When Do We Stand Before God in Judgment?

We have to make a distinction between the judgment that we receive immediately upon our death and what the Bible speaks of as the last judgment.

Historic Christianity has almost universally, but not quite, confessed the idea that the departed saints go immediately to be in the presence of Christ, in what is called the enjoyment of the intermediate state; that is, we are disembodied spirits, and we await the final consummation of the kingdom of Christ, whereby we will experience... Continue Reading

A Myth Of Neutrality

The slogan “freedom of choice” makes no substantive claim about the rightness of the choice, creating a myth of neutrality that appealed to Americans’ “live and let live” attitude.

Now the New England Journal of Medicine has published a manifesto co-authored by Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, an architect of President Barack Obama’s health care plan, that goes further. Abortion is now “a standard obstetrical practice,” he says, and physicians may not substitute their “personal beliefs” for this professional standard. Objectors must switch to a medical... Continue Reading

‘Born That Way’? Really?

The Sexual Revolution, and the way it loosened sexual and marital norms, has left subsequent generations less stable.

Marriage is not simply an agreement between two people who wish to formalize (and sacralize) their love for each other, but it is also a covenant between that couple and the entire community, which is expected to support them in the pilgrimage of marriage and family life. What we have been doing in the West for... Continue Reading

Consecutive Exposition Is Not the Only Way

While God makes it clear that we must preach the Word, he does not specify one method over the other.

While God makes it clear that we must preach the Word, he does not specify one method over the other. I wonder if we have veered too far in one direction. This, after all, is our tendency in nearly everything—to swing from wild extreme to wild extreme.   In many ways, the Reformed resurgence of... Continue Reading

Michelangelo And His Struggles Of Faith

His life runs parallel to the tumultuous events of the Protestant Reformation and is characterized by an equally turbulent search for God’s acceptance.

Michelangelo’s poems are more transparent than his sculptures. Most of them are prayers to God (with echoes of Augustine’s Confessions, which he probably knew well). What he mourned mostly was his struggle with sin (“Fain would I wish what my heart cannot will”) and the time wasted in futile pursuits, including his art (“What’s the... Continue Reading

PCA Minister Lynn Downing Retiring From The Embers To A Flame Ministry

After ten years of service with Embers to a Flame, Lynn Downing is retiring.

Downing has faithfully served the ministry for almost ten years.  In that time, he has facilitated over 40 national/international Embers to a Flame conferences, led numerous Spiritual Foundation Retreats for churches desiring spiritual growth, and shepherded dozens of  churches through our coaching ministry, Fanning the Flame.   The Embers To A Flame Ministry has announced... Continue Reading

One In Six Young People Are Christian As Visits To Church Buildings Inspire Them To Convert

Churches inspire young people to become Christian, a study suggests.

Around 13 per cent of teenagers said that they decided to become a Christian after a visit to a church or cathedral, according to the figures. The influence of a church building was more significant than attending a youth group, going to a wedding, or speaking to other Christians about their faith. Jimmy Dale, the... Continue Reading

Is It Time To Understand Deacons?

In my PCA we don’t agree on everything, no surprise. What shall we do about it?

Our world has changed; women now do other things besides secretary, nurse and teacher. Now they’re senators and executives and doing well. Do we welcome that or were the Amish right after all: we should have stayed on the farm? But we won’t be wiser than God on that either! We’re all learning about gifts... Continue Reading

Nehemiah Sets the Table for Christ’s Feast

If we could summarize: Nehemiah, moved by a genuine love for God and a loving concern for his people, laid aside his privileges and selflessly served those who were hungry and hurting

Surely you can see how wonderfully this service anticipates the greater Nehemiah. After all, the Lord Jesus Christ laid aside his heavenly privileges, put on humanity, and served those who were hungry and hurting due to the effects of sin. Nehemiah might have been able to say, “I ordered a daily feast and wrote the... Continue Reading

The Routine Absurdity of Leaders Growing Large (Part 1)

The gospel is God’s pin to pop the puffy heart and puncture the bloated head of entitled leaders

“With leadership comes certain privileges and prerogatives. You have a title, a name, a platform, a budget, a staff, better benefits – nothing inherently wrong, just things that are inherently sticky. This means that our identity and expectations can quickly adhere to the privileges and prerogatives of our role.”   Our church is preparing for... Continue Reading

