Luther and Calvin’s Quiet Discussions in Heaven

Was Calvin influenced by the writings or ministry of "the Initiator" of the Reformation?

“Much remains uncertain about which of Luther’s works Calvin read and which of Calvin’s works Luther read. It is, however, clear that Calvin had knowledge of the controversies that surrounded Luther’s theological writings and debates and that Luther read Calvin on certain theological issues.”   Those who cherish the Reformation have often sought out what,... Continue Reading

Stop Being On Fire For Jesus

As much as we may hate to admit it, being on fire really just comes down to feeling

“By no means does the bible tell us to gauge our spiritual lives solely (or even primarily) based on our feelings. It’s a reality in the bible that we will go through seasons of pain, doubt, failure, feebleness, and loss. Not every second of our lives will be exhilarating, news-worthy, record-breaking happiness, and excitement.” The... Continue Reading

Shame, Guilt, and Fear: What 1,000 Americans Avoid Most

Many Americans are more worried about their reputation than their conscience

“What’s our biggest cultural fear? Shame,” he said. “What’s surprising is not that personal freedom, ambition, and doing the right thing are valued by Americans. It’s that risk to our reputation is what matters most.”   Many Americans are more worried about their reputation than their conscience. They worry less about guilt and fear and... Continue Reading

Why First-Born Children Are Better Leaders

The short answer: They have a lot of practice bossing around their younger siblings

The idea that birth order might shape personality goes back at least to the 1920s, when Alfred Adler theorized that first-born children develop a “taste for power” at a young age, since they can dominate their younger siblings and are fixated on avoiding being “dethroned” as the prince of the family.   The concept of... Continue Reading

Eight Signs Your Church May Be Closing Soon

If a church has four or more of these signs present, it is likely in deep trouble

“The budget is severely inwardly focused. Most of the funds are expended to keep the lights on and/or to meet the preferences of the members. There are few dollars for ministry and missions. And any dollars for missions rarely include the involvement of the members in actually sharing the gospel themselves.”   We call it... Continue Reading

The Ruling Elder: An Indispensable Element of a Well-Ordered Church

The office of RE represents a refinement of the offices found in the early church

“For the church today, the office of RE, while at times allowed to suffer from an inferiority complex, is really an integral part of what the church is to do to fulfill its divine commission.  REs possess a pedigree descending from Calvin’s Genevan polity, and their work is of great importance to the health and... Continue Reading

Katy Perry Missed the Gospel of Grace

How did Perry’s experience in church leave her so jaded?

It grieved me to hear Perry talk about her sterile religious experience, because I know that I too have been guilty of over-emphasizing morality in my own youth ministry. I have been so focused on my “flannel graph Bible lessons” and my rules about sex and social media discipline, that I have failed to share... Continue Reading

Erskine College and Seminary Appoints 17th President

The Board of Trustees of Erskine College and Theological Seminary has announced the appointment of Interim President Dr. Robert E. Gustafson, Jr. as 17th president

As head of school at the Stony Brook School, Stony Brook, N.Y., for 15 years, Gustafson was responsible for oversight of a $9 million annual operating budget and more than 100 faculty and staff members. He also served for five years as head of school at Jackson Preparatory School, Jackson Miss.   The Board of... Continue Reading

Rightly Regarding Our Sin

Without the bad news about sin, Satan, and spiritual death, the good news is superfluous at best.

It is certainly true that sin, Satan, and spiritual death are among society’s dirty words, and you dare not speak them in polite company lest you incur the wrath of the most outspoken, self-appointed, religiously correct person present. To the gospel’s great misfortune, if it could know such misfortune, many in our churches have fallen... Continue Reading

Orlando Church Promotes Pro-LGBTQ Agenda – Updated With a Response from Church Pastor

Northland Community Church and Pastor Joel Hunter recently hosted a pro-LGBT event, “Elevating the Dialogue on LGBTQ Inclusion and Understanding in the Church,”

The discussions were organized by The Reformation Project (TRP), a so-called “Bible-based, Christian grassroots organization” that works to promote inclusion of LGBT people by reforming church teaching on sexual orientation and gender identity with the goal for a global church that fully affirms LGBT people.   ORLANDO, FL — Northland Community Church and Pastor Joel... Continue Reading

Laura Story On The Legacy Of Parenting

The singer-songwriter, a worship leader at Perimeter Church, talks about her strengths and weaknesses as a mother.

