Can Christians Lose Their Salvation? (Hebrews 6)

We should recall (and God never forgets) how he has turned our hearts toward himself.

The gravity of such resolute rebellion, akin to Judas’s treachery, explains why it places the apostate’s heart beyond the possibility of repentance. God, who sovereignly grants repentance to rebels (Acts 3:26; 11:18), will not intervene (as he could) to turn around those who have willfully walked away.   4For it is impossible, in the case... Continue Reading

The Cost of Surrounding Yourself with Negative People

Hollis and Osteen teach that we need to reject and avoid people who cause us to feel negative emotions or think negative thoughts.

According to the principles of positive thinking, our thoughts are the power that change and shape the world around us. To get ahead in life we need to get rid of anyone who holds us back. I am convinced this principle is abhorrent and will offer three reasons why.   I recently read Rachel Hollis’s runaway... Continue Reading

The Rise of Civic Christianity and the Collapse of the Church

Despite the most fervent wishes of the more militant secularists, religion is not going to disappear from civil society soon.

What we call civic Christianity seems to be growing – or it is as least as prevalent as ever. It seems as though our political leaders want some kind of religious blessing on their secular endeavours. It’s why chaplains are wanted in schools, hospitals, work places and political institutions.   Religious leaders are then all too... Continue Reading

What Is the Greatest of All Protestant “Heresies”?

Perhaps justification by faith? Perhaps Scripture alone, or one of the other Reformation watchwords?

If justification is not by faith alone, in Christ alone, by grace alone — if faith needs to be completed by works; if Christ’s work is somehow repeated; if grace is not free and sovereign, then something always needs to be done, to be “added” for final justification to be ours. That is exactly the... Continue Reading

Stop Living In The Moment

there are few better ways for the church to be counter-cultural salt and light than to show the world how to stop living in the moment.

If we can categorize time into the past, present and future, Scripture would lead us to see the present as taking last place in importance. 1 Peter 1:3 reminds us that we have been “born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable,... Continue Reading

Anne of Bohemia and her Multilingual Scriptures

She was described as intelligent, pious, and gentle.

While her life is mostly remembered as a bitter-sweet love story, Anne, as other female rulers of her day, had a great influence on European thought. For example, she arrived in England not only with books, but with a team of Bohemian illustrators who left a strong influence on English art. Conversely, her presence in... Continue Reading

Trickle-Down Theology

What we know and believe to be true in our heads ought to find its way to our hearts.

Doctrine refers to our set of beliefs about a given topic. In The Christian Life Sinclair Ferguson writes, “The conviction that Christian doctrine matters for Christian living is one of the most important growth points of the Christian life” (2).  Just as a plant needs water and sunlight, if we desire to grow in faith and grace,... Continue Reading

Does Hebrews Teach That Jesus Was The First Christian?

Dissatisfied with a Savior who saves sinners from the wrath to come, many have made Jesus into a this-wordly savior.

Recently I ran across the claim that when Hebrews 2:10 and 12:2 describe Jesus as our archēgos (ἀρχηγός) it means, essentially, that Jesus was the first believer. Like Baxter and Shepherd, the idea being taught is that Jesus had faith and works and Christians have faith and works. The underlying conviction is that Jesus’ faith and works... Continue Reading

Forgiveness and Restoration to Ministry

What should happen when a pastor falls?

Pastors have a dual role in the church. As shepherds, they provide pastoral care, but as sheep, they need pastoral care. When a pastor falls into sin, he needs the same restorative care afforded him that is due to any believer. Paul writes in Galatians 6:1, “Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who... Continue Reading

Evangelicals Deeply Confused About Core Christian Beliefs

The State of Theology results show that faithful, biblical teaching is needed now more than ever.

Overall, U.S. adults appear to have a superficial attachment to well-known Christian beliefs. For example, a majority agreed that Jesus died on the cross for sin and that He rose from the dead. However, they rejected the Bible’s teaching on (1) the gravity of man’s sin, (2) the importance of the church’s gathering together for... Continue Reading

5 More Learnings From Serving the Church as I Go Back to the Church

Today I am sharing five additional lessons that I learned from serving many churches.

