The Federal Vision and The Dualism Duel

In a system where salvation is all of grace, how can a common personal union with Christ securely save some and not securely save others?

Both Reformed theology and Federal Vision soteriology have their dualities; yet there is a crucial difference. The dualities in Reformed theology do not reach into the heart of the mystical union with Christ. In Reformed theology, there are no dualities that divide between those who are in union with Christ. In Reformed theology, all who... Continue Reading

The Doctrine of Justification Among the Puritans

Justification is a gospel mystery—a matter, that is, of divine revelation by grace

Baxter was convinced that those who held the ground and formal cause of our justification to be the imputing to us of Christ’s own righteousness (i.e., his fulfillment of the precept and penalty of the moral law) were logically committed to Antinomianism, on the “payment-God-will-not-twice-demand” principle. At this point in his thinking… Baxter assumed, with... Continue Reading

The Conflicting Narrative of Jerusalem

Jerusalem has two conflicting narratives accompanied by differing holidays, songs, and stories; this results in two identities that are in conflict with each other

Peace treaties do not negate long standing narratives that give identity.  There must be a larger story …  Jesus promised to bring a peace that this world cannot give.  Such peace is both internal as it relates to Jesus giving us a clear conscience before God the Father, but also a peace between those who... Continue Reading

8 Tips For Talking to Your Kids About Sex

Maybe those of us who are religious and less conflicted about sex discussions need to offer some tips

Of course, if we want to raise children who care about something deeper and less fleeting than satisfying physical desires, that should be just one component of a larger discussion about who we are as humans, the gift of our sex, how our sexes complement each other, the significance of that complementarity, family formation, personal... Continue Reading

Understanding Ethics: Consequentialism

Instead of seeking what we think to be the best outcome, our duty is to seek the will of God in humble obedience

If no objective standard exists, then how can one truly know which action is best? Consequentialism lacks a sufficient knowledge base from which to categorize good or bad. Unless one can see into the future, many actions must be recognized as presently ambiguous. Only a being with the attributes of God can be sure that he/she is... Continue Reading

The Psychology Behind Messy Rooms: Why The Most Creative People Flourish In Clutter

Albert Einstein: “If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, then what are we to think of an empty desk?”

While it might look completely random to strangers, a lot of times, a person’s mess is very methodical – with respect to himself. Psychological scientist Kathleen Vohs, from the University of Minnesota, who set out to debunk this urban legend, didn’t confine her study to solely the desk. No, Vohs, clearly a creative mind, chose... Continue Reading

Christ’s Love for the Law

Jesus understood God’s law to be positive and helpful, even if occasionally painful.

Living in our humanistic culture, there is probably no more hated word than ‘law’ (unless it’s pre-destination)! To our world apart from Christ, the ultimate priority is to live free from any constraint, allowed to authenticate oneself with one’s own choices. Many people in our age work as hard as they can for unbridled freedom.... Continue Reading

Slow-er Relationships

Social media and texting can damage your soul—they work against human design rather than with it

Get ready for a backlash—a surge in longer dinners with friends, tech-free small groups, and a general break out of a pent-up desire for human fellowship. Get ready for a retro movement back to slow-paced relationships. The pendulum is already swinging toward something more in sync with our humanity. But it will test us, because... Continue Reading

Spirit Guides

There are two things, above all, that students want: that their professors challenge them and that they care about them.

My years in the classroom, as well as my conversations with young people about their college experience, have convinced me there are two things, above all, that students want from their pro­fessors. Not, as people commonly believe, to entertain them in class and hand out easy A’s. That’s what they retreat to, once they see... Continue Reading

Ferguson and My White-Looking Son

I’ve watched the horror in Ferguson, MO unfold, I couldn’t help but wonder what it will be like for my son as he grows into a young man.

Because he is white-looking, I fear my son will grow up in an environment that is hostile towards white males. I do live in the south where racial tension and strife have plagued our history. So what if we end up doing just the thing we’ve fought so hard to stop? What if we, black... Continue Reading

Did Paul Teach that a Rock Followed the Israelites in the Wilderness?

