The Gospel Is The Power Of God For Salvation Conforming the Hearts of Believers To Christ

The power of God for salvation: Christ not only propitiates the wrath of God in our justification but He shattered the power of sin and death to enslave us.

The operative pattern for the Christian is to understand that corruption still exists but that we are now united to Christ. We have died with Christ and risen again in new life. The flesh still operates and entices us but we need to be on-guard and hate it. We need to be killing it. It... Continue Reading

Should Christians Practice Lent?

The tradition of Lent grew out of a fundamental misunderstanding and misapplication of Christ’s forty-day fast in the wilderness before being tempted by the devil.

Lent as we know it today did not arise out of this biblical understanding of fasting. Rather, Lent came about as a superstitious misunderstanding both of the purpose of fasting in general and the purpose of Christ’s forty-day fast in the wilderness in particular. As a result, Calvin correctly summarizes, “the superstitious observance of Lent... Continue Reading

Cessationism in a Nutshell

This particular issue is not insignificant, which is why it provokes so much debate.

The term cessationism is typically used in theology with reference to the belief that the practice of miraculous spiritual gifts ceased at the end of the time of the apostles. In contrast, the term continuationism is used with reference to the belief that the practice of miraculous spiritual gifts continue to be practiced today.   Of all the posts that I’ve put on... Continue Reading

Help! I Can’t Get Control over My Tongue

Words reflect the state of our heart; and our heart—more than anything else—reflects the state of our walk with God.

What an advantage to understand then that self-control and self-discipline are fundamentally issues of the heart. Now we know where to get to work. If we want speech that is seasoned with the salt of grace, then we need to make use of the classic Christian disciplines of grace that shape our hearts. The word... Continue Reading

Naming Names

Why It’s OK (and Necessary) to Call Out False Teachers and Fugitives from Church Justice by Name

Is the error being propagated publicly? It must be refuted publicly—in the pulpit, in print, and in person. Does it rear its ugly head after it has already been defeated? It must again be refuted, however many times it takes. Does that sound fatiguing? Discouraging? Like a losing battle? It is. But that is the... Continue Reading

Not by Faith Alone?

An Analysis of the Roman Catholic Doctrine of Justification from Trent to the Joint Declaration

Justification by faith alone has been a cause of rupture between Protestantism and the church of Rome since the sixteenth century, and this is an unchangeable fact with important theological and symbolic significance. The present-day status quaestionis of the debate is a contested issue.   Matthew Barrett, executive editor of Credo Magazine, has edited a new... Continue Reading

The Not-So-Surprising Answer to Teen Anxiety

The biggest need in youth ministry isn’t better games or cooler leaders, but deep, Gospel-rooted, Scripture-saturated, Christ-exalting theology.

What if the anxiety clung to me like a koala to a tree? That’s the reality many teenagers face these days. Researchers have noted the rise of anxiety among teenagers as reported by the New York Times, but answers as to why have been in short supply.   I was getting ready to preach on Easter morning and... Continue Reading

SEC Charges John Macarthur’s Son With Defrauding Investment Firm Clients

The federal agency announced earlier this month that MacArthur, 52, his Criterion Management Insurance Services, Inc., as well as then co-owner Robert Gravette, allegedly breached their fiduciary duty

The SEC’s complaint, filed on Feb. 12, alleges that MacArthur and the other defendants listed recommended that their advisory clients invest more than $16 million in four private real estate investment funds without disclosing that the fund managers had paid them more than $1 million from 2014 to 2017.   Mark MacArthur, a son of... Continue Reading

PCA Founding Father, Todd Allen, Called Home to Glory.

Pastor Allen was not only a founding father of the PCA, but he also preceded the PCA.

Pastor Allen noted: “In September of 1972 1 issued a call to disaffected churches and pastors to come to the Eastern Heights Presbyterian Church of Savannah, GA to consider the formation of a presbytery. This call resulted in the formation of Vanguard Presbytery—I was elected presbytery moderator and I was then invited to serve on... Continue Reading

Is the Kingdom of God Here?

The kingdom of God is not merely present possession—it is an eternal reward.