In one corner is the “evangelism is primary” group and in the other corner is the “discipleship is primary” group. While the two groups spar for a watching audience, the fight is useless and unfruitful. Not only are both important but they fuel each other.   As I have transitioned out of a role that... Continue Reading

Hiding

Be honest. Is there some place in life where you’re hiding the real you?

Let me pastor you. Did you know that one of the most comforting messages in the entire Bible is that, in all of our sin, weakness, and failure, we don’t have to hide from God? In the midst of all your self-imposed difficulty and foolish life decisions, God will never respond to you in shock... Continue Reading

All Articles Pastor Stress Statistics

Everywhere pastors go they are expected to be “on” — ready to give stellar leadership, unending compassion, an inspiring message, anointed prayer, or words of encouragement.

In 2009 we started Soul Shepherding as a training center to help pastors thrive with Jesus. Our unique approach as doctors of psychology and spiritual directors cultivates intimacy with Jesus, emotionally healthy relationships, and fruitful ministry. To discover how we can help you check out our Soul Shepherding Institute.   Pastors and other ministry leaders are often under... Continue Reading

Thank God We Do/Don’t Know the Future

As Christians we have confidence that there is nothing—not one thing in all of time or space—that is beyond the knowledge of God.

Because God knows the future in exhaustive detail, he could have chosen to reveal the future in exhaustive detail. He could tell you and me about every event that will befall us, every blessing we will receive, every trial we will endure. But he hasn’t. And I am grateful.   There are occasions in life... Continue Reading

Being Blessed by Blessing Others (Susannah Spurgeon)

“Our gracious Lord ministered to His suffering child in the most effectual manner, when He graciously led her to minister to the necessities of His service."

Susannah continued to package the books in her own home.  Every two weeks a full cartload of volumes left for the railroad station en route to many different destinations.  Susannah sometimes carried out this ministry in weakness and pain. But she felt more than compensated by the rich blessings the ministry brought both to her... Continue Reading

Limping along through Prayer

Neglect and failure in our personal prayer life can easily be ignored because ‘Who is going to know?’

One of the less obvious passages in the Bible that may help us in this area is the account of Jacob wrestling with God at Peniel recorded in Genesis (32.22-31). Although it is often used as a paradigm for praying that is misused by treating the text more as an allegory; it does, nevertheless, offer... Continue Reading

Northwest Georgia Presbytery Overtures 47th PCA GA to Release Covenant Seminary from PCA Oversight

Northwest Georgia Presbytery approves an overture asking the 47th PCA General Assembly to approve a plan for releasing Covenant Seminary from the oversight of the Presbyterian Church in America.

The Northwest Georgia Presbytery approved an overture at its August 10, 2018 Stated Meeting, asking the 47th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in America to approve a plan for releasing Covenant Theological Seminary from the oversight and any accompanying restrictions of the Presbyterian Church in America; with a generous financial subsidy provided by encouraging... Continue Reading

The Place of Godly Ambition

Is ambition bad, or should we cultivate it in ourselves and in our children?

When we do a search for the word ambition in the Bible—looking through various English translations—we see it in multiple texts translated from several Greek words. The word ambition is employed in both positive and negative contexts. Negatively, James condemns those who have “bitter jealousy and selfish ambition” (James 3:14). Positively, Paul “makes it [his] ambition to preach the gospel” (Rom.... Continue Reading

Choosing Evolution: Bad Reasons for a Big Departure

While each contributor has his or her unique story, one can notice that a number of themes recur in the stories. I want to note three major ones.

How I Changed My Mind About Evolution was never intended to marshal all the arguments in favor of evolution. Rather, it tells the stories of various evangelical theologians, pastors, and scientists. As such, its style is completely in line with the purpose of its publisher BioLogos, which aims to “translate scholarship on origins for the evangelical... Continue Reading

What is Our Sexual Ethic Now?

Women are not the victims of feminism; women are the victims of existentialism.

New Testament Christianity turned the natural and accepted sexual inclinations on their heads. Not only do the New Testament apostles reaffirm the prohibition against fornication, adultery, homosexuality, and all other sorts of sexual immorality,[5]but the gospel of Christ reminds Jews and Gentiles that men and women are not just spiritual equals, but sexual equals as... Continue Reading

If We Lose the Meaning of “Justice,” We Lose the Gospel

We should not oversell or undersell what the Bible says about justice.

