Sanctification of the Spirit
We can endure suffering much better when we know there is a purpose behind it.
The efforts we make show results by God’s workmanship. Peter reminds us that whatever adversity we are experiencing, whatever hardship we are enduring, whatever suffering we undergo, God has not lost sight of the plot. It’s all part of His plan, just as it was for His Son in His mission as Messiah. elect... Continue Reading
We Are Not Disposable
A meditation for the church and the world.
The Internet age is one in which God’s providence is questioned at an emotional level every second. Every time we log on, we are seeking in some ways to escape the embodied realties that our Creator has placed us in. Owing much to this, ours is a culture in which people feel that they and... Continue Reading
The Garden of Eden was No Picnic
We were made for work. We were made for dominion.
There is a shocking truth that escapes the notice of most Christians: when we go to heaven, we won’t stop working. We were made for work and in heaven we will get to experience work in the fulfilling and meaningful way God intended. Heaven isn’t (just!) a picnic, either. We don’t know exactly what this... Continue Reading
But That is Unfair!
God is good and is never unfair.
God can do as he pleases. He is sovereign and we are not. He can choose to give certain gifts to some people, but not to others. He can allow one Christian to go through all sorts of hardships and trials, while another might seem to go through life relatively unscathed in this regard. ... Continue Reading
Make Our Worship Spaces Presbyterian Again
Part of the beauty of Presbyterian worship is that you don’t need a fancy place with a bunch of pomp and circumstance. All you need is a Bible and Christians.
Our joy and happiness on the Sabbath morning and evening should come not from the elaborate displays of outward means, but from the inward assurance of gospel peace. Lastly the worship that happens in that room should emulate these principles as well. Really all that should take place in a Presbyterian service are the means of... Continue Reading
One Last Magnificent Porous Day
For one brief day the immanent frame of our secular imaginary was peeled back, and we were given a vision, albeit in shadow form, of what true majesty might look like.
In this final passive act, the Queen called us to acknowledge not our inner selves, or our felt selves, or our authentic selves, or whatever the latest psychobabble bon mot is that describes incurvatus in se, (the self curved in on itself) – but God Himself above. Her commitment to transcendence – God’s transcendence meant that down here she... Continue Reading
The Problem with Cultural Christianity
Human ingenuity cannot overcome sin and the curse, no matter how much positive thinking and mental determination we direct toward them.
When Jesus said, take up your cross, deny yourself, and follow me, he was not inviting us to a life of misery. He was calling us out of ourselves to the most extraordinary life possible: knowing God. There is no greater glory and no greater joy, but we must root our life in his truth, not ourselves or the... Continue Reading
The Rural Church Dilemma
Some Thoughts for Rural Pastors
Be energized by the concept that your church could become the most loving church in the world. I find this compelling. There will be many things your church may not be. It may not be the most educated church or the most innovative church, or the most evangelistic church, but it can be the most loving church.... Continue Reading
The Pelagian Controversy
It was the position of Pelagius that Adam’s sin affected Adam and only Adam.
The struggle within the church now is between the Augustinian view and various forms of semi-Pelagianism, which seeks a middle ground between the views of Pelagius and Augustine. Semi-Pelagianism teaches that grace is necessary to achieve righteousness, but that this grace is not imparted to the sinner unilaterally or sovereignly as is maintained by Reformed... Continue Reading
Dr. Carl W. Bogue, 82, Retired PCA Minister, Called Home to Glory
Carl William Bogue (1939-2022) fell asleep in the Lord and passed into glory on Sunday morning, September 18, 2022.
Returning to the US in 1969, he took a pastorate at Allenside United Presbyterian Church in Akron, Ohio. He would spend the rest of his career in Akron, first at Allenside and then at Faith Presbyterian Church (PCA), which he led out of the mainline denomination in 1975. Faith PCA was the first church in... Continue Reading
Reformed theology is the term used to refer to the belief system(s) of those Protestant churches which trace their origins to the work of Reformers such as Huldrych Zwingli and John Calvin.
