Tim Keller Stepping Down as Redeemer Senior Pastor

The influential Reformed leader is moving away from his NYC pulpit as his church becomes three.

Keller, 66, announced at all eight Sunday services that he will be stepping down from the pulpit corresponding with a decades-long plan to transition the single Presbyterian Church in America congregation—which has grown to 5,000 members since it began 28 years ago—to three particular churches.   Later this year, Redeemer Presbyterian will no longer be... Continue Reading

Repent of Lent: How Spiritual Disciplines Can Be Bad for Your Soul

Christ fasted for forty days in the wilderness on our behalf, so we wouldn’t have to; not as a model, but as a substitute

His passion was not a discipline that made his heart pure in its love for his Father, it was the price to be paid for our sins, and he paid it in full. Christians are called to suffer as Christ suffered, that is, with the same purpose. We are called to suffer not for ourselves, but for others. When we engage in fasting in his image, but for the purpose of purifying ourselves, we invert that image. Such penitence is ultimately focused on self, not on the other.

A Great Teacher Can Simplify Without Distortion

Once the teacher has mastered his material, how does he transmit it to his students?

A great teacher can simplify without distortion. This is the supreme test of understanding. If I truly understand something, I ought to be able to communicate it to others. There is a vast chasm that separates the simple from the simplistic. Jesus, the greatest teacher ever, taught in simple terms. But He was never simplistic. To oversimplify is to distort the truth. The great teacher can express the profound by the simple, without distortion. To do that requires a deep level of understanding. The great teacher imparts understanding, not merely information. To do that the teacher must understand the material being taught.

“Economic” Subordination of the Son? Part 1: Theologia and Oikonomia

There are three major use classes of “economy” at play in the current debate, and it is of utmost importance to discuss them separately and on their own terms as they relate to ESS

The problem, as I stated in the last post, is that there are too many definitions and variant uses of “ontological” and “economic” at play for a statement such as Ligonier’s to constitutively rule out the supposed Subordination of the Son that has been called into question. This has lead each participant to see His position as orthodox, with lofty origin in the Fathers, and yet all still disagreeing on what is and isn’t biblical and orthodox subordination of the Son.

The Body of Evidence

Bad as it is, the madness that is currently the only politically acceptable approach to gender is surely doomed.

Transgenderism, rather like abortion, puts the law in a contradictory position on the nature of personhood in our contemporary world. Just as Scott Peterson can be charged with murdering the unborn baby his wife could legally have aborted, so Desiree could be charged with David’s crime. As long as a change in self-identification is no defense at law regarding pre-transition crimes, then civilization may survive—but only at the cost of contradicting itself. And if ever it does become a valid defense, then the rule of law will be at an end. There is a lesson there somewhere.

How Not to Help a Sufferer

Think of these as four ways we, like Job’s friends, can pour burning coals on the heads of those already sitting in ashes.

Minimize the wrongdoing that caused the suffering. I’m not sure why we tend to do this, but we do. It’s that karma instinct. We say things like “I’m sure they meant well,” or “It can’t be that bad,” or “Well, in every conflict the blame is on both sides.” But the truth is we don’t know that someone meant well. Maybe they didn’t. We don’t know that it wasn’t that bad. Maybe it was. And blame is not always 50/50. Sometimes it’s 80/20. Sometimes it’s even 100/0. That seems to be God’s verdict on Job and his friends (Job 42:7). When you’re sitting with a sufferer, don’t minimize the sin that has contributed to their suffering.

When Storm Clouds Swirl Around You

Whatever our God does is only loving and kind and good, even when he brings fearful judgments on the earth or visits trials on our lives.

Because our God is infinite in his righteousness, almighty in power, infinite in his wisdom and love, we can absolutely trust him that every single thing he does in our lives or takes us through is completely under his control, the most righteous, wise, and loving thing he could do for us. Let us trust him with all our hearts.

Jesus Feminists & Forbidden Discourse

From a feminist standpoint, Jesus Feminists should listen to the very women—whether they be conservative or liberal—they claim to represent and defend.

How heartbreaking to watch Christian feminists churn out the bigotry accusations aimed at conservative Christians with little thoughtfulness and wisdom. Perhaps it’s just easier for Christian feminists to follow along with the popular progressive narrative than to weigh the fears of little girls’ parents, sexual assault victims, and rape survivors. But I guess the broader feminist movement isn’t paying attention to these women either.

Quantum Leap Into the Paranormal

Invitations to "nature spirituality" are becoming more openly and boldly paranormal.

In 1995, Jean Houston claimed that the ancient Egyptian myth of Isis (the occult goddess of the underworld) is the only way to save our declining Western culture. Her terminology has become more “hip” and more deliberately [?] obscure, but the message is the same–only direct connection with the powers of nature and with the... Continue Reading

3 Things We Must Believe about God’s Word

In Psalm 119 we see at least three essential, irreducible characteristics we should believe about God’s word.

