“Righteous” Reputations of Churches that Don’t Care
Why do so many churches fail to do the right thing when they learn that one of their own has been accused of sexual abuse?
What is the right thing to do when a church learns that one of its own has been accused of victimizing a child? First and foremost, it must immediately turn its focus and care away from institutional reputation and towards the victimized and the vulnerable. Though there are multitudes of ways this can be... Continue Reading
Why You Should Never Be “Done” With Church
You need to be in a church. And some local church needs you.
These are just a few reasons God’s word says we should be part of a local church. You may need to leave the particular church you are in now. But Jesus wants you to be in some church somewhere. A church with pastors, preaching, instruction, shepherding. It won’t be perfect. It will probably be messy,... Continue Reading
What Good Is Faith?
We are justified and saved. Full stop.
Please notice which verb the catechism used in Q.59. “Believe.” Please notice which verbs are absent: doing, obeying, growing, cooperating, keeping. These are the verbs of the moralists. That some of them are now conceding justification sola gratia, sola fidebut falling back to “salvation” as the place to man the barricades in defense of works... Continue Reading
Why is Denying Justification Such a Serious Error?
The doctrine of justification by faith alone on the ground of Christ’s imputed righteousness remains under direct attack in various quarters.
In spite of all the passages cited above, some believe that justification by faith alone is a secondary or tertiary doctrine. They say, “We may be justified by faith alone, but we’re not justified by believing justification by faith alone.” Using that rationale, they go on to say a person may be saved without believing this... Continue Reading
The Dangers of Pet Sins
There is no such things as domesticated sin. All sin, even our “pet sins” are dangerous.
We all desire to be wise, but the keeping of pet sins is dangerous and foolish. Sin is an untamable beast and must not be underestimated. We are not strong enough to keep it as a pet or kill it in our own strength. But Jesus has overcome them all and has given us the... Continue Reading
Should I Attend the Wedding of a Gay Friend or Family Member?
Attendance at a wedding is not like attending a concert, where attendance suggests nothing about your own views on the proceedings.
Can we invite our gay neighbors to dinner? Can we welcome them as guests in our home? Can we work alongside them as colleagues at our places of business? Can we offer real friendship and love? Yes, yes, yes, and yes. But we may not attend their wedding. We should vigorously pursue other ways to... Continue Reading
No Creeds! (Except What Celebrity Preacher Says)
Many of the major weak spots in the American church today were already prevalent in the 19th century
In other words, the [celebrity] leaders of this “populist hermeneutic” told common Americans to read the Bible as if they were the first ones reading it and forget about the creeds and Christian scholars before them. On the other hand, the leaders were ultimately dominating the movement and many of the people were following them. ... Continue Reading
Can I Call It “My” Church?
I still think there are three good reasons to keep calling the local body my church
This week, I had two different conversations which thoughtfully challenged the use of my in front of church. Our language expresses our theology, and this tiny pronoun is worth some reflection. When I meet people at the next conference or denominational meeting who ask me “How’s your church?” what can I say? Can I—should I—call... Continue Reading
Do Calvinists Put God in a Box? Of Course We Do, But So Do You!
The reality is that whenever we think about God at all, we put Him in a box.
We may not like what Scripture says about God or us for that matter. But we must trust in the God who reveals Himself through Scripture and reject our own inclinations. To trust our feelings, desires and wants when it is contrary to Scripture is utter foolishness. By that I mean there is no greater... Continue Reading
Out Of The Darkness, Out Of The Grey, And Into The Light
What is the church to do as her members struggle with sexual temptation and sin?
