Eight Common Mistakes Rookie Pastors Make

It is excruciating for me to recall some of the dumb things I did

“I love pastors. I love rookie pastors. As I have worked with hundreds of rookie pastors over the years, I see a pattern of mistakes many of them make. I pray my highlighting of these eight common mistakes will be helpful to some of you.”   I met one of the most stupid rookie pastors... Continue Reading

China On Track To Have World’s Largest Christian Population By 2030

The greater the persecution, the greater the revival

By 2030 “China will almost certainly have the most evangelical Christians,” he said, “and that will greatly shape the global evangelical Church in the coming years. That said, Pennington emphasized that there are still many needs in China, especially in areas like discipleship, cross-cultural outreach and ministering to children and youth.”   Despite the increasing... Continue Reading

Fighting for Holiness Under Fire

Here are a few of the temptations that suffering believers commonly face

We may feel as if fighting the temptation to sin is the last thing that we can handle while weak in our suffering. However, we must always remember that the Tempter of Old doesn’t fight fair. Sin is not a polite guest. It doesn’t notice suffering and say, “Terribly sorry! You look busy right now.”  ... Continue Reading

3 Things Sin Can’t Do To the Christian

Because of the accomplished work of Christ, death will never touch the believer

“Below are three things to remember about sin to remind yourself that it has ultimately lost its power in your life. These reminders help us eliminate the shame we feel after disobedience and push us to repent of our sin even when we’re tempted to wallow in it.”   Repentance sometimes feels impossible. Often, I... Continue Reading

A Love Like That

I was moved by Gutjahr’s touching description of Hodge with his 51-year-old dying wife

“Married couples, if you imagine that your final moments together will be like this, rejoice and again I say rejoice. Let the thought of such bittersweet sorrow put your present troubles and conflicts in perspective.”   Most Reformed Christians like Charles Hodge. And rightly so. He was a brilliant, faithful, and hugely influential theologian. But... Continue Reading

God-Centered Prayer

The Alpha and Omega of prayer must be for the glory of God.

“As Jesus Christ taught His disciples, the primary focus of prayer is for one to be riveted upon the supreme glory of God. As our Lord gave instruction regarding how to pray, He was unequivocal in teaching us to ascribe all glory to God. Everything must yield to the glory of God!”   All things... Continue Reading

GOP Senator Delivers Trio Of Powerful Speeches On Race

Tim Scott shares his solutions to racial strife, urges families to sit down over dinner to hear each other’s experiences

But Scott said real healing starts when families join together over a meal to have hard conversations. “I’ll continue to reach out to all my colleagues and my friends who may not look like me, who may have a different philosophy than I do, so that I can understand their hopes, their dreams, and their... Continue Reading

Romance Porn: More Women are Addicted Than You Think

Literary pornographers must be thrilled to pass under the radar as Jane Austen’s cousins

Women are less visual, and so less attracted to the internet pornography that is irresistible to men. For women, visual pornography should be considered a light beer while the emotionally charged “pornmance” novel is 70-proof liquor, hard-core pornography.   Every year, pornography tangles up millions of people in its sticky spider webs. It rolls them... Continue Reading

Does God Really Care About Our Suffering?

Our God is not stoic and unaffected, but is touched by our afflictions.

When you are suffering, how do you think God responds to you? Do you imagine him saying something like: “Hey buck up. It doesn’t hurt that bad.” “Somebody call the Waaaaambulance” “Come on, you big baby, shake it off. Get over it.” Our heavenly Father is filled with compassion for his blood-bought children. He has... Continue Reading

A Mountain or a Marathon?

Reflections on Rusty Reno's proposals for a Christian society

Reno is clear on what needs to be done to rebuild society. His vision is not of a return to the Christian-Right politics rooted in the alleged faith of the Founders or consisting of shouting Bible verses louder in the public square. Nor is it that of a confident pluralism that assumes that decency and... Continue Reading

The Truth About Living with an Invisible Illness

God sees me and my pain even when others cannot.

