Steady Destruction — and Deafening Silence
The Islamic State destroys Jonah’s tomb and other Judeo-Christian sites in Mosul while President Obama remains mute
Islamic State fighters have seized all 30 churches and monasteries in the Mosul area, removing their crosses and burning or destroying many of the buildings. They have converted to a mosque the Syriac Orthodox Cathedral in Mosul’s Al Shurta district, Mar Ephraim, installing loudspeakers issuing calls to Islamic prayer. Two ancient monasteries have been looted... Continue Reading
N Is for Nazareth
Christians around the world are changing their social media avatars to the arabic letter “n.”
“Nazareth, though, reminds us that God’s purposes are global, transcending our tribal and national categories. When Jesus preached in his hometown synagogue in Nazareth, he was received with joy and awe, until he told his fellow villagers that they really didn’t understand what he was saying. Jesus demonstrated that God’s purposes had always gone “outside... Continue Reading
Persecuted Christians and You
Do we care about persecuted Christians around the world?
“No one has a more legitimate claim on our concern than severely-persecuted Christians, wherever they may be found. They are especially precious in the Lord’s sight, and they suffer the greatest injustice. With them in mind, Scripture says the world is not worthy of them (Heb 11.38). And what could be more unjust than violence... Continue Reading
Soli Deo Gloria: To God Alone Be the Glory
No semi-Pelagian can ever say with authenticity: “To God alone be the glory.”
“For the semi-Pelagian, God may be gracious, but in addition to God’s grace, my work of response is absolutely essential. Here grace is not effectual, and such grace, in the final analysis, is not really saving grace. In fact, salvation is of the Lord from beginning to end. Yes, I must believe. Yes, I must... Continue Reading
What Makes Marriage So Hard?
Who knew marriage could be so hard? And painful? And beautiful.
“It all started when my husband made a simple comment at lunch in which he defended an old family friend. I’m ashamed to say that I struggle to show kindness to this person. In many ways, I’m jealous of her seemingly easier life. My husband’s words picked at a sinful scab in my heart. Jealousy,... Continue Reading
Sorry 666: Churches Fear 990 More
How more ministries going digital could unwittingly aid atheists targeting church tax breaks
“Many churches leverage today’s technology so those beyond their walls can participate. But Christian legal experts are concerned that blurred lines between “church” and “ministry” will eventually spur the IRS to reexamine what constitutes a church. (The agency last stripped a nonprofit of church status in 2004, largely because the broadcasting- and publishing-focused group mostly... Continue Reading
Please Don’t Say These Six Things at My Funeral
They say the dead don’t care, but I’m not dead yet, so as long as I’m still alive, I’d like to have some say in what goes on at my funeral
“Don’t turn my funeral into a celebration of my moral resume. For one thing, I don’t have one. I’m guilty of far more immoral acts than moral ones. Secondly, even if I were the male equivalent of Mother Teresa, don’t eulogize me. Talk about the goodness of the Spirit who calls, gathers, enlightens, sanctifies, and... Continue Reading
Trumpeting a Dinosaur Horn
A partially fossilized triceratops horn offers evidence the animal lived less than 65 million years ago, say scientists who discovered it
“These are real dinosaur tissues, loaded with real dinosaur cells,” Anderson said. “How is it they were preserved?” He believes the preservation of soft tissue challenges the assumption that the fossil is at least 65 million years old. According to the evolutionary timescale, triceratops lived at the end of the Cretaceous Period, which would have... Continue Reading
Counsels For Old Age
"Sanctified activity" is followed by "sanctified decline" as a believer ages
“In January 1847, at the age of seventy three, some four years before he died, Pye Smith preached two sermons on “Old age, its characteristics, obligations and adapted blessings,” one from Psalm 71.9 and a second from John 21.18-19 on Christ’s charge to Peter. He divided adult life into two main periods. Each, he maintained,... Continue Reading
50 Shades of Strange
In the months building up to this movie, we need to be engaging this 50 shades of strange, asking good questions.
