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From the Editor

By Jonathan Master

Reflect Deeply

Christians are frequently reminded to “remember the reason for Christmas,” meaning, of course, that we should turn our attention away from the cultural trappings and to the fact that Jesus was born to Mary in Bethlehem. But this Christmas, perhaps we should fix our attention a little more closely, not just on the details of Jesus’ birth, but on the miracle of the incarnation. In so doing, we join a great cloud of Christian witnesses, who have reflected deeply on this glorious mystery.

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Theology on the Go: Missions

This week on Theology on the Go, Dr. Jonathan Master is joined by Dr. Liam Goligher, pastor of the historic Tenth Presbyterian Church in downtown Philadelphia, PA. As pastor of Tenth Presbyterian, Dr. Goligher has done much thinking and teaching on the topic of missions, and how Christians are to reach the lost. This installment of Theology on the Go gives a glimpse of some of that teaching as Dr. Goligher chats with Jonathan about the doctrine of missions. Listen in as Jonathan and Liam discuss this very important topic.

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First Truths from the First Gospel

By David Hall

What If We Practiced This?

Some Christians have become so allergic to work or effort that they blanch at the prospect of practice, virtually cursing any kind of effort as a legalistic bogeyman of some sort. However, it’s no mistake that the competitors for this year’s Super Bowl practice—a lot. Imagine a player from the Seahawks or Patriots who tried to tell his coach, ‘You know, we’ve done this before—lots of times—I could get burnt out. It’s fairly legalistic to practice, especially when it hurts.’ In other words, what percentage of practice antinomians do you think were in the Super Bowl? Practice is needed.

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Spirituality That is Not Showy

Jesus began his instruction in the Sermon on the Mount by describing the essential elements of Christian character, and then proceeded to indicate by his metaphors of salt and light the influence for good that Christians will exert in the community if they exhibit this character. He then described Christian righteousness which (a) must exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees and (b) that accepts the full implications of God’s law without dodging or setting artificial limits. Christian righteousness must be allowed to penetrate to our heart, mind, and motives, and to master us even in those hidden secret places. Jesus now moves from a Christian’s outward character to focus on his inner righteousness in those secret regions.

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Sine Qua Non

By David B. Garner

Saving Faith, Pt 3: The Holy Embrace

Blessed with the gift of saving faith, the believer is now able to hear what he could not hear before, to believe sincerely what he rejected outrightly. The sheep hear the voice of the One they now know as “my Shepherd” (Psalm 23:1). Because of the radical change, such active listening streams eagerly and earnestly from the heart.

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Saving Faith, Pt 2: Trust in God's Word

Saving Faith, as we considered in part 1, is a gift of God. It comes from him. Though we exercise that faith, the privilege and power of its exercise draw solely from the font of his grace. Having received the gift from God, we exercise that gift for him and unto him.

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Resident Aliens

By Mark Johnston

Neglected Grace

‘Grace’ is one of the most treasured words in the vocabulary of Reformed Christianity. For many, the defining contours of this framework for understanding the Bible are called ‘the doctrines of grace’. But like so many Bible words, it is often both undervalued and underappreciated – not least by those who like to use it most.

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Proof of Life

The first Letter of John, filed among the ‘General Letters’ section near the end of the New Testament is an enigmatic, but hugely significant part of the Bible. At first glance its message seems very straightforward; but on closer inspection (as I discovered recently to my chagrin when I started preachng 1John) it is incredibly complex.

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