Preaching the Gospel with Words: Why There’s No Other Way

We marginalize evangelism when we say the good news is social action.

In recent years, the Church, motivated by our love for Jesus and for people, has led the way in championing social justice. This is appropriate biblical engagement, resulting in better communities as we answer the call to meet human needs. But nothing is more deadly to the future of the Church than to think the... Continue Reading

Civil Religion

There's always been a level of syncretism in this nation where Christianity and patriotism become so intertwined that America begins to don the mantle as God's chosen people.

“America’s religious heritage also contributed to a sort of deification of the national enterprise. In recent years, this tendency, first seen during the American Revolution, has been tagged “civil religion.” Civil religion is the attributing of sacred character to the nation itself. Throughout history rulers had claimed divine sanction either by saying they themselves were... Continue Reading

You Can’t Anxiety Attack Your Way Out of God’s Love

Stop taking your spiritual temperature so much

To act like God would be more satisfied in your anxious self if you “believed harder” (whatever that even means) would be acting as if you contributed to your salvation, and to think you did anything to be loved by God is asinine. God’s love for you has absolutely nothing to do with your lovableness.... Continue Reading

Affliction Evangelism

Paul's designation of life as an "affliction" invites us to abandon the very pretense our culture bids us maintain.

Suffering turns our lives into sermons. Suffering may or may not show us what we’re made of (as the saying goes), but it will definitely show us and others where our hope, where our identity, and where our confidence lay. The suffering Christian, in other words, becomes a form of Gospel proclamation to the world.... Continue Reading

Smelling the Gospel Flowers in Proverbs

The gospel is in full bloom in the sage’s pages.

I recently began reading this book on my days off, leisurely making my way through and highlighting along the way. You’ll never guess what happened. I began to see and smell the gospel flowers in full bloom. I heard the chirping birds and their songs of deliverance. The gospel notes are hit surprisingly well in... Continue Reading

Sneaky Squids And Sola Scriptura

Either Scripture is the final, magisterial authority for the Christian faith and the Christian life (Sola Scriptura) or it is not

When I saw Chris Rosebrough tweet something about a “sneaky squid spirit doctrine” I thought it must be something from The Onion or the Babylon Bee. It is not. It is the latest thing from the world of charismatic continuing prophecy. The author and podcaster behind this new revelation is Jennifer LeClaire and she has published an article in Charisma Magazine,... Continue Reading

Maintaining Unity in the PCA

The Usefulness of the Westminster Standards

The tendency for ministers to utilize the subtlety of arguments that press for unity as over against truth (or, unity as being “weightier” than truth) ought to alert us to our own need to be diligent in defending confessional integrity in the PCA. Real and lasting unity is rooted in truth. We are far from immune to a shift toward theological liberalism.... Continue Reading

Waiting on the Lord

Waiting is one of the most emotionally tortuous things we go through in life

The waiting is good also because of what happens in our heart while we wait. As we rest in who God is, remembering His word and His works, our faith is renewed. We see our dependence and need for Him in new ways. We realize our own insufficiencies, sins, and weaknesses and see the ways... Continue Reading

The Mission of the Church Is Eternal

The seeking of the kingdom of God is the central business of the church.

It was God’s eternal design in eternity to manifest His plan of redemption and the creation of His church. The Father from eternity agreed to send the second person of the Trinity, the Son, into the world to accomplish this plan of redemption. Together, the Father and the Son agreed to send the Holy Spirit... Continue Reading

Are You Aiding and Abetting Apathy?

Apathy in the Christian life has become common for contemporary evangelicals.

There is no indication, anywhere, that either personal or communal apathy is even close to acceptable. In fact, apathy with the Bible is what we are supposed to be on the lookout for! We mustn’t miss this central tenet of our calling as Christian people (Heb. 3:13; 5:11-14). If you are involved in a local church and... Continue Reading

On Religious Freedom, is Russia the Next Saudi Arabia?

Russia “is the sole state to have . . . continually intensified its repression of religious freedom since USCIRF commenced monitoring it.”

