Overseeing the ceremony in which the Lord brings together in the covenantal bond of marriage those He has called you to pastor is one of the greatest joys of pastoral ministry
“Sadly, we see just how little most value vow taking in our day. We see with what flippancy men and women will throw away their marriage and how easily they walk away from the church when they find one or two things with which they do not agree. The great need of our day is... Continue Reading
10 Cravings of the Sinful Nature
What does the intense longing that comes from your sinful nature look like?
If you are discouraged in ministry, expect the sinful nature to produce thoughts about quitting. The sinful nature will say, “You deserve better than this. There’s something else you could do.” The sinful nature will always produce these cravings, strong desires, and intense longings. What are the cravings of the sinful nature? What kinds... Continue Reading
Memorial Drive Settles Lawsuit With Presbytery For $950,000
New Covenant Presbytery has “released any interest in MDPC’s property”
“The 3,461-member Memorial Drive Presbyterian Church began discerning its future in the PCUSA in early 2015, when the congregation voted 839-277 to enter the presbytery’s discernment process. However, the church was searching for a new pastor at the time, and put the process on hold until a new pastor was called.” Memorial Drive Presbyterian... Continue Reading
Your Days Are Numbered
Of all the gifts God gives us, few are more precious and few are more fleeting than time
“Though ‘Your Days Are Numbered’ is a little book, it packs an outsized punch. Perritt examines hobbies in both their blessings and their distractions and he diagnoses the trivialities that can consume so much of our time, explaining that “innocent things often become deadly in the hands of our Enemy.” Of all the gifts... Continue Reading
Is Certainty Sinful? (Book Review)
Enns’s diagnosis of sins of “certainty” is more accurate than many might grant
“The answer, according to Enns, is that Christians (still) have a problem with certainty, despite the numerous treatments that have said as much. Specifically, he thinks we’ve identified our faith in God with our thoughts about God, and so have become preoccupied with correct thinking.” “I’m not saying never doubt or question,” John Ames writes to his... Continue Reading
5 Reasons You Need the Westminster Shorter Catechism
Here are five reasons I consider this catechism worth engaging today
“Of course there are plenty of other documents that can help with this study. It’s likewise true the Shorter Catechism goes a bit beyond the core on some matters. Nevertheless, the first 38 questions and answers offer a succinct, clear, and heartwarming summary of central Christian beliefs.” My first encounter with the Westminster Shorter Catechism... Continue Reading
The Gospel of Sovereign Grace
Sovereign grace crushes our pride. It shames us and humbles us.
This idea that salvation owes everything to God’s grace is the overarching theme not just in Romans but in all of Paul’s epistles. For example, Paul begins his letter to the Philippians with a prayer for the church in which he says, “He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until... Continue Reading
China On Course To Become ‘World’s Most Christian Nation’ Within 15 Years
The number of Christians in Communist China is growing so steadily that it by 2030 it could have more churchgoers than in America
“Officially, the People’s Republic of China is an atheist country but that is changing fast as many of its 1.3 billion citizens seek meaning and spiritual comfort that neither communism nor capitalism seem to have supplied.” It is said to be China’s biggest church and on Easter Sunday thousands of worshippers will flock to... Continue Reading
Truth in the Imperfect Community
People break fellowship with a local church for all sorts of unbiblical reasons.
Even if we were to discern an error in any of these three areas, the first and proper thing to do is to make one’s concerns known to the leadership of the church. When it seemed to Paul that Peter was behaving in a way contrary to the Gospel, he opposed him to his face... Continue Reading
Have We Undervalued the Sufferings of Christ?
The implications of looking to Christ’s sufferings through his entire life as vicarious and “in our room” are huge.
Among other things, this is how and why Christ transforms and sanctifies all of our trials to the profit of our souls. Christ’s suffering for you throughout his life is the reason why the suffering in your life now represents the hand of a loving Father rather than the wrath of a just Judge. Sometimes... Continue Reading
Jen Hatmaker, Blurry Lines, and Transformative Truth
Jen Hatmaker is the new Beth Moore in many Christian ladies’ circles.
