How We Interpret Texts Really Matters
The consequences of mis-handling of Scripture can be very serious:
A small group meets and reads a passage of Scripture. They then go around the room and ask each person, “What does this passage mean to you?” The sincere Christians who are there to learn and grow have no formal training and not much knowledge of the Scriptures, so their response of “Well, to me,... Continue Reading
How Do I Know God’s Will for My Life?
We can cry out to God for discernment, God promises to faithfully lead us, and we will hear His voice and follow in His ways
The comfort of God’s faithful leading is matched by the promise that His sheep follow His guidance. Of course, each of us faces temptation and goes astray, but if we are truly seeking His paths, we can rest assured that we will hear and follow. He does not leave us to wander, but faithfully guides in a variety... Continue Reading
I Am a Grateful Pastor
I have so much for which to be grateful, so many church members who bless me week after week.
I am a grateful pastor. I admit I get discouraged at times. And I admit that I can get frustrated and weary as well. But I have so much for which to be grateful. There are so many church members who bring me joy and encouragement. I am a grateful pastor. I am grateful for... Continue Reading
SCOTUS: Too Much and Too Little
Identity cannot be in sexual orientation (the religion of the day) and the triune God at the same time
The root of the tragedy of the SCOTUS decision is that sexual orientation as a category of personhood is both too much and too little all at once, too weighty for the soul to bear and not capacious enough to portray God’s power to redeem, transform, lay down his life, and live again in and... Continue Reading
President of Planned Parenthood Did Her Cause No Favors
It looked and sounded desperate and deceitful. And that is because it was.
Even after all of her bluster, there are two facts that she does not dispute. Take note: (1) Planned Parenthood routinely kills babies in utero through procedures that involve “crushing” the baby. (2) Planned Parenthood harvests the body parts of dead babies and hands them over to researchers in exchange for money. The President... Continue Reading
Looking Away From Abortion
You can turn away. But there will be plenty of chances to look, to see, to know.
But the reluctance to look closely doesn’t change the truth of what there is to see. Those were dead human beings on Richard Selzer’s street 40 years ago, and these are dead human beings being discussed on video today: Human beings that the nice, idealistic medical personnel at Planned Parenthood have spent their careers crushing,... Continue Reading
Can Hipster Christianity Save Churches From Decline?
What happens when churches become too driven by the desire to be trend-savvy and culturally relevant?
Many don’t want the church to be like a sceney bar or a stylish boutique. They want the church to be the church: an institution that embraces awkward people, confronts sin, transforms lives, subverts the sovereignty of self, serves others and provides meaning more substantial than the ephemera of fickle fads. Do people want... Continue Reading
No Platform High Enough
No matter your goal, no matter your god, it will not and cannot bring lasting satisfaction.
When it is platform you crave, when it is the size or the popularity of your following that you use as the measure of your success, you will inevitably and eventually find that there is no platform high enough. No success will ever perfectly fulfill your ambitions. When it is recognition that you are after,... Continue Reading
From Liberal Judaism to Faith in Jesus
Another reason why so few Jewish people believe is because so few have heard
I went to Jonathan after the talk and said, “I’m Jewish, so I suppose this isn’t for me.” He had a good response: “Jesus himself was Jewish! He’s the Jewish Messiah, the one the Jews were waiting for. If you follow him, you’ll be following your own Messiah.” My background is liberal Judaism—Judaism without... Continue Reading
The Gospel-Centered Flow of Worship
The structure of the weekly worship service serves to instruct and root us in the Gospel
“We begin the service with the Call to Worship—God calling His people out of the world into His presence. There is an intentional covenantal element to this act of being called forth and set apart. The following hymns/songs of praise reflect the nature and character of who God is and what He has done.” ... Continue Reading
Perpetual Worship: The Discipline of Loving God in Creation
Communing with God takes place not only over his Word, but among his works
“Christianity has always had a stream of thought that regards creation with real suspicion. Many Christians have felt that creation, be it the body, or food, or wealth, is partly evil. Drawing from Greek Platonism, the body is seen to be inferior to the spirit, a kind of temporary vehicle that trips up our spirit,... Continue Reading
The Christian Fraternity
Fellowship is a fairly common word in ecclesiastical circles, but what exactly is it?
