"Everything Douglas Bond writes...is a fascinating read."
          
Joel Belz, WORLD Magazine

MAGAZINE ARTICLES (excerpts), by or about Douglas Bond

TableTalk magazine, Ligonier article excerpt (June, 2015)

Honor Your Father and Your Mother

“No more of parental rules,” declares Calvin as he and Hobbes strut north to be masters of their fate in the frozen Yukon. “Good riddance to those grown-up ghouls!” Life will be grand, so Calvin thinks, because there he won’t need to put up with—much less honor—his parents (Bill Watterson).

In a culture that honors youth, “Honor your father and your mother” (Exodus 20:12a) makes no sense. Isn’t honor something we seek for ourselves? So what’s all this about giving it to others?

YOUTH CULT

Our tolerant culture has zero tolerance for aging, which has produced a cult of perpetual youth, with perfect teeth grinning at us wherever we turn. In the resulting frenzy to appear young, Americans annually spend an amount on cosmetic procedures sufficient to feed and clothe 54 million starving children. 

Devoutly honoring the superficiality of appearance, we look with longing toward youth—and with loathing toward age and maturity. We desperately don’t want to grow up and give up childish ways (I Corinthians 13:11b), so, rather than honor, we ignore or neglect the aged.

Dishonoring maturity, however, is not just the problem of our image-driven youth culture. Seeing the tendency in 16th century Geneva, Calvin cautioned from his deathbed, “Let the young continue to be modest, without wishing to put themselves forward too much; for there is always a boastful character in young folks… who push on in despising others.”

HONOR OR ABANDON

Perversely, our culture makes it a virtue to “push on in despising others,” especially parents. Jared Diamond, UCLA professor and Pulitzer Prize-winning author, argues that with technology and inexhaustible access to information we no longer need the mature as a source of wisdom...

ByFaith magazine (PCA) author interview with Richard Doster

GRACE WORKS! (And Ways We Think It Doesn’t), P&R, 2014, by Douglas Bond

BF: What compelled you to write GRACE WORKS?

The short answer? Being a student of Church history. Church history includes a chronicle of the ways we “distort the gospel of Christ” (Galatians 1:7), abandon grace, and trouble the church with a contrary gospel (1:6-9). But it’s not just the other guys’ churches that make a mingle-mangle of gospel truth. The Bible and Church history relentlessly demonstrate that it can happen in your church and mine.

Who hasn’t heard preaching that was more about what we do than what God in Christ has already done by grace alone? I wrote GW because my own heart is prone to tear the grace of Christ apart and look to my own performance instead of the perfect righteousness of my Redeemer. I am prone to thinking that faith and obedience are conditions, fail to meet them and I forfeit justifying grace, to think that the gospel is a “responsible partnership” wherein “we determine our destiny by our faith and our obedience.” I wrote GW because I was hearing law-creep begin to erode the purity of the gospel of free grace in Christ alone—in our churches.

BF: Why write GW now? Because in every generation “Satan’s stratagem is that he does not attempt an avowed destruction of the whole gospel, but he taints its purity by introducing false and corrupt opinions” (Calvin). I wrote GW now to unmask the ways we “tamper with God’s Word” and teach a “disgraceful, underhanded” gospel (II Corinthians 4:2). The jury of church history is in. This can and will happen in your church and mine, hence, “We must exercise the utmost caution lest we allow any counterfeit to be substituted for the pure doctrine of the gospel” (Calvin). 


BF: What will readers know/understand that they don’t know/understand now?

GW is about equipping the church to heed these warnings, and to root out the various ways we become partners with him in his relentless scheme to redefine the gospel—in our generation. In GW I explore the various ways we doubt that grace actually works and the various ways the Enemy makes covenant moralism look more attractive than the covenant of grace, and the devastating effect of gospel distortions on our children.

Each chapter of GW concludes with discussion questions drawn from Scripture and catechisms, and ends with ways to pray for gospel unity and discernment.

BF: And how will readers’ lives be different as a result?

In GW there’s no tidy formulas, or simplistic how-to strategies. None of that works. Grace works. Only the Prince of Peace breaks down dividing walls and unifies His church around grace itself, grace that truly does work, because grace is not a thing but a person, Jesus Christ.

Finally, GW is a book about rediscovering the loveliness of Christ. My hope is that readers will close the book bedazzled with the Savior, slack-jawed in wonder at a gospel of grace that works, that accomplishes all that our gracious Redeemer said it would.

Douglas Bond, author of more than twenty books, is husband of Cheryl, father of six, and grandfather of two. He is a ruling elder in the PCA, a history and English teacher, a speaker at conferences, and a leader of Church history tours in Europe.(full profile)

Reader comment to MODERN REFORMATION Magazine

"This afternoon I read "On the Road: Walking in Calvin's Footsteps" by Douglas Bond in the June/July 2009 issue of Modern Reformation. I'd like to see more from this fellow. His writing has a 'you are there' quality that has a way of helping me remember the facts he's sharing. I found his article to be very enjoyable and informative as well."                   Blessings, Diane Barnett

MR: On the Road: Walking in Calvin's Footsteps

History is filled with ironic contortions. Consider the bungling of Scottish moderns placing a life-size bronze statue of John Knox in the ambulatory of St. Giles, Edinburgh, the very church in which Knox preached against idolatry. Or consider John Calvin decrying simony when funding for his entire education had come from benefices his father had finagled for his son.

