How a Church Can Care for Former Prisoners

Discrimination against felons is acceptable in the world. Brothers and sisters, it cannot be acceptable in the church.

We ought to accept a person’s conversion as real until and unless he shows us something different. If a person comes into our congregation and he came from prison, we ought not to make him “prove himself” to us. Rather, we must trust that he is converted and wants to worship in a church that... Continue Reading

When Temptation Holds Out Pleasure

When Jesus triumphed over death and sin, he finally cleared the path for our feet to walk into joy.

What’s difficult for me, and perhaps for you, is that though I am a new creature, though I am no longer a slave to loving dead things, I am still tempted to believe at times that they, and not God, will provide the joy I want. That obedience to God would kill, and not increase,... Continue Reading

Refreshed In Chains

The gospel refreshes us even through the actions of others.

When Paul sent off Onesimus with this commendation and request, the gospel ensured that though Paul was left behind in chains, in a far more profound way, Paul himself was hand-delivering his own letter. This truth, that Paul’s identity was enveloped in and expressed through Onesimus’, is a profound fruit of the gospel truth best explained... Continue Reading

Here’s Why We Must Never Preach Legalism

The Bible is not law-centered, but it is Christ-centered and gospel-focused.

Some wrongly pit the Old Testament against the New Testament, asserting that the OT is law-focused and external while the NT is heart-focused and internal. Even a cursory reading of the OT makes clear that true righteousness always involved internal faith and a transformed heart. You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart... Continue Reading

What Is Right, What Is Wrong?

Doing what the law forbids, and not doing what the law commands are both considered sin.

There is a quiet pragmatism creeping into North American churches which measures the rightness of an action by man’s assessment of whether or not it works. Actions are justified or condemned based on the perceived benefit they accomplish. These benefits can be made to sound very spiritual, but in the end they are subjective, dependent... Continue Reading

Why You Should Seek God When You Feel Lonely

Instead of being scared of it and running, just be in it, and take it to the Lord.

So often, part of why we dread alone-ness is that we’re scared of our own thoughts. Worry and anxiety tend to come in at those times. When we fellowship with the Lord, when we go to him instead of getting away from those alone moments or the feelings of loneliness, we will find a new... Continue Reading

Religion Externalized

It is ordinary people of authentic Christian faith who are ultimately the ones who best able to shape the outcome of human events.

 It is plain folks, simple people, who literally change the course of history–because they are the stuff of which history is made. They are the ones who make the world go round. For, as G.K. Chesterton said, “The most extraordinary thing in the world is an ordinary man and an ordinary woman and their ordinary... Continue Reading

When “Thy Will Be Done” Becomes Self-Protection

Our prayer for God’s will to be done becomes a way to dodge the discomfort of pouring our heart out before the Lord.

Sometimes praying “thy will be done” becomes a cover-up for “I’m too scared to ask” revealing the underlying disbelief in a heart. We struggle to believe God could withhold something good we’ve asked for and still be good himself. But we forget he withholds no good thing from his children (Psalm 84:11). Truly, he knows best.... Continue Reading

Judah’s Scepter

Jesus is that great Judean son.

Although peace was established by Judean kings such as David and Solomon, their reign could not establish it universally where “the obedience of the peoples” (v. 10) belonged to them, nor could they bring about a kingdom prosperity that provided eschatological abundance (vv. 11–12). They were a picture of a greater son of Judah, the... Continue Reading

Don’t Be Afraid to Repeat Yourself

The best way to help your people know the gospel is to tell them the gospel frequently.

We assume our people are drinking in everything we say when the reality that that – whilst some of what we say goes in – they don’t hear all of it and they certainly don’t retain all they hear. There can be an assumption that if we keep saying certain things we are just rehashing old... Continue Reading

Why Is God Upset with Threshold Jumpers?

This is actually exhibit A to display the depth of the Israelites idolatry.

