Getting Grace and Faith Right
We distort the ideas of grace and faith if we overemphasise our faith.
If you are a Christian, you are trusting in the One who is truly trustworthy. Jesus is the only One who really is. He really did pay for your sins. There are many people in this world who have faith in something, probably stronger faith than you do, yet they are trusting in the wrong... Continue Reading
Why Women’s Ordination Cannot Be Tolerated
It must instead be rebuked, and every effort must be made to eradicate it from the church before it is too late.
The church stands under the authority of the sufficient and perspicuous Scriptures, and if a church starts to disobey these Scriptures, it must be rebuked, and if it persists, it must be rejected. May God give us the courage to stand up for the truth, the humility to recognize our failings, and the resolve to... Continue Reading
Yesterday, Today, and Forever
American religious history really begins with the Puritans. They intended to build a Christian commonwealth. To a great extent, they succeeded.
There has always been a degree of persecution for us in one place or another, and it is highly likely, even in countries where civil liberties are defended, that religious liberty will begin soon to be chiseled away. If the church is forced underground, it must have ready an organization that will avoid the evil... Continue Reading
3 Points about the Doctrine of Predestination Every Christian Needs to Know
When properly understood, election teaches us not just about how great God is, but how good he is.
If God is not sovereign, he is not God at all. If something can be decided or determined apart from, outside of, or before God, then that means that there is something out there that is greater than God. And if something is greater than God, then God isn’t God at all. A hurdle... Continue Reading
The Success of “Avatar” Is Nothing to Celebrate
The sequel to the record-breaking box office success Avatar is here. The enemy is still America/Europeans. The victims this time: whales.
Intellectually, the Avatar stories seem worthless, beneath contempt, indeed, beneath argument. This leads people to underestimate them but also to feel themselves somehow disarmed. One looks ridiculous if one complains that the stories are anti-American. It takes a certain courage to deal with that problem, and courage is in very short supply in our times. The... Continue Reading
What is Marxism?
Marxism's diagnosis of the problem is wrong and the solution it offers fails to produce the promised results.
Wherever Marx’s ideas have been implemented, collective ownership has given a few people immense, unchecked power over every aspect of life—ironically, one of Marx’s accusations against capitalism. The failure of utopia to materialize means that the “dictatorship of the proletariat” becomes permanent, and can only be maintained through brutality and terror. To borrow a... Continue Reading
Wise Pastors Understand Emotions
As pastors seeking to faithfully shepherd God's flock, we need to have a thorough grasp of the human beings we shepherd.
The perceptions that stand behind our emotions have been twisted by sin. Our values are aimed at lesser things, and the members of our body habituate sinful patterns and tendencies that we struggle to even recognize. And yet, emotions are a pathway to what’s truly happening in us. The wise pastor will recognize this and... Continue Reading
Living, Unique, Valuable, Unborn Human Beings
People who draw a distinction between a human and a person want to use extrinsic qualities to measure someone’s value.
Human beings aren’t valuable because of a function they perform, how conscious they are, whether they feel pain, or any other extrinsic quality. These things come in degrees. Humanity doesn’t come in degrees. I shocked a faculty member at the University of California while conversing with him in the middle of campus. He was... Continue Reading
The Decay of the World and the Love of God
Do you ever find yourself wondering if God really cares?
God freely makes use of the evil actions of men to bring about the best of his plans and accomplish the best of his purposes—purposes like the preservation of his people through famine and the salvation of his people through Christ’s crucifixion. Even the greatest evil is God’s servant to accomplish great good. Do... Continue Reading
Ending the Demand for Abortion
A wide range of circumstances drive women to seek abortion, and there are concrete steps we can take to reduce the demand.
In a society where women often need to return to work shortly after birth, where it is far cheaper to procure an abortion than to give birth in a hospital, and where many of the current policies penalize childbirth and childbearing and incentivize abortion, we believe that creative policy-making can bring about relief for many... Continue Reading
The Impossibility of Transgenderism
The biological sex of an individual is discovered, not assigned.
