Missouri Presbytery Report of Its BCO 31-2 Investigation of TE Greg Johnson
The Report was presented to and approved by the Missouri Presbytery of the Presbyterian Church in America at its stated meeting of July 21, 2020.
We the Missouri Presbytery of the Presbyterian Church in America, judge each of these allegations made against TE Greg Johnson to be untrue, namely that some of his actions (i.e., publicly identifying as a same-sex-attracted man on various occasions), views, and teachings on human sexuality are seriously out of accord with our doctrinal standards and... Continue Reading
Finding God in Our Distress
Do we know who our God is? Do we know we can bring all our cares to Him?
Counterintuitive to our Western individualism, it is in the corporate worship of the Lord and in a meditation on His eternal perfections and His condescending mercy that the psalmist receives the divine medicine needed for his woes. In the first post in this two-part series, I showed how the Psalms—in particular, Psalm 102—give us... Continue Reading
Contending for a Culture of Life: Abortion in the Work and Witness of the Early Church
Revisiting the historical record of the church’s encounter with the practice of abortion.
The purpose of this article is to resource just such a robust Christian response by revisiting the historical record of the church’s encounter with the practice of abortion and by re-presenting the culture of life for which these believers faithfully contended. The issue of abortion is never far out of the news. This perennial... Continue Reading
What Can We Know and How?
The "finite Is not capable of the infinite."
What do we know? We know what God reveals to us in creation and in Scripture. When do we know it? We know it when God reveals himself to us. We are always and only the recipients of revelation. We are never the originators of revelation. Further, revelation is always accommodated to human finitude the... Continue Reading
Jesus in the Gospel of John—the True Vine
Only through faith in Him can we have life and that abundantly.
Jesus wants us to bear fruit that is authentic, arising from union with Him, much fruit that abounds by His workmanship of grace, and lasting fruit that endures to the glory of God. I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser (John 15:1, NKJV). We’ve seen Jesus described as the Word,... Continue Reading
How Can I Know if I’m Saved?
There is much that may go on in our heart that prompts us to experience a lack of assurance.
Though the Bible teaches that we are justified from the moment we believe, we can often place this privilege on the final horizon of our salvation. All too easily we begin to think of God’s declaration concerning our right standing before him as something that is yet to happen—that He will make His decision concerning... Continue Reading
Bread from Heaven
All provision comes from Him.
In Egypt the Israelites were slaves, but their needs of food, shelter, and clothing were met in a society in such a way that it did not make God’s provision apparent to them. Does that sound familiar? Don’t we have the same problem in 21st Century America? Then the Lord said to Moses, “Behold,... Continue Reading
The liturgies and art forms of Christian worship embody and form certain aspects of Christian discipleship in a way that nothing else can.
What is important about a corporate worship service is not just what is said from the pulpit or the doctrine of the hymns, for there are aspects of Christian piety that are inarticulable…much of Christian piety is learned only through doing; as Mark Twain once quipped, “A man who carries a cat by the tail... Continue Reading
The Blessing of Godly Forefathers in the Faith
In 1802, the Minutes of the Reformed Presbytery stated: “It was enacted that no slaveholder should be allowed the communion of the Church.”
From an Iowa newspaper in 1868: “The Reformed Presbyterian Church stands boldly against what it believes to be wrong, no matter by whom committed. None of its members ever crushed the spirit and soul of a human being … in slavery, and remained a member in the church. Their ministers preached against slavery and their... Continue Reading
Humanity as the Divine Image in Genesis 1:26–28
Can anyone possibly improve our thinking on the imagio dei?
Recent study undertaken on the primary sources since the publication of the second edition of Kingdom through Covenant in June of 2018 has led me to a better grasp and understanding of the ancient texts. I would like to focus here on the consensus in scholarship today and seek to show what can be improved or needs... Continue Reading
Sending Mature Missionaries to Make Mature Disciples
We should sacrifice by sending our best that others may benefit.