About 10 years ago, Martin was diagnosed with a brain tumor, and that’s changed our lives substantially. He lives with a vision deficit and a memory deficit. So we were asking the question, God, do these disabilities and the nature of our lives prohibit us from being parents? The more we sensed the green light... Continue Reading

Sola Scriptura: A Brief Historical Summary of the Seige Against Scripture

"Did God really say...?"

The doctrine of Sola Scriptura is a doctrine that has been under siege since the beginning of history and has continually been a main target for Satan’s lies and schemes. But we who follow Christ and live in submission to His living and active word alone, we continue to read and love and fear His word so... Continue Reading

Getting to the Very Core of Pastoral Ministry

If you long to be in pastoral ministry, the starting place is the gospel.

The gospel is at the very heart of pastoral ministry. You cannot have true ministry without having the gospel at the very core. This means that the call to ministry is a call to gospel work. The gospel is absolutely essential to the role of pastor.   Imagine that you want to purchase a new,... Continue Reading

Dramatic Fall of Christianity in UK Continues

26 Christians Abandon Faith for Every One New Convert

As a whole, the non-Christian religious population more than quadrupled since its 2 percent share in 1983, rising to 8.4 percent in 2015. The study found that Muslims have been the main source of growth, growing from 0.6 percent to 3.9 percent in the same time period, though Hindus now also make up 2 percent... Continue Reading

Six Things You Need to Know About God’s Wrath

The hope for sinners is that between us and the wrath of God stands the cross of Jesus.

This theme of the wrath (or anger) of God toward sin and sinners is clearly and widely taught in the Bible. This truth is so interwoven with the hope of our peace with one another and with God that if we lose our grasp on the one, we lose our hope of the other.  ... Continue Reading

The Uncomfortable Subject Jesus Addressed More than Anyone Else

If we don’t accept the reality of hell, we won’t rightly understand the glory of the gospel.

A friend once challenged me to show her where Jesus talks about hell in the Gospels. Even a cursory read-through shows Jesus talked about it plenty. In fact, Jesus talked about hell more than any other person in the Bible. In Luke 16, he describes a great chasm over which “none may cross from there... Continue Reading

What If I Don’t Feel Forgiven?

There is an important difference between guilt and guilt feelings. The distinction is between that which is objective and that which is subjective.

Just as there are objective and subjective aspects of guilt, so there are objective and subjective aspects of forgiveness. First of all, forgiveness itself is objective. The only cure for real guilt is real forgiveness based on real repentance and real faith. However, we may have real and true forgiveness before God and yet not... Continue Reading

Survey: On Most Moral Issues Americans Are More Permissive Than Ever

A large percentage of people who consider themselves to be Christians consider behaviors that the Bible clearly states are sinful and immoral to be “morally acceptable.”

For whatever reason, we are failing to be faithful to Christ and his call to proclaim the gospel when we allow Scripture to be perverted and rejected by those who claim to be our fellow believers. Given the choice, many people would certainly prefer to be able to endorse fornication, polygamy, and suicide, and so... Continue Reading

5 Sources of True Change

The difficulties that we experience necessitate grace by awakening a true sense of weakness and need.

God works on us in the midst of trouble because trouble catches our attention. Difficulties make us need him. Faith has to sink roots, as profession deepens into reality. Martin Luther called tentatio— affliction, trial, difficulty, struggle—the “touchstone” of Christian experience. He said that hardships were his greatest teacher because they made Scripture and prayer come... Continue Reading

Americans’ Perception of Pastors Is a Mixed Bag

Almost half of Americans say their experience with pastors has been better than the portrayals they’ve witnessed in the media.

