Getting Jesus Wrong: Giving Up Spiritual Vitamins and Checklist Christianity by Matt Johnson

The book uses the author's checkered history as a case study for how false impressions of Jesus can warp our Christianity.

This is a great message, and yet it can be misconstrued. I don’t get the sense that Matt is saying holy living doesn’t matter — although some could go there if they wanted. And neither does he say that God’s grace does not produce righteousness in us either. But the law/Gospel distinction presented is refreshing,... Continue Reading

Whose Body? Yours or His?

Review of “God Glorified in Your Body”

This is a relevant book, dealing with the twin modern problems of body-neglect and body-worship. Indifference towards the body or idolatry of the body have characterized many cultures through the years, but our own seems to have taken these vices to new heights and depths.   Here is the foreword I wrote to Pastor Al Martin’s new... Continue Reading

Five Reasons Preachers Should Listen to Hip Hop

This particular style of music has some unique benefits for preaching

“The more important the truths we share the more they deserve to be said in a beautiful way. Why would you display an expensive painting in a cheap frame? Preaching shouldn’t be merely about helping our audience know something, but helping them feel something, helping them see something.”   In his book The Artist’s Way of... Continue Reading

Renee of France and John Calvin—Friends to the End

Calvin opens up about his personal life with Renée in ways that are uncharacteristic of him. They were friends.

He took great care to present Renée with clear teaching on the essential doctrines, as she was up against false teachers in the Este court. As she was going through persecution brought on by her own husband, wavering in her faith, Calvin continues to strengthen and encourage her with gospel truth. He spoke graciously to... Continue Reading

“13 Reasons Why” is Deceptive and Destructive

I cannot overstate how enticing it will be for those who are bullied to imagine a scenario in which they can turn the tables and emotionally destroy their classmates.

It is clear, at least to me and to a growing number of psychologists and mental health experts, that 13 Reasons Why will lead to more suicide, not less. Already, we are hearing warnings from various experts on teen suicide, and we are likely to see a rash of suicide attempts throughout the country.  ... Continue Reading

Think Again: Relief from the Burden of Introspection by Jared Mellinger

The strategy put forth is not to avoid introspection altogether, but to think less of self and more of Christ.

I can’t think of a better resource to give to those who struggle with doubts or the tendency to second-guess and over-analyze decisions and motives. This resource is filled with Gospel goodness and solid enough to help those in a variety of situations. It is a book one might want to give away to special... Continue Reading

The New Definitive Book on the Great Awakening in New England

Winiarski emphasizes the novelty of George Whitefield’s teachings and the “Whitefieldarian” tactics that drove the awakening.

Winiarski suggests that New England Congregationalist churches were dominated by the beliefs and practices of the “godly walkers.” They would have of course emphasized the need for God’s grace and the power of God in regenerating sinners, but in practice they heavily emphasized religious duty and longtime holiness as the signs of saving faith.  ... Continue Reading

Does Religion Kill Democracy?

Many try to explain the democratic deficit, and the role religion plays in it, through extensive empirical study and statistical analysis.

Material well-being is much more widespread than it was in the 1830s (rampant allegations of inequality notwithstanding), but it does not seem as though happiness and spiritual fulfillment are equally ubiquitous. It is not clear that in America democracy has been sufficiently ennobled. The greater question, which Owen poses through Tocqueville, is whether it is... Continue Reading

To Christians Who Suffer

If you are suffering, I pray God gives you the eyes of faith to see that his grace is sufficient for you in your weakness even right now.

As Paul said in his trial, “When I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Cor. 12:10).  Suffering is so hard; it is a heavy, heavy burden.  But God’s grace lightens the load, shines light on the path, and makes it possibly for us to joyfully make it through suffering.  And remember, your trial will... Continue Reading

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