5 Ways Persecution in Iran Has Backfired

Seeing Christians willing to suffer often draws unbelievers closer to Christ

“Scripture is clear that God often uses his people’s suffering to advance his kingdom. In his providence, the Islamic regime’s strategies to stamp out the Persian-speaking church in Iran have backfired—resulting in further church growth. Here are five examples.”   The Bible is full of stories reminding us that, whatever the opposition, God is always victorious. It’s the story of Joseph... Continue Reading

Why Definite Atonement (Particular Redemption) Must Be True

The doctrine of definite atonement or particular redemption refers to the biblical truth that Jesus died on the cross only for His elect and actually procured their eternal salvation at Calvary

“What did Jesus actually accomplish at the cross? Did Jesus really save people or did Jesus make people savable by dying for them? What did the atonement achieve? The many words that comprise the theological range that describes what Jesus did on the cross all underscore that Jesus perfectly saved people by dying for them.”... Continue Reading

12 Theses on a Christian Understanding of Economics

The Christian worldview reminds us that we must live with the recognition that we will give an account to the Lord for our stewardship of our resources

“Some economic systems treat the idea of private property as a problem. But Scripture never considers private property as a problem to be solved (see, for instance, the Ten Commandments). Scripture’s view of private property implies it is the reward of someone’s labor and dominion.”   Regrettably, many American Christians know little about economics. Furthermore,... Continue Reading

The State of Theology: Does Even the Smallest Sin Deserve Eternal Damnation?

Eight out of ten Americans have an incorrect view of sin

You can think of the views of sin and of Christ’s person and work as an inverse relationship. Thinking less of sin, not grasping its full weight, means we necessarily think less of Christ and less of His work on the cross. When we see the full depth and heinousness of our sin, we exalt... Continue Reading

Andy Stanley Says Christian Unity Is More Than ‘Hey, Can You Put Down Weapons For The Weekend?’

Stanley emphasized that "unity around who is Jesus is preeminent"

Stanley then paraphrased and explained what Christ meant by that prayer: “Father, I pray that they will all be in oneness just like We are in oneness. I pray that they will be in unity together, just like We are in unity together.”   Speaking to thousands of Christian leaders gathered for Catalyst Atlanta Oct.... Continue Reading

Sexual Morality in a Christless World

Sexual morality is undergoing a revolution as traditional morality gives way to something different

“Into the fray steps Matthew Rueger with his book Sexual Morality in a Christless World. Though the last few years have brought us no shortage of books on how to live on this side of the sexual revolution, Rueger offers something unique in examining and explaining the historical and cultural backdrop to the New Testament’s... Continue Reading

Heaven is a Person

Heaven isn’t about the place, it’s about the Person

“God has given us some information about heaven, but consider how much more he has told us about himself! The Bible is stuffed with truths and stories about God’s character, his demands, and his grace. When we complain that we don’t know much about heaven, we’re missing the point. God has told us gobs about... Continue Reading

5 Reasons To Teach Your Kids About The Reformation

I want my children to know that without the gospel, they cannot make sense of life in a fallen world

“During October we take a couple of nights each week in family worship to study the major figures and core issues of the Reformation. We’ve looked at the lives of John Calvin and John Knox, the burr in Martin Luther’s saddle that drove him to nail his 95 theses, the five solas of the Reformation, even why I... Continue Reading

An Illustration of Repentance

Do we have a sense of what repentance looks like when God is working repentance in us?

In God’s work in the believer, He takes a little time to bring the believer to an awareness that his course is actually a sinful one. Then there is the process of coming to a stop, the process of the turn itself, and the process of getting up to speed in faithfulness. But some sins... Continue Reading

3 Awful Features of Roman Sexual Morality

Whatever else you know about the Bible, it says this: It lays out a sexual ethic that displays God’s intent in creating sexuality.

Our society is throwing off the last vestiges of the Christian sexual ethic and as it does so, we are once again outsiders and traitors who threaten to destabilize the whole system. As we insist that sex is to be limited to the marriage of one man to one woman we threaten the stability of... Continue Reading

Why Millennials Won’t Build the Kinds of Churches their Parents Built

We can't treat Millennials as a homogeneous group. We have to minister to them as individuals, instead.

Millennials won’t build the kinds of churches their parents and grandparents built. I don’t know what kinds of churches they will build, but they’ll be very different than what we’ve been used to in the last two generations. Here’s why. Builders and Boomers took relationships for granted and needed to build structures. Millennials take the structures for... Continue Reading

A Curious Student Dug Through A Box In The Archives — And Unearthed A Centuries-Old Geneva Bible

A college student found a Geneva Bible in an old box in the college’s archives; it may be more than 400 years old.

Crummé has traced the Bible’s ownership back to Francis Fry, a 19th-century Bible collector in England. From Fry, the Bible apparently went to a London bookseller, who sold it to the Rev. Clarence Baerveldt, a pastor in Waldport and Yachats, who gave it to Lewis & Clark. Along the way, it’s possible the Bible made... Continue Reading

The Death of the Apostles’ Creed in Corporate Worship

Has using the Apostles’ Creed or other creeds in corporate worship died a death by mere silence?

The creeds are a teaching instrument.  Some churches are exposed to very little doctrine.  These short creeds summarize concisely the fundamental doctrines of the faith.  Once we repeat them over and over, week by week, they become part of our being.  They are brief and succinct.  They contain orthodox statements that we never forget.  ... Continue Reading

What “Every Thought Captive” Means In Its Original Context

Did Paul have in mind, as he wrote 2 Corinthians 10:5, the transformation of Greco-Roman culture? If so it is not obvious.

The arguments to be destroyed are those of the Judaizers (as in ch. 3) and especially those of the self-exalting, self-described “Super Apostles,” who were teaching a theology of glory (we may be sure that everything they did was said be “huge!” and “magnificent!” and “fantastic!”) whereas Paul was a theologian of the cross. He... Continue Reading

InterVarsity Now Paying the Price for Mixed Message on Homosexuality

InterVarsity Christian Fellowship is learning the hard way that, when it comes to homosexuality, you cannot straddle the fence.

And so, while InterVarsity did well to call for churches to reach out with sensitivity and compassion to the LGBT community and to recognize the struggles experienced by many true believers, they erred seriously by putting forth the mixed message of Marin and others, a message that surely was felt in InterVarsity’s campus ministry as... Continue Reading

Evangelicals and Lust for Political Power – Beyond the Lesser of Two Evils

The logic of the lesser of two evils argument assumes that power is our primary objective.

As Christians we are called to witness to the lordship of Christ in everything that we do. And as Paul makes quite clear in Philippians 2, that does not mean seizing power and lording it over our neighbors, whatever the cost; it means humbling ourselves, taking up the form of a servant, and seeking justice... Continue Reading

How I Found Freedom From Gender Confusion (Part 2)

After decades of listening to lies, I was hearing the truth—and the truth really did set me free.

Some people know my past, some don’t. I don’t often talk about it, because, miraculously, it’s not an issue anymore. I tell people if I need to, or if it might help someone, but not everyone in my church family needs or wants to know the details. The Bible tells them who I am—a sinner... Continue Reading

I Can Fumble And Strike Out Through Christ Who Strengthens Me

No one seems to quote Philippians 4:13 after he gave up the game-winning touchdown or struck out to lose the game; why quote it when you win?

Everyone has the tendency to compare the highlight reel of others’ successes to our daily failures and lose heart. But baseball, for those of us who love it, provides a constant reminder that everyone (even the superstar) strikes out, but the game still goes on. Angell was right, “There is more Met than Yankee in... Continue Reading

Dying to Be Protestant: Oxford Martyrs’ Day

On Oxford Martyrs Day it is worth asking: "What did Ridley, Latimer, and Cranmer die for?" Answered simply, they died for the Protestant faith.

On October 16, 1555, Bishops Hugh Latimer and Nicholas Ridley, having been tried at the University Church of St. Mary and condemned for heresy, were tied to stakes and burned alive. On March 21, 1556, Archbishop Thomas Cranmer, primary author of the Book of Common Prayer and The Articles of Religion, also died at the... Continue Reading

LGBT Group Threatens Johns Hopkins Over Report That Science Doesn’t Show People Are Born Gay, Transgender

The Human Rights Campaign threatens to penalize Johns Hopkins University if it does not denounce a report concluding there is little scientific evidence that people are born gay or transgender.

“Some of the most widely held views about sexual orientation, such as the ‘born that way’ hypothesis, simply are not supported by science. The literature in this area does describe a small ensemble of biological differences between non-heterosexuals and heterosexuals, but those biological differences are not sufficient to predict sexual orientation, the ultimate test of... Continue Reading

Why It Matters that the Reformers Were Pastors

Many of the Reformers were pastors; the Reformation was aimed at reviving dormant local churches.

The Reformation at its heart was a spiritual renewal movement, in which European churches and believers were revitalized through the recovery of the Scripture and the proclamation of the gospel. Evangelicals who care about the gospel, who are committed to the authority of the Bible, and who long for the renewal of the church will glean encouragement, learn lessons,... Continue Reading

Does God Forbid Images Of Christ?

Are images of Christ allowable in non-worship contexts?

I have defended the right of artistic representations of Christ. I have not defended – and in fact, stand against – images of Christ being used in worship. In Deuteronomy 4:15 God expressly warns Israel: “So watch yourselves carefully, since you did not see any form on the day the LORD spoke to you at... Continue Reading

I Was Pregnant, And Then I Wasn’t

In the aftermath of a miscarriage, the loss of someone I never knew has been more devastating than I could have imagined.

Miscarriage means to carry badly. “A morbid expulsion of an immature foetus,” according to the Comprehensive Medical Dictionary. But the cases where the body hasn’t expelled the fetus are called “missed miscarriages.” A double miss. You miscarried the baby, but you also missed the miscarriage altogether.   The exam room where my husband and I... Continue Reading

Let Me Repeat Myself? – Part One

Why do they sing the same thing over and over again? Isn’t once enough?

“Whether we’re praising or we’re praying, there are certainly numerous biblical examples of repeating the same words to God. Worship leaders use repetition as a tool to let important proclamations and/or petitions not just fly by without the intentionality they might warrant.”   One universal criticism of contemporary worship songs and the flannel-shirted people who... Continue Reading

Gulfstream Presbytery Overtures PCA General Assembly to Amend Westminster Confession 24 by Adding Two Scripture Proofs

The overture requests adding two Scripture proofs to clarify that the Westminster Confession of Faith 24.4 excludes same-sex marriage.

The Gulfstream Presbytery approved an overture at its October 2016 Stated Meeting, asking that Westminster Confession of Faith 24.4 be amended by the addition of two Scripture proofs that would explicitly exclude homosexual marriage. The overture will be considered by the 45th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in America. The PCA General Assembly will... Continue Reading

Lifting Your Soul

What does it mean to lift your soul? How do you actually do this?

Lift your soul to the Lord by trusting him to teach you how to walk in his ways. Psalm 25 says directly and simply, “To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul. O my God, in you I trust” (Ps 25:1-2a). After asking that the Lord would not let him suffer shame from others,... Continue Reading

Taking Back Christianese #5: “Just Ask Jesus into Your Heart”

Despite the association with modern day revival-style churches, this phrase actually has a long pedigree, even in Reformed circles.

In this way, as noted above, this phrase can actually backfire on itself.  While intended to prevent false conversions, it can (if misused) actually lead to false conversions.  People can think they are saved because they “asked Jesus into their heart” with no awareness of how to evaluate their own spiritual condition.   Some of... Continue Reading

Should Christians Feel Guilty All the Time?

I’m convinced most serious Christians live their lives with an almost constant low-level sense of guilt.

Most of our low-level guilt falls under the ambiguous category of “not doing enough.” Look at the list above. None one of the items are necessarily sinful. They all deal with possible infractions, perceptions, and ways in which we’d like to do more. These are the hardest areas to deal with because no Christian, for... Continue Reading

Powerful Promises to Give Us Hope for Our Children

Let us pray regularly that Jesus would save each of our children, grandchildren and descendants and that each one would follow Jesus wholeheartedly as a disciple until the he returns.

Though Scripture doesn’t absolutely guarantee their salvation, God gives us many strong reasons to pray and hope for our children. Charles Spurgeon urged parents to pray Isaiah 59.21, which I have written in my prayer notebook at the top of the page of requests for my family: “And as for me, this is my covenant... Continue Reading

Masculinity and the Priority of Love

The characteristic quality of the true man of God is a Christlike love

In Ephesians 5, the apostle sounds two abiding keynotes, one for the woman and for the man. The primary element for the woman of God is submission, and I recognise that that must be carefully and scripturally defined and worked out. Paul, in this passage, then moves on to the keynote for the man. And what... Continue Reading