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President's Welcome



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

March 28th, 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...

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...

Join "RTS DC Student Community" on Facebook



Students have their own private group on FB to help facilitate life-together via coordinating socials, study groups, and other activities. (Light-hearted posts have also frequented the news feed.) Join by sending an email to Jennifer McGahey. If you are already a member, you can invite fellow students to join by entering their email in the...

Library Resources



RTS Washington students have access to all Washington Theological Consortium school libraries! This includes Catholic University, Virginia Theological Seminary, and Woodstock Theological Library (Georgetown). For more information Click here. For information on RTS Inter-Library loans click here. For links to periodicals and other online...

General Assemblies



RTS Washington will be present at both the EPC and PCA General Assemblies. If you are planning on attending be sure to stop by our...

Fatherly Discipline, Hebrews 12:3-11



Graced Suffering Every hurt that Christians experience ultimately comes from the hand of our sovereign Lord, even while those same hurts come proximately from other causes (see, for example, Gen 50:20, Prov 16:4, Eccl 7:14, Rom 5:3, and James 1:2-4. See also Eph 1:11 where we are told that God “works all things according to the counsel...

Summer Campus Hours



We will have new campus hours for the summer months. Please see below for our new campus hours. Summer Campus Hours (June 1-July 15) Monday-Friday: 8am-6pm Summer Campus Hours (July 16-August 28) Monday-Thursday:...

Fellowship with the True Jeremiah



The prophet Jeremiah had it rough.  In many ways all the OT prophets did.  Look at what they were called to do.  Go to the people and tell them that they are sinning against the Lord; if they do not change their ways and repent of their sins, then the Lord will bring the ultimate curse, exile! Jeremiah most definitely knew the...

Loving Neighbors



It seems a little unfortunate that Jesus, in Matthew 22:39, was so clear in his commandment that we all need to love our neighbours. The first commandment, found in verse 37, makes so much sense. We have so many reasons to love God. It is the Everest of the commandments; nothing could rise higher than this. But this second commandment seems...

Graduation



The12th Commencement of Reformed Theological Seminary Washington will be held on Friday, May 29, 2015.  The ceremony will begin at 7:30 in the Fellowship Hall of McLean Presbyterian Church (1020 Balls Hill Road/McLean, VA/22101) with a reception to follow. Dr. William Edgar, Professor of Apologetics & John Boyer Chair of Evangelism &...

Field Internship and Registration



If you are an MDiv student and have not yet registered for the Field Ed Internship, then please be sure to contact Dr. Peter Lee before the end of the semester.  Dr. Lee will be on sabbatical starting June 1 and unable to help students until Feb....

End of Year Luau



Please join us for the annual end of the year Luau! A wonderful time of fellowship, fun and food — and your families are encouraged to come! There is ample space for little ones to play and for adults to socialize. The Van Dixhoorn’s are hosting again this year, and the festivities will begin at 6:30pm. RSVP to Jeremy...

Graduation Brunch



You are invited to attend a brunch in honor of this year’s graduates on Friday May 29. (In other words, you do not need to be a graduate in order to attend!). Support this new crop of graduates and enjoy brunch and fellowship together. It will take place at 10:00am at McLean Presbyterian Church. RSVP to Geoff...

Integrative Paper Presentations



All students are invited to hear your classmates present the results of their Integrative Paper research, Friday, May 8th, from 1 - 3 p.m.  Learn how God has blessed your peers with the integration of their seminary studies and their calling to further service in the Kingdom.  Refreshments will be served afterwards, in...

New Financial Aid Deadline - May 1st



Financial Aid applications for all returning students are due on May 1st.  Please note that this is a NEW deadline.  All students currently receiving financial aid of any kind (including Church Partnership Program and Young Life scholarships), must reapply by this date if you would like to be considered for assistance in the 2015-2016...

Rational Self-Interest



Human beings are hunters of goods - things we take to be intrinsically valuable, worthwhile, like food, protection from the elements, friendship, rest, knowledge. What is common to these (and other) goods is that it is in our interest to pursue them. It would be a funny thing for someone not to value food, shelter, friendship, rest, knowledge, and...

The Father's Act of Justice



In our society, the seams of order appear to be straining.  The cynic says, “No good deed goes unpunished.”  We may hope there’s more justice than that in our world.  The postmodern asks, “Who defines a good deed?”  But we know there must be, and is, a standard that grounds right protest against...

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