The “Authenticity” Paradox

There’s something about the word “authenticity” that makes me cringe

I’m concerned that in all this talk about authenticity today we give ourselves (and others) permission to give voice to thoughts and action that we need to bring under submission to the Word of God. You cannot live for Christ while constantly saying “yes” to yourself. We all know Christians who boast, “I’m a Christian... Continue Reading

Reformation Romance: Love and Marriage Luther and Katie’s Way (Part 1),

Luther received a letter, a passionate appeal for his counsel from more than a dozen nuns who desperately wanted to flee the nunnery; and then he played matchmaker.

Setting to work with his typical zeal, Luther soon had matches or suitable circumstances arranged for all but one of the runaway nuns, spunky twenty-six-year-old Katharina von Bora. After several failed attempts—picky Katharina turned down several offers of marriage—she laughed off an aged candidate with the quip that she would rather marry Luther than Dr.... Continue Reading

The Missing Elements of Modern Worship

Where have they gone? Or, perhaps more importantly, why have they gone?

“It’s not that every one of these elements has to be prominent every week (and it’s not like these are the only elements that have gone missing). There is a time and place for topical sermons. A confession of sin and assurance of pardon may not be necessary every week. There can be a time... Continue Reading

Gay Man Starts Social Media Campaign Over Church Dismissal For Unrepentant Homosexuality

Jesus, Thomas wrote, was angry with people who told others they were not worthy to be His followers

“Your desire to actively participate in a same-sex relationship with another man, and your unwillingness to heed biblical counsel from your church to turn from that relationship, has made it exceedingly difficult to shepherd you during this time,” the letter said.   A gay man disciplined by a Dallas church for giving in to his... Continue Reading

Are Moms Responsible For The Way Their Daughters Dress?

A five-year-old post about modesty and girls went viral, generating more than 1 million reads

The original blog by Shelly Wildman was posted in March 2011 and titled “How Your Daughter Dresses Matters,” and referenced a Wall Street Journal column from around the same time that also dealt with the issue. “[I]t’s been an interesting week,” Wildman wrote Thursday.   A Chicago-area author and blogger learned the power of social... Continue Reading

Sexual Identity: Community and Church Issues, Sexual Identity & Fear

Jesus confronts doubts even while giving (believers) a counter-cultural commission

“In my own conversations with Christians, there is perhaps even greater alarm over the agenda of sexual liberation and gender identity movements.  The questions I am asked most often about Christian higher education are ones related to threats posed by government bathroom policies or anti-discrimination regulations overriding our traditional commitments to Christian views of gender... Continue Reading

Why Didn’t the Reformers Unite?

Wouldn’t it have made sense for these three centers of reform — Wittenberg, Zurich, and Strasbourg — to come together to present a united reformational front?

Martin Bucer first heard Martin Luther in Heidelberg in 1518 when both were still monks. Luther and Huldrych Zwingli knew of one another. Publicly, Zwingli praised Luther, calling him a “Hercules” and a “faithful David” who fought the Lord’s battles.   It was 1529. Various reform movements were at work, purifying the church in Wittenberg,... Continue Reading

1966 And All That: Reflections On Evangelical Unity Fifty Years After The Public Disagreement Between Martyn Lloyd-Jones And John Stott

Tuesday 18th October 2016 marks the 50th Anniversary of Martyn Lloyd-Jones’ address at the Second National Assembly of Evangelicals organised by the Evangelical Alliance

“For a long periods after the Assembly the text of Lloyd-Jones’ address was unavailable . It was finally printed in full in Knowing the Times, published by the Banner of Truth in 1989. A couple of days ago I read the address again, and even on paper (especially if you imagine the voice of Lloyd-Jones)... Continue Reading

Serious Trouble Brewing in the PCA Over “Gay Christians”

It appears to me that the PCA should be preparing for some serious trouble over the legitimacy of what is being termed “gay Christian.”

Rather than adopting some new theological position at a local church or Presbytery level, let us appeal to the broader church to study the issue and report back to the church.  Is sexual desire for other men or women of the same gender acceptable, as long as it does not become lust, or is it... Continue Reading

Open Letter to SBL Concerning Their Ban of IVP from the Annual Convention

The objection of SBL is that IVCF’s employee policy requires subscription to a document called “Theological Summary of Human Sexuality,” which in SBL’s mind severely restricts free inquiry.

