I Love Your Love But I Hate Your Tolerance
Often, we compromise in areas where we shouldn’t because we want to give the benefit of the doubt
“We want to be loving. We can be loving in so many other areas, and yet our tolerance could be the very thing that gives a green light for God’s people to sin. Protecting perpetrators of both spiritual and physical harlotry is not loving.” One thing that really stands out to me while I... Continue Reading
The PCA And The Right Against Self-Incrimination: Against Overture 7
Overture 7 seeks to change BCO 35-1 such that "church officers under accusation shall be required to testify before the court."
How did the right against self-incrimination become part of the BCO? As we will see, it was not because the PCA was influenced by civil protections, such as the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Instead, it was the contributions of our Reformed forefathers that helped shape the American religious and civil protections against self-incrimination we... Continue Reading
Do Churches Fail the Poor?
It’s a more basic failure to reach out, integrate, and keep them in the pews
“This is the striking story of the last 30 years: Despite the stereotype of religion as something that people “cling to” (to quote a different moment of condescension from this president) in desperate circumstances, actual religious practice has collapsed more quickly among Americans with weaker economic prospects than it has among the college-educated upper class.”... Continue Reading
The Tapestry of Sovereign Grace
In the air conditioned sanctuary on a Sunday morning, theology is precise in theory
“It is not just that all of creation and providence contribute together in totality to the glory of God. It is that these two strands are inseparably tied together. This theological knot, so evident in Scripture, is nevertheless at times hidden from view in our lives—like a tapestry’s beauty on top is so contingent on... Continue Reading
Can Someone Who Believes in Limited Atonement Plead With Sinners?
If you believe that Christ did not die for the entire world what then of proclaiming the gospel?
“A belief in limited atonement does not make you unable to proclaim the gospel directly to every sinner. In fact if taken whole such a doctrine may actually give you more confidence in proclaiming—knowing that His sheep will indeed answer the gospel call.” When we think about what Christ accomplished on the cross we... Continue Reading
In Praise of the Dying Art of Civil Disagreement
Why is civil disagreement so hard? It cannot simply be a matter of dogmatic certainty
“I think the lack of civil disagreement in the classroom is best understood as a function of larger social and political trends. As I have noted on this site before, oppression is now a psychological category. This subverts the crucial moral difference between an actual crime, a speech crime, and (increasingly) a thought crime.” ... Continue Reading
Keeping Faith: The Changing Face of Religion in Canada
Many immigrants come to Canada and bring their religion with them
“An online survey on religion released in March by the Angus Reid Institute suggests that the percentage of God-denying Canadians has doubled from six per cent of the population in the 1970s to 13 per cent now — with about one in four Canadians saying they’re inclined to reject religion.” When the sad time came to say good-bye to her late husband, Marie Diane... Continue Reading
Theology Feud Pits Half of Town’s Protestant Churches Against Another
A feud over theology has led an unusual ecumenical project in a small Arizona town
“Eight churches — including Baptist, Lutheran, Presbyterian, and non-denominational congregations—in Fountain Hills have teamed up for a campaign of public banners and sermons aimed at the theology of a nearby Methodist church.” A feud over theology has led an unusual ecumenical project in a small Arizona town. Eight churches—including Baptist, Lutheran, Presbyterian, and non-denominational... Continue Reading
Identity, Ethnicity, Culture, and the Gospel
Personal reflections about identity and ethnicity as a mixed race Christian
“Before my identity was ruined for/in Christ (more on this later), I found a big part of my identity in my ethnicity. I am the only child of a white father and a Puerto Rican mother. When we visited family when I was growing up, I always felt different. I “felt” Puerto Rican around my... Continue Reading
Alabama Senate Passes Bill to Effectively Nullify All Sides on Marriage
The Alabama state Senate passed a bill that would end the practice of licensing marriages in the state, effectively nullifying the contentious national debate over government-sanctioned marriage.
The bill would replace all references to marriages “licenses” in state law with “contracts.” The legislation would not invalidate any marriage licenses issued prior to the bill being passed. The contract shall be filed in the office of the judge of probate in each county and shall constitute a legal record of the marriage. A... Continue Reading
Heads LGBTs Win, Tails Christians Lose
You must not only bake the cake, or arrange the flowers, or make the ring, you must hold the correct opinion when you do it.
