What Role Do Good Works Play in Salvation?

So my salvation, initially, is grounded upon good works—Jesus’ good works.

What about my own good works? Do they have a role? Most Protestants would say no. Justification is only one part of salvation. Salvation is the big word. Salvation is the word that covers all of the process by which God fully brings us to total redemption. Justification is that point in the process when... Continue Reading

The State of Evangelicalism in America and all that Blah Blah Blah

It has apparently become almost a pastime among conservative Christians to lament what the church is, rather than what she ought to be.

Over the past number of years I’ve had the opportunity to travel far and wide. I’ve journeyed to many countries across most of the continents. And almost everywhere I’ve been I have found myself challenged and encouraged by American Christians. Is American evangelicalism perfect? Of course not. Is she honoring God and carrying out his... Continue Reading

Sundays are for Babies

The weekly interruption of Sunday often leaves Christian parents discouraged and fatigued.

We ought to have compassion on our children every day of their lives. We recognize that they are weak, and we meet their physical and emotional needs with love and mercy. We remember to bring those Cheerios and that comforting scrap of tattered blanket. But we cannot escape the fact that on Sundays, everything is different. And... Continue Reading

Jesus Is Not Your American Patriot

God has made all people—including Americans—in his image, but we shall not make him in ours.

Instead of worshiping at the altar of a false civil religion, Christians have a dual citizenship: a lesser, temporary citizenship on earth and a supreme, eternal citizenship in heaven. Love of country is a good thing, but the interests of our eternal King far outweigh any interests of our earthly land.   I live in... Continue Reading

Assurance: a Pastoral Conversation

“My dear man, let me begin by telling you that your foundation is secure."

“Do you believe that man’s condition is such that he is in need of salvation?”  The man responded promptly, “Well, yes, of course.”  The minister leaned even further toward the man making him a bit uncomfortable.  “But,” said the minister, “do you believe that God has promised to save men and that this plan is... Continue Reading

BreakPoint: Eugenics and Its Victims

Why Buck v. Bell Still Matters

The “imbeciles” Holmes referred to were Buck, her mother, and Buck’s infant daughter. But as Adam Cohen tells readers in his recent book, “Imbeciles: The Supreme Court, American Eugenics, and the Sterilization of Carrie Buck,” there was nothing wrong with Carrie Buck, her mother, or her daughter. The problem lay in bad ideas that can... Continue Reading

Speaking Truth in Love: Should Christians use Gender-Neutral Pronouns?

Many are insisting that a failure to use gender-neutral pronouns is discriminatory, constitutes hate-speech, and can lead to conviction before a human rights tribunal.

Others are saying that it is a violation of freedom of thought and speech to be forced into using the favored pronouns of the ideological left. This is a multifaceted issue, touching on linguistics, ethics, politics, freedoms, and the law. And, be assured, it is not going to simply disappear.   Professor Jordan Peterson at... Continue Reading

Replace Images of Jesus with Communist President

Propaganda effort in poor province latest sign of Xi Jinping consolidating control.

Communist Party of China (CPC) officials visited believers’ homes in Yugan county of Jiangxi province—where about 10 percent of the population is Christian. They urged residents to replace personal religious displays with posters of President Xi Jinping; more than 600 removed Christian symbols from their living rooms, and 453 hung portraits of the Communist leader,... Continue Reading

Hollywood, Capitol Hill and the Human Heart

We ought to welcome an exposure of sexual sin in a culture that has celebrated, embraced and fought for every other conceivable form of sexual sin.

However, only highlighting one or two specific forms of sexual depravity will have the inevitable and undesired result of fueling self-righteousness among those outraged by it. When the media singles out one particular sexual sin, while approving almost all other forms, one who hasn’t fallen into a socially unacceptable form of sexual sin begins to... Continue Reading

Does 2 Thessalonians 2:13 Teach That Our Good Works Are An Instrument Of Salvation?

God the Spirit graciously produces good works in those whom Christ as justified and whom the Spirit is sanctifying.

Paul does not, however, teach any of the doctrines that are being claimed as Pauline and Reformed in the current discussion. There is in Paul no two-stage doctrine of salvation, wherein one is initially justified sola gratia, sola fide and finally saved through faith and works. The salvation in view here is present. The Thessalonians are not said... Continue Reading

Running from “the Black Dog”

Depression nips at my heels from the first week in November through the end of February.

