A Matter Of Substance

For an evangelical ethicist to change his mind and embrace the LGBT cause as currently constituted is thus a complicated and highly significant matter which goes well beyond hermeneutics

“According to Merritt’s account, in Gushee’s case it is also driven by a significant degree of personal experience and emotion, especially an understandable degree of sympathy with and concern for a sister struggling with same sex attraction.  Further, it must arguably involve the acceptance of sexual preference as a — perhaps even the — definitive... Continue Reading

America’s Spiritual Founding Father

Kidd’s "George Whitefield" is an eminently readable and informative book

“Whitefield’s early years of itinerant ministry in particular were marked with both incredible success and contention. Kidd carefully traces the Calvinist Whitefield’s tortured relationship with the Arminian Wesleys, who openly opposed the theological tenets that Whitefield held dear. Whitefield also broke with the Moravians, whose Pietism he had once admired.”   In time for the... Continue Reading

It’s a Genesis-to-Revelation Issue

If you ever want to get folks lathered up, raising the issue of God’s gendered design will do the trick

“In their thick new book, God’s Design for Man and Woman: A Biblical-Theological Survey (Crossway), Andreas and Margaret Köstenberger labor to demonstrate that, far from being a peripheral anomaly popping up here and there, male leadership and female partnership is a sustained pattern that spans the canon. It isn’t just about 1 Corinthians and 1... Continue Reading

Urban Synagogue: Targeting Men, Taking Back Urban Communities

Are our ministry programs focused on the wrong groups? On the importance of engaging men in the "urban synagogue"

“In urban communities, there are also many indigenous fathers and stepfathers who have been there for their kids from the first day, and there are many hardworking men who own small businesses and love to work. Despite the reputation of murder, crime, and extreme selfishness, there are many men in urban communities who maintain a... Continue Reading

Covenant Theologian: Heinrich Bullinger

Heinrich Bullinger (1504–1575) is regarded as the most influential second-generation Reformer

“In 1522, Bullinger returned home to Bremgarten a new man. He continued his persistent study of Scripture along with his reading of the Church Fathers, Luther, and Melanchthon. The next year, he became the head teacher of the school at the Cistercian convent at Kappel. From 1523 to 1529, he instructed the monks from the... Continue Reading

The Softer Face of Calvinism

Reformed theology is more irenic and diverse than you think, says theologian Oliver Crisp

“Few figures in church history have been so much loved or hated, admired or despised as John Calvin. Calvinism—the theological orientation bearing the French theologian’s name—has also had mixed reception. Reformed theologian Oliver Crisp, professor of systematic theology at Fuller Theological Seminary, says Calvinism and the Reformed tradition is more diverse and amiable than is... Continue Reading

Reformed Tradition Taking Root In China

China may be emerging as another global center of Reformed faith and practice

“For decades China’s house churches tended to despise denominations but that has been changing rapidly as they face the need for institutional structure and better church practices in order to support the work of the ministry–defending the faith, practicing discipline, training up the children, ordaining ministers, sending out missionaries, and so on. Interestingly, their quest... Continue Reading

The American Jeremiad: A Bit of Perspective On The Rhetoric of Decline

There is a way of responding to declension—real or imagined—that only compounds the problem

“I want to introduce you to the American jeremiad. That’s the term scholars have given to what one has called “a mainstream and deeply American way of thinking about the nation’s past, present, and future.”[1] The term comes from the prophet Jeremiah, who catalogued Israel’s fall from fidelity and warned of the horrible judgments to... Continue Reading

Questioning Faith On The Front Lines Of The Ebola Outbreak

Asking medical missionaries of various religions to separate their practice from their faith asks them to deny the very reason for their service

“I was raised to revere missionaries and support them. Over the years, many of my friends in the medical profession have given their time and talents to missionary hospitals around the globe. It never occurred to me that someone might consider medical missionaries to be pressuring “their patients, at moments of maximum vulnerability and desperation,... Continue Reading

The Great Western Earthquake

Reformation - No one could have known it then, but what happened then set in motion an earthquake whose aftershocks are still being felt in the churches today.

