How Can God Bring Good Out of Evil?

For believers, there are no tragedies, and for unbelievers, there are ultimately no blessings.

How can God bring good out of evil? That great mystery is the most comforting promise in the New Testament: “For those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose” (Rom. 8:28). This does not mean that everything that happens is good in and of... Continue Reading

The Racialist ‘Craniometer’

Thoughts following a presentation on Critical Race Theory and Intersectional Theory at a Baptist conference.

CRT/I partakes heavily of the bogus notion of “social justice,” which makes equality of outcomes the ideal, and, indeed, a right. But this is manifestly not a biblical standard, either in this world or the world to come. As Thomas Sowell typified social justice, it’s “envy plus rhetoric,” which, again, lacks scriptural favor. In his... Continue Reading

Your Church Needs You to Sing

The power of your participation in congregational singing is not in the quality of your tone but in your voice’s testimony to God’s faithfulness.

When the music starts this weekend, don’t underestimate what happens as you sing. You are engaging your heart, teaching those around you (and receiving teaching), and declaring God’s faithfulness. The simple act of lifting your voice in song may well be the most significant way you serve your church this Sunday.   Your brothers and... Continue Reading

Women of the Reformation: Argula von Grumbach

She was not ashamed of the gospel.

Argula corresponded with Luther on several occasions, and even met with him at the Diet of Augsburg in 1530, when he was at the nearby castle of the Coburg. Luther once sent some of Argula’s letters to Spalatin, saying, “I am sending you the letters of Argula von Gruymbach, Christ’s disciple, that you may see... Continue Reading

Secular Culture

The belief that new is always better is often an unconscious assumption.

Theologians believed that the Bible taught a holistic dualism where material and immaterial combined to compose man; thus, while the body and spirit are both good and constantly interact and influence one another, and physical expression is part of the way God created his people, biblical worship should aim at cultivating both the intellect and... Continue Reading

Does the Bible Whisper About David Raping Bathsheba?

Far from whispering about sexual sin, God shouts about it.

As important as the account of David and Bathsheba is to our understanding of power dynamics and abuse, it is one of many such stories of the Bible that pertain to that issue in particular. We need to read and teach the Bible more carefully, and think through how what we say can comfort or... Continue Reading

Christ the Ladder

The idea that God speaks to people in visions and dreams is an increasingly influential sentiment in the church worldwide.

Though meeting with and hearing from God was slightly nuanced at different times and with different people, the fact seems clear that there was a face-to-face element to it. So are the modern proponents of prophecy, visions, and dreams correct?  Should the modern Christian expect to hear from God like Jacob did, to see Him... Continue Reading

Your Church Needs You to Sing

a   Your brothers and sisters in your local church need you. They need you to show up. They need you to be engaged. And, perhaps more than many of us realize, they need you to sing. Congregational singing can be polarizing. For some people, singing is their favorite part of the church’s gathering. Others... Continue Reading

How Marxist Thinking Is Seeping into the Church

From Christianity Today to the The Gospel Coalition, to the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the SBC, and almost everywhere in between, social justice is preached as an ideal aspect of Christian involvement in politics and culture.

When you consider that the culture is moving toward socialism faster than ever before; that, according to a recent Barna study, “36% of practicing Christians accept ideas associated with Marxism;” and that once politically conservative Christian institutions are coming out in favor of socialism (or variants thereof), the cumulation of these things leaves one wondering... Continue Reading

Why the Reformation Still Matters

Clearly, those first Reformers didn’t think they were picking a juvenile fight; as they saw it, they had discovered glad tidings of great joy.

At the beginning of the sixteenth century, Europe had been without a Bible the people could read for something like a thousand years. Thomas Bilney had thus never encountered the words “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” (1 Tim. 1:15). Instead of the Word of God, they were left to the understanding... Continue Reading

Presbyterian Church in Ireland Elder Fears ‘Witch Hunt’ Against Gay Members

An ordained Presbyterian Church in Ireland elder, forced, from his role because of his same-sex marriage, fears a “witch hunt” against other gay members after church authorities dismissed his appeal.

