Messy Church History: Keepin’ Us Honest

Despite this messiness, the believer remembers that Christ is building his church and that church will not remain messy forever.

Church history is messy because of the fact that God uses fallen humanity to advance his kingdom. Church history is messy because the world’s history intersects with the church’s. Church history is messy because we cannot consider all unforeseen consequences of decisions and choices. Church history is messy because theology has a people-story connectedness. Church... Continue Reading

Small Beginnings: C.H. Spurgeon at Waterbeach

Far from an idyllic country setting, Waterbeach placed Spurgeon in the trenches of pastoral ministry where he saw the reality of suffering and sin.

From the very beginning, Spurgeon sought to make the gospel the central theme of his preaching ministry. His very first sermon as pastor at Waterbeach was from Matthew 1:21, “Thou shalt call His name JESUS: for He shall save His people from their sins.”[2] Every sermon, no matter what text he was preaching, Spurgeon sought... Continue Reading

Puny Preachers and Subpar Sermons are a Gift From the Lord

A sermon is not primarily an exercise in rhetorical skill. Instead, it is a proclamation of Christ’s finished work with implications for holy living.

I have had the privilege of sitting under some of the very finest Bible teachers, and yet, by dismissing one poor preacher, I missed a great opportunity for growth. Poor preachers are gifts from the Lord. That’s what I learned, ironically, from one of the greatest preachers who ever lived.   My family had recently... Continue Reading

Why a Sexually Faithful Church?

The church is called to proactively equip its members to walk in accord with God’s timeless, sovereign, holy, and wise design for sex, sexuality, and gender.

At a minimum, being proactive helps Christians understand the inherent goodness of God’s created order when the temptation comes to selfishly misuse it. Proactively preparing God’s people for life in the post-Christian, anti-authoritarian, “authentic self” 21st Century goes a long way toward heading off life-dominating struggle and sin in the first place.   Ed was... Continue Reading

City-to-City Evangelism

I have undergone something of a shift in my understanding about both door-to-door evangelism and open air preaching.

Most proponents of door-to-door evangelism appeal to Jesus sending out the 12 (Mark 6:7-13) and the 72 (Luke 10:1-5) into the cities and towns to which he was planning on going throughout Israel. Proponents of door-to-door and open-air evangelism have long insisted, “Since this was the example of the early disciples it ought to be... Continue Reading

Not So with the Onlookers

A Word in Praise of Ordinary Discipleship

Her name was Mrs. Billie Jo. She and her husband were volunteer youth group leaders at our little Baptist church. She had us over to their home, was a chaperone at our youth camps, and even braved a lock-in or two if my memory serves me correctly. I caught her ire on at least one occasion,... Continue Reading

If You Go From Progressive to Backward, Can You Still Be Ahead of Your Time?

By 1980 Schaeffer was the inspiration behind the Moral Majority and his critique of American decadence during the so-called culture wars was hardly so polite about challenges to the family and public standards of decency.

Sadly, many did suppose that this trend towards humanism would not affect “our own little projects, lives, and churches.” Now that we are in a pitched battle with the secular gods of the age, we have realized that our complacency is not only threatening our generation but also the generations to come. Is it too... Continue Reading

Five Challenges for Missionaries from the Life and Diary of David Brainerd

The missionary task is replete with significant challenges, yet it is being accomplished by those walking in the footsteps of David Brainerd.

When Brainerd moved in among the Native Americans, he made significant changes to his standard of living. Physical discomforts abounded. Early in his journals, he lamented that the food available to him was poor sustenance. He was able to procure improved lodging when he built a small cabin for himself among them. At first, however,... Continue Reading

The Spirit of Tetzel and Evangelical Basilicas

Are we withholding ourselves from serving Christ in needy areas and then assuaging our guilt with a cheque and a prayer?

I remember talking to a friend a while ago. They reckoned that it was far easier to get people’s money than it was to get their time. We have certainly found it much easier to get people to give financially than it is to get people to move to deprived communities. But that is when... Continue Reading

Why Churches Should Ditch The Projector Screens And Bring Back Hymnals

Christians need to understand that relying on screens and other technology is not leading to better worship, it’s ruining it.

the reason you don’t hear much about the worship wars is that one side has won. It may not be a total victory, but one side is clearly winning while the other is cowering in a back pew hoping a pack of millennials doesn’t make them wave their arms in the air and sing whatever... Continue Reading