The process of history is not haphazard. There is a purpose in it all. And the purpose is the purpose of God. —Leon Morris
The State of the PCA
Why should we think that in our church in our generation the church should move forward without controversy? I don’t like controversy. I fear those who do. But iron sharpens iron, and that means disagreement. If those in the PCA are unwilling to engage with those in the denomination with whom they disagree, there is no hope for the long-term viability of the denomination.
The Goodness of the Law
“The law reflects to the creature the perfect will of the Creator and at the same time reveals the character of that being whose law it is. The law of God proceeds from God’s being and reflects His character. When the psalmist speaks of his affection for the law, he makes no division between the law of God and the Word of God.”
Gratitude For Government: Calvin Contra Contempt for Civil Authority
“Government preserves the “public peace” and “provides that each man may keep his property safe and sound.” Countless families will sit down this evening to sup together in relative safety because their governments — by virtue of exact laws enacted and enforced — safeguard that privilege and joy.”
Tempted On All Points?
“Jesus did not need to experience every single temptation possible, but only a sufficiently large representative sample that enabled Him to comprehend and understand every possible temptation in the world. In that sense we can say that He was tempted on all points through a sufficient sample, yet without sin.”
On The Path To The Cancer Ward
“The aim of Steve’s chemo is curative, they keep reminding us. I think it’s to help us “stay positive”. It doesn’t help much. Doctors are relatively confident about colorectal tumors, and that’s how they’re treating Steve’s small bowel cancer—but no one knows much about this rare disease.”
Conservative Evangelical Leader Appointed Bishop of Maidstone
The Reverend Prebendary Rod Thomas said: “It is both a privilege and a challenge to be asked to become a Bishop in the Church of England. The prospect of serving as the Bishop of Maidstone is similarly both exciting and daunting, and so I ask for prayer that God will give me the necessary strength and wisdom.”
Van Gogh Isn’t the Only One Missing an Ear
“Maybe if we didn’t focus on the language that turns people off, we could present Christianity as the best choice and less of a stumbling block. There have also been appeals to the compassion of Jesus when dealing with sinners. But compassion never compromises truth.”
The Tragedy Of Time
“I can always make more money — I just need to work harder or work longer or invest better, and more money will come. But there is not a single thing I can do to gain more time. It ticks by and is gone forever.”
The Real Miracle
“The continuation of the Christian life is also a miracle. When I was a very young believer, a friend said to me, “It’s a miracle that we desire to come together with the church to worship God each Sunday.” I thought about that statement for months. At first, I wasn’t sure that I agreed with it.”
Making Movies That Save lives
The best part of Bella, for me, is all the emails and letters and phone calls that I receive every day from young women who were pregnant. They are scheduled to have an abortion, and after seeing the movie, by the grace of God, they changed their mind and kept their babies. More than 2,000 babies have been saved, by the grace of God, because of this little movie called Bella, and many of those babies, I carry them in my arms. Some of them are called Bella. Some of them are called Eduardo.
Christopher Dawson and the “Benedict Option”
Even today the public school is widely regarded not as a purely educational institution in the nineteenth century sense – that is, as an elementary introduction to the literary and scientific traditions of culture – but as a moral training in citizenship, an initiation and indoctrination in the American way of life; and since the public school is essentially secular this means that only the secular aspects of American culture are recognized as valid. It is only a short step from here to the point at which the Christian way of life is condemned and outlawed as a deviation from the standard patterns of social behavior.
Faithfulness Proves Faith
When Jesus said, “It is finished,” he did not exaggerate….However, if Jesus paid it all, all to him we owe. We owe him our worship. We owe him our obedience. All who are truly saved by his Holy Spirit prove themselves to be his saved children by their progressive faithfulness.
Toxicity might be an overused concept. But where we see its telltale effects in our own hearts, in our relationships and in our churches, we should test for the carcinogen of pride. The only remedy is the grace of our God, bound up in Christ, bestowed through humbling ourselves (James 4:6-10).
No, Evangelicalism Isn’t In Decline
On almost every point of fact, Merritt is simply wrong. There are more evangelicals in America today than at any time in our nation’s history. Conservative denominations have continued to grow for the past fifty years while liberal denominations have declined. Currently, 1 in 5 Americans is an evangelical, including 22 percent of older Millennials and 19 percent of younger Millennials.