These sentiments are not surprising. Hatmaker has made far more controversial comments on Christian sexual ethics before. While Religion News Service’s Jonathan Merritt believes Hatmaker’s post reflects a shift on LGBTQ inclusion, he also notes in a recent column that she’s made similar statements on the subject in the past. Merritt points out Hatmaker’s 2014... Continue Reading
Because She Mattered
To Jesus, she wasn’t a nobody, she wasn’t an outcast – for He had taken that away.
But this woman has been unclean for 12 years. What she has to say isn’t wanted. Isn’t needed. She isn’t’ worth the bother. People quit listening to her years ago. People quit caring years ago. All she had left was sneaking through the crowd and touching the hem of the garment. If she could just... Continue Reading
If You’ve Cheated, Should You Tell Your Spouse?
I believe that confessing adultery to your spouse is absolutely necessary. Here are five reasons
You can’t expect your spouse to just be sad for a few moments and then forgive you. It may feel to you as you confess that a great burden is being lifted, but this is the first time that they are hearing about this. There has to be a grieving and an expressing of the... Continue Reading
Listening to the Women
At this moment in history, when the church of Christ seems poised for some of the biggest battles against culture and secularism it has yet seen, she needs allies. She has allies.
Many commentaries on Luke 24 will comment on the historical context of the women, that would likely have found them poorly educated, and their testimony in civil courts as inferior to men. But less commentary is usually offered on how Luke describes the men. The men to whom the women speak aren’t simply some of... Continue Reading
See No Evil
If there’s any good reason to distrust the self-awareness of contemporary progressives, it's the cultural epidemic of pornography.
This is precisely why Christians and churches must address this issue. As Carl Trueman put it, the sexual conscience of modern culture cannot do this, for the same reason that an alcoholic cannot be trusted to guard the expensive stuff. Our communities are suspended in midair, somewhere between the abolition of man and the nihilism... Continue Reading
The Joys of Small Groups
Through prayer, transparency, and time in God’s word, it is obvious that God is at work in small groups.
When you give your life to Jesus, you’re not only saved from sin but you’re saved into family. And this kingdom family is there to help you walk in faithful obedience to God and His word. We need each other, and my group is embracing this truth. We don’t try to come off pretty. We... Continue Reading
What Hath Geneva To Do With Canterbury?
Why are Presbyterians worshiping like Anglicans? Why do some PCA churches have Ash Wednesday services?
Whatever factors have given rise to Episcoterian worship, one thing is clear, Presbyterians are abandoning their liturgical heritage. Historically, the Reformed church has argued that in matters of worship, Geneva and Canterbury are incompatible. In Presbyterian theology, the church’s authority is not legislative but ministerial and declarative. Why are Presbyterians worshiping like Anglicans? Why... Continue Reading
Hope, History, and the American Church After Obergefell
While there is hope that the Church will survive present cultural attacks, it may be shaped and function differently in the future.
At some point in the next generation or two, we will likely be tasked with helping to rebuild our local places (and not just the evangelical churches and institutions in those places), though the exact form that will take is not clear to anyone right now. But when we do that work, we will almost... Continue Reading
Spirit of Light
Reformed Christians have been given a “bad press” for their views on the gifts of the Holy Spirit; it shouldn't be so.
Well-meaning Christians sometimes mistake the Spirit’s work of illumination for revelation, which, unhappily, can lead to serious theological confusion and potentially unhappy practical consequences. But the doctrine of illumination also helps us explain some of the more mysterious elements in our experience without having to resort to the claim that we have the gift of... Continue Reading
Willow Creek’s “The Practice” Blends New Age & Catholic Mysticism
“The Practice is an experimental gathering where we immerse ourselves in God’s dream for humanity, practice the historic disciplines that align us with His dream, and carry each other along the way.”
It would appear that the entire purpose of The Practice is to practice Spiritual Formation and all of its contemplative components, like Lectio Divina, a centuries-old mystical Catholic practice involving repeating a word or phrase from the Bible over and over until you reach a higher level of consciousness to “hear God speak” to you:... Continue Reading
Stop Your Grumbling!
What is the difference between a critique of a situation, event, or person and complaining?
We need to be careful with our grumbling, with our complaints, with our astute observations of the weakness and incapacity of others. We dare not insult a very good and faithful God about his performance. What will we do when he demonstrates that he can be really good at holding people accountable for the stupid... Continue Reading
Health Officials Warn Zika Could Be Worse For U.S. Than Expected
The Zika virus poses a greater threat than previously thought in the continental United States, federal health officials admitted during a White House briefing on April 11.
