Selfaholism or Servaholism

The weird thing about addictions is that they promise much, but deliver little.

But here’s the strangest thing of all; the happiest people in the world are servants – not those who warm the slippers of millionaires, but those who serve others in all their relationships and responsibilities. They may have a million in the bank or even just red ink, but whatever their social or financial standing,... Continue Reading

Selected Acts & Deliverances of the 45th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in America

The 45th PCA General Assembly met in Greensboro, NC from June 13-16, 2017.

A summary of selected actions of the 45th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in America, including the actions on the recommendations presented by the “Ad Interim Study Committee on Women in Ministry.”  The report is provided for the Assembly, but is not adopted by the Assembly.   1) Approved to be sent down for... Continue Reading

Family Homeless Nonprofit Forced to Choose Between Government Funding and Drug-Free Policy

Because it requires residents to adhere to certain accountability standards such as staying sober, Solutions for Change is ineligible to receive federal government program funding.

Instead of simply providing a place to sleep, Solutions for Change takes a holistic approach to solving homelessness. It requires residents to go through counseling, take courses in financial literacy, parenting, leadership, and anger management, and eventually, get a job.   VISTA, CALIF.—Growing up, Teena Faison never imagined she’d find herself a single mom and... Continue Reading

10 Things You Should Know about Jonathan Edwards

"Though he was of tender constitution, yet few students are capable of a closer or longer application, than he was."

On August 29, 1726, he is asked to assist his grandfather, Solomon Stoddard, in the church in Northampton. He is ordained on February 15, 1727. On February 11, 1729, Stoddard dies and Edwards becomes pastor of the church. The church in 1735 had approximately 620 members. It was customary for Edwards to spend 13 hours... Continue Reading

Preaching the Gospel with TULIP’s Tricky “L” in Mind

How can you preach the “whosoever” of John 3:16 if you cannot be certain that Christ’s atonement was for every person?

The doctrines known as “Calvinism” insist that Christ’s atonement was completed with a limited or definite purpose in mind—the salvation of God’s elect. Thus, while the atonement was sufficient for all humanity, it was intended and applied only to those who had been specially chosen by God to be his. R.C. Sproul says, “Our view... Continue Reading

The Most Important Correlation In All Of Social Science

Number of sexual partners and duration of first marriage.

Thus the cultivation of chastity is central to a robust nation and a robust culture.  Chastity is an old term but now out of favor even among Christians, given the impact of political correctness i.e. cultural Marxism. However it is the accurate label for the virtue or strength behind the data.   Regular readers of... Continue Reading

The FAQs: Supreme Court Delivers Religious Liberty Victory to Hospitals

Had the lower courts ruling been allowed to stand, the precedent could have affected other issues in which church structure affects how they carry out their mission.

Over the past four years, Becket Law notes, class-action lawyers have “brought nearly 100 lawsuits against various Catholic and Protestant hospitals around the country, arguing that these nonprofit hospitals had broken the law by participating in nonprofit church pension plans instead of using lower-benefit pension plans designed for large for-profit corporations like Exxon and Walmart.”... Continue Reading

United Methodist Church Conference Ordains First ‘Nonbinary Trans’ Provisional Deacon

In late 2014, Barclay announced that she was undergoing a "gender transition" and began to use the plural pronouns of "they" and "their" instead of "she" and "her."

“I know it’s not particularly common in The United Methodist Church, but I intend to wear a collar every single day because for a person like me to navigate society in a collar provides some profound and urgently needed pastoral opportunities, particularly for queer and trans people.”   The Northern Illinois Conference commissioned M Barclay,... Continue Reading

Two Members of A PCA Family Shot By Son, Who Then Shoots Himself

Two family members are dead and a third is suffering from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound; members of Zion Reformed Church (PCA) in Winesburg, Ohio.

Dead are James W. Stockdale, 21, and Kathryn B. Stockdale, 54, his mother. Sheriff George T. Maier said Jacob T. Stockdale, 25, fired a shotgun at his mother and brother, killing them, then shot himself. He was taken by ambulance to Canton’s Aultman Hospital and then by helicopter to Cleveland Metro Hospital, where he was... Continue Reading

Echoes of Scripture in the Gospels

The Old Testament surfaces on virtually every page of the New Testament; it speaks with divine authority , and like the NT, it is the very word of God.

