Posts with the category “articles”
Counter-Attack in the War Against Reality
by Josh Espinosa on July 4th, 2022
The June 24 Dobbs decision is not a pro-life decision. It is a pro-constitution (in which there is no right to abortion) and anti-court decisions made by judicial fiat (like Roe v. Wade). It restores the question of abortion to the people and their elected representatives. It is the first check in what has been a tidal wave of victories for liberal, secular, progressive ideology stretching back ov...
Thoughts on Racism
by Maggie Breckenridge on June 14th, 2022
Introduction Racism is a scourge upon the human race and a prominent theme in today’s social conversation. Racism is a hate-sin and a hate-crime. Its history is as old as the human race andas intractable as evil itself. Its prominence in American history, from slavery to de jure segregation in the South to de facto segregation in the North is a blight upon ournational record. Its eradication is an...
Catholicity and Intergenerational Worship
by Maggie Breckenridge on May 16th, 2022
If anyone qualifies as the godfather, or better, the midwife of contemporary Christian music, it would be Chuck Fromm. From 1975 to 2000 Fromm was the head of Maranatha Music in Costa Mesa, California, the birthplace and source of the contemporary genre in the early 1970’s. He was in the middle of organizing and promoting the hugely popular Friday and Saturday night Christian concerts that were at...
Love, Justice, and Wrath
by Maggie Breckenridge on May 16th, 2022
Francis Schaeffer once encouraged us to imagine walking down the street and encountering a young thug beating up an elderly woman. He is striking her again and again as she clings to the purse he is attempting to snatch. Schaeffer asks, “What does it mean to love my neighbor in that situation?” Unquestionably, loving my neighbor means that I use the force (righteous wrath) necessary to subdue the ...
How to Do Family Worship
by Maggie Breckenridge on March 2nd, 2022
It is not uncommon for families to be convinced that they ought to do family worship, to want to do family worship, to talk about doing family worship, and yet fail ever to establish a consistent pattern of actually doing family worship. Men in particular seem easily intimidated, seeing themselves as inadequate, fearful they won’t know what to do, or that they won’t know what to say. We assembled ...
Why Should We Have Family Worship?
by Maggie Breckenridge on February 9th, 2022
We did not practice family worship in the house in which I was reared. My parents were good people, Christian people, and church–going people. Yet regular family devotions were not a feature of our home. We didn’t pray together, or read Scripture together, or sing praises together.Consequently, when first exposed to family worship it came to me as a new idea. I had practiced personal devotions for...
What I Did on My Sabbatication
by Josh Espinosa on January 18th, 2022
here is my accounting for my sabbatication
What Is "the Name"?
by Maggie Breckenridge on October 13th, 2021
Were the Jehovah’s Witnesses right? Among their central boasts is that they have revived the covenantal name of God, the Hebrew YHWH, sometimes pronounced Yahweh and sometimes Jehovah, that Jesus came to restore. Ancient Hebrew has no vowels so the precise pronunciation may never be known. Given the growing practice among Evangelicals of referring in sermons and lectures to Yahweh, one would think...
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...
Yes, Scripture Reading Really Does Change People
by Maggie Breckenridge on July 26th, 2021
I grew up in a typical evangelical church of the 1960s and 70s. Specifically, it was the First Baptist Church of Dominguez, a Missionary Baptist Church nestled between Carson and Long Beach, California. It was a Bible-believing, gospel-preaching, altar-call-featuring church connected denominationally with a number of churches in Southern California and the farm-rich California central valleys. The...
Worship at General Assembly: What We Want
by Maggie Breckenridge on July 16th, 2021
Let’s return to having worship services each morning, Tuesday to Thursday…They can be held from 8:30-9:30 or thereabouts…. Each evening General Assembly could host a concert. Choirs, soloists, and musicians all across the sacred music spectrum could perform. These concerts could be held from 7:00-8:00 or thereabouts. I might dare to hope that this two-pronged approach would make everyone happy. An...
The Good Shepherd
by Maggie Breckenridge on April 21st, 2021
"I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep" — John 10:11Among the most cherished titles of Christ is that of “The Good Shepherd.” Never resting, ever vigilant, exposed to the elements, vulnerable to predators, the beloved Shepherd persists in leading, caring, providing and guarding His sheep.His sheep? That’s us. We are defenseless sheep, creatures capable of neith...
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...
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...
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...
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...
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 ...
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...
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 ...
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...
Basic Rights, Equality, and Limited Government
by Josh Espinosa on November 6th, 2020
Jesus the Truth-Teller
by Maggie Breckenridge on November 2nd, 2020
Popular Jesus mythology assures us that He never confronted anyone, made anyone feel uncomfortable, or judged anyone’s lifestyle. Jesus loved everyone, which for many means that He accepted people just as they are. Jesus was a champion of diversity, they imagine. Jesus came to establish an inclusive community in which all peoples of all types would be embraced and no one, whatever their procliviti...
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...
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...
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,...
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...
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...
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...
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...
Coronavirus and the Church: Compliant, or Uncreative?
by Maggie Breckenridge on April 6th, 2020
It has been surprising to see the speed with which the churches have shut down public operations and shifted their ministries online. Having this online capacity is a wonderful provision during an epidemic, one unavailable to previous generations. Live streaming allows the church to do something when the alternative might have been to do nothing, to provide some spiritual food when circumstances m...
James Baird: A Personal Remembrance
by Maggie Breckenridge on February 17th, 2020
James MacKenzie Baird, Jr.August 11, 1928 – January 31, 2020 James M. Baird, Jr. was among the most consequential Presbyterian pastors of the mid to late 20th and early 21st centuries. He was one of a dozen or so men who rightly could claim to be a founding father of the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA). He was a churchman, guiding the denomination over its first four decades, while pastoring ...
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...
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...
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...
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...
Is Reformed Worship Eurocentric?
by Maggie Breckenridge on May 6th, 2019
The immediate roots of Reformed worship clearly are anchored in Europe, even Northern Europe. Does this mean that Reformed worship is “Eurocentric” in some kind of limiting way?Some critics argue that Reformed worship is what it is because of culturally relative distinctions that can be discarded in favor of other culturally relative distinctions of non-European cultures. They seem to have in mind...
Christians in the Cultural Closet
by Maggie Breckenridge on March 27th, 2019
Our society celebrates the openness with which it accepts homosexuality and transgenderism. It contrasts our present enlightened times with past eras when what are now called "sexual minorities," LGBTQers, were once consigned to the closets, forced to keep their "sexual identity" hidden. Now those who identify according to their sexual and gender preferences are "out of the closets" and have been ...
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...
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...
The Zwinglian Option
by Maggie Breckenridge on June 21st, 2018
You will have heard of the "Benedict Option" for coping with the culture wars. I would like to propose to Reformed Protestants the "Zwinglian Option" for ending the worship wars: eliminate all music from our public services. Zwingli, the outstanding musician among the Reformers, removed all music from the church in Zurich. We wring our hands over our worship divisions. The two ends of liturgical s...