Unashamed Allegiance: My Tribute to R.C. Sproul (1939–2017)

This was R.C.’s goal: a heart that is stunned and humbled and captivated by the transcendent greatness and purity of God.

Over time, when you heard R.C. do this kind of thing repeatedly, you realized such serious and rigorous attention to the text was owing to his total devotion to the inerrancy and radical relevance of the Scriptures. He didn’t believe that the message of biblical texts was innocuous and unexciting, and therefore in need of... Continue Reading

Prayer: How to Pray

We are to come before God with the acknowledgment that whatever the request, the outcome will not come about because of our own wisdom or efforts.

Paul tells us in our passage to “continue steadfastly in prayer.”  We are not to grow weary or discouraged as we offer up those prayers that do not get answered as quickly as we would like.  We are not to give up and lose heart; rather, we are to persevere in our petitions, because through... Continue Reading

A Wise Woman Builds Her Home on Sola Scriptura

That lovely place of shelter, comfort, belonging, and becoming that we call home finds its fullest actualization in our God who is himself inherently hospitable. He is the ransomed sinner’s very home.

“By wisdom,” we are told in Proverbs 24:3-4, “a house is built, and by understanding it is established; by knowledge the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches.” The principle in these proverbs should not be understood as referring to mere physical blessing, but rather to the more imperative (and at times elusive) atmosphere of blessedness that we... Continue Reading

The Aquila Report Renews Annual Challenge Campaign

Give The Aquila Report to Everyone in Your Church for Less than $20? Sponsor 100 readers for $5; 200 readers for $10; 400 readers for $20; or 1000 readers for only $50

A foundation has generously given The Aquila Report a grant of $7,000. We want to use this grant to challenge our readers to match with this gift with your gifts. As in past years, the foundation gave us permission to use this gift as a way to encourage our readers to support The Aquila Report. In 2016, our readers donated... Continue Reading

Reformation 500, Social Justice and the Gospel

Like many, I've attended several Reformation 500 events over the last twelve months.

There was one Reformation 500 message that I heard, however, that was different from the others. It was troubling both as to its content and tone; and, it did not–in any way whatsoever–communicate the good news of the Gospel. The sermon clearly demonstrated the need for further reflection upon the history and doctrine of the Reformation in... Continue Reading

Ten Critical Trends for Churches in 2018

In the waves of these seas of negativity, are mercy drops of hope and possibilities.

Many congregations are at a tipping point. Some will die. Some will thrive. My prayer is that the summary of these trends can be used of God in your churches to move your congregation toward greater health and Great Commission obedience.   Never in my lifetime have I seen local congregations at such a critical... Continue Reading

Evangelicals and Domestic Violence: Are Christian Men More Abusive?

A sociologist looks at the data on domestic abuse against women.

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) recently published a report titled, “Submit to your husbands: Women told to endure domestic violence in the name of God.” The subtitle, too, issued a similar claim: “Advocates say the church is not just failing to sufficiently address domestic violence, it is both enabling and concealing it.”   As a sociologist... Continue Reading

Immutability and Reformed Theology

In an effort to promote more light than heat, I thought it might be helpful to compare two different approaches to the doctrine of immutability: one from Herman Bavinck and one from John Frame.

I am working with these two authors because Bavinck (of older theologians) is especially detailed when it comes to immutability, and because Frame (of more recent theologians) is so widely read and respected. He has also taken considerable interest in Dolezal’s book. While my sympathies lie with Bavinck, I’m going to refrain from arguing one... Continue Reading

R. C. Sproul Called Home to Glory

Dr. Sproul died on Thursday, December 14, 2017

R. C. Sproul Called Home to Glory   On Thursday afternoon, December 14, 2017, R. C. Sproul was called into the presence of the Lord whom he had served so faithfully for over half a century. A memorial service will be held on Wednesday, December 20, 2017. More information to follow. Related Stories, Resources and... Continue Reading

What Expository Preaching Is Not

Fifteen myths about expository preaching that should be exposed to help the preacher rightly understand and faithfully practice expository preaching.

Expository preaching explains what the text means by what it says, seeking to exhort the hearers to trust and obey the God-intended message of the text. It is preaching in which the point of the message is rooted in, aligns with, and flows from the primary meaning of the sermon text.   What is expository... Continue Reading

2 Qualities in All Great Leaders

Intentionality coupled with intensity makes a leader very credible and very effective.

