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
The Perverse Effects of the “All Comers” Requirement
Cal State’s “all comers” policy regarding religious groups is a disturbing and unprincipled effort to rid universities of conservative religious groups with creedal faith statements.
“Student life in its many dimensions includes the necessity of wide-ranging speech and inquiry and that student expression is an integral part of the University’s educational mission.” The “all comers” logic tramples on these principles. It ignores a commonsense recognition that the university ought to be about inquiry, not orthodoxy. That is a loss for... Continue Reading
Destruction or Discipline: All People Get One or the Other
There is a persistent tension between “Law People” and “Grace People.”
Legalists add personal obedience as a requirement for justification, and antinomians reject obedience as a necessary consequence and requirement of justification. Or in other words, legalistic “Law-People” mix the theological concepts of justification and sanctification, while antinomian “Grace-People” divorce them. But how can one avoid the errors of legalism and antiomianism, and still cherish Law and Grace? How can one be... Continue Reading
Christian Right Not Responsible for People Leaving Church, Study Finds
Contrary to popular opinion and previous research, the Christian Right was not responsible for people leaving their church, a new study finds
The decision to leave the Church necessarily entails leaving a particular congregation, which could include leaving long-term relationships. Additionally, if the Christian Right were the cause of a decline in church membership, it would not explain the decline of Mainline Protestant churches, which have little connection to the Christian Right. WASHINGTON — Contrary to... Continue Reading
The Future Of The Church Isn’t Youth
Dietrich Bonhoeffer's “Eight Theses on Youth Work in the Church”
The authenticity of young people’s protest against their elders is demonstrated by their willingness to maintain solidarity with the guilt of the church-community and to bear that burden in love, abiding in penitence before God’s word. There is no real “church association”; there is only the church. Editor’s note: The following is a summary... Continue Reading
A Scottish View on Scottish Independence
Should Scotland remain in the United Kingdom or become an independent nation?
Although the majority of Americans have way too romantic ideas of Scotland and its current spiritual state, there are still godly and faithful ministers, Christians, and churches throughout Scotland. Yes, they are a tiny proportion of the population, but they are a praying people who continue to plead for revival and reformation. It’s been... Continue Reading
The Average Joe
In our race, many average Joes will persevere to the end, but we will be anything but average in glory
“If we were shown the obstacles that we will encounter before hand, many of us would probably just give up. One thing we do know is that we have to train. Disciples require discipline, and Christians need to exercise their faith over and over as we run with endurance the race set before us. And... Continue Reading
A Bucket List or a Longing for Eternity?
I do not know exactly what life in the new heavens and new earth will be like, but I believe that the new creation will be better than this current creation, not worse. It will be more, not less.
I think this dull vision of heaven makes us all, even Christians, think that we need to suck all the joy and excitement we can out of this life before we “kick the bucket.” Well, I have a different perspective: I have no plans to kick the bucket. I intend to pass from life into... Continue Reading
Are Differences in the Gospels Evidence of an “Imperfect” Bible?
A response to the series by Peter Enns’ entitled, “Aha moments: biblical scholars tell their stories.”
The problem with entering seminary students (such as myself years ago) is not that they’re faced with an imperfect Bible but that their expectations at the outset are often inadequately informed. Just because the Bible involves translation and testimonies doesn’t make it imperfect! The Bible is “imperfect” only when measured by the unwarranted expectation that... Continue Reading
You Are Not Forgotten
The church has its own POWs—those who are missing or imprisoned by life in a fallen world, those who spend long periods of time captive to illnesses both mental and physical.
The church is great in a crisis. We are great with sudden heart attacks, emergency surgeries, car wrecks, funerals. We are great with flowers and meals and child care for people’s moments of chaos and desperation. This is good. But we are not always so great with the messy, unsolvable, lengthy trials of those who... Continue Reading