Why Did Jesus Institute the Lord’s Supper on the Passover?

The greater exodus was preceded by the institution of the Lord’s Supper.

In the later prophetic books of the Old Testament, the exodus would be viewed as the paradigmatic act of redemption. When the prophets looked toward God’s future work of redemption, they compared it to the original exodus and spoke of it in terms of a new and greater exodus.   As the book of Exodus... Continue Reading

Why Is the Church So Messed Up?

We must try to be in practice the one church that Jesus says we already are.

What stands in our way? Sometimes it’s pride and arrogance, which are sins. More often than not, however, the issue is truth: the word about Jesus that is supposed to unify actually divides believers. There have been plenty of unified communities throughout history, but unity by itself (political, special interest, or family) doesn’t testify to... Continue Reading

Perseverance in Pastoral Ministry

Often it is only by persevering through severe trials that divine blessings come to rest on a pastor’s labors.

It is extremely valuable, if not essential, for a pastor to accept a call to serve a church with a willingness and desire to spend his life in that place. This is not to say that the Lord will never move him to another place, but such an attitude will always put the burden of... Continue Reading

A Biblical Case for Natural Theology

Natural theology remains a probable argument in contrast to Scripture which provides infallible and divine truth.

Nature provides sufficient evidence to know God, morality, and providence exist. It also means that people can acquire practical wisdom and use common notions to discern right from wrong. Everyone affirms the law of non-contradiction (a first principle of reason) and that murder is wrong (a first principle of morality). Everyone can further acquire knowledge... Continue Reading

What I Learned from Visiting Paul’s Prison Cell

Seven lessons that point us to a hope in suffering that is grounded in the truth of the gospel.

I’ve read 2 Timothy many times, but after visiting the prison where Paul penned this letter, the words now seem to jump off the pages. The letter carries a weight I had never before noticed. In it, Paul sheds light on suffering and how we must view our trials as believers in Christ. We are... Continue Reading

What Is the Significance of Clouds in the Bible?

Scripture utilizes clouds to symbolize the presence of God.

The Scriptures everywhere utilize the imagery of clouds to signal the immediate presence of God in time and space. This is one of those biblical-theological themes that has not often been given due consideration. Surprisingly, the Scriptures have much to teach, by way of illustration or allusion, about the symbolic and redemptive-historical significance of clouds.... Continue Reading

Johannes Bogerman and His Powdering Speech

President of the Synod of Dordt

Johannes Bogerman had been a pastor since 1599, serving in various cities of Holland and Friesland, his homeland. There, he defended the teachings of the Reformation against the views of Anabaptists, Socinians, Jesuits, and Remonstrants who tried to influence his congregations.   “Dimittimini exiteI” (“You are dismissed, get out!”) With these imperious words, Johannes Bogerman... Continue Reading

Hell Interrupted—Part 1

The doctrine of Hell has fallen on hard times.

The Gospel itself is undermined to some degree when Hell gets the short shrift. Though some consider extinction of self-consciousness a weighty sentence for earthly wrongs, it pales in comparison to never-ending conscious torment. The good news is only as good as the bad news is bad, and in Scripture eternal happiness and everlasting joy... Continue Reading

Confronting Neopaganism in the Culture and in the Church Part 1 of 3

Many now believe that grounds for existence can only be found in the irrational, in the age-old metanarrative of pantheistic Oneism.

I am proposing to use two relatively neutral, descriptive terms, Oneism and Twoism, in order to avoid applying a narrow theological system that only a few of us could affirm. These terms seek to express the only two bedrock options found in Romans 1:25: either the worship and service of creation understood as closed, homogeneous... Continue Reading

John Wants to Be Jane: 3 Ways to Counsel a Gender-Confused Child

Will I harm my child if I don’t embrace their trans identity? What should I say in response to their confusion? How can I help my child?

