“It is Going to Be an Issue” — Supreme Court Argument on Same-Sex Marriage Puts Religious Liberty in the Crosshairs

It will indeed be an issue, and now we have been told so by none other than the Solicitor General of the United States.

We will soon find out just how tolerant those who preached tolerance for same-sex marriage will turn out to be, now that they are ascendant in the culture. Meanwhile, even as we were repeatedly told that warnings about threats to religious liberty were overblown, the truth came out before the Supreme Court yesterday. Take the... Continue Reading

The Speech Police Are at the Door

Expressing their own ideological prejudice, liberals want opponents to have absolutely no place in their godless utopia.

In an April 18, 2015 article entitled “It is time to put an end to anti-choice speech,” Tanya Cohen (who says she is dedicated to “freedom, respect, equality, dignity”) argues that though “people have freedom of speech, [they] also have freedom from certain kinds of speech…that have no place in society.” We would want to... Continue Reading

Imperfection and Initiative in the Christian Life

We would do well to listen to Calvin as we seek to understand and apply a wise, Reformed, and biblical approach to sanctification.

Will Christians ever completely obey God in this life? Absolutely not. So then we shouldn’t work hard to grow in holiness or exhort others to do the same? Again, the answer is no. The admission of imperfection does not have to be the enemy of endeavor. We can keep trying even if we know we... Continue Reading

What Should the Church Expect as Same-Sex Marriage Moves Forward?

Thoughts from a Canadian on the changes coming in the U.S.

And here’s what it’s meant for the church here, at least insofar as I’ve been able to see: evangelical pastors have been able to, at least to this point, conscientiously object to performing same-sex ceremonies. We have also, at least so far, been free to continue to teach what the Bible says about marriage and... Continue Reading

Ordinary Elders

When we think of the work of the elders of the church what are the primary duties that we consider?

Church ministry is busy. There is paperwork that needs to be filed. There are letters that need to be written. There are phone calls and emails and texts. In the midst of all the busyness of ministry, be mindful of those ordinary things to which the elders have been called. They are called to minister... Continue Reading

Purity Through Food: How Religious Ideas Sell Diets

Eating based on what is "natural" offers little but sanctimony.

He is not at all alone in approaching food production through the romantic lenses of nature and the past. Combine that with basic puritanical fears of pleasure and the monotonic fallacy that if something is impure it must be totally avoided, and almost any popular dietary approach can be explained.   Foods are either natural... Continue Reading

What Not to Say to Someone Who Has Been Hurt By Church

6 misguided responses to spiritual abuse.

One of the most effective ways to silence a victim is to fill them with a false sense of guilt. The victim is led to believe that talking is only going to make things worse, and whatever happens as a result is their fault. Certainly, exposing spiritual abuse can divide a congregation. But that’s not... Continue Reading

Fear and Faith

A review of Trillia Newbell's new book on "Finding the peace your heart craves"

One thing that many who are plagued by fear will like about this book is that Trillia uses the testimonies of others to God’s faithfulness in the midst of great personal trial. These testimonies don’t end all tied up in a fearless bow either. I think that Trillia wanted to really send the message  that... Continue Reading

Hymns We Should Sing More Often: Hallelujah, Praise Jehovah, O My Soul

This is part of an intermittent series I’ve called “Hymns We Should Sing More Often.”

Psalm 146, from which this hymn, Hallelujah, Praise Jehovah, O My Soul, is taken, highlights the delightful and hopeful side of spiritual experience: God is to be praised because he is utterly trustworthy, faithful, powerful, compassionate, and just. The psalm begins and ends with “Hallelu Yah!” “Praise Jehovah!” The main body of the psalm encourages us... Continue Reading

Why Do Christians Worship on Sunday and Not Saturday?

Why do Christian meet and worship on Sunday?

They had made the change because it was on the first day of the week that Jesus Christ forever set that day apart from all the others by rising from the dead. From that point onwards Sunday became a memorial to the turning point in the history of redemption. The Sabbath day from the beginning... Continue Reading

Why Supreme Court Greenlighting Gay Marriage Could Be The Best Thing For Traditional Marriage

Contrary to Christian fears, a ruling in favor of same-sex marriage will only add instability to the already unstable “equality” movement.

