Ashes And Good Theology

Good theology doesn't deny the reality of ashes; rather it affirms the undiminished love of God in the face of a diminished and fallen creation

Our faith is in a God who is good, and good all the time, even when buildings burn and we lose hope in structures and lose faith in human beings who set the fires.  Our faith is in a God who is good in the midst of pestilence, and war, and the brutality of authority... Continue Reading

5 Reasons Your Church May Be So Small

Large or small, your church needs to worship the Lord, care for the flock, and strive to serve Jesus well

I pastor a small church. I love small church life. I love the familiarity, the closeness, and the pace of life in small churches. We’re in a small town/rural community. We’re striving to repent of our self-righteousness. We’re trying to make sure our worship and our church life is accessible to new people. Our leaders... Continue Reading

Kindness and Repentance

We’re not doing much with repentance. What does it mean and where does it fit in our lives?

I know the Romans outline, it always sounded to me like law first then the relief of the gospel. But I know now it’s bigger than that. Could it be that what’s missing today in our church isn’t ‘not enough Hell’ but ’not enough kindness of God’?   We still use that word repentance but... Continue Reading

Taking Friendship To A New Level

God is relational. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit co-exist as a perfect, mutually-loving, mutually-supportive, in-covenant community; we are created in God’s image and we need relationships, too

Whereas “modern” friendship asks, “What can this person do to make my life better?” a Gospel-centered friendship asks, “What can I do to make this person’s life better? What can I do to ‘enhance her glory,’ to help her be and become all she can be, as the person God created her to be and... Continue Reading

I Increasingly Find Conflict Between My Faith and Some Conservative Discourse

In the past several months there have been three incidents that have solidified for me that my faith and my politics are starting to collide

I’m a conservative before I’m a Republican. I was once even an elected Republican. But before I’m a father or husband, I am a Christian. My politics have to be balanced by my faith. That faith requires me to put faith, hope, mercy, and grace ahead of much, including a lot of short term political... Continue Reading

How To Become More Productive: Classic Insights From Adam Smith

Labor becomes more productive when it is divided.

Problem-solving is the essence of work. You can become more productive by welcoming the problems you face and inventing, discovering, or creating solutions to them. Adam Smith notes that many machines were invented by “common workmen” who channeled their frustrations into practical solutions. In Book 1, Chapter 1 of The Wealth of Nations, Adam Smith asks us... Continue Reading

Facebook Fortune Cookies

Facebook fortune cookies: bad theology around the water cooler of modernist and postmodern conversations

In a world of many voices, it is said, each not only has an equal right to be heard, but each is equally right.  For the postmodernist it is arrogant to claim that one can absolutely know absolute truth. Yet, for the modernist Christian, he presents the claims of Christianity through apologetics, propositions, and “timeless... Continue Reading

Beseeching God

As we pray in Christ’s name, we do so at the invitation of God, with the assurance that if we seek and ask, we will find and receive

In the model of so many prayers recorded for us, we come before God lifting our eyes to His glory, reciting His character, recounting His awesome deeds.  We move on to lay out our concerns, casting our cares upon Him.  Then we conclude with plaintive, desperate, importunate expressions beseeching our God.   Now therefore, O... Continue Reading

After Evangelical Virgin Guys Marry, Then What?

Evangelical leaders have touted “virginity pledges” as a way for teens and young adults to “save themselves for marriage.” But what happens after the wedding day?

According to a researcher at the University of Washington, young adult men who took the pledge and had male friends who held them accountable before marriage find themselves suddenly adrift and unable to talk to trusted friends — and sometimes even their new wives — about sex. (RNS) For decades, evangelical leaders have touted “virginity pledges”... Continue Reading

The Prompting to Worship: the Father’s Love for Us

When we believe in the Father’s love, we know we can always come to God, have access to Him, and grow in love for Him

“Crucial to our communion with God is the knowledge that the same Father who shall judge the world in righteousness, chooses to set his love upon us. It is true that God the Son took the just wrath of God the Father on the cross, but it is equally true that it was the Father... Continue Reading

The Danger of ‘Measurable Outcomes’

Ten million ignorant assertions, even when magnified and accelerated in a hundred million tweets and “likes,” still never add up to truth or wisdom

“We are in the age of gargantuan numbers, truly instant information, ceaselessly hyperactive social media, when the worldwide web has become a flood-driven Niagara of raw, uninterpreted information and emotion that pounds down on us by the minute with its ceaseless roar and its drenching deluge. Who can hear themselves think, let alone make sense... Continue Reading

When God Sings About You

When God prays and intercedes for us, He also exults over us with singing — loudly!

