The Ten Commandments: The Sixth

May he grant us grace to resist anger and promote life.

We must begin by following our Lord’s direction and confronting the murderous tendencies of our own hearts. In his sermons on the Ten Commandments, Henry Bullinger singles out anger and envy as twin, deadly tendencies. Sinful anger is a sense of injury that intends to resolve itself to the hurt of the one who offended... Continue Reading

A Tale of Two Responses: Worldly Grief and Godly Grief

As believers, we must acknowledge that when we are confronted with our sin, it is the kindness of the Lord.

Our response when we are confronted with our transgressions reveals whether we have worldly grief or godly grief. John the Baptist exhorted the crowds who came out to be baptized by him, “Bear fruits in keeping with repentance” (Luke 3:8). That is, turn from your sin and do the things which reflect a repentant heart.... Continue Reading

Darwinism’s Big Breakdown

Michael Behe says evolution degrades genes but doesn’t create them.

Behe’s new book, Darwin Devolves, focuses on how “Darwinian processes nicely account for changes at the species and genus levels of biological classification, but not for changes at the level of family or higher”—in other words, microevolution but not macroevolution.   Michael Behe, a 67-year-old biochemistry professor who has taught at Lehigh University since 1985,... Continue Reading

A Western Renaissance

The relationship between Charlemagne and the papacy was uneasy.

Charlemagne and his successors saw themselves as “sacred kings,” the divinely chosen rulers of a Christian empire, responsible to God for its spiritual as well as secular welfare. The pope was, to them, nothing more than their chief spiritual advisor. So long as church and state were united, and seen as two aspects of a... Continue Reading

Depression Fought Hard to Have Him

William Cowper (1731–1800)

What shall we learn from the life of William Cowper? The first lesson is this: We fortify ourselves against the dark hours of depression by cultivating a deep distrust of the certainties of despair. Despair is relentless in the certainties of his pessimism.   God moves in a mysterious way His wonders to perform; He... Continue Reading

I Got Fired at Age 50

I thought it was the end of my career.

A government study shows more than half of Americans are pushed out of a job, one way or another, after age 50. Of those given the heave-ho, only 1 out of 10 regain the annual income they had. That can really mess up those 401(k) calculations, can it not?   I got fired, canned, dismissed,... Continue Reading

Puritans Drank Beer, Loved Sex, and Didn’t Burn Witches

Not as puritanical as you thought.

The colonizers of New England have been portrayed for more than 100 years as drab, glum and pleasure-hating. But scholars of that period of American history say the facts tell a different story, not only about the Pilgrims but the Puritans, a similar and larger religious group that settled a few years later in Massachusetts.... Continue Reading

Intellectual Excercises

The goal of God's revelation is the utter absorption of the mind of the new humanity in the contemplation and adoration of the eternal God.

The issues raised by the Christian faith are not (of course) merely academic. They are issues of life and death. But they are intellectual, for they have to do with the truth. And the best academic traits—patience, fairness, orderliness, clarity—are graces that the Church ought to covet.   The idea that the Christian faith is... Continue Reading

Judah First

The promise that the Redeemer would come from the tribe of Judah is paramount to understanding so much of what we read in the books of Moses, the prophets, the Gospel narratives, the epistle to the Hebrews and the Apocalypse.

What is significant about the Genesis 49:8-12 prophecy (often called the ‘Shiloh prophecy’) is that it reveals the office that the Messiah would hold according to the tribe in which He would appear. The scepter would not depart from Judah until ‘Shiloh’ came. Built into the prophecy was the history of the Kings of Israel.... Continue Reading

How the Bible’s Irony Combats the Prosperity Gospel

While God does not promise to give us physical health and material prosperity during the church age, he does promise full spiritual and physical health in the new heavens and earth.

God does often bless our efforts with material prosperity, but not because he is obliged to in response to a promise. He does so as a foreshadowing of the eternal new creation to come, when Christians will experience eternal spiritual and material prosperity. I do believe in an ultimate “health and wealth gospel,” since there... Continue Reading

PCA Minister, Jim Urish, Called Home to Glory

Dr. James Everett Urish, 72, died peacefully on Saturday, December 7, 2019 in Rangely, Colorado after battling cancer for over three years.

