Can We Have Religious Liberty In Modern America?
If we're not constrained by religion or morality, do we have hope of lasting civil and religious liberties?
“It is no exaggeration to say we are at a tipping point of one of the pillars of the American founding: Religious liberty. Can religious liberty be sustained in the America of today which understands itself, and the idea of liberty, in a different way than our forefathers did? John Adams, that venerable founder of... Continue Reading
After Indictment, Dennis Hastert Steps Down From Wheaton College’s Hastert Center Board
The scandal brewing around Dennis Hastert this week spread into his evangelical faith community with news that he stepped down from a board position at Wheaton College
Former House speaker Dennis Hastert resigned from the school’s board of advisers of its J. Dennis Hastert Center for Economics, Government, and Public Policy, a $10 million project housed in the college’s politics, international relations, business and economics departments. Hastert, 73, was indicted Thursday [May 28] by a federal grand jury on charges that he... Continue Reading
Addressing Signs of Leadership Fatigue
Few actions are more exhausting than pretending to have joy you don’t have
“Fatigued leaders don’t consider vision beyond the end of this workday. While not ignoring the “big picture,” strengthen your vision for one area of the church about which you are passionate. Talk to local leaders about needs in your community. Your vision will expand when you see again the world outside your church.” Previously,... Continue Reading
Young, Restless, Foolish
I now approach evangelical debates with a little more grace and familial language
“There is a caricature of young Reformed guys as being hard to get along with and angry. I agree. But it’s not because they’re Reformed. It’s because they are young, mere infants in the faith. It’s not true of every young Christian, but it seems to be particularly true of zealous, academically minded men.” In 1997... Continue Reading
Why Religion Will Dominate The 21st Century
The 20th century was the high point of secularization, while the next will be dominated by religion
“Wherever you look, religion is mutating, thriving, growing. Southeast Asia is as fiercely religious as ever. Same with India. Africa — this century’s next superpower — is the most religious continent on the planet. In America, disaffiliation is changing the face of American religion, but at the same time, higher proportions of people today than... Continue Reading
10 Hidden Traps That Trip Pastors Up
If a person is not loyal to you, they will cause you more harm than good — end of story
“Some leaders seem to have an endless supply of energy, enthusiasm, and passion. Even these super-leaders have to take time to feed themselves. If you fail to do this, you will find yourself depleted and weak. Take the time to do something for yourself—those you lead will be glad, and you will be more effective.”... Continue Reading
The Withering Of The Episcopal Church
It would be difficult to overstate the decline in the Episcopal Church in comparison to what it once was
“Permit me to offer my observations about why the Episcopal churches have hollowed out. They are not the result of a scientific survey, but my hunch is that they will ring true with many Episcopalians with traditional views. My observations are based on experiences I had while attending talent shows with a friend at an... Continue Reading
Evangelical Protestants Are The Biggest Winners When People Change Faiths
Why do evangelicals wind up ahead of other Christian sects in this model?
“They’re better at holding on to the people born into their tradition (65 percent retention compared to 59 percent for Catholics and 45 percent for Mainline Protestants), and they’re a stronger attractor for people leaving other faiths. According to Pew’s data on conversion rates, 10 percent of people raised Catholic wind up as evangelicals. Just... Continue Reading
How Is Baptism A Sign And Seal?
Baptism is the sign of initiation into the visible new covenant community
“Baptism is a divinely-instituted sign and seal. As has been mentioned, our Lord did a great number of things which has not instituted for our perpetual use and observance but baptism is instituted for perpetual use and observance until he returns. It is a sign of the washing away of our sins and it is... Continue Reading
5 Steps to Becoming the Most Relevant Pastor Ever
If you follow these carefully researched principles of relevance, you will soon become the most relevant pastor on the block.
Ah , relevance. That holy grail of pastoral ministry. The relevant pastor is up on the latest movies, in on the latest trends, and speaks the language of the streets. He brings life to every party and puts a smile on every face. People can relate to a relevant pastor…because he’s relevant. See how that... Continue Reading
Continuing Down this Path, Complementarians Lose
Egalitarians are not the only ones who deny a hierarchy in the immanent Trinity.
