TULIP and Reformed Theology: Irresistible Grace

God, and God alone, has the power to change the disposition of the soul and the human heart to bring us to faith.

If, indeed, we are dead in sins and trespasses, if, indeed, our wills are held captive by the lusts of our flesh and we need to be liberated from our flesh in order to be saved, then in the final analysis, salvation must be something that God does in us and for us, not something... Continue Reading

Why the Lord’s Prayer Is So Offensive

Anyone who thinks that isn’t offensive simply hasn’t been paying attention.

The Lord’s Prayer is not mild, inoffensive, vanilla, listless, nominal, wishy-washy, or wallpapery. If you don’t worship the God and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ, it is deeply subversive, upsetting, and offensive—from the first phrase to the last.   Several months ago there was a kerfuffle over an advertisement in which the Lord’s Prayer is prayed by... Continue Reading

Questioning a Question: A False Dichotomy that Isn’t

Is there a false dichotomy between orthodoxy (right doctrine) and orthopraxis (right practice)?

First, there is and ought to be a priority of orthodoxy over orthopraxy for the simple reason that there can be no God-pleasing orthopraxy without orthodoxy. In the New Testament the indicative (what is – the facts) goes before the imperative (what should be – the commands). This is evident as well in the Old... Continue Reading

“The Bible Answer Man” Turns East: An Unlikely Conversion

Eastern Orthodoxy accepts tradition (though not the authority of the pope) as an equal source of revelation along with the Scriptures.

In an interview, Hank Hanegraaff has said “Nothing has changed in my faith.” But it appears that he will have to broaden his source of authority beyond the Scriptures as he answers the questions of his listeners. We hope he reconsiders his decision and realizes that he has chosen a path that has misled many.  ... Continue Reading

The Roller Coaster Effect of Ministry

The roller coaster effect is true in a heightened sense for those who are called to parachute plant or plant in an extremely spiritually difficult part of the world, but it is equally true for all ministers of the Gospel who are seeking to carry out a God-honoring ministry of the word.

One of the ways that we prepare ourselves is by keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus and not on our experiences. We have to guard our hearts from getting too excited about the highs and too discouraged by the lows. I have had some of the highest highs and lowest lows literally occur a day... Continue Reading

Whatever You Do, Do It to the Glory of God

If we think that the God of Scripture has no relation to plastic or political elections, we err and rob God of his glory.

The Bible is sufficient for the purpose God gave it. It is concerned with our redemption. But it is not only concerned with our redemption. It is also concerned with God’s glory and our faith and life. Paul also tells us that what is not of faith is sin (Romans 14:23). If we study the... Continue Reading

A High School Counselor’s Tips on Parenting Teenagers

Persevere in loving, praying, and trusting that God loves your children even more than you do.

Implement basic counseling principles into your parenting during these years. Ask lots of questions, but also study body language and mood (remember the raging hormones), and realize that sometimes simply your presence and listening ear are all that is required, while at other times you will find golden opportunities for conversation.   I have had... Continue Reading

Places Preach

Church architecture affects our view of the gospel.

We seem more concerned with the amenities of our buildings than the God we have gathered to worship. Instead of thinking about the message of our buildings we focus on HD jumbotrons, a bigger parking lot, an organic coffee shop.   Your church building preaches a gospel whether you know it or not. It portrays... Continue Reading

Asking, Seeking, Knocking

When you pray, be a suppliant, be a seeker, and be serious. True prayer demands all three.

Literally translated, it would read, “Keep on asking and it will be given to you; keep on seeking and you will find; keep on knocking and it will be opened to you” (v. 7). All three verbs are present imperatives, and it is likely that they are much more than just a repetition of the... Continue Reading

Preachers: God Will Make the Dents

Don’t get discouraged preacher, study-pray-and preach…God will make the dents.

This is where Jonathan Edwards is very helpful. When talking about his goal or objective in preaching he says this: “The main benefit that is obtained by preaching is by impression made upon the mind in the time of it, and not by the effect that arises afterwards by a remembrance of what was delivered….Preaching,... Continue Reading

Cornelius Van Til Ruined America? A Response To Molly Worthen

Who knew theologian Cornelius Van Til is the reason for the demise of American society?

