When Christians Act Like Mormons

Mormon training teaches them to smile big, to not argue, and to focus on the positives of their religion.

I’ve noticed over the years that some people in the church do the same, even some preachers are tempted to do this from their pulpits. We put on our best face. We ignore the difficult topics the Bible talks about and just focus on the love of Jesus. We focus on family as well, and on more happiness in this life and hope for the next. And as I think about the Mormon religion, I see three areas in particular where Christians are tempted to behave similarly.

10 Things You Should Know About Sanctification

There is no holiness or Christian life that does not have repentance at its core.

When talking of sanctification we need to avoid the two most obvious extremes. There is, on the one hand, the legalistic hypocrisy of pharisaism in which one conforms externally to a standard of rules while largely devoid of inward sincerity. There is, on the other hand, the antinomian freedom of those who would turn God’s grace into an excuse for immorality.

Prayer In Light of God’s Will

You read the Bible and find what God loves, but then you look in the world and you see things happening that God does not love. What is going on? How do I pray?

“How should we pray when we hear of persistent immorality like abortion, murder, sexual assault, or terrorism? How do we process through faithfully the plight of our unbelieving friends’ hardness of heart toward the gospel? What about the physical suffering of a friend who, by all accounts, does not seem to deserve such affliction? What... Continue Reading

In Awe of the Aged

May our lives be increasingly marked by the calm and calming confidence in Christ we see among the spiritually aged, even if it terrifies us and others!

Many passages within Scripture extol the integrity and wisdom of the aged (Job 12:12) but Scripture stops short of praising agedness in and of itself, except when ascribing it to the eternal one, the one who is of old, the Ancient of Days. It is not the number of days lived in this world that signals holy wisdom, but the days, and even the moments of eternal consequence, spent in humble, adoring, obedient, active faith in the living God – time that is saturated with Scripture and filled with ongoing prayer or prayerfulness. These moments, infused with eternity, mature us sometimes far beyond our peers, far beyond our years and even the many years of the elderly (Job 32:9, Psalm 119:100).

Proverbs 8:23, the Eternal Generation of the Son and the History of Reformed Exegesis

The Wisdom of God in Proverbs 8: Is this merely a metaphorical personification of an attribute of God? Or, is it referring specifically to one of the Persons of the Godhead?

"Our argument hence is: 'Christ, the second person of the Trinity, is spoken of, Prov. 8:23, under the name of Wisdom; now, it is said expressly there of Wisdom that it was ' begotten from everlasting:' and therefore the eternal generation of Christ is hence confirmed.' Our reasons are:--(1.) Because the things here spoken of can be applied to no other. (2.) Because the very same things are affirmed of Christ, John 1:1. (3.) Because Christ is the Wisdom of God, and so called in the Scripture, not only in the expression of ὁ Λόγος, but ῥητῶς, 1 Cor. 1:30. (4.) That by Wisdom Solomon in- tended the Wisdom of God, and that that word may be supplied, is most evident from what is spoken of it. Let the place be read. (5.) Christ is called not only the "Wisdom of God," but also Wisdom absolutely and simply; and that not only Prov. 1:20, but Matt. 11:19.2"

Dear Younger Me, Don’t Abandon Orthodoxy

If I were to offer warnings to my early twenties self in a letter, it’d go something like this

Revisionist sexual ethics will be your biggest temptation. That’s because you truly love your gay friends. You want the best for them. Deep down you secretly have the feeling sex was designed for marriage between one man and one woman. But you don’t want to hurt your same-sex attracted friends. Plus you’ll dread the idea of going against the crowd. You will want to be affirmed as a good, well-liked person. The truth is your silence could cause more harm.

Simplicity in Preaching

I think I can say without exaggeration that every preacher should try to read J. C. Ryle’s Simplicity in Preaching.

“Try to use in all your sermons, as far as you can, simple words.” This doesn’t mean the preacher can only use words of one syllable or that he cannot teach important terms and definitions. Rather, it means we should avoid unexplained jargon and words that ordinary people never use (like “erudite” perhaps?!). Preachers must not try to impress the learned or fall back into preening seminary-speak. The application of this point will vary from congregation to congregation, but as a general rule Ryle is surely right: the more you use plan common words, the better.

Wisdom For Reading The Proverbs

While knowing that the Proverbs are necessary for our spiritual growth in grace, here are seven tips on how to get the most out of reading Proverbs.

Proverbs is, at one level, a simple book to understand, and, at another level, a book that requires a great deal of spiritual discernment and wisdom. To get wisdom, we must read wisdom and we must pray for wisdom. As James tell us, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God who gives... Continue Reading

Why Remember?

Since God is the same yesterday, today, and forevermore, we can look to the faithfulness of God in the past to find courage to live humbly and faithfully in the present

“One of the primary texts about the importance of remembering God is Deuteronomy 8, which belongs to the larger context of the exodus event. In the face of Israelite slavery in the early chapters of Exodus, the promises God made to Abraham appear threatened (Gen. 15:13–16), resulting in a fundamental question about whether God can... Continue Reading

Are We “Saints” or “Aints?”

In some churches, one might hear older congregants talk of the "saints" and the "aints"

“After 47 years of being raised in a pious household, after 30 years of considering myself a born-again Christian, and after 18 years of being an ordained minister and getting to know my flock, I have come to the conclusion that me and every Bible-believing Christian I have ever met is an aint.”   In some churches... Continue Reading