The End Of Casual Christianity

We are certainly seeing the collapse of casual Christianity and of religious belief as a civic assumption.

The language of “decline,” however, is imprecise. The mainline has not so much declined as faded into the broader culture. “Liberals have learned that it’s difficult for the church to survive,” says historian George Marsden, “if there’s nothing that makes the church distinct from culture.”   The Roman historian Tacitus described Emperor Nero’s persecution of... Continue Reading

“Groundbreaking” Gay Marriage Study Retracted Over Faked Data

The senior author of an allegedly groundbreaking study on gay marriage has retracted it following evidence that some of the data likely was fabricated.

The study, published in December in the journal Science, showed dramatic results. But when several graduate students returned to the study to build off the work, they found irregularities in the research. Methods widely recognized to produce inconsistent results and anomalies in other studies seemed to yield almost perfectly consistent results in this study.   (WNS)–The... Continue Reading

The Case for Overture 7 To Be Considered By the PCA General Assembly

A reply to the case against Overture 7 that will be considered by the Presbyterian Church in America 43rd GA

Church officers are required to explain and defend their life and doctrine when seeking admission to serve under the jurisdiction of another court (e.g., BCO 13-6.). Church officers are required by their ordination vows to come forward and make known any way in which their views might have become out of accord with any of the fundamentals of our system of... Continue Reading

Collateral Damage? 63 Churches Hit In Syrian Civil War

Sixty-three churches have been damaged or destroyed so far during four years of civil war in Syria, says the Syrian Network for Human Rights

“Christians and their places of worship have suffered as much as the rest of the Syrian people. Scud missiles, chemical weapons or barrel bombs do not differentiate between Christians and non-Christians.” However, both extremist groups and government and opposition forces are accused of committing war crimes through “deliberate targeting” of churches, and not just “random”... Continue Reading

Inside Ireland’s Marriage Makeover

The final tally in the marriage vote last week was 62 percent in favor of redefining marriage by constitutional amendment

“They were overwhelmed with millions and millions and millions of American dollars and threats from major American corporations that the Irish economy would be hurt if they didn’t go the right way,” Ruse said. “Even the conservative parties are stripping their members of their positions if they did not uphold this idea of faux marriage.”... Continue Reading

The Same Gospel

Though there are certainly cultural differences between the West and the East, we must resist the temptation to change the gospel.

When we work in areas different from the one from which we came, we might be tempted to hold back parts of the gospel that seem difficult for people to believe. Perhaps we may leave out things like man’s sin, God’s wrath, and eternal damnation for sinners in order to make the gospel “kinder.” We... Continue Reading

Jack Templeton Dies At Age 75

The former pediatric surgeon and head of the John Templeton Foundation sought to glorify his heavenly Father while honoring his earthly one

Templeton was able to direct giving up to a point. As an elder in the Presbyterian Church in America, he subscribed to the Westminster Confession of Faith from 1646, but as foundation head he was faithful to the eclectic and quasi-pantheistic wishes of his father, who died in 2008 at age 95 and once wrote... Continue Reading

Evangelism Explosion to Dedicate New Headquarters Building in North Carolina

EE International will dedicate its international headquarters building near Asheville, N.C.

“This building will be a vital hub in the work of Evangelism Explosion in the U.S. and overseas,” said Sorensen. “Because of it, we’re able to centralize staff and more effectively serve our worldwide ministry.” The new, two-story, 27,000 square foot building provides EE with ample and efficiently configured office space.   ARDEN, N.C., Christian Newswire... Continue Reading

Bad Reasons for Avoiding Politics

Christians should be committed to a holistic Christian worldview. And by the very nature of the case, a worldview must involve the “world.”

Christ is coming soon, so we should not waste our time on the affairs of the world: “Since Christ is coming soon, why get involved in seeking long-term political solutions to social problems?” But Christians have been predicting Christ’s return for centuries. Besides, are we not supposed to seek to promote the good regardless of... Continue Reading

My Concerns About a “Recreations Clause” Study Committee

Should the PCA General Assembly approve a committee to study recreation on the Sabbath as requested by 2 overtures?

