Al-Shabab, Christian Persecution, and Psalm 23

Persecution of African (and Middle-Eastern) Christians continues to increase

“Today, I remember the Good Shepherd in light of the persecuted church. As I write, headlines tell of the murder of some 147 students in Kenya. At 5:30 AM on Thursday, April 2, students attending Garissa University College—a school seated near the Kenyan/Somali border—were battered by gunfire.”   Persecution of African (and Middle-Eastern) Christians continues... Continue Reading

Christological Ultrasounds

How could Christ be preached centuries before His coming?

“The Old Testament is filled with “ultrasounds” of the Lord Jesus Christ. Yes, I believe–as our own David Murray has said–“on every page”, we will find our Savior, if we only have the eyes to see Him. He does however, appear in the rough and sometimes two-dimensional form that ultrasounds present our children in the... Continue Reading

Dangerous Calling – A Review

The book looks to expose the danger of hypocrisy in the life of the Pastor

“Paul Tripp, in his book Dangerous Calling, takes a look at Christian ministry from another angle. His contention is that there is something desperately wrong with ministers and ministry culture. The book is really trying to expose the danger of hypocrisy in the life of the Pastor. Many have found this book hugely helpful and... Continue Reading

Why Is Sola Fide So Important?

The Reformation was a return to the Word of God unencumbered by rationalist, a priori assumptions

“In the medieval and later Romanist program, God was said to recognize as just those who are completely sanctified. The Protestants rejected that scheme as contrary to the biblical teaching that sinners are justified by divine favor alone (sola gratia), through faith alone (sola fide) which rests and trusts in Christ alone as the Righteous One.”... Continue Reading

Calvin the Exegete

Calvin maintained a high view of the text and a mind for theological application

“When passages of Scripture are taken up at random, and no attention is paid to the context, we need not wonder that mistakes of this frequently arise.  Yet it was an instance of very gross ignorance, to imagine that Lucifer was the king of devils, and that the Prophet gave him this name.  But as... Continue Reading

Using Your Tongue for God’s Glory

These practices will help us use our tongues in positive ways and teach our children to do the same

“We can counter the effect of a bad tongue by modeling a good tongue. We should speak honestly but lovingly. Also, we should speak kind words to others and go out of our way to compliment people who deserve it. How many times have we complimented our children this past week? How often did we... Continue Reading

Don’t Be Scared off From Reading the Puritans

Reading the Puritans is good for the mind, heart, and soul

“I have been leading my small group through one of these works, The Bruised Reed by Richard Sibbes. It is a Christian classic for a reason. If you haven’t read it, buy a copy and reward your soul.”   Many are scared off from reading the Puritans thinking they are too difficult to read. Others... Continue Reading

The Seed of Divorce

The world, the flesh, and the devil are all committed to the destruction of marriage

“It may be that in your marriage, you have allowed the seed of divorce to grow. Perhaps it has already put down roots and is digging in. Maybe it has already poked its head through the soil and begun to grow to full bloom. Do not despair. There is still hope for your marriage. A... Continue Reading

The Creedal Imperative

A review of Carl Trueman's book on the need for creeds and confessions

Thus, my response to the biblicist pastor would simply be this: do not precipitately abandon creedal formulations which have been tried and tested over centuries by churches all over the world in favor of your own ideas. On the whole, those who reinvent the wheel invest a lot of time either to come up with... Continue Reading

Grace, the Two Covenants, and Merit

Mark Jones' posts regarding grace as pertains to the covenants of works and grace raise some perennial questions in covenant theology.

This is why the clear commitment in our confessional tradition to the two-covenant scheme, in which the covenants of works and grace are categorically distinguished and contrasted is so important to theological discussions of merit and grace.  The two covenant scheme of the Westminster Standards has been absolutely essential in combating the Neonomianism of both Norman Shepherd and... Continue Reading

Truth in Beauty: Cinderella and Frozen

Sacrificial love. Redemption. Forgiveness. In Disney movies? Yes!

