How Should We Then Worship?

The best place for us to answer the “how” question of worship is to begin with the “who” question.

We are to worship God how God wants us to worship Him. This is the apparent crisis in the revolution of worship in our day. The driving force behind the radical shift in how we worship God today is not because of a new discovery of the character of God but rather through pragmatic studies... Continue Reading

Hath God Truly Said, ‘Avoid Foolish Controversies’?

It turns out that lustily fighting for the truth isn’t what God asks of us.

“Warn [God’s people] before God against quarreling about words; it is of no value, and only ruins those who listen.” “Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly.” “Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels.” It’s the desire to... Continue Reading

John Foxe and a Book That Inspired Generations

Foxe's Book of Martyrs, became one of the most influential texts in Europe, remaining recommended reading in England for centuries.

The first English edition of Acts and Monuments was published by John Day, who invested much time and money on this project, paying for expensive woodcuts portraying terrifying scenes of burnings and torture. The result was a massive volume, containing about 1800 pages. It included the Commentarii rerum and an introductory overview of church history, linking the suffering of... Continue Reading

John Wycliffe – Morning Start of the Reformation

Wycliffe taught that the Bible is to be available to all Christians – laypersons and clergy alike.

Wycliffe challenged a wide range of medieval beliefs and practices: pardons, indulgences, absolutions, pilgrimages, the worship of images, the adoration of the saints and the distinction between venial and mortal sins. He gained the greatest opposition by rejecting the doctrine of transubstantiation, the belief that in Christian Communion the bread and wine (or juice) become... Continue Reading

Why Doesn’t God Just Talk To Me?

Rather than giving you a private experience God has given you his precious and abiding word that will never fail.

You see, the truth is that God has spoken to you. He has preserved his Word. It has been written down by multiple authors across generations communicating one over arching story, providing you with an external reference point to know what God has to say to you today.   Why doesn’t God just talk to... Continue Reading

The rise of the fragile Christian: How ease is becoming a way of life

Jesus who created heaven and earth and conquered the grave lives in us, and His Gospel is still the power of God for salvation for everyone who believes (Romans 1:16).

“While most Western Christians accept the idea of self-sacrifice, many seem ill-prepared for what the Gospel actually requires. Rather than the saints showing up for the work of ministry, we are witnessing the rise of an army of fragile Christians who would rather cling to privilege than carry their cross.”   When life is hard,... Continue Reading

The Practical Benefits of a Plurality of Elders

Every time that local church leadership is mentioned in the New Testament, we read that there are elders (plural) at a church (singular)

Churches should have a plurality of elders for their health and well-being. And now that I am pastoring a church, I have personally experienced the blessings of serving with fellow elders. I was also mentored for ministry in a church with a plurality of elders where I closely witnessed the advantage of having a pastoral... Continue Reading

Why Gospel Diversity Means More—Though Not Less!—Than Ethnic Diversity

"In one moment, as Christ utters his last breath and the curtain separating man from God tears from top to bottom, he destroys the barrier dividing Jew from Gentile."

If we seek boundary-crossing love that perplexes the world around us, then some types of diversity will often speak louder than others. A church in the lily-white suburbs of Boston comes to mind. Everyone might have similar skin color, but the congregation sits at the intersection of four towns with dramatically different class identities. So... Continue Reading

Predigested Obsolescence

For as long as there have been churches, there have been churches that want to do less than that for which the church is intended.

What is striking, though perhaps not surprising, is that the churches have continued to ride the therapeutic bandwagon, even as that bandwagon has gone political. Rainbow flags, “No Place for Hate” signs, and Black Lives Matter posters often seem to do double duty: signaling those vital virtues and indicating the presence of a house of... Continue Reading

The Church Is More Than People

The kingdom of God is what Christ preached and ushered in, and the present form it takes is the church.

The church, therefore, is a place where the people are gathered to receive God’s divine gifts, and it is a people who are formed and scattered during the week. The church, then, goes out into neighborhoods and communities to serve others in their various callings. This is our mission. This is where we give Christ’s love through our callings.... Continue Reading

The Ascent of Trump and the Impact on Evangelical Ethics

My concern is that our opinion on ethical issues appears to change depending on how the political wind is blowing at any particular moment.