They went to great trouble to adhere to the most minute detail of superstition and yet they trampled upon God’s law and ignore the most fundamental aspects of it. Their lives were controlled and patterned by “laws” that weren’t prescribed by God. It was evidence that they were receiving instruction from their surrounding culture instead of... Continue Reading

The Incomparable Conjunction of Love and Wrath

The Son becomes the object of the commingling of the love of the Father and the unmitigated wrath of the Father.

We must distinguish between the two kinds of love that the Father had for the Son. The first is that immutable, “infinite love that flows out from the Father to the Son because of the intrinsic relationship that they sustain to one another” (75). The second is “the love of complacency that flowed out with... Continue Reading

The Overgrown Tree of False Theology

As men look to this tree for wisdom, they receive superstition rather than revelation.

The only way that we can turn away from this tree is through the Word of God and the means of grace that the Lord Jesus Christ provides for growth in true theology. The Word of God must fill our minds and our hearts, and that must be with more awe and more reverence than that... Continue Reading

Walking Saints Home

God gives pastors three specific ministries to help his people finish well.

Discipleship is not just for those who are young. Our calling is not just for those who can physically come to church. We are called to shepherd and to disciple all God has entrusted to us.   The renewed call to gospel-centered discipleship in the last two decades has been extremely helpful in clarifying the... Continue Reading

May His Cancer Heal Millions

Jesus, we ask for your name to be lifted high through Tyler’s life.

Lament turns to God in pain, tells him why we are sad, asks for his help, and leads us to trust. The morning after Tyler passed, I woke up early and wrote a lament. It was what my heart needed. I was really sad, and yet I knew that God is good.   On the first... Continue Reading

Spurgeon’s Humility

We need an army of leaders whose character is marked by deep humility.

The fruit of Spurgeon’s humility was a reliance upon prayer. Seeing our sin in light of God’s infinite power and holiness leads to an acute awareness of our humble state, which leads to reliance upon prayer. Spurgeon’s life is a testimony to this golden chain of Christian humility.   I recently finished Arnold Dallimore’s biography... Continue Reading

A Call to Thoughtful Vigilance

What can we learn in our day about being vigilant in defending and promoting biblical Christianity?

Paul’s warning was taken very seriously by many churches and ministers in the controversy between fundamentalists and liberals in the 1920s. Fundamentalists seeing their churches and schools deserting historic Christianity viewed liberals as devious, deceptive, even demonic. Dr. J. Gresham Machen, in the most valuable and enduring critique of liberalism written in the 1920s, Christianity and... Continue Reading

Pastor, Let’s Think This Year: John Calvin as Model of Thoughtfulness

For Calvin, learning was continually part of his life.

In some way Calvin’s educational life is unremarkable. Attending schools at a young age and pursuing degrees are somewhat standard fare. Yet, even in the mundane, we learn from Calvin. If pastors would be theologians, they must give themselves to disciplined study, engaged in rigorous programs of thought. Rising early, reading well, writing precisely, and... Continue Reading

God’s Call to Excellence: A Challenge

We all know excellence when we see it.

Too often, we focus primarily on doing and neglect being. But doing is rooted in being! Jesus: asked, “Can a bad tree bear good fruit?” Therefore, in my book on excellence, before turning to specific virtues, I have chapters on holiness and sanctification as well as spirituality.   Today, I want to invite you to think with me... Continue Reading

Pastor Loses Job After Church Sign Stating ‘Homosexuality Is Still A Sin’ Causes Uproar

Pastor Justin Hoke of Trinity Bible Presbyterian Church in Weed, California, lost his job following backlash over language used in a recent church sign.

Hoke said that because “the culture has drawn a line in the sand and dared [Christians] to step over,” he came to the conclusion that the church should accept the challenge — not with hate, but by simply preaching “the gospel.” The pastor also noted that he wasn’t “fired,” but that the church faced a potential... Continue Reading

Love and Anger at the Cross?

Is it unorthodox to believe that, in some sense, the Father was angry with the Son when He hung on the cross in the place of His people to propitiate the wrath of the Father?