The word “justice” is the language of rights. As DeYoung explained, “Justice, as a biblical category, is not synonymous with anything and everything we feel would be good for the world,” though our culture is beginning to use it that way. Rather, it refers to receiving what you’re owed by right and not taking from others what... Continue Reading

5 Learnings From Serving the Church as I Go Back to the Church

After serving the broader Church for seven years, here are five learnings that I believe will be shaping my ministry for years to come.

While serving as senior vice-president of LifeWay, I was on a team that gets to serve tens of thousands of churches a year. Every week I spoke with church leaders and listened and learned from both their struggles and the places where they saw the Lord working. I was also apart of several large-scale research... Continue Reading

The Gospel According to Progressive Christianity #3: Redemption and Restoration

Historically, Original Sin is how Christians have answered the question, "What's wrong with the world?"

Diagnosing the problem is half the battle. We all know there’s something wrong with the world. We all know there’s something wrong with us. Just watch the news, read a magazine, or walk out your front door and you’ll see. Creation is broken. So, what’s the solution?   I once sat with another parent at a... Continue Reading

A Holy Crime: The Night Missionaries Smuggled One Million Bibles into China

As the Open Doors missionaries departed, the books' recipients began stowing, stashing, and moving the Bibles, picking hiding places on the beach or dispensing the boxes to waiting vehicles.

The Bibles that had managed to leak out into the general population were also targeted for disposal. Chinese authorities once dumped a cache of them into a cesspool, believing they were soiled beyond use. Quickly, Chinese Catholics who had witnessed the vandalism hosed them off and sprayed them with perfume. Such was the hunger for... Continue Reading

Planning for the Future while Trusting God’s Provision

We live constantly in the experiential tension between God’s sovereignty and our responsibility, between the call to trust and the call to act.

I set my alarm to get out of bed this morning. You probably don’t judge that as an act of rank mistrust of God’s providence. I made plans. I didn’t assume that God would rouse me supernaturally at 5:30 a.m. That was not an act of unbelief but a wise embrace of secondary means. On... Continue Reading

3 Things to Remember When You’re Anxious

There's actually something comforting in the truth that we have good reason to be anxious. It normalizes the experience.

It’s striking that the most frequent command in the entire Bible is to not be afraid. Don’t fear. Don’t be anxious. And it’s a very unusual command because it doesn’t say, “Repent,” or “Try harder.” It’s a command, but then the next thing said is a promise: “I will be with you. Don’t be afraid.”... Continue Reading

The Statement on SJ&G Explained: Article 4, God’s Law

The same God who gave us the gospel has also given us his law.

This point can be easily overlooked by Christians who are concerned to be centered on the gospel. That concern is appropriate and those believers who have lived through seasons where the gospel was neglected or at best assumed are understandably sensitive to anything that would compete with its pride of place in the life of... Continue Reading

Does Calvinism Lead To Domestic Violence?

The inference drawn by the Relevant article and by Sandage is that Calvin’s doctrine of predestination makes God a tyrant, which licenses his (male) followers to become tyrants too.

Domestic violence is a serious problem, which I have tried to address here. Abusers need to be disciplined ecclesiastically and punished by civil authorities. Invoking centuries old caricatures of evident theological opponents (Boston University was founded as a Methodist school) hardly contributes seriously to addressing the problem.    Few bogeyman frighten Moderns as much as Calvin... Continue Reading

Cultivating the Bonds of Peace in the PCA

Why don’t we assume the best of our brothers in Christ, and not the worst?

When it comes to disagreeing with brothers over denominational issues, many of us can relate to Paul’s expression: “I do not do what I want, but often the very thing that I hate” (Rom. 7:15). We know deep down that we should engage in humble and open dialogue with the “other side”, and yet we... Continue Reading

Watch Your Life and Doctrine

Pastoral Reflections on 1 Timothy 4:16

One would think that Christians in general, and pastors in particular, would be exceedingly concerned with Paul’s admonition in 1 Timothy 4:16, “Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers” (NIV). However, in recent discussions of fallen pastors, this verse is curiously... Continue Reading