Archive by Author

A Great Pro-Life Idea

On a cold, wintry day in the early 1980’s, while a student at the University of Michigan, I participated in a pro-life march on campus.  As a brand new Christian, I wanted to witness publicly regarding my freshly experienced faith.  So as the snow fell, 10-15 of us walked silently and sheepishly across the campus, holding up amateurishly hand-painted signs made out of cardboard. One sign had a picture of an aborted baby stapled to it.  The rest had the typical slogans of the day.

“Abortion Kills a Child.”

“Abortion Hurts Women.”

“Adoption the Better Option.”

The next day in the student newspaper, a front page picture appeared of our group.  My presence was seen front and center, with a somewhat mocking article underneath.  Since the paper was printed on the very day of my January birth date, I kept a copy and took it home to show my parents, thinking they would find it amusing.  I remember being a bit shocked at their response.  My dad was not happy, and seriously warned me that my photo could be placed in government and employer files, making it difficult for me to find a job someday.  I was told that it was okay to have a private belief about this subject, but […]

Russell Moore Interview of Rosaria Butterfield

The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Church held their national conference at the end of October on the topic of “The Gospel, Homosexuality, and the Future of Marriage.”  Russell Moore interviewed Rosaria Butterfield, author of The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert.  You can watch this fascinating interview below.

Guardian Angels

When Peter was in prison awaiting his execution that was to take place the next day, we read in Acts 12 that the church conducted an all-night prayer service for him.  God responded, sending an angel to release him from his imprisonment. When Peter showed up at the door of the house where the prayer meeting was taking place and knocked to come in, the servant girl Rhoda was so astonished at his appearance that she left him there and ran to tell the others.  In a rather ironic moment in redemptive history, we are told the very people praying for Peter’s release denied it could be him.  “You’re out of your mind,” they told her (Acts 12:15).

In reading this, we might be tempted to shake our head at their unbelief.  Yet we ought to do so humbly rather than condescendingly if we do.  For what they said next is especially fascinating.  “When she kept insisting that it was so, they said, ‘It must be his angel.’” That the early church would rather think it was an angel at the door than Peter himself shows an acute awareness of the spiritual realm that they had which we moderns often lack.  Then, notice the […]

Browse Worthy: Challies on How to Get Things Done

Tim Challies is running a helpful series called “How to Get Things Done.”  As I’m finding the need to be more organized and productive in handling the various responsibilities the Lord has given to me, I’m thankful for posts like these that give helpful advice to that end.

Tim says that “productivity depends upon four tools: information tools, scheduling tools, task management tools, and communication tools.”  Here are his first eight columns.  Clearly more columns are yet to follow, but wanted to point you to this help now!

1) Productivity

2) Areas of Responsibility

3) Time, Energy, & Mission

4) Tools

5) Organization & Systems

6) Task Management

7) Information Management

8) Using Your Calendar Effectively

Bittersweet Battle

In the woods behind our home here in western Pennsylvania, we have found another menace in the forest besides the deer ticks.  Actually, it is a menace to the forest.  It is Celastrus orbiculatus, or “oriental bittersweet.”  This Asian vine was introduced in the United States back in the mid-19th century for ornamental purposes, but like the kudzu vine of the south has spread in an invasive fashion in northeastern states.  Though bluebird watchers and fall wreath makers may disagree, the beauty of the vine is no substitute for its insidious ways. Like a slow-moving army of orcs from Saruman, the bittersweet is killing the woods.

With ropes anywhere from pencil thin to two inches or more in diameter, the bittersweet sends its vines spiraling up the tree trunks of the pines, walnuts, oaks, and maples, reaching heights of thirty feet or more.  Shoots branch out, twirling around and smothering branches and limbs.  The trees groan under the weight of the bittersweet’s canopy, and the thick, twisting tendrils around the trunks seem to squeeze the life right out of the trees.  Along the ground, many places have tangled webs of the vine that have choked out native plants, and they block the ability to either walk […]

Weekend Quote: Luther on the Word’s Reformation Power

From Martin Luther’s Works, Vol. 51, 77:

I opposed indulgences and all the papists, but never with force. I simply taught, preached, and wrote God’s Word; otherwise I did nothing. And while I slept, or drank Wittenberg beer with my friends Philip and Amsdorf, the Word so greatly weakened the papacy that no prince or emperor ever inflicted such losses upon it. I did nothing; the Word did everything.

