If the Lord Marks Iniquity, Who Should Stand?

With the righteousness of Christ promised to us by faith, we have the hope of our salvation.

If God requires perfect righteousness and perfect holiness to survive His perfect judgment, then we are left with a serious problem. Either we rest our hope in our own righteousness, which is altogether inadequate, or we flee to another’s righteousness, an alien righteousness, a righteousness not our own inherently. The only place such perfect righteousness... Continue Reading

The Double Groan of the Gospel

It would not be overstating the case to recognize that every Christian personally, and Gospel workers in particular, have the greatest share or portion not in this life but the next

We still live in the body, with all its fickleness and frailty. With the spirit yearning intensely, and our slow progress in sanctification, we sigh and long for higher, holier, climes, immune from the stresses and strains, attacks and anguish, problems and pains, pollution and persecutions of this life – we weep and long for... Continue Reading

The Greatness of Giving Thanks

Despite his many earthly reasons to complain, Paul was constantly giving thanks to God

Paul did not have an easy life. He was beaten, slandered, misunderstood, imprisoned, shipwrecked, stoned, and opposed by someone almost everywhere he went. Nevertheless, he was profoundly grateful. Being grateful has little to do with your circumstances. Sure, it’s easier to be happy when everything is coming up roses, but we’ve all known people who... Continue Reading

The Scientific Connection Between Gratitude and Happiness

Studies have shown that gratitude is a powerful force for creating positive changes in individuals, families, and organizations.

We can boost gratitude in our lives by intensifying the feeling of it for each positive event, by increasing the frequency of it throughout the day, by expanding the number of things we’re grateful for, and by expressing gratitude to more people. But the most effective multiplier of gratitude, said Emmons, is humility: “At the... Continue Reading

Dear Mormon—I Can’t Call You a Brother in Christ

How can we determine if Mormonism is Christian or cult?

Mormons are not Christians based on several key teachings.  Some of those troubling teachings include the spirit brotherhood of Satan and Jesus, the baptism for the dead, a racial problem, a polytheistic view of many gods, and a clear denial of the Trinity. These teachings stand in clear contradiction to the teachings of God’s Word—and... Continue Reading

The Forgiveness of Sins

Forgiveness is the reason I can get out of bed in the morning

I no longer lose sleep wondering if my faith is strong enough to merit salvation, as I sometimes did when I was young. Salvation is not simply about having sins forgiven, though it is certainly about that. We are justified by Christ’s perfect obedience. I have a greater and better assurance now that rests upon... Continue Reading

How to Influence Your Conscience (Before Someone Else Does)

A movie or a book is like a sermon, and we kid ourselves when we say they don’t exert a moral influence on us.

In the entertainment you engage with, have you been allowing God’s word to shape the laugh track of your life—or has your laugh track been subtly shaped by the world? To help you answer this question, reflect on whether the things you are laughing at or approving of help or hinder your conscience, by asking... Continue Reading

Living By Grace (Bridges)

The misunderstanding of salvation by grace alone is this: if we are saved by grace alone, then it doesn’t matter how we live.

Bridges makes some helpful comments in this book on what it means to live by grace.  For example, in one chapter he talks about how holiness is a gift of God’s grace and in another chapter he describes the sufficiency of God’s grace for living the Christian life.  He nicely steers clear of both legalism... Continue Reading

What Role Do Good Works Play in Salvation?

So my salvation, initially, is grounded upon good works—Jesus’ good works.

What about my own good works? Do they have a role? Most Protestants would say no. Justification is only one part of salvation. Salvation is the big word. Salvation is the word that covers all of the process by which God fully brings us to total redemption. Justification is that point in the process when... Continue Reading

The State of Evangelicalism in America and all that Blah Blah Blah

It has apparently become almost a pastime among conservative Christians to lament what the church is, rather than what she ought to be.

Over the past number of years I’ve had the opportunity to travel far and wide. I’ve journeyed to many countries across most of the continents. And almost everywhere I’ve been I have found myself challenged and encouraged by American Christians. Is American evangelicalism perfect? Of course not. Is she honoring God and carrying out his... Continue Reading

Sundays are for Babies

The weekly interruption of Sunday often leaves Christian parents discouraged and fatigued.

