Calvin’s Theology: Nearly All the Wisdom We Possess

"Nearly all the wisdom we possess, that is to say, true and sound wisdom, consists of two parts: the knowledge of God and of ourselves."

True wisdom comes from above and that involves our knowing God and understanding ourselves in light of this God who has revealed himself to us in nature and Scripture. We were never meant to understand ourselves and our world without reference to God. This is especially true now that we are in rebellion against the... Continue Reading

Understanding Spiritual Gifts: 4 Lessons from J.I. Packer

“All Christians have gifts and tasks of their own within the church’s total ministry.”

Perhaps it feels audacious to claim discernment as our gift and no less prideful to claim wisdom or mercy. For others, defining their gift puts pressure on them and they’d rather leave ministry to the “professionals.” Still others simply have no idea how to begin to discover what our gifts actually are.   Ask your... Continue Reading

Teaching Young Children About The Reformation: It’s Complicated

I will readily acknowledge that there may not be a perfect answer to how to present this material to the 5-10 age group.

So what are the options? On one end of the spectrum is the “all in” option and you can use the curriculum as published and figure the editorial changes are appropriate and helpful for the audience. On the other end is the option to not use the lesson, or use the lesson but drop the... Continue Reading

In all things, charity: A progressive Christian believes in these core values

I do have some things to say to conservatives as they go, offered in the spirit of “in all things, charity.”

It seems to me, right now, that fearful conservative Christians are taking a different tack, by allying with the Republican Party, trying to use political power to maintain Christian cultural privilege. What these Christians are doing is crucifying Jesus again by aligning with the Wall Street rich, the climate deniers, the fascist marchers in Charlottesville and... Continue Reading

60 Percent of Pastors’ Spouses Say Church Salary Not Enough to Meet Needs: LifeWay

"The factors that seem to matter the most for our analyses is the very slow growth rates of male clergy income and, relatedly, the general devaluing of the clergy occupation."

“About a third (36 percent) say they worry every month about making ends meet. Forty-six percent say they worry about not being able to save for the future. Sixty percent say the compensation paid by the church isn’t enough to support their family,” noted LifeWay.   Nearly two-thirds of pastors’ spouses have said that the salary... Continue Reading

Three Tests God Ordains for His People

Knowing that tests are purposeful, we can rest, understanding that the Master is fully in control of both the test and the outcome.

As a teacher, I don’t ask test questions because I need to know the answers. I ask questions because my students need to know the answers. Likewise, God ordains tests for us, not for his sake, but for ours. He ordains tests today just as he did in the Old Testament with the testing of his people,... Continue Reading

Nothing Out of the Ordinary

"You cannot tell me that something is not going on here, with all of these disasters. Something is happening.”

This is what we should expect in a world whose beginnings were moral insurrection. The earth groans. Earth’s machinations have been rewired to be against us, instead of for us. The ground pushes back. And the sky, the sea, the animals, each other, and even our own bodies.   A few days ago I was... Continue Reading

Free to Love

love is joyfully and willfully sacrificing yourself to serve others by doing them good.

This is what we see in the gospel, and this is what Christians endeavor to do as we respond to the gospel. The gospel is the most heart-melting and liberating truth. It models and motivates true love.   What is love? And how do we love others? There is unlikely a word that is more familiar... Continue Reading

We Are Not Germs: The Case for Human Dignity

Christianity teaches that human dignity is rooted in the holiness of God; it reflects God’s dignity.

If you call me to sacrificial, altruistic action in behalf of human beings, you better have a reason. And it should be greater than simply, we should be for people because we’re people. Because unless we can establish that it means something to be people, it’s pure emotion. And rights granted on the basis of... Continue Reading

Fine Dining or Dumpster Diving: A Paradigm for Activist Theology

The knowledge derived from secular ideology will always look foolish when compared to the wisdom derived from Scripture.

The ideologies and theories of today are not radical enough to carry the freight of contemporary issues, but the Bible is more than adequate for the task.  After all, it is “God-breathed,” therefore it “is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness (II Timothy 3:16).  The knowledge derived from secular ideology will always look foolish... Continue Reading

Marlon “Big Dog” Brown: A Story of Redemption and Hope

We can make a significant difference in the lives of those in need by serving them.

