Lecrae, Ferguson, and the Limits of Respectability

For Lecrae, not to call the hip hop community to moral virtue would be surrendering to the bigotry of low expectations.

Lecrae makes an incredibly insightful and truth-telling observation. If we are going to care about violence against black life then such protests need to also be reflected in art forms and never celebrated. What Lecrae is doing here is calling hip hop culture to pursue higher moral virtues in the midst of their protests. Many... Continue Reading

More on the Enns/Green Controversy

It seems that in the minds of many people, Jesus was wrong when He said that Moses wrote about Him.

Is the Old Testament about Jesus or isn’t it? John 5 and Luke 24 say yes. The two-readings view says no and yes. And no, I am not flattening out the Old Testament at this point. There is a development and an unfolding. There are even some surprises. I’m okay saying that. But Jesus is... Continue Reading

How Believers Can Distort the Word

Once young adults buy into the lie that Scripture is not authoritative, then they find themselves drifting towards questioning, doubting and abandoning the faith altogether.

To do this, the Christian Left typically starts by excluding mentions of “sin,” “Hell,” and “transformation” from their sermons, lectures or Sunday school lessons. This way, the need to address and turn away from immorality is intentionally avoided. Next, they incite confusion in Millennials’ minds regarding the clarity of Scripture. Some among the Christian Left... Continue Reading

8 Points: A Critique of Dispensational Premillennialism

An excerpt from Anthony Hoekema's book, The Bible and the Future

The Bible does not teach a millennial restoration of the Jews to their land.  …To understand these prophecies (about returning to the land) only in terms of a literal fulfillment for Israel in Palestine during the thousand years is to revert back to Jewish nationalism and to fail to see God’s purpose for all his... Continue Reading

Biblical Theology and the Sexuality Crisis

The concordance approach to theology produces a flat Bible without context, covenant, or master-narrative

The sexuality crisis has demonstrated the failure of theological method on the part of many pastors. The “concordance reflex” simply cannot accomplish the type of rigorous theological thinking needed in pulpits today. Pastors and churches must learn the indispensability of biblical theology and must practice reading Scripture according to its own internal logic—the logic of... Continue Reading

Our New Morality

Our society’s deepest beliefs on what’s right and wrong and good and bad are now being based almost entirely on reactions to media presented to us.

These are just a few examples to make the point: our society does have a morality, we do care about right and wrong – but we simply take our definitions of right and wrong from what is most immediate and concerning to us. It’s our new Reactionary Morality. Because we have, by and large, abandoned... Continue Reading

New Book: The Happy Christian

There’s a serious joy deficit dragging down God’s people and undermining our message of good news for the world.

The book is partly a critique of unbiblical versions of happiness; but it’s mainly a positive presentation of the Christian life in an increasingly negative culture. I identify the causes and consequences of this widespread and demoralizing plague of negativity, and I propose ten biblical and practical methods to re-balance our attitude, outlook, words, and... Continue Reading

Not Just a Soup Kitchen

A book based on the author's fifteen years' personal diaconal experience, over twenty-five years directing Tenth Presbyterian Church's Mercy Ministry, and life's story.

Not Just a Soup Kitchen is for churches that are desperately seeking answers on how to do diaconal ministry effectively. It is also for anyone who works with people ordinarily stigmatized and not welcomed in churches. The book deals with the fears many have of coming alongside those in need, and chronicles stories about homeless... Continue Reading

California Convention Expels ‘Third Way’ Church

At issue was the Pastor's statement that he believes homosexual acts are not always sinful.

When asked about potential “restoration” of the pastor and church, Setzler responded, “It is our hope that under the pastor’s leadership, the church would be led back to compatibility with the articles of faith we follow as a convention. Should the pastor and congregation arrive at that conviction and reverse their current stance on homosexual... Continue Reading

Lecrae Brings Reformed Rap to Jimmy Fallon’s Tonight Show

Performance with The Roots will be the first by a Christian rapper on late-night TV on Sept. 18

A 2013 CT cover story examined the leaders of Christian hip-hop and how the movement could call the American church back to the gospel—and hip-hop back to its roots. CT also spotlighted the centrality of Reformed theology to Christian hip-hop. One of Lecrae’s new songs, “Non-Fiction” name-drops pastor Tim Keller as well as CT executive editor Andy Crouch and his book Culture Making.   To borrow... Continue Reading

