The Smallest Stage

The drums and trumpets resound in our hearts and the magnetic pull of the larger, public stage draws us away from the glory of God in the smaller, secret stage.

There is both fruitfulness and sinful desire in our engagement on the larger, public stage of vocation and opportunity. Some desires are driven by God-glorifying desire. Other passions are propelled by a vain attempt to soothe our souls with what will ultimately leave us unsatisfied. Therefore, if we are to navigate these various stages in... Continue Reading

Jesus: Baptism Is Death

What is there about baptism that lends it to being used as a figure for death?

Circumcision was an illustration of our inability to save ourselves. We need God to save us. We need bloodshed to save us. We need a new (circumcised) heart. We need a new life. Only God gives new life, true faith, the Savior, and salvation. Baptism illustrates those very same truths. We do not baptize ourselves.... Continue Reading

Greenville Seminary Announces Presidential Succession Plan

Dr. Joseph Pipa will retire as president of the seminary on July 1, 2021.

With respect to the formation of the Committee and its charge to seek a successor to Dr. Pipa, the Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Mr. C. Fredric Marcinak, III, stated that “The members of the Board, the faculty, and staff of the Seminary, the distinguished alumni of this institution, and the current student body... Continue Reading

Even Never Trump Evangelicals Might Be Swayed by the Supreme Court

Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination is one sign of unity among divided denominations.

Now, that tense stand-off seems like a lifetime ago. Jack Graham was one of the pastors who signed onto the ERLC’s “coalition” letter in support of Kavanaugh, along with Ronnie Floyd, another Trump adviser and former Southern Baptist Convention president. “I was glad to do it, because it shows the unity … around something very... Continue Reading

The Preliminary Principles in the PCA Book of Church Order

The Preliminary principles are generally recognized as having been authored by the Rev. John Witherspoon.

“Since the 16th Century Protestant Reformation, there have been numerous Reformed denominations with varying forms of church polity — some more hierarchical and others more democratic. These eight principles were originally adopted by the first American General Assembly in 1789. Our American Presbyterian forefathers had come to America with fresh memories of the persecutions under... Continue Reading

‘Where Two or More are Gathered’ Doesn’t Make a Church

The context has everything to do with how the church operates – but not in the sense it is often conveyed.

What people want this verse to say is that any time two or more Christians are gathered, there’s a church, because Jesus is in their midst. On a closer examination of the whole passage, we find this text to specifically deal with the practice of church discipline.   I can’t recall the number of times I’ve... Continue Reading

Willow: Why The Women Went Public?

The women want Willow’s elders and WCA Board to be examined, not least for its most recent announcements.

We need to remind ourselves of the significance of what we are watching: this case will be a textbook case for decades on the failure of a church — its Elders, its Boards —  to listen to women, to evaluate accusations, and to have policies in place for handling a one-of-a-kind world-influencing leaders. How the Elders handled this case... Continue Reading

Do You Struggle With Unbelief? God Has Good News For You…

Do you struggle with unbelief? Ask Jesus for more faith! He’s just waiting to give it to you.

All of us have to fight the good fight of faith. That’s the Christian life. Most of us struggle to have faith at times. We have an enemy who challenges our faith every day. We need to cling to God’s word and humble ourselves, cast our anxieties on Jesus and ask him for more faith.... Continue Reading

Thinking Like Jesus

The world has never experienced such sound thinking as was manifested in the mind of Christ

“I do not think for a moment that any of us, as long as sin is in us, will never become perfect in our reasoning. Sin prejudices us against the law of God for as long as we live, and we have to fight to overcome these basic distortions of the truth of God.”  ... Continue Reading

The Apostle’s Creed: The Third Day He Rose Again From the Dead

“Progressive” Christians who deny the Resurrection deny the gospel and do not confess a true faith

“If the resurrection is part of such a brief presentation of the Gospel in 1 Corinthians 15, then it also stands, systematically, that it is key to our understanding of who Jesus is and what He did while on earth: our Christology.”   The Apostles’ Creed has long been admired, memorized, and confessed in worship... Continue Reading

Themes in Puritan Theology: Creation and Providence

Let’s open up the external work of God in creation and providence, respectively, according to the Puritans

