Pastoral Theology and Practice

Vol. 7 No. 1 / Apr 2021


EDITORIAL: HOPE AGAINST HOPE

PAUL WELLS - in Vol. 7 No. 1 / Apr 2021
We Thought The Road Ahead Was Straight; Now, We Cannot See Around The Corner. The Present Worldwide Health Crisis Has Tipped Many People Into Despair. When Normal Life And Its Hopes Are Removed, Emptiness And Futility Are Laid Bare. Many Have Lost Loved Ones, More Have Lost Or Will Lose Their Livelihood, And We Have All Lost Our Comforting Personal Networks. The Rich Skein Of Our Lives Has Become A Skeleton.

MATTHEW HENRY’S PREACHING AND PASTORAL MINISTRY AT HACKNEY, 1712–1714

ALLAN M. HARMAN - in Vol. 7 No. 1 / Apr 2021
At the very end of the Puritan period, Matthew Henry pastored a Presbyterian congregation at Chester in northwest England for twenty-five years. His own Puritan connection is clear, for his father, Philip Henry of Worthenbury, was among many who lost their livings in the Great Ejection of 1662. Moreover, Philip Henry was a pupil of the great Puritan professor, Dr. John Owen of Oxford. If anyone could claim Puritan lineage, then it was Matthew Henry.

THE HOMELESSNESS CRISIS AND THE ROLE OF THE CHURCH

WILLIAM B. BOWES - in Vol. 7 No. 1 / Apr 2021
Homelessness Is Perhaps The Most Visible Form Of Poverty In The United States. It Is Nearly Impossible To Walk Through Any Major City And Not Pass By A Homeless Person. Particularly Hard-hit Areas Are Seeing The Phenomenon Of “tent Cities,” Where Large Groups Of Homeless People Gather Publicly In Makeshift Shelters. Due To Significant Increases In The Number Of People Facing Homelessness In Recent Decades And ...

ON CHRISTIAN ENGAGEMENT WITH DIGITAL TECHNOLOGIES: A REFORMED PERSPECTIVE

JEAN FRANCESCO A. L. GOMES - in Vol. 7 No. 1 / Apr 2021
Digital technology has changed people’s lives in the twenty-first century. A recent survey indicates that the average American spends almost 24 hours a week online. Technology facilitates communication, access to information, and shopping and enables various forms of entertainment. However, studies have shown that the misuse of digital technology has side effects on the quality of interpersonal relationships, has generated new virtual vices,and is interfering in the functioning of our brain ...

CRITICISM AND LEGITIMACY OF “CULTURAL MARXISM”: IMPLICATIONS FOR CHRISTIAN WITNESS IN THE POSTMODERN WORLD

YANNICK IMBERT - in Vol. 7 No. 1 / Apr 2021
It has become impossible to discuss the current influence of socialist thought without the expression “cultural Marxism” appearing. For many conservative observers of our culture, there is a radical change at work in the media, academia, and the broader culture. This change is explained through the conceptual lens of this expression, which is used —often carelessly and inaccurately—to describe the ideology promoted by left-leaning thinkers in their efforts to transform society. The critics ...

REDEEMING REDEMPTION: VIOLENCE, DESECRATION, AND ATONEMENT

CHRISTOPHER D. STEED - in Vol. 7 No. 1 / Apr 2021
This article approaches the interface between atonement and violence as it picks up on the theme of atonement through the notion of valuable personhood. I argue that this is key to the conundrum of how the death of Christ effects personal and societal transformation. Violence sets up an intense transaction and symbolic exchange in which the victims’ value is scraped from their faces by the perpetrators. This is “violence as desecration,” an intense degree of human devaluation. ...

YASUKUNI SHRINE, JAPANESE CHRISTIAN RESPONSES, AND A KUYPERIAN ECCLESIOLOGICAL PERSPECTIVE

SURYA HAREFA - in Vol. 7 No. 1 / Apr 2021
This article explores the issue of reviving the Yasukuni Shrine as a state-operated place of mandatory worship and how Japanese Christians have responded to this ongoing problem. After the visit of Abe Shinzō to worship there in an official capacity on December 26, 2013, citizen groups in Osaka and Tokyo brought appeals against the premier before the corresponding district courts. Prior to that, the official worship of Koizumi Jun’ichirō in 2001–2006 had likewise earned criticism and led ...

PERSONAL EVANGELISM OR SOCIAL REFORM? THE CHALLENGE TO BRAZILIAN PRESBYTERIANISM IN THE NINETEENTH CENTURY

BRUNO GONÇALVES ROSI - in Vol. 7 No. 1 / Apr 2021
Until the nineteenth century, Brazil was almost entirely a Roman Catholic country. John Calvin himself sent missionaries to Rio de Janeiro in the sixteenth century, and the Dutch Reformed Church followed when the Netherlands occupied a great part of the Brazilian northeast in the seventeenth century. However, despite these isolated episodes, from 1500 to 1800 there was almost no Protestantism in Brazil. This started to change early in the nineteenth century. In 1808, the Portuguese royal ...

