Bad Doctrine vs. Heresy: An Exercise in Theological Triage

How much can one get wrong and still be a true child of God?

“The charge of heresy is a serious one. We cannot be trivial or frivolous in throwing around the term. But Paul’s response to the Judaizers (among many other passages of Scripture) teaches us that there are times when we must draw clear lines of separation, even among those who would call themselves Christians.”   More... Continue Reading

Do You Trust Yourself Too Much?

If our minds are our ultimate governors then we are nothing more than fools

“What the Bible is not saying is that you can’t trust yourself to observe whether a car is coming and it is safe to cross. Of course you  can do this. However, what it is getting at is the fact that fallen humanity, sinners, are inclined towards foolishness.”   I trust myself. A lot. This... Continue Reading

The Spirit Was Really Moving

When the Word is faithfully preached, the Spirit is moving, whether we feel good, bad, or blah

“We have a tendency as Christians to link good feelings, whether it be at a concert or a worship service, with the moving of the Spirit. But we should be careful about that. We are too dependent on our feelings and too little dependent on faith.”   More than thirty years ago, when I was... Continue Reading

Permanent Jihad, Continued

Is the militant jihadi tradition really here to stay as a fundamental and growing part of Islam?

“So who is the main beneficiary of the attacks? Cui bono? So we would have an operation with some sponsors trying to use it for one cause, and others seeking a diametrically opposite outcome? Sounds like plenty of other precedents in the history of terrorism over the past century or so.”   I dearly wish... Continue Reading

Renaming Sin

If you sin persistently, you will fall away from God. Then you will rename the sin.

You will not talk about pride, the great sin; you will call it “self-esteem,” “self-worth,” or what is “due to me.” You will not talk about gluttony and materialism; you will talk about “the good life.” You will not talk about disobedience; you will talk about “shortcomings.”   Three hundred years is a long time.... Continue Reading

Who Lost the American Culture War?

Two prominent public intellectuals chart out a political way forward for Evangelicals in America

The assumption of the article is that the Supreme Court decision in favor of same-sex marriage is a cultural landmark, placing gay rights within the moral authority of the civil rights movement—as it were, Martin Luther King blessing the rainbow banner. The decision, the authors say, is “like a boulder thrown into a pond which... Continue Reading

When God Leaves You Waiting

Have you ever felt like you were in God’s waiting room for an appointment that He missed?

Sometimes what God does in the waiting room of our lives is more important for our future than what we hoped He would have done in one of our “missed appointments.” Our part is to not figure out His path for us, but to trust Him while we’re on it.   Have you ever noticed... Continue Reading

Hey Pastor Fosdick, The Fundamentalists Did Win

The worldly worldlings are worried about speech and its power to hurt

The desire to make the world a tolerant and liberated place has now extended to Princeton University where students are objecting both to associations between the institution and its former president, Woodrow Wilson, but also to the word — wait for it — “master.” (Will Princeton stop granting “Masters” degrees?)   First it was smoking.... Continue Reading

A Simple But Life-Changing Realization

Where God gives a command, He also gives the means to obey

It took many years and a lot of pondering God’s Word before I realized that God really can make his people far holier than they thought possible. The change began with a simple but life-changing realization: God would not tell me to do something I could not actually do. I read, “[Treat] older women as... Continue Reading

Ministry Myth: You Must Have Musical Talent or Teaching Gifts

The piano-playing-Sunday-school-teaching pastor's wife requirement is a myth

God saved me. He knew my gifts and talents because He gave them to me. God led me to marry a man whom He would call to be a pastor one day. God’s grace was always sufficient for me. And, besides, God’s biblical list of requirements for pastors’ wives is fairly short, and it doesn’t include specific musical talents or teaching gifts. (I wrote about that subject... Continue Reading

An Important Distinction Between Kinds And Functions Of Conditions

If we bear this distinction in mind we may safely teach a clear doctrine of salvation without accidentally turning the covenant of grace into a covenant of works