Invisible illness has been the crucible of God’s love in my life. This trial has forced me to see him anew. While my pain isolates me, it also connects me to God and others. God in Christ intimately knows physical pain as well as the agony of being misunderstood and invalidated by those closest to... Continue Reading

Welcome News For The Distressed Sinner!

Sibbes was not against Christ being an example for us, but he emphasized that “the main comfort we receive from Christ is by way of [his] satisfaction.”

“Certainly we shall never be finally and wholly forsaken, because Christ was forsaken for us. Now we may think of God without discomfort, and of sin without despair. Now we may think of the law of death, the curse and all, and never be terrified – why? Christ our surety hath given full content of... Continue Reading

How Do We Solve a Problem Like the Singles?

Contentment is difficult for singles because from our perspective, both the believing and unbelieving world seem to agree that happiness in celibacy is impossible.

This sounds serious, but the implications are radically liberating.  You don’t need to get married or have sex to live a rich life! The single person is a whole person on their own. They wait for no “better half” to live the good life.  That life is for now. That contentment is for now.  ... Continue Reading

Eight Women of Faith

Eight Women of Faith is a collection of brief historical vignettes, each of which introduces a Christian woman from days gone by and reveals some of her unique contributions during her life and times.

Yes, Haykin provides biographical details, but his purpose is less to recount the character’s life than to point to her faith and to the way she grew and served during her lifetime. He means to show the vital importance of women for the life and health of the Christian church. He does not merely describe... Continue Reading

‘What Christian is it that beats his wife?’

A brief look at a sermon which defies convention by exposing violence, clarifying offenders’ responsibility, and contesting the blaming and pathologizing of victims

This sermon is one of the only sermons in the corpus in which the pastor explicitly refers to abuse whilst exposing violence, clarifying offenders’ responsibility, and cautioning against victim-blaming. Considering the statistics regarding intimate partner violence, it is highly likely that a victim of violence sat in the pews when each of the sermons we... Continue Reading

Left Behind Co-Author Tim LaHaye Dies at 90

Minister and political activist remembered for his influence on Americans’ view of the end times

In 1994, LaHaye was on an airplane when he noticed a pilot flirting with a flight attendant. He thought to himself, what would happen if the rapture occurred in that moment? What would it be like for those left behind while Christians vanished into thin air during the second coming of Christ? LaHaye soon partnered... Continue Reading

How Much Faith Do You Need To Foster?

A Review of “Faith to Foster,” getting a peek into serving as a foster family for children in need of care.

Faith to Foster isn’t a how-to guide—although the practical tips are there. It’s not a self-righteous “look at what we’ve done,” memoir—although, what they’ve done is remarkable. It’s an invitation to peek inside the Menn’s home to see what it looks like for a young couple to take a step of faith and care for... Continue Reading

Theonomy, Greg Bahnsen, and the Federal Vision- Part Two

Bahnsen’s writings laid the foundation for the Federal Vision, particularly in the areas of the sacraments, conditional perseverance, apostasy, the mono-covenantal structure of Scripture, and the law.

Bahnsen is guilty of two errors in his work on theonomy. First, he established a new paradigm for the law by connecting the believer’s obedience to the whole Old Testament law in exhaustive detail. Second, he emphasized obedience to the law so strenuously that he often comes close to the dangerous Pelagian spectrum of errors.... Continue Reading

9 Secrets Pastors Keep

Which secrets are you hiding from your church members?

So while those in your congregation may not be fully aware of the common stressors each pastor deals with, remember that pastors are not called to be God but to model what it looks like to follow him. That’s one truth you can be comfortable sharing with them.   As a pastor, every Sunday you... Continue Reading

Mean-spirited Reporting

Getting the facts isn’t as hard as some make it seem; The Washington Post deserves no better than a C- for a story it did about Asheville, N.C.

But the measure’s main goal was immediately interpreted and publicly portrayed by homosexuals, lesbians, transsexuals, etc., as a restraint on their liberties. Joining them in that protest were the mainstream media, academia, mainline churches, and—perhaps most significant—some leaders in business and travel. Major corporations (like PayPal) as well as huge sporting groups (like the NBA... Continue Reading

Why Are So Many Millennials Having Children Out of Wedlock?

