The Doom Delusion: Overcoming Pessimism in a Prosperous Age

Why do we have so much pessimism in an age of such pronounced prosperity?

“Bad news now travels a lot faster. Just a few decades ago, you would read that an Asian city with 100,000 people was wiped out in a cyclone on a small notice on page 17. We would never have heard about Burmese serial killers. Now we live in an era with global media and iPhone... Continue Reading

May We Pray To All Three Members Of The Holy Trinity?

Christian prayer is nothing but a Trinitarian enterprise.

God knows from all eternity what we need and what we shall pray and yet it is God the Spirit, eternally proceeding from the the Father and the Son who works in us, who energizes us to pray in the name of Jesus, the eternally begotten Son incarnate, to the eternally unbegotten Father, who loves... Continue Reading

Getting Up Close with God’s Word

May we always yearn and seek to know the breadth, length, height, and depth of our Savior God

As crazy as that all sounds, we often respond that way to knowing God and his word. We step back and take in the big picture and think we know all there is to know. We are satisfied with merely a taste of who God is and then we think that’s all we need. We... Continue Reading

Americans’ Top Criterion for Finding a New Church

Sermon quality was particularly important for Protestant church seekers (92 percent)

Unsurprisingly, the decision-making process usually involved visiting a new church for the vast majority of seekers (85 percent). Most also based their decision on interacting with members (69 percent), the recommendation of a friend or coworker (68 percent), and talking to clergy (55 percent). This illustrates that finding a new church usually involved a strong... Continue Reading

Can Mother Ever Relax?

I continue to hold my breath, waiting, sometimes late at night, wondering: can I relax now?

Just because our kids can do up their own coats, cut their own food, and tie their own shoes doesn’t mean parenting gets easier. To be honest, I find it harder now than those days of toddlerhood. It’s hard to just sit. Sometimes, I just want to do something. But I can’t. Scrapes and sibling arguments feel... Continue Reading

8 Ways to Overcome Perfectionism

Perfectionists struggle to get their work done on time, mainly because of the false belief that everything has to be done flawlessly.

“If certain tasks daunt you because you dread having to meet your own standards of perfection, it may help to imagine what a B-minus student, writer, attorney, or radiologist would accomplish. Force yourself to perform only that well, in the interests of accomplishing the task. You’ll be amazed not only by the amount of work... Continue Reading

Why Can’t the Church Just Get Along? A Review of Redeeming Church Conflicts

In this book, Barthel and Edling (both experienced conciliators/mediators) offer a warm, biblical, and careful roadmap for navigating church crises.

While not ignoring the specific, material concerns that are the public face of church conflict, the authors very helpfully remind readers that much more is actually at stake. Lest we begin to think the expensive new building project, the Sunday school curriculum, or the feuding individuals are the biggest issue we need to consider–and then... Continue Reading

Eight Biblical Objections to Social-Work as “Missions”

The truth is, the apostles never mention social action when discussing Christ’s commission, nor does Acts record social action projects as a means of uplifting or evangelizing the world.

Confusing what the church-corporate does with what individual Christians do. Much of the confusion in this debate lies right here.  We have confused Jesus’ call to love our neighbour with the church-corporate’s missions program:  both are important, but they aren’t the same thing.  It is not at all wrong for Christians to be involved in... Continue Reading

Erskine Announces Resignations of President and Board Chairman

Dr. Paul Kooistra has indicated he will retire no later than Oct. 31, and Mr. Ron Vigus has submitted his resignation as board chairman effective immediately.

