Songs of the Saints: Hope for Tough Transitions

When I choose to focus on who he is and praise him, it brings my mind rest and my heart joy.

Romans 6:4 tells us: “We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.” When we die to ourselves, to our sin, we are buried with Jesus. Then, we are... Continue Reading

Augustus Montague Toplady and His Defense of the Gospel

Toplady's greatest historical work is The Historic Proof of the Doctrinal Calvinism of the Church of England.

Toplady’s active involvement in what is known as “the Arminian controversy” began in 1768, when six undergraduate students were expelled from St Edmund Hall, Oxford, for having held “the doctrine of absolute election, that the spirit of God works irresistibly, that one a child of God always a child of God,” and for having “endeavoured... Continue Reading

How to Restore Your Spiritual Sanity

A prayer for those feeling fragile.

Jesus Christ is great David’s greater son. He is the total fulfillment of all David embodied, and of all God promised to David, as the king of his people. Jesus is not great because his ancestor is David. Rather, David is great because his descendant is Jesus. When we believe in Jesus — when we... Continue Reading

Echoes of Exodus: Tracing a Biblical Motif

It is the grand story of salvation itself.

At times I did not know where this project was leading me; however, the deeper I drilled, the more I realized that there was no one book that was trying to “tie it all together.” I had found many disparate and disjointed studies about the motif, but realized that no-one, to the best of my... Continue Reading

Pain Will Not Have the Last Word

Our Savior says, "Fear not, my child, for you are mine. I bought you with a price and will not let you go".

How do we not lose heart when pain rocks our foundation and strips away everything we had hoped for in this world? We do so by anchoring ourselves on the solid foundation of God’s faithfulness (rather than our own ability and understanding), trusting that he will bring new life out of even our deepest wounds.... Continue Reading

Why the Church Still Needs Malachi (And Not Just for the Tithing Verse)

Corruption still lives today as we find ourselves standing on the brink of forgetting the final covenant between God and mankind.

We serve a “now and not yet” God. He is hope for today and the promise of hope tomorrow and forevermore. The fourth chapter opens with “Behold!” (a word sometimes translated as “Look!”), there is coming a day when the people that thought they could do it on their own will realize their mistake. There... Continue Reading

Why All Pastors Should Look to Epaphroditus as a Worthy Example

Those who preach the gospel must walk in the footsteps of men who love Christ, his church, and understand what it means to be a faithful pastor.

When you consider how many pastors today view themselves as life coaches, comedians, psychologists, and church growth experts—it shouldn’t really be a shock to see the spiritual lethargy and shallowness that persists among many local churches in our day. Epaphroditus was a man who understood what his responsibility was and he loved the people enough to bring them... Continue Reading

When the Threat Isn’t Real: Rewiring our Response to Differences in the Church

If she’s strong, learn from her. If she’s weak, lead her (gently!) If she’s “just different”, listen to her.

What are our fleshly responses to the threat of difference?  Some of the most destructive sin patterns of women in the church arise from ungodly responses to perceived threats.  We judge other women as making “wrong” decisions.  We assume others are judging us (even when they’re not!)  We dismiss the importance of another’s gifts.  We silently... Continue Reading

Authority: Christ and the Bible

Christ and Scripture coalesce into a single fount of authority.

The word canon, signifying a rule or standard, is a pointer to authority, which means the right to rule and control. Authority in Christianity belongs to God in His revelation, which means, on the one hand, Jesus Christ, the living Word, and, on the other hand, Holy Scripture, the written Word. But the authority of... Continue Reading

Are You Tired?

Let’s not get tired of doing what is good.

Your purpose in life isn’t to be comfortable. The world has lied to you. Your purpose in life isn’t to store up treasures on earth. The world has lied to you. Your purpose in life isn’t to do what makes you happy. The world has lied to you. Your purpose in life is to please... Continue Reading

8 Elements Common to Answered Prayers

When God keeps a promise it provides validation for your faith. God loves to validate your faith in him.

One of the prayers God loves to answer is when you ask him simply to be true to his promises. We see Moses frequently praying to God simply that he keeps his covenant with Israel.  Joshua based his confidence in the conquest of Canaan on the promises of God to grant victory. That’s why he... Continue Reading

Why Pastors Should Engage Thomas Cranmer

Cranmer’s labours to get the English Bible into every church and understood by every person in England is an outworking of his conviction on the doctrine of sola Scriptura.

Cranmer wrote a “how to read the Bible” guide for the second edition of The Great Bible. Entitled Preface to the Bible (1540) it drew on the theology of John Chrysostom (d.407) and Gregory of Nazianzus (d.390) regarding how the Bible should be read. Cranmer, as well as the other reformers, were at pains to... Continue Reading

A Letter to a Reader About the Battle Against Sin

You have to keep fighting, employing the means of grace supplied to us in the gospel.