The kingdom of God can be defined as the king himself, king Jesus. We are his people, his body, and so co-rulers. We will, as Paul says, judge the angels. Yet the full expression of the kingdom in all its magnificence will come when Jesus returns to judge the quick and the dead.    Over... Continue Reading

Exercising Wisdom When Helping People in Need

Seek to treat the causes of a person’s problems, not merely the symptoms.

For someone who needs financial help, you need to ask: Where is your family? Do you have extended family that can help? Have you tried government assistance? Are you a member of a church, and have you approached your deacons?   In my time as a pastor I regularly encountered people who were in dire... Continue Reading

Living More as We Preach—Rosalind Goforth

It is useless to preach Christ yet not live Christ.

Repeatedly being confronted by our own shortcomings has a way of driving us to more urgent dependence upon the Lord. As we continue to look to and lean upon Him, by God’s grace (and to His glory) over time we come to experience a considerable degree of progress and consistency in living and serving as... Continue Reading

5 Resources for Critical Race Theory & Intersectionality

CRT/Intersectionality isn’t new, nor is it going away anytime soon.

The discussion on CRT/Intersectionality is complex and evolving. Even so, there are some good resources out there for Christians to get equipped. The following are a few helpful resources for understanding and evaluating CRT/I.   Critical Race Theory and Intersectionality (CRT/I) experienced a spike in attention last June with the approval of Resolution #9 at... Continue Reading

“Would You But Permit Me to Cast Myself at Your Feet?”

Marriage Proposal of 18th-Century Ministers

Falling in love produced more initial troubles than joys for renowned minister and hymn-writer John Newton (1725-1807). He was only 17 when he knocked at the door of the home of George and Elizabeth Catlett, dear friends of his mother. Their 13-year-old daughter Mary (known as Polly) opened the door, and John’s life was never... Continue Reading

Are You Ready to Defend the Faith?

The concern is not eloquence but the ability to rightly study, interpret, teach, and apply God’s Word.

You can’t defend the faith without having studied it. First, you must study the faith so you don’t inadvertently fall into error yourself. Heresy is unwittingly preached in evangelical churches every Sunday by ill-equipped pastors. That’s a tragedy, and you don’t want to be among their number.   A call to the ministry is a... Continue Reading

When Talking about Congregants…

Always speak the best of the congregants the Lord has entrusted to your care.

In all situations, we need to remember that each and every congregant belongs to the Lord Jesus Christ. The way we speak about him or her should be reflective of the fact that they have been bought by the precious blood of Christ.   A young church planter in a small town was getting his... Continue Reading

Humiliation & Exaltation: Christ’s Ascension

Here are four key reasons that the ascension of Christ is essential to our understanding of the gospel.

Hopefully this short introduction to the ascension makes you think about the work of Christ and the effectiveness of his humiliation and exaltation. We need to always remember that the work he does he does for us. Next time you pray towards heaven, remember that you know your prayers are going up to heaven and... Continue Reading

The LGBT Movement’s Dangerous Hypocrisy on Conversion Therapy

The Utah law adds conversion therapy to a list of practices considered to be “unprofessional conduct” for state-licensed mental health therapists.

Is sexual orientation fixed or fluid? For LGBT activists, the answer depends on what position most benefits their cause. When it comes to conversion therapy to change sexual orientation, the LGBT lobby claims that homosexuality is immutable and cannot be changed. Yet in other contexts they claim that sexual orientation is fluid, especially in adolescence.... Continue Reading

What is the Chief End of Scripture?

From God’s standpoint, everything is for His glory; from the standpoint of the experience of redemption in the soul of the believer, it is for our salvation and joy.

Among the most well-known and beloved theological formulations in all of church history are the opening words of the Westminster Shorter Catechism: “Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever.” The ultimate goal of man’s life in this created world–considered from the divine and human side–can be summarized by these two... Continue Reading

Context Matters: Always Prepared to Make a Defense

“…in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you…”

The sentence begins with: “Have no fear of them, nor be troubled…” (1 Pet 3:14b). And the sentence ends with, “…yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame” (1 Pet 3:15b-16).   Perhaps... Continue Reading

Manhood Ceremony for a Boy Becoming a Man

For Christians, this can be a wonderful opportunity to stimulate a young man or woman toward Christian maturity.

