Distinguishing Among the Three Persons of the Trinity within Reformed Tradition
I do not think the talk of “roles” is the best way to speak of the eternal distinctions between the Persons of the Trinity
Traditionally, the way in which the Persons of the Godhead have been distinguished—and they are distinct (which suggests three hypostases) not different (which would suggest another ousia)—is not by roles or by eternal relations of authority and submission, but by paternity, filiation, and spiration. To put it another way, the Father is the Father (and... Continue Reading
May A Christian College Administer Communion?
The question is whether it is proper to administer communion (the Lord’s Supper or the Eucharist) outside the visible, institutional church
When private persons, who have not been authorized by Christ nor ordained by his church, take upon themselves the prerogative of administering Christ’s sacraments, they are usurpers. However well-intentioned they may be, they are doing what does not belong to them. The sacraments were to be administered by the true, visible, institutional church. The great... Continue Reading
Mortification and Vivification
Without the Spirit of God, there would be neither mortification nor vivification in the life of the believer.
Both mortification and vivification are the work of the Holy Spirit in the believer’s life. As Paul states, “If you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live” (Rom. 8:13; see also Rom. 8:4; Gal. 5:16-25;... Continue Reading
Toward a Better Reading: Reflections on the Permanent Changes to the Text of Genesis 3:16 in the ESV
We’re concerned that this new rendering repeats the very mistakes that led to the formation of the ESV in the first place
As users of the ESV, we have always known that the translation of the ESV occurred in context of concerns about gendered language. We understood the concern as such: Because Bible translators can read meaning into gendered words based on current sociological agendas, we want to be constrained by the actual words of the text... Continue Reading
Complaining Isn’t Authentic, It’s a Waste of Time
We’ve begun to celebrate complaining as a virtue rather than a vice
Complaints spring from a heart that thinks it deserves better. But in a fallen world people sin against you, families are broken, relationships are hard, work drains you, and suffering is commonplace. Water is wet and life is hard—that’s just the way it is. The sooner I recognize this, the better. Then, when I’m tempted... Continue Reading
History Taken Out Of God’s Hands: Middle Knowledge
"In the theory of middle knowledge, that is precisely the case with God. God looks on, while humans decide."
Not everyone agrees with this view. Some people say that it detracts from human freedom, so they speak of God’s middle knowledge. That is, although God knows all the possibilities of what might happen in the future, his decree depends on man’s choices and actions. In this view, God decreed that which he foresaw would... Continue Reading
Following Trans Bathroom Policy, Target’s Sales Tank
It’s bad news for Target and the trans activists trying to get other major retailers to degender their restrooms.
Target’s leadership refuses to concede their controversial bathroom policy has anything to do with their poor fortunes. However, the very day Target announced its sad sales figures, it also announced it would spend $20 million to install single-use bathrooms in the rest of their 1,800 stores. This is a ton of money to fix a... Continue Reading
Would You Rather Have Blood Filled Hands or Beautiful Feet?
The task is simple – we are called to be faithful.
The contrast is staggering: on one hand the unfaithful ambassador who doesn’t share the truth fills his hands with blood as person after person he had a chance to share truth with but didn’t dies in their sin. On the other hand is the faithful preacher who shares the truth and has beautiful feet as he... Continue Reading
Does Prayer Change God’s Mind?
Does prayer make any difference? Does it really change anything?
“The very reason we pray is because of God’s sovereignty, because we believe that God has it within His power to order things according to His purpose. That is what sovereignty is all about—ordering things according to God’s purpose. So then, does prayer change God’s mind? No. Does prayer change things? Yes, of course.” ... Continue Reading
What Do You Think? Part 2
When homosexual ideology is tolerated in the PCA: How our commitment for the gospel can be compromised?
But when anyone preaches from the pulpit that individuals with homosexual desires are “born that way through no fault of their own,” then this is clearly and willfully redefining this biblical teaching. Homosexual character and desires are, like all sin, brought into effect by our sinful desires, passions and lusts; it is one of the... Continue Reading
For the Bible Tells Me So: Biblical Authority Denied … Again
A true defense of the Christian faith has never been more needed than now, but an attempt to rescue Christianity from its dependence upon Scripture is doomed to disaster.
