The Difference Between Perfectionism and Excellence

What’s the difference between a healthy will to excel and perfectionism?

A perfectionist might admit to general failings but refuses to be specific; excellence faces up to both general and specific faults. A perfectionist is hyper-defensive of self and hyper-critical of others; excellence is more tolerant of others failings, having accepted and faced up to their own.   What’s the difference between a healthy will to... Continue Reading

5 Ways to Discern True and False Repentance

So what are you supposed to do? The person in front of you says they are repentant.

The Bible contains several aides that are designed to help believers distinguish between true and false repentance. It is important that we are able to distinguish the two, because the difference between them determines how we respond to our fallen brother or sister. If we are to bring law to the proud and grace to... Continue Reading

We Have Been Warned

It is difficult to get ordinary Christians, including pastors, to understand the reality of what’s coming

“It turns out that you are either for full and unequivocal social and legal equality for LGBT people, or you are against it, and your answer will at some point be revealed. This is true both for individuals and for institutions. Neutrality is not an option. Neither is polite half-acceptance. Nor is avoiding the subject.... Continue Reading

Ministry is Discouragement

Ministry forces us to face discouragement, to learn to minister through it and even to rejoice in it

So what do we do with this kind of discouragement? How do we keep on ministering through it? And how do we rejoice in the midst of it, as Paul calls us to do in passages like 1 Thessalonians 5:16? In answering these questions and dealing with my own discouragements, I have found help from... Continue Reading

Have We Lost Our Minds?

It ought to come as no surprise that our so-called contemporary wisdom has ripened into unconstrained idiocy.

Our blindness has reached its maturity; we have lost our way, lost our sense of direction, and lost our compass. So warmed by our feelings of “authentic” self-satisfaction and cherished moral autonomy, most Americans don’t even realize we are blindly, and yes, authentically, careening into an abyss. History attests to our demise. More importantly, God... Continue Reading

JAHWEH Your Average Pagan Divinity?

The Bible nowhere presents God as a sexual being.

Sexuality is a human characteristic, designed by God for procreation but also as an embodiment of the differences knit into the created order (land/sea; human/animal; light/dark; male/female, etc.). Just as God is a transcendent Creator, distinct from creation, so creation also reflects distinction—supremely seen in the male/female distinction.   Those in the newspaper business do... Continue Reading

On Disciplining Abusers And Protecting The Sheep

We (ministers, elders, and deacons) need to learn the symptoms and signs of abuse and must become prepared to take concrete steps to help.

The church is to care for orphans and widows (James 1:27). An abuser has essentially orphaned his children and abandoned his wife. He has turned his vocation as a caregiver and protector on its head and corrupted it. Where the husband is meant to be a source of strength and safety, he has become weak... Continue Reading

Will the Council for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood Refute Eternal Functional Subordination?

The fact is CBMW has not been neutral regarding the doctrine of the Son’s eternal subordination to the Father.

It is clear that the leadership of CBMW now desires to distance the organization from the error of EFS. It would be a shame if their approach to dealing with these errors is to merely remove content from their website. What they must do is refute the errors of EFS and its impious speculations and analogies... Continue Reading

The Pastor’s PTSD: When You Cannot Bounce Back After The Conflict Is Over

PTSD is a helpful analogy to understand what pastors go through in hard times in their ministries.

One defining feature of PTSD is that the fear lingers long after the painful event has passed. And this has parallels for us and our families. After a conflict, we can ask ourselves, Why haven’t we snapped out of it yet? But why should we expect to get over it as soon as the conflict burns... Continue Reading

Social Justice Training Or Institutionalized Intolerance?

Critics say push for tolerance courses teaches university students that disagreement equals discrimination

The idea [of a mandated “social justice” training course] is not novel—a growing number of universities require social justice courses or training for all students. Administrators claim the training is needed to encourage a collegial and welcoming environment on campus. But critics argue that instead of encouraging inclusivity, liberal social justice rhetoric often encourages intolerance.... Continue Reading

Top 10 Things I Wish Worship Leaders Would Stop Saying

Some annoying phrases worship leaders should avoid or stop using.

