The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert tops Crown and Covenant Publication’s best-seller list this year. This story of Dr. Rosaria Butterfield’s conversion to Christ and journey into the Reformed Presbyterian Church (RPCNA) has captivated many. Dr. Michael LeFebvre edited and is the primary author of the church’s second best-seller of the year, The Gospel and Sexual Orientation. God is blessing the RPCNA, and many others beyond it, profoundly through these two saints. Their journeys into the RPCNA have a fascinating common element that might make some people a little uncomfortable. Their exposure to the denomination in the 1990s came through two pastors who were warmly engaged with other Christian groups. These same para-church ministries were being criticized in the church at the time. Though I was in high school and college at the time, I shared some of the criticisms. How should we evaluate this history? Ministry is messy, and this essay may be too, but we need to think about what God has done. Read more
Posts by James Faris
Church history is the last thing some people want to think about on any given day. But, you might actually be thinking about church history a whole lot more than you realize at the breakfast table first thing in the morning. My students seem to find history more palatable when they see that they are already familiar with it. So, let’s check out your breakfast menu; it might just whet your appetite for more history. Read more
Next week, the Great Lakes-Gulf Presbytery of the RPCNA will hold its annual spring meeting. The nominating committee will submit a slate of candidates for various committees and offices for the coming year. For the first time in some thirty years, Rich Johnston will not be nominated for youth secretary. The vote will probably be quiet and ordinary, but it will formally conclude a most-extraordinary three decades of ministry to the young people of this presbytery. Read more
The Great Lakes-Gulf Presbytery of the RPCNA meets later this month. In a recent Facebook discussion, I suggested that a certain student of theology would show good judgment by bringing a bag of candy to share at the meeting. Jokes about bribes popped up instantly because the elders will be voting on student theology exams; it was all good fun. Of course, bribery is utterly sinful, but it’s a good idea for students to bring a bag of candy to share. Why? Because it’s portable hospitality, and 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1 both say that an elder must be hospitable. Read more
Our family hosts a college Bible study for our congregation each Thursday in our home. A capable young man, a recent graduate himself, leads the study. Souls are being attracted through the study of God’s word and the earnest love of the saints. Last Thursday night, I arrived home and peeked in to see our living room filled with over twenty young adults. My heart brimmed with gratitude to see them hungry for the word of God. They sing a Psalm at the beginning and end of each study. The leader observed privately afterward that this group is one of the weakest singing groups of which he has ever been a part. “We really sound bad,” he said. I’ve heard them sing, and I concur. Read more
My friend Jon Sturm published a great guest article on the debate between an atheist, Alex Rosenberg, and a Christian, William Lane Craig, at Purdue University last week (video of the full debate here). They debated the question “Is Faith In God Reasonable?” I appreciated Jon’s post and hope only to add my perspective to several of his points and then make one recommendation for every Christian involved in evangelism and apologetics. Read more
Summer 2012 burned hot and dry across most of these United States. In Indianapolis, we set all-time records for the longest dry spell, the driest June, the most consecutive days without the thermometer dipping below 70 degrees, the hottest month, and the list goes on. Our reservoirs dropped to low levels and the city imposed water usage restrictions.
Extended drought would be disastrous for our region that relies upon abundant rain. As a major metropolitan city without deep reservoirs and without a navigable waterway, Indianapolis is particularly vulnerable. Read more
Lance Armstrong seems to relish the role of the comeback kid. The cycling champion won his battle with cancer and returned to the top of his sport. Now, after being taken down by his own web of lies, Oprah Winfrey will air his confession that he used performance enhancing drugs. Reports indicate that he desires to compete again. Years of lying and covering up lies might make it hard to believe that Lance is genuine in his repentance and not just attempting another celebrity comeback. I pray that he will find true forgiveness in Christ. I pray that his life will be changed, and that he will have a heart like that of Zacchaeus, ready to repay fourfold anyone whom he has defrauded. Read more
State lawmakers and executives take up their work in earnest in January in Indiana – and probably in most states. God’s people need to be earnest in making supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way, as the Lord commands us through Paul. How can we more effectively pray? Read more
This year’s theme is Solus Christus – The Supremacy of Jesus Christ. Dr. Cornelis Venema and Rev. Anthony Selvaggio will open God’s word. Reformation Heritage Books operates the bookstore at the conference, so come prepared to stock up! Find more conference details here. Please join us for a time of rich teaching and fellowship in the word of God!
Rosaria Butterfield’s new book, The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert, reveals in rare fashion the internal development of one most of us would have thought would have never changed.
Similarly, Jim Poyser, Managing Editor of Nuvo, “Indy’s alternative voice” newspaper, blogged his secret thoughts following a recent encounter with the gospel. Two of my friends initiated it on the campus of IUPUI. It was a “weird coincidence,” but they asked him about the very thing he was thinking about at that moment. Poyser unfolds his thoughts from there. The post is a refreshingly honest account by one who is not yet converted and has much to teach us. Read more
“Constantine’s acceptance of the Christian faith was the most important conversion in history, apart from that of the Apostle Paul” writes historian Nick Needham.
This Saturday, October 27, 2012 marks the 1700th anniversary of Constantine’s conversion. Anniversaries help us to remember what God has done and to give thanks for his wondrous acts for his people. Why should we celebrate this day? Read more
As the political election approaches in America, many Christians boldly proclaim that Jesus is King. Such a statement is often coupled with a declaration that they will not be voting, especially given the apparent choices in the presidential election. For perhaps different reasons, Thabiti Anyabwile writes at The Gospel Coalition: “I’m ‘voting’ by not voting.” But is abstaining the obedience to which the Jesus of Scripture has called us? Does it honor him as the King he shows himself to be? Read more
Have you ever sat in awkward silence with strangers wondering what to say next? Or, have you wondered how to grow in your knowledge of the world, of people, or of God? Have you pondered how you might more effectively minister to people? One answer to problems posed in those questions is to ask a good question.
Young children ask “Why?” countless times a day. Some of us struggle to mature beyond that stage. I started my first job at age 13. Soon, I frustrated my boss with constant queries, and he finally asked me to stop asking “Why?” Looking back, he was amazingly patient with my abuse of a good thing.
You see, God created the question. He made us as relational beings, and he brings growth through question and answer. If we are to grow in our relationship with God and men, we need to grow as inquisitive creatures. Read more
Ever wonder how the various Reformed and Presbyterian denominations in North America are related? Attached is a Presbyterian and Reformed family tree designed to help answer your questions! It builds on similar charts that have been made in the past. It especially seeks to mark the history and relationships of member churches of NAPARC (North American Presbyterian And Reformed Council). More detailed charts of either Reformed or Presbyterian bodies may be found elsewhere, but this document contains them all on one page.