There are two senses to the word condition in Reformed (covenant) theology. Sometimes they were used under the same topics in both senses. It was expected that the reader would discern the distinction but given that, in the confessional Reformed world, we are still recovering classical Reformed theology after about a century of overlooking and... Continue Reading

Preaching the Whole Counsel of God

A review of Julius Kim's new book on designing and delivering gospel-centered sermons

Although this book is under 250 pages, there is a lot of information between the covers! I appreciated the section on the design and delivery of the sermon, where Kim gave 12 points on how the brain hears, retains, and listens to speaking. For example, since studies (and experience!) have shown the brain can only... Continue Reading

Your Testimony Is Not the Gospel

Sharing our personal testimonies is not evangelism.

Our testimonies may or may not be significant or meaningful to those with whom we are speaking. There are lots of folks who can relate to my story; they say, “Yeah, I know what he’s talking about because I used to live like that too.” But not everyone can relate to my story. In any... Continue Reading

Salt and Light

It is common to hear Christians speak of how we are called to be salt and light to the world. But what does this exactly mean?

For some, the answer is that we must seek to be more than salt and light; we must be transformers of the society around us (be missional) – the Church must “do, do, do.” Others speak of retreat to Christian cultural ghettos for survival (be isolationist separatists) – the Church must “be, be, be.” In... Continue Reading

The Internal Witness of Scripture

How can we come to know whether the 66 books of the Bible are the authoritative and inerrant word of God?

Abandon the authority and inerrancy of Scripture and you have no foundation upon which to stand. Insisting that only Jesus and the words that He spoke in the flesh are authoritative and inerrant will not suffice. Jesus Himself appealed to the authority of the Scriptures that spoke of Him. We can only and ever know... Continue Reading

When Affliction is Stacked

Here are some possible explanations for the multiple afflictions God allows in our lives

You’ve probably been there. Unprecedented affliction enters your life. Along with it, all the new experiences. The anxiousness. The sleeplessness. The darkness, loneliness, anger, sorrow. Things compound. By God’s grace, you seem to make it through. The storm seems to end. There is that huge relief with the breaking sun. Tears of joy come in... Continue Reading

The Miracle of Squanto’s Path to Plymouth

The Thanksgiving tale of the Pilgrims and the Indian has an astonishing, less well-known back story.

Because of this, he knew everything about how to survive there; not only how to plant corn and squash, but how to find fish and lobsters and eels and much else. The lone Patuxet survivor had nowhere to go, so the Pilgrims adopted him as one of their own and he lived with them on... Continue Reading

Giving Thanks at Thanksgiving … But Not to God

In the New America our culture transformers are eagerly remaking Thanksgiving in their own image.

The review for one of the recommended books, “The Very First Thanksgiving,” states: “This is a beautifully illustrated picture book for young children about the original Thanksgiving feast.” But there is a “caveat,” says the otherwise sympathetic reviewer: “this book nowhere mentions God, who is after all the reason for this holiday.”   In 1789,... Continue Reading

Ohio State Law School Under Microscope For Reaction To Pro-Life Column

Student: Leaders more concerned about squelching conservative voice than ensuring safety

“I’m definitely discouraged by the way that my law school has handled this situation, but I’m not at all going to back down from the things I believe in,” said Ms. Gesiotto. “These are my beliefs, and this is a wonderful platform on which I can express them,” she said. “My column reaches thousands of... Continue Reading

Transformational Thanksgiving

Gratitude is a spiritual act used by God in transforming us through the struggles of the human condition and to enable a positive resting in the work of Christ

Gratitude has also been shown to protect from the destructive impulses of envy, resentment, and bitterness, and may even offer some protection against psychiatric disorders. On the positive side, gratitude promotes happiness, altruism, joy, love, and enthusiasm. In fact, research suggests that the effect of gratitude is larger than the effects of optimism, hope, or... Continue Reading

This Thanksgiving, Stop Idolizing the Pilgrims

A review of Robert Tracy McKenzie’s excellent book The First Thanksgiving

In The First Thanksgiving: What the Real Story Tells Us About Loving God and Learning from History, Robert Tracy McKenzie takes the historical challenges posed by the Pilgrims as his starting point. I cannot recall ever reading a book quite like The First Thanksgiving. It is an entertaining retelling of a seminal moment in American history—and a remarkable... Continue Reading

The Transforming Power of Thanksgiving and Forgiveness

When I give thanks, I am reminded of how utterly dependent I am on God and of how incredibly good He is to me.

