I Don’t Understand This Part

Look at difficult passages in the Bible as opportunities for growth, but also understand that they can be dangerous.

How should you proceed when you reach a Bible passage that you simply don’t understand? Imagine for a moment that you’ve just run across a difficult part of Scripture. You’re like a tourist who has lost his way. Which way do you turn? What street do you go down? First, let me point out a... Continue Reading

The Difference Between Magic And Ministry

There is no more magic. There are no more priests, no more sacrifices.

When our ministers are ordained, they are set apart for a sacred work. They are installed into their office. Authority to speak as ministers comes with the office. They have authority to administer the two sacraments that Christ instituted: holy baptism (the sign and seal of initiation into the covenant community) and holy communion (the... Continue Reading

A Response to Tim Keller’s New York Times Op-Ed

Can Christians fit into the two-party system? Yes, It Is Possible

Is it possible for “thoughtful Christians, all trying to obey God’s call, to “reasonably appear at different places on the political spectrum, with loyalties to different political strategies?” The answer is no, it is not possible if we honor the same God and His Word.   A response to How Do Christians Fit Into the... Continue Reading

The Ten Commandments: What They Forbid and Promote

There’s more to the ten commandments than what first meets the eye.

There’s more to the 10 commandments than we usually think. Yes, all 10 commandments still matter today. We should take them seriously and seek to study and appropriately apply them to our lives.   You might be able to list the ten commandments in order, but do you know what they forbid and promote? I... Continue Reading

When Your God Can’t Talk, You Hear Exactly What You Want

Let us be careful to not mistake the voice of God for the voice of an idol.

We challenge that doctrine or Scripture because we don’t want it to be true. If it were true, it would mean something in our lives or our thinking would have to change. So we explain it away. We even go so far as tricking ourselves into thinking that God is saying something different than what... Continue Reading

Sweet the Sound of Grace Divine (Cowper)

Note how he refers to his depression and also note the rhythmic repetition of grace.

At some point during that stay in the mental hospital Cowper read Romans 3:25. The verse softened his heart and made him remember gospel truths he had learned earlier in life. He later wrote that during this time he was “overwhelmed with joy unspeakable.” He eventually left the mental hospital and went on to live... Continue Reading

What’s the Purpose (and the Benefit) of Family Devotions?

Our devotions call us to a family experience each day.

By gathering the family for shared devotions we display the priority and necessity of hearing from God and speaking to God. And I think we also declare something about our priorities when we show that we are unintimidated to miss a day here and there as circumstances dictate—we show that devotions are not the means... Continue Reading

Success or Faithfulness?

Success is an arbitrary losing battle. But faithfulness – that feels possible.

Success is defined by performance. Faithfulness is defined by constancy. Success is defined by accomplishment. Faithfulness by devotion. Success is defined by achievement. Faithfulness by commitment. Success is defined by attaining a goal. Faithfulness by being true to a promise. As long as we posed the question “How do we redefine success?” we were still coming out as losing. We felt like failures.... Continue Reading

Revoice Is Over and I Have Much Greater Concerns Than Before

Revoice and its supporters have abandoned the use of biblical terms and meaning to explain sexual ethics and practices and replaced them with the language of modern psychology and sociology.

For elders in the PCA, we must recognize that a very dangerous trend has begun. The promoters of ReVoice do not wish to just have discussions or to minister to a victimized people in a compassionate way. They have already developed youth curriculum aimed at recalibrating the hearts and minds of the youth in evangelical... Continue Reading

5 Tips for Reading the Song of Songs

When we talk about the human-level love relationship in its ideal form, we really are talking about the love of all loves.

It’s not a long book, so I encourage people to read Song of Songs through pretty rapidly and then go back and read it again. Maybe read it rapidly a couple times, and then go back and try to study it more closely. It’s a short enough book that you can definitely read it, read... Continue Reading

Anne Bradstreet and Her Songs of Daily Providence

In March 1630, Anne, Simon, Thomas, and Dorothy sailed to New England on board of John Winthrop's flagship, the Arbella.

