God Will Answer in Your Crisis

Over and over again, the Scriptures describe the faithful not as those who never saw trouble, but as those who cried out to God in their crises.

The men and women we remember as models faced the greatest times of trouble and days of distress. And God heard their cries for help. He was not deaf then — nor is he today — to the voices of his people, however great or humble, especially in crisis.   Your crisis is coming. If... Continue Reading

Medicalizing the Absurd

Our culture has rapidly medicalized sin.

Defining away sin is tragic, since it cuts sinners off from the opportunity to experience true freedom.  The only true relief from these destructive behaviors is found not in downplaying the severity of one’s moral crimes against God, but in acknowledging their foulness and clinging to the wrath-exhausting cross of our divinely appointed sin-bearing substitute.... Continue Reading

5 Myths About the Bible

The Bible tells one story of the one God who is redeeming one people in his one creation through the one Savior Jesus Christ.

  There are layers of themes that tie in this big story in a remarkable way. Some parts may have different emphases and different authors have different styles, and the story develops between the old and new covenants. But the story and details of the Bible are unified in amazing ways. The Bible tells one... Continue Reading

Education in a Fallen World

While scripture is clear on many things, it actually doesn’t speak clearly on any of the educational choices before us.

Over the last six months, I have been exploring a theology of the fall and how it relates to a variety of things we experience in this world—from rodents invading our house to how we birth our children. I truly believe that a failure to acknowledge this reality (that this is not Eden and that... Continue Reading

How to Care for Those Who Are Suffering and Grieving at Christmastime

The weight of tragedies can all feel heavier at the holidays, as the festivities acutely remind us of what we have lost.

As I walked into church that first Sunday after mom’s death, I felt as though my presence parted the Red Sea. Instead of greeting me warmly in their usual way, people stepped aside. I knew they did it because they just didn’t know what to say, yet it magnified my loneliness.   My mother died... Continue Reading

Routine Bible Reading can Change Your Life

The way the Bible does its work on our hearts is often not through the lightning bolt, but through the gentle and quiet rhythms of daily submission.

It’s not surprising Christians feel they should read the Bible more. We believe it is the Word of God. It reveals the story of redemption. It contains wisdom from God that, pressed deep into our hearts, helps us to live in ways that bring glory to Him. We see Jesus in this book, and through... Continue Reading

Does God Experience Emotional Change?

Immutability and Impassibility

If we answer this question based on popular Christian music, and even popular Christian literature, we would reply that God does experience emotional change. But the Christian creeds, the Christian tradition of theology proper (the doctrine of God), and the Protestant and Reformed confessions of faith disagree.   You may have seen a popular commercial... Continue Reading

Whose ‘…Father who art in Heaven’?

Often it is only when God takes us out of our depth and beyond our natural limits that the words he himself has put on our lips in prayer begin to resonate with us in fresh ways.

The question that needs to be asked (though seldom is, because we are too quick to assume we know the answer) is, ‘Whose Father?’ Our instinct is to say, ‘ours’ in the sense of those who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and have received his gift of salvation. After all, did not the apostle... Continue Reading

The Aquila Report Renews Annual Challenge Campaign

Your generous gift at this time will provide with the resources to continue to serve the Church.

A foundation has generously given The Aquila Report a grant of $7,000. We want to use this grant to challenge our readers to match this gift with your gifts.  As in past years, the foundation gave us permission to use this gift as a way to encourage our readers to support The Aquila Report. Last year, our readers donated... Continue Reading

Souls Always Need More Curing

Souls are cured, but they also sicken in new ways.

Who among us could be so blind to the fact that our souls are constantly in need of more curing? The reality is that most of us are not readily aware of our need for more curing–particularly when it regards a self-righteous attitude or posture toward others who are struggling with sins other than our... Continue Reading

Anti-Gay? – Get Out of the Way!

Opinions about sexuality are driving a deep wedge in society at large, in Christian colleges (and among other Christian institutions), and in the Church.

