Why Congregational Singing Matters Today More than Ever
Singing is a real and tangible expression of loving the Lord with our whole hearts and our whole selves, and loving our neighbor as ourselves.
Congregational singing is far from dead, mainly because it’s connected to a source of life higher than cultural trends or modern comparisons. Even so, it receives less attention and adulation than it should—and there are several reasons. First, people tend to be attracted to larger churches where the “performance” of music approximates the professional; in principle, there’s nothing wrong with that. Second, the music in most churches tends to be so loud that the congregation simply cannot hear itself sing. Third, smaller churches with less ability to produce professional-sounding music tend to minimize singing altogether, so as to minimize embarrassment or perceived weakness.
How to Take Responsibility after a Major Mistake
4 Steps to Get Your Life Back on Track
Show remorse for the problem. It doesn’t end with ownership. If we want to turn things around, we have to add remorse to responsibility. Our failings cause difficulty to others. Our mistakes cost time, money, and sometimes heartache. We should express sorrow and regret for the hurt our behavior caused.
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.
Book Review: “No God But One” by Nabeel Qureshi
Qureshi deftly weaves together personal narrative and powerful real-life stories with apologetics and historical evidence to examine the case for Islam versus Christianity.
With years of study and experience at his disposal, Qureshi argues that while Islam and Christianity share some major similarities as Abrahamic monotheistic faiths, their differences set them fundamentally at odds. He acknowledges the two faiths closely relate “on the broader religious spectrum,” both even agreeing that Jesus should be venerated. But Qureshi appeals to an analogy from biology to illustrate the importance of the religions’ doctrinal differences: “Humans and chimpanzees share 95 percent of their DNA, but the remaining 5 percent is incredibly important!”
Are You a Confirmation Bias Christian?
If something sounds true -- meaning, it seems to fit what we already believe -- we believe it to be true without corroborating.
But there's a spiritual component at play here too. The reason we fall into confirmation bias politically is not essentially a political problem. It is a human problem, which is to say, it is a sin problem -- which is to say, it is a problem of self-interest and self-worship. The truth is, you and I are prone to conducting our entire lives along the narratives constructed from confirmation bias.
Pies, Docs, Kuyps, And Confessionalists
The Reformed confession is holistic: it is a theology (doctrine), a piety (a way of relating to God), and practice (a way of living out the Christian faith in the visible church and in daily life).
The Confessionalist wants to engage the world but recognizes that what binds Reformed Christians together is not an agreed cultural agenda or even an eschatology (a vision of the future) but the Word of God as confessed by the churches. Thus, sometimes the interests of the Confessionalist with intersect with those of the Kuyperian (e.g., Machen’s defense of private Christian schools) and sometimes it may diverge (e.g., Machen’s libertarianism). He recognizes that the church’s confession of the Word has clear implications for the way the faith is lived both on the Christian Sabbath (Sumday) but also Monday through Saturday.
Reducing the Risk of Child Abuse in the Church (1)
This is the first post of several which will offer a list of actions and attitudes that will go a long way in protecting a church from child predators.
It does not matter how well you think you know someone in the church. It matters not how long so-and-so has been serving (Remember what we have already said about successful predators). You must insist that everyone working with children and youth in your church comply at all points with the policy. That includes submitting to a background check. If Aunt Millie who everyone has known for 40 years refuses to comply then she should not be allowed to work with children. Simply put, anyone worthy of working with other people’s children will understand the current climate and willingly submit to the stipulations of a wise policy.
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
Why Our Teens Don’t Know They Need Jesus
A generation of kids are being raised in a Christianity devoid of Christ
“Youth ministries too often exert more energy trying to be trendy and fun than faithfully teaching Christ. And the teaching that does take place is usually topically-driven and moralistic in content.” For seven years, I have led a small group Bible study for teens. For seven years before that, I ministered alongside my husband... Continue Reading