Movies have power. It’s refreshing to see that power used to portray truth with such stirring beauty and artistry. I’m glad these are my daughter’s favorite movies. They’re teaching her to have courage, to be kind, to forgive and to put others ahead of herself. Not bad for Disney!     This past Friday night,... Continue Reading

Perspective is Key

Seven thoughts on perspective that will help us stay the course in ministry and to learn contentment

We are being sanctified through our suffering. One of the chief ways that God grows His people is through suffering. The writer of Hebrews ties together the suffering that the Hebrew Christians are enduring with the loving chastening of God (Heb. 12:3-11). They were tempted to turn back to a ritualistic religion that avoided suffering, but... Continue Reading

Why Following Your Heart Is a Really Bad Idea

There’s a difference between following your heart and being led by God

This is the method that God has given us in making decisions when asking those all-important questions: What should I do? When should I stay, or when should I go? When do I speak up, and when do I listen? Jesus has given us His Spirit. The Spirit (our Helper) that now dwells inside of... Continue Reading

Messy Community

The true test of friendship is when life gets messy.

When a friend is suffering and their life is falling to pieces or when they are trapped in sin and the fallout is great or when there is conflict and unkind words or when they’ve hit a wall in their faith, that’s when friendship gets messy. And how we react to seeing our friend at their worst shows more... Continue Reading

Fire? No. Repentance? Yes.

It is a sadly misguided practice to be silent in calling sinners out of their sin supposing to do so is unloving.

The souls of men and women are at stake. Certainly we must meet sinners with kindness and compassion. We must remember that we are saved sinners whose only hope is the mercy of a sovereign and gracious God. Thankfully I see a great deal of kindness in the church. But I do not understand how... Continue Reading

On Jonathan Crombie, Gilbert Blythe, Anne Shirley, and Stay at Home Daughters

Part of what drew me to Gilbert was his love of the opinionated, strong and gifted Anne Shirley

Any Christian man worth his salt is going to want a strong woman who will confront him in love when he is wrong. In fact, I would counsel any young woman contemplating marriage to a man who doesn’t encourage this to run far, far away! Any Christian man should want his wife to be confident... Continue Reading

From DG Hart on Can Humans Merit Before God

Do you really want to position yourself as Norman Shepherd 2.0?

Does Jones really want to maintain that the fathers of the reformation, who together wrote the Protestant Creeds, along with all their spiritual sons, men like Turretin, Hodge, Berkhof, and John Murray, have all misread Scripture and have all misunderstood the doctrine of justification by faith alone? Those of us who read you fear that... Continue Reading

Wife of American Pastor Saeed Abedini Says Prison Guards in Iran Say He Will Never Go Free Until He Denies Christ

Saeed Abedini has been imprisoned for more than two and a half years for his faith; guards say that he will never be freed unless he renounces Jesus Christ.

According to the pastor’s wife, her husband thanks all the people who have be working to support him through his imprisonment. “He wanted to thank you all for your continued prayers. Knowing that he is not forgotten and believers around the world continue to remember him in prayer and advocate for him has encouraged him... Continue Reading

ISIS and The USA In Review

ISIS is the latest contemporary Muslim movement designed to impose Sharia Law through a world-wide Theocratic Fascist Islamic Caliphate.

It is also right for us, as our Lord’s church, to send our sons and daughters with the Sword of the Spirit and the Gospel to encourage His people and to reach His enemies. While remembering we too, were enemies of Christ when the Gospel came to us through His people proclaiming Jesus who will... Continue Reading

First Presbyterian, Columbus, GA, Separation Proposal Defeated

A proposal for First Presbyterian Church to separate from the PC (USA) failed Sunday. April 19, 2015, by eight votes.

