Good Motives Gone Bad
The good intention of reaching such people with evangelistic techniques that include the reshaping of Sunday morning worship fails to understand some significant truths set forth in Scripture
“There are always the tares that grow alongside of the wheat (Matt. 13:36-43). But one does not structure the church to meet the felt needs and desires of the tares. The purpose of corporate “assembly, which has its roots in the Old Testament, is for the people of God to come together corporately to offer... Continue Reading
Something Greater Than Marriage
Marriage is a mystery and a reflection of a greater reality
“Defining marriage as being between a husband and a wife appears unfair to the LGBT community, in part because a life of singleness is seen to be crushingly lonely. Have we in the church inadvertently played into that lie with our idolatry of marriage while being pejorative and silent toward singleness? If singleness is unfair, then... Continue Reading
“Respect The Authorities”: Introduction
We do not set out to transform the world apart from the preaching of the gospel
“The church, by divine design and intention, is a spiritual force, a gospel organism. Her involvement in and impact upon the world socially, politically, and economically may not be insignificant, but it will be substantially incidental. The church does not exist to have a political life or role.” It was recently my privilege to... Continue Reading
The Future of the Christian University
Most institutions will not abandon their convictions for any tax benefit
“I am deeply concerned about the impact the Supreme Court’s ruling might have on faith-based or other educational institutions—including schools from grades K-12, colleges, universities, theological seminaries and graduate schools—that hold to natural or conjugal marriage, which has only come into question within the past decade.” As I stood before more than seven hundred... Continue Reading
Thoughts on Study Bibles
Do I recommend study Bibles? Yes, for study.
But study Bibles also have shortcomings. In order to keep the size of the Bible within a reasonable scope (the ESV Study Bible really pushes the envelope here, at almost 2,800 pages) something has to give. Generally what is lost is commentary on the text itself. Comments on difficult passages are often the first to... Continue Reading
Leaving the Qur’an for the Gospels
The "greatest turning of Muslims to Jesus Christ in history" is taking place across the world
“There was a “cocktail of elements” behind the trend, which is underpinned by a “tremendous amount of prayer”. The elements include a “yearning for something different” arising from violence within the Muslim world; the power of the internet; and the translation of the gospel and missionary materials (including videos) into the “heart languages” of Muslim... Continue Reading
Change and Die?
Change does not uniformly kill institutions — not even when they abandon their historic position
“The narrative is repeated as a cautionary tale. It says that if institutions change, they are bound to die. For evidence, it looks to institutions that have failed, then points out how they changed. Implicitly, it draws a lesson for the remaining institutions: “If you change, you’ll die, too.” I don’t know Pastor Travis... Continue Reading
The Church Will Survive Gay Marriage If It Sticks To Its Guns
God will always preserve his people. All we have to fear are our own buckling knees.
“In the book of First Kings, Elijah faced a wave of persecution and mortal danger beyond anything any American has faced on American soil. He felt alone — terrified that all was coming to an end. He declared to God, “I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.”... Continue Reading
Looking Back to Think Ahead: Baptists and Obergefell v. Hodges
Contemporary Baptists should consider their history – not simply looking back at 40 years, but 400
“It could be argued that Baptists have been here before: placed outside the bounds of what a the majority considers respectable – or even acceptable – by the legally enshrined predominant collective conventions and social mores of contemporary society.” A committed evangelical, today I write out of and to my narrower ecclesiastical tradition (Baptist) as I address the... Continue Reading
Pastor Exposed as Faithful to Wife of 17 Years
Despite the headlines, marital scandals don’t define the church.
