Posts with the category “articles”

Thoughts on Racism (8)
by Maggie Breckenridge on February 18th, 2022
Listening to Others The much sought after honest national conversation on race will only be possible if it is a two-way conversation, with neither side making up the rules. Nevertheless, those who urge that majority culture be quiet so that minority voices alone may be heard have a point. Many of us need to hold our tongues and listen. However, the need to listen also raises an obvious question, w...  Read More
What I Did on My Sabbatication
by Josh Espinosa on January 18th, 2022
here is my accounting for my sabbatication  Read More
Thoughts on Racism (7)
by Maggie Breckenridge on December 3rd, 2021
New Tribalism The Apostle Paul presents us with the Christian ideal: “we regard no one according to the flesh” (2 Cor 5:16) “Flesh” here indicates all manner of worldly criteria: class, ethnicity, wealth, race, education, or physical appearance. Having once misjudged Jesus Christ according to fleshly criteria (wrong family, wrong schools, wrong hometown, wrong profession, wrong agenda), we are det...  Read More
Thoughts on Racism (6)
by Maggie Breckenridge on November 4th, 2021
Escalating Racial Tensions Today As recently as the aftermath of the 2008 national election America widely was proclaimed to be a “post-racial” society. President Obama had been elected. This remarkable milestone was greeted all across the political spectrum as a sign that our national racial past could be put behind us. A new era of racial harmony and equality had arrived. Instead, by 2020 we wer...  Read More
Thoughts on Racism (5)
by Maggie Breckenridge on October 1st, 2021
Barriers to Social ProgressSome undoubtedly will object to what we have presented so far, maintaining that we fail to understand its continuing structural, or systemic nature. Racism may not be personal. Rather it continues in a more subtle, institutional and therefore more insidious form, it is claimed. While we want to avoid being superficial, we want to ask the obvious question. Where? What str...  Read More
Thoughts on Racism (4)
by Maggie Breckenridge on September 3rd, 2021
WHAT IT IS AND ITS LEGACY The threshold of tolerance for racism since the mid-20th century is very low and should be. The Soviet Union under Stalin executed or sent to the Gulags whole classes of persons based on group identity. Aristocrats, merchants, Ukrainians, Cossacks, Kulaks (prosperous peasants) were murdered or imprisoned by the millions. Germany under Hitler did the same: Slavs, gypsies, ...  Read More
Thoughts on Racism (3)
by Josh Espinosa on August 3rd, 2021
What it Isn’t (continued) We have been tip-toeing through the minefield of today’s racial tensions attempting to identify more precisely what is and what is not properly called racist. So far we have argued:Preference for the familiar is not necessarily racist;Recognition of racial, ethnic, gender, and cultural differences is not necessarily racist;Privileging of one’s own is not necessarily racis...  Read More
Service Times Changing
by Josh Espinosa on August 1st, 2021
For many years I have sensed that our Sundays feel rushed. When years ago the evening service was at 6:30 PM, the time between services was more restful. The extra hour turn-around time made a significant difference. During the pandemic we experienced a few Sundays with a 10:00 AM service (to avoid the on-line congestion at 11:00 AM, you may recall). Many of our members loved it. They thought it w...  Read More
Thoughts on Racism (2)
by Josh Espinosa on July 16th, 2021
We are addressing the emotionally charged issue of racism in our Messenger, risking as we do inflaming the very emotions that we wish to cool. We have urged so far first, that a preference for what is familiar is not necessarily racism; and second, that recognition of racial, ethnic, gender, and cultural differences is not necessarily racist, sexist, or bigotry. This leads to our next point. Third...  Read More
Thoughts on Racism (1)
by Josh Espinosa on June 16th, 2021
Racism is a prominent theme in today’s societal conversation. Racism is a hate-sin and a hate-crime. Its eradication is an important social goal of which Christians are supporters. It is incompatible with Christian discipleship. Yet the term “racist” is being cast about recklessly. Typically, it is left undefined. Not just individuals, but whole classes of persons are being labeled as racist while...  Read More
Returning to Normal Schedule
by Josh Espinosa on April 1st, 2021
(following the pandemic, 2019-2021)The Session has approved returning to the regular program of the church beginning on May 2, pending removal of the Governor’s COVID-19 restrictions. This means that we will return to a single Sunday morning service, re-start Sunday School, conduct our first Inquirers’ Class of 2021, and eliminate social distancing. Given the number of our members who have been va...  Read More
Progressivism’s Dark Frontier
by Josh Espinosa on February 19th, 2021
How can a secular society make moral distinctions? How can it separate right from wrong? This is more of a problem than most people realize, especially in the realm of sexual ethics. A generation of “everything is normal” sex education, mixed with “everything is desirable” Hollywood sit-com and cinema seductions has morally disarmed our civilization. Politicians frame the issue as, “the freedom to...  Read More
The Origins and Meaning of Our Wedding Service
