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Defending God's Unconditional Election

I recently came across a blog written against the doctrine of God's unconditional election. The author, a Christian blogger and speaker, set forth what he believes are five logical implications of this doctrine which he finds repulsive and inconsistent with Scripture. Interestingly, he himself is responding to a post by John Piper which set forth five reasons to embrace un...

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The Parent as Youth Pastor

"Doing youth ministry without parents is like driving a car without the engine." - Mark Devries [1] It's no secret anymore, youth ministry is in a state of crisis. Polls of recent years report over and over the dire percentages of youth who leave the church after high school. Whatever the exact percentage actually is, what seems clear enough is that more young people are ...

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The Devil Made Me Do It?

James is emphatic that it is "our desires" that lead us into temptation, but what about spiritual warfare? Isn't Satan involved in our temptations to sin?...

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The Crook in the Lot

Thomas Boston's pastoral reflections on facing suffering offer a challenging word to American Christians: Submit. ...

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The Attraction and Danger of Parallel Institutionalism

While reading Stephen Nichols book Jesus Made in America,I came across the term "Parallel Institutionalism" for the first time. What this concept refers to is one that I am sure we are all familiar with - the creating of "christianized" alternatives/counterparts to "worldly" institutions. An obvious example of this would be in the world of sports and recreation. Most citi...

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The difference between "Religion" and Biblical Christianity

What's the difference between "Religion" and Biblical Christianity? Tim Keller, in his book Center Church, has a helpful comparison summarized below. Religion Biblical Christianity "I obey, therefore I'm accepted." "I'm accepted; therefore I obey." I obey God in order to get things from God. I obey God to get God - to delight and resemble him. When...

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What Disney's Frozen taught me about Catechism

As someone who believes that God has given Christian parents the primary responsiblity for raising their children "in the discipline and the instruction of the Lord" (Eph 6:4), I have always been a strong advocate of catechism. But something happened last week that has given me an even greater sense of urgency in catechizing my children: My house was "frozenified." Let m...

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The 7 A's of Confession

"I'm sorry I spoke the way I did, but you know I was really tired..." "I'm sorry if I offended you by what I did..." "Maybe I could have tried harder.." "I guess I was wrong when I said those things about you..." "Let's just forget the past..." What do all of the above have in common? They are examples of apologies to others that fall short of what God calls us to as ...

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"I believe in the holy catholic church?" What is the Apostles Creed referring to?

At our church we recite the "Apostles Creed" together nearly every week. Nearly every week, then, we all repeat the phrase "I believe in the holy catholic church." For many christians, this assertion is problematic, because it could be understood as an endorsement of the Roman Catholic church. Is this what the Creed is referring to? What exactly are we confessing when we a...

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Do our good works really please God?

The book of James often leaves us in a place of cognitive dissonance. We know from Scripture (and experience) that all of us continue to sin, even as believers (1 John 1:8-9). We know that even our "good works," if examined closely, are mixed with unbelief and impurity. We know that, because of the indwelling sin that remains in us (Gal 5; Rom 7), we are unable to perfect...

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