defense of the Faith (3rd edition). On those pages, Van Til makes an important distinction:
A word must now be said about the idea of ‘common notions’ referred to in the quotation given above. The present writer made a distinction between notions that are psychologically and metaphysically, that is revelationally, common to all men, and common notions that are ethically and epistemologically common.
Van Til continues, “All men have common notions about God; all men naturally have knowledge of God.” So, what is Van Til getting at? There are notions common to all men, but there are some things common to believers and others common to unbelievers. Van Til explains what is also common to natural man as a consequence of total depravity:
It is this actual possession of the knowledge of God that is the indispensable presupposition of man’s ethical opposition to God. There could be no absolute ethical antithesis to God on the part of Satan and fallen man unless they are self-consciously against the common notions that are concreated with them. Paul speaks of sinful man as suppressing within him the knowledge of God that he has. . . . It is these notions of human autonomy, or irrational discontinuity and of rationalistic continuity that are the common notions of sinful or apostate mankind.
 J. V. Fesko, Reforming Apologetics: Retrieving the Classic Reformed Approach to Defending the Faith (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2019), 24.
 Fesko, 24n56.
 Cornelius Van Til, Defense of the Faith, 3rd ed. (Philadelphia: P & R Publishing, 1967), 168.
 Van Til, 168.
 Van Til, 168.
 Van Til, 168.
May 31 2019
Rank #14: Dispensationalism
Dispensationalism is a system of doctrine that views human history as divided into distinct eras (or dispensations). In each of these dispensations, God provides a unique test to humanity. Repeatedly, they fail these tests and receive the judgment requisi
Aug 04 2016
Rank #15: Christianity in the Second-Century
Michael J. Kruger joins us to speak about his book Christianity at the Crossroads: How the Second Century Shaped the Future of the Church.
Mar 12 2018
Rank #16: The Nativity and Worship, Part 1
In this special two-part episode, we discuss the observation of Christmas. This subject is perennially debated in the Reformed community. Listen as we discuss the historical, theological, and practical issues.
Dec 16 2016
Rank #17: Hosea 3 — Purchased by the Lord
In Episode 66, Jim Cassidy opens up Hosea 3, where God commands the prophet to buy his faithless wife back from slavery. This picture of redemption points to Jesus Christ, who alone can purchase for himself a rebellious, sinful, and adulterous people.
Mar 13 2019
Rank #18: Genesis 12:10–20 — Abram in Egypt
Mar 07 2018
Rank #19: Interpreting Genesis 1–3
Dr. Vern Poythress speaks about the hermeneutical issues of interpreting Genesis 1–3 and how biblical interpretation relates to contemporary scientific study.
Dr. Poythress is Distinguished Professor of New Testament and Biblical Interpretation at Westminster Theological Seminary and the author of Interpreting Eden: A Guide to Faithfully Understanding and Reading Genesis 1–3 (Crossway). The publisher writes:
Christians have long discussed and debated the first three chapters of the Bible. How we interpret this crucial section of Scripture has massive implications for how we understand the rest of God’s Word and even history itself. In this important volume, biblical scholar Vern Poythress combines careful exegesis with theological acumen to illuminate the significance of Genesis 1–3. In doing so, he demonstrates the sound interpretive principles that lead to true understanding of the biblical text, while also exploring complex topics such as the nature of time, the proper role of science, interpretive literalism, and more.
Feb 22 2019
Rank #20: John Gerstner and the Renewal of Presbyterian and Reformed Evangelicalism
Jeffrey S. McDonald speaks about his book, John Gerstner and the Renewal of Presbyterian and Reformed Evangelicalism in Modern America (Wipf & Stock, 2017). It is published in the Princeton Theological Monograph Series.
John Gerstner (1914–96) was a significant leader in the renewal of Presbyterian and Reformed evangelicalism in America during the second half of the twentieth century. Gerstner's work as a church historian sought to shape evangelicalism, but also northern mainline Presbyterianism. He wrote, taught, lectured, debated, and preached widely.
Jeffrey S. McDonald is the pastor of Avery Presbyterian Church in Bellevue, Nebraska and an Affiliate Professor of Church History at Sioux Falls Seminary, Omaha.
Jun 21 2019