Every Step by Faith
Paul’s gospel never recommends mere self-effort... Rather, it is about reaching out of ourselves and up to the Lord Christ.
This should completely change the way we respond to temptation. Rather than simply trying to white-knuckle our way through the darkness, we should instead reach up for the Holy Spirit by faith. We get the Holy Spirit, remember, not because we have done something, but because Christ has done everything, even paying for this incredible... Continue Reading
People Are More Than Labels
People and their views are almost always more nuanced than what we might conclude based on a label.
When we settle for our understanding of others based on a mere label, we limit our capacity to understand one another and short circuit healthy relationships. That’s one reason why the world in Divergent was better off once they eliminated factions. People could be understood for the complicated beings they truly were. We can reap the same... Continue Reading
The Absurd Criticism of Rand Paul’s Rachel Levine Questioning
If the Democratic nominee for assistant health secretary won’t answer basic questions related to child welfare how likely is it that this dangerous ideological agenda is about to get worse?
Having reviewed the evidence from all sides, the judges in Bell’s case concluded that it was “highly unlikely that a child aged 13 or under would be competent to give consent to the administration of puberty blockers,” adding that it was also “doubtful that a child aged 14 or 15 could understand and weigh the... Continue Reading
I’m a Philosopher. We Can’t Think Our Way Out of this Mess.
I’m throwing in my lot with the poets and painters, the novelists and songwriters.
It’s not that I’ve given up on truth. It’s just that I’m less confident we’ll think our way out of the morass and malaise in which we find ourselves. Analysis won’t save us. And the truth of the gospel is less a message to be taught than a mystery enacted. Love won’t save us either,... Continue Reading
How Not to be Pastoral
The fundamental question is this: What is the identity of a sinner who is joined to Christ?
The bottom line is about identity. Are we fundamentally people who are still to be known by our past habits? Or are we fundamentally persons who are joined to the Messiah of Israel and by that union are freed from slavery to those habits? The Bishops are right. Christ has set us free from slavery... Continue Reading
Slavery Old and New: Comparing Early America with Biblical Times
The Old and New Testaments do forbid practices that stood at the heart of the institution of slavery.
Many Christians, keenly aware of the evils of early modern slavery, have suggested that the slavery mentioned in the New Testament was far more humane than its American counterpart. Yet the historical data suggests that Greco-Roman slavery could be just as oppressive and abusive as the later system — and in some ways even more... Continue Reading
Forming Evangelical Pastors: Theological Education from the Margins
We have no way of knowing where the cultural tides are pulling us, but it does seem clear that we are inhabiting a vastly different cultural context than the one in which the M.Div. was forged.
Christian nationalism—whether from the right or the left—represents a Faustian bargain. It may offer a quick fix of power, reassurance, or apparent victory, but the devil always comes to collect. In the end, what is surrendered is infinitely more costly. We must not turn our churches into social clubs that simply echo secular culture, to... Continue Reading
In the socialist, communist country of China, one might expect this. But here?
Dear Remnant, these are days for us to be strong in our faith, holding fast to the truth of God’s Word. Yes, it may cost us… and maybe even dearly. But we are called to shine not surrender, to be salt not sequestered. Engage your neighbor with true agape love, form real relationships, tear down... Continue Reading
‘Do Not Hold Me Back From The Glory’
He desired to walk each day in intimate fellowship with Christ and longed to be in his presence.
With each passing day, death and glory grew nearer for Lloyd-Jones. Knowing his time was short, Lloyd-Jones became concerned about leaving his family behind, but was later comforted: “I know God can care for them very much better than I can and that no longer troubles me at all.” His last days were marked by... Continue Reading
Save America’s Workers from the Church of Wokeness
Other examples abound, and they are all cases of religious discrimination—but not in the way you might think.
Often forgotten is that Title VII protects not only religious employees from being fired for their beliefs, but equally protects nonreligious employees from being fired for refusing to endorse an employer-mandated religion. “What matters in this context is not so much what [the employee’s] own religious beliefs were,” the Seventh Circuit federal court of appeals said in the 1997 Venters... Continue Reading
Gay Anglicans In The ACNA
Never may the theological and the pastoral be separated.
