BCO 25-3 Amendment Defeated; Not Approved By Requisite Number of PCA Presbyteries

The Amendment failed since it did not receive the required approval of two-thirds of the Presbyteries.

The GA approved the amendment and sent it to the Presbyteries; the BCO requires that amendments be approved by two-thirds of its Presbytery. It is now clear from an unofficial tabulation of the Presbyteries that have voted, that 30 Presbyteries have voted against approving the amendment, which means that the two-thirds requirement cannot be met.... Continue Reading

Christians: Rebels Deserving Death

"The Caesars would not tolerate this worshiping of the one God only. It was counted as treason."

“No totalitarian authority nor authoritarian state can tolerate those who have an absolute by which to judge that state and its actions.  The Christians had that absolute in God’s revelation.  Because the Christians had an absolute, universal standard by which to judge not only personal morals but the state, they were counted as enemies of... Continue Reading

Who’s Who in the Church

Understanding the Differences Between Senior, Associate, and Assistant Pastors

I’d like to take just a few minutes of your time as you read this to try and explain the basic “types” of pastors in the PCA: senior (or solo) pastors, associate pastors, and assistant pastors. All of these are also different from various “directors” that are in churches. I hope by the end you... Continue Reading

Race in America and the American Church

Part 6: Culture Not Race

The church today, despite its protestations, is succumbing to worldly counsel on racism. This leads many in the church to 1) lose sight of the great diversity already existing in the church today, 2) make an impatient push toward unity through diversity now in our denomination and individual congregations, and 3) misapply universal biblical passages... Continue Reading

The New View of Heaven Is Too Small

Our recent emphasis on “kingdom work” misses the real hope of the afterlife.

Heaven and earth will come together as Christ’s kingship is recognized by all creation. Moreover, we should embrace “the kingdom work” that calls us, as the revised song states. Yet, I also sense that we impoverish our hope for heaven when we turn it into an expression of our current activist emphasis upon “kingdom work.”... Continue Reading

4 Books that Made a Priest Leave the Church

Luther didn’t become a full-fledged protestor of the medieval Catholic church in a single moment.

Have you ever wondered what Martin Luther was reading during this crucial time in his life? Maybe I’m just a nerd, but I thought at least someone else might be interested in what Luther was reading during his slow, but steady, transition out of the medieval church and into the world of reformation.   The... Continue Reading

When is a Lutheran not a Lutheran?

The phrase “radically inclusive” actually means “radically exclusive in conformity with whatever the mores du jour happen to be.”

The church needs to be a place where all such people are welcomed—with a key qualification. Being welcomed does not entail being affirmed in the beliefs or the identity one has when one walks into the sanctuary. The gospel is, according to Paul, foolishness to Greeks and an offense to Jews. In short, it contradicts... Continue Reading

Finding the Seed of “I Want to Kill.”

I live in a culture where people want to kill people, and when people want to kill, they will find a way to do it.

Though a thousand oversimplified flame wars rage across Facebook, driven by fallacies and recalibrated semi-facts–though a thousand micro-attacks diffuse the adrenaline and cortisol we rightly feel in a world gone all wrong, linear answers like “Arm the teachers!” and “Destroy the guns!” are two sides of the same coin, really–two variants on the core lament... Continue Reading

Trusting God in the Face of Tragedy

We are called to live by faith, to trust God when we can’t see how it all works together for good.

Faith is all about trusting God when we don’t see the whole picture. When we don’t have all the answers – or any answers. When we don’t understand what God is doing. When we can’t even begin to imagine how something as horrific as this could possibly lead to the good of those who love... Continue Reading

It’s Just the Way I Am?

A Peace Treaty with Sin?

