Author: Ryan Burns

John Owen Didn’t Need a Bouncer

John Owen, the 17th century pastor and theologian, apparently doesn’t take any crap from smart @$$ kids who decide they can do whatever they want to in the classroom. After taking over as vice-chancellor of the University of Oxford, amidst a time of hardship which included a nearly empty treasury, mounting debt, and many empty halls and colleges being closed, Owen set out to bring order to the licentious and insubordinate attitude that had covered much of the university. He was given occasion to prove who was in charge of the university early on, as Andrew Thomas recounts in...

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Spurgeon and Means of Grace

Today I worked on a video that will be shown at Redemption Hill Church this coming Sunday. The video highlights some of the recent baptisms and, as I was editing the footage, I was reminded of what a amazing means of grace God has given us in the sacraments. So much more than empty rituals, they are active agents of God’s merciful kindness towards us. As I was thinking about this, I stumbled across this bit from Spurgeon and my soul was lifted up to God all the more: Other means, however, are made use of to bless men’s...

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John Owen Didn’t Need a Rock Star Pastor. He Needed the Gospel.

There are a lot of “rock-star” pastors these days. But, that’s nothing new. Heck, even before podcasts, blogs, and Twitter, people flocked to hear the big name preachers of their day (See: Whitfield, Spurgeon, Wesley, Finny, ect). It would seem that this can be traced all the way back to the early church where camps were forming around Paul and Apollos. (1 Corinthians 3:4) One of the great problems with idolizing or over emphasizing a particular preacher, is that you often do so at the expense of hear what many other great preachers, like maybe the one in your...

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Baptizing Young Children

My wrestling with the idea of baptizing children began in 2004, when my wife was pregnant with our first child. At the time, my struggle wasn’t about baptizing children, rather it was specifically about the baptizing of infants. I draw this distinction between baptizing infants and baptizing children because I believe it is an important one for this discussion. The issue of baptizing infants falls under the umbrella of what is known as padeobaptism, or as I prefer to call it, covenantal infant baptism. I don’t intend to discuss the baptism of infants here, but I draw the line...

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