Having Trouble in Ministry? Just Face it. Literally.
I want to fear God and love people in such a way that when something comes along that is problematic that I fall on my face and petition the Lord
“Recently we have been reading through the Book of Numbers with the family. I have been struck by Moses’ response to the seemingly incessant grumbling and divisiveness by the people. Surely when God tells us that Moses was more humble than any who were living in his day (Num. 12.3) then we have something to... Continue Reading
Tor and the Trinity
It started with a hijab during Advent, and ends with a foundational lesson in the Trinity
The Second Vatican Council declared that Muslims profess “to hold the faith of Abraham, and together with us they adore the one, merciful God.” Later: “Muslims worship God, who is one, the Creator of heaven and earth,” and said that the “Muslim religion” is “deserving of our admiration for all that is good and true... Continue Reading
Eavesdropping On Two Non-Christian Deathbeds
In the past week, two articles have given insights into how non-Christians face death
“When I read these articles I was struck by the contrast with so many Christian deathbeds that I’ve been present at. Yes, some Christians do look back with regret on parts of their lives, but they also know that all their sins, failings, shortcomings are covered with the blood of Christ.” In the past... Continue Reading
Overture To PCUSA Seeks To Extract Apology From Those Following Biblical Teachings On Sexuality
A Presbyterian Church (USA) presbytery is asking the 222nd General Assembly to apologize to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning (LGBTQ/Q) community
The overture asks that the PCUSA affirm, confess and apologize for “the teachings and actions that have created marginalization of our sisters and brothers, adding to the erroneous belief that people who identify as LGBTQ/Q should be considered unworthy to serve fully or be honored as family within and without the church.” A Presbyterian... Continue Reading
It may look like a church, sing like a church, have stained-glass like a church, and call itself a church, but be careful: It might not be a church.
“J. Gresham Machen recognized nearly a century ago that some views that go by the name Christianity are really a different religion altogether. Like the African bishops, orthodox believers everywhere need to be prepared to distance ourselves—not from people, but from a secular agenda masquerading as Christianity.” The big religion story of last year?... Continue Reading
5 Things That Are a Total Waste of Time in Leadership
How do you eliminate things that are a total waste of time as a leader?
“When you’re starting up, everything happens in a frenzy and making it to your next weekend or next milestone is itself a victory. You don’t have time to manage well because you’re so busy creating. But eventually, every organization gets out of start-up phase. Which means you have more time for managing.” You know the scenario.... Continue Reading
The Blessing of Visiting the Sick
Our Savior spent a large portion of His earthly ministry in the presence of the sick
“I am writing this post because, over the past three weeks, I have spent more time at various hospitals (visiting congregants and the family members of congregants) than I have spent in almost every other year of ministry combined.” In 1892, John D. Wells delivered three lectures at Princeton Theological Seminary that were transcribed... Continue Reading
“No Bad Children, Just Bad Choices”
Pelagius had the view that children are born as clean slates
“Augustine’s view was that we are born into sin and this is why all men sin. In other words, we are not born with a good nature, but born sinful and need correction from the beginning. Not only does Romans 5:12 declare this truth to us, we see it in reality when we have children.”... Continue Reading
The Whole Christ
Ferguson is going far beyond church history and bringing clarity to the way we are to live the Christian life.
In other words, Ferguson looks at this controversy, dissects it, and then applies it to our day. And, as it happens, we, too, are struggling with issues related to legalism and antinomianism. That makes his book perfectly timed and a valuable contribution to the discussion about the role of the law, the role of obedience,... Continue Reading
Black Lives Matter or black lives matter?
There is no question that Black Lives Matter (BLM) advocates positions which are antithetical to God's Word.
My goal in this piece is to address the problem of Christians associating with and/or promoting the Black Lives Matter (BLM) organization and perhaps make a suggestion or two along the way. Since some of my brothers and sisters within the PCA are positively inclined toward BLM to the extent of association and promotion I... Continue Reading
When a Christian Sins
As Christians in this world, we are sinners and saints. Redeemed, yet still needing to repent.
