The Jihadi Who Turned to Jesus
His rejection of Islam makes him a target for his fundamentalist former allies and he fears they will one day catch up with him.
Exactly why he sought solace in Christianity, rather than a more mainstream version of Islam, no one can quite explain. Reading the Bible, Mr. Mohammad claimed, made him calmer than reading the Quran. The churches he attended, Mr. Mohammad said, made him feel more welcome than the neighborhood mosques. In his personal view, Christian prayers... Continue Reading
God’s Definition of Good
This excerpt is adapted from Is the Bible Good for Women? Seeking Clarity and Confidence through a Jesus-centered Understanding of Scripture.
Joy is available. The best kind of goodness exists at God’s feet in His throne room. There we can find joy, and peace, and satisfaction. But God’s version of good is not like the temporary earthly joy of money and nice houses that some religious figures offer their followers. It is not self-actualization (“the achievement... Continue Reading
A Kuyper Prize?
What business does a school like Princeton Theological Seminary—an institution that is apparently committed to the feminist and LGBTQ+ social agenda—have awarding a Kuyper Prize for Excellence in Reformed Theology and Public Witness?
But my question is different. If, as President Barnes’ e-mail suggests, support for the ordination of “women and LGBTQ+ persons” is now a criteria for receiving the Kuyper Award, why in the world does PTS have a Kuyper Award in the first place? Don’t they know that Kuyper was, to use the more recent term,... Continue Reading
Northern Illinois UMC Pro-LGBTQ Ordination Policy Ruled “Out of Order”
If such disobedience can even be reversed in Northern Illinois, then it can be reversed in in less liberal annual conferences, as well.
This episode shows that despite all the high-profile antics of individuals defying our covenant standards, we have not reached the place where theologically liberal United Methodists enjoy free rein to say and do whatever they want in defiance of what they call our “discriminatory” disapproval of sex outside of man-woman marriage. Not even in as... Continue Reading
Whose Dream Are You Living For?
If we have expectations that life should be easy or always go our way, we will certainly be disappointed.
Though Scripture contains many promises that give parents great hope their children will follow him, it doesn’t guarantee a painless pleasure cruise. The Bible has many promises that believers will experience deep joy, peace and contentment in him. And following Jesus as a disciple is the only path to true and lasting joy. Yet we will... Continue Reading
Does Jeremiah 29 Call Us to Seek the Welfare of the City?
Contrary to the way it is used by some today, this verse has no relevance at all to the question of the priority of reaching cities over other places.
I’ve been astonished by people I’ve heard who make an argument from Jeremiah 29:7 like this:They note that that word ‘welfare’ is the Hebrew word shalom, which has a wide possible range of meanings—it covers physical, emotional, spiritual and financial peace and prosperity. They then assume that it has all those meanings here, and so... Continue Reading
Is It True to the Book?
When it comes to God, it's as though we think He doesn't care if He is misrepresented as long as He can reach a wider audience from the big screen or The New York Times' bestseller list
There were very serious consequences for misrepresenting God in the Bible because false representation led to false worship of a false god. If you take “Is it true to the Book?” seriously, then you also run smack into the 2nd commandment. (Ex. 20:4-6) The law in general gets a bad rap these days, as though... Continue Reading
When You’ve Got a Bramble for a King
The bramble promises destructive fire if the trees will not comply. But it’s a trick.
Examined like this, we can see the gospel application in Jotham’s parable for us today. Our hearts are desperate for a king. We will make an idol of nearly everything, and indeed, the abundance of possessions and the security of comfort and the assumption of God’s favor for our self-righteousness are the most common. But... Continue Reading
What Is Shaping You?
