Articles

Child, He Loves You…

My prayer for you today is that through all of your doubt, fatigue, pain, and struggle you would lift your eyes to see the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. God’s love for you is not dependent upon your performance. God set His love on you while you were a sinner. God... ...

In Memoriam – R.C. Sproul (1939-2017)

Excerpted from Well-Driven Nails  R.C. Sproul: A Man Fluent in Latin and Common Ligonier Ministries was established in 1971 to equip Christians to articulate what they believe and why they believe it. Our foremost desire is to “awaken as many people as possible to the holiness of God by proclaiming, teaching, and defending His holiness in... ...

Recommended Sermon: Union with Christ: Mind-Renewing Foundations

Can We Recommend A Good Sermon?  If you haven't heard this fantastic sermon, Union with Christ: Mind-Renewing Foundations by Sinclair Ferguson, do yourself a favor and listen to it today.  ...

Our Thoughts on John Piper and Sola Fide

Our Thoughts on John Piper and Sola Fide There is a lot of chatter out there about John Piper’s most recent article, Does God Really Save Us By Faith Alone? Obviously, given the title, the piece was intended to provoke a reaction. And… it did. Numbers have pushed back against Piper’s argument. And, numbers of... ...

Dear Child: An Open Letter to the Adopted

I wrote the following letter to a new born child who was adopted by a family in our church. The parents feared that as the child grew and came to realize it was adopted it might view this as a stigma rather than a blessing. Perhaps they would question their identity and self-worth. They might... ...

Preaching the Epistle to the Romans: Having Traveled So Far I Have Arrived Where I Started

I wrote this little piece on April 15th, 2015 barely weeks into my exposition of Romans. I tucked it away as a sort of theological time capsule. But, unlike real time capsules intended document changes that have occurred over time, once this essay was exhumed, I discovered no time had passed and nothing had changed.... ...

A Modern Parable: The Distortion of the Suburban Gospel

I knew that people who grew up with a lot of money also grew up with a huge amount of suffering; alcoholism, distant fathers, divorce and all sorts of pain. They basically were shunned by the Christian missiological field. I found this to be a very powerful experience in terms of looking at what the... ...

Done Before Do and Done Again: Law-Gospel Distinctions & Preaching the Bible

Byron Yawn There are two great threads in the Bible: Law and Gospel. The Law is threat, judgment, demand, obligation and condemnation. The Gospel is promise, mercy, grace and redemption. In the first we are required to do but cannot. In the latter we are given and not required. The Law is duty. The Gospel... ...

The Joy of Repentance (Standing Near Lepers)

Sin is infuriating. I hate it. Not others’ sin generally as observed in society, but my sin. Not what others do, but what I do. Our outrage is too often directed at certain segments of our society, or particular sins. But there is enough sin in our little finger to condemn us before God even... ...

Shame: The Leprosy Of The Soul

Shame is a demoralizing emotion. It’s an indiscriminate sort of internal bully. No person, regardless of their relative confidence or station in life, is exempted from its ridicule. There is no route home where shame is not waiting for you. It can dispirit the strongest of souls. Bring the noblest to their knees. For some... ...

Why the Lord’s Table Will Be A Weekly Part of Our Services

Recently, the leadership of Community announced the decision to include communion in our weekly corporate worship service. The decision itself was made more than a year ago after the elders spent some considerable time and energy discussing our distinctives and how they might be more fully expressed in our worship and practices. This adjustment was... ...

Why I Took My Daughter To See Beauty and the Beast

Recently I read several posts about people’s concerns regarding Disney’s newest remake of a classic love story. Of course, I wanted to know what the outrage was about, so I did some research. After reading articles written by critics who saw the movie, this was my conclusion: the character Lefou (who is gay in the... ...

Anxiety: Post Traumatic Stress for Something That Never Happened… But Might

Statistics show that anxiety (in various levels) affects about 18 percent of adults in the United States. That averages out to about 40 million people. No other emotional disorder even comes close anxiety’s reach. In 2010 forty six million prescriptions were written to treat anxiety issues. With many it’s an acute condition. With others it’s... ...

The Biblical and Historical Problems with Spiritual Disciplines Part 3

My previous two articles have focused on Roman Catholic theology and its slow entry back into mainstream Christianity. Until the 1970’s, it was difficult to find any popular materials or teachers speaking on the subject of spiritual disciplines. Research uncovers that Richard Foster, Dallas Willard and Don Whitney are the three most influential writers/teachers to... ...

Depression, Sin & Self-Reformation

One of the dominate features of pietism – that methodology which mainly concerns itself with the interior of the Christian life, or how Christians live – is the penchant for emphasizing the behavioral effects of sin (morals) at the near exclusion of the corporate effects of sin (state). Obviously, how we are (morals) is being... ...