First in the series responding to Peter Enns' "Aha Moments" questioning the inerrancy of Scripture

As for the second problem, even if this Jewish “tradition” was extant in the first century there are serious doubts about whether 1 Cor 10:4 demonstrates Paul’s adoption of it.  He may well be doing a biblical – theological exegesis of Exodus 14-17 in the light of Psalm 78:14-20 (e,g., “he splits the rocks . . . and gave them abundant... Continue Reading

The Wrong Kind of Christian

There is no amount of niceness or progressive sympathizing that will remove the reproach of the gospel.

It didn’t matter to them if we were politically or racially diverse, if we cared about the environment or built Habitat homes. It didn’t matter if our students were top in their fields and some of the kindest, most thoughtful, most compassionate leaders on campus. There was a line in the sand, and we fell... Continue Reading

An Open Letter to Richard Dawkins

In response to Dawkins' assertion that it is morally good to abort children with Down syndrome

And so, Dr. Dawkins, I’d like to invite you to dinner. Come spend time with my children. Share a meal with them. Before you advocate their deaths, come find out what’s worthwhile in their lives. Find out if the suffering is worth the joy. I don’t want you to come over for a debate. I... Continue Reading

Dark Days for a Pastor’s Wife

One pastor's wife shares her recent experience of troubled times

A pastor’s wife, who normally encourages church members in their struggles, sometimes finds herself in difficult circumstances where she is the one in need of ministry. This is not a comfortable place for her or for those who look at her as unflappable. It may be unsettling for new Christians to see mature believers stricken. Here is my experience. Deep WatersApril: Troubles within... Continue Reading

Christ Did Not Die for You to Do Keg Stands

Here are a few suggestions on how to begin formulating a Christian response to drinking on our college campuses.

Some Christians go farther than Scripture in condemning alcohol. The Bible celebrates wine as a gift from God (Isa. 55:1; John 2:9) and good for your stomach (1 Timothy 5:23). I’m not convinced that the Lord’s Supper was strictly the unfermented stuff (1 Cor. 11:21). But let’s not trade one overreach for another. Christians who enjoy... Continue Reading

Singing God’s Words or Man’s Words?

The question puts us on the horns of a false dilemma.

Are there hymns that are divinely true because they convey the accurate meaning of God’s word? If they accurately capture the sense of Scripture then we are dealing with God’s truth, and not merely “man’s words.” The truth of God’s word gives rise to truth:    Years ago I was asked the following question by... Continue Reading

What I Wish I’d Been Taught In School

What subjects do you wish were taught at school? What subjects would you drop or reduce?

I think things have improved somewhat in some schools over the years, but there are still huge gaps of basic practical living and vocational skills that no amount of algebra, physics, history, and psychology can make up for. With all the inertia, vested interests, and stagnant thinking in the educational system, I know it will... Continue Reading

Harry Reeder: Loss of Trevelyn Campbell ‘Extraordinarily Challenging’

Briarwood Presbyterian Church head pastor Harry Reeder says Trevelyn's death has hit his congregation hard

It is with heavy heart that I write you to inform you that Trevelyn was killed in a car accident late last night on Altadena. She had been visiting with us for several hours, doing laundry, having dinner, and it was such a lovely, joyful visit as she was anticipating a new year at Samford.... Continue Reading

A Better Sermon Will Not Help You!

I wonder how often we come to worship, consecrate ourselves to be students at the beginning of the service, hear a faithful presentation of God’s Word, swear to obey, and then do the opposite

“We are informed but incorrigible. Our heads and mouths are filled with God’s Word, but it does not affect our hearts and feet. We know what to do, but do it not. And in the end, our miserable existence is made more miserable. We heap sin upon sin and wonder what is wrong with our minister, our church, and our holy religion. On Sunday... Continue Reading

Of Course Courtship is Fundamentally Flawed

Blaming “courtship” for “dragon” fathers, spineless spinsters, and poor young men who are getting crushed by the courtship machine seems extreme

“Perhaps there are homeschooled girls out there who have been brainwashed into mechanical responses or an inability to have an opinion. I don’t know many of them. It’s easier to say, “no,” to a guy when you know you don’t want him than it is to have the whole thing go to dad. So my... Continue Reading

The Waiting Is The Hardest Part (Patience In Ministry And Parenting)

If you are a parent or a minister, your loved ones may require years of tear-stained effort. Don’t give up. Don’t get frustrated, even when given cause. Take the long view.

