Teach Me To Pray! Forgive Us Our Debts

In your prayers, pray for a willing spirit to forgive others

“In your prayer, you may acknowledge to God that you forgive them—not as a statement of pride to God but as a way of humbly acknowledging to God what you are doing. You may need to ask for help to forgive them. It can be hard to get over the hurt and betrayal of being... Continue Reading

Does the Church’s First Spiritual Abuse Verdict Give Critics a New Weapon?

We emulate Jesus when we expose abuse. But dividing it into categories may do more harm than good.

“Sadly, many historic institutions—the church included—have sought to silence the reporting of abuse for fear of tarnishing the reputation or public image of those institutions. There are too many instances where Christian leaders have mistakenly thought that it was in the best interests of the church, or maybe even of the gospel, for abuse to... Continue Reading

Is God a Good Father?

I love my children. But can God really love me like that — more than that?

“As an earthly father I will always love my children. No matter what they do. No matter where they go. I will be here for them. I’m not walking out. They might. I won’t. So, help me God. Still, I can’t imagine this, really, but God loves me more, loves me better, than that. That’s... Continue Reading

Secularism’s Front Line: A View From France

Religious activity in France has declined through the twentieth century like a car running out of petrol

“If there is a front line of secularism, perhaps France is it. It’s true she hasn’t had the iron fist of state-enforced atheism like communist countries and there are other nations with more atheists per capita like the Czech Republic or more secular policies like the Netherlands with euthanasia. But she has lead the world... Continue Reading

What Does it Mean to Fear God?

Luther distinguished between what he called a servile fear and a filial fear.

I think this distinction is helpful because the basic meaning of fearing the Lord that we read about in Deuteronomy is also in the Wisdom Literature, where we’re told that “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” The focus here is on a sense of awe and respect for the majesty of... Continue Reading

The Easiest Sin to Justify

From observation and hard experience I think there is one sin more than any other that we tend to continue to justify.

We delude ourselves into believing that our anger is righteous, that it is just the same as God’s white-hot anger against all that is evil. Sometimes it is, perhaps, but far more often it is not. It may be a sinful reaction to justified anger or a sinful reaction to unjustified anger. Either way, what... Continue Reading

The Religious Conflict at the Heart of Our Culture Wars

How theological differences over sex have fueled some of the bitterest political fights of the past century and more.

In Moral Combat, R. Marie Griffith, director of the John C. Danforth Center for Religion and Politics at Washington University in St. Louis, reviews a century’s worth of American cultural conflict over sexuality, fueled by a growing divide between religious subcultures. Her account is subtly biased, but readers will benefit from her clear presentation of the... Continue Reading

Edgardo Mortara

The case of Edgardo Mortara took on international significance – not only among Europe and North America’s Jewish communities – but among Europe’s rulers.

Pio Nono would not even consider giving up Edgardo to his parents (despite all sorts of circumstances that suggested the servant girl had made up the story of the boy’s illness and baptism). With papal rule crumbling and Pius’ political allies unwilling to prop up the papacy one more time, the pope made Edgardo a... Continue Reading

How a Playground Led to Churches Qualifying for Federal Disaster Relief

Three churches in Texas and two Jewish synagogues in Florida filed lawsuits challenging the exclusion for FEMA funding.

Non-profits have typically been ineligible from receiving FEMA funds if the damaged facilities were established or used primarily for religious services, religious education, or religious activities, such as “worship, proselytizing, religious instruction, or fundraising activities that benefit a religious institution and not the community at large.”   The Story: The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recently... Continue Reading

Sidewalk Witness

A young pro-lifer finds her voice outside Mississippi’s only abortion center.

As pro-life sidewalk counselors call out through the black screening that interlaces the fence, encouraging pregnant women to protect their babies, the escorts try to drown them out with boom boxes. “They don’t want the ladies to hear us,” explains Statham. “They try to put up as much resistance as they can.”   JACKSON, Miss.—The... Continue Reading

How Divorce Went From a Devastating Life Event to a Cause for Celebration

While the breakup of a marriage is rarely easy, the big 'D' has significantly changed over the decades.

