Should a Pastor Be Discouraged if His Church is in Decline?

Pastors, preach the word, love those people, stay a while, and may God give you grace to determine what your “decline” should say.

How many people now attend a church versus ten years ago and why, does give us some helpful insight into why a church is struggling, but that does not always tell the full story.  This way of evaluation can also be an unnecessary source of discouragement to a pastor.  The more I hear the push to overcome the... Continue Reading

Victoria Osteen, The Glory Of God, And Reformed Worship

Do we worship for God’s own glory, or do we worship God for our own good?

God made us to glorify him. That is what we are for. That’s what we’re here for. “That’s why I’m here,” to quote James Taylor. And when we do what God made us for, when we fulfill the purpose he put us here for, we experience his pleasure, the enjoyment of his glory, the blessing of... Continue Reading

The Fugitive, The Truth, And Social Media

James tells us that the tongue is a powerful and dangerous thing. How much more a keyboard or a keypad on a mobile device?

Remarkably, wonderfully, graciously Jesus obeyed and died as the substitute for liars, backbiters, slanderers, and gossips but we, who name Christ’s name, who’ve been baptized into that name and into his church, who have been taught the truth, must now be committed to the truth and not to lies in our face-to-face communications and in... Continue Reading

David and the Consecrated Bread: Were Mark and Jesus Mistaken?

A response to one of Peter Enns' “Aha moments: biblical scholars tell their stories.”

I can understand why some scholars may not be convinced by this solution.  But I am consistently amazed at how few ever even acknowledge knowing about it, much less interacting with it.  I have cited it in several of my books as have other leading evangelical  commentators, who have found it completely satisfactory.  It’s unfortunate... Continue Reading

What Would it Have Been Like to Attend a Puritan Worship Service?

A description of a typical worship service

In each service he would clearly have understood that the way of worship was not simply the manner in which the particular assembly of Christians wished to worship God, but rather that it was the kind of worship that God himself demanded in his Word. The lengthy readings from the Scriptures, the Baptismal formula taken from... Continue Reading

I Stand With Michael Farris Against The Abuses of the Patriarchy Movement

As it is with Islam so it is with Patriarchy. Where you find Patriarchy you find abuse.

The Patriarchy movement has sheltered, hidden and protected abusive parents for years. It gives abusive and controlling men moral and even biblical legitimacy for their abuses. Michael Farris’ points were not strawmen, as the Patriarchs claim, because those beliefs are what some people in the movement live out. Power corrupts and the more power you... Continue Reading

Preaching & Piety: Are we Donatists?

What does the holiness of the minister have to do with the efficacy of the preached Word?

A plain reading of the text leaves us with little doubt that personal holiness and perseverance in holiness are means (along with teaching true doctrine) that God uses in the salvation and sanctification of Christ’s bride. What a thought, for ministers, that watching ourselves and our teaching has eternal consequences for us and our people.... Continue Reading

California: All Health Insurance Must Cover Abortion

The decision is a reversal of policy stemming from the decision by two Catholic universities not to fund elective abortions through their employee health plans.

The Life Legal Defense Foundation (LLDF) and Alliance Defending Freedom, sent a letter to Rouillard on Friday saying that under federal law, California cannot force employers to cover elective abortions. The groups said they would file a civil rights complaint with the federal government unless the state reinstated its previous policy.   Health insurance companies in California... Continue Reading

Distortion in the Church

Liberalism is alive and well within our Evangelical churches.

The goal of the Christian Left is to undermine the authority of the Bible by painting inconsistencies in Scripture, which they hope will breed confusion and, at times, doubt. Once the lines of truth are blurred, young Evangelicals start to reconcile their faith with liberal political platforms like same-sex marriage, taxpayer funded abortions and contraception,... Continue Reading

Can I Handle The Seasons Of My Life?

I can’t handle the seasons of my life on my own, but “He who calls you is faithful; He will surely do it”

“Seasons are appointed. And we see in these verses that they are appointed by a sovereign, good God. “He has made everything beautiful in its time.” How can this be? Sure, there is abounding beauty in my life, but everything? What about suffering, adversity, and dirty dishes? The Scripture goes on to explain, “Also, he... Continue Reading

An Open Letter To The False Church

For those who hear God speak them, “Away from me” will be the most pure, righteous, just and all at once terrifying words ever breathed.

