Idaho Ministers Sue To Prevent Gay Weddings At For-Profit Wedding Chapel

Owners of an Idaho wedding chapel have filed suit against officials in Coeur d’Alene, claiming the city is unconstitutionally forcing them to violate their religious beliefs by performing same-sex marriages

Pastors have raised concerns about being forced to conduct same-sex weddings, though most experts call that concern a red herring. The lawsuit in Idaho raises a larger question of whether ordained ministers who run a for-profit business conducting weddings can be required to conduct same-sex weddings under nondiscrimination laws.   (RNS) The owners of an Idaho wedding chapel... Continue Reading

7 Things Your Church Needs From You

Here are seven ways you can serve, honor, and help grow your local church

“Every church has people who make the public gatherings of the church a low priority. These are the people who only come to church when it is convenient and who use any excuse to miss a day or miss a service. Every church desperately needs people who will make the public gatherings a top priority.... Continue Reading

Practical Principles Of Biblical Interpretation

The supreme arbiter in interpreting a verse's meaning is the overall teaching of the Bible

“Our assumption is that God, because of His omniscience, would never be guilty of contradicting Himself. It is therefore slanderous to the Holy Spirit to choose an interpretation of a particular passage that unnecessarily brings that passage into conflict with that which He has revealed elsewhere. So the governing principle of Reformed hermeneutics or interpretation... Continue Reading

7 Signs You Are Dealing With A Spiritual Attack

Satan is a deceiver who instigates problems and disappears before anyone recognizes his influence

“There’s nothing Satan wants more than for the people of God to stop praying with regularity. Our prayers hinder his work in the world. Many times we underestimate the power of prayer and begin to neglect the fervency and consistency of it. We must never forget the amazing works of God in our lives through... Continue Reading

Mental Illness and the Church: An Analysis

What do the stats tell us about how the church deals with mental illness?

“A couple of weeks ago, LifeWay Research released new data on mental illness and how churches and pastors respond. David Murray, as a pastor and thinker, has written a couple of great blog posts analyzing the data. This is the first. David served on the working review team that reviewed and approved the project direction... Continue Reading

The Gospel According To Enoch: Calvin On Gen. 5:21-24

Enoch's admission ticket first to the intermediate state and then to the eternal state of glory was purchased by the coming Seed - the one who would conquer death and secure eternal glory

“Calvin discovers further value, first of all for the historical Church just described and secondly for the Church in subsequent centuries, in the specific albeit rather terse record of the miraculous translation from this world to the next which befell Seth’s great-great-great grandson Enoch (the godly counterpart to the ungodly Lamech, both men being seventh... Continue Reading

Winsome, Beautiful, Gracious … Rejected And Despised

Despite her loving intent, the church of Jesus Christ should expect to be a body hated by many

“The Savior was full of unconditional love; he was winsome and beautiful. However, despite his unmatched charity and glorious work, he was despised and rejected. His Gospel got in the way of a certain group’s preferred lifestyle, and so he was deemed undesirable. In the end, while one begged to be in his presence, many more pleaded... Continue Reading

What’s Ahead For The Supreme Court? The Court Refuses The Gay Marriage Question

The Supreme Court, by refusing to hear these cases, casts a shadow of uncertainty over two of the central institutions of organized society—marriage and family

The Supreme Court, by refusing to hear these cases, casts a shadow of uncertainty over two of the central institutions of organized society—marriage and family. The court’s refusal appears to favor judicial over legislative power and the court’s silence threatens American federalism which recognizes that state governments retain powers to act which cannot be usurped... Continue Reading

Episcopal Church Continues Shedding Members

The church has faced steep losses since the early 2000s with a perfect storm of changing demographics, low fertility and departures by traditionalists

“While the Episcopal Church has established a continued pattern of steady decline since the early 2000s, the unbroken trend is relatively recent: the church lost only 18,000 members in the 1990s, a plateau that dropped off about the time Gene Robinson of New Hampshire was consecrated the church’s first openly partnered gay bishop. Overall, the... Continue Reading