Instead of warring against the sinful passions of their own flesh, a person who believes that it’s possible to be a “carnal Christian” begins to think, “Well, I just have a temper [or insert any besetting sin here]. That’s just the way it is, and I can’t do anything about it.” In this same vein,... Continue Reading

Houston GLBTQ Caucus endorses Andrew White for Governor

White is a ruling elder in a PCA church in the Houston area

“Mark my words: I will fight hard for full LGBTQ equality as governor and come out swinging against any efforts to discriminate,” White said in a statement.   In a surprise move on Saturday, the Houston GLBTQ Caucus chose to endorse Andrew White for Governor in the Democratic Primary. Could it be that the Democratic Party is starting to... Continue Reading

A Liberating Theology?

As with Liberation Theology, Black Liberation Theology begins with the experience of oppression at the hands of oppressors and seeks to find liberation from it.

Liberation Theology seems to reinforce a victimology that perpetuates their oppression. It fails to deal with real personal sin while shifting blame to other corporate entities. It militates against true reconciliation. It can be argued that Liberation Theology has a deep compassion for the hurting, the marginalized, the poor, and the oppressed. But Liberation Theology... Continue Reading

Not an Act of God: Ministries Respond to Surge in Mass Shootings

Christian counselors once focused on natural disasters now frequently address manmade crises.

At times of tragedy, Christian churches and ministries rally to remind survivors of a God who the Psalms tell us “heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” For decades, they have been among the first on the scene to care for people in the wake of hurricanes, tornados, fires, and other uncontrollable natural disasters. In... Continue Reading

Complementarians, Show Us Your Truth

If abusers’ time is up, your time is now.

When women are celebrated and not fenced off as possible trouble, it creates a seamless transition for benevolent complementarian churches to clearly call their congregation to responsibility for lack of self-control; that means we should teach everyone that they have faculties and should use them. Boys will not be boys. Locker room talk is never... Continue Reading

18 Questions about Faith and Mental Illness

What do we gain from asking good questions? Humility.

How should we understand the effects of the Fall on the mind and brain? We know our bodies age and die. We know all of our organs are susceptible to disease and deterioration. We have “norms” for the frequency, duration, onset, and prognosis of these effects of the Fall; what are the equivalent expectations for the... Continue Reading

Ain’t I a Woman?

If what we consider "biblical" is not possible across time or culture, then it is just our preference and should not be used to bind consciences.

“Separate sphere ideology dictated different roles for men and women. While white men embodied bravery and strength, white women personified weakness and purity. Separate sphere ideology in the South meant adherence to a strict hierarchy based on race and class as well as gender. This ideology excluded blacks from either sphere. The duties within the spheres differed due... Continue Reading

Treasure in Earthen Vessels

A Christian is an earthen vessel whose weaknesses work to showcase the glory of the One who indwells him or her.

The question is not whether a believer will face difficulties and experience human weakness. The question is when. Will you trust that in those moments Christ is just as strong, just as glorious, just as much your Lord, life and Savior as He ever has been? Because He indwells every believer, and indwells you whose... Continue Reading

Heavenly Stepping-Stones

How do we prepare for the day of judgment as we worship on a Sunday morning?

Have you ever noticed in reading the Gospels that Jesus appeared to be most active on the Sabbath day? In addition to preaching, He performed numerous works of healing on this day. The list of Sabbath healings includes the man with the withered hand, the demon-possessed man in Capernaum, the woman bent double for eighteen... Continue Reading

Five Reasons Why the Children’s Minister is the Staff Position in Greatest Demand

We saw this trend five years ago. It is now a reality

If churches desire to reach families, they must be prepared to reach children. If the Boomer generation acted like helicopters and hovered over their kids, the Millennial generation is acting like sidecars, and want to go wherever the motorcycle/child goes. You can’t reach a family with kids unless you are really prepared to reach the kids.... Continue Reading

The Slow Miracle of the Lord’s Day

Have patience in the work of Sabbath observance—in your own heart and in the response of the congregation.

This reorienting perspective becomes an antidote for spiritual thrill-seeking and an assurance that the tried and true ways are still the best. Instead of looking for spiritual highs, we can rest in the surety of God’s promises—even when we do not feel like it. In addition, we are also kept from over-intellectualizing worship as we... Continue Reading

Getting Small Churches on Mission (Part 1)

Small church pastors should view their congregations as an elite force.