Politics is almost exclusively defined in terms of gay rights. Without apology or embarrassment, gay TV producer Ryan Murphy announced his 2020 plan for a multimillion-dollar initiative to vote out of office all anti-LGBTQ lawmakers, filling their seats in the Senate and House with pro-gay legislators. Forget economic and political theory: this is a moral crusade. Murphy,... Continue Reading

Should We Make a Priority of Diversity in Church Leadership?

Living and ministering as I do in the most diverse city in the world, this is something I have had to think about on a personal level and something my church has had to consider on a congregational level.

The Bible makes it clear that God is building a diverse church. It is God’s plan that a church begun in one place with one people would soon spread across the earth to become a church in every place and of every people. We see the ultimate result beautifully and vividly described in passages like... Continue Reading

Immutability, the Promises of God, and the Christian Life

God’s immutability breathes a joyful certainty to every believer.

These links between immutability, promises, and the Christian life are basic, but far from superficial. Probing the relevant doctrinal connections yields valuable insights about the nature of God and how we live in Him. This essay is then an exercise in peering under the surface of doctrinal connections that we usually take for granted.  ... Continue Reading

Brand Awareness in the Church

We are not in the church to make much of ourselves.

All too often, brand awareness becomes less about commending the gospel and more about commending our particular church or organisation. Far too quickly it becomes less centred on Christ and more directly centred on a particular personality (often the pastor of the church, or director of the organisation). Brand awareness in the church so often... Continue Reading

Canons Of Dort (9): The God Who Elects Unconditionally Does Not Change

Our doctrine of God is, as it is for all Christians, at the headwaters of our theology, piety, and practice.

Consider the first line of the Apostles’ Creed: “I believe in God the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth.” The first thing we say about God is, implicitly, that he is triune and second that he is almighty. The ancient Christian church knew nothing of a God who is contingent upon creatures. I doubt that... Continue Reading

My Suffering Has Not Defined Me

I wonder if some of these Christian women are longing for security and significance that’s more touchable than a faith whose substance is merely hoped for and frustratingly unseen.

Although they would never discount their Savior, they want something more tangible than their name written in an invisible book of life: Who am I? My backdrop is a Christian, but I’m a warrior, a cancer survivor. Know and respect me by that.   A strange thing happened when word first spread that I had stage... Continue Reading

I Would Rather be Treated by a Smart Turk than an Untrained Christian

The idea of a comprehensive understanding of salvation that traces the influence of redemption (which is different from creation) to all positive developments in human society and culture is nonsense.

The statement doesn’t say, but the implication is that Christians by virtue of faith, regeneration, the Bible, trust in Christ, are somehow competent to conduct scientific investigations, perform medicine, and write laws and public policy simply by virtue of their faith. These writers may assume that to work in medicine or science you need to... Continue Reading

A Plea for Pastors to Get Outdoors

As with children, so with pastors: it’s essential to our well-being to delight ourselves in God’s creation.

Known for our love of learning and study, pastors—particularly Reformed pastors—can easily spend successive days in sermon preparation, meetings, and pastoral counseling with our skin never feeling the sun and our eyes rarely beholding the spectacle of God’s creation. What free time we do have, we often spend watching TV shows and sports or engaging... Continue Reading

Chinese Pastors Make Public Declaration in Face of Persecution

“We believe and are obligated to teach all believers that all true churches in China that belong to Christ must hold to the principle of the separation of church and state and must proclaim Christ as the sole head of the church.”

But we are even more obligated to proclaim good news to the authorities and to all of society: Jesus, the only begotten Son of God, the Savior and King of mankind, in order to save us sinners was killed, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God, destroying the power of... Continue Reading

Why God’s Love is an Immutable Love

God has an infinite, eternal, unconditional love for his chosen people in Christ.

His love is infinite, greater than we can measure or understand (Ps. 103:11; Eph. 3:19), which God demonstrated by giving the gift of infinite value: “his only begotten Son” (John 3:16 KJV). His love is eternal (Ps. 103:15–17). His love is unconditional, giving the best good to those who do not deserve the least good... Continue Reading

A Different Kind of Profanity

We tend to reason that grumbling is not a big deal because it is not actually doing anything it is simply talk.