Fifth, and somewhat baffling, is what you wrote to IVP. You said that SBL was committed to: “a variety of critical perspectives …  diversity of participation and unhindered critical discourse …  free inquiry and expression.” John, mate, I don’t want to be confrontational, but can you explain to me how does banning a publisher from the annual... Continue Reading

The PC Police Outlaw Make-Believe

In our surreal age of identity politics, pretending is politically incorrect.

Ms. Shriver delivered her speech while wearing a sombrero—a literal representation of her deeper point, which is that the job of fiction writers is to embody characters unlike themselves. If identity politics reaches its absurd conclusion, Ms. Shriver said, “all I could write about would be smart-alecky 59-year-old 5-foot-2-inch white women from North Carolina.”  ... Continue Reading

Human Sexuality: Defined by the Mystery of the Trinity

The Bible discloses that there only two options for human existence: We either worship the creation or we worship the Creator.

We do not define God nor do we self-define. In the creation of human sexuality God, as Creator and Redeemer, reveals something of himself as both different from us, yet intimately related to us. In revealing himself, he defines us. Thus our great cosmic human task is faithfully to carry that image throughout our lives... Continue Reading

The Socio-economic Contribution of Religion to American Society

This article summarizes the first documented quantitative national estimates of the economic value of religion to U.S. society.

The data on local congregations show that they provide a significant level of community and social services beyond those provided through religious organizations set up to specifically provide health care, education and charity. … congregations spent an estimated $9.2 billion on social programs in 2012, the bulk of which came from donations of individual congregants.... Continue Reading

The Need for a Ministerial Break Down

Ministers must aim being faithful to break down God's word so that it will be understood and appreciated by the younger and older believers.

Those ministers who fail to break down God’s word for His people usually do so from behind an ecclesiastical smokescreen. They treat each member of the congregation as if he or she should be at the same spiritual place in understanding by virtue of the fact that they are members of the church. This is... Continue Reading

Religious Freedom — For Everyone

What are the limits and parameters of religious liberty?

Machen: Tolerance, moreover, means not merely tolerance for that with which we are agreed but also tolerance for that to which we are most thoroughly opposed. A few years ago there was passed in New York the abominable Lusk Law requiring private teachers in any subjects whatever to obtain a state license….But certainly such opposition... Continue Reading

5 Significant Signs You’ve Stopped Growing as a Leader

Spending all your time in your sweet spot can turn your sweet spot into a dead spot.

You can grow in your sweet spot, getting better and better at what you do best, which is great. But being in your sweet spot every day doesn’t always stretch you. In fact, it can start to feel comfortable…too comfortable. Take that to its logical conclusion and you might discover this: spending all your time... Continue Reading

No Lord!

When someone says, “No Lord!” they have to be insincere in one of those two words.

When some say “No Lord,” they are proclaiming insincere praise. With their mouths they are giving title and tribute to God, but there is a wide gulf between their words and their affections. They are insincere in calling Jesus, “Lord.” They are very sincere in saying, “No.”   Have you ever said, “No Lord!” I must admit, I... Continue Reading

How My Books are Being Banned at the Society of Biblical Literature

SBL’s ire of book banning is directed to the simple belief that the Bible teaches marriage is between a man and a woman.

But, apparently book banning is back in vogue.  Dr. John Kutsko, executive director of the Society of Biblical Literature, has just proposed that InterVarsity Press–one of the largest evangelical presses in the country– be suspended from having a book stall at the annual SBL meeting (starting in 2017). The reason for this ban is the... Continue Reading

50 Years Ago: The Split Between John Stott And Martyn Lloyd-Jones

An event 50 years ago between two respected church leaders that shook British evangelicalism—on the nature of the church and the basis of gospel unity and purity

Lloyd-Jones argued that evangelicals were guilty of “the sin of schism” for remaining visibly separated from each other, while being visibly united in their denominations to people who denied the gospel essentials …. Stott and his Anglican evangelical colleagues, like J. I. Packer, protested vigorously against heresy in the Church of England, especially against liberal... Continue Reading

How Vocation Transformed Society

A dramatic example of how a theological teaching had a revolutionary social impact is the Reformation doctrine of vocation.

