The Joy of Seeing Christ in the Old Testament

When we see the Old Testament in light of Jesus, we don't destroy its essence, we enrich it.

Now contrary to some objections I have heard, when we point the Old Testament to Jesus Christ, we don’t destroy the practical applications of the Old Testament stories. Seeing Christ in the Old Testament doesn’t mean we can’t learn from David’s failures or Israel’s sinfulness in the wilderness. It likewise doesn’t mean we can’t learn about... Continue Reading

Yes, My Life is Out of Control, and That’s a Good Thing

Life this side of eternity is out of control—that’s the nature of life in a fallen world. But God is in control.

I think that’s why we are all so prone to latch on to secondary things that give us a sense of control. We spend endless time discussing the latest dietary craze or wonder drug because it gives us the feeling that we are the captains of our own ships. Decisions about the education of our... Continue Reading

As The Sun Shines on the Dung Hill (Or: Grace and Works Inconsistent)

God justifies a sinner only by grace, and faith is a God-given instrument that receives God’s free gift of Christ’s righteousness.

“It is without respect to any work done by the sinner (Titus 3:5). Grace and works are inconsistent in this matter. Men may render themselves acceptable to men, by some work of theirs, that is profitable or pleasant to them; but no work of ours can render us acceptable to God. It is natural for... Continue Reading

My Top Ten Suggestions for New Pastors

Yes, this list purposefully begins and ends with prayer – and encourages it throughout. How else can an inexperienced man with the impossible assignment of representing Christ to his people possibly succeed?

Do not forget you have a family (if you do). Those first months can be exhilarating, challenging, and exceedingly frustrating – sometimes all at once! You can think you should squeeze all the above and much more into them. In the midst of all the pastoral pressure, it can be easy to neglect your own family... Continue Reading

What The Bible Is All About

God the Son did not first appear in the history of redemption in the incarnation, but has been mediating the knowledge of God and saving his people for thousands of years before.

Scripture is not a random collection of ancient myths and aphorisms. It has a unifying message told in every genre, by every author, in every period of redemptive history. The unifying thread is not God’s plan to establish a glorious national people on the earth nor is the Bible about the reader. The Bible is... Continue Reading

Instead Of A Late-Term Abortion For My Disabled Child, I Chose Life

Carrying my son in my body did not give me the right to take his life because he didn’t fit into the preconceived notions I had about what I wanted out of a child.

As women came forward to shout their abortions in response to Trump, the accounts were often similar. It was a wanted pregnancy, but they received a poor prenatal diagnosis, and chose to abort their babies rather than give birth. Their baby wouldn’t live long after birth, their quality of life would be “poor,” nothing could... Continue Reading

How To Be a Friend To Someone Facing Abuse

"The words of our enemies aren’t as awful as the silence of our friends." Daisy Coleman

First of all, she needs to be believed. This may sound trivial, but there will be many people who will not believe her, or will minimize what she says or what she has been through. She also needs to hear you say you will never leave her.  You should show her this with both words... Continue Reading

Why Calvin Had Good News for the Poor

Throughout his ministry Calvin stressed that the church must embrace its call to care for the distressed.

Times have changed, of course. Diaconal models in 16th-century Geneva won’t work in 21st-century America. Our economic, social, and political conditions forbid it. These days, talk of “justice” in the church is often either politicized according to a Right or Left agenda or, reacting to such politicization, silenced altogether. But by highlighting the true nature... Continue Reading

This is Not Too Good To Be True

All who who are united with Jesus Christ, are accepted and beloved without degree or level.

And for you who are united with Christ Jesus, there is nothing you can do to affect your standing. You cannot get closer to God. You cannot find yourself further from God. Your affections, thoughts, words, and deeds have zero effect on your position, for it is no longer “my righteousness” that matters but “My Righteousness”... Continue Reading

Lloyd-Jones and Stott: An Evangelical False Dilemma

A British Presbyterian angle on what happened between John Stott and Martyn Lloyd-Jones 50 years ago and its effect on the church particularly in England.

