Predigested Obsolescence

For as long as there have been churches, there have been churches that want to do less than that for which the church is intended.

What is striking, though perhaps not surprising, is that the churches have continued to ride the therapeutic bandwagon, even as that bandwagon has gone political. Rainbow flags, “No Place for Hate” signs, and Black Lives Matter posters often seem to do double duty: signaling those vital virtues and indicating the presence of a house of... Continue Reading

The Church Is More Than People

The kingdom of God is what Christ preached and ushered in, and the present form it takes is the church.

The church, therefore, is a place where the people are gathered to receive God’s divine gifts, and it is a people who are formed and scattered during the week. The church, then, goes out into neighborhoods and communities to serve others in their various callings. This is our mission. This is where we give Christ’s love through our callings.... Continue Reading

The Ascent of Trump and the Impact on Evangelical Ethics

My concern is that our opinion on ethical issues appears to change depending on how the political wind is blowing at any particular moment.

I am very hesitant to state that the Bible supports this or that political position. However, I cannot see how the situation I have just described is in line with the teachings of Jesus Christ. Either something is a sin or it isn’t. Either we should be gracious or we shouldn’t. Slight differences in situations... Continue Reading

Between Irrelevance and Inspiration: Rob Bell’s “What is the Bible?”

In the final analysis this book is nothing but an unsophisticated demonstration of unbelief echoing, with all the craft and subtly, the serpent’s question: “Did God actually say?”

Rob Bell finds himself in a peculiar situation. He rejects the belief that the Bible is the inspired, inerrant, and authoritative Word of God; but he also rejects the idea that the Bible is of absolutely no use. It’s as if he wants to have one foot on inspiration and the other on irrelevance and... Continue Reading

Kind Education

I long for the day when there will be freedom in the body of Christ for believers to unburden their hurts without the fear of being met with defensiveness or dismissiveness.

If people are going to treat me as “other”, I am no better if I fail to see their humanity. Sure there were times when the comments were malicious, but more often than not, ignorance was the root. But the “kind education” needed to correct the ignorance means listening on one side and taking the... Continue Reading

A Call for Deacons

What are the qualifications for a deacon? What do deacons do?

Deacons serve a crucial role in the life of the church. Both of the offices of elder and deacon are important for the ministry of the church. Elders are ordained for the oversight of the church in the ministry of the Word and of prayer. Deacons are ordained for the service of the church in... Continue Reading

“The head of Christ is God”: ESS, Complementarianism, and the History of Interpretation

1 Corinthians 11:3 is a/the linchpin passage in the Eternal Subordination of the Son (ESS)-meets-Complementarianism argument.

Three premises are required for the ESS/Complementarian argument to succeed. “The head of Christ is God” must mean that the head of the Eternal Son of God, even prior to the incarnation, is God the Father. “Head” (kephale) must mean “authority over” or similar. There must be an intended analogy (or parallel) between the headship... Continue Reading

Four Reasons Why Every Christian Should Study Psalm 110

Study Psalm 110 to hear what the Lord says.

What do you cling to when your faith is challenged? Your friends, your church attendance, your family, your quiet time, your emotions or psychological health? A prayer that you prayed? These are times in our lives when we really want to know God’s will. Psalm 110 delivers again. Here we see the covenant of redemption,... Continue Reading

No Utopias Here

Interview with Carl Trueman on marriage, ministry, emotionalism, and Christians in politics.

Utopias have generally ended up as hells on earth, so even secular history suggests that utopianism is not a good political philosophy. Christians going into politics need to know it’s a question of achieving the best you can, not achieving perfection. Christians supporting Christian politicians need to be patient, bear with them, and pray they... Continue Reading

The Ruling Elder: A Generational Vision

The Bible teaches that a good Elder should be a good father, and a good father looks after his family.

As there were in the Church under the law, elders of the people for the government thereof, so in the Gospel Church, Christ has furnished others besides ministers of the Word with gifts and commission to govern when called thereunto, who are called ruling elders…Ruling elders possess the same authority and eligibility to office in... Continue Reading

How Does A Pastor Demonstrate Courage?

Show up as broken, weak, and needy before the church you pastor.