For the last 13 years, Brown has worked full time for Service Over Self (SOS) to arrange and direct crews of college and high school students to renovate and repair the houses of low-income Memphis residents during the students’ summer and spring breaks. In addition, he has spent countless hours befriending and aiding the city’s... Continue Reading

Beyond Symbolic Gestures: The PCA and Underprivileged Women

Collateral damage: Abused women whose churches fail to minister to and care for them.

On the one hand, Jessica was encouraged. This was the first acknowledgement from a church court that her church leaders had wronged her. The RPR Committee had officially (for the second time in two years) cited her presbytery. Perhaps members of her church might begin to question the ways Jessica had been characterized and treated... Continue Reading

Winning One Another

Nothing less than one’s eternal destiny is at stake when someone wanders.

God the Holy Spirit turns wanderers back to Himself, but He ordinarily uses people to do so, just as He uses means to bring people to saving faith in the first place. Just as God will use our faithful prayers and proclamation of the gospel for the saving of His elect, He will use our... Continue Reading

Forgive Me Not

Should we forgive someone who does not ask for our forgiveness or does not show repentance in the asking?

When we stand praying and forgive someone who has wronged us, we take it upon ourselves to undertake the heart work of forgiveness. When the wrongs we have forgiven others resurface uninvited in our minds, we must cry out to our God: “I do forgive; help me in my unforgiveness.”   There is a debate... Continue Reading

The Religious Test of Orthodox Christians in America

The trend in American culture seems to be a growing intolerance for the outward expression of orthodox Christianity.

It is no wonder those holding to orthodox Christian beliefs are being tested – both in the public and private spheres of society. The Constitution protects the free exercise of religion and prohibits a religious test to qualify for public office, but as long as the worldviews of two distinct belief systems remain in diametric... Continue Reading

The Duty of Devotion

Devotion is an expression of love and loyalty rooted in both duty and delight.

Christians often speak of devotion. We speak of “devoting ourselves to God” and, more commonly, of “doing our daily devotions.” This word is familiar to every believer, but I wonder how often we consider what it means and what it entails. What is this devotion we offer to God? And what’s the connection between devotion... Continue Reading

Don’t Be Caught without a Confession

Holding to a confession is an act of humility, admitting that we are not, as we would wish, the final arbiters of truth.

J. Gresham Machen wrote, “In the sphere of religion, as in other spheres, the things about which men are agreed are apt to be the things that are least worth holding; the really important things are the things about which men will fight.” In this way, confessions of faith are at the core of Christianity.... Continue Reading

Godliness Is Not Your Personality

Why do we take our individual, personality, character, gifts, or calling and make that the sum total of godliness for everyone else?

Why do we take our individual, personality, character, gifts, or calling and make that the sum total of godliness for everyone else? The introvert equates godliness with quietness. The extrovert equates godliness with activity. The generous person equates godliness with giving. The social person equates godliness with hospitality. The workaholic equates godliness with hard-work. The... Continue Reading

Have We Christians Made Marriage Too Complicated?

It seems as if Christians we have lost what it means to be friends within our marriages

As time went on, there seemed to be a stronger emphasis on submission and leading in the Christian culture I was a part of.  And I started feeling the pressures of putting our marriage in this “Christian box”. I started second guessing things. Were we playing our parts correctly? Was I sinning by giving my... Continue Reading

The Joy of Paglian Sex

Given her polemic against the therapeutic drivel and middle class mores of modern sexual liberalism, could it be that Camille Paglia has a better grasp of Christian teaching than the pope?

We need that Paglian attitude: Christian sex should be transgressive and thumb its nose at respectable pieties.  You know – exclusively heterosexual, within the bonds of marriage, with single people remaining celibate.  That breaks all the modern taboos and threatens the comfy orthodoxies that now dominate sexual mores.  Sex is simply too important to leave... Continue Reading

Lesbian “Bishop” Karen Oliveto Warns to Not “Create an Idol Out of” Jesus, Says He Had “Bigotries and Prejudices”

Oliveto makes clear that her Jesus is one who was not only deficient in his knowledge of facts, but one who was also morally faulty.

