Why Our Children Don’t Think There Are Moral Facts
If there are no truths about what is good or valuable or right, how can we prosecute people for crimes against humanity?
Our children deserve a consistent intellectual foundation. Facts are things that are true. Opinions are things we believe. Some of our beliefs are true. Others are not. Some of our beliefs are backed by evidence. Others are not. Value claims are like any other claims: either true or false, evidenced or not. The hard work... Continue Reading
A Perfect Storm Is Heading Toward Higher Education
With too-high tuition and unhappy parents, college administrators better get ready for some changes.
So what should colleges do? First, they need to recognize the inevitability of change. Change is coming, and those schools that embrace it are far more likely to survive. Second, they should start listening to the constituency that is paying the bills. Providing real job skills and job placement assistance—along with a solid education—should take... Continue Reading
Is Spiritual Formation Shooting At The Right Target?
The theology of Spiritual Formation sounds great on paper, but it is focused on the wrong target.
Left to ourselves, we would be trapped in our sin. But there is a way to overcome sin (“to overcome the world”). The path to change is not through spiritual disciplines; it is through faith in Jesus Christ. You overcome sin by persevering in the faith and believing in the salvation offered by Jesus Christ.... Continue Reading
Progressivism’s Effects on Marriage and Family
American Protestants have a legacy of preaching whatever cultural norm they decide to embrace during any given era.
In the West, Christianity is recast to conform to Western, market-driven, materialist; consumeristic, social norms and evangelicals are no different. The gospel in U.S. Protestantism has not proven yet to be more powerful than the American Dream. One could easily argue that Protestants gave marriage over to the American Dream 120 years ago or so... Continue Reading
I Support Net Neutrality, But That Is Not What The FCC Just Did
The new regulatory action by the FCC has sweeping implications for the Internet, and the price we will pay over time for this radical shift will be severe.
The FCC’s action begins a new chapter of competing visions for the Internet — one where government regulators play a central role in directing how the Internet evolves, versus one in which entrepreneurs, private enterprise and consumers expressing their preferences set the terms for the future. The latter has a superior record in delivering value... Continue Reading
‘Macho Christianity’ Isn’t the Problem, Gimmick Christianity Is
Just be a man. You don’t have to advertise your incredible masculine mojo on a billboard.
At the same time, however, exaggerated masculinity is not the solution to excessive femininity. In fact, when a pastor plays up his manliness, my first question is: What have you done to show that you’re a real man? And wearing lumberjack clothes while watching MMA fighting isn’t an answer. Over at The New Republic, Elizabeth Bruenig has... Continue Reading
Calling in the Big Guns to Fire at the San Francisco Archdiocese
The first casualty of this PR war is the truth; Singer says that his mission is to “push the facts as our clients see them.”
As expected, the first casualty of this war is the truth. Singer has said that himself, suggesting that his mission is to “push the facts as our clients see them.” Noting that Singer “has a complex relationship with the truth,” reporter Joe Eskenazi wrote in the Weekly that “the truth, after all, isn’t exactly Singer’s... Continue Reading
New Hotline Launches To Help People Leave Religion Behind
A new crisis hotline for those struggling between faith and atheism has been launched
“When people are reconsidering the role religion plays in their lives, they risk losing their families, their spouses, their jobs,” said Sarah Morehead, executive director of Recovering From Religion. “These people are isolated, excluded, shunned. It rocks these people to the bottom of their hearts. It is heartbreaking.” (RNS) A new crisis hotline for... Continue Reading
Believing and Heeding
Pharaoh was a believer; he had faith, but not the sort of faith that saves.
As one analyzes Pharoah from the testimony of Scripture, Egypt’s king proves to be a religious individual with some grasp of right doctrine and some degree of internal faith. Pharaoh is a believer, but so what? He is like the demons who come face to face with Jesus in the Gospels. They believe Jesus to be the Son... Continue Reading
“Righteous” Reputations of Churches that Don’t Care
Why do so many churches fail to do the right thing when they learn that one of their own has been accused of sexual abuse?
