Vermigli and Same-Sex Attraction (Part 7): Conclusion
We've discussed Vermigli's views and how they relate to Reformed theology. But what does that have to do with the current discussion of sexuality in the PCA?
“Not Being Named by Our Sins” But when we identify with our sins, we do something very different. To identify with our sin may bring disgrace upon the name of Christ. It is to violate vow #7 which is to “adorn the profession of the gospel in your manner of life”. It is particularly disgraceful... Continue Reading
What is Regeneration?
"He put a holy principle, a seed of new spiritual life, into this disposition that determines what I am and how I behave and how I use and employ my faculties." - Martyn Lloyd-Jones
Martyn Lloyd-Jones argues that the doctrine of regeneration is one of the most important doctrines that a Christian needs to understand (75). The good news is that God does for us what we could never have done for ourselves so that we may be redeemed! May we exclaim with MLJ, “what a wonderful salvation, what... Continue Reading
When a Lesbian Atheist at Yale Came to Christ
Given the excessive numbers of stories that embrace and celebrate homosexuality, Gilson’s story occupies an important place, offering clear truths in a confused world.
Gilson writes with straightforward and clear prose, balancing grace and truth. Her clear-eyed, nuanced approach and wise insights will help anyone in the church to see more of the goodness of God in the sexual ethic of Scripture. Born Again This Way will also help ordinary Christians gain a better understanding of this complicated subject. Ultimately,... Continue Reading
Yes I Am Wretched – And So Are You
We are all sinful wretches in need of salvation.
Our sad state as unconverted sinners is at the heart of the Christian gospel. There can be no good news unless we first accept the bad news…. So those who reject this basic biblical truth are not calling out Calvin or Newton or me or you but God himself. And when you effectively tell God... Continue Reading
‘I Won’t Have What I Need’ What Stealing Says About God and Us
When laziness and selfishness drive us to steal, we forfeit the opportunity to share in God’s character.
Even though Scripture forbids stealing, any heart in love with the world will still be inclined to it. Sinners love forbidden fruit. The woman of folly rightly says to those she seduces, “Stolen water is sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant” (Proverbs 9:17). Water in this context likely refers to sexual intimacy (Proverbs... Continue Reading
When the Abused Become Abusers
What is wrong is when the abused become abusers, the oppressed become oppressors, and the victims become the victimizers.
Notice that for Frankl, the abused can become abusers and the oppressed become oppressors because they can fall prey to a “danger (in the sense of psychological hygiene) [that] is the psychological counterpart of the bends.”7 For him, it’s not that external factors in such cases bring out what is already in people (i.e., their... Continue Reading
Why Reformed Christians Are Vulnerable to Social Justice
Social justice has become so widely accepted in mainstream Reformed circles it might be considered their sixth point of Calvinism.
Many local churches—especially Young, Restless, and Reformed churches—failed to address the whole counsel of God. In their attempt to dissociate themselves from fundamentalists, they became uncomfortable addressing some burgeoning and controversial issues within our culture. Therefore they failed address what the Bible says about racism, justice, and politics—to disastrous consequences. This produced what Voddie Baucham refers... Continue Reading
The Idols of the Mind
The idols of the mind are four persistent sources of error which Bacon took to stand in the way of intellectual progress.
I would submit that postmodernism and scientism in their various guises are the contemporary heirs to the two tendencies Harper identifies, and degenerate heirs at that. Postmodernist views essentially absorb all reality into the contingent cultural and linguistic products of the human mind, specifically – a far cry from, say, the Absolute Spirit of Hegel. And the scientism of contemporary celebrity scientists and... Continue Reading
Questioning the Kingdom? – Part 2: Cultural Transformation
The question is whether God has bound himself to bestow blessing on our society necessarily in response to our obedience. The answer is: it depends.
Christ will not return until all his elect are saved, and he accomplishes this through the instrumentation of his bride, the church, empowered by his Spirit. We are both given the task of world evangelization and are simultaneously told that it will certainly be accomplished (cf. Mt. 8:11). Since Christ has not yet returned, we... Continue Reading
Christian Imagination Fleshed Out
Those who go rummaging for more Christian culture find they are almost always looking into the past.