While Christian parents can’t affirm their child’s misplaced desires, they have a God-given responsibility to lovingly help their child through a real struggle with gender identity. Rather than being bewildered into ineffectiveness, parents can proactively care for their child in at least three basic ways.   “Mom and Dad, can we talk?” With this seemingly... Continue Reading

Accusing An Elder

Do not receive an accusation except in front of two or three witnesses that can do something about it.

The worst thing to do is simply talk about it, rejoice secretly in the “hidden knowledge” and go tell the next person, in confidence, of course – adding your own juicy tidbits to make it sound just a little better. THAT is what Paul is forbidding. Don’t hear it, don’t receive it at all –... Continue Reading

To Go or Not to Go

Here are some considerations that may help us in deciding whether to go on short-term mission trips.

We spend billions of dollars to pay for the transportation, lodging, food, and other costs of these trips.  While these trips are usually spiritually uplifting and emotionally exhilarating, many, like me, ask: do they truly have positive benefits and could the money have been better used.   I recently returned from a mission trip to... Continue Reading

Apostasy and Pastoral Preparation for the Conflict Ahead

If pastors aren’t preparing God’s people for the conflict that is already upon us, then we aren’t doing our jobs.

We really do face a conflict in days ahead. Many Christians still mistakenly believe that electing the right politicians will somehow save them from the cost of discipleship. But it is becoming clearer every day that such will not be the case. The presidency of Donald Trump may have brought a welcome respite from some... Continue Reading

Stop Feeling Your Feelings

We should never make our bodily feelings any test of how sincere we are, how devoted we are, or how authentically we are worshipping.

Certainly we should never make our bodily feelings any test of how sincere we are, how devoted we are, or how authentically we are worshipping. Churches or Christian leaders that encourage a pursuit of what amounts to bodily undulations as a litmus test of faith, joy, or love have effectively imprisoned their people in the... Continue Reading

The Time to Pray is Before the Shooting Starts

I’ve noticed a disturbing trend among Christians. We are not a praying people.

We spend so much time worrying about the world our kids and grandkids are growing up in, so many hours scheming and planning ways to shelter them, and so little time talking to the One who can actually change things. If you want to know the truth, it isn’t the youth of today or the... Continue Reading

Is a Particular Lived Experience Necessary?

Some voices are suggesting that unless you’ve experienced it yourself, you need to stop talking and start listening.

With the rise of the controversy surrounding the social justice movement, many people are demanding a particular lived experience résumé in order to grant certain people a voice into the issues and challenges facing us in our day. The idea is simple. If you haven’t lived and experienced what it means to be the subject... Continue Reading

Integrity in Christian Leadership

The lesson is simple: even with solidly conservative theology, we sadly often find moral compromise in our ranks.

As leaders, we will often face situations that reveal what is in our hearts. When we are pricked, our people will see our hearts, and they need to see us bleed integrity—either true holy character or humble repentance. If there is one thing that the Protestant evangelical world needs right now, it’s men and women... Continue Reading

How is the Holy Spirit Our Helper?

By faith the heavenly Paraclete, the heavenly attorney, will save his people.

Jesus is the one with whom we need to be united, but the Holy Spirit is the only one who can unite us to him! There are certain things the Father does, certain things the Spirit does, and certain things the Son does. While they don’t do different works, they do different things in every... Continue Reading

Pastor, Don’t Avoid Uncomfortable Topics

It takes courage to preach the whole counsel of God.

Pastors, your people want you to go there. They are hungry for clear, compassionate, biblical teaching on the difficult topics facing our culture and their own families. Sexuality. Gender. Racial reconciliation. Hell. God’s wrath. Tithing. Church discipline. Divorce. Greed and materialism. War and violence. Charismatic gifts. Christ’s exclusivity.   Few pastors jump at the chance... Continue Reading

The One Book: Gospel Fear by Jeremiah Burroughs

A book that causes us to reevaluate something at the core of our identity as a child of God is a gem indeed.

Burroughs (1599-1646) exemplifies the Puritanism of the times well, with a deep love for his flock supplemented with powerful and theologically rich preaching. In fact, Thomas Brooks called Burroughs the Prince of Preachers for his passionate exposition of the Word to his flock. Published 28 years after his death by a group of friends who... Continue Reading

Jesus Is the True and Faithful Gardener Who Cares for Your Soul

He gives himself to the cultivation of the souls of his people through his atoning sacrifice and continual intercession.

