Doctrine and Evangelism

Several months ago I received the following email from a former student at Indiana University.

“You do not remember me but I was in one of your Biology classes at IU. I teach science and frequently integrate information from your class. Before I joined the Army, you loaned me a book from your church. As I was unpacking at our new house I found it. I cannot tell you how influential you were for me but years ago, as I was reading it, I was saved and baptized while serving [in the military]… Anyway, I would like to return the book to you if you wouldn’t mind giving me the best address to do so. I am truly sorry I have kept it so long!”

This was a student I taught nearly 15 years ago, who was prompted to join the military in the wake of the 9/11 bombings. In nearly 20 years of college teaching, I’ve had numerous opportunities to minister to students in various ways. I’ve given out a lot of books. I could remember this student, but I could not remember what book I’d given out. What book would I give to a young […]


Will I Be Forgiven For Abortion?

If you are asking “Will I be forgiven for abortion I had?” then you already feel the guilt of your sin. Perhaps you feel your guilt afresh as a result of the videos exposing the work of Planned Parenthood. What do you do with your guilt?

One young man I met on the street a few years ago knew this guilt. He had grown up in an evangelical Christian home. About twenty years old, he had rejected the God of the Bible and argued vehemently with me against the Lord’s very existence. Our discussion somehow moved to the moral argument for God. Why is murder wrong? What about abortion? At that point, most unexpectedly, the hardened young man burst into tears. He buried his head in his hands and blurted out, “I don’t need any God to know abortion is wrong!” He rapidly recounted impregnating his girlfriend, taking her to the abortion clinic, paying for the abortion, and the guilt he had carried ever since – all while repeating. “I knew it was wrong!”

After a few moments, he gathered himself and looked up. He was as surprised at what he had confessed as I was; we both knew he had said […]


Browse Worthy: The Horrors Continue

The eighth video from the Center for Medical Progress has been revealed, and the callousness of those working in the abortion and fetal body parts industry (Did I just say that?) continues to stun me.

Yet my own callousness becomes more clear to me as I watch as well.  How could this wheeling and dealing in dead babies be going on all around us and we have not known its extent until now?

Some important pieces have been written recently on Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood, regarding her racial views.  See first “9 Things You Should Know about Margaret Sanger” by Joe Carter, and then a further article entitled “The Truth about Margaret Sanger” by Tim Challies.  As these men point out, in expressing our passion and indignation about what is taking place, we must not lose the truth in the process.


The Law of the Church

As the church watches helplessly from the sidelines as one after another moral tenet of society falls, each one more rapidly than the previous one, she really only has herself to blame.  For having forsaken the law of God, the one called to be salt and light to the world is fighting the cultural wars trying to stand on the one foot of “the gospel of love.”  Yet the gospel without the justice, blood, and righteousness of the law becomes no gospel at all.

Listen to R.C. Sproul:

The law and the gospel may never be absolutely separated…for the gospel has stipulations.  We live in an age in which both Law and gospel have been obscured.  As a result evangelism often is expressed simply as an announcement of redemption without obligation.  We hear preachers declare, “God loves you unconditionally.”  What does this mean?  The danger with such declarations is that they are often heard or understood to mean that God’s love imposes no conditions or obligations upon people.  It suggests that I can have a loving relationship with God even if I do not repent or if I do not embrace the gospel.  It suggests that I am acceptable to God just as I am.  […]


Bearing fruit in old age

The righteous flourish like the palm tree and grow like a cedar in Lebanon. They are planted in the house of the LORD; they flourish in the courts of our God. They still bear fruit in old age; they are ever full of sap and green, to declare that the LORD is upright; he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him. (Psalm 92.12-15 ESV)

