The Fourth Person of the Trinity?

“Don’t try to stand in the place of God and do what only God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit can do in someone’s life.”

While we want to be faithful as pastors and spiritually fruitful congregants to help those entrusted to our care–as well as members of the same body, we must ever guard against allowing ourselves to slide into a role that God hasn’t given to us–a role that only He possesses.   When I was an intern... Continue Reading

Calculated Killing of Christians in Roseburg?

When religion draws fire, look to God and the heroic example of Charleston's forgiveness

  If Christians are labeled as “haters” simply because they hold views derived from their Scriptures, the elevated rhetoric can, and indeed does lead to violent actions. It is inevitable. I am not saying we don’t criticize, but we must not demonize. When we demonize others — Christians, Muslims, gays, African-Americans or whomever — we... Continue Reading

6 Reasons Why Anxiety, Worry, & Fear are Particular Problems for Christians

About 20% of the US population has an anxiety disorder. That’s about one in five people, or 40 million adults.

So baseline, you’ll find more anxious people in a church than waiting in line to bungee jump. I don’t have hard statistics on this, but I think the incidence of anxiety disorders in a church congregation is higher than the 20% you find in the general US population. Plus anxious people tend to also be... Continue Reading

Have Church Your Way: The High Cost of the Worship Wars

Larger churches came up with a solution: two services, each with its own “worship style.” But it cost us in the end.

We’re building Burger Kings when we should be planting gardens and digging wells. We’re further indulging the carb-addicted, malnourished population with the same cheap fluff, instead of offering them a balanced meal of Word and Sacrament. Be hospitable, yes, but don’t dumb it down. Don’t make it easy. Trading the body and blood for donuts... Continue Reading

Homeschooled Children Do Not Grow Up To Be More Religious

Family climate, especially faithful religious devotion by both parents, delivered in a context of loving nurture, is more important than where a child goes to school.

So what does it all mean? Anecdotes and biased studies aside, it seems from this emerging body of work that homeschooling itself will not automatically produce adults who share the conservative political, religious and moral beliefs of their parents. The data also suggest that family climate, especially faithful religious devotion by both parents, delivered in a... Continue Reading

High School Rejects ACLU Bid to Block Prayer Boxes

A Louisiana school board rebuffed the ACLU at a meeting Oct. 1 when it passed a resolution calling the organization’s recent threats unwarranted.

“The board wishes to publicly reaffirm its intent to operate a successful school district in which equal access is recognized and the legal rights of all students are respected, including those of its students who wish to engage in student-lead, student-initiated religious expression,” the statement said.   (WNS)–A Louisiana school board rebuffed the ACLU at a meeting... Continue Reading

Refugees and the Moral Crisis of Our National Debt

Because of our $18 trillion in debt, the U.S. is compromised in its ability to help with the refugee and other crises.

Area Middle East churches have invested themselves in working in these refugee camps, seeking to alleviate the physical, psychological, and spiritual needs. International groups such as Samaritan’s Purse and Doctors Without Borders have been working tirelessly. And yet, the overall American response to this unprecedented crisis of displacement has been underwhelming. But, what can you... Continue Reading

10 Things I Wish Everyone Knew About the New Charismatics

A grassroots Christian movement is renewing charismatic faith for the twenty-first century.

For New Charismatics, gone are the days of an eschatological worldview where a bloodthirsty God requires militant pro-Israel support and violent American nationalism. Even as the 2016 GOP primary race heats up, we are more determined than ever to leave this behind for a God who looks like Jesus, that preacher of peace who taught... Continue Reading

The Prosperity Gospel Has Gone Viral

Here are a few ways that you can tell that you are nibbling at the hook of the prosperity gospel, without, perhaps, even knowing it

Regrettably, the prosperity gospel has gone viral. Being more nuanced and subtle than you may think, it is very active in the church. Like a computer virus it is draining vitality and productivity in the covenant community. And you know what the worst part is? You may not even know that you are impacted by it.   What... Continue Reading

6 Great New Books for Kids

Here, representing 6 different publishers, are some excellent new books for children.