What is the right thing to do when a church learns that one of its own has been accused of victimizing a child? First and foremost, it must immediately turn its focus and care away from institutional reputation and towards the victimized and the vulnerable. Though there are multitudes of ways this can be... Continue Reading
Why You Should Never Be “Done” With Church
You need to be in a church. And some local church needs you.
These are just a few reasons God’s word says we should be part of a local church. You may need to leave the particular church you are in now. But Jesus wants you to be in some church somewhere. A church with pastors, preaching, instruction, shepherding. It won’t be perfect. It will probably be messy,... Continue Reading
What Good Is Faith?
We are justified and saved. Full stop.
Please notice which verb the catechism used in Q.59. “Believe.” Please notice which verbs are absent: doing, obeying, growing, cooperating, keeping. These are the verbs of the moralists. That some of them are now conceding justification sola gratia, sola fidebut falling back to “salvation” as the place to man the barricades in defense of works... Continue Reading
Why is Denying Justification Such a Serious Error?
The doctrine of justification by faith alone on the ground of Christ’s imputed righteousness remains under direct attack in various quarters.
In spite of all the passages cited above, some believe that justification by faith alone is a secondary or tertiary doctrine. They say, “We may be justified by faith alone, but we’re not justified by believing justification by faith alone.” Using that rationale, they go on to say a person may be saved without believing this... Continue Reading
The Dangers of Pet Sins
There is no such things as domesticated sin. All sin, even our “pet sins” are dangerous.
We all desire to be wise, but the keeping of pet sins is dangerous and foolish. Sin is an untamable beast and must not be underestimated. We are not strong enough to keep it as a pet or kill it in our own strength. But Jesus has overcome them all and has given us the... Continue Reading
Should I Attend the Wedding of a Gay Friend or Family Member?
Attendance at a wedding is not like attending a concert, where attendance suggests nothing about your own views on the proceedings.
Can we invite our gay neighbors to dinner? Can we welcome them as guests in our home? Can we work alongside them as colleagues at our places of business? Can we offer real friendship and love? Yes, yes, yes, and yes. But we may not attend their wedding. We should vigorously pursue other ways to... Continue Reading
No Creeds! (Except What Celebrity Preacher Says)
Many of the major weak spots in the American church today were already prevalent in the 19th century
In other words, the [celebrity] leaders of this “populist hermeneutic” told common Americans to read the Bible as if they were the first ones reading it and forget about the creeds and Christian scholars before them. On the other hand, the leaders were ultimately dominating the movement and many of the people were following them. ... Continue Reading
Can I Call It “My” Church?
I still think there are three good reasons to keep calling the local body my church
This week, I had two different conversations which thoughtfully challenged the use of my in front of church. Our language expresses our theology, and this tiny pronoun is worth some reflection. When I meet people at the next conference or denominational meeting who ask me “How’s your church?” what can I say? Can I—should I—call... Continue Reading
Do Calvinists Put God in a Box? Of Course We Do, But So Do You!
The reality is that whenever we think about God at all, we put Him in a box.
We may not like what Scripture says about God or us for that matter. But we must trust in the God who reveals Himself through Scripture and reject our own inclinations. To trust our feelings, desires and wants when it is contrary to Scripture is utter foolishness. By that I mean there is no greater... Continue Reading
Out Of The Darkness, Out Of The Grey, And Into The Light
What is the church to do as her members struggle with sexual temptation and sin?
