Why I Voted Against the Ad Interim Women in Ministry Study Committee Report

I believe that the PCA should entrust the local session to address the issue of women in the diaconate as it sees fit according to scripture.

This report primarily interacts with the New Testament exegetical report made by the women’s study committee, giving special attention to Romans 16:1 and 1 Timothy 3:8-12. My report does not set out to prove the committee’s findings as erroneous, but rather to show that their conclusions are, at best, tenuous.   Introduction: The study committee... Continue Reading

The Danger of Biblicism

By “biblicism” I mean an over-rigid adherence to certain Bible texts or teachings at the expense of context and other biblical teachings.

Yes, the Bible is the Christian’s highest authority in all of life, and yes, Scripture is sufficient for doctrine and life.  But that doesn’t mean we should ignore general revelation.  It doesn’t mean that there’s a Bible verse for everything.  It doesn’t mean we can ignore context and flatten out the Bible.  It doesn’t mean... Continue Reading

On the Gospel According to Glennon

The solution she chose in the end, to “follow her heart” even as it lead away from the Bible not towards it, doesn’t actually solve any of the heart problems

After days of sadness in the wake of reading the article, I woke up yesterday, not sad, but angry. I wasn’t angry at Glennon, but at Satan who again … and again … and again … and again, at every generation throughout all time, figures out a way to sell us the same old lie.... Continue Reading

An Argument Against Exclusive Psalmody

English metrical Psalms, as beautiful as they can be (and most worthy of being sung, I might add!), are not inspired Scripture.

To push the point a little further, we may remember that several commentators on the Psalms have said that the Psalter is a mini-Bible. My description of the Psalter would be that it is an emotional commentary on all of Scripture, mostly in the form of prayers. The Psalter thus extends its influence on all... Continue Reading

The Cost of Leadership

Although the biblical qualifications are quite straightforward, there are two ways that many churches have abandoned what God has said about biblical order and leadership and have inserted worldly qualifications into the equation.

The church that approaches God’s offices in a worldly fashion will functionally operate by asking, “How can we get what we want” rather than “How can we do what God wants?” Every church is working to build one of two kingdoms. The important question is, “Which kingdom are we building?” The way in which the... Continue Reading

Analyzing Annihilationism: Will Those in Hell Cease to Exist?

One of the most difficult truths to grasp is the eternality of hell.

The giant philosophical elephant in annihilationism’s room is its appeal to the sinful nature. The wicked want it to be true. There is a certain appeal to it. Culpability is annihilated and accountability ceases to exist. That works nicely for the truth suppressor. God isn’t as holy and righteous as their conscious testifies. Annihilationism quiets... Continue Reading

Our Secular Life Is A Covenant Of Works

One of the great mistakes made both by the religious left and the religious right in the USA is to attempt to turn our civil life into a covenant of grace.

Since the early 20th century, this has become an area of great confusion. Increasingly modern man has come to see civil life as a sort of substitute for the church, which is a minister of the grace of God. As the modern and late-modern West has rejected Christianity it has lost the sense of limits... Continue Reading

Can There Be Forgiveness Without Repentance? Part 1

Since not even God forgives people apart from their repentance, then why should we expect that we could do so?

The problem I notice is that many times Christians have ongoing difficulty in forgiving those who have wronged them. The strain may go on for many years even as they keep trying to forgive. They frequently assume that there is something wrong with them as being hardhearted and otherwise unloving. They fault themselves for not... Continue Reading

When Do We Stand Before God in Judgment?

We have to make a distinction between the judgment that we receive immediately upon our death and what the Bible speaks of as the last judgment.

Historic Christianity has almost universally, but not quite, confessed the idea that the departed saints go immediately to be in the presence of Christ, in what is called the enjoyment of the intermediate state; that is, we are disembodied spirits, and we await the final consummation of the kingdom of Christ, whereby we will experience... Continue Reading

A Myth Of Neutrality

The slogan “freedom of choice” makes no substantive claim about the rightness of the choice, creating a myth of neutrality that appealed to Americans’ “live and let live” attitude.

Now the New England Journal of Medicine has published a manifesto co-authored by Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, an architect of President Barack Obama’s health care plan, that goes further. Abortion is now “a standard obstetrical practice,” he says, and physicians may not substitute their “personal beliefs” for this professional standard. Objectors must switch to a medical... Continue Reading

‘Born That Way’? Really?