Dr. Kooistra has communicated his plan to move into retirement as soon as possible and no later than October 31.  The Presidential Search Committee must now change directions and move immediately to seek candidates to serve as interim president as directed in the bylaws.  Our first meeting will take place prior to the end of... Continue Reading

What Became of the Christian Intellectuals? There is More to the Story

The public square is increasingly devoid of any serious Christian thought

“Half a century ago,” Jacobs tells his readers, “such figures existed in America: serious Christian intellectuals who occupied a prominent place on the national stage. They are gone now. It would be worth our time to inquire why they disappeared, where they went, and whether–should such a thing be thought desirable–they might return.”   Where... Continue Reading

Evangelicals and Race — A New Chapter

Why racial justice and reconciliation are now core for the movement

We are currently experiencing a new “God moment,” when God is shining his burning light on how our nation and our churches are fractured by racial division and injustice. In the past two years, we’ve seen image after image of injustice perpetrated against black Americans.   Evangelicals are sensitive to what we call “God moments”—when... Continue Reading

Sexual Identity: Saboteurs at the Door

Why do such false teachers even bother with the church? Why not just go around the church and get right to the immorality they desire, uninhibited, undiluted and without delay?

“Peter anticipates an age-long heretical infiltration in churches designed to satisfy man’s sensuality and greed. What is most striking about Peter’s prophecy is that what is normative in the world will find entrance into the church (2 Cor. 12:21). Why?”   The 17th century minister and Scotsman, Alexander Nisbet said, “the most dangerous heretics have... Continue Reading

J. Alec Motyer (1924-2016)

Renowned Old Testament pastor-scholar J. Alec Motyer has passed away at the age of 91

While I believe I have read and used all of Dr. Motyer’s published works over the course of my life, three of his books were transformative to my ministry in particular. In my early days as a preacher his commentary on Amos, sub-titled “The Day of the Lion,” was a huge help to me as... Continue Reading

Should Christians Save for Retirement?

How is maintaining a generous retirement plan fundamentally different from the rich fool storing up for his later years to live out his life in comfort and security?

“Is saving large amounts of money for retirement as essential as we’re constantly told? Paul commended the Macedonian believers, not for clinging to the little they had, but for giving beyond their means (2 Corinthians 8:3‑5).”   When a man retires at sixty-five, studies show his chances of having a fatal heart attack immediately double.... Continue Reading

Learning Repentance from the Psalmist

One of the ways our emotions tell us something is wrong is in the case of our sin

“When the Holy Spirit convicts us of sin, we feel the weight of it. It makes us grieve and feel sorrow. We feel anger toward ourselves for what we’ve done. We feel a nagging disquiet in our souls that won’t let go.”   I broke my arm two years ago. It was the first broken... Continue Reading

Can Salvation Be Lost Because of Sin?

My confidence rests in the intercession of Christ and God’s ability and promise to hold on to me

“I’m persuaded from a study of Scripture that we can have an assurance of our salvation not only for today but for all time. But the assurance that we have, or confidence in our future estate in salvation, must be based upon the right foundations.”   The question of losing one’s salvation is one that... Continue Reading

Why America’s ‘Nones’ Left Religion Behind

Perhaps the most striking trend in American religion in recent years has been the growing percentage of adults who do not identify with a religious group

About half of current religious “nones” who were raised in a religion (49%) indicate that a lack of belief led them to move away from religion. This includes many respondents who mention “science” as the reason they do not believe in religious teachings, including one who said “I’m a scientist now, and I don’t believe... Continue Reading

What Causes Us To Worry?

Some have thought that worry is purely a physiological issue while others have concluded that it is purely spiritual.

The historic Christian categories of World, Flesh and Devil are entirely capable of providing a robust understanding of people and their problems, allowing us to avoid simplistic reductionism on either end of the spectrum. We don’t have to engage in either/or thinking and conclude that anxiety is either purely physiological or only spiritual. This means... Continue Reading

13 Reasons You Are Precious to God

Praise God today that he has made you precious and delightful to himself.

We who believe in Jesus can often be more aware of our sin and unworthiness than God’s love for and delight in us. We may believe that God accepts us in his son, but it’s hard to believe he takes pleasure in us and views us as precious to him. Yet 1 Peter 5:7 tells... Continue Reading

Monks, Hermits, and the Devil’s Deception (Luther)

We should never withdraw from people, for people are the neighbors God calls us to love and serve

“Is it serving God when you crawl into a corner where you help and bring solace to no one?  What need does our Lord God have of the service you perform in a corner?  The one who wants to serve God should not crawl into an isolated cell but remain among people and serve them,... Continue Reading

The Flawed Theory of “Social” Missions

To represent the gospel of Jesus Christ as being about the general upliftment of unbelieving society is, in fact, to misrepresent the gospel.

