Should My Child Miss Church to Play Sports?
There’s been a radical shift in our culture’s attitude toward Sunday in recent years.
With the advent of traveling teams, Christian parents have a golden opportunity to teach their children about priorities. Mom and Dad, what’s really most important to you? Do you crave the ego-boost of bragging about what a terrific athlete your child is, or do you want them to know God’s will for their lives? When... Continue Reading
The Benedict Option: What is It?
The BenOpt is a call to live in an intentionally Christian way in light the West’s antagonism to Christianity.
The BenOpt is not a call to enter into a monastery but strategic retreat into Christian community. It’s a call to live in an intentional way to survive the oncoming cultural onslaught. Of course, the next decades will almost certainly not include physical persecution. But Christian schools will begin to lose their accreditation, jobs will... Continue Reading
Preventing Pastoral Burnout
Three areas to help pastors in particular not only recover from burnout, but also prevent it.
When I counsel pastors with burnout, stress, anxiety, or depression, I often find a strange reluctance to address the physical side of their suffering and an obsession with the spiritual. The spiritual side of things has to be addressed of course, especially because heart motivations are often the root cause of burnout. But even then,... Continue Reading
Here’s How the New Christian Left Is Twisting the Gospel
Research tells us evangelicals are drifting further away from the orthodox truths their parents and grandparents held dear.
Popular liberal evangelical writers and preachers tell young evangelicals that if they accept abortion and same-sex marriage, then the media, academia and Hollywood will finally accept Christians. Out of fear of being falsely dubbed “intolerant” or “uncompassionate,” many young Christians are buying into theological falsehoods. Instead of standing up as a voice for the innocent... Continue Reading
Confessing the Sin of Platforming
It’s possible to want to help others think biblically, to look to Christ, to learn God’s word, and also “market” or strategize or share online. But maybe the only way to navigate this area is to proceed with caution.
Babel and the Baptist are at odds. Let’s make a name for ourselves. Let’s not. Let’s increase our following. Let’s decrease, dwindle to peanuts, and baton everything toward Christ. How can we increase our social media buzz? How can people see more of Christ by what I do? There’s a fuzzy tension here. “Let... Continue Reading
The Simplicity of Reformed Worship
Reformed worship simply consists of the Word (read, preached, sung, confessed, prayed) and the sacraments (the Lord’s supper and baptism).
The main reason for the simplicity of Reformed worship is the teaching of Scripture. The Bible doesn’t command God’s New Covenant people to worship him with all the images and vestments and ceremonies. The Reformers believed that the external ceremonies and images didn’t elevate the mind to God, but domesticated God and therefore were idolatrous. ... Continue Reading
Living Under Authority
It’s all too easy for us to get caught up in an attitude that will bring us into open defiance of the authority of God.
The world has gone crazy in lawlessness, but we’re to be different. Wherever we find ourselves under authority—and we all find ourselves submitting to various authorities—we’re to submit to that authority. Nobody in this world is autonomous. Every one of us has not just one boss, but several bosses. Everyone I know, including me, is... Continue Reading
Hierarchy and Subordination vs. Headship and Household Mission
Headship existed before the fall because Adam and Eve were in a household, the garden-temple-household of Eden.
Eph. 5 teaches proper headship of the husband, which is far different than ruling over a wife and demanding submission from her. Christ as the head of God’s household, the church, did what man never could, and now man is restored to lay down his own life in service to his wife and family. Interestingly... Continue Reading
Who Are “the Least of These”?
“The least of these” refers to other believers in need—specifically, itinerant Christian teachers dependent on other Christians for hospitality and support.
Matthew 25 is about social justice in the sense that it is about caring for the needy. But the needy in view are fellow Christians, especially those who depend on our hospitality and generosity for their ministry. “The least of these” is not a blanket statement about the church’s responsibility to meet the needs of... Continue Reading
8 Prayers You Should Regularly Pray For Your Pastor
Obviously, God is the one who ultimately sustains pastors, but one of his primary means is through the prayers of pastors.
