Blindsided

"Unity brings us truth," Pastor Harrell of City Church in San Francisco has declared

“Hundreds of evangelicals were caught off guard in March when their church leaders, without any open discussion, announced that sexually active homosexuals could become members. How did that happen, and what steps can members of other churches take to forestall such surprises?”   Two days after Valentine’s Day in 1997, City Church—an attempt to build... Continue Reading

Theological Fidelity: An Interview with David Garner

What does it mean for a pastor to be a pastor-theologian?

“Theological contemplation is never private domain. The preacher doesn’t function autonomously; in fact, his work is, in a very important sense, shared and uncreative. As a contemporary spokesman, the preacher preaches the historic deposit of faith, following thousands who have gone before him with a view to the untold thousands that will follow.”   Tabletalk:... Continue Reading

The Body Politic is Queer

If our culture continues to "evolve," it will one day implode. May faithful believers be there when that happens.

Hopefully, places like City Church in San Francisco, who have recently embraced same sex marriage, will realize the full implications of that decision before queerness starts to define their entire belief system. In some ways, apostate Oneist churches are showing the way for the culture. If the body of Christ is queer, so will be... Continue Reading

We … and Our Fathers Have Sinned (Daniel 9:8)

As one who grew up in the Southern Presbyterian Church, I must confess my own as well as my people’s sins.

I have also learned these lessons from my elders in Augusta. They have taught me how important public confession of past sins—especially by a majority—is to racial reconciliation. What may feel to us to be something small, something that does not cost very much, communicates integrity and a desire for genuine relationship. As we as... Continue Reading

How to Read More Books

With summer here, here are some personal discoveries that were helpful to me

“This past year I have attempted to become more intentional with my reading. In previous years I have read a lot but I would not say that I read well. My reading lacked a detailed attack plan. As a result, sometimes reading happened and other times it did not.”   “How can I read more books?”... Continue Reading

Public Expressions of the Gospel

Explicit public expressions of the gospel in popular culture are few and far between

“We tend to do proclamation well in the evangelical world, but when we do, we often shout the truth from afar and shake our heads when others don’t listen. To be light, however, we need to be present. We need to be in the places where the darkness has a foothold.”   Explicit public expressions of the... Continue Reading

Can We Really Know Our Pastors?

People want to believe the best about their pastors, and without always knowing what they’re doing, refuse to see what’s going on right under their noses

“I certainly agree that the megachurch model is pastorally problematic, but that doesn’t seem to me to be a plausible reason to explain Tchividjian’s fall. Or rather, to clarify, I don’t think that a small church would solve the problem. Sure, you will be able to “know” your pastor, in the sense of being on... Continue Reading

The Most Painful Interview I’ve Ever Watched

Poor Brian Williams. He just couldn’t say it: “I lied.”

“There are some moments in the interview where Williams says that he takes ownership, accepts responsibility, etc., but despite Matt Laurer’s admirable pushing and prompting him on the “lie” issue, Williams refused to admit that he was trying to mislead people.”   Poor Brian Williams. He just couldn’t say it: “I lied.” After almost 10... Continue Reading

Laying a Beating on the Neighborhood Bully

The bully is powerless in the presence of someone much stronger than he is

“Imagine you are outside playing when the neighborhood bully comes your way. He walks up to you, shakes his fist in your face, and says, “I am going to pound you.” You know he is too strong for you, so you grit your teeth and prepare to get hurt. But then suddenly his eyes grow... Continue Reading

Are Christians Getting a Passing Grade When It Comes to Teaching Character?

Churches of all places should be where people can get schooled in character, at a level and depth unrealized by public school character education programs.

In recent years, I’ve been assured at church that I’m in a safe place where I can take off my mask, admit I don’t have my act together, and be my authentic self. As comforting as that sounds, it can only be a starting point, not a destination – a starting point we don’t want... Continue Reading

It’s Time to Legalize Polygamy

And so the slippery slope begins: Why group marriage is the next horizon of social liberalism.

