Systematic Theology at Covenant Seminary is Biblical and “Missional”

Covenant Seminary recently announced that it has positioned its systematic theology department in a larger newly named area called “missional” theology.

Dear Covenant Seminary Alumni, The following statement about our recently renamed Missional Theology Department will be going out to various public channels over the next few days, but we wanted to you to be among the first to see it. The statement provides a biblical rationale for the change and situates it within the larger framework... Continue Reading

The Enigma of Job

Job's central theme is the greatest enigma of all: theodicy – how do we relate a good and sovereign God to the reality of evil and suffering in his world?

Perhaps the biggest thing that arises out of the sheer size of this book is that even as God’s people we must learn to live with the unanswered questions thrown up by evil and suffering in our own experience. Indeed we need to realise that they are the kind of questions that may never be... Continue Reading

Bush Has Been Vindicated On Stem Cell Decision

While Bush’s presidential legacy is much debated, science has already vindicated his decision to end the destruction of embryos and to pursue alternative methods of medical advancement.

But as Krauthammer also noted, Bush wasn’t vindicated simply for pushing for scientific alternatives, but for his willingness to take a moral stand. “What Bush got right was to insist, in the face of enormous popular and scientific opposition, on drawing a line at all, on requiring that scientific imperative be balanced by moral considerations,”... Continue Reading

10 Public Speaking Tips from Charles Spurgeon

How did the “Prince of Preachers” master the art of public speaking? Here are ten tips from Spurgeon’s lecture “On the Voice.”

You Don’t Have to Raise Your Voice to Raise the Dead. “A bell will be heard much further off than a drum; and, very singularly, the more musical a sound is the farther it travels.” “Do not start at the highest pitch as a rule, for then you will not be able to rise when... Continue Reading

Study: Science Doesn’t Back Popular Views of Sexuality

Review of research shows little evidence for ‘born-this-way’ narrative

Mayer and McHugh found no compelling evidence that sexual orientation was innate. Studies found some minor differences between the brain structure and functioning of heterosexual and homosexual people, but the findings shed no light on whether those differences were inborn or the result of environment and psychological factors. In other words, there was no scientific... Continue Reading

ISIS Sends Child Slaves on Suicide Missions

Boys and girls in ISIS-held areas endure kidnapping, rape, and beatings

Whether the claim proves true, evidence shows ISIS exploits boys and girls as bombers, combatants, and sex slaves. ISIS reportedly keeps an army of child soldiers, indoctrinating them at ISIS-run schools and exposing them to grisly bloodshed. The group routinely releases video footage of these so-called “cubs of the caliphate” shooting and beheading victims. When... Continue Reading

Don’t Waste Your Basal Ganglia

Please do not waste your basal ganglia. Let me explain why.

How do we know if we are wasting our basal ganglia? Would it not be just coasting through life? Turning off our brain and choosing to live with unredeemed habits that conform to the world and not been re-formed by the Spirit of God? Is it not compartmentalizing life so that the authoritative Word of... Continue Reading

The Popular Bonhoeffer Quote That Isn’t in Bonhoeffer’s Works

Did Bonhoeffer say, Silence in the face of evil is itself evil. God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act”?

The appeal of this quote is understandable. The powerful arrangement of words elevates the importance of the cause and bringing Bonhoeffer to one’s side only strengthens the sense that the cause is just. However, since the quote isn’t his, using it is a false witness.   Dietrich Bonhoeffer is a modern day hero among evangelical... Continue Reading

The Doom Delusion: Overcoming Pessimism in a Prosperous Age

Why do we have so much pessimism in an age of such pronounced prosperity?

“Bad news now travels a lot faster. Just a few decades ago, you would read that an Asian city with 100,000 people was wiped out in a cyclone on a small notice on page 17. We would never have heard about Burmese serial killers. Now we live in an era with global media and iPhone... Continue Reading

May We Pray To All Three Members Of The Holy Trinity?

Christian prayer is nothing but a Trinitarian enterprise.

