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Announcement of Faculty Position in New Testament



Reformed Theological Seminary Washington DC Announcement of Faculty Position in New Testament June 2017 Job Description Reformed Theological Seminary in Washington DC invites applications and nominations for a full-time faculty appointment at the level of Assistant, Associate, or Full Professor of New Testament. The Search Committee will...

June 23rd, 2017 - nb Primer



The Nota Bene Primer is a electronic publication put out every other week by RTS Washington. It consists of a recent article and a short video that have piqued our interest here on campus. It also includes information on a course offered at RTS Washington in which you can sign up for. We pray that this publication is a blessing and an...

Effective Compassion



Reformed Theological Seminary’s Institute of Theology and Public Life invites you to an upcoming course: Effective Compassion  July 28-29, 2017 Featuring Brian Fikkert, co-author When Helping Hurts The biblical admonition to care for our neighbors in need is clear. But how should we help? How can we ensure that our compassion for...

President's Welcome



Watch the video below to see a special message from RTS Washington's President, Dr. Scott Redd....

Luther and Calvin Comment on Scripture



A couple of weeks ago, Professor Scott Manetsch, editor of The Reformation Commentary on Scripture, 1 Corinthians, was on our campus.  He graciously gave me a copy of this amazing book.  Luther and Calvin always build my faith, though their comments can be quite different.   (That is not unusual or troublesome because...

RTS Washington Graduation: May 26th



The commencement ceremony for the RTS Washington campus will be held on Friday, May 26th at 7:30 PM. The graduation will take place in the Mclean Presbyterian Church Fellowship Hall, with a reception to follow after. Friends and family of graduates are invited to attend this event. If you plan to have a large group attending the ceremony,...

Redeeming the Sabbath



The title of this article is taken from my dear friend and colleague Dr. Chad Van Dixhoorn.  In a recent class lecture, he shared his thoughts on the unfortunate way in which many churches practice a “60 Minute Sabbath.”  Although he did not have the opportunity to further elaborate, the phrase is pretty...

How Then Shall We Feel?



I will, God willing, never forget the day on which each of my children were born. Hands down, the predominant feeling my wife and I experienced was joy. After nine months of anticipation, preceded by years of hopeful longing to one day have children, we experienced in each case a wonderful, life-enriching event. I will also, God willing,...

Dean of Students Geoff Sackett To Pursue Academic Studies Full-time



RTS Washington dean of students and director of admissions Geoff Sackett is stepping down from his role in order to pursue his academic studies full-time. “This is an exciting transition for Geoff, whom we know to be an especially gifted scholar and teacher of philosophy and theology. I wish him all the best in his future...

Joy in Suffering with Christ



This course will expound on the theme of the union with the suffering Christ as found in 1 Peter 4:12-13. It will then apply this principle of Christ-like suffering throughout people(s) throughout the history of salvation. The goal is twofold: first, to show that these suffering believers were given an extraordinary joy because of their trials;...

Luther in 1517



Recently I revisited the first year of the Reformation. After reading what Luther wrote – and what he didn’t – I came away with five thoughts that struck me vividly. 1. Christ’s patience The first lesson that leaps out at me has to do with Christ’s patience as our teacher. How long-suffering our Lord was to Luther...

Sad Songs Don't Say Everything



I wrote two earlier pieces (Part I; Part II) about the numerous laments psalms.  The first described the ways in which we can read them for our encouragement.  The second was my personal call for the church to utilize these “sad songs” in her worship.  Given my recent reflections on these laments, I thought it best...

Hughes Scholarship Applications Due April 15



Reformed Theological Seminary is now accepting applications for the Hughes Scholarship. The Hughes Scholarship is a full-tuition scholarship for new students who are beginning Master of Divinity studies at RTS in the summer or fall. It includes a $3,000 book stipend. There are a limited number of Hughes Scholarships, and we expect multiple...

Confess Your Sins



Scripture tells us to confess our sins to one another.  We may ask, what sins?  All of them?  That would be a huge task.   Martin Luther tried that, and found it an impossible burden.  (Of course, he was trying to comply with the medieval church’s sacrament of penance, in which every “mortal”...

No Mere Superman



When Jesus was a baby, did he soil his undergarments? As an adolescent, did he cry? When he was full-grown, was he ever angry? No disrespect is meant by these questions, but they do point out the full humanity of Jesus, without in any way reducing his full divinity. And they show that it was entirely fitting for the second person of the...

Sad Songs Say So Much, Pt. 2



I wrote a piece earlier on the benefits that we can gain from the “sad songs” in the biblical psalter.  Given the enormous positive response I received, I thought it fitting to write a “part two.”  Sad songs say so much…more still! The psalms of praise are wonderful.  In light of the torrents...

