Providence OPC

Providence Presbyterian Church - Bradenton, FL

Righteous Anger

Our Wednesday night study dealt with the issue of “love is not easily provoked” (1 Corinthians 13:5). Of particular interest was the idea of righteous anger and when it is okay to be angry. I offer the following brief points for consideration:

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Power of Preaching


“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, ‘The righteous shall live by faith.'” (Romans 1:16–17)

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A Weeping Church



I’m not much of a crier; you can ask my wife. I do a good job keeping the tears back. But today seems to be a day where tears won’t be shed in vain. It seems that what our world needs are the tears of the church.

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The Discouragement of Preaching


There aren’t a few people who can walk away from a sermon feeling greatly discouraged. It is, perhaps, a complaint that many ministers have heard in the course of their ministries. Now we certainly don’t advocate discouragement for discouragement’s sake. But there is a merciful discouragement. I think we’d all do well to think about the veracity of the following:

But you say my sermon is discouraging–had you not better ask, “Is it true?” A person has been building a house and we see him piling up stone, but he has never dug out a foundation! It is certainly discouraging him to tell him that it is not the right way to build a house, but it will be a great mercy for him to be discouraged in a work which is so foolish. It will be a great saving to him, in the long run, if all that he has already built should come down at once and he should even now begin at the beginning once more and lay a good foundation and make sure work of it. It would be foolish to cry out, “Do not discourage him!” He ought to be discouraged. Yes, indeed, we would discourage all that will end disappointment. The fact is, your efforts, your doings and your merits, all of them, at their very best, must be a failure and it is a good thing for us to tell you so. (Charles Spurgeon)

What is Outside the Church?


I’ve been struck lately with our confessional statement: “Out of [the visible church] there is no ordinary possibility of salvation” (WCF 25.2). Throughout history there have been a number of proponents who have stated as much. And while the Reformed don’t agree with the Roman Catholic understanding of this doctrine, it is, perhaps, surprising to read it. So what does our confession mean when we say that there is no ordinary possibility of salvation?

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Why Does the Church Exist?



We live in a day and age of dysfunctional ecclesiology.

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Why I Changed My Mind: Calvinism


Life is filled with choices and changes. I am far different than I ever thought I would be. And I have come, in many ways, very far from where I started. My theological journey has not been a static one. I was born into a Lutheran church, raised in a broad evangelical church, and I am currently a minister in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church ( The theological landscapes are vastly different. And I have come here, not by happenstance, but through a series of many changes.

In this post I’d like to address: Why I Changed My Mind: Calvinism.

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Jesus Loving Judas

In stories, antagonists have a way of driving the plot line forward in an emotional and often startling way. And typically when it comes to antagonists, we have a subtle joy in their destruction. It’s difficult not to get a bit joyful when the Third Age of Middle Earth closes with the final defeat of Sauron by the destruction of the Ring of Power, executed by two insignificant hobbits, and the return of Isildur’s heir to the throne. We all have a sense of inward justice that appreciates the downfall and destruction of the antagonist.

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General Revelation

This lengthy quote by Herman Bavinck is a fantastic explanation of the importance of general revelation from a Reformed perspective.

Finally, the rich significance of general revelation comes out in the fact that it keeps nature and grace, creation and re-creation, the world of reality and the world of values, inseparably connected. Without general revelation, special revelation loses its connectedness with the whole cosmic existence and life. The link that unites the kingdom of nature and the kingdom of heaven then disappears. Those who, along with critical philosophy, deny general revelation exert themselves in vain when via the way of practical reason or of the imagination they try to recover what they have lost. They have then lost a support for their faith. In that case the religious life exists in detachment from and alongside of ordinary human existence. The image of God then becomes a ‘superadded gift’ (donum superadditum). As in the case of the Socinians, religion becomes alien to human nature. Christianity becomes a sectarian phenomenon and is robbed of its catholicity. In a word, grace is then opposed to nature. In that case it is consistent, along with the ethical moderns, to assume a radical break between the power of the good and the power of nature. Ethos and [phusis] are then totally separated. The world of reality and the world of values have nothing to do with each other. In that scenario we at bottom face a revival of Parsism or Manichaeism. By contrast, general revelation maintains the unity of nature and grace, of he world and the kingdom of God, of the natural order and the moral order, of creation and re-creation, of [phusis] and ethos, of virtue and happiness, of holiness and blessedness, and in all these things the unity of the divine being. it is one and the same God who in general revelation does not leave himself without a witness to anyone and who in special revelation makes himself known as a God of grace. Hence general and special revelation interact with each other. ‘God first sent forth nature as a teacher, intending also to send prophecy next, so that you, a disciple of nature, might more easily believe prophecy’ (Tertullian). Nature precedes grace; grace perfects nature. Reason is perfected by faith, faith presupposes nature. (Herman Bavinck, Reformed Dogmatics, 4 vols. [Grand Rapids, Baker Academic, 2003], 322).

The Reviving Law

Good quote by Calvin on how to understand David’s extolling of God’s law and Paul’s speaking of the death the law brings:

It is certain, that if the Spirit of Christ does not quicken the law, the law is not only unprofitable, but also deadly to its disciples. Without Christ there is in the law nothing but inexorable rigour, which adjudges all mankind to the wrath and curse of God. And farther, without Christ, there remains within us a rebelliousness of the flesh, which kindles in our hearts a hatred of God and of his law, and from this proceed the distressing bondage and awful terror of which the Apostle speaks. These different ways in which the law may be viewed, easily show us the manner of reconciling these passages of Paul and David, which seem at first view to be at variance. The design of Paul is to show what the law can do for us when, without the promise of grace, it strictly and rigorously exacts from us the duty which we owe to God; but David, in praising it as he here does, speaks of the whole doctrine of the law, which includes also the gospel, and, therefore, under the law he comprehends Christ.

John Calvin, Commentary on the Psalms (Psalm XIX)

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