While there is no single liturgical from demanded by Reformed theology, Reformed churches typically regarded Scripture as regulating worship in a manner which presses towards an aesthetic and formal simplicity focused on prayer, the reading and preaching of the Bible, the sacraments, and singing, the latter of which was historically psalmody but now generally includes... Continue Reading
The psalms form the innate inclinations at our core, what James Sire calls the “fundamental orientation of the heart.”3
As the Five Books of Moses are the Torah for the mind, so the Five Books of Psalms are the Torah for the heart; God intends for this collection of psalms to form and shape our image of what it means to be blessed, our image of what it means to flourish as we meditate... Continue Reading
Why are Teenagers Killing Themselves?
Four obstacles to life as a teenager. The better we understand these things, the better we will be able to help our own children deal with life around them.
They begin to question their role or place in a family, a school, friend group, or world. As they question these things, it is easy for the teen to falsely believe that everything would be better if life was over. This false belief can take residence in the heart. When upset, hurt, disappointed, discontent, angry,... Continue Reading
The Wisdom of the Cross is Infinitely Superior to the Wisdom of Psychology, Part Two
By its very nature, worldly psychology is antagonistic to the cross since it exalts man’s wisdom and diminishes Jesus, the very source of truth.
Christian psychology is flawed because it reveals a loyalty to man’s wisdom as opposed to a pure, childlike trust in the Word of God. It is nothing short of a subtle strategy of Satan to keep the gospel of Christ hidden from men by cloaking it within the arrogance of human wisdom. When human wisdom... Continue Reading
Remove the constraints of form, and human expression tends towards ignorance.
Formed expression is what our hearts cry out for. We want our preachers to articulate the truth with a kind of clarity that enables us to grasp and retain it. We want our psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to capture and express affections we have had but have not known how to express. We want... Continue Reading
10 essential principles and practices in the remarkable story of an institutions’s transformation.
He shows how leaders must cultivate trustworthiness, cherish the teams they put in place, and insist on accountability for themselves and others. He writes about stewarding money well, communicating clearly, and fostering just the right kind of culture. He continually uses the turnaround at Midwestern as an illustration of these principles in action. I have long... Continue Reading
General revelation, properly speaking, is God’s clear display of His glory and power in the works of creation and providence.
Sinners can resist and deny this general revelation, but they cannot escape it. All nature, all the time, shouts out the existence, power, and splendor of God. Sinners can close their eyes and stop their ears, but general revelation remains plain all around them. Only when the unrighteous actively suppress this plain truth can the... Continue Reading
How Should We Then Live in a Time of War?
Just how should believers live in times of crisis?
As Europe was facing the onset of war in 1939, Lewis preached a sermon in the Church of St. Mary the Virgin in Oxford. With many other academics and students in attendance, the issue of how we should now live was certainly a pressing concern for all those present. So Lewis entitled his address, “Learning in War-Time”. What the... Continue Reading
Judge Not Part 9 – Doing All for the Glory of God
The Spirit-led walk puts our Souls on the cross and Jesus on the throne of our hearts.
The believers who abide in Christ are also walking the Walk by Faith. They are running the race set before them. They are genuine disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ. They are taking on His character. Along with the spiritual growth, these processes also draw the believer into a deep desire to know God intimately.... Continue Reading
The Ministry of Being a Little Bit Further Along
The work of ministry within a local church is the privilege and responsibility of each of the people who makes that church their own.
What most people need and long for as they face trials and encounter questions is simply the dedicated attention of someone who is a little bit further along, the listening ear and gentle voice of someone who is a few steps ahead on the path of life, or the path of ministry, or the path... Continue Reading
Just as we must rejoice in the spouse of our youth, we must keep watch over our life.
