The Ordinary Means of Growth

Ordinary means of grace-based ministry focuses on doing the things the Bible says are central to the spiritual health and growth of believers

A church committed to the ordinary means of grace will be characterized by love for expository Bible preaching, passion for worship, delight in truth, embrace of the Gospel, the Spirit’s work of conversion, a life of godliness; robust family religion; biblical evangelism, biblical discipleship, biblical church membership, mutual accountability in the church, biblical church leadership,... Continue Reading

How the Reformation Recovered Preaching

The preaching of the gospel as a sacramental event is at the heart of Reformation theology

“Prior to the Reformation, the sermon was mostly an ad hoc event reserved for special occasions or seasons of the liturgical cycle, especially Christmas and Eastertide. Most sermons were preached in town squares or open fields. The reformers brought the sermon back inside the church and gave it an honored place in the public worship... Continue Reading

10 Things You Should Know about Biblical Theology

Biblical theology is different than systematic and historical theology.

Biblical theology helps us see the glory of God across the Scriptures more clearly. As we see God’s sovereign plan of redemption unfold in the single unified story of the Bible, as we see his wise and loving hand guiding all of history to bring it to his intended goals, as we see the repeated... Continue Reading

Churches Respond To Boy Scouts Transgender Policy

Even with religious exemptions, uncertainty remains about Scouting’s future

For more than 100 years, BSA enrolled boys into its programs based on the gender listed on their birth certificates. But now the Scouts will allow any child to become a member as long as he or she identifies as male, regardless of biology.In a video message, BSA’s chief executive Michael Surbaugh said birth certificates... Continue Reading

Church Of England Rejects Report Affirming Biblical Marriage

Vote doesn’t change the Church’s official teaching but raises questions about future acceptance for same-sex unions

The Church of England General Synod on Feb. 15 rejected a report issued in January that reaffirms church canon on marriage. By a slim margin the body voted not to “take note” of the House of Bishops’ report, which provided a framework for addressing issues related to human sexuality, marriage, and the church.   (WNS)–The... Continue Reading

Why I am Leaving the Church Growth Movement

Rejecting everything that has become the favorite methods of the missional-community church

I’ve not mentioned anything about the proclamation of the Word, and the spread of the Gospel of Jesus Christ? That’s because there is not much to mention from the church today….it does good works, has good music.… has a really good sound-system, and a pastor who could lead circles around Moses. What it doesn’t have... Continue Reading

We Live In a Very Fortunate Universe

I was awestruck by the constants that had to be just right to get a universe that would permit life

“I’d like to give you a taste of some of this evidence. Specifically, I want to show you how the masses of three fundamental particles of the universe are set for life. If they were changed by the slightest amount, there could be no life anywhere in the universe.”   The fine-tuning of the universe... Continue Reading

Christians, Feminists Unite To Fight Transgender Restroom Access

The unlikely allies believe ‘gender identity ideology’ hurts women

The debate about transgender restroom access has forged unlikely allies. In January, the conservative Family Policy Alliance (FPA) and the self-described “radical feminist” Women’s Liberation Front (WoLF), co-filed a brief with the Supreme Court opposing efforts to allow transgender students to use the restroom of their perceived gender identity.    (WNS)–The debate about transgender restroom... Continue Reading

Jesus is Coming! Quick, Look Busy.

I’m not sure that the busy schedule that professional ministry has established over the past few decades is serving our people half as much as it is serving itself.

But the last thing they’d want to tell their unchurched friend is that if they came to church and became a Christian their lives would suddenly look a whole lot busier. Yet instinctively, and given their own experiences, they know that that is usually going to be true. So they look at their tired work colleagues, who have kids in two schools, a boss on their back, a sick father, a little league team to coach, and a long commute home, and they wonder, just wonder, if what they’re offering them is good news for busy people, or just more stuff to do in an already stretched life in a frantic age which has lost the art of a good rest.

How Word Studies Go Bad: A (Slightly Funny) Example

While word studies can bring a rich depth to your Bible study, they need to be done well, with discernment

The third possibility is the worst, for συλλαμβάνω could also mean, "to become pregnant, conceive!" Here the horrible, no-good, very bad translation would be, "I also ask you, true companion, let these women become pregnant!" The grammar really doesn't work well with this, but I have known students who could get around that little problem.

This is Love

True love is more than a catch phrase stamped on a piece of candy. It is a life poured out for another, as Christ poured out his life for us.

If we love God, we will love one another: "Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God" (4:7). The love we have for others is a natural overflow of our love for God. It's a litmus test of our faith. "If we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us" (4:12). "We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers" (3:14). In fact, it is this love for others that shows the world we are Christ's followers. As Jesus said in John 13.35, "By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another."

