Posts by Nick Batzig

 

No one likes change. Change frequently becomes a platform for anxiety in an individual's life. We all like routine. Knowing what to expect makes us feel safe and offers us the comfort of seeming stability. Yet, change is inevitable. We are changing creatures in a changing world. Things are either changing for the worst or for the better. Nothing remains static. Growth and progress necessitate change. This is no less true with regard to the growth and progress of a local church as it is with regard to an individual's life. Change in the church is one of the most necessary but also one of the most unwelcomed guests. So, given the fact that change can be stressful and steal away an individual's sense of comfort, how should pastors approach this subject in theory and practice?

 

Chief among those sins that we tend to tolerate in our lives is covetousness, jealousy and envy. According to Scripture, jealousy is one of the most damaging of all heart sins. The Proverbs explicate, in no small measure, the dangerous nature of this sin: "Wrath is cruel, anger is overwhelming, but who can stand before jealousy" (Prov. 27:4)? 

 

When we think of Jesus, we dont tend to think of Him as One who had many possessions. After all, the Scriptures are clear that "though He was rich, yet for our sakes, He became poor that we through His poverity might become rich" (2 Cor. 8:9). At His own admission, we know that the Savior was homeless--His earthly ministry depended, in part, on the financial support of certain disciples and friends (Luke 8:3; 10:38). Nevertheless, the Scriptures also have much to tell us about what sort of things Jesus purchased. 

 

One of the more difficult questions to settle--both from a biblical and historico-theological perspective--is that which concerns how we are to view the children of baptized, professing believers. On one hand, we can be quite sure that the children of professing believers are, no less than the children of unbelievers, "by nature, children of wrath" and heirs of the fallen Adamic nature--as the Apostle Paul affirms in Eph. 2:1-4, Rom. 3:9-20 and Rom. 5:12-19--under God's curse and thoroughly deserving of His wrath. However, on the other hand, we know from the same Apostle that the children of professing believers, who are nurtured in the pale of the church--whether Old or New Covenant--have unique privileges (e.g. see Rom. 3:1-6, Rom. 9:1-4 and Hebrews 3:1-6) and "would be unclean (lit. pagan) but are now holy" (i.e. set apart, in some sense) according to 1 Cor. 7:14.

 

If there is one area in which  young Reformed men preparing for seminary have generally failed to give adequate attention it is to the writings of that period of church history from the Apostles to the Reformation.