Since “a garden was the place wherein we fell…therefore Christ made choice of a garden to begin there the greatest work of our redemption,” Jesus is the second Adam. It is fitting, therefore, that his work of undoing all that Adam did should begin in a Garden.   The Scriptures tell us that the Son... Continue Reading

The Man They Need You to Be

Letter to Myself as a Young Pastor

Ministry is going to be tough. If you stay faithful to the gospel, you will be attacked, maligned, misunderstood, and criticized. The temptation will be to defend yourself at all cost. After all, no one likes to have his name dragged through the mud—trust me, I know.   Playwright T.S. Eliot wrote, “In my beginning... Continue Reading

Hope and Holidays

Temporal rest makes us restless for eternal rest.

The ‘labour-then-rest’ mode of living points forward to the bigger narrative of our lives, and the even grander scheme of the cosmos, in which being forever with the Lord will entail resting from the rigours and nuisances of sin-beleaguered labour here.   If all the year were playing holidays, To sport would be as tedious... Continue Reading

Is the life you are living well-pleasing to God?

The Word of God tells us that we cannot compromise on the truths found there.

We must do some self-examination. Is the life we are living well pleasing to God? Are we in bondage to our flesh or are we walking in repentance? Let us honestly assess ourselves here, asking God to show us the truth. We must then repent of all He shows us then seek to become Spirit-filled... Continue Reading

Matthew 7:1

“Who are you to judge?”

What kind of “judging” is Jesus talking about? As in all cases, the context is a great help in understanding what Jesus is getting at. This text is in the Sermon on the Mount, which demonstrates the nature of true righteousness versus superficial religion. In this text, Jesus is concerned about the hypocrisy of the... Continue Reading

The Myth of Sexual Orientation

We should not uncritically accept and embrace an anti-biblical and secular concept of sexual orientation.

Why would a child of God who has been justified by the blood and righteousness of Christ alone, adopted into God’s family, and freed from slavery to sin by the powerful regenerating work of God in their life fight to apply such an abominable label, homosexual, to themselves? Our Lord bled and died not only... Continue Reading

Fighting for Our Children in a Transgender Age

Why we must help them understand God's good design.

It is now considered “standard practice” to treat gender-dysphoric children with puberty blockers, cross-sex hormones and surgery. But is it really a good idea to turn children into lifelong medical patients? We are talking about powerful drugs with negative side effects, not to mention surgeries that amputate healthy body parts.    From a young age,... Continue Reading

Grievance Scholars Expose the Trojan Horse of Social Justice in Faith & Academics

The Grievance Studies affair, also referred to as the “Sokal Squared” scandal, was the fourteen-month investigative whistleblowing project.

The mission was to create bogus academic papers and submit them to academic journals in the areas of cultural, queer, race, gender, fat, and sexuality studies. The authors’ intent was to expose problems in “grievance studies,” a term they apply to a particular approach to studying these academic topics that proceed from a radical political... Continue Reading

The One Book: B. B. Warfield’s Revelation and Inspiration

How much of Warfield’s writings will one have to read in order to gain an accurate understanding of him?

Revelation and Inspiration is a worthy place to start, because in it you will not only discover Warfield’s understanding of how God is providentially, and thereby supernaturally, bringing about what he eternally decreed, but also that this is unavoidably joined to and corresponds with the very character of his entire creation, in both its sinless and sinful conditions,... Continue Reading

Why Satan Is No Friend of the Family

If family truly comes from the mind of God and plays such an essential role in his world, don’t you think this explains why there are so many attacks on the family?

It’s pretty clear that Satan is going to be no friend of the family. Think about all that Satan can disrupt if he disrupts family. He disrupts our task of bringing more of God’s image-bearers into this world while also eroding the most basic and foundational social structure that supports and strengthens human beings so... Continue Reading