The Old Testament’s Message to Our Culture

Let me give you five ways the Old Testament speaks profitably to our times

“The Old Testament paints a dark, dark picture of sin and its awful effects. And yet the Lord, in mercy, came again and again to raise up godly leaders, to revive His church, and to renew and re-create the culture. The darkest days often preceded the brightest dawn. What hope of renewal this grand historical... Continue Reading

Europe: Allah Takes over Churches, Synagogues

In Europe, the practice of Islam really is outstripping Christianity

A year ago, the Muslim French leader Dalil Boubakeur suggested turning empty churches into mosques. It is the first time in France that something similar happened to a synagogue. “History teaches us that these transformations are rarely innocent,” said Bertrand Dutheil de La Rochère, an assistant to Marine Le Pen, leader of the National Front... Continue Reading

God-Shaped Comfort

What comfort we have in the fullness of God who will never leave us

“The light of God’s revelation, especially the Trinity, burns off the mist of confusion and error in common belief and practice. Oppositely, when we fail to appreciate God in all his glory we experience atrophied joy in our lives. Press to know and savor God — Father, Son, and Holy Spirit — and rejoice as... Continue Reading

Methodist GC2016 Recap: The Good, the Bad, the Ugly

Key highlights from the 2016 General Conference of the United Methodist Church

“On pro-life issues, we overwhelmingly voted to end our denomination’s scandalous 43-year affiliation with the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice (RCRC), voted by an even larger margin to delete an official UMC resolution expressing appreciation for RCRC, and in other actions, we voted decisively to repeal a 40-year-old official ‘Responsible Parenthood’ resolution very broadly defending... Continue Reading

Confession and History: Heroes Who Confessed

Without historical events, there is nothing to confession

“When we think about the relationship between our confessions and history, another important aspect is that the documents themselves are a product of historical events and circumstances. Part of the Christian’s task of understanding our doctrines and our confessions is understanding the role that they played in certain historical circumstances.”   In our day, the... Continue Reading

Pro-Gay Group: Vulnerable Children Being ‘Recruited’ to Believe They Are Transgender

It is time that mental health and other professionals begin speaking out on this issue

“In many cases, these young people may be suffering from mental health problems such as anxiety or depression that leave them easy prey to the cult-like tactics of these online trans activists,” said the group of professionals. As a result of this situation, says the group, they are now ringing the alarm on medical transition... Continue Reading

Missouri Synod Set For Fight Over Who Should Preach to Lutherans

Lutheranism has always been built on a tension between ordained clergy and what is called the priesthood of the believer, or the laity, and over who can do what

While the pool of men — the church ordains only men — answering the call to enter seminary and serve as pastors has shrunk in recent decades, some want to enforce higher standards on ministers who aren’t ordained and strip away the so-called “Licensed Lay Deacon” credentials.   Half a millennium since a Catholic priest... Continue Reading

Note to Aspiring Preachers: Here are Seven Key Pitfalls to Avoid

Preaching is hard work.

To those sitting in the pews, preaching can look relatively effortless–especially when it is done well.  But do not be fooled.  Preaching exhausts the body and the soul in ways that are incommensurate with its duration.  I could work in the yard all day in 90 degrees of heat and (somehow) feel less exhausted than... Continue Reading

Hughes Oliphant Old Called Home to Glory

Dr. Old is the author of a seven volume history of preaching, “The Reading and Preaching of the Scriptures in the Worship of the Christian Church.”

Dr. Old’s interests extended from Christian education, particularly with teenagers and special needs children, to art, architecture, and above all, worship. It is the importance of worship which sparked his desire to study further the history of worship. With this in mind he went to Europe, where for seven years he learned the principles applied... Continue Reading

Don’t Back Away from Religious Freedom

We must reject antidiscrimination rhetoric used against religious freedom; conscience should be protected, not judged.

We must be sure that the general public understands clearly what they are rejecting when they reject religious freedom. They are requiring believers to take action which believers understand to be immoral and sinful. No one should have to pay for other people’s choices in contraceptives, abortifacients, or other goods and services that they believe... Continue Reading

States Sue Obama Administration Over Transgender Bathroom Policy

Texas said it was among 11 states filing suit against the Obama administration’s mandate to allow transgender students to use whatever bathroom they identify with

“He says he’s going to withhold funding if schools do not follow the policy,” Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick of Texas said this month. “Well in Texas, he can keep his 30 pieces of silver. We will not yield to blackmail from the president of the United States.” On Wednesday, officials in other states used language... Continue Reading

A De-Sexed Society is a De-Humanized Society

President Obama’s transgender directive isn’t about civil rights or bathroom use. It’s about state control over personal relationships.

