God’s Word Working Through God’s Spirit

“God’s Word, working through God’s Spirit, is God’s primary instrument for growing God’s church.”

God has always worked through the preaching of his Word in the power of the Spirit. The book of Acts should be enough to convince me. Take the connection that Luke makes between the focus of the apostles on the Word and prayer, and the results: “‘But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to... Continue Reading

Who’s Afraid of Religious Reasoning?

If people fear what they don’t understand, then one of the most feared things today is religious liberty.

Rather than suppose that mutual respect requires we hunker down and leave each other’s beliefs unexamined, Americans must continue to value a rigorous, sometimes uncomfortable exchange of ideas. Contrary to elite opinion, traditional Christians can hold their own giving reasons in the public square. Rather than letting personal and religious reasons rust from lack of... Continue Reading

The Arizona Supreme Court Strikes a Powerful Blow for Free Speech and Religious Freedom

The Arizona Supreme Court rule that Christian calligraphers and painters Joanna Duka and Breanna Koski could not be compelled to use their artistic talents to help celebrate same-sex weddings.

The court stated: “Ultimately, the City’s analysis is based on the flawed assumption that Plaintiffs’ custom wedding invitations are fungible products, like a hamburger or a pair of shoes. They are not. Plaintiffs do not sell “identical” invitations to anyone; every custom invitation is different and unique. For each invitation, Duka and Koski create different... Continue Reading

The Return of the Celebrity Pastor

Mark Driscoll is back.

Driscoll is not an abusive husband, but he is an abusive spiritual teacher – one who seems to keep repeating the same mistakes. For the many young (and not so young) men who have benefited from his ministry in the past – we feel the pain, but we must not be sucked into his orbit... Continue Reading

A Question of Image(s)

Larger Catechism 109 on the second commandment: not “making any representation of God, of all or of any of the three persons, either inwardly in our mind, or outwardly in any kind of image….”

We are to rely on the means of grace to portray Jesus as both God and man, not the skill of an artist. Furthermore, we do well to remember that there is a special warning in the second commandment. If we love our neighbors, we ought to warn them of how God views images, not... Continue Reading

In Australia Presbyterians and Reformed Churches Move Closer

Two Australian churches – the Presbyterian Church of Australia (PCA) and the Christian Reformed Churches of Australia (CRCA) have signed an agreement to work more closely together.

This agreement can be seen as a long-delayed response to the Presbyterians who decided not to enter the union that produced the Uniting Church in 1977. That led to the re-emergence of the Presbyterians as a more conservative church. The CRCA was founded by Dutch migrants in 1951. They had no desire to form a... Continue Reading

Mass Murderers and Public Execution in the Bible

While there is no cure for mass murders in this imperfect world, there is clearly a deterrent mandated in the Bible.

No, we don’t need more political speeches.  We don’t need more legislation.  We don’t need the confiscation of guns.  We don’t need the hubris of the State seeking to replace the wisdom of God.  We need a church to fulfill her responsibility of informing the civil magistrate of his duty.  We need preachers willing to... Continue Reading

1619, Slavery, the Founding, and All That

Everything evil we now call “racist,” whether the thing is actually racist or not.

The New York Times, from any proper and true understanding of history as well as of racism, has just presented us with de facto racist history, a history based solely on race and racism. Additionally, The New York Times claiming any originality in this observation is simply ridiculous; racism has been the cry of the Left since the... Continue Reading

No Greater Place

Devotional Thoughts from Psalm 84

Charles Spurgeon introduced his thoughts on the psalm in this way: “If the twenty-third be the most popular, the one-hundred- and-third the most joyful, the one-hundred-and-nineteenth the most deeply experimental, the fifty-first the most plaintive, this is one of the most sweet of the Psalms of peace” (from The Treasury of David).   Psalm 84... Continue Reading

Little Greek Gems: Confidence in Prayer–Ephesians 1:18

Is Paul praying for the Ephesian believers that the “eyes of their hearts” would be opened for the purpose that might be able to understand OR is he praying confidently for something, knowing that the eyes of their hearts have already been enlightened?   I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be... Continue Reading

Book Review: “Beyond Authority and Submission,” by Rachel Green Miller

It is evident that Mrs. Miller defines men and women as substantially equivalent and that the “co-laboring” she sees in Scripture is a partnership of ontological equals.

