Unconditional Election

Why Some Believe and Others Remain in Their Sin

To appreciate the Canons’ teaching on unconditional election, it is important to remember that they were articulated in a specific historical context. The Synod of Dort was convened to address the controversy that broke out in the Reformed churches of the Netherlands in response to the teaching of James Arminius (1560-1609) and his followers, the... Continue Reading

Did We in Our Own Strength Confide? Martin Luther & Our Everlasting Hope

The real meaning of “A Mighty Fortress is Our God” is reserved for followers of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Luther’s hymn rings true. Christ arms his servants with spiritual armor, the power of the gospel to save, the authority of the Word of God, and his unflagging promise to build his church. His servants join the battle, but Christ secures the victory. May we find hope not in a hymn, but in Christ’s strength,... Continue Reading

Straining Gnats on American Slavery

A response to “Black and White Christians: A Higher Calling to Truth About Our Multiracial History of Slavery.”

There is no escaping the reality that in America, slavery was a one-sided affair. To suggest that blacks themselves had a culpable hand in the institutions that maintained their oppression in this country under slavery, black codes, Jim Crow, “separate but equal,” and much more, is to participate in that same line of oppression in... Continue Reading

Man Up, Men!

Deeply disheartened by the online antics of some Christian men, brothers who have reacted reprehensibly to recent books by sisters in Christ.

These brothers have reacted reprehensibly to recent books by sisters in Christ who have the courage to raise questions about the biblical integrity of particular conceptions of manhood and womanhood popular and popularized among conservative evangelicals in general and the Reformed community specifically.  And yes, it takes courage to raise such questions publicly.   I... Continue Reading

Dear Aunt Tracy: The Great End Time Debate Clarified for Busy Homemakers and Teens

Questions and answers about the millennium and about how to interpret OT prophecies of the coming Kingdom of God.

The question of the millennium is like the tip of an iceberg: All sorts of interesting materials lie hidden beneath the surface. This becomes especially clear when we take a quick look at the three main views of the end times popular among Christians today: Historic Premillennialism, Dispensational Premillennialism, and Amillennialism.   Actually, Aunt Tracy... Continue Reading

“Knee”hemiah

A church moves forward on its knees.

“Remember me, O my God, for good” (Neh. 13:31). This prayer is reminiscent of the psalm of Moses to “establish the work of our hands” (Ps. 90:17). Nehemiah shows us two things for the work God has given His church. One, he shows us pervasive prayer as the animating feature of kingdom building. Two, he... Continue Reading

Grace Now and Not Yet

Like the Old Testament saints, we too are looking forward to the revelation of Jesus.

Jesus’ second coming will be a revelation. He will appear. We shall see him as he is for we too shall be made like him (1 John 3:2). He will reveal His person in the full majesty of His glory. He shall descend in the same way that He ascended—visibly and upon clouds of glory... Continue Reading

Guidance and the Guide

God will almost certainly take us to places and along paths that we would never have chosen for ourselves.

The Bible makes it clear that guidance is not merely about the instructions God gives by way of direction for our life. Fundamentally it is all about our relationship with him as our Guide.   There seems to be a never-ending market in Christian circles for books on guidance. The reason for this, of course,... Continue Reading

Sanctification: An Introduction

Our growth in holiness is fundamentally not the result of our own effort or inherent ability to tend toward righteousness.

The important thing to remember during those days of spiritual difficulty and genuine struggle against sin is that one is not striving to become a saint. That person is already a saint because God has marked him for his own and therefore has brought him to salvation. That discouraged and beaten down Christian can look... Continue Reading

Laziness Is Profoundly Unchristian

How Free Grace Awakens Hard Work

Overcoming laziness is well within the normal scope of what God is pleased to do by the power of his Spirit in the work of sanctification. We may not be born again with a new work ethic in full form. We may still wrestle with all sorts of poor patterns from our past and upbringing... Continue Reading

Patience and Maturity

If maturity was the great goal of the apostles' ministry, then it ought to be a goal in our lives as well

We have a culture that is image-focused and impulsive, which is contrary to disciplines that are required to produce character. Consequently, we have a society that does not produce many men and women of character. There are few individuals whose moral integrity make them stand out from the crowd and are worthy of emulation.  ... Continue Reading

What Is the Great Gain of Godliness? (1 Timothy 6)

The good life is in godly contentment, not in the acquisition of more possessions and wealth.