If marriage equality wanted to build a more solid foundation for the future of their values, they would be upset at how many judges have overturned popular votes in so many states. They would also want the Supreme Court to show judicial restraint in Obergefell v. Hodges. But judicial restraint will likely be cast aside,... Continue Reading

John Stonestreet on Restoration and Hope

One of Chuck Colson’s successors talks about God’s redemptive plan for the world

I feel like a lot of people who want to hold these, orthodoxy and orthopraxy, but they don’t realize the implications of orthodoxy for orthopraxy. It’s like these are two independently settled categories that we can think about separately. You’ve got to think about them together. … You say, “I’m in this cultural moment, what... Continue Reading

Leaving Home: The Future of the Faith in England

Canterbury has sold its birthright; after planting the orthodox Gospel around the world has slid away from the Apostolic faith to a heterodox secularized shadow of that faith

In the last 40 years, what has happened instead, is that the Church of England turned its back on the Spirit and the Scriptures and gave herself to the new secularism. It has preferred egalitarianism to evangelism; it has chosen the struggle for gender parity to the struggle for the Gospel purity.   The thought... Continue Reading

Under God: A Review of One Nation Under God: How Corporate America Invented Christian America

Kruse’s argument is that much of what we think of today as the fundamental institutions and ideologies of Christian America actually date to the 1950s

If you say that the particular forms of “Christian nationalism” date from the 1950s, fine – as Kruse says, the “ceremonies and slogans.” But to say, as Lehmann suggests, that the underlying ideology was novel in that era is absurd. To appreciate that, think about the inconceivably vast literature over the previous two hundred years... Continue Reading

ISIS Executes 35 Ethiopian Christians

Islamic State militants reiterate war against ‘nation of the cross’ in harrowing video

The grisly video bore the grim trademark of Islamic State (ISIS) footage in February that showed the beheadings of 21 Egyptian Christians on a Libyan beach. The Egyptian government ordered airstrikes against Islamic State targets in response. The new 29-minute video showed black-clad ISIS militants executing two groups of Ethiopian men identified as Christians in... Continue Reading

Smearing Sexual Orientation Change

Speakers at the conference were quite clear that change of sexual orientation for all meant no longer living under the control of sinful desires.

The point, which she apparently missed, is that Jesus extrapolated his position about limiting the number of partners in a sexual union to two based on the twoness of the sexes, “male and female,” which in turn establishes a male-female prerequisite as foundational. Jesus regarded the Genesis creation texts as essential for defining sexual ethics,... Continue Reading

How Christianity Invented Children

We have forgotten just how deep a cultural revolution Christianity wrought

“Our culture encourages us to let ourselves fall prey to our gooey feelings whenever we look at baby pictures. What could be more natural? In fact, this view of children is a historical oddity. If you disagree, just go back to the view of children that prevailed in Europe’s ancient pagan world.”   We have... Continue Reading

A Call for Musically Gifted Pastors

If you believe God’s called and gifted you to serve the church with your music vocationally, I want to suggest that you consider whether God’s calling you to be a pastor as well

“Of course, not every musician who leads congregational singing should or will be a pastor. But if you hope to join a church staff some day, I want to suggest six reasons why preparing to be a pastor who’s also a musician is better than simply aiming to be a worship leader.”   In 2008, I suggested in Worship Matters... Continue Reading

Great Ape Personhood and the Seventh Commandment of Animalism

A judge in Manhattan has ordered a hearing that will touch upon the continuing debate over whether caged chimpanzees can be considered “legal persons”

“This case is the most recent brought about by the great ape personhood movement which seeks to extend personhood and some legal protections to the chimpanzees , gorillas, and orangutans. Prominent advocates in this movement include primatologists Jane Goodall, evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins, philosopher Peter Singer, and legal scholar Steven Wise, president of the Nonhuman... Continue Reading

Heidelberg 62: Works No Part Of Our Justification

Our cooperation is of no account in our justification either as the ground or the instrument

“It’s not enough to speak of grace. We must define grace as Scripture does. Rome makes much of grace and faith but she does not define them as Scripture does. Grace is not a medicinal substance with which we are infused in the sacraments. Faith is not a meritorious, saving virtue wrought in us by grace... Continue Reading

Atheists Outnumber Southern Baptists in US Military

Enough Southern Baptists have left active duty that atheists now outnumber them among soldiers

“According the latest Department of Defense statistics on religion, there were 12,360 Southern Baptists among the US military’s 1.3 million members on active duty as of December 2014. There were also 12,764 atheists—an advantage of 404 over Baptists.”   Likely presidential candidate and former Southern Baptist pastor Mike Huckabee recently urged Christians to stay out... Continue Reading

Why Is A Central Prayer Gathering In A Church So Important?

