“I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25–26)
A few days ago we laid the body of my wife’s grandfather in the ground outside the little brick church in the cornfields where he attended all 97 years of his life. I was given the profound honor of preaching at his funeral. And the words of John 11:25–26 were my text.
I chose them because Jesus said them to Martha when Lazarus lay dead in his tomb. And I was to stand behind the old pulpit in front of a full casket.
A corpse is a fierce reality. It demands that we explain these claims of Jesus — perh…
A friend recently asked me if I could give her some parenting advice. I smiled and said that I couldn’t because I’m not an expert and don’t know really what I am doing. She laughed and remarked on the ways parenting humbles us. My friend did not realize just how true her statement was. For many years, I taught, counseled, advised, and trained parents in the raising of their children. It’s a remarkable testimony to God’s grace toward me that I’ve come to a point in my own parenting where I am not at the ready to give advice.
Many people describe marriage as the laboratory where our spiritual growth is fostered and developed. I find it to be equally true of parenting as well. God has used par…
Reformed theology is theology in process. Semper reformanda, we say — always reforming.
As a body of thought, Reformed theology is not complete. The challenge and opportunity for Christians is not to revise the biblical principles but to make our doctrinal formulations more biblical — and faithfully apply them in different cultures and contexts.
Developing Theology in Community
One of the goals for the Reformed African American Network (RAAN) is to “develop theology in community.” As the network took shape, we knew we had to avoid any kind of theological imperialism. While it’s true that the African American community can benefit from Reformed theology as it stands, Blacks have much to of…
One of the common hopes and repeated phrases around the pro-life movement is that “abortion will become as unthinkable as slavery.” I long for such a day.
The only problem is that the elements that made slavery possible are still thinkable now. We see it in how people behave toward children, particularly unborn children.
Consider the legal issues around Baby S., the little girl who God miraculously placed into a loving Christian family after her disabilities were discovered during a surrogate pregnancy for parents who decided they didn’t want her.
When her surrogate mother could not be bullied into an abortion, a lawyer for the genetic father reminded her that she had signed a contract. …
The Book of Acts is clearly one of the most action-packed segments in the storyline of Scripture. The title, “The Acts of the Apostles,” cues us in on this clue from the start. As many commentators have suggested, a more accurate title would be something to do with the acts of the Holy Spirit, or perhaps “The Action of the Ascended Christ by His Spirit Through His Church.”
The book opens with Jesus ascending as human to the throne of the universe, sending the Spirit, and commissioning his messengers. “You will be my witnesses,” he promises, “in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8). And so Luke recounts the movements in that outline — all action and…
Sometimes spiritual truth is best communicated through the imagination, and I think this explains why the book of Revelation includes war tales of red dragons and multi-headed beasts — those nasty creatures are a great way to embody evil and rebellious nations.
But the non-fiction imagination comes in many different forms, and one form is the metaphor. Jesus, we are told, is “the Lamb of God” (John 1:29), a metaphorical truth meaning at the same time Jesus is and is not a lamb. Metaphors lead us to embrace a thing (Christ crucified) in terms of some, but not all, of the characteristics of another thing (a lamb).
Metaphors carry meaning, and we need them, writes pastor and author Doug Wil…
There are books you should read at your desk hunched over and ready to wrestle with rarified ideas. Then there are books that you should read the way you stop by a shaded stream. The trust level is high. The expectation for refreshment is keen. Jon Bloom, the President of Desiring God, has written a book like that. I encourage you to get a copy.
Here is the way Jon describes his aim: “The purpose of this little book is to imaginatively reflect on the real experiences of real people in the Bible in order to help you grasp and live what it means to ‘trust in the Lᴏʀᴅ with all our heart, and . . . not lean on our own understanding.’ Its goal is to help you believe in Jesus while living in a v…
God is the greatest Reality in the universe.
And pastors swim in that sea with ever-replenished joy.
I am the Lᴏʀᴅ, and there is no other, besides me there is no God. (Isaiah 45:5)
Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! “For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor?” “Or who has given a gift to him that he might be repaid?” For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen. (Romans 11:33–36)
Jesus is the greatest Savior, Master, and Friend that ever was or will be.
And pastors contemplate and commend him every day.
Greater love has no on…
Successful Christian living is very much about steadiness and consistency, about firm resolve and steadfast endurance. There’s more to the Christian life, but these remain certain marks of God’s Spirit at work. And yet we feel the circumstances of life trying to swing us from despair to delight. When circumstances grow dark and we take our eyes off the Savior, we lose our balance and swing toward despair. When life seems to be going well and we take our eyes off Christ, we swing towards blissful God-forgetfulness certain to end in sorrow.
Contemplating this swinging, wobbly, fallen but redeemed heart is what led the Puritans to talk about a joy in the all-satisfying Christ as the unchangin…
These were four themes featured in this week’s lineup of Ask Pastor John podcast episodes. What follows are excerpts from each episode (click on the hyperlinked titles to listen).
If they come to the door, I say as gently and graciously as I can, “I know Jehovah’s Witness theology well enough to know that we have deep differences. I know that you believe Jesus is the highest created being, a created angel (Michael), and you do not believe that he is God, or of one essence with Jehovah. You think he is an angel, I believe he is co-eternal with Jehovah God, and therefore I think your religion is a serious dishonoring of the Lord …