The Last Thing We Need

The last thing we need is a church that keeps us sealed up in our own compartment with others of similar experiences in life. We need to be integrated into the body of Christ. Younger believers don’t need another speaker to come . . . Continue reading →

The Mystery Of Children’s Church

I can understand why evangelicals and others, who do not have a covenantal theology, would exile their children during public worship but I do not understand why so many ostensibly Reformed congregations have adopted the practice of dismissing their covenant children from the . . . Continue reading →

Setting Priorities For The Congregation

August is the time of year when the heat of summer is accompanied by a blessedly slower pace, unless one is a college football player, in which two-a-day practices begin. Nebraska football is a month away! It’s vacation season for many (e.g., . . . Continue reading →

Strangers And Aliens (22b): Serving The Chief Shepherd (1 Peter 5:1–5)

The Kingdom of God is a reversal of the order of this world. In this world, the first are first and the last are last. It is cut-throat and Darwinian, red in tooth and claw, but in the Kingdom of God the last are first and the first are last. This is the difference between grace and works. Works gives what is earned but grace gives to those who cannot, who would not, what they did not earn. So, as a consequence, ministry in the kingdom is on a different order, a different paradigm. Jesus is the model of ministry in the kingdom. The Son of Man was the suffering servant who as abused, stricken, and finally murdered for us, in our place, as our substitute. He did not suffer for himself. He did not obey for himself. His obedient suffering was for us, in our place, and all that he did is credited to us who believe and even our believing is a gift from God. Continue reading →

Of Church Names, Christ, And Culture

The Foundry, Resonate, Relevant, The Bridge, and Passion City are just a few of the contemporary church names noted by Dennis Baker and mocked by Url Scaramenga in 2010. A search for “contemporary church names” brings up a wealth of resources offering . . . Continue reading →

A Perfect Church? Not In This Life

In a recent book, church growth guru George Barna seems to suggest the end or irrelevance of the local congregation.1 He speaks for a significant number of people who find their congregation unsatisfying or who cannot find a church at all. It . . . Continue reading →

New In Print: Faithful And Fruitful: Essays For Elders And Deacons

There are three major aspects to being Reformed: theology (doctrine), piety (our reverent approach to God), and practice (how we live out our Christian life in the visible church, at work, and at home). Of these three aspects, theology, whether biblical theology . . . Continue reading →

I’ve Had It With Organized Religion

Had I a nickel for every time someone has said “I’ve had it with the church” or “I’ve had it with organized religion” as they walked away from the visible church, I could retire the national debt. Walking away from the visible . . . Continue reading →

A Beginner’s Guide To Addressing Spiritual Abuse In The Church

Recently I had an interesting exchange on social media regarding the extent of spiritual abuse by leaders in confessional Presbyterian and Reformed Churches. The charge is that spiritual abuse is a widespread problem in the confessional Presbyterian and Reformed world. I am . . . Continue reading →