The Necessity of Christian Imperialism

We are in a spiritual war and only the imperial rule of Christ will suffice to end it

I call on churches and Christian institutions to stop thinking their organizational mission are actually missional.  If you simply maintain what you have, seek to insure its programs and property, and don’t realize a sense of dramatic urgency to our present cultural crisis then you will be swallowed up.  We must march, we must preach,... Continue Reading

The Gospel Blessing Of Guilt

Gospel? Blessing? Guilt? Is it not a contradiction to put those words together in a title?

While false guilt is to be abhorred, guilt itself in the life of a Christian is not necessarily a false guilt nor should it be avoided. On the contrary, true guilt should be welcomed as a Gospel blessing as the Lord uses it to bring us to Christ, remind us of the joy of our... Continue Reading

The Perverse Effects of the “All Comers” Requirement

Cal State’s “all comers” policy regarding religious groups is a disturbing and unprincipled effort to rid universities of conservative religious groups with creedal faith statements.

“Student life in its many dimensions includes the necessity of wide-ranging speech and inquiry and that student expression is an integral part of the University’s educational mission.” The “all comers” logic tramples on these principles. It ignores a commonsense recognition that the university ought to be about inquiry, not orthodoxy. That is a loss for... Continue Reading

Destruction or Discipline: All People Get One or the Other

There is a persistent tension between “Law People” and “Grace People.”

Legalists add personal obedience as a requirement for justification, and antinomians reject obedience as a necessary consequence and requirement of justification. Or in other words, legalistic “Law-People” mix the theological concepts of justification and sanctification, while antinomian “Grace-People” divorce them. But how can one avoid the errors of legalism and antiomianism, and still cherish Law and Grace? How can one be... Continue Reading

Christian Right Not Responsible for People Leaving Church, Study Finds

Contrary to popular opinion and previous research, the Christian Right was not responsible for people leaving their church, a new study finds

The decision to leave the Church necessarily entails leaving a particular congregation, which could include leaving long-term relationships. Additionally, if the Christian Right were the cause of a decline in church membership, it would not explain the decline of Mainline Protestant churches, which have little connection to the Christian Right.   WASHINGTON — Contrary to... Continue Reading

The Future Of The Church Isn’t Youth

Dietrich Bonhoeffer's “Eight Theses on Youth Work in the Church”

The authenticity of young people’s protest against their elders is demonstrated by their willingness to maintain solidarity with the guilt of the church-community and to bear that burden in love, abiding in penitence before God’s word. There is no real “church association”; there is only the church.   Editor’s note: The following is a summary... Continue Reading

A Scottish View on Scottish Independence

Should Scotland remain in the United Kingdom or become an independent nation?

Although the majority of Americans have way too romantic ideas of Scotland and its current spiritual state, there are still godly and faithful ministers, Christians, and churches throughout Scotland. Yes, they are a tiny proportion of the population, but they are a praying people who continue to plead for revival and reformation.   It’s been... Continue Reading

The Average Joe

In our race, many average Joes will persevere to the end, but we will be anything but average in glory

“If we were shown the obstacles that we will encounter before hand, many of us would probably just give up. One thing we do know is that we have to train. Disciples require discipline, and Christians need to exercise their faith over and over as we run with endurance the race set before us. And... Continue Reading

A Bucket List or a Longing for Eternity?

I do not know exactly what life in the new heavens and new earth will be like, but I believe that the new creation will be better than this current creation, not worse. It will be more, not less.

I think this dull vision of heaven makes us all, even Christians, think that we need to suck all the joy and excitement we can out of this life before we “kick the bucket.” Well, I have a different perspective: I have no plans to kick the bucket. I intend to pass from life into... Continue Reading

Are Differences in the Gospels Evidence of an “Imperfect” Bible?

A response to the series by Peter Enns’ entitled, “Aha moments: biblical scholars tell their stories.”