That earthquake had three epicenters, one in Wittenburg with Martin Luther, another in Geneva with John Calvin, and still another in Canterbury with Thomas Cranmer. What were the contributions of each of these men? Wittenburg, Geneva, Canterbury. Luther, Calvin, Cranmer. An earthquake with three epicenters. The quake continues to roll.   Reformation Day 2014 The date... Continue Reading

What Is Reformation Day All About?

On October 31, 1517, Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the church door. What does that mean for the church today?

Though preached clearly in the New Testament and found in the writings of many of the church fathers, the medieval bishops and priests had largely forgotten the truth that our own good works can by no means merit God’s favor. Salvation is by grace alone through faith alone, and good works result from our faith,... Continue Reading

How Christians Will Know They Can Join Hands With Rome

Among other things, in order for Rome to be Christian, it must tear down its system of salvation and rebuild it after that of Scripture.

Rome sees the Reformation as a fracture of the true church, not a healing of it. For the aforementioned reasons, Rome would need to adjust its perspective on the Reformation towards being one of the best things to happen to Christ’s church. In doing so, it would need to renounce much of the doctrine affirmed in... Continue Reading

What’s the State of Theology in America?

The results of a survey that measured Americans’ theological knowledge

Considering all that we know about human nature, about the unceasing malice of the devil, and about the fanatical anti-Christian cultural pressures over the last fifty years, these figures are remarkably strong and resilient and give much cause for thanksgiving and motivation as we continue the work of teaching, preaching, and evangelizing both the world... Continue Reading

Evil, Evangelism And Halloween…

Don’t have an opinion about Halloween? Learn and think about it. And then get one.

The easiest way to be conformed to the world is by letting everything it whispers wash over us without any thought or care. If we never think about the importance of having a biblical worldview, we will inevitably begin to reflect the world and culture around us. If we want to live unthoughtfully, we will... Continue Reading

Dealing with Doubt

Everyone, at some point in their life, will experience seasons of doubt.

If you are struggling with doubt, then you are a believer whom it bothers. This is a sign that God is working on you! If your doubt about God doesn’t bother you, your heart is most likely hardened and you may not even be a believer. But it could also be that you are not... Continue Reading

Antinomianism: Rhetoric, Extremes, and Safety

Avoiding two extremes in understanding Christians, faith, and works

For Paul, the idea that a Christian would still want to live in sin is paradoxical.  Our very justification has given sin a death blow.  There is a real sense in which as a Christian, I am no longer enslaved to sin.  God has through the blood of Jesus redeemed me and has given me... Continue Reading

Mature, Restful, and Confessional

Going beyond Young, Restless, and Reformed

As we remember the rediscovery of the gospel truths and our Reformed heritage this Reformation Day, let us also remember and give thanks that our understanding of the Christian life as taught in the Scriptures is not reducible to merely five points of soteriology. The doctrines which are taught in the Scriptures, as summarized in... Continue Reading

This Argument Has Reached Retirement Age

Answering Peter Enns on the supposed contradiction between Exodus 12:8-9 and Deuteronomy 16:5-7

Very simply, this proves my point. B-sh-l is a flexible, general, catch-all term. When you b-sh-l something with fire, it is called “roasting.” When you b-sh-l something in water (per Exodus), it is called “boiling.” It is a term that operates just as our English word “cook.” To “cook” something is to prepare it for human consumption.... Continue Reading

Cult of Personality: Lessons for Homeschoolers from Doug Phillips’ Ministry

The signs were there. But the will to see them was not.

Phillips was a master salesman. Promotions and propaganda were his trade. A “vision of victory” was his ware. Vision Forum offered a full-colored, glossy catalog that presented the pristine world of white, middle-class early America. His lectures would include outrageous claims of revival and a special calling from God for the audience because, well, they... Continue Reading

The Closing of Discussion in the Public Square: Bowing to the New Social Orthodoxy

Homosexualist advocates are driving out of the public square with abusive rhetoric and the teeth of "sexual orientation" laws anyone who calls into question their agenda

In most mainline seminaries today candidates for faculty positions who are known to have published in favor of the scriptural and orthodox position on male-female marriage will not be hired. It is even less likely that candidates for faculty positions in secular colleges and universities will be hired. After all, institutions of higher learning cannot... Continue Reading

What Led You To Become An Atheist? Some Surprising Answers

Surprising answers creating a completely unexpected composite sketch of American college-aged atheists