Pastors can be tempted to modify or even abandon biblical doctrines for a variety of reasons. Cultural pressures, vocal church members, even legal actions can press hard upon pastors, making them feel that the only way out is to give up the clear teaching of Scripture. They need God’s grace to stay faithful to the... Continue Reading
Princeton Theological Seminary Reverses Decision to Honor Redeemer’s Tim Keller
Keller agreed to deliver the annual Kuyper Lecture on April 6 as planned
While Keller is not known for pushing hot-button culture war issues, several critics said his positions against the ordination of women and against LGBTQ rights, as well as his endorsement of a traditional view that women should submit to their husbands — a view known as “complementarianism” — fostered domestic abuse and prejudice against gays... Continue Reading
The Gathering Storm: Religious Liberty in the Wake of the Sexual Revolution
These are days that will require courage, conviction, and clarity of vision.
Religious liberty is being redefined as mere freedom of worship, but it will not long survive if it is reduced to a private sphere with no public voice. The very freedom to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ is at stake, and thus so is the liberty of every American. Human rights and human dignity... Continue Reading
Christ, the Church, and Marriage
God gave us marriage so that when he speaks to us of love, tenderness, intimacy and union, we would know something of what he is talking about.
The common interpretation of Ephesians 5:22ff is this: Marriage is a picture of Christ and the church. Since Christ will never abandon his church, divorce is forbidden under all circumstances. Hogwash. This is the same as saying that since Christ will never abandon his church, we also must never prune our vines. It’s silly on... Continue Reading
Affairs Don’t Start with Texts
We are now obsessed with protecting ourselves from one another emotionally because we are oversexed; assuming intimacy and vulnerability can only lead to sexual immorality.
As Christians, with the resources of the Bible and the Gospel at hand, we ought to be more adept at deconstructing issues. Ours is fundamentally a religion of the heart. We do believe that behavior matters. But we also believe that behavior is symptomatic of belief. People don’t commit adultery because of text messaging any... Continue Reading
Working Women Are Leaving the Church
Here are a few ideas to help keep these women—and their families—in the pews
Allow them to use their gifts to serve others. Working women bring a diverse set of gifts and talents to the church. A female CFO is a great resource to help balance the church’s finances, or a corporate lawyer can advise staff on legal paperwork. God has given both men and women unique gifts, “just... Continue Reading
Southern Baptists Extend Olive Branch to Russell Moore
Denomination leaders seek reconciliation amid internal strife
“Russell Moore has done nothing worthy of discipline or firing. He has not violated The Baptist Faith and Message and, in fact, has been outstanding as president of the ERLC,” Day wrote. “Southern Baptist have been uniquely gifted and called to have a great impact for the Kingdom of God. We must not be ignorant... Continue Reading
Minimalism Is Not the Gospel
I was a minimalist for less than a week. But I loved every clean, simple, sleek minute of it.
First-world citizens often do accumulate possessions to excess. We idolize our belongings and base our sense of self-worth on the newly acquired contents of our Macy’s shopping bag. We compare our stuff with others’ stuff in an endless cycle of covetousness. We’re also heedless of the consequences of our consumerism. In our pursuit of stuff, we become thoughtless stewards of creation and poor neighbors to those who produce goods in unsafe conditions for unfair wages. But minimalism is not the gospel.
The Most Dangerous Man in Christendom?
To claim the Reformers as heroes and at the same time deride those who hold to their beliefs on Christian discipleship is at best misleading.
When was the last time anyone gave a plenary address at a big Evangelical conference on the importance of infant baptism for the well-being of the church? That lacuna points to the default revivalist/baptistic setting of the movement. Lutherans and Presbyterians can buy into that movement only if they are prepared to leave at the stadium turnstile all that actually makes them Lutherans and Presbyterians—in other words, almost all that their Reformer ancestors held dear.
So I Quit Drinking
For some people, a drink is just a drink and that’s okay. But there are a lot of people who know that a drink can be dependence and distrust and damage and danger.
I began to see women of my generation becoming increasingly dependent, as wine was marketed to women as the rest or as the treat they deserved for their exhaustion and their diligence and their selflessness. I began to see news stories everywhere about the rise of women drinking. I began to read memoirs and stories and articles from women who had become caught in drinking too much and about how they felt addicted and dependent and entangled almost before they knew it.
Five Reasons Why Pastors Are Getting Fired Because of their Social Media Posts
What are pastors posting on social media that is raising the ire of church members?
Generally combative and sarcastic comments. Do you know someone that seems always to be in debate on social media? They always want to prove their points, and they will take you on personally if you disagree with them. There are now a number of former pastors in this category.
