A Vent About Lent
And Lent? My heart would quickly whisper: look at what you've done. You gave it up.
“In the case of Lent & Ashes, it would surely be an idol for me. Oh….look at me. I’ve got some super holy marking on my head. Yes…that’s right. I understand some things about this stuff. Come hear me wax eloquently about it.” My heart is deceptive & wicked. I need a redeemer. I... Continue Reading
Why I Don’t Trust Your Interpretation Of Providence
Beware the man who feels his way through life based on "signs," while ignoring Scripture.
“Great errors have been committed under the mantra of “God led me,” uninformed by Scripture. Yes, God leads by providence- but one’s guesswork at what God may be doing is no substitute for immersion in His Word.” “God showed me,” my friend said. “He showed me His plan, I just had to recognize the signs.”... Continue Reading
Afrocentricity And The Church, Part 4
When we are mindful of not making it a religion, an Afrocentric focus can help us see and appreciate the beautiful diversity among people of African descent.
“Rather than cause the black church to focus on the sanctification and deification of African history as a means of saving the black community, there is a more redeeming, biblical way of understanding Afrocentricity and the church.” In this series, we’ve defined Afrocentricity, the church and briefly examined incompatible parts of Afrocentricity and Christianity.... Continue Reading
Rediscovering Jesus’ Hymnbook
We know what songs Jesus sang: He sang the Psalms.
“You don’t have to be a seminary student or a missionary to Peru to step into the world of psalm singing. You only need to do two things. First, consider the benefits that God attaches to worship in psalm. Second, decide practically how you will begin singing the psalms.” How interested would you be... Continue Reading
The 160-Year Christian History Behind What’s Happening in Ukraine
How we have misunderstood Russia, the Crimean Peninsula, and supposedly secular Europe.
“From the 15th century, the dominant Muslim power was the Turkish Ottoman Empire, which ruled over millions of Christians—Armenians, Greeks, Slavs, and others. As Ottoman power crumbled, European Christian nations pressed hard on its shrinking borders, annexing its territory.” In recent days, the Crimean peninsula has been at the heart of what some have... Continue Reading
Menlo Park Votes Overwhelmingly To Leave PCUSA, Join ECO
Members of Menlo Park Presbyterian Church in Menlo Park, Calif. voted by a 93 percent margin Sunday to leave the Presbyterian Church (USA) and join the ECO.
“Speaking to the congregation following the announcement of the voting results, Senior Pastor John Ortberg said, “To everybody who voted a different way or whether the outcome of the vote is a disappointment, we — the church — want you to know we are so grateful for your participation and for your involvement.” Members... Continue Reading
George Whitefield’s Love For Christ And Sinners
George Whitefield’s intense passion was kindled by his own deepening love for God and Jesus Christ, which in turn ignited his compassion for lost sinners.
“Fervent love lay at the very center of Whitefield’s effectiveness as an evangelist. As he preached, his love for sinners seemed to overpower them. “In all his discourses,” John Gillies observes, “there was a fervent and melting charity, and earnestness of persuasion, an outpouring of redundant love.” George Whitefield’s intense passion was kindled by his... Continue Reading
Lent: Of Good Intentions, Spiritual Disciplines, and Christian Freedom
The recent controversy over the endorsement of Lent by some leading evangelicals is something that has been developing for several years.
“When those who identify with aspects of Reformed theology however, borrow “spiritual disciplines” that the Reformed churches considered and rejected they are unintentionally creating the pre-conditions for greater problems.” Carter Lindberg tells the story of how the Reformation began to break out in Zürich in 1522: During Lent of 1522, Zwingli was at the... Continue Reading
The Old Gospel vs. the New Gospel
The new gospel doesn’t save as the old gospel because it is not intended to. The new gospel makes it possible for men to save themselves.
It has affected the church because those who came to know Christ under the old gospel, are starving in the pews because of the new gospel. These new gospel preachers are not preaching reverence, sin, repentance… they are preaching better marriages, better families, better politics even. But they are not calling men to fall upon... Continue Reading
If It Looks Like Rome …
Many churches seem to be drawn to practices that have more in common with Rome than with Geneva.