Whether the Kremlin’s treatment of religious groups takes a permanent authoritarian turn in the years to come depends, in part, on what its exact motivation was in cracking down on non-Orthodox groups. Is the Kremlin aiming to purge apparent instruments of Western influence? Or is an effort to ensure Orthodox dominance?   As Donald Trump’s... Continue Reading

Jamie Smith’s Bait and Switch

Smith still thinks civil religion is salvageable.

“Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.” (Matt 10:34-35)   I was afraid that neo-Calvinism’s refusal... Continue Reading

Advance! Advance in Favor

Just as Jesus advanced in the favor of God and man, so can you. So should you.

While the first priority of every Christian must be securing the favor of God, we also do well to pursue the favor of man. The two are often connected, as Solomon declared, “When a man’s ways please the Lord, he makes even his enemies to be at peace with him” (Proverbs 16:7). In general, the... Continue Reading

“I walked away from Alice, the love of my life”: same sex attraction and the cost of discipleship

Obedience to God’s word truly offers a quality of life that far exceeds the cost of commitment.

The angels may well have been rejoicing in heaven at the moment of my conversion, but joy was far from me. I knew that what I was doing was right, but I cried tears of sorrow knowing, at least in part, the immediate cost of taking up the cross of obedient discipleship. I walked away from Alice,... Continue Reading

Giving and Receiving Commendation

We are all guilty of having given unjust praise to men and having received unjust praise from men.

Like its counterpart, criticism, commendation interacts with pride and is easily misstated or misapplied. Thankfully, we are not left to our own reasoning capacity to sift through all of the attendant difficulties. As with every other important part of our lives, Scripture has much to teach us about how to give and receive commendation.   ... Continue Reading

Why We Don’t Need to Fear the Moment of Our Death

"Only when you are free from the fear of death are you really free.”

The Lord Himself will be with us during our deaths. He has promised to never leave or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). Nothing, not even death, can separate us from His love (Romans 8:38-39). God promises that all who know Him will experience acceptance into His holy, loving, and gracious arms.   Years ago, I interviewed... Continue Reading

Unhealthy Forgiveness: Why We Should Not Forgive Misinterpretations

There are times when forgiving only reinforces our pride or blindness.

Think through these situations for a moment: A husband feels hurt because his wife “disrespected him” when she asked a question about a decision he was making but genuinely didn’t understand (and he did not adequately explain). A wife feels hurt when her husband “failed to pursue her” when his plans for their anniversary did... Continue Reading

3 Things to Remember When You’re Feeling Anxious

It's not, "Don't be afraid, you lousy so-and-so." It's "Don't be afraid, I'm with you."

So first we’re able to normalize the experience, then we hear a tender promise at the heart of the solution, and then we’re given very specific guidelines about how to go forward. The whole thing is summarized very well in Philippians 4. It starts out by saying, The Lord is near—there’s the promise. Don’t be anxious about... Continue Reading

5 Principles for Disciplining Your Children

While not all methods work for all children, I’ve found these principles work for a variety of children, regardless of their age, sex, or disposition.

Praise is a powerful tool and a blessing for children. It helps them to know what’s right, and at the same time communicates you care about them. All of us would like a boss to see the good we do and praise it, not just correct our mistakes. Similarly, our children need us to be watching... Continue Reading

Patriot-olotry: The Intersection of Theology and Politics

The Gospel must be bigger than our patriotism.

During the 2012 presidential election cycle, Republican nominee Mitt Romney often referred to the United States as “the greatest hope in the world.” This view of American politics and patriotism cloaked in theology is what I call Patriot-olatry. It is a worshiping of one’s country and a particular political agenda as if it were the... Continue Reading

Inclusion And Exclusion: Getting It Right

In this way the church is the antithesis of the world, which is inclusive when it should be exclusive and exclusive when it should be inclusive.

