Those Who Are Truly Forgiven, Truly Forgive

When we go to God weighed down with the debt of all our sin, He does not sit down with us to work out a payment plan. Instead, He offers full and free forgiveness.

There are still some things we owe to God, however — not out of debt, but out of gratitude — and one of those things is forgiveness. “Forgive us our debts,” Jesus taught us to pray, “as we forgive our debtors” (Matt. 6:12 nkjv). From this petition we learn that we are not the only ones... Continue Reading

Doers and Delegators

Doing rather than delegating may not be quite as noble as it at first appears.

Many ministries within the local church fail to thrive or even collapse altogether because the leader of that ministry is an eager doer but reluctant delegator. When there is a difficult situation or when a key person fails to show up, her first instinct is to just do the task herself. This may be a... Continue Reading

Who Am I? Who Are You? The Power of Identity

Many are inclined to view themselves as a blight or blemish on the body of Christ, a useless, transient appendage that contributes little to the advancement of God’s kingdom.

Here is your current identity and ultimate destiny if you know Christ truly. It consists in having inscribed on your heart the name of God, of his city, and of his Son! There is, of course, as is the case with virtually all spiritual realities, a sense in which this is already true of us... Continue Reading

A very Lutheresque Psalm

The comments Luther made on Psalm 56 give some hints as to how it well expressed his own sentiments.

The background to David’s composition was one of extreme conflict as recorded in 1Samuel 21.10-15. Calvin in his commentary on the Psalms describes it as his being ‘caught between two packs of wolves’ – ‘the Philistines who hated him and the Jews who persecuted him.’ And, given the nature of the conflict in which Martin Luther... Continue Reading

Religious Liberty vs. Anti-Discrimination: Toward a ‘Political Settlement’

Anderson and Girgis warn against a ‘progressive Puritanism’ that attempts to ‘coerce conscientious dissenters to live by the majority’s views.’

The authors’ thought-provoking essays, presented in a point-counterpoint format, broadly address religious liberty, tolerance, and discrimination, providing a valuable framework from which to assess public policy as it relates to these questions in the context of intimate matters including marriage, sex, and child rearing.   In a new book, three scholars make the argument that a... Continue Reading

Hope When Your Children Stray

But though nurtured in a spiritually and theologically solid environment, I ran from it—to spiritual darkness and sin—as fast as I could.

Not long after my conversion, people often asked me to reach out to their own children who were living prodigal lifestyles. I started to realize a few things as I brought the gospel to young adults strung out on pharmaceuticals, cocaine, acid, crack, meth, and MDMA. First, I realized how true my Calvinistic beliefs really were (unless the Lord—in... Continue Reading

Died: Haddon Robinson, Champion of Biblical Preaching

The seminarian who taught and inspired decades of expositors ‘goes home to God.’

In 2000, when Robinson wrote about Psalm 49 in CT, he referred to death as a grim shepherd. “For the believer in Jesus Christ, for the righteous person, we do not go out into death and into darkness,” he concluded. “Instead, we go home to God.”   Haddon Robinson, the respected author and seminary president who set... Continue Reading

Student Series: On Exiting the Bubble of Comfort

if we want to be like Jesus, we can seek to love like him, by trying to understand where someone with different views is coming from, and pointing them back to the cross in love.

I had accidentally enrolled in queer theories, and was apparently the only straight person in the room. Yes, that really happened. At first, I laughed at myself because accidentally enrolling in the wrong class is so something I would do. But after really thinking about it, I decided this could be an interesting opportunity, and... Continue Reading

A Happy Life At Home

This is an excerpt from a book I am writing on ministry.

Nothing can replace time spent with your wife and kids, and it is a rare pastor who can get through life without feeling guilty over the times he has missed with his immediate family.  There is no way out of it, you and your family will sacrifice to be in the ministry, and you should. ... Continue Reading

Protestants and Catholics Use Same Terms, Different Dictionaries

Real ecumenical dialogue must recognize that Protestants and Catholics, while sharing similar terms, often mean widely different things.

The Catholic Church and Protestant churches often use the same vocabulary—words like “gospel,” “grace,” “mercy,” “evangelization,” and more. Importantly, however, these words don’t carry the same connotations when used by the two traditions. One thinks of the “Door of Mercy” in the Catholic Church, a means of obtaining mercy polar opposite from the way Protestants obtain mercy.... Continue Reading

Is Same Sex Attraction Sinful?

Homosexual desire is not analogous to heterosexual desire. Man desiring woman is not sinful in itself: God made us such. Man desiring man is sinful in itself because God didn’t make us such.

