Orthodox, Beware

Despite its commendable pedigree, in the wake of the shifting moral and religious commitments within evangelicalism, orthodoxy has a new image. It is not a pretty one.

Until recent years, in every sense of its use, the prefix ortho- touted positive vibes. Though orthodontists and orthopedists today remain the standard expectation, their etymological cousin “orthodoxy” has fallen on hard times.   When my children need braces, I do not dole out $5000 to a heterodontist to wire their teeth randomly and recklessly.... Continue Reading

The Secret Things of God

Only God can soften a heart, and we pray that he will. But we have to make our decisions based upon what God has revealed to us

Let’s apply this to our example. The way that things stand now, she has grounds for divorce. Assume, again, that this is not disputed. But she is still counseled to remain in the marriage “in case he repents”. But repentance is a gift of God. Only God can change a heart. So now we are... Continue Reading

Why Porn Kills Sex

Pornography kills sexuality because porn isn’t just about sex and because sex isn’t just about sex.

So what’s happening here? Why does it seem that pornography ultimately kills sexual intimacy? There are, to be sure, many psychological explanations. Pornography desensitizes one to sexual stimuli, feeds the quest for endless novelty, and creates a script of expectations that does not, and cannot, meet up to the real dynamics of personal relationship. But... Continue Reading

The Future of Music in the Church

Music changes in every generation and we should appreciate it.

People often say “We’ve got to teach them the value of the hymns” which they tend to associate with a traditional musical style. If by learning the value of hymns, you mean having a more robust theology in lyrics, I agree. If you mean that we need (as a measure of discipleship) to teach them... Continue Reading

When Words Hurt

What do we do when we realize we have a problem with our words?

A struggle with words reveals what we really love most. It reveals what we worship, what we’ve set our hearts on. Unkind words are not the problem but a byproduct of the real problem: idolatrous hearts. Deep down, we want life to be all about us. We want to be on the throne of our lives... Continue Reading

5 Ways to Wound Immature Believers

Isn’t there a better way than ridicule to lovingly spur them onto a more grounded faith?

Christopher Love had a great word for what wells up in my heart in these moments—oversuperciliousness. That isn’t a fancy word for holiness. It’s a fancy word for being filled with abominable pride and strutting around like a foolish peacock. It isn’t a mark of holiness to mock the weak. Instead, “the strong should cherish... Continue Reading

Wisely Handling the Book of Proverbs

Simply because they are inspired does not mean that the biblical proverbs are like laws, imposing a universal obligation.

Naturally, it does not really bother us to find seemingly contradictory proverbs in our own cultural wisdom. But when we discover them in the Bible, we find ourselves wrestling with questions about the trustworthiness of Scripture. Let me cite one well-known example. The book of Proverbs says, “Answer not a fool according to his folly”... Continue Reading

Ten Steps To A Constructive Conversation

May the Lord grant to me and to you the grace we need to conduct (sometimes difficult) conversations in a way that is honoring to him and edifying to our neighbors.

Finally, be prepared to agree to disagree. Sometimes, for a variety of reasons, there will be no resolution. Sometimes the best for which one can hope to achieve a greater degree of clarity about what the other side believes and is arguing. Perhaps, in the course of a disagreement, each side can help the other... Continue Reading

Does Orthodoxy Need an Adjective?

Some qualifiers of orthodoxy, like “Eastern” and “Russian,” have been in parlance for centuries

For many, contemporary adjectives intend to improve orthodoxy, or at least to give it a fresh face. Purportedly innocuous qualifiers seek to correct the alleged problems by those who wish to cling to the “orthodox” label: neo-orthodoxy, generous orthodoxy, humble orthodoxy, and even beautiful orthodoxy. But do these qualifiers disqualify orthodoxy?   As orthodoxy[1] itself... Continue Reading

Why Don’t We Follow All of the Old Testament Laws?

One of the most helpful ways to think about this is to look at the types of laws there are in the OT

“The next time someone starts saying that you’re arbitrarily picking and choosing from the Bible, arm yourself with the civil/ceremonial/moral. You aren’t being arbitrary. You’re being faithful. You’re reading the Old Testament how the New Testament teaches you to.”   It’s pretty common these days for people to dismiss Christians as inconsistent because “they follow... Continue Reading