When It’s Time to Leave a Church
What are the legitimate reasons for leaving a church?
Important decisions should only be made after diligent prayer. Leaving a church is one such decision. Pray about your motives, duty, and relationships. Pray to guard your heart (Proverbs 4:23). Pray for wisdom (James 1:5). Pray for submissiveness to God’s will (Colossians 1:9). I detest church hopping. Yet I accept the fact that there are... Continue Reading
There He Stood: Luther at Worms
He stood there before the powers of the world and the church with remarkable courage and commitment.
He committed his cause to God, who alone could help him ultimately. He did not know if he would live or die. But he had confidence that he had served the Lord faithfully according to His Word and had preached the gospel of Jesus Christ. On April 18, 1521, Martin Luther stood for the... Continue Reading
The Holy Spirit and Production of Scripture
God’s Holy Spirit assured that what was written was exactly what God wanted.
Every scripture has two authors: a human and a divine. God is fully and completely the author of every word of scripture, but so is each human author of the text. The true humanity of the authors is on full display as each exhibits unique interests and writes in a unique style. The divine authorship... Continue Reading
Do Not Nod Your Head to Lies
If they can get you to say that “biological sex” is a fiction and we don’t know how to tell the difference between boys and girls, they can get you to say anything.
We’ve now reached a point in this country where a major news organization is making statements they know to be false—statements which every one of their readers knows to be false—and not only are people nodding their heads in agreement with those statements, but they’re also shaming anyone who would dare speak up against them.... Continue Reading
One Another Texts: Comfort One Another
Obeying God’s command to encourage your brothers and sisters in Christ, will require you to consistently use the tools God has given you in a considered manner.
Where does encouragement come from? It comes from God the Father, the source of “all comfort.” He extends this comfort to us in the midst of our own personal suffering and struggle. Thus, in order to comfort, you must know what it is to be comforted by God. Sticks and stones make break my... Continue Reading
The nature of the atonement is central to Christian life and theology.
Let’s remember that Christ not only came to offer himself as a sacrifice for sin. This he did, but he also died a warrior death, “that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to... Continue Reading
Should Your Church Turn Off the Live-Stream When COVID is Over?
Let’s seize this opportunity and reach the world for Christ through online ministry.
We rightly rejoice as this season of upheaval in our churches draws to an end. But the temptation will be to slide back into old habits. I’m begging you, though, please don’t lay aside your online efforts. Redouble them. It’s been a year since COVID-19 first drove churches from their buildings. For many churches,... Continue Reading
Johann Gerhard—Pastor and Teacher in Troubling Times
Gerhard is considered the foremost Lutheran theologian of Lutheran Orthodoxy.
Most of Gerhard’s life was spent during the devastating Thirty Years’ War, and his theology was shaped in the crucible of conflict, suffering, and destruction, producing a body of works that is both well-thought and practical. Johann Gerhard is often seen as the third pillar of the Lutheran tradition, after Martin Luther and Martin... Continue Reading
Eschatological Hope and Fulfillment
All the sadness, sorrow and pain that belong to the present order of things will cease.
When the bride of Christ lives out of an eschatological hope that looks forward to the new heaven and earth, to her long-awaited wedding day, and to her home in a new creation temple, she prays. Strikingly, this is where the book of Revelation ends. In Revelation 22, we find two distinct prayers of Christ’s bride…... Continue Reading
Christian Imagination is Not Imaginary Christianity
The term imagination has been used by theologians, philosophers and artists to refer to something real, not unreal.
Man is an imaginative creature. Perhaps this is part of what it means to be in the image of God. Unlike animals, we continually turn creation into symbols: words, paintings, stories, poems, songs, sculptures, miniatures, structures, decorations. What are we doing? We turn the raw stuff of creation into things that carry meaning. We create... Continue Reading
The 50/50 Problem: How the Internet Is Distorting Our Reality
The outcomes of our internet-saturated society have begun to manifest themselves in politically obvious ways.