Godly contentment is a means of great gain because its satisfaction is based not on the gifts but on the Giver. It is not constantly and insatiably seeking for more. It understands that man brings nothing into this world and can take nothing out. Therefore, believers should not act as if material possessions were the... Continue Reading

Wisdom Versus Law—What’s the Difference?

It is lawful, but is it wise?

Wisdom sayings and admonitions are not law commands per se, although keeping God’s law is surely wise. Mostly, we prefer laws since they tell us what to do. Wisdom, on the other hand, takes more effort, so we tend to shy away from learning how the world works and the reasons, benefits, and purposes of... Continue Reading

Secular Worldview

The ends justify the means.

Secular religion [is] dominated by the central doctrine of pluralism, which D. A. Carson describes: “Any notion that a particular ideological or religious claim is intrinsically superior to another is necessarily wrong. The only absolute creed is the creed of pluralism. No religion has the right to pronounce itself right or true, and the others... Continue Reading

A Plea for Calvinistic Compatibilism

An Essential Component to Biblical Soteriology

Here’s the irony: even though they seem to be diametrically opposite each other, Arminianism and hyper-Calvinism are related to each other in their opposition to evangelical Calvinism. Unable to hold on to both ends of the compatibilism spectrum, they deny one end in favor of the other. The results in both cases are devastating: Scripture... Continue Reading

You Pray Not Because You Read Not

There's a direct connection between the frequency of the study of Scripture and prayer.

The problem may not be soccer practice or business responsibilities that’s crowding out our prayer time. The problem is likely connected to a lack of time in God’s Word. Those who spend time in the Word typically spend time in prayer as well. The neglect of God’s Word precipitates a neglect of prayer.   Far... Continue Reading

All Hail the Power of Jesus’s Name

All the majesty of history’s most grandiose coronations now have been dwarfed by the heavenly finale to which the greatest of earthly ceremonies were but the faintest of shadows.

We’ve never witnessed an entire kingdom harness all its collective wealth and skill to put on a once-in-a-generation tribute to the glory of its leader. The extravagance communicates the importance of the person and his position. Royal weddings, no doubt, have their splendor, but the ascending of a new King to the throne, and that... Continue Reading

Glorify God in Your Habits: How Spiritual Disciplines Produce Real Joy

In this article, we will consider how the spiritual disciplines — or better, means of grace — produce God-honoring joy.

Over the years, I have found long lists of disciplines (whether twelve or fifteen or twenty or more) to be more discouraging than helpful. What I needed was to press in through the particular practices and find the God-given principles at work. One way I’ve found to capture the matrix of God’s grace for the... Continue Reading

Christian Reflections on Anger

“Lord, help me to love what you love, and hate what you hate.”

When we think of angry people, we think of people who get drunk and verbally or physically abuse others. True. But this is only one form of anger. Anger is a multi-headed monster that shows many disgusting facial expressions. Someone who is passive-aggressive, for example, is an angry person. Instead of having the boldness to... Continue Reading

One Conviction That Affects Every Other Conviction

In a world of complexity, both tangible and intangible, simplicity is valuable.

When it comes to matters of faith, I’ve become increasingly convinced that there is a conviction you can hold that simplifies everything else. It’s one decision of faith that brings into perspective all other decisions of faith. It is, in fact, the central point of decision for moving forward with Jesus. And you can phrase... Continue Reading

God Does Not Help Those Who Help Themselves Or Why The Reformation Still Matters

God uses crooked sticks to strike straight blows.

