Confession and History: Listening Backward and Looking Ahead

Historic confessions are a good thing. They help to orient our hearts and minds to bigger truths, showcasing for us an older church that has gone before us, a church which served us well

“Being a part of a church that aligns itself with an historic confession is being in a church that aligns itself within an historical identity. In other words, the church is saying that they are not coming up with anything new. They are saying that God’s people have always been bigger and older and broader... Continue Reading

Nicole Cliffe: How God Messed Up My Happy Atheist Life

About an hour before our call, I knew: I believed in God.

“Like many atheists (who are generally lovely moral people like my father, who would refuse to enter heaven and instead wait outside with his Miles Davis LPs), I started out snarky and defensive about religion, but eventually came to think it was probably nice for people of faith to have faith.”   I became a... Continue Reading

Muslims Turning to Christ – A Global Phenomenon

An unprecedented number of Muslims are becoming Christians

“The core question, from among a list of things I asked them, was, ‘What did God use to bring you to faith in Jesus Christ? Tell me your story.’ Christmas day found me in the Horn of Africa seated on the floor with 20 leaders from an ancient Muslim community.”   Ten-year-old Nadia wasn’t surprised... Continue Reading

Luther, Palmerworms and Theological Precision

In hindsight, Luther's concerns about Erasmus seem fairly well founded

Compared to some of the shots Luther fired in his lifetime, his remarks on Erasmus in 1534 seem rather mild. But they were strident enough to elicit regret from Philip Melanchthon over Luther’s “petulance,” a “petulance” Melanchthon was quick to chalk up to “old age” rather than innate temperament.    The details of Luther’s mid-1520s... Continue Reading

Three Modes of Christian Formation: Experience, Doctrine, and Liturgy

Here is the paradigm that has helped me understand the wide range of Christian expression

“Regardless of the denomination, there seems to be three modes of Christian formation: experience, doctrine, liturgy. These three modes have proven true to my religious life, but they have also been borne out in conversations with friends, with remarkably little variation.”   A year ago I attended a conference at Georgetown University in honor of the fiftieth anniversary... Continue Reading

How Urban Christians Failed President Obama

The transgender bathroom directive is the latest sign that we shouldn't have given him a pass

“While the bullying and dehumanization of transgender people is completely unacceptable, the stealth advance of this new ideology raises questions and should be subject to debate. By failing to assert our convictions, we have failed our president and our country.”   In my community, I hear Christians discussing their political and social values in a... Continue Reading

Why Your Pastor Should Say “No More to Beth Moore”

Beth Moore is an extremely popular Bible teacher, author, and founder of Living Proof Ministries

“Although concerns have been raised through the years, Beth Moore continues to be welcomed into the study groups within local churches where women read her books, study guides, and watch her videos with limited, if any, oversight from the pastoral staff.  Below I’ve documented three main reasons why pastors should fire Beth Moore from the women’s ministry... Continue Reading

The Transgender Bathroom Debate and the Looming Title IX Crisis

The debate around which bathrooms transgender people should use has given rise to deeper questioning of why we even have a norm of gender segregation for bathrooms in the first place

“The Education Department’s rule that schools must provide prompt and equitable grievance procedures to hear complaints of Title IX sex discrimination results from that required process and is legally binding. But the agency chose not to have such a process for its missive on transgender students.”   This month, regional battles over the right of... Continue Reading

The Genovese Syndrome in the Church

We seem to lack a desire and a fervor in caring for those who may leave our churches and go back into the world.

Of course we ultimately know that it is not our fault when someone else sins, goes off theologically, or ultimately, walks away from the Church. But there is a sense in which, part of our job as believers, is to be there when our brothers and sisters fall. Of course as I’ve written before the... Continue Reading

A Pharisee in Tax Collector’s Clothing

In a weird, ironic, but quite predictable plot twist by pursuing the position of tax collector we have become the Pharisee.

We have learned to revel in our weakness, to lead with our flaws. We call it “authenticity” – we are real in what we reveal. We aren’t hypocrites; hypocrisy is the new unforgiveable sin. We are the tax collector, or at least we play one on TV. We are so elated in our role as... Continue Reading

Do You Really Preach Sin

Will you repent if through sloth, ignorance, or fear you have been guilty of ‘sin-lite’ sermons?

