Author Archives: Michael Riley

Give to the Max Day 2019

Give to the Max Day 2019

In 1763 Britain emerged from the Seven Years’ War as the world’s leading power. Ten years later George Macartney wrote of British rule as a “vast empire on which the sun never sets, and whose bounds nature has not yet ascertained.” For more than a century it was common to hear that “the sun never… Continue Reading

On a Proof Text for Natural Headship

On a Proof Text for Natural Headship

Hebrews 7:9–10 9 One might even say that Levi himself, who receives tithes, paid tithes through Abraham, 10 for he was still in the loins of his ancestor when Melchizedek met him. This passage is a foundational for the argument that we participate in Adam’s sin because we were truly in Adam, so that his act is… Continue Reading

Translation and the Degradation of Language

Translation and the Degradation of Language

This entry is part 3 of 3 in the series Conservative Christianity and the Authorized Version You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Not all languages have the same natural facility at expressing all ideas. Some of these restrictions are in vocabulary: a language might have a word or phrase that readily communicates a specific concept that another language might require several words (or it might have to borrow a word) to say the same thing. Other distinctions… Continue Reading

Conservatism and the Preservation of Scripture

Conservatism and the Preservation of Scripture

This entry is part 2 of 3 in the series Conservative Christianity and the Authorized Version You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

Last week, I began a series on the relationship of conservative Christianity to the issues of the preservation and translation of the Bible. My goal is to address the notion that those who use (mostly) old songs would be more consistent if they also used an old translation. Let’s start with the question of the… Continue Reading

Conservative Christianity and the Authorized Version: Introduction

Conservative Christianity and the Authorized Version: Introduction

This entry is part 1 of 3 in the series Conservative Christianity and the Authorized Version You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

At last week’s Knowing, Loving, Ministering Conference, Scott Aniol opened the floor for a brief discussion about the relationship between conservative Christianity and the use of the Authorized Version. His recent sabbatical in the UK gave him regular interaction with dear brothers in Christ (some of whom I expect will be reading this) who are… Continue Reading

How Shall We Be Like God?

How Shall We Be Like God?

Ponder a paradox with me. In Genesis 1, we learn that God creates humanity in his own image and likeness. Exactly what that means has perplexed theologians for literally millennia. Some say being made in God’s image means that we have a mind, will, and emotions. Some see the image as referring to our ability… Continue Reading

Two brief arguments for the baptism of children

Two brief arguments for the baptism of children

In this brief essay, I’m making several assumptions. The first is that baptism is rightly administered only to professing believers. I don’t intend to engage here with arguments for paedobaptism. The second is that baptism is a strongly ecclesiastical ordinance. Baptism is not a mere personal devotional experience; it is a public profession of faith,… Continue Reading

Helping Those Who Suffer

Helping Those Who Suffer

Jon Pratt In this sin-cursed world suffering is inevitable. Jesus said so: “In the world you will have tribulation” (John 16:33). Paul said so: “For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake” (Phil 1:29). Peter said so:… Continue Reading

Paul Against the Contextualizers

Paul Against the Contextualizers

Michael Riley Central Seminary hosted its annual MacDonald Lectures last February. Dr. Paul Hartog of Faith Baptist Bible College and Theological Seminary of Ankeny, Iowa, delivered four addresses. All four are posted on the seminary’s website and are worth your time. His opening lecture took issue with the popular interpretation of Paul’s pronouncement, “I have… Continue Reading

A Resurrection Psalm

A Resurrection Psalm

Paul commands us to sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. We can (and do!) debate the identity of hymns and spiritual songs, but we know what a psalm is. And for this reason, our church has adopted the practice of regularly singing the psalms. In particular, we have a “psalm of the month,” which we… Continue Reading

Carnal Christians: A Pastoral Perspective

Carnal Christians: A Pastoral Perspective

Michael Riley I have read with interest the recent exchange in this newsletter on the validity of two-category Christianity. Dr. Hauser argues that Paul’s letter to the Corinthians supports the recognition of two different classes of Christians: the spiritual and the carnal. Dr. Pratt contends that Christians must bear fruit, and that while all Christians… Continue Reading

The Sacrifice

The Sacrifice

Among my favorite works of devotional poetry is George Herbert’s “The Sacrifice.” Here is produced for our church, with a handful of annotations to aid in understanding some of Herbert’s references. Continue Reading

Being a Disciple of Jesus

Being a Disciple of Jesus

The final words of Jesus before his Ascension give the Christian church its marching orders: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with… Continue Reading

Taking the Lord’s Name in Vain

Taking the Lord’s Name in Vain

What does it mean to take the Lord’s name in vain? In common understanding, the Commandment forbids using the word God as a profanity. And ultimately, this ends up being a legitimate concern, although I have come to believe that it misses the central point of the prohibition. The challenge we have here is that… Continue Reading

A Thousand Throwaway I Love Yous

A Thousand Throwaway I Love Yous

In a healthy marriage, there are a thousand throwaway I love yous. This demands explanation, and there’s probably a better wording to make this point. But there’s also a certain rhetorical power to stating it this way, and so it stays for now. I’ll illustrate what I’m after this way. Imagine this scene: I am at… Continue Reading

Some Reflections on Pastoral Love: Part 2

Some Reflections on Pastoral Love: Part 2

Last week, I wrote of several ways in which Paul evidenced his love for the very difficult congregation of Corinth. Now, I will add one more item to that list and suggest one very practical application of pastoral love. In Paul’s great excursus on Christian ministry in 2 Corinthians 2-7, he employs several metaphors that… Continue Reading

Some Reflections on Pastoral Love: Part 1

Some Reflections on Pastoral Love: Part 1

With only the possible exception of Galatians, 2 Corinthians is the most personally revealing letter that Paul wrote to a church. While good men differ on the precise timeline of events and correspondence that led to the writing of 2 Corinthians, I understand it to be the fourth letter from Paul to Corinth. And in the… Continue Reading