Or consider thousands of Calvinists descending on Geneva July 10, 2009 to commemorate the 500th birthday of the man who considered the medieval sacrament of pilgrimage to be one of the "faults contravening the Reformation." Is this yet another instance of self-contradictory theological buffoonery, a quest for merit tallied by stamps in the passport?

Tempting as these conclusions are to critics, I think not. As he lay dying, Calvin insisted that his body be buried in an unmarked grave. Some believe this was Calvin trying to avoid being the object of what he termed the “fictitious worship of dead men’s bones.” I’m inclined, however, to think that his dying request is yet another myth-buster; he didn’t want his bones enshrined because Calvin was so taken with the glory of Christ that the veneration of John Calvin never occurred to him. And for such humble piety alone Calvin would be worthy of our perennial attention.

SANCTIFICATION BY IMITATION

Theodore Beza, Calvin’s successor, in whose arms Calvin died, wrote of him on the final page of his account of Calvin’s life, “Having been a spectator of his conduct for sixteen years… I can now declare that in him all men may see a most beautiful example of Christian character, an example which is as easy to slander as it is difficult to imitate.” 

Seventeen times in the New Testament we are told to imitate exceptional men as they seek to follow Christ. Calvin is a man worthy of imitation. There’s no idolatry in giving double honor to men who serve faithfully, who employ their considerable gifts in devoted service to Christ and his Kingdom. Hence, a tour in commemoration of the 500th birthday of John Calvin is no superstitious medieval pilgrimage.

There’s no intrinsic conferring of grace to be had by going to Geneva or, for that matter, Jerusalem. If, however, one wants to find inspiration to live a more godly, Christ-honoring life, to hone and employ skills to be more useful in the cause of the Gospel, or if one desires to expand his appreciation of the sovereign working of God in history, using vacation dollars to follow Calvin around Europe for the days surrounding his 500th birthday could be time and money well invested.

For those cutting back on vacation spending, or who have already committed those dollars for a trip to Hawaii, join me in the next few paragraphs for an imaginary tour of some of the most important sights in the life of the most important Christians since St. Augustine.

CALVIN IN NOYON

With a squelching of rubber, your plane touches down at Charles de Gaulle. Bleary-eyed from the ten-hour flight, you pick up your rental car, check the map, and...

Reader comment on following MR article

"Thank you for your insightful essay in the recent Modern Reformation.Verse is too great a gift to be dismissed as cavalierly as it is today.  In a little monograph of mine earlier this year (Why Johnny Can't Preach: The Media Have Shaped the Messengers), I attempted to argue that the decline of the pulpit is largely due to the decline of verse in our culture, and I have encouraged those who would preach to be lifelong readers of poetry (and, perhaps, some will write it also). At any rate, I no longer feel like an oddball crank in suggesting that verse has distinctive properties that shape our sensibilities in important ways. Thank you for assuring me that I am not alone."

Yours in Christ, Dr. T. David Gordon, Professor of Religion and Greek, Grove City College [author of Why Johnny Can't Preach: The Media Have Shaped the Messengers]

And from "Letters" May/June, 2010

"I enjoy reading MR... Thank you for providing such a biblically helpful resource. I read and agreed with the article by Douglas Bond, "The Devil Hates Goose Quills: And Why it Matters to the Church." I took the advice and sat down and wrote one for Easter..."

Dr. Ron Daves, Pastor, Temple Baptists Church, Columbia, SC

MR: The Devil Hates Goose Quills, March/April, 2010

POST-POETRY CULTURE

Martin Luther, who said “The Devil hates goose quills,” insisted that in a reformation, “We need poets.” Most of us scratch our heads and wonder what on earth we need them for.

Our postmodern, post-Christian, post-Biblical culture has almost totally dismissed what used to be called poetry. Few deny it; ours is a post-poetry culture. But who cares? 

“Poetry is a marginal art form,” wrote poet Campbell McGrath, “in a culture that values neither literacy nor artistic expression in any vital way. America does not persecute poets, it does not seek to smash them like bugs—it just doesn’t care a lot.”

Martin Luther cared deeply about poetry, in the most vital way. But do most Christians today? Most accept the decline of poetry without a whimper, with barely a wafture of good riddance.  But does it matter?

Paul Johnson, decrying the decline in literacy, argues that students should “produce competent verse in a wide variety of strict meters, under examination conditions.”

To what purpose should they be subjected to such literary tortures? After all, what good is it? Won’t the machinations of society carry on just fine without poetry? Won’t the church do just fine without it? It’s not like poetry contributes anything vital. You can’t eat it.  

So thought Hanoverian King George II. “I hate all boets!” he declared. If you’ve ever been flummoxed at lines you were told were poetry, ones about wheelbarrows and chickens, you may agree with George’s abhorrence of poets.

But are Christians to stand deferentially aside as culture pitches poetry—the highest form—into the lowest circle of hell? 

WHAT HAPPENED TO POETRY? 

I’ve been accused of the pedagogical unpardonable sin of depriving my writing students of what has become poetry’s sole consideration: individual self-expression. “Why don’t you let them write in free verse?” I’m asked. “I do,” I reply. “We just call it brainstorming.”

Arguably vers libre achieved its foothold with Walt Whitman, a man with new ideas simmering in his bosom, new ideas that demanded a new form. “Through me forbidden voices, voices of sexes and lust, voices veiled, and I removed the veil.” The Devil, no doubt, rubs his hands in glee at Whitman’s goose quill.

Whitman-like free verse dictates against any conventional structure of meter or...