Cross Fit Godliness

Genuine godliness comes by spiritual exercise

“With CrossFit-like enthusiasm, in 1 Timothy 4:7–8, Paul calls his son in the faith and other readers to the gym, and distinguishes useless workouts from useful ones. “Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly myths. Rather train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way,... Continue Reading

Evangelical Anti-Abolitionists

Even in slaveholding states, many white Americans were uneasy about the morality of black slavery in the decades that preceded the Civil War

“Some conservative white evangelicals believed that the Bible endorsed some systems of slavery but not that found in America. Most, however, felt that any sort of vigorous opposition to slavery struck at the biblical bedrock of their faith. And therefore they could not embrace true antislavery positions.”   Even in slaveholding states, many white Americans... Continue Reading

Nakedness Equals Shame

The very first psychological self-awareness of guilt and shame was an awareness of nudity

“The motif of clothing and nakedness is at the heart of our understanding of redemption. Our own righteousness, we are told, is like rotten, filthy rags (Isa. 64:6). The only way any of us can stand in God’s presence is to be stripped of those rags and then clothed afresh in the garments of Christ’s... Continue Reading

“Top Down” or “Grassroots” Ministry?

Two basic ways in which leadership in a church can encourage healthy "every member" and "grassroots" ministry are the establishment of committees and small groups

“Broader churches often tend to focus on “every member ministry”–while minimizing the need for robust pastoral ministry–while more stringently Reformed churches tend to focus on the primacy of pastoral ministry–to the minimizing of vibrant congregational life and ministry. Both approaches often appear to be overreactions to perceived deficiencies or abuses in the outworking of the... Continue Reading

Christian Lawyers And Doctors Need Not Apply

It has become a scary time to be a Christian professional in Canada

“This direct attack on Christian lawyers is meant to create a chilling effect in the legal profession. Lawyers who work for law firms seeking to do business with these corporations will hesitate, and perhaps even be barred from voicing their religious and moral beliefs, or for acting for religious clients in human rights cases dealing... Continue Reading

We Confess A Holy Catholic Church

Reformed churches confess that God has always had a people, a Christ-confessing covenant community

“According to Ignatius, the defining characteristic of catholicity, i.e., of truly universal Christianity is the presence of Christ. There’s little evidence that he conceived the office of overseer (επισκοπος) in monarchical or hierarchical terms. There’s no evidence of the supremacy of the pastor of the Roman congregation.”   In Heidelberg Catechism 54 we say: 54.... Continue Reading

Shrinking Job Descriptions in the Church

The modern-day church has been guilty of shrinking the job description of our pastors and elders

“We have been focused on golden-tongued speakers, impressive and comfortable buildings, and membership growth, and have forsaken the personal touch. We are better known as preachers and speakers, and lesser known as shepherds and pastors. And our elders are viewed more as members of boards of directors and not as brothers who shepherd.”   Preaching is one of the roles of the... Continue Reading

The Audacity Of Jeb Bush: A Governor Goes All In On The Terri Schiavo Case

Bush used his administration to battle in court after court, in Congress, and in the White House

“Time has moved on, but the Schiavo ordeal is a stark reminder of how conservative the governor was and how he could dig in when he felt he was right, as was almost always the case. The most wrenching and human crisis Bush endured in his two terms provides a window into a leader who... Continue Reading

Divided By Reason (Book Review)

Worthen narrates a gripping tale, cohering a clunky, disparate constellation of religious groups

“Worthen finds this intellectual project of postwar evangelicalism largely to be a failure, and she explains why. It produced pseudo-intellectuals like Lindsay and Schaeffer. It fashioned a theological scheme of inerrancy that seemed primarily intended to police ecclesiastical boundaries. And, in the end, the movement’s constituents did not agree on much.”   In 1994, historian... Continue Reading

The Missing Strand

Trying to understand grief ~hole or whole?

We need each other. We are stronger together. We survive better together. Even if friendship or companionship is reduced to having only one other person, two are stronger than one. God, the great weaver of the world, puts individuals together in their mothers’ wombs, puts them into families, into marriages, into friendships. Even in the... Continue Reading

Why Church?

Why do I go to church? Here are fourteen reasons.