“Those who are regenerated and growing in their adoration of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are to find their souls drawn towards like-minded worshipers. After all, they do have the same beliefs, interests, passion, and Holy Spirit dwelling within.” Fellowship is a fairly common word in ecclesiastical circles, but what exactly is it?... Continue Reading
Dealing With Doubt
How can Christians find faith in the midst of doubt?
“We should ask God to deliver us from Satan’s attacks of unbelief and discouragement. We should learn to resist them in the power of Christ (see James 4:7). Trusting God for the grace to endure adversity is as much an act of faith as trusting Him for deliverance from it.” In times of doubt, difficulty,... Continue Reading
Rebuilding a Marriage Culture: A Fourfold Mission for the Church
We need to live out the truth about marriage and human sexuality
“The church needs to present a case for biblical sexuality that is appealing and that engages the best of modern thought. The virtues of chastity and lifelong marriage are enriching, but after fifty years, the church has still not devised a compelling response to the sexual revolution.” The Supreme Court’s ruling in Obergefell v.... Continue Reading
Gay Marriage and the Future of Evangelical Colleges
Now that same-sex couples have the right to wed, will higher-ed institutions that condemn LGBT students still be eligible for federal funding?
“But as gay rights have gained wider acceptance over the past few years, many evangelical colleges have found themselves facing a predicament. Policies forbidding gay relationships have brought negative media attention and increasingly frustrated students, both of which could turn disastrous for religious colleges already struggling with tight budgets and uncertain futures.” Page 15... Continue Reading
The Coming Of The Age Of Gibberish
As ever, in our aesthetic age, it is impossible to argue against a feeling.
This is where the New Left looks set to undo itself. The very language upon which it depends for articulating its moral and political ambition—e.g., equality, gender, humanity, rights, etc.—was predicated upon reality being more than a linguistic construct or the creation of individual egos. Every now and then I read something which seems... Continue Reading
The Sunday Worship Killer
You are meeting with the Triune God of the universe. Don’t let our adversary tempt you to do something less.
Instead of meeting with God, she played the cynic. Instead of hearing the voice of God, she heard the frail words of the preacher. Instead of a mind stirred by truth, it was stymied in criticism. Instead of a heart moved with joy, it was hardened in judgment. Few things harden the soul, deaden... Continue Reading
Reflections On SCOTUS Oberkeful Opinion #1
Christian outrage is crucial and right, but must lead to lament; lament must lead to repentance.
I am outraged that a nation claiming to be “under God” now legally, institutionally as well as culturally mocks the God of glory. Therefore, I lament that this ruling not only positions this nation under God’s judgment but reveals that we are already under the judgment of God. What about outrage? OUTRAGE: An extremely strong... Continue Reading
A Modest Proposal: We Are The Satire
Modern American culture has achieved an eerie resemblance to Jonathan Swift's satirical essay recommending infant cannibalism.
Not only is Planned Parenthood engaged in haggling over body parts and organs of murdered children, but the gods of this world are feasting on our children – the gods of entertainment, pleasure, reputation, influence, sports, education, safety, security, etc. – and too many of us are making them plump for the eating. We have become... Continue Reading
Black Christians, Personhood, And Planned Parenthood
Planned Parenthood fallout, personhood, and the Black community's relationship with the organization.
When it comes to personhood, Planned Parenthood occupies a “special place” in the life and history of the African American community. In its infancy, Planned Parenthood serviced many urban communities. It’s still true today, where well over 75% of its clinics are found in minority neighborhoods. On average, over 1,000 Black babies are aborted every... Continue Reading
How We Made Too Much of Gender
Reclaiming an identity more meaningful than manhood or womanhood.