In the summers of 1972 and 1973, he traveled with Christian basketball teams across Europe, Africa, and Israel, sharing the Gospel. Jim also spent time at L’Abri, Switzerland where he met his future bride, Anne Penny, was tutored by Francis Schaeffer, played for a semi-pro basketball team, and worked at a nearby bakery. He rigorously... Continue Reading

Controversial Compromise

Bill aimed at balancing LGBT agenda and religious freedom gets some support but alarms both sides.

Last month organizations including the Heritage Foundation, Family Research Council, Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, and Concerned Women for America sent an opposition letter to Republican House leaders. They say the bill does too much to extend SOGI protections to public accommodations—something the Utah Compromise did not touch.   A Republican congressman on Friday introduced... Continue Reading

Some Thoughts for Grieving Christian Parents

A hopeful message for Christian parents about raising their children.

If we treated Christian child rearing like we do pastor or missionary work, we would approach things very differently with parents of unbelieving adult children. When we hear of a missionary or pastor who labored for many years in one area to see few (if any) conversions, we laud that Christian, and we speak of... Continue Reading

Ready…Steady…Go!

The proof and fruit of saving grace is sanctified hearts in ready, faithful, servants.

Are we not examples to the flock that we feed? Should we not be at the front of the queue in visiting persecuted believers, tending the sick, clothing the naked, welcoming immigrants, supplying hungry Christians, or helping those who struggle while engaged in Kingdom business?   In my personal devotions this morning I was forcibly... Continue Reading

Your Listening Habits Are Harming Your Relationship with God

No one is listening, even though most people are talking, texting, or typing.

We need daily time with God in his Word and in prayer, as well as time with God’s people (Heb. 10:25). We need time to hear God’s story to teach us about how things really are. We need time to turn off the noise and listen to his goodness again—first, in his Word and second,... Continue Reading

Pity & Intersectionality

If we are in Christ, we are not victims. In Christ, we are “more than conquerors” (Rom 8:37).

It may be tempting for the Christian to adopt a worldly understanding of society and culture, but we recognize that no person is left without excuse before our sovereign God, regardless of sex, race, class, socio-economic status, citizenship, sexuality, or any other worldly distinctive. The created has nothing to leverage against the Creator. We dare... Continue Reading

How Does Jesus’ Temptation Link Him to Israel?

He came to do what Israel had failed to do.

No sooner had God brought His son (Ex. 4:22), Israel, out of Egypt and through the waters that He brought him into the wilderness for forty years—to be tested by Him and tempted by the evil one. In similar fashion, after bringing Jesus up out of Egypt (Matt. 2:15) and through the waters of baptism,... Continue Reading

There Are No Extraordinary Means

Ordinary means are so much better.

Recently in my reading I came across this sentence from a theologian and it stopped me in my tracks: “There are no extraordinary means of grace in the Christian life.” I lingered over that line for a while as it delivered a broadside to most of my Christian walk. How many years have I spent... Continue Reading

Were the Gospels Meant to Be Taken as Historical Testimony?

If the most comprehensive accounts of the life of Jesus were never intended to provide us with historical testimony, any further discussion about the resurrection of Jesus or the trustworthiness of the Bible is pointless.

No one denies that the earliest records of the life of Jesus were based on the testimonies of women and men who had committed themselves to follow Jesus—but a text doesn’t become unhistorical simply because it happens to be a testimony as well. The crucial question isn’t whether testimonies from believers in Jesus were some... Continue Reading

Who’s Afraid of John Calvin? Answer: Thomas Jefferson

Jefferson and his relationship to Calvinism seem worth revisiting in light of the ongoing conversation regarding Christianity and the civil order among conservative Christian intellectuals.

