The God of All Comfort

Our heavenly Father is tender-hearted, not hard-hearted.

The good news is that God comforts His own (Isa. 40:1–5). Jesus fulfills these promises (61:1–4), as He declared in His sermon in the synagogue in Nazareth (Luke 4:16–21). God’s comfort is complete in Jesus the Good Shepherd (John 10:1–21).   How well do you suffer? I am God’s adopted child, but I’m not good... Continue Reading

Obey God Rather Than Man

If the world is going to hate us, let them hate us for our gospel message.

Going along with the crowd is a natural temptation when we face hard situations. We do not want to be ugly. We do not desire to stir up trouble. It is just easier to quietly submit. Giving in to our desires to avoid a problem is not what we are called to do. We are... Continue Reading

Missing Elements in Our Discussions about Apostasy

We have to expect that while many will endure, there will be some who fall away.

We are all people of trajectories who wittingly or unwittingly, deliberately or carelessly, point ourselves along the narrow way that leads to salvation or the broad way that leads to destruction. This demonstrates the importance of having people in our lives who will confront and redirect us not just when we’ve gone past the point... Continue Reading

Cycling and Sanctification in the Christian Life

Cycling has been a great joy to me for many reasons.

Last week on a long ride along the coast, my tire went flat. I had all the replacement things I needed, but my thumb and wrist were injured, preventing me from getting the tire back on. My buddy was able to repair the tire, and we began our ride back home. Without his help I... Continue Reading

My Boring Testimony

I don't remember a time not knowing I was a sinner. Seriously, I've always understood that Christ died for me.

They are great stories of God who goes and saves His people out of their bondage. But sometimes, God is a God to us and to our children. Sometimes, He is just keeping His covenant promises. He doesn’t need a Damascus road but, rather puts us in families where, like Timothy, we’ve always known the... Continue Reading

Three Ways to Teach Teens to Think Theologically

While knowledge does not equal love, it should cultivate an increasing devotion to God and gentleness toward others.

The more your teenager knows God, the better she should know how to love and obey him. The more she understands herself, the more she should appreciate God’s love and Christ’s sacrifice for her sin. Because God is good and kind, merciful and gracious, abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, the study of this good... Continue Reading

Leaving the Faith: Reflections of a Prodigal

I lived as one who did not believe, doing what was right in my own eyes,

After a few years from my “conversion,” I walked away from the faith in 1986. While I never denounced Christianity or indicated I was no longer a Christian, my line of thinking definitely echoed what I hear Harris and Sampson utter–there was a deconstruction, if you will. But really, it was flat out rebellion.   ... Continue Reading

Overcoming the Fear of Evangelism

When we speak the pure gospel, we can be sure that we are glorifying God.

What?! Someone like Jesus is not ashamed to associate with people like us? Why professional athletes want to associate with other profession athletes makes sense. Why kings wish to associate with other kings is easy to understand. What is unfathomable beyond all things unfathomable is why the Sovereign King of kings would want to associate... Continue Reading

1 John 4:8

The Bible beautifully brings together the varied attributes of God as all belonging to His glory.

Theologians have considered the essential unity of all God’s attributes under the heading of His simplicity, though the idea here might seem to be anything but simple. The point is not that this idea is easy to communicate or comprehend (after all, it is God we are talking about), but that God’s attributes do not... Continue Reading

You Don’t Feed Sheep like Your Llama

Expository preaching is far more than just standing before people and saying, “this is what the text says, come eat.”

We under-shepherds are not infallible in our discernment of our sheep but nevertheless we need to truly know them in order to properly feed them. I’m happy about the resurgence of biblical theology and sharing how each passage of Scripture fits into the grand narrative. I’m even more ecstatic that a growing segment of pastors are... Continue Reading

Working Lights

Your good works are a crucial complement to the preaching of the word.