Perhaps you can see the dilemma of being a Christian within a secular culture. The works of imagination that reinforce our secular culture’s central religious vision are powerful and compelling movies and TV shows, popular songs and music, immersive computer and console games, widespread advertising imagery (moving and still), and malls, restaurants and whole cities... Continue Reading
How Far Back Can We Trace the Fourfold Gospel?
Justin provides good evidence that (at least) by the middle of the second century the fourfold gospel was received as authoritative in some parts of the early Christian movement.
Indeed, Justin tells us the way the gospels (“memoirs of the apostles”) were valued in his day: “And on the day called Sunday, all who live in cities or in the country gather together to one place, and the memoirs of the apostles or the writings of the prophets are read, as long as time... Continue Reading
What Do Pastors Do with Power? Owning and Using the Uncomfortable Gift
Faithful, healthy pastors, and their churches, handle power differently than the world does.
Spreading power around, and pushing it out, is very different than giving into grabs. Power, like money, can be acquired justly or unjustly. It can be earned or seized. It can be given or taken, whether outright or through manipulation. Mature pastors, and congregants, know this. Healthy churches give their pastors space to take proactive... Continue Reading
Things Fall Apart – But Work Remains
As the days grow darker, all the more reason to get involved.
Yes things are very bleak and disturbing right now, but all the more reason to work even harder, pray even harder, and seek to faithfully serve our Lord in the time he has allotted to us. Regardless of our fav eschatological view (be it a type of pessimistic premillennialism or an optimistic postmillennialism), we all... Continue Reading
The Monster Is in the Classroom
Schools indoctrinate children as young as eight in race and gender essentialism.
Public institutions funded with public dollars do not exist to groom activists for particular causes, shame children for their immutable traits, or deny them their agency or their childhood. We are talking about eight- and nine-year-old kids who believe in Santa Claus, hide their lost teeth under their pillow for the tooth fairy, and curl... Continue Reading
Hope Beyond Heaven and Justice Now
For Paul, hope is “eager waiting.” For what if not heaven? For starters, we “eagerly wait” for all things to be right (Gal. 5:5) and “eagerly wait” for the resurrected Son’s physical return (1 Cor. 1:7).
Our full Christian hope is connected to our current actions in two directions. We tend to miss or ignore the second. One directional connection we all know: as we make wise decisions as his stewards in this life, the King will give us charge over more in the new creation when he returns (Luke 19:15–17). What... Continue Reading
The Word of God Comes Alive in Conflict
God didn’t only give us his word to get us through life’s trials, but he also gives us trials to make his word come alive.
Our conflicted times, and conflicted relationships, do not increase our earthly comforts, but they need not shake our confidence in heaven. The Scriptures were forged in such times, in the most challenging of days. The lead characters suffered. They did not live easy lives. The greatest figure of all, God himself in human flesh, anticipated... Continue Reading
The Suicide of the Church & the West
The substitution of our feelings and our preferences in the place of God is the suicide of the church.
Burnham perceived the problem with contemporary American Christianity already in the early 1960s—people compartmentalized their faith. Thus, the problem of guilt lingers. Since everyone feels guilty and nobody accepts God’s forgiveness for actual sins, man finds other means of dealing with guilt. Naturally, people search for reasons they feel guilty. Wealth inequality is one area... Continue Reading
Questioning the Kingdom? – Part 1: Definitions
The kingdom of Christ has visible impact on the world not only within the walls of the church but wherever his word is believed and his lordship obeyed.
The cultural fruit of Christendom in the West, though sometimes overripe and worm-eaten, still stands to remind us that the gospel cannot help but transform. This process will continue amid trial, triumph, and setback until the return of Christ as he puts his spiritual enemies under his feet (1 Cor. 15:25). These enemies include such... Continue Reading
Opportunities and Opposition
And so the kingdom comes: the kingdom of grace is extended, the kingdom of darkness is assaulted, and the kingdom of glory draws near.
Opposition without opportunity can be disheartening, even crippling, for pastors and churches. Opportunity without opposition can be unhealthy, even dangerous, for pastors and churches. But, in God’s wisdom, opportunity and opposition often come together. The opportunity fires the heart before God in the teeth of the opposition. The opposition bows the heart before God in... Continue Reading
God’s Will is not Constant Comfort and Worldly Success
Christian endurance is the ability to live lovingly, joyfully, peacefully, and patiently under conditions that we wish were different.
