A Review: Gordon Clark, The Presbyterian Philosopher

Doug Douma has done a great service to the legacy of Gordon H. Clark by writing this stellar biography.

There is far too much packed into this book for me to mention everything. If you’re a Clarkian, you need to give this a read. If you’re a Vantillian, this book is definitely worth the read and I think it will breed more sympathy for Clark personally as well as appreciation for his thought. If... Continue Reading

Barna’s Mythical Creature: The Church-Rejecting Jesus-Lover

Challenging Barna’s poll that people who follow Jesus are rejecting the Church.

I am here assuming as proven that church involvement is necessary if one believes and obeys Jesus. My target in this post is establishing the more fundamental truth that believing Jesus is fundamental to being a Christian, and that Biblically-understood faith issues in obedience. Of course, obeying Jesus will necessarily mean that we will be personally involved... Continue Reading

15 Lessons From Calvin’s Biography

His ability to sustain the relentless onslaught of the 1550s is astonishing

“Calvin’s friends had good reason for proceeding to publish [a biography] with haste. There were others who wanted to tell a very different story. Calvin’s nemesis Jerome Bolsec lived to have the last word, and penned two accounts ten years after the reformer’s death.”   The title is all the introduction you need. Here we... Continue Reading

African American Christians And Fundamentalism

An interview with Mary Beth Swetnam Mathews about her new book Doctrine and Race: African American Evangelicals and Fundamentalism Between the Wars.

But for African American Baptists and Methodists between the wars, there was a single theological objection to dispensationalism—it was, in their opinion, a newfangled and contrived way of reading the Bible. In this respect, they were more traditional than the white fundamentalists who claimed to only read their Bibles in traditional ways. For them, a... Continue Reading

Prayer: Often, Short, Strong (Luther)

Many thought that long prayers would get God’s attention and impress him. Luther, however, would have none of that

“Thus the saints in the Scriptures prayed, as Elijah, Elisha, David and others, with short, but strong and powerful words; as we see in the Psalms, in which there is hardly one that has a prayer of more than five or six verses. Therefore the old fathers have very properly said, there is no use... Continue Reading

Chasing Contentment: Trusting God in a Discontented Age

It’s my hope and prayer that this book will help people to better understand and learn contentment.

There is a story behind every book. The story for this book was painfully sweet and stitched to my soul. A couple of years ago I was enduring a particularly difficult season. It seemed as though God had allowed affliction to hover like a rain cloud over my life. Pastoral ministry was especially trying even... Continue Reading

The Real Reason the Benedict Option Leaves Out the Black Church

Ecclesiastical arrogance shows up when an author proposes a path forward for the entire church but leaves Christians of color out of his considerations

“In offering the Benedict Option, Dreher almost completely overlooks the wisdom of Christians, especially people of color, who have always endured marginalization. The absence of the influence or perspective of people of African descent is particularly noticeable. The Benedict Option takes a running leap over the black church and lands on another continent in another... Continue Reading

Ben Franklin’s Calvinist Father

I have written here earlier about Franklin’s Calvinist sister Jane, but in this post I want to consider his Calvinist father, Josiah

“Ben Franklin would famously grow skeptical about his father’s faith, but in many ways that faith—and its emphasis on the need for public morality and charity—would continue to mark Franklin’s own endeavors as an adult.”   One of the main arguments of my forthcoming biography of Benjamin Franklin is that Christian relatives and friends left... Continue Reading

Three Important Tips on Reading

I should look for the people that my favorite preachers read, and read them

“So maybe you’re a Tim Keller fan. Do you like the philosophical point he just scored in The Reason for God? Looks like you should check out Alvin Plantinga. How about his Christ-centered exposition of the Scriptures in Preaching? Guess you should read some Edmund Clowney.”   I read…a lot. It often doesn’t feel like I... Continue Reading

God’s Definition of Good

This excerpt is adapted from Is the Bible Good for Women? Seeking Clarity and Confidence through a Jesus-centered Understanding of Scripture.

Joy is available. The best kind of goodness exists at God’s feet in His throne room. There we can find joy, and peace, and satisfaction. But God’s version of good is not like the temporary earthly joy of money and nice houses that some religious figures offer their followers. It is not self-actualization (“the achievement... Continue Reading