They felt their churches offered superficial answers to life’s difficult questions: Churches did not address questions like creation v evolution, sexuality, reliability of the Bible, purpose of life, etc. Messages were bland, shallow, irrelevant, and boring….Ages 14-17 were decisive: Most embraced unbelief in the high school years.   What leads people away from religion and into atheism?... Continue Reading

A Beginner’s Guide to Singing the Psalms for Corporate Worship

If the idea of singing the Psalms for corporate worship is a daunting our outdated proposition, here’s some practical help

Why should we care about singing the Psalms in corporate worship in the 21st century? First, because the Psalms are a divinely-inspired school of prayer. Then also realize that they offer a point of contact with nearly every human experience: from desolation to gratitude, loneliness to community, anger to joy.   If the idea of singing the... Continue Reading

Quarantine Laws and the Bible

As the Westminster Confession puts it, the “general equity” of the Old Testament law does inform us as Christians living under the New Covenant

I do think that it is important to remember that these quarantine laws were simply the application of another law recorded in Leviticus 19:18 — that  every Israelite was to “love your neighbor as yourself, I am the Lord.”  The royal law of Christ was not new when he gave it.  Christ was drawing this... Continue Reading

Does Spiritual Formation Work? Answers from Haggai

“Spiritual formation” is a hot topic today. But does it work? The Old Testament prophet Haggai would answer no

The solution to our spiritual disease is not spiritual formation.  The change we really need is a new heart and the “health” of Jesus Christ. Perfect attendance to spiritual practices does not overcome our sinful nature — that requires the grace of God and the blood of Jesus Christ.   “Spiritual formation” is a hot... Continue Reading

10 Things That We Hate About Bad ‘Leaders’

Have you ever found that you look to the person in charge and think, “How on Earth did they get that role?”

We have all heard of the Peter Principle – namely that people get promoted to the level of his or her incompetence. This may well give us an insight into why organizations can be bereft of leadership. But poor leaders are not just incompetent, they can be downright destructive. They are often driven by self-serving... Continue Reading

Good News For The Naked Public University

Christian study centers are emerging from the epistemological rubble of our naked public universities

We noted together that universities specialize in small and medium-sized questions, and have largely removed the big questions from consideration, except in philosophy or perhaps classics. The logic of academic specialization means that we have our disciplinary logics, ground rules, and accepted theories that define what we count as proper. Academics have no higher allegiance... Continue Reading

A Response to Iain H. Murray’s “Expository Preaching—‘Time for Caution’”

Consecutive or systematic exposition of Scripture done well is strengthens the people of God

As with so many other issues in church life, a valid protest—if, in fact, Mr. Murray’s caution is that—does not presume the validity of the proposed solution. The belief accordingly remains untouched, for this writer at least, that consecutive or systematic exposition is the most effective way of declaring the whole revealed counsel of God... Continue Reading

Meeting Jesus at the Prayer Meeting

When we are too distracted or sleepy in the prayer meeting, it is good to remember that we are not praying alone

As we met last night for prayer we weren’t meeting alone. We were meeting with Jesus. Our own prayers for conversions, growth, preservation, fellowship, joy, unity, faithfulness, and the glory of God are simply the “Amen” we utter in response to the continual intercession of Jesus Christ the only mediator between God and man. When that... Continue Reading

Houston To Drop Pastor Subpoenas

The City of Houston will withdraw its controversial subpoenas of five pastors tied to a lawsuit over the city's equal rights ordinance

I didn’t do this to satisfy them,” Parker said of critics. “I did it because it was not serving Houston.” Parker’s administration already had withdrawn its request for some of the pastors’ sermons, which proved a particular flashpoint, and the clergy said Tuesday she seemed to be considering whether to remove the subpoenas altogether.  ... Continue Reading

High Maintenance Christians Are Better Than Nice Ones

“It costs God nothing, so far as we know, to create nice things; but to convert rebellious wills costs Him crucifixion.” ---C.S. Lewis

He spoke the world into existence knowing the cost. He came in the flesh knowing the cost. Jesus knew the cost when he made the promise with the Father and the Spirit before the world began. He didn’t come to save nice things or nice people. He didn’t make a promise to redeem nice, low... Continue Reading