By Good and Necessary Consequence

We pray for the Spirit’s help neither to fall short of teaching the fullness of His revelation nor to go beyond it and crush people with unnecessary burdens.

But the particular concern I want to address in relation to “good and necessary consequence” is pastoral. Namely, we must learn to distinguish between “good” consequences and “necessary” ones. Failure to do so will lead either to a legalistic or a disobedient life. In short, unless a teaching we have derived from Scripture is both... Continue Reading

The Right Side of History?

Only Christians have a spiritual right, an historical right, and the moral duty to say they are on "the right side of history."

Whenever someone says “I am on the right side of history” they are presuming that their understanding of right and wrong is the same as whoever or whatever is in control of history. Since a large number of those who have adopted this phrase are self-avowed atheists, agnostics, or religious liberals their use of this... Continue Reading

Are You Chasing Happiness or Holiness?

By distancing holiness from happiness, we create a false dichotomy.

Like every generation before, we face the same ancient choice, and it’s not a choice between happiness and holiness, but between two different quests for happiness (one evil, one holy).   Such a question actually reveals a common mistake of pitting holiness and happiness against each other. “God is more interested in you being holy... Continue Reading

Why Did Blood and Water Flow from Christ at the Cross?

“So that you also may believe.”

The blood and water are not only realities (res) but also, according to John, “signs” (John 20:30). Signs point to things. A stop sign points to the requirement to stop. In the Gospel of John, the signs of blood and water point to the institutions of baptism and the supper. And these two institutions themselves... Continue Reading

What Do We Mean by Sacrament, Sign, and Seal?

Sacraments, signs, and seals are not magic nor are they mere memories.

The sacraments are the gospel made visible. We need the these visible promises and guarantees because we are sinners and our faith is sometimes weak. We waver. So, we say to the believer (this qualification is essential), that just as surely as you were washed with water, that is how certain it is that you... Continue Reading

A Heartfelt Open Letter to CNN’s Alisyn Camerota

I know, Alisyn, you just don’t understand, as I didn’t.

I am so thankful for the goodness of my Lord and the forgiveness I received for my sins and my very wrong, angry attitudes. My faithful Lord did change my heart. And I pray He will change yours too. I pray you will come to understand why abortion is the tragedy, not children born with... Continue Reading

Characteristics of a Sexually Faithful Church

Issues of sexuality and gender are essential areas of discipleship for every single person.

Being biblically grounded means more than settling on the right doctrinal positions. It means giving people the kind of deep and regular teaching that effectively counters the constant barrage of messages they hear in this world. It means biblical teaching on sexuality and gender that does not only focus on “the bad.” It means winsomely... Continue Reading

8 Properties of Scripture (by Mastricht)

Peter van Mastricht’s teaching both took the Bible’s view of itself seriously and, as a result, it was multi-faceted.

The entire Trinity is the author of Scripture, from the Father, through the Son, and by the Spirit (125) as God communicates through Scripture his will towards human beings for their salvation. Mastricht’s treatment of the eight properties of Scripture, which I will summarize below, can help us gain a fuller picture of the Reformed... Continue Reading

The Hardest Rebuke to Hear

It’s so much easier to just say, “Your code is stupid, my life hacks are working, stay in your lane and leave me to my own business!”

The idols which are the most pernicious and hard to fell are the ones still working. When our idols come up empty and we see them for what they are it isn’t nearly as difficult to abandon them (usually for another shiny thing). But it’s really hard to hear a word of judgment (truth) when... Continue Reading

The Peril of Potted Plant Christianity

A well-tuned and tilled garden glimmers of a gospel community.

Do you think there is something to the fact that the Lord placed Adam and Eve in an interconnected garden as the ecosystem of their flourishing? What about Babel and the disconnectedness as discipline and judgment?   You’ve seen the row of potted plants in the garden section of your local home improvement store. Row... Continue Reading