A Curious Clue About the Origins of the New Testament Canon

Often overlooked in this passage is that Paul understands a covenant to be something that you read.

Given Paul’s statement in 2 Cor 3:14 that we just noted, it would be natural to think that Paul has in mind a new set of written documents that testify to the terms of the covenantal arrangement in Christ. As Carmignac argues, “In order to use the expression ‘Old Testament’ he [Paul] must also be aware of the existence of a ‘New Testament.’”[1] Carmignac even goes further and suggests that this ‘New Testament’ may have had contained a number of books in order for it to be parallel with the Old.

How Can Our Church Reach Out to the Gay Community?

One reason I’m hesitant to answer the question is that it’s one of those questions that can only be answered with more questions.

Don’t get me wrong. I think “reaching out to the gay community” can be a wonderful thing. But we must be clear in our own hearts about the why and how of what we’re doing. We shouldn’t expect people to be eagerly awaiting the church to “reach” them. And we shouldn’t expect the reaching to go anywhere without the Spirit of Christ working with us, the gospel of Christ coming from us, and the love of Christ–shown in hospitality and friendship–flowing through us.

Deadly Doctrines: Facing Evil Like Snakes and Doves

We are to be godly but not gullible—snake smart, but not snake sneaky.

First, we are too weak and evil is too strong for us to immerse ourselves in evil and remain untouched. Our acquaintance with evil can soon become an attraction to evil. Second, defending truth by studying error is a fool’s errand. God’s truth is profitable, but evil is a useless counterfeit, a perversion of the truth. God’s truth is fixed and unchanging, but evil is always morphing, always adapting to the trends of the age. Becoming an expert in truth by studying error is dangerous and wasteful, a backward, perilous approach.

Lessons from the Broken Road

My oldest daughter was dead. Her struggle with drug addiction, that had robbed her of so much, had taken her life.

In the back of my mind I realize that grief is a process that takes time. I will not get past this in two weeks. However, I want it to be over and done, neat and tidy. That’s not how it works. Even though we all know about it, death takes us by surprise when it comes to our door. There is no “right way” to navigate this road. My experience is unique to me. But I am not alone. There is great comfort and strength in having others supporting me on this journey. I don’t know exactly where this road will lead me. But I am confident that God doesn’t waste anything. He is with me and He is for me. He is using this hard and painful experience to shape me.

LGBTQ Advocates Offer Glitter Ash For Lent

Reporting that glitter “is an inextricable element of queer history” Parity says it is a display of “gritty, scandalous hope.”

“Ashes are a statement that death and suffering are real,” the site explains. “Glitter is a sign of our hope, which does not despair. Glitter signals our promise to repent, to show up, to witness, to work. Glitter never gives up — and neither do we.” The group urges participants to get the ashes early, wear them all day, and make a short video to distribute on social media about glitter ash using the hashtag #GlitterAshWednesday.

Surprising Advice From Two Older Saints

I came across two pieces of advice this week from J.I. Packer and John Stott

“Packer also argues for the long view. We tend to be in a rush, but God isn’t in as much of a rush as we are. Learning to walk in God’s ways can take a lifetime. Packer also focuses on weakness. We tend to like strengths; God tends to use our weaknesses. When we embrace... Continue Reading

The Rise Of Political Correctness

Every form of progressivism bases itself on the claim of a special, “scientific,” knowledge of what is wrong with humanity and how to fix it.

Consider the main enemy: religion. America’s mainline Protestant denominations have long since delivered their (diminishing) flocks to the ruling class’s progressive priorities. Pope Francis advertises his refusal to judge attacks on Western civilization, including the murder of priests. His commitment of the Catholic Church to the building of “a new humanity,” as he put it... Continue Reading

What’s Wrong with Wright: Examining the New Perspective on Paul

The New Perspective on Paul is not a new perspective at all, but a recycling and repackaging of several serious errors that have already proved their spiritual bankruptcy.

But it is my strong conviction that the position Wright lays out in What St. Paul Really Said is not an evangelical position at all. It’s a faulty and dangerous reinterpretation of Paul and it misunderstands Scripture in a way that fatally undermines the doctrine of justification by faith and the principle of sola fide.   My... Continue Reading

Deadly Doctrines: The Pattern and Protection

How do we guard ourselves against false teachers and their deadly doctrines?

Paul warns Timothy that people “will turn away from listening to the truth.” The first step in destroying a church is a corporate rejection of the plain teaching of the Bible. First, one individual turns away, and then another, until most of the congregation begins to question what they once held to be true.  ... Continue Reading

Christian Women And Erotica: The Silent Struggle You Cannot See

What are we wanting so much we’re willing to push God’s word away in order to get it?

