Same-Self Marriage

It’s only a trickle, not yet a trend, but it is out there, and it has a name: sologamy.

Even in the charade of same-self marriage, there is something of a yearning for complementarity. For example, Nadine spoke of getting married to her “inner groom,” a decidedly gendered image. Jennifer insisted on all the accoutrements of a traditional marriage including dress, flowers, wedding attendant, a public ceremony, and registry in City Hall. All of... Continue Reading

The Sheep Aren’t Stupid

One of the more preposterous pithy statements I have heard many preachers say is, “Sheep are dumb.”

My problem with this statement is that it disrespects people made in God’s image and redeemed by God’s Son. It is a mocking of the church and an exaltation of self. The church isn’t stupid. Sinful, yes. Stupid, no. Speaking of the church in this way will get a chuckle from some leaders (who aren’t... Continue Reading

Happy Laws

Here are four reasons why we should trust and obey God’s laws as designed for our happiness.

For many people, the existence of the Ten Commandments is proof that God opposes human happiness. “If God really wanted me to be happy, He wouldn’t put all these laws in my way.” Thus, every day, billions of people try to throw off God’s law, cast it behind their backs, and run away from it as... Continue Reading

Pray for the Pastor’s Wife: Patience

As God supplies patience, we start to see people as He does and not as those who get in our way on the path to "success."

Yes, sometimes they disagree with us or flaunt sinful behavior or share deep pains that we can hardly bear. But, if we are going to have an eternal impact on people in the church, we need to ask God for patience with them as they are sanctified. “See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of... Continue Reading

The Misnomer of Freedom

Are we free to do as we please?

As Chantry writes, “The powerful grace of God alone offers deliverance. Cast yourself upon God’s mercy for salvation. Ask for the Spirit of Grace that he may create a new spirit within you.” And, if God has created a new spirit in you, then embrace, rejoice in, and live out your freedom to love God... Continue Reading

How Does Christ’s Death Benefit Our Sanctification?

Those who have been united to Christ by the Spirit, through faith alone, “shall,” as Paul says, “be united with him in a resurrection life his….”

In other words, the Christian life is a dying to self and sin and living to Christ but the outcome is a glorious resurrection—not because we have been good but because God is gracious and graciously at work in us. Resurrection leads to glorification, which is the consummation of the good work that God began... Continue Reading

The Gospel and Our Speech

The person described in the Beatitudes will not use speech to participate in any way that is not God-honoring.

Just think of all the driveling words, exaggerated tales, oaths never kept, and prolific profanity that we utter. Think of the words that fly from mouth to mouth in rumors. I know one Pastor who recently had to resign because some people started gossiping and complaining about his shortcomings — mainly that the hymns were... Continue Reading

An Accurate Parody: On Andrew Wilson and Matthew Vines

Did Andrew Wilson's parody, "The Case for Idolatry," misrepresent LGBT-affirming arguments like those used by Matthew Vines?

Wilson parodies the arguments of affirming evangelicals by using the same kind of ethical pragmatism to talk about idolatry. Idolatry may sound like it is sinful, Wilson says, but actually there are many Christians who have discovered the love and joy of an idolatrous life. Wilson here intends to parody the approach used by many... Continue Reading

Kirk Cameron’s “Saving Christmas” Promo Puts a Heavy – and Heretical – Burden on Moms

Christmas Checklist – follow these rules, moms, or no joy for you!

What’s that, mom? You work two jobs, have a hard time affording groceries to put on the table, and you couldn’t even decorate a doll house if your life depended on it? Come on, moms, how on earth do you expect to be able to invite your neighbors – let alone the world – into... Continue Reading

My Imperfect Thanks

“Thank God we don’t have perfect lives every day. It would not feel special; we would feel personal entitlement. We wouldn’t be calling out our thanksgiving to the very heavens as we are today.”

