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.  

The Scriptural Reverse-Trajectory of the Sexual Revolution

A fascinating trajectory of the sexual revolution has become obvious this summer in these United States. The trajectory moves backward through Scripture. The pages of God’s design for humanity have been peeled back, as it were, to the first chapter of Genesis.

In a host of ways and over many years, we as a culture have defied God’s design for sexual desire and activity as outlined in his law and summarized in the seventh commandment.
Next, we reached back to Genesis chapter two and redefined marriage through the Obergefell vs. Hodges decision by the Supreme Court of the United States.
Now, we are reaching back to Genesis 1:26-28 to redefine the nature of humanity by erasing God-ordained distinctions between male and female through the “gender identity” movement. Bruce Jenner brought the movement to the front page. The University of Tennessee’s now-withdrawn suggested use of newly-created gender-neutral pronouns is one example of the effort to institutionalize the erasure such distinctions. The accelerating push for new SOGI (Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity) laws captures the move to codify and enforce the rejection of the God-ordained male and female distinction.

Having reached the hand of defiance against the Creator back through the pages of Scripture to redefine right […]

Qualities of Urgency in Preaching Seen in Peter’s Pentecost Sermon

Martyn Lloyd-Jones once stated to preachers, “You are not simply imparting information, you are dealing with souls, you are dealing with pilgrims on the way to eternity, you are dealing with matters not only of life and death in this world, but eternal destiny. Nothing can be so terribly urgent.”

With that quote in mind, what does urgent preaching look like? With over half of its content sermonic, the Biblical record contained in the Acts of the Apostles would support the thesis that true preaching is urgent preaching.  Using Peter’s message at Pentecost as a paradigm, we can see urgent preaching would appear to possess at least these seven qualities.

1) A yearning to glorify God for his salvation (Acts 2:17, 22, 36). Peter makes it clear throughout his message that salvation is the work of God from beginning to end.

2) An aim in the message to touch hearts as well as minds (Acts 2:14, 22-23, 29, 36-37). When those gathered at Pentecost heard this message, they were “cut to the heart,” which is clearly Peter’s aim.

3) An eschatological sense that the gospel is the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy. Eleven of the twenty-three verses of Peter’s sermon are Old Testament quotations, which add […]

The Timid Sheep

It does not take much reading in the newspaper or media sites to realize that our culture is rapidly changing. I am not saying that our culture is going from Christian to secular (that’s another discussion);  but I do believe that we are seeing less toleration of Christianity, especially among the self-proclaimed tolerant.

Fear sets in, doesn’t it? Timidity replaces trust at times. Will the church press on courageously, trusting in Christ’s purposes or will we retreat due to the fear that overwhelms us?

This is going to prove to be a pastoral problem in the church. As the church faces this new age of forced-toleration, how ought we respond to those who who suffer under the fear and timidity that may plague our souls?

Martin Bucer (1491-1551), gives us wisdom here. He writes:

Those who become timid, so that the cross and tribulation become too heavy for them, must be addressed kindly and comfortingly, faithfully impressing on them the goodness of God and the salvation of Christ, so that they may recognize and believe that our dear God’s intentions towards them are entirely fatherly and faithful in all the sufferings he sends them. They are always to be dissuaded from thinking about their sins and […]

Browse Worthy: Kim Davis

Yes, Kim Davis, the Kentucky county clerk refusing to sign marriage licenses for same sex couples, is doing the right thing. Here are four good reasons why, stated by others clearly and logically.

“Kim Davis Broke an Illegitimate, Evil Law, and God Bless Her for It,” says Matt Walsh.

According to Mike Huckabee, she is asking the appropriate question. “Under what law am I authorized to issue homosexual couples a marriage license?” A Supreme Court ruling is not the law.

Douglas Wilson quotes Thomas Jefferson who said, “When Injustice Becomes Law, Resistance Becomes Duty.” He then explains why “it is a shame that a 18th century Deist has a better grasp of the relationship of righteousness to government than do two and a half busloads of 21st century Reformed seminary professors.” Ouch!

And as David Murray says, “We Don’t get to Choose Our Martyrs.”



Browse Worthy: As the Foundations Crumble

As Psalm 11:3 asks, “If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?” Though rhetorical in nature, still one thing the righteous must do is assess the damage accurately. Here are a few important reminders of our culture’s self-destruction that call us to pray for the Lord’s mercy and deliverance.

The ninth video of the Center for Medical Progress on Planned Parenthood’s trafficking of fetal body parts has been posted. “Behold, the wicked bend the bow, they make ready their arrow upon the string” (Psalm 11:2).

In Kentucky, county clerk Kim Davis has refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. She may be jailed for her actions. So many details make this story fascinating – the open hostility of the homosexual community and her relative calmness in the face of it; her open witness that she is taking this stand because of the authority of God’s Word; her own background that includes being in her fourth marriage; the protests in and outside the county building. In light of the media consistently claiming Mrs. Davis is “breaking the law,” I found this article by the America Family Association clarifying. “The Lord is in His holy temple; the Lord’s throne is in […]

3GT Episode 4: Grenades + Women = ?

Our latest episode of the 3GT podcast is up!  You can go here to download or listen below.  Here’s a humorous description of what it contains written by one of us that’s not me:

With bazooka and machine gun in hand, Austin defends longer podcast lengths. From there it is only natural (um, sure) to talk more about The Sermon on the Mount, specifically whether or not it serves as a model for preaching. Lastly, we dive into the current theological scuffle between John Piper, Carl Trueman and Doug Wilson regarding the boundaries of complementarianism.



The Law of the Nations

Last week I posted a brief article on “The Law of the Church” to remind readers of the place God’s Law is to have in the congregation and to encourage in simple ways the restoration of its knowledge and practice. Today let us look at how the Law of God is to be sought after as a guide for the nations of the earth. I offer these meditations because the nations are spurning the ways of the Lord and, in their ignorance, are calling God’s further judgments upon them. The church has a sacred duty to warn them and call them to repentance.

To understand this, let us begin with Israel.  Upon her deliverance from Egypt, the Lord through Moses took his people to Mt. Sinai and with his own finger wrote the Ten Commandments upon stone tablets. Further insight into their application, along with ceremonial and civil laws, were delivered to Israel through Moses. The people had a responsibility to teach the Word of God diligently in their homes (Deut. 6:4-9). The eventual kings of Israel were to make their own copy of God’s Law in order to govern the nation by it and be prospered by the Lord (Deut. 17:18-20). […]

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 […]