“Jesus loves me — this I know, for the Bible tells me so.” A mature Christian faith will say more than that, not less than that. “For the Bible tells me so” does not mean that we do not have reasoned answers to difficult questions, but it does mean that we admit our dependence upon Scripture —... Continue Reading
‘Hillsong’ Casts a Secular Lens on an Evangelical Band
It took only one Hillsong service for Mr. Warren. 43, to overcome his knee-jerk prejudice
Mr. Wagner acknowledged that Hillsong risked being criticized for participating, but said the documentary “fits right into the church’s M.O.,” which includes the evangelist knack for “being right at the forefront of using every kind of media possible to bring God to the secular popular consciousness.” Michael John Warren, the director of MTV documentaries... Continue Reading
Sexuality and Our Public Lives: The Tower of Babel and the Kingdom of Christ
Genesis gives a fascinating account of fallen man’s collective attempt to define their own name themselves; a name that is very different from what God had already decreed
This is the brave new world in which we live – a world where anyone and everyone can “make a name for themselves”, even despite the name they were born with and given. But unlike Genesis where God, in judgment, came down and confused their languages, perhaps now God is doing something far worse: letting... Continue Reading
In 20 to 40 years, Most Americans Won’t Have Sex To Reproduce. Get Ready.
Within the next few decades, that percentage will skyrocket. Developments in bioscience will combine to make IVF cheaper and much easier.
These factors, plus a robust, profit-seeking fertility industry, constitutionally protected advertising, and the libertarian streak in American culture (especially around parents and children), lead me to believe that sometime in the next 20 to 40 years, Easy PGD will be the most common way Americans conceive their children. For 100 million years, all our... Continue Reading
A Classic Book on an Evangelical History and Theology of Renewal
Tim Keller says that if you read this book, you’ll say that you now know where he got all his material
I read this book multiple times in the 1980s. Though I’ve not reread it since, I still cite from memory many significant Lovelace insights: “characteristic flesh,” “the sanctification gap,” “n-step sanctification,” “the need for a tuned and adapted form of nouthetic counseling.” There is not another book quite like Richard Lovelace’s The Dynamics of... Continue Reading
Desiring to Rule Over Genesis 3:16
This debate will push exegetical considerations to the forefront of disagreements
I would place myself among the vast number of evangelicals who hold to the first view. Additionally, I would agree with those who promote view 2–those who hold that the latter Divine pronouncement concerning the relationship between Adam and Eve in Genesis 3:16 is “a description of the perversion of hierarchical relationships (woman seeking to... Continue Reading
Book Review: The End of White Christian America
Has White Christian America lost its cultural and political influence?
One good thing about White Christian America’s declining political clout is that evangelicals can return to the biblical obligation of making disciples, rather than making political ones. Yet there is some very noticeable but subdued cheerfulness by Jones for the end of White Christian America and one gets the sense that he’s not alone in... Continue Reading
The Attraction of Idolatry
To see the allure of idolatry can be hard for those of us in the Western world.
The whole system of idolatry—guaranteed, selfish, easy, convenient, normal, logical, pleasing, indulgent, and erotic—when you look at it that way, the allure of idolatry does not seem far removed from us. It is easy to see how we can make idols out of everything from health insurance to retirement accounts to political candidates to academic... Continue Reading
Police, Protesters, and All the Wrong Questions
The Bible is relentlessly realistic about sin and government and this should make us clear-eyed on these issues.
Here’s the point: We come to the table assuming that evil must be restrained both in citizens and in government. This causes us to ask questions like, “How can we best make sure we’re restraining evil and injustice in law enforcement? How can we best make sure we’re restraining evil and injustice in those lodging... Continue Reading
What is the Spirit’s Role in Our Reading of Scripture?
There is a false notion among evangelicals that we can either trust in the ordinary means of grace and the church’s creedal catechetical tradition, or we can be sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s leading.
Both the charismatic and the conservative, more subtle teaching on the Holy Spirit and God’s word cuts us off from the Trinitarian work in communicating God’s word to the whole communion of the saints. And for some reason this exciting teaching often comes off as a spiritual buzz kill. I am referring to church tradition... Continue Reading
Are You Going to Hurt Me?
