Four Types of Worship Teams
Helping build (and build up) a body is the way to go. It’s a worship team model that will endure.
In a body, there are varieties of gifts and service, but the same Lord. There are different gifts given by the Spirit, but all empowered by that same Spirit. It’s one body, with many members. The different members (like feet and hands) need each other. The different members (like ears and eyes) belong to each... Continue Reading
What Do We Do With the Imprecatory Psalms?
Ten helps from David Murray's Sing a New Song: Recovering Psalm Singing for the Twenty-First Century
Any Christian who has a high view of the normativity of all of Scripture (OT and NT) for the Christian church will wrestle with the language of cursing and imprecation found in the Psalms. Are we not called to love our enemies? How then can a Christian take such language upon his lips? Are not... Continue Reading
The 6 Assassins of A Man’s Contentment
The true enemies of contentment are within in us, which is where contentment is either fed or starved
At the heart of contentment is an embrace of the present and a willingness to enjoy the good things we have right now. These enemies distract us from the present and prompt us to either idolize or demonize our past and future. We either worship or hate the past or future, but doing so makes... Continue Reading
The Lord’s Prayer Advert Has Been Banned For Being Offensive – Which It Is
Anyone who thinks that isn’t offensive simply hasn’t been paying attention.
Personally, I think the advert is great, and that the brouhaha will cause more people to watch it in the end anyway. But as to whether it is offensive, I have to come out and say it: the secularists are right. The Lord’s Prayer is not mild, inoffensive, vanilla, listless, nominal, wishy-washy or wallpapery. If... Continue Reading
Exegesis Has Consequences
Through wrongful exegesis, people can and have been led to eternal death
There is no more dangerous and deleterious an idea than the idea that men and women do not need to hear the gospel, repent of sin, and believe upon Christ in order to be saved. Exegesis has consequences. Some exegesis has eternally disastrous consequences. Ideas have consequences. Since the dawn of Western philosophy, we have... Continue Reading
The Soil in Which Thanksgiving Grows
Gratitude and thanksgiving grows and thrives in the soil of humility
Gratitude and thanksgiving is something that both Christians and non-Christians alike both encourage. Even popular magazines this month will talk about ways to be more thankful. The question is, what makes gratitude different between believers and non-believers? Is there any difference? And can it be more than just a passing fad for the month of... Continue Reading
Planned Parenthood Asks: What Word Describes Us? Responses Show Widespread Disgust
Responses rolled in, including exploitative, mendacious, corrupt, infanticide, unsanitary, barbarous.
Social media, however, has been quite different. While the mainstream media has refrained from reasonable coverage of the videos that expose Planned Parenthood, social media has not. Millions of Americans have learned about Planned Parenthood’s practices, its willingness to change abortion procedures to procure more organs, the callousness of those who encourage such human organ... Continue Reading
3 Ways Gospel-Centered Preachers Forget to Preach the Gospel
One can preach about Jesus every week and never once preach the gospel
These sermons about the gospel tell us we need to trust in the gospel, believe the gospel, preach the gospel, live in light of the gospel, be a gospel-centered believer, attend a gospel-centered church and find the gospel in all of Scripture. What they do not give us is the actual content of the gospel.... Continue Reading
The Amazing Story of U.S. Army Chaplains Who Ministered to Nazi Leaders at the Nuremberg Trials 70 Years Ago Today
Should anyone who commits evil on a massive scale be offered a path to forgiveness?
The trial’s organizers knew that if they were going to try Nazi leaders as the world watched, they also had to follow the Geneva Conventions. Article 16 says that “ministers of religion, who are prisoners of war, whatever may be their denomination, shall be allowed freely to minister to their co-religionists.” Should anyone who... Continue Reading
“Sex Isn’t a Need.” Really? Really?
Recently I came across a Christian psychologist’s Blog addressing the question: “Do men need sex?”
