A Pattern Among Fallen Pastors – Lessons for Us All
4 common characteristics of the lives of ministers who had fallen into a morally disqualifying sin
Who knows you? I mean who really knows you? Who not only has permission, but is currently acting upon the permission to ask you penetrating questions? Are you answering those questions honestly or are you hiding details and painting up your sin to guard your image? Do not hide from God’s gracious aid of loving... Continue Reading
How Political Correctness Improved My Life
The Left’s weapon of choice may be dividing the country, but it’s not winning converts.
Political correctness demystified the Left. I saw amongst the radical students a herd mentality more rigid and unthinking than I’d ever seen in an entire life growing up in a fundamentalist church (yes, fundamentalist — our little sect believed only its members merited eternal life). The herd conventional wisdom hardened virtually overnight, debate was minimal... Continue Reading
7 Things To Expect Post-Supremes’ Marriage Ruling
If the homosexual “personhood” mythology is embraced as U.S. high-court truth, this will be the justification for same-sex “marriage;” what will happen as a result?
Churches will have to make some hard choices. Tax-exempt status may be removed unless a church pledges not to preach “hate” – and expect to be monitored for compliance as well as see issues upon which the church cannot preach expand to abortion, creation, the exclusivity of Christ as Savior, and so on. After all,... Continue Reading
Doubt and Obedience
In moments of disbelief do we ask God, “What have you done for me lately?”
Though God has not promised to act in the same miraculous manner today as He did in the days of old, we can expect Him to move in our behalf. We don’t merit righteousness before our Father by our obedience, and the Lord’s grace is so vast that He regularly blesses us in spite of... Continue Reading
Making it Easy for the Minister to Take it Easy on You
Why do you make it so tough on us — your pastors and elders?
Scripture tells us that a true friend wounds out of love. And on top of all this, if we must choose, we are more interested in pleasing our Heavenly Father than keeping the peace with you. Therefore beloved brothers and sisters, we will come with the rod of God’s Word if necessary, but we would rather... Continue Reading
Reformed Congregational Fellowship Hosting Annual Pastors’ Conference
The annual Reformed Congregational Fellowship Pastors’ Conference will be April 14-16, 2015
The theme of the conference is “Free Indeed!” Freedom? Liberty? From what has the Christian been freed? How far does our freedom in Christ extend? What of the law? Is liberty the same as license? Does this liberty protect the conscience of the Christian? Is civil disobedience godly? The annual Reformed Congregational Fellowship Pastors’ Conference will... Continue Reading
In a community where race still divides, leaders look for ways to unite and cultivate
How important is Greenwood’s racial history? Depends who’s writing and displaying the history. Greenwood’s Museum of the Mississippi Delta last year displayed seven pretty but romanticized paintings of blacks working in the fields or driving cotton-filled wagons. It also had on a wall a small photo from 1963 of African-Americans walking in front of the... Continue Reading
Utah Highest, Vermont Lowest On Newest Church Attendance Poll
More Utahns go to church every week — 51 percent — than any other state, according to a new Gallup poll.
At the bottom of the list is Vermont, Gallup reports, “where 17 percent of residents say they attend religious services every week,” Newport writes. Just ahead of the Green Mountain State are New Hampshire (20 percent), Maine (20 percent), Massachusetts (22 percent), Washington (24 percent) and Oregon (24 percent). Half the bottom 10 are in... Continue Reading
Southern Baptists To Vote On NAMB Ministry Amendment
Chaplain-led ministry near overseas military bases someday may become part of the North American Mission Board's church planting outreach
The SBC Executive Committee approved a recommendation to be presented to messengers in Columbus, Ohio, to enable NAMB to “provide specialized, defined and agreed upon assistance to the International Mission Board in assisting churches to plant churches for specific groups outside the United States and Canada.” NASHVILLE (BP) — Chaplain-led ministry near overseas military... Continue Reading
Book Briefs: Samuel Rutherford (Bitesize Biographies) by Richard Hannula
Samuel Rutherford is perhaps the best known Scottish Puritan. But his life and history seem not to be as widely remembered as other Puritan ministers.
