Do Everything Without Grumbling

Every decision to grumble is a decision not to pray, not to pour out our hearts before God.

Like all temptations common to man, the temptation to grumble always comes with “the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it” (1 Corinthians 10:13). But how? How can we confront our own tendencies to murmur and, amazingly, begin to “do all things without grumbling” (Philippians 2:14)?   “Do all things without... Continue Reading

Confronting Entitlement as a Young Minister

Deny the impulse to seek recognition. Refuse to pander to your own selfish ambition.

When we live with an entitlement for recognition, we give our effort exalting ourselves over others so we will appear great. Jesus’ medicine for this tendency is brotherhood. He told his disciples, “You all are brothers,” undercutting their hierarchy, games and socio-political competitions. If we are all brothers and sisters, I don’t need to focus my... Continue Reading

No One Can Come to Me Unless the Father Who Sent Me Draws Him

Even the most mature Christians are in great need of reflecting on the cross.

Not only has God provided the way to eternal life through the Son, He also draws His people to Him in such a way that they believe and repent in total surrender to the Lordship of Christ. Those who were God’s enemies who considered the cross as “Nonsense” and Christianity as, at best, a pie... Continue Reading

Why Did God Command Hosea to Marry an Immoral Woman?

Hosea’s marriage as a prophetic sign-act reveals the length to which God is willing to go to wake us from our sinful stupor.

The prophet is called by God to enter into a marriage that functions, most scandalously, as an enacted parable, graphically—even shockingly—illustrating Israel’s infidelity to her husband, Yahweh. The punch this passage packs is that Yahweh God, in redeeming lost sinners, became a cuckold straight away, taking to himself an unfaithful wife. Strikingly, provocatively, and scandalously, he... Continue Reading

Marriage and the 7th Commandment

Simply put, marriage between a husband and wife is a picture of the relationship between the Lord Jesus Christ and His church .

Why does God take marriage so seriously? Any number of things could be said in answer to that question. One could point to the many societal ills and the damage that is done by sexual immorality and divorce. The breakdown of the family has taken a truly staggering toll on our society. But there is also... Continue Reading

Tried with Fire: Death and Its Brood

If Adam had not eaten the fruit, then none of these bad things would have happened. Creation would not have been spoiled.

A couple of conclusions can be drawn from Genesis 3. First, the death penalty that God pronounced upon Adam worked at more than one level. The sentence clearly involved more than the death of the body. The judgment of Genesis 3 weaves several concepts together. These include alienation from God, alienation between humans, the corruption... Continue Reading

The Day I Quit Family Devotions

God led me to repent of the idol I had created of a perfect family devotional time.

“I’m just not a good ‘Christian dad’,” I thought. “My kids just don’t like the Bible.” “I’m a disappointment to my wife.” “I guess they can just get it from Sunday school, Christian school, Youth group, or Awana.” Then God did something amazingly ordinary. He opened my eyes to see that all of the frustration I had... Continue Reading

Seven Letters Seven Dangers: The Doctrinaire Church

Remember your first love in the Lord Jesus. Return to him.

Let me ask you this, beloved church of God, when you speak the truth do people know that you love them? I do not mean do you say you love them. No, I mean do they sense your love? Can they feel your love? Can they feel a tenderness, a gentleness, a compassion in your... Continue Reading

A Brief Review of the Missouri Presbytery Committee Report on Revoice and “Gay Christians”

The Committee to Investigate Memorial Presbyterian Church for Hosting the Revoice 18 Conference only found errors in poor judgment; they found nothing erroneous that “strikes at the vitals of religion.”

All sins are heinous, but some sins are more heinous than others.  Homosexual desire is no less forgivable, but it is more pernicious.  If there is no resignation of ordained PCA officers who claim to be gay homosexuals who practice celibacy, then there will be no hope of peace and unity in the PCA.    ... Continue Reading

An Open Letter to the PCA Missouri Presbytery

Neither I nor the other signatories sinned in the manner we handled and expressed our concerns.