Forgiveness is harder than thanksgiving, and for that reason it is even more powerful. To forgive someone is to release them from the debt they owe us. It is to surrender our claim to vengeance. Forgiveness is hard, but it is easier when I realize how much I have been forgiven. Forgiveness is powerful in... Continue Reading

Four Types of Worship Teams

Helping build (and build up) a body is the way to go. It’s a worship team model that will endure.

In a body, there are varieties of gifts and service, but the same Lord. There are different gifts given by the Spirit, but all empowered by that same Spirit. It’s one body, with many members. The different members (like feet and hands) need each other. The different members (like ears and eyes) belong to each... Continue Reading

What Do We Do With the Imprecatory Psalms?

Ten helps from David Murray's Sing a New Song: Recovering Psalm Singing for the Twenty-First Century

Any Christian who has a high view of the normativity of all of Scripture (OT and NT) for the Christian church will wrestle with the language of cursing and imprecation found in the Psalms. Are we not called to love our enemies? How then can a Christian take such language upon his lips? Are not... Continue Reading

The 6 Assassins of A Man’s Contentment

The true enemies of contentment are within in us, which is where contentment is either fed or starved

At the heart of contentment is an embrace of the present and a willingness to enjoy the good things we have right now. These enemies distract us from the present and prompt us to either idolize or demonize our past and future. We either worship or hate the past or future, but doing so makes... Continue Reading

The Lord’s Prayer Advert Has Been Banned For Being Offensive – Which It Is

Anyone who thinks that isn’t offensive simply hasn’t been paying attention.

Personally, I think the advert is great, and that the brouhaha will cause more people to watch it in the end anyway. But as to whether it is offensive, I have to come out and say it: the secularists are right. The Lord’s Prayer is not mild, inoffensive, vanilla, listless, nominal, wishy-washy or wallpapery. If... Continue Reading

Exegesis Has Consequences

Through wrongful exegesis, people can and have been led to eternal death

There is no more dangerous and deleterious an idea than the idea that men and women do not need to hear the gospel, repent of sin, and believe upon Christ in order to be saved. Exegesis has consequences. Some exegesis has eternally disastrous consequences.   Ideas have consequences. Since the dawn of Western philosophy, we have... Continue Reading

The Soil in Which Thanksgiving Grows

Gratitude and thanksgiving grows and thrives in the soil of humility

Gratitude and thanksgiving is something that both Christians and non-Christians alike both encourage. Even popular magazines this month will talk about ways to be more thankful. The question is, what makes gratitude different between believers and non-believers? Is there any difference? And can it be more than just a passing fad for the month of... Continue Reading

Planned Parenthood Asks: What Word Describes Us? Responses Show Widespread Disgust

Responses rolled in, including exploitative, mendacious, corrupt, infanticide, unsanitary, barbarous.

Social media, however, has been quite different. While the mainstream media has refrained from reasonable coverage of the videos that expose Planned Parenthood, social media has not. Millions of Americans have learned about Planned Parenthood’s practices, its willingness to change abortion procedures to procure more organs, the callousness of those who encourage such human organ... Continue Reading

3 Ways Gospel-Centered Preachers Forget to Preach the Gospel

One can preach about Jesus every week and never once preach the gospel

These sermons about the gospel tell us we need to trust in the gospel, believe the gospel, preach the gospel, live in light of the gospel, be a gospel-centered believer, attend a gospel-centered church and find the gospel in all of Scripture. What they do not give us is the actual content of the gospel.... Continue Reading