Meanwhile, Karen Oliveto actually warns against those of us who “create an idol out of” Jesus Christ. The commonly accepted theological definition of an idol is something other than God, usually something created by human hands, improperly worshipped as a god. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary broadly defines an “idol” as “a false god.” So by definition, it is... Continue Reading

A Vital Call for the Vitals of Religion

So, really, the only option is full subscription to the old confessional standards.

The only way to remedy this is to come up with a list of vitals–that is, acceptable exceptions–or require strict subscription to the original documents. There are simply no other alternatives. And when the list of vitals is produced, no doubt, a sub-set of vitals-of-the-vitals will emerge, and then we are back to square one.... Continue Reading

John 3 Might Not Mean What You Think It Does (2)

The habit of associating the work of the Spirit with great social, religious, and even psychological events is deeply ingrained in the the American psyche.

Again, in John 3, our Lord Jesus did not prescribe particular experiences nor large-scale social-religious events or movements. He prescribed new birth by the Holy Spirit. We have added the concomitant experiences and events. When we do this, in our own way, we are seeking to make a bit more reasonable and understandable the mysterious,... Continue Reading

On Christianity and Confederate Statues

Don’t get so ensnared with earthly concerns that that you forget the main focus of this life.

Now, I don’t fault anyone for being concerned over the presence of confederate statues. I personally think they would be better off in a museum. But Paul’s gestures make me realize that in the grand scheme of all things concerning Christ’s kingdom, whether a statue remains or goes is far less significant than if hearts... Continue Reading

Fortress for Truth: Martin Luther

In a day of ecclesiastical corruptions and apostasies, he was a valiant champion of the truth; his powerful preaching and pen helped to restore the pure gospel.

On March 10, 1522, Luther explained the mounting success of the Reformation in a sermon. With strong confidence in God’s Word, he declared: “I simply taught, preached, and wrote God’s Word; otherwise I did nothing. And while I slept … the Word so greatly weakened the papacy that no prince or emperor ever inflicted such... Continue Reading

‘Cheap Sex’ and the Single Christian

Neglecting to defend the value of sex, chastity, and fidelity will have its consequences.

Honestly, it’s difficult to imagine challenges to the Church’s teachings on sexual ethics could get worse. Amid religious revisionists’ efforts to turn gender into self-expression and marriage into free-for-all groupings, now we face the impact of devalued sex.   The Washington Post ran a fascinating op-ed by Mark Regnerus on September 5 that examines just how... Continue Reading

What’s changed in Britain since same-sex marriage?

I urge every Aussie to examine the evidence, analysis the results and be clear about what you’re voting for.

In the United Kingdom, it has become abundantly clear that redefinition has affected many people, across many spheres. At first glance, these spheres appeared distinct from marriage redefinition. However, subsequent changes, have proved that they are entirely intertwined.   Four years ago, amid much uncertainty, 400 British members of parliament voted to redefine marriage in... Continue Reading

Are You Always the Hero of Your Stories?

When I try to look awesome, I’m not doing a good job showing how awesome Jesus is.

Making yourself the hero all the time is like playing dress-up. It is not reality. This is living in a fantasy world. After all, my wife lives with me, she knows what is actually true. No matter how hard I tried, even unwittingly, to pretend and write my own script my home remains a “no-spin-zone.”  ... Continue Reading

How the Minor Prophets Help Us Enjoy Jesus

Why not begin your journey to greater joy in Jesus through reading the Minor Prophets?

If we believe what Jesus says about our joy in him hinging on the words of God, then we need the whole Bible. To maximize our joy in him we need maximal Scripture. So let’s look at how one often-neglected section of the Bible helps us enjoy Jesus: the Minor Prophets.   When it comes... Continue Reading

Should a Judge’s Nomination Be Derailed by Her Faith?

During a recent hearing, Democratic senators pushed an appellate-court nominee to explain how her religious beliefs would affect her legal decisions.

As conservative, often religiously motivated positions on issues like gay marriage and banning abortion increasingly become out of step with popular opinion and legal precedent, this boundary between personal conviction and legal fidelity is going to become even tricker to navigate. What’s the line between examining a nominee’s religious convictions and believing those convictions disqualify... Continue Reading

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