A Letter From The Presbyterian And Reformed Commission On Chaplains And Military Personnel
A letter to PRCC member denomination stated clerks, presbytery clerks, sessions, and members of congregations about providing pastoral counseling to members who are in or considering military service
The purpose of this communication is to assist you in pastoral counseling of members of your congregations who are in or considering military service. While our sons and daughters are to be commended for their desire to serve God in the uniformed services (Luke 3:14), we believe it is imperative to counsel them of the... Continue Reading
A Review: Justification Reconsidered: Rethinking a Pauline Theme
An introduction to the doctrine of justification as well as a critique the New Perspective on Paul
Paul’s doctrine of justification did target not only a Jewish view, but any human view, that presumes to make good works any part of the ground of our being found righteous before God. “For Paul, God’s gift of salvation [i.e., justification] necessarily excludes any part to be played by God-pleasing ‘works’ since human beings are incapable of doing them.” “Paul sees the only... Continue Reading
An Open Letter to the Students of Azusa Pacific University
Being at college is supposed to mean thinking for yourselves
The task of the scholar is to present a case for his or her position based on evidence and logic. Another task of the scholar is to do so in a way that invites everybody into the discussion rather than demonize those who disagree. Try to find anything under my name that is not written... Continue Reading
The Bestsellers: Your Best Life Now
Osteen talks about God throughout, but it is not the God of the Bible he has in mind
I have written about Osteen and his books a few times over the years. He was the inspiration for an article I titled “Smilingly Leading You to Hell” in which I said, “Both the history of the church and contemporary Evangelical church are replete with nice people who are in complete rebellion against God. Is... Continue Reading
Are Reformed Churches Against the Creation of ALL Images?
Refining the understanding of churches and the place of images
In its historical and religious context, it is clear that the 2nd Commandment language concerning the “heaven above . . . earth beneath . . . water under the earth” had specific reference to the Egyptian gods of those domains that the Israelites had long worshiped, and were still worshiping (Ezekiel 20:8-10). Thus the 2nd... Continue Reading
“Haven’t You Read?” Answering a Modern-Day Pharisee
The book illustrates two lies: one general, the other more personal
What the Bible says about marriage is this: God designed it for one man and one woman, to serve His creation, and to provide a living portrait of His redemptive love. Forget the so-called “clobber passages.” Rationalize away Paul’s words if you can. There is no way around the theology of sex, marriage and salvation... Continue Reading
A Response to Rod Dreher’s “Sex After Christianity”
Gay marriage negates Christian cosmology, from which we derive our modern concept of human rights and other fundamental goods of modernity
This new “sexual” agenda is an essential element of a “post-capitalist” transformation of all of human society, and a remaking of human “identity.” Whether it will succeed is another question, but we are dealing with a neo-Marxism so committed to a classless egalitarian society that it must eradicate by any means possible embodied gender distinctions, which are... Continue Reading
Review: ‘The Quest for the Trinity’
The doctrine of the Trinity was basically settled by ecumenical consensus in the fourth century
Holmes is concerned to defend the thesis that apart from some relatively minor disagreement and development, the doctrine of the Trinity was basically settled by ecumenical consensus in the fourth century, enjoyed ‘essential stability’ until the eighteenth century, and has been the accepted position of the church, with no significant modification, until the modern period... Continue Reading
Bill Gothard Responds To Allegations
The group Recovering Grace remains skeptical, calling the former ministry leader’s statement ‘incomplete’
Recovering Grace issued its own statement today, saying that despite “several positive aspects” found in Gothard’s statement, it nonetheless leaves the group “troubled.” The group said it “concluded that Gothard’s statement, as it stands, is incomplete.” The group singled out Gothard’s assertion that he did not touch a girl “immorally or with sexual intent.” ... Continue Reading
The Most Important Book of the Year?
A recommendation for Kevin DeYoung's new book, Taking God at His Word
The Word of God will always be under attack. It has been so since the serpent said to the woman, “Has God really said?” So books like Taking God at His Word are perennially relevant. But it is not just the authority and inerrancy of the Bible which are attacked. In evangelical, Bible-affirming circles the sufficiency and... Continue Reading
Dear Rachel Held Evans
I do not fear Miley Cyrus. Who I fear, Rachel, is you.
