Book Review: The End of White Christian America
Has White Christian America lost its cultural and political influence?
One good thing about White Christian America’s declining political clout is that evangelicals can return to the biblical obligation of making disciples, rather than making political ones. Yet there is some very noticeable but subdued cheerfulness by Jones for the end of White Christian America and one gets the sense that he’s not alone in... Continue Reading
The Attraction of Idolatry
To see the allure of idolatry can be hard for those of us in the Western world.
The whole system of idolatry—guaranteed, selfish, easy, convenient, normal, logical, pleasing, indulgent, and erotic—when you look at it that way, the allure of idolatry does not seem far removed from us. It is easy to see how we can make idols out of everything from health insurance to retirement accounts to political candidates to academic... Continue Reading
Police, Protesters, and All the Wrong Questions
The Bible is relentlessly realistic about sin and government and this should make us clear-eyed on these issues.
Here’s the point: We come to the table assuming that evil must be restrained both in citizens and in government. This causes us to ask questions like, “How can we best make sure we’re restraining evil and injustice in law enforcement? How can we best make sure we’re restraining evil and injustice in those lodging... Continue Reading
What is the Spirit’s Role in Our Reading of Scripture?
There is a false notion among evangelicals that we can either trust in the ordinary means of grace and the church’s creedal catechetical tradition, or we can be sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s leading.
Both the charismatic and the conservative, more subtle teaching on the Holy Spirit and God’s word cuts us off from the Trinitarian work in communicating God’s word to the whole communion of the saints. And for some reason this exciting teaching often comes off as a spiritual buzz kill. I am referring to church tradition... Continue Reading
Are You Going to Hurt Me?
The fear is there, the fear is real
But it does have to be this way because ever since our first parents were ushered out of that garden, men have proven their willingness to violate trust, to misuse strength, to blaspheme God’s good order. Not all men, of course. But some men. Enough men. Strength that was given to protect has been used... Continue Reading
A Pastor Talks about the Pressures to Plagiarize
What in the USAmerican evangelical culture would tempt pastors to plagiarize?
Plagiarism is a collapse of faith. This collapse of faith knocks down three dominoes. First, a belief in the Creator God’s ability to grant creative, original thought to the local church pastor (stuck in the cornfields of Iowa). “That big shot pastor is on radio, sometimes on TV, he or she’s got books galore. I’ve... Continue Reading
2 Samuel 19: A Case Study in True and False Repentance
Ask yourself, when you repent of your sin, are you more like Shimei or Mephibosheth?
God has these two men in the Bible for several reasons: to show us the nature of David’s kingdom, the outcome of Saul’s line, the ethic of a king after his own heart, and nature of David’s kingdom after his exile. But one of the many things God is doing in this passage is giving... Continue Reading
How Fear Can Lead to a Denial of the Gospel
“We’ve got to do something or everything will get completely out of control.” Fear is a powerful motive.
As I distilled and thought about the massive assault of words that came my way, I began to understand the fear. The idea is this. If men aren’t in charge, then the home will disintegrate, society will crumble, the women will take over, the kids will rebel, and the woman will become a manipulative, domineering... Continue Reading
Service or Sabbath
Despite the duty and benefits of service, something better is before us. According to Jesus, it is better for us when we sabbath than when we serve
In the earliest of days, God ceremonially worked, and then he ceremonially rested. We believe this was the rotation presented by God to Adam. Six days he was to worship by laboring; one day he was to worship by not laboring…It is not even a day when one has to keep the tight ceremonial additions... Continue Reading
Why I’m Glad We Marched and Wish We Hadn’t
On July 9, a handful of our staff and members participated in the Black Lives Matter march in Augusta. I’m glad they did and wish they hadn’t.
Carl Ellis: On one hand, ‘black lives matter’ (all lower case, ‘blm’) is a truth. This truth encompasses the healthy concern for matters that touch black lives—criminal justice reform, racial justice, just policing, better community relations, crime reduction, urban homicide rates, discipleship, mass incarceration, abortion rates, poverty reduction, education, employment, ethnic reconciliation, accurate representation of our history,... Continue Reading
Evolution Just Got Harder to Defend
A new fossil discovery makes it even tougher for Darwinists to explain the origin of life.
