Four Brief Theses On Suicide

God is greater than our sins, even ones that grip us in our dying breaths

“I think many people were angry at the critical responses to Robin Williams’ death because the critiques failed to grasp–or at least landed on people as failing to grasp–the moral differences surrounding the different contexts for suicide. Surely someone struggling with depression on and off for twenty years who takes his own life deserves more... Continue Reading

Recovered From Ebola, US Missionary Kent Brantly Discharged

An American doctor treated for Ebola, Kent Brantly, was discharged from Atlanta’s Emory University Hospital Thursday

Ribner said the hospital performed extensive blood and urine tests on both patients and consulted with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention before deciding the two missionaries were ready to be released. Neither pose any risk to the public, he said. Five doctors and 21 nurses cared for Brantly and Writebol during their stay.... Continue Reading

A Christian Reading List for Atheists

In the spirit of enlightenment, I offer the following admittedly eccentric and selective bibliography for the study of atheists (and under-educated Christians)

“Many other books could be added, and no doubt better selections are available. I deliberately avoided systematic theologies (except in the case of Aquinas) and tried to stick to more readily accessible material (except for Edwards, which is a tough read). I have also tried to reflect the broadness of the Christian intellectual tradition (though... Continue Reading

The Ordinary Christian Life

You don’t have to transform the world to be a faithful mom or dad, sibling, church member, or neighbor

“Who wants to be that ordinary person who lives in an ordinary town, is a member of an ordinary church, has ordinary friends, and works an ordinary job? Our life has to count. We have to leave our mark, have a legacy, and make a difference. We need to be radical disciples, taking our faith... Continue Reading

Amnesty Is Not the Answer Without Genuine Border Security

What is the right way for churches and people of faith to address illegal immigration?

“Nearly all polls show that evangelicals are the least supportive among religious groups of legalization proposals. Most evangelicals are conservative, and shifting them into a new cause not seen as conservative is naturally difficult. Like other skeptics of immigration “reform,” many likely are doubtful that the promised increased security that would follow mass legalization, as... Continue Reading

Farm Owners Fined For Saying No To Lesbian Wedding

Christian farm owners in upstate New York who declined a lesbian couple’s request to hold a wedding ceremony on their property have been fined $10,000

When Jennifer McCarthy and Melisa Erwin, a same-sex couple from Newark, N.J., requested to use the facility for their 2012 wedding, Cynthia Gifford offered the farm for a reception, but not for the wedding ceremony. Weddings typically are conducted on the first floor of the Giffords’ home or in an adjacent field. NEW YORK (RNS) Christian farm owners in... Continue Reading

The Heart of Family Worship

I think of family worship as being comprised of three interconnected variables: the heart of family worship, the timing of family worship, and the manner of family worship

“Family worship supports and augments what have been called in certain circles “the ordinary means of grace,” meaning the reading of the Word of God, prayer, and the sacraments   (Westminster Larger Catechism Q. 154; Westminster Shorter Catechism Q. 88). By thinking of family worship in this way, we connect what we are doing in our... Continue Reading

Episcopal Church Sells Property of Breakaway Congregation to Baptist Group

The Episcopal Church has sold off to a Baptist church a property once used by a congregation that broke away from the denomination over theological differences

“With the decision made final, Bishop Seabury Anglican became one of many congregations across the country that lost its property to The Episcopal Church in court. Gauss explained to CP that after the decision his congregation worshipped at a Groton hotel for eighteen months before ending up at an elementary school in Gales Ferry, located... Continue Reading

Virginia Same-Sex Marriage Ruling Is Placed On Hold

The Supreme Court has stopped Virginia officials from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples

“Virginia clerks and clergy members had begun preparing for a stream of same-sex couples seeking marriage licenses. But the order brought an abrupt halt to those preparations, which included new state forms that substituted the word “spouses” for “bride and groom.”   The Supreme Court on Wednesday stopped Virginia officials from issuing marriage licenses to... Continue Reading

‘Til the Love Runs Out

The cross tells us that Christ's love will never run out.

He is the fountain of all love. And as I was sitting there praying, participating in this holy sacrament with his covenant body of believers, I was reminded that his love isn’t something that I merely consume. It overflows. I have his love running out of me. I come to the table tired, restless, and... Continue Reading

Is Having Children Too Expensive? (Wrong Question!)

