Check Out


15 Practical Steps to Racial Reconciliation | Jarvis Williams, Reformed African American Network
“I applaud and praise God for the progress that has been made on race relations in the evangelical movement. However, I think every aspect of the evangelical movement can do much better on race relations. Therefore, I offer evangelicals (and anyone else with ears to hear!) 15 practical steps they can take toward reconciliation.”

Do You Keep Your Commitments – Even When It Hurts? | Jim Newheiser, Biblical Counseling Coalition Blogs
“Times will come when one might regret making a commitment, but…it is necessary to keep one’s word. In other words, let your ‘yes’ be ‘yes.’”

My Indebtedness to the Puritan | Joel Beeke
“While there are many ways that the Bible-saturated books of the Puritans have influenced me, I would like to highlight three special lessons I have learned from them about experiential, practical Christian living.”

Learning to Pastor from Leviticus | Derek Rishmawy, TGC
“When I was a college minister, Leviticus wasn’t the book I typically went to for pastoral theology. Actually, Leviticus wasn’t the book I typically went to for most things, with the exception of an atonement talk here or there. I suspect I’m not alone. Most of us don’t relish the idea of delighting our parishioners with details of cleansing skin diseases.  But I’ve recently been learning how mistaken we are when we take this approach to Leviticus.”

5 Rookie Pastor Mistakes | Hershael York, TGC
“…often conflicts arise because well-intentioned pastors make rookie mistakes—the missteps that occur at the intersection of the ideal and reality.”

13 Helps For When a Friend Battles Depression | Mike Leake, Borrowed Light
#4: “Take seriously the way they relate their feelings and distresses. It does no good to tell them, ‘this is all imaginary’.”

Feeding on Christ Leadership Principles and Pastoral Ministry | Nicholas T. Batzig, Feeding on Christ
“The Psalmist summed up David’s leadership in the following manner: ‘David shepherded [Israel] with integrity of heart; with skillful hands he led them’ (Ps. 78:72). A minister needs to have both an upright heart and a skillful hand.”

New Book

Christian Freedom (Grace Essentials) by Samuel Bolton ($7.99)

Kindle Deals

Finding Truth: 5 Principles for Unmasking Atheism, Secularism, and Other God Substitutes by Nancy Pearcy ($3.99).

Understanding the Times: A Survey of Competing Worldviews by Jeff Myers and David A. Noebel ($3.99)

The A to Z Guide to Finding It in the Bible: A Quick-Scripture Reference Baker Books ($1.99)

When to Speak Up and When To Shut Up by Dr. Michael D. Sedler ($0.99)

The Impact of Calvinism on Culture

Over the next few weeks, I’ll be posting expanded extracts of a popular-level address I gave on “The Impact of Calvinism on Culture.” Here’s an introduction to the series. (You might also want to read a few previous posts There’s More to Calvinism Than the Five Points of Calvinism,  There’s More to The Doctrines of Grace than the Doctrines of Grace, and The Five Distortions of Calvinism).

If there’s one thing that Calvinism’s friends and enemies agree about, it’s that Calvinism has had a huge impact upon culture. After narrating how much hostility to Calvinism he had found in various academic locations, Australian theolgian Peter Jensen observed, ”The enemies of Calvinism are right in seeing in Calvinism an extraordinarily powerful ideology, one which they do well to be alarmed about.” [1]

In Engaging with Calvin, Mark Thompson wrote: “He [Calvin] can legitimately lay claim to being one of the most influential of all Western thinkers.”[2] Thomson also asserted that Calvinism “is a movement that has not only contributed to the origin of the modern world but has played a socially and ecclesiastically significant role on all continents down to the present day.”[3]

In Calvin and CultureRichard Tewning confirms this by demonstrating that “Calvinism carried Calvin’s teachings across Europe and into the New World—North America.”[4]

Despite this agreement about Calvinism’s impact on the culture, when we get down to details, there is much debate about three main words in the title of this series. First, what is “culture”? Second, what is “Calvinism”? Third, what is “impact”? So let’s briefly answer some of the questions about the question before we get to some of the answers about the question in future posts.

First, for the purposes of this series, we will limit the word “culture” to six particular areas: education, politics, economics, marriage/the family, the law, and the arts. As we shall see, Calvinism has had a significant impact on these central components of Western culture, and consequently on American culture.

But I want to finish the series with a focus on American culture in particular, noting seven historical phases in Calvinism’s impact on America, from the first immigrants all the way up to New Calvinism, which Time magazine (March 12, 2009) ranked as one of the ten most influential ideas of our generation.

Second, as the inclusion of “Calvinism” in the title suggests, we will be tracing how Calvin and his followers (not just Calvin) applied his thought to various areas of life in influential ways.