But while there are many reasons to celebrate the things larger churches have already done (and continue to accomplish), sometimes we fail to overlook (at best) and neglect (at worst) the work that small churches can do and are doing. Small churches (250 or fewer members/attendees) make up the vast majority of evangelical churches in... Continue Reading

Four Reasons to Remember Your Creator in Youth

It’s not too late to remember Him, before these evil days come even nearer.

Why do far more of us become Christians in our youth than in our middle or old age? It’s because youthful years are sensitive years. Without giving up our belief in “Total Depravity” we can say that it’s “easier” to believe and repent when we are younger. It’s never easy, but it’s easier. And it’s... Continue Reading

Reflections on Hebrews and James: The New Testament teaches us how to read the Old

Hebrews and James are rich in instructions that open up the purpose and meaning of the Books of Moses.

What if the Epistle to the Hebrews were not in our Bibles? Hebrews makes a unique contribution to our understanding of the purpose and meaning of the Old Testament law. In Hebrews, we learn how the Aaronic priesthood and the tabernacle and sacrifices were all given to point the Jews (and everyone else) to Jesus... Continue Reading

Is Your Church Pro-Life?

The American church should stop treating the pro-life issue as primarily political and national and narrow. And we should start seeing it as primarily relational and local and broad.

Being broadly pro-life would extend our passion for people and justice far beyond the scope of the womb. It would mean showing love and value to every human life created in the image of God, refusing to be fundamentally divided from our neighbor by the increasing pressure of identity politics or national borders. It would... Continue Reading

Freely Forgiven, Freely Forgive

Since we've been freely forgiven by God, we should stand ready to freely forgive others

“We can see the evidences of our salvation and the forgiveness of our sins in our lives by seeing the fruit of forgiveness towards others. This is one of the proofs that the Spirit is working in us, because we know that on our own, we would never forgive others.”   In the adult Sunday... Continue Reading

Essential Tools For Preaching Christ (Part 2)

The Bible defines preaching in terms of what it is and what its goals are

“Most New Testament examples of preaching Christ are theological and devotional rather than exegetical and redemptive historical. This stands in partial contrast to predominating patterns in contemporary approaches to preaching.”   Sound exegesis is insufficient for sound preaching. This assertion might seem surprising in light of the popular resurgence of consecutive expository preaching. While we... Continue Reading

Did The Puritans Understand Suffering?

Some years ago a student came to ask me if the Puritans had a theology of suffering

“So the Puritans certainly suffered – physically, emotionally, politically. But did they have a theology of suffering? Well, few of them dwelt on their suffering in their writings so not really, no. Not explicitly so anyway. But implicitly even this silence indicated that yes, they did have a theology of suffering.”   Some years ago... Continue Reading

5 Things The Church Does That Enable Abuse

Christians can be kind, trusting, and gracious, and predators can see that as a weakness to be exploited

I’ve been thinking though about some of the things in our own church culture that, while well meaning, can enable abuse and create environments that are enticing to abusers and dangerous for abused. Put another way, how do we make our “hospitals” safer for everyone? I don’t have all the answers but I can think... Continue Reading

Threading The #MeToo Needle

Should the church get on board with the #MeToo movement?

“We need to make it easier for vulnerable people to report abuse. We need to make the process less biased towards the rich, the powerful and the established. But. We need to maintain a concern for evidence and due process. And in the church we need to believe in the possibility of repentance, change, growth... Continue Reading

10 Things You Should Know About Sex

Sex is powerfully pleasurable, but it cannot satisfy your heart

“It’s wonderful to celebrate the tasty pleasures of food, the stunning beauty of a fine piece of art, the sweet intimacy of sex, or the sound drama of a well-written piece of music. But as you’re celebrating pleasure, don’t forget to celebrate grace.”   1. Sex is God’s good creation. God in his great wisdom,... Continue Reading