Lent…if borrowed should be returned

It saddens me to see the growing excitement over such high church traditions in our churches while simultaneously diminishing the ordinary and historical practices.

Please know that I am not on a crusade to wipe out all traditions and practices that are not my own. My crusade is to wipe out the mindless and sentimental borrowing from other traditions.  And, I am really not even on a crusade to convince all of my PCA brothers that they ought to return to... Continue Reading

Worldview Loneliness in the Church

This is what it’s like to feel alone because of your Christian worldview in the Church.

My worldview loneliness is not provoked by the awkward discomfort that comes from sharing the Christian faith with an unbeliever in secular culture. Which is not to say evangelizing is easy for this introvert. No, that challenge is different. I expect a lost soul to find the Gospel offensive. The mocking, callousness and avoidance of the... Continue Reading

Is It Possible To Be Too Pie in the Sky?

What does the Bible say about the relationship between longing for the day to come and this side of heaven helpfulness?

The non-Christian world has long made this accusation, but in recent years the accusation has come from inside the Christian camp as well. Within our own circles some are claiming the church has been unhelpfully influenced by Plato. If you remember back to your college philosophy class you’ll remember Plato’s allegory of the cave. In... Continue Reading

Minds, Books, and the Fruit of Traditionalism

How much has this traditionalism discouraged women from using their brains and thinking wisely for themselves?

I believe this is reflected in the books that are marketed to Christian women. These numerous volumes are long on subjective experience and stories and short on objective doctrine. Thus dubious content can find cover under emotional appeal and perceived personal rapport with the author. They are also driven by application, usually related to the... Continue Reading

Speedos or Shorts? Bikinis or Bathing Suits?

Two things in the last week have brought to my attention that those who wish to maintain anything approaching traditional Christian standards are facing a brave new world.

Religious and social conservatives, and even traditional liberals, may well have disagreed over the years about what constitutes modesty (Speedos or shorts? Bikinis or bathing suits?) but they have typically accepted that the concept itself is legitimate and appropriate. In a world where Reichian quackery rules, we do not debate the limits of modesty for... Continue Reading

The Essence of Faith: Neither Obedience Nor Love

In Reformed theology when we talk about the essence of justifying faith, we exclude love and obedience.

In other words, love and works are not the same as justifying faith; love and works are not the essence of  faith.  The sinner is not justified by faithful obedience, or by faith working through love, but by faith alone, only, period.  True faith always results in love and good works, but love and good... Continue Reading

A Prayer for When Life is Disappointing

Disappointment is part of life in this fallen world. Things don't work the way they are supposed to.

God is preparing us now, in this life, for eternity. He uses our struggles and challenges to sanctify us and make us holy. He is making us increasingly more like Christ by stripping away the layers of sin and removing the counterfeit loves in our heart. So when disappointments come, we can ask ourselves, “What... Continue Reading

Joyful Noise: Praise with the Volume Pumped Up

There is something that generates an impact that reverberates through this world, the spiritual realm, and the Universe: a joyful church.

This is the reason we worship: he deserves it. God is good, loving, and faithful. This is why we sing, this is why we make a loud noise – because he is worthy of worship. We can worship him sincerely because he is indisputably worthy of our worship. Only in heaven we will grasp fully... Continue Reading

The Impact of Calvinism on Culture

First, what is “culture”? Second, what is “Calvinism”? Third, what is “impact”?

“First, for the purposes of this series, we will limit the word ‘culture’ to six particular areas: education, politics, economics, marriage/the family, the law, and the arts. As we shall see, Calvinism has had a significant impact on these central components of Western culture, and consequently on American culture.”   Over the next few weeks,... Continue Reading

The Fingerprints of God

Lost in the revolving news cycles of the last few weeks was a finding that has rocked the scientific world.

In a paper published in the open-access journal eLife, researchers say they have pinpointed the single mutation that allowed our ancient protozoa predecessors to evolve into complex, multi-cellular organisms. “Incredibly, in the world of evolutionary biology, all it took was one tiny tweak, one gene, and complex life as we know it was born.” As... Continue Reading

What a Super Bowl Ad Reveals About Our Abortion Culture

Social media lit up during this year’s Super Bowl over the abortion lobby’s outrage about a chip commercial; “humanizing fetuses.”