Let them know you are hurting. Remind them you are not perfect and are not in control. The most courageous pastors are the ones who don’t perform, but rest in their identity in Christ and live in the freedom of being themselves before their people.   Courage in pastors can take on many forms.  However,... Continue Reading

Every Dark Shadow

No one has ever really seen every dark shadow inside of us.

When we do take a head-spinning moment to recognize how deep and pitch black the pit of sin really is, not in other people, but in ourselves, we don’t have to despair. We don’t have to live in fear of being abandoned by our all-knowing God. He sees every dark shadow inside of us. Every... Continue Reading

Portrait of a Deviant Woman

Vulnerable members of the church are frequently portrayed as abnormal and even deserving of suffering

Rather than asking, what could have possibly happened to Jessica to lead to her actions, people instead asked, what kind of perverse person would do this? See the difference there? The portrait of a vulnerable person as deviant allows us to avoid examining our actions towards them. It means we can point the finger. That... Continue Reading

Is Your Faith Working For You?

True faith is about how you live your life out of the overflow of your heart, much more so than it is about what you believe with your brain.

I love theology, doctrine, and academic study of the Bible. But the purpose of the Christian faith is transformation, not information. When you embrace a lifestyle of faith, God will transform you from who you are into someone entirely different (see Isaiah 55). Your faith should transform you from a thorn bush into a cypress... Continue Reading

Betsy DeVos’ Pursuit Of Justice

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos announced last week plans to scrap Obama-era rules for colleges and universities dealing with sexual assault claims on campus.

“Before the Obama administration instructed colleges and universities that they had to take sexual-assault allegations seriously—or risk losing federal funds—the system was way too disposed to discourage complaints,” wrote Washington Post columnist Ruth Marcus. “But the Obama administration’s move also prompted an overcorrection at some institutions that failed to do enough to protect the rights... Continue Reading

Teen Reversing His Gender Transition

Doctors say the 14-year-old’s case shows the problem with ‘gender-affirming care.’

“It’s the most incomprehensible thing I’ve come across in all my time of medicine,” said Western Sydney University professor John Whitehall, according to the Daily Telegraph. “Prepubertal children have no idea about sexuality and choices of procreation afterwards. We’re messing with their limbic system and expecting them to make this great evaluation.”   (WNS)–An Australian... Continue Reading

How the Reformation Spread

From Wittenberg to Geneva to England, the seeds of the Reformation that were planted in Germany sprouted into full bloom as they made their way into the English empire

“The rapid expanse of the Reformation was hinted at from the very beginning when the Ninety-five Theses were posted on the church door (intended for theological discussion among the faculty). Without Luther’s knowledge and permission, his theses were translated from Latin into German and duplicated on the printing press and spread to every village in... Continue Reading

Are Protestants Closer to Catholics than Martin Luther? A Response to the Recent Pew Study (Part 2)

A recent Pew study claimed that modern Protestants sound more like Catholics when it comes to issues like sola scriptura and sola fide

“On a fundamental level, the survey options do not allow for a very important distinction the Reformers made, namely the distinction between the instrument of justification (faith) and the results of justification (good works). Reformed folks would certainly affirm that faith alone is the instrument by which God justifies a sinner.  But, this does not... Continue Reading

The Chance of Salvation: An Interview with Lincoln Mullen

Religious identity in the United States is profoundly a matter of individual choice

“Many of the converts I describe in the book initially had their religious identities destabilized by encountering other faiths. One New Yorker, for instance, was a disciple of Christian Science at the same time that he attended Congregationalist or Methodist preaching on Sundays and joined Catholic classes for potential converts. People who encountered other faiths... Continue Reading

Jury Duty and Judgment Day

One of the greatest days of my life was when I was summoned for jury duty

“The judge’s job was to ensure that the people were able to remain unbiased. Her questions were simple. Questions like: are you willing to consider giving someone a financial award based on pain and suffering? Is there any reason why you wouldn’t be able to be fair in your judgment in this case?”   One... Continue Reading

5 Tasks Every Pastor Needs To Do Today (And Every Day)

Several principles rise to a high level of importance when considering the subject of pastoral ministry