The Sexual Revolution, and the way it loosened sexual and marital norms, has left subsequent generations less stable.

Marriage is not simply an agreement between two people who wish to formalize (and sacralize) their love for each other, but it is also a covenant between that couple and the entire community, which is expected to support them in the pilgrimage of marriage and family life. What we have been doing in the West for... Continue Reading

Consecutive Exposition Is Not the Only Way

While God makes it clear that we must preach the Word, he does not specify one method over the other.

While God makes it clear that we must preach the Word, he does not specify one method over the other. I wonder if we have veered too far in one direction. This, after all, is our tendency in nearly everything—to swing from wild extreme to wild extreme.   In many ways, the Reformed resurgence of... Continue Reading

Michelangelo And His Struggles Of Faith

His life runs parallel to the tumultuous events of the Protestant Reformation and is characterized by an equally turbulent search for God’s acceptance.

Michelangelo’s poems are more transparent than his sculptures. Most of them are prayers to God (with echoes of Augustine’s Confessions, which he probably knew well). What he mourned mostly was his struggle with sin (“Fain would I wish what my heart cannot will”) and the time wasted in futile pursuits, including his art (“What’s the... Continue Reading

PCA Minister Lynn Downing Retiring From The Embers To A Flame Ministry

After ten years of service with Embers to a Flame, Lynn Downing is retiring.

Downing has faithfully served the ministry for almost ten years.  In that time, he has facilitated over 40 national/international Embers to a Flame conferences, led numerous Spiritual Foundation Retreats for churches desiring spiritual growth, and shepherded dozens of  churches through our coaching ministry, Fanning the Flame.   The Embers To A Flame Ministry has announced... Continue Reading

One In Six Young People Are Christian As Visits To Church Buildings Inspire Them To Convert

Churches inspire young people to become Christian, a study suggests.

Around 13 per cent of teenagers said that they decided to become a Christian after a visit to a church or cathedral, according to the figures. The influence of a church building was more significant than attending a youth group, going to a wedding, or speaking to other Christians about their faith. Jimmy Dale, the... Continue Reading

Is It Time To Understand Deacons?

In my PCA we don’t agree on everything, no surprise. What shall we do about it?

Our world has changed; women now do other things besides secretary, nurse and teacher. Now they’re senators and executives and doing well. Do we welcome that or were the Amish right after all: we should have stayed on the farm? But we won’t be wiser than God on that either! We’re all learning about gifts... Continue Reading

Nehemiah Sets the Table for Christ’s Feast

If we could summarize: Nehemiah, moved by a genuine love for God and a loving concern for his people, laid aside his privileges and selflessly served those who were hungry and hurting

Surely you can see how wonderfully this service anticipates the greater Nehemiah. After all, the Lord Jesus Christ laid aside his heavenly privileges, put on humanity, and served those who were hungry and hurting due to the effects of sin. Nehemiah might have been able to say, “I ordered a daily feast and wrote the... Continue Reading

The Routine Absurdity of Leaders Growing Large (Part 1)

The gospel is God’s pin to pop the puffy heart and puncture the bloated head of entitled leaders

“With leadership comes certain privileges and prerogatives. You have a title, a name, a platform, a budget, a staff, better benefits – nothing inherently wrong, just things that are inherently sticky. This means that our identity and expectations can quickly adhere to the privileges and prerogatives of our role.”   Our church is preparing for... Continue Reading

The UK’s Highest-Ranking Evangelical Politician Steps Down

Convert who led Liberal Democrats couldn’t shake stigma of his faith

“The pressure Farron felt rings familiar to American evangelicals, who are continually grappling with their place in public life and the future for their convictions. Earlier this month, a Trump administration appointee was challenged during his confirmation hearing over his belief in salvation through Christ alone.”   Amid mounting scrutiny over his evangelical faith, the... Continue Reading

Breaking: Canada Passes Radical Law Forcing Gender Theory Acceptance

Those who refuse to go along could be “brought before the federal tribunal”

The bill adds “gender expression” and “gender identity” to Canada’s Human Rights Code and to the Criminal Code’s hate crime section. With the Senate clearing the bill with no amendments, it requires only royal assent in the House of Commons to become law.   Canada’s Senate passed the Justin Trudeau Liberals’ transgender rights bill unamended... Continue Reading

Why Stay in the SBC?

