The Answer to Bad Authority is Good Authority
Reacting against the abusive overreach of authority in the case of Mars Hill, a future generation of pastors may drift into a pool of passivity.
If a pastor abdicates rightful authority, that absence of guidance still exerts massive influence. A gaping hole is left in the church, and the congregation is likely to be swayed by various factions grappling for power. A podcast as popular as The Rise and Fall of Mars Hill—a journalistic-style narrative chronicling the demise of an... Continue Reading
Good Guys, Bad Guys, and a Missing Category
The PCA has probably never been a confessional Presbyterian denomination, united around the theology, piety, and practice confessed in and envisioned by the Westminster Standards.
The point of having confessions is to establish boundaries of what is acceptable teaching and preaching within a communion…the Standards are the Reformed theological framework within which the denomination and her ministers are to carry their service. The largest NAPARC denomination, the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) is in the throes of an identity crisis. Founded by... Continue Reading
Faithful Shepherding In The Midst Of Suffering—Part 2
This is a fallen, broken, cursed world. And we should never be surprised by problems or by suffering.
We need to teach our people that there is a spiritual war, which is as real as the ground I’m standing on. There is a heavenly force. There is an eternal battle, which will be ended by the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, when he destroys Satan just by the word of his mouth, and he... Continue Reading
We should be careful about dropping meme-ified statements, leaving them, and walking away.
As shepherds we must remember that no idle word should come from our mouths. If we are willing to say it before our congregation, we should be ready and able to defend it. If we “nail our colors” to the inspired Word of God, we can rest easy that we are in a defendable position. I am confident... Continue Reading
The Linguistic Equivalent of War
Today’s progressives are heirs to a long tradition of abusing words to advance their policy goals.
Orwell was right to point out that language can corrupt thought. Since thinking and speaking are the central tasks of politics, language can also corrupt governance. When all hot-button issues become the purview of every facet of government, pesky considerations like specialization or separation of powers fall by the wayside. A day before an... Continue Reading
Reading in the Age of Constant Distraction
Fewer Americans read for pleasure than they once did...addictive distractions of the screen swallow our hours whole.
Here, on the internet, is a nowhere space, a shallow time. It is a flat and impenetrable surface. But with a book, we dive in; we are sucked in; we are immersed, body and soul. “I read books to read myself,” Sven Birkerts wrote in The Gutenberg Elegies: The Fate of Reading in an Electronic Age.... Continue Reading
What Do We Need to Please God?
This is the whole purpose of sanctification: God works within us so that we do that which is pleasing to Him.
We please God by faith, submitting to His Word and will and believing what He declares, and He is who reveals Himself to be. We please Him when we glorify Him by faith We want to have access to Him, to experience His presence and to live as much as possible coram deo (before God’s face).... Continue Reading
How to Develop Your Spiritual Discernment
Throughout Scripture, believers are repeatedly cautioned to maintain a sharpened awareness of the difference between truth and error.
Never subjugate your minds to the media of this age and blindly be led in paths laid for us by the enemy of our souls. John MacArthur aptly said, “Unless we are willing to examine all things carefully, we cannot hope to have any defense against reckless faith.” Only in careful scrutiny will we be... Continue Reading
Is The Neo-Evangelical Coalition Worth Saving?
The life of the confessional Protestant is not in coalitions but in Christ and in his visible, institutional church.
What animates the confessional Reformed churches is a holistic theology, piety, and practice lived out in the context of congregations and in the life of the broader institutional church. We are animated by a theology that we share with our Reformed forebears, which we have not amputated or substantially revised. We are animated by our... Continue Reading
The Last of the Great Reformation Creeds
The Westminster Confession of Faith
Professor John Murray noted: “The Westminster Confession is the last of the great reformation creeds. No creed of the Christian church is comparable to that of Westminster in respect of the skill with which the fruits of fifteen centuries of Christian thought have been preserved, and at the same time examined anew and clarified in... Continue Reading
What Is Real Spirituality?
