Ash Wednesday: Picking and Choosing our Piety

The rise of Lent in non-Roman, Orthodox or Anglican circles is a fascinating phenomenon.

When Presbyterians and Baptists and free church evangelicals start attending Ash Wednesday services and observing Lent, one can only conclude that they have either been poorly instructed in the theology or the history of their own traditions, or that they have no theology and history. Or maybe they are simply exhibiting the attitude of the... Continue Reading

The Fear of Man Versus the Fear of God

Power is intoxicating, in whatever form one has it, and people who acquire this kind of power and respect become very loath to risk it in any way whatsoever.

In the Reformed world, this kind of respect comes from publishing a book, or becoming a professor at a seminary, or having a prominent position in the denomination, or having a large church. It is easy to forget how eminently expendable we are, and instead start to think (even if it is not as crassly... Continue Reading

Mainline Death or Revival?

There’s no pledge from Christ, who promised that The Church will prevail, that Mainline Protestantism will necessarily have any future

There are plenty of Christian movements in particular times and places that have whithered and perished. Mainline Protestantism may have served its purpose across four centuries in America and will just fade into obscurity, leaving behind beautiful sanctuaries and lots of wonderful memories of momentous spiritual, cultural and social accomplishments.   Princeton Seminary President Craig... Continue Reading

5 Rookie Pastor Mistakes

Often conflicts arise because well-intentioned pastors make rookie mistakes—the missteps that occur at the intersection of the ideal and reality.

When a pastor insists on his preferences and suggests they are biblical truths, he will lose trust and influence. Church members have the Holy Spirit and the Bible at their disposal just like he does, and will usually know the difference. Further, if he twists the Scriptures to justify his self-centered demands, so will they.... Continue Reading

A Year of Biblical Womanhood?

Women reading Evans’ book may come away with a distrust of the Bible and with animosity towards God for “requiring” things He never required.

Ultimately, I think that Evans’ book is the result of the experientialism so common in the Church today. Despite her claims that she would follow the Bible’s instructions for women without picking and choosing, she does exactly that. She picks and chooses how to apply those instructions by deciding which extra-Biblical sources she will follow.... Continue Reading

Can We Trust the Four Gospels to Tell Us the Truth About Jesus? (Part 3 of 3)

Don't these four Gospels contradict each other in many places?

Now, what does all of this have to do with the contradictions between these Gospels? Well, think about it: If four different people write about someone’s life and public ministry, they’re going to choose different details to emphasize and they’re probably going to arrange their material differently. We also have to realize that these books... Continue Reading

13 Helps For When a Friend Battles Depression

The gist of what Rogers/Alexander are saying is that we must take depressive persons seriously

I’m don’t fully agree with all of these, but it is interesting to see how pastors of old dealt with mental illness and things like depression. Most people think those who lived before Freud had little to nothing to say about mental illness. This is simply not true. The Puritans and many of those who... Continue Reading

Stepping Stones to Covenant Baptism

There are important, but often neglected, stepping stones that need to be made in the case for infant baptism

Often in explanations of covenant baptism, the correlation is established between the promises God made to Abraham that were sealed with circumcision and the fulfillment in Christ of those promises that are now sealed with baptism. Yet clearly many struggle to make this connection, seeing it as too far a jump across the divide between the Old and... Continue Reading

Veto Presbyterian Church in Vincent, Ohio Withdraws from PCUSA; Joins PCA

The Veto Presbyterian Church was received by the Ohio Presbytery of the Presbyterian Church in America on February 2, 2016.

On January 13, 2016, the session of Veto Presbyterian asked to join the Ohio Presbytery of the PCA as a mission church. On February 2,, with great joy, the Ohio Presbytery voted to receive Veto as a mission church of the Presbytery, with a provisional session of members of the session of Grace Presbyterian, Hudson,... Continue Reading

God’s Forgotten Libertarian

Machen butted heads with Princeton’s increasingly leftist faculty until he’d had enough

“Machen didn’t much care for politics. He saw it as inherently stifling and anti-individual. The idea that true Christianity was to even a small degree compatible with any form of statism — socialism, communism, or fascism — was, to Machen, a dangerous fiction.”   Of the Presbyterian theologian J. Gresham Machen (1881–1937), Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist... Continue Reading