In the span of a lifetime, divorce has gone from being highly taboo to more American than apple pie; from the inspiration for a decade of angsty grunge anthems to introducing terms like “conscious uncoupling” and “divorce-moons” into our break-up lexicon. Today, we’re witnessing the rise of the “happy divorce.”   In his review of... Continue Reading

Peterson, Driscoll & the Millennial Man

The reality is that a man doesn’t need to be a cage fighter to exercise responsibility.

When men do work and take care – when they clean their room, or lay down their life for someone else – it is such a pure reflection of what they were created to do, and so powerfully good for them and those around them, that it provokes an emotional response. It is a beautiful thing, and... Continue Reading

A Catechism on the Heart

Mapping out some preliminary matters in the form of a catechism on the heart.

I must keep my heart healthy by proper diet, growing strong on a regular diet of God’s Word — reading it for myself, meditating on its truth, but especially being fed on it in the preaching of the Word. I also will remember that my heart has eyes as well as ears. The Spirit shows... Continue Reading

The Depravity of Man

With all the collusion, political conspiracy, mass murder, sexual predation, racial prejudice and bigotry, the doctrines of human depravity held throughout orthodox Christian history have once again been vindicated.

But while we recognize and decry the wanton immorality of Hollywood and Times Square, of Washington DC and Wall Street, we ought also to remember that we, too, are radically corrupt, totally depraved, and basically evil. And we are in need of a new nature – a new birth or regeneration – which comes only... Continue Reading

Winston Churchill’s Darkest Hour

Churchill’s “Darkest Hour” was, in truth, a series of dark hours that lasted two or three weeks in May 1940, when Western civilization hung in the balance.

But above all, the takeaway from this film—and from the Churchill experience—is an enduring historical-moral lesson: you cannot negotiate a just peace with a brutal aggressor. Savages are not appeased. This is poignantly captured when Churchill snaps at Viscount Halifax and Neville Chamberlain: “You cannot reason with a tiger when your head is in his... Continue Reading

The Rise of Reformed Charismatics

A 21st-century global movement sets the Word on fire with gospel preaching and powerful spiritual gifts.

The Reformed tradition has tended to be cessationist, either denying or avoiding the continued practice of charismatic gifts like healing, tongues, and prophecy, believing they were only for the foundational era of the church. Charismatics, on the other hand, are continuationists, believing these gifts are still available and valuable.   The rollicking worship pulsed for... Continue Reading

Alan Jacobs and Augustinian Anthropology

The Christian explanation for humanity’s propensity to sin is the best explanation of all.

Jacobs follows in a much healthier and theologically sound tradition of those such as C. S. Lewis who say to the non-Christian world, as it were, “I know that Christianity’s claims may sound crazy at first. But what if they actually make sense of life’s most besetting problems?”   I recently read my friend and... Continue Reading

A Brief Response to “A Teacher’s Theological Guide to Inerrancy.”

Is the doctrine of biblical authority indefensible?

According to Bromiley, Barth’s “handling of Scripture is in many ways the weakest and most disappointing part of the whole Dogmatics, and his safeguards against subjectivism here are very flimsy.” Later Bromiley would write, “Barth’s dismissal of biblical inerrancy and his assigning of a special historical character to events like the resurrection pose the question whether... Continue Reading

The Hidden Risks Of At-Home DNA Testing

The popular tests pose security concerns and may reveal hard-to-handle truths.

Two weeks ago, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued a warning to consumers about the privacy implications of at-home DNA test kits. It is not always clear what companies do with DNA data and whether it can be sold to third parties. The FTC recommended consumers comparison shop between companies and not automatically accept a... Continue Reading

Mississippi Religious Liberty Law Gets High Court Reprieve

Conscience protection bill provides a defense to lawsuits over Christian beliefs about marriage, sexuality.

The law went into effect in October after the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a lower court’s injunction and dismissed the lawsuit for lack of standing. The plaintiffs—a group including same-sex couples, the Campaign for Southern Equality, and a church—argued the law sent a “clear message” that is “hostile” to LGBT Mississippians and... Continue Reading

Chinese Authorities Blow Up Christian Megachurch With Dynamite

'The repeated persecution demonstrates that the Chinese government has no respect for religious freedom or human rights,' says Christian group.