We must be prepared to lay bare the whole counsel of God about sin, in a biblically-balanced fashion: the realities of sin original as well as actual; the radical depravity of the whole personality; how sin is mischievously and deceitfully at work within the human heart; thereby showing though every sin is deadly, that all... Continue Reading

Ecclesiastical Antinomianism

Far too many who live within the pale of the church, have little to no respect for the authority of God in the church.

Here are two very clear admonitions for members of local congregations to recognize that God has placed men as shepherds to rule over and to watch out for their souls. There is an important imperative for the people of God attached to the explanation about what elders are to do, namely, obey. This does not... Continue Reading

God is Still Good

The original Saxon meaning of our English word "God," is "The Good." God, in his very nature is good.

God’s goodness exercised toward us is evident in His love for us, His mercy toward us when we suffer, His longsuffering when we disobey, and in His grace toward us. His ultimate expression of goodness through grace, is, of course, His provision of salvation through Christ. All of this emanates from Him, and Him alone,... Continue Reading

Alone?

Have you felt surrounded on every side, utterly alone and forsaken?

So quit doing math with the eyes of the world. You may feel lonely, and despised, and rejected. You may think that there is no one else, that you alone bear your burden. You may feel as if you enemies have gone over your head and that this battle is too great for you. And... Continue Reading

Court ‘Win’ For Nonprofits Has a Lot of What-Ifs

The Supreme Court’s strange Little Sisters ruling gives religious nonprofits a significant reprieve, but the fight is long from over

The court’s ruling vacated and remanded to lower courts all the religious nonprofits’ cases challenging the Obamacare requirement that employers provide health coverage for contraceptives and abortifacients. It was a qualified victory and the best outcome the nonprofits could hope for if the court was divided 4-4 on the merits of the case—as seems likely.... Continue Reading

Some Remarks on Assurance

Speaking of assurance, John Newton made some great observations on it when he preached from Job

“How far our assurance is solid and true may be estimated by the effects.  It will surely make us humble, spiritual, peaceful, and patient.  I pity those who talk confidently of their hope, as if they were out of the reach of doubts and fears, while their tempers are unsanctified and their hearts are visibly... Continue Reading

A Troubling Question for Christians: How Much Is Enough?

Have we really done enough to say we’ve done enough to satisfy God’s standard?

When it comes to all of these how-much-is-enough questions, I have found that there is only one question and answer that gives me peace.   Did Jesus do enough? Did Jesus do enough on the cross to pay for my sins? Was his active obedience enough to satisfy my failure to do enough?  To that question,... Continue Reading

The PCA and the Right Against Self-Incrimination: Against Overture 14 at the PCA General Assembly

Overture 14 seeks to change BCO 35-1 to read that "church officers under accusation with regards to doctrinal views shall be required to testify before the court."

At the 2015 General Assembly in Chattanooga, the PCA rejected an overture to require an accused officer to testify against himself. Doctrinal charges must be proved by public materials and sermons, rather than aggressive prosecution. At the GA in Mobile, however, Providence Presbytery has raised this same issue again through Overture 14, which seeks to... Continue Reading

Eyes that Don’t See: Irony in the PCUSA

Christ calls us to be salt and light, not Splenda and reflective tape.

Success is being able and willing to leave the culture behind.  Whether it’s as a denomination, a local congregation, or individual Christ-followers.  Frankly, it’s encouraging to see that many Presbyterian congregations have people who can see the fallacy of culture.  There is more to life than whether women should be pastors, or gays should marry. ... Continue Reading

A Rubicon Has Been Crossed – The Church of Scotland Assembly Recent Decision

The Church of Scotland has voted to allow its gay ministers to marry; the Church of Scotland has removed itself from the Bible.

Evangelicals have no hope of reversing the situation. Now that the Kirk has decided it is no longer governed by Christ through his Word, the Establishment will resort to the type of underhand politics, spin and macro management that I have witnessed this past year and which was once again evident on Saturday…Evangelicals will keep... Continue Reading

5 Questions To Ask of a Book Before You Read It

A few tips on sorting out which books you should read by asking 5 questions of any book.

