Is Christ Enough?
By daily communion with Christ through the means of grace, we find full satisfaction for all our needs
The central argument of Paul in the letter is that in Jesus Christ, Christians already have everything that the sect falsely offered: wholeness, fullness, perfection, and satisfaction in God. In other words, Paul responds to false teachers by presenting the sufficiency of Christ. In the letter he wrote to the Colossians, Paul had to deal... Continue Reading
What the Transgender Debate Means for the Church
The cultural conversation on gender identity issues requires more than good policy. It demands a gospel-centered response from the church.
We must also resist the temptation to buy into the Sexual Revolution’s narrative. I don’t just mean that we accommodate ourselves to the sins and heresies of the movement, although that’s always a danger too. I mean the danger is that we assume that the Sexual Revolution will always be triumphant, progressing upward and onward.... Continue Reading
Spreading the Faith: Lessons from US History
Writers rarely pay attention to an era of US history that is today more relevant than ever
“At the time of the American Revolution, Catholics made up less than one percent of the nation’s population, but that rose to five percent in 1850, twelve percent in 1890, and seventeen percent by 1906. The modern proportion has usually fluctuated around a quarter.” We hear a lot today about the effects of immigrants... Continue Reading
Why Joel Osteen, “The Smiling Preacher,” Is So Darn Appealing
It’s hard to quantify charisma, but by any measure Joel Osteen has some pretty impressive stats
“By studying well-known charismatics and replicating their actions in the lab, Antonakis has identified a series of what he calls Charismatic Leadership Tactics (CLTs), which range from the use of metaphors and storytelling, to nonverbal methods of communication like open posture and animated gestures at key moments.” It’s hard to quantify charisma, but by... Continue Reading
Ye Of Brittle Faith
Why all the hysteria among atheist elites over this little book?
After the publication of the book, Religion News Service tweeted this misleading headline: “A controversial new book claims a dying Christopher Hitchens accepted God.” RNS subsequently retracted the headline, but it was too late. Christopher Hitchens’s agent, Steve Wasserman, vociferously denounced the book. On December 15, 2011, Christopher Hitchens died of esophageal cancer. Some... Continue Reading
Like Scales and Jazz: How to Preach Christ from Psalms
How should contemporary Christ followers and Christian pastors continue walking the Emmaus Road, seeing and preaching Christ throughout the Psalms?
“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Jesus came as heir not only of David’s throne but also of David’s prayers—from his distress to his deliverance, from his laments to his praises. Since God’s people in every generation will walk the same path—cross before crown—Christian pastors are wise to preach the Psalms in all... Continue Reading
True teachability is actually one of the rarest of qualities in the hearts and lives of people
“The first mark of a truly teachable person is that he or she is eager to listen to God in His word. No matter what interest a person may have in science, mathematics, literature, art, music, linguistics, politics or athletics, if he or she does not have a deep and abiding interest in Scripture, then all the... Continue Reading
Evangelical Leaders Urge Trump To Reconsider Refugee Order
Those who signed open letter say U.S. can’t close its doors to global humanitarian crisis.
Christian humanitarian group World Relief published a letter in the Washington Post on Feb. 8 with signatures from 100 prominent evangelical leaders asking Trump to reassess his decision. Signatories included popular Christian authors Tim Keller, Max Lucado, and Ann Voskamp, as well as church leaders such as Bill Hybels, Eric Costanzo, and Eugene Cho. World... Continue Reading
Judge Rules in Favor of Athens Church
On Jan. 24, 2016, the congregation voted 159 to 36 (82% to 18%) to be dismissed from the PCUSA
In his ruling, Superior Court Judge Eric W. Norris cited a 1981 letter written by Rev. James Andrews, the PCUS Stated Clerk at that time, regarding a similar trust clause proposed by that denomination, stating that the new trust clause “would not change the Presbyterian Church’s historical position on property.” A Superior Court judge... Continue Reading
What Does ‘Guarding Your Heart’ Even Mean?
If you've been around Christians and Church circles long, you've probably heard the phrase "guard your heart" more times than you can count.
Since I was young, people have constantly warned me to guard my heart. But it's always been harder than I thought. I kept getting hurt in relationships. And because I kept having so many, often conflicting feelings, at times I wanted to "guard my heart" by cutting off all contact with the opposite sex. That seemed like the only safe course. But it's a mistake, one you shouldn't make. To hopefully save you time and grief, here are some insights I've learned the hard way:
Why I Love Teaching, Writing and Participating in Women’s Bible Studies
Over those years I’ve been richly blessed by how it’s anchored me to truth and anchored me to community
In a nutshell then, Women’s Bible studies help to drive out the individualism and isolationism that has plagued mankind all through the history of redemption, pointing us to Jesus Christ, who took the curse of our sin upon Himself, freeing us from self-reliance to God-reliance, and freeing us from isolation to interdependence in the community of grace.
