A Court, Clay, and the Cross: Examining the Problem of Evil

The God who spoke all things into being is not utterly remote from our self-inflicted suffering and pain.

Before we shake our fist at God, we must first consider God the Son incarnate, Jesus the Messiah, crucified for us, murdered for us, for our sins, and raised for our justification (Rom. 4:25). It is unthinkable that a Christian, after he has turned his eyes to the cross, would turn away to shake his... Continue Reading

Raising Covenant Children without Presumption or Skepticism

Should we expect our covenant children to have conversion experiences?

It seems schizophrenic to pray at a child’s baptism that they would never know a day without Christ and then expect children raised in the church to have a conversion story. Questions like: What was your life like before you had faith in Christ? How is your life different today? are hard ones to answer... Continue Reading

Now That You Are Behind in Your Bible Reading Program…

Some encouragement and perhaps a plan that may refresh instead of burden you.

One of the struggles I have always had with reading programs is the guilty feeling that comes when inevitably a reading is missed.  Usually the first few times I try to make it up, but then get distracted from enjoying the reading because I “have to” get caught up.  As my own personal reading rhythm is... Continue Reading

American Christianity: Ideas on How We Got Here

I believe that in our day we have the most biblically illiterate people of any generation since before the Reformation.

What is common to me is that what people understand is what they learn at church, and they go to that church for entirely the wrong reasons. When asked “How do you know you’ll get into Heaven?”, at least 70% of Christians would say “Because I’m a good person!”. If you do not see the problem... Continue Reading

Moralism is Not the Gospel (But Many Christians Think It Is)

Moralism produces sinners who are (potentially) better behaved. The Gospel of Christ transforms sinners into the adopted sons and daughters of God.

The seduction of moralism is the essence of its power. We are so easily seduced into believing that we actually can gain all the approval we need by our behavior. Of course, in order to participate in this seduction, we must negotiate a moral code that defines acceptable behavior with innumerable loopholes. Most moralists would not claim... Continue Reading

Sexless, Open Marriages: A New Trend?

Both the secular society and the church have hardly mentioned one, enormous casualty of the sexual revolution---friendship.

The very thought that one would have to marry a friend to show commitment to them reveals how disposable we view friendship as a whole. And the irony is not lost that a society that views marriage as a disposable agreement looks to it as a virtuous commitment in this case. The secular world has... Continue Reading

On Pastoral Praying

All Christians must be pray-ers, but the pastor especially must be a man of prayer, and this in two aspects: in private and in public.

Hundreds, if not thousands of books have been written on prayer. Countless sermons have been preached on prayer. But the reading of books on prayer makes no one a praying man. The essence of prayer is in the praying. As Nike says, “Just do it!” It doesn’t matter how articulate the prayer is. What does... Continue Reading

What is Your Name?

The problem with the Christian community is that we think we know everything. When someone begins to speak, before the words even leave the mouth, we already have the answer.

I have a suggestion. Instead of focusing on our philosophy and apologetics classes that we took in seminary, maybe we should practice this: “What is your name?” Use words to open communication, not shut it down. Use words to encourage the light, not to continue to keep wickedness in the dark. Use words to connect, to... Continue Reading

The Importance of What We Do in Secret

Six times in the Sermon on the Mount, alluding to three distinct exercises, Jesus employs the term secret.

The Sermon on the Mount is addressing the issue of authenticity. Just how genuine is our relationship with the Lord Jesus? It is altogether possible to practice an outward display of piety—to “talk the talk”—without demonstrating any inner reality of godliness. This is true of every professing Christian, and it is especially true of those... Continue Reading

Against A Truncated Gospel

The central question Christianity answers is: “How does God reconcile man to himself after sin enters the world?”

As I do so, there is a small church I pass.  I am not sure what the name or denomination of the church is. I can never get past the banner they proudly display by the entrance of their property. This sign has been there for years, and boldly announces: “God is not mad at... Continue Reading

Continual Prayer for Revival

"Our chief design was to implore a revival of godliness in our own souls, in our churches, and in the church at large."