[Jefferson] hated Calvin for many reasons, but he held an especially impassioned loathing for the French Reformer’s throaty trinitarianism and the doctrine of election. Calvin, in Jefferson’s reading of history, represented the clearest intellectual successor to the medieval Christian order he despised. He compared what he called the “simple” doctrines of Jesus—his phrase for Unitarianism—with... Continue Reading

A Hermeneutic of Surrender

Obedience is hard work.

Affirming belief in the inerrancy of Scripture is no substitute for living out the authority of Scripture. While we do well to continue refuting the skeptics of Scripture, our ultimate aim must always be obedience. This, after all, is what true scholarship is about—knowledge so well understood that it cannot be help influence life. The... Continue Reading

The Ten Commandments: The Fifth

“Honor your father and mother, that your days may be long in the land that the LORD your God is giving you.”

The Hebrew word is kabod and means heavy.  In other words, the person who is to be honored must be accorded weight. Now, it helps if a parent actually has weighty things to say!  You can see how the role of the parent and the honor a child is to give work in tandem.  The... Continue Reading

Not Just Me and My Bible

What "Sola Scriptura" Doesn’t Mean

Although we cannot benefit from the testimonies and insights of Christians who have not yet lived, we would be foolish to ignore those who have come before us. Bernard of Chartres (d. circa 1124) famously said that we stand on the shoulders of giants—in other words, the body benefits from the exegetical insights, the doctrinal... Continue Reading

Who Am I Anyway?

In the Scripture, I stand face to face with the one who knows me and has defined me, because He has made me.

For all of the talk of spectrum of gender, and growing lists of supposedly available gender descriptors, all of it, the entire discussion is centered on the two basic sexes given to us in creation: male and female. And, while the growing number of sexual and gender identifiers seeks to present as scientific, the fact... Continue Reading

The Christian’s True Identity

The very first thing the Bible says about humanity is that we are made in the image of God.

Justice Anthony Kennedy once famously said that “at the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence.”[1] With these words he codified the thought of today’s average American: there is nothing more important than answering that question, “Who am I?” We are taught (indoctrinated?) to believe that all things are meant... Continue Reading

Someone Needs to See You Suffer Well

Suffering was not a distraction, inconvenience, or detour for Paul, but a breakthrough for what he cared most about.

“God’s presence with me was not Jim’s presence. That was a terrible fact. God’s presence did not change the terrible fact that I was a widow. . . . Jim’s absence thrust me, forced me, hurried me to God, my hope and my only refuge. And I learned in that experience who God is. Who... Continue Reading

Austin’s Solution to Homelessness: The Homeless Hotel

The current trendy rejection of God when it comes to homelessness is a concept called “housing first.”

While it is self-evident that ending homelessness requires housing, it often turns out that when the homeless are provided housing that homelessness is not their their primary problem. Instead, formerly homeless people in housing often pursue “personal goals” that do not improve their quality of life. And since in many instances the housing first approach... Continue Reading

Still Complementarian

The doctrine of God is the font from which the other doctrines flow.

This controversy over ESS placed MOS and the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW) on a collision course. CBMW had been perhaps the major purveyor of the errant doctrine of ESS among evangelicals. This doctrine maintains that the roles of leadership and submission Scripture prescribes for the family and the church are founded upon... Continue Reading

The Ten Commandments: The Fourth

The fourth is so often discarded, severing God’s Law right through the middle and cutting out its heart.

Not only is the Fourth Commandment by far the longest of the ten in number of verses and words, it is placed right in the center.  Reflecting ancient eastern peace treaties, two copies of the Ten Commandments were made—one for the people and one for their King.  In such peace treaties, the king would stamp... Continue Reading

How the Spirit and the Word Prepare You for the Lord’s Supper

Will you withdraw from the bread and the cup when sin plagues your soul?

Paul warned that anyone who takes the Lord’s Supper in an unworthy manner “drinks judgment on himself.” Therefore, he calls us to “examine” ourselves and “then . . . eat of the bread and drink of the cup.” But how do we do that? If our hearts are deceitful and lead us to evil and... Continue Reading

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