Still, a whole lot of my personal friends have abandoned the faith over the years and I’ve watched hundreds leave the church and several even go from “Bible geek” to “raging atheist”.  A while ago, I ran across an article that talked about the importance of Christians being part of a church and it brought... Continue Reading

The Grover Dill and Scut Farkus of Patriarchy

As has been observed many times, the only way to deal with a bully is to stand up to him.

The Bayly Boys, Tim and David, are pastors and patriarchs who blog at the BaylyBlog. They are great believers in and practitioners of patriarchy which they define as “father rule” and its corollary fertility. Both were at one time involved with the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, Tim as the Executive Director and David as... Continue Reading

Is It Possible for Christians to Idolize the Bible?

As important and challenging as the question is, it’s rooted in an inaccurate understanding of Scripture.

Simply put, the Bible is the voice of God.  The Father breathes out the Word.  The Son is the Word incarnate.  The Holy Spirit carried along the biblical authors so that they would speak “from God”.  The Bible is the voice of God – not just the red letters – the whole Bible. As such, the... Continue Reading

Downton Abbey — What Are Americans Really Watching?

They are not merely watching an historical drama, they are witnessing the passing of a world

There are countless lessons for American Christians to observe as we watch Downton Abbey. But we ought not to miss the larger story of which tales like Downton are only a part. The world that was passing away was not only a world of footmen, but also of faith. Britain would never be the same again, and that... Continue Reading

Preaching: More Than Teaching

The hard part is preaching it in such a way that God’s people see how his Word is applicable to and practical in all areas of faith and life.

“If the goal [of preaching] is solid biblical teaching, then a sermon full of the truth always comes up trumps.  But if the goal of expository preaching is that God’s Word changes lives – converting sinners and sanctifying saints – then, all of the sudden, the stakes are much higher….  If the point of preaching... Continue Reading

Ask Celebrity Pastor: How Do I Energize My Dead Worship Service?

A parody

Tyler Hawk is the Lead Visionary Imagineer at Saddlevation Summit Church. He is the best selling author ofThe 42 Indispensable, Undeniable, 360 Degree, Risky Laws Of Leadership and Crazy Wild: Doing Ministry On The Bleeding Edge. He has 4.5 million followers on Twitter and regularly speaks at conferences such as Catalyst, fUEl, and ReLiveinate. Tyler has... Continue Reading

The Measure You Use

Ask yourself: How do I want people to measure me?

This is not social commentary. This is not political prescription. There is time for both of these things, but this post is about something else. It’s about taking Matthew 7:2 as a starting point (not the end, but the beginning) for living out and living into the picture of racial harmony we will rightfully hear... Continue Reading

I’ve Sinned. Now What?

Eleven Reminders for Dealing with Sin

We aren’t free to willfully sin so that we get God’s forgiveness. We’re not free to shrug at sin as if it isn’t any big deal. Nor are we to happily embrace our failure and nonchalantly admit that we deserve hell. Scripture repeatedly encourages us to take drastic measure. Run from the sin. Plan to... Continue Reading

Francis Makemie and Freedom of Speech

The first American Presbyterian pastor helped entrench the right to free expression and free worship by appealing to the principles of the Glorious Revolution.

This developing American Calvinism, far from the modern caricature as a narrow or severe sect, was a boost to personal freedom and civil discourse in its heyday. The first American Presbyterian pastor helped entrench the right to free expression and free worship by appealing to the principles of the Glorious Revolution. A tidal wave of... Continue Reading

Buyer Beware: The Value of Near-Death Accounts

Religious hucksterism is not a new phenomenon. From Sinclair Lewis’ Elmer Gantry to televangelist Jim Bakker to some proponents of the Prosperity Gospel, fictional and real life examples abound.

The colossal sales of books about near-death experiences attest that many people desire to go to heaven and are curious about what the afterlife will entail. Despite the revelation that Malarkey invented his son’s story, millions will undoubtedly continue to find near-death accounts to be captivating, inspiring, and reassuring. Nevertheless, for Christians, the teachings of... Continue Reading

Stop Asking Jesus into Your Heart

Countless people in our churches today are genuinely saved, but they just can’t seem to gain any assurance about their salvation.