The NT writers, to be sure, are largely silent concerning the degree to which the OT authors were aware and conscious of the One to whom they were pointing. They are generally content to affirm that the OT authors pointed to Christ. The NT writers are more concerned to insist that the project of “reading backwards” is... Continue Reading

Tragic Worship

Worship characterized by upbeat rock music, stand-up comedy, beautiful people taking center stage, and a certain amount of Hallmark Channel sentimentality neglects that “in the midst of life we are in death.”

Of all places, the Church should surely be the most realistic. The Church knows how far humanity has fallen, understands the cost of that fall in both the incarnate death of Christ and the inevitable death of every single believer. In the psalms of lament, the Church has a poetic language for giving expression to... Continue Reading

CRC Synod 2017: Syncretism, Restructuring, and the Belhar (Again)

Synod 2017 of the Christian Reformed Church in North America (CRC) was much less contentious than the last couple years but no less eventful.

The Synod 2017 discussions around the topic of justice revealed the underlying differences within today’s CRC. Rev. Andrew Beunk from Classis British Columbia Northwest noticed this and perceptively spoke of it during the discussion on the Belhar Confession: “I think that we are experiencing at the synod a tension that I want to name …... Continue Reading

Often Missing from Conversations about Diversity and Inclusion: Cognitive Diversity

Issues of diversity and inclusion often overlook one aspect of this topic: cognitive diversity.

Reynolds and Lewis studied how well executive teams could complete a strategic execution task under time pressure. They discovered that the kinds of diversity we most commonly think of — gender, race, age — had no correlation to a team’s results. What did make a difference was whether the team members had different perspectives and different styles of... Continue Reading

PCA Study Committee Report: Recommendation 2

Recommendation 2 was contentious because there is no broad agreement in the PCA about the scriptural and constitutional parameters on the role of women serving in the church.

It is the lack of clarity in the report regarding what is biblically and confessionally acceptable for women in worship that makes it difficult to adopt anything other than a wait-and-see attitude with regard to the 2nd recommendation. Mutual respect is not the problem. For the most part, I think progressive and conservative men in the... Continue Reading

Luther’s Life: Lessons From a Controversial Colloquy

In the middle of the 1520s, key Protestants desired a political alliance between the Lutheran and Reformed (the non-Lutheran reformers in Switzerland and Strasbourg) bodies.

When it came to agreeing on the sixth sub-point, whether Christ is bodily present in the elements, the most distinguished minds of Protestantism slammed into an insurmountable obstacle.  While Zwingli and the Reformed representatives viewed the issue of Christ’s presence as a non-essential doctrine, Luther’s intransigence and his insistence that it is an essential guaranteed... Continue Reading

The Glorious Things That Happen While Waiting On God

God works uniquely through waiting, giving me blessings that I couldn’t get any other way.

God allows me to wait because he wants to demonstrate his wisdom. He wants to teach me that his way is always the best. That I should trust in the Lord with all my heart and stop relying on my faulty, fickle, usually deluded understanding. God wants me to trust him, and he’ll often make... Continue Reading

Why Does God Make Us Wait?

To combat spiritual impatience, we need to pray for more hope and patience.

God wasn’t obligated to make any good promises to sinners like us.  But in his sovereign and free mercy, he did promise salvation and all the blessings that go with it. Therefore, it’s fitting and right to be patient and to say that his timing is best.  And we put on “the hope of salvation as a... Continue Reading

The Semi-Arianism of ESS Arguments

Grudem, Ware, and any who make these quoted arguments, are indeed arguing for an ontological subordination, whether they would like to acknowledge it or not.

That, my friends, is an ontological statement—an ontological subordination—and it absolutely contradicts the Nicene formula. If (a) God is ontologically triune, (b) the triunity of God is defined by the relational distinctions of Father, Son, and Spirit, and (c) father-ness and son-ness necessarily implies authority and submission, then we must conclude that the supposed relation... Continue Reading

Praying for the Heart’s of Our Children

Above all, the prayer I keep coming back to time and time again is a prayer for their heart.

The truth is, the heart of the matter is the heart. What our children need most is a new heart. They need the Spirit to bring them from death to life. They need the Spirit to work in them, sanctifying and transforming them into the likeness of Christ. So even as I pray about other things for... Continue Reading

Did Christ Really Have to Die?

Only by recovering its core message—God must punish sin, but God’s anger can be satisfied and averted by sacrifice—will the indispensable necessity of Christ sin-atoning death be recovered.

