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A Pastor’s Reflections: Crossing Lines

VFT
In my time as a pastor I regularly encountered people who were in dire straits—unemployed, homeless, struggling with addiction, and the like. I feel sorry for people when they suffer and always did what I could to render assistance. Our church always reserved funds, for example, to purchase people food…
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Justification in the Earliest Christian Fathers

R. Scott Clark
R. Scott Clark Professor of Church History & Historical Theology Perhaps the first post-Apostolic use of the New Testament verb “to justify” (δικαιόω) occurs in 1 Clement, written just after 100 AD to the same Corinthian congregation to whom Paul had written half a century earlier. There is no claim…
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A Pastor’s Reflections: Cruciform Ministry and Joy

VFT
When Christians hear of the cruciform life they think that misery and sadness will mark their lives. All we have to do is read through the Bible and we quickly find the heart-wrenching cries of the saints. The psalmist’s tears, for example, often mark his prayers. Invoke the words like…
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Justification in Romans and Hebrews

S. M. Baugh
S. M. Baugh Professor of New Testament One does not often think of Hebrews when it comes to the doctrine of justification—we normally go right to Paul’s writings. But Hebrews actually contains much teaching that contributes significantly to the broader doctrine of justification by faith alone. There are many ways…
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A Pastor’s Reflections: Cruciform Ministry and Sacrifice

VFT
One of the more prominent words in the Scriptures is sacrifice. It appears throughout the Old Testament and in the instructions for the temple priestly service, but it also appears in the New Testament. Paul famously writes: “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present…
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Imputation

J. V. Fesko
J. V. Fesko Academic Dean & Professor of Systematic Theology & Historical Theology In the highly individualistic age in which we live, few embrace the idea that we can be held accountable for the actions of others. But the Bible paints a very different picture. The Bible teaches us that…
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A Pastor’s Reflections: Cruciform Ministry and False Accusations

VFT
As a pastor, you hope that people in your church will love, respect, and value your service to the church. This pattern marks, I believe, of the vast majority of the people in the church. At the same time, there will be some who dislike you and your ministry to…
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Justification in the Old Testament

Bryan D. Estelle
Bryan D. Estelle Professor of Old Testament “We are situated as Abraham was; we are called upon to believe in the Almighty God.” 1 The way in which Charles Hodge expressed justification in the Old Testament (OT) seems like a strange way of putting things. Usually we tend to express the…
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A Pastor’s Reflections: Cruciform Ministry and Narcissism

VFT
This is the first post in a four-part series on a cruciform ministry, a ministry shaped by the cross of Christ. This first post addresses the topic of narcissism, and in subsequent posts I address the topics of false accusations, sacrifice, and joy. Every culture and period of history presents…
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A Pastor’s Reflections: Retiring from the Game

VFT
One of the more difficult questions to answer in a pastor’s life is determining when it’s time to retire from ministry. When should a pastor retire? This is a tough question for a number of reasons, but mostly because it all depends on a number of circumstances. Thus, there is…
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