Dr. Stephen Meyer explains in his book “Signature in the Cell” why this may be Darwinism’s Achilles heel. In order to begin evolution by natural selection, you need a self-replicating unit. But the cell and its DNA blueprint are too complicated by far to have arisen through chance chemical reactions. The odds of even a... Continue Reading
Stop Dressing So Tacky for Church
“It’s like some people decided to stop mowing the lawn and then decided to come to church.”
Shouldn’t people have that same reverential attitude when they show up at church to meet God, some ask? After all, doesn’t your dress reveal the importance you attach to an occasion? That sentiment, however, is seen as hopelessly old school in many popular megachurches across America. Casual Fridays has morphed into casual Sundays. And many... Continue Reading
Church History: The Racist Heresy In Southern Baptist History
Their heresy was racism, and this heresy ran deep within them
Manly declared that, when it came to his right to buy and to sell African Americans, “I had no more doubt or compunction than in pocketing the price of a horse or anything else that belonged to me.” The founders of the Southern Baptist Convention and of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary were zealous... Continue Reading
Even the Government’s Smartest Lawyers Can’t Figure Out Religious Liberty
Religious liberty is more fundamental to Constitutional principles than non-discrimination, Kirsanow argued. “Religious liberty is an undisputed constitutional right,” he wrote. “With the exception of racial nondiscrimination principles embedded in the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth Amendments, nondiscrimination principles are statutory or judicially created constructs.” It took the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights three years... Continue Reading
Free Church Minister Accuses Humanists Of ‘Fundamental Dishonesty’ Over Religious Observance Opt-Out Campaign
Rev. David Robertson says the Humanist Society of Scotland wants to ‘get rid of Christianity’
The Humanists/Atheists/Secularists really can’t grasp why we would want any other education system than theirs. They don’t seem to realise that we pay taxes too and we don’t want our taxes paying for an education system which indoctrinates our children against what they are taught at home. That is a basic human right which they... Continue Reading
An Open Letter To Jory Micah
I do not intend this letter to be anything other than food for thought written out of sisterly love and concern.
You also suggest that Christ has no gender when returning to heaven. After going through various classes this past week addressing ancient Trinitarian heresies, I’m afraid I had to slide this conviction into the same category as said heresies. Jesus Christ is fully God and fully man (emphasis on man). If He still has the... Continue Reading
They Unchurched The Church
Why are they doing this? Who are they doing this for? Why the music? Why the teaching?
“Who exactly are these churches reaching? My friend was a real seeker (you could argue a seeker of the best kind—a seeker of God!), but he left disappointed. He seems to be exactly the type of guy who these churches are targeting, yet he leaves and never returns, frustrated by the whole schtick.” Recently... Continue Reading
EPC Partnership with National Presbyterian Church of Mexico Ratified
The Evangelical Presbyterian Church and the National Presbyterian Church of Mexico formally ratified an historic partnership on September 8 at the INPM General Assembly in Tuxtla Gutierrez, Mexico
“Discussions about a potential ministry partnership began in October 2015, when INPM Secretary Adolfo Job invited Moses and others from the EPC to visit Mexico to discuss the possibility of a fraternal relationship that would focus on church planting in Hispanic communities in the United States.” The EPC and the National Presbyterian Church of... Continue Reading
When You Feel More Like Naomi
Even when you feel more like Naomi, the Lord God is working on your behalf
Don’t get me wrong, I would rather be like Ruth. Ruth is kind and courageous. Ruth is hardworking and loyal. But in a recent desert season (though nothing as drastic as a famine or triple funeral), I notice that my response is more like the woman who said “call me Mara, for the Almighty has... Continue Reading
The Unfinished Reformation (Review)
Is the Reformation over? This question is going to be asked over and over again as we approach 2017
“The book’s main emphasis is a detailed examination of the key similarities and differences between Roman Catholicism and Protestantism. In the broadest terms, these differences relate to matters of authority and salvation—who or what is the ultimate source of authority for Christians, and how can people be saved.” Is the Reformation over? This question... Continue Reading
Spent: On Gospel Legacies And The Surprising Ugliness of Death
Death is disgusting. No heroic or poignant last words. No gentle slipping away into peacefulness.
