A High (And Prioritized) Ecclesiology
One of the major problems in evangelicalism today is a low ecclesiology.
Outside of the visible church there is no ordinary possibility of salvation, but outside of the invisible church there is no possibility of salvation whatsoever. For man baptizes in water, but God our Savior “saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the... Continue Reading
Are Sacraments Fundamentals?
Because the sacraments preach the gospel, they are gospel issues.
If the sacraments are not gospel issues, then why should we not ordain someone who holds to transubstantiation? Consubstantiation? Memorialist? Usually, we’re not willing to go there. But then, that would mean that we view some sacramental issues as gospel issues, and other issues as not gospel issues. Perhaps this is true. I, for one,... Continue Reading
When Your Church Is Disappointing and Boring
Our personal boredom can often be symptomatic of a needed soul adjustment.
Church has a much higher purpose for existence than not being boring or disappointing. The most important thing is not that we are bored or disappointed, but that our lives and churches exist for the glory of God. Let’s face it. Church is not always as exciting as we would like. Sometimes it’s boring... Continue Reading
Cross-Contamination at the Lord’s Table
Thomas Oden wrote his book, Requiem, after a chapel service at Drew University introducing the goddess Sophia as worthy of Christian worship
I love how Oden didn’t merely focus on the seminary and the religious professionals. He wrote a book to expose them to the congregants who were affected by this poison. Discerning worshippers had already been noticing something different being preached from their pulpits. When theology is reduced to ideology, it’s the local church that is... Continue Reading
Will Christians Be Allowed To Serve As Judges In California?
The evidence is mounting that the sexual revolutionaries will brook no dissent in the march of “gay rights.”
Yesterday, the California Supreme Court ruled that state judges could no longer hold membership in the Boy Scouts of America. Why? Because the Boy Scouts allow gay scouts but not gay Scout leaders. As far as the California Supreme Court is concerned, the Boy Scouts discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation, and that violates... Continue Reading
My Baby’s Heart Stopped Beating
My little slice of motherhood continues to show me different angles of God’s good character and things about myself that I never could have learned without my baby.
He gives purpose to our suffering (Romans 8:28). My miscarriage didn’t happen in a vacuum. Both my child and I were created in God’s image, designed for his glory. My intentions for my child’s life were not the Lord’s intentions, and my timetable was not his timetable. He chose for that tiny person’s purpose to... Continue Reading
The Law: God’s Law and the Christian
We do not receive Christ and all his benefits of redemption only to then live as we please.
This marvelous news of salvation by grace, apart from the works of the law, however, in no way excuses us from living in conformity to God’s Law as kingdom disciples. In various quarters of the evangelical world –– even in some sections of the Reformed camp –– there seems to be a conspicuous de-emphasis upon... Continue Reading
On Friendship: A Review of “The Company We Keep”
True Christian friendship has to do with Christ’s work for his people – friends are also brothers and sisters in Christ
If you’ve been thinking about friendship, desire good friendships (or if you think negatively about friendships!) I highly recommend this booklet: The Company We Keep by Jonathan Holmes. It’s a brief (just over 100 small pages), concise (to the point), and clear (outlined and explained well) biblical discussion of Christian friendship. The contents include 1)... Continue Reading
“Jesus was a Palestinian” is a False Narrative
The pro-Palestinian Christian narrative, as defined by its leaders, is a lie.
In early December I came across a video of Dr. Mitri Raheb, pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Christmas Church in Bethlehem, summing up the pro-Palestinian Christian narrative. While Raheb’s duplicity is disturbing, his rather succinct commentary offers an opportunity to debunk the lies that he and his colleagues advance As any reader of this... Continue Reading
Perseverance and Hope Through Disability
Joni Eareckson Tada says the Martin Pistorius story should encourage Christians to advocate for the humanity of people mistakenly called ‘vegetables’
In the 1980s, when Pistorius was 12 years old, he came home from school with a sore throat. As his condition worsened, doctors guessed he had cryptococcal meningitis. His mobility eventually vanished, followed quickly by his ability to make eye contact and speak. For about two years, Pistorius lingered, trapped in a personal prison. He... Continue Reading
The Regulative Principle of Worship
The regulative principle of worship states that the corporate worship of God is to be founded upon specific directions of Scripture
It is important to realize that the regulative principle as applied to public worship frees the church from acts of impropriety and idiocy — we are not free, for example, to advertise that performing clowns will mime the Bible lesson at next week’s Sunday service. Yet it does not commit the church to a “cookie-cutter,”... Continue Reading
Seven Reasons Churches Are Too Busy
If local churches were humans, most of them would experience burnout. Many congregations are too busy to be effective. Many have a hodgepodge of seemingly unrelated activities.
