Fear of Not Measuring Up

Fears have real consequences, which can lead us, in an effort to exert control, to set unhealthy and potentially destructive expectations of ourselves and others.

Do you wake up each morning with an expectation that everything you will say, do, and think is going to be perfect? If you do, and you are honest with yourself, you will realize quickly that this is unattainable and unrealistic in this fallen world (Rom. 3:10). Yet, the perfection many still seek is due in... Continue Reading

1918: When Another Pandemic Struck Close to Home

In the United States, my state of Pennsylvania became one of the hardest hit, where some 60,000 people died, and few locales escaped.

It was 1918, and the war in Europe was on. In March, the first case of what became known as the Spanish Flu appeared at a Kansas Army post. By late 1919, 675,000 Americans had died. Around the world, an estimated 60 million lives would be lost by 1922.   In 1998, the eightieth anniversary... Continue Reading

When the Psalms Promise Too Much

As we read the Psalms during a rapidly escalating pandemic, this niggling thought starts to appear: do their words of comfort turn out to be hollow?

The psalmist promises that God is not far off, but a present help when things descend into chaos.  Though a sinkhole opens up and sucks us under the earth, though a landslide drops whole mountains into the sea, though that sea comes crashing into land – in these terrible natural disasters, the poet says, God is our... Continue Reading

Ventilators and Value

Rather than viewing all life as inherently valuable, utilitarianism views life as valuable if it leads to beneficial outcomes for most people.

We are now living in a time where we are instituting a sliding scale of deserving vulnerability and a terrifyingly dystopian approach to healthcare. If my pal in his 70s, with COPD and muscular dystrophy, gets coronavirus at the same time as me, he’ll be booted off the ventilator for my sake. That is as... Continue Reading

A Creedal Crescendo – Descended into Hell

What happened when Jesus in His humanity died?

Hades does not refer to a place of punishment; that would be Gehenna (also translated “hell”). Rather the Creed references Hades to describe the human experience of death. Jesus did not enter Gehenna to be punished for the sins He bore. It was on the cross that He endured the fullness of the wrath of... Continue Reading

What Is ‘Prudent Prudence’ in Response to the Coronavirus?

I’ve prayed and pondered long and hard what to say about the pandemic, wanting to encourage simultaneously both prudent care and fearless confidence.

What are faithful, wise Christians to do? How can we avoid both extremes, of over-reaction and under-reaction, of panic and complacency? How can we respond to this situation in terms of the two great commandments, to love God and to love our neighbors?   This is a long article. I hope you’ll read it all... Continue Reading

Invitation to Come to Jesus

It is the work of the Holy Spirit to call people to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.

This calling regenerates the heart and enables the new believer to see Jesus on the Cross, and why it was necessary, for them personally, for Him to die that way. This is Grace. Then through faith they repent and believe. As a result, the Father imputes Christ’s Righteousness to them, justifying them by Faith. He... Continue Reading

Why We Need the Psalms

Why should contemporary Christians still give time to these clearly ancient, often unruly, sometimes alarming, frequently perplexing prayers and praises of Israel from more than 2,500 years ago?

In some Christian circles one can miss either the realism or the balance the Psalms provide. The Psalms tell us that trouble is normal, darkness is possible, reverses are likely, and ordinariness is celebrated. There is a herky-jerky pattern to believing life in the Psalms, covering the waterfront of conditions. The Psalms make clear that... Continue Reading

The Reality of Fear

We might wish all our fears away, but our fears, of course, are not all bad.

Our fears remind us that we are small and that we need Jesus. Dependence on Him is life; independence is a deadly myth. Fear is also a critical alarm that warns us of danger. Without it, we are handicapped in our growth in wisdom because wisdom must discern what is good and safe from what... Continue Reading

Pastoral Letter on Worshiping in a Pandemic

“A Pastoral Letter: to all the saints who are feeling guilty and may be tempted to take unbiblical measures to assuage their spiritual hunger and self-imposed guilt.”

During these strange and sad days when we are under the dark cloud of this pandemic, let us not pummel ourselves and riddle ourselves with false guilt and false grace. This pandemic is God’s providence for us. He knows well our limitations and restrictions. He has given all we need for these days, namely His... Continue Reading