They Unchurched The Church

Why are they doing this? Who are they doing this for? Why the music? Why the teaching?

“Who exactly are these churches reaching? My friend was a real seeker (you could argue a seeker of the best kind—a seeker of God!), but he left disappointed. He seems to be exactly the type of guy who these churches are targeting, yet he leaves and never returns, frustrated by the whole schtick.”   Recently... Continue Reading

EPC Partnership with National Presbyterian Church of Mexico Ratified

The Evangelical Presbyterian Church and the National Presbyterian Church of Mexico formally ratified an historic partnership on September 8 at the INPM General Assembly in Tuxtla Gutierrez, Mexico

“Discussions about a potential ministry partnership began in October 2015, when INPM Secretary Adolfo Job invited Moses and others from the EPC to visit Mexico to discuss the possibility of a fraternal relationship that would focus on church planting in Hispanic communities in the United States.”   The EPC and the National Presbyterian Church of... Continue Reading

When You Feel More Like Naomi

Even when you feel more like Naomi, the Lord God is working on your behalf

Don’t get me wrong, I would rather be like Ruth. Ruth is kind and courageous. Ruth is hardworking and loyal. But in a recent desert season (though nothing as drastic as a famine or triple funeral), I notice that my response is more like the woman who said “call me Mara, for the Almighty has... Continue Reading

The Unfinished Reformation (Review)

Is the Reformation over? This question is going to be asked over and over again as we approach 2017

“The book’s main emphasis is a detailed examination of the key similarities and differences between Roman Catholicism and Protestantism. In the broadest terms, these differences relate to matters of authority and salvation—who or what is the ultimate source of authority for Christians, and how can people be saved.”   Is the Reformation over? This question... Continue Reading

Spent: On Gospel Legacies And The Surprising Ugliness of Death

Death is disgusting. No heroic or poignant last words. No gentle slipping away into peacefulness.

“There is incredible sadness in seeing a life that is spent. But enormous joy and gratitude for being just one of the people who had received so much from a life well spent—for Jesus and the gospel.”   I sat beside the bed, holding his hand. Tears streaming down my face. Words catching in my... Continue Reading

Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church Ranked America’s Largest Megachurch With 52,000 Weekly Attendance

Osteen, who's also the author of several New York Times best-selling books, is known for his motivational messages, though he has also been criticized for largely avoiding topics such as sin

“Osteen’s congregation remains the largest in America when it comes to weekend attendance, noting that the church has seen a growth of 7,200 people since 2010. What is more, the church has five times as many followers as it did when it was led by founding Pastor John Osteen, who died in 1999.”   Newly... Continue Reading

How Should We Be in the World but Not of It?

The Bible says we are not to be conformed to the patterns of this world

“Now, when we hear that as Christians, so often we think that all we have to do is to become obvious nonconformists. So if the world wears buttons and bows, we don’t wear buttons and bows, or if the world wears lipstick, we don’t wear lipstick. We try to show ways in which we are... Continue Reading

What’s Wrong With Western Missionaries?

What makes a good worker from the West? What makes a good missionary?

While I silently prayed not to hear the same answer, they said to me, “We don’t know what makes a good missionary, but we can tell you the man we love.” By now, the next sentence was predictable and expected; they mentioned that same name that I had heard over and over again.   Their... Continue Reading

Breakfast Leftovers

There’s more church history in your breakfast to chew on than you may have realized.

As you savor your bacon and rejoice in God’s goodness, the greasy goodness ought to remind you of the still-greater truth the Lord taught Peter. God taught Peter through a breakfast menu that God shows no partiality and that Gentiles, as well as Jews, were to be brought into the church. Church history changed that... Continue Reading

Why Marriage Is Better Than Cohabitation

The public nature of marriage provides an important protection for the vulnerable at the start of the sexual relationship.

“We sometimes think that we are autonomous free-floating individuals who make decisions for ourselves. The reality is that we are influenced in many ways in every decision we make. And in the area of sex, above all, we are open to manipulation and exploitation, even unwittingly, by passions that rage and desires that can overwhelm... Continue Reading

Final Destination: Maintaining a Heavenly Mindset

Can onlookers tell what your final destination is by the way you behave? Or do you live like this life is your final destination?