God knows from all eternity what we need and what we shall pray and yet it is God the Spirit, eternally proceeding from the the Father and the Son who works in us, who energizes us to pray in the name of Jesus, the eternally begotten Son incarnate, to the eternally unbegotten Father, who loves... Continue Reading

Getting Up Close with God’s Word

May we always yearn and seek to know the breadth, length, height, and depth of our Savior God

As crazy as that all sounds, we often respond that way to knowing God and his word. We step back and take in the big picture and think we know all there is to know. We are satisfied with merely a taste of who God is and then we think that’s all we need. We... Continue Reading

Americans’ Top Criterion for Finding a New Church

Sermon quality was particularly important for Protestant church seekers (92 percent)

Unsurprisingly, the decision-making process usually involved visiting a new church for the vast majority of seekers (85 percent). Most also based their decision on interacting with members (69 percent), the recommendation of a friend or coworker (68 percent), and talking to clergy (55 percent). This illustrates that finding a new church usually involved a strong... Continue Reading

Can Mother Ever Relax?

I continue to hold my breath, waiting, sometimes late at night, wondering: can I relax now?

Just because our kids can do up their own coats, cut their own food, and tie their own shoes doesn’t mean parenting gets easier. To be honest, I find it harder now than those days of toddlerhood. It’s hard to just sit. Sometimes, I just want to do something. But I can’t. Scrapes and sibling arguments feel... Continue Reading

8 Ways to Overcome Perfectionism

Perfectionists struggle to get their work done on time, mainly because of the false belief that everything has to be done flawlessly.

“If certain tasks daunt you because you dread having to meet your own standards of perfection, it may help to imagine what a B-minus student, writer, attorney, or radiologist would accomplish. Force yourself to perform only that well, in the interests of accomplishing the task. You’ll be amazed not only by the amount of work... Continue Reading

Why Can’t the Church Just Get Along? A Review of Redeeming Church Conflicts

In this book, Barthel and Edling (both experienced conciliators/mediators) offer a warm, biblical, and careful roadmap for navigating church crises.

While not ignoring the specific, material concerns that are the public face of church conflict, the authors very helpfully remind readers that much more is actually at stake. Lest we begin to think the expensive new building project, the Sunday school curriculum, or the feuding individuals are the biggest issue we need to consider–and then... Continue Reading

Eight Biblical Objections to Social-Work as “Missions”

The truth is, the apostles never mention social action when discussing Christ’s commission, nor does Acts record social action projects as a means of uplifting or evangelizing the world.

Confusing what the church-corporate does with what individual Christians do. Much of the confusion in this debate lies right here.  We have confused Jesus’ call to love our neighbour with the church-corporate’s missions program:  both are important, but they aren’t the same thing.  It is not at all wrong for Christians to be involved in... Continue Reading

Erskine Announces Resignations of President and Board Chairman

Dr. Paul Kooistra has indicated he will retire no later than Oct. 31, and Mr. Ron Vigus has submitted his resignation as board chairman effective immediately.

Dr. Kooistra has communicated his plan to move into retirement as soon as possible and no later than October 31.  The Presidential Search Committee must now change directions and move immediately to seek candidates to serve as interim president as directed in the bylaws.  Our first meeting will take place prior to the end of... Continue Reading

What Became of the Christian Intellectuals? There is More to the Story

The public square is increasingly devoid of any serious Christian thought

“Half a century ago,” Jacobs tells his readers, “such figures existed in America: serious Christian intellectuals who occupied a prominent place on the national stage. They are gone now. It would be worth our time to inquire why they disappeared, where they went, and whether–should such a thing be thought desirable–they might return.”   Where... Continue Reading

Evangelicals and Race — A New Chapter

Why racial justice and reconciliation are now core for the movement

We are currently experiencing a new “God moment,” when God is shining his burning light on how our nation and our churches are fractured by racial division and injustice. In the past two years, we’ve seen image after image of injustice perpetrated against black Americans.   Evangelicals are sensitive to what we call “God moments”—when... Continue Reading

Sexual Identity: Saboteurs at the Door

Why do such false teachers even bother with the church? Why not just go around the church and get right to the immorality they desire, uninhibited, undiluted and without delay?