The SBC is comprised of churches and it needs as many healthy churches as possible within its ranks

“A Southern Baptist Calvinist could get the impression that he is not welcomed in the SBC and, as another prominent SBC leader suggested, should consider looking for a home in a Presbyterian denomination.”   “Why should we stay in the SBC?” I’ve had that question put to me from pastors, elders, deacons, and whole congregations... Continue Reading

The Baptist Exception

Christians in the Global South now dominate every major Protestant tradition — except one

“Unlike mainline Prot­estant denominations, North America’s Baptists in recent decades have generally maintained their numbers. Matters might change in the future, but at present that success at home is the key explanation of why these churches have not been overwhelmed by emerging counterparts overseas.”   When I wrote The Next Christen­dom back in 2002, I... Continue Reading

Same-Sex Married Couple To Lead Historic Baptist Church

A historic Baptist church in the nation’s capital has called a legally married lesbian couple as co-pastors

“According to a Greenville News article about same-sex couples seeking the city’s first marriage licenses after a federal court order finding South Carolina’s ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional took effect on Nov. 20, 2014, Sarratt and Swearingen met six years earlier at Greenville First Baptist Church, when Swearingen served the church as an intern.”  ... Continue Reading

Why Do Coptic Christians Keep Getting Attacked?

Egypt’s preexisting climate of pro-Islamist sectarianism is an important, and sometimes overlooked, reason

“Against this backdrop, it’s difficult not to see this attack as having a deeply political purpose: to encourage the exodus of Christian Egyptians from their homeland. Through attacks like these, the perpetrators appear to be indicating that they don’t simply want to make life difficult for Christians—they want Egypt to be Christian-free.”   Friday is... Continue Reading

Selfaholism or Servaholism

The weird thing about addictions is that they promise much, but deliver little.

But here’s the strangest thing of all; the happiest people in the world are servants – not those who warm the slippers of millionaires, but those who serve others in all their relationships and responsibilities. They may have a million in the bank or even just red ink, but whatever their social or financial standing,... Continue Reading

Selected Acts & Deliverances of the 45th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in America

The 45th PCA General Assembly met in Greensboro, NC from June 13-16, 2017.

A summary of selected actions of the 45th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in America, including the actions on the recommendations presented by the “Ad Interim Study Committee on Women in Ministry.”  The report is provided for the Assembly, but is not adopted by the Assembly.   1) Approved to be sent down for... Continue Reading

Family Homeless Nonprofit Forced to Choose Between Government Funding and Drug-Free Policy

Because it requires residents to adhere to certain accountability standards such as staying sober, Solutions for Change is ineligible to receive federal government program funding.

Instead of simply providing a place to sleep, Solutions for Change takes a holistic approach to solving homelessness. It requires residents to go through counseling, take courses in financial literacy, parenting, leadership, and anger management, and eventually, get a job.   VISTA, CALIF.—Growing up, Teena Faison never imagined she’d find herself a single mom and... Continue Reading

10 Things You Should Know about Jonathan Edwards

"Though he was of tender constitution, yet few students are capable of a closer or longer application, than he was."

On August 29, 1726, he is asked to assist his grandfather, Solomon Stoddard, in the church in Northampton. He is ordained on February 15, 1727. On February 11, 1729, Stoddard dies and Edwards becomes pastor of the church. The church in 1735 had approximately 620 members. It was customary for Edwards to spend 13 hours... Continue Reading

Preaching the Gospel with TULIP’s Tricky “L” in Mind

How can you preach the “whosoever” of John 3:16 if you cannot be certain that Christ’s atonement was for every person?

The doctrines known as “Calvinism” insist that Christ’s atonement was completed with a limited or definite purpose in mind—the salvation of God’s elect. Thus, while the atonement was sufficient for all humanity, it was intended and applied only to those who had been specially chosen by God to be his. R.C. Sproul says, “Our view... Continue Reading

The Most Important Correlation In All Of Social Science

Number of sexual partners and duration of first marriage.

Thus the cultivation of chastity is central to a robust nation and a robust culture.  Chastity is an old term but now out of favor even among Christians, given the impact of political correctness i.e. cultural Marxism. However it is the accurate label for the virtue or strength behind the data.   Regular readers of... Continue Reading