The Prosperity Gospel Has Gone Viral
Here are a few ways that you can tell that you are nibbling at the hook of the prosperity gospel, without, perhaps, even knowing it
Regrettably, the prosperity gospel has gone viral. Being more nuanced and subtle than you may think, it is very active in the church. Like a computer virus it is draining vitality and productivity in the covenant community. And you know what the worst part is? You may not even know that you are impacted by it. What... Continue Reading
6 Great New Books for Kids
Here, representing 6 different publishers, are some excellent new books for children.
In The Biggest Story, Kevin DeYoung—a best-selling author and father of six—leads kids and parents alike on an exciting journey through the Bible, connecting the dots from the garden of Eden to Christ’s death on the cross to the new heaven and new earth. With powerful illustrations by award-winning artist Don Clark, this imaginative retelling... Continue Reading
Did the Apostle Paul Use Profanity?
Is σκύβαλα a swear word, or maybe a rude word? Or is it unobjectionable?
With that in mind, I did a search of two exhaustive databases of ancient Greek literature (Perseus and Thesaurus Lingua Graecae) to see if σκύβαλα functions as a swear word in Greek. I discovered that nowhere in all of ancient Greek literature is there a clear example of σκύβαλα functioning as a swear word or... Continue Reading
Pretending No More
Playing dress up and pretending to be someone else is fun. But eventually children grow out of doing so. Or do they?
When someone asks how we are doing and we smile and say, “Fine,” but inside our heart is aching, we are in fact pretending to be someone else. When we act like our life is great while our world is crumbling down around us, we are pretending. When we fear to open up to others... Continue Reading
The Question Is Not Whether But Why?
Do Reformed Christians ignore the Epistle of James?
The question in the 16th century was never whether James is in the Bible but why it is there. As they worked out their doctrine of justification, sanctification, and salvation sola gratia, sola fide they concluded that James 2 is teaching the moral and logical necessity of love and good works not as part of the legal basis (ground) of our... Continue Reading
Brothers and Sisters
I'm afraid that in an effort to avoid inappropriate relationships between men and women, we have forgotten to foster appropriate ones
We don’t need more fences. We don’t need a stronger negative push against sinful sexual relationships. We need to foster a different mindset altogether. The church needs to plow a counter culture. It needs a new axis on gender, orthogonal to the sexual one, that equips us to live affirmatively in male/female relationships in the... Continue Reading
4 Questions to Ask a Child
Here are four questions to try on that freckled kid--that image-bearing human being--in the next pew
Sometimes they freeze at any adult attention, twisting themselves into Mommy’s skirt faster than you can say “hello there!” Sometimes they begin eagerly to speak to you, but a friend or a spider redirects their energies and, with a whirl, they disappear. Sometimes, they’ve just woken on the wrong side of the pack n’ play... Continue Reading
The Privilege of Being a Christian
Can you imagine anything greater than this—that you have been loved from eternity; that “in Christ” you are loved right now?
Opinion varies, but many scholars estimate that Romans was written in AD 57-58. Within a decade, many of the Roman Christians to whom the letter was addressed were brutally slaughtered in the Roman amphitheaters. The original readers of Romans faced a terrible dilemma: they could deny Jesus or profess Him knowing that, if they did,... Continue Reading
Why We Let Our Baby’s Death Come Naturally
State Rep. Jeanne Ives, R-Wheaton, about the decision she and her husband made after they learned at the 20-week ultrasound that their son had a diaphragmatic hernia.
But I never blamed God, and I never asked why Mark or why me. I understood more acutely than ever before the inescapable truth that suffering is part of this life, and it does not discriminate. What matters most in those dark and often lonely moments of fear and grief is how we respond to... Continue Reading
The Bible knows nothing of romantic “soul mates.”
