‘Things Which Become Sound Doctrine’
Associate Reformed Presbyterian Confessional and Theological Identity in the 20th Century. (Part 1)
At an ARP historical conference in 2003 I presented a paper on the theological and confessional history of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church in the twentieth century. … The article will, I think, be of interest not only to ARPs but also to those who seek a better understanding of how the ARPC differs from... Continue Reading
The Fearful Pastor
There was a growing disparity between the public persona and the private man. There was a growing disconnect between the faith statements he made from up front and the thinking that ruled his heart. He carried with him the dirty secret that many pastors carry; the one that is so hard for a “man of... Continue Reading
The Church of Scotland and the Free Church
An Apology, an Apologia and an Advance Reflections on the Coming Assemblies in Scotland.
An Apology Humble pie time. In previous articles I was somewhat critical of the commission set up by the Church of Scotland to conduct an inquiry into the issues raised by the appointment of ministers in same sex partnerships. I thought they would achieve nothing and end up with a fudge. I was wrong. So... Continue Reading
Romans 7 and the Normal Christian Life
This understanding of the victorious Christian life can only be sustained by an unfortunate misreading of Paul’s description of the Christian life as it unfolds in Romans chapters 6-8. This conception of the Christian life is framed by a combination of decisional regeneration, dispensational eschatology, and Keswick, Wesleyan, or mystical versions of the Christian life,... Continue Reading
Life Among the Turks
Adger’s experience in Turkey was remarkably painful and would have driven your ordinary young and restless Calvinist to Joel Osteen. Three infants died during his tenure, and his wife also almost lost her life. Adger himself might have thought his days were numbered when he contracted small pox “of the confluent kind.” I brought along... Continue Reading
Is it Ever Legitimate to Complain to God or to Express Anger to God?
It’s vital that we understand prayer in terms of the qualifications that are found throughout the Bible. By considering the scope of the Bible’s teaching on this subject, we may conclude that it is acceptable to bring all our cares to God, including matters that may move us to frustration or anger. However, we must... Continue Reading
Romans 1 & A Nation’s Tipping Point
Romans 1 & a nation's tipping point
Am I an “inevitable-ist” — (“It’s going to happen no matter what!”)? Or am I a faithful prayer warrior? — Am I a “culturalist” — (“Whatever! Live and let live!”)? Or am I truly a “people of His own”? — Am I an “evangelist” — (“I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ, for... Continue Reading
Ten Basic Facts About the NT Canon that Every Christian Should Memorize
#7: “Early Christians Often Used Non-Canonical Writings.”
While the fact itself is true—early Christians did read and use many writings not in the canon—the conclusions often drawn from this fact are often not. When scholars mention the Christian use of non-canonical writings, two facts are often left out: 1. The manner of citation. … 2. Frequency of citation. … Full blog series can be... Continue Reading
PCA Church Plant: One Family, Many Challenges, Tons of Inspiration
A PCA mission church begins worship services in Colorado Springs even as it struggles against fires and different afflictions
Kara said many churches are built on how together they are, how good they look, how together the members are. “Within our new congregation, four people have cancer, one woman’s aunt was murdered, another was robbed at gunpoint, five were in the fire and one woman lost her home. So, our little community has really... Continue Reading
Diversity, Not Jesus, Saves Says Episcopal Presiding Bishop Schori
She concluded her sermon by stating that we are not justified by our faith but by our respect for diversity
Schori: Salvation comes not from being cleansed of our sins by the atoning sacrificial death of Jesus Christ, but through the divinization of humanity through the work of the human will. “We are here, among all the other creatures of God’s creation, to be transformed into the glory intended from the beginning. The Presiding... Continue Reading
A View on Missional Church Planting from the Far Outfield
Our local prefecture in Asia has a population of four million, with only a single openly-publicized church and a dozen or so “house churches.
The recent focus on urban church-planting is a necessary corrective to the flight of Evangelicals to the suburbs in many North American contexts, but must not become an overreaction in a world in which as many as seven thousand distinct ethnic groups remain unreached with the gospel and over four thousand of the world’s seven... Continue Reading
The Texas Cheerleaders’ Massacre (of the Bible)
Twisting Scripture and trivializing its true meaning
However, whatever we think of the ruling as law, we ought to be embarrassed by the cheerleaders’ banners. To say they have used these verses without regard to the original context and intent is an understatement and exercise of restraint on my part. To say that they have at best trivialized and at worst blasphemed... Continue Reading
How Southern Baptists Should Approach Disagreements in Theology
My goal in this article is to help Southern Baptists think productively about the Calvinism controversy and other theological controversies in the Southern Baptist Convention.