Because Mrs. Miller has neglected to deal with the relevant ontology, the thesis of her book is unproven and hence fails. However much we may agree on the equality of men and women as images of God, as fallen, and as redeemed in Christ, that does not remove the stubborn reality of ontological differences. At... Continue Reading

The Resurrection of the Body and the Life Everlasting

That has been the consistent teaching of Christianity for the past two thousand years—but somehow we’ve lost sight of it.

Because you will die, you need this hope. We may not think we need this hope now when we’re relatively healthy. But remember: one day you will die. Christianity prepares you for this day and gives you hope even when you face your greatest enemy, which is death.   Earlier this year I attended the... Continue Reading

New Hearts for God’s New Covenant People

God will work his law into the hearts of his new covenant people.

When it comes to salvation, what we are hoping and pleading for is for God to change our hearts. When it comes to evangelism, we pray that God would do his sovereign heart-transplanting work in those around us. Then, give him the glory for it all.   Redemptive history is an amazing thing. You can... Continue Reading

Were the Earliest Christians Only Concerned about Oral Tradition?

Early Christianity was a religion of textuality, even if most its adherents were illiterate.

There’s little doubt that oral tradition still played a role in the second century and beyond. But, the evidence suggests that there’s little reason to prefer oral tradition as the default, catch-all explanation for the Gospel tradition in the Apostolic Fathers.   Over the last number of years, I’ve had the opportunity to spend a... Continue Reading

A Reformed Ministry—And Some Practical Problems

There are no pat answers.

Is it possible that we are treating some things as being of the essence of the faith, when in fact they are only inherited from a past century, or are part and parcel of the twentieth-century middle-class culture? Are we in fact defending and propagating practices that can be dispensed with, without any compromise of... Continue Reading

Divine Aseity and Christian Apologetics

Why God's self-existence matters for defending the faith.

Apparently, we depend on God in every possible way, not just as physical life requires. We cannot hold the simplest thought together without God. We cannot value rightly without God. We cannot see anything as really beautiful apart from his light shining into our hearts and minds. Break free? Of God? Let us rather rejoice in... Continue Reading

What Makes Food Different from Sexual Immorality? (1 Cor. 6:13)

What we eat is inconsequential, but that sexual immorality carries with it the most serious consequences possible.

Among the Seven Deadly Sins as formulated by medieval Christians, the deadly sin of Gluttony was always linked closely with the deadly sin of Lust and sexual immorality (Willimon, Sinning Like a Christian, 133). The fourth-century desert monk Evagrius of Pontus famously called gluttony the “mother of lust.” Even after the Reformation, the Westminster Larger Catechism includes gluttony... Continue Reading

Drew Brees Criticized for Promoting Focus on the Family’s Bring Your Bible to School Day

Bring Your Bible to School Day was launched in 2014 by Focus on the Family to encourage students to “celebrate religious freedom and share God’s love with their friends.”

In the 22-second video titled “Shout Out From Drew Brees,” the 12-time pro-bowler encouraged kids to take part in the national Bible movement. Brees tells the audience that one of his favorite verses in the Bible is 2 Corinthians 5:7, which states “For we live by faith not by sight.”   New Orleans Saints star quarterback... Continue Reading

Devotional Minimalism

What you need to realize is that your relationship with Jesus Christ is not just one more priority you need to work on—it is your very identity.

Soccer practice and work commitments are part of life, but they are not life. God is. Your goal is not to survive or thrive in society. Your goal is to glorify God. And yes, society is an arena for that, but when it edges Jesus out of your schedule, you are missing the point of... Continue Reading

Two Christologies & Liberation Theology (Part 1)

With the rise and fall of kingdoms and countries and their respective impact and effects on people groups across the globe, the questions regarding Christ prevail, especially in regard to how people view themselves in relation to God and how they worship.

Christology answers the questions, “who is Jesus” and “how are we supposed to respond to what we know?” Christianity is built on the person and work of Christ, which includes pre and post incarnation, as well as the incarnation itself. One cannot understand the totality of Christianity outside of having a solid grasp of who... Continue Reading

Shepherd the Flock of God That Is Among You

I’m speaking for the kind of joy that comes from knowing God has called you to a particular flock, and being grateful for that incredible privilege, knowing it’s more than you deserve.

