The Danger of Preaching Biblical Truth, Yet Missing Christ

Preaching bare moral truths (moralisms) often drives people away from fellowship with Christ.

When ethical and moral imperatives are proclaimed as sufficient, even abstracted from Jesus, the result is a crossless Christianity in which the central message becomes an exhortation to live according to god’s rules.   Satan does not mind expository preaching — as long as it misses the main point of God’s Word. In fact, Satan... Continue Reading

‘A Living Martyr’: Daniel of the Year

Held in Turkey on charges of espionage and terrorism, facing a life sentence for doing the work of the church, American Pastor Andrew Brunson’s dramatic release was the work of high-powered diplomacy and prevailing prayer.

The first year of his imprisonment was full of fear and grief over the uncertainties. He suffered over separation from his family and from Christian fellowship. “If I’d been let out after the first year, I’d have been lying on the floor, curled in a fetal position with PTSD,” Brunson confessed. “The second year God... Continue Reading

Christian Counseling & Educational Foundation’s David Powlison Has Stage 4 Pancreatic Cancer

Powlison, the executive director of the Christian Counseling & Educational Foundation, has revealed following major surgery that he has stage 4 pancreatic cancer.

“I desire with all my heart that Psalm 112:6-7 will be formed at the very center of who Nan and I are individually and together. The sense of weakness and need is a gift from God. It makes us realize we need Him, we need all of His mercy to us, and we need people... Continue Reading

Candle in the Dark: Robert Copeland on the RPCNA’s Anti-Slavery History

A well-researched, fascinating history of the involvement, accounts, and teachings of Reformed Presbyterian ministers and members in their work to see American chattel slavery overthrown.

The Covenanters mounted a witness against the sin of slavery unlike any other in both North and South. First, their antislavery ideals antedated even the Quaker abolitionist movement; Covenanters were some of the first people in Britain or America to take a public stand against the institution.   In a class in my congregation, we... Continue Reading

Allan Bloom’s Six Ways That Universities Corrupt the Youth

After the American Civil War, which challenged the dominant Protestant Christian faith, colleges and universities began to break away from religious moorings and higher education underwent a process of secularization.

A society in which citizens believe that truth is relative, or one with a significant number of citizens who deny that truth can be known and taught, will be susceptible to greater forces that use power to achieve their own goals. For that reason, Bloom writes with what can only be called frustration that “there... Continue Reading

The Deceitfulness of Riches: 3 Lies Money Tells

There are at least three big lies people believe about money. And if we aren’t careful, even Christians can fall prey to these fiscal falsehoods.

Money is a gift, it is a stewardship, and how we use it matters. But, it is not the ultimate goal of life. Setting our focus on acquiring earthly riches is pathetically short-sighted in light of eternity. We aren’t to be anxious about money or the things it provides. Instead, our Lord said, “But seek... Continue Reading

The Statement on SJ&G Explained: Article 10, Sexuality and Marriage

God's Word calls us to the upward spiral of life that is based upon the gospel and God's revelation of His purposes in creation.

In direct contrast to the spirit of the age the statement affirms the goodness of the so-called “male-female binary.” Maleness is not something that is “toxic,” but something good and right and necessary in God’s design. Likewise to be a female is to be created by God with a good, proper, and beautiful purpose.   ... Continue Reading

Finding Eternal Subordination of The Son In The Oddest Places

Barrs brings a twist to ESS that I’ve never seen before. In his formulation, the Father, Son, and Spirit are equal in authority, but there’s still a hierarchy of headship.

Interestingly, Barrs brings a twist to ESS that I’ve never seen before. In his formulation, the Father, Son, and Spirit are equal in authority, but there’s still a hierarchy of headship.   As I’ve written before, there are many, many books that teach eternal subordination of the Son (ESS). Books for women, books for children, even notes... Continue Reading

The Statement on SJ&G Explained: Article 9, Heresy

This is the ninth post in a series of posts where the authors of "The Statement on Social Justice and the Gospel" expound upon the statement's affirmations and denials.

One of the things that most alarms us as the initial signatories of the Statement on Social Justice and the Gospel (and the nearly 10,000 others who have signed as of this writing) is that within the evangelical social justice movement (heretofore ESJ) we are seeing and hearing some of the same arguments that swayed... Continue Reading

When Atheists Lack the Courage of Their Convictions

A philosopher subjects atheism to the sort of scrutiny normally reserved for religion.

