Ordinary Isn’t Mediocre
How can we be content with our callings in ordinary life but still strive for excellence?
Whether we are talking about doctrine, athletics, music, parenting, or practicing law, it’s often by faithfully exercising the foundations that we reach the freedom to be good at what we do. It’s usually the everyday commitment to our pursuit, not the novel, and not the quest for superiority itself, that leads to true excellence. And... Continue Reading
Five Questions With a Former Muslim Who Converted to Christianity
As long as there are Muslims, there will be Christians who need to be equipped to share the Gospel with them in compelling compassion.
The Gospel is this: that God saw our sin and suffering, and instead of standing removed from the world, watching and judging, He entered into the world and suffered alongside us, taking our burden from us, paying our penalty for us. He secured our eternity for us because we cannot earn our own salvation, and... Continue Reading
God Is Faithful to Preserve His Own
God will bring our journey to completion and us to perfection, so that arrayed in perfect holiness we will live forever in His love.
Paul says that God, having begun His work in our lives, “will bring it” to completion. This indicates that God not only guarantees the completion of our salvation, but is actively involved in the believer’s life to bring this to pass. God works in our lives in the way a craftsman works to finish a... Continue Reading
Top 10 Sermon Introduction Mistakes
How you get your sermon started matters.
Waiting until the body to point your people to the text. I’m a stickler on getting to your passage in the intro, and not waiting until the body of the sermon. The reason for this is that I don’t want to accidentally communicate that our agenda drives how we go to the Bible. Instead, I... Continue Reading
Learning How Not to Argue (with help from Kanye West)
“How can you be so concerned about issue ‘A’ when we have issue ‘B’, ‘C’, and ‘D’ in the world, which are obviously much more serious!”
For example, “How can you be so upset about my behavior in a concert when the world is filled with real and violent injustices?” Or, as I have heard several times in the past six weeks, “Why are people so concerned about what’s happening with Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill when our Christian brothers and... Continue Reading
God Hates Divorce?
We should pause before accepting the translation of Malachi 2:16 as (…For I hate divorce…)
Stuart’s translation is this: “If one hates and divorces” – Yahweh, Israel’s God said – “he covers his clothes with crime” – Yahweh of the Armies said. Stuart argues that this translation 1) doesn’t require emendation of the Hebrew verb, 2) fits the immediate context, and 3) is consistent with the divorce teaching of Deuteronomy... Continue Reading
Do You Desire Repentance or Revenge?
What is the correct Christian response to being wronged?
Once again, it is not sinful to desire God’s justice or the justice of the governing authorities that wield God’s sword (Rom. 13:1-7) or Christ’s justice through biblical discipline in the local church (Matt. 18:15-20). But, when justice is not rendered, we must trust that vengeance is God’s, He will repay, says the Lord (Rom. 12:9). In... Continue Reading
How the News Makes Us Dumb
The news will make us dumb unless we are smart enough to merely nibble on it as snack and look for our daily sustenance somewhere else.
Sommerville does not argue for a complete repudiation of the news, and neither do I. But we must keep the news in its place. Most of us would do well to read the news less often. We would be wiser, happier, and more useful if we read more books and fewer blogs, if we read... Continue Reading
Just Add Water
Part 1 of an answer to the question: Do Baptists that practice closed communion teach that Presbyterians aren't Christians?
If the charge that Dr. Jones has put forward here has any weight at all, it rests on the idea that refusing participation to the table demands a metaphysical statement about those refused – namely, that they do not belong to Christ at all, in any sense. That’s always the charge of Presbyterians against us... Continue Reading
Mars Hill Phoenix Rises From The Ashes To Become Phoenix Bible Church
Seeking to rise like Phoenix from the ashes, members of Mars Hill Phoenix are starting a new church
“We believe that God has begun something very special through Mars Hill Phoenix. As things come to an end on Sept. 28, we want to explore next steps to continue as a church family and essentially start a new church of what was Mars Hill Phoenix. Our first service together would be Oct. 5, at... Continue Reading
Disrespecting The Holy Spirit — A Tendency for Calvinists and Arminians Alike
May we not be found amongst those who disrespect the Holy Spirit in regards to their one-time regeneration or their on-going sanctification
“May we all give the Holy Spirit the honor, praise, and worship he is due. The Father chooses those who will receive justice and those who will receive mercy. The Son lives and dies for his flock; all those who call upon the name of the Lord. And it is the Spirit who applies the choice... Continue Reading
The Sanctifying Spirit
How exactly does the Spirit empower us for growth in godliness?
