What is it that characterizes true worship? A sense of the greatness of God, a love and hunger for truth, a true understanding of human unworthiness, reverence and awe, and an orderly manner of worship.
The purpose of this article is to provide information about addiction to support the office bearers in their work. The author defines what addiction is, identifies signs of various addictions, and describes how to support those struggling with addiction.
This article on Numbers 15:37-41 looks at all the symbols God gave to his people to remind them of His commands and of the fact that they belong to Him. The author then applies this to the church today by discussing tradition and our following of Christ.
This is an article on church music. In the first place, the author discusses the foundation of liturgy and spirituality which is key to church music. Secondly, the author maintains that church music is a form of art, and discusses what we can learn from modern art in relation to church music.
One of the causes of the decline of churches is that members lack the experience of their faith. This article discusses symptoms of this spiritual decline. The author goes on to outline, based on lessons from the reformers, what we need in terms of our life of faith.
Does God's word tell us anything about holding a funeral service? This article shows that the funeral service should keep God at the centre, should glory in God's work through the dead, and should include a focus on the gospel.
For the pastor to be able to exercise gospel-centred pastoral counselling, he must have a conviction of the authority of scripture over daily life. Belief in Scripture's teaching about God, man, salvation, church, and the future guides pastoral counselling.
This article looks at the relationship between the preacher and the Holy Spirit. This relationship is crucial, because the Holy Spirit is the Author of scripture, is the One who gives understanding, and is the One who empowers the preaching.
This article calls for the return of preaching from the Heidelberg Catechism. The author looks at the relationship between Catechism and textual preaching, and gives one approach to preaching the Catechism.
This article highlights the importance of preaching on the laws of the Old Testament, and provides some hermeneutical principles for understanding this part of Scripture. The author concludes with some practice suggestions for ministers in this regard.
Why is the preaching of the law essential to the life of the church? The preaching of the law helps believers to examine themselves to see their sinful nature. It encourages them to trust in Christ for their salvation, and makes them realise their dependence upon the Holy Spirit.
Despite the fact that He was perfect, our Lord was still criticized. How much more can an imperfect pastor expect criticism from an imperfect congregation? This article identifies the source of criticism, and shows how the minister can deal with criticism through prayer, self-examination, and seeking advice.
This series of articles calls Christians to display the works of mercy described in Matthew 25:31-46. This article looks at the relationship between God's mercy in Christ and this call to the works of mercy.
This series of articles calls Christians to display the works of mercy described in Matthew 25:31-46. This article focuses on the call to care for prisoners. The author discusses the importance of prison ministry.
How does the believer experience God in preaching? This article looks at different responses to this question, settling on the explanation of covenantal preaching. Covenantal preaching states that in preaching, the speaking God reaches the hearts of His people.
This article looks at different challenges that deacons face in the congregation, which include personal challenges, church challenges, and support challenges. The author gives guidelines for how the diaconate can deal with these challenges.
Preaching from the Canons of Dort is important for the continual education of members of the church. Such preaching can make the doctrine of grace known, and can defend the church against false teaching.
This article looks at John Calvin's sermons on the fourth commandment and the context in which they were preached. The author highlights the shortcomings of Calvin's preaching on the Sabbath, highlighting an alternative way of preaching about the fourth commandment.
Reformed theology is a faithfulness to the universal faith as God has expressed it in the scriptures. This article looks at the reality of achieving such an ideal. Reformed theology is only possible when we continually search God's word and act in obedience to this word.
This article looks at the relationship between the Christian faith and depression. Can some Christian doctrines induce depression? The author maintains that even difficult doctrine (such as the doctrine of sin, depravity, and predestination), when preached within the biblical context, cannot cause depression.
This article discusses continuing education and teaching as important for the church today. Christians are called to a life of continual learning. This article proposes structures that can facilitate learning which continues after profession of faith.
The work of family visitation is crucial to the task of the elders, so that they can have a better knowledge of the congregation members. This article gives the biblical grounds for the home visit, discussing the purpose of the visit, the relationship between the elder and the family, and how to relate to different members in different circumstances.
This article shows the relationship between the Sabbath and Sunday. The author also discusses challenges which face Christians in regard to keeping the Lord's Day, which have arisen as a result of secularization and economic changes.