All of this is designed to help you filter the few books you will read from the thousands you could read. Not only that, but it is designed to help you get a sense of what a book is all about before you begin to read it. When you are quite new to Christian books,... Continue Reading

An Apologetic Without An Apology

An important and essential question we must ask about any ministry we engage in: “Is it worth it?”

I am not intimidated by the question since there has been much good fruit to show for the effort.  I am not intimidated by the critics of our evangelical faith.. I am downhearted and brokenhearted every day by the statistics, the newspaper accounts, the gunshots, the blood on the street, the caskets at the funerals,... Continue Reading

The Book of Revelation Is Not Just about the Future

The “Revelation of Jesus Christ” portrays the paradoxical present rule of Jesus Christ as King of all the kings of the world, his ultimate triumph, and the salvation of his people through tribulation.

Revelation delivers to the distressed churches of Asia Minor and to the church in all ages, the triumphant assurance that behind the scenes of history and despite the vicissitudes of history, the kingdom of God is in power, and Jesus Christ the King of all kings is on his Father’s throne executing his sovereign judgment... Continue Reading

LGBT: Great Thoughts But What Can We Actually Do?

It’s easier to engage in intellectual analysis of “Why?” than to address the practical question of “What now?”

Many are being sucked into the LGBT lifestyle with promises of happiness. They are going to be badly disappointed. They will thirst again. We need to come alongside them with the cleansing and refreshing water of life that if they drink, they will never thirst again. I’m looking forward to hearing many testimonies of grace... Continue Reading

The Remedy for Our Helicopter Parenting

To helicopter-mother is to hover over others with the intent of controlling them

You’ve probably heard the term “helicopter mom” in regard to how some moms tend to obsessively overparent. Child psychologists in the West have been documenting this social trend and publishing their opinion papers online. Sometimes grim forecasts are given for kids parented in this manner: depression, anxiety, poor performance in school, and financial issues.  ... Continue Reading

The Old Testament’s Message to Our Culture

Let me give you five ways the Old Testament speaks profitably to our times

“The Old Testament paints a dark, dark picture of sin and its awful effects. And yet the Lord, in mercy, came again and again to raise up godly leaders, to revive His church, and to renew and re-create the culture. The darkest days often preceded the brightest dawn. What hope of renewal this grand historical... Continue Reading

Europe: Allah Takes over Churches, Synagogues

In Europe, the practice of Islam really is outstripping Christianity

A year ago, the Muslim French leader Dalil Boubakeur suggested turning empty churches into mosques. It is the first time in France that something similar happened to a synagogue. “History teaches us that these transformations are rarely innocent,” said Bertrand Dutheil de La Rochère, an assistant to Marine Le Pen, leader of the National Front... Continue Reading

God-Shaped Comfort

What comfort we have in the fullness of God who will never leave us

“The light of God’s revelation, especially the Trinity, burns off the mist of confusion and error in common belief and practice. Oppositely, when we fail to appreciate God in all his glory we experience atrophied joy in our lives. Press to know and savor God — Father, Son, and Holy Spirit — and rejoice as... Continue Reading

Methodist GC2016 Recap: The Good, the Bad, the Ugly

Key highlights from the 2016 General Conference of the United Methodist Church

“On pro-life issues, we overwhelmingly voted to end our denomination’s scandalous 43-year affiliation with the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice (RCRC), voted by an even larger margin to delete an official UMC resolution expressing appreciation for RCRC, and in other actions, we voted decisively to repeal a 40-year-old official ‘Responsible Parenthood’ resolution very broadly defending... Continue Reading

Confession and History: Heroes Who Confessed

Without historical events, there is nothing to confession

“When we think about the relationship between our confessions and history, another important aspect is that the documents themselves are a product of historical events and circumstances. Part of the Christian’s task of understanding our doctrines and our confessions is understanding the role that they played in certain historical circumstances.”   In our day, the... Continue Reading