“Paul teaches that those who are not married and who have sexual needs must exercise self-control and refrain from fornication. But he knows this is hard, very hard, and so urges those who burn to marry.” I don’t understand all men. I understand few women. (OK, maybe none.) My understanding of psychologists? “And I... Continue Reading
The Refugee Resettlement Process is Already Discriminatory
The Refugee Resettlement system already has “a religious test of their compassion”
As good friend of the Center, Institute for Religion and Democracy’s Faith McDonnell notes in her recent piece on the state of Christian refugees, the State Department has explicitly declared they, “would not support a special category to bring Assyrian Christians into the United States.” President Obama made headlines today in reaction to a... Continue Reading
A Sinful Man After God’s Own Heart
What character trait or conduct have you that greatly troubles your Lord and Savior?
“Christian … and yes I mean Christian … what is your sin of choice? What remnant of the flesh sticks around and still disrupts your experiential peace with God, peace with self, and peace with your neighbor? Peter struggled with faith. Martha struggled with anxiety. John the Baptist struggled with despair.” What is your sin of choice?... Continue Reading
5-Step Strategy to God-Centered Prayer
How can we ensure that our prayers are God-centered? Consider the following five-step strategy
“God is praiseworthy. Getting that fact under our skin is not as easy as we might think. Self-centered praying (which is a form of idolatry) fails to appreciate that our purpose here on earth is to praise our Creator and Redeemer.” It is easy to be critical of prayer, particularly the prayers of others.... Continue Reading
Brother, Where Is Your Identity?
God’s way of sizing up a man goes against the grain of our instinctive opinions and strategies
“What are the ways men get identity wrong? Perhaps you construct a self by the roles and accomplishments listed on your résumé. You might identify yourself by your lineage or ethnicity, by your job history or the schools you attended, by your marital status or parental role.” Who are you? What gives a man... Continue Reading
Saving Faith, Part 2: Trust in God’s Word
Though saving faith is not merely a matter of the mind, it is irreducibly cognitive
“Faith changes the sinner’s mind concerning the Word of God. Once the things of God and his Word seemed dull and foolish, but now these same Scriptures compel the soul as wisdom from the all-wise God. The once seemingly empty message of a crucified Carpenter from Nazareth becomes the life-transforming hope in the heart of... Continue Reading
Why Abraham Kuyper Became a National Hero
Have you ever heard of a theologian being so well-known that his birthday was a national holiday?
“During the course of his 57-year career, Kuyper started two newspapers, founded an influential political party, helped create a new denomination, started a university, was elected as his nation’s prime minister, and authored numerous important books.” Have you ever heard of a theologian being so well-known that his birthday was a national holiday? The... Continue Reading
The Reformation: A Bible Movement (Part 1)
Sola Scriptura dictated for the Reformers their ministries, their messages, and for many of them their martyrdom
In fact, the doctrine of sola scriptura is crucial to the understanding of the following four sola. Without the testimony of the scriptures alone as inerrant and inspired word of God, which provides a clear message of redemption to the people of God, it is impossible for a Christian to conceive of a belief in salvation... Continue Reading
Gone Fishin’ – A Forgotten Model of Pastoral Ministry
Fishing for souls is one of the most powerful models of Christian ministry and must be re-prioritized
What is a minister of the Gospel like? The most common answers include models like Shepherd, Servant, Preacher, Theologian, Teacher, Counselor, Leader, and so on. But one model that’s rarely thought about or spoken about today is the first model that Jesus used – Fisherman (Matt. 4:19). My favorite hobby probably biases me here, but... Continue Reading
Another Helpful Distinction: Filial Versus Servile Fear
This distinction is essential to a sound grasp of what John Stott called “Basic Christianity.”
Because we sin believers are often tempted to discouragement and even to depression. We are tempted to think of God chiefly as a judge and to put ourselves back on a works footing—as if God’s grace was so powerless that we could fall away by our puny efforts. We are tempted to turn inward and... Continue Reading
Challenging the Consensus Except When the Consensus Says You Shouldn’t
Much opposition to historical reliability of the biblical text comes not from critical engagement with the evidence, but from appeal to consensus
For our own part, we are already known by Grabbe not to be real scholars, even though we appear to behave as scholars in the way that we handle evidence…. In order to be real scholars, we must apparently also come to the “correct” conclusions. That is to say: we must come to Grabbe’s conclusions,... Continue Reading
The Gospel on 5 Fingers
Can you explain the gospel in 30 seconds? In one minute? In five minutes?