Preaching is the proclamation of the gospel and the promise of forgiveness. In this context, the minister can preach God's judgment. Preaching judgment is also crucial for promoting holiness and the hate of sin. This is discussed in light of Lord's Day 31 of the Heidelberg Catechism.
In parentingteens, parents should trust in the Lord to provide what is needed. This article guides parents in fulfilling this responsibility. The author discusses pitfalls to avoid, how to set goals for teens, how to help teens with their doubts, and how to impress in them the fear of the Lord.
In preaching God directs His word to His people. With this in mind, to what extent should the preacher think about the listener in his preaching? Does the minister need to think about what is relevant to the listener?
This article explores the relationship between the Sabbath, the fourth commandment, and the Sunday. How should we celebrate and rest on Sunday? The author deals with challenges facing Christians in regard to keeping the fourth commandment, calling for tolerance among believers.
Does Genesis 1 record true history? This article looks at Genesis 1 from the perspective of different theories which deny its historicity. The author critiques these theories, maintaining that Genesis 1 does record true history.
Grief is a human response to loss. Looking at 1 Thessalonians 4:13, this article states that Christians should be encouraged to express their grief in hope. The author highlights the importance of understanding the social, emotional, and spiritual side of grief in order to provide pastoral care.
This article discusses how the church should view and deal with homosexuality. Church members must have a biblical perspective on sin and redemption, as well as a proper understanding of the difference between homosexuality and homophilia. The author outlines a way the church can show genuine love and friendship to the believer struggling with homophilia.
This article discusses three questions raised around the work of the diaconate: Should the church make use of welfare?; Should deacons wait for members in need to approach them, or should they be pro-active?; Should deacons demand budgets from members who ask for assistance?
This article looks at the task of the elder in the home visit. The author looks at the biblical ground and historical development of this practice, as well as its nature and purpose. The author also provides some guidelines for organizing the home visit.
The Christian's attitude towards material possessions is guided by the call to stewardship, a love for God and neighbour, and the understanding of how sin has affected our relationship with God and others. Our attitude toward possessions should be directed by a life of pilgrimage, thankfulness, and sharing, with an eye to the coming of the Lord.
Self-examination can only be done in the presence of Christ, resting in the trustworthiness of God, under the work of the Holy Spirit. This article gives attention to the purpose of self-examination, and its relationship with the Lord's Supper.
This article calls the consistory to consider their core responsibilities (proclamation, pastorate, catechism instruction, and diaconate). The author gives guidelines for how the church council can deal with other non-priority issues through delegation.
This article looks at faith and election. The author emphasizes the assurance of one's election, which results from the work of the Holy Spirit in convincing the believer of God's trustworthiness. The article focuses on the teaching of predestination in the Canons of Dort.
The biblical call to Christians to obey the government is rooted in the reality that government is instituted by God and should serve in cleaning the world of injustices. This article looks at what Christians should do when government abuses this power, as well as the responsibility Christians have toward government.
Both the Old and New Testament show that God delights in seeing children be part of the assembly of His people. Parents therefore have a responsibility to nurture children in the faith and guide them through the worship service. The church also carries this responsibility.
This article calls for good quality church music. This article argues that God instituted church music in the Old Testament temple, and that this command of God on music is relevant for the church today. Therefore, there must be norm to govern church music and a regulation that applies this norm. The author also discusses the place of singing and the use of the organ.
This article argues that home visits should only have one theme, which is the members of the congregation. By this the author means that the priority is knowing how members are doing in their life with the Lord.
The effectiveness of the sermon cannot be separated from what the preacher thinks about the listener. The listener is someone who is moving toward God or away from God, or even a mixture of both. This article clarifies the meaning of preaching to such an audience.
Individualism, subjectivism, and consumerism threaten the communal nature of church life. Church community and fellowship does not destroy the individual; rather, it is through the community that the individual experiences himself and his potential. Diversity in the body of Christ points to the relationship of the individual to the community.
What does "preaching with the listener in mind" mean? This is a preaching which is textual, directed to the heart, and rooted in the relationship of God to his people, as he comes to them and they to him. This kind of preaching is also shaped by the image the preacher has of the listener.