True pastoring always begins with personal holiness. In 1 Timothy 4:16, Paul tells Timothy “Keep a close watch on yourself.” The word “watch” means “to be vigilant” or “to pay close attention.” A pastor needs to give careful attention to his own soul because he is called to be a holy man.   Whole books... Continue Reading

Book Review: Pastor Unique

Pastor Unique is about turnaround pastors in the sense of long-term (not transitional or interim) pastors, who seek to lead their stagnant congregations to great commission effectiveness

“Brown, Penfold and Westra maintain that we can identify the best practices of turnaround pastors, and with the help of the Spirit of God, accurate assessment, immersion training, mentoring and cluster groups of like-minded individuals, we—non-turnaround-pastor types can become turnaround pastors. “   This is not just another book. We didn’t need another indictment of the... Continue Reading

Protestants: The Most ‘Catholic’ of Christians

New confession by high-profile theologians gives post-Reformation unity a URL

“The new statement of faith, crafted by a team of Protestant theologians and church leaders, aims to show that Protestants are actually more catholic (meaning ‘universal’) than Roman Catholics, who demand allegiance to the Roman pontiff, or than Orthodox Christians, who reject the claims of Rome but still rely heavily on apostolic succession to guarantee... Continue Reading

John Calvin: Method of Preaching

In Calvin we have a man who gave his all for Christ

“By examining historical data about his manner of life and written material from his method of preaching, I have deliberately aimed to prove that he is a worthy example for ministers of the Word of God.”   While Calvin’s life certainly did leave ministers a worthy example, we will consider now the second matter of... Continue Reading

Calvin’s Theology: Nearly All the Wisdom We Possess

"Nearly all the wisdom we possess, that is to say, true and sound wisdom, consists of two parts: the knowledge of God and of ourselves."

True wisdom comes from above and that involves our knowing God and understanding ourselves in light of this God who has revealed himself to us in nature and Scripture. We were never meant to understand ourselves and our world without reference to God. This is especially true now that we are in rebellion against the... Continue Reading

Understanding Spiritual Gifts: 4 Lessons from J.I. Packer

“All Christians have gifts and tasks of their own within the church’s total ministry.”

Perhaps it feels audacious to claim discernment as our gift and no less prideful to claim wisdom or mercy. For others, defining their gift puts pressure on them and they’d rather leave ministry to the “professionals.” Still others simply have no idea how to begin to discover what our gifts actually are.   Ask your... Continue Reading

Teaching Young Children About The Reformation: It’s Complicated

I will readily acknowledge that there may not be a perfect answer to how to present this material to the 5-10 age group.

So what are the options? On one end of the spectrum is the “all in” option and you can use the curriculum as published and figure the editorial changes are appropriate and helpful for the audience. On the other end is the option to not use the lesson, or use the lesson but drop the... Continue Reading

In all things, charity: A progressive Christian believes in these core values

I do have some things to say to conservatives as they go, offered in the spirit of “in all things, charity.”

It seems to me, right now, that fearful conservative Christians are taking a different tack, by allying with the Republican Party, trying to use political power to maintain Christian cultural privilege. What these Christians are doing is crucifying Jesus again by aligning with the Wall Street rich, the climate deniers, the fascist marchers in Charlottesville and... Continue Reading

60 Percent of Pastors’ Spouses Say Church Salary Not Enough to Meet Needs: LifeWay

"The factors that seem to matter the most for our analyses is the very slow growth rates of male clergy income and, relatedly, the general devaluing of the clergy occupation."

“About a third (36 percent) say they worry every month about making ends meet. Forty-six percent say they worry about not being able to save for the future. Sixty percent say the compensation paid by the church isn’t enough to support their family,” noted LifeWay.   Nearly two-thirds of pastors’ spouses have said that the salary... Continue Reading

Three Tests God Ordains for His People

Knowing that tests are purposeful, we can rest, understanding that the Master is fully in control of both the test and the outcome.

As a teacher, I don’t ask test questions because I need to know the answers. I ask questions because my students need to know the answers. Likewise, God ordains tests for us, not for his sake, but for ours. He ordains tests today just as he did in the Old Testament with the testing of his people,... Continue Reading

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