“Indeed, this letter, for many who read it, will be marked “return to sender.” Such is the nature of deception. Those who labor beneath it have become so accustomed to its crushing weight that they’ve lost all sense of it. It is my humble hope and simple prayer that, if this is you, upon reading... Continue Reading

How To Talk To The Dying

The way to talk to the dying is to return them from death to the immediate experience of life

“How are you?” is not, then, the best thing to say to a cancer patient. Lisa Bonchek Adams, who lives with metastatic breast cancer and chronicles her experience in a moving and informative blog, suggests, “Is this a good day or a bad day?” The question is apt, because even though bikur holim (visiting the... Continue Reading

The Blood That Satisfies

If you are in Christ, you live because of the blood of the Lamb of God

“What did the blood of the lambs do? It turned away God’s wrath and appeased His anger against sin. It satisfied His justice. The blood of the lambs caused God to pass over each house—for a time. The blood satisfied on the night of the Passover, but each year the sacrifices of the lambs had... Continue Reading

Identity Slices

Who am I? It’s the question I’ve asked myself over and over

“Being adopted into God’s family doesn’t mean that I no longer take pride in my heritage. I see clearly now how God has designed a rescue plan in advance to gather his children, providentially, where all my ancestors played an irreplaceable role in my salvation story and the story of our future generations. I refuse... Continue Reading

Is Original Sin A Legal Fiction?

So what do Roman Catholics — or Protestants who insist on real and personal holiness — teach about the sin of Adam imputed to new born infants?

“The magisterium has some explaining to do if you can swallow the idea that humans come into the world with the guilt of Adam’s sinful estate and then object to Protestants drawing a line between the imputation of Adam’s sin and the imputation of Christ’s righteousness. If you want to be a Pelagian about sin,... Continue Reading

9 Things You Should Know About Rabbinic Judaism

To close a small portion of the knowledge gap about our religious Jewish neighbors, here are nine things you should know Rabbinic Judaism

“In Rabbinic Judaism, the synagogue is the Jewish house of prayer. The buildings are not necessarily used for communal worship since Jewish worship can be carried out wherever ten Jews (a minyan) assemble. All synagogues contain a bimah, a table from which the Torah is read, and a desk for the prayer leader. The Torah... Continue Reading

He Is “Altogether Lovely!”

The Christian cannot say enough good about the Savior

One of my favorite passages in all Christian literature is this little summary by John Owen as he employs the expression of the bride of Christ in describing her beloved in the Song of Solomon: “He is altogether lovely.”  Here it is.   The Christian cannot say enough good about the Savior.  An eternity of... Continue Reading

Lloyd-Jones on Scandalous Grace that Isn’t Cheap

There is a fatal tendency to put up law and grace as antitheses in the wrong sense.

Is it not true to say of many of us that in actual practice our view of the doctrine of grace is such that we scarcely ever take the plain teaching of the Lord Jesus Christ seriously? We have so emphasized the teaching that all is of grace and that we ought not to try... Continue Reading

When Childhood Has Become a Race

Goodbye busy summer, hello busy school year: What have we lost in the rush?

For what purpose, parents might ask, have we banished boredom? And for what price have we filled the nooks and crannies of the everyday, cramming out the teachable moments as we sit in our house, and when we walk by the way, and when we lie down, and when we rise (Deut. 6:7)?Will someone finally ask... Continue Reading

“Men Were Created To Employ Themselves”: Calvin on Gen. 2.15

We tend towards one of two extremes in our attitudes towards work: either we make too little of it, or we make too much of it.

If Adam’s “earthly life” was in fact temporary, so also was the job he was given. In other words, even in a sinless world, work would have given way to that eternal rest, worship, and fellowship with God which was from the very beginning prophetically imaged in humankind’s weekly rest, worship, and fellowship with God.... Continue Reading

4 Ways To Live Out Your Role As Helper

One of the reasons many wives struggle in their marriages is because they refuse to embrace the role God has given them as helper to their husband.

