Back to the Future – the 2009 Church of Scotland General Assembly

The 2009 Church of Scotland Assembly set a trajectory that is now bearing fruit of the declension of the church and its abandonment of biblical truth.

The seriousness of what occurred on Monday is underlined by the reason the Aberdeen Presbytery gave for supporting an active homosexual ministry. The Presbytery stated in their reasons –“The ‘Word of God’ is not synonymous with the Scriptures, but it can, in part, be discerned from the Scriptures through prayer and through the inspiration of... Continue Reading

The Flow of the Psalms

An overview of O. Palmer Robertson’s latest book, “The Flow of the Psalms’”

Robertson’s thesis is that we shouldn’t treat the Psalms like Hershey’s Kisses – beautifully, individually wrapped treats that have no relationship to one another. He argues that there is a flow to the Psalter, a very deliberate, sophisticated arrangement and a logical progression over the course of the 150 ancient songs that were collected together... Continue Reading

Confession and Apologetics: Modeling Scripture’s Method to its Message

The Bible’s own verification of its being God-breathed should be our primary default

Gordon Clark writes, “The first reason for believing the Bible is inspired is that the Bible claims to be inspired.”  And so we see “Christ’s view of the Bible can very quickly be indicated.  Christ said: It is written!”  A Biblical apologist thus grounds the warrant for his witnessing style in the same manner as... Continue Reading

A Danger of Lectio Divina

Lectio Divina often leads us away from the right meaning and right application of a text instead of toward it.

What is the heart of the problem here? It is that the method leads to subjective, rather than objective, conclusions. When we stop the hard work of understanding the words that the Spirit has given us and work exclusively in the “mind of the Spirit,” we become the final authority on meaning. We begin to... Continue Reading

Same-Sex Marriage Advocates Work To Oust Small-Town Judge

The Wyoming Supreme Court is being asked to dismiss a municipal court judge because of her biblical views about marriage; is it a religious litmus test for holding a judicial post?

In 2014, a judge overturned Wyoming’s marriage statute, allowing same-sex couples to get marriage licenses. A reporter asked Neely, the Pinedale municipal court judge and a part-time circuit court magistrate, if she was excited about performing gay weddings. In the opinion of the Wyoming Commission on Judicial Conduct and Ethics, Neely gave the wrong answer:... Continue Reading

A Presbytery PJC Ruling On A Same-Sex Marriage Policy In The PC(USA)

It is worth reiterating at this point that this decision is from a presbytery PJC and has limited application. If appealed and upheld it would gain authoritative status.

“This decision is reminiscent of the remedial cases regarding ordination standards and the various GAPJC rulings that there could be no categorical standards or explicit lists of essential tenants but each candidate must be considered on an individual basis. From a polity point of view this decision falls right in line with that.”   I... Continue Reading

Court ‘Win’ for Nonprofits Has A Lot Of What-Ifs

The Supreme Court’s strange Little Sisters ruling gives religious nonprofits a significant reprieve, but the fight is long from over

The court’s ruling vacated and remanded to lower courts all the religious nonprofits’ cases challenging the Obamacare requirement that employers provide health coverage for contraceptives and abortifacients. It was a qualified victory and the best outcome the nonprofits could hope for if the court was divided 4-4 on the merits of the case—as seems likely.... Continue Reading

PCUSA Leaders Try To Make Sense Of Dwindling Membership

The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has seen 463 congregations nationwide depart for other denominations between 2012 and 2015.

The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) lost 6 percent of its membership in 2015, and that came after three consecutive years of 5 percent declines. Current membership is just under 1.6 million. The Pittsburgh Presbytery, still one of the nation’s largest, saw a 7 percent decline to 28,518 last year.   Yes, the Rev. Sheldon Sorge has... Continue Reading

How to Honor Your Parents as an Adult

Scripture is very clear that the way we treat our parents has significant ramifications, not only for our physical life, but our spiritual one as well.

As we saw earlier Paul says that we are worse than an unbeliever when we do not take care of our parents. As I have listened to financial stewardship podcasts over the years, one thing that really struck me was how many people who really want to help their parents are dealing with corrupt family... Continue Reading

He Who Sought Was Found

If you want a rich God-centered and Christ-centered collection of older sermons for devotional purposes, I highly recommend Vos’ Grace and Glory.

