Thoughts on the Present State of the PCA: A Series of Theses Presented by a Concerned Member—Part One
This article is part of a series of propositions covering current topics in the Presbyterian Church in America that elders and members are following with great interest. This is Part One
That the foremost sufferers of our present deeds are those that are tempted with homosexual lust. For they need to be encouraged diligently with the assurance that their sin belongs to the old man that was crucified with Christ (Rom. 6:6), and that they are new creations (2 Cor. 5:17) who have been cleansed of... Continue Reading
Why Do We All Die?
Death is not, as so many understand it, a natural part of the cycle of life and existence. It is not built into our humanity.
It is never pleasant to think about death. Yet death is real. It is not something we can afford to ignore, to wish away, to sentimentalize, or to trivialize. Scripture owns up to the reality of death and does so from its opening pages. Issues of “life and death” importance mark the first three chapters... Continue Reading
It Isn’t Really About Sex
Throughout the Bible, concern for sexual morality is directed inward, to God’s people, not outward to the world.
Jesus, the Creator himself become one of us, the source and giver of all that is good, giving us intimacy with God and the promise of an indestructible, unending, glorious life in a recreated universe. Everything good in this life is but a dim hint of the eternal joy promised to us in Christ. And... Continue Reading
The Cosmic Treason of Adam
Christ obeyed God. Instead of agreeing with the tempter, Christ vindicated God, and sent the serpent way! This is what Adam should have done.
Our hope of eternal life is secured. Heaven is secured by Christ, whom Paul calls the last Adam (1Cor 15:24). By His obedience and sacrifice, Christ has secured eternal life and the heavenly rest that Adam failed to secure. This is good news for all who rest their faith on Him. I think one... Continue Reading
Diagnosing the Spiritual Diotrephes – Part 1
So, how can we recognize him? Here are a few things that help us diagnose a spiritual Diotrephes.
He can’t have actual, biblically defined shepherds in his life. Biblical shepherding would mean his idols would be exposed and eradicated; it would mean crucifying his lust for recognition. And that’s not something he’s prepared to do. So, he can tolerate superficial shepherding, just as long as so-called shepherds keep a safe distance from him.... Continue Reading
Do Not Forget You Are United to Christ
If you are a believer, at this very moment, you are united to Christ.
Union with Christ is such a glorious reality that it should transform every moment of our day. There is never a moment when we are alone. When the day ahead of us is more than we can handle, he is with us. When we turn off the TV at the end of the day, and... Continue Reading
A Better Illustration of Spiritual Blindness
Sin deceives us to its existence (Heb 3:12-13), and we want to be deceived about it. In this life we will never have 20/20 vision about our own sin.
You’re missing something that is obvious to everyone around you. That’s spiritual blindness. You and I can function in life, and because we can, we don’t notice our blindness to our true condition. We go through life ignorant of the depths and extent of our sin. We cannot see it. Sin is blinding. By nature... Continue Reading
What Does It Mean To Be “Confessional” (E.g., In The PCA)?
To be confessional is to allow the Standards to shape one’s teaching, approach to God, and practice of the faith.
To be confessional is to ask what the Standards say and intend? What are the implications of the Standards for one’s theology, piety, and practice? What did the framers, in their context, intend for the churches to say and do? Ask yourself this: if your favorite, dearest practice was found to be contrary to the... Continue Reading
Pray for God’s Kingdom to Come
God is working all throughout human history to build a people for Himself.
To pray “Your kingdom come” is to express our longing for God’s perfect rule on earth. It is to bow before King Jesus and forsake our personal kingdoms. It is to acknowledge the transience of earthly kingdoms and their true place in history (see Ps. 2; Dan. 2). It is to ask for God to bring salvation... Continue Reading
When the Beauty Never Leaves
Steady on, my soul. One day the beauty will come – and it will never leave.
The groaning creation will then be set free into the freedom of the glory of the children of God (Romans 8:21). Its resurrection will follow ours, just as its fall followed ours. No more hints, previews and echoes on that day. But face to face, unveiled glory. I love our local bazaar in the... Continue Reading
The Inquisitors of Marxism—Part 9
Every false religion needs inquisitors because they are false religions. There is no light in them and lies do not draw people.