Testimony of Resurrection, Part II of II



In Part I, I briefly challenged the idea that testimony is a generally unreliable way of knowing. I also sketched a few principles that should inform our understanding of the reasonableness of accepting testimony (where testimony is learning from what someone else tells us through some form of communication – written, signed, or...

Redeemer or Victor?



Why do people set up false alternatives, and try to get us to choose between them?  Sometimes they have not thought deeply about the subjects on which they are speaking.  Perhaps they simply like to set up a caricature, so it’s rather easy to knock down the straw man.  Perhaps there is some deeper experience driving their...

New Winter Course: Anglican Spirituality



Anglican Spirituality is a new course that will be offered at RTS Washington this Winter from January 8th to January 13th. This class will be held at the Falls Church Anglican. Because of both politics and Providence the sixteenth-century reformation of the Church of England created a national Church that remained catholic in its...

Sad Songs Say So Much



There are countless psalms in the OT psalter that capture the heartaches and trials of life.  These are the psalms of lament.  Ever since the eighteenth century, many have noticed that there are so many more of these laments than any other kind of poem.  More than praises and thanksgiving psalms.  Yet, the benefit from these...

Hope in The Furnace of Temptation



Martin Luther’s theology always had a pastoral side.  He understood, for example, that believers face fierce temptations.  The believer needs to fight Satan with the Word of God, as Jesus did when he was tempted. Luther had suffered and feared God’s judgment.  He thought about our facing God’s judgment, and the...

Testimony of Resurrection, Part I



Is it rational to believe - based in part on the written testimony of others - that Jesus was resurrected from the dead? Testimony that comes to us by way a collection of texts, which Christians know to be holy scripture? Why This Question Matters It matters because some contemporary unbelievers have challenged the very idea of the...

Covenantal Sanctification



I had an epiphany this summer.  It was at a family reunion (on my wife’s side).  To meet family is always nice, especially for my kids who love to get together with their cousins.  However, I found myself a bit apprehensive about it.  The reason why is I didn’t know many of these people.  For example, one...

Nothing Short of Remarkable



When you hear a number that sounds improbable, what do you do?  Ignore it? Or check it out, maybe?  Seven years ago I heard a number that intrigued me.  Historian Herman Selderhuis was asking how John Calvin’s influence has grown so far and so fast, since the 1500s.  Here’s what I heard: “in fifty years, the...

The Love Challenge



Sensible people agree that giving and receiving love is crucial to a person’s emotional wellbeing and his or her general prospering. Some people, even some who are not religious, even believe that loving your enemy is morally commendable and a pursuit-worthy. The Christian scriptures also affirm this point of view. So what is the Christian...

I am (A)-Millenial



I recently had a chat with several friends about our kids.  The term that was used to describe this current generation was “Millennials.”  I am not a social scientist and have been mildly interested in the culture war discussions, so I was a bit lost on the meaning of the term.  As generational labels go, I was never...

The Westminster Assembly on Sin, Ignorance and Catechisms



The Westminster assembly (1643-1653) conducted about 5,000 examinations of ministers and candidates for the ministry and it is not likely to be an accident that the Westminster Assembly insisted that a candidate be examined in his ability to work on the human conscience. In the assembly’s own literature, the word conscience carries moral...

In God's School



We learn and grow, are challenged, and grow, take a step backwards, receive strength from God, and begin to grow again.  This sounds like seminary life to me. At the Wheaton Theology Conference in April, “The People’s Book: The Bible in the Reformation,” I was pleased to learn that this was John Calvin’s...

Where Are You Going?



Remember the part in Lewis’ The Great Divorce when the narrator walks about heaven for the first time? “It was the light, the grass, the trees that were different; made of some different substance, so much solider than things in our country that men were ghosts by comparison. Moved by a sudden thought, I bent down and tried to...

Joy as a Son



As most know, I was on sabbatical during the first half of this academic year—during the fall semester.  My time off was restful, and it gave me an opportunity to pray and reflect on aspects of my life both professionally and personally.  I even broke out my old violin and got back into playing music again.  I also was able to...

Temptation!



Temptation, we’re told by James, is rooted in disordered desire. Sometimes we simply want to do wrong (James 1:14). Paul tells us that God provides a way of escape from temptation (I Corinth. 10:13). Of the various escape routes available to the believer, this post focuses on just one: the virtues. Virtues are moral traits of human...

The Gospel in I AM



The Westminster Shorter Catechism #44 asks “What doth the preface to the ten commandments teach us?”  It answers by saying, “The preface to the ten commandments teacheth us, that because God is the Lord, and our God, and Redeemer, therefore we are bound to keep all his commandments.”  A better answer could not be...

