The Unhappy Fate Of Optional Orthodoxy: Neuhaus’s Law

Neuhaus’s Law: Where orthodoxy is optional, orthodoxy will sooner or later be proscribed.

Where orthodoxy is optional, orthodoxy will sooner or later be proscribed. Some otherwise bright people have indicated their puzzlement with that axiom but it seems to me, well, axiomatic. Orthodoxy, no matter how politely expressed, suggests that there is a right and a wrong, a true and a false, about things. When orthodoxy is optional,... Continue Reading

Circuit Court Win for Religious Freedom on Gay Marriage

The 5th Circuit ruling allows a Mississippi law to go into effect that protects the religious liberty and conscience rights of those who hold traditional marriage beliefs.

This is a reasonable bill. It protects the consciences of people who hold to the historic definition of marriage in the aftermath of the Supreme Court redefining marriage, and it does so while avoiding the awful outcomes that critics fear. The bill provides that the government cannot punish, fine, or coerce specific people and organizations,... Continue Reading

How The Gospel Coalition is Killing The Gospel With “Social Justice”

Words matter. Because ideas matter. Particularly theological ideas.

We, as Christians, must participate in charity––not to meet the requirements of “economic justice,” but to demonstrate the grace of God in the gospel. We can’t communicate the grace of God, though, if we insist on calling it justice. In our zeal to do what’s right, we must be careful not to undermine the very... Continue Reading

First Princeton, Now Yale

One way to define the differences between the PCUSA and PCA.

The order of worship for both denominations is essentially the same; both are part of the Reformed movement. However, the preaching will likely be quite different, with a PCUSA pastor emphasizing the broad love of God for all of God’s people, and a PCA pastor leaning more towards evangelism and conversion.   The PCA keeps... Continue Reading

Identity Theology in the PCA

The central agitating issues at the recent PCA General Assembly meetings have been related to both race and gender.

This movement in the PCA is what I personally call Identity Theology.  It is a new theological focus on race and gender.  Identity Theology tends to substitute a paradigm of a class-struggle for the paradigm of sin-salvation.  Not that one is mutually exclusive of the other, but the prism though which the sin-salvation motif is... Continue Reading

Luther’s Life: Anfechtung

it is only in light of that bad news that the news of Jesus Christ and what he’s accomplished for us in his life, death and resurrection can be seen as Gospel.

But it seems that it was not just Luther’s theology that set the direction for what came to be known as evangelical but it was also his life. And in particular there was one aspect to his life, interestingly a part of Luther’s pre-conversion life, that has found a place under the evangelical banner. This... Continue Reading

Don’t Believe Your Own Hype

“Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts.” –Albert Einstein

A lot of us investors and founders often confuse metrics. In the early days of the mobile apps, we would ask developers how many downloads they had. “You have 5 million downloads? Great! This must be a very successful app!” In fact, just 10% of those 5 million downloads actually used the app. That’s not... Continue Reading

Mark Zuckerberg’s Call for a “Universal Basic Income”

The materialistic view that giving money to people is a cure for poverty is simplistic and inaccurate.

Spiritually and psychologically, for grown men not to have to strive to overcome challenges is to leave their potential untapped, their character undeveloped, and their sense of purpose and fulfillment unknown. What a waste. Two things I have observed in my lifetime: 1) human beings need to work; and 2) easy lives can be tragically... Continue Reading

Actions of the Forty-fifth General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in America

The PCA General Assembly met in Greensboro, NC from June 12-15, 2017.

  PCA by the numbers: Comparing 2015 with 2016 reported statistics, in 2016: We had 1,545 churches, an increase of 11. We had 347 mission churches, an increase of 20. We had a total membership of 374,161, an increase of 3,829. Giving was up in all categories. With virtually all mainline and some evangelical denominations... Continue Reading

Jesus in Genesis 3:15?

Does Genesis 3:15, which has long been considered the protoevangelium (the “first good news”), really not contain a foreshadowing of the messiah?

In the midst of God pronouncing a number of effects that result from Adam and Eve’s decision to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil “to obtain wisdom,” Gen. 3:15 offers a ray of hope. God promises that there is a particular child to come who will deal the death blow to the... Continue Reading

Welcoming Persecution?

