Francis Makemie and Freedom of Speech
The first American Presbyterian pastor helped entrench the right to free expression and free worship by appealing to the principles of the Glorious Revolution.
This developing American Calvinism, far from the modern caricature as a narrow or severe sect, was a boost to personal freedom and civil discourse in its heyday. The first American Presbyterian pastor helped entrench the right to free expression and free worship by appealing to the principles of the Glorious Revolution. A tidal wave of... Continue Reading
Buyer Beware: The Value of Near-Death Accounts
Religious hucksterism is not a new phenomenon. From Sinclair Lewis’ Elmer Gantry to televangelist Jim Bakker to some proponents of the Prosperity Gospel, fictional and real life examples abound.
The colossal sales of books about near-death experiences attest that many people desire to go to heaven and are curious about what the afterlife will entail. Despite the revelation that Malarkey invented his son’s story, millions will undoubtedly continue to find near-death accounts to be captivating, inspiring, and reassuring. Nevertheless, for Christians, the teachings of... Continue Reading
Stop Asking Jesus into Your Heart
Countless people in our churches today are genuinely saved, but they just can’t seem to gain any assurance about their salvation.
Does this mean that backsliding Christians are not saved? No, believers can still backslide. Technically, any time you sin you are backsliding. As a believer, you will struggle with indwelling sin for the rest of your life. You will fall often, and sometimes you will fall hard. But each time you fall, you get up again,... Continue Reading
Churches In Niger And Other Former French Colonies Torched Over Charlie Hebdo Cartoons
Cartoon depictions of Muhammad are proving costly for Christians in majority-Muslim countries in Africa.
Sheikh Saliou Mbacke, coordinator of the Interfaith Action for Peace in Africa, said he strongly condemned the attacks on churches in Niger, but cartoons of such a revered figure were an act of provocation that could not be justified by freedom of expression. “Muslim demonstrations to express their anger are legitimate,” said Mbacke, a Muslim leader... Continue Reading
Atlanta Is Burning: A New And Ominous Threat To Religious Liberty
A new illiberal spirit threatens our most basic liberties, reducing the First Amendment’s protection of free religious exercise to the confines of our homes and our churches, or our minds.
The First Amendment does protect religious beliefs — especially when one is at work or in the public square. The question is: Will we as a nation yield to this new and ominous attack on religious liberty, or will we mean what we say when we affirm the First Amendment? This question reaches far beyond... Continue Reading
How To Dump Your Wife and Keep Your “Ministry”
Emergent leader Tony Jones had a problem. He had a girlfriend…but he also had a wife. What is a holy man to do with such a conundrum?
Tony Jones divorced his wife in 2009. His wife discovered the affair in 2008. He claimed to be “spiritually” married to the new woman. Problem solved! He even wrote a short book on the subject cloaking his theory as a way for churches to deal with same sex marriage. “There Are Two Marriages: A Manifesto On... Continue Reading
Reports of the Collapse Have Perhaps Been Exaggerated — But Only Temporarily
Will evangelicalism hold firm on the gay marriage question?
All of this has to be disheartening to people in the pews who every day face work environments made increasingly hostile by this issue. They need clear, coherent, and truly compassionate leadership. If the Top Men will only speak out on the most egregious examples which take place safely outside of their camp and... Continue Reading
Nine Observations About Announcements in Worship Services
To have or not to have announcements in the worship services?