We cannot “humanize” what is already human, but we can certainly dehumanize the humanity around, or within, us. The abortion lobby wants the “fetus” to be thought of only in clinical language, as though he or she were merely an “it,” tissue to be disposed of. Those who oppress the poor want them to be... Continue Reading

Top Generals: Women Should Register For the Draft

Top Army and Marine generals testified that women should be required to register for the draft now that the Pentagon has lifted exemptions for women from ground combat.

The Selective Service question came during a hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee about how the services would begin to integrate women into combat units and training programs for combat-related jobs. The sometimes contentious hearing also exposed the reluctance of Marine Corps leaders to bring women into certain demanding infantry, armor, and special operations... Continue Reading

You Are Not Drafting My Daughter Into the Military!

The gospel of humanistic egalitarianism has replaced the gospel of Jesus Christ as the source of truth in America.

As a Christian I beg to differ on both counts.  With regard to gender, God created them both male and female.  The female is called the weaker vessel (1 Peter 3:7).  This has implications for all areas of life, especially the military where physical strength is a priority.  Hey, Uncle Sam, you are not drafting... Continue Reading

I Don’t Mind 3 AM Starts… Just Don’t Ask Me To Work On A Sunday! New Face Of BBC Breakfast Is A Devout Christian Who Always Keeps The Sabbath

Dan Walker, famous for presenting football shows, will be the new face of BBC morning TV; he struck a deal with BBC that he would never work on Sundays

At first, Walker’s refusal to work on Sundays made it tough to find a job as a football presenter. Some interviewers thought he was stupid, and others felt sorry for him, he admits. But he persevered and was eventually hired by the BBC. Since 2009, the 6ft 6in married father of three has become familiar... Continue Reading

10 Misperceptions Laypersons Have about Pastors

Laypersons sometimes have misperceptions of pastors that I think hurt their leaders

“We’re always on the lookout for the next best church.” To be honest, some pastors do live that way – and they don’t make it easy for the rest of us who are genuinely committed where God has placed us. Most of really love our church, even with all their imperfections.   I started this... Continue Reading

PCA and Race: Reflective Review of “The Last Segregated Hour”

Confession and repentance should be located at the level in the body in which the offense occurred.

Historian Stephen R. Haynes wrote an account of the effects of the civil rights movement on churches in the Memphis area. One particular chapter has special relevance for the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA), and that is chapter 12: “A Season of Prayer and Corporate Repentance”: Wrestling with the Past at Independent Presbyterian Church (IPC).... Continue Reading

Ash Wednesday: Picking and Choosing our Piety

The rise of Lent in non-Roman, Orthodox or Anglican circles is a fascinating phenomenon.

When Presbyterians and Baptists and free church evangelicals start attending Ash Wednesday services and observing Lent, one can only conclude that they have either been poorly instructed in the theology or the history of their own traditions, or that they have no theology and history. Or maybe they are simply exhibiting the attitude of the... Continue Reading

The Fear of Man Versus the Fear of God

Power is intoxicating, in whatever form one has it, and people who acquire this kind of power and respect become very loath to risk it in any way whatsoever.

In the Reformed world, this kind of respect comes from publishing a book, or becoming a professor at a seminary, or having a prominent position in the denomination, or having a large church. It is easy to forget how eminently expendable we are, and instead start to think (even if it is not as crassly... Continue Reading

Mainline Death or Revival?

There’s no pledge from Christ, who promised that The Church will prevail, that Mainline Protestantism will necessarily have any future

There are plenty of Christian movements in particular times and places that have whithered and perished. Mainline Protestantism may have served its purpose across four centuries in America and will just fade into obscurity, leaving behind beautiful sanctuaries and lots of wonderful memories of momentous spiritual, cultural and social accomplishments.   Princeton Seminary President Craig... Continue Reading

5 Rookie Pastor Mistakes

Often conflicts arise because well-intentioned pastors make rookie mistakes—the missteps that occur at the intersection of the ideal and reality.

When a pastor insists on his preferences and suggests they are biblical truths, he will lose trust and influence. Church members have the Holy Spirit and the Bible at their disposal just like he does, and will usually know the difference. Further, if he twists the Scriptures to justify his self-centered demands, so will they.... Continue Reading

A Year of Biblical Womanhood?