Aedes aegypti, the mosquito that transmits the virus, is now present in 32 U.S. states and not 12, as first thought, Schuchat said. CDC officials also warn that with summer fast approaching, mosquito eradication efforts, testing, and research may not be able to catch up with the spreading virus. According to the latest CDC report,... Continue Reading
About That Charlotte Methodist Gay Wedding Church
A liberal United Methodist congregation in North Carolina made news this week as it hosted the first same-sex couple in North Carolina to get married in a United Methodist church.
Same-sex weddings – and the use of Methodist church buildings to host them – are against the 12 million-member denomination’s rules, but they also aren’t new in United Methodism: participating clergy usually conduct them outside of Methodist sanctuaries, as Talbert did in 2013 at a United Church of Christ (UCC) church building in Alabama. ... Continue Reading
A Compassionate Judge Sentences A Veteran To 24 Hours In Jail, Then Joins Him Behind Bars
Sgt. Joseph Serna, a former Special Forces soldier, had been through a lot; when the judge sentenced him to a night in jail, the judge served the time with him.
The judge drove Serna to the jail in a neighboring county. “When Joe first came to turn himself in, he was trembling,” Olivera told the Fayetteville Observer. “I decided that I’d spend the night serving with him.” “Where are we going, judge?” Serna asked, the Observer’s Bill Kirby Jr., reported Wednesday. “We’re going to turn... Continue Reading
A #TrulyHuman Crisis: The Hidden Gnosticism Within Evangelical Christianity
To say that Christian discipleship is “a process of becoming more human” rattles the Gnosticism which sits hidden in the collective sub consciousness of much of Evangelical Christianity.
Do we Evangelicals focus on evangelism more than social justice and polarise the two because we value the soul more than the body? I have heard people say that as long as people “make the decision to follow Jesus” and their salvation is secure, then that is all that is necessary, even if they have... Continue Reading
Reformed “Spotlight”: What is Spiritual Abuse?
First, the term “spiritual abuse“ indicates that unlike physical or sexual abuse, the primary pain is felt in the soul.
Some of the sinful tools used by spiritual abusers include injustice, misrepresentation, intimidation, exclusion, isolation, humiliation, manipulation, authoritarianism, demands for unconditional loyalty and obedience, shame, legalism, false accusation, self-pity, suppression of dissent and criticism, use of rules to silence, inability to admit wrong, covering up and minimizing leaders’ sins, and so on. In my... Continue Reading
Assurance of Salvation
Assurance involves a practical and experiential knowledge, which is much more than mere head knowledge.
In general, there are three kinds of people who take the name of Christians. Some have only the name but no power so that they deny Christ by their works. Others have some influences and operations of the Spirit of God upon them. But they are like embryos that miscarry before the new birth. Their... Continue Reading
The Extraordinary Pastor
Can it really be true that a disinterested Christian leader is a kind of ‘lesser-spotted dodo’ and thus a very rare endangered species?
It was a real eye-opener recently to discover that a significant proportion of preachers are in it for themselves. This fact wasn’t gleaned from statistical analysis: at first I thought I was dreaming when I read Philippians 1.15. “Some indeed preach Christ from envy and rivalry, but others from good will.” This was what Paul... Continue Reading
What Happens When Character Matters Less than Talent?
What in the world makes us think that the spotlight will serve as an incubator for holiness?
It’s easy to pick on celebrity culture, but I wonder how often this plays out in the local church? You’ve got a gaping whole in your children’s ministry. It seems that all of your prayers are answered as Mr. Good-Theology expresses interest in heading up the department. He has passion, great theology, and tremendous talent.... Continue Reading
A Prayer for the Weary Mom
Scripture says that those who trust in the Lord will renew their strength (Is 40.31). I need my strength renewed, don't you?
Perhaps you are a mom who knows what it’s like to just hold on tight. You can relate to the analogy of life as a roller coaster ride. Maybe you wake up each day wondering what unexpected twist the day holds for you. Maybe you even wake up already exhausted just from the thought of... Continue Reading