In the end, I’m not sure why so many Catholic practices are finding their way into Reformed Presbyterian churches. It seems to me that these things have the “feel” of worship, and maybe that is the attraction. Maybe there is boredom or discontent with our own traditions. Maybe there is a desire to “do church”... Continue Reading
Has Failure Become A Virtue?
These days, obedience has gotten a bad name. And failure has gotten a make-over.
Ecstatic failurism asserts that all our attempts to obey will fail, thereby making us the recipients of greater grace. But God does not exhort us to obey just to teach us that we cannot hope to obey. He exhorts us to obey to teach us that, by grace, we can obey, and therein lies hope. The hope of... Continue Reading
Eight of the Most Significant Struggles Pastors Face
Many pastors have ongoing challenges and struggles.
In many ways, there are no surprises. Indeed, I doubt most of you will be surprised at my findings. If nothing else, it is a good reminder of how we can help our pastors, and how we can pray for them. Of course, you will quickly see that they are not mutually exclusive. They are... Continue Reading
Why Every Church Will Always Need a Women’s Ministry
A few blogs recently suggested that the idea of a women's ministry in a church is somehow passé. I beg to differ
So let’s begin with the biblical basis for a women’s ministry in the local church. Have you noticed that in social settings the women tend to cluster together? There are aspects of the feminine life that can only be understood by other women. Women profit from being with other females–they learn from each other and... Continue Reading
Bryan College Faculty Vote ‘No Confidence’ in President over Adam and Eve
Trustees defend decision to clarify belief statement. BioLogos: '[We] certainly did not intend to stir up controversy.'
The new language “is in no way a change to the Statement of Belief. It is the current and historical position of Bryan, an institution founded and existing on a strong Creationist position,” according to the college. John Carpenter, a journalism professor at Bryan, told the Times Free Press that the updated language could be... Continue Reading
How a Christian Athlete Might Respond to the Questions that Are Coming (and Will Keep Coming)
How to be shrewd as a serpent, and as innocent as a dove
Okay, you have ten seconds–not a term paper, not a sermon, not a blog post, not five minutes–ten seconds to talk about our country’s most controversial subject with someone who wants you to say something stupid, and you have to state your mind, on the spot, humbly and articulately in a way that honors Christ,... Continue Reading
Conservative leader Bill Gothard resigns following abuse allegations
Gothard’s resignation from the Institute in Basic Life Principles comes a week after he was put on administrative leave.
Gothard told the Board of Directors he wanted to follow the New Testament command to listen to those who made accusations against him, according to an email sent from David Waller, administrative director of the Advanced Training Institute to families involved in the ministry. Bill Gothard, an Illinois-based advocate for home schooling and conservative dress... Continue Reading
Baking Cakes for Caesar: Why We Need Freedom to Say ‘No’
The call for tolerating same-sex marriage has become a demand for compliance
Even if we assume that Jesus would participate in a gay “wedding,” does that mean we should force everyone to do it? Stamping out the freedom of those whose consciences differ is still unthinkable. I’d never want a judge to order a bakery owned by someone who identifies as gay or lesbian to be forced... Continue Reading
Is There Value in a Bunch of “Dead White Guys?”
My confidence in my culture did not lead to a true conviction or commitment to Christ
Dr. Molher opened the one-hour Thursday session with an exposition of Romans 1-3. Words fail to describe my feeling during that hour as the truth of God’s Word rightly preached opened me up in ways like never before. With the skill of a heart surgeon, Dr. Molher took the Word and used it like a... Continue Reading
Why I Want My Kids To Be Brainwashed
"I don't want to send our son to church to be brain-washed like those Stoddard kids!"