But the marriage equality movement has been curiously hostile to polygamy, and for a particularly unsatisfying reason: short-term political need. Many conservative opponents of marriage equality have made the slippery slope argument, insisting that same-sex marriages would lead inevitably to further redefinition of what marriage is and means. See, for example, Rick Santorum’s infamous “man... Continue Reading

SCOTUS Decision on Marriage: Best Articles & Videos

A round up of articles addressing the Supreme Court decision on marriage

I can’t say anything better than has already been said by countless courageous Christian leaders around the country. So here’s a round up of the best articles I’ve found. If you want to make clear that, regardless of majority opinions and Supreme Court decisions, you will obey God rather than man, you can begin by... Continue Reading

Are My Children Christians?

My opinion and your opinion of our children–however optimistic or pessimistic that may be–is not the determining factor

This is the way the Holy Spirit speaks about our children: as those who are capable of being saved, as those who are relationally in covenant with God, as those who belong to the kingdom, as those who are numbered among the saints, and as those who are set apart from unbelievers. And it’s this... Continue Reading

I Will Trust and Not Be Afraid

As Christians we are called upon to put our ultimate trust in the Lord and not in anything or anyone created nor in our circumstances.

Our trust in the Lord is tested as gold in the fire when all history is ganging up on us. God seems distant and the heavens are brass. But God is not really distant at all. He is arranging the chess pieces so that he will win the game. There really is no doubt about... Continue Reading

But What Does the Bible Say?

As we pour over legal opinions and internet commentary, let us not forget what the Bible says.

I’d rather not talk about homosexuality again. But the world hasn’t stopped talking about it. And the Bible hasn’t stopped saying what it has always said. So let’s not be shrill and let’s not be silent. If you already know what the Bible says about homosexuality, don’t forget what the Bible says about all of... Continue Reading

Bill Gothard Defends Himself on New Website

Former ministry leader denies allegations of sexual abuse, but women who say he abused them stick by their stories, as donors try to prevent the sale of ministry assets

Bill Gothard is back. A little over a year ago, amid allegations of sexual abuse, he resigned from the ministry he founded in 1961. Last weekend he re-launched his website. Gothard continues to assert that the more than 60 women who accused him of harassment and abuse are “not telling the truth.” The most inflammatory... Continue Reading

Sudan Punishes Imprisoned Pastors after American Advocacy

Jesus' encouragement to visit ‘the least of these’ in jail proves tricky in practice.

Two days after Devlin’s visit, prison officials said the two pastors had been transferred to separate cells in a higher-security prison. The men have not seen their families or attorneys since, and are chained daily, CSW reports. While no reason was given publicly for the pastors’ transfer, some observers point to the failed attempt by... Continue Reading

Everything Has Changed and Nothing Has Changed — The Supreme Court Legalizes Same-Sex Marriage

As Chief Justice Roberts said in his dissent, “The majority’s decision is an act of will, not a legal judgment.”

In one sense, everything has changed. And yet, nothing has changed. The cultural and legal landscape has changed, as we believe this will lead to very real harms to our neighbors. But our Christian responsibility has not changed. We are charged to uphold marriage as the union of a man and a woman and to... Continue Reading

Is Preaching Really Foolishness?

Paul is talking about that which is foolish in the world’s eyes, but which in actuality is the wisdom of God unto salvation.

It was inconceivable to the Greek that there could be an incarnation. So what happened when Paul preached in Athens? They laughed, because his message seemed foolish. What Paul had to say to the Greeks was that mind was separated from matter, that spirit was separated from flesh. What Paul had to say to the... Continue Reading

Fragile Foundation of Marriage Equality, Part 2

More people are accepting marriage equality, but a solid majority as well as moderates and liberals say moral values are in decline.