by Josh Espinosa on February 12th, 2021
Not all wedding services are created equal. The service conducted by the justice of the peace at the courthouse is not the same as that conducted at the church by a Christian minister. A Christian service expresses a distinctly Christian outlook and is based on distinctively Christian principles. Similarly Jewish, Muslim, Hindu and Buddhist wedding services express the distinctives of each of thos...  Read More
China (2)
by Josh Espinosa on January 29th, 2021
I dislike travel. I dread getting into a metal box and spending hours on the highways. I know that some of you enjoy driving. The automobile spells freedom for you. For me it means confinement. It means I am trapped for hours in a tiny space, unable to stretch my legs, needing regular stops, etc. Worse is being trapped in an aluminum tube traveling at 550 mph for 12-15 hours. Okay, it’s a first-wo...  Read More
China and the Reformed Faith (1)
by Josh Espinosa on January 15th, 2021
Having twice taught at the China Reformed Theological Seminary in Taiwan and twice taught week-long classes in mainland China, I can in no way pose as an expert on Chinese Christianity, not by a long shot. Yet I do have some impressions I’d like to share. At the height of the Cultural Revolution, Mao declared that Christianity had been eradicated from China. Today there are reported to be as many ...  Read More
Land Mines
by Josh Espinosa on January 8th, 2021
Today we minister God’s word with an ever shrinking pool of topics with which we may deal without causing great offense for an increasing pool of people. Gone are the days when the gospel (narrowly defined) and only the gospel caused the offense. The exclusive claims of Christ, for example, have long proved scandalous in an age of religious pluralism. However, now we are surrounded by potential la...  Read More
The Future of Christianity in the West (9)
by Maggie Breckenridge on December 18th, 2020
This is the ninth of nine articles in a series entitled “The Future of Christianity in the West.” Princeton University professor Robert P. George, writing in Touchtone magazine, highlights the conflict with the world that Christians today face. He writes, The biblical and natural-law conception as marriage as conjugal, that is, as the one-flesh union of sexually complementary spouses, is not only ...  Read More
The Future of Christianity in the West (8)
by Maggie Breckenridge on December 11th, 2020
This is the eighth of nine articles in a series entitled “The Future of Christianity in the West.”  Rob Dreher in The Benedict Option addresses two additional strategies beyond the home and school for dealing with a hostile secular culture, the first addressing the marketplace, the second, technology.Businesses and employmentDreher writes,As the LCBT agenda advances, broad interpretation of antidi...  Read More
Basic Rights, Equality, and Limited Government
by Josh Espinosa on November 6th, 2020
...  Read More
The Future of Christianity in the West (7)
by Maggie Breckenridge on August 21st, 2020
This is the sixth of nine articles in a series entitled “The Future of Christianity in the West.” The fourth institution that Rod Dreher urges must be strengthened in his much-discussed book, The Benedict Option, is the Christian school. Not only the church, not only marriage and the family, but Christian educational institutions must be established and strengthened for the coming dark age of secu...  Read More
The Future of Christianity in the West (6)
by Maggie Breckenridge on August 14th, 2020
This is the sixth of nine articles in a series entitled “The Future of Christianity in the West.”Since just 2015 a more militant secularism has entered the stage of American public life. “Marriage” has been redefined, or rather, defined out of existence. Any group of people associating with each other are now recognized as “family.” If everything is a family, nothing is a family. Abortion is now c...  Read More
The Future of Christianity in the West (5)
by Maggie Breckenridge on July 31st, 2020
This is the fifth of nine articles in a series entitled “The Future of Christianity in the West.” The momentum of hostile secularism seems at this point in time to be irresistible. Christians must prepare for a time of overt opposition and perhaps even persecution by strengthening their institutions, says Rod Dreher in his book, The Benedict Option. So far we’ve discussed strengthening the church,...  Read More
The Future of Christianity in the West (4)
by Maggie Breckenridge on July 17th, 2020
This is the fourth of nine articles in a series entitled “The Future of Christianity in the West.” We have argued that the West is embracing a secular pagan future that is hostile to orthodox Christianity. In order to meet the challenges that lie ahead, it is imperative that Christians strengthen their basic institutions. Last time we discussed the church. We come now to the second and third of th...  Read More
The Future of Christianity in the West (3)
by Maggie Breckenridge on June 25th, 2020
This is the third of nine articles in a series entitled “The Future of Christianity in the West.” How are we to respond to the coming hardships of life in a hostile secular culture? We must take the long view. There will be no quick fix in a world that has lost its way. We face a marathon, not a sprint.Our responseChristian families, communities, churches, schools and other institutions must be st...  Read More
The Future of Christianity in the West (2)