The rising generation of young people in the U.S. is increasingly questioning or distorting the value and purpose of child-bearing and child-rearing.

For Christians in particular, no matter what the dollar numbers of the day, the choice to have children is one driven by something deeper, wider, and higher than ourselves. Financial wisdom and frugality are important, but God didn’t tell Hannah, Manoah, or Mary to plug their ears, shut up their hearts, and budget their way... Continue Reading

The “Grotesque Anomaly” of the Un-Churched Christian

Nowhere in Scripture is believer in Christ all by his or her lonesome (or even a family), disconnected from a local body of believers, is considered to be the norm, or even that such a thing is acceptable

Now just because something is an anomaly (or even a “grotesque” one, to use Stott’s words), does not mean that it is not all-too-common. In fact, the passage cited above clearly tells us that neglecting to meet together is (unfortunately) “the habit of some”(v.25). In our day it actually seems to be the habit of many. To... Continue Reading

Sleepless Nights

Reflections upon the doctrine of Providence and temporary insomnia.

I reminded myself of those wonderful words of the third chapter of the Westminster Confession of Faith, “God ordains whatsoever comes to pass . . .” I reminded myself that, yes, I was a creature with freedom of the will (see WCF 9 in case you think I just lost my theological marbles), but at... Continue Reading

What Can YOU Do for Persecuted Iraqis?

We cannot force our government to save the Christians and other religious minorities of Iraq from ISIS, but we can do what we can do: pray, be a voice, and urge our government not to look the other way.

We have increasingly short attention spans these days, and the media has an even shorter one! It is a struggle to keep the attention of the world even on horrific situations like the genocide of religious minorities in Iraq. And most of the world does not know what to make of a global Caliphate (if... Continue Reading

The Lord’s Supper: Wine or Welch’s?

Does it really matter whether we use juice or wine for the sacrament?

In the end, I believe it is permissible to use grape juice instead of wine for the Lord’s Supper, but I do not believe it is best. Wine, as the gift of God and sign of his blessing, was used during the Passover and in the institution of the Lord’s Supper, and following that pattern... Continue Reading

A Follow Up to: Why Courtship is Fundamentally Flawed

A response to some of the most frequent questions and concerns

As Christians, our mission is to love God and love each other. This is the greatest commandment. The purpose of all of our activities whether it be dating, courtship, arranged marriage or washing the dishes should be to love God. Binding each other with man-made rules is not love. Taking advantage of each other is... Continue Reading

For the Girls Who Are Waiting

Bless the waiting. Bless the not yet. Bless you, sweet girls.

Despite what movies and magazines will tell you, the point of life is not to be paired up with another person.  I don’t know what God has planned for you or your relationships.  But, I can tell you, as a girl who wasn’t kissed until her second year of college, that you aren’t weird or... Continue Reading

Attention Pro-Lifers: Be Careful Where You Send Your ALS Ice Bucket Challenge Donation

If you give to the ALS Association your money may end up supporting clinical trials that use aborted fetal cells.

So who can you give your Ice Bucket Challenge money to? I know of one charity that is not focused on funding the research, but on making the lives of those with ALS better through technology and on raising awareness for the disease. Team Gleason, founded by former NFL player and ALS patient, Steve Gleason  ... Continue Reading

Nancy Writebol, SIM Missionary Stricken With Ebola Virus, Discharged From Hospital on Tuesday

Nancy and husband, David, resting at undisclosed location

“Nancy and David are taking a long, well-deserved break of peace and quiet to reflect on all that has transpired over the past four to five weeks, all that God has done, and seeking how God will lead them in future paths of service,” said Bruce Johnson, president, SIM USA.  “The courageous, humble, faith-filled spirit of... Continue Reading

Former Mars Hill Church Pastors Bring Formal Charges Against Mark Driscoll

Twenty-one former Mars Hill Church pastors bought charges late last week against lead pastor Mark Driscoll

My impression is that these matters have been raised repeatedly and are a part of the concerns which animated Acts 29 Network to take action. Clearly, Rev. Driscoll and Mars Hill leadership are under fire and I will post any response to my request for their side of things if they reply. On the heels... Continue Reading

What Are Gospel Issues?