Geneva College Names Twentieth President

Dr. Calvin L. Troup Becomes President Elect of Geneva College

Dr. Troup comes to Geneva from Duquesne University’s Department of Communication and Rhetorical Studies where he directed the university’s nationally-ranked Rhetoric Ph.D. Program. Before serving at Duquesne for 20 years, he also taught at Penn State in University Park, PA and Indiana University in Bloomington, IN. He graduated from Geneva College with a bachelor’s degree... Continue Reading

Do Not Put a Period Where J.I. Packer Puts An Exclamation Point

So this is the story of how J.I. Packer made me cry. Sort of.

“I worked out the pages from the FedEx pouch with fear and trembling and started thumbing through. Turns out I didn’t have much to worry about. Packer’s pen was light and friendly. Most of his corrections had to do with word choices or expansions of my thinking, adding the clarity and theological precision he has... Continue Reading

Six Ways Ministry Spouses Get Hurt

It is indeed tough to be in vocational ministry. But it’s also tough to be the spouse of these ministers.

“A worship minister shared with us this tragic story. He was caught up in some worship wars, an all too common reality. The worship leader, however, was pretty thick-skinned, and moved forward despite the criticisms. When the critics saw they were not making progress with the worship leader, they began to attack his wife with... Continue Reading

The Biblical Basis for the Spirituality of the Church

Paul appeals to his reader not on the basis of civil justice but on the principle of love

“At least one presbytery also received a motion for the PCA to publicly call for financial reparations from white people to African Americans in compensation for the institution of slavery that existed in America prior to 1865.  These actions would seem to oppose the spirituality of the church.”   Last week I posted a piece... Continue Reading

Old Princeton: Archibald Alexander, An Old Model For a New Paradigm

Alexander is a wonderful model for the pastor/scholar today

“During the years of his pastorate, Alexander preached often, led catechism classes for the youth, and yet still made time to answer Thomas Paine’s Deism.  During these years, he developed knowledge of textual criticism, continued to read his Greek Bible, he read one chapter from the Hebrew Bible per day, and read widely.”   What... Continue Reading

Do You Keep Your Commitments – Even When It Hurts?

The righteous man “swears to his own hurt and does not change,” according to Psalm 15:4

“I have been shocked by how easily some Christian leaders (even counselors) break their commitments. On the other hand, I have witnessed wonderful examples of Christian integrity.”   The righteous man “swears to his own hurt and does not change,” according to Psalm 15:4. A dear mentor first made me aware of this verse when... Continue Reading

“Gay Christian” Explains Why She Now Accepts Same-Sex Marriage

Rodgers’s explanation—like her previous one—is long on personal experience and short on Bible

If she has a reasoned biblical rationale for her views, she doesn’t really share it. In fact, she says that when she held to the traditional view, it wasn’t based as much on biblical teaching as it was on her trust in what certain Christian leaders were telling her. When she stopped trusting those leaders,... Continue Reading

Can We Trust the Four Gospels to Tell Us the Truth About Jesus? (Part 2 of 3)

It's become very commonplace to say that the Bible is full of errors and full of contradictions.

Approximately 40 lines out of ~20,000 lines in the New Testament text are in doubt, mostly the longer ending of Mark’s Gospel and the first 11 verses of John 8. So, the total number of seriously disputed lines in the New Testament is less than 1/2 of 1% of the total text. The New Testament... Continue Reading

How China’s One-Child Policy Led To Forced Abortions, 30 Million Bachelors

Fong explores the wide-ranging impact of what she calls the world's "most radical experiment" in her new book, One Child.

In a city setting they could maybe, if you worked for a [civil service-like] job they might threaten to fire you. … This is for having a child. If you went for a termination, all of this would go away. But, of course, then there were people who really wanted the child and then they... Continue Reading

Strangers And Aliens (15a): Turning The Other Cheek (1 Peter 3:8–12)

Peter’s approach is in sharp contrast to the way that post-19th century evangelicals and liberals have often talked about unity.