Christ said that the purpose of letting our light shine in good works is that that they may “glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matt. 5:16b). Ley said, “All good children seek their fathers’ honour,”[12]and so must we, if we are children of God. Poole said, “You are not in your good actions to... Continue Reading

I Believe in the Holy Spirit (John 16:5-15)

The distinctive, constant, basic ministry of the Holy Spirit under the new covenant is so to mediate Christ’s presence to believers.

The Holy Spirit has taken up residence within those of us who are followers of Jesus, and he promises never to leave. “In our darkest moment, he’s as real as the breath in our lungs” (J.D. Greear). God is so committed to us that he doesn’t just reveal himself. He doesn’t even just forgive us and... Continue Reading

Belief in a Savior that Leads to a Battle Against Sin

God sent his Son into the world to die a death to sin on my behalf and to be raised up to conquer death on my behalf.

When I feel the weariness of life and my failures, my eyes are on myself – apart from my union with Jesus. Instead, Paul would have me fix my eyes on Jesus and remember that I’m united with him until I believe it deep in my soul again. You see, we are not merely finite people... Continue Reading

Faith Without Sight Is the Only Kind There Is

The deeper in we go, the more our measure of faith.

What I am asking is not a new question. It’s plagued theologians far wiser than me for generations. If we falter in faith, does God still save us? If, in a moment of doubt, we are swept away to face God, does he see the years of faith, the confessions of sin, the profession of... Continue Reading

Does Increased Access to Knowledge Satisfy More in the Long Run?

There is a knowledge that we can desire that does turn sorrow to satisfaction.

As we look up to Christ, we are reminded that he is the Wisdom of God that came to us to open our eyes. As Paul writes to the Corinthians, And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is... Continue Reading

Why We Do It: The Convictions of a Pregnancy Care Centre

In his life, death, and resurrection, Jesus was not concerned primarily with his own interests, but with ours.

Your eyes saw my unformed substance; In your book were written, every one of them The days that were formed for me, When as yet there was none of them. Psalm 139:13-16. This conviction propels us to treat every woman who enters our doors with the utmost respect and care and to serve her to the... Continue Reading

Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary Board Selects Dr. Jonathan Master As Their Second President

Dr. Master will assume the Seminary presidency on July 1, 2020; Dr. Pipa will continue to serve as full-time Professor of Systematic & Homiletical Theology and President Emeritus

Dr. Master earned a Ph.D. in Theology from the University of Aberdeen. His research was in the field of Historical Theology, specifically the doctrine of assurance in the Westminster Confession and in the writings of Anthony Burgess. He earned both the M.Div. and the Th.M. from Capital Bible Seminary, and the B.S. in Bible at... Continue Reading

Why Did Jesus Institute the Lord’s Supper on the Passover?

The greater exodus was preceded by the institution of the Lord’s Supper.

In the later prophetic books of the Old Testament, the exodus would be viewed as the paradigmatic act of redemption. When the prophets looked toward God’s future work of redemption, they compared it to the original exodus and spoke of it in terms of a new and greater exodus.   As the book of Exodus... Continue Reading

Why Is the Church So Messed Up?

We must try to be in practice the one church that Jesus says we already are.

What stands in our way? Sometimes it’s pride and arrogance, which are sins. More often than not, however, the issue is truth: the word about Jesus that is supposed to unify actually divides believers. There have been plenty of unified communities throughout history, but unity by itself (political, special interest, or family) doesn’t testify to... Continue Reading

Perseverance in Pastoral Ministry

Often it is only by persevering through severe trials that divine blessings come to rest on a pastor’s labors.

It is extremely valuable, if not essential, for a pastor to accept a call to serve a church with a willingness and desire to spend his life in that place. This is not to say that the Lord will never move him to another place, but such an attitude will always put the burden of... Continue Reading

A Biblical Case for Natural Theology

Natural theology remains a probable argument in contrast to Scripture which provides infallible and divine truth.