“When ministering to others, it is easy to get frustrated with people who just “don’t get it” or don’t seem to have the will power to stop certain behaviors. It is easy to throw one’s arms up in the air when ministering to the stubborn or slow, and move on to other things. And yet,... Continue Reading

The Gospel of Sovereign Grace

When God teaches sinners that their very core is depraved, sovereign grace becomes the most encouraging doctrine possible

“Sovereign grace crushes our pride. It shames us and humbles us. We want to be the subjects, not the objects, of salvation. We want to be active, not passive, in the process. We resist the truth that God alone is the author and finisher of our faith. By nature, we rebel against sovereign grace, but... Continue Reading

Why Imputation Is Not a Legal Fiction

A objection from Roman Catholics against the Protestant doctrine of imputation is that God declares someone to be innocent who is not, in fact, innocent

“There is a difference between being a sinner as opposed to what our legal status before the law is. With regard to being a sinner, we are always sinners until God takes away our sin nature in death. However, with regard to our legal status before the law, God’s declarative action makes us legally innocent,... Continue Reading

Who Will Stand Up For The Christians?

Why is the world silent while Christians are being slaughtered in the Middle East and Africa?

“Historians may look back at this period and wonder if people had lost their bearings. Few reporters have traveled to Iraq to bear witness to the Nazi-like wave of terror that is rolling across that country. The United Nations has been mostly mum. World leaders seem to be consumed with other matters in this strange... Continue Reading

Masturbation: The Unforgivable Sin?

Sexual gratification is a gift given by God for the mutual pleasure of a man and woman in marriage

“One way to deal with the sin of masturbation would be to describe the isolationism of a man or woman pleasuring themselves as utterly ridiculous.  After all, a man or woman, hidden alone in a bathroom/bedroom, masturbating is a tragedy. A married man doing the same thing is an even greater tragedy. But, as pathetic... Continue Reading

‘Aha’ Moments: Theirs and Mine

So here’s my “aha” moment: you don't have to affirm inerrancy to be a Christian, and you don't have to reject inerrancy to be a scholar

“Exactly what an “aha” moment is varies by contributor, but it’d probably be fair to say that, generally speaking, it’s a “that time I realized inerrancy wasn’t true” moment. With a strong lineup of scholars, some clever writing, and a well-loved narrative shape—who doesn’t like the “I used to reason like a child, but then... Continue Reading

Becoming Christ-like: The Goal of the Christian Life?

If the goal of the Christian life is primarily to glorify God, then the focus is certainly not on myself

“When I was a young man, I desperately wanted to be Christ-like. I was told that this was the primary objective of the Christian life. The more I worked at it, however, the more I began to see my failings. Every time I needed to ask forgiveness from someone, I considered myself a failure at... Continue Reading

Mark Driscoll To Step Down While Mars Hill Reviews Charges

Mark Driscoll will step down for at least six weeks while church leaders review formal charges lodged by a group of pastors that he abused his power

“Storm clouds seem to be swirling around me more than ever in recent month, and I have given much thought and sought much counsel as to why that is and what to do about it,” Driscoll said. “Some have challenged various aspects of my personality and leadership style, and while some of these challenges seem... Continue Reading

The Slippery Slope of Selectively Subjecting Scripture to Scientific Scrutiny

Science is a wonderful gift from God and is a main means by which we subdue creation and exercise dominion, but it must not be empowered with the ability to veto the Bible

We don’t have to speculate as to whether or not it would lead to such a wholesale rejection of the miraculous from Scripture, because that’s exactly what has already happened in many churches where science was given veto power over the Scriptures decades and centuries ago. Theologically, we have stronger reasons to defend and uphold... Continue Reading

Sex, Dating, and Relationships

A review of a book that discusses the whole problem with contemporary dating and attempts to offer a solution.

Sex is about the gospel, just like every other thing in life. That’s why these two authors can say, “[God] desires your sexual satisfaction more than you ever will, for through the proper expression of your sexuality, both you and the world will have a window through which to see the window of the gospel”... Continue Reading