We each can name far more pastors who are faithful in their marriages than those who are not. And I suspect we would also say that it’s those faithful marriages, those ordinary, daily testimonies of richer or poorer, sickness and health, for better or worse that most influence us. One marriage fails that we might... Continue Reading
You’re Not a Leader if You Never Say You’re Sorry
If you never apologize, at least one of the following is also true
If you never need to look at someone on your team and say, “I am sorry, but…” then you are ignoring difficult conversations that would make the person and the team stronger. If you talk about people instead of to people, you are not a good leader. If you work around deficiencies instead of confronting... Continue Reading
5 Biblical Responses to Homosexuality
How Christians can respond to the issue of homosexuality and the church.
It is not the church that is telling people today that a life without sexual fulfillment is not worth living. That is the message of our culture, not of our savior. Jesus himself came with a message to liberate us from such thinking. We have good news to share on this – very good news.... Continue Reading
Americans Are Independent But Are They Still Free?
It is evident that there is an great, an immense need to educate millions of Americans in basic civics
Americans who still believe that civil liberty is, by definition, the relative absence of governmental restraint upon the freedom of speech, the relative absence of restraint upon religious practice, the absence of prior restraint upon the press and other basic liberties (e.g., life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness relative to civil life) need to... Continue Reading
Remember The Pit
What’s the point in going back to such a hideous and ugly place?
“Remember the hole of the pit from which you were dug” said Isaiah the prophet. It’s a spiritual exercise that the Psalmist models for us in Psalm 40:1-3. Although the exact nature of the pit is not specified – it could be the pit of affliction, of persecution, of mental distress, or of family trouble... Continue Reading
Are the church fires connected? Were they caused by hate crimes?
ATF has special agents and certified fire investigators (CFIs) from several field divisions investigating the fires to determine cause and origin. We are in the early stages of these investigations, but at this time we have no reason to believe these fires are racially motivated or related. What is the #WhoIsBurningBlackChurches story about? Since... Continue Reading
Our Unhealthy Preoccupation with Acceptance
I believe it is this clamoring for relevance and respect that is and will draw people to embrace these progressive (and errant) views of sexuality, gender and marriage.
The evangelical church in the last generation has been marked by its preoccupation with being relevant. An entire movement has been built around making Jesus and church seem relevant to outsiders. We have seen fad after fad come with intensity and go with a whisper only to become illustrations of silliness and obsolescence. The church-growth... Continue Reading
Politico: “It’s Time to Legalize Polygamy”
Traditional marriage supporters have long made the case that the argument for gay marriage can also be used to advance polygamous marriage.
“While important legal and practical questions remain unresolved, with the Supreme Court’s ruling and broad public support, marriage equality is here to stay. Soon, it will be time to turn the attention of social liberalism to the next horizon. Given that many of us have argued, to great effect, that deference to tradition is not... Continue Reading
America’s Zero-Sum Culture, and How It’s Tearing the Nation Apart
A zero-sum game is a situation where there is a finite amount of capital or benefits to be gotten and if one person or group gains, another loses.
But this contemporary zero-sum culture of winners and losers stands in sharp contrast to earlier political discourse as it was informed by religiously derived notions of divine providence, sin, tragic brokenness, grace, and humility in the face of a world that we do not fully understand. Witness Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address, which, while not shying away... Continue Reading
You’re So Vain, You Probably Think This Psalm Is About You
David was passionate about leading his friends to acceptably worship the Holy God
In the midst of his discomfort, David is finding comfort in the LORD, and he longs for his children and people to do so as well. All true worshipers should humble themselves before the mighty hand of the Lord. For it is always better for one to humble oneself, than to be forcefully humbled by the... Continue Reading
Fragile Foundation of Marriage Equality, Part 3
In the minds of “marriage equality” supporters, the discussion is over; there is one “right side of history.”
Damon Linker has “made clear repeatedly” that he supports gay marriage, and yet he is “troubled by the equally stunning lack of charity, magnanimity, and tolerance displayed by many gay marriage advocates.” The problem is that certain “equality” proponents “don’t just want to win the legal right to marry. They don’t just want most Americans... Continue Reading
A Crisis Of Existentialism
We are in the midst of an existential crisis. Not a crisis that threatens our existence, but rather a crisis of existentialism.