North Texas Presbytery (Overture 2) and Tennessee Valley Presbytery (Overture 9) have overtured the Presbyterian Church in America General Assembly to establish a study committee to change the language in the Westminster Confession and Catechisms with regard to the idea of recreation on the Sabbath. A number of years ago, I was in a presbytery... Continue Reading

In Faith Communities Like the Duggars, Abuse Victims are Encouraged to be Filled with Grace

It’s not that simple.

Easy “forgivism” may gloss over the terrible situation in the short term, but it reinforces to everyone that the egregious, soul-siphoning sin committed against the victim was trivial, easy to get over. It forgets Jesus’ strong admonition that “whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to stumble, it would be better for... Continue Reading

7 Sure-Fire Ways to Recognize False Teachers

How exactly can you tell if someone is “wolf in sheep’s clothing”?

A false teacher isn’t going to tell you he’s teaching heresy. In fact, he’ll usually look and sound so sincere and passionate that you wouldn’t know he’s actually twisting God’s Word. The size of the crowds around him won’t tell you much either, since many people have been and continue to be led astray by... Continue Reading

Witsius on Law, Gospel, and Antinomianism

Witsius’ book is a good resource on the topics of law, gospel, justification, sanctification, and good works from a historic Reformed perspective,

“Therefore every prescription of virtues and duties, all exhortations and dissuasions, all reproofs and threatenings also all the promises of a reward in recompense of perfect obedience, belong to the law. But to the gospel appertains whatever can give a sinner the hope of salvation, namely, the doctrine concerning the person, offices, states, and benefits... Continue Reading

Workout for the Soul: A Review of Theological Fitness

Like a good coach, Byrd is not apologetic about the discipline required to exercise faith.

For fitness fanatics, fitness fakers, and everyone in between, the searching questions and robust exegesis of Theological Fitness contain a workout plan for the soul. Writing about 1 Pet. 3:15, Byrd explains: “There are two qualifications of fitness here: knowing God’s truth, and the patient endurance of suffering for the sake of it. This requires... Continue Reading

Republication of the Covenant of Works

Attempting to clear away some misapprehensions on both sides.

So here is where I currently am: I advocate a form of republication that is very similar to Colquhoun’s. The republication was given to Israel primarily for the purposes of the pedagogical use of the law (though not only for this purpose). Of course, it is helpful to bear in mind that in this pedagogical... Continue Reading

The Rural Church Dilemma

I love the rural church and hope you do. Some of you will serve all your life in them.

Be energized by the concept that your church could become the most loving church in the world. I find this compelling. There will be many things your church may not be. It may not be the most educated church or the most innovative church, or the most evangelistic church, etc., but it can be the... Continue Reading

Love Theologically

I’m always shocked to hear pastors warn against theology, because it amounts to an act of self-sabotage.

The Bible nowhere suggests that good theology can hinder love. Paul spends the first half of his letters expounding good theology. When he transitions to application in the second half, he never warns that some of that good stuff he mentioned up front might now become a hazard. And neither should we.   I learned... Continue Reading

An Open Letter to Christian Parents of Unbelieving Adult Children

Remember the past, pray in the present, and hope for the future.

Dear Christian parent, your trial is great, but your God is greater still. He is not blind to your anguish and He does not ignore the prayers of His children. May God hear your heart’s cry, answer, and work in your child’s life. May He take your child and make him or her His own.... Continue Reading

I Love Your Love But I Hate Your Tolerance

Often, we compromise in areas where we shouldn’t because we want to give the benefit of the doubt

“We want to be loving. We can be loving in so many other areas, and yet our tolerance could be the very thing that gives a green light for God’s people to sin. Protecting perpetrators of both spiritual and physical harlotry is not loving.”   One thing that really stands out to me while I... Continue Reading

The PCA And The Right Against Self-Incrimination: Against Overture 7

Overture 7 seeks to change BCO 35-1 such that "church officers under accusation shall be required to testify before the court."

How did the right against self-incrimination become part of the BCO? As we will see, it was not because the PCA was influenced by civil protections, such as the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Instead, it was the contributions of our Reformed forefathers that helped shape the American religious and civil protections against self-incrimination we... Continue Reading

Do Churches Fail the Poor?

