Husband Arrested? Pack Him a Lunch

How to be a pastor’s wife under persecution

I have long held, with my tongue only partly in my cheek, that the primary job of a pastor’s wife is to keep the pastor alive.  Most churches have at least some people who will organize events, or lead Bible studies, or play the piano. We’ve got members who greet, members who teach, and members... Continue Reading

But Is It Biblical?

We should question the premise of the post that Christians are called, as Christians, to promote and advance social change.

There is no doubt here whether there is a need for mediating institutions or whether Christians should be involved in them and engage them. The question is how? May we simply assume that we must think of our cultural engagement under the category of redemption (e.g., redeeming music, art, literature, politics etc)? Again, I should like to see a clear, unequivocal case for... Continue Reading

The Dangers and Duty of Confessing Sin to One Another

If James does not teach treating pastor and congregation as priest for penance, or confession of sin in undifferentiated settings, what does he have in mind?

Is James speaking of going around and confessing any sin that you can point to in your life to just about anyone you are in fellowship with in the church so that they will pray for you? Or, does he have in mind the practice of “keeping short accounts” with the brethren? Does he mean... Continue Reading

How Do Sinners Help Sinners Stop Sinning?

How do we approach someone who is sinning in a way that will help lead them to repentance?

Although the sin may be wide, deep, high, and long, the Gospel is wider, deeper, higher, and longer. The goal is to help the sinner see the seriousness of sin, the misery of sin, and all that God can offer through the Gospel to conquer both.   Christians are not only called to repentance but... Continue Reading

When You Should NOT Submit to a Church

How do you recognize abusive leadership?

All of us will, at times, be called to endure humbly a leader’s mistakes and sins. Nonetheless, should you find yourself in a church where the leadership is characteristically abusive, I would, in most cases, encourage you to flee. Flee to protect your discipleship, to protect your family, to set a good example for the... Continue Reading

Disillusionment with the Church

The key to understanding biblical fellowship is that it is rooted in a spiritual reality, rather than something that is physical.

Many of our disappointments in the local church are rooted, founded, and based upon the ethic of other communities. We are disappointed and critical of our brothers and sisters in Christ, because they are not giving us what we want or what we think we need. But true fellowship isn’t grounded in what others can... Continue Reading

Shame on you Bowdoin College

A good example of how anti-Christian hostility can manifest itself in our society.

College administrators, in their role of administrators, should not choose sides in this theological debate. But when they imply that a Christian group should accept a non-Christian leader, then they have entered that debate. That Christian group has decided that leadership must be with their same religious tradition and does not accept the premise that... Continue Reading

Was Jonathan Edwards a Puritan?

Theologically, Puritanism was not quite as monolithic as we might think or as some might like to think

So, was Jonathan Edwards a Puritan? No, he was not a Puritan. That may be a disappointment for some and a relief for others. But my admiration for the man doesn’t depend on whether he was a Puritan or not. Edwards may have had the “spirit” of Puritanism in him, for he read them with... Continue Reading

Sabbath Is Not a Means To More Productive Work

It's time to stop optimizing the Lord's Day

“Today, the zeitgeist has shifted. What was once prohibition might now be heard as permission: to stop, take a breath, and remember that we are more than what we produce, more than our job title or bank balance. Sabbath, in this light, does indeed represent resistance to the dominating paradigm of more more more, an... Continue Reading

A Word To The Introverted Pastor: Be Extroverted on Sunday

My introversion can keep me from interacting even with people I love

“The pastor that inspired me most in my spiritual walk when I was a 20-something year old trying to figure out my life direction emailed me recently. He had read one of my introversion posts and wanted to echo the sentiments in it. He said he has always marveled at how many introverted pastors he... Continue Reading

“The Greatest Failing Of The American Church Today”

Greg Forster says it’s “the failure of the American church to affirm the goodness of civilizational life”

“I don’t agree with Greg that “the failure of the American church to affirm the goodness of civilizational life is our greatest failing today.” That’s overstating a good case. I do agree with him that it’s a great failure, even a very great failure. And I also agree with him on the need to prioritize... Continue Reading

USCCB Chairmen Respond To ‘Unprecedented and Extreme’ Executive Order

Response to Obama’s executive order prohibiting federal government contractors from “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” discrimination and forbidding “gender identity” discrimination in the employment of federal employees

The executive order prohibits “gender identity” discrimination, a prohibition that is previously unknown at the federal level, and that is predicated on the false idea that “gender” is nothing more than a social construct or psychological reality that can be chosen at variance from one’s biological sex. This is a problem not only of principle... Continue Reading

The Death Of Archie… And Innocence

Archie, the flagship character in the comic book franchise of the same name, died this week

“I know kids are growing up fast nowadays, but isn’t this stuff a little heavy for eight and nine year olds? Archie Bunker pushed the envelope 40 years ago, but that Archie was designed for an adult audience. Until recently, the biggest controversy Archie Andrews ever found himself in was making dates with two girls... Continue Reading

The Foundation of Christian Joy

If God were not sovereign, I could never come to that comforting conclusion — I would be constantly subjected to fear and anxiety without any significant relief.

“Romans 8:28, which is a favorite for many of us, states that “all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose” (NKJV). There’s no other text that demonstrates so clearly and magnificently the beauty of God’s sovereign providence than that one. The text... Continue Reading

8 Ways To Beat Temptation

We all face temptations of many kinds. God wants us to beat them. We don’t have to sin, as powerful as temptations feel. Here are 8 ways to gain the victory.

