Climate Change: Which Kind Are We Fighting For?

“Environmentalists say ‘Don’t use it.’ Conservationists say ‘Use it wisely.’” This maxim from my youth stuck; it was a favorite of the leader of my county’s soil and water conservation district. This week, when the pope visits Washington, D.C., you will no doubt hear many pleas to battle man-made global warming by limiting the use of fossil fuels. Christians who know their Bibles should be leery when leaders like President Obama and the pope endorse forced restrictions on the use of the earth’s resources – especially when more people will go hungry and perish as a result. God has not called us to embrace a “Don’t use it” or even a simply “Use it less” mindset.

God called Adam and Eve to the wise use of creation for the good of mankind and the glory of God when he said,

‘Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.’ And God said, ‘Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with […]

A Church Planting Testimony

On the evening of September 11, around two hundred people gathered as the Marion Reformed Presbyterian Church was organized by the presbytery in Marion, Indiana.  One of the highlights of the evening was the history of the work uniquely expressed by Scott Hunt, an attorney in Marion who was installed as a ruling elder in the new congregation. With his permission I am sharing this history below.


Abraham was the father of Isaac, and Isaac the father of Jacob, and Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers,.. And David was the father of Solomon by the wife of Uriah,…and Josiah the father of Jechoniah and his brothers, at the time of the deportation to Babylon….and Jacob the father of Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, who is called Christ. So all the generations from Abraham to David were fourteen generations, and from David to the deportation to Babylon fourteen generations, and from the deportation to Babylon to the Christ fourteen generations. Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way (Matthew 1:2, 6, 11, 16-18).

It is clear from a cursory reading of God’s Word that the history of His people is important.  Whether it is the descendants of Adam in Genesis or a list of David’s […]

Two Types of Sinners

According to the Bible, several ways exist to classify sinners. First and foremost, we can simply state the universal truth.  All men are sinners!  Both the wicked and the saint alike! Romans 3:23 sums it up clearly, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” The saint has been forgiven his sin, but as Luther stated he is still simul justus et peccator – at the same time righteous and a sinner. In what follows, the church must not forget this universal truth.

However, the Scriptures do make other distinctions regarding sinners. They can be labeled according to the types of sin they commit, such as adulterers, liars, murderers, etc. (I Cor. 6:9-10; Rev. 22:15). Also, the ungodly can be classified with respect to their disobedience to the Word, where they can resist it immediately, receive it joyfully at first then fall away, or let it be choked out over a period of time (Matt. 13:3-9; 18-23). Another way to view sinners, somewhat akin to Dante’s hellish circles in his Inferno, is to think of them with respect to the degree of depravity they have reached. All men are sinners, yet people to various degrees become hardened and fall further into the depths of sin, with some even reaching the […]

The Christian Cure for Worry

Anxiety is big business. The average bookshop has hundreds of ‘self-help’ titles addressing people’s worries: their weight, looks, personality, sex life, health, assertiveness—you name it. Here’s a quote from one of them. It’s called The Power of Inner Peace. In the introduction the author says,

‘When I claim my personal power then I can be at peace. When I am at peace I have the strength to claim my power. It is a circle. Now I know that deep in my centre is a place of stillness and peace. From this space I can easily access my higher guidance.’

Nope—I haven’t the faintest idea what that means either! Thank God the Christian remedy for anxiety is far more helpful and realistic. In Philippians 4.6-7 Paul writes, ‘Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.’

Believe what it says. God really is telling us not to worry about anything. It’s addressed to a church under serious pressure—Christians in Philippi were expected to sacrifice to the Roman emperor on public […]

Browse Worthy: Drunk with the Blood

The tenth video from the Center for Medical Progress on Planned Parenthood’s dealing in and profiting from the body parts of aborted fetuses has been released. Notice as you watch these videos that as the powerful figures within Planned Parenthood are discussing how “everything we provide is fresh,” they are often doing so as they drink wine and liquor. As the prophets warned, a nation is in trouble when its leaders are drunk with blood and power.