Here are some reasons why a prayer meeting is a big deal and worth attending

“People say prayer changes things but the truth is it doesn’t. God changes things.  We live in dependence on a loving heavenly father ‘in him we live and move and have our being’ and that, as a congregation, humbles us. A congregation that makes a priority of praying together can never be proud.”   I expect in your church... Continue Reading

The Pastor As Pope

How do we know if a pastor is behaving like a pope? What are the warning signs?

“The first warning sign has to do with authority. God does call men to lead within the church, but the problem arises when there is a fundamental misunderstanding concerning the purpose of authority. Pastors do have authority to govern within the local church, but rooted in loving service, not in domination.”   Supreme authority, infallibility,... Continue Reading

Gospel Irony: When the Gospel Prevails in Unlikely Places

Paul’s experience with the Praetorian Guard should serve to give us hope and courage

“There are ardent, veins-popping-in-their-forehead, opponents to the gospel today. They do not wear the uniform of a highly trained, elite force. But they write op-ed columns, hold forth in lecture halls, and occupy seats of power. Do we sometimes think that the gospel is not powerful enough to prevail?”   What better symbol of Roman strength... Continue Reading

Will the American Church Be a New Smyrna?

As Christians brace for official oppression in America, Jesus' words to Smyrna offer a great hope.

Jesus had a simple message for the believers in Smyrna that is needed by American Christians today: “Do not fear what you are about to suffer” (Rev. 2:10).  Do we doubt our Lord’s ability to preserve us under trial?  Do we question his willingness to support us under unjust oppression?  Then of what are we... Continue Reading

One of the Best (and Most Overlooked) Explanations of the Plan of Salvation

In a sense, Warfield has created a logical “decision tree” that any Christian could follow.

The logic and flow of Warfield’s argument are powerful and weighty.  He builds such momentum towards Particularism (Calvinism), that even at an early point in the book the reader gets the sense that it is an inevitability.  All the biblical and theological arrows are pointing in the same direction.   The critical question that every... Continue Reading

No, Hanging Out With Your Friends is Not the Church

Here are five ways these gatherings of friends fail short of what it means to be the church.

Increasingly, I see younger evangelicals (like the one in this Relevant blog post) wondering if they can call their spiritual hang outs with friends a congregation. They are exploring the question: What is church?   Who doesn’t like getting together for a fun dinner with friends and sharing about life? What’s not to love about... Continue Reading

Historical-Grammatical Interpretation and the Song of Songs

What is historical-grammatical interpretation, and how does this affect our approach to the Song?

How does this affect the way we read the Song of Songs? This is where HGI runs into a problem, because HGI recognizes the reality of figurative language, such as metaphor, simile, and symbolism. But HGI itself will not tell the reader when figurative language is being used. That has to be determined by markers... Continue Reading

Hyper-Headship and the Scandal of Domestic Abuse in the Church

Calling it a “draw-a-line-in-the-sand kind of moment” for the church, Meyer read a statement from the elders about domestic abuse

We, the council of elders at Bethlehem Baptist Church, are resolved to root out all forms of domestic abuse (mental, emotional, physical, and sexual) in our midst. This destructive way of relating to a spouse is a satanic distortion of Christ-like male leadership because it defaces the depiction of Christ’s love for his bride. The... Continue Reading

Embers to Flames: A Pastor’s Perspective on the Baltimore Riots

We Love Baltimore and pray that the Lord would allow us to be a bright light in this dark city for His glory!

As soon as a group of young people in Baltimore felt emboldened and believed the governing authorities would give them room to destroy (and that their parents would not hold them accountable) many seized the opportunity. Addressing poverty, improving infrastructure and repairing relationships with law enforcement will not change that.  The only hope for changing... Continue Reading