Deaconesses in the Presbyterian Church in America
PCA churches have nearly as many publicly listed deaconesses on average as the RPCNA, a denomination that allows for women to hold the office, but the practice is less widespread in the PCA.
We really don’t have generalizable data on how widespread (or not) the practice [of unordained women serving as deaconesses] is in the PCA. How many churches have deaconesses? How many deaconesses are there in the PCA? The purpose of this project is not to pick a fight, but to shed light, in the hopes that... Continue Reading
God help me as I train up these men in the way they should go.
I want to raise up, more than anything else, men of faith. In Genesis 1, God mandates husbands and wives to be fruitful and multiply (Gen 1:28). In Malachi 3:15, we find that God desires “godly offspring” from the marriage union. This means that God does not merely want more warm bodies, but disciples. He... Continue Reading
Church Leaders: June Is Not the Time to be Silent
The month of June has been usurped by the “father of lies” (John 8: 44) who “deceives the whole world” (Revelation 12: 9).
The month of June has been usurped by the “father of lies,” (John 8: 44) who “deceives the whole world,” (Revelation 12: 9), and who disguises himself as “an angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11: 14). In other words, many churches and our nation have readily turned over an entire month to serious evil—serious, yet... Continue Reading
How Not to Be a Nebuchadnezzar
Instead of giving thanks to God, Nebuchadnezzar, in his pride, took all the credit.
Let us live not as those puffed up with pride like Nebuchadnezzar, but as those who are aware of our great and powerful God, who is good and just and governs all things and loves us. Find your joy, peace, security, and significance in Christ Jesus, the Son of God. You may remember Nebuchadnezzar... Continue Reading
Pride Flags and Power Plays
A Call to Wake Up
Our nation may be under attack right now. The pride flag may be flying. And, the American people, once known for valor, may now be impotent. But the Church of Jesus Christ shall surely stand, and she shall reign until all His enemies have become a footstool for His feet. The only question is will... Continue Reading
Love, In the Church
When the body of Christ starts to look like Christ, we can pray for the church to have an impact like Christ!
Paul’s great list is a bit like the Law of Sinai. A wonderful revelation of what is right and good, but beyond our ability to keep. And so, let 1 Corinthians 13 not only confront your struggle to love like Jesus. Let it also point you to Jesus. We can only love at all because... Continue Reading
Keeping the Brevity of Life in View
God’s Word offers three specific ways that the brevity of life should shape our priorities.
We live in a culture that holds out the glitter of wealth and opportunity and calls us to spend our days pursuing its goods. We live in a culture that presses us to compromise God’s truth to find acceptance and success here and now. But in the face of these temptations, remembering the brevity of... Continue Reading
Reflecting on the Pastoral Failures of 2020
Looking back after three years, I recognize failures to live up to the commitments of my theological framework resulted in impositions upon the congregation of First Presbyterian Church.
As a minister of the gospel, I should have “stayed in my lane,” stuck to the text, and more vehemently opposed any effort to impose a masking requirement upon the people of God. Such a policy and such an application of the Sixth Commandment was not based on the teaching of Scripture, but based on... Continue Reading
Safeguarding Our Unity: RPR’s Citation of a Woman Preaching
When a gross breach of the Scriptures and the PCA Constitution occurs, the offending presbytery must be called to account by the General Assembly.
If allowing a woman to preach during a Sunday morning worship service is not an “important delinquency or grossly unconstitutional proceeding,” then I am at a loss for what is….The PCA is not a loose federation of churches. We are united by our Constitution and our commitment to the Scriptures. The actions complained of here... Continue Reading
Blasphemy in the Presbyterian Church in America: A Reflection before the General Assembly
“Blasphemy depends upon belief” — and if one does not see the blasphemy he ought to examine his heart to see what are his actual beliefs.
Does he believe sexual immorality is shameful (Eph. 5:12) and corrosive (1 Cor. 6:18) and ought not to be discussed, or does he believe that being a ‘[insert sin here] Christian’ is just another form of Christian experience? Does he believe that it is blasphemy to associate Christ’s holy name with enduring sin and to... Continue Reading
The Symbolism of the Rainbow
The rainbow, we know, was appointed of God as a token of his gracious covenant with mankind.