Should advocating for intrinsic human rights and human equality be abandoned in favor of romanticizing persecution?

Nobody in America suffers religious persecution like Christians overseas. But persons who have faced discrimination are usually not the high and mighty. They are charities or small business people derided by politically correct groupthink and driven to bankruptcy by coercive state power. Why is it “abrasive” to defend them? And should injustice against them not... Continue Reading

The Success Affair

Why do so many adulterous relationships begin when ministry is going well?

Ministry success is not the enemy. God may be moving, the church growing, the gospel being spread. How pastors deal with success is the real enemy. Jake was too immature spiritually, emotionally, and relationally to handle his newfound success. When he encountered situations that shook his confidence (as everyone does), he covered it up. When... Continue Reading

A Listener Response to the Maddi Runkles Podcast

This thoughtful reply got to the heart of a matter about whether a school administration, even a Christian school, has the same authority that church government does in handling personal sin.

A school, even a Christian school, has no real mechanism for dealing with sin, nor is it their role to do so. If they have a code of conduct with that includes both not having premarital sex and not plagiarizing, then they are in a bind. If a student plagiarizes or cheats, are they now... Continue Reading

Sisterhood in the Church

Cultivating Christ-Centered Fellowship Among Women

Serving One Another. “Through love serve one another” (Gal. 5:13). Sisters in Christ serve one another by meeting each other’s needs. We might bring a meal, drive someone to an appointment, babysit, or even provide a place to sleep. Helping our sisters in Christ isn’t simply a nice thing do; it’s not just a good... Continue Reading

How Christ was Administered: Sacrifices

All orthodox believers understand that the sacrifices of the Old Testament were typical of the one vicarious, life for life, substitutionary sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Christ offered Himself once at the end to accomplish that which was mediated to His People from the “foundation of the world”.  The sacrifices performed from the foundation of the world were sufficient and efficacious for the elect because of the one typified sacrifice at “the end of the ages”. We read that if the... Continue Reading

Why We Argue Best with Our Mouths Shut

Science reveals the power of being quick to listen and slow to speak.

If we have any hope for healing the divisions in our society, families, churches, and communities, it will serve us well to learn how to have better conversations. And mounting scientific evidence suggests that the secret may lie in the charge put forth by James: to make every effort to be quick to listen and... Continue Reading

A Report on PCA General Assembly 2017

Any gathering of sinners like me will at times be discouraging. But by the end of the week I was, for the most part, encouraged.

 I understand that some brothers, believing the PCA has drifted too far left, are seeking a way to lead their churches to a more confessional Presbyterian denomination. I am certainly sympathetic to their perspective. However, I believe it is far too early to abandon the PCA. This is not 1936. We are not the PC(USA).... Continue Reading

“I Am Who I Am”

As important as the salvation of Israel from Egypt is, it cannot properly be understood unless it is framed within the revelation of God’s twofold character as expressed by God’s own declaration and as displayed in the burning bush.

The name that God gives to Moses—“I AM WHO I AM”—is a revelation of God’s utter and complete self-sufficiency. It is a revelation of God’s aseity. He alone is of Himself (a se). God, and only God, is dependent on nothing. And this means, for Moses and for Israel, that God is not dependent on... Continue Reading

The Routine Absurdity of Leaders Growing Large (Part 2)

Big leaders have bad memories. Particularly when it comes to God.

The repeated displays of power and grace experienced, then forgotten, by Nebuchadnezzar are part of what makes this subtext so intriguing. In Chapter 2, Daniel steps up to satisfy his audacious demand by revealing and interpreting his dream. Nebuchadnezzar is overwhelmed with God’s omniscience and bows to give Daniel his props – but only for... Continue Reading

Restless: On the Road with Augustine

Journeying with the perfect patron saint for our age.

The reason Augustine tells his story is because he thinks it is simply an example of the human story. We are all prodigals. And he wants us to ask ourselves a question: “What if I went home?” But what’s interesting is that it also traces his own geographical excursions from Africa to Italy, from the... Continue Reading

Guilty!

'Lord, do whatever it takes to save him.’