Pastors also receive pressure from different groups and individuals to make certain their announcements are made. Most every church member has his or her own idea about priorities in the church. One pastor recently told me that a church member got mad at him because he did not announce that the member’s daughter was named salutatorian of... Continue Reading
Article on the Exodus Population Numbers
Exegesis of the numbers of the Exodus without exaggerating the numbers
It is hoped that this paper will stimulate further analysis of various numerical information contained in Scripture to help clarify any seeming paradoxes centered around such numbers. The results of such analyses likely may well have sermon applications beyond the details of the specific passages in question. I think this issue has serious ramifications... Continue Reading
Lecrae Confesses Abortion, Invites Others Into The Light
Such deep guilt can only be relieved by the open confession of sin, a story Lecrae Moore lived out firsthand, and a message he’s now willing to share
“Lecrae sensed abortion was the wrong decision, but he also saw abortion as an easy escape from the responsibilities of fatherhood. “Had it not been for the conviction of the Spirit, who I was suppressing with drugs and alcohol, I don’t know if I would have felt anything. But I was so callous and so... Continue Reading
9 Things You Should Know About Boko Haram
The group is comprised of radical Islamists who oppose both Westerners and “apostate” Muslims
“In 2009 the group launched military operation to create an Islamic state in Africa. The group carried out a number of attacks on police stations and other government buildings in Maiduguri. Nigeria’s security forces were able to capture the group’s leader, Muhammad Yusuf, the group’s headquarters, and many of its fighters. The Nigerian government thought... Continue Reading
The Last Act Is Bloody. Always Bloody.
The denial of death, or at least of the necessary horror at death, has come to infect our world.
“I have remarked in the past that too often Christians celebrate the resurrection of Christ from the grave without really acknowledging why he was in the grave in the first place. We jump from Good Friday to Easter Sunday without lingering outside the tomb. That explains not simply the Malarkey incident but also much of... Continue Reading
Modern Bible Is Too Dull, Says Philip Pullman
“Speaking of the demise of the King James Bible and the Book of Common Prayer, the author said: ‘I do regret that children don’t have this experience of language which is grand and stately, and above their heads if you like. Because it gave me an immense amount of pleasure to hear the cadences and... Continue Reading
Pregnant California Mom Delays Chemo So Child Can Live
Doctors say cancer has spread through Ashley Bridges' body
“I’m angry,” Bridges said, tears welling in her eyes, “but there’s really nothing we can do about it now. The doctor that I went to repeatedly and repeatedly telling him something wasn’t right probably cost me my life. This is a very aggressive cancer. I could have had more time.” Bridges underwent surgery to replace... Continue Reading
How Southern Baptists Became Pro-Life
Current SBC President Ronnie Floyd said that Southern Baptists must build on victories of the past and rearticulate their commitment to defend unborn life
“Baptists and Roman Catholics had long agreed that life begins at conception, but Baptist scholars, unlike their Catholic counterparts, generally did not develop biblical and theological arguments regarding unborn children. By the mid-20th century, abortion rarely came up among Southern Baptists, and average church members had only “a general feeling that abortion was wrong.” ... Continue Reading
Outrage Over Joe Rightmyer; And The Ultimate ‘So What?’
Many drew parallels to Machen’s defrocking and explusion from the United Presbyterian Church
“With Rightmyer the PCUSA has defrocked a pastor who actually believes, upholds and advocates the historically recognizable Christian faith and Reformed theology. This is the same denomination that has repeatedly failed to meaningfully censure pastors who openly defied the mutually agreed upon constitutional standards by which they agreed to be governed. Those pastors clearly broke... Continue Reading
A Caution For Believers In 2015
Nobody — even the most righteous person today — is immune from sin tomorrow
“I have seen seemingly single acts of sin lead to ungodly anger, bitterness, and retaliation from others. Sometimes, the single act includes another person, who then also falls into the enemy’s trap. Too many of us can tell stories of those whose single acts of sin have left ongoing scars in others – and the... Continue Reading
Family Worship Suggestions
The obligation of Christian parents to pass on the truth of God’s word is clear in God’s word
“You may choose to read one chapter per day from the Bible with our children. Read a chapter a day until you finish a book and then start another one. Make sure you choose both New Testament and Old Testament books. If you do this daily, you will have 365 chances each year to teach... Continue Reading
Husbands, Pray with Your Wives
Here are the miraculous things accomplished in this small and easy act.
True spiritual intimacy in marriage is only accomplished through the Holy Spirit. Only the Spirit can break down the barriers she has to you and you have to her. Only the Spirit can truly minister to the deep places in her heart. You can’t be her god, and when you bring her with you to... Continue Reading
Your Average Life Now
Responding to Joel Osteen's Your Best Life Now
What happened to contentment (Heb. 13:5)? What’s so bad about an average, middle-of-the-road kind of life if it’s the life God wants us to live? There are lots of average Christians earning average salaries with average families. They are not to be despised, but encouraged, prayed for, and even admired as they serve God faithfully in... Continue Reading
When Is It My Circus?
