Identifying Devotional Gems in Unexpected Places
Literary expert Leland Ryken introduces 50 of the best devotionals from church history, each with an analysis and a corresponding scripture passage to help readers understand and appreciate the literary beauty and spiritual truths they contain.
The process of compiling an anthology of devotional classics was for me a continuous process of tracking down bits and pieces that were part of my literary and religious life that I had never pursued in detail. I will feel rewarded if my readers come to love the entries in my anthology as I have... Continue Reading
Allegiance to Jesus Christ Alone
Reward comes to servants who preach Christ and not themselves.
If we could learn something from Paul and his words to Corinth, friends, please don’t pledge your allegiance to one leader alone, however godly and effective he may be. Some leaders plant, some leaders water, and God will give the growth (1 Cor 3:6–9). God spreads his work among many and does not save it... Continue Reading
A Dangerous Prayer to Pray
Prayers for growth may be dangerous, it is a danger that we may want to face.
We often think of growth as the magic bullet. More people must equal more money, more ministry power, more outreach, bigger, better, greater. And it may well mean those things on some level, though not always. But equally, more people means more problems, more conflict, more issues to address. Praying for growth is great, but... Continue Reading
Of What Value are Miracles?
Those who reject the possibility of miracles is not a lack of data but rather a lack of faith both in the Word of God and also in their own scientific method.
If doubters do not believe God’s word revelation, then they will certainly reject His act revelation—namely, miracles. God’s miracles are revelatory testimony of who He is and what He has done to save a sinful people through Christ and the Holy Spirit. In the words of the writer to the Hebrews, “God also bore witness... Continue Reading
You Will Not be Able to Serve the Lord, for He is a Holy God
Serving a holy and jealous God cannot be done casually or without divine assistance.
When we get it right and walk in the joy of the Lord with our eyes firmly fixed on Christ it will always be in submission to Him and all those around us. Pride is banished. Meekness rules. This is what we do when we abide in Christ (John 15). We can only serve the... Continue Reading
Get Ready for More Hype From Climate Fearmongers
At the insistence of the COPs, some nations are adopting agricultural policies that depress crop yields in the name of fighting global warming.
Negotiators at COP27 have put “loss and damage” — a.k.a. “reparations” — on the agenda, too. The idea is that wealthy nations, which developed their wealth using hydrocarbon energy and therefore are to blame for global warming and the increased numbers and intensity of extreme weather events, owe developing nations financial assistance as they deal... Continue Reading
Review: ‘Powerful Leaders?: When Church Leadership Goes Wrong and How to Prevent It’
Leaders are servants fundamentally, under-shepherds to bring the flock to feed on God.
The heart of the book describes the “slippery slope” from the accountability, transparency, plurality and embodiment that characterizes legitimate leadership to the murky world of dysfunctional, illegitimate leadership. Honeysett describes the slide as the replacement of transparency with secrecy and concealment, the cutting off of any meaningful collegiality, leading to leadership isolation, power imbalances from... Continue Reading
Ruth Haley Barton & Contemplative Corruption—Part 2
Barton makes a false dilemma between viewing the Bible as a love letter or as a textbook. In truth, the Bible is neither.
Barton’s books are evidence of reliance on feelings, experiences, misuse of Scripture, and at least some influence from Buddhism. There is no biblical evidence supporting the contemplative teachings and practices so passionately promoted in these two books. In adopting the belief that she has discovered a door to deeper spiritual transformation and intimacy with God,... Continue Reading
The Bleeding of the Evangelical Church
The problem is that we are not hearing the Word of God. It does not rest consequentially upon us. It does not cut.
If we do no recover the sufficiency of the Word of God in our time, if we do not relearn what it means to be sustained by it, nourished by it, disciplined by it, and unless our preachers find the courage again to preach its truth, to allow their sermons to be defined by its... Continue Reading
Teach Your Children What the Bible Says About Their Bodies
Cross-gender hormone treatments and reconstructive surgeries are becoming prevalent in children with gender dysphoria.
You were purchased by Jesus Christ, not just your spirit but your body as well. Since they belong to God (doubly because He also created them) it is reasonable and expected that you should dedicate your body to His glory. Among your fellow humans, yes, you have a degree of ownership over your body. But on... Continue Reading
Mind the Gap: The Danger of Delayed Confession
God knows we simply cannot clean ourselves up enough to lift the weighty burden of our sin; we need help outside ourselves.