Third, when measuring “impact” we’re talking about positive impact. Professor of Apologetics, Robert Knudsen asked:

Why is it that Calvinism has had a positive attitude toward culture and has been able to make constructive cultural contributions? Why indeed is it that this positive attitude belongs to the very genius of Calvinism, so much so that Calvin had in view not only a reformation in doctrine, in individual life, and in the life of the church, but also a transformation of all of culture in the name of Christ? [5]

In terms of positive impact, we won’t just highlight what Calvinism introduced that was brand new, but also at how it tweaked existing ideas and influences, and how it built upon them in ways that made them better.

Next time, we’ll begin to look at Calvinism’s impact on education.

[1] Peter F. Jensen, Engaging with Calvin: Aspects of the Reformer’s Legacy for Todayed. Mark D. Thompson (Nottingham: Apollos, 2009), 255.

[2] Introduction, Engaging with Calvin, 11.

[3] Oliver D. Crisp, Engaging with Calvin, 145.

[4] Richard C. Chewning, Calvin and Culture: Exploring a Worldview, ed. David W. Hall and Marvin Padgett (Phillipsburg: P&R, 2010), 207.

[5] Robert Knudsen, John Calvin: His Influence in the Western World, ed. W Stanford Reid (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1982), 14.


Check Out


5 Books You Should Read This Election Year | Trevin Wax, TGC
“To aid us in this task of enduring an Election year and engaging the political process well, I’ve selected five books as recommended reading.”

The Sabbath: The Antidote for Achievement-Addicts | Kelly Needham, True Woman Blog
“Though we might not be slaves, our present culture prizes productivity so highly that taking a day off also sounds absurd.”

The Rising Third Wave of Productivity and the Church | Glenn Brooke, The Institute for Faith, Work, and Economics
“The third wave of productivity is about focus and uniquely human contributions coming to the center.”

How to Do Bible Word Studies: A Fool-Proof Guide | Mark Ward, LogosTalk
“Word studies are a treasure trove . . . and a mine field. Somehow you have to weave through the dangers to get the treasures. Think for a moment: if you were about to enter such a field, what would you want to know about first? The gold or the bombs?”

The Pleasures and Perils of the Online Life | Samuel James, TGC
“Navigating the pleasures and perils of social media requires wisdom, reflection, and a life lived in close proximity to the means of grace God has ordained for his church.”

Boys Need Their Mom | Tim Challies
“Boys need their moms–I am convinced of it. Even teenaged boys, boys who are nearly men. I see this when I look back at my own life. It wouldn’t be overstating it to say that my mother was my primary counselor and most trusted companion through those turbulent teenage years.”

Brain scans to catch depression before it starts | Ben Gruber, Yahoo News
“Researchers at MIT’s McGovern Institute are using the latest advances in brain imaging to identify children at high risk of depression before the debilitating and sometimes deadly disorder sets in.”

New Book

Black and Reformed: Seeing God’s Sovereignty in the African-American Christian Experience by Anthony J. Carter ($13.99)

Kindle Deals

Walking as He Walked by Joel R. Beeke ($0.99)

Quick Scripture Reference for Counseling Men by Keith R. Miller ($1.99)

Uncensored: Daring to Embrace the Entire Bible by Brian Cosby ($1.99)

Burning Hearts: Preaching to the Affections by Josh Moody and Robin Weekes ($2.99)


The Present: An Animated Short
Show this beautiful animation with a powerful message to your kids (and watch it yourself).

New Books in the PRTS Library

One of the privileges of working at PRTS is the weekly arrival of new books to supplement our library of 70,000+ books. Here’s the latest batch.

New Books

Just one qualification — inclusion in the library does not mean endorsement of contents. We often have to buy books to help students with specialist theses and also to train students to think critically.

Latest in Crossway’s Preaching the Word series of commentaries.

Judges and Ruth: God in Chaos (Preaching the Word) by Barry Webb.

Paul and the Gift by John Barclay.

“A look at grace in Paul’s theology, studying it in view of ancient notions of “gift” and shining new light on Paul’s relationship to Second Temple Judaism.”

Teaching and Christian Imagination by David Smith and Susan Felch.

“This book invites Christian teachers to slow down, take a deep breath, and allow their weary souls to recover. The authors — experienced teachers themselves — encourage teacher-readers to imagine their work differently, opening up possibilities for reanimating how they view learning in a Christian context.”

A Goodly Heritage: Essays in Honor of the Reverend Dr. Elton J. Bruins at Eighty by Jacob Nyenhuis.

Biblia Americana: America’s First Bible Commentary. A Synoptic Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. Volume 5: Proverbs-Jeremiah by Cotton Mather.

“This volume of the Biblia Americana contains Cotton Mather’s annotations on the books of Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Canticles, Jeremiah, and Isaiah.”

To the Table: A Spirituality of Food, Farming, and Community by Lisa McMinn.