As leaders in the church we must insist on maturity that translates into sending our best people. We must send mature disciples that meet the scriptural qualifications of leadership. The scriptures give us clear examples and marks of godliness that a mature disciple must have that equate to us sending our best. One of... Continue Reading
Though God Slay Me: COVID19 and the Believer
These same catastrophic losses that we are facing mirror the biblical story of Job.
The book of Job doesn’t just tell the story of natural disasters but also reveals what was behind the scenes—a very real Devil. At this point, many people may scoff and dismiss the book of Job as outdated. After all, this is a day where we believe in science. Christians do not and should not... Continue Reading
Race and Racism in the Bible
The human race, as constituted and diversely propagated, is natural. Racism, as a rebellious corruption of nature, is unnatural.
The human race, as constituted and diversely propagated, is natural. Racism, as a rebellious corruption of nature, is unnatural. The first two sections therefore address these ideas. Biblical and contemporary terminology pertaining to race and ethnicity is then surveyed followed by a brief presentation of the Bible’s voice against racism. Legitimate and illegitimate divisions of... Continue Reading
We must give careful attention that the art forms we employ today correspond to the art forms in God’s inspired Word.
What we need to concern ourselves with is what both Kevin Vanhoozer and Nicholas Wolterstorff call “fittingness.” Wolterstorff defines fittingness as “similarity across modalities.” Modalities are different forms of expression—literature, music, rhetoric, architecture, drama, visual arts, etc. For a couple weeks I have been developing the idea that in order to disciple people through corporate... Continue Reading
5 Signs Sin Has a Powerful Grip on Your Life
Jesus died for you, he has been faithful to you even as you wandered, and he will not leave you in your time of need.
If any of these five signs apply to your current situation, no matter how involved you are in your church, or how Godly the people around you think you are, you are not in the will of God, and sin is controlling you. It is time to draw up under your Savior. As believers,... Continue Reading
The Road Less Traveled: The Importance of Preaching Overlooked Texts
“All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.”
Every book, every chapter, every sentence, every line – even “the smallest letter or stroke” (Matt. 5:18)—proceeds from God, and has been given to us by God so that we might know Him more intimately, worship and serve Him more faithfully, and proclaim Him more urgently. So when it comes to selecting texts of Scripture... Continue Reading
Enjoying God Is a Command
“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice” (Phil. 4:4).
Scripture shows that well-instructed believers develop a determination to rejoice. They will rejoice in the Lord. Habakkuk exemplified this in difficult days (see Hab. 3:17–18). He exercised what our forefathers called “acting faith”—a vigorous determination to experience whatever the Lord commands, including joy, and to use the God-given means to do so. Here are four of these... Continue Reading
My Thoughts – Ten Weeks Downstream from George Floyd
Looking back to those days just ten weeks ago, I have a few more thoughts now – some from a personal perspective, some on the larger cultural moment.
Any and every solution offered to our land that does not begin with and focus upon the Lord Jesus as the only hope for breaking down dividing walls of hostility – any such action, public policy, legislative agenda, protest, or destruction – will only serve to bring more disappointment, disillusionment, and conflict. Only in Jesus... Continue Reading
Recovering Bavinck’s “The Christian Family”
Bavinck wrote "The Christian Family" in a day animated with revolutionary spirits.
At the turn of the twentieth century, Dutch theologian Herman Bavinck (1854–1921) found himself confronted by a society increasingly hostile to human flourishing according to divine design. Sufficiently alarmed, he busied himself with a counteroffensive, which has been passed down to the anglophone world under the title, The Christian Family. The family was in trouble, and one... Continue Reading
The New Bigotry
One of our greatest moral pivots in the past fifty years—one often glossed over in recounting tales of our degenerate slide—has been a burgeoning intolerance for bigotry.