It’s a more basic failure to reach out, integrate, and keep them in the pews

“This is the striking story of the last 30 years: Despite the stereotype of religion as something that people “cling to” (to quote a different moment of condescension from this president) in desperate circumstances, actual religious practice has collapsed more quickly among Americans with weaker economic prospects than it has among the college-educated upper class.”... Continue Reading

The Tapestry of Sovereign Grace

In the air conditioned sanctuary on a Sunday morning, theology is precise in theory

“It is not just that all of creation and providence contribute together in totality to the glory of God. It is that these two strands are inseparably tied together. This theological knot, so evident in Scripture, is nevertheless at times hidden from view in our lives—like a tapestry’s beauty on top is so contingent on... Continue Reading

Can Someone Who Believes in Limited Atonement Plead With Sinners?

If you believe that Christ did not die for the entire world what then of proclaiming the gospel?

“A belief in limited atonement does not make you unable to proclaim the gospel directly to every sinner. In fact if taken whole such a doctrine may actually give you more confidence in proclaiming—knowing that His sheep will indeed answer the gospel call.”   When we think about what Christ accomplished on the cross we... Continue Reading

In Praise of the Dying Art of Civil Disagreement

Why is civil disagreement so hard? It cannot simply be a matter of dogmatic certainty

“I think the lack of civil disagreement in the classroom is best understood as a function of larger social and political trends. As I have noted on this site before, oppression is now a psychological category. This subverts the crucial moral difference between an actual crime, a speech crime, and (increasingly) a thought crime.”  ... Continue Reading

Keeping Faith: The Changing Face of Religion in Canada

Many immigrants come to Canada and bring their religion with them

“An online survey on religion released in March by the Angus Reid Institute suggests that the percentage of God-denying Canadians has doubled from six per cent of the population in the 1970s to 13 per cent now — with about one in four Canadians saying they’re inclined to reject religion.”   When the sad time came to say good-bye to her late husband, Marie Diane... Continue Reading

Theology Feud Pits Half of Town’s Protestant Churches Against Another

A feud over theology has led an unusual ecumenical project in a small Arizona town

“Eight churches — including Baptist, Lutheran, Presbyterian, and non-denominational congregations—in Fountain Hills have teamed up for a campaign of public banners and sermons aimed at the theology of a nearby Methodist church.”   A feud over theology has led an unusual ecumenical project in a small Arizona town. Eight churches—including Baptist, Lutheran, Presbyterian, and non-denominational... Continue Reading

Identity, Ethnicity, Culture, and the Gospel

Personal reflections about identity and ethnicity as a mixed race Christian

“Before my identity was ruined for/in Christ (more on this later), I found a big part of my identity in my ethnicity. I am the only child of a white father and a Puerto Rican mother. When we visited family when I was growing up, I always felt different. I “felt” Puerto Rican around my... Continue Reading

Alabama Senate Passes Bill to Effectively Nullify All Sides on Marriage

The Alabama state Senate passed a bill that would end the practice of licensing marriages in the state, effectively nullifying the contentious national debate over government-sanctioned marriage.

The bill would replace all references to marriages “licenses” in state law with “contracts.” The legislation would not invalidate any marriage licenses issued prior to the bill being passed. The contract shall be filed in the office of the judge of probate in each county and shall constitute a legal record of the marriage. A... Continue Reading

Heads LGBTs Win, Tails Christians Lose

You must not only bake the cake, or arrange the flowers, or make the ring, you must hold the correct opinion when you do it.

This Christian jeweler agreed to custom-make engagement rings for a lesbian couple, knowing that they were a couple, and treated them politely. But when they found out what he really believed about same-sex marriage, even though the man gave them polite service, and agreed to sell them what they asked for, the lesbian couple balked,... Continue Reading

7 Reasons Christians Should STAY On Facebook

Encouragement for ways in which Facebook can be used for Kingdom purposes

We are often grieved when social media becomes the setting for angry or obscene exchanges, but for Christians there are wonderful opportunities to share articles, scripture, anecdotes, stories, and videos that are intended to teach, strengthen, and build up the people who read, watch, or listen to them. When wisely used, Facebook can massively extend... Continue Reading