When it comes to essential Christian truth, the substance of the faith as summarized in the ecumenical creeds and Reformed confessions, it is Christ, ultimately, who is the stumbling block and the rock of offense (Rom 9:33; 1 Peter 2:8). What excludes is not race, ethnicity, nationality, or sex (male or female). What excludes is... Continue Reading

America’s Most Prolific Serial Killer

Gosnell: The Untold Story of American’s Most Prolific Serial Killer attempts to put the spot-light back on Gosnell’s atrocities and those who allowed them.

Abortion remains a mystery to the legal world. Because abortion doctors won’t testify against something as barbaric as even Gosnell, people don’t really know what is normal in those clinics. Is it normal for abortion doctors to keep jars of feet on display? Is it normal for them to keep “fetal remains’ in jugs around... Continue Reading

Leading like Jesus

For followers of Jesus who are called to be leaders, here are some observations on the topic of leadership.

A lot of Jesus’ leadership involved speaking the truth both in public and private settings. He was not afraid of confrontation and could get angry about the right things. He rebuked sin and spoke harshly to hypocrites. This is an aspect of leadership we sometimes shy away from for fear of being controversial. But peace... Continue Reading

Cloud of Witnesses: Peter Martyr Vermigli (1499-1562) – the European Reformer

Convinced that a reformation of the church could only be the fruit of a serious study of Scriptures, Vermigli remained true to his calling of teacher until the end, both in the classrooms and in his writings.

After his death, his teachings and writings continued to remain vital in shaping the Protestant Reformation in Europe, as many of his pupils went on to train a future generation of leaders and worked on important documents of the Protestant church, such as the Heidelberg Catechism and the Canons of Dordt. While his name became... Continue Reading

Five Truths About the Holy Spirit

Important biblical truths about the Holy Spirit

In creation, we have the Spirit breathing His energy, releasing the power of God in the act of creation. We have the same thing in the act of redemption, and we see it again in the divine act of giving to us the record in the Scriptures themselves. The doctrine of inspiration is entirely related... Continue Reading

The Norm of Marital Monogamy Is Not Crumbling

Despite the big changes to the meaning of modern marriage, monogamy is alive and well.

So, for now anyway, I’m not buying the “marital-monogamy-ideal-is-crumbling” story line. Sure, it bears monitoring, but the pillar of marital monogamy appears to be made of solid stuff, given how strongly people still hold to this ideal. Despite the big changes to the meaning of modern marriage, monogamy is alive and well.   The rumors... Continue Reading

Physician-Assisted Suicide Tells People Like Me That Our Lives Are No Longer Worth Living

The legalization of physician-assisted suicide sends the message that it is better to be dead than disabled. Do I lack dignity because I lack physical independence?

Many people talk about a culture of life in regards to abortion, but it applies to end-of-life issues as well. Rather than affirming that suicide becomes permissible when one is faced with a disabling condition, these times of vulnerability are exactly when we must remind each other that our lives are always valuable, in spite... Continue Reading

The End Of Free Speech

Mobs threaten violence and lectures are cancelled; public parades are called off at the threat of physical disruption.

If there is any issue that may not be discussed, free speech is meaningless. The loss of free speech will not go away if such crucial issues of identity form an inviolable central core of those retreating to their “safe spaces.” But we must not bury this issue, for it speaks to who we are.... Continue Reading

Will Christians Survive in Today’s Secular World? A Review of The Benedict Option

A proposed strategy for how Christians can live in a post-Christian society.

Though Dreher does not use the term, his description of recent cultural warriors, those hostile to Christianity, fits the profile of the radical progressive movement. Here, then, we have the elements of what “culture wars” are in America. They are a clash between America’s traditional Christian culture and the non-theistic, man-centered world of secular radical... Continue Reading

Why Would a Millennial Want to Pastor an Established Church?

The American church is facing a wave of retiring Boomer pastors; is the church prepared to replace them as they retire?

Over the next 10 years, a lot of established churches will struggle to find a pastor for the next generation. Why would a Millennial want to pastor an established church with a large portion of older congregants?….The wave of retiring Boomer pastors will swell to the point that many churches will struggle to find a... Continue Reading