The Pastorate: More Than The Pulpit (Bridges)

When the pulpit and the pastoral work are both flourishing, it will help keep a congregation united.

The pulpit is only part of a pastor’s ministry. Of course, it is a major and central part of the ministry, but the pulpit is not the only part. A pastor also has pastoral work to do; this too is an essential part of his ministry. I appreciate how Charles Bridges explained this. It’s also... Continue Reading

Where Evangelicals Came From

There is no mystery involved. They were always here. We were just not looking at them.

“Evangelicals” is an elastic term, and FitzGerald intermittently shrinks or stretches it. But she does direct us to the right starting point, to the eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Great Awakenings, major religious events in our early history when the word “evangelicalism” came into wide American use. Evangelical religion is revival religion, that of emotional contagion.  ... Continue Reading

How Can Justification Make me Joyful?

Jesus Christ’s perfect birth, life, death, and resurrection were mine through faith alone apart from any of my own efforts.

After I was converted there was the inevitable spiritual joy of a newly born child of God. But only a year or so later, I was in despair. When I looked at so much of the sin and hypocrisy that was going on among other believers my age, I wondered if my conversion was real.... Continue Reading

The Importance of “Christ Alone” (Luther)

Luther said that if we understand that we are justified by faith alone in Christ alone, we’ll rightly reject and condemn any other way to be right with God.

“Then presently comes someone who preaches to me: ‘If you want to be pious and serve God, then put on a hood, pray daily so many rosaries, burn so many little candles to St. Anna.’  Then I fall in with this like a blind man and everybody’s fool and prisoner, and do everything I am... Continue Reading

Why an Award-Winning Writer Turned Her Attention to Evangelicals

FitzGerald has read most of the scholarship on evangelicals and synthesized it into a masterful narrative

“She begins the story, appropriately, with the 18th-century revivals of the First Great Awakening, the birthplace of American evangelicalism. She demonstrates that from the beginning the movement was primarily religious and theological, with political overtones, and quite diverse.”   I first encountered Frances FitzGerald in the 1970s when I read her Pulitzer Prize-winning book on the Vietnam... Continue Reading

He Will Not Send You To Purgatory (Ryken)

"On the contrary, God is a loving Father who offers forgiveness full and free."

“God the Father offers forgiveness as a free gift of his grace.  When you go to him, weighed down with the debt of all your guilt and sin, he will not sit down with you to work out a payment plan.  He will not scheme to charge you more interest.  He will not send you... Continue Reading

Living a Grace-Paced Life in a Burnout Culture

What we need from time to time is a reset, a return to a purposeful and sustainable existence.

Reset is a helpful book that offers wisdom that will help men avoid patterns that lead to burnout. For those who have already experienced it, it will help them avoid repeating the errors that led them there. It does not promise a life of ease, but it does promise a life that is sustainable, a... Continue Reading

Evangelical Author: “Heterosexuality is an Abomination.”

Review of Jenell Williams Paris, The End of Sexual Identity: Why Sex Is Too Important to Define Who We Are.

The prefix “homo,” which means “same,” evokes a world without ultimate distinctions, where everything is ontologically the same, where all things share the same substance. Pushed to its religious consequences, a world without distinctions is the world of paganism: everything in creation shares the same divine spark or energy and is worshiped as divine. The... Continue Reading

New Books Explore How a Faith Changed the World

Understanding the mechanisms that shift evangelical ideas into secular politics sheds insight beyond the church

But it’s not until the turn of the 20th century, as evangelicals make a concerted effort to apply their specifically American faith to the reform of a secular country, that things heat up. If you remember the Scopes monkey trial from high school and are tempted to skim FitzGerald’s bit on that 1920s dispute, don’t.... Continue Reading

N.T. Wright and the Death of Jesus: A Review of ‘The Day the Revolution Began’

An extensive focus on the meaning of Christ’s death, written for a broad readership rather than for academics.

So, the traditional view of penal substitution is constantly portrayed as an angry Father venting his anger on his innocent Son. He damns the traditional doctrine of penal substitution by constantly referring to it as pagan and capricious: ‘paganising “angry God punishing Jesus”’ [234]; ‘divine petulance’ [224]; ‘Capricious, or malevolent divinity longing to kill someone,... Continue Reading