It seems that I need the four seasons and the long and cloudy low-pressure systems to help me appreciate the sunshine in my life. If I lived in a sunny climate, I would just complain about the lack of shade. In fact, I live in a highly developed society, and I take those benefits for... Continue Reading

Not Yet

With the legal affirmation of same-sex marriage in some states, should churches, synagogues, and mosques stop performing civil marriages? No, not yet.

When a congregation certifies a biblically married couple to be also civilly married, the congregation is not affirming the state’s definition of marriage. Instead, the Church is witnessing to the state’s role in recognizing marriage as something that stands before and is foundational to society. We are bearing witness to the fact that these unions... Continue Reading

Famous Marriages ‘Breathe Life’ For Couples

The good, the bad, and the ugly marriages of well known ministers of the past

Charles and Susannah Spurgeon represent another strong marriage from church history, though she had a “very poor first impression” of the great Baptist preacher, Haykin said. The Spurgeons met when he preached for the first time at the London church that came to be known as the Metropolitan Tabernacle. “He was sweating profusely … and... Continue Reading

Eight Very Difficult Ministry Situations For Pastors

What are some of the most difficult situations you have had in pastoral ministry? These eight were the most mentioned answers.

Confronting a church member. “She was bitter and gossiped all the time. No one else had the courage to confront her, so I had to do the dirty work. It was not a pretty situation, and I’m still suffering from the confrontation today.” In a recent post, I shared the results of an informal Twitter... Continue Reading

The One And The Many

We worry that we may be out of the center of God’s will

Too many of us are so concerned about our problems right now in this life that we’ve not thought about where we will be someday later after death. We’ve got things exactly backwards. We think there is only one path for me to follow on earth, but many paths I can take to get to... Continue Reading

A Sunny Place for Shady People: Employing the Grace Pledge

God’s Grace Pledge: “Wherever you are in your story I will give you grace so you can give me glory.”

“Every once in a while in the Samson story up pops a reminder of the fact that Samson is God’s man, set apart for God’s work, and it is God who is overruling the course of Samson’s actions and experience.  It is this part of the Samson story that gives us hope.  We too live... Continue Reading

It’s Time to Abandon the First Amendment

It is quite obvious that we are living in a dramatic cultural shift in America

As I search the Bible I find no first amendment.  What I do find is the responsibility of the civil magistrate to enforce justice and equity as defined by God’s law (Rom. 13).  What I do find is the responsibility of God’s ministers to use the Bible to confront those in power about their lawlessness.... Continue Reading

“Long Hair Freaky People Need Not Apply”*

Communicating through Twitter is all signs and no scenery

And then there are the Bible verses that go up. Since your audience usually follows you due to a shared belief system, they aren’t so much meant to be evangelistic as exhorting. Some can be an encouragement, but only the skinny ones can survive. It makes you wonder if it cheapens God’s Word to suspend... Continue Reading

Private Schools Win Textbook Funding Battle in New Mexico

The New Mexico Court of Appeals upheld a law requiring the state’s Department of Education to supply free textbooks to all students in the state, in public or private schools.

A state-level, 3-judge panel ruled IML does not violate any laws, concluding the funds benefit the students and parents at private schools, not the schools themselves. In addition, the ruling noted the state has an interest “to educate children, regardless of where they attend school” and thus children attending private schools shouldn’t be barred from... Continue Reading

The Transforming Power of Thanksgiving and Forgiveness

When I give thanks, I am reminded of how utterly dependent I am on God and of how incredibly good He is to me.

Forgiveness is harder than thanksgiving, and for that reason it is even more powerful. To forgive someone is to release them from the debt they owe us. It is to surrender our claim to vengeance. Forgiveness is hard, but it is easier when I realize how much I have been forgiven. Forgiveness is powerful in... Continue Reading

No Holy Spirit, No Scripture

There is an abiding perception in the Christian world that Reformed folks do not talk much about the Holy Spirit. Is it true?

Reformed folks highlight the work of the Spirit in many areas such as regeneration, sanctification, preaching, the sacraments, and more.  But, during the time of the Reformation itself, one area took center stage, name how the Spirit relates to the Scriptures.  The two are so connected, argued the Reformers, that if there was no Holy... Continue Reading

Ferguson and the Path to Peace

In the church, a black Christian and a white Christian are brothers and sisters. We care what happens to the other.