God showed up. I think I know what is meant by this phrase. It can be a way of saying “we felt emotionally touched during the music time,” which can be an okay thing—it would be weird for Christians to never feel engaged emotionally in worshiping God—but it can also be a way of equating... Continue Reading

7 Simple but Effective Strategies to Get You Through a Bad Day

The worst time to make decisions is when you’re upset or feeling down. Your emotions will lead you to decide things you’ll regret.

Actions are one thing. Decisions are another. The worst time to make decisions is when you’re upset or feeling down. Your emotions will lead you to decide things you’ll regret. So just decide not to decide anything that day. Here’s the rule I’ve adopted in life in and leadership when I’m in bad space: Don’t make tomorrow’s... Continue Reading

I’m With the Atheists — And Against the Lord’s Prayer

My goal is to stop the blasphemous use of the Prayer our Lord gave his people to pray

So I hope the atheists win. We are allies in the effort to stop practices we, for different reasons, believe are wrong. Their goal is to suppress what they see as a violation of the establishment clause. My goal is to stop the blasphemous use of the Prayer our Lord gave us to pray.  ... Continue Reading

The Excommunicated Member Who Thanked Me

Six years ago, our elders put Jack under church discipline. Last week, he thanked me for it.

On a recent Sunday, I saw Jack again for the first time in years. He was back in town for a short visit, and he came to church with his family… Then, after the worship service, he purposefully sought me out and looked me directly in the eye. Thank you . . . for, well, for... Continue Reading

The Surprising Truth About False Teachers

False teachers are not just false in their teaching, but also in their living.

No matter how twisted the teaching, no matter how publicly shamed the church may feel over the exposé of an unethical leader, no matter how dark the days become, no matter how helpless we may feel in guarding gospel doctrine and preserving gospel-worthy lives, we have this great sustaining hope: Jesus knows how to rescue... Continue Reading

Always Go To The Funeral

I believe in always going to the funeral. My father taught me that.

“Always go to the funeral” means that I have to do the right thing when I really, really don’t feel like it. I have to remind myself of it when I could make some small gesture, but I don’t really have to and I definitely don’t want to. I’m talking about those things that represent... Continue Reading

Don’t Waste Your Suffering #3

Let me outline some things that can function as idols and intensify our suffering

Our idols from the past and future in particular maim God, chopping off his powerful arms, tearing out his loving heart, silencing his tender words. But worse, in all, we stand at the foot of the cross and look the Father in the eye and say, “It wasn’t enough for you to crucify your Son,... Continue Reading

2 Problems with Social Action in Missions

Is the church’s true work—that which only the the church can do—being unintentionally neglected?

To put it in mathematical terms, there are two problems with today’s rush to embrace social reform missions.  The Social Gospel is a problem of subtraction:  it subtracts essential theology—sin and repentance—from the church’s message.  Social reform projects, on the other hand, threaten the church in a different way:  by addition.  When resource-consuming social projects... Continue Reading

The Problem with the Islamic View of Paul (Qureshi)

Many critics of the NT – including Muslim scholars – say that Paul was the founder of Christianity, that Paul was deceptive, that Paul hijacked the church

“The common Muslim view of Paul has significant problems even when considered from an Islamic perspective.  First, what happened to the disciples?  How were they so easily overcome by Paul that either they were convinced by his trickery and followed him, or their voices were completely drowned out and there is no record of their... Continue Reading

Am I a Controlling Person?

Considering the myth that perfect control can be achieved and can guarantee a safe and successful life.

The price of this attempt to control is an inability to show or share feelings, reluctance to trust anyone, loneliness, the stress of being perfect in everything, the fear of embarrassment, an over-sensitive conscience, a phobia about trying anything new, and an inability to relax and enjoy the moment. In pages 10-12 of Too Perfect,... Continue Reading

Aging With Grace

Do I want to buy into what the world says is of value or what God values?

