Jesus Is Our Righteousness

Christ's life of perfect obedience is just as necessary for our salvation as His perfect atonement on the cross

We’ve seen that in the work of redemption God didn’t send Jesus to earth on Good Friday and say, “Die for the sins of your people and that will take care of it.” No. Jesus not only had to die for our sins, but He had to live for our righteousness. If all Jesus did... Continue Reading

The True Treasure of the Church

The gospel is God’s revelation of grace, not law; acceptation with God, not condemnation from God.

Why is Jesus the gospel and therefore the true treasure of the church? Because he’s done everything I cannot do to save me! He’s God; I’m not. He was a perfectly obedient man to God’s commands; I’m not. He died an unjust death that I might be justly acquitted by God; I’d hardly die for... Continue Reading

Back to the Reformed Confessions and Catechisms

No matter how much we may like Calvin, Twisse, Edwards, Horton, or Piper, ultimately we don't confess them. We confess the standards of our denominations.

Everything, no matter who said it, must be weighed against Scripture. And for confessional Christians, a good place to start is with our confessional standards. Confessional Christians, especially ordained leaders, believe and affirm that the confessional standards of their denomination contain “the system of doctrine taught in the Holy Scriptures” (PCA and OPC ordination questions).... Continue Reading

The Sufficiency of the Bible Contra Rome

Sola Scriptura at its heart was an assertion of the sufficiency of the Bible for the faith and practice of the church.

The principle of Scripture alone, rightly understood, does not mean the church of any given time or place operates by the Bible alone without reference to the traditions of the church through the ages. Rather, the sola of sola Scriptura means that the Bible alone is the fountain and touchstone for all authoritative teaching and tradition. This point especially... Continue Reading

Apostasy in Hebrews 6:4-6 (Owen)

The perseverance of the saints is a clear – and comforting! – teaching of Scripture. So what is Hebrews 6:4-6 teaching?

“That the people here  intended (in Heb. 6:4-6) are not true and sincere believers, in the strict and proper sense of that name, at least they are not described here as such; so that from this nothing can be concluded concerning them that are so, as to the possibility of their total and final apostasy.... Continue Reading

Fishers of Men

My experience has shown me that the words are familiar to the church, but the actual work perhaps not so much.

Repair the net that is the church. In this same passage in Matthew 4, two other fishing brothers, James and John, are also called by Christ. When Jesus called them, they were “mending their nets” (Matt. 4:21). My mentor, Pastor Ken Smith, likes to point out that the word used here to describe these men repairing their nets... Continue Reading

3 Ways Pastors and Church Leaders Undermine Themselves on Social Media

Social media can be a minefield for pastors and church leaders, but it doesn’t have to be.

Pastors and church leaders, you must understand: engaging in unnecessary conflict on social media, regardless of the subject or how important you think it is, ultimately damages your witness and clouds people from receiving the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Stop it. No matter how passionate you are about defending the Second... Continue Reading

Think on These Things

Joy in the Lord needs to be pursued intentionally

If anyone was a realist, the Apostle Paul was. He had no illusions about his circumstances. He was in prison. He fully expected to die a martyr’s death. He was deeply concerned that the believers in Asia minor would remain steadfast in the face of increasing persecution. But even in his incarcerated state, which would... Continue Reading

Two Indispensable Requirements For Pastoral Ministry

We must like studying the Bible, and we must like our people.

The people who do their jobs best usually like their jobs most. And we like following people who like what they do. I’ve often wondered if the missing ingredient in many churches is simply an awareness by the congregation that the pastor is really happy to be their pastor—happy to be in the Word each... Continue Reading

Four Implications of Martin Luther’s Theology

What do the sovereignty of God, salvation by grace, justification by faith, and new life in union with Christ mean for the living of the Christian life?

For Luther, the Christian life is a gospel-grounded, gospel-built, gospel-magnifying life that exhibits the free and sovereign grace of God and is lived out in gratitude to the Savior who died for us, yoked to Him in cross-bearing until death is swallowed up in victory and faith becomes sight.   What do the sovereignty of God,... Continue Reading

Should Pastors Today Still Care about the Reformation?

