A Grievous Ruin

It is dangerous both for the church and for the fallen pastor’s own soul to remain in a position of spiritual oversight when he is unfit for such a responsibility.

I wonder if the church that has just hired Tchividjian understands the peril in which they have placed him. I wonder also if they understand what hiring as a minister a newly confessed adulterer broadcasts to their church and community. Do they understand what this action communicates about the gravity of adultery and divorce? Do... Continue Reading

Why Should We Study Systematic Theology?

It’s not unusual to find even pastors and professors dismissing dogmatics as an inferior version of the real stuff you get from exegetical or redemptive-historical theology.

The unity of the church demands it. True ecumenicity is not possible apart from robust theological fidelity. Church unity requires doctrinal agreement: “There is one body and one Spirit-just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call-one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is... Continue Reading

Virgin Nation: Sexual Purity and American Adolescence

While chastity is a Christian virtue that we should both model and teach, some evangelical parachurch movements have taken it out of its context

As a confessional Christian, I have to wonder where the church fits in to all this movement-based sexual purity. Moslener demonstrates how purity becomes the answer offered to the problem that needs to be cured. While Jesus is presented as necessary to this “personal transformation,” the language used sounds more like a psychological issue for... Continue Reading

Understanding and Interpreting the Commandments

Edward Fisher's rules in Marrow of Modern Divinity for interpreting and applying the Ten Commandments are helpful

The law of God must not just be the rule of our obedience, but also the reason of it.  We must not simply obey the law, but obey it because the Lord requires it; we must do what it says out of love for God; the love of God must be the fountain, the impulsive,... Continue Reading

Seeking a Foundation in the Midst of Pastoral Failures

If you are one of those deeply discouraged by the sins, failures, and failings of Christian leaders, remember who is at the center of truth and of your life.

John says that the message that Jesus brought was not, at its core, a message about you and me. It’s a message that starts with God. This means that the anchor of your life, of reality, of your existence isn’t your pastor. Yes, he is important, he is used by God in incredible ways to... Continue Reading

Killing Sin by the Spirit, Post 3 (Get Grace!)

Here's the truth: We cannot kill sin. We are powerless on our own.

Lots of people will give you lot of ideas about how to be more filled with the Holy Spirit and how to get more grace. They might point you to to the latest best-selling Christian book. Years ago, it would have been The Prayer of Jabez or A Purpose-Driven Life. Today, it might be some book... Continue Reading

False Narratives of Christian Leaders Caught in Abuse

Though false narratives vary with each offending leader and each situation, three types seem to be common amongst offending leaders

The most significant catastrophe in all of this is that false narratives declare to victims that the horrors of their abuse are not nearly as significant as preserving the all important reputation and career of another Christian leader. These individuals find themselves once again exploited and abused by offenders needing to satisfy distorted self-obsessions and... Continue Reading

Europe’s Sinister Expansion of Euthanasia

The trends in Europe should give us pause about where the movement might lead in this country

What’s noteworthy about euthanasia in Europe, though, has been its tendency to expand, once the taboo against physician-aided death was breached in favor of more malleable concepts such as “patient autonomy.” “What is presented at first as a right is going to become a kind of obligation,” Belgian law professor Étienne Montero has warned.  ... Continue Reading

Tullian Tchividjian Hired as Director of Ministry Development at Willow Creek PCA in Winter Springs, Florida

Willow Creek Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) has hired Tchividjian in a ministry staff position.

Tullian Tchividjian Director of Ministry Development We’re so delighted to welcome Tullian Tchividjian to the staff of Willow Creek Church. A graduate of Columbia International University (philosophy) and Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando (M.Div.), Tullian is a best-selling author, having written seven books on the gospel of Jesus Christ and its liberating implications. Most recently,... Continue Reading

The Importance of What We Do in Secret

According to Jesus, it is what we do in secret that matters most.

Nevertheless, hypocrisy lurks everywhere, not least in Christian ministry, and we ignore it at our peril. Godliness must be found in the heart if it is to be genuine. The one who prays more in public than in private, or only gives at special events when likely to be thanked for it, or practices spiritual disciplines... Continue Reading

A Prayer for the Day; A Prayer for a Friend

Praying for spiritual refreshment of those in ministry.