In contemporary American culture grumbling is often ingrained as a way of life and many treat it as harmless personal therapy. We tend to rename it as something like venting in order to remove the stigma. Grumbling is so habitual that we often miss the irony of our words when we stand in front of... Continue Reading

The Discipline That God Despises

There is such a thing as “ungodly discipline” — a form of hard work, persistence, effort, and commitment that drive him farther away, instead of inviting him near.

Think about the resolutions we might make a month from now. Almost all of them involve some kind of discipline. Some of us have been thinking about them since our last round failed in February or March (or sooner) — weight to lose, new rhythms in important relationships, bad patterns to break, consistency and depth in... Continue Reading

Children abusing children: Children’s Mercy see’s dangerous trend involving children and porn

The SANE program's data shows perpetratros are likely to be between 11 and 15 years-old.

“Another thing we’re noticing is a lot of those sexual assaults are violent sexual assaults, so they include physical violence in addition to sexual violence,” said Jennifer Hansen, a child abuse pediatrician at Children’s Mercy.   KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Children’s Mercy says they’re seeing a disturbing trend in child sexual assault cases. Children are abusing... Continue Reading

Love & Hurt Feelings – Refresher

“Love…does not take into account a wrong suffered.”

Someone commits a few small sins against us and look out; like the graceless insurance company, the relationship gutters. We place them on our spiritual detention list for relational prosecution. We are no longer trusting, but suspecting. We are no longer caring, but gossiping. We are no longer inviting, but ignoring. We are no longer... Continue Reading

Most Popular Bible Verses in 2018 Deal with Fear

“Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be afraid, for I am your God."

“This year’s data shows people worldwide are continuing to turn to the Bible in search of comfort, encouragement, and hope,” said Bobby Gruenewald, pastor at Life.Church and YouVersion Founder. “We’re humbled that 10 years after its release, people continue to use the YouVersion Bible App in record numbers to connect with God’s Word.”   From... Continue Reading

When Will Jesus Return?

The newspaper will not help us understand Revelation. Knowing the Old Testament and the rest of the New Testament will help us understand it.

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

God Grew Up in a Forgotten Town

The Old Testament never mentioned Nazareth.

How remarkable that our Lord, being fully God and perfect man, didn’t make for the big city first chance he got, or insist he dwell where all the action was. Rather, he gave nearly the entirety of his life and public ministry not grasping for Jerusalem, but humbling himself in Galilee — in a man-forsaken... Continue Reading

Should Christians Abandon Christmas?

I think there is a biblical response to the objection, and also an answer to the question “What would be lost?”

Many Old Testament passages look forward to the coming of our Lord, conceived in a virgin’s womb, born in Bethlehem. Matthew devotes almost two chapters to describing and explaining the event; Luke does the same. John takes us right back into eternity when he invites us to reflect on its significance. There are other passages... Continue Reading

Remembering Soviet Dissidents and the Weaponization of Psychiatry

One Soviet technique of oppression was to declare that political dissidents were insane.

Certain Soviet officials decided to increase the steel shipped to a certain area. When the planners issued orders for trains to carry double the steel to the designated destination, conscientious engineers informed them that it couldn’t be done. They pointed out that the existing train tracks could not support such great weights. The politicians had... Continue Reading

Linchpin of Life – Sanctify the Sabbath

Fundamental to the sanctified national life of divine, corporate, image-bearers is devoted Sabbath Day observance.

We are not interested in 601 pernickity, sawdust-spotting, hair-splitting, Scribal tradition additions! Nor are we enamored with a mere cessation of physical activity on the Redeemer’s Day of Rest, which Christ’s blood sanctifies to us! What we crave, surely, is exquisite, spiritual delight in the marrow and manna of Christ – which Jesus purchased at... Continue Reading