The Antidote to Anemic Worship

A concern for true biblical worship was at the very heart of the Reformation.

In far too many churches, the Bible is nearly silent. The public reading of Scripture has been dropped from many services and the sermon has been sidelined, reduced to a brief devotional appended to the music. Many preachers accept this as a necessary concession to the age of entertainment. Some hope to put in a... Continue Reading

PCA Study Committee Report on the Role of Women in the Ministry of the Church: Recommendation #6

Assessing Recommendation 6 of the PCA Role of Women in the Church Report presented to the 45th General Assembly.

Third, it removes unnecessary controversy from the recommendation. The last clause in the original recommendation inexplicably includes a reference to deaconesses. This inclusion is inexplicable because it is not a recommendation, but a statement. The Assembly deleted this clause in order to remove any potential controversy that including such a statement might produce. The revised... Continue Reading

Just What Is Godly Sex? – Part 2

Sex, like all of life, is profoundly theological, while being gloriously earthy and physical.

Some Christians believe the world’s lie that maximum pleasure is the goal of sex. Scripture warns that in the last days people will be “lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God” (2 Timothy 3:4). God wants us to know him more fully in all of life, to worship him as our Creator and see... Continue Reading

“Modest is Hottest” Is Not In The Bible

It isn’t so much what we wear as how we confront lust in our hearts.

Not only does Jesus say nothing about female culpability in a man’s fantasies, he absolutely destroys any excuses a man might make about his inability to control his own urges. No, Jesus says, a man’s culpability begins and ends with his own dang eyes and right hand…Jesus is always pointing back to the broken human heart as... Continue Reading

Why You Will Join the Wrong Church

Our culture’s view of love and commitment mirrors how many Christians view church membership.

Joining a church, like seeking a spouse, is daunting. Loving others makes us vulnerable and committing ourselves to a church immerses us in the needs of other sinners. Eventually, every congregation will find a way to get under our skin, frustrate us, or even wound us—and we will do the same to them. Our relationships... Continue Reading

11 Reasons Spurgeon Was Depressed

Spurgeon owned more than thirty books on mental health. He read about depression, wrote about depression, and suffered from depression.

Spurgeon’s depression didn’t hinder his ministry – in fact, it helped it. Spurgeon’s many faces might have frustrated the artist trying to paint his portrait, but they also gave the pastor a multi-faceted empathy for the problems facing his flock. That’s one reason Spurgeon was “the people’s preacher.” Spurgeon called his depression “a prophet in... Continue Reading

The Marrow Controversy: The Book

Fisher’s work is filled with practical advise and tidbits that are relevant your Christian living today and current debates on the nature and role of sanctification.

The Marrow of Modern Divinity is still worth reading today. It gives not only doctrine but great pastoral wisdom. Regardless of whether or not one reads the book, the issues remain current today. We must always guard the gospel against legalism and antinomianism. In resisting one, we must not fall into the error of the other. We... Continue Reading

9 Ways To Be Encouraged In Difficult Ministry Days

Some ways to be encouraged in ministry even those hard days.

Get outside the church, and tell somebody about Jesus. Few things redirect us from our troubles like helping others understand the grace of God. Even if nobody listens, your obedience to the Great Commission will bring some joy. Take a day off. In fact, take a few days off and do something you love to do. For... Continue Reading

Comfort on the Deathbed (Or: A Pastor’s Most Important Resource)

"As Christians approach death, Goulart recognizes, they are frequently tempted to doubt God’s promised salvation and despair of their future hope."

“In this spiritual drama, Satan is especially active. Goulart’s discourse ‘Remedies Against Satan’s Temptations in our Final Hour’ enumerates the stinging accusations and doubts that Satan launches against God’s children as they struggle on their deathbeds. The voice of Satan accuses: ‘You are a miserable sinner, worthy of damnation.’ ‘Your sins are too great to... Continue Reading

The Piper Scale of Female Leadership

With profound apologies to Robin Williams, Dead Poet's Society, and the authors of the screenplay, I present to you a parody: the Piper Scale of Female Leadership

Recently I was re-reading John Piper’s explanation for what types of careers and jobs are appropriate for women. He goes into a long and complicated description of how to determine what types of leadership and influence a woman can have over a man without doing damage to their masculinity and femininity. It occurred to me... Continue Reading

5 Passages Your Pastor Wishes You’d Stop Taking Out of Context

How we get them wrong and what church leaders can do about it.

Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers (3 John 2 NASB). Sometimes misinterpreting a passage boils down to decontextualizing a single word—in this case prosper. “This passage has typically been used as a proof text that God is mandated to bless in a very... Continue Reading

The Reformed Churches Confess Infant Baptism

In light of this evidence, it is hard to see how insisting on infant baptism is anything but consistent with the covenant theology and confession of the Reformed Churches

In the Reformation, the Reformed Churches appealed to the unrevoked divine promises to Abraham, “I will be a God to you and to your children, which the Apostle Peter reiterated in Acts 2:39 and thus confessed infant baptism as essential to the Reformed faith and practice. In contrast, as Denault observes, the Baptists wanted to... Continue Reading

The Agonizing Ordeal of Eugene Peterson — You Might Be Next

Those who have fled for security to the house of evasion must know that the structure has crumbled. It always does.

Consider these lessons from Eugene Peterson’s ordeal. First, there is nowhere to hide. Every pastor, every Christian leader, every author  — even every believer — will have to answer the question. The question cannot simply be about same-sex marriage. The question is about whether or not the believer is willing to declare and defend God’s... Continue Reading

Rethinking Christian Calling

You don’t need a divine calling to confirm the decisions in your life.

The Christian life is one where we are called to be holy. As Paul wrote: “For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness” (1 Thessalonians 4:7). It is the daily struggle of every Christian to live in a manner worthy of that calling. Why unnecessarily press upon people the need to seek a divine... Continue Reading

The Unfortunate Vindication of the Alt Right

SBC pastor Lawrence Ware has decided to forfeit his ordination: “I love the church. But I love black people more.”

I reject categorically the racial idolatry of the alt right. I reject with equal force the religion of race held by Lawrence Ware and Black Lives Matter. The religion of racial idolatry is a dead end for reconciliation and poisonous to the gospel. I pray it will be rejected in the PCA.   In recent... Continue Reading

Christ, the Content of the Law

Not only was Christ the giver of the Law, but also the very content and substance that the Moral Law of God imaged and pictured

We must never think of the Old Testament People of God as a carnal people, hoping in temporal promises, and only reaching Christ in spite of the Old Covenant. We must instead put ourselves in the shoes of the faithful saints of old by attending to the actual words of Scripture. Held out before them was the... Continue Reading

The Suffering and the Glory of Psalm 22

We wonder how our loving heavenly Father can stand idly by when we are in such distress.

Yet, even in this extreme distress, David never loses faith or falls into complete hopelessness. His anguish leads him to prayer, and the first words of the prayer are “My God.” Even in his suffering and wondering about the ways of God, he does not let go of his knowledge that God is his God.... Continue Reading

Discovering Christ in the Psalms

Every systematic and biblical-theological truth of Scripture is found, in seed form, in the Psalms.

It should not surprise us that the New Testament writers cite the Psalms more than any other book of the Old Testament. Neither should it surprise us that, in each citation, Jesus and the Apostles teach us that the Psalms are Messianic in nature. In so doing, they teach us the principles that we must... Continue Reading

Reformed Churches in the Netherlands Suspended by the International Conference of Reformed Churches for Adopting Women’s Ordination

By a vote of 25-4 the International Conference of Reformed Churches has decided to suspend the Reformed Churches in the Netherlands for having adopting women’s ordination.

By a vote of 25-4 , the International Conference of Reformed Churches has decided to suspend the Reformed Churches in the Netherlands.  This comes after the RCN last month at their synod decided to open all the offices of the church to women.    By a vote of 25-4 (with two abstentions), the International Conference... Continue Reading

“Gender Apartheid” And “Toxic Masculinity” In NAPARC? (2)

The only way out of our late-modern morass is to recover basic biblical categories, nature and grace.

The Word of God is holy and inerrant. There is neither “gender apartheid” nor “toxic masculinity” in Scripture but the creational differences and order between male and female are clearly revealed, taught, and applied. The visible church is the earthly manifestation of the eschatological kingdom of God but eschatology does not wipe out nature (creation).... Continue Reading

Children of Divorce

Ultimately, in light of God’s design for marriage, young people need more than a lesson in commitment; they need the message of Christ’s commitment.