Please note, I am not encouraging us to ignore the pastoral. Quite the opposite: I am convinced we’re often not pastoral enough. It is not pastoral to use the psychological discourse of our therapeutic culture rather than the biblical language of sin and repentance. It is not pastoral to keep nodding when someone self-identifies as... Continue Reading
Thoughts on Ravi Zacharias
There is danger here. If we are not careful, we can allow the devil to get a foothold and play havoc with our mind and heart and soul.
Don’t lose sight of the Meta-Narrative of God. We are in a war on earth. Internally, the flesh is at war with the Spirit and the Spirit at war with the flesh trying to keep you from walking rightly. Externally, the world and the enemy are pounding you with enticing words or crushing rhetoric. The... Continue Reading
They Call It Narcissism
Though not a Christian book, I was helped by her kindness and insight, and she actually rekindled my interest in engaging those who fit the narcissist description.
How do we help self-absorbed people? How do we help their family and remaining friends? And how might we be helped by secular literature? Secular literature is most helpful when its descriptions of difficult-to-understand behaviors are coupled with years of experience and when its practical suggestions come close to the wisdom and love we find... Continue Reading
Turning Water to Wine
To understand the overlapping symbolism of this miracle, we have to start not with the empty cups of wine at Cana, but with the shriveled vine of Israel.
This first sign of John’s Gospel is more than a story of God’s abundant provision; it is a microcosm of the rest of Jesus’ ministry. As the fruitful vine and the faithful bridegroom, Jesus did that which we could never do to not only bring us back into fellowship with Him again, but ultimately to... Continue Reading
Who Is the Mediator of the Covenant of Grace?
While all Christians have different experiences, in actuality, we all have the same testimony.
What do our “testimonies” profit us, even if we gain transformed lives, while losing our souls because we do not know who Jesus is? The Christian testimony is that, as Calvin put it, the sinless Son of God became the Son of man, so that the sinful sons of men might become the sons of... Continue Reading
How Should We Teach the Doctrine of the Trinity?
What we are currently doing isn’t working.
To put it bluntly, the church today is in danger of falling into mythology because Western culture has rejected the Christian God and is insisting that our doctrine of God fit into the philosophical naturalist framework that dominates the academic world of our age. But we need to understand why we cannot revise the classical... Continue Reading
Learning about Sanctification from Groundhog Day
Phil is not consigned to live out the failures of the previous day. Neither are we in Jesus Christ.
You can’t script change. Growth in Christ is not formulaic. Although God has ordained means of grace such as his Word and prayer, there is no fail-safe algorithm that gets you to the finish line each day. You can’t simply replicate today’s triumphs tomorrow. We recently celebrated that oddest of American traditions, Groundhog Day.... Continue Reading
The Korean Revival and Following Persecution
"Before the meetings closed, the Spirit showed us plainly that the way of victory for us would be a way of confession, of broken hearts, and bitter tears,”
A second wave of persecution came in 1919, when the end of World War I gave Korea an opportunity to declare its independence. A declaration was drafted. This time, many Christian leaders agreed to sign it on condition that the acquisition of independence would not require violence. The Japanese government reacted ruthlessly. Peaceful demonstrations... Continue Reading
5 Ways God Uses Sickness for Good – J.C. Ryle
Many a creed looks well on the smooth waters of health, which turns out utterly unsound and useless on the rough waves of the sick bed.
The natural heart is as hard as a stone. It can see no good in anything which is not of this life, and no happiness excepting in this world. A long illness sometimes goes far to correct these ideas. It exposes the emptiness and hollowness of what the world calls “good” things, and teaches us... Continue Reading
Everything Is Providential: C.S. Lewis on the Symphony of History
Every stroke of the brush, including the fall of every sparrow, accomplishes precisely what the Maker desires.