This Christian jeweler agreed to custom-make engagement rings for a lesbian couple, knowing that they were a couple, and treated them politely. But when they found out what he really believed about same-sex marriage, even though the man gave them polite service, and agreed to sell them what they asked for, the lesbian couple balked,... Continue Reading
7 Reasons Christians Should STAY On Facebook
Encouragement for ways in which Facebook can be used for Kingdom purposes
We are often grieved when social media becomes the setting for angry or obscene exchanges, but for Christians there are wonderful opportunities to share articles, scripture, anecdotes, stories, and videos that are intended to teach, strengthen, and build up the people who read, watch, or listen to them. When wisely used, Facebook can massively extend... Continue Reading
Overtures 2 and 9: The “Recreations” Clauses: North Texas and Tennessee Valley Presbyteries
“Establish Study Committee to Recommend Changes to the Westminster Standards regarding the Sabbath”
Insofar as a study committee is concerned, I have no objection to the idea. In fact, if the study committee does its job properly it would at least clarify the issue at the heart of this discussion. That issue is, “What do the Standards mean by ‘recreations’”? Most people probably think that the Standards mean... Continue Reading
Clickbait Headlines Are Killing My Soul
Why are they killing us? Because if everything is amazing, then nothing is amazing.
The more clickbait headlines I read, the more I become suspicious of any claims of glory. My heart becomes calloused to beauty and wonder and mystery. The more time I spend wading through the shallows of Facebook, the more I forget about the deeps of the gospel. The Internet has a way of dulling beauty... Continue Reading
Top Men: A Response to Paul Helm
Paul Helm has an interesting piece critiquing the critics of megapastordom.
Third, Paul’s comments are prefaced by his observation that the debate is not taking place because the critics are not engaging the other side. On the contrary, the problem is that the Top Men and their followers have adamantly refused to engage the critics. We have been dismissed, blacklisted and bullied. Paul Helm has... Continue Reading
What Should the Duggar Scandal Teach the Church?
The controversy here is, sadly, yet another reminder to the church of our responsibility to be a witness for justice and righteousness on the issue of sexual abuse.
Sexual abuse is immoral, but it is far more than just sexual. Sexual abuse is an act of violence, in which one leverages power to sexually violate the helpless. The resulting aftermath is not just a guilty conscience awaiting judgment on the part of the perpetrator, but a victim who has been assaulted. Sexual abuse... Continue Reading
What Does Jude 7 Mean By “Other Flesh”?
Reasons to accept the traditional interpretation that Jude 7 is a reference to the sin of homosexual behavior
In short, the sin of Sodom and Gomorrah and the whole region was not just a one-time attempted gang rape of angelic beings, but, according to Jude a lifestyle of sensuality and sexual immorality, at least one aspect of which was exemplified in men pursuing the flesh of other men instead of the flesh of... Continue Reading
Mark Driscoll returns: Ex-Mars Hill Pastor Gets Standing Ovation at Mill Creek Church
The fallen pastor has picked himself up, with none of the mea culpas or public soul searching seen from his former top aides.
Driscoll built the Mars Hill Church, which he co-founded, into a mega church which eventually had 15 “campuses” in five states, and an estimated regular attendance of 13,000. It came crashing down last year, amidst plagiarism accusations, questions about where “church planting” donations designated for Ethiopia and India were really spent, and multiple accusations of... Continue Reading
Lecrae Makes Music Concerned With The Soul
Lecrae is a devout Christian and his lyrics deal with issues of faith, family and social justice.
On embracing his faith within hip-hop: It’s interesting, because it’s such a phenomenon for a hip-hop artist to fully embrace his Christian roots and his faith. That becomes something that people almost need you to justify. What we’re communicating in our music is love and justice and service and community. But it’s rare that we’ll... Continue Reading
First Presbyterian Church, Columbia, SC, Buys SCE&G Building For College Ministry
The onetime customer service center for SCE&G at Marion and Lady Streets has been sold to the church for $4.1 million.