Claiming that SSA is merely a temptation or a morally neutral “brokenness” from the Fall is unbiblical, deceptive, and eternally dangerous for the souls who struggle with this particular sin. Soothing same sex attracted people’s consciences by telling them that it’s just a “broken condition” or merely a temptation and not sinful unless they act on... Continue Reading

Some Questions I’m Asking While Off To My White Evangelical Church

Yes, you heard that right, my white church. Why not just the church?

I get that. I get that church still has some ways to go with respect to racial reconciliation. I get that despite all the progress–and there has been progress–there remains a level of ignorance that still needs addressing. Even we’ve come a long way, I get that some are unaware of their own unconscious biases... Continue Reading

First Church Of Intersectionality

Intersectionality is a wholly academic invention; it stands in the vanguard of the progressive academy, allied with critical race studies, queer studies, women’s studies, and ethnic studies.

Intersectionality makes deterministic assumptions about human identity that run counter to almost all of Western ­philosophy—not to mention to the commonsense self-understanding most of us possess. Intersectional theorists begin their work on the basis of a debatable (though never debated) set of characteristics that supposedly constitute personal identity: race, gender, class, sexual orientation, ethnicity, and... Continue Reading

The Life of Charlie Gard: Whose Decision is it Anyway?

Heaven forbid you are ever faced with a medical life-or-death decision as serious as Charlie’s. But if you are, shouldn’t the decision be yours?

The decision of the hospital and courts to let Charlie die is essentially a bureaucratic one. It is based on the degree of healthcare resources—in a government-run system—required to pursue the slim possibility of a positive treatment outcome. Charlie’s continuing treatment would fall outside the scope of coverage of the N.H.S. and would be considered... Continue Reading

But Seriously Chris Tomlin, Good Hymns Don’t Need Your New Choruses

Repackaged hymns aren’t really hymns at all; they are contemporary songs with old words. The words are reworked, and the tunes intended for congregational singing, are made into commercially marketable products.

According to the CCLI database, “The Wonderful Cross” was written by Chris Tomlin, Isaac Watts, J.D. Walt, Jesse Reeves, and Lowell Mason. By doing so, Tomlin, Walt, and Reeves have hijacked Watts’ poetry (Mason composed the tune, HAMBURG), added a very minimal contribution of their own, copyrighted it, and have proceeded to financially benefit from... Continue Reading

How Evangelicals Invented Liberals’ Favorite Legal Doctrine

The Evangelical Origins of the Living Constitution' makes a persuasive historical case that nineteenth-century conservative Christians legislating morality created many of the problems associated with twenty-first-century liberals.

The Supreme Court’s response to New Deal legislation has often been credited (or blamed) for undermining economic due process in the service of a hugely popular administrative state, a shift that some have blamed on the idea of the “living Constitution.” Yet as Compton observes, nearly “every argument advanced during the New Deal period began... Continue Reading

“Submit to Your Husbands”: Women Told to Endure Domestic Violence in the Name of God

American research provides one important insight: men who attend church less often are most likely to abuse their wives.

In 2013, American pastor Steven J Cole concluded in a sermon that “a wife may need to submit to some abuse”. “The difficult question is,” he writes, “how much? My view is that a wife must submit to verbal and emotional abuse, but if the husband begins to harm her physically, she needs to call... Continue Reading

How ‘Woke Theology’ is Weakening the Black Church

Social change is accomplished through heart change; and heart change is fundamentally what the gospel of Jesus Christ is all about

In whatever sense people may or may not view Jesus as a “liberator”, as does Cone, He is first and foremost the Liberator of human beings from the bondage of sin through His propitiatory death on the cross (Rom. 6:10; 1 Jn. 3:5). It is this spiritual liberation that the Black Church – and the Church universal – must again... Continue Reading

Some Quick Reminders of what TULIP is NOT

While they are indeed very important truths, they do not eclipse the total system of doctrine as received in the Reformed Confessions.

It must also be made clear, in light of some popular unbiblical covenant theologies, that Unconditional Election does not equate to, mean, nor imply unconditional New Covenant membership.  Though it is only upon Christ’s merits that we stand in the New (or even Old) Covenant, the Covenant itself is by no means unconditional.  One must... Continue Reading

Prima Facie Evidence Against Intinction

In the institution of the Supper, however, there is no dipping of bread.

We have no authority to dip the bread in the wine as part of the administration of the Supper. We have authority to take, bless, give, and drink. The departure, in some NAPARC congregations, from the pattern instituted by our Lord in the Supper is indicative of a broader departure from the rule of worship... Continue Reading

Classic Theism: Is God Simple or Complex?