We are born male or female. We are, therefore, male or female. And one becomes, through reproduction, a mother or father. The way we manifest our identity as a man or a woman is going to either conform to “socio-cultural standards” or be a form of reaction against these same socio-cultural standards, or be a... Continue Reading
Human Rights? Only for Some Humans
Do humans have rights because they are human, or are there some other criteria for deciding which humans are worthy of human-rights protections?
State governments, the Federal Government, and Supreme Court have been clear and consistent throughout U.S. history: Rights and Constitutional protections are not for allhumans; those protections are only for those legally recognized as persons—according to whatever subjective criteria the ruling elite are using at any given time. Focusing the argument on Human Rights protects innocent life on... Continue Reading
Why Should Christians Care about Church History?
We have no idea of where we are going if we do not know where we have come from.
We study the history of God’s people to see what God has been doing in the world, and so praise him for his mighty acts in the past, and trust that he will display his power and glory afresh in our day. How We View History In Jane Austen’s novel Northanger Abbey, one of the... Continue Reading
True Friends in Ministry
The one who surrounds himself with godly counselors has understanding, walks intentionally forward, and finds success.
We see Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah standing the test of time. They are wise and godly. When they needed to stand in the face of temptation, they stood while everyone else bowed. Together they kept the faith, even in the middle of Babylon. Folly is a joy to him who lacks sense, but... Continue Reading
The Slow Work of Sabbath Rest
The continuous shaping of the Sabbath equips, prepares, challenges, and changes us.
Lord’s Day worship imperceptively reorients our affections towards heaven and away from earthly concerns, towards the eternal rather than those things that are passing away, to the way of the cross instead of our own comfort. Whenever I get the opportunity to speak about worship in either a Sunday School series or an Inquirers... Continue Reading
Thinking Carefully about Our Approach with Church Visitors
Detoxification from evangelicalism is a very long process and transition to a Reformed church is not an easy one for former evangelicals.
Discipleship should go far beyond a few weeks of membership classes. Great patience and effort is needed to love our neighbors and help them in honoring their membership vows before Christ. Ministering to those exiting evangelicalism will by no means be an easy endeavor, but it very well may be the unique mission field that... Continue Reading
Update on Votes on PCA Book of Church Order Amendments: Overtures 8 and 15 Have Failed
Overture 15, disqualifying from church office men who describe themselves as homosexuals, and Overture 8, on higher courts assuming original jurisdiction, failed to receive approval of 2/3 of the presbyteries.
As of February 4, 2023, at least 69 presbyteries have voted and the results thus far indicate that ten of the proposed amendments have received the necessary approval 2/3 of presbyteries, receiving at least 59 presbyteries voting in favor. Two of the amendments were not approved, with Overture 15 garnering approval from 57% of the... Continue Reading
What Is the Beatific Vision?
The beatific vision is the fulfillment of Jesus’ promise that we will see God.
The main way we are to think of the beatific vision is God has made Himself visible in the most perfect way that human beings are capable of apprehending, that is, in Jesus Christ. For example, the New Testament speaks about seeing the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. The beatific... Continue Reading
Misadventures in Retrieval: Further Readings in Credo and a Consideration of their Notions of Deification and the Beatific Vision in the Reformed Tradition
The Westminster Standards’ notion of the intermediate state is derived directly from Scripture.
For my part I think it more likely that the WCF’s authors got their idea of the soul returning unto God directly from Scripture itself, and that neither Scripture nor their exegesis and systematization of it was formed in light of Neoplatonic tradition, be it knowingly or not. Previously I discussed how Carl Mosser... Continue Reading
Comparing the Minority Report on Overture 15’s Signers and Presbytery Votes
Comparing the presbytery votes on Overture 15 with the signers of the Minority Report on O15 at General Assembly.
Patterns of voting on O15 indicate a divide between how REs and TEs, broadly speaking, view O15. If ever there has been a clarion call for ruling elders in the PCA to be engaged in their sessions, presbyteries, and at General Assembly, it is now. Recently, I shared my analysis comparing Overture 15’s dissenters to... Continue Reading
Learning From the Faithful Legacy Of My Grandparents
I share all these things because my arrogance was cultivated in an evangelical subculture that produces a spirit of elitism.