When God's voice is heard in sound preaching, there is an opposing voice which seeks to hinder the hearer from responding in faith to God's call. This article looks at the nature of this opposition and shows how Christians can overcome such a temptation so that preaching can produce the intended response.
The gospel and the law are both an expression of God's desire to commune with His people. This article shows how preaching the law should embody the gospel. These two things should not be separated from each other. The author draws attention to the connection between preaching the law, the knowledge of sin, and the wrath of God.
This article looks at marriage and divorce with a focus on the relationship between civil judgement and church judgement. Should the church accept a divorce verdict from the civil judge, or should it still aim for reconciliation?
Preaching is influenced by the situation of the congregation. This article outlines means for understanding the situation of the congregation, stating that recognizing the congregation's situation and concerns can benefit preaching.
This article looks at the issue of suicide. The author looks at the causes of suicide, and evaluates suicide from a biblical and historical perpective. He provides some guidance around preventing suicide and providing pastoral care to those affected by the suicide of loved ones.
This article looks at ways of making Bible study groups an effective means of equipping the communion of saints. Examining the elements of participation, objectives, programs, procedure and methodology, this article shows why Bible study groups often fail to achieve their goal.
Office bearers (pastors, elders, and deacons) are appointed on behalf of Christ to render service to the congregation. Does this make them special? This article looks at the authority of office bearers, concluding that their authority is limited by the word of God and the service they render to His church.
This article shows that the life of an office bearer plays a huge role in the ministry. Though the ministry is all about God, and the Holy Spirit uses the office bearer to reach out to others, this does not nullify the office bearer's life. The office bearer can use his life as a means to share the gospel in three areas: his relationship with God, himself and others.
This article provides a basic outline for making a sermon. The author discusses how we must view the text, the exposition of the text, the message of the text, and sermon application. The author also stresses the importance of making preaching Christological.
Part of the requirement of the work of the elder, pastor and deacon is to maintain confidentiality. This article discusses the need for things to remain confidential, and shows how to deal with this requirement during church council meetings and at home.
Since the baptised are members of the church, how should discipline be administered to them? This article looks at the history of the church discipline from the Reformation, drawing lessons for today's church.
Officebearers can face challenges in working with the youth of the church. This article looks at the nature of such challenges, and proposes a way in which those challenges can be faced. Elders should be able to help young people in their life of serving the Lord.
Should the church follow the liturgical year in her structuring of liturgy? This article shows that following the liturgical year is not the way to go. Instead, church liturgy can be arranged in such a way that Christian feasts can be accommodated through thematization. This method of following preaching themes can be adopted for catechism classes also. The author discusses the advantages and disadvantages of this.
Young people are ready to make profession of faith when they come to the conclusion that the doctrine of the church is in agreement with God's word. This way of thinking has a bearing on the way catechism is taught. Catechism classes ought to embrace the three forms of unity as expressing the doctrine taught by the church. This article also explores the link between baptism, profession of faith and the Lord's Supper.
Is a church federation the only way in which churches can show their unity? Looking at the unity of God's people from the Old and New Testament, this article shows that God's people are called to be one. The author traces this expression of church unity through the Reformation, showing that there is a way of acknowledging each other while embracing diversity. There can be "federation of federations".
How does a person become and continue to be a partaker of salvation? This article answers this question by looking at the catechism and confessions. Focus is given to the role of the Holy Spirit and faith, the relationship between the word and Spirit, regeneration, and the marks of spiritual life.
This article looks at the way elders can keep Christ central in the home visit, as well as get all family members to participate in a way that a true inquiry about their faith can be made. The key lies in the tone and attitude of the elder.
What do our worship services have in common with the temple service in Jerusalem and with the services held in synagogues across the land? This article looks at the connections between the worship service in the Old Testament to the worship service in the New Testament.
This article discusses five sets of opposites seen in the debate around infant baptism or adult baptism: unity versus disunity, generations versus individuals, infants versus adults, circumcision versus baptism, and normativism versus subjectivism.
This article looks at the root of the office of deacon in both the Old and New Testament. The author also explores the relationship of deacons to the diaconal nature of the church. What is the diaconal task of the congregation?