A hierarchy in the immanent Trinity will always lead to inequality. It is more than a difference in roles. It is about the nature or essence of God. I can’t help but conclude that their argument is the biblical, trinitarian equivalent of “separate, but equal.” No matter their intention, the result is the same. It’s not... Continue Reading
Marine Court-Martialed For Refusing To Remove Bible Verse
A United States Marine was convicted at a court-martial for refusing to remove a Bible verse on her computer
“This is a very scary time when you are not allowed to have a very small printed Bible verse in your own personal workspace because it might offend other Marines,” Sasser told me. “Our Marines are trained to deal with some of the most hostile people on the planet. I don’t think they are afraid... Continue Reading
Why Friendships Can Be So Hard
Making and keeping real, authentic, see-me-as-I-really-am, sacrificial, and honest friendship is hard.
Friendship is like any relationship; it takes hard work. It also takes intentionality. It takes a willingness to forgive and overlook offenses. It takes time and effort. Friendship isn’t always equally balanced. Sometimes we might have to work harder than the other person for a while. We might have to take the first step and... Continue Reading
Overture 3: Parental Promises in the Baptismal Vow
“Change the Wording of Parental Promises upon the Baptism of Covenant Children, BCO 56-5, question # 3”
This overture seeks to change the language of that third vow by replacing the clause “Do you now unreservedly dedicate your child to God” with the following: “Do you now acknowledge that God in his providence has placed this child within the covenant family, and entrusted (him/her) to your care….” The vow that follows remains... Continue Reading
Popularity: A Pastor’s Fiery Trial
Forget popularity. Don’t buckle or throw in the towel when faced with difficulties.
Near the beginning of his 1830 publication on the pastoral ministry (The Christian Ministry), Charles Bridges discussed the trials and difficulties of the ministry. In this section he wrote that for pastors, “the greatest difficulties derive their origin and power from ourselves.” This whole section is outstanding, and very much worth reading. One part of... Continue Reading
Updated: Church Disciplines Wife for Wanting to Divorce Husband – Church Issues Letter of Apology
A Dallas megachurch is facing accusations that it has failed to deal with one of its members who viewed images of child abuse and instead made his wife a subject of church discipline.
Hinkley issued a statement criticizing the church’s actions. The discovery of her husband’s use of “child pornography”, she said, was “an indescribable shock and triggered a thorough upheaval of every aspect of my life”. However, she said that “what has become even more troubling than the issues that have come to light in Jordan’s life has been... Continue Reading
5 Indicators of an Evil and Wicked Heart
If you are working with someone who exhibits these characteristics, it’s important that you confront them head on.
When you confront evil, chances are good that the evil heart will stop counseling with you because the darkness hates the light (John 3:20) and the foolish and evil heart reject correction (Proverbs 9:7,8). But that outcome is far better than allowing the evil heart to believe you are on his or her side, or... Continue Reading
A Requiem for the Boy Scouts
The Boy Scouts were doomed the moment the national leadership decided to preserve the organization at the cost of the values and ideals that gave it birth.
Secretary Gates proposes that the compromise be abandoned, accepting the inclusion of openly-gay leaders. His argument is entirely based on the self-preservation of the B.S.A. as a national organization. He made no moral argument at all. He did not celebrate the new policy he proposed on moral grounds, nor did he lament the loss of... Continue Reading
The End Of Casual Christianity
We are certainly seeing the collapse of casual Christianity and of religious belief as a civic assumption.
The language of “decline,” however, is imprecise. The mainline has not so much declined as faded into the broader culture. “Liberals have learned that it’s difficult for the church to survive,” says historian George Marsden, “if there’s nothing that makes the church distinct from culture.” The Roman historian Tacitus described Emperor Nero’s persecution of... Continue Reading
“Groundbreaking” Gay Marriage Study Retracted Over Faked Data
The senior author of an allegedly groundbreaking study on gay marriage has retracted it following evidence that some of the data likely was fabricated.