Nature provides sufficient evidence to know God, morality, and providence exist. It also means that people can acquire practical wisdom and use common notions to discern right from wrong. Everyone affirms the law of non-contradiction (a first principle of reason) and that murder is wrong (a first principle of morality). Everyone can further acquire knowledge... Continue Reading

What I Learned from Visiting Paul’s Prison Cell

Seven lessons that point us to a hope in suffering that is grounded in the truth of the gospel.

I’ve read 2 Timothy many times, but after visiting the prison where Paul penned this letter, the words now seem to jump off the pages. The letter carries a weight I had never before noticed. In it, Paul sheds light on suffering and how we must view our trials as believers in Christ. We are... Continue Reading

What Is the Significance of Clouds in the Bible?

Scripture utilizes clouds to symbolize the presence of God.

The Scriptures everywhere utilize the imagery of clouds to signal the immediate presence of God in time and space. This is one of those biblical-theological themes that has not often been given due consideration. Surprisingly, the Scriptures have much to teach, by way of illustration or allusion, about the symbolic and redemptive-historical significance of clouds.... Continue Reading

Johannes Bogerman and His Powdering Speech

President of the Synod of Dordt

Johannes Bogerman had been a pastor since 1599, serving in various cities of Holland and Friesland, his homeland. There, he defended the teachings of the Reformation against the views of Anabaptists, Socinians, Jesuits, and Remonstrants who tried to influence his congregations.   “Dimittimini exiteI” (“You are dismissed, get out!”) With these imperious words, Johannes Bogerman... Continue Reading

Hell Interrupted—Part 1

The doctrine of Hell has fallen on hard times.

The Gospel itself is undermined to some degree when Hell gets the short shrift. Though some consider extinction of self-consciousness a weighty sentence for earthly wrongs, it pales in comparison to never-ending conscious torment. The good news is only as good as the bad news is bad, and in Scripture eternal happiness and everlasting joy... Continue Reading

Confronting Neopaganism in the Culture and in the Church Part 1 of 3

Many now believe that grounds for existence can only be found in the irrational, in the age-old metanarrative of pantheistic Oneism.

I am proposing to use two relatively neutral, descriptive terms, Oneism and Twoism, in order to avoid applying a narrow theological system that only a few of us could affirm. These terms seek to express the only two bedrock options found in Romans 1:25: either the worship and service of creation understood as closed, homogeneous... Continue Reading

John Wants to Be Jane: 3 Ways to Counsel a Gender-Confused Child

Will I harm my child if I don’t embrace their trans identity? What should I say in response to their confusion? How can I help my child?

While Christian parents can’t affirm their child’s misplaced desires, they have a God-given responsibility to lovingly help their child through a real struggle with gender identity. Rather than being bewildered into ineffectiveness, parents can proactively care for their child in at least three basic ways.   “Mom and Dad, can we talk?” With this seemingly... Continue Reading

Accusing An Elder

Do not receive an accusation except in front of two or three witnesses that can do something about it.

The worst thing to do is simply talk about it, rejoice secretly in the “hidden knowledge” and go tell the next person, in confidence, of course – adding your own juicy tidbits to make it sound just a little better. THAT is what Paul is forbidding. Don’t hear it, don’t receive it at all –... Continue Reading

To Go or Not to Go

Here are some considerations that may help us in deciding whether to go on short-term mission trips.

We spend billions of dollars to pay for the transportation, lodging, food, and other costs of these trips.  While these trips are usually spiritually uplifting and emotionally exhilarating, many, like me, ask: do they truly have positive benefits and could the money have been better used.   I recently returned from a mission trip to... Continue Reading

Apostasy and Pastoral Preparation for the Conflict Ahead

If pastors aren’t preparing God’s people for the conflict that is already upon us, then we aren’t doing our jobs.

We really do face a conflict in days ahead. Many Christians still mistakenly believe that electing the right politicians will somehow save them from the cost of discipleship. But it is becoming clearer every day that such will not be the case. The presidency of Donald Trump may have brought a welcome respite from some... Continue Reading