A Modest Proposal: Don’t Dump Religion
Why not rail against man made religion instead of all religion? Why not find another word besides religion to be our anti-gospel boogeyman?
You know what I mean. Maybe you’ve spoken this way before. Maybe I have too. Religion is bad. Religion is about rules. Religion is about earning God’s favor. Religion is about trying; Christianity is about trusting. Religion is about reaching up to God; the gospel is about God reaching down to us. I understand the contrast. I agree with all that we want to affirm with such statements. But is throwing “religion” under the bus the best way to make the point?
The Normalization Of Pedophilia Approaches
The arguments made by Milo Yiannouplos (in a recently released and quite graphic video), that pedophilia is not what you think it is are nothing new
All that remains is to manufacture consent by re-defining it and that process is under way. This is, if you will, child’s play. Any moderately creative undergraduate freshman can deconstruct consent: “Consent is a social construct that is understood variously in different cultures. New studies suggest that children are capable of signally consent at an earlier stage than we hitherto thought” and so on. We are witnessing this process and trajectory with pedophilia.
Martin Luther on Prayer
Every day we have praise to offer, sins to confess, thanksgivings to bring and supplications to ask.
Luther calls prayer ‘A labour above all labours, since he who prays must wage a mighty warfare against the doubt and murmuring excited by the faintheartedness and unworthiness we feel within us.’ Haven’t you found that to be true? Yet isn’t it puzzling on one level that prayer should be so challenging. After all, it doesn’t require any special equipment; you don’t have to go to a special place at a certain time of the day to do it; you don’t need another person to do it; you don’t need special training; you don’t need to speak out loud or get into a particular position to do it. You can pray sitting in an armchair in your living room or even lying in your bed (though I’m not suggesting that’s the best position in which to pray!). So why should it be so difficult? It can only be because of the spiritual battle going on behind the physical scenes.
WCF 20: Christian Liberty and Liberty of Conscience
At the core of many of our moral questions concerning authority are two interrelated subjects: liberty and conscience.
As those united to Christ by faith, it is right and proper for us to rejoice and bask in those liberties and freedoms which Christ has purchased for us. We have been freed from the curse of the Law and have received eternal life in Him. Yet, at the same time, we must remember not to turn our liberties into license to sin. God alone is Lord of the conscience. And, He has provided the gifts of earthly civil and church authorities for our good; therefore, we must seek to submit and obey them.
Flipping Sides on Roe v Wade: Norma McCorvey’s Repentance
McCorvey was a changed woman. She renounced her former views on abortion and began to live out what she said.
There is hope for the pro-death doctors and lobbyists and misinformed women (who are at times as much a victim of Satan’s lies as their babies are of his knives). But that hope must start with the Holy Spirit’s intervention and the ensuing moment of clarity, which only God can grant. May Norma McCorvey rest in peace, the peace that can only come from a saving relationship with Jesus Christ, which is ample grace to cover any sin.
Rules Without Reasons
Has God given us enough in Scripture to hold a position—even if uncomfortably—but not enough for us to really know exactly why he set it up that way?
Perhaps He is still asking His children to trust that He knows best. I’m convinced we are called to take God’s Word as it is. We aren’t called to decide whether or not we like this particular rule or that particular path of obedience. We are called to just obey. Some day it’ll make sense—but that isn’t for now. Now is time for trusting our Father and walking in obedience.
The Ordinary Means of Growth
Ordinary means of grace-based ministry focuses on doing the things the Bible says are central to the spiritual health and growth of believers
A church committed to the ordinary means of grace will be characterized by love for expository Bible preaching, passion for worship, delight in truth, embrace of the Gospel, the Spirit’s work of conversion, a life of godliness; robust family religion; biblical evangelism, biblical discipleship, biblical church membership, mutual accountability in the church, biblical church leadership,... Continue Reading
How the Reformation Recovered Preaching
The preaching of the gospel as a sacramental event is at the heart of Reformation theology
“Prior to the Reformation, the sermon was mostly an ad hoc event reserved for special occasions or seasons of the liturgical cycle, especially Christmas and Eastertide. Most sermons were preached in town squares or open fields. The reformers brought the sermon back inside the church and gave it an honored place in the public worship... Continue Reading
10 Things You Should Know about Biblical Theology
Biblical theology is different than systematic and historical theology.