The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert

Books that simultaneously challenge my perspectives and comfort my soul don’t come around every day. The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert has recently done this in my life. This book traces Rosaria Butterfield’ story of redemption and chronicles her transition from an outspoken homosexual feminist to a gospel believing wife. Her insights along the... ...

How acceptable are our good works?

How acceptable are our good works? We all have bad days, but on our best days what does the Father think of our obedience? Is He only concerned with sincerity of heart? Does He approve of those who give their best effort? The answer: Scripture tells us that our best attempts at holiness are so... ...

What does He see?

Our Father is continually watching over us with a holy and righteous gaze. What does He see? Adopted children who have received His unmerited acceptance and unconditional love. A powerful love that transforms His beloved into the likeness of His Son. A secure future resting in His presence enjoying the outflows of His glorious beauty.... ...

What A Gay Guy Taught Me About Grace, Church & Myself

We stopped at an Arby’s outside Chattanooga, Tennessee on our way back to Nashville. An emaciated figure named Jim sat across from me weeping into his meal. I had never seen a human being so totally broken... ...

#5 No One May Boast – Sola Deo Gloria (Glory of God Alone)

We are saved, sanctified, and glorified by the power of God’s grace through faith ALONE. The moment man claims any responsibility, no matter how little, it removes glory that belongs to God alone. ...

#4 Speculation Ends Nowhere – Sola Scriptura (Scripture Alone)

If our theology isn’t informed by God’s actual words, it will be formed by something else entirely. When scripture is not upheld as the objective authority, we shift toward subjectivism where people, through experiences, and blends of world religions will put themselves in authority. ...

#3 Faith And Then Faithfulness – Sola Christus (Christ Alone)

That which actually saves us before God is Christ. His faithfulness and not ours is what’s most important. The faith that brings justification does so because it is in the “Lord Jesus Christ.” The faith that saves is in Christ alone, Sola Christus. ...

#2 Alone Is Better Than Together – Sola Gratia (Grace Alone)

The word that really matters is Sola. Whether discussing faith, grace, Christ, Scripture or the Glory of God it is this idea of “alone” which carries the most weight in this discussion. In terms of the Reformation Sola Gratia is very different than Gratia. ...

If Saul Met Paul

What if Saul met Paul? What if in some Steven Spielberg-esk way this could happen? A Freaky Friday of biblical proportions. What if the once committed legalist, Saul, met his eventually broken and transformed self, Paul? What if the man who hunted down Christians met the man who fearlessly gave his life to multiply them? ...

#1 The Good Old Days – Sola Fide (Faith Alone)

Christians can argue theology all day long in theory, but what we believe about justification has consequences in real life. It plays out either in faith that rests in Jesus’s righteousness credited to our account, or destructive self-righteous legalism. ...

The Biblical and Historical Problems with Spiritual Disciplines Part 2

Over the last 400 years Christianity has slowly slipped away from a reformed understanding of sola fide, or a life lived by faith alone in Christ, as it concerns our sanctification and have embraced a hybrid of Roman Catholic theology and Evangelicalism. It is commonly believed that we are saved by grace through faith alone,... ...

Stump the Chump (Questions for the Pastor): What About Kevin DeYoung & Hebrews 12:14?

Sometimes DeYoung’s statement is offered up to me as a sort of theological Gordian Knot. “How are you going to explain this pastor?” I think they imagine DeYoung’s comment represents some irreconcilable dilemma. A bombshell observation. Of course, this discussion (the one underneath the quote) is not new. The relationship between justification and sanctification has been puzzling Protestants for fifteen hundred years. It’s part of who we are. ...

The Waldo Hermeneutic

A quote by Sinclair Ferguson on how we have been improperly taught to read the Bible. The following paragraphs were taken from "A Preacher's Decalogue" under point three, "Don’t Lose Sight of Christ." ...

The Biblical and Historical Problems with Spiritual Disciplines Part 1

Let’s take a quick simple survey:
Can you name five spiritual disciplines? What do you believe is the most important discipline? What do you believe is the purpose of the disciplines? ...

Assurance of Faith

It seems unnatural to separate how we feel with what we know as it relates to our assurance of salvation. For many, the pursuit of assurance has been primarily a task of evaluating feelings, actions, and emotions. While this method seems sufficient and natural, it will inevitably demonstrate itself ineffective against the overwhelming faithlessness that we are so prone to have. But, as we will see below, making the separation between the grounds for our salvation (the objective reality) and the evidence of our salvation (the subjective reality) is the only way a Christian can find true peace. ...