Wisdom does declare to us certain important truth regarding marital intimacy. It declares to us that we must rejoice in our spouse alone, watch over our lives and remember our God. Yet, should you have failed to hearken to the voice of wisdom, hear now the good news of Christ’s redemption. Perhaps, you have fallen... Continue Reading
Why the World Needs Men
On Anthony Esolen’s No Apologies: Why Civilization Depends on the Strength of Men
No Apologies pulls no punches: the transformation of society into a gynocracy has been a disaster. But the attack on manliness is not merely an attack against boyhood or manhood: “Ultimately the attack upon the home, and upon the marriage of man and woman, is an attack on the God who made man and woman”... Continue Reading
Other Billy Graham “Rules”?
What, then, were these four resolutions (rather than one rule) that made up the “Modesto Manifesto,” as Graham and his team came to call it?
The resolutions about money, sex, and power aren’t all that surprising, or even probing. This deadly trio, while ruinous, does not represent the deepest sins of the heart. They are manifestations of unbelief and rebellion, but they grow in the soil of “the great evil,” as C.S. Lewis calls it: pride. So, it’s actually this third... Continue Reading
Why the PCA Needs Overture 15
The strength of the BCO language addition proposed by O15 is its clarity and brevity.
The language of O29 and O31 are welcome additions to the BCO. However, they are insufficient. They do not address the issue before us, which is whether a church officer may describe himself as “homosexual.” The proposal put forward by O15 clearly says no. Officers who struggle with same-sex attraction are not “gay” or “homosexual,”... Continue Reading
A Narrative of Hope in the Darkness of Tragedy
God’s Word will offer you the most essential thing you need in the face of your Worst—hope.
One can view theological concepts as academic, arcane doctrine. Theology can seem so dry and lifeless at times. But theology breathes and becomes more than just information in a confession or textbook when it becomes the story of your life and when it constitutes bread in a desert. Imagining the Worst Like most people,... Continue Reading
Judge Not Part 8—The Invaluable Treasure of a Clear Conscience
The person with a hard heart is not heeding his or her conscience.
The maturing believer’s conscience is in the process of cleansing and purification. Judging other hypocritically is a sin. Gossips and slanderers are guilty of that sin. Believers are called to be cleansed of that sin. 1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, according to the promise of life in... Continue Reading
Life in the Blood
Only Jesus' life—his blood, his living water—brings eternal, full, satisfying life.
You need what only he can give, and he delights to give it. Receive him with thanks, and get accustomed to feeling unworthy and on the receiving end of blessings. Be willing to benefit from his life and sacrifice. There are still many things Jesus said that I don’t quite understand. This one certainly... Continue Reading
Review of Richard B. Gaffin Jr.’s, “In the Fullness of Time: An Introduction to the Biblical Theology of Acts and Paul”
This book is essentially a work on eschatology, arguing that the inbreaking of the last day in Christ’s advent is a primarily encompassing feature of New Testament theology, and tracing out its implications.
Gaffin’s most recent book is a searching exploration of how to apply New Testament eschatology to the unfolding sweep of redemptive history, particularly regarding how the ascended Christ has ushered in the end of the ages by pouring out his Spirit on his church. Dr. Richard Gaffin, professor emeritus of biblical and systematic theology... Continue Reading
In Defense of Slippery-Slope Arguments
They identify a structural tendency of contemporary progressive thought.
Someone accused by his interlocutor of using the slippery-slope argument should reply that the debate should not focus on the notion that cause A could lead to cause B—which is unremarkable—but rather, on how likely it is that cause A could lead to cause B. If recent experience is any indication, the slippery slope against which that... Continue Reading
The Fight of My Life: Why I Failed During the Time of Greatest Trial
Among those weapons that I did not wield sufficiently or well are three: Remembrance, Daily Ritual, and Perseverance.
Our great hope is certain; Christ will return to set the world to rights, such that there will be no more suffering. Our great joy is ever at hand; this same Christ offers to walk the path of suffering with us in the here-and-now, empathizing and fighting on our behalf. During the last three... Continue Reading