Entitlement to self-fulfillment creates a solid philosophical basis for justifying same-sex unions. Who wants to deny anyone their inherent right to be happy? If some have same-sex attraction and that makes them feel good, then nobody should get in the way of their happiness. Approval of same-sex marriage is quite likely only a symptom of... Continue Reading

Word Magic

Playing with the meaning of words: taking the log out of our eye before assessing the court decision on marriage

But what have we done with those simple assertions of our Fathers? We’ve said, in good Supreme Court majority style, that they can also mean several other possible concepts such as Day-Age, Analogical, or Framework. Well, I do not see any significant difference between what we have done with documents that we have vowed to... Continue Reading

Coming Out

Confession is biblical, appropriate and necessary

I am not so naïve to think I understand much of anything from a press release, and that by one party. Only God knows whether the expression of regret proceeds from godly sorrow or the mourning of being caught. But I know that the gospel is not at stake and that it remains God’s remedy... Continue Reading

The Charleston Tragedy – Is Forgiveness Required?

Are Christians always obligated to forgive every debt or every transgression against them?

Although there is considerable doubt in my mind about the need to forgive apart from contrition, one thing that is clear in the Bible is that we are to love our enemies.  Maybe this is what these families are trying to do in a round-about way?  Jesus said, “Love your enemies and pray for those... Continue Reading

A Review: “Compassion without Compromise” by Adam Barr and Ron Citlau

How to be compassionate with those struggling with sexual sins without compromising biblical principles

This brings the authors to not only encourage Christians to return to God’s design, but to approach other sexual-sinners with humility, which may be what “our standing for truth needs” because none of us “lives up to the standards our faith demands.” If we do so, then, maybe “this posture of humility will gain the... Continue Reading

Marriage Canon Changes at GC2015 Could Seal Fate of Anglican Communion

If Episcopal delegates to General Convention pass two marriage resolutions in Salt Lake City later this month, it could seal the fate of any hope that the Anglican Communion can hold together

If the Church should consider committed same-sex relationships blessed by God, should it do so as a part of the practice of Christian marriage that we have not yet recognized, or rather as an analogous yet distinct good that we have not yet named? The answer is NO on both counts. Same-sex relationships have never... Continue Reading

Brief Thoughts on King v. Burwell

The decision marks a victory for postmodernism in contemporary jurisprudence. Words and texts can be manipulated by sheer will and at a whim.

The war on words is a war on meaning. It is a rebellious war, a “breaking of the chains” and “loosing of the fetters” (Psalm 2) of God’s design for creation and for bearers of his image. And the rebellion goes all the way down, even to the core of our biological identities. The war... Continue Reading

Episcopal Church Elects Michael Curry First Black Presiding Bishop

On Saturday, during a private meeting at St. Mark’s Cathedral in downtown Salt Lake City, bishops elected Bishop Michael Curry as the first African-American presiding bishop.

Curry, 62, spent 12 years as rector of St. James Church in Baltimore before his election as bishop of the N.C. Diocese. He and his wife, Sharon, have two grown daughters, Rachel and Elizabeth. He will succeed Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, the faith’s first female presiding bishop, who completes her nine-year term Nov. 1.  ... Continue Reading

The SCOTUS Decision on Marriage: Will It Change Our Ministry?

One church asks: Will anything change in our church’s ministry as a result of the Supreme Court decision on marriage? Answer: No.

Since this is such an important ruling from the Supreme Court, what should our church do differently?  Nothing.  We at EPC need no new strategy to minister in this cultural context.  We will continue to be the people that God has already been shaping us to be: We will continue to be a church that preaches the... Continue Reading

No Secret Key To Living The Christian Life

God wants us to be like Jesus, and there’s no one secret key to doing that

“Perhaps the “secret” is surrender to the Lordship of Christ, or abiding in Christ, or being filled with the Spirit, or another great biblical truth. Suddenly, the beauty and glory of this truth shines in their soul and from that instant they are changed. This becomes the key that unlocks everything that had prevented their... Continue Reading

You Can’t Serve God and Entertainment

Your means of escape has made you a slave.

“If I’m honest, I’ve had an unbridled love for frivolous entertainment — over the years I’ve used it primarily as a means of escape. Entertainment was used to distract me from the guilt of sin, friction in relationships, or anxiety about work. It became what daily prayer and Bible reading should have been — a... Continue Reading