Gender ideology is an effective statist tool. Cultural Marxists use it to corrupt language and sow confusion, especially among children. It paves the way for the removal of the institutional protections for freedom of association and family privacy that stand in the way of “regulating interactions among all members of society.”   As usual, tyranny... Continue Reading

Helping Rural America in Crisis

It is well documented that small town America rarely looks like Mayberry, and a lot like “Methland.”

The crisis we witness in these areas is a crisis for the church. After all, hopelessness, despair, and depression can only be interpreted, mitigated, and worked through by the gospel of Jesus Christ. Yet, it is these areas that are becoming a veritable wasteland as Protestant churches are closing their doors in great number–not to... Continue Reading

Feelings of Guilt: Satan’s Conniving or the Spirit’s Conviction?

In one section of Thomas Goodwin’s book called “A Child of Light Walking in Darkness,” he explains how Satan tricks and deceives a true Christian so that he doubts his salvation.

A question comes up: How do we know if the guilt we feel is due to Satan’s conniving or due to the conviction of the Holy Spirit (John 16:8)?  Goodwin says that the difference is this: when the Holy Spirit convicts us of our sins He deals “sweetly” with us without putting any “sting” in... Continue Reading

The Language of Love

Well-meaning Christians who rightly want to love and care for their neighbor can quickly become the unwitting dupes of those with much greater social and political ambitions than live-and-let-live.

In this context, it behooves all Christians to think clearly about the issues and to make that separation between pastoral response to, and care for, the person struggling with issues of sexuality and the larger social ambitions of a movement that has a vested interest in denying any distinction between the personal and the political.... Continue Reading

Back to the Future – the 2009 Church of Scotland General Assembly

The 2009 Church of Scotland Assembly set a trajectory that is now bearing fruit of the declension of the church and its abandonment of biblical truth.

The seriousness of what occurred on Monday is underlined by the reason the Aberdeen Presbytery gave for supporting an active homosexual ministry. The Presbytery stated in their reasons –“The ‘Word of God’ is not synonymous with the Scriptures, but it can, in part, be discerned from the Scriptures through prayer and through the inspiration of... Continue Reading

The Flow of the Psalms

An overview of O. Palmer Robertson’s latest book, “The Flow of the Psalms’”

Robertson’s thesis is that we shouldn’t treat the Psalms like Hershey’s Kisses – beautifully, individually wrapped treats that have no relationship to one another. He argues that there is a flow to the Psalter, a very deliberate, sophisticated arrangement and a logical progression over the course of the 150 ancient songs that were collected together... Continue Reading

Confession and Apologetics: Modeling Scripture’s Method to its Message

The Bible’s own verification of its being God-breathed should be our primary default

Gordon Clark writes, “The first reason for believing the Bible is inspired is that the Bible claims to be inspired.”  And so we see “Christ’s view of the Bible can very quickly be indicated.  Christ said: It is written!”  A Biblical apologist thus grounds the warrant for his witnessing style in the same manner as... Continue Reading

A Danger of Lectio Divina

Lectio Divina often leads us away from the right meaning and right application of a text instead of toward it.

What is the heart of the problem here? It is that the method leads to subjective, rather than objective, conclusions. When we stop the hard work of understanding the words that the Spirit has given us and work exclusively in the “mind of the Spirit,” we become the final authority on meaning. We begin to... Continue Reading

Same-Sex Marriage Advocates Work To Oust Small-Town Judge

The Wyoming Supreme Court is being asked to dismiss a municipal court judge because of her biblical views about marriage; is it a religious litmus test for holding a judicial post?

In 2014, a judge overturned Wyoming’s marriage statute, allowing same-sex couples to get marriage licenses. A reporter asked Neely, the Pinedale municipal court judge and a part-time circuit court magistrate, if she was excited about performing gay weddings. In the opinion of the Wyoming Commission on Judicial Conduct and Ethics, Neely gave the wrong answer:... Continue Reading

A Presbytery PJC Ruling On A Same-Sex Marriage Policy In The PC(USA)

It is worth reiterating at this point that this decision is from a presbytery PJC and has limited application. If appealed and upheld it would gain authoritative status.