More than 50 percent of Americans spend more than 50 percent of their waking hours living in virtual, artificial worlds rather than the given, created one in which their bodies exist. The 50 percent threshold represents a tipping point that renders dialogue, deliberation, civic friendship, and compromise extraordinarily difficult in any society. Many causes... Continue Reading
Nature and Apologetics
Apologetic approaches will increasingly become an important commodity for Reformed churches
In the current environment, one is hard pressed to imagine a national broadcast institution like the BBC asking a Christian to explain the intricacies of his faith. Nevertheless, Lewis remains an important figure in the apologetic use of natural law, particularly in the way he demonstrates God as the divine Lawgiver, and couples this with our... Continue Reading
Does Jesus Care About Syntax?
Does Jesus care about syntax? The arrangement of His parable-set in Luke 15 suggests He does.
Syntactically, Jesus structures all three parables in the set to feed into that final scene. If the question is, “Why do I eat with the sinners and tax collectors?” The answer comes in the third parable: Because “it is fitting to celebrate and be glad, for” these sinner and tax collectors (like the younger brother... Continue Reading
Reflections on the Christlike leadership of John Stott
"He lived what he preached”—that is perhaps what we most need to remember and learn from as we confront the heartbreaking truth that a number of Christian leaders have failed in this area.
Uncle John’s last lesson to me about service came for me on the day in 2011 that he died. There was a rota amongst the church staff to go down to his residential home and it happened to be my day to go on 27th July. That morning I got there at about 10am. The... Continue Reading
Social Justice or Scriptural Justice?
Modern social justice ideology is not the same as biblical justice.
The truth is, there is a lot of talk today about things like “social justice”. It is often rather fuzzily defined – if defined at all. It is more meant to give you a nice buzz – to make you feel good. It is often little more than a motherhood statement, a mantra to sway... Continue Reading
Asking the Right Questions
I want to suggest one last question that is the most important of all... The question is: “Does God exist?”
In our search for God, where we start will often determine where we end. If you search for God only to show yourself that He is not there, then you will not find Him. If you ask grand theological questions only to show yourself what a spiritual person you are, then you’ll never obtain answers. But... Continue Reading
“Oh, That My People Would Listen to Me!”
The Lord cares for, protects, guides, shelters, all those who put their trust in Him.
The Lord defends his people from their enemies. Provides meat in due season. Cares for the nursing babe, the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow. But those who will despise His instruction and not listen to His Word with faith and exaltation of His name, will be utterly destroyed. And it happened after this... Continue Reading
Silent Majority No More
Believers need to develop a doctrine of suffering that embraces the challenges of the culture.
Culture has shifted from embracing a Judeo-Christian worldview to one that repudiates every traditional expression related to biblical principles. Basic ideas regarding anthropology—gender, race, ethics—now face challenges for validity with each passing news cycle. The result has witnessed a retreat for many Christians. Rather than being salt and light, many now believe silence is the... Continue Reading
Why Compromising With The Equality Act Falls Short
We don’t have to join every protest or hold every sign. However, at the very least, we must not say what is not true.
In light of the very real threat posed by the Equality Act, a number of Christians have offered compromise solutions, most notably the Fairness for All Act. FFA would carve out exemptions for churches and certain religious organizations, though it’s unclear which ones, but it would not protect the religious freedoms of private Christian citizens who are... Continue Reading
A Frequent Expression of Love
Just as wives need constant expressions of loving commitment from their husbands, so does Christ’s Bride need her Lord’s frequent communion.
We so easily forget our Lord without a frequent reminder of Him and his benefits to all our senses, without which we also are so prone to wander and forsake Him. I remember one young husband and father say to our Session that he was thankful for weekly communion here, because (besides the exegesis of... Continue Reading
The Pornification of Society
Besides acknowledging the harm that pornography inflicts on the individuals involved, few people consider pornography’s effect on the community.