I recently met with a pastor whose church is emblematic of the hyper-busy congregation. Morning worship attendance is steady at 350, but Sunday evening worship had declined in a decade from 160 to 40. The pastor suggested the church consider eliminating the Sunday evening service, an act that required a majority vote in a business... Continue Reading
Calvinist Evangelicals in United Methodist Church!
Institutional United Methodism in America has given up on cities and given up on young people, so no surprise it is declining by nearly 100,000 annually.
Think about it. The most powerful city in the world has almost no vital, orthodox United Methodist churches. Instead there are typically small, liberal congregations that celebrate their diversity but have little capacity for meaningful outreach. The same is true for most large cities. And institutional United Methodism has no ability to address this challenge.... Continue Reading
One Pastor’s Tedious Defense of the First Amendment
Last week, the pastor of a small church in Gilbert, Ariz., introduced himself on the steps outside of the Supreme Court.
“I’m Clyde Reed, pastor of Good News Community Church in Gilbert, Ariz.,” [editor’s note: Rev. Reed is a minister in the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church] he said. “I’m 82 years old and have been a pastor for over 40 years. I never dreamed my small church sign would be a topic for the Supreme Court.”... Continue Reading
One Abortionist’s Painful Path to Life
It took the death of his own daughter to make Dr. Anthony Levatino realize abortions kill children
WNS Editor’s note: On the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, we’re sharing the story of one abortionist who quit after realizing he was killing people’s children for money. Dr. Anthony Levatino quit the abortion industry in the mid-1980s. He became a Christian years later and now uses his experience and expertise as both a doctor and... Continue Reading
Boko Haram Emerges As Brutal Islamic State Of Africa
Boko Haram, with its chilling brutality, radical Islamic ideology and unstoppable seizure of Nigerian territory is quickly emerging as the Islamic State of Africa.
Boko Haram first gained international notoriety for its savagery in April 2014, when it abducted 276 girls from a boarding school in Chibok and threatened to sell them as wives and sex slaves. The “bring back our girls” movement began with Nigerian village women demanding government action and grew into a worldwide rallying cry, with... Continue Reading
British Midwives Lose Fight for Conscientious Objection To Abortion
The British Supreme Court has rejected the right of conscientious objection for senior midwives who refuse to supervise abortions performed on a labour ward
“Today’s decision sadly makes it likely that senior midwives who refuse to kill babies will be forced to leave the profession. Junior midwives might still be able to work in labour wards where abortions are performed but they will be restricted to ‘staff midwife’ status at best. They could easily be placed in an impossible... Continue Reading
The Church Needs the New Homophiles
There is a group of Catholics who experience same-sex attraction. They accept the teachings of the Church on sexual morality. They do not act on their same-sex desires. They are chaste.
The New Homophiles insist that God made them gay, though the Church does not teach that. They insist that they have special gifts given to them through their same-sex attraction. That is certainly not in Church teaching. And they want Church teaching to reflect these assertions, which would amount to a change in Church teaching.... Continue Reading
A Word to Famous Pastors
The church is both blessed and cursed by its well-known pastors.
You have been given a public platform. You occupy the stage of various conferences. You help lead national and perhaps international ministries. People listen to you when you speak and write. Those men who pastor 100 souls will be responsible for much. Some of you serve churches of multiplied thousands. You will give an account... Continue Reading
The Sin We Don’t Speak Of
Everyone's is different, but the effects on us are the same. And when it rears its ugly head we are undone.