Seeking the Approval of Men
Seeking the approval of other men — godly men — especially in ministry is not only beneficial, but also necessary
After these two experiences, I got reminded of another conversation that my wife had with another friend. Some time ago, my wife had elatedly posted on social media that I had received a license to preach from my presbytery. This other friend commented, with some deal of amazement, as to why I required such a license! Hasn’t Jesus called all of us to preach the gospel? Then why is there a need to seek a license for so obvious a task? Although that friend was sincere in asking these questions, his questions revealed to me that he had the same presuppositions as these two other friends: In ministry, we should not seek the approval of men.
When Christian Celebrities Go Gay
Brief biographies of five Christian celebrities who have come out as practicing gay lifestyles
There seems to be a new kind of “coming out of the closet” occurring at the intersection of faith and sexuality. One in which renowned Christian authors and musicians are moving beyond public support of revisionist sexual ethics and themselves professing an openly gay lifestyle. Something novel to mainstream contemporary Christian culture.
What Causes My Anger?
Here is the root of our anger: We want something and can’t get it, so we fight and quarrel.
Once driving a stretch in Pittsburgh I hit every red light and started feeling irritated (angry). By God’s grace, I asked myself the big question: What do I want right now that I am not getting? I realized that what I wanted was for every red light to turn green the moment I approached. I wanted all creation to serve me. I wanted to be God. I wasn’t getting what I wanted so I got angry.
The Day of Trouble
Few christians go through the whole of their christian lives without experiencing a time of trouble.
Why does the Lord allow christians to suffer for their faith? When the Lord says, ‘offences must come’, why does He use the word, ‘must’? Does He really mean that trials and afflictions are a ‘must’ in the christian life? Yes, that is exactly what He means. Why is this so? It is that even after a person is saved, and has experienced the great changes that accompany being saved, such as changes in inclinations, enjoyments, tastes, company, entertainments, and so on, God has further work to do on and in the christian, before they leave this world to enjoy the pleasures of heaven with Christ forevermore.
A Plea to My Fellow PCA Pastors
If you can no longer affirm what the PCA has stood for, why not move to a denomination that expresses your views rather than trying to change the PCA?
If you love Anglicanism by all means be an Anglican. I know some wonderful Anglican brothers and sisters. If you desire to ordain women then transfer to the Evangelical Presbyterian Church (EPC) or Reformed Church in America (RCA). They will happily allow you to do that. But out of respect for the sacred vows you... Continue Reading
We Have Lost The Sense Of God
A Christian can never rise higher than his experience of God
“I am sorry to say that as I mingle with the younger generation today, I cannot help feeling that this culture of deep meditation on God has been largely lost. There is too much noise. Noise from the television, noise from the radio, noise from the internet, noise from the smartphone, noise from the computer,... Continue Reading
A Very Millennial Theodicy Problem
A few weeks ago, at 10 pm at night, I received an email from a former student
But, come on — ‘You were a nasty church history professor. You were horrid to me. You really were. Therefore God does not exist.’ Really? That is not only a piece of logical and metaphysical nonsense. It is also a piece of contemptible trivia, of decisive weight only to one who is completely self-absorbed. ... Continue Reading
Is Tim Keller About to Have His Rod Dreher Moment?
Keller’s communion, the PCA, does not ordain women, nor does it recognize sexual orientation rights
“Instead of making the difference that Keller’s fans think, this impending controversy could indicate that rather than being a church for the Big Apple, Keller should have been thinking about culture more the way Rod Dreher has in his proposal for the Benedict Option.” Tim Keller, the PCA pastor of Redeemer Church in New... Continue Reading
Rumors of Adam’s Demise: One More and Counting
Adam and the Genome has appeared because of a growing conflict between theology and science
“In Adam and the Genome: Reading Scripture after Genetic Science, Dennis Venema and Scot McKnight contest my way of thinking. These are two authors at the top of their game—Venema a biology professor at Trinity Western University in British Columbia, who has written widely on evolutionary biology from a Christian perspective, and McKnight a New Testament... Continue Reading
The Training Ground of Sound Doctrine
It is not just pastors who bear the weight of training in sound doctrine
“There are many reasons that ignorance pervades today’s church. For decades, Christians have focused on felt needs rather than doctrinal truth. We have focused on immediately-applicable topical sermons rather than verse-by-verse exposition that unleashes the whole truth of God’s whole Word.” For over a decade, I have been reviewing books that are of particular... Continue Reading