“The citizens of Sodom and Gomorrah were incredibly carnal, and the family of Abraham was not much better. Lot was abused by his daughters. Tamar was wronged by her father-in-law. Later, Reuben, the eldest son of Jacob, was cursed for his sexual fornication. While Joseph ran from temptation, Samson ran towards it.” What is... Continue Reading
A Biblical Theology Of The Trees Of The Garden
Like baptism and the Lord’s Supper, the two trees were sacramental
“The tree of Life was also sacramental–symbolizing something of the eternal life that man could have entered into if he had obeyed with regard to the testing of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Adam, the son of God (Luke 3:38), forfeited our right to the Tree of Life by taking the fruit... Continue Reading
The Necessity of Expository Preaching
Expository preaching is a necessary corollary of the doctrine of the God-breathed nature of Scripture
“The idea is not so much that God breathed into the Scriptures, but that the Scriptures are the product of His breathing out. Independent of what we may feel about the Bible as we read it, Scripture maintains a “breath of God” quality. Thus, the preacher is to make God’s Word known and make it... Continue Reading
Three Keys to a Better Prayer Life
Pray consistently, priortize quality over quantity, and have a prayer list
“Praying with consistency means having a time (or perhaps several times) during your day in which you take time to pray. I find that my best time of prayer occurs on a prayer walk. I also pray when I first get up every morning, simply thanking the Lord for another day to know and serve... Continue Reading
Division and Reunion: A Reflection On American Presbyterianism – A New Documentary
Union Presbyterian Seminary has produced and released this new documentary
“This is not a comprehensive documentary on American Presbyterianism, far from it. But it is a reflection on history of division and reunion in the mainstream branch. And since that is the focus you can understand why another word in that description – reconciliation – is emphasized throughout the piece.” Union Presbyterian Seminary has... Continue Reading
America’s Most Tolerated Sin
Gluttony is perhaps the most tolerated sin in American Christianity
“Gluttony, after all, is food worship. It’s table idolatry. It’s more about the direction of our loves than it is about the contents of our cupboards. How, then, do we discipline our appetites? One answer — and the one I want to explore here — is to quite literally turn the tables on gluttony by coming to... Continue Reading
How Preaching Shapes Liturgy
Every church follows a form of liturgy, whether intentional or not
“Conscious attempt to frame proclamation and response in terms compatible with Scripture in general and the sermon text in particular helps keep liturgy biblical. While this is essential for each of the elements of worship (prayer in its various foci, reading, singing), it is most necessary for the category, “seeing the word.” Every church... Continue Reading
Judge Rules That Church, Not Presbytery, Owns Property
A judge has ruled in favor of First Pres. Church in Houston in its battle with New Covenant Presbytery
“The judge’s decision included a permanent injunction that barred the presbytery, the Presbyterian Church (USA) and any people or entities related to it from doing anything that would interfere with or disturb First Presbyterian’s “ownership, use, control or disposition” of the property.” A judge has ruled in favor of First Presbyterian Church in Houston... Continue Reading
Biographer Recounts Woodrow Wilson’s Life As A Religious Epic
Berg's account of Wilson's struggle to avoid war is gut-wrenching
“His conviction that he was an instrument of God’s providence polished his certitude and fueled his determination. But when one professor, the closest friend he had ever had, disagreed with his plan to replace exclusive student clubs with more democratic residential quads, Wilson never spoke to him again and never had another very close friend.”... Continue Reading
What Do You Really Want Your Church to Be Known For?
That’s what I would want our church to be known for – our glorious Savior.
I definitely want to pursue excellence in our preaching of God’s word for the sake of strengthening God’s people, and proclaiming the Gospel. And I want our worship to be as excellent as possible to encourage us to glorify Jesus with our singing. But I don’t want these things to be the first thing that... Continue Reading
The Table of the Nations, the Tower of Babel, and the Marriage Supper of the Lamb: Part 2
Looking at ethnic and racial diversity through the lens of biblical theology.
The gospel is the only story that offers real hope and the only story that celebrates what the world fears. Principalities and powers offer many plans but no real hope. The gospel offers a hope that celebrates the breaking down of ethnic barriers and celebrates the sound of the gospel in different languages and tongues.... Continue Reading
The Myth of the Gullible Ancients
Being sophisticated enough to know that miracles are weird and rare and out of the ordinary shouldn't preclude miracles.
