What Do You Really Want Your Church to Be Known For?

That’s what I would want our church to be known for – our glorious Savior.

I definitely want to pursue excellence in our preaching of God’s word for the sake of strengthening God’s people, and proclaiming the Gospel. And I want our worship to be as excellent as possible to encourage us to glorify Jesus with our singing. But I don’t want these things to be the first thing that... Continue Reading

The Table of the Nations, the Tower of Babel, and the Marriage Supper of the Lamb: Part 2

Looking at ethnic and racial diversity through the lens of biblical theology.

The gospel is the only story that offers real hope and the only story that celebrates what the world fears. Principalities and powers offer many plans but no real hope. The gospel offers a hope that celebrates the breaking down of ethnic barriers and celebrates the sound of the gospel in different languages and tongues.... Continue Reading

The Myth of the Gullible Ancients

Being sophisticated enough to know that miracles are weird and rare and out of the ordinary shouldn't preclude miracles.

One belief that is ubiquitous among those who write off Christianity is the suspicion that the persons who lived in biblical times were highly gullible. When I was an atheist teenager I looked down on the Biblical authors because I thought they didn’t understand the physical world and thought that it was inhabited by fairies... Continue Reading

Ministering to Those who Perpetually Struggle

Here are a few truths to remember the next time you find yourself helping a fellow believer who walks with a chronic limp

If you are tasked with ministering to those who walk with a limp, don’t add to their struggles. Don’t weigh them down with additional expectations and demands. Don’t compare them to others. Don’t treat them like second class Christians. If you realize that you have been impatient with someone who limps along in their faith,... Continue Reading

Barnabas Aid Director Resigns after Sexual Assault Conviction

A British jury found Patrick Sookhdeo guilty of groping a female staffer and intimidating two witnesses

Patrick Sookhdeo has resigned his posts as a trustee and international director for Barnabas Aid International. Board member Julian Dobbs confirmed the resignation this morning. Dobbs said the board has accepted Sookhdeo’s resignation as a trustee, and is considering his resignation as international director of the organization. A ​statement from the trustees of Barnabas Aid... Continue Reading

The Word-less “Church”

Churches that depart from the Word will soon find that God has departed from them.

What solution does the Bible teach for this sad situation? The short but profound answer is given by Paul in Colossians 3:16: “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.” We need... Continue Reading

Do We Live in a Well-Run World?

We live in a well-run world. We do. We do because it is run by a good God.

But because God is good, and because of his great love for his people, he will not let us have that word. His Word is much better. And it commands the water into position. It controls the darkest places that we cannot fathom. It is the source of true light. It puts the angelic stars... Continue Reading

The Relationship Between Corporate Worship and Pastoral Care

As the covenant people gather to render praise to God, they also receive his grace through word and sacrament.

Pastoral counseling is a very important means of pastoral care. But corporate worship is a most necessary component for the care of souls. Not only does pastoral counseling guide God’s people toward fuller worship of him, corporate worship is the primary means through which God strengthens his hurting, grieving, broken and trembling sheep in this... Continue Reading

Euthanasia Comes to Canada

Are we next?

This month, the Canadian Supreme Court trampled democratic deliberation by unanimously conjuring a constitutional right to “termination of life” for anyone who has an “irremediable medical condition” and wants to die. Note the scope of the judicial fiat is not limited to the terminally ill: The ruling grants competent adults a right to die if... Continue Reading

What ISIS Really Wants

The Islamic State is no mere collection of psychopaths. It is a religious group with carefully considered beliefs, among them that it is a key agent of the coming apocalypse.

That the Islamic State holds the imminent fulfillment of prophecy as a matter of dogma at least tells us the mettle of our opponent. It is ready to cheer its own near-obliteration, and to remain confident, even when surrounded, that it will receive divine succor if it stays true to the Prophetic model. Ideological tools... Continue Reading

Kay Coles James Inspires Future Generations of Leaders

It was on the Holly Knoll grounds that famous African Americans, including Dr. Martin Luther King, conceived the social and political ideas that transformed the nation.