Have you ever applied the same question to Christ’s death? Why did he do this? Was it really necessary? Why did Christ have to die, and to die such a death? Though it’s rarely asked today, it was asked by many in the 19th century and many wrong answers were proposed. In Christ’s Doctrine of the Atonement, Scottish... Continue Reading

The PCA Churchman

Life Beyond Your Local Church

On the national level, commissioners from churches make decisions at General Assembly (GA) that set the course of future decades in the work of ministry. GA is not a minor irritant or an opportunity for simply catching up with old friends; it’s a vital component in preserving the health and faithfulness of the ecclesial body... Continue Reading

Is It “Lutheran” To Say That We Are Mystically United To Christ Through Faith?

The suggestion assumes that there is a great gulf between the Lutherans and the Reformed on this issue

There are certainly important and marked differences between Lutherans and the Reformed traditions, e.g., the rule of worship, Christology, the Supper, Baptism, church government, perseverance of the saints, covenant theology, and reprobation to name a few but it seems to be more an a priori assumption rather than a matter of fact that the confessional Lutheran and Reformed traditions are... Continue Reading

Fearing Christianity?

It seems that in the western world there is one category of people not particularly allowed to voice an opinion; one category of people that should be denied office at all costs.

But why all this hostility? There is an intolerance, a subconscious fear, of biblical Christianity. Why is that? It’s because it confronts people with what they know to be true and try to suppress: that there is a God. Christians who live like there is a real God to whom they will one day give... Continue Reading

Church Planting and the Gospel of Gentrification

Are we seeking the "welfare of the city," or just our own?

If this sounds harsh, it is because we are in a dire moment. People are being exiled from their homes and communities while Christians attend conferences on church planting. We are centering the wrong people in these conversations, and we have misapplied scripture egregiously. As Cole Brown says, Jeremiah 29:4-7 was written originally to people... Continue Reading

I Never Knew My Father

I never knew my father, but now I do; let me tell you the why.

My father went through all he did on Okinawa, and throughout World War II, and never showed the slightest hint of it to his son or daughters. He dealt death to others not happily but because it was his duty. He watched his closest friends and comrades die beside him. He spared me all that... Continue Reading

What Does It Mean to Call God “Father?”

The first Jewish rabbi to call God “Father” directly was Jesus of Nazareth.

A few years ago, a German scholar was doing research in New Testament literature and discovered that in the entire history of Judaism—in all existing books of the Old Testament and all existing books of extrabiblical Jewish writings dating from the beginning of Judaism until the tenth century A.D. in Italy—there is not a single... Continue Reading

Illinois Purges Social Workers And Foster Families Who Don’t ‘Facilitate’ Transgenderism

Illinois’s child welfare agency has proclaimed staff must ‘affirm’ gender ideology and ‘facilitate’ LGBT identities for kids—or be fired.

The state of Illinois will not tolerate “exposing” the vulnerable children in its care to people who believe human beings are either male or female and cannot “become” the other. No matter that sexual difference is a scientific fact, or that billions of sane people across the world acknowledge it.   The science-deniers are running... Continue Reading

How One Deep South Church Left Segregation Behind

Many leaders of what would become the PCA barred blacks from membership, defended white supremacist organizations, and taught that the Bible opposed interracial marriage and supported segregation.

Every week, Elbert McGowan preaches to a congregation that’s one-third African American. They sing songs found in both Presbyterian and African-American hymnals. The congregation does more hand-raising and clapping than a typical Presbyterian crowd, while the theology is solidly Reformed.   Elbert McGowan grew up five minutes from Trinity Presbyterian Church on the north side of Jackson, Mississippi.... Continue Reading

An Open Letter to Bernie Sanders from a Vermont Pastor

Evangelical Christians who hold to salvation in Christ alone may be a minority in our great state, but we are not racists or bigots, and our elected Senators should not make such broad-brush and intolerant statements.

As a Vermont pastor, I ask my country for freedom to not only preach the gospel–but also for freedom for those I preach to–to hold their religious beliefs while also holding public office. If you return to our roots of religious freedom as a state and as a nation, the religious tests will stop. And... Continue Reading

The Reform of Private Life, Part 2

Protestants saw marriage as a creation ordinance, something God mandated to all humanity at the creation, and thus primarily a civil rather than ecclesiastical institution.

Luther argued that the Catholic Church was wrong in defining marriage as a sacrament. Protestants believed that only things that Jesus Himself had specifically commanded us to do qualified as sacraments, and though Jesus attended a wedding, He never commanded us to marry. Further, if Jews, Muslims, pagans, and even atheists marry, how can it... Continue Reading