Women reading Evans’ book may come away with a distrust of the Bible and with animosity towards God for “requiring” things He never required.

Ultimately, I think that Evans’ book is the result of the experientialism so common in the Church today. Despite her claims that she would follow the Bible’s instructions for women without picking and choosing, she does exactly that. She picks and chooses how to apply those instructions by deciding which extra-Biblical sources she will follow.... Continue Reading

Can We Trust the Four Gospels to Tell Us the Truth About Jesus? (Part 3 of 3)

Don't these four Gospels contradict each other in many places?

Now, what does all of this have to do with the contradictions between these Gospels? Well, think about it: If four different people write about someone’s life and public ministry, they’re going to choose different details to emphasize and they’re probably going to arrange their material differently. We also have to realize that these books... Continue Reading

13 Helps For When a Friend Battles Depression

The gist of what Rogers/Alexander are saying is that we must take depressive persons seriously

I’m don’t fully agree with all of these, but it is interesting to see how pastors of old dealt with mental illness and things like depression. Most people think those who lived before Freud had little to nothing to say about mental illness. This is simply not true. The Puritans and many of those who... Continue Reading

Stepping Stones to Covenant Baptism

There are important, but often neglected, stepping stones that need to be made in the case for infant baptism

Often in explanations of covenant baptism, the correlation is established between the promises God made to Abraham that were sealed with circumcision and the fulfillment in Christ of those promises that are now sealed with baptism. Yet clearly many struggle to make this connection, seeing it as too far a jump across the divide between the Old and... Continue Reading

Veto Presbyterian Church in Vincent, Ohio Withdraws from PCUSA; Joins PCA

The Veto Presbyterian Church was received by the Ohio Presbytery of the Presbyterian Church in America on February 2, 2016.

On January 13, 2016, the session of Veto Presbyterian asked to join the Ohio Presbytery of the PCA as a mission church. On February 2,, with great joy, the Ohio Presbytery voted to receive Veto as a mission church of the Presbytery, with a provisional session of members of the session of Grace Presbyterian, Hudson,... Continue Reading

God’s Forgotten Libertarian

Machen butted heads with Princeton’s increasingly leftist faculty until he’d had enough

“Machen didn’t much care for politics. He saw it as inherently stifling and anti-individual. The idea that true Christianity was to even a small degree compatible with any form of statism — socialism, communism, or fascism — was, to Machen, a dangerous fiction.”   Of the Presbyterian theologian J. Gresham Machen (1881–1937), Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist... Continue Reading

Geneva College Names Twentieth President

Dr. Calvin L. Troup Becomes President Elect of Geneva College

Dr. Troup comes to Geneva from Duquesne University’s Department of Communication and Rhetorical Studies where he directed the university’s nationally-ranked Rhetoric Ph.D. Program. Before serving at Duquesne for 20 years, he also taught at Penn State in University Park, PA and Indiana University in Bloomington, IN. He graduated from Geneva College with a bachelor’s degree... Continue Reading

Do Not Put a Period Where J.I. Packer Puts An Exclamation Point

So this is the story of how J.I. Packer made me cry. Sort of.

“I worked out the pages from the FedEx pouch with fear and trembling and started thumbing through. Turns out I didn’t have much to worry about. Packer’s pen was light and friendly. Most of his corrections had to do with word choices or expansions of my thinking, adding the clarity and theological precision he has... Continue Reading

Six Ways Ministry Spouses Get Hurt

It is indeed tough to be in vocational ministry. But it’s also tough to be the spouse of these ministers.

“A worship minister shared with us this tragic story. He was caught up in some worship wars, an all too common reality. The worship leader, however, was pretty thick-skinned, and moved forward despite the criticisms. When the critics saw they were not making progress with the worship leader, they began to attack his wife with... Continue Reading

The Biblical Basis for the Spirituality of the Church

Paul appeals to his reader not on the basis of civil justice but on the principle of love

“At least one presbytery also received a motion for the PCA to publicly call for financial reparations from white people to African Americans in compensation for the institution of slavery that existed in America prior to 1865.  These actions would seem to oppose the spirituality of the church.”   Last week I posted a piece... Continue Reading