“Submit to Your Husbands”: Women Told to Endure Domestic Violence in the Name of God

American research provides one important insight: men who attend church less often are most likely to abuse their wives.

In 2013, American pastor Steven J Cole concluded in a sermon that “a wife may need to submit to some abuse”. “The difficult question is,” he writes, “how much? My view is that a wife must submit to verbal and emotional abuse, but if the husband begins to harm her physically, she needs to call... Continue Reading

How ‘Woke Theology’ is Weakening the Black Church

Social change is accomplished through heart change; and heart change is fundamentally what the gospel of Jesus Christ is all about

In whatever sense people may or may not view Jesus as a “liberator”, as does Cone, He is first and foremost the Liberator of human beings from the bondage of sin through His propitiatory death on the cross (Rom. 6:10; 1 Jn. 3:5). It is this spiritual liberation that the Black Church – and the Church universal – must again... Continue Reading

Some Quick Reminders of what TULIP is NOT

While they are indeed very important truths, they do not eclipse the total system of doctrine as received in the Reformed Confessions.

It must also be made clear, in light of some popular unbiblical covenant theologies, that Unconditional Election does not equate to, mean, nor imply unconditional New Covenant membership.  Though it is only upon Christ’s merits that we stand in the New (or even Old) Covenant, the Covenant itself is by no means unconditional.  One must... Continue Reading

Prima Facie Evidence Against Intinction

In the institution of the Supper, however, there is no dipping of bread.

We have no authority to dip the bread in the wine as part of the administration of the Supper. We have authority to take, bless, give, and drink. The departure, in some NAPARC congregations, from the pattern instituted by our Lord in the Supper is indicative of a broader departure from the rule of worship... Continue Reading

Classic Theism: Is God Simple or Complex?

Does simplicity make any difference at all? It does indeed, and here are a few implications of this doctrine.

Simplicity safeguards our understanding of  God. The Trinity is not three Gods (tritheism). Neither is God comprised of 1/3 Father, 1/3 Son, and 1/3 Holy Spirit (partialism). We confess One God in Three Persons. Simplicity is also the foundation of God’s independence and immutability. Complex beings are dependent on their parts and their maker, but... Continue Reading

A Deist, a Christian, and an Atheist Go to the Moon

For Armstrong the world is the result of an impersonal source. For O’Hair it’s a cosmic accident. For Aldrin, “The heavens declare the glory of God.”

Aldrin’s view, which I obviously share, offers not only an explanation for the world we live in but for our place in it. When King David pondered creation in Psalm 8, called a “Star Gazer’s Psalm” as it only mentions night lights, he asked this pressing question, “When I look at your heavens, the work of... Continue Reading

Our Foundation of Grace (Owen)

The Christian’s foundation of forgiveness and acceptance with God is not by works, but by grace alone and found in Christ alone.

“The foundation is to be laid, as was said, in mere grace, mercy, and pardon in the blood of Christ. This the soul is to accept of and to rest in as mere grace, without the consideration of any thing in itself, but that it is sinful and obnoxious unto ruin. This it finds a difficulty in,... Continue Reading

The Religious Left’s Abortion Gospel

"At the Intersection of Faith and Reproductive Justice,” which pleased the largely leftist, overflow audience of over 100 people and gave disturbing insight into the Religious Left’s bizarre support for the abortion gospel.

The panelists like CAP’s Faith and Progressive Policy Initiative Vice President LaShawn Warren dismissed any Judeo-Christian objections to abortion advocacy. “There are conservatives who will raise a few biblical passages primarily from the Book of Jeremiah and Job about reproductive healthcare,” yet the “Bible has very little to say about abortion.” The “trained theo-ethicist” Leonard concurred that the “Bible didn’t say... Continue Reading

Discerning Entertainment

Entertainment affects our minds, our homes, our culture, and our churches.

Through my experience in entertainment, God has heightened my sensitivity as I have attempted to lead my family in how we view and enjoy all types of entertainment: from TVshows to movies, from operas to music, from books to Broadway musicals, from bedtime stories to board games.   My maternal grandfather, James Robson Featherstone (1915–1995), was born... Continue Reading

John Calvin: The Religious Reformer Who Influenced Capitalism

Though Max Weber gave Calvin credit for sanctifying the Protestant work ethic, he never accepted capitalism unconditionally.