It is not possible to survey theological liberalism here but those liberals who continue to profess some degree of adherence to the Christianity usually redefine the faith in subjectivist terms. Christianity becomes the quest to recover Jesus’ religious experience. Doctrine becomes a metaphor for personal experience, not claims about objective truth and reality. Liberals have... Continue Reading

That Awkward Conversation

Have you ever been in a conversation with a person you care about who is recommending a so-called Christian book that you know is full of bad theology?

Let’s face it, we become defensive when our judgment is challenged. And who wants to be the continual Debbie Downer in the conversation? And yet at the same time, you want to help encourage people whom you care about to discerningly engage with the content of what they are reading. Truth is important and our... Continue Reading

What’d J’ya Say God?

When that little voice speaks in my head, is that the Spirit?

So we must be careful when talking about our inner voice and the Spirit’s speaking to us. The Bible tells us that the inner voice IS NOT the voice of the Spirit. Instead, the inner voice, as it grows more and more to echo, to repeat what the Bible says, is evidence to us that... Continue Reading

Secularization and the Sexual Revolution: Evangelical Theology and the Cultural Crisis (Part 1)

The challenge of the moral revolution threatens to shake the very foundations of Christianity in the United States and far beyond

Hobson is arguing that this moral revolution, having turned the tables of Christianity, now robs the Christian Church of the moral high ground it had previously claimed. The situation is fundamentally reversed. For the first time in the history of Western civilization, Christianity appears to be on the underside of morality, and those who hold... Continue Reading

Here Comes Trouble. Now What?

Here comes trouble. Cast them on Christ.

This family might be trouble, but they might also be fellow sinners saved by grace, on the road to the heavenly Jerusalem, and growing in Christ day-by-day. The Lord may yet soften and mature them, and he may do it in the very pews of your church. God is still turning the pages on their... Continue Reading

Wheaton Professor Who Said Muslims And Christians Worship The Same God Decides To Leave College

Wheaton College political science professor Larycia Hawkins has decided to part ways with the college.

“The Administration and Dr. Hawkins have come to a place of resolution and reconciliation,” Ryken said in his email. “With a mutual desire for God’s blessing, we have decided to part ways.” In a separate email to the faculty, Wheaton provost Stan Jones said in an email Saturday that he has withdrawn charges for firing... Continue Reading

Dead and Obese Substitutes

If I am not careful, I give faith, honor, glory, and worship to the church of Christ and not the Christ of the church.

As a minister, believe it or not, the church can be my Buddha; it can be my dead and obese idol of choice. The temptation is always before me to over-value increased membership, happy and unified elders, more and better facilities, additional staff, fantastic programs, theological degrees, blog readership stats, church fame, personal notoriety, hearing... Continue Reading

What the Bible Means to Me

This is my short chapter in What the Bible Means to Me published by Christian Focus.

Of course there are great difficulties in the Bible – what else would you expect? There is variety of genre, apparent (though not real) contradictions, and even the apostle Peter found some things hard to understand!   But as the living and enduring Word of God, it is still as fresh, and dynamic as the day... Continue Reading

‘Risen’: Hollywood Gets Jesus Right

Overall, this film provides a stunning portrayal of the events behind the Christian teaching that this one man, after being fully dead, was Risen.

Risen isn’t just thematically and historically accurate, it also succeeds as a film. Impressive cinematography captures each powerful scene…. Events unfold in front of a frantic, soaring score, adding even more depth of emotion to such stunning scenes. The pacing is spot on, between Roman questionings, the pursuit of fleeing Jews, and the contrasting peace... Continue Reading

Elbert McGowan Takes Helm at Jackson’s Redeemer PCA Church

Redeemer PCA in Jackson, Miss., calls Elbert McGowan as pastor.

When longtime Redeemer pastor Mike Campbell announced his departure in late 2015, McGowan’s name was immediately on the minds of many congregants as a possible successor. “Elbert preached a sermon before he was voted in, and people were just lit up — it was like electricity,” said pastoral assistant Steve Lanier. “Then he did another... Continue Reading

Can Social Justice Be Rescued?

This book promises to rescue the term from “its ideological captors” by clarifying “the true meaning of social justice.”

To end with one down-to-earth example: How is it that the most Catholic continent of all, South America, with an open field for continuously implementing Catholic social thought ever since 1891, should come into the twenty-first century with the second-largest population of truly poor persons on the planet? With so many structural deficiencies? For all... Continue Reading