We Must Help The Oppressed – Even In Marriage

By ignoring the possibility that intolerable conditions might be a valid reason to divorce, church leaders have far too easily separated psychological abuse from physical abuse.

God remains the God of the oppressed in the New Testament. The suffering spouse should at least know that there is a possible way out; that she (or he) is not doomed to a lifetime of hatred and cruelty; that the Lord has compassion on their situation; and that he allows a possible way of... Continue Reading

Clothed In Shame Now Clothed In White

Biblically, shame isn’t where God leaves us.

Shame can be a good thing if it helps us feel how truly terrible sin is. We live in a world with no clear agreement on what is right or wrong, where things considered sins in past generations are preferences in this one. Shame is the appropriate response to standing before God, when we see... Continue Reading

In the Fullness of Time…

God gave His Son to the world, at a time when the greatest ruler in the world was taking as much as he possibly could from the people.

Israel was under Roman rule on account of their former rebellion against God. When Christ was born, He submitted Himself to the consequences of Israel’s sin, in the same way that He—though He knew no sin—identified with Israel in undergoing a baptism of repentance for Israel’s sin.   “When the fullness of time had come,... Continue Reading

A Dirty Doeg

Doeg was an ambitious man who wanted status and power in the kingdom.

We may find ourselves in circumstances that are vastly different from those in which Doeg found himself—and yet, we must recognize that we have the propensity to be just like Doeg. We, no less than Doeg, descended from Adam. The propensity of all those descended from Adam is to seek first our own kingdom.  ... Continue Reading

The Soft Spoken Sola

There are only two sacraments.

True sacraments…being for the Church as a whole, are limited to “only two sacraments”–Baptism for entrance into the Church, and the Supper for edification amidst the Church, the first portraying union with Christ and the second communion with Christ.   An African proverb says in part, ‘Speak softly, and carry a big stick…’ American President... Continue Reading

The Wood’s Umbrageous Calm

Too much time surrounded by studies, books, projects, and ministry can dull and burden rather than enliven and inspire.

Fresh air is not fresh grace, but the former helps one in seeking the latter. Often they mysteriously partner. Creation and redemption singing together.   I stand alone in the quietness of the pine grove. The hills around this valley setting bring a welcome halt to the noisiness of life from the ridges above. Any... Continue Reading

The Importance of Ecclesiology in Church Planting

How can you plant a church if you don’t actually know what a church is?

A right understanding of the church is vitally important in church planting. Church plants have no history in and of themselves. There are no traditions, no systems, no prior discussions about why we should do something in a particular way. Church plants attract certain leaders and certain members because of these very characteristics. This can... Continue Reading

Seven Trends for Churches in 2020

Connecting the dots.

My list is not exhaustive but, as we head into 2020, I see seven major trends developing. They are likely to change the landscape of churches in the next few years.   Offering trends are a worthless exercise if they have no connection to reality. For over 15 years, I have suggested trends in churches... Continue Reading

God’s Wineskin

The New Testament According to the Mind of Christ

How shall sin-inebriated idolaters become God-intoxicated worshipers? Jesus has given us the answer. It is by drinking the new wine contained in God’s Wineskin. It is by prayerfully entering into the New Covenant with God our Father, through faith in Jesus Christ, his divine Son.   Then the disciples of John came to him, saying,... Continue Reading

A House for the Son

Jesus went to the cross to prepare a final home for believers in the new heavens and new earth.

He was going to the cross to make room for those He came to redeem by shedding His blood for their sins. By shedding His blood, Jesus made room for His people in the everlasting temple—the new heavens and new earth in which He would dwell with His own for all eternity.    By the... Continue Reading