This is an opportunity for believers to reach out to our unbelieving friends and ask if this is really the road that we want to go down. Do we really want to be encouragers of promiscuity and abuse? Do we really believe that this is good sex? Do we want our sons and daughters to... Continue Reading
14 Sobering Reminders When Confronting Sin
These reminders keep us serious, humble, and prayerful throughout this process.
But we must also remember the encouraging wonder of Christ’s glorious person and saving work. His redemption is deeper, wider, longer, and higher than any sin. His salvation is more powerful than sin and can heal the deepest wound. His love can expel and replace the love of sin. He can straighten out the most... Continue Reading
Is Christianity Inherently Undemocratic? Hierarchy and Predestination
In his well-known book Christian Faith and Modern Democracy, Robert P. Kraynak argues that Christianity is inherently illiberal and undemocratic.
Christians are therefore called to conform to Christ in their attitudes towards all persons, laying down their lives in humility and service. Any other ethical use of the doctrine of predestination is ideological and self-serving. None of this requires that Christianity is inherently liberal of course, let alone democratic. That would depend both on what... Continue Reading
Religious Liberty: Special Interest or Constitutional Right?
What will be left of the First Amendment in this brave, new, sexually-liberated world?
Which do Americans want more: freedom or equality? At present, activists and policymakers are cobbling together both concerns. However, will the next generation of Americans err on the side of liberty or egalitarianism? I think the answer one would receive from Millennials—even evangelical ones—would be troubling for many traditional American Christians. The recent Supreme... Continue Reading
Meriam Ibrahim released from Sudan
After diplomatic efforts by the Italian government, the family arrived safely this morning in Rome
Ibrahim’s release came only hours after the U.S. House of Representatives held a hearing to highlight the stalled efforts to get her out of Sudan, but the wheels were already in motion before the proceeding began. Sudanese authorities gave Ibrahim back her passport on Wednesday and told her she could leave, shortly before Lapo Pistelli,... Continue Reading
Moving In and Moving On
Cohabiting couples have become more likely than in the past to break up or not transition into marriage.
First, taken with the growing body of research in this area, I think we are seeing cohabitation headed toward becoming more ambiguous than ever regarding commitment. Actually, that’s not quite right. Cohabitation seems to be moving toward being, unambiguously, a form of dating with no implications about the odds of marrying. Second, these societal changes... Continue Reading
God Loves Me, Despite My Terrible Incompleteness
I’m not the person I should be, but Jesus was the person I should be!
I tend to think that if I improve in certain areas, God will love me more. If I improve by 10% in the dad category, God will love me 10% more. If I can bump up my evangelism quota by 3%, God will bump up his love for me by 3%. More work on my... Continue Reading
My Statement Released to the PCUSA’s Office of the General Assembly: “Practice What You Preach”
It would behoove the Louisville leadership to address its own denominational nastiness, so as not to be guilty of hypocrisy and worse.
Why has not the Office of the General Assembly directed some of its wide-ranging attention to the cruelty, greed, oppression and mean-spiritedness being consistently demonstrated by the institutional powers within its ranks? In these matters, presbyteries seem to hold all the power in the “negotiation process.” Where are the progressive leaders who so readily mouth... Continue Reading
Prioritizing Church Attendance
Why we don't attend church: A 40-hour week job, but no time for God
Instead of serving the god of individuality, we will be serving the God of Scripture. The gospel changes everything. However, we must first let the gospel change our low views of the church, and recognize that the house of the Lord is absolutely vital to the Christian life—to the life of a mature disciple. Should... Continue Reading
7 Signs We May Be Worshipping Our Family
There does seem to be a tendency with the home school/family worship/children in worship emphasis that can turn this good thing upon its head.
If our family is always busy with its own activities, whether soccer, piano, ballet, family vacations, or even family worship to the point that we have little time for others, there is a problem. The enrichment and growth of our children, even in spiritual things, is not to pull us away from people but towards... Continue Reading
The ‘Gay Marriage’ Tsunami
It’s past time we move from asking “What if?” to asking “What now?”