“This decision is reminiscent of the remedial cases regarding ordination standards and the various GAPJC rulings that there could be no categorical standards or explicit lists of essential tenants but each candidate must be considered on an individual basis. From a polity point of view this decision falls right in line with that.”   I... Continue Reading

Court ‘Win’ for Nonprofits Has A Lot Of What-Ifs

The Supreme Court’s strange Little Sisters ruling gives religious nonprofits a significant reprieve, but the fight is long from over

The court’s ruling vacated and remanded to lower courts all the religious nonprofits’ cases challenging the Obamacare requirement that employers provide health coverage for contraceptives and abortifacients. It was a qualified victory and the best outcome the nonprofits could hope for if the court was divided 4-4 on the merits of the case—as seems likely.... Continue Reading

PCUSA Leaders Try To Make Sense Of Dwindling Membership

The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has seen 463 congregations nationwide depart for other denominations between 2012 and 2015.

The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) lost 6 percent of its membership in 2015, and that came after three consecutive years of 5 percent declines. Current membership is just under 1.6 million. The Pittsburgh Presbytery, still one of the nation’s largest, saw a 7 percent decline to 28,518 last year.   Yes, the Rev. Sheldon Sorge has... Continue Reading

How to Honor Your Parents as an Adult

Scripture is very clear that the way we treat our parents has significant ramifications, not only for our physical life, but our spiritual one as well.

As we saw earlier Paul says that we are worse than an unbeliever when we do not take care of our parents. As I have listened to financial stewardship podcasts over the years, one thing that really struck me was how many people who really want to help their parents are dealing with corrupt family... Continue Reading

He Who Sought Was Found

If you want a rich God-centered and Christ-centered collection of older sermons for devotional purposes, I highly recommend Vos’ Grace and Glory.

Most of us know the story of Zacchaeus climbing the tree to see Jesus (Lk 19).  Have you ever noticed the “seeking” aspect of it?  The story starts out by mentioning the fact that Zacchaeus is seeking (ζητέω) to see Jesus (v3) . A the end of the story we learn that Jesus’ mission as... Continue Reading

Read Wodehouse and Read the Bible

Wodehouse, the product of a more biblically-versed era and, admittedly, a brilliant writer, was constantly making biblical allusions.

One reason to read Wodehouse is to admire his use of the Bible. I don’t think he had much of a faith commitment, but his biblical literacy is astounding. For example, take this from the opening pages of The Code of the Woosters, where Bertie is complaining about his rough sleep the night before: “I... Continue Reading

A Few Thoughts on Goodbyes

The pangs of sadness, the difficulty of change, the disconnection from others, will all be a thing of the past when we live and worship together as one united Bride in the life to come.

Saying goodbye also reminds us that life is fleeting. In the busyness of our daily life, we forget that time is passing on. Goodbyes are a poignant reminder that life has an end date. And because of that, goodbyes often bring regret. Regret that we didn’t spend more time with our loved ones. Regret that... Continue Reading

Sunday School, The Role Of Women, Authority, And Culture

All non-ecclesiastical or extra-ecclesiastical instruction is just that. It is has the status of opinion.

In the episode mentioned, Carl articulated a general rule, with some exceptions (e.g., a licensed seminary student who exhorts in public worship), that a female may do in the church what an unordained male may do. If we observe the distinction between authoritative and non-authoritative teaching, this rule seems sound. When Aimee writes books, she... Continue Reading

Luther, God’s Law and Uncle Rico Syndrome

One function of God's law is to (kindly) disabuse us of our confidence in our ability to throw moral footballs over metaphorical mountains

Luther’s response in his 1525 Bondage of the Will takes cognizance of how high Scripture actually sets the bar for man’s moral conduct (“You must be perfect, as your Heavenly Father is perfect,” Matt. 5.48) as well as rather clear biblical statements that reflect man’s spiritual depravity and (hence) inability to clear that bar (“Everyone... Continue Reading

The Backside Blessings of Blogging

After blogging over a number of years, I have enjoyed at least these five blessings

Thoughts are clarified. As the old saying goes, “Over the lips and fingertips come clear thoughts.” As we discuss ideas and then put them down on paper (or pixels in this case), tangled thoughts become unknotted and disjointed ones strung together. In writing on theological and cultural issues on the blog, I find that I am better... Continue Reading