10 Ways the Enemy Gets the Upper Hand in a Church
The devil strategically attacks us and we need to know his ways to fight against these attacks
He wants us to give up on prayer. He points out unanswered prayer, reminding us that God has at times not heard us in the past. Why would we then seek God’s presence and power today? He wants us to get puffed up with ego. In fact, this strategy is the root of the rest... Continue Reading
Evangelicals and the LGBT Community: What Does the Future Hold?
Evangelicals are learning to model both grace and truth when discussing homosexuality and same-sex marriage.
As a millennial, an evangelical, and a Southern Baptist, I’m passionate about a vibrant civic pluralism. Our differences should not be ignored for the sake of false unity. But the fractured values divide in America can’t persist healthily at the rate we’re going. Now more than ever, we need courage, civility, and a commitment for... Continue Reading
Ed Stetzer on Statistics and the Church
The president of LifeWay Research talks about what will make Christians more serious about their faith
“Missional” [has] become an ecclesiological junk drawer. If somebody wants more social justice in his or her church, that’s missional. If someone wants to be contextually relevant, that’s missional. A lot of times missional is the desired change if someone wants to be something else. Missional is, at its simplest, us joining Jesus on his... Continue Reading
Knock, knock jokes are always answered with, “Who’s there?” Our knock, knock prayers are answered with, “Jesus”
Jesus wants us to pursue Him, to ask of Him. Even though He knows our needs, even though the thoughts and intentions of our hearts are not hidden to Him, we must ask, seek, knock. We do not have because we do not ask, James tells us. Jesus desires that we come before Him... Continue Reading
‘World War II Isn’t Over': Talking to Unbroken Veteran Louis Zamperini
Before his death in July at 97, the man immortalized in Laura Hillenbrand's book reflected on courage, forgiveness, and why he doesn't consider himself a hero.
If you hate somebody, it’s like a boomerang that misses its target and comes back and hits you in the head. The one who hates is the one who hurts. I talked to girls at a school in Palos Verdes and I said, “If you want to age quickly, then hate somebody.” After that, I... Continue Reading
Roger the Memory
I know so much about what Jesus did for me, what I knew 60 years ago, but am I really in touch with him in an ongoing way?
Have I told you about my conversation with my friend Dan? I said to him, if ‘not yet’ is the last thing we say, and people always remember the last thing, isn’t that discouraging, that it’s always ‘not yet’? Why don’t we say ‘still already’ at the end? But Dan said, why not ‘still already... Continue Reading
Why Do Pastors Receive a Tax Exemption for Housing?
Why exactly do ministers receive a tax exemption for their housing allowance?
Because of this reality, the courts cannot allow the parsonage exemption and exclude the housing exemption without showing preference for certain religious groups over others. Both the parsonage and pastor housing exemption are part of a legal tradition that serve to prevent the entanglement of the state in ecclesiological concerns. That’s an ideal even atheists... Continue Reading
Science Has Great News for People Who Read Actual Books
The debate between paper books and e-readers has been vicious since the first Kindle came out in 2007
As we increasingly read on screens, our reading habits have adapted to skim text rather than really absorb the meaning. A 2006 study found that people read on screens in an “F” pattern, reading the entire top line but then only scanning through the text along the left side of the page. This sort of... Continue Reading
Gay Couple Files Complaint Against Denomination, With Pastor’s Approval
Two homosexuals who attend a United Methodist Church (UMC) in Winston-Salem, N.C., have lodged a complaint with Methodist officials against their pastor for not marrying them
Green Street United Methodist Church announced the complaint against its senior pastor, Kelly Carpenter, during a press conference Nov. 12. The couple, Kenny Barner and Scott Chappell, say that by refusing to marry them, Carpenter is violating the UMC Book of Discipline’s requirement for pastors to “perform the work of the ministry” and refrain from... Continue Reading
Happy 1660th Birthday: Augustine’s Enduring Appeal Is His Personal Passion for the Living Lord
Of the hundreds of thousands of published Christian writers over the centuries since the Scripture books were completed, none have had a level of influence like Augustine
“At the time of his new birth in Christ, Augustine had already become convinced of the truth of the Gospel for months. In Milan where Augustine was living at the time, the local Bishop Ambrose convinced Augustine that the arguments against the Gospel were weak, and that the Gospel in fact answered all the crucial... Continue Reading
A Romantic View Of Ministry
This is not to exalt one man over against another; it is the office that is exalted
“There is a danger for men who are pursuing ministry to fall into what some have called “a romantic view of ministry.” Recognizing the high call of the pastorate, and knowing that God is doing His greatest work in the world through His ministers in the church (Eph. 3:10), many have come to embrace faulty views of... Continue Reading
On the Word, Wittenberg Beer, and Christian vs Islamic Expansion
The use of force is unnecessary and unfruitful for the successful expansion of God's kingdom
“Luther discovered a perfect example of the Word’s ability to grow God’s kingdom sans a baton or baseball bat in his own experience of the preceding years. “I opposed indulgences and all the papists, but never with force. I simply taught, preached, and wrote God’s Word; otherwise I did nothing. And while I slept, or... Continue Reading
She Is A Public Nuisance
Of these two neighbors, which is more to be pitied? Which of the two lives under the greater delusion?