With her return to Holly Knoll a half century later, she restored the site and founded the Gloucester Institute to mentor another generation of minority leaders. “I think God placed it in my heart to restore the property and the vision. My husband and I formed the nonprofit, and have dedicated our lives to restoring,... Continue Reading

Ministry to the Military International Planting PCA Churches Near Military Bases

Ministry to the Military has a blueprint to reclaim the hearts and minds of those who serve our nation through military service

Under the leadership of retired US Army Chaplain, TE Doug Hudson, The Presbytery of Southeast Alabama has developed and supports the Ministry to the Military International (MMI), with churches in Germany, Okinawa, and one under development in England.  There is also a staff pastor in the Charleston, SC area, site of several military installations.  ... Continue Reading

God … You are Killing Me!

How can God be all-good and all-powerful and yet allow the wicked to thrive while the righteous cry?

Job is correct in starting his prayer with fervent complaint but ending with a declaration of faith. In later scripture, the Psalmist is legendary for beginning his prayers with despair but ending them in doxology and rededication. Then later, on the cross, Jesus begins his supplication with loud cries and tears, but notice how he ends by declaring,... Continue Reading

10 Ways to Read Your Community

Ten ways to “read” and know your community

Read your community’s history. Even if no one has written a full history, many communities have published at least a brief record of their story. Learning that story will not only help you understand the history better, but it will also show others your interest in being a genuine part of the community.   I... Continue Reading

The Coptic Church And Chalcedon

The focus here is on the history behind this Christological debate and the origination of the division between the Eastern Orthodox and the Oriental Orthodox.

There are six churches known as the Old Oriental Orthodoxy (or Non-Chalcedonian Churches): Syriac, Coptic, Ethiopian, Eritrea, Malankara (Indian), and Armenian. These six churches have a completely different hierarchy and are not in communion with the rest of Eastern Orthodoxy (under the Patriarch of Constantinople) or with Rome (under the Bishop of Rome). These churches... Continue Reading

21 for 1

The public martyrdom of twenty-one Egyptian Christians on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea was surely intended to serve the strategic purposes of ISIS in multiple ways.

Which is why I hope that these murderers are judged completely and exhaustively for their sin, and that their guilt is cast upon Christ on the cross. My hope is that through repentance and faith, the old men in black outfits who drew those knives would die to themselves and that new men would emerge... Continue Reading

My Unexpected Season Working at Chick-Fil-A

Turns out that the only company that wanted a recent college graduate was Chick-fil-A

It wasn’t until I came across Philippians 2 one night that I understood what God was trying to show me. His Son, “though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the... Continue Reading

Is President Obama a Christian? It Depends What You Mean By ‘Christian’

“Do you believe President Obama is a genuine Christian, one who shows the marks of being truly born again?” This is a question of theology, not sociology.

How do we tell the difference? Evangelicals would want to hear more from the professing Christian. How does he believe one enters into a vital relationship with God? What does he believe about the nature of sin? What does he believe Jesus accomplished on the cross? What role does the authority of Scripture play in... Continue Reading

Doubt and Obedience

On this side of glory, there isn't a one-to-one correlation between obedience and blessing

“We don’t merit righteousness before our Father by our obedience, and the Lord’s grace is so vast that He regularly blesses us in spite of our disobedience. Still, perhaps we would see more blessing and experience less doubt if we were to serve Him more faithfully.”   One comment that Christian pastors sometimes hear from people... Continue Reading

The Most Ignored Commandment

It's one of the Bible's most well-known commandments. So why aren't we following it?