Many social justice advocates argue that the incarnation was, at least in part, about bringing shalom, human flourishing, or general well-being to the human race.  Therefore, they say that any Christian effort which increases human flourishing (such as digging a well or starting a medical clinic) is gospel ministry.  Although this may initially seem compelling,... Continue Reading

Review – Left: The struggle to make sense of life when a parent leaves

Left pulls back the curtain on what it's like to be a child of divorce.

Left is also a very honest book. Jonathan does not sugarcoat his struggles of resentment and anger. In the end, he realized that he had to make the first move to reach out to his dad. There was no happy ending and no response. But he was brought to the place of clinging to the... Continue Reading

How Petra Rocked My Soul

All of that parenting and Bible-reading and sermonizing and catechizing had done its work in me, but somehow it was just waiting for one more thing

It was as if their music was saying, “Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know you’ve memorized the catechism, I know you go to church, I know you read your Bible. That’s all great. Way to go! But do you know Christ? Do you love him? Will you live for him?” I realized that I didn’t really... Continue Reading

Learning Repentance from the Psalmist

When we feel the pain of conviction, a crushing weight that feels like broken bones, we can run to our Father and cry out to him in repentance.

One of the ways our emotions tell us something is wrong is in the case of our sin. When the Holy Spirit convicts us of sin, we feel the weight of it. It makes us grieve and feel sorrow. We feel anger toward ourselves for what we’ve done. We feel a nagging disquiet in our... Continue Reading

Witherspoon’s Pastoral Ministry

This public censure, though considered appropriate by his congregation, landed Witherspoon in a 14-year legal battle in which he faced opposition from a hostile presbytery and formal charges of libel and slander.

Church members presumed that clergy would not only preach on Sunday, but also visit the people from house to house and be intimately involved in their lives (even if they sometimes complained of the involvement).[13] So when scholars conclude that “Few aspects of the history of Scottish Presbyterianism are more repugnant to the modern mind... Continue Reading

Human Identity in Crisis

The removal of God from cultural consciousness has eliminated the true source of human identity.

Things have changed. The “Four Spiritual Laws” or “Evangelism Explosion” no longer work for many. People are losing their identity. They long for human rights and personal dignity, but these things only come from God the Creator, whom they reject. The Gospel is still the answer, which they unknowingly long to hear. The God who... Continue Reading

Top 10 Things I Love That Worship Leaders Do

Some positive, proactive comments to encourage worship leaders as they lead worship.

Point me to the gospel. This is why I’m there, whether I remember it or not. This is what I need. I need the announcement of the historical work of Christ on the cross and out of the tomb more than I need oxygen! So I’m very, very grateful when your song choice, banter, worship... Continue Reading

Theonomy, Bahnsen, and the Federal Vision – Part 3

The grace conveyed in baptism is effectual only for the elect.

The Westminster Confession of Faith limits its “high view of the efficacy of baptism” to the elect alone. Further, Westminster Confession of Faith 28:6 states: “The efficacy of baptism is not tied to that moment of time wherein it is administered.” That is, baptism does not bestow regeneration on every recipient. What baptism does it... Continue Reading

Christian Colleges Relieved By California Committee Vote

The gentler version of a bill targeting faith-based colleges moves forward

After months of fierce opposition from religious liberty advocates, bill sponsor Sen. Ricardo Lara, a Democrat, stripped away the problematic provisions of the bill. The bill the committee voted on now requires schools to disclose if they have an exemption and to report to the state whenever students are expelled for violating the schools’ code... Continue Reading

I Can’t Believe Spurgeon Didn’t Say That

Can’t believe Spurgeon didn’t say this when so many quote him as saying it: “I take my text and make a beeline to the cross.”

In the process of our discussion he asked me if I could tell him where the original source is to the quote that inspired my book’s title. Charles Spurgeon is credited thousands of times by authors and theologians all over the world for saying, “I take my text and make a beeline to the cross.”... Continue Reading