Leadership without intentionality results in chaos for the people on the team and for those being served. Leadership without intentionality wastes an incredible amount of energy and resources. Intentionality means having a clear understanding of your mission, your culture, and where you are headed. Great leaders fight the drift away from intentionality and toward a... Continue Reading

Egalitarianism and the PCA’s Debate over the Role of Women in the Ministry in the Church

Is the PCA succumbing to cultural pressure and human tradition, thus incorrectly interpreting Scripture on the issue of the role of women in the ministry of the Church?

The citizens of the world hate clarity; those of us in the PCA must overcome our natural tendencies and strive for Scriptural clarity not only about men and women but also about the war in which we are engaged if we hope to avoid the fate of our predecessor denomination.   The discussion of the... Continue Reading

What’s the Mission: Transformation or Reformation?

The effects of the covenant of works, requiring personal righteousness, explains the continued human strivings for perfectibility and utopia.

It’s the other half of the good news that Jesus fulfilled all righteousness under the law that too often gets left out of these churches….That news doesn’t fit in the natural categories of the unregenerate mind. This foreign announcement of an alien righteousness, given as a free gift, is apparently rarely proclaimed in Reformed churches... Continue Reading

It’s Time To End The Wedding Cake Silliness

This is not a case of compulsory speech, but of compulsory commerce.

I am not saying that the state may not interfere with commerce, that proprietors should be allowed to create and sell whatever to whomever they want – selling a nuclear weapon to a foreign enemy, for example. That is commercial anarchy, and not a principle of liberty or objective morality. I am a firm adherent... Continue Reading

The Rebirth of America’s Pro-Natalist Movement

Activists on the right and left want policies that will reverse the country’s baby bust. But the broader culture—and Congress—don’t seem to care.

Across the developed world, birth rates are below replacement level, meaning women don’t have enough children to replenish the population. Pro-natalists argue that this will have devastating consequences. By contrast, they say, having kids has lots of upsides. “People want it. Society needs it. We want the economy to grow,” said Stone said in an... Continue Reading

Just What the Doctor Ordered

Recent activity among two of the healthcare industry’s largest players could signal a new approach to delivering access to affordable healthcare.

The CVS-Aetna merger offers a paradigm shift in how to think about achieving the major goals of healthcare: access and affordability. In the proposed merger, CVS, with close to 10,000 stores in the United States, could become a one-stop-shop for basic healthcare services. This could include non-emergency services, preventative screenings and immunizations, prescription drugs, and... Continue Reading

Creation Festival Founder Arrested for Alleged Child Molestation

Pastor Harry Thomas, leader of America’s largest Christian music fest, suspended by church over eight criminal charges.

“It is with deep regret and saddened hearts that the Elders and Trustees of Come Alive New Testament Church have indefinitely suspended Pastor Harry Thomas from all leadership positions with the church, festival, and all associated ministries,” the ministry said in a statement to media Thursday.   The man who launched America’s largest and longest-running... Continue Reading

The Liberty and Limitations of Conscience

Liberty of conscience has been twisted by individualism, autonomy, and licentiousness – as though crying “Liberty of conscience!” is a license that frees one from all limitations.

To begin with, the liberty of conscience is limited by the law of God. Paul wrote: “For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh” (Galatians 5:13). Likewise, Peter warned: “They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption. For whatever overcomes a... Continue Reading

Doctrine of God: Recommended Reading

Recent controversies within evangelical and Reformed circles regarding the attributes of God and the doctrine of the Trinity have made it abundantly clear that all Christians need to become as informed as possible about the doctrine of God.

In a previous version of this post, I recommended John Frame’s The Doctrine of God and a book by Bruce Ware on the Trinity. I can no longer recommend Frame’s book because it has become evident that he has moved away from the classical Christian understanding of such doctrines as divine simplicity and immutability. I can no... Continue Reading

Why We Shouldn’t Change the Lord’s Prayer

Pope Francis has caused another round of cheering and dismay by calling for a “better translation” of the words of the Lord’s Prayer.