Tell It Not in Gath



Doubts come easily to us these days.  We wonder whether admired public figures are really worthy of devotion.  Stories we cherished, or even just appreciated, seem to have another side.  Cultural institutions we trusted may have actually promoted wrongs.  Are people we loved actually looking at us with a wary eye?  Do we...

Trials and Integrity



Trials have the unmistakable quality of being difficult. Just ask Job, or Jeremiah, or Naomi, or Joseph. And yet they are not without purpose. It is not as if they show Satan has gained the upper hand. Or that God is wantonly cruel. Trials do not show that the Enemy has won or that God is vindictive. Listen to how James describes trials:...

The Book of Esther: A Silence so Loud, it is Deafening



In recent days I have spent a good amount of time studying the Book of Esther and I have fallen in love with this amazing book once again.  It is regularly treated like the annoying younger sibling who constantly tags along when we want to hang out with our friends.  Regrettably, the value and even the canonicity of Esther is regularly...

The Great Feast



“On this mountain the LORD of hosts will make for all peoples a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wine,  of rich food full of marrow, of aged wine well refined.” Isaiah 25:6 When God brought Israel through the Sea, and entered covenant with them at Sinai, the elders ate and drank with him.  “They saw the God...

Advent



As the pressure mounts, how can we get along with each other?  “Looking out for myself” is like breathing.  But what seems most natural is actually the wrong approach.  Only when we look out for the needs and concerns of others are we able to be strong.  Under stress, relationships in Philippi were beginning to...

People Without Wings



Isaiah 6 tells us that in the presence of a holy God, the angels try to hide themselves both from God and from seeing God. Isaiah, without the advantage of three sets of wings, is simply overwhelmed, and his agonized utterance is personal, negative, and intense. What he says is personal: “Woe is me.” “I am lost,”...

Uses of Arguments



Why might a Christian take interest in arguments of an apologetic sort? Here are three broad reasons— 1. To show that Christian theism is reasonable. A believer may wonder if her Christian beliefs are reasonable, or she may wish to show an unbelieving friend that Christian beliefs are reasonable. An argument, or a series of arguments,...

Predestination and Free Will



“If I have free will, how can God have predestined me?  Wasn’t faith my choice?” Our conscious experience is that we make choices without coercion.  For example, no one is forcing me to type these words.  I am doing it because I want to.  I am not forced to love my wife Jackie.  But I can’t...

Hymns, Worship, and the Christian Life: Lunch Discussion with Keith Getty



In a time with the prevailing worldview in the West is what sociologist Christian Smith has called moralistic therapeutic Deism, sacred music, worship music has taken a bit of a hit. Lately, worship has tended to emphasize performance over participation, repetition over content, and the depth of Christian belief has often been downplayed while...

The Face of God



Surely it is no accident that in the two visits that readers of the Bible are permitted to take to heaven, one in the prophecy of Isaiah (6:3) and the other in the Revelation of John (4:8), that in each case the angels are saying the same thing about God: “HOLY, HOLY, HOLY is the Lord of hosts.” What does it mean that the holiness...

The Supreme Son



The opening three verses of the Book of Hebrews provide a concise, close to comprehensive, Christology. We can use these words to direct our worship to and anchor our confidence in the Son. Why does this special letter start by tracing the supremacy of the Son? The narrow reason: to re-orient early Christian affection and worship from angels to...

Strengthening Faith



Consider three scenarios— Scenario I.  An intelligent, believing friend of yours is a regular reader of the New York Times Review of Books. In nearly every edition there appears (so it seems) a review of a book that purports to explain some feature of the world, its inhabitants, or the world itself in purely naturalistic terms. In...

The Best Wine



On the way to a wedding, what do you look forward to?  Food?  Yes. Good fun and joy?  Definitely.  Dancing?  Maybe...  Jesus chose to do his first “sign” at a wedding.  Marriage is a choice gift of God, so we celebrate.  Jesus did not kill the joy. The problem of the lack of wine was...

A Tale of Two Parties



It’s the height of summer and thus the peak of the party season. So why do people go to parties? It seems to me that there are two main reasons. Sometimes people go because they like what the party has to offer. They like the people, the food, the drinks, the music. And sometimes they go because they are afraid of what will happen if they...

Uses of Philosophy



What is philosophy? Through its long history, philosophy has been understood variously. For purposes of this essay, we will take it to be a clarifying discipline, a way of approaching problems of a certain kind by analyzing, by breaking problems into smaller and smaller bits. Before philosophy answers, it asks. The point of querying isn’t...

The Excellencies of God



“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.” 1 Peter...

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