In a statement the Presbyterian Church [in] Ireland] said it “had the right to order its own affairs under the Word of God, our supreme standard, and guided by our confessional subordinate standards. A consequence of this is that those in ordained leadership within our church are required to subscribe to the church’s subordinate standards... Continue Reading

3 Spiritual Benefits of Singing in Church

I’ve come to treasure, so deeply, the way our singing together burrowed God’s truth into the deepest recesses of my heart.

Those words I sang as a seven-year old on a hot summer night in Chicago or around campfires in northern Minnesota or in Vacation Bible school now speak to me, every day. In fact, I can hardly finish singing a hymn without my lips quivering and my heart full of emotion. When I hear “Jesus... Continue Reading

A Heavenly Appetizer

Jesus commanded His disciples to "do this in remembrance of me." But is that all it is?

More than just remembering Christ, we are actually communing with Him by His Spirit. “Our memories of Christ are no substitute for his living presence,” Marcus Johnson writes. “Our recollections of Christ’s death, as meaningful and enriching as they are, cannot replace our very participation in the One who was crucified.” [1]   Many Christians today hold... Continue Reading

“Casting Sins Away”

The assurance that our guilt is gone and that there is “now no condemnation” for a lifetime of sinful rebellion and unbelief does not come by throwing bread crumbs into a pond.

The water in a pond or lake or river cannot wash our consciences clean of the guilt of sin. No ritual performed, no matter how sincerely or passionately pursued, can redeem us from the curse of sin and the judgment that it has incurred. This alone is found by faith in Jesus Christ and the... Continue Reading

Women of the Reformation: Jane Grey

Though she had royal connections and heritage, sixteen-year-old Jane had not anticipated becoming queen.

Jane was brought to the royal quarters of the Tower of London with great pomp as she reluctantly accepted the crown. However, Mary refused to recognize the change in the succession made by Edward and the Privy Council, and she gathered forces in opposition to Jane. Within nine days, support for Jane collapsed, and Mary... Continue Reading

An Assault upon Complementarianism Is an Assault upon the Bride of Christ

Controversy has arisen within evangelical circles as social justicians are suggesting that the answer is activism, deconstruction of power structures, and a redefining of key doctrines like complementarainism.

At this juncture, we need clear definitions and we need to be sure that throughout this controversy within evangelicalism that we’re working from the same dictionary. It serves little purpose to have an honest conversation without working from the same set of terms.   One of the great tragedies of our day has been parade... Continue Reading

Jonathan Edwards’ Organizational Genius

Let me briefly share three ways that I have purposefully imported Edwards’ own practices of personal discipline and organization into my own.

Edwards (1703–1758) was a local church pastor, which happens to be the same vocation that I share. As I began to research his numerous written works and treatises, I became increasingly aware of his incredible personal and professional organizational skills. With meetings, projects, sermons, lectures, and Bible studies always coming due, most pastors can stand... Continue Reading

What Is Wrong With The Theology Of Glory ? (2)

The theologian of glory offers to God’s people what, by nature, they are prone to want.

I suppose all people groups have been given to rationalism, moralism, and triumphalism, but these three qualities describe Modern American religion very well. Look at the “successful” churches. Consider that I just used the adjective “successful” to describe a church. Jesus said, “take up your instrument of social marginalization, ritual public humiliation, and death and... Continue Reading

An Archbishop’s Address to the Synod of the Diocese of Sydney On Trends In the Church

An excerpt from the Presidential Address to the 51st Synod of the Diocese of Sydney by Archbishop Glenn Davies on 14 October 2019.

Next year the General Synod will meet in a special session to confer on the issue of same-sex blessings and same-sex marriage…The General Synod must make a clear statement about the teaching of the Bible on the sanctity of sex within the marriage bond of a man and a woman, so that marriage is held... Continue Reading

“Straining Gnats on American Slavery”: A Rejoinder

A rejoinder in support of the thesis in “A Higher Calling to Truth About Our Multiracial History of Slavery.”