Do I want to just age gracefully (aka looking younger than one’s stated age) or age with grace, taking joy in this time of life and not try to push back the clock, as if that were possible? Proverbs says Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to... Continue Reading

X- Rated Counterfeit Grace and Impact of Spectacularly Boring Monogamy

Once again, it is the vulnerable picking up the tab for those who think they can afford to make their own rules

I’m not sure what a happy mom is. Does it take multiple sex partners to be happy? Does it take drug addiction? No, these are enslavement. I am not always happy, but I have the eternal joy of being redeemed from my sin, no longer a slave, and living under the reign of true grace.... Continue Reading

The Eternal Subordination of the Son: The Need for Trinitarian Clarity (Part 2)

The ERAS/ESS position seems to demand that both Father and Son have different wills

A final crucial point of Trinitarian doctrine that tells against ESS positions is the traditional insistence that the divine persons act inseparably. The acts of God are not subcontracted out to the persons individually. Rather, all of God does all that God does, in an indivisible manner. The Father works through the Son in the... Continue Reading

Imago Dei—Male and Female

A review of A Woman’s Place: A Christian Vision for Your Calling in the Office, the Home, and the World by Katelyn Beaty

In western culture the onset of the industrial revolution in the early 18th century radically changed the role of women. When paid work moved increasingly outside the family and into the factories and office buildings, women were left in the home to care for children and other family members, and when they did enter the... Continue Reading

The Blessing of Humility (Book Review)

A book on humility would make a fitting final work for a man who exemplified that virtue

Bridges insists “A life of humility is not an option for a believer to choose or reject. It is a command of God.” To teach the beauty and value of humility as well as to start on down the path toward humility he turns to the Beatitudes saying, “these expressions of Christian character are a description of... Continue Reading

Are We Living in the Last Days?

I can’t say yes or no. So I will say, “Yes, and I don’t know.”

“When I look at two titans of theology like Martin Luther and Jonathan Edwards and I see them making predictions and voicing their expectations of the near return of Jesus and being wrong, that gives me pause.”   We have to be careful not to be guilty of what Jesus rebuked the Pharisees for—what I call... Continue Reading

“God Made Me for China” — Eric Liddell Beyond Olympic Glory

Eric Liddell ran for God's glory, but he was made for China. He desperately wanted the nation he loved to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ

“Americans of my generation remember Eric Liddell largely because of Chariots of Fire, the 1981 British film written by Colin Welland, produced by David Puttnam, and directed by Hugh Hudson.”   Olympic glory abounds in Rio as the 31st modern Olympiad is well underway. This time, the event is living up to its hype, especially... Continue Reading

The Trinity: Praying to the Father through the Son by the Spirit

We come to a heavenly Father through the eternal intercession and heavenly ministry of Jesus Christ, our sympathetic high priest

“In the Covenant of Redemption, the Son voluntarily agreed to become incarnate and undergo the miseries of this life and the excruciating death of the cross and the victorious resurrection from the grave for us.  And when he ascended, he entered into the loving heavenly Father’s presence with our (now glorified) human nature where he... Continue Reading

The Secret to Preparing for Suffering

“It feels like I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop.”

“Though suffering is a sure reality in this world, we need not anxiously fear it. Instead we must prepare for it by establishing and exhorting our faith now, through the living and abiding Word of God.”   “It feels like I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop.” I sat on the edge of our bed... Continue Reading

Three Presbyterian Denominations Continue To Grow

Three Presbyterian denominations – ECO: A Covenant Order of Evangelical Presbyterians, the Evangelical Presbyterian Church and the Presbyterian Church in America – are growing in both the number of churches and members, while the Presbyterian Church (USA) continues to decline

PCA membership increased by 11,816 for a total of 370,332 members and Sunday school attendance was also increased to 97,719 up by 1,096 from 2014. Taylor called this “the first increased in SS in a number of years.”   Three Presbyterian denominations – ECO: A Covenant Order of Evangelical Presbyterians, the Evangelical Presbyterian Church and... Continue Reading