That the Father never stopped loving the Son–even when he hung on the cross–is one of the most important Christological truths upon which we can meditate. After all, it was Jesus who said, “Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down my life that I may take it again” (John 10:17). Herman Witsius, the... Continue Reading

The Puritans on the Lord’s Supper (7)

The devil “will be with you at the sacrament to rob you of the comfort and hinder you from that joy that there you might be filled with.”

Reynolds said the Supper was ordained “to exhibit Christ” so as “to increase the mystical union of the church unto Christ their head.” Just as natural food strengthens our bodies by becoming part of them, so we receive “spiritual nourishment” from the Supper in “the vital Spirit of Christ” so that “Christ, being united unto... Continue Reading

Don’t Look Away

As parents, it’s hard to face the reality that these are the kinds of “truths” that filmmakers and book writers, YouTubers and celebrities, teachers and politicians are diligently trying to teach our children.

A video is making its way around the internet that is part of a series called “Kids Meet…” This particular episode is titled “Kids Meet Someone Who’s Had an Abortion.” In the video, Amelia Bonow, the founder of #ShoutYourAbortion, sits down with kids to talk to them about how normal abortion is. She says it’s... Continue Reading

Hell: What Sort of Place?

Hell is terrible beyond words precisely because it is not heaven.

Contrary to the teachings of some Christians, the Bible gives us every reason to believe that hell is a physical place that affects our physical bodies, in addition to its mental and spiritual torments. Jesus said, “Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him... Continue Reading

Whither the Presbyterian Church in America?

As the PCA moves through its 47th year as a denomination we should ask “whither the PCA?”

Denominations do not last forever or remain evangelical forever. I have seen the futility of those who tried to reform the PCUS from within. It became impossible. The PCA appears to be going down all the same paths that led to the demise of the PCUS as an evangelical denomination. On some issues, such as... Continue Reading

‘Crisis of Responsibility’ by David L. Bahnsen: A Review

The main culprit in the decline of modern American as a lack of responsibility on a personal level.

If we do not go beyond the specificity of Reformed doctrine and develop the ability to apply it to our work, then we end up in a closed theological academy without any application to the world in which we live and work.  In our desire to be pure in doctrine, we may become irrelevant.  David... Continue Reading

Canons Of Dort (17): The Offer Of The Gospel Is Genuine But So Is Unbelief

For the Remonstrants, the gospel is that Christ’s death created the possibility, the potential of salvation but by it he did not actually save anyone.

The Psalmist says, “Our God is a God of salvation, and to GOD, the Lord, belong deliverances from death” (Ps 68:20; ESV). Salvation does not belong to us. It is not ours to actuate, if only we will. It is ours to receive with an empty, open hand, which the Spirit of God freely gives... Continue Reading

LGBTQ+ Audit

We must be open to all kinds of people coming to our churches.

The mainstreaming of homosexual perversion into the church is not going away. What is the solution? Unless we evangelize the homosexual, adulterer, fornicator, drunkard, con-artist, liar, thief, and every other kind of sinner; unless God causes them to be born again by the Spirit, then there is no hope for any of them. The answer,... Continue Reading

Christian Liberty

Ever since the fall of man in the garden, natural man has been a slave to sin, but Christ set us free from the bondage of our sin.

There is simply no charity in taxation and government programs. Charity can only be carried out voluntarily through individuals. And will only be carried out to the best it can be through Christians, i.e., through the church. Christians must obediently carry out their obligations to love their neighbor, to care widows and their children, to... Continue Reading

Honoring the Lord’s Day in An Age of Sunday Sports

Ministers and officers who take confessional vows should think twice before publicly commending activities and choices that contradict the teachings of our standards.

Ministers and officers who take confessional vows should think twice before publicly commending activities and choices that contradict the teachings of our standards. No two officers or church members approach the Lord’s Day in exactly same way. No one believes that they keep the day perfectly or maybe even well. But certain actions and words... Continue Reading