“Though we must make effort in our growth in godliness (2 Peter 1:5), the Spirit empowers through and through. The Bible is not a cheap infomercial telling us to change and then assuring our little ponytail hearts, “You can do it!” We have already been changed. We are already new creations in Christ (2 Cor.... Continue Reading
Mental Illness Remains Taboo Topic For Many Pastors
Most Protestant senior pastors (66 percent) seldom speak to their congregation about mental illness
“Mental illness, like other chronic conditions, can feel overwhelming at times, said Pingleton. Patients can feel as if their diagnosis defines their life. But that’s not how the Bible sees those with mental illness, he said. He pointed out that many biblical characters suffered from emotional struggles. And some, were they alive today, would likely... Continue Reading
Is Marriage “Just a Piece of Paper”?
Some Christians have rejected the legal and formal aspects of marriage, arguing that marriage is a matter of private and individual commitment between two people
“The signing of a piece of paper is not a matter of affixing one’s signature in ink to a meaningless document. The signing of a marriage certificate is an integral part of what the Bible calls a covenant. A covenant is made publicly before witnesses and with formal legal commitments that are taken seriously by... Continue Reading
Analysis: Moderator Sees Church ‘Evolving’ On Same-Sex Marriage
Presbyterian Church (USA) Moderator Heath Rada, in a recent column, talked about the 2014 General Assembly votes to redefine Christian marriage to include same-sex couples
“It is not my job as Moderator of the denomination to defend the actions of the church,” Rada wrote in his column. “It IS, however, my job to make sure that the work of the General Assembly is correctly interpreted.” So how well did Rada interpret the Detroit assembly’s actions to redefine Christian marriage from... Continue Reading
Does The Bible Endorse American Capitalism or Favor Communist Central Planning?
The Bible contains clear economic principles and the early church grew in an environment of buying, selling, borrowing, and hiring
“Beyond free markets, the Bible favorably presents the elements of an entrepreneurial economy where wages and profits are earned and people prosper. For example, the virtuous woman not only “makes linen garments and sells them,” but also “perceives that her merchandise is profitable” (Proverbs 31:24). Workers were expected to profit from their labor and deserved... Continue Reading
The Israel Of God (Part 2)
The Mosaic Law itself, was only a “shadow” of the fulfillment which came with Christ
“It is the teaching of God’s Word that Jesus is the true Israel of God, that his incarnation, obedience, death and resurrection was not a by-product of Israel’s rejection of the offer of an earthly kingdom, but the fulfillment of God’s plan from all eternity. This is what Jesus told the disciples on the road... Continue Reading
Jesus, the True and Greater Gardener
Consider the theological significance of the following two Garden settings in which Christ carried out the work of redemption
Adam was called to guard and keep the Garden. This certainly included his need to protect his bride from the temptations of the evil one. When Jesus entered into His sufferings on the cross, He did so with His bride–the church–with Him there in the Garden. As Adam should have warned Eve to “watch and... Continue Reading
The Liberal Religion of “Tolerance”
Liberals revere tolerance. They practically worship it. But it's a selective faith.
I believe, in general, that liberals are not actually tolerant. Liberals tolerate only what they what want to tolerate. They tolerate things they agree with—which, of course, isn’t tolerance. Tolerance is about accepting the often-difficult differences between you and someone you strongly disagree with, and respecting that person’s right to an opposing point of view.... Continue Reading
What Is the Covenant of Grace?
The Reformed creeds and confessions express the continuity of God’s covenant of grace despite its many historical variations.
The essence of the covenant of grace is the same throughout the Old and New Testaments—God saves sinners by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. But its historical administration has varied by time and place. For example, the covenant of grace widened from the Old Testament to the New Testament, as it was... Continue Reading
Uprooting the Christian Masculinity Complex
The problem is that the idea that Christian men should think of themselves primarily as “warriors” simply isn’t biblical.
