Character in Leadership — Does it Still Matter?
If the issues seemed to be so clear to evangelicals in the 1990s, how do I explain what appears to be they mixed signals coming from evangelicals in the midst of the 2016 presidential election?
I cite that article I wrote during the Clinton crisis to document arguments the importance of sexual morality and character to leadership. I read those words because I want to make certain I am consistent over time and not bending my argument to the political urgency of the moment. If I were to support, much... Continue Reading
A Response To Grudem’s Appeal To Hodge On Eternal Subordination
The issue is not so cut and dry, however, because Hodge makes various distinctions in the way he uses the terminology of subordination throughout his chapter on the Trinity.
We see here that Hodge may grant a principle of subordination to the Son, but that subordination cannot be one of His nature or the person holding that view is what he calls a Semi-Arian. Grudem would obviously reject some of the other items listed among subordination, but the point stands that Hodge states a... Continue Reading
How Did Rape Become a Culture for Young Men?
I want to address men, young men and fathers alike, because it’s our responsibility to change this heinous “culture.”
How did we get here? What led young men to believe that sex is a thing to be forcibly inflicted on young women? What led them to see themselves so dishonorably and to view women so cheaply? Sin unchecked, sex commoditized, and selves worshiped. Young men live without boundaries and with no sense of who... Continue Reading
Who Was Jesus? On Historical Inquiry
If a person is doing research on a historical person or event he needs to assemble the sources in a right, proper, and honest way.
The next time you read or hear a critic attacking the NT portrait of Christ by quoting other sources (like the ‘Gospel of Thomas’ or Q), remember that they have a certain bias and are not using the sources in a right, proper, or honest way. Don’t let the critics shake your confidence in Christ... Continue Reading
He Is Still Upholding the Universe
Everything in the universe continues to exist because Christ is maintaining it.
A watchmaker winds his watch and lets it run until it winds down. The watch fulfills its purpose best at the very beginning if its existence when it is new and freshly wound. Someday, inevitably, it will wind down and stop forever, never to fulfill its true purpose again. Not so with creation. Creation is... Continue Reading
The Grand Design: A Review
It’s time to pay attention to what’s being taught in the name of complementarianism.
I believe that the view of complementarianism taught by Strachan and Peacock in The Grand Design is a dangerous distortion of Biblical truth. They start with a faulty and unorthodox understanding of the Trinity. They build on that foundation a narrow and unhelpfully limited view of the nature of men and women. They elevate their understanding of gender... Continue Reading
The Silence of Our Friends
When women like me plead for change, we are accused of being feminists or egalitarians or ‘thin complementarians.’ Is that the beauty of complementarity?
Complementarian men should respond to women with a listening ear and a resolve to better teach what headship actually means and what it does not mean. They should be reaching out to abused women, whose husbands and churches hide under the banner of headship and complementarianism, and call out the abuse and false teaching loud... Continue Reading
The generations of Jacob are full of a rich typology, but not, perhaps where we have been accustomed to look for it!
There are many strands to this magnificent history. When the nation divided after the death of Solomon, for example, ten tribes formed the nation of Israel, but two tribes remained loyal to the house of David: Judah and Benjamin (1 Kings 12:21). Judah was always the pledge of Benjamin’s safety, with all the Messianic strands... Continue Reading
The Ecumenical Consequences Of The Peace
The recent debate on the Trinity among conservative Protestants has revealed that conservative Protestantism is fundamentally divided on the identity of God.
But what does seem clear to me is that confessional Protestants need to think long and hard about their connections to evangelicalism, broadly conceived. There are other, better options out there. For example, Reformed catholicity, of the kind being sketched out by Scott Swain and Michael Allen, seems more thoughtful, to have more theological and... Continue Reading
California’s Religious Liberty Moment—Coming to a State Near You
If passed as is, this bill would strip California’s faith-based colleges and universities of their religious liberty to educate students according to their faith convictions.
Many faith-based universities hold to the traditional Christian view that sex and gender are distinct and united. If SB 1146 is passed without amendment, the state of California would drastically limit the religious freedom of such institutions to believe and live according to these traditional beliefs. In other words, the “free exercise of religion” becomes... Continue Reading
“Wide Is the [Straight] Path…”
The PCUSA has hammered one more nail into its own coffin: showing its tolerance by inviting a Muslim to participate in leading the opening liturgy at its General Assembly.