In The Biggest Story, Kevin DeYoung—a best-selling author and father of six—leads kids and parents alike on an exciting journey through the Bible, connecting the dots from the garden of Eden to Christ’s death on the cross to the new heaven and new earth. With powerful illustrations by award-winning artist Don Clark, this imaginative retelling... Continue Reading

Did the Apostle Paul Use Profanity?

Is σκύβαλα a swear word, or maybe a rude word? Or is it unobjectionable?

With that in mind, I did a search of two exhaustive databases of ancient Greek literature (Perseus and Thesaurus Lingua Graecae) to see if σκύβαλα functions as a swear word in Greek. I discovered that nowhere in all of ancient Greek literature is there a clear example of σκύβαλα functioning as a swear word or... Continue Reading

Pretending No More

Playing dress up and pretending to be someone else is fun. But eventually children grow out of doing so. Or do they?

When someone asks how we are doing and we smile and say, “Fine,” but inside our heart is aching, we are in fact pretending to be someone else. When we act like our life is great while our world is crumbling down around us, we are pretending. When we fear to open up to others... Continue Reading

The Question Is Not Whether But Why?

Do Reformed Christians ignore the Epistle of James?

The question in the 16th century was never whether James is in the Bible but why it is there. As they worked out their doctrine of justification, sanctification, and salvation sola gratia, sola fide they concluded that James 2 is teaching the moral and logical necessity of love and good works not as part of the legal basis (ground) of our... Continue Reading

Brothers and Sisters

I'm afraid that in an effort to avoid inappropriate relationships between men and women, we have forgotten to foster appropriate ones

We don’t need more fences. We don’t need a stronger negative push against sinful sexual relationships.  We need to foster a different mindset altogether. The church needs to plow a counter culture. It needs a new axis on gender, orthogonal to the sexual one, that equips us to live affirmatively in male/female relationships in the... Continue Reading

4 Questions to Ask a Child

Here are four questions to try on that freckled kid--that image-bearing human being--in the next pew

Sometimes they freeze at any adult attention, twisting themselves into Mommy’s skirt faster than you can say “hello there!” Sometimes they begin eagerly to speak to you, but a friend or a spider redirects their energies and, with a whirl, they disappear. Sometimes, they’ve just woken on the wrong side of the pack n’ play... Continue Reading

The Privilege of Being a Christian

Can you imagine anything greater than this—that you have been loved from eternity; that “in Christ” you are loved right now?

Opinion varies, but many scholars estimate that Romans was written in AD 57-58. Within a decade, many of the Roman Christians to whom the letter was addressed were brutally slaughtered in the Roman amphitheaters. The original readers of Romans faced a terrible dilemma: they could deny Jesus or profess Him knowing that, if they did,... Continue Reading

Why We Let Our Baby’s Death Come Naturally

State Rep. Jeanne Ives, R-Wheaton, about the decision she and her husband made after they learned at the 20-week ultrasound that their son had a diaphragmatic hernia.

But I never blamed God, and I never asked why Mark or why me. I understood more acutely than ever before the inescapable truth that suffering is part of this life, and it does not discriminate. What matters most in those dark and often lonely moments of fear and grief is how we respond to... Continue Reading

Soul Mates?

The Bible knows nothing of romantic “soul mates.”

The “soul mate” concept is unworkable and completely unfair to the real other person in your life. It puts enormous pressure on him or her to perform, to meet our impossible expectations. As Jerry Root and Stan Guthrie point out in “The Sacrament of Evangelism,” putting others in God’s place—expecting them to give us what only He can—is... Continue Reading

Washington State High Court Strikes Down Charter School Law

The Washington Supreme Court struck down the state’s charter school law as unconstitutional in early September.

The 6-3 ruling overturned a 2012 voter referendum legalizing charter schools. The majority opinion said charter schools are not “common” schools because they are controlled by boards, not local voters, and therefore cannot receive public funding. The court’s ruling takes effect in 20 days. One charter school opened its doors last fall, and an additional... Continue Reading

A Modern Day Psalm – The Lord Will Not Abandon You

After reading the Psalms for so long I felt like making one of my own

Following the wording and style of Psalms, focusing on God as the subject and answer to everyday life, no need for rhymes, but giving attention to flow and patterns. Now it has become one of my recurring devotional exercises, as a way of praying to and praising the Lord. Give it a try sometime! Here... Continue Reading

The Pope Francis Effect: Enthusiasm, But To What End?