A repentant and confessing Christian has much to remind themselves of when they fall into sin. We need the comfort of the gospel and its strong encouragements. We need reminders to quite our souls with peace regarding the past and reminders to galvanize them for action going forward. We have a great God. Let us... Continue Reading
Can We Trust the Four Gospels to Tell Us the Truth About Jesus? (Part 1 of 3)
Why should we consult these four Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke & John) and no others?
If you’re suspicious of the four Gospels because they were accepted and used by the church so early and so widely, keep in mind that this is not the established, government-supported, corrupt church of the Middle Ages. The early church, before Constantine, was known for its loving community, sacrificial concern for one another and for the needy... Continue Reading
Let’s Stop Snuggling the Wolves
Let's fiercely protect our dear brothers and sisters from the dreadful jaws of deception
There remain many more wolves circling the sheep pen. They are not as easy to spot as Bell was; they are humble, they are respected, and if there were problems with their doctrines then surely the flock would be able to chew on the meat and spit out the bones, right? There remain many more... Continue Reading
It’s Just the Way I Am …
There seems to be a lot of praise for offensive “honesty” lately. But being offensive is not a virtue.
As believers, there will be times that we have to “speak the truth in love” (Eph. 4:15), and it may very well offend. When we confront others for their sin, we can do it gently and lovingly and with kindness towards them. They may be offended by what we say, but let it be the... Continue Reading
Sufficient in our Insufficiency
The wonder of God's grace is that we have everything we need to do what God has called us to
So being in a place where we feel insufficient, incapable, and weak is exactly where we need to be. We don’t have to fear being there. We don’t have to fear not knowing what to do because we have everything we need in Christ. He is our sufficiency both in our salvation and in our... Continue Reading
One of the Most Original Books on Homosexuality in Years
A review of Unchanging Witness: The Consistent Christian Teaching on Homosexuality in Scripture and Tradition by Don Fortson and Rollin Grams
And I can tell you, the result is absolutely devastating for the claim that Christianity and homosexuality go together. A person might be able to convince themselves that the Bible allows it (by reinterpreting even the plainest of passages), but it is a bit hard to explain away 2000 years of absolutely consistent church history.... Continue Reading
Control What You Can Control and Enjoy the Benefits
A problem with focusing on weight is that when people fail to achieve their weight goals despite vigorous efforts they may get discouraged and give up.
To my friends who began the new year with hopes of a buff body: stick with the exercise even if you are still portly. Hunger and weight are complex and are still being researched. Our bodies were engineered for a world in which famines were inevitable. Some of us may simply have been endowed by... Continue Reading
Why Can’t People Just Be Rational? The Visceral Turn in American Culture and Politics
Evangelicalism is not a movement of thoughtful reflection; rather, it is an activist impulse driven by a certain understanding of religious experience.
But when moral judgments are no more than expressions of individual sentiment at least two things take place. Because the locus of moral authority is the self rather than larger principle, disagreements are often personalized, and there is less room for agreements to disagree regarding matters over which good people may differ. In addition, because... Continue Reading
If Necessary, Use Words?
Lifestyle evangelism by itself, without using words, is not enough. Faith comes from hearing.
The fact of the matter is that words are necessary. That doesn’t mean that conversion is dependent on us, as the Finneyites would have us believe. The Holy Spirit is the one Who converts. So, we should not get ourselves into a sweat about whether we have the right words or not. Our best arguments,... Continue Reading
Survey: Prepubescent Porn Exposure Has Doubled In A Generation
A new study shows childhood exposure to pornography has doubled in a generation, and porn usage and addiction reaches far into Christian churches.