In order to get there, we will need churches that are not divided up along carnal patterns of division—by skin color or ethnicity or economic status. We will need churches that reflect the manifold wisdom of God (Eph. 3:10) in the joining together of those who may have nothing else in common but the image... Continue Reading

Confessions and The Relevant

Do we need a new confession, or at least some additional paragraphs or chapters, to deal with contemporary issues?

In short, as a general principle we should always try to address pressing contemporary questions, whether theological or ethical, using the resources our confessional standards provide for us.   Only when that provision is thoroughly inadequate and when the issue is one of such obvious permanent concern should we consider revising our confessional foundations.   One... Continue Reading

Helping the Hurting

How should we help a friend or loved one who is suffering in a way that is encouraging and helps rather than hurts them?

Many Christians think that God only desires for us to be happy. They think he wants us to have the good life here on this earth. So when trials and suffering come, they struggle to fit it into their theology. Sometimes, even if a statement comes from Scripture, such as “God will use this for... Continue Reading

An Immigration Fix Almost Nobody Loves

Republicans, Democrats, and activist groups can all find something to dislike in the president’s executive order

The announcement follows months of  Obama’s promises to act on immigration after he spent years saying he didn’t have the power to do so without Congress. In the protracted process, Obama managed to upset just about everyone: Republicans because he is doing it at all, Democrats for talking about it during campaign season, and Hispanics and activist groups for... Continue Reading

6 Steps To An Awe-Full Church

What we want are churches that are places of the extraordinary, supernatural, different, abnormal, unusual presence and power of a holy God.

Many church growth experts tell us that we’ve got to make church more casual, less threatening, more like “normal life.” That will certainly get people in the door. But it won’t keep them there for long. Why should anyone go to church for ordinary normality? They can get that in the mall or at the... Continue Reading

When Was the Last Time You Just Enjoyed Your Money?

It is good to exercise self-control with your money, and good to put it to good work. But it is good to enjoy it too.

Along the way we can develop a very formal and professional relationship with money, where money becomes little more than a tool. Every dollar has a job—paying the bills and paying down the mortgage, and saving for retirement, and supporting the missionaries. Every dollar has a job, but not many of those jobs are fun.... Continue Reading

Do You Hear The People Sing?

What do you hear when your church worships God in song?

“The Maker has wired music into the fabric of every soul, even those of us who are not especially musical by nature. It’s not just another way people artistically experience and express their gratitude and awe to God — like painting or journaling or fishing or serving. Throughout the Bible, God’s people — saved by... Continue Reading

How To Distinguish The Holy Spirit From The Serpent

How do we distinguish the promptings of the Spirit of grace in His guiding and governing of our lives from the delusions of the spirit of the world and of our own sinful heart?

“How, then, does the Spirit act on the believer? The Spirit comes to us as an earnest, a pledge, a down payment on final redemption. He is here and now the foretaste of future glory. But His presence is also an indication of the incompleteness of our present spiritual experience.”   How do we distinguish the... Continue Reading

A Letter To Global South Anglicans

National Cathedral Sanctuary offered for Friday Islamic prayers

“You are well aware of the actions of the Episcopal Church that have led to “tearing the fabric of the Anglican Communion.” In that respect, it will not come as a complete surprise that the National Cathedral has conducted both same-sex blessings of relationships, and, more recently in 2013 began conducting same-sex marriage ceremonies. I... Continue Reading

“Give Attention to the Reading”

A pastor needs to read enough, and enough of the right stuff, to be growing intellectually and to meet the demands of ministry in the world in which he lives

“Reading continues to be one of the most important duties of a pastor. Pastors are responsible to do the work of the mind, and their minds must have something with which to work. Reading is the door, and texts are the workmen through which the furniture of ideas enters the mind and organizes a pastor’s... Continue Reading