I am not advocating pacifism or saying Christians can’t serve as police-men or in the armed forces. Some people have those God-given vocations, and there are just reasons for waging war. But it is dangerous to assume, as Wild at Heart does, that “in the heart of all men, there is a desperate desire for... Continue Reading
The Joys (and Sorrows) of Parenting: Calvin on Gen. 4.1-26
Adam and Eve experienced both joy and sorrow through their children: Cain, Abel, and Seth
Adam and Eve thus experienced the ultimate joys and sorrows of parenting. But the ultimate joy (the believing child) was joyful enough to lead them to entrust their future children’s fortunes to God and fulfill his abiding command to be fruitful (Gen. 1.28). Though they had experienced the ultimate sorrow (the unbelieving child), Adam and... Continue Reading
An Answer to Dr. Bill Evans on the Christotelic Controversy
The Christotelic approach does not respect the organic unity of Scripture.
What did the OT authors know? They knew about the grace that was coming (verse 10). They knew about the messianic sufferings and glories (verse 11), since the Holy Spirit was indicating it to them. They knew whom they were serving (verse 12). In other words, they knew more than the TRV (two-readings view) folks... Continue Reading
The Rural Church Potential
Either explicitly or implicitly, the modern church seems to place little to no value on the rural church.
Small town living is perceived by many people as…well, as simply not a viable option. And if living there isn’t an option, then certainly the small town church isn’t either. Is there room for the rural church where there is a decreased economy, resources, populations, luxuries, and coffee-lattes? It’s a very real question that, at... Continue Reading
Mark Driscoll: I Made The Mistake Of Trying To Be Under the Authority Of My Elders
Driscoll goes on to say that church planters shouldn’t believe that accountability will come from their first elder board.
Everyone makes mistakes, but sometimes we are mistaken about what we call mistakes. Driscoll’s assessment of the situation is debatable. Did he make a mistake by throwing off the authority of his elder board and bringing outsiders in? One interpretation of the current situation at Mars Hill is that the cure has been worse than... Continue Reading
The Israel of God: Not All Israel is Israel
Christians are the Israel of God in Christ
Most of the Jews, however, were not looking for a Savior. They were looking for a king. Jesus is King, but he earned his throne by his obedience and death, and that is not what they wanted. They wanted glory, power and an earthly, political, theocratic, this-worldly kingdom. Jesus has established his kingdom, through the... Continue Reading
He Came; He’s Coming; Keep Going!
God will always preserve his remnant, and one day they will be fantastically blessed
And rejoice that Christ is the Victorious Judge who is coming as he promised. Friends, Christ sits on the throne above in glory, and under his providential rule kingdoms come and go. Under his dominion, righteousness and unrighteousness coexist and are tolerated for a season, but this is only for a limited time. For when his days of calling... Continue Reading
How to Avoid Cynicism
Avoiding cynicism is not the natural bent of the human heart
The most obvious good gift that has come down from above is none other than James’ brother, Jesus, who came to suffer and die so that we might experience new birth. While James, nor the rest of Scripture, provide a comprehensive rebuttal to the problem of evil, neither do they avoid the problem. In Jesus,... Continue Reading
Boko Haram Used Schoolgirl as Suicide Bomber
Congressional hearing discusses kidnapped girls’ fate, other international religious freedom concerns
Boko Haram kidnapped nearly 300 girls after raiding their school in April. A month later, it claimed all the girls had converted to Islam. Many speculated the terrorist group turned the girls into bombers after a string of suicide bombings by young women in northern Nigeria. (WNS)–Terrorist group Boko Haram used at least one... Continue Reading
The Lavishness of Friendship and a World Beyond Vows
The nature and character of friendship
To be friends with God is to participate in a form of charity which is not incompatible with vows per se—lest we deny marriages any form of participation in it as well—but the vow-less, obligation-free character of friendship illuminates the unrestrained nature of charity in a way that a life mediated by vows and promises... Continue Reading