He is as exasperated with knee-jerk unbelief as he is with unthinking devotion, and has no time for several of the types of atheism he enumerates. All of them look to replace God with some form of secular humanism, science or politics. Their high priests tend to be just as blinkered as the ecclesiastics they... Continue Reading

The Atheist Cacangelist

The New Atheist movement may be a publishing phenomena but it is also a political movement and as such carries all the dangers of fundamentalist involvement in politics.

New Atheist writers are able to dismiss all theology as useless as a chocolate teapot. They know that we largely live in an ahistorical society where despite the interest in genealogy people are rooted in the here and now and are largely ignorant of the past, thus enabling the New Atheists to make sweeping historical... Continue Reading

Charles Finney Does Not Live Here

Recent surveys show that many ostensibly evangelical congregations have updated Finney’s methods by doing essentially the same thing: manipulate your emotions with chord progressions.

At their best, the P&R churches are not trying to imitate the evangelical services with which you may be familiar. They are trying to be faithful to Scripture as they understand and confess it. They are trying to worship God in the way that he has revealed that he will be worshiped.   Did you... Continue Reading

God’s Justification of the Ungodly

God justifies (declaring as righteous) sinful people who trust in Jesus Christ, rescuing them from their sin and divine judgment.

God had so loved him, all ungodly as he was, that He sent Christ to die for the ungodly. God’s judgment had fallen on Christ, who had been forsaken by God as He paid the penalty for people’s sins there on the cross.   Twice recently I’ve had the opportunity to speak on the subject... Continue Reading

Why She Left the Church

Going out to meet some of the eighty-five million Americans who are the unchurched.

Many are like Nicole and they have left the church because they have enough people telling them about what to do and have never heard anyone tell them “It has been done.” They have left the church because the church was too busy giving them more rules to follow instead of preaching to them the gospel... Continue Reading

Are There Good and Bad Kinds of Accountability?

The ultimate aim of any accountability should be to lead us into the presence of the only One who grants grace.

Good accountability draws us into the presence of God in prayer. Why? Because only at the throne of grace before our merciful Father can we plead for escape from temptation, for holiness, and for restoration.   Looking back at my former life as a Roman Catholic in New England, I can almost smell the varnish... Continue Reading

The Ebb and Flow of Christian Happiness

Why ‘Great Joy’ isn’t normal yet.

The day we stand before our God, and see Jesus face to face, will be no ordinary day. This will be no ordinary joy. This will be a day of great joy that will usher in an eternity of great and ever increasing joy.   God has designed, for now, that our joy not always be great. The word joy appears more than 200... Continue Reading

“The Lord Laughed at Me” (Augustine)

He said it was a rebuke of God when he realized his own inadequacy – and it led him to a sorrow that even his friends could not console.

Augustine thought he could handle the difficulties of the ministry, but quickly realized that his own strength and skill were of no value.  By experience he learned that he wasn’t as strong and skillful as he thought: it was as if God was laughing at Augustine for thinking he could do something on his own... Continue Reading

When a Good God Encounters a Gay Girl

God isn’t calling gay people to be straight; he is calling all people—whether SSA or not—to a life of faith in and obedience to Christ.

At the close, Perry delivers a beautiful gospel presentation that all readers will do well to remember: Our sexuality is not our soul, marriage is not heaven, and singleness is not hell. So may we all preach the news that is good for a reason. For it proclaims to the world that Jesus has come... Continue Reading

I’m Living Proof that the Lord is Close to the Brokenhearted

Suddenly, I found that I was only and always brokenhearted, and I had no idea how to handle the experience.

It was like I had woken up on a planet where the laws of physics had changed and I had to figure out how to walk all over again. And yet here I am, five years later, still a Christian. Believing more than ever that Jesus truly is all that I have, all that I... Continue Reading

The Statement on SJ&G Explained: Article 8, The Church

The church (ἐκκλησία) is the assembly of God's people who are saved by faith alone in Christ alone and gather together in local assemblies for both service and worship.