One might say that Existential Philosophy is diametrically opposed to Ontological Philosophy. The former gives sovereignty to perception, the latter to what is; the former gives precedence to subjective identity, the latter to inherent identity; the former emphasizes what is apparent – feelings, qualities, or the accidents – the latter emphasizes substance…. Perhaps, in no case is the... Continue Reading
A Flicker of Light In An Increasingly Dark News Feed
Shining some light on the good things God is doing in the church – to focus on what is commendable and true.
The above principles and practices are not given as a “formula” for success, though the Lord has blessed these biblical commitments in our body and I can’t help but think he would do so in any congregation. My intent is to acknowledge publicly the Lord’s immeasurable goodness to us undeserving sinners! And, by extension, to... Continue Reading
The Heresy of Racial Superiority — Confronting the Past, Confronting the Truth
The ideology of racial superiority is one of the saddest and most sordid evidences of the Fall
“Throughout history, racial ideologies have been driving forces of war, of social cohesion, of demagoguery, and of dictatorships. Race theory was central to the Nazi regime and was used by both sides in the Pacific theater of World War II. In that theater of the war, both the Japanese and the Americans claimed that the... Continue Reading
Hunger Artists In The Reality TV Age
The indiscriminate approval of every personal choice, irrespective of the harm it causes, has borne the full ethical weight of progressive politics in Western societies for decades now.
Our reality is stranger than Kafka’s fiction precisely because it is no longer fiction, and no longer confined to the hunger artist. Our guardians and experts demand that we, the public, are morally obliged to give our approval to each and every authentic choice. It is a matter of human rights. The ancient Romans... Continue Reading
5 Common Obstacles Long Term Pastors Experience
What are 5 common obstacles that long term pastors face in their church?
The long term pastor faces frustrations, betrayal, weariness, loneliness, disappointments, burnout, depression, marital conflict, criticism, and even contempt. It shouldn’t surprise us at all that there are so many obstacles for long term pastors and one of the greatest obstacles is even surviving to be a pastor long enough to be considered a long term... Continue Reading
Guilt Is Not Just a Feeling
Guilt is not just a feeling, it is a legal standing
“God often creates a sense of unease in people, which then leads them to a consciousness of sin, and then a deeper sense that they are guilty before God. Then He brings them beyond mere “feelings” of guilt to confess, “I am guilty before God.” As the psalmist says, “If You, LORD, should mark iniquities,... Continue Reading
John Adams and American Independence
Adams still does not receive the recognition he deserves
Adams’s faith played a vital role in his long and distinguished life. It significantly affected his worldview, determined his moral standards, helped shape his character, and supplied many of his goals. His belief that God governed the world and directed the course of nations and the lives of individuals gave him the courage and confidence... Continue Reading
The Indispensability Of Preaching
God is calling His people and He is doing so through the preaching of the gospel
“As inefficient as it may seem to us, God the Spirit has left to the office of preacher the ministry of announcing the good news and it through that act, announcing the incarnation, obedience, righteousness, death, resurrection, ascension, and return of Christ that he has promised to bring all of his elect to new life,... Continue Reading
How Do You Read the Bible?
I can hear the answer now: Same way I read any book, one word after another.
“Read it for its own sake. Read it receptively. Read it the way you would listen to a friend tell you a story. You listen because you want to hear, not because you think what he says is going to change your life, or teach you something you didn’t know before.” I can hear... Continue Reading
Eternalizing the Old Testament
Everything in the Old Testament Scriptures is fulfilled in Jesus
“One of the most important biblical-theological matters with which we must wrestle is that of how we are to harmonize the Old Testament teaching about “everlasting” ordinances with the teaching of the apostles as to the abrogation of the command to circumcise (1 Cor. 7:19; Gal. 5:6, 11; and 6:15), the cessation of the Old... Continue Reading