This false gospel [Cultural Marxism], as we have seen, has a doctrine of sin, and that is the very existence of people like me. My only hope under this new religious regime is to become woke to my status as an oppressor and learn to hate my very existence. If I refuse, or at very... Continue Reading
Reasons to Mourn
How often are we consciously aware of our choice to sin?
As we are going through this disaster of a time – make time to mourn over your sin. Stop and contemplate its horror. Meditate on how filthy our hearts are. Look your sins straight in the face and weep over them. Consider fasting to help you focus on your sinfulness. Pray that God would cause you... Continue Reading
The Grief of Finite Joy
An honest person has to see how powerless the world’s pleasures are to give true, lasting satisfaction.
God has put eternity into our hearts, and we long not just for joy but for joy unending. Every happy experience we have on earth will end. That prick of incompleteness, of a premature finale, is an indication of the capacity of our souls. It points to a new land. Somehow my oldest child... Continue Reading
4 Roles Scripture Plays in the Life of a Believer
His truths (doctrines) are the ecosystem in which the garden of personal transformation grows.
Second Timothy 3:16–17 calls us to handle the truths of Scripture in a way that results in a constant pattern of personal self-examination that leads to honest and humble confession, which produces a commitment to repentance, resulting in a life of increasing spiritual maturity and joyful obedience. Not just your thinking is being changed, but every... Continue Reading
The Most Thankful Person Who Ever Lived
Jesus expressed full and unceasing gratitude to His Father for every provision.
Jesus thanked His Father for the hell that He would endure on the cross because He knew that it would result in the redemption of those that the Father had given to Him. In short, the three things for which Jesus expressed thanksgiving were all bound up in the work of redemption. In this, Jesus teaches... Continue Reading
Christ Will Hold Me Fast!
You’re wrapped in the clothes of the unblemished righteousness of Jesus Christ.
Jesus bore the just and holy wrath of God that we deserve, there is no condemnation (Rom. 8:1). And, not only that, because Jesus kept all the moral law that you and I couldn’t keep, again he gives us what don’t have (Rom. 5:19, Matt. 3:15). That is his righteousness. In the end, a sinner... Continue Reading
What Is Grace?
The essence of theology is grace; the essence of Christian ethics is gratitude.
When we truly understand grace—when we see that God only owes us wrath but has provided Christ’s merit to cover our demerit—then everything changes. The Christian motivation for ethics is not merely to obey some abstract law or a list of rules; rather, our response is provoked by gratitude. Jesus understood that when He said,... Continue Reading
It really is an art to be able to write a 300-400 word devotion that expounds Scripture appropriately, brings Christ and the gospel to bear on the reader, is theologically sound, and at the same time easy and pleasant to read.
The Valley of Vision – Various authors, edited by Arthur Bennett. This has long been one of my favourites. This is a collection of prayers from Puritans and Puritan-minded folks. Prayers are here from Thomas Watson, John Bunyan, Charles Spurgeon and many others. My only complaint about this volume is that it doesn’t tell you where... Continue Reading
Refreshed In Chains
Our liberty as children of God is secured not by our circumstances but by our standing in Christ.
Long after Onesimus took the letter, Paul sat in chains knowing that Philemon’s response could refresh his weary spirit. Yes, I know that we look to Christ for comfort and strength—Paul was no stranger to knowing the Lord’s presence to embolden him for the hard road ahead. But isn’t this wonderful? When Paul saw the... Continue Reading
Set Loose in a Mud Pit
God asks us to live in a chaotic and tumultuous world, but to have hearts that are peaceful and calm.
Every day we encounter situations that threaten to rob us of our peace, contexts in which the uproar around us threatens to cause an uproar within. We see people behaving badly and long to respond in kind. We have people turn on us and feel the longing to retaliate. We grieve, we suffer, we face... Continue Reading
God’s Commands are Filtered Through God’s Love
We tend to think of prohibitions as exceptions to love, but all of God’s commands are filtered through His love.