The study, published in December in the journal Science, showed dramatic results. But when several graduate students returned to the study to build off the work, they found irregularities in the research. Methods widely recognized to produce inconsistent results and anomalies in other studies seemed to yield almost perfectly consistent results in this study. (WNS)–The... Continue Reading
The Case for Overture 7 To Be Considered By the PCA General Assembly
A reply to the case against Overture 7 that will be considered by the Presbyterian Church in America 43rd GA
Church officers are required to explain and defend their life and doctrine when seeking admission to serve under the jurisdiction of another court (e.g., BCO 13-6.). Church officers are required by their ordination vows to come forward and make known any way in which their views might have become out of accord with any of the fundamentals of our system of... Continue Reading
Collateral Damage? 63 Churches Hit In Syrian Civil War
Sixty-three churches have been damaged or destroyed so far during four years of civil war in Syria, says the Syrian Network for Human Rights
“Christians and their places of worship have suffered as much as the rest of the Syrian people. Scud missiles, chemical weapons or barrel bombs do not differentiate between Christians and non-Christians.” However, both extremist groups and government and opposition forces are accused of committing war crimes through “deliberate targeting” of churches, and not just “random”... Continue Reading
Inside Ireland’s Marriage Makeover
The final tally in the marriage vote last week was 62 percent in favor of redefining marriage by constitutional amendment
“They were overwhelmed with millions and millions and millions of American dollars and threats from major American corporations that the Irish economy would be hurt if they didn’t go the right way,” Ruse said. “Even the conservative parties are stripping their members of their positions if they did not uphold this idea of faux marriage.”... Continue Reading
The Same Gospel
Though there are certainly cultural differences between the West and the East, we must resist the temptation to change the gospel.
When we work in areas different from the one from which we came, we might be tempted to hold back parts of the gospel that seem difficult for people to believe. Perhaps we may leave out things like man’s sin, God’s wrath, and eternal damnation for sinners in order to make the gospel “kinder.” We... Continue Reading
Jack Templeton Dies At Age 75
The former pediatric surgeon and head of the John Templeton Foundation sought to glorify his heavenly Father while honoring his earthly one
Templeton was able to direct giving up to a point. As an elder in the Presbyterian Church in America, he subscribed to the Westminster Confession of Faith from 1646, but as foundation head he was faithful to the eclectic and quasi-pantheistic wishes of his father, who died in 2008 at age 95 and once wrote... Continue Reading
Evangelism Explosion to Dedicate New Headquarters Building in North Carolina
EE International will dedicate its international headquarters building near Asheville, N.C.
“This building will be a vital hub in the work of Evangelism Explosion in the U.S. and overseas,” said Sorensen. “Because of it, we’re able to centralize staff and more effectively serve our worldwide ministry.” The new, two-story, 27,000 square foot building provides EE with ample and efficiently configured office space. ARDEN, N.C., Christian Newswire... Continue Reading
Bad Reasons for Avoiding Politics
Christians should be committed to a holistic Christian worldview. And by the very nature of the case, a worldview must involve the “world.”
Christ is coming soon, so we should not waste our time on the affairs of the world: “Since Christ is coming soon, why get involved in seeking long-term political solutions to social problems?” But Christians have been predicting Christ’s return for centuries. Besides, are we not supposed to seek to promote the good regardless of... Continue Reading
My Concerns About a “Recreations Clause” Study Committee
Should the PCA General Assembly approve a committee to study recreation on the Sabbath as requested by 2 overtures?
North Texas Presbytery (Overture 2) and Tennessee Valley Presbytery (Overture 9) have overtured the Presbyterian Church in America General Assembly to establish a study committee to change the language in the Westminster Confession and Catechisms with regard to the idea of recreation on the Sabbath. A number of years ago, I was in a presbytery... Continue Reading
In Faith Communities Like the Duggars, Abuse Victims are Encouraged to be Filled with Grace
It’s not that simple.
Easy “forgivism” may gloss over the terrible situation in the short term, but it reinforces to everyone that the egregious, soul-siphoning sin committed against the victim was trivial, easy to get over. It forgets Jesus’ strong admonition that “whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to stumble, it would be better for... Continue Reading
7 Sure-Fire Ways to Recognize False Teachers
How exactly can you tell if someone is “wolf in sheep’s clothing”?
A false teacher isn’t going to tell you he’s teaching heresy. In fact, he’ll usually look and sound so sincere and passionate that you wouldn’t know he’s actually twisting God’s Word. The size of the crowds around him won’t tell you much either, since many people have been and continue to be led astray by... Continue Reading