Are you holding on to unconfessed sin? The Bible never makes a case for a “probation period” or establishing sincerity before running to Christ when we see our sin. Unbelief and Satan’s lies thrive in our hearts in this dangerous gap between conviction and repentance. In this place, we turn to useless, sinful “remedies”: Atonement:... Continue Reading
Our Problem Isn’t Simply “Racism,” It’s “Otherism”
Even if every man on the planet was physically identical to every other man, we’d still find some way to separate from one another. Our “otherism” is that hardwired into our fallen human nature.
All of us favor “our own”. There are “otherists” in every profession, organization and social group. Wherever there are people, you’ll find this kind of behavior, although our “otherism” will probably be expressed differently depending on the group, situation or historical context. Racism is perhaps the simplest form of “otherism” because it is based on the... Continue Reading
Disestablished But Not Disconnected: Church, Society, and State in the Early Republic
Disestablishment’s benefitted church and state because it made clear their respective duties and limits.
Disestablishment did not, however, disconnect them in their mutual goal to preserving human liberty and ordering human life. Governments were not separated from the societies they governed. There was, McKnight argued, a “close and intimate connection subsisting between” civil society and the church. That connection between them rendered a right understanding of their association necessary... Continue Reading
Reformed Experiential Preaching
Experimental preaching stresses the need to know the great truths of the Word of God by personal experience.
Reformed experiential preaching explains how things ought to go in the Christian life (the ideal of Romans 8), how they actually go in Christian struggles (the reality of Romans 7), and the ultimate goal in the kingdom of glory (the optimism of Revelation 21–22). This kind of preaching reaches people where they are in the trenches and gives them tactics and... Continue Reading
Strange Lyre: Early Beginnings of Pentecostal Worship
The seedbed from which Pentecostalism grew in the 1900s was actually a considerable departure from prior worship reformers such as Luther, Wesley and Watts.
Pentecostalism grew out of the Holiness movement, and thus drank deeply from the populist movements in Methodism and Baptist and African-American circles. Charles Fox Parham (1873–1929), is usually credited with the beginnings of the movement. He was born in Muscatine, IA, and claimed a revelation of light at age 13. Parham associated with Methodism, but... Continue Reading
Christian Maturity and Secular Infancy
More maturity and more work mean more dependence on God.
We are all beggars, and the sooner we start playing our role, the sooner we understand spiritual maturity and the blessings it brings. It is a children’s game to pretend we do not need our Father, that we are Fathers ourselves. It is a man’s duty to become like a child, not to pretend to... Continue Reading
The King of Love is My Shepherd
God has a relationship with all people, but he does not have every kind of relationship with every kind of person. Indeed, God’s use of the language of fatherhood underscores, in addition to intimacy and tenderness, the exclusivity of his connection to his children.
Christ the king makes us his people (“in subduing us to himself”); he exercises authority over us (“in ruling”), and he protects us (in “defending us, and in restraining and conquering all his and our enemies”). Though the exercise of Christ’s kingly office can be said to be judicial in some respect, because he does... Continue Reading
Thanksgiving in Embittered Times
“In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
1) Let the peace of God rule in your hearts, 2) let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, and 3) whatever you do, do all in the name of Jesus. I believe that obedience to these commands is the soil in which the spirit of thanksgiving flourishes. Obedience to these commands is the... Continue Reading
Strange Lyre: The Pentecostalization of Christian Worship
As cessationist churches post vigilant patrols at the doctrinal boundaries, but offer open borders to charismatic songs, music, forms of prayer, and overall sentiment, a quiet transformation takes place.
What can the “Pentecostalization of worship” refer to, if we have removed the overtly charismatic acts of praying in tongues, healing, and so forth? In a series of upcoming articles, I will argue that Pentecostal worship has a matrix of distinctives that is a clear break from historic, Protestant worship, or even the worship that... Continue Reading
Girolamo Zanchi on Sin in the Life of the Believer
In his great work Speculum Christianum or The Christian Survey of Conscience, Girolamo Zanchi addressed at length the Reformed view of Romans 7 as the regenerate man’s struggle against sin, a view he assures was held by all the learned divines.