Liturgy should connect the church with the past generation, serve the worship of the church in the present, and prepare the church for the future perfect liturgy. In this article the author shows how to think about such a change by looking at church history from the 16th century under the influence of Roman Catholic Church to the liturgy after the time of the Reformation.
This article looks at the rolewomen can play in the church while being submissive. The author shows that women can play a large role in witnessing, teaching, works of service, intercession and family life.
Does 1 Corinthians 11:5 teach that women can lead prayer in church? In this article on the role of women in the church, the author shows that when the church comes together to worship, women should not lead in prayer.
This article discusses issues to consider when dealing with the translation of the Bible, and how to choose a translation for use in the church. The authors discuss the text to use for Bible translation, the issue of the inspiration and the unity of the bible in translation, and the suitability of the translation for use in the church and school.
By means of a review of Dan Allender's The Wounded Heart, this article aims to equip the minister in dealing with the issue of sexual abuse in pastoral care. It explores the impact of abuse on the victim and the role of the minister in the healing process.
When doing house visits or family visits, elders must lead the conversation. This article shows questions elders could ask so that they can address the life of a person as it is lived before God's eyes.
This article looks at how theology influenced music from the time of Augustine to the Reformation. This influence of theology on music means that music can also be used as a proclamation. This article also discusses the ethics of music and the use and misuse of music.
This article maps problems which are faced by the single members of the congregation, and offers some solutions. Exploring the nature of the church as a family, this article discusses the place of single people in the congregation and how to care for them.
John Calvin had a high view of the ministry of the pulpit, and his preaching showed how much he loved God's church. In this article, the author discusses the characteristics of the preaching of Calvin, drawing examples from his sermons on 2 Samuel.
Looking at the teaching of the Old and New Testaments, this article draws conclusions as to how the church can give form to the liturgy in a way that true worship of God can be reflected in the worship service.
Does Paul contradict himself about the role of women in the church in Galatians 3:28? This article shows that Paul does not contradict himself. In Galatians he is addressing the question of men and women standing before God in the salvation brought by Christ. This does not change the roles he ascribes to men and women in other Scripture passages.
The ministry of mercy is an expression of God's Fatherly care for His church. It has already been modelled by Christ, and the church must follow His example. Therefore, the deacons play a large role in making sure that there is equality in God's church, that all get to live in the joy of the Lord, and that all are comforted under the pressures of sickness, loneliness and poverty.
The church has a duty to report to the law the criminal act of child sexual abuse should it happen in her midst. This article shows that for the protection of the victim, the restoration of the offender, the honour of the church and the glory of God's Name such case must be reported. At the same time, discipline must be administered by the church, since sexual abuse is both a criminal offense and an issue of sin.
Did the coming of the Holy Spirit change the role of women in the family and in church? This article shows that the distinction between male and female roles is maintained throughout the New Testament.
Elders have the responsibility to exercise oversight over the preaching of the Word. In this article, the author shows how elders can do this by looking at the nature of preaching, the character of preaching, and the preaching of the Heidelberg Catechism.
Should women be allowed to serve in the church as deaconesses? This article looks at the work and role of women in the church through church history. It also discusses the task of women in the ministry of mercy.
What role should women play in the church? Surveying the evidence of the Old Testament and New Testament, this article shows that equality and subordination are not opposing principles. The headship of man was instituted by God before the Fall. As a result, women should fight against the desire for leadership in the church, and joyfully take on their God-given role of submission.
What songs should accompany the celebration of the Lord's Supper? This article looks at the history of the celebration of the Lord's Supper before the Reformation and after the Reformation, with focus on the music accompanying the Lord's Supper. This article argues that songs of joy should resound during this time of the meal, and that liturgy must be structured accordingly.
The Lord's Supper should be celebrated with joy, since in it we experience the presence of Christ, a reminder of the coming feast of the Lamb, and the fellowship of believers. It must be a festive meal, and should have a special place in the liturgy. This article also looks at the celebration of the Holy Communion in the early church and at the time of the Reformation.
Does preaching still have a place in the church? The author shows that preaching is one of the keys of the kingdom. The sermon is necessary for the church. What constitutes a sermon? This article also discusses the character, content, and form of a sermon.