But surely, 50 years on, with the horrific effects of secularism unfolding around us in a manner neither Stott nor Lloyd-Jones could have imagined in 1966, it is time to heed what Lloyd-Jones got so right, and with which Stott, in a real but different way, concurred: we should indeed ‘face our problems on the... Continue Reading

Review: “Humble Roots – How Humility Grounds and Nourishes Your Soul”

“Humble Roots” offers a compelling, and profoundly countercultural, vision for what it truly looks like to live as imago dei, in an increasingly imago apparatus world.

In her introduction she states, “…looking like God does not mean that we are God. We are made in God’s image, but we are made nonetheless.” (p. 11) Anderson’s assertion is that the key to productive and peaceful Christian living is found, not in fighting our limitations, as the modern titans of technology would insist, but in embracing them, and... Continue Reading

Fencing the Table (Part 1)

How to prepare church members to receive the Lord’s Supper.

As we engage the questions before us we should recognize that the sacraments must be set in the larger context of ecclesiology (the doctrine of the church). Our fencing inquiry is not a simple question that can consider the sacrament in the abstract. Rather it is a complex matter involving several issues of wider biblical,... Continue Reading

Ashers are Blessed

The Ashers, whose bakery shop is in central Belfast, were sued for claims of not supporting same-sex marriage.

We’re being told we have to promote a message even if it’s against our conscience” (Daniel McArthur). This case is about punishing those who refuse to support same-sex marriage. That is a serious step: it is the force of civil law being used to persecute. Many will suffer if this ruling is sustained in law in a way... Continue Reading

Reformation Romance: Pigtails On The Pillow – Part 2

Romance-challenged Luther was resolved to marry Katharina von Bora but seemingly without consulting her.

Little wonder that Luther called marriage “the school of character.” No doubt, it was to be a lifetime tutorial that worked both ways. While Katharina had her work cut out for her living with a giant of a man like Luther, marriage would require still more radical adjustments for Luther. “There is a lot to get... Continue Reading

Can You Be Progressive and Intolerant?

Real evangelicals don’t exclude but embrace everyone—is this true?

I mean, there may be some progressive, egalitarian, feminist evangelicals today–but centuries ago? Surely not. But you would be wrong. Evangelicalism in America mainly sprang out of the soil of eighteenth and (perhaps especially) nineteenth-century American revivalism. And that nineteenth-century revivalism was in many cases quite progressive on several key social issues–one of which was the... Continue Reading

Do Not Add To The Offense Of The Gospel

The fruit of the Spirit that the NT calls us to exhibit includes gentleness, meekness, patience, and love

We care about our friends, and we want them to participate in the joy and discovery of this wonderful thing called salvation. But when we do that, so often we come across to these people as saying, in attitude if not in words, “I’m good and you’re not.” People are turned off by that, and... Continue Reading

The Ashley Madison Scandal One Year Later

Expressed repentance and the hatred of the consequences of sin look exactly alike, for a time—and then the paths separate.

I have been deeply troubled over the past year as I have heard story after story of pastoral repentance. Many well-meaning articles have been written by respected leaders declaring fallen leaders repentant – only weeks after the initial exposure of sin. My concern is grounded in the fact that all too often, identifying an act... Continue Reading

How My Parents Taught Me to Love the Church

Whether you realize it or not, you’re teaching your kids a theology of the church with your time.

When you’ve had a busy weekend and you make it to church, your kids notice. When you rearrange athletic obligations to get to church, your kids notice. When you get in late from a trip Saturday night and make it to church, your kids notice. When you are willing to slog through traffic after work... Continue Reading

Does The Westminster Confession Contradict Calvin On Assurance And Faith?

Calvin recognized that we do not always experience the benefits of the assurance that belongs to faith.

Calvin repeatedly recognized similar problems that the divines were facing, that faith as we experience seems to fluctuate. He recognized, e.g., that all believers have implicit faith in something or someone. “We certainly admit that so long as we dwell as strangers in the world there is such a thing as implicit faith; not only... Continue Reading

A Culture of Encouragement

To anyone struggling with discouragement, at least take the simple step first: “As you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.” (Lk. 6:31)

Beyond getting some counsel and making it a regular matter of prayer, I wasn’t quite sure how to deal with what I felt was a lack of encouragement from the congregation. I honestly didn’t know whether people appreciated my ministry or not, so I often assumed the worst. I never struggled to the point of... Continue Reading

Growing Up Christian in Secular America

Have we unknowingly aided our youth in their secularizing flight from God? If so, what can we do?