We ought to have compassion on our children every day of their lives. We recognize that they are weak, and we meet their physical and emotional needs with love and mercy. We remember to bring those Cheerios and that comforting scrap of tattered blanket. But we cannot escape the fact that on Sundays, everything is different. And... Continue Reading

Jesus Is Not Your American Patriot

God has made all people—including Americans—in his image, but we shall not make him in ours.

Instead of worshiping at the altar of a false civil religion, Christians have a dual citizenship: a lesser, temporary citizenship on earth and a supreme, eternal citizenship in heaven. Love of country is a good thing, but the interests of our eternal King far outweigh any interests of our earthly land.   I live in... Continue Reading

Assurance: a Pastoral Conversation

“My dear man, let me begin by telling you that your foundation is secure."

“Do you believe that man’s condition is such that he is in need of salvation?”  The man responded promptly, “Well, yes, of course.”  The minister leaned even further toward the man making him a bit uncomfortable.  “But,” said the minister, “do you believe that God has promised to save men and that this plan is... Continue Reading

BreakPoint: Eugenics and Its Victims

Why Buck v. Bell Still Matters

The “imbeciles” Holmes referred to were Buck, her mother, and Buck’s infant daughter. But as Adam Cohen tells readers in his recent book, “Imbeciles: The Supreme Court, American Eugenics, and the Sterilization of Carrie Buck,” there was nothing wrong with Carrie Buck, her mother, or her daughter. The problem lay in bad ideas that can... Continue Reading

Speaking Truth in Love: Should Christians use Gender-Neutral Pronouns?

Many are insisting that a failure to use gender-neutral pronouns is discriminatory, constitutes hate-speech, and can lead to conviction before a human rights tribunal.

Others are saying that it is a violation of freedom of thought and speech to be forced into using the favored pronouns of the ideological left. This is a multifaceted issue, touching on linguistics, ethics, politics, freedoms, and the law. And, be assured, it is not going to simply disappear.   Professor Jordan Peterson at... Continue Reading

Replace Images of Jesus with Communist President

Propaganda effort in poor province latest sign of Xi Jinping consolidating control.

Communist Party of China (CPC) officials visited believers’ homes in Yugan county of Jiangxi province—where about 10 percent of the population is Christian. They urged residents to replace personal religious displays with posters of President Xi Jinping; more than 600 removed Christian symbols from their living rooms, and 453 hung portraits of the Communist leader,... Continue Reading

Hollywood, Capitol Hill and the Human Heart

We ought to welcome an exposure of sexual sin in a culture that has celebrated, embraced and fought for every other conceivable form of sexual sin.

However, only highlighting one or two specific forms of sexual depravity will have the inevitable and undesired result of fueling self-righteousness among those outraged by it. When the media singles out one particular sexual sin, while approving almost all other forms, one who hasn’t fallen into a socially unacceptable form of sexual sin begins to... Continue Reading

Does 2 Thessalonians 2:13 Teach That Our Good Works Are An Instrument Of Salvation?

God the Spirit graciously produces good works in those whom Christ as justified and whom the Spirit is sanctifying.

Paul does not, however, teach any of the doctrines that are being claimed as Pauline and Reformed in the current discussion. There is in Paul no two-stage doctrine of salvation, wherein one is initially justified sola gratia, sola fide and finally saved through faith and works. The salvation in view here is present. The Thessalonians are not said... Continue Reading

Running from “the Black Dog”

Depression nips at my heels from the first week in November through the end of February.

What I have discovered is that walking in the light about my struggles helps me to fight against them because I know I am not alone and I know how my enemy works. If you struggle with depression, I want to encourage you to find a safe person you can talk to. Don’t assume they... Continue Reading

Pass it On: A Book Review

Champ Thornton’s new book, Pass It On: A Proverbs Journal for the Next Generation, is both a study guide for the book of Proverbs and a gift to give away

Pass it On is Christ-centered, showing how Christ is wisdom for us. “…true wisdom came to full bloom in the person of Christ. And because of his life and death, he stands as our ultimate Example and Source of wisdom. Jesus modeled perfect wisdom, rightly relating to God and everything else. And now he has... Continue Reading

Pickpocketing Purity

“Perhaps it is time that we start thinking about love, rather than reputation.”