What I have discovered is that walking in the light about my struggles helps me to fight against them because I know I am not alone and I know how my enemy works. If you struggle with depression, I want to encourage you to find a safe person you can talk to. Don’t assume they... Continue Reading

Pickpocketing Purity

“Perhaps it is time that we start thinking about love, rather than reputation.”

Some of the comments defending the Pence Rule under the link I shared are emotionally charged and hurtful, resorting to the conversation-closer of name-calling. This is what Alan Jacobs calls commitment to non-thinking. In them, Beaty is called brain dead and her article is referred to as a moronic idea, full of lies, which like the New... Continue Reading

Pass it On: A Book Review

Champ Thornton’s new book, Pass It On: A Proverbs Journal for the Next Generation, is both a study guide for the book of Proverbs and a gift to give away

Pass it On is Christ-centered, showing how Christ is wisdom for us. “…true wisdom came to full bloom in the person of Christ. And because of his life and death, he stands as our ultimate Example and Source of wisdom. Jesus modeled perfect wisdom, rightly relating to God and everything else. And now he has... Continue Reading

The Hiding Place of His Righteousness (Toplady)

A wonderful section of a letter Augustus Toplady wrote in 1767 to a friend who was very ill:

“Only flee to him for refuge, fly to the hiding place of his righteousness, death and intercession; and then, the enemy can have no final advantage over you, nor the son of wickedness approach to hurt you, in your everlasting interest. Assault you he may, in your way to the kingdom of God; overcome you... Continue Reading

Liberal Clergy “Bless” Texas Abortion Clinic, Declare Abortion a “God-Given Right”

Such blatant support for abortion in the name of Christ is not wholly uncommon.

“We’re trying say [the extreme right’s] narrative isn’t the only narrative related to faith,” Washington-Leapheart told the Texas Observer. “Women seeking an abortion are largely women of faith. They’re not having an abortion in spite of their faith, it’s in many ways informing the decision they make. … They have a God-given right to make decisions... Continue Reading

Progressive Evangelical Pastor Says He Shouldn’t Have Imposed His Pro-LGBT Announcement on Church

At its peak, GracePointe had a regular worship attendance of 800-1,000, which dropped to below 500 two weeks after the pro-LGBT announcement.

“I would have gone to the leadership and said ‘I love this church and I love you and I respect you, I cannot any longer as a minister not marry same-sex couples when they ask me. And you have to make your decision about what you want to do with that,'” continued Mitchell. “That to... Continue Reading

Cain and Abel: More than Sibling Rivalry

Cain and Abel may indeed be the first story of sibling rivalry, but it is far more than that.

Cain and Abel may indeed be the first story of sibling rivalry, but it is far more than that. It is a divine theater of hope and resurrection life in Christ. It is a preview of the life of many who faithfully follow God in this world and trust in His promises while dramatically displaying... Continue Reading

Is There a Different Process of Church Discipline for Elders?

The process of church discipline is not different for elders, but the Bible underscores the need for churches to exercise great caution and care when hearing accusations.

After commanding that pastors receive double honor, be fairly compensated for their work, and go through a detailed vetting process, God’s Word commands the church to be careful to protect the ministries and the ministers of the church. He does this not to command a blind loyalty that overlooks sin among the elders (verse 20... Continue Reading

‘It’s the Current Year!’ Is Not a Good Argument

Why don’t we burn witches in 2017? Maybe for the same reason we approve of same-sex marriage.

What if we in 2017 are wrong, and our benighted ancestors were right? What if our self-deception is deeper than we’d ever dare to admit on a large scale? What if we’ve papered over and medicated and anesthetized ourselves to keep from feeling the true damage inflicted by our immorality? What if we’ve covenanted together... Continue Reading

10 Things You Should Know About Pride and Humility From Jonathan Edwards

Here are ten things we can learn from Jonathan Edwards on the nature of both pride and humility.

When we grow in our knowledge of something that is finite, we feel that in a sense we have “conquered” it or subdued it and that it is now within our control because we have knowledge of it in all respects. But if the object of knowledge is infinite, as God is, with every measure... Continue Reading

Following Leaders

Principled obedience and submission to our leaders are not license for runaway authority but encouragement to biblical authority.