So pray for God to give you a heavenly mindset. Make deliberate choices in your life to prevent growing too attached to this life. If we are a church full of heaven-set people, willing to make decisions that would be nonsensical except in the light of heavenly reality, realm, and reward, then when we share... Continue Reading

In The Age Of Anxiety

One way to characterize the post-9/11 world is as “The Age of Anxiety.”

We are right to be anxious because our gods are dissolving right before our eyes. We are anxious in the same way Pharaoh was anxious after the third plague. We want to bargain with the mediators of this strange religion but we cannot. They are totalitarian. They will not bargain. They will not go along... Continue Reading

Theological Objections

Not everyone is a professional theologian, but we are all ordinary theologians.

When people say theology isn’t practical, perhaps they are not seeing the practical implications immediately. Sometimes, when we confront a theological principle, it takes time to see its practical implications. Think about these theological concepts: the goodness of God, the reality of future judgment, God’s sovereign control over the world. Aren’t those concepts practical? Is... Continue Reading

Definite Atonement and Christian Comfort (Owen)

Those for whom Jesus died are the same people for whom he intercedes

This isn’t theological nitpicking or dry, dusty doctrine that is irrelevant.  To say that Jesus’ death is tightly connected with his intercession echoes biblical truth, glorifies Christ and his saving power, and it gives the Christian firm comfort and assurance that Jesus who died for us will also intercede for us, that our faith will... Continue Reading

Christendom & Human Sacrifice

Critics of Christendom expect some unarticulated virtue to emerge from Christendom’s perceived and celebrated retreat. They maybe surprised.

How will social justice be sought outside the premises of Christendom?  Critics like Zahnd don’t typically explain.  They imply a hoped for future of harmonious pluralism, though this lovely vision is inextricably a child of Christendom, and there’s no real human model for it apart from biblical ethical and social expectations.  Horribly, the two most... Continue Reading

Five Categorical Lies About Pastors

It is totally wrong to make categorically false statements about pastors because you know a few negative examples.

No pastor is perfect. And there are a few pastors who do indeed bring shame to the calling. Almost everyone knows such an example. But the great majority of pastors are dedicated, hard working, and servant-minded. It’s time to stop the lies.   I’ve had enough. I’ve heard the lies too many times. It’s time... Continue Reading

3 Ways Spurgeon Conquered His Secret Sin

What was Spurgeon’s secret sin? It wasn’t sex. It wasn’t money. It wasn’t power. Spurgeon’s secret sin — his “darling” sin….?

Spurgeon’s credibility and ours depends on conquering secret sins. “Pride goes before destruction” (Proverbs 16:18). Or as Spurgeon put it: “Pride is as safely the sign of destruction as the change of mercury in the weather-glass is the sign of rain.”None of us are invisible to this ancient enemy. In fact, pride often finds its... Continue Reading

Pastoral Advice For White Pastors Shepherding Minority Members

The reconciling power of the gospel urges pastors to become familiar with the ethnic demographic they shepherd.

White pastors who genuinely care about their non-white sheep should make it a point to ask their non-white members what is their experience at a predominately white church. And they might just be surprised by what they hear. But at least they would be able to shepherd all of their sheep in a way that promotes the... Continue Reading

Born That Way? A False Hypothesis

The hypothesis that those who have lesbian, gay, or bisexual (LGB) orientations were born that way is found to be inconsistent with the data

All complex human behavior has a biological foundation. For example, sociobiology suggests that males are hard wired with a propensity to mate with many partners. Even if males are born this way and it is 100 percent due to biology, it does not follow that mating with many partners is moral. The degree to which... Continue Reading

LGBT College Blacklist

Have you seen the list of just over 100 Christian colleges and universities put on a so-called “Shame List” by the LGBT group Campus Pride?

A neo-McCarthyist group is explicitly asking the forces of the neoliberal corporate state to join forces with them in expelling dissenters from gay rights orthodoxy not just from the public square, but from the public and from the society. The goal is not to win an argument; the goal is to drive someone away. The goal, bluntly, is... Continue Reading

Another Pastor Bites The Dust

The pastor has some unique challenges that I don’t think anyone can fully relate to until they have walked in the shoes of a pastor.