I’m not minimizing the difficult reality of Jenner’s condition, gender dysphoria, and others like Jenner. Still, we’re all experiencing the consequences of a cultural fixation on gender. A man or woman, a boy or girl, who tends toward the features considered “the other” might question his or her identity in a way that may not have happened... Continue Reading
A Pastor’s Reflections: The Way of the Cross and Criticism
If you always want to avoid criticism, chances are that you’re trying to avoid the way of the cross.
Christ, Paul, and the other apostles were all subjected to withering criticism. If you’re a pastor and find yourself under the fire of criticism, then you’re in good company. Don’t look for a way out—after prayerful consideration of whether the criticism is valid—press on and follow in the footsteps of Christ. Press forward in the... Continue Reading
God Would Rather Pour Out Mercy Than Wrath
"Mercy is God’s right hand that he is most used to; inflicting punishment is called his strange work."
Multitudes in our country are getting what they want. They are celebrating sin. But in getting what they want, in his wrath, God is giving them over to their sin. Yet God still desires to rescue them from his wrath. So we should pray that God would have mercy on multitudes in this nation, bring... Continue Reading
Taking a Minute before you Judge and Condemn
When church discipline is practiced it shouldn’t be handled in a foolish and harmful manner, in haste or with legalism; it can destroy the unity of Christ’s body
Therefore, let us take a minute before we judge and condemn. Let us listen well to our brothers. Let us evaluate our conclusions and see if we are rushing to judgment. Let us make sure we are not being legalists and condemning someone when they have not broken God’s Law. Let us not be weary of creativity.... Continue Reading
“The Righteous Mind” – Understanding Conservatives and Liberals
Social psychologist Jonathan Haidt: The moral foundations of liberals and conservatives are not just different, they are dramatically unequal
Another implication is that liberal prescriptions tend to be incredibly single-minded as compared to those of conservatives. Haidt uses the metaphor of a bee hive to illustrate. A liberal, finding a bee in the hive suffering from injustice, is motivated more or less exclusively by the desire to get justice for the bee. A conservative,... Continue Reading
A View of America from A Missionary in Africa
The America I’m reading about from Malawi is not kinder and gentler, nor more rational.
The America I’m reading about from Malawi is not kinder and gentler, nor more rational. From here it looks like everybody is running around screaming for their rights, and how they’ve been offended. Never have I see America so divided, with the Internet full of pictures of angry demonstrations. I have no intention of ever... Continue Reading
Christian Nonprofits Lose Appeals Court Challenge to Contraceptive Mandate
The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against several Christian nonprofits who sought to prove the government’s accommodation under the contraceptive and abortifacient mandate violated their First Amendment rights.
The accommodation requires nonprofits to fill out a form declining coverage for contraceptive and abortifacient drugs and allowing their insurance companies to issue coverage to their employees directly. The Affordable Care Act, adopted in March 2010, requires all group health plans to cover preventive services, including contraception, without employee cost sharing. “Contraception” includes drugs such... Continue Reading
The Left Wants To End the Separation of Church and State
If there is one thing consistent about the tides of the culture wars, it is that whenever one side is emboldened, it inevitably leads to overreach
The push for gay marriage always included a significant portion of people who simply wanted fairness, as they saw it. But this fairness is not enough for the secular Left, which has become more honest about their ultimate goal: the eradication of religion’s place at the center of American public life. They will in the... Continue Reading
Dealing with Sin Is More Than Saying “I’m Sorry.”
As part of the gift of our salvation, Christ provides us with the grace to respond to our sin.
We should never trivialize our response to sin in repentance. Expressing passing regret is not repentance. We must learn to see the filth of our sin, to hate it with all our hearts, to flee to Christ for his mercy, and to turn then to a new obedience. Our relationships are marred by our... Continue Reading
Moral and Spiritual Erosion In Two Generations
In the first generation the shift was from objective truth to pluralism; in the second generation it was from morality to immorality.
Our society prides itself in being liberal, multi-cultural, inclusive and tolerant but it is a society that is empty and has in it the seeds of its own destruction. There is inevitably a loss of character. Image and appearance assume the functions that character and morality once had. Virtue has been replaced by values. ... Continue Reading