10 Pointers for Young Preachers

Sage advice from one pastor to younger ones

Do not journey alone. Preaching is often a lonely ministry. Prayerfully pursue mentors and prayer partners who can speak into your life. Find a string of Bible read-through partners and chase God together in His Word. Have a lifelong conversation with God. There are too many technically capable and theologically informed preachers that have no meaningful relationship... Continue Reading

Clunkiness and Clarity

There are times when to be clear about a concept requires being clunky

The same is true of words like “infallible”, “unbreakable”, “inerrant”, and the like. They’re not the first words I’d choose to use – and I suspect the same is true of many who use them – but they’re rendered necessary by the Humpty Dumptyish way in which professing Christians, both ancient and modern, have used... Continue Reading

Canadian Justice: You Can’t Block Lawyers Over Their Alma Mater Banning Gay Sex

A Nova Scotian law society cannot deny future graduates of Canada’s first Christian law school the right to practice because of the college’s position on sexuality, a provincial Supreme Court justice ruled.

In his decision, Justice Jamie Campbell wrote that asking TWU to change its community covenant was akin to the NSBS dictating what professors be offered tenure or setting admissions policies: This decision isn’t about whether LGBT equality rights are more or less important that the religious freedoms of Evangelical Christians. It’s not a value judgment... Continue Reading

And We Thought Free Range Was For Chickens

There is a bit of a media storm erupting over a “new” style of parenting that has been labeled free range parenting.

Free range parenting isn’t new, it’s actually a return to the way our grandparents did it. But we can’t exactly rewind the clock. While I’d like to be challenged as a parent that the helicopter approach is harmful, and that every minute and crumb in my child’s day does not need to be planned and... Continue Reading

Christians in Niger Return Home After Violent Muslim Rampage

Christians in Niger are beginning to return to their homes after a violent rampage by Islamic extremists.

The nation is overwhelmingly Muslim. Only one in every 300 residents is a Christian. Even so, Niger wasn’t on the World Watch list as a hotbed of Christian persecution. Amie Cotton of Christian Aid Mission said the violence shocked believers there. “In Niger, there has never been a riot of this sort,” she said. “Christians... Continue Reading

Worship: Man’s Chief End?

Too many programs and events can detract from the worship of God

Rather than making the church yet another busy segment of our lives, what would happen if we scaled down our involvements in order to make Sunday worship the central and most vital and well-attended day of the church’s week? What would happen if our services were not marked by the flash and bounce of the... Continue Reading

Josh Harris Leaves Pulpit to Attend Seminary

Best-selling author Joshua Harris announced he is stepping down as lead pastor of Covenant Life Church in Gaithersburg, Md., to go to seminary.

“I was 30 years old, with no formal theological training and no formal training in organizational leadership, and I was the senior pastor of a 3,000 member church,” Harris said, describing his experiences as a “backwards life.” Now 40, Harris said he needs a time for reflection and study.   (WNS)–Best-selling author Joshua Harris announced Sunday he... Continue Reading

When Your Church Is In Trouble: Tell The Truth, Face The Future

If I’ve prayerfully and honestly assessed the state of my church and how it got here, how do I move forward with my congregation?

The vision of the future must be clear, which is why leaders who know “what time it is” organizationally will be relentless in the pursuit of clarity, both for themselves and the people they lead. Without clarity regarding changes, people will disagree on the direction, perhaps due to confusion or questions about the necessity of... Continue Reading

Another Pastor Self-Congratulates for Endorsing “Gay Christianity”

Stan Mitchell, pastor of GracePointe Church, Franklin, Tenn., embraces ‘gay Christianity’ as a legitimate spiritual state

Today, we need many more Machens, fearless and clear in their convictions, and many less Fosdicks, bending with the culture and afraid of its condemnation. The church of the Lord Jesus Christ–not the church of the Most Holy Culture–needs leaders who will remember that, whatever happens to them on this earth, there are higher stakes... Continue Reading

The New Calvinists

Not only are there still a few Calvinists around, but another closely related species has suddenly appeared: New Calvinists, the same but different

With the New Calvinism, the dynamics change and Calvin becomes but a dim shadow.  Instead, there is a curious mixture of the Five Points, 16th century Anabaptism, 18th century revivalism, 20th century Pentecostalism, sophisticated marketing, the latest technology, and high-decibel music. The details will vary, of course, depending on the whims of the Leader.  At its worst, he will... Continue Reading

5 Warning Signs of Spiritual Abuse

What are 5 warning signs of spiritual abuse that pastors or church leaders might inflict upon the church?