“Our hearts are the biggest factor though. As the Reformer John Calvin reminded us, they are an idol-making factory. The place where we time and again decide that we want a certain experience, a certain kind of relationship, a certain kind of security, a certain kind of pleasure—and want those things more than we want... Continue Reading

The ‘Cause and Root’ of Adoption

If adoption is so important, why does the term huiothesia draw so little ink?

“Quantitative analysis of vocabulary serves as no adequate determiner, because the word huiothesia widely embraces multiple theological foci and vast pastoral treasure. Before giving attention to the sweeping manner in which Paul employs huiothesia, critical hermeneutical principles concerning the theological weight of biblical terms warrant mention.”   Cursory enquiry of huiothesia (“adoption”) in the New... Continue Reading

An Intro to the Institutes

Calvin saw the Institutes as a handmaiden to his commentaries

“The Institutes as we now have it is the product of a lifetime’s thought and reflection by one of the greatest theologians the church has known. In part, as it grew from six to eighty chapters, it reflects Calvin’s own growth in his understanding of the Christian life.”   The Institutes as we now have... Continue Reading

Evangelicals in Exile

To be a Christian, I and my friends were learning, was to become an exile

“During the Trump presidency, I don’t believe this attitude has changed—certainly not at Wheaton College, the evangelical institution where I now teach. Yet cries of ‘evangelical’ complicity in our current political predicament grow ever louder. Lately I took a walk through the Billy Graham Center Museum here on campus, to see whether I had got... Continue Reading

Ten Ways Pastors Can Be Bad Bosses

Bad pastor bosses lack leadership skills and they lack relational skills.

Most pastors have no formal training in either. Yet they are expected to lead and relate the first day they begin serving a church. Indeed, many pastors are expected to be bosses of full-time or part-time personnel even though they may have never led anyone. So what is the difference between a good pastor boss and a bad pastor boss? We will address the good pastor bosses later. For now, I will share with you our conversations with those who served under bad pastor bosses.

Why Churches Should NOT Fear the “Nones”

Religious researcher Rodney Stark debunks several myths about “nones,” Millennials, and religion in his book The Triumph of Faith

In a culture that preaches anything but the Christian Gospel, Millennials thirst for churches that provide ageless truths revealing the meaning of life. Thus the Church need not fear the seeming growth of “nones” in America. This represents an opportunity rather than a danger, since it simply requires that the Church pursues its central mission to “make disciples of all nations” by preaching the Gospel.

Why Orthodoxy Matters

Orthodoxy is an act of love. Loving truth leads to communicating truth with the goal of living in unity in the truth.

Many think it’s an old guy term, and I would agree. That is part of its appeal. Orthodoxy is concerned with what the true church has historically affirmed and denied about the first principles of God and salvation revealed in his word. God didn’t just give us his word; he made us a church. The divine authority of his word leads to churchly confession. We aren’t just concerned about what God’s word says; we pursue the understanding of what it says.

A Just Silence

Brothers and sisters, let's make sure that in our zeal for the execution of justice, we don't fasten burdens around the necks of others that we and they were never meant to carry.

There comes a point where the destruction, death, and evil of the world around us can begin to take a very tangible toll on our hearts and lives. In light of our limits, and in light of God's very own place as the ruler and righteous judge of the universe, we have to be willing to place the injustices and evils of this world into the hands of Him. Let's make sure that our attempts to be guardians of justice is not an attempt to claim for ourselves what ultimately belongs to God alone.

Briarwood Presbyterian Church Seeks Lawmakers’ Approval to Establish Police Force

Briarwood Presbyterian Church calls this a way to create a safer campus in a fallen world.

“They will conduct their own investigations,” explained Rowe. “They will conduct their own security. They will make their own arrests and instead of calling on the local law enforcement agency to take over the particular situation they're trying to control, they will do that themselves. All they will utilize from their other law enforcement agencies is their lock up facilities.”

Contentment in a Discontented World

Christian contentment is based upon dependence not independence.

We can be content, because life’s circumstances do not dictate to us. We live in Him. Christian contentment is based upon dependence not independence. Paul is no Stoic. He is not acting as though he is above his circumstances which have no effect upon him. Rather, in the midst of the difficult circumstances, he is trusting in God and looking to Christ in whom He has all things. He is not independent; he is Christ-dependent. For me to live is Christ. It is not being self-satisfied or self-fulfilled; it is being Christ-satisfied and Christ-fulfilled. And this makes contentment possible.