America’s Changing Religious Landscape: An Assessment of The Pew Center Report
American Evangelical Churches on the other hand continue to grow: Unlike theologically liberal mainline churches, the children of evangelicals are far more likely to embrace the tradition of their parents, also, unlike mainline denominations Evangelicals are still experiencing conversion growth. So the good news is that the wheat continues to be wheat, and the tares are just now more clearly seen for what they have always been. Nominal Christianity is dying even as real Christianity continues on as it always has.
Reigning With Christ
We also reign with Him because He puts His royal power in our hearts to break sin’s dominion. Faith in Christ brings His powerful dominion over sin, the world, and the devil into our lives. “For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith” (1 John 5:4).
Dear Church: An Open Letter From One Of Those Millennials You Can’t Figure Out
Contemporary worship hasn’t worked. The longer we extend the life of this failed experiment, the more we see the results. In my experience, contemporary worship brings in three groups. Baby boomers who are still stuck in their rebellion against the establishment, parents who mistakenly think that contemporary worship is the only way for their kids to connect to the church, and small percentage of young adults who haven’t left the church and haven’t known anything besides contemporary worship. In modeling worship after commercial entertainment, you’ve compromised your identity, and we’re still not coming back.
God showed Cindy Jacobs The Lord’s Prayer is really about Dominionism
Did you know The Lord’s Prayer is really about transforming nations? Did you know sin came into the world because we didn’t understand our Dominionist commission? Neither did I.
So you see, this is exactly why we need the leadership (?) of New Apostolic Reformation prophets like Cindy Jacobs.
No, Warning Is Not Hate
by Bill Muehlenberg
I get this all the time, not just from the activists on the other side, but from rather confused believers as well: ‘Bill, you are being hateful when you speak against homosexuality,’ or ‘Bill, you are showing hate to others when you warn them about what they are doing’.
The homosexual activists parrot this “hate” foolishness all the time. I guess we expect them to do so. But it is quite woeful when clueless Christians say the same thing. They really ought to know better. To warn a sinner about his ways and to plead with him to avoid the path of destruction is the height of love, not hate.
Tim Keller, Catholic Mystics, and Genesis I as a poem?
by Berean Researcher
In his recent research article, Tim Keller promotes Catholic mystic, rejects Genesis 1 as literal truth, John Lanagan notes that Keller has advocated Catholic contemplative prayer practices. Here on YouTube Keller promotes Catholic mystic Teresa of Avila: Keller’s own website recommends the How-To of Lectio Divina. See for yourself here. Lanagan further notes: Incredibly, one of the authors on the […]
Now That the Sun Is Beaming Bright
Ambrose of Milan (340–397); trans. John Henry Newman (1801–1890)
Now that the sun is beaming bright,
Once more to God we pray,
That He, the uncreated Light,
May guide our souls this day.
No sinful word, no deed of wrong,
Nor thoughts that sinful rove,
But simple truth be on our tongue,
And in our hearts be love.
And grant that to Thine honor, Lord,
Our daily toil may tend;
That we begin it at Thy Word,
And in Thy favor end.
Pastors, Deacons, and Whatsits
by Kevin T. Bauder
The New Testament specifies two offices for the local church. The apostle Paul, in 1 Timothy 3, told his young protégé that he was writing so that Timothy would know how “thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God” (as the old King James puts it). The behavior that Paul had in mind was not individual behavior, as if he meant Timothy to stop the kids from running around the auditorium and pounding on the piano. It is corporate behavior, or what we would call church order. Paul meant to instruct Timothy in the structures and patterns that ought to characterize New Testament church organization. In that discussion, Paul prescribed the two offices of bishop and deacons.
The Always Ambiguous Andy Stanley
My wife and I have been catechizing our almost-4-year-old son since he’s been able to talk. It started with “who made you?”, and we have added a new question whenever it seemed like he had a grasp on the previous one. Even though he doesn’t fully grasp the meanings and implications of these questions and answers about our Creator, he is learning. My hope is that we are building for him a solid spiritual foundation. A foundation that perhaps God will use to call him to salvation. Teaching him takes time, but it really is simple. Tell him something clearly and repeatedly. It sinks in, eventually.
