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2011 Issue 1

The “Worship Wars” that rage in the church today are nothing new. St. Ambrose was considered an innovator for writing hymns and teaching his people to sing them. The controversy over emblematic textual elaboration in the Middle Ages was (according to legend) settled by Palestrina’s Pope Marcellus Mass. The Reformation started debates over exclusive psalmody and the use of instruments, debates that continue among Protestants to this day, although they are now overshadowed by heated arguments over contemporary praise and worship music versus traditional hymnody.

Political labels can be confusing, especially when the good guys and some of the bad guys are described by the same terms. The term “right-wing” is one such label. Christians who oppose abortion and sexual immorality are commonly described as right-wing. However, certain anti-Christian groups, such as racist organizations, are also called right-wing. So sometimes the Right is right, and sometimes the Right is wrong—it depends on the issues being considered.

I do not know much about the Twilight books and films, but this series has become popular enough that hearing references to it in daily conversation and seeing posters publicizing it are practically unavoidable occurrences. The subject matter is of great concern to Christians, and I have heard a great deal of well-deserved, Scripturally-based criticism of it. Some Christian writers have done a wonderful job of considering this story in the light of Scripture; among others, I would recommend the review by Eric S. Mueller, especially to parents who may be considering allowing their teenage daughters to read the books or watch the movies. However, my purpose is not to criticize the story, but to highlight one of its main premises.

A teacher left her teaching career to raise a family. She had always greeted her class with “Good morning students,” to which they replied, “Good morning, Mrs. Brown.” When she returned twenty-seven years later she greeted her class as she had before, only this time the class screamed, “Good morning bitch!” What happened in that length of time?

One of the tragedies of our culture is the disobedience of young children and the prevalent ungovernable, defiance of many young adults. We are reaping the overwhelming rebellion to the fifth commandment. Young adults applaud their free-speech derisions as if they were brilliant truths. Generally speaking, if you are around young people, Christian or not, sooner than later their condescending dishonor oozes out. “Mother, you aren’t wearing that are you?” “Dad, you don’t know how to do that!” It’s a subtle cancer raging out of control. Young people, except two year olds, do not want to look like, smell like, sound like, buy, wear, drive, anything resembling an older person. And the possibility of them seeing their mother or father in the mirror, and realizing it is them, is the worst thing that could ever happen.

By the Bible Alone!

John Owen’s Puritan Theology for Today’s Church

Dr. Westcott is an English Reformed theologian serving as Professor and Doctoral Committee Chairman of Reformation International Theological Seminary. (Of which Geoffrey Donnan is President). Dr. Westcott is the translator of John Owen’s original Latin work Biblical Theology.

The 17th century was a time of some great theologians. One could think particularly of the brilliant and influential pair of Francis Turretin on the continent and John Own of England. John Owen confronts us with 21 or so thick volumes, an overwhelming array.

With an understanding, then, of the distinctive character of postmillennialism, it is important to go on and see that this position is not eccentric in terms of the outlook of orthodox theology, nor is it a recent innovation (associated, as some erroneously say, with the rise of nineteenth-century humanistic optimism). Rather, the postmillennial hope has been the persistent viewpoint of most Reformed scholars from the sixteenth century into the early twentieth century. In light of that fact, the position deserves to be examined again today for its biblical support and not lightly dismissed as somehow an obvious theological mistake. That is, there is no prima facie reason to reject postmillennialism as foreign to the thinking of the most respectable theological teachers or the unwitting parallel to specific secular movements. The position has been endorsed by the most dependable and outstanding theologians and commentators from the Reformation to the present.