The “soul mate” concept is unworkable and completely unfair to the real other person in your life. It puts enormous pressure on him or her to perform, to meet our impossible expectations. As Jerry Root and Stan Guthrie point out in “The Sacrament of Evangelism,” putting others in God’s place—expecting them to give us what only He can—is... Continue Reading
Washington State High Court Strikes Down Charter School Law
The Washington Supreme Court struck down the state’s charter school law as unconstitutional in early September.
The 6-3 ruling overturned a 2012 voter referendum legalizing charter schools. The majority opinion said charter schools are not “common” schools because they are controlled by boards, not local voters, and therefore cannot receive public funding. The court’s ruling takes effect in 20 days. One charter school opened its doors last fall, and an additional... Continue Reading
A Modern Day Psalm – The Lord Will Not Abandon You
After reading the Psalms for so long I felt like making one of my own
Following the wording and style of Psalms, focusing on God as the subject and answer to everyday life, no need for rhymes, but giving attention to flow and patterns. Now it has become one of my recurring devotional exercises, as a way of praying to and praising the Lord. Give it a try sometime! Here... Continue Reading
The Pope Francis Effect: Enthusiasm, But To What End?
The Francis Effect has yet to create a shift in the dynamics of church attendance and participation
It’s wonderful that some people say that Francis makes them feel the church is more welcoming to them. But if it’s just making people feel more comfortable in their politics, instead of making them feel the comfort of absolution, communion and strengthening of faith, that’s not much to get excited about. Right after the... Continue Reading
Lesbian Parents Try to Force a Christian School to Educate Their Child
The child’s parents are looking to file suit, hoping to force their child’s readmission to the school.
If this controversy goes to court it will present an interesting lesson for those who believe that Christians can leave the culture wars behind and safely retreat to their own enclaves. The radical left will find you. When the goal is destroying a belief system, there is no safe way to freely exercise your faith.... Continue Reading
The Bible is the word of God. It is given for our spiritual sustenance and growth in grace.
Reading, study and meditation on the Bible must be part of our daily routine. It should not need to be dusted off to take to church on Sunday, but on that day when we do take it to hand it should feel comfortable and familiar from use throughout the week. Perhaps you had the... Continue Reading
The Economic Fallacies of Progressive Christianity
One must take great care when making religious claims about political management of the economy
One can scour the entire Bible without finding any example of progressive taxation or any endorsement of large-scale government redistribution of wealth. Instead, the default position is that the individual owns his property and the worker deserves his wages. While charity is an unquestioned obligation, scripture also places responsibilities on the poor that would make... Continue Reading
Do You Have a Healthy or Superficial Relationship with God?
Would you say your relationship is healthy? Is it mature? Is it deepening?
“A mature relationship with God is not sanitary and starched. It is lived in, worn, and stretched. It is not superficial or free from conflict. Let’s be honest, we have all kinds of issues–with God, ourselves, and others (by issues I mean our sin). But, because of the gospel we can be honest about these... Continue Reading
Genesis: History, Fiction, or Neither? 3 Views on the Bible’s Earliest Chapters
Hermeneutical consistency doesn’t allow one to affirm the bodily resurrection of Christ and deny other statements the Old and New Testament’s authors intended as historical fact
We must ask: is the Jesus we affirm the one who claimed that not simply the ideas but the very letters and words of Scripture matter and point to him (Matt. 5:18)? Is he the Jesus who was the word made flesh (John 1:14), who was “in the beginning with God” and through whom “all things... Continue Reading
Corporate and Individual Responsibility: An Introduction
It is not truth to confess to sins for which we have no guilt any more than it is truth not to confess for sins of which we are guilty.
“What are some categories that the Bible uses to address the question of corporate and individual responsibility? The first category is a distinction between guilt and consequence. Obviously, guilt is one consequence of sin. However, there are other consequences that can be incurred by someone who has no direct guilt.” I want to write... Continue Reading
(How) Will Millennials Change the Church?
First, apparently, by leaving it.
“Some millennials do stay with the church, however, and they will inevitably change the church because they don’t behave like the rest of us do. For example, older adults in congregations all over the country have been waiting for years for the younger generation to “step up” and take their turn running the committees that... Continue Reading
Is America Post-Christian?
