Do You Hear The People Sing?
What do you hear when your church worships God in song?
“The Maker has wired music into the fabric of every soul, even those of us who are not especially musical by nature. It’s not just another way people artistically experience and express their gratitude and awe to God — like painting or journaling or fishing or serving. Throughout the Bible, God’s people — saved by... Continue Reading
How To Distinguish The Holy Spirit From The Serpent
How do we distinguish the promptings of the Spirit of grace in His guiding and governing of our lives from the delusions of the spirit of the world and of our own sinful heart?
“How, then, does the Spirit act on the believer? The Spirit comes to us as an earnest, a pledge, a down payment on final redemption. He is here and now the foretaste of future glory. But His presence is also an indication of the incompleteness of our present spiritual experience.” How do we distinguish the... Continue Reading
A Letter To Global South Anglicans
National Cathedral Sanctuary offered for Friday Islamic prayers
“You are well aware of the actions of the Episcopal Church that have led to “tearing the fabric of the Anglican Communion.” In that respect, it will not come as a complete surprise that the National Cathedral has conducted both same-sex blessings of relationships, and, more recently in 2013 began conducting same-sex marriage ceremonies. I... Continue Reading
“Give Attention to the Reading”
A pastor needs to read enough, and enough of the right stuff, to be growing intellectually and to meet the demands of ministry in the world in which he lives
“Reading continues to be one of the most important duties of a pastor. Pastors are responsible to do the work of the mind, and their minds must have something with which to work. Reading is the door, and texts are the workmen through which the furniture of ideas enters the mind and organizes a pastor’s... Continue Reading
John Piper Says Bullying Pastors Abuse Authority And Should Be Rebuked
The retired Bethlehem Baptist Church pastor said bullying pastors should be admonished and gave listeners of his Ask Pastor John program a scriptural litmus test to identifying such a leader
“One of the reasons you have to rebuke one person in the church is because they are hurting the sheep. They’re hurting other people and out of love and the up-building of the other people, you may have to get tough with a sheep-hurter or destroyer or a wolf in sheep’s clothing.” Answering a... Continue Reading
Porn And The Singleness Panic
In a society that largely champions sexual expression, including pornography, it is heartening to hear someone acknowledge its detriments
“At this point I have to ask: What happened to all those voices I heard in the church when I was growing up, the leaders telling us women to keep our standards high, and to choose only a truly godly man to be the spiritual leader in our home and the loving father of our... Continue Reading
Martin Bucer: Carer of Souls (Part 2)
Whatever the situation, we need, as Bucer says, to apply the right medicine to bring about healing
“Bucer speaks of “counsel and help,” “proper binding up and healing.” Similar to the third task, we see the need arising from the spreading effect of sin in a sheep. Sin weakens. Sin dulls our affections. We know this, not first by observing our sheep, but by observing ourselves! We stumble. We find ourselves sin-wounded. We need a... Continue Reading
The Transformation Of The Homosexual: What Change Looks Like
Biblically, change is no less an expectation for the homosexual than it is for the porn addict, the liar, the murderer or anyone else who has been under the power of sin
“Change for those struggling with same-sex attraction occurs on the level of: 1. behavior, 2. belief, 3. identity, and 4. desire. It may also involve deliverance from demonic strongholds and family-line curses, the unmasking of hidden roots of idolatry, fear, unbelief, unforgiveness, the renouncing of ungodly judgments and vows, the healing of emotional wounds, as... Continue Reading
When Do You Leave a Church?
There are certainly legitimate reasons to leave a church and sadly, it sometimes become necessary or even a duty to find a more biblically faithful body
“It seems in our self-intoxicated, consumer-driven evangelical culture, what is often referred to as “church hopping” seems to have reached a virtual epidemic. There are a number of reasons for this reality with biblical illiteracy, a loss of a robust ecclesiology, a distaste for authority, the disappearance of church discipline and the decay of meaningful... Continue Reading
University Reformed Church Takes Second Vote to Leave RCA, to Affiliate with PCA
The second vote of the congregation was 366 to 18 to withdraw from the RCA and join the PCA
At a meeting on Sunday evening, November 23, The Great Lakes City Classis conducted a congregational meeting of the University Reformed Church (URC), East Lansing, Mich., The purpose of the meeting was for Classis to oversee a discussion and vote on URC’s desire to withdraw from the Reformed Church in America (RCA), and affiliate with... Continue Reading
The BioLogos Foundation is making a major, well-funded push to change the way Christians read Genesis and think about Adam and Eve
BioLogos is now spending $3.6 million (primary funder: Templeton) on 37 projects in the United States and around the world, with grants ranging from $23,000 to $300,000. According to the BioLogos website, funds go to “projects that explore consonance between evolution and Christian faith.” Projects must not “reject the conclusions of mainstream science (e.g. old... Continue Reading
Compassion without Compromise
An introduction to a new book, Compassion without Compromise: How the Gospel Frees Us to Love Our Gay Friends Without Losing the Truth
There are dozens of questions like this in the book, each one answered with biblical insights and with good sense. I can’t imagine any Christian not being helped by this book. Adam and Ron are clear about the Bible’s prohibition of homosexual activity. They are informed on the latest scholarship. They are discerning when it... Continue Reading
The Case for Idolatry: Why Evangelical Christians Can Worship Idols
I really hope it's obvious that this is a parody, but if not: it is.
In other words, when Paul talks about idolatry, he is not talking about the worship of idols as we know it today. As a Christ-follower, he would be just as horrified as Jesus if he saw the way his words have been twisted to exclude modern idolaters like me, and like many friends of mine.... Continue Reading
Think the “Emergent Church” was Ineffective? Think again.
Even where the word “emergent” is not used, ideas from emergence leaders are being considered and adopted, leading to new experimentation and openness.
Already, the emergent church has taken shape in historically faithful Evangelical communities as youth ministry lay leaders and lay leaders, pastors, and high-profile seminary and Christian college professors and Millennials in the Church are caught in the crosshairs. Just consider for one moment the shifting worldview of today’s young Evangelicals. Brian McLaren is right.... Continue Reading
The Bechdel Test and The Byrd Test
How often do you see the token woman thrown in to discuss, wait for it….women’s issues?
Whether it’s about purity, mothering, homeschooling, submission, or anti-feminism in general, women seem to be invited to speak about the second chapter in Titus or the 31st chapter of Proverbs more than anything else. Hannah Anderson likes to refer to this realm as the pink verses of Scripture. But the women that encounter Jesus do... Continue Reading
5 Ways to Kill Anger
Here are a few things that will leads us down the path of meekness and away from anger.
But where do we begin and how do we fight? After repenting we need to figure out what the opposite of anger is. It is NOT patience. The opposite of anger is actually meekness. Meekness is not a word we use very often. Many believe that meekness means weakness. It doesn’t. It also does not... Continue Reading
Support For Those Weak In Faith
The strength of our faith does not save us; the strength of our Savior does!
In one section of his book, The Unsearchable Riches of Christ, Thomas Brooks gives some biblical examples of what it means to be weak in faith: those weak in faith have a fair amount of worldliness in their hearts, they fret and worry excessively about troubles and trials, they often think more of their sin... Continue Reading
The Most Creepiest Time of the Year
Thoughts on two kids lip-syncing to "Baby It's Cold Outside"
Hollywood doesn’t just push some boundaries; it pushes them all. Remember that these are the same people who can’t understand why Roman Polanski’s rape of a thirteen-year-old girl was all that big a deal. But Hollywood is far cleverer than any government bureaucracy. After all, this video is beautifully done! That’s why we are outraged... Continue Reading
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