The Gospel For Mormons Who Reject It
A review of Starting at the Finish Line by John B. Wallace, a devout Mormon who ended up getting “burned out” by Mormon doctrine and practice.
The bulk of the book really talks about grace – the fact that Jesus came into the world to die for wicked sinners and give them the gift of eternal salvation by faith alone (not by works). Time and time again Wallace explains how he was very works oriented in the Mormon religion. He shows... Continue Reading
Looking Ahead, the Martyr’s Great Hope
How do you prepare for persecution ahead of time and find strength in the midst of it?
Godly men and women, suffering for their faith, do not ultimately hope in release from an earthly prison. The wife of de Bres, and many martyr’s wives of the past oriented their hope around heaven, trusting the truth of God’s word that “the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory... Continue Reading
Autopsy of a Deceased Church: A Review
Thom Rainer’s book is the result of the study of 14 dying churches to see what went wrong
The most pervasive and common thread of our autopsies was that the deceased churches lived for a long time with the past as hero. They held on more tightly with each progressive year. They often clung to things of the past with desperation and fear. And when any internal or external force tried to change... Continue Reading
When God Loves Me Too Much
He loves me too much to give me that thing I am convinced I need.
Whatever it is—an object, a person, a position, a recognition, an award—God expresses his love in withholding it from me. He knows me far better than I know myself. He knows what I need, and he knows what I don’t need. He knows what would soon step into that place he reserves for himself. I... Continue Reading
Sexual Assault: What Does the Hook-Up Culture Have To Do with It?
The sexual assault epidemic on college campuses is created, in part, by the effects of the hook-up culture.
This series of vague and variable sexual expectations clashes dangerously with the carte blanche given to young American adults. After all, boys will be boys and girls will go wild. The selfish individualism expected among adolescents and young adults tells us not to take “no”for an answer. Respect for ideas of sexual integrity—the concept that sex might... Continue Reading
How Should a Pastor Respond When He is Praised for a Good Sermon?
Here are 4 suggestions for how to respond in a God-honoring way.
The great temptation when complimented about a sermon is to think the fruit of our labors ultimately is about us and because of us. When a kind word is extended to us about our sermon, make sure God is credited and praised. Not superficially, but sincerely. We can give God glory with our lips in response, but inside be eaten up... Continue Reading
Jesus Is Not Only Sympathetic; He Can Change Things
Jesus, our great high priest, is waiting and longing to help us.
So often somebody tells me about a hard time they are going through and I may be sympathetic but often I can’t do anything about it. I can pray for them, but I can’t change their situation. I can’t lift their burden or heal them or take their sadness or provide all they need. I... Continue Reading
To the Women of America: 4 Reasons to Hate 50 Shades of Grey
Let me try to explain why you are too good for this movie
The problem with the sex portrayed in this movie, or in any trashy romance novel you find at the airport, or in many other films and TV shows, or in many actual relationships, is that it’s always self-seeking, never honest, never truthful, never trusting, and never protecting. There is no hope in it, no kindness,... Continue Reading
Ex-Mars Hill Church Members: ‘We are not anonymous’
The dissenting voices in his church speak of a harsh, judgmental, dictatorial environment.
Disillusioned former Mars Hill Church members, faced with senior pastor Mark Driscoll’s claim that they “remain anonymous,” have taken to Facebook to deliver on-the-record explanations of why they departed the Seattle-based megachurch. They have invited those who left the church to make a declaration: “Dear Pastor Mark and Mars Hill: We are not anonymous.” ... Continue Reading
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