Blog Posts by Tony Reinke

The Van Gogh That Breaks My Heart

Tony Reinke

Vincent van Gogh aspired to become a Calvinist pastor, like his dad.

He pursued ministry in the Dutch Reformed Church until he hit a roadblock by failing his academic training, and then experienced what personal failure often breeds: disillusionment. He became disenchanted with pastoral ministry and then left the church for good in 1880 at the age of 27. From that point on van Gogh redirected all his ambitions to…

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Six Ways Your Phone Is Changing You

Tony Reinke

Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone at Macworld Expo 2007, and I got my first one a year later. I can’t remember life without it.

For seven years an iPhone has always been within my reach, there to wake me in the morning, there to play my music library, there to keep my calendar, there to capture my life in pics and video, there for me to enjoy sling-shooting wingless birds…

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Is Feminine Modesty About Sex?

Tony Reinke

During the summer, the topic of modesty comes out from hibernation. But with the renewed conversations come many assumptions about modesty, assumptions that are always worth re-thinking.

Here’s the main assumption: Feminine modesty is about sexual provocation. If a woman’s skirt is too short or blouse is too low, it will cause her Christian brother to lust.

Two Important Texts

This assumption raises two challenges. The first one is whether…

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12 Questions to Ask Before You Watch ‘Game of Thrones’

Tony Reinke

“Pastor John, do you believe there is a difference between film nudity versus pornography? I know many Christians who are against porn, but they have no issue watching movies or TV shows that show graphic nudity.” A young woman named Emily recently emailed this question to the Ask Pastor John inbox.

A day later, Adam emailed to ask: “Pastor John, what would you say to a Christian who watches the…

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Nepal’s Most Unlikely Church Planter

Tony Reinke

Down the valley from Kathmandu, the ancient capital of Nepal, rests an even older city. In Bhaktapur, the timeworn traditions of Hinduism sink as deep into the dry soil as the white-capped Himalayan Mountains rise in the background.

Bhaktapur looks like it was built one brick at a time. Narrow, brick-paved city streets are lined on both sides by three-story brick buildings built into each other over time to become…

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The Joy Seeker’s Idol

Tony Reinke

We were made to enjoy God.

That’s the message of Desiring God, and we believe it’s the message of the Bible. But if we’re honest, we don’t always feel joy. For most of our lives it seems we feel mediocre, or dry, sometimes depressed, but mostly we feel preoccupied with all the details of life. Only in those rare moments when it seems all of our circumstances align just right…

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The End of Books

Tony Reinke and Jon Bloom

Why is reading so important to Christianity?

How is the Internet changing the way we read?

How can we become better readers?

These questions, and other critical topics about literacy, were addressed by Desiring God’s own Tony Reinke in an interview with Cees-Jan Smits today in the newspaper Reformatorisch Dagblad (Dutch).

Tony is the author of Lit! A Christian Guide to Reading Books, or as it’s known in the…

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Captured by God’s Beauty

Tony Reinke

Jonathan Edwards (1703–1758) has been called one of America’s greatest artists, an innovator who painted with ideas.

“There are many reasons to regard Edwards as an original and venturesome thinker,” claims Michael McClymond in his landmark book The Theology of Jonathan Edwards. “Yet his placement of beauty at the heart of his theology may have been the boldest stroke of all.”

The mind of Edwards, and the writings of…

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Walking the Wedding Aisle Without Your Virginity

Tony Reinke

A young man recently emailed this question in to the Ask Pastor John podcast:

Pastor John, I want to propose to my girlfriend, and as I prepare for marriage thoughts of my past mistakes come to mind. I think back to women I slept with before I was saved, and mistakes I made with my current girlfriend who I will, Lord willing, marry. People often speak of the purity to…

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Living Out God’s Design for Marriage

Tony Reinke

Complementarity is a big label we use for God’s full design for marriage, and several excellent books help to explain what it all means.

But another way to witness God’s design for marriage is to pull up a chair and learn from couples who are seeking to honor God by living out their complementarian convictions — a husband leading his wife so she will flourish, and a wife coming alongside…

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Have You Found What You’re Looking For? (Easter Sunday)

Tony Reinke

Like children scattering around a yard for Easter eggs, you and I are on a hunt.

We all hunt. Our thirsty souls rummage through every nook and cranny of this world, in search of shiny pleasures and saccharine delights.

Every such joy seeker, in pursuit of treasures that will not fade or rust or break or be stolen, must pay careful attention to Easter — not with a nod-off-through-the-sermon kind…

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20 Quotes on Loneliness

Tony Reinke

Loneliness can be an embarrassing topic we don’t like to talk about or admit to. Yet all of us are familiar with it, to some degree, because loneliness is an inescapable consequence of the fall.

No surprise, readers request more content on loneliness. To that end, let me introduce Paul Matthies. Paul is a Christian, former missionary in Asia, current pastor in Texas, he’s single and he has openly shared…

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Is Tim Keller Weak on Wrath?