Today it is very common to hear that such-and-such a topic is “a gospel issue; what does this really mean?

In sum, to affirm something is or is not a gospel issue is not a transparent expression. It is likely to be clearest among those who share a common confession as to what the gospel is. It is useful only when it means something more stringent than that X can be tied in some way... Continue Reading

Accepting “No” as God’s Will

We must accept the fact that God sometimes says no. Sometimes He calls us to suffer and die even if we want to claim the contrary.

This “nevertheless” was the supreme prayer of faith. The prayer of faith is not a demand that we place on God. It is not a presumption of a granted request. The authentic prayer of faith is one that models Jesus’ prayer. It is always uttered in a spirit of subordination. In all our prayers, we... Continue Reading

6 Church Killers That (Unfortunately) Have Stood the Test of Time

Satan was neutralizing local churches 300 years ago in the same way he is today

It’s easy to set up outward, measurable standards of appearance and performance. We like to do this because it validates us, makes us feel successful as Christians and leaders. Yet the outward conformity COULD be merely a cover for the absence of inward dependence. Healthy churches emphasize the gradual, growing work of God’s Spirit within... Continue Reading

The Coming Collapse of “Marriage Equality”

One day the notion of same-sex marriage will be in the rearview mirror along with Prohibition and New Coke, with people saying, “What were we thinking?”

The Titanic was the largest and most luxurious ship ever built, helmed by the most experienced captain of the North Atlantic, and considered unsinkable because of its reinforced hull and water-tight compartments.  Not unlike the Titanic, the gay rights movement is a huge force riding the wave of tolerance and equality. But the movement is... Continue Reading

Mutual Stroking and the Minister

There is one great temptation for all in the ministry: “Mutual Stroking”

Come into the sacred ministry with eyes wide open. There will be days of sweetness. There will be seasons which are sour. Do not enter the battle thinking it to be a vacation. You might be really happy; you might be really popular; and you might become very rich. And as you serve the Lord, you might also... Continue Reading

Neither Traditional Nor Contemporary

Presenting a third way that shares some of the concerns of both the advocates of “contemporary” and “traditional” worship

The practice of the first 600 years of the church and for the 200 years of Reformation is more ancient than the 18th and 19th-century revisions that his approach seeks to preserve. To the “contemporary worship” folk I say: Perhaps historic worship would interest you more if you saw how truly radical it is?  ... Continue Reading

Where’s the Justice at Justice?

It’s hard to fathom how the president who started with the press fluffing his pillows has ended up trying to suffocate the press with those pillows

“It’s hypocritical,” Risen said. “A lot of people still think this is some kind of game or signal or spin. They don’t want to believe that Obama wants to crack down on the press and whistle-blowers. But he does. He’s the greatest enemy to press freedom in a generation.”   Washington — Jim Risen is... Continue Reading

Who Will Get to Decide Definition of Marriage?

In a new and different twist, one judge thought the issue was for the legislature and voters to decide, not the courts.

Of all the appeals courts to hear this issue, the 6th Circuit seems more likely to uphold traditional marriage in a 2 to 1 decision. The 10th and 4th circuits have already found traditional marriage rules unconstitutional. And last week, Utah filed a petition for review with the U.S. Supreme Court to look at a... Continue Reading

Let the Banner Fly! Protecting the Free Speech Rights of Churches

The city’s banner regulations violated the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment

The City Banner Regulations allow certain groups to display banners containing any viewpoint those groups wish to communicate, except for commercial, political, or religious “advertisements.”  Here, [the church] would like to do precisely what other local groups have done (like the Rotary Club and Jaycees), i.e., advertise for a local, community event that is open... Continue Reading

To Those Of You Who Don’t Like To Sing On Sunday

When we don’t feel like singing, the problem isn’t a singing problem, but a seeing problem.

If we could see God as he truly is, we would be utterly undone. We would be singing for joy, kneeling in adoration, and weeping in gratitude. If we saw Jesus in his resurrected, ascended glory, there would be no talk of, “Well, I’m more of the quiet type.” So what should we do when... Continue Reading