Why should busy pastors set aside valuable hours to read up on the Reformation, usually thought to have kicked off about five hundred years ago?

The Reformation is of central importance for understanding modern Western history. Three large-scale movements set the stage for the contemporary Western world: the Renaissance, the Reformation, and the Enlightenment. Each of the three is complex, and scholars continue to debate many facets of each. Nevertheless, the raw claim for the pivotal role of these three... Continue Reading

A Review: “Killing England”

A review of Bill O’Reilly’s “Killing England.”

In a post-Christian America there is a movement to rid our nation of all vestiges of its Christian past.  Highlighting the sins of former Christian heroes enables them to do this.  Since early America was greatly influenced by the Christian Faith, many modern historians in our educational system (and entertainment industry) are beginning to target... Continue Reading

Sola Scriptura: A Scripture-Alone Life

The issue of authority is the foundational issue of the Reformation.

God’s Word over us is the final authority. God’s Word under us is the foundation of promises. For either of these to be effective, we must have God’s Word in us. The Reformation exploded out of a desert of biblical truth. The people were starving for the gospel and God’s Word. That’s why translating the... Continue Reading

Westminster & Preaching: Preparation & Hearing

The Puritan movement was known firstly as a resurgence of biblical of preaching.

For the Puritans, and the Westminster Assembly especially, preaching was only right preaching when the text was central; for the responsible preacher, the Scripture passage was to guide the sermon, not allowing his sermon to mold the Scripture or to go beyond what the text was saying.   The Puritan movement was known firstly as... Continue Reading

Has Interest In Homeschooling Waned?

Researchers dispute government data showing no growth in the homeschool community.

Before the government released its survey results, Ray issued his own estimates of homeschool growth. In early 2016, he put the number of homeschool students at about 2.3 million—4.5 percent of the overall school-age population—with an estimated annual growth rate of 2-8 percent.   (WNS)–A government survey released last week showed interest in homeschooling appears... Continue Reading

There Is No Spiritualizing This One

No spiritualizing seemed to fit into that humble parking spot.

I began to slip from irritation to worry. Maybe he’d had a heart-attack, or fell and hurt his head. I was somewhere between fret and panic, playing out the scenes, fearing the worst, waiting to hear an ambulance siren, when I like a bolt of lightening, I remembered…..   And it came to pass in... Continue Reading

The Christian’s Duty to Hold Firm

It is the Christian’s duty to hold firm to the uniqueness of God and of His Christ

“In our day, where pluralism reigns in the culture, there is as much satirical hostility to the idea of one God as there was in Nietzsche’s satire. But today, that repugnance to monotheism is not a laughing matter. In the culture of pluralism, the chief virtue is toleration, which is the notion that all religious... Continue Reading

Red Flags

Before someone is in a position of leadership at a church, they need to be committed to that church

“Add to your team slowly, intentionally, and wisely. Look for red flags and don’t just hope they’ll disappear. They hardly ever do – and they’re a whole lot harder to handle once you’ve already taken the plunge.”   Adding members to a worship team, a choir, or really any volunteer team is one of the... Continue Reading

When You Fault Evangelicals for Being Unreasonable, Make Sure to Use Reason

Jennifer Rubin, a conservative columnist at the Washington Post, claims that evangelicals are proving their harshest critics right. Why?

“That makes me wonder what Rubin does with evangelicals who chastise the President for his egotism, lack of decorum, and many vices and sins. Aren’t they guilty of demanding that Trump conform to Christian morality? And isn’t that a form of imposing Christianity on the country?”   Jennifer Rubin, a conservative columnist at the Washington... Continue Reading

In Post-Christian America, Should Christians Retreat from Mission?