God’s will is not that we should every moment feel happy, but that we should every moment be holy. If we live holy lives then we will also worship the Lord our God in spirit and truth with our lives. These holy lives are not guaranteed to be free of suffering. In fact, the opposite... Continue Reading
Haggai: The Uncanny Correspondence Between Temple and People
As they build his house, he is really building them into a dwelling for himself, through his Chosen King in David’s line.
There is an uncanny correspondence between temple and people. After the exile, God’s revelation through his prophets unravels more of the mystery. Yes, there remains a physical house. Yes, the people remain obligated to build it and serve Yahweh within it. But Haggai shows us that the house itself is fading from the forefront to... Continue Reading
Reformed by the Word: One Church’s Journey
Some can be won by your Christ-like love, even if they don’t understand your God-centered doctrine.
I became schizophrenic in my preaching. One Sunday, I’d preach on the sovereign holiness of God, because that’s what the text said. The next I would try to entertain with a skit or other ‘clever’ innovation. But the Word of God would not let go. I didn’t know it at the time, but God was... Continue Reading
Knowledge and Christian Maturity
The use of the mind cannot be divorced from the proper worship of God. God gives us our minds, so that we may seek to know him—and in knowing him, love and serve him. Tweet
I don’t just want to know that God is sovereign, I also want to live a life that’s free from paralyzing fear. I don’t just want to know that God is all-wise, I also want to trust him when things go bad. I don’t just want to know and speak of the mightiness of John... Continue Reading
The PCA Has Fallen into Error, and Can’t Get Back Up: Part 3-David Frenchism
Frenchism: Does not really have a problem with cultural Christianity, as much as with those who do not agree with it on how the culture is to be influenced.
But let’s get to the offences of white Christians themselves. Christians who voted for Trump because of their concerns about abortion, gay marriage, assaults on free speech, oppressive taxation, etc., are condemned for failing to “lay down their political arms.” We must understand, though, that this is only an offence for Trump voters. Those who,... Continue Reading
A Threefold Cord
The image is one of a strong, three-stranded rope that is much stronger than if the rope were just one or even two strands.
We need one another. We need to be able to confess sin, rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. This, of course, is best experienced (by design!) in the local church. However, people can often come and go from Lord’s Day to Lord’s Day without ever actually experiencing community. They’re more... Continue Reading
Critical Race Theory: It’s a Cancer Not a Cure
How can a godless theory be used as an “analytical tool” to address issues needing a Godly solution?
Despite Scripture’s insistence on the unity of believers and how Christ makes us one (Galatians 3:28), CRT diabolically separates us using the deeply flawed human construct of race. I’m half white and half black. My melanin doesn’t change my worth or my propensity to sin. Yet we live in a culture where we are... Continue Reading
Freshman Orientation: An Introduction to Monolithic Higher Education
Diversity of opinion is no longer permitted, much less encouraged.
Too many universities today no longer teach students how to think but what to think. Instead of a marketplace of ideas, campus has become an echo chamber of ideas. But outspoken students (and faculty) can save the university by thoughtfully and deliberately making their voices heard. At the College of William & Mary, freshman orientation... Continue Reading
Burn Out or Rust Out? Lessons from Spurgeon
When you read about these fantastic Christian giants, it spoils you for the ordinary.
There is a very real place for looking closely at the lives of current and past men and women of God, and for allowing them to fully inspire us to keep on keeping on with the Lord. Indeed, let me remind you how utterly invaluable it is for all Christians to both read biographies and... Continue Reading
Demonstrating the Existence of God
Today, very few theologians teach that it is possible to demonstrate by reason alone the existence of God.
Most participants in the Great Tradition over the past 2000 years would have agreed with David that it only the fool who says in his heart “There is no God” (Ps. 14:1; 53:1). The early church fathers, Augustine, Anselm, Thomas Aquinas, the Protestant Reformers, Reformed Scholasticism, the Puritans and the Catechism of the Catholic Church... Continue Reading
5 Sins Leaders Must Constantly Give New Wounds To
Be killing pride, isolation, anger, workaholism, and worry. Or they will be killing you.
The more we think our sin is quiet, the more susceptible we are to its deception and destruction. If we think we are standing firm, we are more likely to fall (I Corinthians 10:12). In his famous and classic work, Mortification of Sin, John Owen wrote, “Never think your sin is dead because it is... Continue Reading