I am very hesitant to state that the Bible supports this or that political position. However, I cannot see how the situation I have just described is in line with the teachings of Jesus Christ. Either something is a sin or it isn’t. Either we should be gracious or we shouldn’t. Slight differences in situations... Continue Reading

Between Irrelevance and Inspiration: Rob Bell’s “What is the Bible?”

In the final analysis this book is nothing but an unsophisticated demonstration of unbelief echoing, with all the craft and subtly, the serpent’s question: “Did God actually say?”

Rob Bell finds himself in a peculiar situation. He rejects the belief that the Bible is the inspired, inerrant, and authoritative Word of God; but he also rejects the idea that the Bible is of absolutely no use. It’s as if he wants to have one foot on inspiration and the other on irrelevance and... Continue Reading

Kind Education

I long for the day when there will be freedom in the body of Christ for believers to unburden their hurts without the fear of being met with defensiveness or dismissiveness.

If people are going to treat me as “other”, I am no better if I fail to see their humanity. Sure there were times when the comments were malicious, but more often than not, ignorance was the root. But the “kind education” needed to correct the ignorance means listening on one side and taking the... Continue Reading

A Call for Deacons

What are the qualifications for a deacon? What do deacons do?

Deacons serve a crucial role in the life of the church. Both of the offices of elder and deacon are important for the ministry of the church. Elders are ordained for the oversight of the church in the ministry of the Word and of prayer. Deacons are ordained for the service of the church in... Continue Reading

“The head of Christ is God”: ESS, Complementarianism, and the History of Interpretation

1 Corinthians 11:3 is a/the linchpin passage in the Eternal Subordination of the Son (ESS)-meets-Complementarianism argument.

Three premises are required for the ESS/Complementarian argument to succeed. “The head of Christ is God” must mean that the head of the Eternal Son of God, even prior to the incarnation, is God the Father. “Head” (kephale) must mean “authority over” or similar. There must be an intended analogy (or parallel) between the headship... Continue Reading

Four Reasons Why Every Christian Should Study Psalm 110

Study Psalm 110 to hear what the Lord says.

What do you cling to when your faith is challenged? Your friends, your church attendance, your family, your quiet time, your emotions or psychological health? A prayer that you prayed? These are times in our lives when we really want to know God’s will. Psalm 110 delivers again. Here we see the covenant of redemption,... Continue Reading

No Utopias Here

Interview with Carl Trueman on marriage, ministry, emotionalism, and Christians in politics.

Utopias have generally ended up as hells on earth, so even secular history suggests that utopianism is not a good political philosophy. Christians going into politics need to know it’s a question of achieving the best you can, not achieving perfection. Christians supporting Christian politicians need to be patient, bear with them, and pray they... Continue Reading

The Ruling Elder: A Generational Vision

The Bible teaches that a good Elder should be a good father, and a good father looks after his family.

As there were in the Church under the law, elders of the people for the government thereof, so in the Gospel Church, Christ has furnished others besides ministers of the Word with gifts and commission to govern when called thereunto, who are called ruling elders…Ruling elders possess the same authority and eligibility to office in... Continue Reading

How Does A Pastor Demonstrate Courage?

Show up as broken, weak, and needy before the church you pastor.

Let them know you are hurting. Remind them you are not perfect and are not in control. The most courageous pastors are the ones who don’t perform, but rest in their identity in Christ and live in the freedom of being themselves before their people.   Courage in pastors can take on many forms.  However,... Continue Reading

Every Dark Shadow

No one has ever really seen every dark shadow inside of us.

When we do take a head-spinning moment to recognize how deep and pitch black the pit of sin really is, not in other people, but in ourselves, we don’t have to despair. We don’t have to live in fear of being abandoned by our all-knowing God. He sees every dark shadow inside of us. Every... Continue Reading

Portrait of a Deviant Woman

Vulnerable members of the church are frequently portrayed as abnormal and even deserving of suffering

Rather than asking, what could have possibly happened to Jessica to lead to her actions, people instead asked, what kind of perverse person would do this? See the difference there? The portrait of a vulnerable person as deviant allows us to avoid examining our actions towards them. It means we can point the finger. That... Continue Reading

Is Your Faith Working For You?

