Like a Nightmare? Marx, Machen, and the Significance of History

That history is a nightmare is surely one of the defining convictions of this present age

“Machen’s concern for history, however, is broader than just the biblical story and its importance for doctrine.  Because he held to a high view of the church as an institution, and of her offices, officers and confessions, history was inevitably of vital importance to the particularities of Christian belief and practice in the present.”  ... Continue Reading

Theological Error Seeps In

Theological error, like water, seeks its level.

“Theological error should not be ignored. It seeks its level. It manifests itself in places we might not expect. It is up to us to know the signs and to pay attention. Naiveté in such matters does not serve us well.”   Years ago, in the second house in which Mrs Heidelblog and I lived,... Continue Reading

An Apostle To The Intellectuals

The author stands up boldly for Calvinism. But not all Christians will recognize her creed.

Any book written by Marilynne Robinson will sell, and that may be the problem. “The Givenness of Things” is billed as a collection of essays, but it consists preponderantly of discursive half-baked musings. Ms. Robinson prefaces one of her many inchoate ideas by admitting—I suppose in this case to her credit—“My thoughts on the subject... Continue Reading

5 Ways To Pursue Peace In a Difficult Relationship

Here are a few things I tell myself when I’m in the thick of a difficult relationship

“I’m naturally sensitive and have a history of taking things too personally. But by God’s grace, I’m working hard against this tendency because I want to love people, not react to them. Sometimes it’s as simple as growing thicker skin in order to love someone past their rough edges.”   My friends are good forgivers.... Continue Reading

When Terrorism Works

For the stiff upper lip we put up against acts of terror, the fact is sometimes they work

“The point of terrorism—and what makes it appealing to those who cannot fight traditional-style battles—is to inject fear into others. To freeze economies by making people too afraid to go out shopping. To tear societies apart since people are too afraid to gather in public places. In short, the point is to make us too fearful.”... Continue Reading

Nine Reasons Christians Don’t Evangelize

I cannot recall ever seeing a strongly evangelistic church led by a non-evangelistic pastor

“I am still surprised by the number of churches that have no intentional, strategic plan to help Christ followers do evangelism. Ideally, of course, believers will naturally talk about Jesus, but even passionate people sometimes need direction and equipping.”   I’ve been a professor of evangelism for almost twenty years. Over the years, I’ve continually... Continue Reading

The Fruits Of The Spirit

None of us are perfect trees, and therefore none of us have perfect fruit.

“When we look at a tree and see bad fruit, we conclude it is a bad tree (Matt. 7:17-20). When we look at the same tree and it has good fruit, new fruit, we conclude the tree has changed. There’s not just new fruit but a new tree. This is what God does for His... Continue Reading

Why Controversy Is Sometimes Necessary

There is no genuine unity apart from unity in God’s revealed truth.

“There are times when believers are divided over serious and consequential questions, and controversy is an inevitable result. The only way to avoid all controversy would be to consider nothing we believe important enough to defend and no truth too costly to compromise.”   I recently watched as a young mother acted quickly and decisively to... Continue Reading

The Two-Kingdoms Theology and Christians Today

2Ktheology: Christians should view themselves as citizens of two distinct kingdoms (the church and the world), and that efforts to transform society on the basis of Christian principles are wrongheaded.

We will cheerfully admit that 2K advocates have some legitimate concerns, particularly that the mission and witness of the church not be hijacked by political and cultural agendas.  But in this instance the cure is worse than the disease.  While 2K theology may well scratch the itch of Christians who need a theological excuse to... Continue Reading

How “Safe Spaces” Kill Human Dignity

“Safe spaces” attempt to reduce public discourse to self-admiring yes-fests that ban disagreement or critiques that could potentially hurt someone’s feelings.

However, our culture no longer derives the concept of human dignity from either the imago Dei or from an understanding of man as a rational animal. We are an agnostic society. We no longer uphold mankind as metaphysically superior to animals, and we are plagued by a sinking suspicion that we will not always be... Continue Reading

Evangelical Theological Society 2015

The Evangelical Theological Society’s annual meeting is different for everyone; a few highlights.