Paul longs to see his brothers and sisters in Rome again. He desires to encourage them and be encouraged by them. He knows that God grants sustaining grace and peace through the Word, prayer, and the fellowship of the saints. So while they are praying for them, he is praying for them as well.   Paul,... Continue Reading

Down the Decadent “Ashley Madison” Avenue

Thirty nine million adulterers, signed onto “the world’s leading married dating service for discreet encounters.”

What the world needs now is genuine expressions of moral purity. Our task is clear: “I urge you, says the Apostle Peter, as sojourners and exiles [in the pagan world] to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against... Continue Reading

Did Religion Make the American Civil War Worse?

Faith may have inflamed the conflict, but one lasting legacy of the war may be the toll it took upon American faith.

From the Civil War onward, American Protestantism would be locked deeper and deeper into a state of cultural imprisonment, and in many cases, retreating to a world of private experience in which Christianity remained of little more significance to public life than stamp-collecting or bridge parties. Appeals to divine authority at the beginning of the... Continue Reading

In A Liberal Society Trinity Western Should Be Free To Educate According To Its Beliefs

The movement to render the university unpalatable is not exactly the stuff of liberal tolerance.

The forces against Trinity Western may say that they are in the business of advancing rights and justice, but they are really on a crusade to subdue and punish everyone who does not see the world exactly as they do. Canadians who actually hold liberal principles should support the university’s efforts to have its law... Continue Reading

University of Tennessee Tells Staff And Students To Stop Using ‘He’ and ‘She’ – and Switch to ‘Xe’, ‘Zir’ and ‘Xyr’ Instead

The university told its staff and students to stop using 'he', 'she', 'him' and 'her' – and begin using terms like 'xe', 'zir' and 'xyr' instead

‘When our organizational culture shifts to where asking for chosen names and pronouns is the standard practice, it alleviates a heavy burden for persons already marginalized by their gender expression or identity.’  There is no information on the numbers of students on campus who do not identify as the traditional genders, as the university’s official... Continue Reading

13 Things a Pastor Should Never Say to a Congregation

Obvious no-no’s pastors should never be heard uttering from the pulpit

“If you don’t [fill in the blank], I will leave.” Never give a congregation an ultimatum, or you will find yourself on the losing end of that proposition. “In closing. Finally.” (For the 5th time) Never tell the congregation you’re almost through. They will not hear another word you say. But if you do, keep... Continue Reading

My Wife’s Plea to Christian Men

Is it really that difficult? You would almost think that this one sin is beyond the power of the Holy Spirit.

Stop believing that this is a special sin that women just can’t understand—we do understand sin. This isn’t a special sin, it is just sin: God-belittling, Christ-mocking, Spirit-despising sin. Stop pretending like there are no future consequences to your actions. Stop putting your selfish desires first. Stop engaging in activities that bring shame on the... Continue Reading

Rebuilding Marriage Culture: A Fourfold Mission for the Church

The Supreme Court's ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges, redefining marriage everywhere in the United States, has left many of us wondering: What do we do now?

“Here I want to suggest four things the church in particular should do to help rebuild a strong marriage culture. After all, the church – either through action or inaction – will play a major role in the debate over the meaning of marriage.”   The Supreme Court’s ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges, redefining marriage... Continue Reading

Hacking “Ashley Madison” – A Pastoral Perspective

How will we in the church handle knowing who is on the list? What are we going to do about the members on the list?

The death of ministries, marriages, hopes and dreams now become nightmares. But in the midst of this “death march” we have good news. There is a Savior who, on the Cross, has won the victory over sin and removed the sting of death. By His amazing and transforming grace He can make roses of majesty... Continue Reading

Why They Hate Pro-Lifers So

It is always a good idea to stand in the other person’s shoes.