That’s the gospel, the good news, and if we believe in Jesus Christ and this good news and call upon him he will save us from our sins and give us eternal life. That’s a simple way to remember the gospel – five fingers. Even a child can do it. So ask God to give... Continue Reading
What Is Meant by the Term Original Sin?
Original sin has to do with the fallenness of human nature
The doctrine of original sin teaches that people sin because we are sinners. It’s not that we are sinners because we sin, but rather, we sin because we are sinners; that is, since the fall of man, we have inherited a corrupted condition of sinfulness. We now have a sin nature. The New Testament says... Continue Reading
Biblical Ethics, Government, and Refugees
How do you balance the desire to rescue refugees with the desire to keep terrorists out of your own country?
As you wrestle through the issue, you are aware that your job according to the Bible is to protect your people. Your job as a believer in Christ is to demonstrate biblical ethics, which also includes showing kindness to refugees. Both are God-given principles that you must balance. As you imagine the dilemma that person... Continue Reading
We Gather Together Where We Are
How to cope, celebrate and minister when you can't go home
It is not easy to sacrifice time with extended family when the ministry that God has called you to do is far away from the festivities. But, you can give thanks in all circumstances. In addition, there are great rewards. “…there is no one who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for... Continue Reading
Bombs or Bibles?
What should Christians desire for the Jihadist terrorists, bombs or bibles?
Last Sunday, I heard a sermon on Jonah’s refusal to take the message of God’s forgiveness to the godless and cruel Assyrians of Nineveh. When the preacher described the Assyrians as the ISIS of the ancient world, I realized I could no longer stand simplistically in judgment of Jonah’s seemingly selfish attitude. This clear comparison... Continue Reading
Presidents and Thanksgiving
Responding to a request from Congress, President George Washington issued our nation’s first Thanksgiving proclamation in 1789.
Finally, presidents have exhorted Americans to individually and collectively give thanks to God. Wilson counseled citizens “to render thanks to God” in their homes and places of worship on Thanksgiving Day. George W. Bush encouraged “Americans to gather in their homes, places of worship, and community centers” to pray and “reinforce ties of family and... Continue Reading
Seattle First Presbyterian’s Breakaway Vote Spurs Real-Estate Fight
Seattle First Presbyterian’s decision to disaffiliate from its denomination sets the stage for a battle over valuable downtown real estate.
On Sunday, Seattle First Presbyterian church members voted to split from its liberal-leaning denomination, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). In doing so, the 125-member congregation formed a corporation that now claims full control of its assets, according to documents distributed Tuesday night at a meeting of the Seattle Presbytery, the denomination’s regional authority. A real-estate battle is... Continue Reading
Should Parents Of Disabled Children Be Allowed To Stunt Their Growth?
Parents in the United States and elsewhere are looking to growth attenuation therapy as a way to make it easier to care for their disabled children.
“Treating people with dignity may require treating them as individuals with individual needs. A beloved family member whose interests are looked after—that constitutes dignity,” Diekema said. He insists the risk of a slippery slope doesn’t necessarily mean action should be avoided. (WNS)–Many parents have lamented their children growing up, with a joking wish they... Continue Reading
Oldest U.S. Graduate Seminary To Close Campus
Andover Newton Theological School announced plans to relocate and sell its 20-acre campus in Newton, Mass.
Until recently, mainline seminaries could rely on a combination of endowment proceeds and tuitions from students who expected to land full-time ministry positions after graduation. But now part-time pastorates are increasingly the norm as congregations with dwindling numbers can’t afford full-timers. Fewer would-be pastors want to incur five-figure student loan debt in exchange for a... Continue Reading
The Permanent Protest
By falsely accusing people of racism, or sexism, or homophobia, or Islamophobia, these agitators are creating angst and hatred in people’s hearts that wasn’t there previously.
The protests of the ’60s had real causes — fighting for civil rights and opposing the draft during an unpopular war. But today’s protesters are posers grasping at faux causes and ginning up pseudo-grievances about things like Halloween costumes and swastikas drawn in bathrooms. They are protesters in search of an issue, agitators in search... Continue Reading