I often tell people if they are struggling and fighting against sin, that’s a good sign of the Spirit’s work within them. Whereas the sinner is at home in his sin, the believer knows his only true home is in Christ. So ultimately what separates the Christian struggling with sin to the unbeliever in sin is... Continue Reading

God Takes Salvation Into His Own Hands

Come, you multitude of impenitent men, and contemplate the only chance which remains for your salvation.

God has taken the work of delivering his people into his own hands, is the only foundation of human hope. This doctrine of divine agency and human dependence, though it is opposed by all that is proud in man, by all his love of independence, by all his hatred of divine government, is yet one... Continue Reading

Should we try to preach like Jesus?

Just as the work of redemption belonged to Jesus alone, so elements of his preaching can only be reflected in ours.

It would be extremely dangerous—even blasphemous—to indiscriminately model one’s preaching after Jesus. He just has too much on us. He’s God after all, and has a few more tools in his homiletical utility belt than we are equipped to handle. On the other hand, the need of our day is every bit as acute as... Continue Reading

Is Marriage “Just a Piece of Paper”?

The signing of a marriage certificate is an integral part of what the Bible calls a covenant.

Contracts not only restrain sin, but also protect the innocent in the case of legal and moral violation. With every commitment I make to another human being, there is a sense in which a part of me becomes vulnerable, exposed to the response of the other person. No human enterprise renders a person more vulnerable... Continue Reading

Wear Down Worship

If these fools cannot be kept away from gathering, they can surely be led to worship half-heartedly.

We have had great success in the last few decades in corrupting some church leaders in their otherwise good motivations to make their assemblies more accessible, exciting, and entertaining. In this way, the worshipers have been made to think that they are there to be an audience rather than to worship the Enemy.   There... Continue Reading

Sage Counsel On Growing Useful As You Grow Older

Archibald Alexander’s motto for the elderly: “Endeavor of to be useful, as long as you are continued upon earth.”

What you need is a purpose to help you instead of petrifying your soul.  Alexander’s motto for the elderly was “Endeavor of to be useful, as long as you are continued upon earth.”  Sounding almost like a twenty-first century counselor, he suggests “imbecility and dotage are also prevented or postponed, or mitigated, by constant exercise... Continue Reading

God Does Not Need You…and That’s Good News!

What good news it is, then, that the gospel depends on a God who does not depend on us.

God is incommensurable, incapable of being measured by the same standards of our human existence. Unlike everything in this world, his existence is not grounded in, derived from, or contingent on something or someone else. No one brought him into being, nor is he dependent on something or someone else to continue being.   What... Continue Reading

Yes, the Social Justice Movement Is a Threat to Evangelicals

There is enough evidence of influence from godless ideologies on evangelical teachers and entities to warrant concern.

Godless ideologies are running rampant in our culture. They are also making inroads into some of our evangelical churches and institutions. If we do not open our eyes and address it, it will get worse. Failure to recognize this is naïveté in the extreme. Recognizing it and failing to address it is dereliction of duty.... Continue Reading

Why the PCA Should Vote to Amend BCO 42-4 and BCO 43-3

Presbyteries urged to vote to amend BCO 42-4 and BCO 43-3.

The reason we need to adopt this proposed BCO amendment has to do with two different notifications that are ambiguously discussed in these sections of the BCO. Without clarification, these sections seems to state that the notices of appeals or complaints may be sent by e-mail or facsimile. In fact, this is not authorized in... Continue Reading

The Fear-Driven Life

Lessons from Genesis 12 on God's Most Frequent Command

The fear-driven life is self-centered. It doesn’t see the union we have in Christ, and therefore the perfect security we have in God. It sees only what it stands to lose—not what it has already gained!   Do you know what the most frequent command in the Bible is? It’s not “love one another.” It’s... Continue Reading

My Only Comfort

When you stare death in the face, that is when you remember the power of the resurrection.

When you look death right in the face, when your loved ones go through trials like this one, you learn to say things like this: What is thy only comfort in life and in death? That I, with body and soul, both in life and in death, am not my own but belong to my... Continue Reading

Duke University Rejects Young Life Group Over Christian Beliefs

The reason: Young Life's stance on sexuality.

The decision at Duke is not the first time Christian groups have been sidelined on college campuses because they ran afoul of some so-called non-discrimination rule they must follow in order to have the same benefits as other groups.   The Duke University Student Government Senate has voted unanimously to reject the Christian group, Young... Continue Reading

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