Yesterday our family spent a few hours with one of the elderly couples in our church. It caused me to reflect afresh on the rich blessing of what might be labelled ‘cross-generational fellowship’ but which is nothing more or less than simply ‘Christian fellowship.’ We are blessed in our congregation to have a good spread of ages across the years, and a long and deliberately cultivated tradition of a genuine ‘church family’ ethos, where the young and the old mix in many different ways. Most importantly, we all worship together twice a week. The children are encouraged to go and speak to the most senior saints after the services. We have regular social events which are for the whole congregation, when young and old talk together. Many of our older folk who are able delight […]


Ashley Madison, Sin, and Judgment

The Greek philosopher Plato once told a story about an ancient and magical artifact known as the Ring of Gyges. This ring possessed the power to grant invisibility to the one who wore it. Such an invisible person was given near limitless anonymity and could–it is supposed–do almost anything they wanted to without the fear of getting caught. The story is intended to be a thought-experiment. The question at issue is whether or not the invisible person would use their power for good or bad. How would you use it? If you had the guarantee that you’d never be caught, what would you do?

Apparently for some, such anonymity was used to create profiles on the social website, Ashley Madison whose tag line is: “Life is short. Have an affair.” This Proverbs 7 website exists for the explicit purpose of encouraging and cultivating an atmosphere where people can secretly break their marital vows and engage in adultery–and all under the guise of near-invisibility. It boasts of over 39-million anonymous users. It promises 100% discreet services. It has even received trusted security awards. But, as it has now become apparent, Ashley Madison has overpromised and underdelivered. As almost everyone has probably read […]


Browse Worthy: The Evidence Continues to Mount

Today we are visiting dear friends who are expecting another child any day now.  The contrast between a loving, Christian home with a father and mother eagerly awaiting their gift from God, with young siblings anticipating excitedly the arrival, and the callous disregard of the unborn that our culture exhibits could not be more stark.

The sixth and seventh videos of the Center for Medical Progress may be the most chilling yet, but not for what they show visually. Rather, Holly McDonnell, who unsuspectingly took a position as a “procurement technician” for a fetal tissue company, tells of one of her experiences.   No adjective is strong enough to describe the atrocities she recounts here.

For a commentary on what these videos are telling us about us, see Douglas Wilson’s article Not What Scissors Are For. Only the blood of Jesus can cleanse Holly and us.

 

 



A Long Time Dream Has Come True

Yesterday I received news that my transfer request to Pensacola, Florida was approved. It came in the form of a call from my Postmaster declaring, “You got Pensacola!” Immediately after that conversation, I called my wife and shed tears of joy, crying like a baby in a parking lot off of south 3rd street.

That moment easily ranks as one of the best moments of my life. It’s been a long time dream of this mailman to make it down to Florida.

There were a couple months of extreme disappointment as it looked like any and all transfers would be declined. There was also much waiting and uncertainty. At one point, I was offered a transfer to northern Indianapolis (a very good offer too) and had to make a very quick decision. I pleaded with the Lord to give me some kind of sign that Florida would work out, as that was what I really wanted. I couldn’t see how I could turn down the offer to Indy though. But when I came home and tried to call the Postmaster to accept the position, the phone was busy. Like three times in a row. As I sat waiting, I decided to check […]


The Local Pastor’s Special Joys

Perhaps it is the more reflective days that summer brings.  Could be seeing old friends or at least hearing news from them. Or maybe I could chalk it up as a form of “holy coveting.” On the other hand, it could be caused by hearing one too many pastors cyber-whining about their workload.  Whatever the cause, I have been reflecting on what I miss about being a pastor of a local congregation.

I write not to lament, for I am joyfully serving in the new position the Lord brought me to over two years ago now. Rather, I have just been noting some of the aspects of local pastoral work that I do miss being a part of my life now. Perhaps sharing these five joys I no longer experience in the same way will help a preacher out there find fresh appreciation for his work, or some congregants be more thankful for their pastor’s ministry.

Regularly Preaching to the Same Flock. Though I have opportunities to preach in my new role, and enjoy those times, there is nothing like preaching to people you have really come to know after years spent with them.  The man who has the duty of weekly bringing God’s Word to the flock he […]