“One of my neighbors is succumbing to age and infirmity and living in a sad fantasy. The other is willfully blinding himself to the most obvious reality in the world—that he and all that he sees and experiences have been made and formed by the Creator. He, by far, is most to be pitied because... Continue Reading
11 Things You Should Know About Alzheimer’s Disease
Here are 10 things to remember about Alzheimer’s and caregiving
“Many caregivers report feeling abandoned by their church families. Once they are unable to get to church on Sunday, they can feel forgotten. One pastor noted, “Sometimes I think the church has an Alzheimer’s of it’s own,” referring to our tendency to forget those who are no longer present on Sunday. Many caregivers long for... Continue Reading
Why Did Jesus Have To Die? (Part 2)
We say that it was a satisfaction for sin owed to the justice of God
“Of course the Scriptures clearly teach that justice is. Our Lord made a covenant of works, a covenant of nature, a covenant of life conditioned upon obedience to his law. He said that we might eat from any of the trees in the garden but one. They day we ate from that tree “You shall... Continue Reading
Apologetics: Basic Approaches
There are three basic approaches or schools of what is called “apologetics”
“Numerous weaknesses to each of these arguments have been made. For our purposes here, the most important one is that none of them necessarily leads to the one true God who has revealed himself uniquely in Scripture and in his Son. These classical arguments can lead to a general concept of God; but at some... Continue Reading
The True Reformers
Mere men are not the true reformers, but rather they are stewards and servants of God’s reformation
“Fundamentally, Reformed theology is theology founded on and fashioned by God’s Word. For it is God’s Word that forms our theology, and it is we who are reformed by that theology as we constantly return to God’s Word every day and in every generation. At its core, this is what the sixteenth-century Reformation was all... Continue Reading
A Brief Note On Texas Church Property Court Cases
There was a brief ripple on the church property legal front this past week as the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal regarding the Episcopal Church cases
“The Texas case is the one I discussed recently where the Texas Supreme Court overturned the summary judgement granted to the mainline Episcopal Church in the lower courts based on it being a hierarchical denomination. The Texas decision then sent it back down to the trial court for a full hearing on neutral principals but... Continue Reading
Liberal “Christianity” Reveals Its Soul and Bares Its Fangs
There are two reasons why the Islamic Friday prayers at the Episcopal National Cathedral on November 14, 2014, was strictly a form of religious non-sense.
The future struggle for religious truth will involve not only the historic confrontation between Gospel truth and the pagan lie but will increasingly divide Christendom, pitting “Christians” who have abandoned the Gospel and have joined with God-denying paganism, against Christians who defend biblical truth. The Church’s conflict with non-Christian religions is to be expected.... Continue Reading
The Most Important Passage in the Whole of Scripture
This passage is the basis for the great Reformation doctrine of sola fide–the idea that we are saved by faith alone and not by the works of the law.
What is it that solves the problem of our sins? “A righteousness of (from) God has been manifested apart from the law…through faith in Jesus Christ” (3:21-22). Luther referred to these verses as “the center of the whole Bible.” Martin Lloyd Jones called it “the most important and crucial passage in the whole of Scripture.” ... Continue Reading
The Joy Of Not Being So Intentional…
If being intentional means over-thinking, second guessing, guilt-baring, people pleasing parenting and all-around doing life, then this lady has left the room.
