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Browse Worthy: Wisdom Wednesdays

Yes, I know it’s Thursday. And, yes, I know this is not the seminary I am “supposed” to be promoting!

But “Wisdom Wednesdays,” weekly videos produced by the Reformed Theological Seminary that are typically three-to-five minutes long, provide helpful, short meditations on an array of topics. For a few moments of sharpening, I appreciate receiving them each Wednesday.

For a good example, below you can listen to Dr. Scott Redd remind us of two vital Biblical principles in dealing with the immigration issue that, held in proper tension, provide the balance our nation so desperately needs. As you listen to most of the rhetoric out there, people typically uphold one to the exclusion of the other.

If you would like to subscribe to Wisdom Wednesdays, simply click this link to go to their YouTube channel.

Lent: Glitter or Gold?

Every Sunday night before evening worship I meet in my study with the middle schoolers in our church to discuss the morning sermon. That goal isn’t always achieved. As I’ve gotten to know them they have also gotten to know me. Sometimes they use that to their advantage to derail the normal topic of discussion. They have figured out that the quickest way to have a tangential conversation is to ask me a serious question. I’ve never told them—and maybe I don’t need to—but these are some of my favorite times as a pastor. In one manipulatively planned digression I was asked about the practice of Lent.

Over a century ago William Ingraham Kip wrote: “For some years past each return of Lent has been, we believe, regarded with additional interest.” That observation remains true today. As Ash Wednesday marks the start of another Lenten season many of us will encounter it. In the spirit of the Apostle Paul who said “test everything” (1 Thessalonians 5:21) we should think biblically about the Lenten season.

Lent is regarded by many to be on of the oldest and most important practices of the church calendar. Traces of its observance can be found in the […]

An Emoji Testimony

I want to give you a simple way to share your faith. Not trivialize it, as the title of this post could imply, but help solidify it in your heart and mind as a ready way to share the hope of Christ in you. Let me explain.

In Matthew 13, our Lord told a parable likening the kingdom of God to a sower sowing seeds indiscriminately. Regardless of the soil type – hard, rocky, weedy, or fertile – the sower just threw out the seed. Later, when Jesus explained the parable to his disciples, he told them the seed was God’s Word and the soils represented people’s hearts. Though other applications can be made from this parable, one thing we learn is that we are to be liberally and widely sharing God’s Word with others.

Often, we stop short of testifying to Christ with unbelievers around us, be it a neighbor, a co-worker, an acquaintance, or even a longtime friend because we simply do not know what to say. We are unprepared, and I know many Christians can also feel unqualified to speak.

Yet this parable should encourage us in at least two ways. First, it reminds us that we are not accountable for […]

Is the Write-In Vote that Ill-Conceived? A Brief Response to Pastor Robert Jeffress

I had one of those long, face scrunching moments while reading Dr. Robert Jeffress’ article “Why Christians must vote in this election (staying home is not an option).” It’s found here in the Fox News Opinion section.

My facial contortion began right out of the gate. Here’s how Pastor Jeffress begins,

“I hear the lament often from conservative Christians as I travel the country: ‘How can I vote for either of these candidates with a clear conscience?’

Increasingly, many Christians are choosing the stay-at-home option (or throw away their vote with a write-in candidate option) as a way to maintain their integrity.

Frankly, I understand the appeal of such a choice. Not voting allows Christians to avoid both having to make a difficult choice or defending an unpopular choice to disapproving friends or family members. And let’s face it, playing the “conscience card” allows someone to feel holier than other Christians who sully themselves by getting involved in the political process.”

Now in an election where rhetoric already registers a ten on the Richter scale, one might hope for more charity (expressed through fairness) in the Christian quadrant. But as one might have noticed, that isn’t always […]

So You Want to Dive Into Podcasts and Audiobooks?

I am asked fairly often what it is I like to listen to. That is usually followed up with a question as to how one might go about doing such a thing.

Well, here recently, someone asked that very question, and when I finished writing up a brief overview of the process, I thought it would be good to post my musings here. Perhaps you too would like to dive into the world of podcasts and audiobooks.

If so, here is a simple how to:

Hebrews 8 and the Credobaptist Objection: A Reply

Paedobaptist: So let me get this straight, one your biggest objections to infant baptism rests on the understanding that the New Covenant is comprised of only the elect/regenerate?

Credo: That’s right. Hebrews 8 (citing Jeremiah 31) makes this plain. Everyone in the New Covenant knows the Lord. That’s what makes it unlike the Mosaic Covenant. The old covenant was more ethnic in nature. It included the children of Jews. As such, it was a covenant that included both the regenerate and unregenerate. This is contrasted with that of the New Covenant. Only genuine believers (the regenerate) make up the New Covenant. This fact is a crucial part of its newness!

Paedobaptist: But surely you grant that not everyone in the church is regenerate, right?

Credo: Of course. There are false believers and apostates. But they aren’t part of the New Covenant.

Paedobaptist: But many of these false believers are baptized, right?

Credo: Yes.

Paedobaptist: So they receive the sign of the covenant but are not part of the covenant community?

Credo: That’s right. Only the elect comprise the New Covenant.

Paedobaptist: But isn’t there an external administration of the covenant? In other words, don’t you believe that they are connected to the New Covenant in some sense?

Credo: They are […]

Help! I Struggle With My Pastor’s Preaching

Call me an old school Presbyterian but in my estimation there is nothing as important as the preaching of God’s Word. I don’t think it was overbold for PT Forsyth to suggest: “With its preaching Christianity stands or falls.” Preaching is not merely an appendix to the many activities of the church, an ancillary support to a pastor’s more important tasks, or a supplement for the spirituality of a congregation. It stands at the center. It is the primary method God uses to give faith (Romans 10:17), to save sinners (1 Corinthians 1:21), and to spiritually strengthen (Romans 16:25). It’s for this reason the Westminster Shorter Catechism says: “The Spirit of God makes the reading, but especially the preaching, of the word, an effectual means of convincing and converting sinners, and of building them up in holiness and comfort, through faith, unto salvation.” That’s why it can be such a spiritual crisis when people struggle with their pastor’s preaching.

I was recently speaking with a friend who was dealing with this problem. For some time he has not felt overly encouraged or built up by the preaching in his local church. It’s not that there’s false doctrine being preached or anything […]

A Few Words For Our Cultural Moment

“Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, ‘if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.’ Do not be overcome by evil, but […]

A Brief Reflection on Apologetics and Epistemology

(This is a follow-up to my post which can be found here)

When confronted with evidence supporting the notion of intelligent design, as demonstrated through the finely-tuned nature of the universe, atheist, Peter Millican, appealed chiefly to two different lines of thinking in order to escape the force of the argument: The possibility of a multiverse and the discovery of a new theory or law of nature that would resolve the tension through a more naturalistic explanation.

Allow me to bullet some thoughts: