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

Was Jesus A Law Hater? A Law Corrector?

Christ honors the Law. The Pharisees thought they did. However, their tragic mistake was to try to live or keep the Law apart from Christ.

“Obeying the Law is not what saves us. That’s good news. If you’ve been trying this to obtain your salvation, you can love God and trust him to change your will and abilities. Luther spoke clearly about the relation of the Christian to the Law when he said, “The Law sends us to Christ for... 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

The Idols In Your Parenting Closet

Every time we sin we find our rest in our own preferences rather than in a joyful, loving and thankful obedience to our Savior

When we allow our children to use their time almost exclusively in the pursuit of their own interests, we teach our children the day is theirs. Lack of chores, exclusively choosing their own activities, or a full slate of recreational activities all foster this attitude. We should teach our children to think of others through... Continue Reading

A Lady Took My Seat In Church….

A person should be comfortable sitting anywhere. It’s no big deal. Or is it?

She really took it because it’s one of the best seats in the house. That’s why she took it. She had no business taking my seat. And I’m not going to go to church two hours early to get what was rightfully mine from the beginning. This is the way great social injustices begin: abusive... Continue Reading

What’s In A Name?

Using the right name and phrases

Talking about “grace” is like saying, “isn’t marriage good,” when I can say instead, “isn’t Carol amazing!” Some of us just say “Daddy;” we can do better than that. Some of us just say, “We worship you;” we can do better than that. We can pray together, “Lord God Almighty, we call you Daddy because... Continue Reading

What We Wear to Church: Does It Matter?

Whatever happened to putting on your 'Sunday best'?

The purpose of this article is not to contend for church dress codes. But it is meant to say that it seems that our worship in many situations may be too laid back, too casual, too informal, yes, even indifferent. By our clothing we can display many things – the condition of our heart being... Continue Reading

Episcopal Church’s Katharine Jefferts Schori Will Not Seek Re-Election

The first woman elected to head a national branch of the worldwide Anglican Communion, announced that she will not seek a second nine-year term in office

A nominating committee is expected to present the church with five nominees to succeed Jefferts Schori. Likely candidates could include Bishop Ian Douglas of Connecticut, Bishop Shannon Johnston of Virginia and Bishop Michael Curry of North Carolina. Under church law, presiding bishops must be able to complete a full nine-year term before hitting the mandatory... Continue Reading

Will Someone Explain Christianity To The New York Times?

Collecting egregious errors about basic Christian teachings is a hobby of mine and The New York Times gives me some of my favorite examples

“Are you smarter than a New York Times copy editor? Did you know that Christians do not believe Jesus is buried in a tomb in Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sepulchre because they believe he rose from the dead? Oh you did know that basic teaching of the world’s largest religion? Congratulations.”   Collecting egregious... Continue Reading

The Problem For Complementarians Will Come From The Right

It seems clear that the real challenge which patriarchy poses is going to be for the complementarians

“Radical ideological movements typically operate in an environment where extreme polarization is taking place in a manner which can create eery similarities between opposites.  Thus, Communism and Fascism both fed off each other in the early to mid twentieth century, both pushing towards totalitarianism even as they sought to destroy each other.  Feminism and patriarchy... Continue Reading

The Theological Significance Of The Eighth Day

There is a divinely invested theological significance to the eighth day in Scripture

“On a seven day week, the first and the eighth are essentially the same day, with this one difference–the eighth day represents the re-creation or new creation. If you were an Old Covenant Israelite, reading the divine prescriptions concerning the observance of the Old Covenant ceremonies, you would be compelled to ask the question, “Why, if... Continue Reading