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One of the more common theological mistakes among Christians today, including Reformed believers, is the error of separating God’s gracious work in salvation from his glorious work of creation. Though few would deny that God’s singular purpose in both activities is to glorify himself, many nonetheless want to separate the ways in which God is […]

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How great the Father’s love!

It is he who made the earth by his power,    who established the world by his wisdom,      and by his understanding stretched out the heavens.   Jeremiah 10:12 (ESV)    A couple of years ago, one of my daughters asked me why God had made such an amazingly large universe when his primary purpose […]

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Church Abroad

The body of Christ is a diverse group of people gathered out of every nation across our world. It’s all too easy to lose sight of this fact in the local churches where we worship each week. Most churches in the Protestant Reformed denomination are relatively homogeneous, made up of primarily middle-class people from Dutch […]

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One Holy Catholic Church

“I believe an holy catholic church.”  Every week believers in Christian churches around the world make this confession by reciting the Apostle’s Creed. Even if they don’t recite or hear it as part of their regular worship services, all true Christians believe this statement because the Apostle’s Creed is one of the ecumenical creeds of […]

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Issue at Hand, October 2023

At the time of writing for this issue of Beacon Lights, the summer is just wrapping up and schools are opening once again. I have the unique opportunity this year to be sending three of my daughters off separately to college, high school, and grade school—all Christian institutions—while another begins her own first year of […]

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Armor of God

Scripture is full of analogies that help illustrate spiritual truths by comparing them to the everyday objects or experiences we encounter in our physical lives. Our theme for this month, which focuses on Paul’s teaching about the “armour of God” in Ephesians 6:10–20, is a good example of one of these analogies. Here the apostle […]

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Being Armorbearers

“Don’t worry, I got you.”     How many times have you heard those words? You probably use this line yourself (or something like it) to express solidarity with a friend or companion when the going gets tough. Maybe it’s a stressful situation at school or work. Or after the disappointment of a hard breakup. Or […]

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Biblical Womanhood

Last month we considered biblical teaching about manhood in an attempt to steer young believers toward a scriptural understanding of gender. The proper complement to that issue is one focused on biblical womanhood, which is the topic for Beacon Lights this month.   For the world around us, the biblical concept of gender is considered outdated […]

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Biblical Manhood

If there is any area in which conservative Christians stand distinctly apart from our culture today, it is in the arena of sexual ethics. The sexual revolution that has swept through Western society over the past three decades or so is striking. Less than thirty years ago an enthusiastically progressive president of the United States […]

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Living Sacrifices

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and […]

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Reformed doctrines applied

Throughout the calendar year, the Beacon Lights staff makes an effort to balance the content of the magazine so that it includes several different kinds of themes. We aim to touch on practical aspects of Christian living, worldview, worship, biblical studies, and theology. This month the last of these topics is the theme to which […]

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Why are you Protestant Reformed?

For most readers, the answer to the question framed by this article’s title is simple. It’s this: “because I was born and raised in a Protestant Reformed church and have never really thought about worshipping elsewhere.” This is probably the answer that many churchgoing people would give for their membership today, though it isn’t something […]

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Issue at Hand, May 2023

Our edition of Beacon Lights for May is one of the two open issues planned for this calendar year. As always, these issues are a great opportunity to feature articles on a variety of topics along with other contributions that we receive from time to time. It’s also a good time to remind readers that […]

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Contending, not contentious

Probably one of the ugliest things in the world is a contentious Christian. We’ve all seen it. A face twisted into a snarl, with nostrils flaring. A voice raised, biting with sarcasm. Words handled like knives to slash and cut the opposition. And when the argument is finished, a parting dig laced with smug condescension.   […]

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This is life eternal

And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. John 17:3    The passage that opens this article is taken from one of my favorite chapters in all of Scripture. The entirety of John 17 is an intimate, personal prayer that Jesus spoke […]

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A practical guide to personal devotions

If there is one area of our spiritual lives that can use some growth and development, it is likely in the practice of personal devotions. And although this probably has been true of God’s people throughout history, the pace of life and incredible variety of distractions in our modern world have made the practice of […]

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Special Needs

The world in which special needs children live today is much different than it was only a generation ago. I can vividly remember stories from my cousin about having a special needs child integrated into his classroom at Heritage Christian School back in the late 1980s. This was a first for Protestant Reformed Special Education […]

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Scholarship essay edition

Every year the Protestant Reformed Federation of Young People’s Societies sponsors a scholarship writing contest for college students who are planning to become teachers or enter the ministry. The contest typically features a list of three questions, one of which each writer will address as a part of their essay. Though every participant in the […]

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Spiritual accountability

In last month’s issue of Beacon Lights, I noted a recent sermon on Ephesians 5 that described three different characteristics of faithful church members. Such people are sober, they sing the truths of God’s word to one another, and they submit to one another (vv. 18–21). Last month the value of singing was discussed at […]

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New Beginnings

If you’ve made it this far into the January edition of Beacon Lights, you probably noticed that the magazine you are holding in your hands looks a bit different than what it has for some time. Most obviously, it’s smaller and printed on different paper stock, which reflects a decision by the Beacon Lights staff […]

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Melodies of the Soul

And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; submitting […]

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Worshiping the God of beauty

One of the first things that comes to my mind when I hear a soul-stirring performance of stringed music is, “Wow, that was beautiful!” To me, very few things are more pleasing than to hear a familiar song played by a highly skilled string quartet. It is this aesthetic quality of music that makes it […]

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Life with God

This month’s edition of Beacon Lights is our final issue for 2022. As the title indicates, our final topic for this year is the doctrine of the covenant, which can be summarized very simply as “life with God.” We thought it would be fitting to close out the year by focusing on the covenant for […]

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Understanding the Covenant

In the early days of my graduate school training at the University of Michigan, I had a research mentor who found out I was a Calvinist. As a Catholic, he was amused to tell me that he had once sat in John Calvin’s chair in Geneva during his training in Switzerland. His comment to me […]

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Issue at Hand, November 2022

Although this issue of Beacon Lights is an “open issue” without a specific theme, each of the articles highlights something for which we can be thankful—which seems appropriate given the coming holiday this month. As I went through this list an abundance of “C’s” emerged. See if you can pick out the pattern as you […]

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