“God is honored by singing. God is honored by shouting. God loves to see his people rejoicing and exulting with all their heart. And how does he respond to the harmonic adoration of his people? He too joins in with songs of love and affection, and the focus of his love songs are his radiant... Continue Reading

Jesus Isn’t Going To Take My Zoloft

The fact that my depression and anxiety didn’t go away when Jesus “came into my heart” and the reality that I had to be medicated to live a normal life made me feel like a second-class Christian.

“I was told that if I would just cast my anxieties at the “foot of the cross” then I would be released from the burdens that weighed so heavily on me. I so desperately wanted the formula that I had been taught to work- read my Bible, pray everyday, and go to church and all... Continue Reading

He Is The Savior And We Are The Saved (Part 6)

Christians are prophets, and we honor our King when confess his Word to a watching world

“When ecclesiastical assembly pronounce on trendy issues (e.g., divestment) they are not likely to find much opposition from the powers of this age. When, however, they perform their actual prophet duty, then resistance is much more likely. This is as it has been since Christianity first came into contact with the pagan world in the 1st... Continue Reading

What’s the Difference Between the Ontological and the Economic Trinity?

If I said, “Describe for me the difference between the ontological Trinity and the economic Trinity,” would you be able to do it?

“Ontology is the study of being. When we talk about the ontological Trinity, we are referring to the fact that God is three in one. There are three persons in the Godhead—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit—who together are one being. The ontological structure of the Trinity is a unity. When we speak... Continue Reading

Refusing To Call Evil “Evil”

There are times when our pluralistic sensibilities are overcome by an unambiguous display of evil

“No one is served when we bury our heads in the ground and pretend that ISIS is anything less than one of the most morally repugnant regimes on the face of the planet. Maybe our statesmen will disagree on the best way to address this threat. But can’t we all agree on what they are.... Continue Reading

A New Beginning As “New Life” For Virginia Congregation

The wait to become part of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church (EPC) is over for a Virginia congregation

“New Hope Presbyterian Church’s dismissal to the EPC from the Presbyterian Church (USA) by Presbytery of the Peaks came to a ceremonial conclusion on July 20. The congregation had been granted its departure during a May 8 presbytery meeting. The presbytery’s policy calls for a 90-day waiting period after dismissal, so while Presbytery of the... Continue Reading

Effectual Calling And Trinitarian Balance

How does a call that is planned in by God in heaven before time began translate into our personal experience in life?

“In the first place, we need to be clear that the Spirit does not do his work in isolation, not merely from the Father, but equally of the Son. It is the call of God in the voice of Jesus that the Spirit uses to call his chosen ones to new birth, faith and repentance.... Continue Reading

7 Reasons Why the Current Marriage Debate Is Nothing Like the Debate on Interracial Marriage

Is opposition to same-sex marriage the same as opposition to interracial marriage?

Even cultures that embraced same-sex relationships did not treat them as marriages. Far from having been devised as a pretext for excluding same-sex relationships—as some now charge—marriage as the union of husband and wife arose in many places over several centuries entirely independent of, and well before any debates about, same-sex relationships. Indeed, it arose in... Continue Reading

The 10 Greatest Hymns of All-Time

The best hymns are those that are universal and timeless, speaking to all Christians in all times, places, and situations.

As English-speaking Christians, we have a vast array of hymns available to us, and we each have our list of favorites. In my assessment, the best hymns are those that are universal and timeless, speaking to all Christians in all times, places, and situations. They are firmly grounded in Scripture and drawn out of, or... Continue Reading

Three Gospels for Anxiety

In Matthew 6, Christ says, “Do not be anxious about your life” and provides us with 3 gospels to help us combat our daily anxiety.