According to Cotton Mather, it was Anne who persuaded her husband to emigrate. When she arrived in Salem on June 1630, however, she was baffled by what she saw. “I found a new world and new manners, at which my heart rose. But after I was convinced it was the way of God, I submitted to... Continue Reading

Do you Have the Reflex of Love?

“From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh.” –2 Corinthians 5:16

The Corinthians had determined that Paul was a loon. But he kept preaching the gospel to them because he knew that this would be the means by which they’d get a new set of eyes. Apart from grace, though, they’d put gospel men in the loser category every time. And they’d fall hard after super-apostles…even... Continue Reading

Why It Makes Sense to Persevere in Prayer

Perseverance cultivates patience.

Persistent praying puts us in that frame of mind and spirit in which we may properly receive what it is that God desires to give. In other words, it isn’t so much that God is reluctant to give, but that we lack preparation to receive. Try to envision what a mess your life would have... Continue Reading

Lip Service

We might ask ourselves how many times we have sung a song or prayed a prayer where our lips formed the words but our minds were elsewhere, our hearts far from God.

Jesus castigated ritualistic worship for its hypocrisy. If we are true believers who have bowed the knee in repentance and faith to rest upon Christ alone for our salvation, we tend not to think ourselves as hypocrites. But the word hypocrite can simply mean to be insincere. Our worship can be a pretense of going through the motions.... Continue Reading

Do This and Remember

The Supper invites us to remember the Lord Jesus Christ, on whose body we feed and whose blood we drink, through faith in him.

The Lord’s Supper represents to the senses of God’s people the death of Christ for sinners. It reinforces one of the most basic lessons of Jesus’s teaching, that salvation is by the grace of God alone for the undeserving. In the Supper, Christ invites his needy people to come to him to be filled with... Continue Reading

Twelve Rules for the Bookish Life

(Of course, the bookish life needs no rules.)

Let books flood your home and wash ashore on coffee tables, dressers, and nightstands. Your kids and grandkids will, one day, thank you (even if your spouse, in the present, does not).   With gratitude for half a decade of service alongside the Comment team, and in particular for the mentorship and friendship of Brian Dijkema and... Continue Reading

Hate is a Christian Virtue

We should, like John Owen, hate sin. Particularly our own sin.

Bolz-Weber is attacking the Bible’s teachings on human sexuality. And the response from the White Horse Inn? An attack on the efforts of some in the church to promote those biblical teachings to women in the church. Not having a daughter, I don’t have a lot of knowledge about those who promote purity rings. I... Continue Reading

Riches to Rubbish–Van Gogh’s Unstable View of the Bible

Van Gogh's story is shot through with complexity.

Van Gogh’s story is shot through with complexity, and I do not intend to over simplify it, but one compelling question must be asked. How did a man who was in his youth so earnest for the Word of God, for the gospel, for Christ, for devoting his life to serving God–how did he come... Continue Reading

A House Divided

There are only two possible ways to be spiritual: worship of nature or worship of the Creator of nature.

While the multitude of pagan cults that flocked to Rome could add to their list the divinized Caesar as an additional god, for Christians, this was an act of polytheism and thus a denial of the very nature of the true and only God. Here was culture shock leading to cultural deadlock. Christianity was seen... Continue Reading

PCA Minister Howard Griffith Called Home to Glory

Dr. Howard Griffith was Emeritus Professor of Systematic Theology at Reformed Theological Seminary’s Washington D.C. campus.

Howard Griffith was the founding pastor of All Saints Reformed Presbyterian Church (PCA) in Richmond, Va., and continued to serve as pastor for 23 years. He was Emeritus Professor of Systematic Theology at Reformed Theological Seminary’s Washington D.C. campus, having taught there since 2002.   Dr. Howard Griffith, 64, was called home to glory on... Continue Reading

Christian U Flip-Flops on Gay Relationships

At the direction of the Azusa Pacific University’s Board of Trustees, the institution will update its student handbook, striking language in it that barred LGBTQ relationships.