Does simplicity make any difference at all? It does indeed, and here are a few implications of this doctrine.

Simplicity safeguards our understanding of  God. The Trinity is not three Gods (tritheism). Neither is God comprised of 1/3 Father, 1/3 Son, and 1/3 Holy Spirit (partialism). We confess One God in Three Persons. Simplicity is also the foundation of God’s independence and immutability. Complex beings are dependent on their parts and their maker, but... Continue Reading

A Deist, a Christian, and an Atheist Go to the Moon

For Armstrong the world is the result of an impersonal source. For O’Hair it’s a cosmic accident. For Aldrin, “The heavens declare the glory of God.”

Aldrin’s view, which I obviously share, offers not only an explanation for the world we live in but for our place in it. When King David pondered creation in Psalm 8, called a “Star Gazer’s Psalm” as it only mentions night lights, he asked this pressing question, “When I look at your heavens, the work of... Continue Reading

Our Foundation of Grace (Owen)

The Christian’s foundation of forgiveness and acceptance with God is not by works, but by grace alone and found in Christ alone.

“The foundation is to be laid, as was said, in mere grace, mercy, and pardon in the blood of Christ. This the soul is to accept of and to rest in as mere grace, without the consideration of any thing in itself, but that it is sinful and obnoxious unto ruin. This it finds a difficulty in,... Continue Reading

The Religious Left’s Abortion Gospel

"At the Intersection of Faith and Reproductive Justice,” which pleased the largely leftist, overflow audience of over 100 people and gave disturbing insight into the Religious Left’s bizarre support for the abortion gospel.

The panelists like CAP’s Faith and Progressive Policy Initiative Vice President LaShawn Warren dismissed any Judeo-Christian objections to abortion advocacy. “There are conservatives who will raise a few biblical passages primarily from the Book of Jeremiah and Job about reproductive healthcare,” yet the “Bible has very little to say about abortion.” The “trained theo-ethicist” Leonard concurred that the “Bible didn’t say... Continue Reading

Discerning Entertainment

Entertainment affects our minds, our homes, our culture, and our churches.

Through my experience in entertainment, God has heightened my sensitivity as I have attempted to lead my family in how we view and enjoy all types of entertainment: from TVshows to movies, from operas to music, from books to Broadway musicals, from bedtime stories to board games.   My maternal grandfather, James Robson Featherstone (1915–1995), was born... Continue Reading

John Calvin: The Religious Reformer Who Influenced Capitalism

Though Max Weber gave Calvin credit for sanctifying the Protestant work ethic, he never accepted capitalism unconditionally.

Both the blame and the credit for capitalism have often been placed at the feet not of an economist, but rather a sixteenth-century Christian theologian named John Calvin. Calvin’s belief in predestination and other tenets embraced by aggressive capitalists, is seen as giving the theological justification for a Protestant vision that propelled economic growth in... Continue Reading

The False Gospel of Nice

It’s not that we fail to talk about the cross or even sin; it’s that sin is presented as a problem primarily for how it messes up our lives and relationships and gets in the way of our goals.

Jesus, of course, does make a difference in the lives of believers; it’s just not the difference of a better life now in all the ways we might want. After all, what did Jesus say? “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me” (Matt. 16:24). That... Continue Reading

The Christ-Haunted Song

Since "all that borrows life from Him are ever in His care," all that we have and possess (including our ability to think and reason in the realm of metaphysical truth) is nothing other than "borrowed capital."

“The truth is known and acknowledged by the unbeliever. He has no right to believe or assert truth in terms of his own presuppositions, but only on Christian ones. So his assertions of truth are based on borrowed capital.” The truth is inescapable for the unbeliever, though he or she constantly seeks to suppress it... Continue Reading

Promises Made, Promises Kept

“I will be their God and they will be my people”

The truth is, God is not anxiously waiting for us to claim his promises or try with all our might to believe they are true. They will come to pass because God said them. There is no need to name them and say they are ours for they already are—in and through the Word made... Continue Reading

Teach the Real ‘Personal Relationship with Jesus’

I’ve started describing our relationship with Jesus in terms of union with Christ.

While you may know little about union with Christ, some view it as the most comprehensive aspect of Christian salvation. Michael Horton, for example, shows how union with Christ draws together the various aspects of salvation—including “the past, present, and future, as well as the objective and subjective, historical and existential, corporate and individual, forensic and transformative.”  ... Continue Reading