“There is incredible sadness in seeing a life that is spent. But enormous joy and gratitude for being just one of the people who had received so much from a life well spent—for Jesus and the gospel.” I sat beside the bed, holding his hand. Tears streaming down my face. Words catching in my... Continue Reading
Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church Ranked America’s Largest Megachurch With 52,000 Weekly Attendance
Osteen, who's also the author of several New York Times best-selling books, is known for his motivational messages, though he has also been criticized for largely avoiding topics such as sin
“Osteen’s congregation remains the largest in America when it comes to weekend attendance, noting that the church has seen a growth of 7,200 people since 2010. What is more, the church has five times as many followers as it did when it was led by founding Pastor John Osteen, who died in 1999.” Newly... Continue Reading
How Should We Be in the World but Not of It?
The Bible says we are not to be conformed to the patterns of this world
“Now, when we hear that as Christians, so often we think that all we have to do is to become obvious nonconformists. So if the world wears buttons and bows, we don’t wear buttons and bows, or if the world wears lipstick, we don’t wear lipstick. We try to show ways in which we are... Continue Reading
What’s Wrong With Western Missionaries?
What makes a good worker from the West? What makes a good missionary?
While I silently prayed not to hear the same answer, they said to me, “We don’t know what makes a good missionary, but we can tell you the man we love.” By now, the next sentence was predictable and expected; they mentioned that same name that I had heard over and over again. Their... Continue Reading
There’s more church history in your breakfast to chew on than you may have realized.
As you savor your bacon and rejoice in God’s goodness, the greasy goodness ought to remind you of the still-greater truth the Lord taught Peter. God taught Peter through a breakfast menu that God shows no partiality and that Gentiles, as well as Jews, were to be brought into the church. Church history changed that... Continue Reading
Why Marriage Is Better Than Cohabitation
The public nature of marriage provides an important protection for the vulnerable at the start of the sexual relationship.
“We sometimes think that we are autonomous free-floating individuals who make decisions for ourselves. The reality is that we are influenced in many ways in every decision we make. And in the area of sex, above all, we are open to manipulation and exploitation, even unwittingly, by passions that rage and desires that can overwhelm... Continue Reading
Final Destination: Maintaining a Heavenly Mindset
Can onlookers tell what your final destination is by the way you behave? Or do you live like this life is your final destination?
So pray for God to give you a heavenly mindset. Make deliberate choices in your life to prevent growing too attached to this life. If we are a church full of heaven-set people, willing to make decisions that would be nonsensical except in the light of heavenly reality, realm, and reward, then when we share... Continue Reading
In The Age Of Anxiety
One way to characterize the post-9/11 world is as “The Age of Anxiety.”
We are right to be anxious because our gods are dissolving right before our eyes. We are anxious in the same way Pharaoh was anxious after the third plague. We want to bargain with the mediators of this strange religion but we cannot. They are totalitarian. They will not bargain. They will not go along... Continue Reading
Not everyone is a professional theologian, but we are all ordinary theologians.
When people say theology isn’t practical, perhaps they are not seeing the practical implications immediately. Sometimes, when we confront a theological principle, it takes time to see its practical implications. Think about these theological concepts: the goodness of God, the reality of future judgment, God’s sovereign control over the world. Aren’t those concepts practical? Is... Continue Reading
Definite Atonement and Christian Comfort (Owen)
Those for whom Jesus died are the same people for whom he intercedes
This isn’t theological nitpicking or dry, dusty doctrine that is irrelevant. To say that Jesus’ death is tightly connected with his intercession echoes biblical truth, glorifies Christ and his saving power, and it gives the Christian firm comfort and assurance that Jesus who died for us will also intercede for us, that our faith will... Continue Reading