“The repeated persecution of Golden Lampstand Church demonstrates that the Chinese government has no respect for religious freedom or human rights,” said ChinaAid president and founder Bob Fu. He added: “ChinaAid calls on the international community to openly condemn the bombing of this church building and urge the Chinese government to fairly compensate the Christians... Continue Reading

God’s Grace in Our Fears

Even when the world seems flipped upside down and even when the worst happens, God rules and reigns.

For someone who is often weakened by fear, it’s hard to imagine not having any fear in the face of something terrible. The important thing to notice is that the psalmist doesn’t say, “even when the very worst happens, if you have strong faith and believe really hard, you won’t have any fear.” Rather, the... Continue Reading

Jesus Doesn’t Give a Standing Ovation to Sexual Assault

If the church is going to function as God intended, we need to take stand against sin in our midst.

This is grievous to God. Sexual assault utterly appalls him. A confession of sexual assault is not something to be applauded. Yes, we can be grateful that the event has come to light, but we shouldn’t be applauding a man for a half-hearted confession that should have happened twenty years ago. There is nothing admirable... Continue Reading

How to Reconcile with Another Christian

How many of our disagreements, misunderstandings, feelings of bitterness, and lack of forgiveness in the body of Christ would disappear if we looked at our conflict in light of eternity?

Paul reminds Philemon that Christians are family. Christian reconciliation is always reconciliation between family members. Who is Philemon receiving? Not simply Onesimus, his slave, but now Onesimus, his brother in Christ. Paul makes this clear in verse 10: “I appeal to you for my child.” In effect, Paul is arguing, “You are brothers. This must affect... Continue Reading

Preparing for Winter

For Christian educational institutions, the way ahead may be very hard

The response of Christian higher education to the coming winter must therefore be twofold: financial planning for the worst-case scenario, where not only federal money but also tax-exempt status is revoked; and careful reflection on how the curriculum can cultivate accurate and wholesome aesthetic judgment. And, given the very brief time colleges have to shape... Continue Reading

Facebook is Done With Quality Journalism. Deal With It.

Facebook will gradually pull the plug on news. Publishers should stop whining and move on.

Facebook came up with glowing new products like Newsfeed, Instant Articles, and Facebook Live, providing silly advice for thriving on the platform (“Play on emotion, folks, users love it! — Hem, this might be difficult, we are business news providers…”). Facebook promised a deluge of eyeballs. Caught in the headlights, deer-like publishers silenced their mental... Continue Reading

When Vows Are Broken

How do we minister to those who are standing in the middle of the fragments, the spouses and children of the person who smashed the “vase?”

What do we do when there is abuse, abandonment, or adultery? You can’t pretend that it doesn’t exist. This may be your situation or that of a friend or family member. I fear that “we will not throw it away; we will keep it forever” offers no real comfort but only “go in peace, stay... Continue Reading

The Peculiarity of Early Christian Worship

Or How Early Christians Managed to Offend Just about Everybody

So, Christian worship managed to irritate just about everyone.  The Romans were agitated.  The Jews were upset.  Christianity was seen as a subversive threat. But, here’s the key. Christians did not, for these reasons, decided to abandon, change, or modify their worship.  Despite the opposition, they stayed true to their practices and true to their... Continue Reading

3 Lessons I Learned From Burnout

Pastors aren’t supposed to have breakdowns. So I thought.

The writer of Hebrews reminds us: “But when Christ, had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God… For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.” (Heb. 10:12,14) This means the performance can stop. We can stop trying to do, and simply be in... Continue Reading

Sola Scriptura

"The whole counsel of God concerning all things necessary for... salvation, faith and life, is either expressly set down in Scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from Scripture."

The difference between Catholic and Protestant teaching is more subtle than people realize, for Catholics confess that Scripture is inspired, infallible, and authoritative. It is wise to remember, too, that the first Reformers were encouraged to study Scripture by scholarly Catholics: Staupitz told Luther to get his doctorate in biblical studies, Erasmus encouraged Zwingli’s studies,... Continue Reading