“Quote Scripture. That’s how Jesus overcame the tempter. When you feel like grumbling remind yourself to “Rejoice always.” When tempted to give a harsh reply think, “A gentle answer turns away wrath.” When rankling against correction remind yourself, “God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Of course to quote Scripture when tempted... Continue Reading

Marriage And Millennials

There’s something about this “death ’til we part” business that’s worth hanging in for

“This marriage thing is hard.We know everything about each other, can anticipate each other’s next sentence, and not only know exactly where the dirty socks will be thrown but when. We repeat the same fights, stick to the same guns, rebut with the same rebuttals, face the same bedheads in the morning. If monogamy equals monotonous... Continue Reading

Why Church Members Don’t Invite Others To Church

When my church consulting teams have asked church members about their reticence to invite others to church, here are ten responses we have often heard

“Many church members have contact with the unchurched every week, if not every day. They go to school with them, work with them, live beside them – and sometimes live with them. What church folks don’t do, though, is see the unchurched as “sheep without a shepherd” (Matt. 9:36), as spiritual beings in need of... Continue Reading

The Federal Vision, Ten Questions, and the Westminster Standards

Ten questions that are relevant to the Federal Vision controversy

The Holy Spirit works in the visible church in accordance with the decree of election. Therefore, the elect in the visible church receive some benefits which the non-elect in the visible church do not. All the elect and only the elect are effectually called. The Holy Spirit works faith in their hearts and thereby unites... Continue Reading

Can Christians Lose Their Salvation?

We should distinguish a serious and radical fall from a total and final fall.

The question is, are these people who are guilty of a real fall irretrievably fallen and eternally lost, or is this fall a temporary condition that will, in the final analysis, be remedied by their restoration? In the case of a person such as Peter, we see that his fall was remedied by his repentance.... Continue Reading

Understanding Faith

Saving faith is a gift of God’s grace that the Holy Spirit works in the heart enabling us to believe the gospel to the saving of our souls

What does faith do? Or to put it another way, what does the Christian do by faith? By faith, the Christian believes and acts. By faith a Christian believes to be true whatever is revealed in the Word. This believing is because of the authority of God himself speaking in and by his Word. God’s... Continue Reading

Will Sociologists Be Brave Enough to Study Same-Sex Divorce?

Studies in northern Europe conclude same-sex relationships dissolve more often than heterosexual relationships

Citing the witch hunt against Mark Regnerus, a sociologist at the University of Texas at Austin whose research on children in same-sex marriage households has been dismissed and denounced by the “liberal establishment,” Hayward said he has a hunch about the future of research into same-sex divorce: “Social science research into gay marriage will be... Continue Reading

Christian Eschatology and The Planet of the Apes

Movies can represent the intersection of eschatology with contemporary fears.

As I went around the room with my students, I asked what their home churches had taught about the ultimate things: heaven, hell, kingdom, and so on. Most of them said their churches were reluctant to say much at all, beyond generalities. Many of their churches, it seems, were fearful to talk much about eschatology... Continue Reading

No Other Name

Jesus shall save his people. That’s his name. That’s who is to us: our Savior.

For the medieval church as for many Christians today, it was tempting to think that Jesus had made salvation possible for those who do their part. In that scheme Jesus was not so much a savior as a facilitator. In such a scheme he is reduced to a cosmic doorman, who allows us to enter the presence... Continue Reading

Radical(ly Normal)

“You don’t have to live crazy to follow Jesus.”

All in all, this book, Radically Normal, is a helpful evangelical counterpoint to the “radical” American evangelical emphases and movements (emphases and movements which have been around for more than 30 years).  It’s well written, not too difficult to read, and provides a good remedy for those Christians who feel guilty for not being radical.  Thankfully, you... Continue Reading

8 Tips on How to Talk to Your Kids About the Sermon

Make the decision as a parent to talk to your kids about the sermons you hear

You may have checked off all previous seven tips and you may still feel like it was a complete waste of time; like nothing got through to your child. It’s at that point that you must remember the first two rules: They retain more than you think they do. They understand more than you think... Continue Reading

Envy Always Wins

Envy is the lost sin; how can it be cured?

What’s the cure for envy? Charles Spurgeon said: “The cure for envy lies in living under a constant sense of the divine presence, worshiping God and communing with Him all the day long, however long the day may seem. True religion lifts the soul into a higher region, where the judgment becomes more clear and... Continue Reading

The Next Religious Liberty Case

A Christian College asked for an Obamacare exemption. Then came the backlash.

The principal flash point was Gordon College’s code of conduct, which forbids its students and faculty from engaging in sexual activity except in a heterosexual marriage. The day after the letter, the city of Salem announced that it was canceling a contract Gordon has to use Salem’s Old Town Hall. Salem cannot work with “an... Continue Reading

Four Trustees Resign From Bryan College

Four members of the Bryan College board of trustees have resigned, saying they're upset with the direction that the college has taken under President Stephen Livesay

His letter listed three reasons for his resignation. “The ongoing narrative from the president’s office presents interpretations of facts that differ significantly and regularly from what I believe to be true,” Phillips wrote. “Second, I do not believe I could contribute anything substantive to the board that would be heard. … Third, the president indicated... Continue Reading

Your Naked Truth

We all, men and women, fall for this lie: that beauty is something to be consumed.

There are few opportunities on this side of eternity where we get a taste of this experience with beauty. But I believe Christian marriage is one of them. It comes from a sacrificial, sanctifying love through the years. It comes through moving past the youthful, original attributes that attracted us to one another, to a... Continue Reading

Is Your Parenting That Different From The People You Mock?

Does anybody tell their kids 'no' anymore?

Is such parenting becoming rarer? I recently heard of a college administrator who met with a student and her mother regarding plagiarism charges. Much to the administrator’s surprise, the mother calmly explained that the daughter should not be punished because … wait for it … it was the mother who had plagiarized when she did... Continue Reading