There’s no talking about the Gospel without sin, and there’s no meaningful discussion about marriage without mention of divorce. As sons and daughters of Adam, we’re all children of divorce. We’ve all gone astray. We’ve all played the harlot. But the very existence of marriage tells us there’s a greater wedding – and a greater... Continue Reading

What Augustine’s ‘Confessions’ Taught Me About Parenting

May his wisdom lead us to the feet of Christ as we seek to raise our children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

As I read Augustine’s Confessions this week, I felt a similar conviction. The great theologian pulled a “grandpa trick,” critiquing my parenting through storytelling. As he wrote about his own parents’ successes and failures, I knew he was graciously warning me against their errors. My soul smarted as I realized my own shortcomings, but Augustine’s wounds are faithful and his counsel sound.... Continue Reading

Whose Baby is Charlie Gard, Anyway?

Not only are doctors and judges forcing Charlie off life-support; they are also declaring that their ethics rule over Charlie’s life.

Futile-Care Theory (FCT) empowers strangers to make medicine’s most important and intimate health-care decisions. Deciding whether to accept or reject life-sustaining care is one of the most difficult medical choices. Under FCT, a patient’s decision—whether it be the desire of an infant patient’s guardians or written in an adult patient’s advance directive—matters less than institutional and professional... Continue Reading

The Porn Myth in Under 6 Hours

"What if the best sex is about bonding and connecting to another person?”

“This book rests on one fundamental presupposition: if you want something to flourish, you need to use it in accordance with its nature.  Don’t plant tomatoes in a dark closet and water them with soda and expect to have vibrant tomato plants.  To do so would be to act contrary to the nature of tomatoes.  Similarly,... Continue Reading

Entertainment and Worship

The encroachment of entertainment into our worship is not a matter of style but of substance.

Entertainment is a good thing, but its purpose is the refreshment of the mind and body, not the transformation of the mind or the edification of the spirit. The danger of entertainment in worship is not about which musical instruments are permitted or what era of hymns the church should sing. The danger is found... Continue Reading

How Many of the Ten Commandments Do Americans Think They’ve Broken This Month?

People may admit they sin, but just a little—one-out-of-ten-commandments-this-month little.

Regardless—one or none—this view of self is far removed from the understanding of sin expressed in James 2:10. Let’s quote the Good News Translation, as it seems suitable for the “Good answer, good answer” sensibility of the show: “Whoever breaks one commandment is guilty of breaking them all.” (James 2:10 GNT) Furthermore, this view of... Continue Reading

Reformed Churches in the Netherlands At the International Conference of Reformed Churches: Should They Stay or Go?

At their recent synod the RCN fully adopted women’s ordination; the Orthodox Presbyterian Church instructed their delegates to the ICRC to propose the suspension of the RCN.

Debate about the future of the Reformed Churches in the Netherlands (RCN) as members of the International Conference of Reformed Churches (ICRC) has been continuing in Jordan, Ontario.  At their synod last month, the RCN fully adopted women’s ordination.  Anticipating this move, the Orthodox Presbyterian Church mandated their delegates to the ICRC to propose the... Continue Reading

The Radical Difference between Believers and Unbelievers

While it’s true that we’re both made in the image of God, and we live in the same world, in everything that truly matters in life—our hope, our trust, our passions, our convictions—believers and unbelievers share nothing in common.

There is nothing more incompatible and mutually exclusive than light and darkness. Where there is the one there is not the other. So how could we expect there to be any fellowship between light and darkness? To think that the children of light might partner together and have spiritual or ministerial fellowship with the children... Continue Reading

Actually, Eugene Peterson Does Not Support Same-Sex Marriage

In retraction, popular author affirms ‘a biblical view of everything’—including marriage.

Peterson went on to state that because of the biblical view of marriage, he would not marry a same-sex couple: “When put on the spot by this particular interviewer, I said yes in the moment. But on further reflection and prayer, I would like to retract that. That’s not something I would do out of... Continue Reading

Theological Primer: Limited Atonement

The point of the doctrine is not to limit the mercy of God, but to make clear that Jesus did not die in the place of every sinner on the earth, but for his particular people.

Christ does not come to us merely saying, “I’ve done my part. I laid down my life for everyone because I have saving love for everyone in the whole world. Now, if you would only believe and come to me I can save you.” Instead, he says to us, I was pierced for your transgressions.... Continue Reading