Some Here, Some There — May 15, 2015
UPDATE: here’s the link to the podcast.
- Russell Moore has seen the Avengers sequel, and he finds in it a theme that I think might infuriate self-proclaimed “angry atheist” writer/director Joss Whedon. But even Whedon, witty and creative as he is, can’t change the way he’s made and what he innately knows to be true, despite his angriest efforts (Romans 1:18ff.).
- A reader points me to a new site started by friends called Defending Marriage. Its ambitious aim is to be a clearing house of news, material and information for Christians on marriage-related issues in the news. It looks interesting, check it out.
- Doug Wilson has been on one of his rolls in recent weeks. If you haven’t read And all God’s people said “Wut?”, you must. It’s about N. T. Wright and Genesis. Then he talks about the differences between Wright and C. S. Lewis on the evolution issue.
- Doug’s first post reminded me of this post and this post from years ago. What’s particularly interesting is looking at some of the outrage against me and us for even asking questions about Wright’s very own words, because he is so wonderful about the Resurrection. Look at his trajectory in years since. It’s an interesting case-study.
- Lyndon Unger continues his thorough examination of “Christian” cohabitation over at Cripplegate.
- Kevin DeYoung gives six reasons why church membership matters, and they’re worth pondering and using.
- Kevin’s article isn’t primarily a Biblical exposition of the topic. This sermon works hard to deliver the goods Biblically and persuasively, and has been distributed a lot as well.
- Denny Burk reviews DeYoung’s recent book on homosexuality, which I’m looking forward to reading.
Articles, Resources, and More . . . Oh My! (05/15/15)
Does this question ever nag at your soul? Kevin DeYoung offers three evidences of true Christianity found in 1 John.
“Sometimes it’s easier to embrace an unwanted outcome than to keep hoping for God to fulfill long-held desires.” Have you ever felt this way, especially if you’re single? Suzanne Hadley Gosselin offers encouraging counsel in this article.
I saw these and thought they were fun. Though they don’t come from a Christian perspective, they are evidence of God’s common grace in the gift of children.
Slowing down and considering the situation is usually the last thing I want to do in a conflict. But God tells us in James that it’s what we must do. These six questions are helpful reminders when our relationships are tense.
Some encouraging news surfaced in the last few days about the fight to save Saeed. But it’s not over! Keep praying for Saeed and all of our brothers and sisters in chains.
Weekly Apologetics Bonus Links (05/08 – 05/15)
• Jesus Stories
• Was Horus Born of a Virgin?
• The Ontological Argument and Its Use for Believers
• Video: Has Science Destroyed God? by John Lennox
• Book Review: “Mapping Apologetics” by Brian Morley
• Share Your Thoughts: John MacArthur on God’s Existence
• One-Stop Apologetics: Visit these 6 Supersites today!Apologetics Road Trip
• Is the Original Text of the New Testament Lost? Rethinking Our Access to the Autographs
• Video: Is Atheism Winning the Battle for Science? William Lane Craig, Craig Hazen, Jeff Zweerink
This Week in Calvinism – May 15, 2015
- Calvinism is a “mental disorder.” Whew! Now that I know what’s wrong with me, I can get some help.
- “John 6:44 does not prove Calvinism.” As this video demonstrates, anything can be refuted if you completely reinterpret scripture.
- I’m sorry, but when you make passing comments like, “Cromwell’s semi-genocidal rampage through Ireland in the name of a Calvinist deity may have killed around 40% of the Gaels,” it’s hard to take anything else you say seriously, no matter what the topic may be.
- When God interrupts your plans.
- The recent debate on Romans 9 between James White and Leighton Flowers has been posted.
- And, of course, don’t forget your free stuff.
By Roger Oakland Understand the Times International Here’s the news headline: “Warren challenges Baptists to promote peace worldwide, starting in Texas.”  Pastor Rick Warren had just presented a keynote address at the annual meeting of the Baptist General Convention of Texas encouraging Christians to “establish the kingdom of God” on planet earth.