Biblical theology helps us see the glory of God across the Scriptures more clearly. As we see God’s sovereign plan of redemption unfold in the single unified story of the Bible, as we see his wise and loving hand guiding all of history to bring it to his intended goals, as we see the repeated... Continue Reading
Churches Respond To Boy Scouts Transgender Policy
Even with religious exemptions, uncertainty remains about Scouting’s future
For more than 100 years, BSA enrolled boys into its programs based on the gender listed on their birth certificates. But now the Scouts will allow any child to become a member as long as he or she identifies as male, regardless of biology.In a video message, BSA’s chief executive Michael Surbaugh said birth certificates... Continue Reading
Church Of England Rejects Report Affirming Biblical Marriage
Vote doesn’t change the Church’s official teaching but raises questions about future acceptance for same-sex unions
The Church of England General Synod on Feb. 15 rejected a report issued in January that reaffirms church canon on marriage. By a slim margin the body voted not to “take note” of the House of Bishops’ report, which provided a framework for addressing issues related to human sexuality, marriage, and the church. (WNS)–The... Continue Reading
Why I am Leaving the Church Growth Movement
Rejecting everything that has become the favorite methods of the missional-community church
I’ve not mentioned anything about the proclamation of the Word, and the spread of the Gospel of Jesus Christ? That’s because there is not much to mention from the church today….it does good works, has good music.… has a really good sound-system, and a pastor who could lead circles around Moses. What it doesn’t have... Continue Reading
We Live In a Very Fortunate Universe
I was awestruck by the constants that had to be just right to get a universe that would permit life
“I’d like to give you a taste of some of this evidence. Specifically, I want to show you how the masses of three fundamental particles of the universe are set for life. If they were changed by the slightest amount, there could be no life anywhere in the universe.” The fine-tuning of the universe... Continue Reading
Christians, Feminists Unite To Fight Transgender Restroom Access
The unlikely allies believe ‘gender identity ideology’ hurts women
The debate about transgender restroom access has forged unlikely allies. In January, the conservative Family Policy Alliance (FPA) and the self-described “radical feminist” Women’s Liberation Front (WoLF), co-filed a brief with the Supreme Court opposing efforts to allow transgender students to use the restroom of their perceived gender identity. (WNS)–The debate about transgender restroom... Continue Reading
Jesus is Coming! Quick, Look Busy.
I’m not sure that the busy schedule that professional ministry has established over the past few decades is serving our people half as much as it is serving itself.
But the last thing they’d want to tell their unchurched friend is that if they came to church and became a Christian their lives would suddenly look a whole lot busier. Yet instinctively, and given their own experiences, they know that that is usually going to be true. So they look at their tired work colleagues, who have kids in two schools, a boss on their back, a sick father, a little league team to coach, and a long commute home, and they wonder, just wonder, if what they’re offering them is good news for busy people, or just more stuff to do in an already stretched life in a frantic age which has lost the art of a good rest.
How Word Studies Go Bad: A (Slightly Funny) Example
While word studies can bring a rich depth to your Bible study, they need to be done well, with discernment
The third possibility is the worst, for συλλαμβάνω could also mean, "to become pregnant, conceive!" Here the horrible, no-good, very bad translation would be, "I also ask you, true companion, let these women become pregnant!" The grammar really doesn't work well with this, but I have known students who could get around that little problem.
This is Love
True love is more than a catch phrase stamped on a piece of candy. It is a life poured out for another, as Christ poured out his life for us.
If we love God, we will love one another: "Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God" (4:7). The love we have for others is a natural overflow of our love for God. It's a litmus test of our faith. "If we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us" (4:12). "We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers" (3:14). In fact, it is this love for others that shows the world we are Christ's followers. As Jesus said in John 13.35, "By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another."
A Curious Clue About the Origins of the New Testament Canon
Often overlooked in this passage is that Paul understands a covenant to be something that you read.
Given Paul’s statement in 2 Cor 3:14 that we just noted, it would be natural to think that Paul has in mind a new set of written documents that testify to the terms of the covenantal arrangement in Christ. As Carmignac argues, “In order to use the expression ‘Old Testament’ he [Paul] must also be aware of the existence of a ‘New Testament.’” Carmignac even goes further and suggests that this ‘New Testament’ may have had contained a number of books in order for it to be parallel with the Old.
How Can Our Church Reach Out to the Gay Community?
One reason I’m hesitant to answer the question is that it’s one of those questions that can only be answered with more questions.
Don’t get me wrong. I think “reaching out to the gay community” can be a wonderful thing. But we must be clear in our own hearts about the why and how of what we’re doing. We shouldn’t expect people to be eagerly awaiting the church to “reach” them. And we shouldn’t expect the reaching to go anywhere without the Spirit of Christ working with us, the gospel of Christ coming from us, and the love of Christ–shown in hospitality and friendship–flowing through us.