David Westerfield

Theology. Culture. Technology.

Author: David Westerfield (Page 1 of 111)

The Means of Grace

I’ve had many people ask why I left the church that I did for a PCA church. Usually the question comes out of confusion as to why someone would leave such a great place. I grew up there and grew in my faith in incredible ways, served as a student leader, on the worship team, and men’s ministry, and what made it the most difficult to leave were the people. And I mean it has everything we needed: a church program for every stage, great, well-produced music (of which I was a part 😉 ), dynamic speakers, small groups, large groups, it’s like a picture of the larger church in the world! And most of all, the Bible is upheld as the sole, infallible, highest source for truth and life practice, and they preach the gospel from it. So why leave?

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Affectional Calvinism

Calvinism is natively experiential. Before it is a theological system, Calvinism is deeply affectional, God-centered, cross-magnifying religion. A man may loudly trumpet his adherence to the distinctive tenets of Calvinism, but if his life is not marked by delight in God and His gospel, his professed Calvinism is a sham. In other words, there is no such thing as “dead Calvinism.” Such is a theological oxymoron for one simple reason: Calvinism claims to be biblical religion, and biblical religion is not only profoundly theological, it is deeply experiential and engagingly affectional! Wherever men and women claim to be Calvinists, their lives and their ministries will pulse with life—the life of living, Spirit-inspired, Christ-glorifying, God-centered truth. – Ian Hamilton

Hosea as Judgment and Forgiveness

In studying Hosea this past spring at Trinity, it was hard for many of us. The constant language of judgment seems to take on a life of its own, and as gospel people, on this side of the cross and resurrection, we think, “What’s the point?”

I came across this passage in the scripture readings for Lent (found here): “My flesh trembles for fear of you, and I am afraid of your judgments.” Psalm 119:120.

The difficulty of the language around judgment in Hosea and other prophets lies for many not in the fact that it’s there, but in the continual, repetitive nature of it. “Okay, I get it,” we say. But that seems to be the point. The repetition is meant to drive into us a remembrance (because we so easily forget!), as it was Israel at the time, the nature of God’s holiness and the healthy level of fear this should invoke.

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SocialMedia’ing Ourselves to Death

“The average American teenager who uses a smart phone receives her first phone at age 10 and spends over 4.5 hours a day on it (excluding texting and talking). 78% of teens check their phones at least hourly and 50% report feeling ‘addicted’ to their phones. It would defy common sense to argue that this level of usage, by children whose brains are still developing, is not having at least some impact, or that the maker of such a powerful product has no role to play in helping parents to ensure it is being used optimally. It is also no secret that social media sites and applications for which the iPhone and iPad are a primary gateway are usually designed to be as addictive and time-consuming as possible, as many of their original creators have publicly acknowledged.”

https://thefederalist.com/2018/01/10/apple-facebook-arent-going-save-us-smartphone-addiction/

Love Takes Practice

“While some of our habits are acquired by choosing to engage in certain practices (e.g., signing up for drivers’ ed. or registering for piano lessons), many are acquired without our knowing it. And this might happen especially when we are unaware of it. If we are inattentive to the formative role of practices, or if we treat some practices as thin when they are thick, then we will be inattentive to all the ways that such practices unwittingly and unintentionally become automated. We will fail to recognize that they are forming in us habits and desires, oriented to particular ends that function to draw us toward those ends at an affective, unconscious level such that we become certain kinds of people without even being aware of it.

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Covenant Versus Dispensational Theology

I recently had a good discussion with a friend about some of the reasons I left a Dispensational church. I previously documented a number of reasons here in my journey from Dispensationalism to Reformed Presbyterianism, but I also wanted to look up resources that speak to the issue and found a few articles and sites that are worth perusing. It’s interesting to note that the major founders of Dispensationalism left Presbyterianism in particular.

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Resources for Augustine’s Life and Doctrine

I’m currently reading through Augustine’s Confessions with a group at Trinity Presbyterian and looked up some resources concerning Augustine’s life and work. Enjoy!

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Resurrection and Redemption – Richard Gaffin

Recently, between reading Union with Christ by Rankin Wilbourne and Resurrection and Redemption by Richard Gaffin, the concept of union with Christ as resurrected as the central theme in Paul’s soteriology has been an enriching study. Here’s a quote from Gaffin:

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Unpacking the Ninth Commandment

Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.

In these words is contained an entire volume that could be written on slander, lying, gossip, shaming others, and so on. Do we delight in speaking ill or even thinking ill of others, even if it’s true to one degree or another? Too often this manifests itself on social media, even in seemingly harmless ways (“humble shaming”?), but also in loose talk within conversations, even and especially with people in church many times. The Westminster Larger Catechism unpacks what is required and restricted within the ninth commandment. Quite convicting. Thankful that Jesus covers this by His great love through the accomplishment of our salvation in fulfilling this aspect of the law. And yet I pray that through His resurrection to new life that is now ours, that we would turn from our loose natural talk that demeans others, and as Paul says in Romans 3:31, uphold the law by this faith in His promises in the gospel.

Below is  link to a great article related to this and the section of questions related to the ninth commandment in the Westminster Larger Catechism.

Further reading: https://cccdiscover.com/this-is-why-gossip-is-the-most-unacceptable-sin/

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Five Solas of the Reformation – Gregg Strawbridge

Sola Scriptura: The Scripture Alone is the Standard

The doctrine that the Bible alone is the ultimate authority was the “Formal Principle” of the Reformation. In 1521 at the historic interrogation of Luther at the Diet of Worms, he declared his conscience to be captive to the Word of God saying, “Unless I am overcome with testimonies from Scripture or with evident reasons — for I believe neither the Pope nor the Councils, since they have often erred and contradicted one another — I am overcome by the Scripture texts which I have adduced, and my conscience is bound by God’s Word.” Similarly, the Belgic Confession stated, “We believe that [the] holy Scriptures fully contain the will of God, and that whatsoever man ought to believe unto salvation is sufficiently taught therein…Neither may we consider any writings of men, however holy these men may have been, of equal value with those divine Scriptures nor ought we to consider custom or the great multitude, or antiquity, or succession of times and persons, or councils, decrees or statutes, as of equal value with the truth of God… Therefore, we reject with all our hearts whatsoever does not agree with this infallible rule” (VII).

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