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Apr 2013 19 Apr 19, 2013

Tertullian (@ 200 a.d.) was one of the greatest of the early church fathers and was actually the first man to use the word “Trinity” to describe the nature of God as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. He lived and wrote at a time when opposition to Christianity and the Church was intensifying. Although Tertullian was an apologist, which is to say he devoted himself to defining and defending the Christian faith against its critics, he was quick to point out that it...Read More

Apr 2013 18 Apr 18, 2013
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No one other than those present during the recent conclave in Rome know all the reasons why an Argentine Cardinal is now Pope Francis. But I read one interesting theory in a fascinating article by Jamie Dean in World magazine (April 6, 2013). Some theorize that the selection of this particular man may be “an attempt to stop the decline in the number of Catholics” throughout Latin America. I’m sure that Pope Francis has numerous qualities that contribut...Read More

Apr 2013 18 Apr 18, 2013
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Countless Christians motivate themselves to obey the call of Christ with the constant reminder of the dreadful consequences of failure or the shameful humiliation of “getting caught” in sin. It is more the terrifying prospect of public exposure than the allure of heavenly joy that accounts for how they live. Others have embraced the truth that the only way to liberate the heart from servitude to the passing pleasure of sin is by cultivating a passion for the...Read More

Apr 2013 18 Apr 18, 2013
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In a previous article I spoke of the danger of pastoral bullies in the local church (1 Peter 5:1-4). One of the factors that can often contribute to this approach to ministry is personal insecurity. Consider the dangers of an insecure pastor (of course, each of the following applies equally well to all Christians). Insecurity makes it difficult to acknowledge and appreciate the accomplishments of others on staff (or in the congregation). In other words, the personally i...Read More

Apr 2013 17 Apr 17, 2013
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“Has there ever been a phrase more adept at smuggling in doctrinal confusion and moral laxity than the slogan ‘spiritual, not religious’? Granted, for some people this means, ‘I want a personal, life-changing relationship with God, not mere church attendance.’ But more often than not the phrase implies a dislike for theological standards, moral absolutes, and organized religion. Being spiritual in contemporary jargon means you are open to my...Read More

Apr 2013 17 Apr 17, 2013
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In his instructions to Elders/Pastors, Peter insists that they must not lead for love of power, which is to say they must not “domineer” those in their charge but rather be “examples” to them (v. 3b). How might a pastor or elder “domineer” his flock? In other words, what makes a man a pastoral bully? Here are some ways. A man can “domineer” or “lord it over” his flock by intimidating them into doing what he wa...Read More

Apr 2013 16 Apr 16, 2013
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“It’s all too easy to turn the fight of faith into sanctification-by-checklist. . . . And inevitably, checklist spirituality is highly selective. So you end up feeling successful at sanctification because you stayed away from drugs, lost weight, served at the soup kitchen, and renounced Styrofoam. But you’ve ignored gentleness, humility, joy, and sexual purity” (Kevin DeYoung, The Hole in our Holiness, 34)....Read More

Apr 2013 16 Apr 16, 2013
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I want to share a few thoughts about why I so strongly dislike intinction and why I believe it is detrimental to the message communicated in the Eucharist and to the fullness of what I believe the believer should experience in partaking of the elements. For those of you not familiar with the word “intinction,” it refers to a particular way in which the elements of the Lord’s Supper are served and ingested. With intinction, the believer dips the bread i...Read More

Apr 2013 15 Apr 15, 2013
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[Last night I had the unique privilege of joining nearly 4,000 believers in Minneapolis in a celebration of thanksgiving for the ministry of John Piper at Bethlehem Baptist Church. I was also given the honor of issuing a “challenge” or “charge” to John for the remaining years of his life and work on earth. I thought you might enjoy reading what I said.] John, as you know, we first met 29 years ago, appropriately, at Wheaton College. It was a conf...Read More

Apr 2013 12 Apr 12, 2013

Just when you thought you’d seen and heard it all, there appears an article in the most recent issue of World magazine on the battle over gay marriage in our country. On p. 36 is a photograph of a man in front of the U.S. Supreme Court dressed in a red, skin-tight, mesh leotard, a multi-colored tutu around his waist, wearing purple sun glasses to match his purple lipstick, together with a red wig and red horns protruding from his head. One supposes he’s portr...Read More