How bad is bad? Reflections on Pervasive Depravity!

Just a quick blog on Genesis 6.5 – part of the passage I’m hoping to preach on tomorrow.

The text will be a familiar one to most. It describes the state of affairs of the whole graceless, godless, race, before the Noahic Deluge. It points, in the starkest, most dramatic, terms, to the universal corruption of every aspect of mankind:

“And Yahweh saw that the evil of mankind was great on the earth – and every purpose of the deliberations of his heart was only evil all the day long” (My translation).

A number of aspects of this doctrine of all-pervading depravity of humanity emerge from a quick review of this verse:
1. This is the comprehensive corruption of the human race in the estimation of all-knowing, all-seeing, Yahweh, the Covenant God and Creator, weighed by the standards of His righteous, holy, Law – we need not doubt that it is just, true, accurate and fair. Gloomy it may be but godly it is also. Depravity is a trustworthy, accurate, divine assessment.
2. The pervasive pollution of mankind does not just extend to the outward act but also the inward thought: sinfulness of man reaches to motives, circumstances, mitigations, aggravations, desires, […]

Why My Family Gets the Flu Vaccine Every Year

Each year, I make sure that every person in my family receives the flu vaccine.  Here is a quick rundown of why1:

Flu is a serious illness that kills many people every year. Flu is caused by influenza viruses and infects somewhere between 9 and 60 million people every year in the U.S.  Since 2010 there have been between 12,000 and 56,000 deaths every year in our country.  Complications from the flu include encephalitis, pneumonia, and inflammation of the heart.  People with underlying conditions like asthma, heart disease, or diabetes are especially at risk of developing complications.

One of the deadliest diseases in recorded human history was the Influenza Epidemic of 1918, which is estimated to have infected 500 million people worldwide, killing as many of 50 million people – including over 650,000 Americans. Go into virtually any, older cemetery and you will find young victims of the “Spanish Flu” epidemic.  The potential harm caused by influenza is staggering.

Flu is nasty and will make you seriously uncomfortable even if it does not send you to the hospital. Most people who get the flu do not die.  But most who get it do suffer.  Many people are confused about what the […]

Fighting Fear: Psalm 56

“What are you so scared of?” With such a simple question, our tendency to and hatred of fear are thrown at us by every childhood taunt we can remember.

Fear – the kind the Bible warns against – never looks good on us. Like a perpetually out of style haircut, there’s no way to dress it up. Fear never drives us in the right direction. It is, perhaps, one of the most dangerous reasons to do anything. Fear dishonors God and disheartens us. No wonder, then, that He has much to say about it. Psalm 56 is one of the best pillows on which to lay our heads when our hearts are tempted to fear. 

3GT Episode 73: When Two Kingdoms Become One

Why would the 3GTers want to talk about the Democratic primary for the governor’s race in Texas? Because one candidate who is promoting a pro-choice position is an elder in a Reformed church, and other elders in his denomination are calling him to repent!

The guys use this situation to delve into the underlying theological currents that influence believers as they seek to live in the two kingdoms of state and church. Aaron, Barry, and Kyle seek to identify the factors that can cause one kingdom to engulf the other in the minds and lives of believers.

Join them for this wide-ranging “trialogue” on 3GT!


You can also subscribe to 3GT on iTunes!

Episode Notes:

An Open Letter to Andrew White | Todd Pruitt

Andrew White, Todd Pruitt and John the Baptist | Richard Phillips

One Man’s Sanctification Journey

The following is a guest post by Russell Pulliam, an Indianapolis Star columnist who directs the Pulliam Fellowship summer intern program for the Indianapolis Star and the Arizona Republic. Russ describes personally below the process, tools, and lessons the Lord has taken him though on his own road of sanctification.


Sanctification seems similar to one of those 500-piece puzzles. How do all the pieces fit together? Perhaps one side of the puzzle represents the disciplines of sanctification, and the other side represents the themes of grace.

Disciplines and Discipleship

In my early years in Christ, 1970s and 1980s, I heard much about good disciplines. Bible study, prayer and memory verses, and meditation were the core. But added to the list were: church and fellowship; witness; good biographies; andearly rising for quiet time, sometimes with physical fitness to get more alert. The list grew longer through some good books: writing in journals; confession and self-examination; solitude. The earliest book was Richard Foster’s Celebration of Discipline, followed by Dallas Willard, The Celebration of Discipline. Later came Donald Whitney with a more reformed framework in Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life.

