Author Archives: Guest Author

We Rest on Thee

We Rest on Thee

British poet Edith G. Cherry (1872-1897) contracted polio at a young age and dealt with severe health struggles all through her short life. Yet after her death, she left behind enough poems to fill two books, with many of the poems written before she was 15 years old. Her best-known hymn, “We Rest on Thee,”… Continue Reading

What Was Early Church Worship Music Like?

What Was Early Church Worship Music Like?

This is an important question because many earnest believers desire to worship on the Lord’s Day in form and content the same way that Christ and the Apostles worshiped. The New Testament is very clear about the purpose of music for the church, but it does not give explicit indication as to what the form… Continue Reading

Thanksgiving During a Plague: Martin Rinkart (1586–1649)

Thanksgiving During a Plague: Martin Rinkart (1586–1649)

When the Thirty Years’ War (1618–1648) engulfed northern Europe, Christians in Germany suffered under the terrors of war, famine, and plague. As a new pastor in the walled city of Eilenberg, Martin Rinkart knew the spiritual strain of ministry under these trying circumstances. Refugees congregated in Eilenberg, but the siege by the Swedish and Austrian… Continue Reading

Music That Is Intrinsically Good

Music That Is Intrinsically Good

The “worship wars” have now ceased, and many people are mostly happy about the cessation. Some of us are less happy, however, because those wars—like many non-metaphorical wars—settled nothing. There was neither victor nor vanquished, neither winner nor loser; there was simply a Nixonian “peace with honor,” in which two unreconciled combatants withdrew (honorably?) from… Continue Reading

Global Missions Amid Global Crisis

Global Missions Amid Global Crisis

Jeff Straub Few things have so universally affected the missionary movement like the current COVID-19 pandemic. As the world’s economy has ground to a halt, so too has the advance of the gospel been significantly curtailed. With “shelter-in-place” orders stretching from California to Canada, Romania to Rwanda, the world is facing the pandemic with vigorous… Continue Reading

Digital Church? Drive-in Church? What Should We Think?

Digital Church? Drive-in Church? What Should We Think?

Jeff Straub We are living in unprecedented times, to be sure. On Friday, New York Mayor Bill DeBlasio suggested that all churches and synagogues who do not comply with the notice to suspend meetings could be forced to close…permanently. News has just come out that a prominent Florida pastor was arrested over the weekend for… Continue Reading

Pulpit Work in Times of Peace and Calamity

Pulpit Work in Times of Peace and Calamity

Jeff Straub The ministry of the Word is the primary duty of the pastor. Both Paul’s exhortation to Timothy in 1 Timothy 4 and his personal example (e.g. Acts 17:23) make that abundantly clear. Preaching the Word is a high and holy calling. Ministers have often talked about standing behind the “sacred desk.” The desk… Continue Reading

Retrieving Theology: A Question of Posture

Retrieving Theology: A Question of Posture

Matt Shrader Recent days and years have seen an increased interest in the idea of theological retrieval. While the interest in this idea has grown lately, the practice has been around for some time. This is nowhere near an exhaustive list, but all of the following projects fall within the broad brush of theological retrieval:… Continue Reading

Issues in Sanctification Eleven Months Later

Issues in Sanctification Eleven Months Later

Jon Pratt Here at Central Seminary we are fast approaching our annual MacDonald Lecture Series. Readers of the Nick of Time will be greatly encouraged by joining us on February 11 for this year’s set of talks on the writings of Andrew Fuller, the pre-eminent British Baptist pastor of the late eighteenth century. My good… Continue Reading

The Human Problem

The Human Problem

Brett Williams In 1947, the French Nobel Laureate Albert Camus wrote the novel The Plague. The fictional story is set in the city of Oran in French Algeria. Oran, as actually happened many times in its history, experienced a terrible plague and the town was eventually quarantined and sealed off. The occupants, some residents and… Continue Reading

Advance the Gospel: A Report from Kansas City

Advance the Gospel: A Report from Kansas City

Jeff Straub I am in Kansas City this week at the first of what may become a new biennial conference aimed at encouraging young people to consider foreign missions. In the tradition of the Student Volunteer Movement, Urbana, and Student Global Initiative (SGI), a group of concerned pastors and others began meeting and praying about… Continue Reading

Sword Thrusts or Honey?

Sword Thrusts or Honey?

Jon Pratt Words are powerful things. Proverbs 18:21 reminds us that death and life are in the power of the tongue. Our words can produce negative effects (“rash words are like sword thrusts” – Prov 12:18) and positive ones (“gracious words are like a honeycomb” – Prov 16:24). Yet James 3:1–12 shows that we Christians… Continue Reading

On Using Labels

On Using Labels

Jon Pratt In the movie classic “The Princess Bride,” Vizzini repeats the word “inconceivable!” again and again as the masked pursuer of him and his ruffians keeps gaining ground. Finally one of his cohorts, Inigo Montoya, proclaims, “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.” Indeed. Have… Continue Reading

Toward a Softer, Gentler Science

Toward a Softer, Gentler Science

Brett Williams My previous essay briefly introduced the limits of scientific knowledge and the rise of Scientism, the modernistic belief that science is superior to other disciplines. Unlike knowledge that deals with intangibles such as religion and philosophy, hard science, we are told, deals in the realm of the observable and measurable and is therefore… Continue Reading

Scientism

Scientism

Brett Williams Science has become a proper noun. Its hegemony and authority are all but unrivaled. Sitting atop the pantheon of disciplines, it enjoys both prominence and preeminence. All other disciplines look up at it in awe and to it for guidance. If one needs proof of this dominance, one only has to look at… Continue Reading

Theological Education and the Christian Life

Theological Education and the Christian Life

Matt Shrader In the previous essay I explained three areas in which nineteenth-century Baptist theologian Alvah Hovey provided some help in thinking through the nature and place of theological education. One of these was the idea that theology itself is the master and those who study it are to be mastered by it. In Hovey’s… Continue Reading

Theological Education in a Complex World

Theological Education in a Complex World

Matt Shrader Debates over theological education are nothing new. Why do we have seminary theological education? What are seminaries meant to do? What about theological education for the non-pastor? Fortunately, we do not stand alone in trying to answer these questions. Mining the wealth of those who have come before us is a worthwhile exercise.… Continue Reading