Missing the Mark
The misconception is that sin is something we do, when it is actually something we do not do.
Most believers have the wrong idea about sin. They have no problem assigning the title of “sinner” to a murderer or drunkard, et cetera, but those of us who are respectable citizens, what about us? Most of us would probably think that sin has not very much to do with us, at least not like... Continue Reading
A Personal Family Catechism
Encouraging families to catechize their children.
Editor’s note: Brad Winsted wrote this article many years ago when his family was young and at home. His adult children still recall how “special” it was to have a unique “Family Catechism.” Brad offers this approach to encourage parents to catechize their children. As Presbyterians and in the reformed tradition we are intrinsically... Continue Reading
Let us not forget that self-control is an often-forgotten fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22).
How can we practice self-denial in such a me-centered culture? How can we become more self-controlled if we are seldom forced to tell ourselves ‘no.’ Perhaps it’s healthy to put ourselves in situations where we have to practice self-control by denying ourselves. “Why am I doing this?” It’s a question I often ask myself... Continue Reading
The Real Problem With Be Kind, Please Rewind Theology
The Maker of heaven and earth made you, and knows your name, and calls you to be in a relationship with him.
The most common explanation I’ve heard which is designed to blunt the force of election is the be kind, please rewind form of it. This explanation says that God has looked down the tunnels of time, and saw what you would do (based on your own free will of course), and then rewound the tape,... Continue Reading
What is Preaching?
Preach the Gospel, the whole counsel of God, His Law, His promises, His commandments, and His love.
The preacher that “depends upon what he reads in the newspapers for his message on Sunday” (69), making comments on political matters or anything he likes is a topical preacher. Similarly, a therapeutic preacher’s primary goal or focus is to make the people feel happy and positive about their lives. Both are prime examples of... Continue Reading
Proverbs: A Christian View
The biblical proverbs address all the dimensions of life and offer wisdom to navigate successfully.
This is the “promise” that the book of Proverbs holds out for us. Proverbs are not promises – proverbs are pithy sayings that condense general principles for wise and fruitful living. But in directing us to wise living it does hold out a happy prospect. Notice it again (Prov.1:1-4): 1 The proverbs of Solomon, son of... Continue Reading
Christ’s Ascension and the Present Virus
We can lift our eyes to heaven, not as a pie in the sky, but as a reality that has already begun.
Christ told his disciples that he had to leave in order to send his Spirit, who gave them power to be his witnesses in this world, who has been enriching the church with all the gifts that are necessary for the ministry of the gospel, and who keeps abiding and working in every believer, comforting,... Continue Reading
Miss. Pastor Wins ‘the Voice,’ Sings Christian Song ‘I Can Only Imagine’ in Finale
“Pastor, we love seeing your journey throughout this whole season,” coach John Legend told him.
Shelton praised him for “the connection you have with people.” In the finale, Tilghman also performed alongside his coach Shelton the John Mellencamp hit “Authority Song,” The minster was surrounded by his wife of 21 years and their eight children as host Carson Daly named him the winner of the singing competition. Todd Tilghman, a... Continue Reading
Jonathan Edwards & Smallpox
Lessons from Edwards’s Fatal Experiment
Number nine of Edwards’s famous resolutions says this, “Resolved, to think much on all occasions of my own dying, and of the common circumstances which attend death.” Puritans have often been criticized by their constant talk of death. This apparent morbidity was fueled by their view of themselves as pilgrims towards a better city. Edwards... Continue Reading
God’s Answer to Human Suffering
The Cross of Christ and Problem of Pain
The cross appeared to reveal Roman might and Jesus’s weakness, yet paradoxically Christ conquered in seeming defeat, he completed his mission in apparent loss, he saved his people when it looked like he couldn’t save himself.7 This is the cruciform power and wisdom of God that turns conventional wisdom on its head and offers true... Continue Reading
Steven Pinker and WaPo are Wrong. Belief in Heaven Isn’t a COVID Death Wish.
We are all too familiar with the hackneyed charge that thoughts of heaven are delusional. But according to Steven Pinker, they're malignantly so. That’s a new twist.
Essentially, believing in heaven makes those evangelicals impatient with life, eager for death. If you’re inclined to judge this reasoning as dumb on stilts, remember really smart people said it. They are right. You are wrong. Regardless, there is a spectacular demonstration of ignorance at work here. There should be an algebraic equation to... Continue Reading
“In These Uncertain TImes” is the Theme of Entire Human History
It seems hardwired into our DNA to fear what we don’t know.
No politician, health official, or vaccine can provide us with certainty. We shore up the best we can while learning to make peace with ambiguity. We shake hands with uncertainty. As a parade of commercials open with, “During these uncertain times …” eyebrows across the country must raise in a level of incredulity as... Continue Reading
We must discern if the words we read are aligned with truth, whether they are in a book or on Facebook.
Just as we go to farmer’s market to buy choice produce, so we must also choose wisely when it comes to our reading, our friends, and where we worship on the Lord’s Day, the market day of the soul. I remember a video we watched when our daughter was young. The little boy snuck... Continue Reading
From Pulpit to Pew
In retirement I have not so much switched roles as I have changed vantage points, from pulpit to pew.
Deciding on sermon series is no longer on my plate. Now, I am on the other side of the pulpit, a parishioner in the pew pulling up to the table to be fed. And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.... Continue Reading
Only Christ Can Reconcile Blacks and Whites, and Everybody Else, With God
The world seeks to divide that which is whole and make whole that which is divided.