Whatever symbolism men may wish to impose on the covenantal sign that God set in the cloud, we must return again and again to the truth of Scripture and to the God who has aimed the arrows of His wrath at Himself so that we might not receive them for all eternity. Back in... Continue Reading
On the Virtues of “Intemperate” Speech
If strong men using strong words to convey strong convictions comprises “intemperate” speech, then I pray that more men in the PCA begin to speak intemperately.
Direct, passionate, forthright speech need not include spite, anger, or character assassination. Even Robert’s Rules of Order understands this, allowing good men to differ strongly, and to speak strongly about their differences, so long as they address the measure and not the man. Introduction The past few years have witnessed an increasing number of... Continue Reading
Seeking to Strengthen the SJC at PCA General Assembly
Urging the PCA General Assembly to vote in favor of Overtures 21 and 22.
Overture 21 is an attempt to satisfy the objections of last year’s Overture 8 thus enabling additional presbyteries to vote in favor to receive the 2/3 required. Overture 22 is a bit technical, but this overture is constructed in such a manner that there are no loopholes; the only thing it allows for is a... Continue Reading
Unfolding a Letter of Encouragement
How do we preserve our souls in the midst of the hard struggle with sufferings?
The unnamed author of the letter of Hebrews gives us that kind of fatherly exhortation. The Christian life isn’t a training ground it’s the trenches, and we need to persevere. In fact, the Apostle reminds his readers that they have had “a hard struggle with sufferings” (10:32). The word “struggle” is related to the word... Continue Reading
Pre-PCA General Assembly Outreach and Evangelism Event
Commissioners and guests at the PCA General are invited to an outreach and evangelistic event on Tuesday, June 13, from 5-6 pm, along Memphis’ Beale Street.
In beginning a conversation, I have found a few things helpful to open up and keep myself on tract. Imagine walking up to a stranger in Memphis seeking to begin with openness and honesty, saying something like: “Hi, my name is Jonas, I am a Presbyterian pastor from Georgia and I’m here in Memphis for... Continue Reading
Quarantine Is Not a Good Option
We need to expose our children to small doses of evil in our world and talk with them about why those things are wrong and harmful.
You will have plenty of opportunities to inoculate your children from the evil they’ll encounter. Be intentional. Point out the dangers and why they’re enticing. Warn about the consequences of sin, and lead your children toward the righteous path. Be a wise parent and intentionally inoculate your children. Quarantine is not a good option. ... Continue Reading
Lessons to Learn from Christianity and Liberalism a Century Later
In Christianity and Liberalism, Machen not only speaks against the error of his day but also positively expounds and defends the truth of Scripture and Christian theology.
Although Christianity and Liberalism was written a century ago, its trumpet blast resounds to our day. It does so not because of the brilliance of Machen, but because Machen faithfully called the church in his day to build their lives on the authority of God’s world. For us today, we need to heed his call to stand... Continue Reading
Dear False Teacher: The Puritan Thomas Brooks Would Like a Word with You
According to Brooks, knowing a wolf by his characteristics is needed to kick him to the curb, so he provides seven.
“False teachers strive more to win over men to their opinions, not better them in their [Christian walk].” False teachers want you to forget that the sin of homosexuality is rebellion against the creation ordinance (which is the same sin leveled by letters of the alphabet soup, LGBTQ). Rebellion against God’s created order, which he... Continue Reading
Acts 14:23 and the New Testament Elder
Elders were given to the church for the benefit of the people of God across regional borders.
While the elders are distinct enough from the apostles and the church to be worthy of their own grouping, they do not behave independently or in opposition to either the congregation or the apostles. The actions of the congregation, apostles, and elders are all communicated as a unified effort of the three named groups. ... Continue Reading
Lies We Shouldn’t Have Told Our Children
People are basically good. That’s such a lovely fallacy. Wouldn’t it be nice?
If people are basically good, then why crime? Why do we need prisons? Some of our most fairytale cities have been trying to live without police to enforce the law. It’s not going so well. In fact, if people are basically good, why do we even need law? I think we can make a case... Continue Reading
Flunking the Equity Test
The largest source of public confusion is the mistaken belief that CRT embraces the principle of color blindness.