“The citizens of Sodom and Gomorrah were incredibly carnal, and the family of Abraham was not much better. Lot was abused by his daughters. Tamar was wronged by her father-in-law. Later, Reuben, the eldest son of Jacob, was cursed for his sexual fornication. While Joseph ran from temptation, Samson ran towards it.” What is... Continue Reading
A Biblical Theology Of The Trees Of The Garden
Like baptism and the Lord’s Supper, the two trees were sacramental
“The tree of Life was also sacramental–symbolizing something of the eternal life that man could have entered into if he had obeyed with regard to the testing of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Adam, the son of God (Luke 3:38), forfeited our right to the Tree of Life by taking the fruit... Continue Reading
The Necessity of Expository Preaching
Expository preaching is a necessary corollary of the doctrine of the God-breathed nature of Scripture
“The idea is not so much that God breathed into the Scriptures, but that the Scriptures are the product of His breathing out. Independent of what we may feel about the Bible as we read it, Scripture maintains a “breath of God” quality. Thus, the preacher is to make God’s Word known and make it... Continue Reading
Three Keys to a Better Prayer Life
Pray consistently, priortize quality over quantity, and have a prayer list
“Praying with consistency means having a time (or perhaps several times) during your day in which you take time to pray. I find that my best time of prayer occurs on a prayer walk. I also pray when I first get up every morning, simply thanking the Lord for another day to know and serve... Continue Reading
Division and Reunion: A Reflection On American Presbyterianism – A New Documentary
Union Presbyterian Seminary has produced and released this new documentary
“This is not a comprehensive documentary on American Presbyterianism, far from it. But it is a reflection on history of division and reunion in the mainstream branch. And since that is the focus you can understand why another word in that description – reconciliation – is emphasized throughout the piece.” Union Presbyterian Seminary has... Continue Reading
America’s Most Tolerated Sin
Gluttony is perhaps the most tolerated sin in American Christianity
“Gluttony, after all, is food worship. It’s table idolatry. It’s more about the direction of our loves than it is about the contents of our cupboards. How, then, do we discipline our appetites? One answer — and the one I want to explore here — is to quite literally turn the tables on gluttony by coming to... Continue Reading
How Preaching Shapes Liturgy
Every church follows a form of liturgy, whether intentional or not
“Conscious attempt to frame proclamation and response in terms compatible with Scripture in general and the sermon text in particular helps keep liturgy biblical. While this is essential for each of the elements of worship (prayer in its various foci, reading, singing), it is most necessary for the category, “seeing the word.” Every church... Continue Reading
Judge Rules That Church, Not Presbytery, Owns Property
A judge has ruled in favor of First Pres. Church in Houston in its battle with New Covenant Presbytery
“The judge’s decision included a permanent injunction that barred the presbytery, the Presbyterian Church (USA) and any people or entities related to it from doing anything that would interfere with or disturb First Presbyterian’s “ownership, use, control or disposition” of the property.” A judge has ruled in favor of First Presbyterian Church in Houston... Continue Reading
Biographer Recounts Woodrow Wilson’s Life As A Religious Epic
Berg's account of Wilson's struggle to avoid war is gut-wrenching
“His conviction that he was an instrument of God’s providence polished his certitude and fueled his determination. But when one professor, the closest friend he had ever had, disagreed with his plan to replace exclusive student clubs with more democratic residential quads, Wilson never spoke to him again and never had another very close friend.”... Continue Reading
What Do You Really Want Your Church to Be Known For?
That’s what I would want our church to be known for – our glorious Savior.
I definitely want to pursue excellence in our preaching of God’s word for the sake of strengthening God’s people, and proclaiming the Gospel. And I want our worship to be as excellent as possible to encourage us to glorify Jesus with our singing. But I don’t want these things to be the first thing that... Continue Reading
The Table of the Nations, the Tower of Babel, and the Marriage Supper of the Lamb: Part 2
Looking at ethnic and racial diversity through the lens of biblical theology.
The gospel is the only story that offers real hope and the only story that celebrates what the world fears. Principalities and powers offer many plans but no real hope. The gospel offers a hope that celebrates the breaking down of ethnic barriers and celebrates the sound of the gospel in different languages and tongues.... Continue Reading
The Myth of the Gullible Ancients
Being sophisticated enough to know that miracles are weird and rare and out of the ordinary shouldn't preclude miracles.
One belief that is ubiquitous among those who write off Christianity is the suspicion that the persons who lived in biblical times were highly gullible. When I was an atheist teenager I looked down on the Biblical authors because I thought they didn’t understand the physical world and thought that it was inhabited by fairies... Continue Reading