“APU is an open-enrollment institution, which does not require students to be Christian to attend, and the handbook conveys our commitment to treating everyone with Christ-like care and civility,” Mark Stanton said in a statement to the newspaper. “Our values are unchanged and the APU community remains unequivocally biblical in our Christian evangelical identity.”  ... Continue Reading

The West is a Third World Country: The Relevance of Philip Rieff

Rieff is today justly famous for his 1966 book, The Triumph of the Therapeutic: Uses of Faith after Freud.

Cultural conservatives face a time when it is not simply a question of debating the nature of our culture on some commonly agreed foundation. It is a time when we face the complete transformation of our culture into an anti-culture.   Perhaps one of the most confusing aspects of this present age is the sheer... Continue Reading

Can We Set Aside Special Days for Special Observances?

Does the Bible say much about special days, such as those commemorating noted events?

It is interesting, albeit sad, that so many of our churches today make a big deal of holidays that Jews, Muslims, agnostics, and other non-Christians can observe, such as Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Thanksgiving, and most recently Sanctity of Life in January and even thay for the whole month, according to some.    It was... Continue Reading

Girl, Follow Jesus

Hollis’s message this time around is, “All that really matters is how bad you want those dreams and what you’re willing to do to make them happen.”

In her latest book, Girl, Stop Apologizing: A Shame-Free Plan for Embracing and Achieving Your Goals, Hollis has gained momentum. She wants you to believe in yourself, to take great pride in your hard work and accomplishments, and to do so without shame and with gusto. She wants you to go hard and unapologetically after your... Continue Reading

Boldness and Clarity as a Light to the World

Sometimes a divided world is worthy of a good cry.

In these times of polarizing incivility, it is tempting to soften the hard edges of faith, to fear our failing public opinion and our impending ill repute, to redraw the lines given by God so that we neither love nor speak with gospel boldness. It is tempting to try to “balance” grace and truth.  ... Continue Reading

Compressing Spiritual Growth in the Age of Acceleration

The opinion of this young man, and of our age, is that super-spirituality is most attainable by those who ingest the highest quantity of edifying media.

Rosa’s basic argument is that our western experience is a forever-accelerating economic system, reinforced politically and socially. Said another way, acceleration is the desire we feel to collapse life into a series of discrete moments and experiences — email to email, tweet to tweet, text to text, snap to snap, meeting to meeting, image to image, and... Continue Reading

7 Unspoken, Unseen Leadership Traits That Make Leaders Great

Good leadership means a leader does what is best for the team and the organization – not for his or her personal gain – regardless of who gets credit.

Leading well means sometimes what a leader does when the team’s back is turned is more important than what they do in the team’s presence. When they don’t know what the leader is thinking or how he or she will respond — they discover they can still trust the leader.   There are parts of... Continue Reading

A Church In Crisis: Reflections on the UMC

In a hotly debated and contentious decision the church doubled down on the current position and even tightened its restrictions.

I’ll admit that the General Conference captured my attention — I watched, listened, and read with great interest. Now, you may wonder why a confessional Presbyterian would be attentive to the things going on in the United Methodist Church. After all, our theology and polity are significantly different. True as that may be, what interested... Continue Reading

Talking About Technology with Your Teen

Ultimately, we want to parent our kids in their use of technology within the biblical values we’ve set for our families. But how do we do that?

If we’re going to assess how technology shapes our families—specifically, our children—we need to think about it because most kids don’t. They live in a world where devices, content, and interaction are all experientially seamless in ways that make it nearly impossible to self-assess the effect of technology on their lives.    In my last BCC... Continue Reading

The Father of the English Bible

“If God spare my life, ere many years pass, I will cause a boy that driveth the plough shall know more of the Scriptures than thou dost.”

Tyndale sought to translate the Scriptures from the original languages rather than the Latin Vulgate thus improving on the work of his faithful predecessor Wycliffe. And so began a mission upon which Tyndale would spend the rest of his life at great cost to himself.   William Tyndale (1494-1536) dedicated his life to the translation... Continue Reading