“Coming of age” ceremonies are not unique in the history of humankind, of course. Various communities around the world and throughout time have marked the transition of a child into an adult with rituals and ceremonies, possibly the most well-known of these being the Bar Mitzvah in Jewish communities. Historically, age thirteen is when a... Continue Reading

The Glory of the Cross

Given the centrality of Christ’s cross, it is vital that we think about it correctly.

We must never forget that it was never enough for Christ to be merely with us in his incarnation. To redeem us, and to undo the damage of the first man, Christ must also act for us in his life, death, and resurrection. Apart from his work, we have no redemption, no justification before God, and ultimately no hope... Continue Reading

The Dark Road From Abortion to Infanticide in American Law

This essay attempts a review of the legislative, judicial, political, and social developments of recent years in regard to abortion.

In Roe, the Supreme Court spoke of “potential life” and said that it need not decide the supposedly “difficult question of when life begins.” Even though Justice Blackmun for the Court did not know, the science of embryology knew the answer to the question then and now: “the sex of the new individual . . .... Continue Reading

Can Sickness Be Better Than Health?

The American prosperity “gospel” perpetuates lies, equating health and material blessings with our faithfulness and God’s favor, and sickness with a lack of faith.

I wondered why God wouldn’t respond to my earnest pleas, suspicious that he had cursed me, rather than blessed me. My sole focus was getting relief, so I was puzzled by verses like these: “Count it all joy my brothers when you meet with trials of various kinds” (James 1:2) and “It was good for... Continue Reading

Our Family Story

“It seems odd, that certain men who talk so much of what the Holy Spirit reveals to themselves, should think so little of what he has revealed to others.”

In one of his many books, Spurgeon made a comment well worth hearing. It comes from the preface to his book on commentaries. He had written this book to convince pastors of the need to use commentaries and to engage in deep study for their sermon preparation. Spurgeon well knew the value of reading for... Continue Reading

LGBTQ-Incompatible Means Gracious Separation is the Church’s Best Option

When denominations attempt to minimize the differences over same-sex partnerships and attempt to stay unified, the result is vicious division. Case in point is the United Methodist Church.

The beliefs and values of each side render the other side under severe condemnation. This is not simply theoretical. LGBTQ inclusion has led to splits in three major denominations already: The Anglican Church in North America formed Dec. 3, 2008, splitting from The Episcopal Church (U.S.A.). The North American Lutheran Church organized Aug. 27, 2010,... Continue Reading

What Do Hitmen and Porn Watchers Have in Common?

Anyone involved in the commissioning, planning, or execution of a crime can suffer its penalties.

If you want to benefit from a crime, you risk facing the full consequences of that crime. The man who commits acts of rape against a girl deserves to face justice. It’s for good reason that Michael Pratt is facing a long list of serious charges. But what about the people who watched that video? What about... Continue Reading

Acts 29 CEO Removed Amid ‘Accusations of Abusive Leadership’

Steve Timmis was acclaimed for his model of close church community. But former members claim that inside The Crowded House, he resorted to bullying and control.

“People were and are afraid of Steve Timmis,” said Andy Stovell, a former elder who led alongside him for 14 years at The Crowded House in Sheffield. Fifteen people who served under Timmis described to Christianity Today a pattern of spiritual abuse through bullying and intimidation, overbearing demands in the name of mission and discipline, rejection of... Continue Reading

What Is the Meaning of Marriage?

From the beginning, marriage always signified God’s union with humanity in Christ.

When God created humans in his image, he joined male to female together through marriage. The joining of the sexes carries symbolic meaning that reveals a deep mystery embedded in creation. Paul explains, “This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church” (Eph 5:32).    In Scripture marriage... Continue Reading

Context Matters: The Weaker Vessel

It behooves husbands to ensure they understand what is expected of them.

The first observation we ought to make regarding the command to husbands in 1 Peter 3:7 is the first word, “likewise.” We must ask a critical interpretive question: “Likewise to what?” That is, what is this command to husbands like? How is this command similar to that which came before?   Though it may be unpopular to... Continue Reading