At the root of the problem is that we put ourselves at the center of the universe and think more highly of ourselves than we ought. We become our own standard, make our own sense out of this world and only trust our own faulty thinking when it comes to making decisions. This process of... Continue Reading
The Christian’s Glorious Freedom
You may have been a Christian for some time and yet not grasped your new status in Christ
But when you begin to understand that in Christ you died to sin and have now been delivered from the dominion of sin; that you are no longer under its bondage; that you no longer need to be a victim of its subtle paralysis—then you find yourself saying not only “Isn’t this amazing grace?” but... Continue Reading
Wise Words on Preaching
Helpful comments on preaching
“The preacher should have grappled with the meaning of the text in his preparation, desiring the Spirit-given purpose of the biblical text to become real in his own life. He should enter the pulpit as someone who has been chastened by the Spirit, or given new hope, or set out on a new course of... Continue Reading
Southern Poverty Law Center Biased in Labeling Family Research Council a ‘Hate Group,’ Academic Study Argues
The Southern Poverty Law Center's "Hatewatch" fails to use objective criteria in determining which organizations should be labeled a "hate group
“As our society became more politically partisan, SPLC cemented its position as speaking for those with progressive political and social attitudes. Rather than developing into an objective clearinghouse for the identification of hatred – no matter where the source of that hatred may develop – SPLC has become a useful organization for progressives to legitimate... Continue Reading
U.S. Evangelicals on the Defense Over Uganda’s New Anti-Homosexuality Act
American evangelicals are denouncing a new Uganda law that criminalizes homosexuality
Since 2009, several American pastors and leaders have condemned legislation in Uganda that in its initial version imposed the death penalty for some offenders. Under the revised law signed recently by President Yoweri Museveni, the death penalty was removed and replaced with life in prison in some cases. Now, American evangelicals who insist they never supported... Continue Reading
Soldier Chooses Duty Above Self
Staff Sgt. David L. Thomas, an army of noncommissioned officer, was diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer that metastasized to the brain but has chosen to continue his service
“It was the day after my 46th birthday that I was diagnosed,” Thomas said. “I also learned that I had actually had lung cancer for more than two years, including during my last deployment to Afghanistan.” Elizabeth said her initial reaction was shock. “I remember thinking, ‘I can’t believe I’m hearing these words,” she said.... Continue Reading
When Will Life Ever Make Sense?
We accept the fact that bad things happen to good people: Are we being tested? We remind ourselves, sometimes grasping for straws, that Job was tested, too.
“But yet – I know this; we all do – the crud of life is still crud. To my friend dealing with the worst cancer news, what can I say, what can any of us say? Of course we pray for healing. Of course we trust God’s mysterious ways. Of course we try to believe... Continue Reading
Walking Through Fire
Despite dementia, Elisabeth Elliot Gren holds fast to Scripture.
“Since the onset of dementia about a decade ago, the best-selling and widely known Christian author communicates mostly through slight hand gestures and facial expressions.” Lars Gren led me down a dim hallway to a simple room lit magnificently by floor-to-ceiling windows that looked out over the Atlantic Ocean. A slim, elderly woman dressed... Continue Reading
Family Worship 101
Family worship is not merely a religious discipline; it is a meeting with the triune God in a spirit of adoration by means of three key ingredients.
“Family worship is an indispensible instrument for instilling both old and young with a consciousness of the Lord, His Word, and our call to worship. In research for a recent book, George Barna demonstrates that parents who pass along to their children the baton of spiritual maturity and vitality have one thing in common: they... Continue Reading
Where Preferences Go To Die
If a church doesn't teach sound doctrine, preferences don't matter, since one's soul is at risk.
“I’m convinced many of our problems with the church result from running away from difficult or uncomfortable situations rather than persevering through them. Since we don’t enjoy facing our fears or finding ourselves in challenging circumstances, the thought of escape brings great comfort.” I love my church. Without question it’s a community unified in... Continue Reading
By Us, About Us: Reflections On 12 Years A Slave And Literature
Literature shows us in stark relief that we’re less different than we would have imagined, and that we all possess the same basic need: Christ.
“Literature is one of the primary containers of cultural truth. As Christians who are to be serious about proclaiming Christ in every area of the society we live in, to leave literature out of the picture is to leave a dangerous stone unturned.” I remember the first time I ever realized that a story... Continue Reading
On Scripture Regulated Worship
It is on the ground of this robust understanding of the authority of the Word of God that we assert that Christian churches must follow the worship of God regulated by God.
“We deny that God desires or is pleased by innovation in matters of faith. We deny that silence from God’s Word on the circumstances of worship renders them amoral, or their implementation a matter of indifference.” We affirm that the worship of God is regulated through his Word. Innovation, however well intentioned, is “will... Continue Reading