First, God made all things out of nothing and all very good. William Ames (The Marrow of Sacred Divinity, 1627) observes that creation “respects the whole world, that is, whatsoever doth exist besides God.”  He created, notes Thomas Watson, ex nihilo, “without any pre-existent matter . . . out of the womb of nothing” and... Continue Reading

Reading The Word

One of the surest ways to misinterpret a document is to disregard the background in which it was written

“The main thrust of WLC 156 is not the limitation on who can read Scripture publicly, but the duty of all to read Scripture privately and with their family. Here, again, we see that the historical background to the Westminster Assembly provides insight into why this portion of the answer is given such prominence.”  ... Continue Reading

What Being (Almost) Kicked Out of McDonald’s Taught Me about Those Outside the Church

When I entered McDonald’s with my Wendy’s bag, I was the outsider. But at church, I’m the warden.

“Maybe they never stepped foot inside a church so they have no idea what the Bible teaches about anything. Either way, they’re the person walking into McDonald’s with a Wendy’s bag. They haven’t fully bought into church or God, but they want to come anyway. And if you’re a true warden of your church, you... Continue Reading

Contentment Is Hard

Why is it so difficult to resist the urge to grumble? And why does it matter?

“Even a skim-read through the book of Exodus will expose the ancient Israelites as habitual grumblers and complainers. God rescued them from slavery to be his people, but they had short and selective memories, especially when they were hungry.”   Like most people, I’ve been through hard times in my life. Sometimes they’ve stretched on... Continue Reading

4 Tips for Reading the Bible When It’s Difficult

The Bible can be understood by anyone with energy, patience, and wise instruction

“It has often been said that the Bible is more like a library than a book. This is an important point. It was written over twelve centuries with many writers, under many kings of Israel, as well as during exile under three pagan empires.”   One of the difficulties of reading the Bible is the... Continue Reading

Your Morning Will Come

No one is better equipped to speak to our fears than Jesus Christ

“One morning, when my daughter was so weak from battling cancer that she could not walk, and our family was more exhausted than we have ever been, my wife read a Charles Spurgeon quote to me from the book Beside Still Waters. She read it through tears. They were tears of sorrow, tears of comfort,... Continue Reading

Pastor, Don’t Waste Your Exclamation Points

Just remember that if everything is exciting, nothing is.

If you’re one of those rah-rah guys firing on all emotional cylinders for everything from bake sales and the book table to baptisms and baby dedications, you create an equality between minutiae and missional milestones that can be disorienting, and ultimately dulling.    Generally speaking, a church will over time become affected by, influenced toward,... Continue Reading

Biblical Scholars Warn Against False Teaching in Human Rights Campaign’s LGBT Guide for Evangelicals

Some biblical scholars are warning against a new guide published by a prominent gay rights organization geared toward evangelicals who identify as LGBT, saying it amounts to "false teaching."

Last week, the Washington-based Human Rights Campaign released “Coming Home to Evangelicalism and to Self,” a 32-page guide containing resources, advice, and testimonials for evangelical Christians who are “on the journey toward living fully in their sexual orientation, gender identity and expression and in their faith and its traditions,” according to its website.   Some... Continue Reading

How Romantic Comedies are (Still) Destroying the World

I doubt whether we are sufficiently attentive to films bearing the light-hearted label “romantic comedy,” especially when these “romcoms” involve children.

Humanity-destroying ideas might have an easier time invading and gaining our heart’s approval if they come to us boasting of good things: laughter and love. If we knew that a box in the garage contained loose razor blades, we probably wouldn’t tear into it recklessly like we would a wrapped birthday present. Romcoms promise the... Continue Reading

What Genesis 1:1 Teaches us About Our Sexuality

You must begin by understanding the importance, the life-shaping significance, of the first four words of the Bible: “In the beginning, God” (Gen. 1:1)

With those words everything in life is given its shape, purpose, and meaning. But for the purpose of the topic of sex, these words do something important. They destroy the validity of dividing life into spiritual and secular. This division has opened to us doors of danger as we think about sex. It’s allowed us... Continue Reading

Differences Between Salvation in the Qur’an & the Bible

“What must I do to be saved?” (Acts 16:30).