“To the Table is a warm and wise invitation to practice eating as a spiritual discipline–not as an act of self-improvement but as a way of living out and delighting in the generous, abundant, just, sweet, and savory love of God.”

Effective Generational Ministry: Biblical and Practical Insights for Transforming Church Communities by Craig Blomberg.

“Understanding generational differences is a key to effective ministry in a multigenerational church. This book offers students and practitioners cutting-edge research and biblical analysis of three generations–Boomers, GenXers, and Millennials–so churches can minister more effectively within and across generational lines.”

The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Authoritarianism

“This book explores the historical and contemporary relationships of Protestant Puritanism to political and social authoritarianism.”

New Doctoral Program at PRTS

Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary is pleased to announce its intent to launch a doctoral program with emphases in Historical Theology (beginning fall of 2016), Biblical Studies (projected to begin fall of 2017), and Homiletics (projected to begin fall of 2018).

Foundational for the doctoral program is the rationale behind the emphasis on both the academic and spiritual formation of the student. A worldwide demand is growing for a comprehensive doctoral program that captures academic rigor and integrity, and combines this with biblical piety (de pietate cum scientia conjungenda). In other words, it is necessary that a doctoral program serve the ministry of both the academy and church (teaching and preaching).

PRTS seeks to adhere to the Reformed and Puritan tradition of blending learning with piety, exemplified by John Calvin (1509-1564), William Perkins (1558-1602), William Ames (1576-1633), Gisbertus Voetius (1589-1676), Archibald Alexander (1772-1851), and many others. We aim to do so by offering a doctoral program that is distinctive in its academics and biblical piety; this will be evident in the admissions requirements, as well as the program’s academic rigor and spiritual formation components.

PRTS seeks to address, without compromising its academic standards and spiritual focus, the financial challenges that often accompany a graduate degree. PRTS will address this challenge in a sustainable way by: 1) delivering educational content, as much as possible, through technology; 2) reducing residential requirements; and 3) offering generous scholarships as enabled.

To find out more about the proposed program, please consult our Handbook for Doctoral Studies.

Potential applicants: Consider PRTS for your doctoral studies, and apply beginning here.

For more information: please visit the description on our website here, and click on the “Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)” tab.

Disclaimer: PRTS has submitted a proposal to its accrediting agency, the Association of Theological Schools (ATS), petitioning approval to begin a PhD program. Although we cannot officially begin the accredited program until that approval has been granted, we are allowed to begin offering course work on a non-matriculating basis. Those interested in becoming candidates for the prospective program may apply (complete form below) with the understanding that acceptance will be as a non-matriculating student. Upon ATS approval to launch the program officially, credits earned will be applied toward fulfilling the degree requirements.

Check Out


When A Christian Sins | Jason Helopoulos, TGC
Discouraged by sin in your life? Here are some sweet Gospel comforts.

The Big List of Notable Church Technology, Ministry Tools & Christian Apps | churchrel
“We have curated a list of what we believe to be the most notable and a few novel uses of technology in Christian ministry. Please use this list not to compete but to be inspired by how technology can be used for the good of God’s Kingdom.”

Welcome to Meet the Puritans 2.0 | Daniel Hyde, Meet the Puritans
Introducing the revamp of Meet the Puritans site.

The Unbusy Pastor | Eugene H. Peterson, Leadership Journal
The case is overstated but there’s more than a germ of truth in it. A provocative taster:

The word busy is the symptom not of commitment but of betrayal. It is not devotion but defection. The adjective busy set as a modifier to pastor should sound to our ears like adulterous to characterize a wife, or embezzling to describe a banker. It is an outrageous scandal, a blasphemous affront.

Don’t Have Time to Read Books? Try This One Weird Trick | Justin Taylor, TGC
“Here’s my suggestion: if you don’t have time to read books, start reading chapters instead.”

Take Action Against Adultery | Josh Squires, Desiring God
“People rarely (only six percent, according to Neuman) just ‘fall into bed together.’ The vast majority of time when an affair is consummated, it is done with someone that they’ve known at least a month and with whom they have had multiple interactions. That means that there is time to notice the warning signs. ”

New Book

Unchanging Witness: The Consistent Christian Teaching on Homosexuality in Scripture and Tradition by S. Donald Forston III and Rollin G. Grams ($24.27 paperback, $9.99 Kindle)

Kindle Deals

Jesus on Every Page: 10 Simple Ways to Seek and Find Christ in the Old Testament by David Murray $1.99.

Exalting Jesus Commentary series (most $2.99) See how Jesus is exalted in different books of the Bible. Click the link above to see the different commentaries available.

Amazing Grace by Steve Turner ($1.99)

Loving God with All Your Mind: Thinking as a Christian in the Postmodern World by Gene Veith ($2.99)

History of Religious Liberty: From Tyndale to Madison by Michael Farris ($2.99)

An Exposition of the Westminster Confession of Faith by Robert Shaw ($0.99)