Today, and every day, we will come up against the hard commands of Jesus. And the temptation will be for us to regard Him as ungenerous. As uncaring. As persnickety. Anything but loving. But here is where we come back not to what we think in the moment, but what we know to be true.... Continue Reading
Jordan Peterson: The Last Professor
Quite simply, Peterson refused to use these pronouns—“ze,” “zhe,” “zir,” and so forth.
Jordan Peterson is a professor, a pretty decent professor. He may not be the greatest thinker currently alive in western civilization, but he doesn’t need to be. No professor does. He does what a professor should do: he interrogates assumptions, presents his ideas in a clear and cogent manner, and is a respectful and courteous... Continue Reading
A Reflection on Kindness from Anthony Doerr’s All the Light We Cannot See
By Christ’s ultimate act of kindness in laying down his life for us on the cross, we are given new life.
Anthony Doerr’s Pulitzer-winning novel All the Light We Cannot See promises a story that “illuminates the ways, against all odds, people try to be good to one another.” This intricate work of historical fiction delivers on that promise and provides a compelling journey for any reader; but for the Christian, I believe it offers enduring lessons... Continue Reading
The Life We Cannot Live
“I’m so thankful for the active obedience of Christ. No hope without it.”
How good it is to know that when God looks at you in Christ, he doesn’t see your shabby catalogue of sins and failures—he sees the pristine life of his beloved Son. He doesn’t see your bad temper, but Christ’s perfect patience and love. He doesn’t see your lusts and fantasies but Christ’s perfect purity... Continue Reading
Helpful Things You Can Say to Grieving Parents
It can be awkward to reach out to those who are deep in grief. Here are some helpful phrases.
I recently consulted with a few other parents who have experienced the loss of a child and want to offer a few things you can say to grieving parents that may prove an encouragement to them—a flicker of light in their time of deep darkness. These phrases may be helpful to people experiencing other forms... Continue Reading
What Did the Cross Achieve? Seven Truths and Sixteen Quotes from John Murray
For those who have asked questions about why the cross was needful and what the cross accomplished, Murray provides a great start.
For Christians, knowing what God did in the cross of Christ is vital for understanding our faith. Moreover, if we intend to share the gospel, make disciples, or defend the faith, we need to understand these truths as well, starting with the necessity and the nature of the cross. Therefore, learning why and what the... Continue Reading
With Much Advantage” Deacons’ Conference (Southeast Alabama Presbytery)
Reports on a recent conference for PCA deacons.
Keep in mind that by this time the Jerusalem church probably numbered between fourteen and eighteen thousand. As the church grew, new men were needed to continue doing what the elders had been handling, that is, if the elders were to continue to focus on the Word and prayer. The deacons took up three duties... Continue Reading
Leaders Need To Love
The two directives of love for God and love for our neighbor set the foundation for every aspect of the believer’s life.
Building a healthy and productive environment within an organization absolutely requires the influence and impact of a strong leader, i.e., someone who puts the needs of their team members before their own. When a leader serves in an altruistic, loving way, the leader has the opportunity to build stronger relationships with their team members. It’s... Continue Reading
The Gospel of Wokeness—Part 7
To become “woke” means that your eyes have been opened to see all the privilege and injustice that exists in our world.
Listen closely to American preaching and you will hear it. The church no longer bears witness to the simple message of Christ and him crucified. Rather, churches have added other emphases to their message in an effort to appear as “allies” to the oppressed (e.g., injustice, inequity, abuse, etc.). The good news of the... Continue Reading
You Can Know God
Apologetics isn’t about proving God, but proclaiming the God who can be truly known. And declaring God always succeeds in achieving God’s purpose (2 Cor. 2:14–17).
God makes himself known in the Bible. Scripture is a lot of things, but mostly it is divine autobiography. Sadly, not everyone sees God in Scripture; some see only an ancient religious text. But “when we truly believe in Christ, we recognize our deep dependence on the Word of God as uncontestable wisdom and truth.”... Continue Reading