Both the blame and the credit for capitalism have often been placed at the feet not of an economist, but rather a sixteenth-century Christian theologian named John Calvin. Calvin’s belief in predestination and other tenets embraced by aggressive capitalists, is seen as giving the theological justification for a Protestant vision that propelled economic growth in... Continue Reading

The False Gospel of Nice

It’s not that we fail to talk about the cross or even sin; it’s that sin is presented as a problem primarily for how it messes up our lives and relationships and gets in the way of our goals.

Jesus, of course, does make a difference in the lives of believers; it’s just not the difference of a better life now in all the ways we might want. After all, what did Jesus say? “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me” (Matt. 16:24). That... Continue Reading

The Christ-Haunted Song

Since "all that borrows life from Him are ever in His care," all that we have and possess (including our ability to think and reason in the realm of metaphysical truth) is nothing other than "borrowed capital."

“The truth is known and acknowledged by the unbeliever. He has no right to believe or assert truth in terms of his own presuppositions, but only on Christian ones. So his assertions of truth are based on borrowed capital.” The truth is inescapable for the unbeliever, though he or she constantly seeks to suppress it... Continue Reading

Promises Made, Promises Kept

“I will be their God and they will be my people”

The truth is, God is not anxiously waiting for us to claim his promises or try with all our might to believe they are true. They will come to pass because God said them. There is no need to name them and say they are ours for they already are—in and through the Word made... Continue Reading

Teach the Real ‘Personal Relationship with Jesus’

I’ve started describing our relationship with Jesus in terms of union with Christ.

While you may know little about union with Christ, some view it as the most comprehensive aspect of Christian salvation. Michael Horton, for example, shows how union with Christ draws together the various aspects of salvation—including “the past, present, and future, as well as the objective and subjective, historical and existential, corporate and individual, forensic and transformative.”  ... Continue Reading

What I Learned from Two Failed Church Mergers

In my estimation, it takes 3 to 12 months to learn enough about a church to make a decision to merge.

There is always an initial excitement about a new opportunity, but this is just the honeymoon phase. Then come questionable impressions about motives, actions, behaviors, etc. This is a tough stage to get past—this second time, we didn’t make it. We were still too much about business and “getting the job done.” I wish we’d... Continue Reading

Liturgy, Priesthood and Genuine Worship

And the issue of ‘appropriate expression’ is a question that needs to be addressed, regardless of which ‘wing’ of the debate to which we may happen to belong.

In all of this, we must never lose sight of the fact that worship as presented and exemplified in scripture is never without form and direction. It has an inherent logic and rationale that was literally built in to the architecture and furnishings of Old Testament temple worship as the God-given replica and preview of... Continue Reading

Some Encouragements To Frequent Prayer

Encouragement to pray for grace, from the sinless prayer stalwart, Jesus, to bring your requests and knock on your Father’s door as a many-times daily delight

Cultivation of Personal Communion. It is John Owen who stressed the privilege Christians have in the grace of mutual fellowship with each of the persons of the Triune God. This is our great glory, joy, and life, to commune with God in Christ and get to know our Maker, Provider and Redeemer better. Frequent prayer... Continue Reading

Remember the Rural: Does Modern Church Planting Overemphasize the City?

In recent years, however, this interest in the urban has sometimes turned into a superiority of the urban, and even a disdain of the rural.

Robinson tackles a widespread (and near-consensus) belief among modern scholars that the earliest Christians were almost exclusively urban. Ever since Wayne Meek’s The First Urban Christians (and even before it), scholars have been pretty convinced that the earliest Christian missionaries focused almost entirely on cities. Such scholarship has been used to support much of the modern impetus... Continue Reading

For Weak and Weary Pilgrims

Regardless of whether we feel strong or weak, the former does not add to our salvation, and the latter does not disqualify us.

It’s easy to get the idea that “good” Christians experience nothing but victory after victory with nary a temptation or struggle until they cross the finish line in a blaze of glory. But I wonder if the race looks less like a sprint and more like a marathon where the runners are exhausted with just enough... Continue Reading

Millennials Value Tolerance Over Freedom

Millennials need to remember one day they can be in a situation where they must choose between their conscience and culture

Millennials need to actively engage in the fight because slight infringements on one’s conscience can eventually affect more than just Christians. Eroding protections for conscience will compromise the freedom of all people of faiths-regardless of religion-and anyone who holds deep-seated beliefs of any kind. The targeting of religious objectors in the name of tolerance can... Continue Reading

Eternal Subordination of the Son and the ESV Translation

ESS does indeed appear to have influenced the translation of the ESV.