Be watchful for those who are only in it for the money and are always trying to get increases in salary or take up special offerings for themselves, for those who try to rule the church with an iron fist, those who redefine salvation, those who say that we are the only true church and... Continue Reading

Millennials Bucking Trends On Abortion Approval

Over half of millennials now say the practice is ‘wrong’

After all, “about 500,000 young people were about to mow you down. With love — mow you down with love!” she said with a laugh. She also described the powerful impact that she and some 60 young people had when they went to Capitol Hill after the march to make sure certain members of Congress... Continue Reading

For Years I Pleaded With God To Make Me Straight, So Why Did My Prayers Go Unanswered?

Why didn't God answer my prayer to rid me of my homosexual desires? Because homosexual desires were not my main problem.

My heart was changed instantaneously when I trusted in Christ and began to follow Him, but my mind was not. I now have a heart that genuinely loves God and desires to worship Him, but at the same time, I’m still utterly messed up and damaged by sin. The Lord is working in me and... Continue Reading

Change For Struggling Marriages

With the marriage falling apart and thinking there was no way forward, all the while looking like the happily married couple everyone expected us to be

This post is a guest piece written by a couple who were both Christians when they were married, but who had significant relationship struggles in the first few years. They hope that their story encourages other Christian couples who are facing relational challenges, especially if they are hiding those struggles from those who could help.... Continue Reading

I Am a Conservative Western Christian

I am not willing, as a Christian, to take the blame for Charlie Hebdo’s depiction of Muhammad. Charlie Hebdo is a reflection of the secular West, not particularly a reflection of Christianity.

Christianity and Islam have not always been civil to one another; we all know the history of the Crusades. Nevertheless, I contend that the current disagreement is not a disagreement between Christianity and Islam. Charlie Hebdo was not reflecting the dominant Christian view of freedom and respect. Charlie Hebdo, rather, was reflecting the secular view... Continue Reading

The Right Tax To Support Education

The endowments of the wealthiest universities should be taxed to fund a common purse for education that can be spent on tuition tax credits for some post-high school education

This is a tax progressives should love. America has a uniquely unequal system of higher education. We’re the only place in the world were gigantic sums of money have been accumulated by relatively few educational institutions. Just as redistribution makes sense when it comes to personal income, surely it makes sense when it comes the... Continue Reading

On Torture, Can We Handle The Truth? We’d Better Start Trying

What should evangelical pastors be saying about torture?

But we also grieve over the torture that sinful humans inflict upon one another. War is hell. There is no perfect justice nor completely preventable act of terror. And torture — in its many forms and varieties and degrees — would not exist if the world were free from evil. That’s why the sinless savior... Continue Reading

American Bible Society Will Depart New York for Center City Philadelphia

The American Bible Society will give up its tony Broadway address for one in Philadelphia's historic district.

The American Bible Society has about 270 employees and about 200 volunteers worldwide, according to a 2012 financial report. That year, the society had a $9 million deficit on a $92 million operating budget. Its total assets, not including its building, are valued at $491 million, according to its 990 filing from 2012.   The... Continue Reading

A High (And Prioritized) Ecclesiology

One of the major problems in evangelicalism today is a low ecclesiology.

Outside of the visible church there is no ordinary possibility of salvation, but outside of the invisible church there is no possibility of salvation whatsoever. For man baptizes in water, but God our Savior “saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the... Continue Reading

Are Sacraments Fundamentals?

Because the sacraments preach the gospel, they are gospel issues.

If the sacraments are not gospel issues, then why should we not ordain someone who holds to transubstantiation? Consubstantiation? Memorialist? Usually, we’re not willing to go there. But then, that would mean that we view some sacramental issues as gospel issues, and other issues as not gospel issues. Perhaps this is true. I, for one,... Continue Reading

When Your Church Is Disappointing and Boring

Our personal boredom can often be symptomatic of a needed soul adjustment.

