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

John Stott’s Life-Changing Chapter

Looking back I have John Stott to thank for encouraging me not to seek a same-sex sexual relationship for myself.

The characteristically careful distinctions he opens with helped me process my sexual feelings in a liveable way. His exposition of the biblical passages that speak about homosexual practice built my confidence in God’s Word. His big picture portrait of the place of marriage in the Bible and Christian doctrine enabled me to make sense of... Continue Reading

Freedom with Qualifications

If we paid more attention to order, we might argue about freedom differently.

I may not do just anything I want with my life. The rest of you will not let me. I may not engage in deadly duels (even with a willing adversary). I am prohibited from taking certain drugs, from marrying my sister, from marrying more than one person, from selling my kidney for transplant to... Continue Reading

How to Pray for Your Pastor

A godly pastor is a joyful, dutiful herald of the most high King

I suspect that many people who sit week after week in the pews of their particular church have no idea how difficult a Sunday is for a minister and his family. Pray for your pastor’s Sundays. Robert Murray M’Cheyne says: “A well-spent sabbath we feel to be a day of heaven upon earth. … We... Continue Reading

How We Read the Bible Rightly and Get It Wrong

Let's show mercy to those who 'misinterpret' Jeremiah 29:11 and other favorite verses

“How will you respond? Your exegetically and theologically trained mind immediately populates a list of problems with her use of this verse: this is a horrible translation of the Bible; this verse is taken out of context; this is a word spoken to the nation of Israel in the Old Covenant and therefore can’t apply... Continue Reading

The Confession of a Grace Abuser

There have been times I’ve used my “grace card” like it was some kind of unlimited hall pass

“If you and I are at all serious about personal holiness, we’ll need to look under the hood of our hearts and try to figure out why we do what we do and then have the wisdom and courage to do something about it.  I think two of the most spiritually crippling words for followers... Continue Reading

An Open Letter to Husbands who Abuse Their Wives

If you harm your wife physically, sexually, emotionally, or materially, Jesus stands against you

“There is no place among the followers of Jesus for violence or harsh words, for sexual manipulation, for financial leverage or for making threats. Blaming tiredness or stress, or alcohol and drugs doesn’t cut it. These things are symptoms of a deeper issue in your heart.”   Author’s note: If you are in an abusive... Continue Reading

5 Vacation Goals For A Leader

What is the purpose of vacation? What are the goals you have for vacation?

“Vacation should allow us time to restore relationships to maximum health. With God. With family. With ourself. The busyness of life can strain relationships. Vacation gives you the opportunity to pause and get back to optimum health with the most important relationships in our life.”   I will never forget a sobering question I received... Continue Reading

The Aesthetics of Worship

Why do we sing in church, in our living room, at a concert, etc.?

“Is there (or should there be) a palpable difference between the aesthetics of worship and other opportunities for singing together? Does the context of a coffee house, campfire, concert hall, stadium, living room, or sanctuary change our expectations and practice of making music?”   In my last post, I set out a series of questions–including... Continue Reading

Marriage Will Cost You

When you think of the cost of marriage, what comes to mind?

“They say marriage teaches you more about selflessness than you ever wanted to know. I have definitely found that phrase to be true in my relationship with my husband. Because at the heart of it, real love is all about sacrifice. About the giving of yourself, in ways big and small.”   Did you ever... Continue Reading

5 Mistakes Most Preachers Make

Many preachers haven’t wrestled past complexity to get to simplicity or even clarity

“What you do before a Sunday morning ever begins, for the most part, determines what happens on a Sunday morning. Chances are you’ve struggled through the mistakes below. I have. And what’s hard for preachers is that we always make our mistakes in public.”   So maybe you’re a preacher, or you listen to preachers... Continue Reading

Wisdom Christology in the Gospel of John: The Prologue

"For the knowledge of God is the door by which we enter into the enjoyment of all blessings."

This saving knowledge, received by faith, is very different than being saved by mere knowledge. For Calvin (consistent with the Wisdom School), the divine Wisdom is a rich and comprehensive wisdom. The divine Wisdom is filled with every blessing, with power and vitality, and with all the holiness and righteousness for which we hunger and... Continue Reading

Savannah River Presbytery Approves Transferring George Robertson to the EPC

The action to transfer Dr. Robertson to the EPC was approved at a Savannah River Presbytery meeting on July 15, 2017.

The SRP action came after debate on whether to approve Dr. Robertson’s request to be transferred to the PCA’s Covenant Presbytery, which would allow him to retain his membership in the PCA while serving as pastor of an EPC congregation… After a time of debate on whether to transfer Dr. Robertson to Covenant Presbytery, a... Continue Reading

Passion for Equality

The owner of a Colorado cake shop declined to design and bake a wedding cake for a same-sex couple saying that baking such a cake would violate his religious convictions.

Tocqueville believed, in Patrick Deneen’s words, that democracies inevitably seek to do away with “any apparent differences” among people—“material, social, or personal.” No distinctions are to be tolerated. In fact, Tocqueville wrote that democratic societies have an inevitable tendency toward pantheism, since, in the end, even a distinction between Creator and created becomes intolerable.   At the... Continue Reading

5 Consequences Leaders Face for Not Resting

Struggling to rest is a weakness, and one that we should recognize in our lives and help those we lead recognize in theirs.

Wise leaders don’t affirm people who brag about being workaholics or brag about never resting. Wise leaders know that a leader who fails to rest is a leader who fails to lead effectively. If you don’t rest, you won’t lead effectively. If you don’t lead your team to rest, they won’t lead as effectively as... Continue Reading

There is a Better Way to Experience Sexuality, and Christian Parents Need to Be Talking About It

Decision by decision, the kids of America learn again and again: there are plenty of wrong ways to experience sexuality.

We have to teach our kids the truth here. We can’t avoid these conversations because we feel awkward. We can’t ignore these issues because we’re convinced our kids “would never do that.” We can’t go on pretending that we’re living in the 80s and 90s. Those days are way over, and, parents, the advice that... Continue Reading

Worshiping a Golden Calf on Sunday Morning is Deceptively Easy

The hottest “worship war” going is the one taking place daily in the sanctuary of our own hearts.

We worship the worship experience; we tithe with expectation of return from heaven’s slot machine; we dress to impress; and we serve and lead to compensate for the inadequacies in our hearts that only Christ can fill. Every weekend, hundreds of preachers extol a therapeutic gospel from the pages of the same Bible where the... Continue Reading