Predestination Must Be Preached (Augustine)

In the early 5th century Augustine echoed Scripture’s teaching on this point as did others later in church history.

“For as piety must be preached, that, by him who has ears to hear, God may be rightly worshipped; modesty must be preached, that, by him who has ears to hear, no illicit act may be perpetrated by his fleshly nature; charity must be preached, that, by him who has ears to hear, God and... Continue Reading

A Review: Resilient Ministry: What Pastors Told Us About Surviving and Thriving

Resilient Ministry is a summary and analysis of American pastors’ reflections considering long-term fruitful ministry and the effects of stress.

This work unfortunately becomes a collection of aphorisms, like a bag of  fortune cookies. The advice is often very good and helpful but it all lacks a biblical and theological framework. This makes it impossible to use as a guide to ministry choices. Because this core is missing, it becomes a platform for the contemporary... Continue Reading

TerKeurst’s Uninvited vs. Brownback’s Finding God in My Loneliness

For me, I was specifically looking for guidance with spiritual loneliness within my marriage and as I attend weekly church services.

In her carefully thought out chapters, Brownback addressed real issues that cause loneliness like relocating, singleness, and grief from a death or a divorce. I felt like she was writing to an audience of mature thinking Christians and I felt respected. Her book contained enriching vocabulary and intelligent thoughts. I was convicted and encouraged to... Continue Reading

Why Gospel Diversity Means More—Though Not Less!—Than Ethnic Diversity

"In one moment, as Christ utters his last breath and the curtain separating man from God tears from top to bottom, he destroys the barrier dividing Jew from Gentile."

If we seek boundary-crossing love that perplexes the world around us, then some types of diversity will often speak louder than others. A church in the lily-white suburbs of Boston comes to mind. Everyone might have similar skin color, but the congregation sits at the intersection of four towns with dramatically different class identities. So... Continue Reading

Between Irrelevance and Inspiration: Rob Bell’s “What is the Bible?”

In the final analysis this book is nothing but an unsophisticated demonstration of unbelief echoing, with all the craft and subtly, the serpent’s question: “Did God actually say?”

Rob Bell finds himself in a peculiar situation. He rejects the belief that the Bible is the inspired, inerrant, and authoritative Word of God; but he also rejects the idea that the Bible is of absolutely no use. It’s as if he wants to have one foot on inspiration and the other on irrelevance and... Continue Reading

The Chance of Salvation: An Interview with Lincoln Mullen

Religious identity in the United States is profoundly a matter of individual choice

“Many of the converts I describe in the book initially had their religious identities destabilized by encountering other faiths. One New Yorker, for instance, was a disciple of Christian Science at the same time that he attended Congregationalist or Methodist preaching on Sundays and joined Catholic classes for potential converts. People who encountered other faiths... Continue Reading

Book Review: Pastor Unique

Pastor Unique is about turnaround pastors in the sense of long-term (not transitional or interim) pastors, who seek to lead their stagnant congregations to great commission effectiveness

“Brown, Penfold and Westra maintain that we can identify the best practices of turnaround pastors, and with the help of the Spirit of God, accurate assessment, immersion training, mentoring and cluster groups of like-minded individuals, we—non-turnaround-pastor types can become turnaround pastors. “   This is not just another book. We didn’t need another indictment of the... Continue Reading

Feeling is not a Fruit (Or: Feelings and the Faith)

Feelings about the gospel may come and go, but the fact of it remains.

Feelings come and go; they rise and fall.  Feelings depend on how much sleep you’ve had (or not had!) in the past week.  Feelings depend on how much coffee you had today (or didn’t have!).  Sometimes feelings change when the seasons change!  Emotions often change when circumstances change.  So don’t base your Christian faith on... Continue Reading

What Luther’s Views On Grace And Law Can Teach Us Today

An interview with Carl Trueman on “Luther on the Christian Life.”

When Luther advised, “Sin boldly,” what did he mean? Luther saw that many who take Christian life seriously might tend to despair, because as Christians we become more acutely aware of how we rebel against the Lord on a regular basis. Luther says if you’ve sinned boldly, repent even more boldly. The blood of Christ... Continue Reading

God Told Me!? (A Critique of Mysticism)

What do you do when a friend says, “God told me I needed to go on a diet,” or “The Holy Spirit spoke to me last night and said you should make more friends”?

“The main criticism of the evangelical can be put in this form: It is a claim to a continuing of inspiration.  The mystic in a sense is claiming that God is dealing as directly with him as He was with the Old Testament prophets; he claims God is dealing with him as He did with... Continue Reading