And while pastors may have an image problem, personal contact seemingly counteracts negative perceptions. Among those who know a pastor personally, 64 percent regard pastors very positively. Personal contact appears to affect not only churchgoers but also the religiously unaffiliated, who are more likely to have something positive to say about pastors when they say... Continue Reading

The Anxiety Beneath All Your Anxieties

Prior to the industrial revolution and the advent of modern medicine, our experience of death was more direct and immediate. Death was a daily reality.

Beck argues that the removal of the immediate presence of death during the industrial and technological age has not only instilled a heightened fear of death, but also inflamed the manifestations of anxiety in our daily lives. Through the changes in our food preparation and consumption, the popularity of funeral homes, and the availability of... Continue Reading

She’s Got Questions; I’ve Got Answers: 3 Questions, 3 Answers

Is American civil religion (combining Christianity and patriotism resulting in regarding America as "God's chosen people") on the rise?

Is it an issue having to do with the doctrine, worship, practice, and government of the church? Then approach it as a citizen of the heavenly colony on earth. Is it an issue having to do with society or government? It’s very likely there is no divine mandate. So you approach the issue as a... Continue Reading

Five Reasons Church Members Attend Church Less Frequently

The local church, the messy local church, is what God has used as His primary instrument to make disciples. But commitment is waning among many church members.

If we truly expect to make a difference in our communities and our families, members of local churches need to have at least the same level of commitment as members of sports teams. After all, the mission of each local church is far more important. At least it should be.   About 20 years ago,... Continue Reading

10 Ways To Know If You’re On The Wrong Seat In The Bus

If you’re wondering about your role on a church staff, here are some indicators of that possibility.

You find yourself easily annoyed with little things. The smallest things can get on our nerves when our nerves are already on edge. You wonder what it would take to prepare for another role. You might even have checked out other training, other degrees, etc., already.   Jim Collins’ book, Good to Great, popularized the concept of “getting... Continue Reading

Preaching the Gospel with Words: Why There’s No Other Way

We marginalize evangelism when we say the good news is social action.

In recent years, the Church, motivated by our love for Jesus and for people, has led the way in championing social justice. This is appropriate biblical engagement, resulting in better communities as we answer the call to meet human needs. But nothing is more deadly to the future of the Church than to think the... Continue Reading

Civil Religion

There's always been a level of syncretism in this nation where Christianity and patriotism become so intertwined that America begins to don the mantle as God's chosen people.

“America’s religious heritage also contributed to a sort of deification of the national enterprise. In recent years, this tendency, first seen during the American Revolution, has been tagged “civil religion.” Civil religion is the attributing of sacred character to the nation itself. Throughout history rulers had claimed divine sanction either by saying they themselves were... Continue Reading

You Can’t Anxiety Attack Your Way Out of God’s Love

Stop taking your spiritual temperature so much

To act like God would be more satisfied in your anxious self if you “believed harder” (whatever that even means) would be acting as if you contributed to your salvation, and to think you did anything to be loved by God is asinine. God’s love for you has absolutely nothing to do with your lovableness.... Continue Reading

Affliction Evangelism

Paul's designation of life as an "affliction" invites us to abandon the very pretense our culture bids us maintain.

Suffering turns our lives into sermons. Suffering may or may not show us what we’re made of (as the saying goes), but it will definitely show us and others where our hope, where our identity, and where our confidence lay. The suffering Christian, in other words, becomes a form of Gospel proclamation to the world.... Continue Reading

Smelling the Gospel Flowers in Proverbs

The gospel is in full bloom in the sage’s pages.

I recently began reading this book on my days off, leisurely making my way through and highlighting along the way. You’ll never guess what happened. I began to see and smell the gospel flowers in full bloom. I heard the chirping birds and their songs of deliverance. The gospel notes are hit surprisingly well in... Continue Reading

Sneaky Squids And Sola Scriptura

Either Scripture is the final, magisterial authority for the Christian faith and the Christian life (Sola Scriptura) or it is not

When I saw Chris Rosebrough tweet something about a “sneaky squid spirit doctrine” I thought it must be something from The Onion or the Babylon Bee. It is not. It is the latest thing from the world of charismatic continuing prophecy. The author and podcaster behind this new revelation is Jennifer LeClaire and she has published an article in Charisma Magazine,... Continue Reading