Some of the comments defending the Pence Rule under the link I shared are emotionally charged and hurtful, resorting to the conversation-closer of name-calling. This is what Alan Jacobs calls commitment to non-thinking. In them, Beaty is called brain dead and her article is referred to as a moronic idea, full of lies, which like the New... Continue Reading

The Hiding Place of His Righteousness (Toplady)

A wonderful section of a letter Augustus Toplady wrote in 1767 to a friend who was very ill:

“Only flee to him for refuge, fly to the hiding place of his righteousness, death and intercession; and then, the enemy can have no final advantage over you, nor the son of wickedness approach to hurt you, in your everlasting interest. Assault you he may, in your way to the kingdom of God; overcome you... Continue Reading

Liberal Clergy “Bless” Texas Abortion Clinic, Declare Abortion a “God-Given Right”

Such blatant support for abortion in the name of Christ is not wholly uncommon.

“We’re trying say [the extreme right’s] narrative isn’t the only narrative related to faith,” Washington-Leapheart told the Texas Observer. “Women seeking an abortion are largely women of faith. They’re not having an abortion in spite of their faith, it’s in many ways informing the decision they make. … They have a God-given right to make decisions... Continue Reading

Progressive Evangelical Pastor Says He Shouldn’t Have Imposed His Pro-LGBT Announcement on Church

At its peak, GracePointe had a regular worship attendance of 800-1,000, which dropped to below 500 two weeks after the pro-LGBT announcement.

“I would have gone to the leadership and said ‘I love this church and I love you and I respect you, I cannot any longer as a minister not marry same-sex couples when they ask me. And you have to make your decision about what you want to do with that,'” continued Mitchell. “That to... Continue Reading

Cain and Abel: More than Sibling Rivalry

Cain and Abel may indeed be the first story of sibling rivalry, but it is far more than that.

Cain and Abel may indeed be the first story of sibling rivalry, but it is far more than that. It is a divine theater of hope and resurrection life in Christ. It is a preview of the life of many who faithfully follow God in this world and trust in His promises while dramatically displaying... Continue Reading

Is There a Different Process of Church Discipline for Elders?

The process of church discipline is not different for elders, but the Bible underscores the need for churches to exercise great caution and care when hearing accusations.

After commanding that pastors receive double honor, be fairly compensated for their work, and go through a detailed vetting process, God’s Word commands the church to be careful to protect the ministries and the ministers of the church. He does this not to command a blind loyalty that overlooks sin among the elders (verse 20... Continue Reading

‘It’s the Current Year!’ Is Not a Good Argument

Why don’t we burn witches in 2017? Maybe for the same reason we approve of same-sex marriage.

What if we in 2017 are wrong, and our benighted ancestors were right? What if our self-deception is deeper than we’d ever dare to admit on a large scale? What if we’ve papered over and medicated and anesthetized ourselves to keep from feeling the true damage inflicted by our immorality? What if we’ve covenanted together... Continue Reading

10 Things You Should Know About Pride and Humility From Jonathan Edwards

Here are ten things we can learn from Jonathan Edwards on the nature of both pride and humility.

When we grow in our knowledge of something that is finite, we feel that in a sense we have “conquered” it or subdued it and that it is now within our control because we have knowledge of it in all respects. But if the object of knowledge is infinite, as God is, with every measure... Continue Reading

Following Leaders

Principled obedience and submission to our leaders are not license for runaway authority but encouragement to biblical authority.

A primary means of growth in life is by imitation, so we need to be careful in choosing our leaders because “the pupil becomes like the teacher.” There is perhaps nothing more sobering, yet encouraging, for a leader than the realization that those who have chosen to follow them in the name of Christ are... Continue Reading

Students Voiced Their Approval of Machen (1926)

What the student body of Princeton Seminary expressed about Dr. Machen in a resolution adopted by the Students’ Association on November 16, 1926.

Machen, however, had previously opposed in 1920 the Philadelphia Plan for merging nineteen Presbyterian denominations into a single federated body.  He had published two books, The Origin of Paul’s Religion (1920) and Christianity and Liberalism (1923), both of which presented strong arguments against modernism and unbelief.  Machen had become a very public voice raised against... Continue Reading