Seven Ways Pastoring Has Changed in Thirty Years
Thirty years ago, the church expected the pastor to be a capable preacher and caregiver. Today much more is expected.
Outreach was accomplished by getting people to come to church services thirty years ago. That is not so today. I remember some of the classic outreach ministries I led thirty years ago. They were all designed to get people to visit church services as a first step. Today, many barriers must be addressed in order for... Continue Reading
Christian, Where is your Hope?
I made a list of where my hope isn't to remind myself
Christ is our only sure hope. Our salvation is secure in Him. God has saved us, God is saving us, God will save us. Past, present, and future. All are certain in Him. May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy... Continue Reading
Family Worship and Its Benefits
Family worship is not meant to be some kind of guilt inducing torture established by divine decree. Rather, it is a means of grace.
As we think about family worship, we should note up front that there is no verse of the Bible commanding Christian families to gather together each evening to worship. However, there are plenty of commands making it clear that Christian parents are to teach their children the faith, read the Word, and pray. In essence,... Continue Reading
Is a Father a Priest to His Family?
The teaching that a husband/father is priest to his family is unbiblical and promotes abuse
As with most errors, this unbiblical doctrine that the man is the priest of his home consists of truth mixed with error. A father is to train up his children in the instruction of the Lord. A husband is to love his wife and promote her sanctification. He surely must pray for his family. These... Continue Reading
Seven Thoughts on Pastors Writing Books
Writing is a privilege, and that should make us humble
Whether in sermons or in print, it’s not okay for pastors to take credit for something that is not theirs. Granted, the lines can be blurry. But that doesn’t mean the line doesn’t exist. And just because it feels like the sin of sloth more than the sin of theft doesn’t make it less of... Continue Reading
Death Rattle or Life Preserver? An Appeal to the NCFIC Panelists
Christian Hip Hop Artist, God's Servant, offers some thoughts on the Reformed Rap debate
Remember that we are for you. Do you remember John’s Q & A with our Lord in Luke 9:49-50, after the disciples were corrected on their views of “who is the greatest” by Jesus? “John answered, ‘Master, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he does... Continue Reading
Pastors, how do we respond to brothers in error?
What are our motives in the confrontation? Are we just being pugnacious? Or is there a more biblically formed motive for the controversy?
What should our motive be in bringing confrontation? There’s much that could be said here, but I think the scripture tells us that we ought to have in mind the best interests of both the flock and the false teachers. Public confrontation ought to be animated by a desire to protect God’s people from being... Continue Reading
A Reformed Approach to Science and Scripture
A New Free eBook from Keith Mathison
In A Reformed Response to Science and Scripture, Dr. Mathison tackles a topic that has long been a subject of debate, aiming to equip Christians to approach questions pertaining to science and Scripture with grace, humility, and patience. “How old is the universe?” This question was raised during our 2012 National Conference and Dr. R.C. Sproul gave a... Continue Reading
Doorbusting Advent: A Prayer From a Dull Heart Not Quite Ready for Christmas
An Advent prayer—at the beginning of another Advent season
Yet as I rounded the corner and approached the storefront, my mood quickly changed. Feverishly scanning the crowd and realized I was among the Fortunate Ones. My heart leaped for joy! Racing, even floating, to the line, I did a head count: I was number 18. Standing there with a glad smug satisfaction—“I’m number 18!!” I... Continue Reading
The Sword of the Saint, Unsheathed
A review of Peter Damian’s ‘Book of Gomorrah: An Eleventh-Century Treatise Against Clerical Homosexual Practices’
Even so, like a good pastor, Damian encourages these sinners to hope in God’s mercy through repentance. He rallies them to take a bold stand “against the importunate madness of lust. If the flame of lust burns to the bones, the memory of perpetual fire should extinguish it immediately.” He urges them not to let... Continue Reading
Black Friday, Subjectivism, and Christian Liberty
The pope’s Gaudium Evangelii is an anti-capitalist screed, aiming its papal sights on the evils of the free market
Gaudium Evangelii is a good reminder to Protestants to remember the limits of ecclesiastical authority and competence. The Bishop of Rome obviously isn’t an economist and more importantly he doesn’t have the authority he arrogates to himself to pontificate (pun intended) about economics. Yes, there is a dark side to capitalism but there’s a darker... Continue Reading
C.S. Lewis: God’s Storyteller
Not long before his death on the same day as the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, Lewis remarked that he would be forgotten within five years.