The manufactured belief that CRT is merely a continuation of civil rights–era efforts to ensure equality of opportunity provides valuable cover for those pushing race-conscious policies and practices that prioritize equity in outcomes. On a recent episode of his cable television program, Bill Maher asked Bernie Sanders to explain the difference between equality and... Continue Reading
Can A “Christian Nation” Be Good For Everybody?
Proclaim Liberty is a polemical work–not in tone (which remains careful and measured throughout), but in its direct aim to persuade the reader that Christianity is good for America and that religious freedom is good for all Americans.
The book as a whole is thoroughly researched and effectively argued. Hall’s work is a needed reminder that even if America never was, and is not now, “Christian” in every sense of the word, we can never fully separate—nor should we want to separate—Christianity from America. The fight for liberty, not least of all religious liberty,... Continue Reading
Where Is the Promise of the Gospel Found in the Pentateuch?
God’s Promise Throughout
All throughout the Pentateuch we’ve got these pointers to Jesus. And the New Testament often shows us how Jesus fulfilled these things. We, as readers, often are so much less familiar with the Pentateuch, while being more familiar with the New Testament. But I hope we can dive deeply into the Pentateuch, be equipped to read... Continue Reading
Are Pictures of Jesus “Spiritually Helpful” for Our Covenant Children?
A debate has been stirring in the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) on whether using pictures or images of Jesus is appropriate or a violation of the second commandment.
We need to protect ourselves from wrongly seeing Christ as some actor or faulty illustration we have seen, how much more should we protect our children? We should strongly object to the thought that images “can be spiritually helpful for our children.” I contend just the opposite: they can easily draw our children into sin.... Continue Reading
John 14:6 is Not Bumper Sticker Theology
Jesus taught his followers that he is the singular means of reconciliation to God and that apart from him everyone would perish.
The exclusivity of Jesus Christ is a powerful reminder of His unmatched authority over death, sin, and eternal condemnation. No other religious figure has made such an incredible claim; only Jesus holds the power to bring salvation to guilty sinners. As we survey his life, preaching, and ultimately his resurrection from the dead—we are led... Continue Reading
What Pentecost Means for Our Work (Part 1)
The Holy Spirit gives ordinary Christians the ability to work with a renewed mind and a higher purpose.
The Apostle Paul taught that every follower of Jesus Christ is a temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19). We are like “walking tabernacles” of God’s presence wherever we go, including the workplace. Just like the tabernacle, the portable temple where God’s presence resided that the Israelites carried through the wilderness for forty years until they... Continue Reading
The Author’s Rationale for Overture 9 Being Considered by the 50th PCA General Assembly
Issues related to human sexuality have become points of great debate in the PCA over the past five years.
In light of our current crossroads as a denomination, I pray that we will be found faithful to uphold the faith once delivered, to realize the shoulders of the many faithful men who have gone before us and upon which we stand, and to not shy away from where the battle is most fierce but... Continue Reading
The Allure of Evil
Destruction and violence are anything but banal.
What we are up against is a generation transfixed by the allure of desire, the delight and satisfaction of destruction which lets loose the forces held in check by civilization. Any effort to respond in a persuasive manner must come with an appeal to the heart—one that offers to satisfy not only material needs but... Continue Reading
Fear Is a Function of Worship
The idea that fear is a function of worship is an uncomfortable notion if we’re honest, because it reveals our idols.
Whatever it is you most fear—you are giving that thing, that aspect of your life,worth. You are saying it is worth your time, it is worth your thoughts, it is worth your worries, it deserves your energies, your planning, and your deliberations. It is worth giving large swaths of your life over to serve it in your mind. ... Continue Reading
Undistracted by Spiritual Isolationism
God has designed the Christian life to be lived together, not alone.
Straying sheep must be found and carried home with compassion and care. This is the picture Jesus paints in Matthew 18 as He describes the church discipline process. He begins with a parable about a lost sheep and then transitions to His instruction on church discipline (Matthew 18:12-18). I was sent only to the... Continue Reading