Some Thoughts on the Mosaic Covenant

Seeking to understand the relationship between the covenant of works, made with Adam in the Garden, and the Mosaic Covenant, made with Israel at Sinai

We must be clear that God’s solution to this predicament is not a graciously structured covenant. God’s solution to this problem is the incarnation, death, and exaltation of his Son, and the outpouring of the Spirit of the risen Christ. The covenant of grace–in any and every one of its administrations–is only a covenant of... Continue Reading

Bavinck on Calvinism

Bavinck’s ode to the Calvinist tradition

For this reason the Calvinist in all things recurs upon God, and does not rest satisfied before he has traced back everything to the sovereign good-pleasure of God as its ultimate and deepest cause.  He never loses himself in the appearance of things, but penetrates to their realities.     In 1894 Herman Bavinck wrote... Continue Reading

Does God Have a Plan for Israel?

Is there a divine purpose in the Jewish return to the land?

Interest in the Holy Land was high because interest in the end times rose among evangelicals in the European nations.  Also during the 19th century archaeology was emerging as an academic discipline that defended the historicity of the Scriptures.  The 19th century saw the rise of examining the Bible as any other literary or historical... Continue Reading

The Top 5 Things You Should Never Do At Work

Avoiding these blunders at work will help you survive in the workplace

And I made a great number of huge mistakes. I did some important things right too, but my missteps were legendary (at least in my own mind). When I look back on my 30 years of working, and the careers of the hundreds of folks I train, coach and teach, five blunders stand out from... Continue Reading

Let’s Rethink The Reaction to Ted Cruz’s Persecute Christian Speech

Divergent views on Ted Cruz’s speech at the ‘In Defense of Christians’ summit

And while many of us engaged in some regrettable fights with friends and others in the last week, one hopes that we also learned from each other and that we can work together to understand the plight of threatened Christians and other minorities in the Middle East, the problem of entanglements with bad actors, ways... Continue Reading

What Happens When Boomer Pastors Retire?

On January 1, 2011, the first Boomer turned 65, on that day, 10,000 of them turned 65; the implications for churches are staggering

There will be an abundance of qualified pastors for interim and bi-vocational positions. These Boomer pastors will not be idle. They will be seeking other ministry opportunities, particularly positions with part-time pay to supplement their incomes. Some Boomer pastors will stay at their current positions into their late 60s and 70s.    In an earlier article... Continue Reading

Book on Pastoral Succession: ‘All Pastors Are Interim Pastors’

When pastor Max Lucado greeted his successor at his San Antonio church, the two stood onstage and tried to put on each other’s shoes. They couldn’t

“Pastoral successions, especially after a long-term founding or well-established pastor, are one of the most crucial times in a congregation’s life cycle,” Granberg-Michaelson said. “When done well, the congregation’s ministry and life is re-energized and revived for the future. When done poorly, decades of successful and thriving ministry can deteriorate, heading the congregation into a... Continue Reading

In McAllen, Texas, Faith Groups Responded, While Washington Dithered

With an imploding immigration system, it was religious leaders who rallied to form a humanitarian response to the surge of unaccompanied children crossing the border

By September, 66,127 unaccompanied children and 66,142 Salvadoran, Guatemalan and Honduran families had crossed into the Southwest, mostly into the Rio Grande Valley. The flood contributed to a backlog in U.S.  immigration courts of nearly 400,000 cases. Nowhere was the religious leadership more apparent than in McAllen, Texas, where churches and local government forged an effective and... Continue Reading

Designing History: The Identity of the 21st Century

History tends to classify eras by defining events rather than by the actual numbers

There are many risks in our lives and communities, some risks that we never imagined in the previous century. Nevertheless, though we cannot control the events of history and the decisions of terrorists, neither are we entirely powerless. There is strength at the grassroots level; there is strength in numbers, as long as we are... Continue Reading

Wanted: Men Who Are Above Reproach

To the end, Daniel was a man whose testimony was stellar; he was a man above reproach

“If we spent less time on our feet and more time on our knees; and if we spent less time talking with men and more time talking with God; and if we spent less time caring about our neighbors thoughts and more time meditating in prayer on God’s Word, we would be more holy, consistent, and... Continue Reading