Lewis thus suggests that ‘the foundation of all clear thinking about ourselves and the universe we live in’ consists in our knowledge of a moral law, and an awareness of our failure to observe it. This awareness ought to ‘arouse our suspicions’ that there “is a Something which is directing the universe and which appears... Continue Reading
Why Calvin and Not Luther?
Reasons for the appeal of Calvinism over Lutheranism for many
Calvinism is also a faith for people on the run. Literally. It was not rooted in one country, dependent on a nation-state or powerful patron. Calvin tried to settle in Geneva, but even there things did not always go well with the locals, who either resented the intrusions in their lives or refused to divvy... Continue Reading
Auburn University Homecoming Queen Molly Anne Dutton Surprised By Nation’s Reaction to Her Adoption Story
Auburn University senior Molly Anne Dutton shared the story of her birth mother's decision to put her up for adoption over abortion
On Saturday [Oct. 12, 2013], she was voted Miss Homecoming 2013 by the student body at Auburn University after weeks of sharing her platform, which tells of how Dutton’s birth mother made the decision to sacrifice her marriage and give Dutton up for adoption, as opposed to having an abortion, after surviving a sexual assault.... Continue Reading
Paul Walker – A Reminder to Those Who Teach in Christian Schools
Walker professed to be a Christian testifying that a major factor in his spiritual life was his education at an evangelical Christian school
For better or worse, many students will pass through the classrooms of Christian schools around the world. I’m so proud of many of the students who have been in one of my classes or schools in the past as they have become leaders of influence as adults. I doubt that many thought Paul Walker would... Continue Reading
The Philanthropists: William Wilberforce
Wilberforce was the English politician and Christian philanthropist who led the abolition of the British slave trade—and more
While Wilberforce is obviously most remembered for his arduous work against the British slave trade, he also made numerous other vocational and financial contributions to the work of Christ’s kingdom. He volunteered for dozens of societies. For example, he worked for the Church Missionary Society, the British and Foreign Bible Society, the Sunday School Society,... Continue Reading
Whither the PCA at 40: Anyone for a Janus Birthday in December?
This week a young denomination, the Presbyterian Church in America, will celebrate its 40th birthday
It is no accident that the PCA’s formative meeting was on December 7, 1973, the anniversary of the founding of the Southern Presbyterian denomination in 1861. This letter is as clear a herald as we have of the basic values of the birth of the PCA, often summarized as “True to the Scriptures, the Reformed... Continue Reading
How Do We Fix the Problem of Celebrity-ism?
Understanding that no matter what our success is, we are still just people.
How does celebrity-ism start? It always—always—begins when we forget who we are. For pastors, maybe the congregation’s grown to a size when people are starting to take notice. More people show up. Podcasts downloads increase. Someone suggests writing a book. That book sells more than three copies. Monday, after sharing a few thoughts on... Continue Reading
Review of Mark Jones' book Antinomianism
Jones argues well that historic Reformed theologians typically critiqued antinomian rhetoric (i.e. our sanctification means going back to our justification). They critiqued it because it was unclear, because it had a primarily negative view of the law, because it became a hermeneutical grid, and because it lacked a balanced approach to Christology and the Christian... Continue Reading
Belhaven Professor, Wife Offer Seat at the Table
Students join couple for Thanksgiving meal.
Seventeen people — mostly dance students — attended that first meal in 2010. The afternoon ended with somewhat of an impromptu performance. “We put on a performance of ‘Nutcracker’ while we were clearing the table,” Don Hubele said with a smile. “They were all doing ballet while they’re washing dishes.” Belhaven University student Kerry Jones... Continue Reading
Strassel: Piano Sonata in FTC Minor
Music teachers, beware. The feds are onto you. Better not try to raise the price of your lessons.