The problem with entering seminary students (such as myself years ago) is not that they’re faced with an imperfect Bible but that their expectations at the outset are often inadequately informed. Just because the Bible involves translation and testimonies doesn’t make it imperfect! The Bible is “imperfect” only when measured by the unwarranted expectation that... Continue Reading

You Are Not Forgotten

The church has its own POWs—those who are missing or imprisoned by life in a fallen world, those who spend long periods of time captive to illnesses both mental and physical.

The church is great in a crisis. We are great with sudden heart attacks, emergency surgeries, car wrecks, funerals. We are great with flowers and meals and child care for people’s moments of chaos and desperation. This is good. But we are not always so great with the messy, unsolvable, lengthy trials of those who... Continue Reading

The Church and Violence Against Women

Male violence against women is a real problem in our culture, one the church must address.

An abusive man is not an over-enthusiastic complementarian. He is not a complementarian at all. He is rejecting male headship because he rejecting his role as provider and protector. As the culture grows more violent, more consumerist, more sexualized and more misogynistic, the answer is not a church more attenuated to the ambient culture, whether... Continue Reading

Dozens of Christians ‘including women and children’ are arrested in Saudi Arabia

Islamist police in Saudi Arabia have stormed a Christian prayer meeting and arrested its entire congregation

Nina Shea, director of the Washington-based Hudson Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom, told FoxNews.com: “Saudi Arabia is continuing the religious cleansing that has always been its official policy. It is the only nation state in the world with the official policy of banning all churches.”   Islamist police in Saudi Arabia have stormed a Christian... Continue Reading

Why Do Christians Worship on Sunday?

When Jesus rose from the dead on the first day of the week, things changed.

Christ, the second Adam, “finished” (John 19:30) the work that the first Adam failed to do (Rom. 5:12-19). Because of that pivotal event, the church determined that for Christians under the new covenant, the day of worship and celebration of the Lord’s grace in Jesus Christ was to be the first day of the week,... Continue Reading

The Rise and Fall of Mars Hill Church

Behind the scenes, former church members said, Driscoll could be abusive and controlling

For years the edgy, blue-jeaned, hipster preacher used charisma and combativeness to barrel through turmoil, once bragging that he’d mow down all who questioned his vision: “There is a pile of dead bodies behind the Mars Hill bus, and by God’s grace, it’ll be a mountain by the time we’re done,” he once said in... Continue Reading

On Nude Celebrities, Virtual Voyeurs, and Willing Victims

As Christians, we must refuse to participate in further victimizing those who are victims of sin.

The young man who looks at pornography is enjoying someone else’s victimization. Whether the woman on the screen was raped into porn or whether she is a fully-willing participant, she is a victim of evil, controlling forces. And the young man who looks at her on the screen is joyfully participating in her victimization. He... Continue Reading

Biblical Portraits of Creation

A review of a book on the biblical doctrine of creation

The book concludes with an appendix, which is essentially a reprint of Kaiser’s article “The Literary Genre of Genesis 1-11,” which initially appeared in 1969. In this article he argues for reading Genesis 1-11 as straightforward “historical narrative-prose.” I think the article is convincing. However, such self-identified evangelical scholars as Peter Enns (formerly of Westminster... Continue Reading

Having Boldness To Enter The Holiest

It is Christ's mediation that allows God’s people to draw near to Him in worship

“With the advent of Jesus Christ, the symbolic worship of the tabernacle has given way to the reality: we draw near to God through the rent flesh and shed blood of the Messiah. His resurrection is God’s justification of His mediatorial work (see Acts 17:31). Any approach to God apart from Christ, therefore, is rebellion... Continue Reading

The Opposite Of Name It, Claim It

I can't help but think how different a Christian benediction is from the "name it, claim it" mentality

“Our “positive confession” is what God says, not what we creatively speak. And the good news of the gospel is not that we can demand what we want from God and he is then required to give it. No, it is that despite our wretched, sinful condition and rebellion against God, he has lavishly given us Christ and all... Continue Reading

Does God Hate Your Minister and Your Church?

In Jeremiah’s day, God was furious with those ministering in his name

“May our churches be places where God’s Word is supremely taught, and God’s blessings and curses are faithfully presented. May our ministers be servants who are advancing in sanctification; may ministerial hypocrisy not be present. May all God’s people be proactively pastored; no one should be left alone or forgotten. Through the gracious power of God’s Holy Spirit, may... Continue Reading