Christians should embrace the call to be public witnesses for Christ, whether in cultural power or weakness

The outward thrust of Christian life can be seen, first of all, in an imperative that is often called the cultural mandate, but I call it the First Great Commission. In the first two chapters of Genesis, God instructed Adam and Eve to “be fruitful and multiply” (1:22), “till the soil” (2:5) and “have dominion”... Continue Reading

Before Calvin

What if critics of 2k had to think about the relationship between the church and magistrates before emperors got religion

“So long as a Protestant city council supports our guy, John Calvin, we forget about the problems of a religious magistrate? It’s our civil government. And so long as that Cadillac CTS that only gets 13.8 mpg is a comfortable ride to church, we forget about the price of gas or limits on fossil fuels?... Continue Reading

Ahead of Halloween, Universities Nationwide Tell Students What Not to Wear

Universities are warning their students against Halloween costumes some consider offensive

At UC Santa Barbara, a social justice workshop set for Tuesday will delve into how Halloween costumes abuse “indigenous wear” and teach students how to “spot appropriation with the help of bell hooks’ essay ‘Eating the Other.’”   Throughout October, universities across the nation are warning their students against Halloween costumes some consider offensive. Gone... Continue Reading

Biblical Counsel for Pastoral Burnout, Part 3

If our service is not rooted in God and God’s resources, then we have lost sight of the main thing and it won’t be long before the secondary things lose their luster

“My brother pastor, have you lost sight of what prayer is? Prayer is spending time with the Master drawing down on his resources so that when you minister to others it flows from your ongoing relationship with the Father. That is prayer. It forms a wonderful connection between our identity and our ministry. Do you... Continue Reading

Keep Going Out and Keep Sowing; Tears and All

Keep getting up in the morning and going to a job you wish was more enjoyable and for which you wish you received more pay, because your family really does depend on you

“Keep telling that lost one about the love and forgiveness found in the gospel. Keep serving your community even when they don’t serve you. It’s those things that matter most in life that challenge us in the deepest ways and tempt us to quit. The every day stuff of life that brings us to tears... Continue Reading

Why the Reformation Still Matters

None of the goodness or relevance of the Reformation’s insights have faded over the last five hundred years.

At the beginning of the sixteenth century, Europe had been without a Bible the people could read for something like a thousand years. Thomas Bilney had thus never encountered the words “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” (1 Tim. 1:15). Instead of the Word of God, they were left to the understanding... Continue Reading

Philosophy Rebuts Key Barrier Between Science and Religion

It is not that observation and experience were irrelevant to Descartes; rather, his idea was that truths about the natural world should hold with the same degree of certainty as those of mathematics.

How did Descartes hit upon this conservation law? Not simply by observing nature. “In fact,” he points out, “it often happens that experience may appear to conflict with the rules I have just explained.” Descartes believed that the methodology of physics resembles mathematics more than the “scientific method” we learn in school — beginning not... Continue Reading

From Luther to Merkel

Germany’s long-abandoned Reformational past could offer hope for its future.

 “I believe in God, and religion is also my constant companion, and has been for the whole of my life. We as Christians should above all not be afraid of standing up for our beliefs.” Merkel, now 63, was a preacher’s kid: Her father was a Lutheran pastor. She does not attend church regularly but... Continue Reading

The Boy Scouts and the Disappearance of Paths

The Boy Scouts offered a pathway toward manhood, a vision of the good life that brought together nature and nurture, and lifted up a moral vision to be pursued and cherished.

But the disappearance of paths leads to the disappearance of meaning. In the past, those who transgressed well-worn paths found the experience exhilarating precisely because there were paths to transgress. Today, with pathways quickly disappearing, even the most brazen acts are met with a yawn. Some LGBT writers mourn the normalcy brought by gay marriage, because... Continue Reading

Willow Creek Chooses Co-Ed Pastors to Succeed Bill Hybels

Megachurch becomes biggest in America to appoint a female lead pastor.

“When we saw this shaping up, we had to ask ourselves, ‘Can our congregation have a lead pastor that’s a woman?,’” said Hybels, speaking from Willow Creek’s central campus in South Barrington, Illinois, one of seven locations in the Chicago region that draw a collective total of 25,000 worshippers each weekend. “And because this is... Continue Reading

Idolatry at the Office: Confessions of a Workaholic

However noble our efforts may appear to the world, we labor in vain when we strive apart from God.

To someone scrambling for worth in the dark, the accolades were intoxicating. I soon guarded my professional identity as if it were a crust of bread during famine. I embraced a twisted asceticism that denied worldly comforts in favor of “doing the right thing.”   During my second year of surgical residency, I totaled my... Continue Reading