Every system, philosophy, and religion proposes some form of salvation. They all articulate a problem which must be solved in order for a person to experience salvation. What matters most is what a system teaches about salvation. Whenever we seek to understand a spiritual system, this is where we need to go. What must a... Continue Reading

Leaders: Bring the Good Stress, Not the Bad Stress

Just as some controlled amounts of stress on your muscles while working out builds muscle, stress on your mind builds your capacity to handle more stress.

Bottom-line: stress can be good. Wise leaders leverage good stress for the sake of those they lead and the mission they are leading. But how can you tell the difference between good stress and bad stress? Here are three differences between good stress and bad stress.   “Working for him is stressful.” “Her leadership stresses... Continue Reading

Basil of Caesarea and His Leprosarium

Basil’s work was revolutionary in a Christian context, as he reinterpreted the prevalent drive to monasticism as a commitment to help others rather than as a life of seclusion.

In a day when charities abound, it’s difficult to understand how revolutionary Basil’s work was in his day. While charity was certainly extolled by some Greco-Roman philosophers and applied in some measure by the Roman government, the idea of giving of one’s properties and time without expecting anything in return was still generally alien.  ... Continue Reading

Don’t Underestimate the Enemies of Your Soul

Unless we engage it seriously, we will not be serious players in it, and may be swept away by it.

Demonic powers are in no way impressed by our intellect or other abilities. What impresses them is the strength of the Spirit of God and the weapons he provides. And these have divine power to destroy the works of the devil and cause us to stand firm in the evil day (2 Corinthians 10:4; 1 John... Continue Reading

The Rise of Woker-Than-Thou Evangelicalism

Evangelical thought leaders boast of their wokeness and vie with one another to be woker-than-thou.

In many ways, today’s Woke Evangelicals are merely an echo of their Emergent forebears. The central threads of their rhetoric are identical, and many of their goals are similar—starting with their campaign to convince other evangelicals that gospel clarity alone will never reach a hostile culture. To do that, they say, we must strive for postmodern... Continue Reading

The Final Frontier in the Sexual Revolution?

Those within the #pedosexual movement feel comfortable coming forward to advocate for the normalization of their behavior because it is their orientation that they should be free to exercise.

…recommendations “put forward in a forthcoming chapter on the psychology of social attitudes towards paedophilia and their links to abuse prevention.” Among those recommendations was this statement: “We need a re-evaluation of how we view paedophilia at a societal level. That is, there is a case to be made to categorise the stigmatization and public... Continue Reading

In Reply To A Beloved Brother Regarding The Kavanaugh Scotus Nomination

Black Christians care about matters of biblical justice (Lev. 19:15-18) they also care about other issues as well, such as taxes, school choice, terrorism, and the economy.

Any assumptions that Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the United States Supreme Court would be judicially, legislatively, or politically detrimental to black Christians are, in my humble opinion, unfounded and unwarranted. As I stated earlier, black Christians are not a monolithic group of people who view every social issue through the same ideological prism (the... Continue Reading

A Plea for Tolerance or a Plan for Liberal Takeover—Which?

Should all sorts of views be accepted in the church, or should the principles and practices of the historic Christian faith be required of all those ordained to church leadership?

These two questions, and their sermons, were the opening salvos in the modernist-fundamentalist battles of the twenties and the thirties in American Presbyterianism: (1) “Shall the Fundamentalists Win?” was preached by Harry Emerson Fosdick at First Presbyterian Church of New York City on May 21, 1922, pleaded for tolerance of more liberal views of Christianity by... Continue Reading

US Pastor Denied Release In Latest Trial Hearing In Turkey

US minister Andrew Brunson’s request for release from a Turkish prison denied.

Andrew Craig Brunson, a 50-year-old evangelical pastor from Black Mountain, North Carolina, was arrested in the aftermath of a 2016 coup attempt for alleged links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, as well as a network led by U.S.-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom Turkey blames for the unrest.   ANKARA, Turkey (AP)... Continue Reading

5 Observations About The Turn Inward

Five observations about the tragic results when churches turn inward, sending the congregation on a one-way journey to obscurity.

And other institutions don’t have what Christian ministries do have, like: the resurrection power of Christ, the indwelling Holy Spirit, the love of Jesus Christ in their hearts and the incredible privilege of prayer.  The turn inward is deadly, imperceptible, natural, powerful and fortunately, reversible. Does your ministry need to reverse the turn inward?  ... Continue Reading