One hopeful impact of these videos is that Republican presidential candidates have been emboldened to speak more strongly against abortion. Unlike the tepid stances by candidates in previous campaigns, a number of current candidates are mincing no words.

Grateful Presbyterianism

When I became a pastor in the RPCNA, one of the vows I took went like this:

Do you believe it to be the teaching of Scripture…that the permanent form of church government is presbyterian?

So, yeah, I do. And I made a vow to that effect, so fat chance getting me to turn my back on it now. I’m presbyterian by conviction, because I really do believe it’s how Scripture shows the church ought to be led. Presbyterianism strengthens the church’s ability to submit to her leaders, trusting that when things go wrong (and they do), there is a higher authority ready to right the ship. As I’ve reminded my congregationalist friends, any church government works when everything’s going well. But presbyterianism works when nothing is going well.

But this past weekend, I was reminded in a few powerful ways that the greatest benefit of being presbyterian isn’t the structure of authority existing over individual sessions and the ability to work through discipline cases effectively. The greatest benefit of being presbyterian is being loved, pursuing Christ’s kingdom-on-earth together in a community of true and mutual care. 

Thoughts of a Recent Sojourner

I’m a man in a new place.

In many ways it is all quite familiar. There are the usual fast food chains, Walmart, and shopping malls. But in many more ways, it all feels wondrously and overwhelmingly new. Southern hospitality is a real thing, we are living in a treetop condo, and there are palms trees. Everything from the street lights to the cultural tone exhibit subtle (and no so subtle) differences.

It’s definitely not Indiana. And that’s ok. Kinda.

The truth is that I really do like it here in Pensacola. We’ve gained much. But it doesn’t feel like home yet. I suppose that will take time. In the meantime, our family feels like strangers and aliens. Like outsiders. Or better yet, people hanging out at another person’s family reunion. Everyone is welcoming, and they share their food, but we’re still posing as Floridians. We’re not fully a part of it all.

Uncertainty is a thing too. Our steps hesitate. We don’t quite know where we’re going at times. Thankfully there’s something called Google Maps. The “turn left in a quarter mile” voice is surprisingly reassuring.

But amid all the change and flux, it was a sweet blessing to sit in Sunday school and […]

A Timely Piece of Humble Pie

Wow! What a great weekend I have had! After teaching at the seminary Friday morning, a friend drove me out from Pennsylvania to Indiana for the organizational service of the Marion Reformed Presbyterian Church. A daughter work of the Kokomo congregation I formerly served, it was a joy to preach to a full sanctuary gathered to celebrate this long-awaited exciting occasion. After rich fellowship, we jumped back in the car and drove through the night, as I had to speak the next morning at the Westminster Conference at the Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary. Again, I was blessed as people interacted enthusiastically on the theme of experiencing our union with Christ. Yesterday we enjoyed worship in the morning, then in the evening I opened God’s Word from Ezekiel 3 on the need for the saints to be watchmen in the kingdom of God.

In the midst of these wonderful opportunities that can go to one’s head if not careful, the Lord gave me a timely humility check. Some young adults were over at our home yesterday, and informed me that a video portion of my son Trevor’s wedding from two years ago was on YouTube. I had no idea. With kudos to Kevin DeYoung who always […]

We Could Be Heroes (and maybe that’s not good …)

We have such low standards for heroes.  And I don’t just mean comic book superheroes:  Green Lantern…Hawkeye….Robin (!?!)  No matter how much we equivocate the term, these guys don’t deserve the title “super.”  But that’s a subject for another blog.  In this one, I’d like to explore the tendency among Christians in our modern, Western culture to laud as heroic any non-fictional person who seems even vaguely virtuous.  In a time of moral famine, Christians seem far too eager to gobble up and praise what little signs we see of basic good behavior and to celebrate them as Christ-like.   To borrow and adapt C.S. Lewis’ expression:  When it comes to distinctly Christian heroism, we are far too easily pleased.