As creatures, we have to operate this way; we throw crumbs to the birds and end up incidentally providing a breakfast for the rats as well (53). Imagine the rats appearing before us in order to express their gratitude for our providence and provision. “But we didn’t have you in mind at all.” Finite creatures... Continue Reading
Risk and Learning or Stagnation
As Christians, once we find what works for us, the temptation will always be to stay in our lane to keep things comfortable.
Our creator has given us certain faculties and attributes that should be in constant use. Like a muscle, if we do not use them, they will begin to atrophy, and so will our wellbeing. Have you ever felt like you are in a rut? It is never a pleasant place to be. One of the... Continue Reading
The Cost of Covetousness
There is a real temptation to seek security and satisfaction in wealth. And this is something the Christian is to be on guard against. We have a higher calling.
The man was not a fool when it came to running his business. It’s wise to plan for your financial future. But this man was foolish for His reliance on things instead of God. His life was about things instead of God. And when you see the thirst we can have for things, it’s easy... Continue Reading
The Church Gathering is the Best Way to Love Your Neighbor
There better be churches meeting in your city or it will end up being like Sodom and Gomorrah.
Jesus tells the disciples the same thing when he calls them the salt of the earth (Matt. 5:13. He is telling them that they are the agent that is keeping the world from decaying as fast as it would were they not there. In fact, the whole point of losing your saltiness is that Christians... Continue Reading
If you are truly in Christ then you will be part of that eternal worship in Heaven.
This is the disciple’s life. It is not one of doing something to get something from God. It is simply a life of obedience as a δοῦλος of Christ who lives for eternity. This life is simply that part of salvation that we call our sanctification. By the way, a δοῦλος is a slave or... Continue Reading
The Signs of John
Learning about Jesus is what we need today.
Ask the Lord to minister to you. Ask him to confirm and increase your faith. And then ask him to help you make it a practice of fixing your eyes on Jesus who is the author and finisher of our faith. Disciplines and vocations have access points. When you enter college as an economics major... Continue Reading
Rise Early and Be Alone with God: Wise Counsel from an Old Divine
“But, above all, one certain benefit from this method you will be sure of having; it will best fit and prepare you for the reception of the Holy Spirit."
“When you thus begin the day in the spirit of religion, renouncing sleep, because you are to renounce softness and redeem your time; this disposition, as it puts your heart into a good state so it will procure the assistance of the Holy Spirit; what is so planted and watered will certainly have an increase... Continue Reading
Psalm 130:1-5 (Quick Devotional)
We who stand in a deep hole of our own making, we can serve the great and holy God because with him, there is forgiveness.
We can not only serve God, but we can serve him reverently! We can respect God’s Word, His Ways and His people! We who were once in a great pit are able to see the wide open spaces that God has called us to go. No longer are we surrounded by the all too close... Continue Reading
Then I Will Never Follow Him
"I get kidnapped by terrorists, I keep all my teeth. I come to America, I lose my tooth! Why?”
We all know that the truth of the gospel can be offensive. Some doctrines are naturally compelling to certain individuals and cultures while others are naturally offensive. Timothy Keller has called these the A doctrines and the B doctrines. For my friend, the call to love his enemies was a bridge too far. For many... Continue Reading
Richard Sibbes on Vainglory
We should, from the example of Christ, labour to subdue this infirmity which we are sick of naturally.
Therefore, let us labour to be good in secret. Christians should be as minerals, rich in the depth of the earth. That which is least seen is his riches. We should have our treasure deep. For the discovery of it we should be ready when we are called to it, and for all other accidental... Continue Reading
Shaking Off Some Lifelessness with the Psalms
Your Spirit drives me along and surrounds me. He is making sure that I will find my home in you, Jesus.
Not every psalm can be nudged toward its full potential as a New Testament psalm. For example, “blot out my transgressions” (Ps 51) would still be about us more than Jesus, though the full redemption found in Jesus could be inserted after each verse as, “The steadfast, forgiving love of Jesus endures forever.” Otherwise, be... Continue Reading