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

The Gospel Is about More (But Not Less) Than Your Personal Salvation

Our future hope as Christians is effectively that our personal exodus journey will also happen to the whole of creation.

That’s a much deeper and richer understanding of exodus. It’s like how C. S. Lewis ends the Narnia series with the whole of Narnia having been made completely new. It’s Lewis’ way of trying to get you to realize that it isn’t actually just about you having friendship with Aslan; it’s about the entire world being made better—and us... Continue Reading

4 Harmful Impacts of Leaders Who Need to Be Liked

When someone needs approval from others, the person is willing to sacrifice conviction and do anything to earn that approval.

Elena Botelho has done extensive research on leaders and has concluded that leaders who are nice to the detriment of being decisive hurt the organizations they lead. Her research findings do not advocate a mean, harsh, and dictatorial approach to leadership but do point out the dangers in leaders who crave the affections of people they... Continue Reading

Book Review of a FBI Hostage Negotiation Manual

Pastors, like FBI agents, move in the world of tense relationships, camouflaged motives, prickly personalities, and charged emotions.

Eruptive conflict is a pastor’s bailiwick. Who among us hasn’t had to talk a disgruntled organist down from her posturing threat to withdraw from the Christmas concert? We’ve all had to lobby an exasperated Sunday School teacher for mercy on behalf of an unruly kid and his embarrassed parents.   Never Split the Difference: Negotiating... Continue Reading

What Is the Mystery of Marriage?

The Most Beloved (and Misunderstood) Wedding Text

There is indeed a mysterious element to romance and marriage. Even the classic Christian text for husbands and wives, Ephesians 5:22–33, mentions “mystery.” However, the mystery here is not what we may be prone to think — and it’s a vital lesson for every marriage. If the “mystery” in Ephesians 5 is not the universal enigma of... Continue Reading

A Short Theology of Social Reform

We have the greatest capacity to love our neighbor at work.

Americans tend to think of good works as individual acts and we forget that we probably have the greatest capacity to love our neighbors through our work. We know we should consecrate our work to God, but we think we love our neighbors outside of work. Even at work we tend to regard love in private... Continue Reading

As Churches Close, a Way of Life Fades

Minnesota’s mainline Christian denominations face unprecedented declines, altering communities and traditions celebrated for generations.

When La Salle Lutheran locks its doors in August, it will become the latest casualty among fragile Minnesota churches either closing, merging or praying for a miracle. Steep drops in church attendance, aging congregations, and cultural shifts away from organized religion have left most of Minnesota’s mainline Christian denominations facing unprecedented declines.   La Salle, Minn.... Continue Reading

4 Problems with the Squeaky Wheel Approach to Leadership

Leaders, problem solvers by nature, often wake up each day ready and able to solve problems.

Ironically, the squeaky wheel may not actually be the biggest problem anyway. It simply is the one that is most noticed. Chaotic leaders run from squeaky wheel to squeaky wheel and accomplish very little.   “The squeaky wheel gets the grease” is an expression used to describe the reality that the most noticeable problem often... Continue Reading

How Satan Seduces Bitter Believers

To Paul, the Corinthians bitterness toward this repentant offender was evidence of the devil’s activity.

Satan was seeking to outfox them. The Corinthians thought they were reacting righteously to the sinner, but like the Nazi’s, they were being seduced by clever disinformation. Paul basically says: In reality, the enemy is staging an invasion.   On April 30th, 1943, the corpse of Major William Martin washed up on a beach in Spain.... Continue Reading

God Doesn’t Help Those who Help Themselves

The popular phrase in the medieval church was “God will not deny his grace to those who do what lies within their power.”

As for the Reformation battle cry, faith alone, which was the central concern, how far has the preaching of justification by faith alone fallen from the priorities of the modern evangelical church as the major centers of evangelical power have now publicly acknowledged that the doctrine of justification by faith alone no longer presents any obstacle... Continue Reading

Review: D. G. Hart, Still Protesting

For Americans, who are historically challenged, the obvious potency of Romanist cultural influence combined with their claims to antiquity are persuasive.

Has Rome’s doctrine really changed? Have the differences between confessional Protestants and Rome really evaporated? Is the cultural crisis so great that Protestants should set aside their objections and unite with the one entity that seems able to resist the apparent wave of immorality? Is there anything more than prejudice driving a continued protest by... Continue Reading

What Is the Unpardonable Sin?

Jesus then stated that “all sins” can be forgiven, including “whatever blasphemies”—except for the specific blasphemy of the Spirit.

Luke’s account of this teaching is even more specific: “Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but to him who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven” (Luke 12:10). At this point, we need to define blasphemy, and this verse from Luke gives us a... Continue Reading

Why Supporters of a Nashville Pastor Are Speaking Out About His Departure From Covenant Presbyterian Church

In 2016, PCA minister, Jim Bachmann, lost his position as the senior pastor of Covenant Presbyterian Church, which rose to prominence in Nashville under his leadership.

Bachmann moved from Chattanooga in 1991 to lead Covenant Presbyterian Church. At the time, the congregation barely had 40 members. Under Bachmann’s leadership, the congregation grew to more than 2,000. By the late 2000s, they were able to raise funds internally to build a $15.5 million sanctuary on a hilltop overlooking southwest Nashville…. Now, Bachmann, 63, is leading a new... Continue Reading

Lloyd-Jones on Racism and the Gospel

"We face national prejudices, class prejudices, race prejudices, gender prejudices, and so on. There is almost no end to them."

D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, who I have never heard anyone describe as a Marxist, gospel-compromising, SJW, preached a sermon on John 4:13-14 titled, “Spiritual Dullness and Evasive Tactics,” in which he brought up the issue of racism. Early in the sermon on Jesus’s encounter with the woman at the well Lloyd-Jones explains, “We have dealt with some general... Continue Reading

PCA Minister Jerome Roger “Jerry” Dodson III Called Home to Glory

Jerome “Jerry” Roger Dodson, III,57 passed away Saturday, July 14, 2018, on his birthday, at Capital Regional Medical Center in Tallahassee following a brief illness.

He was ordained by R.C. Sproul at Saint Andrew’s Chapel in Sanford FL., following which he received a call to Northside Presbyterian Church in Melbourne, FL. There he served faithfully for many years, and later he became pastor at New Philadelphia Presbyterian Church in Quincy, FL, where he was serving at the time of death.... Continue Reading

Ten Concise Reasons to Remember the Sabbath

First and foremost, remembering the Sabbath is a command.

Hebrews 4:9 tells us that “there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God.” Every time we gather as the church for worship on the Lord’s Day, we should be reminded, examined, and prepared for the great day of judgment and consummation that yet awaits us as Christ will return (Matt. 25:31-46).   Having... Continue Reading

Facebook and Friendship

Facebook has helped us stay in touch, not so much for bragging but for recalling happiness in a time of our lives when burdens and responsibilities did not weigh so heavily on us.

A few years back, I had the chance to visit with an old friend in California with whom I attended high school. Our wives and we all attended college together, and we were close for about a decade while our now-adult children were young. Over the years, Facebook helped us follow the general trajectories of... Continue Reading