Thank you for your concern over my spiritual well-being. I say this because I was one of the signatories of a letter addressed to the Memorial PCA Session, along with 32 other PCA Ruling and Teaching Elders, from a number of presbyteries, that expressed their concerns about the significant role the Memorial Session played in... Continue Reading

The Color of Preaching

What we need is to return to a biblical theology of the church, right worship, and right preaching.

Strangely, for all the problems the New Testament addresses, it yet brings the people of God (culturally divided as they were) into one church to participate in one worship service to the one triune God. The gospel was the bridge that transcended barriers.   What color is God? This is a strange question, but one... Continue Reading

The Pastoral Challenge of Ministering God’s Law and Gospel in Difficult Cases

In such cases, there are no easy paths forward.

I can assure you that when facing these kinds of pastoral challenges it is wonderful to have a team of elders with whom I can think, pray, study and minister. Left to myself, each of those cases would have been handled with far less wisdom and care than they warranted.   A challenge every faithful... Continue Reading

Saved by Grace But Entertained by Sin

Am I communing comfortably with sin?

Jesus teaches against both the act of sin and the stirring up of our desire for sin. He goes further to say that the means by which such desires might be stirred (the eyes or the hand) should be cut off lest we stumble. When my entertainment puts sin on display so that it awakens... Continue Reading

My Great Ministry Dream

Making it to the end of your ministry still walking with and faithfully serving Christ is not something any pastor should ever take for granted.

I want to make it to the end of my ministry without falling into disqualifying sin. I want to make it to the end of my ministry still loving Jesus, still learning his Word, still committed to my family, still tender-hearted toward the church, still praying for and sharing the Gospel with lost souls, and... Continue Reading

Love of the World

One of the markers of Christian genuineness is separation from the world.

God, not the world, must have first place in His children’s hearts. (Matthew 10:37; Philippians 3:20) We must remember that what God is against here is not planet Earth, but the invisible, spiritual system of evil dominated by Satan. This world system keeps people in bondage, blinds their hearts, and opposes God and all that... Continue Reading

The Message of the Cross Is Enough

teaser   The social justice winds are blowing through evangelicalism. Today, the culture is making demands upon the church of Jesus Christ and sadly, some leaders are willing to cave to such cultural pressures in order to appear successful. What’s even more troubling is such success is being equated with biblical fidelity. In an age... Continue Reading

Missouri Presbytery AdHoc Committee to Investigate Memorial and Revoice Report

At a called meeting on May 18, 2019, Missouri Presbytery met to receive the report of our Ad Hoc Committee to Investigate Memorial Presbyterian Church and Revoice.

We would ask readers to take care to not represent this report as an endorsement of Revoice, because our Presbytery does not understand itself to be endorsing Revoice by the actions it took at the May 18 meeting. As we say candidly in the report, we have concerns about where Revoice is going, and even... Continue Reading

We Run a Paradoxical Race

Our aim is less to win and more to help others finish.

The difficulty comes when we inevitably have churches that have large proportions of people at different places. Where do we pitch the preaching? How do we engage in Bible study that everyone can engage with? How do we make sure that we are simple enough for the new folk to understand whilst having enough meat... Continue Reading

How to Build a Whitewashed Tomb

"Indeed the safest road to Hell is the gradual one—the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts...."

Why “whitewashed”? Because Jesus knew what His Spirit would later inspire the Apostle Paul to write (2 Cor. 11:13-15): “For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also,... Continue Reading

The Full Effect of Steadfastness

Through testing, we discover that our faith is stronger than we realized.

Steadfastness is not an end in itself. It is part of our sanctification, whereby we are more and more conformed to the image of Christ and more and more die to sin and live to righteousness. Displaying the image of Christ, for His glory, is the end. The full effect of steadfastness is that we... Continue Reading

Tried with Fire: The Suffering of the Righteous

The problem of evil is no mere philosophical construct.