A new study shows that access to jobs and income inequality are shaping this generation’s decisions to start a family.

They come from a specific group of young Americans who don’t have college degrees, live in areas with high income inequality, and tend not to have very bright job prospects. The study, published this month in the journal American Sociological Review, found that in areas with the greatest income inequality, young men and women were... Continue Reading

15 Things the Proverbs Teach About How to Post on Facebook – Or Anywhere Else

The importance of writing and speaking with temperance in public places and web sites.

The Proverbs have much to teach us about how to use our tongues, as well as how to use our fingers as we type strongly-held opinions in a super-charged political climate. While Facebook can be a good place to air out ideas and to expose yourself to different views, there are at least 15 things... Continue Reading

California Hospitals Reject Assisted Suicide Prescription

After California legalizes euthanasia, growing number of medical centers refuse to participate

Euthanasia advocates applauded the bill, while critics warned it might encourage physicians and family members to pressure patients to end their own lives. Hospitals are caught in the middle, but those with moral qualms about assisted suicide, or that don’t have the resources to cater to it, are opting out of the lethal network.  ... Continue Reading

Where Evangelicals Stand on Transgender Morality

While more than half of evangelical believers (54%) said it’s wrong to identify with a different gender, just 35 percent of Americans share that view

LifeWay asked 1,000 Americans whether they thought that changing one’s gender or identifying with a different gender is morally wrong. Respondents also had the option to select “it’s not a moral issue.”   As politicians debate restroom access, employment protection, insurance coverage, and military service for transgender people, questions of morality have emerged. Is it... Continue Reading

Back to the Early Church?

It will not do to romanticize the early church into something that is inherently superior

During the early church, errors flourished. Errors existed over large matters such as the deity and incarnation of Christ (Colossians) and justification by faith alone in Christ alone (Galatians). People struggled with other errors. Did God’s people miss the resurrection of the righteous (2 Tim. 2:18)? Will dead Christians miss Christ’s return (1 Thess. 4:13-18)?... Continue Reading

United Methodist Schism & Local Churches

A debate in over 30,000 local United Methodist congregations about sex will be the mother of all ecclesial battles, exceeding in rancor and venom all previous controversies.

That a formal United Methodist schism, forcing thousands of local congregations effectively to choose sides, would be chaotic and destructive does not of course mean it won’t happen.  And maybe, from the perspective of purity, such division must happen, before there can be renewal and new life, some firmly believe. But whatever happens, United Methodist... Continue Reading

Taking Back Christianese #3: “God is Always Pleased with You”

Is this response helpful? Yes and no. It depends on what a person means and how they frame it.

It confuses justification and sanctification.  This phrase can be used in such a way that it takes what is true of justification (God sees the perfect righteousness of Christ) and applies it without qualification to our sanctification (therefore God is never concerned about our sin).   In other words, it assumes that if God is pleased... Continue Reading

The World’s True Hope

Where are Christians to look in seeking for hope in 2016?

What is the hope to which Christians should be looking in this world? Our hope is not in the secular city, which in time always reverts to the Cainite mean. Our hope is in God, on whom we call, to whom we pray, to whom we offer worship, and for whom we proclaim the saving... Continue Reading

Explainer: Divine Simplicity and the Trinitarian Controversy

If you have followed the recent upheaval over the Trinity and gender, you may have asked yourself these questions

This doctrine [divine simplicity] was once taken for granted by basically everyone, from the earliest days of the church through to the Reformation and beyond, and only became unfamiliar quite recently. I’m not going to be able to explain all the details of the idea here. My objective is twofold: to give a basic outline... Continue Reading

What Did Jesus Do for Women?

In a world where women had little or no legal rights and got little or no respect as intellectuals or spiritual people, Jesus came along and turned the world's view of women upside-down.

Contemporary feminists often blame Christianity for being anti-women. Some neo-pagan-minded feminists put “goddess” bumper stickers on their cars, imagining that a return to the days of goddess-worship would liberate them from the male-dominated oppression of the church. A close reading of the New Testament against the cultural background of the first-century Roman Empire tells a... Continue Reading