Elitist Christianity cannot survive the rigors of hard discipleship. But my grandparents did. And they handed me a legacy to follow. There are many points of doctrinal disagreement that I would have with my grandfathers. But they had a form of battle-tested grit that would outclass their less rugged peers. These were men who endured... Continue Reading
Why Christians Shouldn’t Watch “The Chosen”
God in His providence, chose to send His Son, Jesus Christ, into the world when He did. Christ could have come to save the world during the time of cell phones and live streaming, but He didn’t. God chose to send His Son in the fullness of time, and to have the proclamation of His... Continue Reading
Black Liberation Theology and Woke Christianity
The gospel seems too foolish for an enlightened and woke world. It seems too weak for Black power and Black Liberation.
Woke Christianity is an attempt to reconcile Christianity with Black Lives Matter. It is a theology developed from Calvinism with an awareness for social justice. It makes liberation from perceived racial injustice a central message of the gospel. It suggests that a gospel that doesn’t address racial injustice is an unbalanced gospel. Woke Christianity is... Continue Reading
Prayer and God’s Sovereignty
One of those perennial questions that all Calvinists face from time to time and that you hear quite frequently is: If God is sovereign, then why pray?
So the first point in response to the question, “Does prayer change things?” is simply this: Yes, indeed prayer changes things. If nothing else, it changes us. When we come into the presence of God in conversation with him, one of the immediate benefits of that conversation is what happens to us. One of... Continue Reading
What is joy anyway? It’s one of those words we all think we understand, but sometimes I wonder.
Joy is not happiness. We think it is, but it’s not. How do we know? Because Peter makes it clear that it co-exists with grief (look up chapter 1 and read from verse 3, see what I mean?). Happiness changes with emotion, joy co-exists with emotions. Which of course should lead us to a conclusion:... Continue Reading
Prayer, the Problem of Evil, and the Place of Tradition
Will we find salvation through a blend of the Christian faith and traditional practices?
God’s solution to the universal problem of evil doesn’t change, from place to place or culture to culture. Prayer is the standard. In fact, part of the transformation that Christianity brings to each culture is how it seeks supernatural intervention. Philippi was also the place where Paul met a slave girl with a spirit of... Continue Reading
A Devotional on Communing with God through Nature by George Washington Carver
We get closer to God as we get more intimately and understandingly acquainted with the things he has created.
Carver speaks of finding God in nature because he was a scientist, but we can all frame the principle of finding God in terms of our own walk of life. What Carver says about nature, a professor can say about history or art or literature or psychology, and a homemaker about the domestic routine, and... Continue Reading
Were Adam and Eve Created Perfect?
Two reasons why Adam and Eve were never perfect.
We changed for the worse in Adam’s failure (1 Cor 15:22), and then require another ontological change to be justified before God (John 3:3). Even if Adam had perfectly followed God’s command he still would have undergone a change. He would have been made unable to sin and would’ve continued in that state to this... Continue Reading
The Heavenly Wisdom of a Soft Answer
David Dickson explains James’s insistence on the need to bridle our tongues.
James gives eight characteristics of heavenly wisdom, the wisdom which is joined with meekness. (1) It is pure and chaste, i.e., it holds fast truth and holiness, lest it be in any way polluted. (2) It is peaceable, avoiding contentions. (3) It endeavours after equity. (4) It easily gives place to right reason. (5) It... Continue Reading
Police Officer Resigns After Being Told not to Post “Offensive” Views on Biblical Marriage
When told he should never discuss his interpretation of Scripture again, Kersey resigned, stating that he needed to stand up for his beliefs.
It is true that what Kersey wrote would likely be offensive to most homosexuals. That doesn’t mean there was anything wrong with him saying it. There was nothing hateful about Kersey’s words, certainly nothing about the inherent value of a person or anything wishing them ill will. The claim that what he said is the... Continue Reading