The fear is there, the fear is real
But it does have to be this way because ever since our first parents were ushered out of that garden, men have proven their willingness to violate trust, to misuse strength, to blaspheme God’s good order. Not all men, of course. But some men. Enough men. Strength that was given to protect has been used... Continue Reading
A Pastor Talks about the Pressures to Plagiarize
What in the USAmerican evangelical culture would tempt pastors to plagiarize?
Plagiarism is a collapse of faith. This collapse of faith knocks down three dominoes. First, a belief in the Creator God’s ability to grant creative, original thought to the local church pastor (stuck in the cornfields of Iowa). “That big shot pastor is on radio, sometimes on TV, he or she’s got books galore. I’ve... Continue Reading
2 Samuel 19: A Case Study in True and False Repentance
Ask yourself, when you repent of your sin, are you more like Shimei or Mephibosheth?
God has these two men in the Bible for several reasons: to show us the nature of David’s kingdom, the outcome of Saul’s line, the ethic of a king after his own heart, and nature of David’s kingdom after his exile. But one of the many things God is doing in this passage is giving... Continue Reading
How Fear Can Lead to a Denial of the Gospel
“We’ve got to do something or everything will get completely out of control.” Fear is a powerful motive.
As I distilled and thought about the massive assault of words that came my way, I began to understand the fear. The idea is this. If men aren’t in charge, then the home will disintegrate, society will crumble, the women will take over, the kids will rebel, and the woman will become a manipulative, domineering... Continue Reading
Service or Sabbath
Despite the duty and benefits of service, something better is before us. According to Jesus, it is better for us when we sabbath than when we serve
In the earliest of days, God ceremonially worked, and then he ceremonially rested. We believe this was the rotation presented by God to Adam. Six days he was to worship by laboring; one day he was to worship by not laboring…It is not even a day when one has to keep the tight ceremonial additions... Continue Reading
Why I’m Glad We Marched and Wish We Hadn’t
On July 9, a handful of our staff and members participated in the Black Lives Matter march in Augusta. I’m glad they did and wish they hadn’t.
Carl Ellis: On one hand, ‘black lives matter’ (all lower case, ‘blm’) is a truth. This truth encompasses the healthy concern for matters that touch black lives—criminal justice reform, racial justice, just policing, better community relations, crime reduction, urban homicide rates, discipleship, mass incarceration, abortion rates, poverty reduction, education, employment, ethnic reconciliation, accurate representation of our history,... Continue Reading
Evolution Just Got Harder to Defend
A new fossil discovery makes it even tougher for Darwinists to explain the origin of life.
Dr. Stephen Meyer explains in his book “Signature in the Cell” why this may be Darwinism’s Achilles heel. In order to begin evolution by natural selection, you need a self-replicating unit. But the cell and its DNA blueprint are too complicated by far to have arisen through chance chemical reactions. The odds of even a... Continue Reading
Stop Dressing So Tacky for Church
“It’s like some people decided to stop mowing the lawn and then decided to come to church.”
Shouldn’t people have that same reverential attitude when they show up at church to meet God, some ask? After all, doesn’t your dress reveal the importance you attach to an occasion? That sentiment, however, is seen as hopelessly old school in many popular megachurches across America. Casual Fridays has morphed into casual Sundays. And many... Continue Reading
Church History: The Racist Heresy In Southern Baptist History
Their heresy was racism, and this heresy ran deep within them
Manly declared that, when it came to his right to buy and to sell African Americans, “I had no more doubt or compunction than in pocketing the price of a horse or anything else that belonged to me.” The founders of the Southern Baptist Convention and of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary were zealous... Continue Reading
Even the Government’s Smartest Lawyers Can’t Figure Out Religious Liberty
Religious liberty is more fundamental to Constitutional principles than non-discrimination, Kirsanow argued. “Religious liberty is an undisputed constitutional right,” he wrote. “With the exception of racial nondiscrimination principles embedded in the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments, nondiscrimination principles are statutory or judicially created constructs.” It took the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights three years... Continue Reading