Growing up in such a world, we are left desensitized and yet also yearning for something more. In a real way, our youth have grown tired of the cliché theologizing, the cheap grace, and the lack of love. This tension has created a people searching for transcendence—people looking for love and life. And that is... Continue Reading

When Darkness Hides His Face

Following Jesus doesn’t mean life will be painless and easy!

Dear Christian, if you’re suffering, facing affliction, or if your cross has recently been very hard to bear, don’t take it as a sign that God is angry with you, has stopped loving you, or has forgotten about you.  By God’s grace, our suffering is productive (Rom 5:3-4).  Our feelings are not a reliable guide... Continue Reading

Does Trusting God Remove Anxiety?

Because I trust God completely, I bring him my angst again and again.

This pattern of truth, honest admission of pain, reminder of truth is a far better picture of the reality of life hidden in Christ than the false stoic (or Zen) image of being unperturbed by the chaos in and around us. God does not remove us from the storm. Instead, we express our trust (as... Continue Reading

What Happens When Normal Women Try to Become Superwomen

Becoming superwomen often comes at the price of our mental, spiritual, and emotional health

We often think of humility as a heightened awareness of our faults, but humility is actually an awareness of our limitations. When Jesus invites us to learn from his humility, he’s calling us to embrace the same human limits that he embraced when he came to earth. The need for food, sleep, exercise, relaxation —... Continue Reading

The “Authenticity” Paradox

There’s something about the word “authenticity” that makes me cringe

I’m concerned that in all this talk about authenticity today we give ourselves (and others) permission to give voice to thoughts and action that we need to bring under submission to the Word of God. You cannot live for Christ while constantly saying “yes” to yourself. We all know Christians who boast, “I’m a Christian... Continue Reading

Reformation Romance: Love and Marriage Luther and Katie’s Way (Part 1),

Luther received a letter, a passionate appeal for his counsel from more than a dozen nuns who desperately wanted to flee the nunnery; and then he played matchmaker.

Setting to work with his typical zeal, Luther soon had matches or suitable circumstances arranged for all but one of the runaway nuns, spunky twenty-six-year-old Katharina von Bora. After several failed attempts—picky Katharina turned down several offers of marriage—she laughed off an aged candidate with the quip that she would rather marry Luther than Dr.... Continue Reading

The Missing Elements of Modern Worship

Where have they gone? Or, perhaps more importantly, why have they gone?

“It’s not that every one of these elements has to be prominent every week (and it’s not like these are the only elements that have gone missing). There is a time and place for topical sermons. A confession of sin and assurance of pardon may not be necessary every week. There can be a time... Continue Reading

Gay Man Starts Social Media Campaign Over Church Dismissal For Unrepentant Homosexuality

Jesus, Thomas wrote, was angry with people who told others they were not worthy to be His followers

“Your desire to actively participate in a same-sex relationship with another man, and your unwillingness to heed biblical counsel from your church to turn from that relationship, has made it exceedingly difficult to shepherd you during this time,” the letter said.   A gay man disciplined by a Dallas church for giving in to his... Continue Reading

Are Moms Responsible For The Way Their Daughters Dress?

A five-year-old post about modesty and girls went viral, generating more than 1 million reads

The original blog by Shelly Wildman was posted in March 2011 and titled “How Your Daughter Dresses Matters,” and referenced a Wall Street Journal column from around the same time that also dealt with the issue. “[I]t’s been an interesting week,” Wildman wrote Thursday.   A Chicago-area author and blogger learned the power of social... Continue Reading

Sexual Identity: Community and Church Issues, Sexual Identity & Fear

Jesus confronts doubts even while giving (believers) a counter-cultural commission

“In my own conversations with Christians, there is perhaps even greater alarm over the agenda of sexual liberation and gender identity movements.  The questions I am asked most often about Christian higher education are ones related to threats posed by government bathroom policies or anti-discrimination regulations overriding our traditional commitments to Christian views of gender... Continue Reading