There is little doubt from the record of history that God heard the prayers of Sutcliff, Fuller, and their fellow Baptists. As they prayed, the Calvinistic Baptists in England began to experience the blessing of revival, though, it should be noted, great change was not immediately evident.   In the last post on the revitalization of the... Continue Reading

Survival By Design

A new study undermines a key tenet of Darwinian evolution.

Fisher incorrectly assumed that new mutations would guarantee unrestricted progress toward ever-greater levels of fitness. But the new study points out that if Fisher were correct, eventually evolution would come to a standstill once natural selection eliminated all harmful mutations. Additionally, Fisher failed to factor in the effects of new harmful mutations. He based his... Continue Reading

Reformation Bible College Announces New Accelerated Degree Program In Partnership With Several Seminaries

In partnership with several respected seminaries, Reformation Bible College’s new Accelerated Degree Program is launching Fall 2018.

Instead of the traditional seven years to earn both degrees—four at college, three at seminary—the Accelerated Degree Program is designed to launch students into ministry in six years, saving the time and expense of one year without compromising the education and training needed for the high calling of pastoral ministry. Our current seminary partnerships are... Continue Reading

7 Things You Should Know About the Lord’s Day

González is not writing a history of the Sabbath, or how the Sabbath developed into the Lord’s Day, but a history of the first day of the week.

González surveys the way Christians, from the first to the 21st century, have treated Sunday. He shows when the concept of rest developed in church history, and how the West has both embraced and rejected the church’s Sunday liturgy.   For anyone who likes church history, Justo González is a familiar name. His two-volume work, The Story... Continue Reading

New Year, New School Choice Option In New Hampshire

Granite State lawmakers approve education savings account program.

On Jan. 2, New Hampshire became the seventh state to approve an education savings account (ESA) program, providing state funds to low income and special needs students who want to attend private school or choose other educational options. Gov. Chris Sununu, a Republican, has pledged to sign the bill into law, but first it has... Continue Reading

God Hates Sin and Sinners, But He Loves Saints

A sharp, double-edged sword conveys a sense of justice and death. It is difficult to reflect on that image and think of love. It smacks more of warfare!

One of the hallmarks of the evangelical community in the 21st century is that it readily proclaims the love of Christ, while failing to recognize the justice and holiness of God.  Love is popular, but wrath is ugly, ignored, and often condemned.  The love and mercy and compassion of God is the “Good News of... Continue Reading

Teach Me To Pray! Forgive Us Our Debts

In your prayers, pray for a willing spirit to forgive others

“In your prayer, you may acknowledge to God that you forgive them—not as a statement of pride to God but as a way of humbly acknowledging to God what you are doing. You may need to ask for help to forgive them. It can be hard to get over the hurt and betrayal of being... Continue Reading

Does the Church’s First Spiritual Abuse Verdict Give Critics a New Weapon?

We emulate Jesus when we expose abuse. But dividing it into categories may do more harm than good.

“Sadly, many historic institutions—the church included—have sought to silence the reporting of abuse for fear of tarnishing the reputation or public image of those institutions. There are too many instances where Christian leaders have mistakenly thought that it was in the best interests of the church, or maybe even of the gospel, for abuse to... Continue Reading

Is God a Good Father?

I love my children. But can God really love me like that — more than that?

“As an earthly father I will always love my children. No matter what they do. No matter where they go. I will be here for them. I’m not walking out. They might. I won’t. So, help me God. Still, I can’t imagine this, really, but God loves me more, loves me better, than that. That’s... Continue Reading

Secularism’s Front Line: A View From France

Religious activity in France has declined through the twentieth century like a car running out of petrol

“If there is a front line of secularism, perhaps France is it. It’s true she hasn’t had the iron fist of state-enforced atheism like communist countries and there are other nations with more atheists per capita like the Czech Republic or more secular policies like the Netherlands with euthanasia. But she has lead the world... Continue Reading

What Does it Mean to Fear God?

Luther distinguished between what he called a servile fear and a filial fear.