Knowing God and delighting in Him are our objectives.
We are not rationalists. We are supernaturalists. We believe in the Holy Spirit who brings us into real communication and communion and fellowship with the risen and exalted Christ Himself, and, in Christ, with the Father. If that makes us uncomfortable, if our theology is satisfied with doctrines and practices only and knows nothing of... Continue Reading
Christian Health Care Workers Win Huge Victory Against New York Vaccine Mandate
Judge Hurd cited the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment in his decision.
The October 12, 2021, Decision and Order now prohibits the governor and any agencies or persons under her from “enforcing, threatening to enforce, attempting to enforce, or otherwise requiring compliance” with the COVID vaccine mandate. New York is also forbidden to take “any action, disciplinary or otherwise, against the licensure, certification, residency, admitting privileges or... Continue Reading
Mark Driscoll and the Power of “Father Hunger”
Mark’s persona was compelling to younger men confused about the meaning and purpose of manhood.
It’s no surprise the lingo of “boot camp” spread into evangelicalism through Acts 29’s church planter gatherings. The atmosphere of “telling it like it is,” being “confronted by the truth” and “doing whatever it takes for the kingdom” had massive appeal to a generation of young men who came from homes where fathers were hooked... Continue Reading
Social Justice vs. Biblical Justice: A Timely Book on a Perennial Topic
Beisner analyzes the arguments of the social justice movement.
In this booklet, Dr. Beisner does not start with ideas from the Social Justice Movement and move from there to God and His Word. Instead, he first understands Scripture as sufficient and authoritative, and uses it to evaluate the Social Justice Movement. In that way, he accurately shows what God and His Word say about... Continue Reading
Faithful Shepherding In The Midst Of Suffering—Part 1
We need to prepare our people for suffering.
Everything that’s happening to us today is right there in the Scriptures, and happened to the very, very first Christians. They all suffered persecution. So let us prepare ourselves, and the way we prepare ourselves is to teach what the Bible says: what Jesus taught, what Paul taught, what Peter taught. And they all taught... Continue Reading
Healed in the Heart
One man's testimony of finding hope in Jesus Christ.
“I remember sitting in prison, contemplating and even planning my suicide. I began to pray for the first time in a long time. I prayed that God would do something. I had lost everything. I got involved in AA and various drug programs and became substance-free. But I knew that still was not enough.” ... Continue Reading
Reformed Church in America General Synod Daily Recap: Saturday, October 16, 2021
General Synod 2021 of the Reformed Church in America (RCA) is meeting October 14–19 in Tucson, Arizona.
Recognizing that some separation is inevitable, we believe the RCA has an opportunity to act in an exemplary way by providing a generous exit path for those churches which decide to leave and by inviting those churches to also act generously. While the process currently outlined in the RCA Book of Church Order (BCO)…allows a... Continue Reading
Remaining Faithful When Others Embrace LGBTQ+ Theology
How do we walk through this minefield, pursue humility in our own hearts, and yet remain firm in God’s Word?
You are vulnerable to outside voices tempting you to give in, but the best remedy for standing firm for the long haul is to remain in God’s Word, continually steeping yourself in his perspective and truth. When I speak about how the Bible should inform our sexuality, someone invariably comes up to me and says,... Continue Reading
The Three “U”s and PCA Overtures 23 and 37: Part 3
Considering the third objection of those opposed to O23 & O37: Not only are the overtures “unclear” and “unnecessary,” but thirdly, they are “unloving” and should not be passed by PCA presbyteries.
Rejection from the world because we teach and preach biblical truth is typical; why do we continue to think otherwise? While I believe all officers in the PCA affirm this principle intellectually, it seems that some of us experientially may become unsettled by the potential rejection of our faith by the culture around us. ... Continue Reading
The Metaphysics Behind the Reformed Confessions
The reason it is so hard to understand the Reformation confessions today is that the metaphysical framework in which the authors of those confessions worked has not only been lost; it is no longer even understood.