At the same time I do believe there are things church members can do to support their pastor. It won’t mean a pastor won’t struggle. Pastors are imperfect humans. Just like if a pastor does everything he can it does not mean church members won’t struggle. But together I think pastors and church members can... Continue Reading

Why ‘God And Country’ Christianity Is Just Another Phony Prosperity Gospel

Christians should not make an idol of national pride. It’s a form of the prosperity gospel; it’s fooling a lot of people, and it’s more popular than ever.

As Christians, our hope and our faith — all of it — is supposed to be in Christ. Everything else — our behaviors, our desires, our perspective — flows from that. It’s not Jesus and … that gives us security. It’s just Jesus. This is important because when things get hard — and I mean truly hard — people’s real... Continue Reading

Popular Charismatic Worship Artist, Kari Jobe, Teaching Dangerous Theology

Hillsong United is among the most deceitful and subversive worship music movements.

Hillsong United is among the most deceitful and subversive worship music movements. Hillsong music is popular, and is played throughout even some of the most theologically solid churches, deceptively luring people away from doctrinal truth and into an experiential form of idolatry that removes Jesus as the sole object of worship, and places the emphasis... Continue Reading

TV Historian: “I Was Wrong About Christianity”

Tom Holland now sees Christianity as a revolutionary idea which has changed the world, and calls it the “principal reason” behind many of our most deeply-held values.

Holland writes that he had a Christian upbringing and attended Sunday school, but eventually turned his back on Christianity, preferring to explore his fascination with dinosaurs and ancient empires. He was drawn into what he saw as the glamour of the Greek and Roman gods, preferring their ideology of egoism to biblical values. “If they... Continue Reading

Is the Bible Foundational to Christianity? Engaging with Andy Stanley

What is the cure that Stanley has offered? In brief, Christians need to stop basing their faith on the Bible.

The sermon itself was deeply confusing and left many questions unanswered about the proper role of God’s Word in our lives. Unfortunately, much of the confusion in the sermon was driven by Stanley’s commitment to a particular methodology about how to reach non-Christians.  For whatever set of reasons, Stanley has become convinced that the Bible... Continue Reading

Correcting An Error

No, we are not ready to move away from the Trinity controversy yet

To advance doctrinal error is sin. It matters not if the guilty party did not know he was teaching error. To do so out of malice or ignorance is sin. It is impious, for instance, to foist common analogies upon the majestic and mysterious Godhead. It is true that, being in the image of God,... Continue Reading

Four Questions for Obeying the First Commandment

In the Institutes of the Christian Religion, Calvin insists that obedience to the first commandment means we owe God four things

That’s a helpful checklist, not only for obeying the first commandment, but for a number of expressions of devotion to God. What should we do in prayer? Try adoration, trust, invocation, and thanksgiving. What should we find in our corporate worship services? Plan for adoration, trust, invocation, and thanksgiving. What can we talk about with... Continue Reading

Don’t Tick Me Off

In our culture, we have learned to substitute a whole host of non-biblical language to avoid calling our behavior sin

We must confess our sins in order to receive forgiveness and cleansing. But if we don’t identify our anger as sin, we won’t confess it or find forgiveness for it or overcome it. Who is going to ask forgiveness for “venting”? Who is going to say, “Father, forgive me for letting off steam?” Who is... Continue Reading

Don’t Waste Your Suffering #5: A Promise to Cling to

When you’re in the thick of it sometimes all you can do is cling to a single verse or a phrase.

In the middle of suffering, we need to fight to see life through the lens of scripture, and not allow our suffering to distort our view of scripture and God. In other words, we need to have the attitude that says, “Whatever else is happening to me for whatever unknown reasons, this I do know…”.... Continue Reading

Why Christians Need to Stop Apologizing and Saying I’m Sorry

We should never justify sin in our lives and it simply doesn’t cut it to say we’re sorry.

Asking for forgiveness is not simple. It is embarrassing and it is uncomfortable. Because it is something that ought to be done face to face, it is so easy to minimize and to not take seriously. Yet the Lord calls us to be humble and calls us to recognize sin in our lives and to... Continue Reading