Most of us know the story of Zacchaeus climbing the tree to see Jesus (Lk 19).  Have you ever noticed the “seeking” aspect of it?  The story starts out by mentioning the fact that Zacchaeus is seeking (ζητέω) to see Jesus (v3) . A the end of the story we learn that Jesus’ mission as... Continue Reading

Read Wodehouse and Read the Bible

Wodehouse, the product of a more biblically-versed era and, admittedly, a brilliant writer, was constantly making biblical allusions.

One reason to read Wodehouse is to admire his use of the Bible. I don’t think he had much of a faith commitment, but his biblical literacy is astounding. For example, take this from the opening pages of The Code of the Woosters, where Bertie is complaining about his rough sleep the night before: “I... Continue Reading

Sunday School, The Role Of Women, Authority, And Culture

All non-ecclesiastical or extra-ecclesiastical instruction is just that. It is has the status of opinion.

In the episode mentioned, Carl articulated a general rule, with some exceptions (e.g., a licensed seminary student who exhorts in public worship), that a female may do in the church what an unordained male may do. If we observe the distinction between authoritative and non-authoritative teaching, this rule seems sound. When Aimee writes books, she... Continue Reading

A Few Thoughts on Goodbyes

The pangs of sadness, the difficulty of change, the disconnection from others, will all be a thing of the past when we live and worship together as one united Bride in the life to come.

Saying goodbye also reminds us that life is fleeting. In the busyness of our daily life, we forget that time is passing on. Goodbyes are a poignant reminder that life has an end date. And because of that, goodbyes often bring regret. Regret that we didn’t spend more time with our loved ones. Regret that... Continue Reading

Luther, God’s Law and Uncle Rico Syndrome

One function of God's law is to (kindly) disabuse us of our confidence in our ability to throw moral footballs over metaphorical mountains

Luther’s response in his 1525 Bondage of the Will takes cognizance of how high Scripture actually sets the bar for man’s moral conduct (“You must be perfect, as your Heavenly Father is perfect,” Matt. 5.48) as well as rather clear biblical statements that reflect man’s spiritual depravity and (hence) inability to clear that bar (“Everyone... Continue Reading

The Backside Blessings of Blogging

After blogging over a number of years, I have enjoyed at least these five blessings

Thoughts are clarified. As the old saying goes, “Over the lips and fingertips come clear thoughts.” As we discuss ideas and then put them down on paper (or pixels in this case), tangled thoughts become unknotted and disjointed ones strung together. In writing on theological and cultural issues on the blog, I find that I am better... Continue Reading

The Gospel is NOT for Sharing

Why Not Share the Gospel?

Consequently, we find ourselves and the people in our churches only willing to speak the gospel if we perceive openness on the part of another, only if someone wants to hear what we have to say. But the gospel has never been and will never be innately desirable or en vogue. It’s a message of... Continue Reading

The Federal Vision and Regeneration

The errors of the Federal Vision cannot be properly understood without recognizing that regeneration has been denied or made of little consequence in the redemption of sinners.

All of this is relevant with respect to the Federal Vision because there are some of their advocates who assert that regeneration is not a change of the essence of the soul. Hodge saw that position as a denial of both regeneration and original sin. Some modern opponents of the Federal Vision have overlooked their... Continue Reading

First Presbyterian Church in Montgomery, Ala., Our Repentance and Restoration on Racism

First Presbyterian Church (PCA) in Montgomery repents of its past practice of and sin of racism.

We acknowledge the sin of our fathers. In particular, we acknowledge that the sin of racism was present in First Presbyterian Church of Montgomery. Let it be known that this is no longer the heart of the church and that all peoples are welcome.   “First Presbyterian? Who, Where? … Oh yeah, that’s the church... Continue Reading

Losing Our Christian Minds

Of all the things we’ve lost as Christians, I think we miss our Christian minds the most

“The Christian mind is the mind that processes everything through the grid of its intimate relationship with Jesus. The Christian mind, therefore, is not simply a mind that thinks on Christ or the mind that attempts to think in Christian categories. The Christian mind is a mind that refuses to think at all unless it... Continue Reading

Innocence Lost … and Regained

Their hearts grieve, but with hope. They will see her again, and never be parted.