The truly dangerous result of the ESV translation of heautou/emautoú as “authority” is apparent in the John 16:13 passage. That passage is speaking of the Spirit. While the Son, after the incarnation, has a human will and a divine will, the Spirit does not. The Spirit’s authority is always the one divine authority. If the Spirit is... Continue Reading

First Church of Intersectionality

Though my experience at Notre Dame humanized intersectionality for me, its excesses and partial understandings cannot stand unchallenged.

Intersectionality is, then, a quasi-religious gnostic movement, which appeals to people for precisely the reasons that all religions do: It gives an account of our brokenness, an explanation of the reasons for pain, a saving story accompanied by strong ethical imperatives, and hope for the future. In short, it gives life meaning.    Irecently attended... Continue Reading

Is Predestination Central in Calvinism?

There’s more to the doctrines of grace than predestination.

It is interesting that John Calvin never identified predestination or election as a central dogma.  He spoke of the doctrine of justification as ‘the primary article of the Christian religion,’ ‘the main hinge on which religion turns,’ the principal article of the whole doctrine of salvation and the foundation of all religion.’  Obviously he considered predestination... Continue Reading

Losing Your Voice: 4 Ways Pastors Lose Pulpits

There are some ways no pastor wants to be ejected from his ministry.

Sometimes it takes the church a while to get fed up with hypocrisy. I’m a fan of patience, but eventually, a godly church will quit staring at the pastor’s flat lining spiritual life and call the time of death. This kind of intra-church falling out is sad, but it can have a purifying effect on a local... Continue Reading

Alienation from God

We are warped and twisted in our alienation from God. The gospel tells us that Jesus Christ came to replace that alienation with reconciliation.

With the rise of psychiatry and psychology, not least in their “pop” versions, we have now become a therapeutic culture—patients who need inner healing, victims who need a better self-image. Our deepest problem is now seen to be personal alienation—whether from those around us or from ourselves. Thus, many therapists set out to deal with... Continue Reading

Christ, the Giver of the Law

The Whole Law of God was part of the sufficiency and efficaciousness of Christ’s redeeming work in the Old Testament.

The Lord Jesus Christ formed this People of the Old Testament, redeemed them from Egypt, carried them on eagles’ wings through the Wilderness, and gave them His Law as their God. As we move on to the Content, Purpose, and Praxis of the Law, having our conclusion here firmly in place, it should become plain... Continue Reading

The Church Of England’s Nietzschean Proposal

If human identity is merely a psychological conviction, a social construct, or a personal choice, then those theologies and philosophies and social arrangements predicated upon human nature vanish.

If the Church takes its cues on personhood from these latest cultural norms, then it really has nothing to say to modern society. Quests for cultural relevance have usually ended with the Church being the pitiful handmaiden of irrelevance. Today, it might end up worse than that: with the Church as the useful idiot of... Continue Reading

How Many More Petersons Are Out There?

One hallmark of the attractional ministry so dominant in American evangelicalism is the reluctance to speak out on many cultural hot topics.

But many attractional leaders are likely to maintain their popularity and their profitability. Many have built their ministries on sentimental religion and pop-spirituality; echoing the cultural zeitgeist on homosexuality isn’t likely to feel so jarring to their most ardent supporters. History has shown that cultural appropriation is always crouching at the church door. Many times... Continue Reading

You Don’t Need to Sit at Jesus’s Feet

As surprising as it may seem, reading your Bible with the Holy Spirit’s help is better than sitting at Jesus’s feet.

But our reason for humility is also our greatest reason for hope! Understanding the Bible doesn’t depend ultimately on your IQ, your efforts, or how long you’ve been a Christian. Understanding the Bible depends on the Spirit of God in you. Even the lowliest Christian can see more than the greatest Old Testament prophets, because by the... Continue Reading

Scorched Earth Sanctification

Christians are engaged in a bitter struggle against a brutal enemy.

The scorched-earth policy is a retaliatory retreat in which, as civilians and military personnel abandon the frontline, they take or destroy anything that could be utilized by the enemy.  In a speech delivered shortly after the invasion began, Stalin implored his countrymen, “to the enemy must not be left a single engine, a single railway... Continue Reading