J. Ligon Duncan III: Contemporary Reformer
Meet J. Ligon Duncan III, the newest member of the Hall of Contemporary Reformers. Dr. Duncan calls himself a Westminster Calvinist and has, what he calls, an an ordinary means grace-based ministry which believes that God means what he says in the Bible about the central importance of these public, outward instruments for spiritual life and growth. God explicitly instructs ministers and churches to do the following things: (1) "give attention to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation and teaching" (I Timothy 3:13); (2) "preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction" (2 Timothy 4:2); (3) "make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you" (Matthew 28:19); (4) "This is My body, which is for you; ...This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me. For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until He comes" (I Corinthians 11 :24-26); (5) "I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made. ..Therefore I want the men in every place to pray, lifting up holy hands" (I Timothy 2:1, 8).
These are the main ways God's people grow. We are saved by grace through faith, faith alone in Christ alone. But the instruments, the tools of God' s grace to bring us to faith and grow us in grace are the Word, prayer and sacraments. Nothing else we do in the church's program should detract from these central instruments of grace, and indeed every thing else we do should promote and coalesce with them.