“Peter anticipates an age-long heretical infiltration in churches designed to satisfy man’s sensuality and greed. What is most striking about Peter’s prophecy is that what is normative in the world will find entrance into the church (2 Cor. 12:21). Why?”   The 17th century minister and Scotsman, Alexander Nisbet said, “the most dangerous heretics have... Continue Reading

J. Alec Motyer (1924-2016)

Renowned Old Testament pastor-scholar J. Alec Motyer has passed away at the age of 91

While I believe I have read and used all of Dr. Motyer’s published works over the course of my life, three of his books were transformative to my ministry in particular. In my early days as a preacher his commentary on Amos, sub-titled “The Day of the Lion,” was a huge help to me as... Continue Reading

Should Christians Save for Retirement?

How is maintaining a generous retirement plan fundamentally different from the rich fool storing up for his later years to live out his life in comfort and security?

“Is saving large amounts of money for retirement as essential as we’re constantly told? Paul commended the Macedonian believers, not for clinging to the little they had, but for giving beyond their means (2 Corinthians 8:3‑5).”   When a man retires at sixty-five, studies show his chances of having a fatal heart attack immediately double.... Continue Reading

Learning Repentance from the Psalmist

One of the ways our emotions tell us something is wrong is in the case of our sin

“When the Holy Spirit convicts us of sin, we feel the weight of it. It makes us grieve and feel sorrow. We feel anger toward ourselves for what we’ve done. We feel a nagging disquiet in our souls that won’t let go.”   I broke my arm two years ago. It was the first broken... Continue Reading

Can Salvation Be Lost Because of Sin?

My confidence rests in the intercession of Christ and God’s ability and promise to hold on to me

“I’m persuaded from a study of Scripture that we can have an assurance of our salvation not only for today but for all time. But the assurance that we have, or confidence in our future estate in salvation, must be based upon the right foundations.”   The question of losing one’s salvation is one that... Continue Reading

Why America’s ‘Nones’ Left Religion Behind

Perhaps the most striking trend in American religion in recent years has been the growing percentage of adults who do not identify with a religious group

About half of current religious “nones” who were raised in a religion (49%) indicate that a lack of belief led them to move away from religion. This includes many respondents who mention “science” as the reason they do not believe in religious teachings, including one who said “I’m a scientist now, and I don’t believe... Continue Reading

What Causes Us To Worry?

Some have thought that worry is purely a physiological issue while others have concluded that it is purely spiritual.

The historic Christian categories of World, Flesh and Devil are entirely capable of providing a robust understanding of people and their problems, allowing us to avoid simplistic reductionism on either end of the spectrum. We don’t have to engage in either/or thinking and conclude that anxiety is either purely physiological or only spiritual. This means... Continue Reading

13 Reasons You Are Precious to God

Praise God today that he has made you precious and delightful to himself.

We who believe in Jesus can often be more aware of our sin and unworthiness than God’s love for and delight in us. We may believe that God accepts us in his son, but it’s hard to believe he takes pleasure in us and views us as precious to him. Yet 1 Peter 5:7 tells... Continue Reading

Monks, Hermits, and the Devil’s Deception (Luther)

We should never withdraw from people, for people are the neighbors God calls us to love and serve

“Is it serving God when you crawl into a corner where you help and bring solace to no one?  What need does our Lord God have of the service you perform in a corner?  The one who wants to serve God should not crawl into an isolated cell but remain among people and serve them,... Continue Reading

The Flawed Theory of “Social” Missions

To represent the gospel of Jesus Christ as being about the general upliftment of unbelieving society is, in fact, to misrepresent the gospel.

Many social justice advocates argue that the incarnation was, at least in part, about bringing shalom, human flourishing, or general well-being to the human race.  Therefore, they say that any Christian effort which increases human flourishing (such as digging a well or starting a medical clinic) is gospel ministry.  Although this may initially seem compelling,... Continue Reading

Review – Left: The struggle to make sense of life when a parent leaves

Left pulls back the curtain on what it's like to be a child of divorce.

Left is also a very honest book. Jonathan does not sugarcoat his struggles of resentment and anger. In the end, he realized that he had to make the first move to reach out to his dad. There was no happy ending and no response. But he was brought to the place of clinging to the... Continue Reading