Here is an odd challenge with these disciplines. I can develop a subtle and unconscious pride, taking […]

Trying to Get our Morals Back

In the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal and a whole pile of other celebrity accusations, it has been sadly fascinating watching the west trying to claw its way back to some form of morality. At the Golden Globe awards earlier in January actors and actresses wore black as a way to say ‘Enough’ or ‘Me too’.

This would be the same Hollywood that releases 50 Shades of Grey and a host of other films, that endorses a hook-up and casual sex culture—and then acts self-righteously shocked and surprised that the culture that they created isn’t what they want to live in. Society tried to disconnect the sexual revolution from morality, and seems shocked when people behave in immoral ways. We want to be free to watch, but kid ourselves that watching won’t shape us.

Cue frantic back-peddling, or as some more cynically might call it, ‘virtue signalling’—that quick rush to show that you are just as virtuous as anyone else, whether or not your adoption of these virtues is a recent acquisition or even genuine at all. I do wonder how many of the artists parading around in black have paraded around in a lot less when it suited them.

The cat […]

Trusting God in the Face of Tragedy

Last Wednesday morning one of the wisest and most gracious Pastors in the Reformed Presbyterian Church of Ireland collapsed and died suddenly and unexpectedly. Rev Knox Hyndman had retired after a long and productive 42 year ministry, and during his retirement he had helped to plant a new congregation in East Belfast, preaching and pastoring a small group of saints for five years. He leaves behind his wife, three children and three grandchildren, and countless grieving friends who are devastated by the loss of this ‘prince in Israel’.

A young woman who used to belong to our congregation has been told she has only a short time left to live, humanly speaking, as cancer races to every part of her body. She and her husband have four children under the age of 6, the youngest just born a couple of months ago.

On Wednesday of this week Nikolas Cruz walked into his former high school in Parkland, Florida, and began shooting students and teachers indiscriminately. He left at least 17 dead in the sixth school shooting incident this year that has either wounded or killed students.

How do we respond to tragedies like these as Christians? Of course there are many things we […]

The Arena of Christ’s Kingdom

The Philadelphia Eagles knocked off the New England Patriots this month in what was “one of the greatest Super Bowls ever played.”

But nearly as stunning as the big game was the host stadium.

Shaped like a Viking ship (since it’s the home field of the Minnesota Vikings), U.S. Bank Stadium has 200,000-square-feet of windows that reveal the sky and the skyline, and seats for as many as 73,000 screaming fans—some of which sit just 40 feet from the sidelines.

This stadium not only made the game possible. It made it better.

The same is true for the arena of Christ’s kingdom. Our human society is the host stadium for the drama of redemptive history. Christ uses it to make that drama possible—and make it better.

Imagine if the Super Bowl were played in a broken-down stadium, on a dusty field pitted with dangerous craters, rocks and jagged pieces of metal fallen from the rafters. Would the players play nearly as well in such conditions? Would they play at all? And would anyone bother to watch?

Yet that’s a pretty good description of the arena in which Christ’s church operates. Christians live in constant danger of injuries that can and do seriously hinder them spiritually—if not […]

A Simple Treatment for Ministry Weariness

What do you do with moments of battle weariness in life and in ministry? The moment may come after great triumph, inglorious defeat, or during an extended sequence of months of working though the daily grind.

After we’ve spent ourselves for the Lord and for others, we find ourselves…well, spent. Shot. Exhausted. Ready to quit. Ready for heaven.

One of my seminary professors, Dr. Ed Robson, pointed us to Elijah for a simple, initial answer on such days. 

The prophet Elijah labored under great duress. He declared to King Ahab that there would be three years of drought in ancient Israel; that’s not exactly a formula to win friends and influence people (1 Kings 17). Elijah lived as a wanted man; Ahab searched everywhere for him. The Lord spared his life in a cave by the brook Cherith, where ravens fed him. Still, imagine the daily pressure of being discovered. He drank of that brook until in dried up. He suffered, along with the rest of the nation.

Following Elijah’s ministry to the widow at Zerephath, God sent him to confront King Ahab as recounted in 1 Kings 18. That was three years after his initial prophecy of drought, and he was not a […]