This article looks at the offices in the church as gifts of Christ. The article also discusses how many offices Christ gives, how and why God gives officebearers, and the task and the authority of officebearers.
This articles gives a history of the development of the worship service from the Old Testament to the Reformation. All the elements of liturgy from the beginning of the service to the end are discussed (preaching, reading of Scripture, public prayer, singing, beginning of service, Lord’s Supper, baptism, the law, etc.).
This article looks at the responsibility of elders to exercise discipline. The author provides biblical grounds for discipline. Discipline for confessing and baptised members is also discussed. The author concludes with the manner and process of exercising discipline, including excommunication and reconciliation.
Part of the task of elders in caring for the church is visiting the sick. In this article the author shows why such a house visitation is needed, and what should be the purpose of it. The author discusses the role of the elder in bringing the Word and praying for healing for the sick.
The work of the deacons is primarily to show how God addresses the needs of His people through the Word. Therefore, their work is linked with the Word. This article shows how the deacons must bring the Word to the needy, the poor and the sick.
This article looks at the manner in which deacons must conduct their family visits. They must fulfil their task in giving instruction, comfort and mercy. They must discover and attend to the needs of the congregation, practise confidentiality, understand vulnerability, listen and pray. The author also looks at other guidelines for the visits of deacons.
Crucial to biblical preaching is the choice of a text. This article looks at some aspects to consider when choosing a text for a sermon. The author also discusses lectionaries, as well as using and abusing freedom in text choices for the preaching.
Does God send suffering to His children? In this article the author shows that suffering comes from the providence of God, as He is a loving father to His children. He does this for our good, and we must respond with true hope in Him. This article also denies the claim that suffering happens outside God's providence and that as a result God can only suffer with His children.
The effective administration of the ministry of mercy is dependant on how well the diaconate is organized. The office of deacons is divinely appointed, permanent and ministerial in character. This article discusses how this office should be regulated by looking at the church order, the confessions, and the relationship between deacons and elders. It ends by giving pointers on how to organize the diaconate of the church.
Church discipline is not a responsibility of the few, but of the whole congregation. Christians have a biblical call to practice brotherly admonition. Discipline is the responsibility of every believer, and when needed, it should lead to the responsibility of the consistory. The goal is to save the sinner.
Who qualifies to do a house visit? Who qualifies to receive a family visit? This article looks at these questions under the topic of the work of the elders and deacons in the congregation. The author discusses the need for family visits, as well as the manner in which a home visit should be done.
Family visits are a task carried out by the elders under the authority of Christ in order to care for His church. This article looks at the ways elders should prepare for such home visits, and some important aspects of the family visit.
The church is not only built on the truth of Scripture, she equally has the task to confess that truth. In this article, the author looks at the necessity of the creeds in the church, and the history, authority, and interpretation of the confession.
Preaching is experiential when addresses the questions, cares, temptations and struggles of God's people. Looking at the Canons of Dort on the experience of faith, the author show how God's word can be preached in such a way that such experience of faith is given attention in the sermon for the up-building of the body of Christ.
Church discipline is the spiritual order to maintain the holiness of the church against the destructiveness of the power of sin. This article gives a definition of church discipline and a short discussion on the elements of church discipline.
This article looks at what qualifies someone to be a deacon. The author discusses the qualificaitions of deacons, touching on the topics of personal godliness, relationships with family, and relationships with others. The article also shows ways of preparing those who are elected for the duty in the ministry of mercy.
The kingdom is larger than the church, but the church is essential to the kingdom. Though the church is not equal to the kingdom, it is crucial to the fulfilment of the kingdom. The church hosts the citizens of the kingdom. In this article, the author unpacks the relationship of the church to the kingdom of God.
Liturgy should connect the church with the past generation, serve the worship of the church in the present, and prepare the church for the future perfect liturgy. In this article, the author examines church liturgy in the history of the church from the 16th century under the influence of Roman Catholic Church to the liturgy after the time of the Reformation.
Church discipline is one of the keys to maintaining the holiness of the church. In this article, the author looks at the scriptural teaching for the foundation of discipline in the church. Arguing from both the Old Testament and the New Testament, the author states that God has always set ways of maintaining the holiness of the church against the destructive power of sin.