The Gospel and It’s Loophole

At the core of this discussion, the intended use of 1 John, is confusion over the means vs. evidence of salvation. Many pastors, by prefacing the fact that they are focusing on the evidence of salvation and not the means, free themselves to speak in must-do terms. A standard is quickly brought forth for every believer to stand against. It would seem that this means vs. evidence is the loophole of Christianity. It is through this gap that pastors can mandate reformed lives, better practices, and godly living. Therefore, the believer is given a set of tasks to complete in order to confirm true repentance. ...

The Glow of Dumpster Fires & the Twilight of Evangelical Influence

If evangelicalism needs the Republican Party to remain successful, then it has been nothing more than a religious special interest group. If someone believes losing a cultural war, or having a president appoint a liberal justice to the Supreme Court, or a shake up in the GOP somehow signals the end of Christianity in the US, then they have lost their way. ...

The Danger of Defining Yourself by What You Are Against

You will attract people with gnarled and rancorous dispositions. Brawlers. Sword drawn zealots ready to throw themselves on an edge over the smallest disagreement. Often, it’s not us but those who come behind us and take our opinions to the next level who do the most damage. ...

Hope is a Dangerous Thing on the Inside

Hope is conspicuous in captivity. There’s no place for it in prison because hope forbids a person to accept their condition. And, you must come to terms with your condition to survive captivity. Strangely, in prison, hope leads to despair because hope has nowhere to focus and gets stuck in a loop. The sooner one gives up and stops trying to escape, the quicker despair will give way to meaninglessness. Only then will a prisoner accept their condition. Only the hopeless make good prisoners. ...

Rethinking John’s First Epistle & The Assurance Quiz

So goes the standard explanation of John’s First Epistle. I've heard it explained this way so often over the years I've assumed (without a question) that it’s the only possible explanation, or valid angle on the letter. The epistle is put forward as a sort of salvific “disc assessment.” It’s an assurance quiz applied to John’s audience. Score high and you can have assurance. Score poorly and you've no basis for it. Some would go so far as to say the letter is specifically designed to create doubt in the lives of false believers within the church ...

A Tiny Shining Light / Bunyan Had it Backwards

The real struggle of the Christian life is the struggle to keep His faithfulness “in our eye” instead of ours. To believe that I am in His favor by grace through faith despite who I am, or how I might fail, or what I have done, or what others have done to me. “For I am convinced that neither” ...

Meat Loaf, Luther & the Great Hallabaloo of Law, Sin & Death

We are born in sin. To doubt the good will of God is an inborn suspicion of God with all of us. Besides, the devil, our adversary, goeth about seeking to devour us by roaring: “God is angry at you and is going to destroy you forever.” ...

Hard Checking the Apostle Paul in Romans 8:1 (That’s right, but…)

Interesting that Paul’s unwillingness and deliberate resistance in accommodating our fear of Sola Fide bothers us so much. In a twist of Irony, evangelicals – especially the pietistic branches - have read Romans eight verse one with a footnote under their breath. ...

God & the Gunman

His friends tried to gain a confession from Job. Job tried to get an explanation out of God. And neither ever came. Job never confessed to his friends and God never explained Himself to Job. And thus the problem with pain. ...

A Brief Musing: Faith & Faithfulness

Rather consistently, what we focus on is our faithfulness to God (obedience) rather than His faithfulness to us (Gospel). The difference between these two ideas is the difference between a pietistic theology and a reformed one. ...

Rock Gods, Unconscious Competence & The Christian Life

The measure of competency in the Christian life is neither by comparison nor mechanics, but desire. It is simple faith and uncomplicated duty. It is to “love” as Christ commanded and, thereby, fulfill the whole law. ...

From a Codified Life to a Life of Faith

The evangelical version of Christianity makes it nearly impossible to be a person of simple faith. We are overwhelmed by all of this detail and data we have to remember. It’s exhausting. ...

Law & Grace – Two Types of Coaches

The Law and the Gospel are not the same thing. If you confuse them you lose the Gospel and end up with self-justification. ...

Done Before Do and Done Again

Is our Gospel Law and our Law Gospel? ...

Christo-Platonism, Sin & Mortification (Part One)

In laymen’s terms Platonism is the ancient philosophy that views the material world as evil and the immaterial world as good. Matter is bad ...

The Struggle is Real (& Normal)

The struggle with sin - non-existent in our lost state - is now a normative experience in the Christian life. ...

When The Plank Comes Into View

One of these days you’ll see the plank. The absurdity of your pride will come around and stand directly in front of you. ...

If Saul Met Paul

What if Saul met Paul? What if in some Steven Spielberg-esk way this could happen? A Freaky Friday of biblical proportions. ...

Two Coaches

There are two types of coaches. ...

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