The Francis Effect has yet to create a shift in the dynamics of church attendance and participation

It’s wonderful that some people say that Francis makes them feel the church is more welcoming to them. But if it’s just making people feel more comfortable in their politics, instead of making them feel the comfort of absolution, communion and strengthening of faith, that’s not much to get excited about.   Right after the... Continue Reading

Lesbian Parents Try to Force a Christian School to Educate Their Child

The child’s parents are looking to file suit, hoping to force their child’s readmission to the school.

If this controversy goes to court it will present an interesting lesson for those who believe that Christians can leave the culture wars behind and safely retreat to their own enclaves. The radical left will find you. When the goal is destroying a belief system, there is no safe way to freely exercise your faith.... Continue Reading

Take-Home Bible

The Bible is the word of God. It is given for our spiritual sustenance and growth in grace.

Reading, study and meditation on the Bible must be part of our daily routine. It should not need to be dusted off to take to church on Sunday, but on that day when we do take it to hand it should feel comfortable and familiar from use throughout the week.   Perhaps you had the... Continue Reading

The Economic Fallacies of Progressive Christianity

One must take great care when making religious claims about political management of the economy

One can scour the entire Bible without finding any example of progressive taxation or any endorsement of large-scale government redistribution of wealth. Instead, the default position is that the individual owns his property and the worker deserves his wages. While charity is an unquestioned obligation, scripture also places responsibilities on the poor that would make... Continue Reading

Do You Have a Healthy or Superficial Relationship with God?

Would you say your relationship is healthy? Is it mature? Is it deepening?

“A mature relationship with God is not sanitary and starched. It is lived in, worn, and stretched. It is not superficial or free from conflict. Let’s be honest, we have all kinds of issues–with God, ourselves, and others (by issues I mean our sin). But, because of the gospel we can be honest about these... Continue Reading

Corporate and Individual Responsibility: An Introduction

It is not truth to confess to sins for which we have no guilt any more than it is truth not to confess for sins of which we are guilty.

“What are some categories that the Bible uses to address the question of corporate and individual responsibility? The first category is a distinction between guilt and consequence. Obviously, guilt is one consequence of sin. However, there are other consequences that can be incurred by someone who has no direct guilt.”   I want to write... Continue Reading

Genesis: History, Fiction, or Neither? 3 Views on the Bible’s Earliest Chapters

Hermeneutical consistency doesn’t allow one to affirm the bodily resurrection of Christ and deny other statements the Old and New Testament’s authors intended as historical fact

We must ask: is the Jesus we affirm the one who claimed that not simply the ideas but the very letters and words of Scripture matter and point to him (Matt. 5:18)? Is he the Jesus who was the word made flesh (John 1:14), who was “in the beginning with God” and through whom “all things... Continue Reading

(How) Will Millennials Change the Church?

First, apparently, by leaving it.

“Some millennials do stay with the church, however, and they will inevitably change the church because they don’t behave like the rest of us do. For example, older adults in congregations all over the country have been waiting for years for the younger generation to “step up” and take their turn running the committees that... Continue Reading

Is America Post-Christian?

Christianity as an ideal and a cultural force is no longer dominant

“What does it mean to say we are in post-Christian times? Does it mean that there are no Christians left? Of course not, that would be ridiculous. It means that we have left the historical period in which the Christian religion and its precepts were at the core of the moral imagination of the West. It doesn’t... Continue Reading

Is Same-Sex Attraction Sinful?

This is a conversation that a lot of different Christians are having in evangelicalism right now

“There is a vital connectedness to the family of God that happens for every single believer and so same-sex attracted persons should not view this as a sentence of loneliness if they are pursuing celibacy in their life.”   Lambert: In our contemporary culture the problem of homosexuality is one that the church has been... Continue Reading


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