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
Is Hobby Lobby “Forcing Religion” Onto Employees? Hardly
This case is not about a woman’s “right” to purchase contraceptives and abortifacient drugs. This case is about who will be forced to pay for them.
Somehow the reporting on this story is upside down. Contrary to what you may have read, the employees of Hobby Lobby are not being denied or coerced in any way. Hobby Lobby, however, is. The federal government is trying to coerce the owners of Hobby Lobby into violating their most deeply held religious beliefs. To... Continue Reading
More Allegations of Plagiarism Surface Against Mark Driscoll
Two additional allegations of plagiarism— both taken word-for-word from Carson’s “New Bible Commentary“ and published in Driscoll’s book on 1&2 Peter
“The passages that Mefferd has identified appear to be copied almost verbatim from the Carson New Bible Commentary. Merely changing a few words, such as ‘unschooled’ to ‘uneducated’, is likely not enough to skirt liability for copyright infringement,” Greenberg said. “The only relevant defense that I could see Driscoll having is independent creation–that is, he... Continue Reading
The Interpretation of History
The problems with N.T. Wright's view of redemptive history
However, I would deny that God appointed Abraham himself or Israel itself as the solution of the problem. Instead, Abraham and Israel functioned as the carrier of the Messiah, who was always intended from the beginning (dated from Genesis 3:15, humanly speaking; from eternity, from God’s perspective) to be the solution to the problem of Adam and Eve’s Fall. This does not result... Continue Reading
The Apostolic Gospel Imperative, the Extent of the Atonement, and Evangelism
Christian preaching should be biblical, Christ-centered, applicatory, urgent, and churchly or ecclesial
If the apostolic kerygma is any indication, gospel proclamation should involve, not plaintive pleading, but a powerful command to repent, believe, and be united with Christ and his church. The fact that so much evangelism today is lackluster, if not impotent, may have something to do with the fact that it is so different from... Continue Reading
His Love Endures Forever
An eternal view of God's work in our lives leads to thankfulness.
The testimonies of God’s faithfulness over time showed me that an eternal view fosters thankfulness. God’s love is enduring even when I am frightened by change or discouraged by the crisis of the moment. This year, our church’s 40th anniversary celebration aptly coincided with the Thanksgiving season. We listened to the testimonial of Peggy,... Continue Reading
The House That Steven Built
A Charlotte megachurch pastor’s megamansion raises eyebrows and critical questions
Furtick’s house will be more than 8,500 square feet of heated space, with nearly that many more feet of porches, pavilions, and garages. It has five bedrooms and seven bathrooms. The station needed a helicopter because the house sits on a 19-acre lot surrounded by gated communities and similarly sized mansions, posted with no trespassing... Continue Reading
Spiritual Journey of a Missionary to Africa
Strange things, like at the end of 2013, the biggest happenings in the spiritual universe are the New Atheism and Roman Catholicism
There has been something called the Seeker movement. Near as I can tell, this is the church version of Walt Disney’s High School Musical, often with in-house rock bands, interpretive dancers, and comedy teams. You’ll hear them say things like, “We’re the church for the unchurched.” I wonder if they realize what a Catch-22 phrase... Continue Reading
An Illustration of Repentance at Work in the Lives of Believers
Illustrating the nature of repentance as a saving grace
We all recognize that that first act of repentance is only the beginning. We recognize that sins must be mortified. We recognize that there is the problem of indwelling sin in the life of the believer. But I suspect that we don’t often attach repentance to these things. In part, this may be because we... Continue Reading