How to know when and how to address heterodox teachings
But a more effective approach is to deal directly with those in your church who are affected by the teaching. Find out why they are attracted to the teaching. Is there perhaps some shortcoming in your own ministry that is causing these folks to look elsewhere? But don’t go into attack mode. Gently lead them... Continue Reading
Exhort and Convict Those Who Contradict
To ignore the reality of false teachers, by never bringing up their falsehoods for the church to know and understand, is a dereliction of duty.
It is this last reason that I think would shock most pastors who try to be less than controversial. You know these preachers. They speak about things that are true and in general, draw moral principles from the Bible. But they never come out and say something is right or wrong or dangerous. They think... Continue Reading
One of the Clearest (and Earliest) Summaries of Early Christian Beliefs
Core Christian beliefs were not latecomers that were invented in the fourth century (or later)
Most recently, I came across an amazing paragraph in one of our earliest Christian apologies. Aristides, a converted Athenian philosopher, wrote an apology to emperor Hadrian around 125 A.D. As such, it is one of the earliest patristic writings we possess. It is a lengthy treatise which compares the God of Christianity with the gods... Continue Reading
Christology and the “Biblical Patriarchy” Movement
Understanding the unbiblical teaching of referring to the husband and father as the priest of the home or the priest of his family.
As the only Mediator between God and man, Jesus is also called Christ “because he was annointed with the Holy Ghost above measure; and so set apart, and fully furnished with all authority and ability, to execute the offices of prophet, priest, and king of his Church, in the estate both of his humiliation and... Continue Reading
The President’s Deeply Dishonest Statement about Life
Does the President really want to tell “every child” that their life matters? What about the babies?
Where is the concern for “every child” being able to know that their life matters? Where is the burden to improve the “life chances” of unborn children? Nowhere. In fact, his administration doesn’t even acknowledge that they are a part of the moral equation. Rather, his administration cites “reproductive rights” and the “right to choose”... Continue Reading
2 Principles to Consider if You Are Planning to Move
Advice to a Mobile Society
Here is what’s troubling to me—folks are usually not making church a first priority in their decision to move. Either they haven’t thought about what church they would go to in their new location, or they just assume there will be a good church near them no matter where they move (after all, this is... Continue Reading
William Willimon’s “The Culture is Overrated”
The point is not to speak to the culture. The point is to change it. God’s appointed means of producing change is called “church”; and God’s typical way of producing church is called “preaching.”
When we speak of reaching out to our culture through the gospel, we must be reminded that the gospel is also a culture. In the attempt to “translate” the gospel into the language of the culture, something is lost. We are learning that you have not said “salvation” when you say “self-esteem.” “The American Way” is not... Continue Reading
‘Selma’: American History, Raw And Honest
I leave movies more discouraged and sure that our world will never truly change. But Selma is different. I left this movie hopeful.
Selma is much more than Black history. It is American history. It is our history. Within all of us we understand the fight and struggle for change in order to make a better life for those who will come after us—even if that means that we won’t live to see that change. Selma is not a movie for... Continue Reading
But Contemporary Worship Brings People To Jesus! Right…?
We don’t worship together to attract unbelievers. We worship together because God is worthy.
For one thing, music doesn’t bring people to Jesus. Jesus does that work admirably enough through the Holy Spirit, certainly better than a brush with David Crowder’s beard. But there’s an even deeper flaw in our thinking. Worship is not an evangelistic tool. Missional Meditation Consider this comment I received on the “Modernized Hymns” post.... Continue Reading
Slander in the Camp
Slander is a violation of the 9th commandment, "You shall not bear false witness."
Why is Paul writing this to Christians? Because Christians are as capable of this as any other person. As John Owen once said, “The seed of every known sin is in my heart.” Putting it simply, we are all capable of doing this. Churches, businesses, ministries and relationships are ruined…not from without, but from within. Do not... Continue Reading