He is now in a prison wing for drug abusers where he will be forced to reduce his dependence on drugs. He is safer than he ever was left to his own devices on the outside. Most important he is, for the first time in a long time, facing up to the consequences of his... Continue Reading

Believer, You Are Being Graciously Sanctified

If any part of our salvation (justification, sanctification, glorification) is by works, then it is not by grace (Rom 11:6).

As those who have been united to Christ we ought not, we may not live as if we have not died with Christ to sin, as if we have not been raised from the dead. We ought to, we must present ourselves to God as the offerings we are, “as instruments of righteousness.” Sin no... Continue Reading

Maximum Security Seminary

The existence of trained pastors among a prison population helps create safer prisons with lower incident rates and, as a result, lower operations costs, according to Baylor University researchers.

Divine Hope’s classes are rigorous, but the standards aren’t the same as The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary or Westminster Seminary. That’s because almost none of its students has been to college; in fact, most didn’t finish high school. The prison offers GED classes, and the seminary requires a high school diploma or GED before entrance. It... Continue Reading

Oregon Adds A New Gender Option To Its Driver’s Licenses: X

"I'm incredibly thrilled to be an Oregonian right now," said Gibbons, who identifies as non-binary.

“There are daily interactions such as checking out at a grocery store, checking in at a doctor’s appointment — and an incorrect gender marker means the potential to be misgendered and have painful and very uncomfortable experiences at all of those stages,” J. Gibbons, a 26-year-old college counselor told Oregon Public Broadcasting.   A decision... Continue Reading

Why I Voted Against the Ad Interim Women in Ministry Study Committee Report

I believe that the PCA should entrust the local session to address the issue of women in the diaconate as it sees fit according to scripture.

This report primarily interacts with the New Testament exegetical report made by the women’s study committee, giving special attention to Romans 16:1 and 1 Timothy 3:8-12. My report does not set out to prove the committee’s findings as erroneous, but rather to show that their conclusions are, at best, tenuous.   Introduction: The study committee... Continue Reading

The Danger of Biblicism

By “biblicism” I mean an over-rigid adherence to certain Bible texts or teachings at the expense of context and other biblical teachings.

Yes, the Bible is the Christian’s highest authority in all of life, and yes, Scripture is sufficient for doctrine and life.  But that doesn’t mean we should ignore general revelation.  It doesn’t mean that there’s a Bible verse for everything.  It doesn’t mean we can ignore context and flatten out the Bible.  It doesn’t mean... Continue Reading

On the Gospel According to Glennon

The solution she chose in the end, to “follow her heart” even as it lead away from the Bible not towards it, doesn’t actually solve any of the heart problems

After days of sadness in the wake of reading the article, I woke up yesterday, not sad, but angry. I wasn’t angry at Glennon, but at Satan who again … and again … and again … and again, at every generation throughout all time, figures out a way to sell us the same old lie.... Continue Reading

An Argument Against Exclusive Psalmody

English metrical Psalms, as beautiful as they can be (and most worthy of being sung, I might add!), are not inspired Scripture.

To push the point a little further, we may remember that several commentators on the Psalms have said that the Psalter is a mini-Bible. My description of the Psalter would be that it is an emotional commentary on all of Scripture, mostly in the form of prayers. The Psalter thus extends its influence on all... Continue Reading

The Cost of Leadership

Although the biblical qualifications are quite straightforward, there are two ways that many churches have abandoned what God has said about biblical order and leadership and have inserted worldly qualifications into the equation.

The church that approaches God’s offices in a worldly fashion will functionally operate by asking, “How can we get what we want” rather than “How can we do what God wants?” Every church is working to build one of two kingdoms. The important question is, “Which kingdom are we building?” The way in which the... Continue Reading

Analyzing Annihilationism: Will Those in Hell Cease to Exist?

One of the most difficult truths to grasp is the eternality of hell.

The giant philosophical elephant in annihilationism’s room is its appeal to the sinful nature. The wicked want it to be true. There is a certain appeal to it. Culpability is annihilated and accountability ceases to exist. That works nicely for the truth suppressor. God isn’t as holy and righteous as their conscious testifies. Annihilationism quiets... Continue Reading