In her efforts to discredit conservative evangelicals, Worthen overreaches. Van Til is not the “forerunner of modern cultural relativism.” Van Til believed in God-defined objective reality, and held that everyone can see true things and come to right conclusions. It is only, however, when we presuppose that God is the foundation of truth that we... Continue Reading

Regularly Pray For Your Pastor

Do your pastor a true kindness today. Pray for your pastor.

In some ways, pastors are sustained by the prayers of their people. Obviously, God is the one who ultimately sustains pastors, but one of his primary means is through the prayers of pastors. When it comes to why you should pray for your pastor, take the words of Charles Spurgeon to heart: “No man can do... Continue Reading

Update from Western Isles Presbytery on Iain D Campbell

The Western Isles Presbytery has completed an investigation into allegations about the conduct of the late Rev. Dr Iain D Campbell and issued a public statement.

The Presbytery has now sadly concluded that elements of Dr Campbell’s moral conduct were contrary to, and censurable by, the Word of God (Bible), and seriously inconsistent with that expected of a Christian minister….The Presbytery will continue to consider how to bring this sad episode to a conclusion and what we may learn from it.  ... Continue Reading

We Few, We Miserable Few

Claremont students’ missive misses the mark.

The manifest, written by “We, few of the Black students here at Pomona College and the Claremont Colleges,” was triggered by a statement on academic freedom by outgoing Pomona College President David Oxtoby.  Oxtoby’s statement in turn responded to a student blockade that tried to shut down a talk on policing I was supposed to... Continue Reading

The Crisis of Western Civ

The faith in the West collapsed from within. It’s amazing how slow people have been to rise to defend it.

This Western civ narrative came with certain values — about the importance of reasoned discourse, the importance of property rights, the need for a public square that was religiously informed but not theocratically dominated. It set a standard for what great statesmanship looked like. It gave diverse people a sense of shared mission and a... Continue Reading

American Doctor Charged with First Case of Female Genital Mutilation

In what appears to be the first case of its kind, a Detroit emergency room physician was recently charged with the federal crime of female genital mutilation.

Dr. Jumana Nagarwala is accused of performing FGM on minor girls out of a medical office in Livonia, Michigan. According to the complaint, some of the minor victims allegedly traveled interstate to have Nagarwala perform the procedure. The complaint alleges that Nagarwala performed FGM on girls who were approximately 6 to 8 years old.  ... Continue Reading

James River Presbytery Overtures the PCA 45th GA to Amend Article IX in the RAO

Overture 18 asks the General Assembly to amend the Rules of Assembly Operations (RAO) IX so that ad interim committees may only be formed in response to presbytery overtures.

The James River Presbytery approved an overture at its April 8, 2017 Stated Meeting, asking the 45th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in America to amend the Rules of Assembly Operation (RAO) Article IX by inserting a new paragraph 9-2. This new paragraph, if amended, would state: “Recommendations for the appointment of ad-interim or study... Continue Reading

The Regulative Principle of “Liturgical Sameness?”

So long as the elements prescribed in Scripture are present and nothing is added by way of elements, a church does not sin merely because it chooses to organize its worship differently than some other PCA church

The fact that one church might choose to organize its worship differently than another is not, in itself, evidence that the RPW has been broken or neglected. The RPW does not promote the idea that unless a principle institutes uniformity then it has failed as a principle. There are those who argue that unless there is,... Continue Reading

Christ’s Love For God’s Folk

If you’re through with local saints does it not wave a red flag and set alarm bells off?

Among this ‘band of brothers, ’ I’m sure there were many irritating personalities and not a few frustrating friends. Yet in this time of stress petty annoyances disappeared. Their delightful excellent traits of a gracious godly disposition came out in their true colours as they fought for their lives and leader and the advancement of... Continue Reading

The Church Of The Holy Elaboration

In principle, the Reformation was rejection of well-intended but unauthorized elaborations.

When we say sola Scriptura we are saying, in part, that Scripture is enough and that, unless God has commanded it, the church has no authority to impose a doctrine or practice, however beneficial it may seem at the time. The unique magisterial authority of Scripture means that we are free from ostensible additions to Christ’s finished... Continue Reading

The Pastorate: More Than The Pulpit (Bridges)

When the pulpit and the pastoral work are both flourishing, it will help keep a congregation united.