I think this distinction is helpful because the basic meaning of fearing the Lord that we read about in Deuteronomy is also in the Wisdom Literature, where we’re told that “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” The focus here is on a sense of awe and respect for the majesty of... Continue Reading

The Easiest Sin to Justify

From observation and hard experience I think there is one sin more than any other that we tend to continue to justify.

We delude ourselves into believing that our anger is righteous, that it is just the same as God’s white-hot anger against all that is evil. Sometimes it is, perhaps, but far more often it is not. It may be a sinful reaction to justified anger or a sinful reaction to unjustified anger. Either way, what... Continue Reading

The Religious Conflict at the Heart of Our Culture Wars

How theological differences over sex have fueled some of the bitterest political fights of the past century and more.

In Moral Combat, R. Marie Griffith, director of the John C. Danforth Center for Religion and Politics at Washington University in St. Louis, reviews a century’s worth of American cultural conflict over sexuality, fueled by a growing divide between religious subcultures. Her account is subtly biased, but readers will benefit from her clear presentation of the... Continue Reading

Edgardo Mortara

The case of Edgardo Mortara took on international significance – not only among Europe and North America’s Jewish communities – but among Europe’s rulers.

Pio Nono would not even consider giving up Edgardo to his parents (despite all sorts of circumstances that suggested the servant girl had made up the story of the boy’s illness and baptism). With papal rule crumbling and Pius’ political allies unwilling to prop up the papacy one more time, the pope made Edgardo a... Continue Reading

How a Playground Led to Churches Qualifying for Federal Disaster Relief

Three churches in Texas and two Jewish synagogues in Florida filed lawsuits challenging the exclusion for FEMA funding.

Non-profits have typically been ineligible from receiving FEMA funds if the damaged facilities were established or used primarily for religious services, religious education, or religious activities, such as “worship, proselytizing, religious instruction, or fundraising activities that benefit a religious institution and not the community at large.”   The Story: The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recently... Continue Reading

Sidewalk Witness

A young pro-lifer finds her voice outside Mississippi’s only abortion center.

As pro-life sidewalk counselors call out through the black screening that interlaces the fence, encouraging pregnant women to protect their babies, the escorts try to drown them out with boom boxes. “They don’t want the ladies to hear us,” explains Statham. “They try to put up as much resistance as they can.”   JACKSON, Miss.—The... Continue Reading

How Divorce Went From a Devastating Life Event to a Cause for Celebration

While the breakup of a marriage is rarely easy, the big 'D' has significantly changed over the decades.

In the span of a lifetime, divorce has gone from being highly taboo to more American than apple pie; from the inspiration for a decade of angsty grunge anthems to introducing terms like “conscious uncoupling” and “divorce-moons” into our break-up lexicon. Today, we’re witnessing the rise of the “happy divorce.”   In his review of... Continue Reading

Peterson, Driscoll & the Millennial Man

The reality is that a man doesn’t need to be a cage fighter to exercise responsibility.

When men do work and take care – when they clean their room, or lay down their life for someone else – it is such a pure reflection of what they were created to do, and so powerfully good for them and those around them, that it provokes an emotional response. It is a beautiful thing, and... Continue Reading

A Catechism on the Heart

Mapping out some preliminary matters in the form of a catechism on the heart.

I must keep my heart healthy by proper diet, growing strong on a regular diet of God’s Word — reading it for myself, meditating on its truth, but especially being fed on it in the preaching of the Word. I also will remember that my heart has eyes as well as ears. The Spirit shows... Continue Reading

The Depravity of Man

With all the collusion, political conspiracy, mass murder, sexual predation, racial prejudice and bigotry, the doctrines of human depravity held throughout orthodox Christian history have once again been vindicated.

But while we recognize and decry the wanton immorality of Hollywood and Times Square, of Washington DC and Wall Street, we ought also to remember that we, too, are radically corrupt, totally depraved, and basically evil. And we are in need of a new nature – a new birth or regeneration – which comes only... Continue Reading