Public Theology

28 May 2018 Handing over the keys to the State? The challenges of church as legal entity Part 3 of 3

  An ARPA Three-Part series on Church and State in Canada By André Schutten and John Sikkema The church, says the Belgic Confession, is “a holy congregation and assembly of true Christian believers” that “has existed from the beginning of the world and will be to the end” and “is not confined or limited to one particular place or to certain persons, but is spread and dispersed throughout the entire world.” Yet in common parlance we use “church” to mean several other things. We may use it to refer to a certain denomination, or a...

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15 May 2018 Christian worldview think tank expands with multi-million dollar grant

By Lighthouse News There is some great news from the Ezra Institute for Contemporary Christianity (EICC). The organization is officially moving into a new home this month. Founder and president Rev. Dr. Joe Boot says that, a few years ago, they were approached by several individuals who wanted to greatly increase the impact of the Ezra Institute. Conversations and plans transpired “pretty quickly” such that the Institute was given several million dollars to acquire their own study centre. Rev. Dr. Joe Boot Boot says the team identified a beautiful facility settled on 24...

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26 Mar 2018 Scripture, not state law, instructs us how to do church discipline Part 2 of 3

An ARPA Three-Part series on Church and State in Canada By John Sikkema and André Schutten Two weeks ago, in the first of our three-part series, we discussed foundations. We explained that God divides human authority between at least three institutions: the family, the church, and the state. Their authority or power comes from God and is limited by Scripture. The church must defer to the state in matters of state jurisdiction but cannot defer to the state in matters of ecclesiastical jurisdiction, particularly the preaching of the gospel and the exercise...

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14 Mar 2018 Who holds the keys to the kingdom of heaven? Part 1 of 3

An ARPA Three-Part series on Church and State in Canada By John Sikkema and André Schutten The back story… A few years ago, a man named Randy Wall was “disfellowshipped” from the Highwood Congregation of Jehovah Witnesses in Calgary. The elders deemed Wall “insufficiently repentant” for drunkenness and verbal abuse of his wife. Mr. Wall didn’t think this was fair. Wall was a real estate agent and about half of Wall’s customers were Witnesses. But after he was disfellowshipped, they refused to do business with him. So he took the Congregation to court,...

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03 Jan 2018 I belong! True happiness doesn’t come from autonomy

By Mark Penninga In his recently-published sketchbook/devotional Just Thinking, Jason Bouwman includes an entry called “Start with ‘Whose?’” Bouwman is working off a popular TED talk by Simon Sinek about inspiring people to action, one that I have showed to the ARPA team a couple of times. Sinek convincingly demonstrates that if we want to get people to do something, we need to start with answering “Why?” It’s well worth watching. But Bouwman argues that Sinek has not gone deep enough. The “Heidelberg Catechism teaches us to start not with ‘Why?’ but with...

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