We are not called to help our men become the perfect specimen of a husband. We are called to help him become the man God has called him to be. Namely holy and mature in Christ.  You are your husband’s helper. This is not a demeaning position, but a high calling–the calling to be a... Continue Reading

Why Does God Let Me Stay So Weak?

Why is it so hard to put sin to death? Why do we struggle and fail so much?

The more we realize our weakness, then when anything good happens through us, we know it is the power of Christ, not us. When we have tried again and again to conquer a sin, become aware of our own weakness in the battle, then finally conquer it, we know it was by Jesus’ grace and... Continue Reading

Opposing Views on Homeschool Regulation

HSLDA responds to policy recommendations from a group advocating for more government oversight

Should states regulate homeschoolers more closely? Would that help prevent rare instances of neglect—or establish a dangerous precedent of government interference? An article in the Sept. 6 issue of WORLD explores the question of abuse among homeschooling families. Although available evidence suggests abuse and neglect are less common than average among homeschoolers, the Coalition for... Continue Reading

‘Worship Wars’ Have Died Down But Some Christians Are Focused on ‘Coolness’ Instead of Genuine Ministry

Worship Pastor & Recording Artist Lincoln Brewster Weighs in on 'Authentic' Ministry

“And it really is true, it’s who we are. We will worship. The problem is, we worship everything. It’s a focus issue most of the time. Even in the case of hymns, many people worship the hymns. There [are] church splits and worship pastors getting fired, all kinds of craziness because of songs. Even if... Continue Reading

Dear PBS, I don’t think there’s a compassionate way to murder infants

PBS has decided to air a 90 minute pro-late term abortion propaganda piece

Look behind those abortion clinics, PBS. Whose bodies are in the hazardous waste containers? Whose corpses are incinerated by the thousands? Whose heart is injected with poison? Whose spinal cord is snipped? The abortionists? Or the babies? You answer that question, and then tell me who needs the humanizing around here.   Dear PBS, This... Continue Reading

A Review of Bird’s “Evangelical Theology”

I’m glad I own Bird’s Systematic Theology, and think it is a helpful contribution to theology, even though it has some serious weaknesses of which our readers should be aware.

I do have notable concerns about several theological positions Bird advocates.  First, and most importantly, Bird departs from historic Reformed theology in the areas of covenant and justification.  Major red flags here: he rejects the covenant of works and disagrees with imputation in justification (he likes the term “incorporation” – i.e. union with Christ).  Second,... Continue Reading

Ashes And Good Theology

Good theology doesn't deny the reality of ashes; rather it affirms the undiminished love of God in the face of a diminished and fallen creation

Our faith is in a God who is good, and good all the time, even when buildings burn and we lose hope in structures and lose faith in human beings who set the fires.  Our faith is in a God who is good in the midst of pestilence, and war, and the brutality of authority... Continue Reading

5 Reasons Your Church May Be So Small

Large or small, your church needs to worship the Lord, care for the flock, and strive to serve Jesus well

I pastor a small church. I love small church life. I love the familiarity, the closeness, and the pace of life in small churches. We’re in a small town/rural community. We’re striving to repent of our self-righteousness. We’re trying to make sure our worship and our church life is accessible to new people. Our leaders... Continue Reading

Kindness and Repentance

We’re not doing much with repentance. What does it mean and where does it fit in our lives?

I know the Romans outline, it always sounded to me like law first then the relief of the gospel. But I know now it’s bigger than that. Could it be that what’s missing today in our church isn’t ‘not enough Hell’ but ’not enough kindness of God’?   We still use that word repentance but... Continue Reading

Taking Friendship To A New Level

God is relational. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit co-exist as a perfect, mutually-loving, mutually-supportive, in-covenant community; we are created in God’s image and we need relationships, too

Whereas “modern” friendship asks, “What can this person do to make my life better?” a Gospel-centered friendship asks, “What can I do to make this person’s life better? What can I do to ‘enhance her glory,’ to help her be and become all she can be, as the person God created her to be and... Continue Reading