Derek Thomas said plans for the three-story, 32,000-square-foot building, formerly a SCE&G customer service center, have not been finalized. A church committee is putting together a formal plan. However, the building probably will include a student library, meeting spaces and a coffee shop. First Presbyterian Church is the latest downtown Columbia congregation to reach... Continue Reading
8 Features of the Best Kind of Calvinism
Calvinism at its best is experiential
The experiential Calvinist cultivates communion with God. … Experiential Calvinism cherishes communion with God and understands that this communion requires two things: that we “receive” His love and that we “make suitable returns unto him.” The Father’s love is received “by faith” through Christ. “The soul being thus, by faith through Christ, and by him... Continue Reading
Scouts President: Gay Leader Ban Unsustainable
Robert Gates, who as secretary of defense abolished the military’s ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, policy, says Scouts’ ban ‘cannot be sustained’
Gates’ speech and his call for change is not a surprise. When the Boy Scouts decided in 2013 to allow homosexual youth into the program, critics of the change said then the decision was unsustainable. John Stemberger, who ultimately left the Scouts to found a group called Trail Life USA as a Christian alternative to... Continue Reading
United Methodist Body Votes to Change the Church’s Position on Homosexuality by Allowing Clergy to Be ‘Practicing Homosexuals,’ Perform Gay Weddings
The Connectional Table voted 26 to 10 in favor of proposed legislation that would allow clergy to perform gay weddings
The Discipline also says that clergy can neither bless gay weddings nor can non-celibate homosexuals be ordained. At the UMC’s most recent general conference, held in 2012 in Tampa, Florida, a resolution introduced to change the Discipline’s language on these positions was voted down. But the controversy over the Mainline Protestant denomination’s position on homosexuality continued.... Continue Reading
Qualifying ‘The State of the PCA’
A response to Bryan Chapell's ‘State of the PCA’
If I am to be classified as a traditionalist, here is my definition of it: I believe in a tradition that is derived from the Scripture and has been held by great names in church history. This Scriptural tradition has found its way into the great creeds and confessions of the Church, particularly the Westminster... Continue Reading
On Conservative Religious Activism, The Numbers Speak For Themselves
American churches are incredibly generous to the needs of a hurting world
In 2009, overseas relief and development supported by American churches exceeded $13 billion, according to path-breaking calculations by the Hudson Center for Global Prosperity. (This includes not just evangelical churches but also Catholic and mainline Protestant congregations, and covers both direct missions work and donations to private relief groups.) WASHINGTON (RNS) In an interview... Continue Reading
Baptism and a Box of Corn Flakes
Baptism is called a sign and seal. A sign points to the existence of something. A seal authenticates, confirms and guarantees the existence of that which is signified.
Baptism is a sacrament, wherein the washing with water in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, doth signify and seal our ingrafting into Christ, and partaking of the benefits of the covenant of grace, and our engagement to be the Lord’s. My Presbyterian congregation entered 2015... Continue Reading
Kirsten Powers Gets Its Dangerously Wrong on the Bible and Homosexuality
Responding to Kirsten Power’s affirmative answer to: "Could there be a future where most American Christians support same-sex relationships?" with: "Only if these Christians renounce the Word of God…."
We are called to holiness more than to heterosexuality, and from Genesis to Revelation, from Moses to Jesus to Paul, the consistent witness of Scripture is that holiness can never be found in a homosexual union. No amount of Scripture twisting can make sexual relationships between two men or two women holy in God’s sight.... Continue Reading
Launching A Missions Movement: Acts 1:8
Acts 1:8 is both an outline and a summary of Acts.
What could be more unnatural than the act of leaving your comfortable home to go to a place you’ve never been, to speak a language you don’t know, to love a people you’ve never met. Acts 1:8 is not a story of super-disciples, but a story of a bunch of sinners, just like you and... Continue Reading
TLC Pulls 19 Kids Over Josh Duggar Misconduct Scandal
The move comes less than 24 hours after news broke of sexual misconduct allegations against Josh Duggar
In a statement released late Thursday, Duggar admitted to misconduct when he was 14 years old, calling his actions “inexcusable.” “I hurt others, including my family and close friends,” he said in a post on his family’s official Facebook page. “I confessed this to my parents who took several steps to help me address the situation. We... Continue Reading
Five Reasons Some Pastors Are Loners—And Why That’s Not Good
I have met very few leaders who fell when they were sharing life and ministry with others
“Jesus always got it right: He knew how to balance His time with the Father and with others. He called individuals, preached to the hundreds, and fed the thousands – all while also patiently investing in a few men. Even in his toughest moments (like the Garden of Gethsemane), He wanted men with Him.” ... Continue Reading