The biggest obstacle to a recovery of confessional Protestant faith today is that, as moderns, we are cut off from our heritage by the philosophical naturalist metaphysics that we have unconsciously and uncritically absorbed from our environment. We desperately need to step outside of modernity long enough to perceive its weaknesses and limitations. But we... Continue Reading
When Will Jesus Return?
For centuries, misguided teachers have repeatedly promised or strongly suggested to their contemporaries that they are the generation that will finally witness the end.
When we begin to read Revelation in the way the original author intended it to be read, we can begin to understand its intended meaning. We no longer read with the book of Revelation in one hand and a newspaper in the other. The newspaper will not help us understand Revelation. Knowing the Old Testament... Continue Reading
Peaceful and Quiet Living
God’s will for our sanctification is lived out in the ordinary routines and habits of life.
How does a Christian living in an aggressive world please God? In part, Paul says, by aspiring “to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands” (1 Thess. 4:11). It’s hard to imagine an Apostolic command that is more mundanely practical than this. We live in a society marked... Continue Reading
Mark Driscoll and The Danger of “God Told Me”
We should stoutly doubt anyone who claims to receive extra-Biblical revelation.
Had we only this one case to which we could point to show the dangers of claims of extra-biblical revelation, it would be enough. Sadly, however, we have hundreds and probably thousands of cases to which we can easily point to show the dangers of claims of continuing revelation. Introduction I am catching up Christianity... Continue Reading
True Christianity Is a Fight
The Christian is both a child in the Father’s home, and a soldier in the Savior’s war.
If “the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh” (Galatians 5:17), then what could be more normal than for Christians to feel divided, split, torn asunder in our inner being—or as Ryle says, to feel that we have “two principles within us, contending for... Continue Reading
Our Fully Present God
Nothing can contain our infinite God; He is everywhere all the time.
The doctrine of God’s omnipresence is comforting and reassuring to believers. We are never left alone. We are always—at all times and in all places—in the presence of God. We can cry out to Him and know that He hears us. We can trust that He is always with us. This truth should make us... Continue Reading
Look to Jesus
When we run the Christian race, we need to look up and ahead to Jesus.
Christian, you are a runner in a race. The race you are running is the most important race you will ever run. You have everything to lose if you quit, but everything and more if you finish. Therefore, run to win. Run together to the end. Keep your eyes on the prize and run with... Continue Reading
The Tale of the Pig and the Sheep
Where the pig had been content to wallow in the mud, the sheep had known to bleat pathetically until the farmer had come to rescue it.
Then, said the farmer, “If you are ever deceived into a sin and overtaken by a weakness, don’t lose heart. Go at once to your compassionate Savior. Tell Him in the simplest words the story of your fall and the sorrow you feel. Ask Him to wash you at once and to restore your soul,... Continue Reading
For the Church that is For the World
The church that is not on mission, in fact, is not acting true to its own nature. The gospel is not meant to be hoarded but to be shared.
The church is empowered by the Spirit through the gospel to bless the world as the overflow of God’s blessing of us. That the world may know the God we serve and worship him alongside us in spirit and truth. We love and believe and serve and bless, that the whole world might “go to... Continue Reading
Why Do People Get Sick?
The Bible breaks such deceptive bondage. If you’ve ever been confused about why people get sick or you know someone who needs answers, these truths will be a soothing balm to a weary soul.
The truth is, God is strong enough, wise enough, and powerful enough to bring purpose out of our pain, even if He doesn’t take us out of the pain right away. You and I experience this more often than we realize. Whenever someone we know dies, it can either lead to bitterness toward God, or to our own appreciation... Continue Reading
How Discipleship is Like Cooking
Christian, you are called to make disciples. But being faithful to this command does not mean that you have to strictly follow a recipe.
As we trust Jesus and follow Him, we can also feel the freedom of knowing that God has created us each individually, each with different personalities and traits, with skills and experiences all our own. All of these things come together in the actual fashion that we carry out Jesus’ command. In other words, we... Continue Reading