In the report, seven in 10 youth pastors said a teen had come to them in the last 12 months seeking help with porn. With that said, 21 percent of youth pastors and 14 percent of all Christian pastors reported currently struggling with porn themselves. More than 66 percent of teens and young adults reported... Continue Reading
Standing For Life In An Abortion Culture
Thousands come out in the snow to remember the unborn on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade
A looming winter storm shut down most of the nation’s capital Jan. 22, but the forecast did not stop thousands of pro-life advocates from taking to the streets in the 43rd annual March for Life. “It’s inspiring to see so many people here, even with Snowmageddon bearing down on us,” said Carly Fiorina, the lone... Continue Reading
Here’s Why Writing Things Out By Hand Makes You Smarter
Typing is fast. Handwriting is slow. Weirdly, that's precisely why handwriting is better suited to learning.
“When we write, a unique neural circuit is automatically activated,” he said. “There is a core recognition of the gesture in the written word, a sort of recognition by mental simulation in your brain, it seems that this circuit is contributing in unique ways we didn’t realize.” The result? “Learning is made easier,” he concluded.... Continue Reading
Four Mistakes Leaders Make When Handling Conflict
Not all conflict is bad, some conflict is really healthy tension; but unhealthy and sinful conflict destroys.
Not distinguishing between sin and style. Confronting someone for habitual sin that results in conflict (dishonesty, divisive attitude, gossip, etc.) should be handled differently than confronting someone for a leadership style that is out of sync with the context or a lack of competence that is causing strife. People who don’t match the culture of... Continue Reading
Sorry, Liberals, Scandinavian Countries Aren’t Utopias
Scandinavia: Bland, wholesome, individual-erasing mush.
One of the most country’s most widely known quirks is a satirist’s crafting of what’s still known as the Jante Law — the Ten Commandments of Buzzkill. “You shall not believe that you are someone,” goes one. “You shall not believe that you are as good as we are,” is another. Others included “You shall... Continue Reading
What Should I Do with the Hard, Difficult People in My Church who Appear to Hate Me?
Why are these difficult people a good reason to stay and endure?
Pastors, hold fast to what you know to be true and right. Love those who love you as you love those who don’t–at least right now. However, don’t be surprised when you wake up one day (years from now) and find that a church member who has been cold to you for years suddenly has... Continue Reading
You Are the Second Abuser
From college campuses to the world of celebrity to religious communities, there seems to always be a backlash against those who come forward
Whatever your justification, your shrill voice is the knife in the dark that attacks when a person finally decides to come into the light. You should know that. You should know that your words are not without power. They are extremely powerful. And their power is what has caused the abused to be silent for... Continue Reading
The Strong Man Temptation
In the midst of such unrest and tumult it is natural to look for help. The question is to where (whither) should Christians look?
Nowhere is there, in the American constitutional system, a place for a “strong man” to fix everything. The only “strong man” in a constitutional republic is the Constitution and the electorate that directly and indirectly chooses those who guard and execute it. The history of the “strong man,” who promises to fix all social ills... Continue Reading
Lessons Learned from Grief
The latter part of last year, I journeyed through the wilderness of grief
The Israelite’s had an entire liturgy and pattern they followed for grief. They weeped and wailed. They tore their clothes. They covered themselves in ashes. They voiced their sorrow to God and held nothing back. In our culture, we’ve lost the ability to grieve. We are quick to move through any painful experience and put it... Continue Reading
The Big Chill: Hope for a Winter Season of Marriage
Sometimes the loneliness in marriage is lonelier than being alone
Are some destined to a Narnia-like marriage where it’s always winter and never Christmas? Is there hope for a couple when the chill sets in? Throughout years of ministry, I have witnessed spring bloom time and again in marriages and I believe there is hope. In the midst of a wintery season, how can a... Continue Reading
Children at the Lord’s Table?
Dr. Cornelius Venema’s Children at the Lord’s Table? Assessing the Case for Paedocommunion provides a Biblically-grounded and confession-honoring answer
At the time, all I found on the historic, Reformed practice of requiring profession of faith before admission to the Lord’s Table were a few passing references in the confessions and theological books, and a helpful though somewhat poorly recorded tape series by Kenneth Gentry. Thankfully, Dr. Cornelius Venema’s scholarly yet accessible work Children at the Lord’s... Continue Reading