Someone else will say that language changes over time, and that is why we need revisions. Perhaps; but the ancient Greek has not changed, and English in this regard has not changed. “Lead us not into temptation” means “do not lead us into temptation,” and that is that. We might revise and render “temptation” as... Continue Reading

What About Titus 2?

We’ve taken one phrase in a New Testament epistle and applied it exclusively to one Old Testament passage and decided that that’s all women are allowed to be: homemakers.

But my job isn’t just to keep this home. In fact, my husband shoulders some of that responsibility, since it’s his home, too, and he’s the leader of it. Nor is my job just to raise our children. That, too, is also my husband’s responsibility, since they are his children, and he, too, is commanded in the... Continue Reading

“Church for Black Men” Coming Next Year

Johnson said the Church For Black Men is “not exclusively” for black men, “but primarily black.”

Johnson worked in a number of “predominantly white Presbyterian churches” after he graduated Westminster Seminary.  “The reason that black men do not connect with the American Evangelical church is because (the church refuses) to suffer with blacks and, therefore, are unable to communicate in a message by which black men can understand,” Johnson said in... Continue Reading

I Don’t Love to Pray, But I Want To

Prayer isn’t always easy (why should it be?).

In the school of prayer, the Bible is our textbook. Our prayers often indicate how long and how deeply we have drunk from the Scriptures. This doesn’t mean that the best prayers are fancy; many of the prayers in the Bible are simple pleas for help (e.g. Neh. 13:22) or outbursts of praise (e.g. Ps. 117), but... Continue Reading

Far as the Curse is Found

Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us.

Where is the curse found? Everywhere we look, we see the curse and its malignant effects. How far does it extend? To every atom and molecule of creation — from coast to coast, shore to shore, sky to sky, and to every square inch of the planet. That’s how far the curse is found. Most... Continue Reading

When Evil Has Nice Manners

The reality is, evil often appears normal. Evil beliefs and actions often show up alongside “midwestern manners” with a slice of “cherry pie.”

To be sure, it is unsettling to think that the kind kid down the street could become an ISIS radical, or that the boy who sits behind you in church could be visiting neo-Nazi websites, or that the talkative woman you talk to on the subway aids and abets a man in power who preys... Continue Reading

The Church Adorned with Beauty

The God of heaven and earth is deeply concerned about and appreciative of beauty.

“And this is the contribution that you shall receive from them: gold, silver, and bronze, blue and purple and scarlet yarns and fine twined linen, goats’ hair, tanned rams’ skins, goatskins, acacia wood, oil for the lamps, spices for the anointing oil and for the fragrant incense, onyx stones, and stones for setting, for the... Continue Reading

Finding Jesus after the Summer of Love

50 years later, some former hippies still follow Christ.

At a storefront Christian coffeehouse serving soup, doughnuts, and the New Testament, two “straight-looking” men in bow ties told a barefoot Sacks about Jesus. He knelt on a piano bench and asked Jesus to forgive his past and give him a new future. Soon he was telling his friends about his faith.   SAN FRANCISCO—This... Continue Reading

The Father of Hymnody

Ambrose brought the singing of hymns to congregational worship and established what became the foundation of Ambrosian Chant.

The people heatedly debated who should be the successor for bishop. As governor, Ambrose was called to calm the crowds, and in the midst of the assembly, a voice arose calling, “Ambrose for bishop!” The popular governor was quickly acclaimed by both the Arians and the Trinitarians although he had not yet been baptized (according... Continue Reading

Creation, Incarnation and the Immutability of God

If God added to Himself a human nature (something that did not exist prior to the incarnation) how was there not a change in God?

Herman Bavinck gave the only suitable answer when he wrote: “Neither creation, nor revelation, nor incarnation (affects, etc.) brought about any change in God. No new plan ever arose in God. In God there was always one single immutable will”2 The immutability of God is in no way whatsoever affected by the incarnation on account... Continue Reading

Nine Questions to Ask Yourself to Prepare for 2018

Walking through these questions helped me to think about what needs to change, what I need to refocus on, and what I need to plan.

What I started doing a couple of years ago was to abandon the idea of New Year’s resolutions and instead start thinking about what I wanted to focus on for the next year in early December. Then I started implementing changes that would make progress on my goals before the new year begins. What this... Continue Reading

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