Does this mean that backsliding Christians are not saved? No, believers can still backslide. Technically, any time you sin you are backsliding. As a believer, you will struggle with indwelling sin for the rest of your life. You will fall often, and sometimes you will fall hard. But each time you fall, you get up again,... Continue Reading

Churches In Niger And Other Former French Colonies Torched Over Charlie Hebdo Cartoons

Cartoon depictions of Muhammad are proving costly for Christians in majority-Muslim countries in Africa.

Sheikh Saliou Mbacke, coordinator of the Interfaith Action for Peace in Africa, said he strongly condemned the attacks on churches in Niger, but cartoons of such a revered figure were an act of provocation that could not be justified by freedom of expression. “Muslim demonstrations to express their anger are legitimate,” said Mbacke, a Muslim leader... Continue Reading

Atlanta Is Burning: A New And Ominous Threat To Religious Liberty

A new illiberal spirit threatens our most basic liberties, reducing the First Amendment’s protection of free religious exercise to the confines of our homes and our churches, or our minds.

The First Amendment does protect religious beliefs — especially when one is at work or in the public square. The question is: Will we as a nation yield to this new and ominous attack on religious liberty, or will we mean what we say when we affirm the First Amendment? This question reaches far beyond... Continue Reading

How To Dump Your Wife and Keep Your “Ministry”

Emergent leader Tony Jones had a problem. He had a girlfriend…but he also had a wife. What is a holy man to do with such a conundrum?

Tony Jones divorced his wife in 2009. His wife discovered the affair in 2008. He claimed to be “spiritually” married to the new woman. Problem solved! He even wrote a short book on the subject cloaking his theory as a way for churches to deal with same sex marriage. “There Are Two Marriages: A Manifesto On... Continue Reading

Reports of the Collapse Have Perhaps Been Exaggerated — But Only Temporarily

Will evangelicalism hold firm on the gay marriage question?

All of this has to be disheartening to people in the pews who every day face work environments made increasingly hostile by this issue. They need clear, coherent, and truly compassionate leadership.   If the Top Men will only speak out on the most egregious examples which take place safely outside of their camp and... Continue Reading

Nine Observations About Announcements in Worship Services

To have or not to have announcements in the worship services?

Pastors also receive pressure from different groups and individuals to make certain their announcements are made. Most every church member has his or her own idea about priorities in the church. One pastor recently told me that a church member got mad at him because he did not announce that the member’s daughter was named salutatorian of... Continue Reading

Article on the Exodus Population Numbers

Exegesis of the numbers of the Exodus without exaggerating the numbers

It is hoped that this paper will stimulate further analysis of various numerical information contained in Scripture to help clarify any seeming paradoxes centered around such numbers. The results of such analyses likely may well have sermon applications beyond the details of the specific passages in question.   I think this issue has serious ramifications... Continue Reading

Lecrae Confesses Abortion, Invites Others Into The Light

Such deep guilt can only be relieved by the open confession of sin, a story Lecrae Moore lived out firsthand, and a message he’s now willing to share

“Lecrae sensed abortion was the wrong decision, but he also saw abortion as an easy escape from the responsibilities of fatherhood. “Had it not been for the conviction of the Spirit, who I was suppressing with drugs and alcohol, I don’t know if I would have felt anything. But I was so callous and so... Continue Reading

9 Things You Should Know About Boko Haram

The group is comprised of radical Islamists who oppose both Westerners and “apostate” Muslims

“In 2009 the group launched military operation to create an Islamic state in Africa. The group carried out a number of attacks on police stations and other government buildings in Maiduguri. Nigeria’s security forces were able to capture the group’s leader, Muhammad Yusuf, the group’s headquarters, and many of its fighters. The Nigerian government thought... Continue Reading

The Last Act Is Bloody. Always Bloody.

The denial of death, or at least of the necessary horror at death, has come to infect our world.

“I have remarked in the past that too often Christians celebrate the resurrection of Christ from the grave without really acknowledging why he was in the grave in the first place.  We jump from Good Friday to Easter Sunday without lingering outside the tomb.  That explains not simply the Malarkey incident but also much of... Continue Reading