The Bible Tells Me So: Why Defending Scripture Has Made Us Unable to Read It

A review of Peter Enns' new book

In the end, The Bible Tells Me So is a book about contradictions. Enns intended it to be a book about contradictions in the Bible. But it becomes quickly apparent that the contradictions are really in Enns’s own worldview. He claims the Canaanite conquest is immoral, yet argues the Bible provides no clear guide for... Continue Reading

Sermons Are “Fair Game” in Houston

The Real Warning in the Subpoena Scandal

At this point, it is five Houston pastors who are feeling the heat. But these subpoenas stand as a direct warning to every pastor, rabbi, minister, priest, and imam in America. You or I could be next. This is how religious liberty dies. Liberties die by a thousand cuts.  An intimidating letter here, a subpoena... Continue Reading

The Secret of Big Evangelicalism Is the Secret of Great Comedy

In a world of sentiment and aesthetics, an instinctive sense for tastefulness is what makes for a successful marketing strategy.

What is interesting is that the chronology of the whole YRR-Driscoll saga falls out along taste/aesthetic lines.    Those who saw the problem early were quickly dismissed as Pharisees, hypocrites, ‘discernment bloggers,’ judgmental, and even racists.  These are all pretty distasteful categories in the late modern world of tolerance and niceness. Those who decried or ignored... Continue Reading

Patrick Henry College President Steps Down

Leadership change comes as school pushes for growth

The school’s provost, Gene Edward Veith, will step into the role of interim president while the college looks for another leader. By email, Walker told me his departure was amicable, although he declined to describe the issue of disagreement. “The Board and I have the same vision for PHC’s mission and character. But Christians can... Continue Reading

Justification By Faith Alone Is The Normative Reformed Doctrine

Beware of those who appeal to the outliers as if they were or are or should become the norm.

There is a open move to rehabilitate Shepherd’s doctrine by revising the history of what Shepherd said and what the issues were. As I say, the moralists never go away. Many Christians are more comfortable with Jesus as a facilitator of justification and salvation rather than as the Savior. Like Shepherd, they want to blur the line... Continue Reading

Prayer Changes Us, Not God

Three answers to the question: if God is sovereign, then why pray at all?

Prayer is appointed by God for our seeking from Him the things which we are in need of. (Pink them reminds his readers of God’s sovereignty and decree of all things). Prayer is not for the purpose of informing God, as if He were ignorant,… but it is to acknowledge He does know what we... Continue Reading

Why The Church Covers Up Abuse

Four reasons why churches sometimes cover up abuse

Abuse is an evil that feeds upon silence, secrecy, and shame.  Sometimes people are pressured not to ask or tell about abuse, because it would damage both parties, both families by unnecessarily shaming them.  But ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ is not help.  And of primary importance, we must affirm that our fundamental duty is to... Continue Reading

Hillsong Church, Relevance & Pariahs

Hillsong's pastor, stressing the church's need to stay relevant, declined to give the church's position on same-sex marriage

At his New York press conference, Pastor Houston explained: “And to me, the world we live in, whether we like it or not is changing around and about us. Homosexual marriage is legal in [New York City] and will be probably in most Western world countries within a short time. So the world’s changing and... Continue Reading

Government Tells Christian Ministers: Perform Same-sex Weddings or Face Jail, Fines

Officials threaten to punish senior citizen couple – both ordained pastors – if they decline to officiate same-sex ceremonies

City officials told Donald Knapp that he and his wife Evelyn, both ordained ministers who run Hitching Post Wedding Chapel, are required to perform such ceremonies or face months in jail and/or thousands of dollars in fines. The city claims its “non-discrimination” ordinance requires the Knapps to perform same-sex wedding ceremonies now that the courts... Continue Reading

Young, Reckless, And Reformed

Three challenges for the young, reformed Christian.