I know my grandparents generation was by no means perfect and they could probably have used a little more intentionality in their parenting. And I don’t doubt there was still gossip, slander and judgment between friends and neighbors as sin has no generational bounds. But I imagine the scale was not nearly as far-reaching as... Continue Reading
Pitting Holiness Against Holiness
Is justification better than sanctification?
Of course Jesus comes first; of course we are nothing but sinful wretches without him; of course good works do not save us and we have no confidence in them for that. But for us to say that the good works are therefore not “better” than that which makes them possible seems to forget that... Continue Reading
The Aggressive Agenda of Unbelief
Biologos has as its mission to spread the message that the Bible cannot be relied upon as a trustworthy guide to human origins
Perhaps you are thinking, “Wait a minute, if there was no first Adam then Jesus isn’t the Second Adam. If there was no fall then that has massive implications for the gospel itself.” Exactly. In fact, some of the men who have been associated with Biologos and written for them, like Pete Enns (Eastern University)... Continue Reading
Your Soul Needs the Breath of God’s Grace
God's grace is like the air I breathe. I can't live without it, and I can't take it for granted.
We can do nothing apart from Christ. Nothing. The air we breathe, the very life we’ve been given comes from God’s hand (Acts 17:25). It’s not only our salvation that comes by grace, but also our sanctification and our perseverance in faith as well. It’s God’s grace from beginning to end. Like our bodies are... Continue Reading
Who Do You Say That I Am?
The question is doubly crucial in our day because not every Jesus is the real Jesus.
There’s Hippie Jesus who teaches everyone to give peace a chance, imagine a world without religion, and helps us remember all you need is love. There’s Yuppie Jesus who encourages us to reach our full potential, reach for the stars, and buy a boat. There’s Spirituality Jesus who hates religion, churches, pastors, priests, and doctrine;... Continue Reading
Are Rewards a Valid Motivation for Sanctification?
Are punishments and rewards biblically consistent with the idea of God's saving grace?
In considering the many biblical passages that speak of a future evaluation of believers’ lives, the overwhelming emphasis lies on the side of rewards. This is not surprising, since Jesus paid the penalty for our sins in his atoning death. Since there will be no tears, mourning, or crying in heaven (Rev. 21:4), Christians may... Continue Reading
The Old Testament God
It has become rather commonplace to denigrate the God of the Old Testament (usually assuming from the outset that He is a different God than the God of the New Testament).
From the standpoint of one who believes in the Old Testament God, I find God to be amazingly consistent, and the very farthest thing from arbitrary. I will say this: just because God does not always explain His reason for doing such and such a thing, does not mean that a reason is non-existent. He... Continue Reading
Sunday Schooling Our Kids Out of Church
We've essentially “Sunday-Schooled” our children out of church—because we never assimilated them into church. We never “church-broke” them.
…we shifted kids out of the main worship experience, en-culturated them in their own program, and robbed them of any touch points with the rest of the body of Christ. Another way of saying it: by segregating our kids out of worship, we never assimilated them into the life of the congregation. They had no... Continue Reading
Prominent Protestant Pastors Vow To No Longer Perform Government Marriages
Two Protestant pastors, concerned about rapidly-changing government definitions of marriage, have started a movement encouraging priests and ministers to refuse to perform civil marriages
“….My main reason for saying this is simple: Marriage — the lifelong union between a man and woman for the sake of mutual support and, God permitting, the bearing and raising of children — is a universal human estate, bound to God’s creative and redemptive will. Regardless of the civil state’s views on the matter,... Continue Reading
Gay-Rights Campaign Invokes Religion in the South
The nation’s largest gay advocacy group launched a faith-based campaign in Mississippi in mid-November
The campaign is part of HRC’s Project One America, an initiative announced this spring to win support for the LGBT agenda in Alabama, Arkansas, and Mississippi. HRC is spending $8.5 million on the project and says All God’s Children will cost an initial $310,000. A study commissioned by HRC and cited in their campaign fact... Continue Reading