Tony Reinke

I may have been the first blogger to accuse Tim Keller publicly for what I perceived to be his passive (and weak) view of God’s wrath in the wake of his book, The Reason For God (2008). My response was swift and stinging, and Keller got a taste of my own blog wrath. I vividly remember writing lines like: “It apparently is no fearful thing to fall into the hands…

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I Know the Plans I Have for You

Tony Reinke

Jeremiah 29:11 is a precious verse to many: “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lᴏʀᴅ, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

So how can Gentile John Piper, or any of us, lay claim to this hopeful promise made to Israel, God’s covenant people? Pastor John explains in this 3-minute video:


Related resources:

  • Do the promises…
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Speaking Truth in Love

Tony Reinke

God has called you to serve me, and me to serve you, by speaking the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15). This mutual ministry is what drives me to write truth, and to read and listen to truth from friends.

But “speaking the truth in love” is not so simple as hitting a few keys on my laptop. It requires a cosmic backstory to pull off.

The Apostle Paul breaks the…

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When Conflict Fractures Your Family

Tony Reinke

The mission of Desiring God is helping people all around the globe find joy in Jesus Christ. So many things undermine and destroy joy, maybe none more so than disharmony in our homes and families.

So what things are most apt to steal your joy?

We asked this question in a recent Ask Pastor John episode, and what follows is a lightly edited transcript of John Piper’s transparent self-reflection for…

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An All-Consuming Passion for Jesus (Free eBook)

Tony Reinke


Thousands of college students wait silently in a dark auditorium as you make your way to the podium, under the spotlight. What will you say? What will you offer them?

When he climbs the stage at Passion2014 in Atlanta this weekend, John Piper will face this moment again.

Marking the eighteenth year of his involvement in the conference, this event has inspired some of Piper’s most memorable messages. It was…

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Grace Has Brought Me Safe Thus Far

Tony Reinke

This first weekend of 2014 affords many of us an opportunity to hit “pause” on this busy opening week and to reflect, backward and forward, on our own lives.

Essential at the beginning of every new year is to set aside time to reflect on life, according to eighteenth-century slave-ship-captain-turned-pastor John Newton (1725–1807). This practice was embedded into his personal disciplines, and it emerged as a hallmark of his pastoral…

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Rethinking Santa

Tony Reinke

With Christmas quickly approaching, several Ask Pastor John podcast listeners filled the mailbag with Santa-related questions. Corbin, a listener from Gainesville, Georgia, asked: “Pastor John, should parents allow their children to believe Santa Claus is bringing them gifts on Christmas?”

Here’s how Pastor John responded (six-minute audio):

What follows is a transcript of the salient portions from Pastor John’s response.


The salvation of sinners through the death and resurrection of…

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The Allure of Middle-Earth

Tony Reinke

More than seventy-five years after J.R.R. Tolkien wrote The Hobbit, the glory and majesty of Middle-earth continues to draw millions of readers, and more recently, moviegoers. This week, theaters prepare for Friday’s opening of the acclaimed new movie The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.

Partly, Tolkien’s enduring popularity can be explained by the way he artfully touches the greatest themes of our collective experience of this world. Tolkien…

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The Hopes and Fears of All the Years

Tony Reinke

Bethlehem was, is, and likely always will be, just a small town — a small town steeped in ancient history.

In the first century, the historical marker at the center of town — if they posted such historical markers — would have commemorated it as the birthplace of the mighty giant killer, King David. The cherished son of Bethlehem put the town on the map 1,000 years earlier, and perhaps,…

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My Joy and God’s Holiness: Friends or Foes?

Tony Reinke

Happiness and holiness are inseparable. True holiness is unattainable without true happiness. Happiness is part of holiness — even the essence of holiness.

But there’s an even deeper connection between our happiness and holiness, and it’s rooted in God’s holy character.

Holy, Holy, Holy!

Many times, a sermon on the holiness of God will start with Isaiah 6:1–5, with a dramatic recounting of Isaiah, the priest, entering the temple…

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Are You Chasing Happiness or Holiness?

Tony Reinke

Such a question actually reveals a common mistake of pitting holiness and happiness against each other. “God is more interested in you being holy than happy,” so the line goes.

One of my favorite theologians falls prey to this subtle dichotomy in a book to be released next year. Overall it’s a great book (with plenty of strengths to commend later), but here I want to make a friendly amendment…

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Piper Addresses Strange Fire and Charismatic Chaos

Tony Reinke

One month ago, John MacArthur hosted a conference titled “Strange Fire.” The conference opposed the so-called “prosperity gospel” and with it the excesses of “charismania.” But somewhere along the way all things charismatic and continuationist got swept up into the conference conversation, too, igniting a strange online conflagration of its own.

The conversation prompted a variety of questions from listeners of the Ask Pastor John podcast. Before boarding…

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Why We Click Stupid Links

Tony Reinke

By “stupid links,” I mean hyperlinks on the Web that do nothing but tap our kneejerk curiosity. They do little for us because they have little to offer. We click, we read, we watch, and often we feel dumber for it.

Such clamorous links litter the Internet, offering up celebrity gossip, bizarre crime stories, violent videos, and sexual images — each link asking for little more than a click (such…

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