Another name for the doctrine of vocation is the priesthood of all believers. God does call some Christians to be pastors, but He calls other Christians to exercise their royal priesthood by plowing fields, forging steel, and starting businesses. But all priests—including peasants and serving girls—need access to God’s Word. So during the Reformation, schools... Continue Reading

Worship At Home

Because our worship is about the glory of God rather than our emotional experiences, worship is central to all of life.

The reading of the Word at home and the preaching of the Word at church are not innovations given to us by man. They are instructions given by God to his people. To lead our families in worship, we must always be grounded not in our own profundity, but on the omniscient and good instructions... Continue Reading

Fake Christian Emotions And Real Christian Affections

Many Christians believe that what Scripture means by “pure” and by “lovely” is the pleasant, the naive, the Hallmark Channel, not the reality of a world in need of redemption.

Prosperity gospel preachers would tell us that the point of the Christian life is to escape pain, suffering, and grief. And we should not deny that God has plans to “wipe every tear” from the eyes of believers. But in this life, realistic grief and sorrow are as much a part of the godly affections... Continue Reading

Time to Grow Up

Parents and local church members, let us teach our children to follow our example and grow up.

Let’s enjoy the progress Christ is making within and seek to be a bit different than the average Joe in our culture. Let’s grow up!  Let’s mature and leave behind our childish and foolish ways. Men, let’s take the lead and man up! Ladies, you mature as well and grow in excellence as you grow in years.... Continue Reading

Which Ministry: Backwoods Boondocks or Metro Urban Center?

God is still preparing and preparing his servants in his fields ripe for harvest.

John the Baptist could not have ministered successfully in the same arenas that Paul the Apostle did and the opposite is also true.  Not only were their ministry gifts different, but their preparation and personalities were tailor made by our sovereign God for them to do exactly His will in the exact places where He... Continue Reading

5 Ways Persecution in Iran Has Backfired

Seeing Christians willing to suffer often draws unbelievers closer to Christ

“Scripture is clear that God often uses his people’s suffering to advance his kingdom. In his providence, the Islamic regime’s strategies to stamp out the Persian-speaking church in Iran have backfired—resulting in further church growth. Here are five examples.”   The Bible is full of stories reminding us that, whatever the opposition, God is always victorious. It’s the story of Joseph... Continue Reading

Why Definite Atonement (Particular Redemption) Must Be True

The doctrine of definite atonement or particular redemption refers to the biblical truth that Jesus died on the cross only for His elect and actually procured their eternal salvation at Calvary

“What did Jesus actually accomplish at the cross? Did Jesus really save people or did Jesus make people savable by dying for them? What did the atonement achieve? The many words that comprise the theological range that describes what Jesus did on the cross all underscore that Jesus perfectly saved people by dying for them.”... Continue Reading

12 Theses on a Christian Understanding of Economics

The Christian worldview reminds us that we must live with the recognition that we will give an account to the Lord for our stewardship of our resources

“Some economic systems treat the idea of private property as a problem. But Scripture never considers private property as a problem to be solved (see, for instance, the Ten Commandments). Scripture’s view of private property implies it is the reward of someone’s labor and dominion.”   Regrettably, many American Christians know little about economics. Furthermore,... Continue Reading

The State of Theology: Does Even the Smallest Sin Deserve Eternal Damnation?

Eight out of ten Americans have an incorrect view of sin

You can think of the views of sin and of Christ’s person and work as an inverse relationship. Thinking less of sin, not grasping its full weight, means we necessarily think less of Christ and less of His work on the cross. When we see the full depth and heinousness of our sin, we exalt... Continue Reading

Andy Stanley Says Christian Unity Is More Than ‘Hey, Can You Put Down Weapons For The Weekend?’

Stanley emphasized that "unity around who is Jesus is preeminent"

Stanley then paraphrased and explained what Christ meant by that prayer: “Father, I pray that they will all be in oneness just like We are in oneness. I pray that they will be in unity together, just like We are in unity together.”   Speaking to thousands of Christian leaders gathered for Catalyst Atlanta Oct.... Continue Reading

Sexual Morality in a Christless World

Sexual morality is undergoing a revolution as traditional morality gives way to something different

“Into the fray steps Matthew Rueger with his book Sexual Morality in a Christless World. Though the last few years have brought us no shortage of books on how to live on this side of the sexual revolution, Rueger offers something unique in examining and explaining the historical and cultural backdrop to the New Testament’s... Continue Reading