The UK’s Highest-Ranking Evangelical Politician Steps Down

Convert who led Liberal Democrats couldn’t shake stigma of his faith

“The pressure Farron felt rings familiar to American evangelicals, who are continually grappling with their place in public life and the future for their convictions. Earlier this month, a Trump administration appointee was challenged during his confirmation hearing over his belief in salvation through Christ alone.”   Amid mounting scrutiny over his evangelical faith, the... Continue Reading

Breaking: Canada Passes Radical Law Forcing Gender Theory Acceptance

Those who refuse to go along could be “brought before the federal tribunal”

The bill adds “gender expression” and “gender identity” to Canada’s Human Rights Code and to the Criminal Code’s hate crime section. With the Senate clearing the bill with no amendments, it requires only royal assent in the House of Commons to become law.   Canada’s Senate passed the Justin Trudeau Liberals’ transgender rights bill unamended... Continue Reading

Why Stay in the SBC?

The SBC is comprised of churches and it needs as many healthy churches as possible within its ranks

“A Southern Baptist Calvinist could get the impression that he is not welcomed in the SBC and, as another prominent SBC leader suggested, should consider looking for a home in a Presbyterian denomination.”   “Why should we stay in the SBC?” I’ve had that question put to me from pastors, elders, deacons, and whole congregations... Continue Reading

The Baptist Exception

Christians in the Global South now dominate every major Protestant tradition — except one

“Unlike mainline Prot­estant denominations, North America’s Baptists in recent decades have generally maintained their numbers. Matters might change in the future, but at present that success at home is the key explanation of why these churches have not been overwhelmed by emerging counterparts overseas.”   When I wrote The Next Christen­dom back in 2002, I... Continue Reading

Same-Sex Married Couple To Lead Historic Baptist Church

A historic Baptist church in the nation’s capital has called a legally married lesbian couple as co-pastors

“According to a Greenville News article about same-sex couples seeking the city’s first marriage licenses after a federal court order finding South Carolina’s ban on same-sex marriage unconstitutional took effect on Nov. 20, 2014, Sarratt and Swearingen met six years earlier at Greenville First Baptist Church, when Swearingen served the church as an intern.”  ... Continue Reading

Why Do Coptic Christians Keep Getting Attacked?

Egypt’s preexisting climate of pro-Islamist sectarianism is an important, and sometimes overlooked, reason

“Against this backdrop, it’s difficult not to see this attack as having a deeply political purpose: to encourage the exodus of Christian Egyptians from their homeland. Through attacks like these, the perpetrators appear to be indicating that they don’t simply want to make life difficult for Christians—they want Egypt to be Christian-free.”   Friday is... Continue Reading

Selfaholism or Servaholism

The weird thing about addictions is that they promise much, but deliver little.

But here’s the strangest thing of all; the happiest people in the world are servants – not those who warm the slippers of millionaires, but those who serve others in all their relationships and responsibilities. They may have a million in the bank or even just red ink, but whatever their social or financial standing,... Continue Reading

Selected Acts & Deliverances of the 45th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in America

The 45th PCA General Assembly met in Greensboro, NC from June 13-16, 2017.

A summary of selected actions of the 45th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in America, including the actions on the recommendations presented by the “Ad Interim Study Committee on Women in Ministry.”  The report is provided for the Assembly, but is not adopted by the Assembly.   1) Approved to be sent down for... Continue Reading

Family Homeless Nonprofit Forced to Choose Between Government Funding and Drug-Free Policy

Because it requires residents to adhere to certain accountability standards such as staying sober, Solutions for Change is ineligible to receive federal government program funding.

Instead of simply providing a place to sleep, Solutions for Change takes a holistic approach to solving homelessness. It requires residents to go through counseling, take courses in financial literacy, parenting, leadership, and anger management, and eventually, get a job.   VISTA, CALIF.—Growing up, Teena Faison never imagined she’d find herself a single mom and... Continue Reading

10 Things You Should Know about Jonathan Edwards

"Though he was of tender constitution, yet few students are capable of a closer or longer application, than he was."

On August 29, 1726, he is asked to assist his grandfather, Solomon Stoddard, in the church in Northampton. He is ordained on February 15, 1727. On February 11, 1729, Stoddard dies and Edwards becomes pastor of the church. The church in 1735 had approximately 620 members. It was customary for Edwards to spend 13 hours... Continue Reading

Preaching the Gospel with TULIP’s Tricky “L” in Mind

How can you preach the “whosoever” of John 3:16 if you cannot be certain that Christ’s atonement was for every person?