There may be some irregular sorts of missions and church planting efforts through which the Spirit is pleased to act. It is not our business to tell the Holy Spirit where and when he may act. It is our business, however, to be faithful to God’s Word. We know what God’s revealed will and Word are from... Continue Reading

Marriage, Singleness, and Human Flourishing for Everyone (2 Corinthians 7)

How do we flourish as sexual beings in a permissive culture?

Remember that some in Corinth thought that sexual fulfillment came not from marital sex but from sex with prostitutes, and that others thought that we’d all be better off without sex. Paul doesn’t like either view. He’s neither “anything goes” nor is he a prude. Rather, he believes that sex in marriage is beautiful. It’s... Continue Reading

8 Truths About Speech & the Christian Life

Incalculable damage can be done to people and to relationships simply by the use of sinful speech.

The letter of James is about the importance of living out a consistent Christian faith and the sad tendency for all Christians to contradict our faith by the lives we that we live.  And in this sobering passage, James (one of Jesus’ younger brothers) exposes one of the most common and most troublesome ways in... Continue Reading

Are Miracles Improbable? Rethinking What Makes Something “Likely” to Happen

The probability of a miraculous event is contingent on a person’s overall worldview and the assumptions they make about reality.

If a person believed God did not exist (or at least did not intervene in the world), then they would view the probability of a miracle as very, very low. And they’d be right. In a Godless universe, we would have to assume that Jesus of Nazareth died and rose from the dead naturally. The odds of that... Continue Reading

Good News! The Dividing Wall Is Gone

There is essentially one people of God.

Believers under the Old Testament, i.e., meaning in every epoch of redemptive history prior to the New Covenant, were all looking forward to Jesus’ coming. They were all trusting Jesus, who was revealed to them under types and shadows (Col 2:17; Heb 8 [all]). Types and shadows were revelations of future realities that we veiled... Continue Reading

Herman Bavinck on Men And Women

"People and nations were very different from each other in various times and circumstances, but the man has always been a man and the woman has always been a woman."

“Open marriage and free love, the emancipation of the woman, and the socializing of society, fail to take into account reality whether it be sound or sick. They all suffer from the illusion that by means of external measures, by means of abolishing old laws or implementing new laws, they can change human nature or... Continue Reading

Conquering Jealousy Through Christ: Our Example and Help in the Time of Need

If we are His children, we have Him, and whatever we have in this life besides is ultimately an expression of His sovereignty, wisdom, and love for us.

“We are unwilling to leave God to be the proprietor and do what he will with his own, and as a Creator to do what he pleases with his creatures. We assume a liberty to direct God what portions, when and how, he should bestow upon his creatures. We would not let him choose his... Continue Reading

What Was God Doing before Time?

It is an odd question but one that, I think, has an answer that leads to profound worship.

God, as eternal, unchanging, timeless, acts singularly and simply apart from any created conception of sequence since sequence involves change, development, growth. Such things belong to created beings, not to uncreated beings. And God is an uncreated being. So he cannot change nor work in sequence at least in ways that we conceive of sequence. ... Continue Reading

A Shepherd and His Dog

This partnership, it seems to me, illustrates the desired relationship between pastors and the Lord they serve.

On diversified farms like ours, cows would be let out to graze in pasture between milkings. A disciplined dog was a great asset in rounding them up and bringing them in. I say disciplined because it was essential for good milk production that the cows not be harried or hurried, but merely guided twice a... Continue Reading

Lloyd-Jones On Numbers

"I presented myself as one who had come among them as a stranger, had come a second time, liked everything that I saw and heard, and was obviously continuing to come."

“Members of the group began making suggestions along the lines of more music, livelier music, special musical numbers, shorter sermons, sermons not so deep, more variety in the services, etc. I was listening to all this with mounting consternation, and when, in response to the idea that the church members could help fill the galleries... Continue Reading