A primary means of growth in life is by imitation, so we need to be careful in choosing our leaders because “the pupil becomes like the teacher.” There is perhaps nothing more sobering, yet encouraging, for a leader than the realization that those who have chosen to follow them in the name of Christ are... Continue Reading

Students Voiced Their Approval of Machen (1926)

What the student body of Princeton Seminary expressed about Dr. Machen in a resolution adopted by the Students’ Association on November 16, 1926.

Machen, however, had previously opposed in 1920 the Philadelphia Plan for merging nineteen Presbyterian denominations into a single federated body.  He had published two books, The Origin of Paul’s Religion (1920) and Christianity and Liberalism (1923), both of which presented strong arguments against modernism and unbelief.  Machen had become a very public voice raised against... Continue Reading

Alabama Baptists Condemn ‘Alt-Right White Supremacy’

The Alabama Baptist Convention approved a resolution on November 14 condemning racism, including "alt-right white supremacy and white nationalism."

“Radicalized movements in the United States are awakening racial and ethnic divisions that seek to reignite social animosities, reverse improvements in race relations, divide our people and stir up anger and further separation of races,” the statement “promoting gospel unity for all races and ethnicities” said. The Alabama Baptist Convention approved a resolution Tuesday November... Continue Reading

GOP Tax Bill Gives Boost To School Choice

Republicans want to expand 529 accounts to cover K-12 education.

A provision in the Republican tax reform plan would provide more school-choice options for families saving for their children’s education. Under the GOP proposal, parents could use up to $10,000 per year from a 529 education savings account to pay for K-12 schooling.   (WNS)–A provision in the Republican tax reform plan would provide more... Continue Reading

Uncovering Treasures in Paul’s Shortest Letter

Of all the apostle Paul’s epistles, the letter to Philemon may be my favorite

“This is Paul’s only letter that doesn’t mention his apostleship in the greeting. He wants to emphasize to Philemon that he is writing first as a friend, not as a superior. Rather than giving his spiritual son a direct command, he prefers to make his appeal on the basis of love.”   I have a... Continue Reading

Reading the Bible: Ordinary Reading (Part 1)

Sitting down to read the Bible isn’t enough; we need to learn how to read it well

“Don’t be discouraged. Reading, like anything else, is a skill that needs to be learned, practiced, and trained. You might think “I know how to read,” and once you know how to read it’s simply a matter of increasing your vocabulary. Reading is easy and intuitive, and therefore shouldn’t require any extra training once the... Continue Reading

Is the Word of God a Quick Fix?

God’s Word can easily become information for our brains, rather than nourishment for our souls

Brothers and sisters, may we never see God’s Word as our “quick fix”! Rather, my prayer is that we would love the Word of God increasingly more each day, hungering for it like the Psalmists did, when they wrote, “As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God. My... Continue Reading

Alzheimer’s Locks Up Its Victims, But Christ Holds The Key

Even while our minds deteriorate, our status as image bearers of the living God remains

“Many Americans today live in fear of Alzheimer’s, for that terrible disease seems able to steal our soul and obliterate our personality. But it does not. It only has the power to lock it up for a season, until the One who made it calls it back from its troubled slumber. The psyche does not... Continue Reading

Evangelical Ky. Gov. Praised for Urging State Lawmakers Who Settled Sexual Harassment Lawsuits to Resign

Biblical law shows how the Lord takes up the cause of the victim and the vulnerable

Southern Baptist Theological Seminary President R. Albert Mohler Jr. said Bevin’s “moral clarity and candor on this issue stands out not only in the state of Kentucky but, frankly, in the entire national conversation for the fact that it is so laser-like.”   Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin, an evangelical Christian, drew high praises from the evangelical... Continue Reading

James White’s 4 Keys to Effective Debating

You need to examine and familiarize yourself with your opponent’s original source material

“When you explain their view on an issue, they should nod in agreement with everything you are saying before you explain why you disagree. If they don’t believe you understand their position or if they think you have misrepresented their beliefs, they will dismiss any argument you proffer against the faulty position you have presented.”... Continue Reading