While living in community, let your theology be shaped and molded as you’re seeing it worked out in a local church. As a point of emphasis, I suggest this be a local church. One. Don’t be the church-hopping person who is a little everywhere, but not completely somewhere. Put value in not just growing your... Continue Reading

Opposite but the Same

The more things change, the more things really do stay the same

I ran into one while reading Todd Brenneman’s Homespun Gospel. Brenneman’s comparison of Max Lucado and Rob Bell in his chapter, “You are Special,” is spot on. The subtitle is A Tale of Two Hells. Both Bell and Lucado use sentimental means to promote their popular message. They endorse themselves as the cool ones—the ones in... Continue Reading

The Secret to a Happy Life

Maximizing pleasure is our culture’s chief goal, but happiness and pleasure are profoundly different

Humility is the secret to a happy life. What is humility? Scripture does not say the humble person is Mr. Milquetoast, the wishy-washy person, the spineless man who is a doormat for the world; rather, the humble person is one who fears God. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and such... Continue Reading

The 9 Most Overlooked Threats to a Marriage

Surveys of couples have rated marital communication as the number one problem in marriage. It’s not…

It’s a lifetime that forms us into people who are becoming ever more loving versions of ourselves, who can bear the weight of loneliness, who have released the weight of shame, who have traded in walls for bridges, who have embraced the mess of being alive, who risk empathy and forgive disappointments, who love everyone... Continue Reading

Unthinkable Aloofness

Will we worship the Father honorably, boldly minister, and suffer after the pattern of Jesus Christ?

The call is to minister and prioritize as did Jesus Christ. He was concerned with worshiping the Father in Spirit and in truth. He was diligent to worship God only in the way prescribed in Scripture. He was cautious of keeping God’s Ceremonial Law, and would have been a strong proponent of the Regulative Principle... Continue Reading

What The Muslim World Believes, On Everything From Alcohol To Honor Killings

A sweeping, 226-page report from the Pew Forum explores attitudes and opinions from Muslim communities around the world

A majority of Muslims in several countries say that any Muslim who leaves the faith should be executed, with the share who support this nearing two-thirds in Egypt and Pakistan. In Afghanistan, 78 percent say apostates should be killed… the effect is a deeply chilling one for religious freedom, with atheists and converts often persecuted.... Continue Reading

A Review: “The Word Became Fresh: How to Preach from Old Testament Narrative Texts”

A study and guide for using the Old Testament in preaching and teacing

The author explains and expounds that the central focus of every Old Testament narrative is theocentric, which means that in “all our reading we should keep our eye on God – what he is revealing about himself and how he is working.” Davis wraps the book together by giving the reader an opportunity to walk with... Continue Reading

Come, Holy Spirit!

The Holy Spirit is in charge of pointing you to Jesus and his love

It’s about the Holy Spirit and what he does. He brings Jesus into your heart, again and again. That sermon, or the way you read the Bible, or the way you mull over the meaning of your life—that’s the key, that Jesus loves you.   I hear different kinds of sermons, some my own. Many... Continue Reading

The Battle Between Between Exile Theology and Dominion Theology

The battle between Exile Theology and Dominion Theology is important to understand

To consider only myself and my future is actually selfish.  The covenant teaches me that more important than myself are the generations that will follow me.  I may want to escape the trials of this earth, but my children and grandchildren will have to live in a world that we leave to them.  Better to... Continue Reading

The Gospel According To Tobler

For all his faults, Tobler is affectionate and loyal, and dogs often demonstrate such qualities even when mistreated by their owners. By contrast, sinful human beings are in consistent rebellion against God

“Tobler has never quite learned to be obedient. Stubborn to a fault, he remains invincibly ignorant of the meaning of the command come. He will come eventually, of course, but only on his own terms. The biggest problem, however, is that Tobler is an inveterate thief. He loves to steal stuffed animals, socks, and other... Continue Reading

When A Lesbian Mayor Sits In Your Town Hall

Do not be foolish and think this day of Christian ease and comfort will last. It has come and gone in most cultures and will most likely do so in the United States of America

“The church is not to be foolishly optimistic and expect a favorable reception from all men. Christ’s body should not be surprised when the ministry of Christ separates friends and family members. The Prince of Peace, who gives peace to his own people, came not to give peace to the earth. Some will welcome the... Continue Reading

When Ebola Comes To Church

Eric Duncan entered my life and the life of my church

“After learning that Eric was connected to Louise and that Louise and her family were being placed in quarantine because he had fallen ill in her apartment, my first question was, “Could I visit her?” Somehow, instinctively, I sensed that in times like these, the role of a pastor is to be present. I wish... Continue Reading