Unlike the pagan Gentiles, Christians have a heavenly Father who willingly, faithfully, and eternally takes on the burden of our provision. It makes sense that pagans worry, because they don’t have the assurance of divine provision, but Christians shouldn’t be anxious. We have a Father who knows exactly what we need and is in the... Continue Reading

Major Missions Agency Picks ‘Radical’ New President

Megachurch pastor David Platt is now the younger face of the Southern Baptist Convention's International Mission Board

David Uth, one of the IMB trustees, spoke to Baptist Press about selecting Pratt: We weren’t looking for a man who knew how to talk about it; we were looking for a man who was doing it—and using the influence he had to affect the nations. When we considered what Brook Hills was doing to send couples [to... Continue Reading

A Line in the Sand

The Homeschool Legal Defense Association speaks out against the dangers of Patriarchy and Legalism

While people are entitled to personal opinions within a broad range, there are some views within the patriarchy movement that go too far. Women are not to be the de facto slaves of men. Women are created with dignity equal to that of men. Women have direct and unmediated access to God. Daughters should not be taught... Continue Reading

I Forgive You, But Please Don’t Call it ‘Giving Grace’

Ultimately, I'm afraid that by using the wrong biblical word for the right biblical response we may be misunderstanding both.

What should I do when my husband forgets to buy milk on the way home from work? When my kids leave their new bikes out in the rain? When fellow church members are curt or critical on Sunday mornings?  Increasingly, I hear the godly action in these scenarios described as “giving grace.” And, while I... Continue Reading

Four Rules To Simplify Christian Dating

Is it just me, or has the whole Christian dating / courting / dorting thing become really, really complicated?

When it comes to dating, God’s wisdom is desperately needed. There are so many issues which aren’t explicitly addressed by Scripture, and therefore require wisdom. Is it sinful for a couple to drive to a deserted area at night just to “hang out”? No, but it might not be the wisest thing. Is it wise... Continue Reading

The God Who Comforts

Have you experienced God’s comfort? How can you then comfort someone else?

Do you ever go through seasons of discouragement and wonder why your faith is so fragile? Do you ever think that since you’ve been a believer for so long, you shouldn’t ever struggle, experience weakness, or feel stabs of fear? Have you ever felt overwhelmed by the pressures of life and wondered what is wrong and... Continue Reading

Between Hagiography And Cynicism

We should tell the truth about the past as best we can and that includes letting the reader know that our subject was human and thus fallen.

It does no service to Christians now or in the future to beatify our forebears in the faith. An overly sanitized story is ultimately not a true story. Scripture itself is quite realistic in its portrayal of some of the great figures in redemptive history. One is repeatedly shocked by Moses’ brutal honesty not only in... Continue Reading

The Federal Vision and The Dualism Duel

In a system where salvation is all of grace, how can a common personal union with Christ securely save some and not securely save others?

Both Reformed theology and Federal Vision soteriology have their dualities; yet there is a crucial difference. The dualities in Reformed theology do not reach into the heart of the mystical union with Christ. In Reformed theology, there are no dualities that divide between those who are in union with Christ. In Reformed theology, all who... Continue Reading

The Doctrine of Justification Among the Puritans

Justification is a gospel mystery—a matter, that is, of divine revelation by grace

Baxter was convinced that those who held the ground and formal cause of our justification to be the imputing to us of Christ’s own righteousness (i.e., his fulfillment of the precept and penalty of the moral law) were logically committed to Antinomianism, on the “payment-God-will-not-twice-demand” principle. At this point in his thinking… Baxter assumed, with... Continue Reading

The Conflicting Narrative of Jerusalem

Jerusalem has two conflicting narratives accompanied by differing holidays, songs, and stories; this results in two identities that are in conflict with each other

Peace treaties do not negate long standing narratives that give identity.  There must be a larger story …  Jesus promised to bring a peace that this world cannot give.  Such peace is both internal as it relates to Jesus giving us a clear conscience before God the Father, but also a peace between those who... Continue Reading