And yet, we should go one step further and learn to see the goodness and rightness in all that God commands. We should love what God loves and delight in whatever he says. God does not lay down arbitrary rules. He does not give orders so that we might be restricted and miserable. He never... Continue Reading

Reading the Bible as a Coherent Story, but Not Too Much

Most heresies arise from someone “reading the Bible alone in his closet.”

It is important to read the Bible as a coherent story–but not too much. We must allow its continuities and its discontinuities to press themselves into those parts of our understanding where we are immature, where we are easily deceived, and where we have cultural and sinful blind spots.   Growing up as a new... Continue Reading

U.S. House Votes To Overturn Obama’s Planned Parenthood Edict

The U. S. House passed a resolution 230-188 on Feb. 16 to reverse a last-minute Obama administration order to protect some of Planned Parenthood’s funding.

Days before leaving office, President Barack Obama issued a directive barring conservative states from blocking Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers from Title X funding. The resolution seeks to give states the option to direct Title X grant money to any kind of health center they wish. Direct taxpayer funding of abortion is still a... Continue Reading

Seven Costs of Disciple-Making

We could list dozens of costs, no doubt, but here let’s limit it to seven

“Perhaps what might help us over our hurdles is not to hide how costly disciple-making is, but to be utterly honest and explicit about the costs, and hold them out in the light for us to see, and then find whether something in us might just rise to the peculiar glory of it all.”  ... Continue Reading

Psalm 143 as a Template for Prayer in Temptation’s Hour

The Psalms are wonderful guides for our prayer.

You close with a declaration of faith.  You are confident God’s love will prevail.  God is with you.  You will overcome because Christ overcame for you.  You are His.  He is the Good Shepherd who sought you, keeps you and guards you.  He will not lose you.  A new start. A first step.  With your... Continue Reading

Indian Christian Couple Refusing To Deny Jesus Forced To Stand In Freezing Pond For 17 Hours

A 50-year-old Christian convert in India died after he and his wife were reportedly forced to stand in a freezing pond for 17 hours because of their faith.

Bartu Urawn, GCN reported, was attacked by villagers for the past three years because of his faith. It reached a boiling point last year, when a group abducted him and forced him to attend one of their tribal worship services. During the service, an animal was sacrificed and the villagers forced Bartu Urawn to eat... Continue Reading

Swedish Midwife Still Fighting Employer’s Abortion Mandate

A third court in late January heard the case of a Christian Swedish midwife denied employment because of her pro-life convictions.

In 2014 Grimmark filed a religious discrimination complaint after a women’s center in Jönköping, Sweden, withdrew a job offer because she said she could not perform abortions. Two other medical clinics denied her employment on the same grounds. A court ruled in favor of the women’s center, saying the job offer was rescinded “not because... Continue Reading

Is Christ Enough?

By daily communion with Christ through the means of grace, we find full satisfaction for all our needs

The central argument of Paul in the letter is that in Jesus Christ, Christians already have everything that the sect falsely offered: wholeness, fullness, perfection, and satisfaction in God. In other words, Paul responds to false teachers by presenting the sufficiency of Christ.   In the letter he wrote to the Colossians, Paul had to deal... Continue Reading

What the Transgender Debate Means for the Church

The cultural conversation on gender identity issues requires more than good policy. It demands a gospel-centered response from the church.

We must also resist the temptation to buy into the Sexual Revolution’s narrative. I don’t just mean that we accommodate ourselves to the sins and heresies of the movement, although that’s always a danger too. I mean the danger is that we assume that the Sexual Revolution will always be triumphant, progressing upward and onward.... Continue Reading

Spreading the Faith: Lessons from US History

Writers rarely pay attention to an era of US history that is today more relevant than ever

“At the time of the American Revolution, Catholics made up less than one percent of the nation’s population, but that rose to five percent in 1850, twelve percent in 1890, and seventeen percent by 1906. The modern proportion has usually fluctuated around a quarter.”   We hear a lot today about the effects of immigrants... Continue Reading

Why Joel Osteen, “The Smiling Preacher,” Is So Darn Appealing

It’s hard to quantify charisma, but by any measure Joel Osteen has some pretty impressive stats

“By studying well-known charismatics and replicating their actions in the lab, Antonakis has identified a series of what he calls Charismatic Leadership Tactics (CLTs), which range from the use of metaphors and storytelling, to nonverbal methods of communication like open posture and animated gestures at key moments.”   It’s hard to quantify charisma, but by... Continue Reading

Ye Of Brittle Faith

Why all the hysteria among atheist elites over this little book?