Video of the Week
What’s The Big Deal About Living Together Before Marriage? Brad Hambrick.
“I now pronounce you husband and wife.”
“Covenants are made. Therefore, they have a definite beginning. It would be inaccurate to say, ‘We have always been married.’ Similarly, it would be inaccurate to say, ‘I have always been a Christian.’ Saving faith is a covenant made with God that has a beginning. Before that covenant was made, we could not claim any of the special benefits of Christ’s death on the cross – forgiveness of sin, assurance of heaven, or the fruit of the Spirit.”
“Similarly, before the marriage covenant is made, we have no claim on the special benefits of the marriage covenant – living together and sexual intimacy. In the same way that good intentions towards God do not merit heaven, we should not assume that good intentions towards marriage merit presuming upon the benefits of the marriage covenant.”
Articles of the Week
Is It Always Possible to Forgive? Alphonsine Imaniraguha. It’s doubtful whether forgiveness—even for something as small as a careless word—is ever an easy thing to do. But bring up the topic of forgiveness for truly heinous crimes (like rape or genocide) and even Christians are likely to balk. “Yes, well…that’s just a different category.” But Imaniraguha, a Rwandan genocide survivor, knows from experience that as difficult as forgiveness can be, unforgiveness is actually much more painful.
Who Really Wrote the Gospels? Timothy Paul Jones. Most of you, dear readers, are fortunate enough not to traffic in the world of anti-Christian New Testament academia. There are, of course, many excellent scholars out there, but there are more than a few who—for reasons I (Chris) still can’t fathom—have dedicated their lives to studying a book they don’t believe in. Go figure. Anyway, one of the academic skeptic’s favorite claims is that the gospels weren’t written by eyewitnesses. The early church, they say, fabricated the names we know to enhance authenticity. Jones shows why this is hogwash.
Is Christianity Dying? Russell Moore. “Bible Belt ‘near-Christianity’ is teetering. I say let it fall. For much of the twentieth century, especially in the South and parts of the Midwest, one had to at least claim to be a Christian to be ‘normal.’ . . . It took courage to be an atheist, because explicit unbelief meant social marginalization. Rising rates of secularization, along with individualism, means that those days are over—and good riddance to them.”
The False Equation of Atheism and Intellectual Sophistication, Emma Green, The Atlantic. Speaking of atheism, Green addresses an increasingly popular claim—that atheists are simply more intelligent. I’m sure you’ve heard it, in one form of fashion: “Believers aren’t educated or thoughtful enough to debunk God, and if they only knew more, rational evidence would surely offset faith.” As Green shows, intellectual atheists have been hammering this point for 125 years. But it’s no coincidence that atheists most fervent “evangelists” just can’t gain much traction. (FYI: This is a touch on the long side. Pour yourself a nice cup of tea and put your feet up!)
Birthing Anointings and Conception “Miracles”
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• Birthing Anointings and Conception “Miracles”
• Modern Tower of Babel?
• Sermon Review: Bill Hybels at Hillsong Conference
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• Let it Go the Mommy Edition
• Kerry Shook and “The Voice” of God
• Two Good Sermons by Pastor Mark Bestul
Notable Voices: May 16, 2015
Leaders need confidence. And while there are certainly dangers with overconfidence, we often don’t pay enough attention to the danger of being underconfident.
The perception of there being a fine line between great leadership and poor leadership is a faulty one. Often the gulf between great and poor leaders is a wide one. These 12 practices Carey lists are just a few reasons why.
I’ve talked at great length over the past few years about church membership. It is vitally important to the health of a congregation that members value their membership in a church. But they need to act on it as well. Members need to put down roots. They need to be invested in a church. As Aaron writes, they need to stop renting and buy into the church.
I love Ron’s heart for both the church and church revitalization. There aren’t many pastors in today’s cultural landscape who would leave a thriving church he helped plant to take over a revitalization work in a traditional setting. But Ron did.
Searching for a pastor is a unique experience. There are countless ways to go about the process, and most of them can often become laborious and frustrating. William lists three specific things to look for when hiring that will help the process of searching for a pastor.
Hiring a church’s first age-level minister is often an obvious need—the ministry grows to a point where someone is needed to direct it. But what about an executive pastor? How do you know when the time is right? Jay explains.