REFLECTIONS ON COVID-19: FROM PSALM 80

WILLIAM EDGAR - in Vol. 7 No. 1 / Apr 2021
Everyone has been caught off guard. The numbers are staggering. As of this present writing, there are nearly 20 million infections of COVID-19 worldwide, of which some 730,000 have been fatal. This unprecedented crisis has caused the best scientists and medical experts to face it with a view to finding cures and preventatives. Optimists tell us to wait a while until a breakthrough can occur. Realists worry that there is no end in sight. There is precedent for some hope in the fight against ...

THE RESPONSE OF CHRISTIANS AND CHURCHES IN INDIA TO COVID-19

MATTHEW EBENEZER - in Vol. 7 No. 1 / Apr 2021
COVID-19 has left a sense of uncertainty, insecurity, and fear in all communities around the world. Jesus’s words on the separation that can come between the members of a family (cf. Luke 12:52–53) eerily apply to various situations where contracting this disease brings the fear of being disowned by your very own. At the end of 2020, India had the second largest number of COVID-19 cases in the world, after the United States. A glimmer of hope lies in the discovery of a truly effective ...

PLAGUE AND SANCTIFICATION: INDONESIAN REFLECTIONS

BILLY KRISTANTO and AUDY SANTOSO - in Vol. 7 No. 1 / Apr 2021
The COVID-19 Pandemic Has Caused Various Responses Among Church Leaders, As It Has Among Politicians. We Will Draw On Some Ideas In The Reformed Tradition Of John Calvin, Theodore Beza, And Ralph Venning, Who All Wrote On The Plague, And Relate Their Ideas To Our Current Situation In Indonesia.

THE PANDEMIC AND THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH, ESPECIALLY IN ITALY

LEONARDO DE CHIRICO - in Vol. 7 No. 1 / Apr 2021
It is when the heart is under pressure that its true and deep commitments are exposed. When facing hardships, we reveal what is really important to us. In these months of the coronavirus emergency, the message that Roman Catholicism is giving is an alarming detachment from the basic principles of the biblical faith. This should come as no surprise. What is happening belongs to the core of Roman Catholic beliefs and practices as they are taught in the Catechism of the Catholic Church and ...

THE CHURCHES IN THE NETHERLANDS AND THE PANDEMIC

HERMAN J. SELDERHUIS - in Vol. 7 No. 1 / Apr 2021
Below I try to describe in ten brief paragraphs how the Reformed churches in The Netherlands replied to COVID-19 and the effect this pandemic will have on these churches in the near future. I underline that these are my personal observations and analyses, but I do hope they give an impression of what the coronavirus brought about in the life of the church.

THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC IN NIGERIA

PHILIP TACHIN - in Vol. 7 No. 1 / Apr 2021
The outbreak of the global COVID-19 pandemic provoked different reactions all over the world. In Nigeria, fear enveloped everyone as all public places, including churches, were shut down. From medieval times to the present, deadly pandemics have afflicted humanity with devastating effects. Many questions sprang up: Is the pandemic of divine origin or human made or both? Is it a sign of God’s judgment upon the sins of humanity? Is it a sign of the end times? In what ways are we able to ...

THE CHURCH IN THE MIDST OF THE ENDURING PANDEMIC

PIERRE BERTHOUD - in Vol. 7 No. 1 / Apr 2021
As many of you know, France is one of the most secularized democracies in the Western world, and this has had significant repercussions in the way the French population has responded to the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic. The general cultural climate is characterized by a humanist world and life view implying atheism or agnosticism. At best, theism is considered irrelevant to the human plight and disconnected from life issues and crises within civil society.

HOW HAS COVID-19 AFFECTED MY TEACHING AT WESTMINSTER THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY?

TODD M. RESTER - in Vol. 7 No. 1 / Apr 2021
It would be easier to list how COVID-19 has not affected the experience of teaching than it would be to list all the ways it has! The mission is still the same: to train biblically faithful pastors and theologians in the whole counsel of God’s Word that they might equip God’s people for the work of the ministry and discipleship for the proclamation of the gospel, whether locally or globally. The commitment to intentional mentoring and fellowship with students is the same. Since we, ...

WARFIELD, BAVINCK, AND KUYPER: INTERVIEW WITH CORNELIS P. VENEMA AND DAVID GARNER

PETER A. LILLBACK - in Vol. 7 No. 1 / Apr 2021
The Following Is The Transcription Of A Discussion Peter Lillback Held With Cornelis Venema And David Garner On The Day Before Venema Delivered The Fourteenth Annual Gaffin Lecture On “Should Effectual Calling And Regeneration Be Distinguished?” (March 17, 2021). Besides Discussing The Contribution Of Richard B. Gaffin Jr. And Contemporary Issues, This Dialogue Celebrates The Memory Of Benjamin B. Warfield (1851–1921), Herman Bavinck (1854–1921), And Abraham Kuyper (1837–1920) ...