The doctrines known as “Calvinism” insist that Christ’s atonement was completed with a limited or definite purpose in mind—the salvation of God’s elect. Thus, while the atonement was sufficient for all humanity, it was intended and applied only to those who had been specially chosen by God to be his. R.C. Sproul says, “Our view... Continue Reading

The Most Important Correlation In All Of Social Science

Number of sexual partners and duration of first marriage.

Thus the cultivation of chastity is central to a robust nation and a robust culture.  Chastity is an old term but now out of favor even among Christians, given the impact of political correctness i.e. cultural Marxism. However it is the accurate label for the virtue or strength behind the data.   Regular readers of... Continue Reading

The FAQs: Supreme Court Delivers Religious Liberty Victory to Hospitals

Had the lower courts ruling been allowed to stand, the precedent could have affected other issues in which church structure affects how they carry out their mission.

Over the past four years, Becket Law notes, class-action lawyers have “brought nearly 100 lawsuits against various Catholic and Protestant hospitals around the country, arguing that these nonprofit hospitals had broken the law by participating in nonprofit church pension plans instead of using lower-benefit pension plans designed for large for-profit corporations like Exxon and Walmart.”... Continue Reading

United Methodist Church Conference Ordains First ‘Nonbinary Trans’ Provisional Deacon

In late 2014, Barclay announced that she was undergoing a "gender transition" and began to use the plural pronouns of "they" and "their" instead of "she" and "her."

“I know it’s not particularly common in The United Methodist Church, but I intend to wear a collar every single day because for a person like me to navigate society in a collar provides some profound and urgently needed pastoral opportunities, particularly for queer and trans people.”   The Northern Illinois Conference commissioned M Barclay,... Continue Reading

Two Members of A PCA Family Shot By Son, Who Then Shoots Himself

Two family members are dead and a third is suffering from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound; members of Zion Reformed Church (PCA) in Winesburg, Ohio.

Dead are James W. Stockdale, 21, and Kathryn B. Stockdale, 54, his mother. Sheriff George T. Maier said Jacob T. Stockdale, 25, fired a shotgun at his mother and brother, killing them, then shot himself. He was taken by ambulance to Canton’s Aultman Hospital and then by helicopter to Cleveland Metro Hospital, where he was... Continue Reading

Echoes of Scripture in the Gospels

The Old Testament surfaces on virtually every page of the New Testament; it speaks with divine authority , and like the NT, it is the very word of God.

The NT writers, to be sure, are largely silent concerning the degree to which the OT authors were aware and conscious of the One to whom they were pointing. They are generally content to affirm that the OT authors pointed to Christ. The NT writers are more concerned to insist that the project of “reading backwards” is... Continue Reading

Tragic Worship

Worship characterized by upbeat rock music, stand-up comedy, beautiful people taking center stage, and a certain amount of Hallmark Channel sentimentality neglects that “in the midst of life we are in death.”

Of all places, the Church should surely be the most realistic. The Church knows how far humanity has fallen, understands the cost of that fall in both the incarnate death of Christ and the inevitable death of every single believer. In the psalms of lament, the Church has a poetic language for giving expression to... Continue Reading

CRC Synod 2017: Syncretism, Restructuring, and the Belhar (Again)

Synod 2017 of the Christian Reformed Church in North America (CRC) was much less contentious than the last couple years but no less eventful.

The Synod 2017 discussions around the topic of justice revealed the underlying differences within today’s CRC. Rev. Andrew Beunk from Classis British Columbia Northwest noticed this and perceptively spoke of it during the discussion on the Belhar Confession: “I think that we are experiencing at the synod a tension that I want to name …... Continue Reading

Often Missing from Conversations about Diversity and Inclusion: Cognitive Diversity

Issues of diversity and inclusion often overlook one aspect of this topic: cognitive diversity.

Reynolds and Lewis studied how well executive teams could complete a strategic execution task under time pressure. They discovered that the kinds of diversity we most commonly think of — gender, race, age — had no correlation to a team’s results. What did make a difference was whether the team members had different perspectives and different styles of... Continue Reading

PCA Study Committee Report: Recommendation 2

Recommendation 2 was contentious because there is no broad agreement in the PCA about the scriptural and constitutional parameters on the role of women serving in the church.

It is the lack of clarity in the report regarding what is biblically and confessionally acceptable for women in worship that makes it difficult to adopt anything other than a wait-and-see attitude with regard to the 2nd recommendation. Mutual respect is not the problem. For the most part, I think progressive and conservative men in the... Continue Reading