Quality Over Quantity

What is finally and eternally important is that with our whole heart we love God and seek to please Him

“To the average listener at the time of Jesus, the Pharisee was an example of the best, the most religious of men. Is Jesus here demanding that we must rate higher than them to go to kingdom of heaven? No, it is not as if Jesus is saying that on a test out of 100,... Continue Reading

Christianity Is Not Going Away

Christians sometimes think that political setbacks on marriage, and hostility from cultural elites in the media and academia, mean that Christendom is gone

“So America often feels more secular even if Americans are not. But all of us, however unknowingly, still swim in the cultural and moral waters warmed by Christendom. Even arch-secularists, in their constant demands for ever greater rights and self autonomy, speak in the language Christendom created.”   A recent Barna study confirms other data... Continue Reading

The Necessity Of Biblical Preaching

The chief means by which the Spirit communicates the grace of God to us is the preaching of the gospel

“Whether the prophets preached to the covenant people of Israel or the nations; whether Jesus Christ preached to Israel, His disciples, or the Gentiles; and whether Paul preached to unbelieving Jews and Gentiles or the various congregations of the New Testament, all these preachers always emphasized the need for genuine repentance and true faith. They... Continue Reading

The Poverty Problem Is A Marriage Problem

The poverty rate among married couples is less than half the national average

“Wherever we look—whether in the streets or the social science research—we find confirmation that the breakdown of the family is correlated with societal ills such as poverty. We know the cause and we know the cure. But do we have the will as a nation to do what will be required to discourage divorce and single... Continue Reading

Are Pro-Gay Evangelicals Out To Destroy Christianity?

While the pressure on the church to capitulate is what one might expect, Jesus and the apostles warned that this might happen

“One can only stand in shock at the reckless abandonment of truth especially in the explosive area of human sexuality. Satan is having a field day with Christians. It is hard to watch as liberal Protestant denominations slowly collapse in the face of a virulent homo fascism. Now a growing number of evangelical churches and... Continue Reading

Gravity: Looking Death In The Face

God forbid that people might face death apart from a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ

“Would the people in my life likely think something like Ryan Stone if they had to look death in the face today? Would they try to utter a prayer, but not even know who God is or where to start? These possibilities are the sorts of things that should keep us up at night (prayerfully).... Continue Reading

The Rise And Fall And Rise Again Of Joel Gregory

Joel Gregory’s rise to prominence in the Southern Baptist Convention was meteoric, as was his fall

“After Gregory’s fall from the famous Dallas pulpit, he understandably assumed his ministry had ended. During the long years of absence in the mid-’90s, he logically reckoned his voice had been silenced.  But the grace Gregory preached fell on his own ears and sustained him. First, it sounded like E.K. Bailey’s voice, and then Paul... Continue Reading

James MacDonald Asks Forgiveness for Unbiblical Discipline of Harvest Bible Chapel Elders

Megachurch pastor confesses board slandered three elders as 'false messengers' last year

“The discipline was announced in a video last year that was shown on all seven of Harvest’s campuses and left online for two weeks. MacDonald said on Sunday, “It was seen by many thousands of people and damaged the reputations of these brothers. For this we are truly sorry.”   On Sunday, prominent pastor James... Continue Reading

Lecrae, Ferguson, and the Limits of Respectability

For Lecrae, not to call the hip hop community to moral virtue would be surrendering to the bigotry of low expectations.

Lecrae makes an incredibly insightful and truth-telling observation. If we are going to care about violence against black life then such protests need to also be reflected in art forms and never celebrated. What Lecrae is doing here is calling hip hop culture to pursue higher moral virtues in the midst of their protests. Many... Continue Reading

More on the Enns/Green Controversy

It seems that in the minds of many people, Jesus was wrong when He said that Moses wrote about Him.

Is the Old Testament about Jesus or isn’t it? John 5 and Luke 24 say yes. The two-readings view says no and yes. And no, I am not flattening out the Old Testament at this point. There is a development and an unfolding. There are even some surprises. I’m okay saying that. But Jesus is... Continue Reading

How Believers Can Distort the Word

Once young adults buy into the lie that Scripture is not authoritative, then they find themselves drifting towards questioning, doubting and abandoning the faith altogether.