GRATITUDE NEEDS A GIVER: WHY POLITICAL SCIENCE NEEDS INTELLIGENT DESIGN

BRIAN G. MATTSON - in Vol. 7 No. 1 / Apr 2021
Liberalism, understood in its broadest scope as the political system of ordered liberty that has prevailed in the Western world for the past three hundred years, is under renewed and withering attack. It is a complex of mutually reinforcing ideas that includes commitment to individual equality before the law, representative government, private property rights, and wide freedoms of economic exchange, speech, religion, and association. The emergence and global influence of this tradition ...

GEORGE WILL’S THE CONSERVATIVE SENSIBILITY

PETER A. LILLBACK - in Vol. 7 No. 1 / Apr 2021
George F. Will, The Pulitzer Prize-winning Author Of Sixteen Books, Has Delivered A Six-hundred-page Tour De Force. The Conservative Sensibility (New York: Hachette Books, 2019) Emerged From Reflections Incubated Since His Arrival At Princeton University’s Graduate School In 1964 To Pursue A Doctoral Degree In Political Philosophy. The Princeton Ethos Of His Penmanship Is Prominent Throughout.

BOOK REVIEW: DEREK W. H. THOMAS AND JOHN W. TWEEDDALE, EDS. JOHN CALVIN: FOR A NEW REFORMATION

HERMAN J. SELDERHUIS - in Vol. 7 No. 1 / Apr 2021
It Was Somewhat Quiet After The Calvin Jubilee In 2009. The Five-hundredth Anniversary Of John Calvin Had Resulted In A Flood Of Events Including A Huge Number Of Publications. But Then Silence Fell Over Calvin, As Happens So Often After Jubilees. It Is Therefore Praiseworthy That Crossway Has Taken The Initiative To Publish The Book Under Review. It Contains Twenty Goodsized Chapters, Of Which The First Seven (part 1) Are More Historical And Biographical And The Other Thirteen (part 2) More ...

BOOK REVIEW: TOM HOLLAND. DOMINION: HOW THE CHRISTIAN REVOLUTION REMADE THE WORLD

WILLIAM EDGAR - in Vol. 7 No. 1 / Apr 2021
Just when we thought the pendulum had swung irretrievably to historiographies that either bemoan or at least minimize any positive Christian influence on Western culture, this book comes out showing the extensive affirmative sway of the Christian worldview on the West. It is a powerful and largely persuasive volume. As one who teaches Christian apologetics, I find it significant, though sad, that the author is no longer a convinced believer. At the same time, he is nothing if not nostalgic ...

BOOK REVIEW: HERMAN BAVINCK. CHRISTIAN WORLDVIEW

DANIEL SCHROCK - in Vol. 7 No. 1 / Apr 2021
Talk of a Christian worldview has fallen on hard times of late within some of the diverse circles of Reformed thought. Some see it as the driver of a lopsided approach to Christian faith and religious life, which places an undue emphasis on the cognitive. Others indict it with the charge of smuggling into Reformed thought an unhappy vestige of post-Kantian philosophy. Herman Bavinck entertained neither of these reservations when he penned this book in the early twentieth century.

BOOK REVIEW: GRANT WACKER. ONE SOUL AT A TIME: THE STORY OF BILLY GRAHAM

BRANDON D. CROWE - in Vol. 7 No. 1 / Apr 2021
As a follow-up to Grant Wacker’s 2014 volume America’s Pastor: Billy Graham and the Shaping of a Nation (Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press), which focuses largely on Billy Graham’s relationship to American culture, One Soul at a Time focuses more on Graham himself; this is more of a traditional biography. Each of the fifty-one chapters—or “scenes,” as Wacker calls them—are short, ranging between three and eight pages, and are organized in four parts: ...

BOOK REVIEW: STEPHEN TOMKINS. THE CLAPHAM SECT: HOW WILBERFORCE’S CIRCLE TRANSFORMED BRITAIN

PAUL WELLS - in Vol. 7 No. 1 / Apr 2021
Visiting The Museum Of Slavery In My Hometown Of Liverpool, I Was Struck By The Extent To Which The Secular Mentality Succumbs To The Sirens And Airbrushes Out Christian Contributions To History. Of Course, This Remark Applies Not To The Origins Of Slavery, For Where There Are Victims, Perpetrators Are Named And Shamed, But To Its Abolition, For In That Case The Christian Contribution Is Often Relegated To A Footnote. The Historian’s Task Is Essential In Overcoming The Postmodern Fad Of ...

BOOK REVIEW: CHRISTIAN C. SAHNER. CHRISTIAN MARTYRS UNDER ISLAM: RELIGIOUS VIOLENCE AND THE MAKING OF THE MUSLIM WORLD

PAUL WELLS - in Vol. 7 No. 1 / Apr 2021
This Finely Researched And Written Book Began As A Doctoral Dissertation At Princeton University. Christian Sahner Is Associate Professor Of Islamic History At The University Of Oxford And A Fellow Of Saint Cross College. His Work Is A Boon To Anyone Interested In The Interplay Between Christians And Muslims As Islam Expanded West In The Seventh To The Ninth Centuries Of The Present Era (ca. 660–860). It Provides A Description Of The World In Which The Christian Martyrs ...