Here is the bottom line question. Given that Jesus would not condone same sex activity, what would he do and say to people struggling with homosexual desires? How would he communicate God’s grace and truth without pushing them over the edge? Don’t tell me that my views are hateful bigotry unless you can answer that... Continue Reading

When Did the Church Turn Into Amway?

Is it Amway or a Mega-Church? Not to worry, it’s the same thing.

The Evangelical Industrial Complex has copied many of the very things that have “worked” so well in Amway: *Tell people that Christianity is all about getting your Dreams and realizing your Destiny. Check. *Tell people that having lots of money is a good thing that God wants for you (so you can help others, of course). Check.... Continue Reading

What the Lord’s Prayer Cinema Controversy Tells Us About Religion In The UK Today

What does this little pre-Christmas spat on The Lord’s Prayer teach us about the state of religion in Britain today?

The reaction to this advert is quite revealing at another level. While the political secularists seek to remove every last vestige of our Christian heritage from public life, it seems as though the majority of the great British public don’t agree. Most people don’t go to church, but nonetheless many still regard Britain as a... Continue Reading

Should Christians “Disown” Gay Children?

Whether or not a gay son, daughter, or other family member calls himself or herself a Christian, Christians should love them as family members

But Christian parental love denies neither the child nor God’s law. It insists on loving both child and God’s law, which may be the hardest challenge of all, requiring strength, flexibility, tenacity, resilience, hope, faith. Such love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things (1 Cor. 13:7). So, love your... Continue Reading

Three Reasons Why Big Events Are Ineffective in Most Churches

Not all church events are intended to be outreach events but those that do, do not fare well in that regard.

The Great Commission cannot be limited to special holidays. The event should be only a part of an overall heart and strategy to reach people with the gospel. This issue is much like churches expecting the stand-and-greet time during the worship services to make them a friendly church. Genuine friendliness is not limited to a... Continue Reading

Tears for Gosnell’s House of Horrors

Healing and forgiveness can be found, even with tragedies like 3801 Lancaster.

The Philadelphia police who had seen a lot in their work on the streets had never seen anything like what they found at the address of 3801 Lancaster. What they found was a filthy medical facility. For example, a cat roamed freely and there were uncleaned litter boxes through the building. There was nothing that... Continue Reading

Same-Sex Marriage: Hamilton Princess Cancels Talks

Hamilton Princess, Bermuda was both applauded and criticised for pulling the plug on two talks by a prominent same-sex marriage opponent.

Mr Federer told The Royal Gazette he was not aware of the nature of the forums until media coverage. But the organisers said the hotel never asked for specifics about the talk. “Hamilton Princess was fully informed that the venue and arrangements were being made for and on behalf of Preserve Marriage,” said their statement.... Continue Reading

Colorado Springs Pastor Killed in Planned Parenthood Shooting

Attack at abortion clinic leaves three dead and nine wounded.

Among the victims was Garrett Swasey, a 44-year-old campus police officer for the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. The Washington Post profiles Swasey’s role at Hope Chapel, a nondenominational evangelical church, where he served as a co-pastor for seven years and played on the worship team.   Police confer at an intersection near the scene of... Continue Reading

We Are Living In The Midst Of The Greatest Turning Of Muslims To Christ In History

With all news of the persecution around the world by Islamist groups, there is a lesser-known story of growing numbers of Muslims who are turning to Christ as Lord.

One group of converts in Central Asia said they tell each other: “If you’re persecuted just thank God that you haven’t been beaten, if you’ve been beaten, thank God you haven’t been thrown in prison, if you’re in prison, thank God you haven’t been killed, and if you’ve been killed, thank God that you’re with... Continue Reading

Reviving the Black Church

A review of Thabiti Anyabwile’s Reviving The Black Church: A Call to Reclaim a Sacred Institution

Reviving the Black Church offers a robust biblical and theological exposition of how dead black churches can be made alive in Christ by the power of the Spirit and the preached Word, just like those dry bones in Ezekiel 37. But Reviving the Black Church isn’t just for the black church. Pastors and church leaders from a variety of... Continue Reading

Questions Through The Decades

Questions that characterize each decade of our lives.