The 900-member congregation, which has been divided over gay marriage and other doctrinal issues, voted 266 to 146 in favor of the measure. But the number fell short of the 274 votes needed for dismissal from the denomination, which required a two-thirds vote. Some members were seeking to separate from the national denomination, which has... Continue Reading

“Religion in the Oval Office”: An Interview

An interview with Dr. Gary Scott Smith on his new book, “Religion in the Oval Office”

I want readers to understand that faith matters. It significantly shapes the thought and actions of many Americans. Few of their biographers have recognized how powerfully their faith affected our chief executives. Only a handful of scholars have comprehended how much the religious convictions of presidents helped shape their policies.   Editor’s note: The “V&V... Continue Reading

Princeton Votes For Academic Freedom

At many campuses, traditional ideals of freedom of expression and the right to dissent have been compromised or abandoned as college have capitulated to demands for language and thought policing.

Although members of the University community are free to criticize and contest the views expressed on campus, and to criticize and contest speakers who are invited to express their views on campus, they may not obstruct or otherwise interfere with the freedom of others to express views they reject or even loathe. To this end,... Continue Reading

The Elephant In The Room

Similarities and differences between the LGBT movement and the Civil Rights Movement.

God’s creative design is irrevocable. To demand he changes it is not in step with the Civil Rights Movement. The blank check society is writing the LGBT community is extremely dangerous. It shows a serious ignorance of the core tenets of the Civil Rights Movement, a hijacking mentality in politicians and businesses who are seeking personal... Continue Reading

College Students and the Church (1)

Is there a waning commitment of twenty-somethings to the church?

If our church life is exclusively or even primarily segregated, it is difficult for a student to pursue inter-generational relationships with the rest of the congregation, at precisely the time when such relationships are most needed. To be sure, a college-and-career group or young adults group can be valuable. But it can also be a... Continue Reading

Three Reasons Pastors Drop Out

Three negative factors that contribute to this very sad statistic

I have witnessed more than a few good men step away from the ministry having been chewed up and spit out by some carnal church.  Much has been written about abusive pastors but not enough ink has been spilled describing toxic churches and battered pastors.  Both camps dishonor the reputation of the Christ they claim to represent.   While I am... Continue Reading

Battle Hymn of the Ministry Mother

But I also want my children to see I have a rich life that isn’t just about them.

I want them to overhear my conversations with other adults—about the mission of the church, and the substitutionary atonement, and the real presence of Christ in worship—and to wonder over these profound mysteries. I want them to watch me peck away at my laptop and know that their mom is writing a book for the... Continue Reading

Rooted and Reaching Explored: Worship, Outreach, Discipleship, Mission

As we look forward to the launch of Forest Hill Presbyterian later this year, I thought I'd explore this "rooted and reaching" idea a little more

Being a rooted and reaching church is a vital and challenging calling, one that requires the full engagement of every member in worship, ministry service and outreach. In a living, active, rooted and reaching church, no member is unimportant, disengaged, passive or disinterested. Everyone is committed to prayer, participation, service and outreach.   In late... Continue Reading

Poor Laws in an Age of False Beneficence

The church has turned from the poor ordinances found in the Mosaic Law, believing them to be outdated

The church does not know what to do with the poor because it does not know what to do with the poor laws of the Scriptures. The church has impoverished itself by not heeding the grace found in the Law of Moses, which is filled with instruction on how to care for the poor.  Read... Continue Reading

The Pastor’s Personal Holiness

The most important thing a pastor can do is pursue personal holiness.

In fact, a lack of personal holiness in the pastorate has ruined many churches and many lives. The pastor like a boulder on top of a hill, when falling, can have a cascading effect upon everything below him. Our adversary does not lack this knowledge. He is well aware that if he can make one... Continue Reading

Do Your Sermon Illustrations Help or Hurt?

Five Major Pitfalls to Avoid

One only needs to think of Jonathan Edwards’ sermon, “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.”  Edwards effectively compared the precarious situation of sinners dangling over the fires of hell to the way spiders dangle by the very thinnest of webs. But, illustrations do not always turn out the way we intended. Indeed, sometimes... Continue Reading