Compared to pulling out one’s phone and watching titillating videos, taking a person out and having a conversation is difficult and uninteresting. Compared to the easy pleasure of pornography, the lasting pleasure of a happy marriage or even a job well-done is relatively pointless. Compared to the stress-free satisfaction of virtual sex, the hard-won satisfaction... Continue Reading
Confessional Discipleship (Part 2)
If we adopt the long–term approach to discipleship, we will be less compelled to rush through the content of what we are teaching.
Christian service will also flow out of Christian discipleship. If we merely program service in the local church, we will end up creating a church full of Martha’s (Luke 10:38–42)—men and women who are torn in every direction and overwhelmed by the desire to serve others. As Burk Parsons has helpfully explained, “Many churches have... Continue Reading
Just Who Did Isaiah See On The Throne?
How can we not but conclude that Isaiah saw the whole Trinity represented to him in a vision?
Herman Witsius says that “Isaiah saw the whole Trinity, like a king sitting on a throne” and points not only to the more prominent passage of John 12:41, but also points to Acts 28:25-27, where Paul quotes the same prophecy about the hardness of heart from Isaiah 6 and says, “The Holy Spirit was right... Continue Reading
The Soviet government was not satisfied with killing Lohmeyer. They were determined to erase records about his life.
“[God] made me as one fettered, in order to fetter me to himself and to you, and in so doing he gave me the gift of inner freedom from all the mortal burdens of my life. He did all this to me, an innocent victim in the world’s eyes, the martyr of a good cause—and... Continue Reading
God Speaks, We Respond
Worship is not simply “performing” for God—that actually is what characterizes pagan worship.
Communing with God is like eating with someone around your table in your dining room. In that kind of setting, you can let your guard down; there’s no need for pretense. Dining with someone is an opportunity for you to listen to them, to get to know them, to enjoy their company. It is an... Continue Reading
The Passover’s and Christ’s Exodus
We are beyond the promises, types, and shadows of the Old Testament, standing instead in the fulfillment, antitypes, and substance of the New Testament.
In Christ, the story comes to its climax. The sad and painful story that began in the garden of Eden with sin and exile finds its joyful end in the Son sitting at the right hand of God and waiting for the day that He will return and bring us to the mansions (John 14:1–3) that He... Continue Reading
The Divine Word of God
The Jews were very familiar with the idea of the “word of God” as a personal manifestation of God in his Divine Angel, sent from “the LORD of hosts”
We have seen that Hebrews presents the Bible as God’s powerful Word, but it immediately blurs the distinction between the Bible and God, even the Bible as “the word” and Jesus as “the Word”. There is a Person behind all the ‘words’ of the Bible, who is himself ‘the Word’. They are essentially his ‘words’.... Continue Reading
Why Do We Add To Our Trouble?
We make our way more difficult when we give ourselves over to sin. Every sin is a weight, every vice a heavy load to our souls.
God has called each of his people to run a race, a race that for the great majority of us will be a marathon more than a sprint. This is no small calling, no brief task, no little labor. We run best when we run light, free from the burdens of sin, free from the... Continue Reading
Put to Death What is Earthly in You
Those faux-Christian leaders attempting to widen the narrow gate wider than Christ set it are doing a disservice to those they are misleading.
The words “Put to death” translates the word νεκρώσατε the Aorist, Imperative, Active form of νεκρόω (nekroō) which the KJV renders as “mortify.” This command refers to a conscious effort to put to death the remaining sin in our flesh. Because real Christians have died with Christ, they can get rid of sinful practices. However,... Continue Reading
The Inscripturated & Incarnate Word of God
What is the relationship between the Word of God as found in Scripture and the Word of God who is known as Jesus?
So with both the Scriptures and Jesus being clearly referred to as the Word of God, then what are we to make of their relationship? Let me put it as simply as possible, then give several proper ways to respond. The Scriptures are the Father’s means of the Spirit revealing Jesus to you so you can... Continue Reading