Many liberal Presbyterians have castigated evangelicals for leaving the denomination over the diminished place accorded Jesus in the life of the PCUSA. The theological left says this is nonsense, that the PCUSA still stands for the unique lordship of Jesus, and for the truth that salvation is uniquely through him. But if the denomination lets... Continue Reading
A Plea to Take the American Flag Out of Corporate Worship
The presence of the American flag in the church sanctuary confuses, rather than clarifies, that God is the focus of corporate worship.
The flag communicates many things to many people, but it does not communicate the one thing needed: Jesus Christ and him crucified. Because the flag is a sign without an agreed upon ‘thing signified’ it obscures, distracts and may in fact be hindering people’s receptivity to the glorious good news of Christ. The presence... Continue Reading
Whatever Your Hand Finds to Do
Isn't it amazing that God uses us, as flawed humans, to build His kingdom?
I am not a super woman. In fact, I admit to my share of grumbling about the sacrifice required in my role as a pastor’s wife. I do many things in my own strength and get overwhelmed. These attitudes do not automatically go away when the church gets bigger, either. But, I do pray that God will give... Continue Reading
Jesus’ Work in Dull Disciples
Friends, the Apostles are not necessarily men to emulate.
Sure, they are pretty committed to Jesus. Yes, they are greatly affected and improved by the Holy Spirit. Absolutely, they are much sharper role models than most — including the one writing this devotional. There is much to be appreciated and admired in these men and their ministry. However, despite Jesus’ calling and usage of... Continue Reading
Vanderbilt To Pay For Sex-Change Surgeries
Critics say schools that get federal funds should not spend money on unnecessary medical procedure
Vanderbilt is far from the first university to approve such a policy. It joins a group of 71 other American colleges and universities that opted in the last several years to pay for students to undergo transgender-related surgeries. Other schools with similar policies include Ivy League universities and many state schools north of the Mason-Dixon... Continue Reading
Our Hope Amid Suffering
We have a God who has rescued us, even when we don’t feel rescued
“Whatever else we lose in this life, we cannot lose our salvation. It is cancer proof. It is abuse proof. It is even death proof. These are the truths we run to when life kicks us.” I have buried too many children in my ministry. I have watched helpless parents weep in torment. I... Continue Reading
Confession and Theology: Explicit and Implicit Scriptural Teaching
Scripture is authoritative in what it expressly sets down and what can be deduced by good and necessary consequence
“I am afraid that when we discover that we in waters too deep or that we are out of our theological depth (we all experience this reality every once in a while) that our eyes begin to glaze over and our minds shut down. When this happens rather than admit what we are experiencing we... Continue Reading
7 Conservative Christians Who Are Not Supporting Trump
Here are seven Christian leaders who have made less-than-enthusiastic statements about the businessman-turned-reality TV star-turned candidate
Perhaps no evangelical leader has been more outspoken in opposition to Trump than Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission. In a single weekend last month, Moore penned an op-ed in The New York Times and made an appearance on “Face the Nation,” in which he called Trump’s campaign “reality television moral sewage.” Donald... Continue Reading
MLP Says It Has Crumbled The Foundation Of The Scriptural Understanding Of Sexuality And Marriage
The More Light Presbyterians met on Tuesday to celebrate the 25th anniversary of a document titled “Keeping Body and Soul Together: Sexuality, Spirituality, and Social Justice"
“Two writers of the original 1991 document were present and gave their perspective on a document that they see as prophetic witness to the church. Martin Ellison and Sylvia Thorson-Smith clearly see the current climate within the PCUSA as an affirmation of their work for acceptance, but they still see a need for additional work... Continue Reading
Speaking Others’ Words After Them
What constitutes other people’s words and therefore requires citation is not simple
A parent who majored in English remembers is that “no man is ever an island” is a quotation from John Donne, but can’t identify exactly where. Her husband is reminded of the contrary sentiment and the Simon and Garfunkel song, “I am a rock, I am an i-i-island!” while the women on their right wonders... Continue Reading
Blocked: Judge Lets Stand Miss. Law Protecting Religious Freedom in Face of Gay Rights
A federal judge in Mississippi has allowed to stand a new state law that permits people to deny wedding services to same-sex couples based on religious objections
“The ACLU has said the Mississippi law could affect people in sexual relationships outside of a heterosexual marriage. While the initial challenge is focused on the provisions pertaining to marriage, the organization said in a statement that it planned to fight the other provisions.” A federal judge in Mississippi has allowed to stand a... Continue Reading
Can We Trust the Gospels, Even If They Were Transmitted Orally?
