The Depravity of Man
With all the collusion, political conspiracy, mass murder, sexual predation, racial prejudice and bigotry, the doctrines of human depravity held throughout orthodox Christian history have once again been vindicated.
But while we recognize and decry the wanton immorality of Hollywood and Times Square, of Washington DC and Wall Street, we ought also to remember that we, too, are radically corrupt, totally depraved, and basically evil. And we are in need of a new nature – a new birth or regeneration – which comes only... Continue Reading
A Brief Response to “A Teacher’s Theological Guide to Inerrancy.”
Is the doctrine of biblical authority indefensible?
According to Bromiley, Barth’s “handling of Scripture is in many ways the weakest and most disappointing part of the whole Dogmatics, and his safeguards against subjectivism here are very flimsy.” Later Bromiley would write, “Barth’s dismissal of biblical inerrancy and his assigning of a special historical character to events like the resurrection pose the question whether... Continue Reading
God’s Grace in Our Fears
Even when the world seems flipped upside down and even when the worst happens, God rules and reigns.
For someone who is often weakened by fear, it’s hard to imagine not having any fear in the face of something terrible. The important thing to notice is that the psalmist doesn’t say, “even when the very worst happens, if you have strong faith and believe really hard, you won’t have any fear.” Rather, the... Continue Reading
How to Reconcile with Another Christian
How many of our disagreements, misunderstandings, feelings of bitterness, and lack of forgiveness in the body of Christ would disappear if we looked at our conflict in light of eternity?
Paul reminds Philemon that Christians are family. Christian reconciliation is always reconciliation between family members. Who is Philemon receiving? Not simply Onesimus, his slave, but now Onesimus, his brother in Christ. Paul makes this clear in verse 10: “I appeal to you for my child.” In effect, Paul is arguing, “You are brothers. This must affect... Continue Reading
When Vows Are Broken
How do we minister to those who are standing in the middle of the fragments, the spouses and children of the person who smashed the “vase?”
What do we do when there is abuse, abandonment, or adultery? You can’t pretend that it doesn’t exist. This may be your situation or that of a friend or family member. I fear that “we will not throw it away; we will keep it forever” offers no real comfort but only “go in peace, stay... Continue Reading
"The whole counsel of God concerning all things necessary for... salvation, faith and life, is either expressly set down in Scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from Scripture."
The difference between Catholic and Protestant teaching is more subtle than people realize, for Catholics confess that Scripture is inspired, infallible, and authoritative. It is wise to remember, too, that the first Reformers were encouraged to study Scripture by scholarly Catholics: Staupitz told Luther to get his doctorate in biblical studies, Erasmus encouraged Zwingli’s studies,... Continue Reading
A Big God Calls for Really, Really Big Prayers
When you pray you are speaking to the God whose majesty is so unfathomable that the four living creatures never cease, day or night, to cry out, “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!”
“Do you know the God to whom you are speaking?” How do you envision him as you pray? Do you think of him as so completely occupied with people more important than yourself that he could barely find a spare minute to listen to your little requests? Do you think of him as hearing your... Continue Reading
4 Problems with Downplaying God’s Wrath
The doctrine of divine wrath is an integral piece of the gospel message, and therefore, moving away from it will inevitably have far-reaching consequences for the church’s faith and life.
I think movements away from the doctrine of hell are also often connected to discomfort with divine wrath. For example, I remember Rob Bell’s question in the promotional video for Love Wins: “What kind of God would need to save us from himself? And how could that possibly be good news?” The root issue for Bell... Continue Reading
Cultural Myths About Truth and Love
"Truth without love is barbarity, but love without truth is cruelty."
Because speaking the truth is central to an effective Gospel ministry, there is little doubt that Satan will devise as many reasons possible to discourage Christians from either speaking to those living in the death spiral of sin and idolatry; or to distract them from intentionally, thoughtfully and relentlessly loving sinners drowning in the brokenness... Continue Reading
Are Some Sins Worse Than Others?
Contrary to the current narrative, the Scriptures, the Reformed Confessions and principles of nature teach us that some sins are more reprehensible than others.
Our society unequivocally acknowledges that it is a heightened offense for men who hold positions of power to abuse that power in order to prey on women for sexual gratification. When God places men or women in positions of power or influence, such individuals have an increased responsibility to use that power for the glory... Continue Reading