Thoughts on Suicide

In the wake of Robin Williams’s suicide, there was an initial and distasteful response to the effect of, “This was not a disease. He made a choice to die.” This was couched in terms of being “supportive” of those still in the struggle, but it certainly seemed to carry the implication that Williams’s was more or less responsible for his decision in the way that any of us are for ordinary moral decisions and that we shouldn’t try to explain it away. As a Calvinist, I already have a bias against treating these problems merely as “choice,” and not just from the standpoint of predestination. No, Calvinists also believe in the comprehensive corruption of the world and the person brought about through Adam’s sin. Additionally, as a pastor and one who has spent time with both “normal” depression and clinical conditions like bipolar disorder, I have also learned from experience that these issues are complicated and often mysterious. Thankfully, other more thoughtful articles have begun to come out. Continue reading

Hold Such Men In Esteem

Text: Philippians 2:10-30

So far in our Philippians series we have talked about relationships in the church in a general sense. We have looked at how we are called to relate to other members of the body. Today we will sharpen our focus a little and look at the topic of leadership. What exactly is a “leader” in the church? What is he made of, and how should he relate to the rest of the body? And finally, how should the body relate to him? In this section Paul is primarily talking about pastors, but lest you think I am being self-serving here, I want to point out that the principles which inform how we are to relate to our pastors also inform how we are to relate to our elders, whether the office of elder or elders in life, and these principles also teach us how to relate to anyone who has a sort of leadership role in the faith. Everyone in this room has leaders in their lives, and, in a different sense, everyone in this room will be leaders to others in the faith. So this message is for everyone. Continue reading

Steven Wedgeworth:

I wrote this at The Calvinist International, but I thought I’d reblog here as well.

Originally posted on The Calvinist International:

allancarlson I reviewed Allan Carlson’s book Third Waysback in January, and since then I have been working my way through his rather enormous catalogue of work. President of The Howard Center, professor of history at Hillsdale College, and author of ten books and countless essays, not to mention the many other distinguishing appointments he has held, Dr. Carlson is prolific and treating extremely important questions. His work deals with the intersection of faith, politics, technology, and economics, all centering around the institution of the family as seen from a traditional Christian perspective. So why have I just now heard of him, and better yet, why haven’t you?

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Back to Blogging

Having focused my more academic-theological efforts over at The Calvinist International, I thought I’d like to keep this blog active as well, but turn it towards more personal and pastoral reflections.  I suppose that will make it more of a traditional blog.

Being a new father, I’ve got a lot of “personal” and “pastoral” things on my mind lately.  Hopefully this turn will be helpful to my old readership and even attractive for a new group of readers.

Introducing the Calvinist International

Peter Escalante and I are ready to unveil a new web project.  The Calvinist International will be a new site where we will post regular essays, editorials, and book reviews.  I will be focusing my energy there for the foreseeable future, and so I invite you to follow the newest material over there.

American Hebraism

My panel is called “People of God? The Role of Political Hebraism in America.”  The initial inspiration was Eric Nelson’s book The Hebrew Republic, but the papers are all broader, looking at the ways in which the Bible was used in and Israel was taken as a model for American politics.  Here’s the info:

Schedule Information:

Scheduled Time: Thu, Jan 12 – 3:00pm – 4:30pm  Building/Room: Hotel InterContinental, Pelican I
Title Displayed in Event Calendar: People of God? The Role of Political Hebraism in America

Session Participants:
Chair: Glenn Moots (Northwood University)
Our Providential Mission: The Shifting of America’s Hebraic Narrative

Glenn Moots (Northwood University)

Can All Christians be Good Americans? 19th Century Roman Catholics and Presbyterians in Doubt

Steven Phillip Wedgeworth (Immanuel Presbyterian Church)

Lincoln’s Biblical Oratory and the Coming of the Civil War

Danilo Petranovich (Yale University)

Political Hebraism in the American Twentieth Century: Exodus, the Kingdom of God, and the Return from Exile

James Patterson (University of Virginia)

Discussant: Chris Beneke (Bentley University)
Discussant: Thomas Raymond Laehn (McNeese State University)

Apologies for Inactivity

I’m sorry to have run away from this blog recently (and in the middle of my Trinitarian Series as well!).  I will try to finish the current series up, explaining the monarchy of the Father and eternal generation and spiration.  Afterwards, I will begin some political stuff that I’ve been working on behind the scenes.  I might even give some thoughts on the Norway stuff.  Don’t lose faith in me.  I shall return!

A Selection from John Donne

This is only a portion of his La Corona, but I always like to read it at this time of year:


Deign at my hands this crown of prayer and praise,
Weaved in my lone devout melancholy,
Thou which of good hast, yea, art treasury,
All changing unchanged Ancient of days.
But do not with a vile crown of frail bays
Reward my Muse’s white sincerity ;
But what Thy thorny crown gain’d, that give me,
A crown of glory, which doth flower always.
The ends crown our works, but Thou crown’st our ends,
For at our ends begins our endless rest.
The first last end, now zealously possess’d,
With a strong sober thirst my soul attends.
‘Tis time that heart and voice be lifted high ;
Salvation to all that will is nigh.



Salvation to all that will is nigh ;
That All, which always is all everywhere,
Which cannot sin, and yet all sins must bear,
Which cannot die, yet cannot choose but die,
Lo ! faithful Virgin, yields Himself to lie
In prison, in thy womb ; and though He there
Can take no sin, nor thou give, yet He’ll wear,
Taken from thence, flesh, which death’s force may try.
Ere by the spheres time was created thou
Wast in His mind, who is thy Son, and Brother ;
Whom thou conceivest, conceived ; yea, thou art now
Thy Maker’s maker, and thy Father’s mother,
Thou hast light in dark, and shutt’st in little room
Immensity, cloister’d in thy dear womb.



Immensity, cloister’d in thy dear womb,
Now leaves His well-beloved imprisonment.
There he hath made himself to his intent
Weak enough, now into our world to come.
But O !  for thee, for Him, hath th’ inn no room ?
Yet lay Him in this stall, and from th’ orient,
Stars, and wise men will travel to prevent
The effects of Herod’s jealous general doom.
See’st thou, my soul, with thy faith’s eye, how He
Which fills all place, yet none holds Him, doth lie ?
Was not His pity towards thee wondrous high,
That would have need to be pitied by thee ?
Kiss Him, and with Him into Egypt go,
With His kind mother, who partakes thy woe.