Should Christians “Self Care?”

As is so often the case, I think the answer is both yes and no.

There is a sense in which self-care is one of our most basic responsibilities before God and our fellow man. Yet there is another sense in which it can be in direct opposition to our most basic responsibilities before God and man. Definitions and proportions make all the difference.   Words and phrases come and... Continue Reading

How to Deal With Addictions: Kill Them

Addictions do not die in one decisive action. They die over a long period of time.

Addictions do not die in a decisive action. They die over a long period of time. Of course, we must recognize that God is able to — and sometimes does — free someone decisively from the draw of a particular addiction in a miraculous act. But why does it normally take an involved process over... Continue Reading

Does the Bible Support Female Deacons? No.

Does Scripture permit women to hold the office of deacon?

The New Testament, then, opens the office of deacon to men only. To leave matters here, however, would be out of step with the character of diaconal ministry in the New Testament. As we have seen, the New Testament routinely singles out individual women believers, distinguishing them for their selfless service to Christ and his... Continue Reading

A Review: The Making of Battle Royal: The Rise of Liberalism in Northern Baptist Life, 1870–1920

What happened to northern Baptists as a movement—once an empire on the rise, now a marginal religious presence in America?

It was not always so. Once, the northeast pulsed with spiritual activity. Once, the gospel rang out from a thousand sound pulpits. Then the liberal theologians came. They took over churches. They infiltrated the seminaries. They won the battle royal. Through their church-weakening, Bible-undermining teaching, they wrote ICHABOD over the doorways of their schools and... Continue Reading

How Did Spurgeon Fence the Lord’s Table?

On the one hand, Spurgeon cherished a gospel unity that existed beyond his own denomination or church but he also valued the unity and purity of the local church, pictured in the celebration of the Lord’s Supper.

In the 19th century, on the heels of the evangelical revival of the 18th century, and as Nonconformists gained influence and increasingly cooperated together, open communion slowly became the majority practice among English Baptists. Those who practiced it, defended it by appealing to the reality of the Universal Church and the need for greater unity... Continue Reading

Questioning Our Preaching

We are stepping up into the pulpit to fill a role that is, in some important ways, alien to us.

It is not our Word that we preach. And it is not with our own authority that we preach. And if we are powerful preachers, it is not in our own power that we preach. So what principles shape this calling as it comes to us? What mold do our own gifts and personalities need... Continue Reading

Does Any of It Belong to Us?

Didn’t Eve somehow believe that the tree, the choice, belonged to her? In an instant she lost the way.

To lean into these words is to guard our hearts from the seductive ways of possession. It provides accountability when we all-too-easily fall into the trap that things we do (or make or have) belong to us. It is a safeguard to a wilderness of our own making, where we wander, lost and out of touch with God... Continue Reading

Boundaries Will Not Cure Codependency

Interview with Rosaria Butterfield

I interviewed Rosaria Butterfield, author of The Gospel Comes with a House Key, on the topic of codependency. Many have responded to the rise of codependency by encouraging various boundaries in friendships, but Rosaria believes the problem (and solution) is at a deeper level. “Idols serve something; they plug a hole,” says Rosaria. “They are born... Continue Reading

The Weakness and Strength of Being an Autistic Christian

Autism is an unusual way of processing information. It has strengths and weaknesses.

The basic elements of autism are difficulty reading body language and non-verbal communication, impaired motor skills, difficulty with eye contact, unusually strong senses, difficulty with symbolic language and humor, ability to hyper-focus, and an excellent memory. Because the autistic brain focuses on certain areas such as memory, detail, routine, and precision, it is impaired in... Continue Reading

Don’t Be Caught without a Confession

The church has never been without a confession or creed.

While many believers have used confessions enthusiastically, others have claimed that confessions replace a vital relationship with God with a desiccated list of doctrine, replacing the Spirit with the letter, leaving only a husk of dead, dull orthodoxy. However, to understand confessions this way is to mistake the recipe for the pudding.   Christians have... Continue Reading