One belief that is ubiquitous among those who write off Christianity is the suspicion that the persons who lived in biblical times were highly gullible. When I was an atheist teenager I looked down on the Biblical authors because I thought they didn’t understand the physical world and thought that it was inhabited by fairies... Continue Reading
Ministering to Those who Perpetually Struggle
Here are a few truths to remember the next time you find yourself helping a fellow believer who walks with a chronic limp
If you are tasked with ministering to those who walk with a limp, don’t add to their struggles. Don’t weigh them down with additional expectations and demands. Don’t compare them to others. Don’t treat them like second class Christians. If you realize that you have been impatient with someone who limps along in their faith,... Continue Reading
Barnabas Aid Director Resigns after Sexual Assault Conviction
A British jury found Patrick Sookhdeo guilty of groping a female staffer and intimidating two witnesses
Patrick Sookhdeo has resigned his posts as a trustee and international director for Barnabas Aid International. Board member Julian Dobbs confirmed the resignation this morning. Dobbs said the board has accepted Sookhdeo’s resignation as a trustee, and is considering his resignation as international director of the organization. A statement from the trustees of Barnabas Aid... Continue Reading
The Word-less “Church”
Churches that depart from the Word will soon find that God has departed from them.
What solution does the Bible teach for this sad situation? The short but profound answer is given by Paul in Colossians 3:16: “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.” We need... Continue Reading
Do We Live in a Well-Run World?
We live in a well-run world. We do. We do because it is run by a good God.
But because God is good, and because of his great love for his people, he will not let us have that word. His Word is much better. And it commands the water into position. It controls the darkest places that we cannot fathom. It is the source of true light. It puts the angelic stars... Continue Reading
The Relationship Between Corporate Worship and Pastoral Care
As the covenant people gather to render praise to God, they also receive his grace through word and sacrament.
Pastoral counseling is a very important means of pastoral care. But corporate worship is a most necessary component for the care of souls. Not only does pastoral counseling guide God’s people toward fuller worship of him, corporate worship is the primary means through which God strengthens his hurting, grieving, broken and trembling sheep in this... Continue Reading
Euthanasia Comes to Canada
Are we next?
This month, the Canadian Supreme Court trampled democratic deliberation by unanimously conjuring a constitutional right to “termination of life” for anyone who has an “irremediable medical condition” and wants to die. Note the scope of the judicial fiat is not limited to the terminally ill: The ruling grants competent adults a right to die if... Continue Reading
What ISIS Really Wants
The Islamic State is no mere collection of psychopaths. It is a religious group with carefully considered beliefs, among them that it is a key agent of the coming apocalypse.
That the Islamic State holds the imminent fulfillment of prophecy as a matter of dogma at least tells us the mettle of our opponent. It is ready to cheer its own near-obliteration, and to remain confident, even when surrounded, that it will receive divine succor if it stays true to the Prophetic model. Ideological tools... Continue Reading
Kay Coles James Inspires Future Generations of Leaders
It was on the Holly Knoll grounds that famous African Americans, including Dr. Martin Luther King, conceived the social and political ideas that transformed the nation.
With her return to Holly Knoll a half century later, she restored the site and founded the Gloucester Institute to mentor another generation of minority leaders. “I think God placed it in my heart to restore the property and the vision. My husband and I formed the nonprofit, and have dedicated our lives to restoring,... Continue Reading
Ministry to the Military International Planting PCA Churches Near Military Bases
Ministry to the Military has a blueprint to reclaim the hearts and minds of those who serve our nation through military service
Under the leadership of retired US Army Chaplain, TE Doug Hudson, The Presbytery of Southeast Alabama has developed and supports the Ministry to the Military International (MMI), with churches in Germany, Okinawa, and one under development in England. There is also a staff pastor in the Charleston, SC area, site of several military installations. ... Continue Reading