Is Calvinism outside of the Baptist Faith and Message? Clearly, it is not. The Baptist Faith and Message comes from a line of Calvinist confessions, rooted in the Second London Baptist Confession and the Westminster Confession of Faith. This is our theological history as Southern Baptists. Our confession has been modified over the years to... Continue Reading
The Pentagon’s Problem With Proselytizing
Evangelicals lately have detected worrying signals from the military
So is the case about Pentagon policy closed? Not at all, say some religious-liberty advocates. For one thing, the Pentagon statement clarifying that military personnel would not be court-martialed if they “evangelize” also said that “proselytization” is considered a Uniform Code of Military Justice offense. Yet the definitions of those two words are almost identical:... Continue Reading
Augustine and Rape
The pressures on Christians in Augustine’s day were so intense that he was compelled to publicly address rape
Augustine draws these suffering Christians to see that where they did not consent to sin, even where they suffered abuse, they were not sinning, and did not commit sin: “[they] sinlessly suffered the violence of their captors.” They remain pure and chaste, despite the heinous offenses committed against them. Augustine notes that like the suffering... Continue Reading
Tunnel Vision: The Personal Purgatory of Kevin Tunell
A tunnel vision that focuses on sin with no relief of basking in mercy will leave us in despair
Suzan’s parents offered to settle for a mere $936 [down from $1,500,000], on one condition: that Kevin pay the amount by sending them a check for $1, made out to the deceased Suzan Herzog, every Friday for the next eighteen years—one for every year Suzan had been alive. The penalty seemed like he had been... Continue Reading
Tornadoes, Tsunamis, and the Mystery of Suffering and Sovereignty
Thoughts on the Oklahoma tornado
Great natural disasters such as this tell us nothing about the comparative sinfulness of those who are its victims. Please do not conclude that the residents of Moore, Oklahoma, are more sinful than any other city that has not as yet experienced such devastation. Please do not conclude that we are more righteous than they... Continue Reading
Divorce, Remarriage, and Abuse
Part 3 of the review of Pastor Jeff Crippen's book, A Cry for Justice
In the case of abuse in marriage, the abuse victim is not the one destroying the marriage when he or she decides the marriage contract has been rendered null and void. That has already been accomplished by the abuser who has refused to love, honor, and cherish as he vowed before God to do. The... Continue Reading
The “Why” Behind the IRS Scandal
The Agency’s decisions to pursue individual organizations that oppose the administration’s public policies, is legally, morally, politically and ethically unacceptable. Perhaps more simply, however, it is linguistically unacceptable. Where Bob Jones lost its tax exemption for running afoul of “established public policy,” the IRS is targeting groups that disagree with the “administration’s public policies.” ... Continue Reading
A church with a less realistic view of life than one can find in a movie theater?
Bonhoeffer once asked, “Why did it come about that the cinema really is often more interesting, more exciting, more human and gripping than the church?” Why, indeed. Maybe the situation is even worse than I have described; perhaps the churches are even more trivial than the entertainment industry. After all, in popular entertainment one does... Continue Reading
The Boy Scouts of America and “The Fork in the Road”
The result is the BSA has come to a “fork in the road” and will have to “take it” in a vote by its General Council this week.
But at the moment it is the BSA which is at a “fork in the road” and you must “take it.” The path of “principled leadership” promises not only to maintain a marvelous legacy but actually build on it with that glorious leadership attribute of moral courage even in the face of an assured response... Continue Reading
Speaking Terms: Witnessing and the Military
What happens to free speech in a regulatory era?
What’s so ironically outrageous about the bureaucrats’ suggested restrictions on free speech among military personnel is that anyone anywhere even thinks about imposing such limits on the very uniformed people who have pledged their lives to protecting our freedoms. We should be ashamed to let such thoughts cross our minds. Not sure what all the... Continue Reading
Who Are Your Heroines?
Scripture gives us real heroines who did the little stuff, the messy stuff, and the necessary stuff.
Adult women need heroines, too. But these extraordinary women are little overwhelming to me. Truly, I can’t conquer the laundry, let alone find a cure for cancer. I take joy in the fact that the heroines in Scripture are outwardly less splashy than those from women’s history month. “Mother shuns Disney Princess ideal and... Continue Reading
Four Further Thoughts on the Complementarian Conversation
It seems to me the current conversation is mainly about two things: abuse and application.
Where have complementarian principles been abused? How are complementarian principles best applied? Those are fair questions. There are black and white issues, but just as many gray ones (which is why Danvers is thick on principles and thin on specifics). We should be able to talk about the applications without assuming that everyone to the... Continue Reading
A Prayer for the People of the Oklahoma Tornado Tragedy
As part of our support, praying for the people ravaged by the Oklahoma tornado
Lord, we are desperate to release our burden for the grieving people of Oklahoma as we lift their needs before Your throne of mercy… Encourage those who sit amidst the ruin and rubble of what was once their homes, like Jeremiah weeping, and help them to rebuild and give them a faith beyond their own... Continue Reading
A Biblical and Scientific Adam
A challenge to evangelicals who have backed away from an historic Adam, using a theologically informed look at ape ancestry genetic claims
In a just-published article from the Westminster Theological Journal, Westminster Theological Seminary professor Vern Poythress brilliantly explains why such a surrender is wrong biblically and scientifically. Poythress, with both a Th.D. and a Harvard Ph.D. in mathematics, is well-positioned to write about both theology and evolutionary theory. He has published 13 books, including Redeeming Science... Continue Reading
The Mass Exodus of Christians from the Muslim World
A mass exodus of Christians is currently underway. Millions of Christians are being displaced from one end of the Islamic world to the other. We are reliving the true history of how the Islamic world, much of which prior to the Islamic conquests was almost entirely Christian, came into being. A mass exodus of Christians is... Continue Reading
Thoughts on Culture Wars
Christians in America must remember that our greatest goal is not to preserve a Christian America, but to advance the gospel throughout the country. The preaching of the gospel, fueled by prayer and service to our neighbor is our greatest weapon–not getting into debates about homosexuality, abortion, etc. There is a time for debate, but... Continue Reading
What Day Changed the Course of Christian History?
For the inaugural article in our new series “Big Questions,” The Gospel Coalition asked four Christian historians, “After AD 70, what day most changed the course of Christian history?” Robert Louis Wilken … at the University of Virginia. … George Marsden … at the University of Notre Dame… Philip Jenkins … at Baylor University. …... Continue Reading
How Fornication Messes Up Marriage
The great harm of sexual sin is not that someone becomes “used goods” but instead that these behaviors become a liability in a marriage, whether future or present. People that trespass sexually and are repentant should not be shamed, but they will have to wrestle through some difficult issues in their matrimony. There can be... Continue Reading