Why Would God Send Anyone to Hell?

This is one of those questions that tends to come up a lot in conversations with people in the community around me, even amongst professing Christians. When it is raised, it is not typically meant as an exegetical argument that challenges the Christian doctrine of justice, but it is a question that comes from a… Read More

Good Confidence

In the original German edition of the catechism, the phrase here speaks of having guter zuversicht, it speaks of a good “confidence,” a good “trust,” or a good “faith” in our faithful God and Father. But what does it mean to have a “good confidence” or a “guter zuversicht” in God?  Confidence refers to the… Read More

Thankful in Times of Prosperity

You might be tempted to think that being thankful in times of prosperity is a given — an easy thing for believer and non-believer alike. You might be tempted to think that thankfulness during good times is quite natural. But, were this the case, the authors of Heidelberg would never have needed to ground faithfulness… Read More

Patience in Times of Trouble

The thing that amazes me sometimes (and here I am preaching to myself also!) is how often we are surprised when bad things happen. No, I am not suggesting that people ought always to be looking at things pessimistically or be a “gloomy Gus” all of the time, or become a “nattering nabob of negativism,”… Read More

What is Providence?

In today’s Christian sub-culture, it is common for people to claim that just about anything unusual is a miracle. People talk about the “miracle of childbirth” or they speak of the raise they got at work as “miraculous” because it was unexpected and beneficial in its timing. Recovery from a disease or surgery is also… Read More

A Faithful Father

Repeatedly, the Bible speaks of God as “Father,” and while we sometimes think of this as a New Testament distinction, we find this language in the Old Testament as well — God is the Father of Israel (Hosea 11:1), the father of the Messiah (Psalm 89:26), and the father of the fatherless (Psalm 68:5). Nevertheless,… Read More

Ability and Will

One of the most basic principles of logic is that “Ought does not yield Is.” In other words, just because things “ought” to be a certain way does not mean that they will be that way. To assume this to be the case is what is called the “moralistic fallacy” and it would be the… Read More

For My Body and My Soul

“Throw down your burden on Yahweh; he will provide for you and he will never permit that righteousness be swayed.” (Psalm 55:23 {verse 22 in English Bibles}) Not only does the catechism promise that God governs all things and that he even uses evil events for the good of our salvation and sanctification as believers,… Read More

Turned Toward My Good

One of the great contributions that the Heidelberg Catechism brings to the table of Reformed confessions is that it is so very much first-person and pastoral in nature. As I have noted before, instead of speaking in the abstract, it uses words like “I” and “me” and “my” to convey spiritual truth. And the language… Read More

Eternal Government

For most of us, the first thing that comes to mind when we hear the word “government” is the government of elected officials that oversee our federal, state, and local communities. These governments seem to be ever-changing between republicans, democrats, and the occasional independent candidate. Despite the varying opinions that people have regarding the laws… Read More

Ex Nihilo: Everything from Nothing

One element of the Christian faith that makes it differ from religious and non-religious beliefs around the world is the idea that all of creation was created out of nothing by an eternal and changeless God. Pantheistic religions like Buddhism argues for a pre-existent natural realm that is an expression of the divine, Greek religions… Read More

True and Eternal

“Yahweh is the true God; he is the God of the living and the eternal King. The earth shakes from his wrath and the nations cannot bear his curse.” (Jeremiah 10:10) There are many adjectives that are applied to God: mighty, glorious, faithful, etc… but perhaps two of the most common and most important are… Read More

God Revealed

You will notice that in question 25 of the Catechism, when asked about the Trinity, the answer begins with the language of “because God revealed…” At first, that might seem like a simple enough phrase and one that is not that important, yet, from the perspective of the Christian faith, it is of significant value.… Read More

Only One God

“Hear of Israel, Yahweh our God, Yahweh is One.” (Deuteronomy 6:4) “You believe that God is one? You do well; the demons believe that also…and they tremble.” (James 2:19) “A mediator means there is more than one, but God is one.” (Galatians 3:20) “And now, Yahweh our God, please save us from his hand, that… Read More

Trinitarian Theology

There are many different religions in this world of ours and sadly, there are many different people who claim that all religions are simply different cultural expressions of the same faith. Of course, the latter portion of that statement is utterly irrational as all of these different religions are mutually exclusive in nature, but that… Read More

There is Intellectual Content to the Christian Faith

Soapbox time… One of the things that really bugs me is when people believe that they can believe whatever they want to believe and yet still be called a “Christian.” True, there are certain things that are disagreed upon within the Christian faith — subject and mode of baptism, forms of liturgy, and the nature… Read More

Nothing is Truly Free

It’s been closing in on twenty years since my wife and I packed our bags and moved from rural Maryland to Jackson, Mississippi so that I could attend seminary. And though that seems like almost another life, one question I was asked stands out still today. You see, part of my application to attend seminary… Read More

Forgiveness, Everlasting Righteousness, and Salvations for Others and for Me

One of the beauties of the Heidelberg Catechism is that much of its language is found in the first person — “I” believe this to be true or that applies to “me.” Unlike many of the other Reformed Catechisms and Confessions, this makes Heidelberg stand out as a very personal and intimate profession of belief… Read More

A Sincere Trust

Remember those days when you were first learning to swim, perhaps with your father or mother standing beside the swimming pool, encouraging you to jump in and they would catch you? Perhaps it was learning to ride a two-wheeled bike for the first time and your parent (or maybe a trusted older sibling) was keeping… Read More

That Everything God Reveals in His Word is True

“The fullness of your word is truth; everlasting is the judgment of your righteousness.” (Psalm 119:160) “But he answered, saying, ‘It is written that man shall not live by bread alone, but from every word that comes out of the mouth of God.’” (Matthew 4:4 — citing Deuteronomy 8:3) When the Heidelberg Catechism asks the… Read More

Is Everyone Saved?

Okay, so call me a naive, but people still surprise me with things that they say and do. For example, a family at the Christian school where I taught exploding at me because I said that regular church attendance was an essential part of growth in Christian maturity (and their Southern Baptist pastor supported them!… Read More

What is Non-Negotiable?

There is a well-known phrase that goes back to Saint Vincent of Lerins (died AD 445) that goes as follows: “In Essentials unity, in Non-Essentials liberty, and in all things Charity.” And, in principle, the idea is a good thing. Confessing Christians are commanded in scripture to treat one another with love — ἀγάπη (agape)… Read More