“In their minds are pictures of a nursery with soft blankets and toys on the floor. Then it’s time, the wait’s almost over. The tech starts to measure and scan. But what’s this? She seems worried and tense. Why won’t she answer?”   The young couple, with stars in their eyes, Walks hand in hand... Continue Reading

Ten Things You Should Know about Generation Z

The demographics are breathtaking. And the signs are, to a large extent, hopeful.

“They will be the largest generation in history. Each of their birth years is already a large cohort. By the time 2020 concludes, this generation will include about 82 million people. They will supplant the Millennials who supplanted the Boomers as the largest generation.”   I doubt the generational name will stick, but for now... Continue Reading

Ten Things I Learned at Church on Sunday

Each week the service is like a fresh painting of grace upon my soul

“As I was reflecting on this past Lord’s Day I was struck by a number of things particularly encouraging to me. God met us as a church in the ordinary and showed us his extraordinary faithfulness, grace, beauty, and power. I compiled 10 quick observations about what affected me this weekend alone.”   Sundays are pretty... Continue Reading

Why Do We Major in the Minors?

The Pharisees distorted the emphasis of biblical righteousness to suit their own behavioral patterns

“It is also our inclination as fallen creatures to rate as most important those virtues in which we have achieved a relative degree of success. Naturally, I would like to think that my moral strong points are the important ones and my moral weaknesses are limited to minor matters. It is a short step from... Continue Reading

Is the Transgender Discussion Exposing Our Hypocrisy?

When it comes to gender and gender identity, biological determinism is being shown the door

“Are we now saying we choose to be heterosexual or homosexual? Previously we accepted a direct link between genes, biological, anatomy, and gender, but now we’re saying that link does not matter when it comes to gender. Perhaps this is fine, but for the sake of consistency, do we plan to say the same about... Continue Reading

Why are We Flushing Thousands of Years Down the Toilet?

What good can possibly come — and how much evil will definitely come — from putting grown men in women’s bathrooms?

Why would the President and his supporters want to obliterate thousands of years of the most basic distinction of the planet? We’re left shaking our heads utterly perplexed. Why, why, why? Here are the only reasons I can think of — maybe you can think of more. I’m not saying people will admit to these... Continue Reading

Why Believers Must Avoid Immoral Joking

Double-entendres and indecent language have no place among believers.

Spoken immorality never leads in the right direction. That’s not to say that everyone who jokes in an ungodly manner winds up in sexual immorality, of course. It’s simply to say that letting our guard down at one level makes it easier to let it down at the next level.   Several months ago, I... Continue Reading

Methodist Perseverance

The United Methodist General Conference voted to withdraw its church agencies from the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice

Complacency, cynicism, and despair are too common.  Devoting many years to struggle for a just cause is unusual and is the vocation of unique souls.  John with the help of many others has extracted America’s third largest church from an affiliation unworthy of the Gospel and its preference for life.   On May 19 history... Continue Reading

Before You Advise Someone with Anxiety . . .

Ask yourself if he/she is ready to hear what you're saying.

Anxious people feel anxious about everything, including their anxiety. When we read the biblical exhortations and feel as if we’ve gained no success in our struggle, we feel anxious about our anxiety. It gets worse. We feel defeated. We feel like lousy Christians. We need biblical truth, but we also need to get a hold... Continue Reading

Eve Alone? The Curious Tale of the Missing Adam

Julie Faith Parker documents the curious omission of “[her husband who was] with her” (Gen. 3:6b) from many English translations.

This omission is not the result of variations in the original biblical texts. As Parker notes, the Hebrew word is undisputed in the MT, and ancient textual witnesses all include it, with the noteworthy exception of Jerome’s Vulgate. And the omission is a critically important one. Without this phrase, the reader is left with the impression... Continue Reading

Don’t Be Embarrassed by Your Ordinary Church

In the grand scheme of things, how important is your church?

Here is the bottom-line reality: the church is the most important organization on the planet. Its importance and inherent value is not dependent upon size but substance. Let’s remember that the church has the highest calling on the planet. Her job is to glorify God. There is nothing more noble nor important than this. This... Continue Reading