In March of this year, a small nonprofit in Cincinnati—the Music Teachers National Association—received a letter from the FTC. The agency was investigating whether the association was engaged in, uh, anticompetitive practices. Teddy Roosevelt busted Standard Oil. The Obama administration? It’s making the world safe from rapacious piano teachers. Every month, it seems, brings... Continue Reading
Who Can Help You Love Your Family?
When our love for God takes priority love for our family follows
Notice that Jesus is using comparative language (more than) to contrast our love for him to our love for family. He is not saying we should actively hate our families. Instead he is saying something quite radical—you can’t be his disciple unless you treasure him above everything else. Our love for him must far surpass... Continue Reading
Four Little Words
Would your biographer be able to write? ‘And that Sunday, as was his custom, he was in church to hear the reading and expositing of the Scriptures.’
If unbelieving Josephus could see the wisdom in making it a custom for God’s people to gather to ‘every week’ at the expense of ‘desert[ing] their other occupations’ to ‘obtain a thorough and accurate knowledge’ the law of Moses, doesn’t it seem like all the more important for believing Christians to gather together to obtain... Continue Reading
Christian Couple’s Sincerity Impresses Hardened Media
Reporter surprised by soft-spoken couple.
I thought they were just bigots, wrote one journalist, but Peter and Hazelmary Bull’s sincerity on the BBC made me realise “bigot” was entirely the wrong word. That was the conclusion of one hardened journalist, who does not share the Bulls’ beliefs, but thinks it is a shame they have been taken to court by... Continue Reading
Review: Bill O’Reilly’s ‘Killing Jesus’
‘Killing Jesus’ is a popularized view of Jesus with questionable historical facts and interpretations
O’Reilly’s biggest problem is that he does not appear to understand what Jesus’s purpose on earth really was or what he actually accomplished. The book jacket tells us that “Killing Jesus…recounts the seismic, political and historical events that made Jesus’s death inevitable.” And in their book, the authors do tell us the facts about how... Continue Reading
Delayed Adolescence in the Church
Pastors are burping spiritual babies and continuing to feed them blended pears and soft crackers
Why do we do this? So often the answer I have been given and have read from pastors is a pragmatic answer. We hear some combination of the following: Doctrine is difficult for people to understand. Unbelievers don’t have the ability to understand deep theology. And we want to win them to Jesus. I have... Continue Reading
Young, Restless and… Nietzschean?
Are celebrity pastors "beyond good and evil?"
Second, it is possible that we will see a re-run of the Elephant Room debacle. The whistleblowers will be maligned, marginalised and then safely ignored. Maybe, if we are lucky, there will be a public statement talking about ‘errors of judgment’ and ‘mistakes that have been made’ along with a humble commitment to ‘do better... Continue Reading
Bible Secrets Revealed: A Response to the New History Channel Series (Part 2)
Three misrepresentations in the latest episode of the new series on the Bible
These three misrepresentations combine to serve a larger narrative, namely that Jews/Christians have no real claim on the Holy Land because the Exodus is a myth, and, more than that, the violence in the modern day Holy Land is due to the violent and aggressive teachings of the Bible. And glaringly absent in all of... Continue Reading
Why Do Pastors Get a Housing Allowance?
It would be unreasonable to tax parsonages as income, and it would be showing favoritism to limit the housing allowance to only parsonages
I think the housing allowance exemption for pastors is a good idea and should be maintained (but obviously I have a dog in this fight). The less the government regulates the inner workings of churches the better. If it is allowed to stand, the ruling that invalidated the housing allowance exemption for pastors will have... Continue Reading
How Do You Handle Betrayal?
We can take risks and truly love people because we are loved by the only One that matters
Jesus knew he was going to be betrayed in the worst kind of way. But he also knew it was part of the Father’s plan. He recognizes this in the Word of God (John 17:12) regarding his suffering. But in his suffering, he did not take measures to protect himself from the pain of betrayal.... Continue Reading