Browse Worthy: Reformation Day

As today marks 497 years since Luther nailed his 95 theses to the Wittenburg Chapel door, why not take a few minutes to reflect on God’s use of that wondrous act by taking a look at the posts below?

What is Reformation Day All About? – Here’s a clear, concise answer to that question by Robert Rothwell.

Calvin on Why God Raised up Luther to Reform the Church – Justin Taylor shows how one great reformer viewed another in this short but insightful post.

Trick or Treat? It’s Martin Luther – Here is an interesting perspective on the connection between Halloween and Reformation Day.

What was the Protestant Reformation? – A slightly longer development of the necessity of the Protestant Reformation.

John Knox 500 – This Scottish Reformer had his 500th birthday this year, and  some people will enjoy a great celebration next week!

Reformation Heritage Books – If you want to read more, here are some good book deals on the subject!

Guest Post. J.K. Wall on Christ’s Kingdom and Work

J.K. Wall is a business journalist in Indianapolis, where he is a member of the Christ Church Reformed Presbyterian congregation. He holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in history, writing his master’s thesis on the early sermons of Augustine of Hippo. His book Messiah the Prince Revisited, a modern update on Scottish theologian William Symington’s book, was published in September by Crown & Covenant Publications.   J.K. applies Symington’s book to the issue of work in this post entitled “Christ is Using You, Right Now, to Build His Kingdom.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I’m a follow-the-money reporter at a city business journal, which is owned by non-Christian businessmen and run by editors with a slightly left-of-center bent.

And yet, I know my work is helping to build the kingdom of Jesus Christ and change the world every day.

In fact, I know your work is too.

How am I so certain? Because the Bible tells us that Christ, as our Redeemer, is using all people and their work to accomplish His work: the building of His church and, through it, the transforming of the world.

This is the special insight articulated by William Symington in Messiah the Prince. I have written a new version of Symington’s 19th Century classic in […]

Preaching Earnestly

In his classic work An Earnest Ministry: The Want of the Times, John Angell James has much to offer the preacher in taking a sense of urgency or “intense devotion” into the pulpit.  As to the importance of this subject, James says:

The public will hear an earnest minister, and will not hear any other…if the people demand an earnest exhibition of gospel truth, and their minister, instead of this, will give them nothing but dull, dry, abstract sermons, it is they who are right, and he is wrong. They, better than he does, know not only what they want—but what he was appointed by God to furnish them!

Here are ten of his valuable pieces of counsel regarding preaching earnestly.

1)  Keep this golden rule of preaching before you.

No ministry will be really effective, whatever may be its education, which is not a ministry of strong faith, true spirituality, and deep earnestness. I wish this golden sentence could be inscribed in characters of light over every professor’s chair, over every student’s desk, and over every preacher’s pulpit.

2) Go to the prayer closet before you go to the pulpit.

We are weak in the pulpit, because we are weak in the closet. An earnest man will not only […]

Guest Post: J.K. Wall on the Two Kingdoms Debate

J.K. Wall is a business journalist in Indianapolis, where he is a member of the Christ Church Reformed Presbyterian congregation. He holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in history, writing his master’s thesis on the early sermons of Augustine of Hippo. His book Messiah the Prince Revisited, a modern update on Scottish theologian William Symington’s book, was published in September by Crown & Covenant Publications.   J.K. applies Symington’s work to a current theological issue in this guest post entitled “Avoiding Double Vision: A Helpful Historical Lens for the Modern Two Kingdoms Debate.”

It’s natural that we look to past thinkers for guidance in the midst of contemporary theological debates—like the one between two kingdoms theology and the one kingdom, neo-Calvinist viewpoint.

So in recent years, there have been numerous back-and-forth arguments as to whether Augustine’s concept of “two cities” or Luther’s concept of “two kingdoms” or Calvin’s comments about the “twofold government” of a spiritual kingdom and political kingdom give the upper hand to one side or the other of this discussion.

Over at the Reformation 21 blog, Matthew Tuininga declared it “anachronistic and impossible” to fit Calvin into the contemporary two kingdoms controversy—a prudent warning that clearly applies more broadly than […]