Secular liberalism, supported by theological liberalism and its replacement of the gospel of Jesus Christ with the social gospel, not white racism, stands behind the bitter fruit of racial tension and minority poverty that our society must deal with today. I wrote my book, Race in America: Liberalism’s Attack on Minorities and the Church, from... Continue Reading
Four Reasons to Plant a Church and One Question to Ask
Where many would tend to ask, “Why plant a new church?” It might be better to start asking, “Why not?”
We need more churches, having more gospel faithful churches is a good thing for any area. In my context, having a conservative evangelical church in an area without one is a good thing. You may have picked up that we have plans to plant a new church in Rochdale, which is north east of... Continue Reading
PCA Report of the Ad Interim Committee on Human Sexuality
The Report of the Ad Interim Committee on Human Sexuality to the 48th Presbyterian Church in America General Assembly
To the 48th General Assembly, The following Ad Interim Committee Report has been prepared for the 48th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in America originally scheduled for June 2020. As a consequence of the postponing of that Assembly due to the COVID-19 pandemic, our Report will now not be officially presented to the General... Continue Reading
5 Myths About The Armor Of God
According to the Bible, the Christian life is not a picnic but a battle, an armed struggle against a powerful adversary.
This assumption, however, misses the fact that each of the pieces of armor that Paul describes has a rich background in the Old Testament, where they quite literally describe “God’s Armor”: the armor that God himself dons to rescue his people. It is the Old Testament and not the Roman legionary that provided Paul with... Continue Reading
It’s Time for A Protestant Reformation 3.0
The influence of the Reformation has in essence disappeared in our time; it needs to be recovered.
The ultimate model for the rule of nations is found in the Ten Commandments, especially as it is revealed in its application in both the Old and New Testaments. The ceremonial laws of the Old Testament were fulfilled in Christ, but the general equity of the Law of God, with its abiding principles, is still... Continue Reading
Police Power v. People Power
Wrestling with and finding the balance between the powers of the police and the people.
In pandemics and any situation when the government has too much power—which is most situations these days—society is generally worse off when government officials make decisions that should have been left to the citizens. As Christians, this should make sense to us because oppressive actions by government do not reflect the Christian liberty under which... Continue Reading
Courageous Joy in Confinement
“The coronavirus is God’s call to his people to overcome self-pity and fear, and with courageous joy to do good works of love that glorify God.”
Remember Frodo’s comment to Gandalf? Frodo said, “I wish the Ring had never come to me. I wish none of this had happened.” Gandalf gently replied, “So do all who live to see such times, but that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time... Continue Reading
Knowledge of God in Practice (part 2)
Theology is eminently practical, and at the same time, theological.
It’s a theological statement to say, “I love my wife,” but it is equally a theological statement to say, “I love God” because such statements arise from Scripture itself (Matthew 22:37-40; Ephesians 5). Sometimes we may not always see the direct connections between specific conviction statements (the procession of the Spirit) or specific practices (feeding... Continue Reading
Justification and Roman Catholicism
The history of Rome’s understanding of justification is itself variegated and in no way lends itself to an easy retelling.
There’s a story about an argument over justification by faith, held during the two-decade deliberation of the Council of Trent, where “the Bishop of La Cava wrenched the beard of the Cretan Bishop of Chironissa, who had commented that he was either a knave or a fool for sounding a bit like Martin Luther on... Continue Reading
After the Virus: The Deluge?
We need to practice what we preach with respect to loving our neighbor, even when our neighbour has become our enemy.
We also need to see beyond the myopia of the current crisis to its long-term consequences. What awaits us when the pestilence passes? What sort of world will we be living in? Will the lessons learned lead to the restoration of lost liberties or will we find that the freedoms we relinquished in this time... Continue Reading
Of Oceans, Thimbles, and Talking to Your Kids about Death
Few things are more comforting to a child than knowing that it’s ok to talk about their fears.
I realize that talking about death, like talking about sex, is not the easiest for most parents. That’s ok. Both have a huge impact on our lives and we are right to be reverently cautious when we speak of powerful and intimate things. But that doesn’t mean we should refrain from speaking about them openly... Continue Reading
Thinking Like Jesus
The world has never experienced such sound thinking as was manifested in the mind of Christ.
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. But if we love God, not only with all of our hearts, our souls, and our strength, but also with our minds (Mark 12:30), we will... Continue Reading
Does God Judge Nation-States Today?
We must be exceedingly careful about speaking for God, as he could be doing something entirely different than we think.
Maybe the place to begin is with a premise: if we believe the Christian teaching that God is just, all-wise, and the creator of all things, then it is His prerogative to judge human beings. The bracing claim that Christianity brings to us is that we are all sinners, that none of us have lived... Continue Reading
“My Soul Refuses to Be Comforted”
A Song for Long Nights in Darkness
Something happens that shakes our confidence in what God has said, causing us to waver over what we’ve understood to be true about him or his character. This uncertainty produces anxiety and fear. In an effort to quell our anxiety, our mind becomes an incessant investigator, diligently searching for answers that will restore our confidence... Continue Reading
The World is Not my Parish
My job is to be faithful to the Lord Jesus in the place he has put me, with the gifts he has given me, to serve the people he’s given me to love.
Especially in these days of online services, there is a temptation for me to think the whole world is my audience! But no! my primary responsibility in a smaller sphere of relationships with people whom God has given me to love. We quote our heroes for inspiration. Or we sometimes mis-quote them, but nevertheless,... Continue Reading
Social Media: When a Distraction Starts to Feel Like an Obligation
When it comes to social media, the benefits rarely outweigh the costs.
Social media has a way of making us feel like we have more on our plate than we do, and it gives us next to nothing in return. It can also give us a false sense of accomplishment because we think we somehow have met our social media obligation. The problem is, in the end,... Continue Reading