This ‘n’ That
- There’s a journey joke in here somewhere.
- The inventor of Mother’s Day was sorry.
- Ligon Duncan on preaching in a postmodern world.
- Uh…that’s a big eel.
- And that’s a lot of spiders. Ew, ew, ew!
- Here’s your weekly dose of adorable.
- And so it begins.
- The perils of pulpit pandering.
- What is spiritual formation?
- The saving power of Scripture:
The Narrow Christian Path
May 15, 2015 06:23 am | Mike
Jesus taught us the path to eternal life was narrow and that few find it. Along both sides of the narrow path are numerous distractions and dangers lurking to pull us away from God and His eternal Word of Truth. And if we take our eyes off the path we could easily stray off it […]
May 14, 2015 06:26 am | Mike
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if there was were no deceptive movements disguising themselves as Biblical Christianity these days? If we could turn on Christian television and not worry about deception disguised as “truth”. If we could enjoy a Saturday morning without that knock on the door bringing another religious cult member wanting to tell you […]
More On Islam And The End Times
Q. I’ve become convinced that the antichrist will hail from Islam. As we look at the world today and over the past thirty years or so, the big question that comes to my mind is “How did we not see this all along?” How did so many hang on so long to the classical notion of the “revived Roman empire?” If we truly believe we’re in the end times–and I do–how have we not been able to see that the epic struggle playing out is Islam vs. God? Nothing about the classical notion remotely fits with the geopolitical reality around us, while everything about a massive Islamic rise fits the geopolitical reality like a glove.
Q. My question is in regards to Christian living and marriage. Since my wife had 2 children via cesarean, she has been left with some very loose skin and it has caused her to feel very insecure and apparently prevents her from certain exercises. She understands that I love her and am still attracted to her but she really wants to get a procedure done to remove the flap of skin that is causing her grief. I believe her motives are pure and we have prayed about it. My concern is that it costs a lot of money and I want to be a good steward of what God has given our family, is this a lack of compassion for my wife’s desires on my part? We can pay for the procedure with out using credit. What are your thoughts on this matter?
Can Divorced People Be Pastors?
Q. Do Timothy and Titus teach that a divorced man is unqualified to be a pastor?
Q. 2nd Timothy 3 talks about peoples behavior in the last days When addressing these behaviors and the “last days” in particular do you believe the time frame is the present time we are living in, or during the 7 year tribulation period?
Let Your Feelings Be Your Guide?
Q. In the past you have said: “Feelings are almost never a good indicator for behavior.” Would you say that the guide of the Holy Spirit comes through feelings as well as other ways? What’s your take on this?
Gathering The Elect
Q.What exactly is going on with the gathering of the elect in Matthew 24:31 and Mark 13:27, since the Church has already been raptured by that point? Also, does “the elect” strictly refer to the believing remnant of Israel? Even so, what is the point of this gathering, which seems to imply only believers so as to exclude this from being part of the “sheep and goats” gathering/judgment?
Hate the Sin, Love the Sinner?
“My Last Day” — the Jesus Anime
9 powerful minutes of animation that begins with a thief behind bars watching the scourging of Jesus, and it ends with the thief dying next to Jesus, and waking to see Him in a beautiful place.
The dying thief: What was so great about his faith?
Our Time is Short
Ready to start your new life with God?
Who do you think that I am?
With that brief question Jesus Christ confronted His followers with the most important issue they would ever face. He had spent much time with them and made some bold claims about His identity and authority. Now the time had come for them either to believe or deny His teachings.
Who do you say Jesus is? Your response to Him will determine not only your values and lifestyle, but your eternal destiny as well.
Consider what the Bible says about Him: Read more
Look to Jesus
Have you ever felt a little lost and wished there was a quick-start guide to your relationship with God? This is it!
30 Day Next Steps
John Beckett, a leading Christian businessman, has written a series to read over 30 days for new believers.
New Believers Guide
The New Believer’s Guide is a series of articles designed to show you how to walk in the new life Christ has given you— a life of faith and freedom.
Jesus is the Savior of the world. Discover who Jesus is today in this series.
Know Jesus Christ and your life will be transformed
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