Paul is concerned about what is shaping our perspective, priorities, pursuits, and opinions
“Instead of being conformed, Paul instructs us to be transformed. There’s a contrast here between something pressing in on us from the outside that causes us to be conformed and something taking place on the inside that causes us to be transformed. Where inside is this taking place? In our minds.” There’s a section... Continue Reading
Thinking Biblically about Authority: An Interview with David Wells
So many people there is nothing out there that can legitimately validate any action or belief
“As we have come into our postmodern moment, then, we find that there is no longer a narrative to life; there are only our personal stories. There is no overarching meaning to it; there are just our private moments when something becomes real. There is no Truth; there are only truths.” 1) If someone... Continue Reading
A Pastoral Letter to Myself (In the Case that I Fall)
If you should sin in such a way that you are no longer qualified to serve in pastoral ministry, please put the following counsel in practice
“Your repentance should be as public as your sin (not in the sense of parading it, but in the sense of making it evident); and, if at some point you have a public platform of which people outside your local church are aware and talking about your sin, it may need to be addressed in an... Continue Reading
Saved by ‘Allegiance’ Alone? On a New Attempt to Revise the Reformation
In this new book, Bates considers afresh the nature of salvation and the gospel
As Bates argues, the gospel can’t be reduced to the formula “Jesus died for our sins,” since the gospel centers on the truth that Jesus is King. He’s the resurrected and enthroned Lord over all, and we’re called to express our allegiance to him as our Lord. According to Bates, there are eight elements to the... Continue Reading
ABC’s ’20/20′ Contacted Me for ‘Gay Conversion Therapy’ Story, But Ignored What I Told Them
On March 10, ABC's "20/20" aired a year-long investigation on several "Christian camps" reported to be practicing so-called "gay conversion therapy"
In the first minute, the commentator mentioned that five states have banned licensed counselors from engaging in “gay conversion therapy” with another 20 considering legislation this year. The show then quickly jumps to several sensational stories where desperate parents send their children, some of whom are gay and lesbian identified, to reform schools that work... Continue Reading
A Little Book on the Christian Life
Though short in length, this little booklet is full of wisdom for guiding the Christian’s journey
“What would become that Little Book first appeared in 1539, in the Latin second edition of Calvin’s magnum opus the Institutes of the Christian Religion. At that time it was a chapter titled De vita hominis Christiani (on the life of the Christian man).” There are far more Calvinists in the world than there... Continue Reading
How a Christian Movement Is Growing Rapidly in the Midst of Religious Decline
We believe that INC Christianity is significantly changing the religious landscape in America – and its politics
INC Christianity is led by a network of popular independent religious entrepreneurs, often referred to as “apostles.” They have close ties, we found, to conservative U.S. politicians, including Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich, Bobby Jindal, Rick Perry and more recently President Donald Trump. In August of 2011, more than 30,000 people cheered wildly as the... Continue Reading
Pastors Should Beware of These Common Dangers
Though not exhaustive, I’ll list five of the most common dangers to pastors
“Relying on self proves to be the highway to spiritual calamity. Indeed, to state it again, trusting in one’s power and abilities and character to do God’s work will most assuredly give birth to a catastrophic disaster. The ministry of the Lord demands that the man of God utterly die to self — daily!” ... Continue Reading
Christ Covenant Church Calls Reverend Kevin DeYoung as Senior Pastor
Dr. Mike Ross, who has been senior pastor at Christ Covenant Church for more than a decade announced his plans to transition into new areas of ministry early in 2016
In addition to his primary responsibility as senior pastor at Christ Covenant Church, DeYoung has also been named Assistant Professor of Systematic Theology at Reformed Theological Seminary in Charlotte, beginning June 1, 2017. He was formerly a Chancellor’s Professor for the Seminary. In his new role, De Young will be a residential, voting member of the... Continue Reading
The Necessity of Godly Leadership
Nothing destroys a church quicker than unholy men at its helm and nothing grants it more strength than godly men leading even as they follow Christ.
Our churches need godly leaders who preach not to tickle ears or to satisfy the critical listener, but aim at heart-change. Oh for men who dare to be courageous for the sake of Christ, not shrinking in the face of challenge or melting when confronted with difficulty. The church demands servants who gladly embrace the... Continue Reading
Spring Storms: Are You Ready?
Emergency preparedness experts ready us physically, but is your soul ready for them too? T
Notice the echoes of Psalm 29 at Pentecost. The mighty rushing wind and the fire that fell from heaven did not bring terror, but they led to boldness that only comes through the Holy Spirit. Thunderstorms in creation terrify the natural man, but for the Christian, every clap of thunder heard overhead ought to make... Continue Reading
Making A Pastoral Apology
A sincere apology should include three elements.