Christianity as an ideal and a cultural force is no longer dominant
“What does it mean to say we are in post-Christian times? Does it mean that there are no Christians left? Of course not, that would be ridiculous. It means that we have left the historical period in which the Christian religion and its precepts were at the core of the moral imagination of the West. It doesn’t... Continue Reading
Is Same-Sex Attraction Sinful?
This is a conversation that a lot of different Christians are having in evangelicalism right now
“There is a vital connectedness to the family of God that happens for every single believer and so same-sex attracted persons should not view this as a sentence of loneliness if they are pursuing celibacy in their life.” Lambert: In our contemporary culture the problem of homosexuality is one that the church has been... Continue Reading
The Logic Of Fruit As Evidence
Those who profess the Christian faith should live in a way befitting their profession
“Where at least some of the Fathers had spoken of justification and salvation by grace through faith in something like the way the Protestants would later do, the medievals defined faith rather differently. They defined faith as sanctification. They taught that faith is a virtue, that it has intrinsic power, and that it is “formed”... Continue Reading
Foolish Sheep Under Faithless Figure Heads
Let us as broken and humbled elders repent, recommit, and worship Him well
“Some of God’s men are slack in their affection and action. They may have started well, but somewhere along the way they have grown distracted, weary, beaten-up, despondent, indifferent, or lazy. The temporal result of their ministerial failings is the sheep are not discipled well; the divine result is the Great Shepherd is displeased.” In the Bible, God... Continue Reading
A Question for Doug Wilson Fans
My question is: what exactly do you like about Wilson?
I know that every man is a sinner and that even my favorite pastors/theologians are almost certainly wrong about something. And we certainly shouldn’t dismiss every author out there because we disagree on a point or two. But is there a point at which the depth or breadth of the problems becomes significant enough that... Continue Reading
Is the Enemy of My Enemy My Friend?
With eternity in view and the gospel at stake, the enemy of our enemy must not be confused to be a friend to the gospel of Jesus Christ
At this point, very careful and honest thinking is required of us. At one level, we can join with anyone, regardless of worldview, to save people from a burning house. We would gladly help an atheist save a neighbor from danger, or even beautify the neighborhood. Those actions do not require a shared theological worldview. ... Continue Reading
The Truth about Church Websites
It became something of a hobby, cracking open my laptop, firing up Google Maps, along with various church directories, intent on finding a new place to settle down
The truth is that prospective visitors want to know what you believe. Now there’s a balance to be preserved here. If a church website details their beliefs with a host of positional papers, I get a slightly uneasy feeling. Sometimes the militant do that. But not always. My preference is to see a tight mission... Continue Reading
Review: Happiness by Randy Alcorn
Numerous themes are threaded throughout the book. Here are the eight most significant ones on what happiness is and is not
Alcorn’s argument is clear and compelling. The evidence he presents from both Scripture and church history is overwhelming. His promise of God-centered happiness is appealing and motivating. His helps toward happiness are practical and doable. Happiness is a book I expect to be recommending regularly. But I do have two reservations about it, which, due to the limitations of space,... Continue Reading
Is Hell Eternal Separation From God?
Many Christians define Hell as eternal separation from God. However, I wonder if this is born out by Scripture.
I conclude that the formulation of Hell being eternal separation from God needs a bit of tweaking. Hell is eternal separation from the grace and mercy of God. It is not eternal separation from God entirely. I believe that people will fervently wish that they could escape the judging presence of God! Hell is a place... Continue Reading
Mars and the Majesty of Christ
Perhaps for many of us, the images and descriptions of environments literally years away from earth might cause a little anxiety.
In a Christian vision of the cosmos, the vastness of the universe around us isn’t incidental. God is designing the universe this way to reveal something (Rom. 1:20), something about himself, something about his gospel. David, king of Israel, felt small when he looked into the expanse of the night sky, a reaction the Scripture... Continue Reading