Seventies: How do I handle the sense of loss? Questions of grieving and rearranging. Eighties: What can I offer a world that sees me as feeble and obsolete? Living with obscurity. Nineties: How do I deal with end of life issues? What is my legacy? How will I die? Who will remember me?   On... Continue Reading

Take Down Of A Liberal Icon

Princeton University is under pressure from the Black Justice League, a student group, to remove the name and image of Woodrow Wilson, whom they accuse of being a racist

Woodrow Wilson’s views were appalling—his published, philosophically founded, intellectually consistent views. But if the campus activists were at all interested in understanding, not just denouncing, they would follow the trail from Wilson’s racial views to the progressivism and scientific of his day that continue to misshape our own views of human worth.   College and... Continue Reading

Race and University Admissions: Abigail Fisher v. University of Texas II

Fisher v. University of Texas II is scheduled to be heard in the court’s new term. The outcome will shape college and university admissions policies nationwide.

What should the Supreme Court do with this appeal? First, it is time for the justices to insist that public colleges and universities produce convincing evidence that a diverse student body produces enough clear, compelling, benefits to justify race-conscious admissions. The court should retreat from its policy of “deferring” to universities on this issue. Secondly,... Continue Reading

Abortionists Admit Emotional Toll Of Grisly Work

In video footage the National Abortion Federation tried to suppress, conference panelists admit the horror of killing unborn babies

Evidently, many abortionists cannot escape the psychological toll their violent work takes on them. NAF’s San Francisco conference focused on providing psychotherapeutic help for second trimester abortionists. Harris spoke at that conference as well, talking about “stigma” workshops she runs, in which abortion providers share their experiences. She laments the risks, mentioning ruptured family relationships... Continue Reading

No More Football, Guys

“Why Can’t a Woman Be More Like a Man?” – Professor Higgins

The relationship between Christ and the church is the pattern. Does Christ submit to the church so that somehow the church does not submit to Christ in everything? No, Christ does not submit to the church, but he does love the church, sacrificially so to the point of death…. The note in the ESV Study... Continue Reading

Does God “Want” All to Be Saved? Probing into the Will of God

Our answer to this question depends on what we mean when we say that God “wants” something.

Theologians have distinguished between three different sorts of “wills” for God: 1. Decretive will. This refers simply to what God decrees or ordains by his sovereign will.  And we know from Eph 1:11 that God ordains whatsoever comes to pass.  So, in this sense, we can say that a hurricane, for example, is God’s “will.” 2. Preceptive... Continue Reading

Bad Doctrine vs. Heresy: An Exercise in Theological Triage

How much can one get wrong and still be a true child of God?

“The charge of heresy is a serious one. We cannot be trivial or frivolous in throwing around the term. But Paul’s response to the Judaizers (among many other passages of Scripture) teaches us that there are times when we must draw clear lines of separation, even among those who would call themselves Christians.”   More... Continue Reading

Do You Trust Yourself Too Much?

If our minds are our ultimate governors then we are nothing more than fools

“What the Bible is not saying is that you can’t trust yourself to observe whether a car is coming and it is safe to cross. Of course you  can do this. However, what it is getting at is the fact that fallen humanity, sinners, are inclined towards foolishness.”   I trust myself. A lot. This... Continue Reading

The Spirit Was Really Moving

When the Word is faithfully preached, the Spirit is moving, whether we feel good, bad, or blah

“We have a tendency as Christians to link good feelings, whether it be at a concert or a worship service, with the moving of the Spirit. But we should be careful about that. We are too dependent on our feelings and too little dependent on faith.”   More than thirty years ago, when I was... Continue Reading

Permanent Jihad, Continued

Is the militant jihadi tradition really here to stay as a fundamental and growing part of Islam?

“So who is the main beneficiary of the attacks? Cui bono? So we would have an operation with some sponsors trying to use it for one cause, and others seeking a diametrically opposite outcome? Sounds like plenty of other precedents in the history of terrorism over the past century or so.”   I dearly wish... Continue Reading