Book Review - Perspectives on Israel and the Church

Perhaps there is no issue which more clearly divides conservative Evangelicals, than the question of the relationship between Israel and the Church. Subsumed beneath that overriding concern are the intramural debates over soteriology (Calvinism, Arminianism or “neither”), eschatology (premillennial or amillennial and pre-trib or post-trib), and ecclesiology (paedobaptism or credobaptism).

These questions are not minor. The baptism question divides the Protestant church into denominations. The millennial question bars the entry into parachurch organizations, mission boards and educational institutions. Yet most agree that people from all perspectives on this issue take the Bible seriously: this is a Christian debate, separating fellow believers. Read more about Book Review - Perspectives on Israel and the Church

Trying to Get the Rapture Right (Part 11)

(Read the entire series.)

As I bring this series to a close, I want to provide some summaries of the various rapture positions, along with a few pros and cons. Of course, I don’t expect everyone to agree with me, and I understand that much more could be said in support of each position. Still, my main goal has been to come at the doctrine from a slightly different angle and to present the theological issues which arise.


The posttrib position is that the church goes through the Tribulation. Proponents of this view rightly call attention to what they see as a natural correspondence between the Second Coming of Jesus and the rapture of the Church. Christ only comes once, they say, and it makes no sense to seek out any other event slotted into God’s calendar seven years before that great event. Read more about Trying to Get the Rapture Right (Part 11)

Serving Students Stay - Part 2: Let the Simple Be Profound

From VOICE, May/Jun 2015. Used with permission. Read Part 1.

I have a concern about one concept that is affecting all of the various ministries in the church, but I want to specifically focus on youth ministry and how this concept is affecting and changing it. My area of concern is what I am going to call intellectualism.

I define intellectualism as the process in which growth can only be realized and achieved by utilizing fresh, newly discovered information in contrast to the simple and profound. It is the concept that you must always teach something new rather than something simple (that is, the Bible). Though the exploration of new truth, and exposing ourselves to ideas that we previously did not know, is a good practice and a needed part of spiritual growth, intellectualism creates an adverse climate in youth ministries and churches across our nation. Intellectualism looks down upon the simple, yet profound, teaching of the Word of God in favor of teaching new ideas with fresh methods. Read more about Serving Students Stay - Part 2: Let the Simple Be Profound

Serving Students Stay - Part 1: The MTA Model

From VOICE, May/Jun 2015. Used with permission.

In the past two decades a spotlight has been placed on the problem of teens growing up and leaving the Church—not just going off to college or relocating, but permanently choosing not to have any part, role, or attendance in the ministry of a local church.

In several different parts of our country I have had conversations with pastors, youth pastors and laymen and this question has been asked or simply posed as a sad statement of fact. “I just don’t know where all our teens are going” said one Senior Pastor. “I’m not sure why our teens are quitting on the Church,” a layman in one of our Midwestern churches said to me. Many people are wondering where teens are going when they graduate. But the real question that must be raised is, Why are the teens leaving? We may not need to know where they are going as much as we need to know why they are leaving so we can strategize how to change the trend. Read more about Serving Students Stay - Part 1: The MTA Model

From the Archives: Can we See God in Creation?

Can We See God in Creation? This is a profound question—and the answer is both yes and no.


First—yes, we can see our glorious God in creation:

O LORD, our Lord,
How excellent is Your name in all the earth,
Who have set Your glory above the heavens! (NKJV, Ps. 8:1)

The heavens declare the glory of God; And the firmament shows His handiwork. Day unto day utters speech,
And night unto night reveals knowledge.
(Ps. 19:1, 2; cf. Job 12:7-10)

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Understanding the New Calvinism: Social Justice

(Read the entire series.)

The New Calvinists are quite concerned about social justice, and rightly so. As citizens of this planet we have an obligation to care for the world and the people in it, not only spiritually but physically as well. But many make the mistake of not distinguishing between the mission of individual Christians, as dual citizens of both heaven and earth, and the mandate given to the church as the corporate people of God, which is outlined in the Great Commission. As a result not only can the church lose its unique place in the world as the one institution ordained by God to preach the Word, function as Christ’s body and make disciples, but the gospel itself can be mutated. Read more about Understanding the New Calvinism: Social Justice

Understanding the New Calvinism: More Identifying Marks

Relevance and Missional Living

One of the key buzzwords used by a large number of young evangelicals, including the restless and Reformed, is “relevant.” By this is meant that our Christian lives and our churches need to reveal an “authentic” (another buzzword) faith. We need to scratch where people itch. We need to show people that Christ and the gospel are germane to real life. More than that, we need to demonstrate that Christians are real people, with real hurts, pains and problems just like the unsaved. A Christian is not someone who is so different that he cannot relate to unbelievers. The difference Christ has made in our lives is not that we have become perfect or so “holy” that we are weird and unapproachable by the unsaved. In fact, we are like them except that Christ has forgiven us our sins and has become the central focus of our lives.

Much of this philosophy is good, and should be considered seriously. The next step is to learn to relate to unbelievers rather than isolating ourselves from them. The neo-Calvinist believes that we live out this kind of relevancy primarily by being “missional” (yet another buzzword). This word has been so over used and abused that even those who love it sometimes are not sure what it means. Missional usually implies living out a life of love and care for others, serving and ministering in such a way that Christ is glorified in us and people are therefore drawn to Him and His saving grace. Read more about Understanding the New Calvinism: More Identifying Marks

“As I Ought to Speak” - Biblical Dynamics for Preaching and Teaching (Part 2)

(Continued from Part 1.)

Speak with Purity

In Colossians 3:8 believers are told to put aside obscene speech (aischrologion). While there is no such thing as an inherently bad word, the speech of the believer is always to be seasoned as with grace (Col 3:6) to be able to meet the need of the moment.

Some practical implications

  • Deliberately choose words for their impact, avoiding words that would detract or distract.
  • Use questionable or culturally taboo terms only when necessary, especially if the text employs such terms (e.g., Zeph 1:17, Gal 1:8-9).
Read more about “As I Ought to Speak” - Biblical Dynamics for Preaching and Teaching (Part 2)