True faith is about how you live your life out of the overflow of your heart, much more so than it is about what you believe with your brain.

I love theology, doctrine, and academic study of the Bible. But the purpose of the Christian faith is transformation, not information. When you embrace a lifestyle of faith, God will transform you from who you are into someone entirely different (see Isaiah 55). Your faith should transform you from a thorn bush into a cypress... Continue Reading

Betsy DeVos’ Pursuit Of Justice

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos announced last week plans to scrap Obama-era rules for colleges and universities dealing with sexual assault claims on campus.

“Before the Obama administration instructed colleges and universities that they had to take sexual-assault allegations seriously—or risk losing federal funds—the system was way too disposed to discourage complaints,” wrote Washington Post columnist Ruth Marcus. “But the Obama administration’s move also prompted an overcorrection at some institutions that failed to do enough to protect the rights... Continue Reading

Teen Reversing His Gender Transition

Doctors say the 14-year-old’s case shows the problem with ‘gender-affirming care.’

“It’s the most incomprehensible thing I’ve come across in all my time of medicine,” said Western Sydney University professor John Whitehall, according to the Daily Telegraph. “Prepubertal children have no idea about sexuality and choices of procreation afterwards. We’re messing with their limbic system and expecting them to make this great evaluation.”   (WNS)–An Australian... Continue Reading

How the Reformation Spread

From Wittenberg to Geneva to England, the seeds of the Reformation that were planted in Germany sprouted into full bloom as they made their way into the English empire

“The rapid expanse of the Reformation was hinted at from the very beginning when the Ninety-five Theses were posted on the church door (intended for theological discussion among the faculty). Without Luther’s knowledge and permission, his theses were translated from Latin into German and duplicated on the printing press and spread to every village in... Continue Reading

Are Protestants Closer to Catholics than Martin Luther? A Response to the Recent Pew Study (Part 2)

A recent Pew study claimed that modern Protestants sound more like Catholics when it comes to issues like sola scriptura and sola fide

“On a fundamental level, the survey options do not allow for a very important distinction the Reformers made, namely the distinction between the instrument of justification (faith) and the results of justification (good works). Reformed folks would certainly affirm that faith alone is the instrument by which God justifies a sinner.  But, this does not... Continue Reading

The Chance of Salvation: An Interview with Lincoln Mullen

Religious identity in the United States is profoundly a matter of individual choice

“Many of the converts I describe in the book initially had their religious identities destabilized by encountering other faiths. One New Yorker, for instance, was a disciple of Christian Science at the same time that he attended Congregationalist or Methodist preaching on Sundays and joined Catholic classes for potential converts. People who encountered other faiths... Continue Reading

Jury Duty and Judgment Day

One of the greatest days of my life was when I was summoned for jury duty

“The judge’s job was to ensure that the people were able to remain unbiased. Her questions were simple. Questions like: are you willing to consider giving someone a financial award based on pain and suffering? Is there any reason why you wouldn’t be able to be fair in your judgment in this case?”   One... Continue Reading

5 Tasks Every Pastor Needs To Do Today (And Every Day)

Several principles rise to a high level of importance when considering the subject of pastoral ministry

True pastoring always begins with personal holiness. In 1 Timothy 4:16, Paul tells Timothy “Keep a close watch on yourself.” The word “watch” means “to be vigilant” or “to pay close attention.” A pastor needs to give careful attention to his own soul because he is called to be a holy man.   Whole books... Continue Reading

Book Review: Pastor Unique

Pastor Unique is about turnaround pastors in the sense of long-term (not transitional or interim) pastors, who seek to lead their stagnant congregations to great commission effectiveness

“Brown, Penfold and Westra maintain that we can identify the best practices of turnaround pastors, and with the help of the Spirit of God, accurate assessment, immersion training, mentoring and cluster groups of like-minded individuals, we—non-turnaround-pastor types can become turnaround pastors. “   This is not just another book. We didn’t need another indictment of the... Continue Reading

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