You see, you look like a Christian. You talk about Jesus and love and God’s word. You claim faith in Christ. You dress appropriately, you are an engaging speaker, a compelling author, and you seem unashamed to share your faith. On a surface level—the only level that perhaps my young daughter or the thousands of... Continue Reading
I Love My Black Letter Bible
The red letters are not more inspired than the black ones.
On the surface, “Jesus shows us what God is really like” language appears pious and even Jesus-exalting. In reality, it betrays a tragically truncated view of the Jesus of the Bible. We see God “as he is” by gazing with the eyes of faith on the pages of his Word—all of them. With the way some... Continue Reading
God, the Gospel, and the Gay Challenge — A Response to Matthew Vines
In God and the Gay Christian Vines argues that “Christians who affirm the full authority of Scripture can also affirm committed, monogamous same-sex relationships.”
When he begins his book, Matthew Vines argues that experience should not drive our interpretation of the Bible. But it is his experience of what he calls a gay sexual orientation that drives every word of this book. It is this experiential issue that drives him to relativize text after text and to argue that... Continue Reading
3 Things Pastors (and Their Wives) Should Say Publicly More Often
I’m tired of reading How-Horrible-The-Ministry-Really-Is-If-You-Only-Knew-The-Truth articles.
You, my church, are not horrible. Nor are you taking years off my life. Nor are you wrecking my family and faith. I have been a pastor’s daughter since before I was two years old, and now I’m going on ten years as a pastor’s wife, and I want you to know that serving you... Continue Reading
Patriarchy On Trial
Judging by the intense conversations all over the Internet and within homeschooling circles, there continues to be much confusion about what patriarchy really means and how its proponents believe it should be applied.
The first point I want to make today is that I see the most common views of men and women within the body of Christ in more recent times as being on a continuum. At the far left end of the spectrum is the radical, secular view that there are no differences between men and... Continue Reading
Being On the Internet Doesn’t Give You Permission To Be A Jerk
One of the primary things that sets Christians apart from the rest of the world is the way we treat one another.
If we’re going to call ourselves Christians, it’s time to start acting like Christians. It’s fine to disagree with another Christian. It’s fine to point out erroneous teaching. But every action, online and offline, must be ruled by love. The command to treat others as we want to be treated, applies just as much to... Continue Reading
Oprah, Rob Bell, And Faux Self-Empowerment For The Self-Centered
Where God is Self and Self is God, we ought not be surprised when we find ourselves at the mercy of human depravity.
For alas, when “she keeps me warm” becomes the driving justification for your philosophy of life — spiritual, social, sexual, or otherwise — and when the “life you want” cares little for anything beyond “opening yourself,” “looking deep inside yourself,” “saying ‘yes’ to this moment,” or “waking up” to some human-contrived ideal of self-awareness, you can bet... Continue Reading
Pressler Says SBC Controversy Started in Houston Church
“Conservative resurgence” co-founders Paul Pressler and Paige Patterson passed on stories about the early days of the struggle to students at Midwestern Seminary.
“All of us were crying,” Pressler said. “Then Charles comes in the room and he sits down. And he sits there about five minutes and he said: ‘Men, I’ve got to tell you something. God knocked me flat on the floor in my room this morning before I came over here and told me I... Continue Reading
PCA Insider Movements Study Committee Submits Its Report
The Report will be considered by the PCA General Assembly in June 2014
The Study Committee is recommending the following: 1. That “A Call to Faithful Witness, Part Two: Theology, Gospel Missions, and Insider Movements” serve as a Partial Report (Part Two of Two Parts). And 2. That the 42nd General Assembly make available and recommend for study “A Call to Faithful Witness, Part Two: Theology, Gospel Missions,... Continue Reading
Easter And Ethics: How The Resurrection Reshapes the Christian Life
How does the resurrection shape the Christian life? How does it reorient our moral intuitions?