Rutherford was influential as a member of the Scottish delegation to the Westminster Assembly in London, which gave to the church the most enduring English confession, the Westminster Confession of Faith. He played a part in its shape, defending a Presbyterian form of church government. He also helped work on the catechisms. Samuel Rutherford... Continue Reading
The Table of the Nations, the Tower of Babel, and the Marriage Supper of the Lamb: Part 1
A prominent question many worldviews and metanarratives are now wrestling with is the question of human diversity.
Our common ancestry in Adam (and Noah) points to our common need for a Savior and, for believers in Christ, a common new humanity. But there is more to the story — there is the glory of God in our differences as well as in our more fundamental commonality. That glory, visible even now, points... Continue Reading
The Ten Commandments as God’s Moral Law
One question that comes into play is whether or not the Ten Commandments should be thought of as a uniquely and eternally binding statement of God's moral law.
In addressing this concern, I would like to offer four arguments for why the Ten Commandments should be seen as separate and distinct from the other rules and regulations of the Mosaic economy, and why the Ten Commandments do set forth the universally binding moral law of God that is intended to serve as a... Continue Reading
Please Don’t Let Me be Misunderstood
Some advice for the times when you feel misunderstood
Disagreements will happen in a fallen world. Realize that even God’s people can be inconsiderate and thoughtless toward you. You have hurt others, as well. When I feel the sting of being misunderstood, I think of past times when I quickly judged others without knowing the whole picture. Seeing my own sin of misunderstanding can motivate me to repentance... Continue Reading
The Surprising Resource I’m Glad We Used
One of the resources that has helped me most in teaching my children is the Children’s Catechism.
I have to admit when I first learned about the catechism, it sounded a bit old-fashioned and formal to engage with my children using a question/answer format. We regularly read the Bible to our children, so I also wondered about the necessity of using it as a teaching tool. Now that my children are older, I look back with fond... Continue Reading
Self-Identity and God-Centered Relationships
Two ways sinners distort God’s design for relationships with improper views of self and others.
Rather than approaching relationships with an eye toward how they make us feel, as those created in God’s image and being conformed more and more to the image of Christ, we can approach our relationships with others (spouses, children, co-workers, neighbors, friends, family members, etc.) with an eye toward glorifying God in our love and... Continue Reading
The Forgetfulness that Leads to Depression
If there is no God, we have every right to live a depressed and discouraged life. But there is a God, and he is our God.
In the midst of life’s bitterness, it’s so easy to drift toward depression. Now, just to be clear, when I talk about depression here, I’m not talking about clinical depression that is physically based and should be treated in appropriate medical ways. No, I’m talking about depression of the soul. That sick, sour, cynical disposition... Continue Reading
Does a Mantilla Make Me More Feminine?
I do not believe I need to add something extra to display my femininity.
I would say one of the most beautiful symbols of the complementary on display is when a pastor administers Communion. The Lord’s Supper pictures our head, Jesus Christ, nourishing his bride with his own body and blood until he returns. It also points to the great feast we will have on that approaching day. Here... Continue Reading
How Libya’s Martyrs Are Witnessing to Egypt
Murders spark largest outreach ever amid new freedoms and new threats
As CT reported on Thursday, the beheadings by the Islamic State in Libya have resulted in unprecedented sympathy for Egypt’s Christians, who are increasingly finding common identity across denominational lines. The martyrdoms have also allowed Copts a platform to witness to the realities of their faith, as they publicly forgave the terrorists. Undaunted by... Continue Reading
Wesleyan University has taken the ever-expanding list of initials used to refer to sexual identities to fifteen letters: LGBTTQQFAGPBDSM.
This endless expansion of sexual categories is a necessary consequence of what is now the fundamental tenet of modern sexual politics, and perhaps a key element of modern politics in general: That a person’s attitude to sex is the primary criterion for assessing their moral standing in the public square. If you say that sex... Continue Reading
Rob Bell, Gay Marriage, and the Movie Tombstone
Yes, even in the world of sex and marriage, “We’ve got to have some law.”