One common challenge leveled at the gospels is related to the manner in which they were recorded
“As a skeptic, even without embracing the divine protection of the gospel accounts, I found that the circumstances surrounding their transmission and authorship was reasonable. Now, as a Christian, I realize that God protected this entire process and orchestrated the events in such a way as to allow us to have a reliable record of... Continue Reading
Trump Convinces Evangelical Leaders He’d Be Better Than Clinton at Defending Religious Freedom
Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump appears to have sufficiently convinced a gathering of more than 900 conservative Christian leaders that he is the best choice
“This wasn’t about converting him to become your firebrand evangelical. This wasn’t even about making him a stone-ribbed conservative. This was about hearing as the leader of America, as a leader in the free world, he had a fundamental understanding that there was a relationship between the reach and power and scope of government and... Continue Reading
PCA GA: Overture 43 On Racial Reconciliation Approved 861-123
The PCA General Assembly approved Overture 43 on racial reconciliation with an 85% vote of the commissioners
The Presbyterian Church in America General Assembly, meeting in Mobile, Ala., voted on June 23 to approve Overture 43 on racial reconciliation. This action began when a personal resolution on racial reconciliation was presented to the 43rd PCA General Assembly in 2015. After debate on the resolution, a motion was approved to recommend to the... Continue Reading
Why Churches Should Stop Pandering to Millennials
All of this pandering is the exact opposite of what Millennials actually want from church.
For the sake of Millennials (and anyone else who doesn’t want to witness the hipsterization of the Bible), and for all that is holy, stop trying to make Christianity and any other religion “cool.” This Millennial is begging you to stop. We are going to swipe left on the church if we keep seeing stunts... Continue Reading
Prayers To Allah-Offered At PCUSA’s General Assembly Plenary Session
Wajidi Said, from the Portland Muslim Community, offered his prayer to Allah as a part of the opening session of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA).
“Allah bless us and bless our families and bless our Lord. Lead us on the straight path – the path of all the prophets: Abraham, Ishmael, Isaac, Moses, Jesus and Muhammad,” and so went the prayer offered up by Wajidi Said, from the Portland Muslim Community. “Allah bless us and bless our families and... Continue Reading
Our Estate of Sin
Our lives are characterized by sin, which John described in 1 John 3:4 as “lawlessness.”
What a weighty thing this natural state of ours is. We are “by nature children of wrath.” This does not mean that we are naturally angry with people, but it means that we were born under the wrath of Almighty God. When was the last time you, as those who trust in Jesus and who... Continue Reading
Profiting from Sermon Fails
It’s appropriate to have a post-mortem when a sermon dies on us.
We don’t need to preach a perfect sermon for God to bless it. God is sometimes pleased to take our most pathetic sermons that we want to forget forever and to turn them into a means of salvation for some or for many. I’ve been stunned at how God has used sermons that died on... Continue Reading
The Failure of Evangelical Youth Conferences
It’s a format that misses more than 2,000 years of church history, biblically-based teaching, a spirit of unity, and historical clarity and context.
It’s the favorite formula being used by Evangelical youth conference organizers: invite a bunch of speakers from the mostly progressive end of the theological spectrum and maybe a couple conservatives and let the students decide who they like best. No caveats, no clarifications, nor justifications. Only a few brief comments encouraging students to not allow... Continue Reading
How to Deal Biblically with Regrets
Reject condemnation, rejoice in God’s sovereignty, and press on, trusting Christ for the grace for this day.
Think of Peter. He denied Jesus 3 times. He could have struggled with regret and condemnation for the rest of his life. Then there’s Paul. He stood by and approved of Stephen’s murder and sanctioned other murders. He yanked Christians out of their homes and threw them in jail. Yet Paul said there’s no condemnation. There... Continue Reading