As Christ’s followers, we must not attribute blame or shame to innocent parties with another broad-brush stroke.  We seek to unite one another through truth and love.  Truth is not the enemy of Christian love.  Truth enforces and promotes love.  It’s a necessity.  It appears Mr. McDurmon believes all whites are guilty—a serious sin against... Continue Reading

Is Middle Knowledge Biblical? An Explanation

Interest in this doctrine seems to be growing in the more popular and accessible world of internet blogs, videos, and podcasts.

In this two part series, the biblical fidelity of Molinism with be examined from a self-consciously and confessionally Reformed perspective. However, before its biblical fidelity can be evaluated, which will be the focus of the forthcoming post, we must seek to understand Molinism on its own terms. Therefore, it must be asked: What is Molinism,... Continue Reading

He Preached More Than He Slept

George Whitefield (1714–1770)

From his first outdoor sermon on February 17, 1739, at the age of 24, to the coal miners of Kingswood near Bristol, England, until his death thirty years later on September 30, 1770, in Newburyport, Massachusetts (where he is buried), his life was one of almost daily preaching. Sober estimates are that he spoke about... Continue Reading

How to Read 1-2 Peter Theologically

Our primary concern when reading any book of Scripture—including 1–2 Peter—is interpreting the texts themselves.

To make the texts of 1–2 Peter primary means we be attentive to the message of these books. We must read them theologically. This means we must wrestle with their doctrinal emphases and calls to faithful living coram deo—in the presence of God. If we miss the practical emphases of these letters, then we have... Continue Reading

Are You Wearing Spectacles? Objectivity and the Interpretation of Scripture

At its root, confirmation bias is the consequence of the Fall.

All of Adam’s offspring are marked by the resolve to “suppress truth in unrighteousness” (Rom 1:19). In their sinful state, human beings are subjectivists, incapable of interpreting anything except through the lens of self. Thus, when the natural man hears the word of God, he rejects it because his internal “yes man” confirms it to be what he... Continue Reading

Case of the Reluctant Forgiver

When it comes down to it, only the Holy Spirit can open her eyes and soften her heart to allow the root of bitterness to be pulled up.

The counselor tried to get her to open up and to express the hurt, still fresh after all these years. But Ellen would have nothing of it. When the counselor probed, she didn’t merely skirt the subject; she guarded it like a pit bull. She made it clear that she hated her father and would never... Continue Reading

Recovering the Priority of Personal Holiness

Many ministers are often nowadays more concerned with visual growth and success than with cultivating personal purity.

Let’s not forget the exchange, in the nineteenth chapter of Matthew’s gospel, between Jesus and the rich young ruler when Jesus told the man the realities of true discipleship. As the rich man realized that personal sacrifice is required to live in God’s kingdom, he walked away. What did Jesus do? He did not do... Continue Reading

Following a Faithful Minister, Part 1

Attempting to be your predecessor will only lead to frustration and failure.

You are called and equipped to fulfill the role using your God-given abilities in a unique way that will cause you to depend upon Him. Don’t let the temptation to be more like your predecessor creep in when you hear the accolades heaped upon that person by others. It’s okay that you are different from... Continue Reading

Why We Need a Children’s Book About Death

When it comes to sad things in life, we tend to wrap up their hearts in cotton wool and lock them away.

The preacher of Ecclesiastes tells us: “It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting, for death is the destiny of everyone; the living should take this to heart” (7:2). The living should take this to heart—which includes children, not just adults. Often, when we go to... Continue Reading

Seven Prayers for Those You Love

One of the best ways to stoke the fires of our big prayers for others is to praise God for what we see him doing in and through them.

Because Paul wrote to churches, almost all of the prayers we have in his letters are for believers. We can be sure he prayed persistently and passionately, with many tears, for the lost (Romans 9:2–3; Philippians 3:18–19). But most of what we know about Paul’s prayer life centers on what he prayed for his brothers... Continue Reading

A Few Thoughts and Advice on Vows

The confessional teaching on vows is an important part of Christian doctrine, worship, and practice.

God loves a willing people, and we should serve him with a free spirit; and vows (which are as shackles) are not to be used but in some cases of some necessity, when otherwise we cannot hold ourselves to some particulars in the worship of God, or in our daily life: and this opinion is... Continue Reading