So, what does Bell think is a better guide for sexual ethics than the Bible? Personal experience. Why would you choose the Bible, says Bell, “when you have in front of you flesh-and-blood people who…love each other and just want to go through life.’ In other words, what should guide our decisions is the personal... Continue Reading
So They are Back in the News (Yet Again): Adam and Eve and All That
A book by Wheaton Old Testament Professor John H. Walton will upend many traditional – or certainly "evangelical" – ideas about Adam and Eve.
Many evangelicals believe in “de novo” creation, a quick and complete formation of all species including homo sapiens, rejecting evolutionary development from common ancestors. Walton asserts that the Bible “does not necessarily make a de novo claim for human origins.” His proposed scenario could include “some theory of evolution” as compatible with the Bible, he... Continue Reading
Appreciating the Trinity
The doctrine of the Trinity isn’t a marginal or secondary doctrine appended to our belief in Christ, as if we can remain neutral to the Father or the Spirit.
The Trinity is central to our Christian identity. Jesus said, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19). To be baptized into something is to be identified with–to be named in relation to (see 1 Corinthians... Continue Reading
A Plea for Innocence
Don’t study false doctrine, don’t study sin, don’t study error, stick with the truth and godly obedience.
Enjoy what is good, not evil. Watch what is good, not evil. Ponder what is good, not evil. Dream of what is good not evil. Read what is good, not evil. Use social media to celebrate what is good instead of bemoan what is evil. Most of all, do what is good, not evil. I... Continue Reading
Fifteen Reasons Our Churches Are Less Evangelistic Today
There is widespread concern about the lack of evangelism in our churches and among Christians.
I conducted an unscientific Twitter poll recently to see what church leaders and church members thought of this trend, My specific question was: “Why do you think many churches aren’t as evangelistic as they once were?” The responses arrived quickly and in great numbers, both in public tweets and in direct messages to me. Indeed,... Continue Reading
You Are My Son, and I Love You
Imagine how difficult growth in the Christian life would be if the foundation of our spirituality was based on our performance?
But imagine if your Christian growth is grounded in your identity as a son of God, unconditionally loved and accepted because of Jesus? The pressures off to hit the home run everyday. Jesus did that for you. It’s okay to strike out, because God is not basing your relationship with Him on your batting average.... Continue Reading
The Early Church & the Deity of Christ
Did the early church fathers affirm the deity of Jesus Christ? Or was it only after the fourth century (and the Council of Nicaea) that Christian leaders began to articulate their belief in God the Son?
Though it’s not an exhaustive list, here are 25 quotes from a number of ante-Nicene church fathers demonstrating their belief in the deity of Jesus Christ. These early Christian theologians all lived before the time of Constantine and the Council of Nicaea. As such, they provide incontrovertible proof (from post-New Testament history) that Constantine was... Continue Reading
How Does a Pastor Evaluate His Sermon One Hour After Preaching It?
Here are 4 suggestions I have found helpful
This might surprise you, but one of the most dangerous times for a pastor are the hours following his Sunday sermon. You step down from the pulpit still wired and juices flowing as you greet those leaving from the service. Then, like after a good jog, you begin to calm down, your body starts to return... Continue Reading
Bored By Heaven?
Scripture gives every indication that believers not only desire heaven but see it as their true home, their ultimate destination.
The source of eternal bliss is not a new iPhone or the next flat screen TV or another romance. Sinners justified by God’s free favor, through faith alone, know that Christ is all. When strength finally leaves us, when the last breath escapes, when consciousness of this world fades from view it is not an ill-defined bright... Continue Reading
Florist Rejects AG’s Offer, Stands Courageously on Principle, and Risks Everything
Barronelle Stutzman stands to lose everything—her home, her savings, her business, her livelihood—if she does not comply.
“Your offer reveals that you don’t really understand me or what this conflict is all about. It’s about freedom, not money. I certainly don’t relish the idea of losing my business, my home, and everything else that your lawsuit threatens to take from my family, but my freedom to honor God in doing what I... Continue Reading
In Bondage to Pornography
What you watch determines what you want
One would not allow alcoholics to have the last word on liquor licensing laws or crack addicts on drug policy. Yet when it comes to sexual morality, that is the kind of world in which we now live. The availability of pornography and the near universality of its consumption are today facts of human existence,... Continue Reading