Evil is still in the world. People still suffer, and not only the most obviously deserving people. God’s children also suffer; indeed, they sometimes bear greater pain than the unregenerate people around them. Why should God allow this ongoing affliction of those whom He has redeemed?   Discussions about the problem of evil quickly become... Continue Reading

Hello, My Name is God

The historical evidence suggests the Synoptic Jesus and the Johannine Jesus both claimed to be the God of Israel.

Jesus not only identifies himself as the Son of God, but then also identifies himself as the Son of Man coming to judge the world on the clouds of heaven—an identity that the chief priests regard as worthy of the charge of blasphemy.   Did Jesus think he was God? This may be one of... Continue Reading

“All Unprepared to Meet Him”

What does the Bible teach regarding what will happen to those who reject God in this life when they finally face Him on Judgment Day?

Even as Christians we can be lulled into complacency towards the danger and the consequences of sin. Only as we appreciate what sin deserves will be truly value what Christ has done to deliver us and why we as his children must hate it with a holy loathing. There is, however, another reason why these... Continue Reading

The Art of the Unintended Consequence

The answer to angry discerning bloggers isn’t to minimize truth.

Discernment ministry was once done well—or at least better. Blogging was helpful in fighting against a shallow Christianity which could never survive the days ahead. But discernment quickly turned into rage. A culture of fear, suspicion, oppression, and infighting soon emerged. Everybody but our own little section of the internet became rank heretics.    It... Continue Reading

Comments On Greg Johnson’s Christianity Today Article

Phillips provides some thoughts on the recent "Christianity Today" article written by PCA Pastor Greg Johnson

We want to celebrate sinners of all kinds finding redemption in Christ. But we must not celebrate sin of any stripe through our in-Christ identity…But “gay” is an explosive category, identifying a whole culture that cannot be insulated from extremely destructive sin… if the Revoice sector of the PCA is going to insist on “gay... Continue Reading

A Review: “The Final Race” by Eric Eichinger with Eva Marie Everson

A warm-hearted retelling of Eric Liddell’s unusual journey into the limelight of international fame to a life of relative obscurity as an overseas missionary.

Liddell won Olympic gold in 1924 for the 400-meter race and remained an elite short distance runner with a most unorthodox style and surprisingly little training. But it wasn’t athletic prowess that occupied the heart and mind of “The Flying Scotsman.” Rather, it was the love of God, a passion for the lost, and serving... Continue Reading

Is Reformed Worship Eurocentric?

To be Reformed is to be profoundly catholic.

Americans at this particular point in our history are obsessed with ethnicity and race. Nearly everything—religion, employment, politics, music, language—is reduced to race. Yet as Christians, our concern ultimately is not with race, but with truth. Although its immediate roots are in Europe, what are the distant roots of Reformed worship? Does it have foundational roots... Continue Reading

Pierre Du Moulin

Patriarch of the French Reformation

His sermons were deeply pastoral. Some became polemic due to the nature of the attacks against Protestants. He also wrote books on an impressive variety of topics, from theology and piety to natural science and politics.   Little known today, Pierre du Moulin was one of the main protagonists of the French Reformation and one... Continue Reading

They Refused to Denounce Jesus

Pastor, 5 Others Shot After Church Service in Burkina Faso

In addition to Pastor Pierre, the attackers killed his son, Wend-Kuni, and his brother-in-law (a church deacon), Zoéyandé Sawadogo, as well as believers Sayouba and Arouna Sawadogo, and a primary school teacher, Elie Boena. Another was seriously injured and taken to a nearby hospital.   Last Sunday seemed like any Sunday for 80-year-old Pastor Pierre... Continue Reading

“Woke” is the New “Saved”

This new, fantastic religion takes up all the space where real faith in Christ could live.

Here’s how it works: By listening to professors, or following peer pressure, a student discovers that the world is deeply wrong. Permeated by evil. Its evil is inequality. And that evil has an author: straight white males. Realizing the depth and extent of this all-pervading evil comes as a kind of conversion. One wakes up.... Continue Reading