We have become adept at responding to and sniffing out (sometimes with an overly-heightened sense of smell) the aromas of bigotry while the pot is still warming. This is generally a good thing. We’re willing to listen more. With one exception. Even as we strive to become better at appreciating diversity within people’s backgrounds and... Continue Reading
Thinking Theologically About Racial Tensions: Life Together in the Church
I want to finish this series by offering a smattering of loosely connected suggestions related to race and racism.
If there is an organizing theme, it is, as the title indicates, about life together in the church: how we can maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace (Eph. 4:3) and grow into maturity together in Christ (vv. 13–16). My 15 suggestions apply to race most specifically, but I hope that... Continue Reading
Rowland Taylor’s Final Words
His parting wishes are probably the best I have ever read, considering the kind of death he was preparing to face.
In his book, Ryle gives an account of the life of Rowland Taylor (1510-1555), the English Protestant Martyr. At the time of his death (he was 44), Taylor was Rector of Hadleigh in Suffolk. He was burnt at the stake at nearby Aldham Common on the 9th of February, 1555. His parting wishes to his... Continue Reading
J. I. Packer: A Great Puritan
With Packer’s passing into glory last week at age 93, we have lost a giant.
Others will write of Packer’s personal conversion to Christ; his academic career as a minister, administrator, and teacher; his defense of biblical authority; his painful struggles with colleagues and friends; his constant travels as a much-loved speaker; and, perhaps most of all, his many powerful books, which have shaped generations of Christians throughout the world.... Continue Reading
No One Shared the Gospel with Me
When I see young people running away from God, acting in the most offensive ways they can imagine, I see my younger self.
We watch the news and are shocked to see young people who are without Christ and without hope behaving like the sinners they are. Had you encountered me during my teenage years, you likely would have been repulsed at my attitude, my language, my clothing, everything. I went out of my way to try to... Continue Reading
Peace as a Fruit of the Spirit
The world desperately desires and speaks longingly of peace, but it can only be found in the God of peace.
God’s providential care frees us from the stress and burdens of life. As His adopted children, we are not left as orphans but are instead entrusted to His care in all things. He is the sovereign God over the birds of the air and the flowers of the field, neither of which fall victim to... Continue Reading
Wickedness and Self-Deception
Our wickedness distorts.
The Bible talks a lot about evidence and self-deception. My favorite passage to go to is Matt 12:38-40. The Pharisees and Scribes ask Jesus for a sign. But here is the kicker: Jesus had been doing signs, in fact, the Pharisees had previously conspired against Jesus because he healed a man on the Sabbath. (Matt... Continue Reading
Reformed by the Word: One Church’s Journey
Keep the focus on Christ. Keep pointing them to Christ. And keep close to Christ yourself.
Like shaping your soul, the work of shaping a church takes years of persistence. You can’t do it in a five-year pastorate. It takes a commitment to stay in place, to love your people, to persist when it’s painful, to preach the Word with patience, and not give up in the face of opposition. ... Continue Reading
Have No Fear of Terror
We are actually commanded to be bold and stand firm against all who oppose God’s truth.
If we will walk in obedience to the Lord, by faith and not by sight, He will sustain us and keep us from being afraid of sudden terror. The enemy may indeed raise up his servants to attack the Lord’s Truth, saying all kinds of evil about us and attacking us in ways that no... Continue Reading
The Voice of Freedom
We must discern true Freedom from the Lie.
Your glorified Savior is meek and mild with his lambs, and his voice is one of tender freedom—freedom from the would-be oppressors. The spirit of this world, your flesh, and the devilish hoard want only to￼ enslave and control you. They do not have your freedom and best interest at heart. Yet they will disguise... Continue Reading
The Emotional Life of an Apostle
Men who are frail and who fail, are fallible and fragile; but are those ‘clay pots’ that become instruments for God’s glory.
If we look at Paul for example – the one apostle we are allowed to get to know more intimately than any of his fellow-apostles – we are struck most forcibly by the way he copes under duress. Whether it be through Luke’s biographical glimpses given in the book of Acts, or through Paul’s own... Continue Reading