Zanchi’s comments on the violent uprisings of fallen desire should be a great help to Christians who find themselves perplexed over how easily they can stumble into sin. How many believers have been completely overcome with guilt after giving in to sin, and upon becoming overwhelmed by their sin and the shame that follows, that... Continue Reading
Ecclesiastes’ Cure for Depression
Under the sun, no one gains because everyone ends up with exactly what they came with: nothing.
God subjected everything “under the sun” to futility in hope. Hope is the opposite of depression. God made everything vapor under the sun in hope that you’d start looking for what is not under the sun. God is not under the sun and apart from Him, you can’t eat or enjoy anything (2:25). So, stop... Continue Reading
Dating is Broken
If life’s purpose is found in the goodness of creation and the ultimate purposes of God’s kingdom, dating has a context, as does marriage, work, sex, friendship, procreation, and yes, singleness.
Purpose does not guarantee success, of course, but it can define a life of faithfulness and meaning, whatever our place in life and whatever obstacles we face. Like everything else, all of our human relationships are touched by the Fall. But our purpose as human beings, given by God in creation, remains. Christ’s redemptive work stretches... Continue Reading
What Blood Teaches
The blood of Christ still speaks. It asks us to draw nearer, to the owner of the blood.
As “the mediator of a new covenant,” Jesus’s blood pleads not for justice but for mercy and grace. Justice says, “Level the scales!” Mercy says, “Don’t give me what I deserve.” And grace says, “You’re giving me all of this?” Jesus’s blood says what Abel’s couldn’t. It doesn’t speak retribution; it speaks redemption. I never thought of blood... Continue Reading
His Body. His Choice.
God created our body; therefore, it belongs to Him.
“It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves” (Psalm 100:3). He provides everything for our bodies; therefore, we are His. “They all wait for You to give them their food in due season” (Psalm 104:27). Above all, He has redeemed us – including our bodies in the resurrection – out of our... Continue Reading
Revive Us, O LORD!
The crucial question is, "Why don’t we experience a greater outpouring of God’s Spirit today?"
What is needed today—as in every age—is for a greater filling of the Holy Spirit. This is an event which begins with a sovereign act of Christ Jesus in heaven and results in a faithful human response on earth. Are Revivals Needed? Amongst many conservative Protestants today—be they Reformed, Evangelical or even Pentecostal—the topic... Continue Reading
“The Shadowy Nature of Theonomy”? A Reply to Batzig
God’s Kingdom not only includes the church, but also extends beyond the church.
The term theonomy implies nothing more than the application of God’s Law to all of life. It is true that the sundry laws of the Old Testament expired with the state of that people, but the Westminster Confession of Faith clearly teaches that the general equity of the Old Testament law did not expire with... Continue Reading
A Modest Proposal for a Digital World
Taking disciplined time away from screens may not be the only way to live in the digital world without being conformed to it, but it is one good way. Over time, the gravitational pull of our phones may grow weaker, and we may find ourselves drawn into a different, far better orbit: the bright, life-giving... Continue Reading
The Cancel Cult
Book Review: Andrew Doyle offers a passionate and erudite exposé of the modern-day social-justice movement.
The New Puritans is a passionate and erudite exposé of the modern-day social-justice movement. With clarity and precision, Doyle exposes its countless flaws and hypocrisies. His book is an essential guide for anyone looking to understand why the culture war has grown so hot. The New Puritans: How the Religion of Social Justice Captured the... Continue Reading
The Age of Ingratitude
In gratitude, we acknowledge that we are not isolated, autonomous individuals but are dependent upon others.
We live in an age marked by infantile ingratitude…that means we live in an age when we do not really know how to live at all. Ingratitude has dehumanized us. In the times of turmoil in which we live, various candidates suggest themselves as ways of capturing the essence of our epoch: the age... Continue Reading
Eastern University on Hold from CCCU after Dropping Ban on LGBTQ Faculty
The school has amended its policies to allow for the hiring of LGBTQ faculty and to add sexual orientation to its non-discrimination statement.
Until this semester, Eastern welcomed LGBTQ students and allowed a student-led club, Refuge, to advocate for the LGBTQ students. But its student handbook banned “inappropriate displays of affection” and “sexual intimacy…outside of marriage between a man and a woman.” That has now been amended. Sex outside of marriage is still prohibited, but marriage is no... Continue Reading