The pulpit is only part of a pastor’s ministry. Of course, it is a major and central part of the ministry, but the pulpit is not the only part. A pastor also has pastoral work to do; this too is an essential part of his ministry. I appreciate how Charles Bridges explained this. It’s also... Continue Reading

When Anger Rears Its Ugly Head

My hope is found in embracing what the Spirit is doing in me as I fight against evil and my flesh.

My hope for our marriage is found in surrendering to the work he is doing in our hearts as we fight for good.  I find hope for my kids in believing they will see more of Jesus as they watch their parents struggle with anger and fight to believe the gospel in front of them,... Continue Reading

Is the Enemy of My Enemy My Friend?

Mormons, Roman Catholics, Orthodox Jews, and a host of others share many of our enemies in this respect. But, to what extent is there a unity among us?

At a second level, we certainly see all those who defend human life and human dignity, marriage and gender, and the integrity of the family as key allies in the current cultural struggle. We listen to each other, draw arguments from each other, and are thankful for each other’s support of our common concerns. We... Continue Reading

Questioning a False Dichotomy

I am all for the pursuit of biblical and robust orthodoxy. Then why not an equally robust orthopraxy?

Is there a contradiction between affirming male elders and being concerned that harmful ideas about gender may contribute to harmful responses to domestic abuse? Absolutely not. Can I love the doctrine of God and speak up about racial attitudes and divisions? Yes, and amen. Why should I have to choose between orthodoxy and orthopraxy? There... Continue Reading

The Hottest Thing at Church Is Not Your Pastor or Worship Leader

According to Gallup, it’s the sermon.

Even so-called seeker sensitive churches have discovered that theological depth appeals to lapsed Christians and non-believers. Last year, Ed Stetzer cited several examples of congregations (such as Oklahoma megachurch Life.Church) that shifted toward more rigorous teaching once they noticed interest from the unchurched: “In other words, those for whom sermons were being dumbed down aren’t dumb. They... Continue Reading

Douthat’s Wager: Go to Church, Even If You Don’t Believe

The argument Douthat makes is similar to one made by another conservative Catholic, the French mathematician and philosopher Blaise Pascal, more than 350 years ago

“Douthat adapts Pascal’s case to a more secular age by bracketing belief. For the sake of his argument, it doesn’t matter if there’s such a thing as heaven or hell. The benefits of religion are all right here on earth. Just go to church, meet people, celebrate the holidays, learn about morality, bury the dead,... Continue Reading

Year 29 For This Column – Yes, Lots of Journalists Still Need to Get Religion

If journalists want to cover real stories in the real lives of real people in the real world, then they need to be real serious when handling religion

“If you’re a working journalist and you believe that Donald J. Trump is a demagogue playing to the nation’s worst racist and nationalistic tendencies, that he cozies up to anti-American dictators and that he would be dangerous with control of the United States nuclear codes, how the heck are you supposed to cover him?”  ... Continue Reading

The Uniqueness of Christian Service

Christian service is unique for three reasons

“Christian service is about how our redemption in Christ comes into flower in this world. It is what puts hands and feet and lips to God’s holy-love. Once we had as our life’s goal only ourselves. Our self-interest defined our worldview. Now this has changed.”   Serving is not, of course, uniquely Christian. Indeed, the... Continue Reading

First Presbyterian Church Seeks Healing, Redemption For Sins Committed During Civil Rights Era

People referred to it as “that church that wouldn’t let black people in”

“What we did was we explained to them, ‘Well, you’re right. You’re not asking forgiveness for something you didn’t do. You’re asking God to take away any discipline for something your forefathers did. You’re basically asking God to remove the spiritual inheritance of the former church and instead restore to us the spiritual inheritance that... Continue Reading

Where Evangelicals Came From

There is no mystery involved. They were always here. We were just not looking at them.

“Evangelicals” is an elastic term, and FitzGerald intermittently shrinks or stretches it. But she does direct us to the right starting point, to the eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Great Awakenings, major religious events in our early history when the word “evangelicalism” came into wide American use. Evangelical religion is revival religion, that of emotional contagion.  ... Continue Reading