To do this, the Christian Left typically starts by excluding mentions of “sin,” “Hell,” and “transformation” from their sermons, lectures or Sunday school lessons. This way, the need to address and turn away from immorality is intentionally avoided. Next, they incite confusion in Millennials’ minds regarding the clarity of Scripture. Some among the Christian Left... Continue Reading

8 Points: A Critique of Dispensational Premillennialism

An excerpt from Anthony Hoekema's book, The Bible and the Future

The Bible does not teach a millennial restoration of the Jews to their land.  …To understand these prophecies (about returning to the land) only in terms of a literal fulfillment for Israel in Palestine during the thousand years is to revert back to Jewish nationalism and to fail to see God’s purpose for all his... Continue Reading

Biblical Theology and the Sexuality Crisis

The concordance approach to theology produces a flat Bible without context, covenant, or master-narrative

The sexuality crisis has demonstrated the failure of theological method on the part of many pastors. The “concordance reflex” simply cannot accomplish the type of rigorous theological thinking needed in pulpits today. Pastors and churches must learn the indispensability of biblical theology and must practice reading Scripture according to its own internal logic—the logic of... Continue Reading

Our New Morality

Our society’s deepest beliefs on what’s right and wrong and good and bad are now being based almost entirely on reactions to media presented to us.

These are just a few examples to make the point: our society does have a morality, we do care about right and wrong – but we simply take our definitions of right and wrong from what is most immediate and concerning to us. It’s our new Reactionary Morality. Because we have, by and large, abandoned... Continue Reading

New Book: The Happy Christian

There’s a serious joy deficit dragging down God’s people and undermining our message of good news for the world.

The book is partly a critique of unbiblical versions of happiness; but it’s mainly a positive presentation of the Christian life in an increasingly negative culture. I identify the causes and consequences of this widespread and demoralizing plague of negativity, and I propose ten biblical and practical methods to re-balance our attitude, outlook, words, and... Continue Reading

Not Just a Soup Kitchen

A book based on the author's fifteen years' personal diaconal experience, over twenty-five years directing Tenth Presbyterian Church's Mercy Ministry, and life's story.

Not Just a Soup Kitchen is for churches that are desperately seeking answers on how to do diaconal ministry effectively. It is also for anyone who works with people ordinarily stigmatized and not welcomed in churches. The book deals with the fears many have of coming alongside those in need, and chronicles stories about homeless... Continue Reading

California Convention Expels ‘Third Way’ Church

At issue was the Pastor's statement that he believes homosexual acts are not always sinful.

When asked about potential “restoration” of the pastor and church, Setzler responded, “It is our hope that under the pastor’s leadership, the church would be led back to compatibility with the articles of faith we follow as a convention. Should the pastor and congregation arrive at that conviction and reverse their current stance on homosexual... Continue Reading

Lecrae Brings Reformed Rap to Jimmy Fallon’s Tonight Show

Performance with The Roots will be the first by a Christian rapper on late-night TV on Sept. 18

A 2013 CT cover story examined the leaders of Christian hip-hop and how the movement could call the American church back to the gospel—and hip-hop back to its roots. CT also spotlighted the centrality of Reformed theology to Christian hip-hop. One of Lecrae’s new songs, “Non-Fiction” name-drops pastor Tim Keller as well as CT executive editor Andy Crouch and his book Culture Making.   To borrow... Continue Reading

The Necessity of Christian Imperialism

We are in a spiritual war and only the imperial rule of Christ will suffice to end it

I call on churches and Christian institutions to stop thinking their organizational mission are actually missional.  If you simply maintain what you have, seek to insure its programs and property, and don’t realize a sense of dramatic urgency to our present cultural crisis then you will be swallowed up.  We must march, we must preach,... Continue Reading

The Gospel Blessing Of Guilt

Gospel? Blessing? Guilt? Is it not a contradiction to put those words together in a title?

While false guilt is to be abhorred, guilt itself in the life of a Christian is not necessarily a false guilt nor should it be avoided. On the contrary, true guilt should be welcomed as a Gospel blessing as the Lord uses it to bring us to Christ, remind us of the joy of our... Continue Reading