by Maggie Breckenridge on June 19th, 2020
This is the second of nine articles in a series entitled “The Future of Christianity in the West.” Rod Dreher in The Benedict Option proposes that Christians focus their energies in strengthening their institutions of the family, church, and school in preparation for dark times ahead. He envisions a time when the secular order collapses and is hopeful that Christian institutions will survive. Chri...  Read More
The Future of Christianity in the West (1)
by Josh Espinosa on June 16th, 2020
IntroductionThis is the first of nine articles in a series entitled “The Future of Christianity in the West.” Rod Dreher argues in his book The Benedict Option (2017), that the traditional western, Christian civilization of the past 1500 years is collapsing. The evolving secular society that is replacing it increasingly is opposed to Christianity. Christians today are living and working in an envi...  Read More
Covenantal Priority
by Maggie Breckenridge on January 10th, 2020
This is the ninth of 18 articles in a series entitled “Who Needs the Church?”  So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith. (Gal 6:10) Can one be too committed to the church? The question is raised by those who fear we may be committed to our church to the exclusion of other believers and the friendship with unbelievers. Ar...  Read More
Class Course Work
by Josh Espinosa on December 19th, 2019
These articles are a part of the class course work.The Church As It Was Meant to BeAn Evangelical and Reformed FaithThe Five Points of CalvinismObserving the SabbathThe Lord’s Supper...  Read More
Inquirers’ Class Synopsis
by Josh Espinosa on October 19th, 2019
All of our new members are expected to take our Inquirers’ Class. It consists of seven sessions in which we move progressively, pyramid-like from the church catholic (a mini-history of the Christian church), to the church Protestant (the five so-called “Solas”), to the church Reformed. We call it an Inquirers’ Class because it genuinely is for those who are inquiring, who are searching, who are in...  Read More
Officers\' Training
by Josh Espinosa on October 19th, 2019
This class is for officer candidates (though open to all men in the church) and is offered bi-annually. It consists of a 13-week inductive study of the Westminster Confession of Faith designed by Terry Johnson, the senior minister at Independent Presbyterian Church in Savannah. Nearly 200 men have completed this class in thirty-plus years. Today these men form the backbone of the church. As far as...  Read More
Hymns & the Hymnal
by Josh Espinosa on February 19th, 2019
Originally taught as a Sunday school series at the Independent Presbyterian Church of Savannah, GA. I. Theological principles God—centered Bible—filled Gospel—driven Historically—rooted Spirit—dependent II. Criteria for song selection Is it singable? Is it biblically and theologically sound? Is it biblically and theologically mature? Is it musically appropriate? Is it emotionally balanced? Is it a...  Read More
Baptism & Childrearing
by Josh Espinosa on November 21st, 2018
A part of Dr. Johnsons series, Text that Transform (XIV. – XVI). Addressed on the following dates: November 5, 2017, January 28 & February 4, 2018Ephesians 6:1-4 The revivalistic tradition in which I spent my childhood and youth could conceive of only one type of conversion, what we might call the “crisis” model. One is saved when one understands that one is an unsaved, lost sinner and trusts Chri...  Read More
Improving Our Baptism
by Josh Espinosa on January 1st, 2012
The breakdown of ecclesiastical discipline in the 1960’s, combined with the unrestrained energy and enthusiasm of the Jesus movement, resulted in an anarchy of baptismal practices that is still with us today. Spontaneous baptisms in backyard swimming pools, at lakes, and at beaches are not uncommon. “Believers” baptisms accompanied by clapping, cheering, and high-fives are widespread. Paedobaptism...  Read More
Our Order of Service
by Josh Espinosa on January 1st, 2000
This is a classic worship service in the tradition of Reformed (or Presbyterian) Protestantism and has been used at the historic Independent Presbyterian Church of Savannah, GA. Given the diversity of styles of worship today, what we do is unfamiliar to many of our visitors. We offer the following booklet as an aid in understanding the meaning of each part of the service....  Read More
Liturgical Introductions to the Psalms
by Josh Espinosa on January 1st, 2000
What was it like to be a member of the OT church? What did they believe? What was their experience of God, personally and corporately? Did their religion make them happy or was it a burden? Were they aliens in another age or our brothers and sisters of long ago? As we look through the window of the Psalms we discover that here indeed is the same God, now disclosed to us in Christ, and here are peo...  Read More
Liturgical Introductions to Scripture
by Josh Espinosa on January 1st, 2000
Might it possibly be the case that some ministers fail to read Scripture in public worship because they feel inadequately acquainted with the text? Might it also be the case that the effectiveness of the public reading of Scripture might be enhanced by succinct introductions to the chapters to be read? Behind the following work is the hunch that both of these questions ought to be answered in the ...  Read More

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