“The flock that is among you.” What an amazing phrase. Not some other flock somewhere else. Not the masses on social media. Not those who would be part of a platform. These people, this flock, matters. They need all of our attention and love. They are the ones to whom God has called you. Out... Continue Reading

What Do We Do With All The Pieces?

How does my faith respond when the echo chamber that I was part of ugly explodes?

God is doing something good here. It’s good for me to doubt a faith whose hope was tethered more to Reformed Evangelicalism than to Jesus Christ. It’s good for us that our echo chamber has blown up. But what do we do with all the pieces?   In his book, In Two Minds, Os Guinness quotes John... Continue Reading

The Offensively Ordinary Steps to Godliness

God teaches us how holiness happens all over his word, and yet we often overlook one prevalent lesson: very often, holiness hides in small things.

How does holiness happen? How do stumbling, distracted pray-ers begin to pray without ceasing? How do worriers learn to roll even their biggest cares onto God? How does pride turn to poverty of spirit, apathy to zeal for righteousness, stinginess to an open hand, restlessness to relentless calm? How do we come not only to... Continue Reading

The Law-Fulfilling Jesus

It will do much spiritual good to our souls to search the record of the Gospels in order to discover the ways in which Jesus kept the moral law of God in our place.

We have not always adequately explained the various ways in which Christ fulfilled each of the Ten Commandments for us. Many theologians have written helpful expositions of the Ten Commandments. Several of them will end by reminding us that we need Jesus’ death to atone for our violations of each commandment. Some of them will... Continue Reading

Trusting the Good News in the Age of Fake News

The result of Truth Decay is suspicion, general uncertainty, and disengagement and alienation from one another and institutions.

Trust is a fundamental social capital, and as Christians we should lament its decline. But even as the integrity of our news outlets seems to erode before our very eyes–even as we are inundated with fake news–we must never let our faith waiver regarding what we know to be reliable, trustworthy, and true: The Gospel.  ... Continue Reading

A Response to “From Celibate Gay Poster Child to Future Gay Husband”

Those struggling with same-sex sexual attractions ignore the fact that other Christians, celibate or in marital or non-marital relationships, likewise struggle with opposite sex sexual attractions and temptations to sin.

The title of his article, “From Celibate Gay Poster Child to Future Gay Husband,” affords a key and primary clue as to why this happened.  It happened because he never renounced identifying himself with a sinful propensity or proclivity.  He failed to see his sinful bent was condemned by God, the Father; atoned for by... Continue Reading

5 Incredible Revelations From Last Week’s Abortion Hearing In California

Wild criminal proceedings took place in San Francisco regarding legalized abortion where Daleiden and Merritt are on trial for posing as potential buyers of body parts of aborted babies.

While the trial hasn’t started yet, this whole legal process has proved to be a huge mistake for Planned Parenthood, as it has already produced one insanely embarrassing revelation after another for them. Here are the five craziest things uncovered so far in court.   One of the wildest criminal proceedings in the history of... Continue Reading

On a “Need to Know” Basis

Why do we ask why?

When events happen in our own lives, we want to understand. We want to make sense of things. From personal matters like the loss of a job or the death of a child to philosophical complaints like the existence of evil or the unfairness of life, we want to ask God, “Why?” If we knew... Continue Reading

Finnish Politician under Investigation for Citing Romans to Oppose LGBT Pride

The police department said in a news release that the two members of parliament have been accused of “agitating against an ethnic group.”

In June, Räsänen, a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland and former chair of the Christian Democrats, took to Facebook to criticize her denomination’s participation as an official partner of the Helsinki Pride parade.    A Christian member of Finland’s parliament is under investigation after she cited the New Testament on social media to voice... Continue Reading

Jesus: Salvation Is Through Faith Alone Because Jesus Is Enough

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith."

Paul there clearly makes faith the instrument of our salvation and contrasts it with works. These are two distinct principles, faith and works (Rom 11:6). Further, Paul knows nothing of two stages of salvation. Paul did not say, “For you are initially saved through faith alone but you will be finally saved through your works. That thought never entered... Continue Reading