One of the stunningly obvious perceptions of those in favor of abortion is summarized by Harvard-educated Paul Swope: “Women do not see any ‘single’ good resulting from an unplanned pregnancy. Instead they must weigh what they perceive as three evils, namely, motherhood, adoption, and abortion.”   The pro-life argument is overpoweringly clear to me. But... Continue Reading

9 Things You Should Know About Margaret Sanger

Margaret Sanger has repeatedly surfaced in the news the past few weeks

On a radio show, Sanger is reported to have said that “morons, mental defectives, epileptics, illiterates, paupers, unemployables, criminals, prostitutes, and dope fiends” ought to be surgically sterilized. If they wish, she said, such people should also be able to choose a lifelong segregated existence in labor camps.   Due to a variety of current... Continue Reading

Christian Missions And The Spread Of Democracy

Protestant missionaries played an integral role in spreading democracy throughout the world. We could preserve our own if we learn from their ways.

Today we may think of missions as mere footnotes in the historical sweep of economics and ideology, but Woodberry argues that prior to the mid-twentieth century, “missionaries were the main source of information about life in the colonies.”   It has long been evident to me that the most successful societies in the world are... Continue Reading

Hong Kong Christian Groups Feel New Scrutiny From Mainland

The attention from Beijing has raised concerns here about encroachment on Hong Kong’s autonomy

“As the government of President Xi Jinping has stepped up efforts to limit the influence of Christianity in the mainland, including a controversial campaign to take down crosses in parts of eastern China, the activities of some of Hong Kong’s churches have come under official scrutiny.”   For years, the Rev. Philip Woo, the feisty... Continue Reading

Why We Fail at Family Devotions

I think the main reason we fail is that we make it too hard

“I am convinced a lot of people fail because we feel that Word and prayer are not enough. We read books and blogs by people who do so much more and feel that we do not measure up. We finish, see that only 5 minutes have elapsed, and feel like that can’t possibly be enough.”... Continue Reading

Can I Be Sure I’m Saved?

People struggling with assurance of salvation approach me and ask, “How can I know I am saved?"

It’s possible to love a caricature of Jesus rather than Jesus Himself. So when I ask people “Do you love Jesus at all?” I’m not asking whether they love a Christ who is a hero for kids or a Christ who is a good moral teacher. I’m asking whether they love the Christ who appears... Continue Reading

Ligonier Suspends R. C. Sproul Jr. Over Ashley Madison Visit

Reformed leader admits accessing adultery website 'in a moment of weakness, pain, and from an unhealthy curiosity.'

“With the revelation of the hack has come the revelation of my sin. I recently informed the board of Ligonier Ministries, which has handled the matter internally, having suspended me until July 1, 2016,” he wrote. “I also informed my presbytery which is also handling the matter internally. And now the world is informed. My... Continue Reading

A Note to Christian Men

Their first reaction when an woman walks in is to look her up and down. A momentary evaluation which will decide whether she is worth a few more lingering looks and thoughts.

What does this tells us about these men – the “evaluators”?  It tells us that the power of lust and desire for sexual gratification, even through brief visual stimulation, is compulsive and controlling. It is the most immediate and powerful impulse. Everything else, for that moment or two, becomes unimportant, in order to get a... Continue Reading

10 Ways to Overcome Spiritual Weariness

When we’re weary we can find fresh strength, joy and motivation in Christ.

Being a disciple of Jesus is hard. He said we must daily take up our cross and die to ourselves. He calls us to serve, love, and look to the interest of others. Following Jesus yields immeasurable joy, but we can also grow weary from day to day. Weary in parenting, weary in serving, weary... Continue Reading

Recovering from Biblical Manhood and Womanhood

I’ve been noticing more and more strange teachings on femininity and biblical womanhood in the last couple of years.

I realized that the Ask Pastor John answer that I responded to last week basically comes right out of his teaching in Chapter One of RBMW. So I decided to skim over the chapter again. It has been shocking for me to reread this as a more mature woman. Some parts were actually quite unbelievable.... Continue Reading

The Three Functions Of The Law In The Christian Life

As Paul recognized in Romans 7, there remains a persistently difficult relationship between the justified, saved sinner and God’s holy law.

The law remains the law and we remain sinners. “If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar” (1 John 1:10). The nomist thinks that, now that we have grace, we have no need of the gospel or that the gospel is only to help us obey the law. The antinomian thinks... Continue Reading

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