Our model is Jesus, who when asked specifically about the Mosaic law on marriage, went back to the very beginning—to Genesis. Jesus thought that God’s created intent was even more important than the law itself. We’ve got to understand this design—especially with the recent spate of so-called “Christian” books attempting to justify same-sex marriage. ... Continue Reading
University Fires Scientist After Dinosaur Discovery Offers Young Earth Evidence
California State University, Northridge fires scientist after he publicized discovery that suggests dinosaurs roamed America thousands of years ago, rather than the millions most evolutionists cite
Mark Armitage, who specializes in microscopic evidence for a young earth, unexpectedly stumbled upon soft tissue in a triceratops fossil and wrote about his discovery for a scientific journal. Two weeks later, he was out of a job. Armitage filed suit against the university’s board of trustees on Tuesday, citing wrongful termination and religious discrimination.... Continue Reading
The Big Bang’s Big Problem Bedevils Researchers
If the Big Bang theory is correct, our universe should not exist, according to research published last month
The researchers of the current study combined data from observations made possible by the BICEP2 telescope with new information developed from the discovery of the Higgs Boson, a particle thought to be responsible for the mass of everything that exists. The scientists said the universe lies in a valley of the Higgs Field, an energy... Continue Reading
Why Preachers Should Be More Like Peyton Manning
Every once in a while get up in the pulpit and let the people know what you have learned and how you are trying to improve
Make it a discipline of your calling to realize what mistakes you are actually making. Most preachers have to throw off depression and despair pretty quickly after a sermon that seems to have fallen into the carpet or else they can’t function very well. Yet, if you allow yourself no reflection, and no request for... Continue Reading
Is My Suffering Meaningless?
My greatest joy is that my suffering has purpose
It is comforting to know that everything God sends is the best possible thing for me. Nothing can derail his plan. No sin, no accident, no affliction. Satan does not have the last word on my suffering. God does. He has decreed it all and will use it all. A few weeks ago, I... Continue Reading
Religious Freedom vs. LGBT Rights? It’s More Complicated
The legal context for what's happening at Gordon College, and how Christians can respond despite intense cultural backlash.
The argument for pluralism and the aspirations of tolerance, humility, and patience are fully consistent with a faithful Christian witness. And in this age, they are also far likelier to resonate than arguments for religious exceptionalism. The claim of religious exceptionalism is that only believers should benefit from special protections, and often at the cost... Continue Reading
Child Evangelism or Covenant Theology?
The Reformed Church has failed to teach its members the implications of covenant theology for their children
Parents do indeed expect with joyful anticipation to see their children love the Lord Jesus as much as they do. Presbyterian parents look forward to the day when their children will be admitted to the Lord’s Supper by the Session of the Church. It is a joyful expectation. It is an attitude that begins at... Continue Reading
Use the Voice God Gave You
God gives each of us a unique voice that speaks to a particular person or audience
I may never learn how to speak louder than I do. My writing voice may be fixed as well. I don’t know. But I do know that God has called each one of us to spread his glory and gospel to the world. First in our homes, then in our communities, and as far beyond... Continue Reading
Why Christology Matters: A Dialogue With Anselmus Modernus and Boso Brown
With apologies to Anselm, Archbishop of Canterbury, 1093-1109
“Christology—understanding and describing the Savior biblically—is a matter of love as well as faith. That is why the early Christian Fathers wanted to describe Him in a way that was faithful to Scripture. Ignatius of Antioch put it movingly when he wrote: “My Love is crucified.” You see, it was love that drove the best theologians... Continue Reading
Government Survey: Gay Population Smaller Than Previously Thought
Less than 4 percent of the U.S. population identifies as gay, lesbian, or bisexual
Based on 2013 data collected by the government in The National Health Interview Survey, 1.6 percent of adults identify as gay or lesbian and 0.7 percent identify as bisexual. The numbers were lower than earlier approximations, which placed gay and lesbians at closer to 3 percent of the population. (WNS)–Less than 4 percent of... Continue Reading
Meet the Failed Pastor Who Ministers to Other Failed Pastors
J. R. Briggs sympathizes with church leaders who don't live up to expectations
“It started with attending pastors’ conferences. They featured well-known pastors of large churches, but average pastors were never invited to share their experiences. These events were all about success and getting results. I was in the middle of a painful season of ministry. I needed something that wouldn’t discourage me or add to my spiritual... Continue Reading