It has been God’s plan from the beginning for his people to associate together, help one another, and assemble for worship and service in a community of a local church. In short, the church is God’s will for your life. The high mark of the believer’s life should be centered in and through the local... Continue Reading

God Doesn’t Want You to Fix the World

God wants us to be a blessing to the world.

To be a blessing sums up what it means to love our neighbors as ourselves (Matt 5:43–45; Matt. 15:1–9;). To be a blessing is at the essence of any morality that Christians should strive to achieve. It’s the kind of morality or holiness or ethics that matters to the people around us.   And YHWH... Continue Reading

The Decalogue and the Sabbath Discrepancy

"But the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God."

In light of these differences, it needs to be asked why God’s laws – which were inscribed in stone when originally given – could appear to be altered in any way. The different wordings themselves provide the best clue.   The Ten Commandments, given by God at Sinai, have played a vital role in both... Continue Reading

Cultivating a Culture of Transparency in Your Church

The word transparency isn’t found in the Bible, but numerous Scripture passages exhort Christians to live holy and blameless lives.

Jesus says, “Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness but will have the light of life” (John 8:12). Transparency is living our lives reflecting Jesus’s light as we acknowledge our need for gospel reminders, accountability, and repentance.   “James, would you pray that our church would be willing to have awkward conversations with each other?” “Huh?” Seriously,... Continue Reading

After Darkness, Light: How Calvin Saved the Reformation

The letter was sent to Calvin in Strasbourg, who would take but six days to respond.

The two letters reflect the central issues under debate during the Reformation: the formal principle (sola scriptura) and the material principle (sola fide). Notice, these are the same theological tenets at stake in Luther’s Reformation two decades earlier.   Celebrations of the Reformation typically revolve around the larger-than-life reformer, Martin Luther. On this Reformation Day,... Continue Reading

Mothers, Teach Your Sons

In his ten years of living I haven’t refrained from teaching him anything I think of that seems worthwhile.

My son needs to see that the woman who taught him everything from clapping his hands to long division is going to be mom enough to teach him the hard stuff, too. To address what the world will try to plague him with in no time at all. To describe to him in detail how... Continue Reading

Let No Tribulation in Christ’s Cause Discourage Us (Wyche to Huss)

When the church leaders in Prague burned many of Wycliffe’s books in 1410, Huss and others were excommunicated for not giving up their copies of Wycliffe’s books and for “opposing the Catholic faith.”

There’s more to the story, of course, but one thing worth noting is that an English Lollard (someone who agreed with Wycliffe) named Richard Wyche heard about the incident and wrote a letter of encouragement to Huss – whom he had never met.  I’ll post the letter from Wyche to Huss below.  It is slightly longer than... Continue Reading

The Old Man Crucified: An Essential Book

I want to offer one more book to this list of essential readings on why these doctrines matter and specifically a book which helps apply these glorious doctrines to the everyday man.

I’ve recently started meeting up with a small group of men in my church early on Sunday mornings to help them fight against sin as well as give encouragement in their war against lust. We’ve begun reading through and meditating on D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones’ Exposition of Romans Chapter 6: The New Man, published by the... Continue Reading

Killing an Increasingly Tolerated Sin

One of the prevailing iniquities of our time is the increasing tolerance of pornography.

We’ve gone from scandalous secrecy to open acceptance. The temptation for the Christian is to redefine sexual purity according to the shifting standards of morality. What does it mean to be pure: Monogamy? Not engaging in a physical sexual act? Thankfully, God’s Word is our authority on sexual purity, our unchanging roadmap to joy and... Continue Reading

Jerks for Jesus

Why the temple cleansing (etc.) isn't your permission to always be fighting.

Certainly the Bible says at least as much — if not more — about speaking the truth in love, not tearing down, and letting our speech be gracious as it does “letting people have it.” In any event, what are we to make of the biblical support for this kind of online behavior?   It’s... Continue Reading

Is God More Tolerant Today?

Something has changed. But it’s not God.

The summum bonum—the highest good—of our culture is tolerance. Not surprisingly, as our culture becomes more tolerant and less concerned about sin, so does the god they worship. To support the idea that God is getting more tolerant, some appeal to the Bible.   We are all prone to imagine a god that is more like... Continue Reading