The Essential Marks of a Preacher

Discerning between being called of men and called of God is urgently important.

Before a church evaluates a pastoral candidate’s gifting or talent, it must first evaluate his character. To be sure, for a man aspiring to ministry, it may help to be winsome, to be eloquent, or to possess a magnetic personality. Yet, before one looks for these secondary—and tertiary—strengths, one must first meet the qualifications of... Continue Reading

5 Ways to Pray for Your Church Family in 2020

A church that is growing in the gospel is filled with people who are joyfully loving, serving, and sacrificing for one another as they demonstrate the gospel.

We want to see churches enveloped by a real joy in God because of what He has done for us in Christ. You see this in Colossians 1 as Paul, himself in prison, prays for a church full of people whom he has never met—that they would understand the greatness of God and joyfully respond... Continue Reading

The Epiphany

Calvin called the Magi “the first-fruits of the Gentiles” who would come to God’s Son.

Scripture presents the gift of God’s Son as a historic fact that demands a response. The coming of the Magi fulfilled ancient prophesies: “The Gentiles shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising” (Is. 60:3).  Matthew’s record of their interaction with Herod the Great roots the birth narrative in secular... Continue Reading

Hiding Behind Christ: Humility in Practice

What would it look like if we kept that desire and effort to hide behind Christ daily?

When we are called to Christ through the effectual work of the Holy Spirit, we no longer desire to be seen. Our belief in Christ’s work on the cross on our behalf and our profession of faith in Him is essentially saying that we want to hide behind Him. We don’t want the world and... Continue Reading

Solitude Improved

Ranew goes on to provide a general overview of meditation, highlighting key Scripture passages and employing a series of analogies

Pious meditation is the duty of every Christian; or, It is the high institution of Christ, and greatly incumbent duty of Christians, to exercise themselves much in holy meditation. A rare and soul-enriching way; none know the sweetness and blessings of it, but such as exercise themselves in it.   Nathanael Ranew died in 1677,... Continue Reading

Learning from the Methodists

The Methodists far more effectively summoned and encouraged young men into gospel ministry.

What can we learn from the Methodists of two centuries ago? I am staunchly Presbyterian and am not arguing that we should change our standards, but we can surely learn from history. Omitting a number of critiques we might explore, two positive lessons stand out.   Learning from the Methodists What can we learn from... Continue Reading

What Difference Will Prayer Make?

Why the sovereignty of God brings us to our knees.

“Prayer is not overcoming God’s reluctance,” says Martin Luther, “but laying hold of his willingness.” When we pray, we do not change the mind of God as if he might have chosen wrongly. We act out the infinite wisdom of God, in the midst of all the brokenness in front of us, and welcome the... Continue Reading

There Is Another Way: A Response To Francis Chan

There are alternatives to the reigning Evangelical Zwinglianism, against which Chan seems to be reacting.

Some evangelical traditions more or less ignore church history. They are perhaps the most vulnerable to anachronistic stories about the ancient church. Chan’s rhetoric about who held to a “literal” view of the supper and when suggests that he belongs to that group of evangelicals who have not seriously engaged with the past but who... Continue Reading

Access to God (Romans 5:2)

Peace with God creates access to God, so that we can stand before him fearlessly.

At great cost to himself, God removed our sin and guilt and made peace with us, so that we have access to him. Hebrews 4:16 states the application: “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” We... Continue Reading

Recognizing Critical Theory

By subverting the true Law and true Gospel in favor of Marxist categories, the Christian form of Critical Theory endangers the soul.

Of course, not all those who use the language of CT fully embrace its tenets or understand the paradigm underlying the language they use. Its subtlety is part of its great strength. Many continue to hold an orthodox understanding of the Gospel while using CT as an “analytical tool.” But there are some, and their... Continue Reading