After the publication of the book, Religion News Service tweeted this misleading headline: “A controversial new book claims a dying Christopher Hitchens accepted God.” RNS subsequently retracted the headline, but it was too late. Christopher Hitchens’s agent, Steve Wasserman, vociferously denounced the book.   On December 15, 2011, Christopher Hitchens died of esophageal cancer. Some... Continue Reading

Teachability

True teachability is actually one of the rarest of qualities in the hearts and lives of people

“The first mark of a truly teachable person is that he or she is eager to listen to God in His word. No matter what interest a person may have in science, mathematics, literature, art, music, linguistics, politics or athletics, if he or she does not have a deep and abiding interest in Scripture, then all the... Continue Reading

Like Scales and Jazz: How to Preach Christ from Psalms

How should contemporary Christ followers and Christian pastors continue walking the Emmaus Road, seeing and preaching Christ throughout the Psalms?

“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Jesus came as heir not only of David’s throne but also of David’s prayers—from his distress to his deliverance, from his laments to his praises. Since God’s people in every generation will walk the same path—cross before crown—Christian pastors are wise to preach the Psalms in all... Continue Reading

Evangelical Leaders Urge Trump To Reconsider Refugee Order

Those who signed open letter say U.S. can’t close its doors to global humanitarian crisis.

Christian humanitarian group World Relief published a letter in the Washington Post on Feb. 8 with signatures from 100 prominent evangelical leaders asking Trump to reassess his decision. Signatories included popular Christian authors Tim Keller, Max Lucado, and Ann Voskamp, as well as church leaders such as Bill Hybels, Eric Costanzo, and Eugene Cho. World... Continue Reading

Judge Rules in Favor of Athens Church

On Jan. 24, 2016, the congregation voted 159 to 36 (82% to 18%) to be dismissed from the PCUSA

In his ruling, Superior Court Judge Eric W. Norris cited a 1981 letter written by Rev. James Andrews, the PCUS Stated Clerk at that time, regarding a similar trust clause proposed by that denomination, stating that the new trust clause “would not change the Presbyterian Church’s historical position on property.”   A Superior Court judge... Continue Reading

What Does ‘Guarding Your Heart’ Even Mean?

If you've been around Christians and Church circles long, you've probably heard the phrase "guard your heart" more times than you can count.

Since I was young, people have constantly warned me to guard my heart. But it's always been harder than I thought. I kept getting hurt in relationships. And because I kept having so many, often conflicting feelings, at times I wanted to "guard my heart" by cutting off all contact with the opposite sex. That seemed like the only safe course. But it's a mistake, one you shouldn't make. To hopefully save you time and grief, here are some insights I've learned the hard way:

Why I Love Teaching, Writing and Participating in Women’s Bible Studies

Over those years I’ve been richly blessed by how it’s anchored me to truth and anchored me to community

In a nutshell then, Women’s Bible studies help to drive out the individualism and isolationism that has plagued mankind all through the history of redemption, pointing us to Jesus Christ, who took the curse of our sin upon Himself, freeing us from self-reliance to God-reliance, and freeing us from isolation to interdependence in the community of grace.

A Modest Proposal: Don’t Dump Religion

Why not rail against man made religion instead of all religion? Why not find another word besides religion to be our anti-gospel boogeyman?

You know what I mean. Maybe you’ve spoken this way before. Maybe I have too. Religion is bad. Religion is about rules. Religion is about earning God’s favor. Religion is about trying; Christianity is about trusting. Religion is about reaching up to God; the gospel is about God reaching down to us. I understand the contrast. I agree with all that we want to affirm with such statements. But is throwing “religion” under the bus the best way to make the point?

The Normalization Of Pedophilia Approaches

The arguments made by Milo Yiannouplos (in a recently released and quite graphic video), that pedophilia is not what you think it is are nothing new

All that remains is to manufacture consent by re-defining it and that process is under way. This is, if you will, child’s play. Any moderately creative undergraduate freshman can deconstruct consent: “Consent is a social construct that is understood variously in different cultures. New studies suggest that children are capable of signally consent at an earlier stage than we hitherto thought” and so on. We are witnessing this process and trajectory with pedophilia.

Martin Luther on Prayer

Every day we have praise to offer, sins to confess, thanksgivings to bring and supplications to ask.

Luther calls prayer ‘A labour above all labours, since he who prays must wage a mighty warfare against the doubt and murmuring excited by the faintheartedness and unworthiness we feel within us.’ Haven’t you found that to be true? Yet isn’t it puzzling on one level that prayer should be so challenging. After all, it doesn’t require any special equipment; you don’t have to go to a special place at a certain time of the day to do it; you don’t need another person to do it; you don’t need special training; you don’t need to speak out loud or get into a particular position to do it. You can pray sitting in an armchair in your living room or even lying in your bed (though I’m not suggesting that’s the best position in which to pray!). So why should it be so difficult? It can only be because of the spiritual battle going on behind the physical scenes.