Take full responsibility. It was, after all, your decision or your action that caused the hurt. If there were reasons for your actions, state them, but do not use them as excuses. And don’t pass the blame—or even share the blame. If you’re a leader, others might have been involved in the mistake, but they... Continue Reading
Comfort Without the Clichés
Eight ways to help hurting friends
You cannot fix it. Loving the hurting opens us up to the temptation to see ourselves as the sufferer’s personal savior. But they do not need you—they need Christ. Comfort is about redirecting someone to seek what they need in Christ first and not in you. Comfort is not about always being there for someone;... Continue Reading
What Does Semper Reformanda Mean?
The part of religion that always needs reforming is the human heart.
The phrase ecclesia reformata, semper reformanda (the church reformed, always reforming) has been used so often as to make it a motto or slogan. People have used it to support a surprising array of theological and ecclesiastical programs and purposes. Scholars have traced its origins to a devotional book written by Jodocus van Lodenstein in... Continue Reading
What Hath Amsterdam to do with Princeton?
The recent controversy surrounding the reversal of the decision to award the 2017 Kuyper Prize to Dr. Timothy Keller, while disappointing, is not surprising.
Dr. Keller, as an ordained minister in the PCA, is much more aligned theologically with Old Princeton. His doctrine of Scripture would be more in-line with Old Princeton. His views on women and LGBTQ+ persons in ordained ministry would be affirmed by Old Princeton (and probably New Princeton until, obviously, more recent times). As such,... Continue Reading
Is the Bible Good for Women?
Wendy Alsup’s new book, Is the Bible Good for Women?: Seeking Clarity and Confidence Through a Jesus-Centered Understanding of Scripture, asks a different sort of question, but it’s the one we need to be asking.
Is the Bible Good for Women? doesn’t just equip women to interpret Scripture correctly; it helps us gain a right understanding of a woman’s value. God made all of humanity in his image, and his ultimate purpose for his creation is to live in a world where both man and woman are mutually responsible to each other and their Creator. Crafted in... Continue Reading
An Opening Proposition that Changes Everything
Why are there no quotes from Jesus in all of Hebrews?
“This seems rather strange for a book that so confidently states that God has spoken to us by the Son. Wouldn’t this mean that Jesus’ words are God’s words? And if so, shouldn’t the author of Hebrews be quoting Jesus right and left to make his case? The fact that the book of Hebrews doesn’t... Continue Reading
Singing from the Same Page
Singing the same songs unites us in a shared faith.
When personal words fail, how glorious is it to be able to rely on the words of Scripture and the text of a well-worn hymn to give voice to the truth of the gospel and to unite our hearts in hope. It behooves us to ensure that the people we shepherd are well prepared and... Continue Reading
How Should Pastors Want to Be Remembered When They Are Gone?
Dear brothers and fellow pastors, do not lost sight of for whom and what we labor to preach Christ and shepherd his people.
Begin now to consider how you wish to be remembered. Will you want a tombstone like John Wesley (just outside Bunhill Fields) and so many others with monuments and flowery words that articulate all you accomplished for Christ? Or, will you wish to be forgotten if it meant that Christ would not be forgotten to future generations?... Continue Reading
Prayer Changes Things: Right? Or Does It?
My good God rules, controls, and ordains all things for my good and his glory. God invites me to pray to him and promises to respond to my prayers.
Our prayers don’t alter God’s sovereign plan. It’s not like we pray and God says, “Woah, hey now! Didn’t expect that one. Okay, gotta change things quickly. Time to shift things around. Let’s see, I’ll put this here and this here and…” God isn’t the ultimate project manager, trying to juggle the lives of 7... Continue Reading
When I find it hard to love with long-suffering, I must remember Christ and his long-suffering love toward me.
This nuance or deeper meaning to “Love is patient” makes me look at the love I have for others in a new way. It’s easy to love those who treat me well, but those who don’t? That’s hard. It’s hard to love those who let me down time and time again. Those who disappoint me... Continue Reading
Why I Love the Psalms
Throughout history, the book of Psalms has been treasured by many Christians in many places.
In the ancient and medieval periods, the Psalms were studied and sung very frequently, especially by monastics. The great Athanasius (296–373) said, “I believe that a man can find nothing more glorious than these Psalms; for they embrace the whole life of man, the affections of his mind, and the motions of his soul. To... Continue Reading