Church has a much higher purpose for existence than not being boring or disappointing. The most important thing is not that we are bored or disappointed, but that our lives and churches exist for the glory of God.   Let’s face it. Church is not always as exciting as we would like. Sometimes it’s boring... Continue Reading

Cross-Contamination at the Lord’s Table

Thomas Oden wrote his book, Requiem, after a chapel service at Drew University introducing the goddess Sophia as worthy of Christian worship

I love how Oden didn’t merely focus on the seminary and the religious professionals. He wrote a book to expose them to the congregants who were affected by this poison. Discerning worshippers had already been noticing something different being preached from their pulpits. When theology is reduced to ideology, it’s the local church that is... Continue Reading

Will Christians Be Allowed To Serve As Judges In California?

The evidence is mounting that the sexual revolutionaries will brook no dissent in the march of “gay rights.”

Yesterday, the California Supreme Court ruled that state judges could no longer hold membership in the Boy Scouts of America. Why? Because the Boy Scouts allow gay scouts but not gay Scout leaders. As far as the California Supreme Court is concerned, the Boy Scouts discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation, and that violates... Continue Reading

My Baby’s Heart Stopped Beating

My little slice of motherhood continues to show me different angles of God’s good character and things about myself that I never could have learned without my baby.

He gives purpose to our suffering (Romans 8:28). My miscarriage didn’t happen in a vacuum. Both my child and I were created in God’s image, designed for his glory. My intentions for my child’s life were not the Lord’s intentions, and my timetable was not his timetable. He chose for that tiny person’s purpose to... Continue Reading

The Law: God’s Law and the Christian

We do not receive Christ and all his benefits of redemption only to then live as we please.

This marvelous news of salvation by grace, apart from the works of the law, however, in no way excuses us from living in conformity to God’s Law as kingdom disciples. In various quarters of the evangelical world –– even in some sections of the Reformed camp –– there seems to be a conspicuous de-emphasis upon... Continue Reading

On Friendship: A Review of “The Company We Keep”

True Christian friendship has to do with Christ’s work for his people – friends are also brothers and sisters in Christ

If you’ve been thinking about friendship, desire good friendships (or if you think negatively about friendships!) I highly recommend this booklet: The Company We Keep by Jonathan Holmes.  It’s a brief (just over 100 small pages), concise (to the point), and clear (outlined and explained well) biblical discussion of Christian friendship.  The contents include 1)... Continue Reading

“Jesus was a Palestinian” is a False Narrative

The pro-Palestinian Christian narrative, as defined by its leaders, is a lie.

In early December I came across a video of Dr. Mitri Raheb, pastor of the Evangelical Lutheran Christmas Church in Bethlehem, summing up the pro-Palestinian Christian narrative. While Raheb’s duplicity is disturbing, his rather succinct commentary offers an opportunity to debunk the lies that he and his colleagues advance   As any reader of this... Continue Reading

Perseverance and Hope Through Disability

Joni Eareckson Tada says the Martin Pistorius story should encourage Christians to advocate for the humanity of people mistakenly called ‘vegetables’

In the 1980s, when Pistorius was 12 years old, he came home from school with a sore throat. As his condition worsened, doctors guessed he had cryptococcal meningitis. His mobility eventually vanished, followed quickly by his ability to make eye contact and speak. For about two years, Pistorius lingered, trapped in a personal prison. He... Continue Reading

The Regulative Principle of Worship

The regulative principle of worship states that the corporate worship of God is to be founded upon specific directions of Scripture

It is important to realize that the regulative principle as applied to public worship frees the church from acts of impropriety and idiocy — we are not free, for example, to advertise that performing clowns will mime the Bible lesson at next week’s Sunday service. Yet it does not commit the church to a “cookie-cutter,”... Continue Reading

Seven Reasons Churches Are Too Busy

If local churches were humans, most of them would experience burnout. Many congregations are too busy to be effective. Many have a hodgepodge of seemingly unrelated activities.

I recently met with a pastor whose church is emblematic of the hyper-busy congregation. Morning worship attendance is steady at 350, but Sunday evening worship had declined in a decade from 160 to 40. The pastor suggested the church consider eliminating the Sunday evening service, an act that required a majority vote in a business... Continue Reading