“In today’s 24/7 world, Sabbath-keeping is countercultural; it doesn’t just happen by default. If you long to lay down your heavy burdens, you’ll need to be more intentional about your time the other six days of the week.”   A recent poll of 2,000 pastors in North Carolina revealed that less than 10 percent are... Continue Reading

When Africa Bleeds

Boko Haram wants to “cleanse” Nigeria of Christians

“As the attacks have accelerated in recent weeks, leaders from various Christian denominations in Nigeria have called on their Christian brothers and sisters in the West, along with all people of goodwill, to speak out against the mounting violence in their country.”   Seldom in recent memory has the Western world seemed more united than... Continue Reading

10 Biblical Formulas To Change Your Life

We have to work at these formulas to get the benefit of the biblical truths in them into our lives

“Every formula is in “greater than” format. For example, the formula Good News > Bad News, based on Phil. 4:8, is saying make an effort to increase your intake of good news and reduce your intake of bad news in order to produce more of God’s peace in your lives.”   A few years ago, I was... Continue Reading

Can We Arrive At a Young Earth and 24-Hour Period Days in Genesis One From Scripture Alone?

There is stylistic beauty to Genesis 1, but that does not mean it is not "historical narrative"

“It is profitable to discuss the Bible with Christian brothers. I read and admire the writings of great Bible scholars of the past and the present, some of whom held or hold views on the days of creation that I cannot agree with. The issue of the earth’s age is a significant one, and serious... Continue Reading

Fat And Happy: Not So Important To The Christian

Over time, the skinny and sorrowful friend of Christ is better off than the fat and happy enemy

“According to the Teacher, those who live for themselves and focus on today, they are characterized by justice, fairness, equity, revenge, payback, self-protection, and self-promotion. They cannot wait for happiness tomorrow, so they must do everything within their means to grab personal happiness today.”   In Luke 6:20-23, Jesus comments on those who live not... Continue Reading

American Crusades and Existential Threats

There is an existential threat posed by Islamic fanaticism

The Obama administration’s refusal to recognize the existential nature of the threat posed by Islamic fanaticism does not make that threat less real. Given their apocalyptic vision, if al Qaeda’s rapidly metastasizing franchises obtain weapons of mass destruction they will use them. ISIS computer specialists demonstrated remarkable information age capabilities in their 22-minute Internet presentation... Continue Reading

On Dying Where You’re Planted: The Rooted Pastor

I am grudgingly accepting that you don’t choose the place, the place chooses you

“There is a risk to staying put. We should acknowledge it. That seems odd—what could be more conservative than putting down roots? But it is wildly speculative. The risk goes by the name: “opportunity cost.”  By staying put you limit yourself to what the land can yield, to what this particular place can yield. And... Continue Reading

Atlanta’s Former Fire Chief Sues The City, Says He Was Fired Because of Religious Beliefs

The standoff between the former Atlanta fire chief and the city that employed him has escalated

“Cochran, who is an evangelical Christian, was terminated in January after a city investigation pertaining to his self-published book, “Who Told You That You Were Naked,” a Bible study-style text that covers a range of his personal religious beliefs.”   The standoff between former Atlanta fire chief Kelvin Cochran and the city that used to employ him escalated on Thursday, when... Continue Reading

Openly Gay Athlete Speaks Out After School Calls Homosexuality A Sin

Erskine College with at least two openly gay athletes has issued a statement condemning homosexuality; expects students to follow the Bible's teachings about sexuality

“The release of this statement makes me disappointed because I have never received anything but kind treatment from everyone at this school, and my sexual orientation is no secret. So it took me by surprise,” Varona told Outsports … Erskine is affiliated with the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church, a small Christian denomination based in the... Continue Reading

Truth and Idolatry: Call Theological Error What It Is

We must call theological error what it is—unbelief and rebellion

Theological innovation is the fruit of theological rebellion, not biblical Christianity. Or to put it more precisely, theological innovation grows directly from the theologically rebellious. False teaching does not float in abstraction. It always has a face; it always has a mouth. It flows out a defiant heart.   Golden statues, empty rituals, and corrupting bondage.... Continue Reading

The Just-World Phenomena and Victim Blaming

When abuse of any sort raises its ugly head in the church, the victim is blamed in part if not for the whole like Job

But in our attempts to cope, are we turning the tables on the victim and blaming him or her to ease our own discomfort? What scriptures do we have to ignore to do this? Are we in denial? Are we minimizing, excusing, and over-spiritualizing the suffering? Does the victim matter as a person made in... Continue Reading