“By defeating Satan through his death and resurrection, Jesus reframes our ethics by showing that our primary moral adversary has no lasting authority or power on those who are in Christ. By conquering sin, he reshapes our ethics by demonstrating that all this world can boast is nothing compared to the glory of faithfully obeying... Continue Reading
What Do Expiation and Propitiation Mean?
Together, expiation and propitiation constitute an act of placation. Christ did His work on the cross to placate the wrath of God.
“These words spark all kinds of arguments about which one should be used to translate a particular Greek word, and some versions of the Bible will use one of these words and some will use the other one. I’m often asked to explain the difference between propitiation and expiation. The difficulty is that even though... Continue Reading
Body Theology For Teens
Ten words for teens to ponder when thinking about their bodies
“As the believer’s body is the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 6:19), you should care for it better than you would your own home or even the White House. Defend your body by avoiding substances that damage it and experiences that can deface, injure, or even kill.” I’m on my way back... Continue Reading
A Faith That Fights
By using the illustration of a Grecian Olympic fighter, the preacher to the Hebrews teaches us that part of our discipline in the Christian life is conditioning
“Christians are disciples, after all, and we therefore need to be disciplined. As biblical pastors, teachers, and mentors lead us we realize that we aren’t quite as spiritually fit as we thought we were. When we face a challenge or obstacle, we find our strength and stamina are weak. We need practice. Trials in life,... Continue Reading
The solution to our longing is not to look within ourselves, but to Jesus Christ
“The book begins with the premise that sometimes we all feel like we’re missing something. We have put our faith in Christ and we are following him, attempting to live in obedience to him, and yet something still seems to be missing. We’re left wanting more. There are a thousand answers to this more; in... Continue Reading
The Middle East War on Christians
Muslim-majority nations are doing to followers of Jesus what they did to the Jews
“The Middle East may be the birthplace of three monotheistic religions, but some Arab nations appear bent on making it the burial ground for one of them. For 2,000 years, Christian communities dotted the region, enriching the Arab world with literature, culture and commerce. At the turn of the 20th century, Christians made up 26%... Continue Reading
Christianity Packs Its Office and Leaves the Building
Let’s just try imagining a public square with no Christianity.
Yet if I leave the public square, what will keep you from burning down my church? On what basis will you tolerate me and my so-called false god, even if he’s tucked away in the private sphere? You might refrain for pragmatic reasons for a little while. But if you can manipulate the levers of... Continue Reading
How God Became Jesus—and How I Came to Faith in Him
Bart Ehrman’s narrative suggests the more educated you are, the less likely you are to believe. My life proves otherwise.
Some have great confidence in skeptical scholarship, and I once did, perhaps more than anyone else. If anyone thinks they are assured in their unbelief, I was more committed: born of unbelieving parents, never baptized or dedicated; on scholarly credentials, a PhD from a secular university; as to zeal, mocking the church; as to ideological... Continue Reading
Michael Bloomberg: “I’ve Earned My Place in Heaven”
Many people believe that if their good works outweigh their bad works, then they will have eternal life.
The New York Times reports: But if he senses that he may not have as much time left as he would like, he has little doubt about what would await him at a Judgment Day. Pointing to his work on gun safety, obesity and smoking cessation, he said with a grin: “I am telling you... Continue Reading
Same-Sex Marriage and the Future
In some form or another, your church will have to address the marriage revolution
Look at the empty cathedrals of the Episcopal Church, the vacated pews of the Presbyterian Church (USA), and right down the line. Let me be clear. Even if embracing same-sex marriage—or any other endorsement of what the Bible calls sexual immorality—“worked” in church-building, we still wouldn’t do it. If we have to choose between Jesus... Continue Reading
Sola Experienca is For Real
Today our personal experience and personal interpretation of that experience is the unquestionable authority that all must submit to
We have a culture awash in a neo-gnosticism that gobbles up personal experience like samples at Costco. We cannot resist them. Then we have people everywhere telling their own stories and then interpreting them with authority. And of course we have a church that goes right along with it to reinforce sola experiencia to the thousands who... Continue Reading