In God’s eyes, sin is sin. No amount of human ordering changes that for him. We have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23). This sin is the great equalizer before him. There are no sins that are beyond his reach for cleansing and there are no sins that make... Continue Reading
Divine Mathematics of Salvation
Jesus plus anything else that you seek to add to His saving work will end in eternal loss.
Paul ties the everything together at the end of this letter when he explained that the Judaizers were seeking to avoid persecution for the cross of Christ, and were wanting to boast in the flesh (i.e. in human accomplishments). Put basically, it appears that the great error of the Judaizers was not merely seeking to add circumcision... Continue Reading
If the Lord Marks Iniquity, Who Should Stand?
If God requires perfect righteousness and perfect holiness to survive His perfect judgment, then we are left with a serious problem.
In our day we have witnessed the eclipse of the gospel. That dark shadow that obscures the light of the gospel is not limited to Rome or liberal Protestantism; it looms heavily within the Evangelical community. The very phrase “preaching the gospel” has come to describe every form of preaching but the preaching of the... Continue Reading
Why the Prosperity Gospel Is the Worst Pyramid Scheme Ever
The truly good news is this: Jesus’s dreams for us are weightier than the pursuit of health, wealth, and personal success.
Don’t get me wrong: I believe wholeheartedly God wants to bless me. I believe God favors me. I believe he wants me to have the best possible life. But I also believe the good news of Jesus is far better than the prosperity gospel. The prosperity gospel climbs over people; Jesus descends to pick us up. The... Continue Reading
A “Repentant” Lance Armstrong “Would do it again!”
To top it off, he thinks he still deserves the seven Tour de France titles he was stripped of.
Yet, that’s what an allegedly “repentant” Lance Armstrong wants us to do. He deceived millions of people, told innumerable lies, stole titles from other cyclists, and made megabucks from books about his “miracle” come-back. But he now thinks he should be forgiven, and gives three reasons in this interview with the BBC: Imagine someone deceived... Continue Reading
Missed Motherhood: A Casualty of the Sexual Revolution
Susan Shapiro’s article at The New York Times is as sad as anything I’ve read in a long time.
After entering her forties in a more secure situation, she decided to try and get pregnant only to find that she couldn’t. She had always said that she didn’t want the life of her mother, who begin having children at a very young age and who defied feminist expectation by becoming a stay-at-home mom. Shapiro... Continue Reading
God’s Grace in the Obstacles We Face
Because of our wayward hearts, God often places obstacles in our path.
When God places obstacles in our path, it is for our discipline and for our good. It is an act of love toward us as his children. Just as we withhold things from our own children that we know are bad for them, God does the same for us. But unlike us, God’s ways are... Continue Reading
Generalists Do Talk to Strangers
Based on my experience, here are some general hints that will help in meeting new people.
Generalists know a little about a lot. And, generalists, even if they are introverts, can talk to strangers for a few minutes. So, these people can be an asset in welcoming a wide variety of church visitors. Put some generalists to work as greeters. I am a generalist, and I enjoy reaching out to church visitors. What are the strengths of a... Continue Reading
Cross Fit Godliness
Genuine godliness comes by spiritual exercise
“With CrossFit-like enthusiasm, in 1 Timothy 4:7–8, Paul calls his son in the faith and other readers to the gym, and distinguishes useless workouts from useful ones. “Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way,... Continue Reading
Even in slaveholding states, many white Americans were uneasy about the morality of black slavery in the decades that preceded the Civil War
“Some conservative white evangelicals believed that the Bible endorsed some systems of slavery but not that found in America. Most, however, felt that any sort of vigorous opposition to slavery struck at the biblical bedrock of their faith. And therefore they could not embrace true antislavery positions.” Even in slaveholding states, many white Americans... Continue Reading
Nakedness Equals Shame
The very first psychological self-awareness of guilt and shame was an awareness of nudity
“The motif of clothing and nakedness is at the heart of our understanding of redemption. Our own righteousness, we are told, is like rotten, filthy rags (Isa. 64:6). The only way any of us can stand in God’s presence is to be stripped of those rags and then clothed afresh in the garments of Christ’s... Continue Reading